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No Rest for the Devil

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Crowley stood in front of the one and only nightclub in Los Angeles that was owned by the Devil himself, the Old Scratch, Satan, et cetera, et cetera—well, in short, by the most annoying King of Hell ever, his older brother, Lucifer.

And of course, it wasn’t like Crowley went around telling every random person he met that yes, sure, he wasn’t just a lowly demon, oh no, not even the Serpent of Eden, who the hell even remembered that, but yeah, well, did he also mention being a fallen archangel?

Raphael, to be exact?

Yeah. Yeah, no wonder he kept his damn mouth shut about it.

And no wonder he didn’t want to meet Lucifer here on Earth – or anywhere else, really – but he needed to know. He needed to know what his plans were. Because, Antichrist, seriously? Lucifer wanted to get someone pregnant and end the world itself? What about his fucking nightclub? Crowley’s whole fucking life on Earth? Fucking balls on him.

At least Angel—Aziraphale wasn’t here, since it could get dangerous pretty quickly. Brothers or not, Lucifer was still his Boss. #1 Worst Boss in the world, but Boss nonetheless.

Still, God was gone. Crowley had no idea how or… how even, but Aziraphale had come bearing the news that since God was gone, both Archangels Gabriel and Michael decided to take matters into their own hands. Meaning – contacting Hell and deciding it was time for The Ineffable War and the end of the word. And handing him (him, Crowley!! like, really? really??) a baby!

A big no in his books, that it was. So, he needed to have some words with Lucifer, first. Out of all his brothers, Lucifer was probably the last one to try and smite him on sight.

So – into the club he went, yellow eyes squinting behind the sunglasses.

 

*-*

 

“Whoo!” Lucifer lifted his glass in a toast. Brittanys were giggling as they gathered around him, obviously already pretty drunk on their drinks. Unfortunately – for him, not for Chloe, if someone were to ask her - the Detective had a movie night with the Spawn today. Ever since Lucifer had returned from the alternate universe of those two stubborn hunters and his angelic brother, he was making sure that he wouldn’t be alone even for a single hour. It didn’t mean sex – oh no, the Detective and him had had The Talk and now he was very, very monogamous – but it was about enjoying the company of other people.

About it and… not letting himself think too much.

He was getting pretty good at it, too! If he said so himself, that is. Chloe and Amenadiel both kept sneaking those worried, bloody annoying glances at him every now and then, and… Ah. How dared they.

After his twentieth shot of vodka or so, Lucifer finally noticed a new person in the nightclub. And no, it wasn’t to say that he always noticed bloody everyone that came in to have fun, but… seriously, what special kind of asshole would wear sunglasses not only indoors, but in a nightclub!?

“Hey! Heeeello, you!” Lucifer waved at the asshole – maybe the wave was not as dignified as he’d like to think so – but it did what it was supposed to do. Made the asshole turn away from the bar and pay attention.

It caused Lucifer to pay attention as well, even through the drunken fog clouding his brain.

“Bloody hell, no,” he breathed out, brown eyes going impossibly wide. “Crawly! Absolutely not!”

The aforementioned Serpent of Eden made his way through the crowd – and through the Brittanys, pushing them apart unceremoniously – to Satan himself. Who, at the moment, weirdly resembled a deer caught in the headlights.

It made Crowley’s eyebrows climb very, very high up his forehead. If he didn’t know better, he’d say that Lucifer looked scared of him. But that was ridiculous, wasn’t it?

“Boss.” Crowley swayed on his feet as he nodded in greeting. “Long time no see.”

“Crawly!” It was almost joyful. Almost. “Can’t it stay that way? Also, I’m quite in a hurry, so if you forgive me…”

Yeah. Definitely something shady was going on. And since Lucifer was apparently short on time...

“Alrighty, let me get straight to the point,” Crowley never had a great self-preservation instinct, and moreover, he was a bloody idiot now, apparently. A suicidal one at that, too. “Did you get someone pregnant, oh my Lord?”

Lucifer just blinked at him instead of just saying yes or no. His messy, matted hair was falling in his eyes as he looked around, still holding the glass in his hand. Probably searching for hidden cameras, or something.

“Is this a joke, or...?”

“No, it’s quite a serious question. Stop dicking around. Literally.” Crowley hissed at him, taking a step forward. To his genuine surprise, Lucifer took a step back at the same time. “You’re the King of Hell, are you not? They had to consult you first since it’s going to be your fucking Antichrist, Boss,” he almost spat. “Take some responsibility, Lucifer.”

No, Lucifer thought, half-panicking, no, no, no, no, no. It wasn’t possible, alright? It couldn’t be happening.

“First of all, Crawly, look who’s talking.” He held up his hand, trying so so hard to stay calm. He wasn’t really succeeding, though. “Se—”

“It’s Crowley now,” the demon interrupted him suddenly.

“What?”

“Crowley. It’s Crowley, not Crawly. I’ve changed it. Wanted to spice things up a little.”

“Honestly, I can’t keep track of every time you abruptly decide to change your name, darling.” Lucifer clenched his jaw, his voice dropping just a bit lower, just a bit more dangerous. “And watch your tone, please, I’m still your King. I won’t tolerate this.”

Crowley smiled tightly as he kept swaying back and forward, but then he stopped.

“Sure you won’t.” His another step forward, Lucifer’s another step back. Almost as if they were dancing. “Darling.”

“Don’t you dare—“ Lucifer started, his eyes turning red for a brief second to remind Crowley of his place, only to be interrupted by the demon catching his wrist and squeezing it painfully.

“Shut it,” he hissed again, this time much more urgently. “The world is going to end because of you and your baby, the archangels are coming, demons in Hell are working with them to start a war, the War, and you can’t shut up about your bloody ego for a moment!?”

Before Lucifer could answer that – either with throwing Crowley across the dance floor, people be damned, or with just turning around, going to pack his things and moving the hell out of Los Angeles, because… not… not another apocalypse, please – all the lights went out.

And, to make things even worse, both Lucifer and Crowley sensed the presence of another angel at the same moment. Not that it was too hard, because the archangel Michael – Lucifer’s Michael, but it still made Lucifer freeze – stood before them with a smile that was more of a way to calm them down than a real thing.

“I couldn’t help but overhear a part of your conversation. Lucifer. Crowley.” Michael kept smiling even as he talked. It looked… unnatural. “And I just wanted to say, don’t bother. It has already begun.”

Chapter Text

Lucifer couldn’t move.

Of course, he was aware that yes, it wasn’t that Michael, but it still was Michael. And seeing that unnerving smile on a face that looked so similar to his own, his brain mixing it together with what happened in the Cage… A shiver ran down his spine, and it was only then when Lucifer realized that Michael was talking.

“…I watched you play I’m still standing. Interesting choice of song, I admit,” commented Michael, almost matter-of-factly. “It was my first visit down here since Father disappeared. You wouldn’t know anything about that, Lucifer, would you?”

“You watched me?” Alright, so deflection it is. “You perv.”

He didn’t miss the weird look that Crowley shot him. Or the way the demon inched closer to the yelling and complaining crowd, almost as if he was planning on escaping. Sure, why not, just leave him alone.

“Lucifer…” Michael took a graceful step forward, invading Lucifer’s personal space. “Have you, or have you not, had something to do with Father’s disappearance? Remember, the Devil doesn’t lie.”

Bloody hell, wasn’t that just wonderful? What was he supposed to say to that!?

“Yes, well… after giving this particular subject some thought… What do you mean the apocalypse has begun?”

Michael jutted his chin out, eyes narrowing – it was pretty much impossible not to notice the lack of answer from Lucifer - but he still spoke. “The Child is here.”

“What!?” Sure, Crowley was doing pretty much everything to just blend into the background, or even better yet, into the crowd, but he couldn’t help the startled question that just tore itself out of his throat. Lucifer echoed his sentiment, though.

“But I always use protection!” He protested, earning himself incredulous looks from both his brothers. “What? Don’t be silly, cover your willy!”

“Wow,” Crowley murmured quietly, feeling amazed despite himself. “Just wow.”

“Doesn’t matter. The Child is here and it won’t be stopped. And, before I go, Lucifer? I came to warn you. You might avoid and deflect, but Heaven knows it was you.” Michael smiled. Again, that unnatural smile. “Crowley,” he turned to the demon who froze. “Don’t think we forgot about you either.”

“One can only wish.” Crowley bared his teeth in a definitely uncomfortable smile. Well, it looked more like a grimace, but did it really matter?

“Your return to Hell is demanded by Beelzebub themselves.” Michael stated calmly. “And if I were you, I—”

That was quite enough.

“Demanded by Beelzebub themselves?” Lucifer asked, voice saccharine sweet, yet his smile was everything but. “Lovely. I didn’t know they were in charge now. Last time I checked, I still was the righteous King, was I not? And Crowley stays with me, here.”

“Beelzebub…”

“I don’t care about bloody Beelzebub!” He snapped. "And since when you’re on such good terms with them, brother? Is that something the other angels are even aware of?”

Finally, the smile on Michael’s face faltered for a second before turning almost vicious.

“This isn’t over, Lucifer. And you should think really hard about what team you’re on, because currently? It’s not the winning one. See you soon, brother.”

“Oh, I hope it’s as soon as Hell freezes over,” Lucifer drawled out, voice dripping with sarcasm, “and I’m not arranging that!”

There was no answer to that – none except for the lights all coming back to life at once, blinding Lucifer for a hot second there. When he was able to see again, the archangel was already gone. A real smooth French leave, wasn’t it? Bloody hell.

“That was… intense.”

Right. Crowley. Still here.

“That’s one word for it.” Lucifer pulled away from the bar and started walking towards the elevator. “Come with me.”

The moment they got into Lucifer’s penthouse, the Devil groaned. He went straight for the abandoned glass of whisky from earlier this day. He had left it on the piano, and would you look at that, what a great idea that had been.

“Oh no, do you have an alcohol problem?” Crowley asked sweetly. He was looking around the apartment, and no, he wasn’t trying to be a little shit to Lucifer. Well. Probably because there was no need to try.

“Do you have a courage one?” Lucifer shot back right away as he finished downing the glass. “Because you’re awfully confident here with me, but with Michael there? Not a bloody word uttered.”

“Wha—” Crowley spluttered. “Oh no, no. I did say a word. A few, actually. Like, “what”. Or “wow”. What else was I supposed to say!? Oh, oh, Your Excellency, The Most Reverend Archangel Michael, please, why don’t you go and smite me while you’re at it??”

Lucifer raised an eyebrow. He probably should thank someone for little miracles – like finding out that he was a truly merciful devil of infinite patience, or that he was slowly getting used to Crowley’s presence.

That last one probably was more of a curse, than a miracle, but oh well. If he really had to choose between his brothers, he preferred Crowley to Michael. Considering, you know, that he didn’t have any traumatic memories concerning Crowley after all, and seven years of them when it came to Michael. Not this Michael, but—

Right. No thinking.

I can go and smite you while I’m at it,” he protested instead. Mostly for the sake of protesting, but still.

The corners of Crowley’s mouth quirked up slightly, yet before it could become a full-on smirk, he cleared his throat.

“I need a list of all your ex-girlfriends.”

“There’s only one, Eve,” Lucifer murmured absently, his attention wavering as he tried to block the returning memories. “Wait, what?”

“I need to find your fucking Rosemary, get it? Or is that too hard to understand for such a thick-skulled di—”

Finish that sentence and the next thing you’ll know I’ll be ripping out your tongue, cutting your arm off with it, and then beating you to death with said arm.”

“—vine, handsome Satan like, eh, like you are, oh my Lord.”

Saved.

“Bloody hell.” Lucifer closed his eyes, seemingly giving up. “And I don’t think you mean my ex-girlfriend, but the looooong list of my female sexual partners. I promise you, though, no one’s pregnant.”

“Your Satanic Highness,” Crowley advanced towards him, stomping. This time Lucifer didn’t back away from him, but he tensed visibly anyway. “You heard Michael, did you fucking not?”

“I did. And I tell you, the only angel here that has managed to impregnate a human, is—oh.” It was such a quiet, amazed oh. Lucifer stared at the wall, his eyes wide, as he contemplated the fate of his nephew. “But it can’t be, really! He’s half angel, half human, not—not half devil, half human. How is this possible?”

Seriously, Crowley was already feeling a pulsating headache on one side of his head. This was a lot harder than what he had expected. And—what even was the deal with Lucifer looking ready to run every time he tried to get closer to him? Well. Didn’t mean he couldn’t use it to his advantage, did it?

“First of all, I have no fucking idea what are you yammering about.” Alright, what time was it? Right, time to be suicidal again. And so Crowley blocked Lucifer’s path and jabbed his finger into the Devil’s chest. “Explain.”

Lucifer shot him such an uncomfortable smile that Crowley’s stomach dropped, the feeling of immense guilt settling in it. It was, well, new to him, since it didn’t concern his Angel.

“Lovely.” Lucifer poured himself another drink, doing everything in his power not to take a step back, tempted to put some space between Crowley and him. He didn’t know why he was reacting like that, but—maybe it was something about brothers of his thinking him evil, wanting to reform him—NO.

“Lovely?” Crowley drawled out, “Lovely?? That’s all you have to say? What’s so lovely, anyway?”

“You feeling sooo comfortable in my presence, my little serpent.” Lucifer swallowed a whole mouthful of whisky. “A lot has changed, I see.”

“You should be the last person to talk.” Crowley murmured under his nose, but – at Lucifer’s questioning gaze – he just shook his head. No, he wasn’t going to say it louder, he wasn’t that stupid. “And come on, Satan, spill.”

The aforementioned Satan looked pretty indignant at being called that. Seriously. He had a name. And he said as much after even more affronted “I beg your pardon?”

“Well, to sum all those amazing things up, Amenadiel has a child,” he finally sighed. “And with no one other than my therapist. Really.”

“…You have a therapist?

That is what caught your attention? That? Should I repeat the whole sentence? Run it by you once or twice more?”

“Fine.” Crowley huffed. Yes, sure, more things had caught his attention, but that didn’t mean this one wasn’t the most shocking. Yeah, yeah, the angel-human baby, too. But still. A therapist?! “Fine. Can your nephew—”

Our nephew.”

“Yeah, well, if you insist, Boss.” Because since when Lucifer – King of Hell himself – was so adamant about them being brothers? He was his goddamned Lord. “Can… our… nephew be the Child Michael was talking about?”

If Charlie was the Child, it meant that Michael was right, and the apocalypse indeed had started, first cogwheels turning, sounds of creaking and groaning echoing through the universe. Still, they surely had some time. A baby couldn’t exactly destroy the whole world, right? Because how, by crying too loud?

Lucifer winced, vividly remembering the first time Amenadiel had left Charlie with him for a whole night of babysitting. And no, to his disappointment, Red Bull hadn’t actually given him a second pair of wings, and done nothing to stop the dark circles under his eyes from appearing. Bloody useless energy drink.

Crowleeey.” There it was, an evil smile that betrayed all innocence and sent shivers down Crowley’s spine. Ah shit, he knew he shouldn’t have trusted that little game Lucifer had been playing. Really, the Devil scared of a lowly serpent? Insisting on said serpent acknowledging their relationship? Sure, sure, no, it was all good. Great way to make Crowley fall for it, start acting… well, disrespectful. And now he was going to die. Yeah. Yeah, why not, it was a good day to die, wasn’t it? “Crowley, brother dearest, do you have a plan how to stop the apocalypse? Do you know any helpful details? Any good omens that we should look out for?” Lucifer was all but purring, even if he still didn’t move closer to the demon, and it just—short-circuited Crowley’s brain. What?

“Wait, you actually don’t want it to happen?”

“Bloody hell, of course I don’t want it to happen!” Lucifer threw his hands up in sheer frustration. It was the first sudden movement of his, and Crowley flinched a little. “I have a life here, you know! The Detective is here, Lux is here, my bloody sanity is barely here!”

Crowley was grateful, like, really, really grateful for Lucifer’s decision, but it still was just too good of an opportunity to just let it pass.

“Are you, though?” He asked, with a smile so sweet and so fake at the same time. “Sane, I mean?”

There was a gasp heard to their right, and a shocked “Crowley!” that made the poor serpent practically jump out of his skin. “Tell me you didn’t! Oh heavens, you did! And to Satan, no less! He won’t just get angry, he’ll destroy you!”

He is standing right here, Aziraphale, hiii.” Lucifer offered an amused smile and a wave of the hand, causing the fretting angel to gasp again. Seriously, he needed not only to put a lock on the elevator, but also to install some kind of alarm for angels dropping by as well. Maybe an automatic lightning strike?

Lucifer!

“Yes, hi.”

Principality Aziraphale, the Angel of the Eastern Gate of Eden that had showed up completely unexpected and uninvited in Lucifer’s penthouse, pointed a finger at Crowley who simply swallowed.

“Crowley, apologize to Lucifer right now, before he kills you, or, or… I’ll never talk to you again!”

“Wha- but- are you— oh, come on, Angel, you’ve already used that threat when I didn’t want to go to that new sushi restaurant with you, are you serious now? You can’t start using it every time I do something you don’t like!”

Aziraphale folded his arms, nodding to himself.

“I can and I will. Apologize now, you stubborn fool!” He exclaimed, then cleared his throat, embarrassed. “Please.”

“I’ll just… go, alright?” Lucifer leaned a little bit closer to Crowley to whisper in his ear. He was smirking, because… well, he had no idea what was happening, but it was just… priceless. He needed to tell Maze about it. Also, he just wanted to leave. “You stay here and work out your – apparently very marital, which is… let me tell you, also very Game of Thrones – problems.”

“What?” Crowley turned to stare at Lucifer for a moment before shaking his head and looking back at Aziraphale. “Angel, what are you even doing here?!”

“Well… I was worried, okay? You left a note – a note, Crowley! – saying that you went to see Satan about the apocalypse and the Antichrist! What was I supposed to do?!”

“Come home later, apparently! And not come here!

Lucifer made an attempt to cover up the giggle with some fake coughing, but it didn’t work out so well in the end. What did work out, though, was his phone vibrating with a text message from Maze.

come here rn. gabriels @ lindas place

Bloody hell.

Chapter Text

And just like that, he was out of the penthouse, out of the nightclub, and in his car, speeding through the slightly less crowded streets of Los Angeles at this time at night. Really, the child had the worst case of bad luck in life, being born into a family like that, with Satan himself for an uncle. First, demons had wanted to dethrone Lucifer which was, well, not too pleasant, and make his poor nephew the new King of Hell which was, if someone cared for Lucifer’s honest opinion, even less pleasant. For him, of course.

He was just asking for a little respect from his subjects. But no.

And now?! Was the universe actually serious?

Lucifer was really, really tempted to just choose the safe old route and blame his dear old Dad for all of this, but, oh well, Dad was locked away in a prison of Lucifer’s own making and apparently Heaven already suspected something. Bloody brilliant.

 

Lucifer? I- I don’t know if I’m doing it right. I mean, Chloe told me it did work when she prayed, so maybe… maybe it will work for me, too. Amenadiel isn’t, um, isn’t answering. Neither the phone or the prayer.

 

Linda. Lucifer pushed the gas pedal all the way to the floor, car accelerating, roaring and—and why hadn’t he just used his wings!? Why was he still so against them? Because they weren’t his? Bloody hell, it was ridiculous.

 

…there’s an archangel here.

 

YES! Yes, he KNEW! Dad-damnit!

 

And he wants to take Charlie to the Silver City.

 

The black ‘62 Chevrolet Corvette C1 screeched to a halt when its owner jerked the steering wheel to the right, and then disappeared, seemingly into thin air, leaving behind maybe one, or two, or three black, golden-tipped feathers on the driver’s seat. They glowed in the darkness, turning slowly white, but there was no one around to notice.

 

*-*

 

“So, yeah, your child is the Child, it’s all a part of The Ineffable Plan, you see how it is.”

Linda just stared at him, opening and closing her mouth as she searched for any answer apart from “What? Are you crazy?! I’m not giving you my son!”. But, in the end, she said exactly that.

The “him” in question was a tall, handsome man, impeccably dressed, with a lilac scarf wrapped around his neck that brought out the most unnerving purple eyes ever. He also had the most fake smile Linda had ever seen, too.

“Do shut up. You should be thankful that we've chosen your son for the Antichrist. It’s an extremely important role! Humans…” He scoffed. “You can’t have the Antichrist without the Antichrist.”

“I don’t care!” Linda exclaimed, feeling like she was at the end of her rope here. And it said something about her and her character, that she was able to stand her ground and protest like that while Mazikeen – her fierce auntie Maze – was lying unconscious on the floor across the room, her phone still in her hand. “Find yourself another Antichrist.”

“See, now you’re just being ignorant. There’s only one angel-human baby in existence right now, and it’s yours. Be honored. There hasn’t been one before, and I doubt there’ll be one later.” The man stated as if it was glaringly obvious. “He’s needed to start the War.”

“War? Why do we need a war??

“Because how else would we win it? Hmm?” The man spread his hands, causing Linda to swallow. She pressed Charlie closer to her, determined to fight for her son. And where the hell was Amenadiel?!

“Are you actually serious?” The good doctor questioned after a moment. Seriously, what was her life now?! Especially since she had started dealing with the most dysfunctional family in the whole universe? Oh, she knew! It was a disaster. And her son was in danger, again.

“Don’t talk to me about being serious, sunshine, I’m the archangel fucking Gabriel.”

“Oh, are you, now?”

And there it was. That sensual, sinful purr, making everybody turn to look at the front door where Lucifer was standing. Linda let out a breath she didn’t even realize she was holding.

“Lucifer, thank God—”

“Ah-ah! No need to involve dear old Dad in this. Way to ruin it, doctor, really.” Lucifer moved closer, almost causally putting himself between Linda and Gabriel. “Hello, Gabriel. Remember me?”

The sheer amount of disdain in Gabriel’s voice when he said “Yes, I do remember you, Lucifer” was staggering. It took everything from Lucifer to stay calm, and not just, well, snarl at him.

“It’s good to know you don’t have dementia, brother,” grinned Lucifer as he pushed his hands in his pockets. “It would terribly hurt my feelings not to be recognized.”

“As who? My loser, evil little brother?” Gabriel sneered. “What are you doing here, anyway? Except for interfering with God’s plan?”

Lucifer’s hands now moved behind his back, never keeping still and in one place. He motioned for Linda to leave the room and hide, and she listened right away, of course, inching closer and closer to the kitchen and the back exit in there. Gabriel didn’t even notice, his full attention focused on Lucifer.

Daaad’s? You’re saying this is Dad’s plan? Oh no, did He pass a note to you? A love letter? Put you in His lap, held your hips, and whispered details in your ear?”

“You…” Gabriel gritted his teeth as he pointed a finger at Lucifer, shaking it. No wonder his younger brother had been casted out of Heaven, always stirring trouble like that. It was a shame he wasn’t dead already. He should be. He should’ve been killed a long time ago, actually, even before the Fall. Just like Father had originally planned, and He would’ve followed through, if it hadn’t been for Mother. So, like Gabriel had already mentioned, shame. “You are a mockery of everything divine.”

That only brought a wider smile to Lucifer’s face.

“Am I? Thank you!”

“And don’t you think, Lucifer, that what you’ve done will go unpunished. Father’s disappearance is obviously somehow your fault—”

Somehow?? Whatever happened to presumption of innocence?!”

“—and you will be brought to trial.”

Riiight, about that. Hellfire can’t hurt me, you know. I’m the Devil. But!” Lucifer raised his own finger, taking great satisfaction in the frustrated expression on Gabriel’s face. “I’m also an angel. So holy water won’t hurt me, either.”

“Oh, we’ll see about that.” Gabriel finally looked around, noticing the glaring lack of the blonde woman and the Antichrist in the living room, and clenched his jaw. That was… that was simply unacceptable. He had a schedule to follow! And fine—he didn’t want to face Lucifer alone, because, after all, his brother was the Devil (instead of being dead), but this insufferable smile plastered on Lucifer’s stupid face was… worse than the gross matter that humans put in their bodies.

Still, the strangest thing happened once Gabriel took that big step towards Lucifer, pounding his fist against the palm of his open hand, blatantly showing his displeasure.

Lucifer? That cocky little brat?

Lucifer took a step back.

Gabriel could tell it was done unconsciously, almost out of instinct, and, judging from the way Lucifer’s smile faltered for just one second, unintended. But it also was enough.

Enough for a boost of confidence, that’s for sure.

“You’re deplorable.” Gabriel moved faster than Lucifer could comprehend. One moment he was standing a few feet away, and now he was right in Lucifer’s face, making the Devil flinch visibly. “Pathetic.” He gently, almost kindly punched Lucifer’s stomach, greatly enjoying the way Lucifer’s upper lip curled, the way his hand shot out to catch Gabriel’s wrist. And how wonderfully, ultimately silent he was. “Adorably scared, really.”

“Hey! Why don't you pick on a girl, you big bully?”

Lucifer and Gabriel both turned to stare at Maze who pushed herself up from the floor with a choked, more angry than pained, grunt. She looked daggers at Gabriel – pretty much everything she got now since her actual daggers had been taken away from her.

“Again? With pleasure, demon.”

“Alright, alright, alright!” Lucifer practically pushed himself between them before Maze could charge at Gabriel with a battle cry. Unarmed. So, inserting himself between various demon – angel – human pairs, for the third time in a row? His new hobby, it seemed. At least it gave him something to think about apart from… Never mind. “Maze, Maze… Down, girl. I appreciate your protective instincts very much, but I think that, ah, it’d be better if you went and checked up on Linda and/or Amenadiel?”

“Are you seriously going to make me leave you with him?!” His beautiful, strong Maze growled at him, furious and desperate. “You can’t, Lucifer!”

“I can and I will. You will listen to me, Mazikeen.” Lucifer wasn’t going to back down now. Not when it was this important. He couldn’t lose her, and, judging from the way she was limping and favoring her right side? Exactly. “Go. Now.”

“I don’t work for you anymore,” warned Maze, but it only made Lucifer roll his eyes and Gabriel scoff, incredulous. What a mouthy demon. “Tread carefully.”

“I am treading carefully, Maze, and I’m asking you to go, as a friend. Our good doctor needs you.” Lucifer stressed and finally, finally, Maze nodded. She shot him a glare, but it was okay. She was safe. So now, it was, apparently, the all mankind’s turn.

“You’re aware I’ll just go after the Antichrist again?” Gabriel spoke up calmly. He took great pleasure in seeing that startled look on Lucifer’s face. “And again, and again. The War is happening and there’s no stopping it. It’s scheduled.”

A long moment passed without them talking, and then Lucifer cleared his throat and leaned forward, his whole posture changing to the one of pure temptation.

“Heaven wins,” offered the Devil with a mischievous smile on his lips. It made Gabriel narrow his eyes with suspicion, but… well, his brother wasn’t technically wrong, was he?

“Heaven wins.”

“By default.”

“By de—what? No, not by default, what are you talking about?”

“Well,” Lucifer started, shrugging a little and looking so damn happy with himself, and why wouldn’t he just shut his stupid mouth and die already? “How else would you call the situation where Heaven is the only participant? I’m the King of Hell, and I promise you, brother dearest, me allowing my demons to take any part in your war will happen on the eighth day, in the month of never, half past Hell won’t face your army.”

So that was Lucifer’s little plan. Charming, really. Charmingly stupid.

“Fine by me.” Gabriel spread his hands. “Less paperwork. Instead of millions dying, only one person will. I mean, there has to be at least one victim of war, Lucifer. How else would it be a proper war? I’ll take the Antichrist, and I’ll be off.”

Lucifer just stared at him, seemingly frozen, and oh. Oh. Gabriel already felt so much better about this day.

“That’s my—that’s your nephew, too.”

“The Child has a role. That’s not open to negotiation.”

If Lucifer ever had to pinpoint a moment in which he realized how much he hated Heaven and its politics, it would be… it would be this one. Because it wasn’t even Gabriel’s fault, no. It was Lucifer’s. Dad was gone and it meant… all bets were off. The Ineffable Plan their Dad had mentioned in passing maybe once or twice – was on. Did they think it would bring back Dad if He was dead? Did they want to earn His approval, make Him come back if He just had left? Or were they just crazy, because obedience had been drilled into them, obedience to their Father’s insane ideas and plans, first and last?

“Take me instead.” The words were spoken, and he couldn’t take them back, no matter how dry his throat was, how the walls around him slowly morphed into familiar-looking bars. “That would be a show in Heaven no one would dare to miss, brother, think about it. You don’t need the Antichrist if you have The Great Adversary, Satan, the Beast, Heaven’s opponent King. That’s not even winning by default, it’s a proper win. My head on a platter. And, brother, you’ll outrank everyone after this. You’ll be the Silver City’s new God.”

The smile that slowly appeared on Gabriel’s face was the first genuine one since he had showed up here today.

“We’ll consider it,” the archangel said with a dignified nod, “and give you our answer tomorrow.”

With that – he was gone. And when Lucifer still didn’t turn around, just—staring at the spot Gabriel disappeared from, someone spoke up. Someone really, really furious.

“You self-sacrificing… bloody… idiot.

Crowley.

Chapter Text

And that was the last straw.

Before Lucifer could actually register what he was doing, he was already across the room, hands fisted in Crowley’s shirt as he hauled him up and slammed against the wall. The serpent practically froze in fear, going completely slack in Lucifer’s grip, while the Devil just sent him a tad wide smile, eyes burning a brilliant red.

“Come on, Crowley, drench me in gasoline and light a match,” Lucifer purred, leaning in close enough to nose against Crowley’s neck, taking a deep breath and tasting panic on his tongue. “You’ve always liked to play with fire, haven’t you? This is not the best moment to get high on danger.”

“Well, no—not, not exactly, I actually, um, try to, well, avoid dan-danger.”

L-Lucifer!” The Devil grinned one last time at Crowley before turning to face Aziraphale. The poor angel was standing next to them, looking both close to having a heart attack, and to smiting Lucifer right that second. “Put him down right now! You can’t kill him, there’ll be paperwork!”

“Great… great argument you’ve got there, Angel.” Crowley said as sarcastically as he could while still being held against the wall and in the middle of trying to make himself appear as harmless and small as possible. “I’m sure Luci here really cares about paperwork.”

It was actually the nickname that brought Lucifer back to reality, making him roll his eyes while they returned to their normal brown color. Still, if he took maybe too much pleasure in dropping Crowley unceremoniously on the floor, then sure, sue him. It had been a rough couple of hours, and, oh bloody… Dad, he was actually on death row now. He had the right to snap and be petty.

Also he was pretty sure that the Detective was going to kill him for that first, so the bigger his right to be petty was.

“Oh buggers, who knows. Maybe I do hate paperwork.” Lucifer fiddled for a moment with his cufflinks, looking only at Aziraphale, and ostensibly ignoring Crowley who was making a show of pushing himself up and grunting as if it was a very hard work indeed. “Right, then. Anyway, what are you two doing here?”

“Just watching the very pathetic death of your last brain cell.” Crowley interrupted before Aziraphale could say anything.

Lucifer just dragged his hand down his face, looking every bit like someone truly suffering in that moment. Just a little respect, it was all he ever asked for.

“Crowley, dear, he just had you against the wall.” Aziraphale, ever helpful, reminded his demon. The angel put his hands in front of himself, and cleared his throat. “I believe it would be most reasonable if you stopped antagonizing Satan for now.”

“Would you mind stop call—“

“See, Satan here,” Aziraphale also could be very passive-aggressive while still sounding polite if he wanted, and since aforementioned Satan had just been threatening Crowley, it was a good enough reason in Aziraphale’s books to act that way, “has offered himself to Gabriel, and now we have to think of another way to stopping the War, because the day after tomorrow, Satan will be dead, and Gabriel will be free to take the Child and start the Armageddon despite the deal with the Devil. It’s all very tickety-boo.”

Lucifer mouthed a quiet “What?” at Crowley who just shrugged, used to it.

“You did what?!” There was suddenly a knife flying through air and Lucifer ducked at the very last moment, avoiding having his eye taken out by it. Maze stood angrily in the doorway, Linda with Charlie next to her. And while Maze looked downright furious, breathing heavily, Linda… Linda looked shaken to her core. “That fucker is coming back for you?! And you’re letting him?!”

“Oh, hello, dears.” Aziraphale lifted his hand in a greeting, causing Crowley to hurriedly slap that hand down right away. “What? I am allowed to call other people ‘dear’, you know? Be nice, Crowley.”

“That—“ Crowley spluttered, both irritated and embarrassed, “that has nothing to do with that! Mazikeen is Hell's most brutal torturer, okay? I was kinda hoping to avoid her, so don’t make her look our way!” He hissed. And sure, maybe it was a strange request, considering that Crowley had managed to insult his Boss even after being slammed against the wall, but… Fine. Fine. Maybe he was warming up to that idiot. And it wasn’t like Lucifer would stay alive for too long, anyway, was it?

“It’s not like I had another choice, Maze.” Lucifer tried to speak in a calm voice, although there was nothing more he wanted than to just clench his jaw and growl. But… not in the little Urchin’s presence. “I even told him I would forbid Hell from fighting in the War, and he still said he would take our little... sugar plum fairy to Heaven, because the War should have at least one honorary victim.”

“Why do they even want Charlie? He’s not your son!” Maze pointed out while also pointing another knife at Lucifer. Apparently she had found a spare set in one of her hiding places in Linda’s house. “He’s not the Antichrist, this is stupid!”

“Oh, I have a theory!” Aziraphale piped up, voice pleasant, although slightly worried. Crowley was this close to facepalming, but only grinned uncomfortably at Mazikeen when she glared at them. “I think it's less about who's actually the father of the child, and more about the child being a nephilim. It should be all the same in terms of power, because, after all, Lucifer didn’t suddenly become another species after his Fall, right?” Lucifer nodded while Crowley shot him a hateful look. Lucky bastard. At one moment during the lengthy explanation, Linda inhaled sharply, swallowing and holding the baby closer to her chest. Somehow Lucifer’s family drama always came back to bite her in the ass.

“Don’t they?” She started, voice breaking. It strayed from the current subject so much that it confused everyone – everyone except for Maze who looked down, furious and unhappy again. “Don’t they have that one honorary victim already?”

Lucifer frowned slightly, still not following.

“What, you mean me?”

“No! No, not you, Lucifer, Amenadiel!” Linda almost screamed at him; stopping herself only because it would made the baby cry. “Maze and I found bloodied feathers on the street behind the house!”

“Yes, and the scent stopped there.” Maze added, looking grim. “My best guess is that they took him back to the Silver City. And now you want to go there, and leave us all alone!”

Maybe if Linda’s life wasn’t falling apart now, she would notice how stricken Lucifer’s expression looked now, and she would do something about it. But, would she even manage to do it in time? Because, all of sudden, Lucifer grabbed Crowley by the collar, startling him in the process, and started to drag him – kicking and struggling, thank you very much - towards the door.

“Borrowing the demon, will return it later!”

“Wait, you’re borrowing him?!

”I agree with Mazikeen, although, she is a demon so she may have ulterior motives, but…”

Lucifer pushed Crowley outside and turned to face the group.

“I need you two to stay with our doctor and the Urchin, alright? I will get Amenadiel back, but we can’t let them have the kid, and Maze - my fearsome, loyal Maze - you were knocked unconscious last time, so you need another angel as a backup. Sorry.” He kept taking small steps back until he was able to shut the door in their faces. And before he even managed to lock it, Crowley was already next to him, scoffing.

“Slamming me against the wall? Real classy. Now dragging me outside, oh Lord? What happened to you trying to run away every time I got just that inch closer to you?!”

Lucifer looked at him incredulously, but should he be really surprised? After all, hadn’t Crowley acted earlier exactly like Gabriel, using his knee-jerk reactions to gain the upper hand?

“What, you miss me being scared of you?” He drawled out, voice almost mocking. “No, I allow myself exactly two hours of self-pity a day and would you look at the time, it’s already past them.”

Oh for fuck’s sake, thought Crowley as he snatched his sunglasses from his face to get a better look at his bro—Boss. There really was something messed up going on and he wanted to know what it was before it could jeopardize their little mission. But, also, Amenadiel? The Firstborn, Heaven’s Greatest Warrior, Fury of God, Lucifer’s Keeper, and so on, and so on… Crowley really had a lot of fucking questions right now. Like, for example, since when someone was able to defeat the eldest son of God? Since when Amenadiel liked humans so much that he had a child with one of them? Since when Lucifer actually wanted to help him instead of pulling out a bottle of champagne to celebrate?

And what had happened that they suddenly had so many problems at once?

“Fine. Fine, fine, fine. Don’t kiss and tell if you don’t want to.” Crowley made a show of fixing his leather jacket after it being grabbed by Lucifer’s filthy hand, of course. “Where are we going? What’s the plan, Boss?

“Oh, do try to say that last word in an even more sarcastic way, I don’t think you did your best there.”

Bosssss…” Crowley obliged, of course, as he twisted the word into a scathing hiss. “Where are we going now, you brainless evil incarnate? Don’t think I forgot about your martyrish shit. You do realize that Angel is right? Gabriel won’t keep his word.”

Lucifer clenched his jaw when Crowley called him evil incarnate, but didn’t comment on it this time. He knew he wasn’t, he also knew he wasn’t about to go backwards, so that would have to be enough for now. Or maybe he should start giving out pamphlets on The Great Adversary being just a poor, misunderstood soul. The idea actually made him smirk.

“And why, oh why you think I don’t have a plan, hmm?” Lucifer didn’t, not really, but he was good at improvising. And it wasn’t an outright lie, he just asked a question, no? Before starting walking, of course, Crowley following him closely. “I can promise you that I am not just going to kneel and let Gabriel do whatever he wants to me. I promised him he could take me as his prisoner and drag to the Silver City. I didn’t say anything about not fighting once I got there.”

Crowley closed his eyes for a moment, exasperated, and almost tripped over a branch because of it.

“Please,” he murmured. “You didn’t even fight during your own Rebellion, whining about possible casualties, generally just demanding our Parents’ attention, and advertising free will to anyone stupid enough to listen.”

“Like you.”

“Mhmm.” Crowley admitted after a long moment. “Sure, why not. Learned the hard way that being rather too inclined to ask questions and hanging with the wrong crowd can get a perfectly good angel kicked out of Heaven as well.”

“Right.” And now Lucifer was feeling guilty again. Lovely. Because it apparently wasn’t enough that he already had so many reasons for self-hatred, he needed another one. “Care to fly?”

If Crowley decided to keep his mouth shut and not comment on Lucifer’s wings, it was just out of pure survival instinct. He couldn’t, well, just tell his Boss that he looked like a cow because his wings were black with white spots, could he, now? And it seemed like Lucifer wasn’t even aware of it. Probably for the better, though. It did look… ekhm. Cowlike.

Oh well.

 

*-*

 

“Here are the rules.”

Since Lucifer couldn’t get into the Silver City on his own, banned from entering, he had to wait until tomorrow to rescue his older, less handsome, and much more sanctimonious brother. Meanwhile he needed to practice, sure - he hadn’t actually used any of his light bringer powers since getting back from another universe - but he also needed to say goodbye.

In case.

“Rules?” Crowley glanced towards the house they were standing in front of. The lights were on and he was able to see three silhouettes moving around before sitting down. The serpent pushed his sunglasses further up his nose. “What, is someone in there you want to kidnap? Steal their soul?”

Steal their…” Maybe, after all this ended, Lucifer would start taking medicine for high blood pressure. Or, or, maybe he would go to a meditation class, be the eye candy there. “No, Crowley, what the hell? What would I even do with a soul? How would I clean dust off it?!”

“Then why did I always have to show up for meetings with Ligur and Hastur and answer their how did you help secure souls for our Master today questions?! Let’s recount the Deeds of the Day questions?!”

“I don’t know! I left all of that to Beelzebub!”

“Oh, oh, no, wow, seriously, are you even for real right now?!” If there was one thing Crowley really, really wanted to do now, was to wrap his fingers around Lucifer’s neck and squeeze until the idiot stopped breathing. “What did you think demons did all day long?!”

“Took care of hell loops, what else?” Lucifer spread his arms wide, looking downright confused, and it was quite enough. Crowley stormed off towards the entrance of the house. “Crowley? Bloody hell, what are you doing? Crowley, get back, I didn’t tell you the rules yet!”

“Fuck you and your rules, Lucifer!” Crowley called back, voice as close to a hiss as it could get. “You especially, oh Lord, my Lord! With something spiky! The spikier, the better!” He threw the door open and barged in, not caring about the humans inside. Or about the fact that he didn’t have the slightest idea why Lucifer and him came here. “Hi.”

The three people sitting on the floor, in front of the TV, huddled under a big red blanket, froze, and Crowley immediately felt awkward and uncomfortable. There was a little girl squished cozily between the two adults, staring at him with wide eyes, and he surely must have frightened her.

“Sorry, sorry!” Lucifer practically materialized behind him, offering everyone a bright, apologetic smile. He threw his arm around Crowley’s shoulders, and it took everything from Crowley to not just shake it off. He did shudder, though. “You must forgive my brother, he certainly doesn’t know how to act civilized.”

“What the hell, Lucifer?” The man with dark blonde hair - admittedly well-built - asked as he got up. And of course, why not, there was a grimace on his face. “What are you even doing here?”

Oh, so they knew Lucifer was… well, Lucifer? The King of Hell? Crowley made a humming noise while the girl pushed herself up as well and sprinted towards Lucifer, yelling his name excitedly. The demon had half a mind to catch and protect her – surely Lucifer would react badly to being attacked – but he was two seconds too late. The girl already attached herself to Satan’s legs, making aforementioned Satan groan – more for the Spawn’s amusement than out of actual misery.

“Hello, Child.” Lucifer patted the girl’s head carefully, if fondly, and looked up at the man who still didn’t look too pleased to have him in the house. “Sir Douche. Detective.” The last greeting was directed at the casually dressed, but beautiful woman who remained sitting under the blanket. At least now she didn’t have to share it with anyone. The woman smiled, but looked worried nonetheless.

“Lucifer, did something happen?” She asked softly, adding to Crowley’s confusion. “You said you were okay with me having a movie night with Dan and Trixie. Are you alright?”

Yesss, I’m alright. At the moment.” Lucifer waved his hand dismissively. “I came to discuss with you some angelic business. It’s quite urgent, I’m afraid.”

“Not this again.” The man – Dan, apparently, or, well, Sir Douche, Crowley snickered – rubbed his forehead. “Chloe, you need to put a stop to this.”

“Everybody, calm down, okay? Dan, if Lucifer says it’s urgent, it is urgent. I trust him, he’s my partner.” Chloe got up and walked up to them. She held out her hand for Crowley to shake, but before he could take it, Lucifer added something – while looking like a fucking cat that ate the canary - that short-circuited Crowley’s brain, again.

“…and boyfriend!”

“Yes, and boyfriend.” The woman rolled her eyes with a fond smile. Crowley just gaped at her, his hand frozen in the air.

You’re dating Satan?!

“I guess I am.” Chloe shrugged, exchanging smiles with Lucifer. “This angelic business, what is it? Another one of your brothers, visiting us?”

“Ah, no, Detective. Or rather, yes, but not this one. And not just one.”

“Are you an angel?” The girl, Trixie, whispered confidentially, as she looked up at Crowley, her eyes full of genuine curiosity. “But your clothes look more like Maze’s. Are you a demon?”

Crowley grinned, kneeling down on one knee to be on the same eye level with the girl.

“I am like Mazikeen, you’re right. I’m a demon, yes.” So, apparently, Lucifer now was telling people left and right that he, indeed, was the Devil. What had this world come to? Maybe it was already ending, apocalypse or no. “Have you seen Lucifer’s face?” He asked curiously.

“Hmm, no, Mommy didn’t want me to. But I saw his eyes and his wings. They’re pretty. But he rarely unfurls them now.”

Pretty. Ha. “If you say so.” Crowley eyed Lucifer dubiously. The Devil was talking with Chloe in hushed voices, and the woman was already looking as if she was having an aneurysm. “Do you want me to teach you a trick? If you hit him right between his shoulder blades, his wings will pop out anyway.” He whispered back, smirking. What? If the girl decided to do it, then it served Lucifer right. For everything.

A loud slap noise caught their attention just in time to see Lucifer holding his cheek pitifully.

“Detective?! Have I not suffered enough already?”

Oh, this was golden.

“I left you for a couple of hours, Lucifer!” Chloe threw her hands up, frustrated beyond words. “And you, you what, decided it would be a good idea to offer yourself to an archangel, no less?! There had to be another way to keep Charlie safe! We could figure it out, together! Do you have a special talent for getting yourself into trouble?”

“Wait, what?” Now Dan moved closer to the group, frowning. Sure, he had seen people humoring Lucifer and acting within his metaphors – Maze, Linda, even Chloe sometimes – but this was definitely next level. “Come on, guys. This is enough.”

“We still can, Detective! That’s why I came here.” Lucifer offered weakly, but with his normal level of hopeful enthusiasm. Chloe rolled her eyes, before putting her hands together and pressing them against her lips, feeling both annoyed and crazy with worry. She thought she had lost him so many times already.

“Did you? Lucifer, I know you. Are you sure you didn’t come here just to say goodbye?”

Dan exhaled as he put his hands on his hips, feeling like they were really trying his patience.

“Oh great, just great, guys. Keep ignoring me,” he muttered.

Now.” Crowley lifted Trixie up, grinning mischievously. The girl offered Lucifer the sweetest, most innocent smile she had.

“Hey, Lucifer? Cough for me?”

“What?” Lucifer frowned, glancing back at Chloe who merely shrugged, having no idea what was going on. “I’m not sick. Are you playing doctor again, Spawn?”

“Yes.” Trixie mimicked the grin on Crowley’s face. It was… very disconcerting, but despite it, because it was the Offspring who had asked, Lucifer complied and, although it was very slow and unsure, he cleared his throat.

And then a few things happened almost at once. Or rather, one after another.

The first thing was, Trixie exclaimed, rather loudly, “Oh no, you’re choking!” and slapped Lucifer on the back, exactly between his shoulder blades.

The second thing was, Lucifer’s wings appeared all of sudden, startling both him and Chloe, knocking a drinking glass off the table and causing it to break into pieces on the floor. Chloe jumped, hand covering her mouth as she looked back to Dan, heart beating wildly.

The third thing was, Trixie and Crowley were now wheezing with laughter and high-fiving each other, while Lucifer grimly decided to make himself a pair of absolutely lovely snakeskin leather loafers.

The fourth thing was, Dan had his gun out and was pointing it at Lucifer, right now, hands shaking and eyes almost comically wide.

“Oh bloody hell…” Lucifer groaned, this time for real. “Not again.”

Chapter Text

Sometimes, in moments like this one, Lucifer wondered why was his life like this. Dear old Dad was trapped in a prison made of both darkness and light, of cosmic matter and atoms around, so it couldn’t be His doing. Maybe, just maybe, it was because he had almost stepped on that black cat’s tail last week. The vengeful creature had screeched and slashed at him before it ran like a wind, and Lucifer had been half tempted to chase it just for fun.

And now he was staring down the barrel of the gun pointed at him.

Yes, it was definitely the cat’s fault, no doubt in his mind about it. Cats, he decided, were worse than children.

“Dan.” It was the Detective speaking, voice reasonably calm as she held her hands up while approaching her douche of an ex-husband who simply stepped to the side. Lucifer couldn’t help sighing, even though it probably wasn’t the smartest course of action, aggravating Detective Douche like that. “Dan, I know this is a lot to take in, but please, put the gun down. Trixie is here, okay? We don’t want her to get hurt.”

“He has wings!

Lucifer grinned, taking a great deal of pleasure in seeing the pained expression on Dan’s face.

“Yes, aren’t I just the sweetest angel around?”

“More like the Devil, Daddy, but you can’t shoot him because of that! He didn’t choose it!” Trixie protested from her place in Crowley’s arms. The demon put her down carefully before stepping in front of the girl protectively. Well… it… it was a mess. A mess that was escalating quickly. Chloe turned to her daughter, taking her arm gently.

“Monkey, I need you to go to your room, okay?” She pressed, urgent. “Daddy and Lucifer have to calm down, but you can’t stay here.”

Lucifer already was scoffing, pointing to Trixie before spreading his arms wide. He actually had the audacity to look affronted while the aforementioned girl was already being pushed out of the room by both Chloe and Crowley, even despite her protests that no, Mommy, we can’t let Daddy shoot Lucifer!

“Listen to the Spawn - it’s not like I haven’t told you that already, Daniel! Since day one, even!”

“But you’re the Devil! The Devil has been stealing my pudding!” Dan yelled at Lucifer, somehow managing to look both angry and terrified as he shook his gun. “The literal Devil has been stealing my pudding!”

“Yes, and you slept with my Mum, are we even now?”

Dan practically choked, color leaving his face, while Chloe turned to stare at Lucifer with a come on now, really? look on her face. That wasn’t fair to Dan. Linda had taken a whole week to process it. Chloe – a full month. And Lucifer expected Dan to deal with the fact that Hell and Heaven existed, that Satan and God existed, in just under five minutes?

“I slept—with—the Devil’s Mother?! Lilith?! WHEN?!

“Daniel, your lack of biblical knowledge embarrasses me.” Lucifer made sure to pinch the bridge of his nose in an exasperated gesture after carefully folding his wings back into non-existence. “You slept with Goddess of all Creation, possessing Charlotte Richard’s body. I mean, dear Douche, you must remember me calling you my future step-Dan?”

Crowley pushed up his sunglasses as he debated if he should point out that no, the Goddess wasn’t actually mentioned in the Bible. Damn it. Who cared. The stubborn fuckers just kept sliding down his nose.

“Shut up.” Dan pressed out through his teeth as he shook his gun at the Devil. “Shut up, Lucifer. For once in your life, shut the hell up, and let me think!”

“Let you think, Daniel? Whenever that happened with you?”

“Seriously, can we all stop? Dan, you know him, he’s still Lucifer. Remember him? Our consultant? The nightclub owner? Your frenemy? He’s not just the Devil.” Chloe tried to be the voice of reason here. She knew she shouldn’t be the one to talk, considering, but at least Dan didn’t have a Vatican priest with him, crouched on his shoulder, a literal miniature devil whispering in his ear.

“And I kept telling you, Chlo’, he’s a bad guy! You didn’t listen to me, and—wait, you know about him?!” It was as if only now Dan realized that literally everyone in the house, except for him, knew. “How long?!” Before Decker could answer, Dan decided he didn’t really care. The only thing he cared about, was getting Lucifer as far from his family as he could. All the way down to Hell, if needed.

Oh God, Hell. He was going to Hell, wasn’t he?

“Hands up and stand against the wall,” Dan snapped, lifting the gun and aiming it at Lucifer’s head, trying to ignore the hurt and confusion on the Devil’s face. Almost as if he didn’t understand how dangerous he was, why he needed to be kept away from everyone. The irony. “Move!”

“Dan…” Chloe started, unsure. “Stop…”

I said, go stand against the wall!”

Lucifer put his hands up, slowly, as he glanced at the Detective. If Mr. I Said Go Stand Against The Wall really was planning on shooting him now, he would get hurt. And yes, he probably could move forward, grab the gun, hand shot through again be damned, but what if someone else got hurt as well? What if the fired bullet would hit Daniel himself, or worse, the Detective, or even Crowley? He couldn’t risk it. He couldn’t risk them getting hurt because of him.

“I mean, Daniel, if you wanted to have me against the wall, you only had to say the word,” purred Lucifer, but even to his own ears, his voice sounded wrong. Not as confident as before. More… bitter. It seemed that Crowley noticed that as well, because, although Lucifer couldn’t exactly read his brother’s emotions thanks to the lovely pair of sunglasses, the demon, after a long moment of silence, sighed.

“Oh come on, enough is enough.” Crowley snapped his fingers, fully expecting to miracle the supposedly trigger-happy man’s memory away. When Mr. Daniel the Douche only looked at him with a bewildered frown, Crowley blinked. What?

“What the hell, man?” Dan asked, voice irritated. “Are you...? Fuck, you’re with him, aren’t you?!”

“Not out of my own free will,” mused Crowley while Lucifer simply made an impatient gesture at him, probably still waiting for the miracle to happen and wondering why was it taking so long. “It didn’t work!” He hissed in the general direction of his brother just before Dan yelled at Lucifer to keep his hands up and stop flapping them around. The Devil complied, jaw clenched in annoyance.

“What do you mean, it didn’t work?” He pressed out through his teeth, glancing between the Detective, Dan’s gun, and Crowley. Lucifer looked… cornered, for the lack of a better word, and it made Crowley feel… weirdly uneasy. For all his talk (fine, for all his yelling), maybe he didn’t actually want to see the stupid idiot get shot. And sure, Crowley had no idea about the effect Chloe had on Lucifer’s supposed invulnerability, but he had a vague idea about Lucifer acting afraid of others before due to – probably, because the right bastard wasn’t telling him anything – some traumatic event, and that… was just not right.

“Well, forgive me for at least attempting to help you,” said Crowley, irked, “but I tried to erase his memory about you, and…”

“You tried to do what?!” Dan startled at the same moment that Lucifer exclaimed, all accusatory:

“And it didn’t work?! Daniel! First me having difficulty with getting my desire trick to work on you, then you fighting off the seduction of Azrael’s blade, and now what, you’re miracle-resistant?! If there’s anything else you can do, please, do share with the class, Daniel!”

“Wait, so he’s special, too?” Chloe frowned, trying to keep up. Crowley pressed his lips into a tight line, searching quickly for a solution to the problem at hand, before snapping his fingers again, miracling not Dan himself, but the gun – miracling it away, to an unknown location. And it was about the high time, because suddenly (just when Dan flinched, staring at his empty hand with a stunned expression on his face) Lucifer let out a scream, crumbling to his knees with a nasty thud, hands over his ears, eyes squeezed shut in pain.

Lucifer!

Chloe was at his side immediately, desperate fingers wrapping around his wrists, pulling at his hands. Something was happening, and she was all too familiar already with bad things happening to her partner to just… take it lightly. Even Dan – even Dan looked worried, the sudden disappearance of his gun already pushed to the back of his mind.

“Are you… Lucifer, man, are you okay?” He sounded hesitant, and sure, maybe just moments ago he had been the one threatening the Devil, but seeing Lucifer like this… It felt wrong. It just felt wrong.

“Do I… Do I bloody seem… okay… to you?!” Lucifer pushed out as he tried to block the loud noise in his head. It sounded like… like sirens blaring with no pause, volume increasing and increasing, and increasing, until he just couldn’t take it anymore. Another raw scream tore itself out of his throat.

makeitstopmakeitstopmakeitstopmakeitstoppleasepleasemakeitstopicanttakeit

“You’re—you’re bleeding.” Chloe felt her heart pounding when she touched Lucifer’s white-knuckled, shaking hands with her own. His fingers and jaw both were sticky from the warm, red blood leaking out of his ears. “Lucifer, how can we help? Please, tell me how what can I do, come on, please—”

“Oh Lord, heal thy Devil…” Crowley muttered under his breath, words sarcastic enough to hopefully remind Lucifer he did not, in the slightest, care about him. Because… because he didn’t, alright? He had become a demon because of him, lost his angelic status, while Lucifer kept his, even being crowned the King of Hell. He was forced to corrupt weak souls and lead them to eternal damnation, do the one thing he hated the most, only to find out that Lucifer hadn’t even issued that order himself? That it all was… what, never needed?!

Somehow, it seemed, Crowley’s mocking words made Lucifer curl in on himself even more, his pained whispers finally becoming clear enough for Crowley to actually understand what Lucifer was saying. Things like “make it stop”, and “please”, and “I can’t take it”, and…

“Fine! Fine, you big baby, come on.” Crowley knelt next to Lucifer, patting him on the back, both feeling and looking awkward. “Tell us what’s wrong.”

Lucifer just shook his head in short, jerky movements, no longer capable of talking. The last time he was in a pain even similar to this one, was… was… in the Cage, with Michael.

“It’s not because of me… is it?”, asked Dan. He looked downright sick, and when they heard Trixie, leaving her room, asking about Lucifer, he didn’t even react at first. Not until Chloe snapped at him, telling him to go to their daughter, to take her back to the other room, because…

Because the front door was shaking on its hinges, rattling and creaking, and Chloe was already reaching for her own gun after exchanging one single look with Lucifer’s brother. Even with his yellow eyes hidden safely behind his trademark sunglasses, Crowley still seemed anxious.

Lucifer was choking on his own whispers and pleads, his own eyes finally snapping open with an unfocused, almost crazed look to them.

“Oh, shut up, you’re safe,” muttered Crowley, rubbing soothing circles on Lucifer’s back. He wasn’t even aware he was doing that. “Your Detective is here. Guess I am, too, so stop whining there, oh Lord.”

Chloe flicked off the safety, face grim and determined. She stood up and pointed the gun at the door. “Why are you calling him Lo—?”

She never finished her sentence. The door burst open right that second, almost as if on cue. A tall man in a light grey suit was already coming through them, his eyes appearing almost like living flames of vivid purple. He was… he was smiling when he looked at Lucifer. And the Devil? The Devil was struggling to rise from his knees, hot blood not only running down his neck, but also all the way down his arms to his elbows.

He would not… let anyone else get hurt.

“Lucifer Morningstar, formerly known as Samael, Son of The Morning, Bearer of Light, Murderer and Tempter. Your deal was accepted.” Gabriel was taking a great pleasure in speaking in such a formal manner. Or maybe he took it just in seeing Lucifer suffering. “You are, in the Law of God, as of now, the Property of Heaven.”

Chapter Text

Property of Heaven. Was it really the deal he had made? Or just Gabriel making things up to feel more important? More powerful? There was a snide comment hiding somewhere under the noise in Lucifer’s head, but he couldn’t quite… get to it. How was he supposed to protect everyone here? He had to try if the attack came, he knew that, but… Yes, the sirens were getting quieter, sure, yet the residual ringing in his ears definitely wasn’t—wasn’t really helping. And… was that blood? Was he bleeding?

Was Crowley talking?

Bloody hell, he was.

„I, ehh, is this, I don’t know, really… really necessary?” Crowley was standing now as well, scrunching his nose and making a vague gesture with his hands at Gabriel who just stared at him incredulously. “Property of Heaven? It sounds… well, it—come on, Gabriel, it doesn’t sound too nice, does it?”

“It’s not supposed to sound nice.” The Archangel cleared his throat, wondering why exactly was he talking to the demon - if there was a whisper in his head reminding him that Crowley used to be his brother, he stomped on it quickly; Lucifer wasn’t his brother either, not anymore – he was the Fallen One, the evil one. “It’s supposed to get the point across. I think it worked pretty well.”

“It did.” Chloe cocked her gun up, aiming it at Gabriel’s head. Fine, maybe a bullet wouldn’t kill him, but she still felt better holding at least some kind of a weapon. “I don’t know what is it with your family, except for the fact that it’s wrong and pretty dysfunctional, but you’re not taking Lucifer.”

Gabriel scoffed while looking around, taking in his surroundings – the ordinary living room, not counting the broken glass scattered everywhere, of course; the grim face of the blonde woman, attempting to stare him down, laughable; the demon fidgeting and looking uncomfortable even in his sunglasses; and, surely, the cherry on top, Lucifer Morningstar himself, swaying on his feet, but trying his best to stay upright and even attempting to insert himself between the odd pair and Gabriel. Too bad that neither of them let him. It would’ve made Gabriel’s work here that much easier.

“You’re just a weak, puny human.” Gabriel felt obligated to remind her helpfully. “You’re no threat to an Archangel. That’d be me, of course.”

“I stood up to God for Lucifer.” Chloe said simply, not lowering her gun. “Do you really think a simple archangel will intimidate me?”

Crowley turned to her, his eyebrows slowly climbing up his forehead until they were visible above his sunglasses.

“You did whaaat?

“Well, He did tell Lucifer to kneel and thank Him for not killing him, for not killing His own son, so I couldn’t just—you know, stand there and do nothing.” Chloe glanced at Crowley as she shrugged, a little awkward. Gabriel was listening to the whole conversation with a frown on his face, surprisingly quiet. So Lucifer had been the last one to see their Father, after all.

“Major, err, asshole move,” agreed Crowley, although slowly. He was a little bit impressed, but also—was that why Lucifer was behaving so oddly? No, that couldn’t be it. Crowley remembered the whole Casting Out deal, and it wasn’t like Lucifer hadn’t been begging back then as well, while all of them, including Mum, just watched, silent. It had to be something else. “What happened next?”

“Yes, do tell. What happened next?” Gabriel leaned forward, not-so-subtly fishing for a proof, any proof, really, that the evil brat had made Father disappear, somehow. Chloe turned to look at him with a guarded expression before she shrugged, too casually.

“Oh, nothing, nothing at all.”

“Nothing, you say…” Gabriel squinted at her for a moment, then decided he wouldn’t waste any more of his time here. If that human woman wouldn’t say anything, he wasn’t going to just… stick around uselessly. He had things to do. “Well, we’ll determine that on trial, won’t we? Lucifer, come.”

“He’s not going anywhere.” Chloe stated firmly, but a hand on her shoulder made her stop and glance at the Devil. Lucifer actually put some of his weight on her and that fact in itself spoke volumes about his condition. And yet, he still managed to smile, and raise an eyebrow, and roll his eyes. Jesus.

“Ah, Detective, but deal’s a deal!” Lucifer forced himself to speak cheerfully, even though his vision was still pretty blurred, and his ears never stopped ringing. It was his life for Charlie’s, and he couldn’t risk the little Urchin’s head. “Also, Gabriel! You really put ass in ASAP, don’t you? Weren’t you supposed to come tomorrow with the decision? It’s still today!”

“I know it’s today, Lucifer.” Gabriel simply sighed – was the Devil stupid? - before patting his own thigh, making the whole situation just this more humiliating, causing his little brother to tense. “Come.”

And Lucifer did. One foot in front of the other…

“Lucifer, don’t,” whispered Chloe. She felt her heartbeat quickening already. Was he really going to ignore her and just… leave? “Stop.” And he reacted; Lucifer turned his head towards her for a fleeting moment – his eyes flashed red in a warning, pleading with her to stay away, to let him go, because there were more important things than him right now. All of sudden there was an urgent tug on her sleeve, a hiss in her ear, and the spell was broken. Lucifer was walking again.

“Tell Aziraphale. Angel’s with your human doctor friend.”

…and soon Gabriel was tugging him forward, a golden rope wrapping itself around the Devil’s wrists. It burned, cutting deep into Lucifer’s skin. Wha— how was it even possible?!

“Tailored just for you.” Gabriel gave Lucifer a big, proud smile.

“Wait, tell what to whom?” Chloe frowned, feeling pretty lost there for a moment as Crowley sauntered forward, waving his hands around. He looked pretty uneasy, but it didn’t stop him.

And yeah, sure, he also had no idea why he was doing that. He should be happy, actually, that he was getting rid of Lucifer. Okay, fine, the Apocalypse would still stay a threat after that, but they could find another way to stop it. Somehow. If Crowley was around to work with Angel on that.

“Hi, guys. Is there, eh, any seat left on that wonderful train going straight to Heaven?” If he coughed and sniffed, it wasn’t because his throat was dry, no. “The more, the merrier, right, lads?”

But, apparently, his self-preservation instinct packed its suitcases and fucked off to Bahamas because somewhere along the way, he started to care.

Fucking damn it.

 

*-*

 

As they walked, Lucifer was reminded of the various Roman triumphs he’d witnessed. He was reminded of home, and so the way both his throat and heart clenched at the sight of familiar buildings and streets he hadn’t seen for millennia, at the sight of—NO, he was only reminded of the last time he’d been there, that was all, wasn’t it?

Because just like back then, he was being marched through the Silver City, a perfect war trophy. Displayed to the public in a victory parade led by Gabriel. Hands tied, blood dripping from his wrists, but head still held high, eyes defiant. His wings dragged behind him, almost fully white now. Not that he ever noticed. In his mind they were still black with golden tips.

“We need to find Amenadiel.” Lucifer leaned closer to Crowley, his voice dropping to a whisper. The demon was simply walking a step behind him, his whole posture hunched even as he still tried to appear nonchalant. It wasn’t really working. “Well, you need, since – for reasons absolutely unknown to any person without brain damage – you decided to tag along. Why, brother dearest, hate me so much you wanted a front row seat to the greatest show in Heaven?”

Crowley was so seriously tempted to just slap Lucifer right then and there (for what? He wasn’t sure himself, because it wasn’t like he didn’t hate him, yet it also wasn’t like he did. It was… well, fucking complicated, thank you very much), that when Lucifer was actually backhanded, it made Crowley startle and almost – almost! - trip over his feet. What the, err, fuck??

“What was that for?!” It seemed that Lucifer shared Crowley’s sentiment because when he touched his cheek, he was more bewildered than anything. “I didn’t do anything! This is abuse, brother!”

“First of all, we’re not brothers, Lucifer. You lost the right to call me that after your Fall.” Gabriel stood before them, hands clasped neatly in front of him. He didn’t look angry, just… exasperated, mostly. Annoyed. “And the other thing, a little advice – maybe you should keep your mouth shut next time. Or, all the time, preferably.”

”What?”

Crowley knew he should’ve expected it the moment Lucifer exclaimed his little, surprised what?, but that didn’t mean he didn’t wince when the next hit came. Didn’t mean he didn’t wince when Lucifer’s previous bravado finally crumbled, and his brother (fine! Someone should still consider him that if Gabriel apparently refused to do so) smiled tightly, not saying anything anymore.

 

…long, bony fingers wrapping themselves around Lucifer’s throat and squeezing, squashing muscle, pushing it against bone… a hand reaching deep into his body and yanking, making the Cage itself vibrate and shake with his screams… the same hand in Lucifer’s chest, gripping the Devil’s heart, holding it in its palm…

 

That might not have been on the same level, but, in the end, wasn’t everything leading to just that? Lucifer kept his head down this time, jaw working. All roads led to Rome. And he might hate himself with burning passion for letting such a silly little thing like—like past torture affect his present life, especially since he had dealt with his guilt with the good doctor’s help, but, well… Bloody baby steps. Bloody flashbacks. Story of his bloody life.

“Seriously, what is wrong with you?” Crowley found himself hissing at the Archangel, and also regretting it almost immediately when Gabriel’s definitely too bright, purple eyes landed on him.

“Don’t think we forgot about you.” Gabriel pointed his finger at Crowley. “You just should be glad because we’re not the ones dealing with you, Beelzebub is. Later. At least you can’t escape when you’re here, right?”

Before either Crowley or Lucifer had a chance to react – and maybe for the better, because Lucifer’s eyes already flashed red again – there was a flutter of wings and Azrael was standing there.

“Lu? Raf? What are you two doing here? I thought you were banished forever, I—“ She paused when she finally noticed the rope around Lucifer’s wrists and his half smile. “Gabe… what’s going on?”

“We won the Ineffable War.” Gabriel announced, voice suddenly booming. As if encouraged by Azrael’s example, more angels started to show up; curious eyes everywhere, little whispers following. Crowley thought he even heard Amenadiel’s name at one point. “We won the Great War by capturing the King of Hell. And here, here, we have the Beast itself!”

“…itself?” Lucifer murmured indignantly under his breath. “I’m not an it.”

“It shuts its mouth, or else it gets the hose again.” Crowley cleared his throat, attempting to speak as quietly as he could, and earning himself a scoff from Lucifer in the process. What? He was trying to look out for him here. And he also happened to really like that movie.

“…Don’t let yourself be fooled!” Oh, and apparently Gabriel was still talking. “Don’t let yourself forget that Satan masquerades as an angel of light, but isn’t one anymore. Son of Wickedness…”

“…of the morning, actually. I’m literally the bloody morning star.”

“Oh for Heaven’s sake—aaagh, I can't believe you just made me say that!” Crowley gagged, then shot Lucifer a murderous glare. “Stop talking!”

“…The Great Red Dragon,” continued Gabriel, and Lucifer dragged his bound hands down his face.

“And that’s a prequel to the movie you just quoted.”

At this point, Crowley was just thankful that Lucifer was whispering and Gabriel was too busy with his speech to notice.

“…The Beast will be put on trial for the following crimes: conspiring against our Father, causing His disappearance, attempting to stop the Ineffable Plan, protecting the Antichrist, abandoning Hell, and, last but never least, murdering our brother, Uriel, in cold blood.

It seemed that the whole Silver City stopped breathing for a moment there. Even Azrael moved away from Lucifer while Remiel – who was standing next to the nearest glowing lamppost – gripped her spear tighter. Lucifer himself was seemingly frozen. Crowley noticed vaguely that the Devil’s hands were shaking, but didn’t comment on that, too focused on trying to… he didn’t know. He was having a hard time even thinking of Lucifer as a murderer. Even with all his faults, Lucifer never… There had to be a reason why Lucifer had done what he’d done. And a fucking good one, Crowley was sure.

Crowley also was half tempted to remind that great archangelic dick about the one time he had tried to burn some of the soon-to-be fallen angels alive while still pretending to be one of the good guys, so it wasn’t like he should be talking about murdering brothers and whatnot, but…

…but it had been after the trial. And judging from faces around them, every single angel here would bring popcorn if Lucifer was to be burned at the stake. Ah, no, not at the stake. Knowing Gabriel and the rest of the archangels, they would probably want to borrow a thing or two from ancient Egyptians, especially since they thought Lucifer also had done something to the Almighty. After all, the Egyptians had had a particularly terrible punishment for children who murdered their parents. And so, with sharpened reeds, bits of flesh the size of a finger would be cut from Lucifer’s body, after which he’d be placed on a bed of thorns and only then burned alive.

Crowley shuddered. Seriously, his imagination was getting ahead of itself.

Getting ahead so much that he hadn’t even heard the voices at the beginning. Whispers of “evil, evil, evil incarnate”, “murderer”, “destroyer”, “killer”, “monster”, were slowly replaced by “Father shouldn’t have spared his life”, “I hope he will suffer accordingly”, “He doesn’t deserve to be forgiven”; “There’s something rotten inside of him”, “He’s a disgrace to everything divine”, “Look at his wings, so beautiful and yet he doesn’t deserve them”; “He killed Uriel… why would he do that? Only a monster would kill its own family”, “Every monster needs to be severely punished” and only then Crowley swallowed, risking a glance at Lucifer.

His brother was just standing there, staring at the ground, taking every word and not even trying to defend himself. His hands were shaking so badly it actually made Crowley feel some sympathy for him, especially after he realized that Lucifer was saying something. Under his breath, yes, but Crowley leaned closer nonetheless, hoping he’d catch a word or two.

He didn’t.

And then he saw Amenadiel. His brothe— damnit, it seemed that Lucifer’s evident need to call everyone brothers and sisters was contagious – well, no, fuck it and you’re welcome. The Firstborn was held by two other angels just a few feet away from them. He was badly beaten, with blood soaking his dark clothes, and he looked as if he could barely stand upright. He seemed… so out of place here, especially with his causal clothing being in stark contrast to his siblings’ official robes, that the very sight of him in a state like this made Crowley clench his teeth. And the next thing he knew, he was slamming his elbow into Lucifer’s ribs, not caring if his former (and where did that thought come from??) Boss jumped because of that.

“No time for a pity party, you… big, bad Devil,” hissed Crowley while ignoring Gabriel coming for Lucifer, motioning for him to start walking again, announcing they were going to the “courtroom”, and… yeah, courtroom… call it that, sure, but it was just a huge white room with a single chair in it; Crowley could never forget the first trial ever after the Rebellion. “Amenadiel’s there.”

Lucifer’s gaze followed suit, the Devil turning to look at what exactly Crowley was pointing at. It seemed that only then Amenadiel snapped out of his own dizziness, his eyes focusing on his little brother, bound – just like him - in front of the angelic crowd.

“Luci…” Amenadiel said, hoarsely, and it was enough to bring the sharp smile back on Lucifer’s face.

“Hey, bro.” The white wings snapped when they were lifted from the ground, and then fully unfurled behind Lucifer’s back. Absolutely stunning, wide, and also absolutely intimidating. “You look truly awful, but then, what’s new? Obviously I got the fashion sense in the family.”

And when the hit came, this time it was blocked.

Chapter Text

Lucifer caught Gabriel’s wrist before the back of the Archangel’s hand could make another contact with his cheek. And, seriously, was Gabriel really continuing to pimp-slap him? He didn’t know any other way to hit people? It only prompted Lucifer to squeeze the wrist until he heard the bones inside grinding against each other. Really, he’d been patient enough already, hadn’t he?

“Missed some trouble here?” And there it was, Lucifer’s saccharine sweet voice coupled with a challenging smile. “Worry not, I strive to please, after all. Desires and such, and—“ The Devil glanced back to where Amenadiel was standing, still swaying on his feet. “Well. Kinda in a hurry now. Been waiting for that family reunion for ages. By ages I mean the lovely week of Amenadiel changing his Spawn’s dirty diapers for once, of course. And then you just had to go and bloody angel-nap him!” Before Gabriel could react in any way other than staring in shock at his own hand, Lucifer pulled him closer, using his own body weight to throw him at the angels around them – after all, he didn’t have a lot of free movement with his hands bound, sue him. It still did the trick.

The crowd around them gasped, angels jumping away and colliding with each other to avoid being hit by Gabriel’s body. Lucifer was pretty sure he just confirmed all their opinions about him being a family-slaying monster, but with his sanctimonious big brother all beaten up and held prisoner? He couldn’t possibly—

“Fuck, ouch, what is it made of?!”

Because of course, Crowley was already yanking at the rope binding Lucifer’s wrists together, hissing and complaining all the time. He kept pulling his hands away repeatedly, fingers red and blistering every time he touched the rope, and he himself growing more and more frustrated with every second he couldn’t untie the offending rope and take the bloody thing off his brother. Boss. Brother. Oh fuck it, will you?!

“LUCIFER!” Gabriel’s voice boomed so loudly that the other angels cowered. Even Crowley froze.

It only made Lucifer give him a mocking salute, though.

“You were supposed to give yourself to me, no protests and all!” Gabriel snapped as he pushed himself up and lifted his hand, telling others to stay back. “What you’re doing right now isn’t—“

“Isn’t what? Part of our deal? Why yes, it is. I promised you that I would allow you to take me here. And look at that, we’re in the Silver City! After all this time, still silver, still a city. Doesn’t that get boring?” Lucifer had a wide grin on his face, yes, but even Gabriel could tell it wasn’t real. “I also promised you a show in Heaven no one would dare to miss.”

“Lu!”

It was Azrael.

It was Rae-Rae and only because of that Lucifer stopped to turn around and look at her. His sister was worrying her lower lip between her teeth as she watched him, conflicted and shaken because of the horrifying news about Uriel. And the fact that it had been her blade used to… kill... N-no, no, no. But it also was Lucifer. Her favorite older brother she had always looked up to and had the best adventures with. He wasn’t… He never was evil.

But she didn’t say all of that out loud. And that pause Lucifer took to look at her was the only thing Gabriel needed to grab him by the hair and slam Lucifer’s head against his knee. It hurt them both, sure, and Gabriel cursed quietly as Lucifer stumbled back, blinking and trying to regain his balance, but he was also ready to charge at the Devil again, a silver blade in his hand.

Crowley moved away, looking between Azrael and Lucifer, his chest heaving as he struggled to control his breathing. This… this definitely wasn’t his scene. “Oh, for…”, he cursed before turning to Rae-Rae, and pointing at Lucifer who just dodged the blade being swiped in the general direction of his stomach. Apparently Gabriel was pretty much set on gutting him like a fish. “Help him!

“He killed Uriel, brother!” Remiel moved forward, still gripping her spear. Crowley groaned as he tugged at his hair in frustration.

“Argh, oh come… come on! It’s Lucifer! Fine, he’s insufferable, and Fallen, and stupidly stubborn, and—”

“A slut.”

Crowley stared at Remiel for a moment, dumbfounded.

“What?” She said defensively. “It’s true!”

“What Raf means, it had to be self-defense.” Azrael interrupted them with a firm nod. It made sense. It had to make sense.

“Watch out!”

Lucifer crashed into them with a painful grunt, his bound hands doing nothing to actually soften the impact.

“Fuck!” Crowley almost fell down on his ass while Remiel just stepped to the side with a frown on her face. Lucifer was bleeding and breathing heavily, but he still managed to flash all three of them quite an adorable smile from his spot on the ground.

“Fuck who, me? Keep it in your pants, Crowley, you’re not making your way through all your brothers.”

For all his aching bones right now, he still took a great pleasure in Crowley's spluttering. Served him right for the slap-your-wings-out trick. And for coming here to watch him, what, die? Be tortured? Because why else would he be here, and not running for his life somewhere in England?

“Oh, shut up,” groaned Crowley as he dropped to his knees next to Lucifer, yanking the Devil's wrists up and being seconds from doing something as unbelievably stupid and desperate as lifting the thick rope to his mouth and trying to bite through it. “I wouldn’t touch you with a ten foot pole.”

Suddenly someone else knelt down as well. Rae-Rae, with a determined expression on her round face. “I can’t even look at that.” She declared before pulling out her sword. Gabriel shouted something, but Azrael made a point of ignoring him. “Both of you are pathetic, no matter how much of my favorite people you are. And you, Remi? Amenadiel was your idol, why would you abandon him in times of need?” The realization hit her almost immediately after the words left her mouth, and Rae-Rae swallowed with difficulty. “Why did I…?” Never mind. They didn’t have time for that, now. “Well, doesn’t matter now, does it? Go, Lu.” The rope fell on the ground, cut in two by Azrael’s sword. “Go, Lucifer!”

And Lucifer went.

He moved almost like a dancer, grabbing the first angel by the wrist the moment she tried to stab him, and twisting it hard enough to cause her to drop the weapon. The second she did that, Lucifer was already hurling her at other angels, making four of them tumble and fall. There was another slash of a blade and Lucifer ducked it with a wicked smile while checking who it was – oh, Sandy, never really liked that one – before he was grabbed from behind, another rope cutting into his throat, burning him enough to taste copper on his tongue. Still, he used the sudden leverage to lean back against the angel and kick two others before him.

And he couldn’t breathe, rope buried deep enough in his throat that Lucifer clawed at the hands holding it for a moment before finally grinning like a madman and bashing his head right into the bridge of the nose of the angel – making him stumble back and let go. And while sure, he was free, he couldn’t talk – his vocal cords burned through and destroyed.

“Leave him!” To everybody’s surprise, it was Gabriel. The Archangel looked both furious and awkward. If he really was to be Heaven’s new God, he couldn’t let anybody else defeat Lucifer – he needed to do it himself. And now, with Lucifer’s throat cut wide open and bleeding down on his shirt… The Devil was an easy prey, wasn’t he? It was a miracle he was still standing and… well, wasn't dead. “He’s mine… well, my department’s to deal with. I am to deliver him to the courtroom.”

Lucifer shook his head, bewildered there for a moment, before a sudden noise got his attention. And… weren’t his siblings full of surprises? When he turned around, Remi was slamming her elbow into Zerachiel’s face, making him stagger back and – in the process – let go of Amenadiel. The very next second the other angel, Hanniel, was hit with the blunt end of Remi’s spear; when she doubled over, Remiel kicked her in the stomach, hard, sending her sister flying.

“Stop staring!” Remi yelled at Lucifer when Amenadiel lost his balance and fell straight into her arms. Other angels were advancing and she wouldn’t be able to fight while holding her eldest brother. “Do something, Lucifer! You need to do something!”

“Remiel, I would strongly advise you to shut your mouth and return Firstborn to the guards.” Gabriel was at the end of his rope there, his patience thinning dangerously. So what, now he not only had Lucifer to deal with, but also Azrael and Remiel? “Lucifer can’t do anything—“

“Oh. Oh, but I can.”

His voice was working again, as good as new.

The Devil was standing before them all, white wings reaching far and wide to swallow the enemy that dare face them. The creature made and twisted to threaten children if they misbehaved, the name meant to send shivers down a spine of even God Himself.

The entity made of light and fire itself – for Lucifer was not reflecting the morning light, but emitting it, glowing from within, bringing it into Heaven. His very eyes were like fire, reds, oranges and yellows that flickered and sparked.

And when he brought his hands up, the flames followed.

Crowley was the only one that didn’t jump away when the ring of hellfire spread around Lucifer and Gabriel, blazing into existence and separating them from other angels. Not because he knew it wouldn’t hurt him – it was because he couldn’t take his eyes of their Lightbringer. He hadn’t seen Lucifer in this form since… since before the Fall. And even then…

“Brother dearest!” Lucifer’s voice echoed as if he was speaking in multiple ones now, low and high tones fighting with each other, clashing against themselves: the angelic powerful one, the devilish growl, and his human one – enthusiastic and expressive, and almost childlike at moments. “Do we really need to do it? Oh bloody hell, you can’t possibly say that you want to keep Amenadiel here. He would bore you to death! Death, I say! We don’t have to fight over it, do we? Do we?” The insistence of the last question showed how unwilling he actually was to truly hurt anyone, and while Gabriel definitely was feeling something… akin to fear, no matter how much he didn’t want to admit it, he recognized an opportunity when it presented itself to him. It was his only chance and he would take it.

“We don’t, Lucifer. What would you even think that, you silly excuse for an angel?” Gabriel gripped the blade a little tighter now. The fabrics of his shirt were definitely sweat stained now – either from physical activity or… call it stress… he couldn’t say. “Follow through with our deal, let me get you on trial, and we’ll release Amenadiel right away. How does that sound, hmm?” He spread his arms, trying his hardest to look convincing. “Think about it. You for him.”

“Lately, it’s me for everyone.” Lucifer clasped his hands in front of himself as he leaned forward. He was still smiling. “But I’ll bite, brother. I mean, what else do I have to lose here, come on. Wings? Life? Freedom? Pride? Sanity? I feel like I should be going check, check, check, and done through a whole Wikipedia article on traumatic events. So come on, then. Why shouldn’t I just fight? Because I’m guessing that the warm bit running down your leg is actually fear. You think I’d win.” At that, Lucifer giggled with a wide grin on his face. “You think I’d win!”

“Well, you shouldn’t boast about that.” Gabriel cleared his throat before berating Lucifer. “But I do think you would win. And killed me in the process.”

The “what?” that came out of Lucifer’s mouth was so small that it was barely heard. The pleased smile disappeared from his face, and he swallowed. That… couldn’t be happening, could it? First Uriel, then Michael, and now… now Gabriel? No. No, he wouldn’t bloody do it. He wasn’t a murderer (wasn’t he?), he wasn’t a serial killer (one more and he’d be), they were still his family (but they didn’t want him), he wasn’t a monster (he was worse than that).

Even his light dimmed.

“Lucifer. Your word is your bond. Give me it.” Gabriel motioned to the group of angels gathered around Remi and Amenadiel, blades in hands. “Give me your word and I’ll let Amenadiel go, or kill me.” He took a step forward. Then another, and another, and Lucifer was walking back the whole time, desperate eyes trained on his brother. “Give. Me. Your. Word.”

And just like that, Crowley was stepping through the circle of crackling flames, mouth so dry with fear that he truly thought he could mistake his tongue for a piece of actual wood. Right. There was that. They were fucked, he was fucked, and he would probably die the second he touched the bloody bastard – namely Gabriel, but for Heaven—aaagh, not again! and Hell both, Crowley had enough of Lucifer sacrificing himself.

So instead of lunging at Gabriel and committing a faster suicide than the one with the help of holy water, Crowley turned to snarl at his decidedly less scary brother. And how funny was that perception – because out of the two, Lucifer was the creature with fire around it and light in it, and Gabriel was just… himself. The irony was not lost on the demon, but he had no time to pause and wonder why on earth he was no longer scared of Lucifer, wall-slamming be damned.

“I am not going to watch you getting tied up and tortured, get it through your bloody head!” Crowley caught Lucifer by the collar, yanking him closer and growling straight into his face. “You’re the Devil. You’re not nice. You’re never nice. Nice is a four-letter word, and I will not have you define yourself by a word so ridiculously short. You don’t have to kill anyone, but you also don’t have to roll over the moment they tell you to. Fight, you stupid, brainless, illiterate, foolish, pig-headed…” Lucifer’s eyes grew wider and wider, and soon Crowley ran out of insulting adjectives so he just shook his brother harder, feeling both overwhelmed and distressed, convinced they were about to lose the big game now, and no, the big game didn’t mean the Ineffable War anymore, it meant his brother’s life. And he couldn’t bear to lose him now – ha, wasn’t that an honest-to-Devil revelation? “Fight, Lucifer! Oh, for- for the sake of everything holy and unholy, bloody fight!” He finally yelled himself hoarse and Lucifer clenched his teeth, jaw working for a moment before he pushed Crowley away with so much force that the demon fell over with a loud thud. And then there was a dry electric crackle coming from all sides at once, like silk on flesh; there was Lucifer dropping to his knees just to press his hands to the shaking ground, wings spread, teeth bared and eyes burning; and after that… there was nothing. Just the blinding light.

Everything went white.

But when Crowley finally blinked, and blinked, and blinked himself back into consciousness, squinting against the sun – and hadn’t it been night when they left? - he was back on Earth, lying on the soft grass, Amenadiel groaning and trying to push himself up not so far away from him.

“Lucifer?” Seriously, he had to be joking… He had to be fucking joking. “Lucifer?!”

The Devil was nowhere around to be seen.

Chapter Text

“Dude, they are looking for you.”

“Oh, believe me, I know! I have eyes! What do you think they think happened? That I teleported them? I flew them down! I have no idea how to teleport myself, less alone anyone else!” There was a pause for breath. “Oh! Do you?”

“Are you friggin’ serious right now, Lucifer? In what world would I know how to teleport people?!”

“No, you’re right, Daniel, you’re completely useless in every single one of them. My bad.”

“Oh man, come on. I didn’t even know you existed until yesterday.”

“You didn’t know I—But Daniel! Was I your imaginary friend before?”

Oh, Dan wished. For the imaginary part, not the friend part.

Because now Lucifer had his feet – Italian leather shoes and all – up on the coffee table in Detective Decker’s living room, and Dan was just staring at him. The Devil. The literal freaking Devil was sitting in a chair next to him. And no, no, he still wasn’t over it.

But at least he didn’t want to shoot Lucifer anymore. That had to count for something, right? Yeah, okay, Lucifer was the Devil (the Devil, the Devil!), but he also was the same insufferable playboy who just loved insulting Dan on a daily basis. Just like was doing right now. Weirdly enough, it helped. Brought some familiarity to otherwise insane situation.

Speaking of insane situations, Dan couldn’t… couldn’t bring himself to think about Charlotte and Lucifer’s Mother, and what it all meant. Just… not yet. So, instead, Dan thought back to the sight that greeted him this morning – like, seriously, two hours ago, and he still couldn’t get it out of his head. There had been a noise outside, and he had gone to check it because Trixie had been sleeping and Chloe had been – still was, although he had texted her – at Linda’s. And, well, he had almost fainted. What? What?! He was a man enough to admit to it!

How else had he been supposed to react when faced with a glowing creature, wings and all, standing on his lawn, holding two unconscious bodies with it—no, fuck, the angel hadn’t been an it. Because the moment the light had gone off as suddenly as if the switch had been flipped, it’d become glaringly clear who’d been standing there, swaying on his feet and then collapsing, goddamnit, faceplanting on the ground with a quiet “bloody hell” whispered under his breath.

Fuck. Rewind time to a few hours ago and Dan was living a happy – scratch that, bearable – life, having no idea about the existence of angels, demons, Heaven, Hell, whatever, and now? He was tripping over three celestial bodies just… lying there in his front yard. Fine, Chloe’s front yard. But back to the point.

Amenadiel – while looking worse for wear – had been breathing just fine, and the other guy—fuck, what was his name again? C—something? Been looking pretty okay. Lucifer had been bleeding, though, struggling to breathe, and his throat, while partially healed, looked fucked up. And fine, Dan still had felt guilty about trying to shoot him, so this was how he had ended up, hands under Lucifer’s armpits, dragging the Devil backwards to the house.

And also that’s how he'd ended up with Lucifer in his – fine, Chloe’s! – living room, two hours later, being so full of shit like always, waving his hand dismissively and telling Dan to leave both Crowley and Amenadiel out, because “the bloody demon insults him on an hourly basis, even prompting him to electrocute other angels, and Amenadiel exists”.

“Shouldn’t we, uh… tell them you’re inside the house since they woke up? Crowley, right? I think he’s actually panicking.” Dan looked out of the window, frown on his forehead. “He’s yelling at the sky. And now he’s running in circles.”

“I, ah—maybe?” Lucifer finally winced, getting up as well. “I just wanted to eat my breakfast in peace! Drink some coffee, maybe find a bloody cookie—or cocaine! Starts with “co” as well and I wouldn’t terribly mind having either one of the—”

“Lucifer!” They heard the unmistakable sound of little feet running, and someone latched herself onto his waist with a wide, happy smile on her face. “You’re okay!”

“Ah, hello, small human.” Lucifer looked around helplessly before patting Trixie’s head, all careful, and awkward, and fond. “Yes, it would appear so. Top notch and all.”

Dan still didn’t look entirely too comfortable watching his daughter interact with the Devil, but—seriously, what could he do? He’d been the one to wrap a bandage around Lucifer’s throat and wrists and wait with him for them to heal completely, so it seemed… weird to freak out now. Also, seriously, he’d been pointing the gun at the Devil, and what had Lucifer done in return? Stood against the wall obediently, hands up, and cracked some jokes. That’s all.

“Daddy didn’t shoot you! I knew he wouldn’t, you’re too funny to be shot, you know? And nice! The nicest Devil I know. You’re not dangerous.” Trixie smiled up at Lucifer, and wasn’t that ironic? He’d just knocked out a whole bunch of bloodthirsty angels, zapping them with electricity. “Oh! Have you ever watched Lilo and Stitch? There’s a scene there that reminds me of you! You know, with Lilo praying for—”

The door burst open all of sudden, kicked down by none other than Lucifer’s favorite de—hey, heeey, when did that thought come from?

“Anybody?! Fuck, we need to—we need to get back to Heaven, right the fuck now, Lucifer’s the—“

The panicked words died away on Crowley’s lips the moment he noticed said Satan just… standing in the middle of the room, with Trixie hugging him around the waist, and… was that coffee he was drinking?! Coffee. Coffee. With a snap of his fingers, it splashed right into Lucifer’s stupid face, and then oh, would you look at that, what an unfortunate accident, with another lift of hand, a plate was hurled through the air, making Lucifer jump to the side, tugging Trixie with him and almost ending up sprawled on the floor.

Dan grabbed Trixie’s hand and quickly pulled her away from Lucifer, and, the, well, whole mess. Shit, Chloe’s living room. At least he wasn’t the one cleaning it later.

Of course, the very second Trixie found herself at a safe distance, was also the second Crowley just… went for Lucifer, having enough of this, of his shit, of the whole apocalypse thing, of working for Hell, of… everything, really; he just snapped.

This time it was Lucifer who was slammed against the wall, and, while Crowley couldn’t make his yellow snake eyes burn red like the Devil, he certainly could hiss at him with his fangs out, dripping poison already. Lucifer, to his credit, just held his hands up in a placating gesture.

And, what came as a surprise to him, he had no fear reaction to Crowley threatening him physically. Huh. That was… certainly interesting.

“Brother dearest,” he started only to be interrupted by Crowley shaking him hard enough for his head to hit the wall. Dearie him, that hurt! Wait, was the Detective nearby? “What did I do to deserve that?!”

“Oh, wha—no, no, you just—noo, lemme just, lemme tell you what you did, Lucifer.” Crowley hissed right into his face. “You made us think you were still in Heaven, that’s for starters. You forced me to work for Hell for thousands of years—“

“Bloody hell, here we go again…” Lucifer scoffed, ready to roll his eyes. “That was dear old Dad, not me! I did not make you Fall!”

“That… that is another conversation entirely.” Because no, he didn’t blame Lucifer for his, err, sauntering vaguely downwards thing. Asking questions and hanging around the wrong crowd had been his own decisions, no matter how stupid and not thought through. This conversation? Was all about things he blamed Lucifer for. “Playing delegator doesn’t absolve you of responsibility, you bastard.”

It really didn’t. And Lucifer was slowly starting to see that maybe delegating things to Beelzebub hadn’t been the smartest idea of his, especially if Crowley was so angry about it. He needed to ask the serpent later what exactly Beelzebub had done without the King’s knowledge, but now… now he had another important thing to do, no?

Because the whole thing was about Crowley working for Lucifer, since the very beginning. They were brothers, but after the Fall… everything had gone downhill. Lucifer had been furious at their Father and at his new role, so maybe, just maybe, he hadn’t handled things… properly. Threats and violence probably hadn’t been… the best… tools… to deal with the demons, but he hadn’t been thinking clearly just yet, too focused on his own pain and rage, and feeling of unfairness, and night terrors about falling, and falling, and hitting the ground with a sick sound of bones being broken and crushed, of his organs rupturing. He had screamed for days back then.

And Crowley hadn’t had it much better. Not—the same, because he hadn’t been thrown out of Heaven, just simply casted out for following Lucifer, but—it wasn’t much better, being turned into a snake. The archangel of healing remade into a venomous animal… ironic, wasn’t it? And Lucifer hadn’t been kind to him either, not in those first years after their Fall. With Crowley being a demon, he had to listen to him.

Up until now.

So maybe it was time for Lucifer to do for Crowley the one thing he had refused to do for Michael back then in the Cage. And, in doing so, level the playing field between them. Just… Lucifer grinned to himself, just perfect. He really was a saint. Saint Lucifer. It did suit him, Dad damn it!

In addition to being a saint, he was also so focused on his own thoughts, that he didn’t even notice new voices in the room. Crowley did, though, and spun around with a frown on his face, annoyed that someone dared to interrupt him in a moment like this. The sheer audacity of these guys!

…and a girl. Two girls. Lucifer’s detective was standing next to whatever that male human’s name was - what? He couldn’t be bothered remembering names, of all things – with little Trixie safe between them, and Amenadiel, already looking better and healing, was talking to some tiny blond woman while holding a baby in his arms. Right, the Child. The Child is here, Crowley parodied Michael’s condescending voice in his head. He wondered for a moment where Maze was, but then he noticed Aziraphale there, too, and suddenly Crowley couldn’t think about anything else. Because his sweet Angel was holding a fucking flaming sword in his hand.

“I thought you gave that away!”

“I did!” Aziraphale looked rather embarrassed as he glanced at the sword. Crowley decided he also looked rather ridiculous because it was flaming and people around were just kind of… ignoring the whole situation? Except for that male human who was looking quite dumbstruck. “And, well, I got it back. Don’t hold it against me, please, it was the lovely detective that made me do it. Oh. Oh dear. Why is Satan… kneeling?”

“Detective!” Lucifer offered Chloe both a small wave and a proud grin from his kneeling position. “I’m back!”

“I can see that, yes. And in a great shape.” Chloe nodded slowly, feeling amazed despite herself. If they hadn’t met Amenadiel outside, she would’ve been much less calmer now. She still wasn’t too calm, no, because really, what Lucifer had done, electrocuting everyone… it sounded to her like a challenge to the other archangels. But, well… Let them come, though. This time Chloe had the angel of the Eastern Gate to help her protect her brilliant, self-sacrificing idiot. “Do you, um, need a room? I don’t want to interrupt such an intimate moment between you two.”

Crowley turned around again, slowly, oh so slowly, to face Lucifer. He already felt his patience wearing really thin, he didn’t need that – and by that he meant Lucifer’s silly antics - on top of everything.

And of course, yeah, no, sure, the Devil was kneeling. Perfect. No, yes, a situation like that was totally… a common sight for him, really. His Boss, brother, whatever… kneeling before him. Crowley made a weird sound in the back of his throat, before he finally was able to speak normally. “Come—come now, Lucifer. Big kneeling fan, me, sure, but Angel isn’t going to use the sword on you. You can get up.”

“Oh jolly. No, of course not!” Aziraphale agreed with Crowley at once, even going as far as giving Lucifer a cautious smile. “Well, yes, weapons give weight to a moral argument, I think, but I have no moral arguments to make here. Yet.”

Yet?!” Crowley looked at his Angel for a moment there, both horrified and impressed, before he tugged Lucifer up and then pushed him towards the door. No, they were going to have this conversation in another room, without any witnesses yet-ting at them.

Ohh, manhandling me again? Be careful not to spoil me, darling, really.” Crowley couldn’t see Lucifer’s face, but he could swear that the bastard was grinning. Then, when wasn’t he? Lucifer seemed to keep the wide, charming smile practically glued to his face at all times. There should be something said about hiding behind humor, but well, Crowley wasn’t the one to talk, really.

“Why, pray tell, were you kneeling?” The demon lifted his hand in a fluid, practiced movement and snapped his fingers, causing the door to lock itself, then turned around with the intention of staring at Lucifer in disbelieve— no, scratch that, glaring… glaringly at his infuriating brother. Because, seriously, if that was just some sick prank, then the Devil had a really twisted sense of humor.

“And now we did get a room!”

“Are you kidding me— no. Why were you kneeling, Lucifer?”

This time, the earnestness of the question was enough to make Lucifer clear his throat and smile at him in a, well, considerably less weird way.

Apparently it was also time for Saint Lucifer to strike again.

“Ah, brother dearest, you’re fired.”

And…

“What.”

That wasn’t even a question. Crowley just blinked at his Bo—wait, fired? What for?! Had Lucifer somehow checked up on all the memos he had been sending Hell saying how amazingly well he’d been doing? But when?! Between being a big glowing entity and zapping all angels with electricity and leaving Amenadiel and him in the front yard? He’d done that then?!

“Oh, dearie me, why, on Earth, are you panicking?” Lucifer frowned a little, confused, because wasn’t that what Crowley wanted? “You kept telling me how unhappy you were with your job, and, truly… the power dynamic between us is… Bloody hell, you do yell at me all the time, and you did stop me from making a very stupid decision back in the Silver City – thank you for that, by the way - but you’re also,” Lucifer lifted three fingers so he could make a show out of counting them, “a, scared of me…”

“Eh, not, not really, not anymore, but do go on.”

“…b, my loyal, royal subject…”

“You just fired me!”

“…c, my brother.”

“Thinking about disowning you.”

Riiight, you wish.” Lucifer drawled out with a self-satisfied smirk on his face, that smug bastard, prompting Crowley to scoff at him incredulously, before that scoff died somewhere in the demon’s throat.

Because Lucifer first bent the right, then the left knee, painfully reminded of the time he’d had to the same thing for his dear old Dad. Back then, he’d had no other choice, but this time? He was doing that because he wanted to set things right for once, and that made… made a world of difference.

“I am no longer your King.” Somehow, there could be heard a deeper note in Lucifer’s normally higher, cheerful way of speaking. Almost like voices overlapping. “Raphael, as of now, you don’t serve Hell. You don’t serve any other demons. Most importantly, you don’t serve me, The Adversary. I therefore resign my right to give you orders of any kind, I resign my authority over you, and everything that comes with it.” Lucifer bowed his head slightly before rolling his shoulders, unfurling the wings only to press them flat to the floor while Crowley was just… standing there, mouth parted and heart practically not beating, if that was even possible. What was happening?... “You’re free to do as you wish.”

“What… Lucifer…”

“But,” Lucifer glanced up with an innocent look in his eyes, “I, for one, wish for you to stay because I’m pretty sure Gabriel is going to bring both Hell and Heaven to my doorstep for what I did to him and his reputation. And so, we need to come up with a plan.”

Chapter Text

Aziraphale fidgeted uncomfortably. The whole situation was uncomfortable in his humble opinion, and while he genuinely liked Chloe because of her gentle, but no-nonsense behavior - same with Linda - he didn’t really wanted to deal with other… Oh dear, not only he had to deal with Satan being all over Crowley, but also with the Firstborn being here. It was a nightmare. A very miserable, very intimidating nightmare.

Also, Aziraphale still couldn’t exactly wrap his head around the idea of Amenadiel having a child. Or Satan kneeling for some unknown reason. Speaking of…

“Maybe we should check on them? Make sure there’s nothing hanky-panky going on?”

“I’m sure everything is alright.” Of all people in the room, it was Amenadiel who answered him. Linda and Chloe had left to make Trixie breakfast in the kitchen while the other angel was rocking the baby in his arms – namely that absolutely sweet and adorable little Charlie, bringer of apocalypse – and so Aziraphale fidgeted again. Wonderful.

“With all due respect, but how can you know that? Crowley is there with Satan himself. That’s his King.” He pressed out, feeling nervous for his poor demon. At least the sword was giving him some comfort, although getting it back in one night hadn’t been easy. But when he’d heard that Crowley had decided to go to Heaven— it’s not like he’d had any other choice left. “For all we know, they might be killing each other right now. I think… I think I’ll go and check.”

“Lucifer is a handful, yes, but he’s not evil. Although I did make the mistake of thinking him as such.” Amenadiel sighed before one look at the baby he was holding made him smile again. It was a miracle that Linda had let him take Charlie from her, given the state of his blood-soaked clothes, but then, everyone here needed some comfort. “I understand why you’re worried, but…”

Lucifer threw open the door – which, in turn, bounced off the outside wall and almost hit him in the face for all his efforts – and jogged out of the room, interrupting whatever Amenadiel wanted to say with his loud, cheerful: “Missed me?! Right, right, you don’t have to answer that, I know you did.”

To Aziraphale’s great horror, Crowley didn’t follow.

“Where, oh dear, where’s Crowley?”

“Hmm? Oh, he’s not moving.” Lucifer shrugged without a care in the world, making Aziraphale’s blood run cold. “I think I actually broke him.”

“How- how could you!? You… you foul fiend!” There was a second when nothing happened, and then Lucifer had a flaming sword pressed against his throat. “You deceived him!”

“Whoa!” Dan rushed to Lucifer’s side to grab Aziraphale’s forearm. Honestly, at this point, Dan felt like was ready to accept not only the flaming sword, but even an alien spaceship if it landed here. “What the hell, man?! Kids are in the room! Or one kid, whatever!”

Aziraphale took a step back immediately, ashamed of his own behavior, but then he was so tremendously worried about Crowley! He couldn’t… couldn’t not act, not when his best friend and more, was… was broken!

Dan sighed as he ran a hand down his face.

“Thanks. Try not to kill each other, please. My life is crazy enough as it is, man, I don’t need or want to be forced to dig a grave for either of you.”

Aziraphale lifted the sword again – oh great – and Dan groaned. Seriously, was no one ever listening to him?

Meanwhile Lucifer smiled widely even as he put his hands up, mostly just to humor the other angel. Who would’ve thought that being charitable could make someone feel so good about themselves? He needed to try that more often!

“Don’t think that I won’t- I won’t smite you!” Aziraphale threatened, although he sounded more desperate than anything. “For breaking Crowley!”

Oh, the merry go round. Right, Lucifer needed to focus before he ended up being a shish kebab on Aziraphale’s flaming skewer.

“Bloody hell, his mind is broken, not his body!

“And how is that supposed to make everything better?!”

Why didn’t it?!

“Amenadiel, brother, a little help here, maybe?”

Amenadiel shrugged. He was fighting back a smile – mostly because he didn’t believe, even for one second, that Lucifer actually had hurt Crowley, and because it was fun to watch his little brother dig his own grave deeper and deeper – no Dan needed for that – with every sentence that left his mouth. Speaking of Dan, he just gave up on further intervention, resigned to doing that only if that sword started to swing around.

“Come on, Luci. You prevailed over half of Heaven, and you can’t over one Principality?” He teased.

“This is your fault, too!” Aziraphale turned to face the other angel with desperation written all over his face. “You were supposed to be, to be the Devil’s Keeper! Not—not to call him endearing nicknames and let him stay on Earth!”

“Angel!”

Crowley was standing in the doorway, looking very much alive and not broken and it was enough for Aziraphale to put down the sword and exhale with relief before darting to hug his demon.

“Oh. Oh dear. You’re alright!”

“Wouldn’t say that.” Crowley sent Lucifer a weird little look, not even minding that said Lucifer had his back to him, already trotting up to Amenadiel. Like, look at the Devil being in such a great mood. “But yes, Angel, I’m fine.”

Still, Aziraphale couldn’t help himself but pat Crowley’s body up and down, checking with worry for any wounds. “Oh jolly, he didn’t hurt you.”

“No. No, um, but don’t go asking me what happened there. I don’t even know what just happened, believe me, Angel.” Crowley rubbed the back of his neck. “We’re not talking about that. What happens in The Room, stays in The Room.”

“I think you’re quoting something, but I’m not entirely sure what.” The relief Aziraphale felt was so great that he didn’t even register guilt at the beginning. Oh. Oh no, he’d threatened an innocent! Well, Satan was hardly innocent, all things considered, but still, he hadn’t caused Crowley any harm, and so he surely was owed an apology.

But, when Aziraphale turned around, ignoring Crowley’s “Eh, that really isn’t important, don’t worry your pretty head about it”, the scene he saw made him feel completely and utterly confused.

Amenadiel, the same angel warrior that had been sent so many times to drag Lucifer back to Hell, was standing there, with the baby in his arms and a smile on his face, while Satan had his hand on Amenadiel’s shoulder, squeezing it with… with affection? Could it be? It had to be, even if Lucifer tried very hard to look exasperated by the whole situation. It didn’t change the fact that it was his hand touching the angel, and that they were talking, too, in hushed voices.

A decision was made and Aziraphale turned back to Crowley, giving his brothers a little privacy. It’d been a long time since he had thought of any other angels as his siblings.

The whole privacy thing only lasted for five more minutes, though, and if somebody were to ask Lucifer about it, he’d gladly exclaim that it was five minutes too long, thank you very much –

“Lucifer.” There it was, the voice he’d gladly hear every day until the end of his existence. Although, considering his latest behavior, that might be not too far away. Like, one minute more of listening to Amenadiel. And his brother wasn’t even talking about important stuff! Just called him a good person (how dare he?!), thanked him for the rescue, and then started gushing about the Spawn! One more minute and Amenadiel surely would’ve tried to hand him the baby, and Lucifer was not falling for that again. Last time it’d happened, it’d turned out that there had been a diaper to be changed. “Can I borrow you for a second, or are you too busy stepping on everybody’s toes right now?”

Chloe was standing near the kitchen with an amused smile on her face. Lucifer smoothed down his suit before making a show out of sighing and telling Amenadiel to go bother dear Linda instead.

“Very funny, Detective.”

“It’s true.” Chloe beckoned him closer and Lucifer went willingly only to be pulled down into a kiss. He smiled against the Detective’s soft lips, not really daring to deepen it. In his mind, she still was meant to be worshipped, both in sex and everyday’s life. Not that they had done the devil’s tango, mind you. With everything that was always going on, him flinching away from touches, it just… had been replaced by quiet nights together, full of comfort and, well, maybe unplanned drunk karaoke once or twice.

“Detective, how bold… With all these people around?” Lucifer teased her, even as his arms were already around her waist, keeping the Detective close to him. Chloe rolled her eyes, pretending to be annoyed with him. She wasn’t, though. How could she? After everything he’d gone through, just last night? Speaking of…

“Are you okay?” Chloe looked him in the eyes. She was worried about Lucifer, and it was understandable, but she also knew he was going to deflect and avoid. Still, Lucifer needed to know she was there for him. “No more sirens in your head? Burns from the ropes?” Chloe took Lucifer’s wrists just to have a better look at them. They were healed. “What’s our plan? Because, believe me, as frustrating as you can be, I don’t want you to end up burned at the proverbial stake only because you’re the Devil. I won’t let that happen.”

“Then promise me that you won’t stay here, Detective.” Lucifer said seriously. He already had put too many people in danger because of his admittedly rash decisions. Still, they were the only ones he could have made back then. “Promise me you’ll go with Amenadiel and Linda. And then you’ll take your Offspring and Daniel some place safe. Not here. If you want me focused, this is our only option.”

“Lucifer, this isn’t—“

“Chloe, please.” Lucifer slapped a hand over the Detective’s mouth. There were some muffled protests, but he ignored them pointedly. “This isn’t like the last time, me versus dear old Dad, having no idea how to control my powers, and basically going against Him alone. You’ve done so much already – we have that flaming stick with us, and the angel of Whatever Gate, thanks to you.”

Chloe didn’t look too happy when she finally pushed Lucifer’s hand down, but… her Monkey. She needed to be responsible. Lucifer was right. It had been different back then, back when Lucifer had only her, when there had been no possibility for Trixie to find herself in danger.

“Okay. You have one chance of doing it your way.” Lucifer wasn’t defenseless. He had a flaming sword, Aziraphale… and Crowley, she thought, but there was also that weird thing from earlier, and Chloe couldn’t not ask, the curiosity would eat her alive. “Just one more thing. Why were you kneeling for Crowley?”

The wide grin that appeared on Lucifer’s face meant everything sinful in the world.

“Bureaucracy.”

 

*-*

 

Two hours later Lucifer was sitting on the floor with his back against the couch. He rested his head on Chloe’s thigh, letting her play with his hair. They were supposed to come up with a plan, but how did that saying go? When Satan plans, dear old Dad laughs? Thought so.

“Right, we all know what happened in Heaven.” Lucifer gestured animatedly at the whole circle of humans and angels gathered around him. Amenadiel was standing next to Linda while Aziraphale sat in a chair, looking all prim and distinguished with his proper posture. And Crowley… well, Crowley was all but sprawled on the couch like a bloody starfish. Luckily for Lucifer’s patience, Dan had to drive Trixie to school. “But first, where’s Maze? You’re not hiding her in the trunk of your car, Detective, are you?”

“No, Lucifer.” It was Linda who answered. “Maze went back to Hell to get more angel killing weapons. Aziraphale gave her a ride.”

Well, no, that was just precious and Lucifer wasn’t going to let it slide. Also, maybe he wanted to get some sweet revenge for being threatened with a weapon that could very well erase him from existence.

“What?! You’ve never visited me, for centuries, for centuries!, but you go and let the first demon you meet ride you?” Lucifer scoffed with an affronted expression on his face, but still, he hadn’t counted on Crowley being against him.

“Wouldn’t say Mazikeen was the first one.”

Leave it to that bloody demon to sound smug about that.

“Crowley!” Aziraphale gasped. His cheeks were definitely redder now than just a minute ago, and the miserable sound that Lucifer just choked out confirmed that yes, he definitely saw Aziraphale’s point. Traumatized for all eternity now, thank you.

“Oh come on, Angel. Nothing to be ashamed of.”

“Right, Sweet Home Alabama. Would you like me to sing it to you?” Lucifer drawled out. There was… there definitely was some amusement hidden under all the mockery and pretend trauma. “Where the skies are so blue…

Aziraphale just frowned, confused about the meaning of this, but Crowley hit Lucifer with a pillow after mimicking him singing in a truly ridiculous way.

“Shut it, or you’re next.”

“Next?!”

“Honestly, you’re all children.” Chloe groaned as she hid her face in her hands. Worse. Worse than children. On one hand, yes, so much yes, but on the other, she was secretly glad to see Lucifer being at ease, and acting all… carefree around his family. He deserved that, no matter the circumstances. “Do I need to remind you that we’re supposed to come up with a plan?”

It still took a moment for Lucifer to recover from awed shock after Crowley’s comment.

“Why, yes! I think that Gabriel is going to bring some backup this time. And by backup I mean Michael at the very least. My plan is to bring Gabriel’s ambitious plans of becoming the new sheriff in town to Mikey’s attention.”

Chloe waited for Lucifer to add something else, but she also wasn’t too surprised when it became crystal clear that it was the only idea he had. “And if that doesn’t work, Aziraphale has a flaming sword.”

“It’s flaming like anything.” Crowley agreed with Chloe. He reached out to join her in playing with Lucifer’s hair, earning himself an eyeful of a squinting and suspicious Devil. And another eyeful of a squinting and perplexed Angel. “What? I, um, I’m bored.”

“What about Charlie?” Amenadiel frowned. It was the only thing missing from Lucifer’s plan, no? But it had all started with him being a nephilim. “Shall I remind you that I was kidnapped and beaten because of my son?”

“About that! How did that even happen, brother?” Lucifer pointed at him, utterly bewildered. “You have your powers, you have your wings, you’re the strongest angel Heaven ever known—what happened!?”

Although Amenadiel allowed himself a small smile at Lucifer’s words, he also sighed right after that. Because he had failed, hadn’t he? And had to count on his little brother to save him.

“I was outnumbered. It shouldn’t be an excuse, I know.”

“Pretty good one, if you ask me,” muttered Crowley, but no one paid attention to him. Surprise, surprise. He was so busy rolling his eyes that he didn’t even notice that Amenadiel was still talking. Shit, right, he was supposed to listen.

“…asked all kinds of questions about Charlie, and when I refused to tell them where he was, they decided to… well, punish me for mingling with humans and producing a nephilim.”

I produced a nephilim.” Linda interrupted him. “It took me nine months and over eight hours of giving birth, thank you very much.”

“You did that, my good doctor. Don’t let my overweening brother take all the credit.” Lucifer was clearly having fun even though he didn’t know how much more time he had left. “Fine. So we hide the Spawn and then— then we fight. Only celestials are allowed to submit their candidatures!”

Crowley had to admit that after that exclamation, he dozed off. What? Being unconscious didn’t really count as sleeping, and his body really needed rest if he was supposed to fight. He did mean to raise his hand, he did, it just… The next moment he opened his eyes, Chloe, Linda, and Amenadiel were gone, along with little Charlie, and Lucifer was hovering over him with a seriously weird smile on his face.

Just because of that it felt completely reasonable to smack Lucifer with a pillow.

It felt much less reasonable when Lucifer’s eyes flashed red – oh no, he was fucked – and suddenly Crowley was scrambling up and over the couch, with Lucifer trying to grab him not too far behind.

Nonetheless, it only took the ground shaking to sober them up very quickly.

 

*-*

 

The two Archangels and one Lord of Flies were standing in the same very spot that Crowley had woken up in a couple hours earlier. The trees around them were slowly wilting; leaves curling up and falling down shortly after in a display of power. Clouds loomed in the sky, heavy and dark, while thick fog embraced every tree, every square centimeter of ground. Lucifer, who was looking out of the window, was suddenly glad that the house wasn’t too close to the city – who’d know that living in suburbia had so many prons – because how exactly would he explain that to humans witnessing the showdown? Ah, no reason to panic, we’re all just truly dedicated method actors!

Oh right, he didn’t lie.

The Apocalypse is coming, rejoice! …just kidding! Well, sort of. Right, why, on Earth, are you all looking about to faint?

“Lucifer! Come out now, and we’ll go easy on you. I promise.”

Michael. Of course. Of course, because Gabriel looked very content to just stand there, hands clasped in front of him, and pretend to be completely unbothered by everything. And yet, Lucifer was willing to bet that his brother was very glad to have assistance this time. Also, Beelzebub? The audacity of his right hand, going against him… Oh, Beelzebub was lucky Lucifer hadn’t incinerated them already.

“High expectations lead to higher disappointments, Mikey, didn’t you hear?” Lucifer kicked the door open – so sorry, Detective – to make a better, more dramatic entrance. “Hello again, Gabriel. Beelzebub! Long time, no see. It would’ve been better for you if we kept it that way, but, oh goodie, here we are.”

“Lucifer.” Michael nodded. There was something eerie about him, like always, but Lucifer didn’t feel the same cold hand of fear gripping his heart and throat he’d felt the last time he’d faced his twin. Apparently it was either thanks to shock therapy of being thrown straight into the middle of another apocalyptic crisis, or thanks to…

Crowley sauntered up to Lucifer and lifted his hand in a casual greeting.

“Hi, guys.”

Right. No.

“Crowley. And… Aziraphale.” Michael looked between them with a frown on his forehead when the other angel joined them as well – and yes, he was holding the flaming sword in his hand. “Are you aiding Lucifer?”

“Aiding and abetting is a crime, let me remind you,” added Gabriel. He even stood straighter when he did that. Crowley mimicked him, but shut up quickly when Aziraphale pressed his lips together in disapproval. “If you stand with him now, you’ll stand with him to be judged and sentenced as well.”

“Trials are fun, no? Angel, what do you think?” Crowley shrugged, all nonchalant and lazy. “You get to eat popcorn and laugh at stuff.”

“You’re talking about movie theatres, dear.”

“Right, I am. How are they different, again?”

“Enough!” Gabriel raised his voice in a simple command, but it did shut at least Aziraphale up. “Lucifer, either you allow yourself to be punished, or give us the Child, or we’ll find a way to persuade you. Maybe a little demonstration will be helpful. Michael?”

Archangel Michael, Voice of God. Lucifer was too slow with connecting the dots for him to stop it from happening and – then it was too late. Sirens blaring with no pause, volume increasing and increasing, just not in Lucifer’s head. The Voice of God chose another target this time.

The screams that tore through Lucifer like a great shard of glass belonged to Crowley and Aziraphale, and he had a second, no, less than a second to figure out what to do, how to make Michael stop, how to make him shut up, how to—

“I know where Dad is!”

Chapter Text

Everything stopped.

Lucifer was at least glad that the screaming stopped, too, because now he could hear his own thoughts. Although he wasn’t sure he wanted to hear them since currently all of them were – while slightly different – still very much similar variations of Well, good for you, Luci, pleading guilty already. Do you prefer hardwood – aha, hardwood – caskets to metal ones?

“What exactly, Lucifer,” started Gabriel, slowly, “do you mean by that?”

“Dearie me, brother, I’m sure I could draw you a map. I just seem to have misplaced my pen, really!”

There was a frustrated sound somewhere to his right – and wasn’t that a lovely mental picture? Crowley being his right hand? Lucifer caught himself and frowned. No, it was a terrible, completely awful mental image! The two of them, like that, seriously? Bloody hell.

Also, he had fired the poor demon.

Still, he didn’t have time to dwell on it. The way Michael shifted his stance was very telling. Familiar. He was readying himself for another attack.

Broken ribs, collapsed lungs, ruptured spleen, innards yanked out… This Michael, the other Michael— who cared which one? What was the difference? Almost all his siblings wanted him dead anyway. And after his little confession? That was a given. Crowley and Aziraphale would be killed, too. They… aided him, after all. Something snapped in him and Lucifer felt all cold inside.

Centuries of trauma, of being abused and manipulated by his Father, of being shunned by his family, years of being tortured in the Cage and not fighting back, finally— finally made him stand straighter.

Lucifer smiled at his twin – dance for me, my little monkey, dance to my tune.

Because sometimes trauma could turn into paralyzing fear. And sometimes it could twist itself into something much nastier. A self-defense system, a warped sense of protectiveness— cruelty dressed as good intentions, rearing its ugly head.

“A map? To where?”

“Is it really important, now?”

Lucifer pried away Crowley’s fingers, clenched around his arm. The demon was staring daggers at him, yet Lucifer only offered him a sweet, almost innocent smile.

“Stay, Crowley. Good serpent.”

Don’t,” but it was too late already. The word died away at Crowley’s bloodied lips while Lucifer trotted away from both him and Aziraphale. Aziraph— Angel! Crowley looked quickly between the Devil and his soulmate before rushing to Aziraphale’s side and helping him up, trying to wipe blood off Aziraphale’s face. At least the angel was still gripping the flaming sword – gripping it so tightly his knuckles became white.

Both of them turned to watch the scene playing out before them, too weak and dazed to join, and too weak-willed to look away. It was like watching a train wreck.

Lucifer hopped off the porch.

“Time for all good demons to go home.” He grinned at Beelzebub who, while yes, opened their mouth to say something, had it snapped shut with a simple flick of the Devil’s wrist. “Now. I’ll deal with you later, personally.” Another flick, and Beelzebub’s vessel all but melted into the ground.

“What did you do?” Gabriel clenched his fists, furious, even as his eyes widened a bit at the display of Lucifer’s powers. “You need to stop it right now and tell us where Father is! You already know what the verdict of your trial will be, Lucifer. For your continuous impertinence, for what you did to Uriel, to the Almighty Himself, there can only be one—”

“Read to me riddles and read to me rhymes. Read to me stories of magical times.” Lucifer interrupted him shamelessly by intoning, spinning the words into a warning that no one understood. The Devil was now circling his two brothers slowly – he took a great pleasure in the way the archangels kept turning with him like a sickwrongunnatural version of some merry go round. He knew they were just making sure to never have their backs to him, but it was ever so coldly amusing. “Read to me tales about castles and kings, read to me stories of fabulous things.”

But dearie him, them facing him was exactly what he counted on.

They always thought he wouldn’t survive. The trial, being tossed out of Heaven for wanting a will of his own, Hell, anything, really. Always underestimating him, looking down on him, just because Lucifer despised hurting his own family. Still, his family, his real family, was also standing there on the porch. His to protect and defend.

“Speak clearly,” snapped Gabriel at last. He already looked as if there was little to none left of his thinning patience. “Where is our Father? Or Michael will bring you down to your knees again.”

“Read to me of pirates and read to me of knights. Read to me of dragons and of dragon-book fights.” His little nursery rhyme was only a means of distraction, and it was laughable, really. All this fuss with Gabriel and Michael showing up, ready to rain destruction down upon him, and now, what? Gabriel wasn’t going to attack first, not after what had happened in the Silver City, and Michael? Michael, for all his Voice of God thingy, still stayed as neutral as he could, given the situation they were in.

But Michael and Amenadiel were the only two other archangels with powers on the same level as Lucifer’s. And because his twin had never buried them deep down inside himself, Lucifer knew Michael would be the one coming out on top.

So he needed to act fast. Faster than them.

“Lucifer, listen,” started Michael. He wasn’t smiling, wasn’t taunting him – he was speaking with weird urgency. “I came to warn you back then, at Lux. You’re not on the winning team. The Child is here, the War must happen, otherwise—”

Listen? Well, no. Too boring, truly.

Lucifer’s wings snapped into existence, knocking Gabriel down – and then the Devil leapt at Michael. It took merely a second for Lucifer to break his twin’s jaw with one forceful move as he wrenched his mouth open. Michael threw a punch at him, but it was oh so easy to block just by lifting the not-so-occupied hand. Another second flew by – too fast for Gabriel to fully get up, too fast for Michael to deliver another blow – and Lucifer was already ripping out Michael’s tongue.

Crowley was frozen to his spot on the porch. Michael was making some kind of a gurgling sound – as if he had blood building up in his throat, making it hard for him to breathe – and Lucifer was just… just standing there with something wet, and slimy, and dripping blood… held in his hand.

Lucifer… Lucifer just…

“Sorry, brother,” Lucifer was speaking now – as lightly as ever, “we both know you’ll heal, but I can’t have you going around and screaming into people’s heads now, can I? And you – ah, ah, ah, stay where you are, Gabriel, or it will be your heart crushed raw between my teeth.” The archangel halted in the middle of charging at Lucifer, stopped both by his voice and by the fact that now the Devil had his fingers pushed just enough into Michael’s chest. Lucifer grinned at him, easy and seemingly carefree. “You two are going to listen to me. And, after that, be good little Hermeses and pass the message to other angels in the Silver City. See, dear old Dad is in a perfect prison, made just for Him by yours truly.” The look of panic on Gabriel’s face was worth everything. “If anyone wants to join Him there, please, by all means, be my guest! I defeated Father, I will defeat all of you. There won’t be any War, no Child will be taken or killed, or you’ll face my wrath.” Lucifer pushed Michael forward, sending him stumbling into Gabriel’s arms. There was something… something other causing Gabriel to feel so much trepidation, but Lucifer had no idea what it could be. Still, he wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. “Go. Go, now. And, Mikey? I completely forgot to tell you! Gabriel didn’t beat me before. We struck a deal – he thought that by taking me to the Silver City, he’d become the new God there. I think you two should talk it over, definitely! Well. As soon as…” Lucifer took a step forward, all but smiling at them, and it was enough. He was left alone.

One snap of wings, one look of hatred, and he was left alone. Just like it should be since the very beginning.

Meanwhile Crowley couldn’t find words. As if the dimensional plane he was standing in suddenly shifted, just a bit, leaving him disoriented. Lucifer turned to them, to him and Aziraphale, and Crowley could only think that Lucifer wasn’t the Devil anymore. Not in that moment anyway. Lucifer’s wings were luminescent, giving off light, and his eyes— they weren’t red with burning hellfire within them, but just… pure glowing white instead.

He was Samael, God’s Poison and Destroyer. An Archangel. And, somehow, it was even scarier.

“I’ll deal with Gabriel later.” Lucifer was speaking and Crowley swallowed. He found his mouth impossibly dry. “Come with me, brother. Come with me to Hell. I think it’s high time to set things straight there. Also, if Gabriel gathers his army and brings it here, on Earth, to fight me, I need my army of demons as well, don’t I? And… I guess it’d be good to talk to Beelzebub about… quite a few things, too, don’t you agree?”

“But this is everything we’re fighting against! Everything you’ve been fighting against!” Aziraphale exclaimed, desperate, and Crowley turned to stare at him, slowly. The demon still felt as if he was in the middle of some really bad dream. A true nightmare. “Two armies of Heaven and Hell? Dear boy, this is the War!”

Lucifer simply held out his hand toward Crowley. He was waiting.

The Devil— the archangel needed him, Crowley realized. Not as his King, but as his brother, and not in the way Lucifer thought. In the exact opposite of that.

So he moved forward.

“Crowley, stop!” Aziraphale caught his serpent’s arm. He was panicking because Lucifer wasn’t listening to him, and now Crowley… Crowley was trying to follow his Lord. What was happening?! “Don’t! Don’t go to him, dear, don’t you see what he’s doing?! It’s a trap! It’s always been a trap, fuck, the Devil was working to bring the Armageddon as well, but on his terms! Please! Please, you have to stay, we have to fix this, we have to—“

The demon freed himself out of Aziraphale’s grasp and offered him a small, sad smile. He was well aware of how fast it all could become a disaster, of how fast it could, quite literally, go up in flames.

“I’m sorry, but… I can’t, Angel. I, um, I have to fix this. He’s my responsibility, too. I can’t leave him like this. Not like… not like this. Something happened in his past and I can't… Just please, don’t— don’t do anything stupid while I’m gone. Don’t be me.”

And with that, he took Lucifer’s hand.

Chapter Text

The moment Satan landed in Hell, it was also the moment everything came to an abrupt stop.

The very foundation of Hell trembled when his feet touched the ground. It wasn’t like any of the other times when Lucifer had come and gone unnoticed. It was the King returning, taking his righteous place and reminding all naughty demons whom they had sworn allegiance to.

Lucifer folded his wings back into the other dimension and the blinding light disappeared. Crowley finally could put down his hand that was covering his eyes, and sigh. And do something since that’s why he had come here with Lucifer. Not to help him gather an army, but to snap him out of… whatever wrong mental state he was in.

“So. Another realm,” said Crowley, pretending to brush the non-existent dust off his jacket. Then an actual piece of ash swirled down from the cloudy sky and landed on his shoulder. He brushed it off, too. “And we’re together in it. Again.”

It took a lot from him to remain calm, even if he was everything but calm on the inside.

Lucifer nodded, although he wasn’t looking at the demon. He was taking in their surroundings, careful and deadly focused. Right. Blasted bugger. Crowley grimaced before he reached out to his brother. At least his eyes weren’t white anymore, and it helped with the fear. The memory of Lucifer kneeling for him, wings flat on the ground, helped even more. Another very helpful thing to remember was that Lucifer apparently wanted him by his side.

“Hey. About what happened up there…”

“Yes, you’re welcome.”

“That’s not— what? Lucifer, you can’t seriously say that you see nothing wrong with ripping out Michael’s tongue.” Crowley frowned. No, great, this was going to be even harder than he had previously suspected. And Aziraphale was probably freaking out at this very moment, too, wonderful. Somehow, Crowley’s whole life had got whacked straight in its head with a frying pan the moment he had decided to set his foot in that blasted nightclub.

“Well, I’ve experienced firsthand his bloody scream going all loud – louder – the loudest in my head.” Finally, Lucifer acknowledged the serpent next to him, although, because of the intensity of his gaze, Crowley could feel the dread settle in his stomach - quite a heavy and sinking feeling if he said so himself. “You have, too, and, really, he was getting ready for another attack.”

“He was talking to you!”

“He was not.”

“Oh no, he was. And you didn’t listen to him.”

Lucifer raised his eyebrows, amused, because no, he wasn’t going to listen to Crowley either, especially not now. Not when he needed to deal with all those demons again. “Hello there, Mr. Conscience. Didn’t know I had you.”

“Right, make jokes out of it, why don’t you.” Crowley mumbled under his breath, although his words were dripping with sarcasm. “Why, Lord, if you’re so—”

“I’m not your Lord anymore.” Lucifer interrupted him before a wicked smile brightened his face. “But I’m theirs. Do you think they come to me out of their own free will, or do I have to hold a very special meeting?”

Crowley looked at the columns around them dubiously. They were in the better, drier parts of Hell now, and if demons were to come, they still would have to drag themselves out of the… more damp parts of it. Crowley detested those parts. Oh— damn it, he wasn’t supposed to be focusing on this.

“Are you seriously considering getting yourself an army of demons?” Crowley asked carefully. The way Lucifer nodded made him swallow, suddenly uncomfortable. “You know, um, Angel was right. If you do that, you’ll destroy Earth. You’ll bring the Armageddon.”

“Well, maybe! But the only other alternative is me dying, and I have had enough of trying to sacrifice myself for you all!” There was a muscle in Lucifer’s jaw that kept on twitching even after his outburst. And Crowley… Crowley simply froze because… he had not been expecting that. Not the pure desperation in Lucifer’s voice. “Forgive me, brother dearest, but I can’t take it anymore! I just can’t.” And with that, he was already walking away, leaving Crowley to stumble over his half-said, fully surprised words of protest that didn’t have a chance to become more than random noises and choked out sounds.

There was a muffled roar, coming from somewhere underneath them, growing and growing, and growing steadily with every step taken by Lucifer. When he stopped, a jagged bolt of lightning came, a brilliant shock of white in the dark, cloudy sky, ending up in a deafening, almost whip-like crack of thunder. The moment it fell silent, Crowley felt a pull inside him. A tug so strong he actually staggered a few steps forward before he caught himself and made a conscious effort to stop. Lucifer wasn’t his King anymore. Lucifer wasn’t his King anymore. Lucifer wasn’t— the feeling of being forcefully hauled before his Lord disappeared, and Crowley finally could breathe freely.

Well, for a second, because demons were crawling towards them on all fours from every direction. Crowley felt physically sick at the sight of his former… coworkers… answering the Call from Lucifer. Even more at the thought that he very well could have been amongst them, pressing cowardly to the ground and awaiting their Lord’s judgement.

Speaking of Lord of Hell, Lucifer was watching demons surrounding him with an unreadable, yet cold expression on his face. Burning eyes searched for Beelzebub in the crowd as he stood there, a true King, with everything about him commanding respect. Even if Crowley had some insult at the tip of tongue, he’d rather bite that tip off and swallow it before uttering as much as one word. Not to this Lucifer. Somehow he didn’t doubt he would be at least glared at, or wor— fine, not worse. Lucifer would never— But Lucifer had torn Michael’s tongue straight out of his blasted mouth. Agh! How was he supposed to fucking think?! Or consider his options here?!

“Hey, fallen birdie.”

Crowley flinched so hard he almost ended up actually jumping in the air. What? How?! He wasn’t the only one who didn’t serve Lucifer?! There was a million thoughts just flying through his head and not even a single one actually sensible, so he just resolved to staring at Mazikeen of the Lilim with wide eyes, only partially hidden behind his sunglasses.

“What’s wrong with you?” Maze folded her arms as she watched – one perfect eyebrow raised – Crowley flailing around. “Because clearly, something is.”

“Oh, wrong with me? With me?! Try fucking him!” Crowley waved his whole arm like a madman in Lucifer’s direction. Maybe he was overreacting, fine, but his heart was still stuck somewhere in his throat and wouldn’t – get – down. “Why aren’t you kneeling?! Or crawling?!”

The fascinated expression on Maze’s face suggested that she considered Crowley completely insane. Not much had changed since Eden, then.

“I don’t work for Lucifer anymore.” Maze said carefully while shrugging. She was wearing a black fur coat thrown over a leather crop top, and Crowley found out that he couldn’t stop wondering who the fuck wore fur in literal Hell. “I’m his friend now. And a bounty hunter. Why aren’t you kneeling, hmm? Rebelling again?”

“Oh come on, I’ve never rebelled. I’ve never even meant to Fall,” grimaced Crowley. “Anyway, Lucifer fired me as well.”

“No, I fired myself. There’s no ‘as well’ in it.” Maze leaned forward, all dangerous, to merely correct him sweetly. “Anyway, how did he do it? Did he pour you a drink, too, redefined your relationship with him?”

Crowley opened and closed his mouth a few times, trying to think of something and say it out loud, but also failing miserably at it. No, great, just great, if he said the truth, then he could very well consider himself stabbed and gutted like a fucking fish by one of Mazikeen’s famous daggers. Why was Lucifer always so fucking dramatic about everything?!

“No, no, yeah. Yeah, he redefined our relationship, too. Yeah. Redefined it all the way.” While Crowley stumbled over the words, he still managed to grin and even give Maze a thumbs up. Solidarity. “Sure, he poured me a glass. Maybe. Such a big glass it was. The size of… a damn big glass. That’s my point, right here. It was… redefining.”

The other demon just scoffed – it landed somewhere between disbelieving and weirded out.

“It was?”

“Yup.”

“He didn’t do it this way, did he?”

“What— what gives you that idea??”

Lucifer turned to them without hurry, as if he only now noticed them talking not that far away from him. He nodded in greeting when he recognized Maze standing next to Crowley. Recognized – because for a moment there he looked too far gone to just see her and know right away.

“Mazikeen.”

“Why are you here, Lucifer?” Maze looked around. She was trying to make a point with that because, exactly, why was Lucifer here? To punish demons aiding Beelzebub – and what for? What had Beelzebub done? Or maybe to take his rightful place as their King again, only to escape back on Earth? At least she was here with some purpose in her mind. Get more of her daggers for those lost to Gabriel – and got she had. “I thought you were supposed to fight your dickish brothers up there. Did you?”

“Oh, I did!” Lucifer said lightly, although there was something fundamentally wrong with the tone of his voice. “I did, I did. I won, actually.”

“Interesting methods of winning you’ve got there.” Crowley murmured to himself. Well, it still was heard by Lucifer who only sent him a brilliant smile. “Right, no, don’t pretend to be such an angel.”

“Ah, but I don’t! I would never! I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not.” All of sudden Lucifer took two aggressive strides forward and grabbed one of the demons by the collar of their jacket, picking them up as if they weighted absolutely nothing. Beelzebub didn’t cower from Lucifer, but it did look like they were frozen in fear. “Well, hellooo, you.” That was practically a purr twisted into a weapon.

Crowley stilled while the rest of the demons around Lucifer stopped breathing. For all he had yelled about Beelzebub, they had done nothing but follow Lucifer’s orders, however unclear they had been. But that, that was Lucifer’s fault, not Beelzebub’s. And he had to— Lucifer needed to ask first why they had been up there with Michael and Gabriel! He couldn’t just— just— what, judge them? Lucifer was the King here, obviously he could— Crowley shot a quick glance at Maze in his panicked state, but the other demon did nothing, opting instead for simply watching Lucifer with a smirk on her face. Right, Mazikeen hadn’t seen Michael and then Michael’s tongue in Lucifer’s hand.

Well, fuck.

“Stop!”

It was as if all available eyes in Hell turned to stare at Crowley now, and sure, he already regretted being alive, why not.

Lucifer turned, oh so, so slowly, to look at the demon.

“What?” There was an undertone of danger in his otherwise calm question.

Right. Right, right, right. Crowley gave everyone an awkward wave and Maze snorted.

“You lot, that’s none of your business.” He definitely acted more confident than he felt at the moment when he walked up to Lucifer. Only after stopping next to him, Crowley then realized that Lucifer’s spot was but a small elevation. Huh. Nice touch. “This is between me and Lu— um, Lord Lucifer. Care to go somewhere private?” The demon pressed through his teeth, yet Lucifer just tilted his head, seemingly indifferent to their audience.

“Oh no, go on. We can talk here.”

“Suit yourself.” Great, demons around them were already murmuring and suddenly Crowley didn’t feel very safe. Especially since— no, amazing, Maze was still standing where he had left her, looking both confused and curious. “Lucifer, put, uh, put Beelzebub down for now. We can have— I don’t know, a proper trial tomorrow. Just don’t— just promise me you won’t do anything rash now, okay? We don’t need that on top of, well, everything else.”

“So you’re my handler now?” Lucifer raised both his eyebrows, amusement creeping back into his voice. “That is most fascinating. Sir, yes, sir.”

“I’m whatever you bloody need me to be, okay? Behave, you blasted bastard.” Crowley snapped, not thinking much about it. But of course it didn’t last for too long – the silence that followed not only served as a quick reminder of both their surroundings and onlookers, but also left him with ringing in his ears.

Not even one demon dared to open their mouth. Or breathe, even, awaiting their Lord’s fury.

Crowley would have lied if he denied that he was expecting it as well. The pounding of his heart was his own polygraph test after all.

To everyone’s surprise, Lucifer let Beelzebub regain their footing, even though the short demon stumbled a little, the fly on their head almost slipping off it and falling down. They corrected it quickly, though.

“I am most grateful, Zzir. Lord.”

“Oh, you should be, but not to me - to Crowley. Very well, then. Maze!” Lucifer exclaimed and waved his hand, motioning for Mazikeen to join them. She did that quickly, soon awaiting her former King’s next orders, even though she still wore a baffled expression on her face. “Take our little traitor to a holding cell, alright? Lovely. We’ll have a trial. I just love trials! Especially since I’ve almost been put on one myself not so long ago.”

“As you wish, Lucifer.” Mazikeen grabbed Crowley’s arm unceremoniously, ready to drag him off the small hill. The serpent’s body jerked as he shrunk away from her touch, surprised and, frankly, terrified, but Lucifer was already there, pushing them apart. He was frowning, not really understanding how Maze could have made such a simple mistake.

“What? Not him, Maze! Beelzebub! Crowley’s off limits!”

“Oh. Oops.” Maze shrugged. She didn’t sound apologetic in the slightest, but at least she winked at Crowley while walking past him to grab Beelzebub instead and lead them to their cell.

That. That was so very bad for blood pressure. Crowley could already feel his lifespan shortening. Honestly, he didn’t want any more of those adrenaline rushes anytime soon, but… But, well, but he still had other important matters to address.

The demon groaned. Why, pray tell, did he have to be the responsible one? He never was the responsible one!

“Yeah. We, um. We need to talk, Lucifer.” He sighed, trying very hard to make his words something more intelligible than a low mumble. “We really, really need to talk.”

Chapter Text

Behave, you blasted bastard!

Hastur held his breath as he felt every muscle in his body tensing in fear and morbid excitement. That flash bastard would finally get it. No one, no one ever spoke like that to their King. He knew every single demon here felt the same burning desire to see Crowley punished - judging from how all of them froze, how their eyes shone with horrible delight while waiting for the field agent on Earth - that cocky idiot who always boasted about his stupid modern methods of corrupting souls - to have his throat crushed under their Lord’s palm.

Unfortunately, nothing like that happened.

King of Hell, Prince of Darkness, the Destroyer, the Adversary, simply put Beelzebub down and ordered Mazikeen to take them away. Of course, he said to lock up the little traitor, and, reasonably, Mazikeen thought he meant Crowley. Hastur thought he meant Crowley as well, because, obviously, Crowley was the traitor.

Crowley was everything that was wrong with Hell, if you asked Hastur.

Apparently, Crowley was also everything that was wrong with the Devil himself, because it turned out that no, for some unknown reason, Lord Lucifer didn’t mean him.

What was worse, no longer than two minutes after, Crowley was already looking rather exasperated and groaning loudly while talking to the Lord. To the Lord. Who wasn’t currently incinerating him for such disrespect.

“That— that can’t be!’

Hastur’s loud shout echoed through Hell, causing his King’s bright red eyes to fall upon him.

“Is it some kind of test, Master? Surely you won’t let Crowley treat you this way?” The Duke asked, disbelieving, because he just couldn’t stop himself from speaking what was on everyone’s mind. “It’s a crime! Profanity! How can he even be alive after daring to speak to you this way?!”

“Ah… How can he, indeed! Such an interesting point you raise here.” Lucifer’s face was unreadable, but at least it seemed like he was entertaining the idea. And it was enough for Hastur to feel encouraged to continue, even before Lucifer followed with a question himself: “What punishment would you propose?”

It was impossible to say if Crowley’s eyes were narrowed to fearful slits of anxiety behind his damned sunglasses, yet Hastur imagined that they were. And that the serpent was having trouble swallowing because of the dryness of his throat anyway.

You… fucker.”

The hateful hiss. The sheer blasphemy of it. Hastur drew in a sharp breath, almost not noticing his Master cocking his head to the side and gesturing impatiently for the Duke to think faster.

“Punishment! Ideas! Brainstorming! Truly, do I have to do everything here myself?”

He hadn’t moved from his spot since the very beginning, and the motionless of the Devil was something that made Hastur’s skin crawl. There was also something in his voice… difficult to put a finger on.

So Hastur decided not to bother.

“What's it to be?” Crowley interrupted the train of the other demon’s thoughts as he spoke up. His shoulders were tense and hunched, yet he did his best to pour as much mockery and sarcasm in his voice as it was possible. “An eternity in the deepest pit for insulting our merciless Lord here?”

“I was thinking of something even worse, if the King generously agrees. Of letting the punishment fit the crime.” Hastur’s whole mind was screaming Crowley! Crowley! Crowley! and not in a cheering kind of manner.

He wasn’t sure when exactly his hatred towards the serpent demon had started. Was it because of the Fall? It had to be. They were hereditary enemies. Creatures of Pits and Children of Lilim had been the sole inhabitants of this realm, just until that fateful night - when the first shooting star had crossed the sky, lighting it up with its blazing fire. And then another. And another. And another. And another.

The stars had been screaming as they Fell, and the demons had wondered about it.

“I’m going to propose extinction by holy water. The holiest.”

Not many angels had fallen. Five at best? Hastur, Ligur and a lot of other predatory creatures had been watching and counting, whispering between themselves and taking bets. Only two angels had lived. One that hadn’t really crashed into the ground, but stuck the landing purely to wail and writhe as his form changed. The other that had screamed for days, broken and charred, before he rose to his feet and claimed the Pits – It – for himself with fire, and rage, and righteous fury. It’d bonded with him.

And because of It, the demons had followed suit.

It hadn’t had any name before. Right until It’d had.

Helle. Halja. Hellia. Hellir. So many names for a nether world of the dead, a concealed place, hidden from God, from His judgment and wrath, but still under God’s orders. An altar upon which an ultimate sacrifice had been made. The lives and faith of two angels – Samael and Raphael, burnt and reborn as Lucifer and Crawly.

Crawly had become a demon, and Lucifer had become the King. They’d been brothers no more.

“By holy water? Oh, lovely!”

Crowley snatched the sunglasses from his face so he could stare – oh no, sorry, sorry, not stare; glare! – at Lucifer. Hastur was right, there was that old fear coiled, heavy and uncomfortable, at the bottom of Crowley’s stomach. Still, Crowley was also able to recognize that feeling as quite ridiculous.

Satan fitted right in, since Crowley was able to recognize Lucifer as yet another ridiculous thing here.

It helped that Lucifer had been smiling the whole time Hastur talked, he had, but the more details about the punishment had been given, the sharper that grin had become. It shone like a blade right now. It was as if Lucifer was balancing on the very edge of something very, very dangerous. He probably was. By now, Crowley knew he was. The image of Michael’s tongue in Lucifer’s hand was pretty much embedded into his inner eyelids for the eternity now. He needed to thank Lucifer for that. With something heavy, he thought. The heavier, the better. Maybe with a brick.

Still, of course, Hastur didn’t notice that. Or rather, notice he did, he just didn’t draw the right conclusion out of the whole thing, and so he continued right until Crowley interrupted him.

“So, you, um, you want to melt me into a holy puddle of demonic goo?”

“There won’t be anything holy about it.” The toad on Hastur’s head made a satisfied noise, and Crowley exchanged disgusted looks with Lucifer. He didn’t want the situation to escalate even more, and he was quite sure Lucifer would do everything to make it escalate. Because of course.

“Right,” Lucifer spoke up as well, but his words were much more honeyed than the demon’s, “what a creative idea you had, Hastur, punishing Crowley like that. Allow me to give it a little twist. You’ll be the one dunked in holy water.”

What had he said about one brick? Oh, okay. He was going to make it a wheelbarrow worth of bricks.

“…fucking awesome.” Crowley put the sunglasses back on his nose, and pushed them up. As far up as they would go. Why was he even here? To suffer? Because it seemed like it. “What did I say about behaving, Lucifer?” He hissed.

“That I wasn’t.” Lucifer winked at him, dark eyes filled with humor and menace. Hastur had been talking all this time, but neither Lucifer nor Crowley paid any attention to him - which actually made it even worse for the demon. H-holy water? But… Crowley… Crowley was the traitor, not him! He didn’t deserve that! Clearly, that flash bastard had their King under some spell! The cleaners would get him, they would get that bloody excuse for a demon!

The moment Hastur tried to make a run for it, was also the moment Lucifer caught him by the throat and threw him all the way across the area.

“All of you!” Crowley waved his arms around like a madman. He kinda felt like one, too, but he needed to get their annoying spectators to leave. “All of you, dismissed!” There was some uproar in the back, but the serpent ignored it in favor of throwing himself in Lucifer’s way before he could get to Hastur again. That uproar was possibly caused by other demons scattering away in fear, as they clearly should. At least they were learning. And leaving. Anyway, he had other things on his mind. “Stand the fuck down, Satan.”

“He wanted to put you in holy water!” Lucifer exclaimed in protest. The hellfire burned brighter in his eyes, and Crowley really couldn’t fucking wait to have that talk, because Lucifer’s behavior was far from normal. “Don’t you understand that I’m protecting you?”

Riiight, sure, sure. Oh for Go— Sata— someone’s sake! Crowley groaned internally. This wasn’t… this wasn’t, fuck, his scene, and yet, he somehow found himself being the only thing standing between Lucifer and Hastur right now. Hastur, who sure, had sick fantasies about melting Crowley in holy water (which seriously, really, really wasn’t necessary… unless he was going to be given a rubber duck to calm his nerves), but didn’t deserve to die that way himself. No one did.

“What is wrong with you?!” Crowley pressed through his teeth. Talking was weirdly difficult for him, and only then he realized that his fangs grew out again. What a fucking annoyance. “Stop making everything about Heaven or Hell or – for whatever blasted reason – me. You’re not getting an army, you’re not killing Hastur, and the most you can do to Beelzebub, is to yell at them. What the fuck happened in your past?!”

Lucifer gave Crowley a tight smile for an answer. For all of the hissing, he knew Crowley was worried about him – and wasn’t that a progress? Still, Crowley wasn’t Linda, and the words about seven years of torture or about Lucifer pushing the flaming sword into… into… somehow got stuck in his throat.

“I need to regain my footing.” He said instead. It was the truth, because Lucifer couldn’t— couldn’t really do it any longer. Couldn’t keep offering himself for everyone else. Maybe it was selfish, but that was no way to function. He had enough. “Crowley, I need to know I’m making decisions again. I can’t just— go along with whatever is happening, truly. Last time I did that, I landed in the Ca—”

Crowley was very aware of not being Linda either, but the expression on Lucifer’s face made him groan and try harder. He wanted the talk, didn’t he? That was it. That “ca-something”.

“We need, um, alcohol for that. Lots of it.”

While the demon started babbling something about needing alcohol – and Lucifer wholeheartedly agreed, he did – there was something new that caught the Devil’s attention. Lucifer tilted his head as he tried to listen to what was happening. Shouting rented the air, and that - even though they were in Hell and there usually was a lot of screaming heard - was a little out of the ordinary. Enough to be concerning.

“Crowley,” started Lucifer, but it was unsuccessful. Crowley was now listing the best bottles of wine he had the pleasure to empty this year, from bodacious fruit bombs to inventive Italian whites. Lucifer glanced past the serpent only to see that Hastur was already gone. Oh well. “Crowley!

Strike two. Dad damn it.

“Bloody hell, what do I have to do to shut you up?!”

“Stick something in my mouth, I presume.” Crowley gave Lucifer the most shit-eating grin he could manage. And then he froze, because Aziraphale was standing behind the Devil with a flaming sword in his hand. That was… that had to be a nightmare. A fucking nightmare. Crowley was this close to pinching himself. At least that explained the uproar earlier. “Nooo, I told you not to do anything stupid!”

Lucifer frowned at him, clearly taken aback. What did he do now? He was actually pretty calmed down! Or, at the very least, calmer than before. It had to count for something, didn’t it?

“What?”

“Oh, not you. I’m not talking to you.” Crowley hissed at Lucifer. “You can shut up, actually.”

“I couldn’t… Do you really think I could leave you here alone, Crowley?” Aziraphale’s pleading voice was heard right behind Lucifer’s back, and the Devil spun around immediately, facing the new threat. “It was pretty, well, easy to get through the Gates of Hell. No demon was guarding them. I’ve met some demons after that, but they just… kinda… took one look at the sword and ran away?”

“You brought the flaming sword to Hell?” Lucifer looked back at the serpent, as if he was expecting an explanation from him and not from Aziraphale, but Crowley only shook his head while making a non-committal sound. How should he know?! He wasn’t Aziraphale’s babysitter. He already played one to Lucifer; it was enough! “What the—”

“Fuck? Yes. That.”

“Lucifer, please try to understand, dear.” Even though the Principality’s voice was calm, it still had that firm undertone. Lucifer was reminded of that time in Heaven when his Rebellion had been met with a quick suppression. Aziraphale had been a part of it, along with other high-ranking angels. “You’re not yourself. You’re trying to start the Armageddon. You took Crowley against his will—”

What? He did nooot.” It came from Crowley, but was – once again – ignored. Lucifer had a humorless smile plastered on his face.

“—and I can’t leave him with you. I’m sorry. I can’t let you keep Crowley or end the world.”

Crowley’s blood ran cold, filling him with dread. Something horrible was about to happen. He knew that. He knew that and he needed to act, fast.

“Oh, bloody hell, I’m shaking like a leaf here. So you came to save everyone from the big bad Devil, hmm? Is that it? Are you the hero in your little fairytale?” Lucifer taunted the angel before him, trying to get a reaction out of Aziraphale, trying to straight up provoke him into attacking, because Lucifer himself, apparently, had no self-preservation instinct. Not when he was feeling this bitter. He had sacrificed so much, and suddenly he was the bad guy here?!

“Seriously? Both of you, come on, now. Stop this. We’re on the same side!” Crowley felt a flutter of hope when Aziraphale looked at him, lowering the sword just a bit. He dared to believe that everything would be alright.

And then, of course, Lucifer had to try to take the flaming sword from Aziraphale. For the love of everything holy and unholy, Crowley could not understand why.

The angel, startled because of the sudden movement, drove the sword forward almost out of instinct.

“Fuck!” Crowley yelled the moment Hell itself trembled beneath their feet and he had to hold himself upright against a column to avoid toppling over. “Angel! What did you do?!”

Only when he didn’t get any answer except for a choked out “I’m- I’m sorry”, Crowley finally looked back at the two, and froze. No. Nononononono.

Just… just great— great pustulant mangled bollocks to whoever had forged the bloody weapon!

Lucifer looked up at Aziraphale, eyes wide and frightened, as he held onto the blade embedded deep in his stomach. Then he fell down.

Chapter Text

It almost felt as being shot by Detective Stache, Malkie, again. Only with extra sprinkles of betrayal, but, then, what else could he have expected from a sibling of his that thought him evil?

There was, of course, a part of Lucifer’s brain that told him it was his fault. He had been the one reaching for the sword. Aziraphale only had reacted to the sudden movement he’d seen out of the corner of his eye.

“Angel?..”

Crowley sounded bewildered and Lucifer tried – very, very hard – to focus on the serpent’s voice. Mostly because it was the only thing that was keeping him from sinking into the unconsciousness and letting the darkness swallow him whole. It… it was fitting, wasn’t it? Lucifer clutched at the sword sticking out of his stomach, vaguely aware of his body trembling and twitching involuntarily. He felt as if a monster’s cold claws had plunged straight into his soul to try and pull him down and down, and down, away from any kind of light he ever had in himself.

But the only monster here was him. He deserved that, didn’t he? He deserved to… No, no, he was bloody scared of dying, and it didn’t help that Crowley’s voice was fading away (“Angel... Angel… What did you do?”), replaced by memories louder than reality. Lucifer tried to keep on listening to him, but the buzzing, almost electrical noise around him was making it harder than necessary.

“Their lives are not important! Only we matter. We can live forever, Lucifer. Just us two.”

“I didn’t see that coming.”

“No. You have to understand—”

“I know. I know. Hurts you more than it does me.”

“What have I done?... No. No, no, no...”

The pain that once burned like fire, already had faded away to an icy numbness, and Lucifer welcomed it with dread. He didn’t want to die, he couldn’t die, the Detective would be in danger, the little Urchin would be again, too, along with Amenadiel and Linda, Gabriel and Michael would come back, and they would, they would… Crowley wouldn’t be able to stop them all by himself, he—

“Die on me and I’ll kill you myself, you blasted… aagh, Lucifer, come on. Come on, please.”

The ground was still trembling, each wave stronger than the previous one, and Crowley dropped to his knees next to Lucifer, not knowing— not having the slightest idea where to touch first. The blood was already pooling under his brother, looking so fucking dark and thick from getting mixed with ash that was falling steadily from the sky. He needed— he needed to do something.

Aziraphale pacing nervously next to them and wringing his hands was only distracting him from… assessing the damage, thought Crowley. It was just… a flesh wound, wasn’t it? Lucifer wasn’t dying. Of course he wasn’t dying. He would pull the sword out, and stand up, and give them that charming yet so annoying grin of his, and he would be fine.

“Can you… Crowley, can you heal him?” Aziraphale sounded so, so worried that Crowley had to feel a small pang of sympathy. Still - because he was this close to just screaming - he just shrugged, and touched the sword. Weird, his hands were shaking. He needed to pull it out— wait, did he? Lucifer made a pained, choked sound, and Crowley let go of the sword with frustration evident in his every move. Fuck!

“Lucifer, can you talk? Nod if you can. I mean, say something. Say something if you can talk, okay? I know you can do it, you stubborn idiot. You never shut up.” Crowley started to pull the sword out and Lucifer grasped at it with unsteady hands, trying to keep it in. Blood was building up in his throat, make it hard for him to breathe, but he still managed to shake his head. After all, well, Lucifer had thought that the bloody archangel of healing should have had at least basic medical knowledge. Unless he was trying to kill him faster!

“But, dear boy, any object penetrating into the flesh should be left in place if possible.” Aziraphale said softly while he reached out to touch Crowley’s shoulder. What he hadn’t been expecting, though, was for Crowley to snap at him with a hiss. The poor demon was seriously stressed out since his yellow irises were covering almost the whole sclera now. “I just—” Aziraphale took his hand away quickly, feeling his heart pound rather badly. “He reached for the sword, and I just— oh dear, I just reacted! You know I didn’t mean it, I only wanted to make him… make him listen, and the sword would…”

“What, Angel, give weight to your moral argument?” Crowley couldn’t help but hiss again, annoyed. The particularly strong wave of earth— er, no, hellquake, threw him forward, at Lucifer, and the Devil groaned in blinding pain, curling in on himself, and coughing out more blood. He already looked as pale as death itself and Crowley scrambled backwards, wide-eyed and terrified that hekilledhimhekilledhimhejustfuckingkilledhim.

There were shouts and sounds of running coming from every direction, and somehow Crowley was so bloody sure it wasn’t about Lucifer. He felt anxious tugging in his chest, telling him that something was terribly wrong, but he couldn’t focus on two things at the same time.

“Yes and I’m sorry! How can I— how can I help?”

“Oh, you did enough already, Angel. But you know how you could help him? You could leave.” Sure, tumult in Hell usually meant danger and that meant no angels should stay ‘downstairs’ long enough to find out what had caused it, but Crowley also couldn’t quite bear looking at Aziraphale right now. He pulled Lucifer into his lap with a grunt. The Devil’s head lolled to the side, and Crowley pushed two fingers under his jaw, anxious, desperately trying to find a pulse.

It was there, but barely.

“Do you… really mean it?” Aziraphale’s voice was quiet. It still didn’t change Crowley’s decision. He didn’t even care right now. He couldn’t. He had no spare emotions to make himself even more stressed than he already was.

“Yesss, I mean it. Why would I say it if I didn’t mean it? What kind of question is…” Crowley snapped his head up only to discover that Aziraphale was already gone, “…that?”

He didn’t move for a second that felt like a century, but when he moved, he grabbed the sword and pulled it out forcefully, just as he pressed his other hand over Lucifer’s mouth, muffling his agonized screams.

If other demons heard them now, then it just would be the end.

 

*-*

 

The souls were out. The very foundations of Hell shaking, breaking apart with each new wave, had thrown open every single one cell door they had. Hell loops were empty, and all condemned souls were wandering around with demons trying to usher or drag them all back.

All three billion souls.

Maze took one look at a seemingly lost, completely confused soul walking past her, and returned to wrestling Beelzebub back to their cell.

 

*-*

 

“You can’t die. Come on! If you've got to go, then go with style! This is… so far from it, it could very well be in another galaxy. Lucifer. Think about it!”

There was so much pain, and fog, and thinking was… was hard. Every thought resembled a slug – too slow and sticky to pick up and see for what it was, but Crowley’s words… reminded Lucifer of something. He had created stars, yes, out of his own light, but he hadn’t been completely alone in that.

Beautiful nebula. Look at that.

Crowley’s hands were stained with starlight, and Lucifer’s with blood.

He struggled to keep it in, but it just kept gushing out of his stomach, escaping between his shaky fingers, hot and sticky just like his thoughts.

Stars... Michael had killed a star once, hadn’t he? To make Lucifer pay for his Fall.

“You can’t give up now, Lucifer, be serious.” There was a pleading half-choked chuckle above him that made Lucifer want to reach up and catch, and bottle that sound. It was as radiant as their stars – it always had been that radiant. Maybe that’s why he was so drawn to it. “I don’t know if I still can do it… Why is there so much blood? Why do you have so much blood in you? Fuck, is there any left?!

Lucifer was stained with light, too. Light and darkness both, and he needed to accept his dual nature if that was the last thing he did before he died. Especially since he was following in Uriel and Michael’s steps. There was going to be no Hell for him. No Heaven. Just… nothing.

He simply would not exist anymore.

Charlie. Linda. Amenadiel. Even—Aziraphale, fine, already forgiven. Crowley – that stubborn serpent of his. Chloe. Everyone counted on him.

“D-Dete… Detective…”

Detective! Yes! That! You have someone to live for!” Now there was a high-pitched exclamation, and Lucifer really wanted to keep that sound, too. Because Crowley cared. “So many things to live for! Even I tolerate you now, count it as a wild success! Come on, please, keep that blood in, keep that blood in, I really shouldn’t have pulled out that sword, should I, I just— ngkh!

There was another pair of hands joining Lucifer’s and suddenly everything became just that much lighter.

He was screaming.

 

*-*

 

Crowley was screaming, too.

Lucifer was the only one still able to touch holy water, even bless it, while for Crowley just an ordinary walk on the consecrated ground meant getting burned, having his feet covered in blisters and all that jazz.

The power that was currently coursing through his body was nothing short of divine, and because of that, it was agonizing. His teeth rattled at the raw energy coiled in him, buried for over six millennia, that was now so close to exploding and taking him with itself, scattered into a million stars. Still, he kept on going. Pressed his hands to the gaping wound in Lucifer’s stomach and kept on pressing, ignoring Lucifer’s screams, ignoring his own screams, ignoring that surely someone would soon come and see what was happening. Probably kill him for hurting the King. But Crowley imagined that he was fine, so he would be fine. He would not self-destruct.

Maybe it hurt so much because this kind of fatal wound – caused by a flaming sword – was never meant to be healed.

A pair of raven black wings shot out from Crowley’s back, unfolding behind him and then lifting upright, straight and stiff, and trembling from the sheer effort of the demon’s will. He didn’t even notice the burns on his hands, because of how excruciatingly painful everything else was.

Still, it was his brother. Someone Crowley only recently had gotten back in his life, someone that kept sacrificing himself at every turn, trying to protect everyone at his own cost. And Lucifer was right. It was enough. It was enough, and maybe it was time that someone sacrificed himself for the Devil, too.

Crowley couldn’t find his voice anymore, but at least the flesh under his horribly charred fingers was mending itself, the blood flow slowing down until it became just a trickle. He was… he was vaguely aware of demons – with Mazikeen amongst them – standing in circle around them, itching, but not daring to intervene. No creature of Hell would survive against two archangels.

And before Crowley lost consciousness, he saw Lucifer staring back at him with those brown, fathomless eyes that held nothing but wonder in them.

 

*-*

 

“Why are my wings white? When did that happen? Shouldn’t I be aware of it happening? It’s entirely unfair!”

Honestly, Crowley wasn’t a big fan of their roles being reversed, not at all. The demon groaned miserably as he pushed his fingers into his eyes, rubbing them so harshly he probably looked as if he was actively trying to shove them to the back of his head. Ugh, why was he lying flat on his back?..

Oh, a much better question, a million dollar one - why did he still have hands?

“Do you know your wings have white tips, now, too?” Lucifer grabbed Crowley’s wrist, pulling it away to see his face and also so he could send the serpent his most brilliant, enthusiastic grin. Crowley squinted at him, annoyed that the sunglasses were nowhere to be found on his nose, and to convey his deep disapproval of Lucifer’s invasion of his personal space.

“You’re the one to fucking talk. You had wings like a bloody cow. All white and black. And now they’re white-white, so what’s even up with that,” muttered Crowley as he slowly pushed himself up. A few fully white feathers fell off of him when he moved, and the demon picked one of them, confused. Had someone used their healing abilities on him? What? He glanced up at Lucifer.

Wait.

He glanced up at Lucifer.

Lucifer grinned wider.

“You’re alive!” That… all that had worked? It actually had worked? Oh for Heav— for Earth’s sake, what, just— Lucifer— what, but, ALIVE! Crowley thwacked Lucifer on the shoulder just to make sure that it wasn’t… what, a hallucination? But it wasn’t, Lucifer was there, alive and perfectly healthy, and smiling, and… and… and… The sheer joy he felt was actually threatening to fucking choke him. “You’re alive to keep giving me heart attacks!”

“Ooh, that’s my favorite pastime.”

And that went down like a lead balloon. Well, almost. Crowley raised an eyebrow, about to snicker.

“Yeah? Try that again, and we’ll see what happens.”

“A challenge!” Lucifer exclaimed, voice full of mischief and energy, but also of something that— sounded raw. “You wanted a heart attack and the talk, so, here’s your story hour, my dearest brother. Once upon a time, I was kidnapped by hunters, forced to fight and imprison dear old Dad in order to stop the Apocalypse, then, for all my kind-hearted efforts…” Lucifer stopped to sigh dramatically. He didn’t even want to try to tell the story in a serious way, because, well, that could… damage him again. And he didn’t need that now, not now when he actually… actually felt better about himself than in a very, very long time, “…for all of them, I was betrayed by one of the bloody hunters and thrown into a Cage! For seven years, would you imagine? There was another archangel in there – Michael. Other Michael, but that isn’t important now. Anyway, do keep up, Crowley! Michael took quite a liking to me, yet decided to show it through various torture methods. See, he was trying to reform me. Beat the evil out of me. Anyway, long story short, we escaped, he attacked the hunters and the Detective, and I had to kill him with a flaming sword. The end!”

Before Crowley could react – and he wouldn’t, he couldn’t, the tightness in his throat wouldn’t fucking let him, he was frozen – Maze walked up to them with an irritated expression on her face.

“No one wants to talk about feelings. Time’s up, whiners. Let’s bounty hunt those souls.”

Chapter Text

Lucifer was watching Crowley from the corner of his eye. The demon was crouching down in one second, and then – in the very next one – he was pulling a miracle straight out of the Pit, making the time itself stop as he threw his arms up with a snap of his fingers. Every soul in Hell froze mid-movement, and it was up to Lucifer now to make them be drawn to hell loops again. He only needed to touch the ground. Close his eyes. Feel the rolling wave of thrumming force under the stone, and then strengthen It, show It that he was fine and not dying. It connected with him again, slowly but surely.

When Lucifer looked up again, though, Crowley was standing right in front of him with the flaming sword in his hand. It certainly wasn’t flaming anymore, but that didn’t really stop the serpent from tilting Lucifer’s chin up with the point while grinning like a lunatic.

Lucifer pressed forward, challenging as always, and the sword was taken away before it could cut the Devil’s skin.

“Eager to die again, are we, huh?”

You certainly are.”

“What are you, children? Are you done?” Maze was staring at them with impatience and exasperation practically emanating from her. She pointed at the sky with one of the daggers. “I thought you had some big war to fight in on Earth. Let’s go.”

Right. The war. Honestly, it wasn’t like they could forget about it.

“Fight against.” Crowley corrected her before glancing back at Lucifer and offering him a hand to help get up. Well, okay, after the Devil’s little confession – or rather, fucking info dump – Crowley was more inclined to actually be… he wasn’t exactly sure what, but maybe just be there. For him. It wasn’t like he was in any way equipped to deal with that kind of history, but at least he knew where he stood with Lucifer now. And it certainly explained a lot of Lucifer’s earlier behavior – it was pretty nice not to be left in dark and to have the whole picture for a change.

“In, against, what’s the difference?” Eh, in Crowley’s opinion, the difference was pretty clear, but fine. No biggie. “The point is, if we want to keep Linda and Charlie safe, we need to get back, now.”

Right, right, that kid… Mazikeen hadn’t been there for Lucifer’s little battle in the Silver City, nor for him snapping while confronting Gabriel and Michael. This wasn’t about the Child anymore, or at least Crowley didn’t think so. It was personal now. It was about Lucifer, and it somehow made everything worse, because – just like Lucifer had said – there was no way to stop the war without Lucifer dying. Gabriel wouldn’t let him win and stay alive, not anymore.

If that had even been an option in the first place.

“First things first, we need to go and see our little fly on the wall. I promised them a trial, didn’t I?” Lucifer tried to take the sword from Crowley, but the demon only narrowed his eyes at the Devil, and moved the weapon out of his reach. It didn’t stop Lucifer from reaching for it again. And again. Maze even threw her hands up at one point and just stormed off.

After which - again.

Honestly, Crowley was starting to understand why Aziraphale had stabbed the bastard (no, no, he was kidding, he was kidding… but was he?).

“Calm down, will you?” Crowley hissed at him, but – when that didn’t work, what a surprise – he snapped his fingers, miracling a pair of handcuffs around Lucifer’s wrists. In retrospect, he should have had expected that not to bother Lucifer in the slightest.

Handcuffs! Kinky, tell me, is this leading somewhere?” Lucifer held his hands up, amused, causing the poor serpent to roll his eyes. “Bedroom? Over a table? To a sex swing? Mmph!

Crowley took a page out of Lucifer’s own book and gave him a mocking salute while looking both pretty smug and self-congratulatory.

“Gagged and bound. That’s a great look on you. Very silent.”

Lucifer flipped him the bird, resulting only in making Crowley snicker before sauntering off in the general direction of Beelzebub’s cell.

At some point along the way, Lucifer got rid both of the handcuffs and the gag, spitting it out and— was that— bloody hell, why on Earth was that a ball?! Before he could react properly, though – and by react properly he meant throw it at the serpent’s head – they already got to their destination goal. Just his luck, lovely.

The offended face Beelzebub made at the sight of Crowley walking first with Lucifer behind him, throwing up and catching the ball gag absentmindedly, caused Crowley to give the other demon an open mouthed grin full of pure, undulated joy. After all those years of being looked down at, it actually felt pretty good to show off his new relationship with Satan himself.

Speaking of.

“Hi.” Crowley said lightly. “Lord Beelzebub. What an honor.”

“Izz it?” Despite the fact that Beelzebub was trapped in a small, closed space, they stood as straight and proud as they could. They also certainly hated the fact that it wasn’t Lucifer who was addressing them directly, and it showed. Beelzebub was known as the Lord of the Flies, Crowley wasn't even a local councilor, so why would he dare to speak to them? “It’zz not to me.”

“Well, uhh, yeah.” Crowley could agree with that. He also decided it was better for him to do the talking than to let Lucifer get angry again. He just had calmed the Devil down. “Long story short, Lucifer here is not happy with how you— you know what? That doesn’t even matter now. There was a misunderstanding, surely, because yours and Lucifer’s idea of running Hell are so vastly different from each other it’s not even funny.”

“I don’t underzztand. Wazz it zzuupozzed to be funny?”

“What? No, it’s just a, a figure of speech.” Crowley gave Beelzebub a bewildered look. “Where have you been all this time?”

Before Beelzebub could actually answer Crowley’s rhetorical question, Lucifer cleared his throat and moved closer, undoubtedly wanting to insert himself into the conversation. He even opened his mouth, as charming as always.

“Ah, but why were—“

“Finish that sentence and the gag is going back into your mouth.” Crowley warned, all relaxed and nonchalant. It was for Lucifer’s own good, even if he got an indignant scoff for an answer. No, no. After learning about Lucifer’s past, Crowley wasn’t going to let him do anything that could trigger him right back into snapping again. “Good. Now, what was I saying…”

If Beelzebub was capable of looking both profoundly disturbed and appalled, they would be right now. Since that wasn’t possible, the demon was just appearing to be disgusted. Deeply.

Lucifer grinned at them. There were way too many teeth bared in that smile.

Anyway.” Crowley snapped his fingers to make everyone focus back on him. “Lucifer had a great question. Why were you accompanying Gabriel and Michael earlier?”

“Why won’t the King azzk me himzzelf?” Beelzebub challenged. Crowley sighed, shaking his head as if in disappointment. That just wouldn’t do, would it?

“He doesn’t need to explain himself to you. He can, however, make you talk. We wouldn’t want it to come to that point, eh, would we?” The demon explained patiently enough while Lucifer leaned against the nearest column and almost casually unfurled his wings. Their glow illuminated his face, showing the burning eyes that were boring into Beelzebub’s. The corners of his mouth turned up.

Lucifer never had to do much to be terrifying.

It turned out to be very efficient since Beelzebub staggered a few steps back, pale and uncomfortable. The words couldn’t get fast enough out of their mouth.

“The Archangelzz want the Great War to happen becauzze the Horzzemen of the Apocalypzze have already been zzumoned.”

“By whom?” Lucifer asked sharply. The urgency in his voice startled Crowley who – well, who agreed that maybe, probably this wasn’t good news. Judging from the suddenly grim look on Lucifer’s face, it wasn’t for sure.

“Not Gabriel’zz department.”

Well, that wasn’t helpful at all.

 

*-*

 

“That means Gabriel can’t, uh, call them off, can he? Not that he would have, I guess.” Crowley shifted his weight uneasily from one foot to the other. Lucifer had told Maze that he needed her to stay in Hell for now and just… make sure no one would even think about joining the War. And because, well, demons still required someone to be in charge of them since neither Lucifer, nor Beelzebub were available now. That’s why there were only the two of them standing, once again, in front of the Detective’s house.

“He can’t. I can’t either,” confirmed Lucifer, not even deigning the demon with a glance. There was something… wrong with the house, and Lucifer decided to focus on it instead of focusing on the fact that the whole situation suddenly had gotten so much bigger than him, and he that felt… hopeless. Fighting his siblings was, after all, a little different from fighting the Horsemen, beings older and more powerful than all angels grouped together. So that… was what Michael had been trying to warn him about.

Maybe ripping out his twin’s tongue hadn’t been the best idea.

“Okay, so… basically, we’re fucked.” Crowley nodded to himself. If Lucifer couldn’t call off the Horsemen… Then Crowley might just as well go back to that not-so-little, not-so-nice nightclub and get completely and utterly pissed out of his mind while he waited for the world to end, couldn’t he? It sounded like a reasonable plan, surely.

But he hadn’t done so much just to simply give up now. There had to be a way, and fuck all of them if they weren’t going to find it. They were. There was no other option, because that’s how the world worked for Crowley. If he had managed to heal Lucifer without dying himself while at it, simply by imagining that his own power wasn’t burning him alive… Well, he was going to imagine being fine some more.

Crowley’s resolve lasted right until he opened the door and entered the house. Then it crumbled in a truly spectacular way, reminding him that no, nothing ever simply worked out for him just because he wanted to imagine it so.

Aziraphale was sitting in a chair. Of course, there wasn’t anything wrong with sitting in a chair, Crowley noted. There was, however, everything wrong with being tied to the said chair, white ropes biting into the skin of Aziraphale’s wrists and ankles, and a white gag stuffed unceremoniously into his mouth.

There was everything wrong with it.

The angel made a muffled, hurried sound when he noticed Crowley and Lucifer standing in the doorway. The gag reduced his words to some utterly incomprehensible noise, so – when Aziraphale realized that himself as well – he yanked at the bonds, almost toppling the chair over. He still kept trying his best to gesture with his whole body to the left, though.

To where Gabriel and Michael were standing, next to the table, in their pristine clothes.

To Crowley’s credit, he didn’t react at first. It could be shock, it could be the mere fact that his blood pressure had been through the roof so many times already that he’s gotten used to it. Or, maybe, it was the familiarity of the situation. How many times now he’d played the hero to Aziraphale’s unwilling damsel in distress?

Although in every of those times Aziraphale had been in control, anyway, and it was just a centuries-long game between them. Had been, not was. Because it certainly wasn’t now.

“So nice of you to finally come back to this… human property,” Gabriel stated in that overly-formal-but-not-really voice of his. The Archangel had his hands clasped in front of him, and Crowley simply stared at him, motionless like a coiled snake right before striking. He was vaguely aware of the sword being held in his hand, and of Lucifer standing at his side, gripping his own gag so hard that the plastic ball cracked.

“Yeah, well. Hi, guys. Better late than never, right?”

Instead of panicking, Crowley felt oddly hollow. Maybe because it was that one time too many of getting stressed out.

Maybe it was how Lucifer had been feeling all this time, and that’s why he’d snapped back then.

Or maybe because now Aziraphale was involved, too.

Ohh, an ambush!” Lucifer sounded way too cheery, and that made Crowley stare at him for a change, disbelieving. “Surely you heard that gags and ropes are better if used in bed? Michael, how’s your tongue?”

“Not flapping like Aziraphale’s.” Michael looked at Lucifer with disdain. “Or like yours.”

“Would you believe that he came to us to talk about not going to War?” Gabriel scoffed with fake amusement that sounded almost like disappointment. Crowley related to this on a personal level, though – hadn’t he specifically told Aziraphale not to do anything stupid? First stabbing Lucifer, then, what? His Angel had been trying to— fix it? Redeem himself? Earn Crowley’s forgiveness? “After all we’ve been through, after how Lucifer attacked Michael, how he disrespected me… I mean, this simply isn’t an option anymore!”

So Crowley had been right. This part was about Lucifer now. And Aziraphale was— caught in the middle of it. Well, great. Fuck. Interesting, however, that Gabriel hadn’t mentioned the Horsemen.

Lucifer snarled, taking a step forward, but at the same moment Gabriel grabbed Aziraphale’s hair, forcing his head back, and pressing a silver blade against the newly bared throat. Lucifer didn’t make another move.

“Try anything, and this one dies.” Gabriel tsked, completely ignoring the way Aziraphale’s eyes went wide and shocked. “After all, for Heaven's sake, we are meant to make examples out of traitors. So, either him or you, and we both what you’re going to choose.”

Crowley knew what he was going to choose, though. He rammed the hilt of the sword straight into Lucifer’s temple.

Chapter Text

Lucifer worked the gag between his teeth. While it wasn’t exactly that horrendous mix of heavenly and hellish fabrics that had burned him so much when wrapped around his wrists, it still was, well, made in Heaven. So, unlike those things made in China, it wasn’t going to be bitten through so easily.

Or, well, at all.

The pounding headache he currently had also wasn’t really helping his situation, and thus Lucifer focused on simply relaxing in his bonds. He noticed Gabriel staring at him, unsure and suspicious, but oh so close to gloating anyway, so Lucifer did the only thing he could think of at the moment.

He grinned around the gag.

“Calm him down.” Gabriel immediately turned to Crowley. The demon was leaning against the kitchen table with Aziraphale sitting in one of the chairs next to him. “Why is he smiling?”

“What? Come on, Gabriel, do you even know him?” Crowley said in a mocking tone of voice, not looking at Lucifer even once. “He’s Lucifer. He’s going to provoke you to death.”

That was pretty accurate, actually, and it was also the only thing Lucifer could do right now, anyway. His hands were bound securely to the chair, and a thick white rope biting into his throat forced his head against the backrest. Even his legs were immobilized. Crowley had been the one to tie him up, even though the divine material kept burning his fingers.

“Trust me,” Crowley had said. Whispered, really.

And Lucifer did. It was fairly easy to do, to be honest, especially after Crowley had saved his life before. Of course, trusting Crowley didn’t mean automatically considering all his ideas good – or, well, even decent. But, since Lucifer had been quite literally knocked out with the hilt of the sword, he kinda had no other choice than to go along with this little play.

At least Aziraphale was free now, so maybe that counted for something.

“Can we, sorry, can we talk about the war now?” Speaking of the angel, he chose this exact moment to pipe up, earning himself a fond, but exasperated look from Crowley. “I know you told me no already, but maybe you could… reconsider? This surely doesn’t have to happen, does it?”

“Yes, Aziraphale, it does.” Gabriel said tiredly. He looked as exhausted with this whole deal as Lucifer felt. “We’ve made plans. We have our whole army standing ready. There was an option of not going to the war, sure, with Michael and I ruling Heaven together, but Lucifer has blown it up, spectacularly.”

“Okay. But what’s the point?” Crowley asked. Nice save with including Michael in Gabriel’s crazy ambitious plans, though. “Of the war. Is it to measure whose dick is longer?”

Gabriel simply blinked at him with the same baffled expression as Michael had now, while Aziraphale reddened slightly before uttering something along the lines of “oh, good Lord” and glaring at the demon. Lucifer was the only one who snorted, definitely appreciating Crowley’s choice of words.

“What do you mean?” Michael finally decided to join the conversation, too. It seemed as if he was still having some trouble articulating the words, if the slow pace of speaking was anything to go by.

Before Crowley could answer and explain, though, Gabriel cleared his throat and stood straighter, pleased with himself for solving the mystery.

“He means pornography, surely,” the archangel announced loudly. “Probably referring to an intercourse between an angel and a demon. I can assure you that it has never happened. Nor will it happen.”

Lucifer was wheezing.

“Yeah, about that…” Crowley was forced to shut up when Aziraphale kicked him in the shin – it was quite a hard kick. “Aha, never mind then.”

“This is neither the time, nor the place, my dear.”

“I, um, well. Got it. Yeah.” The demon coughed, clearly awkward now. “Okay. I didn’t mean pornography, you wank-wings. I asked if you really wanted the War just to simply see who would win? Hell or Heaven?”

“Heaven, obviously. We even have the traitor captured already thanks to you. It’s only a matter of time when we torture out of him the information where the Child is hidden.” Gabriel gestured to Lucifer sitting tied up barely a couple of feet away from them. No one even commented on his dress shirt being soaked with blood – which was already cold, sticky and clinging uncomfortably to his stomach. So nice to see they all cared. Well, two out of four, at least. “It’s the Great Plan. The Ineffable One. Father has mentioned it once or twice, hasn’t He?” Gabriel added, putting too much emphasis on it to seem completely sure of that.

Ugh, torture. Crowley winced a little. But…

“I mean, maybe.” It was their chance, it had to be. No one insisted so much on something if they were fully convinced themselves that their plans were one hundred percent foolproof. “Maybe, sure. But you know, He only mentioned it. In passing. I was there, I should know. It was only an off-handed remark, really. Kinda like what He wanted for dinner.”

“Also He… He could have changed His mind since then.” Aziraphale seconded the statement. “Maybe He doesn’t want the Earth to be destroyed anymore.”

“And you can’t even ask Him. He’s not here. No DM option.” Crowley added lightly. “You obviously wouldn’t want to risk His wrath, would you? If you went against His wishes after all? You know how Dad gets sometimes. It would be a shame if two more archangels fell because they decided to kick-start the Great Plan themselves… with no direct orders from the Almighty. Sounds like an act of free will to me.”

Gabriel looked fairly stressed out now, especially at the last implication. He glanced back at Michael, cringing. What were they supposed to do now? He hadn’t… considered it. Good Heavens, he even had those plans of becoming the new— with Michael, of course, after the Lucifer spilling the beans incident— but how… how would the Almighty react to that? They’d be destroyed!

“Maybe we could…” Gabriel started slowly. “Maybe we could rethink the War.”

“And, while at it, maybe you really should rethink the idea of torturing or killing God’s favorite son.” Crowley pointed at Lucifer, ignoring the bitterness that passed over the Devil’s face like a shadow. Right, lovely way to rub it in, even if only Amenadiel and him knew the truth. All of angels thinking the Lightbringer was the favorite one, while it couldn’t be the farthest from reality. One big lie to crush his spirit even more. Lucifer felt hollow for a moment. “Don’t ya think?”

“No. I don’t.”

It was Michael. Standing straight with his hands clenched around a chair’s backrest, and gritted teeth from the earlier effort to remain silent. His brown eyes – much, much colder than Lucifer’s – practically shone with resentment.

Like Lucifer had thought when standing in front of the Detective’s house, tearing out his twin’s tongue really hadn’t been the best idea.

“No,” he repeated. “Do you truly expect us to fall for that?” Every word hurt his throat, but he continued nevertheless since Gabriel wouldn’t. Michael was done trying to stay as neutral as possible, even if generally on Heaven’s side. Lucifer had made sure of that. “Father is trapped in a prison of Lucifer’s making. He said so himself, Crowley, or were you too busy admiring your favorite brother’s horrible acts to actually listen to what he was saying?”

“Ngk,” said Crowley. What he really meant was: what the fuck, Michael?! It all had been going so well, and now it was on its way to becoming a bloody disaster. And he even had thought of himself being competent for once! Seriously, why every nice thing had to be taken away from him?

“In a prison, yes.” Aziraphale swallowed, still - he held his head higher. They needed a threat, and if Crowley wasn’t going to think of one, or make it on Lucifer’s behalf, then… “But every prison can be opened.”

“It actually has to be.” Crowley hurried to add. That was a terrible idea. A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea, but the only one they had. Or, well, Aziraphale had. Lucifer was almost deadly still now, and yet Crowley couldn’t focus on him. “Your fault, really. Someone’s department summoned the Horsemen.”

“Don’t give me more reasons to kill Lucifer right here, right now.” Michael snarled through his teeth. “I already have a lot of them. Him being able to open— What?!” The archangel spun around when Gabriel tapped on his shoulder with a concerned face. “What?” Michael exhaled slowly and repeated just a tad calmer.

“Sidebar?”

While Gabriel pulled Michael to the side with a clear intention to talk to him about their plans, Crowley lifted up the sunglasses and dragged a hand down his face. It was all starting to take a toll on him. Like— sure, yeah, on him. Lucifer actually had it worse, with his trauma and whatnot—

Fuck. Lucifer.

The demon turned around so fast he almost gave himself a whiplash. Sure, he couldn’t exactly do anything right now, or else risk angering Michael even more, but he could… reassure Lucifer somehow. Maybe. He hoped he could.

Said Devil shifted a little in his seat the moment he noticed Crowley looking at him pleadingly. Oh for goodness’ sake, he sighed internally. He trusted Crowley, fully! And while all the talk about opening Dad’s prison was concerning, there was no real reason for the demon to look both so guilty and uncomfortable. Removing Lucifer from conversation was actually, he had to admit, a good idea, especially with how all his little talks with Gabriel and Michael tended to end. And no longer was anyone at risk of getting their throat slashed. So it was all good! Maybe a little humiliating, though.

Also the bonds weren’t the most pleasant, if he was allowed to complain. Bit too snug.

Like really, if Lucifer had been given the chance, he absolutely would have told them he bruised like a peach.

“Crowley.” Aziraphale said quietly, standing next to the serpent. Crowley felt his throat closing up for just a moment, before he ran his fingers through his hair, trying to stay in control. Somehow. It didn’t really work – all of it was like a wild rollercoaster ride, and he was just trying really hard to keep everyone in their seats.

“Yes, Angel?”

“I’m sorry. For, ah. For everything.” Aziraphale murmured, averting his eyes and looking down. He wringed his hands in worry. “For stabbing Lucifer, although it was just an accident. I’m really relieved he’s alive and well, of course. For, ekhm, going to Michael and Gabriel. But, dear boy… they’re angels! They’re supposed to see reason!”

“They’re seeing it now, I hope.” Crowley muttered darkly, trying to keep his voice low. Soon though, he shook his head with a half-smile. “And don’t worry, Angel. It’s all water under the bridge now.”

“Is it? Oh, that’s jolly good. But is it for Lucifer, too?”

“Excellent, err, question. I don’t know, Angel. You must ask him yourself.” Crowley raised an eyebrow as he shrugged at Aziraphale’s fretting. “I can’t speak for him.”

Well. Not anymore, at least. It’d been fun while it lasted, but Lucifer’s witty quips were very much missed by him now. He stole another glance at the Devil, and… oh wow. Crowley did a double take, because Lucifer apparently at some point had nodded off and now was dozing in his chair. Did he need sleep? And if so, he hadn’t… actually slept a wink in all those days, had he? Okay, so getting Lucifer in bed just made Crowley’s bucket li— great, and now the demon’s thoughts strayed in a very dangerous area, what the hell. Aha, no more word play for him, he was feeling traumatized enough by all that was wrong with his imagination already, thanks.

“We’ve come to a decision!” Suddenly, Gabriel’s loud voice boomed across the room, and Lucifer jerked awake. “It makes sense to wait for Father’s direct orders, yes. We won’t start the Great War.”

“Well, good. What about the Horsemen, though, hmm?” Crowley asked at the same moment as Aziraphale frowned, utterly confused:

Wait for them?”

This time, they didn’t get their answers right away. Nor were they given any time to react – or even act – before the room was all of sudden packed with wings and different colored feathers, and there was this sound of footsteps that…

…that made Crowley realize the situation and lunge forward the second Michael put his hand on Lucifer’s shoulder, causing the Devil to tilt his head, not following what was happening just yet.

“Wait, wait, don’t, no!”

The archangel gave him the same cold, unnatural smile as at that first night at LUX, making Crowley’s blood run cold, and suddenly, with a flap of their wings… they were gone.

Crowley crashed into the empty chair, tumbling with both it and the sword to the ground, then getting up almost immediately, his own wings already out, but he couldn’t follow, could he? Not to Heaven. He was banished from it, and the only way for him to getting into the Silver City was if he was taken there. Like last time, with Gabriel. And that meant… that meant Lucifer was alone.

Crowley had followed him to Hell, and to Earth, and to Heaven, but now he couldn’t.

He only realized he was screaming and yelling at the ceiling when Aziraphale’s arms wrapped themselves around him, pulling him down to the floor, sinking with him there.

“No, nonono, let go, let go of me, we need to get him back, we have to get him back, they’ll kill him there!” Crowley’s lungs were burning as if he wasn’t getting enough oxygen into them. The very thought of it made him imagine Lucifer being choked to death with the rope around his neck. It was enough for him to resume trashing in Aziraphale’s embrace. “They’ll kill him! Bastards! All of them!”

Crowley! Crowley, dear, stop!” Aziraphale struggled to keep the demon from getting free, from doing anything rash and stupid, but it was getting harder and harder with every second. Crowley was surprisingly strong when he wanted to be. “STOP! We’ll get Lucifer back, I promise! But he’s just your boss, and the war is stopped already, there’s surely no need to overreact like this, is it?”

“Overreact? Overreact?!” Crowley didn’t even realize the sunglasses weren’t on his nose, lost and forgotten, and his eyes widened in panic and anger, yellow irises fully covering the sclera, pupils as thin as a needle. “He’s not my boss, he’s my brother, for Hell’s sake! Lucifer has fired me, okay, Angel? Knelt before me, released me from my job, so I wouldn’t have to obey any orders from Hell anymore! And he has problems, fine? He has a lot, a lot of problems! Aaah!” The demon hit the floor with his fist, punching a hole in the wooden panel as he screamed in sheer frustration. “But I guesss we won’t have asss many problemsss if he’sss gone, will we?” He hissed at Aziraphale, voice drenched in sarcasm and getting all snake-like from the stress. “Wouldn’t you like it, Angel?”

Aziraphale clenched his jaw when Crowley’s anger suddenly turned against him. He needed… he needed to stay calm, he knew it, but the unfairness of it made him feel bitter as well.

“No, I wouldn’t,” he said simply. “And I would appreciate if you shared all important information with me in the future. Lucifer is not only your brother, is he? He’s mine and Amenadiel’s, too. I promised you that we’ll get him back, and I will keep my word. I think it’s time to pray now.”

Chapter Text

There was a single wooden chair placed in the middle of the white, empty room. Courtroom. Whatever, really – it had as much in common with actual justice as Lucifer had with a magical baby cherub flying around and shooting arrows at humans on Valentine’s Day.

And – to clarify things – Cupids didn’t exist. Cherubim did, of course – it was simply the second highest order of the celestial hierarchy – but to say they played matchmakers… Well. If Cherubim really were to shoot arrows, they would go right through the heart. Quite literally, though.

As for now, angels were slowly starting to gather in the courtroom to watch the impending trial of their infamous brother. Lucifer had been kept in his old cell for the whole night – which actually had done wonders for him, finally allowing him to sleep – and now he was to be led into the room to be judged and sentenced.

“They will kill him.” Remiel gripped her spear as she watched more and more of her brothers and sisters come in. She was trying hard to remain indifferent, even if… if executing someone without allowing them to fight for their life seemed hardly fair to her. “By sentencing him to death. It will happen.”

While Remi was clutching the aforementioned spear, Rae-Rae fiddled with a small, yellow note in her pocket. The summoning letter.

She was the last one of the Horsemen after all. Death.

“What are you talking about? It won’t.” Sure, she didn’t believe Lucifer would be spared either, but that didn’t mean they still couldn’t save him. She would protest, and get Remi to second her in that, and maybe Ezekiel would help them, too, Gadreel as well, and she surely would find other angels who didn’t exactly hate Lucifer, or at the very least didn’t want to see him murdered in cold blood. There was a difference between despising and looking down on the Young Rebel, and between actually wishing for him to die.

Remiel merely scoffed and shook her head. Azrael was so naïve.

“Look, I’m not saying I want it to happen,” Remi turned to face Azrael properly. They really didn’t have any time left to talk. She had caught sight of Lucifer being escorted in by Gabriel and Sandalphon, and… and so the trial would start soon. “But we must stay obedient. A true warrior knows when to admit their defeat.”

There was an answer about true warriors never giving up already burning on Azrael’s tongue, begging to be said, but before she could, there was a louder, much cheerer voice heard.

“…right, and to complete the humiliation, you've made me wear a dress. And, dearie me, a white one at that! I look better in black, believe me.”

Even though Lucifer was tied up and led by both Sandy and Gabriel, with his arms gripped tighter than it was strictly necessary, he seemed to be in a rather good mood, given his playful complaint.

And honestly? He was. It was that calmness that came from knowing that the threat of Gabriel starting the War had been averted, and from finally being at peace with his fate. It was almost funny – a day or so ago, Lucifer had truly been scared of dying on that cold, ashy ground of his own realm. Even before that – he had finally snapped after fighting for so long, because he just wanted to live.

But now?

No, no. Of course. He still desired to live. Lucifer actually liked his life, and, truth to be told, after getting Raphael— right, Crowley (…Crowley, Crawly, Anthony, the archangel bloody Raphael – why did his brother have to change his name so many times? …come on now, seriously, it was like Crowley lived to make Lucifer’s own existence harder) back in the mix, he finally was… in a better mental and emotional condition. Yes, yes, Lucifer had Amenadiel, and Amenadiel had been doing a lot to help him after that otherworldly – literally – disaster, but Amenadiel’s idea of helping consisted mostly of putting his hand on Lucifer’s shoulder, giving him worried looks, asking him if he was okay (and what was he even supposed to say to that? Of course he wasn’t!), and making him babysit.

Lucifer actually suspected that the last one was more for Amenadiel’s own benefit.

With Crowley, it was… different. First of all, Crowley didn’t fawn over him. Didn’t act too worried, or too serious, either – and, because of that, the demon wasn’t treating Lucifer as if he were made of glass. Crowley’s approach to him snapping had been to try and knock some sense back into the Devil’s head, and then to simply prevent him from being set off again. It was… refreshing.

He also never treated Lucifer as the source of all evil in the world, even though it’d almost be justified in his case. The most Crowley had done, was to spew some insults and act all bitter and hissy.

And when Lucifer really needed his help, Crowley was there for him, time and time again.

It really helped. Sure, Lucifer had a support system with his lovely humans, and even lovelier Detective, but this was about his family. It had started with that – with dear old Dad, manipulating and hurting and killing him; with the other Michael, desiring both to possess and torture him; and ending with Castiel, having good intentions, but manipulating him nonetheless, then… well, turning out to have a lot of their siblings’ blood on his hands. Lucifer understood war, yet… it still wasn’t something he could get over that easily. Forgive, yes, but not forget.

Like he had said, it was different with Crowley. And maybe what Lucifer was truly in need of in order to heal, was a healthy sibling relationship.

“It’s a robe.” Gabriel’s voice snapped Lucifer out of his thoughts and back to reality. Right! He was also going to die, so healing could probably wait. Lucifer flashed the other archangel a winning smile. “You even ought to recognize it as one of your own.”

“Why, brother, are we suddenly taking a trip down memory lane? First my old cell, now my old dre— fine, fine, robe?" Because Gabriel was telling the truth - it really belonged to Lucifer. The white, formal robe had been tailored to him and embellished, rather than being sensible like Amenadiel’s dark one. Lucifer remembered turning heads as he had strolled down the silver streets of Heaven. The Prideful One. Well, maybe also The Only One With Great Fashion Sense. “What for?”

Gabriel stood there for a moment, oddly hesitant, before glancing first at Sandalphon, at then back at Lucifer. He held his head higher.

“To remind you what you’re going to lose if you don’t listen.”

“Listen?” Lucifer frowned in confusion. Listen to what? Before it was possible to ask for clarification, he was suddenly yanked down by Sandalphon, rope wrapped tight around the angel’s fist. Lucifer staggered, brought to his knees, but when he wanted to get back up, though, Sandy stepped on the rope. With Lucifer’s wrists being held near the very ground, he was trapped there not unlike a naughty dog with a chain around its neck.

What was the bloody chair for, then?!

However... Trapped was such a big word, wasn’t it? Especially since Lucifer knew very well he was much, much stronger than dear, thin on top Sandy. And if they wanted to humiliate him even further… Well. Since Gabriel had already walked away to join Michael standing in front of the crowd… Two could play that game.

The Devil grinned, slowly, before casually running his tongue over his teeth.

It wiped the smugness of Sandalphon’s face right away. The angel swallowed, a tad paler than he had been just a moment ago, and loosened his grip on the rope, allowing Lucifer to stand up gracefully.

“Thank you very much, brother dearest! I knew you wouldn’t let me stay on my knees for too long,” Lucifer whispered while leaning forward as if he were sharing a very important secret with Sandalphon. “I heard that kneeling on hard surfaces increased risk of injury later in life.”

“I don’t think you need to worry about later in life.” Sandalphon sneered a mere second before Gabriel finally took the floor, and everybody’s attention – including both Sandalphon’s and Lucifer’s – was drawn to the archangel.

Speaking of Gabriel, he was standing straight like a soldier turned senior executive in some corporation, with his hands clasped in front of him, and bright purple eyes shining even brighter now. He didn’t look too excited, though. Strangely, much less excited than Michael, who was simply waiting for his brother to speak, calm and silent.

“Welcome!” His loud voice carried across the room. “Welcome to the trial of Lucifer, Bringer of Light, formerly known as Samael, God’s Poison. His sins have already been listed and are known to all of you after our first failed attempt to bring him to justice. We can, however, add another three crimes to that long list. I’m talking here about attacking all of us with the clear intention to hurt as many angels as possible; about attacking his own twin, the archangel Michael; and about…” Gabriel paused for the better dramatic effect, “…imprisoning our Father, God Almighty, in an unknown location.”

There was a collective gasp heard, and Lucifer rolled his eyes.

“As if you really loved Him that much,” he murmured under his breath. Bunch of hypocrites. But, when Lucifer looked up, irritated and yet still – or maybe, ah, finally, because all of this started to feel real – apprehensive, Gabriel seemed as uncomfortable as Lucifer felt.

What?

Well, it wasn’t as if mattered anyway. Lucifer was going to be prosecuted and judged by Gabriel and Michael, and what, he wasn’t even going to get a lawyer? Pass.

“Right, brother. Where’s the person defending me? If this is a fair trial—”

“It’s not. Doesn’t have to be.” Gabriel answered Lucifer right away. Heaven had never held a fair trial in its whole existence. With an omniscient and omnipotent celestial being for a judge, and with goody two-shoes angels, how could they ever make a biased, unjust decision? Unthinkable, surely. “You are guilty, are you not?”

And… there was no possible answer to that. Lucifer was indeed guilty of everything he was accused of. It wasn’t really up for any discussion. His motives were, yes, yet they never concerned Heaven anyway. Only the results counted.

“So what? What’s it going to be?” Lucifer held his head high, eyes blazing red like the most brilliant flame of Hell. They could punch their hands into his chest, rip out the beating heart, and the Devil still wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of hearing him beg. Lucifer was the one whose mere presence made condemned souls writhe in agony and terror. Whose voice and step shook the very foundations of the Pit, and caused the skies to be parted with lightnings. He was the beginning of the end, the first star of the morning and bringer of dawn. He was enlightenment and dread alike.

He would not stand afraid.

“Hmm?”

“The verdict, Your Honor,” Lucifer said, impatient, while he looked around. Every angel averted their eyes the moment Lucifer’s burning ones fell on their faces. Very well, then. They wouldn’t defend him, but they also didn’t want to have his blood on their hands. How convenient, truly. “What is it? Death, surely?”

No! No killing!”

It was Azrael, standing there, unflinching, and with her hands clenched into fists. Remiel stepped forward in silent support. A few of other angels started nodding as well, much to Lucifer’s surprise. Were they the same ones that had yelled “monster!” at him the last time he’d been here? Or were they the always silent ones, too scared to speak out, to have their own opinions heard?

“No,” Rae-Rae repeated calmer. “No, we can’t do this. This isn’t right! Lucifer can’t be sentenced to death just like— that. We don’t know what his reasons were, we don’t know why he did what he did, we—”

“Azrael. Sister.” Maybe the serenity in Michael’s voice should be admired, but to Lucifer it sounded like fingernails scratching on a chalkboard. It wasn’t soothing at all, it was maddening. Or maybe it was like this because apparently some of his siblings cared enough to— to protest on his behalf, and yet Michael was about to disregard it all. “We’re not going to kill Lucifer.”

“No?” Rae-Rae blinked at him, while Remi, at the same very moment, demanded: “Wait, what?”

This time even more angels protested and Lucifer turned to bare his teeth at them, his eyes still ablaze. It silenced the crowd pretty quickly.

“Then what the bloody verdict is, Mikey?” Lucifer snapped. That was enough. They wanted to kill him? Fine. Bring it bloody on. But to make a show out of— No. He refused to be paraded like a bull before slaughter, a prized pony about to be shot in the head for entertainment. “You want me to do what here? Sweep the floors for all eternity?”

The smile of Michael’s face was nothing but calculated.

“I want you to free our Father. To bring Him home.”

The laughter in Lucifer’s throat didn’t build up slowly, no.

Lucifer simply burst out laughing, laughing so uncontrollably that all of sudden he found out that he couldn’t stop.

Him choking with laughter while gasping spasmodically for air was actually the only sound in the otherwise silent room.

“Are you done?” Michael asked, completely calm. He stood as still as a bloody statue. “What’s so funny, brother? You will obey. You will listen. You will, or you put the Apocalypse back in motion.”

“Oh, nothing is! Especially the Apocalypse part.” Lucifer managed to get out between his unstoppable giggles. “I just think this is the grandest joke that I've heard in all my time. And the best part? It's on me! You don’t want to kill me yourself, you just want dear old Dad to do it two seconds after the door’s opened. Dearie me, Mikey, really? Are you really this much of a coward? A bloody spineless archangel with no balls to show off, a candy-ass— STOP!”

The sirens that erupted straight into a deafening noise in his head brought Lucifer to the ground right away, making him drop to his knees like an angel puppet with its wings clipped. There was a moment when he pressed hands to his ears, trying to block the noise somehow, but it kept digging into his brain, into his whole body, tearing it apart with razor sharp blades.

stopstopstopstoppleasepleasejuststopnonono

There were screams around him - or maybe it was just one long agonizing scream tearing itself raw out of his throat, causing even more of the excruciating pain. He wasn’t sure. He couldn’t be sure, not when even thinking hurt like salt rubbed into open hot wounds. The last things Lucifer remembered were Rae-Rae’s hands on him, Michael’s shoes coming into focus, and his own blood drip drip dripping on the white floor.

Then he finally remembered nothing, just the darkness swallowing him whole, pushing its sticky black fingers into his eyes and ears.

Lucifer actually welcomed it with relief.

Chapter Text

First thing Lucifer heard upon slowly coming back to consciousness, was a vibrant, loud static noise. It was all he could hear, all he could feel - it seemed almost thick; filling every cell of his brain like hundreds of cotton balls. His ears were ringing, and there was something entirely unpleasant covering the sides of his face and the skin on his hands – enough to make him grimace. Dried blood, most likely. Right. It had to be blood, because he rather doubted it could have come from him having a good time in Heaven. And, honestly, he didn’t want to make any Game of Thrones and Sweet Home Alabama jokes at his own expense.

He rolled onto his back with a hint of a smile teasing the corner of his mouth because of the humor in his thoughts. It was faint, sure, Lucifer didn’t really have much strength for anything else, but it helped him get rid of the trembling in his hands (how dare they?), and, well, focus on his surroundings. He needed to be able to hear. At least until another one of Michael’s fancy attacks. Oh, how Lucifer enjoyed having bloody loud sirens go off inside his very head. It was such a pleasure. Almost like being whipped!

And not in the fun way. He would know, truly.

Soon, though, the high-pitched ringing in his eyes turned low-pitched, and then stopped completely. It was… it was good, no? One step closer to feeling well enough for an escape attempt.

If Lucifer could walk, that is. Or even push himself up. Bloody hell.

Honestly, it’d been enough time, hadn’t it? Where was Crowley? Amenadiel? Even Aziraphale, although Lucifer would greatly appreciate a very distinct lack of the angel’s flaming sword this time around. They would show up, wouldn’t they? Of course, no, they didn’t know that Michael was planning on forcing Lucifer to open up Dad’s prison, but maybe the threat of having Lucifer killed would be enough to… intervene? Maybe? They hadn’t showed up for his trial, though.

In their defense, Lucifer had been pretty calm about the whole dying thing.

Not so much now.

Family reunions were bound to be disasters, and the one with his dear, gunning-for-revenge Dad even more so. Seriously, Lucifer had just saved that other world, he didn’t need to have all of his hard work undone! Also, the destruction of this world would probably be the cherry on top, wouldn’t it?

Oh, and the Horsemen. Still out there. And he had forgotten about them.

Lucifer gritted his teeth as he grabbed the rough edge of a random stone sticking out from the uneven wall. He pulled himself up slowly, determined to get out of his cell and find Michael. And this time he wouldn’t give his twin a chance to attack first. Lucifer would bloody slam the mute button on the idiot.

Alright, one foot in front of the other. And again. He could put most of his weight on the walls, couldn’t he? He’d handle it.

Also, if he stayed here any longer, in this absolutely lovely prison cell made of blocks of stone, probably not washed in centuries, no bed, no bloody mini-bar, then the unwanted memories would come back, and Lucifer definitely wasn’t itching for a reminder of how he’d been suspended by a chain attached to both his wrists and wings before his Fall, and then left to… he still wasn’t sure, to do what. Because the stubborn rebellious angel hadn’t been about to break and apologize for wanting free will. The first couple of hours hadn’t been that bad, actually. The next couple of days had been pure agony, and not only because of the dislocated shoulders and broken wings.

But, well, he wasn’t going to dwell on it now. Or ever.

The sound of the door opening caught Lucifer by surprise, especially because he was almost by it, trying to decide how to proceed from then since neither his powers, nor brute strength would work its magic on the bloody door. So what the actual—

“Crowley? Amenadiel? What, fifteen minutes late and with Starbucks?”

It didn’t even deserve to be called a whisper, already overcame by how annoyingly loud the door scraped against the stone floor. It also didn’t help that Lucifer’s voice was so hoarse and weak from the screaming that he barely recognized it. Dad-damnit, seriously. Also, it was way too dark in here for his liking, especially because it made it harder to identify the person that entered the cell, and if Lucifer called Crowley by Amenadiel’s name, he’d have to deal with a very irritated demon, he was sure of that.

Honestly, he’d take it.

But he also was going to rate this cell one star out of five, never to be visited again.

“Oh, I don’t think they’re going to come to your rescue. Or to bring any gross matters into Heaven.”

Lucifer took a step back just out of reflex, too surprised to think clearly, and almost caught his foot on a small projection because of that. What the bloody hell? What was he doing here?

“Gabriel! So nice to have you here instead,” Lucifer spoke as calmly as he could, “brother dearest. Why, did you come here to gloat? Mock me? Go against Mikey’s verdict and finish the job by finishing me? Well, don’t have too much fun with that.”

Gabriel first placed his hand on the lock, sealing the door behind himself, then turned around with a sigh. With all that was happening, he couldn’t exactly risk Lucifer escaping and then wandering around, cracking jokes and making everyone want to kill him just to shut him up.

Alright. Time to get to the point. The archangel smoothed down his blue-grey coat, wondering if he would be able to keep it clean in this disgusting, claustrophobic prison cell.

“I’m here to help you, so try and learn to appreciate it, okay? Do we understand each other, Adversary?”

Lucifer and Gabriel stared at each other for a long moment.

“I’ve been told I’m a terrible student.” Lucifer finally said.

“I mean, it is true. You were the last one of our group to learn how to fly. All of us had to take turns to help—“ Gabriel stopped, then cleared his throat. That just wouldn’t do. Lucifer wasn’t his younger brother anymore, he was the Great Adversary, the Beast. The archangel needed to remember why exactly he hated and despised that pathetic evil incarnate before him. Lucifer was proud, too proud, too powerful, and he had never even stopped to acknowledge and value what he’s got, while Gabriel had to work hard for his position in Heaven of being the leader of the angels. “It’s in the past, though. Don’t forget that I still wish Father had killed you. You’re deplorable. Evil. A worm is better than you, Lucifer.”

“Right, right.” Lucifer nodded. He still was trying to wrap his mind around Gabriel being right here, standing in the cell in his pristine, light colored clothes, looking pretty pompous and snobbish. So, like usual. “Hold on, a worm? That’s a bit harsh, Gabriel. Dearie me, my feelings, ouch.”

“It’s only true. The only good thing about you is—“

“I have a good thing about me now?”

“I know, I was surprised, too.” Gabriel shrugged. He made sure to speak with disdain. “But you can be useful.”

Lucifer pushed himself from the wall, so he would stop leaning against it. Oh, no, no. No showing weakness in Gabriel’s presence. Not now. Instead, he bared his teeth in a sharp smile, with a hint of bitter laughter in his voice.

“Ah, that again. Torture me all you want, brother, bring your best bloody tools, but I’m not opening Dad’s prison. Don’t you get what’s going to happen then? Well, yes, I know you don’t really care about humans or this world, but don’t fool yourself that our dear Dad won’t be furious with you, too,” Lucifer drawled out, almost sympathetic here. “You’re just as proud as I am, if not more. You’ve always wanted to rule Heaven. I mean, Gabriel, goodness… Already forgot how eager you were to abandon the idea of starting the Apocalypse just so you could parade me around and show everyone you’re the Big Boss here?”

Gabriel let Lucifer have his little rant, why not. He stood there, irritated but silent until he was sure the Adversary was finished.

“You know, Lucifer, it only shows you don’t really listen, except for when it’s you who’s yapping.” The archangel spread his arms slightly, trying not to sound as annoyed as he felt. Maybe Lucifer was right, but that didn’t mean Gabriel wanted to hear it. “Crowley already said all of that, and I agree. Father won’t be happy, and He might want to recklessly punish— some angels.”

Lucifer grinned at him, this time a little more amused.

“Meaning you.”

“Well, obviously, not only me.” That cheeky excuse for an angel, seriously. If Lucifer were to be to hung by his innards, Gabriel would watch it with pleasure. “But I want you to stop Michael. Or to seal the prison in a way that wouldn’t allow anyone to open it again.”

“You do?” Lucifer couldn’t help but snort at the words. Oh, lovely, the world was really coming to an end if Gabriel was asking Lucifer, of all angels and demons, and in-betweens, to save his neck. “Bloody hell, pinch me. Am I dreaming?”

Gabriel thought he’d very much like to punch Lucifer instead. Well, those dreams could still come true someday.

“Agree, and I will take care of the Horsemen.”

“What? How? They’re much more powerful than you.” Lucifer frowned at his brother, not fully comprehending how exactly the other archangel wanted to achieve this. Although, yes, that’d be pretty nice – one less thing to worry about, and he had plenty anyway, thanks to his wonderful family. “And I want more. I want you to promise you won’t touch Amenadiel’s little Urchin. Better yet, don’t touch anyone. Humans, especially.”

“Then we have a deal.” Gabriel’s eyes were drawn to Lucifer’s hand when he held it out, but really, the archangel wouldn’t take it even through a towel. “Put it down. I don’t know where it’s been exactly, but knowing your history, in too many places for my taste. As for the Horsemen, I’ll talk to Azrael. Death leads the rest of their group, so without her…”

“…they would have to scatter. Brilliant, brother! So you’re not as stupid as I’ve always thought!” The look on Gabriel’s face said more than a thousand words, and Lucifer threw his hands up, exasperated. “What? I assumed you already knew.”

The archangel simply pinched the bridge of his nose, praying to Someone merciful enough for some strength. That was already too much for him to handle – no wonder Heaven had gotten so amazingly quiet ever since that chatterbox’s Fall. All the better for Gabriel to practice his peaceful morning runs. He remembered when they had been younger, and he’d tried to mediate. Lucifer had sat next to him, probably attempting to meditate as well, and then talked. Kept talking some pure nonsense the whole time.

“Oh, come on.” The weirdest thing ever, but Lucifer actually looked half frustrated, half guilty. It absolutely fascinated Gabriel. Was it because they were having a civilized conversation? Did Lucifer think all his crimes were forgiven and forgotten simply because Gabriel needed his help? Laughable. “I didn’t mean to make you all broody now. I have Amenadiel for that.”

“And I have you to keep up your end of the deal.” Gabriel touched the door, focusing on it. He wasn’t the prisoner here, so the lock clicked, allowing the archangel to push the door fully open. “You’re free to leave, Lucifer. Shut your mouth and do your part instead.”

“My part, right.” Lucifer didn’t really point out the fact that he was barely standing up now. It was kinda obvious, come to think of it. Most likely it was also the reason they could talk now – since Gabriel wasn’t really worried about Lucifer attacking him. “So, what is it going to be? Michael or our loving Father?”

“Both, if you manage. You’re the Devil, after all.”

 

*-*

 

The main problem with fighting in Lucifer’s state was, well, Lucifer’s state. For now, sure, he somehow had managed to avoid being seen as he limped down the street, sometimes forced to hide behind a building, or a silver tree, but that was no way to continue. And that was also no way to fight Michael. Lucifer needed to rest, and he needed to rest badly.

While, yes, as a child Lucifer had had several secret hiding places, especially useful after every and each prank Rae-Rae and him had pulled on Amenadiel, only one of them would still fit him. The old music room – full of psalteries and pipes, and flutes, and harpsichords, and pianofortes, and other instruments Lucifer had played to worship his Father.

And, truly, how was he the prideful one, when it was his dear old Dad who had wanted His humble and obedient children to sing Him praises for all eternity?

Had this family ever been not toxic?

Two hours of sleep later, couple of angels seeing him passed out but not saying anything nor raising any alarms, one music room left after waking up rested— and at least Lucifer didn’t have to limp any longer. He even thought he saw Rae-Rae talking with Gabriel, just as he spread his wings to fly. Ah, right, he still needed to go to Linda and demand an answer as to why, for Dad’s sake, they were white now. Top 10 Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe.

Just before Lucifer took off, he noticed a tall, absolutely gorgeous apple tree. Ooh, the memories.

 

*-*

 

“I’m a country girl, I ain’t seen a lot,” Lucifer bit down on a silver apple, just as he tried the handle to Michael’s office. It was their Father’s old one, so – nice touch, brother. It was also open, with no guardian angels around, and maybe that should have made him think. Even if it did, he didn’t have time for that, “but you came along, and my heart went pop. You lured me in with your cold brown eyes, your simple smile, your bewitching lies. One and one and one is three,” Lucifer walked inside, admiring how Michael had redecorated – it seemed that his twin rather liked minimalism, judging from how there was only a single black writing desk, with a single black chair behind it. Oh, and a black bookshelf, how could have he not noticed it straight away! What a lap of luxury, truly. Michael was in the chair, facing the wall, so Lucifer could only see the back of his head, “…my bad, bad Angel, you put the Devil in me!”

“You shouldn’t sing with your mouth full, Lucifer. It makes you sound off-key.”

The lightness of Michael’s voice was the first thing that stopped the Devil in his tracks. The other thing – well, his words, because, seriously? What a low blow. What an awful lie.

“I beg your pardon, off-key? How dare you? Take that back, brother.” Lucifer scoffed just as Michael finally got up from the chair and turned around. The archangel was holding Charlie in his arms, letting the little Urchin play with his white scarf.

The smallest traces of good humor still present in Lucifer disappeared on the spot.

“I think I just dare,” Michael shrugged, “I was going to visit you later, in that cell of yours, to try and convince you again that you have no other choice than to obey, but, well. Thank you for saving me the trip.”

“Right, brother, don’t mention it. I see you've made another one instead. But, if the teenage mutant ninja angel baby is here, then what—“

For Hell and Heaven’s sake both, a mute button? A mute button?! Lucifer was going to mute the archangel for all bloody eternity now if he had touched just one hair on anyone’s head.

“You mean what happened to your pet humans? They’re safe. For now. Sandalphon is with them, actually. They were terribly easy to find once Amenadiel left for some reason.” Michael looked down at the child in his arms, and smiled at the baby in that odd, unnerving way of his. “Are you ready to listen now, Lucifer?”

Lucifer breathed out a feral, short laugh, but nodded nonetheless. He didn’t have any other choice, did he? If he tried to attack, he would end up hurting the Urchin. And if he refused to free their Father, Michael already had the nephilim with him.

“Oh, sir, yes,” the Devil pressed mockingly through his teeth. “Can’t wait, darling.”

Michael just nodded, completely unbothered by Lucifer’s attitude. He shifted Charlie a little, so he could hold him comfortably in just one arm.

“Good. On your knees, then. Mouth open. Stick your tongue out.”

Err, that… Lucifer couldn’t help, but blink at his brother, confused enough to momentarily forget about the situation at hand. Or in hands. In arms. Because- what?

“I’m sorry, are we going to shoot an intro to a porn movie? You're aware we're twins, yes? I have no desire to have sex with myself, except on those lonely mornings.”

“Oh, no. I’m simply going to return the favor, Lucifer. And maybe do one for everybody who was ever forced to hear you talking.”

Right. Of course Michael was still hung up on that, why the hell not? Honestly, Lucifer might have preferred the porn thing.

“While I generally agree, eh, Your Excellency, The Holiest Voice of God there is, surely…” All of sudden the door was pushed open and blocked from bouncing off the wall with a certain demon’s foot. Both Lucifer and Michael turned to look incredulously at the entrance, especially when Crowley lifted his hand in a lazy greeting gesture. He was swinging a metal pipe back and forward in his other hand, having his fun with it, “…I still think you should get the fuck away from our Lord Lucifer, Mike.”

“And from my son,” added Amenadiel. He and Aziraphale – holding the flaming sword, of course – were standing behind Crowley. “Before we all do something we’ll regret later. Hello, Luci.”

Chapter Text

Lucifer didn’t waste much time after that. Of course, he still very much wanted to groan and sigh, and maybe even complain about his rescue party of three showing up so late, but… Wait, wait - seriously, he could have been not only dead by now, but tongue-less, too. But that could be put on hold until the little Urchin was safe again.

Speaking of Lucifer’s nephew, the child was currently babbling something utterly ridiculous in Michael’s arms. It sounded like dada, to be honest, and was enough for Lucifer to make a face.

“Yes, son, your father is here. There’s nothing to worry about.” Amenadiel took a step forward, squeezing himself between Crowley and the doorframe, making the demon move to the side. “Michael, I’m saying that it’s quite enough. Give me my son back.”

The archangel didn’t react much – or, rather, at all – to the order. Amenadiel had once been the leader of all angels, but since he had stepped down and decided to leave Heaven in favor of living on Earth, that wasn’t the case anymore. And since Michael still remembered how easily the eldest angel had been defeated thanks to being outnumbered, he wasn’t too worried - they were in the Silver City, after all. And the angels here responded to Michael and Gabriel now, not to the Firstborn.

“I’m sorry, Amenadiel, but I’m afraid I cannot do that.” Michael said without any emotions in his voice. “Again, I won’t even mention the fact that your son is abomination, but he’s also the key to starting the Apocalypse. I need that leverage so Lucifer would stay obedient. I have plans for him.”

Crowley snorted, just as he gripped the metal pipe in both his hands. “You want Lucifer to stay obedient? Really? Do you even realize who are you talking about?” The demon was definitely mocking Michael. “Good luck with that.”

“ENOUGH!”

Amenadiel’s wings snapped open with so much force that the blade-like tips of his feathers cut through the wall with practically no effort at all. Both Lucifer and Michael flinched at the display, even if Lucifer hid his reaction much quicker, already focused on something else.

“You will give me my son back. Now.”

The angel didn’t even finish talking properly when suddenly a glass stolen from the desk shattered against the wall, breaking into pieces and startling everybody. It was all Lucifer needed – a small distraction to make Michael lose his focus, since his damned siblings were so busy talking, and not acting.

“What the—”

“Thank you!” Lucifer snatched the Offspring straight out of Michael’s embrace. The baby looked up at him, all wide-eyed and innocent, and Lucifer smiled at it. “Ahh—kay, here you go.” The Devil pushed Charlie into Amenadiel’s arms, making sure to support the head even now, and then grabbed the flaming sword by the blade, pulling it out of Aziraphale’s grasp. The Principality staggered forward, too taken aback to react properly. For the love of God, who on Earth— who in Heaven— took the sword by its blade?! And after already being stabbed the last time for doing something very similar!?

Lucifer just winked at him, hand bleeding, before he spun around and pointed the sword at Michael. The very moment the Devil had touched the weapon, the fire blazed up in a sudden, intense outburst. It was answering to him, bright and strong like never before.

“Try to scream into anybody’s head here, and you’ll be deepthroating the sword two seconds later.” Lucifer smiled at his twin in a warning, all pleasant, and not changing his expression even when Michael clenched his fists - with anger burning in him - but thankfully kept at bay.

“You wouldn’t do that,” said the archangel, attempting to stay calm while Amenadiel cooed at his son before fixing the blanket the baby was wrapped in. Honestly, that only made Michael’s blood boil further. The blade moving from side to side teasingly just inches from his face certainly didn’t help either. “Everyone knows how you feel about our family, Lucifer. You’d crawl for us to accept you again.”

The only thing that stopped Lucifer from doing something definitely reckless were Crowley’s fingers wrapping themselves around his elbow and yanking him back. Still, the laugh that tore out of his throat was nothing but vicious.

Try me, Mikey. You can even ask Uriel— oh wait. You can’t.”

Every single word that he spoke about Uriel was like a knife plunged over and over again between his ribs, blow after blow, yet Lucifer said them anyway, crushing his own heart. Uriel dying was— was something he had never— never wanted. It was something that still haunted him in his sleep, along with the other Michael’s death. Maybe his beloved twin was right about him being a monster.

Maybe he was also right about Lucifer’s desire to belong again.

Truth to be told, Lucifer could sometimes see himself in broken, helpless things, courtesy of his dear old Dad and ever dearer siblings. But he would never get so low as to beg to be allowed back into Heaven. Heaven – to him – was like Hell to humans. He had been so, so young, and already forced to be the perfect soldier, the perfect servant, with every personal opinion squashed and stomped on, with every desire for praise, for recognition, for free will - rejected.

But, very well, then. Broken bones were always the first step to being healed. And this time Lucifer was breaking them himself, setting them right. He didn’t need Michael’s pity to have a family. He already had one. The Detective, her Offspring, Miss Lopez, Mazikeen, Amenadiel, Linda, his nephew, and - the newest addition - Crowley. Family by choice, not blood. It was more than enough.

“Funny you mention that, Lucifer,” Michael spoke through his teeth, “because for someone trying so hard to prevent genocide on Earth, you’re a murderer yourself. How do you look in the mirror everyday and not see a monster staring back at you?”

The smile that appeared on Lucifer’s face was nothing short of radiant.

“Do I really need a mirror for that when you’re standing right in front of me, brother dearest?”

“Stop this.” Amenadiel spoke with authority in his voice. Lucifer had been protecting Chloe and their Mother, and so the blame wasn’t on him. It was on their Father for not intervening. For allowing that to happen. For abandoning them. “You weren’t there, Michael, you don’t know how or why it happened. And you’re not without blame yourself. Abducting me, my son, even Lucifer now? Trying to end the world itself? How is that good?”

“You’re not the one to speak about doing good, Amenadiel. You think we’re all blind and deaf here?” Michael tried to move forward only to be stopped by Lucifer blocking his path, sword raised higher now. “You tried to kill Lucifer yourself, didn’t you? You bedded a demon first, then you bedded a human. You did something Father specifically forbade – you’ve created a mutt,” he all but spat the last word, and that was all it took.

Lucifer was shoved away so forcefully that he crashed straight into the lap-of-luxury bookshelf - head first, sword hitting the floor with a metallic clatter, and the Devil following soon after it, books falling down on him.

And before Lucifer managed to do anything more than just to curse and push a particularly weighty tome off himself, Amenadiel was already on Michael, hitting him time after time without stopping or hesitation. As for Charlie, the child was wailing loudly, held in Aziraphale’s arms now. The angel in mention looked rather like a deer caught in the headlights because of the sudden transfer of the little Urchin to him.

“Ekhm, dear boy, don’t cry, I’m sure everything— everything will be quite alright.” Aziraphale rocked the baby uselessly for maybe about a minute before Crowley grabbed his shoulders and pushed him towards the door, hissing in clear distress. They didn’t have fucking time for that.

“Oh, for— run, for Hell’s sake, get the kid and run, Angel!”

It was the last possible, and – fortunately – successful chance for Aziraphale to escape with the child, because not even five seconds later Michael opened his mouth, and all Hell and Heaven broke loose.

Lucifer rammed the sword into the floor just as Crowley hit the nearest wall with the metal pipe, pulling it upwards at the last second. The explosion of light and fire was stopped in time for a short moment before it blew up in everyone’s faces with condensed power.

 

*-*

 

Gabriel could say he expected a lot of things both in and from his life. Promotion, promotion, and well, another promotion were on the very top of the list. Maybe it was a little bit self-centered, but, really, he always thought he’d make a good ruler of the heavenly host. When their Father had distanced Himself, not talking to the angels anymore, too busy with other worlds, and Amenadiel had left for Earth, busy with Lucifer, it had been Gabriel’s chance. He and Michael had taken on the role of the leaders. It had been… good. Not ideal, but good.

Then the Almighty had disappeared completely, and the opportunity to rule everything had showed up. It had been perfect – their Father had mentioned wanting to destroy worlds after being finished with their story, and the signs of the upcoming Apocalypse had been there, too, actually. Automatic summoning of the Horsemen caused by God vanishing, the Child being born – well, that one had needed just a teeny tiny twist, since the kid wasn’t Lucifer’s, but, really, Gabriel had been more than happy to do that. A perfectly good nephilim was still a perfectly good nephilim, after all.

After Heaven’s inevitable win, Gabriel would be ruling all three realms – Heaven, Hell, and Earth. Not too much work, considering that all humans and demons would have been dead by that time, anyway.

Then, of course, Lucifer had gone and thrown a spanner in the works.

However, well, everything that was happening now, still wasn’t… bad. Lucifer had been publicly defeated and judged, and now he would take care of Michael’s idea of letting their Father out. Gabriel couldn’t go against the other archangel himself, unfortunately, not officially. But, even if Gabriel didn’t end up ruling Heaven properly now, he still would end up alive and not fallen. He’d take it.

Speaking of Lucifer… No. No, Gabriel didn’t want to speak of, or even think of that— evil incarnate. He’d helped him enough – sure, he’d let the Devil out of the cell for his own benefit, but noticing Lucifer’s pathetic rescue team trying to act stealthy and unnoticeable at the Gates of Heaven, and then him pointing them to Michael’s office… wasn’t for that. Not completely. Well. He needed Lucifer alive, didn’t he? Having Michael and Lucifer kill each other just wouldn’t do.

Of course. That was the only reason.

Just like the only reason Gabriel had never used his own powers on Lucifer was that Michael’s were better for offence.

Anyway, that was all that Gabriel was expecting, like he’d said, both in and from his life.

What he hadn’t been expecting, though, was for Michael’s office to literally explode. Or, eh, maybe not literally – literally, but enough for it to have its door brutally ripped off the hinges, and windows shattered.

The angels around him stopped walking, startled at first, then with fear slowly creeping onto their faces. Gabriel cleared his throat and raised a hand in a calming down gesture.

“It’s alright, everybody! Remember, all of you are lean, mean, fighting machines, there’s no reason to be afraid!” He said loudly. “Scatter, angels! Nothing to see here.”

Gabriel waited with an encouraging smile until the last angel left the immediate vicinity of Michael’s office, before rushing to it himself.

 

*-*

 

The explosion left everyone either knocked out cold, or sprawled on the floor, groaning in pain and bleeding from various cuts. Lucifer had his eyes closed, head lolled to the side, as he struggled with drawing in one shallow breath after another, tasting the warm, thick blood in the back of his throat. Sure, the plan had been good enough for the heat of the moment – or rather, would have been, if Crowley and him hadn’t had different plans, one accidentally amplifying the power of another.

Lucifer had been standing too close, of course.

He more felt than heard someone dragging himself across the floor to him. He also felt something almost… singing to him, enticing him. Like the Shard of Chaos Amara had given him once, but where it had been cold and dark, painful like a poison, this… this was like a fuel for the light inside of him.

“Are you… Shit, shit, shit, are you okay?”

Only then Lucifer realized he was moving himself, trying to crawl closer to the abandoned sword. The light was seeping through the hairline cracks in the blade, and Lucifer was seeing it, feeling it, even with his eyes closed. He opened them, frowning, and not fully understanding what was happening.

Was Crowley talking? He probably was. Lucifer didn’t turn to him, still weirdly transfixed on the heavenly weapon. All flaming swords had been made by Dad Himself, with His own essence. And now it was bleeding out through the cracks.

“Are you fucking deaf now?” Crowley snapped. He was on edge, too tense and alert for his liking, and, eh, in too much pain for his liking, as well. Thanks to his own stupid idea – combined with Lucifer’s even stupider one – his leg was broken. But that… that didn’t matter, not really. What mattered was that a, the kid was safe, b, his Angel was safe, c, Lucifer was safe and alive. The jury was still out on the order of those three little things. “If you can crawl, you can hear me, shithead.”

Crowley decided not to contemplate the logic in that sentence.

“How does that make any sense?” Lucifer did it for him, though, just as finally tilted his head to face his brother with confusion and surprise clear in his expressive eyes. All after checking if Amenadiel and Michael were fine, too, thank you very much. And they were! Unconscious, but breathing with no trouble not so far away. They weren’t even injured much. “And why do you ask? Why, want to rescue me to death again? Or, wait, to come so late I could have been killed fifty times over already?”

“Oh, oh, right, okay then. You’re fine.” Crowley squinted at him, irritated, but also oh so relieved that Lucifer wasn’t in danger of dying on his hands again. Funny thing, but Crowley really wanted to keep this brainless idiot in his life. “Sorry we couldn’t take an express train straight to Heaven.” The words… It was an explanation, alright? It was. They’d had to go to Amenadiel first, tell him everything, then work out at least something slightly resembling a plan before trying to get into the Silver City unnoticed. And, of course, of all fucking archangels, Gabriel had noticed. Lucifer must have let out a small sigh, because Crowley dragged a hand down his face, even more frustrated, and guilty, and desperate now. “Listen, I came as soon as— as it was possible. Wherever you are, I'll always come to you. You know that, right?”

“Do I? Dearie me, I think I have trouble hearing, after all,” Lucifer drawled out, clearly enjoying the situation, if the wide, brilliant grin appearing on his face was anything to go by. “Can you repeat it, please?”

“I don’t know, can you shut it?” Crowley’s honeyed voice was just as pleasant. “Feel free to do just that.”

Someone cleared his throat loudly, interrupting their banter and causing Lucifer and Crowley to turn to the ruined doorway. Gabriel was standing there, looking both perplexed and gobsmacked while taking in the surroundings. He put his hands together and pressed them against his lips, as if praying for some strength.

“Which one… of you two, idiots… can tell me… what just happened in here?”

Well,” Crowley shrugged from his sitting position on the floor, all exhausted and insufferable now, “you have eyes, don’t you? I’m sure you can figure it out for yourself.”

Figure it out for myself?” Gabriel repeated the demon’s words way too slowly for it to mean anything good. “Either you tell me, or I’ll make sure your fangs are made into someone’s necklace, Crowley. Do you know what was supposed to happen? How important that was? Lucifer was supposed to…”

The rest of Gabriel’s lecture was drowned out by the languid song. If Crowley answered the archangel, Lucifer didn’t hear that either. With no one paying any attention to him, his hand reached out to take the sword out of its own will, and he… he could only watch, completely entranced.

It was calling out to him.

The light seeping out of the cracks was this kind of brightness that would make fresh snow look grey and dull. It was a brightness to outshine the sun itself, and yet Lucifer couldn’t tear his eyes away from it. He knew what he had to do. His brothers would never stop fighting, would they? Between themselves, against him, for the Throne, to start the Apocalypse, to let God out. And Dad, or no Dad, but for all the prayers, their Father had never bothered to make anything better. To intervene when Lucifer had stared at the fresh, red-hot blood coating his shaking hands. To intervene when— when they all needed Him the most. All He cared about was… being entertained.

Lucifer did, though. Time and time again, he tried his best to do the right thing, to save the world instead of ending it, even at his own cost.

This felt like the right thing, too.

The song of power and fire was so loud that it filled his brain and his heart, drowning out all other sounds, even as someone started to shout things in that weird, urgent, and utterly terrified tone of voice. But he didn’t listen. He couldn’t. He couldn’t even think anymore. It was more than the Shard. It was more than Chaos.

White light burst forth Lucifer’s entire body the moment he drove the sword into his chest straight up to the hilt.

Chapter Text

The rush of power coursing through his veins was intoxicating. The song was blasting loudly inside his very brain, pulsing and writhing like a living thing. It was like an euphoric high, only so, so much better than the one caused by cocaine or other drugs.

The light trapped inside the sword burst out – this time inside of him, filling Lucifer with fire and heat, and wind, and the universe itself. It wasn’t just the light – Lucifer knew, on the most basic level, that every element would obey his command now. Every molecule, every atom, every particle would connect and move the way he wished them to. There was nothingness contained within him now, the ability to create, to fashion, to maintain, to give the power shape, to make not only stars, but worlds themselves.

The sword was pulled out of his chest, empty and dark, and too normal for a divine weapon. It clattered to the floor when Lucifer dropped it casually. He had never wanted to kill himself with it, after all. He just had taken a risk that, yes, could have very well ended with him being dead, but also with him being…

“You wanted dear old Dad back,” said the Devil as he rose from his knees, proud like on the day of his Fall, and nothing short of frightening. “But, like our hardworking and absolutely amazing in bed Andy Warhol said… new things are always better than old things. So say hello to your new god in Heaven.”

 

*-*

 

The amount of times Crowley’s brain short-circuited because of his utterly ridiculous, featherbrained brother was… un-fucking-countable. His heart was still stuck somewhere in his throat because of how Lucifer had stabbed himself with that blasted sword, and now— now—

Crowley looked around quickly, noticing the astounded expression on Gabriel’s face that was quickly replaced by fear. Oh, that was…

…actually something worth taking advantage of. Especially before Gabriel got any other ideas.

“Kneel,” the demon said quickly. Without wasting any more time, and focused on setting a good fucking example, he got to his own knees, broken leg be damned, then bowed forward so that his forehead touched the floor. “Don’t be an idiot, kneel, kneel, kneel!”

Gabriel didn’t even manage to do more than just turn to look at Crowley, alarmed and this close to panicking, when Lucifer snapped his fingers, amused. Suddenly, not only Crowley was kneeling.

The invisible force that held Gabriel on his hands and knees actually caused Crowley to glance up, feeling just a bit anxious. Encouraging the archangel to kneel was, after all, tad different from making him kneel. Sure, so the situation he was supposed to handle now was… err, situation was that Lucifer somehow absorbed the- the Almighty’s essence from the cracked sword. At first - after Crowley’s heart had stopped beating so fast, making him feel lightheaded simply because he’d thought Lucifer dead - he decided that it was a good thing. No, not Lucifer dying, of course not, but Lucifer taking the Throne. But, if his asshat of a brother, the same one who had thought that stabbing himself was an effective way to get God’s essence inside himself, had snapped again… They were fucked.

Because… how was Crowley actually supposed to be the handler of a new god?

That… that was a somewhat terrifying thought, it was, okay? He wasn’t Aziraphale’s levels of naïve, but Crowley needed to have faith in Lucifer. He needed to, or he would end up just as tightly wound as Gabriel was with his clenched fists, and eyes focused on the ground. And, yeah, that wasn’t too surprising – after all, the archangel had a lot of reasons to be scared right now. Change of heart or not, but Crowley remembered, quite vividly, the first failed trial, that little cruel procession and Lucifer paraded around, tied up and then hit in the face for talking, twice.

As for Lucifer… Lucifer was only half focused on his siblings at the moment, watching his own hands with utter fascination in the dark, starry eyes. The power radiated off him in waves - like a wave of heat, of hot fire, and yet like an arctic breeze at the same time. Lucifer was light and fire itself, sure, but this was new. He was everything and nothing now. He was Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

And with God imprisoned somewhere, there was no one powerful enough to stop him.

“He will ascend into Heaven, he will exalt his Throne above the stars of God, he will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north. He will ascend above the height of the clouds, he will be like the most High,” recited Gabriel, voice accusatory. He still was kneeling, but his gaze wasn’t fixed on the ground anymore, and he didn’t seem as scared as before. “This is about you, isn’t it? You finally did what humans always accused you of desiring.”

Lucifer paused whatever he was doing just to stare at his brother with complete bewilderment on his face.

“Are you seriously quoting The Book of Isaiah at me?” The sheer exasperation the words were spoken with broke all delusions about any change in Lucifer’s personality, and Crowley let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. Then he got the urge to giggle like a maniac. “I’ve already been above the height of the clouds for the last couple of days now, brother, this is where the Silver City is. Why, do you want to dangle me below them?”

Although Gabriel wanted to say “I do, because who wouldn’t?” so much, he didn’t. He hadn’t avoided wrath of one God only to get killed by another. Even if this other god was Lucifer, of all possible beings. He still cherished his life and wings too much for that.

But, yes, this other god was Lucifer.

“If I remember correctly, we had a deal, Lucifer, and you went directly against it,” Gabriel said, curling his lip. It took a lot from him to continue speaking without— making it clear how afraid he was. But also… was he? He kept repeating to himself that it was Lucifer standing in front of him. Lucifer. “I won’t kneel for false gods. Let me up.”

Oh, sorry. I’ve been so often on my knees lately that I simply wanted to share the experience with my family! Isn’t sharing caring? I mean, it’s just simply manners.” Lucifer grinned at him, saccharine sweet, and bowed playfully. Sure, he was being petty with the kneeling, but it wasn’t like Gabriel didn’t deserve that. The moment Lucifer bowed, was also the moment the invisible force pressing Gabriel to the ground disappeared completely, allowing the archangel to stand up. Gabriel dusted himself off, trying to maintain at least a little dignity.

“The matter of our deal still remains—”

“Oh, come on. I didn’t go against it! I just improvised!” Lucifer protested, irritated. Bloody hell, he was just trying to get used to the strange feeling of nothisalienhisfathersnothisnothistnothis force thrumming in him, and now he had to handle Gabriel on top of it. “I did exactly what you wanted me to. Brought Michael down a notch! You could at least say something like, bravo Lucifer, good Devil!”

The words made Gabriel pause, because— God had never talked like that. Sure, there had been a certain level of playfulness as well, but it always had the undertone of a hidden warning. It’d been whimsical. Laugh, and clap, and nod, and obey, or else. Lucifer had been the one to experience how unhidden could that get.

And speaking of Lucifer…

…speaking of him, Lucifer was waiting for Gabriel to answer, impatient.

“Any day now, brother dearest. I have all the time in the world,” he let out a sigh before adding, “Not really, though, so chop, chop. As much as I’d love to stay here and talk, Sandy’s with the Detective and other humans! I can’t let him bore them for much too long.”

“That’s… Those are human matters. We are to discuss—”

“Ah, no. Mikey made those matters angelic by sending Mr. Sodom and Gomorrah to my humans’ hiding place.”

Crowley felt the need to hit his head against the floor. No idea why he still was kneeling, other than he got too busy with watching Lucifer and Gabriel bicker about random things. It actually gave him an idea. They all were siblings. Different goals, animosity, but, in the end, they were family. So maybe all of them just needed to have a conversation. Just that.

Waking up Amenadiel wasn’t that difficult, since Crowley only needed to shake his shoulder to have the eldest angel shift and mutter something miserably upon getting back to consciousness. What was difficult, though, and another matter completely, was ignoring the power emanating from Lucifer. It was making Crowley want to stay on his knees, trembling, scared shitless for his life, all while praying that Lucifer wouldn’t notice him.

It wasn’t about Lucifer, though, and Crowley knew that. He also knew that if any angel were to have that kind of divine power and still stay themselves, it would be Lucifer, too. He had spent thousands of years in Hell, and remained uncorrupted. He’d been absorbing the worst humanity had to offer, day in and day out, and, while changed, of course, Lucifer still stayed good. Chaotic and insufferable, but good.

“Why is my head hurting?...”

“Big loud explosion, no time for that.” Crowley was already moving on to Michael and— okay, maybe waking up the archangel Michael with a few hard slaps was actually very satisfying. “Why are you still unconscious? Get up.”

And it was a good moment for Michael to finally blink himself awake, squinting against the bright light, because Lucifer was already looking around and then at them, frustrated from talking with Gabriel, and steeling himself for whatever that was to come. Maybe he had the same idea Crowley had. The only thing Lucifer knew for sure was that he didn’t… That fighting was the last thing he wanted to do. And having a civil war in Heaven over both himself and the Apocalypse wasn’t going to fix anything. Dad’s power was only meant to make his brothers willing to hear him out.

“What happened— what is he now? Is he a…”

Crowley simply slapped a hand over Michael’s mouth.

“Right. Just— just try and listen to me. I’m aware that you want me dead, that you want to bring dear old Dad back, that you want the Apocalypse to start. But this— this is bloodshed! Civil war, the Apocalypse, Dad’s wrath… it’s… it’s not starting over, because there’s not going to be some new world after your victory. There will be nothing left, only broken parts, and that’s… that’s going backwards! Back to my Rebellion, back to when Dad sent Mum to Hell, back to every time we were divided. And that’s… not good for anyone. We need a way to move forward, to make it work without Father. Ending worlds is not the right way to go about it. We don’t have to fight to see who’s better. Humans have lives. They laugh and cry and share. They’re not some pawns to be taken off the board because you wish to turn it upside down. Dad will end this world, too, if we let Him out.” Lucifer said with urgency in his voice. “After that, there will be a war, here, as well. And in war, there are always casualties… Do you really want that blood on your hands? Can’t we just— If you want to come to Earth, then come to Earth. Humans are absurd creatures, but they’re fun to be around! If you want to rule Heaven, rule it! I have no interest in taking the Throne. Actually, go on, have Gabriel do it!”

Everyone looked at the aforementioned archangel who shifted a little, surprised, then straightened.

“Me?”

“Yes, brother, you. Isn’t that your whole career ambition?” Lucifer asked incredulously, staring at the equally dumbfounded Gabriel. Crowley cleared his throat, because no. No, he wasn’t going to have history repeat itself like with Hell and Beelzebub just because Lucifer wouldn’t say the rules clearly.

“Ten Commandments, oh, Lord, my Lord?” Crowley reminded him pleasantly. “You shall not have strange gods before me, et cetera?”

“I’m already a strange god.” Lucifer shrugged, not really interested in giving anyone any commandments, but yes, Crowley was right. They all needed rules, so there wouldn’t be another situation with the world needing to be saved. One more, and Lucifer would jump out of the window. “You shall not kill. You shall not kidnap or hurt any humans, demons, or other angels. You shall not start any apocalypses. You shall not scream into anyone’s head, no matter how bloody tempting that is,” he drawled out, maybe the tiniest bit sarcastic, before actually thinking about it. Lucifer had given Gabriel the function he had always been after, so maybe it was also time to give Michael what he wanted. An apology. “And fine. Fine. I’m sorry about your tongue, brother. I shouldn’t have done that, but, in my defense, I wasn’t thinking clearly, and you certainly didn’t make it easier for me, either.”

Michael didn’t say anything for a long, long moment before finally exhaling. He’d been trying to stay neutral the whole time right up to the point of Lucifer ripping out his tongue. It wasn’t like he wanted his twin dead. If he did, then that would have been the verdict at Lucifer’s trial, but… After Father had thrown Lucifer out of Heaven, Crowley following shortly after, then Mother… The whole family had been rocked. And maybe that was when it all had started. The blind obedience, the ambitions, the cruelty. Everything.

“So be it. I’m sorry as well.”

Lucifer snorted, feeling relief course through his whole body as if that feeling wanted to chase the one of power. It was just as strong. “Lovely. Before I’ll leave for Earth, and our favorite eldest action star will stay here for a bit to make sure everything runs smoothly…” Lucifer paused to scoff at the resigned look on Amenadiel’s face, “What? You have experience! Anyway, Gabriel? Care to say something?”

“Yes. As the ruler of Heaven, I’ll be hosting monthly meetings with you.” Gabriel said formally, standing straight and proud, because if Lucifer hoped to hear him apologize, then maybe he would have to wait another eon for it. And not hope too hard. “You can invite Beelzebub to the first one, and we’ll discuss all celestial matters now that there’s no impending Apocalypse.”

“That’s not what I… Okay, fascinating.” Lucifer snapped his fingers, healing Crowley’s leg with a simple thought. “Just one question. Can I be late and does not coming at all still count as that?”

 

*-*

 

Dan shifted slightly in the spot he’d landed in, tied up as he was. The bonds were digging into his wrists, forcing them behind him. Chloe and Linda had it a little better, being tied up to each other, back to back, instead of just being trussed up like some shitty turkey and thrown in the corner of the room. All the guns had been confiscated from them and then simply dematerialized, turned to ash in that balding guy’s hand. Another frickin’ angel, seriously. Because this was exactly what Dan needed in his life. Another angel. Why the hell not.

The only good thing there was that Trixie was still in school.

“Chlo’?” Dan half whispered, half shouted at her, using the opportunity that the angel had his back to them and was simply looking out through a window, contemplating something. Speaking of angels, movements and the windows, Dan spotted something out of the other window. That white-haired guy, walking in circles and fretting. If Dan wasn’t suddenly having problems with his eyes, and he was fairly sure he wasn’t, Aziraphale was holding Linda’s baby half hidden under his coat. “Chloe!”

Before Chloe could answer, though, Sandalphon turned around, tsking. In the tanned coat and pants, and with the – what even was that, spats? - he looked like a someone trying, but without any real effort, to blend in.

“Do you really think I’m deaf, you puny human? I want nothing but silence from all three of you, or I’ll take your mouths away.” The angel said with a bored expression on his round face. “Or turn you into a pillar of salt. Maybe you’ve read about it in the Bible.” Now a proud smile appeared, making Dan feel sick. What was wrong with the guy? “Sodom and Gomorrah? Ah, those were the times. I rained fire on those two towns and humans there. I think the whole land is still a burning waste of salt and sulfur - nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. My greatest hit.”

“Hit?” Linda stared at the angel in horror, unable to stay calm. Not when Charlie had been taken away from her, not when Amenadiel was gone, not when they didn’t know if Lucifer was still alive. There were dried tearstains on her cheeks. “You killed children! Men and women that did nothing wrong. And for what?”

“Well, they laid with each other.” Sandalphon shrugged, completely unbothered. Those had been God’s orders, and who was he to question them? It wasn’t like he actually cared about humans. Disgusting creatures. It was a real shame that Michael had decided to postpone the Apocalypse. “And I did save Lot. You’re welcome.”

“You saved a man who offered his daughters to be raped.” Chloe said slowly. Honestly, even if she hadn’t interacted with God Himself before, hadn’t watched Him toy with Lucifer for His own entertainment, just to teach Lucifer a lesson about humility, then hearing this archangel speak like that, would be more than enough for her to understand why exactly Lucifer had rebelled. And maybe it was for the better. Maybe, if Lucifer had stayed in Heaven, he would have been like this, too. Cold. Cruel. Indifferent.

But Lucifer had rebelled, and now she could love this absolutely inappropriate Devil, always so damn energetic and enthusiastic, always so passionate about most ridiculous things, and always so protective over everyone he cared about.

Of course, Lucifer was also the most annoying, stubborn and self-absorbed celestial entity at times, and certainly a handful, but Chloe wasn’t going to dwell on that now, not when he could very well be de— no. No, she refused to believe that. His siblings couldn’t have killed him. They just couldn’t have.

If they had— had— though, she wouldn’t rest before getting every and each one of them. She didn’t know how, but surely with Amenadiel and Crowley’s help, they… they would be able to… to…

“No,” Chloe whispered to herself, shaking her head. “No, Lucifer is alive.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t get your hopes up. If he still is, then not for long. Michael, the archangel, wanted to talk to him about obeying orders, and—” Sandalphon froze like a pillar of salt himself, not believing his eyes. Lucifer was leaning against the wall, completely casual, and with the brightest grin possible. There had been no rustle of feathers, no light breeze, no soft whoosh usually accompanying the folding of the wings that would have betrayed his presence earlier. And… he was wearing a suit again. Impossible! “But— What— You were imprisoned! This is scandalous! I demand that you return to your cell this instant!”

If Chloe were able to speak, she would have, but her throat closed up, making even swallowing difficult. Lucifer… Lucifer was alive. Her brilliant Devil, her partner, was here, playful and teasing as usual, with that coiled danger underneath. Of course he would pull through.

He always did, didn’t he?

“Shit, man, did you frickin’ teleport here?! How?!” It seemed that at least Dan didn’t have any trouble speaking, though. And seriously, he never thought he’d ever feel so much relief at the sight of the Devil himself. Dan struggled awkwardly in his bonds, trying to pull himself up, to face Lucifer better, only to blink at the Devil’s next words.

“I actually did, yes!” Lucifer announced, all cheerful and proud of his newest achievement. And maybe of solving the crisis in Heaven. But, he had to admit, this form of travelling was much, much easier than flying. He just had to imagine the place he wanted to be, and then he, well, was. So, yes, Lucifer could see why his dear old Dad did it so often. It also was fun to ignore Sandalphon in the middle of all this, and see how amusingly pale the angel had gotten at that. “And believe me, Daniel, you don’t want to know how. You already had trouble understanding I’m the Devil, so we should try not to overstrain your mental capability. I mean, your head is empty, isn’t it?”

“Wait, what?”

“Exactly that, thank you for providing me with yet another example.” Lucifer said impatiently, but his smile turned softer when he looked at the Detective and Linda, making sure they weren’t hurt. “Ohh, Detective! You’ve never mentioned anything about liking bondage! Hello, doctor.”

Yes, Chloe thought to herself, rolling her eyes and sighing with relieved exasperation. Yes, Lucifer was one of the most annoying celestial entities, no doubt about that. The most loved ones, too.

“Hi, Lucifer. It’s really good to see you in one piece.”

“And what an irresistible, handsome piece it is, Detective.” Lucifer didn’t look away from the Detective, all smiles and mischievous eyes, but when Sandalphon tried to open his wings, he simply clenched his fist, and suddenly the other angel was yanked to his knees with a surprised grunt. “Anyway, I…”

“Where’s my son, Lucifer?” Linda spoke up, interrupting him with a breaking voice. She could try and keep her composure earlier, but seeing Lucifer here without Amenadiel or Charlie was… “You go and get him back, right now. Lucifer, you go and—”

“Oh, the little Urchin is right outside the house.” Lucifer pointed at the window, a little confused. Why didn’t Linda know that already? Aziraphale had left a long time ago, after all. “I saw Aziraphale miracle up a rattle for him, so he wouldn’t cry. The Spawn, not Aziraphale. Although, you know, now I’m not so sure for which one’s benefit that was.”

Dan nodded at Lucifer’s words while still trying to wiggle out of the ropes.

“Yeah, I saw them, too,” he confirmed. “I was actually trying to—”

“And neither one of you thought to tell me about it?!”

Both Lucifer and Dan cowered a little at Linda’s righteous outburst. Well, yes, maybe they should have led with that.

Anyway!…” Lucifer cleared his throat, trying to get back to the previous subject. So – to Sandalphon. The angel was grimacing and straining in his attempts to get up. Unfortunately, nothing worked for him. “Anyway, dear Sandy, my Sandy, I’m sure you’re glad to see me again, all safe and sound.”

“I’d rather see a rat safe and sound.” Sandalphon spat, angry and red because of the humiliation. Well, Lucifer could be petty all year round, and he still didn’t forget how Sandy had stepped on his bonds, bringing Lucifer to his knees. “If you think you can get away with it—”

“Get away with what, brother?” Lucifer asked when he crouched down, to be at Sandalphon’s level. His voice was serious now, barely above a sharp whisper, and yet all the more intimidating because of that. “Can’t you feel it? I didn’t let Dad out, Sandalphon. It’s not a sign of His presence. It’s coming from me.” Lucifer traced his fingertips along the angel’s jaw, making his hair stand on end. “It’s my turn now.”

Lucifer could pinpoint the moment realization hit Sandalphon. His brother’s eyes widened, and it seemed as if he stopped breathing for a moment, utterly terrified. That… that wasn’t possible. Lucifer couldn’t be… He couldn’t… But there was no hiding the power that was rolling off the Lightbringer in waves. The power that could crush every angel there was, every human and every demon like it was nothing.

And Sandalphon had made Lucifer kneel.

He was beyond help. He— he was beyond help.

“My Lord…” Sandalphon caught Lucifer’s hand in a sudden, jerky movement, pulling it towards himself just to press nervous kisses to it. “Oh Lord, forgive me, I— I didn’t know what I was doing, I— I’ll accept every punishment, just let me— let me—”

“Alright, alright, bloody hell, stop— for crying out loud, I don’t have my hand sanitizer here— and great, now I have to not only wash my hands, but my ring as well. Lovely.” Lucifer tried to get his hand back, already feeling more than just uncomfortable. He was traumatized for all eternity now, once more, thank you very much. If he never felt Sandalphon’s lips on him again, it still would be too soon. “Dearie me, stop!”

Sandalphon let go of Lucifer’s hand only to press his forehead to the floor, ignoring the stunned looks it got him from the humans witnessing the whole show.

“Forgive me, my Lord, if I only knew…”

“Yeah.” Lucifer pulled Sandalphon up and closer to himself, just to start whispering something in his ear. The overwhelming fear on the angel’s face was slowly replaced with confusion, and then with straight up bewilderment. “Alright! All good now?” Lucifer clapped his brother on the shoulder when he moved away at last. Sandalphon nodded, slow and unsure. “Great, well, I'm glad we had this talk. Time to go home now. I'll see you at the next family reunion, or whatever Gabriel wants to call it. I'll buy the first round.”

“Lucifer…” Chloe started, shifting in her seat, not really understanding yet what was really happening. Since when an angel would call Lucifer his Lord? Had he fallen somehow? “Lucifer, what is going on?”

“Detective! I just—“

Whatever Lucifer was going to say, was interrupted by a loud bang on the roof, then even louder rattling that lasted a good minute, and then a thud outside followed by Aziraphale’s worried shouts. Sandalphon used that opportunity to spread his own wings and disappear, obeying the new orders, and Lucifer simply… bit back a grin, got up and walked to the front door.

When he opened it, Crowley was dusting himself off, with Aziraphale standing next to him and rocking the baby. The Principality still seemed quite concerned about the state of the poor demon, if the glances he kept giving Crowley were anything to go by.

“Bumpy road? That house came out of nowhere? Oh, wait, no, I know! A bird was flying by?”

Shut up, or the gag is making another appearance, and you’re not taking it out until your jaw is fucking aching.” Crowley warned him without any real heat behind it – just feeling smug about the threat and exasperated with the joke at the same time – before pushing past Lucifer and walking inside. “Why are they still tied up?” With a snap of his fingers the bonds fell down, and Dan sat up properly, rubbing at his wrists. Seriously. That was… He was going to need a beer.

Linda already was rushing to take Charlie from Aziraphale, pulling the boy out of the angel’s arms and holding him close to herself. The Principality – while quite taken with the child – still handed off the boy to his mother with visible relief. Crowley rolled his eyes at the sight, deciding that it was a good thing that the two of them would never have to raise a kid together. Although, no, yeah, he could probably make a pretty good nanny, considering all his practice with babysitting Lucifer in Hell.

“Lucifer?” Chloe tapped the Devil’s shoulder, and Lucifer turned around with a smile just to have his Detective’s arms suddenly wrapped around him. He froze for the shortest of moments before slowly hugging Chloe as well, careful and worshiping. “Don’t ever scare me like that again. No more getting kidnapped, Lucifer. Not where I can’t follow. And— okay, this is all still fairly new to me, but why did that angel call you his Lord? Are we… done with the Apocalypse? Is Charlie safe again? Are you safe?”

“Yes, yes, and yes, for the three of your four questions, Detective.” There was a movement out of the corner of Lucifer’s eyes, causing him to notice Dan listening in on their conversation. He grinned before continuing: “As for the fourth one… Let’s say that I’ll be getting all of Miss Lopez’s prayers now.”

“What?” Chloe leaned back to stare at Lucifer, eyes wide, but with the beginning of a bewildered smile tugging on the corners of her lips. That couldn’t be the truth, could it? How? But… once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, simply must be the truth. And if that was indeed the truth, then the world was in good hands. Kind of. Maybe those hands were also a little irresponsible and itching for drugs way too often, but, yeah. Still good. “Are you actually saying… what I think you’re saying?”

“No,” Dan said loudly, pointing a finger at Lucifer and shaking it. “No. Absolutely not. This is where I draw the line. You’re literally the last person suited for— No. No, no, no. This is some bullshit, okay? You’ve been stealing and eating my fucking pudding, man! This is— This isn’t right! These two things just don’t go together! You own a nightclub! Another freakin’ thing!”

“Keep going, my Douche, and see if you get a present under your Christmas tree,” Lucifer murmured innocently, clearly enjoying the way all blood drained from Dan’s face.

“You are not Santa, Morningstar. Get it out of your head.”

There was a bit of silence, and:

“Wanna bet, Daniel?”

Chapter Text

“So you’re going to hold monthly audiences with me?” Apparently cleaning the bloody piano in his nightclub wasn’t as easy as it had sounded at first. And, mind it, Lucifer was trying to perform the best he could. He even had done some research beforehand, so now he was gripping a damp cloth, rubbing the outside of the piano in circular motions and working in small sections. One, two, three… Maze scoffed and rolled her eyes before slapping the cloth out of Lucifer’s hand.

“Straight strokes, dumbass. In the direction of the wood grain. Keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll end up with swirl marks and streaks,” Mazikeen explained curtly, already looking done with Lucifer. His first time cleaning the piano, and he couldn’t do it right. How was she supposed to leave him on Earth, all alone and on his own? How would he take care of himself? “And yeah. I’ll be holding monthly audiences to discuss demonic matters with you. By the way, you know I’ll want you to kneel when greeting me?” She added with a sharp grin just when Lucifer bent down to pick up the cloth.

So maybe she’d heard the rumors about how really Crowley’s firing process looked like.

“Don’t push it, Maze. I think I've had enough of kneeling for several lifetimes by now.”

Mazikeen leaned against the piano, swirling alcohol in her glass, not bothered by Lucifer’s remark in the slightest. With him, if you were on his nice list, then it was always all bark and no bite.

“Interesting. You’re saying you want Beelzebub to continue ruling in your name, then? Fine by me.”

Lucifer felt seriously tempted to just throw that cloth at her. But, well, his Maze was driving a hard bargain: he couldn’t have Beelzebub ruling Hell, and Maze was more suited for it than any of them: demons and Lucifer included both. She knew what Hell should be like, she tolerated humans, and she would keep all demons in check.

“Goodness, Maze, I’m already your Uber ride! Isn’t that enough?” Lucifer protested just for the sake of it, already knowing he was going to lose. “No me, no wings to fly to Linda and her Urchin anytime you want.”

Any time I want, and every six months, regular as clockwork, because I’m not working in Hell all year round.” Maze reminded him lightly after taking a long sip of her vodka. Her grin only widened when Lucifer returned to his cleaning ‘duties’. It was actually pretty amusing to watch him work physically, and just because Crowley had pointed out that someone should finally get that oily finger residue from the piano. “Just six months here, six months there, and—”

“And you’ve been reading too much of that Persephone myth.”

“What? Greeks know their stuff,” she gave him a wicked smile. “It’s still happening.”

Before Lucifer could protest some more, both of them heard someone knocking on the wall to announce their presence. When the Devil looked up and recognized the person, he subtly – not so subtly – inched behind the piano. Yes, the flaming sword was pretty much useless now, but that didn’t mean Lucifer couldn’t take precautions.

“Hello, Aziraphale,” he said cheerfully when it was all set and safe with the piano between him and the angel. Nothing out of the ordinary. “Hello, hi. Another person that wants me to kneel when greeting them, or is it okay for me to stand?”

Maze snorted into her drink.

“How old are you again? Twelve?”

“Eleven, thank you.” Lucifer shot right back before turning his attention back to the perplexed angel. “While I am greatly honored by your visit, Principality, why are you here? And where’s Crowley?”

“I, uh, Crowley isn’t coming. He’s getting drinks with your lovely detective and Amenadiel,” Aziraphale cleared his throat. This… wasn’t a comfortable situation, but then, Crowley had told him to, and Aziraphale was quoting here, “go, for Hell’s sake, and mend those fences, Angel. You’ll feel better, believe me. By the way, have you heard that LOL apparently stands for Lucifer Our Lord according to some Christian groups? Best thing ever.” Well, Aziraphale wasn’t feeling better. He was feeling pretty terrible, and he didn’t like that. He didn’t like that at all, but it had to be done, especially after Lucifer… had taken that risk for them all, and stayed more or less normal. But before he could find the right words to express his regret properly…

“I beg your pardon, drinks? And I wasn’t invited?!” Lucifer stared at him, indignant and feeling pretty insulted. “Why?”

“Well, it would be a fair assumption that… our wily old serpent… wanted us to talk.”

No matter how amusing it was to see Lucifer scoff, seconds away from voicing his objection aloud, Mazikeen decided that she didn’t want to be a part of any touchy-feely conversation. No way Jose.

“You need tissues, they’re behind the bar.” She grabbed her black leather jacket from the nearest barstool and put it on. “Try not to end up braiding each other’s hair. I’ll be with Chloe and the rest of their little group having actual fun. See ya.”

“Very funny, Maze. Maze?” Lucifer blinked when Mazikeen really just walked out of the nightclub, not even giving him a second glance. He could swear that he heard her cackling, though. “Maze, bloody hell, get back here!”

Aziraphale coughed to catch Lucifer’s attention again, making the Devil look back at him, wary and distrustful.

“Dear boy, I think we should use this opportunity to have this talk I’ve been meaning to—”

No. I mean, you’re forgiven for all the stabbing and impaling action, no need to dwell on it any further.” Lucifer shrugged. Talking about it was the last thing he wanted. Because, if he were to assess his own mental state right now, it would be… fairly good. And so he preferred it to stay that way. “I’m serious, brother de… in-law,” Lucifer tried not to grin too obviously at the wordplay, even though the Principality put his hands together, already looking disapproving of the joke. “Right, tough crowd… Anyway! Dad-level powers or not, I’m not planning on snapping again.”

“Well, that’s certainly good news.” Aziraphale nodded, yet – to Lucifer’s profound disappointment – didn’t make a move to leave. Fine, fine, maybe it wasn’t entirely fair of Lucifer, but then, he still remembered how exactly the Principality had been treating him. One second it was “dear boy”, and another – “Satan is working to bring the Armageddon as well, we need to stop him!”

Bloody hell, someone could get a whiplash from all of that.

“Yes, yes. So you can go now, can’t you? Off you pop.”

“I still want to apologize, dear.” Aziraphale took a deep breath, feeling nervous about this whole conversation. Surprisingly enough, the fact that Lucifer’s powers were definitely on another level now, just like he had announced two seconds earlier, really didn’t matter to the angel. Crowley had explained everything to him – how Lucifer had handled the situation in Heaven and how opposed he’d been – and still was – to actually ruling. It… boded well for the future, didn’t it? “Because you deserve that. I haven’t given you the benefit of the doubt, although you have to understand – Crowley didn’t have the best memories of you, and you do rule Hell. There’s also that thing with your Rebellion in Heaven.”

Oh, the Rebellion, sure, sure. Not like anyone could ever forget about the Rebellion, even though thousands and thousands of years had passed since then. Lucifer exhaled, feeling both the beginning of a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, and the beginning of a headache.

“You suck at apologies. You know that, right?”

“Never had to give one before.” Aziraphale explained, wringing his hands. “I’m an angel. Crowley once said he didn’t think I could do the wrong thing. I used to think so, too. But then I stabbed you, and I thought you… maybe the tiniest bit… evil… and I’m so, so deeply sorry for that. You’re a surprisingly good person.”

Lucifer thought back to the session with Linda he’d had two days ago. And okay, okay, he knew he should have gone to her earlier, but it wasn’t like he had a lot of free time now! Especially since he’d been forced to go to Heaven and actually talk with Gabriel about all the technicalities regarding both the archangel ruling the Silver City and yet still somewhat answering to Lucifer. And, truly, Lucifer wanted nothing to do with that, except maybe to make sure that there was no new apocalypse slash civil war slash terrible breakfast for Gabriel’s monthly meetings - in the making.

And to maintain the status quo. Because while, yes, he might have dear old Dad’s powers, he certainly didn’t have His desire to be worshiped, nor to be obeyed, nor His omniscience. Which was perfect for him, because Lucifer was fairly sure he’d go crazy pretty quickly if he really had to listen to humans praying to his Father of all beings.

Anyway!

Linda had told him that he needed to start letting go of the past if he wanted to start anew. That he had to take his fate into his own hands. And it was already reflected in his wings – they were his now, not Amara’s. Every time he’d forgiven himself a bit, every time he’d made his own decision, every time he’d made the right choice, they had self-actualized, feather after feather, similarly to Crowley’s who had white tips now simply because he didn’t consider himself all that unforgivable anymore.

So, while it was tempting to hold the grudge for just a little bit longer, Lucifer knew what he had to say.

“Apology accepted, and let’s never go back—“

“Oh, wonderful!” Aziraphale interrupted Lucifer with the biggest smile ever, just as he reached for the Devil’s hands. “And right on time. I still need to get a wiggle on, because we have to pack. Would you imagine? Crowley actually wants to take a plane back to London! It’s going to be a jolly adventure!”

What?... Lucifer felt as if Aziraphale just pulled the rug out from underneath him, but before he could react in any way, the angel was already gone, leaving him to glance around the room with a lost look in his eyes.

“Back— to London?”

 

*-*

 

The nightclub was pretty crowded that night. The spotlight was on the owner himself, of course, who was sitting at the piano, surrounded by people completely entranced with him. Crowley had insisted on coming here to say goodbye before leaving to England with Aziraphale, but, apparently, they had chosen the worst possible moment to come to Lux.

“…we can fight a war for peace, ooh woo, I’m a rebel just for kicks, now! Give in to that easy living, say goodbye to my hopes and dreams, stop flipping for my enemies, but no…” Lucifer leaned closer to the microphone and gave the people gathered around him the brightest grin, “…Ooh woo, I'm a rebel just for kicks, now, let me kick it like it's back in Heaven, oh, wow, might be over now, but I feel it still! Can't keep my wings to myself, think I'll dust ‘em off, put ‘em back up on the shelf!…”

…well. Those certainly weren’t the right lyrics. Crowley raised his hand up for Lucifer to notice him in the crowd. Didn’t really work.

“What is that?” Aziraphale leaned closer to Crowley so the demon could hear him over the song, and because yelling would have been terribly rude. Wouldn’t it? Lucifer was performing spectacularly. It was actually a nice throwback to the times before the Rebellion, to when Lucifer had been in charge of music in Heaven.

“It’s Portugal. The Man,” said Crowley. Seriously, was he so unnoticeable? The first night here he had been just standing at the bar, and Lucifer had somehow spotted him right away. But now? No, sir. How convenient. “Although Lucifer certainly has made a lot of his own twists and tweaks.”

“Don’t we have a word for men from Portugal, though? Portuguese men?” Aziraphale frowned at first, not following. Connecting the dots really didn’t take him much time, though, and his whole face lit up the moment he did that. “Oh, you mean be-bop!”

“Why do you keep using the term be-bop to describe the modern music, Angel, is still beyond me.” Crowley heaved a sigh, but couldn’t exactly help a fond smile either. Ah, the joys of being in a long relationship with someone that was both his best friend and more.

A random person bumped into Crowley, almost spilling her drink and pulling him out of his thoughts because of it. He hissed at her, annoyed, then snapped his fingers, making the drink spill for real this time, and on some poor bastard’s shirt. And that… gave him an idea how to successfully get Lucifer’s attention. “Angel? You want to listen to Mozart’s Under Pressure now?”

“I… guess?”

***

The song stopped abruptly.

Well, maybe not song precisely, because Lucifer kept singing for ten more seconds after the piano keys had stopped working, then paused with a surprised expression on his face.

Weird. Lucifer hit the keys, hoping they would start working again, but there was no sound. He hit them again, with more force, yet still to no avail. People around him started murmuring, and he mouthed a quiet, utterly confused “What?” before trying again. Nothing. And in the middle of a song, no less! How dare they? Was it because he had cleaned them wrong? It was, wasn’t it? Bloody hell.

“Aw, you poor soul. Do you fancy a duet? Someone to help you out?”

Because, finally, Crowley had finished squeezing through the crowd, cursing everyone around, and now could lean against the piano, pretending to be disinterested in the whole thing.

Lucifer shook his head while frowning and pressing various keys with increasing frustration, and Crowley had to grin widely. Just had to. Apparently never once Lucifer even thought about using his new powers to fix the situation.

“Unless you’re a piano tuner, fixer, or whatever, really, I don’t think—“ Lucifer stopped abruptly and looked up with narrowed eyes, all accusing. “Oh, bloody hell, this is your doing, isn’t it?”

“Do you know what my Bentley does?” Crowley started conversationally. Honestly, he would miss it. Well, no, not the Bentley, not right now, but miss being able to annoy Lucifer. Not only that. He was going to miss their usual banter and how he knew he could always trust the Lord of Hell, because no matter what was happening, Lucifer had his back. And vice versa. It was… Oh, damn it all the way to Hell, but it was nice to have a sibling again. “With any tape left in it for over a fortnight?”

“What?” The smugger the expression on Crowley’s face was, the more protective Lucifer felt over his piano. “Eats it? Chucks it at your head? Plays it and pretends to be Christine?”

Crowley leveled Lucifer with a deadpan look.

“Turns it into a Best of Queen album.”

“…and you’re telling me this why, exactly?”

The demon shrugged nonchalantly, but his smile widened when he patted the side board of Lucifer’s piano.

“Oh, you know. No reason at all.”

Lucifer closed his eyes, tempted to pray to himself, and experimentally played a few notes to Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy. This time, the piano cooperated with him. The second it did, Crowley snorted, and Lucifer felt a sudden urge to go back to that moment when Maze had mistakenly tried to take the serpent demon to the cell, and this time? Let her.

The urge intensified when Crowley slapped a ten-dollar bill on the piano and smiled way too pleasantly.

“Do you take requests?”

***

Chloe walked up to Aziraphale with a drink in her hand. The angel was nodding to the music, not really stopping himself from smiling brightly. Who knew his Crowley had such a good singing voice? And who knew Lucifer wouldn’t smite him the moment he first sat on the piano, then laid down on it, then hopped off, then did some absolutely embarrassing little dance behind Lucifer’s back only to return to sitting on the piano?

“How do you like it here?” Chloe asked loudly so Aziraphale would hear her over Crowley’s “Watching some good friends screaming ‘let me out’!” first, then over Lucifer’s “Pray tomorrow gets me higher, higheeer”.

“Here?” Aziraphale looked around the club. It was… pleasant, yes, but with too many people for his taste. Still… it was nice. Well. Maybe he could manage without those ladies dancing on the bar and on the tables, although it was interesting. “It’s, uh, lovely.”

“No! No, not here-here. I know it’s not for us. I prefer to stay at home with Trixie and Lucifer, too, don’t worry.” Chloe nudged the angel next to her with her elbow, and Aziraphale relaxed visibly. No need for pretending, it seemed, and he welcomed the revelation happily.

“Oh. Oh, jolly good. Thank you. It’s more Crowley’s style than mine. But if not Lux, then what did you mean?”

“Los Angeles.” Chloe explained herself, careful now. Lucifer would get pretty upset if he knew what she was going to say next. Only… it needed to be said. For his sake. “I know Lucifer insists he’s fine, but it takes time and work. And ever since Crowley came along, Lucifer stopped flinching, he’s more relaxed and, um, open. Playful. I don’t think… I don’t think he’s like that around Amenadiel, and he needs his family right now. Could you maybe… consider staying here for the time being?”

“I, oh. Well. Crowley did face the archangel Michael without thinking twice about it,” Aziraphale admitted after a long moment, thinking the whole thing over. “Called him Mike, too. And before that, he actually convinced Michael and Gabriel to abandon the idea of the war. He… he’s gotten more confident after starting working with Lucifer, I think. And maybe… kinder as well. To people other than me.”

Both Aziraphale and Chloe were startled when the people around them started to sing along with their two absolutely inappropriate infernal beings. Lucifer was having a lot of fun, playing with more energy than strictly necessary, and hitting all high notes while Crowley danced around the piano.

“Can’t we give ourselves one more chance? Why can't we give love that one more chance? Why can't we give love, giiiive loooove…”

“'Cause love's such an old-fashioned word. Slashed and torn. And love dares you to care for the people on the streets,” Crowley held out his own microphone – apparently miracled out of thin air – to the crowd, enjoying being in the spotlight like that. He kind of could understand why Lucifer liked performing so much. “And love dares you to change our way of…”

“…caring about ourselves,” Lucifer joined in on the fun, both focusing on the microphone in front of his face, and on Crowley next to him. He didn’t… He knew it was the end, that Crowley would leave to London, leave him, but he really didn’t want it to be that. To be the end. “This is our last dance…”

“This is our last dance.” But maybe it didn’t have to be the end. Not if Crowley decided to stay in Los Angeles for a little longer. And with what had been happening before, the wild rollercoaster ride for the both of them, maybe they finally deserved a little quiet in the same city. The opportunity to just… catch up, maybe. To be brothers, and not a king and his servant. “This is ourselves—”

“—under pressure.”

So maybe that was what would happen now. Because while maybe it wasn’t the happy ending Lucifer had dreamed up for himself, it still was something. Something of his own to work with, where it didn’t really matter if he still had nightmares or not, if there was another threat coming or not, if Crowley would just visit him instead of staying. Because in that something he was happy right now, and he knew, deep down, that maybe this time all his wishes would come true.

And that something was worth fighting for.