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Picking Names

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"Shouldn't we go to a hairdresser?" He wondered, shifting to pull the towel tighter around his arms.

He hadn't expected such immediate reactions from his parents, especially his mom, after coming out. His dad had hugged and supported him, but it was after dinner that his mom had asked if he wanted her to cut his hair. Of course, he did.

The teen felt his mom tugging on his hair, as she tied off the long length into a low ponytail. On the kitchen table in front of him was scissors, a spray bottle full of water, a hair clipper kit and a few brushes and combs with clips and ties, a handheld mirror in front of them.

"We can do this, we watched dozens of Youtube tutorials," Maddie insisted. "Did you ever pick out a name?"

"No," came the soft reply before he cleared his throat with a light cough. "I've been thinking of a few, but I don't really know what I like too much yet."

"What are they, sweetie?" Maddie asked. She finished tying the ponytail, and she tugged the band down a bit. She reached over to grab the scissors.

"I thought about Dean," he said slowly. He winced nervously as he felt his mom tug on the ponytail a bit, and the pressure relieving with the snip snip snip of the scissors. He paused. "Or maybe something like Matthew, with Matt for short. Or Liam."

"I like Matthew, Matt can be a cute nickname for it," Maddie replied cheerfully.

He swallowed as the last bit of the ponytail was cut, and some loose strands of black hair flew down into his peripheral vision. It felt much more real now with so much of his hair gone. Maddie set the ponytail on the table. Oh, wow. Was his hair really that long before? Well, he and Jazz did have nearly the same length for a long time. Memories of them comparing hair length flooded his mind, and he mentally chuckled. Guess Jazz would always win now.

He glanced forward in the mirror. It looked so weird to have no long black locks of hair around him. It felt odd. A physical and emotional weight lifted off his shoulders.

"Do you know how short you want it to be?" Maddie asked him. His words got caught in his throat.

"Um," he began to stammer a bit as he swallowed. He smiled to himself as he felt his mom peck the top of his head.

"Why don't we use the biggest setting and work our way down?" she suggested. He nodded. She went to open the hair clipper kit. She went through the options, taking out the longest one. "Any other names?"

"...Maybe Chase?" he spoke shyly. "I dunno. There's a lot, and none of them just feel quite right, ya know? I like some names, but they just don't...suit me? I guess?"

"You don't have to decide right away," Maddie assured him. She plugged in the clippers, setting them aside for now. She grabbed a comb and spray bottle, and she began to lightly comb and part the top of his hair to clip up. "I just want to make sure you're going to be called something you want. I know right now, you don't really have the most masculine name." He winced at the light reminder of his deadname.

"Yeah, I know. I just wish I knew what fit me," he confessed.

With the top of his hair clipped off, his mom grabbed the clippers, and she began to shave the sides of his head. He remained silent in thought as the sides were cut. The result was not the best.

"How's the length?" Maddie asked, lightly running her fingers through the newly buzzed hair to brush strays out.

He glanced into the small mirror, and he wanted to cry. So much of the hair being gone brought a sense of comfort he didn't realize it would. He looked less and less like [redacted] Fenton, and more like, well, himself. Who that was, he wasn't sure. But he looked more like he felt. A step closer, only...

"Way too long," he immediately replied. Maddie hummed thoughtfully.

"How much more off do you want?"

"All of it," he confessed. Maddie chuckled. "It'll grow back!" She shrugged with a smile.

"Very true." She switched the clipper's attachment for a much smaller one, and she began to shave again.

Black hair was covering the kitchen floor and was all over his shirt, pants, the towel, everything. The kitchen probably wasn't the best place to hold such an activity. He could only envision finding black hairs in the food for months to come. A glance in the mirror at how much better his hair looked now made his heart skip a beat. Absolutely worth it.

"How's this?" Maddie questioned as soon as the clippers stopped. He grinned widely at the reflection.

"Perfect," he declared. Maddie smiled, brushing away more stray hairs with her fingers.

"It's not the shortest setting, but the third shortest," she told him. She wrapped an arm around him in a brief hug, and he happily squeezed her arm. "Now we just gotta do the top, and then my baby boy's going to look so handsome."

He had a stupidly large, happy grin at that. Baby boy. Handsome. He watched her unclip the top, black hair falling everywhere. She rustled it a bit as she grabbed the brush, brushing it a bit before grabbing the scissors and comb.

"Do I look like a Matthew?" he asked her. Maddie gave a sympathetic smile.

"Not really, honey," she confessed. Her son sighed heavily.

"How did you pick mine and Jazz's names?" he asked. Maddie hummed as she lightly snipped away, occasionally stopping to spray his hair with water.

"Your father picked both of your names," she admitted. "We agreed both times that if we had a girl, he'd name them, and if we had a boy, I'd name them. For Jazz, I had originally picked out Jeremiah, because Jeremy would have been a cute nickname. For you, I had picked out Daniel, or Danny. I always thought it was just a really special name."

"Danny?" he echoed, perking up a bit.

"Yeah, it just had a great ring to it," Maddie smiled. The rate that black hair was falling onto the floor had steadily decreased as the haircut was coming to a close. "You know, we thought you were a boy up until I had you. We had everything for a boy prepared, but then you were born, and it was a little girl." He winced at this. "But then weren't we in for a surprise to find out the doctor was right all along about us having a little boy."

"Really?" He glanced up at her, trying to not move his head to prevent the cut from being bad. His mom hummed in confirmation.


He looked in the mirror. Daniel. Danny for short. The name settled well with him. Danny. It just rolled off the tongue. Daniel Fenton. That just flowed really well. Danny Fenton. This name was his name.

"My name's Danny," he slowly replied. Maddie cocked her head a bit at him.

"Oh honey, you don't have to pick that name just because of me," she assured him quickly.

"No, no!" Danny quickly interrupted her. "It's perfect. It fits me, it feels right. And it was supposed to be my name anyway. It's just about time that I use it, right?"

Maddie sighed lightly, a warm and peaceful smile. She ruffled his hair a bit. Stray black hairs flew in the air.

"How's the hair?" she asked. Danny looked in the mirror, and he was beaming.

"It's perfect," he told her. New hair, new name. Even though he was still in Jazz's handme down blouse and a pair of girly jeans, he had never felt so much better about himself. "Thank you so much."

"Of course, Danny." Hearing his name being spoken made his doofy smile grow bigger. "Now go get a shower and wash it to get all the hairs out, I swear you're shedding like a dog." She ruffled his hair again. Hair went flying as promised. Danny laughed, and he got out of the chair, carefully removing the towel.

He immediately wrapped his arms around his mom tightly in a hug. She wrapped her arm around him, squeezing hard and pecking the top of his head. Danny let go, and he began to race up the stairs.

"I love you, Mom!" he called out to her.

"Love you too, Danny."