Title: Goodbye Is a Second Chance
Author: scis_ipse
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Angst, drama, fluff
Pairing: Lucifer/Michael, mentions of others
Spoilers: None (AU)
Warnings: Pseudo-incest (step-siblings), mentions of child abuse, underage drinking and drug use
Word Count: 13,725 (total)
Summary: Even since before Chuck and Becky got married, Lucifer had never liked Michael. After they had gotten married, he hadn't liked him. That hadn't stopped him from falling in love with the the arrogant bastard.

The day that Becky announced she was marrying Chuck was the worst day of Lucifer's life. At first he didn't even react to the announcement, made casually over their breakfast of slightly burned toast and nearly charred eggs. It took a good while to register and when it finally did sink into his brain, he forgot all about shoveling his ketchup slathered eggs into his mouth, instead freezing with a dripping forkful halfway to his wide open mouth. The thirteen year old turned unbelieving blue eyes on his adopted mother, hoping against all hope that his mother was joking and she had meant to say that she was breaking up with Chuck.

By the time he had reacted, Becky had bustled off with her dirty plate, her back turned to him and so didn't notice the expression Lucifer made as the off-hand phrase seeped past the filter that he automatically put up whenever his adopted mom said something. "Now I know you and Michael don't really get along-" At that point Lucifer just stopped listening, instead musing on how big of an understatement that was. As much as he disliked Chuck, with his ratty bathrobes and scruffy beard, he hated Michael even more. The two had only been born a few weeks apart in the grand scheme of things but Michael lorded that slight age advantage over him whenever they encountered each other, treating Lucifer as if he wasn't worthy to lick the dirt off of his shoes because he was younger and adopted to boot. "Lucifer! Are you listening to me?" Becky demanded, somewhat angrily.

"Not really," he replied automatically, wincing a second later when his easily excited mother swelled up in indignation, a sure sign that she was gearing up to deliver a blistering lecture on respecting authority. It would probably be exactly the same as the one he got every other week from his teachers whenever he mouthed off to them. He quickly headed off her tirade with the well-placed statement, "I was more worried about the fact that it's nearly 7:55 and I have to be at school by 8:05, Mom."

His mother practically shrieked, glancing at the clock hanging from the kitchen wall to make sure that Lucifer was right and escalating the volume of her shriek before it tapered off as she rushed out of the room, kicking slippers into the living room as she grabbed her jacket from its hook and slipped on a pair of moccasins to counteract the chill of the late November air before snatching her keys out of a pocket as she all but dragged Lucifer out of the door the moment he picked up his backpack, not even letting him pull it over his shoulders. The issue was dropped for the moment but it haunted Lucifer for the rest of the day, prompting even more irritable outbursts towards his teachers which in turn caused him to get a substantial amount of afterschool detention heaped onto his shoulders.

By the time Lucifer finally made his way out of the dingy school building and into the rapidly fading sunlight, a nervous looking Chuck was cowering in his beat up white Jetta, Michael looking smug in the passenger seat. Hefting his torn-up backpack onto his shoulders, Lucifer jogged down the concrete steps of his middle school and slipped into the backseat of the car without a word, pointedly clicking his seatbelt shut when Chuck tried to open his mouth to speak and lolling his head back so that he could stare out of the window comfortably, ignoring the snickering Michael the entire time. The car started moving, slipping hesitantly into traffic and Lucifer watched the buildings go by without a single sound, not even really moving except to make himself more comfortable on the crappy seats. Chuck fiddled nervously with the radio for a while before settling on some station that played the current hits, bass barely strong enough to do more than add onto the rattling of the Jetta around Lucifer.

The little car weaved in and out of traffic jerkily but Lucifer didn't notice, too wrapped up in his own thoughts and dire premonitions of his own future, full of a sanctimonious Michael and deliriously happy Chuck and Becky because for all he disliked the guy, he made his mom as happy as he'd ever seen her. He would be the kid that they introduced second, the one who didn't achieve anything special or do anything really bad. He could imagine it vividly, the parties that would happen once Chuck was published where Becky would beamingly present Michael and have to tug Lucifer away from whatever corner he was lurking in; the dinners where Michael would brag about whatever he'd accomplished that day and Lucifer would just shrug noncommittally when asked about his day; the school days when Michael would be surrounded by hangers on and Lucifer would be alone in his seat. He blew out a lungful of air in a gusty sigh, bright blue eyes automatically flinching shut when the setting sun came into view between buildings. They opened again to find that they had arrived at his apartment building, the shabby white paint peeling off every few feet. He inhaled deeply once more and slipped out of the car without saying a word, jogging up the stairs towards his apartment and the looming wrath of his mother.

The wedding itself was an elaborate affair, held in the summer after Michael and Lucifer graduated from middle school. Becky was beaming and Chuck was stuttering every time someone tried to talk with him, his beard and hair neatly trimmed for once. Lucifer and Michael had been the ring bearers, forced into tuxedos and hair slicked back against their heads with obscene amounts of gel. It had been all that they could do to get through the wedding without either of them launching themselves at the other from their side of the altar. But now it was the reception and after the obligatory toasts and cake cutting they had been able to slip away from the disapproving eyes of any adults.

Anyone wandering near the back of the church hall would have wondered at the noises that were coming from behind it, grunts and yelps of pain and occasionally a hissed curse or a solid thump or a wet splatter. Anyone unfortunate enough to come across the scene would have been horrified at what they found, two boys that were barely fourteen years old beating the shit out of each other, inflicting a bloody nose here and a livid bruise there or sometimes momentarily overpowering the other and pinning him to the ground before they were thrown back as the other scrambled back to their feet. By the time they finally collapsed, chests heaving, against the back wall, each of them had bruises on every easily targeted area of their body and blood dripping from some area of their face. Their tuxedoes were a lost cause, smeared with dirt, blood, and who knew what else and their hair wasn't much better, stiffened gel leading to a rather wild hairstyle when it had been ruffled during their violent tussling.

Silently, they locked eyes with each other, grinning smugly at the sight of the damage that they had each dealt the other. Michael looked away first, green eyes turning towards the sky before closing as he fought to catch his breath. Lucifer followed suit, sliding against the wall until he lay flat on his back, staring up at the stars through the slight haze of exhaustion around the edges of his vision. Eventually they recovered their composure and got to their feet wincingly, the bruises starting to kick in after the period of immobility.

They hadn't spoken the whole time and it wasn't any different once the fight and momentary truce were over, Michael limping off without a word, a devilish smirk curling at the edges of his lips while Lucifer lay back down and tried to convince himself that the butterflies in his stomach were from left over adrenaline and not because Michael looked really good with his tousled hair and a smirk on his face.

The shoddily tiled hallways squeaked under the wet sneakers of the teenagers that populated the high school and Lucifer winced at the high pitch of the noise as he carefully made his way through the teeming crowd to his homeroom. No one called out to him and he returned the favor, keeping his silence as he all but fell into his seat, backpack falling off of the one shoulder it hung on to rest by his desk as he sprawled out as best he could in the rigid confines of the desk-seat combo. His gaze drifted to the clock on the wall which proclaimed in bright red digits that there were three minutes left until school started.

There weren't many other people in the room, most students choosing to lurk in the hallways until the two minute warning bell rang to inform them that they were going to be late unless they got their ass into the classroom. But the few who had already arrived quickly congregated around Lucifer, some fawning rather obviously, others trying to conceal their fascination with him. The blonde spoke with them easily, stating what they wanted to hear from someone as pretty as he was. He didn't pay much attention to them though, instead choosing to occupy his remaining attention with watching the door for those nearly late arrivals.

Just before the clock's display switched over to eight o' clock, Michael strolled in, an automatic sneer appearing on his handsome face as he caught sight of Lucifer and the even larger group of people surrounding him. Lucifer returned the expression but their expression of mutual antipathy was interrupted by the group of Michael's friends that followed him into the classroom and the awkward circle around Lucifer's desk, who were in turn interrupted by the bell. There were plenty of groans from both of the large masses of people in the room but everyone obediently filed to their assigned seats. No one wanted to get on Ms. Wilson's bad side.

The teacher in question strolled into the room almost three minutes after the bell rang, her sweet smile only growing wider when she found that all of her students were in their seats and not talking at all. Lucifer snorted under his breath, extremely unimpressed by her manner but not nearly insane enough to try and get this particular teacher pissed off. They had horror stories about her at the middle school for good reason. Michael, only two seats away from him, had a similar reaction. Their eyes met for a moment as they realized what they had done before once again expressions of contempt spread across their faces and they returned their attention to the front of the class.

The strobe lights were close to blinding but Lucifer ignored them completely, strolling unhurriedly through the middle of the impromptu dance floor to stop at the drinks table, casually grabbing a beer while nearby students watched him with anticipation. He popped the lid off with ease as he circled the edge of the dancing and grinding crowd to reach where the closest members of his 'court' sat. Lucifer carefully lowered himself into the armchair that had been reserved for him, flashing a smirk at Lilith as she sauntered over to seat herself on his lap, running manicured fingers through his tousled blond hair.

"Enjoying yourself tonight, Lilith?"Lucifer questioned, watching the obvious glee on her face with some trepidation; that expression typically boded something not good for most of the people involved, Lucifer being an exception to the rule. Her pale eyes roved over the teeming mass that filled the center of the room, lighting up with her special brand of unholy glee as she found her victim for the night.

"Certainly, Lucifer," she replied distractedly, her eyes following her mark as he pushed through the crowd towards the exit. He looked to be a college boy who had probably heard that Meg Masters threw great parties and now found that he was in slightly over his head. Lilith slipped off of his lap as the boy approached the exit, sliding through the scattered groups along the edge of the room with ease. She tapped the unlucky sap on the shoulder, saying something to him as he turn around. He was obviously hooked, his expression shifting from overwhelmed to lustful as he took in the blonde who was talking to him. Lucifer snorted at the pathetic scene, turning his attention back to the people seated in a rough half-circle around his surprisingly comfortable armchair.

Meg smirked and offered him one of the cigarettes held carelessly in her hand as she lit up yet another. He accepted it with ease, flicking open his own lighter, bought with money stolen from Chuck, to light up. A quick drag filled his lungs with the familiar sensation of cigarette smoke and for a moment Lucifer imagined he could feel the smoke affecting the individual cells and tissues that made up his lungs. The moment ended when someone nearby started hacking uncontrollably, probably getting the tail end of Meg's chain smoking, eliciting a smug grin from the girl in question as she took yet another drag, spewing smoke out from her nose and mouth.

Lucifer raised an eyebrow at her before turning his attention to the two sprawled in the loveseat directly on his right, the not exactly wholesome head cheerleader Ruby and her prize boyfriend Brady, the QB of the football team. Currently they were making out like there was no tomorrow, probably high enough to actually believe that the world was ending. Pulling on a carefully cultivated expression of disgust, disdain, and disinterest, Lucifer reached out and tapped Ruby's hip sharply with the toe of his shoe, slouching down further in his seat to do so. The cheerleader made a noise of protest in the back of her throat (that could also have been a moan, Lucifer wasn't sure) and tore her mouth away from Brady's with a wet sucking noise that almost made Lucifer want to vomit, vocalizing her annoyance with a single word, "What?"

"As happy as I am for your lovely business arrangement with Brady, I really have no desire to watch you two drunkenly try to eat each other's faces in front of me. Therefore, please refrain unless you are not in my presence," Lucifer retaliated, his ice cold tone brooking no argument from the duo as he fixed each of them with his glacial eyes. They murmured rebelliously under their breaths before fully disengaging from each other and arranging themselves so that they weren't horizontally entwined and looking like they were one minute away from having sex on the couch. "Thank you."

"If I didn't know you better, I would call you a prude, Lucifer," Meg said mockingly, her yellow teeth exposed in a teasing grin. Lucifer just rolled his eyes in response, knocking back another long swallow of his beer and continuing to smoke his cigarette in almost sulky silence. The ashes threatened to fall on his hand and he tapped them off onto Meg's floor which earned him a halfhearted glare from the girl who was doing the same thing with her cigarette.

"Oh, yes, I'm sure you know Lucifer quite well, Meg," Brady sneered, his normally handsome face scrunched with the sneer into something quite unattractive, even by Ruby's low standards. Lucifer and Meg ignored his crude innuendo with ease, instead choosing to keep smoking as they tuned out the rest of the world, solidity washing away even more with every staccato beat of the music that was blasting through the house and every near blinding flash of the crappy strobes.

The reverie was broken by a shrill ringing that prompted Lucifer to curse and pull his cell out of his pocket, flipping it open to check what in the world it was ringing for. When he saw the display come up he cursed, stubbing out his cigarette on the arm of his chair and ignoring the angry curses that Meg hurled at him for that particular stunt. "I'm off," he announced to the world at large, grabbing his leather jacket from where it was draped across the chair as he got up. When Meg just pouted angrily and looked at him imploringly, he sighed and just barely restrained himself from glaring at her. "My parents think that as a fifteen year old, a curfew is obligatory and while they're not that crazy about enforcing it, Michael will get me in major shit if he catches me sneaking in after then." Besides, he added silently, you're a bitch and I couldn't care less about this stupid party. Right now I just want to get home and go to sleep.

Now Meg scoffed and flipped him off before bouncing up to give him an enthusiastic goodbye kiss which had the rest of the group either groaning or looking on interest. Lucifer responded with the appropriate amount of faux enthusiasm and they all bought it, like they had been for the past two years. Once Meg had released him from her stranglehold, he left the party quickly, evading those inevitable handsy drunks that tried to throw themselves at him and the stoners who would be offering him weed.

Once he was out of Meg's mansion he took a breath of fresh air, the clean smell of the grass on her immense front lawn undercut by the unmistakable scent of the massive amounts of fertilizer and chemicals that were probably heaped on the grass to keep it green and lush. Wrinkling his nose in disgust at the waste of money and space, he set off directly across the lawn towards the main street instead of taking the winding driveway. The night air was chilly and he was thankful for the leather of his coat when it shielded his torso from the worst of it and kept in the heat that he generated.

The asphalt was even under his thin-soled sneakers and the streetlights only flickered occasionally, orange lights glancing off patches of oil that marked the main road of Paradise Valley, Arizona. Lucifer scuffed his shoes against the cement as he wandered, relishing the lingering buzz that was left by the alcohol he had imbibed at the party. His mood would be totally ruined when he got home anyway so he might as well delay his arrival as long as possible.

Unfortunately, there was only so long you could dawdle in a small town and so it didn't take long for Lucifer to be heading up the steps, cursing the day that his mother and Chuck had decided to move out of Phoenix because they thought the city was too loud and busy. As he reached the porch, his face automatically smoothed, erasing all traces of the unhappiness and anger he felt and replacing it with a somewhat sullen expression, just the sort of thing Michael would expect. Taking a long breath, he reached out with one hand and pushed through the door as quietly as possible, trying not to alert Michael to the fact that he was home.

"Weren't you supposed to be back fifteen minutes ago?" The voice echoed with the peculiar acoustics that always came when someone spoke into the entrance way of the house from the second story of the house and Lucifer looked up with a stifled groan to find Michael leaning on the banister, arrogant sneer firmly in place on his unfairly handsome face.

"Since when were you my mother, Michael?" he shot back, shrugging off his leather jacket and hanging on one of the customary hooks set in the wall. Watching out of the corner of his eye, he saw Michael's eyes narrow as they took in his too tight shirt and extremely fitting jeans and came up with the obvious answer. Lucifer held up a hand to forestall the inevitable lecture, "I don't care where you think I've been tonight, Michael. I'm tired and I'm really sick of your bitching so shut up now and let me get to bed!" Despite the anger in his voice it was still pitched low so that he didn't disturb Chuck or Becky with the squabble.

Michael's green eyes flared and he pushed back from the banister as Lucifer made his way up the stairs towards his room, on the opposite side of the house from Michael's. He brushed forcefully past Lucifer, almost sending him into the wall before sneering again and looking over his shoulder to snipe, "You stink like smoke and beer. Can't wait to see how you're going to explain that to Mom." Lucifer rolled his eyes in response, wishing he could brush off the physical contact as easily as he appeared to deal with the vicious comments Michael sent his way. It never failed to piss him off how even the slightest touch from Michael, no matter the intent, made him feel inexplicably light. He cursed himself thoroughly and as inventively as possible as he dragged his tired body towards his bed, wishing that he could just forget Michael completely instead of thinking about him almost constantly.

For once even the silver tongued Lucifer was at a loss for words, too shocked to do anything but stand and stare at the small figure standing next to his parents in the entrance way of their tiny house. He knew that Chuck and Becky had been talking about adopting again but he had never expected that they would do it without giving either him or Michael advance notice. Michael seemed to feel the same if the expression of total shock scrawled across his face was anything to go by. But all the shock of not being told aside, what really got to Lucifer was the boy himself. It wasn't anything against him, not at all, just the horror that someone so small would be covered in so many bruises and cuts. He could barely see any unblemished skin on the younger boy, even on his face, the place where most abusive parents avoided.

"Who did this to him?" Michael finally said after a long stretch of silence. His focus broken, Lucifer glanced at Michael, taken aback to see that Michael's face was almost completely white with rage, his eyes twin fires amidst the emotionless mask that his face had become. It was surprising but for once, Lucifer was completely in agreement with Michael; any son of a bitch who could do anything like that deserved whatever Michael and Lucifer could dish out to him, especially if the younger boy was going to be their brother.

"Michael, Lucifer, calm down," Chuck started, looking nervously back and forth between the two sixteen year olds as their bodies got even tenser with rage. He fell silent for a moment, wishing that the ease he had with words on paper could translate to communicating with other people. He didn't doubt that both Michael and Lucifer would both do something extremely stupid if he didn't figure out some way to stop them; however, Chuck had no clue what he should say to calm them down. Luckily for him, someone else piped up before the silence went on long enough for Michael and Lucifer to become sick of waiting and start acting.

"My dad did it to me," the boy announced to the world at large, voice strangely strong for someone who'd been through so much trauma. "Except he's not my dad anymore because if he was, he wouldn't have hurt me like this." He nodded to himself at the end of his speech, chestnut curls bouncing with the movement even as he flinched slightly, the reaction most likely caused by the pain of speaking when his throat was as bruised as it was. On the edge of his perception, Lucifer noted that the bruises on his throat were in the shape of a single hand and his own fists curled even tighter, nails too short to do much damage digging into his skin anyway.

"Where are you planning on putting him?" Lucifer asked, filing away the curious response of the boy to think about later and concentrating on the immediate issue of the boy's physical needs because for all of his brave words, the kid looked like he was about to fall asleep or simply collapse where he stood, already leaning on Becky for support.

"We were planning on getting the attic set up for him but until then-"

"He can have my trundle bed," Lucifer interrupted, anger already diminishing into concern. "I'll go get the sheets on it. Michael. . ." There he halted, trailing off because he didn't expect Michael to follow his orders and was already recalculating so that the older boy didn't have to do anything.

"I'll take him up there," Michael said firmly, voice overruling Lucifer's thought processes as he looked at him in shock. "What? You're scrawnier than I am and if you drop him then you'll just hurt him even worse." The slight affection in his tone had faded by the end of his statement, replaced by a distinct tone of patronization but for once Lucifer didn't respond to the taunts, just flipping Michael off discreetly and rushing off to get the sheets out of the linen cupboard.

Michael resisted the urge to stick his tongue out at Lucifer's rapidly retreating back, descending quickly down the stairs to stand in front of the boy who stared solemnly up at him with eyes the color of whiskey. "Who are you?" the boy asked curiously, looking up and up at Michael who towered over him by a good foot and then some more.

"I'm Michael," the elder replied gravely, extending his hand to the younger boy who took it and shook it vigorously, despite the pain that it probably caused him to do so. "I'm going to be your older brother now and I'm going to take care of you. Luci's getting together a bed for you and it's probably for the best if I carry you up there rather than you walking. Is that okay?" He spared a look for Becky to confirm the details and she simply nodded and smiled at him.

"Yes, Michael," the boy answered seriously. Grinning reassuringly down at the boy, Michael crouched down and threaded his arms behind the boy's legs and shoulders, scooping him up with hardly any exertion. His anger rekindled for a moment at the thought of someone being treated so badly but he shoved it down until it simmered like soup in a pot with a lid on it. "Can I ask something though? Is the other one's name really Luci?"

Michael chuckled smugly as he started up the stairs with his precious burden in his arms. "No, his real name is Lucifer but I call him Luci because it annoys him. Now it's my turn to ask you a question, kiddo. What's your name?"

"I'm Gabriel."

The shrill beeping of his alarm clock dragged a reluctant Lucifer from his vaguely remembered dreams and he groaned in annoyance and confusion as consciousness began rushing back. For one thing, there was no reason that his alarm should be going off on a Saturday yet it was set for 6:00 AM. Huffing under his breath, Lucifer rolled out of his bed and onto his feet with an exhausted sigh, already knowing that he wouldn't be able to get back to sleep after he had woken up. He might as well make the most of his weekend time by tracking down whoever had messed with his alarm and punishing them severely.

He shucked the loose pajama pants that were the only thing he slept in and donned comfortable jeans and a colorful t-shirt, running a hand through his tousled blond hair and deciding to leave it as it was for the time being. Lucifer tried to open his door quietly so as not to disturb anybody yet it almost slammed directly into Gabriel, who was standing about two feet from Lucifer's door, rocking back and forth excitedly on the balls of his feet.

"What in the world are you doing, Gabriel?" Lucifer asked, leaning against his door frame as he waited for Gabriel to move out of the way so that he could open the door fully. The younger boy just grinned, eyes alight with mischief and the smugness of someone who had just pulled off a rather difficult trick. Brain still a little hazy, it took Lucifer a few more seconds than usual to put 2 and 2 together. When he did he groaned and glared halfheartedly at the imp outside his room. "And was there a reason to turn my alarm on, despite it being a Saturday?"

"You promised you'd show me how to make chocolate chip pancakes when you woke up. You're up so will you teach me now?" Gabriel explained very fast, ending his question with a pleading tone in his voice. He looked to be only a few seconds from getting down on his knees and begging and Lucifer really wasn't that awful, especially not to his younger sibling. Instead he inched his way out of his room through the still diminutive opening and slipped the door shut before turning to grab Gabriel into a playful headlock.

"In all honesty I should tell you no," Lucifer told the younger boy as he marched him towards and down the stairs. "However, I can't blame you for pulling the trick, especially since it's one that I taught you myself. You still don't get off completely because you have to clean up all of the mess that you make which will probably be considerable but yes, Gabriel, I will show you how to make the best chocolate chip pancakes in the entire world. And we can eat them all before Michael wakes up and gets any for himself. Deal?"

"Deal!" the miniature troublemaker cheered, pulling away from Lucifer and rushing down the stairs two at a time. Lucifer followed at a more sedate pace, stifling a yawn as he did so.

The spotless kitchen was full of baking supplies so it only took a short time for Lucifer to pull out the pancake mix, the milk and a sizeable amount of chocolate chips. With Gabriel's eager assistance, he easily finished making the instant mix, turning to the wall to tug a frying pan off of the hook where it hung. The frying pan went on the stove to heat up while they mixed in handfuls of chocolate chips, occasionally stealing some for themselves to munch on while they worked.

"Alright, Gabe, you don't want to make the pancakes too big or too small so you usually get the same amount of batter every time. Yeah, that's a good amount but don't—Gabriel, no, don't pour it onto the pan yet!" The last was a frenzied command towards Gabriel who was on the verge of tipping the batter into the heated pan, already having forgotten in his excitement that they needed to grease the pan. "We need to grease the pan first or we won't be able to get the pancakes off and we definitely don't want that, do we?"

"No, Lucifer," Gabriel muttered, taking the spray that Lucifer handed to him and flourishing it wildly before spraying down the pan after the admonishing look Lucifer shot him. "Now can I add the batter?"

"Yes, you can. Pour it slowly and all in one spot so that it spreads out evenly," Lucifer advised, hovering behind Gabriel as the thirteen year old focused intently on tipping the measuring cup so that the batter contained within landed on the pan the way Lucifer said it should. "Good, now we have to wait for the pancake to cook on one side before we can flip it. Do you remember how I said we could tell when it was ready?"

"When there's bubbles all around and the edges start to look less wet. Yes, Luci, I remember," Gabriel droned, his excited features a sharp contrast to his very unexcited tones.

"Don't call me Luci," Lucifer muttered with no heat behind it, slapping Gabriel upside the head gently. The younger boy scowled and glared at the blonde, rubbing over the chestnut hair on the back of his head, affecting an extremely pained expression. "And don't look at me like that because I know I didn't hit you anywhere near that hard. Look at the pancake instead."

"It's ready to flip, Luci! I'm spraying it first, you don't have to stare at me like that," Gabriel groused, brandishing the cooking spray like a weapon. Once he had sprayed the pancake, he carefully nudged the spatula underneath it before quickly turning the pancake over with a cry of triumph, his golden-brown eyes flashing. "I did it, Luci!"

"Yes, you did, Gabriel," Lucifer sighed, giving up on telling the boy off for calling him Luci. He'd obviously picked it up from Michael and it didn't look like he was planning on stopping. "Now you have to let the other side cook and then you can eat the pancake. If I don't just eat it first." He laughed at Gabriel's cry of mock outrage and dodged the swipe that the smaller boy made at his head with the spatula. Lucifer fought back by tickling Gabriel's ribs until the boy was crying with laughter and barely managed to gasp out his surrender speech in time to get to his pancake before it started to burn; Lucifer chuckled at the delighted expression on the boy's face when he bit into the pancake and lounged against the counter, all his anger about being forced to get up early melting away.

The gentle thud of the drawer against the rest of the dresser echoed oddly through the emptied room as Lucifer sat back on his heels, blowing out a long breath. Beside him sat a large pile of boxes that was full of all of the things that truly belonged to him, sealed and labeled accordingly, just waiting to be dragged downstairs and loaded into his old Camaro. Lucifer lay back completely, extricating his curled legs from under himself as he sprawled out. He stared up at the ceiling for a moment before tipping his head back and looking around the room he had lived in for the last four and a half years of his life.

Eventually his gaze fell on the clock hung on the wall, one of the things that he had chosen to leave, jolting with surprise when he realized that it was already nearly midnight. Sighing in both exhaustion and more than a little sorrow, Lucifer levered himself off of the floor and onto his feet, waiting out the sudden dizziness that came with the change in altitude before grabbing the first box on the pile and heading towards his car. The outside air was warm but Lucifer shivered anyways as he set the cardboard container into the trunk of his car. He wasn't even anywhere near done with loading it up but just the physical gesture felt weirdly final.

It was after midnight by the time Lucifer finished loading his car and he had filled both the trunk and almost the entire back seat of the old car. He was more than a little jumpy because sure it was graduation night and all but Becky would probably insist on coming home earlier than other families so that they could all get their proper rest. Running into the rest of his family while in the process of leaving without so much as a word to any of them would probably end in an extremely nasty confrontation between himself and Michael that would ruin the entire plan he had devised to keep his departure as non-stressful for himself as possible.

The one reaction to him leaving Lucifer was sure of was Gabriel's. The younger male would probably perceive it as some kind of betrayal but still miss him terribly. He wasn't as sure that Becky would take it that hard and he couldn't imagine Chuck or Michael being anything but glad that he was gone for good. He wished more than anything else that he could tell Gabriel where he was going but as good as the kid usually was at keeping secrets, this was one Lucifer couldn't trust him with. Stanford had been his goal for a while now and he wasn't going to risk the possibility of a life uninterrupted by his step-family to reassure Gabriel, who would undoubtedly do something stupid like follow him if he knew where he was. All he really could do was hope that the kid wouldn't act the same way he did and keep up some kind of erroneous façade.

A shrill scream of excitement rang through the night, presumably coming from the party a few houses down on the other side of the street. The sudden noise was enough to startle Lucifer out of his momentary daze and he all but fell into the front seat of the Camaro, starting the engine quickly and peeling out of the driveway as quickly as possible. He had a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time and he made it to the highway in under five minutes, slowing only momentarily as he pulled onto the abandoned highway before flooring the pedal and tearing off into the night. The blonde shoved in an ancient tape and turned the music up to the maximum volume his car could handle, steadfastly ignoring the tears that were flowing down his cheeks and the frozen ache in his chest.

The dorm room was small but Lucifer was lucky in that he didn't have to share with anyone, even when the real school year started. The plain white walls were already covered with pieces of his work, some photo manipulations and other unfurled posters that were pure digital art, all vivid colors and sharply emphasized figures. The last one covered over half of the wall and had occupied the same position above his bed back in Arizona. It had been far more expensive to print than the others and it had taken him almost nine months to complete to his satisfaction but he had done it just the same. Lucifer had taken hundreds of photos of forests, all different times of day, types of trees, locations on the globe, shades of green and fused them together to create a monolithic panorama of foliage. At the top of the paper it faded into brilliant stars strewn on the purply blue background of a night sky. The forest floor was gone, replaced by a mess that looked like black paint, swirled into all sorts of shades and tones that approached the edge of other colors but never quite tipped over into them. All in all, it had been a massive project and to this day Lucifer had never told anyone that he'd gotten the idea when he glimpsed a snapshot of a forest where the color of the leaves was the same as Michael's eyes.

The tacky that he used to secure the paper to the wall held when he dropped his hands and Lucifer remained on his knees on the bed for a moment before huffing a breath out and scrambling off the bed in an ungainly manner, standing tall and revolving slowly in place to take in the full effect of the papered walls. It was almost like looking at a portrait of his life and a depressing portrait at that. Lucifer shook off the sudden melancholy that had settled over him and turned back to the still packed boxes, opening one to extract his disassembled bookshelf.

Reassembling the bookshelf itself took only a short while, the process being a simple matter of slotting the right pegs into the right places. What took a while was getting himself to move after he placed the first book onto the shelves. His battered copy of A Separate Peace, the old paperback already having been worn when it had gotten tossed to a surprised Lucifer by a scowling Michael on the first Christmas after Chuck and Becky had married. The front page of the novel had borne a sarcastic inscription written in Michael's neat cursive:

To Luci dearest, with much Christmas cheer and in hopes giving you something to read will make you shut up for a while. –Michael

Becky had beamed at them and Chuck had looked between them suspiciously when after reading the scribbled note in the front, Lucifer had looked up and glared at Michael, looking like he was just barely restraining himself from winging the old book straight at Michael's overblown head. Still, it had been the first (and only) gift Michael had ever given Lucifer and he had treasured it, despite having to tuck it out of sight on his bookshelf so that Michael wouldn't see it and start to call him a sentimental girl.

It took a while for him to dispel the reverie of memories that the simple action had brought on and Lucifer didn't allow any other recollections to distract him as he continued shelving his considerable collection. Exhausted arms dropped to the floor after the last of his three boxes whose contents were comprised entirely of books was emptied; his feet were still smarting from when he'd dropped his hardback copy of War and Peace on them and he had driven through most of the night to get to Stanford on the first day summer students could reside there. A weary gaze fell on the uncovered mattress of the bed and Lucifer crawled slowly over to it, tugging on the mattress to pull his limp body onto the uncomfortable surface.

He lay on his back as he was wont to do when he was tired but not particularly inclined to sleep and contemplated blasting his music through his speakers as he had often done before, wondering whether there was even anyone in the dorms but him and if anyone was in the room next to him if they would bang on the wall. Even if they did bang on the wall, they would never do it the way Michael had done it when he was fed up, smashing out emphatic Morse code that would quite clearly spell FUCK YOU. Sometime in the middle of this train of thought Lucifer fell asleep and dreamt of a forest growing out of an abandoned wooden hall.

Today was slowly edging up Lucifer's mental list of Worst Days Ever but still ranked below the day that he had had a hangover and had been forced to chaperone Gabriel to a rock concert in Phoenix which hadn't even had any good bands performing. That meant it was currently at about fifth place and still getting worse. Finals were awful on a good day but he had barely gotten any sleep last night, plagued by unsettling dreams that reminded him of half-faded memories, and the cafeteria had been out of coffee, meaning that he was stuck with extremely strong tea because he didn't have the time to visit a coffee shop to get his own. The cherry on top was that it was the last day of finals and the only exams he had to take were French and Art History, his two least favorite subjects in general.

His shin stung where he had rammed it into the side of his desk as he blearily got dressed that morning and Lucifer was just barely resisting the temptation to fling his lethally sharpened pencil at the back of the head of the person in front of him. They were not only tapping their pencil on their paper rhythmically, they were humming just under their breath the tune to the most popular song at the moment, some sugary garbage about never being separating by death or any other obstacle, rather obviously based off of Romeo and Juliet. He had finished his second exam except the essay that they were supposed to be writing and he couldn't even keep track of his own thought process anymore without the needless distraction from the person in front of him. A quick look around revealed that the people around him were similarly aggravated and he gritted his teeth even harder as the urge to fling his pencil with precise aim at the vulnerable base of the person's skull and hope it pierced their spinal cord grew.

The wood of Lucifer's pencil creaked a bit ominously and he forced his gaze back down to his paper, knowing that he only had to complete the essay and then he could get the hell out of here and get a stiff drink. He read through the prompt again, breathing deeply to calm himself down before starting to write, almost vomiting words out onto the paper in an attempt to get out of the classroom as quickly as possible. A good fifteen minutes of frenzied scribbling later and he was turning in his paper at the front of the room and sweeping out of the door with his composure completely intact. The illusion cracked when a few hallways down, he nearly put his fist through the wall before taking a single breath and walking out of the building and off campus, stopping only to drop off his bag at his dorm room and grab his fake ID.

After that it was only a matter of walking far enough to find already drunk college students staggering out of a building and flashing a charming grin at the bouncer. Once inside the club, he made a beeline for the bar and all but flung himself into the seat, holding up a hand to catch the bartender's attention, ordering a vodka martini when the harassed-looking woman came over. It arrived in an impressively short period of time but Lucifer didn't even look up at the woman or even mutter a thank you, instead tossing back the martini without even a flinch as fire burned through his insides, swallowing the last of the drink before eating the olive. A low whistle sounded from right behind him and he turned on his stool to find a green-eyed man who looked to be only a few years older than him eying him with something like awe.

"Was there something you wanted?" Lucifer asked irritatedly, arching his eyebrow in the way that Michael had always claimed made him look sanctimonious. He was in no mood to get hit on by some drunken man, no matter that his eyes were green (but not the same green as Michael's, a treacherous voice inside of him said) and he was more than a little good-looking.

"Not really," the man shrugged, his eyes dancing with laughter in a way that almost made Lucifer's heart skip. "Just admiring someone as young as you who can toss back that much alcohol at once without choking or even flinching. Either you have no tastebuds or you're more than used to your liquor."

"I've been told repeatedly I have no taste but the latter is the real reason," Lucifer joked back, unwillingly relaxing in the presence of this man as the other man's charm and the alcohol started to work on him. "Luke Morgen," he said impulsively, giving the alias that he was going by and extending a hand to the other man.

"Dean Winchester. If I were single I'd be asking you to have a drink on me but I don't think that my boyfriend would like that very much," Dean replied, giving Lucifer's hand a firm shake before he retracted his own hand. "So, I'll ask you to join our table. You look like you could use a little company tonight."

"Why the hell not?" Lucifer shrugged lazily and slid languidly off the barstool, well aware of the admiring gazes he was getting from the people crowded near the bar. However, Dean only gave him a cursory look over before turning his attention to the returning bartender. "I might as well meet the guy that you're so dedicated to. Either he gets crazy jealous when he sees you flirt or you're really into him."

"Well, he does get really jealous but the latter is the actual reason," Dean winked, copying Lucifer's earlier statement with a grin. "Plus, I'm looking forward to actually getting laid tonight so I'm trying not to make him too mad. Hey, Tessa, sweetheart!" The last part was directed to the bartender, who obviously knew Dean if the exasperated smile on her face was anything to go by.

"Hello, Dean. You want your usual?"

"Yep," the Winchester grinned, leaning on the bar with a hip as Tessa turned to the assorted bottles and glasses on the shelves. "Whiskey for me, seltzer for the poor underage brother, and a strawberry daiquiri for Cas. You want the same as before?" Having seen the question coming, Lucifer nodded, already digging out his wallet to pay before Dean waved him off. "And another vodka martini for my friend Luke here!" Tessa waved an acknowledging hand over her shoulder as she worked.

"Thanks," Lucifer managed, almost overwhelmed by the friendliness of this man who'd barely met him and was already buying him a drink with no skeevy intentions in mind. "Next round's on me though." Dean nodded agreement, pulling out a twenty and slapping it onto the bar in front of Tessa. She winked at him as she slid a shot glass onto the counter, accompanied by a bottle of seltzer, some reddish pink drink, and Lucifer's martini. Lucifer grabbed his drink immediately, taking a moderate sip this time instead of downing the entire thing before following Dean as he carefully navigated his way around the crowded club.

He stopped in front of a table in the far corner of the upper level, setting the bottle in front of a floppy-haired teen who had awkwardly fitted his large frame onto one of the small chairs that surrounded the table. "One seltzer for Sammy and there's a fruity girl drink for Cas," Dean smirked, setting the daiquiri in front of the other occupant of the table, a messy haired man with the bluest eyes Lucifer had ever seen and a five o' clock shadow that looked like it lived on his face. "Oh, by the way, this is Luke and he is going to be joining us so that Sammy can have a fellow student to talk to who's not his brother's boyfriend." Smirking at the introduction, Lucifer settled himself as comfortably as possible in the last remaining chair, tipping the chair back onto two legs as he sipped at his martini.

"Dean, as much as this person looks like fun to talk to, I don't think he's the blond Sam really wants to talk to right now," the blue eyed man, Cas, said dryly, hand reaching out to intertwine with Dean's, who readily returned the gesture as he swallowed his first mouthful of whiskey with a grin of appreciation.

"Oh, I'm sure I can be just as fun as any other blond," Lucifer insinuated, smirking smugly as the floppy haired teen almost choked on his seltzer. "But don't worry, I don't hit on people who haven't even grown into their own limbs." The last was added both to reassure Sam and placate Dean, whose eyes had narrowed a bit at Lucifer's suggestive statement, his grip on his glass tightening as well.

"Good to hear," Dean muttered into his whiskey after a long and appraising look at Lucifer. "But now, let's hear it for the end of the semester!"

"Hear, hear!" Cas said fervently, his exclamation echoed by Sam and Lucifer before they each took a long drink from their beverages. The next few hours were spent discussing whatever came to mind and Dean proved himself intelligent despite the fact that he was the only one of them not enrolled in college at the moment. He got a sideways look from the half of the group that was of legal age when he said he was only eighteen after nearly emptying his fifth drink, a cocktail that Castiel had recommended, but Dean just rolled his eyes when Cas adopted a faux scandalized expression and the matter wasn't brought up again as the conversation flowed naturally to more interesting topics with the added impetus of alcohol.

By the end of the night, Sam had had a single beer and many cups of seltzer, making him the least intoxicated of them all but strangely the least able to walk in a straight line as they made their way out of the club and back towards the campus, Dean supporting the lightweight teenager and Castiel occasionally steadying him when he stumbled. They parted ways at the entrance to the dorms, Lucifer and Sam headed to their own rooms and Dean and Cas presumably going off to Castiel's room to 'do something', most likely each other. Acting on Dean's silent request, Lucifer made sure Sam was delivered safely to the waiting arms of his roommate, Andy, before making his way to his own room and collapsing on his bed, falling asleep without another thought.

The encounter in the club led to Sam and Cas sitting with Lucifer at breakfast regularly and often meeting up with Dean when none or one of them had classes to hang out. Lucifer met the blonde that Castiel had alluded to, a sweet girl named Jessica whom Sam was hopelessly enamored with, and the trio oohed and ahhed over Lucifer's various pieces of art; Lucifer and Sam were tutored by the older Castiel in whatever course they were struggling in and Lucifer in turn started to educate the duo in pop culture form the eighties onward with Dean's gleeful assistance; Dean taught Lucifer how to fix a car after his Camaro broke down in the middle of the spring and Lucifer then taught Dean the basics of using a computer for anything other than watching porn. By the summer they were almost inseparable but Lucifer knew better than anyone else how easily and quickly things changed over a single summer.

It was over drinks at the end of final exams for the second semester that he finally got the courage up to ask, "Where are you guys headed for the summer?" Dean looked at him over his own fruity drink (he maintained that he only drank them because Cas had dared him to) and laughed, loud, long, hard, and somewhat bitterly.

"Definitely not home," Sam muttered, confusing Lucifer even further but apparently it made sense to Castiel, who was nodding slowly at Sam's statement. He raised a quizzical eyebrow at the dark haired student but the other didn't immediately respond, instead sucking at his spiked sweet tea through a straw while he glanced sideways at Dean, who nodded reluctantly.

"None of us get along particularly well with our families," Castiel said slowly, obvious choosing his words with as much care as he could muster while being as buzzed as he was. "I was planning on getting a job and my own apartment for the summer before moving back into the dorm when the school year started again. I don't know what they're doing," he shrugged towards the Winchesters, his state of drunkenness where he was usually apathetic obviously having started.

"What! Fuck that, Cas!" Dean exclaimed loudly, startling the other three out of their various states of occupation. "My apartment's got the two bedrooms 'cuz of Sammy and there's the foldout couch. As long as you pay for your own food most of the time, all of you could stay there for the summer as far as I'm concerned." His words were slightly slurred but the sentiment was conveyed clearly despite the overlarge gestures he was making and the slightly glazed quality of his eyes.

"Can I get a signed promise from you on that so I can show it to you when you're sober?" Lucifer asked quickly, smirk spreading wide. He wasn't above exploiting the fact that he was unarguably the most sober member of their group of the moment by extracting drunken promises from Dean.

"Sure, whatever," Dean replied as he hiccupped abruptly, his surprised face somehow overly amusing to Sam who cracked up, almost hitting his forehead on the table he convulsed so hard. Lucifer himself chuckled, the alcohol making everything seem more funny than it would have been under any other circumstances. Castiel just sighed, somehow leaning into Dean while seeming to still be sitting straight in his chair. That or Lucifer was far more drunk than he had originally thought. Either way, it was a sign that it was time to be getting back on campus before any of them did anything more stupid than volunteering their apartment to house three other individuals for the entire summer.

Shoving back from the table, Lucifer made it to his feet with minimal trouble and began to chivvy the rest of the quartet towards the exit without too many complications arising. Castiel and Dean couldn't keep their hands off each other and Sam was barely staying on his feet, let alone walking in even a curved line. Nevertheless, somehow they all made their way to the dorms, splitting up in their usual way although Lucifer was more than a little worried about Dean and Cas making it to Cas' room before they were both completely naked which was an image he did not need ever and hoped would be wiped from his mind by the usual haze that surrounded his recollections once he reached a certain point of intoxication, a point he had shot past long ago.

That summer was one of the best ones Lucifer had ever had. The unemployed trio didn't really do anything except laze around at Dean's apartment when he was working, occasionally helping out at the garage to bring in extra cash, but for the most part they stayed in. At least once a week they went out and had drinks with Jessica at their favorite club, coaxing Tessa away from the bar every now and then. Lucifer continued his crusade to educate Sam and Castiel in pop culture and they retaliated by forcing him and Dean to watch all of the science fiction and fantasy classics with them. The discovery that Dean, Cas, and Sam all practiced martial arts led to many early mornings that they spent sparring with each other and sometimes teaching Lucifer some tricks, claiming that despite his size, he still needed to know how to defend himself. He let them educate them and then taught them the basics of fighting dirty and bar fighting, explaining patiently that using martial arts was likely to make drunken opponents even madder and muggers wouldn't wait for you to get in a martial arts stance before they shot or knifed you. They traded bits of wisdom and funny stories all summer, making it a mutually educational experience for the entire group but they never talked about their pasts except in vague references; all of them had things they didn't want to remember.

Unfortunately, the summer passed quickly and before they were really prepared, Sam and Lucifer were starting their second year and Castiel was beginning his fourth and final year. They were back to the daily slog of assignments and projects and lectures and even though it was hard work keeping up with it all, Lucifer didn't at all regret his decision to come to college. It was so far from what most people had thought he was going to be that he almost wished he could go back and rub his nice shiny degree in everyone's faces when he finally got it. Regrettably, letting the residents of Paradise Valley know where he was ranked very low on his to-do list so he kept his bittersweet triumph to himself, knowing no one else would really understand.

The great thing about having a close friend who was in most of the same classes as you was that you became each other's sounding boards for whatever writing assignment there was and study buddies whenever big tests came up. Sam and Lucifer could often be found huddled together under a tree, increasingly often with Jessica, working steadily through their homework and projects, occasionally using Castiel's knowledge as reference for whatever class it was. Lucifer teased Sam often about his girlfriend and the incident that occurred when in retaliation Sam tried to set Lucifer up with some girl would live in infamy for a long while. All in all, it was pretty much the portrait of the ideal college life.

The night everything crashed Lucifer awoke to pounding at his room door at three o' clock in the morning. For once he had been in bed early enough, shutting out the rest of the college as it partied to forget the horrible loss the football team had put it through. Tonight though he stumbled out of bed to find Castiel hammering on his door with only a pair of pajama pants and a t-shirt on, his unruly hair looking like he had just rolled out of bed, which he might have for all Lucifer knew. Then all other thoughts ceased because Castiel was talking and what was coming out of his mouth was bad. Jess had been out partying, of course, and Azazel had been driving drunk and Jess had only been walking back to campus but the quarterback had lost control and the blonde had been pinned to the wall by his car and her stomach had been impaled and she had been stuck there and she had called Sam and he had talked with her until the fire started and he had heard her screaming until the phone finally died and Dean was with him already but he was hysterical and they needed someone else to help hold him down. Lucifer was already out the door the moment Castiel's sentence began to run on, recognizing the babbling mechanism that his friend resorted to whenever he was stressed and by the time he had gotten to Sam's dorm room, the situation didn't need any more explaining because Dean was stumbling back away from Sam, standing tall in the middle of his room with tears dripping freely down his face and his face red from shouting or crying, Lucifer couldn't tell which because yes, Sam was crying, but he was also screaming at the top of his lungs at his brother, arms still raised in a defensive position and his voice choking up. He ignored the surge of pain in his own chest, moving slowly towards Sam as he murmured vaguely calming words and phrases that he vaguely remember soothing Gabriel with after a bad nightmare, dropping to the floor when the now giant boy took a swing at him, large fist whizzing over his head with surprising speed and coordination. It was the work of a moment to launch himself up at Sam, over balancing the taller male so that most of his body fell back onto the bed, Lucifer straddling his stomach and keeping all of his weight just below the younger's diaphragm, not allowing him to take in any more air than was necessary for him to breathe.

In the background he was vaguely aware of Dean and Castiel shooing away irritated residents, easily concocting a fiction about Sam having a bad nightmare, knowing that Sam wouldn't want to have the news of Jessica's death be the reason people looked at him with pitying eyes. Lucifer's attention was firmly focused on the panting boy underneath him, restraining the normally gentle giant's arms with great difficulty, having to duck out of the way of a flailing limb on numerous occasions. Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity of trying to wrestle an octopus while being seated on top of it, the younger Winchester stilled, an obviously unwilling whimper escaping his lips as his body trembled. When the first sob ripped its way out of Sam's chest, Lucifer carefully eased himself off of the boy's torso, moving instead to cradle his shoulders and head against his own shoulders as he called across the room to Dean. The older Winchester came as soon as he heard his name and Sam locked his arms around the other male with another strangled sob, breaking down in earnest once he was holding his brother close and being held in return. Lucifer hovered awkwardly for another minute before joining Castiel at the door to divert any curious passersby.

When morning peeked through the window, it found Sammy still cradled against his big brother's shoulders, one hand locked with his brother's and one enclosed in Lucifer's where he had fallen back asleep against the side of bed, his own hand linked with Castiel's, whose was in turn twined with Dean's, forming a circle of handholding that Dean was sure to break the moment he realized what was happening, devastating tragedy or not.

Sam breathed in the reassuringly familiar smell of the coffee shop, settling his backpack more comfortably on his shoulders while he followed Dean and Cas towards the counter, standing unobtrusively to the side of the line out of habit; the little shop was crowded enough without Sam taking up space right in the middle of the floor. This time however, someone runs into him instead of the opposite being true. Eyes that Sam would describe as being golden flashed up to meet his own normally colored orbs as the smaller male stumbled back almost a foot, his not too diminutive height not being a match for Sam's own gargantuan bulk when it came to deflecting other people.

The moment the shock wore off, Sam was catching the other male by the shoulder, stabilizing him before he went reeling back into the entire line of customers. The moment the other had caught his breath and was standing relatively straight, he apologized profusely, "I am so sorry, this was all my fault. God, I'm so sorry, are you alright? Do you need anything?" Belatedly, he realized he was fluttering over the man and blushed before backing up sheepishly, shoving his hands behind his back so he didn't do anything else stupid.

"I'm fine," the chestnut haired male of indeterminate age said slowly, his eyes not leaving Sam. "I'm just shocked by how much of a Sasquatch you are. Seriously, you can't be more than what, two years older than me?" His eyes were dancing with humor as he looked up at Sam and Sam felt himself grinning back without really meaning to, succumbing to the man's charm.

"I'm only twenty," he replied, the grin still firmly in place on his face as he answered the other's question. "I'm Sam, by the way. Sorry for being in the way, I was trying not to run anyone over this time."

"It's fine, Samsquatch. I'm the one who ran into you anyway so the blame falls squarely on me. To make up for it, I shall bestow you the gift of my amazing presence for the next few hours or so. And, you're seriously only twenty and you're that tall? I'm eighteen and I'm still this short!" Sam blinked for a moment, taken aback by the energetic stream of chatter that had erupted from the other before he laughed, finding the cheer refreshing on a campus that was currently populated by caffeine addicts, who had a tendency to get snappy over everything. "Before I forget to tell you, I'm Loki," the newly named teenager added, sticking a hand out. Sam grasped it and nearly lost his arm as his hand was shaken energetically before the other let go of it abruptly. "Now that we're done introducing ourselves, feel like telling me your deepest, darkest secrets?"

The total non sequitur was accompanied by Loki wiggling his eyebrows obscenely and Sam couldn't help it, he burst out laughing, a long chuckle that the other joined in. "I'm not sure I should trust a guy named after a trickster with my 'deepest, darkest secrets' after I've only known him for five minutes. Maybe after I've known you for a day," he retorted, relishing the amusement that was now easily displayed on Loki's face.

"I feel so insulted," Loki gasped, holding a hand to his heart and feigning mock hurt even as his eyes were laughing along with Sam. "But, still, probably a good idea not to tell me. Who knows what I might do with them?"

"Something highly embarrassing?" Sam suggested, smirking widely when Loki simply whistled in a faux-innocent manner, directing his gaze towards the ceiling. "Definitely not a good idea to tell you all of my secrets then."

"Sammy, what in the hell are you doing?" Sam groaned at the untimely interruption, turning to face the un-amused look on Dean's face and the highly amused look on Cas' face.

"I'm talking to a complete and total stranger, Dean, or are you blind?" Sam snarked, relishing the glare that Dean leveled at him that said quite clearly 'yes, you idiot, I can see what you're doing, I just want to know what you think you're doing'.

"Hey, I resent that!" Loki cried. "I'm not a complete stranger since you know my name and I already have a nickname for you. I prefer the term 'random new acquaintance', don't you?" he supplied, grinning somewhat maliciously at Dean when Sam chuckled at his comments.

"Sammy, do we need to have that talk about stranger danger again?" Dean shot back, his glare never ceasing in its attempts to burn away Loki's face and simultaneously transport Sam to the other side of the diner.

"No, because then you'd be a hypocrite since you met Cas when he drove you home after you got smashed and then crashed on your couch." By this point Castiel was having a hard time fighting off the smug laughter that was threatening to escape and Dean had a betrayed look on his face as he stared at Sam incredulously. Loki had no such reservations about laughing at Dean and he was practically cackling at the older Winchester. "Are we going to get to our table before the coffee gets cold or do you want to have to deal with Luke bitching us out again for being as slow as snails?"

None of them could stop the grimace that resulted from the thought of that experience; Luke had a sharp tongue and no reservations about using it when he was angry with anyone. Grumbling under his breath, Dean moved towards the door, people clearing out of his way as fast as possible when they saw the frown on his face. Still snickering, Castiel followed behind him, the cardboard tray of coffee balanced easily on one hand as the other reached for Dean's. The older Winchester glanced back at the blue eyed student, huffed, and breached the distance between their hands as Sam and Loki watched with more than a little amusement.

"It's been fun talking with you, unless you want to walk with me for a little longer?" Sam trailed off, hope glimmering in his hazel eyes as his shoulders tensed as if in preparation for rejection. "I mean, you don't have to, it's just-"

"Sammy, I would love to piss off your brother even more," Loki smirked widely, resting a hand on Sam's shoulder as they headed towards the door in the wake of the couple ahead of them. "Besides, I still have to get you to tell me all of your secrets," he winked. Sam laughed, barely even surprised now by how easy the camaraderie that he had already struck up with the younger man came to him.

The spring air was refreshingly cool after the warmth of the coffee shop and the duo chatted idly and smoothly segueing from one topic to the next as Sam sipped at his coffee and Loki nibbled on his chocolate-chip studded muffin, occasionally trading a taste of one for the other. The moist ground was soft beneath their feet and ahead of them Dean and Castiel were talking quietly, heads bent close together. For a time they amused themselves by matching ever sappier dialogue to the movements of the couple, laughing even louder when Dean finally turned and yelled at them to shut the hell up.

Dean and Castiel reached their customary picnic table first, a good seventy five feet ahead of the lagging Loki and Sam. Luke was already sitting there, slumped pathetically over one of his textbooks and he perked up visibly when Cas produced his coffee, grabbing it eagerly from his fellow student. Once they came within twenty feet of Luke, Loki stopped dead in his tracks and Sam, rambling on about some scientific discovery that Loki had been curious about, took a moment to realize his companion wasn't beside him anymore. He stopped as well, turning a questioning gaze on Loki just as Luke looked up, his eyes landing squarely on Loki and his entire face going pale.

"Nice to see you here, Gabriel," Lucifer said warily, keeping his eyes on his younger brother as he shifted his body so that he would be ready for flight or fight, whichever would be needed. "Shouldn't you still be in school?"

"Well, I was planning on being like both of my illustrious older brothers and completing high school, maybe even going on to college," Gabriel smirked, his posture shifting as well as Lucifer flinched at the well-placed barb. "But then I got a call from an old acquaintance of yours, someone by the name of Crowley. He said that he'd gotten word from someone named Ruby that you were doing very well for yourself. Imagine my surprise to hear that you were in college."

"That was rather the point of leaving without a word to anybody, Gabriel," Lucifer continued, his voice still steady as his blue eyes never left Gabriel's, a silent battle of wills happening. "No one but me knew where I was headed and what I was doing with myself. So why are you here? I don't expect you want a peaceful reconciliation of long separated brothers?"

"Not especially, Luci," Gabriel drawled, a bitter sort of triumph flashing across his face when Lucifer flinched at the familiar nickname. "Just thought you might want to know that our esteemed older brother knows where you are. Not from me of course but it seems that Michael is more friendly with some of your old friends than you thought and he's rather angry about what he perceives as a betrayal to the family. Apparently Mum still hasn't gotten over you leaving."

Lucifer paled again, his complexion now approximately the shade of milk. Michael here, in the middle of his new life. Michael, the only person who he'd never been able to control his reactions to. Michael, the thing he'd been running away from for the past three years. "You're sure?" he finally managed to choke out past the stony lump in his throat.

"More than sure." Now Gabriel looked concerned, the facade of bitterness falling away to reveal genuine worry. "You know, even as observant as I was, it took me a while to figure out why you never got along with Michael. I don't think it really clicked until you made that giant poster that you've probably still got over your bed. Did he ever see it?"

Wordlessly, Lucifer shook his head, sagging onto the bench like a puppet whose strings had been cut. "If you'll recall, he treated me like I was a bug beneath his foot. He never came into my room," he said hoarsely, the painfully true words ripping their way out of his throat on their way out of his mouth.

"As much as I hate to interrupt whatever you two are doing," came the loud statement from barely a few feet away, causing both of the adopted Shurleys to jump, "I've got a rather pressing question." Lucifer and Gabriel turned their heads to see Dean, arms crossed rather emphatically across his chest and eyebrows raised skeptically. "What in the hell are you talking about?"

After a moment of shocked silence, Gabriel began to laugh, his chuckle the only sound on their particular corner of campus. "I knew you were a secretive bastard, Lucifer, but this just takes the cake. How long have you known these people, two years? And in this time you haven't even told them anything?"

"As I recall, Gabriel, you had some rather pressing inabilities to trust anyone for a good while yourself, didn't you? Therefore, I'll thank you not to remark on what you have no real comprehension of," Lucifer snapped, eyes blazing as he shoved himself to his feet. Gabriel had no right to talk about not trusting anyone when he hadn't even fallen asleep before anyone in the house for over a year after he had arrived.

"Not to interrupt your family drama or anything," Sam said sheepishly into the awkward silence, raising both hands in a gesture of surrender when the siblings turned to glare at him, "but Lucifer, there's someone in your dorm." The heads of everyone present snapped around to stare at the dorms and sure enough, there was a light on in the window of Lucifer's dorm room and a very familiar silhouette present as well. Cursing explicitly and viciously, Lucifer launched himself across the field towards the dorm, blond hair sweeping back against his skull with the speed of his motion.

He slammed through the doors of the dorm, ignoring the strange looks he got from other residents and raced up the stairs two at a time, his breath rasping harshly in his chest. His room was at the far end of the hall and he took off towards it at a dead sprint, hoping that it would be anyone else than who he thought it was. The door to his room was cracked and he practically skidded to a halt against the crappy hall carpet as he neared the doorway, halting with one hand on the door for a moment before taking a deep breath and pushing it open.

The breath caught in his chest, both from the sudden exertion and from the sight that awaited him. Michael stood in the middle of his room, staring straight at the poster over Lucifer's bed. He looked good, even better than Lucifer had imagined when it was late and he was tired of trying to forget, black hair neatly ruffled and green eyes just as clear as ever. As the sound of the door opening reached him, he turned, locking his eyes with Lucifer's for the first time in almost three years.

"Hey, Luci," he smirked, "miss me?" And just like that Lucifer could move again, shoving the taller man towards the door with little effect. The hurt and bitterness that had been omnipresent when he had been living with the other manifested themselves, choking him as he tried desperately to keep a blank expression on his face.

"No, douchebag, I didn't," Lucifer snarled, channeling the sudden pain into formulating a convincing act of anger. "Now, get the hell out of my life and stay out!" He punctuated the last part of his statement with an extra-hard shove, hoping to push Michael off balance. It backfired as Michael leaned with the push, instead of against it and Lucifer stumbled forwards, toward the older man. Michael took full advantage of the moment he was off guard, grabbing a shoulder and spinning Lucifer until his back rested against the now closed door of his dorm room. His heartbeat sped up, threatening to go into overdrive as Michael pinned him to the door with only one arm, the other arm fending off all of his efforts to escape the other. "Get off," Lucifer tried to order the other, but it came out as more of a plea than anything else and he cursed himself.

For a moment Michael didn't move, just stared at Lucifer, barely long enough to even be called a stare, more like an appraising look than anything else. And then he was off of Lucifer in a second, back in the middle of the room with his eyes still fixed on the blonde's as he ran a hand through his already tousled hair. Now Lucifer was even more confused and his knees were threatening to give out under him as he leaned against the door for support.

"Michael?" he ventured to ask. "Are you alright?"

"No," the other huffed out, more than a little bitterly. "I'm an idiot. Gabriel was right. I am the most idiotic person on the face of the Earth. How long?"

"How long what?" Lucifer replied automatically, defensive mechanisms kicking in a little late. His heartbeat sped up again, this time in panic and his arm automatically began searching behind him for the door handle.

In lieu of an answer, Michael crossed the dorm room in two easy strides, grabbed Lucifer's face and pressed his lips to the blonde's, the contact chaste but so far from innocent in the message that it conveyed. They stood like that for a long moment, physically connected in only one place yet achingly intimate all the same. For once their walls were down, either because of surprise or choice and when they pulled apart with a sigh, they were both smiling quietly, just a little quirk of their lips.

They don't really need any words because for all that they've been acting like they hated each other for as long as they've known the other, no one knows Lucifer better than Michael and vice versa. That's why Michael just chuckles and presses a kiss to Lucifer's forehead when the younger groans and complains that Becky will probably write slash fic about them now.