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Just Before Dawn

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((WarlockWriter made this fantastic moodboard for this story! Check it out here.))

It was a perfectly normal summer day in Oakland. The sun was shining, a breeze was coming in off the ocean, and Sam, his husband, was leaving for work. Lucifer was giving him a good-bye kiss at the front door.

“‘Bye, Luce,” Sam said as he pulled back from the kiss. They heard the A/C cut out; Lucifer assumed it was a rolling blackout, which was common in the summer.

Lucifer smiled at him. “‘Bye, Sam.” It was a little ritual they did every morning. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Sam said, smiling as he pulled the door open.

There was a loud BANG!, and Lucifer flinched. Something hit the wall further in the house. “Wha--? Sam?”

Sam screamed, then crumpled to the ground. “SAM!” Lucifer echoed his husband’s cry. The look of agony on Sam’s face tore at Lucifer’s heart as he knelt down beside him. The red liquid quickly soaking through Sam’s shirt made Lucifer a little dizzy. “No!” He knew you had to put pressure on a wound, so he started stripping his T-shirt off.

The door shut behind him, but he barely noticed it. The sound of a gun cocking finally got Lucifer’s attention. “Get away from him.” He recognized the voice. Lucifer looked up into a face he’d hoped never to see again: Alistair’s, twisted with rage.

“But he’s bleeding!” Lucifer protested weakly. He didn’t immediately notice that Alistair was pointing a gun at him. The entire situation was too surreal to be real.

“Lu! What happened!?!” Castiel came thundering down the stairs, only to skid to a stop about halfway down when he saw Alistair and the gun.

“Get. Away.” Alistair repeated, motioning with his gun. Lucifer, eyes wide, shuffled backwards, but not before dropping his T-shirt onto Sam’s stomach. “Ah,” Alistair added, when Castiel appeared. “I had hoped you’d join us. Both of you, give me your cell phones.”

Sam appeared to have passed out. “Okay. Okay. Cas, give him whatever he wants.” Lucifer slowly reached into his back pocket and withdrew his cell phone. Castiel hesitated, but then did the same. He slowly made his way down the stairs, wide eyes taking in Sam, Lucifer, and Alistair. Castiel and Lucifer held their cell phones out, hands shaking.

Alistair grabbed both phones and tossed them on the other side of Sam. “Boy, you go back upstairs and wait in your room. Don’t come out until I say you can, or I’ll shoot your brother. We need to have a little discussion.”

Lucifer was relieved. He’d thought that Alistair would simply shoot Castiel. The fourteen year old hesitated, but then nodded and backed up the stairs, hands up, not taking his eyes off of Alistair until he had disappeared into his room. The door closed behind him. “Please don’t hurt him,” Lucifer begged. Sam was already injured (or worse, but his brain refused to go there). He didn’t want to lose Castiel, too.

Alistair pistol-whipped him. “Shut up, you sniveling whore.” Lucifer cried out, but otherwise kept silent and put a hand to his aching face as Alistair sneered down at him. “I can’t believe you got me fired. Couldn’t keep your fucking mouth shut, could you? Well, ‘Lucifer,’ what goes around comes around. So, let me tell you what’s going to happen.”

Lucifer glanced over at Sam, only to have his hair grabbed and his head pulled back so he was looking up at Alistair. “There’ll be plenty of time to watch your fucking boyfriend die later. You can’t change that. Right now, what you need to do is focus on being real nice to me, because if you’re not, I’ll just shoot you and go upstairs and show little...Cas, was it? I’ll show him a good time instead.”

Tears were nearly blinding him, but Lucifer nodded his understanding. It got him pistol-whipped a second time. “Use your words!”

Lucifer whimpered, but managed to say, “Yes, Sir.”

Alistair smiled. “That wasn’t so hard, was it? Now. Stand up, and strip.” He motioned again with the gun, and took a step back to watch.

Chapter Text

Castiel was stunned. He had anxiety disorders, so he worried about a lot of things, but right now there was a man with a gun in his house. One that had already, apparently, shot Sam, and was threatening his older brother.

Thankfully, a little adrenaline can go a long way toward preventing a panic attack, or he’d have collapsed the instant he shut the door behind him. Instead, he locked the door, then looked around. The power was out, so he couldn’t contact anyone via computer. The man...hadn’t he tried to get custody of Castiel for his parents? The thought was sickening. Was this his fault?

Castiel heard Lucifer cry out in pain from downstairs, and looked around again. No means of contacting anyone. Okay. Step 2. Stop the bad guy from coming in his room. Castiel began to push furniture toward the door to barricade it, but as he passed by the window, he had a better idea and abandoned his attempt.

He pulled his window open. Sure enough, there was a fire ladder, rolled up and ready to use. All he’d have to do is get the screen out of the window, and he’d be able to climb down and go get help. Castiel started looking for the way the screen was attached, but he heard another cry from Lucifer and stopped, punching the screen instead. It should’ve been cool, like in the movies, but instead the screen just sort of bent in the middle. It didn’t pop out of the frame until he decided to kick it, and even then it fell straight down.

Castiel grimaced at the sound it made, but hoped that the man with the gun wouldn’t hear it--or the ladder, which he released next. It bumped against the side of the house; he just had to hope it wasn’t near enough to the entryway for the man to hear it. Oh god, what was he doing to Lucifer? Was Sam still all right? The dogs were barking madly at the back door.

Castiel didn’t care for heights, but this time he barely noticed how high he was off the ground as he slid his legs through the window and twisted around so he was hanging on to the sill with his hands. His feet found the ladder, and he immediately started down it. What seemed like a month later, his feet touched the ground. Before he could breathe a sigh of relief, Mikey and Dean came around the corner, canines bared and hackles raised. Cas had never had reason to fear the dogs before, but in that moment before they realized who he was, he knew that right now, they’d rip him apart if he wasn’t family.

The dogs stopped and stared in confusion when they realized who he was, then hurried over to him, sandwiching him between them. Castiel took off running for an opening in the fence that separated their yard from the neighbors’; the dogs hesitated, but then ran with him.

His heart was pounding and he was panting, honestly afraid he’d be shot at any moment. He fumbled with the latch in the fence, and finally managed to open it and get into Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez’ yard. They occasionally let their dogs play together, so Mike and Dean came right through with him. Thankfully, they didn’t attack the Rodriguez’ chihuahua and boxer mix on sight. The two neighbor dogs seemed to know something was going on, and backed down even though it was their territory.

Castiel couldn’t spare a thought for the dogs. Instead, he put his head down and raced for his neighbors’ sliding back door. He banged on it with the flat of his hand when he arrived, and Mrs. Rodriguez, a surprised look on her face, pulled open the door and let him in. The Rodriguez’ dogs came in with him, while Mike and Dean went back to the opening in the fence to bark and whine. “Castiel!” Mrs. Rodriguez exclaimed. “Chico! What’s wrong?”

Castiel gasped in a breath of air. “Phone! 911! Man with a gun!” he managed to get out. Mrs. Rodriguez nearly pulled him off of his feet as she yanked him further inside. She bundled him away from the windows, half-shoving him into a bathroom and locking the door behind them, and then pulled out a cell phone and called 911 as Castiel gasped for air.

Mrs. Rodriguez rattled off her address to the 911 operator, and then explained, “My neighbor’s kid came over to say that there was a man with a gun in his house, next door, 1472. He’s white as a sheet, and I heard a loud bang a few minutes ago.” There was a brief pause. “Yes, I’ll put him on.”

She handed the phone to Cas, who took it. “Please!” he said before the operator could say anything. “I think Sam--my older brother’s husband--has been shot!”

“Why do you think that?” replied the operator.

“He was on the ground and there was blood and he looked like he was unconscious. And I heard the shot.”

“Okay. And there was a man with a gun? Did you recognize him?”

“Yeah,” Castiel panted. “He was a lawyer who worked for my parents. They’re in jail for child abuse. Sam and Lucifer--that’s my older brother--they’re my legal guardians. Please, please, send help fast!”

“Help is on the way,” the operator assured him. “What’s your name?”

“Castiel Aaron Winchester,” He noticed his teeth were chattering, but couldn’t seem to stop them.

“Are you in a safe place?” the operator asked.

“Yeah. Yeah. Mrs. Rodriguez and I are in the bathroom. In her house,” Castiel replied. “The door’s locked.”

“Okay. You two stay there. Who else was in the first house with you?”

“Sam, Lucifer, and the guy,” Castiel hugged himself, and Mrs. Rodriguez got up and took some towels out of a nearby cupboard. She wrapped them around the teenager’s shoulders.

“Did anyone but you get out?” the operator wanted to know.

“No,” Castiel started crying, and was shocked he hadn’t started earlier. “No, he told me to go to my room so he could talk with Lu--Lucifer.”

“It’s going to be all right, Castiel. Just stay on the phone with me, okay?” the operator asked. “How did you get out of the house?”

“I have a ladder, in case of a fire,” Castiel said. “He took my cell phone--oh, god, I can’t call anyone, I don’t remember their numbers.”

“That’s all right for now, Castiel. You said Sam and Lucifer were your legal guardians? You’re in the foster system?”

“Yeah. Please--I heard him hurting Lu. I--I can’t--” Castiel handed the phone back to Mrs. Rodriguez, and began to sob even harder. His neighbor hugged him tightly, and spoke with the operator herself. Castiel couldn’t follow the conversation, although he heard a few phrases like, ‘No, he doesn’t seem to be hurt,’ and, ‘...I think it was less than ten minutes ago.’

It wasn’t long before they could hear sirens--Castiel thanked a god he didn’t believe in when he heard them coming. Now that the floodgates were open, he was flat-out ugly crying. What if Sam was dead? What if Sam AND Lucifer were dead? What would happen to him? Logically, he knew that his older sister Rafa would help him, but all he could think of right now was that he didn’t know any number besides Michael’s, and he didn’t want to end up with his eldest brother.

Mrs. Rodriguez multitasked, handing him tissues when he needed them and holding him tightly while still speaking on the phone. Castiel felt bad for making a mess of her bathroom, but only vaguely--he realized, although not with much clarity, that this must be what shock feels like. His only reaction to the realization was to pull the towels closer and sob harder.

It seemed like forever until the sirens sounded as if they were just outside, and that was only the beginning. Speakers started blaring, “THIS IS THE OAKLAND POLICE. WE HAVE YOU SURROUNDED. COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP.” They repeated it every thirty seconds or so, and in between the speakers randomly let out loud bursts of sound. The 911 operator apparently told Mrs. Rodriguez that they should both stay where they were, because she made no move to leave the bathroom with Castiel. She just sat him down on the toilet and rubbed his back, murmuring soothing things in Spanish.

That went on for a few minutes, before the speakers turned off. Castiel lifted his head off of his chest. What did that mean? He heard some muffled shouting, and then a number of gunshots rang out. He screamed--what if the man had shot Lucifer?

After that, the waiting was awful, as the 911 operator wouldn’t or couldn’t tell them anything useful. Castiel stood up and clung to the woman he barely knew; thank goodness she was willing to let him do so.

It felt like forever, but eventually, Mrs. Rodriguez hung up the call and unlocked the bathroom. She looked left and right, then stepped out, pulling Castiel with her. “They said to go to the door and the police would meet us,” she explained. “There’s no danger anymore; it’s safe.”

“Sam? And Lucifer?” Castiel asked.

“I don’t know, chico. But don’t you worry. You can stay with me for as long as you need,” she replied, leading him to the front door.

Castiel knew he couldn’t actually do that since he was a foster kid, but it made him feel a little better. There was a knock at the front door. “Maria Rodriguez? Castiel Winchester? This is the Oakland Police Department. It’s safe to come out now,” a woman’s voice called.

Mrs. Rodriguez looked through the peephole and kept Castiel behind her, but then unlocked and opened the front door. There were two police officers on her doorstep; Castiel could see numerous police cars with their lights flashing, but not what was going on at his house. “I’m Maria, and this is Castiel,” she said, as he craned his neck to try to see what was going on.

“Are either of you hurt?” asked the female police officer who had spoken earlier. She was of Asian descent, and had a hand on her gun. So did her partner, a considerably larger male officer with red hair.

“No, but I think he’s in shock,” Maria replied, keeping a hand on Castiel’s shoulder as he came around her. “Let me get him a warm blanket; those towels are nothing.” She squeezed his shoulder, and then turned and walked back into the house.

“What happened?” Castiel finally managed to demand. “Are--are Sam and Lu--are they okay?” He started sobbing harder, and the female officer took a couple of steps forward and put her arm around him.

“They were both taken to the hospital,” she explained. “I’m Officer Xu, and this is Officer O’Malley. Janet, the 911 operator, told us you were in the foster care system. We’re going to look up your social worker, and ask him to come out and get you.”

“They’re alive?” Castiel’s eyes widened, as he felt hope for the first time in...well, it was only the last half-hour, but it felt like years.

“They were when the ambulances left,” and something in the officer’s tone made Castiel’s hope fade a little. “We need to ask you one question, and then we’ll have the EMTs come in and take a look at you. Castiel, did you see anyone else trying to hurt your family or lurking around besides the large balding man?”

“No. I just saw him,” Castiel replied, shaking his head.

The officer nodded. “We had to shoot him. Just so you know, he can’t hurt you or anyone else anymore.”

“Is he--?” Castiel couldn’t finish the question.

“Yes,” Officer Xu said. Castiel wasn’t sure how to feel about that; it seemed as if his emotional system was completely overwhelmed.

Mrs. Rodriguez bustled up with a soft blanket. “Come in, both of you,” she told the police. “Would you like coffee? Water? Castiel, you take this and go sit on the sofa.”

The male officer spoke into his radio, and then waved some EMTs over. Officer Xu helped Mrs. Rodriguez get the blanket around Castiel, and led him over to the indicated sofa. “We’re fine for now, but thank you very much for the offer,” she told Maria. “We’ll need to take a statement from you as well. I understand if you feel as if you can’t talk now, but it helps to tell your story when it’s fresh if you can.”

Maria considered, and then nodded. “Si, I can tell you. Can we do it here? I want to make sure he’s taken care of,” she explained, indicating Castiel.

“Of course. Why don’t we sit down?” At the suggestion, Maria walked over and sat next to Castiel, putting a hand on his shoulder. Officer Xu sat next to her, and started asking her questions.

Meanwhile, the EMTs came in, and started checking Castiel’s blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and the like. He was starting to feel less shaky and more numb, and the tears and sobs had mostly stopped. What was going to happen to him now? He knew he couldn’t be questioned without the permission of his legal guardian or his lawyer--as a foster child, he had a lawyer that was assigned to represent his needs.

The EMTs pronounced him all right, if a little shocky still, so he was allowed to sit there next to Mrs. Rodriguez with the blanket wrapped around him. He barely heard the conversation between the two women.

Officer O’Malley stood nearby, and at some point, Castiel raised his head and asked him, “Is there any news?”

“News?” asked O’Malley with a frown. “What do you mean?”

“About Sam and Lucifer,” Castiel’s voice broke, and he began sobbing again.

“Oh. No, son, I’m sorry. They wouldn’t tell us, anyway. But we’ve contacted your social worker--Ronald? He’s on his way, and he’ll probably take you to the hospital.”

Castiel managed to nod.

Chapter Text

Ron arrived probably a half hour later--one of the longest half hours of Castiel’s life. Castiel immediately stood up and darted into his arms, receiving a strong hug. “I’m so sorry, Cas,” he said, before looking over at the police officers. “Is he free to go?”

They nodded, and Ron began steering him toward the door. “The blanket,” Cas managed to say, before looking back at Mrs. Rodriguez.

“Keep it and return it when you can, chico,” she said, nodding at him. “I’ll light a candle and say a prayer for your dads. And I’ll take care of the dogs.” Normally Castiel, an avowed atheist, would have protested the prayer part, but this time he didn’t; he just allowed Victor to steer him out of the house. He glanced over at his house, and there were police walking everywhere and yellow tape up...plus a sheet covering something in the doorway His stomach lurched. He could see his open window, and hoped it didn’t rain before he could go back and close it.

“Do you know anything?” Cas finally asked Ron, hoping that it was clear from his tone what he meant because he didn’t want to have to explain.

“No, I don’t. We’ll find out when we get to the hospital.” Ron bundled him into the passenger seat in his car, made sure he buckled his seat belt, and then pulled out into the street.

“I’m scared,” Castiel whispered.

“I’m scared too. That’s normal,” Ron replied. “I know it doesn’t seem like it right now, but everything will work out, eventually.”

“I lost my phone. I can’t call anyone,” was his next statement, which may have been thirty seconds or five minutes later--Castiel wasn’t sure; the time seemed to pass oddly, crawling in some moments and flying by in others.

“I have your files and my phone. Once we get to the hospital, we can call your emergency contacts,” Ron replied, glancing over at him. “They’ll be able to call anyone else you need.”

“Blood’s only supposed to look like that in movies. There was so much. What if Sam dies?” Castiel began to cry again.

“You’ll get through it. You’ve already been through a whole lot in your life; you’ll make it through this too,” Ron assured him. “But let’s not anticipate the worst, all right? Let’s wait and talk to the doctors and see what they know. I’m sure they’re taking the best care of Sam and Lucifer that they can.”

Castiel mumbled something that might have been, “Okay,” in between sobs. He still had a wad of tissues that Mrs. Rodriguez had handed him, and was working his way through them.

They didn’t speak again until they pulled into the hospital. Ron pulled up to the main entrance. Castiel immediately leapt from the car and started walking inside; Ron handed his keys to the valet and got a ticket in return, then half-ran to catch up with Castiel. He didn’t say a word, even though he was huffing and puffing.

Castiel headed straight to the information desk. “Please, can you tell me where Sam and Lucifer Winchester are?”

The young man at the desk opened his mouth, but Ron quickly added, “He’s Castiel Winchester. Sam and Lucifer are his legal guardians, so he’s their next of kin. I’m his social worker. I have the paperwork, if you need to see it.”

The man looked from Castiel to Ron and back, then shook his head. “That won’t be necessary,” he said, typing into his computer. “All right. Lucifer Winchester is in surgery…” He typed some more. “Sam Winchester...is in surgery, too. There’s no information on when either will be done. Given their priority status in the ER, I’m going to assume they’ll end up in Intensive Care when they get out of recovery.”

“Where can we wait?” Ron asked. Castiel had nearly collapsed when he’d heard that Sam was still alive, and couldn’t bring himself to question the man any more.

“Waiting room 9. Second floor, go to your right, you’ll pass Imaging and its waiting room, and there’s a waiting room at the end of the hall for the ICU. I’ll make a note that a doctor should come see you once the surgeries are completed.”

“Thank you,” Ron replied. “You all right, Cas?”

Castiel considered, then nodded, and walked with Ron toward the elevators. Sam was alive! But Lucifer was in surgery. What had the man done to Lucifer? Had he shot him, too? Was he going to live?

Castiel blanked out for a few minutes; the next thing he knew, he was sitting in a chair in a waiting room with a few other people who looked as bad as he felt. He looked for Ron, and found his social worker was standing a ways away, speaking quietly on his cell phone. He hoped Ron was talking to Rafa, or someone, because he didn’t think he’d be able to tell his sister what had happened himself. He pulled his feet up into the chair, still curled in Mrs. Rodriguez’ blanket, and watched the doors of the ICU. Later, he wouldn’t even remember if they were open or closed, despite the amount of time he spent that day staring at them.

Ron came back and sat down next to him. “I called Ellen and Rafa,” he told Castiel quietly. “They’ll call the rest of the family, and then be here as soon as they can. I also called Victor, and he says he’s very sorry and that if the police want to talk to you, we should call him first.”

Castiel made a vague affirmative noise. He mostly hated being a kid, but there were times when it was nice to have someone else take care of you and sort out all of your problems. Now, if Ron could only magic Sam and Lucifer well…

Every second seemed like an eternity in that waiting room. After a little while, Ron got up and got coffee for himself and hot chocolate for Cas, but Castiel set his aside untouched. He couldn’t get the image of Sam laying at the door in a pool of blood out of his head, and he didn’t want to throw up.

What seemed like hours later but was probably only fifteen or twenty minutes, Ellen and Jo arrived, looking as if they’d both been crying. Ellen opened her arms as she came down the hallway, and Castiel moved for the first time since he’d sat down, standing and then walking quickly over to her and hugging her. He started crying again, but he wasn’t embarrassed; Ellen had become like a mother to him.

Jo hugged Ron, since they all knew each other, and then she and Ron sat back down. Castiel just stood in Ellen’s arms, crying on her shoulder (he had had a growth spurt, and was starting to get tall like his brothers). Ellen whispered things; he didn’t really hear them, but the voice was soothing. Eventually, she led him back to his chair and sat him down, then sat next to him, one hand still rubbing his back. He leaned on her, and she let him.

Castiel’s nose was raw from blowing and wiping it, but again, he barely noticed. It was like he was suspended, somehow, and nothing that occurred really mattered, so he didn’t bother to focus his full attention on it. He just stared at the doors and willed a doctor to come out and say that everything was fine, that Sam and Lucifer would be fine. Well, as fine as they could be, having been in surgery.

The next three hours were interrupted only by Rafa and Madison, and then, to Cas’ surprise, Michael, arriving. With Cas’ next of kin present, Ron explained he had to go back to work, but left his phone number so they could update him on what was going on.

Rafa took the seat next to Cas, and they hugged; she was crying too.

Finally, finally, a frazzled-looking African-American doctor came out. He glanced around the waiting room and asked, “The Winchesters?”

Everyone in Cas’ little group stood up, and both Rafa and Ellen put an arm around him. The doctor walked over to them. “I’m Doctor Williams. Lucifer is out of surgery and stable,” he told them, prompting a general sigh of relief. “He’s going to be okay. He lost a kidney, but the good news is that you only need one working one to function.”

“What happened to him?” Rafa asked.

“He was stabbed, repeatedly, in his back; he needed 173 stitches and had a collapsed lung,” the doctor said, glancing around. His eyes fell on Castiel, and he paused before continuing. “He was assaulted, too; he has a hairline fracture to his cheekbone, so his face looks pretty bad, but it should heal. He lost a lot of blood, but we gave him a transfusion.” He let them absorb that information, then added, “We’re moving him to the ICU for a day or so, just to make sure we didn’t miss anything. Two visitors are allowed in his room at a time; you can check with the nurse there,” he pointed to a nurse’s station, “in a few minutes to see what room he’ll be put in once he’s out of recovery. He probably won’t wake up until later this afternoon; he’s on a lot of pain medication.”

“Thank you, doctor,” Rafa said, arm still around Castiel, who was now sobbing in relief. “Do you know anything about how Sam is doing?”

Doctor Williams shook his head. “Sorry, he’s still in surgery, and I worked on Lucifer so I don’t know anything about Sam's condition.” That seemed to be all he could or would say on the matter. Still in surgery was still alive, Castiel told himself, but it wasn’t much of a consolation. What had happened? Surely they had had enough time to put more blood in him and close the hole? How much worse could it be than 173 stitches?

Rafa bundled Castiel back into his chair, and Ellen announced that she was going to go find them all food. Rafa assured Castiel that he could be the first one in to see Lucifer, as soon as they brought him up to the ICU. Castiel nodded, and leaned back against her. She put an arm around him. “He’s going to be fine,” she told Castiel. “He’s been through things like this before and come out stronger than he went in.”

Castiel hoped his sister was right.

Chapter Text

Lucifer had no idea where he was or what had happened when he woke up. He knew he wasn’t in his bed; was he in a hotel? He seemed to be...restrained or something? Lying on his side? There was stuff on his face, too. He tried to raise a hand, but felt it only twitch in response. Suddenly, his slightly blurry vision was full of Castiel, who looked awful. Since he couldn’t speak, he made an inquisitive noise.

“Thank--thank random chance,” Castiel said, tears falling down his dirty face. Lucifer wanted to wipe the tears away, and this time he was at least able to move his fingers when he tried, though he wasn’t able to reach all the way up to Cas’ face.

“You’re in the hospital,” an older voice told him, as Rafa came into his field of view. “You need to leave everything where it is. You were hurt badly, but you’re going to be okay.” She laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. He realized that that arm had an IV in it.

What? Hurt? How? Lucifer tried to frown, immediately regretted it, and then tried to will his memory to come back. He’d been...in the house with Sam and Castiel, right? And he was seeing Sam off to work. He’d told him he loved him. And then...and then… He felt his face crumple despite the pain as he remembered. “‘Am?” he croaked out. His throat was scratchy and didn’t want to work.

“He’s alive,” Rafa told him. “He’s still in surgery.”

Lucifer closed his eyes in relief. Sam was alive. And Alistair couldn’t have made good on his threats against Castiel, because Cas was there and not in a hospital bed. That had been the worst part; when Alistair was finishing up with him, he’d told him that he’d lied, and he was going to go after Castiel next. He’d said he wanted Lucifer to hear his brother’s screams before he died.

Lucifer hadn’t been sure that Sam was still alive when Alistair had finished with him; he’d tried to crawl over to his husband, but had passed out before he’d reached him.

He opened his eyes back up, and Rafa must have seen the question in his eyes. “The man who did this is dead. The police shot him.”

Lucifer gave a single, shaky nod, and felt the medicine drag him under again.

.oOOo.

The next time he woke up, he was slightly more lucid, and he was able to tilt his head to see Rafa and Castiel next to his bed. Rafa noticed his open eyes and gave him an encouraging smile, then got up and got him a cup of water with a straw in it. Lucifer sipped it, even though he wanted to gulp it--his mouth and throat was so dry. He must have looked the question at his older sister, because she smiled ruefully. “Still in surgery.”

Lucifer tried to figure out how much time had passed, but it was impossible; there wasn’t a clock in his vision, and he realized they’d taken his watch off. The watch that Sam had given him.

Someone had cleaned Castiel’s face, and he looked to be in slightly better shape than he’d been whenever Lucifer last woke up. That was good.

“Do you remember what I told you last time?” Rafa asked. Lucifer considered it, and then nodded. He remembered. Alistair was dead. Castiel somehow wasn’t hurt. Sam was alive, by some miracle.

“All right. Well, let’s see. Everyone is out in the waiting room--Ellen, Jo, Michael--they’ll only let two of us in here at a time. Castiel refuses to leave, so the rest of us are taking turns,” Rafa explained. “The doctor will probably be in in a while to discuss your injuries, but for now, don’t worry--everything is fine.”

“Cas--how?” Lucifer croaked.

Rafa smiled, and patted Castiel on the shoulder. “You should tell him, Cas.”

Castiel was watching Lucifer carefully, and picking at his fingernails. That was bad; it was an obsessive-compulsive habit they’d slowly worked to rid him of. Apparently it was back. “I...Lu, I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to leave you, but I thought I should do what the man said.”

Rafa leaned down to hug Castiel, which Lucifer wanted to do himself, but he could still barely move. “Cas. We talked about this. You did exactly what you should have done. You did perfect. Didn’t he, Lucifer?” She glanced at him, and he waited until Castiel had looked up to give him a firm nod. Lucifer was certain Alistair would’ve shot him in an instant if he’d disobeyed.

“Tell him what you did after you went in your room,” Rafa prompted.

“I-I locked the door, and then I thought, that might not be enough, so I started to move furniture to barricade the door, but then I went past the window and I remembered that fire escape ladder you and Sam’d gotten me and…” Castiel burst out crying, and couldn’t say anything more. Rafa hugged him tightly, then looked up at Lucifer and continued the story.

“Cas got out the window--he’s probably apologized a hundred times already for breaking the screen--and then he ran to the neighbors and told them to call 911.”

Lucifer nodded slowly. That made sense. He wondered if he would have thought of going out the window, if it’d been him. Possibly not; Castiel was a lot smarter than he was.

“They stayed at the neighbor’s until the police came, and then the EMT checked him out--he’s fine--and he stayed there until his social worker came. His social worker called me, and brought him here. I called Ellen and Michael, and Sam’s parents.”

Sam’s parents? Lucifer frowned. That didn’t sound very positive.

Rafa seemed to read his mind. “He’ll be all right, Luci,” she said gently. “He’s in excellent health, and it was only one bullet. And Cas is shaken up, but otherwise he’s fine. You get some rest and heal.”

Lucifer didn’t really mean to close his eyes, but he did, and he was out like a light again. Damn medication.

.oOOo.

He was woken up by a nurse taking his blood pressure. Rafa and Cas had been replaced by Ellen and Jo. “Hey there,” said Ellen, once she noticed he was awake. “We just came in for a few minutes. Rafa took Cas to get some food. He didn’t want to leave you, but we convinced him it would be okay.”

“You on the good meds?” Jo wanted to know, and it made Lucifer smile a little. His pain medication must be wearing off, because even that small gesture hurt. He remembered enough of what Alistair had done to him to know his face must be one huge bruise.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” she said. Before she could say anything else, two police officers--who were obviously such--came in. Ellen and Jo looked over at them, and they looked apologetic.

The taller of the two explained, “We just need to ask him one question; we need to be certain there isn’t anyone else out there planning to shoot more people. Lucifer, if you can manage it, can you tell us if you know of anyone else besides Alistair who was involved in this?”

Lucifer gently shook his head no, and the detective nodded. “Okay. We’ll need a statement when you’re feeling better, but it can wait. We just wanted to confirm your younger brother’s impression that there was only one person involved. Sorry to intrude.” With that, they turned and made their way out.

Ellen muttered something about how ‘the kid wouldn’t lie,” and Lucifer had to agree--not that the police knew that. He settled his head back onto the pillow and prepared for more teasing from Jo, but the doctor from earlier came in.

“I’m Doctor Williams,” he explained. “May I speak with the patient alone? It will only take a few minutes,” he assured Ellen and Jo. They nodded and made their way out, both gently patting Lucifer’s shoulder first.

Lucifer looked expectantly at the doctor, who smiled at him, teeth bright in his dark face. “You’re a lucky man, Lucifer Winchester, although you might not feel like it now. I don’t know what you remember, but you were stabbed multiple times in the back. One penetrated your lung and caused a near-complete collapse, so we’ve got a needle in your chest in case we need to take air out again. If you start feeling short of breath, please let the nurse know immediately, but we’ve got an oxygen sensor on your finger that should tell us that something’s wrong long before you feel anything.”

Lucifer gave a small nod, to show he understood. He didn’t really feel like vocalizing anything at the moment. The doctor continued. “The most severe damage was to your left kidney. We had no choice but to remove it. Don’t worry, though, the human body can function just fine with only one. However, when you’re finally allowed to use the bathroom by yourself, you’ll see blood in your urine. As long as the amount slowly decreases, you’re fine. Let us know if there’s suddenly more than there was before.” Lucifer wasn’t sure how to take that; he supposed he should be glad he was alive, and if truth be told he hadn’t even really realized he had two kidneys, but he still felt the loss. He told himself, firmly, that he hadn’t even known the extra was there and he shouldn’t miss it.

“We had to stitch up...well, a lot. Congratulations, you have the monthly record for number of stitches given.” The doctor paused, and Lucifer tried to give him a weak smile in return for trying to lighten the mood. “On your back, we used the non-dissolvable stitches so you don’t accidentally pull anything--they’re stronger than the ones that dissolve. You’ll need to go to physical therapy to get the muscles in your back to heal correctly.”

The doctor sobered up; Lucifer knew what was coming, even though he really couldn’t feel anything below his waist yet. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you were raped. We had to stitch you up down there, too, although those will dissolve. We took some blood and sent it out for a test, but as you probably know, there’s a great deal those won’t tell you right away. On the plus side, the broad-spectrum antibiotics we have you on now should take care of anything bacterial. We’ve also got you on some pretty nice painkillers, and will have you on them for the foreseeable future, as long as you don’t have any adverse reactions. There are no drug allergies listed in your medical file?”

Lucifer gave a little shake of his head; he wasn’t allergic to anything, thank goodness. “All right. I know you can’t talk much right now, but do you have any questions for me? We’ll get a counselor in to support you as soon as we possibly can.”

This time, Lucifer gave a little nod. “Sam?” he rasped.

“Ah.” The doctor looked as if he might try to avoid the question, so Lucifer repeated it. Dr Williams finally nodded in concession. “He’s still in surgery. They’ve got him stabilized, so he’ll live. But...the bullet nicked his spinal cord, which is why everything’s taking so long. They don’t yet know how bad the damage from that is. But don’t worry about him right now. Your only job is to rest and heal. You’re lucky to be alive.”

Lucifer didn’t feel lucky as the doctor left. A spinal cord injury? Didn’t that mean paralysis? Was Sam--the guy who went running every morning no matter how bad the weather--going to be paralyzed? Would he be in a wheelchair? How would he get up to their bedroom? How would he get up to Cas’ bedroom, when they needed to talk to the teenager? This was all his fault; if he hadn’t told Sam about Alistair, none of this would have happened.

His thoughts chased each other around in his head until the nurse came in to give him more painkillers, which knocked him out.

Chapter Text

When Lucifer woke again, it was to a strange conversation. “...happen,” a squeaky voice was saying. “We can’t stop them from happening, and we’re not bad people because we can’t stop them.” He opened his eyes, and saw his therapist, Garth, sitting by his side with Castiel. Garth was using his sock puppet Mr. Fizzles, and fourteen-year-old Cas didn’t look all that happy about it.

“I know that. I am not a child! Lu!” Cas exclaimed, jumping at the chance to avoid further conversation with Mr. Fizzles when he saw that Lucifer’s eyes were open. “Sam’s out of surgery. He’s stable. He’s going to live, but...he might be paralyzed. We don’t know yet. And they’re going to keep him in a coma for a while, so he doesn’t move and injure himself worse. He’s in the next room, with Ellen and Rafa.”

“Woah there, Cas. Slow down a bit.” Garth told him, turning to see that Lucifer was awake. “Those painkillers they’re giving him keep you from taking in that much information that fast.” He nodded to Lucifer. “Hey, man. I came as soon as I heard, and it’s a good thing I did, because the hospital counselors are a little overwhelmed. You need anything?”

“Water,” Lucifer’s throat and mouth still felt like a desert. Castiel leaped up, and got him a cup of water with a straw, which he drank from gratefully. When he finally leaned back on his pillow, he asked, “Sam’s out of surgery?”

“Yes.” Both Cas and Garth nodded as the latter spoke, “He’ll be fine, man. Don’t worry about him, just rest. Your body has a lot of healing to do. They said they were going to move you to a regular room soon, and we’re going to try to swing it so that once Sam’s released from the ICU, he can be in the same room.”

At first, that lightened Lucifer’s heart just a little, but then it plummeted again; he remembered that this was all his fault, and that Sam would blame him. Speaking of which… “Cas. ‘M so sorry.”

Cas’ brow wrinkled, and Garth didn’t look particularly happy. “For what, Lu?”

“My fault,” Lucifer croaked.

“Oh, no, buddy. You stop that right now, or you’ll make Mr. Fizzles sad,” Garth said, wagging a finger at Lucifer. “A really sick man did this to you and Cas and Sam. You did not hurt Sam. You did not scare Cas here. So don’t you dare apologize to anyone.”

Castiel was nodding along with Garth, but Lucifer shook his head. “If I--”

“Nope. Not gonna listen,” Garth said, folding his arms and shaking his head even more firmly. “You listen to me, Lucifer. This is Not. Your. Fault. And no one thinks it is. Cas here doesn’t blame you. Ellen and Jo don’t blame you. Your sister doesn’t blame you. Sam won’t blame you when he wakes up. You are the only one trying to put blame on yourself. So stop.”

Lucifer blinked in surprise; Garth was normally much more laid-back than that. He supposed what the odd-looking psychologist said made sense, although it didn’t make the guilt he was feeling evaporate by any means as Garth and Cas started to work together to cheer him up.

.oOOo.

Later that day, they wheeled Lucifer to a bed on some random floor of the hospital. The one nice thing about that was that everyone could pile into the room at once, especially since, at least for the moment, he didn’t have a roommate. They’d been told that Sam would probably spend a few more days in the ICU.

Lucifer didn’t have much of a chance of processing anything while everyone was there; there was too much going on for his drug-addled mind. He heard them making plans; Ellen and Jo had invited Rafa and Cas to stay at their house (apparently Sam’s was still a crime scene) for the night. The police thought that they’d be done with the scene the next day, although there were no guarantees. Since everything was matching up with what Lucifer and Castiel had told them, they seemed close to closing the case. There was something about taking a blanket back to someone, which he didn’t follow at all.

Eventually, visiting hours were over. Everyone, even Michael, gave Lucifer one last pat on the shoulder, and left. Soon after, the nurse turned out the light in his room. Of course, that didn’t mean that he could sleep--there was a lot of hustle and bustle out in the hallway, the lights were on out there and his door was open, the nurses kept coming in every hour or two to take his blood pressure and check his oxygen levels and change his IV. He didn’t understand why hospitals were thought to be a good place for recovery when they made it absolutely impossible for their patients to rest.

Unfortunately, it was finally possible for him to think, and Lucifer almost immediately began to cry. Name a reason; he had plenty for shedding tears. His sobs wracked his entire body and pulled on things that clearly shouldn’t be pulled on, because machines began to beep and soon the light was back on and a team of nurses came in. They must have given him something, because he stopped sobbing and began to drift in a drug-filled haze. He would’ve been upset that they’d taken away his ability to react and process, but he was too busy floating.

.oOOo.

Castiel was miserable. He didn’t really like Garth, who kept trying to treat him like a two year old, and now both Sam and Lucifer were in medicated comas. Lucifer’s lung had collapsed again, and he’d pulled some of his stitches, so he was back in the ICU. Sam hadn’t woken up at all, though the doctors told them that was by design rather than because of his trauma.

There was absolutely nothing to do in the hospital except watch bad TV and thumb through the insect guide that Sam had gotten him when they’d been granted temporary custody of him. Castiel already knew most of the insect guide by heart. Victor, his lawyer, had come and they had sat down with the police and he’d given his formal statement. The police had released their house as a crime scene, and Jo and Ellen had gone to clean it up and make up rooms for everyone (they’d all be sleeping there tonight, even Michael). Cas didn’t want to be back at the house, whether it was clean or not; he knew he’d still see Sam crumpled in the foyer in a puddle of blood and hear his brother’s cries of pain.

What he wanted was for his brother and Sam to wake back up, to be okay, to at least talk to him. For whatever reason, he felt as if he had to be at the hospital, just in case there was some new development, even though the doctors had assured he and Rafa that they should go home and get some rest because nothing was going to happen.

Rafa eventually took Castiel to see his own therapist, but Castiel wasn’t really in the mood for talking or anything else Max wanted to do. In the end, the two sat and stared at each other without speaking, which meant that Max insisted on talking with Rafa privately when she came to pick Cas up. Cas decided he didn’t care, and insisted that Rafa drive him straight back to the hospital.

He sat by Lucifer’s side most of the day; the only people he interacted with besides Rafa were the nurses. He wanted to know everything they were doing, and why they were doing it. Most of them indulged him and explained, for example, how Lucifer had a hollow needle in his chest that they could remove air from if his lung collapsed again. Castiel learned how IVs worked, how they had the line set up so they could inject substances, and so on, but it didn’t make him feel any better.

.oOOo.

Rafa was exhausted when they finally went back to Lucifer and Sam’s place that evening. She’d been keeping Sam’s family up to date via phone, and his parents had decided to fly out so that they could be there when he woke up. She’d been trying to spend as much time with Lucifer as she could, but she kept having to duck out to use her phone. She’d taken Castiel to his therapist after he’d nearly ripped the head off of Lucifer’s, and then the boy had refused to say anything to Max.

She loved Castiel dearly, but right now, the fourteen year old was in the process of giving her a pounding headache. Ellen and Jo kept wanting to know how many rooms to make up; plans changed by the moment, and all she wanted to do was take a nap, because as nice as Ellen and Jo were, their couch was fairly uncomfortable.

Madison took one look at her when she got to Sam’s place and gathered her girlfriend into her arms. “Shhh,” she whispered, “It’s going to be okay. Go upstairs and have a bath, then I’ll bring you some food and you can get some sleep. I’ll take care of Cas.”

“Are you sure?” Rafa wanted nothing more than to do what her girlfriend said, but she was especially worried about Cas; he wasn’t handling this well.

“Yes. He’s weird, but he’s a lot like me when I was his age. Full of anger and not sure what to do about it. I can deal with that. You go upstairs, all right?”

“I love you.”

“I love you too, Rafa.” They shared a kiss, and then Rafa went upstairs to do as instructed, knowing that she’d be no good to anyone if she burned out too.

.oOOo.

In reality, Madison had no idea how she was going to ‘handle’ Cas. She hoped that Ellen and Jo and Michael would have him under control. Thankfully, when she went into the dining room, they seemed to.

“Castiel Aaron Winchester, you clean your plate right now. There are starving children in Africa who’d give their right arm to eat that,” Ellen was saying. “You not eating is not gonna help Sam or Lucifer, but it WILL make you sick.”

Madison slipped into a spot at the table and began serving herself. “She’s right, kiddo. Hurting yourself doesn’t make other people hurt any less. In fact, both Sam and Lucifer would be worried sick if they knew you weren’t eating.”

“How would you know?” Castiel clearly had more respect for Ellen than for her, because he addressed the snarky comment to Madison.

She sighed, and lifted up her arm, pulling the long sleeves she always wore back. There were scars there, scars that she’d gotten used to but reminded her of how stupid she’d been as a teenager. “I used to cut myself. Believe me, it never helped anyone, least of all me. Now. Your sister’s had a hard day. I’d like to go upstairs and let her know that at least you’re eating. Can you do that for Rafa?”

Castiel opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again, and then gave her a baleful glare before taking a bite of his spaghetti.

“Thank you,” Madison told him. She herself barely tasted the food; it was good, but she was worried about her partner. “And thank you for putting up with all of us,” she told Ellen.

“It’s no trouble. Sam and Lucifer are family,” Ellen replied. “Which makes all of you family, too.”

Michael cleared his throat. “I know I’m no one’s favorite person right now. So thank you for having me, Ellen, Castiel.” Madison was surprised he’d said anything; he’d been very quiet up until now.

“You came for your brother,” Ellen replied with a shrug, as if that explained everything. “That counts for something in my book.”

Castiel opened his mouth to say something, and Madison knew it wouldn’t be kind. She understood; apparently Michael had been a real jerk to Castiel, but the last thing they needed right this second was more strife. “Castiel,” she interrupted. He hadn’t eaten much, but it was going to have to be enough. “I know you feel bad about that screen. Let’s go measure your window for a new one.”

Castiel blinked at her, mean remark forgotten. “Now?” he asked incredulously.

“Sure, why not?” She hadn’t had much food either, but it would have to do. “Where do you keep the measuring tape?”

“Uh…” Castiel just stared at her for a moment. “In the drawer,” he said finally.

“Well. Go get it,” Madison told him, standing up.

“Okay,” he replied, climbing to his feet and disappearing in the direction of the office.

“Not bad,” Ellen murmured, once Cas was out of earshot. Madison gave her a swift, if tired, grin, and followed the boy.

“Grab a pencil and some paper too,” Madison told him when she caught up with him, “So we can write down the dimensions. Otherwise, we might forget.”

“I won’t,” Castiel said, but he picked up a post-it note and a pen. He then went the long way around to the stairs, which confused Madison at first until she saw the look he gave the foyer. He walked up the steps, then paused. “I haven’t...been in,” he explained, looking lost and confused as he waved a hand at his door.

“Okay. Well, we can leave the door open,” Madison suggested. She walked past him to open the door, and found that it only opened partway. “As soon as we put your furniture back where it belongs,” she said with a laugh, squeezing through the opening. “Want me to do it?” she asked.

Castiel seemed to steel himself, and shook his head. “No. I can come in.” He followed her into the room, and then helped her push all the furniture back where it belonged before opening the door wide.

“That was really smart,” Madison commented, looking around the room. “You would’ve been safe, even if you didn’t make it out the window.” When Castiel didn’t respond, she tried another tactic. “Is that Lucifer’s?” she asked, gesturing to the mural on the walls.

“Yeah,” Castiel replied, his voice thick with emotion.

“It’s beautiful. He seems like a great brother.”

“He is,” Castiel agreed, as they made their way over to the window. First, they pulled up the fire escape ladder and re-tied it, then they began measuring the window for a new screen.

“You must be very angry with the guy that did this,” Madison said, paying more attention to Castiel than to the measurements.

“Yeah.” This was said in a near-growl, and she nodded her head.

“So...want to tell me why you’re also so mad at yourself?” she asked. She tried to make her tone offhand, but Castiel still stiffened at her words.

He then deflated like a balloon, shoulders slumping. “He...was the lawyer for my parents. In my custody hearing. That’s where Sam and Lucifer saw him. If I hadn’t--he wouldn’t--” and the kid broke down into huge sobs.

Unsurprised, Madison put her arms around Castiel and hugged him tightly. She let him just cry for a few minutes, and then leaned her cheek on the top of his head--he was almost as tall as she was. “Castiel. This is not your fault. Sam and Lucifer could have met him anywhere. This is -only- his fault. He shot the gun.”

Castiel just shook his head and sobbed harder. She rubbed his back. “You poor kids. All of you have been taught that everything is your fault. Lucifer’s blaming himself for this. You’re blaming yourself. Hell, Rafa somehow thinks this is her fault, and she wasn’t even here. You’re a good kid, Castiel. You didn’t want this to happen to Sam and Lucifer. It’s okay to be angry with the man whose fault it really was. Be as mad as you like at him, but try not to be mad at yourself.”

Castiel eventually calmed down, scrubbing his hands across his eyes. “Sorry,” he murmured.

“Don’t be,” Madison said, releasing him. “It’s all right to feel the way you feel, even if it doesn’t make sense.” It was eerily similar to reassuring Rafa. “Do we have all the measurements? We can go get a screen tomorrow, if you want.”

Castiel looked down at the paper in his hand, and then nodded. “Yes,” he said, staring down at it in silence for some time. Then he blurted out, “Madison?”

“Yeah?” she asked, not sure what he wanted, but happy to make it happen if it would make him feel better.

“‘M not sure I can sleep in here,” he said, the words all mashed together as he spoke quickly.

She stepped forward and gave him another hug. “Okay. Do you want to sleep in Rafa’s and my room?”

“May I?” The stunning blue eyes were even more so as he looked up at her, bright with tears and red-rimmed.

“Sure, but, you’ll have to sleep on the floor,” she replied with a shrug. “Why don’t you get your pillow and blankets and things and go knock on Rafa’s door? She might be asleep; if she is, just go in and be quiet.”

“Thank you.” Castiel seemed to feel better at that, so Madison left him collecting his things and headed downstairs to help Ellen and Jo with dishes and the like.

Chapter Text

When Lucifer woke up this time, it was dark(ish) and there was no one around. HIs mind was just clear enough for him to remember that he was in the hospital, still lying on his side. He’d forgotten why, but when he tried to settle more comfortably onto the small bed, the pain reminded him--he’d been, literally, stabbed in the back. And Sam had been shot.

He was facing the wall and some chairs; he thought he wasn’t in the ICU anymore, but he wasn’t sure. An attempt at glancing over his shoulder didn’t go well. He felt numb, likely due to the drugs. He remembered that Sam was in the hospital too, and he wondered how his husband was, but his mind couldn’t fully focus on the question--or anything else, for that matter.

Perhaps half an hour later, a nurse came to check on him. “Oh, you’re awake,” she said. “The doctor didn’t expect you to wake up until morning. How are you feeling?”

“Thirsty,” Lucifer managed, noting that some time had passed since he’d last been conscious, because his jaw was little bit more workable and his throat didn’t hurt as much.

“Of course.” The nurse held up a cup of water with a straw in it. “On a scale of 1-10, how bad is your pain right now?”

Lucifer thought about it as he drank. “Four,” he said finally. “What happened?”

The nurse made a note on a clipboard. “You pulled some stitches, but worse, your lung collapsed again, so the doctor kept you medicated for a few days.”

Lucifer finally remembered sobbing, which made him remember why he’d been sobbing. “Sam?” he asked.

“The doctors are planning to wake him up tomorrow,” she told him as she busied herself checking his IV and pulse monitor. “Please don’t worry about him, though; you need to concentrate on healing.”

Lucifer couldn’t bring himself to concentrate on anything right now. “‘Kay,” he said, closing his eyes.

.oOOo.

It was light when he finally woke up again, and Rafa and Michael were sitting in the chairs by his bed. “There he is,” Rafa said. She got up, and without even asking got Lucifer his water.

He gave a weak smile as thanks. “Sam?” he asked before he sipped the drink.

Rafa chuckled. “Should wake up some time today. Castiel and Mary are with him, and they’ll let us know as soon as he does. Castiel wanted to let you know that he wanted to be here, too, but he couldn’t be in both places at once.”

Lucifer nodded slightly. He was feeling a little more clear-headed than he had the night previously. “Do they...know, yet?” he asked.

Rafa shook her head. “We will not know anything until the drugs wear off, and even then it might be a while,” she replied. “But he is going to be fine, Luci. Even if he ends up in a wheelchair, Sam is smart and determined, and he will still be the best lawyer around.”

Sam in a wheelchair. Honestly, Lucifer couldn’t picture it. Sam was so...physical, he moved so much, that Lucifer couldn’t picture him confined in any way. Of course, Sam wouldn’t ever consider himself disabled, just differently abled, and he’d probably find a way to ‘run’ marathons in a wheelchair. But Lucifer desperately didn’t want him to have to do that. Maybe it was selfish, but he wanted his Sam back.

“Hey, Lucifer. Whatever happens, all of us are here for you,” Michael said. “I know I haven’t been in the past. But I want to be now, for what that’s worth.” He leaned forward in his chair, the picture of someone making a genuine statement.

“Thanks.” Lucifer’s throat felt much better than it had, but it was still exhausting to speak. He was finally able to look down at himself--still on his side, in hospital scrubs, with an IV on his right arm and some other doodad on one of the fingers on his left hand.

“The doctor said you can try laying on your back tomorrow,” Rafa told him, noticing his downwards glance as she let him sip more water. “The stent in your chest is out, and you’ve had a couple more days to heal. He said that if you were really good, he might allow you to go to the bathroom on your own.” She smiled, trying to lighten the mood.

Lucifer smiled back at her. “Exciting,” he replied. Although he was exhausted, he didn’t feel like he could rest yet.

“Do you want the TV on?” Rafa asked. “Or should we entertain you with stories about Castiel, since he’s not here?”

Lucifer smiled. “Castiel,” he replied, since he could hardly see the TV and doubted he could follow a complex story anyway.

“I have one,” Michael said, glancing at Rafa. She nodded to him, so he proceeded to tell them about the time that Castiel was babysitting his kids and they talked the gullible teen into giving them a cake that was supposed to have been for the next day. Lucifer mostly smiled rather than laughed, since laughing hurt. When Michael finished, Rafa picked up where he’d left off, telling a story about when she’d babysat Castiel.

Just as Lucifer was thinking about telling them that he wanted to try to go back to sleep, John Winchester walked in, giving everyone a nod. “He’s waking up. It’s taking a while, so they’re still not sure about anything. He keeps asking about you, Lucifer, and then forgetting he already asked.”

“Well, if he’s able to talk, not everything can be broken,” Rafa quipped, patting Lucifer on the shoulder. “Have they seen movement at all?”

John shrugged. “In his hands. Not in his legs.”

“It will take time for the drugs to go through his system,” Rafa said, keeping hope alive a little bit longer. “I’m sure they’ve given him some locals in the wound area.”

“They said something like that, yeah,” John replied. “Anyway, I’m just the glorified messenger. I still don’t know why the fourteen year old boy can’t hike across the hospital with news.” The statement was gruff, but his tone was fond. “How’re you doing?” he added, looking at Lucifer.

“Castiel adores Sam, and it will do him good to be there as Sam wakes up,” Rafa interjected.

Lucifer nodded his agreement with her statement, though he answered John. “I’m better, sir,” he said. Of course, pain medication frequently loosened his tongue a little too much, so he told his father-in-law, “They might even let me hold my own dick to pee tomorrow!”

John looked utterly shocked for a moment, and then threw his head back and laughed. Michael looked scandalized, while Rafa chuckled. When the laughter died down, John replied, “I suppose you have to celebrate the little things.” Sobering up, he added, “I am glad you’re feeling better. Sam is going to need you, no matter what happens with his legs.”

“I know.” Lucifer really wasn’t certain he had enough energy and health to really ‘be there’ for Sam, but he’d do his absolute best. “Thank you for coming out. I know it will mean a lot to Sam. And it means a lot to me.”

“‘Welcome,” John replied. “Gonna go see how Sammy is.”

“Okay, see you later,” Rafa told him. She still had a hand on Lucifer’s shoulder, and she squeezed it before sitting back down. “How’s the pain?” she asked.

Lucifer thought about it. “Not too bad yet,” he said. Of course, his tolerance level was probably a little higher than most people’s, but he didn’t want the medicine to put him to sleep again--not now that they might get news about Sam.

“All right. You let me know, and I’ll let your nurse know.”

“When can I eat? I’m hungry,” Lucifer asked his sister.

“The nurse said maybe this evening. But I’ll go see if we can get you some juice instead of water,” Rafa replied, and Lucifer realized that she’d looked at his chart. Not that he minded, really, even though the...sexual assault...would be detailed there. His mind didn’t want to use the other word, even though he knew that that’s what had happened. He figured he’d have to have more than a few sessions with Garth before he could wrap his head around everything that had happened.

He watched Rafa go, presumably to speak with the nurses, but then turned his head back to where Michael was sitting. He didn’t really feel much like asking Michael about his home life, but… “How’re the kids?”

Michael nodded as if admitting that he was a poor substitute for Rafa. “They’re...all right, considering. We’re going to have to sit them down soon and explain that we’re separating for good. Anna is at least willing to allow me to have joint custody, assuming I can find a place that’s big enough for everyone. Right now, I’m just in a one-room apartment.”

Lucifer nodded. His older brother would make it work. Before...well, everything...he’d looked up to Michael, who had always been the perfect son. Clearly, he wasn’t perfect anymore, but Lucifer figured that was a good thing. Maybe they’d get along better now.

“So, I’m looking for places. Anna and Jeff are going to find a place together, and then we’ll sell the house.” Michael didn’t quite keep the disdain he had for the preacher out of his voice as he spoke. “The plan is to split everything 50-50.”

Rafa returned with apple juice and a straw, and Lucifer happily drank it--although it highlighted the fact that his throat was still sore, it was better than just plain water.

And then they waited. It felt like forever to Lucifer, but it was probably only a couple of hours until Castiel came running in, in tears, headed straight for Rafa. “He--he can’t--” The teen couldn’t even finish the sentence. Rafa threw her arms around him.

Lucifer closed his eyes and groaned. Sam was paralyzed, and, regardless of what Garth had said, it was his fault. If he’d never taken Sam up on that offer to go home and clean up, all of this would never have happened. And both you and Castiel would still be being abused, said the part of his mind that was on his side. You’d never have gone to Paris, and Sam might still be alone. Though he doubted the latter; someone would’ve found a treasure in his husband. It just wouldn’t be him, and then Sam wouldn’t have gotten shot…

“Hey.” Someone was interrupting his downward spiralling thoughts. He didn’t want to, but he opened his eyes and saw Rafa, holding Castiel with one arm and setting her other hand on Lucifer’s shoulder. “You both remember what they told us. Just because he’s paralyzed now doesn’t mean he won’t regain the ability to walk. Sometimes this only lasts a few days, or a few weeks. And if anyone can come back from this, it’s Sam. He’s healthy, strong, and determined.”

Truth be told, none of that actually sank in; Lucifer was still trying to process the fact that Sam may be paralyzed. Permanently. A really horrible part of his brain asked him if Sam would ever be able to have sex again, but he shut it down right away; it wasn’t important. If it meant staying with Sam, he’d be willing to go without the rest of his life. Regardless, he immediately hated himself for thinking so selfishly.

John and Mary followed Castiel into the room, looking slightly less upset than Castiel but still worse for wear. “They’re going to bring him down here. We at least talked them into letting you two be roommates,” Mary explained, walking over to hug Castiel along with Rafa. “And they say intense physical therapy can sometimes help.”

“It can,” Rafa agreed, nodding. “I’ve seen people with this sort of injury walk again. Not a lot, but I was just telling them that if anyone can do it, it’s Sam.”

Rafa earned a hug from Mary at those words, while John stood, clearly uncomfortable, near the door where Lucifer couldn’t see him. He knew that, while John was trying to get over his homophobic upbringing, he wasn’t completely comfortable having a son that had married another man. Lucifer went back and forth between being frustrated with it (it was 2019, for fuck’s sake), and being proud that Sam’s dad was at least trying. It was certainly more than Chuck had ever done for him.

Cas leaned down to give Lucifer a hug, still crying, and Lucifer raised the arm with the IV so that he could put it around Cas. He wanted to say something comforting, but he couldn’t think of anything. The Shurley children seemed to have the worst luck in the universe, even though only Michael still claimed the last name. For now, Lucifer just held his younger brother.

Chapter Text

They wheeled Sam into the room later that day. As soon as he saw Lucifer, he smiled. “Hey, Luce.” Thankfully, they had arranged Lucifer so he was on his side looking toward the bed where they were going to put Sam.

Lucifer heard his voice break as he replied, “Sam.”

Rafa pursed her lips, looking disapproving. “He still thinks this is all his fault,” she warned Sam, as Mary walked over to hold her son’s hand.

“Luce! No!” Sam twisted his torso a little, so he could better see Lucifer while his nurse set up the equipment around him. “This isn’t your fault. It’s Alistair’s. I’m going to be fine. You’re going to be fine. Cas is fine. We’ll all get through this.”

Lucifer broke down at that point, silently thanking God that he was out of the woods as far as further lung collapses were concerned. He didn’t deserve Sam’s generosity, or his words, or his kind tone…

Rafa sighed, and fetched the tissue box. “At least one member of this family has the right attitude,” she said, shaking her head as she helped dry Lucifer’s tears.

“Sounds like at least two to me,” Mary corrected, giving Rafa a small smile that Lucifer only saw because she was on Sam’s other side. He took a tissue from Rafa with one hand and blew his nose as best he could. She retrieved a garbage can and set it by his bed so he could drop his used tissues into it, after weaving around John and Mary.

“Rafa, there are a lot of us in here,” Michael pointed out quietly. “Why don’t you and Cas go take a break and do something fun in celebration of Sam waking up? I’ll stay here and take care of Luci.”

Rafa hesitated, but then nodded. “That is a good idea. We can come back for a little while before visiting hours are over today. Is that all right, Castiel?” She was the only one who never used his nickname.

Castiel didn’t look particularly happy, but he glanced around and nodded. “Okay.”

“What is your favorite ice cream place?” Lucifer heard Rafa ask him as they left.

Michael came over to hand Lucifer another tissue. “You should stop soon,” he told his brother, trying to lighten the mood, “Or poor Sam will be awake all night long with your horrible snoring.”

Lucifer heard Sam chuckle. “It’s actually better than my brother used to be,” he noted.

“Wow. In that case, my condolences,” Michael told Sam, while Lucifer desperately tried to stop crying.

“Sammy’s talking like he doesn’t snore just as bad as Dean,” John said.

“That’s rich, coming from you,” Mary responded immediately, causing everyone but Lucifer to laugh. He managed to stop crying during the brief interlude, though he wasn’t sure his tears wouldn’t just start up again.

Sam’s head was turned toward his husband when Lucifer looked over at him. “How are you? They just told me you were hurt but you were recovering.”

Lucifer stared across the space in between the two beds. “I’ll be fine,” he said. “Lost a kidney, but they say it won’t matter. Got beaten and…” he couldn’t bring himself to add more than, “stabbed,” in front of his husband’s parents and his semi-estranged elder brother.

“Thank goodness. I’m so glad Castiel was able to get out and get help. He’s an amazing kid. Just like his big brother.” Lucifer couldn’t help it, Sam’s kind words pushed him over the edge and he began crying again. Michael handed him a tissue, and he lost the thread of the conversation for a while.

“...get better,” Sam was saying when Lucifer’s tears finally dried. “They say it can happen; you just need to keep trying to work the muscles so the nerve connections can either stay or re-form.” Ah. His husband was talking about himself, for once. As Lucifer calmed down, he kept quiet and let Sam talk with his parents.

“Well, we’ll stay at least until you get back home,” Mary said. “Ellen and Jo are taking care of everyone at your house; they’ll probably visit later.”

“Remind me to give them a raise,” Sam quipped. Lucifer didn’t see how his husband could be joking after everything that had happened, yet somehow he wasn’t really surprised, either.

.oOOo.

Sometime after visiting hours had ended, Sam lay in his hospital bed, watching Lucifer sleep. His husband had been very quiet earlier; the lawyer was fairly certain that Lucifer still thought that this was all his fault. Sam pushed away the thought that this was all his own fault, because he was the one that had initiated the proceedings to have Alistair disbarred. It’s Alistair’s fault, he told himself firmly, just as he’d told both Lucifer and Castiel earlier in the day.

The police had questioned him briefly that afternoon while Lucifer received an ultrasound, and then declared the case officially closed. Alistair had invaded their home, hurt them, and then gotten himself shot by the police. There’d be no closure in terms of a trial, no punishment (in this lifetime, at least) for the man who did this. That didn’t sit well with Sam, but he knew you couldn’t always get justice. Besides, this way Alistair could never hurt anyone else the way he’d hurt Sam, Lucifer, and Castiel.

Sam was glad to be alive--he’d heard enough of what Alistair had said to Lucifer to know that the disbarred lawyer had meant for him to die. He didn’t doubt that Alistair had meant to kill Lucifer, too, and probably would have, at the very least, hurt Castiel badly. A kidney, a wheelchair, and some physical and mental scars that they could (potentially) heal from was much better than all of them being dead.

Still, he avoided looking down at his legs. It was so strange, not to feel them, not to be able to move them. He kept trying to, and kept being surprised when they didn’t obey his mental commands. It hadn’t fully set in that he was paralyzed, and that he might never feel his legs again. That he might not be able to stand when a judge arrived in the courtroom, or kneel down to see whatever bug Castiel had found this time. He liked to stay fit, but he knew it would be difficult to do so in a wheelchair. Sure, he could still work out and would probably gain a lot of strength in his arms, but he wouldn’t be able to work the largest muscles in his body.

He still didn’t remember everything that had happened. He recalled getting up that morning, eating breakfast, and then the bright light of the sun and sudden, indescribable pain. Seeing Lucifer kneeling over him, looking white as a sheet, but not knowing how he’d ended up on the ground. Clutching Lucifer’s t-shirt to the wound in his stomach. Passing out from the pain. Some of what Alistair had said. His husband crying out. Not understanding why he couldn’t move, why he couldn’t stop Lucifer from hurting. Maybe even an ambulance or a hospital ceiling; he wasn’t sure.

Sam forced himself to take a few deep breaths. Having a panic attack wouldn’t help. He’d never been severely anxious, not like Castiel, but suddenly he understood the teen much better as he fisted his hands hard enough that his nails bit into his palms. He’d never felt as powerless as he had lying on that floor, and he realized that his mental scars might be just as bad as his physical ones.

“Sam!” Lucifer had woken up, probably from a nightmare, and sounded desperate.

“I’m here, Luce. I’m right here,” Sam said in as soothing a tone as he could manage. He instinctively reached a hand out, but their beds were too far apart for them to touch.

“Sam?” He could see the reflection of light off of Lucifer’s eyes as his husband looked over at him.

“I’m here,” Sam repeated. “We’re in the hospital, remember?”

He heard his husband make a choked sound, then silence. “...I have to pee,” Lucifer said after a couple of moments. Sam was well aware of how pain medication removed Lucifer’s brain to mouth filter. It was one of the many things he loved about his husband, although Lucifer could never understand why.

“Call the nurse,” Sam told him.

“Nah, I’m fine. I can take care of it myself.” Sam heard Lucifer start to get up, shook his head, and pressed the call button. He knew Lucifer was allowed to go to the bathroom by himself now, but it was dark (well, sort of--the light was still on in the hallway and the door was open) and he didn’t want his husband to fall or run into anything or tear his IV out or...

They were in a nice hospital, so a nurse appeared before Lucifer was even fully on his feet and, at a gesture from Sam, helped him get up and walk to the bathroom. “I’ll stand right outside until you’re done,” she told Lucifer, who didn’t look especially happy about her sudden appearance. After he disappeared into the bathroom, she winked at Sam. “You’re married, aren’t you?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Sam agreed with a nod. “He doesn’t like asking for help.”

“And I bet you’re great at it,” she teased, shaking her head. “I’ll just make a note that when one of you rings the button, it’s for the other one.”

Sam gave her a weak smile. “That’s probably not a bad idea,” he admitted.

“How are you feeling?” she asked. “Having trouble sleeping? What’s your pain level?”

“It’s fine,” Sam replied. “Pain is only a two or a three. I just...don’t feel like sleeping right now. They had me in a medicated coma until this morning; maybe that’s why.”

“It’s possible,” she agreed with a nod. “Especially since you just came out of it. Let me know, though, if you feel tired but can’t sleep.”

“I will,” he promised, as Lucifer exited the bathroom.

The nurse started to help Lucifer to his bed, but he shook his head and pointed at his husband. “I haven’t been able to touch Sam yet,” he explained, steering his IV in the direction of the other bed.

“All right, but just a short visit,” she told them. “And don’t even think about climbing in bed with each other. That works in the movies, but not in real life. Especially as big as you two are.”

“Hey, I can’t help that I’m big-boned,” Sam joked, putting his arms around Lucifer and gently hugging his husband once he had made it to his bedside and leaned far enough down that Sam could reach.

Lucifer snorted a laugh, and returned the hug while leaning his forehead against Sam’s. “‘M so glad you’re alive,” he whispered. “And I’m so sorry.”

“Luce.” Sam sighed. “It’s not your fault, any more than it’s Cas’. Or mine. Please stop blaming yourself, okay? I wouldn’t--even if I’d...well,” he’d blame his inability to be coherent on the meds later, “Even if I’d died, I wouldn’t have traded knowing you for a longer life. Okay? Besides, you need to focus on getting better because you’re going to have to take care of me. And my mom says I’m an awful patient.”

Lucifer choked back a sob, and tightened his arms around Sam, keeping them high so he didn’t get near the bullet wound. “You could never be awful, Sam, even at your worst.”

“We’ll see about that,” Sam teased, smiling at both the nurse and Lucifer. “But you need sleep, and you heard the nurse. No sharing hospital beds.”

“You need sleep too,” Lucifer said, though he let go of Sam and straightened up.

Sam reached out and caught his hand. “I’ll try,” he promised, squeezing Lucifer’s hand. “I love you, Lucifer.”

“I love you too, Sam,” Lucifer replied, leaning down to give his husband one last kiss on the cheek before hobbling back to his own bed. The nurse helped him get re-situated as Sam watched. Lucifer closed his eyes, and appeared to fall asleep almost immediately. Sam, true to his word, closed his eyes and tried to do the same thing.

.oOOo.

The next morning, Sam was jealous as Lucifer devoured his toast and eggs, the first ‘real’ meal he’d been given in the hospital. Sure, it was hospital food, but Sam was sure it was better than an IV. He was still on liquids only, so he sipped his apple juice and tried not to ogle his husband’s breakfast too much.

After they had ‘eaten,’ an unfamiliar but friendly-looking woman walked in and came over to Sam’s bed. “Hi, I’m Sarah,” she said, smiling and holding out her hand for Sam to shake. “I’m the licensed mental health professional assigned to your case by the hospital.”

“Oh,” he replied, as he shook her hand. “That makes sense. I’m Sam, and this is my husband, Lucifer,” he added with a gesture over to his bed.

“Ah, that’s right,” she replied, glancing over and then moving to shake Lucifer’s hand as well. “There was a note in your file. Hello, Lucifer,” she said, clearly trying not to react too much to the name. Turning back to Sam, she explained, “I’ll be working with the physical therapist. You’ll be doing a lot of physical therapy, both before you’re released and after. Not today; today you have a couple of tests scheduled to make sure everything is healing well enough to get started on the therapy. However, I thought you might have some questions or concerns that you might want to go over with me. We can talk in here, or we can move somewhere more private; it’s your choice.”

Sam glanced over at his husband. “Here’s fine,” he said. “Lucifer should probably hear this too; he’s on less pain medication than I am, so he might actually remember some of it. Besides...this is something we’re both going through.”

Sarah nodded. “Is that all right with you, Lucifer?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he replied.

“Okay, then,” she said, picking up a chair and moving it so she could sit in between them, facing them both. “Let’s start with something simple. How are you both feeling?”

Sam glanced at Lucifer, but spoke first. “I’m...all right; there’s not much pain. The medication is still making me a little floaty still. I...admit though, right now, I’m still surprised every time I go to move them and they don’t. I’m still hoping aggressive physical therapy will help, of course, but I realize it might not.”

Sarah nodded her head. “All of that is completely normal,” she told him. “And you should hold out hope; your case is definitely one of the ones most likely to be helped by physical therapy. Your doctor is optimistic, but also wants to be sure that some of the other damage is healed before we start working on strengthening your back.” She turned her head, and smiled at Lucifer. “How about you? How are you feeling?”

“Okay, I guess,” he said with a shrug. Sam sighed mentally; clearly their late-night conversation hadn’t absolved Lucifer of the guilt he’d been feeling. “Some of the spots are kind of itchy today.”

“Itchy is a good sign.” Sarah maintained her smile. “But how are you feeling emotionally?”

Lucifer sighed, and gave Sam a guilty look before he admitted, “I feel like this is all my fault. Sam didn’t know Alistair from Adam before he met me. And now Sam might be--might--” He broke off and shook his head, unable to continue.

“I see,” Sarah replied, exchanging a glance with Sam and turning more fully toward Lucifer. “On a scale of 1-100, how much blame do you feel you deserve?” She held up a hand to keep Sam silent, which was a good thing, because he nearly interjected before she did.

“All of it,” Lucifer said miserably.

“So...none of the blame belongs to the man who shot Sam?” she asked.

“Well…” Lucifer hesitated. “I suppose, some.”

“Okay. How much of the blame do you think belongs to him? Give me an approximate percentage,” Sarah instructed.

Lucifer stared at her, an incredulous look on his face. Sam swallowed what he’d been about to say, and smiled. Brady used to do this to him all the time. “I...uh…” Lucifer clearly wasn’t sure. “Um. Maybe...30%?”

“Does anyone else deserve any of the blame?”

“No,” Lucifer said quickly, shaking his head.

“Okay. So even though you’re blaming yourself, you recognize that this man deserves at least part of the blame. That’s good,” Sarah said. “Sam, if you had to do the same thing, what would you say?”

Sam hadn’t expected her to turn the question on him, so he didn’t reply right away. His instinctual response was to lie and put all the blame on Alistair, but he knew Sarah couldn’t help him if he didn’t tell the truth. “About...85% Alistair,” he said. “And 15% me.”

“You?” Lucifer interrupted. “You didn’t do anything, Sam!”

“I was the one who initiated the proceedings to get him disbarred,” Sam explained calmly. “He had no reason to come after us before that. I wanted him to have some consequences for hurting you, so I ruined his life. If I had just let it go, this wouldn’t have happened.”

“And if I’d never met you or taken you up on your offer to help me, none of this would have happened, and you would still be fine,” Lucifer retorted, waving a hand in the air.

Sam stared at him in disbelief, momentarily forgetting there was a counselor present. “I--is that really what you want?” he asked. “To never have met me? Lucifer...you could be dead right now. And Cas would still be stuck with his parents. And--and I’d still be at that crappy firm, pouring everything I have into work, with just that painting to brighten my life.”

Lucifer frowned at him. “That would still be better than this. For you.”

“No it wouldn’t!” Sam protested. “Lucifer--I told you last night. Even if I had died, I wouldn’t have regretted meeting you and falling in love with you. I refuse to regret what I did for you and for Cas. Yeah, maybe I might come to regret blowing the whistle on Alistair--even though it was my moral duty as a fellow lawyer to do so--but I will never, ever regret loving you. Do you hear me?” Part of him felt awful, because Lucifer burst into tears about halfway through his speech, but part of him knew he’d needed to say all of that.

“Okay. Sam, can you please take a few deep breaths?” Sarah instructed, as Lucifer pulled a tissue from the box and sobbed loudly. “Thank you for expressing your feelings, but I’d like you to try to calm yourself for a moment. We also need to hear from Lucifer about how he feels.”

Sam nodded, trying to take deep breaths--he hated that he couldn’t get up and move over to Lucifer to give him a hug. He grabbed a tissue of his own and wiped at his eyes; he was crying now, too.

“Lucifer, I want you to take a few minutes and think about what Sam just said to you,” Sarah instructed. “I know you’re upset, and that’s okay. It’s normal. But what I heard Sam say is that he loves you very much, and that he doesn’t hold you at all responsible for this.” Sam knew better than to speak again, but he nodded emphatically.

It took Lucifer a few minutes to calm down to the point where he could speak. “Still feel like this is all my fault,” he mumbled.

“Okay. Can you tell us why you feel that way?” Sarah asked.

Lucifer snuck a guilty glance at Sam, and shrugged, playing with the tissue in his hand. “Sam wouldn’t have even known who Alistair was if I hadn’t said anything,” he explained. “And he’s hurt so much worse than me, and here I am taking up time that you’re supposed to be spending with him, not me.”

“Okay,” Sarah replied, nodding. “First, let me address your last point. You’re right; I am here to help Sam feel better. But Sam can’t feel better if he knows that you’re in pain, so I am helping him by helping you.” She glanced over at Sam, who nodded again, although he wasn’t sure if Lucifer saw it or not. “As to the other...did you have any idea that this Alistair would do what he did?”

Lucifer immediately shook his head. “But I should have,” he added.

“Why do you think you should have known what he was going to do?” Sarah asked gently.

“He was horrible. I should’ve known he’d try to hurt us.”

“Had he ever shot anyone before, that you knew of?”

“No,” Lucifer admitted.

“Had he ever invaded someone’s home, as far as you knew?”

“No.”

“So why should you have known that he was going to do something like this?” Sarah didn’t look surprised when Lucifer broke down again, sobbing. “Lucifer, you can’t blame yourself. You had no idea that this was coming. You couldn’t have done anything to prevent it, except for, as you say, not ever having met Sam. And you don’t really want to have never met Sam, do you?”

Sam watched as Lucifer shook his head no. Both he and Sarah gave his husband a few minutes to compose himself. “Feel any better?” Sarah finally said.

“Yeah,” Lucifer said, nodding. “A little.”

“Good. We can keep working on this as we go,” Sarah said. “Now, Sam, you said this was partly your fault, too. You know you couldn’t have known what he was going to do either, right?”

“Yeah,” Sam admitted with a sigh. “Rationally, I know that. But feelings aren’t always rational.”

“No, they’re not,” Sarah agreed, nodding. “But the more evidence we can give you both to argue back against that feeling of guilt in this case, the better. Especially since you’re a lawyer, Sam. What do you do, Lucifer?”

“I’m an artist,” he replied. “I paint.”

“That’s wonderful. I always loved art in school,” Sarah said. “Maybe one day I’ll get back to it. I wasn’t ever very good, though.”

“You should,” Lucifer said. “I didn’t really think I was any good, either.”

“And now his paintings are in two different galleries,” Sam added proudly. “And he gets commissions regularly. The way he colors things is just beautiful.”

Sarah smiled. “That gives me a great idea. The most important thing for both of you right now is to stay positive about Sam’s prognosis. I’ll have to go raid the children’s area and bring you some colored pencils, since we can’t really have you painting in here, but do you think you could sketch Sam either getting better or being better?” she asked Lucifer.

He blinked in surprise, then nodded. “Yeah, I think so,” he said. “I don’t usually do people, but I can. But don’t take the pencils from the kids; I’ll text my sister and ask her to bring some in when she visits later.”

“That’s a plan, then. It will also help you not be so bored in here,” Sarah said. “How about you, Sam? Do you draw?”

“Not unless you count stick figures,” Sam quipped. “But it sounds like I’ll soon have my hands full with physical therapy. What can they actually do when I can’t move my legs?”

With Sam’s question, the conversation turned to the logistics of physical therapy and the tests Sam would have to undergo--both today, and for the next few days. Sarah left, and soon afterwards John, Mary, Rafa, Castiel and the rest of their little family came to visit them. Sam made sure Lucifer’s request for a sketchbook and colored pencils was passed along.

Chapter Text

Lucifer was released from the hospital a couple of days later. After some conversations with both Sarah and Garth, who’d come to visit him, he was feeling less apt to blame himself for what had happened. He still didn’t feel exactly good, however. It turned out that the stab wounds in his back had affected his right shoulder such that he couldn’t sketch long without pain. Still, the sketchbook and colored pencils had given him the excuse to stare at his husband, and he had several sketches of Sam running or exercising in it, plus a few detailed studies of just his husband’s face.

They had started Lucifer on physical therapy in the hospital. Like sketching, it was painful; much more painful than the physical therapy he’d had after Zachariah had beaten him. His doctor had flat-out informed him that if he didn’t do the exercises, however, he was unlikely to regain a full range of motion in either his shoulders or his back, so he forced himself to work through the pain. The sessions tended to exhaust him, and he’d slept for a long time after each one.

Right now, he was looking forward to actually sleeping in a bed without monitors and nurses and lights and noise. Rafa and Castiel were driving him home in his car; Madison and Michael had both needed to go back to work, but Rafa had taken a longer leave of absence from the hospital where she worked. As they approached what he still thought of as Sam’s house, Lucifer felt his anxiety start to increase and began counting backwards from 100 by seven to ground himself. He didn’t realize he was doing it aloud until he’d finished and Castiel told him, “It’s okay. I was nervous the first time, too. We can go around and go in the back. I still don’t like to go in the front.”

“You will have to get Mikey and Dean under control first,” Rafa told Cas. “They are going to be very excited to see Luci, and we do not want them jumping up and hurting him.”

“I will,” Castiel promised. “I’ll go put them on leashes as soon as we get home.”

Lucifer had been surprised at how much he had missed the dogs while he was in the hospital. Their goofy antics and large pitbull smiles never failed to make him laugh. “How about I sit here in the car, and you bring one at a time, Mikey first, on a leash?” he suggested. “He’s less likely to jump.”

“Okay,” Castiel agreed, and sure enough, when they arrived, he got out, opened a gate in the fence and started walking toward the back of the house. Lucifer opened his car door (for once, he hadn’t worn a seat belt due to the pain) and turned so his legs were on the ground, though he didn’t stand up yet.

Rafa stayed in her seat, watching him. “Are you all right?”

Lucifer realized he was breathing hard, like he’d just run a race, but he couldn’t help thinking that he was sitting in the driveway where Alistair had been killed. That brought memories to the surface of what had happened in the house before that, not to mention what he’d seen when they’d brought him out on a stretcher. He reached out a hand to his sister. “Help me breathe?” he gasped. She took his hand and started counting, and he started trying to breathe slowly, according to her count. It didn’t work very well, so, after a moment, he leaned over and put his head between his legs.

He remembered what had happened that day, from the sudden color of red on Sam’s shirt to Alistair’s demands to get away from him. Lucifer realized it was a flashback, but he couldn’t stop himself from sinking into the feeling. He burst out crying as he suddenly felt like he could actually smell Alistair and hear the man’s pleased little noises. Seconds later, the memories made him gag, and he emptied his stomach onto the driveway. Someone was rubbing his back, but he could barely feel it over the phantom pain. Someone besides Alistair was saying something, too, but he couldn’t make it out. Instead, he heard Alistair taunting him about how Sam was bleeding to death beside them.

Lucifer was hyperventilating, and was pretty sure he would have passed out if not for the fact that he was already bent in half. He felt someone grab his hands and then start rubbing them briskly. Another voice was speaking, too.

He wasn’t sure how long he was trapped in the memory, but eventually, he surfaced, coming out of it to find he’d vomited several times. Cas was in front of him, rubbing his hands and wrists and telling him it was going to be all right. Rafa had practically climbed over into the passenger seat to hold him from behind, and was gently rubbing at his back, careful to avoid his wounds. He coughed, retched what he knew would be a final time, and then spat.

“‘M back,” he managed to mumble. “‘M okay now.”

“Don’t try to get up,” Rafa instructed. He felt her pull back, and then heard her door open and close. She came around next to Castiel and began to help him chafe Lucifer’s wrists. He realized he could barely feel his hands and feet; they were tingling as if they had fallen asleep.

“Was that a panic attack?” Castiel asked in a hushed tone. Lucifer glanced up and saw that the teen was wide-eyed; he felt a pang of guilt for upsetting his brother further.

“No,” Lucifer said, slowly shaking his head. “Flashback.”

“Oh, Luci,” Rafa sympathized, while Castiel finally set his brother’s arm back down.

“I hope I never have one of those,” the teenager said with a shudder.

“I hope you don’t either,” Lucifer said. He felt well enough to sit up, and looked up to meet Rafa’s worried eyes. “I don’t think I pulled any stitches,” he told her, though it didn’t seem to alleviate her worry.

“Before you get out--Luci, do you want to go stay somewhere else? We can take you to a motel,” Rafa said. “After what happened, it’s completely understandable--” she started, but Lucifer was already shaking his head no.

“I’ll be all right,” he said. “It’ll just take time. Sam and I talked about it a little; we don’t plan to move.” Admittedly, he was both surprised and dismayed by how strongly he had reacted, though he wasn’t about to tell his sister and brother.

“Okay, well, you let us know right away if you feel like that again,” Raphael said. “Do you think you’re okay to stand now?”

“Yeah.” He nodded, though he needed both of their help to climb to his feet while simultaneously avoiding the vomit. Once he was vertical, he was able to lean on Rafa and start slowly walking to the back of the house while Castiel re-captured Mikey, whom he’d let loose in the yard. The dog went insane when he saw Lucifer, turning in circles and whipping his tail back and forth hard enough to wiggle his entire body. He started whining, too, and occasionally broke into what could only be described as happy barking.

It made Lucifer laugh, and his mood lifted a little. Rafa helped Lucifer settle in a chair on the back deck before disappearing into the house to get him some water to rinse his mouth out. Once Lucifer was seated, Castiel slowly let Mikey get closer until he could sniff him and Lucifer could scratch him on the head. When Mikey inevitably tried to jump up on his lap, Castiel stopped him with the leash. Meanwhile, their other dog, Dean, was inside looking out at them while imitating a pogo stick, jumping up and down, barking, and leaving nose and tongue prints on the sliding glass door.

“They’ve missed you,” Rafa said as she returned with a glass of water. Mikey was now leaning on Lucifer’s legs, demanding to be pet and licking at the air until Lucifer stuck a hand down in range. The appendage was promptly slobbered on.

“I’ve missed them,” Lucifer replied, rubbing Mikey’s head. “I didn’t realize how much.”

“It’s too bad they weren’t inside when--well, you know,” Castiel opined, but Lucifer shook his head.

“He might have shot them,” he told his brother gently. “He knew enough to know that we had dogs. He only didn’t hurt them because they were outside.”

Castiel looked a little green at the thought, but nodded in agreement.

After both dogs had reunited with Lucifer and calmed down, Rafa helped her brother stand back up and supported him as they went into the house. Castiel led the way, opening and shutting doors as needed. “We assumed you would want to stay downstairs, for now, and Sam will have to be downstairs too when he gets out, so we moved some furniture around!” Rafa told him, leading him into the sunroom.

Or what had been the sunroom. It was completely different from what he remembered; his family had converted it into a bedroom. There were two twin beds, side by side, each extra long, and someone had bought a wardrobe, which presumably contained their clothing (or at least some of it). There were nightstands as well, and some tables were sitting in what Lucifer knew would be helpful positions. “Both of these are adjustable!” Castiel said, gesturing to the beds. “That way, if either of you needs to sleep in a certain position to relieve pain, you can.”

“That was Castiel’s idea,” Rafa supplied, smiling at Lucifer. “In fact, this entire bedroom is. He and Madison worked on it while she was here, and they ran everything by me.”

Lucifer blinked back tears, and pulled Castiel in for a gentle hug before he settled onto the nearest bed. “Thank you. But how did you pay for all this?”

Castiel looked a little guilty. “Um. You know that credit card? The one you and Sam gave me for emergencies?” He gestured to the room. “This seemed like an appropriate time to use it. We knew Sam would need to be downstairs, eventually, and you’d want your books and clothes and things, so…” He trailed off.

Rafa was the one who hugged Castiel this time. “And I approved each purchase, so if you’re not happy, you can blame me,” she told Lucifer firmly.

Lucifer shook his head, smiling. “It’s all right, Cas. You’re right, we would have needed a bed like this for Sam. Maybe not me, but...well, now we have it. And that’s the kind of thing we were thinking of when we gave you that credit card. You did good, kid.”

Castiel beamed, and began showing Lucifer how the remote control for the bed worked while Rafa excused herself. It wasn’t long before she returned with a glass of juice and Lucifer’s bag with his phone and other personal items. They set his phone up with its charger on his nightstand and made sure his sketchbook and a book he was reading was in reach. Rafa had found a bell somewhere in the house and set it with the other things, making him promise to use it to call her if he needed anything at any time.

With that, they left him alone, closing the door to the room behind them. Even though it was only mid-afternoon and he was in a brand-new bed, Lucifer promptly fell asleep, exhausted from just the process of making it home.

Chapter Text

It was several days later that Lucifer started feeling well enough that he could go visit Sam in the hospital; Rafa dropped him off before taking Castiel to see Max. Lucifer had a physical therapy appointment a little bit later that morning, but he wanted to see his husband first.

He was surprised when he walked into Sam’s room. Sam was in the bed closest to the windows, but the blinds were all down. He wasn’t reading or watching TV or even playing with his phone; he was turned toward the blinds, doing nothing. Lucifer thought he might be sleeping, but when he spotted Sam’s open eyes, his surprise turned to shock. Worse, there was an untouched meal on a tray by Sam’s bed.

Lucifer immediately stopped thinking about everything he had to do and all of his problems and focused on his husband. “Sam.” He pulled up a chair on the side where Sam was staring at the wall. “Please, talk to me.”

Normally, Sam would make the effort to look happy, or at least content, while Lucifer was around. Lucifer considered it a bad sign that his husband’s fallen expression didn’t change when he realized who had come into his room. “Hey, Luce.”

“Sam...what’s wrong?” Of course, Lucifer had a fairly good idea, but he wanted to know exactly what had sent his husband into a tailspin. Sam was generally an optimist even when he encountered obstacles, so this was unusual.

Sam blinked slowly at him. “This morning...I realized I can’t drive.”

To normal people, that might seem like an odd thing to obsess about, but Lucifer had dealt with enough depression that he knew exactly how such a simple thought could lead to a nasty downward spiral. Plus, Mary had been positive last night about Sam’s physical therapy yesterday, so he was curious as to where this bad mood was coming from. “But I thought you finally moved your leg yesterday?” he noted.

Sam shook his head a tiny bit. “Probably just a random muscle spasm. They happen,” he said bitterly. “None of the tests have come back positive, except for one that might just be an anomaly.”

Lucifer began to understand. Days of gruelling physical therapy and negative tests had taken their toll on his husband, and Sam was finally being forced to consider a future in which he never walked again. Lucifer thought about how to respond for a moment, and then asked, “Have you talked about this with Sarah? Do you want to talk to Brady?”

“Not yet,” Sam replied. Lucifer pulled his chair closer, and took one of Sam’s hands to hold between both of his. “No one’s come in this morning except with breakfast.”

Lucifer’s brows furrowed as he realized just from holding his hand how tense Sam was. “Sam...are you in pain?”

“Not much.”

“Damn it, Sam.” Lucifer knew what ‘not much’ meant--while Sam might be a slightly better patient than he was, his husband had an unfortunate determination to do everything without pain medication. Lucifer stood up and found and pressed the call button for the nurse. He was concerned when Sam didn’t even protest the action. As he sat down, he said the first thing that came to mind: “Garth would sic Mr. Fizzles on you at this point.”

Sam snorted, and Lucifer smiled, imitating a sock puppet with his hand and speaking in a squeaky voice. “Mr. Sam, why are you so saaaaaaad?” It was such a perfect imitation that it made Sam laugh, which made Lucifer grin.

“Fuck you for making me feel better,” Sam said, but there was no rancor in his tone.

“I thought that might work. You’d be surprised at what Cas is willing to do to never see that puppet ever again in his entire life,” Lucifer told Sam as the nurse walked in. “He’s in pain,” he told her.

“On a scale of 1-10?” she asked Sam.

The lawyer heaved a sigh. “Six.”

Neither Lucifer nor the nurse were pleased with that answer. “I’ll go get you something; next time you tell me if it gets above a four,” she instructed, shaking her head.

“You know you can’t do the physical therapy if you’re in pain,” Lucifer scolded Sam as she left. “And if you can’t do the physical therapy, there’s not even a possibility of you getting better.”

Sam sighed again. “I know.”

“You also can’t do it if you have no energy,” Lucifer said, gesturing to the food on the tray. “I know it sucks, Sam, but at least eat some toast or something.”

Sam narrowed his eyes at Lucifer, which the artist actually found encouraging--it meant that Sam was annoyed with him, which was slightly better than depressed. “Fine. At least I can still feed myself,” he grumbled, pushing the button to make the bed sit up and then reaching for the tray.

“Sam, you can do anything if you put your mind to it,” Lucifer chided gently. “Look...I don’t know what it feels like to lose the use of your legs. But I know how I felt the day after I first tried to sketch and it was so painful. You helped me through that. You remember what you said?”

Sam uncovered the tray and took hold of a piece of underdone toast. “Yeah,” he muttered, taking a bite--likely for the simple reason of avoiding saying anything else.

It was Lucifer’s turn to give a small sigh. “You said that I’d be doing the world a disservice if I didn’t try to get better because I’m so talented. Well, you’d be doing the world a disservice by giving up and not trying to walk again.”

Sam’s eyes narrowed again. “Why? I don’t need to walk to be a lawyer.”

Lucifer broke into a big grin. “The world shouldn’t be deprived of the ability to look at that amazing ass of yours.”

Sam laughed in spite of himself, which is what Lucifer had been aiming for. “It all comes back to asses for you.”

“I’m a gay man, it comes standard,” Lucifer quipped, before he became more serious. “Okay, so you don’t owe anything to the world. But you owe it to future you to try. If you don’t eat, and let depression get the better of you and give up on walking now, you’ll definitely lose the connections between the nerves or whatever. From what the doctors have said, you have a chance of fixing it now. But if you don’t work as hard as you can now, you’ll definitely never fix it.”

“Yeah.” Sam continued to munch on toast as he spoke. “You’re right. It’s just--all the things I may not ever do again.”

“Well, luckily for you, you married someone who doesn’t have a 9-5 job,” Lucifer told him. “Which means I can play chauffeur for you or whatever you need. And there -are- hand controls that will allow a differently abled person to drive a car. Cas was going on about them for a full hour yesterday; I think he read every review on the internet.”

“True. Though Dean would never let me touch Baby with them.”

“Dean doesn’t let you touch that car now, as it is,” Lucifer pointed out, then tilted his head to the side. “If I were Lisa, I’d be jealous of that car.”

Sam chuckled, and Lucifer knew he’d helped his husband through the worst of his bad mood. “There’s a reason Mom made Dad give it to Dean.”

“And I don’t blame her one bit. I’m just glad you’re not the same way,” Lucifer told him, relaxing as the mood shifted. “Now, how about we open these blinds?”

“Yeah, okay,” Sam said as he picked up a fork and started to eat his omelette.

Lucifer stood and opened the blinds, allowing the morning light in. As he was doing so, the nurse came in with some pain pills for Sam, who swallowed them without complaint. Lucifer glanced at the clock, and realized that his physical therapy appointment started soon. “Time for me to go to my own torture session,” he said, patting Sam on the leg and then realizing, awkwardly, that Sam couldn’t feel it. He relocated his hand to Sam’s shoulder and squeezed it instead before leaning down and stealing a kiss. “John and Mary will come to take you to yours. Then Rafa and Cas will be back in the afternoon.” He was already feeling tired from being out of bed so long, and his physical therapy would likely exhaust him. “I don’t think I’ll be back, but I’ll try to come again tomorrow.”

“I miss you,” Sam told him. “At least when we were in the same room I knew you were okay.”

“I miss you too. Hopefully they’ll let you come home soon so you can get some actual rest. Is there anything I can bring you?”

Sam shook his head. “No, I have everything I need.”

“Okay. Don’t murder your physical therapist.”

Sam snorted again. “Only if you don’t either.”

“Deal,” Lucifer replied, giving his husband a smile before heading out of the room.

.oOOo.

Sam came home a few days later--in a wheelchair that they’d bought for him. Thankfully, he didn’t have the same reaction that Lucifer and Castiel had to the front door (both of them still used the back), because it was the easiest way to get him into the house. Lucifer was thankful that there weren’t any steps, so making it wheelchair-accessible had been (relatively) easy.

Sam didn’t look nearly as enthused about the transformation of the sunroom as Lucifer had been, although the dogs made him smile. They were more than happy to have an owner that was forced to sit--it was easier to pester him. They quickly learned to avoid the wheels, too.

John lifted Sam into the bed--Lucifer’s back was much improved, but he still wasn’t supposed to lift anything, and Sam hadn’t gotten used to moving himself from a bed to the chair and back with his arms. Lucifer knew Castiel would be a huge help once John and Mary went back to Kansas. Sam’s parents had said they would stay until they weren’t needed, and Lucifer was glad for their presence--Sam had a much harder time falling into a funk around Mary than he did around everyone else.

Castiel showed a bemused Sam how to use the remote for the bed, and then everyone else filed out, leaving Sam and Lucifer alone. Lucifer sat in a chair that had migrated into the room by Sam’s bedside as his husband arranged himself in the bed. “I heard what happened in physical therapy today,” he said, trying to stay positive.

“I’m still not sure they’re not just random muscle spasms,” Sam replied, but there was a tiny bit of pride in his voice. While he was a very long way from walking again, it seemed that some of his neurons might actually still be working, or forming new connections.

“They’re better than nothing,” Lucifer pointed out. He thought about getting in the bed, but he felt that he’d already spent too much time in one. Plus, he had to get up frequently to stretch as per his physical therapy instructions.

“Yeah. Lucifer...did I fuck up?”

“What?” Lucifer felt his brow furrow, wondering what Sam was referring to.

“I insisted we stay in this house,” Sam said, looking over at him. “I thought...I don’t know. But then I saw how neither you nor Castiel could come in with me. And this,” he waved a hand to indicate the room, “This isn’t the master bedroom. There’s a lot of house upstairs that I may not ever be able to use again. But mostly...you were white as a sheet, just coming near the door I’m sorry, I hadn’t even thought about what staying would mean for you.”

Lucifer realized just how distracted Sam had been over the past couple of weeks by his own problems. He took a deep breath. “Cas is getting better about it; for him, it’s basically just a phobia. He and Max are working on it.”

“And for you?” Sam interjected, frowning.

Lucifer heaved a huge sigh; he hadn’t wanted to admit this, but at the same time, he knew he wouldn’t be able to lie to his husband--Sam was too perceptive. “I get flashbacks. Just sometimes, not every time. When I get too close to the foyer.” He folded his arms across his chest, effectively hugging himself.

“Oh, god, Lucifer, I’m a moron. I’m sorry. We can just list this place and find somewhere else,” Sam groaned. “Hey. Come here,” he added, when Lucifer started crying.

All of a sudden, all Lucifer wanted to be was held by Sam, so he got up, walked around the bed, and slid underneath the covers they’d put over both beds. Sam turned on his side, as best he could, and put his arms around his husband. “We can’t sell it, Sam,” Lucifer mumbled once his face was buried in Sam’s neck. “You’re right. He’d win. It’s so beautiful. And you /are/ going to get back upstairs. I know it.”

“I wish I was as confident as you,” Sam replied, shaking his head and holding Lucifer close--it was the first time they’d been in (sort of) the same bed since the incident, and Lucifer had forgotten what a furnace Sam could be. “But Lucifer, if you’re having flashbacks--do you want to talk about it?”

Lucifer considered the offer, pulling back and looking carefully at Sam. Of course, he and Garth had already been over everything, but he wasn’t sure he could handle talking about it with his husband. “Not yet,” he said finally. “I will, I promise, but not yet. It’s too fresh. Anyway...you’ve probably guessed most of it.”

“Okay. Well, I’m here to talk about it when you’re ready,” Sam replied, reaching out to run his fingers through Lucifer’s short hair. “And I want you to think harder about selling the house. We’re in good enough shape financially that we can do whatever we want. I don’t want you getting sick every time you get near the front door; I want this to be a comfortable space for you.” He paused. “And...you should know. No matter what Alistair did to you or made you do...it’s not your fault. And I’m not mad, or jealous, or anything else. At you, I mean, I’m pissed as all hell at him, but never at you. Okay?”

“Okay,” replied Lucifer, snuggling further into Sam’s warmth. He’d have to get up in a few minutes to do his exercises, but for now, he’d take comfort in the arms of the person he loved most in the world.

Chapter Text

“Come on, Sam! You can do it!” Lucifer never thought that his youngest brother would make much of a cheerleader, but it turned out that Cas was actually pretty good at it. They were watching Sam go through his physical therapy, which was still gruelling nearly a month after he had been allowed to come home. He was trying to walk on a treadmill in what looked like a movie rig for a flying character that supported some of his weight while holding on to ballet bars to either side of the short track. While his legs and feet were definitely now moving at his command, they seemed to have only a slight preference for the direction he actually meant them to go.

Cas’ cheerleading was part of their determination to address (almost) everything that had happened as a family; both he and Lucifer regularly attended Sam’s physical therapy sessions. In turn, Cas and Sam both attended Lucifer’s, although they were becoming rare now and were definitely less exciting since he didn’t need a rig or anything. He only had a few more physical therapy appointments to go, and was probably 85-90% recovered physically. His stitches were all out, and he was off all pain medication except for some ibuprofen on bad days. The three of them now attended family counselling sessions in addition to their individual therapy so that they could address the shared trauma they had gone through.

Lucifer put an arm around Cas and looked down at his brother. He was proud of how far the teen had come in such a short time; Cas had worked to overcome his fear of the front door and was now sleeping in his own room. He was also back at school, which had just started. He was the new kid, and one hell of a nerd, but he’d already made a couple of friends and impressed several teachers. His OCD habits that had reappeared upon the incident were slowly fading with the help of his therapist, Max, and some anti-anxiety medication.

Meanwhile, Sam was panting; sweat dripped down his face as he tried to force his atrophied leg muscles to do what he wanted them to do. Lucifer vividly recalled the night Sam had woken up screaming--not because of a nightmare, but because it had felt as if his legs were on fire. It had taken both of them a few minutes to realize what that meant--Sam had feeling in his legs again. His sense of his legs wasn’t, and probably would never be, what it was before the incident, but they had still woken everyone in the house up for an impromptu 3AM celebration.

Lucifer watched his husband struggling and wished there was something he could do besides cheer him on. Sam’s mood had been up and down over the past month, but now that he had clear evidence he would be able to walk again, he was mostly just determined and focused, to the point of scaring his husband sometimes. “Just another 30 seconds!” Lucifer added to Cas’ encouragement.

Sam shot him a glare; he tried not to swear in front of Cas, but Lucifer interpreted the look easily enough. Fuck you and your thirty seconds. Lucifer just smiled at him, knowing that Sam didn’t mean it.

“Good job!” Cas ran over to Sam as soon as he’d finished his routine, going boneless in the rig that held him up. “You did it!”

Sam apparently couldn’t glare at Cas, so he gave him an exhausted high-five instead as his physical therapist came over to help him out of the rig and back into his wheelchair. Lucifer knew Sam would take a long nap once they got home; he was always exhausted after a session, and he couldn’t blame him.

Lucifer walked over to help, and wrinkled his nose. “Ewwww,” he said, “You stink, Sam.”

Sam mock-glared at him. “I thought you liked the way I smelled?” he retorted.

“Maybe sometimes, but that’s just too much sweat,” Lucifer teased. “You’re going in the shower before you get anywhere near the bed.”

“Can I start napping in the shower?” Sam asked, smiling at his husband as they lowered him into the chair.

“I suppose you earned it,” Lucifer replied. Sam was fairly independent now that they’d renovated the downstairs bathroom with his wheelchair in mind, but Lucifer usually helped him anyway now that both Rafa and Sam’s parents had gone home. “You did a great job today, Sam. You’ll be walking again in no time.”

“If ‘no time’ includes sometime this century, then maybe,” Sam joked, turning his chair so they could leave.

“You’ll get there, Sam,” Castiel piped up as they headed for the hospital elevator (because of course physical therapy couldn’t be on the first floor).

“Yeah, I will. Now, how’s your paper on Antigone going?” Sam asked Cas.

Lucifer listened to them chat about some ancient Greek play he’d never heard of as he led them out to their new, wheelchair-friendly car (thankfully, Sam had excellent insurance, and it had already come through for them). He and Cas helped Sam get in (although Sam barely needed any help now), and then climbed in the driver’s seat and drove them home.

Castiel jumped out of the car as soon as they arrived and went to unlock and open the front door; Lucifer moved around to the side to help Sam out of the car. Sam had fallen asleep, but Lucifer gently shook him awake as the dogs barked happily at them all from behind the fence.

Sam wheeled himself over to the front door, where, Lucifer noted, Castiel had tensed up but had gone through. “Good for you, Cas,” he said as Sam maneuvered his wheelchair through the door.

“Want to try it too, Lu?” Castiel asked, reaching a hand out for Lucifer’s. Lucifer’s heart began racing and he went cold, but before the anxiety could turn into a full-blown panic attack or worse, a flashback, he grabbed his younger brother’s hand and allowed himself to be pulled in the front door. He let go of Cas’ hand and kept walking; there was no way he was going to stay in the foyer. He actually made a couple of nervous loops around the lower right side of the house before he was able to rid himself of the worst of the anxiety.

“Good job!” Sam told him. “You all right?”

Lucifer took a few deep breaths, then turned and nodded to both of them; they had stopped in the main hallway. “Yeah,” he said. “Yeah. Nothing like a little exposure therapy, right?”

“Right.” Sam sounded sympathetic. “Cas, could you go take care of the dogs?” he asked. “I need Luce to help me in the shower.”

“Okay, Sam,” Castiel agreed. “After that, I have homework to do.” The kid always seemed to have more homework to do; Lucifer had dropped out of high school, but couldn’t ever recall having anywhere near this much before he left. Sam had told him that things had changed dramatically in public education since they’d been in school.

Lucifer and Sam made their way to the first floor bathroom, which John had helped them modify. Sam swung himself out of the chair and onto the toilet, where he began to remove his clothes. “Can you go get me something to change into?” he asked. Lucifer nodded, and went to the sunroom to retrieve them. By the time he got back, Sam had undressed himself and swung himself from the toilet seat to the bench in the shower and was fiddling with the water.

“I thought you needed my help,” Lucifer teased him, leaning against the wall after laying the clean clothes down on the seat of Sam’s wheelchair.

“If I fall asleep, I will,” Sam joked. The water had apparently reached the correct temperature, because he started spraying himself with the hand-held shower nozzle and then reached for the body wash. “I admit, I had thought about starting something in here, but I’m way too tired.”
“That’s fine,” Lucifer told him. “You worked really hard today. We can always do that after you get some rest, if you still feel like it.”

“Ugh. It’s amazing how much you take walking for granted,” Sam remarked as he washed himself.

“Yeah. Well, from the looks of things, you’re going to get to take it for granted again eventually,” Lucifer replied. “We just need to get those muscles built up again.”

“Built up, and responding correctly,” Sam corrected, but he at least didn’t dismiss the comment out of hand as he might have a few weeks ago, which Lucifer felt was encouraging.

They got Sam washed and dried and into clean clothes, then Lucifer helped him get down the hallway and situated in the bed. He was fairly certain Sam was asleep before he even left the room.

Closing the door behind him, he thought about what he should do next. It was Saturday, and he’d planned to spend the rest of it outside painting, but he was also considering an exercise Garth had suggested almost flippantly, thinking it was beyond him at this point. Lucifer wasn’t looking forward to it, but he kind of wanted to see the surprise on Garth’s face when he told him he had done it.

So, he headed upstairs, going the long way around the foyer because he’d already been through it once today, and once was enough. When Lucifer got upstairs, he knocked on the frame of Castiel’s door, since the door itself was wide open. Cas appeared to be working on the paper Sam had referred to earlier, based on what Lucifer could see of the computer screen and the books set neatly around the computer.

Castiel looked up, and smiled. “Hey, Lu,” he said. “Sam okay?”

“He’s asleep,” Lucifer replied, nodding. “I wanted to come talk with you about something, if you don’t mind.”

“Of course not,” Cas replied, setting a pencil in an open book to mark his place and then turning around in his computer chair. Lucifer took a seat on his bed. “Is everything all right?”

“Yeah, it’s just… This is going to be hard for me,” Lucifer admitted. “I don’t think Garth even thought I’d do it when he suggested it. I need to tell you something that you’ve probably already guessed, since you’re so smart.” He took a deep breath and ran his hands through his hair; this already wasn’t going as smoothly as it had gone in his imagination. He clasped his hands for a moment, and then realized he had started wringing them. Forcing himself to stop but not to look up, he continued to explain. “Um. I guess I want to tell you this so you can understand my flashbacks a bit better. And, um, because we try to be honest with you about everything, and Garth says not enough people talk to their kids about it.”

Castiel was quiet, and Lucifer couldn’t bring himself to look up at him again as he continued. “You’ve read that book Rafa gave you, and I’m sure it talks about…” why could he never say the word? “...sexual assault. Um. Probably more about guys doing it to girls.” He knew his face was beet-red by now; even The Talk hadn’t caused this much embarrassment.

“Yes,” Castiel replied quietly. For once, he didn’t volunteer all of the information he knew about the subject, for which Lucifer was grateful.

“Uh, anyway, women aren’t the only ones who get assaulted, it’s men too, and it’s really, really hard to talk about. I want to talk about it with you because, god forbid if anything ever happens to you, you need to know it’s not your fault.” Lucifer knew he was rambling, but couldn’t stop. “And know that you can tell Sam and I about it. But if we want you to be honest with us, we need to be honest with you, and now this seems like a terrible idea, but I think you should know why the foyer bothers me so much, and why I’ve had to have more counselling than you and Sam put together. Um. Alistair...you know that he hurt me, but he also…” Lucifer took a deep breath, hoping Castiel wouldn’t interrupt him, even though he’d undoubtedly figured out where his older brother was going with this some time ago. “He...sexually assaulted me,” Lucifer managed finally. Just saying it aloud, he could feel a huge weight taken off his shoulders. “That’s what I see when I have flashbacks,” he explained. “You’re old enough--and smart enough--I didn’t want to keep tiptoeing around it, and…”

Castiel’s sudden hug finally cut off his long ramble. The teen had tears in his eyes when Lucifer finally managed to look up at him through his own blurry eyes. “It’s okay, Lu. I know it wasn’t your fault. He had a gun; you had to do what he told you, just like you told me to do. Sam...he must already know...he isn’t mad, is he?”

Lucifer quickly shook his head, and swallowed around a lump in his throat. “No. He’s mad at Alistair, but not me.”

“Good,” Castiel continued to hug his brother tightly. With him standing and Lucifer sitting, Lucifer suddenly wondered if Castiel would end up being taller than him.

“Did you know already?”

“I...thought maybe; I wasn’t sure,” Castiel admitted. “I was hoping I was wrong.”

“Well, just remember, it can happen to anyone. I hope no one’s ever hurt you like that.” Lucifer was gratified when he felt more than saw Cas shake his head no. “If I have anything to say about it, no one ever will, but if they do...you can tell me, Cas, and we’ll do whatever’s best for you.”

His younger brother was silent for a few minutes. “When you said you knew him from when you were with Zachariah…” Castiel could give a curious cat a run for its money.

Lucifer didn’t want to answer; he still felt like a great deal of what had happened then had been his fault. He also wasn’t sure how to phrase anything. “He was a friend of Zach’s,” he said finally. “He liked to...do things to me without my permission. That’s why Sam had him disbarred. But he never paid money, so we couldn’t put him in jail.”

Cas pulled back, and nodded. He opened his mouth, probably to ask another question, and then closed it. Instead, he held out his hands to help his brother to his feet. “Thank you for telling me,” he said as he pulled his brother upright. “I know it was hard. I know I get frustrated with you sometimes, Lu, and say mean things, but...you know I don’t really mean them, right?”

Lucifer was startled enough by Cas’ words to bark a laugh. “Oh, that’s just part of being a teenager,” he said. “You should have heard Michael’s epic fight with Dad when he was sixteen. I thought Dad was going to throw him out of the house. Sam and I knew that raising a teenager wouldn’t be easy. But someone has to do it, and believe me, you’re ten times easier than Michael and I ever were,” he said, hugging Cas and resting his chin on his head while he still could. Releasing his brother, he asked, “Would you come help me with the easel? I’d like to get the mountains this afternoon.”

“Sure!” Technically, Lucifer was allowed to lift the easel; it wasn’t that heavy. However, he wanted to stay with Castiel for at least a few more minutes in case the kid wanted to ask more questions or talk to him about anything else. So, he walked with him downstairs into Lucifer’s studio. Cas grabbed the easel and Lucifer’s box of paints and supplies, and Lucifer picked up a fresh canvas.

The dogs greeted them when Cas and Lucifer joined them outside, and then Lucifer walked over to the spot where he wanted to paint. Cas set down the box and then helped his brother set up the easel. “Lu?” he asked.

“Yeah?” Lucifer set the canvas down and peered at the mountains in the distance, trying to get the exact angle he wanted.

“I haven’t told anyone this because I’m not sure,” Castiel began, and Lucifer instantly re-focused his attention on his younger brother. This conversation, he’d been expecting since before they agreed to take his younger brother in. “But...I think I may be asexual.”

Lucifer smiled gently, and gathered Castiel into yet another hug. “That wouldn’t surprise me,” he agreed. “And it’s okay if you are. It’s also okay if you turn out not to be--it takes time to figure it all out. The important thing is that you’re amazing just the way you are, and Sam and I are going to love you no matter what. You let me know if the kids at school start giving you a hard time about it, though, will you?”

“I will. Thanks, Lu,” Castiel said, stepping out of the hug. “I’ll tell Sam later, after he wakes up.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Lucifer replied. “See you at lunch, if I don’t lose track of time.”

Castiel laughed, and Lucifer was happy to see the smile on his face as he headed back into the house. “Assuming I don’t either, sure, Lu.” Lucifer watched him go, hoping that Castiel would never have to put up with the sort of intolerance and lack of acceptance that he’d had to go through at that age.