The transformation was instantaneous. Lucifer did not disturb a molecule of the air in his arrival, no wind heralded his approach. Only the glide of his cloak against the flagstones betrayed his presence to the one who waited.
Silence interrupted, Thomas came out of the dream with a jerk, the coarse sheets wrapped around his legs chafing them, leaving red welts on his calves. His half-closed eyes took calming comfort in the flickering candle by the bed, careful not to let his panting breath extinguish the light. It was the only thing that anchored him when the dreams came. It was never easy to be a prophet.
"Who's there?" He turned to the far wall of his cell quickly to puzzle out the shadows. "Show yourself!"
Lucifer chuckled and allowed the shadows to flee into the night. Before the glow could overwhelm the room, Lucifer crossed over to the side of the bed, pressing his cold hand against Thomas' heated cheek. "It is only me, Thomas. No need to give yourself a heart attack. I will have no use for your soul for several years."
Thomas ignored the familiar rebuke and collapsed against the burlap sack he used for a pillow, aware that he was allowing Lucifer to lull him from his panic. He didn't care anymore. "Why do you torment me?" He groaned, returning his gaze to the soothing flame, wishing it would give him his answers.
"Prophecy is not of my realm," but Lucifer smiled when he said it and Thomas resigned himself to another night's instruction. The Devil never gave him straight answers to his dreams, but he never left him wanting. And that, Thomas decided, was the problem. The Devil satisfied all his wants. There was something unsettling in the thought. "Eat up," Lucifer said, and offered Thomas a ripe pear. "You need your strength."
Thomas, typically, ignored the offering and focused on the minute. "How do you do that?" Lucifer's smile was infuriating. "Draw things from nothingness?"
"How do you wake up every morning?"
Thomas shrugged as best as he could while huddling under the rough blankets. Lucifer would laugh at him if he asked to be left even a shred of dignity. "That's nature."
"The same." Lucifer perched on the chair by the bed and held Thomas' eye though he knew the monkey would not be dissuaded so easily.
"Are you suggesting that everyone could do it?"
Lucifer's fingers trailed Thomas' chin and lifted his head, voice taking on a lecturing tone so often used in Thomas' presence. "Everything is in white, my dear doubter. All colors, all possibilities. And light, in all its forms, is nothing but white. White is the beginning and ending of all things, the alpha and the omega of sorts. From red to violet and into the deep recesses of Null. White is light in all its simplicity and complexity." Lucifer formed a prism with his second and third fingers before Thomas' lips. "Breathe," Lucifer instructed and the warm air split into the spectrum before his doubting eyes. "Light attracts me, Thomas. Light...compels me, fire most of all. A vital light source, and so destructive. And in its center is pure white. But white is also nothing."
Thomas licked his lips, tongue touching Lucifer's dark fingers almost accidentally. "White is purity." They had taught him that and of all the lessons learned in seminary, that one was the hardest to lose. White was pure, black was not.
"Purity is absence," Lucifer corrected and passed his hand through the air. "White is nothingness."
Lucifer raised a cultured eyebrow and Thomas flushed and drew in a shuddering breath. Rainbows danced before the prism and Thomas watched in wonderment as they absorbed themselves into Lucifer's dark shirt. "Shall I call true Light into being, Thomas? Everything and nothing, pure white. Something to adorn your cell, perhaps?"
"You can - you can do that?"
"'Let there be light,' Lucifer smiled, then shrugged. "It's a simple trick, Thomas."
"But you're Dark. You're darkness. Evil."
Lucifer tsked and moved in close to Thomas' ear. Thomas winced into the aural caress and held himself still. "You're forgetting the very first lesson, my dear priest. Lucifer. Son of morning." Lucifer closed his eyes and breathed cold air against the sensitive flesh behind the curl of Thomas' ear. "I bring the Light."
Lucifer's laugh whispered along the small hairs of Thomas' neck as Lucifer moved his attentions south. "I'm a creature of the Light. Angels were created on the second day; I was created on the first. I may not be purity, Thomas, but I am a creature whose signature is white. I am light. I am everything and nothing. Conjuring is as simple as breathing."
"And God? Jesus?"
"I told you to forget about him," the growl was back in the Devil's voice as he moved his way across Thomas' quivering neck. "You're mine. You don't ever have to worry about him. I love you more than he ever could."
"Shh..." Lucifer's hands pushed Thomas against the monastery's standard-issue sheets and they turned immediately to silk. "You asked me once what I had. You had your soul, you had your faith." Lucifer's twisting fingers made quick work of Thomas' doubt and Thomas drew in another shuddering breath. "And what do I have? Thomas. What do I have?"
"Me," Thomas whispered harshly as the Devil claimed him. "You have me."
"Yes," Lucifer promised, delighted at the easy conquest. "I have you." From Lucifer's natural glow came white light, which quickly overtook the cell and blinded Thomas. But before his vision cleared, he Understood.
And it was Good.