Author: aeon_entwined and holydread
Notes: Originally a scene we RPed in which Michael and Lucifer reconcile. An AU of Swan Song.
Summary: For the Final Battle between Heaven and Hell, the Winchesters expected something a little more dramatic than a scuffle in a graveyard.
This is the end.
Michael has waited long enough. It hardly took any effort to free the Horseman Death from Lucifer’s will. With the final Horseman released and out of the picture, the Archangel hurtles to Earth, sweeping the path of destruction that his younger brother has left across the country, repairing nearly everything.
It is not in his nature to wish destruction upon the planet; upon his Father’s last, greatest creation. But his Father is no longer here. This is their war now. Their war that their Father started at the beginning of time.
Michael has no vessel. Adam was far from suitable, even after his resurrection, and the leader of the Host mercifully sent him back to his Heaven, laying his body to rest again.
Dean has not said yes, and neither has Sam. That leaves his brother with a slowly deteriorating vessel and him with nothing, at least here and now. With hardly any effort at all, the Archangel twists reality and pulls the young John Winchester into the present, ensuring to leave everything in the past untouched.
He arrives on the predestined battlefield, Stull Cemetery, fury and Angelic wrath personified. Michael has no weapon yet, and by all appearances seems strangely tranquil while contained in the eldest Winchester’s form. But one look at his expression quickly dispels that notion.
Already on the ground, Lucifer burns with impotent rage.
He feels it the moment Death leaves his control, as his perfect, unsullied brother undoes all his hard work. Lucifer snarls where he stands in the abandoned cemetery.
Hallowed ground, he sneers.
Sam has denied him and there is no more time. Everything is ending. Here and now.
Nick is fading away faster and faster with Lucifer's anger. It hurts, but not as much as the hopelessness of knowing that he's not going to win this. Michael is coming, Lucifer's forces are scattered, and his vessel is leaking his Grace all over the mortal plane.
And his absent Father sits on a faraway throne and laughs.
This is not righteous, the Morningstar should not be fated to die here, for nothing. Not after surviving Hell, not after surviving being turned on by his very Creator.
Lucifer tightens his fingers around his sword and turns to face his brother the moment he lands. Lucifer was born to be loved, to love, to question, to Fall, to be hated ... but he cannot believe that this is how he must die. Surely, surely Father will do something...
He snarls and shakes his head, rids himself of such thoughts and stares at Michael, at his Father's instrument - for Michael is nothing more, not now.
In sharp comparison, Michael is perfect. Lucifer is barely contained within his vessel as it is, and any battle will shatter his vessel permanently. But the Winchester bloodline runs hot through Michael, and he can feel the reserved power almost humming beneath his skin as he admires the strength of his vessel. He turns to his brother, hazel eyes flashing as he materializes his blade in his hand.
"So eager for death, little brother?" he inquirers with a raised eyebrow, swinging the sword in a wide arc, once again adjusting to fighting in a human form.
Lucifer could do without the audience, without witnesses, but yes. Yes, he is ready. No more running.
He moves to the side, circling Michael, keeping his blade up. He doesn't want to start a conflict he's going to lose, but he may have no choice. "Don't call me that," he growls through clenched teeth, "You are not my brother."
Michael raises both eyebrows this time, keeping track of Lucifer with his eyes only, remaining still otherwise. "I'm not? Then what am I, Lucifer? Tell me. Just a shade ... just a memory of something that was, but was forgotten a long time ago?"
"My brother could think for himself," Lucifer says with a dismissive flick of his sword, "You are just a tool of an uncaring god."
Michael snarls, baring his teeth in an expression that has the Winchesters flinching away again, retreating to the outer edges of the cemetery.
"I am fulfilling the prophecies that were spoken into existence before we existed," he rumbles. "God is no longer here, Lucifer ... from where I stand, Father is dead."
Lucifer's rage snakes white-hot between them, calls down lightning with its intensity.
"What do you think I was doing all this time?" He growls - an inhuman sound, - and circles closer, daringly, tauntingly. "Is this my destiny, Michael? To be used and thrown away, murdered all for a Father who would rather look away?"
Always the hot-blooded half, Michael strikes first. He slashes out, bringing their blades into contact and pushing Lucifer's sword aside enough to slice an inch-deep laceration across the Archangel's upper arm.
"We never had a choice," he says, expression bleak, almost devoid of emotion. "Our choices were made for us long ago."
Unrestrained, Lucifer screams his anger at the clash of blades, howls when Michael slices into his vessel. He shouldn't try, should just let this happen, but Lucifer can no more lower his blade than ask forgiveness.
This is not his fault, none of this has ever been his will. And now his efforts lie in ruins and the one being who could have rivalled his love for his Father is determined to kill him.
Lucifer lashes out, makes brief contact, but spends most of his time retreating, frantically keeping his Grace contained in weak flesh. He spits blood from a hilt to his face and shoves Michael backward, wins a moment to breathe.
"No," he agrees, hate glinting in his eyes, "I never had a choice."
Already breathing hard, Michael's blood courses scalding hot with the thrill of battle. However, the fact that he is enjoying this at all disgusts him. This is his brother. They practically raised each other. And now, thanks to their Father's ignorance, they have to kill each other.
With a bellow of frustration, he charges, this time using his natural brute strength to his advantage. Lucifer was never a scrappy fighter, he was always the sleek warrior; an expert in tactics. His strength lay outside the realm of hand-to-hand brutality. Michael forces him to the ground, utilizing his superior size and weight. Then, he rears back, the point of his blade aimed directly below Lucifer's jaw, straight through his jugular.
But he freezes.
It's as though time suddenly stops. The Archangel stares at his brother, almost as though seeing an entirely different being for the first time in eons.
Of all the things to notice at a time like this, Lucifer feels most keenly a sharp stone pushed against the small of his back. Not the blade at his throat or Michael's triumphant stance. Not the Winchesters or the smears of blood and dirt that streak his vessel. Just the stone. Lucifer laughs and wonders hysterically if he is going to die in discomfort. If Michael would let him move it first.
With the panic of battle fading, Lucifer finally - finally - is able to tear his attention away from himself and focus on Michael again. His sword clatters to the ground and he looks God's Sword in the eyes.
"Do it," Lucifer demands.
Michael's sword hand shakes, just enough to be visible. Then, he shakes his head, "No."
He throws his sword aside and rises to his feet, moving away from his brother as he does. He stills several feet away, watching Lucifer with a keen expression. "No," he repeats.
"Do it, Michael," Lucifer snarls, his voice gone completely animal in desperation, "Finish this!" He grabs for his sword, throws himself bodily at Michael, taking him back down to the dusty ground as he tries to smash his brother against the Earth, "Kill me!"
Michael grunts as Lucifer's fist smashes into his nose, but he regains his bearings quickly as the younger Archangel begins thrashing him against the ground. With inhuman strength, he grabs his brother's wrists and abruptly rolls them, pinning Lucifer with his hands above his head. He keeps the rest of his body flat over his twin's, using his bulk to keep him still.
Lucifer screams to the Heavens, uses every inch of his vessel's waning strength to make this difficult. He snarls and snaps and tries to tear Michael apart with his bare hands.
"Kill me," he wails again, "Kill me or I will kill you!"
Michael tightens his hold on Lucifer's wrists, keeping them above his head, then moves his free hand to cover his brother's mouth. His eyes betray his sympathy, his concern, and his voice is surprisingly gentled when he speaks, "Enough, Lucifer .... enough."
But Lucifer has not had enough. This is not how the story goes. The Devil doesn't slink off in solitude, Heaven's Son doesn't return without defeating the monster.
He writhes and twists and tries everything his human vessel can take to goad Michael on, to provoke him. Everything he has worked for is ash, everything he had is gone and there is no one left.
Robbed of his ability to convince Michael, to hurt him badly enough to earn a quick death, Lucifer gasps a shaking breath against his brother's hand instead. He falls limp against the hard ground before he turns to begging, pleading, sobs tearing themselves free of his vessel's chest while he rages against his Father, his entire life.
Please, Michael, Lucifer begs, trying to squirm free once more, Please just end this. Put an end to both our suffering.
"Shhhh," Michael tells him quietly, irked by the constant gawking presence of their wayward true vessels. "I'm going to take you away from here, Lucifer. We aren't going to fight. Not anymore."
With hardly any effort, the Archangel lifts his brother's limp form in his arms and disappears with the ominous rumble of a thunderstorm, leaving the Winchesters to fend for themselves.
He materializes miles and miles away, on the weathered grass of an abandoned field in the middle of a thunderstorm. It is not yet raining, but he is not concerned. Earthly weather doesn't affect being such as them.
Lucifer doesn't understand what is happening, where they are or why Michael has moved them here. He flashes on the sudden fear that Michael is cruel after all, does not want an audience for Lucifer's drawn out death. But even as the idea forms, Lucifer finds that he cannot deny Michael that if he wishes it, if he will be rewarded with oblivion at the end.
With a whisper of a thought, Michael shifts the grass, creating a soft cushion for Lucifer to lay on. He kneels and places his brother on the soft surface, brushing his hand against the sweat-soaked hair that had fallen over Lucifer's brow. "Rest, brother," he murmurs, expression set and almost protective. "Rest."
Lucifer can't stop the hysterical sobs that shake his vessel, that make wetness track down his face and make him feel like he is going to shatter his vessel into pieces because there is no way a human being can contain this much sorrow, this much fear.
His fingers curl and press into the skin of Michael's wrist and do not let go. Lucifer doesn't understand what is happening, but Michael is not inflicting pain and he is familiar enough that it is almost a comfort. As long as Lucifer can forget that they're meant to end this war, that he has to die before Michael can return to their Father.
He shifts his free hand and tears a piece of the Winchester's shirt off, using it to dab gently at his brother's cheeks, soothing away the tears. "Hush, Lucifer," he murmurs, his expression now set in the sorrow that he has borne for several millennia. "It's alright, now."
Lucifer chokes on a wail and turns it into a bitter laugh, turning nonetheless to press closer to the glory of his brother's Grace. "You shouldn't lie, Michael," he whispers roughly, "It is unbecoming."
Michael takes his brother's hand, squeezing his fingers gently. "I don't lie, little brother," his lips quirk in a sad, half smile. "You, out of all of us, should know we are incapable of doing so."
"And yet no one ever listens to me," Lucifer continues in the same scratched voice. "What are you doing? Why did you bring me here?"
"To allow you time to recover," Michael answers quietly, smoothing his thumb over his brother's cheekbone. "I am going to heal you, brother. I am going to stay with you."
Lucifer snorts at that and turns away, moves painfully onto his side and stares straight ahead. He is making himself an easy target but he no longer cares.
Michael strokes a hand between his twin's shoulder blades, then moves to trace his fingertips over Lucifer's cheek, mending the harsh burns and scars in an instant. "I am no longer going to be the cause of your suffering, Lucifer," he states. "I won't allow it."
A suspicion of what Michael is trying to say lingers in the back of Lucifer's mind, makes him feel hope again despite his better judgement. "What are you saying, Michael?" Lucifer whispers, silently gratefully but outwardly sullen at his brother's presumption, how he reaches out and heals Lucifer's vessel like it belongs to him. "Pretend that I am you, and spell it out for me."
Michael quirks the side of his mouth up in a wry smile. "I choose you, Lucifer," he tells his brother. "I don't choose war, I don't choose Father's Plan, I choose you."
"What about destiny? Lucifer sneers, keeping his eyes averted even though his hand curls tighter on Michael's wrist.
“I believe the Winchester has a saying for this,” Michael muses thoughtfully, rifling through his memories; through his connection to Dean. "Ah ... screw destiny, right in the face."
"Violent," he tsks, ignoring the fact that his clothing bears the evidence of his own battle. Lucifer sighs, unsure and afraid of giving himself again and being let down, pushed down. But he cannot deny the pull of Michael's Grace, so full of their Father's love and the songs of Home that it almost makes him weep.
"Always," Michael grins, shifting around to allow Lucifer's head to fall onto his thigh. Then, he begins tracing his fingertips over his brother's weakened vessel, healing the numerous burns and abrasions, taking special care to heal those left by his own blade.
Lucifer releases Michael's hand, allows him to work while he rests his cheek against his brother's thigh and breathes, each vanished blemish removing a piece of his pain.
"That is going to take you a while," he murmurs, lulled into a stupor by the absence of agony, "This vessel is falling apart all over."
Michael looks at him from his upside-down angle and nods. "Mmm," he hums in agreement. "All the better, so I can spend that much more time lavishing you with attention."
He wants to question Michael, wants to demand answers about why now and more importantly, for how long, but he suspects his brother is doing this on purpose, to quiet him and keep him docile. In that case, Michael may be more cunning than Lucifer gives him credit for.
"Do not forget my back," he demands instead, the stone from the graveyard having dug directly into seared flesh.
With a quiet sound of assent, Michael carefully gets his hand up the back of Lucifer's shirt, pushing it out of the way. He tends to each and every wound, making sure to erase even the scars. He takes a slightly longer moment healing the indent in his brother's flesh, and he wonders if Lucifer had been referring specifically to this.
Lucifer sighs his relief into Michael's thigh and curls his fingers around the bend of his knee, comforting himself with touch in a way that never mattered quite so much before Hell.
The peals of thunder above them are comforting as well, the knowledge that the natural world, the Garden, goes on even when everything else is falling apart.
Michael slowly finishes his work, then turns his face skyward. With a relaxed sigh, Michael calls the rains and they arrive. It isn't a torrential downpour, but his hair is quickly soaked and he turns down to smile at his brother. "Refreshing, don't you think?" he muses quietly.
Lucifer peers up at him and risks a half smile. With effort, he sits up in the grass and struggles to his feet, stands on shaking legs to let the rain wash away the blood and grime that clings to his vessel.
He cannot help but think that Michael did this on purpose, and even as he tips his head back into the rain, Lucifer smirks. "My dramatics rub off on you, brother?" he asks quietly, not audible against the patter of rain. Not to human ears.
"Baptism," Lucifer nods, "Fitting."
Michael stands immediately, and goes to gently support Lucifer's forearms, his chest pressed against his brother's back. "I consider myself lucky to have picked up some of your traits," he murmurs.
Lucifer exhales heavily and looks over his shoulder, "How long, Michael? How long will you remain?"
Michael peers back at his brother, then cants his head. "As long as you wish," he answers honestly. "I will not be bound to orders that were given by someone who no longer cares.”
"And if I would keep you from your Home forever?"
Michael is silent for a long moment, then he exhales a low sigh. He has come this far; he has disobeyed in every way possible. There was never any turning back at all. And now, he never wants to. "Then I will remain at your side, little brother," he smiles slowly.
Lucifer raises an eyebrow before turning back to obverse the sky. "Or behind me," he murmurs, leaning back against his brother's chest, "As the case may be."
"Whichever you prefer," Michael hums, resting his chin on Lucifer's shoulder as they both gaze skyward.
Lucifer huffs a laugh and turns, cautiously slips his arms around Michael and looks to him for approval, for damnation.
Michael smiles at him, then returns the gesture, trilling a note of approval as their Graces mesh, the frayed edges twining together after so long.
"Definitely in front," Lucifer whispers against his brother's shoulder, holding on to him just to stay upright. "You can face the angry garrisons that are sure to hunt for us."
“I am the leader of Heaven's armies," Michael hums bemusedly, tightening his hold around Lucifer's waist. "They know what they will be facing should they decide to attack."
Lucifer swallows and is quiet for a long moment, fisting his hands in the back of Michael's shirt. "What if He comes for you?"
Michael's expression hardens. "Then He will be faced with the wrath of his two favourite sons. I will protect you to my last breath, Lucifer, you know this. But if He decides to intervene, there is little either of us can do."
Lucifer pulls back, holds Michael at arm's length and tries to read the foreign human expressions. "Do I know that, Michael?" he whispers uncertainly, "Moments ago you were ready to obliterate my Grace."
"Moments ago, I was ready to fulfil the Prophecy," Michael tells him softly. "It took a single look into your eyes to realize that I had become the monster, never you."
"I don't think anyone else would agree with that," Lucifer whispers, "You are not the one who burns people's souls for fun in their myths."
Finally, Lucifer's legs shake too much too hold him and he sinks back down into the wet grass, lies on his back to watch the lightning fork through the sky.
"And neither are you," Michael counters with a small smile, lowering himself to stretch out beside his brother, curling one arm protectively over Lucifer's stomach. "They are myths, not truth."
"No," Lucifer agrees softly, "not the truth. But not a lie, either. I just twist them into demons, burn their bodies." He lays his arm over Michael's and presses closer, risking the show of affection now that it seems his brother may actually stay.
Michael presses a kiss to Lucifer's shoulder. "As was your instruction," he replies gently. "You were made for this, Lucifer, just as I was made into what I am."
Lucifer laughs quietly and turns his head to watch Michael, abandoning the sky. "Are you saying you're not going to try to change me?"
Michael smiles at him, dropping another kiss onto his shoulder. "No, little brother," he confirms. "You are beautiful just as you are. I cannot change perfection."
Their linked Grace thrums between them and Lucifer is momentarily captivated by the steam where they are pressed together, human bodies burning fever-hot to expel the Angel occupants, rain evaporating from their skin. "I've missed you," he admits, eyes still watching the hazy lines of steam.
Michael hums a quiet note and leans forward to kiss Lucifer, pulling back to tighten his arm around his brother. "And I've missed you," he answers. "More than I can explain."
Lucifer turns on his side and tucks himself close against Michael, slipping a hand into his hair, dragging fingertips along his scalp. "I screamed for you," he whispers, "And not always curses."
"I couldn't hear you ... but I wished that I could", Michael whispers in return, pulling Lucifer as close as he possibly can. "Hell is a place where the eye does not see. It is devoid of everything we know."
"Yes," Lucifer snorts, "I know. Trust me, I know all about Hell. So what does that mean? If Father's children are not meant to know it, what does that make me?"
"That makes you a survivor," Michael tells him softly. "A survivor of Father's blind ignorance."
Lucifer is shocked by the casual blasphemy. Shocked, but grateful.
He twines his fingers in Michael's hair and tilts his head forward, kisses him with everything he has. All the longing and loneliness, anger and hurt, joy and fear that has brought him to this moment in a grassy field during a thunderstorm.
Michael's eyes drift shut and his hands find the nape of Lucifer's neck, twisting into his brother's short blond hair. He returns the kiss with just as much fervour, almost desperately clinging to Lucifer, trying to keep them in this moment forever.
It won't last forever. That is something they both understand.
Just as they know that the rain will stop, the storm clouds will clear, and neither of them will have to fight alone again.