Disclaimer: This is a collaborative story. My friend & fellow writer is AislingIsobel. She writes many a wonderful story; Amaliya is her character. Zephyr springs from my sister's imaginings. I own no one from Mythology or Marvel except Aurora.


Prologue

Hades knew the Underworld was no place to raise a child but was shrewdly aware of the darkness that lurked in the hearts of mortals. So, he reached out to all the realms and petitioned for aid. The would-be protector of his only daughter needed to be clever and oath bound; someone who possessed a willingness to look past the rules; someone not too dissimilar from himself. The Prince of Asgard surpassed these qualifications and, in addition, was related to Hades' Underworld counterpart—Hela.

"I left the child with her mother," Hades explained to Loki. "She has named her Aurora Calypso." The shadows around him seem to curl, but there was no mistaking the proud grin on the god's face. He was pleased that Elizabeth—her mother—at least bestowed his daughter with a name befitting of a goddess. "I would ask you to look after her, where I have not the eyes to see on Earth."

Loki looked at the God of Death for a long moment, pondering what this could mean. Amaliya had just returned to him from Alfheim and now, looking after a child, even a demigoddess, and just as a watchful guardian, would it be too much? Loki thought a bit more, contemplating what his Dove would say. A smile graced his face. "She will come to no harm while I am living, Hades, I promise you that."

Gratefulness exuded from Hades, dancing upon the smoky tendrils that cloaked him in eternal darkness. He bowed to the God of Mischief, for he was as honorable and just as he was harsh, thusly perceived by the other gods. "I will inform her mother. If you would like to meet Aurora…" He looked at Loki expectantly.

Loki nodded. "A meeting should take place," he told Hades. "However, I might ask if Amaliya, my future bride, would be welcome to meet this child as well?"

Hades didn't hesitate to respond. "As you are to be married, and she will come to know Aurora as well, Amaliya is welcome."

Loki bowed. "You are most gracious, Hades. Where shall we meet you?"


Once arrangements were made, Hades promptly returned to Earth for one last visit. He greeted Elizabeth with the usual kindness she expected from the father of their child. He loved her as dearly as any god could love a mortal, displaying a softer side that no one, especially his brother, Zeus, had ever seen.

Albeit hesitant, Elizabeth allowed the meeting to take place at her house. Swathed in a blanket and sleeping peacefully in her arms was a small infant with dark hair like her father's. The woman gently tried to coax Aurora into opening her eyes but being equally as stubborn as Hades, the baby remained asleep as she offered the bundle to Loki and Amaliya.

Amaliya took the bundle from Elizabeth and uncovered the child's face. "Hello, my love," she said softly, and the baby's eyes opened slowly, seeing the Vanir holding her. "Aren't you a gorgeous thing," Liya said, nuzzling the girl's face as the baby cooed.

Loki smiled, imagining Liya with their child instead of this one; in that moment she looked just like her mother.

"She's never done that before," Elizabeth remarked.

"Aurora is in the hands of the Goddess of Love, no one can resist her."

"Surely not, since you have been so ensnared by her, Loki," Hades added.

Curiosity reflected in the golden gaze that stared up at Amaliya. The old soul contained within the tiny vessel bonding to the Vanir in recognition. Hades smiled as he shared a knowing glance with Elizabeth. He had chosen right.

"You are so loved, my darling," Liya whispered. The Vanir looked up. "She is beautiful," Li gushed to her mother. "Is she staying with you? Loki was unclear in all the excitement of my screaming."

A smile softened the woman's features. "Yes, she will be here," Elizabeth looked from Hades to the pair doting over her daughter, "anytime you wish to visit."

Liya smiled, looking at Loki. "I don't think I can leave, look at her!"

Loki laughed, putting an arm around her. "My Dove," he looked at the child before whispering, "we can start on our own family later."

Liya handed the baby back to her mother, turning to Hades. "Thank you for this, I couldn't have asked for anything more wonderful."

Following Loki and Amaliya's departure, Hades spent a quiet moment with his daughter, strolling outside with her under the night sky. His shadow chased away the breeze that was light and warm, as the remnants of winter gave way to early spring. Where he tread, a cold, hollow air filled the void. He considered the influences that would mold her. He was satisfied, yet the pang he felt in his chest was wholly foreign to him. At last he said, "We will be reunited."