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"Was it worth it, Michael?"

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After Lucifer fell, Michael simply stood there, remembering the recent and jarring events, and picturing himself in Lucifer's position - that it had been his pain-filled eyes that couldn't tear away from Heaven's glorious light as he was banished.

But something he could never have imagined was pure agony he endured, as if his wings were being drenched in Holy Oil and someone had then dropped a lit splint on them.

He knew - of course he knew, Lucifer's pleading scream's the floated up as he descended were proof enough- that Falling hurt, but he hadn't even considered the intensity of everything.

Fearpainbetrayal why me why me why me-

And then, suddenly, everything stopped. Except the pain, of course. Pain would become a constant accompaniment to everything he lived, and though he didn't know it then, Michael would learn a lot from it. Too much.

A few moments passed. Seconds, perhaps, or centuries. To Michael, it was all the same. He felt lost and bewildered, like a turtle trapped on its back. And then, Lucifer finally spoke.

"Was it worth it?" He asked. During the Fall, he and his vessel had been blown apart from each other, so Lucifer now took the shape of his older vessel, Nick, but before the red rashes and slashes had started to crop up on his skin. His eyes shone with an emotion Michael couldn't quite make out.

Michael looked at him, perplexed.

Lucifer appeared to be hesitating on whether to elaborate his question or not. Finally, he sighed and turned to Michael again.

"Was it worth it, being the good son?"

His tone hadn't been coated in venom, like Michael had expected. He simply sounded... resigned.

"Was hating me worth it?" Lucifer whispered, his voice cracking.

Hours and days slipped through his fingers, and silence firmly chained Michael's lips together. For a long, long time, he didn't answer.

"I never hated you," Michael murmured, but his answer was lost in the screams of Sam Winchester,

·····

More than a millennium passed, and Death came to reclaim Sam Winchester's soul. Lucifer was reluctant to give it up, but when his finally passed it on, his frigid fingers clenched tightly as he watched Death abandon them.

Outcasts. Turned aside even by Death, the ultimate epitome of neutrality and the only one who welcomed everyone into his domain with open arms.

Until Lucifer and himself, Michael supposed.

"Did you miss me?" Lucifer asked quietly, his hawk-eyed gaze unmoving from the spot where Sam's soul had brushed the Cage's bars.

Michael froze. He thought of that first day without Lucifer, when Heaven didn't seem to shine as brightly and his existence was flooded with misery. He thought of the hours he passed, sat by a remote and nearly inaccessible mountain peak, watching the speckled sky and the undulating colors that the humans would come to name 'Aurora Borealis', but when Michael and Lucifer had created it, they had christened the dancing lights 'Happiness'.

Michael nodded, but Lucifer wasn't paying attention anymore.

·····

"Did you regret it, Michael?" Lucifer hissed, furious to the point that his surroundings had turned a scarlet and violent tone.

Seven centuries had passed since they had been left alone in the Cage, leaving Michael as the only available outlet for Lucifer's ire.

The had been seven centuries filled with pain, sometimes interspersed with long periods during which Michael's sighs and Lucifer's growls were the ones in charge of banishing the impending silence. Recently, however, Lucifer's temper had acquired an aggressive edge, which led to Lucifer throwing all his years trapped alone in the cage in Michael's face, screaming about how torturous those years were and how they were all Michael's fault.

In all that time, Michael hadn't uttered a single word.

But now, it was essential that he answer.

He opened his chapped lips; he looked firmly at Lucifer.

"Yes," he murmured. "Every day. And every single damn night."

Lucifer turned quiet, thoughtful after that.

 

·····

 

"Did you keep on loving me, Michael?" Lucifer asked. Michael thought for a second that he was thinking out loud, since his gaze was lost in the blurred ceiling of the Cage, but Lucifer seemed to be waiting an answer.

"I did love you," Michael eventually answered.

Silence ruled the Cage for yet another era.

·····

"Do you love me now, Michael?"

Lucifer was curled up beneath Michael's wing. A long time ago, they had made their peace with each other, and begun to accept each other's company. They'd used that time to learn their bodies, exploring them and losing themselves in them, in each other. Michael simply hugged Lucifer a little tighter and stroked his back with his wing instead of answering,

"I shouldn't have asked, I'm sorry..." Lucifer's voice trailed off, becoming quieter and quieter until it was barely a murmur against Michael's chest.

"I never stopped loving you," Michael interrupted.

Lucifer's face had now transformed into one of pure joy.

"Me neither," Lucifer confessed, and Michael realized that his features reflected Lucifer's.

Maybe, only maybe, and eternity trapped in the Cage didn't have to be too bad.