Hallowe’en—and the following Samhain—was always a busy time of year for Tricksters but their God, Loki, had not been expecting it to be this busy. This year seemed to be exceptionally busy, he’d already visited sixty-four houses, thirty bonfires, and two hospital rooms tonight—several duplications of himself had been necessary to get this all done but he’d done it—but the next two prayers coming at the same time put him in a bit of a bind.
Lord Loki! Save them please!
Archangel Gabriel, who art in Heaven’s Halls, I call to thee to hear my pleas! I will soon no longer remain on this plane, but my son needs your guidance and protection. Archangel Gabriel, protector of Messengers, God’s Justice, and Children’s protection, I call to you to protect my son! Am—
There had been a time that the Being now known as Loki had answered to another name. Once he’d been known as the Archangel Gabriel, a Being of Light as tall as the CN Tower. He’d given that name up after his older brother and mate was shoved from Heaven and his following escape from the rigidity of Heaven to join the freer Pagan Gods of Asgard. He’d taken the name Fiðri, meaning feathers, and joined the Asgardian Royal Family as a mage and friend to the youngest Prince, Loki. Eventually, Loki had needed to step back from taking Prayers, so Gabriel stepped into his place.
So, for these two prayers to come at the same time, and to come for each side of the Trickster God’s persona, he was caught between a rock and a hard place. At this point, he couldn’t split himself between Loki and Gabriel to go to the prayer for Gabriel without giving himself away, and he refused to do so because he knew that he would be forced back to Heaven by his remaining family if he was found out. And he didn’t want to return.
Due to that fact, he called to the Original Loki for help. The other Being was dressed in his usual Visiting clothes, but he looked exhausted, which didn’t surprise Gabriel in any way. The Dark-haired Trickster was coming up to the final part of his latest pregnancy and it was exhausting him—which was part of the reason that Gabriel had taken up the title of Loki in the first place—but he still enjoyed coming out for a few prayers every Holiday.
Gabriel reached out to touch Loki’s wrist, so he could transfer the pull of the Loki-prayer from his Center to the other’s. After a second, Loki nodded and then snapped his fingers, disappearing from sight to follow after the pull.
Gabriel took a quick moment to just breathe before he also snapped his fingers and disappeared to follow after the Gabriel-prayer’s pull.
The house he appeared in front of would have looked like a normal family home on a normal Hallowe’en with the jack-o-lanterns on the steps and the cut outs of bats and cats pasted to the walls and windows, but this wasn’t a normal Hallowe’en. Instead, the house he appeared in front of visibly looked fine from the front, but he could feel the magic in the air—the Death Magic in the air.
He headed inside, invisibly taking in the sight of the broken door, and the body of a young man sprawled just before the stairs. He could see Loki’s magic on the man, and knew that whoever had called for Gabriel, it hadn’t been him and that there was someone else inside this house somewhere else.
He took only a short moment to lean down over the young man and touch his forehead. “Blessings unto you,” He whispered, watching as a soft glowing ring of light appeared through the man’s shirt over his heart before it faded away again.
Gabriel then headed up the stairs, knowing that if the man had met whoever head on at the door that there was someone upstairs he was protecting. He followed the feel of Loki’s magic to one of the back rooms in the upstairs portion of the house, which also had the door blown off, and when he stepped into the room, most of it was gone and the remaining portions of the walls, roof, and the floor were all dyed a sickly green.
Loki was standing over a crib, cooing quietly at a small baby who looked much like he did. On the floor behind him, a young woman with red hair lay sprawled across the small round carpet before the crib.
Gabriel sighed quietly at the youth of the two adults. Why did the young always have to die? And why always so violently? He settled himself down next to the young woman, lightly tugging at the silver chain around her neck which revealed a St. Gabriel medal and a simple crucifix.
“Well sweetheart,” Gabriel greeted the young woman quietly. “I’m sorry I can’t take you to Heaven myself, but I’m sure that your Reaper has explained why.” Reapers seemed to know everything about everyone, there was no escaping it. He carefully petted his fingers through her hair, cleaning up the bit of blood and cuts on her head from the explosion as he did so. “I give you my blessing however. May you have the knowledge to go between the Afterworlds.” He leaned down to press a kiss to her forehead, leaving behind a small freckle that was barely noticeable amongst the ones she already had.
Gabriel then rolled to his feet and moved up to Loki’s side. “How is he?” He asked, looking down at the tiny toddler before him who was blinking sleepily up at the two Beings. The soft forest green of Loki’s magic was visibly wrapping around the babe, most likely the cause of his sleepiness.
“Physically fine, but you will need to do something about the little soul shard in his head.” Loki lightly tapped his finger against the small newly healed sowilo-rune-shaped scar on the babe’s forehead.
Gabriel was just about to answer when they heard the banging footsteps and loud cry of someone downstairs. Gabriel spun around to face the door, a short silver-appearing foot-long sword dropping from his sleeve.
“Harry! Lily!” An anguished voice shouted as hurried footsteps stormed up the stairs.
The young man that popped into the doorway had a wand clutched in his hand and he immediately pointed it at the Beings before him. His curly black hair was left wild around his face and his gray eyes were full of unshed tears with a wild look like a caged animal gracing his aristocratic features.
“Put that stick away Mortal, your magic is nothing next to ours,” Loki drawled, turning back to the baby.
“Lord- Lord Loki?” The young man questioned hesitantly, lowering his wand but keeping it in his hand.
“Yes, we are,” Gabriel replied, carefully shoving his blade back up his sleeve.
“There are two of you‽”
“It’s a long story that we don’t have time for,” Gabriel responded, searching the young man’s soul. “How can we help you, Sirius Orion Black the Third, son of Orion Renard and Walburga Artemis Black?”
“I–” Sirius was cut off by the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs. He spun, turning his wand to the top of the stairs, leaving the Beings to wonder who was coming. “Snape,” the word was nearly a growl as the Wizard pointed his wand at whoever had come up.
“Put that wand away, mutt,” An acidic voice snapped from the hall and the two Beings shared a look, rolling their eyes at each other before turning their attentions back to the two in the hallway.
“Both of you get your asses in here,” Gabriel ordered, shifting himself around and moving to settle the young woman into a more dignified position. “Mortals and their pissing contests,” He muttered under his breath, adding in a few more words that weren’t so nice.
Sirius kept watch as the other man who’d entered the house came into the room in front of him before the Black Heir followed him inside. Their second visitor came to a stop just before the body of Lily Potter with a wince before he looked away at the two Beings before them.
Gabriel stared at the new man’s soul, surprised by the ties to it, and the purity of one who, from what he assumed, should have a soul destined for his mate’s domain.
“Severus Alexander Tobias Snape-Prince, son of Eileen Ophelia Prince, and Tobias Gregory Snape,” Loki drawled, stepping lightly around Lily’s body to come toe to toe with the dour looking man. “What could possibly have brought you here? It is quite obvious what brought Devoted Heir Black here, the wards have been brought down, and as the Binder for the recast Fidelius he was connected to them. But what brought you…? That is the question, isn’t it?”
Severus flushed slightly, just barely a flare of color to his pale cheeks coming up. “Lily and I made up,” Severus croaked. “After Harrison was born. She and Potter Senior couldn’t agree on how to protect Harrison, so she cajoled Senior into agreeing to adding on another godparent…” He paused for a moment, a hand coming up to rub at the center of his chest. “And she initiated a Vow.”
Loki and Gabriel shared a look before snickering slightly, both being abruptly cut off when a shift in their magic from their arrivals registered a newcomer.
“What is it?” Sirius asked quietly, looking between the two Beings nervously.
“Someone just arrived from the edge of the street,” Loki murmured, eyes turning to the direction where the newcomer was coming from.
“You two have to make a decision now. Right now. About the safety of your godson. Can either of you protect him?” Gabriel asked, shifting from foot to foot as he strained his senses to see how long they would have.
Severus shook his head sadly, “I cannot. I have sold my soul to the evil I know, metaphorically speaking.”
Gabriel turned his attention to Severus’ soul at those words, searching out who he was connected to. There were faint threads to his deceased parents. Cushy ropes of friendship—some fading or faded—to his housemates, and Lily. A wide ribbon leading off to his romantic partner. And two thick pulsing chains that tied him to his ‘evils’: the disappeared Dark Lord Voldemort, and the ‘Light’ Lord Dumbledore.
“Dumbledore!” Gabriel hissed, eyes flaring bright gold as Severus nodded. “Interfering old fool!”
Loki raised a sardonic eyebrow at the Black Heir, waiting for his response as he focused his seiðr on keeping their visitor back until they had this finished.
Sirius shook his head, “I cannot either. I may not have sold my soul to the ‘devil’ that is Dumbledore, but because of the actions of my family members, I will end up with my custody being contested at every turn.” He shared a look with Severus before adding, “You two have more power than either of us could ever have. It would be best if you took him. And adopted him to keep him in your hands.” Sirius rolled his eyes at Severus’ look of shock, muttering to himself, “Lords only know what will happen otherwise.”
“What are your plans now? We wouldn’t want you to do anything foolish and get yourselves killed, now would we?” Loki questioned, glancing between the two young mortals. “And what were you doing before coming here?”
Severus shuffled slightly before he answered, “I will be going home to my partner, who I had spent the night waiting for at said home while he was out.”
Sirius narrowed his eyes at the other man before turning to the Beings, “I spent the evening before the alarms tripped with a family member. I have to go find Remus Lupin, he deserves to know what has happened.”
Loki and Gabriel shared a look before dipping their heads. Loki waved a hand, and when he turned it up to the men, two gold and silver-looking pendants dangled from his fingers on thin pieces of leather.
“We’ll see you and your others in a week, unless other circumstances come up.” Loki handed the two pendants over, watching as they were pulled over both men’s dark-haired heads. “The pendants are Ward Keys. I’m sure you know how they work.”
“One minute,” Gabriel interrupted, staring out at the street through the destroyed portion of the room. He walked over to Harrison’s crib, picking up the tiny toddler who’d been sent to and kept asleep by Loki’s magic.
“We will see you,” Gabriel told them, brushing a hand down Harrison’s back lightly.
Both mortals dipped their heads to the two Beings. Severus and Sirius shared a look before Severus spun on his heels and disappeared with a barely audible pop. Sirius cast one last long look at Harrison before he disappeared out of the room and down the stairs to greet the visitor.
Gabriel and Loki shared a look before together, they disappeared.
Gabriel helped Loki down onto a bench when they landed at their destination. The other Being gave him a shallow smile as he rested heavily back against the wall, dropping a hand to the heavy bump that was revealed when he dropped his Glamours.
Gabriel held Harrison close to him as he looked around the room. He could remember when his mate had first shown him this place that he’d had commissioned. He’d stepped into a room that seemed to glow like the Halls of Heaven or at least as close as Earth could get.
White marble, black steel, gold paper. All added up to a glorious entry way that brought Gabriel back to more pleasant times in Heaven sitting at his Father’s knee with his siblings. He sighed quietly as he glanced around, his free hand coming up to grasp at the star pendant around his neck.
The bell-shaped room was meticulous, from floor to ceiling, and Gabriel had a feeling that it was recently cleaned because it was almost never this well put together around Hallowe’en. Usually there would be bowls of candy everywhere, or some kind of decorations hanging from the railing of the stairs and landing, or even just some kind of muddy footprints on the floor, but there was nothing out of place, it looked exactly like it had when Gabriel had first come here, though with a few things he’d added over the years.
The eleven tables around the room were neat and tidied. Ten of the tables, set out two, hall, one, stairs, two, on each side of the room were carefully straightened under their respective Portrait or tapestry with their vases or sculptures carefully set out so they were no longer feared to fall and break. The long waist-high table which took up a space at the center of the room, had its altar of flowers carefully set out with an arch of black, red, and violet roses for Samhain and it was clean, not a flower out of place for petals to fall into the candles or ritual circles set out.
The gold and black brocade running carpets were clean and in their proper place on the elm wood stairs (probably with Sticking Charms, knowing the Elves). The marble floors had been washed and polished, and practically gleamed. The pale cream walls were cleaned and every decoration – tapestry, portrait, sculpture, etc. – was straight and in its proper place.
Even the ice crystal chandelier with its white-blue flames was cleaned, and that almost never happened, as there was always too much going on in the foyer for the Elves to feel safe cleaning it.
The two men looked up at the top of the stairs where a young man stood. He climbed up onto the railing before sliding his way down and jumping off at the bottom to land perfectly on his feet.
“Riss, what have we told you about sliding down the railing‽” Gabriel scolded quietly, holding Harrison close to his chest.
“Sorry, Uncle.” The teen hurried over from the stairs and leaned in to study the child in the Archangel’s arms. “Who is this? Where did he come from?”
“Call your siblings and we will explain,” Loki told his son, relaxed again and sipping gracefully at a cup of water a house-elf had brought him.
The teen narrowed his eyes at his father for a moment before he spun on his heels to face the stairs again. He took a step away before tipping his head back and letting out a low, rumbling wolf howl. The sound echoed through the room and continued for a long time before petering out and leaving silence behind.
Three pops and the rustling of wings sounded before six others appeared in front of them. Two young women, two young men, and two boys stood before them.
“Fenris, what– Uncle why do you have a child?” The eldest of the young men asked, pushing his fingers through chestnut brown hair to pull it back from golden-brown eyes as he came to stand next to his brother.
The two young women came over at the words, and it was the older of the two who spoke first, blue and green eyes wide in shock.
“Harrison James Potter.”
“Hela?” Loki questioned, looking at his daughter.
“Harrison is the youngest of the Potentials for Death for the decade last,” Hela whispered, reaching out a spotted hand and brushing her fingers lightly over the tot’s cheek. At the contact between her skin and his, she stiffened and her eyes flared white as something reached out to her.
Her trance only lasted a minute at most, but the effect on her made it seem like it had lasted much longer. Which it had. In the mindscape between them, time moved much quicker than it did outside, so while it only seemed a minute on the outside, on the inside it was almost an hour that passed.
Hela gasped upon being released, her eyes returning to their natural colors as she stared down at the sleeping tot in Gabriel’s arms. “Do not destroy the soul shard,” She told the two men, shifting her gaze to the scar on Harrison’s head. “The Host did not make his Soul-ties willingly, and he deserves a proper chance.”
Gabriel narrowed golden eyes at her before nodding, “I won’t destroy it, but you will explain what you saw later.” At Hela’s nod, he looked down at Harrison before continuing, “We will be doing an Additive Blood Adoption at his godfathers’ behest.”
He’d barely finished his sentence before a knock sounded at the door, causing the group as a whole to turn and face the heavy oak. The other young woman shifted on her feet for a moment before she marched over to the door and threw it open.
Four men, a young woman, and a young girl stood at the door. Three of the men, and the young woman all had dark hair, but the girl had fire red hair and the remaining man had hair the color of silver.
“Come in, Aunts, Uncles.” Gabriel smiled at the politeness of his daughter’s tone as she stepped aside to let the five inside.
“We came as soon as we heard!” The woman exclaimed, purple eyes wide as she hurried over from the door to stand at Gabriel’s side.
“Hello, Hecate,” Gabriel greeted, tipping the sleeping tot so that she could see him. She leaned in and gently brushed a light finger down the bridge of his nose.
“Hello, little fawn,” Hecate murmured to the babe after a nod of acknowledgement to Gabriel. “Your mother and father loved you very much, and we will make sure that you remember that. Everything in our power will be done, so that you can see that.” She brushed a finger down Harrison’s tiny cheek, and the group watching in fascination as her wheel flared to life over his head in the violet of her colors at the same time that a similar image blossomed to life on the inside of his left wrist.
“Well that solves Hecate then,” The silver-haired man joked as he blinked red-black eyes at the tiny black mark.
“Thanatos!” Hecate gasped, reaching out to swat at the Primordial, who only smirked and sidestepped her reach.
“Well, you are the one who claimed him,” Thanatos chortled as he rounded to Gabriel’s other side, the others of their group coming over from the door. He reached out a gentle hand to touch Harrison’s fingers, grinning slightly when the tot’s fingers opened and curled around his touch, the boy’s green eyes sleepily opening to look up at him.
“Hello, little Death,” Thanatos murmured, brushing his thumb over the backs of Harrison’s fingers as the tot blinked at him again.
“Well,” Gabriel murmured, watching as the others came to check on his new charge. “Shall we continue with our night before we run out of time?”
“Yes, of course,” The youngest of the females in the group, the little red-head who had arrived with Thanatos, Hecate and their companions, murmured as she twisted around, her floaty red dress swishing as she started to the stairs. She paused at the bottom and raised an eyebrow at the group, “Are we going or not?”
“Calm, Hestia. We still have plenty of time,” The eldest of the group remarked, dark hair falling into black eyes as he stepped close. A gloved hand came up to touch Harrison’s chest as the man seemed to begin listening to something within the child. “We must be quick,” The man murmured, head still tipped to the side like he was listening. “The shard is weak, and any longer threatens that Harrison’s magic will engulf it, not that it would do much to harm the Host as it is a small piece. Already the Gifts of the Host have been given to and reawakened in Harrison.”
“What do you mean, Uncle?” Gabriel questioned, following after Hestia. He paused next to her, watching as the others joined them; Fenris and Hela helping their father to his feet as the others crossed the room around the shrine.
“Lillian Colette Evans was a daughter of a cadet branch of Slytherin, much like Thomas Marvolo Riddle the Third is of the main line,” Death replied, pausing at the altar to touch one of the violet roses lightly before he followed the others over to the stairs.
"I really hate this," Loki breathed, leaning on Fenris' shoulder as the wolf-born helped him up the stairs, Sleipnir having taken his sister's place on Loki's other side. The pregnant Pagan sighed softly when his sons hiked him up higher against their sides and wrapped their arms more firmly around his back.
"I know you do, Lokes," Gabriel replied, turning his head to look at the other over his shoulder. "But for things like this, it's best if we use the Familial Ritual Room, not the main one. Especially considering the type of magic we have to do before the adoption."
The ritual room both were referencing was most definitely a pain to reach. One had to go up onto the second floor and the all the way to the back of the hallway, before opening the hidden doorway behind the portrait of Lucifer's eldest Magi-Nephilim, Eniah. Down three flights of stairs to the basement and through another door before down a short hallway and through another door. The ritual room itself hid Morningstar Manor's wardroom, only to be opened by the Lord or Consort rings that Gabriel wore.
"Thankfully, Luce thought of everything," Gabriel murmured, coming to a stop before Eniah's portrait.
"Papi, going down?" Eniah questioned, tipping her head to the side as she studied the group for a moment.
She smiled at them before the portrait swung open and revealed the spiral staircase down to the hidden portion of the basement. As soon as the door swung open wide enough, the silver sconces on the walls sprung into life, white-blue flames like in the foyer chandelier springing to life in the basins. The white hue of the lights brought out the rivers of quartz in the stone of the stairway, the different colors blooming amongst the creme of the stone as the group went down and down and down.
"Pyre, can you grab one of my loose feathers please?" Gabriel requested, thinking himself a fool for not remembering the key to getting inside.
Pyriel rolled her eyes at her father's forgetfulness before with a snap she had a handful of burnished gold and bronze feathers. Visibly they looked like the metals they were colored like, but physically they were like every other feather on any bird. Angel feathers may look harmless but threatened or at war, and an angel's feathers turned to steel.
Gabriel reached out and plucked one from her hand, pressing the feather quill first to a tiny notch in the wall. A flash of gold and the feather disappeared into the stone, the stones parting to make a doorway into the ritual room.
"In we go," Gabriel murmured to Harrison as the stones stopped grinding and the doorway stayed open. "Shit, what are we going to use as a vessel?"
Hela hummed quietly, digging through the pockets of her dress for something. A grin on her face, she pulled out a short length of silver chain and a small silver coin pendant engraved with a winged candy skull in the center and a wolf and snake chasing each other around the rim.
"This should do," She murmured, brushing her thumb over the relief. "Harrison can keep it with him. He is already tied to it, so it won't harm him to have it like it would others." With deft fingers, she put the pendant on the chain before handing it over to him.
Gabriel hummed quietly, studying the runes carved into the room, walls and floors and ceiling and altar all covered in carefully carved marks. He stepped into the circle, the runes behind him lighting up with golden light as he moved across them and his invisible wings touched them.
Gabriel hummed soothingly as Harrison murmured quietly, "Maman et Baba?"
"Fyrirgefðu, lítið gróft," Gabriel murmured, brushing a hand over the tot's hair. That would be something they'd have to continue, Harrison's language lessons in – from what he could glean from the tot's memories – French, Arabic and a form of Magical Egyptian that was mostly written rather than spoken. There would, of course, be others added to the list like Parseltongue, Enochian, and the Icelandic that they all spoke now. Latin would be a good idea too, Gabriel mused as he settled Harrison into the heat-treated basin of the altar which would generally be used for burning mass herbs and the like. He placed the necklace next to the basin.
As Harrison squirmed his way out of the blankets around him, Gabriel full-body stretched - wings and all. Gabriel sighed quietly at the relief of moving mostly unused muscles before he curled his wings around the altar.
"Malak?" Harrison questioned, green eyes wide as he looked over Gabriel's shoulder.
"How can you..." Gabriel narrowed his eyes at the tot before holding his hand out to him. It was hard to get permission from children, but this was the best he could do.
Harrison reached out, fingers curling around Gabriel's palm and Gabriel's wings flared out as he pushed in to look at the boy's soul.