Breathless by elfin, continued

They descended.  Zeke felt the heat, and then the intense pressure surrounding
them.  He was clasped firmly against the hard, hot form of the devil; one arm
was wrapped closely around him, while the other hand remained over his hollow
eye sockets.  They came to a slow stop, yet his feet still could not touch any
ground.  The figure behind him melted, taking on the form that he usually
assumed down in the pit, Zeke imagined.  He was wrong.  He imagined a forked
talk, long pointed fingers, a forked tail and horns of flames.  He did not see
the light, nor the wings unfurled.

        "Trust me."  The timbre of the voice was the same, yet the multitude that sang
around it remained in Ezekiel's head for a long time, like an echo, comforting
him, keeping him balanced while the same black spells that had originally
allowed him to take back his old form worked once again.  Zeke suddenly found
himself blinking behind the loosened hand.  Still he was blind to his
surroundings, and he was thankful for that.  Already the screams of the damned
were beginning to filter through to this place, this half-way point between life
on earth and immortality in hell....

        Abruptly, Ezekiel found himself in his apartment in New York.  He was alone.
He opened his eyes without fear, knowing all was well again - as well as it
could be.  Outside, the sun was up and the streets were coming alive as the day
began.  Dropping down onto the edge of the bed, Zeke took in several deep
breaths.  Even the stale air of the apartment was glorious compared to the
stifling smog of the underworld.

        Lying back, Zeke's eyes took in the detail of the dirty ceiling.  The verse
from Milton was gone.


        When he next opened his eyes, it was late afternoon.  He turned his head to
look out of the window, and was surprised to find he was being watched.  Lucifer
had pulled up a chair, turned it and straddled it, folded his arms across the
back and rested his chin on his hand.  He smiled at Zeke.  "Hey."
        Ezekiel blinked against the light.  "Hey yourself.  What are you doing here?"
        "Protecting my investment?  I wanted to make sure you were all right."
        Zeke rubbed his eyes and sat up.  "Yeah, I think."  He pointed vaguely upwards.
"The verse has gone."
        "Of course.  He has no further use for it."

        Ezekiel processed what had happened that very morning.  "Does he know what you
        "I doubt he expects that returning you to hell is a permanent solution to his
        The devil's answer worried him.  "Is there a permanent solution... to me?"
        Lucifer hesitated for a moment, and then shook his head.  "No.  Not while your
soul is mine."
        Another answer that caused concern.  Not wanting to continue this, Zeke swung
his legs off the bed, opposite to where the devil sat, and stood.  "Any pointers
you can to give in this instance would be greatly appreciated."  His voice
gained an echo as he stepped into the cold bathroom.  He didn't have to eat or
drink, but he did, so his body needed to empty itself.

        "Instead of talking to my escaped wards, you should think about simply shooting
them in the eyes the moment you find them and ending it."
        "I'm trying to make friends," Zeke called out from behind the door.  "I might
have to face them again one day."  He imagined he could feel the Devil's
eyebrows raising.
        "Doubting me, Ezekiel?"
        The toilet flushed, and Zeke stepped back into the bedroom.  "Should I be?"
        With a serious tone rarely heard in the Devil's voice, Lucifer replied, "We
made a deal, I won't break my word to you."
        "Um."  Grabbing his jacket, Zeke headed for the door; the less time he spent in
this dump, the better.  He caught the expression of... bewilderment?  hurt,
perhaps, on the Devil's face.  He sighed.  Sometimes it was like having a
temperamental child following him everywhere.  "Coming?"


        "The same café, Ezekiel?  Why not live a little?  Branch out, find new and
exciting places."
        The words fell on deaf ears.  Zeke was several paces ahead of his boss, had
already pushed open the door and stepped into the dingy, road-side diner.
Lucifer followed like a trained puppy, unsure why he was remaining at his
detective's heals.  He told himself it was to ensure Zeke didn't stray from the
path set for him.  He told himself that Kanundra had to be caught, had to be
returned, because otherwise the Devil himself would be in real trouble.  That
was what he told himself; anything else was too disturbing, too disastrous to

        Zeke had the strangest feeling of deja-vu as he sat drinking his coffee,
waiting for his food, and watching the Devil sitting opposite him, arms folded,
chin rested on his hand.  "What's with you at the moment?" he asked finally.
        Dark eyes looked up at him, pinned him with a stare that told Ezekiel their
owner did not want a conversation.  Zeke gazed into those eyes, for the first
time actually looking at them.  The dark was simply a trick of the dim light
within the café.  Black, with golden specks, would have been a more accurate
description, black holes that a man could drown in, could lose himself in for
eternity... waiting for the end that never came....
        The Devil smiled as Zeke sat back, blinking away the vivid images of beauty
merged with violence.  "Some things are difficult to see, aren't they Ezekiel?"
        Before he could answer, the waitress was putting his plate in front of him.  By
the time Zeke looked back up, his companion was gone.


        It was pure coincidence that Ezekiel Stone arrived on the crime scene at all.
He had been wondering, walking around the city, searching for something that
would point him in the right direction.  Sometimes detective work was about
being patient too.  He wasn't a particularly patient man.

        He had been walking up towards the park when he had seen five marked police
cars, and several unmarked ones, all try to stop on the same piece of sidewalk.
He started towards the scene, attempting to reach out with the same senses that
always told him when the Devil had arrived in his presence.  It was a skill he
was trying to hone.

        Some yards from the large group, that had descended on the scene like vultures,
Zeke stopped.  He could feel Kanundra watching him.  The small hairs on his
arms, on the back of his neck, all stood up in response to the chill that spread
through him.  He changed direction, walking back into the park, knowing he was
starting toward the place they had met this morning.

        Hands - guns - at the ready, Zeke fired the moment he could focus on the
wayward demon.  Kanundra moved to one side and waved his hand in an arc in the
air.  The bullets dropped harmlessly to the ground, their energy taken from
them.  "They have found my sacrifice," he told Ezekiel proudly, indicating the
now large group of officials crowded around a small clearing some distance from

        Ezekiel kept his eyes on the human form in front of him.  Outwardly calm, his
mind was reeling.  How the hell was he meant to exorcise this soul?  The other
seemed to read his thoughts.  "You cannot harm me.  I'm not like the others.  I
had powers when I was mortal.  Now, immortality has given me the knowledge I
need to use those powers, to truly understand them.  No one can touch me, no
human, and certainly not the Devil's lapdog."
        "Then what?  You can't hurt me."
        "I can.  I did.  How many times would he save you?  How important are you to
him?"  Kanundra stepped forward, closing in on Zeke, his high cheek-bones
emphasising his deadly grin.

        Ezekiel started to back away, but the other seemed simply to move with him, in
perfect sync.  "There's no escape if I do not wish it."  Kanundra lifted his
arm, placing his hand on would-be executioner's shoulder, his ancient fingers
sinking into the cloth-covered flesh.  Zeke howled in pain, slumping under the
impossible weight of the hand he felt that he was being pushed back into the
unforgiving ground.


        Both spirits turned.  The Devil was standing behind Ezekiel, his human form
wavering, his hellish self slowly being revealed.  Zeke glanced back at his
captor and saw the slight uncertainty ghost across his sharp features.
        "I shall rid myself of the both of you!"  Yet the note of hysteria in
Kanundra's voice meant that the words had more confidence than the demon
actually felt.

        The Devil laughed.  It was not the laugh that Zeke was used to hearing from the
wide mouth.  It was an inhuman bellow of amusement and rage.  It echoed around
them, separating them from the mortal world, surrounding them with the fury of
hell and the surety of death.

        "You will return."

        Kanundra screamed as pressure began to build in his head.  The cry of the earth
opening assaulted each of their senses with its acrid smell, its ash taste, its
tearing sound, its terrible sight.  Ezekiel stumbled back as the soul of the
occultist finally broke through the weak flesh that sought to hold it, and
flooded out and down to be claimed once more by the grasp of hell.

        Silence echoed after Kanundra's final, desolate scream died away.  Zeke turned
slowly, watching the shifting form of the Devil in his true state.  He wanted to
say that the Devil had no power on earth.  But as he watched, before he could
speak, the human form reasserted itself.

        Lucifer stood still, no smile, no grin, his eyes molten gold as he looked at
Ezekiel with an ineffable sadness.  For a moment, Zeke thought Lucifer was going
to reach out to him, and in that moment, he would have gone willingly.  But
instead, that precious gaze was torn from him, and the Devil raised his hands to
the sky, arms up and spread, as if in acceptance of a divine intervention.

        The sky opened, and from the heavens a bolt of lightening struck downward.
Zeke fell back, recovering his balance and shielding his eyes as the gold/silver
bolt forked, reaching out to the Devil's hands to entwine electric tendrils with
the inhuman fingers.

        The violent energy wracked the body the Devil had chosen.  It surrounded him,
first with light, then with sparks, and finally with fire.

        Zeke screamed.  For a reason he did not understand he ran forward, crying out
at the justice being delivered.  Yet the fierce heat and the sharp pain of
electrocution drove him back.

        The Devil knitted his own fingers into the tendrils embracing his hands.  He
felt the surges, the agonising spikes of white-hot brutality that raced through
him, binding him to the spot.  He deserved this.  He had known when he had taken
his own form on earth and summoned his powers to the surface, that this would be
his punishment; the wrath of his father.  The anger vented on him many millennia
ago was a raw memory of shattered love.  This was merely a shadow of the
suffering he had experienced back then.  Now he could only bask in the agony,
because it was all that remained of what he once knew.

        Ezekiel again ran forward.  And when the innate power drove him away for a
second time, he turned his attention upwards.  "Let him go!"

        The punishment ceased.

        The lightening, the metallic screaming of the energy being released into the
earth, the Devil himself, all vanished.  Ezekiel was left standing alone.  And
some distance from him, the police were crowded around the crime scene,
blissfully unaware of the supernatural occurrences that had just taken place.
The reality that had pushed Zeke's own, borrowed life out of view.


        "Bourbon, double, no ice."
        The barman poured a generous double shot and placed the glass in front of his
trembling customer.  Ezekiel downed the drink in one.  "Again."
        The barman obliged.  "Tough day?"
        Zeke drank the strong liquid and nodded.  "You could say that."  He wished the
alcohol had more of an effect.  "Got anything stronger?"
        "How much do you have?"
        Zeke laughed as he dug the remaining change out of his pocket.  "Twenty seven
dollars... and ninety-six cents."  He placed it all onto the bar.  His host
seemed to hesitate, but something in Ezekiel's manner must have spoken volumes
about his state.  He nodded, and disappeared around the back for a minute or so.
When he returned, he carried a litre-sized bottle with no label.  "Sure about
        Zeke nodded.  "Definitely."
        The barman poured, and set the nameless bottle onto the bar.  Another momentary
glance at his odd customer, and he left Zeke alone to serve a woman who was

        Whatever it was, for Ezekiel the colourless liquid in the unlabeled bottle was
a godsend.  He could feel the light-headedness, the sheer drunkenness that he
had not experienced for over 15 years.  He tried not to think back on the events
that had brought him to this back-alley bar in the darkest part of New York, but
his mind refused to release it's hysterical grip on the images that haunted him.

        He wished, above everything else, that he didn't understand what had happened
in the park.  But he was a bright man, and even if he hadn't had the running
start - knowing about hell, knowing the Devil on a personal basis - he would
have known exactly what it was that he saw.  The repercussions; retribution,
revenge, punishment.  And Lucifer had been expecting it from the moment he had
used his powers to rid them of Kanundra's very real threat.

        What did that mean?  Could evil do good?  Could the Devil - the personification
of the unpardonable sin - really do the right thing?

        Ezekiel poured another glass and swallowed it.  He looked into the bottom of
the glass, then at the bottle, and leaned forward on the bar.  "Hey."  The
barman turned slowly.  "Got a straw?"


        Zeke guessed it was around three thirty am when he finally stumbled into his
apartment, having missed his floor three times in the elevator and ended up
taking the stairs up one flight.  He had drunk the whole bottle of whatever it
was that the barman had handed him.  He was eternally grateful, and he had
promised to find the bar again tomorrow to pay off the remainder of his tab.  He
knew the guy was going to be more than surprised to see him again.  But he was
like that, a good, honest demon who'd murdered a man in cold blood and then been
sent to hell for... God, the story was sounding old.

        Once inside his apartment, he put on some coffee and switched on the
television.  The viewing choice seemed to consist of an ancient black and white
'Mummy' movie, a 1960s porn film with subtitles, or the usual run of crap from
the public access network.  He smiled to himself and left it on as he located
his one mug and served the coffee.  Strong and black.  It sobered him slightly,
allowing him to focus on perhaps going to bed.

        He switched off the television, padded into the other room and stopped.  The
figure was sitting on the windowsill, one leg pulled up, arms wrapped around it,
chin rested on the knee, the other leg dangling.  His head was dropped back
against the cold wall, eyes focused somewhere outside, probably further away
than the greatest visible distance.  Zeke took a step closer.  The Devil did not
turn, did not even acknowledge his presence.  He took another step.

        The moonlight was streaming in through the grimy pane, playing in the jet black
hair that barely touched the drooping shoulders.  A strange beauty, but a beauty
nonetheless.  Zeke stared for a few moments, unsure.  But the alcohol in his
blood was making him braver, more focused than he usually would be; less
inhibited.  Another step.

        Zeke reached out slowly and touched the soft black hair.  The head turned, and
golden eyes picked him out in the darkness.  The Devil smiled sadly, and nodded
slightly, then he turned his head and his attention again from the room.
Ezekiel started a gentle stroking, combing his fingers through the hair.  He
didn't know what to say.  What could he say?  What was there to say?

        Moving slowly, Zeke dropped his hand and sat down on the windowsill, minding
not to sit on the Devil's foot.  He rested back against the thick glass,
bringing one leg up and turning his head to watch Lucifer's reflection in the
window.  Neither spoke.

        The atmosphere between them remained charged, despite the silence.  Where the
teasing and the taunting and the joking stopped, the raw sensuality began.  This
was the Devil, sin incarnate.  And his whole demeanour had shifted from
tormentor to tormented.  In the morning it would be another day, the events of
the evening would be committed to the past.  Here, now, in the darkness of the
apartment and the magical light of the moon, those same events were fresh.
Answers, now within his grasp, would be lost with the rising of the sun.

        After a long time, Zeke lifted his head to look directly into the sparkling
eyes of the human form opposite him.  As if reacting to the attention, Lucifer
also moved, tilting his face to regard Ezekiel.  Once again, Zeke reached out
and touched that irresistible black mane.  The Devil did not flinch, nor blink.
He didn't speak.  But he did move his leg to rest his knee against the glass,
allowing Ezekiel closer.  Zeke shifted into the space made for him, and in the
warm silence between them they both leaned forward.

        Ezekiel closed his eyes as his mouth met the mouth of the other.  The Devil's
tongue traced the curves of his lips, slipping slowly inside.  Zeke moaned
softly as the hot breath mixed with his own, and the harsh tongue brushed
against the roof of his mouth, across his teeth, tasting him.  He felt a strong
hand move around the back of his head and long fingers push up into his hair,
mirroring the position of his own hand.

        He could stop this now, he knew.  Just pull back and stand up.  It would never
have happened.  Everything would be as it was before this nightmare day had
begun.  But he didn't want that now.  He wanted... something, anything.  The
alcohol in his blood sang to him of the sweet pleasures to be found in the body
of another man.  The rest of his senses were yelling that this indeed was
another male form, one used by the Devil to piss his earthly servant off at
every available opportunity.  It didn't matter.

        Zeke somehow clambered onto his knees without breaking the deep kiss.  He
leaned over the Devil, pushing his head back against the wall, forcing it to
tilt upwards.  He took the offered control, stroking his hands over the jet
black hair that so enticed him, pushing his tongue further into the hot mouth
consuming him.

        Lucifer lowered his leg into the space that Ezekiel had left, wrapping his arms
up around the body trying to crawl into his own.  He pulled Zeke to him, and
defying any number of physical laws, Zeke managed to straddle the Devil's thighs
as the other stretched out on the long, wide windowsill.  Maybe the sill had
always been that size, maybe not.  Nothing else mattered but the prolonged,
heated contact between the two pretenders.

        Ezekiel finally released Lucifer's head and moved his hands down, tracing the
curve of powerful muscles beneath the expensive dark shirt the Devil wore.  Both
moaned at the intimate contact.  Ezekiel blocked his own thoughts; he just
wanted to act.  Opening his eyes to look into the Devil's face, he realised his
companion wanted the same.  They both needed a little physical heat this night.

        They broke the kiss only once to open shirts and reveal perfectly sculptured
bodies.  Foreheads pressed together, the room devoid of the sounds of breathing,
the Devil traced fingertips over the runes, causing Ezekiel to groan and shiver.
As the touch grew bolder, Zeke curved his neck to lean in to the other's and
start to nip the skin on the Devil's throat with his teeth.  The resulting
sounds from his lover urged him on, and he kissed a path from shoulder to ear,
before biting gently into the warm flesh.  Lucifer's head dropped back against
the wall, a long, low moan issuing forth from his throat.  Zeke smiled, and
moved to recapture that luxurious mouth.

        They kissed for hours.  Tasting, nipping, biting, teasing one another
mercilessly.  Ezekiel's hands roamed ceaselessly over the Devil's form, from his
hair, over his neck and shoulders to the fine chest, over hardened nipples and
then back.  Lucifer preferred just to hold his companion close, to occasionally
rub his back and comb fingers into his hair.  As they continued to melt inside
one another, the Devil did move his hands forward to push them inside Zeke's
shirt in order to move it down, off his shoulders, exposing the runes that
decorated his body to their author's ministrations.  Lucifer knew the effect his
touch on the symbols would have on Ezekiel, and for once he was very careful not
to push too hard.  His caress became light, tracing the outlines as if that
alone could call the demons back.

        Ezekiel reacted to the building arousal in the only way he knew.  He shifted
closer, bringing their hard erections together and starting a rhythmic movement
that might have result in them both coming to orgasm, had they been real.  But
as human as they looked then, they were more.  Their spirits started to weave
into one another, pushing them higher.

        Outside, the sun began to rise and still they remained locked together, their
minds gone from the physical world that surrounded them.  The closeness was
something neither had experienced in too long.  Zeke just wanted to feel alive.
Lucifer's reasons were a million times more complicated.

        Arousal starting to drive him beyond crazy, Zeke mentally started to beg,
wanting more, feeling - for the first time since his return - trapped inside the
human form that held him.  //show me more//
        Surprised at the intimate communication, the Devil trembled in his lover's
embrace.  His touch, his tracing of the runes on Zeke's body, became firmer,
more deliberate.  Instantly, Ezekiel felt the change.  The low currents of
sexuality became a tide; wave after wave cascading over him, building, driving
him to the inevitable climax.  He groaned into the Devil's mouth.  //come with

        The internal battle that had been raged within Lucifer finally came to an end.
He let go, urged on by Ezekiel's words, following him to the precipice and
balancing there with him.

        They both came hard, the light exploding behind closed eyes, howls of ecstasy
escaping their throats as they broke the kiss to fall together.

        Some time later, Zeke lifted his sweat-slicked body, leaning back in the
Devil's embrace.  He was sitting in the circle of the other's legs, had at some
point fallen back from his initial position.  Now, he unfolded his own legs and
moved them both forward, hooking his ankles together against the Devil's back.
It was a close position, intimate and warm.  Despite having spent the night
devouring Lucifer, Ezekiel found himself feeling a little uncomfortable.  The
Devil's gentle smile put him at ease.

        For a while, they didn't speak.  The only words they'd shared all night had
been Zeke's rough, desperate attempt at telepathy.  He would never know how
deeply he had spoken to his adversary at those moments.  Lucifer reached around
and pulled his lover's shirt back up on his shoulders while Ezekiel played his
fingers through the Devil's fine, damp hair.

        Finally, the Devil spoke, his honeyed voice caressing Zeke with ease. "You are
so important to me.  You must remember that."
        The words took Ezekiel by surprise.  He could only nod.  He had not known what
to say before, when he had first wondered into the room and seen the beauty and
mystery sitting on the windowsill.  He had not a clue what to say now.

        A few moments later, the Devil smiled, and extracted himself from the embrace
of Ezekiel's limbs.  He hesitated, and then when Zeke glanced up at him and
nodded once, he walked to the door and vanished.

        Ezekiel stayed for a long time at the window, watching the sunrise over his
little bit of New York.  When he finally looked back inside the room, he saw a
message scrawled in ancient script on the far wall.  Dropping to the floor, he
walked over to read it.

        "There's much I want to say at this moment when all the barriers are broken and
all our shields are down.  Your trust in me, your constant openness and lack of
revulsion leaves me breathless.  Too old, these feelings that you awaken within
me.  It scares me to experience this with you - a lost soul, one of my lost
souls.  It scares me to still experience this at all.  How can nothing change
when everything has changed?  The world never stops, Ezekiel, my fallen angel."

        Beneath the last word was a signature, two letters ornately etched into the
plaster.  "MS"


        "The same café!  Again!"  Zeke looked up as the Devil slid into the seat
opposite him.  He smiled his good morning and bit savagely into his toasted
bacon sandwich.  Lucifer chuckled.  "And hungry too.  Anyone would think you
didn't get any sleep."
        Zeke rolled his amusement-filled eyes and continued to eat.  Only when he had
finished, and was reaching for his coffee (the second of the morning, old habits
died hard even after 15 years) did he meet the Devil's steady regard.
        "I got your note."  Lucifer looked away, but Ezekiel reached out and touched
his hand.  "Thank you, Morning Starr."  Their eyes locked, and for a moment,
Zeke believed he could read in the golden orbs everything that had been scrawled
onto his wall; awe, gratefulness, no small measure of affection.  An
acknowledgement of what they had shared.  And then he dropped his hand, and
wrapped his fingers around the hot mug of coffee, raising it to his lips.

        "So who's today's demon of the hour?"
        The Devil titled his head, mouth open.  "I can't just tell you."
        "Then give me a clue."
        Lucifer paused, and then shrugged.  "All right."  He leaned forward.  "Let me
tell you a story...."

fade out


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