Chapter 22
Lebanon, KS
Abandoned Wheat Field

"Jack, what are you doing?" asked Cas anxiously.

A car door slammed, and Mary quickly walked over to them all. She looked both concerned and nervous. She eyed the scene before her, before joining the group facing Lucifer. To her credit, she didn't ask what was going on. Sam and Dean both looked ready to question her as to what she was even doing there, but she simply shook her head, clearly indicating that now wasn't the time to question her actions.

Buffy had to fight the urge to shift her weight from foot to foot. There was a tension in the air and it seemed like no one was breathing. The clouds overhead were dark and still, and no wind caught Buffy's hair, as though the earth itself was waiting for Jack to make a move that, apparently, wasn't going to come.

What had gotten into the boy's head? Hadn't they stressed enough the dangers of Lucifer? Jack couldn't be serious, could he? After everything, why wouldn't he stop the Devil?

He's just a kid, she realized. He's like how Dawn was after she was first given human form. His shape doesn't match his age, and he's trying to come to terms with being an adult without any real experience. Dawn was immature and selfish when she'd first come into being. Jack was trying to understand right versus wrong in a crazy, mixed-up universe. But unlike Dawn, Jack has powers that he can only barely control, and in a way, that actually makes it worse, doesn't it?

Here's a man, who looks like a college student, with the power to bend and shape reality to his whim. He's being trained by two men, with (let's face it) extremely screwed up lives and morals, and an angel, who constantly rebels against his siblings, to the point of more than one civil war. And while he looks like a young man, he's less than a year old and trying to understand what these men are teaching him. But like Dawn all those years ago, his emotions and reactions are still immature and don't match his physical body.

And they've been putting so much pressure on him. They told an 8 month old that it was his responsibility to kill his father, the Devil? What had they been thinking? Buffy should have known that he wouldn't be able to handle that emotionally. Just like when Dawn had found out that she was the Key. Hell, even Buffy still didn't kill people, though she knew that those around her had… If she couldn't do it, how could they ask Jack to?

But then again, Lucifer wasn't exactly a person, now was he?

All these thoughts hit Buffy like a wave, while she tried her best to look unsurprised. The people around her were showing several levels of emotion on their faces. Dean, Mary, and Cas were watching Jack with concern. Sam was staring at Lucifer with an obvious level of hatred that frightened Buffy. Although… all things considered, it made sense that Sam would hate this creature.

Faith and Giles were watching Lucifer cautiously, trying to make sure that he wouldn't try anything after Jack's hesitation. Willow's head was on a slow swivel back and forth between Lucifer and Jack. Her hair had returned to normal after her resurrection.

Buffy still couldn't believe that she'd almost lost Willow – that she had lost Willow for a moment there. Willow. Strong, resilient, powerful. With all that power and still Lucifer could simply snap her out of existence like that. But then, he'd had the full force of both heaven and hell at his command – and all the souls within both to call upon. With power like that, it was hard to imagine ever coming up against something more powerful. Glory was the only being that came to mind when Buffy's thoughts inevitably tried to match Lucifer up against something she'd faced in the past. And she was certain that Lucifer could have easily defeated Glory at his current strength.

And yet, he was still being held in place by this young, confused kid.

Jack had been about to kill his father, Buffy was sure of that. But then he'd stopped when he saw Mary. Why? Because he'd hurt her and he cared about her? Because she was a parent and somehow having one parent here made him realize that Lucifer was the only parent he had? That sort of made sense… kinda. Buffy shook her head, realizing that she may never understand exactly what was going on in the kid's head to make him decide to stop.

Jack's gaze never left Lucifer's face. The Devil was still on the ground, looking back at his son, an almost amused expression on his face. He looked practically bored. Like everyone else, he was waiting to see what Jack would do next.

And then Buffy realized that they weren't alone. People were starting to surround them. Some were walking toward them, while others simply appeared where they stood. Buffy felt the familiar stir in the back of her mind that, for some reason, always reminded her of exhaust fumes. And the distinct smell of sulfer was a dead giveaway too. Demons. Black eyes were watching them from all angles.

But not all of them were demons, she was sure of that. Faith had looked up suddenly too, glancing around at the ones Buffy couldn't get a read on. Angels, she realized. Faith was sensing them and she was suddenly on high alert. It was obvious from her posture that she distrusted the angels far more than the demons, which almost told Buffy more than all the stories that the Winchesters had relayed to her over the last several weeks combined.

The angels were mostly walking toward them, though a few seemed to appear with some demons next to them, and neither the angels nor the demons were making any moves. They appeared to just be watching the events between Lucifer and Jack play out. Why? Buffy thought she understood why the angels weren't moving. They wanted to see who would win, and if Jack could really restore their wings, then they wanted to be here to witness Lucifer's downfall. But why were the demons not attacking? Surely they would be on Satan's side, right? Something wasn't adding up there.

And how did they all know that they were even here? Willow's dome! Buffy realized. When it had collapsed, all the powers of Willow, Jack, and Lucifer were suddenly exposed. And the angels and demons came running to see what was happening. Or maybe Lucifer himself had let it slip, not realizing that they might not support him.

Finally, Jack slowly stepped forward toward his father. He squatted down, looking him in the face, studying him carefully. Still, Lucifer simply looked bored. He didn't say anything, opting to allow his son a good look at him.

Jack eventually spoke. "You don't actually look like much, do you?" he asked, sounding genuinely curious.

Lucifer actually laughed, "You should have seen Dad." A few of the angels shifted uncomfortably at that. Faith was watching them avidly. She looked ready to fight, her hands in tight fists, practically bouncing on the balls of her feet, as though ready to spring. Her obvious unease was unsettling to Buffy, who'd never really known Faith to show fear.

"I can't let you go," Jack said simply.

"And you can't kill me," Lucifer finished. "So, now what? You going to lock me up? We've all seen how well that's worked over the years." He smiled in a disturbing fashion that sent a chill up Buffy's spine.

Jack narrowed his eyes, as though considering his options. But Lucifer was right, what other options did they have? They could either kill him – which Jack wasn't going to do – or let him go – which certainly wasn't an option – or they could lock him up again. And risk him breaking out. Again. A mistake once made is doomed to be repeated. Jack must see that the only option was to end him? Buffy silently prayed to Jack to come to this conclusion. Idly, she realized that it's possible he could actually hear her prayers… that's weird.

And then Jack did something that Buffy hadn't expected. He closed his eyes and placed his palm on his father's head. A white light emanated from both of them, and Buffy could feel the surprise and confusion from everyone around them, humans, angels, and demons alike. What was he doing?

And then Lucifer started screaming. His mouth and eyes opened wide, and a blinding light poured out of them. Buffy couldn't help but close her eyes and look away so as to not burn her retinas. The Devil's screaming echoed around the field and Buffy knew that something serious was happening, though she didn't have a clue as to what.

The wind started to blow again, and she felt her hair whip around her face, and though she might have imagined it, she thought she heard thunder booming in the distance. What the hell is that kid doing?!

And then it all stopped at once. Buffy opened her eyes, trying to blink through the afterimages of the light. Lucifer had collapsed to the ground, eyes closed. Jack himself was sitting on his heels, looking tired, but otherwise OK. He was watching his father's body carefully. Had Jack actually killed him? Maybe her prayers had gone through to the kid after all?

But then Satan opened his eyes and blinked several times. Wearily, he sat up and looked around, clearly confused for a moment. Then he suddenly looked down as though realizing something. And just as quickly, he looked up at his son, his face actually showing panic.

"What did you just do?" came Willow's breathy voice, almost a whisper. She was gazing at Lucifer and Jack with a confused look on her face. Her arms were wrapped around her body, in a protective fashion, which surprised Buffy. Willow didn't usually allow herself to appear weak anymore. The rips in her clothes were blowing softly in the wind, and it almost looked like she was simply cold.

"I made him human," Jack stated matter-of-factly. "No grace. No wings. And he can no longer sense or hear other angels."

"Oh, is that all?" Mary asked, almost sarcastically.

"He can no longer touch any weapon of any kind," Jack added.

Buffy blinked. He could do that? The others were all staring at Jack in disbelief too. The angels were gazing at Jack with a mixture of awe and fear on their faces. Buffy was all too familiar with the look. It was the same look she often saw on the young slayers' faces. The demons didn't show any sign of how they felt about this turn of events. A few looked angry, others relieved. But none of them – angels or demons – made a move to interfere.

"Jack," Dean suddenly exclaimed. "This is no time to go full Aang: the Last Airbender on us!" There was a moment of silence after this, while everyone looked at Dean, mostly with blank faces. Willow, however, chuckled slightly and Sam gave his brother a look that clearly said, "Really, dude? Not the time." Buffy was confused along with everyone else, though. Aang: The Last Airbender? What the hell does that mean? Dean continued as though no one was looking at him like he'd lost his mind. In fact, he was giving Jack the same look that everyone else was briefly giving him. "We can't let him go. After all the things that he's done, he needs to be put down."

"I'm not a dog, you little ape," Lucifer hissed to Dean. He looked angry. "Undo this, son. You can't leave me like this, I am your father, and you will do as you're told."

"No," Jack said quickly. "I won't kill you, but I can't let you remain as you were. I promise that no angels or demons will be able to find you or harm you. You will live out your life as a mortal man. And then die as one."

"Jack," Cas said, almost pleadingly, "think about this. Think about the atrocities that he has committed."

"Kill him," an angel suddenly cried out. She looked angry, practically shaking in rage and an angel blade fell into her hands. The anger on her tanned face seemed a contradiction to the bright yellow dress that she was wearing. The dress was sleeveless and much too short for the season. Buffy thought she must be cold, but then remembered that she was an angel and probably didn't feel the temperature either way. Where had the blade even come from? Whenever she'd seen an angel do that so far, they'd always been wearing long sleeves and she'd assume that they were hidden inside…

"Do you know what he made us do?" cried a large woman in her 20s. She was wearing a track suit and was also suddenly grasping a silvery blade. Looking closely at her, Buffy vaguely wondered if her vessel was transgender.

"We were forced to work with demons!" responded a tall man in a suit, at the back of the ring of onlookers. Buffy could just make out a long pointed face and a close-cropped hair cut.

"If you won't do it, then we will," said an African man who looked to be in his late 60's. His Kenyan accent was strong, and his dark eyes glared with fire toward the Archangel.

Angel blades were suddenly appearing in hand after hand, and the angels began to advance on Lucifer. The Devil actually looked nervous as the glanced around at his brothers and sisters.

"No!" shouted Jack. He threw his hands out, and all the angels were pushed backward. None of them fell, but most of them appeared startled.

"They're right, Jack," Mary said, sounding as though she were trying to be gentle with a toddler throwing a temper tantrum. "He can't be allowed to live."

And for the first time, Jack looked like he was double thinking his decision. At his hesitation, the angels started calling for Lucifer's blood again, while the Scoobies and the Winchesters were trying to calmly persuade Jack to end his father. Buffy didn't say anything, she saw the toll that this was taking on Jack, and couldn't help but think about Dawn all those years ago. She could almost see Jack screaming "Get out! Get out! Get out!" Thank the gods that Dawn had grown out of that. Buffy was sure that Jack would grow out of his confusion and self-doubt soon enough too… but Buffy doubted that it would happen today, which was unfortunate.

"Stop!" Jack screamed. The blade that he'd been holding vanished in a puff of smoke. Buffy flinched at the command and everyone was suddenly silenced. His voice had been magnified and somehow deepened and maybe she was imagining it, but it seemed like he was suddenly taller – more imposing. And… did the angels look legitimately scared now. They all staring at Jack with wide eyes. Even Lucifer looked surprised as he gazed at his son.

And then Jack waved a hand and Lucifer vanished. There was a collective gasp as everyone looked to where he'd been sitting moments before. Lucifer's Archangel blade fell to the ground where he'd been.

"What…" was all Buffy managed to get out, still staring at the sword.

"I sent him away," Jack said simply. And then he turned and addressed the gathered angels and demons. "You will not be able to find him. Do not try. You get one warning."

A few of the demons exchanged glances before disappearing one by one. No doubt, they were going to start fighting amongst themselves as to who the new ruler of hell would be. No Lucifer. No Crowley. No more Knights or Princes of Hell…. Maybe Earth will get a break from demon actively while they fight? Or maybe it'll get worse with no one in control. Buffy couldn't really think about it for the time being.

The angels didn't leave. Instead, a few of them cautiously approached Jack.

A short Indian man, with little hair, stepped up first, "We understand that you have restored Castiel's wings. We would ask that you restore ours as well."

"That's bold, considering you dicks were all trying to kill him not 6 months ago," Dean shot back. The angel threw Dean an angry look. Dean matched the man's glare with one of his own.

"I suggest you all return to heaven," Cas said, the angels' attention moving to him. Some of them looked at him almost as hatefully as they had looked at Lucifer. Buffy knew that Cas was a sore subject for a lot of angels, but she wasn't sure that he deserved that. Hadn't he helped save the world multiple times at this point? Dean was right – angels were dicks.

Cas didn't flinch under the look that the angels gave him. In fact, he looked almost resigned. He sighed deeply before saying, "Jack and I will meet you there and we can work out how to move forward from here."

A few of the angels nodded and turned to leave. One or two even smiled at Jack or Cas. Maybe they could learn? The group around Buffy watched the angels leave in silence. Until Dean broke it, of course.

"Mom! What are you even doing here?" he asked anxiously, turning to face the blonde woman.

"Well, there was a small earthquake. And when none of you answered your phones, I got worried. Plus, I was bored, so I came out to make sure you were OK," Mary explained.

Buffy blinked in surprise. Dean and Sam looked equally confused as they all took out their phones. Sure enough, Sam and Dean had several missed calls from Mary, as did Jack, Giles, and Cas. Even Buffy had a single missed call. Why hadn't any of their phones rang? Could Lucifer have cut them off? There's no way that they all simply missed the calls.

"Awesome," Dean muttered, putting his phone back into his pocket and looking sour.

"You felt the earthquake?" Sam asked.

"Yeah. The whole bunker shook. I mean, it wasn't California huge or anything, but it was enough to knock a few things off the shelves," she said. "Was that Lucifer?"

"Yes," Cas said. "He was not happy with us at that point."

"Understatement," Dean murmured.

"Listen," Cas said, turning particularly to Sam and Dean. "There's going to be chaos in heaven with no leader in place after Lucifer. Jack and I will need to go up and help sort things out."

"You sure that's the best idea?" Sam asked.

"Yeah, and I'm still not a fan of leaving Lucifer just out there somewhere. He could get into all sorts of trouble, even without his powers," Dean said, looking pointedly at Jack. Jack met his look evenly, but didn't respond.

"And it's unlikely he will take this lying down," Giles put in. "I agree. I think we should…"

"Enough," Jack cut him off. "My father is no longer a threat. Now if Cas says that we need to go to heaven, then that is what we'll do."

Sam turned to Cas, "And if the angels try to kill either of you again?"

"Then I'll stop them," Jack said smoothly. "And I won't restore their wings."

"And we're sure that that's still a good idea?" Faith said pointedly. "I totally prefer them wingless." Dean nodded in agreement.

"My brothers and sisters have seen much in these past years. I'm hoping they will be more receptive than in the past," Cas said. And just like that, he put his hand on Jack's shoulder, and they both disappeared. Apparently that really was the end of the conversation. Buffy caught Dean rolling his eyes at the abrupt departure.

"Now what?" Buffy asked.

"Look, I know what Jack said, but we can't allow the freaking Devil the roam the Earth free," Dean said.

Sam sighed, "Let's head back to the bunker. We can discuss it more there."

Upon returning home – wait… when had Buffy started to think of the bunker as "home?" – they all sat down tiredly in the library. There had been a brief fight over whether Mary should go back to bed as she was still healing ("bed rest doesn't have to be taken literally!" she'd pointed out). After Mary won that argument, with some backup from Giles, no one said much, not sure where to start.

"We can't let Lucifer go," Sam finally said.

"You propose we hunt him down against the wishes of the all-powerful Nephilim?" Faith asked pointedly. Sam scowled.

"Look," Buffy said. "I get where you're all coming from. But Jack said that he's human now. And he can't even touch weapons…"

"How could Jack even do that, by the way?" Dean interrupted. "Make it so someone can't touch a weapon. I mean – what qualifies? Can he pick up a steak knife for dinner? Or is a lighter considered a weapon? That's a bit subjective, don't'cha think?"

Buffy briefly glanced at Willow and Giles before answering. Willow had a hint of a smile on her face, she was thinking the same thing. "Well, we've actually seen something like this before. If it's similar to that, then it comes down to intent. If Lucifer intends to use something to cause harm, then he won't be able to touch it. If his intention is pure, then he should have no problem."

"Uh huh," Dean muttered skeptically. "I'm fairly certain that nothing Lucifer will ever intend could be defined as 'pure.'"

"Well, then he's going to have a hard time as a human," Willow said. "I think Buffy's right – intent is the key. And if that is the case, then we really have nothing to fear from Lucifer."

"You don't know him like we do," Sam said quietly.

Silence followed this statement as everyone became absorbed in their own thoughts. Finally, Mary spoke. "We need to put our trust in Jack. If we really want him to feel that he's a part of this family, then trusting him is the only course of action. If he wants us to leave Lucifer alone, then that is what we'll do."

There was a moment of hesitation while everyone considered Mary's words. Dean was the first to nod his head in agreement. Buffy smiled at the man who liked to pretend he was this hard-ass hunter, but was really just an older brother. And he was giving the kid the benefit of the doubt. He noticed her smile, and he smiled back, meeting her eyes. She nodded too.

Sam and Faith looked ready to continue arguing, but when they saw the looks they were getting, particularly from Dean, they both decided against it. Willow and Giles simply seemed to accept the group's decision and didn't say anything more about it.

"Well," Giles said, standing up. "I guess that this means our work here is done." He looked around at Willow, Buffy, and Faith. "We should be heading back out to Cleveland."

Buffy felt her eyes widen in surprise. She hadn't even considered that this would mean the end of her stay here.

"Yeah," Willow agreed, standing up too. "I think I'd like to see my wife and daughter again. I've been away far too long. And Malina keeps texting me about the state of things in the coven. She's worried about Rowena, now that we know that she has the Black Grimoire and her powers are fully restored." She looked pointedly at the Winchester brothers. Sam had the grace to look slightly ashamed.

"If you find out that she's up to something evil, or hurting people, let us know. We'll hunt her down, as promised," Dean said. This made Willow smile and then she laughed, nodding.

"Well, personally," Faith said. She made no move to stand up, instead leaning back in her chair and putting her feet up on the table. "I'm not going anywhere until I've heard what's happened with the angels and heaven." She eyed Sam. Actually, she almost ogled at him. "Hope you don't mind if I stick around a while longer? Besides, I'm not exactly thrilled at the idea of going back to the Slayer group home."

Suddenly, Buffy was sure that Faith was planning to seduce Sam again… Weird, Faith didn't usually go for the same guy twice – maybe the apocalypse universe had changed her after all. Sam looked suddenly uncomfortable and his big brother looked amused.

"Of course not, Faith. You're welcome to stay as looong as you want," Dean said, clapping Sam on the back, a slight twinkle in his eye.

Giles cleared his throat pointedly and turned, walking toward the bedrooms. "Well then, I think the rest of us should pack up. Buffy, Willow?"

Willow made to follow him, but Dean caught Buffy's eye, the amusement from a moment ago vanishing. She hesitated. And then she realized that Faith had given her a good excuse. "Actually, if the guys don't mind. I'm going to stick around too." Was that hope on Dean's face? And don't look at me like that, Willow! Or you, Faith! Ugh! Sam! Not you too! She continued, trying to ignore the pointed smirks her friends were giving her, instead speaking mostly to Giles. "I'd like to see how things went for Cas and Jack in heaven too. And I'd like to be here when Jack returns. Make sure that he knows that while we might not necessarily agree with his decision, that we support it."

"Of course," Willow said, the corners of her mouth tilting upward in a teasing manner. "You should stay. For Jack."

Buffy narrowed her eyes at her best friend, but decided to let it go.

"Great. Then it's decided then. B and I will stick around, and you guys can go home to the wannabes," Faith said cheerfully.

"Ripper," Mary said, suddenly standing up. "I mean… Rupert." Giles turned back to look curiously at his old friend. "Mind if I join you? I'd love to see the operation you have set up. And… maybe I can help out a bit with the slayers and watchers?"

"I would love that, Mary," Giles said, smiling, and sounding genuinely pleased.

"Fair warning," Willow said. "Andrew may freak out a little when he meets you. You should have seen him with your sons."

"Why?" Mary asked, sounding a little weirded out.

Giles, Mary, and Willow walked out of the library toward their rooms to pack up, Willow trying to describe Andrew to Mary as they went.

"So, what do you boys do for fun around here? You know… when the world's not ending?" Faith asked.

In response, Dean went to the mini-fridge and pulled out 3 beers and a Mike's Hard Lemonade. "We hunt. And we drink." Sam and Faith both laughed, opening the beers that he handed them. Buffy took her Mike's with a grin.

Dean sat back down and Sam said, "Fair warning. When Cas goes to heaven, sometimes he can be gone for weeks at a time. And I don't think this particular visit is going to be simple. It might be a while."

"So, what are you gunna do in the meantime?" Faith asked.

"We hunt," Dean repeated simply. "That going to be OK with you? You're welcome to just stick around here if you don't wanna join us. I know that you were retired before we dragged you into all of this." He looked at Buffy as he said the last sentence.

"No worries. The two of us can hunt better than most. And correct me if I'm wrong here, B, but I don't think retirement suited you very well. And I didn't even get to see it," Faith laughed.

"Don't worry about us. We'll join you. Or…" Buffy smiled, "maybe we'll go on our own hunts."

Dean laughed and took a sip of his beer, "sounds like a plan."

Buffy met Dean's eyes again as he lowered his bottle and smiled at the genuine look she saw there. He was happy she was staying. And his walls were down.

XXXX

1 Month Later
Austin, TX
Shoal Creek Trail near The Bowie

Death! Death to all of them! Every last one of them is going to die! They are going to beg for mercy and scream as their flesh peels away from their bones. The flames are going to sear into their muscles and leave their nerves severed as they cry for mercy. And they will be shown none. And then he would drag them to hell where he could really have some fun.

Castiel. Sam Winchester. Dean Winchester. Willow Rosenberg. Buffy Summers. Mary Winchester. He didn't know or care about the names of the others, but they would all pay for this too.

Lucifer shivered, despite the warm Texas weather. He'd taken to begging again. Not that anyone ever seemed to be interested in giving him anything. And why not? He was an attractive man, wasn't he? He saw other beggars getting food and coins from people – why not him? He was the Morning Star. God's most beautiful angel. So why the hell did these stupid apes keep ignoring him?! They would all be punished too. One day, all the peoples of this world will burn, and he will be there to relish in the destruction. They all have it coming.

Hunger and dehydration had to be the worst torture in the world. Why didn't the torturers in hell ever use that? Do the souls trapped in hell even need food or water? Lucifer had never really thought about it before, being unjustly trapped in the cage and all. Well, they would when he got his power back. He could be sure of that. He would make those souls beg and plead for food. Water. Oh yes. They would all beg. And he would consume their souls in the pit. Taking their strength for himself – which was, naturally, his right. He was superior to them. To all of them. Humans. Angels. Demons. God. He was better than all of them. The injustice of it all enraged him. Why should a divine creature like himself be forced down before bacteria? It defied the natural order. The indignity of it.

Death. Death would come to them all.

And the angels would be punished for betraying him, of course. They'd turned on him in that stupid field. They'd pledged their loyalty, and yet they didn't raise a finger to stop his son. In fact, they'd tried to get Jack to kill him. Those traitors. They would be punished just as fiercely as the others. Maybe more so. They were supposed to be his brothers and sisters. Like Michael. Like Gabriel. Like Raphael. Betrayed by his own kin. And yet he still loved them. So why didn't they love him back? Traitors, all because he wasn't a puppet like the rest of them.

The image of his son looming over him swam before his eyes as he dragged himself over to yet another garbage can, hoping to find something to eat. It was incredible how repulsive being human was. You intake food and water, and then you have to expel it. Just filthy. And his son had made him this way. The gall. The nerve. The insolence. Well, that would just have to be beaten out of the boy when he got his power back. And once he was under control, they would rule heaven, hell, and Earth – together.

He found a Coke can in the trash and turned it upside down over his mouth. A few drops fell onto his parched tongue and he had to resist the urge to wipe his tongue on his sleeve at the revolting flavor. Humans drank this rubbish? Disgusting. And yet, he kept digging, throwing the can into the trees nearby, scaring a squirrel. Vermin. They were all just vermin like that stupid squirrel. Ooh… now there was a thought. That squirrel could be dinner, if he could just catch… nope. It was already gone. An Archangel. God's own favorite, reduced to dumpster diving and contemplating eating a rodent. And he couldn't even catch it!

How had he fallen this far? The answer was obvious, of course – God. Deadbeat Dad made him this way, and now here he was – trash digging through trash. They will all pay for this!

The sun was beginning to set and he could feel the temperature dropping as he found a crumpled McDonald's bag. It would probably be another chilly night. He was going to have to find some way to stay warm at night if this continued. He ripped open the bag to find a an empty burger box, with only grease stains inside. He tossed that into the trees too. Hopefully, that squirrel will find it later and choke on it. That would be justice.

But how could he get his powers back? That was the real question. Jack had done something to him. He couldn't hear the angels talking anymore, and he couldn't even sense if there was a human nearby without seeing or hearing them. How did humans even function like this? It was appalling. But his castigation had gone even further than the indignity of being made human. No. Jack had said that Lucifer would never be able to touch another weapon.

For the first time since he'd found himself in this new life, he contemplated his son's words. How could he even do that? He didn't have that kind of power. And even if he did, he lacked Lucifer's imagination. Anything could be a weapon if you tried hard enough. Hell, hands were weapons. Teeth were weapons. He looked into the trash again and smiled.

He reached in and pulled out a glass beer bottle. Not a weapon. Just a bottle. He held an image in his mind of slitting Dean Winchester's throat with the broken glass from the bottle, and suddenly the bottle was thrown from his hand. What the hell?

The bottle broke into pieces when it hit the ground a few feet away. He reached for one of the broken shards, but his hand stopped 2 inches from the glass. He couldn't pick up the glass. That clever little bastard. Oh yes, he would be getting a good beating when he got his powers back.

He went back to the trash, which he'd practically eviscerated, the innards of which were scattered on the ground around the can. He groaned. There was nothing left inside. And his stomach was growling.

He pulled his jacket – which he'd found in a dumpster on the street – tightly around himself and he moved on. He'd originally tried staying on the streets, but found that people threw him dirty looks, even when he was legitimately trying to be polite. Surely, they couldn't know that he was plotting their deaths at that moment. Most humans weren't intelligent enough to pick up on anything.

And yet he'd been thwarted by those idiotic, flannel-wearing, tool-bags so many times, it was humiliating. And they, and that goody-two-shoes, trench-coated, wannabe brother of his, had turned his own son against him. Maybe he'd carve a plaid pattern into their skin when he finally had them. That seemed appropriate.

He walked along the plant-lined path that ran under a highway underpass above. He could hear the sounds of the cars whizzing by as his stomach growled once again in protest at the lack of food. He looked at water dripping down from the street above down near the concrete wall and resignedly opened his mouth to intake what he could.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

He started imagining punching Sam Winchester in the face. Over and over and over again. Like he'd once done to his brother all those years ago. He tried to curl his hand into the fist, but found that he couldn't do it. Seriously? He couldn't even make a fist if he considered it as a way to hurt someone? This is bullshit!

But he'd find a way… Oh yes, he would. He always did. He was Lucifer, damnit. He was the Goddamned Devil (literally). He would rise again, and then they would be sorry. And, oh, how his son would be sorry. And once he'd learned his lesson, he would forgive his son. Of course he would. He loved him after all. And he would be a better father than his had been. He would never cast out his son and lock him in a pit for millennia. No, he would be a better father, and once they'd taken over the universe, he'd be a better God.

And they would make this world the paradise that it should have been from the beginning. Peaceful. Warm. And they would be happy.

Once all the pests were taken care of. Then, they would be happy.

He closed his mouth after several swallows of the metallic tasting water. At least his lips and mouth weren't dry anymore. He was right, and it was starting to get cold now that the sun was down. He could feel his eyelids drooping, his body desiring sleep. What another ridiculous human necessity. And dreams. What a load of crap those were.

What was even the point of dreams? Most of his had been filled with pleasant images of him and his son punishing those who'd done this to him. But sometimes, he saw his Father coming down to throw him in the cage again. He usually woke from those dreams cold and wet. Sweat. Another repulsive human trait. Ugh! Why did this have to be his life now?

No matter. He would get his powers back soon enough. Of this, he had no doubt.

He noticed another garbage can on the other side of the underpass, and he thought he would give it one last go before trying to sleep for the night. This underpass would at least provide a little shelter from the wind, and possible rain that the sky was hinting at. Although, rain might at least help wash away his stink. But of course, he always stank now. That's just what humans did.

He started to pull junk out of the can, throwing it on the ground when it served him no purpose. He did find a half-eaten peanut butter sandwich wrapped in tin foil, which excited him more than he cared to admit. He guessed that this was probably a child's sandwich earlier in the day, judging by the small bite marks, but he really didn't care as he scarfed it down.

He threw the foil on the ground with the rest of the trash, when a voice rang out from behind him.

"Sir, are you aware that littering is against the law?"

Lucifer spun around, anger at the human who dared to speak to him like that. He could only see a vague shape in the shadow of the underpass. The voice continued, as the person stepped closer to Lucifer. "Your son showed incredible mercy in sparing you."

Lucifer felt his eyes widen. Who was this person? How did they know what had happened? The person was purposefully, and tactfully, staying in the shadows. And before he knew what was happening, there was a flash of silver, and a burning pain exploded from his chest. And then a surprising warmth spreading from his chest down his torso. He coughed once and tasted metal.

Looking down, he could see his own Archangel blade sticking out of his chest. How the hell?

The man continued speaking, and finally Lucifer could see the face looming over him. "He will become quite the force for good in this world. With proper encouragement and education. And for that, I'm afraid, I simply cannot allow any chance of you rising to power once again."

The man was cleaning something with a handkerchief as he spoke in his clear accented voice. He tucked the piece of linen back in a pocket and replaced the now clean glasses over his eyes. Lucifer could vaguely see his vessel's scared and pale face reflected back at him through the small panes before his eyesight began to darken. He felt his body fall to the ground before everything went completely black.


A/N: I know! I'm late! I had wanted to get this up on Monday as usual, but things were just crazy and I couldn't get anything done last week. Sorry! I hope this chapter makes up for it a little. New POV! Hope you enjoyed it.

Thanks for all the reviews, favorites, and follows!

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