Sometimes it’s like breathing is a language my scarred lungs never learned to speak. And it’s not poetic, the ache. Of oxygen so often being lost in translation.
But in the silence of my ragged breaths the distance from your inhales to exhales feels how poetry should feel.
You are the softest loud I’ve known.
Russia, North-West of Taiga Forest,
A series of shots rang out in the cold silence of the Taiga forest. Sudden, angry shouts in Russian distinctly echoed off the icy mountain walls and travelled to his covered ears in pieces of information. What was… check the perimeter… find out… move, move…
He wasn’t far from the Winter Fortress, but he needed a diversion to help him get in without much trouble. Securing the rifle on his back, he moved like a shadow beyond his little observatory place, a hundred meters or so away from the now-deserted rock steps. The temperatures were well below zero degrees, and even if he would have felt more in his element without the winter gear, he wouldn’t have been able to brave the harsh Russian weather without the white Balaclava and the hot rox for extreme temperatures.
He was trained in hand-to-hand combat, so having to make use of a gun in this mission, was not ideal. Guns of any kind and variety were a hassle for him, but Balthazar wouldn’t have let him leave without at least one weapon on his persona.
Last time it was a double-edged commando knife. It looked pretty and expensive, and it was lightweight and helped Lucifer kill over a dozen of Russian gang members. He had an unintended reputation among the Academy’s Sentinels, mainly for his numerous missions in Russia.
In whispers, his nickname passed from lips to lips: White Death is back. He saved another Guide. White Death is all over the underground Russian wanted lists!
He was too old for that kind of fame, so he stirred away from them. No point in adding fuel to the fire.
The rusty iron door was unguarded, when he reached the top of the snow-covered steps, but not for long. Voices and the unmistakable thuds of heavy boots were getting closer by the second. He twisted the handle, mentally preparing himself for the onslaught of sound, and with a metallic groan, the door opened a crack. Pulling it wider revealed to be an ordeal to his acute hearing, even if it was protected by ear pieces and the Balaclava.
He winced and adjusted his high-performance goggles to night vision.
It was pitch black inside; not even a lit torch or anything equally Middle Ages. As he descended the stairs (always on silent feet, not a noise made carelessly), the walls presented a damp quality to them. The dampness became more prominent, which meant that the under structure was thoroughly heated. Either that or there was a fire and the scatterbrains above knew nothing of it.
Pulling down his mask, he inhaled deeply. No, no fire, just dry wood, humidity, warmth, iron, some paint, chemicals whose names he didn’t know, and…
Sweat, fear, body heat; more than one. His package was guarded.
He took a few seconds to consider whether he should just break in and shoot everybody before he was shot or if he could manage a more stealthy approach. Looking around, he found no other possible way of entry beside the iron door.
There wasn’t time to dwell. The morons upstairs were about to give the alarm. After all, he shot one of their own and they were so taken aback that the five minutes they needed to locate the point of impact and check their dead comrade, he was already inside and pondering his next action.
No time at all. The noise above sounded like a hive coming to life.
He pounded on the door in what he knew would translate as frantic.
“Who’s there?” Came the expected question from behind the iron door.
All the room’s attention was pinpointed at it (minus one, though). He could almost see them, but he wasn’t quite sure their current positions inside. With these thick walls, even he had difficulty hearing the low hum their body produced. He only hoped that the vague idea he had would keep him alive.
“Hurry!” he spoke in Russian, modulating his voice to a desperate rush of words. “We’re under attack. The Americans! They’ve come! Hurry! We’re being shot at as I speak!”
It had the intended effect: the door opened.
He didn’t waste time and pushed the butt of his rifle into the guard’s face, hearing the distinct crack of the nasal bone and the expected cry of pain as the soldier stumbled back and fell hard on his ass.
It took him a glance at the large room to take in the position of the other four soldiers. As he more or less expected, two were by the door; with one down, the second one acted quicker than the average person would, and almost got a punch in. If he were a fast-thinker, he would have used his gun and probably would have wounded him. Probably.
But as things were looking, he opted to use his brute force and land in a blow to Lucifer’s head which would have left him unconscious for a couple of minutes — enough time to be captured.
Lucifer slid down on his hunches in one, fluid and well-timed move and used his position to punch the Russian guy in the stomach.
Shots were fired. The fight didn’t last more than ten seconds, so Lucifer grabbed the guy’s dark moss green jacket and used him as a shield, absorbing most of the bullets aimed at him.
The fire ceased moments after, when they realized that they were shooting one of their own.
Lucifer used this to his advantage and threw the body (it was fucking heavy even for his standards) over the four tables pushed together and littered with lots of trinkets and glass tubes and other circuitry Lucifer wasn’t going to bother mentioning.
He watched with a smirk as the dead body slid across, pushing over everything on the tables and creating a ruckus just to hit the closest soldier and push him down.
Just as the body got on the other side of the tables, Lucifer jumped up on them and rushed to the other two soldiers, positioned at the far end of the tables. He slid down, using the propelling force to his advantage, and disarmed one of the guys with a kick of his leg, swiftly turning on his stomach and bringing his lower body in a half Flare, half Deadman Floating kind of kick, effectively landing a hard blow to the misfortunate man’s head.
He didn’t get up from the floor.
Lucifer quickly rose to his feet, just as the last standing soldier grabbed the rifle and turned to aim it at Lucifer, and jumped on the poor soldier, knocking the wind out of him as Lucifer’s weight connected with the other’s chest and threw him on the floor. He punched him in the face for good measure, when they landed.
Standing up from the unconscious body, Lucifer’s own breath and rushing blood clouded his hearing and for a few seconds he just stood there, looking down at the soldier.
A whimper-like sound filtered through the white noise and Lucifer turned at once, muscles coiled and ready to attack, but there was nobody trying to take him by surprise. The sound came again, and that was when he remembered the reason he was there.
In no time he rounded the second row of tables and found a man curled into a ball underneath a desk, hands firmly pressed against his ears and eyes screwed shut tightly.
Lucifer crouched down and touched him. The man jumped up and hit his head hard against the iron top, which elicited a groan, and he covered his head with his hands. Long, slim fingers attached to a broad palm.
“Fuck! Fuck fuck fuck!” The man swayed back and forth.
Lucifer winced in sympathy and touched his elbow. “Ouch. You hit your head pretty hard,” he said. “Are you okay?”
“Do I look like I’m okay?”
Dark, almond-shaped eyes looked straight at Lucifer for the first time. Lucifer’s picky aesthetic standards stirred conspicuously.
“Good.” Lucifer stood up. “If you can bitch about a simple question, then you’re more than alright.”
The surprise at such a response morphed into a sardonic smirk as he said, “No, I don’t think you can from down there.”
Silence. Lucifer raised an eyebrow at the desk; he could only see a quarter of his mission’s shape: drawn up, denim-clad legs and a dark button-down shirt. Finally, the man decided to get out of his little hiding place.
Lucifer most certainly wasn’t prepared for this. Nobody warned him about it. Nobody even jokingly said, Hey, Lucifer, be prepared to rescue the epitome of a Sasquatch as well as possibly every man’s wet dream who had even the faintest doubt about their heterosexuality. Then again, he would have laughed and rolled his eyes and wouldn’t have thought about it once in the following days.
But there it was, his mission in all his six feet and counting glory, towering over Lucifer like he was born to do that. Dark eyes looked down at him with a mix of fear and annoyance.
“Please tell me they didn’t brought you here clothed like this?” Lucifer found himself saying, still boring holes into the tall man’s eyes. It was actually thrilling for Lucifer to respond to this man’s unabashed staring in kind.
He actually scoffed in response. “As if the Russians ever bother to provide proper winter gear for their prisoners. If I hadn’t been so valuable to them, I wouldn’t have been able to even negotiate for a properly heated room.”
Surprise flashed into Lucifer’s eyes. In Russian he asked, “you know Russian?” to which Sam rolled his eyes dramatically and said, “I know enough to understand basic phrases and threats.”
Lucifer smirked. He gave the man another once-over, for his pleasure only, and then went to the unconscious men littered on the floor.
“What are you doing?” he asked, following Lucifer. “Actually, who are you and why are you here?”
“I didn’t kill you or incapacitated you in any way. Isn’t it obvious?” Lucifer said absentmindedly as he mentally measures each soldier.
“But how did you get in? This fortress is heavily-guarded.”
“Probably during the night. Here, take these.” He divested one of the burly soldiers of his winter jacket and hat, and another one of his pants and boots. “They should fit you.” But the man didn’t make any move to take them from Lucifer. “Look, you have two options here and little time to ponder about each of them: you either take these clothes on so that you won’t freeze your balls off out there and give me a headache and muscular fever because I’d have to drag your congealed body back to America or you refuse my help and stay here to be tortured. Entirely your pick.”
With a small grunt of irritation, he took his clothes off right then and there. Lucifer’s cocked eyebrow was either ignored or went unnoticed by the grumpy, tall man. It was almost hilarious. He should rejoice that he was being rescued after two weeks of imprisonment, even though Lucifer suspected that he wasn’t treated all that badly, seeing as the room was equipped with various instruments.
There was no computer, but the four white boards on the opposite wall were full of equations and formulas. He didn’t know he was rescuing Einstein’s descendant. Or Emmy Noerther’s. No gender discrimination intended, Scout’s honor.
Thundering heartbeat filtered through his thoughts and he realized he was staring shamelessly at a lanky man clad only in a pair of blue briefs.
He gestured towards the white pants Lucifer was holding in his hands. “Um… could you pass me…”
Lucifer handed them to him without cracking any joke at the man’s sudden politeness. Instinct told him that it would be detrimental to their continued cooperation. They were still far from touching the American soil, after all.
In less than eight minutes, he was adequately clad to resist the harsh weather outside. He stood and moved towards the door.
“Wait!” The man crossed the room to the whiteboards and began cancelling his own words.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me!” Lucifer breathed out. “They’ll soon come to check on the others. We can’t waste time with hieroglyphs!”
The man turned a thunderous look towards Lucifer. “They’re not hieroglyphs. If you don’t want to help, you can go ahead and leave.”
Lucifer was dumbstruck by how much haughty attitude could that chiselled face express. But then again, there was a lot of space in six feet of manliness. “Stubborn little shit…” he muttered under his breath, but took a cloth and began wiping the equations from the other end of the white boards.
He didn’t wipe everything, he just swiped the cloth erratically and in a hurry so that behind him only disconnected letters and numbers were left. When he reached the tall man he dropped the cloth.
The man smiled genuinely. “Yes.”
It was hard to clearly state if that smile got to Lucifer or slid over him like water over a duck.
By the time they got out of the basement, the night was well on its way. He put on his goggles, because his sense of sight wasn’t yet developed. Some said that partial-Sentinels were a Jolly card. They could live all their life with only half of their senses enhanced or at some point they could become full-fledged Sentinels.
Lucifer couldn’t care less if his other senses were dimmed. His hearing and smell have helped him a great deal throughout the years; he didn’t need enhanced sight or taste. He heard about cases in which partial-Sentinels had all five senses fully operative in their thirties and couldn’t go or do anything without a Guide always present, because they zoned so deeply that many of them entered into an irreversible coma from sensory overload and never came out.
Lucifer was forty-two and happy with his life. He hadn’t had a zone in over a decade, because he was always careful with his senses. Still, partial-Sentinels such as himself weren’t highly regarded by others, even though every Sentinel was born with only two or, rarely, three senses fully developed.
Discrimination in the Sentinel Community regarding partial-Sentinels was so not his cup of coffee.
“Hey,” the man whispered, and Lucifer expected to feel warm breath and a weight against or near his back. There was none. “You didn’t tell me your name.”
Lucifer pondered about the correct answer to give him. In all his missions up to that point, he never had more than basic conversation with his ‘package’; there never was a reason why he should get all personal with them.
That didn’t mean that this mission was special. He received all the information he was supposed to know: male, twenty-seven, a bunch of awards, which translated as ‘precious cargo; do not damage in any way’, kidnapped from Toronto University thirteen days and seventeen hours ago, smuggled out of the country through a private jet and brought to a fortress, called Winter Fortress, somewhere in the North-East hemisphere of the Taiga forest.
However, nobody told him that the man was a genius, sassy under pressure, stubborn and had the body of… yeah, precious cargo; do not damage in any way. Maybe if he kept repeating that to himself, he’d start believing it. Eventually.
“Nick,” he said.
It was the identity by which everybody that wasn’t strictly into ‘friends’ or ‘relatives’ category knew him. It was better to ‘broadcast’ an identity than to give a reason to his enemies to start digging all his junk in the backyard. Not that there was anything like that in any database in the world, but that was something that it was better if nobody realized.
“I’m Sam,” he whispered back and Lucifer was about to retort something nasty, when footsteps entered his hearing radar.
“Stay back and take care of this.” He pushed his rifle into Sam’s arms and darted out from behind the wall they were hiding, just as a couple of soldiers rounded the corner.
To say that they froze at the sight of Lucifer would have been totally unfair to the Russian pride. They did freeze for about half a second to realize that Lucifer was their enemy, but by then he was already striding with purpose and murderous intent towards them. No one managed to fire a single shot and thus alert the other unassuming soldiers.
By the time Lucifer incapacitated every single one of them with his bare hands, he was panting a little. He had to give it to them: they were not all guns and no real training behind; some of them put up quite a fight.
“Wow,” Sam breathed out and Lucifer turned around before the last sound left his mouth, muscles coiled and ready to attack. He relaxed some when he registered Sam’s features. “You’re awesome!”
Lucifer never received compliments apart from the bland ‘good’ or ‘well-done’ from his combat trainer, so he frowned a little, not knowing how to respond to that.
He took a step towards Sam with the intention to take back his rifle (Sam was hugging it like he was ready to protect that piece of metal with his life; cute), when he registered the moment Sam widened his eyes, focused on something above and behind Lucifer.
He got in a twitch of muscles before the deafening sound of a military gun going off, the bullet grazing fabric and tissue and the sudden metallic smell of blood overpowered all other smells.
Goddammit! How could he have done such a rookie mistake as to let down his guard on enemy territory? Wasn’t that the first thing that was drilled into every Sentinel to have passed through the Academy’s training halls?
Sam’s lips moved, words Lucifer did not hear probably spilling from his mouth, his expression filled with horror and the last thing he saw was Sam aiming Lucifer’s rifle at someone behind him. He didn’t see it go off, because he blacked out.
Metallic taste in his mouth…
Body a breathing flame…
Ringing in his ears…
White vision. He was blinded.
Sounds tried to break through the noise in his head. It was like pounding on a door, only he was wrapped up in bubble wrap and the thudding sounded distant and muffled.
But it felt great, despite being unable to move any part of his body due to it being a huge flame palpitating. Was he still breathing?
That was the funny thing about all of that.
The side of his face stung, however. It shouldn’t have. He shouldn’t have felt anything other than this burning sensation that had engulfed him completely and thoroughly. It didn’t want to let him go.
“Nick!” The word penetrated through his bubble wrap and somehow cooled the flame that took over his body. It was very much akin to an Arctic breath. “Nick, goddammit wake up! Nick! Nick!”
The stinging sensation became more insistent. It actually hurt. With it came other information, external information. He was cold. He didn’t burn; he was freezing to death actually.
He gasped like he just broke the surface of the water and hands grabbed his face or they just touched him, but what his mind translated it into was danger and his immediate response was to grab them and throw their owner over his body, so that he could use the propelling force to get up and on top of them in a position that cut all the air from their lungs.
Of course the victim of his instincts struggled against his body weight and ironclad arms, kicking and scratching while they choked on their breath. Lucifer was looking down at them, actually saw how they struggled to breathe, but he couldn’t get past the initial input that the man under him was a danger to his life.
“Ni-ick,” Sam choked out, already his life running out of him, and it was like Lucifer was doused in cold water. His senses came to him and he jumped off Sam like he had just been burned.
Sam coughed wetly, turning on his side, and took in lungful of cold air.
“S-Sam,” Lucifer found his voice, agony and guilt flooding his system at what he almost did. He was still on his ass, a couple of feet away from the man, terror filling his expression. “Sam, I’m so, so sorry! I didn’t mean to… to…”
“It’s okay,” Sam wheezed in-between the coughs. “It’s okay. We need to get outta here. More are coming,” he relied and true to his words Lucifer’s keen hearing caught the heavy thuds approaching them.
If they were not out in about three minutes, more bloodshed would ensue. And Lucifer was never known for managing his anger well. And that anger was gearing up for an onslaught. He pushed it back, choosing to concentrate on the most urgent task at hand: get them both out of enemy sight.
As he went to collect his rifle, he caught sight of the man who shot him. The Russian soldier was splayed on his back, hands and legs parted, as dead as one could be after being shot by a rifle at such short distance.
He wasn’t sure which emotion he should concentrate on more: awe that Sam killed a man for him and didn’t seem the slightest bothered by it or terror that he almost chocked to death the man he was supposed to rescue.
Securing the strap on his right shoulder, he approached Sam. He hesitated just when he went to help him stand, brain still trying to compartmentalize the earlier event, but they were out of time so he staunchly overrid his logical thoughts and grabbed Sam’s elbow, hoisting him up with ease, despite the man’s rather sturdy frame.
“Can you walk?” Earnestness coloured his voice for the first time.
Sam’s coughs have subsided and he seemed to be doing better. “Yes, I can.”
“Good. We’ll need to run.”
He didn’t wait for him to say anything in edgewise, because he was dragging the man across the narrow path, steps sure even with the two inches of snow and ice on the ground.
Sam lost his footing a couple of times, but he never fell, so Lucifer didn’t decrease their speed until they reached the mouth of the rocky steps.
“This will get tricky and dangerous in no time,” Lucifer said. “There are about a hundred steps ahead of you, all made of rock and covered in ice and snow. I’ll keep to the middle of them, so that if you slip, you won’t fall over. You make sure you’re right behind me.”
“I can’t feel my hands and a good portion of my face,” Sam said apropos of nothing.
Lucifer looked at him and a tendril of compassion wedged its way into his perfunctory salvage plan. “We won’t be in this weather for much longer. There’s a small shed a few miles deep in the forest I already checked this morning. It has a fireplace, woods and blankets, so we’ll be staying there for tonight.”
Just as Lucifer recounted this, the silvery light of the moon shone over them as a wide window of clear sky broke into the clouds.
“Let’s move before the moon hides!”
Lucifer was quick to follow on his words and before Sam could react in any way, he was already three steps ahead of him.
They climbed down a good portion of the stairs before the moon was blocked by the clouds once again and Lucifer finally heard the alarm. Bullets whizzed past them as some of the Russian soldiers caught sight of their shadowy silhouettes. More joined the party in no time.
The more, the merrier, right?
“Whatever you do, don’t stop!” He shouted back to Sam as he widened the pace of his descending.
Sam was breathing heavily behind him, unaccustomed to climbing down icy stairs at night with the danger of either slipping and cracking his skull or being hit by a bullet. Certainly the adrenaline was rushing through Lucifer, too, but it was a different kind of adrenaline, not fuelled by fear for his life.
This was the thrill he got from every mission that kept him coming back for more. Sentinels weren’t strictly military weaponry. They could actually choose to have a job and pay the bills like the rest of the American population, if they found almost-suicidal missions too dangerous for them and nobody would even look twice at them.
But Lucifer always knew that the civil life would never do for him. He was born to be amids bullets and gore and danger and that terrifying feeling every soldier had when he came into close quarters with death and thought that this was it, this was the moment they would die and never see another day.
Only when he touched ground did he turn around to see if Sam was whole and okay. What he got in exchange for his unusual preoccupation was a solid wall of muscles and bone, sweat and something close to moss, earth and freshly-cut grass as Sam collided with him.
“Oh my god!” Sam wheezed out from above Lucifer, looking down at him, but his eyes didn’t quite connect with Lucifer’s through his gogles. “I didn’t see… actually, I really didn’t see you.”
And Lucifer, whatever he thought in that moment, whatever he knew he was supposed to do, he laughed hard and long, unable to stop himself.
His sides hurt (mostly one side), and he failed to remember the last time he laughed with so much heart in it, because that man right there, buried under all those feet of a sturdy genius, bracketed by snow on all sides, was not the Lucifer he knew.
“Stop laughing!” Sam protested and the profoundly offended expression on his face right then made Lucifer laugh harder. “This isn’t funny, Nick! And you’re hurt.” As if to emphasise that last part, his frozen hand grazed over his right side and he grunted, because even if he stopped the bleeding, the wound wasn’t completely healed.
“We should be leaving, before they decide to come after us.”
“As soon as you stop leeching off my body heat with your deadman hands, we can go.”
Don’t get him wrong. The position wasn’t in any way uncomfortable for him. He might have even got a boner in the meantime if the current weather wouldn’t have frozen his balls off.
They got up, Sam wearing that I-accidentally-sucked-on-a-lemon expression, and trudged through the knee-high snow and into the blessedly safe cover of the forest.
For Lucifer it was easy to make his way, having night-vision goggles, but Sam had some difficulty, sometimes stumbling because the snow dipped suddenly and he lost his footing. But he was a big boy and he never asked Lucifer to slow down, so he continued on with his brisk walk (or as brisk as one could walk in all that snow).
Surrounded by snow-covered pines, a rundown, distorted version of a shed sat lonely on top of a small hill. Sam’s teeth were clattering and Lucifer didn’t waste time when they got inside, busying himself with starting a fire.
Sam was shaking and moving from foot to foot by the time the smallest flicker of light came to life. Lucifer encouraged it to spread over the pile of thin branches and wood, all his senses focused on every twitch Sam was making a few steps behind him.
When he was sure the fire didn’t need any assistance, he pushed Sam near the fireplace and envelopped him in three blankets. He wasn’t taking any chances.
“Stay here until your shaking subsides,” he ordered Sam and the man only nodded.
Since Sam was safe and beginning to warm up, Lucifer allowed himself to stray away from him and sought his bag of supplies in search of those canned meals he bought two days prior at a supermarket in the last city he passed through.
He didn’t know about Sam, but he was so hungry he could eat a horse. He was always famished when he was wounded. Healing himself took a lot of energy out of him and even if he could restore that energy by simply going to sleep, right now that wasn’t a viable option. So food it was.
“Are you hungry?” he asked Sam after he retrieved his bag. “We have canned beans, canned sweet corn, canned sweet peas and… oh, you won’t believe it! chicken soup — also canned.” He smirked when Sam rolled his eyes at his attempts at sass. He spent enough time with his little brother to learn a thing or two.
He could almost hear Gabriel’s words when he decided to be his unofficial Sass Master (not teacher, he never taught; he only ever showed off), Luci, you’re too highly strung. You need to chill a bit. Relax. Stop looking like you’re devising five different ways of murdering a schmuck. You need to learn to crack a joke once in a while or you won’t get married and have five children, which I most definitely won’t be spoiling rot and flirting unashamedly with your significant other, okay? Don’t take this pleasure away from me. Do it for your li’l bro, yeah?
At which point, he didn’t remember if he told his bro to fuck off or blatantly slammed the bedroom door in his face and went back to sleep. The thing with memory (his memory, in particular) was that it wasn’t always accurate.
“I’ll have the chicken soup and canned beans, thank you,” Sam said, only slightly stumbling over the consonants.
He opened up the cans and pushed them towards Sam on the dusted, uneven table. “Oh, aren’t you a polite fellah this evening.”
“And aren’t you too damn talkative?” Sam retorted but Lucifer only smiled in return. Since there weren’t any cutlery or fork-shaped objects around the shed, they were forced to drink from the cans. “I’m not always that rude with people, you know? I’m actually a people’s person, but I guess two weeks of trying to understand the rapidly-spoken Russian and thinly-veiled threats-slash-demands at gun point finally took their toll when you burst in.”
His words created unaccustomed ripples in the usually calm state of mind Lucifer got into after a mission.
“Now you’re safe.” He felt the need to reassure Sam. Their eyes locked together and Lucifer made an effort to convey the veracity of his words; like a vow.
It was Sam who averted his eyes first. “I know,” he lowered his voice. “I feel safe with you.”
Pride and warmth swirled and mixed together at the words. Outwardly, Lucifer offered Sam a simple smile. They finished their dinner and Lucifer restocked the fire as Sam shed yet another blanket; he was down to one.
“Aren’t you cold?” Sam asked, Lucifer crouched in front of the fire. “I mean, it’s freezing outside, yet you don’t seem to—“ He trailed off midsentence and that caught Lucifer’s attention.
Horror was painted all over Sam’s face as he looked right at Lucifer. “You were shot and you bled much. How are you even standing?!”
Lucifer stood up and unzipped his winter jacket, pulled up his pullover and a black undershirt, showing Sam the scar that was left behind after the wound closed. Sentinels may be able to heal their wounds quicklier than a normal person; that didn’t mean that their skin was left unblemished. As usual, movies and tv shows romanticised things a bit too much.
He gasped softly when he felt his wound touched by fingertips — Sam’s. And they were warm so he couldn’t quite explain the sudden onslaught of goose-bumps all over his skin.
If he were in a movie or book he would have said that Sam’s touch was electric. Instead it was only warm and overly-cautious.
“It tickles,” Lucifer said, amusement coloring his voice.
That brought Sam back from whatever stupor or spell he fell into and quickly and apologetically returned his hand inside the safety of his blanket. Lucifer almost mourned the loss of his touch, but he inwardly sighed and latched onto the last thing Sam said before noticing his wound. He didn’t put on his jacket, choosing to stay only in his black polo neck.
“I’ve had so many missions here in Russia over the past decade and a half that it almost feels like coming home. I got used to the hellish temperatures.” He grins at his choice of words.
“Isn’t it lonely?”
Lucifer looked at him. “What?”
“Being in and out of the States. Always on the road. Don’t you–“
“Want to settle down?” He finished Sam’s question breezily. “No. To be honest I could never see myself with a family of my own.”
“You’ve got so used to be ready to change places, never leaving any trace behind that the idea of settling down and creating a routine terrifies you.”
Lucifer smirked bitterly. “Weren’t you a maths genius? When did you become a psychologist?”
“That’s a simple deduction, Nick. Also, you getting all snarky over it tells me that I’ve hit home.”
“And you pointing out the obvious shows me how much you like to put salt on open wounds.”
That seemed to shake Sam off. “I’m sorry.”
“You wouldn’t have mentioned it, if you didn’t think I could take it.”
“That’s still seen as a blatant invasion of one’s privacy.”
“Is it?” Lucifer cocked an eyebrow. “We’re not on American soil and I don’t know that much Russian to understand their Constitution.” That pulled out a small smile from Sam. “We should get some sleep. We have quite the trek to make tomorrow.”
Sam acquisced and since there was only one dusty, looking worse for the wear bed in the whole shed, Lucifer ceded it to him, electing to use his jacket as a blanket and his bag as a pillow. He already had to withstand the potent smell of motes and dust everytime Sam moved around in the bed, he didn’t need to be covered in that smell as well. So he helped Sam push the bed closer to the fire and Lucifer curled on his side in front of the fireplace, promising to keep it stoked during the night.
He was a light sleeper anyway.
Lucifer was trained to get his sleep where and however he could during his mission and he normally would fall asleep in a matter of two to three minutes, but Sam was tossing and turning in that bed, old and rusty springs creaking at his every move. After ten minutes of the infernal noise, Sam finally found a position and went to sleep.
Before he turned on the other side, Lucifer threw in two more logs to be sure that the fire wouldn’t die out on them anytime soon. With that taken care of, he succumbed into a light sleep to the lulling sound of crackling fire and unending warmth on his back.
He dreamt of formless silhouettes surrounding him. They didn’t do anything to him, but he still felt terrified to be in their presence. Something about them was deeply unsettling and when they started to graze him ever so slightly, like a breeze, his fight or flight response was immediate.
If only he could will his legs to run. He never experienced this level of fear before. It took up his whole body. His instincts were telling him that no harm would come to him, that the sillhouettes would never dare to hurt him, yet he was unable to suppress the desire to run away, just like a child when he was scared.
He woke up in a cold sweat, phantom touches crawling over his skin. Soon he realized that it was not actually his skin that felt violated, but his mind. He looked at Sam’s peacefully sleeping face and it dawned on him.
Sam tried to bond with Lucifer.
That knowledge alone scared the wits out of Lucifer and he forsook sleep for the rest of the night, afraid of an encore. He was used to sleeping less than the average person. Perks of being a Sentinel, even a partial one.
By the time Sam stirred awake it was already dawn and Lucifer compartmentalised the night’s event away. That was the thing he liked about his mind: it separated past from the present. Old traumas or bad memories didn’t get in the way while he was working.
They didn’t exchange pleasantries, but that was because Sam wasn’t actually an early bird it seemed. Most probably a night owl, but not an early bird.
He went outside to relieve himself (Lucifer checked the perimetre three times before Sam woke up, so he gave them man the privacy of not listening in), and when he came back he was shaking like a leaf, which is why he made a beeline for the well-stocked fireplace and stood on his hunches for a good couple of minutes.
Lucifer pushed the canned food into Sam’s direction on the table. “Eat,” he ordered neutrally. “You’ll need the energy.”
Sam didn’t answer or moved right away. He looked like he was lost in thoughts. Heartbeat was regular and breathing normal, so that must have be it.
“My brother sent you,” he croaked the first words that morning.
Lucifer paused with his can of beans half opened. “I guess.” That got Sam’s attention, head snapping up, befuddlement written all over his face. Lucifer sighed. “I wasn’t given any details about what degree of relationship was between the people who hired me and the person I was asked to rescue.”
Sam’s brow dipped. “What do you mean ‘people’?”
Lucifer took a mouthful of beans and chewed on them leisurely, watching Sam getting impatient, before he spoke. “Two men approached me with the issue. My trainer pointed them in my direction, since I’m the only one who had so many mission in Russia successfully completed in their file.”
“So you’re working for the Sentinel Academy.”
Lucifer hesitated a bit. He wasn’t sure if it was wise to give Sam so much information about himself. Other than his closest siblings and field partners, nobody knew much about Lucifer. He decided to take a risk, anyway.
“Fifteen years, give or take.”
That brought a shade of surprise to Sam’s serious face. “Sentinels usually don’t spend more than five to eight years in the Academy. You’re a Veteran, then.”
A wry smile crinkled the corners of Lucifer’s mouth. “I am, but I refused the position of Field Trainer.”
Sam’s lips puckered in the shape of a ‘w’, but then his confused expression cleared away. “Because that meant staying in one place indefinitely.”
He didn’t meet Sam’s eyes on purpose. He needed to finish his breakfast, after all. “So these two guys approach me two weeks ago and ask me to get you back.”
“I bet one of them demanded it from you,” Sam said with a resigned smile.
“Yes, but the other one smoothed the rough edges.”
Sam huffed. “That’d be my brother’s Guide, Death.” He left a pregnant pause hanging in the air. Lucifer looked up when he realized Sam was watching him intently. He raised an eyebrow. “Usually people give me a double take when I say that my brother’s Guide is called Death.”
It was on the tip of his tongue, he swore he was about to tell him his real name right there and then coupled with a roll of his eyes, because really, who in their right mind named their child Lucifer? But making a gargantuan effort to keep them from spilling from his mouth he swallowed them along with the last of his beans.
He shruged, the picture of nonchalance. “I’ve heard crazier.”
It wasn’t too difficult to avoid touching Sam for the rest of the morning. They weren’t required any kind of physical contact, so Lucifer’s meticulous atempts at averting any and all of them slid off Sam like water over a duck. He liked oblivious Sam.
An hour later, they were ready to leave their temporary hide-out behind.
“Won’t they find our tracks in the snow?” Sam asked.
“No, it snowed all night. Our tracks are covered.”
Lucifer would have gone to his grave swearing he heard the roll of his eyes in his voice when Sam said, “lucky us,” but when Lucifer turned around with very impressive lifted eyebrow, the man wasn’t even looking at him, but rather scrutinized the surrounding like it was his mission to bring Lucifer back home safe and sound.
Lucifer rolled his eyes. He was entitled, unlike someone he knew.
The day just begun to break, so the forest was as still as a tomb. Lucifer’s hearing revelled in this silence. It was easier to stretch his senses farther than he usually did in a populated area.
“How will we get out of the country?” Sam whispered, fully aware that Lucifer would be able to hear him. Either that or he was afraid that his kidnappers might be around, even though Lucifer would have caught the slightest noise miles away.
“First, we stop in the nearest village and get normal clothes for you. We can’t let you stand out like a sore thumb. And believe me, with those clothes you’ll attract a lot of attention. Also, we might consider the fact that maybe the people in this village will recognize the Russian soldier gear.”
“Wouldn’t that work in our favour? Might get things running more smoothly.”
“No, it would not,” Lucifer disagreed, still a step in front of Sam and eyes regularly searching the surroundings. “They might offer us help, but in the unfortunate case that the Winter Fortress’ soldiers get to the village, they’ll know that we’ve passed through it. It’s better if we don’t leave any kind of imprints around here.”
They stopped only when the sun was high in the sky. Sam collapsed in the groove of a dead tree and closed his eyes in pure relief. Lucifer couldn’t afford that luxury, so he focused on his two senses, making sure they were truly alone. Except for a couple of rabbits down the east side of the slope and a fox a couple of meters north from them, there wasn’t another soul for as far as his senses could stretch.
Not what he expected from the Russians. They were more adamant in keeping their prisoners. Maybe Sam wasn’t as valuable to them as Lucifer believed him to be.
He sat down on the stump of another tree near Sam and took a reprieve, all the while being fully aware of Sam’s hunger. His stomach had been making a fuss for some time, but Sam hadn’t said anything. Sheer stubbornness or stupid ignorance, Lucifer couldn’t tell.
And he was compelled to say nothing on the matter, but his mouth developed a mind of his own in 2.1 seconds flat and what he heard himself say was, “We still have a can of sweet peas.”
Sam’s hazel eyes opened. With all the white around, they were so intense right then. It brought to mind the smell of chocolate brownies and the sound of chopping wood, for some reason.
“Thank you, but I’m good.”
Liar, but when he was about to tell him as much, Sam stood up at once. “I know you heard my empty stomach, but it’s best if we get to the village before sunset. Then I’ll eat.”
He was not entirely wrong, but Lucifer felt like he should have protested there. He was supposed to take care of him. Still, ‘no damage to the precious cargo’ might not have extended to forcing the man to eat just because Lucifer knew he was hungry. As he had said, Sam was a big boy; he could take his own decisions, he didn’t need a partial-Sentinel to tell him what was good for him.
The trek through the knee-high snow, the bag on his back concealing most of his rifle started to be felt even on Lucifer. But he wasn’t breathing as heavily as Sam, who stubbornly kept up with him. It became harder to ignore or push aside every thought concerning the man he was rescuing. Sam was constantly tugging at his attention even when he wasn’t doing anything in that regard.
It was becoming harder to stay neutral.
Three hours later, Lucifer heard muffled chatter and domestic noises; burned trunk pines and cooking food, chicken shit, pigs’ mud, sheep and horses dung filtered through his nostrils. Half an hour later and the sloping roof houses spiked above the peaks of the trees. Another half an hour and they’d be near the village, he quickly made some mental calculations.
“This is the plan.” Lucifer turned around to look at Sam, who sagged against a tree. They were at the base of the hill on which the village stood. “I’ll go into the village and find you clothes.”
He dropped the bag and rifle in front of him and took off his jacket, winter mask and trousers, all of which were white.
“What are you doing?” Sam asked, between shock and embarrassment. Well, if he was so not okay with Lucifer divesting himself right there and then, he could have turned around. But as it was, Sam didn’t look anywhere near doing that.
Besides, it wasn’t Lucifer who started this.
“What does it look like?” he sassed Sam. “Unlike you, I came prepared.”
“A little warning next time,” he said feebly.
Clad in a pair of cargo khaki pants, black boots and turning his winter jacket inside out for the color that matched his pants, he looked like another man. Almost. He pulled out a winter cap with ear flaps from his bag and he was good to go.
“Now, you need to wait for me here and watch over my bag and rifle. If you hear or see anything come into your direction, try to hide and shoot only if you have no options left, okay?” Lucifer instructed as he pushed the rifle into Sam’s arms, careful to not touch any part of him.
He was becoming ridiculous with all this no-touch rule he imposed unto himself, but once he started on a path—well, it was difficult to change directions.
“When you say that you’ll find me clothes, you mean you’ll steal them.”
Lucifer snorted. “I’m not that desperate.” Sam shot him a doubtful look and Lucifer rolled his eyes; another thing he took from Gabriel, it seemed. “If needs must.”
Sam shook his head as if he didn’t believe Lucifer would stoop so low as to steal clothes from poor villagers. But Sam also didn’t know Lucifer and the lengths he was prepared to go to ensure that his mission went as smoothly as it could go.
It was already dark when he crossed the line of trees into the village. Few people were outside at this time of the evening, and Lucifer kept himself on the outskirts, never adventuring inside the village.
His luck was that not every house had a dog; he avoided approaching those houses. He could be as stealthily as he was able to, dogs would always sense danger coming.
He climbed the shoulder-high fence and jumped down, pausing into that half-crouched position, because the chain keeping the mongrel bound two backyards away just clinked. He smelled the dog’s confusion, heard him scent the air in his direction, but after several tense seconds he gave up and got inside his dog house.
A short sigh and he was moving like a cat towards the back entrance to the house, careful to not slip in the mud and snow mixture.
The two horses stirred inside the barn and the chickens cooed softly in their wire cages. He managed to block most of the strong smell coming from either sides. Dirty yellow light spilled from the small window of the door.
Peering inside, the only people he could see were an old man snoring on the bed and a child playing with sticks and a rag-doll on the floor. On the other side of the room-slash-kitchen the door was left ajar.
No light was coming from there.
He could be in an out of the house in under five minutes, but the child posed a problem. He had no desire to incapacitate any of them; they were, after all, innocent and had nothing to do with his mission, but if it came down to it…
He took the risk, heartbeat accelerating.
The child was so engrossed in his game that he failed to notice Lucifer slipping in. Only when he crouched down at his level did he startle, blue eyes widening in what was the beginning of fear.
“Hey,” Lucifer whispered in Russian, hands going up in an universally placating gesture. “I come in peace.” He smiled a little; the child didn’t respond in kind, still confused as to what was an old man doing in his house when his grandpa (or whoever the man was in relation to the kid) was sleeping. “I didn’t mean to interrupt your rescue mission. I saw your general Stick was about to rescue the Princess, isn’t it?” He successfully averted the child’s suspicions by drawing attention to his game.
The child nodded and proceeded to attack a bunch of other sticks with the one in his hand, breaking into a gap-toothed grin when they went down in a heap of sticks.
“You did it!” Lucifer cheered for him in the same whispery tone of voice. “Now I’m going to tell you something important, but you can’t tell anybody about it, okay? Can I trust you?” The kid nodded emphatically. “I’m on a secret mission and I need to find winter clothes for my Prince. He’s very tall, you see, so he has problems finding clothes that fit him. Your Grandpa—is he your Grandpa?—“ the kid nodded once again, “he seems to be as tall as my Prince is. Do you know where your Grandpa keeps his winter clothes?”
The kid pointed towards the other door, and Lucifer thanked him for his help.
When he opened the wardrobe, taking care to avoid making too much noise even though the doors creaked no matter how slowly he pulled them, a blast of naphthalene hit him in full force. He had to muffle his cough in the bent of his elbow. In the other room, the bed’s springs squeaked.
He stilled and waited for any other noise that could indicate that the old man woke up, but nothing came after.
He made quick work of searching for the right clothes, breathing as little as possible in the meantime. It was a good incentive to hurry up.
What he took in the end from the various garments (he found some nice tuxedos in good shape and protected by a plastic wrapper) was a pair of black pants that he doubted belonged to the old man, a knitted sweater and one of the three heavy coats. In one of the pockets he found a pair of gloves. Good.
Getting out of the house was a matter of three minutes. He said goodbye to the kid, who only waved at him with a smile in response, and he was climbing the fence and jogging towards where he remembered he left Sam. He could finally breathe freely.
Lucifer doubted that Sam would have put on those clothes would it have been plain day and a different situation, but as it was the Guide had no other option but to comply. He did complain about the powerful naphthalene smell, which pulled an amused smirk from Lucifer, but otherwise they continued their journey.
“What’s the next step?” Sam asked after a while. He was getting tired of walking, Lucifer could tell by the irked tone of voice he hadn’t even bothered to keep at bay.
“We’re almost there,” Lucifer said instead.
Almost there meant another twenty minutes of walk and a snow-covered mound appeared in his sight, near a forest road — the road that would take them to the highway and from there on out another three to four hours and they would be on a plain home.
“Help me take the cover off.”
When the protection revealed a winter truck, a well of warmth spilled unbidden inside Lucifer at the look of pure relief and surprise on Sam’s face at the sight of the car.
“You didn’t think I hitchhiked here from Moscow, did you?”
Sam glanced at him. “I actually didn’t think that far.”
Lucifer climbed into the truck. “I guess it doesn’t happen too often to you.”
“It never happens.” Sam shook his head no in the passenger seat.
The truck started with some difficulty, which is not unusual given the fact that it had been left to the elements for almost two days. It also took some time for the radiator to function, and Lucifer had to withstand the hateful noise for too long before warm air filled the truck cabin.
Unfortunately, he didn’t know and neither thought about the fact that his ‘package’ might be having trouble with his spaces.
The passenger seat had little room for Sam’s long legs, but he didn’t complain. If there was one thing he learned during the short period of time he unwittingly came to know Sam was that he didn’t complain about a lot of things. He wasn’t sure if it was because of the circumstances they were in or if it simply was a trait of his character.
It was hard for Lucifer to believe that last theory, given Sam’s profession.
“What will you do after you complete this mission?” Sam asked.
Lucifer took a few moments to think about the question. “I don’t know,” he shrugged. “I’ll most probably have a good night’s sleep and then work-out until my next mission.”
“That sounds… lonely,” Sam murmured, looking ahead at the snow-covered road.
Lucifer had no reply for that, but it seemed like Sam wasn’t expecting any, so they fell into a comfortable silence. It didn’t take long for Sam’s eyes to start drooping, but he resisted the sleep’s pull stoically.
It came across as both hilarious and adorable to Lucifer. No reason why he should banish those thoughts; they were both tired.
“You can sleep, Sam,” he said soothingly. “You’re safe.”
As if that was all he needed to hear, Sam’s eyes finally fell shut. “I know,” he mumbled.
Lucifer pushed the truck at the limit of the speed and in two hours they were reaching Moscow. It was half past nine when Lucifer pulled up on a street, which woke Sam up.
“Where are we?” he slurred, still not fully awake. “I’m thirsty.”
Lucifer disengaged his seatbelt. “I’m going to buy some supplies and another change of clothes for both of us. Don’t get out of the car.”
“Yeah, okay,” Sam acquiesced absent-mindedly.
This time it was easier for Lucifer to find what he needed. Around the corner he discovered an open fast food and further, on the other side of the busy street, a second-hand store. That would have to do.
In about half an hour he returned to the car with new clothes and two meals. He was hungry, but he knew for sure that Sam was famished.
“You’ll have to stop buying or stealing clothes for me,” Sam admonished, but it was said with a dimpled smile. Lucifer answered with a smile of his own, giving Sam the bag of clothes and a still-warm meal that were intended for him. “I never knew I’d say this, but damn did I miss junk food.”
“Being a prisoner for two weeks in a fortress in the middle of nowhere does that to people,” Lucifer got in before he took a huge bite from his burger. He tuned down his hearing and sense of smelling, before he got out of the car, so he was nowhere near zoning out.
When they finished their dinner, Lucifer stopped Sam from pulling out the clothes from the bag. “You’ll need this,” he handed him a passport — Sam’s passport, “and this,” he gave him a plane ticket. “We’ll abandon the truck and get rid of everything we don’t strictly need. Come on.”
Sam dumped the remains of his meal in a garbage can and followed Lucifer on a poorly-lit side-street where they changed clothes behind two dumpsters. Two guys purposefully walking there might have looked suspicious — if anybody could be bothered with anything but their own, personal business.
“Where did you get these suits?” Sam asked, looking at himself and checking the length of the jacket and pants. If one didn’t have an eye for fine cut suits, one might have thought that it was bespoken.
“Second-hand store,” Lucifer replied shortly, buttoning his suit jacket and putting on the heavy coat. Damn cold outside.
It was only half of the truth. The salesman actually had a secret room in the back where he kept all the contraband merchandise and since Lucifer had enough funds to buy the whole store, it was easy to find them both decent suits and heavy coats to go with the weather.
He decided against telling Sam that he was wearing a contraband suit. Something told him that he wouldn’t walk as if he was born in that suit and that would be a pity, because the view Lucifer was getting was very much appreciated.
He hailed a taxi to get them to the airport, otherwise they wouldn’t have made it in time.
“I feel like a Russian mobster,” Sam confided five minutes into their ride.
Lucifer hid his amused grin behind the turned-up collar of his coat. “If you give that sour look you’ve mastered so well to the taxi driver, I’m certain we won’t even have to pay the fare.” And there it was, the aforementioned look blooming on Sam’s face like a peacock’s tail.
Despite what his reason told him, Lucifer laughed.
Sam didn’t say anything for the rest of the time it took them to get to the airport, do the check-in and finally take a seat in the designed chairs. His pout shouldn’t have looked so appealing, but there was no denying it now that the thought came to his mind.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking,” the tinny voice of the captain flooded the speakers after they were thirty thousand meters above the ground. “We may hit turbulences before reaching the North Atlantic Ocean. Please remain seated and make sure your seatbelts are fastened. For any other…”
But Lucifer tuned out the rest of the Captain’s words and glanced at Sam, seated near the window. He was still pouting, although not visibly. One might have mistook it for a pensive look, but Lucifer had spent enough time with the Guide and had attuned himself to Sam so completely for some reason that he was able to tell his tales.
“What will you be doing when you safely get home?” he asked, leaning towards Sam a bit. It was the first topic of conversation that came to mind, also the one Sam had asked about more than once.
It took the man a bit of time to answer. He looked like he was debating if he still was mad enough to ignore Lucifer or if it was just petty at this point.
“Most probably crash down in my own bed and try to forget what happened these past weeks.”
“You probably won’t be able to do that right away. Your brother seemed like the mother hen type.”
A low rumble of laughter came from Sam, a sound that did not go unnoticed to Lucifer’s acute hearing, even dimmed as he kept it. That laughter would haunt him for weeks, he was sure about that.
He sighed softly and made himself more comfortable in the seat, closing his eyes with a small, contended smile. Even if Lucifer didn’t have enhanced sight, he was close enough to Sam to commit to memory most of the details of his features.
“He will fret over me,” Sam said, only fondness present in his voice. “He did that since we were kids.”
“It’s something to be admired, then,” Lucifer commented. “Most big brothers tend to distance themselves from their other siblings, when they grow up.” And didn’t it sound like he was talking from his personal experience? The bitterness surely didn’t escape Sam’s ears.
“How did you know that my brother is older than me?” Ah, of course.
He grinned as he took the ordered whiskey from the flight attendant. “Surely not judging by the height.” Sam rolled his eyes. “A hunch,” Lucifer amended, but he feared that it was more projecting on his Sam’s brother than any sixth sense. “Fretting over their younger brothers is what elder brothers should do. By the looks of him, he might have zoned out just worrying about you, if his Guide hadn’t been present.”
Sam shook his head in a resigned way. That happened more often than he was telling Lucifer, he concluded. “He’s the shoot first and ask questions later type. So jumping to conclusions, many of them unfound, is something of a second nature to him.”
The two ice cubes clinked against the glass as Lucifer swirled them around. “Somehow, I feel a smidge of sympathy for his Guide.”
Sam chuckled again. “Nah, he has my brother wrapped around his little finger.”
“He does?” Lucifer perked at this kind of information.
Generally, everything pertaining the Guide’s world was new to Lucifer. Except basic information about them he was forced to learn in school when he was a kid, everything else sounded like tales from another world.
“Yeah. They’re bonded.” He shrugged like it was something not even worth thinking about, but then he smiled like a memory amused him. “Even though it took Dean a lot to finally accept that the bond between him and Death wasn’t going to go away if he ignored it. Add the fact that they had to work together almost every day, and he had no choice but to acquiesce it.”
“Do you mean that Sentinels and Guides don’t bond from the get-go?”
Sam shot him a confused look. “No. It’s not compulsory to bond with your Guide or Sentinel. It’s something that happens only when both parties agree to it. And it’s serious business. Once you bond, it’s almost impossible to break it. Especially when the bond is formed on feelings.
That’s why many Sentinels and Guides, even though they may feel attracted to each other, wait a minimum of three months to see if they are truly compatible or it’s just physical attraction.” He paused, contemplating Lucifer who was suddenly very interested in the shape of his tumbler. “But how come you don’t know all of this? Didn’t you ever have a Guide?”
But just as Lucifer was about to answer, the airplane began to shake violently and drop; panicked screams filled Lucifer’s ears, the smell of ozone, burned fuel and metal broke through his mental barrier. He didn’t dial down his senses fast enough — he zoned out.
It was to the touch of something foreign that he started to come back to his himself. That something was actually hitting him, not hard enough to hurt, but still hard enough to sting.
His response was immediate when he opened his eyes.
He didn’t think at all as his hand darted up and connected with something warm, soft, but simultaneously hard; his fingers curled around it, when they found purchase, and squeezed.
“N—Nick!” A chocked voice feebly filtered the white noise in his ears. “Nick you—you’re ch—choki— me! Nick!” Hands were scratching at his arm, pushing, slapping, catching at the material of his suit jacket.
The environment around him shook again and another bout of screams raised in the air, only to die down shortly after.
“This is your Captain speaking,” a somehow familiar tinny voice filtered the space. “We are outside of any danger. Please remain seated until our crew checks everything. We will touch ground in one hour…”
The moment he realized where he was and what he was doing (again), he would have jumped back as far away from Sam as possible, if the seatbelt didn’t so adamantly keep him where he was. As it was, he only pulled his hand to his chest lightning-fast and Sam started coughing, once his airways once again had access to oxygen.
“I’m so sorry, Sam!” He never knew his voice could sound so damn terrified, apologetic and guilty at the same time. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to! It was—“
“Everything is all right, sir?” One of the flight attendants loomed over them both and Lucifer imagined her grabbing him by his shirt collar, opening the airplane’s door and throw him in the ocean for what he did to Sam.
Sam continued to gasp and cough, and with a raspy voice he said, “Yeah, I’m okay. I swallowed my chewing-gum,” he lied, even though one of his hands was tenderly stroking his throat.
But it seemed to have placated the flight attendant as she moved on to tend to other passengers.
“You didn’t have to lie for me!” Lucifer told him in the same scared tone of voice. “I hurt you. I could’ve—“
“You zoned out and you didn’t,” Sam cut him off, his coughs subsiding, but he still continued to clear his throat after every other word he spoke.
And then he took his hand away from his throat and Lucifer felt like the plane was taking a dive once again. He didn’t realize what he was doing, but the next thing that filtered through his buzzing thoughts was warmth, softness and his.
“Your brother’s gonna kill me,” he whispered as he stared at the blue and purple markings on Sam’s throat. They were beginning to take the shape of his hand.
“What?” A gust of breath hit his chin and that was when Lucifer looked up to realize how close he was to Sam. Closer than he had been in the last thirty-six hours.
He realized how much more complex Sam’s eye color was. Specks of golden were kept at bay by the green, a darker and dilute shade, almost olive. He could detect only one or two dilated red veins in his eyes, which most probably meant that Sam was more rested than Lucifer.
He ought to pull back, he really ought to, but he selfishly stayed put, just to revel in this strange, new feeling of being close to and touching another body. So close, in fact, that he could easily lean his head forward another couple of inches and he would taste Sam’s lips.
He pulled back and stared at the back of the seat in front of him. “Your neck is bruised,” he said mechanically. So much for ‘no damaging the precious cargo’ rule. He looked up as Sam was touching his neck again. “I’m so fucking sorry,” he stressed each word through gritted teeth as his gaze kept narrowing down on Sam’s neck.
He couldn’t help it. He was clearly in distress for hurting the person he rescued — for hurting his Guide. Where that thought came from, Lucifer was too upset to be bothered by the audacity of it.
“I shouldn’t have—I shouldn’t have touched—I’m so sorry. So sorry.”
“Nick! Nick you’re zoning out again. Nick, stay with me. Look at me.” Sam was frantic. He could hear it clearly in his voice, but it began to fade away so softly and soothingly, the darkness pulling him adoringly into her embrace. So hard to resist. So impolite to ignore her call.
Sam grabbed Lucifer by the back of his neck and forcefully turned his head to look at him.
But Lucifer wasn’t really seeing Sam.
“Nick, dammit! Come back!” In a desperate, last attempt to stop Lucifer from zoning out he pulled his head into Sam’s neck and kept stroking his head and whisper nonsense words into his hair.
It was to the smell of Sam and ghostly hands caressing his psyche that Nick came to his senses. For the short time Sam wore the suit, it absorbed most of his smell. It still didn’t feel like Sam, but his mind latched onto it with fierceness and the darkness relinquished her grip on him with reluctance.
“You’re okay, Nick,” Sam kept whispering, unaware that Lucifer was coming to his sense. “Everything’s gonna be alright. You’re with me and we’re going home.” Then, so subdued that Lucifer had to strain to hear it, because he didn’t dare dial up his sense of hearing again, Sam pleaded, “come back to me, I need you.”
Not as much as Lucifer needed him, apparently.
He started to pull away and Sam startled from the way he was half-cuddling Lucifer, head on top of his.
“Thank you, Sam,” he said, looking into the man’s eyes even if he wished to be anywhere else but there.
Sam searched his face for an indeterminate amount of time, and when he deemed whatever he saw as good, he relaxed in his seat once again with a relieved smile. They didn’t talk for the rest of the flight and Lucifer pondered if all the Guides were this selfless and kind, if they were born with this trait written in their DNA, or if this was something preternaturally Sam.
He didn’t find the answer to that even when they were walking through the baggage claim area to the last set of automatic doors before they’d meet with Sam’s brother and probably his Guide.
But just as they were approaching them, Sam stopped dead in his tracks.
“Do you have American Dollars with you?”
That was a peculiar question. Lucifer frowned.”Yeah, I think I still have a fifty. Why?”
“Can I borrow it, please?”
Lucifer silently wondered as he took out his wallet and handed him a fifty bill, if people were usually this compelled to give Sam what he asked for without inquiring after the reason why he needed it.
Or was Lucifer this easy to convince?
Searching his memory while Sam disappeared into a nearby store, Lucifer found that no, he really wasn’t that easy. And Gabriel was a pretty stubborn little shit when he wanted something. Too bad that Lucifer demonstrated time and again that he was more resilient than Gabriel’s stubbornness and patience put together.
At first sight, when Sam walked out of the store, Lucifer didn’t see anything different about him, but then his eyes caught the white scarf twirled twice around his neck, the two ends left to dwindle at uneven heights over his coat.
“I’ll give you back your money once I have my wallet.” Sam flashed him a genial smile. “Let’s go. I feel my brother’s impatience from here.”
Chicago, Sentinel Academy
“What kind of truck ran you over countless times?” Was the first thing Balthazar asked Lucifer, when he entered his combat trainer’s office.
He was leaning on his desk, eyes perusing the page on his clipboard as if he was a doctor revising his patient’s health situation. In some ways, it was just that. Lucifer didn’t bother to answer. He turned the chair around, the back revolved towards Balthazar, and plopped down in it, forearms resting on top of it.
“You look like you could use some beauty sleep, darling. What have you been up to, anyway?”
“I’ve been partying all week, isn’t it showing?”
Balthazar raised an unimpressed eyebrow. “When you do decide to go out, ten out of ten times you get laid. I see neither signs.”
Lucifer rolled his eyes. “Aren’t you a perceptive dear this morning.”
“So what is it?”
Lucifer sighed. “Had a rough night.” He might want to make that a week. A mostly sleepless week, if he wanted to be more precise.
Balthazar narrowed his eyes, but let the matter drop, thankfully. He went on with his usual drill about what he was about to ask Lucifer and if, by the end of it, he was cleared out, he could take on another mission, yadda yadda yadda.
“Stop scoffing like this is a waste of time.” Balthazar’s accent smoothed the consonants, making them sound almost like vocals. “It’s standard procedure, and you know it. Any zoning outs?”
Lucifer was the picture of a grumpy cat. “Three,” he muttered.
Balthazar went to tick a box, but stopped short. “Sorry, what did you say?”
“I zoned three times.” Lucifer forced the words out.
“Bloody hell! What happened?” Now that was something he didn’t hear every day. Not the cuss; the worry.
Balthazar wasn’t a man who could afford to worry about his subordinates, even though Lucifer was more like his equal, given all his field work. So hearing and seeing the worry on his face, actually made Lucifer give him a double look.
“A Guide happened,” he confessed slowly, as if he was afraid Balthazar might freak out or something.
His combat trainer pulled the other chair with his leg and sat down like a normal Sentinel in front of Lucifer. “So you went from zero zoning outs in more than a decade to three in two days just because of a Guide?”
The incredulity in his tone was founded. Lucifer had a lot of missions that implied rescuing a Guide. Heck, even at the Academy he had to interact with them—once every blue moon, that is.
In this respect, he knew what a Guide was and what their main job entailed to. But their presence never felt so intense as Sam did. His touch still lingered on his skin, and, it seemed, his brain didn’t take lightly to this kind of sensory memory, so it tormented Lucifer for the past week every time he nodded off for more than five minutes.
A wry smile. “Pretty much.”
Balthazar whistled. “You have it rough, mate.”
Lucifer rolled his eyes. “You can stop right there. It’s a topic long since closed and forgotten.” To which Balthazar barked a laugh.
“You don’t know the first thing about how this works, do you?” Lucifer’s blank expression sent him into another fit of laughter. “Oh, you’re darn adorable when you’re clueless.”
“Can we skip to the part where you okay my file and I leave?”
Balthazar shook his head in disbelief. “That’s not how it works.”
“I’m pretty sure that is how the standard procedure works. I should know. I’ve done it countless times before.”
“Hold your sass, darling. We’re nowhere near done here. You need to know what to expect. Do you think I knew that my Guide was bloody Crowley Fergusson?”
And Lucifer should have expected this, really. Balthazar did so like to talk about his Guide when there was even the slightest chance, and be dramatic about it. Like he wasn’t irrevocably head over heels for that asshole. Lucifer appreciated the fact that his friend refrained from waxing poetical over the guy—much.
He only met Crowley once.
What a gargantuan effort he had to make to not punch the arrogant fucker right away.
“I lost my shit for two days when I found out,” Balthazar continued. “And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You don’t want to know how much I hated his guts at first.”
He wouldn’t have stopped hating his guts until his dying breath, if Lucifer would’ve been in Balthazar’s shoes. Thank God he and that bastard were light years away from being anywhere near compatible.
“He’s the type of man who can get under your skin without you even noticing. I mean, I did a pretty decent job at fending off his advances and actually managed to drive him nuts in doing so—“
Lucifer rolled his eyes again. “I’m sure you’ve had copious amounts of angry sex afterwards, to make up for the lost time,” he drawled and regretted every word as soon as the sentence was out of his mouth.
Balthazar’s whole face lit up like a Christmas tree. “Oh, we did. He pretty much kidnapped me for a whole weekend, and I have to confess, when he bites me right—“
“For fuck’s sake, Balthazar!” Lucifer erupted, desperate to salvage the last shred of respect he held for his trainer and friend. “I don’t need a detailed account of your fervid bedroom adventures with your Guide.”
Balthazar blinked himself out of the memory recollection. He cleared his throat. “Ah, you’re right. This is about you, finally finding the Right One!”
“I’m going home.” Lucifer stood up and took his jacket, all in one fluid movement.
“You haven’t completed your examination,” Balthazar said before Lucifer reached the door.
“Not my fault, if my trainer isn’t doing his job.”
“You still need my okay to take on the next mission.”
Lucifer paused, hand on the doorknob; he breathed in and out and then turned around to fix narrowed eyes on Balthazar.
“Are you, by any chance, blackmailing me?” His tone of voice was quiet and calm, which belied how much more serious the situation was.
Balthazar, the picture of innocence, said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Lucifer’s vision clouded, a surge of undiluted anger he had no idea where it came from, obfuscated his reason. “That conniving bastard of your Guide is rubbing off on you!” His fists were clenched at his side and muscles coiled.
Balthazar’s expression darkened at Lucifer’s accuse. Fleetingly, the Sentinel remembered how lethal Balthazar could be in a fight and how many fights Lucifer lost to him, still. His friend wasn’t a Sentinel one could trifle with, even though Balthazar had a knack at inducing his opponent into a false sense of superiority with his easy-going, sometimes silly nature.
“I’m gonna warn you just once, Lucifer. Don’t you dare talk like that about Crowley.” The growl caught on the consonants, making them roll off his tongue like they were rocks, heavy and deadly.
He snapped the pen he was holding between his fingers in two. Apart from that, his tone of voice, and the murderous expression on his face, he looked pretty composed.
The tension cracked like a whip in the room, both Sentinels staring each other down.
But then Balthazar blinked and sighed. “I don’t want to fight with you, Lucifer,” he said softly, willing his body to relax.
That snapped Lucifer out of his murderous rage. He exhaled and touched the bridge of his nose. “Sorry,” he offered.
“It’s alright, darling.” Balthazar fluttered a hand. “Water under the bridge.”
“I still want to go on a mission.” Lucifer pushed.
“Not if you’re not cleared.” Balthazar sighed and looked at the papers on his desk once again. “And you had three zones in a short span of time. I can’t let you go out there with the risk of you zoning out and no Guide near you to bring you back. You could get killed, Lucifer!”
“Are you saying this as my friend or as my trainer?” Lucifer challenged.
Balthazar didn’t raise to the bait. “Does it matter? You can’t go on a mission until you sort yourself out.”
“Can’t you assign a Guide to me?”
Balthazar shook his head. “Can’t do. All our Guides have already been assigned to Sentinels, most of which are also bonded. When will you learn that Guides aren’t mass-produced? They’re not rare, but they aren’t disposable either.” He let out a gust of air, stroking his forehead in search of the right words.
“Not all Sentinels find their Ones during their life. A pretty high number are forced to go from Guide to Guide, which is why there are a lot of cases where Sentinels fall into depression and refuse to listen to the call of a Guide when they zone out. I’m not saying you need to bond with this person, but bear in mind that you won’t ever find another Guide who will fit you and you them, so perfectly.”
“So I can’t go on a mission?” Yeah, he was an insensible, selfish asshole, but when a man had an itch—usually one scratched it.
“Bloody hell!” Balthazar said exasperated. “Your stubbornness increases one’s blood pressure. No, Lucifer, you’re not allowed to take on another mission.”
“Until you show me that you’re not in any danger to zone out.”
It was so frustrating to go from pretty much being his own person and moving however and how much he wanted around to depending on someone. Where did all his freedom go?
Most probably in the same direction Sam went.
Now that he finally allowed those thoughts that were thrumming in the background at the fore of his mind, he had to wonder about Sam’s whereabouts. He told Lucifer he was going to give him the money he borrowed. It’s been a week since they parted ways at the airport. Balthazar always picked him up personally when he finished a mission. But he never came as his trainer, so he didn’t break any unwritten rule.
Which was why the only thing that could have qualified as ‘debriefing’ was a friendly, “how are you?” to which Lucifer responded with his usual, “tired,” and that was it. Balthazar knew Lucifer well enough to wait for him to sleep away the mission, before coming in and answering whatever question they came up with. But after working as much as Lucifer did, they became repetitive.
That first debriefing was solely focused on the mission, both in general and in particular, so he was only required to expose the facts as professionally as possible. It was his trainer’s job to inquire after his mental and physical state.
A week passed and Sam was present only in his memories.
It wasn’t about the money.
“Mister Morningstar?” A calm voice came from behind and Lucifer whirled around even before the man finished pronouncing his surname. The hallway was deserted at this time of day.
He didn’t need to look the stranger up and down to take in the attempt at a casual look. It was hard to decide if it was a success or a total failure. He remembered how formal he was dressed the first time they spoke to each other.
“Could I borrow some of your time?” he asked politely, and Lucifer couldn’t bring himself to deny him the request.
“Sure,” he replied as neutrally as he could. The man gave him both the jibes and a soothing feeling. That was unsettling. “You’re Sam’s brother’s Guide. Death, wasn’t it?”
Death looked surprised for a passing moment. He inclined his head. “Yes, that would be me. I take it Sam talked about me and his brother.”
Lucifer allowed a cheeky grin. “He did, when he realized that it couldn’t have been anyone but his brother that could have sent me to his rescue.”
The ghost of a smile caressed Death’s thin lips. “A charming conversation you had there.”
Lucifer went to answer that with a smile, but it dimmed almost immediately to a frown. They had plenty of conversation, now that he thought about it.
“May we walk?” Death inquired politely, still.
Lucifer instinctively gestured for him to go ahead, even if he had no intention to stay behind Death. The cream walls and faded-brown ground of the wide corridor stretched on for quite some bit, so the man probably knew this or he wouldn’t have suggested the walk.
“I apologize in advance if I may seem rude, but how are you?”
It wasn’t so much rude as confusing. Why was a man Lucifer only ever exchanged a few words with inquiring after his well-being?
“I’m doing fine, thanks. Why are you asking?”
“Sam told me about your zones back when you were rescuing him,” Death replied smoothly. Ah. “I was merely worried about your health.” Once again, why was a stranger worried about him? “Have they occurred ever since you returned?”
But there was this feeling he couldn’t quite put a name to it. He experienced extreme body temperatures, like icy cold during the day and blazing hot during the night. They were pretty constant, but never with the same intensity.
The man hummed noncommittally. “Sam took on a Guiding course.” Death’s lips shaped into what looked like a smile, but Lucifer couldn’t be sure. “He likes to live in his mind, so even though he excelled at the Preparatory Course for Guides in middle school, he never really bothered to apply them. It’s unlike him, since he is curious by nature.”
“Maybe because there was no one who could catch and hold his curiosity,” Lucifer offered, shrugging.
“How is he?” No matter how much he pushed that question down, he wasn’t strong enough to fend off the curiosity and worry for this particular Guide.
The smile seemed to stretch a tad on the man’s lips. “He is doing fine. Preoccupied by your well-being as well.”
“If he was so worried about me, he could’ve come to see me.” He couldn’t stop the bitterness and sadness from coloring his words.
“Trust me, Mr. Morningstar, you are always present in his thoughts.”
Lucifer stopped dead in his tracks, forcing the willowy man to face him. “Why did you really come here?”
Death regarded Lucifer calmly, before saying, “I came here to ascertain that you are the One for Sam.”
He cocked an eyebrow. “And you discovered that by asking me how I am?”
“No, I did that by feeling your emotions in regards to Sam.”
Without thinking, Lucifer took a wide step back, as if to fend off an unseen blow. Death’s eyes crinkled at the corners as he smiled more deliberately.
“I assure you, I did not invade your mental privacy.” That didn’t help Lucifer brush off the feeling of being violated, as odd as it sounded, seeing who he was. “There was no need. I just picked up the wavelengths of your brain. They were strong.”
Lucifer sighed and looked away. He continued walking. “I’m suspended for an indeterminate time. This last mission screwed things up.”
“Do you think it is Sam’s fault you cannot go on another mission?”
“No,” Lucifer said quickly, defensively, but then paused. “Maybe a little bit.”
“I don’t think it was Sam’s intention to hinder you in any way.”
“I know, I know,” Lucifer grumbled. “As far as he’s concerned, he didn’t even know I was coming for him.”
“What happened there?”
“What do you mean?” Lucifer glanced at him with a raised eyebrow. “Didn’t Sam tell you?”
“He told us.” The man nodded once. “But then, Dean threatened to play a childish prank on him if he so much as dropped another reference of you.” That pulled a smile from Lucifer.
It reminded him of Gabriel’s pranks. Most of them leaned on the harmful side, though, but that was a story for another time. Lucifer pushed his hands into his cargo pants pockets, because it was the only way he knew how to stop the warm feeling from bursting out of his rib cage at the knowledge that Sam talked about him as much as Lucifer was haunted by his memory.
“But Sam didn’t tell us everything.”
“So you came here to fish for details?” The grin Lucifer wore wasn’t entirely friendly.
“That is an impolite way of putting it,” Death’s lips wrinkled in distaste, “which implies that my worry for your well-being was not genuine.” He looked at Lucifer with eyes that felt like they were boring into his very soul. “I assure you, I am not—fishing for details. You can choose to tell me or not. It is entirely up to you.”
Another sigh escaped Lucifer’s lips.
“He tried to bond with me,” Lucifer confessed after a few, tense moments. He hadn’t told this little detail to anybody until now; not even his oldest friend, Balthazar.
Death remained a silent, unobtrusive presence at his side, inviting Lucifer to either continue or leave it at that.
“It wasn’t a conscious thing. We were sleeping and I felt—I felt this foreign touch in my dream. It wasn’t physical, which scared me so much I didn’t sleep that night at all. I still dream about it.”
Lucifer glanced up at Death to catch the pensive look on his face. He couldn’t read anything on him. Not even his heartbeat betrayed the man; it was a constant, lulling thrum.
“Sam caught your interest.”
Lucifer looked sideways at him. “You said that as if it never happened before.”
“Not in the same way.”
He knew what the man was implying. Actually, he knew even before he talked to Balthazar. All those drastic shifts in body temperature, restless nights, sensitivity to his usual t-shirts and clothes in general, not to mention the strong light that started to make his eyes tear—all those indicators pointed into one direction only.
Partial Sentinels didn’t develop all five senses, unless they were bonded or started to form a bond with his or her One.
Lucifer could choose to break any kind of relation he might have with Sam; they didn’t work together, so it wouldn’t have been difficult. He only had to tell Death that he didn’t want anything to do with Sam and maybe call the Guide himself and tell him to not bother coming or searching for Lucifer.
He could do all that and in a month or two he would be back to normal, he hoped. As far as he pieced together, it was the prolonged contact with one’s Guide or Sentinel that made the bond form and become stronger in time. If he and Sam never saw each other ever again, the Guide would eventually succumb to Lucifer’s memories, as did everything that was good and made Lucifer happy. Only in the grim hours of his life, when everything seemed to be against him, Sam would resurface to haunt Lucifer’s thoughts.
He would be able to go on missions again, without the need of a Guide.
He would tell Death. He would, it was on the tip of his tongue—
If only the thought of Sam being disappointed and sad didn’t fuel his heartache. Didn’t clog the words in his throat and make them feel like cotton, shapeless and senseless.
This wasn’t going in the direction Lucifer wanted. Even his usual breakfast had been too much to even swallow, for fuck’s sake!
“Goddammit!” Lucifer ushered through his gritted teeth, unsure if he felt angry or panicked at the knowledge that Sam was his One.
“What are you going to do, Mr. Morningstar?” Death asked placidly, witnessing and most probably feeling Lucifer’s inner turmoil.
“First of all: call me Lucifer,” he said with a glint in his eyes. He was going with cheeky and confident and see where that took him. “Second: where can I find Sam?”
Chicago, North of Brunham Park,
It was the most logical thing an adult could do, when confronted with a dilemma: talk it out with the interested party. And since Lucifer wasn’t a guy who liked leaving unresolved issues to fester away and create an even bigger mess than it already was, there he was breathing in salt, seaweed and the smell of cooling sand.
He could still see stragglers on the beach, enjoying the sunset, while the waves lapped at the shore sleepily. All in all it was a calm evening around the apartment complex Sam was living. He found he liked the area. It was peaceful.
He took the lift to the fourth floor, just because he was too lazy to be bothered taking the stairs.
“Nick!” Sam’s completely caught off guard expression was worth anything Lucifer could have thought of, when the tall man opened the door.
Lucifer might have cheated a bit and listened in on Sam, drying himself off, the scraping of cotton over unblemished skin, the occasional drops from his wet hair, the sound his hair made as it slid over skin at the tiniest move, like the sound his fingertips made when he drew smiley faces on the bathroom mirror after his dad took a shower (how old had he been? seven or eight probably).
His dad always helped him reach the mirror; it was their little thing.
It automatically made him take a deep breath and catch the subtle whiffs of Sam’s shower gel: lime and ginger; and the shampoo: green tea and honey.
The smell was more potent now that he had all of six feet and counting of gorgeous man right in front of him.
“Hello, Sam,” he greeted with that fond smile that Gabriel always said it crinkled around the corners of his eyes and made him look like an old man. He couldn’t repress it at the sight of his Guide.
Primal instincts purred at the accepted knowledge that he now had a Guide all for himself to protect. Sure, getting to rescue so many Guides along the years did bring him some satisfaction. But it always had been a temporary one, that left him hollow for days on end.
Yet now, now he had the opportunity to finally have something of his own —something to return to from his missions.
“You—how… come in,” Sam settled for and an amused smile bloomed on his lips at his own blabber. “How have you been? I’m sorry I haven’t come to see you, but I’ve been—“
“Busy doing some Guide courses,” Lucifer finished smoothly, a knowing smile on his lips.
Sam blinked, then mentally backtracked a bit. “How did you know?”
“I guess it’s safe to say that a little willowy birdie told me.” He winked and stepped closer to Sam.
There were only two standing lamps switched on in opposite corners of the room, and the light was suffused and warm. It didn’t bother Lucifer even when he dialed up his sight to gauge the smallest twitch on Sam’s face. He had no need to be that close to the man, but that had been both an instinctual action and a desire to feel Sam’s body heat better; almost as if he was enveloped by those long, muscled arms.
“But that is not why I came here to talk to you about.”
“Oh? Then what’s the reason for you being here?” If Lucifer didn’t have most of his senses heightened, he wouldn’t have heard the small hitch in Sam’s breath, the increasing heartbeat and the taunting way he pronounced those words; so subtle it would have totally bypassed normal hearing.
Staring into Sam’s dark eyes, it didn’t escape his notice the moment his pupils began to stretch and stretch, pushing back all the green, brown and golden, how his body seemed to lean forward on his own accord, how to the citrus perfume of lime and ginger another smell was added, earthier, muskier and richer, but still ways from overpowering the other ones.
His skin broke into goose pimples; the tension in the room surely climbed a notch or three.
“Do you wanna build a snowman?” Lucifer blurted out.
Sam blinked. “What?”
Lucifer exhaled and shook his head. He couldn’t believe himself. “Sorry. The pressure was…” he looked up at Sam, patient and calm, and then looked sideways. “What I want to say is that you’re… we… I…”
Sam chuckled good-naturedly. “Nick, it’s okay.”
“No, it’s not!” He turned around, hands going into his hair, disheveling it more than it already was. Sam didn’t understand how hard it was for him to talk about it. He never did, and he never thought he would have to.
Even now, he came there with the intention of showing Sam everything he couldn’t put into words, but then he looked at his Guide and realized that Sam deserved more than that. That what Lucifer wanted wasn’t a mere physical relationship.
He wanted everything that came with being emotionally involved into something, be it good or bad.
“You have no idea how fucking difficult it is for me to say this, but I have to. I want to.” Sam sucked in a breath, and even if Lucifer couldn’t see him, he imagined his lower lip was mercilessly worried between his teeth. “It’s so damn ridiculous. Everything. I mean, it took fucking Death visiting me with the pretenses that he was worried about me, for me to fully acknowledge that you were my Guide.” He turned around, finally, and he almost lost his shit then and there; maybe it was better if he faced a wall again, so he could retain a modicum of dignity.
“You’re my One, Sam,” he said softly, all the distress and anger and worry flying out of the window.
The full brilliance of Sam’s smile was gathered around the corners of his eyes. He shrank the distance between them with a step.
“Say it again,” Sam demanded, dimples attempting to deliver a low blow to Lucifer. He managed to withstand it—barely.
“You’re my One and Only.” And Lucifer was smiling. What could he do in the face of Sam fucking Winchester, looking both predatory and like he was begging to be cuddled and never let go for the rest of his life?
“Are they with a capital letter?” Sam’s smile became strained around the edges, but Lucifer didn’t have that much self-control and he chuckled.
Then, Sam took another step towards Lucifer and the space between them shrank to almost nonexistence. Sam lifted a hand, but stopped shy of a few millimeters from Lucifer’s cheek; his hand exuded heat and the faintest smell of sweat. His heart surely sounded like it was trying to tattoo its shape into Sam’s rib cage.
The intent was evident in his eyes, on his face: lips ajar, shallow breathing, pupils dilated, dusted cheeks.
Sam reacted to Lucifer in a way he never saw (more like he didn’t pay attention to) a Guide react to a Sentinel. Was all this pure physical attraction like they said? But it couldn’t be. What he felt (and assumed Sam did too) right then and there couldn’t have been describe as mere attraction.
He knew how that felt. His mind would have been a buzz of seduce, conquer, fuck, disappear.
This was not it.
His hand slid around Sam’s waist and pulled even as that paused hand of his Guide finally made contact with Lucifer’s jaw. The gasp Sam released emboldened Lucifer and he surged forward to capture the lips that Sam so easily and eagerly surrendered to Lucifer’s fevered ones.
The intensity of the moment threatened to push him into a zone, but Sam’s solid body was the perfect anchor to keep him from depriving himself of that moment.
Sam’s mouth was blazing hot, and he probably would have melted then and there, if he didn’t consciously know that his sense of touch amplified the sensory information too much. He wanted more, though.
Fist clenched into Sam’s grey shirt, he pressed his whole body into Sam’s, which elicited a pleased moan from the Guide. Damn, but he needed to feel Sam’s lips remodeling his with so much fervor and undiluted desire. How could he have ever thought of refusing this? Or pushing Sam away?
If he could go back in time and slap himself over the head, he would be most grateful to his own self.
He pushed Sam into the nearest wall and hands grazed soft skin (Sam moaned into Lucifer’s mouth; Lucifer echoed it) and soon he found himself mapping Sam’s back, gliding up over his shoulder blades, tracing with two fingers the bony edges, feeling the muscles slide over, contract and relax, feeling Sam’s heartbeat thudding into Lucifer’s chest as if it wanted to break out and greet Lucifer’s own.
The curve of Sam’s spine had Lucifer mentally counting the vertebrae and losing total somewhere around twelve, as his fingertips slid over his sacrum, finding—Venus dimples. Sam arched with a close-mouthed groan, letting his eyes fall shut and throwing his head as far back as the wall allowed it, when Lucifer pushed one finger into each dimple.
It went straight to Lucifer’s cock. Pale neck column, Adam’s apple bobbing as Sam swallowed, strong jaw fully on display, unguarded and inviting, hands fisting into Lucifer’s shoulders in time with Lucifer’s fingers, which were caressing his dimples in slow, sensual circles.
Seeing his Guide on the brink of coming in his pants, didn’t help Lucifer’s self-control. Add to that the rhythmic and uncontrolled movement Sam’s hips were engaged into, and the moans and groans every time Sam’s erection pressed against Lucifer’s were unavoidable.
“Sam,” Lucifer gritted out, breathing uneven, “you’re making it impossible to think straight right now.”
Sam released a breathy laugh and looked down at Lucifer, pupils blown wide and naked desire rivaling Lucifer’s own. He was never letting this man go. Not now, not ever.
“And I look the epitome of composed right now, ain’t I?” Sam sassed and they both dissolved into manly giggles as their hips didn’t stutter a bit in their frenzied rut, because contrary to popular belief, men were secretly able to multitask.
“Shit!” Lucifer breathed out as he felt his orgasm approaching.
Sam caught his head into his hands and crushed their mouths together, careless about the clash of teeth or abused lips. They came more or less at the same time, two grown-ass men with the libidos of teenagers. Lucifer sagged against Sam, keeping both of them on the vertical side of gravity, even though his major muscles were pulsing in time with his heartbeat.
He reveled in the pleasant ache and the post-coital bliss. Sam was idly passing his hand through Lucifer’s hair, mussing it up more than it was.
He pushed himself up, not further than Sam’s arms could stretch, which was still too far to be able to properly feel Sam’s body heat. Hopefully, that was something Lucifer could easily rectify: he let gravity (with a small nudge from himself) push him back just to taste Sam’s lips once again.
“I think we need a shower,” Lucifer said idly, when he allowed Sam to unglue himself from the wall.
“You don’t say,” Sam sassed back and Lucifer slapped his ass, which Sam wasn’t prepared for and thus yelped.
“Don’t give me that outraged look,” Lucifer told him, grinning. “You asked for it since your first snarky comment, but the opportunity never presented itself.”
“Oh, really?” Sam cocked an unimpressed eyebrow and, to Lucifer’s internal cringe, it reminded him of Death. They probably spent too much time together. “So you thought that this is the perfect opportunity to show me how much you appreciate my sass?”
“Pretty much,” Lucifer cheekily replied, still grinning. An affronted Sam was something to behold.
A moment later and Sam’s whole expression changed from affronted to mischievous. “Wait until we get into the shower.”
Lucifer’s surprise was somehow tamed by the big smile still on full blast. “Are you really challenging me?”
“This is my apartment,” Sam said haughtily, but the dimpled smile took the brunt off. “I can challenge whoever I want. Be it a stranger, my brother or my Sentinel.”
That was the cherry on top for Lucifer. He stepped forward; Sam mirrored it backwards, playful grin not helping Lucifer’s self-control. He wanted to plunder that mouth and ravish this gorgeous man that just so happened to be his fucking Guide.
Could a man be luckier than this? Lucifer was going to be crushed under the happiness that was swelling inside his chest.
“You little shit,” he said on notes of laughter, grin threatening to take over his whole face.
Sam was shaking, then he opened his mouth and said, “I think you have some sight problems.” A pause, barely keeping himself together. “There’s nothing little about me.”
And he sprinted out of there, laughing heartily, because Lucifer leaped to catch him. A short, manly chase ensued around the rather spacious apartment, because let’s be honest, running around with all that jizz in one’s pants was far from being ideal. Especially with Lucifer’s new, enhanced sense of touch. They soon stopped and got into the shower, not before trading more kisses and some light petting.
Lucifer wasn’t really thinking about it, since Sam wasn’t going anywhere farther than his arm’s reach, but Lucifer was actually touch-starved.
He kept his hands on various parts of his Guide for the entire shower, which meant that Sam had to wash two people and not just one, but he wasn’t complaining either. He got to satisfy his caring side and make his protective Guide instincts purr in self-gratification.
Or that was what Lucifer imagined Sam’s expression wanted to convey as he couldn’t even avert his eyes from his Guide’s face. He felt like a thirsty man, drinking water for the first time in a long while. He couldn’t have enough of Sam. Not to mention that the urge to taste him was becoming more and more difficult to resist.
With that little smile in the corner of his lips, Sam said, “In my Guide course, I learned that when a partial-Sentinel finds their One, all of their senses will start to develop in one, sometimes two weeks, because the presence of their One allows every barrier a partial-Sentinel put up to protect themselves from zoning outs, to crumble to piece. In this respect, the partial-Sentinel becomes more powerful, be they are also vulnerable. Especially when they’re as close to their Guide as we are right now.”
The soothing rumble of notes washed over Lucifer like a balm on a fevered skin. Everything in him relaxed at once, and even if he wanted to, he wasn’t able to close his eyes and revel in Sam’s velvety tone of voice. His body didn’t allow him to focus on one sense only.
Sam’s hands went into his hair, slowly and carefully rinsing the suds off.
“The next twenty-four hours after the pair acknowledged and consented to bond with each other, are the most critical. Not so much for the Guide, who’s protective and caring nature will become more difficult to control, yet still manageable, but for the newly full-Sentinel, who will inevitably be compelled to attune their senses to their Guide only. They will become overly protective of their Guide and will not be able to distinguish between friend and foe, if anyone were to interrupt those critical twenty-four hours, making them aggressive and territorial.”
Lucifer could go on like this forever. Enveloped in Sam’s smell, Sam’s touch, Sam’s voice, Sam’s sight—but here’s only one sense missing for him to feel fully satiated and relaxed.
He swallowed the pooling saliva in his mouth at the thought, and went to his knees.
Sam’s breath caught in his throat, when Lucifer looked at his half hard cock and wetted his lips, before gazing up at his Guide lustfully.
“Don’t stop talking,” Lucifer said, voice ragged. It was the only coherent sentence he managed to get past his fuzzy thoughts.
His fingers encased around the base of Sam’s cock. A firm grip that made his Guide gasp as if it were punched out of him; coupled with the feeling of hot and silky skin, and it sent a jolt straight to Lucifer’s dick. Like being in a trance, he leaned forward on his knees and took Sam into his mouth, slowly pushing forth until his lips touched his fingers.
He stayed there, unmoving, listening to Sam’s harsh breaths and feeling his clenched hands in his own hair, the sting a welcome distraction from his own leaking cock. Sam’s salty precome was filling his mouth and he had no choice but to let some out, because he might have been in a sort-of trance, but he remembered what he told Sam.
He wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of friction at swallowing his precome.
He squeezed Sam’s dick and looked at him as much as he was able to.
Sam’s breath hitched. “B—but a Guide a—and a Sentinel—shit,” he cussed and lost himself in the moans that Lucifer was so expertly pulling out of him. “T—they don’t bond if—fuck, Nick—they don’t bond if they have sex,” he said in a rush as he started to lose control over his hips.
That came as a surprise to Lucifer’s sex-addled brain. He always thought that Guides and Sentinels completed their bond through sex.
“It—God, Nick, your mouth—it’s only the first step. Shit, Nick, I’m gonna—nnnng,” he cut himself off with a drawn groan, because Lucifer wasn’t actually going to let Sam off the hook that easily.
He might have been impatient to taste and feel Sam when he came, but he could also be pretty sadistic and torture his Guide a little bit more. Not that Sam was complaining, seeing as Lucifer made no move whatsoever to pin his erratically thrusting hips to the wall. He was free to fuck his mouth however rough he wanted, but it was Lucifer who decided when he climaxed.
“The bon—nding will happen over the course of a couple of months—fuck—or less. Depends how much time they spend together.” He paused to catch his breath, even though it was just wishful thinking at that point; Lucifer wasn’t going to relent on sucking his dick in time with his thrusts. He finally synced himself to Sam. Like hell he was going to stop now.
A thud made Lucifer look up to see that his Guide was panting, head against the wall, eyes probably closed and hands keeping Lucifer right where he was as Sam mercilessly fucked his mouth.
“The territorial and overprotective in—instincts in a Sentinel are triggered—fuck, Nick—during the first time that the Guide lets their Sentinel attune themselves to—shit, I’m close—their One, and will continue to be vicious for a few days. T—to this intense period,” a pause filled with uneven breath, “will follow one where the Sentinel is fully in his or hers element around their Guide; they won’t feel the fuck-or-die need, but they won’t be able to control the urge to be in constant physical contact with their Guide, either.”
Satisfied with the explanation, although he felt that wasn’t all of it, he released Sam’s cock from his firm grip and braced himself against the wall, giving his Guide free reign over his mouth.
Sam would have probably been more careful, but since Lucifer denied him his first orgasm, he didn’t have any control over his lower body, pushed into frenzied thrusts, desperate to release all that build-up pressure. It didn’t took him more than several more thrusts to tip over the edge.
The moment Sam’s come filled his mouth, the saltiness and musk and everything that he associated with stable and safe overloading his senses, Lucifer followed suit and climaxed untouched. He was between completely zoning out and fully lucid.
Sam’s grip on his hair surely helped to keep him in the present.
He didn’t remember ever feeling this satiated and fulfilled, like everything was right once again. They got out and Lucifer took the task to dry them off, to Sam’s amused expression.
“You’re starting to show signs over-protectiveness,” he commented lightly, as Lucifer had to raise himself a bit on his tip-toes to dry Sam’s hair with the towel.
He scoffed. “Since when does helping someone towel himself off qualifies as being overprotective?”
Sam chuckled. “Since I’m not a disabled person.”
Lucifer snapped the towel over Sam’s ass, eliciting another yelp from the Guide. The cat-got-the-canary smile Lucifer offered in response to Sam’s outraged expression was purely self-satisfactory.
Sam shook his head in amused resignation and disappeared into his bedroom for a short while as Lucifer was finishing drying himself off.
“By the way, you’re staying the night,” Sam announced from the doorway, clad in a pair of black pajama pants, two piece of clothes hanging over his forearm.
Lucifer raised an eyebrow. “And I have no say in this?”
Sam grinned. “Even if you’d want to go all gentleman on me and wait until our one hundred date to ask my hand, your instincts wouldn’t let you reach the front door.”
Lucifer reached Sam in three steps, and looked up at Sam. “You have everything figured out, huh?”
Sam leaned down, clearly reading the intent into Lucifer’s eyes. “One of my job’s requirements.” He smiled, eyes focused on his Sentinel’s lips.
“What was that about a hundred date and ask your hand?” Lucifer whispered as Sam was millimeters away from his mouth.
“Shut up and kiss me.”
No man, however much control he had over his instincts and body, could have denied such a request. Lucifer molded his lips against Sam’s and for a glorious minute or eternity, it was just them and that moment.
The pair of grey pajama pants and blue t-shirt Sam brought to him, actually fit Lucifer to a T.
“Why am I the only one who looks one piece of garment too covered?” Lucifer grumpily asked.
“Because you’re sexy like that.”
Lucifer’s gaze immediately traveled down to Sam’s hip, but Sam chuckled and pushed away. He tried to reach any part of Sam to keep him close, but the Guide proved to be faster.
“Let’s keep the spanking to the bedroom, shall we?” Sam said as he picked up the wet towels and put them on the rack to dry themselves. There was a twinkle in his eyes when he turned around.
“You’re full of surprises, Sam Winchester.”
“Good.” Sam came up to him and allowed Lucifer to circle his arms around his midriff, long fingers working their way into Lucifer’s hair in a loving gesture. “We won’t get bored of each other very soon, then.”
Lucifer nodded as he yawned, receiving a kiss to his temple from his Guide. Two orgasm in such a short span of time was a lot for his old, battered body. Sam silently guided them towards his bedroom and let Lucifer crash them both into the bed, absent-mindedly noticing that the covers were already pulled.
Sleep found him fully enveloped around Sam.
What woke him up was a total mystery to his mostly unconscious brain, but he couldn’t shrug off the feeling that it was important. He looked down and his arms were still full of Sam, blissfully asleep, so his Guide’s absence mustn’t have been what woke him up. Perusing the surroundings, his enhanced sight allowing him to seen even the farthest nook of the room, he found nothing suspicious.
Sam moved in his arms, which pulled his whole attention back to him, as the Guide turned on his other side, escaping from Lucifer’s embrace, but still keeping their legs entangled. A smile graced his lips as he continued watching Sam sleeping, mesmerized by the rise and fall of his shoulder as he breathed evenly.
That was when he discovered what woke him up.
Head rising from the pillow, he zeroed in on the opened bedroom door through which he could see only the bathroom from a diagonal angle.
Furtive movement outside of Sam’s apartment was the culprit for his sudden 360 degrees focus. It wasn’t loud enough to be passed up as neighbors coming home late at night, neither soft enough to be catalogued as a cat, as unlikely as that sounded.
That was the kind of sneaky steps he was trained to do to take by surprise his enemies or pass unnoticed.
Two troublemakers were right outside Sam’s door. This was not happening. Not on Lucifer’s territory. The instincts Sam talked about so much and which Lucifer discarded so easily as scarcely possible, were rearing their head at the notion of intruders.
His muscles coiled tight at the possibility of a fight and murderous rage obfuscated his vision for a second, instincts roaring and releasing adrenaline into his system.
They finished picking the lock to Sam’s door, probably thinking that Sam was alone and asleep and wanted to maybe catch him unawares. But little did they know that a full-fledged Sentinel was already on alert and waking Sam up, silencing him quickly in case one of the intruders was a Sentinel.
Sam didn’t seem to make heads or tails of the situation, since Lucifer only silenced him with a hand on his mouth and motioned for him to not utter a single word, but his attention was soon attracted by the intruders pushing the door open and getting inside and panic spilled into Sam’s eyes, but Lucifer calmed him down with a reassuring smile.
He motioned for Sam to get behind him as he made his way towards the door to check where the fuckers were. He might have looked calm on the outside, it was like a trigger when he saw Sam scared, but on the inside he was like a volcano full of rage ready to spill over the first motherfucker who crossed his way.
He was beyond angry. How could they even think of trespassing into his territory like entitled assholes and fucking threaten his Guide’s safety? They certainly had a death wish Lucifer was all too eager to satisfy.
He stomped into the living room, not giving them a chance to react, before his fist connected with the closest masked dude, quickly recognized the outfit as the one Russian assassins usually wore.
He channeled all that anger into his blows, so that every time a punch or a kick connected, it either send the fucker sprawling into the kitchen (on one, glorious occasion) or into some well-placed piece of furniture, where Lucifer fucking hoped any pointy angle did some hurting of its own.
It didn’t help that his fucking senses were dialed up. Even his own breathing angered him. In short time he was well on his way to rage.
Two assassins adamant on kidnapping Sam again?
Over Lucifer’s fucking dead body!
But as he was thinking all this on repeat, his body was moving on its own accord. Blows were dealt in the same way kicks were: either returned or avoided. He fucking managed to deter any and all of them—that furious he was.
And he didn’t always listen to his senses, which, by the way, were working overtime, sending so much fucking information to his brain that he had a hard time hearing his own thoughts. On the odd chances he did, the mantra didn’t change at all, although it was in flashes of words like mine, fucking assholes, douchebags, Guide, hell to be paid and on and on the same words, different position.
The brush of something foreign sent his sensory input into a short-circuit. Eyes frantically searched for the source. This time a blow landed fair and square under his jaw and he fell on Sam’s goddamn wood coffee table! The breath got punched out of him, two ribs were surely cracked, his head pounded like a motherfucking marathon parade, and he bit his freaking tongue to boot.
He needed a few seconds to regain control over the internal alarms firing away like everything was on fire.
It actually was. His fucking mouth!
Too much input all at once. His tongue felt like it grew ten fucking inches in his mouth. He tried to control the amount of information he gained from five different directions, but to no avail. Copious amounts of data assaulted him in too little time.
He turned around and another blow hit him in full force.
This time he heard it loud and clear, as if it was spoken into his mind and not near his ear.
“Sam?” He didn’t even get out a fully-formed, normal, intelligible fucking word. It was a gurgle of two or three sounds, spit, and blood.
Y-yeah. Sorry. I’m trying to get—
And the connection was lost again. What was that? Fucking WI-FI problems? They were on the fourth floor, for fuck’s sake!
Nick! Don’t fight me. Let me help you.
How? he thought back, seeing as he was busy fending off other blows and kicks and his fucking means of verbal communication was momentarily out of order.
Allow me to touch your mind.
You did that before, Lucifer snapped, the anger all over the place.
Sam’s calm voice reached him again as he narrowly avoided a kick to his stomach and managed to kill one of the two assassins by twisting his head with brute force and anger. I wasn’t conscious at the time. And it’s not the same thing.
Lucifer would have sighed in exasperation, if he wouldn’t have been otherwise engaged. He thought it would require a certain amount of concentration to allow Sam to have access to his thoughts and senses, but it was actually as easy as understanding a new concept. The way his mind opened up and wrapped around that foreign feeling, it pushed Lucifer off balance and he tilted sideways, which came to be in his favor as another kick was flying his way.
To say that everything became sharper and clearer was a given. What really surprised him was how effectively his rage stuttered down to nonexistence when Sam’s well of patience and calm and balance and all that was so preternaturally beyond Lucifer came spilling inside him like a summer breeze into a hot room.
No more bits of information and chaos.
No more confusion.
No more fighting on autopilot.
His ribs still hurt and his tongue was pulsing alongside his heart, though. So no improving on that front.
It was still better than before.
When the second assassin was down with zero chances of getting up ever again, he released the tight hold he held onto himself and Sam’s mental presence, and let gravity pull him down.
Sam’s hands fisted into the t-shirt whose material wasn’t the softest, most Sentinel-friendly, but it was still better than most of his own clothes, and shook him, a desperate look on his face.
“Nick! Nick, stay with me! Please don’t zone out again!”
“’m not,” Lucifer slurred, because it happened when one hit his head as hard as he did and still made gargantuan efforts to assure their Guide that they weren’t on their merry way to Hell. Because people like Lucifer would always choose the company over the climate. “‘m just passing out.”
And he was out like a light, with the knowledge that Sam was safe. He protected his Guide. He appeased his Sentinel instincts. He did his duty.
Sam was safe.
The smell of strong coffee, saccharine, ginger and something else, unfamiliar and sterile brought him back among the living. The apparent silence in the room had background noise, suffused by the thick walls and double-doors, which meant that he was most probably in a hospital, laid half-naked on a bed that had Sentinel-friendly sheets.
Three sets of heartbeats, besides his own, he distinguished from the usual chaos outside his room. Each one was at a different stage of closeness to him. He tried to guess to whom they belonged to; at least one of them he was sure at one hundred percent that belonged to Sam. Another one should have been Balthazar, and the third one was a mystery.
“Good morning, ray of sunshine. I see life’s been treatin’ you well in my absence.” He would have recognized that snarky voice anywhere, anytime and anyplace. He wished his brother would have stayed a mystery, though.
Everything that had anything to do with Gabriel should stay where it belonged. His brother included.
“Nick!” The scrape of the plastic chair pulled a wince from Lucifer and when he finally braved the world beyond his eyelids, he was treated to a relieved and unscathed Sam.
His fucking Guide.
He drank in the sight of Sam, because he had nowhere near enough of him.
“I see you still cling to your childhood alias.” The grin cracked into the words. Lucifer stubbornly refused to look at his brother, even as Sam turned a confused look into his direction.
A perfectly distinguished sigh came from the foot of his bed. “You better tell Sam the whole story, before your brother makes everything worse,” said Balthazar.
“Excuse me!” Ah, the dramatic flair of his brother. Unmistakable and totally dismissible.
He actually managed to tune out the little argument his brother and friend were having in the other corner of the room. But then he looked up at Sam and the smile on his face told Lucifer everything he needed to know.
He was starting to like the perks of being bonded to a Guide.
“Can I get a kiss before I start to spill my tragic history?” he asked with the best pleading expression he could summon up on a hospital bed.
Sam just laughed and shook his head, but complied almost too readily. Relief bounced off from Sam to himself and back again, but he was too caught up into Sam’s closeness and warm lips to wonder at the strangeness of it all.
“Hey, hey!” Gabriel’s offended voice filtered feebly through his thoughts. “I want in on the action! If not actively, at least passively.”
“You and your voyeuristic tendencies.” It sounded like Balthazar was grabbing his brother and bodily pushing him towards the door. “Let’s give them a bit of privacy, darling.” Said with a load of sarcasm.
“It’s called threesome, Luci,” Gabriel continued. “And sharing with your little bro.”
Lucifer flipped him the finger, before Balthazar closed the door behind them, and Sam broke the kiss because he couldn’t repress his chuckles anymore.
“Your brother is pretty adamant,” Sam noticed, eyes twinkling.
“And a perv.” Lucifer rolled his eyes and roamed over Sam’s face. “Besides, I’m not in a sharing mood right now. I recently realized how close I came to skirt around the opportunity of my life. So no sharing.”
“Oh.” Sam leaned in and touched Lucifer’s nose with his own. “That doesn’t sound as final as it’s meant to.”
Lucifer grinned, and winced almost immediately when the smile tugged at the cut on his lip.
“So, from where should I start to spill my guts?” His smile wasn’t as light as his words were, and Sam regarded him for a few drawn-out moments.
“From where your brother left?”
Lucifer cocked an eyebrow. “Are you asking me if I’m into threesomes, Sam?”
His Guide blushed. Six feet and counting of Adonis frame and a blush? He was so screwed. But he got his answer, even if in a non-verbal way. He tucked that information away for later prodding.
“What did he mean by childhood alias?” Sam tried to compose himself and will the heat down from his cheeks.
Lucifer hummed, smiling at Sam as the man was suddenly interested in the room’s decorations. “My real name is Lucifer Morningstar,” he said finally, and that got Sam’s full attention. “On my birth certificate I figure as Nick L. Morningstar. When kids started to pick on me because of my unusual name, I told my dad that I won’t ever return to school. He sat down with me for the entire evening, thinking up a lot of tactics to change my mind, but I wouldn’t budge.
We reached a compromise by the end of dinner: he would help me find another name, but I would have to go to school. I agreed. Truth to be told, I didn’t really want to give up school. Despite the nasty kids, I liked learning new things. When I thought up Nick as my name, dad made all the necessary arrangements to change the name on my birth certificate and moved me into another school. It was farther away from where we lived, but at least I could go to school and never worry about the name-callings.”
He couldn’t read Sam’s expression (or lack thereof). It was a clean slate. Not even his heartbeat changed during Lucifer’s recounting.
“Thank you,” Sam said sincerely, and there it was: his voice wasn’t steady.
Lucifer looked dumbstruck at Sam. “You’re thanking me for telling you my woes?”
His Guide huffed a laugh. “I’m thanking you for being truthful to me and for trusting me with your past.”
It actually was easy to open up to Sam, something he found damn hard around even Balthazar, who was his closest and oldest friend. He grabbed Sam’s shirt and pulled him into another intense kiss, to Sam’s surprise and temporary flail.
“You know I’m never letting you go, right?” Lucifer breathed out, forehead touching Sam’s.
Sam just smiled that dimpled smile of his that got to Lucifer every single time, and closed his eyes in pure relief and joy.