Hel had been the first of Loki's children Gabriel had gone to, way back when. For a number of reasons, the most prominent of which being that the Goddess of the Dead was, ironically enough, the most likely to be reasonable about things, and he'd only had time for one of them before Loki settled enough into the possession to start trying to crush him from the inside out. Which, let's face it, was the first thing the god was going to do if he thought Gabriel was threatening his children. Hel, not being a world-spanning sea serpent or an extraordinarily pissed-off, god-eating wolf, had seemed like his best bet ...
Right up until he was actually face-to-face with her, anyway, Loki snarling dire threats at him from within, and her serene, icy expression staring down at him. Maybe it was something to do with being a queen in Niflheim, but that stare could have frozen the Morningstar for his troubles. And gods, unlike angels, had the equipment to shrivel beneath it.
She had been terrible, then. Not as angels were terrible. Not burning and beautiful. She had been ugly, quiet and cold, an almost human horror. A being of ice and decay, waiting silent and sure on the edges of the world, and in her eyes had been the calm, cool confidence that sooner or later all would belong to her. Everything that laughed in her corpse-like face, everything that flinched from her, that struck at her, everything that followed All-father's lead and cursed her name. Everything. Even foolish archangels that sought to use her father. Especially foolish archangels.
But then ... then she'd smiled at him. Reached out her midnight hand to rest it on his chest, and whisper to the frantic father inside him to be quiet. He hadn't flinched. It had taken every meager scrap of courage he had, and there hadn't been all the much to start with, but he hadn't flinched. And she had smiled at him.
"Do you claim my father?" she'd whispered, ice and wind. Meaning more than the possession, meaning more than the need to survive. He'd nodded, reasons spooling through his mind, excuses, explanations, promises ... everything he'd intended and half-thought of, anything that would put her mind at ease and keep her from destroying him. Every half-felt plan for the being he'd cradled inside him. Loki, the god he'd claimed. Gabriel ... took that sort of thing seriously.
Loki had startled in his chest, stunned at the warmth in the thought, shocked at the will behind it, and Hel had laughed softly, and leaned in to kiss them gently on the forehead.
"Take care of each other, then," she'd grinned, a flash of mischief so like her father, and then darkness again, the weight of ancient cold and the empty future of her world. "And when the time comes ... I'll claim you, archangel. When the time comes ... you will be mine in turn."
He hadn't realised, until years later, that that hadn't been a threat, that she'd meant it the way he'd meant his, that she had offered, in that moment, something she had never offered anyone else.
Not a threat. A promise.