Men Have Made Them
» Fandom: Supernatural
» Rating: PG
» Pairing: Sam/Lucifer
» Additional tags/warnings: alternate universe, magical realism, world-building, cries out for a sequel, the devil is annoying as hell (haha)
» Summary: While it's true Lucifer has gotten progressively weirder as time goes on (showing up at Sam's work, in the park where he runs and whenever he tries to do touristy things, for instance), right up until this moment Sam had thought he was dealing with a pushy, slightly sociopathic neighbor, not that he'd done something to warrant the personal attention of Satan.
MEN have made them gods of love,
Sun-gods, givers of the rain,
Deities of hill and grove:
I have made a god of Pain.
Of my god I know this much,
And in singing I repeat,
Though there's anguish in his touch,
Yet his soul within is sweet.
- George William ("A. E.") Russell (1867–1935). Collected Poems by A.E. 1913.
There are a lot of gods on Gylden Gyden.
Actually, to be as accurate as third-hand statistics can be, according to the Wikipedia entry Sam pulled up on the flight over more than fifteen percent of the island's population claims some sort of divine status. There's a kind of— resonance?— in the air or water or ground that makes it easier for them to manifest; he honestly didn't pay much attention to that part of the article, there were too many New Age buzzwords like 'leylines' and 'harmonics of the universe'. But Sam's met Baldr in the post office and seen Kali on a street corner, so he can personally attest that it all boils down to that one simple statement: there are a lot of gods on Gylden Gyden. And thus, there are a lot of churches, a lot of priests, and several hundred thousand people who visit each year looking for a miracle.
Which is why it's so incredible Sam's been living here for a solid month before he realizes Lucem is anything more than a criminally annoying slob with a morbid sense of humor and bloodthirsty taste in practical jokes. And it still takes him an embarrassingly long time to move from thinking, there's something really off about this guy, to the Sunday afternoon he pauses in the middle of folding laundry and says, "Lucem... Ferre," to the man sprawled all over his couch.
Lucem looks up expectantly, hand behind his head and his feet propped up on the armrest.
Sam stares at him, sitting on the floor beside the laundry bushel. "Lucem Ferre. Luci—"
"Lucifer," Sam says in a rush, horrified. "You're—?"
In Sam's defense, it's been a busy four weeks. When one of the founding partners of his law firm announced she was setting up a satellite office here, Sam jumped at the chance to make junior partner more quickly even if it did mean moving hundreds of miles and three time zones west from San Francisco to the world's most popular tourist destination. And, despite Dean's dire predictions and all the shit Dad had dug up about crime rates and god-on-human violence and insane mobs at the airport, Sam finds he likes living on the self-styled Gods' Isle. It's colorful and exotic, and the mob at the airport wasn't even that bad— all the acolytes and high priests or whatever with their crazy zealous eyes and particolored pamphlets clutched in their hands had mostly avoided him—
— and Lucem had shown up for the first time not half an hour later.
"Oh my God," Sam says baldly.
"Sorry, God's busy," Luce— Lucifer says, setting the television remote aside. "Call back in another few millennia."
"You—" Sam realizes he's still holding a pair of boxers and throws them back into the bushel. "You're the reason people at the grocery store avoid me! And all the weird looks I get at the bank, and that girl last Tuesday who..."
"Who... what?" Lucifer says, smile broadening at Sam's hesitation. "Did sweet little Ruby touch you in a bad place, Sam?"
"She certainly tried," Sam replies tartly, then, "I'm being stalked by the devil. The actual prince of darkness."
"In the flesh," Lucifer says, spreading his hands. "By the way, you may want to switch banks. Ganesh doesn't like me very much."
Sam isn't listening. "The actual— but how? Why?"
The 'how' Sam mostly does understand. At first it'd been like he'd accidentally adopted a stray— a mean, tatter-eared tom that ate hatchlings and tortured dogs and showed its own sincere but vicious brand of affection through scratches and lovebites and pissing on the furniture. Lucifer had appeared at Sam's apartment door while he was still unpacking, invited himself in, and never really left.
Sam hadn't protested at the time because Lucifer is kind of nice to have around, especially those first few days. He's funny, if horribly arrogant; he knows where all the good restaurants are, has an ability to summon taxis that borders on magical, and he's always ready to help Sam navigate the unfamiliar waters of godly inter-relations. His timely advice on all things celestial has saved Sam from making an embarrassing number of faux pas at his office and in daily life on this crowded little South Pacific archipelago.
And, while it's true Lucifer has gotten progressively weirder as time goes on (showing up at Sam's work, in the park where he runs and whenever he tries to do touristy things, for instance), right up until this moment Sam had thought he was dealing with a pushy, slightly sociopathic neighbor, not that he'd done something to warrant the personal attention of Satan.
"Why?" Lucifer echoes, sitting up. "Because I need you, Sam. More than I have words to express."
Sam briefly entertains the idea of running across the street to either St. Matthew's or the Temple of Horus and begging for sanctuary. Would it be more or less effective to keep it in the pantheon?
"Oh... kay," he says. "Well, you can't have me."
"I already have you," Lucifer says, gently. "I have for a long time. You just don't see it yet."
Sam considers him, broad shoulders and brutish face.
"... is this because I'm a lawyer?" he asks plaintively.
Lucifer blinks and then laughs, big rolling chuckles like Sam's surprised him. "I won't deny there are certain professions that find themselves drawn to what I offer. But no," he says, leaning back to drape his arms over the back of the couch. "It's not because you're a lawyer. Sam..." and here he indicates the free half of the couch with a nod. "Why don't you sit, and we'll talk?"
"I don't think that's a good idea," Sam says evenly. He should be more frightened, he thinks; he's talking to the devil— at least some eldritch construct that thinks it's the devil, and no, don't even get him started on the theories as to why so many gods exist here in the flesh— and there's nowhere to run: his apartment, cramped as it is, is on the top floor and Lucifer is between him and both exits, the stairwell and the fire escape. The only other way out he can think of is the bathroom window, and it's tiny.
But this is the same guy who passes out like a kid on Sam's couch five nights out of seven, who likes trashy telenovellas and occasionally makes Sam unbelievably shitty coffee in the mornings and steals all the snacks out of the pantry (unless they're dill- or otherwise pickle-flavored). The mental disconnect is just too strong.
"Sam," Lucifer says with a sigh, "what have I been telling you? Gods are the ultimate politicians. If you give me the power, I can do things for you beyond your wildest dreams." Light slants in from the French doors to the balcony, giving him the ironic suggestion of a halo. "I can change your life, give you anything you want, if you believe in me."
Are there pest control services for anthropomorphizations of the evils of temptation? If ever there was a niche market, Gylden Gyden surely has it. "I've heard that doesn't end well," Sam says, and then, because he has no idea what else to do, goes back to folding his laundry.
Lucifer watches him work, eyes dark and unreadable in the strong wash of sunlight. "You have to balance devotion with respect, or they'll just take and take."
"I was thinking more about the brimstone and lakes of fire." This load is mostly socks and underwear, and Sam has never been more aware of holes and warped elastic than he is at this moment, feeling Lucifer's gaze like the press of a flatiron.
"Fundamentalist propaganda," the devil says with a dismissive wave. "Hell is only the absence of God. Most people don't even notice."
"Right," Sam says, carefully doubling over a Guns n' Roses t-shirt of Dean's that'd somehow snuck into his luggage. "The answer's still no."
Lucifer sighs again. "Listen, Sam. I'd hoped we'd get to know each other a little better before this came up. Long story short, it's destiny."
Sam snorts despite himself.
Sam shakes his head. "Destiny. Half the ads and billboards in this town say the same thing. Is the Satanic church so hard-up for congregation members their god has to do one-on-one recruiting now?"
Lucifer's quiet for a moment, and Sam risks a glance upwards. The man is looking at Sam with something uncomfortably close to pity.
Lucifer smiles, shrugs. "To live is to sin, Sammy, and all pious Christians fear the serpent. I have the largest belief base on the island."
Sam's down to the stray argyles that never match and a few ancient pairs of briefs he should have thrown out months ago. "You don't need me, then. And don't call me that."
"But I do," Lucifer says, leaning forward. "I do, Sam. And more than that, I can't do this without you."
It might be time to take his chances with the window in the bathroom. "Do what? No, don't tell me," he says, getting to his knees and loading up the bushel with tidy piles of Hanes and Fruit of the Loom. "I really don't want—"
"But you do."
Sam looks up, then away. "Pretty sure I don't."
"Do," Lucifer says with finality, and when Sam stands up, so does he.
"Don't follow me," Sam says sharply.
Lucifer follows him, across the room and down the back hallway, where narrow little gables offer stunning views of the city to those willing to wedge themselves in and stand on tiptoe. Sam continues on to his bedroom and the raw wood dresser a previous tenant had left, and Lucifer flops down on the bed hard enough to bounce.
"Do you remember why you wanted to be a lawyer, Sam?" he asks.
He has his head braced on his hands and his legs kicking in the air like a teenage girl at a slumber party, and Sam spares him a glare before working the top drawer open and shoving a handful of cotton inside. "Money," he throws out. "Power. All those great shark-in-a-suit jokes."
"You wanted to change the world," Lucifer corrects him. "You wanted to make it better."
"I'm in corporate law," Sam says, slamming the drawer shut and opening the next. "Mergers and patent infringements aren't exactly game-changing."
"You didn't start out there," Lucifer persists.
Sam had started out believing with every bone in his body that he was meant to be a public defender. Then a defense lawyer. And then, after the real world had beaten the idealism out of him, he'd joined quiet, staid Heafy & Heafy and never looked back.
"Sam," Lucifer says, voice thick and syrup-sweet with sly guile, "you can still do it, you know."
Sam wrenches open the next drawer down with a force that almost pulls it out completely. "With your help."
"Not interested," Sam snaps, and starts when Lucifer's hand closes over his wrist. He's standing at Sam's side now, and he hadn't seen him move at all.
"Maybe not now," Lucifer concedes, inclining his head. "Promise me you'll think about it, though? I want to help you."
Sam jerks his arm away. "You want me to help you."
"The answer is no." Sam focuses on the bushel, on the underwear that's seen better days and the socks he needs to look up how to darn without pulling the threats out of true.
Lucifer doesn't loom or threaten. He turns and walks away, the lazy amble that seems to be his natural pace. "Think about it. And, Sam?"
"What?" and suddenly Sam is wrist-deep in silk and lace, tiny bows and frankly indecent peekaboo panels. He yanks his hands back like they burn, then spins to glare at a man who's no longer there.
"You need to refresh your wardrobe," comes Lucifer's voice, floating back to him from the hallway.
"Oh, funny!" Sam yells after him. "Really, I'm in awe of your phenomenal cosmic powers!"
"Mmhm. You're out of chips, by the way."
Later, Sam goes to the bodega (is it called a bodega if it's run by Polynesian earth deities?) on the corner and Lucifer walk alongside him, slips chili-flavored Fritos and bean dip into his basket when Sam isn't looking. Sam stares at them as they roll past on the conveyer belt, and lets them pass without comment.
He's fairly sure he shouldn't be letting Lucifer do... whatever it is he's doing. Making things friendly. Making them easy. The thing is, Sam hasn't been letting him do anything; Lucifer pushes and Sam gives, backs away, loses ground. He doesn't know what it is that interests him. He doesn't know how to make it stop.
So he makes the devil carry the milk home and very pointedly reclaims the couch and the remote when they get there, setting the television to the local news. He's been trying to learn the indigenous language, and he can catch about a third of what the newscaster says now.
Lucifer sits on Sam's stomach and in the ensuing fight steals the remote and switches it to college football. The Morning Star is a Crimson Tide fan. Sam, crushed bodily into the cushions and using all his available breath to swear and shove, decides not to take it as an omen.