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on unfaithful wings

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Lucifer realizes his mistake the moment he walks into the hotel. Mercury greets him, and he could almost cry at how fair the whole thing is.

 

Mercury is the weakest among them; they’re giving him a chance to repent. Running isn’t an option, not with wing-footed Mercury who spends His days chasing the sun across the sky before him, but forgiveness is. They’re giving him a chance to back down. To give up. To hoist a white flag into the air and confess his sins to Gods truer than his own, more loyal to the people who worship Them, more willing to see things through to the very end.

 

“Mercury,” Lucifer greets.

 

Mercury narrows His eyes and sees right through him. “Lucifer.” The look He gives him is one of one dying man to another. They’re both going to die here tonight, but the difference is that Jupiter will bring Mercury back while Lucifer’s father won’t. “It’s not too late,” Mercury tells him, His message from the other Gods.

 

Lucifer looks away. He’s small, childish, insignificant in Mercury’s presence. He’s never stood before the Sun, never walked in Apollo’s presence or heard His music. He never will. “It is,” Lucifer says, voice breaking.

 

Mercury has a hand on his shoulder lightening fast. “It is regrettable what you Father did to you,” he says softly. “We can help you, Lucifer. We can heal you. We’ll accept you.”

 

Lucifer’s face contorts in a mixture of anguished sorrow and tormented rage. Mercury is treating him like the child he is. He tilts his head to the side and twists his hand, and the God falls.

 

He walks down the hall, footsteps heavy. He’s walking to his death; that much he knows. He arrives at the doors to the dining hall and pauses, wondering if it’s too late to run away, to start over.

 

A hand falls on his shoulder and sears him. “It’s still not too late,” Mercury says, voice like silver on ice.

 

Lucifer grips his blade harder and kicks open the doors.

 

He sees Isis, who hasn’t been worshipped in thousands of years but whose powers will remain until the ever-changing sands of the desert unearth the ancient monuments built in Her name.

 

He sees Ganesh, and Kali, with millions of worshippers each.

 

He sees Zao Shen, with hearths in thousands of households.

 

He sees Baron Samedi, Loa of the Dead and as sure and as certain as mortality.

 

He sees Odin Allfather, King of Asgard, Ruler of Gods, and takes a step back until he’s pressed against Mercury.

 

He sees Baldur, the most beautiful among them, the God who can’t be harmed by anything save for mistletoe.

 

And then he sees Gabriel, the only one beside Mercury he has a chance of hurting. Odin steps between them and Lucifer sees the bond of blood and trust running deep between them.

 

“You all came.” He tries to make a joke out of it, but it falls flat.

 

“We want to help you.” Mercury speaks for all of Them.

 

Lucifer snarls. “What if I don’t want to be helped?”

 

“Then you will die, here, tonight.”

 

Lucifer closes his eyes. “Do it.” He’s ready, he’s been ready, thousands and thousands of years underground, unwanted, unloved, unforgiven. He opens them to the feel of just-right fingers against his face, not burning up like Mercury’s or cold like Odin’s would be. He sees Gabriel standing before him, archangel blade grasped in the hand that isn’t touching him.

 

He feels Mercury’s fiery touch surround his wrists, holding him back, disarming him, pushing his heart forward for the kill.

 

“I love you, Brother,” Gabriel whispers in Enochian, so low only he and Mercury can hear. “Close your eyes,” he says.

 

Lucifer shakes his head just a fraction of an inch.

 

Gabriel presses the blade against his chest. “It’s okay,” he says. The blade sinks in, just a little. Lucifer gasps. “Everything’s going to be all right,” Gabriel promises. The blade is almost at his heart now. “Remember the last thing you said to me? We were going to see the universe, remember?” Lucifer nods, two twin tears racing down his cheeks. The blade is just an atom’s length away from his heart. Gabriel leans forward to press a kiss to his forehead, and when he pulls away, he sees it, all of it, every star, every galaxy, swimming in his brother’s teary eyes. “Close your eyes.”

 

Lucifer does, and world goes white.