There was a knock at the door. This seemed to become routine now: Frigga would come, tell Loki that she was worried about him not leaving his chambers anymore, and then leave after a few empty reassurances from the latter. But this time, the voice on the other side was not her mother's.
"Loki, open the door," her brother said impatiently.
She hastily changed into her male form, so the voice that spoke next would be one that her brother recognised.
"Go away!" Loki shouted. It might not have been the kindest way to tell her brother to leave, but she still thought that his next words were an overreaction.
"No! You haven't left your room in more than a week. Mother is worried. I am worried. If you don't come out now, I'll break your door down."
"Don't!" she cried out, all too aware of the dress that she was currently wearing."I...I'm working on something." She hesitated for a second then added: "I'll show you what it is when I'm done, I promise."
Loki didn't know what made her say that, but somehow knew that it wasn't one of the lies that she was so often accused of telling.
Thor, still not entirely convinced, lingered for a few moments before the door, then stepped away and walked down the long corridor, to his own chambers.
After making sure that her brother wasn't lurking somewhere nearby, ready to strike when she least expected, Loki turned back into the form she was most comfortable in at the moment. It wasn't that she didn't trust Thor. He was a big oaf, but he had a kind heart. It was that she didn't trust him not to tell Odin, or to fully understand. Hel, she didn't fully understand it either. It was a weird feeling- one moment she was good, and the next, the very concept of her body being how it usually was repulsed her. Luckily, Loki learned how to shapeshift pretty early on, so on that front she was mostly fine, but until she figured out her feelings, nobody could see her like this.
The next day, Loki made up her mind. Her mother and brother were right— she couldn't stay in her room forever. With that in mind, Loki put on his usual appearance. Strangely, he didn't feel like crawling out of his skin after losing the sort curves of his body. It must have been one of those days when either were acceptable, which was not entirely new, but still weird.
Loki sought out his brother, expecting to find him on the dueling grounds or somewhere around them. To noone's surprise, he was right. Unfortunately, he was currently enjoying the company of the Warriors Three. Loki turned to leave, not wanting to disturb the merry quartet, but was immediately stopped by a hand on his shoulder.
When he looked at his brother's face, he could see that Thor was downright ecstatic. Unsure of how embarrassing Thor's public display of brotherly affection would be, Loki made a quick decision and dragged him to their mother's gardens before anything could happen.
"You're here!" Thor was practically shaking, and, unable to contain his excitement anymore, embraced his brother in a bone-crushing hug.
"Of course I'm here! I never left!" Loki wanted to shout, but his words were muffled by his brother's shoulder.
After what seemed like millennia to Loki but only seconds to Thor, the latter let go and sat down on a bench, pulling the former with him.
"So I haven't really left my room for the past week or so and everyone's been getting worried. I promise that I have a good reason, but I need you to just listen and not interrupt for now. Alright?" Thor only nodded, looking slightly concerned, and Loki felt infinitely grateful at that moment.
Instead of saying anything, he changed shapes again. Her clothes fit a little bit awkwardly, but they weren't completely uncomfortable. Their cut was evidently masculine, but they still revealed her new curves. Her face was also softer, with a less angular jaw and fuller lips.
"That's wonderful, Loki! You're trully a master of shapeshifting!" Thor exclaimed.
Loki sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose.
"That's not what I'm trying to show you, you big oaf!" Thor instantly wiped the grin from his face at his sister's tone and became more serious.
"What I'm trying to say is that I don't always feel like a man. Do you understand?" Thor nodded slowly, clearly not understanding.
"It's difficult to explain to someone who doesn't feel the same way. Sometimes I'm a man, sometimes a woman, and sometimes both, or neither, but I'm always myself."
Thor stayed quiet for a few moments, contemplating the things Loki told him. Then, after he started speaking, it was with a deliberate slowness, as if being careful about the words he used.
"I might not yet understand the way you're feeling, but you still remain my sibling, Loki, and I love you."
Loki was once again hugged tightly by her brother. She wanted to tear up, but refrained. Instead, she pulled away and looked Thor in the eyes.
"You cannot tell father," she said, voice edging on desperation.
"Wh—" Thor started to ask, but was interrupted.
"You just can't. Please. I'm not ready yet, and I'm not sure he'd accept," Loki pleaded.
"Then I won't tell him," Thor promised solemnly. "Now come! We must celebrate the fact that I now have a sister, as well as a brother!" he said with a newfound joviality.
Loki let out a short burst of laughter and followed her brother to his chambers, where he would surely order a feast for two that the servants didn't, and probably would never, know the meaning of.