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[personal profile] licklesoxy
Title: Under Skeleton's Lock, Without Its Key (Chapter 1)
Fandom: Supernatural
Chapter Word Count: 1,875
Pairings: Gabriel/Lucifer (implied), Gabriel/Michael (implied)
Rating: PG-13
Note: The fifth story in a series I'm making about Gabriel and Lucifer. The previous stories do not need to be read for this story to be understood.
Previous: On Display for None to See | Uncle, or Any Variation Thereof | My Check to Your Mate | Homing Pigeon
Summary: Lucifer was fine with going back into his cage, because Gabriel would free him again soon enough. The problem? Michael getting trapped along with him was not a part of the plan, and things will become very complicated when Gabriel has to decide which brother to free from Hell.

-o-

Under Skeleton's Lock, Without Its Key

Chapter One


The passage of time should not have been important, yet it continued to make itself known. A second, a minute, a day, all went by without a single indication of freedom from this place. Ticking slowly, effortlessly, each moment that passed was a form of torture for the archangel. Aggravation was not an emotion Lucifer ever wished to dwell upon, though he couldn't help but begin to feel it when the time continued to ebb on, blissfully unaware of its effect on him. Gabriel had promised, over and over again, that he would free Lucifer from the retched cage as quickly as was possible for any being.

Understanding that a rapid escape could very well translate to as little as 24 hours, or just as simply take up to 24 years, did not make waiting any easier. Although, in truth, the latter amount of time would still be under the previous sentence that Lucifer had been forced to endure in Hell before. He could wait decades, centuries even, without losing any amount of calm or sanity. It wouldn't be completely easy, but it would be doable if need be. That did not mean he wished to spend any longer in the cage than was absolutely necessary, though.

Keeping his eyes closed and his breathing steady, Lucifer remained still and silent. His posture was relaxed as he leant his back against the wall, and he knew that he would continue to remain seated for the amount of time it took Gabriel to get here. Idle movement was pointless, something not required at the moment.

Thinking about it, Lucifer knew that planning to let himself be thrown back into Hell had not come without some anger on Gabriel's part. Gabriel hadn't understood at first, couldn't grasp how it would help Lucifer stay free in the long run.

Overall, it had taken weeks of persuasion to get his younger brother to agree to everything Lucifer had come up with, and even then Gabriel hadn't been able to hide his resentment towards the idea of letting Lucifer be thrown back in the cage once more. The thing that Gabriel didn't understand was the fact that Lucifer trusted him, more so than he realised. Gabriel had never let Lucifer down before, even when he had gallivanted away to hide on Earth. Instead of choosing between two siblings, Gabriel had run away, and that was all. He hadn't betrayed either brother, hadn't picked a fight or hurt either one by physical means. Yes, his running off had caused pain on an emotional level, but that could never have been prevented.

Gabriel was his brother; was Michael and Raphael's brother too. To say that neither one of them had been affected by Gabriel's departure would be criminal, a lie too grand to comprehend. Michael, as was expected, had shut off his emotions and chosen to pretend it hadn't happened, while Raphael had become much more secluded from the other beings in Heaven. Lucifer hadn't really done anything, since most of the time that Gabriel had been hiding he'd been stuck in Hell. In all honesty, it hadn't come as a surprise to Lucifer when Gabriel didn't choose a brother to side with.

Even now, Lucifer knew that Gabriel wasn't actually choosing to be on his side. And that was fine, to a certain extent. Gabriel was merely acting out of loyalty towards a brother who had asked a favour of him.

Concentrating on the quiet of the surrounding area, Lucifer couldn't deny the tiny twinge of paranoia that, from the second he'd been thrown back in the cage, had been seeping through him. Trying to ignore his own senses by distracting his thoughts wasn't effective enough to disguise the fact that Michael was sitting across from him due to being trapped down in here also.

Sam Winchester was a name that left a nasty taste in Lucifer's mouth. Underestimating the idiotic human had not been wise, leaving Lucifer with a problem that would be extremely hard to solve. Michael wouldn't be expecting Gabriel to open up the cage, while Gabriel wouldn't be expecting to find two archangels stuck down here rather than just the one. The idea of his brothers coming face to face in this place made Lucifer feel quite panicked, and it was not something he liked to acknowledge.

He knew how Gabriel would react upon seeing Michael, and it wasn't going to be easy to deal with.

Unable to prevent his wings trembling slightly, Lucifer changed tactics to try and distract his mind away from the more pressing issues at hand. Adjusting his posture a touch and lowering his hand from his lap to the floor, he started to tap his finger against the cool material that lay under him. Listening to the soft sound as his finger made contact every precise second, Lucifer evened out his breathing as much as he could manage while his body relaxed. Better than any clock, he had perfected his own time keeping methods to stave off the inevitable boredom that had eventually come with having spent decades in a single spot. Regardless of the fact that it made him aware of how much time was passing, it helped ease his thoughts into a calmer state, whilst also keeping his mind active and away from anger provoking memories.

After the first minute, Lucifer's entire body had released all the tension that had been building up since realising his mistake of letting the younger Winchester take over the vessel. At minute two his middle finger joined the index in its tapping. The sound became a minuscule amount louder; there was no doubt that Michael could hear what he was doing, yet no protest came. By the time minute three came around, Lucifer was content with letting his mind wander back to coming up with solutions to his current problem.

He could simply tell Gabriel to stay at the entrance of the cage, then find a way of keeping Michael quiet. Except, Michael wasn't exactly weak, and wouldn't take kindly to being prevented from talking to someone he had previously thought to be dead. The plan would fail quickly.

"Lucifer?"

Eyes darting open immediately upon hearing the word, Lucifer felt an odd sensation flow through him when he saw Michael do exactly the same on the other side of the cage. The voice was curious, a question, and it was undeniably Gabriel speaking the name.

Glancing upwards, ignoring the confusion he could practically feel ebbing from Michael, Lucifer opened his mouth, ready to reply. Anything he wanted to say was drowned out by the unmistakable flutter of wings to his right as Gabriel descended quickly into the bright area without so much as a second thought. Denying to let any sign of fear show in his features, Lucifer turned to stare at Gabriel, eyebrows lowering into a frown as he did so.

Not even taking half a second, Gabriel snapped his gaze to the eldest archangel. Watching as surprise flitted across his face, Lucifer couldn't hold back the dread that poured into him when Gabriel's features paled considerably.

This was not going to end well.

"What's going on here?" It was Michael that asked, having finally found his voice.

Lucifer could not recall a time in which he had ever seen Gabriel completely speechless. He had witnessed fright from the youngest archangel on several occasions, as well as rage, love, giddiness, and countless other emotions. This, though, was an unknown. He couldn't describe the emotion flowing through Gabriel's eyes, wasn't capable of naming it. Betrayal, maybe? Guilt, perhaps? Absolute horror?

"Well? Lucifer?"

Only when the name was spoken did he turn his attention to Michael. Surprised to find a look of pure accusation in Michael's gaze, Lucifer blinked a few times to try and focus his vision, before glancing back to Gabriel for a second. Considering Michael hadn't known Gabriel was still alive, the archangel didn't seem all that surprised. Of course, stunts and tricks to fool Michael had been done countless times, so he was probably shocked, but able to hold it in extremely well, having had practice.

Staring at Gabriel, seeing that he was staring right back, it struck Lucifer quite hard when he had a sudden epiphany. He understood what was wrong, knew what emotion he could see in his younger brother's features. Vulnerability did not suit Gabriel, not in the slightest. He looked lost, and his entire being seemed to be begging for a way out of this situation, for some help or even a tiny piece of advice.

Gabriel was not used to dealing with both Lucifer and Michael at the same time, considering he hadn't seen Michael in millennia, and he'd only been in recent contact with Lucifer for the short while Lucifer had been free from Hell. And now he had been caught, seemingly making the decision to pick whose side he was on, by Michael of all people. Even though both Gabriel and Lucifer understood that it wasn't the case, that Gabriel wasn't picking Lucifer over everyone else, Michael had no idea, and he would undoubtedly come to some unfortunate assumptions.

From the way Gabriel's entire body had tensed, the way in which he'd turned himself in a way so Michael was in his full line of vision, suggested he was preparing to begin defending himself in case Michael decided to turn this into a physical fight. Lucifer would not allow that to happen.

"Gabriel, we're leaving."

Hoping the tone didn't sound as weak as it felt, he kept all attention on Gabriel. Raising an eyebrow, taking a step towards him, Lucifer brought an arm up and held a hand out for Gabriel to grab onto. Gabriel stared at it as though it was going to suddenly sprout teeth and attempt to eat him.

"Bu-"

"No. I said we're leaving, so we are leaving. Now," Lucifer interrupted, voice becoming harder with every word that left his mouth. He could not afford to let Gabriel hesitate right now.

Gabriel's eyebrows lowered into a frown. Irrespect of that, he began reaching out to touch Lucifer's fingers, much to Lucifer's utter delight and relief.

"Don't you dare."

Gabriel faltered, stopping all movement immediately as his gaze darted to Michael. Sneering, Lucifer's other hand curled into a fist.

"Ignore him, Gabriel."

"Bu-"

"I said ignore him!" Snapping out the words, not bothering to hide his irritation, the glare Lucifer received in reply to that small outburst was not expected.

"Will you at least let me finish a word before you talk over me? I'm not some obedient dog. If you want, I can just leave you here and take Mikey here up instead." Eyes narrowing, Gabriel gestured towards Michael. A sardonic smile had made its way onto his lips, and Lucifer swore he could see Gabriel shaking slightly with a growing rage. That, too, was unexpected.

Taking a step towards the younger archangel, making it so barely a centimetre separated their two bodies, Lucifer lowered his head down until he was at eye level with Gabriel. The child was going to do what Lucifer wanted, whether he liked it or not. Still, he had to offer the challenge.

"You wouldn't dare."

To Be Continued


-o-
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