Loki used to sleepwalk as a child. Thor never said anything to him, never let his brother know that he would crawl out of bed at night and walk the halls of their palace. He didn’t follow him, just watched curiously from his golden-framed bed as his little brother left on an unknown nightly adventure. That was until his curiosity became too much to bear.
One night, after their mother had tucked them into bed and told them a story of their father’s adventures, Thor lay in wait for Loki to fall asleep. It was a difficult fight as his eyelids felt as heavy as Mjolnir did every time he tried to lift it when his father wasn’t looking. His soft, feathery bed felt so warm and comforting, enveloping him in fluffy covers that attempted to lull him to sleep. But he was Thor Odinson, he told himself, he was stronger than sleep and he would prevail. And prevail, he did.
He kept himself awake with thoughts of battle. Thor liked to imagine fighting the evil Frost Giants of Jotunheim in order to defend Asgard and his family. The thought filled him with pride. It was less than an hour’s passing when he finally heard his brother’s soft snoring and only a few minutes more when the rustle of Loki’s covers reached his ears.
Thor shot up in bed, a newfound energy rousing him from his drowsy stupor. He watched as his little brother snaked out from between his covers to land softly on two feet on the floor. His green bed clothes were crumpled around his lean form and his black hair stuck out at all angles. He padded across the floor with his bare feet, eyes half open and heavy-lidded.
Thor clambered out of bed, taking great pain in being as quiet as possible while his sleeping brother moved as swiftly and soundlessly as silence itself, just as he always did. He allowed Loki to steal a few steps ahead before following after him, moving as his brother did but with a lot more effort. They crept through the dark, looming halls that gleamed in the day like the bright lights upon being welcomed into Valhalla.
The unconscious Loki appeared to have a specific destination in mind as he glided across the polished floors, past the weapons room and the throne room. Thor wasn’t sure where his little brother was walking to until he stopped in front of the double doors that towered over the two small boys. Loki only hesitated for a moment before pushing on the doors with all his strength. When that didn’t work, he stepped back, holding out his hands as a light green glow formed around them. His pale brow creased in concentration, seeming to put a lot of effort in holding up the air, when the doors slowly creaked open.
The door allowed for a space the size of a small child so that Loki could easily slip through. Thor had a harder time, the frame of his body being wider than his brother’s, but he still managed to squeeze through as well. On the other side, he watched as Loki walked down the long hall, heading towards the end where the Casket sat.
The usual guards were absent from their posts, counting on the Destroyer’s protection to keep the box with a light blue glow safe. Loki walked straight toward the Casket as if magnetically drawn to it, his arms outstretched. Thor could only think of how angry their father would be if he found out Loki was messing with the Casket. The last thing he wanted was his brother in trouble so he raced down the hall after him, intending to stop him before he laid his hands on it. Thor reached out to pull him away but by the time he reached the end of the hall, Loki already had a firm grasp on the handles.
“Loki! Brother, no!”
He wrapped his fingers around Loki’s arm and yanked him away, his grip breaking easily. Thor turned his brother to face him and dropped his arm as if it burned his hand. He scrambled back, staring at the ice blue that stained his brother’s skin, the odd markings that scarred it, and the eyes of dark red blood. He looked just like a Jotun the way his father described them. A Frost Giant.
Terror was written plainly on his face. His mouth fell open in shock as he watched the blue wash from his brother’s skin on its own, receding away to where it had been hidden before he touched the Casket. Loki blinked at the sound of his name, swaying on his feet. He groaned softly, reaching up to rub his eyes of the groggy feeling that consumed him. He blinked a few more times before turning his tired green eyes toward his scared brother.
“Thor?” He glanced to his right, eyes widening in bemusement when he realized they weren’t in their room. “Why are we here? What happened?”
“Wh-what’s wrong with you?” Thor said, backing up even further.
“Brother?” Loki stepped forward, reaching out to Thor. “What—”
“Don’t touch me! You… you’re a monster!”
Thor scurried away from Loki’s reach and ran from the room, slipping through the door easier on his way out due to being driven by panic. Loki watched him go, his face the epitome of confusion. He looked down at his pajamas and bare feet and up at the softly glowing Casket before following after his brother.
He walked back to their room, pausing hesitantly at the slightly ajar door. “Thor?”
Loki waited for a response but none came. He pushed open the door and walked in, looking for his golden-haired big brother only to find him curled up in bed, clearly pretending to be asleep. Loki frowned and prodded his brother in the side to get him to react, to stop pretending, but he was adamant in his façade.
Loki huffed. “Fine, Thor. I know not what I did but I’m sorry. It scared you and I never meant to do such a thing. Goodnight, brother.”
He left Thor’s bedside and crawled back into his own bed, curling up under the covers to try and fall back to sleep. Thor clutched his own covers tightly around him, a feeling of regret coursing through his body. He opened his eyes when he was sure Loki had walked away and stared into the blackness of the surrounding night.
He thought of Loki in his Jotun guise, completely unaware of how he appeared. His brother didn’t know what was wrong. His tired, blood red eyes were seared into his mind, as were his wide green ones that sparkled like emeralds. No matter the color, Loki remained his little brother. The same brother he defended from mocking words because he couldn’t fight as well as the other children. The same brother who would use his silver tongue to talk them both out of trouble when their play had gone too far. He still felt rage toward the Frost Giants and their treachery but Loki was harder to be angry with.
Thor raised his head from his pillow and looked in the direction of Loki’s bed, straining his ears to hear the signs of sleep. The room was silent; even Loki’s breathing was too shallow for him to hear. He stayed in bed, thinking for a few moments, before climbing ungracefully out. His feet thudded against the hard floor as he walked up to Loki’s bed to see him burrowed in his blankets so only the outline of his body could be seen. He poked the small, compacted form, hoping he would respond but knowing he wouldn’t. Not after the way he treated him.
“I’m sorry, brother. My words were cruel and I didn’t mean them. What I spoke of wasn’t your fault.” Thor plucked at the hem of his red shirt as he spoke.
When his words evoked no response, he peeled back the covers and climbed into the large bed. He searched for Loki beneath the blankets and found him easily. He was still trying to ignore Thor but Thor wouldn’t accept that. He wrapped his arms around his brother’s midsection and pulled him into a hug. Thor spoke a thousand words with his actions the way Loki could do the same in a sentence. Loki forgave him almost immediately.
“It’s all right, Thor,” he said, half wishing his brother would let go already.
It was a few more moments before he did let go, collapsing onto one of the many pillows with the intent to stay there for the night. The sons of Odin curled up to sleep, comforted by the fact that they had forgiven one another. Loki was the first to drop off; still unaware that anything was ever wrong. Thor followed soon after with one last thing to say. He just didn’t want to say it for Loki to hear.
“I still love you, Loki, no matter what you are.”