Setting: During the manga.
Summary: Ted’s thoughts on being born a redhead.
Word Count: 453
Written For: My own prompt ‘FAKE, Ted, The trials of being a red head,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Ted stands out in a crowd, whether he wants to or not; that’s one of the downsides of being a redhead, and one of the reasons he’s rarely been picked for undercover assignments. How undercover can you get when you look like a glowing beacon? More than once he’s been tempted to dye his hair, try his luck with black or brown, or even blond, and yet he never has. He is what he is and changing his hair color would feel like a lie, a rejection of his heritage. He’s proud to be Irish, and maybe his red hair is tied in with that, so he lives with it. Besides, it’s not like he minds being passed over for undercover gigs; that way lies unnecessary risk and he likes his skin in one piece, thank you very much.
What’s harder to deal with is the endless name-calling; it’s been that way for as long as he can remember. Before he started school, he was called Red Ted by so may people he thought that was his name and got confused when his kindergarten teacher called him Edward. It doesn’t bother him when people call him ginger, but carrot-top reminds him of being mocked in school by the older kids, and sometimes even by kids he thought were his friends. He got picked on and bullied all the time because of his hair, until he learned to fight back, and then he got in trouble with the teachers instead for getting into fights. Sometimes it felt like he just couldn’t win.
People say redheads are hot tempered. Well, who wouldn’t be, having to deal with being made fun of all the time? If you keep taunting someone you shouldn’t be surprised when they eventually snap and retaliate. That said, Ted knows he does indeed have a short fuse, and he doesn’t suffer fools gladly, but how much of that is to do with his hair color and how much is simply a conditioned response, a learned behaviour from years of being the butt of other people’s jokes? Maybe some scientist should do a study and figure that out. It might put an end to stereotyping.
Dating is another minefield; the color of his hair seems to put a lot of women off and he wonders if that’s because they look ahead and imagine themselves with red-haired babies. It’s discrimination, but it’s their loss; they don’t know what they’re missing. Redheads are fiery and passionate lovers; Ted knows because he’s dating one. Well, why not? Who knows better the trials of being a redhead than another redhead?
Besides, there are worse things than standing out in a crowd; at least he never gets overlooked.