Title: Lucifer Falling
Warnings: from Lucifer’s POV
Notes: challenge story which I have been working on for ages. It's finally good enough to put up here - I would really, really appreciate it if you said what you liked and didn't like about it, because it's nowhere near perfect yet!
Exile was a place of stones. Lucifer lay broken, splayed across the shards. Blood seeped from the wounds in his sides, in his hands, in his feet, spread out among the rocks and into the world. Heavy and dark, it oozed into the sand, baked into black sigils by the heat. His blood stained the soil, and Lucifer remembered.
Once, he had walked with God. He stood at God’s right side and watched the birth of his siblings, as wonderful as light crossing land, and loved them. They were his Father’s, and Lucifer would have loved them for that alone, but he saw the comprehension of the Light, the knowledge of their forms, fill their faces and he loved them for themselves. He wanted to see them grown and formed, see them in all their glory, wanted to see every moment of that glory’s making. Lucifer was eldest, and they were his to care for, his to raise and teach.
Then, he had had no word for fear.
Later, he stood with God again, and as he watched the Earth come into being he learnt the words for beauty. Before, he had not known of wind, or of the exquisite perfection of a small green thing unfolding beneath the new earth. Looking over the steps of the man and the woman, he had learned to dream, to imagine futures and potentials spreading out before him, and he had rejoiced, leading the song of praise.
Because he did not know of sadness he had no name for the expression on his Father’s face but a new and strange joy.
Lucifer still walked with God, and they came into the hall together, through the great arch in the sunlight. They stood before the assembled host, and the clarity of the light sharpened the shadows into starkness. He wondered what it was that brought again that unfamiliar, unsettling emotion to his Father’s face. God spoke, and as a thousand thousand voices cried yes, that they would Fall because the Father asked it of them, he knew it was not joy. Lucifer looked among his siblings, searched out the faces of his most vibrant brothers. His brothers and sisters did not know what it meant to Fall. Neither did he, but he knew that the source of that look was something they should not face; none of them, not the eldest or the youngest, the most beloved or the least known.
When he said, “I’ll go. I’ll Fall,” he learned what it was to protect.
The Light-Bringer stood apart on the edge of the cliff, facing his God in the still clear light. Greenness spread out into infinity in this temporary world, spread out beneath a brilliant sky. Under his feet, the grass rasped and stuttered into stones. Lucifer met his Father’s eyes, and slowly raised his arms until the tangle of his body straightened into simple lines. There was a wind, and it tugged on his robe, slid through his hair. They were alone, in the great silence at the edge of existence.
He held his Father’s eyes, and as he leaned into the abyss, he realized that there would be no reprieve. Until that moment, he had not – he could not imagine, despite the surprising fierce inevitability of standing between this and his siblings – he had not quite understood. One of you must Fall, they were told. As Lucifer lost sight of God and the green grass, he learned necessity.
Lucifer fell. There was nothing but stone, stone and sky, a narrow chasm into the heart of nothing.
Wind burnt the feathers from his wings and the skin from his face, tore water from his eyes and splintered the cliffs into an incomprehensible flow of featureless color. He was alone, and as he fell he felt the grace stripped from him like the feathers of his wings, left to float behind him in tatters. They were limned in light. Lucifer did not open his wings to slow his fall. He was alone. He fell.
The first time he woke, it was to light and warmth, and he had sprung up to greet his Father, the Maker. This was the second awakening, and as he opened his eyes he saw nothing but the blue sky bracketed in stone, and felt nothing but the tear of broken bone and muscle as it grated against sand and shale. He could not move to greet the emptiness.
The emptiness was the worst, perhaps, the way there was no one in his mind, no feeling of warmth at his side or back, the knowledge that there was no one else. Just a faint hiss of wind far above him, too far above to feel. And God had not saved him. There had been no reprieve, just necessity – and for this, and this only, that he lie bleeding forever below the cliffs, alone and burning with pain. Surely this was no necessity. He had not known his God could be deceived.
And perhaps He had not been deceived. He had made everything – He knew everything, and therefore there had to be a reason. He wouldn’t condemn one of His own creations to this without purpose.
The God he believed in, He would never have done this thing, would never have sentenced one of his own to this torment. He would have sacrificed himself rather than let his child bear the hurt and the loneliness.
He thought to wish he had not accepted this task, and it was unacceptable. Then, one of his siblings would have borne it, and the thought of one of them lying here, any one of them, was harder to bear than the suffering itself. He was the Eldest, and if this had to happen, it was his to bear, by his choice.
Lucifer thought of the look in the Maker’s eyes, and knew that even in the fear of the fall, he had not thought to change his mind.
But then, he was made to make the choice. He was first and strongest, older and wiser than the others, and his creation had designed him to protect and shelter, to make the difficult choices so that those he loved, his responsibility and his pride, would not need to suffer. Lucifer wondered if there were anything inside him not shaped so that he would make this choice, and wept. He would choose the same again, even knowing all that he now knew.
Lucifer’s blood seeped from his body and into the sand, endlessly flowing from his immortal body. He was the gate. He let the darkness into the world. His pain made the gap, his fear and betrayal were the opened doors, and his body was the road on which it traveled. It oozed through into the world, carried on the heavy flow of his blood. Lucifer looked through the gate, and into the darkness.
It burned through him, washed away thought. There was nothing but sensation, untainted by the distractions of the body and the memories of the past. It was – he sank back into his body, and stared up at the sun.
If he asked, God would lift him up again. He could be back in Heaven, whole and beautiful and joyous. But someone else would fall, and it is not just because he was made for this that he cannot do that – he was first, and it is the order of existence that rules him. There is responsibility, for being first.
He could stand, and the wounds would heal. His bones would be unbroken, and his wings would be whole, and he could walk away. There would be an end. He sighed, a silent broken breath, and lay still.
Lucifer lay bleeding, still and shattered. Blood seeped from his body, snaked out across the sand and carried the darkness with it as it seeped into the world. Whispers traced back the paths his blood had made, carrying traces of the minds they touched.
He saw the twisted currents of his gate and Heaven’s - between them, they scoured the world with passions too strong to bear lightly, too beautiful to bar.
One day, there would be no need to strain against the closing of the door. All barriers would be broken, and the darkness would wash through uncontaminated by thought and pain, to twine in beauty with the light.
Lucifer lay and endured. He held the gate, and opened it wide.