Author's Note: Ficlet involving Chuck meeting Lucifer/Nick and having a conversation with him, prior to his being cast into the Pit the second time via Sam.

A Father's Pride

Lucifer's vessel was falling apart. Falling apart. He couldn't keep up like this, if he only had a body that would fall apart before he could, no WOULD, have Sam Winchester say yes. Nick was screaming inside his head. After he'd agreed to be his vessel, he'd lived to regret it.

He'd wanted revenge on his family, and Lucifer wasn't even trying to get him that. He was trying to get revenge on his OWN family. The family he'd loved so much and lost.

Especially Michael. His beloved brother. The best of them all. He hated having to have fought him before he was cast into the Pit the first time. Now, it was to be them again. Just Michael and Lucifer, battling it out and bringing on the end of the world at the same time. It had pained him to kill Gabriel. But Gabriel was tricky. Maybe he found a way to somehow get out of death. Some part of the fallen angel hoped so. Hoped at least one of his brothers had survived.

The former archangel of Heaven certainly had no desire to see any of his brothers come to harm, but if it came down to it, if they were going to prevent he and Michael from their just fight, he would have no choice. Michael would do the same, even if he said he wouldn't and that he was God's good son that did everything the old man said to do.

Lucifer had always loved God. Too much. That was why he was punished, after all. He refused to love anyone BUT God, refusing to love the humans that God Himself loved more than anything.

Nick's vessel seemed to have a liking for this particular coffee shop. Lucifer found himself standing front of it with a great desire to enter. In between his whimpers of pain, Nick said that he did indeed like and frequent this coffee shop. Lucifer sigh. He might as well give his vessel some pleasure. He wasn't evil. Not REALLY. He just wanted to be loved, by his Father and his elder brother, more than these apes were. They were more evil than he was.

One only had to look at the things they had done throughout the years...there was the Holocaust, there was the Vietnam war, and then September 11th...so many different ways for humans to kill thousands, MILLIONS, and God let it happen. They were flawed. So very flawed. If Lucifer were in God's place, or at least if God listened to him, none of that would have happened. Humans would serve them, not the other way around. Now, they were serving humans.

That Castiel, before his escape, had admitted his love for Dean Winchester and said he would die for him. What made humans so special, he wondered, as he ordered a latte for his vessel. The woman at the counter gave him an unusual look due to the pockmarks on his face, but said nothing. Probably assuming he had a normal human disease.

He went to sit down when he noticed a man who hadn't been there before. Or that he hadn't noticed before. The man glanced up, seemingly paying him no heed at first, then looked up again, as if he recognized him. Perhaps he did recognize Nick. Nick said yes, that this man sometimes came here to type stories on his laptop and that he was a really nice guy.

Lucifer decided to indulge Nick a bit further. He approached the man with the laptop.

"May I sit down? Its been awhile. I guess you remember me, I'm..." he was cut off.

The man smiled. A smile as if he knew something the other didn't. "Yes. A long, long while. Sit. Lucifer."

Lucifer immediately jumped back. How did this man know his name? Who, WHAT was this thing?

"Who are you? What are you? What do you want?"

"As I said, it has been a long, long time since I've seen you. You're not the glowing Morningstar anymore, I see. You look a bit put-out, if I must say. You need to hurry up and get Sam to say yes to you." The man raised a coffee cup in a toast to him and took a drink, and went back to typing.

Lucifer grabbed the man by the collar, hauling him up with unnatural strength. Strangely, none of the other patrons or employees seemed to notice this. Which was odd since they had noticed his last killing spree. It was almost as if they were in their own little bubble. Lucifer couldn't do that. What was this man?

The man was totally unfazed by Lucifer. "I am a Prophet of God. I write the Word as it comes to me through His mouth."

Lucifer snorted, slamming the supposed prophet onto his own table, likely crushing his laptop. The prophet cried out in dismay. "You destroyed my latest story! You know how long it took me to get the words right?"

Lucifer ignored him. "You are not a prophet. I know what prophets are like. I can almost feel power coming from you. REAL power. You're the one preventing the other people here from noticing us. If they had, I would have killed them."

The scruffy prophet smiled lightly. "I know. Thats why they haven't noticed anything amiss. You're drinking your latte and having a nice conversation with me about my story."

"Then what are you? Another archangel? Another brother I must slay?" Lucifer did what he had to do. He created a circle with holy oil to trap and angel. The fake prophet looked at the flames surrounding him, carefully stuck out a fluffy bunny house shoe and put out one of the flames, stepping easily outside the circle and showing he could easily erase holy circles.

Lucifer raised an eyebrow. Nothing at all could get out of that. At least, no archangel. The holy circle somehow became extinguished the minute the man stepped outside of it.

"I'm not an Archangel, Lucifiel. Though I do have something to do with them."

He reached up and softly stroked Lucifer/Nick's cheek. Nick was somehow calm, no longer raging or afraid or weeping. This man made him calm, certain that everything was fine. Why, Lucifer wondered?

"Then what are you? Who are you?"

"It has been so long, so very very long. But I would recognize my own son anywhere. Why can't you recognize your own Father?"

Lucifer gasped and pulled away from the man. No. No way. This scruffy writer in fluffy bunny shoes was not God. Not the Being he had loved enough to be cast from Heaven for.

"You're not God. Who are you under there? Gabriel? Find a way out of the death I gave you and come to trick me into thinking you're God? What kind of God would wear bunny shoes to a coffee shop and write trash novels?"

"A God who so loves His creations that He wants to be one of them."

Lucifer wrinkled his brow, confused. God did so love humans, but to become one? To live as one? He didn't think Father would stoop so low.

"If you really are my Father, you wouldn't stoop so low as to pretend and live as a human. You wouldn't let me bring on Armageddon."

"My name, here, is Chuck, by the way. You can call me Chuck if you want instead of father. I have a date arriving soon. She'll think its a little weird that I have a son as old as I am. Oh, and you won't bring about Armageddon. The end of times is not here yet. You will face off against Michael. You will see you precious older brother again. But neither one of you will get what you really want."

Chuck didn't say anything else after this. Just letting Lucifer absorb this.

He turned his back on the man, not believing a word he said. He would bring about Armageddon. Sam Winchester would not resist him. He would defeat Michael and bring back the joy and wonder of the world as it was before humans and demons. God, the real God, not this pretend-whatever, would praise him for it, thank him, and he would be the Morningstar, beloved of all angels and beloved of God once again.

"You never understood, my son. Love is love. I did love you, as much as I loved humans. But you refused to love them too, to see what I saw in them. They are so much. So much more than anything angels are. You were my first creations. I am sorry I didn't make you like them. You and your siblings were supposed to protect them, after everything. But you, my dearest of sons, my Morningstar, did not. You refused them love and protection, instead inviting them into sin, turning one into a demon. I forgive you, Lucifer. I always have. But you have never asked." Chuck took a sip of his coffee and continued, "If you had only asked for forgiveness, it would have been granted. I would never have let my son suffer in the Pit you had to suffer in for so long."

Lucifer resisted the urge to round on the man and kill him right there.

"Look, Chuck or whatever, you're not God. You're just some crazy freak. And I am leaving. I am starting Armageddon."

Chuck called after him. "Before you destroy the world," there was a hint of amusement in his voice, "maybe you can indulge your meat suit and let Nick and I have some coffee together?"

Lucifer had every intention to say no, but Nick really wanted to, and having a cooperative vessel was always better than one that screamed in your head all the time. He told Nick he would let him have coffee with Chuck as long as he promised not to scream or anything stupid. He sighed, and let Nick take possession of his tattered body.

Nick slowly approached Chuck, almost fearfully. "I know you. Chuck Shirley. I've had coffee with you before."

Chuck nodded, resisted the urge to say something slightly sarcastic.

"But you're not Chuck, not really. This whole time...you weren't Chuck. I wasn't talking to Chuck when I was talking to you, was I?"

Chuck shook his head. "I'm so sorry, Nick. And I'm even sorrier about your family. If its any consolation, you'll see them again. You'll all be happy. All of you. You didn't ask for Lucifer to come inside you. You just agreed, in your grief. Now that all is clear, you realize you made the wrong choice. But as I said, it doesn't matter. Your family, though dead, is happy. And you'll be with them once Lucifer takes his true vessel, Sam Winchester."

"Why me? Why did...why did MY family have to be murdered? What did I do to deserve that?" Nick was crying. At that moment, he HATED God, no matter what pretty words He said.

"Free will. I couldn't stop them any more than I could have stopped you from saying yes to Lucifer. Tell me, Nick, would you rather have free will and be able to do as you wished with your life, or would you rather be a puppet whose strings are always being pulled, even if you don't like the direction they're being pulled in?"

"It doesn't change the fact that my innocent wife and child are dead. Dead because of me. Because I'm...I'm what? Special? I can hold Lucifer? That makes me evil, not special!"

"It doesn't make you evil. Being able to hold Lucifer only proves that you are a powerful angelic vessel. You could have had any angel take you as a vessel. Let me be clear with you. Lucifer was far more merciful than others have been with their vessels. They let theirs be shot, destroyed...Lucifer was fully intending to give your body back to you once he got Sam Winchester. The others simply destroyed their vessels."

Nick was sobbing. "Well, I want Lucifer to destroy me. I don't, won't, live without my family."

Chuck nodded, and placed a comforting hand on Nick's shoulder, letting a bit of his Divine power flow into the crying man, and into his son inside him. "You won't be without your family. When your vessel is destroyed, which it will be, you'll go to Heaven and be with your child and your wife and live out the life you didn't have a chance to here."

Nick could feel God's divine presence. This man really was God. Despite his strange appearance. "Chuck...God...why? Why everything? Just free-will?"

Chuck nodded. "Free will. I made humans to think for themselves. To even create for themselves. Some have even succeeded in creating other human beings without requiring a male and a female. They are playing 'God'." Chuck laughed and finished off his latte.

"They are truly my greatest creations. Someday, perhaps, they will surpass Me. As a father yourself, you know that it is any father's dream to see his children surpass him and prove him a proud parent."

Chuck looked wistful, almost dreamy. "Well, Nick, you'd best get on with it. Lucifer won't stay holed up inside your head forever. You'll suffer, but it will be worth it in the end. Besides, here comes my date!"

Chuck stood up and started to approach a woman around his age with dirty blonde hair and almost buggy eyes. Lucifer/Nick was puzzled. Huh. They did say God loved everyone.