See chapter one for warnings and summaries.
PREVIOUSLY: Loki decides to hide on Midguard, in Hogwarts, with his children. On the way of putting together the necessary provisions, Loki spies little Harry Potter getting ready for his first semester and kills DADA Professor Quirrell, by accident. He then takes Quirrell's place under the guise of Lori Aldricson, a female DADA professor.
The night is spent in the single, cramped room that Lady Loki has procured at the Leaky Cauldron. There is one medium-sized bed, but no one is going to use it.
With a twist of the ancient magic that has settled around him, Loki transforms it into a giant, fluffy mass of pillows and blankets. He stands to the side, while his children pounce on their self-appointed favorite specimens. The blankets and pillows are all set up before the fire, in a tangled pile.
Fenris is the first one to wriggle into a suitable position, drawing up the ends of the blanket up to his ears, before he settles down.
Joren is next, snuggling into the covers and curling up close enough to share his older brother's warmth.
Hela immediately chooses the area opposite of them. She leaves a space in the middle.
Loki knows what it is for.
Sleipnir—no, Seth now—hugs his mother from behind. Loki hides a smile as he turns to gather his firstborn into his arms. Seth clings to him, all jagged edges and desperation. Loki knows that it will take some time to reconnect. For this was one child that he could not always visit with the same sort of secrecy and stealth he has used for the others. Seth has always been under Odin's watchful eye and bearing the Allfather's weight.
Loki rubs his cool hands up and down the hunched shoulders and broad back. He can feel the muscles bunched beneath the smooth skin. Muscles borne of hard work, trials and experiences. Memories that Loki knows so little of. He presses a kiss to the tawny hair.
Seth's eyes are dry, as if he has no tears left to cry.
Loki feels his eyes ache, as if there is a shortage of tears of his own.
But there is nothing they need to say.
The others have settled down without any necessary interference, and so when Loki notices Seth's eyelids beginning to droop, he moves them forward to the makeshift puddle of fluff. It seems that his position is in the center, for the moment Loki settles himself, all the children rearrange to snuggle up around him.
Hela claims his stomach as a pillow, Joren slips in behind her, claiming one shoulder, while Fenris takes the other and Seth settles a little lower downward, using one thigh as a pillow.
It warms him in a way that brings reminders of a forgotten title—god of the hearth and fire. Loki smiles and twines his hand through Hela's raven locks and Seth's silken ones, as his long, skinny arms allow.
He has missed them.
The night passes with no interruption and pleasant dreams.
Loki is woken by Fenris the next morning, a wet, rough tongue, laving at his face. He sits up startled, to find that his children have managed to transform themselves into more appropriately sized creature versions of their familiar forms.
Alternative forms that fit within the cramped confines of their rented room.
Somehow, he cannot be disappointed.
"Morning," he greets them all.
Joren is the first one to return to his human-like guise, his tongue remaining forked, his red eyes agitated. "The shifting is harder." He speaks, whisper-soft. "I think I shall need to practice." And he does and the forked tongue disappeared with a little extra effort.
"You may practice all you like," Loki tells him. "Perhaps I could make some suggestions?"
"Breakfast first!" Fenris interrupts. His stomach rumbles as if in backup.
The others laugh and Loki slips out to order some of the Midgardian magical fare. He knows his children will be curious about it and he wants them to be familiar with the dishes when they arrive at Hogwarts.
This must go smoothly.
Breakfast is fun.
So are the magic lessons that follow.
Jor is a quick study.
Seth is a natural peacemaker.
Fenris has a temper as hot as Hela's fires and Hela, well, she is charming as herself. Her perfectly charming and devious self, that is.
Loki finds himself unable to keep from touching them, hugging them and weaving spells of protection and healing on them. None of them protest. They are all eager and hungry for his attention, in their own, odd little ways.
Jor has settled on a form that is shorter and smaller than the one Loki had first gifted him. Hela helps him disguise the third eye with an enchanted headchain. He also seems prone to seeking warmth and darkness in alternate shifts.
Seth remedies this by coming out strands of his golden-sienna hair and asking Loki to weave it into a new traveling cloak. "I am used to the weather," he answers, softly, when Joren stares at him curiously. "You will find that it is warmer than any ordinary cloth and it will hold the enchantments better."
Joren is so happy, he latches onto to Seth for at least two hours afterwards.
Loki doesn't comment on this, because Seth is finally smiling. A small, soft smile that seems just perfect on his eldest son's face.
Fenris's figure is altered as well. It is bigger and huskier than Seth's, with bunching, rippling muscle and hair that is thick and coarse. The hardest part is keeping his fangs from showing through. Joren happily spends another hour, sitting in Fenris' lap, showing his older brother how to weave the most complicated spell for his appearance.
Hela decides to peruse the curriculum and soon, she is deciding which house they all belong to. Loki is pleased. He brushes and braids her hair as she reads out of Hogwarts, A History, so they will all be up to date.
"Do we have to meet them soon, Father?" Hela leans back into the expert fingers that massage her tired, aching head. "And how will you meet them?"
Loki explains his plan and then hesitates at the end.
The hesitation draws the attention of every child.
"Mother?" Seth is the one to speak, by unspoken nomination.
"I cannot go in this form," Loki says, at last. He shifts his appearance to Lady Loki without a single thought.
Neither of his children react.
"And I was told that family quarters are out of the question."
Joren scrambles out of Fenris' lap to throw himself at his father. Hela twists around with an indescribable look on her face and both Seth and Fenris have gone rather still.
Eventually, eyes turn to Seth once more.
Lady Loki watches as her eldest takes a calming breath and then looks away. "I see…are the arrangements, permanent?"
"Then we shall not worry about it. Isn't that right, Mother?"
And here, Loki makes himself smile.
A familiar little face flickers in front of his mind's eye and he finds himself remembering the little waif from the previous day.
To take his mind off of things. He decides to share the encounter as well.
It pains him to speak so calmly and confidently, as his children subconsciously cluster around him, seeking comfort and reassurance. Loki is suddenly glad that Vali and Nari are elsewhere. He doesn't know if he'd be able to handle them here just yet.
They may be the most troublesome and disobedient of all his children, but he knows that it is merely the chaos in their blood that drives them forward. It allows him to overlook their mischievous escapades and hints to him at when he ought to step in and save them from their own selves.
He cannot help thinking that they might enjoy Hogwarts, but he reminds himself that there will be plenty of time for that later. For now, he will enjoy everything that surrounds him. It is no effort to imprint it in his mind so deeply and thoroughly that he will never forget.
Lady Loki waits a day before she arrives at Hogwarts, with her odd offspring in tow. There is a silent, repressed fury glittering in her vivid green eyes and somehow, her look of indifference is mirrored on the faces of her children as they walk up to the massive stone castle.
"Ghosts." Hela murmurs, as they approach.
"Ghosts?" Joren inches closer between his sister and his fath—mother. "Friendly kinds?"
"If they are not, then I shall make them so." His sister says, resolutely. "If they so much as look at you without respect, I shall banish them to the shadows."
The finality in her voice makes Fenris smile. He rolls back one massive shoulder and hunches down, just a bit, instinctively. "And if anyone has any issues at all," there is a half-growl in his voice. "Tell me."
"Preferably tell me afterwards." Lady Loki drawls. She knows her children well enough in this respect. They will look out for each other, no matter what. By some strange stroke of fate, she has managed to do something right. They are loyal to each other and to her. So, she will gladly pick up the pieces of whatever destruction they cause, especially if it is done in the name of the ties of family that bind them all together.
Introductions to that troublesome headmaster and deputy headmistress are in order. Some how, Lady Loki wants to laugh quite indecently. It is going to be so much fun.
"My children, Headmaster and Deputy-ah, sorry, Minerva." Lori said, pleasantly. Her mouth is smiling, but her eyes are cold as ice in their emerald depths as she draws her children forward. The first—the oldest—is a tall, willowy lad of at least fourteen, his limbs are awkward and long, but his hair is soft, tawny color and his eyes are darkly intelligent with their fudge-brown depths, the faintest glimmer of green somewhere inside. There is an aura of sunlight around him and he moves with surprising grace. He is introduced as Seth. He agrees to be tested to see which year he will fit into. His voice is surprisingly crisp.
The next child is another son, all hulking grace and brawn, thrice of Seth's figure in bulk and with very closely cropped haircut that does not hide the spiky tufts in the least. His dark locks match impenetrably dark eyes and his hands somehow give the appearance of paws rather than hands as everything about him screams primal! His name, they are told, is Fenris. And Fenris is infinitely louder and more outspoken than all of the others put together. He complains about having to be tested and warns them that he has little patience. He quiets when his mother places a hand upon one shoulder.
The third son is quite a change from the first two, his eyes are a pale, milky blue almost-white hue and he looks sickly and ill at ease, compared to his siblings. He speaks with a lisp and his skin is so very, very pale, compared to Seth's peach-hued tint and Fenris' tanned complexion. He is also very small and somewhat short. He moves with an odd gait and wears a silken strip of burgundy ribbon 'round his forehead as a headband with complicated golden charm hangs from it, resting in the center of his forehead. His voice is a whispered, hiss, almost, and he flinches away from Dumbledore's too bright and too blue eyes.
To Albus, the charm resembles an eye. To Minerva, no self-respecting boy should be wearing such a thing, least of all on his head.
To Joren, as he has introduced himself, it is gift from his father and he will never take it off—even in death. He shivers, even though the room seems warm and is bundled in warm winter robes, even though it is still warm out. Lori immediately steps closer to him, lifting the folds of her own dress robes and draping it over the skinny shoulders. Joren allows his mother to fuss over him with little protest, if at all.
Lori appears to be quite pleased at his words and she keeps a protective arm around him.
The Headmaster and his Deputy can say nothing to that.
The daughter, the only one, Hela, is introduced last. She wears a decorative mask over her entire face, save for a small quarter, near her left eye, showing creamy skin and eyes as green as her mother. Her hair is black, thick and heavy, falling past her knees, with its gorgeous length. It is perfectly straight and silken as it glistens with every movement. She wears a fine veil of gold over the top, fastened about the crown of her head as if it is a tiara of sorts—a real crown. The strands of gold mingling with the black of her hair seem to disappear.
Something about the way she stands dares them to say otherwise of her adornments, for the deceptively relaxed slant of her shoulders does not match the dark glare of her visible eyes. She is clothed from head to toe in black, turtleneck blouse, velvet gloves and very shiny, tall, black boots. An ankle length skirt is her only nod to femininity and it has a generous slit up to her knees, though her legs are shadowed from view by the generous black and the tall boots. Her earrings are blue dots with jagged, curved white beads falling from them.
She does not introduce herself. Seth does it for her. She merely stares and somehow, it is unnerving and disapproving all at the same time.
The portraits move restlessly when her eyes skitter over them.
Albus cannot help but think her earrings are bones and teeth. Minerva can only think 'that mask must go'.
"May we stay with our Mother until the sorting ceremony?" Seth's voice is smooth and coaxing. "We will be glad to help her with moving in. We will not be in the way of anyone. That is, if the testing will not be long."
Minerva cannot find the words to deny them and Albus is eerily speechless. She waves them away with a slightly trembling flutter of one handkerchief, her eyes sharp and uncertain.
Lori merely smiles. She has nothing to add to that. There is nothing that needs to be added to that. Her children are terrifyingly wonderful and it feels good.
The testing doesn't take very long at all.
It is over in a matter of minutes and Lori cannot help but think that her children are truly brilliant. They have not tried to prove themselves, nor were they slack in handling the testing itself.
Something in the way this works out, lets Lori know that her children are looking out for her as much as she is doing for them. They have managed to make it so that they will all be in a different year.
Joren is a first year, Hela is a second year, Fenris is a borderline third year and Seth, is a fourth year.
Lori can practically see the strategy behind it.
Joren, as the Midgard Serpent, does have duties to attend to, as a first year, he will not have to worry too much of his schooling. Hela is still Queen of the Dead, she will split her time between school and Nifleheim. As for Fenris, he likely wants to be ahead of his siblings to know what will come, he has also heard of this game called "Quidditch" and expressed his interest in wanting to play. Seth is Seth and he will stay a half-step ahead of Fenris, doing his duty as an elder brother and satisfying his curious nature as well.
Lori is proud of them.
The sorting ceremony will be in the evening. Other students and professors are arriving, with their quarters being opened and aired out.
"Who is that man?" Hela murmurs. A blur of black blows past them, continuing on towards the darker hulks of the castle—specifically, the dungeons.
"Hmm?" Lori turns too soon and only catches the tail end of a billowing black robe. "Drama queen?" She suggests, selecting the odd turn of phrase that seems to fit. Midgard has so many little oddities within their language.
Joren snickers, running his hands over the cool stones along the hallway walls. "These walls are old." He breathes, reverently. "They are lovely! Oh do, feel them! It reminds me of the sea bed in…"
"And we're surrounded by a loch." Hela still has her nose in Hogwarts, A History. She does not seem inclined to set it down any time soon. Her only moment without it was during the testing of which, Lori was selected to hold the tome and not her eager brothers. She squints sideways at her mother, with that one green eye. "Are we allowed to go swimming?"
Lori swallows hard to keep from choking. She knows better. The innocence in Hela's eyes means mischief of the highest kind. She cannot keep the fatherly-urge from surfacing within her female body. It is an inane impulse to hide away Hela's delightful figure from the lecherous eyes of male students. At that, Lori suddenly realizes that this entire schooling plan, may require more patience than she is willing to grant it.
"Swimming?" Joren perks up. He breaks into a trot to keep stride with his mother, slipping one of his cold, lax hands into hers. His hand is definitely quite small in her own, large, elegantly-fingered one. "That sounds like such fun!"
"There is a giant squid." Hela continues, demurely. Her wicked green eyes slant to the side and her smirk hides beneath her mask as she elbows Joren. "It would make a good familiar."
"If Joren has one, then I want one." Fenris declares. "But nothing as wimpy as a squid!"
"Squids aren't wimpy!" Joren protests. He turns to jab at Fenris, but Seth silently inserts himself between both brothers before the squabble can truly start. A single perked, blond eyebrow, has Joren blushing.
Seth sighs, softly.
Lori catches his eye with a grateful smile. The one offered in return, makes her breath catch in her throat.
Lori and her children make the acquaintance of house elves. They all unanimously agree that they do not like them. They are allowed to reside in Lori's quarters until the sorting ceremony. They waste no time in casting wards and crafting spells, testing the limits in the magical castle that has become their new home.
The quarters are simple and modest, a small room, a balcony that opens out into the classroom and a small alcove that will serve as an office. The children amuse themselves with the various items in the room, charts, displays, diagrams and projections, while Lori sets about arranging her things with flicks of her fingers.
When a timid house elf begs their presence for the sorting ceremony, Lori forces herself to maintain a somewhat neutral expression and attitude. Her children are scowling more than enough for her.
They approach the Great Hall, where Lori is immediately accosted by the stern-faced, deputy Headmistress, Minerva.
"Teachers are to be seated along the Head Table, before the children enter." She admonishes, waving her hands at Lori's slightly mussed robe and righting it with flicks of magic. "In the future, do remember this."
"I was merely attempting to-" Lori begins.
Minerva narrows her eyes. "Let's not keep anyone waiting?"
It is phrased like a suggestion, but Lori knows it is an order. She pauses to drop a kiss atop the heads of each of her children in turn. They hold still for her and watch with mournful eyes as she turns towards the indicated pathway.
The eager gaggle of children press around each other and a curious, green-eyed gaze catches Lori's eye. She finds herself staring at the little Harry-waif from the day before. Their eyes meet long enough for the little one to duck his head and look away.
Lori cannot help the faintest of smiles that settle on her face as she makes sure to brush past him as she heads for the narrow pathway. It is a shortcut that that allows late professors to arrive at the Head table instead of traipsing through the long hall.
Lori nurses a cup of scalding coffee as her children chatter away merrily in her head. She has not the heart to stop them, though she does wish, dearly, to muzzle them. They are excited that the scheme has progressed far enough that this new start at a new life is making them giddy.
Hela has them all caught up in thinking of which house they would like to be in. She has declared a passionate wish to be in Slytherin. Lori cannot help but think that the proud house of Slytherin would crumble, should all of his chaotic offspring end up within their dungeon confines.
It would be best to spread them out, she muses, but does not offer her contributions to their conversations as the snatches float in and out of her mind, punctuated by slightly louder bursts in the mental plane, as excitement gets the better of them.
Her attention is arrested when little Harry is finally called.
Harry Potter, Lori notes. The name seems to hold some significance, but whatever that must be, is lost on Harry, himself, as he climbs onto the stool a little nervously, his small hands twisting in his lap.
Lori watches silently, aware of her fellow professors around her and unable to help the predatory urge welling up inside of her. She wants that child. He is so small, so innocent and so full of potential that it makes her want to smother him.
She can feel the pain and hardship he has suffered through and somehow, it has not tainted him. It makes her want to sink her own darkened hands into his soul and taint him, as all her children are tainted. The soul is not pure, but it is clean and Lori can tell that it is wavering in its feeble existence.
The predatory urge vanishes the moment that Lori understands the underlying feeling emanating from the little wisp of a child. Someone has abused him. They have sullied him with hands unworthy of touching such innocent perfection. They have dared to breathe the same air as such a merciful soul.
Lori feels her blood beginning to boil. She knows it will turn to venom, if she is angry enough and she is almost there. Her children's conversation have dimmed and from the sudden way that Hela has gone quite still, Lori knows that they are watching and seeing all that she has just figured out for herself.
…father? Hela's mental whisper is cold and hard. This is the child? The one you spoke of?
Yes, Hel. What is wrong? Lori answers. She covers her distraction by taking a long swallow of the slightly cooling coffee. She notes that the Headmaster looks incredibly interested at this particular sorting, the man in black—a most disgruntled and disagreeable mortal—seems equally on edge for Harry's sorting, while everyone else appears to have held their breath.
…these mortals, they always destroy the beautiful things, do they not? There is mockery in her tone and Hela's quivering figure is shielded somewhat when Fenris shifts to stand beside her.
They know no better. Lori soothes. But a bitterness lingers in her mouth, even as she attempts to keep the peace. They may not know better, but she cannot help thinking that they should.
That ugly man, the one who dared try and cheat—he has left a piece of his soul in this mortal child.
And Lori nearly shatters the thick, ceramic mug in her hand. It takes an act of supreme willpower to remain there. She understands what Hela is saying. There are debts that must be paid when certain rules are broken. But it pains her to think that Harry may be paying for something over which he would have had no control.
Relax, Papa. Hela's voice is light and thoughtful. I do not think I need to kill him, besides, he is quite cute and I like the way his magic feels. I shall destroy the one who has done this to him. He will beg for mercy for centuries and I will never grant it.
The playful tone makes a thread of dread curl in Lori's stomach. Hel? She prompts, tentatively.
I do so like him already. Hela coos. Can I have him?
Oi! He's a kid, you can't just—take him! Fenris sounds appropriately embarrassed and enraged all at the same time. Besides, he's just a kid. He has some potential, he might even-
Father, if Hela has a mortal, then I want one too! Joren's pout is almost tangible in his mental voice.
Too? Seth echoes. He sounds like a mixture between horrified and amused. We are not here to play with mortals, we are here to enjoy our, wait—Mother? What are we here for? Do we need mortals?
"….Gryffindor!" The battered Sorting Hat calls out.
Little Harry Potter slides off the stool and hurries to a table with several redheads present.
Lori lifts her mug, faintly in cheer, unable to muster up the effort to politely clap. Her mind is happily swirling, but somehow, again, she really wants to laugh. Her children will never cease to amaze her.
"…and now, by special circumstance. This year's Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor, Lori Aldricson-"
And here, Lori is urged to her feet by a dark-haired, Professor Vector and encouraged by a smiling, silver-haired Pomona Sprout. The man in black, continues to scowl and glower, alternately. Lori cannot help but feel he is someone she will want to keep her eyes on.
She gives the stiffest of courtesy bows and a grimace that might pass for a smile. It is very hard to keep a straight face with her children's catcalls echoing in her head.
Relief courses through her when Lori can take her seat once more.
Hela is somehow elected to proceed first.
Lori silently resists the urge to ask if Fenris pushed her. Somehow, she already knows the answer to this. From the way the three boys are jostling each other, a few barely visible nudges and jabs, she is glad that at least, Hela's air of mystery will keep all eyes on her.
"…Hela Aldricson!" Minerva frowns at the name and the masked child.
But Hela moves to sit atop the stool with all the elegance and grace of the royalty that she is. Head held high, indifferent, as the old hat is placed atop her bejeweled head, Hela waits.
Ah, now what have we here? A little—ah, oh my! I have never had the pleasure of sorting one of the likes of you! The hat hums happily.
Do not waste your time. Hela snaps. Simply place me in Slytherin and have done with it.
Have done with it? The hat seems to laugh. Oh no, my dear. You are far too delicate and lovely for the bloodthirsty lot in Slytherin, they would swallow you whole, godling child that you are or not.
I am not asking for your opinion!
Neither am I asking for yours. The hat counters. Slytherin, then? You have no other preferences?
Why would I desire to be anywhere else? Hela's patience is wearing thin. She has always despised magical objects and this sorting hat is one of them.
Indeed. Why would you wish to be anywhere, but where you could safely bloom into a pillar of strength, beauty and wisdom?
Your flattery falls on dead ears. Hela resists the urge to roll her shoulders. She wants to burn this hat. Maybe she will, after the sorting. Its screams will be delightful, echoing in her Hall of the Dead.
Ah, but I am no liar. The hat returns. Very well then…. "Ravenclaw!"
Hela nearly sets the hat on the fire.
As it is, only her father's brilliant green eyes staring straight into her, from his female form seated at the Head table, is the restraint that allows her to take a slow, careful breath. She draws all the strength that she can from his comforting, piercing glower and is glad for the mask upon her face, for it hides enough that she does not need to pretend much.
With grace and ease born of her and to her, Hela removes the old thing with pinched fingers and deposits it on the stool, before Minerva can pluck it from her head.
But instead of moving to the Ravenclaw table, she stands off to the side with her head still held high. And before Minerva can speak, Hela does. Her voice demands presence and it is given. "I wish to see my brothers sorted before I sit."
Then Lori begins to clap at the Head Table and the Ravenclaw Table quickly follows suit. This is an unconventional thing, but somehow, no one is about to question it.
Fenris, of course, is next.
A/N: Thanks for reading! (and the many kind comments and reads.) Sorry this chapter took so long to get out, but I hope it was worth the wait! We'll have the rest of the sortings in the next chapter. :)
To find your review reply, copy and paste to get to my forum, replace with dots where needed.