Chapter 1: Lucifer Rising
Dean got there just moments too late. Sam met his eyes, terrified and penitent, as light started to build in the centre of the spiral, before rushing out to engulf the entire church.
The world was all light and heat, growing brighter and hotter until Sam thought he was going to burn in it, and then – nothing. The light died away, and then was simply gone, as though it had never been. Sam blinked around. The church was pretty much gone, reduced to rubble, but Sam… Sam was fine.
He looked around in alarm for his brother, but Dean was just standing there, perfectly unharmed, same as Sam, wearing the strangest expression on his face.
“Dean?” Sam asked anxiously. Fuck if he knew what had just happened, but right now all he cared about was his brother. He could worry about the other stuff later.
It took Dean a moment to respond, blinking slowly. He looked about as dazed as Sam felt.
“Yeah. I’m fine, Sam. I’m… fine.”
As the words came out of his mouth Dean’s entire face sort of crumpled into a deeply incredulous look, like he couldn’t believe what he was hearing himself say. He shook his head, still looking bewildered.
“Come on,” he told Sam, after a second. “Let’s get out of here.”
Sam glanced around at the ruins of the church. After that lightshow, people were bound to show up soon to ask awkward questions.
“Yeah. We better go.”
They didn’t talk about what had happened at the church even after they got in the Impala, or after booking a hotel room. Sam felt shell-shocked and horrified, and imagined that Dean felt much the same.
He had no idea of the truth.
This, Lucifer-or-maybe-Dean thought later, was unbelievably fucked up. The fact that Grace-less, he was supposed to be Michael’s vessel, and had things gone differently might have actually ended up with Michael inside him, filled him with a sense of disbelieving outrage. Somewhere, his Father had to be laughing his ass off.
Dean-or-perhaps-Lucifer had been listening into angel radio since he’d gotten his Grace back, trying to figure out if anyone had known the truth about what was going on, but apparently none of the bastards running things upstairs knew the truth about what had happened to him – they all seemed to believe that Lucifer had been imprisoned in Hell, rather than being stripped of his Grace and being endlessly re-incarnated as a human. The only ones that Lucifer knew for sure had been aware of the truth were Michael and Gabriel, who had been present for his punishment; reading between the lines of what was being said upstairs, Michael had been missing for a couple of decades or so and no one knew where he was or what he was doing, while Gabriel had apparently fucked off ages ago and no one knew where he was, either.
Everything looked suddenly different now that Dean-yet-Lucifer had his Grace back. Castiel, for a start. As just-Dean he’d been completely clueless, but now he wondered about the little seraph’s strange friendship and the fact that he’d unexpectedly jumped ship to the Free Will Boat. He was pretty sure that Castiel had actually, possibly had a thing for him, but that the other angel hadn’t realised that any more than he had. Dean-yet-Lucifer wouldn’t have been sure what to do with that, except that it didn’t matter anymore, because according to angel radio Castiel was dead. Raphael had smited him, a fact that made Dean-yet-Lucifer burn inside with fury.
“Dean? Are you glowing?” Sam suddenly spoke up in the darkness, interrupting Dean-yet-Lucifer’s thoughts.
Dean-yet Lucifer tried to feel less angry, and hopefully less glowy.
There was a pause.
“Dean, you’re glowing.” Sam’s voice was definite this time, rather than incredulous, and there was a wary edge to his voice.
“Dammit, Sam, can’t this wait until morning?” he asked. “Today was seriously fucked-up and I’d like to have some time to deal with that, and wait until tomorrow to talk about whether I might or might not be glowing.”
There was a much longer pause this time.
“Okay,” Sam said cautiously.
Dean-yet-Lucifer rolled over and glared at the wall, which he could see perfectly despite the near-total darkness. Cats had nothing on angelic vision.
He’d have to hide his identity, unless he wanted everyone being annoying about it and Sam freaking out, but that shouldn’t be too hard seeing as how no one upstairs had any brains. Except Cas. Who was dead.
Dean-yet-Lucifer snarled and buried his face in the pillow.
“Fuck my life.”
“Go to sleep, Sam.”
The fact that Castiel was dead shouldn’t be upsetting him so much, but the truth was that he’d grown inexplicably fond of the guy. Castiel had been… well, his, kind of, and the idea that Raphael had killed him was angering, that’s what it was.
He went back to glaring at the wall, and trying to wrestle the two very different halves of his identity into some kind of cohesive whole.
Who the fuck was he, now?
By the next morning Sam had mysteriously forgotten about Dean-yet-Lucifer’s strange glowing episode the night before. Dean-yet-Lucifer wasn’t exactly proud of himself for that, but this shit was confusing enough to deal with when it was only him who knew about it. Revealing the truth to someone else would complicate things, fast. He didn’t want to do that until he had a better handle on things himself.
He decided to think of himself as Lucifer, for the moment, even though he was pretending that he wasn’t. He wasn’t completely sure why he was pretending not to be himself, instead of going out and starting the apocalypse like he’d planned, he just… couldn’t, for some reason, he thought grumpily, glancing at Sam, who was staring into his coffee with a sad, crumpled face like he was blaming himself for all bad things, ever.
Lucifer rolled his eyes at Sam’s propensity for guilt and self-blame. Please, like Sam had actually had any kind of role in this other than as a pawn. The angels had orchestrated the entire thing. They’d been calling all the shots, this entire time.
Well, not anymore. Lucifer almost smiled to himself. None of them had any idea who he was, except for the two archangels who had conveniently skipped out on Heaven.
He kind of wished that Castiel was still here to help him screw up all of Heaven’s plans.
“We need to go to Chuck’s,” Lucifer said abruptly. Sam glanced up. “Cas… he was going to buy me time… there was this archangel…” He took a deep breath. “I’m not sure he made it.”
Sam’s eyes widened, and a moment later the guilt in them redoubled.
“Don’t say anything.” Lucifer didn’t really want to hear Sam’s remorseful excuses, especially since it wasn’t really his fault anyway. Everyone had led Sam around by the nose, for God knew how long.
Besides, it had turned out great for him, hadn’t it? He was himself again, back to full power, and free. It was everyone else that Sam’s actions had sucked for.
They lapsed back into silence, Sam sitting miserably as they ate breakfast. When they were done, they headed for Chuck’s.
Chuck’s house was… not in the best condition.
Dean and Sam entered the devastated building warily, looking for signs of Chuck or Castiel.
Lucifer saw Chuck leap out before Sam did, but didn’t say anything as Chuck hit his brother over the head with the toilet plunger.
“Jeez! Ow!” Sam exclaimed, putting an hand to his head and reeling back indignantly.
Okay, so maybe Lucifer was a little angry at what Sam had done. But a toilet plunger to the skull really wasn’t that bad, in the greater scheme of things, considering how stupid his brother had been.
Dean paused on that thought, as it kind of sunk in for the first time that even though he was an archangel, he had a human little brother. Huh.
Yeah, somewhere his Father was finding this hilarious, he was sure.
Chuck lowered the toilet plunger as he realised who he’d just hit.
“Yeah!” Sam confirmed, looking miffed about the blow-to-the-head thing. Chuck opened his mouth to say something, but then he caught sight of Lucifer. His eyes widened. Ah, crap. The prophet knew.
Lucifer snapped his fingers, and the world froze.
Chuck blinked at Sam, who had frozen in a slightly ridiculous position, and glanced back at Lucifer with eyes full of fear. He held his ground, though, and Lucifer couldn’t decide if it was out of bravery, or fatalism. Possibly it was a mix of both.
“Lucifer,” Chuck managed to whisper.
“Apparently. The last twenty-four hours has been a shock, I’ll give you that.”
“You can’t tell anyone,” Lucifer said firmly, talking over Chuck. “No one, you understand me? I’m not sure yet what I want to do, but the last thing I need is everyone else deciding for me what my role in this whole frigging mess is. And I sure as hell don’t want Sam knowing that his brother is, well, me. The kid’s going to be suffering enough over this.”
Chuck stared at him.
“Do you understand me?” Lucifer persisted.
“You care,” Chuck said wonderingly, and Lucifer made a face.
“Maybe. Don’t make too much of it.”
He snapped his fingers again, and the world started up again.
“Where’s Cas?” Lucifer asked, as Sam rubbed his head aggrievedly. Chuck’s face fell.
“He’s dead,” the prophet said sadly, confirming Heaven’s reports. “Or gone. The archangel smote the crap out of him. I’m sorry.”
“Are you sure?” Sam asked, when Lucifer clenched his teeth.
“Oh, yeah,” Chuck insisted. “He, like, exploded. Like a water balloon of chunky soup.” He swallowed, looking ill at the memory.
Sam suddenly frowned, peering closer at the prophet. He waved a hand at his own ear.
“You got a –”
Chuck felt at his hair.
“Uh… right here?”
“Uh, the…” Sam gestured uncomfortably.
Chuck’s hand closed on something small, and he pulled it free.
All three of them stared at what was in his hand. It was a tooth.
“Is that a molar?” Chuck asked unhappily. “It is. Do I have a molar in my hair?” His expression slowly collapsed. “This has been a really stressful day.”
In spite of himself Lucifer couldn’t help feeling sorry for the poor bastard.
“Maybe some angel’ll fix your house for you,” he said shortly. “You know. Since one of them broke it.”
“I don’t think angels really do apologies,” said Chuck.
“So, what now?” Sam asked. Lucifer had no fucking idea, that was what.
“I don’t know.”
“Oh crap,” Chuck said, at the same moment as Lucifer became aware that they were no longer alone in the house. Several angels had just arrived.
“What?” Sam asked Chuck.
“I can feel them.”
“Thought we’d find you here,” said a familiar, hated voice, and Lucifer turned to glare at Zachariah.
The little twerp had turned up with his own private posse. Lucifer felt a flare of anger, and forced it down. This was no time to start radiating Grace everywhere, not if he wanted to stay undercover.
“Playtime’s over, Dean,” said Zachariah. “Time to come with us.”
Lucifer glared harder, and jabbed a finger at him.
“You just keep your distance, asshat.”
Zachariah just started blathering on about the angels didn’t start the apocalypse, they just let it happen, blah blah, Michael needed his meatsuit, blah blah blah. Lucifer’s eyes narrowed further the longer he went on.
“You can go to Hell,” Lucifer spat, interrupted Zachariah’s self-important monologue.
The jumped-up little angel just sneered at him.
“You listen to me, boy!” Okay. That was it. Lucifer was exploding them all, screw the lying-low plan. “You think you can rebel against us? Like Lucifer did?”
Lucifer’s lips curled back from his teeth in what could only be loosely described as a smile.
“Damn straight.” He caught a flicker of movement out of the corner of one eye, and glanced sideways. Chuck was painting a familiar sigil on the wall, presumably using the memory of one of his visions as a guide. Damn. It looked like Lucifer was going to have to explode Zachariah later.
The next instant Lucifer was thrown violently backwards into the ether as Chuck activated the sigil.
Fuck it. There went any hope of hiding who he was from Sam.
Back at Chuck’s house, Sam whirled on the prophet.
“What happened?” he demanded. “Where’s Dean?”
Chuck looked pained.
“I’m sorry to tell you this, Sam, but Dean, uh, he isn’t… he isn’t just Dean anymore.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Not all of Lucifer was locked into the Cage, you know. The seals, they were just holding back his Grace. He’s been, uh, re-incarnating as a human over and over the whole time, until you broke the last seal.”
“What are you saying?” Sam asked, although he found himself thinking back to last night, the weird expression on Dean’s face after all the light disappeared, and how he’d been acting kind of off ever since.
Chuck met Sam’s eyes sorrowfully.
“I’m saying your brother is the Devil.”
“That’s bullshit,” Sam snapped.
His phone rang, and Sam immediately dug it out of his pocket and answered the call.
“Hey, Sam,” Dean said. There was a faint, low mooo in the background. “Shoo. Go away. Bad cows.”
“Where are you? What happened?” Sam asked.
There was silence on the other end of the line.
“What does Chuck say?” Dean asked finally, and Sam felt his stomach drop.
“He says you’re the Devil, but that’s stupid.”
The silence this time was longer.
“…Dean?” Sam asked worriedly, as Dean didn’t answer.
“He’s not wrong.”
Sam’s stomach lurched. He stumbled to the nearest chair and sat down.
“What the hell do you mean, ‘he’s not wrong?’”
There was a sigh on the other end of the phone.
“Fuck it, I didn’t want to have this conversation this early. I’m still trying to sort things out myself.”
“Okay, fine. I’m Lucifer. You happy now? ”
“No.” Sam gripped the arm of the chair, hard.
“Yeah, well, tough shit, because I am. I always have been. I just didn’t know it for like, the last five thousand fucking years, not until you broke the seal and I got my Grace back and realised exactly how much I was screwed over.”
“Dean,” Sam choked out. He didn’t know how to deal with this.
“Calm down, jeez. What do you expect me to do, go and start smiting everything in sight?” Dean demanded. “Okay, so maybe there’s a few assholes I’d really like to explode, but really, I mostly just want to stay under the radar and get my head sorted. You think this is hard? Imagine how I feel.”
Sam had no idea what he was supposed to say to this kind of bombshell. His mind was just blank, as he grappled with the revelation that Dean, of all people, was Lucifer. It would have been hilarious, except that it really, really wasn’t.
“Sam? You’re being really quiet. Sam. Don’t freak out. Sam? Sam! Oh, for – this is exactly why I didn’t want you to know! Shit.”
Dean still sounded exactly like himself, furious and frustrated, sure, but that was nothing new. Dean’s anger issues had, like, tripled since he’d been pulled out of Hell.
Sam bit his lip as he was reminded of what had happened to Cas. Fuck. Cas and Dean had been getting pretty close before Raphael blew him up.
“Frigging cows! Fuck off, you walking pieces of hamburger! I mean it! Shoo!”
In spite of everything Sam had just been told, he couldn’t help but feel curious about where Dean had ended up after being banished.
“Where are you?” he asked again.
“Uh… somewhere in Iowa? My angel-GPS is kind of wonky right now. Yeah, Iowa, and I’m standing in a field being harassed by friendly cows. Ugh! Oh, gross, one of the fuckers just freaking licked me!” The next few words were all curses, presumably as Dean tried to fend off the cows.
“This is fucked-up,” said Sam. He wasn’t talking about the cows, although he had to admit that sounded pretty fucked-up, too.
“Dude, I spent most of last night telling myself that. It didn’t help.” Dean hesitated. “Are we okay?”
“You’re Satan, Dean. How the hell is that supposed to be okay.”
“It’s not my fault.” Dean sounded distinctly sulky. “Look, I’m gonna… Take the Impala, okay, and find a motel room somewhere. I’ll join you later, and we can talk about this.”
“I’m not sure what there is to talk about,” Sam said into the phone. “You’re the Devil.”
Dean made an exasperated noise.
“Dude, I’m still me. Come on, let’s just talk about this.”
“Good. Ring me when you get a room.” Dean hung up.
Sam put his phone away, and stared at Chuck, who was watching him.
“Sorry,” Chuck offered.
“Yeah.” Sam exhaled. “Fuck.”
Lucifer hung up his phone, and sighed. Well, that could have gone worse. Sure, it also could have gone better, but whatever. At least Sam was still speaking to him and (probably) willing to give him a chance, and it spared Lucifer the trouble of sneaking around and erasing Sam’s memory every time something suspicious happened.
He glared at the cows surrounding him, and vanished from the field. There was a nice little pie place in Ohio; he’d pass the time there until Sam rang.
Chapter 2: Castiel, Badass of the Lord
Sam took a deep breath, and spoke into his phone.
“I’ve found a motel room.”
Before he even had a chance to hang up, Sam was no longer alone, Dean blinking into existence in the middle of the room.
Sam stepped back involuntarily. Dean winced.
“So… you’re Lucifer.” Sam stared at his brother. Dean didn’t look any different, but the whole teleporting thing was pretty convincing evidence that Dean was, in fact, now an angel. Archangel.
“Yeah.” Dean grimaced a little, his expression going strange, just like it had the night before in the church. That must have been when he regained his Grace and knew who he was, Sam realised. “You have no idea how weird this all is, man. I’ve got, like, two halves to my personality in here, pushing and shoving to work out how everything fits now, and suddenly I remember millennia of living different human lives. Thousands of them, Sam. And then there’s all my memories of being an angel, stretching away to the beginning of the universe, and it’s… nothing like being human. The whole thing is confusing as shit.”
Dean looked frustrated and conflicted, but he seemed to be in earnest. And, again, he still seemed like himself.
“Huh.” Sam mulled this over, still on his guard. “So, you’re not planning on starting the apocalypse like everyone’s being saying?”
Dean made a face.
“Not really. I mean, part of me is still like, hey, let’s destroy everything because I’m pissed, but the rest of me is all hey, no, that sucks. Besides, I live on this planet. Why would I destroy it? Heaven kicked me out ages ago even if I still wanted to hang around with those douches, and Hell sucks ass.”
That was… mostly reassuring, but there were a couple of points in there that had Sam concerned.
“Wait, so part of you does want to destroy the Earth?”
Dean shot him a look.
“Yeah, dude, but part of me also wants to punch assholes in the face, and you don’t see me going round doing that. Well. Not usually.”
Sam ran a hand through his hair.
If it were anyone else, he’d be seriously worried and not trusting a word coming out of Lucifer’s mouth, but this was Dean. What was he supposed to do against that? Lucifer or not, he was either still Dean, or excellent at faking it.
“Does anyone else know?” Sam asked.
“What, that I’m Lucifer?” Dean questioned. “Just Chuck, and I’d like to keep it that way. My existential crisis is enough without anyone else weighing in.”
Sam decided that he’d keep a careful eye on his brother, but otherwise wait and see what happened next.
“I really don’t know what to think about this, Dean,” he said eventually. “But I guess there’s nothing I can do.”
“Not really,” Dean agreed.
“Okay then.” Sam gave a sigh. “In that case, what do we do next? Because it sounds like the angels aren’t exactly going to leave us alone.”
“Yeah, well, I know all kinds of protections to keep them from finding us. Archangel, remember? I totally outrank these guys, and know more than the lot of them put together.”
“Like what?” Sam wanted to know. Dean sat down on one of the beds, and started to explain the measures he could put in place to make things more difficult for the other angels. He made sure to sketch out the various angel-banishing and binding sigils for him, just in case.
Lucifer didn’t dare get too close to Chuck’s house to use his abilities, in case Raphael was watching the prophet closely. He stopped about two blocks away, and snapped his fingers.
It had taken a while before the banishing sigil stopped being effective, presumably as the blood dried, but now the prophet’s house was once again approachable to those of the angelic persuasion.
Lucifer knew that Chuck’s house mysteriously repairing itself overnight would cause a lot of talk among the neighbours, but hopefully no one would ask Chuck directly. And if they did, well, what was he going to say? Oh yeah, angels blew up my house, so Lucifer fixed it for me? Yeah, sure. Even if he did, no one would believe it. But hey, he had a functional house again, so Lucifer was pretty sure he could handle the neighbours gossiping. Lucifer even threw in a free bathroom upgrade and fixed the heating, just because.
That done, he discreetly disappeared, leaving no one the wiser about what had just taken place, including the angels.
Being a prophet was a shitty job. It ought to have the occasional perk, like angels fixing the stuff they broke for you.
It took a week and a half before the angels managed to find Lucifer and Sam again.
Lucifer was pretty resigned to it happening sooner or later; it wasn’t like anything was foolproof, after all, and as long as he and Sam were out hunting, the angels were bound to work out ways to track them down.
Things with his brother were still fairly tense, but Sam seemed to be accepting the way things were, for the moment. Lucifer had a shrewd suspicion that Sam was waiting to see if he did anything evil. He couldn’t deny he had a lot of impulses that weren’t exactly good, especially when anything roused his temper, which was kind of often, but so far he had managed to keep himself under control.
Although seriously, Zachariah. Exploding. So gonna happen.
“Yeah, well, Michael can just find some other vessel,” Lucifer said angrily.
“It’s a great honour, Dean,” Zachariah told him, smiling smarmily.
“Oh yeah,” Lucifer retorted sarcastically. As an archangel, he knew exactly how much of a freaking honour it was. “Life as an angel condom. I think I’ll pass, thanks.”
“Joking. Always joking,” said Zachariah. “Well… no more jokes.”
He cocked his fingers like a gun, and aimed at Lucifer. Lucifer raised an eyebrow, genuinely curious in spite of himself. Then the ‘gun’ moved and aimed at Sam.
“Bang,” the angel said ominously.
Sam’s leg snapped with an ugly crunch, and he collapsed with a cry.
Lucifer twitched, a red haze overtaking his vision. Zachariah was going to die, slowly and fucking painfully.
“Keep mouthing off, I’ll break more than his legs,” Zachariah said, unaware that Lucifer was trying to gather enough self-control not to blow up not only Zachariah, but the surrounding county in the process. “I am completely and utterly through screwing around. The war has begun. We don’t have our general. That’s bad. Now, Michael is going to take his vessel and lead the final charge against the adversary. You understand me?”
Lucifer was about to show Zachariah exactly how not down with this plan he was when one of the other angels went up in a flash of light. Everyone looked around to see the cause.
It was Castiel.
The seraph went through Zachariah’s goon squad like a knife through butter. While the idiots were still fumbling for their swords, Castiel acted with deadly swiftness. Lucifer watched in admiration, his plans for Zachariah momentarily put on hold. Cas was badass, he thought appreciatively.
Zachariah stared with his mouth open as Cas turned and approached.
“How are you…” For once, the toady bastard was lost for words, Lucifer observed gleefully.
“Alive?” Castiel supplied. “That’s a good question. I think we both know there’s only one answer.”
Lucifer’s mood instantly soured. Well, that was just typical. First Father let Raphael smite Cas into nothing, then he resurrected him like that made everything better, and hey, wasn’t that impressive? Fuck that. Lucifer wasn’t impressed, he was pissed off.
“No,” Zachariah denied. “That’s not possible.”
“It scares you,” Castiel noted. “Well, it should. Now put Sam back together and go. I won’t ask twice.”
But damn, it was good to have Cas back, Lucifer thought. However it had happened.
Zachariah gave Castiel one last, alarmed look, and vanished, while Sam gasped in surprise as his leg healed.
Castiel turned to stare at Lucifer.
“You two need to be more careful,” he said sternly, like he wasn’t the one who’d gotten killed by a furious archangel. It was sort of endearing.
“I’m really glad you’re not dead,” Lucifer said sincerely.
“Cas?” Sam asked hesitantly. “Were you really dead?”
Castiel’s answer was short and succinct.
“Yes.” He reached out a hand and put a hand on each of their chests, and before Lucifer could stop him seared Enochian into their ribs.
Lucifer experienced a horrendous moment of vertigo as, for just a second before he managed to tweak the sigils, he had no idea where his vessel was, even though he was in it.
That second was long enough for him to throw up.
Fortunately for everyone, he managed to barf on the ground and not Cas or Sam, which would have been totally awkward.
“What did you do?” he heard Sam yelp, as he emptied his stomach. Damn that had been unpleasant.
“An Enochian sigil,” Castiel replied, watching Lucifer with a frown. “It’ll hide you from every angel in creation, including Lucifer.” Oh, thanks Cas, thanks a lot. “Dean should not have had that reaction.”
“Wait.” Sam paused, and Lucifer knew he’d clued in to what had happened. “Including Lucifer?”
The bastard sounded amused, even though he was leaning over Lucifer in concern. Lucifer straightened up with a watery-eyed glare.
“I’m fine,” he snapped. “I just wasn’t expecting someone to, what, carve something into my ribs?”
Castiel sent him an impatient glare.
“Both Heaven and Hell will be after the two of you, Dean. You need to be cautious.”
Before anyone could say anything else, Cas flew off, presumably on important angel business he couldn’t be bothered to share with them. Well, an expression of concern was almost a goodbye, Lucifer thought.
Lucifer wondered where the hell Cas been for the last week and a half, or if he had only been resurrected just recently, or what.
He turned to see Sam looking at him, and not quite grinning.
“When Cas carved the sigils…” he prompted.
“I couldn’t tell where my vessel was even though I was in it, okay?” Lucifer grumbled. “It was disorienting.”
“Shut up, bitch.” Lucifer suddenly realised that Castiel’s arrival had distracted him enough that he had let Zachariah escape. “Oh, damn it! That little bastard got away. I wanted to do something awful to him.”
“Dean?” Sam looked suspicious and wary at the same time.
Lucifer rolled his eyes.
“Zachariah is a grade-A douche, Sam, come on! He just broke your leg to make a point. Tell me he doesn’t deserve it.”
Sam’s face said that he agreed with Lucifer on the douche bit, but still wasn’t convinced Lucifer should torture him.
“No doing awful things to anyone,” Sam chided. Lucifer didn’t bother to answer; sooner or later he’d get Zachariah on his own with no one the wiser, and then the asshole was getting what was coming to him.
“I mean it, Dean,” Sam persisted firmly. Lucifer turned to glare at him, and had another one of those moments when instead of seeing a beloved younger brother, he only saw an arrogant, hubristic human attempting to dictate to a being far beyond his comprehension, and thought: I could break you effortlessly.
The next moment Sam was Sam again, sometimes annoying, but loved all the same: his goofy, earnest, good-hearted little brother.
Lucifer had been slowly adjusting, the two different aspects of himself – human and angel – gradually meshing together, but sometimes, just for a second, he forgot the last five thousand years he had spent as a human. It never lasted for more than an instant, though. Lucifer believed that with time, it would stop happening altogether.
“Anyway,” Sam continued, completely oblivious to the moment of absolute peril he had just experienced, “it’s good to see Cas is alive.”
Lucifer felt a smile take over his face at the reminder. Oh, screw it, he’d let the fact that his Father hadn’t saved Castiel slide, and just enjoy the fact that the seraph was once again alive and well.
“Yeah,” was all he said.
“How is it possible, though?” Sam asked curiously. “I mean, how could he come back to life again?”
Lucifer sighed, but answered the question.
“Our Father,” he said shortly. Sam opened his mouth. “No, I’m not going to talk about him. Ever. Don’t even ask.”
Sam raised his eyebrows, but at Lucifer’s ferocious glower, did as asked, and didn’t press for information.
Chapter 3: Free To Be You and Me (unless one of us is the Devil)
So, this is not going to be a particularly long story, because as people who read a lot of my stuff already know, I start to write a long story, I lose interest, and then my poor story lies lost and abandoned. You won't see the entire season 5 story arc play out. Things will change before then. I'll write a few more episodes worth, and then things deviate from the show completely.
The next few weeks were, to say the least, profoundly irritating for Lucifer. He and Sam spent the entire time dodging angels, and dealing with the oncoming apocalypse that had been unleashed, but which Lucifer had more or less decided that he wanted nothing to do with. Sure, humans were annoying, and some were bastards, but not all of them; and everything that he had said to Sam was true.
This meant that instead of furthering his original plans to end humanity, Lucifer got to hunt demons, and deal with shit like War stirring up trouble. Attempting to sort out a situation where an entire town was convinced that everyone else was possessed – and ready to go full-on torch-and-pitchforks over it – had not been fun. Sam had been affected, just like everyone else (except for Lucifer), and Lucifer had been trying to stop him killing people, along with all the townsfolk. Lucifer had damn well enjoyed cutting off War’s finger by the time it was all finished.
Another reason why things were so irritating was that Lucifer was doing his best to keep Cas from knowing who he really was. Castiel, meanwhile, was in a snit, angry over being killed by Raphael, angry that after he had rebelled to help Sam and Dean they still hadn’t succeeded in stopping the apocalypse, angry that he was being forced to kill his brothers, and angry that he was cut off from Heaven. In short he was a big ol’ ball of joy and goodwill, stalking about like a cat with its fur ruffled and with a scowl on his face. Lucifer sympathised, he really did, and it said something about how fond he was of the other angel that he treated his bad moods with tolerance. The endless grouchiness was starting to get a little old, however.
“Are you going to tell Cas?” Sam asked him, the second time that Castiel bamfed off again to parts unknown, unaware of Lucifer’s identity.
“Nope,” Lucifer replied simply.
“Because I don’t want to.”
This seemed like a perfectly good answer to Lucifer, but apparently it annoyed Sam, who kept trying to convince Lucifer to tell Cas the truth. Lucifer only got a break from his determined arguments after the thing with War, when Sam decided that he need a break from hunting, too unsure of his instincts. A hunter who couldn’t rely on his instincts was dead, he pointed out. Lucifer wasn’t happy about it, but reluctantly agreed, on the condition that Sam keep himself warded and call for Lucifer the instant he got into any trouble.
For this reason, Lucifer was on his own, enjoying his ability to snap up endless amounts of beer and pizza without a judgemental audience (seriously, he was an archangel – Sam needed to worry less about his health, and more about his temper) when Castiel appeared in his motel room.
Inches from Lucifer’s face, his blue gaze unblinking.
Lucifer pretended to startle and almost drop his beer, because it would be suspicious if that changed.
“Dammit, Cas!” he complained. Castiel stared at him. “Cas. Personal space. We’ve talked about this, remember?”
“My apologies,” said Cas, and took a step back. Lucifer went and sat on his bed, while Castiel frowned around in mild perplexity at the piles of pizza boxes and multiple clusters of beer bottles. Yeah, Lucifer should probably get around to snapping those away, too, but he’d been engrossed in the Dr. Sexy M.D. marathon.
“Where’s Sam?” Castiel asked, taking in the conspicuous lack of a tall floppy-haired goofball.
“Me and Sam are taking separate vacations for a while,” Lucifer explained. “So. You find God yet?”
Castiel’s current plan of action was to find God, and see if he could be talked into stopping the apocalypse. To say that Lucifer was displeased by this plan was a massive understatement. Whatever else might have changed, he was still furiously angry at his Father, and the idea of going cap-in-hand to ask him for help with a situation that was his fault made Lucifer angry enough to spit. Not that he’d said any of that to Cas, obviously: he’d just suggested that maybe, as plans went, it wasn’t likely to be an effective one. Unfortunately, as Lucifer had approvingly noted in the past, Castiel was a stubborn little bastard, and refused to be moved.
“No, I haven’t found him,” Cas replied. “That’s why I’m here. I need your help.”
Oh hell no.
“With what? God hunt? Not interested,” Lucifer responded firmly.
Castiel just gave him the irritable look that Lucifer was fast becoming accustomed to.
“It’s not God. It’s someone else.”
Huh. Well, that could be interesting, and it wasn’t like Lucifer had much else to do.
“Archangel,” Castiel clarified shortly. “The one who killed me.”
“Oh boy,” Lucifer sighed. “No offense, dude, but that sounds like a really bad idea.”
Castiel glared. It was surprisingly adorable.
“His name is Raphael,” the angel said, sounding annoyed. “I’ve heard whispers that he’s walking the Earth. This is a rare opportunity.”
“For what?” Lucifer asked bluntly. “Revenge?” Lucifer understood that kind of motive better than most people, but he didn’t think it was worth Cas risking getting himself blown up a second time.
“Information,” Castiel corrected.
“So, what, you think you can find this dude and he’s just going to spill God’s address?” Oh, man, this was a bad, bad plan, Lucifer thought. Not to mention the fact that Raphael had no more idea than anyone else where their Father was, even if Castiel didn’t know that.
“Yes,” Castiel confirmed. “Because we are going to trap him and interrogate him.”
Lucifer just stared at the little angel and wondered if he was feeling particularly suicidal lately.
“You’re serious about this.” Okay, Lucifer was beginning to feel worried about Castiel’s mental health. “Give me one good reason why I should do this.”
“Because you’re Michael’s vessel and no angel will dare harm you,” Cas said immediately.
“Oh, so I’m your bullet shield,” Lucifer said, enlightened and amused. He should have been pissed off, but the idea was just too funny – Lucifer, acting as Castiel’s bullet shield against Raphael, because everyone believed that he was Michael’s vessel.
Also, Cas had some balls, just blurting it out like that without sugarcoating things.
“I need your help, because you are the only one who will help me.” Castiel gave him a look that was earnest and desperate. “Please.”
Lucifer felt a sudden pang of something suspiciously like remorse. Here Cas was, trying to stop the apocalypse basically on his own, most of Heaven and Hell against him, convinced that he was working for what was probably a lost cause. It made Lucifer feel a little ashamed: both for lying to him and pretending to be just Dean Winchester, and for triggering this situation in the first place.
“Alright, fine,” Lucifer agreed. He couldn’t stand the look in Castiel’s eyes. Anything to stop him looking so forlorn and alone. “Where is he?”
“Maine. Let’s go.”
He reached out and put two fingers to Lucifer’s forehead, and Lucifer tamped down his Grace as much as possible and let Castiel carry him to where they needed to be.
It turned out that where they needed to be was the local sheriff’s department, to interview a deputy sheriff who might have seen Raphael. Lucifer couldn’t help but grin when Cas revealed that he was planning to simply walk in, tell the guy that he’d seen an angel, and ask where the angel was.
“Seriously? You’re going to walk in there and tell him the truth?”
“Why not?” The little spot between Castiel’s eyes crinkled with puzzlement. Lucifer gave into temptation.
“You’re adorable.” Castiel glowered in response. “Look, we’re humans, right?” Lucifer stuck a fake FBI ID in Castiel’s coat and straightened his suit and tie, while Cas watched in mystification. “And when humans want something really, really bad – we lie.”
Castiel’s face contorted in utter confusion, like this was a revolutionary new idea.
“Because,” Lucifer intoned solemnly, somehow keeping a straight face as he met the baffled angel’s eyes, “that’s how you become President.”
He turned and walked towards the building, while Cas opened his coat and examined the fake ID Lucifer had put there.
The conversation with the deputy was one of the funniest things Lucifer had witnessed for a while, from Cas holding out his ID upside down – Lucifer almost cracked up right there – to his complete failure to master the ability to lie.
Once he and Cas left the building, Lucifer turned the corner out of sight, leaned back against the wall, and nearly bust a gut laughing.
Castiel stood looking confused and horribly offended, which only made Lucifer laugh all the harder. He couldn’t help it.
“This isn’t funny,” Castiel glared. Lucifer resisted the urge to tell him no, it wasn’t, but Castiel sure was.
“Yeah, I know. I know.” Lucifer wiped at his streaming eyes and tried to compose his face. “Okay. Serious face.”
From there the two of them flew off to the hospital where Raphael’s vessel was. The guy had been left catatonic – Raphael hadn’t even bothered to heal him, Lucifer noted in some disgust. The Archangel of Healing, and he’d left his own vessel horribly damaged.
Lucifer asked Castiel later if he actually expected to live through trapping Raphael, and was saddened, but not actually surprised, when Castiel said that he wasn’t.
Lucifer ran a hand over his face. His conscience was beginning to give him a serious smiting.
“Ah, damn,” he said aloud. “Sam was right.”
“Sam was right about what?” Castiel asked.
Lucifer just motioned for Castiel to sit down, wondering how the hell this should go. After half a second Cas worked out why he was waving his hand around, and sat, before staring at Lucifer expectantly.
“Okay.” Lucifer met his eyes resolutely. “Here’s the thing. Lucifer wasn’t in the Cage.”
“What?” Castiel’s eyes went wide. “That’s not possible. The–”
Lucifer held up a hand, wordlessly requesting silence.
“Just listen, alright? Okay, so Lucifer wasn’t in the Cage. His Grace, on the other hand, was.”
Cas stared at him in uncomprehending confusion.
“I don’t understand.”
“Yeah, I know.” Lucifer closed his eyes, and wondered why this had to be so damn hard. He knew there was a high possibility of losing Castiel’s trust over this, and the prospect hurt. “See, what the angels did, was they stripped Lucifer of his Grace. His Grace went into the Cage, and was sealed away, but Lucifer himself... Lucifer was sentenced to a never-ending re-incarnation loop, as a human, until the day the last seal was broken. On that day, he would be reunited with his Grace, and become himself again.”
Lucifer opened his eyes again, to see Castiel staring at him.
“Sam,” the seraph said with conviction.
Lucifer gave a snort of ironic laughter at that, because, well, it was exactly what everyone would think, wasn’t it?
“No, dude. Not exactly.”
And after a quick check to make sure there were no other angels around, Lucifer stopped hiding his true nature, just for a second.
Castiel’s pupil’s dilated in shock and absolute horror, and he was up and backing away from Lucifer without seeming to be aware of it.
“No, that’s not possible,” he said, very fast, his gaze riveted to the archangel sitting on the bed. “No. Dean Winchester is not Lucifer.”
Lucifer sat very still, and didn’t look away from Castiel’s disbelieving and distraught face.
“I’m sorry, Cas, but I am,” he said gently. “I always have been, I just didn’t know that I was. But being human’s changed me. I’m not going to destroy the Earth. I’m not going to fight Michael. The Earth is safe. I swear.”
“No.” Cas gave his head a quick shake, in denial. “No. You’re lying. Lucifer would not so easily surrender his goals.”
But Cas blew off in a flurry of wings before Lucifer could say anything else to reassure him.
Lucifer gave a frustrated breath, and considered giving chase, but that probably wasn’t a course of action that would help his protestations of benevolence any.
Then it occurred to him that Castiel was quite capable of going off to face Raphael alone in the morning, even without Dean acting as a bullet shield, even if it was effectively suicide.
“Oh, goddammit, Cas!” Lucifer ran a hand through his hair. “Why do you have to be such a frigging pain in the ass!”
Lucifer left a message on Sam’s voicemail about how he’d told Castiel that he was Lucifer, and that it hadn’t gone so well. Then he took up a position on the roof of the hospital where Raphael’s vessel was, and stretched out his senses so that he would know when Cas arrived. He couldn’t sense very much, not while he was suppressing his Grace and keeping himself hidden, but the arrival of another angel in the vicinity would be enough to ping his radar.
Castiel arrived the next morning, and once he was in the vessel’s room, Lucifer took flight, landing a few hallways away. Cas was… Lucifer lengthening his perception a little further for a quick peek, and sighed to himself. Castiel had just lit a circle of holy oil around the vessel, in the middle of a crowded hospital, with no idea when Raphael was actually going to show up. Oh, yeah, great planning, Cas, Lucifer thought. Nothing could possibly go wrong there.
Lucifer rendered himself unnoticeable, and devoted himself to keeping people away from the vessel’s room, so that no one would walk in demanding to know why the floor was on fire.
Nothing happened all day. Lucifer wasn’t sure whether this was part of Castiel’s plan, or what. Lucifer ended up camping out in the hospital tea room, eating biscuits and coffee, and setting the TV mounted on the wall to play action films. At the end of the day Castiel put the fire out again, and left.
Lucifer swore, and wondered if Castiel even had a plan, anymore, or if he was just trying to find something to do with himself.
He landed some distance away from Cas, and found himself outside a house that contained not only Castiel, but Raphael.
Lucifer broke into a sprint and headed straight for the house, saying particularly ugly things in Enochian that would have made the lower orders of the Host faint in horror if they’d been there to hear him.
He burst in to see Raphael gazing at Castiel malevolently. Castiel looked quite rightly terrified.
“Hey,” Lucifer said loudly, striding forward to stand slightly in front of Cas. “You must be Raphael.”
There was, Lucifer noted, a dark, liquid line in front of him. A quick flick of his eyes told him that the line continued in a curve around and behind Raphael, and around to the front to form a perfect circle. Raphael didn’t seem to have noticed.
“What are you doing here?” Castiel demanded quietly.
“You’re a suicidal moron,” Dean hissed back under his breath. “Shut up and ask him what you want to ask.”
“It is a testament to my unending mercy that I do not smite you here and now,” Raphael told them, still staring at Castiel like a cat with a mouse.
“Or maybe you’re full of crap,” Lucifer disagreed. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Cas turn frightened eyes in his direction. “Maybe you’re afraid God will bring Cas back to life again and smite you and your candy-ass skirt. By the way, hi, I’m Dean.”
“I know who you are,” Raphael responded darkly. “And now, thanks to him, I know where you are.”
“You won’t kill him,” said Castiel, still darting glances between Raphael and Lucifer like he wasn’t sure who to be more wary of. “You wouldn’t dare.”
“But I will take him to Michael,” Raphael countered.
“Uh, yeah, no, I don’t think so,” said Lucifer. “To be honest, I’m getting pretty sick of everyone running around doing what Michael wants all the time and expecting me to just go along with it. Michael needs his vessel, Michael has to lead the war, Michael Michael Michael.”
Castiel spared him an incredulous glance. What? So Lucifer had some issues with his big brother.
“Screw Michael,” said Lucifer, and taking his lighter out of his pocket flicked it alight before tossing it on the ring of holy oil in front of him and Cas. The oil caught fire instantly, and Raphael was surrounded by a burning ring of holy fire.
Raphael thus contained, Lucifer immediately turned and slapped Cas over the back of the head. Castiel reached up to touch the back of his head with a bewildered glare.
“You’re a stupid son of a bitch,” Lucifer told him furiously. “Ask him your damn questions and then we are going to have a long talk, Cas, I mean it.” He stepped back and folded his arms, and waited for Castiel to question Raphael.
Castiel looked rather shocked, but turned to demand answers of Raphael. It turned out that Raphael believed that God was dead. Lucifer barely held himself back from making a Nietzsche joke. Now wasn’t the time.
Castiel retorted that if God was dead, then who had brought him back to life?
Raphael’s answer was unexpected.
“Did it occur to you that Lucifer raised you?” the archangel asked slyly. Castiel’s eyes widened, the shot hitting home.
Lucifer snorted. Loudly.
“Right, because your Father totally gave Lucifer the power to resurrect other angels,” he pointed out sarcastically. “Sure, in between his rebelling and getting locked in the Cage, your Dad just thought, hey, why don’t I give my disobedient, trouble-making son some awesome extra powers just to make things even more difficult? That makes perfect sense.”
Raphael’s eyes slid towards Lucifer with an ugly look, before moving back to Castiel, who had composed himself.
“Let’s go,” Cas said grimly.
“Castiel,” Raphael called after him. Castiel turned slightly. “I’m warning you. Do not leave me here. I will find you.”
“Maybe one day.” And despite all his personal doubts, and the distress that haunted him, Castiel stood firm and defiant as he looked back at Raphael. “But today, you’re my little bitch.”
With that, he turned and walked out. Lucifer, after getting over his surprise and sudden sense of intense pride in the younger angel, turned to grin at Raphael, who looked quietly murderous.
“What he said,” Lucifer said cheerfully, and followed after Castiel.
Some distance from the house, Castiel spun to face Lucifer, so that they were only a few inches apart.
“Why?” Castiel demanded.
“Why would you help me?” Cas wanted to know.
“Why wouldn’t I?” Lucifer asked mildly. “I said I would.”
Castiel gave him a suspicious look, his eyes narrowed.
“Why,” he repeated harshly, “would you help me?”
Lucifer glanced away, chuckling ruefully, before meeting Castiel’s mistrustful eyes. He leaned forward and pressed his mouth to the other angels’ forehead.
When he pulled back, Cas looked guarded and taken-aback.
“Cas–” Lucifer began, when an urgent prayer rang through his head.
“Shit!” Lucifer yelped, his eyes widening. “Sam!”
Cursing the fact that he had to leave Cas, Lucifer flew off, landing outside a bar. He stormed in to see a dude holding a large knife to the throat of a scared-looking blonde woman, while Sam stood facing down a second dude.
“Get the hell away from my brother and let the lady go!” Lucifer ordered. There was the faint sound of wings beating outside, and the next moment Cas stepped through the door and walked forward to stand beside him. Lucifer pushed aside the warm feeling that gave him, to focus on later when the current situation was over.
Lucifer recognised the two men: they were hunters that John Winchester had dealt with a few times. What was going on here?
“Dean Winchester,” said one. “Did you know your little brother here started the apocalypse?”
Lucifer shut his eyes in realisation.
When he opened them again, they were blazing with anger.
“Do you actually know shit, or did you just swallow everything the demons told you?”
“How do you know about the demons?” the guy holding the knife asked. Lucifer rolled his eyes.
“Because who else would try and stir up this kind of trouble, dumbass,” he retorted. “Now step back from the lady, and leave my brother alone. I won’t ask again.”
“I strongly suggest you do as he says,” Cas advised.
“And who are you?” demanded the guy in front of Sam.
“I am Castiel, angel of the Lord,” said Cas, gazing at them.
Lucifer cut his eyes to Cas.
“I think they might need a little demonstration, Cas.”
Castiel glanced at him briefly. The next minute, the lighting in the room changed, and the shadows of his wings spread out across the walls behind him. Lucifer let his vision change, and there in front of him were Castiel’s real wings, bright and beautiful.
The two hunters let out exclamations, and stared at Cas in shock. Lucifer smirked slightly to himself, and twitched two fingers.
Both men dropped to the ground like someone had bludgeoned them on the back of the head.
“What is going on?” the blonde woman wailed, looking completely freaked. Lucifer sighed.
“Sam, catch her.” He twitched his fingers again.
“What…?” Sam began, turning towards the woman, and her eyes rolled back into her head in a dead faint. Sam caught her just in time.
“Dean!” he yelled, as Lucifer flew over and touched his fingers to the woman’s forehead, erasing her memories of the unfortunate encounter.
“It’s better this way,” Lucifer explained, and noticed, pleased, that Castiel was mind-wiping the two asswipes lying unconscious on the floor. “Do you need anything else? Because me and Cas were having a private discussion.”
“Uh, I guess not,” Sam replied. “What-”
Lucifer put a hand on Castiel’s shoulder and took them both back to his motel room.
Castiel turned to look at him.
“I don’t understand,” he told Lucifer bluntly. Lucifer met his eyes wryly.
“You’re my friend, Cas. You, and Sam, and Bobby… you’re all I’ve got, man. My brothers… well, you know what those douches are like. You know what they want. And I don’t, anymore.”
Cas stared at him.
“I need to think on this.”
“Fair enough,” Lucifer agreed. Castiel left without another word, fluttering off to who knew where.
Lucifer sighed deeply. Given Castiel’s freak-out earlier, things were going far better than he had expected. Even so… he really hoped that Cas came around.
Lucifer didn’t need to sleep, so when Sam slept, he mostly lay there and thought. Sometimes he thought back to the time before humanity, before he had become angry and jealous, and still lived in harmony with his brethren. They were bittersweet memories, dear and painful at the same time.
Even though Sam wasn’t with him at the moment, at night, after Lucifer had warded up the place, he still lay down in bed and let his thoughts and attention drift away. Sometimes Lucifer wondered about what had happened to Michael. He wondered where the archangel was, and why he had chosen to leave Heaven. Michael had always been the stalwart, responsible one, and it was hard to imagine that changing. Lucifer often found himself pondered the question of where Michael had gone, because it felt strange to know that his brother had deserted Heaven. Lucifer didn’t know what else might have changed in his absence, and it worried him, a little.
He was lying with his eyes shut, deep in memories of the time before Father had left, when everyone was still happy, when something in his wards changed, and there was suddenly a familiar angelic presence by his bed.
Lucifer’s eyes shot open to meet Zachariah’s smirk.
“What the–” was all he got out before he was stuffed sideways. The next minute, he was lying on a sunken, mouldy mattress, in a room with peeling paint. It was morning.
“Son of a bitch!” Lucifer shouted, and proceeded to mutter curses against Zachariah’s parentage, his personal habits, and probable fate in Enochian as he left the motel room.
The entire motel was deserted and falling apart, and when Lucifer walked outside, things weren’t much different there. Everywhere Lucifer looked, the place was a like a ghost town. That wasn’t even the most obvious thing he could perceive, though. To his angelic senses, this was a world where Pestilence and Hell ruled. Everywhere that Lucifer reached out to was under Lucifer’s rule – but not his. Another Lucifer.
Zachariah had clearly shuffled him sideways into a parallel timeline that was running slightly further along from Lucifer’s own.
Lucifer reined his Grace in even further than normal, to appear as human as possible. The very last thing he wanted was to catch the attention of an alternate version of himself; especially a version that had decided to go ahead with the apocalypse.
As he walked, people began to move into sight – Croatoan-infected people. More and more of them. And Lucifer couldn’t afford to catch the attention of anyone here, which meant no just vaporising them all, which was his first instinct.
“Oh, great,” he said aloud, and started to run. The mob of infected ran after him. Lucifer swerved around a corner into a new street. The end of the street was blocked by a chain-link fence, but before Lucifer had to come with a new plan, a tank rolled into view and began shooting at the infected.
Lucifer strolled off in search of a working car. It took a while, but eventually he found one that didn’t seem to be in too-bad condition, and with a subtle nudge of Grace he ensured it would work once he had hotwired it.
Once he had the car working, Lucifer got into the driver’s seat.
There was a flap of wings in the back seat.
“Croatoan pandemic reaches Australia,” Zachariah read, from the newspaper in his hands.
Quick as a flash Lucifer had reached into the backseat and had Zachariah by the throat.
“Oh, you have no idea how much I’ve been looking forward to getting you on your own,” Lucifer purred at the abruptly-alarmed angel. “Idiot. The final seal wasn’t keeping me in the cage, it was holding back my Grace.”
Zachariah’s eyes bugged out in stupefied terror as he realised who Lucifer was, and he redoubled his attempts to get free, without effect. Lucifer smirked.
“Say goodbye, asshole,” he growled. Holding Zachariah firmly so that the other angel couldn’t escape, Lucifer brutally and efficiently burned him from the inside-out. Zachariah let out a gurgled scream and light spilled from his eyes and mouth, before Lucifer was left holding an empty vessel.
Lucifer considerately sent the vessel’s soul back to the reality it had come from. From there, one of the reapers would be able to guide it onwards okay.
Humming cheerfully with the satisfaction of a bad deed done well, Lucifer acted on a hunch, and went in search of not the other Lucifer, but of Dean Winchester.
While it was possible to visit the past, seeing as from the point of an observer it was fixed, going to ‘the future’ was impossible for the simple reason that there was no such thing. Instead there was a multitude of possibilities for what the future might become, too insubstantial to actually visit. If an angel wanted to see one of these possible futures themselves, the only way to do that was to visit a parallel timeline which was running faster than the angel’s own timeline, so that the future had already happened there. Angels didn’t usually visit other timelines, though, for two important reasons: one, it took a great deal of power, and two, because it was considered an serious breach in good manners to intrude on another timeline and risk disrupting it.
Since he was here, though, Lucifer was kind of curious to see what things might have been like, if he hadn’t changed his mind about the apocalypse. He suspected that in this reality, Lucifer and Dean Winchester were two entirely different beings, which interested him.
Lucifer wondered if Michael had lost the final battle here, or if he had been missing in this timeline as well and simply hadn’t shown up, so that Lucifer won by default. Had Gabriel gone home, from wherever he’d hidden himself? Lucifer couldn’t help thinking about these things.
That was the third reason why angels didn’t travel to other timelines, of course: it prompted them to ask potentially dangerous questions. The wrong questions could upset the status quo in an angel’s own timeline, and unlike Lucifer, most angels didn’t want to disturb the status quo.
Lucifer, of course, had no such qualms. He was curious to see what had happened here.
I'm not very happy with this chapter, but it's mostly bridging to the next one, so...
Chapter 5: Live and Let Die
Remember, this is not a happy episode. Just sayin'.
Lucifer drove for several, boring hours. There had been a Best of Queen cassette tape in the glove-box, which by the time Lucifer stuck it in the player had mysteriously morphed into The Very Best of Asia 1982-1990. It wasn’t like anyone would notice something small like that, after all. Smiting a bunch of diseased people? Yes. Changing a cassette tape into another one? No. And if Lucifer actually had to drive the entire way to avoid detection, instead of flying straight there, he was at the very least going to have some decent tunes for the duration.
Lucifer ended up at some place called Camp Chitaqua, according to the sign. He had parked some distance away so that he could approach stealthily. There were armed men with guns patrolling the perimeter of the site, just inside the fence. They definitely did not look friendly. Lucifer stayed out of sight, looking for a way in. Then he saw something unexpected and horrifying.
It was the Impala. To be specific, it was the Impala, smashed and crushed and rusted all over. Lucifer had a moment where his two different natures wrestled with each other.
It’s just a car, part of him thought, while the rest of him wanted to weep like a baby. Lucifer pulled himself together. Yes, it was a car, but it was a car he happened to be extremely fond of. He walked forward for a closer look.
“Oh no, baby, what did they do to you?” he mourned. The Impala was a sorry sight, and he gave her a sympathetic pat. Whatever had happened, things must have gone bad as all hell for any version of himself that was at all Dean to have left her here like this.
Lucifer ducked just in time to avoid being cold-cocked by this timeline’s Dean.
“Whoa!” he yelped, stepping backwards as his double moved in to try and hit him again. “Easy! I’m you, asshole!”
The other Dean didn’t even bother to reply. Lucifer swore.
“Look, I’m you from the past, I–” His words cut off with a small oof as the other Dean landed a punch in the middle of his torso. Lucifer sucked in a breath and tried to continue. “Zachariah sent me here, will you just listen to me for one–”
He was forced to break off again as other Dean – who he was fast coming to think of as Asshole Dean – went for him again.
“Goddammit!” he yelled. There was a moment of fierce, painful tussling, which ended with Lucifer pressing Asshole Dean’s face into the ground and holding his arms behind his back.
“Zachariah sent me here,” Lucifer tried again, “to see what would happen if I didn’t say yes to Michael.” He was guessing on that one, actually, but it seemed a reasonable extrapolation.
Asshole Dean mumbled something into the dirt that might have been prove it and tried to throw Lucifer off. But Lucifer was an archangel with an archangel’s strength, even if he was being subtle about using it, and Asshole Dean stayed with his face smushed in the dirt.
“Rhonda Hurley,” Lucifer began thoughtfully. He had never told anyone this story, and very much doubted that this Dean had, either. “We were, uh, nineteen. She made us try on her panties. They were pink. And satiny. And you know what? We kind of liked it.”
Asshole Dean went still. Lucifer eyed him.
“You going to stop trying to fight me, now?”
Asshole Dean muttered something. Lucifer let him up, but warily, in case the dude tried to jump him again.
Asshole Dean gave him a grimly appraising stare. Lucifer glared back.
“Zachariah, huh?” Asshole Dean asked. “Where is he? I want to talk to him.”
“I don’t know,” Lucifer lied easily.
“Oh, you don’t know,” Asshole Dean sneered. Lucifer reminded himself that it would be a bad idea to lose his temper.
“No, I don’t know,” he retorted. “All I know is Zachariah zapped me here, to see how bad it gets, I guess. So Croatoan, that’s their endgame?”
Asshole Dean smiled mirthlessly. Lucifer pressed on before he could answer.
“What about Sam?” That was the important point, Lucifer thought. Because if Dean Winchester wasn’t him – and this timeline’s Lucifer had never been human – then the first thing he would have done was claim his vessel. It made Lucifer feel a little sick.
Asshole Dean went still, and Lucifer knew his speculations were correct.
“Heavyweight showdown in Detroit,” Asshole Dean said heavily. “From what I understand, Sam didn’t make it.”
So an alternate version of himself was wandering around wearing an alternate version of his brother, Lucifer thought. That was more fucked-up than he had words for.
“You weren’t with him?” he questioned Asshole Dean.
“No,” said Asshole Dean. “No. Me and Sam, we haven’t talked in – hell, five years.”
Lucifer’s eyes narrowed. He was liking Asshole Dean less and less.
“Do you think he said yes to Lucifer?” he asked, going straight for the jugular.
Asshole Dean acted like he’d been hit, and the next moment tried to punch Lucifer in the face. Lucifer easily dodged, and socked him in the jaw hard enough to knock the human out.
Lucifer stared down in disgust.
“I really don’t like you,” he told his alternate, human self. He yanked open one of the Impala doors and bundled Asshole Dean inside, shutting the door behind him. Hopefully he’d be safe from the infected, hidden away in there, but to be honest Lucifer didn’t care much. He started to walk towards the centre of the camp.
He ended up wandering into a cabin, and stopped and stared.
“So, in this way,” Cas was saying. He was sitting in a circle with several women, dressed in grubby casual wear. He had a beard, and the room smelt of weed. “We’re each a fragment of total perception – just, uh, one compartment in that dragonfly eye of group mind. Now, the key to this total, shared perception – it’s um, surprisingly physical.”
“What the goddamn hell,” said Lucifer. Castiel was human. And a hippie. Lucifer genuinely didn’t know which was more shocking.
“Oh.” Castiel met his eyes. “Excuse me, ladies. I think I need to confer with our fearless leader for a minute. Why not go get washed up for the orgy?”
The women all got to their feet, and left the cabin, while Lucifer just kept staring.
“You’re all so beautiful,” Human Cas called after them. It wasn't even a line, Lucifer judged, but sincerely meant.
Human Cas stood and stretched, grunting as he worked the kinks out of his muscles and his back popped.
“I really don’t like this future,” Lucifer decided.
Human Cas paused in his stretching, and gave Lucifer another, longer look.
“Whoa,” said Human Cas. “Strange. You… are not you. Not now you, anyway.”
His phrasing was imprecise, and he was watching Lucifer with a funny little grin.
“Are you stoned?” Lucifer asked suspiciously.
“Generally, yeah,” Human Cas agreed cheerfully. “Who did this to you? Is it Zachariah?”
“Interesting,” Human Cas said thoughtfully. Lucifer just couldn’t stop staring at him. The change from his odd, naïve, badass seraph friend was frankly bizarre; Human Cas’ mannerisms were free and easy, as though he’d become thoroughly used to being human, and the changes in his personality… Lucifer’s Castiel was stubborn, full of moral conviction, earnest, and determined. Human Cas was another person altogether.
“What happened to you?” Lucifer wanted to know. Seeing this version of Castiel hurt.
Human Cas smiled, but there was no humour in it.
Lucifer didn’t know what to say to that. He stood in silence, just gazing at Human Cas.
“Am I really that fascinating?” Human Cas asked, tilting his head back to peer up at Lucifer in amusement.
“Oh, trust me, buddy, you definitely are,” Lucifer replied. “I hope you don’t mind me saying so, but seeing you like this is kind of freaky.”
Human Cas shrugged.
“I could say the same about you. Dean is…” he trailed off, his mouth twisting as he tried to find an appropriate description.
“An asshole?” Lucifer provided.
Human Cas flashed him a quick grin.
“Clearly you’ve had the privilege of meeting him.”
“I might have knocked him out and shut him in the Impala,” Lucifer admitted. “He was pissing me off.”
Human Cas laughed.
“I’d forgotten how much I liked you.” That, Lucifer thought, was one of the saddest things he’d heard so far.
“That bad, huh?”
Human Cas nodded slowly.
“It’s been a tough few years.”
They looked at each other.
“So,” Lucifer asked hesitantly, a little wary of what Human Cas might say in response, “what do you do for fun around here?”
When Asshole Dean turned up, in the grip of cold, controlled rage and with a bruise on his jaw, the orgy had been over for a while, and Human Cas and Lucifer were playing a battered version of Sorry! that Human Cas had produced from a cupboard somewhere. Lucifer had politely declined the orgy; things were weird enough as it was.
Lucifer and Human Cas ignored Asshole Dean as he stomped into the room. Lucifer cackled triumphantly as he sent one of Human Cas’ game pieces back to the starting area, and put his own in the newly-vacated position.
“You are a ruthless man,” Human Cas told him admiringly, frowning down at the board.
“I play to win,” Lucifer told him.
“You,” said Asshole Dean, levelling a venomous look in Lucifer’s direction.
“Hi,” Lucifer returned in greeting.
“And you.” Asshole Dean snarled, turning on Human Cas with an unpleasant expression. “What the hell are you thinking, sitting around playing goddamn board games with him?”
“I like him,” Human Cas replied serenely. “He’s a lot more fun than you are.”
“More fun? Listen, you–”
“Hey!” Lucifer barked. “Don’t talk to Cas like that!” He met Asshole Dean’s glare with one of his own.
“And you were wondering why I like him,” Human Cas remarked.
Asshole Dean glowered at both of them. Lucifer smirked back. After a moment Asshole Dean seemed to decide that it was best to just try and ignore him.
“We got the Colt.”
Human Cas looked up quickly at that, his expression hard to read.
“The Colt?” Lucifer questioned.
“The Colt,” Asshole Dean confirmed. “Took me five years, but.. I finally got it. But tonight – tonight, I’m going to kill the Devil.”
The plan, Lucifer discovered during a conference between Asshole Dean, Human Cas, and an unimpressed woman named Risa who seemed to be holding a grudge against Asshole Dean, was to track down this timeline’s Lucifer and shoot him with the Colt, which everyone seemed convinced would do the trick.
Lucifer listened to them bicker for a while, before he decided to point out the obvious.
“Um, okay, I hate to interrupt your little war council, but the Colt’s designed to kill demons. What makes you think it will work on an archangel?”
The other three looked at him.
“Why the hell wouldn’t it work?” Asshole Dean asked, looking annoying at Lucifer’s intrusion into the discussion. And really, there was only one answer to that.
“Archangel,” Lucifer repeated, slowly and distinctly. Human Cas laughed. Asshole Dean looked at him pointedly.
“What? I like past you,” Human Cas said, smiling. Lucifer smiled back at him.
Asshole Dean disregarded everything Lucifer had just said and went on explaining his plan of action. Lucifer wanted to punch him. If they went up against the other Lucifer with nothing more than the Colt, it would accomplish nothing but getting everyone killed, but Asshole Dean didn’t want to hear it.
“Lucifer is here. Now, I know the block, and I know the building.”
“Oh, good,” Human Cas observed facetiously. “It’s right in the middle of a hot zone.”
“Crawling with croats, yeah,” Asshole Dean answered. “You saying my plan is reckless?”
“Are you saying we, uh, walk in straight up the driveway, past all the demons and the croats, and we shoot the Devil?” Human Cas clarified.
“Yes,” Asshole Dean said simply.
“Okay. If you don’t like, uh, ‘reckless,’ I could use ‘insouciant,’ maybe.”
This time it was Lucifer who laughed. He was liking Human Cas more and more the longer he stayed here.
Asshole Dean just stared at Human Cas.
“Are you coming?” he asked flatly.
Human Cas sighed.
“Of course.” He glanced at Lucifer. “But why is he? I mean, he’s you five years ago. If something happens to him you’re gone, right?”
Lucifer gazed searchingly at Human Cas. As a former angel, the man should know perfectly well that Lucifer was from a parallel timeline, and that things didn’t work that way at all. Had Human Cas genuinely forgotten a few things when he went human, or was he just trying to protect Lucifer from Asshole Dean’s stupid-ass plan?
“He’s coming,” Asshole Dean said with finality, without offering an explanation. And that was that, apparently.
“Why are you taking me?” Lucifer asked Asshole Dean, once the others were gone. Asshole Dean deflected the question, and Lucifer demanded to know what was going on.
“You’re coming because I want you to see something,” said Asshole Dean. “I want you to see our brother.”
Lucifer’s eyebrows flew up, as Asshole Dean told him that he needed to see how bad things had become, so that he knew to say ‘yes’ to Michael once he got home. Asshole Dean had tried, apparently, once he’d realised that Sam was lost and Lucifer was in control of the planet, but to no avail.
“I was cocky,” Asshole Dean said heavily. He looked for a moment like he was ready to cry. “Never actually thought I’d lose. But I was wrong, Dean… I was wrong. I’m begging you… Say yes.”
Lucifer gave a sigh.
“Look,” he said patiently. “First of all, no. But see, the thing is, I don’t think this is actually my reality. I think Zachariah sent me to one that was kind of similar, thinking I’d never know the difference. But things don’t add up, things that should already have happened haven’t. So I’m sorry, Dean. But I think that whatever choices I make, it’s not going to make much difference to what’s happened here. Still. I’ll come, if you want me to. See for myself.”
The group set out for the location where Asshole Dean expected to find Lucifer at midnight. Lucifer ended up riding shotgun with Human Cas, which was preferable to travelling with Asshole Dean or a bunch of strangers.
They drove mostly in silence. They’d been driving for a while when Human Cas pulled out a pill bottle and swallowed them down. Amphetamines, Lucifer noted.
“You must have got a hell of an introduction to being human,” Lucifer commented. Human Cas glanced at him, with a faint, wry smile.
“You worked that out, huh? You’re more perceptive than the other one.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not sure we aren’t different people. Some of the things he said to me… I think I might be in a different universe, or something, where things happened a bit differently, because I sure as hell never abandoned Sam, for a start. I guess Zachariah thought I wouldn’t be able to tell.”
Human Cas laughed.
“You’re right,” he agreed. “Travelling to the future is impossible: all you can do is travel to another timeline that’s, uh, already reached the future. I’m impressed you noticed.”
“Still, dude, things had to be pretty shitty for you.”
Human Cas gazed out the window.
“Yeah,” he said after a moment. “You could say that. I used to be an angel. And now I’m powerless. I’m hapless, I’m hopeless. I mean, why the hell not bury myself in women and decadence, right? It’s the end, baby. That’s what decadence is for. Why not bang a few gongs before the lights go out? But then that’s, that’s just how I roll.”
Lucifer reached out and gripped his shoulder. Human Cas didn’t respond, but didn’t pull away or reject the gesture.
“Yeah, well, so am I.”
Human Cas and Lucifer rejoined the others the next day. As Asshole Dean directed everyone, Lucifer watched him closely. He was lying, Lucifer could tell – he knew his own mannerisms well enough, after all.
The place was suspiciously empty; considering that the place was in the middle of a hot zone, it should have been full of the infected, but it wasn’t. Someone had cleared them away, Lucifer was forced to conclude, to clear a path for Asshole Dean’s little posse. Which meant that this was a trap. What’s more, Asshole Dean clearly knew it.
It wasn’t hard for Lucifer to work out what was going on: he was Lucifer, after all. Asshole Dean was planning on using the others as decoys, sacrificing them as a distraction while he sneaked around the back to find this timeline’s Lucifer.
Lucifer glanced at Human Cas. As he watched, Human Cas looked in Asshole Dean’s direction, gave a tiny, painful smile, and glanced away again. Human Cas had caught it too, Lucifer thought, and the realisation made him incredibly angry.
He didn’t say anything, however, but followed some distance behind Asshole Dean as he went around the back of the building.
The other Lucifer was waiting there.
It was strange, Lucifer thought, to see Sam’s body and features when they so obviously belonged to someone else. The other Lucifer looked out of Sam’s eyes with a cool, clear expression, even as he killed Asshole Dean. Lucifer stepped forward as the other Lucifer turned, and made himself known.
The two Lucifer’s stared at each other. It was the other Lucifer who broke the silence.
“Well, this is unexpected,” said the douche wearing Sam. Lucifer mentally dubbed him Sammifer. “What are you doing in my timeline?”
Lucifer shrugged, and decided to lie.
“I’m pretending to be Dean Winchester at the moment, and that loathsome ass Zachariah wanted me to see what would happen if ‘Dean’ didn’t say yes to Michael.”
Sammifer’s nose wrinkled in sympathetic disgust. Apparently he didn’t like Zachariah either.
“Zachariah always did think too much of himself,” Sammifer commented. “I’m curious, why did you choose Dean as your vessel?”
Man, Lucifer thought, he’d really been a moron before his experiences as a human. Sometimes angels were just clueless.
“Well, you know, Sam seemed a little obvious,” sad Lucifer cheerfully. “I was aiming for something a little more subtle.”
Sammifer nodded thoughtfully, like that made sense. What a dick.
“I take it that your plans require more stealth than mine did,” he said.
For the first time Lucifer’s smile was genuine.
“Oh, trust me,” he promised. “They’ll never see me coming.”
Sammifer chuckled appreciatively. Lucifer casually stepped closer.
“So, what happened between you and Michael, in this timeline?” he asked. “Winchester said that after you took Sam as a vessel, he tried to assent to being Michael’s vessel, but nothing happened.”
Sammifer smiled, his expression oddly wistful. Lucifer was startled. His own attitude towards Michael could only be described as pissed, but there was no trace of that emotion in Sammifer’s face.
“He told me he couldn’t bear to kill me.” Sammifer’s voice was full of quiet wonder. “Father’s orders or not, he said that he simply couldn’t. That even making the attempt was more than he could bear, and that as long as I left Heaven and its Host alone, he would concede the Earth to me without a fight,” Sammifer marvelled.
For a long moment, Lucifer only stared, a jumble of emotions coursing through him. Part of his was just as amazed and touched as Sammifer, but a newer part of him was demanding, but what about all those poor bastards Michael damned to Hell on Earth?
“That’s not a reaction I would have anticipated,” Lucifer said finally.
Sammifer smiled softly.
“Neither did I, but Michael loves me more than I knew. Enough to disobey Father.” There was a flash of happiness in his face, mixed with smug triumph.
He was like a jealous, needy five-year-old, Lucifer thought, stunned. A jealous, needy five-year-old ready to destroy half of creation, just because he wasn’t getting the kind of privileged attention he felt he deserved.
It was an embarrassing realisation to make about someone who was essentially you.
Lucifer changed the subject.
“The Croatoan virus was interesting.”
Sammifer grinned boyishly.
“That it is. What do you think?”
Lucifer smiled back.
“When I first got here, I thought that maybe you’d chosen to bring about the zombie apocalypse.”
Sammifer threw his head back and laughed, and Lucifer used the moment of inattention to run the other version of himself through.
Light blazed in Sammifer’s eyes and open mouth before he went limp, his wings burning themselves into the ground around him as they withered to nothing.
Lucifer pushed Sam’s body off the sword, and the corpse sprawled lifelessly.
“That,” Lucifer told it firmly, “is for Sam, and Asshole Dean, and Human Cas, but most of all it's for you, you stupid, sorry bastard, because you were never going to learn.”
He didn’t feel too good about shanking an alternate version of himself, but he meant every word. No one else was going to stop Sammifer, and make him change. Here he was, so happy because he had his own little fiefdom where all of humanity was dying in angst and misery, while he ruined the lives of everyone around him. Lucifer didn’t know what it had cost Michael to let him have the Earth, but the archangel must have been suffering an agony of conscience. Sammifer would never have stopped, and never understood how he affected everyone else, too sure of his own importance and rightness. So Lucifer had stopped him.
With a sigh Lucifer let his sword return to its usual incorporeal state, and relocated himself to the inside of the warehouse.
The only ones left alive were Human Cas and Risa, who were standing back-to-back in the centre of a circle of demons, vastly outnumbered. They clearly knew it, but just as clearly intended to go down fighting.
The look on Human Cas’ face was heartbreaking.
Lucifer snapped his fingers, and every single demon in the building found themselves expelled from their host, before being destroyed.
“What the hell?” Risa stared around in confusion, while Human Cas turned unerringly to face the corner where Lucifer was standing.
“What are you,” he said calmly. Risa swung around to follow his gaze.
Lucifer just looked at them for a long moment.
“I’m from an alternative timeline,” he responded. Human Cas knew this, of course, but Risa didn’t. “One where instead of imprisoning Lucifer in the Cage, they ripped out his Grace and locked it away, leaving him to re-incarnate as a human over and over, so that when the last seal was broken he’d been living as a human for thousands of years. I’m sure you’ll agree Cas, when I say being human tends to change who you are.”
Risa looked uncomprehending, but Human Cas gave a snort of disbelieving laughter.
“An alternate Lucifer, who learnt first-hand how it feels to be human,” Lucifer agreed. “Your Lucifer is dead. So is your Dean, but he’s probably better off where he is, anyway.”
Human Cas shook his head, giggling a little. It was painful, half-hysterical laughter, and Lucifer hated to hear it.
“You’re Lucifer and Dean Winchester, aren’t you?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Lucifer nodded.
“Did Dean kill him, or did you?” Human Cas wanted to know, still sounding as though the only reason he was laughing was so that he didn’t cry.
Lucifer considered lying, to give Asshole Dean that much, but decided that Human Cas deserved the truth.
“Well, it figures he’d mess things up right up until the last. Is it suicide if you kill an alternate version of yourself?”
“I’m pretty sure it’s semantics,” Lucifer replied.
Human Cas gave a little huff of laughter, and tears began rolling down his cheeks.
“Cas?” Risa went to touch his arm in concern, but Human Cas pulled away and met Lucifer’s eyes.
“Kill me.” Lucifer blinked at the request. “I’ve nothing left to live for. I’m no longer an angel, I failed to stop Lucifer, and Dean…” Human Cas’ lips curved into a bitter smile. “The less said about Dean, the better.”
Lucifer snapped his fingers to send Risa and the cars back to Camp Chitaqua, along with the Colt. He flew and landed right in front of Human Cas, who didn’t so much as blink at the sudden proximity as Lucifer stared into his eyes.
“Just answer me one question,” Lucifer said carefully. It was the only thing that made sense, really. “Were you in love with Dean Winchester?”
The question surprised a laugh out of Human Cas, bitter and full of pain. Lucifer wished that Asshole Dean’s death had been a little more slow.
“Always,” said Human Cas, smiling a broken, tortured smile.
Lucifer exhaled, nodding slowly. He took Human Cas’ head in his hands. Human Cas didn’t flinch, or look away.
“I’m sorry,” Lucifer told him. “In another timeline, there’s a chance of your feelings being returned.”
“It’s alright,” said Human Cas. “Hope died in this timeline years ago. I hope things work out for him. And you.”
Lucifer tipped Human Cas’ head forward slightly to press a kiss to his forehead, just as he’d done with his own Castiel not long ago, and quickly twisted. There was a sickening crack, and Human Cas became a heavy weight in his hands.
Lucifer took a deep breath, reflected for a moment on how well and truly fucked-up this timeline was, and pushed himself back into his own timeline, the sound of Human Cas’ neck snapping playing in his ears long afterwards.
Chapter 6: Putting the Band Back Together
Okay, so apparently the things I said about this not being a long story were lies, considering my current wordcount.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Lucifer was eating pie at the pie place in Ohio again when Castiel phoned him, wanting to know where he was. Lucifer told him, and a moment later Cas walked in, glanced around, and joined Lucifer at his table.
“Hey, Cas,” Lucifer greeted him, waving a forkful of pie in his direction. “You should try some of this pie. Man, is it good.”
Castiel gave him a scrutinising look.
“Come on, sit down,” Lucifer coaxed. Castiel reluctantly did so.
After the whole thing with Human Cas, it felt unbelievably good to see Castiel looking his usual angelic self, and it soothed some of the distress Lucifer still felt over having to kill the alternate version of him. But it brought home to Lucifer the fact that while it hadn’t happened yet, as a result of Castiel turning his back on Heaven, sooner or later the angel would lose his Grace and become human just like Human Cas had. The thought was upsetting.
“Are you sure you don’t want some pie?” Lucifer tried again. “It’s awesome.”
“You haven’t attempted to destroy the world,” said Castiel.
“Okay then, I guess we’re skipping straight to the deep stuff,” Lucifer sighed. “No, and I don’t plan to. Next question.”
“Is Raphael right?” And oh boy, Cas was really laying down all the heavy stuff right now, wasn’t he. “Is Father dead?”
Lucifer sighed again. His Father wasn’t a subject he liked to talk about, but if anyone deserved to know, it was Cas.
“In my opinion?” Lucifer hesitated. “No. He isn’t. Where is he? Hell if I know. Off playing skeeball, maybe.”
Castiel’s brow furrowed slightly as he failed to understand the reference, but got the general gist.
“How did you deal with it?” he asked Lucifer. Lucifer snorted.
“Badly, Cas. The word you’re looking for is ‘badly.’ I wanted to destroy the world, remember?”
“And now?” Castiel watched him closely.
“I guess now I try to fix it. Stop the angels jumping the couch on this one. Try and reconcile with Michael.” Lucifer grimaced at the thought. “Whatever it takes to stop humanity paying for my dumb-ass decisions. And protect you and Sam and Bobby. What about you, dude? Now you know who I am, what are you going to do?”
Castiel met his eyes with a steely gaze.
“I am choosing to support you in this,” said Cas, his stern stare never wavering, “because Dean Winchester was a good man. If this proves to be a trick, I will do all that is in my power to ensure you regret it.”
“Understood,” said Lucifer fondly. “And thanks, Cas. For trusting me.”
“The Lucifer who was punished for rebelling would not care about Sam, or the support of a lowly seraph slowly losing their Grace. That you do shows that your time as Dean has influenced you.”
“Yeah,” Lucifer admitted. The more time passed, the more the angelic side of him blended into Dean, taking on more of Dean’s opinions and personality. He was still an archangel, of course, with an archangel’s memories and perspective, but being Dean Winchester – and all the other thousands of humans whose lives he had lived – had left its imprint. “Listen, Cas – you know we’re friends, right? It’s not just your support, although it’s awesome that I have that, obviously. But you’re important to me.”
Lucifer was subjected to an evaluative stare, as Castiel searched his face, looking for any hint of a lie.
“Thank you,” Cas said, apparently deciding to take Lucifer’s words at face value. “You are important to me, also.”
Sam had been glad of the chance to get away from everything that had happened lately and process things. The fact that he’d started the apocalypse, the fact that the angels wanted to end the world, the fact that his brother was secretly Satan – it had all been too much, and what had happened with War had been the final straw. Sam had wanted out, to get his head straight and decide whether to get out of hunting altogether.
It had felt weird being without Dean, though. They’d lived in each others’ pockets these last few years, and without something to hunt Sam didn’t know what to do with himself. Then had come the encounter with the other hunters in the bar, and Dean and Cas had come bursting in, and… Sam had realised, that for better or worse, this was his life, and he couldn’t turn away from it.
Of course, then Dean had zapped himself and Cas away before Sam could tell him so, so that Sam had to leave a message on Dean’s voicemail saying that he wanted back in the game. Dean rang him the next day, giving him the address of a motel a few towns over, so Sam hitched a lift in that direction to rejoin his big brother.
When Sam opened the motel room door, the last thing he expected was to find Dean and Cas playing video games on the crummy motel TV, Dean apparently teaching Cas to play Super Mario Bros. Sam blinked at the sight.
“Dean,” he said, when he was sure that he was seeing what he thought he was seeing, “are you playing Super Nintendo? Where the hell did that come from?”
Dean gave Sam a shifty look.
“Dean materialised it,” Castiel explained, watching the screen with concentration, fingers pressing the controller buttons frantically as he jumped across goombas and dodged a turtle, before breaking some blocks, jumping, breaking some more blocks and leaping to the top of the screen. Evidently Dean had been teaching him shortcuts.
Sam cut his gaze to Dean.
Dean shrugged with a vaguely guilty grin.
“Awesome archangel powers, Sammy. I can’t use them too much, since I’m going undercover, but you know.”
Sam narrowed his eyes at Dean as an explanation for some strange, inexplicable phenomena that had plagued him recently presented itself to him.
“Dude. Are you the reason the radio keeps playing Runnin’ with the Devil every time I walk past?” Sam had been wondering if he was being haunted or something, and perplexed that all of the usual tests came up negative.
Dean’s lips twitched, but he didn’t laugh, a dead giveaway.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You are such a dick!” Sam told him, torn between being annoyed at this solution to the mystery of the Van Halen-haunted radios, and being pleased to have his brother back.
The motel room filled with irritating music as Mario reached the flagpole, and the screen counted down the score.
“This is strangely engrossing,” Castiel pronounced, as he began the newest level.
“Oh, great, Dean,” Sam criticised. “You’ve gotten an angel addicted to video games.”
“This game is a classic,” Dean said defensively. “Besides, I figured it would be good to expose him to some human stuff.”
“Because I am losing my Grace,” Castiel supplied, without looking away from the screen, and Dean winced like the words hurt him.
“Why would Cas be losing his Grace?” Sam asked, alarmed.
“For rebelling,” Dean explained reluctantly.
“Can’t you do anything?” Sam couldn’t believe it.
“Well, I’m planning to talk to Michael at some point, if anyone ever works out where is,” said Dean, “and I’ll see if I can convince him to reinstate Cas, but otherwise no.”
“Wait – Michael’s missing?” Sam asked in surprise. Castiel glanced over.
“Yeah, for like, twenty or thirty years now.” Dean ran a hand across his mouth. “So has Gabriel, for a while longer than that. No one knows where either of them is hiding out, or why. The higher-ups have been keeping it quiet, stop the lower ranks from panicking, but given that I’m an archangel I basically have the highest clearance possible, so I can listen in when they have meetings without anyone being the wiser.”
“You didn’t tell me this,” said Cas. On-screen, Mario died a sad death by man-eating plant. Cas didn’t seem to notice.
“I know. It’s… I’m not sure what to do about it, yet. I was going to tell you both when we were all together again.”
“Why do you want to talk to Michael?” Sam inquired. Dean looked sour.
“This whole apocalypse mess comes down to him and me,” he stated. “If I can get him to agree that neither of us should follow though… then that should be it, game over, do not pass go.”
“Do you think he will?” asked Castiel. Dean scowled.
“Maybe. Chances are pretty good, I think, if I talk about the error of my ways, and whatever.”
“And Cas?” Sam questioned. Dean winced again.
“Honestly? I don’t know.” He looked pained, but Cas appeared unsurprised. “He was pretty disobedient – I guess it depends on whether Michael believes Cas was doing the right thing, or not. I figure we better get him set up for a human life, though, just in case things comes to the worst.”
Sam looked at Castiel. The angel looked stoic, but it had to be pretty awful to know that he was likely to lose his Grace and end up a powerless human. It wasn’t like Cas was at all familiar with how to act or live like one.
“Yeah, well, whatever happens, Cas, you have a place with us,” he said earnestly. “Right Dean?”
That particular discussion ended there, no one really wanting to wade any deeper into what was an uncomfortable topic. Instead, Dean asked Sam about what he had been doing since they parted ways, and started a new game of Super Mario Bros for Cas.
Sam wasn’t exactly sure what had changed while he’d been gone, but he noticed in the days that followed that Castiel spent a lot more time just hanging out with him and Dean. Dean said that it was because there wasn’t as much for him to do now that he knew that Lucifer was Dean, and not an enemy, and because Cas was safer sticking to an archangel who could protect him from the other angels if it came down to it. This was probably true, but Sam suspected that it wasn’t the whole story. Dean spent a lot of time with Cas, in a way he hadn’t before, the two of them just talking, and introducing Castiel to human stuff.
When Dean turned up with a Sorry! box one rainy weekend when no one really wanted to leave the motel, and announced that the three of them were going to play it, Sam knew something was up, just not what.
It took some time to try and explain the rules to Cas, but Sam found that he was actually having fun as him and Dean helped Castiel get the hang of things.
Cas pulled a new card from the deck, and frowned at it.
“What’ve you got, Cas?” Dean asked. Castiel held up a card with SORRY across it.
“Oh, okay, that’s a ‘sorry’ card,” Dean told him. “It means that you can take one of your pieces still in the ‘start’ area, and put it where one of mine or Sam’s is, and we have to move that piece back to ‘start.’”
Castiel looked at the board.
“What do you advise?”
“Well,” Dean said easily, “tactically, your best move would be to take the place of this piece, here,” he gestured at one of his own game pieces, “but I’d prefer you took one of Sam’s.”
“Dean!” Sam complained, as Castiel obediently replaced one of Sam’s pieces with his own, and put Sam’s piece back in ‘start.’
“Eh, you’re just pissed Cas likes me better,” Dean said blithely, unrepentant.
After that, the game turned into a kind of Dean and Cas vs. Sam free-for-all, up until the last ten minutes of the game, when Cas pulled an eleven card, which allowed him to swap the positions of one of his and one of Dean’s pieces, putting Castiel ahead of everyone else.
“Cas, you traitor,” Dean said mournfully. Sam just snickered at the way the tables had turned.
“I apologise, but it was necessary,” Castiel replied, unabashed.
“Fine. I forgive you. But only because I like you.”
Cas looked mildly pleased. Sam rolled his eyes at the way they were sucking up to each other.
“Ugh, if I didn’t know better I’d think you two were a couple,” he grumbled. Dean went still, and that was when Sam was hit upside the head by the clue-bar.
“Whatever,” Dean said, aiming for nonchalance, while Sam felt his eyes widen to comical proportions.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” he blurted. Dean looked annoyed, and maybe embarrassed, while Castiel just looked puzzled.
“I don’t understand,” he said, looking between them.
“It’s nothing,” Dean growled. “Sammy’s just being a little bitch.”
Sam, meanwhile, was making strong efforts not to fall off his chair, he was laughing so hard.
Dean had a thing for Cas! Sam knew that something was different, but not that. This was totally unexpected, he thought, although in retrospect, Dean had gotten closer to Cas than Sam could remember him getting to anybody, so maybe it wasn’t really so surprising.
“One word, Sam,” Dean said, with deadly calm, and Sam waved his hands placatingly, trying to stifle his laughter. Oh man. This was going to be good.
And that's enough for today. Next chapter - the start of Changing Channels, I think.
I'm going to be taking a short break from this story, as I've strained my eyes from all the close-up work I've been doing lately. I'm going to cut right back on my computer time until it gets better, which includes the time working on this fic. Please do not ask me to update in this time. It will only piss me off.
Chapter 7: Changing Channels
So here it is, the one you've all been waiting for - Changing Channels! From this point on, I will neither confirm nor deny speculation about the plot.
Thank you all for being patient. I've been having trouble with migraines and things lately, so there might be times I don't update as quickly, but rest assured, this will be finished, and I will try and get each chapter out as soon as possible. I really do appreciate not getting comments demanding updates.
For the curious, there's a second Changing Channels chapter coming, and then two or three chapters after that before this fic finishes. Probably.
Lucifer groaned as he read the caller ID on his phone.
He and Sam had been trying not to give anything away about what had happened since the final seal was broken, and if there was one person who was going to work out that someone was up sooner or later, it was this one. But Lucifer had been dodging around his calls for long enough, and figured it was time to face the music.
With a sigh, he answered his phone.
“Oh, hi Bobby.”
“What the hell is going on with you two?” Bobby demanded in his usual straightforward way. “You and Sam keep being damn cagey and avoiding my calls, and I want to know why.”
Lucifer winced, and wondered how to break it to Bobby that he was Lucifer. Telling him over the phone probably wasn’t the best way to do this.
Actually, scratch that – considering Bobby’s likely reaction, telling him on the phone probably was the best way to do this.
“Sam told me you didn’t get to him in time and Satan got loose, but since then I can’t get a word out of either of you!”
Lucifer decided to go for the fast approach, like ripping off a bandaid.
“Well, uh, you remember Anna, right? Turned out she used to be an angel, got her Grace back, hey presto, instant angel?”
“Yeah.” Bobby sounded wary.
“Hi, Bobby, I’m Lucifer.”
There was a long, pregnant silence.
“You want to say that again?”
Lucifer checked to make sure no one was looking in his direction and that no angels were nearby, and headed out to South Dakota to appear in front of a startled Bobby who shot him almost out of reflex. It kind of hurt for a second, but then Lucifer removed the bullet and his Grace automatically healed him.
Maybe, he was a bad person, Lucifer thought, but the dumbfounded expression on Bobby’s face struck him as incredibly funny.
Lucifer hung up the phone, and grinned at Bobby.
His pseudo-father figure recovered quickly enough, and regarded him with suspicion.
“The Morning Star himself,” Lucifer affirmed.
Bobby’s response was both pithy and profane. He pondered the revelation of ‘Dean’s’ identity for a minute or so.
“You planning to finish what Sam started?” Bobby asked bluntly.
Lucifer gave him a wonderfully serene smile, and was amused by how much it disturbed the hunter.
“Nah. I’ve kind of grown fond of this planet. The angels can go to hell. Earth is staying as it is.”
“Hmm.” Bobby eyed him. “They know you’re the Great Adversary?”
“Nope. It’s just you, and Sam, and Cas.”
“How’d the angel take it?”
“Not too well at first,” Lucifer admitted, “but he came around.”
“Hmph.” Bobby shook his head. “You know, I always used to tell John you were the devil when he went off and left you two here, but I never expected the statement to be so damn literal.”
“Can you imagine if he knew? In some ways it makes me glad he’s dead.”
“So what now?” Bobby asked. He was still looking a little leery of Lucifer, but that was to be expected. Lucifer sobered.
“Now I try and work out a way to end this without war and bloodshed,” he replied grimly.
“Amen to that.” Bobby sighed. “I need a drink. Damn if you two boys don’t end up at the centre of things everywhere you go.”
Lucifer agreed, and followed Bobby out into the kitchen for a glass of whisky and to talk about his plans. Hopefully he'd allay some of Bobby's remaining wariness in the process.
Later Bobby’s words stayed in his mind, but he couldn’t for the life of him think why.
Things went on as usual, with Lucifer and Sam hunting things, and Lucifer trying to figure out what to do next. Cas was still out looking for God some of the time, and Lucifer wasn’t any happier about it, but hey, he was Castiel’s Father too, so. There was a weird hunt where a pagan god kept disguising itself as famous people – Lucifer found it hilarious; Sam, not so much – and Cas turned up with news of a cambion accidentally wreaking havoc, and said that the kid needed to be killed for the good of humanity. Lucifer put his foot down on that one. It wasn’t the kid’s fault one of his parents was a demon: hell, the boy didn’t even know about his own powers. Sure, he might have been half-demon, but he was also half-human, and deserved a chance like everyone else. Instead of trying to kill him, Lucifer sat the kid down and had a long talk with him about how to deal with his newly-discovered abilities, various self-control exercises he should work on, and how to give Lucifer a call if he ever found himself in trouble.
Castiel had given Lucifer a long, appraising look after that one, and said that much of Dean was still in him, and that his actions were more mercy than any angel would usually show to a cambion. Cas seemed to think it was a good thing, however, and to be re-thinking his views on demonic half-human offspring, so Lucifer marked that one down as a win and left it at that.
And then, wouldn’t you know it, the Trickster showed up.
They didn’t know that it was the Trickster at first, of course. Lucifer and Sam had gone through some weird witness interviews, but this was the first time they’d ever heard anyone talk about how their husband had been murdered by The Incredible Hulk. It started to make some sense, though, once they found out that the victim had been an abusive son of a bitch.
“So a hothead getting killed by TV’s greatest hothead,” Sam mused. “Kind of sounds like just desserts, doesn’t it?”
“Sounds like the Trickster’s M.O., alright,” he agreed.
“Yeah, and look what else I found at the crime scene – candy wrappers,” Sam continued, pulling out a handful of them and letting them fall.
Lucifer smiled viciously.
“Good. I’ve been wanting to deal with him for a while now.”
“You sure?” Sam asked. Lucifer narrowed his eyes at him. Sam looked… strangely hesitant.
“Of course I’m sure. He killed me like a thousand times, Sam. Why wouldn’t I?”
Sam bit his lip.
“I – we – we kind of owe him.”
Lucifer looked at Sam sharply.
“What do you mean, ‘we owe him?’”
Sam looked regretful and ashamed, and Lucifer wondered what the hell his little brother had done.
“It was… after Mystery Spot,” Sam explained haltingly. “We talked to the Trickster, he let us move on to Wednesday… and then you got murdered in the parking lot.”
Lucifer’s eyes widened in surprise.
“I was… I couldn’t let it go, Dean, I just couldn’t. Not like that, just, some pointless death in a motel parking lot. I spent six months looking for a way to save you, and then I managed to track down the Trickster.”
Oh, Sam, Lucifer thought tiredly.
“I begged him to take me back to the Wednesday morning you got killed, before it happened, promised we wouldn’t come after him again if he did. He wasn’t happy about it, but… he did. Took me back the full six months so I could stop you from being killed by some crazy with a gun.”
Lucifer stared at Sam, aghast at what he had just heard. He didn’t want to believe that Sam had spent all that time trying to find a way to bring him back, but then, Sam was just like their Dad in some ways, and look what John had done with his life. Besides, when he was still Dean, Lucifer had to admit he’d gone and done pretty much the same thing, except even more stupid. At least Sam hadn’t been dumb enough to sell his soul.
The real question here was whether the Trickster had helped Sam out of genuine pity or if, unbeknownst to Sam, the whole six months from Wednesday on was actually an extension of the Trickster’s original Groundhog Day trick. Lucifer wouldn’t put it past the bastard. If that was the case, the Trickster was definitely getting ganked for putting his brother through that.
Lucifer paused, suddenly alert as he sensed something watching from nearby. It wasn’t an angel, or a demon; whatever it was had obscured itself, so Lucifer couldn’t tell for certain what it was. He was willing to bet it was the Trickster.
He flashed the hand signal he’d worked out with Sam to mean that something was listening in and Sam couldn’t let slip that ‘Dean’ was an angel/Lucifer.
Sam’s eyes widened slightly, and he gave a tiny nod.
“So you see, Dean, we owe him,” Sam finished, looking earnest.
“Look,” he said kindly, “I get that you don’t want to break your promise to the guy. I do. But he’s still out there killing people, Sam. I mean, that poor woman – sure, her husband was scum, but even if you think he deserved it, she’s not exactly better off, traumatised and with the whole town convinced she’s nuts. Maybe he did a good thing for the two of us, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t still a monster the rest of the time.”
Sam looked conflicted.
“Well, can’t we just... talk to him first, Dean? Before we try killing him?”
Lucifer rolled his eyes.
“Right, because he’ll see the error of his ways and turn over a new leaf, just like that.”
Sam fixed Lucifer with a stare that was both pleading and unexpectedly stern at the same time.
“Second chances, Dean. You got one.”
And fuck it, Sam had a point there. As Big Bads went, there wasn’t much out there that was bigger and badder than Lucifer, but if he could try and start over, why couldn’t anyone else? Granted, the chances of it actually happening were slim, but that didn’t mean it couldn’t happen.
“Fine,” Lucifer sighed in exasperation, mostly to humour his little brother. “We’ll try talking it out with him first.”
“Thank you.” Sam looked grateful.
This was going to end badly, Lucifer just knew it.
His suspicions were proved right when he and Sam turned up to what was supposedly a weird murder that might have been the Trickster’s doing, and found themselves standing in what appeared to be a hospital.
Lucifer and Sam looked at each other. They were wearing lab coats all of a sudden.
A couple of women also dressed in lab coats walked past. Lucifer blinked as he recognised one of them as a character from one of his favourite TV shows.
Great. The Trickster had dumped them in an artificial reality that was, apparently, modelled on Dr Sexy, M.D. Lucifer opened the door that he and Sam had just walked through. It was now a janitor’s closet, and there were a couple of medical staff making out in there. Yep, pretty much what you’d expect from Dr Sexy. Lucifer shut the door.
Lucifer had to admit, there were worse places to be. Only problem was, knowing the Trickster, it was all going to turn ugly somehow.
His thoughts were interrupted by Dr Piccolo walking up to them and slapping Sam across the face.
“Seriously.” Dr Piccolo looked pissed, Lucifer noted with amusement.
“What?” Sam gave her a bewildered stare, a little pissed himself.
“Seriously? You’re brilliant, you know that?” Dr Piccolo said passionately. “And a coward. You’re a brilliant coward.”
Sam looked lost.
“Um. What are you talking about?” he tried. Dr Piccolo promptly slapped him again. Sam looked exasperated.
“As if you don’t know!” Dr Piccolo said furiously, and stormed off.
Sam was left gawking after her in angry confusion, while Lucifer tried to keep a straight face. Whatever else he had to say about this particular trick, so far the Trickster was keeping it authentic.
His amusement faded a moment later, though. It was a pretty impressive trick, but that was exactly the problem. It was too impressive.
Lucifer frowned around, trying to work out what the hell was going on. The entire place was a construct, and none of the people around him (besides Sam) were real. There was no supernatural creature that had the power to generate a non-illusory, artificial reality of this kind – except for an archangel. For some reason, one of Lucifer’s closest brothers had apparently stuck him and Sam in a fake real-life version of Dr Sexy. Considering what Lucifer and Sam had been hunting, that probably meant that either one of his brothers was masquerading as the Trickster for some reason, or else actually was the Trickster.
Which, if that were the case (even if Lucifer hadn’t already known this wasn’t Raphael’s style) meant that either Michael or Gabriel was responsible. The perpetrator’s Grace was disguised somehow, layered under a creditable imitation of pagan magic, so Lucifer didn’t know for sure who it was.
But Gabriel had been the Archangel of Justice, which, in a seriously warped kind of way, fit perfectly with the Trickster M.O. of ‘just desserts.’ It was a twisted form of justice, sure, but justice all the same.
The part that Lucifer didn’t understand, though, was what his brother gained from sticking him in a TV show with Sam. What was going on, here?
“What the hell is this?” Sam asked. Right, he didn’t know.
“That,” said Lucifer, “ was Dr Piccolo. Dr Ellen Piccolo, the sexy, yet earnest, doctor at–” he walked further down the hallway, Sam following behind him, and gestured at the sign over the front desk, “–Seattle Mercy Hospital.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Sam looked uncomprehending. Lucifer sighed.
“The doctor get-ups. The sexy interns. The ‘seriouslys.’ We’re in Dr Sexy M.D., Sam.”
“Dr Sexy M.D.?” Sam repeated disbelievingly. “You mean that trashy medical soap you and Cas watch?”
“Hey,” Lucifer said defensively. “It’s compelling. Besides, it beats the time Cas started watching Jersey Shore.”
Both of them shuddered, remembering the questions Castiel had started asking. It had resulted in a new rule: no reality TV for angels with no experience of being human. It could only go wrong. Anyone trying to understand humanity through reality TV was going to end up with a seriously skewed idea of what humans were like.
“Okay,” said Sam, “so suppose this is Dr Sexy. How can this possibly be real?”
“That’s the important question,” Lucifer confirmed. He glanced around. “The Trickster has to be around here somewhere.”
“But–” Sam began, but Lucifer wasn’t paying attention. Dr Sexy himself was walking down the hallway towards them.
It was definitely the Trickster. He reeked of the weird mix of hidden Grace and feigned pagan magic that Lucifer kept sensing, and anyway, it was logical for him to disguise himself as the star of the show.
The moment that Dr Sexy was in range, Lucifer slammed him back against the wall.
“Trickster,” Lucifer snarled. All the human constructs around him froze. After a second the Trickster – Gabriel – grinned, and his face melted back into the usual smirking visage.
“You guys are getting better!” he noted genially.
“Get us the hell out of here,” Lucifer ordered. Gabriel affected a look of innocent curiosity.
“Or what?” He grabbed Lucifer’s arm and bent it back painfully. Lucifer let it happen, keeping up his helpless-human-Dean pretence until he knew what Gabriel’s game was. “I don’t see any wooden stakes here, big guy.”
“That was you on the police scanner, right? This is a trick,” Sam said disgustedly. Gabriel made a ‘duh’ face.
“Hellooo, Trickster,” he pointed out, drawling obnoxiously, and fuck Lucifer wanted to smite the bastard. It was taking a lot of self-control to keep himself from glowing with enraged Grace. But until he knew what was going on here, he couldn’t afford to act out.
“Come on!” Gabriel pointed out brightly. “I heard you two yahoos were in town. How could I resist?”
There was something glittering and angry behind the faux-joviality of Gabriel’s tone and smile. It was very well-hidden, but it had been missing from Lucifer and Sam’s previous encounters with the Trickster, making it more noticeable now, and Lucifer was far more observant than Dean Winchester. He narrowed his eyes.
“What is this?” Sam asked. Gabriel glanced at him.
“Like it?” the disguised archangel chirped. “It’s all homemade. My own sets, my own actors – call it my own little idiot box.” He looked smug.
Sam glanced at Lucifer, but saw that his brother was staring at Gabriel, looking considering.
“How do we get out?” Sam asked, when Lucifer didn’t.
“That, my friend, is the sixty-four dollar question,” Gabriel agreed.
“What is this about?” Lucifer asked. Gabriel grinned again.
“Come on, you know what I am, what I do – take a guess.”
Gabriel met Lucifer’s eyes with a smirk – and Lucifer realised, with an abrupt sense of shock, that underneath the smirk and the fake cheer Gabriel’s gaze was completely devoid of recognition.
Gabriel didn’t know who he was.
Lucifer’s mind raced at this startling new information. Gabriel didn’t know. He genuinely thought it was just Dean Winchester he was looking at. Hadn’t he even bothered to keep track of Lucifer’s reincarnations over the years?
Lucifer thought back to when he was stripped of his Grace, and wondered if maybe he had been operating on a faulty assumption all this time. He’d assumed that Gabriel knew exactly what had been done to him, but maybe he had been wrong about that. Gabriel had been present at his punishment, but not very close. Maybe, Lucifer speculated, not close enough to actually know exactly what had gone down that day. Perhaps he thought Lucifer had been sealed away, fully intact – and had gone away and told all the others angels so afterwards, while Michael stayed silent and never revealed the truth. It would certainly explain how the angels got things so wrong in the first place.
In which case, Gabriel genuinely believed that he was dealing with a couple of recalcitrant vessels, and the whole set-up here suddenly made a lot more sense. It wasn’t some kind of cunning ploy to force Lucifer to reveal himself, or anything. It was much more likely that it was a not-particularly-subtle plan to force Dean and Sam to say yes to their respective archangels.
“No, really,” Lucifer repeated. “What is this about? What’s your game?”
Gabriel just smirked again – and vanished in a burst of static.
Well, Lucifer thought. Isn’t this interesting.
Chapter 8: To Trick a Trickster
Sam let out an angry exhalation as the Trickster disappeared, and turned to his brother.
Mostly Sam was able to brush away the fact that Dean was Lucifer: most of the time he didn’t act too differently, apart from the occasional use of archangel superpowers and his growing intimacy with Cas.
Right now though, Sam’s brother looked very un-Dean-like, with a pensive expression that was unfamiliar and a contemplative tilt to his head that was vaguely reminiscent of Castiel.
“Yeah, Sam?” Dean’s voice was absent, his mind presumably still ticking over their conversation with the Trickster.
“What’s going on?” Sam tried.
Dean glanced at him with an almost-startled look, like he was only just remembering that Sam was there.
“Wish I could tell you, Sam,” he said apologetically. To anyone else it would have sounded like Dean didn’t know what was going on, either. But Dean flashed the something’s listening in hand sign as he spoke, which meant that Dean probably did know what was going on, but didn’t want to blow his cover.
Sam sighed in frustration.
“Sorry, dude.” Dean’s voice was distant again. Whatever was going on, he was sure thinking about it hard.
Not for the first time, Sam felt weirdly grateful that his brother was Lucifer. Obviously, the fact that Dean was Satan was – not good, to say the least, more like incredible shocking and distressing. But. The fact that Lucifer was Dean meant that Lucifer wasn’t ending the world, and was in fact doing his best to stop the apocalypse, and right now it meant that whatever trouble the Trickster was up to, Lucifer could protect the two of them from it if he needed to. Sam felt a lot safer with his brother around, these days. There wasn’t anything that could hurt him unless Dean let it happen. Maybe it was screwed up, to feel comforted by the fact that your brother was the Devil… but then, when had he and Dean ever been normal? Sam knew enough psychology to know that he and his brother were unhealthily co-dependent on each other – the fact that Dean had sold his soul to save Sam and that Sam had spent six months hunting down a pagan god to save Dean only underscored that fact.
Sam waited for Dean to come out of his thinking session and tell him what they should do next. He was just in time to duck back as the crazy lady doctor reappeared and tried to hit him again.
“Lady, what the hell?” Sam was fed up with being slapped by the crazy woman.
Her face filled with distraught emotion.
“You are a brilliant, brilliant–”
“Yeah, a coward.” Sam cut her off before she could get going again. “You already said that. But I’ve got news for you. I am not a doctor.”
The woman looked stricken.
“Don’t say that,” she pleaded earnestly. “You are the finest cerebro-vascular neurosurgeon I have ever met, and I have met plenty. So that girl died on your table. It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. Sometimes people just die.”
Sam glanced at Dean for help, and saw him watching in a vaguely amused way. Sam glared, and looked back at the woman in front of him.
“I have no idea what you’re saying to me.”
Her eyes filled with tears. Seriously, what?
“You’re afraid,” she accused. “You’re afraid to operate again. And you’re afraid to love.”
Breaking into sobs, the crazy lady doctor fled.
Sam turned to Dean in annoyance.
“Seriously, you enjoy this show?” he asked skeptically.
Dean smirked slightly.
“Like I said, it’s compelling. Come on. Let’s see if we can find a way out of here.”
“Yeah,” Sam agreed fervently.
They hadn’t taken more than a couple of steps when a man called out to Dean.
“Yeah?” Dean paused to look at the guy.
“My wife needs that face transplant,” the man said anxiously.
“Face transplant?” Sam repeated. “Dean, I can’t believe you watch this. Really.”
Dean made a face at him.
“Look,” Dean told the worried husband kindly, “your wife will get her face transplant, I promise you, alright? I know how important this is. She is on the waiting list, and the first available spot that opens up, we will operate. Okay? But right now, my colleague and I are going to grab some lunch.”
Sam stared. Dean was acting kind and sounded completely sincere, even though he knew that none of this was real. Sam couldn’t tell that Dean was faking it, even though he knew his brother had to be. Everything about Dean right now radiated kindness and sincerity. It was a little worrying to suddenly realise that his brother could lie like that and Sam couldn’t even tell the difference.
Dean turned away and continued down the hallway. Sam followed, trying to push his uneasy realisation to the back of his mind.
“Hey, doctor,” the patient’s husband called out again, and there was a gunshot. Sam whipped around to see the man holding a gun. He turned back to Dean in horror, in time to see him sink to his knees.
Sam was instantly by his brother’s side, panicking.
“No no no no–” Sam said, without really being aware of what he was saying.
“Sam!” Sam met Dean’s eyes. His brother looked more annoyed than anything. “I’ll be fine. Stop freaking out. I will be fine.”
Oh. Right. Of course. Dean was an angel now. Sam took a deep breath, of mingled shock and relief.
Still, they had to keep up the appearance of Dean being an ordinary human. Sam turned and started yelling for a doctor.
Getting stitched up by Sam after being shot in the back wasn’t fun, and Sam might never forgive Lucifer for letting him get hit in the nuts, but Lucifer’s first moment of real panic was when Cas walked in, irritable and concerned about where they’d been for the last few days. Gabriel wasn’t likely to attempt any permanent harm towards Lucifer and Sam – not that Gabriel could have really hurt him short of an archangel’s blade, of course – but Castiel was another matter. Castiel was disobedient and working against Heaven’s plans, the greatest of sins as far as other angels were concerned, and if he was killed he would stay killed, unless Father decided to intervene a second time.
Cas suddenly vanished in a burst of static, and the lights flickered with Lucifer’s worried anger for a second before he was able to locate Castiel again – nearby, trapped elsewhere in Gabriel’s construct, and not doing too well, but alive.
“No, no, no, no, Mr Trickster does not like pretty-boy angels,” the host of the game show scolded, and Lucifer resisted the urge to fry him on the spot.
Instead he tried to restrain himself and keep acting like Dean Winchester, even though his blood was practically boiling.
By the time Lucifer and Sam ended up in some zany sitcom, Lucifer had reached a state of calm, zen-like fury.
He’d panicked for a moment when Castiel had gotten swept up in things, but the seraph was more or less fine, as far as he could tell, leaving all of Lucifer’s emotion free for calculation and rage. Gabriel would pay for this, but Lucifer was trying to get as much information as possible before he took control of the situation.
The door opened, and Cas walked in, looking somewhat battered. Lucifer’s gaze immediately swept over him, razor-sharp.
“You okay?” In spite of himself, Lucifer’s voice held a definite shade of if you aren’t, the Trickster will regret it.
“I don’t have much time,” Cas began.
“What happened?” Sam interrupted.
“I got out. Listen to me. This thing is far more powerful than it should be.” Castiel met Lucifer’s eyes, and Lucifer gave a slight nod to show that he knew what was going on.
The next moment Cas was blasted back into the wall. Lucifer set his teeth a little more and resisted the desire to smile as his quarry burst into the room with an energetic “Hello!” His smile would have been a dead giveaway.
Gabriel pretended to wave and greet a cheering TV audience, before smiling at Cas.
“Hi, Castiel,” he said cheerily, before sending Cas back to wherever he had escaped from.
The lights flickered again, and Gabriel spared them a brief, puzzled look before turning towards Lucifer and Sam, all smiles again.
“I am done with this,” Lucifer declared. “We get it, okay?”
“Yeah?” Gabriel tilted his head challengingly. “Get what, hotshot?”
“Playing our roles, right? That’s your game?” Lucifer glared.
“That’s half the game,” Gabriel corrected.
Sam looked wary.
“What’s the other half?” he asked.
“Play your roles out there,” Gabriel explained, and Lucifer slowly exhaled. So that was it, then. Gabriel was just helping out the God Squad, although that didn’t explain why he’d been hiding out as a Trickster for the last thousand-odd years.
“What do you mean?” Sam asked.
“You know,” Gabriel proclaimed, with a shrug. “Sam starring as Lucifer,” he said dramatically. “Dean starring as Michael. Your celebrity death match. Play your roles.”
“You want us to say yes to those sons of bitches?” Sam exclaimed angrily.
“Hells yeah! Let’s light this candle!” Gabriel grinned.
“We do that, the world will end,” said Sam.
“Yeah? And whose fault is that?” Gabriel arched an eyebrow. “Who popped Lucifer out of the box? Hmm?” He abandoned the pointed questions in favour of adopting a reasonable tone. “Look, it’s started. You started it. It can’t be stopped. So let’s get it over with!”
“Heaven or Hell, which side are you on?” Lucifer asked abruptly.
“I’m not on either side,” Gabriel demurred, his smile going tight – which was very interesting, Lucifer thought sharply, and not at all what he’d expected Gabriel to say. He decided to prod further.
“Yeah right,” Lucifer scoffed. “You’re grabbing ankle for Michael or Lucifer. Which one is it?”
Gabriel’s eyes went dark and suddenly most of the assumed mirth was gone, leaving him looking far more serious and quite angry. Lucifer wanted to give a satisfied smirk, as Gabriel played right into the trap. Lucifer wanted to know exactly what Gabriel’s real motives were, and it looked like he might just be given a clue.
Gabriel advanced on him, eyes glittering behind the smile.
“You listen to me, you arrogant dick,” Gabriel said lowly. “I don’t work for either of those SOBs. Believe me.”
Lucifer almost smiled, just a little, and offered further provocation.
“Oh, you’re somebody’s bitch.”
Gabriel’s smile vanished, and he slammed Lucifer up against the wall.
“Don’t you ever, ever presume to know what I am,” he hissed. Lucifer let his eyes drop to the hand twisted in his collar before flicking them back up, and finally smiled, dangerous and terrifying. There was no hint of Dean Winchester in that smile, and Lucifer knew it. He knew that Gabriel would know it, too.
“Right back at you,” Lucifer smiled, and stopped hiding who he was.
Gabriel’s eyes went wide, and the other archangel let go of Lucifer like he’d been burned. Lucifer straightened. Still smiling in the serene, cold way that was 100% himself and no one else, Lucifer snapped his fingers and brought Castiel back to the phony hotel room.
“Hey Cas,” Lucifer greeted his friend, as he appeared in the middle of the room. “All right?”
“I’m fine,” replied Castiel grumpily, with a scathing look in Gabriel’s direction. “I see you’ve stopped pretending to be human.”
“That I have,” Lucifer agreed. “Sam, Cas, allow me to introduce the archangel Gabriel.” He gestured at Gabriel with a dramatic flourish.
“What?!” Sam yelped incredulously. “The Trickster is an angel?”
“The Messenger himself,” Lucifer confirmed. “So, Gabriel, since we’ve all got our cards on the table, more or less, you want to explain this little charade?”
“Sure,” Gabriel said, pretending nonchalance despite the trapped, wary look in his eyes, “if you’re willing to explain why Dean is your vessel.”
Lucifer rolled his eyes.
“Because I am Dean, you nitwit. Or was. My Grace got locked in the Cage, not me. Comprehende? Or should I break out the flash cards and use smaller words?” Lucifer paused a second, before continuing. “I couldn’t help but find it interesting,” he added smoothly, “that you were insisting that you aren’t taking a side in this war.”
Gabriel’s spine stiffened, and his chin came up as he met Lucifer’s eyes with a firm, angry gaze of his own. If nothing else, Lucifer’s brother had guts.
“You and Michael have been planning to torch this place and kill each other. Excuse me for not wanting any part in watching that happen.”
Lucifer cocked an eyebrows and spread his hands.
“And yet here we are,” he said pointedly. Gabriel laughed mirthlessly.
“You were out of the Cage, bro. Stopping the apocalypse beforehand was one thing, and I tried. Maybe not that well, but it was more than anyone else was doing. But trying to stop you and Michael from going all pistols at dawn and damn the consequences, when both of you were free? That was an exercise in futility. Because you and Michael? You never listen. There’s no stopping you once you get going. So I figured, might as well get it all over with. Like ripping off a bandaid. Sit back, let it happen, and it would all be over.”
Gabriel’s voice was bitter and full of furious pain as he glared at Lucifer. Once, it wouldn’t have been enough to touch him, secure in the knowledge that he was right in his course of action. But Lucifer had been human since then, and learnt how to be a good big brother, and all he could see was how much Gabriel was hurting.
He glanced at Sam and Cas, to give himself a moment to process everything Gabriel had said and decide how to react. Sam was looking vaguely stricken by Gabriel’s diatribe. Castiel was using the lull in dialogue to try and straighten his tie, which looked like someone had tried to strangle him with it. Lucifer sighed, and beckoned him over. Castiel approached obediently, and Lucifer fixed it for him before turning back to Gabriel.
The other archangel was watching in confusion, not sure what to make of Lucifer’s helpful gesture.
Once again, Lucifer was dealing with something that was essentially all his fault. Whenever this happened he was always reminded of Sammifer in the other reality, totally blind to all the things he’d set in motion, no doubt blaming them on other people. Part of him was still very angry and wanted to punish Gabriel, but the rest of him acknowledged that Gabriel was just doing the best he could in an impossible situation.
Sam stepped forward, his eyes full of empathy despite his own residual anger. Well, Lucifer thought, if anyone understood making dumb decisions in horrible circumstances, it was him.
“Dean isn’t going to destroy the world,” Sam said gently. “Or fight Michael. He’s decided to stop it.”
Gabriel just sneered.
“Yeah right,” he scoffed. “Lucifer, letting go of a grudge? That’ll happen.”
Lucifer pinched the bridge of his nose.
“How old do you think I am, five?” he demanded of Gabriel.
“Yes,” Castiel answered for the other angel, which resulted in twin snorts from Sam and Gabriel.
“Not helping, Cas!” Lucifer glared. “Look, I grew up a little sometime in the five thousand years I spent re-incarnating over and over. And I like people. Not all of them, but enough. And the pie is fantastic.”
“Truer words,” Gabriel agreed, watching Lucifer with narrowed eyes. “You know, you don’t usually lie about these things. Normally you just mislead, threaten and extort.”
“I’m not lying,” Lucifer said wearily. “Listen. Assume, for a moment, that I’m telling the truth about stopping the apocalypse and... reconciling... with Michael. Whose side are you on, here?”
“Honestly? Whichever side doesn’t lead to everyone tearing at each other,” Gabriel admitted, after a moment’s hesitation. He looked like he was finally starting to believe Lucifer.
“Great,” said Lucifer. “Seeing as the anti-war movement is all of four people strong, we could use another person on our side. Now apologise to Cas.”
Gabriel looked startled and bemused.
“Since when do you care about the rank and file?”
“Since he went sweet on Cas, that’s when.”
Lucifer spluttered, and tried not to look too embarrassed at Sam’s statement. Gabriel stared disbelievingly, realised that Sam was telling the truth, and went off into delighted peals of laughter.
Cas just looked confused.
“Oh, this is precious,” Gabriel hooted, far too gleeful at his discovery.
“You know, I have a lot of younger brothers,” Lucifer threatened casually. “I doubt I’d miss just one, Gabriel.”
“Oh, please.” Gabriel waved away the empty threat, still sniggering. “You just admitted you want me on your side. So you got the hots for the littlest angel, huh?”
That was a phrase Castiel did understand. His eyes went round with surprise. He stared at Lucifer.
“All of you, shut up,” Lucifer said in exasperation. He hadn’t so much as talked to Cas, and he’d been trying to tread carefully, knowing how little experience the seraph had with things that were outside his duties. “I swear to God, I will do something awful to you if you don’t shut up right now.”
“Easy there, loverboy.” Gabriel’s cocky grin was back, and his eyes were bright. “How about we all hit up the nearest bar, and you can tell me all about your plans to avoid dancing the lambada with Michael?”
“Dancing the lambada?” Lucifer repeated. “Your metaphors suck.”
Chapter 9: It Looks Like Love Has Finally Found Me
We have reached the beginning of the end, ladies and gentlemen: this is either the second-last or third-last chapter. I was originally going to leave this on a cliff-hanger, but it would have made this chapter too long and the next one too short.
Hitting the bars with Gabriel turned out to be a baaaaaad idea. Bad. Lucifer woke up the next morning in a Vegas hotel suite, with Cas cuddled into his side and snoring gently.
Lucifer didn’t wonder where Sam was: his brother snored like the patron god of earthquakes, and he could hear Sam’s penetrating snores emanating from somewhere close by.
Lucifer looked at Cas. The angel’s mouth was slightly open, and he was dead to the world. It was majorly adorable, Lucifer admitted to himself, and a sign that he was seriously fucked.
He closed his eyes and thought back to the previous night. The four of them – him, Sam, Cas, and Gabriel – had settled into the corner of a bar to talk out anti-apocalypse plans, and where the hell Michael could be. Everything had been fine until Gabriel had remembered he had some Dionysian wine stashed away somewhere and insisted on sharing it, telling the others that it had a kick to it they wouldn’t believe. Turned out he was right.
So Dionysian wine worked on angels. Good to know.
After a not-insignificant amount of wine, they’d ended up moving things to Vegas, and had a great time at the casinos until Gabriel, for some incomprehensible reason, decided they needed goats. Management hadn’t been too happy about the goats, or their inexplicable winning streak, and the four of them had been kicked out of the casino. They’d found themselves a hotel suite with their winnings, Gabriel had brought back the goats, and Lucifer had convinced Castiel to try the joys of cuddling. Sam had basically just passed out on the other bed.
Comfortable though Lucifer currently was, he really needed to check if his memory had recorded the end of the evening accurately. Carefully easing away from Cas, Lucifer climbed out of bed, and padded over to the bathroom and cracked the door open.
Gabriel was sprawled in the giant tub with a confused expression, and a bunch of goats.
Lucifer snorted, and shut the door behind him as he walked in.
Gabriel looked up at Lucifer’s snort.
“Hey, bro. Any idea why the fuck I’m covered in goats?”
“Beats the hell out of me,” Lucifer replied. “You’re the one who decided we needed them.”
“Really?” Gabriel asked. “You remember that much? Kudos.” He examined his lapful of resting goats. “Huh. These are real goats, too. Wonder where I stole them from?”
“Does this happen to you often?” Lucifer asked curiously. Gabriel seemed strangely unfazed by the whole experience.
One of the goats started trying to eat Gabriel’s hair, and he gently batted it away, telling it to knock it off.
“Mm, I wouldn’t say often,” said Gabriel. “But I’ve had my share of wild nights out on the town.”
“You don’t actually have a sense of shame, do you?”
“About stuff like this? Hell no. You just own it and move on. I save my shame for big things.”
Gabriel shooed away the goats and climbed out of the bath. When he looked up at Lucifer his eyes were keen, and unexpectedly kind.
“You really love them, don’t you? Castiel and the kid.”
“I do.” So much so that it was terrifying. Lucifer had loved before, as an angel, but it had been different. So self-absorbed. Then he’d experienced a more human kind of love, desperate and self-sacrificing, as wide and deep and boundless as the ocean, which embraced flaws rather than condemning them.
It had made him a better person, Lucifer knew. Angel or not, he had been a monster, and he had never even had a clue until his time as a human had taught him to look beyond himself and his pride.
Gabriel just grinned at Lucifer, his eyes full of wry understanding.
“It sneaks up on you, doesn’t it? There’s this girl–”
“Really, Gabriel? A girl.” Lucifer couldn’t resist. Okay, so he was still kind of a dick. He could live with that.
Gabriel glared playfully at the teasing.
“Shut up,” he grumbled. “Anyway, she’s terrible – destructive, angry, smokin’ hot, has a history of domestic violence issues – but one day I went from secretly disapproving to realising that I loved all those things about her, and I didn’t know when things had changed.”
“How’d that work out?” Lucifer wanted to know, because Gabriel’s expression was bittersweet.
“Awful. But you know. The heart wants what the heart wants.”
Thinking of Castiel, Lucifer had to agree.
“And okay, that’s enough caring and sharing for one morning,” Gabriel announced brightly. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to try and track down the owner of these goats.”
“Good luck with that,” Lucifer responded, a little dryly.
Gabriel just smirked, and vanished.
Lucifer walked back into the main room of the suite. Sam was still snoring away, but Castiel was lying on his back, his eyes open.
Lucifer hesitated a moment, but walked over and sat on the side of the bed. He looked down at Cas.
“Morning.” Lucifer didn’t bother to hide the affection in his voice.
Castiel frowned up at him a little.
“Trying to figure out where the goats came from,” Lucifer explained. Cas’ frown deepened.
“Don’t even ask, man. I have no idea.”
Cas’ frown lingered for a moment, the angel obviously wondering how goats came into it, before putting the idea aside.
“You were here before,” said Castiel. “I felt you leave.”
“Sorry,” Lucifer said. “I went to check on Gabriel.”
Cas stared up at him, all blue-eyed and with a look of slight concentration, like he was trying to figure out a puzzle.
“Was Gabriel correct?” he asked after a moment. Lucifer was fairly sure he knew was his friend was talking about, but asked anyway.
“When he suggested that you desire me,” Castiel said simply.
Lucifer winced, because that was not how he would have put it, but knowing the way Cas had been trained to think, he could understand how Castiel had interpreted Gabriel’s remark that way.
“That’s a question with a complicated answer,” he said carefully. “Mostly because you’re not asking the right question. See, I happen to be ridiculously in love with you, and for someone who’s human, or has been in a human body for a long enough time, when you’re in love being attracted to the person you’re in love with tends to come with the territory.”
Lucifer was met with silence. Complete silence, he suddenly realised, because Sam’s snoring had stopped like a minute or so ago.
Oh, that was just great. Couldn’t Sam have woken up some other time, like when Lucifer wasn’t confessing his love to Cas?
“Oh,” said Cas, eventually.
Castiel sat up, his mussed hair sticking in all directions.
“Dean, I am new at this.”
Lucifer couldn’t help a slight chuckle.
“Yeah. I know.”
He expected Cas to say something about how he need time, or he didn’t feel that sort of thing, or something.
He didn’t expect Castiel to look determined and lean forward to kiss him.
Admittedly, it wasn’t more than a press of mouth-to-mouth, and Cas clearly had no clue how things were supposed to work, but as a statement of intent it worked wonderfully. Lucifer cupped the back of Castiel’s head with one hand, the other gripping Castiel’s shoulder, and gently adjusted Castiel’s position into something that worked better for the both of them.
“Okay, so I found the – whoa!”
Lucifer sighed as the moment was shattered by Gabriel popping back into the room.
“Oh thank God,” Sam burst out in relief, “they’ve been talking about their feelings and kissing and I woke up halfway through, and I really didn’t want to interrupt but I’ve never been so uncomfortable in my entire life.”
“Seriously, fuck you both.”
“Save it for Castiel, bro,” Gabriel said breezily.
Cas looked vaguely panicked by that suggestion, like the concept of sex had never so much as crossed his mind, and Lucifer squeezed his shoulder reassuringly. He had never been one of those assholes who coerced their partners into doing things they weren’t sure they wanted to, and Cas was about as ready for that sort of thing as a thirteen year old girl. Possibly less.
Lucifer changed the subject.
“So, if you knew, you probably would have said something last night, but just to make sure: any idea where Michael might have gotten to?”
“How the hell would I know?” asked Gabriel. “I skipped out ages ago. But you didn’t see what happened after you were punished.”
“What do you mean?” Lucifer frowned.
Gabriel’s mouth twisted, somewhere between bitter and wry.
“Heaven was a different place,” he said seriously. “Nobody cared anymore. You’ve seen what Raphael turned into, from healer to destroyer, and Michael? He shut himself up in his own little corner of Heaven and refused to have anything to do with anyone. The Brady Bunch it was not.”
“He was really that upset?” Lucifer asked.
“Who, Michael?” Gabriel sent Lucifer his own version of Bobby’s ‘idjit’ look. “Of course he was upset, you moron! Dad had just made him kick you out and lock you in the slammer! Like he wasn’t going to be all torn up about it.”
Lucifer listened with mixed feelings. He’d been so very, very angry at Michael for such a long time, feeling furious and betrayed, but since he had gotten his Grace back, he’d started to see things from a different perspective. Seeing Sammifer in the alternate timeline had really kick-started it. Bit by bit, awareness that maybe, just maybe Michael hadn’t been so wrong to do what he did had been trickling into Lucifer’s consciousness. He didn’t like it, but he’d begun to admit, if only to himself, that Michael had done the best he could, and Lucifer was far from blameless.
So far Lucifer had been trying to ignore this awareness, but hearing about how his punishment had affected Michael so badly broke down his denial a little more. He was still angry at Michael, but for the first time it was mixed in with some understanding.
“Fine,” he said shortly. “Whatever. We still don’t know where he is.”
Sam cleared his throat.
“Actually, I’ve been thinking about that,” he began. Everyone turned to him curiously. “Is there any chance Michael might have fallen, on purpose?”
Lucifer’s initial impulse was to say no, but Gabriel shrugged.
“Maybe. Michael was a mess by the time I left, and that was like a millennium ago. Why do you ask?”
“I don’t know, it just felt right, considering what happened to Dean. I mean, if it’s true, think of the parallels – he’s spent thousands of years as a human, and he gets his Grace back just at the same time as Michael finishes going through the same thing. Both of them would know what it means to be human, and they’d be on – equal footing, I guess? It seemed to make a weird kind of sense.”
“But how would Michael get his Grace back at the right time, assuming he did what you think he did?” Gabriel pointed out reasonably, sounding genuinely interested to hear the answer.
“Yeah, I was wondering – is there any kind of subconscious awareness of who you are, while you’re human? I know Anna kind of knew, when she fell. Dean?”
Since everyone else seemed to think that Sam’s suggestion was feasible, Lucifer considered the question.
“Yeah,” he said slowly. “Maybe. Subconsciously, I think.”
“Well, there you go,” Sam offered. “Maybe Michael had some kind of, subconscious suggestion for how to find his Grace when it was the right time.”
“But that would mean it would take apocalyptic omens or something to trigger it,” Lucifer mused. “And I haven’t exactly been pushing forward with that particular agenda. There’s Pestilence and Famine out there somewhere, and whatever the angels and demons are doing, but that’s it.”
“It’s an interesting possibility,” Gabriel conceded. “If he did fall, and his Grace is out there, it shouldn’t be too hard to find for anyone actually looking for it.”
“Right then,” said Lucifer. “I guess that means we can add Grace-hunting to the schedule. But right now,” he told Gabriel, “you have a date with me, the Horsemen, and a sword.”
“What, we’re taking down the Horsemen now?” Gabriel complained. “Come on, I was planning on getting icecream for breakfast!”
Lucifer sharpened his gaze.
“Fine. But once we do this thing, icecream sundaes all around,” Gabriel stipulated. “The ones with cream and cherries on top.”
“You can steal Castiel’s cherry,” Gabriel suggested slyly, smirking.
Sam snorted. Cas looked like the innuendo went straight over his head, thank God.
“Keep that up, and no icecream for you,” Lucifer retorted. “Sam, Cas. We’ll be back later.”
“Sure. Have fun,” Sam offered dryly, and the two archangels took flight.
Dealing with Famine and Pestilence was actually kind of fun, as far as Lucifer was concerned. It was ages since he had been able to properly stretch his angelic muscles, so to speak, so Lucifer enjoyed the chance to go all out.
He had some trouble controlling his temper around Famine – for a couple of minutes there, Lucifer mostly forgot that he was planning to derail the apocalypse in a sudden attack of deadly rage, and it took Gabriel grabbing onto his arm and yelling into his ear about how he wanted everyone to come out of this alive and he wasn’t forgiving Lucifer if they didn’t so focus, Lucifer! to bring him out of it.
Afterwards he sent Gabriel a sheepish look.
Gabriel paused and looked at him.
“What, for Famine’s effect on you? Yeah, well, you threw it off, so.”
“Yeah.” Lucifer hesitated a second. “Thanks for that.”
Gabriel sent him a keen, sideways look.
“What?” Lucifer asked warily. Gabriel waved off his look of suspicion.
“Oh, nothing. I just realised something is all. No problem. We’re in this together, right?”
“Yeah,” Lucifer agreed. “We are.” And then, because he was feeling particularly fond, he ruffled his brother’s hair. Gabriel let out an indignant sound and elbowed him in the middle, which somehow ended in an undignified shoving match which only ended when Lucifer succeeded in pushing Gabriel into the town fountain, and Gabriel emerged spluttering and voicing dire threats.
Pestilence was easier to handle, but significantly grosser.
“Man, I need a shower,” Lucifer said mournfully, afterwards. He’d snapped himself clean, of course, but it just didn’t feel the same.
“I hear you,” Gabriel agreed fervently, nose wrinkled in disgust. “Eww. Dibs on the tub.”
“You had a bath earlier.”
Gabriel glared at him.
“You pushing me in a fountain does not count as a bath, Lucy.”
“Jesus, don’t call me that. Fine, you can have the tub. Are we even now?”
Gabriel smirked at him.
After the two archangels had both bathed, Lucifer, Gabriel, Sam and Castiel all went out to get the promised icecream sundaes.
“These are really unhealthy, you know,” said Sam.
“Shut it, bitch,” Lucifer said cheerfully through a spoonful of cream. Next to him, Castiel was staring at his own confection with an expression almost of trepidation. “Just eat it, Cas, it tastes good. Trust me.”
With obvious reluctance, Castiel picked up his spoon and took a tentative mouthful. His eyes went wide and surprised. His second spoonful was eaten a lot more willingly.
“So, about Michael,” Sam began, and Gabriel flicked his cream-covered cherry at Sam’s forehead. Sam glared as it bounced off and landed in his icecream sundae, leaving a smear of cream above one eyebrow.
“Save it for later, sasquatch,” Gabriel said nonchalantly, undisturbed by the glare. “Right now, we are chilling. No work-talk allowed.”
“Dean,” Sam complained, turning to Lucifer for support. Lucifer blanched.
“Oh my God, no,” he said vehemently. “I am not Michael in this dynamic, okay? I’m not sticking anyone in the naughty corner. I am not the responsible one. No.”
Lucifer seriously thought about flicking his own cherry at Sam just to prove why he wasn’t the responsible one, but Gabriel grabbed Sam’s spoon and jammed a mouthful of cream in Sam’s mouth, forestalling further attempts at whining.
It was weird, having Gabriel around to do human things with, Lucifer mused. Fun, though. Very different from before.
He grinned at Cas, who gave him a tiny smile in return.
Chapter 10: The Last Place You Thought to Look
I don't know, the addition of Gabriel seems to make everything much weirder?
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The question of where Michael had gone was a pressing question, one Lucifer was unable to answer. Heaven was in confusion over the defeat of the Horsemen and the fact that Lucifer hadn’t tried to conquer the world yet, but given enough time they’d start over. Lucifer really needed to find his older brother, but he didn’t have much of a clue what to do next. Gabriel was out searching for Michael’s Grace, in the guise of the Trickster, but it all took time.
Sam’s theory – that Michael had chosen to fall – was the best one they had right now. There had certainly been no sign of Michael anywhere, and the other archangel wasn’t the type to hide out as a pagan god or something, like Gabriel had. It was really the only thing that explained why Michael had passed under the radar. The idea probably should have occurred to Lucifer or Gabriel earlier, but it seemed out-of-character, at least until Sam had explained his reasoning. Lucifer still wasn’t sure he believed it, but he had to admit that it was possible. He was beginning to wonder how well he had even known Michael, blinded by his own arrogance and limited perspective. The thought left him with a nasty feeling.
At night he retreated into his memories more than ever, looking for some kind of clue that would help him locate his missing brother. Nothing seemed to help.
And then, idly thinking about the last time he’d visited Bobby, all of a sudden Lucifer just had it.
“Son of a bitch,” he said through clenched teeth as everything fell into place, mentally cursing his Father’s sense of humour and fondness for poetic symmetry in the worst Enochian expletives he could think of.
He knew exactly where Michael had gone, and it made him simultaneously want to smite something and collapse in hysterical laughter.
Now all he had to do was confirm that he was right, and then decide what to do about it.
“Sam,” Lucifer said slowly the next morning, when the two of them were having breakfast, “listen, I know you had the whole thing with the visions and the telekinesis and whatever, but was there ever anything else, that you always just assumed was because of the demon blood?”
Sam stared at him, taken-aback by the question.
“Please,” Lucifer requested, his plea more sincere and heartfelt than he had been in a long time. “It’s important.”
“Um.” Struck by Lucifer’s earnestness, Sam thought back carefully. “I can’t think of anything.”
“Keep trying,” said Lucifer, trying not to come across as too tense. Sam thought this conversation was weird enough as it was.
“Well…” A frown grew as Sam really, really thought about it. “I don’t know if this counts, or if I was just imagining things, but when I was really small, maybe four or five, sometimes when I was drifting off to sleep I thought I could hear voices. It stopped by the time I was about six. I haven’t thought about it in years.”
Lucifer exhaled. Bingo, he thought.
“Thanks, Sammy,” he said unsteadily, and left before he could freak Sam out with his reaction.
Michael . Sam was Michael.
Lucifer needed to think. Very, very carefully.
Sam didn’t know what the hell was going on with his brother, or where he was: every time Sam tried to ring Dean, it went straight to voicemail. Cas and Gabriel didn’t know what was going on either. Castiel seemed just as confused as Sam about Dean’s sudden absence, but Gabriel, irritatingly, just said that Lucifer would come back when he was done with whatever he was up to and they should all quit worrying.
Sam was in the middle of a supermarket and stocking up on groceries when Dean suddenly appeared next to him.
“Come with me,” Dean said without preamble, and before Sam could protest the two of them were somewhere else.
Sam’s stomach lurched. He was standing in front of the biggest tree he had ever seen.
“Dean?” Sam wasn’t sure what was going on, but he had a sudden feeling of foreboding.
Dean’s voice was quiet.
“You need to touch the big-ass tree Sammy.”
No. no way. This couldn’t mean what Sam thought it meant. He glanced at his big brother, but Dean’s face gave away no clue what he was feeling. Swallowing, Sam walked forward and approached the tree.
It really was huge, Sam thought, a little inanely, staring up at the leaves far above. When he was within arms reach of the tree trunk, he paused and looked back at Dean.
Dean just watched him.
Hoping that his guess about what was going on wasn’t correct, and that if it was, that this change in circumstances didn’t screw everything up between them, Sam touched the tree.
The world went white.
Lucifer didn’t look away or even blink as an archangel’s Grace engulfed his brother, bright and blinding.
When it subsided, although outwardly Sam looked just the same, Lucifer could tell the difference.
The two brothers stared at each other.
“Um. Wow. This is awkward,” said Michael. “Uh. Hi?” His expression was sheepish, and 100% Sam. “Man, you were right, the whole human-to-angel thing makes things weird.”
Lucifer didn’t respond. Without a word, he turned on his heel and left in a clap of wings, leaving his brother standing alone at the foot of the tree.
Michael winced as Lucifer flew off without even speaking to him. He wasn’t all that surprised by Lucifer’s reaction, but he’d hoped… well, he wasn’t even sure what he had hoped, he just knew that whatever it was, it definitely hadn’t taken place.
With a sigh Michael leaned back against the trunk of the tree and stared up into its branches. His Grace had been living inside this tree for the last twenty-six years, and he’d grown rather fond of it.
“I think I handled that badly,” Michael told the tree. Lucifer’s expression could have been carved from stone. Michael couldn’t help comparing it to the last time he had seen his brother, just before their Father had stripped Lucifer of his Grace and sentenced him to time as a human. The look of stricken, furious betrayal lingered starkly in his memory.
Michael let himself sink down to sit on the ground, his back still against the tree trunk. He couldn’t believe that his big brother had turned out to be his little brother – that he had turned out to be Michael. He couldn’t believe that he’d ended up Lucifer’s brother even as a human. He couldn’t believe that he should have been Lucifer’s vessel.
Michael snorted wryly to himself. If he ever needed proof that his Father was still hanging around somewhere, the whole vessel thing was pretty convincing. As ridiculous scenarios went, he and Lucifer being each other’s vessels took the cake. No matter how that might have turned out, even if one of them had been taken as a vessel, the situation made it impossible for the two of them to fight each other. As far as Michael was concerned, that sent a fairly strong message about what his Father’s designs were, in this instance.
He pondered Lucifer’s attitude towards their Father. He knew that there was still an untold amount of rage there, and also a great deal of hurt, even if Lucifer was unlikely to admit to the latter. What Michael didn’t know was how Lucifer felt about him. He knew that Lucifer wanted the two of them to reconcile so that the apocalypse could be prevented and Castiel could be restored to his previous status, but Lucifer’s opinion of Michael personally? Michael had no clue.
Michael winced as the Sam Winchester part of him dominated for a moment, and he wondered desperately if Dean would ever speak to him again. He didn’t know how to live without his brother. The thought of the two of them being estranged was devastating.
But then, Michael reflected ruefully, as the angelic part of him took prevalence again, it always had been, hadn’t it. Really, that was part of the problem.
“I suppose things could have turned out worse,” Michael said aloud. He knew the tree didn’t understand him, but he felt better for talking to it, all the same. “I mean, we could have had an apocalypse, or killed each other, or even just been each other’s vessels, so this is definitely better. But still, would it have been too much to ask for Lucifer to forget and forgive? Wait, what am I talking about? Of course it is. Hell, even as Dean, he was still pretty uncompromising.” Michael sighed.
He wondered if Lucifer was talking to Castiel right now. Wow, that was… it had been surprising enough to know that Lucifer had feelings for Cas when he was still Sam, but now…
God, Michael had never, ever expected Lucifer to get over himself enough to feel sincerely for someone that way. The fact that Lucifer had, of all people, developed romantic feelings for a fallen little seraph, one he would barely have even noticed existed before his punishment… that was just staggering. It was evidence of just how much Lucifer had changed, and for the better. Knowing more than anyone what Lucifer had been like before, Michael had trouble getting his head around it.
He swiped a hand down his face, and wondered what to do next. Well, he needed to dismantle the Heavenly Host’s apocalypse plans, obviously, and reinstate Castiel, but right now he still felt a little too disoriented to do so. If he was going to go and turn everything on its ear, and fight with Raphael over destiny and Father’s will and whatever other bullshit his brother came up with, he needed to have all the authority and determination he could manage, and until his archangel and human aspects became better integrated, he just wasn’t up to it.
Still, he could at least figure out a plan of action to follow when the time came, and he knew just the archangel to help him with that.
Who better to help him work out what to tell the other angels than the Messenger himself? Gabriel had been on vacation long enough, anyway.
When Michael eventually found him, Gabriel was in Paris in the late nineteenth century, sipping a dark red liqueur inside a building that resembled a small, sinister fortress, with L’ENFER in big letters across the front. Michael walked in through the mouth-shaped door, ignored the costumed doorman's greeting of "Enter and be damned!" and was forced to bend down to avoid the low ceiling, which had been carved to resemble writhing demons and tormented souls. Gabriel was at a table at the back, drinking pensively out of a glass goblet.
Michael wondered if Gabriel had something troubling on his mind, or what. He was pretty certain he was never going to understand the crazy-ass person Gabriel had become since he’d run away from Heaven, but this seemed especially weird of him.
As Michael approached Gabriel took one look at him, gaped in recognition, and burst out laughing. Michael rolled his eyes and took a seat next to his brother, waiting for Gabriel’s mirth to abate.
“Wow, talk about irony,” Gabriel sniggered, once he’d finished laughing.
“I’m glad somebody thinks this is funny,” Michael muttered. Somehow, Gabriel instantly knew what he was talking about, and sent Michael a knowing look.
“Relax,” the other archangel advised, reassuringly. “Lucifer’ll come around. He isn’t just Lucifer anymore, remember. He’s Dean, the overprotective big brother who sold his soul for your sake. He’ll be back.”
“Would sir like a drink?” one of the waiters asked Michael in French. Like the doorman, he too was dressed as a mythical devil. Michael politely declined.
“What is wrong with you?” he asked once the waiter had gone, gesturing at the ceiling. Above them was a carving of something with a lot of teeth. Leviathan, maybe? “Seriously, Gabriel – you spend your time hanging out in a café designed to resemble Hell?”
Gabriel simply snickered at Michael's bafflement.
There was a brief rush of air, and then cursing as Lucifer’s head impacted with a carving. Castiel blinked at the new surroundings.
“There you are,” Gabriel greeted Lucifer and Castiel smugly. “Pull up a chair, bros.”
Lucifer and Castiel sat at the table next to Gabriel and Michael’s. Cas stared up at the ceiling, looking perturbed at the particular manifestation of human imagination he saw there.
“Isn’t this kind of a strange place to find a couple of archangels?” Lucifer asked. He ignored the odd look he received from a passing waiter.
“I like it,” Gabriel said cheerfully. “What’s up, Lucifer?”
Lucifer met Michael’s eyes, and Michael couldn’t look away from their intense expression.
“I want to talk to Michael. Alone,” Lucifer clarified. “Michael?”
“Yeah,” Michael agreed quietly. “Gabriel, Cas, we’ll see you later.”
Lucifer left without saying anything else, and Michael followed, hoping that the upcoming conversation didn’t go too badly.
Things were about to get heavy.
Information on the Cafe de L'Enfer (Hell's Cafe) can be found here, including photographs. The drink Gabriel was drinking was Chambord liqueur.
In one of the comments for an earlier chapter, someone joked that Michael was actually Bobby. In response I wrote a short cracky outtake where Bobby is Michael, which can be read in this thread if you're interested. Obviously, it's not actually part of this story.
Chapter 11: Overdue Conversations
Haven't error-checked this yet, because I'm tired, so. Do that first chance I get tomorrow.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Lucifer didn’t want to have this conversation. He really, really didn’t. But if he and Michael were going to sort things out it had to be done.
Talking to Cas had helped him work out what he needed to say to his big brother. Now all he needed to do was summon up the nerve to do it.
Lucifer was good at talking about how people had wronged him, at pointing out the holes in their reasoning, and trying to wheedle them over to his side through the whole ‘sympathy for the devil’ act. But that was all it was, an act, calculated to manipulate and coerce people into doing what he wanted them to, playing on their emotions.
Actually talking about his own feelings, on the other hand? Being honest for once, without any ulterior motive, and putting everything out where it could be used against him?
That was another thing altogether.
Lucifer landed at the edge of the Grand Canyon. Michael landed a second later, his face grave.
For a long, long moment, they were both silent.
“You stood and watched,” said Lucifer steadily, the words coming with difficulty, “as he stripped me of my Grace.”
Michael didn’t say anything, his eyes fixed intently on Lucifer’s face. Lucifer went on.
“That was the worst part, you know. Not the pain, or – or anything else. But that he did that to me, the worst violation possible for an angel, and you just. Stood there. And you watched.”
“You had to be stopped,” Michael said quietly. Lucifer’s shoulders went stiff.
“So you just stood there and watched,” Lucifer shot back scathingly, controlling himself with an effort.
Michael exhaled heavily.
“Of course I watched, Lucifer. I played my role in your punishment. I figured that the least I owed was to see it through to the end. You think I should have run off, like a coward? Pretended I had no part in it? That’s never been me, Lucifer. I stuck around to see the consequences of my actions.”
Michael’s words came out more sharply than he meant them to, judging by his slight wince. The words unlike you were clearly implied.
Lucifer clenched his fists and tried to stay reasonable. Michael had reason to be angry, he told himself, just as much as he did. No matter how much it hurt to hear what Michael was saying, that didn’t mean Michael didn’t have every right to say it.
“Yeah, well, that’s not what it looked like,” he bit out.
Michael made a frustrated noise.
“I never wanted you to get hurt!” he exclaimed. “You made me choose between you, and Dad, Lucifer – what do you think that did to me, to know I had to pick one of you and turn my back on the other? I chose Father, not just because he’s Father, but because of you, and the decisions you were making. This was never about Father, Lucifer! This was about you and your bad life choices and the position you put all the rest of us in without ever even thinking about it,” Michael finished, glaring furiously.
Lucifer felt like he’d been sucker-punched. He took a deep, wavering breath, even though it was unnecessary.
“I’m sorry about what was done to you, I really am,” Michael added resolutely, “but I wouldn’t do anything differently, and if you can’t forgive that – well. There’s not anything I can do about it.”
Lucifer closed his eyes. Michael looked sad and frustrated, just like Sam always did when he was trying to make Dean see reason and felt like he was beating his head against a brick wall for all the effect it was having.
Lucifer wanted, more than anything, to forgive his brother and go back to the way things used to be, but there was still enough hurt and anger that he wasn’t sure that he could.
He’d changed a lot since his Grace was ripped out, and he was trying not to be the complete douche he used to be, but that sort of thing took time.
“You can’t go home again,” Lucifer said abruptly, turning back to Michael. “You know, apart from Gabriel, I’m pretty sure we’re the only two angels in existence who understand what that means.”
Michael gave a huff of agreement.
Lucifer ran a hand over his mouth, and stared at his brother. Michael, who was Michael, but also Sammy, his floppy-haired, earnest baby brother. Between the two, there wasn’t anyone or anything Lucifer cared about more.
“I’m sorry. For being a dick,” Lucifer blurted, without his usual composure. If he’d been half the asshole Sammifer was, he didn’t know why Michael even cared about him in the first place.
Michael raised an eyebrow.
“I’m sorry you’ve been a dick, too.”
Lucifer glared at him, because here he was, actually trying to make a sincere apology, and Michael was fucking interrupting.
“Shut up, bitch.” The retort came easily, without Lucifer even thinking about it. “Look, Lucifer and Michael – man, there is so much history there, I don’t know if that’s ever going to work again, ever.” He grimaced as he saw Michael slip into his stoic face, knowing that Michael used that particular expression to mask whatever he was feeling. “But Sam and Dean? We’ve been doing that since you were born, and so far, it’s working pretty well. So no, you can’t go home again. But maybe… maybe the trick isn’t to fix what’s broken. Maybe it’s to go with something new.”
Michael’s eyebrows flew up. Lucifer waited as Michael thought it over, his brow wrinkling in focused contemplation.
“Dean,” Michael said slowly. Lucifer didn’t miss a beat.
Sam gave a slow sigh, his body relaxing.
“This might not work out,” he warned. Lucifer scoffed.
“What, all the stuff we’ve been through, and you think finding out we’re Lucifer and Michael is going to break us? Pfft.”
Sam fought a smile.
“You realise I’m going to need to be in Heaven most of the time, right?” he pointed out. “Otherwise they’ll try destroying the world again.”
“So? When you don’t have to be there, we can hang out like normal. You can make Cas my official watcher, and put Gabriel in charge of operations on Earth, and voila.”
“While I’m sorting all of that out, you should do something about the conditions in Hell,” Sam mused.
“Nah. Too lazy.”
“Okay, maybe I’m not too lazy.”
Sam shook his head.
“I can’t believe you think this is going to work. Either I’m crazy, or you are.”
“What’s with this ‘either’ stuff?” Lucifer replied easily. “Dude, pretty sure we’re both considered nuts.”
“At least we have nothing on Gabriel.”
“Damn straight,” Lucifer agreed cheerfully. “Come on, bitch, let’s go tell the posse that the treaty’s a go.” He didn’t feel nearly as light-hearted as he was acting. Deep down he was still furious and upset. But well, he didn’t want to live without his brother, no matter how he felt, and maybe with time and effort, things between them would improve. Maybe Lucifer would eventually be able to let everything go, even if he was never able to forget.
“Jerk,” Sam said mildly, but he was smiling.
Gabriel and Castiel were still at the freaky nineteenth century Hell-café when Michael and Lucifer – no, Dean, Michael reminded himself – rejoined them. Cas was drinking what smelled like coffee heavily laced with alcohol, and sipping it with the kind of contemplation most people reserved for deep philosophical thoughts on life, the universe and everything. Michael bit back a grin as Cas frowned down into his cup, brow furrowed like he wasn’t sure what to make of the dark liquid.
“Hi,” said Michael, while Lucifer tried to arrange himself more comfortably in the seat opposite.
“Oh, you’re back,” said Gabriel. “How’d it go?”
“Dean and I sorted out a few things,” said Michael simply. It was hard to remember to call him Dean when he kept thinking of his brother as Lucifer. Maybe he should just try and call him Dean out loud and not bother trying to think of him that way.
“ ‘Dean?’ ” One of Gabriel’s mobile eyebrows crawled halfway up his forehead, the question interrogative.
“Dean,” Michael agreed, while Lucifer flagged down a passing waiter and ordered his own spiked coffee.
“I’m going to pretend this makes some kind of sense to me, and assume it’s something to do with your weird brotherly issues,” Gabriel speculated.
“Good guess,” Lucifer said casually. “Cas. What’s with the face?”
“You’re frowning,” Michael clarified, when Castiel looked up with a confused expression.
“Oh.” Cas gave his coffee a narrow-eyed look, and Michael saw that Gabriel was grinning and Lucifer looked like he wanted to laugh. “I’m not sure what to think of this beverage,” he said at length.
Lucifer leaned across to get a better look at Gabriel.
“Did you add sugar to his coffee?”
“Of course I added sugar!” Gabriel looked insulted. “What do you take me for?”
“I don’t know, Cas, maybe you’re just not a coffee person.” He gave a satisfied grin as his own coffee was delivered to the table.
“So, you made up. That’s great.” Gabriel drained his glass with a noisy slurp, and Michael frowned at the lack of table manners. “You want to share what happens now?”
“Actually, about that,” Michael began. Gabriel immediately looked wary. “I’ve got a task for you.”
Gabriel’s eyes widened in consternation.
“Oh hell no,” he yelped and tried to flee, but Lucifer lunged across and helpfully grabbed him by the back of his shirt before he could disappear.
“No problem, Sam,” Lucifer smirked.
“Oh, great,” Gabriel grumbled disgustedly, “the two of you tag-teaming me again, that’s just what I need.”
“Hey, we’re not fighting,” said Lucifer. “Thought that was what you wanted.”
“You are attracting attention from the other customers,” Cas noted calmly.
That was true. The other occupants of the café were alternately leaning forward in curiosity or trying to pretend nothing was happening in case things turned violent, while a couple of the waiters were hovering.
Lucifer raised an eyebrow at Michael, who leaned forward.
Some of the stiffness went out of Gabriel’s posture, and he sent Michael a suspicious look.
“You’re the Messenger,” said Michael earnestly. “You’re better at reaching people than I am.”
There was a long, tense moment as Gabriel’s eyes searched Michael’s.
“Okay, whatever,” Gabriel snapped. “Let go of me, you big lug.” He reached back to bat at Lucifer’s hand, and Lucifer obligingly let go.
They all sat back down.
“You two,” Gabriel said disgustedly. “You’re going to be twice as insufferable as before, aren’t you?”
Michael and Lucifer both shrugged in unison.
“Great.” Gabriel gave a loud sigh. “You realise this isn’t going to be easy. Raphael’s been practically baying for blood, and half of Heaven’s been right there with him.”
“Sam’s going to fix it like a boss,” Lucifer said cheerfully, like it wasn’t mostly his fault they were in this mess to start with. “Right, Sammy?”
Michael gave him an irritated look. Lucifer grinned back.
“You’re a dick.”
“Yep,” Lucifer agreed. Michael rolled his eyes. Dean or Lucifer, his brother was an asshole.
“Anyway,” Lucifer reminded Michael smoothly, “Cas.”
“Oh, right.” Michael had almost forgotten that he needed to reinstate Castiel. “Cas? By my command, you are restored to the Heavenly Host and promoted to the rank of seraphim, first order. Your new duty is as Lucifer’s official watcher, to keep him out of trouble and be his conscience when he needs one. Congratulations.”
“Hear that, dude? You’re my babysitter.”
The only angel present who looked at all surprised by this turn of events was Castiel, who appeared mildly stunned.
“Thank you,” he said tentatively, after a moment. “I will endeavour to fulfil my duties as much as possible.”
“Awesome.” Michael stood up. “Well, you can start now, because me and Gabriel are going to head off.”
“Noooow?” Gabriel whined. Michael kind of felt the same way, but the longer they put things off, the more trouble it was likely to be to deal with it.
“The sooner we get it done, the sooner it’s over,” Michael explained patiently.
“Yeah, so quit your bitching,” Lucifer agreed.
“I hate all of you,” Gabriel complained. “You hear me? All of you. With the passion of a thousand suns.” But he stood up and prepared to leave anyway.
“I’ll weep into my beer later,” Lucifer promised casually. “Later, bros.”
“Take care of yourself, dude. And Cas, make sure he doesn’t do any awful things to anyone.”
“I’ll try,” Cas said earnestly, but a little dubiously. Yeah, Michael wasn’t sure anyone could stop Lucifer doing awful things, at least not completely. But Castiel probably had a better chance than anyone else.
“On that note…” Gabriel drawled.
Together, Michael and Gabriel took flight, preparing to return to Heaven for the first time in a long while.
Ugh, this chapter, such a bitch. So, there's an epilogue to come, although I'm not sure exactly when, because I have an essay to write. And, uh, this is your last chance to mention if there's anything you'd like to see or have addressed, or maybe see an outtake for.
Also, if you like this fic, you may also enjoy this fic: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8084094/1/Team-WHAT
Chapter 12: Deus ex Machina
Here it is, guys - the epilogue you've all been waiting for.
For those of you who don't know, there is a story that takes place between chapter eleven, and the start of this one, in which Lucifer goes to sort out Hell like he promised Sam. You can find it by clicking on the 'Sympathy For the Devil' series link at the top of this page.
There will be a few outtakes and small ficlets set in this verse, later on, so keep an eye out for those.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
After six months, Earth-time, the chaos in Heaven had finally quietened down enough that for the first time since Michael had returned to Heaven, all of Team Earth – Lucifer, Michael, Castiel, and Gabriel – were once again slumming it like humans.
Raphael had been furiously angry when he discovered that Michael had no intention of bringing the apocalypse as originally planned, but against Michael and Gabriel he didn’t have much of a chance, and when Lucifer finally weighed in, backing Michael like the two of them had never been estranged, he finally gave in to the inevitable. Peace had been restored to Heaven, and Lucifer and Michael were finally able to enjoy some downtime as Dean and Sam Winchester, hunters.
Lucifer kind of wanted to be smug about how well he’d stopped the apocalypse, but well, considering that it was his fault it almost happened in the first place, he was pretty sure any smugness on his part would be ruthlessly quashed by Sam and Gabriel the instant it started up. So he stayed quiet and tried to keep any smugness to himself.
Hell was also running a lot more smoothly: Lucifer had gone down there and kicked ass until no one dared disobey him, and appointed some ambitious demon with enough brains not to annoy him as his ‘regent’ while he was away on Earth. Crowley was a clever son of a bitch, but he was also completely fucking terrified of Lucifer, and he’d been the only demon smart enough to keep out of Lucifer’s way and stay polite when Lucifer questioned him, so Lucifer figured Crowley wouldn’t be much of a problem even if he was ambitious.
Castiel had come along for the ass-kicking, apparently out of curiosity, and seemed to enjoy watching Lucifer set Hell straight after all the millennia. They made a weird couple, Lucifer concluded, but it worked for them.
Now, Lucifer and Sam and Castiel were just hanging around in a motel room, watching TV and drinking beer, arguing over what to watch and enjoying the break from their respective responsibilities.
“You know, I liked Heaven a lot more before I was human,” Sam mused. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s always going to be home, it’s just…”
“Boring as shit,” Lucifer finished for him bluntly. Sam sighed.
Suddenly, there were four angels in the room instead of three.
“Hey, amigos!” Gabriel chirped brightly.
“And where’ve you been?” Lucifer asked. Gabriel had been missing ever since Raphael had officially conceded defeat.
“Oh, you know. Here and there,” Gabriel shrugged. “Visiting family… let’s face it, I haven’t seen pretty much anyone in a long while.” He sent Sam and Lucifer a wary, sideways look as he snapped himself up a beer to match theirs. “Dad seems fairly proud of you both.”
Lucifer and Sam both froze. Castiel blinked in stunned surprise. There was a moment of heavy, dumbstruck silence.
“Dad?” Sam carefully repeated. Lucifer didn’t say anything. He could hear the blood pounding in his ears.
Gabriel looked surprised, although Lucifer was willing to bet it was an act.
“What, you two didn’t know? He’s been masquerading as a prophet.”
Chuck, Lucifer thought.
The ceiling light burst and left them all in darkness.
Lucifer fixed it with snap of his fingers. Michael got a good look at his face and hastily stood up.
“Excuse me,” said Lucifer, and got the fuck out of there.
Michael slowly sank back down into his seat.
“Should I follow him?” Castiel asked, looking concerned despite his own shock.
Michael was about to nod, but thought better of it.
“Give him some time to blow off steam first. He’ll probably want to smite some stuff before he talks to anyone.” He let out a long breath. He was kind of furious himself. “Goddammit.”
“You know, it’s funny you say that–” Gabriel began, but his jaw snapped shut when Michael sent him a poisonous look.
“By the way, great job, tactfully dropping that bomb into the middle of conversation,” Michael added sarcastically. “Well done.”
Castiel looked between him and Gabriel with a frowning look.
“Isn’t Father’s return a good thing?” he asked, and Michael sighed. Sometimes it was really evident that Castiel was younger than the rest of them.
“I guess, but it would have been nice if he’d shown up before now. And me and Dean… our feelings are kind of… complicated, at this point.”
“You should probably have a talk with him about that,” Gabriel recommended helpfully, with the complete opposite of subtlety. Michael sent him another glare, and Gabriel held his hands up in the universal gesture of peaceful surrender.
“What will you do?” Castiel asked, after a moment.
Michael snorted, because really, was there any doubt?
“Talk to him. What else?”
Lucifer spent a while blowing craters in the moon’s surface. Ages back, this had been an occasional hobby, and either the moon had been struck by a hell of a lot of meteorites since then or some of the other angels had taken up the hobby as well. Normally Lucifer would have been amused at the thought, but he was still too angry right now to be amused at anything. Hot fury sang in his blood, and he was so enraged he could barely think.
There really wasn’t that much satisfaction in exploding inanimate chunks of rock, though, so after a while Lucifer headed back down to Earth and spent several hours hunting down paedophiles, murderers and rapists in ways that would have put a trickster to shame. It was kind of cathartic, actually, and Lucifer wondered vaguely if Gabriel did it out of anger, too, or some other reason.
Lucifer was waiting at a particularly deserted hitchhiking spot, waiting for a guy with a long history of murdering hitchhikers, when Castiel showed up.
“What are you doing?” Cas asked, after glancing around at the empty surroundings with a puzzled frown.
Cas thought that one over, trying to make sense of it, and apparently failed.
Lucifer smirked maliciously.
“There’s a serial killer who picks up hitchhikers on this stretch of highway,” he explained casually. “This time he’s going to get a surprise.”
Castiel looked disapproving.
“This is about Father,” he said after a moment. “You’re angry.”
Lucifer felt the muscles across his shoulders tighten and his lips pull back from his teeth in a snarl.
“Don’t talk about things you don’t understand, Cas,” he warned silkily.
Cas wasn’t intimidated in the least. He kept staring at Lucifer like he was trying to get a read on him.
“I’d like to,” Castiel said honestly. “Understand,” he clarified.
Lucifer ignored him, and fixed his eyes on the approaching tanker instead.
He didn’t expect Castiel to move closer and take his hand. He turned to meet Cas’ eyes. There was no judgement there, just Castiel’s usual look of attentive observation, and a certain amount of concern.
Lucifer looked back at the tanker, but squeezed Cas’ hand.
“I already talked to Michael, okay? I don’t want to go over it again. You can’t imagine what it was like, Cas. I used to be the brightest of all the Host, and then I was cast out, torn into pieces, and was left to wander the Earth alone and oblivious with no idea who I really was. And all of it, at the hands of my own Father, Cas.”
As he finished talking, the tanker pulled up not far from the two angels, and the driver stuck his head out.
“You boys need a lift?” he called out.
“Jason Turner,” Lucifer called back nonchalantly. “Planning on murdering us and leaving our bodies in the desert, too?”
“What the fuck did you just say?!” the driver bellowed, his face contorting in shock and fear that he tried to cover with a look of indignant fury. “Who the hell are you, asshole?!”
Lucifer smiled coldly.
“I’m Lucifer, and I’m here to collect your sorry soul.” He snapped his fingers, and the tanker exploded in a giant fireball. Lucifer watched with satisfaction as the driver burnt with the tanker.
“That was unnecessary,” Castiel said, sounding displeased.
“But fun.” Lucifer gave a slight sneer. “He’d murdered eight people, Cas. Not exactly innocent, here.”
“Screw you, man. Can’t a guy explode murderers in peace?”
Cas just eyeballed him sternly.
“Sam has gone to talk to our Father.”
Lucifer felt himself freeze, and swore loudly and viciously.
“Right. Of course he has. Figures.”
“If it helps, he seemed furious. And you aren’t the only one with reason to be angry, Dean.”
Lucifer met Castiel’s eyes again. They were firm, and Cas didn’t exactly look happy, either, but at the same time he still looked sympathetic towards Lucifer’s feelings.
“Okay, fine, Jiminy Cricket.” Lucifer glared. “You win. No more exploding people.”
“Thank you.” Cas gazed at him. “No one has said you don’t have a right to be angry. But there are better ways of handling your anger.”
Lucifer snorted and raised an eyebrow, not missing the pointed tone.
“What, and you think Sam’s ‘talk it out’ crap is better?”
“Well, he can talk it out with Dad all he wants, but I’m not going, so there.” Lucifer tried to ignore the fact that his words came out sounding like he was five years old.
“As you wish,” Cas said mildly. His presence was strangely calming, Lucifer thought. He still felt insanely angry, but since Castiel had arrived, the blinding rage had subsided a little.
Cas was probably right. There were better ways to deal with his anger, no matter how he felt right now. Lucifer took a deep breath, and resolved to try a less violent method.
“You know what? I am going to go eat my weight in pie, and then I’ll decide what I’m going to do. How does that sound to you?”
“That seems reasonable,” Castiel agreed, relaxing slightly.
“Good. Come on, feathers. Let’s go. I want some goddamn pie.”
Michael stood and stared at Chuck Shurley’s house. The last time he’d seen it, it had been trashed by an archangel, but at some point in the intervening time it had been miraculously put back together.
Wondering who was responsible, Michael walked up to the front door and rang the bell.
Chuck opened the front door a moment later.
For a second, Chuck looked like a frightened rabbit, but then something behind his face changed, his eyes altering to a deeper blue, and Michael was standing in the unmistakeable presence of his Father.
“Hi,” said Chuck. “You want to come in?”
Michael didn’t trust himself to say anything, and gave a short nod. He followed Chuck inside.
“So,” Michael said after a moment. “I see your house got fixed.”
Chuck smiled slightly.
“Yeah, that was Lucifer. He fixed it a while back.”
“Lucifer? Really?” Michael asked in surprise. Sure, he knew that his brother had changed since becoming Dean, but he hadn’t expected Lucifer to fix Chuck’s house. Although, maybe he should have.
“Uh-huh. Fixed the heating and upgraded the bathroom, too. It was nice of him.”
“Wow, that’s really, um…” And Michael’s straining temper suddenly snapped. “What the hell, Dad?!” he howled, and glared at Chuck. “You’ve been around this whole time doing what, nothing? Where have you been? Heaven’s been off the rails, Raphael’s become a nihilist who blows people up, Gabriel went rogue and pretended to be a pagan god, and that’s before you even get near what happened with me and Lucifer!”
Michael realised that he was shouting, and waving his arms around in frustration. He folded them across his chest and glared at Chuck some more.
His Father sighed.
“Saying that there’s a purpose to everything I do isn’t going to satisfy you, is it?”
“I should damn well hope there’s a purpose,” Michael snapped. “But no. I think you’re going to need a much better explanation than that before I buy what you’re selling, Dad.”
Weirdly, Chuck just smiled at him fondly. Michael scowled back, baffled.
“Exactly,” Chuck pointed out gently. “Because you don’t just follow my Word anymore. At some point, you started thinking for yourself and making your own judgements. You’re not relying on my anymore, Michael. You’ve developed agency of your own.”
Michael felt like someone had punched him, and forgot to breathe for a second.
“You –” he began. The words that followed were some of the most creative, obscene curses that Michael could come up with, across every language in existence. Chuck looked vaguely impressed at how descriptive he was, but Michael couldn’t stop himself.
“…and fuck you,” he finally finished, breathing heavily.
There was a moment’s silence.
Michael sent his Father an angry look, but grudgingly admitted,
“You needed to learn,” Chuck explained patiently. “All of you. Okay, so some of your brothers are… really behind, on that one… but you all still needed to learn. Autonomy, independence, that kind of thing.”
“Even Lucifer?” Michael asked sardonically. His Father grimaced.
“Lucifer had lessons of his own to learn,” Chuck said sternly. “About responsibility, empathy, and compassion. Some of your brothers need to learn those lessons, too. But my point is, you all needed to learn to be your own people, not just sentient extensions of my will, and you couldn’t do that if I was there holding your hand the whole time. You needed to leave the nest and–”
“If you finish that with a metaphor about learning to fly, I’m out of here,” Michael interrupted. He was not going to stand there and be subjected to trite, cheesy metaphors.
Chuck shrugged, but didn’t continue, so Michael had probably guessed right about the cheesy metaphors.
“I think what makes me angriest,” Michael said finally, “is that you made me help imprison Lucifer. He can’t forgive either of us for that, you know.”
“But he needed it,” Chuck replied implacably. “Think about it, Michael. If it hadn’t been you, do you think Lucifer would have ever really thought about why he was punished that way, long enough to realise where he went wrong? Or just kept on insisting that he was in the right?”
Michael ground his teeth, because he could see what his Father meant.
“I don’t fucking care,” he gritted out. “You shouldn’t have used me that way. Especially not if it was just to make a point.”
“Maybe,” he conceded easily. “We can argue all you like about it, but the past is immutable.”
“Only because you want it to be,” Michael muttered.
“Because otherwise people won’t–” Chuck began.
“– learn from their mistakes,” Michael chorused, wearily. “I don’t care, okay? Good reason or not, I don’t care. I’m still allowed to be angry at you for it.”
“See? Learning,” his Father said approvingly.
Michael took a deep breath.
“I’m starting to get why Lucifer thinks you’re such a dick.”
Chuck grinned unexpectedly.
“Like I said, you’re learning. You know, I am so proud of you two. I had no idea if you’d come this far. It’s one of the things about free will. You can create all you want, but once you let your creations go… it’s all up to them.” He paused. “Like baby birds, fresh from the n–”
“Will you – just stop with that metaphor? Please?” Michael asked, trying to sound polite. He ran a hand through his hair. “I think… I think I need to think about some of this.”
Chuck nodded understandingly.
“Well, I’m not going anywhere.” His eyes went distant for an instant. “When you leave, you should probably check on Lucifer. He’s not taking this well.”
Michael laughed wryly.
“What, like I am? Yeah, I’ll talk to him. I’ll see you… some other time, I guess.”
He started to walk towards the door, but stopped before he was through the doorway.
“Dad? It’s good to have you back,” he added quietly, and left before his Father could respond.
Lucifer was on his third slice of pie when Gabriel popped up behind Cas.
“You mad?” Gabriel asked innocently.
“I’m gonna wring your scrawny little neck, you asshole,” Lucifer growled. It came out a little garbled through the mouthful of pie, but still intelligible.
“I’m going to assume that’s a yes.” Gabriel sat himself down on the seat next to Castiel’s just out of Lucifer’s reach. “Come on, give me a break. There was no good way to tell you about that.”
“You could have found a better one,” Castiel told him dryly. Gabriel shrugged.
“Maybe I’m bored of being the Messenger. Or maybe I’m just that lacking in tact.”
“My money’s on both,” Sam guessed, joining them. Lucifer glowered and ignored him. “So, I talked to Dad.”
Lucifer took a savage bite of pie and ignored him even harder. Sam eyed him worriedly.
“There was, uh, a lot of yelling. On my part. And swearing.”
“You swore at our Father?” Castiel sounded somewhere between impressed and scandalised.
“So I was maybe a little upset,” Sam retorted, sounding annoyed. He slid his eyes back to Lucifer. “Dean?”
Sam shut up.
Lucifer continued eating his pie. The others kept watching him.
“Stop staring at me,” he hissed.
“Come on, Mikey,” Gabriel said cautiously. “Let’s leave him to eat his feelings for a while.”
“I am not eating my feelings–” Lucifer said, low and dangerous, but Sam just gave him another worried look.
“If you need me, just give me a yell, man,” he said, and was gone.
Lucifer cut his pie into tiny, tiny pieces with his pie-spork, and didn’t say another word.
Lucifer spent the next few weeks in a state of simmering, tranquil rage. He had it more or less under control – sometimes lights flickered and occasionally exploded, and now and again Lucifer twitched with the urge for sudden violence, but that was about it – and spoke in the calm, smooth voice that made the others keep a wary eye on him, afraid of an impending explosion.
The thing was, Lucifer had so much rage he had no idea what to do with it. He couldn’t express it without causing a hell of a lot of destruction, so he kept it locked down, barely holding himself in check, which only made things worse. And behind the rage, there were other feelings Lucifer didn’t even want t acknowledge right now, but which burned as much as the anger did.
After a couple of weeks of this, Gabriel said,
“You could go and visit Dad, you know.”
Lucifer gave him a long, thoughtful look. Gabriel flinched.
“I mean, no one’s going to make you or anything,” he backtracked, “obviously, I’m just saying, and this is only a suggestion, that it might do you some good to get a few things off your chest?”
“I really don’t think it would,” Lucifer said expressionlessly.
“Okay then. Let’s just pretend we never had this conversation,” Gabriel chirped brightly, and escaped before anything exploded, like the lights or the TV or even just Lucifer himself.
It probably would have gone on indefinitely, except that Lucifer was on another pie excursion and had just sat down with a slice of pie when he felt a sudden, distinctive presence. Time stopped, and everyone but Lucifer froze in place, unaware and unmoving.
A moment later, a weedy, vaguely scruffy guy sat down in the seat opposite him. Lucifer carefully didn’t look at him.
“I’m very proud of you, you know,” said his Father. Lucifer still refused to look away from his plate of pie.
After a moment, Chuck sighed.
“You always were the difficult one.”
“Why are you here?” Lucifer asked shortly. Chuck was quiet for a moment.
“I know you’re very angry. But you would have come to see me anyway, even if it was only for a spectacular display of temper, if you didn’t feel just as ashamed as you do angry. That’s why you stayed away; not because you’re angry. Because you’re ashamed, and facing me and feeling shamed is kind of a new thing for you.”
Lucifer still didn’t meet his Father’s eyes, but felt his heart sink down to somewhere near his shoes.
Because his Father was right – of course he was right; he was always frigging right – about how he felt. If Lucifer had only been furious he would have gone straight to Chuck’s house and raged at his Father, just like he used to, maybe replicating the damage Raphael had done to the house in the process.
But Lucifer’s feelings were a lot more complicated than they used to be, and at the same time as he wanted to scream and break things over what had been done to him, he also didn’t want to face his Father’s displeasure and disappointment in him, knowing that they were justified.
“So,” Chuck added, when Lucifer didn’t say anything, “I figured that since we really needed to talk, and you weren’t going to come to me, I’d come to you.”
“How could you do that to me?” Lucifer burst out without really meaning to, and flinched. “Wait, no – I don’t want to know.”
“Yeah, you do,” Chuck disagreed gently. “And it’s pretty simple. No parent wants their child to be a monster, Lucifer.”
That hurt, and Lucifer hunched in his chair, but Chuck watched him with kind, vaguely-detached eyes.
“It was pretty clear you weren’t going to change on your own,” Chuck continued. Lucifer wished his Father would stop, but at the same time he was hanging on every word. He had to know. “You’ve always been aware you’re dangerous, but I think you’re only now beginning to understand what that actually means, for everyone else. You threatened to destroy so many lives, and to you they were insignificant, but they all are, and always have been my children, and I have always loved them just as much as I love you.”
Chuck turned his hands palm-up and spread them in a gesture of helplessness.
“Just the fact that I cared about them at all made you even more angry and jealous. I couldn’t let you continue as you were, not when all you wanted was death and destruction for beings who were your brothers and sisters, even if you refused to see them that way. In the end, I had to decide whether you had the potential to be redeemed, or if I would be better destroying you – for everyone else’s sake.”
Lucifer was staring blindly at his piece of pie, his vision too blurred by tears to really see it.
“I decided to give you another chance,” his Father said softly. Lucifer still didn’t look up, even when tears dripped down his nose and landed on his pie. “I hoped, that if you were given a chance to see humanity from their own perspective, then you might begin to understand that what you had done – what you had tried to do – was wrong.” Chuck’s voice turned suddenly, unexpectedly warm. “And I was right. You have learned everything I could have wished for, and I am very, very proud of you.”
Lucifer couldn’t help it, he broke into sobs. Instantly the feeling of his Father’s presence wrapped around his Grace, loving and infinitely forgiving, and just as proud as his Father had claimed.
“I’m sorry,” Lucifer choked out, as all the feelings he’d been suppressing surged to the surface. His Father just continued to radiate love and pride, as Lucifer sobbed himself out.
He had been so angry, for so long. He’d spent such a long time, never understanding why his Father made the decisions he did – all Lucifer had understood was that he felt like he and the other angels had been pushed aside for new, unimportant interests of his Father, abandoned and undervalued despite all the time they’d poured into loving him and doing his will. And because he didn’t understand – had wanted, more than anything, to feel that he and his brothers were all loved again like they used to be – he had been angry and hurt, taking it out on everyone else, humanity most of all. And then all of the other angels had taken their Father’s side, leaving Lucifer the only one trying to change what he saw as a grave injustice, and he hadn’t understood that, either. Being cast out and having his Grace stripped away had been the biggest betrayal of all.
Except that then Lucifer had spent millennia living as one human after another, and then Dean, and all of a sudden, he’d started to understand where everyone else was coming from. Because that was the thing: in all his long existence as an angel, Lucifer had never learnt how to put himself in someone else’s place, to work out how they felt and why. It was something most angels had trouble with to some degree, but Lucifer had lacked the ability completely. And then, somehow, after all those reincarnations, Lucifer had finally developed it, and started to understand why everyone had behaved as they did, and what they had been feeling – his Father, Michael, the other angels, the humans – and that, in a way, hurt most of all. Because even when he was unhappy and angry, Lucifer had sincerely believed that he was doing the right thing – only it turned out he hadn’t been doing the right thing at all. He hadn’t even been a good person. Instead, he’d been a monster. And that realisation, the understanding of what he had done and how he had made other people feel (without even really knowing what he was doing at the time), had been terrible. Lucifer had been repressing it as much as he possibly could, trying to focus on changing his behaviour and channelling all his other emotions into anger at Michael and his Father, because anger was something he knew how to cope with. But underneath, all the other feelings had still been haunting him.
Lucifer wasn’t sure how long he was crying for, but suddenly the Grace of three other angels joined them – Sam, Castiel, and Gabriel.
“Dean,” he heard Sam say, horrified and concerned, and a moment later Sam’s ginormous arms wrapped around him in a crushing hug. Lucifer leaned into it as best he could, considering his awkward position. A second pair of arms wrapped around him awkwardly, and Lucifer found himself at the centre of a comforting huddle of angels.
Someone patted him on the head.
“I’d join in, but between those two you look strangled enough,” Gabriel informed him cheerfully.
Lucifer had to admit, with his face full of Sam’s hair and Castiel’s arms wound awkwardly around his neck while Sam held him close, physically it was kind of an uncomfortable position.
“Hey, Dad. I’ve been trying to get him to talk to you for weeks, but you know what he’s like when he’s stubborn.”
There was another light pat to Lucifer’s head, and Gabriel moved away.
Lucifer concentrated on his breathing for a few minutes, and blinked away the last few tears. His Father was still sitting opposite, watching the pile of angels across from him with a look of indulgent fondness.
Lucifer cleared his throat. He still felt shaky and emotional, but did his best to compose himself.
“You’re not coming home, are you?”
Chuck cocked a knowing eyebrow at the word ‘home’ being used about Heaven, but replied,
“No, I’m not.”
“I still think it’s a dick move,” Sam muttered, and since he was still bending down and wrapped around Lucifer like an octopus Lucifer heard every word.
“Yes, Michael. You’ve made that clear.” Chuck sounded amused, but impatient. “I’m going to continue living as Chuck Shurley and no one but you four are going to know the truth of where I am. The others still need to learn. Which reminds me.”
He leaned across and patted Castiel’s shoulder. There was a change. Cas blinked.
“Cas. You’re an archangel,” said Lucifer, after a moment, because someone had to say something, come on.
“He is.” Lucifer’s Father sounded smug. “He’ll make a good role model.”
Castiel just kept staring at himself, and waving his new extra appendages experimentally. Despite his lingering emotions from earlier, Lucifer grinned as Cas spread one much-bigger wing and peered at the two wings folded tidily underneath it like he was surprised to find them there. He had the same air of bemused discovery Lucifer had seen in really young kids. It made Lucifer want to laugh. He glanced at Sam and Gabriel, to see Sam smiling and Gabriel looking like he wanted to laugh, too. Their Father just continued to look fondly at them all.
“Yeah, Cas, archangels have three pairs of wings,” Lucifer told him, grinning.
“It will be interesting to leave my vessel and test my new form,” Cas acknowledged.
“You’re adorable,” said Lucifer. And then, because he was genuinely starting to get sick of being unable to move even if he liked the affection, he added, “will you guys get off me, already? I’m fine.”
“Sure, that’s why you were weeping into your pie,” Gabriel said agreeably.
“Fuck you, man,” Lucifer said, not meaning it, as Sam and Castiel detached themselves.
He looked back at his Father.
“So, what, it’s all up to us, now?” he wanted to know.
“I’m retired. That’s how it works, you know. The parents retire, and the kids take over the business.”
In spite of himself, Lucifer had to chuckle.
“You magnificent bastard,” he said, shaking his head. He was still angry, and hurt and ashamed as hell besides, but, well. This was his Father. There was still a lot to sort out, same as with Michael, but for now, Lucifer was just going to enjoy the reconciliation he’d once thought was never going to happen.
His Father only smiled at him, warm and serene.
“It’ll be alright, Lucifer.”
And Lucifer believed him.
First of all, I want to thank everyone who has been reading this story. It got an amazing reception that I never expected, and is the most popular story I have ever posted to AO3. So thanks for that.
Before I started this story, I had written only a handful of Supernatural fics all year. I've been slowly moving out of the fandom, into stuff like Sherlock and The Avengers, and the plot bunnies had slowly dried up pretty much to nothing. Once I finished my Supernatural/Avengers crossover 'Not Yet The End' and it's little coda, I figured I'd probably written my last Supernatural story.
It was then, out of the blue, that I got the idea for 'Sympathy for the Devil (and Dean Winchester)'. It was fun, and it was silly, and I figured that as one last story for the fandom, it would do. I never expected it would end up as long and as complicated as it did, or that people would love it so much. I still think that I'm unlikely to write much more in the Supernatural fandom - there's a few incomplete things I want to finish, but apart from that, I doubt I'll be writing any more Supernatural stuff - but I figure that as a swan-song for this fandom, 'Sympathy for the Devil (and Dean Winchester)' is a fine note to go out on. So thank you, all of you, who have read any of my Supernatural fics. It's been great.