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The thing is – the most pathetic and bizarre thing – Dean’s words strike something inside of Loki, something ancient and better to be left alone, and the god briefly fights for control, takes it for a second while Gabriel is too occupied with his own battling thoughts to stop it. This one brief second is enough for Loki to see the human’s soul through the eyes of an archangel.

 

Gabriel doesn’t have the heart, the cruelty to deny him this – this fire that burns and burns and burns and blinds, and Loki, the stupid lonely god of fire that he is, falls in love with this small spark of – of something that they both see and admire, he wants it to burn brighter and to destroy, to just exist. He laughs and laughs and Gabriel is tired, both of them are, in fact. They ran and fought and hid, they lied and survived for so long it’s not funny anymore, this joke they shared once in a dark cave when a figure of light promised and begged and pleaded for consent.

 

Gabriel remembers traces of venom on pale face that looked like tears, could never forget the look of betrayal in golden eyes, pain, oh gods, so much pain, the feeling of longing to belong, of never being enough, of being the so much needed monster, of doing your best and more and still lacking, of anger and hatred. Remembers how he could never stand by and watch this torture, and the words just fell from his mouth.

 

Let me help you, he begged. I can give you freedom and peace. I will save your mind, and your body will be mine to command, but there will be no pain, there won’t be anything but peace.

 

Loki could have fought destiny and won, but he was tired of fighting. He was done. He was at the end of his rope and all his tricks lost its glamour, its appeal. He no longer wished to survive the odds, to find a way out. In a manner of speaking he did find it – a promise of death.

 

And this creature, small and wronged, has taken an angel’s hand because he was not the only victim here. He was waiting for Ragnarök because it was meant to bring his end, to give him closure, there wasn’t anything he wanted more than that, than being free from any prophecy that might have involved him in the future. But his kids deserved so much more than that, they were not guilty, never would have been, had Odin not have turned them into the means to end it all. Hela, Fenrir and Jörmungandr, Sleipnir, Elsa, Einmyria, poor Vali who had no control of what the gods made him do and Narfi. And Sigyn, his beautiful, fierce and loyal wife that stayed by his side and left only to empty the bowl full of venom she was holding.

 

It wasn’t fare. But life wasn’t fare either. What happened to Glut? Who even remembered her? Loki did. She was his a long time ago. She was no more. Maybe Angrboda didn’t deserve to die. Maybe she wanted to. Sometimes Loki could still hear her voice begging him in the quiet of the night to eat her heart. Was she done with her life, too? Tired of being reborn again and again and again? He likes to think he saved her. She cursed him from the grave.

 

When pain becomes unbearable, he remembers her sweet lies. Or, rather, half-truths. Lying in the snow. Forgotten. How she needed him and he was powerful, how she appreciated his seidr flowing inside his veins and burning, burning, burningburningburning. If she was lying, Loki would like to know who she lied to first. Who broke first. Or maybe they were already broken and their pieces just clashed together breaking a little bit more.

 

He remembers how they didn’t get along and fought and it was ugly. Harsh words and cruel spells. She taught him well. They made miracles after and he felt alive and they built a life and had a home and of course it couldn’t last. Good things never do.

 

Sometimes he thinks he made her up. Lived in Jotunheim for years in solitude until gods found him. Found a pathetic excuse of a home he built. But she was real – had to be. Her heart was real and just slightly cold as he ate it, just like his hatred, why couldn’t you all leave me alone, it was frozen as he swallowed it, as he felt three tiny sparks of life light inside of him, was it a curse, he wanted to ask, or was it a gift, or a thank you, or a I loved you, because he was keeping it to himself. A reminder that she existed. That she laughed at his jokes and her voice was rough and low, and she was a monster and not an Ass, and he should have known better than to venture out into the Iron Woods. But he was curious. He was a monster in his own right, his true nature lying forgotten under lies and constant changes his body had undergone.

 

She was beautiful, fierce and stunning. She tried to kill him. He fell in love – with her or with an idea of someone equal and able to understand, he wasn’t sure. She liked him after he hurled some raw angry spell at her that left her looking at him with a curious gaze. They left. They cut out a small world just for two of them. They were enough. Monsters hiding from the truth.

 

She told him she was evil. Maybe he should have listened. Odin thought him evil, too. They talked magic for hours. About the Norns. The Nine Realms. Branches of Yggdrasil. She called him Skywalker. Liesmith. It looked like she wanted to see what his reaction would be. He took her hunting.

 

He remembers, most of all, the quiet. Like words could not reach them. Not here, not now, not in this desert full of ice and solitude. Like they were untouchable. It was an illusion. A lie so big and well concocted that they believed it to be true. Now he knows she just humored him. Played along. He wants to thank her. Thank you, thank you, thankyouthankyou. He didn’t know that then. Couldn’t have. He thinks he was happy. There was snow all around them, outside and on the windowsill, and shadows danced as they lit the fire inside. She told him tales of her previous lives, in plural, and he listened. He kept quiet. She was always the one talking and teaching and screaming and laughing. Sometimes he screamed back. She liked that.

 

They lived through seasons. Years went by. They grew on each other. They fell in love with each other’s quietness. It was refreshing. To keep silent and to talk with eyes, with souls and with seidr. His was green with splashes of yellow, flaring up like flames, and she liked to poke at it. Hers was pitch black and like a cloud. He liked to get lost in it. He liked to drown.

 

They were not prepared to be found. They hadn’t talked about it at all. They burned her. She couldn’t die. She looked at him, half dead, half alive, what are you waiting for, she asked with her eyes, and no, no, nononono, but he knew what to do. She was okay with it. He was, too. He understood later. He made the right call after all. This is all I could do for you, he thought, as venom dripped from his face, that was my parting gift. He’s sure she liked it (sometimes he likes to pretend they just went their separate ways, and it’s worse, it hurts, and this pain feels good).

 

He ran. Had to jump from realm to realm, Loki Skywalker, before he was sure that he lost the gods. Before he found a place where he could have his children in piece. The Norns laughed at him as his lame dwelling resembled what he had with her. He was alone again as he hid, placing a tentative hand on his belly and feeling magic inside, counting days until their arrival. He avoided all the risks, lived in exile, barely using magic in fear of being found out, sought out.

 

He named them thinking of her. Fenrir, Jörmungandr and Hela. His children, his blood and her heart. He bore them stifling his cries of pain in case someone could hear him. He hid them well before returning to Asgard and being met with laughter and mockery. He listened to their tales about how they defeated a powerful witch and couldn’t kill her, but then Loki, a poor excuse of a god, ate her heart and she died, would you look at that.

 

They didn’t ask the right questions. Aesir never did. What was Loki doing there? Where he went after? What was her name? Nothing. Nowhere. No one.

 

Odin found about the kids and called them monsters. They were innocent. They knew not the crime and the sin they were accused of. They were beautiful and his. They were cursed. He never saw them again. He loved them anyway, the feeling of them growing inside of him, their absence.

 

He never ate meat again.

 

Sigyn was mead poured between the cracks in his soul. She glued him together, gave him her heart. Oh my poor girl, he whispered, keep it safe, don’t you see that you offer it to a monster, but she didn’t care. All she saw was Loki. Loki, Loki, Loki. A god, a monster, a father and a mother, a lier and a thief. All he saw was nothing. Pain, hatred and anger. He should have known better. Should have seen the pattern sooner.

 

He told her stories as she cut the thread sewing his lips shut, as she soothed the scars, as she cried. He asked her not to, it was stupid and not worth it, never enough, a monster playing in happiness. She caressed his cheek, sang to him. Hush, my husband. Let your wife decide your worth.

 

Oh Sigyn. If only there were gods who gods could pray to.

 

So he told her a story about a stupid, stupid lonely god who wanted to belong. How he aided whenever he could in hope of being noticed and praised. There was a wall, you see, and a date set by the gods. And the gods, mighty creatures as they are, were losing, and wasn’t it that god’s fault, it was only fare he should fix everything, wasn’t it. Scared and threatened, he did the first thing that came to his mind. The gods were liars, you see, hypocrites, the lot of them, but no one had to know if it was only one pathetic god lying and deceiving, trying to run and hide to no vail. He doesn’t tell her about the pain, the humiliation. She heard this story before, she could guess the rest. And she did, she was smart like that, this wife of his.

 

She smiled at him, warm and comforting, she touched his stomach with one careful finger and asked him if he had a preference of gender, of form. He never thought of it that way, before. He was, and it was enough. But Sigyn was interested and curious, she asked questions and wanted to know, so Loki showed her. Stood up, the sheets and furs curling at his feet and changed form, growing long ginger hair reaching her thighs, smiling with slightly roundish cheeks, casting those long eyelashes down at the floor, hiding green eyes, showing off her new round unmanly curves. And it was worth it, this astonished look on her wife’s face, when she looked at her husband and saw a woman standing there. Oh Loki, she sang, whatever am I to do with you, hm?

 

They snuck out to the stables that night, giggling and holding hands, Loki still in his female form, dressed in one of Sigyn’s dresses. Sleipnir loved Sigyn, how could he not, when she laid a hand on his mighty neck and cooed, admired by the creature in front of her, this was her stepson after all. She fed him apples, and Loki could not look away. She could have loved the pack of monsters he collected. She could have loved them all. He told her about them that night and she looked like she wanted to meet them. Because they were Loki’s, they were hers too now. And Loki, still a woman hiding under the sheets, cried – because he could, because Sigyn was there and held him, and he had never felt that safe in his life.

 

They had two kids together. Two boys who adored him. Two twins. Vali and Narfi, who liked to call himself Nari just to sound like his brother. Vali and Nari, Nari and Vali.

 

And then Baldr happened. He fucking hated Buldr. Good girl, Hela, don’t let him go.

 

Loki did the noble thing while he still had the strength to do it. He begged her to leave him. Encouraged her to be free, to seek happiness. She should hate him for what happened to their sons, but she just smiled at him and left only to return with a bowl to collect the venom. Hush, stupid. You are many things, a liar and a warrior, a fighter and a seidmenn, a parent and a husband, but an oath breaker you are not. I am not either.

 

So he said yes – not because he couldn’t stand the torture anymore, mind you, he could have taken it all, screaming in agony and pain, but because his family never deserved his fate. So he begged in return, he pleaded, screamed and threatened, please, Savior, don’t hurt them, help them, save them, protect them from gods’ wrath and you will have my consent to use my body as yours. But do not think that Loki Liesmith will hold back and be quiet, he will watch and be on guard, and he will attack and fight for control the minute you go back on your word, Savior. It will end as it all started – in blood.

 

And they both swore to make the most of it, as Loki said yes and Sigyn cried because her precious beloved would suffer no more. And warm hands held her face, and it was Loki and at the same time was not, was something else, something bigger and stronger, and all the pain was gone from his beautiful face. Her husband-that-was-more touched her forehead and her own pain and sorrow eased, lying smoothed but not forgotten, never, and finally Odin stood no chance, had no say in what would befall Loki’s children.

 

It was Sigyn’s idea in the end. Hela loved her, too. The poor girl looked confused faced with two mothers and a stranger. She told them they were hers. That’s how Loki’s monsters understood family – you either was theirs, or was not. Gabriel suddenly belonged. He touched the girl’s face – from the dead side, where it was only a skull with black tangled curls of wild hair and smiled at her. Loki didn’t lie, she was indeed beautiful, his daughter. She shied from contact at first, it was her mother and was not, but Gabriel saved Loki and Sigyn, freed them both, so the Girl made sure that Gabriel-Loki was solid and here and then threw her arms around his neck and hugged him with all the power she could master. They went on, but Sigyn stayed behind, playing with a little girl, not feeling any pain. She deserved it (Gabriel knew that no one before told little Hela that she was a good kid, that she was beautiful, who would do such a thing when her mother was away?).

 

Fenrir howled and whined when he saw them, Gabriel touched the chains, braking the spell. He then asked this creature – not a monster, never – to trust him like his mother did. Wanted to pull the sword away but thought better of it, miracled it away instead, and the wolf was free, sprang to life and jumped on his mother, and the three of them fell and stayed that way, and Fenrir licked their face, and Gabriel was made theirs again. It felt good. It felt like coming home.

 

Jörmungandr was next. A shy kid with nothing but deep waters to keep him company. No light, no sound travelled to his depths of the ocean, but Gabriel didn’t need a spell to breath underwater, they both was fire and they both belonged. Gabriel felt the raw need to tell the serpent that he was not alone, that he was loved. He felt the love Loki held for them all, an ugly raw flame that wouldn’t die in his chest, and it kept him warm and hurt his nature, but he had a habit of reaching for it, touching it and burning himself but never stopping loving them all, not for a moment, such vulnerability and pain, and Gabriel understood.

 

In that moment he loved Loki too. No one knew the depths of the feelings he was capable of feeling. Maybe Angrboda did. Or Sigyn. They were not here, though. Gabriel was. So he reached inside and sat near the fire beside the god of mischief, the god of lies. Beside Loki Skywalker. And burnt just like the fire before them. And watched. And kept silent.

 

They shared one body. They had to share memories and thoughts, too. Nothing was left untouched after they were done, after they merged together. Golden Grace clashed with flares of green pagan magic and Gabriel sometimes couldn’t tell when he used which force. They were both theirs to command and they taught each other, and they taught each other well. They walked the Earth free, running and hiding from the gods and from and angels.

 

But no one knows this. No one apart from those who matter, who are free and scattered across realms.

 

And Dean has no idea, does he, and isn’t it funny, he comes to a god and begs but offers no sacrifice, oh God, he must be thinking, help us all, but Daddy left the building long ago, weren’t you listening, Dean-o? Gabriel wants him to shut up, because Loki now remembers how it was before, how it all started - with oaths and promises, with brotherhood not in blood but in weapons, with adventures and laughter, remembers how he was needed, oh Loki, don’t you have a plan? And the pagans, he doesn’t want to think about them, they betrayed him and had just tried to kill him, and family isn’t supposed to be like that, Loki, no, but they both are fucked up in this sense, they both looked for something they couldn’t have in the wrong place and paid the price. Loki wants to come back and save them all, and for a second Gabriel remembers what it all used to mean, not to a pagan god, but to him, an Archangel of the Lord, remembers what he ran from, what he used to stand for.

 

The thing is, Loki wants to die. Always wanted it since the events of Ragnarök were written down, he was promised this death, this retribution, and then Gabriel came along, mixed two religions together, said Odin to shove it and left for Midgard. And now Odin is dead, and Buldr is dead again, but Loki’s – their – children are safe, they are not a part of this, the Norns can go to hell for all he cares, and that’s the problem, isn’t it, they both care too much, but it’s always too little too late. And Gabriel? Gabriel is tired of running and lying, of pretending, he owes Loki this much, they both want to burn, and it’s too easy for Dean to beg them to die. He thinks he begs for their help, not self-sacrifice, and that’s just priceless.

 

They will grant his wish even though he gave them nothing, came with bare hands and let his hopes rest at the feet of a pagan demigod who doesn’t have temples, doesn’t have worshippers, doesn’t have anything, really, apart from some twisted interpretation in the lore. It’s more than has ever been given to them since that day when two beings became one.

 

Because they remember what it means to stand up and fight when everyone just washed their hands, to follow through with the plan, to finish what you started, to not back up no matter what, and they see it in Dean’s eyes, this flame, and they want it to survive this – whatever this is.

 

They saw it in Sam’s eyes, too, when he begged and begged and begged. Loki remembers begging. Pleading. Please, they’ve done nothing wrong, I beg you. Gabriel remembers begging, too. Crying. Please stop fighting. Please, Lucifer, just listen, no, don’t, there’s no turning back. Brother, don’t you know that words hurt? Michael, what happened to you? You were supposed to protect us!

 

Gabriel remembers what betrayal feels like. Falling. His brother’s blade in one of his wings. I’m just a messenger, don’t shoot me down. He remembers what’s left without this bright light. Nothing. So he flees. Cloaks his presence and Grace, roams the Earth before coming to other realms with blood on his hands and fire in his eyes, with phantom pain that tells him that Lucifer’s blade is stuck in his back rather then in his wing. He runs, hides, lies and loses everything he is before finally finding Asgard. It’s too bright for his tired eyes, too much light and gold, so he seeks refuge in a dark cave, hoping to rest and to gather his strength. He can’t be without a vessel too long, it’s draining and dangerous, he’ll be dragged back Upstairs if he doesn’t find someone –

 

And there’s a thin body lying limp on a rock in chains. There’s a woman with a bowl in her hands who sees nothing but golden light where there was darkness. She doesn’t ask questions, doesn’t say anything at all. Instead she stands up and empties her bowl on the ground and only then does Gabriel understand that that was poison dripping on the creature’s face. The figure shudders and hisses in pain. You poor thing.

 

Gabriel clashes with fire that is not his and for a moment Loki takes control. He falls to his knees before his wife and kisses her dirty dress, her hands and fingers eaten by the venom not meant for her, kisses her lips and cheeks and maybe he cries. Gabriel lets him. Pretends it didn’t happen.

 

Loki is so much like him it physically hurts.

 

It goes on and on and on. But all things come to and end. Gabriel searches the future and sees nothing but three sisters laughing at them. One of them – the past, he thinks – is kind. She cries for them, too. There’s no way out of this, not for them. They’re okay with it. It’s good. It won’t hurt anymore.

 

Because Loki hates Lucifer as much as Gabriel hated Odin – or rather hates, the emotion is still strong and stings and bites – because they share body and mind, they know what led them to that cave, what they left behind, what was taken from them.

 

Gabriel loves Lucifer as much as Loki loves Odin and Thor and even Baldr, and isn’t it funny in the most fucked up sense, and they know this too, this is their Ragnarök, a rather small one but still, the end of the world as they know it, and they would love to see the world burn, to unleash the united power they possess, but they need something different, and it’s Loki’s idea in the end, isn’t it always, to hit the enemy with trust and see how it destroys everything.

 

Trust is handing someone a gun and believing they won’t pull he trigger. Wow, okay, someone of them must have read it on the Internet, maybe Google images or that tumblr website or whatever, because it’s stupid but still true, and Gabriel wants to hug Loki and maybe kiss him because it’s the best idea they ever had, a big and complicated truth inside of an amateur hocus-pocus and Gabriel almost wants to see it unfurl and hit his brother in the face when he’ll finally get the joke.

 

Loki chuckles in his mind as the blade pierces Gabriel’s – their – body. Lucifer doesn’t get it, doesn’t understand that the joke’s on him.

 

No one ever does. Not until it’s too late.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When they come for me, my Loptr, you will have to let me go. You will have to make me leave”.

 

Now this is just you being petty, Angrboda. I said I was sorry about that spell! And I told you not to call me that”.

 

She forgot to mention she could see the future. Or maybe she never could.

 

Sometimes I feel like I made you up. Like you don’t exist”.

 

Hmm”.

 

But the pain is real”.

 

It will be”.

 

It always is.