"The sea is my mother! She would never take me back to her murky womb!" -Beowulf
Hlésey Hall, beneath the waves.
Ran glanced to Loki who had handed her a gift of his making, the first of its sort. Her fingers traced and trailed over the edges, woven, and poked through the loop holes. There would be no net of finer making. It was in her keeping. Her brother trusted her with it; it was a net not even Loki could flee from. One day it would begin the ending, but that was not today.
"Why?" She asked, softly as a whisper like the stirring of a tide-pool.
"You're my favorite sister; may I not give you a gift worth giving?" Her murky eyes pale and wide did not narrow, but Loki swallowed in fear to face them. He most of all understood mortals, their fears and lusts, what made life worth living - and that was not to say Ran had none of his fiery spirit – of lust she knew much more then he, but she netted and drowned men who dared sail the sea. Into her domain they went too daringly. They she kept somewhere near here, and though Loki loved his sister dearly, he did wish to keep her warm in Ægir's bed.
"Loki, I am your only sister." Droll and oh so serious, at last Loki knew where Hel got her sense of humor from, it came naturally from Loki's own sister, Hel's aunt. The dead that died not slain in battle did Hel claim, while salty Ran robbed the sailor's of their lives on land. To Odin went half the slain men in battle, the other half to Freyja's afterlife field Fólkvangr where sits her hall Sessrúmnir. These things Loki knew and kept in mind as he spoke so to his swift sister.
"That you are." Loki agreed, with a wave of his hand.
"So why..?" Wide pale eyes studied him; from them Loki could hide nothing.
"Your son - sister, Edgethow's brat, he needs a mate…" This Ran knew to be true, her gaze flicked to her daughters. Hefring had near claimed the boy for her own, and she his sister, the wave maiden did not so much as flush or flinch from her mother's quaking glance. Merely flipped her fin at them, and Ran did sigh a storm brewing in the east, for what else would be expected of a daughter between her brother Ægir and she? Loki went on, as the Waves nodded their agreement soothingly.
"You know humanity best, brother dear - what do you suggest?" At this Loki grins, green eyes flashing with a glimmering red and hot.
"Use the net to fetch an anchor for the boy." Ran thought this was best, and cast her net into the sea, closing dead-man's pale eyes to feel the lives in the lines in waiting for her catch.
Harry did not know what was happening until it was too late, his feet tangled at something at the bottom of the Lake. He did not know how long he had, the Gillyweed felt like nothing now, though he had thought to never taste or feel anything in his mouth but cold slime tails. He looked to his hands, as the webbing withdrew, his eyes widening in panic, he bent to try to undo what had caught him. It floated there out of the ground, a bit of rope someone might have thrown in was going to drown him. The merpeople only watched and waited, to see what else he would do.
They saw too late that he wouldn't and couldn't get away, and then when they moved in – alarmed – to aid him, the bit of rope that held him at the bottom of the Lake gave a jerk like a fishing hook. Harry cried out, bubbles of precious air escaping in his scream.
His reaction to kick away only entangled him all the more. His eyesight, already bad with the lack of glasses, grew darker and fuzzier, and he knew he was dying – but it seemed strange to him that he seemed at the same time to be moving upward and away, his body caught in a net.
"What is the meaning of this?" Wiglaf asks, keeping his eyes from the lad who lay sleeping in Beowulf's lap. He had been sleeping since they'd saved him from the sea and drowning, and it was a worry that he might wake, and a worse worry that he might not.
Beowulf had never risen up a dead man from the sea, and never would have guessed the day his mother would give up one of her treasures for the likes of him. Never would she give him a gift beyond naming him. His fingers trailed over pale skin, over black hair, and he wondered at the boy – warm and living and breathing. No dead man at all, but a gift from the sea, from his mother Ran with her net she had traded him: they had only expected fish to be caught up, not a boy. Beowulf had given up telling the tale Edgethow had told to him, and expecting to be believed.
Beowulf was believed now, his men looked to him wide-eyed and shaken, all fourteen of the bravest thanes.
"He is mine, a gift gotten up from my mother." Wiglaf looks to the sea all surrounding them, but does not speak her name: to do so would draw her attention to him, and that might mean his drowning upon the sea. Wiglaf did not shudder, but when he looked again to Beowulf, something was changed between the two of them. Of all his mortal kin, Wiglaf had been the one to claim him for blood family, between them there would be no lies. Beowulf was not one wholly mortal, and neither now dared deny it.
"What does this change?" Wiglaf wondered, and Beowulf watched the flutter of lids, against flushed cheeks, like the pulse that was proof of life: watched the boy's hand tighten around a silver sword with an egg sized ruby gleaming atop the hilt: that too had been hauled up from the depths of his mother's womb. He was not yet awake, but he was waking, and he was a fighter and survivor.
"Between you and me….? Nothing, we are as like brothers as ever we have been – but he and I, there are the knots and lines of a net between us unseen – we two will never be free of them. He's been given to me, and I'll not see my mother find reason to fault me and take him away from me." Beowulf felt Wiglaf's hand upon his shoulder, and the squeeze almost like a fist. It was painful but aware, of here and now – not the there that Beowulf dreamed of. The there, where the gods and goddesses walked and talked - to him.
"You want the boy then – I've never known to you take the favor with a man where there was a willing women." Beowulf rolled up his eyes, and laughter cracked the sky. Upward looked his men and friends, and the sky was rolling with Beowulf's mood, the sea already beginning to heave and dance to the coming storm.
"Do you think the likes of my mother would ever permit a woman to sail with me as mistress of a sea-ship? No, it would be my doom and the doom of any man who dared." Wiglaf's lips twisted with worry, for the warning in that was plainly put. They two were not alone, and anyone might hear it, in a sailors way they would whisper the words of the son of the sea until it superstition became but law.
"What if he does not want you?" Beowulf flinched from underneath his friend's hand, pained, and ever Wiglaf regretted it. Few people had ever welcomed Beowulf into the hearth of hall and home. That this boy might be different, Wiglaf preyed, but was not blind to reality as Beowulf sometimes seemed.
"The gods and goddesses are not so cruel." Sea green eyes, like sea and green living things, opened to see. Beowulf is holding him, with a tender look Wiglaf had never seen the likes of on his friend's features before. The boy's eyes are wide. Beowulf glances quickly to see what so alarmed him, and his look is fierce and protective.
With a bow, Loki appears out of the dark.
"Nephew! Do you like him?" Wide and leering is the grin of the god who looks at them with lust. To the boy he goes, ruffling the black hair in a manner almost playful. He leans down to whisper in boy's ear a word, and it is: "wizard." Like a spell, the meaning of the word is finally made plain to him; it is a word meaning kin to god or goddess. Blood kin to him, Loki son of Fornjótnr.
Loki withdraws with a wink, though the face of his self-claimed nephew looks as fiercely protective as any bear or wolf. With this Loki is pleased. Beowulf holds the boy to him in a tight grip, using the bulk of his body as a shield. He has no weapon he can reach, but the boy whom Loki does not yet know the name of, lifts his silver sword to the god's throat.
"You brought me here." This the boy knows, eyes demanding the truth. Loki laughs, for his sister had done well for her son. To this boy, Loki will not lie.
"In my own way, wizard, I always will have my way as the wildfire wills and can not be escaped: I've answered truth for truth, and now it is your turn. Your name if you dare tell it to the likes of I." Flashing green eyes and a chin that tilts up proudly make Loki surer then ever he was right to do as he had done.
"I am Harry Potter." There is a demand in those green eyes, and Loki's grin is fleeting for he knows what the wizard wants to hear aloud and now.
"Likewise than wizard-friend, I am Loki." As he bowed in, he bows out, knowing the wizard will not thank him (yet) for this change in time and scenery. He will need time to get used to this, and Loki can think of no one more capable of handling the wizard until they meet again, then his nephew. They will anchor each other through the coming storm to end all storms.
The storms the Norns call Ragnarök.