Thor’s hair is longer than he can manage. It falls in a golden sheet past his backside, and he straps it together roughly with leather or cloth each day to go train and wrestle and hunt until it becomes an increasingly matted snarl that he refuses to care for and Frigga gives up on. Six months past his fifteenth birthday, Thor and Odin depart alone for his first trip to the foot of Yggdrasil. When they return two months later, Loki greets him at the palace gates with a cautious smile, but Thor is tired and distracted and completely absent of the normally glowing tales of discovery and wonder that his trips into the realms beyond have always resulted in before. His hair, like the rest of him, is streaked with mud and nightmarishly tangled. Loki cannot stand it.
“Sit on the floor.” Loki has a bowl of warm water in his lap, a comb and shears next to him on Thor’s bed, and although Thor is fresh from his bath, his hair is as just a somewhat cleaner disaster. Thor looks at the shears and scowls.
“I will cut it when I’m ready to, Loki.”
“I’m not going to cut it. I’m going to rescue it. And you are going to learn some basic techniques like combing and braiding, or I will refuse to be related to you.”
“Mother’s already broken three combs trying.” Thor replies dubiously, but does as Loki bids and sits himself down on the floor. He lets his eyes drop mostly shut, uncommonly quiet from weariness, and presses a warm cheek against his brother’s thigh. Loki tugs the golden monster of hair across his knees and sets to work. Thor growls impatiently at every snag, but Loki only shushes him and concentrates, using a skillful combination of patience and basic spellwork (combing hair, he thinks to himself, this is truly a waste of my skill) to make the process as smooth as possible. After what feels like hours of picking, combing, snipping, and teasing, the mats start to break free, the snarls release their hold, and what remains becomes healthy and soft under Loki’s black-tipped fingers.
“The rest is simple,” Loki starts to explain, dividing Thor’s now silken tresses into three equal parts, “Just have a look how I - Thor?”
He leans forward and finds Thor clutching his knee, and deeply asleep. He watches him breathe for a few moments and then braids his hair in silence. He admires his work, and admires his brother, - the way the now neatly smoothed gold falls over his flushed and healthy cheeks, how his thick eyebrows knit in concentration on his sleeping face, as if dreams, too, were monsters to be conquered. He leans over again, and after a small hesitation, kisses him lightly on his softly parted lips. Then he rouses him awake.
“Get in bed, Thor, I’m finished.”
“Mm.” Thor stirs, and runs his hand over the sleek rope that Loki has turned his hair into, and a warm smile pushes sleepily over his face as he gets to his feet. “Loki, stay here tonight.”
Loki does not mention that he had to create (and then burn, so that no one would discover it) a calendar counting down the days until Thor’s expected return. He was fairly certain that even if Thor attempted to bodily throw him from the bed, as strong as his brother was, he would not budge.
“I was not planning on doing otherwise.”
Thor falls asleep first, as Loki had expected. He spends altogether too long tracing his fingers over Thor’s cheek, then his arms (they were thicker now then they had been) then his gently breathing sides. He falls asleep an hour later, his slender limbs bound tight around his middle, his face buried in his hair.
I actually wrote this to make myself feel better after freaking myself out with the nightmare drabble, and it did the trick, as only indulging shamelessly in teenage!Thor’s Rapunzel-esque locks can.