Title: Strings

Characters: Lucifer and Fate (represented by two characters who will become clearer at the end of the story) and all other characters, represented by puppets and their strings.

Warnings: AU, slightly confusing, meant to be abstract, possible religious references, abuse of the pronoun...

Notes: This is a little idea I've been working with for a while, and I'm completely obsessed with it. I really urge you to give it a go, and I explain more at the end if you're still confused, or send me a PM. Also, the capital letters for Him/Her/His etc. are intentional, to make sure they are known as other-worldyly, divine beings. Well, I suppose, enjoy?

Lucifer sings a song, and chants, long into the night. He dances round those pretty pawns and puppets 'til they... all... break...

He sees a dark haired one, so much older now, and He draws a diamond bottle from the air. He shakes the black, green, grey string a bit, stretches it out until it's thin, and pours the liquid into that little puppet mouth. It remains motionless and emotionless, but Lucifer, how He smiles.

There's the smaller one, the untainted one, and Lucifer, He is entranced by her. He hasn't seen innocence like that since...

And that puppet, well, He lengthens her string, laced with black and white, and stretches it, knowing just how painful her life will be, but granting her life all the same.

And the youngest, that charming little puppet with hair like a halo and that pretty white dress with that pretty red bow, dances across the stage. Lucifer laughs at her and twists her string, knotting it and tangling it until it is a broken mess of what it used to be.

He watches the strings break.

"Must you play so with your toys?" She asks, that glorious being that He cannot look at for fear of being burnt by Her gaze, by Her pretty white dress and emerald eyes and ruby lips and hair like dark woven silk.

"Is that not what such toys were made for, my dear?" He replies, and another puppet waltzes into existence, younger than the others. Oh, how Lucifer will have fun with this one. His string is intertwined with different colours, a pattern of black and green and silver and scarlet and gold.

The little puppet protests - the first to do so - and so Lucifer cuts his string a bit, and in the final half, He cuts out the green and silver and scarlet and gold until only the black is left.

"Such petty revenge," She scoffs, and reaches down towards the string. She adds a little more gold and a little more silver to the final few strands, but the black is still present until the string is cut.

Lucifer scowls at His ruined masterpiece, and twists the puppet, adding a little string of grey. A little string of insanity.

"Such a handsome human, too," She comments, twisting Her fingers round one loop in the string. "Why so interested in these fates, Lucifer?" She flicks a wrist at the restless puppets. "They're useless - a family of pawns, nothing more. The insanity in that one is enough to kill them all."

"Exactly the point, darling. It's enough to kill them all. That's what makes it so interesting."

"Oh, look, another!" She peers at the littlest one. "A lot of red and green in there, Lucifer. Too many conflicting ideas." She whips Her hair over Her shoulder, and readjusts Her crown. "Useless."

"On the contrary, dear Ella," He insists, and weaves a strand of pure white through the newest string, "it makes him more than just a pawn." He looks toward Her. "Surely you, of all people, have an idea about destiny?"

"Destiny," She scoffs, "a petty idea. I never particularly cared for it. Destiny is all for heroes and princesses; too unreal. Fate, on the other hand, is in reference to a whole matter of things. Villains, for one thing. The losers, for another."

"Ah, but you see, humans don't care for villains or losers." Lucifer cuts a bit more off of the newest string, making it the shortest. "History is written by the winners, after all."

They both stay silent after that.

Soon, though, Lucifer's masterpiece string encounters three others - all with varying degrees of red and gold, and each with varying degrees of white and black. He smirks at His new toys.

"Look at these four," He points out to Her, and She leans forward, interested but trying to hide it. "Just boys. But perfectly suited, perfectly tragic."

"Oh, yes, I can See it," She whispers, and with one dainty finger, She tangles the four strings together into a clustered ball, making them inseparable, unbreakable, an entanglement of destiny and prophecy, of good and evil, of God and the Devil.

He cuts down their strings.

"Now, now, Lucifer," She reprimands, like a mother telling off a child who still has his hand caught in the cookie jar, "Was that necessary?"

"Of course, my sweet," He drawls, and as She hits Him, His hand jerks and His scissors cut off at least half of the string with the most red, gold and purple. "Now look what you've done!"

"Oh, dear," She breathes, but She doesn't sound so sorry.

"Now," Lucifer grins, recovering, "let's see if we can't make this a bit more fun." And he weaves a black thread and a murky brown thread of betrayal through the second longest string. On the longest string He adds a thread of deadly silver.

"What's that?" She asks, pointing to it in interest. "The silver. It doesn't look the same as it does on the others."

"Just a bit of life-long torment," Lucifer reassures her.

"Why must you be the one to make them?" She whines, like a petulant child. "You create them; turn them into masterpieces, and then what? I'm left with your thrown away toys and am made to write the rest of their history."

"You have the best job," He tells Her sadly. "You don't have to know that they should die at the age of eighteen, or live alone for twelve long years. You can change that."

"So can you," She murmurs.

He shakes His head. "I'm merely a pawn." He waves down at His toys, as Fate, that elusive angel who sits on His own left side at the table of God, so named them. "A puppet."

"You can change it," She assures Lucifer, and She takes another puppet, a beautiful, red-haired beauty with a tragically short string of pure gold and emerald. She intertwines it with the shortest of the four, and then wraps it around the group, keeping them together, securing them in friendship and hope.

"There," She says softly at the small bundle beneath them.

He seems shocked.

"You just changed... everything." He motions to a bluish, hazy sort of string connected to a puppet somewhere to the side. "That was her destiny."

"And what a boring destiny it was," She says, rolling Her eyes. Lucifer pondered at it; it was one where a different puppet became famous, as the other puppet's string was be cut so short it no longer existed. So many strings were cut short, then, but many more lived forever. Forever is an awfully long time, though, compared to the empty nothing of those left behind. "What fun is a human that can't make you laugh? And this makes it oh so more interesting."

"Humans," He muses. "They believe I reside underneath them, control every bad thing in their lives. They believe I exist simply to cause them pain."

"You're indifferent to them, Lucifer, even I know that."

"They believe God - Allah, Gandalf, or whatever you wish to call Him - creates each of them with love and tenderness. Instead He sits on His throne and rules over the Afterlife."

"He does more than that," She snaps. "He keeps you in existence, for one, and has seemingly unending patience therefore."

"Humans," Lucifer enunciates clearly, giving Her a cold look, "also believe that you're either some fanciful idea, or that you're all good. Which is far from the case. And they believe I'm all bad."

"Poor Lucy," She coos, patting His head and accidently knocking over a puppet on a long string that was somehow connected with that short string Lucifer mentioned a while back. The puppet on the short string mourns, though he's far from the end of his life.

"Now look!" He shouts, pointing at the puppet. "She had a son, Ella."

"Yes, yes," She says, rolling her eyes again, "but she was nearing the end of her string, didn't you see?"

"Of course I saw."

"Well, then, it doesn't matter, does it? A life for a life, if you wish." She leans over and ponders at the puppets on their strings. She sees a red-headed one and smiles at it. "There. A short string - barely eleven years, I'd say. Supposed to die before her prince could reach her. About twenty years or so after my mistake." She stretches the string, stretches it, stretches it, until it spans for over a hundred years.

Lucifer holds His head in His hands.

"Must you be so difficult, my beloved?"

She grins. "Must I be your beloved, love? I feel as if our strings are simply..." She makes a motion with Her hands. "Falling apart."

"Strings. That's all the humans are to you. A game, a few toys to keep us both entertained." Lucifer looks at the passing of years beneath Him which is mere seconds to those who live forever. He soon is weaving a new string, adorned with every colour of the rainbow, from black to blue, from scarlet to silver.

She laughs, a tinkling sound that stops the puppets' heartbeats for a mere second, but it's still a pause all the same. She caresses the newest string with twisted interest and ties many a loop in it.

"I believe we've gone off topic," She says distractedly, pointing to the original three puppets and their strings; all gone their separate ways now, all lost to the wind.

"I believe we have, my dear."

"Oh, Lucifer." She gives an amused sigh, and cuts another string for good measure. He glares, but She pays no notice.

"Why must you call me Lucifer?" He asks bitterly. She looks surprised.

"That's your name, is it not? You call me Fate, after all."

"I do not," Lucifer tells Her softly, and carefully, precisely, He takes the scissors from Her hands and cuts the string of the first puppet, the one who started it all. "I call you Ella."

"Ella? Well, why?"

"You don't remember, Druella?"

She sighs softly, stands, and readjusts Her crown with a flick of Her pale wrist. It has been precisely years since Her death, and yet, She still forgets. She sings a quiet song, a lullaby, and caresses each of those pretty pawns and puppets as Her touch both heals them and breaks them at the same time.

"Of course I remember, Cygnus. I just wish I didn't."

There are many names for them. Lucifer and Fate, as they prefer to be known. Devil and Destiny, as they are called below. Husband and wife, as they are called by those close to them.

Druella and Cygnus Black, as they used to be.

In case you were confused, Druella and Cygnus died shortly before the birth of Sirius and after the births of their three daughters (unlike in canon, but we'll roll with it). They took over the rolls of Lucifer and Fate, or the Devil and Destiny, and watched over the mortals for many thousands of years to come. Slowly they forgot their old lives and their old families and became immersed in their duties.

And that's what you missed in my AU.

(Also, the characters mentioned, in order of appearance are: Bellatrix, Andromeda, Narcissa, Sirius, Regulus, James, Peter, Remus, Lily, A Ravenclaw Boy, Dorea Potter (James's mother), Ginny and, finally, Harry.)