you know what would definitely make everything so much better? ... another snippet from your angel/demon fic, please please please please <3
Dinner is a chance for them to check in, a weekly once-over that ensures they’re as safe and as happy as immortals in a human world can be. Family isn’t a word they throw around lightly; they’re all here because they choose to be, but they’re also here because the general consensus is that each of them belongs. There are some that are closer than others — Amy and Eoghan are more Niall’s brood than part of the core family, and then there’s Louis’ (and Harry’s) additions, Lottie and Fizzy and Daisy and Phoebe — but no matter what, they take care of their own.
And so that’s why Louis is supremely unsurprised when Niall drops into a chair across from him and Zayn at the table, the plates and glasses around them empty, his brows furrowed.
“Harry told me you two had a weird summoning this week,” he says, apropos of nothing, and interrupting Zayn in the middle of his meandering thought about how Bob Marley was totally qualified for sainthood and how it’s a crime he wasn’t given it.
“Weird summoning?” Zayn asks, letting the Marley conversation go easier than Louis would’ve expected. Louis sighs.
“Yeah, it was weird. Nothing bad, just strange,” he shrugs. “Bunch of kids in a basement in Yorkshire, and somehow they were strong enough to summon both me and Harry in the same day.”
“Maybe they had help?” Niall asks.
“Nah, don’t think so. I read through their spellbook before I burned it, but the Latin in it wasn’t even translated properly, it didn’t really make sense. So I think they just managed to accidentally use a really good spell instead of a mediocre one.”
“You know, now that you mention that,” Zayn says, “My visions this week had a lot of you and Harry in them, and they’re usually a little hard to understand but this week was even weirder.”
Niall hums, looking unsettled. “Don’t like that much.”
“I don’t either,” Zayn says.
“It’s no big deal,” Louis says soothingly, or at least an approximate version of soothingly. They’re clucking at him like mother hens as though this is his first time all alone in the big bad world. If there had been danger in that bland little Cottingham basement, Louis would have known, or Harry would have seen; between the two of them, they’ve survived a lot worse things than spotty kids playing witch in a basement.
“Just let me get the cards and do a quick look, it’ll make me feel better,” Niall says, getting to his feet. Zayn clears a space on the table, scooting aside the potato dish and the chicken bones and the fourth empty bottle of wine to make room for Niall.
They aren’t tarot cards, because Niall’s not a Seer — Stan is, and he could do an in-depth reading if he were here, even though Louis would still say that’s completely unnecessary — but the one thing Niall has deep in his bones is a well of magic, real magic, and these cards help him channel what he sees in his head.
Louis’ power comes from grace, holy buckets of grace imbued in his very being; Harry’s comes from the opposite — unholiness, Louis supposes, but there’s probably a better word for it. Witches and magic users draw magic from the Earth, and they can harness it, but they don’t own it, and it’s not part of them.
For Niall, and for others like him, magic is what took his family and made them above other humans. Magic is the extra strand in his DNA, as it were, and while he can’t always control it, he does always have it. Ready to be drawn on, a reservoir of power. And so he made these cards by hand, ages back, to put that magic to immediate use when he needs it. One look at what his magic-imbued subconscious picked out for him and he can paint a picture of someone’s past, present, or future.
Unlike a tarot reading, he doesn’t lay out multiple cards to paint a picture; he just needs one. He shuffles the deck and swipes through, until his hand stills over the one calling to him:
He lays it out, turns it over — a water wheel.
Niall’s brow furrows again, and he puts the card back in the deck. Harry’s drifted over as well, probably seeing the confused frown on Louis’ face, and he watches quietly over Louis’ shoulder.
Niall draws again, pausing over the card that speaks to him, and flips it over: this one is a throne on fire.
“Um,” Niall says, flicking a glance up at Louis and Harry. “That’s… odd.”
“What’s odd?” Harry asks.
“Well,” Niall says, exhaling slowly. “Normally, when I pull a card for Louis, I get the same one for you, because your destinies have always been all tied up together. But this time, they were different.” He stares at the burning throne card for a moment, then puts it back in the deck and shuffles again. “Maybe I just- just did it wrong.”
He’s never done it wrong before. Harry puts his hand on Louis’ shoulder, and when Louis looks up at him he’s biting his lip, watching Niall’s hands hover over the deck. His eyes are squeezed tight as his hand passes over the deck and he stills once again, choosing a card.
“So, for Louis,” he narrates, then flips the card — the water wheel.
He nods to himself, puts the card back in the deck, shuffles and chooses again.
“For Harry,” he says, and flips a card over — the burning throne.
“That’s…” he trails off, still staring at the card he drew.
“What does that mean?” Louis asks, peering more closely at the card, the painted flames licking at the crown lying abandoned in the seat of the throne.
“Erm, it’s not one set meaning, you know,” Niall explains, scratching the back of his neck uncomfortably. He looks around, sees that everyone else besides the four of them are engrossed in a competitive game of Jenga in the living room, and then meets Harry’s eyes, looking worried. “But I keep getting one word, over and over.” He winces a little. “Betrayal.”
Zayn breathes in, a quick intake. “Oh,” he says, “that, well. That reminds me — my visions were all over the place this week, yeah? Most of them are quick flashes of what’s going to happen eventually, but some of these made no sense. But one of them,” he pauses, also looking apologetically at Harry. “Well, it can’t be true, maybe we shouldn’t worry.”
“No, wait,” Harry says, bottom lip jutting out, his eyes anxious. “I want to know, just in case.”
“Erm, okay, but remember that this doesn’t necessarily have to be literal,” Zayn cautions. He takes another breath. “I saw… well, I saw you, standing over Louis while he was lying on the ground.”
“That’s not so bad,” Louis says, hopeful. “That could mean lots of things.”
“He had your sword,” Zayn continues, looking ruefully between them. “And he was about to use it. Against you.”
Harry’s hand clenches on Louis’ shoulder, and Louis can’t stand it.
“That’s not going to happen,” he says, point-blank. “It’s ridiculous to even think so.”
“Totally,” Zayn adds in quickly. “I could’ve seen it wrong, that happens sometimes.”
“Yeah, it’s fine,” Niall says belatedly.
Harry stays quiet for the rest of the night.