Title: 'Kiss With A Fist Is Better Than None'
Summary: Inspired by rainylemons's prompt over at ohsam for the comm's one-year anniversary! The prompt is a tad long but here's the gist: Hell-bound Mike and Lucy fight over/with/at Sam, but sometimes get so caught up in their own family feuding, they neglect him. This never lasts long, however, and Lucifer always returns to shower Sam with his own special effed-up brand of 'compassion'. (entire prompt found here: http://community.livejournal.com/ohsam/148398.html?thread=964782#t964782 )
Characters: Sam, Lucifer, Michael, Adam
Rating: PG-13, pretty sure
Disclaimer: 'Supernatural' is not my creation. Would that it were. All characters used with great appreciation to Kripke and Company. Amen.
Warnings: a few 4-letter words and mild gore.
Author's Note: I am SO out of practice. I caught a gazillion typos when I posted at the comm, and boy, WRITING IS HARD! I respect all comments, however, be they critical or kind. Next time, I'm snaggin' me a beta. Thanks, gang!
Lucifer paced The Cage, arms folded over his chest, a contemplative frown on this face. He tapped his chin with long, elegant fingers and slid a level gaze to Michael.
“A wager? What sort of wager?”
Michael smiled, and it was as the sun breaking from a bank of storm-heavy clouds. Despite their perditious locale, they were beautiful. The angels. Unencumbered by their meatsuits. Wearing their true skins, which were unblemished and pristine and as iridescent as opals.
“Oh, just a little something. To liven up the party, since we seem to be out of beer.”
Lucifer inclined his head and paused. “Go on.” Michael could be a duplicitous bit of offal when it served him. Not beyond his scope to offer half-truths to get the job done, making a bet with Michael was a dicey bit of business. But Lucifer was THAT bored. He couldn’t go anywhere, lose anything. For uncountable nights—it was always night in The Cage—Lucifer and Michael warred because that’s all there was. The retribution, the resentment, the satisfaction of bloodletting and breaking bones, but never release. This supposed ‘bet’ was just mental masturbation, a slightly different flavor of cruelty
“Do you think every bone of the human hand can be broken? Individually? They’re tiny little things, 28, if I recall-“
“27. And done that.” Lucifer blinked, long, slow and bored.
“Fine, don’t brag,” Michael said, flaring diaphanous wings until they brushed the gory, viscera-slick ceiling of their prison. “I can guess the length of Sam’s intestines. To the inch.”
Lucifer rolled his gaze heaven-ward. “Really, Michael? That’s all you’ve got? So much effort and I don’t feel like getting dirty…”
Laughable, that, given the construct of this particular corner of Hell. The Cage’s walls were made of inverted skin, warm, pulsing, alive. They weren’t precisely wet, but dank with thin, red sweat and everywhere the occupants touched, it stained their bodies. The angels however, even entrenched in Hell, could slough it off by radiating a sort of light that burned away the taint. Adam and Sam were always sticky with the stuff. And it stank. Reeked of brimstone and the metallic tang of blood. And fear. And pain.
Undaunted, Michael resettled his wings into invisibility. He mused for a moment before looking to the shadowy north corner. “I’ll wager you don’t know the color of Adam’s eyes.”
“His eyes?” The proposition was just absurd enough to pique Lucifer’s interest. He didn’t know the color. Why would he? Why would anyone, except of course Adam? When Michael had worn Adam, and Lucifer Sam, they both held larger concerns. Eye color (even if the eyes were, purportedly, the windows to the soul,) was hardly a blip on anyone’s radar. And since their imprisonment, Michael kept Adam to himself. The kid had been little more than a pawn, unfortunate enough to share a gene pool with the Winchesters. Sam was the one who suffered their focused persecution. He certainly earned it. He was, after all, The Man Who Duped the Devil.
“Hazel,” Lucifer said smoothly.
Michael moved to the corner. A young man lay there on his side, hands tucked between his knees and mouth slack. He even snored lightly. Apart from the expected layer of bloody grime, he seemed healthy and almost peaceful in sleep. Michael crouched and set a soft kiss on Adam’s temple.
“Rise and shine, sparky,” the angel murmured. Adam stirred; his eyes drifted open but only just. He suppressed a yawn and pulled up on one elbow, keeping silent. It was safer that way.
Lucifer watched with a keen, narrowed gaze as his brother studied Adam, Michael cupping a gentle hand under the young man’s chin. The illumination in that portion of the room was so wan and skewed by the scarlet reflection off the walls, Lucifer was still left guessing even though Adam’s lids had fully risen. Michael’s hand drifted to Adam’s upper arm and he pulled the boy to standing. Adam looked understandably cautious and confused as Michael guided him to Lucifer, setting him in place directly before the Morning Star. Adam’s heart thrummed like a bird’s wing; Lucifer could hear it.
“Blue, brother. You can see his eyes are blue.” And Michael smiled.
Lucifer’s lips thinned tightly. Such a stupid little detail and he lost the gamble. He was chagrinned by how annoyed it made him. More bothersome still was the certain pay-out for Michael. Sam Winchester was Lucifer’s vessel, Lucifer’s toy. Sharing made Lucifer very, very cranky.
“Adam, go get your brother,” Michael said, with a ghost of a smirk.
Adam’s gaze flickered, wide and unblinking, from one angel to the other. His mouth worked soundlessly for a few beats before he closed it in resignation and turned to move away, to do as he was told. On one of the filthy, fleshy walls was a sort of door. It more closely resembled a great pore, squeezed tightly shut at its puckered edges. Or perhaps a sphincter, but that was a disturbing thought. Adam wiggled his fingers into the seam and tugged. The surface was slick and rubbery, difficult to grip. Shortly, the aperture began to part with a slippery fwip and light ebbed into the abscess behind the wall. Pulling a grimace, Adam forced it open until the gape flapped wide.
Sam squinted as light, what little there was of it, hit his face. So red, at first he thought it was simply blood. Again. And he would drown in it. Again. How long had he been stowed in this…this orifice? He hadn’t the slightest clue. Felt like months. Could’ve been minutes. Time had no significance anymore. All he knew was that he felt hollow. Emptied out and fragile like an eggshell. Forgotten, until now.
“I’m sorry…”Adam whispered, extending a hand. Yes, Sam was responsible for their situation but for all the cruel indifference the angels paid Adam, they showered Sam with torment ever more ingenious. And for that, Adam felt pity.
The man grasping Adam’s hand wore only a passing resemblance to the Sam Winchester that had been. The fingers were almost skeletal, wrist whittled down to a bundle of sticks. Though eating, sleeping—most human necessities—were irrelevant in this place of blatant inhumanity, the state of the soul was directly reflected in its appearance. As Sam unfolded and stumbled from the cell, it was clear he had lost hope, stripped of optimism or even pragmatism. All that remained was a strange and dogged habit or simply ‘going on’. Sam had grown so thin Adam could see the fine Enochian runes engraved upon his ribs. His exceptional height only exacerbated the emaciation, from sunken, glassy eyes surrounded by exhausted bruising to the deep hollows beneath cheek and collar bones.
Sam managed a flinch that passed for a humorless smile, in some way trying to convey appreciation for Adam’s apology.
“Bring him to me, Adam. Chop chop.” Michael said pleasantly, while Lucifer sulked.
Time again passed in its mercurial fashion. Lucifer had fashioned a throne of tendon and bone and blades. It gave his hands something to do because he promised Michael he wouldn’t meddle with Adam. If nothing else, Lucifer told the truth. He held to his promises. He did, however, grow preeminently bothered by the feel of Adam’s glare on the back of his skull. With those God DAMNED blue eyes. So bothered, in fact, he had long since put cool fingers to Adam’s forehead, dropping the boy into a bottomless sleep. Lucifer was left to his lonesomeness. Occasionally he thought he heard a familiar wail or shivering moan of suffering issue from the muffled distance. And he felt a pang of envy.
After an eon, Michael reappeared. With a rending slurp, a maw opened in one of the rear walls, allowing the long-absent angel passage. Lucifer fought the urge to lunge from the throne, opting instead to drum fingers on an armrest made of a human femur and feign indifference. Michael knew better, however, and took his own sweet time in returning. His casual footfalls were accompanied by the leaden sound of a parcel being dragged.
Something weighty hit the floor behind the throne. Michael caressed a palm over Lucifer’s shoulder and sauntered past. There was dark, viscous ichors up to his elbows and painted across his chest.
“Sorry. I broke your toy. My bad. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll hit the Jacuzzi. I’m spent.”
Lucifer waited until Michael disappeared down some directionless artery before rising to his feet. He was always surprised by Michael’s inventiveness and this instance was no exception. Sam Winchester sprawled carelessly, half-propped against a bladed leg of the throne, held upright by a knife that protruded from the chair to his chest. With every breath, air hissed from a punctured lung. Sam had been flayed, long rectangular strips of skin pulled from his narrow middle. Lucifer thought, with a vague smile, they resembled lasagna noodles.
“Don’t call me Sammy.” Sam’s voice was sandpapery, weak…stubborn. He was such a tough nut to crack, but Lucifer loved him for it. So much alike, they were, the disregarded younger brothers, aggrieved simply because they tried to choose a different path. Tried to stand on their own two feet. And look where it got them. Incarcerated, ostracized, forever grounded like troublesome teenagers who stole the keys to the family minivan. The only up-side was Sam managed to drag Adam and Michael down with them. Just desserts.
“Alright. ‘Sam’. I supposed you’ve earned a moment’s respect. Least I can do.”
Lucifer offered him a hand up but Sam wouldn’t so much as move, save the odd twitch or shiver when pain surged fresh through the innumerable wounds. Which must’ve been, in that instance, nearly constant. Setting a gentle hand atop Sam’s head, Lucifer filtered fingers through the blood-sticky hair.
“I know. You still hate me. Understandable. I hate me too, some days. I wish…I wish…I’d known the color of Adam’s eyes. Michael wouldn’t have done this to you.”
“Wh-what?” Now, Sam did look up at Lucifer. Despite clear exhaustion, his eyes sparked with razor-bright rage. “YOU did this to me. To us,” he snarled. The effort it took to speak was draining, but Sam found strength in anger. And he was always angry, to Lucifer’s observation. Even after all their quality time spent together.
“Go ahead. Blame me if it will make you feel better. But I didn’t stuff hubris down your throat like a turkey at Thanksgiving, Sam. It was always there, and you thought you could deny your destiny. It’s called ‘destiny’ for a reason, hmm? Not very bright for pre-Law.” Lucifer stooped and curled a hand under one of Sam’s arms. Whether Sam liked it or not…and apparently he didn’t…Lucifer stood up, taking Sam with him. There was a slight sucking sound as the knife slid out of Sam’s lung, and a great groan when newborn pain flooded his chest.
“I know, I know. That smarts. Don’t worry, Sammy—sorry, Sam—“ Lucifer bore Sam’s weight easily, lowering him onto the elaborate throne where cushions, fashioned out of tongues, protected the sitter from all the dangerous edges. “I’ll fix you.”
“You can’t fix me.” Sam was sweating and pallid. Shocky. His mouth moved to say more but there was no breath, no vigor.
Lucifer’s eyes filled with glistening sympathy. The kid was so saturated with self-loathing it was almost a corporeal thing. It ate Sam up, leaving him stripped bare of any desire to be comforted. But that was how Lucifer loved him best.
“What color are Adam’s eyes, Sam?”
Sam’s brow creased, gob-smacked by the question. “What? Blue…”
“Well I’ll be damned,” Lucifer said without a touch of sarcasm. “Was I the only person not in the loop? I guess the devil isn’t in the details.”
A fine string appeared, pinched between Lucifer’s thumb and forefinger. Then, a needle. He squinted, threading the former through the latter. Sam’s gaze followed the activity and if his face could lose any more color, it did.
“No. No, please…”
Lucifer clucked his tongue. “Have faith in me, just this once. This hurts me far more than it hurts you.” He dropped to one knee and began artfully draping shreds of skin back in place across Sam’s whippet-thin torso. It was delicate business, what with Sam shuddering and mewling the whole while, but Lucifer was nothing if not patient. Once satisfied he’d temporarily put the puzzle of flesh back together, he plucked the needle from between his lips where it was pressed for safe keeping and began sewing.
Upon first prick, Sam’s skin jumped autonomically. His jawline clenched and fingers clawed around the armrests. He dropped into silence, save a shuddering draught of breath every now and again. Perhaps he was getting used to the pain. The angel’s gaze periodically darted up from his surgery when Sam would slump, threatening to topple into unconsciousness. Lucifer would mumble soft affirmations and push Sam back into place.
Truth be told, Lucifer could’ve repaired Sam with a single touch or word, but this was not their habit. The angels prided themselves in taking him apart, deconstructing Sam, leaving him pincushioned with physical and emotional shrapnel because it pleased them. Even more so, it pleased them to put him back together again, like an ersatz Humpty Dumpty. They could do what all the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t. Not even smug pain-in-the-ass Dean Winchester had the wherewithal to save his darling Sammy from falling to pieces. From falling to Hell in a handbasket.
After what was likely an hour or three of meticulous handiwork, Lucifer secured the last bit of skin in place. He rocked forward and used his own teeth to nip the thread close to the knot. Sam had long since stopped wincing, stopped shivering, embracing numbness like a beloved flannel security blanket. His body was a network of stitchery, smeared blood and landmark bruising, except where tears had washed clean his face. His head lolled wanly until he could set heavy-lidded eyes upon Lucifer. But his expression was unreadable.
“You’re welcome.” Lucifer rested an elbow on Sam’s bony knee, assessing the Winchester boy with nonchalant compassion.
Sam coughed; it might’ve been a bitter chuckle. He dragged his sights away from Lucifer and stared at some spot hanging in mid-air.
“Oh, Sam. Don’t be that way. Truth be told, aren’t we both victims here? Victims of uncaring fathers and domineering older brothers? Of absentee mothers?”
Sam blinked slowly, swallowed hard. Silent still.
Lucifer continued. “I’m sorry, but it’s true, isn’t it? Dr. Phil would have a field day with us.” When Sam persisted in his refusal to comment, Lucifer exhaled hard and stood, stretching briefly, a papery flutter of feathers buffeting the air though no wings were in evidence. He began to move away. “You wound me, Sam. We could be so good for each other.”
“Suck it, junkless.” Sam would’ve laughed had he the energy. He was channeling Dean in that moment and it amused the shit out of him.
Lucifer stopped in his tracks. In two long strides he was back at the throne, a hand shooting forward to snarl in Sam’s hair. He snapped his fist to his body and Sam gritted teeth to keep from crying out. Nostrils flared, head canted back, Sam’s throat exposed to the fetid, hellish air.
The angel stared in blatant astonishment. His gaze bore down, inches from Sam’s face, stunned by this impudent child’s audacity. “I should give you back to Michael, you ungrateful little fuck.”
“Do it. I don’t care; do it,” Sam said tightly, speech compromised by the sharp angle of his neck.
But no, Sam wouldn’t get his wish. A far worse thing happened. Lucifer showed compassion.
As Sam sat pinned, praying for the miracle of death, Lucifer placed a cool, dry palm flat to Sam’s frail chest. Icy white light began to issue from between splayed fingers. Wherever the vapors touched, the grime on Sam’s filthy skin melted away, replaced by a frosty sensation that smacked of newness, of tingling rebirth. Holy fire, if that were even possible. It was headier than any demon blood Sam had tasted, at once powerful and poisonous, unnervingly familiar. It reminded Sam of the time Lucifer wore him, of when they shared one preternatural body. It tasted like a universe without boundaries. And he was terrified. The angel’s hand drifted from Sam’s chest to his smooth, shallow cheek. And Sam, God help him, leaned into that touch.
Lucifer smiled, brushed damp hanks of hair from Sam’s forehead, stroking his brow to massage away the furrows. As the glow ebbed, Sam’s skin was left smooth and white as milk, marred only by a roadmap of stitches Lucifer was too proud to heal.
“Sleep, Sam. Sleep, perchance to dream…”
Sam’s eyes fluttered closed, lashes wet with salty water. If he couldn’t have death, he could at the very least, find an uneasy peace in the arms of Morpheus.