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The Wanting Comes In Waves

All Sam/Dean, All The Time

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avsc, mine

Fic: Hair's Breadth (Sam-and-Dean, G)

Title: Hair’s Breadth

Author: smalltrolven

Recipient: jedisapphire

Pairing: Sam-and-Dean (gen)

Rating: G

Wordcount: 3,400

Summary: A story where Sam still needs a haircut and Dean’s definitely had one too many, haircuts that is.

Author’s Note: Set somewhere non-specific in the beginning of season 11. Not my characters only my words. Written for the 2015 round of spn_j2_xmas. Norse words came from this great motto generator site. The story of Loki and Sif’s Golden Hair is here. Thank you for the Solstice Eve rescue beta amypond45, you are the sweetest and the best!

Also on AO3 right here.

loki sif


Sam knows something strange is going on with Dean when he notices the strange haircut. Ever since they got back to the bunker from their first encounter with the embodiment of The Darkness, it’s been short. Shorter than Dean’s ever worn it. It looks all kinds of wrong, and he can tell it’s not just convenience or whatever. There’s something behind it. Because it’s Dean, and god forbid he’d ever talk about what’s bothering him. Especially with Sam.

After almost a month of being good and not asking for the specifics of why Dean’s keeping his nearly shaved head of hair trimmed to new military recruit length, Sam finally runs into him in the bathroom, in flagrante delicto. He’s gotten back earlier than usual from his morning run, the early December snow was just too much to slog through. He doesn’t mean to sneak up on Dean or anything, but that’s the result of padding into the bathroom in his damp sock-clad feet.

Dean is bent over one of the sinks holding a gleaming pair of golden scissors to his head. He isn’t looking in the mirror so he doesn’t see Sam standing there, shocked into immobility in the doorway. Dean is holding the scissors to his head, but he isn’t moving his fingers or his hands. Nevertheless the scissors are somehow moving, hair is definitely being cut, the soft snick snick snick of the blades is audible across the tiled room. Dean’s hair is drifting down past his shoulders into the sink like a light dusting of snow. The pieces are very very small, Sam can see as he moves closer. And they’re the wrong color. Very very blond. Golden blond. His brother’s hair was formerly closer to that color when he was four according to the one picture he’s seen. Sure Dean still has some blond highlights here and there, along with a little early grey, but not pure blond like this, and not this much.

“Hey, Dean,” Sam finally says, breaking the silence that is made up of the snick snick snick of the constantly moving scissors.

Dean’s hand jerks with his surprise and the scissors fly out of his grip, crashing into the sink to lie with all the small pieces of hair. Hair that can’t possibly be Dean’s.

“Oh! Hey, Sam. You surprised me,” Dean says, giving Sam a look in the mirror’s reflection that seems to come from very far away.

“Where’d you get the scissors?” Sam asks, reaching past his brother towards the sink.

Dean steps into him, bumping him with his hip out of the way and snatches the scissors up himself.

He doesn’t answer the question, just looks at Sam with a disconcerting emptiness behind his eyes. “You know, you really need a haircut.”  Dean lifts the scissors up so they catch the light, the glint shining across his staring eyes. “I promise, you won’t feel a thing,”  Dean says with a seductive voice that promises beautiful chaos and empty desolation. Dean’s hand moves swiftly towards the bottom of Sam’s hair and nearly slices through the curls above his collar. Sam bats the scissors away in alarm and they crash back into the sink with a metallic clang that echoes in the tiled bathroom.

“Where’d you get the scissors, Dean?” Sam asks again, stepping back a few steps so that he doesn’t lose any hair or essential body parts.

Dean doesn’t answer at first; he fishes the scissors out of the depths of the sink, shoves them into a wooden box that’s carved with Norse looking runes and quickly hides the box in his bathroom kit.

“They’re nothing special. Just found them around,” Dean answers, not meeting Sam’s eyes in the reflection.

Sam feels a frisson of concern at the obvious lie. “Found them around  where? Here in the bunker?”

“Yeah, so what? I needed a haircut, I found myself some sharp scissors. No big. Uh, I’m gonna go make some breakfast, you want anything?”  Dean says all in a rush, making a hasty exit through the doorway clutching his bathroom kit to his chest protectively, not waiting an extra moment for Sam’s answer.

Sam stares after him in surprise, then hollers towards Dean’s retreating back, ”Yeah, make me some of whatever you’re having.”  He swipes his hand through the trimmed hair that’s in the sink and brings it up closer to look at under the bright bathroom light. Definitely not Dean’s hair, it’s very fine and very very blond. He wipes it off onto a piece of toilet paper and folds it up to keep it. For what, he’s not sure yet, but it might come in handy.

If Dean found some scissors around the bunker, they might be more than just plain scissors. And knowing Dean and his current state of mind, he didn’t take the time to investigate them at all and just started using them because they were there and they were sharp and gold. He’s always ignored his brother’s magpie tendencies, but this could be dangerous.

In Sam’s dreams that night he hears that snick snick snick, sounding so damn creepy, the scissors moving on their own, so close and loud as if it’s his own hair is being trimmed. In the morning he brushes his hair after showering and notices in the mirror that it’s shorter, all over about two or three inches. He finds the mess of cut hair on his pillow and all over his sheets, glowing gold in the lamplight. He sweeps it all up and stomps off to the laundry room with the sheets all bundled up.

Sam’s new hair length tickles at the back of his neck where it curls up. He never likes wearing it this length for that very reason. So that’s the final straw, besides being worried about the distance and strangeness in Dean’s eyes yesterday morning, now he’s sleep-cutting Sam’s hair. It’s a little scary to realize he hadn’t even woken up while Dean worked over his hair with those weird scissors.

Sam has to resort to little-brother trickery to finally get his hands on the wooden box. He makes up a chore chart that has his turn down for this morning vacuuming all the rooms they regularly use. Dean has always hated the sound of vacuums, so Sam knows he’ll be as far away as possible during the scheduled time. Hopefully actually doing one of his assigned kitchen chores while he’s waiting for Sam to be done.

He sneaks the box back to his room and sits on his bed, holding it under the bedside lamp. The box sits nicely in his hand, and feels warm all on its own. It has a cunning little hinge that is a bitch to figure out how to open. He translates the carved runes while taking breaks between tries at the hinge. The string of runes spell out: Only To Be Used By Your Enemies, which sure doesn’t sound too welcoming for a pair of scissors, it sounds like a pretty obvious warning.

He finally succeeds at popping the hinge open and stares at the golden scissors lying on a deep green velvet interior. They’re incised with runes also, tiny and perfect along the sharp blades, the handles are shaped like a crane’s body so the blades are the beak. He can see why Dean wanted to use them, they’re irresistible and no doubt made to be so.

He needs to do some research, when Dean won’t be looking over his shoulder, questioning what he’s looking into. He accomplishes getting some alone time by getting Dean set up with a pirated Netflix account where his brother proceeds to binge Rockford Files episodes the rest of the day and into the night. It gives Sam plenty of time on his own to dig into the Norse section of lore in the Men of Letters library. Unfortunately he was right, more right than he’d ever wanted to be.

Sam waits for the next time Dean takes a break from his binge-fest, approaching him when Dean is making afternoon coffee in the kitchen. He sets the box down on the table and sits waiting for Dean to notice him.

“Hey, nice do, finally cut it yourself, huh? I’m assuming you want a cup,” Dean says, stirring milk and sugar into one of the two cups of freshly brewed coffee. He sets the two cups down on the small table and freezes when he sees the wood box, almost knocking over the coffee.

“Where’d you get that?” Dean finally asks, sitting down across from Sam with a hard look on his face, his hand clenching on the edge of the table like he’s trying to stop himself from grabbing for the box.

Sam puts one hand on the lid of the box, tracing the carved runes with one finger, and searches his brother’s face. “Dean, I’m pretty sure these are Loki’s scissors.”

Dean’s fingers turn white with the pressure he’s clutching at the edge of the table, holding himself back. “Why does Loki have scissors and why should I care?”

Sam moves the box further away from Dean. “They’re the ones he used to cut Lady Sif’s hair off. You know, Thor’s wife.”

Dean grips his coffee mug tightly, still obviously battling wanting to grab for the scissor box. “Sorry, not up on my Norse mythology or whatever. Was that in the first or second Thor movie?” Dean asks with a grin, takes a sip of his coffee like he’s a step away from teasing Sam about being a comic book nerd.

Sam doesn’t bother to answer, just huffs his annoyance through his nostrils. He doesn’t care that he sounds like a raging bull, he’s mad that Dean won’t take this seriously.

Dean rolls his eyes, “Again, why should I care, Sam?”

“Because the runes on the lid translate to: only to be used by your enemies. You’re using them to obsessively cut your hair every damn day. And the hair that’s left behind in the sink is not yours. And you cut my hair last night while I was asleep.”

“So?” Dean asks, still seeming to be oblivious to why his brother is worried.

“So, the shorter you’re cutting your hair, the less like you, the real you, you’re becoming. I thought it was just you needed time to get over having the Mark, but this is something else.”

“What am I becoming then?” Dean challenges.

“Maybe something like Loki,” Sam suggests, searching Dean’s face for any reaction at all.

“Wasn’t that supposedly our old buddy Gabriel’s gig?” Dean asks, face blanked with a false mask of scorn.

“Yeah. So, I’m going to take the scissors away from you so that you don’t turn into him or something like him.”

Dean’s fingers go white on the coffee mug and he sets it down with a slight shake to his hand. “Why? Thought you liked him, Sammy.”

“No, I really didn’t, that was you. And I don’t want to, you know, lose you again. Not so soon after…everything.”

Dean runs his hands over his nearly hair-free scalp a few times, scratching idly behind his ears. “Don’t want me turning into a cruel, capricious trickster, huh?”


“I do know words, Sam.”

“I know you do, and I also know you. This hair-cutting thing looks like penance or something, otherwise you wouldn’t have even started doing it. And you don’t need to do penance, Dean. I forgive you, if that helps you to know.”

Dean looks down at his hands that are clenched into fists on the table.“’S not penance. Didn’t want to look like him.”

“Look like who?” Sam asks, heart in his throat because he knows this is the reason underlying all of this.

Dean pauses for a long time, roughly scrubs at his face with his hands. He still doesn’t meet Sam’s eyes. “I can’t get rid of my face, but at least my hair, I can control that.”

Sam puzzles over Dean’s words for a long moment. If it’s not penance but Dean’s struggling to control something about his own appearance…Ah, of course. “Demon-you had longer hair.”

Dean swallows noisily and takes a big gulp of the last of his coffee before briefly meeting Sam’s eyes. “You don’t miss a thing, do you?”

“No, not when I’d been looking for you that whole time,” Sam says, his heart breaking for his brother all over again.

“Shoulda let me just be, then the whole Darkness thing wouldn’t have happened,” Dean growls.

Sam slams his hands down on the table making the coffee in the cups jump and splash. “No, you don’t get to say that, Dean. Not after what you decided for me after the Trials.”

“I said I was sorry,” Dean protests, staring at Sam in surprise.

Sam meets Dean’s eyes steadily across the table. His first impulse is to not respond at all, but this is the thing still left for him to say that Dean needs to hear. “No, you didn’t actually. And you wouldn’t have meant it anyway. Or I wouldn’t have believed you at the time.”

“Hold on, hold on. Are you saying that me saving you from dying after the Trials is the same thing as you turning me back to being a human and getting rid of the Mark?” Dean asks, sounding desperate to understand.

Sam sighs, he wants to run away from this conversation, wants to have it never have happened. But he can’t, because his brother is messed up, again, still over this disconnect between them. “No, not the same or equal, just similar. It’s just…what we do. You know, for each other. That’s what’s the same. You just never see it as going both ways, and you should because it’s true.”

For a long moment, it looks like Dean’s going to argue out of reflex, but then Sam sees something relent in his brother’s face; the tightness he’s been holding there for so long, keeping all the pain and regret in and hidden, just lets go. Dean shakes his head a little like he’s chiding himself. “So how do I do it?”

“Stop using the scissors, you mean?” Sam asks, grinning a little that Dean is just not going to even comment at all on the truth bomb he just had dropped on his head. But that’s always been his brother’s way, speaking with actions, not words. Sam can tell he heard him though because of how open Dean’s face is, all the emotion he’s missed seeing is there on the surface instead of locked down and hidden. If there’s anything he can do to keep it that way, he’s going to do it.

“Yeah, I mean, now that you’ve pointed it out, my head is kinda cold and all,” Dean admits, running a hand over the short spikes.

“From what I’ve found so far, looks like we have to burn some of the hair that you’ve cut off and there’s a phrase in Norse that you have to say a couple times.”

“I don’t think there’s any more hair for me to cut off at this point,” Dean says, patting the top of his head to demonstrate.

“Lucky for you, I saved some,” Sam says, pulling out the envelope that he’s been saving the hair shavings in until this moment. Written on the front of the envelope is the Norse phrase that Dean has to say.

“What’s it mean? The words? And how the hell do I say them?” Dean asks, peeking in the envelope at the small pieces of golden hair.

The translation is:

"Pride and Glory

Victory is Suffering to Vengeance

From Iron Faith

Heart Reigns

Truth is in Love”

Dean looked over the written out phonetic phrases, whispering them to himself.

“You need help with the pronunciation?” Sam asks.

“Nah, I got it. We just need something to burn this on, and it’s going to stink.”

Sam jumps up and crosses the kitchen in a few steps. He flips the fan exhaust switch next to the stove and grabs a small iron skillet they’ve never used. He sets it on the table in front of Dean before he has a chance to change his mind. “So you set it all on fire, say the words three times and sprinkle the ashes over the scissors. That should do it,” Sam says, taking his seat again.

Dean taps the golden flecks of hair out of the envelope into a small pile, he pushes the strays with a fingertip and hesitates, looking across the table at Sam. Sam raises his eyebrows in silent question, but Dean just smiles slightly and pulls his Zippo out of his front jeans pocket. The flick of the starter wheel is surprisingly loud over the sound of the kitchen fan, and the flame almost goes out, but Sam raises a hand to cup around it, moving to protect the force that will save his brother. Dean brings the strong flame to the small pile of hair and it goes up in a shower of green flame and sparks. It doesn’t smell like burning hair as they’d anticipated, but smells of metal and ozone, like a forge doused in a waterfall.

Dean’s voice is quiet at first, but not hesitant, the Norse words flow out perfectly, all three times.

“stolt ok dýrð

sigr er hefnd kvöl

af járni er trú

hjarta ríkir

í ást er sannleiki.”

The flames and sparks die out soon and there is a small pile of burned gold flakes, like golden ashes. Sam clicks open the box and pulls out the scissors handing them across the table to Dean. He holds them for a moment, rubbing a thumb over the screw hinge and down to the point of the crane’s beak at the end of the sharp scissor blades.

Sam reaches over and stops Dean from drawing blood on the end of his thumb, opening up his hand so that the scissors sit there glowing up at them. He holds Dean’s wrist lightly and smiles encouragement across. Dean’s eyes light up when he sees that, so he scoops up the golden ashes and rubs them over the scissors held in the palm of his hand. The scissors go molten hot for a brief moment, Dean gasps and drops them onto the skillet with a clatter.

“Did you get burned?” Sam asks in a panic, struggling to open Dean’s clenched fist. There’s a red mark in the center of Dean’s palm, like an echo of the shape of the scissors. It quickly fades as Sam runs his fingers over it. Dean gasps in relief, looking up from his hand to Sam like he’s been released.

“You okay?” Sam asks, still holding Dean hand in his.

Dean turns his hand over and squeezes Sam’s briefly. “Yeah, ‘m good now. Uh…thanks, Sammy.”

“You got it, Dean. No problem. Now, I’ve got an early Christmas present for you, here,” Sam says, reaching under the table to bring out a brightly colored gift bag decorated with Christmas ornaments. He finally releases Dean’s hand so he can open the bag.

Dean doesn’t say anything, just flexes his hand a few times and reaches into the red and green tissue paper and pulls out a green knit beanie. He turns it around in his hands until he spots the horned golden Loki logo from the Avengers and bursts into loud guffaws of laughter. lokibeanie

In the time it takes for Dean to stop laughing, Sam’s got his own new beanie on. thorbeanie
That starts Dean’s laughter all over again, until Sam shuts him up by cramming the green beanie over his nearly bare head, pulling it down almost over his eyes.

Dean reaches up to stop Sam from pulling away, briefly tugging on the red ties that hang down on either side of Sam’s winged Thor beanie. “Always knew there was a reason you could lift Mjolnir.”

Sam knocks his hands away and grins back, so glad that his brother is out of Loki’s thrall.


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I love this! This comes on a day when I needed some cheering up and wow does it deliver. I don't remember exactly what I put in my prompts, but this hits a lot of my favourites. Norse mythology and Dean touching things he shouldn't and Avengers and Sam's hair and such light, happy fun. Also loved the bit about the boys discussing their mutual tendency to save each other at any cost. I couldn't stop laughing at Dean's magpie tendencies either! Trust him to grab a shiny gold pair of scissors without bothering to read the directions on the box!

Did I mention that I love this? Thank you so much! It's an amazing present.

I'm so very glad to hear you enjoyed it. Hooray! I tried to combine a bunch of your prompts and your likes into one big mish-mosh, so I'm super glad it worked for you. Hope you enjoy the holidays!

What a wonderful fic! I loved how you tied in all the Norse mythology with season 10 and 11 canon, as well as the perfect pitch of humour and Winchester banter at the end.

Thank you for sharing :)

Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed the humor and banter, that part was so much fun to write.

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