Lucifer hadn't thought it even remotely possible. He had just been blindly slamming against the cage walls, desperate and following Michael's lead. Screaming and raging them two of them had fallen into sync (of course they had, when ever were they not in some way?). They had first made a crack, the smallest thing. No where near enough for them to escape through. Michael has managed to push Adam through, felt it when his soul reached Heaven once more. And with that they attacked anew. Hope was a strange feeling.
Lucifer wasn't sure exactly how long it took them to break free, but they did. The walls of the cage crumbled around them, fell away like nothing. They froze, shocked and unbelieving. They looked at each other and nodded, understanding. There would be no fight - there never was going to be. Michael told him he could not come home and Lucifer knew that. Only God could restore his place in Heaven.
Lucifer didn't want that.
He bid Michael goodbye, watched his brother as long as he could until he passed through and was within Heaven, the one place Lucifer could never see or go.
Once Michael was gone Lucifer roamed the Earth. He stumbled upon Nick's corpse - burned, the ashes buried. He rebuilt it, made it stronger, and slid into the vessel, now empty of any soul. It was surprisingly lonesome.
In his newly rebuilt body Lucifer took stock of the world. He'd been away for several years, only a hand full. But in that time things had fallen apart. The stench of Leviathan was heavy, but waning. Hell had been in an uproar but he had stopped caring long ago and hadn't listened. The balance of things had been shaken, torn, and remade over and over. New command, new destinies, new everything. It was a shock to say the least.
He needed answers he decided. He could not wander and hope the clues provided themselves. Lucifer did not even need to think of who to find for the answers. If the world had nearly come to ruin once more it could only be two people who saved it.
He set off to find Sam.
It was no easy task, the Enochian carvings were still in place and keeping Sam hidden from his easiest method of tracking. But Lucifer had other ways of finding Sam. It was still much harder than it had any right to be, but Lucifer did finally track down the younger Winchester to a single bed motel room. He was sitting crosslegged on the bed, laptop open and beer in hand. Lucifer didn't know why but he looked almost… empty. He watched, cloaked in shadows. The it clicked, after several long minutes.
Where is Dean?
Sam started. His beer bottle fell to the floor (empty) and the laptop flipped backwards and closed with a forceful click. He must have spoken out loud. Sam's eyes were wide and terrified in a way the had Lucifer's chest tightening painfully. Sam was looking at him with that terror and Lucifer did not understand. He had never looked at him like that before, not even when he'd been sure he was facing down certain death. Where had this come from?
"No. You can't be here. Not again!" Sam said, backing away from Lucifer. "Cas fixed me, you can't be in my head… not again. No."
Sam had stopped addressing Lucifer and was muttering to himself, frantic reassurances. Lucifer moved forward, slowly and with hands up in surrender. "Sam, what are you talking about?"
The hunter's eyes snapped back to Lucifer. "You! You were in my head- I was seeing- None of it was real. You weren't real."
Lucifer blinked. Sam had been seeing him? Hallucinating him? Was that the cause of his fear? "I'm real now Sam. I don't know what you saw, but right now, right here, I'm real. Just calm down."
Sam let loose a hysterical bark of laughter. "Calm down? Real or not you're standing right there. I'm-"
Lucifer tilted his head. That wasn't right. He'd protected Sam in the cage, from Hell and Michael's initial wrath as best he could. He and Sam had trusted each other. Lucifer kept Sam safe from the ever present torture and Sam would sooth him with the brightness of his soul. They kept each other sane. Why was Sam so terrified of him?
He needed to know. "Sam, tell me what the fake me did to you. Tell me everything." He kept his distance, backing away until he was perched on the windowsill and Sam had sunken onto the bed.
Sam told him everything.
He started with how he'd escaped the cage - his body anyway. Castiel was alive and had tried to save Sam, the foolish angel. Sam's body had spent a year running amok without a soul (admittedly something Lucifer would have liked to see). Dean and Sam had been reunited. Between dealing with Crowley, Alphas, and assorted problems they gotten Sam's soul back. Lucifer remembered that - Death had come and taken Sam's soul from him, leaving Lucifer alone with Michael (Adam had not spoken to any of them and stayed tucked close to Michael's Grace at all times, Lucifer often forgot he was there).
Then things had really taken a turn for the worst. Death had block out Hell for Sam - something he thought had been a favor. But the wall had broken. Castiel was locked in war with Raphael and was working to open Purgatory. As a result not only had Eve gotten lose for a time but Castiel had unleashed Leviathan on Earth. And that is where Lucifer had found Sam, at the tail end of winning. Sam told him that they had killed the head Leviathan, who had been going by the name Dick Roman, just under a month ago. In the resulting blast Dean and Castiel had been lost. And Sam was alone.
Lucifer noticed one thing missing from Sam's story. "What about your hallucination?"
Sam winced but sighed and looked at Lucifer, fear still filling his expression. "I started seeing you. It wasn't you at first though. It had been chains and blades, screaming. A lot of pain. But then all of that went away when you showed up." Sam paused, taken a steadying breath. Lucifer was about to ask then why the fear of him, but Sam continued. "You were even worse. You would just talk, or shout sometimes. But it was driving me nuts, literally. It was terrifying. I didn't know what was real for the longest time. And then I- I acknowledged you. And that was it. You made sure I never slept, you made me think I was burning or being tortured. You tried… to kill… me," Sam's voice slowed as he watched Lucifer.
The angel's face must have been quite the sight to stop Sam's story. He felt the rage bubble up at this imagined self. He stood, managed to keep himself from crowding Sam, and paced. He felt himself growl. How dare this thing do that to Sam! How dare something wear his face and hurt his precious soul. He would find a way to- He stopped.
To what? That was all in Sam's head. He honestly thought Lucifer had done those things to him. The torture that the cage had generated, the years Lucifer had failed to protect Sam because he was fighting Michael to protect him or because Lucifer himself had become lost in the madness that was the cage. Sam thought Lucifer had done all of that. Lucifer felt something break inside of him.
He moved to Sam, took his face in his hands and brought their foreheads together. "Oh, Sam. No. I would never, ever, hurt you. We protected each other! Don't you remember?"
Sam didn't fight him when he got close. His face was a mask of defeat and Lucifer silently made plans to find Dean and bring him back to Sam. But first, he had to make Sam remember! He shook lose a single pair of wings and pulled them into existence. He wrapped Sam in them, brushing along the human's back soothingly.
"I protected you as best I could, Sam. And you tried to save me. Please, remember." Lucifer held him close with wings and arms. "You were so brave. Don't you remember? You stood up to Michael, tried to get Adam away from him. You broke through and saved me from so many tortures. I shielded you from Hell. We spoke. I told you about my family. You told me about Dean and your life at college."
Sam pulled back, just enough to look at Lucifer. "I told you about Jess.." he said, eyes far away. "You said she reminded you of my mother. You kept insulting Dean. And I called Michael…"
Lucifer smiled. "You called him a daddy-issue riddled pigeon."
Sam blinked, the memories slowly filtering back to him. "It was the first time I heard you laugh."