With a sigh of exasperation, Norway lifted himself from the kneeling position he had been in. Looks like he wasn't under the bed either. He swore that kid got better at hiding every damn time, and it always took forever to find him. He wouldn't be surprised to see the day when he would be searching a century before he found his brother. All of this difficulty just because of a haircut!
Just when he was about to give up for the day, he heard the faintest hint of shuffling as he entered the kitchen. Norway whipped his head in the direction of the noise, which just so happened to be the pantry...which was twice the height of his brother. Not even bothering to wonder how the hell he got up there (he learned early on not to be surprised when his little brother did the impossible), Norway quietly made his way to the pantry. Slowly opening the creaky wooden door, he peered inside the dark pantry, a small sigh of relief escaping him as he saw exactly whom he was looking for.
Meeting Norway's gaze was what seemed to be a young boy, appearing about eight or ten years of age, in a cramped crouching position. He was quite hard to miss, with his nearly translucent skin seemingly glowing in the shadows from inside the pantry. Surrounding his body, however, was a wild mass of platinum blond hair--locks that were infested with untamable knots that ended just around his lower back region. One bright blue eye peeked through this jungle of hair, glaring daggers at Norway as he scooted backwards until his back met the back of the cupboard, as if it would effectively keep him from being within reaching distance.
"Iceland," Norway began. "Look, I don't want to force you out of there, so can you please come out? I swear it won't be that bad, a haircut never hurt anyone!"
Alas, the young settlement stayed put, not saying a word as he stubbornly averted his eyes away from his older brother. With another sigh, Norway realized that, as much as he hated to do it, he would have to coerce Iceland this time.
"Oh, well." Norway said, as if giving up. "I guess if you're gonna start living in the pantry now, then that means I can finally plug up that portal to hell of yours-"
"No!" Iceland was at the front of the pantry now. "You can't do that! How else can I play with the demons?"
"But you look so content to stay in there, you wouldn't need to play with them anymore." Norway said as he turned around and walked off, a small smirk on his face. "Plus, Denmark would be so happy to use that area of the house to store more beer..." Within a few seconds, Norway heard the soft smack! of his brother's feet landing on the floor, quickly followed by Iceland's footsteps increasing in volume until Norway felt a small hand grab his arm in protest.
"Please, don't do it, Norway! They're my friends! And Denmark's beer smells horrible-" Iceland started to beg, before he saw the triumphant smirk on his brother's face and realized he had been tricked. His expression quickly returned to a pout. "That's wasn't funny!"
"But it still worked." Norway gently grabbed Iceland's shoulder and urged him towards the direction of the main hall of the house, where he had planned to cut Iceland's hair. Iceland reluctantly moved forward, the pout staying on his face.
"But I don't want a hair cut!" Iceland tried to argue.
"I could try to comb it." Norway offered.
"Only because you held off letting me comb it for so long."
"This isn't fair! All the other vikings have long hair!"
"They know how to properly take care of it and not let it get tangled."
The argument persisted only a little bit longer before they finally reached the main hall. Norway gestured Iceland to sit down at the stool before them. With a huff, Iceland obeyed, making sure Norway knew he was still not happy with this.
"Don't worry, it's not like I'm going to shave your head. You'll look much better after this!" Norway gave the other's shoulder a reaffirming squeeze in an attempt to assuage his bitterness before picking up a sharp, medium-sized knife and beginning work.
Slowly and carefully, Norway hacked away at Iceland's hair, once in a while taking out a comb to slowly get out the smaller knots in his hair. The child watched as chunks of tangled hair fell to the ground around him, a frown still clearly on his face. He knew it would look horrible in the end, and he liked to pass the time by imagining the look of regret on Norway's face when he realized how bad the haircut would look, apologizing to Iceland for not listening to him and begging for his forgiveness.
But, strangely, that fantasy of Iceland's never came to life. In fact, once Norway was finished doing some final trimmings and combed his hair so it was without a doubt knot-free, there was actually a smile on his face as he looked at the final product.
"What did I tell you? You look great!" Norway commented, much to Iceland's confusion.
"No way! You're lying."
"See for yourself." Norway then pulled out a small piece of mirror glass and handed it to his little brother, angling it so that he could properly see his new hair.
Iceland would've been lying if he said he wasn't a bit in awe when he saw himself in the mirror. His previously unruly mane had now been reduced to a smooth, slick head of hair that fell right above his shoulders, with bangs that parted to the right side of his face and stopped just at his eyebrows. While the haircut wasn't nearly as bad as he anticipated, what surprised Iceland the most is how he could properly see his face now. He couldn't really remember the last time he fully saw his own face, as it was usually covered up by his hair, and seeing it now after so many years felt nearly surreal.
"Now everyone can see your handsome face!" Norway said, the grin on his face not fading in the slightest.
"Handsome?" Iceland wondered.
"Yeah, just like your big brother!" Norway knelt down, getting closer to his little brother so that they both appeared in the mirror's image, as if to compare how similar they looked. "I think it's safe to say we're the most good-looking men in Scandinavia!"
Iceland looked at himself as he thought about Norway's words, the words handsome and good-looking reappearing in his mind the longer he looked. To be honest, Iceland never really thought much on his own appearance in the past, never thinking of it as very important. But, now that he did get a good look at himself for once, Iceland came to realize that he really liked what he saw and wasn't against being called handsome.
"I am handsome..." Iceland mused, mostly to himself, a small smile on his face. Norway's smile only grew bigger when he heard this.
"I'm glad you agree." Norway said, slightly ruffling Iceland's hair in a playful manner before standing back up. "I'm gonna go make dinner. If you go outside don't stray too far from home, okay?"
Iceland nodded before Norway left the room, continuing to look at himself in the mirror, still in deep thought. Maybe he should take better care of his appearance. It would be such a shame to waste a pretty face like his, after all...
Like any other morning, waking up was quite a slow process for Norway, with mental protests of "just one more minute" and other excuses to stay in the comforting warmth of a bed, if only for a little bit longer. Once he was finally completely conscious, Norway lazily climbed out of bed, being careful not to wake the other inhabitants of the bed. When it came to sleeping patterns at the Nordic House, Norway was usually the second to get up in the morning, with the first almost always being his younger brother.
As he left the bedroom for a much needed cup of coffee, Norway stopped as he quickly noticed a familiar figure through the bathroom door. A small smile appeared on his face as he noticed it was Iceland, who was meticulously combing his hair, currently paying extra attention to his bangs, making sure the part was just right. Norway decided to enter the bathroom out of curiosity, as Iceland usually took a shorter amount of time after his morning jog to fix up his hair.
"You seem extra thorough today." Norway commented, the Icelander halting his progress when he noticed his older brother.
"It's pretty damn windy outside," Iceland explained as he returned to his combing. "It messed up my hair more than usual during my jog, but I'm almost done."
It always amused Norway whenever he saw Iceland making such a big fuss over having to look perfect, which made the devious idea that invaded Norway's mind all the more appealing. Deciding to go through with it, Norway waited patiently until his brother had completely finished perfecting his hair.
"Looks great, Iceland." Norway commented before letting his hand ruffle Iceland's hair, just like he used to when Iceland was a child. However, Iceland as an adult had quite a different reaction to this.
"Hey!" Iceland quickly back away from Norway, looking back at the mirror to see what damage was done. "What the hell!? Don't you know how long it took me to fix my hair?"
Norway watched as Iceland started combing over his hair, an amused grin on his face. While some would have felt regret (or sometimes even fear) at making Iceland angry, an older brother like Norway found it downright adorable. Well, only if he knew that it was a petty kind of anger. If Iceland was seriously pissed, he'd get as far away as possible. Nonetheless, right now he thought it was cute.
"Come on, it's not like you need to do all that." Norway reassured his brother. "You're already handsome enough without all the self-pampering."
Iceland slowly came to a stop with correcting his hair after Norway said that. Slightly confused, Norway watched as Iceland seemed to stand their, appearing to be in deep thought as he inspected himself in the mirror. After about a minute, Iceland decided to speak up.
"You're right. I am handsome," He turned to Norway, a small smile on his face. "Just like my big brother."