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[personal profile] ellerkay
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Part 1


***
Several months later

Sam pulled on a T-shirt and jeans as quietly as he could, fumbling a little in the dark. He called very softly to Riot, shushing him when the dog shook himself and his tags rattled. Sam glanced at the bed, but Amelia was still, breathing deeply.

Sam picked up his shoes and left her motel room, closing the door softly behind him. He pulled the shoes on and set off down the dark street, Riot walking a little in front of him.

Before they’d gone half a block, Lucifer was walking next to him.

“Insomnia?” he said.

“Yeah,” Sam replied.

“Well hey, at least nothing could be worse than what I put you through last year, am I right?”

“Yeah,” Sam agreed drily. “You’re the winner of me not sleeping. The trophy will be ready any day now. I’m just waiting to hear back from the shop. Custom engraving takes time.”

“You know, Sam, you’ve gotten more sarcastic recently. I think your girlfriend is a bad influence on you.” He paused. “You were serious about the trophy, though, right? Cause I’d like one.”

Sam shook his head with a little half-smile. They walked on for a few minutes in silence.

“I’m just so restless sometimes,” Sam said finally.

“Don’t tell me you miss hunting. Haven’t you been trying to get away from that for, like, your entire life?”

“No, I don’t miss hunting. Not exactly. I guess I miss…having a purpose. I love Amelia, but – I’m just a handyman here.”

“Maybe she’s the wrong gal.” Lucifer said this in the Texas drawl that had become so familiar to them over the last few months.

“No,” Sam said sharply. “I just told you, I love her.”

“Okay, touchy,” Lucifer said. “Then, I don’t know, go back to school. Be a lawyer.”

“I don’t think that’s what I want anymore,” Sam said quietly.

“Then what in the hell do you want?” Lucifer demanded.

Sam sighed deeply. “I want my brother back,” he admitted.

“Oh, don’t you dare start in on that. You have a girlfriend to talk to about your angst now.”

“But I can’t talk to her about it without lying to her,” Sam said. “Or withholding information, which is basically the same thing.” He frowned, biting his lip. “It’s not that I miss hunting, but I miss…hunting with Dean, if that makes any sense. I miss the gross road food, and the shitty motel rooms – ”

“You’re still living in a shitty motel room,” Lucifer pointed out.

“I miss the hours in the car. Even hearing the same stupid songs over and over.” Sam ran a hand through his hair. “Or…I don’t even know. I guess that’s not what I miss. A lot of that stuff sucked. I always complained about it. But I miss that sense of knowing I was doing some good in in the world. And I miss hanging out with Dean.”

“Yeah, this is great,” Lucifer said encouragingly. “Let it all out. Hey, don’t stop, okay, cause I want to see if I can cry and vomit at the same time.”

“Give me a break,” Sam muttered.

“Give me a break!”

“Don’t you miss that stuff?”

“What stuff?”

Sam gestured. “You know what I mean. Being part of a family. Having a purpose.”

Lucifer stared at him for a long moment, then turned away, walking a little faster so he was a step or two ahead. “Fuck you, moose.”

“Look, I just – ”

“I’ve been listening to your whining about being alone for half a year now. I was trapped in a cage in Hell for the entire span of human history. Do the god damned math.”

Sam was quiet for a moment. “You’re right,” he said. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have – ”

“It’s fine.”

“No, seriously, dude – ”

Lucifer swung around to look at him, walking backwards, his trademark smirk back in place. “No, seriously, dude. I just wanted to hear you say I was right. Go on - tell me more about your Dean feels, and how you want to hold his hand while he drives and let him weep into your hair when he tells you about the terrible things he suffered in Purgatory, but of course the worst part was being separated from his sweet baby brother – ”

Sam swiped at him half-heartedly, smiling. “Shut the fuck up.”

“You two share a Heaven, right? You’re actual soulmates. I wonder if your dad just fucked you up so much that happened on its own or if Heaven arranged it that way. Seems like the kind of thing they’d do.”

Sam whistled for Riot and turned around. “I’m going back to bed.”

“Praise Father, an end to my latest stint as therapist for Winchester the Younger,” Lucifer said.

Sam glanced at him sideways. “You know,” he said carefully. “If you ever wanted to talk – ”

“Don’t finish that thought, Sam.”

“I mean it,” Sam said determinedly. “You do listen to my stuff, and sometimes you’re actually kind of helpful, despite being a dick – which is really weird, but, y’know, still true, so if you ever want to – ”

Lucifer was making a horrible gagging noise.

“Oh, keep going,” he said, between gags. “I was just imagining opening up my poor woobie heart to you, and then I thought I could try the simultaneous crying and vomiting thing again.” He kept gagging. Sam rolled his eyes.

“Okay, okay,” he said. “Forget I said anything.”

***

“I hate this little bumfuck town,” Lucifer said morosely. Sam was driving to the grocery store. Lucifer’s elbows were hanging out the passenger side window, his chin resting on his forearms. “All this time with you and all I’ve seen is bumfuck little towns. And a whole lot of highway.”

“I’m sorry, but this is where – ”

“I know, I know,” Lucifer groaned. “This is where Cranky Girlfriend lives. Heaven forbid we leave Kermit, Texas for a few days. She might get cranky with no one around to witness it.”

“I don’t know what to tell you,” Sam said. “This is where I live now.”

“Yeah. Ipso facto, it’s where I’m forced to live, too.”

They were silent for the rest of the trip. On the way back from the store, Lucifer spoke again, the whining note gone from his voice.

“What’s your favorite place you ever visited?”

“Chaco Canyon,” Sam said immediately. He didn’t elaborate, and after a moment Lucifer circled his hand.

“Go on,” he said impatiently. “Why? What happened? What the hell is Chaco Canyon?”

“I went when I was sixteen,” Sam replied. “There were native tribes that used to live there, hundreds of years ago. And we heard reports of tourists going missing or turning up dead – ”

Lucifer started laughing. “You had to put indigenous peoples seeking revenge to rest? How could your smug, liberal little mind possibly accept that?”

“I didn’t accept it,” Sam replied. “I had a big argument with my dad. Told him we had to find another way. He shot me down, of course. I was pretty pissed.”

“I bet you sulked for the whole trip.”

Sam smiled. “The whole car ride, yeah. But when we got there…it was so beautiful. It was this perfect day – bright blue skies; hot, but not oppressive. I got to just be a tourist – my dad and Dean were investigating the case, but I refused to help, so I just walked around and took it all in. These massive, sheer rock faces, and the kivas where they held their rituals, and their living quarters – ”

“Sounds nice.” Sam looked at Lucifer quickly to see if he was being sarcastic, but he was just staring straight ahead with an expression Sam couldn’t read.

“It was,” he said uncertainly.

***

That evening, Sam and Amelia were sharing a meal in Sam’s hotel room.

“So, I think I’m going out of town for a week or two,” Sam said. He glanced at Amelia to gauge her reaction. She only raised an eyebrow questioningly.

“I need to take a trip to New Mexico,” Sam said. “But I’ll be back, of course. And I’ll call you from the road. Every day, if you want.” He gave her a little smile, and she smiled back.

“Okay,” she said. She didn’t ask why. They were good at not asking each other too many questions.

“What’s in New Mexico?” Lucifer asked from the corner, where he was sitting on the floor, arms resting on his knees.

“Chaco Canyon,” Sam said. “Talking about it today made me want to go back.”

“Bad enough to abandon this nice lady for two whole weeks?”

Sam took a bite of his food. “You should see it,” he said, not looking at Lucifer.

Lucifer blinked. “Huh,” he said. “Okay. And on the way, do I also get a handjob, or – ”

“Shut up. Don’t make me regret being nice to you,” Sam said.

Lucifer was quiet.

***

Sam was fixing a broken air conditioner in one of the motel rooms. He scanned his tool box, unable to find the tool he needed. Lucifer pointed to it silently, and Sam picked it up.

“Thanks,” he said.

“No problem,” Lucifer said, sounding bored.

“So, how come you don’t hate me anymore?” Sam asked a moment later.

Lucifer raised an eyebrow at him. “Well, that came out of left field.”

Sam gave a little laugh. “I thought you’d say you do still hate me.”

Lucifer rolled his eyes. “That head of yours is really just there to support the weight of your hair, isn’t it?”

Sam blinked at him. “What?”

Lucifer sighed. “I never hated you, you moron.”

Sam snorted and went back to the air conditioner. “You – well, okay, not-you, but you’ve got a ton of the same memories, so whatever – you spent a year and a half in the Cage torturing me. And then you – actual you – spent another year torturing me from inside my head, so – ”

“I was angry with you, Sam. Lovers’ quarrels will happen, you know.”

“It was two and a half years!” He frowned. “Actually, if you factor in the Hell time thing, it was closer to two hundred.”

Lucifer spread his hands. “What do you want from me? I’m literally older than dirt. A couple centuries isn’t really that long to me.”

“Oh,” Sam said slowly. “I guess I see your point.” He kept fiddling with the air conditioner.

“I felt sorry for you, Sam. I told you that the first time I met you. And sometimes I think you’re pathetic, and sometimes you’re dumber than a sack of hammers, and generally I find humans pretty disgusting. But I never actually hated you. I was just pissed.”

“But you’re not anymore?”

Lucifer rolled his eyes. “Feelings time is over. I’m all shared out.” Sam glanced up, half-expecting Lucifer to be gone, but he was still sitting against a wall, watching Sam work. Sam picked up another tool and turned his attention to the air conditioner again.

***

“This was amazing,” Sam said to Amelia, as they polished off the last of his birthday picnic.

“Well, the celebration isn’t over yet,” Amelia said. “You haven’t opened your present!”

She pulled a wrapped box from her bag.

“It’s heavy,” Sam said, as he pulled off the paper. When he saw what was inside, he started laughing.

“What?” Amelia asked. “You love that show! You hurry home to catch it when you can. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.”

Sam looked at the complete Charmed DVD box set in his hands, still smiling. “Yeah, I guess I do.”

“What’s your thing with it, anyway? Is it the way they’re always dressing in skimpy outfits? It’s okay, you can admit it.”

“No, it’s not that,” Sam said. “Although I have to say, they don’t look half bad.”

Amelia laughed and swatted him. “Seriously. What’s the deal?”

“Well, there’s this guy I know who has a bizarre obsession with it. So I guess I…watch it for him.”

“He can’t watch it on his own?”

Sam shrugged. “It’s kind of a long story.”

“This is a friend of yours?”

Sam stared at her for a long moment, frowning slightly. “Yeah. I guess – yeah. He’s a friend.”

“Sammy, you’ve touched me,” Lucifer cooed, from over Sam’s shoulder. “Right in my special place. I think we need to hug it out.” Sam rolled his eyes. Lucifer tapped the DVD box. “You know we’re going to marathon this, right?”

“You have weird friends, Sam,” Amelia said, smiling wryly.

“Believe me,” Sam replied. “You don’t know the half of it.”

***

Sam was silent on the drive to Rufus’ cabin. He didn’t shut Lucifer out, but he didn’t respond to him, either.

“Guess I’m going to have to accept the backseat from here on out,” Lucifer tried. Sam glanced at him, but didn’t give any further indication that he’d heard.

“Unless I sit between you guys,” Lucifer continued brightly. “How would that be? I could be the meat in a Winchester sandwich. Sounds cozy. Cuddling up to you manly hunters. The twelve layers of flannel would surely keep me warm in the winter, even if the heater goes on the fritz.”

Sam said nothing.

“Well,” Lucifer said finally, as they neared the cabin. “At least I’m not going to have to listen to you blah blah blah all the time anymore. You’ll finally have someone to talk to about hunting, obviously. And you won’t need to go on and on and on about how your poor heart is weeping and dying without Dean. Things are going to be a lot quieter. What a relief. I bet you two just fall right back into each other’s arms.”

Sam pulled up in front of the cabin, put the car in park, and shut off the engine.

“I don’t know what you’re looking for here, but I’m not really in the mood for whatever game you’re playing,” he said. He got out of the car and slammed the door shut. Lucifer rolled his eyes.

“Drama queen,” he muttered, following Sam into the cabin.

The second Sam stepped inside, Dean tackled him to the ground and poured holy water on him, followed by a Borax shower and a cut with a silver knife. Sam spluttered as Lucifer laughed.

“I guess the drama queen thing runs in the family,” Lucifer remarked.

Dean subjected himself to the same trials, then pulled Sam in for a hug. Lucifer began singing “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.” Sam ignored him.

He continued to ignore him as he and Dean caught up on the last year. Lucifer had seated himself on a chair in the cabin and there was a tub of movie theater popcorn in his lap, which he was crunching loudly as he provided color commentary.

“Ha! Told you so,” he said, when Dean revealed he’d spent the year in Purgatory. And then “Oooh….” as Dean realized Sam hadn’t looked for him.

“Good,” Dean said. “That’s good. We always told each other not to look for each other. That’s smart. Good for you. Of course, we always ignored that because of our deep, abiding love for each other, but not this time, right, Sammy?”

Sam carefully did not look at Lucifer, whose eyes were round as saucers.

“Sam,” Lucifer said. “Is there something you want to tell me?”

“Shut up,” Sam muttered, so only Lucifer could hear.

“Because Dean sounds more like a clingy ex than your brother.”

“Hello? Sam?” Dean snapped. “You still with me?”

“Look, I’m still the same guy, Dean,” Sam said.

“Well, bully for you. I’m not.” He stomped out of the cabin.

“Welcome back,” Sam said.

He glanced at Lucifer, who had a wide grin on his face.

“What are you so happy about?” Sam snapped at him.

“Oh, nothing. I just forgot how well the two of you get along.”

Sam sighed.

“Buck up, Sammy,” Lucifer continued. “That could’ve gone much worse.”

“Yeah,” Sam said. “I mean, he could have stabbed me.” He looked ruefully at the cut on his arm.

“He could have cried when you told him you didn’t look for him,” Lucifer said cheerfully. “Actually, that would’ve been great. I love that single tear of manpain thing he does. Well, it was good entertainment, anyway.” He held out the tub of popcorn towards Sam. “Want some?”

***

Kevin was asleep in the backseat of the Impala, as they drove to his mother’s house. Lucifer sat next to him, looking pissy.

“He’s on my side,” he told Sam.

Sam huffed a little laugh. “You don’t take up any physical space.”

“It’s still annoying. Why don’t you sit back here with the propheteer instead?”

“Propheteer?”

“Yeah, prophet slash Mouseketeer,” Lucifer said. “Honestly, what is he, twelve? My Father can be such a douche canoe.”

Sam smiled, suppressing a laugh. Dean glanced over at him.

“What?” he asked.

“Nothing,” Sam said. “I was just remembering something funny.”

“Yeah, I’m hilarious,” Lucifer said, resting his head back and closing his eyes.

“You want to share with the group?” Dean said. Sam waved a dismissive hand.

“It’s nothing, it…wouldn’t make sense,” he said.

“Are you a bad liar,” Lucifer said.

“Dude, what’s up with you?” Dean asked.

“What are you talking about?” Sam said, with his best innocent face.

“Where do I start? I mean, besides quitting hunting for a year, you’re really out of it all the time. You keep smiling at your own thoughts, which are apparently damn hysterical but still not worth telling, and the other night I heard you mutter something to yourself as I was coming out of the bathroom.”

“Thought you broke yourself of talking to me out loud,” Lucifer said, without opening his eyes. “All these reunions must have you pretty unsettled, huh?”

“Dean, you’re reading too much into stuff,” Sam replied. “It…it was a weird year. I’m still getting back into the swing of hunting. I guess it’s got me a little unsettled.”

“Copycat,” Lucifer said.

Dean looked at Sam closely. “Okay,” he said, after a moment. “If you say so. You’d tell me if something was wrong, though. Right, Sammy?”

“Yeah, of course,” Sam replied.

Lucifer laughed, opening his eyes and leaning forward. “Do you two lie to each other all the time just to keep the spark alive?”

“I’m not lying,” Sam said defensively. “I said I’d tell him if something was wrong. Nothing’s wrong.”

“You’re withholding, which is tantamount to lying. You cried for a whole year over ‘lying’ to Amelia by not telling her about hunting. I have the tearstained shirts to prove it.”

“On a scale of one to ten,” Sam said frostily, “how much do you think Dean would freak out right now if I told him I still hear you in my head?”

Lucifer chewed his lip thoughtfully. “Scale of one to ten?”

“Yeah.”

“Probably about a billion.”

“Yeah,” Sam said.

Lucifer leaned back against the seat. “Okay, but you know the longer you wait, the worse he’s going to be, right?”

“There’s no reason he ever needs to know.”

Lucifer snorted. “Hey, it’s your life, Sasquatch. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

***

Sam and Dean had been driving for hours without speaking, the silence thick and uncomfortable. Sam had slept restlessly, on and off, but it was morning, and the pale, early daylight had chased away any possibility of rest. He stared at the road, laid out straight in front of them, too distracted to take in the fields full of wildflowers on either side.

From the backseat, Lucifer looked back and forth between Sam and Dean.

“This is really awkward,” he said.

“Not now,” Sam muttered.

“No, I mean it. I feel uncomfortable. Mommy, are you and Daddy going to get a divorce?”

Sam grimaced and shook his head. Dean glanced at him, but didn’t say anything.

“Come on, Sam. Just because you two are all butt-hurt at each other, as usual, doesn’t mean I should have to suffer. Would you at least try to make up with him?”

“I’m telling you, I’m not in the mood,” Sam said, voice rising slightly.

“Just tell him that he made you all sad with the stuff he said when he was possessed by the vengeance spirit spectre thing. He’ll apologize, you’ll have a manly hunter hug, and we can all move on with our lives.”

“I said I’m not in the fucking mood!” Sam said, jamming his thumb hard into his scar. Lucifer disappeared, and Sam looked up to see Dean’s suddenly bloodless face staring at him. He pulled his hands apart quickly.

“What?” he demanded. Dean turned the wheel sharply to the right, pulling over and slamming on the brakes. He gripped the steering wheel.

“When the fuck were you going to tell me about this?” he asked in a low voice.

Sam put his head back, suddenly exhausted. “Tell you about what?” he said.

Dean glared at him. “Don’t you fucking lie to me, Sammy. Not about this.”

“Dean, it’s not what you think.”

“Oh yeah? Because I think you’re hearing Lucifer again!”

Sam was silent.

“Am I wrong?”

“No, you’re not wrong,” Sam replied. “But – ”

“Jesus, Sam, I can’t believe…” Dean rubbed his forehead. “I don’t know why it took me so long to figure it out. You’re just like you were two years ago.”

“No, it’s not like that anymore,” Sam tried, but Dean was shaking his head.

“How long?” he asked. Sam sighed. “How long, Sam?”

“Pretty much as soon as you got sent to Purgatory,” Sam replied.

Dean looked stricken. “Since then? Fuck, man, why didn’t you say something?”

“I didn’t think you’d understand,” Sam mumbled.

“Not understand?” Dean said. “What’s not to understand?!”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you,” Sam said. “If you’d just listen – ”

“I am listening!”

“Well, if you’d stop interrupting me!”

Dean fell silent, and gave a short nod. Sam took a breath.

“He’s not – okay, well, the first thing to know is, he can’t make me hallucinate anymore. Or doesn’t, but I don’t think he can. And the hand scar works again. I can make him go away when I want to.”

Dean gave a little laugh. “You make it sound like there are times you don’t want him to.”

Sam swallowed. “There are.”

Dean stared at him. “What the fuck are you talking about?”

“He’s – look, he’s not like he used to be, Dean. I mean – so, when you went to Purgatory, I had no one, okay? No you, no Bobby, no Cas…Crowley got Meg and Kevin, even.”

“Yeah, I know,” Dean said, voice a little softer.

“And Lucifer – well, he lives in my head. So, he doesn’t have anyone, either. Except – ”

“Oh, please don’t say what I think you’re about to say.”

“Except me,” Sam said firmly. “And, don’t get me wrong, for awhile he was a real dick. He can still be a dick. But…it was a long year.” He shrugged. “And we became…friends. Kind of.”

Dean was staring at the Imapala’s dashboard. “Can’t imagine why you thought I wouldn’t understand that,” he said.

“Dean – ”

“He spent a year trying to kill you, Sam! He tortured you!”

“I didn’t say it wasn’t fucked up, Dean. But what about our lives isn’t fucked up?”

Dean nodded. “So, you don’t want to find a way to get rid of him, then?” He finally looked at Sam.

“I…no.” Sam frowned. “I don’t think we could anyway, do you?”

“We could try.”

Sam shrugged. “It’s…not really necessary.”

Dean shook his head. “I dunno, Sam. I go away for a year and you get a dog and become besties with Satan. I don’t know who the fuck you are anymore.” He put the car in drive again and pulled onto the highway.

“Dean – ” Sam started, but Dean flipped on the radio and turned it way up, even though the song that had come on was by Justin Bieber.

“He must really be upset,” Lucifer shouted from the backseat, hands over his ears.

“How did you get back so fast?” Sam asked, his tone resigned.

“WHAT?” Lucifer yelled. Sam rolled his eyes.

“Cut the theatrics, I know you can hear me,” he said. Lucifer dropped his hands and smirked.

“In answer to your question, I don’t know. I guess you must have missed me.”

Sam rolled his eyes harder.

“I heard you sticking up for me,” Lucifer said.

“When did I do that?”

“Oh, please.” Lucifer leaned forward and rested his chin on the seat, looking smug. “You told your brother we’re friends.”

“So?”

“You said you didn’t want to get rid of me.”

“I said I didn’t think I could.”

“You like me,” Lucifer said, sing-song.

“Haven’t we been over this before?” Sam said, trying to sound annoyed, but his face had relaxed and he was looking out the passenger side window to hide a little smile from Dean.

“It just makes me feel all warm and gooey,” Lucifer said, tousling Sam’s hair. Sam slapped his hand away, still smiling.

***

Dean didn’t mention Lucifer again. Sam was relieved, at first, not to have to talk about it. Then, for reasons he couldn’t quite explain, he started to feel a little annoyed. He stopped trying so hard to hide his reactions to Lucifer, but Dean still ignored all the signs.

Until Castiel returned from Purgatory. Castiel had just come out of the bathroom, the dirt and blood gone from his skin and clothing, clean and looking freshly shaved.

“Dean looks really impressed with Castiel’s makeover,” Lucifer said. He was leaning against a wall behind Sam.

“I guess,” Sam said.

“Do you think he’s into him?”

“What – Dean into Cas?”

“Why not? Castiel is obviously way in love with him.”

Sam huffed a little laugh. It was barely audible, but Dean looked sharply at him, and his expression turned hard.

“Seriously?” he spit out. “Right now?”

“Dean,” Sam said quietly.

“It’s not enough that Cas is back? You’ve got to chat with your imaginary friend?”

“Tell your brother words can hurt,” Lucifer said.

“It’s not like that, Dean,” Sam said. “He’s just…there, sometimes.”

“I’m sorry,” Castiel said, looking from one to the other in confusion. “Who is here?”

“Oh, yeah,” Dean said, turning to Castiel with an affronted attitude. “I’ve got a bone to pick with you, man.”

Castiel frowned. “Which one do you want to pick?”

“Just wanted to say – real good job healing Sam up last year.” Dean gave him a thumbs up. “Just stellar work, getting Lucifer out of his head.”

“I don’t understand.” Castiel looked at Sam. “Lucifer was gone. I fixed you.”

“Next time, be a little more thorough about it, would you?” Dean said.

“Sam?” Castiel said.

Sam sighed. “It’s okay, Cas.”

“Do you still see Lucifer?”

“Yeah, but it’s not – “

“Oh, I don’t want to hear this bullshit again,” Dean said, getting up and heading out the door. “I’m going on a beer run.” He slammed the door behind him.

“Sam,” Castiel said solemnly. “I am so sorry. I truly believed that I had lifted this burden from you. I even saw Lucifer myself, for a time.”

“I’d forgotten that,” Sam said. He glanced at Lucifer. “Were you – ”

“Nope,” Lucifer said. “I never left here. Guess he had his own version. Not as long-lived, apparently. Probably not as fun as me.”

“I will try again,” Castiel said, reaching towards Sam, fingers outstretched. Sam pulled away.

“It’s okay, Cas, really,” he said. “It’s not a problem.”

“I don’t understand.”

Sam did his best to explain, as he had with Dean. Castiel listened, nodding slowly. When Sam had finished, Castiel’s eyes flicked around the room.

“Is he present now?” he asked.

“Yeah,” Sam said.

“Tell him I said hello,” Lucifer whispered.

“Uh, he says hi,” Sam said. Castiel cocked his head to the side.

“Hello…” he said cautiously.

“Ask him if he misses me,” Lucifer urged. Sam rolled his eyes.

“And he doesn’t try to hurt you anymore?” Castiel asked.

“No, never,” Sam said. “I mean, sometimes he’s an asshole.”

“Sam, don’t air our dirty laundry to my little brother.”

“But, like friends do. He’s just giving me a hard time.”

“Now you’re just being condescending,” Lucifer put in.

“Mostly he’s just, I don’t know, this guy that hangs out in the back of my head,” Sam said. “He’s weirdly good company, when he wants to be. And he actually listens to my problems, if you can believe that.”

“I’m glad,” Castiel said. “For both of you.” He sighed. “I was alone in Purgatory. I understand how difficult it can be. I think I would have welcomed a friendly voice.”

“Kinda friendly,” Sam said, with a slight smile.

“Even that,” Castiel said. “Even Lucifer.” He was silent for a moment. “I think I understand him better now. His frustration with some of our Father’s decisions.”

Sam glanced at Lucifer, waiting for a snarky comment, but Lucifer had crossed his arms over his chest, his face unreadable.

“Would you mind if I watched some television?” Castiel asked politely. Sam smiled and shook his head.

“Knock yourself out.” Castiel frowned.

“Why would I – ”

“It’s an idiom, Cas. I just mean, go on ahead.”

***

Part 3
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