Thor is just about to retire to bed when hears a series of quick knocks on his chamber doors.
The sound take him entirely by surprise, and arms still tangled in his shirt (from the process of undressing), he stares at the closed wooden door for a dumbfounded moment before quickly pulling the garment back over his head. At this late an hour it is surely a servant, he thinks to himself, perhaps carrying a message from his father. Crossing the room with broad strides, he goes to pull the door open.
When the door swings forward, he only finds his brother Loki.
His brother Loki, whose disturbingly intense gaze is directed at… his head.
"Brother, is there something I can help with?" Thor asks politely, carefully ignoring the sense of apprehension rapidly rising in his chest.
Loki, eyes never leaving Thor’s hair, moves swiftly into his room. As one of Loki’s hands rise to Thor’s chest, the door swings shut, and the God of Thunder feels himself being softly but determinedly pushed backwards into his room.
"I've made a recent discovery, Thor, and I do believe I am in need of your assistance."
Loki’s tone is curt and cordial, and before Thor even realises what is happening, he is being carefully prodded to sit sideways on a wide windowside bench. Asgard, silent and ethereal at night, lies sprawled beneath him to the right. Behind him, however, is Loki, half draped over Thor's body as he clambers onto the bench and begins to pick at the strands of the Thunder God’s golden hair. Thor stiffens in an instant.
After waiting uncertainly for an explanation which does not come, Thor ultimately decides to open his mouth.
"Does… your discovery have something to do with my hair? Loki?"
Raising a lock of Thor’s hair to eye-level, Loki studies the golden strands between his fingers in seemingly pure, abject curiosity.
"No, well, you see, I've discovered that the people of Midgard are able to extract the essence of a being from simply having a strand of their hair or some... similar appendage. It is incredibly fascinating. I wish to emulate the process using Asgardian magic."
For Thor the revelation is far more confusing than it is enlightening, but the thought to question why Loki desires to make clones of him disappears as quickly as it surfaces when he senses his brother, whose body is almost flush against his back, shift against him. Helplessly, Thor waits as Loki tugs at his hair, bending the blonde locks one way then another, testing its strength, its stretchiness, its flexibility.
The Thunder God sits rigid, eyes wide.
He find himself staring at an empty corner of his room where the rich light dancing from the fireplace is casting flickering shadows along the walls. It is sufficiently mesmerising, as long as Thor turns his attention away from the other going-ons in his room.
After a while Loki begins to hum quietly, and as the firelight and moonlight wages their silent battle along the walls, the sound slowly dissolves into a soft melody. Despite his discomfort, Thor finds himself slowly relaxing. He isn’t quite sure what his brother really needs from his hair (and why he is taking so long), but Loki’s shape beside him is beginning to feel strangely comforting, both familiar and welcome in ways Thor had never once contemplated before. With Loki touchy and fiddly the way he hasn't been since they were children, it is hard to resist the tide of affection that wells up from within.
With patience uncharacteristic of the warrior, Thor decides to wait. Turning his head slightly (which earns him a small grumble from Loki), Thor stares out into the broad cityscape beneath. He tries to make out the rooms and gardens he frequents during the day. This is his home, his kingdom. From here so far above the world, Asgard seems a small and silent place, with only the ever-present lights of the Bifrost glowing in the distance. What bridges and buildings he can make out are merely slopes, lines and curves under the starlight, hinting at a brilliance which often went unnoticed under the fullness of the sun. Yet even when shadowed, the beauty of Asgard is still undeniable.
A little like Loki, Thor thinks absently. Unappreciated by the light of day, yet what little you do glimpse beneath the moon hints at marvels beyond your wildest imagination.
He then blinks, realising he has just compared his brother to a city. Loki is right, this style of thinking is most definitely not his forte.
Before long, Loki’s soft humming fades in a small sound of contentment, and Thor turns to see his brother gaze at him with the widest smile he has seen in a long time.
"I am all done. Thank you, my brother!”
With a thin lock of Thor’s hair clutched in one hand, Loki jumps to a stand with a cheeriness uncharacteristic of his usual self, and for a second Thor finds himself almost missing Loki’s reassuring warmth at his side.
"Then I’m glad.” Thor responds sincerely, his discomfort apparent on his face as he rises to a stand. “That was a most peculiar experience. I hope you have all that you need, Loki.”
His scalp feels strangely tight and tingly after Loki has had his way with his hair, but Thor, still struck by the strange mood from before, finds that he does not mind. Loki, however, does not respond to his brother’s words, and instead stares at Thor (or... at his hair?) in what appears to be avid delight and admiration.
Only now does Loki meet his brother’s eyes for the first time, the merriment in the trickster's eyes fading into something almost thoughtful as he examines his God of Thunder. There is but a flash of colour before Thor's eyes as he suddenly feels the quick press of something soft against his cheek. The sensation is strange and fleeting. And before Thor’s mind even registers that he has just been kissed by his brother, Loki has already danced away into the depths of the castle, green eyes sparkling with mirth.
For a long moment Thor just stares at the closed door, confused and slightly unsettled by his brother's strange behaviour. Loki had arrived and then disappeared in a (honestly terrifying) whirlwind, and Thor feels as though he's missed something terribly important along the way.
He ends up turning back to his bed, deciding to leave it until morning, when he can ask Loki face-to-face about the night's events. He only takes a few steps before he changes his mind and goes looking for a mirror instead. He may as well assess the extent of Loki's damage, he thinks to himself. Since his brother had only carried a small lock of his hair he knows his appearance wouldn't be too drastically changed, yet something doesn't feel quite right.
When Thor looks into the mirror, he does not recognise the person staring back.
Loki is carefully storing his new treasures away when he is startled by a sudden clap of thunder. A cry of outrage echoes through the walls of the palace, and he spares a glance in the direction of Thor's room before quickly doubling over in laughter.
Thor is so very pretty with knotted braids in his hair.