Michael and Samael were two halves of a whole. They were identical in appearance, though side by side, Samael shone just a bit brighter. Twins, the humans would call them, billions of years later. Together they were Power and Will; substance and shape. The right and left hands of their Father. A most glorious task.
When Father commanded ‘let there be light,’ Michael brought matter into being from the blackness of the empty void, and Samael spun Michael’s formless, nebulous matter into a sphere. He pressed it together until it ignited and lit up the universe.
Their Father saw it, and it was good.
"Can I show you something?" Samael asked when the Earth was just one of many young planets of rock and magma.
"Of course.” Michael put away his sword, the flaming weapon gifted to him by their Father. Samael, in turn, had been gifted a ring, inlaid with a glowing white stone. He had asked after its purpose once, but Samael merely smiled in response.
"I’m working on a project of sorts." Samael tugged at one of his feathers. “Come on.”
Samael dragged him across the heavens. They passed several galaxies, cutting through nebulae and skirting around the pull of black holes. Samael brought them to a stop in front of a small star that burned a bright, pure white. His brother reached out to the star in greeting and a solar flare reached back, curling around his fingertips.
"It's this one. Isn't it beautiful, Michael?" Samael asked, mesmerized. "Father didn’t ask for one like this, but I was curious how it would look. It shines with a perfect spectrum."
Samael was alight with his joy. Michael didn’t miss the glimmer of pride in his brother’s eyes. A sense of foreboding rose in him, but he swallowed it down and smiled. “It is indeed beautiful, Lucifer.”
“Lucifer,” Samael echoed, swirling the name around on his tongue. Lightbringer. “I like it.”
The embers of pride grew brighter.
Lucifer’s ring dropped into Michael’s lap.
“Can you cover for me again?” Lucifer asked from above.
Michael picked up the ring. “Why?”
“I am meant to train with Amenadiel, but I’m working on my stars. Can you go in my place? Just once more. He won’t notice.”
He was growing tired of this. It wasn’t direct disobedience of their Father, but deep down Michael knew it wasn’t right. He squeezed the ring in his hand.
“Fine. One last time,” he said, even though they both knew it wouldn’t be.
“Thank you, Michael!” Lucifer gave him a grin and flew off.
Michael found Lucifer on one of the planets circling his favourite star. Lucifer shuffled himself behind him and began grooming his wings.
“Do you think Father will give us our own will too? Like the humans?” Lucifer asked.
He frowned. “Why? We don’t need our own will, we have Father’s.”
Lucifer sighed. “How can you have so much faith in Father?”
“I just do. He knows what is to come. Father has a plan, and we will follow it.”
Father had been busy, yes, but Michael trusted Him. He knew that if Father had decided it, then it was for the best. It was not his place to wonder why.
“But...” Lucifer’s fingers paused, “What if I don’t want to?”
Michael turned his head to look back at his brother. “What else would you do?”
Lucifer didn’t reply and instead turned his attention back to Michael’s wings. Michael sat and watched the stars burn in front of them.
The rebellion came on suddenly, and by the time Michael had caught wind of it, it was too late. Lucifer was to be banished for his disobedience and Michael, keeper of the flaming sword, was to send him away.
“Michael, please! You don’t have to do this!” Lucifer begged.
Lucifer stood in front of him, scared but strong. His eyes burned with his conviction. With a sinking heart, Michael knew he would not back down. This was his fault. The sparks of rebellion started early, but it was Michael who had encouraged it into a flame. The eyes of their siblings, their Mother, and Father were upon them. He didn’t want to do this, but it was not his place to want. It was not his place to allow his brother to want. Michael didn’t want-
He squeezed his eyes shut. “It is His will.” He pushed Lucifer into the abyss, but Lucifer grabbed his sleeve and dragged him down with him.
They plunged into the darkness. Michael grappled with Lucifer, trying to wrestle his wings free. The universe worked differently here though; nothing they did would slow their descent. His brother clung to him, terrified, as they plummeted through the abyss. They caught fire as they fell, but they did not burn.
Their impact in the lower realm set the entire plane ablaze. A crater, wreathed in flame, reached high above them.
Michael turned to his brother. “Lucifer, look what you’ve-”
Lucifer was utterly still beside him. Unseeing eyes stared past his shoulder. Embedded in his chest was Michael’s sword.
Nothing. Lucifer didn’t blink, he didn’t twitch. His eyes were glassy and vacant. The light had faded from his wings, leaving them a dull white, edging on grey. Blood bloomed across his robes, spreading out from the sword that Father had entrusted to Michael. A sword meant to protect, lodged in his brother’s chest. His sword had been drawn when Lucifer had pulled him down after him. It must have happened then. Michael couldn’t bear to look at him. He couldn’t bear to look away.
Lucifer, who liked to pull pranks on Amenadiel. Lucifer, who would sit and listen to Azrael talk at length about Father’s latest creation. Lucifer, who burned brighter than the rest of their siblings.
Lucifer, whose light had sparked and sputtered out by Michael’s own hand. He couldn’t breathe. The weight of what he had done threatened to swallow him whole. He reached out for Lucifer’s face, but flinched and fell back before he could touch him.
Father knew. Of course, He knew. The scorched air left Michael’s lungs in a rush. He understood his Father’s punishment with all the certainty of the damned. With trembling hands, he took Lucifer’s ring, now an opaque black. Without its true owner, the stone had lost its light.
“One last time,” Michael whispered. “Not again, okay?” He slipped the ring onto his finger with sharp claws and red, gnarled skin.
It was exactly what he deserved.