The Devil is truly an exquisite creature, Michael thinks,
watching his rebel brother from across the Divide, the distance
between Heaven and Hell decreased by need to just a sin or
Always the most beautiful of them all, the most perfect of
all His firstborn, the Fall has done nothing but add to Lucifer's
resplendence. The flicker of eternal flame grants an illicit
seduction to his eyes, which watch Michael in turn, amused
and inviting. Not beseeching though. No, never that.
Heaven holds no shadow; all there is formed of light, white-gold
and radiant. Lucifer has chiaroscuro. Shadows lowlight every
plume, every da Vincian turn on his conceptualised anatomy.
It makes him seem more human, more real, more truly His creation,
which is something that Michael has come to understand as
'irony', a form of humour available only to those who know
how to see in the dark.
Michael himself comprehends it only dimly, a theoretical
possibility about which he can never experience the truth.
For he burns with the light of Heaven, and where he walks,
an invasive glare shines out, banishing shadow. Yet Lucifer
has somehow invited the darkness inside himself, giving his
frame relief and weight, making him something both less and
more than a fragment of the One.
Of course, the Devil's perverse whim to adorn his God-given
perfection with human genitals only increases the effect of
material reality, and does not, somehow, mar his unholy beauty.
"Did you want something, little brother?" Lucifer asks with
a sly smile, and the Divide creaks as they move closer to
"To talk," Michael acknowledges.
"Things must be serious indeed. The last time we spoke, you
came here holy sword a-blazing; it was really rather arousing,
I recall. But now? You're positively meek, Great Prince."
Lucifer uses his body like a mortal would, each twist of lip
or wave of hand as much a communication as his words.
have no true form, being creatures of pure essence, but He
favours the shape He later gave Man, so they tend to form
themselves according to His tastes. Lucifer, however, has substance.
He has granted it to himself just as he has many privileges that
should only be His to dole out.
Such is the role of the rebel, Michael supposes. No law is
sacrosanct, nothing safe from theft.
"Would the sword help?" he asks and is confused when Lucifer
laughs loudly. "That was not a joke. I don't make them."
"Yes, you do, my dear. All the time. You are His little joke,
you see. We all are."
"Ah." Michael is silent as he ponders how to react. There
are no laws to guide his arm here, and he is not present as
His emissary. Lucifer watches him, that faint smile still
tugging at his fully realised lips. Finally, Michael asks,
"One thing I have never understood is why, if you despise
mankind as you claim, you have taken such pains to become
"To truly destroy something, you have to know it intimately."
Lucifer takes another step forward. Michael can feel the heat
of his presence now and that's another thing angel's don't have. "You have to comprehend it from the inside
out. That is, of course, why you and His other mindless minions
fail so persistently to stop me. Mankind scares you. You watch,
monitor, catalogue, report... but never interfere, never delve
inside, never take one apart to see how it works. You're no
closer to truly understanding your wards than when He first
polluted Earth with life."
"We are not mindless." Michael isn't sure why he chooses
that one thing to object to out of all Lucifer said.
The Morning Star shrugs. He steps again, reaching out across the Divide to
tap Michael on the temple. It causes a shudder to run through
Michael's ethereal form to his very wingtips. "You are His
unquestioning tools. You do as He bids you, go where He sends
you. You are automatons, extensions of His thought. Nothing
"You know that's not true." Michael finds he is feeling a
"We are made of His substance, made to serve him, it is true.
We are as we were made, as you too were made. But we are nonetheless
separate from Him."
"I see no evidence for that."
"Lucifer!" The discomfort grows, and Michael flexes his great
wings out, hoping to ease the strange sensation; something
of his brother's doing, no doubt. "You and I were once the
same. He made me just a fraction of an eon after you. Everything
that you are capable of, so too am I."
Lucifer's smile holds both menace and promise. "Yes. It is
as you say. Interesting, that. Don't you agree?"
Michael bows his head. "So you think to tempt me again? You
have not yet tired of this game?"
"Game? Oh, my brother, call it a vocation, please." Michael
feels hot fingers running over his arm, which condenses, taking
more reality within itself in response to the sensation. "I
miss you, you know. We were such good friends once."
"I haven't forgotten. I forget nothing. I wept for millennia
when you Fell."
"You should have come with me. What a partnership we would
have made." Lucifer's voice is gentle. It is as much a caress
as his hand, which persists in moving over Michael's tenuous
frame, painting it with substance, fixing him in form.
Michael screams inside, begging forgiveness. He knows he
should stop this. His hand twitches for his sword. But he
does not move and continues to stand passively under the assault.
For assault it surely is. Why he does not resist is not something
he wishes to contemplate. "You had companions enough. It is...
it is not in me to disobey our father."
"Really? He knows you are here then? I'm surprised."
Head hung lower still, Michael confesses, "He... does not
Lucifer chuckles, the sound like the gurgle from a mortal's
severed neck. "The omniscient does not see; the omnipotent
does not prevent. Oh Michael, my beloved kin, can this be
true? Are you Falling at last? May I catch you?"
Michael's neck straightens, his wings unfurl and his eyes
burn with righteous anger. His sword flickers into his hand.
"I am not Falling. I will never Fall." He is a liar. Just
like his brother. This is such a futile conversation, mere
procrastination. Nonetheless, he cuts a swathe through the
air between them with his blade.
"Christ," Lucifer says, taking a tiny step back as he profanes
the name of the Godhead in human form. The Divide is a little
stronger again now. "You're so very hot when you're in a snit."
"Hot?" Michael asks, having no clear idea what the Devil
means to imply. "Yes, I burn. I burn with shame for you, for
what you've done. This is all your fault, Great Satan."
Lucifer folds his arms, and although he still appears amused,
there's something else in the glorious face now as well. Something
intense. "Really?" he asks. "And which particular 'all' would
Michael wishes he could, like the mortals, shut his eyes
and choose not to see. He'd rather not know his brother's
reaction to what he has now to admit. He lets his sword dissolve
back into the ether and keeps his head down, disparaging himself
for his cowardice as he says quietly, "He has gone."
There is a long silence. When eventually Michael looks up,
Lucifer has not moved, although his face now seems as expressionless
as that of any normal angel's, any 'mindless automaton'.
Michael almost laughs. Perhaps he is starting to know the
darkness a little better now. "You have nothing to say, brother?
I expected glee at the very least. Perhaps also some gloating."
"Gone where? Why? How long gone?" The questions are almost
"I do not know. The Metranon will not say, and I do not think
it knows. I think it is frightened."
"And you come to me why?"
Lucifer bays with laughter. He doubles over, holding his
belly, tears running down his sculpted face. "You have," he
gasps between cackles, "lost the little... mind you allowed...
yourself. Bereavement has... broken your tiny intellect. God
has sodded off... and you come to me... to ME... for help?"
Suddenly, Lucifer is directly in front of Michael, his hands
scalding Michael's shoulders. All amusement is gone from his
expression as he yells with the force of Gabriel's horn straight
into Michael's face. "NO!"
Oh yes, Michael is definitely learning irony now. "I think
you will," he says quietly, resolute under a glare that could
topple mountains. And with the greatest courage he has ever
shown, he lifts his hand and strokes lightly over the Devil's
Lucifer stills under the attention; he makes a slight noise
that Michael does not understand. "Michael, brother mine,
what are you doing?"
Michael doesn't answer directly. "He called me to him shortly
after the crucifixion; He was in the form of the Christ. Tears
bathed His face as He lamented His children's failings, blaming
Himself, for how could He not? I feared then, although I would
not allow myself to think it, that He would leave us."
His hand still gentles the face of the Morning Star, the
contact somehow calming them both. They stand close together,
the Divide now less than a thought across.
Lucifer stares at Michael, a single fiery tear on his cheek.
"So He has written us off, drawn the line and moved on, and
you blame me? You are wrong, brother. He gave them free will."
Michael wipes the tear away with his thumb, the liquid burns
through his skin, entering his body and exciting him as would
a call to holy war. "He did not grant free will to you, Lucifer;
you simply took it and so unbalanced the equation. As we are
forbidden to interfere, and you take no such precautions."
"And how does that make it my fault?" Lucifer asks, pushing
into Michael's touch. "You could have taken the same advantages
as I. You could have been as powerful a persuading force.
In the days before the Christ, you weren't so reticent."
"We did only as we were bid."
"No longer." Lucifer's lips twist briefly in wry amusement,
but then he turns his face and captures Michael's thumb into
his mouth. It is a wet furnace that creates rather than destroys,
clothing Michael in existence, making him real. Lucifer sucks,
and Michael feels himself become a man. A mighty winged man,
certainly, but his maleness can no longer be questioned.
Nor, apparently, quelled. He has never stopped wanting Lucifer,
but this... this fleshy need is something Other.
"No," he whimpers, but makes no move away.
Lucifer releases him anyway. "Why are you here, little brother?
What do you want from me?"
Michael staggers, his toe at the very edge of the Divide,
now no more than a line, barely a concept at all. "I thought...
I thought that if we were to make something good of mankind,
something pleasing to Him, He might come back."
Lucifer snorts; such a very human expression. "I'll not stop
my work. Why should I give a fuck that he's gone?"
"You are truly the Liar," Michael says almost fondly, and
finally, he finds the courage that he sought here. He steps
over the line.
Gasping, Lucifer grabs him. "What have you done? Brother!
I never thought..."
Anguish wracks Michael's increasingly material form. He slumps
in Lucifer's arms, looking up at evil incarnate. "You offered
to catch me," he says with a tiny smile. "Oh, I never thought
it would hurt this much."
Lucifer falls to his knees, holding Michael tightly. "It
never stops. It never bloody stops. Oh, my poor stupid Michael.
I never imagined you'd really do it."
"What choice did I have? We have no purpose without Him.
If I have to Fall to gain the knowledge, the power to save
mankind, then so be it." Michael feels so weak, so very bereft.
He knows now he can never go home again. What has he done?
Oh Father, why?
There is an unpleasant smell; Michael realises his wings
are burning. "I'll make you new ones," Lucifer promises, cradling
him. "I'll teach you everything I know. I'll let you be my
true rival; I won't even mind if you win."
Michael raises his trembling hand, blackened and smoking
as it now seems to be, to touch his older brother's magnificent
face once more. "It will be good to work with you again."
Lucifer smiles a slow sad smile. "Child of my father, welcome
to my world. I wish I could say with more conviction that
I am glad you are here."
"We were together at the start of things; if this is indeed
the beginning of the End, it is only fitting that I should
see it by your side."
Lucifer slowly shakes his head, but it is clear that he is
not disagreeing. "I have been alone so long. No other of the
First Order to talk with."
"You could have come home. He would have forgiven you; you
The laugh that leaves Lucifer's mouth is as charred as Michael's
new body. "Silly little brother. I've only ever been doing
what He asked of me. He gave them free will, you see, and
what meant that without temptation?"
Despite the inferno raging throughout whatever it is that
Michael has become, he feels the chill of a millennium's ice
age at Lucifer's words. "His bidding? Your Fall was His will?
How could He... how could He ask that of you?"
"Who else was he to ask? Whom did he trust more to do what
he asked and yet keep silent? And so I have suffered epochs
to please him, to serve in secret. Away from my brothers,
hated by them, I gave mankind a choice that they do not deserve.
And for what? For Him to hold his omnipresent hands up in
disgust and turn his nonexistent back."
Michael finds he now has eyelids he can close, and so he
does. "Tell me you are lying. Please."
"Not this time, brother dear. Not this time." Lucifer sighs,
then Michael feels cool lips pressed upon his burning mouth.
Not this time.
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