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These Marks Upon Me

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CASTIEL

 

Castiel was trapped. There was no turning back now, and he prayed with every ounce of his grace that what he’d done wouldn't have horrendous consequences of its own. Exactly one day ago, or so the clock on the microwave had led Castiel to believe, he had allowed Lucifer to possess him and thus escape his imprisonment. 

It was not as if Castiel thought it was a brilliant idea to say yes, only that it seemed like the best option at the time. Otherwise, he and the Winchester brothers would maybe have lost all access to one of the few beings that had a shot at defeating Darkness. Castiel had considered the risk worth taking, and he had needed to act on the spur of the moment. 

Now he was in the dark. Well, not in the literal sense of the term. Castiel could see in front of him very well. It was a nondescript motel room with a mini fridge and bar that he was looking at. What Castiel couldn't see was the actions Lucifer was taking while occupying his vessel. It made him nervous. What was Lucifer doing out there? Castiel simply had no way of knowing. 

 

One week later

 

Castiel over time had determined that he could make things, people, and places appear and disappear at will. Eventually, though, he decided it would be better if he didn't tamper with such things. He preferred to be alone in a place that didn't bring back any bad memories. 

When he had just been removed out of his human form and into the world of his own mind, Castiel found himself in the Bunker library. It was a mess; books were strewn all over the place and there was blood on the floor. His own blood, he realized belatedly as Dean landed another punch to his face. Castiel remembered this. His friend had, under the influence of the mark of Cain, beat him bloody.

“Stop!” Castiel yelled. “You’re only a memory. You can't do this to me again.”

“But I should,” fake Dean said with a maniacal grin. “I don't think you understood the first time—you deserved it.”

It didn't make any sense to Castiel; Dean was one of his few true friends, through good times and bad. Why would his mind create such a horrible version of him? 

“You see, Cas, you act so ‘holier than thou’ when you're with us…”

Castiel shook his head. That just wasn't true, well… most of the time at least. There were a few incidents where he thought the boys were a bit rash. 

“When you look at us, you see these brutish beasts while contrasting yourself as… what exactly? A sweet angel without a single fault? Don't make me laugh,” Dean made a sort of sound between a bark and a snort. 

This was all getting to be a bit too much for Castiel. His entire face burning horrifically, one of his eyes was so swollen that he couldn't see through it. Blood was dripping into the other one. Castiel as though he would explode from all the pain. He wasn't healing fast enough. 

“You did the same to me once, Cas. For no good reason. You deserve to feel the same pain until you understand what you did was wrong.”

Dean wouldn't understand. Castiel had tried to explain it to him, but it had been in vain. Angels were programmed for specific purposes. He’d been brainwashed into retrieving the angel tablet! It was all wonder he didn't go all the way in killing Dean as it was. 

Suddenly, the pain was gone completely and Castiel felt more powerful than he'd been since falling. The scene around him changed into a dark, nondescript place. Dean was in front of him still, but their roles were reversed. He was pleading with pleading with Castiel to stop hurting him, his face almost completely bashed in by Castiel’s fist. Even now his own arm was raised for another blow. He quickly lowered it when realization hit him. 

Castiel hold back with disgust, horrified at finding himself in this position. He wanted to scream at the top of his lungs. No, no, I didn't mean to! Never had he felt deeper regret. He had almost beat his best friend to death after all. All that came out was the whispered “I'm sorry…” Words were just not enough. 

Dean laugh in that same creepy manner again. “You're a pathetic excuse for an angel. Has anyone ever told you that? Sammy and I used to think that you were our guardian! Instead you bashed my face just like Lucifer did.” He shook his head in mock pity.

Dean turned into Lucifer. At first Castiel thought he might have been paid a visit by his “vessel mate,” but quickly discarded that idea, realizing that this was his past self, bounded by the confines of a human body with its skin peeling off. Castiel was looking at him through a ring of fire… and then he realized—this was also a memory. One from the Apocalypse, when Castiel first spoke to Lucifer in the small town of Carthage.

He was saying something very different than he had then. 

“How exactly where you saying that we are so different, again, Cas? Whenever someone has a grievance against you, or accuses you of something bad, you always have some excuse. ‘I was brainwashed!’ ‘I thought I was doing the right thing!’ You think you're always so misunderstood. So am I, Cas. Everyone paints me as this evil monster. I'm not. It may be true that the Mark has made me do a few bad things… just a few. But for the most part, I'm just like you. I just want to make things right.”

As Lucifer was speaking, his face slowly changed into Castiel’s own. A mirror image.

All of this was just too much for him. He couldn't think. All Castiel knew was that he was good… nothing like the devil. Why would no one hear him out? From sheer frustration, Castiel called out “All I want is a moment of peace!” And that was exactly what he got. At first he was almost scared to look around when he realized that the scenery had transformed around him once again. After a moment though, Castiel realized that it was just him sitting alone in front of a small television set in some random motel room. The channel was set to Destination America, the current program talking about fried foods in the US. 

Castiel enjoyed watching it. The documentary helping him forget the prior traumatic experiences. All was good until the next documentary came on. It started by discussing the mysterious occurrences of entire bird flocks falling dead from the sky.

 

LUCIFER

 

It wasn’t often that Lucifer got respite from his endless to-do list: find Hands of God, defeat the Darkness, humiliate Crowley and teach him his place, etc. But he was an archangel, for crying out loud, one who had just been released from the cage again. Surely he deserved bit of respite? So one day, when he had put everyone to work and locked Crowley away, he sat down on the throne, intending to do absolutely nothing for a few hours. Maybe he would immerse himself in good memories from heaven before he had been cast out. 

Or perhaps he would just sing an angelic melody. His kind had always liked to do so when there wasn’t much else to do. Granted, singing was a social activity for them. Doing so might only serve to make him feel lonelier. Lucifer was lonely, there was no doubting that. He’d been on his own for ages before he’d been freed from the cage the first time. He couldn’t risk making himself known to other angels, it would just be a repeat of the debacle with the angel in the park that he’d been forced to disintegrate. Still, thoughts of other angels got his mind turning wheels. 

He was more powerful now than any of them, there was no way anyone in heaven could defeat him, even if many of them banded together to fight, which was unlikely. From what he’d gotten out of his new friend and vessel, it was almost every angel for himself. There’d been no concrete attempts at proper organization since Metatron made the angels fall. Clearly heaven was full of issues, and he was a perfect solution. Of course, he’d first have to convince all of his brothers and sisters to submit to him. But he did hold the upper hand; Lucifer doubted it would be very difficult. There was this Darkness issue he could as an excuse to make them more cooperative—that would help at least some of the angels warm up to him. 

Lucifer sighed inwardly. More work, as usual. First, though, he would do something for himself for a change. He wanted to enjoy natural scenery again. Being cooped up in a dilapidated building with a bunch of dim-witted demons could grate on anyone’s nerves, least of all his. 

He decided to fly into Yosemite national park in California. Someone during his prior experiences with humanity had mentioned it was a beautiful place. Lucifer had to admit that he fully agreed with that assessment. All around him was a prime example of his Father’s good work. Delicate-looking waterfalls dropped down thousands of feet. Rocky cliffs poked out of tree-covered slopes. The very air itself smelled so fresh and sweet. Lucifer sat down at an observatory on the roadside. 

After a few minutes of silently taking in the beauty of the place, he heard something. It was a quick and incredibly quite noise, easy to miss. At first he thought some arrogant human was cutting short his quiet time. Yet, when Lucifer reached out with his grace, he sensed no other life beyond a few small critters. Whatever he heard must have come from a chipmunk. 

Again he heard it though—not a moment later! This time, it was easy to recognize the sound. It was the sniffling of someone who was either sick or crying. But there was no one in hearing distance, the mystery of it all leaving Lucifer very perplexed. As it was happening over and over now, he tried to pinpoint which direction it came from, and that helped solve the dilemma. The crying, now complete with sobs, was coming from within him, from his mind specifically. It wasn’t from the outside at all, just the sound of his vessel’s distress. 

Lucifer cleared his mind, closed his eyes, and withdrew into his mind as well. That was the only way he’d discover what was wrong with his Castiel—he had certainly never seemed like a cryer. The scene that greeted him when he found the angel was horrifying, even by Lucifer’s high standards. He was in a grassy glade surrounded by trees, maybe an abandoned park. The sky seemed to be at war with itself. Strong rain and hail pelted down from the heavens. Lightning danced from cloud to cloud, and the loud rumble of thunder accompanied it often. 

What was on the ground disturbed Lucifer the most though—dozens if not hundreds of dead angels lay on the grass that burned wing marks had destroyed most of. It seemed as though they had all simply dropped out of the sky. The only living being was Castiel, on his knees looking around at the carnage while simultaneously almost crying his heart out. It didn’t take a genius to realize he thought it was his fault. Lucifer came to his side asking, “What is all this, brother?”

He genuinely was curious, and sorry to see the other so heartbroken. Why all the dead angels? Had this really happened at one point or another, or was the scene symbolic? Castiel started with surprise. Clearly he had not realized that Lucifer had joined him. 

“You shouldn’t be seeing this. It is private, I’m in my own mind,” Castiel said flatly. 

“I know. I definitely wouldn’t want someone else invading my privacy like this. But you were making yourself known to me when crying. I became concerned.”

“No need to concern yourself,” Castiel responded tonelessly, “I’ll be sure not to disturb you in the future.”

Thought Castiel had stopped crying, he still sounded clogged up. Lucifer felt distress in knowing that this was the first sign of emotion the usually stoic angel had shown him. Ethical and moral beliefs aside, Lucifer was not willing to let another angel wither away in such deep depression. 

He grabbed unto Castiel’s shoulder, stopping him from walking away. “No, tell me why this happened and who caused this.”

“It was me,”

That honestly surprised him. Castiel always seemed to be one who cared about “the greater good.” This clearly wasn’t it.  

“Why?” Lucifer asked him. 

“I had been possessed by millions of souls from purgatory. They changed me. Inflated my ego and made me think I was God. I couldn’t allow my enemies, those who were still pushing for the apocalypse, to continue opposing me. So I got rid of them,” he indicated with a wave of his arm the carnage around them. “Then I disintegrated Raphael.”

Lucifer widened his eyes in surprise. To disintegrate an archangel did require God-like powers. Despite his own lust for power, he himself would never ingest souls from purgatory to get his way; he knew better. Apparently his brother had been too young or ignorant of these matters to know the consequences of his actions. He supposed they had to be thankful that Castiel hadn’t decided to destroy all of heaven during his stint as “God.”

“Let me guess, those souls included the Leviathan?”

“Yes, bringing them back into our realm is also something I am guilty of, they caused a lot of death and suffering until the Winchesters were able to get rid of them. I was so damaged at that point that I was barely able to even help,”

“I’m shocked the Leviathan didn’t completely destroy you, if I’m being perfectly honest. Horrible, disgusting creatures that should remain in purgatory for all eternity. They destroy everything they touch," 

“They broke free of me after a while. I didn’t survive. God brought me back.” Castiel said. 

 Lucifer noticed that he stopped looking at the dead angels, instead pointedly staring straight ahead. As if that would stop them from weighing on his conscious. Castiel needed to face his guilt head-on. Only then would this torment—the expected effect of being closed up in one’s own mind with nothing but thoughts and memories—stop. Lucifer understood what Castiel was going through, to a certain extent. 

He also had been all by himself with nothing to do. In the cage it had felt like eternity. At first he had felt nothing but rage at himself and others, himself for not having been able to avoid imprisonment, and the others for having condemned him to this suffering. It took a long time before Lucifer accepted that these were mistakes anyone would have made and decided to focus on the future and eventually being let out. He figured that, even if the chances of it happening small, it was better to hope than to despair. Regretting the past, that had never helped anyone. 

“Why did you absorb millions of souls from purgatory though?” That was the one thing Lucifer still didn’t understand from the conversation.

“Heaven was in the midst of a civil war, they were meant to make me powerful enough to defeat Raphael, with minimal casualties.”

“How ironic, little brother. I would say that if you fully intended to kill all of these angels, or if you knew exactly what the outcome of absorbing all of those souls would be, then you would be guilty.”

Lucifer stood in front of Cas, trying to make eye contact.

“But you didn't know, did you, Castiel?”

Castiel shook his head in agreement.

“Then it wasn't your intent. Never feel guilt for something that isn't your fault. It'll take a lot of weight off of your shoulders.”

Castiel finally met his eyes. Now Lucifer knew that he’d actually been listening. They both stayed silent for a few minutes. It wasn't an awkward pause, but rather full of understanding over what had happened between them: Castiel had revealed some of his trauma about past events and Lucifer, for the most part, had taken it all in without judgment and even gave his helpful two cents. Both were equally surprised by this positive outcome. 

Lucifer stood up, preparing to leave, when Castiel caught him by the arm.

“Can you come back? It's good to see someone else. It's almost like I'm out there again.”

How touching, Lucifer thought to himself. It really was quite a surprise that the two of them were having a civil conversation of some import. 

“Of course Cas. I too find it nice to have a calm discussion with another angel.”

With that said, he left.

Over the next few weeks, Castiel didn’t seem to experience any further traumatic incidents in his mind, at least not from what Lucifer could tell. He had by then long calmed down and made peace with himself, spending his entire time indulging in his hobby—namely watching TV. There probably was not much need to check if he was freaking out. 

Though Lucifer was busy most of the time—there was a major battle to prepare for, after all—every so often he would check on the angel living inside of him. His initial reasoning was that Castiel’s well-being was important to his own safety, seeing as the two of them were sharing the same body, one that needed to be prepared for one of the biggest battles in history any moment. Lucifer quickly saw through his own excuses though. 

The truth was rather missed Castiel; he had realized there was more to his little brother than just a being in whose vessel he resided. Sometimes he tried to awaken Castiel so they’d both be conscious at the same time. He figured it wouldn’t be good for him to be sheltered nonstop in his own imagination, in case he became completely useless in the real world once they were no longer co-habitating. 

Shortly after he was rescued from Amara’s, Lucifer called out to Castiel again, having sensed that they may not have more time left together. He also was curious to know if the torment he himself had experienced had gotten to Castiel as well. Hopefully it hadn’t, this was no longer his fight. Castiel had already done so well by letting Lucifer out of hell. 

“I’m sorry,” he said when he felt Castiel assume awareness, “I’m sorry I treated you poorly before. You’re a true angel, a better one than I have been in a long time; you care about doing what’s right.”

He sensed Castiel himself, but no clear response, just surprise. If he was being honest, that surprise was justified. He was not known to ever be regretful of his actions, especially by someone such as Castiel, who had always been on an opposing side before now.

Lucifer had forgotten his biggest transgression against Castiel, though. He said, “I also regret disintegrating you in the graveyard. I was just so frustrated, and anxious. My emotions got the better of me.”

Finally Castiel spoke. “There’s no reason to think about it now.  You’ve helped me accept myself and my past actions since I invited you in. Maybe it doesn’t completely level the playing field, but it’s a start. No one’s ever done this much for me before.”

Lucifer gave him some useful advice that hopefully Castiel would keep in mind going forward, in case they didn’t speak again. He didn’t want the angel to ever go back to the broken state of mind he was in before. 

“Whenever you make an important decision, that requires taking a risk. Sometimes the actions you end up taking backfire, sometimes you end up in the wrong, but that happens to everyone at one point or another. No one’s perfect, but I know your heart is in the right place. Keep fighting for what you believe in, Cas. Even if you fail, take comfort in knowing your intentions were good”

“I suppose that’s a good way of measuring one’s existence” Castiel admitted.

“Of course it is, silly goose.”

Castiel chuckled at the saying. Lucifer had never heard that sound come from him before, but he sure would love to hear it again. It was probably at that point that he realized…

“I love you, Castiel,” 

Lucifer expected some reaction—but probably not the same words directed at himself right away. After all, what had he done except make the last few years a nightmare for Castiel and his human “friends.” 

What kind of response was he expecting: “You sure have a funny way of showing it; trying to take advantage of my friends, causing chaos on earth, practically killing me! But just because you’ve helped me cope with my emotional problems recently, I’ve grown to love you so much!” 

Lucifer wished Castiel would forgive him all of that but he wasn’t stupid—it probably wouldn't happen anytime soon. Still, any reaction would have been better then just being ignored.

“Until next time then,” he told Castiel as he gently pushed him out of awareness

There never was a next time.

 

CASTIEL (three months later)

 

He tried reaching back into his mind to determine how he had gotten here—half naked and thoroughly bandaged up in one of the Bunker’s bedrooms. There was something about angels finding him, being trapped in a dungeon-type place, someone desperately trying to ask him how he’d been captured…

He couldn’t remember how he’d gotten most of his wounds though. Had he been tortured? And why weren’t they healing? It hurt to even move. The bandages felt like they were in the wrong place though. The back of his right upper arm burned like hell, but that spot wasn’t covered, Castiel noticed. Though his neck muscles felt pretty strained, he turned both his head and his arm to find the cause of the burn. 

To Castiel’s great surprise it was writing, glowing golden and already receding into a burn mark. His grogginess meant it took a few moments to even realize what it meant. When he finally did, Castiel was even more surprised to see that it wasn’t a curse or spell, as he’d expected. It was an Enochian expression of true love—the closest human equivalent would’ve been “I love you.”

That was odd. What did it mean? Castiel honestly had no idea. It just made him think of the only other angel that he’d been close to recently. The one who’d told him he cared, even if no one else seemed to. Castiel missed him. 

He didn’t even understand why. After all, for most of Castiel’s existence, Lucifer had done nothing but cause trouble. But in the end, he had been willing to sacrifice himself to save God and the world as they knew it. Or so it had seemed. That was the trouble with Lucifer—one never knew what to expect. Unpredictability and selfishness were not character traits that lent themselves well to admirability. 

Castiel started, realizing he’d been lost in thoughts about Lucifer for no reason. He was no longer a player in any game, nor did he pose a threat to himself or the Winchesters any longer. Nothing would change the fact that Castiel missed him, though. Despite all his ills, he was a fellow angel with whom Castiel had shared a vessel. Scratch that, he was an archangel and Castiel had felt safe with him, knowing he was protected by one of the most powerful beings in existence. Despite knowing he shouldn’t he wished he could return to that safety.

Castiel considered not telling the Winchesters about the Enochian writing, at least not for now. After all, this was clearly angelic in origin, so there was not much they could do to stop it, nor to help him understand it better. Also, though Castiel felt a bit juvenile admitting it, he wasn’t sure he was comfortable with telling the brothers what he most likely though his issue was.

This was the hypothesis he had: the writing that was appearing on his skin was his own grace displaying his feeling from within, as he was refusing to express them himself. Such occurrences had happened only a handful of times in all of celestial history, and they always had to do with love than an angel was too embarrassed or insecure to express. The stories ended only one of two ways: either the angel made their feelings know to the object of their affection, and the writing disappeared after they bonded, or the angel died.

Castiel found Dean, who seemed incredibly relieved that he was conscious and already well enough to move on his own. They tried to put together the pieces of what had happened to Castiel in the last 48 hours. The last thing he remembered with confidence was working a case that seemed like it might have to do with werewolves. He’d been sitting on the bumper of his car, absorbed in reading a map to determine, with the help of witness testimony, a likely spot for the monsters to be hiding out. 

The only other memories Castiel had after that were the bits and pieces suggesting an abduction by angels and jailbreak with someone else’s assistance. That someone else had not been Sam nor Dean, apparently. 

Sam joined them in the library, and proceeded to tell Castiel how he came to be back here. They had found him passed out on the side of a road barely two hours away from the bunker. They came for him after he apparently called and said he was stranded and in trouble, giving them exact location details. The interesting part was, the case Castiel had been working was in Washington, meaning he had moved a distance of nearly 1,500 miles during his memory lapse. 

“What have you been hearing on Angel Radio,” Dean asked him. 

It was a good question, if anyone knew more than Castiel, it was the angels who had captured him, or at least that’s what he thought he remembered. Castiel tried to tune in, but heard nothing. That wasn’t right, there were always at least some whispers from conversations between angels that didn’t necessarily have to be broadcast to everyone. He tried harder, clearing his mind and focusing his entire attention on that specific wavelength. 

Castiel hesitated before answering “Nothing.”

“Well, crap. You have a hazy memory of being captured by vigilante angels, you were tortured by them, and it seems they cut off your communication system…,”

“What evidence of torture did you see, Dean,” Castiel asked, interrupting him. He took off his top layers and raised the right sleeve of his button-up, showing Sam and Dean the already-fading burn mark. “Was there writing burned into my skin similar to this?”

“That’s exactly what we saw!” Sam said with surprise. “We must have missed that particular one though…” 

“It’s an Enochian sigil, isn’t it,” Dean asked. 

Castiel nodded. “You didn’t see this when you first found me, I take it? I felt it appear on my skin, after I regained consciousness. It’s me creating them.”

“Do you know why, or what they mean?”

“No” Castiel didn’t want to get into that right now. Another time, when he felt ready, would be better. 

Sam looked up from what he was reading at the table.

“When you called, you seemed very different. Your voice was exactly the same…but the way you spoke seemed off somehow. More annoyed, or something...And you called me Sammy” Sam said. 

“Why are you only telling us now?” Dean asked. 

“He said he was in serious trouble, no one always acts the same under extreme stress, Dean. You should know that.”

Instead of retorting, as would be usual, he looked thoughtful.

Turning to Castiel, he asked “Can angels imitate voices?”

“With some effort and practice, we can. Though I’ve never considered that before.”

“Are we all on the same page here? That whoever called yesterday was probably not Cas, but an angel pretending to be him?”

“To be fair it could’ve been any other shape-shifting creature. But that’s hardly likely. It was probably one of Cas’s captors, and they probably tracked us back here. And to top it all of, mysterious marks are appearing on Cas.”

Dean dropped the book he had been toying with back onto the table. “Marvelous.”

 

CASTIEL

 

Castiel decided he must be “going crazy,” or whatever that phrase was. He was thinking about the fallen archangel more frequently, not less over time. A total of four marks had appeared since he’d woken up from unconsciousness. Neither he nor the Winchesters knew what had happened to Castiel since his capture, and no one had any leads. 

Had he started caring so much because they had shared the same body for months? (Few experiences between two angels were  more intimate than that.) Had it been because he only just realized that there were good parts to him too, and not only pure evil? Once, while binging on Netflix, he watched a movie with several racy scenes involving a character strikingly similar in appearance to Nick. Castiel went on to entertain quite a few juicy fantasies starring himself and Lucifer. That was a first for him. He’d never been lustful before (except for the short stint as a human—but that didn’t count).  

Meanwhile the Winchesters were getting as frustrated as caged dogs. They wanted to understand why angels were dying, and it didn’t help his case that Castiel no longer had his powers of telepathic communication. Though they never said anything outright, Castiel could gage from their emotions, especially Dean’s, that the brothers suspected him of being involved in some unpleasant angelic shenanigans. 

One day he was packing his bags in preparation for a vampire hunt when suddenly he heard an angel appear behind him. Only one remaining angel knew the bunker’s location. He only had to confirm.

“Lucifer,” he said by way of greeting.

“Cas,” Lucifer responded, not giving him any more of a response to work with. 

“What are you doing here? Are you responsible for what’s happening with the angels?”

“Now, now, calm down and take a breath little Thursday,” he said, hands moving in a placating gesture. “You should first thank me. 

“For what?” Castiel asked.

“Well, for one, for saving you from those psycho angels who threw you into a dungeon and who wanted to do who knows what to you. Seriously, Cas, didn't mommy ever tell you not to talk to strangers? For the past month I have been taking inventory of all angels on Earth. It's a mess out there. They go where they want, do whatever they want to do, and nobody holds them accountable.” Lucifer told him.

 “Why do you care what they do? Don't tell me you want to take over heaven.” Castiel said gruffly.

“Why shouldn't I? Someone has to take responsibility for this mess. Do you even know what happened to you? A group of ruffians decided that everything bad that had happened to them recently was your fault. So they just captured you and decided to have a bit of fun torturing you before killing you. Does that sound good to you Cas. Because in my world that's unacceptable. The heaven that I remember didn't allow punishment without fair judgment. I'm tired of fighting for forsaken place with a very attached king. Instead, I want to fight for a beautiful place with no one in charge. If you think that's wrong, if you think this is just another evil action of mine, then I don't have much more to say than ‘You’re wrong.’,” He was starting to get beside himself with excitement.

“Leave heaven alone. There aren’t many angels left to do much damage. Surely you know you're not welcome there?” Castiel asked him.

“But I am. I have already started my good work. Don't you see? This is a chance for a new beginning. I want you to be at my side to witness it,” Lucifer responded 

“Before trying to take me back to heaven, tell me if it was you who cut me off from the communication frequency.”

Lucifer’s eyes widened and he said “I forgot about that. I did it to protect you from any other angels possibly trying to go all vigilante on you.”  

Castiel nodded. He suspected as much. Though it should worry him, that Lucifer had done this to him without his knowledge, his deepest instinct told him to trust the archangel, that he was telling the truth? Did he really care about Castiel enough to have done all this? Rescued him, made sure that no one else who was a threat could find him, had the humans come to pick him up and help him recover. 

“Your lack of memory was my doing. At first I decided it was best to make it seem like you had gotten out on your own and tried to get help before you lost consciousness. I wasn’t sure I wanted you know the extent of my involvement, seeing as you would go straight to the enemy,” he inclined his head towards the main area of the Bunker, where Sam and Dean were right now, “with that information.”

“They wouldn’t be your enemy if you showed them how reasonable you are now,”

Lucifer raised an eyebrow at him, “I seriously doubt that. And I’ve got more important matters on my plate than trying to be invited to the club.”

“We had it mostly figured out though.” Castiel said, “They just don't know it was you who rescued me and called them,”

He made a impressed face. “Smart bunch, you three. Only one question: why is this place not warded with sigils considering all that has been happening,” 

Castiel hesitated, “I guess none of us considered that.”

Lucifer cracked up, clapping him on the back. A new mark was appearing on his abdomen, just above his belly button.  That, paired with the stress of talking one-on-one with Lucifer, was making him feel on edge, paranoid even. On the one hand, Castiel was still this close to confronting Lucifer over his presumption in becoming…what exactly? Regent of heaven was the term he would use for now. On the other hand, he was tried not to get to sidetracked with imagining how it’d feel to kiss the archangel, to lock lips until they were both breathless. 

The burn of the new writing was becoming more noticeable. Castiel wanted to know what it said; make love to me, make me yours? It wasn’t unlikely, considering the bed featured heavily in most of the scenarios of how he wished this meeting would pan out. Upon noticing his train of thoughts, Castiel felt ashamed. His head should be in thinking mode, determining how best to deal with Lucifer and his new plan. The Winchesters would expect no less of him. 

“Let’s talk to Sam and Dean, if you want to show you’re being peaceful and acting in our best interest with your recent actions,”

“No,” he said, “Sam whines too much, and Dean’s just a joke. Besides, they’re humans. What does this have to do with any of them?" 

Being at a loss for what to say, Castiel was silent. Meanwhile, Lucifer had arranged himself in a chair, propping his legs against a side table. He looked right at home.

“Why do you have that vessel again?” Castiel asked, bristling, “planning to burn through him like you did last time?”

“Now now, Cas, calm down. He’s been dead since my attempt at the apocalypse. Crowley’s to be thanked for guarding and improving on the body for me,”Lucifer said as he scowled. Castiel guessed whatever had happened between him and Crowley wasn’t pleasant. 

“The bottom line, you’ll be happy to hear, is that I don’t need Sammy to be my vessel anymore. Good riddance to him and his brother.”

At that moment, Dean stormed in, followed by Sam. “What is this douchebag doing here?”

“Good to see you too, Dean” Lucifer exclaimed, smiling brightly.

“Bothering our angel, are you?”

“Being a little rude, Dean? Last time you saw me, did I not almost die trying to save the world from my dear Aunt—the Darkness?”

“Boo-hoo! I expect to hear that line about five more times from you before we’re done. Well newsflash, Luci, we put our lives on the line almost every week—even if it’s to save just one person. You can’t say the same.”

“No, I can’t.” Lucifer said, “But back to the point; I’d like to know what warrants your immediate disrespect upon seeing me. You both seem content enough with Cas, and I’m his…well let’s just say manager. Michael and Raphael called themselves generals, but I intend to bring true peace to the celestial realm, and in peaceful times there’s no need for armies.”

Sam finally joined the conversation with a panicked, exasperated “What?”

“Well, to elaborate on that; I’m currently the only archangel in heaven and I’ve decided to put my powers to good use by becoming Regent, the ruler of Heaven in God’s absence,” Lucifer explained carefully, as if there were children in the room.

“So this is what you’ve been doing? Taking over heaven? For what purpose, to destroy it? That we could be so naive, thinking you’ve changed, that you just wanted peace.” Sam retorted, seeming more anxious by the second. 

 “I do want peace,” he interrupted, with an exaggeratedly concerned expression, “How can you distrust my motives, guys?”

“Besides,” he said, “I don’t think you understand the whole story. The last time God and I had a clash of wills, I was imprisoned in the most intense part of hell for eons. I think especially you, Sam, can believe me when I say I don’t want a repeat of that. God comes back, and I’ll relinquish the throne in a heartbeat. And in the meantime, I’ll keep the machine running as it always has, as he intended it too before abandoning us angels.”

After revealing his side of the story, Lucifer looked intently at all three of them, clearly seeking a response. At length Dean spoke. 

“Forgive us for being a little weary after you tried to kill off all of us, did who knows what to Sammy in hell, and just recently tricked us into freeing you.”

“To save you all. And I nearly died trying. I saved Cas from several rogue angels, simply out of kindness, and you still question my motives. There’s nothing more for me to say that can change your minds.” Then looking thoughtful, he lifted a finger and said, “Actually, one last thing. It’s more of a demand, really.”

Lucifer started towards Dean, who looked somewhat disconcerted, but stood his ground. Stopping at arm’s length from him, the archangel said, quietly but with purpose, “Don’t you ever again dare to call Castiel, nor any of my other brothers, ‘your angel.’ He is not a possession. He owes you nothing, while you owe him your lives and eternal gratitude for his service. Remember that." 

To Castiel, Dean looked more like a scared little boy than he had in a long time, maybe since purgatory. Sam, however, still had the courage to speak.

“On the topic of general requests, Lucifer, can you please announce yourself to us when you’re visiting? I almost got a heart attack when I noticed someone else was in here with Cas,” he said in the most respectful, gentle manner he could muster, flinching a little when looking at Lucifer to gage his reaction. 

He seemed to be back to his normal self though, smirking mischievously and showing his hand in mock surrender as he said, “Of course, Sammy! It was rude of me to forget.” 

Despite Lucifer’s changed demeanor, the tension and fear in the room was thick enough to be cut with a knife. Castiel understood very well the subtext in Sam and Lucifer’s exchange. The Winchesters knew very well that he was too powerful for them to even weaken without serious magical help. Lucifer could fly in and out as he pleased without repercussions and there was nothing the Winchesters could really do. And the proudest angel of all would do his best to openly disregard such a request from those he deemed to be ‘lowly humans.’ Sam and Dean knew that for sure, and Castiel could bet half his grace on Lucifer knowing exactly what they knew. 

Sam and Dean said their goodbyes and left soon after, most likely to arm themselves against the powerful archangel as best they could, in case he decided to leave the room and go on a killing spree that would start with them. Cas stayed behind—Lucifer had come to him for a reason after all. And, if he was being completely honest, he wanted to use any excuse to be alone in close proximity with this amazingly complex being that he’d fallen for.

“Insufferable, aren’t they?” Lucifer asked, toying with the dials on an old radio that had most likely been left in the room by a Man of Letters decades ago. 

“They’re only human—their hearts are in the right place. Why did you save me?”

“Well, out of brotherly love of course. We angels must stick together.”

“I didn’t consider that until your revelation about becoming Regent just now. You forsook us a long time ago. Don’t you remember?”

“I was forsaken by my family. But please let’s not discuss that now.” 

For a long moment they sat in silence. Castiel started to wonder what his primary purpose was in being here. To take credit for saving him? He had wanted that fact to be secret until now…

Lucifer looked quite serious as he finally told Castiel, “I missed you.”

“I missed you, too,” Castiel said earnestly, not missing a beat. It felt so good to at least get this off of his chest, even if his other feelings still needed to stay secret. 

Lucifer laughed. “Well I never thought I’d hear you say that! And here you are baring your heart.” 

There was an awkward pause. Castiel didn’t know what to say to that. 

“What else don’t I know about you, little Cas?”

Almost as if in response Castiel felt a burning sensation rising on his neck. Oh no, this wasn’t good! He hissed, bring his hand up to his neck. The pain was worse than usual. He turned around, making for the door. Lucifer was quicker though, grabbing Cas by the arm, which of course revealed his burning neck, and spinning him around. This was going to be quite awkward. 

“Well this is certainly something,” Lucifer said after pondering over the view in front of him for a minute. “Certainly unusual. Who caused it?”

Castiel was confused. Didn’t he know angels revealed their feelings on their skin when they really needed to communicate something? He asked as much.

“Of course I know. What I mean to say is, who’s this jerk you’re scared to express your love to, even though it’s burning you from the inside? Is it one of them? They don’t appreciate you, Cas. I thought I made that clear to you from the get-go.” 

By now he was cooing at Castiel as if to relax him, as if to stop him from realizing that Lucifer was holding his chin and trying to bore into his eyes and reveal the secrets of his mind. 

Though it was certainly tempting to simply stay in his grip and enjoy his touch, even if only for a moment, he knew Lucifer was trying to use mind-reading powers on him. While such power required extreme practice and concentration for an angel such as himself, such a powerful archangel could probably do so with minimal effort.

Castiel jerked his head away, while trying to keep the memory of how fingers tingling with raw power had felt on his skin. 

“Please don’t talk to me as if I was a human child. And please don’t try to read my mind either. I thought you’ve changed.”

“There are some things I will never change my mind on. If I believe that you’re hurting, I will do everything in my power to stop that.”

“You don’t know anything. Please let’s not discuss that anymore.” 

After taking a close look at him, one that almost seemed to go through him, Lucifer flew away. Castiel’s heart nearly broke as they parted on a bad note again. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

After a day of moping around and feeling sorry for himself, trying to figure out why he acted unkindly towards the angel that his grace was burning to be with, Castiel thought about taking matters into his own hands. Though the thought alone scared him, he knew that he would have to come clean about his true feelings for him, why he had hesitated telling him to the point that his grace was burning through. 

He determined there was no time like the present to find Lucifer and make it right between them. Knowing Lucifer’s pride, Castiel would have to apologize for his “rude” behavior and make it up to him before working up to the real conversation. Castiel was more than willing to do so. There were some logistical issues—Castiel still wasn’t able to communicate on Angel Radio and really had no way of knowing where Lucifer was, but his best guess was heaven. Once an angel entered, they could find anyone else simply by thinking of him or her. 

Castiel left his car parked close to the playground, and approached the sandbox, the gateway to heaven. The guard, Rehoel, tensed as he drew close but otherwise greeted him respectfully. 

“How is everything,” he asked Rehoel, inclining his head up towards heaven. 

“Better than it has been in a long time, I’m surprised to say,” the guard responded. 

“I don’t want trouble, only to speak with him." 

It was obvious who he meant. He was allowed to ascend. 

Lucifer was lying on the grass in a dark meadow, gazing up at a brilliant starry sky. Castiel approached loudly enough to make himself known (the last thing he wanted to deal with was a startled Lucifer). Even as he sat down next to him, Lucifer said nothing but merely looked in his direction.

“All the angels I’ve seen seem content,” Castiel said without preamble. 

“And why shouldn’t they be? I am just, rewarding the law-abiding productive ones, and punishing the rule-breakers. And no, I don’t plan on using them to destroy humanity. I think we’re all content to just let the moneys destroy themselves while we focus on building a kingdom of peace and plenty up here.”

“Hopefully Father will come back to repopulate it. It seems so empty,” 

“Yes, hopefully,” Lucifer answered in a thoughtful tone. 

The two of them just stayed together in amiable silence for a while. Just as Castiel’s grace burned to tell Lucifer his true feelings, so he felt a new burn on the skin of his vessel’s arm. 

“Why did you come here?” Lucifer finally asked him, turning to lie on his side facing Castiel. 

“I…I don’t know how even express this. I’ve missed you so much, despite all our clashes. So much is wrong now, I hurt so much sometimes, and only being here, with you, could possibly make it better,”

“I’m honored by the sentiment, little one, but only the one whom you love can help you with …”

“I don’t just mean that, it’s only a small part of what’s wrong. Things used to be so simple: I belonged to a garrison, my chain of command was clear, our purpose was clear. No angel was never alone. Then the Winchesters came along, and nothing was the same. Ten years have passed, and now I’m all alone on earth, having to live with the knowledge of all the angels who died because of me. I did it all for the good of humanity, but the only mortal friends I have…I don’t think they could ever understand how hard it is for me to stay on this path I’m on.”

Lucifer took his hand in both of his, “Then leave it. Now that I’m in charge, you will be safe here, respected even. I know you love humans, I guess it’s just something we’ll always disagree on, but you belong with your own kind," 

“I can’t come back here for good without coming clean,” Castiel burst out before he could change his mind. 

“About what?” Lucifer asked. 

In reply, pulled up his sleeve, revealing the writing that was faintly glowing gold in the dark night. 

My grace needs you

“It’s not about any human, contrary to what you assumed,” Castiel hesitated, being embarrassed about what was going to come out next. Lucifer squeezed his hand in support. “Go on,”

Castiel swallowed, “It’s an…I’m in love with an archangel,” he finally managed to get out, before shutting his eyes in embarrassment. The hands holding his dropped away, and he felt was if his heart sank. 

“Haha, very funny…and clever, trying to seduce me. Whose brilliant idea was it? I’m putting my money on Dean,”

“Why won’t you believe me? You’ve seen the burns. These all my pent up emotions rising to the surface in the only way they can. Why would I hesitate to make my feelings known to someone normal?”

“There you go! ‘…someone normal…’ That is why I don’t believe you,” Lucifer had jumped up, and was now pointing a finger at him. “All I see on your skin are burns that could be created magically any number of ways. Forgive me if I don’t automatically want to become a lovesick plaything of someone who thinks of me as a sadistic monster," 

“That’s not what I meant. You’re my superior, and archangel and default ruler of Heaven for now, surely you can understand my reservations about pursing you,”

“You certainly didn’t seem reserved now, when you had something to gain from me. The Winchesters did ask you to spy on me, didn’t they. Tell them I’m no fool,” 

He turned around and started walking away, but not before stopping again to tell Castiel off. 

“Honestly, shame on you. I’ve done so much for you. Cared more for you in a few months than anyone else had in all eternity. This is how you thank me?”

He flew away in the twinkle of an eye. Castiel just continued to sit numbly on the grass for a long while, trying to pinpoint exactly where he had gone wrong. Failing that, he got up and mechanically made his way back to Earth, where he drove back to the bunker. Sam saw him come in and tried to question him regarding where he’d been. Castiel merely ignored him and barged into his room, closing the door behind him. 

He felt like screaming his grace right out of his throat, and would have tried that if it hadn’t been for the deep tiredness that had settled into his bones. Castiel collapsed onto his bed, and lost himself in the world of dreams after a while. 

 

LUCIFER

 

Lucifer was sitting in the middle of a long conference table in a brightly lit room. Ah heaven! Some parts of it looked like the most ordinary of conference rooms. Across from him were seated the defendants—in this case the ones who had captured Castiel. He was not happy to be hearing this case so soon after the ugly scene with Little Thursday, but then again, no one had said ruling as regent of heaven would always be pleasant and easy. He had made a schedule, and how indecisive would he appear in front of the other angels if he just changed it on a whim. 

"Why did you do it? Such behavior is uncalled for by our laws. When a consensus is reached that there's a troublemaker among us, we expel him or her. Yours truly," he pointed to himself, "being a perfect example.”

There were three defendants—Ariel, Haaniah, and Daniel. All three were foot soldiers with a little too much time on their hands. Haaniah had decided on their little revenge plot, the others had gone along with it because they were lemmings. 

"He's a traitor! The majority of angel casualties in the past few years were because of him. No one else was willing, or capable enough, to teach him a lesson, so that burden fell on me,” she slouched back in her chair, crossing her arms while smiling smugly. Clearly  she thought her case was won. Lucifer was amused at how wrong she was

"Castiel himself wiped out a majority of you? I would never have thought!"

"Indirectly, yes..." she seemed less certain now though. 

Look at you, little brother. Watching Netflix for 36 hours straight and having no idea that you're being accused of crimes worse than mine. 

It still hurt, thinking about the serious angel whose favorite hobby was watching TV; the idea that Castiel had gotten to his heart under false pretenses. Then again, maybe it was good that this had happened when it did. Lucifer had been too trusting. That had to change. 

There was no sense in moping around, Lucifer had to stop letting this cloud his mind. He was no stranger to having a brother turn his back on him. And anyway, Castiel had made it clear they were enemies since the first time he was freed. Clearly that had not changed. And why should it? Hadn’t he himself been hard-headed until only recently?

“Castiel has done a lot of wrong. That much is definitely true, and he will be judged for his crimes in due time. But his guilt does not make you innocent. Harming other angels, except under our Father’s instruction, is expressly forbidden. Haaniah, you will be put into prison for ten years, Ariel and Daniel for five each," 

He motioned for his guards to take them away. All other angels filtered out of the room eventually. Lucifer was left alone with his thoughts. Thoughts of Castiel of course! He was no better than a lovesick human teenager these days. Something had to eventually be done about the angel. His crimes had been very serious, and if he wasn’t brought in for investigation sometimes soon, Lucifer would start to be accused of favoritism towards his former vessel, and that would definitely undermine his regency. 

He sighed, suddenly feeling weary from all of this responsibility. Picking up a dart, he threw it at a bullseye on the wall opposite him. His attendants had installed it and gotten the darts after he expressed favor regarding the pastime. He guessed it was to him what TV was to Castiel. 

He tried scrying on his little brother again. It was a bit of a challenge because of the thick concrete walls the bunker was made of, but Lucifer still liked to check in on him. He told himself it was to make sure Castiel and his mortals didn’t suddenly figure out some spectacular plan to trap and torture him. Another small part of his grace said it was because he still loved Castiel and seeing the other angel brought him peace. Lucifer always silenced that small voice before it started becoming too ridiculous. 

Castiel was still watching TV, his mouth and eyes wide open as he listened intently to two women screaming at each other on some annoying talk show. Lucifer could hardly stop himself from chuckling at the scene. 

 

CASTIEL

 

The current episode of Maury was nearing its end as Dean walked into Castiel’s “room” without preamble. 

“Cas, just stop!”

“Stop what, Dean?” Castiel asked in a distracted manner, still entranced by the talk show. 

“Watching TV lifelessly for days on end. It’s not healthy, man,”

Castiel knew, despite being very fond of his human friend, that he wasn’t exactly a genius. But surely he knew by now that not eating or sleeping wasn’t detrimental to his “health,” is you could even call an angel’s well-being that. 

“Hadn’t you found a case and decided to go vampire hunting a week ago? We had to take care of that ourselves, because I thought you had business of the angelic sort…but you’re here having a mental breakdown? 

Ah, now Castiel knew what Dean was concerned about. 

“Yes, when I went to heaven I had a pretty serious misunderstanding with Lucifer. Thinking about it causes many painful emotions to well up, and the best distraction I have found is watching TV, so I will continue to do that until I no longer feel sad about Lucifer expecting the worst from me,” Castiel explained succinctly. 

“So this is about some… lover’s quarrel between you and Satan?” Dean asked incredulously. 

“Not exactly. I expressed my interest in becoming his lover, and he spurned me. He accused me of trying to seduce him for insider information. I am to never talk to or see him again without permission.”

Castiel would have continued watching the new show that had started on the local channel, if not for the sharp intake of breath he heard coming from Dean’s direction. Looking to see if his friend was ok, he saw him opening and closing his mouth a few times, reminiscent of a fish gasping out of the water. He finally threw up his hands and left without another word, leaving Castiel to puzzle over human behavior. 

Curiosity getting the better of him, Castiel ventured into the hallway where he could, with his angelic hearing, make out some of what the Winchester brothers were saying to each other. 

“…and offered himself to Lucifer.”

“I’m sure he didn’t say it like that, Dean.”

“Does it even matter?! Cas, the only angel we trust (most of the time), has a thing for the freakin’ devil,” Dean nearly shrieked.

“One of life’s many surprises I guess,” Sam said. 

“Understatement of the century!”

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

Castiel was playing checkers with himself the next evening, having gotten overwhelmed with the sheer amount information that he’d absorbed from the little plastic box with a screen. Behind him he heard the unmistakable sound of angel wings. It could only mean one thing. 

“Lucifer, what are you doing here?” Castiel asked without turning around.

“Everyone says many awful things about me, dear brother—both here and in heaven,” Lucifer started without preamble,  “Whatever wrong I’ve done in the eyes of our Father and Michael, they’ve been blown out of proportion. Sure I can’t stand humans; in fact, I’d rather they didn’t exist. But I don’t delight in torture. I really dislike it, to be completely honest. And I don’t tempt others into adultery—I’m a virgin for crying out loud.”

“Your demons can be accused of both, and worse,”

“Yet you don’t see me associating with them anymore, do you? I’m strictly on heaven’s side now. But I digress, Castiel. I’m here on a mission, and the regent of heaven would rather not waste his time.” 

Lucifer said his last words in a sing-song voice, meaning he was in a silly mood. His light-hearted behavior usually meant serious consequences, and that thought terrified Castiel. Here he was, one angel (the Winchesters were out on a case) lacking some of his grave and with broken wings, against a full-powered archangel. 

Lucifer started approaching the table he was at, and Castiel felt cornered, thinking of escape routes other then the door behind Lucifer, and not being able to come up with any. 

He was, however, surprised when the next words Lucifer said was, “Show me all the marks,”

“The burns…?” 

He nodded. 

“But why,” Castiel asked, his voice more gravelly than usual. He noticed that often happened when he was nervous. 

“Because your superior, the only fully-functional archangel, is asking you to,” Lucifer huffed. “Is there nothing to show perhaps? Is that why you’re stalling…?”

Immediately, fearing repercussions, started removing the clothing covering the four marks on his vessel. First he slid the beige trench coat off of his shoulders, the he started removing black blazer underneath. He noticed Lucifer looking closely at his actions, obviously intrigued. Though it made Castiel feel warm and fuzzy to see him gazing in such appreciation, he wasn’t sure if he really wanted it if Lucifer didn’t feel the same way as he did. 

So Castiel asked Lucifer to turn around until he took the rest off, which he graciously did. He took off the rest and turned almost fully around.  

“You can turn around now,”

And he did. Castiel showed him all three marks: one on his lower back, one on the back of his neck, and the last one above his left hipbone. Because of their locations, he didn’t know what any of them said. Castiel just hoped none of them were too intense or crude; it wasn’t as if he consciously had any say in it. He heard Lucifer approach slowly closer, likely reflecting intently on what he was seeing. 

“Do you know what they say?”

“I might have some idea, but I don’t know the exact wording,”

Lucifer was fairly close now, just an arm’s length away. 

“Would you like me to read them to you?” He was speaking more quietly now, and his voice has a lulling quality to it that Castiel had never heard before, at least not since he had fallen in love. It was almost as is there was a second being inside of Lucifer, a siren that wanted to lure Castiel into a cocoon of love and bliss, a place where everything bad or mundane would just fall away and all that was two angels safe in each other’s adoring embrace. 

He shook his head to snap out of it just to be enraptured by something yet more enticing—the other’s touch. Sure, he and Lucifer has probably touched before, even if only in his head. But those touches must have been platonic if he couldn’t remember any specific. On the other hand, Castiel was certain he’d be able to recall this feeling for all time. These spots were where his grace was most prevalent, where the the vessel’s skin was thinnest. It was almost as if their two graces were touching. Such interaction was the highest form of intimacy for an angel. 

He started tracing it—the one on the back of Castiel’s neck. 

“This one,” he whispered into Castiel’s ear, “says ‘I want you.’ Do you really Cas? Do you want me?”

Castiel didn’t bother answering. Lucifer had previously made it clear that he didn’t believe him when he’d voiced his feelings. 

Lucifer slid his hand part-way down Castiel’s back, placing the tip of his finger on the next one. Castiel felt his face move closer towards his ear, lips almost touching skin. “This one says ‘I need you’,” he informed Castiel in a husky voice, proceeding to oh so slowly move his hand down and left, until it reached the last burn, the newest one that was still glowing golden. 

Castiel, due to Lucifer’s behavior, was starting to experience sensations he swore could only be human. His cheeks were burning in earnest now, his skin felt sensitive, but his grace seemed to swell, trying to break out of his skin. 

Lucifer hadn’t spoken in a while, seeming to be entranced by the third mark. 

“No,” he remarked quickly, stepping away from Castiel, who groaned at the loss of his presence. 

“No, little one, I can’t do it just now,”

“What do you mean? What does the third one say?” Castiel asked, starting to become alarmed with Lucifer’s odd reaction. 

“It said…it says ‘take me’.”

“Oh,” he answered, embarrassed and at a loss for what to say. Why did my grace have to out me like that? 

Lucifer asked him to put all his clothing back on, which Castiel did, while he settled himself in a seat. 

“I’m sorry I didn’t believe you,” Lucifer told him once he had finished.

“And you do now?” asked Castiel.

“I have fewer reasons to think you’re telling falsehoods. I’ve been keeping an eye on you, trying to determine what was really going on down here. Imagine my surprise when you tried to shut out the outside world. We angels aren’t weak-minded, quite the contrary actually, so I figured something must really be upsetting you. And I saw that even your two friends were worried about you. I know something isn’t right with you.”

“It’s taken you a while to figure it out,” Castiel retorted. Lucifer had made him angry with his disbelief, and even if he was dealing with such a powerful angel, he wouldn’t allow himself to be disregarded or noticed on someone else’s whims. 

Lucifer looked at him as if he could read every thought. “I’m sorry, Cas,” he said, “If you’ve been reviled and tricked as long as I have, and imprisoned in the depths of hell for long ages, you start to assume others are always out to get you, to destroy you. Paranoia’s no fun, but I’ve come clean to you now.” 

He got up. Castiel was worried he would leave already due to their disagreement, but he merely added, “I do still love you though. Just a year ago I would have thought I was incapable of that emotion, but here I am.”

“I love you too,” Castiel said. He would keep on responding with that until Lucifer believed him, until both of them knew their affections were requited. 

“Then come with me,” Lucifer told him, stretching out his hand. Castiel knew he should still be wary of where Lucifer would take him and for what purpose. After all, the two of them didn’t have the best track record to go off of, and Castiel may as well be powerless next to Lucifer, so great was the difference between them. Regardless of that, Castiel took his hand, and off they went. 

 

LUCIFER

 

Lucifer flew them to place he had arranged for himself on earth, for times when he needed to get away from the hustle and bustle of heaven to think clearly or just have some peace. It was a small chalet situated high on the side of a mountain somewhere in Italy. It was perfect for his purposes—isolated and peaceful, so he wouldn’t have to deal with any interruptions nor snooping, and extremely cozy. He laughed to himself every time he thought of his adversaries’ possible reactions to the “Prince of Darkness” loving the concept of coziness. 

The views were spectacular, the chalet looking out over a picturesque snow-covered valley. Castiel seemed to agree, acting like a more subdued version of a child at a candy store as he went to each window in turn, looking out of each one in amazement at what beauty lay on the other side of the glass panes. A pine forest gently sloping up to the south, the same forest on a downward slope to the north, with the valley being best seen out of the east-ward facing window.  

The look of the place inside wasn’t nearly so grand, though it was pleasing to the eye as well. The main room, the one they were in, was clearly made for lounging, as a fabric corner sofa faced a stone fireplace in the opposite corner. A cream colored sheepskin lay on the rough wooden floor in front of the fireplace. One full-sized table, two small ones, and a small bookcase made up the rest of the furnishings in the room. Lucifer saw Castiel look at the doors, as though wondering what lay elsewhere. Always a curious one he was. 

“There’s not much else besides, just a kitchen, closet and bedroom with an attached bathroom.”

Castiel nodded as Lucifer settled down on the sheepskin, looking intently into the hearth for the purpose of starting a fire. Castiel sat down beside him to look at the flames as the room got warmer. Dusk and eventually full dark settled over the little cottage and and still they didn’t speak, instead maintaining a comfortable silence. 

It was far from empty though, it was the creation of a mutual understanding between them moving in wavelengths from one angel to the other. They accepted each other’s past, without forgetting the bad they had done to one another. They accepted their differences without moving making compromises. They forgave each other, and promised to not act rashly going forward. 

Their feelings, though not expressed in words or even defined thoughts, had never been more honest then they were now. That’s when Lucifer truly understood that Castiel returned his love threefold. It was almost as if he were trying to make up for his prior stoicism. He was a most affectionate creature, and Lucifer, squeezing his hand in a gesture of comfort, made a promise to himself that if he ever disappointed his little one on purpose, he would lock himself in the cage again. Castiel was a bright light in a world filled mostly with bitterness and lies. He deserved the best Lucifer could give, and there was no better time to start than now. 

“We don’t have to bond if you don’t want to, Cas,” Lucifer told him, “I understand if it would be too taxing on you, with me being much stronger and your new commander.”

Castiel looked at him with interest, not saying anything at first, but merely observing. ‘What will happen to me if we don’t?”

“I don’t know,” answered Lucifer in all honesty, “None of the angels who bore those marks before you ever took the middle road of loving but not consummating their love.”

“It’s beside the point, though,” Castiel said, “I do want to become one with you. You saw it written on me yourself,”

Lucifer turn to look at him head-on. “Have you ever kissed someone before?”

“Three someones—two angels and a demon. Kissing was nice,” Castiel said nostalgically. 

Lucifer chuckled lightly, “You do keep interesting company, Cas.” He leaned forward halfway through the distance separating them, and Castiel closed the other half. 

Their first kisses were feather soft, but amazing exactly because of their gentleness. Lucifer was happy to see the Castiel was just as eager as he himself was, barely finishing one before he came back for another. Finally he wrapped his arms around his shoulders, pulling himself closer to straddle Lucifer’s lap. Lucifer in turn wrapped himself around Castiel, placing both hands on his back and simply enjoying the feel of the trench coat’s slippery waterproof fabric under his palms. 

When Castiel deepened the kisses, Lucifer let him, pleased that the usually shy angel was taking all this initiative. The eagerness cause lust to enter Lucifer’s being, at first just a little bit that made him just a little breathless, just a bit more desperate, but it kept increasing and surging, until soon all Lucifer could think was that he wanted more of Castiel. All he could see was Castiel, any background was all in a blur. All he could hear was the ragged breaths and soft moans of the other angel as he struggled to keep up with his own needs. The only sensations he could feel were mouths moving as one, and the shifting of Castiel’s weight on his lap. 

That was when he realized that Castiel was grinding against him, his need making itself know as Lucifer felt it against the lower planes of his abdomen, where their bodies pressed against each other. Lucifer hugged Castiel closer to himself, he wouldn’t let go for anything in the world now. It didn’t bother him one bit when realized they were about to enact the most animalistic of human actions. In fact, he was really looking forward to it. 

Lucifer brought his hands to Castiel’s shoulders, pushing against them to get the other’s attention. It was enough to pull Castiel back into reality. Never had he seen a more amusing mixture of joy, excitement, and annoyance in someone's face than in that moment. 

It took Lucifer a moment to remember what he wanted to say, what had been so important that he felt it necessary to break off what they’d been doing. Ah, yes, he remember that there was a more comfortable place they could use to continue these proceedings in. 

Castiel lost patience and started placing gently kisses on Lucifer’s jawline and neck as Lucifer asked, “Do you want to use the bed? We’ll be more comfortable there…”

“Yes, that sounds wonderful,” Castiel responded, his voice sounding rougher than usual, however that was even possible. 

Lucifer used his immense willpower to lift Castiel in his arms and stand up to carry him, mourning even the momentary loss of their loving embrace.

“You have too many clothes on, Castiel,” Lucifer said as he lowered him onto the bed. 

“That’s not fair,” Castiel retorted, sounding adorably disgruntled. “You’re dressed as well,”

“I’m ‘dressed,’ but you’re overdressed,” Lucifer told him as he started removing his clothing layer-by layer, starting with the long beige trench coat moving to the ridiculous jacket of his suit. 

Castiel seemed content to just sit relaxed and watch Lucifer do all the work. Instead he prompted Castiel to reciprocate. He wasn’t anyone’s personal assistant after all. Castiel didn’t mind at all. In fact, he seemed very impressed as he pulled Lucifer’s mustard-colored tee shirt off. At least Lucifer now knew he had chosen a good vessel. Unfortunately, they were both too impatient to get the undressing over with in one go, one always pulling the other away to steal kisses and caresses. 

When Lucifer finally took off the white button-down, he ran his hands over the two remaining marks on Castiel’s back and a new one on the front of his shoulder. Lucifer frowned, worried that a new one had appeared even though he and Castiel had said everything there was to say. At this point, they needed to get physical before Castiel died. Though Lucifer was pretty sure he would have more time left, he didn’t want to take such a gamble. 

Castiel, seeing that Lucifer was worried, pulled him in for another kiss. It seemed as though he didn’t re-surface from that kiss until over half an hour later, when everything had changed. The new mark on Castiel’s shoulder had faded away after he had found release in the arms of the one his grace burned for. When he turned Castiel over to look at his back, there were no marks on the skin there either. 

It was a huge weight lifted off of his wings knowing that the other angel was now safe, that he would continue on as his mate. He honestly couldn’t remember a better feeling than knowing they could enjoy what they had just done over and over again, possibly forever. Castiel must have guessed what Lucifer was thinking, as he said, 

“You know, we’ll probably get bored of this eventually, and say ‘what’s the point?’.”

“What this nonsense, Cas?” Lucifer asked him, then kissed him into silence, Castiel happy to oblige. 

 

CASTIEL

 

When Castiel got up, there was no sign of the burns; he had looked everywhere, after undressing to an immodest degree and looking carefully in a full length mirror on the inside of the closet door. Nothing. Not that he really expected there to be anything. He was still unsure of their budding relationship, Castiel had found an angel he loved and, despite the difference in rank and their strong disagreements in the past, Castiel was sure now that his affection was requited. He smiled to himself, thinking about the past few hours. Being together would not be easy, but even if times like these that they had just shared were to be rare, they would still be worth working for.

Maybe over time Castiel could repair his reputation in heaven? From what Lucifer had told him, very few angels would be very welcoming of Castiel returning into the ranks. He would have to keep his head down for a while. But that was alright by him. Per what he understood, the angels were to leave the earth to its own devices for the foreseeable future, until God directed otherwise, so Castiel wouldn’t have much chance of making any more “mistakes” that had labeled him heaven’s most wanted. 

 

Three months later

 

Castiel had become accustomed to living in heaven again over the past few weeks. Initially he had pushed it off, making excuses as to why he couldn’t make a full return yet: from there always being monsters to hunt and people to heal, to worries about how difficult it would be to re-assimilate into the ranks and whether he would be ostracized for his closeness to Lucifer. 

“Fear of what heaven thought of your actions has never stopped you before,” Lucifer would tease him.

“Before I never deliberately placed myself among angels with a vendetta against me,” Castiel would retort. 

Lucifer had then hugged him, assuring him that some were still sympathetic to him, and promised to do whatever it took to keep him safe. It had been a long time since Castiel had felt as safe as he did in his arms. He suddenly felt this certainty that with the other’s protection, there was no reason to fear returning to heaven. As for any other misgivings—

“I don’t understand why they mean so much to you, but I do know you love them. The thing is, little one, they got along just fine without us—excepting the cherubs and reapers of course—for many centuries, and they will continue to do so once we leave,” Lucifer had told him when he expressed his reluctance to completely leave the humans, leaving little room for debate. 

“A lot of them love our kind very much, and respect us for what good deeds we do.”

“You’ve got me wrapped around a finger! I would never have imagined this…” Lucifer said, smiling fondly, “Okay, I’ll make you a deal. Once everything’s stabilized up there, I’ll choose 200 trusty angels to roam the earth with the main purpose of helping humans, assuming no trouble comes out of it. But they try to pull any stunts like the Grigori did, the mission will be aborted.”

“Thank you for being generous, that’s all I hoped for.” Castiel smiled at him with all the contentment of a cat sleeping in front of a fireplace.

His parting with the Winchesters had been an emotionally charged event. Lucifer’s laws said nothing against paying friendly visits to human now and again, as long as it didn’t interfere with duties, so Castiel explained to them that it wasn’t “goodbye forever.” Despite that, Castiel could feel the sadness emanating from both brothers, and he was sure there eyes were more moist than was usual for them. Their friendship was special, and words weren’t really enough to convey it, but Castiel did the best he could. In turn, he was amazed by the loving sentiment he received. They really were his human family, not by blood but through love.

Once Castiel was properly settled in and most other angels started accepting his presence among them without much second thought, Lucifer took him to a huge chamber. Actually, huge was an understatement. The place was enormous. Castiel could barely see the ceiling and could not see the other end from the side he was standing on, even given his superhuman sight. The floor was beautiful though.  It had a translucent quality to it and was green in color, with more opaque swirls throughout. Lucifer told him it was jade. Castiel was unfamiliar with that term. 

When he saw what this over-sized room contained, it became clear to Castiel that he was in an angel-sized council room, angel-sized referring to their true forms. To the left and right of him stood very tall chairs, carved of stone, whose legs his human height couldn’t even reach a tenth of. At the head of all this, in the area where Castiel stood, was a larger chair carved even more beautifully of stone that was a reflective dark blue and shimmered with the light of a million stars when looking at it from up close. Midnight sandstone, Lucifer had informed him it was called. 

Castiel was quite overwhelmed when taking in the sights. When his mate saw that, he simply said “I decided it was time we hold hold our councils in better style,” by way of explanation.

“But this room is made for our true forms, while many of us are in vessels currently,”

“It’s time we change that,” Lucifer said, “we’ve made ourselves prisoners in human flesh. It limits us. I especially should be considered a perpetrator. For ages now I’ve been complaining about humanity, yet I keep living within its shell. It’s time we free ourselves of these shackles—the main purpose they serve is violence after all,”

Castiel knew that was true. Angels used vessels to fight each other. For peaceful existence they weren’t really necessary. 

“Will you let the humans go back to their lives?” Though he would have like to believe otherwise, he knew that wouldn’t necessarily be the case. Despite the positive changes in his character, Lucifer was still distrustful of and condescending towards humans, and that might never change. 

“They ones who still live? Yes. We should store the deceased bodies in safety though. If angels have need of vessels again, I would hate for all of us to rely on humanity. Remember what Michael had to go through?”

“He’s the only one who is still missing…” Castiel said noncommittally. He had been wanting to broach the topic of the other archangel for a while now, both out of curiosity and anxiety. Lucifer laughed, he must have guessed at the pretext underlying the question.

“Really, Cas? You needn’t have been so apprehensive about asking. Did you think by not talking about him I would forget?”

Castiel shrugged. That was the gist of his thought process, though it did seem silly now.

“There is no quarrel between me and him from my perspective. The only reason I’m not letting him out is that I worry he’ll go straight back to fighting me, and all manners of chaos will ensue. I’d prefer to wait for our Father until return before we open the cage,”

Castiel nodded. He was pleasantly surprised that Lucifer had decided on such a rational course of action, though it hurt to consider Michael spending who knew how much more time in the inner circle of hell only for doing what he thought was right. 

 

LUCIFER - One year later

 

This was starting to get embarrassing, Lucifer thought as he remained confined within a human body even after most angels were already in their true forms. It was simply because Castiel was one of the last one to remain inside a vessel. If they wanted to interact as much as was desired, it was most convenient that they both be in the same form. For any intimacy, it was a must. 

Little Thursday had never tried explaining to him why he remained within a human form, so Lucifer started that conversation for him one day. He approached Castiel as he was sitting in his favorite heaven—a peaceful park on a beautiful summer day. Lucifer had to admit he would miss many things about Castiel’s vessel that had grown on him even before their alliance and subsequent relationship. The serious face with adorable blue eyes. The uptight full suit and tie ensemble. The tan trench coat that topped it all off. Oh, Castiel, how could you make me so sentimental?

“You’ve grown attached to Jimmy’s body, haven’t you? That’s why you keep putting off leaving it behind,” Lucifer told him.

Castiel looked at him with some surprise. “That’s partly why. My best memories were made in here,” he said, pointing to himself. “Some of the hardest, and best, lessons I learned were when wearing this trench coat. Frankly, this was the form we both had when you told me you loved me.”

Lucifer smirked to himself, “So I was right,” he said, to no one in particular. “It won’t be destroyed Cas. An besides, all those memories and lessons you cherish are contained within your grace, not in anything physical.”

“I know,” Castiel responded, “I’ve already tried to rationalize my way through that. There’s another concern I have,” he added with some hesitation, “It’s quite silly though.”

That statement piqued Lucifer’s interested. 

“Oh come on Cas, you have to tell me now. Silliness is not in your vocabulary.”

Castiel wasn’t very amused though, instead he seemed a bit worried. “We’ll no longer be able to bond…physically… as we have before. I know it’s petty, but I’ll miss that very much,” 

Now Lucifer understood. He realized that Castiel, being a much younger and lower-ranked angel than he himself was, wouldn’t necessarily know everything about their own kind. After all, angels theoretically had all of eternity to acquire new knowledge. 

“Oh Cas, you should have spoken up right away! Trust someone who knows more about these matters when I say that the pleasures of the flesh are absolutely nothing compared to the wonder of two celestial beings joining carnally. After we’ve done it in out true forms, you’ll forget why we enjoyed it before,” Lucifer said, pointing between himself and Castiel before.

His little one looked very interested. “I believe you,” he said, “I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before.”

They again fell into an amiable silence again after that, the two of them mostly just looking at the trees reflected in the pond, at the waving of tall grass in the wind, the hawk that was circling over the treetops. It was moments like this, spent in quiet contemplation with Castiel, that Lucifer cherished above all others. They made him realize what he had been missing out on before, what happiness he would have never known had he continued with his pre-apocalyptic plans.  

————————————————————————————————————————————————

This is true freedom, Lucifer thought as he seemed to expand endlessly, his powerful wings unfurling in their full majesty behind him. Nothing was an obstacle any more. He could feel the same joy coming from Castiel, who in reality was quite a bit smaller than the archangel, but the peace and love radiating from him was more than enough to compensate. 

They had left their human bodies in a holding space that had been devised by Lucifer to preserve them with angelic power as long as would be necessary before he or Castiel would need them again. 

Almost right away, Lucifer beckoned Castiel to the top of a large fluffy cloud. Being in their true forms allowed them to spend time in such comfort. There they consummated their bond in true angelic fashion. This moment heralded a new beginning, a new phase of life, and it was stunning in its beauty.

 

Le fin