[ Master Post ]
Title: Struffoli With Your Sulk?
Characters: Lucian ♂, Gabriel ♅
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V1 D0)
Warnings: Gabriel doesn’t have internal organs, but Luci, that’s still disgusting. Also, the usual blasphemy, expletives, sibling rivalry, already-been-chewed pastry, more sugar than the Holy Father ever intended any one of his children to eat in a single sitting.
Notes: Love isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. Also, why it’s important to have friends who will come disrupt your sulking with their abject dickery in the wake of a truly necessary breakup.
It wasn’t that Lucian didn’t lock his door, it was just that his siblings didn’t need keys. Possibly one of the downsides to being an angel. He gazed despairingly across the top of a Neil Gaiman novel, from his chair beneath the window, as Gabriel swished into the room, dropped a box on the coffee table, and tossed itself backward across the couch.
"They hail you as their morning star, because you are the way you are…" Gabriel draped a hand dramatically across its forehead, with an overly sympathetic eye on Lucian.
"Gabriel, if you attempt to finish that poem, I will come over there." The golden gleam in Lucian’s eye was warning enough.
The blond angel batted its eyes. "If you return the sentiment, they’ll—" The sentence ended in a choked gurgle, as a blinding flash of red-gold light signalled Lucian’s nearly-instantaneous transit across the room, knees first onto Gabriel’s chest.
"If I’d known it was that simple, I’d have started sooner," Gabriel wheezed, yanking one of Lucian’s dreds. "I brought struffoli."
"Of course you did. You wouldn’t show up like that without a bribe." Lucian leaned back and to the side, opening the box on the coffee table and plucking out a honey-ball. As he licked the sticky sweetness off his fingers, he eyed Gabriel suspiciously. "Neither of your hands is violating my innards. Are you well?"
"Oh, I’m fine. You’re not." Suddenly, Gabriel’s hands were on Lucian’s face, cupping his cheeks, forcing him to look down. "Luci, are you falling?"
"Falling? Me?" Gales of laughter shook Lucian’s body, his knees sliding off Gabriel’s chest, to the sides. "No, Gabi, I’m not falling. I haven’t fallen. I won’t be falling. I’m just tired."
"Tired of living wild and breaking hearts? You’ve been doing it for … twenty thousand years, now?" Gabriel stretched futilely in the direction of the box of pastry.
"Tired of breaking hearts. I’ve never lived wild. It’s too much effort." Snatching up the box, Lucian held it over his head in one hand, feeding himself another sticky bit of cake with the other.
"You had an orgy with Belphegor. More than one, as I recall. This is ‘not living wild’?" Gabriel jammed a hand into Lucian’s chest and swallowed a sound that resonated down its bones. The windows rattled dully.
Lucian gasped, wild-eyed, but kept a grip on the box of pastry, keeping it firmly out of Gabriel’s reach. "It wasn’t like I planned it! We were there, it sounded like fun, so it happened."
"You need to change your definition of ‘wild’, if that doesn’t count. Or what about that time in Paris, when everyone thought you were a parade float, and no one could figure out who you belonged to?" Fingers curling, Gabriel changed tones, and felt the resonance return through Lucian’s thighs.
"That was pretty funny. That was also timing and negotiation. Business is not that wild, even if it is in the middle of a festival that conveniently provides cover. I’d have done it anyway, if I didn’t think Dad would notice." Lucian chewed his lip, and his internal density shifted slightly. "You’re good, but I’m getting used to the way you think."
"Are you?" Gabriel laughed, and Lucian’s arm discomposed in a swirl of red light and sand. Catching the falling box with its other hand, Gabriel stole a pastry and watched Lucian’s panting confusion evolve into understanding, as the arm recomposed.
"You walked me right into that," he laughed, reaching into the box for another.
"I did. And you’re distracted enough that you didn’t see it." Gabriel slid its hand out of Lucian’s chest, slowly.
Lucian sighed. "He fell in love with me. I had to let him go. It’s always so ugly."
"Oh, Luci, what does it matter? What’s five or ten years? They get bored so easily." It was a conversation they’d had before, but Gabriel had never gotten an answer.
The words hung in the air between them, soaking up every other sound in the room.
"It’s part of his parting gift, isn’t it?"
"I don’t think he knew. If he knew, I don’t think he cared." Lucian shrugged and ate more pastry, licking the honey off his fingers. "I was already gone. Does he know me? Yes. He’ll always know me. Is he paying attention? No, and I’d like to keep it that way."
"He cursed her, and you ate it, because you’re part of her," Gabriel guessed.
"That’s not a question." Questions focused him, brought the relevant truths to the surface.
Gabriel rolled its eyes and repeated itself, this time with a rising inflection.
"Yes. Part of her curse is mine, because I am part of her. But, because she is lost to me, and I am half-blind to him, that is all I know." Shaking his head, Lucian went after the pastry again. "Do you know how infuriating it is to know the truth of all things, except the things you would most like to question?"
Gabriel’s eyebrows arced up. "Luci…"
"Right, yes, you do, don’t you. Mystery and revelation." Lucian paused, sticky fingertips in his mouth. "Mystery and revelation. Oh, Gabi, if you’re willing to get thrown out, again, I have a terrible idea."
"Terrible bad, or terrible I should be terrified?"It was a subtle distinction.
"Terrible we should both be terrified, whether it works or not."
"That doesn’t sound like a good idea, Lovelight."
Lucian flinched and Gabriel grimaced.
"Sorry, my light of truth. I didn’t think."
"I know. You wouldn’t."
"Yes, I would. But, you’d see it coming."
"I so often forget you have that in you," Lucian admitted. "I so often think of you as his merciful messenger of good tidings."
"You forget I laid waste to the plain of Canaan with my bare hands and my will," Gabriel teased.
"It was before I met you!"Lucian protested. "You have been little but merciful to me."
"Liar. I’ve shown you no mercy, have I?" The question was not rhetorical, and the bottles in the cabinet on the wall hummed with it.
"You haven’t, have you?" Relief washed over Lucian’s features, as he moved the box of pastry to the back of the couch, and stretched out along Gabriel’s side.
"Never." Gabriel wrapped an arm under Lucian’s waist, clutching at his hip, fingers digging in to the bone. "I don’t think I ever will. If I do, o Morning-star, what will you have done?"
"It hasn’t happened yet. There is no truth to know." Settling his cheek against Gabriel’s shoulder, Lucian curled his fingers into Gabriel’s chest, until his fist rested where Gabriel’s heart would have been, if it had one. "And I don’t always forget your vengeful side. It’s just harder to remember, when I’m accustomed to your presence. You leave my side, and it all comes rushing back."
"You mean, I return to your side, and I’m not carrying pastries, and it all comes rushing back." Gabriel reached over Lucian, with its free hand, pulling a few more globs of honeyed pastry from the shrinking pyramid in the box.
"You know me so well."
"I know what you fear, and you should know, by now, it won’t be me." Gabriel pressed its sticky fingers against Lucian’s lips.
"Don’t be so sure," Lucian muttered, licking at the honey. "We know the intent. We know what to expect. But, a moment’s thought would make clear that I usually trust you."
"I’ve spent too long down here, now. I, me, mine. I’ve disappointed him before, and I know the price. I paid it for Jerusalem. I paid it for Dhu’l-Halasa, but that I deserved, and more. Do you think I wouldn’t pay it for you?" Pulling the box down, Gabriel rested it on Lucian’s wrist.
"I don’t think he’d give you the option. You keep forgetting we’re not supposed to be able to make choices, for ourselves. That’s a privilege reserved for the other half of the family. When he decides he’s done putting up with us, we’re going to stop having the choice to do what we believe is right." Shifting his arm, Lucian eyed the box of pastry inches from his face. "I believe you’ll pay, but I don’t think it’s the price you think it is, or that it will provide the benefit you seek. Did you just bring struffoli to tease me with it?"
Gabriel offered a clump of honeyed pastry, bits of candied fruit stuck to it, and kept talking, while Lucian licked the stuff off its fingers. "I don’t forget we’re not intended for this. I just remember that he couldn’t bend you. That’s what made you dangerous. That’s what you’re doing down here. You questioned him, and he couldn’t make you obey."
"Mmf." Lucian swallowed and tried again. "You’re not me, and you’re not her. We’re different. I can’t be sure of all the ways you’re not like us."
"Our father has had opportunities where changing my mind would have served him much better than what he did. He hasn’t done it." Gabriel demolished a few more honey-balls, contented hums echoing through the tall windows on the opposite wall. "And why would he choose me, when Michael is so eager to do this for him? And the point we’re both ignoring: When he decides he’s done, none of us will be able to stop him. It would be a testament to our fortitude if Nico and I could even slow him down. It would take a Greater Lord, and for the most part, we’re their least favourite things."
"Only you, Gabriel. I say I’m not sure I can trust you, and you turn it into ‘who cares, we’re all fucked anyway’." Lucian buried his face against Gabriel’s neck and laughed.
"It’s true, and you know it." Settling its chin against Lucian’s forehead, Gabriel nudged Lucian’s face back. "Quit that. Your lips are sticky, and you’re going to get it in my hair."
"Whose fault is that? You brought me honey-soaked pastry. Which you should quit hogging."
"Make me." After twenty-five hundred years of knowing him, Gabriel was pretty sure Lucian actually could, assuming he quit sulking long enough to pay attention.
Gabriel felt Lucian’s smile, rather than saw it. It had time to grab the edge of the box, but that was it. Lucian’s hand dug deeper into its chest, fingers curling and twisting.
"You can do better than that," Gabriel grunted, dismissively.
And then Lucian’s hand pulled back out, cupping a wad of chewed, but otherwise unsullied, pastry. Gabriel, as usual, had foregone human organs, in favour of something more similar to osmosis. It still hadn’t expected Lucian to try that.
Lucian smugly sucked the remains off his palm. "Yes, I can. And I did."
"Cheater," Gabriel scoffed, and the crystal in the cabinet squealed.
"If that was cheating, so was discomposing my arm." Lucian jabbed a finger between Gabriel’s ribs.
"I didn’t say I didn’t cheat. I just said you did." Gabriel squirmed futilely, for a bit. "Get up, so I don’t have to feed these things to you. Or chew them for you."
Lucian threw a leg across Gabriel’s hips. "What if I want you to feed them to me?"
"Call your flavour of the week. Gavin, come feed me pastries! I’m lazy!"
The words hung awkwardly between them, as Gabriel remembered what it was doing there in the first place. Lucian cleared his throat.
"Shut up and open your mouth," Gabriel muttered, windows humming with its discomfort, as it offered another honey ball to Lucian.
Lucian bit Gabriel’s fingers, as he took the pastry. "It’s just such a waste," he complained, licking at the bits of cake stuck in his teeth.
"What happens if they don’t go? I’m sure you’ve tried."
"It’s fatal. It burns me, and it kills them. They waste away in a few months, and I have to change shells." Lucian licked another pastry out of Gabriel’s hand. "If they leave with no love for me left, they survive and so do I."
"Have you loved any of them?" The next pastry went into Gabriel’s mouth.
"No. Notice I’m still here, and I’m still me. I couldn’t have." Lucian gnawed at Gabriel’s chest, and the next pastry ended up in his mouth.
"You really can’t, can you?" Gabriel asked.
"No, I can’t. I’ve also told you that sixty-eight times, in the last two thousand three hundred and twenty-seven years. I wasn’t counting before that."
"If I asked, you’d know."
"Please don’t. I don’t want to know."
"Something you don’t want to know? I never thought I would see the day!" A series of sticky-fingered, shifting paper sounds emanated from the pastry box as Gabriel tried to find the last few. "We’ve reached the bottom of the box, my shining star of eternal beauty."
"Because you’re a ravening glutton, you moon-mad thing." Lucian pulled his leg back and shifted his hips, nudging Gabriel toward the edge of the couch. "Is this the part where you go get more, and maybe some of that mango sherbet with the butterscotch bits? A gallon of dark chocolate syrup and a bucket of berries? A bottle of devash and a sack of figs?"
"And I’m a ravening glutton?" The last of the pastry went into Gabriel’s mouth, and then it smacked a sticky hand across all of Lucian’s face.
"You’re a ravening glutton, and I mean to share with you, so there has to be enough for both of us. I’m sulking. It was a terrible break-up. It pains me still. I need fruit and honey and a Battlestar Galactica marathon, or I shall never recover." Lucian prodded at Gabriel’s hand with his tongue, gazing piously between the fingers.
"You’re lucky you’re cute," Gabriel muttered, pushing itself up off the couch with the hand still on Lucian’s face. "Go wash your face. If I have to go stockpile for your pity party, you’re coming with me. You can snivel all you like, while we shop. I know you’ll stop as soon as the shades are drawn and you’ve got a gallon of sherbet to yourself."
"A gallon of sherbet is enough to temporarily resolve any of my ills." A mischievous smile lit Lucian’s face, as he pulled himself up over the back of the couch and landed on his feet.
"Do you want me to call Nico?" Gabriel called after him, as Lucian went to wash the honey off his face.
"Please don’t! He’s got enough to worry about. Just you, me, and enough sugar to do something outrageous. Let’s do something outrageous, Gabi." Lucian re-appeared, rubbing his face with a hand towel.
"I thought you said you didn’t live a wild life," Gabriel reminded him, sweeping toward the door, drapes of linen fluttering in its wake.
"So, maybe it’s time for something different." Throwing the towel at the coffee table, Lucian followed.