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Fairly Decent Omens; Or; The Prophecies Seemed to Forget that Babies need to come from Somewhere.

Chapter Text

If there was one thing Lucifer Morningstar, King of Hell, The Greater Adversary, He of Sulfur and Brimstone, and Lord of Far Too Many Names, etc, knew with all certainty, it was that being an absent parent led to Trouble. The kind worthy of a capital T.

 

The kind of Trouble that could lead to great bloody comets of fire escorting one’s formally angelic self to a throne they did not want and a kingdom they did not enjoy, thank you very much. But in the case of Adam Young, former Antichrist and current leader of the four horsemen of the not-pocalypse, The Them, he suspects that being absent was perhaps the only thing that gave his son a fighting chance.

 

And that's a good thing, because that comforting thought is the only thing that keeps the Greater Adversary from clutching a faded polaroid, provided by one greater demon Crowley-Fell [1], nee Crowley, nee Crawly, Serpent of Eden, and bawling his bloody red eyes out. Being a parent is hard, and not only because his son could rewrite reality at will.

 

Of course, all of this is a rather dramatic way to start a story. The real start of this story is the devil forgetting to use a condom. 

 

In his defense, Angels are generally unable to procreate. We say generally, because of one unfortunate social experiment in the B.C.’s which led to a very volatile family of giants existing on a plane not meant for them.

 

But then, one supposes that having to constantly bend down to speak to people would put anyone out of sorts.

 

Lucifer, being the sort of Angel that had very little patience for exacting routine, both before and after the Fall, found that visiting earth every fifty hell years or so, [2would greatly improve his tolerance for things like demon rebellions and whiny imps.

Of course, this meant that when his greater and lesser demon generals thought it about time to end the world, they knew exactly when he would be topside, and in a position to actually create the antichrist.

 

Which was rather complicated in it’s own right.

 

At some point in the distant past, before all that mess with the Garden and the cute angel of the eastern gate that Lucifer knew Crawly had his eye on, and that blasted flaming sword, Lucifer, nee Samael,[3was unceremoniously informed that he would end the world.

 

This was rather rude, as Lucifer was, at that moment, forming the most beautiful nebula out past Orion Five, [4] and was rather too distracted to realize what he’d been told. 

 

And then that bit with the questions happened, because every family has that one child who simply can’t keep his mouth shut, and he was rather preoccupied with cleaning the fires of hell off his wings.

Lovely wings, they were. White and glowing and deeper than the night sky when you dared to look.

 

Anyways, once he was done cleaning those off, and beating the demons in his realm into some semblance of corporate order, he realized that under the current model, hell would remain empty.

 

Because without knowledge of good and evil, humanity would never fall. [5]  

The truth, of course, is that by tempting Eve into that forbidden fruit, Lucifer gave humanity access to heaven.

 

Hell as well, and that's the bit he needs you to focus on, because none of this works if his soldiers think he’s gone soft over the creative little apes, so please. Focus.

 

We had Lucifer, lounging on a sulfur throne, beckoning a greater demon forward, one he recognized from that lovely bit of colour past Alpha Centauri [6]and sending him up to cause a spot of trouble.

 

Also to see if that rather fluffy looking fellow could be of any use.[7]

And suddenly the pets that G-d put above their own children started growing . Building things, fantastic things, cursing at the sky and the sea and bending them to their will by stubbornness alone.

 

He posted Crawly on earth permanently. It would have been him either way, but he knew Gabriel [8]  had approved Aziraphale’s [9request to be stationed on earth.

 

He couldn’t very well refuse Crowley’s request then.

 

It was somewhere around watching Crowley mope over a cup of wine in Ancient Mesopotamia [10] that he remembered the Antichrist.

 

Well, that’s the human name for them. Or the concept of them. The Divine name for the end of the world (male or female, or neither, hell doesn’t much care) starts with a lovely trill and ends somewhere deep in your primaries, echoing through your bones. 

 

We doubt humans could pronounce it.

 

Being able to rewrite reality is rather more like rewriting code than waving a magic wand.[11

There are some basics you can’t mess with, some fundamental laws that need to be around or the whole thing collapses like your freshly folded laundry when the cat gets into it, but other then that it’s open season.

 

So Lucifer set up some ground rules. 

  1. To bear the antichrist, the mother must have a full and accurate understanding of what she was doing.[12]
  2. Lucifer must have a full understanding of what he was doing. [13]
  3. That’s it really. More than that he wasn’t sure what he could do. Considering that as far as he knew he was incapable of having children at all, he figured this would be enough.

Which brings us back, in a rather round-about way, to the devil forgetting, or more accurately assuming he wouldn't need, a condom.

 


 

[1] It had been a lovely wedding, fantastic desserts, something Lucifer suspected to be Aziraphales doing. Call it a hunch. [ return to text ]

[2]That’s five of our years, if you were wondering whether hell could help you extend your vacation hours. It could, but we really can’t recommend it. Dreadfully hot, and always smelling like burnt meat.[return to text]

[3] But we don't suggest you mention that if you value all your internal bits staying internal. [ return to text ]

[4] Except it was called something else in Enochian, something of a cross between a gentle hum and soft sigh tangled into a single unearthly note, a name it would still respond too should it’s lord ever get his head out his ass and call out. [return to text]

[5] They would never rise either, but most demons don’t think that far and Lucifer will avoid admitting that to his very last breath. [return to text]

[6] It was a brilliant bit of work, that, but it's considered rather rude to mention past occupations down there. Even demons have their standards. [return to text]

[7] And by use, he means anyone that missed the dramatic heart shaped snake eyes Crawly flashed at him was blind. If you think G-d was playing a long job with those two, keep in mind that Lucifer is still, despite centuries of very vehement denial, his father's son. [return to text]

[8] The absolute git. [ return to text]

[9] He knew he had recognized his great nephew, poor chap looked worn out every time Gabe, the bloody ass, showed up. [return to text]

[10] It was an off day for him, and the Mesopotamians had some fantastic grapes. [return to text]

[11] Although there are people who do that, it's all rather inefficient and also a waste of time. Real power doesn't need flashy extras. [return to text]

[12] Considering Satanism wasn’t really A Thing yet, this rule made perfect sense. No one could possibly know, so no one could bypass this rule. Lucifer was a mite optimistic back then. [return to text]

[13] Look, the devil isn’t an idiot. He may be the Greater Adversary, but there are things down in hell that could knock even him out, and he wasn’t about to let the world end because he got roofied.[return to text]

Chapter Text

Around somewhere between World War Two and Vietnam, the Devil started suffering a bit of an existential crisis.

While this is a more common occurrence than you would think, this time he was left wondering why in all the seven hells humanity had started to backslide. And they had been doing so well too - moving towards some proximation of global peace, and here he was, dealing with the backlash of yet another of their infernal wars.

 

Humanity, you see, was supposed to be better than this. [1]

 

Regardless, his demon generals [2] decided that now was a good time as any to begin the end.

 

In their defense, there was terrible telly reception down below.

 

The Order of the Chattering Nuns, having been informed that his Lordship would be wanting a vessel for the Lesser Adversary, Destroyer of Kings, Angel of the Bottomless Pit, Great Beast that is called Dragon, Prince of This World, Son of Lies, Spawn of Satan and Lord of Darkness, and if any of them were good at getting picked up in high end bars would they please step forward?

They had to draw lots.

Sister Debbie Discordant, having clutched the coveted red paper in her elegant fingers, was currently waiting in a lovely glass and chrome bar on some small backstreet in Portland, because while the Devil was increasingly anxious over the state of, well, everything, [3] Portland was the last place you'd ever expect to find a Satanist. 

 

And normally he'd be right. 

 

The thing about Divinity, and for that matter, Demonity, is that it smells. Not a scent that humans could pick up, but something that they were certainly aware of.[4]

The more time one would spend in the company of a celestial, whether of above or below, the stronger they would smell of It. If there had been another semi-divine, divine, or otherwise damned being in the bar that night, Lucifer would have known immediately and turned to leave. 

 

But if one where to spend only enough time in the company of such a being, say, enough time to receive an address and a general description[5] then the occult would rub off just enough to make a person irresistible to one accustomed to the smell. 

 

It's the way some people remind you of home despite being from Australia, when you yourself are from Canada. 

 

And so we have Debbie Discordant, smelling of J’Adore and Eau de Damned, innocently awaiting her glorious future. We have Lucifer, who really just wants a night out, nothing more. 

And we have Lord Beelzebub, who thinks their boss is being oddly coy about wanting the end times, but figures that taking the initiative would be good for zir CV.[6]

 

We won't bore you with the mechanical details, but when the sun came up, Debbie Discordant shared a ciggie with the King of Hell, after coming to the conclusion that his real title should be King of the Sack. She also realized that while being a nun had been nice, she certainly wasn't going to spend the next few years not enjoying the world she helped end. 

In her opinion, that one night made it all rather worth it.[7]

 

Lucifer, of course, was having no such thoughts, secure in the knowledge that the fail-safes he set up all those years ago would stop any pregnancy before it started. However, he was wondering if he had time for breakfast at that excellent restaurant down the road. 

 

You simply couldn't get decent pancakes in hell. 

 

There are two possible scenarios for why Lucifer’s rules did not prevent the conception of the Antichrist. 

The first, is that he did not account for fertility rituals and hedge magic working on angelic beings, present or former. Nor did he count on satanists knowing they would need to include them.[8]

 

The second, far more likely, is that Lucifer was a maudlin and dramatic drunk, and had not set up his rules to be as loop-hole free as he might like to think.[9]

 

This is ironic, since the Greater Adversary is the most skilled prosecuting lawyer there ever was, or ever would be. 

Loopholes are kind of his thing. 

To review - 

  1. Debbie Discordant was fully aware of what she was getting herself into.[10]
  2. Lucifer walked into that bar knowing he was about to take someone home and give them the best night of their lives. While he did not know he was about to get someone pregnant, for the Rules, the first bit of knowing was good enough, considering that Lucifer was an adult[11] and perfectly aware of how babies are made. The Rules were rather petty like that. 
  3. Lord Beelzebub knew a little bit too much about Angel Fertility and had prepared. This is less creepy when you remember that Heaven and Hell have been preparing for this for about 6,000 years, give or take an eon, but still fairly creepy. 

 

The Antichrist, soon to be known as Adam, [12]was born into this world at precisely 6 pm, on the 6th day of the 6th month. 

This was a coincidence. 

 

It was an unremarkable birth, in that everything went as expected. It was remarkable in that all in attendance were Satanists, but there have been a number of births where all in attendance were Catholics, so really. Not that remarkable at all. 

 

He greeted the world with a loud wail, one that made the nurses coo proudly and the doctor smile at his healthy lungs and the mother silently thank someone that she would not be raising the sweet thing.

 

What none of them knew, was that this first wail, while not shattering their eardrums or driving them mad with devotion, as some prophets had deemed a possible outcome, was actually a word. 

 

An enochian word. 

 

And so for nine months (almost ten years in hell time) Lucifer Morningstar was blissfully unaware that he was about to become a new father. He didn't even have time to get some blue wrapped cigars ordered. 

 

No, he found out the same way a number of absentee father's did - with an aching wail that echoed through him and woke him from a rather lovely dream. [13]

It took about two seconds for him to process what he had heard, and even then he could only glare up at the bedrock of his ceiling in dismay. 

 

“Oh bugger,” he whispered. All things considered, it was a reasonable reaction.

 


 

[1] And despite centuries of only seeing their worst, Lucifer still believed that. Optimism is like divinity - awfully clingy and rather useless in a crisis. [return to text]

[2] Excepting Mazikeen, because she wasn’t an idiot, thank you very much, and Crowley, who was busy getting the stop lights to blink for two seconds longer.[return to text]

[3] And who could really blame him.[return to text]

[4] Divinity smells like candied oranges, if you’re wondering. Demons like to say they smell like burnt offerings on the altar of evil, but really they smell like toasted marshmallow.[return to text]

[5] Which was unnecessary, because Lucifer was fairly easy to spot even when he wasn't trying.[return to text]

[6]This was a false assumption. In fact, initiative is very much frowned upon in hell, ever since Azazel went and got the goats linked to their Lord and Kings throne. No one is quite sure how they did it, but it was a hell of a demonic tangle fix up and Lucifer is still pissed at all the innocent goats that keep getting sacrificed in his name.

He'd always rather liked goats, before. Now he has several dozen demonic goats who were slaughtered by misguided idiots and for some reason he feels a sort of responsibility to their well being.

Needless to say Azazel is still on goat-sitting duty.[return to text]

[7] Whether or not the rest of humanity agreed is unclear.[return to text]

[8] They did, and they had.[return to text]

[9] In his defense, the Mesopotamians have come the closest to manna wine in all of humanities history. It even managed to get an archangel flat out drunk.

That archangel was Michael, and they do not appear in this story. For good reason.[return to text]

[10] In terms of ‘bearing the Antichrist and ending the world’. She was not prepared for morning sickness and swollen ankles. And the shrunken bladder.[return to text]

[11] Mostly.[return to text]

[12] Or Warlock, depending on who you asked, and when.[return to text]

[13] Angels and demons do not dream naturally. He had special ordered this dream, and it was of the French court too. Lucifer loved the French court. Just enough decent people to keep it interesting, with a healthy dose of bastards to keep it hellish.[return to text]

 

Chapter Text

Arranging the birth of the Antichrist behind their boss’ back was Beelzebub's greatest accomplishment to date. 

 

Of course, had they known the incandescent rage that filled the Lord of Sulfurs’ chambers following the news of his son's birth, they would have perhaps been less proud. Nothings really says “You’ve Done Messed Up” like an angry devil.

 

However, Lucifer was still a politician. He had to be, despite hating the slimy things. If you couldn't play at the game[1] down in hell, you were dead. Or rather, unmade, which is not as pleasant or as relaxing as it sounds. 

There were laws against that sort of thing for a reason. 

 

There is the briefest moment where Lucifer contemplates killing the baby.

And we know what you’re thinking. How dare he think of harming a poor defenseless child, an innocent, a blank slate![2]

To be quite honest, he wasn't entirely wrong. One single soul, against the countless others who could die early and horrific deaths. One soul, against the world. And it's not like he was condemning them to hell - all babies go to heaven, and while Lucifer might find the Silver City to be a dead bore,[3] that was because he had spent almost several lifetimes there before this whole spiel began. It would be well, Heaven, for a human. Or a half human. 

However, the idea lasted less then a second, in the way stupid ideas do when one is desperate. Also, Beelzebub had brought down the baby for a demonic blessing before the rest of the plan was set in motion, and Lucifer was distracted by their entrance.

 

For now, he figured it would be best to see where this mess goes. Worst case scenario he’s stuck leading an army, best case scenario he - well, the best case scenario is that he meets the child and it isn’t even his and he can go back to bed. Maybe sleep in for once.[4]

 

 

There are very few children in hell, and the few there are, are frankly terrifying . Even the demons admit it in low whispers over brimstone wine. But there is something delightfully innocent about babies, in a way that even They are not tempted to corrupt.[5] 

The fact that they quickly grow into tiny agents of chaos is only an added bonus.

 

In the hour between being unceremoniously yowled at by his (presumably his anyways) newborn son across dimensions, and then actually meeting the chap, Lucifer had had plenty of time to wonder what he would look like. 

 

Hideous, no doubt, like his father's true face. Maybe flaming red eyes with a satyr like brow. Maybe tiny hooves, despite that being more rumour then truth.[6]

He did not expect a golden haired child who trilled into his shoulder, snuffling at his neck and smelling of lavender. 

 

Babies imprint like ducklings, everyone knows that. What most people don't always realize is that a fair number of parents imprint right back, like larger and more awkward mother ducks. Or maybe geese, considering the hideous lengths parents will go for their children. 

 

Or perhaps even swans.

 

Even before the Baby Adversary had opened his eyes Lucifer was gone on him, in a way that would have been tragic had he cared. Which Lucifer did not. At all. 

Care, that is.

 

Maze sidled up beside him, all sharp edges and pointy teeth, trying to reign in her corners before glaring over his shoulder. This had nothing to do with her opinion of the baby, Maze was simply one of those people primarily built for glaring, and in her current profession, this was considered an advantage. She had ordered the others out with a hiss and flick of the tongue, because Lucifer being  soft in front of others might not lead to his downfall but would cause an unnecessary mess[7]. Mostly because demons had no appreciation for subtlety. 

Upon hearing that the Antichrist was now alive on the mortal plane, all ten fingers and ten toes and reality warping/destroying capabilities of him, Mazikeens only reaction was to shrug, polish her knives, and say, in a voice devoid of all emotions except indifference[8], “Congratulations, you’re officially a DILF.”

 

Mazikeen of the Lillim was an interesting creature. In the beginning, she offered her allegiance out of a grudging respect, and a bleeding ambition to be more than what Hell had decreed her. It took all of a century for Lucifer to earn her undying loyalty[9].

There are Kings and Tyrants. Maze has met, and punished, both. She knows she would rather serve under a king. 

 

And unlike Lucifer, she does not remember her mother. Or maker. Or whatever spark looked into the abyss that banished chaos left behind and though to give it form. She remembers Sulfur and Ash and the Scent of something New. Watching her king, her leader through every new political plot and rebellion and ill begotten war, with a child, his child, only reminded her that her instincts had been correct. 

 

Of course they were, they have to be, she's the right hand to the king of hell. No careless demon would last in that position very long.

 

“Are those his mother's eyes?” She asks, voice irreverent as ever, but curious.

 

We all know someone who claims to have eyes that change color with the weather, or their moods. Most of us ignore it at this point, because even in the very small chance that it’s true, we don’t really care. Lucifer Morningstar was the Lightbringer, he had formed every star under the Canopy personally, every beacon of light answered to his name. Light possesses all color. In his case, should he claim it, it would be true. 

 

(There is no starlight to reflect in hell. It is all hellfire, and that burns red.)

 

“No.” Lucifer whispers, because his son - his son - is asleep. “Those are mine.”

 

Those stupid ideas that one gets in desperation had also whispered that maybe it was all a mistake, maybe Amenedial had finally cocked something up for once, and gone and had a baby, but no. 

 

This was very much his child, and he was very much screwed. 

 

Here's the thing about angels and demons, under all that Divine and Infernal and mucking about with the Ineffable. They aren't complicated. 

 

They look complicated, because there are layers and caverns and things buried so deep most of them don't know that they're there, [10] but they aren't. 

This is because angels, and subsequently demons, were created with a Function. 

 

Humans, on the other hand. Humans just are . That is their function, and that is their gift.[11]

 

Humans are complicated. Loud and crass and soft and beautiful, all at once. They are, above all, fragile. They break very, very easily. It’s actually quite amusing, how easily humans are damaged, when you compare that to their standing on the cosmic scale. Out of every species in the Vastness, this is the one God chose to dote upon. No wonder it made some angels huffy.

 

What Lucifer wanted to do, in that moment, was take the Lesser Adversary, swaddled in a soft microfiber red blanket, and look at him. At his tiny toes and tiny hands and tiny curved ears. 

And then he wanted to call court, all the greater demons and lesser demons and lillim and lillits and imps and have them look at him, to express the awe and amazement that he knew this child was worthy of. 

And then, when the denizens of hell had sufficiently endorsed his fatherly pride, he wanted to storm the heavens, gather the host, crowd before his brethren and their pearly halo crowns and show them. Maybe even kick in the door of the old throne room and drag Dear Old Dad into the mix. 

 

 Look! He wanted to shout look at this tiny human I have somehow created! Look at how perfect he is!

 

This is what Lucifer wanted to do. What he did , was stare at the darling little lips and the curly golden hair and the eyes that reflected a star-filled day sky he had not seen in eons and sighed. 

 

Mazikeen leaned forward once again and clicked her tongue. “He's not bad for a baby.”

 

For some reason this made Lucifer's heart swell with pride, and he let that overwhelm him for a moment. 

 

And then he put aside everything he wanted to do, which for some reason included buying a bicycle despite knowing the Lesser Adversary was currently far too young for one, and also believing bicycles to be incredibly undignified, and decided upon some things which he needed to do.

 

He needed to place the baby under a minor time altering bubble, so that for the next few hours the child would not age or get hungry or do anything but sleep peacefully while the world continues around him[12]

He needed to make sure the child’s brief encounter with Demonity would not release his great and terrible power before his eleventh birthday, as prophesied[13].

And he knew, beyond any of the other thousands of things, that no matter what, he needed to make sure this child would not grow up in hell.

 

This may seem obvious to you, but bear in mind that Lucifer knew very little about human babies[14].

Despite his general distaste for all things formal, and his sudden and violent annoyance at anything that might put distance between him and the child, he did need to call the court. Some bright sparking idiot had decided to form the End of All Things without asking the End of All Things Father about that, and so no doubt they had a semi decent plan in place for how to raise the thing. 

 

Barring that level of foresight, there were always some prophecies to follow. 

 

Beelzebub seemed inordinately pleased with themselves, but whether that was because Lucifer wasn't unmaking The Fly with hellfire, or because apparently the Lord of Hell had come around to the Great Undoing was unclear.

Possibly both.

 

It was uncommon[15] for a child to be present, even more so for that child to be curled into the lapels of the Devils black suit. If anyone thought it strange that Lucifer held the Lesser Adversary through the Gathering of the Court, they did not comment. Hell knew better than to question its lord. 

 

The Lesser Adversary, for his part, slept through the explanation of the future with only the briefest sigh and wiggle deeper into his father's shoulder. 

 

If anyone noticed how Lucifer's hand curled over his head, or how his eyes softened, they did not let it show.

Although, most of hell’s denizens are rubbish at emotions, so it’s very plausible that no one did.

 

Beelzebub was just rounding out zir explanation of some detail or other that Lucifer was ignoring completely, knowing that Mazikeen would listen and question, and then inform him of anything he might miss. Right now his mind was rapidly switching between options, wondering how and why and if and when

 

It was also wondering how in the world this tiny thing could set his whole self at ease.

 

There are a number of similarities between hell and heaven. Most of that is in the way they’re run, a complex blend of detailed reports and planning and careful nudging in the correct department, and then something the lillum have dubbed ‘Impulsive Demoning’. It is surprisingly effective, in that for 6,000 years both sides have managed to do just enough to maintain a balance between them, while not overshadowing the fantastic abilities of humanity themselves.

 

All in all, it’s a very delicate operation.

 

And, as Lucifer realized upon taking control of his kingdom some eons in hell-years ago, delicate operations needed to have someone managing, and monitoring, all aspects of it in order to keep functioning.

 

You didn’t think he asked for those reports for his own amusement, did you? [16]

And so while Beelzebub droned on, taking credit for the entire infernal plan, Lucifer wondered which one of his equally terrifying[17] district managers had helped them iron out this little plot.

 

They were all clever, and rather viscous, (as well as vicious), but Ba’al was far too loyal to go behind his back, Alecto was cunning, but lazy, which he respected, Ashteroth was still bitter over that demotion and would jump at the chance but simply wasn’t imaginative enough for this particular plot’s needs. 

 

No, if Beelzebub had half the brains needed to make this idea work, which they clearly did, evidenced by the tiny wiggling bundle drooling into his shoulder, then they would have only had one real option.

 

“And where is Layton?” Lucifer interrupted what was no doubt a stunning tribute to The Fly’s abilities, but one he did not have time to listen too.

 

“Layton, my lord?” 

 

“Yes, yes, you were very clever, the End of All is arrived, we both know you wouldn’t know the first thing about childbirth-and-placement, so. Where is Layton.” Lucifer smiled a little too wide, teeth a little to sharp, and wings, which he normally kept stored on a plane away from here, curving over his child like a silver shroud knit of knives.

 

They really were beautiful wings.

 

They also had the fantastic ability to scare even the most rebellious demon into line, which meant that Beelzebub had Layton called quickly enough that Lucifer was still nursing his annoyance when he arrived.

 

Dick Layton had arrived in hell some thirty years ago, and upon realizing he would be either tortured or subservient for all eternity, decided to do what he had done best in the real world.

 

Lie and cheat and ride the coattails of his coworkers to land a cushy job that would give him power over other people. 

 

If you need further reference of his character, Dick was technically not his given name.

 

He was unremarkable looking, carrying three thick files and a binder under one arm, sweater vest stained with something Lucifer really hoped was mustard. Everything in hell was so filthy, why he bothered importing suits he was never sure.

 

Probably because he was still a vain bastard, above all. 

 

Lucifer may have tolerated Dick’s rise in the impish ranks, but this was mostly due to the amusement he felt every time he commanded someone to “Bring me Dick”, and “What does Dick have for me today”.

 

So the Devil has a childish sense of humor, sue him. He believed that one had to take their laughs where they came down here.

 

Asides for his willingness to corrupt his eternal soul for a mildly more comfortable position, and his amusing name, Dick was also quite good at collecting and categorizing reports. He had no morals, no backbone, and no loyalty to anyone but himself, but his filing system was as close to a work of art anyone had ever seen in hell. Of course Beezlebub had gone to him.

 

“Mr. and Mrs. Dowling, Cultural Attaches to the American Embassy, currently 38.3 weeks pregnant and going into labour as we speak, My Lord.” Dick never looked Lucifer in the eye, perhaps knowing that he had an eternity to grovel and to understand what exactly he had promised of himself, or perhaps, and this was more likely, considering his character (or lack thereof), he was distracted by the glittering diamond throne in the center of the room.

 

Lucifer glanced down at the file he was handed with distaste, one arm still curled over his son’s head, the other covering his back. 

 

While he may have been the Lord of Hell, King of All in its Realms, he did not entirely trust anyone here with his child. This was less paranoia and more experience. And should someone, (no doubt suicidal), attempt something, (no doubt ill planned), he needed both of Mazekeen’s hands free.

 

The logical solution to this was to allow the protective bubble to expand slightly and hover at his side, like some sort of cherubic imp over his left shoulder.

 

Dick Layton, despite his decision to ravage his eternal soul in exchange for a cushy paperwork job, was still the most human being in the room. Which is perhaps why he thought it ok to eye the Lesser Adversary, curious as to how the End of All Things would actually look.

 

A giant white wing blocked his view before he could get a proper eyeful. The expression twisted onto Lucifer’s face was enough to make him regret eating lunch, and breakfast, and possibly dinner, as they were all in danger of making a reappearance rather soon.

 

The fact that he had not eaten in over thirty years was entirely inconsequential. 

 

It is one thing to face down the Lord of Hell and ask to abandon his God Given Grace for a chance to serve him. It is another thing entirely to face the Lord Of Hell while he was being a protective parent.

 

“Tadfeild!” The town burst out of him unbidden, more an attempt to distract his Sulferness from his current impression of a mother goose[18].

“They’ll be visiting a town called Tadfield, where some of our agents run a birthing hospital. If all goes to plan she will be the only human giving birth tonight, and so the exchange can happen as efficiently as possible.” Layton kept babbling about air fields and official visits, and chattering nuns.

 

Which reminded him, he needed to disband those nuns. Whomever had thought of that originally needed a demotion.

 

Lucifer’s eyebrows drew down, and he flipped through the file with a calculated disinterest.

 

The family was disturbingly familiar. 

 

A father who was distant, but only in a careless way, interested in his family when it was convenient. Not neglectful perhaps, and not entirely unloving, but still. More a Father Figure than a father. A mother who was beautiful and headstrong and believed that her way would always be the right way, and so was insistent on it. A dynamic that played across every aspect of their lives.

 

He wondered if the child was meant to save their marriage or end it.

 

It didn’t matter. His son was not going to be a Dowling, not if he had any say in any of it.

 

Which meant, practically speaking, that he needed someone to take the Lesser Adversary topside, someone who was stationed on earth and could keep an eye on the boy, in case his end of this hastily slapped together counter-plan went bad. Someone who would not make a muck of things.

 

“Crowley.” he muttered, eyeing the Dowlings spending reports with distaste. 

 

“Excuse me, my lord?” 

 

He looked up, finding the court staring at him with a cross between horror and awe. His wings were still drawn, hovering protectively over the baby. Maze, right hand to the devil and hell’s most skilled torturer, was pulling faces, trying to get a reaction out of the little thing, but somehow no one noticed.

 

Angel wings will do that to you.

 

“Crowley,” he said, letting his voice echo over the chamber. “He has been stationed on earth long enough, and knows how to corrupt a human child of this century. Let him deal with the delivery and subsequent assignment.”

 

If anyone was disappointed they didn’t let it show. 

 

Lucifer doubted they were. To them, the Lesser Adversary was an ends to a means, not a person. He didn’t let the rage die down, let it simmer through his eyes and posture and the arching of his wings into feather fine blades. 

 

They wouldn’t dare interfere with his instructions.

 

Now, to try and make sure that the Dowling’s never came close to his son.

 


 

[1] Inconsequentially, when Game of Thrones starts airing, it is immensely popular in hell. Political machinations are something they understand very well.

They also started pestering Lucifer about the dragons again, and personally he finds it all very tedious. Dragons can't survive on the mortal plane, never have been able to since the atmosphere balanced out, it's far too cold up here for a species with lava as blood. Try explaining that to an imp though, the most they understand about biology is which bits are squishy and will hurt when poked.[return to text]

[2] Or perhaps you didn’t think that at all, since we are talking about the Devil. In which case, shame on you. Even Hell has its standards.[return to text]

[3] There was also quite a bit of self denial in there. Everyone loves the Silver City. That is its function. Although we suppose being thrown from the gates with your wings chained and slowly being set on fire by the atmosphere might cause one to develop an aversion to a certain location.[return to text]

[4] Lucifer had always only wanted free will. Being the unwitting father of the apocalypse had brought that up rather forcefully in a way that would have presumably unforeseen consequences. The fact that this plan was also entirely foretold made him wish he had one of those new-fangled therapists on staff to shout at. Instead he would just have to sleep all the feelings away.

That works about as well for angels and demons as it does humans.[return to text]

[5] It's actually shockingly difficult to corrupt babies. It’s all in the cheeks.[return to text]

[6] Entirely Rumor. Lucifer was the king of hell, not the king of demons, a technicality that meant he got all the complaints directed at Ashmidai and none of the vacation hours.

He is the Lord of Demons however. But that’s just more politics.[return to text]

[7] There was a bit here about the differences between being fallen and Fallen, and how Mazikeen is more perceptive then most Angels and Greater Demons and know the difference, and how The Devil is a title more then a being, but it was cut due to budget constraints.[return to text]

[8] She had worked with Lucifer long enough to know this wasn’t going to be her problem. Hopefully.[return to text]

[9] Lucifer was still fairly young and foolish at that point, as much as God's supposed favorite had ever been naive, or foolish. She had his loyalty in under a decade. She never ended up proving him wrong, and so he doesn't know of that discrepancy.[return to text]

[10] Angels are the poster children for repression. This is also by design.[return to text]

[11] This is also what caused the rift in heaven. That is technically irrelevant, and so we shall leave it at that.[return to text]

[12] He did this, taking special care to make the bubble shiny and colorful and distracting. Maze knew better then to comment, although she did smirk.[return to text]

[13] It had not. The charm and beauty of his child was completely genetic, a fact that made his chest swell again.[return to text]

[14] Angel babies, as in new angels who were not quite formed, he could have dealt with. Beings of ephemeral existence blessed with the power of creation were easy when compared to a Human.

He had even been heavens favorite babysitter at a time, no matter what lies Gabriel might tell you. Anyone who would trust Gabriel with a baby was an idiot.[return to text]

[15] Uncommon, here, means unheard of, impossible, laughably unlikely, and ‘has never happened in the history of the infernal plane’.[return to text]

[16] Although he does enjoy Crowley’s reports. The demon always includes more than they intended too.[return to text]

[17] To the demons who turned in their reports late, at leas. Lucifer always found them rather amusing, if dry.[return to text]

[18] This is not a reference to the nursery rhyme. Geese are the only earth animals demons, as a whole, have ever felt any sort of affinity for. There is a good reason to that.[return to text]

Chapter Text

If one were to do research into Lucifer Morningstar, beginning at the start of time[1] and proceeding until Now, they would find that there are more misconceptions and half truths available than there are facts.

One of the most persistent ones seems to be the presence of horns. Another is his opinion of divinity.

That is to say - that he hates all things divine, and that being in the mere presence of something like say, holy water, will cause him to go shrieking back to hell in a dramatic opposite of the bat metaphor.[2]

Like most of humanities beliefs of the Divine and Infernal, this is not quite accurate. 

Lucifer thinks most of the divine to be a series of plumped up, feathery, self righteous bastards, more concerned with winning imaginary points in the longest game of one-ups-man-ship (against the infernal, mostly, and occasionally each other) than actually doing their jobs. Their job, of course, being anything that would help improve the world.

 

Being that most sentients graced with family believed that of their siblings, his opinion may be taken with a grain of salt. [3]

 

However, we are also obligated to point out that as he was the Lord of Hell and all it’s denizens, fallen and demons and broken souls, it does give him a first hand account of how badly they were fucking things about, up there. 

No one can keep track of a wicked soul like the Devil.[4]

Most souls that were dragged down to hell by the weight of their guilt settled into their hell loops without a peep, accepting the punishment they believed they deserved. It only took 300 years or so, with some minor tweaking, before they started seeing the patterns and forced themselves to change, dragging their way out with a tenacity that would have impressed him if he wasn’t annoyed by their presence in the first place.

They barely needed any rehabilitation before recognizing, and fixing, their mistakes, which meant they never should have landed here in the first place.

 

That’s the wonder of humans. That’s their true grace. They can change. And the fact that so many had never learnt that during their lives instead of after them infuriated him.

Mostly because the paperwork was uselessly complicated and he hated paperwork.

But while Lucifer may not have hated divinity, he did not make a habit of calling on it.[5] He had spoken to his siblings over the years, out of necessity or an overlap in domains,[6] but mostly it had been the ones who had heard that he was slumming it on earth and decided to join him for a pint,[7] and he never really called them. They just sort of, showed up.

 

He consoled himself with the fact that while he was directly calling divinity for help, at least it was an old favorite. And one who could keep her mouth shut.

Handing off the Lesser Adversary to Hastur, like some sort of demonic courier service, had been easier than he had expected. He had places to be, infernal fires to put out, and as much as he wished none of this was necessary he had known from the first enochian wail that the child could never be his. Not really. Not in the ways that counted. 

Well, if wishes were horses of the apocalypse we’d all die young, as the saying goes.

It helps that he has something to focus on, something tangible to take care of. Getting to Tadfeild, finding a pregnant woman,[8] figuring out what kind of family they were, this was all easy.

 

Convincing himself not to intercept Crowley at the hospital and simply take the Lesser Adversary back was becoming an increasingly difficult impulse to tamp down.

He could always retire, the Devil mused. Move to some tropical island, full of beautiful people and whiskey. Maybe buy the island, there always seemed to be one for sale. Leave Maze in charge for a while, it's not like he hasn’t done it before, look in on his investments. Raise the boy as normal as he could.

 

It was ridiculous, how he was hung up on a ‘what if’ that could never happen. 

 

And so the King of Hell lit another cigarette with a snap of his fingers, despite having a perfectly good lighter tucked into the pocket of his suit, and asked Maze, yet again, what she had learned.

 

Mazikeen of the Lillum was taking this whole plot surprisingly well. Possibly because she knew better then to allow the pesky emotions she certainly did not have to influence her, or maybe because in all her time she had yet to see a parent so truly and quietly desperate to protect their child.

You don’t get many good parents down in hell. 

 

She understood Lucifer better than he did, most of the time, and knew that pointing any of this out, pushing him into acknowledging any of it would only end in broken limbs. Probably hers, but why risk it? 

 

So she rolls her eyes and starts reciting with the air of someone who has said this exact thing many times before. “Mr. and Mrs. Young, boring in almost every way that counts. Some sort of accountant, keeps candy in his car for the local brats -” the good kind too, none of that sugar free crap. Maze may have liberated a few pieces. Or all of it. “ - They have family dinner every night and make sure to go on a nice date once a month, usually some place that serves good wine. They even foster kids, have one over right now.” She popped a cherry red sucker into her mouth, speaking around it as she watched the ash from his cigarette land near a patch of dying grass. 

“I found some receipts for the local widows and orphans funds, but that’s just taxes.”

 

Maze is clearly unimpressed by all this. ‘Good’ is not something that comes without strings attached, in her extensive experience.[9]

Lucifer fidgets again, adjusting his cuffs and glaring into the darkness, silently cursing his sister for being late. Considering her job, he might have expected it. Dozens of women around the world were waddling around doing the same.

“They’re solid,” she says, wondering if her boss’ razor covered softness was catching, rising closer to the surface then he had ever allowed it, or if the tiny human bundle had worked his charms on her as well. Either way didn’t matter much, all these feelings left her feeling sticky regardless of where they came from. 

And she was the Right Hand of Hell, so if Hell was currently acting like a very worried dad,[10] it was her job to fix it.

 

“Solid.” He repeats, more to himself then anyone else. 

It was the closest he had come to prayer in more than half the Universe's existence. Closer then he would ever admit.

 

“Ugh, Lucifer, so solid I almost gagged. He called her sweetheart and kissed her and read dumb books to the spawn she’s carrying.” Lucifer snickers, more amused at her disdain for casual affection that anything else.

 

You might be thinking, at this point, that Lucifer is selfish, disregarding Baby Young for the convenience and comfort of his own designs. You would be right, of course. Lucifer is incredibly selfish. He always has been, (so he says), and he has no reason to believe he will not continue to be so.

He is also, as he will take great care to remind anyone who asks,[11] Not A Monster.

 

Tadfeild was a decently sized town. Not small enough to be called a village, not large enough for anyone with great aspirations, but a comfortable place to live, with enough space to avoid one's neighbors and for the children to build tree-houses and forts. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson had purchased a house with a large tree in the yard, knowing that someday Mrs. Johnson would build a tree-house together with their child, or children, while Mr. Johnson brought them lemonade and cookies and the dog barked up the trunk. 

It had been fifteen years since they bought that house. Over time they had tried everything available, and some things that weren’t, in an attempt to make that lovely picture more than just a mental sketch they could take out and admire. Mrs. Johnson had even made a rather off-colour joke one evening, somewhere around the ten year mark, wine drunk and close to tears. It had been about Rosemary’s baby and the Devil’s apparent ability to bless unions. Or perhaps procreate with anything, it had been ironic, nonetheless. 

Lucifer did not listen to prayers, not anymore.[12] But the Johnson’s desire was for a child was so strong he could practically smell it from across town. It was loud and it was sticky sweet and it was pure.

 

Under normal circumstances he wouldn’t touch it, but normal was somewhere nine months behind and him and rapidly dying of dehydration. So in about six hours a woman from an agency, one that did not exist six hours ago and would not exist twenty four hours after, would call the Johnsons and make them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Lucifer might be selfish, he might be willing to tear families apart for his son, but that didn’t mean he would let a complete innocent come to harm.[13] It's just that he so rarely encountered a complete innocent.

Maze melted into the shadows, smelling the divinity ascending before her distracted companion noticed it. He had been divine, once. To him, it did not feel like a danger signal echoing through his every bone. 

 

Lailah looks exactly like you would expect the Angel of Souls to look. Currently, there are several crowding over her shoulder, bright and curious and tucked into her wings, almost ready to join the bodies being built for them out of atoms and cells and whispered hopes in nurseries. 

 

“I need a favor,” he says, cutting away the pleasantries he would usually start with, not sure how to explain the tangled mess he’s gotten into this time.

Well, technically, they’re all in on this one.

 

Her voice is a lullaby, and even he isn’t immune. “Aren’t favors your thing, brother dear?” It floats over them like snow, or ash, and settles between his feather with a soft hush.  The fact that they are currently not-of-this-plane does not matter.

 

“Well, yes. But, you know how it goes, desperate times and all that.’

 

She knows. She is in charge of every soul as they come to earth, carries them and teaches them and lets them view the world in all it’s chaotic splendor. And then, when the time comes for them to scream into corporeal existence, she helps them forget.

Every souls first teacher, and the only one they may never remember.

She would have carried his son’s soul. It is mostly human, after all, and that is her domain. The question burning at the back of his mind had nothing to do with The End or favors or desire or the sound ash makes when it hits hits wings.

 

There is no doubt in his mind that she would have recognized the soul for what it was, and who it belonged to. 

He wants to know what kind of soul it was. 

Bright? Troubled? Weighed by a future it could not change, and yet could not avoid knowing?

 

Lailah had always been the most perceptive of Lucifer’s siblings, but now she just smiles.

 

Sometimes questions do need to remain questions.

 

“Surely you could have arranged an early birth without asking me, Luci.”

 Lucifer had long ago given up on asking his siblings not to butcher his name. Actually, he had never started, being far too surprised that they bothered using the correct one. This is because Lucifer, despite being an all powerful seraph with the ability to bend most of reality to his will, is an idiot. Even though he is harboring no ill will for his siblings,[14] he somehow never realized they might feel the same. [15]

By the time he realized they were cutting bits off his name, he had become rather … attached to the nickname.

 

Not that he would ever, ever , admit it.

 

“Technically I could, Alia, but you know I can’t anywhere near this one.” One wrong move, one whiff of brimstone, and the entire balance tips. It’s been years since Lucifer cared what Hell thought, approximately the same amount of time since he’s secured the throne, and he knows his control over them is enough. He could wave this away as something the infernal masses couldn’t, and shouldn’t understand. [16]

But Heaven could never know that he was trying. Those bastards had too much on him already.

 

Lailah smirked, lips curving over teeth he knew were too sharp for a human mouth, throat a little too deep for a human voice.

 

Everyone forgets that angels were predators first.

 

“Don’t pretend you don’t care, Lailah,” He whispers, diamond sharp and cutting with each word. “We both know who cried for the first soul in hell.”

 

The smirk fades into a grin, washed up with centuries of letting children grow without them. It must be hard, being the mother that all your children forgot. At least his stars still sing when he sees them.

He wonders if it burns like hellfire, the ache of letting them go, knowing what waited for them was only ever going to come through pain.

He wonders if it burned like sunshine, because there was light out there, one they could never know at her side.

 

He wonders when his siblings learned to love his parents pets more than They seemed to. 

 

“She is already in labour.” He spits out the cigarette, not knowing if he should curse or commend her apparent manipulations.

Commend, of course. The Devil can admire a clever trap, even when it catches nothing.

 

“Why do you think it took me so long to get here? I could hear that new soul all the way from the Silver City, Lucifer, and so I made a stop along the way.” Lailah steps forward, wings folding gently into the fifth dimension. “I should have figured you had been plotting something again.”

"I may have cried over the first soul in hell, Brother, but you were the only one to comfort me.”

 

She's gone, before he can muster a sufficiently scathing comment on her memory, before he can adjust his cufflinks with an insulted sniff, before he can deny something they both know is true.

 

He can hear the medical lorry careening in the distance.

 

Somewhere on Tadfields main road this suddenly foggy night is (1) a Bentley, containing one demon and a baby in a basket, (2) an Ambulance with a woman giving birth while cursing her husband's absence, and (3) a Small Red Car, driven by a man who is very relieved to find a medical lorry to follow on the way to the birthing hospital. His wife is eating cress sandwiches between contractions, figuring that she can be in pain and hungry, or be in pain and not hungry. Deidre Young is nothing if not practical.

There is also, on Tadfields main road this foggy night, a man who may or may not be overdressed for a midnight stroll, lighting the way with nothing but the odd red glow reflected off his footsteps, shadowed by a woman who is more dangerous than anyone this road has ever hosted. 

 

This is possibly the most traffic this road has ever hosted, and it carries a weight the asphalt was never meant to.

 

The night is just getting interesting.

 


 

[1] This would not include the beginning of his life, as Lucifer had existed outside the realm of forward motion for quite some while before the Universe, a separate entity entirely, caught up.[return to text]

[2] Bats, when they do wander into hell, rather lend themselves to the general aesthetic and don’t go shrieking anywhere. Of course, bats in general don’t shriek. They chirp, and this would make them the Hell equivalent of song birds.

Lucifer rather likes bats.[return to text]

[3] Or several.[return to text]

[4] It's kind of his job. Justice and Punishment take up enough of his time, it wouldn’t do much for anybody if he had to spend most of it running around, looking for them. No, that’s what hell-hounds are for.[return to text]

[5] With a few rare exceptions. Someone needed to keep track of the fledglings and we all know it wasn't going to be Gabriel.[return to text]

[6] If anyone, and he means anyone, tries messing with his stars while he was in hell they’d be in more trouble than a priest caught drunk on the sacramental wine. His babies may be self sufficient but that didn’t mean he wasn’t paying attention.

And most of them they were babies, only several trillion years old.[return to text]

[7] The ones who tried to drag him back to his throne early never did much talking. There had been that memorable time in 1095 but that mess had taken ages to sort out.[return to text]

[8] There were 3 currently, at least one far enough along to be useful. Lucifer was suddenly grateful for humanities inexplicable desire to procreate. Perhaps it was a more pleasant experience when the infant did not foretell the coming End Of All (earthly) Things.[return to text]

[9] Experience all gained in Hell, of course. That might have coloured her opinion a rather cynical shade of hellfire red.[return to text]

[10] Which he was, in the way that counted.[return to text]

[11] and some who don’t.[return to text]

[12] Prayer, and the answering of them, is a complicated thing, and one that most angels consider as natural as breathing. More natural, actually. All that sucking of air in and out can’t be good for you. At one point in time Lucifer had thought the same, but Satanists aside (most of whom are delightful people) anyone who prays in that direction is usually not praying for something nice.[return to text]

[13] Hell really does have rather high standards. None that you would recognize, perhaps, but they are there.[return to text]

[14] Almost no ill will, we should say, because siblings are sometimes Like That, and Lucifer has a ridiculously large family even before we start counting the cousins.[return to text]

[15] Again, some of them feel the same. Some are Gabriel.[return to text]

[16] He is not his Parent. His subjects know that when he does not explain something, it was for a good reason.

This is what he tells himself. The sinking deep in his flight feathers does not stop.[return to text]

Chapter Text

Later, about eleven years down the line, the Demon known as Crowley would begin speculating as to how exactly the Lesser Adversary was misplaced. After being interrupted by his angel, who spent most of the time on a dithering exposition regarding the inequity of evil, yada yada yada, and some poetic speechifying, he would eventually conclude that it was just (to quote), “An Ordinary Cock-Up”.

And he would be correct.

Or, more accurately, he would be technically correct. Most of it was due to people, (unfortunately and despite their best efforts,) being people, and the fact that things often get rather complicated when it comes to clandestine baby swaps.

But some of it was also due to design,[1] although certainly not Gods.

Lucifer, who had put some effort into all this,[2] would like to point out that his Parental Unit had nothing to with it, because They, unlike him, hadn’t bothered to check in on the general well being of their handy-work since the last great flood[3] anyways.

Or if They had, They were being awfully coy about it.

No, the design in question had more to do with The Devil having a better understanding of human nature then most assumed[4] and so was sticking his fingers into every pie he could manage, and a few that weren’t in play yet.

This was his son, wanted or not. Nothing but the barest essentials could be left to chance.

Actually, according to the birth certificate and several announcements in the papers, this was the Dowlings son, Warlock, a name that made his lip curl around pointed teeth. If he hadn’t decided to disband those nuns earlier he certainly would have done so now.

Warlock. Honestly, may as well have called him poison,[5] for all the teasing they could get.

It became a sort of game to them, another understanding that the rest of hell knew nothing about. Maze would ask, every three hell-years or so, if the reports on Warlock were in. Was Crowley really playing Nanny to a semi-human brat, and how in the seven hells was the old snake holding up?

Occasionally Mazikeen would ask about the Lesser Adversary and while the name Adam never passed through the halls, they both knew what she meant.

The first six (or sixty) years, still fogged up into uncertainty to the efficiency of his rather slapdash plan, were the hardest.

To Lucifer, who had several thousand epochs of experience in things like self flagellation and torture and pain of every variety, he was surprised to find that there were still new ways something could hurt him. This hurt.

It felt - and Lucifer spent enough time trying to drown it out to know how it felt - it felt like locking the heart he had forgotten he needed in a vice, and squeezing, over and over again.

So Lucifer, ever practical in the face of problems, decided not to care.

There are many stories humanity likes to tell about The Devil.[6] Most of them exist because of that wonderful combination of guilt, and trying to justify the unjustifiable while absolving oneself of aforementioned guilt. Over time, pointing fingers at the supernatural as the cause of all things wicked in the world became a tried and true method employed by a number of societies. After all, if The Devil Made Me Do It, clearly it’s all right. Not even my fault, is it?

The truth, of course, is that all of that’s a load of bullshit.

The Devil has never, in all his time, convinced anyone to do anything they didn’t want to.[7] There’s that bit with the apple everyone always brings up, but firstly the apple was someone else, and second, if having a conversation regarding the Rules, and Life, and how small they were in relation to each other and that the world couldn’t only be a garden was a sin, Lucifer suggests that everyone should mind their own business and never speak.[8]

Here is the truth, the one we seem to avoid desperately, buried under stories about fallen angels and temptations and the divine flowing through the veins of the universe - no celestial, infernal or divine, ever ate from the Tree of Knowledge.

If you wanted to know of Good and Evil, if you wanted to fall far enough to get back up again, you’d need to look to Humanity, because they did it first. And Best.[9]

To take another minor detour into the metaphysical, Light and Knowledge function in a very similar way. They both serve to fill the absence of something - and they both, once present and accounted for, call those who acquire them to a higher purpose. You cannot understand, cannot banish the darkness of you’ve never see it crawl away from the light.

You cannot perform Evil if you have no Knowledge of Good.

A tiger has no morals, a cat is not cruel for taunting a mouse, and a demon is only performing its function each time it lays another temptation out. Human beings are held to a higher standard, simply because it understands the choices before it. The understanding is what sets us apart, that choice we make to become more than an upright ape in a garden.

Lucifer had not wanted to end the world. He had not wanted a son. He had not wanted to meet tiny blue eyes filled with every star he’d ever woven out of atoms and fire and nitrogen, and to find that the heart he convinced himself he did not need and did not want had woken up, after all these years, and seemed to beat in time with those sleepy gasps.

Lucifer may not have had a choice[10] in fulfilling The Prophecy, but he’d be blessed if they could force him to care.

So he did not.

Of course, there are many ways of Not Caring. There’s the usual way, where he would manipulate hell loops because it was fun, and not because it helped souls ascend. Or the fact that he forbid demonic possessions because it led to a truly infernal amount of paperwork, and not because demons almost always went for children.

But when it came to the Antichrist, Not Caring showed itself differently.

There’s the way he insisted on detailed reports and then tossed them aside, burning them to ash.

Or the way he skipped each of Crowley’s in-house reports, barely bothering to read the minutes and ignoring the lies.[11]

So when Crowley told the other others how nicely Warlock was coming along, growing into his infernal role as sure as the sun came up every day, Lucifer did not know if he was lying. He could suspect, having centuries to read between the lines and knowing that if Crowley was with the boy, Aziraphale was probably nearby.

Of course, he had yet to confirm that his careful little switches had worked, and so the nail biting state of affairs lasted until six years passed on the mortal plane, and Mazikeen, having noticed the tension between Lucifer’s wings, rolled her eyes and kicked him out of the throne room.

“If you pace anymore you’ll wear a hole into the floor and I’m not fixing it for you. Come up with some dumb excuse to visit the spawn and then come back.” She yanked him up by the shirt collar, sprawling over his diamond throne like a particularly sharp cat.

Mazikeen was right,[12] but sometimes Lucifer had to wonder if he gave too much leeway to his demons. This time he straightened his jacket and informed the greater demons privy to his interests, which was perhaps three of them, that he some assets on Earth that needed looking in on.

The assets in question were currently about six years old, and despite having never met each other, shared a similar interest in dinosaurs, and bugs, and the kind of picture books that made noises.

It would take less than six minutes to confirm that his little gamble had been successful, and that the child hell and heaven had their eyes on, to corrupt or otherwise, was not the Antichrist.

Lucifer had cleared his calendar for a month.[13]

It had been rather straightforward to arrange a meeting with Mr Thaddeus Dowling, Cultural Attache to the American Ambassador.[14]

Even more so to arrive precisely 45 minutes early, apologizing to the charming secretary about his calendar mix-up and I don’t suppose there was a place he could wait for Mr. Dowling? It would be such a shame to leave now that they’d arrived.

The poor girl, clearly overworked and underappreciated, barely had the coherency to wave him towards an overstuffed couch, flushing deep red to her dyed blonde hairline. If Lucifer had the time, he may have wondered whether she looked like the stereotypical 60s secretary, and so had been hired, or if she had known exactly who she was sending her CV to, and so had chosen her look very carefully.[15]

Warlock wandered into the office precisely five minutes past two, when his daily walk with Nanny was finished. According to Crowley’s reports, he would always end his walk by trying to get his father’s attention, usually failing, and then go into the garden to watch the gardener pull up weeds.

It was rather easy to arrange a coincidental meeting when someone else did the legwork for you.

Tina, having finally gotten her cheeks down to a colour that was socially acceptable for someone not fighting a fever of 105 F, smiled at Warlock with more affection then she ever showed his father.

“I’m sorry sweetheart, he’s in meetings all afternoon. Did you want anything in particular? I can take a message for you.” She tugged open a drawer while speaking, rummaging around for the sweets she kept tucked under the guest lists and the takeaway menus she used when she stayed overtime. Which was often.

Warlock, being smarter than most gave him credit for, knew perfectly well that his father was not available. He also knew that Tina didn’t give a fig for nutritional content, unlike his mothers latest fad, and ate gummy bears like they were manna.[16]

There was the smallest chance his Dad might have five minutes between meetings to talk about whether Dinosaurs would have liked spaceships or submarines more, or, if the sun was a star did that mean the whole galaxy was really suns and not stars, or why the gardener and Nanny whispered together the same way Mom and Dad did, but then pretended they weren’t friends.[17]

The boy, who had a fistful of gummy bears in his right hand and grubby sort of toy car in his left, because miracles can only do so much when it comes to the inherent stickiness of children, wiggled onto the couch where Lucifer was pointedly not eavesdropping,[18] and began eating the candy one by one.

It is one thing to declare a theoretical baby redundant, and it’s another thing entirely to sit next to the baby-become-child as he offers you gummy bears with a curious expression and a rather shy smile.

Lucifer still doesn’t like kids.

However, he understands the rules of hospitality rather well, having taken advantage of them plenty of times, and to refuse the offered candy would be rude. Not to mention counterproductive. Besides, the blue gummy bears were the best and hardest to find.

“You’re here to meet with my dad?” Warlock asked around a half chewed bear, carefully selecting another one from his hand and swinging his feet.

“Don’t talk with you mouth full,” It was automatic, and admonition he had not used since he’d seen his youngest siblings, screaming through the sky as they played tag and flight paths.[19]

Apparently angels and demons were easier to intimidate then human children, or he was out of practice, if the look the Warlock gave him was anything to go by. “Oh, just give me another blue one, small human.”

Warlock snickered, carefully picking out a sticky blue bear and handing it over.

“Do you,” he asked, kicking his feet against the soft leather, “think that gummy bears have families?”

Lucifer is not used to being asked questions that weren’t followed by ‘My Lord’. He is not used to being asked questions that weren’t about torture or punishment or the expense reports from Lilith.[20]

“Well, I certainly hope not.” he answered, chewing carefully. “That would make eating them rather awkward, would it not?”

In the five minutes Warlock had spent sitting next to him, carefully eating his gummy bears while running the toy car over the couch, Lucifer noticed no infernal aura, no whispering imps hovering over his curls, no reality shifting slightly to the left and three steps back when he asked it to.

But the boy did smell like toasted marshmallows and candied oranges. The combination, while not unpleasant, meant that for the most part Crowley and his angelic tag-along where here, trying their damndest to keep him as human as possible.

A pity that’s all he ever was.


[1] Design, here, meaning someone standing by the side of the road and placing a few well thought out rocks down, as well as switching out the road signs.[return to text]

[2] All This being the passive prevention of the apocalypse. He would like to take the opportunity to remind everyone that he had nothing to do with things like Climate Change, Deforestation, or the prevalence of Baby Shark. That's all on humanity.

Crowley may have had something to do with that last one though.[return to text]

[3] Lucifer was still a bit bitter about Atlantis, as they had a lovely way of frying fish that no one could really replicate. And he had tried, over the last several epochs or so, but there was something missing from it all. Such a waste of culinary expertise.[return to text]

[4] Why? He had spent the last eon or so punishing them, did no one think he was paying attention?[return to text]

[5] For those without the benefit (or trauma) of a sunday school education, one of the many meanings of Samael is Poison of God. Suffice to say, Lucifer has strong feelings about naming children.[return to text]

[6] More then there are about angels, a fact that Lucifer would love to rub in his siblings faces, but honestly that's like trying to brag about how many parking tickets you have. You could, but is it really something to be proud of?[return to text]

[7] He keeps extensive records for precisely this reason. Mark Twain still owes him seven bucks and a short story of his choosing.[return to text]

[8] what came after the conversation, of course, was rather more personal and also more biblical then most describe. Suffice to say that Adam was actually a fantastic kisser.[return to text]

[9] Lucifer wanted free will. He may have fallen, but nowhere in the stories are we told that they got it.[return to text]

[10] And it always comes back to this - to choices.[return to text]

[11] The Prince of Lies, they called him, not realizing what it meant. He could read a heartbeat in the twist of a tongue, know if it was the truth before the words reached his ears. Personally, Lucifer never lied. Sticky things, complicated, and useless in the long run. Lucifer liked to say he preferred the truth, no matter how painful it was.

How much it burned.[return to text]

[12] she usually was.[return to text]

[13] this was only slightly over-dramatic, as in hell-years six minutes lasted considerably longer than six minutes. It was still fairly dramatic.[return to text]

[14] Exactly what culture they were importing Lucifer was not clear on. Guns and Violence and Weird Attitudes towards Sex were all thing England had figured out on their own. Perhaps it was Burgers. Lucifer was not above considering a well made hamburger sandwich a work of art.[return to text]

[15] It was a bit of both. Thaddeus, being the most typical sort of chauvinist, had rejected all the male applicants out-right.

Tina, having heard from a friend of hers that Mr. Dowling was a right tosser with only enough to brain cells to get his job and keep it, and he considered looking right for the job to be more important than any amount of experience, had time to prepare.

She promptly called her hair tech and bought a wardrobe right out of Remington Steel. If he wanted a pearl clutching, skirt wearing, yes sir-ing bimbo, she’d give him one. This job was worth the trouble.

Lucifer, knowing better than to judge by appearances and also how to use them as subtle manipulation, would have approved.[return to text]

[16] Considering how much Angels liked gummy bears, Tina may have been onto something there.[return to text]

[17] The answers to that, which Lucifer would later provide for him, where Submarines, since gravity worked differently for them, No, because Lucifer created stars first and only then named one The Sun, and Because They Are Idiots, and he is going to be losing a great deal of money if they don’t get their act together soon, honestly.[return to text]

[18] It’s not his fault the walls were so thin and that celestial hearing is so much superior to humans.[return to text]

[19] It had taken eons to instill some basic manners into the demonic hordes. Some, like table manners, he had never bothered with.[return to text]

[20] How she managed to spend more then her budget without actually having a budget was as unknowable as The Plan.

Which Lucifer very much wanted to know, if their Parent was ever feeling chatty.[return to text]

 

 

Chapter Text

Had he been the kind of entity given to reflecting on the nature of humanity, Lucifer would have been surprised at how few of them grew into sociopaths.

However, he was not, and he saw quiet enough of human nature in his daily life to understand that most of them didn’t usually need an excuse to torture each other.

Of course, being stuck on a couch with[1] a rambling six year old who was more interested in asking insanely detailed questions about hypothetical dinosaur hobbies than begging Lucifer for mercy, or manipulating him into giving a favor, was leading him dangerously close to that line of thinking.

Although he would admit that anyone who gave that much thought to whether a T-Rex would drive stick shift or automatic was clearly a special case, and possibly some sort of savant.

The confirmation that he had been looking for; that his hastily thrown together and yet entirely reasonable plan had worked, did not actually get Lucifer to move. After all, he reasoned, he so rarely got a chance to discuss paleontology with someone who had no preconceived notions and thought feathers were cool.[2]

On the original iteration of his carefully scheduled earth-side visit, Lucifer had meant to swing by the sleepy village under a contrived and perfectly serviceable pretense.

There is a house, some miles out of Tadfield proper, that is technically his property, and up until recently, it had been used as a birthing hospital by some rather odd nuns.[3]

If anyone would bother to ask, The Devil was simply making sure the nuns really had disbanded, and that the property was either vacant or under new management. Of course, no one bothered to ask.[4]

A quick drive though with the top down,[5] check in on the two other children that may or may not be the future antichrist and he could hurry back to home sweet hell, secure in the knowledge that the kids were alright.

Instead he was stalling, listening to a small child ramble on about a number of increasingly ridiculous things.[6] He had an image to maintain, but also, Warlock kept giving him the blue gummy bears.

It truly was a difficult choice.

There was a sudden break in Warlock's stream-of-consciousness style of asking questions, as the boy stopped to take a deep breath. Lucifer jumped into the gap, knowing a single lungful of air could hold up to seven questions and that interrupting him would be near impossible.

The boy could really talk.

“As delightful as I find your company, small human, I’m afraid I do need to go.”

Warlock bit back whatever was at the tip of his tongue with a click of teeth. He was still too young to be any good at hiding his emotions, the clumsy attempt slipping over his nose and onto his lap, hands twisting around the small metal car with a creak.

Humans, Lucifer decided, looked too much like the manifest form of Angels. And human children, it could be extrapolated from that, looked too much like fledglings, none of whom had hurt him.

Annoyed him, maybe. Pulled his feathers and given him ridiculous nicknames, sure. But never hurt him.

He made his way across the room to Tina’s desk, overly aware of the sudden silence from behind him as Warlock stopped kicking his feet against the couch.

This is absurd, he thought. Ridiculous. He was the Devil, for Dad’s sake, he didn’t care if some six year old - who was not even the six year old he was looking for - got sad eyes because the person who was paying attention to him, unbidden and unasked, was leaving.

Completely bloody ridiculous.

The voice of divinity is a curious thing. God, for the most part, did not bother forcing Their speech patterns into what would be considered ‘normal’ for the earthly realm. To most, hearing the Lord And Host would be the equivalent of hearing a children’s choir, accompanied by several enthusiastic radio broadcasters, overshadowed by their mother telling a bedtime story, while the Viennese orchestra played softly in the background.

The ‘Be Not Afraid’ could also be taken to mean ‘Be Not Afraid of Losing Your Eardrums’.[7]

Lucifer, on the other hand, took special care to confine his voice into the barest stream, focusing it like a whispered psalm at a wall, letting only the surface break through. He had plenty of other ways to terrify humans.

It was still a magnificent voice, if he did say so himself.

Right now, he pointedly ignored everything but Tina, leaning over her desk and flashing his Charming Grin V.3. Raising his voice just enough so that Warlock could hear him, he allowed the barest hint of the Infernal and Sublime to peek through.

“It appears I’ve spent so much of my time in such fascinating conversation with Mr. Warlock that I’ll need to reschedule that appointment. Will two weeks from today be open?”

Tina could hear his voice both at the back of her skull and under her ears and at the tiny bone at the base of her spine - the one that not time or hellfire could destroy - all at the same time. The effect was rather obvious, as she didn’t bother to point out that his appointment wasn’t even supposed to start for another five minutes, and so all he had to do was wait and he hadn’t missed anything at all. She simply double checked that in two weeks 2pm was open and confirmed that was the one Mr. Morningstar wanted.

Warlock perked up, his own nosey little boy nature compelling him to listen as much as Lucifer’s voice drew him in.

He hopped off the couch, folding his arms behind his back and stared up at Lucifer with unabashed curiosity.

Lucifer is use to children not being afraid of him, even those who glimpsed his true form. Some of that is because children are almost never afraid of things they don’t understand - to them, that’s part of the adventure. And there is so much they don’t understand.

Part of it was also the innocence, or to be more accurate, lack of guilt.

In many cases, children actually loved scary things - things that looked like magic, that couldn’t be explained. Things that looked a lot like Lucifer.[8]

It’s one of the reasons Nanny Ashtoreth’s whispers about blood and doom and subjugating all mankind didn't bother Warlock very much. To him, it all felt like a very dramatic game of pretend, counterpointed by Brother Francis’ game of peace and happiness and brotherhood among men.

If it was all the same to the two of them, Warlock probably would have preferred a game of candyland.

“But you haven’t told me whether or not there are still dinosaurs about and if I can meet them.”[9] Warlock wasn’t whining. He stated it, as though someone wandering off and forgetting about him was expected.

It was. Of course, most adults don’t share his gummy bears and listen to his ‘silly’ questions first. Most just wandered off right away.

Lucifer adjusted his cufflinks with a one-two, practiced flick of the wrist and an elegant distraction from the way his fingers suddenly curled from the half-born star in the palm of his hand.

He had forgotten how quickly he reacted to innocence. He was not in the habit of seeking it out.

“Yes, well, Loch Ness is not all that it’s cracked up to be, but I suppose it does it’s job. My sister had been fond of that genus and seemed rather disappointed at their disappearance. I figured hiding away one or two would be the least of my transgressions. Besides, urchin, I’ll be returning. I know you were paying attention, just come by again then.” Lucifer waved his hand in the nebulous manner of someone who was not quite sure why they were doing what they were doing but didn’t seem inclined to stop.

Warlock had overheard Lucifer booking his appointment. In fact, he had already planned on getting Nanny Ashtoreth to cut the daily stroll down by fifteen minutes, so that he could come back early with a list of questions his father never had time to answer.[10]

The boy nodded, turning to run out of the room while driving his car through the air, pretending it was a spaceship and improvising his own personal soundtrack of explosions.

Lucifer watched him leave, eyes tracking him in a manner that may have been predatory had he had fangs and scales and a body more suited for slithering. As it was, he looked rather like a parent watching a child on a dangerous playground.

“Hey, what’s your name?” Warlock shouted from the doorway, a little louder than humans might consider acceptable as an indoor voice. Lucifer, who had spent millenia listening to the groans of hell each time it shifted, barely registered the added volume.

“You can call me -” The idea of telling Warlock his name is the first thing that throws him off all afternoon. The child attends church, occasionally, and he knows how preachers appreciate fire and brimstone and bandying his name about.[11]

Exposing the fake antichrist to his not-father might even help to keep the Divine and Infernal forces off his true spawns location - after all, he would hardly waste his time with an unnecessary child.

Lucifer has plenty experience with being feared. He revels in it, in fact. It’s something that was given to him, a role thrust upon him that he chose to embrace when it became apparent that it would not go away.

Fear from children is an entirely different thing. Children only fear real monsters.

“You can call me Luce.”

 


He does not go to Tadfeild.

It’s a sound strategy, he tells himself, throwing off anyone who might be paying attention. Beides, the day is only that long and he’s dealt with far too many sticky fingers as it is.

Maze has her legs thrown over the armrest of his throne.[12]

It is a testament to their relationship, working or otherwise and millenia old, that she doesn’t flinch when he strides in, despite treating his Great and Terrible (secondary) Throne as a sete while filing her nails and humming. She does have a rather lovely voice.[13]

“So how is the Lesser Adversary doing?” She doesn’t look up, inspecting her nails from a second angle as her feet swing in a way that might have been childish if it wasn’t Maze. She could make fingerpainting look elegant and deadly.

“Warlock is fine. Proceeding admirably.” He tosses a bag of chips in her direction, pretending not to notice the way she catches them without looking, to busy throwing her legs over the arm to the ground and glaring at him.

Mazikeen leans forward, a study in controlled movement, licking her lips and following him unblinking to the liquor cabinet hidden at the base of the Supplicant’s Stage.

Bloody thieves, the lot of them. Lucifer had almost lost all the dom perignon before he noticed them nicking the stuff and moved the lot somewhere secure.

“You fucking coward,” she said, holding out one hand for the whiskey he was pouring, chips held tight in the other.

As demons go, Maze is an exceptional specimen. As Lillum go, she is extraordinary. Practically speaking, this means she was feared and possibly worshipped by her fellow hell-born, and respected by even the first and second Fallen.

It also meant that Lucifer allowed her a lot more freedom in their private interactions and how she would, or could, address him.

But there was a limit to how much he could accept.

Maze was halfway through swallowing, head tilted back on the glittering throne Lucifer rarely used, when she was lifted by the back of her neck and thrown across the room, glass shattering to the floor.

Lucifer had placed a heavy velvet curtain across the wall for precisely this purpose.

“Have you already forgotten your place, Mazikeen?” In Hell, Lucifer made no attempt to contain his voice to the thin frequency the human mind could handle. In Hell, it echoed and built and crashed into the air like so many crickets and thunder. If the crickets were as big as houses and the thunder of the kind that made Norse gods tremble, that is.

It was an entity, unyielding and ancient, and the room was suddenly very, very small.

Maze grinned, teeth bared like a predator and throat open.

“Welcome back, My Lord. Good to see you again.”

He huffed, a black hole expelling light in a way that physics would deem impossible and yet, so much of his existence is, according to their laws. He dwells outside of them, and has never cared much for confining himself to their small rules.

“Clever Mazikeen, always knowing which buttons to push. Perhaps you should learn to stop as well?” The burning human-shaped figure lessened, in heat and in brightness, throwing back what was left in their glass with an almost rueful expression. By the time he had swallowed, Lucifer had tucked his divinity into the spaces between the lies he told himself and the truth of what he really was.

“But yes, I considered it prudent to cut my visit short, and to ease my way into the Lesser Adversary's life. Warlock is such a - well, such a child, still.”

He refilled the glass she held out for him, head tilted and black eyes considering.

“Why are you doing this?” This could mean anything. It could mean reorganizing the tyrant wing, it could mean drinking the cheap whiskey when the Loch Lamond was right there, it could mean ruling hell.

They both know what she means.

He could avoid it, of course. Answer the wrong question, neatly slide past what she wants to know. He is too tired to bother, when it comes to Maze. She knows him too well.

“Because, Mazikeen,” The King of Hell says, in a whisper so still the walls ache to lean in and listen, “despite my every attempt, I am still nothing more than what I was built to be.” The drink slides down his throat as his footsteps echo over the ash filled tiles.

“But he, he does not have to be.”

Maze is still, but not in the same manner as Lucifer. He is still in the same way a mountain would be - the mountain will move when it will, if it will, and there is very little you can do to stop it.

The only comfort in this is that the mountain would never inconvenience himself for anyone as small as you.

Maze is still like a cat, one that has to choose between catching a bird or a mouse, both tempting and in her sights but neither outcome sure.[14]

She relaxed into the chair, bonelessly molding herself into its curve, deciding that while a mouse might be easy prey, it was also the more rewarding one. “One last ‘fuck you’ at dear old daddy[15] then?” She grins, and you could almost see the fur stuck in her teeth, little cat claws grasping at her boss’ psyche.[16]

“Perceptive, as always, darling Mazikeen.” Lucifer smirked, all granite lines and swallowed teeth, raising a toast to the ceiling.

 


[1] Lucifer could have left at any point he wanted, or sent Warlock away. The boy was used to being ignored in favor of business. The fact that Lucifer never entertained the idea of shoo-ing him said more about the Lord of Hell then he cared to admit.[return to text]

[2] Yes, Dinosaurs had feathers and frankly Lucifer was appalled it took humanity this long to figure it out. And after he had been so careful to leave all those fossils around, too.

The fact that the devil did, indeed, make sure fossils survived the aftermath of that extinction is perhaps less shocking then the church being correct about it. Stopped clocks and all that. Of course, his motivation was what they got completely wrong, as usual.[return to text]

[3] The building was still technically his. Someone should make sure it was being cared for properly and possibly used for something equally nefarious as child-birth.[return to text]

[4] You’d think Heaven would keep better tabs on the Greater Adversary. The truth is that Heaven had grown complacent, and arrogant, given Lucifer's tendency to be Not Very Evil at all, and so took most of what he did or said at face value.

That was only their first mistake.[return to text]

[5] Provided that his first stop confirmed The Plan had worked, that is.[return to text]

[6] We really cannot emphasize enough that Lucifer could have left at any point he wanted. The memories, long buried and emphatically forgotten, of his own childhood, burned and ignored and pushed off for having too many questions and ideas when the world was still empty, had nothing to do with it. Nothing at all.[return to text]

[7] Metatron, as a spokesperson/voice, had been created out of a certain necessity.[return to text]

[8] We should perhaps warn you: please do not refer to the Greater Adversary as a thing. While Lucifer does not care much about pronouns, defaulting to male out of convenience more than accuracy, he does have very strong opinions on his sentience and personhood. See; the First Angelic Rebellion.[return to text]

[9] It is not so much that Warlock knew who Lucifer was and what he was capable of, but more that most children assume adults are capable of impossible things. Especially ones with an aura like his.[return to text]

[10] Nanny Ashtoreth also listened to his questions, and at least tried to answer as many as possible, but it was nice to have someone new to ask.[return to text]

[11] No one says ‘Thou Shalt Not Take The Devils Name In Vain”. Maybe they should, he finds it rightfully irritating.[return to text]

[12] The one situated in his court chambers, obviously, because she can’t reach the other one, the one that stands miles in the air, a beacon and warning for any restless denizen. Maze might be many things, but winged is not one of them.[return to text]

[13] She also has the despicable habit of singing kpop while in his hearing.Now, Lucifer has nothing against kpop, as all music has value to him, but they were the kind of songs that crept up into your brain and would. not. leave. Right now she was humming Dangerous Woman, an apt and infinitely safer choice.[return to text]

[14] Mazikeen, having worked closely with Lucifer for more than the average demonic lifespan, had a slightly more nuanced views of him then the general populace.

She knew that to him, denial and half truths and omission were all three seperate things, all falling into the grey area of outright lies. She wondered if now was the best time to point that out to him.[return to text]

[15] Lucifer, not quite caught up on celestial news, was unaware that his parent had been using feminine pronouns for some time. Had Someone bothered to speak to him, he would have gladly switched to whining about Her Almighty, instead of His, with no fuss.

However it had been radio silence since the 3rd century, and so Lucifer was unaware of his mistake.[return to text]

[16] Mazikeen pushed Lucifer, always, and did so until he pushed back. Someone had to, because angels were not built for hell and the only thing more dangerous than an angry seraph was a bored one. Bored was unpredictable.

The last time Lucifer was bored they had needed to rebuild almost the entire lower western wing.[return to text]

 

Chapter Text

For Crowley, the adjustments necessary to live life as a Nanny to some useless diplomats and their child[1] had been far easier to accept than it had been to watch Aziraphale try and keep an entire garden alive.

After all, the same general principles applied to both, and they’d been keeping plants alive for close to a century now. Feed them, keep them at appropriate temperatures, and make sure they understand the consequences of their actions - children and plants are more alike than you’d think.

As for getting Warlock to follow instructions, that was the easiest bit. Crowley already had several lifetimes worth of experience in manipulating fellow demons into doing the stupid jobs, applying that knowledge to a child only required a few minor langauge adjustments.

Aziraphale, on the other wing, mostly relied on miracles to keep his job. Not that Crowley wholly disapproved, they could appreciate the necessity a few well placed miracles. But the part of them that received the “The Plant Parent Weekly” was a bit disappointed.

Aziraphale did not know that.

Warlock had taken off after their walk in the park, as he always did, waving a metaphorical list of important questions over his shoulder as he ran in the direction of his father's office.

Crowley mentally prepared themselves for the task of trying to answer them all when Mr. Dowling inevitably fell through.

They’d let the boy run off ahead, Aziraphale meeting them on the lawn path, strolling along sedately. By the time they’d arrive, the boy would be done pestering his father and already moping, ready to be tempted down to the kitchens for a snack.

He kept chattering beside them, something about new plants and how the delightful new soap the housekeeper was using always smelled a little different, like how today the hallways smelled like -

“What did you ssssay?”

Aziraphale paused, rather flustered at the sudden interruption and the reappearance of Crowley's hiss. His eyebrows creased into little points, focusing on the way Crowley’s tongue darted in and out and tasted the air.

“About what? I said a great many things, Crowley, haven’t you been paying attention?” Aziraphale didn’t wait for them to answer, folding his hands together in that sanctimonious manner he affected, “of course you weren't, why would you -”

When it came to scents, Crowley was a bit of an expert, tongue flicking out and able to catch the faintest hints in the air. A plus side to having a demonic[2] aspect so known for its keen sense of smell. Normally, the Dowling home fairly reeked of humanity, heavy and cloying and tinted with mint, the underlying candied oranges and toasted sugar the only outward hint of the two celestial beings living there.

Today, there was a wispy savor of caramelized orange cream, something they hadn’t had in a long time, and it sat like an iron cross on their tongue.[3]

Now, normally, Crowley was rather fond of their boss. Outright pleased with his policies, in fact. After all, Lucifer had heard their bit with the M25 and thought it brilliant. Even gave them a commendation.

He read all the reports Crowley submitted, asked intelligent questions, and respected them. Unlike everyone else down there, he’d never slipped up and called them Crawly once they changed their name.

Lucifer had even approved their original earth-transfer request without needing any of the six detailed and annotated excuses Crowley had come up with.[4]

Normally, of course, Crowley wasn’t strolling arm in arm with their hereditary enemy. (Not exactly arm in arm, but close enough.) No matter how pleased a demonic entity was with upper management, no one wants to get caught plotting how best to uncorrupt the antichrist, The End of All Things (Earthly), the son of their boss.

The Boss who was now sitting less than ten yards away in the very room they were heading to.

There was a closet, just off the side of the sitting room Mr Dowling used to make his appointments wait an appropriate ‘I am a busy man who has lots to do’ amount of time. In an odd turn of architectural planning, it had a door in the hallway and the outer office, but was rarely used as it stored old brooms and newspapers and multicultural holiday decorations that looked like ‘its a small world’ had a love child with an old fashioned toy shop. It was cramped and covered in cluttered shelves.

Crowley grabbed Aziraphale, shoving him in and slamming the door as gently as they could without getting their skirt stuck in, cursing the fact that today of all days they hadn’t worn trousers.

“Crowley, what are you hmmph!” Aziraphale started talking, as always, but Crowley was already halfway through a dozen worst case scenarios and placed their hand over his mouth and hissed.

It was a very soft hiss, high pitched and slithering directly into Aziraphale’s ears.

“Don’t you sssmell that?” they said, eyes deep and gold and pooling into raw terror. At this point Aziraphale, who was cycling through several shades of red not technically found on the mortal plane, watched their tongue flick out and taste the air.

And then he realized what the hell[5]Crowley was talking about, because from the other side of the closet door, the one facing the sitting room, the faintest scent of expensive cologne was overpowered by caramelized oranges and brimstone.

They stood silent for a moment, pressed against the wall and each other, eyes wide and locked together.

Satan was in the other room, apparently taking tea with their six year old charge.

As a Nanny, Crowley had the overwhelming urge to barge in and drag Warlock to safety. As a demon, they very much wanted to discorperate themselves for convenience's sake.

Just because they liked their boss didn’t mean they wanted to land on his bad side.

Crowley, whose every instinct was screaming to find a small dark space and wiggle in until the danger passed, pressed their nose into Aziraphale’s neck with the sort of whining hiss that could be translated as ‘we’re fucked’. In between the deep gulping breaths that were not technically necessary for their bodies health but certainly felt calming, they rapidly cycled through several excuses for why they were consorting with an angel, five escape routes starting from this general area, and a nebulous idea for how to avoid a painful death.

Perhaps, they thought between the mental gymnastics, Aziraphale would come up with something as well.

Aziraphale, unfortunately, was busy having a heart attack.[6]

They could hear the piping child-voice through the door, tilting upwards in question, wondering about the precise nature of corn chips, tasting neither of corn nor chips

There was a lull in the conversation, long enough for Crowley to growl in a very unsnake-like way, “Satan or not if he lays a hand on Warlock I’ll kill the goat headed whore myself.”[7]

They both missed Lucifer’s detailed and well presented response on why corn chips were called such, as Aziraphale’s wings suddenly manifested with a soft whoomp, and standing upright in the room, miniscule to begin with, suddenly felt more like balancing on the head of a pin.

The resulting silence was louder than the vibrating of stars.

Aziraphale’s wings were paper white, soft like the thick pages they used to stitch into first editions and emboss with swirling gold. Crowley was exhibiting an enormous amount of self control, both by not sinking their hands wrist deep in feathers and also by not completely losing it.

“Aziraphale,” they hissed. They had a feeling there would be lots of hissing in the near future. “What - the hell.”

Aziraphale, trying very hard to maneuver his wings against his back while also turning such a deep shade of red his hair looked pink, couldn’t do more than stutter.

Angel Physiology, for the most part, is what biologists would likely refer to as a ‘God Forsaken Mess’ if ever given the opportunity.

That is not entirely accurate, as God did not forsake any of the angels.[8]

It is simply that They did not see the use of a rulebook until much later. Gravity was a nice little number They whipped up, as was the first rule of thermodynamics.

But our point here is that while wings can manifest in almost any situation, winching them back in does need some room because Rules, when not outlined clearly at the beginning of a project, will start shoving themselves into places you don’t want them to be.

But sometimes room is not always available, which is why angel (and demon) wings are very controlled limbs, and they don’t generally make a habit of simply popping up where they want.

We leave the reader to decide what emotion prompted Aziraphale to forget himself.

Crowley was currently experiencing the full spectrum of demonic emotions and was disappointed in all of them. Also the fact that the only coherent thought in their brain was ‘Touch The Feathers’, as they did not have time to touch the feathers, they did not want to touch the feathers, and mostly, they were pressed up against an angel that smelled like cut grass and books and circled by shifting wings that were almost apologetic every time they brushed against Crowley's back, and they did not want an apology.[9]

After a few minutes of hesitant shuffling and barely breathed apologies, they realized they were definitely stuck in the closet, and so settled somewhat awkwardly against the shelves.

The idea that it may be less cramped if they didn’t lean against each other like so many books crammed on a shelf never occurred to them.

They were, after all, distracted by the Devil in the other room.[10]

 


Between the weak tea that Warlock had needled out of Cook, and the never ending list of questions that Lucifer did his best to answer,[11] he barely had time to notice the divine and infernal that were making their way down the hall.

Normally this would be unacceptable, as situational awareness was fundamental to staying alive in hell. Of course, tea time with a six year old hardly called for the constant vigilance he usually employed. It certainly wasn’t because he had been enjoying himself.

Although, Warlock had gotten biscuits, the kind with pink icing.

Lucifer sipped his tea, listening intently to Warlocks questions on fried pre-packaged snacks, because hell knows someone needed too. He ignored the way Tina was smirking, the same smirk Azreal used to get when he bumped into those damn arches in the silver court yards. The Smirk, translated roughly, said, “This is adorable, but for none of the reasons you think”, and also, “You can pretend all you want but I know you’re enjoying this.” It was a very irritating smirk.

The faint scuffling sounds from the closet were entertaining, if only because he knew the duo must have forgotten he could hear them.

Because of course he could hear them. He could hear a soul break the barrier from seven circles down, two adult sized beings in a closet were hardly stealthy.

Poor idiots.

Pretending he couldn’t hear the hisses and squeaks and muttered curses - what were they doing in there? - was easy, since they couldn’t even see his reactions, but it was unfortunate that all those ‘Crowley in the Closet’ jokes would remain unsaid.

He took another deep breath, listening to Warlock’s chatter as he mentally catalogued the different beings present - Tina, human and lilac flavored; Warlock, human and faintly sweet, like sugar, and bright, like grapes, and - oh wasn't that a surprise - a bit of a witch as well! And Crowley, in the closet, being Crowley, together with … oh, yes, delightful.

If Lucifer’s wings were out, they would have preened.

The other being was Aziraphale, smelling like divinity, candied oranges and feathers, and like cut grass. That would explain why the gardener was mentioned so often in Crowley’s reports. Lucifer was only surprised it took him so long to notice who was with Nanny Crowley; that fluffy little cherub had always burned brighter than the rest of his chorus. One of the reasons they gave him a flaming sword, after all.

He had, between sipping tea, considered giving Crowley a way out, a chance to sneak out of the closet and somewhere else, but knowing who they were in there with, Lucifer thought a few hours in cramped quarters and company would do the two of them some good.

Crowley was damn well lucky Lucifer was in the middle of a detailed answer when they finally spoke, or he would have hauled into the closet for that insult alone.[12]

There was little less than an hour before Mr. Dowling would even think of ushering in his 2pm, and while Lucifer had originally planned on being here no more than fifteen minutes, making some excuse after seeing Warlock and being on his devilish way, now - well, now he was going to make himself comfortable, change that awful tea into some whiskey, and spend the next hour intently answering Warlock’s questions while his nephew and the demonic nanny were stuck in a closet.

Never let it be said that the devil wasn’t petty.

And then his day, already looking pretty good, got exponentially better - because the cloying smell of divinity doubled and a soft light, barely visible on the human spectrum, streamed from under the door.

He hid a sharp grin in his cup, trying very hard not to giggle.

 


Aziraphale tried to focus anywhere in the closet but Crowley's eyes.

Their head, consistently tilted towards the Devil this last hour, was just brushing at his chin, hair ridiculously soft and smelling, in a very non demonic manner, of tea tree oil[13] and strawberries.

Aziraphale recognized that expression - it generally meant Crowely was concentrating on something far away, or trying to eavesdrop on someone's conversation. Normally he disapproved, but in this case he was rather invested in knowing what was going on as well.

Crowley’s face was distractingly close, blank and open in a way he’d rarely seen before, tongue flicking out to taste the air every now and then, licking along the top of their lip.

Aziraphale felt too small for his skin, arms reaching up to wrap around the demon pressed close every few minutes, and then hastily dropped with muttered apologies.

Crowley shifted, skirt brushing against his wings and leaning slowly away from him with the dazed expression of someone waking up from a very intense nap.

They blinked, lazy and slow, eyes focusing in and out on Aziraphale’s face.

“It sounds like he’s leaving,” they breathed, directly onto his neck, voice tight and thin and Aziraphale suddenly felt unimaginably annoyed at the Lord of Hell.

For coming? For going? For pushing Crowley into his arms and then abruptly giving them an excuse to slither out again? Aziraphale wasn’t sure.[14]

Crowley shifted again, trying to reach the door around Aziraphale, who once again turned a lovely shade of vermillion and tried to move without bumping into anything. Unfortunately, his wings were still out, and they curled around the tangled pair instinctively.

He couldn’t fathom why his divinity seemed to recoil at the very idea of leaving this tiny space, practically flush against Crowley, cramped and sweating. As much as celestials sweat, that is.

“Quick,” Crowley hissed, “if we make it out fast enough, I might be able to figure out why he’s here!”

Aziraphale had barely enough time to process that, realize that Crowley meant to speak to the Lord of Hell, and squawk a quick, “What?” before Crowley grabbed his wrists and dragged him out of the closet.[15]

Snapping his wings closed while tumbling over Crowley’s skirt was tricky, but he managed it. Unfortunately, Crowley had chosen the door that opened into the sitting room, so that the closet, rather vindictively, spilled them out almost on top of Tina’s desk.

She glanced up at them and froze. There was a moment, lasting maybe a second or maybe another 6,000 years, where they stared at each other - Tina, organizing some folder or other, and Crowley-Aziraphale, hands grasping each other for balance after an hour of not using the muscles in their legs.[16]

Another beat, some thousand years, and she blinked. “Looking for Warlock, Nanny?”

Crowley coughed, delicately extracting their hand from Aziraphale’s gardening apron. “Yes. It’s almost time for his afternoon snack.”

Tina and Nanny had an understanding - she gave Warlock the sweets his mother said were bad for him, and they didn’t mention it.

Crowley gave a sharp nod, adjusting their skirts while completely ignoring the reddened angel beside them and marching out of the room at a brisk pace. Aziraphale hurried after them, taking the time to glance over his shoulder at the secretary, who gave him a wide smirk and winked.

Aziraphale flushed scarlet and tripped over the carpet.

 


While Aziraphale was re-discovering the wonders of emotional repression in the hall closet, Lucifer was doing some very quick mental sums and realizing that he had once again played himself.

That was getting pretty irritating actually.

Although he certainly didn’t regret leaving Crowley in there to sweat it out, it seemed he hardly left himself enough time to drive down to Tadfeild, find both possible antichrists, (was there a plural of antichrist?) check on their infernal/lack-of status and then make it back to hell. So now, would he risk going to Tadfield, or would he just nip in again in two months, like he’d told the charming secretary he would?

On anyone else, the mental back and forth would look like dithering, unsure and fluttery and ‘oh dearie me what do I do now?’ However, we have it on good authority that the Devil™ does not dither. He weighs his options carefully, considering them all and then making a choice, often after overthinking things for several days and hours of uncertainty, but he doesn’t Dither. Dithering is for old ladies and people who wear ugly glasses.

Warlock was busy babbling about how Tina had recently switched to strawberry gummies, and while they were good, they weren’t as good as the gummy bears, and how his Mum[17] thought processed sugar was Bad For Him, so he couldn’t very well ask her to get him some, she’d just try and pass off a fig on a stick as a lollipop again, and hopefully Mum would find a new fad to follow soon, and did Mr. Luce know any fad nutrition plans that said kids should eat as much sugar as they like?

Unfortunately, Lucifer did not, although that did sound like a lovely temptation for his demons to work on.

Lucifer barely had time to convey how very sorry he was to disappoint Warlock before he realized there was a rather tall and broad shadow hovering some twenty feet in front of them, facing the drive.

“Warlock, as delightful as your company has been, I’m afraid I do need to be on my way.” He bent down, eye level to the urchin, and smiled,[18] “Now, why don’t you go see if that delightful Cook you told me about has some cookies for you. I’m fairly certain I smelled chocolate chips melting just now.” It wasn't really a lie.

Warlock, who’s bottom lip had slipped out in that manner of ‘child about to have a melt-down worthy of hell’, brightened, nodding enthusiastically, and hugged Lucifer around the shoulders.

It was an unconscious action, one that caused Lucifer, (and Nanny Ashtoreth, some ten feet away behind a pillar of something or other) to freeze in surprise.

“Bye, Mr Luce!” Warlock shouted over his shoulder, running down to the kitchens pursuit of cookies.[19]

Now people,[20] often the kind that offer advice when unasked for and have signs saying trite things over scenic backgrounds hanging in their office, like to say that in everyone there are two dogs fighting. One is evil and mean, the other is good and kind, and the one that wins is the one you choose to feed.[21]

The truth is, in each of us is a small and rather sturdy Camel. As the days and weeks and months and centuries (when one is immortal) go by, the Camel’s saddle bags start filling up with straws - a straw can be anything, a group project, an argument with your mother, your boss being a prat. Eventually, the poor Camel begins bowing under the weight of those straws, and starts dragging their poor feet, tracking a long line in the sand of your brain desert.

Give it enough straws, and no place to deposit them, or even a drink, and the poor Camel, here representative of your ability to Cope With Shit, will sit down and sulk.

Have you ever tried to move a sulking camel? We do not recommend it.

Crowley had been having quite A Day, following on the tail end of quite A Millenia. Their charge, being restless all morning and impatient all afternoon, had arranged a tea party with the devil, who Crowley was not prepared to meet, not while smelling faintly of Aziraphale’s divinity (and cologne). And then they had spent an hour, pressed up against An Angel (their angel) practically high on the smell of books and feathers.[22]

And then, in a seeminlgy endless continuation of What Fucking Now, their small infernal charge had hugged the Big Boss around the shoulders and run off.

So when Amenadiel, Angel of Time and eldest of the celestial siblings stepped out from the shadows, Crowley barely flinched.

The Camel, you see, was no longer accepting straws.

Crowley snuck forward, secure in the knowledge that Lucifer had bigger fish[23] to fry. Also, as was mentioned, they were well beyond things such as self preservation and stealth.

It really had been A Day. (Or Century.)

“Lucifer” Amenadiel echoed, with absolutely no regard for mortal ears or the wildlife. “You are to return to hell immediately.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Lucifer waved, flicking on a cigarette with a snap, and a similar disregard for the subtle ‘No Smoking’ sign over his shoulder. “Your Place is on the Throne of Hell, blah blah blah, get back down there before I beat your ass. I know the drill, Mennie.”

On any other day, Crowley would have been ready to excuse Amenadiel’s pout as a trick of the light, a snakes misreading of angelic facial expressions. Today, they were fully prepared to believe that a Being older than most of the universe was pouting.

“Well, you wouldn’t have to ‘know the drill’ if you just stayed put!” he turned to face his brother as Lucifer sauntered past. “But no, you just have to run away like the child you are every few years and make my job more complicated than it already is.”

Lucifer made a noise that can best be described as scathing, waving his cigarette over his shoulder. “Oh please, Time is going to move forward whether you do anything or not, your job is a bloody dream compared to anyone else's.” He paused, tilting his head and smirking widely, “Except maybe Jeremiel. Since that’s actual dreams, you know.”

Amenadiel started and stopped several times, finally throwing his hands up and following after his brother at a quick trot. “Where are you going Lucifer? Have you spent so long on Earth that you’ve forgotten what direction your kingdom is in?”

His brother wasn’t known for rhetorical questions, so Lucifer paused again, turning to look over his shoulder with a quirked eyebrow. Amenadiel, in the universal and inherent manner of elder siblings, smirked. And pointed down.

“Oh, very clever, Amenadiel, well done,” Lucifer clapped, slowly, and with enough sarcasm to fuel a small sixteen year old. “I’m going to my car.”

“What, are you driving down? Taking the highway to hell?” It is unfortunate that we must point out how Amenadiel didn’t mean that as a joke. He was being serious, and would only hear that song several years later. “Is there something wrong with your wings, Brother?” he did not sound concerned, not at all. The King of Hell simply needed to be at full strength at all times, that’s all. Who knew what the demons might do if he wasn’t?[24]

“Oh, Anabiel, deliver me from fools.” Lucifer rolled his eyes to the clouds, exasperation dripping off every word like ice cream off a cone. “No, brother dear, I need to drive my car back to the garage it’s kept in. Can you even imagine the damage hellfire would cause the tires? Dearie me, ‘Menadiel, you really do need to keep up with earth technology.”

Lucifer had gotten into the corvette while speaking, hand thrown over the seat while he leaned over at Amenadiel. His eyes, sweeping the lawn, slid right past the enormous marble planter thing Crowley was hiding behind and he wiggled his eyebrows at the angel before him.

Throwing his head back in the most dramatic manner possible, he let out a sigh loud enough to ruffle the leaves over Crowley’s head. “Do get in, I haven’t got all day to convince you, and we both know you want to. No one can resist speeding in an open top, and I’ve got demons to subjugate back home.” [25]

Amenadiel hesitated barely long enough to register on the hesitation scale and got into the car.

Had Crowley been up to dealing with more celestial bullshittery, they would wonder if Lucifer had winked in their general direction before cackling and peeling out of the drive fast enough to peel paint. They weren’t, however, so frankly if Lucifer had anything to say he could come up and say it to their face, whatever the bastard was playing at.

Aziraphale came up behind them, a cautious approach that was wholly unwarranted, given that Crowley was Done for the day (and possibly the year) and the other two were halfway to London now.

“Makes you wonder,” they said over their shoulder. Aziraphale made a gentle little noise of interest, apparently recovered from the Closet Incident and capable of coherent thought. “Makes you wonder how Hell and Heaven run at all, when the uppermost management keep acting Like That.” The Capitals spoke for themselves, appearing mid air with a sense of disapproval at the celestial bullshittery they had witnessed.

Aziraphale made another little sound, one that would have been a snicker from one less elegant then he, and nodded.

“Good thing it’s mostly automated these days, wouldn’t you say?”

God, had she been paying proper attention and not cursing the obliviousness of certain Someones in her creation, would probably agree.

 


[1] the child was not useless. In fact, they rather liked the child, not that they would admit it.[return to text]

[2] They had always had it. Would they still be an angel, it would be an angelic aspect.[return to text]

[3] It is fitting that a being of both Infernal and Divine, unwilling to be fully either, would have a presence that reflected that.

Crowley had been spending a significant chunk of time with A Divine Being since the BC’s, and had assumed the change to their own presence, which was so slight you could barely notice it, was a consequence of their partnership.[return to text]

[4] That had been rather disappointing actually. Crowley had worked hard on those, and thought numbers three and four to be particularly inspired.[return to text]

[5] Literally.[return to text]

[6] Part of this was caused by being less than ten yards from Satan Himself, but mostly it was because Crowley was tucked into him like a finely tailored coat, all edges rounded to fit and arms grasping his gardening smock like a lifeline. Aziraphale was not entirely sure this corporation was still working right.[return to text]

[7] Crowley was well aware of Lucifer’s tenuous relationship with goat imagery. They were feeling rather cornered and vicious and were taking particular delight in invoking it. They had also forgotten about seraphs’ celestially superior hearing.[return to text]

[8] Look, teenage rebellion is normal, as is discipline, or the celestial equivalent of casting the child in question out of their homes and into a thousand mile free-fall that ends in flaming lakes.

Or maybe it isn’t. You try parenting ethereal beings once in a while, see how you do.[return to text]

[9] They wanted, in no particular order, Lucifer to leave the premises, Aziraphale to keep his wings in a semi-hug around them, and perhaps to move the cuddling somewhere less cramped. Of course, if asked, Crowley would only mention the first one, because Someone forbid anyone in this story be any kind of emotionally self aware.[return to text]

[10] Not each others lips, of course, or the way their breath mingled, and the feathers shifted gently with each twitch against their neck, or the way divinity was leaking through the seams with want. Nope, neither of them noticed any of that.[return to text]

[11] Lucifer tried not to think too much about why Warlock had instantly attached himself to him. There was the usual magnetism of the divine, of course, but there was an added desperation to it. Someone who paid attention to him, but didn't have to. He'd have to actually talk to Mr Dowling, wouldn't he?

Maybe remind him of how delighted he had been with a son.[return to text]

[12] And he liked Crowley! He genuinely liked that bastard, and then they went and brought up the goat thing. Crowley knew how Lucifer felt about the goat thing.

In case you're wondering, Lucifer has no problem being called a whore. He knows what he is, and besides, they were lovely people. Talented too.[return to text]

[13] recommended by a friend, as it helps with dry and scaly scalps.[return to text]

[14] He also wasn’t going to take the time to find out, because Satan forcing him to confront the feelings he certainly didn’t feel was not on the agenda. Especially when those feelings were in relation to One Particular Demon.

Did we mention the emotional repression and lack of self awareness?

Somewhere, God was banging Her head against Her desk.[return to text]

[15] Literally. Figuratively, Aziraphale had never been in the closet. He found them damp and uncomfortable and quite frankly, all the fuss was confusing.

He was also a divine being of Love and Light, so the closet, as it were, had never been able to hold him.[return to text]

[16] Crowley often walked like they hadn’t used the muscles in their legs, or had forgotten how they worked. When asked, they would say it comes from being a Being and then a Snake and only then a Human Shaped Someone, and also, what's wrong with the way they walk?[return to text]

[17] She sounded rather like Lucifer’s Mum, which was never a good thing, as the Divine Goddess of All Creation was currently locked up in a hell loop for the attempted genocide of humanity and the cosmos. Hell really does have no fury like a God-Being scorned.

Well, Mazikeen might, but Lucifer had yet to test that, and had no plans to.

Nor do we have time to discuss the theological implications of God's Wife.[return to text]

[18] It was a soft smile. The Lord of Hell could afford to be soft on occasion, although he rarely found a use for it in hell.[return to text]

[19] There had not been cookies in the kitchen five minutes before Lucifer mentioned them. The Cook, who had been coming off two dinner parties and a luncheon, couldn’t quite remember baking them, but they must have since there was a fresh batch cooling when Warlock came in asking.

They figured they were just taking ‘stress baking’ to a new level, and never mentioned the mysterious cookies again.[return to text]

[20] The saying, often attributed to Sitting Bull, is popular in both Heaven and Hell, for obvious reasons.[return to text]

[21] Crowley would like to point out that if you only choose to feed one dog, no wonder one is mean and evil. They’re hungry.[return to text]

[22] Divinity. Goes straight to your head. At least that’s what Crowley’s story, and they were sticking with it. Had been for the last 6,000 years, why stop now?[return to text]

[23] Of the personal and angelic nature.[return to text]

[24] In the beginning, when Lakes of Fire hissed and welcomed the Fallen, Amenadiel hated his brother. Of course he did, he was supposed to.

There was a time were he might have even believed that. But somewhere over the years hate morphed into something else, or perhaps it just faded to what was still underneath, something he could not and would not attempt to name.

The truth, one that most of heaven wishes to admit, is that being Indifferent would be a relief. He wishes he could look at his brother and feel nothing but pride in this duty, in dragging The Devil back to Hell by his wingtips. Instead he is forced to notice the way Lucifer’s pupils react to the mention of his kingdom, his shoulders tensing and wings ruffling.

Amenadial wishes he still hated his brother like he should. But he doesn’t think the hate he carries is directed at Lucifer, if it had ever been.[return to text]

[25] This might be one of the best examples for why Lucifer’s siblings never hated him. He made it too hard, and mostly without even trying.[return to text]

Chapter Text

The impression one is left with when dealing with angels, once you’ve gotten past the smug superiority and the complete disregard for other views, is that in their Humble Opinions, change is something that should happen to other Beings.

After all, They are created in the image of God, with no six degrees of separation caused by genetics and mandatory corporeality, so to edit anything is to admit there is something imperfect in their creation.

And as we’re sure you’ve noticed, they are all to a fault, vain bastards.[1] Change is something beings do when they believe they aren’t already amazing.

To demons, change is like breathing.[2] Where an angel might have the same general appearance, down to the sturdy brown shoes, since 1862 or thereabouts, only updating it with the barest hints of modernity,[3] a demon would have changed their hair and clothes and glasses[4] a dozen times over.

Part of their affinity for change is the chaos of reinventing oneself at one's pleasure. The other is the comfort of slipping into a new skin - when one has stripped away their connection to the host with the sudden rapidity of a weather vane change, the wind yanking the little rooster straight off the roof like the tornado in the Wizard of Oz, there is a cold sort of comfort in knowing you can change whatever you’d like at the drop of a hat. But this time around, it would be the demons own choice.

Lucifer, with his consistent, carefully scheduled visits topside, and his (very few) ironclast rules and regulations was somewhat unique among demonkind. It is perhaps amusing to think of Lucifer as the steady, responsible one in Hell, but by their standards, he is. However, even with that the sudden switch from visiting once-every-fifty-years, to three times in under a decade was noticeable, but hardly remarkable.

The demons, those who cared, just figured it was about time the Boss switched things up, let himself go a little, act more spontaneous and enjoy Earth while it was still around.

The demons, those who didn’t care, (and these were the majority), just wished the Boss would stick around. Hell got all weird when Satan wasn’t there. Emptier, somehow.

Lucifer, who had narrowly avoided the Absolutely Done glare of his head torturer when he came back again without going to Tadfeild,[5] took the opportunity to sneak out the back door.

Everyone deserves to relive their rebellious glory days.[6]

When he reached the Dowling estate, the Butler greeting him by name and with a faint air of approval, Warlock was not waiting for him. The fact that this bothered him confused him, because not having a sticky little human pestering him with questions was not something he normally would be bothered over.

Lucifer did not like being bothered much.

But then Tina smiled at him, and this, at least, he knew, They spent several minutes in a brief and fairly satisfying flirtation before Mr. Dowling, attracted to power like a mayfly, strolled out to meet him.

What they discussed Lucifer would be hard pressed to remember, despite his eidetic memory, but at the end of the conversation there was an exchange and scholarship program set up using one of his many names.

He was already leaving when Warlock ran up beside him, having had no excuse or any true desire to stick around. Apparently, they had taken a detour on their walk today, past a new park with a puppy run. Nanny Ashtoreth had even let him pet them! Provided the owner agreed of course.

Lucifer smiled grimly, acknowledging Nanny Ashtoreth’s foresight and protective instincts.

While he can’t stay this time, he explains, he seems to have acquired a bag of gummy bears, it was tucked into his suit for some reason and surely Warlock wouldn’t main taking them off his hands, they would ruin the lines and this was Armani.[7]

Warlock waved him off from the drive, candy tucked into his pocket and a severe figure in black at his right shoulder.

The drive down to Tadfeild is one that guidebooks like to call ‘idyllic’. Quiet countryside roads and smooth turns all the way, with the occasional sheep.

Unfortunately, Lucifer was having a difficult time enjoying the scenery, as he was about to meet the End of All (Earthly) Things. Who was also his biological son. He wasn’t entirely sure which aspect he was more concerned with.

He was also having what couldn’t possibly be an allergic reaction, due to the weird and increasingly present aura he was driving through.

Places have aura’s as much as people do. They’re just harder to see, as you can’t really lean back and take in all of London without going above, and Above is reserved for the winged and the Divine (and the occasional daring demon). The aura surrounding Tadfeild was strange, in that it was saturated with something he hesitated to call Love. It was heavier than that, but at the same time, infinitely simpler, and more complicated.

Angels, even mostly former angels who refuse to acknowledge their theoretical angelhood, have a sort of sixth sense when it comes to feelings. That’s not to say they’re good at them, they’re just as rubbish at it as demons. But they can hear them, as loudly as you can hear a whisper, in much the same way they can taste a beings identity in the air. It wasn’t something they even thought about - just another thing they could do that humans couldn’t. Like flying, or commanding the firmament and erasing someone from existence and memory.[8]

Adoration - that was it. The kind of love that isn’t really based on anything, only the fact that whatever was loved, existed.

Lucifer couldn’t relate. And was most certainly not jealous of a small british village.

Not at all.

At the very least it confirmed that the child lived here. Lucifer was the cosmos, his broken bones bled stars, vast and unending and unconditional. The ability to love that broadly, that wildly and with a disregard for conventions and capacity was entirely genetic.

It felt a bit like driving through an ion storm.[9]

By the time he gets to the village proper he knows he’ll never make it to the nunnery.

There is, in the universe, a finite number of stars. Lucifer can, given time and space and maybe a desert big enough for him to spread his Grace and Gift, name each of them. Their song, their frequency, the birth and death and complete cycle, each and every one.

There is, in the universe, an infinite amount of space between the stars, once that Lucifer has walked through and spoken too, but cannot name.

No one can.

Driving through Tadfeild the first time felt very much like trying to name that. Every particle in him screamed out for a name, a name, give them a name, but he could not.

Lucifer was drowning in it - and he, who had no need to breathe, could feel his lungs burn in desperation because he never wanted to come up for air.

It would be inaccurate to say he knew the child was here. In fact, it may have been easier to point out all the places they were not, so loud and obvious was the presence.

The next half hour of Lucifer's long and so far unending life would be full of random[10] and startlingly frequent occurrences of Good Luck.

Because while Lucifer had been operating under the assumption that The Universe actively disliked him, or at the very least was indifferent to him, this was not quite true.

In fact, if God and The Universe had been playing dice, and the stakes had been ‘let nice things happen for once’ then The Universe would be up by 30.

However, they were not playing dice. God appreciates the sentiment, but dice just don’t have the same pull as cards.

They were playing poker, and The Universe was up by 40, give or take a few black holes.[11]

So instead of having to slowly track down his son in a small town that still had a surprisingly high number of tow-headed little boys, Lucifer pulled over by the side of the road, and was immediately approached by four grubby children leading a red wagon filled with what looked like old bricks.

Lucifer suspected it was car - it was a rather impressive specimen.

The truth, which you’ve probably figured out, is that Adam was sensitive to the Divine and Infernal and had been drawn to the road before Lucifer had even stopped. He was at that road because Pepper’s Mum had a convenient craving for a picnic lunch.

Also the car really was a beaut.

It’s not everyday a Chevrolet Corvette C1 from 1962 drives through the village with Marlon Brando behind the wheel.[12]

“Hey Mister, are you lost?” the child leading the group was the kind of boy Lucifer remembered seeing in a very specific style of religious painting.

The style, if you’re curious, was - everything in heaven is always ridiculously beautiful, even the children, and if you stare at this painting long enough you will feel inadequate in relation to everyone's beauty, and also you’re going to hell because you don’t follow this particular priests sermons to the exacting letter.[13]

“Not exactly, child.” Lucifer did not get out of the car. Whether this was to protect the children or himself is debatable.

“I’m Adam. Adam Young. How are you not ‘zactly lost?” The boy looked up at him with very blue eyes, filled with a dozen stars and then some, and Lucifer wondered how many drinks he was going to owe Luck after today.[14]

“Well, Mr. Young, I could ask you the same thing. Should you be playing on the side of the road and approaching strangers in cars?” Lucifer glanced over to the boy’s friends, a group of children mostly unremarkable, in all but a single aspect.

They each had a mind accustomed to arguing, or at the very least occasionally disagreeing with an Entity capable of bending reality to its will.

Not yet of course, but as Adam grew, so would they, and the slow build-up would ensure they were perfectly capable of telling The End of All, NO, should they so wish.

He wondered what they could accomplish, should they survive the next few years.

Adam thought, scrunching his forehead, rather adorably, as his six year old brain worked out what was wrong with Lucifer’s statement. “That’s not the same thing,” he finally said.

Lucifer raised an eyebrow, noticing the watchful eyes of four women from over the short hedge and relaxing while waving cheerfully. “Isn’t it though? After all, I don’t know how I’m not exactly lost, and you don’t know why you think you’re allowed to speak to strangers,” he pointed out.

“So you’re sayin’ the things are alike cuz we both don’t know something.” Adam seemed pleased with his rather clever analysis.

“Very good,” Lucifer says, “Now can you point me in the direction of the old hospital?”

The small freckly child, hair fluffing in the wind, piped up from over his shoulder. “It’s down past the quarry. If you follow the main road, Grandpa says you’ll feel a sense of existential dread and general mounting horror that comes ‘round the emotional repression[15] found in nunneries and just follow that.” The child, in denim overalls and rubber boots, delivered this set of instructions with such a strong sense of normalcy that Lucifer found himself nodding along before he quite registered what she said.

He half choked on the giggle that forced its way out of his chest, tears gasping at his eyes. “Thank you child,” he managed to strangle out, “I do believe I needed that.”

He leaned over to the glove compartment[16] and pulled out some full size candy bars, the kind no one ever gave out on Halloween but should. “I assume those are your parents enjoying that lovely picnic over there?” He handed the candy over, looking each child in the eyes as they nodded.

“Go tell them you helped me be ‘not exactly lost’ and that I gave you the candy as a thank you. Don’t eat it till they let you, and enjoy the -” he glanced at the wagon filled with bricks - “enjoy the good weather, and whatever you’re doing with it.”

The children nodded, a hive mind presented with sugar and chocolate and ran back as one.

By the time Adam though to wonder why the voices he sometimes argued with had gone silent, or why the man in the wicked car made him feel old and young and old again, the car was already halfway back to London and the owner was, if not in Hell, then feeling it.

His son - the child - had an aura so bright Lucifer had been in the center before he even realized he’d passed the border. It was - he hadn’t been an angel in years, centuries and eons and he flung himself from the title as far as he could, but this was as close he felt to ascending once more.

The aura was a rainbow of light and he feared the darkness corrupting it would only grow, would only find Adam if he went too close, too often.

He had glared the imps over the boys shoulder into submission, warning them off before his eleventh birthday, but for now that was all he could do.

4 years before Armageddon.

Warlock, being a rather cheerful child despite his generally odd upbringing, started writing as soon as he learned his letters. If the tutor saw anything strange in a seven year old writing letters to a Mr Luce, confirmed to be one of his father's associates, he never mentioned it.[17]

Lucifer had a mailing address in most major cities, a necessity when you have had so many names (all true), and years to collect Things and Houses and occasionally People. Many of the Things he had came from the People he had known, and his collection of books with rather pointed dedications might even rival Aziraphales.

He never expected to get a colorful envelope covered in a child’s handwriting stuck in the London location, all backwards B’s and misspelled words crossed out.

The next time he swings ‘round the Dowling Estate, it’s during some sort of charity lunch, one he would normally avoid at all costs, unless he could watch some drama unfold. There was always dramatics at these things.

Warlock was kicking his feet near the sandwiches, watching the guests wonder by and working on a truly impressive plate of sweets. He glanced up when Lucifer dropped into a chair at his table, blinking in a sort of happy sugar induced haze at the three envelopes that were dropped in front of him.

“What's all this then?” Lucifer crossed his legs, watching the micro-politics of the common english garden party unfold. Someone should get David Attenborough to narrate, it would feel right at home.

“Letters,” said Warlock, with the air of a child who was being allowed to do something they were normally not allowed to do. Considering this was the first even where he wasn’t trotted out like a prized pony and then sent back to the kitchens to sneak cakes from Cook, he was.

“I can see that, small human. But why, do tell, are they addressed to me?” Warlock seemed to deflate, or at the very least he began to pay more attention to Lucifer then he did to the cakes before him.

“Well, Mr. Haspah (my new tutor) told me to practice my letters, and Nanny suggested I write to someone I’m int’rested in knowing better.” He turned big blue eyes to Lucifer. “You didn’t mind, did you?”

If Lucifer is being honest, and he always is, he no longer knew what angle Crowley was playing at. No doubt the demonic Nanny had assumed Lucifer would ignore the letters. But why suggest it in the first place?[18]

“Not at all,” he was sincere in that - it had been a surprise, certainly, but the letters were entertaining in their existence, and the banal, everyday life of a human child was exotic enough to offer a brief respite in the midst of hellish paperwork. “I simply wasn't expecting them.”

Warlock glanced at him over his plate, picking slowly at a lemon square. “It's only that you didn't answer any of them.” He replied mournfully. It was a brilliant manipulation, more effective in the fact that Warlock didn’t even mean it as one.

“Ah.” Lucifer was not used to sincerity and innocence in others requests. “I suppose I didn’t.”

He picked up one of the letters, written on a crimson sheet in deep black marker, decorated with rainbow stickers around the border and a drawing of what was supposed to be a puppy, but may have actually been a bicycle. It was an excellent bicycle, but a rather terrible puppy.

“Have you decided on what outdoor sport to pursue? You mentioned your tutor thought it best to choose one now that the weather is turning up.”

Warlock worried at his bottom lip, deciding whether the chocolate cake or the almond square should be his next culinary conquest, entirely uninterested in sports whatsoever. “Nope,” He said, popping the second syllable out of his mouth as the almond square went in. He kept speaking around the cake, earning a shudder and disgusted glare from Lucifer, both of which made him giggle. “Nothing seems very interesting, or worth getting sweaty over.”

“Mmm I see your point.” They sat in silence for a few moments, Lucifer occasionally commenting on someone’s dress or company or air of stinking ambition, Warlock working through a truly impressive plate.

“Have you thought of Archery?”

Warlock paused, half a lavender chocolate comically to his mouth and eyes wide. He tilted his head, this time more in thought than as a consequence of Lucifer's height.

“Shooting a bow and arrow? Like Robin Hood?”

“Exactly that,” Lucifer leaned over to steal some chocolate mousse, ignoring the tiny hands that shooed him away. “And I happen to know that your Nanny is quite skilled with a bow. You could even ask them to teach you.”

“Really?” Warlock’s eyes, previously glaring at the traitorous chocolate on its way to Lucifer's mouth, now scanned the party for his wayward Nanny.

“Oh, yes. Learned it from a friend named Artie, I believe.” He might not know what Crowley’s angle was, but that didn't mean he’d let them get away with it. “I’m sure they’d love to teach you.”

Warlock squirmed, plate empty and hands curling around it restlessly.

“Oh, go on then, small one. I know you desire to ask them right away.” Warlock grinned at him, a wide and brilliantly trusting thing, one that made his heart ache in a way that was not conducive to devilishness, and hopped off his chair.

“Will you answer the letters next time?”

All of a sudden Lucifer was not entirely sure what to do with his limbs. Children were certainly more trouble than they're worth, emotionally speaking.

“I will make an attempt to do so.”

About four weeks later, two weeks after Mr. Haspah dropped another letter in the post and considered (finally) that having a child write to a mostly unknown stranger was possibly a bad idea, a small letter arrived in the mail for Warlock.

It was two sheets of elegantly pressed parchment, the kind that was sold in exclusive shops in little corners, and covered in a flowing hand that wouldn't be out of place in a calligraphy book.

There was hardly any personal information- something vague about dogs, or maybe horses - but rather a string of reactions and occasionally advice in relation to what Warlock had written.

You got the impression, while reading it, that the writer was as surprised at its existence as you were.

Unless you were Warlock. Warlock had the utmost confidence that his letters would be answered.

2 years before Armageddon.

For the most part, Lucifer allowed his Grace[19] to parade before him, smoothing his way to charm the humans who crossed his path.

Sometimes Lucifer turned it off, and charmed humans the old fashioned way - through being a suave bastard with an impeccable sense of style. This was more of a challenge then you might think, as most people, when not slightly buzzed off divinity, treated angels the same way a saner homo sapien might treat a wild elephant, or a tiger. That is, like a large ‘fuck the fuck off’ sign was flashing with a neon arrow above their heads.

The way most species react to apex predators designed to hunt them specifically, even if they weren’t hunting them right at that second.

It still wasn’t much of a challenge.

But simply put, humans were not meant to meet celestials. Being that Humans and Angels were made from similar stock, the design flaw that led to ‘I do what I want’ (see; the apple, the tower of babble, teenagers, etc.) was apparently never corrected.

When Lucifer met RP Tyler, he had the peculiar experience of realizing that for once, his grace was redundant - because RP Tyler, of the neighborhood watch, belonged to that particular breed of man who believed deep down in their feudalistic heart that society had been better off when the only ones allowed Ideas had been the ones with Money and Land. To him, Lucifer was a stranger in his town, but to the small vassal at the back of his mind, the one who recognized power as sure as he did a witch,[20] sat up with his pitchfork and half dead cow and said ‘This is a Man who owns A Castle and Sits with the King’. Most peasants hadn’t known how to translate raw divinic power either, but it was close.

Being that the last two centuries had been almost wholly devoid of this attitude, it took Lucifer a moment to realize why exactly a man so clearly suspicious of anything he deemed foreign to his four yards of village, would be so helpful to an eldritch being come-calling.

He still absolutely understood Adam’s opinion of the man. Anyone with a little fifth century peasant at the back of their head, waiting for the King to change things, was not to be trusted.

“And his dog ‘sn’t even a prop’r dog either,” Adam was leaning on a wall, munching the licorice twists he had liberated from Lucifer’s glove compartment. At this point, the Them knew that if Luce was in town, there was going to be candy.[21]

“Your Birthday is coming up, isn’t it?” Lucifer never left his car, on any of these visits, choosing to maintain whatever barriers he could. Of course, if one were to ask, it had nothing to do with him not wanting to get emotionally attached to the End of All Things, and more about covering his bases when it came to strangers giving children candy.

At Adams nod, he continued, “Why not ask your Dad for a proper dog?”

The idea, planted in a mind that had no problem building cities on clouds and stories on nothing at all, grew faster than the piles of fallen ash in Hell.

“You may want to wait till your a little older,” Lucifer eyed him with the sudden foreboding familiar to parents everywhere.

It was too late. The idea of a dog, one small enough to fit in his bed but fast enough to run at the heels of his bike and keep up, was quickly taking shape in Adams mind.

Ask Dad for a dog, now there's an idea, Adam thought.

Lucifer, perhaps feeling that he had done enough damage to the Youngs household peace, decided now was a good time as any to start drive off. Adam didn’t notice that, too busy dreaming.

“Do you think he’ll get me a dog, a prop’r dog, one that’s small‘nd fast an’ fun?” Adam, despite his Divine aura being brighter than the damn sun, had no black edges to his Humanity, no wailing reality twisting at his feet. Even the imps, the ones Lucifer had hissed away two years ago, hadn’t made an appearance yet. But he was human, and a child, and for the sake of compelling an answer to earnest questions asked in complete trust that was enough.

“I’m sure,” said Lucifer, having a rather different conversation then Adam now, “That if you ask, your father will eventually give you a dog for your birthday.”

The answer, although oddly phrased to a more practiced air, seemed perfect to Adam. Luce had a way of saying things that made them feel true.

The Them, who had noticed this phenomena, rather thought Adam could do the same thing, but on a child-voiced scale.

They never bothered to investigate the coincidence. After all, there was candy to be eaten and backwoods dragons to tame.

1 year before Armageddon.

Lucifer’s gift to Warlock was a set of books from the rolling Judean hills, old enough that if the current director of the British Museum knew they were in the hands of a ten year old, he would faint, quit his job, and become a sheep herder. Not particularly in that order.

The information and guidance he could subtly cram into letters was now considered negligible for a growing witch.

His gift to Adam was a bag of candy and advice.

“Perhaps if you stop asking, and show your father how responsible you are, he’ll get you a dog?”

Normally Lucifer would encourage the kind of chaos a small child in pursuit of something can cause, but The Universe had taken a liking to Adam and was making sure his requests were reaching both his fathers. Lucifer did not appreciate the small child prayers interrupting his privacy.

The joke was on him, because Adam kept thinking about it, and thoughts are almost-prayers, and The Universe kept sending those to him anyways.

They were also bright and warm and rather like Divine cotton candy, so perhaps The Universe was killing two birds with one stone.

Wednesday. (3 days to armageddon.)

The hellhounds had been Lucifer’s idea.

Not the idea of giving one to a child, that had been some half-stoned priest in the thirteenth century[22] and it had been picked up rather quickly by everyone else, but the general existence of hell-hounds.

It had seemed like a good idea at the time.

Essentially, they were dogs.

Or, dog shaped, vaguely. If one were to meet a hell-hound in a dark alley, while drunk, the reaction would be to immediately shout doggie! and run to pet it.

Of course, drunk humans encountering something fluffy were not the best source of unbiased data.

Actually, any humans encountering something fluffy were never the best sort for gathering data.

The best way to describe hell-hounds was what would happen if you took a shetland pony, crossed it with a hunting dog of your choice, gave it carnivorous instincts and the ability to track nightmares, and swirled in a dash of eldritch horror and the same stuff the silence of space is made of.

Hearing a demon-dog bark is as close to hearing Death sing as anyone has ever come.[23]

The naming of a hell-hound was important - like angels, their name defined them. Unlike angels, the name was chosen first.

This left Lucifer in a little bit of a tangle - someone would certainly notice if Warlock didn’t have a giant hound of ghostly proportions wonder in at his birthday, and then the Forces of Hell would go looking for the real Antichrist.[24] But then again, naming the dog something safe and sending the perfectly ordinary result would be just as suspicious.

The solution was simple. Two puppies were selected from the latest litter, and Lucifer tucked them under his arm, striding off to see which was ‘more worthy of the Prince of Hell’. No one wanted to know why he came back with only one.

He could picture how it would go - Warlock, surrounded by his peers and the parents who occasionally remembered he was more than a conversation piece, and perhaps one or two spies on behalf of celestial affairs. A courier service from London would arrive, carrying a crate that logic would dictate a hell-hound, even a puppy, could never fit in. That’s because Logic has no place in the business of the infernal plane, and so Lucifer told it to toddle right off for this one.

Warlock would open the letter taped to the front first, ignoring the jealous whispers and the confused glances his parents were exchanging.

“Warlock,

As I am unable to attend your eleventh birthday, I have sent a gift I have no doubt you will enjoy.

Her name is either Alexa (protector) or Shomeret (guardian) - for now she will answer to both, but choose one and call her that forever.

I hope the rest of your life is a long and happy affair, and full of birthdays.

Luce”

It was sentimental, sure, but there was also a small chance that Warlocks life would end in fire and flood shortly, so Lucifer allowed himself the indulgence.

Unfortunately, while this was a rather nice and accurate prediction of the events following the couriers arrival, what he had miscalculated was this one thing - that a hell-hound in search of its master could never be slower than the post.[25] Even the most elite courier in all of London, used to deliver legal papers capable of toppling a small country, and clandestine notes between super spies and their rivals/lovers, could not compete.

Crowley and Aziraphale leave before the courier even arrives, and suddenly the circle that Knows grows a little wider.

Something settles over Hell as the Dog is named. It is not satisfaction, or anticipation. Hell is too entwined in Lucifers soul to ever differ so greatly from his own wants. It is the settling of old accounts, a line drawn smooth over a creased page as a new debt begins to form.

Hell shudders, the loops rustling in what could be surprise - the ash, thick as stars and twice as blinding, stops.

Lucifer watches as his kingdom wakes up and stretches, crooning softly at the back of his mind. Maze, who does not remember when Hell first shuddered to existence, walks up beside him. “Welcome to the end times,” he says, as the End begins.


[1] You try telling Sandalphon his suit was out of date. See how far it gets you. [return to text]

[2] Perhaps a bad analogy when the bing in question doesn't actually breath, but for the sake of clarity and concise phrases which convey importance in human terms, it stands.[return to text]

[3] Or tartan, much to his companions annoyance.[return to text]

[4] And gender.[return to text]

[5] Even though this time it was Amenadiels fault. Maze hated Amenadiel, despite having never really met him, and for a number of reasons. Foisting the blame on him was both easy and very satisfying in a manner familiar to those of you who have siblings.[return to text]

[6] Although Lucifer's rebellious days had involved less sneaking and more talking. A lot of talking. Look, if priests got more things about angelology and religion correct, there would be less of them in Hell.[return to text]

[7] If anyone had asked, Lucifer would have said that the lesser demons had a love of pranks, and this was simply one of his many suits, and of course he had gotten rid of the stupid things they were sticky and bulky and the small child was right there anyways, may as well tempt him with high-fructose corn syrup.

As previously established, no one ever asked.[return to text]

[8] Actually, most of them couldn’t do that last bit.[return to text]

[9] Technically the correct term was Coronal Mass Ejection, but quite frankly that sounded like a sex joke, and Lucifer liked the way Ion Storm sounded. He had also liked Leonard Nimoy. Nice guy. Great Actor. Cute ears.

Lucille had definitely gotten that business decision right, even if took a decade for the rest of the world to see it.[return to text]

[10] That word, when used in this story, means something entirely different than what it should, for reasons that will be clear in a moment.[return to text]

[11] God, for Her part, was pretending not to know that The Universe was counting cards. The Universe pretended not to know God knew. God still chose poker every time they played. It was a system, and not random at all. Most things aren’t.

And you think your family is dysfunctional.[return to text]

[12] Diedre Young liked the classics. Adam liked spending time with his mum, even if the movies weren’t in colour.

“What if they were,” the voices over his shoulder whispered.

“What if you bugger off while I'm with m’Mum,” he muttered back.[return to text]

[13] No you aren’t, and Lucifer is tired of that myth. Let it die, please.[return to text]

[14] None. They were dealing for God and The Universe and had a nice little tip jar going on the side.[return to text]

[15] It's been said more than three times, at this point it's a theme.[return to text]

[16] It had been empty when he stopped. It was always empty, as there was an indeterminate amount of time between possible uses, but Lucifer still managed to find what he needed in there.[return to text]

[17] He was a very specific kind of tutor, one used to working with rich people and their offspring. There was much he wouldn’t question, and he never commented on the peculiar relationship between the Gardener or the Nanny either.[return to text]

[18] Crowley didn't have an angle.

Crowley had been assigned to deliver and, presumably, ensure the proper upbringing of the Antichrist. His reaction, still following the fairly broad pattern Lucifer had established for him, was to do the bare minimum, exaggerate it to his managers, and also invite Heaven’s most tolerable angel to have a go.

Had his baby swap plan not worked out, Lucifer thought Warlock would still have made a pretty good antichrist. Or a bad one, if you wanted to end the world.

But Crowley’s angle, if it must be explained, could best be defined with ‘How can I annoy my Boss while still following his instructions.’ It didn’t quite work the way he intended.[return to text]

[19] Regardless of above or below, it was called Grace. Perhaps ironic.[return to text]

[20] More accurately, actually.[return to text]

[21] Infrequent though his visits were, they followed a pattern that the discerning children had figured out early on.

When the shiny black car rolled into the village, their bicycles suddenly became capable of abnormal speeds, that may have actually had more to do with the effect hypothetical sugar had on their adrenaline systems then any of Adam’s innate and slowly growing abilities.[return to text]

[22] Who else would think a giant beast from the midst of Hell would make a good pet to a prepubescent child? Certainly not someone with all their higher brain functions in play.[return to text]

[23] Mostly because Death was shy. They had a lovely, deep and resonating sort of voice that made the ocean look shallow.[return to text]

[24] Lucifer gave his demons a bit too much credit. The only ones who noticed in the end were Crowley and Aziraphale, and that came down to bad luck. Or maybe, considering how it all worked out, good luck.[return to text]

[25] A snail on sleeping pills would be faster than the post.[return to text]