Chapter One: Pay Attention To Me
He had some vague recognition of some brief, faceless friend at one of his many past school repeating to him some advice from their mother: "if you ignore them, they'll get bored and go away". At the time, this vague friend had been referring to a group of older bullies that had been flicking paper at them from the back of the classroom. Sam had tried and tried to ignore them, but it had continued all lesson without any sign of the proposed 'getting bored', so Sam had eventually taken matters into his own hands and later decked two of the boys in the playground. Dean had said that was a much better solution, before telling him not to listen to any more "wimpy" suggestions.
Sam wondered what Dean would do if he decided to deal with his current problem in the same way. Somehow decking the devil didn't seem as if it would be as effective as on a couple of bratty twelve-year-old boys.
"You know, Sammy," Lucifer spoke up, as casually as if they were two old friends taking a walk together. "I thought you would have figured out by now that running from me isn't really all that effective. To be honest, it's really rather pointless. Angels are quick travelers, you know. I thought you would have learnt that from your little friend Castiel."
He's not real. He's not real. He's not real. Sam picked up the pace, shoving his hands firmly in his jacket pockets as the shape of the hotel came into view, a dark shadow in the night.
"How is little Castiel, by the way? I do like to check up on my brothers."
Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.
Castiel was pretty bad, to be honest. Still stuck in that hospital ward with Meg, of all people. It seemed even worse now, that Lucifer had somehow managed to claw his way back to him, as persistent as ever, only now coupled with a distinct anger at Cas' attempt to pull him away from Sam.
It didn't make sense. If Lucifer was a mere hallucination, then how was he still here? Now that Sam was 'fixed'? He no longer saw meat hooks or heard ghostly screams or fire or any of that, but still Lucifer remained.
He's not real. He's not. But Sam was starting to doubt that. He knew that maybe, physically, Lucifer wasn't here, but was a physical body all there was to a person? Or angel?
Gritting his teeth, Sam reached for the door handle. Half of him hoped Dean was asleep merely for convenience sake- he could have done without the demands as to why he'd been walking around for several hours and returning at four in the morning. But another part of him wanted Dean to be awake and waiting for him, better to talk to Dean than Lucifer.
"Sorry to disappoint you, Sammy. Big brother's fast asleep and dreaming."
He winced at Lucifer's words, suddenly adamantly hopeful that the devil was just winding him up, but as he pushed open the door, sure enough, he found Dean sprawled in the far bed, deaf to the world.
The door clicked shut behind him as he made his way over to his own bed. Vaguely he registered that he didn't remember shutting the door, but he pointedly ignored it. Lucifer liked to take over little 'normal' actions from him sometimes, a bizarre way of carrying on this ridiculous joke on his life that the two of them were just hanging out together. As if this was all normal.
Sam dropped back onto the bed, closing his eyes. He couldn't be bothered to take off his shoes, let alone get undressed and climb under the covers. He could have slept for a week, but even an hour, any sleep would do right now.
"No, no, no, Sammy." Lucifer's voice was mocking, playful. "It's not bedtime yet. No bed time for you ever again."
Sam squeezed his eyes shut tighter. Despite the constantly voice in his ear, he could feel sleep overtaking him. Whatever Cas had managed to do, Lucifer no longer seemed able to keep him awake, at least.
"Sammy. Rise and shine."
It was just a matter of will power. If he could just focus more on sleep and less on Lucifer.
His body was taking over now, putting itself to sleep on natural instinct.
"No, Sammy. No."
And hey, he'd over-powered the devil before.
He woke up to the sound of glass smashing. The windows cracked and shattered, glass exploding from the front wall of the room, the lights blowing out overhead in a shower of sparks.
Instinctively, Sam threw his arms up to shield his face, seeing the shards fly towards him. But the never hit. Of course they didn't. It wasn't real.
Slowly, he lowered his arms, raising his head and looking around. The overhead lights were switched off and intact, the windows not so much as scratched, a dim light just creeping in between the curtains. He turned to look at the clock. It was quarter to six.
Someone kicked the end of the bed. He sighed in frustration and looked up at Lucifer with a glare.
As they'd been running out of that hotel with Kali, at Gabriel's request, he remembered hearing the archangel describe his brother as having a temper tantrum. He couldn't help but feel that was ridiculously accurate. He vaguely wondered what kind of kid Lucifer was (were angels ever kids?) and pictured a bratty little Lucifer stomping around and throwing things. Now he thought about it, he couldn't really blame God for leaving...
"What is your problem?" He muttered, dropping back down onto the bed and staring at the ceiling, too tired to bother putting more than a tone of vague annoyance into his voice. "Why can't you just let me sleep?"
He really didn't understand it. During the day, Lucifer was actually almost tolerable, seemingly content to just hang around in the background, though he liked to make a point of putting himself in Sam's line of vision. It was distracting, but Sam could cope with it. But at night, as soon as he and Dean were readying themselves for bed, all hell broke loose- metaphorically speaking, for once.
Lucifer would start off with annoying jibes, then just constant talking, anything to keep him awake. He'd developed something of a routine, staying up and doing research or taking a walk around to try to tire himself into having to sleep. But that was when Lucifer became utterly unbearable; shouting, pretending to break things, tormenting him with constant reminders about everything that had happened...
"I said no bed time, Sammy. Never again."
"Why?" He flung himself forward, eyes narrowed, very well aware he was giving Lucifer exactly what he wanted by arguing, but not caring right now. "What the hell do you have against me sleeping?"
Lucifer chose not to answer, merely staring blankly back at him.
"I know you don't think much of us humans. But, yes, we're a little inferior to you and we have to sleep. It must seem very boring and silly to you, I know."
"Why yes, Sammy, what do I do without you to entertain me?"
Sam just glared. But even so, something about Lucifer's word choice struck him as odd. 'What do I do...', not 'what would I do...'. He spoke as if this was actually happening, as if he were actually really here and-
He pointedly ended his thoughts there, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed and getting up to prepare for the day. There was no point in trying to get back to sleep, no only because of Lucifer, but Dean would likely be up within an hour anyway.
Sam sighed, stepping into the small bathroom and turning on the taps. Lucifer sauntered after him, crossing the room and leaning against the wall, one hand playing disinterestedly with the shower curtain.
After splashing cold water on his face to waken himself up, Sam turned and looked pointedly past Lucifer at the shower. "Get out," he said, refusing to look in the devil's direction.
Lucifer merely raised an eyebrow.
"I need to shower. Get out. Wait outside."
"Embarrassed are we, Sammy? I wouldn't have thought so. I only pick good looking vessels."
He was determined not to comment on that, crossing his arms tightly and adamantly staring anywhere but at Lucifer, the door pointedly open behind him. He felt utterly ridiculous doing this, but it had proven to work in the past.
Eventually Lucifer rolled his eyes and strolled past him, narrowly avoiding the door that Sam kicked shut behind him.
He wasted no time in getting undressed and stepping under the water. He wasn't stupid enough to believe this was some kind of break, like a mother escaping their whining child for an hour. No, Lucifer was right outside the door and he knew it, mainly from the now unbearable tune of 'Stairway to Heaven' that had predictably started up. If Sam couldn't see him, Lucifer would always make sure he could hear him.
Within ten minutes, he was turning the shower off and picking up one of the clean hotel towels, wrapping it around his waist and stepping back out into the hotel room, giving the door a hard shove in hopes that it would hit Lucifer in the face.
Unfortunately, it didn't, though the signing thankfully stopped.
The talking, however, quickly started again.
"Really, Sammy, most people like a bit of music in the morning. Are you saying I'm a bad singer?"
He would, of course, never say it, but Lucifer's voice was actually rather good. Sam narrowed his eyes and focused on finding some clothes for the day.
"I am the angel of music, did you know that? Well, I was."
He hadn't known that. He made a valiant attempt to not remember it.
"I think the blue shirt, Sammy. It suits you."
Sam pointedly picked up the green one.
"Green? Alright. Hey, we match."
Sam threw it down and instead picked up one in maroon. He didn't particularly like this one, but Lucifer didn't comment on it, at least.
"Hey, what time is it?"
He almost sighed in relief as Dean rolled over to look at him, blinking wearily.
"Hey," he replied quickly, almost too quickly. "It half six."
"Half six?" Dean snapped. "Man, eight's more my time. What are you doing up already?"
Sam shrugged. "Woke up and thought I might as well get an early start. We still need to find out about our mystery ghost, right?
"Yeah, I suppose." Pulling an irritated face, Dean kicked the covers off and headed for the bathroom.
They were on a job, a standard haunting just outside of Texas. One heck of an angry poltergeist, but the classic salt and burn should do the trick.
"I can help," Lucifer spoke up as Dean shut the bathroom door. "That trip to the library last time was oh so much fun."
Sam finished buttoning his shirt, slipped on his shoes and walked over to the table where his laptop sat.
Lucifer began flicking through the pile of newspaper clippings they'd left out last night. "This looks suspicious, Sammy. Man falls down a flight of stairs and snaps his little neck at a dinner party. And you're poor victim with the ghostly friend was there."
Sam paused half way through typing in his search of suspicious deaths in the area.
Dean remerged from the bathroom, raising both eyebrows at him. "Hey, slow down, braniac. Let's get us some breakfast first."
Sam gave a half-smile, closing the laptop lid as Dean began getting dressed.
Lucifer had put the newspaper down. As Dean finished tying his shoes and headed toward the door, Sam reluctantly picked it up and followed, shaking the pages out as they headed towards the hotel's adjacent diner.
"You found something?" Dean asked as they stepped inside, eyeing the newspaper page over his shoulder.
"Yeah," Sam muttered, frowning in annoyance at how this looked to be exactly right. He handed Dean the newspaper as they sat down at a table in the corner. With it only being just before seven, the diner was almost empty, so they picked a larger table with space to work, too. At least that was what Sam told himself, trying to ignore how he'd unintentionally shuffled up to give Lucifer the seat beside him.
"It's alright, Sammy. I'll let you take the credit. It's nice you want to impress big brother."
Sam just sighed, looking up as the waitress came over, before ordering a very strong coffee.