In the middle of the night, Thom unbraids Rook's hair.

It's not that he's asking for trouble. He doesn't particularly like the idea of Rook burying him alive in the morning, and he feels uneasy right now, tugging out the heavy sleekness, the dangerous compactness of the thin braids. But excited, too. The kinked hair clings to its old strength for as long as it can, but it is soft, and Thom is hopeful, and Rook is asleep. A few strands spill together in limp surrender, over absent mouth and indented cheek.

Thom likes to pry things apart. The half-braids in pale moonlight, his brother subdued, his careful white fingers undoing, undoing, undone.