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28 February 2014 @ 10:38 am
Fic: Unintended Consequences  
Pairing: Loki/Sif
Rating: PG
Words: 3100
Summary: The infamous haircut isn't where things go wrong.

Note: For Sifki week on tumblr. They're angsty teens, I'm sorry, I don't know what I'm doing anymore. Fluffy angst, or angsty fluff? I dunno. It's been a hard week, what can I say.





Loki slammed the last volume shut and was tempted to light all six on fire. Maybe the entire archive. Instead, he leaned back in his chair with a groan, stretching his arms over his head.

Sif was standing on the other side of the table. His chair wobbled as he jerked violently, startled that he'd not noticed her approach. He grabbed the edge of the desk to keep himself from crashing to the floor. "Sif! What are you doing here?"

"Looking for you," she answered, smiling in amusement at his graceless recovery.

He stayed in the archive for the avowed purpose of his studies, but also to avoid the practice halls and the attendant humiliation of training when he couldn't find his own center of mass anymore. His mother had reassured him that his reflexes merely had to catch up to his new stature; he'd gained height, if not breadth, all in a sudden spurt as if to make up for the many years of being too small. He was sourly convinced his sudden inability to walk without tripping had more to do with realizing he liked Sif more than he should. He'd shoved the feeling down, intent on keeping everything as it had been – friends – but his clumsiness remained.

"I'm glad you came. I need a break." He rose to his feet and rolled his head on his neck. "I was in that chair so long I think I grew roots."

"I was going to ask why you have apples growing from your head," she teased, "But I need a favor." The shift to a serious tone in her voice drew his full attention. "Would you cut my hair?" She shook her head, making her golden hair fly all around her face in a cloud and then had to brush it back and spit strands out of her mouth. "See? It gets in my face all the time."

Loki regarded her, frowning. He felt as if he was being set up for something with this request. There was definitely more to it than she was saying. "Why would you want me to do it?"

"You have good hands," she answered, "And because Mother refused. She said I need to grow it out to become a lady," she sneered the word, frustrated that her parents were the last people to see that Sif should be a warrior, not a lady-in-waiting.

She tipped her chin up then, eyes flashing. "So cut it short. She can hardly complain if a prince does it, and I'd never trust Thor with shears near my eyes."

That made him feel better about it. This time it seemed she'd chosen him for a reason other than to use his willingness to help her to get him into trouble.

"But—" He touched her hair, long enough to brush her shoulders, golden and soft. Her hair was so lovely, and it seemed a pity to cut it. "Are you sure? I am no expert with shears either, and I want none of your anger if I do it poorly."

"Cut it," she insisted then smiled with a bit of her own mischief. "If you do it poorly, I'll have to get someone to cut it even shorter to fix it, so feel free to make a mess of it." Her hand gripped his forearm, and the feel of her fingers seemed to burn beneath the fabric of his tunic to reach the skin beneath and made him a little breathless.

"All right. If you like."

Her smile was bright and for him, and he smiled back, knowing he'd do just about anything she asked for that smile.

They decided to move to his chambers. She sat on the narrow side table of his sitting room, the only table that was tall enough so he could stand and her head would be at the right height. He had a pair of shears, and one of his bath towels wrapped around her shoulders. He intended only to shorten the lower edge of her hair, knowing his skill was no better for more.

He trimmed carefully until her hair was only as long as her chin all the way around. When he moved to the front so he could make sure it was level one side to another, he caught his breath.

"What? Is it terrible?" she asked with a nervous laugh.

He had to clear his throat. "I think it looks... all right. I hope it's what you wanted. But actually I was wondering what you'd look like with hair my color," he temporized, too embarrassed to say what he really thought. "Here, we'll see."

It was an easy enough spell. He formed it and laid his hand on her golden hair. The strands all turned black, even her eyebrows. It was striking, and what had been admiration suddenly felt like a kick in the chest. He couldn't breathe, looking at her, and he had to look away, frantically searching for something to distract himself. He grabbed the hand mirror.

"Here, take a look."

Her eyes widened as she saw her reflection. "What – what did you do?"

He shrugged and grinned at her. "It's just a little spell. I can undo it."

Reassured that he could undo it, she looked at herself again, cocking her head to one side and curling the hair around one finger curiously. "It's different," she said finally. "But I think I like it." She nudged him with an elbow. "Not bad at all, Loki. You might have a future in this, if royalty doesn't work out."

He put his face next to hers so they were both in the reflection. "We could be twins," he said, with a laugh. "The black looks better on you. That seems unfair."

She smirked at him. "Poor raven-haired prince. You should probably put it back before I go out. No one will recognize me."

He sighed, disappointed that she wanted to undo it so quickly. He rested his hand on the back of her head and reached. He found nothing. He blinked in concern. The threads should still be there, held in abeyance; this wasn't meant to be a transmutation. But he felt nothing.

He frowned and tried again. The strands were gone. There was nothing to untie. Sif looked at him. "Is it done?" she asked.

He forced a smile. "Uh... I need to fetch my mother. This... isn't working the way it ought."

Sif held the ends out so she could see them stubbornly still black, and demanded, face hardening in anger. "Are you telling me you can't undo it?"

"I can! I will!" he reassured her. "It's like a knot. I just – I can't seem to find the ends to unravel it. I'm sure with some help it'll be fine, Sif. Don't worry."

He hurried away before he could hear any of the angry words rising in her, and found Frigga not far away.

The queen followed him back at his urgent request, and her lips twitched in a poorly hidden smile, when she saw Sif in the middle of Loki's sitting room with her short black hair. "Goodness... this is an interesting problem. Whatever possessed you to do this, Loki?" she asked, moving forward toward Sif.

Loki realized he was rubbing his thumbs together anxiously and put his hands down. "I just wanted to see what she'd look like with black hair. I can't find the strands to reverse it though."

Frigga held her hand at the back of Sif's head, lightly touching her hair, and frowned in concentration. But after a short pause, she shook her head, expression softening to sympathy. "I am sorry, Sif," she touched Sif's shoulder. "The color is fixed."

"What?" Sif exclaimed, Loki echoing her. "What? How?"

Frigga glanced at him. "You do not know your own strength, my son. At that power, it transmuted. The spell is bound to her now and always. There is no undoing it."

"But I didn't tie it – It shouldn't – I didn't mean to- " His urgent babble dwindled away under the cold steel of Sif's eyes as she glared at him.

"You ruined my hair," she spat. Her hand lashed out and punched him in the face. He staggered back a step, unprepared for the blow, and she followed after him, infuriated. "You did it on purpose! You made me look like you – dirty and ugly!"

"I didn't--" he tried again, voice catching in his throat, as his insides felt suddenly hollow.

"Sif—" Frigga tried to intervene, but Sif paid no attention.

"I hate you," she hissed at him and shoved him roughly with both hands. "I hate you. Don't you ever dare speak to me again, you horrible, stupid, ugly boy."

He stared at her, her words striking like blades and her hate and contempt burning him inside.

He whirled and ran away, shoving through the door of his suite, eyes blinded with tears as he tore through the corridors as if she was running after him. But of course she wasn't. His mistake had ruined everything, and now his friend – his only friend, who wasn't his brother – hated him.

He raced across the grounds and out the gate, running and running, not caring where. Away.

The stone was hard beneath his boots as he outran the city to the edge where the river met the void, where Asgard ended. He stopped, with nowhere left to go.

His chest heaved for breath, and he fell to his knees only steps from the rocky cliff that overlooked the ocean and the starry void beyond that.

There, where no one could see, the hot tears flowed down his face and his fingers were like claws into his thighs, wanting to tear his own flesh off and cursing himself for being so stupid. Sif hated him and he'd lost her. Because he'd been stupid. Maybe he had, unconsciously, wanted her to share in his wrong colored hair. The black-as-pitch hair that everyone told him to his face was so interesting, while behind his back they whispered he must be cursed, or a bastard, because he was so different from his golden parents and golden brother. They were perfect and he was... a disappointment. And ugly.

He scooted closer to the edge, to peer down into the depths. The wind brushed his face, drying his tears, and stirred in his hair. He wondered if anybody would really miss him if the stone beneath him crumbled away.

He didn't know how long he had been watching the water. Long enough he felt Frigga's questing touch, but he told her to leave him alone. This was nothing she could help.

But he knew his solitude wouldn't last forever. And it didn't. He expected Thor to blunder in, sympathetic and oblivious as usual, but he wasn't the one who found Loki.

"So this is where you've been hiding?"

Sif.

Every bit of equanimity he'd gained on his lonely rock evaporated in an instant. He stiffened and didn't look at Sif. "Hardly hiding," he answered shortly. "I know you think I'm stupid but I can hide better than a featureless rock, if that's what I wanted. Are you here to hit me again?"

"Just a little, maybe," she answered, but her voice was teasing, not as furious as it had been. He saw her boots out of the corner of his eye as she approached. "You didn't need to avoid me for three days."

He shrugged. He would have avoided her for far longer, if she hadn't sought him out. "I swear it was supposed to unravel. I didn't mean for you to get stuck with ugly black hair." He looked at the water again, giving a sigh, as his black hair fell around his face. The wind had tugged some loose from the tail he kept it in, and it was now longer than hers.

"I know you didn't do it on purpose," she said finally.

"I should have known I'd do it wrong. My one talent and I can't even do that small thing right," he added bitterly. He couldn't fight without tripping on his own feet, but now his magic had failed him, too. He clasped his arms around his bent knees and wondered why things came so easily to some people, and so hard for him.

She let out a sigh and lowered herself to her knees beside him, looking out at the vastness beyond. "The queen told me you truly didn't know it would go awry like this. Remember when Thor hurt Fandral in practice? He didn't mean to snap Fandral's sword and strike him; he didn't know his own strength. And you didn't either. I realized it was quite vain of me to hold a grudge over something as harmless as hair color, when Fandral forgave Thor right away for getting stabbed in the gut."

"Fandral's injury isn't forever," Loki said. "I doubt he would be so forgiving if Thor had severed his spine."

"I think he would," Sif disagreed and reached out to pat Loki's arm. "It was an accident. I don't hate you. I was just upset and angry."

"I know." He gave another shrug, pretending it didn't matter, and rubbed his thumb against the side seam of his breeches. There was truth in anger, he'd often thought; people revealed more of the truth when they were angry and not measuring their words and telling partial truths when they were calm. So whatever she said now, he thought her angry words were more true. He waited for her to go away.

"Are you ever going to look at me?" she demanded. "Too afraid to see your handiwork?"

At the challenge, he turned his head and lifted his eyes to look at her face and at the short black hair framing it, tousled by the wind. In the starlight, she seemed suddenly more mature, emphasizing her perfect features, and her black eyelashes now made her eyes look big and ... depthless. He couldn't look away.

After a moment, her expression closed up and she forced a laugh. "You stare at me as if I grew tentacles out of my head."

"No, no," he shook his head in denial. "You're beautiful," he blurted. His cheeks heated at how he'd blundered again. She didn't want to hear that. He sounded like an idiot, when he knew she wanted people to think of her as a warrior. "That is, I mean, it suits you fine. I don't think you need worry about people recognizing you."

She started to smile at his first word, tentatively, and then the smile widened as his words tripped over themselves. "Beautiful?" she repeated, arching her brows at him.

"I- I – yes. You look... good," he stammered, and looked down, sure she was going to hit him again. He almost hoped she would knock him clean off this rock so he didn't have to feel this burning embarrassment anymore. 'Forever' suddenly loomed as a very long time to have to live with this. "Not that you care what I think," he added hastily. "I know that. Anyway, I'll just ... go." He started to rise, but she wouldn't let go of his arm, and tugged him back down.

"Loki. Stop." He sank back down to his knees and straightened his back, prepared to take whatever she was going to say. He'd destroyed her hair; he owed her that much.

"Of course I care what you think. Did you mean it?" she asked, intently looking into his eyes as if to catch any well-meaning lie.

He swallowed hard, and gave her the truth. "You've always been beautiful, Sif. Black hair or not, doesn't change that," he answered quietly.

Her hand slipped on top of his, halting his restless picking at the fabric. "I lied before," she murmured. Leaning closer, she reached behind his neck to open the clasp and free the rest of his hair. She pushed both hands through his hair to fluff it, so it fell loose nearly to his shoulders. "There. Like that. It looks wild, but definitely not ugly." Her look was satisfied, and he started to believe her. She was so close to him, he felt as if he couldn't draw breath.

Her fingers brushed his cheek. "Your skin's so cold. You've been out here too long," she murmured. He shrugged, because it didn't matter. Nothing mattered except she was touching him, and he'd never thought that would happen again

He held himself still, a wary animal wondering what she would do and afraid to scare her away.

Her eyes searched his, and her lips turned up in a soft smile, as she leaned closer. He held his breath, hopeful and yet fearful she would pull back, but she didn't.

Their lips met, tentatively at first, but then with more vigor, and his hand slipped around the back of her head, burying his fingers in her newly black, but still soft, hair. Her fingers were clutched in his hair, too, as she kept his mouth on hers.

It felt amazing, releasing the tension that had built in his heart for so long, all the pent up feelings he'd been carrying around for her. He wanted to touch her everywhere, but it was enough right then to have his hands in her hair and kiss her. Her lips seemed sweet and bold and tasted somehow like truth.

When they finally drew apart, breathless and both a little uncertain, he chuckled and traced a finger across her eyebrows and down her cheek. "If I'd known turning your hair black would get you to kiss me, I'd have done it long ago."

"Don't ruin the moment," she warned, gripping the front of his tunic and pulling him close again. "At least I know the best way to get you to shut up, now."

"You could probably--" he started, but her lips joined his again and whatever else he meant to say was lost in her warmth.

When next they parted, she smiled. "I forgot to tell you, the reason I can't be too angry at you is my mother now agrees I can train as a warrior. So the plan succeeded."

He smiled back, pleased for her. "Well, I don't know about 'succeeded'..." he said drily, drawing a lock of her hair between his fingers in pointed reminder.

She chuckled and shrugged. "I'll get used to it. And I don't know, it seems to come with this bonus that's better than I ever hoped..." Her finger touched his lips making her meaning clear.

"You hoped for this?" he asked, incredulous. He'd never dared to imagine she would want the same as he did.

"Use that mouth on mine, not talking," she muttered. Grinning, he leaned closer to kiss her again, and he had to agree that this part was especially good and better than he'd ever hoped, too.



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