Author's note:

Hello people! This is my first fanfic so please be kind. Though if you aren't I don't particularly mind, as it means you have an opinion, which means your read my story, which is good. Don't worry this is just the prologue so the other chapters should be longer. I hope this is enjoyable!

Disclaimer: None of this is mine. Even my ideas own me more than I own them, and what controlling little things they are, all hoarders too.

Unlike most of his brothers and sisters, Gabriel listened to prayers sent to him. He even listened to the more general prayers that humans sent out. No, he didn't respond to most of them. But hey, at least he didn't just ignore them like the vast majority of his siblings. Plus, once in a while, when he felt like it, the archangel turned trickster answered a few desperate pleas. Whip up a miracle, smite a dick or two, make a kid's day, the works.

He had to be careful though, the heavenly host may not take field trips to earth anymore but he was sure they would make an exception if they caught wind of him. Besides, his legions brothers and sisters weren't his only problems.

Gods and Goddesses from all over also payed special attention to each other. To have one of them find out his old identity would be inconvenient to say the least. His angelic miracles couldn't be obvious, not when his brothers and sisters weren't around to take the blame.

But, today, Gabriel was in a particularly good mood. A stuck up german hunter was now a poodle, three corrupt business men had suffered varying degrees of trickster humor and Gabriel was Bored. Yes, that definitely needed capitalization.

So, as he usually did in such occasions, he listened to human prayers to see if there was anything he could do. Power-nope, money-nope, something about family-boring, good luck-boring, safety-eh, message to a lost loved one-double nope, was that a serial killer? Gabriel sighed, he was just about to give up and start checking prayers sent to him as Loki, even if those tended to be a bit disturbing and cultish more often than not. Then he heard a little voice crying for help. The trickster was pretty sure the kid didn't even know he was praying. Sounded like fun.

Zeroing in on the location of the not-prayer, the ancient being snapped his fingers. He appeared just outside of a church on a park bench, Gabriel looked around, shoving a handful of chocolate chips from a bag in his lap into his mouth. The sun was shining bright overhead, birds were chirping, only a few wisps of cloud marred the blue sky overhead and a small whale and his posse of piglets patrolled the streets. The morbidly obese child in front called out pathetic taunts to another, as of yet unseen, child. It was almost adorable how intimidating they weren't.

The ex-archangel stood, popping a few more chocolate chips into his mouth, and proceeded through the church's open doors. A quick pulse almost non existent and heavily disguised grace revealed the origin of the makeshift prayer to be curled up and hiding among the pews. It also identified the one who had called out to be a small child, an injured child.

The boys he had spotted before looked like bullies. They were the most likely cause of the injuries. Still, the boy could use a healing. Gabriel could heal him from here but . . .

Carefully walking forward, Gabriel knelt down by the child. He, the boy, was small. Too small to be healthy or natural with ratty, dirty black hair and ugly, cracked, wide rimmed round glasses that were held together by tape in several places. His clothes were stained and, leeched of color. If needed, the boy could probably find a few sticks and use them to pitch a tent. The boy was cradling his right arm to his chest and looked as it he had two black eyes over his right eye. Scraped knees elbows and hands had added a slash of red to the practically colorless clothing he wore.

Gabriel frowned, this was a bit much for your average neighborhood bullies. A pulse of trickster magic revealed that a lot of the dirt in the boy's dark hair was actually dried blood. Another thing it brought to the trickster god's attention were the bruises that formed constellations on the small body.

Beyond everything, the most attention grabbing thing about the too small child were his eyes. They were a frightened, wary, rippling malachite green. The boy stared straight into him, eyes hard and icy, judging, calculating, hidden.

"Hey kiddo" Gabriel started, his tone light and, with any luck, reassuring "what's your name?"

The boy looked as though he was contemplating something, gaze momentarily even heavier.

"Harry" the child spoke quietly, though not timidly, a hint of steel entering his voice, as though he expected to be challenged on this fact. Storing this away for later contemplation, Gabriel continued.

"Well then, my name's Loki. Harry, would you mind telling me who hurt you?" The ex- archangel smiled.

"My cousin Dudley and his friends" Harry answered, although this answer was delayed it wasn't as large a pause as last time and the boy's tone was softer, more practiced, and no less wary.

Gabriel frowned internally. Despite his own experiences around the subject, he strongly believed that family should look after each other.

"What about your parents?" Gabriel's tone was softer, anger muzzled for the time being.

"My parent's were irresponsible drunks who died in a car crash taking me to the orphanage." The boy muttered, tone unchanging as if repeating something he'd heard repeated again and again. Gabriel hid a wince, guess that was the wrong question.

"Who are you staying with? Don't they care that your cousin is bullying you like this?" Gabriel tried again. Though he felt he knew the answer, Gabriel knew better than to jump to conclusions.

"Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia don't care." Harry's voice was filled with his resentment and a sense that he had accepted this as simple fact.

Gabriel though for a moment "How old are you kiddo?"

"Almost eight" this was said without hesitation and with a hint of pride.

"Well then" the trickster smirked, wrapping trickster magic around the boy. Recently, a few tricks ago, he had met a nice elderly couple who had never had children of their own but desperately wished for one.

He snapped his fingers to send the child to their living room.

Nothing happened.

He snapped his fingers again, this time putting double the juice into it. Nada.

Snapping out his wings, one of the few untraceable angelic benefits he still enjoyed, Gabriel scooped the kid up and stood. He really was a cute little tyke, even if the way he squeaked at the sudden movement reminded him almost painfully of a few of his youngest siblings.

With a powerful flap they were off! Or not. No, there was something keeping him, or at least the kid, from taking off. The list of things that could keep an archangel, no matter how diminished his grace or how forsaken his title, grounded was short. Significantly shorter than the list of things that could keep a trickster powerless. The number of things that could do both he could count on both hands.

Two were out because the only people that could cast them were long dead. Another because it had to be cast at a very specific location on a spring lunar eclipse. A fourth because it required all participants to be of age. Yet another was cast out because it required ingredients that Hecate herself would have to spend centuries looking for or cultivating. Two others were iffy but not impossible, one because he was pretty sure the knowledge had been lost and the other because it required a human and two goat sacrifice.

The most likely candidate were location binders set to blood wards. Simple for a god to set up, draining and very difficult for a magical human to put into place and excruciatingly painful for anyone else to attempt. The kid had mentioned an aunt and an uncle, blood relatives most likely, so it really wasn't all tat far fetched. The only question was why. Right now though, that didn't really matter. Now, it was time for one of his favorite kind's of decisions, the impulsive kind!

"You got lucky kiddo, look's like you got yourself a guardian angel . . . sort of. More like a guardian deity really, we're more fun than those winged prudes anyway." Gabriel sat the kid down on one of the pews before throwing his arms out wide and grinning widely as if announcing Harry had won the lottery, though he shrugged at the last part.

Harry just blinked up at him, completely uncomprehending. The archangel turned trickster (and really, it was a lot more fun this way) huffed out a sigh. This was going to take a while.