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on the edge of no tomorrow

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Job 13:15 (King James Bible)

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.



🕊️

 

HELL, NEAR PURGATORY

SECUNDUM ARMAGEDDON 50

There’s a glass box in the middle of Hell. Inside it sits an angel, peculiarly wingless. It’s a sight to behold. No one has been in a glass box since the fallen angel Crawly sat in a bathtub to be drowned in holy water. 

Which explains the crowds of angels and demons alike curiously peering at the angel through the glass. As expected, demons spit, jeer and make suggestive comments, while the few angels stare with mixed looks of disgust and disappointment. The groups of visitors look at the angel like he’s a freak show in a circus. Something to laugh and goggle at, a lesson to be learnt from. Mark hates how the reduce him to that, when the story is much more complicated than a simple mistake.

It must be humiliating, Mark thinks, to be watched like this. 

Throughout the day, beings come and go, but only Mark has been there from the moment they evacuated the angel to Hell. And he has not moved since, arms crossed. 

The angel, too, has not moved, head hung low. Without his wings, he looks human, so vulnerable and powerless. His wrists are held by shackles, arms elevated in a V-shape. Mark doesn’t dare say akin to Jesus on the cross, but the resemblance definitely crosses his mind.

He’s unquestionably strong enough to break out easily, but his arms remain still, suspended in the air by the chains. It’s not a test of strength— it’s obedience. A sign of repentance. 

Mark hates looking at him like this, so subservient. But Mark guesses it has always been a part of his character.

Beside Mark stands a pair of demons, who speak softly, as if afraid that their biting remarks will reach the angel. Mark wonders why they even care for such niceties. In about three days, the angel will cease to exist anyway, executed and swallowed by the column of Hellfire.   

“Aren’t you curious?” One of the demons asks. His wings are grey, only bone and a few feathers barely holding on for dear life.

“About why he’s here?” The other one answers. She shrugs. “Sure. Not everyday you get Heaven sending us an angel to judge.” 

“For love.” The demon scoffs. “Doesn’t that sound idiotic? He was god, and then he gave it all up for one of us. Or at least that’s the story I’ve heard.” 

“Wouldn’t be the first time, although it has been rarer after Aziraphale was executed. What’s this pretty thing’s name?” The demon reaches out her hand to touch the glass, and Mark knows that the angel can hear and has been listening to what is probably the gentlest, mildest conversation he’s been the subject of today. Still, he doesn’t react.

Before the other one can answer, Mark speaks. “Lucas.”

He can see the angel’s ears perk up, always eager, responding to Mark’s voice before anything else. 

The grey-winged demon smiles, revealing a set of pearly white teeth. “Kind of blasphemous, don’t you think? Not exactly Luke, the doctor who followed the Saviour, just— Lucas."

“Do you know him?” The female demon is looking at Mark suspiciously, asking, “You are…?” 

“Mark.” 

“Funny.” She rolls her eyes. “Another disciple namesake? Really? You think that’s gonna pass with us?” 

He lets his eyes flash red, a sign that he’s one of their kind, and she looks surprised, then impressed. Mark replies, “And no, I don’t know him.” 

The truth is far from that, because Mark knows Lucas. He knows the way Lucas quivers under him, the smile Lucas makes when he feels accomplished. How he looks when he’s resting. How he got here— that Mark knows all too well.

Lucas shifts a little bit, rolling his shoulder back. It shows a little of his back, and the holes born into them. In the place of wings, two gaping, bloody holes. Mark knows where they come from, he was there when they were ripped from him, mercilessly torn off, but he can’t help but wince at the sight. 

He knows everything. He’s the reason for everything. Why do you think he’s been unable to leave Lucas’ side? 

For the first time, upon hearing Mark’s answer, Lucas lifts his head to meet Mark’s eyes. 

Mark turns and walks away.

 

 

🕊️

 

HELL

SECUNDUM ARMAGEDDON 31

From the first time Lucas meets Mark, he can tell Mark is different. 

Other than him claiming to be created ‘under mysterious circumstances’, and Mark being the only angel to ever tell him to his face that he wanted Lucas, it’s his feet. His feet are pitch black, as if he had been walking barefoot on ashy roads for a long time. Whenever he walks, there’s always a trail, bits of what resembles dust that disappears as quickly as it blemishes. 

But Mark doesn’t cause trouble. He sits pretty and patient, awaiting instructions and carrying them out well. He doesn’t hide the fact that he isn’t meant to be there, but he knows how things are done and how to do them. 

At first, Lucas doesn’t know what Mark is, but he knows he’s been in Heaven before. He’s good and useful, easy on the eyes, uncomplaining and always just looking at Lucas. 

Naturally, Lucas let Mark in, took care of him, allowed him to stay in Heaven. He had no good reason to turn him away. 

And even when the time came that he did, Lucas never let him. Maybe Lucas really was a masochist. 

But in the beginning — not the one with Let there be light, that was too overused and frankly everyone knows that beginning. It’s harder to reach the end. 

In the beginning, there were six angels. Then one by one, each of them collapsed under God’s dead hands. Suddenly, there were two. Then enters Mark.

“What the hell do you mean a new angel has been born? Not in Heaven?” Lucas asks. Jeno is standing in front of him, silent but waving his arms in lieu of an explanation. Lucas isn’t convinced. “Are you sure it’s not just Lucifer trying to make fun of us for being gullible again?”

Jeno shakes his head, and his face is completely serious. He’s frowning, something Lucas sees him do often these days. There wasn’t really a reason to be happy. 

“Where the hell was this when we were trying to contain COVID?” He sighs, running a hand through his hair. His wings ruffle with the shudder of stress that rocks his body. “Send them in.” 

On cue, a being appears, without wings. Lucas doesn’t ask why his wings are hidden. It wasn’t uncommon for angels to hide their wings. It was a literal weight on the shoulders, an ever-present reminder of the responsibilities and precariousness of what it was like to be an angel. One grave mistake and you’d just fall to the other end of the Universe. 

“What’s your name?” 

Unfortunately for Lucas, this angel is pretty. Large eyes, dark hair that contrasts his pale skin. A small face, features close together and the epitome of otherworldly. Attractive too, and Lucas can’t turn away. He feels like a sellout, unable to control the urge inside him to immediately take his face into his hands. 

“Mark,” he responds. 

“Apostle legacy, huh?” Lucas stands up, and he has to look down a little to meet Mark’s eyes. “Lucas. Also known as God. So, sorry if things get a little busy and hectic here and we don’t get to properly show you around. We’re a little understaffed.”

“Heaven is really empty,” Mark ponders aloud. His statement examines the exterior, but he’s only looking at Lucas. 

It’s been a while since Lucas was showered with undivided attention, and he has to look down at his hands. “Yeah, it is. Heaven is empty, and all the angels are in Hell, since Armageddon. We barely managed to wrestle some of them back to our side, like Israel once did.”

Some couldn’t mean two. Mark wants to ask where the angels-playing-God that preceded him went, but he doesn’t think Lucas is allowed to tell him classified information on how they run Heaven so early on. Instead, he asks, “So… What exactly do you do around here?” 

At that, Lucas smiles wryly. “I decide if the world ends.” 

With a wave of his hand, an image of the world flashes, and Mark sees it all. The destruction, wickedness and vile actions of those on Earth. At the way Lucas can’t conceal his wince, Mark is glad he can’t see what Hell since he isn’t actually GOD. If he saw what they did in Hell to imprisoned angels...

“If you get tired, you can just end it, just like that,” Mark marvels. He stares down at his hands, envisioning how it must feel to be able to have the world at your command just like that. 

“Yes, when the world will collapse is purely up to the next God," Lucas comments absently. 

Mark hates his uninterested tone. Still, he has to ask— “And that's you?" 

"As of ten hours ago, yes. GOD is dead, and now I am God Number Four out of Six. I'm thankful they sent you so at least we have a back-up's back-up." He shoots Mark a mischievous smile, and Mark tries his best to stop falling without looking away. "Why? Do you want to give it a go?" 

"You? Or playing God?" Mark asks back. "Because I'm only interested in one of those things."

Lucas shakes his head, but he seems to glow brighter. Mark can’t believe how easily angels are swayed. He gestures to the space around him, to where Lucas is only watching people mundanely moving around. Not doing any sinful things, but just being.

“All this work, this watching and waiting that doesn't save anyone... It seems like a shabby job for God to do, don’t you think?” 

“Jeno could do it, too, but I could do you better,” Lucas says. He isn’t looking at Mark, pretending to be absorbed in the mayhem that was happening on Earth.  

Mark smirks, laughing at Lucas’ implications. Two could play this game. “Oh, really? Is that a promise?”

“What? Oh— no, I meant I could do you one better.” A red flush creeps up Lucas’ skin, and Mark just wants to reach out and touch. 

But he’s familiar with the long game, the one where you suppress every urge because you can't help but realize the fact that it’s generally regarded as wrong. It’s a recipe for downfall, an accumulation of greed rupturing and overflowing into sin. 

Mark is free to act on his urges eventually, unshackled by the responsibility of being an angel. Even in Heaven, the Holy place, Mark is no different. He deserves to have a little fun before he watches the place he once considered his home burn.

 

🕊️

 

HELL, NEAR PURGATORY

SECUNDUM ARMAGEDDON 50

“You get to call someone here,” Jeno says, looking up at Lucas’ face. He’s tending to Lucas’ wounds, laying his hands where what remains of his wings’ bone is digging into his skin. The healing prowess brings relief, but it stings twice as much when Jeno takes his hands off. 

“Why are you still with me, Jeno?” Lucas sighs, watching as another feather from his wing falls, swaying slowly until it hits the ground. “You could’ve been the next god. Continued the con.”

“It would’ve been nothing without you.” Jeno looks serious, but Lucas knows he’s proud of the compliment. The confidence in him, that even if Lucas was too weak to, Jeno could take it. But there’s something that bothers him, so he gathers the courage to ask: “Why Mark?” 

“We’re the same.” Lucas raises his chin, as if pointing to Mark. There's no one else but the two of them, though. “Me and him. At first we just wanted to help but… Isn’t it so humanly to fall into greed? Want to be the One who saves?

“Isn’t it so weak and humanly to crave being loved? That the love of God and the worship towards Him is not enough to fill that desire?” The way he stares at Jeno makes him feel cornered. Then Lucas smiles. “In that way, You and I are the same, too.” 

Lucas is expecting resistance, as all angels like to do, draw a line and get on their high horses. We’re not like them, the saviour complex would rebut. 

But all Jeno says is— “I think so too.” 

An admission of guilt. A wistful, anguished look that passes over Jeno’s face like a shadow speaks volumes to Lucas. “Where?” 

He’s not asking to convict Jeno of crimes that interfere with his heavenly duties. He’s genuinely curious. Where did the most reliable being in the Universe elope?

Jeno is transparent. Lucas has seen Jeno, the way his head whips around when anyone with light hair passes by in Hell even when all three of them in Heaven have dark locks. He’s seen the way Jeno’s eyes are always filled with longing. The way, unlike Lucas, he’s always looking for something in Hell. 

Really. Unlike Lucas. 

“Garden Gates. He’d always sneak in there just to see me. Usually we just talk. But it felt like he understood me. Even with his pretty devil smile.” His eyes are far away, and Lucas knows he’s reliving those precious moments. “That gate always hurt us. A permanent reminder that we would always be separated. I couldn’t get out, and even if I could, there was nowhere else to go. The only Saviour to give us an answer is dead.”   

“We’re not the same,” Lucas rebukes, his own superiority complex rising. Jeno didn't have something real. He never got to try. But Lucas— 

“Indeed,” Jeno agrees easily. “We aren’t.”

You didn’t get caught, Lucas thinks, and it’s bitter. He didn’t ask you to lay your life on the line. 

“You asked me why him, when all you see he did is ruin me,” Lucas starts. “He did so much more than that. He gave me a reason not to end the world. I see the good in the world, but he makes me see the good in me.”

Jeno is silent, and Lucas even doubts if he hears it for a moment, because he still has that distant look on his face. 

A few moments pass, before Jeno says, gently, “You still get to call.” 

Lucas knows Jeno already knows the answer, who Lucas wants to call, before he asks. Then he smiles at Lucas, and it’s mercy in its own way, an exoneration from the way Jeno always looked at him as the absolute. Admission that Lucas, too, was prone to fallacy. Ungodly. 

He is admitting that despite how painful it was to fall for Mark, he would do it all again. Because there was one person who saw past an angel with the allegiance to the Father, dead or alive, and just saw Lucas. 

Therefore circumstances change, but Lucas is always willing to put his life on the line.

In a way, Jeno is asking for permission, too. And if Jeno wants the chance that Lucas was able to take, a reason to roam the hallways and look for the demon he’s never got the chance to risk his entire being for, Lucas will give it to him.

 

“I want Mark.”

 

🕊️




HEAVEN

SECUNDUM ARMAGEDDON 35

Heaven is worse than Hell, this Mark believes. There is only anguish in Heaven. He cannot recognize it from how it was like when he was an angel. There had always been too many rules and too little room for mistakes. You cannot achieve the highest possible without breaking the ceiling. And Heaven is the ceiling. 

Mark thinks you cannot have accomplish anything without breaking the roof. From the way Heaven is running, it seems like his theory is right. 

Which means Lucas suffers. He isn’t made for this, and is genuinely at a loss about what to do. It must be exhausting, because you cannot save everyone. In Lucas’ case, it seems like he can’t even save anyone. 

“Letting people down is kind of my thing, Mark. So you should find yourself a new gig if you’re thinking of ever doing it like me, because Heaven can’t handle it,” Lucas mumbles.

Whoever wrote a song about how beautiful angels look when they cry must’ve never seen an angel cry, because in all his glory and beauty, Lucas is terrifying to look at. Mark has never seen an angel cry before either. When Mark was in Heaven, there was never a reason to. 

To be fair, there was still a God back then. Mark wonders if God when He existed wept without the angels knowing. 

Instead of pearls or diamonds, there’s blood flowing from his eyes. Because angels are celestials, most pure and holy, crying is weird for them. An indication of fault and sin, even if not their own. The red streaking is jarring against the way Luas glows, and so vivid against the tan of his skin.

“You’ve never let me down.” Mark says quickly, afraid to touch Lucas. Afraid that it will not only be red staining his cheeks, but Mark’s fingertips, a demonstration of all his transgressions.

“You’d do better than me,” Lucas says. “You haven’t gotten a single thing wrong here. As if you’ve handled Heaven-after-Hell before.” 

I break everything I touch. Mark wants to say, but the words dry up in his mouth. He wets his lips. You’ll be next. Just wait your turn. 

“You know, I heard that in Hell, they do a good job there,” Mark says instead.

“Are you trying to say I belong in Hell, Mark?” Lucas asks. He’s trying to laugh, but Mark takes that question very seriously. 

“Not at all,” Mark replies. He takes Lucas’ face in his hands. It is daunting to have the world in your hands, Mark knows that now, with the most powerful being in the Universe’s focus singled on him. Strangely enough, Lucas’ tears’ don’t leave a single streak of red on Mark's skin. 

You wouldn’t survive a day down there, Mark doesn’t say. You are too good, too pure, for a place where the only immortality is in immorality. You don’t deserve that. 

Now Lucas looks curious, tempted to gather all the information about the bottom of the barrel, where only chaos reigns and everything else is irrepressible. Mark has been one to exploit the system, and it has never been good. Hell has only been known to suck dry and leave anyone who isn’t careful for dead. 

Like Mark said, Lucas wouldn't survive a day there.

He wants to shut down this train of thought quickly, so he tries to cut Lucas off. “I could bring you, one day. I could take you to Hell.” 

“Why would you show me around?” Lucas asks, and there’s no suspicion in his voice, but there's a sudden cold feeling on the back of Mark's neck. “What would you know?” 

“I don’t know anything,” Mark says, voice steady. There’s no waver. He doesn’t want Lucas to know anything, to think any less of him. “I just think we could make ourselves at home there.” 

The thing is that as much as Mark wants to keep Lucas as his secret here, a being Mark has enjoyed in a slice of Heaven, a convoluted revenge plan that started with Mark falling from Heaven and ends with him destroying Heaven completely, he would rather always be with Lucas. 

Even if it was in the depths of Hell. Mark has always been more comfortable there. 

Lucas tilts his head to the side. “Good to know.” 

“But if meanwhile… When you need to… You can use me. It is only in your hands I can be well. You cannot hurt me, Lucas.”

“Even the immaterial can die in my hands,” Lucas says. He’s looking down at them, streaked with the same red dripping down his face. Mark wonders why his own hands are still clean. 

It’s a warning. It’s subtle, because Mark knows Lucas doesn’t want to scare Mark away. He can feel how much Lucas wants what Mark is suggesting. 

Funny how even the supreme being isn’t immune to want. He says, “You can destroy me, if you want. If you need something to break while you’re busy saving everyone else.”

Lucas looks hesitant, even though Mark knows he is willing and able. He takes two fingers and tilts Lucas’ chin up, forcing him to meet Mark’s eyes. “Don’t be shy. What do you want?”

“I’ve never been able to want anything on my own before,” Lucas says, and it sounds timid, like a confession.

The thing about angels, like Lucas, is this: they’ve spent their entire existence serving and worshipping God. They only exist to accelerate the doctrine and will of God. So Lucas, now on the receiving end of indefatigable devotion, doesn’t know what to do with this power. 

He needs an outlet, someone to exert unbridled strength over. To feel sovereign when everything else disobeys, when he feels like he cannot interfere in human and Hell affairs in order to remain impartial. Most of the time, the world is against Lucas. 

But when it comes down to it, no matter how much it refuses to, the entire universe — Heaven, Hell and Earth alike — serves God. 

Lucas is looking at Mark like he wants to eat him all up. Not at all subservient, but looks can be deceiving. 

A chill goes up Mark’s spine, and not for the first time since he’s stepped foot in Heaven, he gets the feeling that he’s the one in control. Like he could bend the will of the world, the future, past, and present. Like it belongs to him.

Mark knows that look in Lucas’ eyes. 

Lucas has decided to serve Mark. 


🕊️

 

HELL, NEAR PURGATORY

SECUNDUM ARMAGEDDON 51

Unlike Hell’s least favourite demon Crowley, who only vaguely sauntered down to Hell, Mark remembers falling very vividly. 

He doesn’t like thinking about it too much. It’s a trauma he’s never really gotten over — because really, who can say they’ve gotten for being sent to the fiery pits of Hell when they were literally Heaven incarnate? 

You could say Mark likes beings of authority. He has long grown past the irrational feeling of wanting to destroy them, content to stay by their side and occasionally pull some ropes from there. Because Mark has never been able to rise on his own, easily subdued. He was punished into the place of eternal suffering due to his pride — classic sin, but Mark was not a Lucifer copycat, thank you very much. 

Strangely enough, Mark never heard of Lucas until he was back in Heaven. He doesn’t understand why, when celestials who epitomize beauty usually have reputations that extend past the realm they’re in. Lucas should be no exception. 

Mark remembers Lucas in his arms, head pillowed on Mark’s thigh. The peaceful, fucked-out bliss on his face, a momentary escape from responsibilities. He had been taking Mark’s offer up often, and strangely enough, Mark had been catering to Lucas’ needs not with gratification about being needed by the most powerful being in the Universe. It’s a thick, warm feeling, unlike hot anger that filled Mark ages ago, but comfortable.

It was all new to Mark. Since falling from Heaven, Mark has only known to relish in pain and scheme in silence. 

Hell after Armageddon was triumphant, and Mark was there to witness it all. There should’ve been no escape, with Hell holding most of Heaven’s armies captive and torturing the angels in their hands. 

However, like Israel, a few angels managed to wrestle and escape, and Mark hated that. He made it his personal mission to retrieve every single angel with the will and power to keep the world going, to keep the universe from burning. 

But because the Devil wanted to see it play out, wanted to rip it from the unsuspecting angels’ hands when they thought they were able to rise from the ashes, he told Mark to wait. So Mark created the plan to infiltrate Heaven, to be good and understand how it worked in order to pull the rug from under them. 

It wasn't hard, considering there were only Lucas and Jeno left.

He never thought his attraction for Lucas would grow into genuine desire. That came too easy, with Lucas’ love for the world and unadulterated desire to save as many people as he could. Mark recognized his old self in that. Whenever Mark stared for too long, noticing all their similarities, that’s when he remembers his true calling. He need a part of hate to Lucas like himself. 

Now, with Mark once again standing outside Lucas’ cage, he knows he is beyond repair, beyond rehabilitation. 

He doesn’t deserve to be in the presence of the most beautiful being in the universe. A feeling of self-loathing that Mark has not experienced since being in Heaven creeps up on him, and Mark knows he needs to go. 

He already destroyed Lucas, why did he have the nagging feeling in his chest that made him want to bowl over and destroy himself

“You are going to regret this,” Jeno says. He comes out of Lucas’ cage, done putting his hands on Lucas, a form of healing. He has never spoken to Mark directly before, but he has always been keenly observing. 

Mark has been, too, but he’s not that curious. Still, he decides to humor Jeno. “I’ll regret what happened by my own hands?” 

Jeno shakes his head, and Mark laughs hollowly. “No way you think Lucas will devastate me. It is impossible for a forgotten God to ruin my life any more than I have ruined it. I think I will be fine, Jeno.”

He doesn’t look worried, only a resigned anger bubbling and threatening to spill over. If there was one thing Mark did admire about Jeno, it was his self-control. So different from Lucas, and even further from Mark.  

He would’ve made a great God. 

“Don’t fret about your personal safety. It’s not you they’re looking for. You can just walk over to our side and I’ll put in a good word for you, no questions asked.” Mark smiles, eyes flashing red for a moment. 

Jeno scoffs. “I’m not still here because they don’t want me, Mark. I’m only still standing here because I have someone like you. The only difference is that he would never place me in a position that would ruin me like you did.” 

“Are you sure about that?” 

A look of fear glazes over Jeno’s eyes for a moment, before his jaw clenches. Mark’s main job as a demon was to instill fear and doubt, and Jeno wasn’t about to fall for his game. 

His wings flutter as he turns, and a feeling of envy pangs in Mark’s chest. He remembers how he used to be like that, the right hand of God. If only he hadn’t wavered, if only he accepted his place, if only he hadn’t fallen in love with the dazzling face of God—

Mark stops himself from sighing, tearing his eyes away from the pure white of Jeno’s wings. 

“Lucas is looking for you,” is all Jeno says, before he's gone with a blink of an eye.

 

🕊️

 

 

HELL, NEAR PURGATORY

SECUNDUM ARMAGEDDON 51

“I’m sorry,” Lucas blurts upon seeing Mark. “I know you can’t be here, that they’re hunting for you right now.” 

Mark can’t believe how wrong Lucas is about things to do with Hell, and how he has the gall to lecture him even after knowing that this is Mark’s turf. 

“I’ve always loved looking at you,” Mark says instead, not bothering to correct Lucas. 

He reaches out but doesn’t touch, fingers barely skimming on Lucas' skin. If he thinks hard enough, he can recall how Lucas gasped when Mark sunk onto him, how Lucas’ grip on Mark’s thighs pressed red onto his skin, how hard he pushed until Mark thought he would break.

But now, Lucas ducks his head, avoiding the touch.

Mark deflates. “You called me here. Why are you shying away?” 

At the reminder, Lucas’ eyes snap up to stare into Mark’s. He wants to reach out and hold Mark, but the shackles still restrained him. “Anything you say can and will be held against you, so when you talk to them… Only say my name. Jeno— the angels— they’ll condemn you too, Mark.

“You need the deniability.”

“Do not do me any favours,” Mark rebukes. “I am also a sinner to you.”

“If you beg God for forgiveness, they will let you go. If you repent…” 

“You’re not God anymore. And I have been free from the moment you were taken down, because that’s all I was meant to do. Perhaps even made to do.” The way he looks at Lucas is scornful, resentful at how much he doesn’t understand.

I made you.”

Mark chuckles, but there’s no real mirth in it. “You didn’t create me. Some version of God that preceded you created me, and then banished me down to the dingiest place in the universe. And since then, whenever I’m here, I’m free.” 

He waves around to the surrounding, where demons stand watch. “You don’t see guards following me around, do you?” 

“I’m not a threat. You are.” Lucas’ tone tells Mark he doesn’t believe it.

Mark’s voice rises, not knowing how else to let Lucas know that he was being honest. “For what I did to you, I’m not at risk of being removed off the face of the universe, like you are. I’m celebrated, not condemned. Don’t you think that means something?

“You should hate me—” Mark says, and he’s so close to tearing out his hair. Instead, there are tears that fill his eyes, and Mark honestly can’t believe it. All because Lucas doesn’t understand the grave danger he’s in, and he doesn’t seem interested in helping himself. 

Mark doesn’t understand that to Lucas, none of that matters anymore. 

His higher purpose is Mark. 

“Is that all you have to say to me?” Lucas asks, his voice low. “Trying to convince me to turn my back on you when all I’ve done is hold you to the highest regard. Mark, can't you just say that despite all that, you love me and want to stay by my side?" 

Mark is silent for a long time. He’s thought about it a lot, moreso now than before. Finally, he says, “I cannot give you the answers that you want.”

“You want me to think of you as evil. Because that would make me a hero, and you get to preserve that image of me that’s pure and good and giving.” The chains clatter against each other, straining under Lucas’ pull. He wants so badly to hold Mark, to help him understand where he’s coming from. “But guess what? I’m none of that. I’m just an angel that made a mistake.

“I’m you, but unlike you, I think I deserve it.”

If there's one thing Mark knew, it was this: there were some people that couldn’t be saved. And if Mark really was Lucas, then Lucas didn’t deserve salvation, either. 

“You don’t know evil, Lucas. If I spilled my guts, the world will never look at you the same way. I was only in Heaven to give you all my love..." Mark trails a finger up Lucas's neck, and he has to visibly suppress a shiver. "So I can watch your face as I take it all away.”

No turning back. 

This exultant look on Mark’s face is new, but Lucas looks broken. Mark is torn between taking in all he’s done, all the torment he’s put Lucas through. But he doesn’t want to look, either, in agony from the fact that this was going to be his last memory of Lucas. 

Fractured, because of Mark. 

But the damage had been done. 

Not for the first time, but perhaps the last, Mark leaves Lucas. 

 

🕊️

 

PURGATORY

SECUNDUM ARMAGEDDON 53

The guards still won’t let Lucas out of his gyves when they move him through Purgatory to be judged. It’s only a formality, which he finds ridiculous. Until the end, Hell never failed to surprise him with their efficacy. 

Everyone knows what the sentence is going to be like. 

There’s just one thing Lucifer had feared, that has kept him bound and cuffed throughout his stay in Hell. That Lucas would tap into the strength that could move mountains, that allowed him to rule the Universe, even if for a while. The same strength that Samson summoned, pushing pillars and killing everyone, himself included. 

Still, he won’t exercise that power. He has no need to. He accepts that this is his fate. 

In the last moments, he just wonders if it was worth it. To have Mark in his arms for nearly two millenniums. 1999 years, on Earth’s count. To rule the Universe with Mark by his side.  

He had waited a very long time to be God. 

And so he was. But he wouldn’t change a single thing even if he had to do it again. 

Lucas closes his eyes, and for once, relishes in the fact that he is unclean.