“Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.”
Edna St. Vincent Millay
“Wait. Are you dead?”
Gabriel smirked and wagged his eyebrows before snapping his fingers and transporting himself to his holding cell in Heaven. Not that he had much of a choice. Damned overgrown worm. Really, he was disappointed in Castiel for not catching on sooner. That “lesson” had gone on far too long. It was a painful mockery of his own brutal lessons. If it had been his script, he’d have toyed a hell of a lot more with the seraph before the end of the show. Possibly killed someone again. Unlucky Metatron, he’d managed to sneak a couple tricks in to warn Castiel that it was false. Of course it was the damned continuity error that did it.
“I’m waiting!” The archangel yelled impatiently, shaking the cell door and scowling. “Metadick! Come on! We had a deal! Time to hold up your end!”
It felt like hours before Metatron finally showed his face. But he did show, and he seemed far too pleased with himself.
“You kick a box of puppies?” He asked kicking at the ward on the floor while glaring at the angel.
“Something like that. I got Gadreel back.”
“So your plan went North? Good for you. Can I go now?”
“You seem to be in a rush, Gabriel.” The worm acknowledged and he scowled.
“What can I say? I prefer my Pagans over slimy overgrown toads. I gotta head home since my last hidey hole has been compromised.”
“How did you fake your death?” The reigning ruler of Heaven asked boldly and he scowled.
“Can’t take the trick outta the Trickster. That’s my game, book nerd. You’ve seen it.” A fact that he was well versed in since the Scribe had monologued about it for hours not long after imprisoning him.
“I read your death, Gabriel. Lucifer stabbed you in the heart, your wings burnt out, and you were gone.”
“While that’s all true, it’s not the whole story. But I’m not telling you my trick. It was my queen and now she’s dead. No redos. It’s not part of the deal. I’m free to go to Helheim and you can carry on your merry little God phase.”
“Not much for talk. I have to say that I didn’t expect that.”
“I’m just done listening to your petty attempts at drawing information outta me. I’m out. Break the bindings. Now.” Gabriel ordered, True Voice leaking with archangelic authority that he rarely used. The arrogant angel looked startled, though and he felt a smug sense of satisfaction burning through him at it. Served the dick right. If it wasn’t for his desire to keep true to the agreement, as well as the angel's current possession of the Angel Tablet, he’d be making his point. Unfortunately, a deal was a deal and if he reneged on his side, Metatron would return the favor.
“Fine fine.” Metatron tapped the bar of the cell and the warding fell away, door flinging open as he stepped back. “Done. Happy?”
“What I wouldn’t give to smite you into the next millennium.”
“Didn’t think of you as the kind to break a deal.”
“Have fun with your Pagan brats. If I see you where you shouldn’t be, I’ll drag you right back here.”
“You would make a hideous woman.” Gabriel responded, glowering as he snapped his fingers to put a temporary illusion spell on the douchebag, disappearing in the same instant and diving right into Helheim.
“Not that I’m not thrilled that you’re home, because it is wonderful, what I can’t begin to comprehend is why you didn’t come to me first!” His daughter exploded on him, anger pulsating off of her in waves of righteous fury.
Gabriel bowed his head slightly, acknowledging the gathered crowd of souls lining the Norse Goddess of Death’s skeletal throne. “It was dangerous, at the time. Then I was simply hiding. I know you are angry-”
“Angry doesn’t begin to touch it, Father.” Hela hissed, “You abandoned me, us. Do you know how much it broke Fen's heart when I told him our Father was dead? Not just that you were dead, but Odin and all those other Pagans your brother from the one God killed were gone. Most the ones that were meant to bring forth the true Ragnarök were wiped from the planet in a single moment and you didn’t consider for a moment that your children deserved to know!”
“It was dangerous, Hela Bell. I’d have told you but if the wrong person overheard? Nope. I’m sorry. I am. I just couldn’t risk it. I know you’re pissed, and you have every right in the world to send me away.”
Hela watched him, pressing her lips together before rising to her feet. “I will make a deal with you, Gabriel.” Hela started in coolly. “You will be welcomed back in among the Æsir, if you forsake your archangelic heritage.”
It was a show, and even if he was lying to the others, it wasn’t to his daughter. Hela would never ask him to do that just as much as he would never ask her to forsake her throne. It was why he was so willing to do it. This was a case where his word was his bond because it wasn’t a formal word. It was a show. One he stepped back from and let a construct perform, cloaking himself from the prying eyes of everyone but his daughter.
“Whatever you wish of me, Daughter.” The construct spoke formally, kneeling before Hell and placing his head on his knee.
“Do you forsake Heaven, and all bonds and ties that come with those entities?”
“Do you swear loyalty to your family here, to the remaining members of the Æsir?”
“Now rise, Father. Loki of the Æsir.” The construct rose to its feet and Hela nodded once. “I would like some time alone with him. Clear the room.” Once the crowd was gone his construct dissipated and he had an armful of his daughter, holding her tight against his chest as she buried her face in his shoulder. “I hate you.”
“It’d probably make your life a whole lot easier if you did.” Gabriel mused, holding her close to him as he sighed softly. “I’m sorry, Hela. I truly am.”
“Fen is dead.”
“I know.” Gabriel swallowed, tugging her closer and pressing his forehead against the top of her head. “I was at the funeral. You know that his death was not our fault, though.”
“No. It was his. I’m not stupid. I just wondered…”
“I may have hidden, but I’ve always watched over you. All of you. If I could have done anything for your brother, I would have, but he was lost.” The reality was more brutal than he would ever let his daughter in on. Fen had completely lost his mind and the hunters that took him out? They were right to do so. Some people just can’t be helped, and Fen was one of those victims. Even if he had shown his face, he knew his son well enough to know that he wouldn’t have been saved.
If only that was a lesson he could have crammed into a certain Winchester’s thick skull. Well, that was history, better to forget it since he had absolutely zero intentions of being directly involved with them.
“Yeah, I’m listening.” Gabriel glanced at his daughter to see her glaring at him with a look so sharp it could’ve killed. Not that he minded. It was a look he hadn’t received in years.
“No, you aren’t.”
“I-” Trying to defend himself was a trick, especially when he knew he’d been caught but…
“I called you mother.”
There. Gabriel threw on a casual grin, “Well, I am Sleipner’s mother. Who’s to say I wasn’t considering going back to woman?”
“How about your unholy obsession with that Vessel?”
“Haven’t you been topside? They’ve got trannies and drags and all sorts of crossdressers. Besides. Physical body doesn’t make the gender.” Gabriel retorted, waggling his finger at his scowling daughter and swapping his outfit for much more feminine attire. His daughter groaned loudly and shielded her eyes.
“We aren’t Scottish! Get rid of the damned kilt!”
“It’s a skirt. Besides, our Viking pals wore dresses.” Gabriel retorted, pouting petulantly as he considered for a moment just how far he could actually go with this before she got honestly annoyed with him.
“They weren’t dresses, and they weren’t plaid. Plaid skirt on a man equals kilt.” Hela retorted, waving her hand and effectively changing his outfit to a long black dress which he rolled his eyes at. “Better.” His daughter’s gaze went across him once. “If you insist that you were listening, that is.” Then she turned and began walking from the main hall, heading towards the entrance and the garden he knew was past those doors.
“Of course I was listening.” He responded, refusing to be bested as he trailed after his daughter, ignoring the awkward way the dress clung to his male body. There was no way he was going to give up on this little argument.
“Well, fine. If you were listening, what was it that I offered you while you stay?”
Now honestly, he could’ve picked her mind but that would be playing dirty. If he was playing the part of being Loki rather than Gabriel, he couldn’t read her mind. Besides, it was more fun this way. “I’m refuting your offer, daughter. I’m not going to leave so there’s no reason to have terms for while I’m here.”
“I’ve heard a lot of evasions from you. That might be the worst one.” Hela acknowledged blandly, shaking her head and sighing heavily.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. So, what do you think about sharing some of your lipgloss. Oooh, maybe a bra. I mean, I know I can summon it up but there’s something about-”
“Odin help me.” Hela bit out with a dirty look over her shoulder as the large doors flung open. “I’m not going to feed into your ridiculous behaviors, Father.”
“Aw, you love them though.”
“That’s up for debate. I know that sooner or later you’re going to get stir crazy. That’s who you are. You’re the messenger of the one god. You aren’t supposed to stay in one place for extended periods of time. Not to mention you’re Loki. If you aren’t causing trouble, then you aren’t living. I’m not going to chain you here. I love you too much to do that to you.”
Gabriel’s expression softened as he caught her by her wrist before she could step onto the path. “Hela.”
“Let me go.”
“You’re being too nice to me. The last two times I’ve been with family, one stabbed me in the heart, and one imprisoned me.”
“That’s because angels are vermin. It shouldn’t surprise you. Every single time someone gets involved with angels they end up hurt. Dead, or worse.”
“I’m an angel at my roots.”
“I never said you didn’t fall into that category. I don’t like Gabriel, and even if you like to wear your Loki mask, even if you pretend that mother actually had us with you, when you fall back to your roots you will always choose Heaven over me, over us, and that’s fine. I know where I stand with you. I want you back, though. I want you here, until you leave again. Can you promise me to stay for two years?”
Gabriel shut his eyes, dropping his daughter’s arms and swallowing heavily. “I swear I will stay with you for two years. I promise, Hela.”
“Thank you.” Hela responded quietly as she returned to her walk. “Thank you, Father.”
“You’re welcome, Daughter.” Gabriel responded as he followed her into her garden, decaying plants lining the pathways and potted plants surrounding them, reminding him exactly what his daughter’s position as the Norse goddess of death meant.