Disclaimer: Gabriel, Loki, and Shadow do not belong to me. Kripke owns one, Gaiman has claim on the other two.
A/N: Set in the same 'verse as my fic 'Look To The Western Sky'; all you need to know is that Castiel left Heaven with Gabriel and you're good.
"You're done, you know," Gabriel says casually, propping his feet up on the table and looking around them to smirk at his host. "Already fading, only still here because people like to whisper their old legends when the Church isn't looking."
Loki says nothing, simply drains his cup of mead and pours out another, staring moodily into the liquid. "And why do you care?" he finally asks, voice bitter. "You're not one of us, what happens doesn't affect you or that quiet brother of yours, so why don't you leave me alone?" Loki doesn't know precisely what Gabriel and the absent Castiel (what exactly he's doing at the English royal court is something Gabriel intends to find out as soon as this is done) are, but he knows they're not pagans. Even if the pagans haven't minded the Trickster and the Guide occasionally joining them, it's clear they're not cut of the same cloth.
But has either brother ever revealed their true heritage? No. That would be insanely reckless, and even at his most bored Gabriel wouldn't consider it. And Castiel is too damn careful to ever risk such things. "It's simple, my dear Loki. You don't do anything anymore. You had a great reputation for your tricks once, but now? Now you're pretty much washed up."
"I am not."
"Yes, yes you are. And what's more, I'm guessing you don't have the energy to change any of that. But, the problem is, you don't change it, and people will forget you. They forget, and you die. Which is obviously a problem for you."
"I'm sick of your games. Now, what is it that you want?" Loki snaps, finally out of patience. Just as planned. Gabriel grins, sprawling in his chair.
"Simple. I take your name."
Loki stares at him. "Excuse me, what?"
"I borrow your name," Gabriel continues, speaking a bit more slowly. "And I do tricks like always, but with your reputation attached. I know you, Loki, you're enjoying your nice retirement aside from the slowly dying issue. But you don't like the power loss that comes with it. My powers aren't rooted in someone else's faith."
"What's your point, Trickster?"
"I pretend to be you, keep up the belief in you. You get to relax and do nothing, I get a useful alias."
"And why exactly do you need a 'useful alias'?"
Oh, that question. He'd really been hoping that wouldn't come up. Still, he can give a half-truth if nothing else. "Let's just say little brother and I ran away from home, and my job's a bit more noticeable than his." Not to mention that Castiel will never take on a pagan alias, even to save his own life. He doesn't need to, though; Cassie might not be brilliant at fitting in with humans on a social level, but he can make himself all but invisible to angel senses among them.
Gabriel can hide, and he's much better at interacting with humans, but the sheer level of power contained in him makes it complicated. He might not be pegged automatically as 'archangel' but he's much more likely to be noted as 'something worth investigating' than his brother is. Having a different identity to obscure things will go a long way, if he can just get the stubborn Norse god to agree.
He considers doing something to the mead Loki is still tossing back, but he would almost certainly notice and that would ruin everything right there. Gabriel's getting impatient, though, and the urge to somehow speed all this up is getting stronger.
"And what happens, if in a hundred years or a thousand, I get bored and want my name back?" Loki wants to know.
"Well, that just confuses things, and the whole point of my borrowing your name – from my perspective – is about doing just that," Gabriel says with a shrug, before dropping his legs back to the floor and leaning forward. "Loki, listen to me. There is no downside to this for you. I'm not playing a trick, for once – or at least I'm not playing one on you. Technically, if you agree to this, the pair of us are pulling a trick on everyone who believes that I am you. If you decide to come back at some point, well, that'll just make it even more fun with everyone getting confused. It's a trick that keeps repeating, and will last a very long time. And you don't even have to make an effort. Now, doesn't that sound nice?"
There's silence for a long moment, and then finally Loki says, "Will you stop showing up and irritating me if I agree to this?"
"Well, I might visit now and then to keep you informed about what I'm doing with your name, but for the most part, I can do that if that's what you want."
Loki grins. "Good. All right, have at it, and stop bothering me."
It isn't until centuries later when a ridiculously large man with a weird name – Shadow? Humans have odd taste – frowns at Gabriel calling himself Loki that he finds out that the other side of the trick has come into play. He pulls the story from Shadow's mind, and, well, he's downright impressed. Working with Odin? That's a new one, and the bit about drawing energy from a gods' war, well, that's clever. Pity it didn't work so well.
Gabriel knows that his claim to be Loki was part of why the real Loki was able to pull off his part of the plan, but since that was part of the agreement all along, he can't bring himself to feel too guilty. He does, however, make sure that Shadow has no memory of meeting this second Loki. Just in case. Boy's a demi-god, which tends to mean less trouble than a Nephilim but much more of a nuisance than a typical human, and not worth leaving as a potential annoyance in the future.
Then he flies off, putting the finishing touches on his latest scheme as he does. Trapping the Winchesters in TV Land ought to get the point across, and getting them there is going to be fun.