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carry me home tonight

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May 15, 2010.

 

Sam wakes to the sun.

 

Just the sun, warm against his skin and so unlike hellfire, he smiles immediately.  He’s alone, but he knew that he would be, and so he doesn’t mind it.  He stretches, his muscles aching, and then he just rests, sheets comfortable against his bare skin.  His smile is still there, still in full force, and he’s beyond happy.  For once, everything is okay.

 

After he’s lounged for long enough, he dares look at the clock and sees it’s only about eight o’clock; he’s fairly certain Dean will still be asleep, given the option.  And so he dares pad out of his room after donning a pair of sweats and heading down the hall toward the bathroom.  The house is quiet, save for the sound of birds outside and the world waking up.  The water is hot on his skin, but not blistering, and he spends longer than usual just standing under the flow, eyes closed, enjoying this unnatural feeling of peace, until someone raps on the door with heavy knuckles.

 

“I gotta pee, man, hurry up.”

 

“You always have to pee,” Sam snaps back, just loud enough, and he can practically feel Dean’s shocked silence.  He pushes the door open, and his feet slap against the tiled floor, and Sam thinks for a second Dean is just going to stand there, too stunned to move.

 

“Is it really you?” he asks finally, his voice a whisper.

 

“Dude, you’re letting cold air in.”  And Dean laughs, a real, true Dean laugh.  Sam smiles and shuts off the water, reaching out to grab a towel before wrapping it around his waist and sliding the door back.  Dean is just standing there, grinning, and Sam grins back, pushing his hair out of his face.  “Hey,” he says, and his brother laughs again.

 

“Welcome back,” Dean says, stepping forward and pulling Sam into a hug that he’s been pining for.

 

After that, he goes to dress while Dean pees, but they meet up again in the kitchen, and their chatter is nonstop, making up for lost time.  Somewhere in there, Castiel appears, dressed only in a pair of low-hanging sweats and a t-shirt, which makes Sam do a double-take because, honestly, that’s a sight he never thought he’d see, especially Dean’s sweats and shirt.  It’s endearing, actually.

 

Sam sets about making eggs while Dean puts on the coffee, and he looks over in time to see his older brother curling his arms around Castiel and nuzzling into his neck.  “Good morning,” Dean whispers, pressing a soft kiss to his bare skin, “You look rested.”

 

“It’s nice knowing I’m not constantly sinning, that my Father approves of you,” he admits, turning enough that he can lean his head against Dean’s and rub his nose against his forehead before he drops a kiss there.

 

Sam smiles, looking away from the interaction and instead going about cutting up vegetables.  Bobby joins them after a while, grumbling the whole way until he’s greedily sipping at a steaming mug of coffee, much to the brothers’ amusement.  Castiel, however, blinks and straightens, his eyes unfocused.  He shivers after a moment, catching Dean’s attention, who looks at him worriedly.

 

“Sam,” Cas says slowly, and his eyes follow a beat behind, catching Sam’s curious gaze, “Lucifer is here, though he is—” Castiel breaks off, and they all watch in amazement as he looks down, a small smile curving his mouth, “He is nervous.”

 

Sam understands immediately, and he nods.  “Dean,” he says before putting down his knife.  Dean doesn’t even complain.

 

As Sam heads out, he forgoes shoes and instead just pads outside barefoot, enjoying the feel of the warm concrete beneath his feet.  He finds Lucifer near the Impala, one finger sliding along the back left window, eyes intent on the army figurines trapped there, and Sam smiles; he remembers Lucifer seeing those figurines and almost immediately relinquishing control, allowing Sam to drop his fist and step back toward the pit.  It had been both a terrifying and exhilarating moment, to know that the trust they’d put in one another was enough to pull them back out of Hell.

 

Sam doesn’t greet him vocally, but instead taps a finger on his shoulder before letting his hand trail downward, winding over his wrist and holding there steady, feeling the pulse there, so human, even without Nick.  “Dean told me I couldn’t play with his army guys anymore, and so I jammed one in the back of the car so that it would always be there because that was my side,” he says, and Lucifer smiles, still looking down at it.

 

Finally, though, he tears his gaze away, lifting to meet Sam’s eyes, and Sam frowns, angling his body so that he’s facing Lucifer.  “They know what we did,” he says softly, “They know what we were doing.  They don’t hold anything against you.”  Lucifer is still looking at him, still so unsure, fragile, almost.  “Hey,” Sam tries again, reaching forward and finding Lucifer’s hand, “I promise you, nothing will separate us, not Dean being a dick, not every monster in the world, clearly not the apocalypse, not Michael being a dick, nothing, okay?  You don’t need to be nervous about staying here.”

 

“It is not only that,” Lucifer admits, looking down for a moment, “Sam, though Heaven has been opened to me, I cannot live there.  It is no longer a home I find comfort in; that—is with you.”  And then Sam understands what he’s asking.

 

“You really think that, after everything, I would turn you away?”  When Lucifer doesn’t respond, Sam sighs and leans away, scrubbing a hand through his hair.  “I wasn’t just waiting for the end of the apocalypse to ditch you.  I’m right here, and I’m not going anywhere.”

 

It takes a moment, but Lucifer nods, the smallest movement, before he’s crowding into Sam’s space, and Sam laughs, catching his mouth in a firm kiss.  Lucifer threads his fingers into the back of Sam’s shirt and bunches them there, holding them tight together.  Sam lets him, lets him coax his mouth open, and keeps on kissing him, right there against the Impala, right there in Bobby’s backyard, and he doesn’t care.

 

When they find their way back inside, Bobby is in hysterics, laughing so hard they can hear it booming down the hall and as they open the door.  Sam’s afraid they’ll find something burning or burnt, but, when they enter the kitchen, Dean is slid down against the cabinets, holding his stomach as he laughs, and, on the floor, trapped in the archangel-grip of Gabriel, is Castiel, breathless with laughter as his older brother tickles.

 

Lucifer makes a soft sound from beside Sam, and he looks over to see him actually smiling.  Gabriel seems to hear him because he looks up and gives an exclamation of surprise.  Castiel drops the rest of the way to the ground with a grunt as Gabriel springs up, and Dean howls at Lucifer’s face as Gabriel pulls his brother into a tight hug.

 

“You made it,” Sam hears Gabriel whisper, and he knows this affection is far beyond the outward glance.

 

“Thank you,” Lucifer returns, and then they separate, something beyond anyone’s comprehension passing between them.

 

Eventually, Dean finds his feet while Cas glares noncommittally at him, and Bobby manages to only choke a little on his water when he tries to catch his breath, and that’s how their morning goes.

 

--

 

January 19, 2011.

 

“We’ve hunted one of these before,” Sam whispers as Dean lets out a soft noise of triumph.  The door swings inward as Dean looks over at him.

 

“Yeah, I remember.  It was disgusting.  God, and I was just getting used to being able to eat without bad images.  And then this.”

 

“Hey, it’s been a while since we hunted anything seriously monstrous.  It’s a nice change from demons.  You were going stir-crazy.”

 

“Mm,” he mumbles before they head in, and then they’re silent.  It takes them ten minutes to traverse the house before Dean heads downstairs to find Sam in the kitchen.  “Dude, I thought you said you didn’t see him leave.”

 

“He didn’t.  He has to be in here somewhere.  There’s a basement, but I was waiting for you.”

 

“Alright,” Dean sighs, and Sam arches an eyebrow when he puts down his things on the table and holds up his hands.  With an eye roll, Sam mimics him, and, moments later, Dean is cursing.

 

“Seriously, play without scissors once in a while, and you might actually win,” he comments as his older brother grabs his things and trudges off down the hall toward the bolted door.

 

“Maybe he’s down here for a reason,” Dean says even as he unbolts the door, and then it’s go time.  The smell is overpowering to the point that Dean breathes shallowly through his mouth, trying not to make too much noise as they slowly descend.  The light is already on, and he can hear something shuffling in the far corner.

 

He swallows thickly as he reaches the ground floor, and the shuffling stills.  “Who’s there?” a voice rings from the corner.

 

“We’re here to help,” Sam says, curving behind Dean and putting distance between them, enough to hold their ground.

 

“Yeah, so wasn’t the last white coat.”

 

Dean rolls his eyes and steps closer, casting Sam a quick glance.  Sam nods, and Dean veers off, trying to catch the person in the light.  “We’re not white coats,” Sam assures, “We’re people with knowledge in these kinds of things.  We want to help you.”

 

“Yeah, and that’s what the last hunter said.”

 

Both of them freeze at this, looking at each other.  “What was his name?” Sam says before he drops his gaze back to the corner.

 

Her,” the person spits out, and Dean blinks.  It’s a man, definitely, but he’s far beyond help, if the puddle of blood at his feet is anything to go by.  “Her name was Jo.”

 

--

 

Castiel lets the now unconscious human drop to the floor, easing their pain with a quick touch, and then he heads toward the thrum of Lucifer’s grace, finding the archangel two rooms over, listening curiously to the litany of praises pouring from the girl’s mouth.  Castiel watches, curious not by the words but by Lucifer’s reaction.

 

The girl falls quiet suddenly, and Castiel’s eyes flick to Lucifer’s hand, where it’s curled slightly.  “Are you quite finished?” the angel asks, his voice soft and smooth.  “No more of that,” he says when she tries to speak again, “I’m sick of your words, but—” here he pauses to smirk and step closer, his knee bending as he goes gracefully down, eyelevel with the girl, and her eyes widen in awe, “—I will spare you because I have a mission for you.  Do you accept?”  She nods furiously, lips moving in quick succession, which Lucifer glares at, just the tiniest wrinkle of his eyes.  “I told you to stop,” he growls, his fingers closing, and the girl screams, blood bubbling out of his mouth.  The demon inside her pours outward, but Lucifer latches a hand on it, and the black smoke shivers outward, a bursting of energy before settling before him.  “Tell your brothers and sisters that I am coming for every one of you.  None of you will survive my wrath,” he whispers, and the smoke struggles for a moment before Lucifer releases it, and it disappears through one of the vents.  “Brother,” Lucifer says after a moment, rising from his knee, “You seem conflicted.”

 

Castiel shrugs, looking toward the vent.  “I understand why, but—it’s just another demon to kill later.”

 

“True, but now they’ll be at least a little sport.”  Lucifer turns, a small grin turning up the side of his mouth.

 

“For you, archangel,” Castiel reminds, and Lucifer actually allows the grin to grow.  He won’t admit it to Sam, despite how many times the human asks him, but he finds Castiel appealing, and he’s grown fond of the small angel and his quick words.  “You know,” Castiel begins after a moment, and Lucifer follows his gaze to one of the bloodied humans, “It’s quite easy to make sure the vessel lives.”

 

It’s something Sam would say, albeit more eloquent and less vicious, but Lucifer hears the ring of Sam’s voice regardless.  He doesn’t respond, but Cas doesn’t expect him to.  He knows he’s made his point, just by the way Lucifer’s gaze doesn’t turn to disgust at the thought of saving humans.  They both disappear with a flutter of wings by unspoken agreement, and they reappear outside Bobby’s house where they can see him leaning in the kitchen, talking on one of the phones.

 

It occurs to Castiel that they can’t live here forever, that this is an in-between period.  Dean and Sam had been able to do it before, just the two of them, but it’s not enough for two humans, an angel, and an archangel with frequent big brother visits.

 

“Bobby,” Lucifer greets as they make their way in.

 

“Boys,” Bobby returns before yelling something rather obscene at whoever’s on the opposite line and hanging up.  “Fucking cops,” he grumbles.

 

“Easy hunt?” Cas questions.

 

“Fucking vamps, think they’re so mighty,” he says, and Castiel smiles softly, “Got something for you boys, though.  One, they found the Rugaru, but it’d already feasted, and Sam was kind of evasive about the details, so I’m assuming something happened.  Two, this.”  He brandishes a newspaper, and Castiel takes it, angling it so Lucifer can look.

 

“Did you know about this?” he voices quietly, chancing a glance upward.

 

Lucifer nods.  “I don’t have to answer, but I know when it happens.”

 

“Unlike a demon, which is what is probably causing the uproar because people are frustrated by the spells not working.  But it made the paper?” Castiel directs the question at Bobby, who nods.

 

“This isn’t the first time,” Lucifer admits, “Hayden is very small, but many—followers,” he spits the word, “—have settled there.  They claim that the heat is like hellfire,” he finishes with a snort, “Which, of course, is incredibly untrue, but they’ve been trying to summon me for centuries.  Occasionally, it will make the bigger newspapers because they’ll lash out, dramatize their frustration with sacrifices and other, more violent, spell work.”

 

“So, this isn’t demons?”

 

“Mostly, no.  I’m fairly certain that there are demons there, old ones, but the humans know about them and invite them in.  It’s an—interesting place.”  Castiel lifts an eyebrow, and Lucifer matches it.  Castiel shrugs.  “Alright,” Lucifer says after a moment, “But I wish to seek my brother.  He’ll want to join us.”  Castiel waves a hand in dismissal, and Lucifer is gone before Bobby can blink.

 

“Brother like Gabriel?” Bobby queries.  When Cas nods, Bobby laughs.

 

--

 

January 20, 2011.

 

When Sam pulls into the salvage yard, the sky is dark and Dean is quiet.  “It was just a thought,” Sam says after a moment, once the Impala is settled for the night.

 

“Yeah, I know, and it makes sense,” Dean sighs before pushing open his door and pocketing his keys.  Sam gets out after him, looking over the top at him.  “Just—you know—I hate leaving Bobby all alone.”

 

“Dude, he was alone for years before we invaded, and we wouldn’t even be that far.”

 

“You make it sound like you already have one picked out.”

 

“Well,” Sam says with a shrug, following Dean toward the house, “I mean, I’ve done some research, looked for suitable places.  And it’s not like we’d be far away.  We’d still be in the same freaking city as Bobby.”

 

“Suitable places,” Dean grumbles, pushing open the door and heading inside, “And how much do these suitable places cost?”

 

“Well, there’s this one place,” Sam trails off, shrugging when Dean throws him a look, “Just say you’ll come check it out with me.”


“Yeah, whatever, make a plan.  Bobby!”

 

“You know, it’s like a friggin’ circus act!” Bobby shouts from somewhere in the house, “Two of you leave, and then two of you come back!  I think your boyfriends are going to be out of reach for the next few days!”

 

“Where’d they head to?” Sam calls as Dean comes out of the kitchen and into the living room, shaking his head.

 

“Hayden, Arizona for a bunch of devil-worshipping freaks led by demons!  Apparently, they’ve been there for quite a few centuries!”

 

“I’ll check upstairs,” Sam says before heading up while Dean checks the basement.

 

“Bobby!  Where are you?” Dean growls out after minutes more of frustrated searching.

 

“Crapper,” Bobby says from the top of the stairs, sending an amused glance down at Dean, who rolls his eyes.

 

“Hey,” Dean says when he reaches the top, stopping there and causing Bobby to halt, as well, “Do you hate us living here?”

 

“You’re a pain in my ass, and you take up all my room, but no.  You know you’re welcome here, son.”

 

“Yeah.  Would it bug you if we weren’t here?”

 

“Sam, what have you been putting in his head?”  Dean smiles when Bobby walks off.

 

“What?”  Sam appears in the living room where Dean is trailing Bobby.  “Oh, well, uh—we were just thinking—you know—with the angels, maybe we should be looking for a place of our own.  We can’t be camping out in our old rooms forever.  We figured you’d like the space, especially—” he breaks off to look at Dean, who is suddenly wide-eyed, but Sam trudges on, ignoring his brother, “—especially if there might be others that would find this place useful.”

 

“What the hell are you talking about, boy?”

 

“Ellen,” Dean says abruptly, “and Jo.”

 

Bobby blinks, and he’s quiet for a moment before he speaks, “This is about the Rugaru.”

 

“He talked to Jo, Bobby.  He says she escaped, but only because another hunter who looked just like her showed up halfway through to help her.”

 

“But they’re—”

 

“Dead, yeah,” Sam nods, “Or maybe not.  I mean, we know they died, we went back to check later, but maybe something happened, maybe somehow they were brought back.”

 

“To what effect, though?” Dean challenges, not for the first time.

 

“How are we supposed to know?” Sam snaps, and it’s become like a dance between them already, “It could be anything.  We just need—”

 

“—to put our feelers out,” Bobby finishes, already heading toward his phones in the kitchen.  For the next few hours, they all spend calling different contacts and working favors, but they come up short, and the night is drawing into an early morning when Bobby finally calls it quits.  “We’ll pick it up in the morning, guys.”

 

“Uh, actually,” Sam starts, casting his brother a glance, “Dean and I were going to look at an open house about thirty minutes away.  We won’t be gone long.”

 

Bobby looks at each of them for a moment before nodding, “Yeah, okay.”

 

After that, they all part ways, and Sam falls onto his bed once in his room.  Just thinking about having his own place, his real own room, and he’s smiling.  He loves Bobby, he does, but the idea of sharing a house with his brother, a place of their own, is beyond appealing.

 

He only stays there a few moments before he pulls himself up and starts undressing until he’s left only in a t-shirt and his boxer briefs.  He heads out of his room and down the hall to brush his teeth and wash his face, and he meets Dean there, as per usual.  They chat for a few minutes, mindless, and then Sam’s padding back down the hall with his brother, parting ways with a soft goodnight.  It’s a routine they’ve developed over the years, no matter where they are, always talking in the morning and at night, always shoving elbows in the bathroom, always checking for signs of distress on each other’s faces.

 

When Sam enters his room, he’s greeted by an image that goes straight to his groin.  He slips in and shuts the door, arching an eyebrow at the angel on his bed.  “I thought you were in Arizona,” he says quietly, swallowing thickly.

 

“Oh, I am.  In the form of a snake.  Gabriel’s having a little fun; he said I wasn’t needed if I had things I might want to attend to,” Lucifer replies, shrugging.  The movement lifts his wings, and Sam catches a glimpse of his bare feet before they disappear beneath black feathers again.

 

“Things, hm?” Sam murmurs, stepping forward slowly.

 

“Unless, of course, you’re busy.”

 

“I might be.”  He stops by the edge of the bed, one hand flitting forward almost subconsciously and threading through the gorgeous feathers, thumb stroking along the muscle.  Lucifer’s eyelids flutter at the attention, his mouth dropping open the slightest.  He fists his fingers and tugs, emitting a soft noise from the angel.  “Do you have to be back soon?” he whispers, leaning forward and opening his mouth against the muscle, biting lightly.  The muscle tenses under his mouth, and a shiver runs through the strong wings before Sam leaves a wet kiss there and straightens.

 

“Gabriel will contact me when I’m required, but the snake should entertain them for a time.”

 

Sam steps back, pulling his hand from the feathers so that he can use them to pull off his t-shirt.  Immediately, Lucifer’s right wing flares out, feathers ghosting along his skin.  The sensation sends a thrill through him, and he finds himself leaning into it, seeking it out.  And then a laugh is pushing out of him as Lucifer slips one sharp end beneath the waistband of his boxer briefs and tugging down.

 

And then the other wing unfolds, and Sam’s laughter dies instantly.  Lucifer is spread out for him, his legs crossed one over the other, one hand settled in his lap, the other petting through his left wing slowly, softly, and his eyes dark as they bore into Sam’s.  The right wing pushes against Sam’s back, lightly, coaxing, and Sam lets himself be drawn onto the bed where he straddles Lucifer’s lap and takes the hand there and settles it on his thigh.

 

Lucifer cants his hips upward, and Sam groans brokenly at the feel of his skin, hard and wanting, sliding along him.  “Lucifer,” he breathes before he’s pushing down and capturing his mouth in a fierce kiss, pushing his lips open with his tongue and devouring him, needing him.  Lucifer takes it, allows Sam to push and pull at him, demanding, but then he’s sliding one slick hand down his back, and Sam knows that smell.  “You were waiting for me,” Sam groans, arching against Lucifer’s touch, “You were in here pleasing yourself while I was down the hall, weren’t you?”

 

Yes,” Lucifer growls even as Sam darts one hand along his wing to seek out the gland there.  He finds it when Lucifer’s fingers drag along Sam’s ass, slipping between, pressing lightly at his hole.  He squeezes the gland, and Lucifer’s body locks under the pressure, a stuttering moan ripping from his throat.  “Sam.”

 

Lucifer pulls them up, and Sam clings to him as his wings buffet a great gust of wind in the room, and then the archangel’s back is pressed to the wall at the head of Sam’s bed.  He squeezes the gland again, mouth seeking out the fiery heat of Lucifer’s, and he drowns his moan there as Lucifer stretches him.

 

“God, hurry, please, I want you inside me,” Sam mumbles when he pulls away, panting and pushing down against Lucifer’s hand.


“Turn around,” Lucifer growls, teeth nipping at his jaw.

 

Sam obeys immediately, his long limbs ungraceful but needy, and he rises onto his knees, thighs tensing as Lucifer curls one hand around his hips, holding him there.  Three fingers slip inside him again, scissoring him open, and Sam’s head drops forward.  “Please,” he begs, and his angel responds with a sharp bite along his spine.

 

His tongue and teeth dart around his back until Sam is being lowered onto his cock, filled with his angel.  He drops his head back onto his shoulder, groaning softly.  Lucifer’s wings flutter again, sending papers scattering through the room, and his fingers press hungrily on Sam’s hips.

 

He moves with Sam, pushing him up and pulling him back down, chasing after him, and Sam reaches his hands out to fist in Lucifer’s wings, holding tight as the angel fucks up into him, quick and desperate.  “Sam,” he gasps, breathing his name into his neck in between groans and wet kisses.  “Oh, Sam.”

 

Sam removes his right hand, fists his left hand tighter, and he curls his fingers around his throbbing cock, moaning and clenching around Lucifer.  He presses back, presses into Lucifer’s chest, rocks down onto him, begs for him, and he strokes himself in quick, hard jerks, his body and blood on fire; it’s the only time he chases after the feeling of this hellfire.

 

Lucifer’s left hand suddenly disappears, and the change in weight is startling enough that Sam almost questions it until he feels it against the flat of his back between his shoulder blades, and he allows himself to be pushed forward, giving in to the soft request of pressure.  He holds himself up on one elbow, knees bent, and Lucifer’s left hand finds it home again, his fingers searing.  The angle glides every thrust over his prostate, and Sam keens at the feel, his cock disappearing in the circle of his hand, begging for the heat of the devil.

 

Lucifer,” he groans suddenly, his voice wrecked, and Lucifer’s mouth lands on his spine with a loud noise, kissing and biting.  Blinding heat tugs low in Sam’s belly, and he chases after it, chases after Lucifer filling him up, and he’s so close, at the very edge, when Lucifer growls his name, his voice fierce and heavy, his hips slapping against Sam’s ass and stilling.  His teeth sink into Sam’s skin, just that side of pain, and Sam gasps, his orgasm shattering him.

 

They stay like that, panting and shaking, until Lucifer pulls away, one hand ghosting over Sam’s lower back.  He pulls Sam with him, falling against the bed and cradling Sam in his arms.  He cleans them and the wet spot with a flick of his fingers, and Sam breathes gratitude and love into his shoulder, kissing his bare skin tiredly.

 

“You have to go, don’t you?” he mumbles, and Lucifer presses a kiss to his forehead.

 

“I do,” he murmurs, “I’ll be gone tomorrow, as well.  This city needs to be stopped.”

 

“How much longer do you have?”


“I’m on borrowed time.”

 

“Okay.”  Sam pushes himself up to kiss Lucifer on the mouth.  “Be careful.”

 

“Where will you be tomorrow?” Lucifer asks innocently, his hand moving again, and he’s clothed.

 

“I can’t tell you.  It’s a surprise.  So don’t go rooting around in my head,” he says, his voice sharp but his eyes soft.  He nuzzles into Lucifer’s neck and sighs.  Lucifer’s last kiss is chaste and tender, but, when Sam opens his eyes, he’s gone, and Sam is tucked under his blankets, sleep already heavy on his eyes.

 

--

 

January 21, 2011.

 

Dean lets him drive.

 

Sam’s surprised at first, but then he just shrugs and slides into the driver’s side, and, when Dean slides in next to him, he’s actually looking a little relaxed.  “Dude, what is up with you?” Sam comments after a few minutes of content silence; it’s kind of frightening how easy his brother seems.

 

“Hey, you got your booty call last night, I got mine this morning,” he says lightly, shrugging, and Sam nearly crashes the car.

 

What?” he splutters.

 

“Oh please,” Dean snorts, “Don’t think I didn’t know what you were up to last night.  The walls aren’t exactly soundproof, Sammy.  And don’t even pretend that’s not exactly why both of them showed up, though I will admit I was kind of surprised seeing Cas this morning.  Didn’t think he had it in him; I’ll have to thank your devil of a boyfriend.”  He laughs a beat later, realizing his words, and Sam rolls his eyes.

 

The rest of the drive is relaxed and fun.  They chat the morning away, windows down and enjoying the over-the-speed-limit breeze.  Finally, though, Sam finds the turn he’d read in the directions, and he takes it, to which Dean straightens a little and looks around.  They’re heading down some dirt road, completely encompassed by trees that stand tall like guards, but the road is smooth and easy to traverse.

 

“This would be a bitch in the winter,” Dean comments.

 

“Everything is a bitch in the winter with this car,” Sam shoots back, glancing Dean’s way.

 

“True.”

 

The road isn’t long, and the trees break off suddenly where the house sits on the edge of a small hill of rocks, the water of Lake Superior frozen under a massive sheet of ice.  Dean makes a noise of approval as Sam kills the engine, and they get out at the same time a woman in a suit steps down from the porch.  The house sits with its back against the trees that curve around to the right, angled toward the road but still with a beautiful view of the lake.

 

It’s two stories, two identical sides broken by a flat roof.  A porch wraps around the entire front and left side, and a small balcony sits above the door, between the two slanting roofs.  From the outside, the two opposite sides are identical: large bay windows with black trimming on the second floor and regular windows on the first.  The middle contains the door and two sets of windows on the first floor while the second holds the balcony and three sets of windows.  It’s elegant, with grey siding, black roofing, and black trimming, and Sam is more in love than when he’d seen it online.

 

“Well?” he whispers as they head forward.

 

“Damn,” Dean replies, and Sam smiles.

 

“Hi,” the woman greets when they reach each other, and they shake hands, “You must be the Winchesters.  Glad you could make it.  My name is Amelia.  Shall we?”

 

“Yeah, of course.”

 

They follow her inside to a small foyer, and she leads them through to the right.  “The previous family used this room as a larger living room.  It was originally two separate rooms, but they broke down the middle wall.  As you can see, they’ve long since left,” she says, explaining the empty rooms.  The walls are a rich, dark red with slightly transparent, lightweight black curtains.  “They left some of the furnishings up because they didn’t have need of them anymore, and they thought they looked appropriate for the house.  Over here, we have the dining room,” she continues as she leads them further into the house and through a small opening.  “It’s not as large as some, but they had three children and managed quite nicely.  Through here is the kitchen.”  A small doorway leads them into a kitchen smaller than Bobby’s, but with a little room off to the side, which Amelia immediately launches into explanation, “The previous owners broke down the kitchen and created this area for big breakfasts and the such, Sunday mornings before church,” she smiles, and Dean suppresses a snort, “Through here is the family room, something akin to the living room, but it’s a little more relaxed.  The previous owners actually transformed it into a library, as you can see from the walls.”  The walls, which have been built into bookshelves; it’s incredibly reminiscent of Bobby’s.

 

She leads them back through to the foyer.  “As you can see, the ceilings of both the foyer and the dining room are open to the upper floors.  There is also a small half-bathroom over here, to the right, though it’s the only one on the first floor.”  After they’re finished looking around, she leads them up the stairs to the left, and that’s what sells it.

 

Two master bedrooms are included on the second floor, on the opposite sides, both with master bathrooms.  There are also two smaller bedrooms which the boys can see themselves breaking down and building into rooms of use for hunting.  They spend a fair amount of time upstairs, and Amelia leaves them to look around when they wander toward one of the master bedrooms.

 

“Dude,” Dean says once they’re alone, shaking his head and going over to one of the bay windows to look out at the lake, “This is insane.  How did you even find this place?”

 

“I told you, I’ve been researching.  So?  You think we could do it?”

 

“I mean… yeah.  There’s gotta be some sort of catch, though.  I mean, come on, this place is legit, and you said it was affordable.”

 

“More than.  I know, I was wondering that, too.  Maybe we should ask her?”

 

“Watch it be haunted,” Dean mutters, leaning into the window and looking out.

 

When they head back downstairs, Amelia is in the foyer, straightening a few pamphlets.  She smiles widely when they make their way down.  “So?  Seems like a beautiful place, doesn’t it?” she says, but they can both see the waver in her smile.

 

“Incredible,” Sam agrees, “Seems a little like a fantasy, actually.”

 

“Well,” Amelia says with a shrug.

 

“What happened here?” Dean asks bluntly, and Amelia’s smile fades into a frown.

 

She swallows, looking away from them for a moment.  “There’s a reason this place has been empty for so long, a reason it’s so cheap,” Sam says, catching her eye.  She nods.

 

“The previous owners were—well, they were interesting,” she admits, folding her hands together nervously, “They were so happy when they first moved in, though they were wary.  The owners before them, a happy couple with a newborn baby, called the police one night, panicking, saying there was someone in their house.  When the police arrived, the woman and baby were—dead,” she finishes, looking away again, “The husband was sitting outside, covered in their blood.  He couldn’t remember anything.  So, the previous owners, they moved here, with their three children, and they were fine for three years, comfortable as could be.  Then, one night, the same night, the police answered a frightened call from one of their daughters.  When they arrived, the husband was sitting outside—” she breaks off, finally meeting their gaze again, “—I didn’t believe the reports from the first incident.  I mean, I’ve worked with this house for years, and when they told me what they’d found with the first husband, I wouldn’t believe them.  They said—they said his eyes were black, and that, when they—when they ran tests in the hospital to see if something was wrong with him, they found—sulfur in his blood and this strange burn on his arm.  I didn’t believe it, but then I—I saw the second husband, and everything was the same.  I’m—I’m sorry.  Usually I don’t—I don’t tell the whole story like that.  I don’t know why I did,” she says quickly, shaking her head and looking away.

 

“Sam,” Dean hisses, grabbing his brother’s arm, “Do you remember when that demon possessed you?  The binding burn he put on your arm?”  Sam nods slowly, then his eyes widen in understanding.  “Exactly,” Dean says, angling away from Amelia and keeping his voice low, “We can’t get possessed anyway, and we know how to ward demons off.  Not to mention your boyfriend is a freaking archangel.  We—”

 

“Look,” Amelia says suddenly, turning, and Dean turns, as well, “I understand if you don’t want this place.  I’ve researched all those symptoms, and I know—I mean, I—I think I know what they mean, and it’s okay.  I’m sorry—I shouldn’t have—”

 

“Amelia,” Sam cuts her off, “It’s okay.  Trust me, we’ve heard far worse before.  What you saw, what you researched, you think it was a demon, right?”  Amelia’s eyes go wide, and Dean hits Sam.

 

“Dude.”

 

“Shut up,” Sam says, stepping forward, “You’re right.  It was a demon.  However—” he holds up a hand as she takes a step back, “—we, Dean and I, we hunt those kinds of things.  Demons, ghosts, witches, you name it.  We, uh—we’re protected against demons.”  He reaches up to tug down the collar of his shirt, and she gapes at the tattoo.  “Honestly, we’re probably the only people that could live here and be safe.”

 

They expect her to run or to demand they leave, but, suddenly, Amelia is letting out a short laugh, grinning.  “I don’t believe it,” she says, shaking her head, “You’re—you’re—I knew I recognized you.  Winchester,” she says, stepping forward, “You’re Sam and Dean Winchester.”  When they just stare at her, she puts a hand on her chest, “Mary Winchester was my college roommate.  She was—she was Mary Campbell back then, but I went to her wedding.  You were already born,” she motions to Dean, “You have the same freckles, as bizarre as that sounds.”

 

A silence settles over them for a moment before Dean breaks it, “You knew our mom?  Sam, I thought—I thought you said—”

 

“Yeah, I thought so, too.”

 

“Dead?” Amelia provides, and their jaws drop as they look over at her, “Yeah.  Well, Mary didn’t really trust a lot of people, but she said there was something about me, something that I saw in you two, actually, which is why I think I told you everything, and she trusted me.  So, when her father died, when that deal was made to bring John back, she told me that there would be a day that I would have to forget she’d ever existed.  Four days after she died, John showed up on my doorstep with a letter from Mary.  Trust me, it’s been hell escaping whatever it was that was after Mary and everyone she knew, but here I am.  Oh, and, nice tattoo,” she adds, pulling up the hem of her suit jacket to reveal an identical one on her hip.

 

“Hold on,” Dean says, shaking his head once and holding up a hand, “What exactly did our mom see in you?”

 

Amelia lifts an eyebrow and grins, “A fellow hunter.”

 

“You’re a hunter?” they both say at the same time.

 

“Well, sometimes.  Mostly, I sell real estate after I’ve kicked out all the evil.  The one in this house, though—you know, I’ve been waiting for hunters to live here for a long time because I just can’t figure out what the hell kind of demon it is and how to get rid of it.  Nothing seems to work.  At least, that I know.  I’m no Winchester.  Wow,” she says, smiling, “I can’t believe it.  In the flesh, Sam and Dean.  You boys are old.  Can I get you a beer?” she adds as she clicks past them, heading through the library and into the kitchen.

 

Three hours and a six-pack later, they’ve each told their stories and caught each other up.  And, somewhere in there, they’ve discovered another ally, another friend, another hunter, one who offers to head over in her pick-up tomorrow and help them move.  And that’s exactly what happens.

 

Lucifer and Castiel don’t return that night and won’t answer their phones the next morning, and so the four of them, Bobby, Amelia, Dean, and Sam pack up their respective cars and make the journey over.  They work on warding the house after they’ve unloaded everything, and then Amelia and Bobby hang out on the porch while Sam and Dean set up the house.

 

“Dude, we’re so domestic, it’s sickening,” Dean says as they’re lugging in the last of the boxes.

 

Sam’s about to respond when Dean’s phone rings.  He fishes it out, dropping the box on the stairs as he answers it, “Cas?”

 

“Where are you?” Castiel demands, sounding slightly panicked.

 

“With Amelia Williams, see her?”  Amelia shrieks from downstairs, and Dean rolls his eyes.  “Yeah, apparently,” he grumbles, ending the call and dropping the phone back into his pocket.  They leave the boxes at the top of the stairs before heading down together, where Bobby is explaining in clipped sentences.

 

“Thanks for the warning,” he growls when they exit the house.  Cas is staring up at the house with a cocked head and a curious expression, but Lucifer has eyes only for Sam, who can feel the pressure of his grace, soft and wondering, warm against his soul.  Sam lets him in, and Lucifer understands.

 

“It’s ours,” he says to Castiel before walking forward, but, when he does, he reveals one of the two people standing behind them, both of which have their guns trained on him.

 

“Jo,” Dean gasps from behind Sam, and Bobby stops in the middle of a sentence, turning.  “Ellen,” he says a second later, hurrying down the stairs.  Sam starts to but finds he cannot, and, quite suddenly, the soft pressure of Lucifer’s grace is opened up into a roaring storm of rage.  Sam pushes against the force, but Lucifer doesn’t relent until he’s standing in front of Sam.

 

“They don’t believe you are acting of your own free will,” he tells Sam, his voice low and angry.

 

“And holding me here is certainly going to help that.  Let me go,” Sam snaps, retracting back into himself, pushing away the glow of Lucifer’s grace.  The angel stares at him for a moment before stepping to the side, and Sam hurries past him, over to where Dean is hugging them tightly.  Despite moving on his own, Ellen still steps back when Sam approaches, her grip retightening on her gun.

 

“Ellen,” Bobby tries, but she shakes her head.

 

“The devil, Sam?” she spits, reaching for Jo with a shaking hand, “How do we know it’s you?”

 

Castiel opens his mouth, but Dean sends him a quick look, shaking his head once, and he nods, allowing Dean the floor, “Ellen, honestly, I don’t really know how to prove it to you.  I mean, that’s Sam, that’s my brother.  Lucifer is not inside of him.  Didn’t they explain what happened?”

 

“Briefly,” Jo says, eyes fixed on Dean, “They said Sam let him take over to lock him back in the pit, but that it was all part of a plan.  They said that God saved them.”

 

“It’s a really long story,” Bobby admits, sighing, “But so isn’t your sudden return to life, I imagine.”

 

“Not really,” Jo says, shrugging, “We don’t know much.”

 

A heavy silence falls over the group before Bobby nods.  “Boys, inside.  Come on, all of you.  Amelia, uh—”

 

“I should get going anyway.  You have a lot story-telling to do, it seems, and I’ve already heard some of it, so,” she finishes with a shrug, already heading toward her truck, “Sam, Dean, I’ll catch up with you later.  Be good.”

 

They wait until Amelia is driving off before Dean sighs and palms his face.  “Come on,” he murmurs, motioning to Castiel even as Sam trudges off, stepping right around Lucifer and storming into the house.  “Sorry, man,” Dean throws an apologetic shrug Lucifer’s way before he and Castiel head in after Sam, and then the archangel follows them, frowning.

 

“Brother,” he says suddenly, and Castiel stops immediately, bewildered at the familial usage.  He turns, ready to speak, but the archangel steps forward, his brow furrowed.  “There is a way—” he begins softly, blue eyes blinking down to meet Cas’ curious gaze, “—a way to prevent Sam and Dean from ever being used as vessels again.”

 

“Which would also prove Sam was—Sam,” Castiel concludes, “Can you do it?  I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

 

“You’re too young,” Lucifer says fondly, and Castiel is shocked further by a small smile, “But my brothers and I, we can accomplish it.  Though, with Dean, there would be—complications.”

 

“Complications?” Castiel repeats, and Lucifer just gazes steadily at him until Castiel nods.  “At least you can do it for Sam, and, that way, Ellen and Jo will believe him.”

 

“I will speak to Michael.”

 

“Lucifer—”

 

“Castiel, it is the only way.  You have given them sigils, which was a mighty gift, even from one so young, but this will protect them not only from being found but from being used.”

 

“And the consequences of an angel that tries?” Castiel queries, dropping his voice when Dean arrives in the doorway, a question already forming.

 

“Sent back to Heaven.”

 

“What are you feathery friends talking about?” Dean demands, and Castiel turns.

 

“Go back in the kitchen,” he orders, arching an eyebrow when Dean doesn’t comply.

 

“Fine,” Dean grumbles, turning, and then, “Sam, I’ve been domesticated, and it sucks,” as a whine once he’s in Sam’s vicinity again.  Castiel smiles to himself before turning back to Lucifer.

 

“Do you want to wait for them?” he asks, nodding toward the trio outside.

 

“I will mark Sam.  You will collect them,” Lucifer says before stepping around Castiel and approaching the kitchen.  He stops in the doorway, looking over at Sam.  His grace is like a battlefield inside him, dark and angry, tainted by the way Sam has walled himself away, sealed his soul away from Lucifer’s touch, steeled his face so that no emotion might betray.  “Sam,” he says quietly, and his human tenses before turning, setting a beer down on the island as he goes.

 

What?” Sam snaps, and Lucifer visibly flinches, eyes sad.

 

He takes a tentative step inside, and Sam glowers.  “There is an old Enochian symbol,” Lucifer says, averting his eyes and looking instead through the room to the left where the view of the lake is most prominent and beautiful, “It will shield you from any angel, no matter their strength, from ever using you as a vessel ever again.  It cannot be removed once it has been written, and it must be done by the vessel’s true angel.”  The brothers understand this implication at once, and Dean starts to speak until Lucifer continues, “I wish to give this to you, Sam,” here he pauses and looks up again, trembling, “And I will demonstrate its effects in front of your friends so that they might believe you.”

 

“Effects?” Sam repeats, his voice hard and tight.

 

“Should an angel attempt to enter your body, even if invited, they will be sent back to Heaven.  Once there, I will seek out my brother, Michael, and I will return with him so that your brother may be protected, as well.”

 

Dean has half a mind to remind Lucifer that Michael wants nothing more than to wear him, but he keeps his thoughts to himself, watching the silent passage between his brother and angel.  “Okay,” Sam says finally, nodding once, “Where?”

 

“It is generally written on the wrist.”  Sam nods again, and Lucifer crosses the room in slow strides, his footsteps silent and his movements fluid.  Sam holds out his arm as he approaches, and Lucifer stops before him, his face a puzzle of confusion, despair, and anger.

 

“Will it hurt?” Sam whispers, and Lucifer looks up.

 

“I never meant to,” Lucifer replies, and before Sam can respond, before he can retract his hand and pull his angel against him, before he can kiss his apology, Lucifer’s long fingers wrap around his wrist, and his thumb sears into Sam’s wrist, igniting his blood, agony and heat beyond hellfire.  He cries out, his body locking, and Dean makes to grab him, but Lucifer sends him one, fleeting glare, and Dean stills, watching as his brother’s knees give out, and he collapses, gasping and shaking, his arm cradled against his chest.

 

Bobby is the first one in the kitchen, eyes wild.  Ellen and Jo appear behind him followed by a guarded Castiel.  He meets Dean’s eyes briefly before returning them to the island, where Sam is hidden on the other side.  Slowly, Bobby, Ellen, and Jo move around so that they can see Sam, whose breathing has calmed.  He lifts his head, eyes seeking Lucifer’s, who refuses to look at him.

 

“Brother?” Lucifer says, gaze intent on Castiel, who nods.

 

“Shield your eyes,” Castiel says, his voice soft but his order clear.

 

“Sam,” Lucifer begins, but Sam cuts him off.

 

“Yes,” he growls, his voice sharp, and then Lucifer is exploding in a shock of white.  Sam doesn’t close his eyes.

 

--

 

Sometime around three in the morning, Ellen finally claims she’s far beyond exhausted, and Bobby offers to take her and Jo back to his place since he now has two empty bedrooms.  They readily agree, and it’s another half hour of long goodbyes.  When they’re finally all piled into Bobby’s truck, Sam makes a noise before speaking, “They sound about as befuddled as you on who brought them back.”

 

“Yeah,” Dean agrees, shaking his head before closing the door and following Sam through the house.  “Are you turning in, man?”

 

“Yeah, I guess,” Sam says reluctantly, casting a look out to the frozen lake once before sighing and making his way toward the stairs, where Dean and Cas are already halfway up, talking lightly, fingers laced together tightly.  It makes Sam smile in a way he can’t explain; after everything, he’s just so glad Dean finally found such happiness.

 

They part ways at the top of the stairs, Sam taking the right toward the room facing the lake, and he spends an hour winding down with Rilke, which, somehow, has already found its way facedown on the right nightstand, various pages dog-eared.  Sam’s only half-surprised, though; it’s Lucifer’s favorite, and it seems to follow him everywhere, always open, always bent, always thoroughly read.

 

He starts it where it’s bent, in the middle of the Book of Images, Lucifer’s favorite, dog-eared on Lament.  He hasn’t read Rilke in a long time, years, but it sounds so much different as he mouths out the words, reading along, the weight on his soul so familiar.

 

O how far away and long gone

everything is.

I believe the star

whose brightness I take in

has been dead a thousand years.

I believe that in the boat

gliding by I heard

something fearful being said.

In the house a clock

just struck…

What house?…

I’d like to step out of my heart

and be under the great sky.

I’d like to pray.

And surely one of all those stars

must still exist.

I believe I’d know

which one alone

has lasted,—

which one like a white city

stands at its light’s end in the sky…

 

Sam stares at it for a long time, reading it twice, before he finally sees the scribble down in the corner, so clearly not his handwriting.  And it only says one thing: Sam.

 

--

 

He’s only been asleep two hours when it happens.

 

The sun isn’t up yet, though the edges of darkness are beginning to fade, six o’clock, blink and it’s dawn.  The sound of something gargantuan breaking splits the night, and Sam shakes out of his sleep, whole body tensing as he reaches for the gun under his pillow a second too late.  An icy, furious hand closes around his throat, immediately silencing any attempts to call for Dean and yanking the breath out of him.  His feet dangle inches from the floor, and his fingers bite against dark skin.

 

Raphael comes into view, holding him in midair, rage contorting his face and shaking his vessel.  “The fall will not kill you as it did not kill my rebellious brother, nor will the impact.”  Sam knows he can’t escape, but he kicks out and pulls on Raphael’s arm, desperate to escape his hold, but then they’re not in the house anymore but surrounded by icy wind and a creeping horizon.  “But maybe the ice will where the fire could not,” Raphael whispers before oxygen suddenly rushes back and Sam is falling, careening downward to a gaping hole in the frozen lake.

 

Cold sears through him, ice in his veins an dripping open his skin, and he sees nothing but blue-black emptiness before his body lets go.

 

--

 

Castiel leaves Dean with a clipped explanation, just enough to get him moving.  He arrives at the gates of Heaven, large navy blue wings flaring widely in a sign of distress.  He’s gone again as they open, his flight quick and severe, pulling murmurs of confusion and worry from watching angels.  He finds Gabriel’s grace, letting his fear flow outward, and, moments later, his trumpet blares, instantly attracting the grace Castiel is seeking.

 

Lucifer has kept himself guarded when in Heaven to avoid any confrontation, but he overwhelms Castiel and all of Heaven now, erupting the peaceful place in myriad of sounds.  Castiel finds Lucifer with Michael, and he doesn’t even attempt to shield his thoughts in lieu of verbal explanation.

 

Sam,” Lucifer gasps, and then his wings unfurl at a frightening speed, black as night, and all of Heaven sees him race toward the gates.

 

“Angel,” Michael holds him there, his body that of an empty John Winchester, young and preserved as Michael had first found him, his soul safe in Heaven with Mary’s.  “Who?” he asks, his voice quiet and soft.

 

Castiel swallows before responding, “Raphael.”

 

Michael releases him, and they depart together, though Michael veers off toward the call of Gabriel’s trumpet.  When Castiel leaves Heaven, he can see Lucifer plummeting toward Lake Superior.  He follows his descent, and, soon, he can see Dean, slip-sliding across the ice, screaming himself hoarse, with a large something obscuring much of his body.  Castiel realizes Lucifer’s intent too late, and he knows he won’t be fast enough to save Dean, but he tries anyway, fear turning his flight erratic.

 

Moments before Castiel reaches the ice, Lucifer’s wings snap inward, curling against his body, nearly hidden, and he crashes through the hole, splitting the ground around them and sending a roar of vibration across the ice so that Dean is thrown off his feet.  Cas pushes forward, throwing his left wing outward before his feet even hit the ground, and he scoops Dean up, pulling him close as wind buffets under his right wing.  He tries to tell Dean to hold on, but he can’t make himself heard over the cracking of the ice and the roaring in his ears, and so he just wraps two strong arms around his human and unfurls his left wing, lifting them into the air.  Dean yelps, clinging to him, staring at the fast-shrinking ground.  Cas only hovers a few yards above the ice, waiting for it to settle, before he finds solid ground and angles them toward it, lowering Dean carefully.

 

“What the hell?” Dean exclaims, stumbling back, his whole frame trembling.  He tries to move forward again, but Cas jumps in front of him.

 

“Dean, it’s not safe.  Lucifer will find your brother,” he says, one hand curling around Dean’s wrist, “Please.”

 

Dean looks up into his face, recognizing the fear there, and he nods.  “Dude,” he says after a moment, “Your wings.  I haven’t seen those bad boys in a while.”

 

“I didn’t know if you’d even be able to.”

 

“I think I’m getting used to you being here again, always here, and I know what to look for, so,” he trails off, shrugging.

 

Cas starts to say something, but then the ground shakes under them again, and he instinctively steps toward Dean, ready to move at any moment.  Sam slides out of the hole a moment later, shaking violently and gasping for breath, and then a pale hand clamps down on the edge of the ice, and Lucifer hauls himself out, looking much the same as Sam.

 

“The shore, go.  He’ll bring Sam.”

 

As Dean and Castiel hurry away, Lucifer pulls himself out of the water fully, his wings contracting violently against the cold.  “Sam,” he gasps, bringing his human toward him, holding him close, “Sam.”  He closes his eyes, trembling, and, a moment later, they’re in the air, rocketing toward the shore where he knows Dean will be with an armful of blankets.

 

When he lands, Dean is just skidding to a stop and clambering up the rocks, throwing the bundle ahead of him, and Lucifer cradles Sam in one wing so that he can stretch to get the blankets from the edge of the rocks.  “Get his clothes off!” Dean yells from below, “Lucifer,” he growls as he struggles over the edge, “The clothes are wet.  Don’t try to dry them.  Just get him—yeah,” he breaks off when Sam is suddenly naked.

 

Lucifer wraps him in three blankets immediately before curling him close, wings wrapped tightly around them and his face pushed against Sam’s.  “Sam,” he whispers.

 

“I’m here,” Sam manages between furiously chattering teeth, “I’m here.”

 

“Come on, get him inside,” Dean says, waving a hand at Lucifer as he grabs the rest of the blankets.  The four of them hurry off, and Dean takes over immediately.  “Cas, go make hot chocolate.  Please follow the directions on the packets.  Amelia bought some; it’s in one of the cabinets.  Lucifer—hey!”  Lucifer stops at the exclamation, turning and glaring.  “Look, I know exactly what you’re thinking, but you can’t.  He might have frostbite, which means you can’t warm him instantly.  It needs to be a progression, his body doing it, not you, not a hot shower.  Go upstairs, sit with him, just keep changing blankets for drier ones, okay?”  He hands over the blankets he’s holding, and Lucifer is about to move again when Dean speaks, “I know you’re scared.  But it’s going to be okay.”  The archangel nods, surprised at Dean’s calmness.

 

After that, he can only just hear Dean yelling back and forth with Castiel while he figures out the central heating, but he puts it out of his mind, concentrating instead on the shaking Sam in his arms.  He peels off the top two blankets to remove the soaked one underneath, and then he wraps Sam up again, leaving him on the bed while he goes to find clean clothes.

 

“Thank you,” Sam says from the bed, curled up.

 

Lucifer doesn’t respond, merely continues his search, sifting quickly through his dresser until he finds what he’s looking for, a pair of grey sweats, an old Stanford shirt, a large, roomy sweatshirt, socks, and boxer briefs.  Sam lets him help dress him before huddling under his blankets again.  Lucifer folds himself behind Sam once more, wings circling them, and it’s then that Sam notices.  “Why are your wings shaking?” he asks as he leans back into Lucifer’s touch, seeking warmth.

 

“Because they’re cold.”  Sam expects a sharp tone, but instead Lucifer’s voice is soft and calm.

 

Sam takes in a breath and closes his eyes, searching internally and physically.  He finds one of Lucifer’s hands, and he winds their fingers together, squeezing tightly before he opens himself to the turmoil of the archangel’s grace.  He recognizes this blackness from the very first times he ever felt the whispers of his grace.  It is limitless with power, vast and beautiful.  He’s read enough to know that who Lucifer is now pales in comparison to his ancient angelic majesty, but he still finds him exquisite, a world of light that he can never get enough of.

 

“It’s okay,” Sam whispers, relinquishing fully into Lucifer, binding them together, and Lucifer’s thumb brushes over the print on his hip, an apology.

 

The sounds of an arguing Dean ad Cas break their silence, and then the door is being pushed open.  Dean swears and turns, and Castiel sighs.  “It’s alright,” Cas murmurs, prodding him lightly into the room.

 

“But I thought I wasn’t supposed to see his wings,” Dean whispers, and Castiel smiles at whatever expression he’s making.

 

“Not then,” he says softly, his smile fond, “but it’s fine now.  Everything is over, and it is clear now where all claims lay.”

 

“Oh—well,” Dean huffs, and Sam grins, “As long as we all belong,” he finishes in a grumble as he turns, “Sam, hot chocolate.”

 

Sam hums in appreciation and makes grabby hands as Lucifer folds his wings away, letting them slowly disappear.  While he lets the mug warm his hands, Dean goes about switching his blankets again, and, when he finishes, the question hangs in the air like dead weight.  “It was Raphael,” Sam says after a moment, “He said… he said he was trying to kill me.  He said the fall wouldn’t but that being trapped would.  I guess he didn’t expect you guys.”

 

Castiel and Lucifer exchange a look before the archangel speaks, “Did he mention my fall from grace?”

 

“Yeah,” Sam says, shrugging, “What of it?”

 

“He is targeting you specifically.  He is angry with our Father for allowing my return to Heaven, and we have only tested that anger by marking you and Dean.  To remove the possibility of a vessel is an ancient practice that we don’t use lightly, and Raphael has never agreed with it regardless.  He will be punished, though, and banned from Earth.”

 

Sam and Dean nod, glancing over at one another before Dean nudges Castiel.  “C’mon,” he says, fingers curling through his, “Let’s leave these two alone.  Sam, you okay?”

 

“Yeah, I’ll be alright.  Thanks, Dean.”

 

“You’re my brother,” Dean says with a shrug, and Sam smiles.

 

When Dean and Castiel have left, Sam shuffles around until he’s facing Lucifer.  “Will you stay tonight?”

 

“Always,” Lucifer promises, and Sam responds with a soft kiss before he crawls under the sheets, taking his angel with him and curling close, safe in the warmth of his arms.

 

--

 

Lucifer looks over when Sam stirs lightly, pressing his face further into the crook between his jaw and shoulder, and he smiles, dropping a soft kiss atop his bed messy hair.  They don’t usually lie like this, Lucifer holding Sam, but sometimes, just sometimes, Sam needs that comfort, needs to be held, needs to know he’s safe.  Most times, though, Sam likes to be on his back, likes to have one hand fisted loosely in feathery depths, likes to feel like he can actually protect his archangel.

 

Lucifer is indifferent either way, as long as he has Sam near him.  It’s jarring sometimes, to think that, after everything, after all the warring, the pain, and the struggle, they’re finally here together, safe, as they were always meant to be.  He understands now, understands that being made for each other was not just in the terms of vessel and angel but also here, in this moment, at peace, in love.  And he didn’t understand until Sam showed him how.

 

Sam shifts again, muscles tensing as he stretches, just on that edge of wakefulness, and Lucifer takes the opportunity to push at his shoulder until he convinces Sam to roll over, head lolling to the side and mashing into the pillow.  He smiles, shifting onto his side and rolling his shoulders, sighing when the muscles of his bare back tense too tightly and then release, his black wings expanding out around them, filling up the room.

 

He remembers the first time he’d ever shown Sam these wings, how afraid he’d been, afraid of ridicule and disgust, and he remembers the unadulterated awe in Sam’s eyes, how amazed he’d been, and he’d just wanted to always be able to share this part of him with Sam, a part that no one had seen in too many lifetimes, a part of him that was so personal and so vital to his being.  His wings were his, and no one could take them away from him, and he loved them, even burnt and broken by hellfire.  But Sam had soothed them, Sam had put them back together, had shined his love on them so many times and in so many different ways that they didn’t ache as much anymore, they didn’t pulse with fury and shake with destruction.  They were heavenly almost, something Lucifer hadn’t felt in so very, very long.  He knew Sam didn’t understand what he did everytime he worshipped Lucifer’s wings, didn’t understand that he was healing his grace, making him whole again, but it didn’t matter because Sam knew he was doing something, and that alone was incredible, that he kept coming back, kept doing it again and again.

 

He lets his wings stretch now, pushing against the walls and the ceiling, because he can, because he has the right to, because he is free, and it’s all because of this beautiful man beside him.  He rolls his shoulders again, his wings extending almost fully; he loves this room, loves how open it is, loves how it lets him be the angel he is.

 

Sam hums contently in his sleep, his head lolling over so that it’s facing Lucifer, and he smiles, dipping down to drop a kiss on Sam’s forehead.  “Good morning, Sam,” he whispers, even though his human is still beyond the edge, climbing over, but beyond, and Sam hums again.  His fingers twitch unconsciously, and it amazes Lucifer that he just knows his wings are out.

 

Lucifer brushes his fingers over the thick fabric of Sam’s sweatshirt, and it disappears.  He does the same to his t-shirt, and then his fingers are tracing over bare skin, muscled, tanned, and marked by him.  He can smell the lingering touches of his oil and grace awash over Sam’s body, and it makes heat rush through his body, alighting him with a feeling so similar to hellfire.  He trails a finger over the anti-possession tattoo, tracing the intricate patterns for a moment before his hand flits lower, and he drags his thumb over his print, so subtle and hidden that it’s nearly unnoticeable, but he knows where to look.

 

Sam shifts, his muscles tensing when he brushes over the print, and Lucifer smirks before retracting his hand and curving it behind him, seeking out the right gland that he normally wouldn’t use by himself.  He can reach it, just barely, and he strokes one long finger over it, eyes slipping shut at the sensation.  Sam mumbles something incoherent, and then Lucifer’s other hand, braced against the bed, holding him still, meets the skin of Sam’s forehead.  A wet, warm tongue slips along the pulse point in his wrist, and teeth nibble lightly at the sensitive skin there.

 

“What are you doing?” he hears the question this time, his fingers soaked with oil.

 

He looks down, but Sam’s eyes are still closed, his breathing still slow and even, and he’s only just barely awake, right on the edge.  Even so, he mouths lazily at Lucifer’s wrist, laying wet kisses and soft bites until Lucifer drops his thumb back to the print, and his breath hitches, pushed out of him in a gasp.  He moans softly, the stubble on his jaw scraping against Lucifer’s wrist before his head drops back onto the pillow.  His body is twisted slightly, not entirely on his back, and Lucifer takes advantage of this, oil-warm fingers slicking over his hips, sliding down his half-hard cock, slipping over his balls, and then he’s massaging the pad of his finger against Sam’s hole, already loose and relaxed from sleep.

 

He sinks the tip of his finger in, teasing, pulling it back out again, shallow little thrusts, and Sam is making these breathy sounds, trying to fight through the fog of sleep as he shifts minutely.  “Lucifer,” he murmurs, the muscles in his stomach fluttering.  Lucifer drops his mouth to Sam’s chest, nipping at the skin above his nipple, tongue darting out to soothe the bite before curling around the hardened bud, teeth scraping lightly against his skin.  Sam arches slightly into the touch, and his left hand moves sluggishly, curving upward until it lands on Lucifer’s wrist where it’s wet from his mouth, and he curls his fingers around the joint, applying a small amount of pressure.

 

Lucifer rewards his reactions by diving two fingers inside him, curling instantly, nails scratching against his prostate, and Sam’s hips buck upward, his cock filling as he groans.  “Lucifer,” he breathes, his name a prayer, and it’s the archangel who groans this time, forehead falling against Sam’s chest as he releases his nipple.  His wings shudder, shaking a few loose papers from the nightstand.  Sam’s reaction is immediate.

 

He forces his eyes open, green-grey blown black with want, and his gaze slips upward, a moaning tumbling out of him at the sight of the archangel’s massive black wings, arched high and feathers ruffling in arousal.  He releases Lucifer’s wrist and reaches upward, knocking his shoulder on the way, and Lucifer sighs, lowering one wing so Sam can fist his fingers there, pull the feathers tight and shake a moan out of Lucifer, who pulls his two fingers out and adds another, scissoring Sam wide, stretching him even as he noses at his shoulder until Sam rolls fully onto his back.  He slots a knee between Sam’s, and Sam responds by spreading his legs, arching his hips up.  Lucifer pulls his fingers out again only to reach behind him to squeeze the gland, groaning and grinding his hard dick against Sam’s hip, sliding over his thumbprint, and Sam keens, tugging hard in his feathers.  Lucifer makes an inhuman noise like he’s dying, hand shaking as he retreats from the gland and coating his dick.

 

“Lucifer,” Sam begs, body reaching up for him again, and Lucifer tips his head up, claiming Sam’s mouth in a needy, hot kiss.  He swallows up Sam’s loud, low moan as he pushes his legs wider and slams in, pulling Sam closer to him with one hand on his ass.  The other he curls around his hip, thumb slotting in with the print, and Sam breaks from the kiss, gasping and slamming his head back into the pillows.

 

Lucifer stills inside him, panting into his neck, until Sam tugs on his wing again, and he looks up, meeting Sam’s mouth in a fierce kiss.  It’s messy, tongues sliding along one another’s, and Sam is still sleepy, his whole body still relaxed.  When they break apart, Sam’s other hand flits up to curl along his jaw, and Lucifer leans into the touch, eyes fixed on his.  “I had a dream about you,” Sam whispers, thumb ghosting over his mouth.  Lucifer chases it with his tongue, and Sam groans softly when he sucks the digit in.

 

He shifts, dick sliding out of Sam before he cants his hips forward, pushing back in slowly, filling his human.  He keeps this steady pace, fucking Sam easy, his thumb on Lucifer’s bottom lip now, just resting there, their eyes still locked, and then Sam groans, head tipping back as he lifts his hips to meet Lucifer’s, clenching around his cock.  The archangel drops his mouth to Sam’s shoulder, kissing it wetly as his forehead comes to rest on the pillow, cheek pressed against Sam’s jaw.  He rocks into him, his human moving right along with him, a constant flow of bodies, and Lucifer loses track of where he ends and Sam begins.

 

Sam’s free hand slips down his back, ghosting over his right wing, before it settles at the base, fingers curling tightly there, thumb pressing into the gland, and Lucifer moans, hips snapping just a little faster, just a little harder.  Sam teases the gland, rolling it between his thumb and forefinger and squeezing lightly; his left hand he loosens in the feathers, fingers instead carding through them, occasionally tightening in response to Lucifer’s thrusts, and this is how they make love.

 

It’s slow and easy, and so full of all the love Lucifer has always been desperate for, locked away from any contact.  “Sam,” he whispers, his eyes shut tight, and his hand searing on Sam’s hip, thumb pressed hard into his print.

 

“I love you,” Sam murmurs, his lips landing on Lucifer’s ear, and Lucifer lets out a strangled noise, turning his face into Sam’s neck, breath coming fast and harsh.  Sam’s hand drops away from his wing and curls around the back of his head, fingers fisting in his hair instead, not too tight, but soothing.  “I love you,” he says again, just a little bit louder, words ghosting over the skin of Lucifer’s ear before he kisses there again, and Lucifer stills inside Sam, shaking apart as Sam holds him together.

 

When he comes down, Sam is whispering nonsense, hand stroking along the shivering muscle at the base of his wings, fingers massaging his scalp, and Lucifer presses a firm kiss to his shoulder before he lifts his eyes to meet Sam’s.  “Are you okay?” he asks, brow furrowed slightly.

 

Lucifer shifts his body, slipping out of Sam, who sighs in response, body reaching for him, and his cock presses against Lucifer’s stomach.  He curls a hand around his dick, squeezing in one long stroke, and Sam groans, eyes fluttering shut.  “You don’t have to,” he says, his voice wrecked.

 

“Do you really?” Lucifer asks, ignoring him as he presses his thumb against the slit.

 

“Of course I do,” Sam gasps out, hips bucking up into Lucifer’s touch but his eyes opening to stare into Lucifer’s, “I always will.”

 

Lucifer silences him with a kiss, hand curled tight and jacking Sam quickly, his fingers slick with oil, and it breaks Sam, the way he pushes his thumb against the head on every upward pull, the way he sucks Sam’s tongue into his mouth, stealing his air, the way he loves Sam, it breaks him, orgasm punched right out of him, and his body drops back onto the bed like dead weight, shaking as he comes in long streams across his stomach and Lucifer’s fist.

 

Lucifer works him until Sam groans and his hips twitch away, too sensitive, and then he pulls away from Sam entirely, sliding onto his knees and Sam lets out a breathless noise when he dips his mouth to his stomach, tongue curving over his muscles, tasting his come and the angel’s oil.

 

When he’s finished, Sam drags him up for a slow, sleepy kiss.  When they part, Sam yawns, and Lucifer laughs, nosing at his jaw before he drops a kiss there.  “Go back to sleep.  It’s still early,” he whispers, laying a kiss on his mouth first, then his nose, and finally his forehead.

 

Lucifer waits while Sam drifts back into the depths of sleep again before he turns his arm and stares down at the ancient Enochian letter etched into the soft skin of his wrist.  It curves like an m, thick curls bending in toward one another, holy and heavenly, and Lucifer runs a thumb over it, frowning.  It has taken a momentous level of patience to stay here, to be with Sam in this moment, but it’s seeing this sigil, this angelic letter, that warms his fury.  That Raphael had done the same thing to Sam that he’d done so long ago to a smaller, younger version of himself salts ancient wounds, opening cracks that Hell had hidden.

 

“Brother.”

 

Lucifer stills the motion of his thumb, knowing immediately that Michael stands just beyond his line of sight.  “Michael,” Lucifer responds, reaching up a hand to brush two fingers against’ Sam’s temple so he won’t be disturbed as the angel slips from above him and turns to face his brother.

 

“This is Sam Winchester,” he says after a moment, green-grey eyes flicking to the sleeping human, “He is the one who stopped the apocalypse and changed your heart when so many before could not.”


“Sam and I were made for each other, in the beginnings of time.  It is only natural that he should be the one.”

 

Michael nods, such a human gesture, and it sends a jolt of surprise and curiosity through Lucifer.  “Sometimes I envy you.”  Lucifer lets the statement hang in the air as he slips out from under the blankets and moves silently across the room toward the dresser where Sam’s clothes reside.  He is buttoning a pair of jeans when Michael speaks again, “You have the love of our Father once more, of our brother Gabriel, and of your human, your true vessel.”

 

“But do I have your love, brother?”  Michael turns as Lucifer does, a thick flannel button-up in his hands.

 

“Lucifer,” Michael says, his voice soft, “You have always had my love.”  Lucifer holds his gaze for a moment before dropping it to the blue and green shirt in his hands, watching it unfold before he slips his arms in.  He tenses, though, when Michael steps closer, and his fingers pull together the first button.  “You do not plan to return to Heaven, not fully,” he clarifies, continuing onto the next button, “It is not the same home that you left.  It is not even a place I recognize any longer.  I have lived amongst the glory of Heaven for so long.  I have warred against and cared for so many of our brothers and sisters, and yet I am whole, I have no memory but that of our youth, before your fall.  I am scarred only by things long gone, not by this new world.  Our Father has returned, and even he is different, distant in a way he never was with us.  We do not belong anymore, the archangels.  Our war is over, and we have suffered too much.”  He finishes with the shirt and steps back, holding his brother’s gaze.  “Lucifer, I don’t know what to do,” he admits, and, had it been any other time in his life, Lucifer would have reeled from the chance to finally equate himself with his older brother, but now, in this moment, he simply closes the distance between them and seals Michael away in a tight hug.

 

“Earth is not as bad as I had originally assumed,” he says quietly, and Michael actually laughs.  Lucifer releases him, holding his shoulders for a moment before retreating fully.  “Come, let’s talk elsewhere.”  Lucifer half-expected Gabriel to show up at some point, but he’s still surprised to hear his brother humming contently from within the house as they descend the stairs.

 

They find him in the kitchen, humming some ancient tune and indulging in humanity’s most foreign habit: eating.  “Glad to see you two up and about,” he says, breaking off his song in favor of glancing over his shoulder, “I’m making pancakes.  Castiel will make sure that Dean sleeps until we’ve settled.  It’s good to see you two in the same vicinity and not at each other’s throats.  Here I was thinking I’d have to invite the almighty wrath of our Father,” Gabriel trails off as he turns back around, picking up his tune again.

 

Lucifer smiles and takes a seat at the island, fingers flitting forward to John’s journal.  He knows Sam has been keeping up with it, and sometimes he likes to flip through it and see what they know.  Michael watches him, but Lucifer ignores the attention, trying to let peace settle around them.  Eventually, Michael takes a seat, as well, and he breathes audibly before he speaks.

 

“What do you do when Sam sleeps?” he asks quietly, hands folded on the table.

 

“Watch over him,” Lucifer responds, not looking up, “Rest, occasionally.  There has been much harm done to my grace while in Hell, and it helps to visit those spots and heal them, if I can.”  When he meets Michael’s intense gaze this time, the older angel looks sad.

 

“So… you live amongst these humans?  As though nothing had happened?”

 

Gabriel looks over at this, as well, but Lucifer doesn’t flinch at Michael’s tone, at his disbelief.  “Not all humans are as lowly as I’d thought,” Lucifer says, hands stilling over the journal, open to a page about reapers, “Granted, I do not enjoy their presence, though there are some that more than make up for most of their incompetence.”

 

“You have marked Sam as your own.  No being, human, angel, or creature will ever mate with him again—other than you.”

 

“Yes.  I have.”

 

“This is a conversation best had over pancakes,” Gabriel interrupts, lowering two plates before his brothers.  “Michael, not a word.  You’re eating them.  I made them, and I expect compliments,” he continues when Michael begins to protest.  “Now,” he says, sitting across from them with his own plate after he’s put a large one full of different pancakes in the middle of the island, “Put that away, Lucy.  Let’s chat, shall we?  There’s blueberry, banana, and strawberry, and syrup if you need it.”  One fierce, glowering glare causes Michael to sigh and stab his fork into one.  “Thank you,” Gabriel says, inclining his head toward his older brother, “Where should we start?”

 

“What happened with Raphael?” Lucifer asks, looking over at Gabriel.

 

“Oh, Raphael,” Gabriel says with a smirk, shrugging, “You should know, he’s not too happy with this turn of events.  He was rooting for the end of the Earth so that he could reign over—well—nothing, actually.  He hadn’t exactly thought through to that part.”

 

“He’s been banished to Heaven,” Michael says, rolling his eyes at Gabriel and his lack of answer, “Gabriel and I took care of him, performed the proper rituals, and then brought him before our Father.  He will never leave Heaven again nor will he have any seat of power or influence again.”

 

“Thank you,” Lucifer says, and Michael actually smiles.

 

And then, “Who was that angel that came to get you?” Michael wonders.

 

“You recognize him,” Lucifer acknowledges, “He was there the day that Sam cast us into the pit.  His name is Castiel.”

 

“Ah, yes.  The one that set me on fire.  Hm,” he trails off, chewing thoughtfully, “And you’re on good terms with him?” he asks finally.

 

“He may be young, and he has quite a bit to learn, but he is a fierce warrior and a good friend.”  Gabriel and Michael both look at their brother at these words, but Lucifer doesn’t react other than to cut a smaller piece of his banana pancake.

 

“Sam really has changed you,” Gabriel admits, “For the better, it seems.  Michael?” he adds, one eyebrow curving up.

 

Michael sighs, “Yes, brother, they are good.”

 

“Really, was that so difficult?  I’m trying to be domestic and kind.  The least you could do was play the proper part.”

 

Lucifer blinks suddenly, looking between his two older brothers.  “I’m sorry, have I missed something?” he grinds out, catching Gabriel’s gaze, “When did this happen?”

 

“Brother—”

 

“No, Michael,” Lucifer stops him, shaking his head, “I have never seen your grace so bright.  You haven’t only left Heaven because you do not feel you belong but—for Gabriel,” he finishes, a smile threatening to break.

 

“I’ll admit, it’s been a long time coming,” Gabriel says airily, stabbing another pancake, “But you know how stubborn our Michael is.  His choice was only made easier after Hell, once he’d realized how foreign Heaven was, something that you know I realized long ago, which is why I left.  Heaven has not been our home for a very long time, and it seems we have all come to that conclusion—with the exception of Raphael, of course.”

Silence settles over them for a few moments before Lucifer turns his attention to Michael.  “I am happy for you,” he says, and Michael looks up, surprised.  “I—I cannot promise anything, but, if you want, both of you, I can—I can talk to Sam and Dean.  If you wanted a room, just a place to come home to every once in a while…” Lucifer trails off, looking over to Gabriel.

 

“That would be most kind,” Michael says, nodding.

 

The rest of their morning progresses similarly with an easy flow of conversation much akin to that of their youth.  Around eleven o’clock, though, footsteps pad softly down the stairs, and Sam emerges a minute later, yawning.  He stops immediately in the doorway, yawn cut off and wide-eyed, and Gabriel chuckles.

 

“Hungry, Sam?” Gabriel queries, already sliding off his stool to gather another plate.

 

“Uh…” Sam replies, staring at Michael.

 

“Sam,” Michael says, turning, “I am not here on hostile terms.  I have come to gift Dean with the sigil as my brother has for you.”

 

“My dad,” Sam says, swallowing, “He’s, uh—he’s not—his—”

 

“No, Sam.  Your father is in Heaven with your mother.”

 

“But—”

 

“I pulled him out of Hell myself.”

 

Sam nods slowly, still staring at Michael, before he shrugs and resumes his pace, stopping behind Lucifer and winding his arms around him.  “Good morning,” he mumbles, pressing his face into Lucifer’s neck.

 

The archangel smiles in return, leaning his head against Sam’s.  “How are you feeling?”

 

“Mm,” Sam responds, and Lucifer laughs.  “Better.  Oh, pancakes.”  He detaches himself from Lucifer only to sit next to him, Michael’s eyes following him.  The attention is unwanted, but he does his best to ignore it, knowing the eldest brother is only curious.

 

A sudden thud is heard from upstairs, and Sam smirks, turning as Dean’s voice carries down, an incoherent jumble of swears.  And then, clear as a bell, “Cas.  Come on.  I smell pancakes!”

 

Sam laughs softly, turning and thanking Gabriel before he digs in.  Soon enough, Dean and Castiel join them, Dean making disgustingly inappropriate happy noises while he eats.  It’s nearly one o’clock when everyone’s settled down and are just relaxing against the island, conversing amongst one another.  Sam’s in the middle of appreciating orange juice in the morning instead of bruises and booze when Lucifer’s shoulder meets his, and he looks over to find the archangel resting his chin there, as well, ethereal blue eyes watching him with a soft, fond expression.  “Can I help you?” he murmurs, smiling and setting down his glass.

 

“I’d like to bring you somewhere today.”

 

“I hope I’m not required to shoot anything.”

 

“Unless you enjoy animal hunting.”

 

“Alright, sounds fair enough.  Got my big archangel boyfriend to smite any wrongdoers anyway,” he shrugs, and Lucifer rolls his eyes as he lifts off of Sam’s shoulder, “So, where to?”

 

Lucifer contemplates this a moment before giving Sam a very devilish smile, and he can’t think of any other way to describe it because if the devil smiled, it would certainly look like that.  “A surprise,” he finally says, and Sam arches one curious eyebrow.

 

“A surprise?” he repeats, and Lucifer nods, “Alright, when are we leaving?”

 

“An hour.”

 

“A whole hour, wow, means I can shower and everything.  How considerate of you,” he bites, grinning the whole time.

 

“Mm,” Lucifer mumbles, pressing a kiss to Sam’s jaw, “Go shower.”  Sam huffs at the order, but kisses him before he retreats anyway.  He waves a hand at Dean’s questioning grumble, and then Lucifer turns his gaze upon Sam’s brother, and Dean shuts up immediately.


“Dude, you look freakily like Cas when you do that,” Dean comments, catching Castiel’s attention.

 

“I require your assistance,” Lucifer says casually, shrugging.

 

“And you sound like him.  Why do you people have to speak like—” Castiel cuts him off with a kiss, nudging him off the stool when they part.

 

“Shut up,” Castiel mutters, and Dean gives him a mock-shocked look.

 

“Whatever, don’t come crying to me if you happen to instigate any family feuds, then,” Dean says airily as he saunters off, leaving Cas to smile fondly after him.  When they reach the top of the stairs, Dean starts toward the left, answering Lucifer’s question even as he starts to ask it, “Lemme just put some clothes on real quick, okay?  I’ll meet you in your room.”

 

And so the two part, Lucifer closing the door quietly behind him.  He looks over to where the bathroom door is just slightly ajar, and he makes a mental note to interrupt Sam’s shower once he’s done with Dean.  He sets about looking for one of Sam’s backpack, a green and grey thing that looks like it was made right out of the forest floor, and he carefully packs a change of clothes for both of them before retrieving the book of Rilke poetry and Sam’s current choice of reading out of another of his bags, something called War and Peace that looks intriguing and that Lucifer spends a few moments thumbing through.  He’s just putting that in the backpack, as well, when Dean’s voice breaks his peace, “Dude, are you packing a picnic?  Cos, if you are, brownie points.”

 

He turns, finding the older brother leaning against the doorway with his arms folded across his chest.  Dean shrugs when Lucifer looks at him, pushing off the frame.  “Cas did it for me once, brought me to this cliffside,” Dean says as he pads into the room in his socks, “The water was so calm that day,” he continues, squatting and pulling out the bottom drawer of the dresser, “Bluest sky you’ve ever seen with this huge tree for shade, and it was just—man, it was awesome.  Like, awesome, not—you know.  To sit on,” he adds when Lucifer stares at the blanket Dean’s holding out for him.  He nods at the explanation, taking it from Dean and tucking it away.  It’s simple, something he’s never seen before, just brown and blue plaid, and Dean smiles, watching it disappear in the backpack.  “I bought that for Sam on his fourteenth birthday,” he admits, and Lucifer catches his gaze when Dean stands, “Dad had taken away the blanket he used to sleep with.  It wasn’t even, like, a blanket blanket or anything, but it reminded him of mom, for some reason, and dad kept saying he had to grow up, had to let go of things, and he was so upset, so I bought it for him.  Dad found out, of course, but he never did anything.  We never saw the old one again, but there was always that one.”

 

“That was very kind of you,” Lucifer says, and Dean shrugs.

 

“Yeah, that’s what I’m here for.  Anyway,” he says, scrubbing the back of his neck and looking around the room, “Where are you taking him?”  Lucifer doesn’t answer, and Dean sighs.  “I’m just trying to help; I won’t tell him.  I was just wondering if you’d be getting wet cos—”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Alright, then.  Towels.  Trust me, you’ll appreciate having them, and Sam will grumble if you zap him dry.  He likes to be in the sun.  He’s weird.”  Dean pushes open the bathroom door, and Lucifer watches with a curious expression.  “Sam, you smell like ass,” Dean says from inside the bathroom.

 

“Fuck you,” Sam responds, and Dean shrieks a few moments later.  “Why are you in here, jerk?”

 

“Because your boyfriend required my assistance, bitch.”

 

“Sounds like Castiel.”

 

“Exactly what I said.  Get soap in your eye.  Sam!  Fuck!”  When Dean appears again, he’s mopping up water on his face with the sleeve of his flannel, grumbling.  Lucifer just smirks, catching the towels Dean throws toward him.  “Don’t even,” he says, pointing at him when the angel gives them an interesting look, intrigued by their colorfulness.  “Anyway, food.  I can take care of that, if you want.”  He pulls another backpack from under Sam’s bed, grumbling about dust.  “Don’t worry, I know what Sam likes, and then you’ll know for future reference.”  Dean doesn’t give him time to respond before he’s out the door, and Lucifer sighs, continually confused by the brothers’ interactions.

 

He packs the towels away, zips the backpack, and then quietly pads over to the bathroom, letting the door creak so that he doesn’t frighten Sam by appearing out of nowhere.  He’s often complained of his ninja-like qualities, much to Lucifer’s consternation.

 

“Already done using my brother?” Sam asks, and it makes Lucifer smile that he just knows that it’s the angel and not his brother.

 

“His services are being provided elsewhere,” Lucifer comments as he strips out of his clothes and slides back the glass door slowly.  The bathroom is nicer than any Sam has stayed in at those motels, much nicer than Bobby’s, with so much room, even inside the shower.  Lucifer steps in, peering around curiously, but then Sam catches his attention.  It isn’t large, but there are two showerheads, and enough distance between he and Sam that he has an image of Sam head to toe.

 

His back is to him, tanned skin taught with muscles as he splashes water onto his face.  Lucifer watches him, entranced by the way the water trickles down his skin, glistening.  Sam turns slightly, and the movement catches his attention.  His thumbprint stands out against the skin of his hipbone, but it looks like it belongs.  He turns the other showerhead on with a flick of his fingers, and the noise is masked by Sam turning to wash his hair.

 

“Hey,” he says with a smile, and Lucifer watches as he lets his eyes dart over the archangel’s naked body, “C’mere.”  He obeys immediately, flinching only slightly when the water hits him.  Even after so much time, he’s not used to showers, doesn’t need them, but he enjoys them when he’s with Sam, who finishes up his hair in quick, scrubbing movements and then steps into Lucifer’s space, his left hand curled to hold something.  “Eyes closed,” he reminds, and he sighs, letting darkness wash over his vision.

 

Sam leaves soft touches on his hip and shoulder to direct him, and he moves whenever requested, letting Sam clean his hair and body until there’s a hot mouth suddenly pressing against his, tongue slip-sliding along his bottom lip.  He opens immediately to Sam, who brings their bodies close, and Lucifer’s breath rushes out of him when his back hits the wall.  He forces his eyes open when Sam retreats, nudging at his nose, and Sam stares down at him with fierce intensity, the color of his eyes a thin ring.

 

“Hey,” he murmurs, slotting his hips against Lucifer’s, cock slick with water and body wash, sliding along Lucifer’s hip and rubbing against his own hard dick.  Lucifer seeks out his mouth again, warm and wet, and Sam fists a hand between them, glorious friction that has Lucifer canting his hips up into his fingers, growling into his mouth.  He nips at Sam’s bottom lip before Sam retreats and attacks his neck, sucking a bruising hickey into the line of skin that meets his shoulder that won’t be there when they’re done in the shower, but he still loves the feel of Sam’s teeth against him, sharp and harsh.

 

Like a light switching on, Lucifer suddenly has the urge to pin Sam up against the wall, press him there, trapped, like they’d done in Hell, slow and loving against the cage’s bars.  “Sam,” he growls, and Sam pulls back to look at him, breath coming fast.  He sees it in Lucifer’s eyes, and he groans, already curling his fingers around the archangel’s shoulders, steeling himself for the impact.  Lucifer turns and lifts in one fluid motion, though he takes care to slow until Sam’s back hits the wall, and then he can barely contain himself as Sam’s legs hook around his ribs and he presses three fingers against Sam’s mouth, who sucks them in with a curl of his tongue and never breaks eye contact.

 

Hell may have been slow, but Lucifer fucks Sam hard and fast in the shower, Sam’s nails dragging red trails up Lucifer’s back and over his shoulders, Lucifer biting marks along Sam’s collarbone and chest, both hands wrapped strongly around Sam’s hips, thrusting shallowly so that he rubs over Sam’s prostate everytime and keeps him filled with Lucifer’s heavy cock.

 

A whisper of sounds passes between them, low moans and lower gasps, an incoherent mess of desperate, jumbled words, and Sam’s head bangs off the wall as he clenches around Lucifer’s cock, swearing as his whole body locks up, coming hard across his stomach.  Lucifer chases after him, barely pulling out, and he spills in Sam’s ass moments later, teeth sinking into the meat of his shoulder.  Sam’s heels dig into his lower back, his legs trembling, as Lucifer releases his shoulder and lets his forehead drop there, panting.

 

He lowers Sam to the ground slowly, curling an arm around his waist when he leans back into the wall, knees weak, and Sam just responds by pulling him close, one hand fisting in his hair, kissing him like the world is ending.  “That was nice,” Sam says when he pulls back, and Lucifer laughs, loud and breathless, molding himself against Sam’s body again and burying his face in his neck, shoulders shaking.  Sam just smiles against his cheek and winds his arms around him.

 

When they finally make their way out of the shower and into clothes, there’s a backpack leaning just outside the room, and Lucifer snatches it up, shouldering it while Sam curiously shoulders the other one.  “Are we driving or zapping?” he asks as he turns, and Lucifer answers by way of holding out his hand.  “Alright.  At least tell me what state we’re going to?” he says when he stops in front of Lucifer, who smiles and reaches forward.

 

“India,” he says as he grabs Sam’s hand.

 

Sam’s initial reaction is to yelp and pull his hand back because India, which is across oceans and a terrifyingly far distance away, but the exclamation dies in his throat as he squeezes his eyes shut.  Barely a second later, the air is warmer and wetter, and Sam doesn’t close his mouth, but he doesn’t yell either.  He opens his eyes slowly, and India.

 

A pool of water stretches out before him on lush, green grassy banks, the water almost turquoise in the sunlight, clearer than any he’s ever seen with large, flat boulders and smaller rocks scattering the floor.  Small pools of fish swim about, brightly colored and friendly, and white water pours in millions of different sections, backed by a cavernous wall only a few miles tall before it explodes in massive trees, reaching for the sky where the waterfalls begin, big huge cliffs of green and birds everywhere.  It’s magnificent.

 

“India,” Sam says, inclining his head toward Lucifer but keep his gaze fixed on the beauty around them.

 

“I thought you might like it.”

 

Sam makes a soft noise before he lets go of Lucifer’s hand and wanders forward, craning his neck to see if he can spot the tops of the trees and cliffs.  “How did you even find this place?” he wonders aloud.

 

“I had many millennia to wander the Earth before my Father created humans.  And now I have someone to share those years with.”  Sam looks back at this, smiling.

 

“Thank you,” he says, and then turns back to the falls, shaking his head in awe.  “Are we swimming?”

 

“Do you want to?”

 

Yes,” Sam says like there was no other option, and he’s already dropping his backpack onto the ground, following it with a soft thud to take off his shoes.  Lucifer mimics his movements, and, soon, they’re left only in their underwear, and Sam tugs him along, clearly excited.  They clamber up a few rocks, just a little high, and they jump off together, hand-in-hand, careening through the air.

 

The next hour is filled with their shouts and laughter as they crash through the water until Sam struggles under one of the waterfalls and hauls himself up onto the mouth of a cave, gazing around at all the animals and water-cooled colors.  He holds a hand out toward a little frog, who turns his eyes warily on Sam’s long, wiggling fingers.  Lucifer appears next to him with the soft rustle of feathers, backpack in hand.  “Tree frogs will only poison you if they feel threatened,” Sam says even as the little frog hops closer, tongue darting out to taste Sam’s skin.

 

“He likes you,” Lucifer assures, “Are you hungry?”

 

“Did you bring food?  Oh yeah, this is definitely the best date I have ever been on.”  Lucifer beams, soaking up the compliment.  They snack on fruit for a little while, Sam occasionally holding out pieces to the frog, who only tastes them, never eats.  It’s then that Sam poses the question Lucifer has been expecting, “Did Gabriel bring you here?”  Lucifer doesn’t respond, swallowed by the memory.  Sam looks away from his frog, frowning at the sad, faraway expression on Lucifer’s face.  “Lucifer?”

 

“No, Sam, he did not.  May I show you something?”

 

“Of course.”

 

“Do you trust me?”

 

Sam knows instantly that this is something pivotal, something that Lucifer needs Sam by his side for.  “I will always trust you.  With my life, my heart, my soul,” Sam promises, winding his fingers through Lucifer’s.

 

He feels the air electrify, and he starts to close his eyes, ready for that familiar tug of being transported, but then Lucifer’s voice ghosts over his ear, trembling, “Don’t let me fall.”

 

And then they’re somewhere else, the warm air of the cave long gone.  They’re up high, the pool just a speck, on a cliffside surrounded by forestry on all sides, but there’s a gaping hole in the green ceiling where the sun bursts through and shines everywhere.  It gathers, though, like liquid dust, golden and beautiful, I a crater where the grass doesn’t grow, where the rocks have massive, gaping cracks, and where there are blood-stained white feathers smeared into the surface, forever preserved.  Sam doesn’t even want to think about what this is, never mind ask it aloud.

 

“Sam,” Lucifer whispers, and, suddenly, everything hits him like a freight train, the steely, shaking grip of Lucifer’s hand, his body taught and trembling, wings out but drawn tight, shivering violently, his lack of breath, so alien, and Sam turns.  The devil is crying.

 

Sam squirms his hand out, somehow, and pulls the archangel close to him, forcing a gasp of air out, and Lucifer buries his face in Sam’s neck, hands shaking against his back.  “What is this?” Sam asks softly, leaning their heads together.

 

“This is where I fell,” Lucifer responds, his voice muffled.

 

Sam pulls back, looking over his face, trying to find something there to give him the courage, but Lucifer is a mask of fear and ancient hurt.  “Do you want to talk about it?”

 

He drops his gaze, looking to the left, at the ground, and Sam can’t imagine how hard it is for him to look at the crater, to relive that.  But then he looks up, passed Sam, and what he says isn’t what Sam expected, “My wings used to be white.”

 

Sam blinks and turns, following his gaze, and it clicks in his brain.  “Those are your feathers,” he says, and Lucifer nods.

 

“When I was much younger, I loved my brother,” Lucifer says slowly, “Michael.  I adored him.  Worshipped him.”  Sam returns his eyes to Lucifer’s face, watching, waiting.  “We are all brothers and sisters in Heaven, but not the way you and Dean are brothers.  It is different.  As was our love.  Michael and I—we were—together, once, I believe the term is.  Long ago, long before I was cast out, before he cast me out.  I have always told you that I fell to Hell because I loved God too much, that I didn’t care for his creations like I was required to,” he spits the words, his fear dissipating into fury, “That is partially true.  I swore I would never lie to you, Sam, and I don’t intend to.  God was angry that I loved Michael more than He and more than his precious humans.”

 

It bites, more than Sam is sure the devil means it to, but he flinches at the way he says it, like he’s a disease that he can’t get rid of.  Lucifer doesn’t see it, his gaze still fixated on those feathers, his feathers, drowned in his blood.  When he continues, though, his voice is steady again, and he is expressionless, “He meant only to send me to Earth, to make me see what he did, to make me understand why he loved his humans so, and he commanded Michael to be the one to send me.  He told Michael that I had betrayed him, that I had given my love only to Michael and that I refused to spare any for our fellow brothers, our new children.  He was right, but he twisted Michael, who struck me down.  He told me I was a freak for loving the Earth but not its children, for loving him more than I loved our Father.  I fell.  Here.”

 

Sam looks to the crater again, and he can almost see it, Lucifer, white-winged, struggling to escape, Michael’s fury reigning down on him.  “He fought me, and I refused to hurt him.  The things he said—I will never forget his words.  I still love my brother, Sam, though only as you love Dean.  He is a life I don’t remember anymore, he is nothing compared to you.”  Sam blinks again, and, when he looks up, Lucifer is starting at him with that adoration in his eyes that he always used to do before Sam let him in, gave him his heart.  “I sought out Hell as a refuge from my Father and Michael, from their disappointment and anger, and I waited.”

 

“For?” Sam says, throat clicking.

 

“For you,” Lucifer replies, as though it were the only answer.  “Sam,” he sighs after a moment, fingers ghosting across the back of Sam’s hand before he curls them together, “When I told you that my wings had been burnt by hellfire and ruined beyond recognition of their glory, you were still in awe.  When you let me in, when you learned to trust me and didn’t’ shield your soul from my grace, you weren’t just there, a soul in a vessel, you reacted, you engaged, you loved me beyond normal human comprehension.  When my Father told me what must be done to end this war between my brother and me, I never doubted.  I knew my faith in you was not wrong.  I knew my love for you was not mistaken.  What has happened here is a scar that, most times, I cannot feel because I have you.  I have spent too many lifetimes in Hell lashing out and hating.  I am finally happy.  With you.”

 

If there was anything in the world he’d expected Lucifer to say, it wasn’t that, and it leaves him speechless and unable to swallow.  He steps forward, closing the distance between them and squeezing Lucifer’s hand.  “If you promise to slow the impact, I promise not to let you fall,” he says quietly, nodding toward the cliffside.

 

Lucifer smiles like he’s been given the most precious gift.

 

--

 

Sam finally finds his phone as Lucifer dips his wing in the water again, smiling when the fish scatter and then hurry back.  “Hey,” Sam answers, putting the phone to his ear, “What’s up?”

 

“Get this.  Chuck brought back Ellen and Jo,” Dean says.

 

What?”

 

“Yeah.  Michael knew.  Bobby called, said he thought he had a lead, but then Michael heard what we were talking about, and I guess he went to them, said that they were never meant to die, that, if they wanted, if they wanted to complete their lives or whatever, he’d send them back.  He gave them a choice, asked them if they would be happier.”

 

“And they said yes?”

 

“Well, Jo did, and Ellen followed.  They’re o their way over right now.  Gabriel went to find Chuck, but I don’t know where Michael disappeared to.”

“Well, I doubt Ellen and Jo would take well to him, not so soon after Lucifer.  Hey, how come they don’t remember, though?”

 

“I dunno.  Chuck probably mojo’d their memories or something, wanted them to remember on their own maybe.  Hey, speaking of your boyfriend, where are you?  Cas said it was nowhere nearby.”

 

“India, actually.”

 

India?” Dean pauses, and then laughs, “Dude, your phone bill.”

 

“Shut up.”

 

“Anyway—will you be home in time for dinner, honey?”

 

“Fuck off,” Sam grumbles, smiling, “I dunno.  Do you need me for Ellen and Jo?”

 

“Nah, I’m leaving that to Chuck.  Go to France or something, dinner under the stars.”

 

“Oh Dean, how romantic,” Sam mocks, and Dean mutters a customary bitch before hanging up.  Sam smiles and drops his phone back in one of the backpacks before going over to where Lucifer is sitting on the blanket, left wing folded against his bare back, right one in the water.  “What does that feel like?” Sam asks, flopping down next to him.

 

Lucifer instinctively wraps his left wing around him as he responds, “It tickles.”

 

“Tickles?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Without warning, he takes Sam’s hand and tugs him forward, herding a few fish toward him when his fingers dip into the water.  Sam flinches and then smiles when they brush along his skin.  “It tickles,” he repeats, and Lucifer releases his wrist.  When he leans back, he settles against the angel, turning his arm over to look at the symbol on his wrist.

 

“Michael gave Dean the letter,” Lucifer informs him quietly.

 

“When?”

 

“Not long after we left.  It’s almost six.  Are you hungry?”

 

“Yeah, I could eat.  It’s getting dark fast, too.”

 

Lucifer retracts his wing from the water, and then they’re gone with a soft rustle.  “Where do you want to go?” he asks as Sam stretches and goes to dress.

 

“How do you mean?”

 

Lucifer shrugs, lying back, and Sam rolls his eyes when he’s suddenly dressed, ankles crossed and head titled back to look at his human.  “Pick a country.”

 

Sam laughs despite himself, thinking of Dean, but then it strikes him how much he actually would like to go to France.  And so he straightens, his jeans unbuttoned, and his hands stilled.  “Ever been to France?” he says, watching Lucifer’s reaction.  The angel merely smiles and nods before he pulls himself up, folding the blanket once he’s standing.  They pack everything away, Sam finishes dressing, and then he takes Lucifer’s hand, leaning into him affectionately, and Lucifer just responds with a kiss to his cheek before they’re suddenly standing in front of the Eiffel Tower.  Sam is wide-eyed and awestruck for the rest of the night

 

--

 

March 28, 2011.

 

Sammy!” Dean screams right before a hand closes around his ankle, and he’s tossed like a rag doll across the basement.  His back hits the concrete wall with a resounding thud, and he falls motionless to the ground, vision black.  He counts his breaths, trying to stay conscious, and he opens his mouth in time for a hand to close over his throat.

 

“Shut up, bitch,” the demon snarls, yanking him off the floor.  She pulls him back only to slam him back into the wall, and he tries to duck his chin forward, but his head still meets the concrete and bursts stars in front of his eyes.  “You may be able to protect your body from me, Dean Winchester, but I’ll still have your insides on the floor.”

 

Dean can’t even lift his hands or kick his feet to struggle.  He can feel warm blood matting his hear and trickling down his neck, and he can’t think.  His brain is a slow slush of nothing, a fog so heavy he can barely breathe.  “Having trouble praying?” the demon snarls, and that’s when the sharp, stabbing feel of a needle on his skin catches his attention.  “IT’s a poison,” she says, grinning, “Quick to quiet the mind, slow to infect the heart.  Can’t have you dying just yet.”  Her hand suddenly disappears, and Dean collapses to the floor, gasping for air.  He slips into unconsciousness this way.

 

--

 

Sam wakes up stiff.

 

When he tries to move, his wrist and ankles are bound in steel.  He tries to speak, but a leather gag is set tight between his teeth.  Cool air blows over him, and he realizes he’s been stripped of his shirt.  He tries to move his head, but there’s steel over his forehead, as well.  His wrists scream in pain when he tries to move, and he can feel tiny little shards of metal poking out of the bonds, probably nails.

 

“Did you get everything out?” he hears suddenly before footsteps approach wherever they’re being held, and a door opens.

 

“Not everything,” another voice says, and he recognizes this one from the demon that poisoned him; he figures the other must be Dean’s.  Dean.  Panic flares in him, but then there’s a familiar face peering down at him.  “You’re awake,” she says, lifting a finger to stroke along his cheek.

 

Amelia,” the first woman snaps, and Sam blinks.  The demon disappears from his sight, and he can feel her tap his leg.

 

“There’s a feather in there,” she says, “We can’t touch it, or he’ll know.”

 

“Alright,” the first woman sighs, “Break his wrist.”

 

Footsteps slowly soften, and then Sam feels fingers on his hand before the demon’s face reappears.  “Remember me?”  He stares at her in horror, flashes of her in a suit and walking down their porch steps, smiling wide and feeding them a story about their mother, all of it coming back to him, and his eyes are hard and stony.  “Yeah, you do.”  And then he’s screaming, white hot pain searing through him as the nails rip through his skin and crush bone, the steel edges finishing the job.  “You really thought that some lowly human would have been able to escape Azazel?  Come on, Sam.  Oh, and that anti-possession tattoo?  I thought at least your brother, clearly the man of you two vermin, would have been able to see how fake it was.  I guess a little sharpie, and you guys will believe anything.  And you didn’t even look for devil traps.  I’m disappointed, Sam.”

 

He stares up at her with watered eyes, blood seeping down his arm and making his body shake.  “Oh, Dean?” she says after a moment, leaning against the slab of hard something he’s on, still watching his face, “He might be dead, he might not.  I’m not inclined to let you know.  He’s not in here, though.  Now, one of those nails is embedded in your wrist bone, so I suggest you don’t try to wriggle out and grab your darling feather, alright?  I’m fairly certain you won’t have anything to grab it with anyway, so.  Now, I’m not going to break your other wrist because I trust you, and I really don’t think you want to break your own wrist because that will happen should you try to get it out.  I’ll be back in a bit for a sedative to that poison.  Gotta keep it at bay, keep your little heart beating,” she concludes with a wide smile, patting his chest before straightening and heading out.

 

His body coiled like a spring, Sam strains once against the binds on his wrists, screaming in pain, before he lays still, tears leaking out of his eyes.

 

--

 

Dean wakes up with a growl of pain, muscles jumping tense immediately and struggling.

 

Sharp something’s bite into his wrists and ankles, but he barely feels it over the racing of his heart.  He feels like he’s on fire, nerves working too fast, on end.  “Electrocution,” a voice says, the demon, “I need you awake.”  She comes into view, white blonde hair pulled away from her face in a loose ponytail, cool grey eyes staring down at him.  “Hello, Dean.  My name is Veronica.  My sister, Amelia, is with your brother right now.  Dead or alive, I can’t say, but she’s there nonetheless.  Oh, is that—is that shock on your face?  Do you remember Amelia?  Yes, I thought so.  By the way, she’s not really a realtor.”

 

Dean pulls again, gritting his teeth against the pain, and Veronica laughs.  “You’re so much stronger than your brother.  Or just more tolerable to pain,” she says with a shrug, face disappearing again, “I guess that’s a side effect of your time in the pit.  Seems most people end up that way when they come out.  Lucky you, though, got an angel on your side.  This might pinch.”  He flinches against the needle that goes in his side, and Veronica soothes a thumb over his stomach.  “You’re okay,” she murmurs, “Just a sedative for the poison.  Amelia’s administering the same thing to Sam right now, if he’s not already dead.  How are you, Dean?  It’s been a while.  I never got to meet you personally in Hell, but I have heard the stories.  Now—” she breaks off at a knock on the door, “Be right back, sweetie.”  When she opens the door, Dean strains to hear their dropped voices.  “Well?”

 

“They’re here.”

 

“Alright—alright, we should go meet them, then.  Blade?”

 

“Yeah, you?”

 

“Yeah.  One second.”  Veronica clicks back over, “Got some business to tend to, dear.  I’m afraid this’ll have to wait.  You’re drifting off again, anyway.  Sweet dreams.”  And then she’s gone, leaving Dean to fight the oncoming drowsiness.

 

--

 

When Sam wakes again, he immediately tries to shake his head to clear it and is met with resistance.  Everything else comes flooding back all at once, and he closes his eyes, taking a steadying breath.  He thinks of Dean, tries to convince himself that his brother is okay, and then realizes what he’s doing.  The thought of Dean winks out instantly, and he tries to think of—the nails in his wrist hurt.

 

Sam blinks.

 

It occurs to him faster than it would to Dean that they’re listening in, somehow, redirecting any thoughts about—he weighs the pros and cons of breaking his other wrist to try to get free.

 

Sam blinks again.

 

He can work with this.  He takes another deep breath, closing his eyes again, and he lets his mind wander back to their research, back to what they’d found, thinking this was just another monster hunt, nothing special, and then they’d been ambushed.  They hadn’t had a clue that they’d encounter demons; they thought they were working with a Djinn.  And now here they were, trapped for god only knew what reasons, and there were—angels.

 

It strikes him so fast, Sam can barely hang onto the feeling.  Because it isn’t a thought, it’s grace, leaking into the room right before the door opens.  He’s become so used to the feel of it that it seems so odd in a place like this, with demons.  He instinctively tries to reach out, tries to find another grace, but he’s quelled immediately.

 

“He’s smarter than his idiot brother,” a man’s voice says, and sharp shoes click over, “What’s this for?”  He pushes at Sam’s wrist, and he clenches his jaw.

 

“Feather in his pocket.  I think you know who it might belong to,” Amelia’s voice drifts over.

 

“Quite right.  Marcus, I want you to remain stationed in here.  Learn the feel of his soul, keep him quiet.”  Demons working with angels.  Sam wants to laugh.  “Veronica, take me to Dean.”

 

“Of course.  You’ll be alright?” the other woman’s voice adds.

 

“I’m sure Matthew won’t jeopardize our relationship,” Amelia says icily, and the man laughs emptily.

 

“Of course not,” he sneers, “Veronica?”

 

The door opens and closes again before Amelia makes her way over, leaning into Sam’s line of sight.  She sees the question in his face, and she shrugs.  “Guess who their leader is?” she whispers, smirking, “He has an affinity for falling.”

 

Sam’s knows what she’s doing, knows who she’s trying to make him believe it is, but he refuses because he can twist her words, knows that it’s Raphael and not—Amelia’s face disappears.

 

Sam blinks.

 

He thinks about Raphael plucking him out of his bed, holding him high in the air, dropping him down, thinks of wings, white as Heaven, the last thing he sees before the cold envelops him.

 

He thinks about Raphael.  Because he can.

 

“So,” Amelia says suddenly, catching his attention, “Thanks to our new alliance, we have some fun new toys.  These—” she picks up a knife with deep, serrated edges, much alike Ruby’s, and waves it in front of his face, “These bad boys can’t be healed by angels.  How cool is that?  So, even if your friend manages to save you, you’ll still die before they can get you anywhere.  Who ever thought that teaming up with the dicks would be so fun?”

 

Sam glares at her, daring her, and she shrugs again.  “Fine, don’t talk.  How rude.”  She moves out of his vision, and Sam focuses on his breathing, closes his eyes, tries to find his train of thought before the knife bites into his skin.  He thinks about his dad, young, alive, and he thinks about the kitchen in his house, the little breakfast nook off to the side where—metal clinks.  Sam wants to scream.  He hadn’t even been trying for him, he can’t even think about Dean and—Amelia begins humming a tune.

 

He forces himself to relax, knows it’ll be worse if he’s tensed, and he forces the image of his dad back to the forefront of his mind, staring, bewildered, at pancakes made by his brother, someone Sam’s pretty sure Michael loves just that much more.  Michael.  He tries not to show his excitement, forces his mind to steer clear of Michael’s brother, and focuses solely on Michael, on the image of his dad, and it occurs to Sam as Amelia lowers the cold knife to his belly that he’s never felt Michael’s grace before.

 

--

 

Dean screams.

 

He’d been doing so good, nice and quiet, bottling himself up, holding himself together, but he can’t anymore.  He feels weak, like jelly, and his breath comes fast and ragged against the leather.  Blood pools everywhere, soaking into his jeans, sticking to his skin, making him shiver and shake.  He needs—he screams.

 

He’s got it mostly figured out, knows who he can’t think of.  “He needs another sedative,” Matthew says, whoever Matthew is.  He’d come in, all power and confidence, and Dean had hated him immediately.  “Veronica,” he snaps, and the demon stills, “His heart.”

 

Sam’s good at this.  Sam’s good at having things in his body that he’s not supposed to.  But Dean’s good at taking pain.  Together, they’d be invincible.  Apart, Sam will die from the torture, Dean will die from the poison.  He can’t handle this.  He wishes, fleetingly, that anyone knew where they were, and hot, salty tears stain his cheeks.  This wasn’t supposed to happen.  There were never supposed to be demons.  This was supposed to be a semi-spicy hunt, at the most.

 

He can feel the nail drag against the skin of his wrist, but he doesn’t feel the pain, and he chalks it up his body shutting down, numbing.  A needled pierces his side, and he feels that.  He pushes his wrist against the nail, but the skin doesn’t break, doesn’t hurt.  He hones in, focuses on that, pushes again.  It’s his left wrist.  Michael’s wrist.

 

Michael.

 

--

 

“It’s your phone,” Castiel says, inclining his head toward him without taking his eyes off the chessboard.

 

Lucifer makes a disgusted face before digging into his borrowed jeans and pulling the small device out.  He detests humanity and their ugly inventions.  “Hello?” he answers it cautiously, like it might explode.

 

“Have you idjits heard from the boys yet?” Bobby grumbles from the other line.

 

“No, is it customary for them to call?”

 

“Are you daft?”  Lucifer actually smiles; he won’t admit it, but he’s quite taken with Bobby.  “They’re about as useful as a pile of shit, they always call.  It’s a Djinn, I’m just worried.  Last time, Dean got hit and—let me just say, we could have used a few angel friends to patch him up afterward.”

 

“I happen to think they’re quite useful,” Lucifer comes back with, and he can almost hear Bobby grin.

 

“Yeah, you think Dean is just swords and mighty hero worship.  You guys at the house?”

 

“Playing chess.  It’s rather tedious.”

 

“Archangels,” Bobby mutters before he hangs up, and Lucifer is still smiling.

 

“Got friends, Lucy?” Gabriel teases, and Lucifer rolls his eyes.  Gabriel comes up behind him, and Lucifer makes an indignant noise when he snuggles against him, nose tucked into the back of his neck and arms looped around his midsection.  “There are many uses for the devil, one of them being warmth,” his brother continues, and Michael actually laughs out loud, looking over at them.  Castiel sneaks a move when he’s not looking, and then feigns innocence flawlessly until Michael throws one of his dead pawns at him, and Castiel lets out a soft exclamation.

 

“He runs cold, brother, lest you forget,” Michael reminds, smirking, and Lucifer sags in defeat.

 

“He’s still warm.  No wonder Sam’s always cuddling with you.  It’s like a little, personal furnace.”

 

“Really, that’s enough,” Lucifer says, shoving Gabriel off with a hard shrug of his shoulders.  Michael looks as though he’s about to comment, his rook in hand, but then he stills as though the air has been yanked out of him, rook clattering to the chessboard with an angry noise.  He blinks, still stiff, but he straightens, looking over at his brothers, who stare back at him in concern.

 

“That was—” he cuts himself off, eyes closing and body tensing even further.  His hand trembles where it still hovers over the board, and now Gabriel is approaching him, worry infecting his features.

 

“Michael,” he says, reaching out a hesitant hand, but then Michael lets out a fast breath, groaning, sinking back into his chair, his chest heaving.

 

“They’re in trouble,” he says, opening his eyes to Castiel, “That was—Dean’s—soul,” he manages, “He’s in so much pain.  It’s—terrible.  I can’t—” he breaks off again, jaw clenching as his body shakes along with his hand.

 

Cas is already fumbling for his phone and dialing Bobby’s number.  He picks up on the third ring, and Cas erupts, “Do you know where they are?”

 

“Arkansas,” Bobby says, distorting the word before he recognizes the tone of Castiel’s voice, “Blackwell, why?”

 

“They need us.  Are you coming?”

 

“I’m pulling over right now.  Jo is with me.  Who—”

 

“Michael,” Castiel decides, “and Gabriel.”  He hangs up, and then they’re gone, a heavy silence sitting in their wake.

 

--

 

“What the hell just happened?” Veronica yells as the door slams open.

 

“He just—disappeared,” Amelia says, and Sam can just barely see her, horrified, staring at the spot where Marcus had been.  “Sam said yes.  He said yes,” she points at him, “And then Marcus just exploded in this white light.”

 

“What the fuck did you do?” Veronica screams, and Sam’s vision goes black with the pain.

 

--

 

“Brian’s here,” is the first thing Sam hears when he gains consciousness again.  He can’t see Amelia or Veronica, but he can feel another angel, whom he assumes is Brian.  Footsteps precede him through the open door, and then Amelia is talking again, “I don’t know what happened.  They both said yes.  And then, when Marcus and Matthew tried to—whatever, get inside of them, they disappeared.  White light.”

 

“Get off the floor,” Brian says, and Sam can hear Veronica and Amelia shuffling about.  “Veronica, go back to Dean.  I’ve sent a replacement.  Don’t try again.”  Silence follows, and Sam waits, hanging onto consciousness, eyes half-lidded.  “How is he?”

 

“Dying,” Amelia says, and Sam almost laughs.  He’s been feeling like he was dying for hours.

 

“How long have they been in here before they said yes?”

 

“Five hours.”

 

“Quick work, good job.  And no one’s come to get them?”

 

“No.  No one will.”

 

“Good.  Who have you been blocking from their thoughts?”  A jumble of words, names, Sam thinks, sound in Amelia’s voice, but he can’t understand any of them.  “Just those?” Brian asks, and Amelia affirms.  “Not Michael?”

 

Names, he decides.  If he can’t think them, he shouldn’t be able to understand them either.  “I thought your sheriff was in Heaven doing his dirty work again,” Amelia snarls.

 

“Michael is living with them,” Brian grinds out.  Amelia makes a choked sound, and Sam can hear her hit the wall.  “If you weren’t so useful, I’d send you straight back to Hell where you belong.”  Seconds tick by before Amelia is being dropped, gasping.  “We need to clear out before they arrive,” Brian says after a moment, calmer.

 

“Who?  No one is coming!” Amelia exclaims.

 

“You didn’t stop them from thinking of Michael!” he rages, “They’re close to him!  If one of them even thinks his name, he listens, and once they figured out they could think of him, you can damn well bet they prayed to him!  And wherever Michael is, the rest of them are!”

 

“You can’t be sure of that!  We’re so close!”

 

“No, we’re leaving.  Pack up your things now.  I want to be gone from here as soon as possible.  They cannot find us here.”

 

“What, you can’t just fly off like you usually do?” Amelia snaps.

 

“Not with the traps we’ve set, no.  Get to work.”  Brian clicks back out, and Amelia gets up.

 

“I hope you die before your stupid boyfriend gets here,” she says to him through a clenched jaw, and that’s the last he hears from her before the door closes behind her, and he’s left strapped to the slab, broken and bleeding.

 

--

 

“It’s empty,” Michael confirms, “It’s safe.”

 

Bobby and Jo nod before heading forward, through the warding symbols that keep the four angels at bay.  They find Dean first.  “Bobby, he’s not breathing,” Jo whispers as they work quickly to unbind him.

 

“I know.”

 

And they don’t talk about it.  They carry him outside, and they can hear Castiel’s intake of breath when they appear.  The angels set about crowding Dean once he’s been placed on the ground while Bobby and Jo head back in to find Sam, who is still struggling weakly.  “Thank god,” Jo gasps, running over to him, “Sam, it’s okay.  We’re here.”  She releases the gag first, and he tries to talk, but his throat sears with pain, and he coughs blood.  “Bobby, water.  Water.”  Jo works on the other binds while Bobby carefully helps Sam drink.

 

After a few moments, Sam sighs and whispers, “Can’t heal us.  Angels working with demons.  Poison.  Hearts.  Bobby, poison.  It’s killing us.”

 

Bobby nods, stationery for a moment before he jumps into action, helping Jo.  When they arrive with Sam, Michael and Lucifer are at each other’s throats, Gabriel standing referee between them.  “Boys!” Bobby roars, and they glare viciously at him.

 

“Did he say anything?” Michael asks, motioning to Sam even as Lucifer rushes over and takes him, settling onto the ground.

 

Sam grabs feebly at him, fingers fisting loosely in his t-shirt.  “You’re okay,” he says, and Lucifer breaks, pressing his forehead to Sam’s.

 

Sam,” he says, his voice broken, a heaving sob building in his chest, “Why can’t I fix you?”

 

“Angels—working with demons,” Sam says slowly, quietly, “They—they had knives—you can’t heal us, though—anti-angel—or whatever.”  A shaky smile slips onto Lucifer’s face.  Even dying, Sam still tries to cheer him up with his little quips.  “Poison.”

 

“It stopped you from praying to us,” Lucifer says, and Sam nods, blinks slowly.

 

“I love you,” he whispers, and Lucifer falls apart, holding Sam tight.

 

“You can’t—you can’t leave me.  You p-promised.”

 

Lucifer is reminded of his fall, and this hurts like that, hurts him so deep it’s ripping apart his grace, tearing the angel right out of him, leaving only the devil.  He grip tightens on Sam, and he looks up.

 

“Why don’t you strike?” the man in front of him asks, and everyone around him turns at the sound of the voice, staring agape.  Death.

 

“Why should I?” Lucifer retorts, not bothering to hold back his tears, not caring.  He would prefer Hell over this wretched Earth.

 

“Sam is dead,” Death says, shrugging, “You have an idea who did it.  You’re right, for the most part.  So, why not seek revenge?”

 

“It will not bring Sam back,” Lucifer says, “It means nothing to me.”

 

Death smiles, a faint, frightening thing, before he slowly lowers to one knee before Lucifer.  “And that is why you were granted access to Heaven again.  Did you think it was only because you had proved your love for your brother and for Sam?  No, Lucifer, it was because you had learned to love humanity, and you had learned to appreciate patience and understanding.  Every test is an act of faith, and every golden moment is rewarded.  This is an exception, Lucifer.  I don’t make them often, but I happen to have a soft spot for our dear Winchesters.”

 

They watch on in awe as Death slowly lowers a hand to Sam’s heart, fingers splayed out, and then Sam takes in a shuddering breath.  “That is all I can do,” he says, lifting his gaze back to Lucifer, “He is still badly injured, and you cannot truly heal him.  He will need time to recuperate.  Learn from this.  Do not shadow his every move, but do not be careless with him.  You know where the medium is.  Find it, and find these miscreants.”

 

When he retreats, Death straightens and looks over to Castiel, and he smiles again.  “Little angel,” he says softly before he makes his way over, kneeling before he and Dean, as well, “Not playing God anymore?”  He actually chuckles, and Castiel watches as he places his hand over Dean’s heart, as well.  “He won’t tell you,” Death says quietly, “But I’m here because of him.  He’s very persuasive when he’s dead.  He promised me Chicago pizza.  I’ll hold him to that.”  He repeats that which he told Lucifer, and then he straightens again.

 

“Well,” Death says, and then he’s gone, as though he’d never been there.  Lucifer looks back, and Cas nods.  They do what they can to heal them for the journey, and, before long, they’re settling in to keep a steady vigil over their humans.

 

--

 

April 3, 2011.

 

Dean wakes up first, heavy and aching.  He groans when he tries to move his head, and his neck is so stiff, he barely can move it.  Michael is at his side in seconds, hand hovering over him.  “I’ll get Castiel,” he decides after a moment.  He surprises Dean by leaving the room on foot, and they even return that way, as well.

 

“How are you feeling?” Cas asks quietly even as he helps Dean drink water.

 

When he pulls away, Cas is perched next to him, and Michael is hanging back a little.  Dena can feel both of them, grace electrifying the air, and he’s immensely grateful.  “Sore,” he says finally, “So he brought us back?”

 

“Said you owed him pizza.”

 

Dean smiles lightly before he speaks again, “The poison?”

 

“It did quite a bit of damage as did the torture.  You’ll be off the job for a while.”

 

“Sam?”

 

“Alive, but still unconscious.”

 

“How long has it been?”

 

“Almost a week.  We’ve been keeping you sustained, taking shifts so as not to drain ourselves.”

 

“Stop it,” Dean sighs, reaching for his hand.  When Cas arches an eyebrow, Dean squeezes his hand.  “Stop trying to apologize for not being here.  I’d rather you alive, in case you weren’t aware.”  Dean takes a breath before looking to Michael.  He starts to ask, but the archangel is already on his way.  When the door closes behind him, Dean pulls on Cas’ hand.  “I wanna cuddle,” he says, whining just a little.  Castiel smiles softly and moves around to the other side of the bed.  When he’s settled, Dean leans into him.  “I love you,” he whispers.

 

Castiel kisses hi temple.  “And I love you.”

 

--

 

Sam wakes up seven hours later that night two hours after the fever starts.  Dean’s had broken the day before he woke, and Gabriel is reading in the corner of the room when Sam calls for Dean.  “He’s okay,” Gabriel says, book dropping to the floor as he hurries over.

 

Sam stares at the angel for a long moment before giving him his most incredulous tone, “Gabriel?”

 

“Welcome back, sasquatch.  Apparently, you can thank Dean and good Chicago pizza for being alive.”

 

“Death,” Sam sighs, “How bad is it?”


“No deal.  He just likes you guys.  Kind of weird, actually.  Anyway, you don’t really want to talk to me, though I think my brother is already on his way up.  The connection between you is remarkable, much akin to that of angels.  Ah, here he is.”

 

“Sam.”

 

“Lucifer,” he sighs, and Gabriel laughs at them on his way out.

 

“You’re still feverish,” Lucifer says, already climbing in next to Sam.

 

“Remember that first night I let you in?  I had a fever, then, too,” Sam mumbles as he relaxes into Lucifer’s embrace.  Lucifer just kisses his ear, smiling.

 

--

 

April 18, 2011.

 

Sam is sitting with his toes in the sand, War and Peace open on his lap, head tipped back into the sun when Lucifer looks out the window.  Dean is teaching Castiel Chinese checkers in between mouthfuls of egg and sausage in the small breakfast nook, and his older brothers are not to be found.  Lucifer remains in the kitchen only a while longer, waiting for the second batch of eggs to finish, and then he’s fixing up a plate and heading outside with an armful of other things.  His chair is cold when he sits, balancing the plate in one hand while he passes over a blanket with the other.

 

“I told you I was fine,” Sam says even as he smiles and tucks it around his legs.

 

“And I told you I didn’t care,” Lucifer retorts as he passes the plate next.

 

Sam makes a pleased noise and immediately stabs a mushroom and pepper.  “Seriously, when did you learn to cook?”  Lucifer just smiles and opens his Rilke.  “Read me something?” Sam requests.

 

Lucifer flips toward the beginning, obliging, “I read it in your word, learn it from the story,

of those gestures with which your hands

cupped themselves around each fledgling thing—

warm, encompassing, wise.

You pronounced live strongly and die softly

and ceaselessly repeated: Be.

With that a rent tore through your perfect circles

and a scream broke in

and scattered all those voices

that had just then come together

to sing you,

to carry you about,

their bridge over all abysses—

 

And what they have been stammering since

are fragments

of your ancient name.”

 

They sit in silence for a while after he finishes, and Sam eats the rest of his breakfast before speaking, “We should go shopping today.  Food and clothes.  I know Gabriel’s taken care of Michael clothes-wise, and Cas has Dean, but you really need some new jeans.  And your own shirts.  I’m a little too bigger than you.”  Lucifer shrugs.  “It’ll be fun, and we’re running low on food anyway.  Come on, I’m sick of going with Dean.  He’s getting fat, and he’s going to start complaining soon.”

 

“Should you be driving?”


“I’m fine.  Sore and tired, but I’m going stir crazy.”

 

“Alright.  Do you want to shower first?”

 

“If you wouldn’t mind.”  Lucifer shakes his head, gathering up their things and walking slowly with Sam, who’s made it very clear he wants to feel like he isn’t about to fall apart due to Lucifer’s constant fussing.  They’ve found a happy medium, much like Death warned Lucifer to seek, though Sam does allow him to help with some things, one of those being showering, especially after the first time he’d left him alone, and Sam refused to admit that he’d injured his wrist because he’d fallen into one of the walls.  Dean was much the same, his body slowly recovering and weak from the torture, and they hadn’t been doing much of anything the past couple weeks.  It’s peaceful in a way Lucifer hadn’t been expecting.

 

Lucifer keeps an eye on Sam while he undresses, the water already on and getting hot, steaming up the bathroom as it does.  He sometimes uses a hand to brace against the sink, but he seems fine enough on his own, even when he listens in on his thoughts.  He’s halfway out of his jeans when Sam starts reciting a Shakespearian sonnet in his mind, and he looks up to find Sam smirking.

 

“Stop it,” he says, and the sonnet ends.

 

“How did you know?”


“Because I know you.  I know what you feel like,” Sam says, and there’s a fondness there that he hadn’t really intended.  Lucifer notices it anyway, and he smiles, going back to his jeans.  The shower door opens without warning, and Sam slips inside before he lifts his eyes again.  He joins him after a moment, taking a second, as usual, to let his eyes drift appreciatively over Sam’s body before he goes to join him, accustomed to the steps in showering by now.

 

Once that’s done, they dress for the day, and then they’re off, Dean shouting them out of the house with food items until the Impala’s engine is running, and then he finally shuts up.  Sam navigates around until they’re parked in front of an Old Navy, and Lucifer sighs obnoxiously, to which Sam just laughs.

 

“Come on.  Humor me.”

 

“This is belittling.”

 

“No, it’s just fun,” Sam corrects, pushing open his door and getting out.

 

It doesn’t end up being as horrible as Sam fears it might be.  Lucifer is quiet and observing while Sam finds his size in jeans, only managing to surprise the archangel once when he suddenly pulls at Lucifer’s hip until he turns and he look at the tag in the back.  Once he’s got three pairs, he drops them in Lucifer’s arms, and then they make their way onward, Lucifer only emitting a small sigh.

 

“Okay, you know what,” Sam says when they’re faced with a rather large selection of shirts, “Give me those.  Go pick out things you like.  Flannels are over there,” he points to the corner in the right, “T-shirts are next to them.  I wear v-necks.”  Lucifer nods, suddenly looking determined, and Sam smiles.  “I’ll be right back, okay?”  The angel is already heading off, in the direction of the flannels, of course, and so Sam leaves him.

 

Lucifer is quietly and carefully sifting through the different colors, deciding on what he likes best, when a small voice is suddenly right next to his ear where he’s on one knee, “Blue is my favorite color.”  He immediately looks to his right where a little boy is standing, eyes a warm, soft brown and hair a crazy mess of the same color.  He has a smattering of freckles all over his face, his skin pale underneath, and he points to the shirt Lucifer is currently holding.  “What’s your favorite?”

 

Lucifer blinks.  He’s never been asked that before.  “Blue,” he agrees, “It reminds me of the cold.”


“Do you like snow?” the little boy asks excitedly, “I really do, but it’s spring now, my mommy says, and so there’s no more snow.  I went ice skating for the first time ever this year.  It was so much fun.  Have you ever been ice skating?”

 

“I don’t know how, but I live on a lake that was frozen.”

 

Really?”  Lucifer nods, and the little boy beams widely.  “I wish I lived on a lake.  My name is Beck, by the way.  What’s yours?”

 

“Lucifer,” he responds, and Beck holds out his hand.  He takes it, careful to remember that he’s just a tiny human as he shakes it.

 

“Red is another cool color,” Beck says, nodding and squeezing passed Lucifer to pick out another shirt with orange and brown.  He pretends to look through the shirts, and Lucifer watches him with a bemused expression.

 

“How old are you, Beck?” he asks as he finds his size in another shirt.

 

“Eight.  My brother is only five.  He’s really little.  Do you have any brothers?”

 

Lucifer laughs, “Yes, I have a lot, but I only live with three of them.”

 

“How come?”

 

“The rest of them have other homes,” he tries to explain, thinking back to when he’d been so young, how Gabriel had told him about things.

 

“Cole is pretty cool for a five-year-old.  He cries a lot, though.”

 

“Why’s that?”

 

Lucifer straightens, and Beck looks up at him.  “We’re always going to different places and living in different rooms.  My mommy calls them motels.  She says that we’re running from the devil cos his friends are chasing us.”

 

Beck!” a woman’s voice yells suddenly, but Lucifer is frozen by Beck’s statement.

 

“Beck—do you—do you know the name of the person who’s chasing you?”

 

Beck!”

 

“I think it was a girl.  Uhm—Victoria, maybe?  Or—no!  It was Veronica!”

 

Beck!”  A woman bustles around Lucifer and scoops Beck up.  “I’m so sorry, he’s always wandering off and talking to strangers.  I—”

 

“It’s fine,” Lucifer interrupts her, trying for a small smile, “You take care of your mom and Cole, alright, Beck?” he adds, and Beck nods enthusiastically.

 

“Bye, Lucifer,” he says with a small wave, and the woman’s eyes go even wider.

 

She backs away slowly, and Lucifer tries to look inconspicuous like Sam has taught him, turns around and pretends he’s looking at the shirts again.  “What was that about?” Sam’s voice says a moment later, and it’s the only time he’s ever caught Lucifer off-guard, who flinches and turns.  “You okay?” Sam asks instantly, brushing their shoulders together.

 

“What was the name of the demon that tortured Dean?” he asks, and Sam frowns.

 

“Veronica, why?”

 

“We have to go.”

 

“What?  We—”

 

Sam, she’s here, somewhere.  That little boy said that his mom kept moving them because the devil’s friends were chasing them.  He said her name was Veronica.”

 

Sam nods, takes a deep breath, and then speaks, “Okay, look.  If we leave right now, it’s going to look suspicious.  Let’s just finish our day, alright?  We’ll be careful.  I won’t leave your side.  Can you do that?”

 

Lucifer steels himself, knowing Sam won’t bend on this.  “Yes.  Fine.”

 

“Show me what you picked out.”

 

He’s on edge, checking every soul that they encounter, but the store is clean, and it’s only when they’re retreating outside that trouble hits.  Sam is telling him some story about Dean trying on a pair of girl’s jeans one time when Lucifer sees Beck’s mother watching them from her car.  “Sam,” Lucifer says softly, “Pretend I’m responding, okay?”  When Sam nods, Lucifer continues, “Beck’s mother is watching us.”

 

Sam turns, giving him a look of mock hilarity.  “How’s the parking lot look?”

 

“I’m checking.  Keep talking.”  Sam continues with the rest of his story, and, by the end, the trunk is packed and Lucifer is done.  “She’s not here.”  Though Beck’s mother does tail them to the grocery store.

 

“It’s not—”

 

“No,” Lucifer cuts him off, “It’s not her.”

 

“Did you check again?”

 

“Yes.”

 

They spend ten minutes in the car while Lucifer closes his eyes and seeks out the store with his grace, and only then does he let Sam unlock the doors.  “She’s following us,” Sam say fifteen minutes later when they’re in the cereal aisle.

 

“I know.”  He watches Sam put a few boxes in his carriage before sighing.  “I’m going to leave you,” he says softly, touching a hand to Sam’s lower back, “Do you have my feather?”  Sam nods.  “Okay.  Don’t reach out for me except with that.  I’ll be close.”

 

“Hey,” Sam draws him close, catching his wrist, “I love you.”  He presses a quick kiss to Lucifer’s mouth, and it calms him in a way that nothing else would be able to in this moment.

 

“I love you,” he responds, slipping his wrist out so he can squeeze Sam’s hand briefly before turning and disappearing down the aisle.

 

Sam’s confronted before he even gets out of the aisle.  “Sir,” the brunette woman Lucifer had been talking to whispers, grabbing his arm, “Sir, you’re in danger.”

 

“Mommy,” the little boy, Beck, whines from behind her, tugging on her pants, “Mommy, he was nice.  He wasn’t the devil.”

 

“Veronica,” Sam says, and the woman immediately goes wide-eyed and steps back, “That’s her name, isn’t it?”

 

“Oh god,” she breathes, reaching back for her son.

 

“Two weeks ago, she kidnapped my brother and me, tortured us and left us for dead,” Sam says, and that stops her, “The devil, which, by the way, is not his name, saved us.  He hasn’t been the devil for a very long time.  Who did you lose?”

 

“My husband,” she says, clutching Beck tightly to her.

 

“Was he a hunter?”

 

“Why do you people keep saying that?” she hisses, suddenly angry, “That evil, black-eyed woman called him the same thing!”

 

“Ma’am,” he tries, keeping his voice soft as he holds up his hands, “We hunt evil things, like that woman.  Ghosts, witches, monsters, and demons, which is what she is.  We can help you.”

 

“But you’re in company with the devil.”

 

Sam knows he’s there before he hears his voice, “My name is Lucifer.  Where is your other son?”

 

“Cole?” she says, swallowing, her throat clicking, “She has him.”

 

“Can I borrow your phone?” Lucifer says, motioning to Sam, coming from behind him.  Sam takes the role of explaining while Lucifer calls Michael.

 

Somehow, he manages to convince Beck’s mother to come back to the house with them, and they’re just finishing their shopping and loading the Impala with their carriage-full when she says, “My name is Sarah, by the way.”

 

Lucifer immediately stills, and Sam looks over to him, fearful.  “Sarah,” he repeats, “What a beautiful name.”

 

“Thank you,” she says, seeming baffled by the compliment.

 

It’s a long drive back to the house, made even longer when Lucifer sighs and says, “Incoming angel.”  Sam braces himself, but it does nothing to quell the shriek of fear from Sarah when Michael is suddenly sitting next to Beck in the back.

 

“This is interesting,” Michael says, looking over at them for a moment before leaning forward, “Lucifer.”

 

“What, Michael?”

 

“I need to—speak with you.”

 

“You couldn’t have waited until we got back?”

 

Michael just stares at him.  “Go,” Sam says, but Lucifer shakes his head.

 

“No, not with her so nearby.  What do you want, Michael?”

 

“I’m returning to Heaven to seek Raphael.”

 

Alright,” Sam says loudly before Lucifer can even open his mouth, “Michael, back to the house.  Now.  Wait for us.  Lucifer, not a word.  You can rip each other apart when we get back.”  Except Michael doesn’t leave, and the row starts the second the Impala pulls in and they get out of the car.  Sarah helps Sam bring in the groceries, where he waves a hand at Gabriel, who sighs begrudgingly and goes to find his brothers.  Castiel takes over for Sam so he and Dean can put away everything.

 

“So, what’s going on?” Dean asks quietly when Sarah goes out to get another bag and Beck is seated at the island.

 

“Veronica killed Sarah’s husband, currently has her son Cole, and has been chasing her since who knows when.  We don’t know why, but apparently Michael thinks Raphael is involved?”

 

“He is,” Dean admits, “Chuck showed up all mysterious-like, I have to talk to my son, which, awesome, great choice of words, guy, but he meant Cas, and when Cas returned from Heaven, well—I guess Chuck knew Raphael was responsible.  He didn’t say anything other than that, apparently.”

 

“Excellent.  So, we’re going to be trapped here.”

 

“Dude, no, we’re going with them.”

 

“Dean,” Sam sighs, “They killed us, in case you’ve forgotten.  We’re not going.  This one is up to them.”

 

“Hello, boys.”  They both turn to find Chuck staring curiously at Beck, who is staring right back at him, eyes narrowed.  “Hello, Beck,” Chuck says after a moment, entering the kitchen.

 

“What, are you our babysitter?” Dean grumbles.

 

“Watchdog, really.  Though I’m a little more useful.  Normally, I’d send one of my sons, but you seem to have commandeered all of them.  Figured I’d drop in for a visit.”

 

“So, you’re just—going to let Michael go up to Heaven and kill Raphael?” Sam asks, surprised.

 

“I have been waiting much of Michael’s life for him to take on the responsibility of the eldest son.  He was always designed to keep his brothers in line, and he has long abandoned that job.  It is his duty.  I do not wish it, but Raphael cannot be confined any other way.  He will continue to rebel against me and, thus, harm you.  I have waited a long time to see Michael do what is right.  He always just followed my orders.  It’s time he learned to think for himself.”

 

Dean and Sam look at him for a long moment before Dean shrugs and goes back to the fridge.  Sam, however, crosses over to him.  “You ordered him to cast Lucifer out,” he says softly, accusingly.

 

“I did.  And he should have refused.  But he was a good, loyal soldier, he was not a son, and he did not understand freedom as he does now.”

 

“All of this could have been avoided.”

 

“No, Sam.  It was always meant to play out this way.”

 

“I’ve given up on trying to reason with them,” Dean murmurs, and Sam smiles, shaking his head.

 

“Ah, well, at least they’ve stopped fighting,” Chuck says suddenly, straightening, “They’re about to leave, if you wish to say goodbye.”

 

Sam and Dean abandon their spots in the kitchen, and then Chuck turns to Beck.  “Do you know who I am?” he asks.

 

“God,” Beck says immediately, and Chuck grins.

 

“Of course you do.”

 

--

 

It’s three o’clock in the morning when Sam feels the whisper of breath across his back.  “Is that you?” he mumbles sleepily, and a soft kiss lands between his shoulder blades.  “Are you okay?” is his next question.  The blankets are pushed down past his feet, and then Lucifer is making quick work of his pajama pants and boxers, but his hands are shaking.  “Lucifer,” Sam says, turning onto his side and grabbing his wrist, “What’s wrong?”

 

“My brother is dead,” he whispers, his voice broken.  Sam has a moment of horror before he clarifies, “Raphael.”  He nods, and he moves to comfort him, but Lucifer shakes his head.  “I’m not sad he’s gone, it’s just strange that he is.”

 

“I understand.”

 

“I need you.”

 

“I’m here.”

 

Their mouths meet in a kiss that starts slow, but, in a matter of breaths, erupts into something hotter, harder.  Lucifer is all sharp angles and edges as he presses Sam into the bed, so much more angel than he is human, hungry and needy, and Sam takes it all, gasping through the small stings of pain and pulling him closer.

 

Lucifer’s cock is hard and hot against his bare skin, chilled by the night air, and they move together, warm, flushed skin desperate for the other, reaching, taking, needing.  Lucifer slots a thigh in between Sam’s, groans when their hips grind together, and Sam spreads his legs, ghosting a kiss over Lucifer’s mouth before he drops his head back, leaves his neck open and bare.  Lucifer takes the bait instantly, nipping down his jaw and throat before he settles in the hollow there, drags his tongue over it, and bites.  Sam bucks up into him, moaning softly even as Lucifer’s hand skitters down Sam’s side, finds the curve of his thigh and traces down to his foot and back up until he’s drifting down to his entrance and rubbing softly, encouragingly.

 

It’s like the first time, Lucifer’s grace filling him, and Sam’s vision goes white for a moment with the feel of it, enveloping him and filling him, accompanied by Lucifer’s skilled, curling fingers.  He preps Sam slow and easy, stretches him wide, and Sam knows he’s going to be fucked hard.  He groans just at the thought, and he knows Lucifer hears it from the way he fists his other hand over his cock, eyes dark and heavy as he mouths along Sam’s shoulders and collarbone.  He finds a spot there, sinks his teeth into it, and Sam keens, clenching around his fingers as he rubs two fingers over the bundle of nerves inside of him, makes his whole body jerk and lock up, a loud moan ripping out of him.

 

Sam,” Lucifer breathes against his chest before he kisses the bite wetly, soothes it, and then he’s curling his hands around Sam’s ankles and pushing his knees up, one hand disappearing to guide his cock.  Sam groans as he pushes through tight rings of muscle, and it’s been so long, but it’s so good.

 

“Lucifer,” he growls, knees unwinding and legs hitching around his ribcage, heels settling in his lower back.  “I want to feel you,” he demands, and the archangel buries his face in Sam’s neck for a moment, his whole body quiet and still until he lifts his eyes again, and Sam stares at him, challenges him, and that’s it.

 

Lucifer’s hands settle over Sam’s hips, pull him close, and he fucks Sam in half, breath coming fast and harsh against Sam’s mouth where they’re sharing breath, licking into each other, lazily kissing, foreheads pressed together, Sam groaning underneath him and begging for more, for harder, for faster.  Lucifer gives it to him, gives him everything he has, and Sam gives everything back in return, opening himself bare.

 

“Lucifer,” he says it like a prayer, and their mouths connect in a bruising, angry kiss, fierce and demanding.  Lucifer keeps them close, thrusts shallow and quick, keeping Sam filled, and he’s so close, fire licking down his spine, pooling in his belly, teasing him over the edge.  “Lucifer,” Sam groans, body pressing against his, “Please.”

 

He curls his right hand over Sam’s cock, gives it one, long, hard pull, thumb pressing into the head, and Sam moans loudly, reaching for him even as Lucifer bends over him, forehead meeting his shoulder.  “Yes,” Sam gasps, clawing at his back, “Fuck, I want to feel you.”

 

“Come for me,” Lucifer whispers in his ear, and he fists his hand up Sam’s dick again, tight, all heat, and Sam does, breaking apart at the seams with a loud shout, whole body arching up off the bed, pressing against Lucifer’s, muscles tightening and tensing everywhere, and Lucifer falls over the edge with him, air punching right out of him as he milks his orgasm, thrusting hard into Sam until he can’t anymore, until his body just feels exhausted, and he lets go, lets Sam drop back onto the bed before he falls beside him, chest heaving.

 

“Are you okay?” Sam asks after a few moments of silence.


Lucifer flicks his fingers, and they’re clean again, the blankets drawn up around them.  “I am now.”

 

“Don’t go anywhere, okay?  Stay here.”

 

“I’ll always be right here,” Lucifer promises, and the rest goes unspoken.  Sam drifts off to sleep with the archangel in his arms, holding him close and tight, and Lucifer lets them settle together, grace with soul, hearts synced, and he feels more at peace than he ever has in his life.