|All previous stories in the series can be
found at http://www.sockiipress.org/~sidewinder/
| Warnings: Angst, m/m themes if nothing explicit,
and the usual dark Brimstone stuff. Maybe even a
touch of sap.
| Fandom: Brimstone (The devil/Ezekiel Stone)
| Disclaimer: Brimstone belongs to Cyrus Voris
and Ethan Reiff. I'm borrowing their characters
without permission; no profit is being made.
The lyrics quoted at the end are copyright Rhodes,
Cuccurullo, and LeBon, from the song "Midnight Sun".
He hesitated at the doorway. He wasn't
sure he should be here. Forty years was a
long time to a mortal, if no more than
the blink of an eye to him.
The blink of an eye, yet it had also been
an eternity. He rested his hand upon the
door, knowing what he would find on the
other side but uncertain he could face
it. He didn't feel prepared to deal with
The end of Ezekiel's life.
He was dying. As promised, he had been
given his second chance of life on Earth,
but time had taken its course, left its
mark, and was running out for the once-
again mortal man. Ezekiel would face an
easy, gentle passing, much less traumatic
than his first death. This time his heart
would simply give out on him in the night
as he slept. He wouldn't feel a thing. It
was merely his time, and there was
nothing anyone could do to change that
fact. But the devil needed to see him,
just one last time before then. He was
rather certain that it was the very last
time he would ever see Ezekiel Stone,
living or dead.
Forty years before, the detective had
sent the last of the hundred and thirteen
escaped demons back to Hell. He had
completed his mission, served his
penance, and was due his promised reward.
And Lucifer had kept his word. Ezekiel
had been returned to the land of the
living, his demonic body given true life,
true pulsing, human blood. He had re-
entered the world appearing exactly as he
had left it--with that same bad haircut
and five o'clock shadow, the same baggy
overcoat with thirty-six dollars and
twenty-seven cents in the pocket. Only
this time, the clock wouldn't restart for
him every morning. He had been freed from
that frozen moment in time, freed to do
as he wished with the rest of his life.
"I didn't think you'd really do it,"
Stone had said, when he'd first looked
out at the world again through a living
"I keep my promises, Ezekiel. I told you
"So you did." He'd looked at Lucifer and
asked, "So...what now?"
"What now? Well, that's up to you. You're
a clever boy, you'll figure something
out. A long time has passed--nearly
twenty-five years since your death. You
shouldn't find it too difficult to create
a new identity. Not many people are
likely to believe you're the same man who
was killed in the line of duty in New
York City, all those years ago."
Ezekiel had nodded in agreement, and
paused a moment before asking, "Will
I...ever see you again?"
"Why, the way you ask that, I'd almost
think you cared."
An almost apologetic note had tinged the
man's voice as he replied, "Yeah,
well...maybe I do. Kind of. I
"No, you don't," the devil had agreed,
regret coloring his words. He'd tried. By
all that was unholy, he'd tried to make
Ezekiel Stone care, to make Ezekiel love
him. But the man had never been able to
fully give his heart to Lucifer--what had
held him back, neither man nor devil
seemed entirely certain. Perhaps it had
simply been too much to expect someone
with an inherently good, if flawed, soul
to be able to give his heart to someone
as dark and corrupt as the devil.
Lucifer had walked up to Ezekiel, looked
him straight in the eyes, and said, "You
fuck this up and you bet your ass you'll
be seeing me again. You know when, you
know how, and you know what to expect.
The ball's in your court now. Good luck
to you, Ezekiel."
And he'd left, before Ezekiel could say
anything, or before he himself could do
something he'd regret. He hadn't asked
for or expected a goodbye fuck, or even a
final kiss. It would have
been...inappropriate. Too difficult, too
messy. It had been much easier to simply
He had never revealed himself to Stone
since that day. Not that he hadn't kept
an eye on him, from near and from afar.
He thought often about the nights they
had spent together--finding solace,
indulging in desperate passions--but he'd
always held back when temptation urged
him to revisit those nights. This was
Ezekiel's time, now. His life to live,
his decisions to make. If he wanted to
find his way back to Lucifer's "loving
embrace", he knew what choices to make
that would lead him there. The path to
eternal damnation was an easy one, if a
man was willing.
The devil was not surprised, however, to
watch Ezekiel as he took a different path
with his second chance at life. The
former detective found work doing what he
always did best--helping people. He never
stayed in one place for very long,
instead moving from town to town, job to
job, as he was needed. He made new
associates, friends, and very
occasionally lovers. Nothing lasted,
except for a friendship with a young
runaway boy who became Ezekiel's
frequent companion in his travels. That
Ezekiel saw the boy as the son he'd never
had a chance to father was obvious to the
devil. And a good parent he would have
been, having taken the lessons of his own
father's abusiveness to heart and avoiding
the trap of repeating those same mistakes
He never reunited with Rosalyn. Perhaps
he realized that the shock of his return
would have been more than she could have
taken, more than she could have accepted.
Or perhaps he realized too many years had
gone by--he had changed, she had changed,
and to return to the past would have been
impossible, no matter how good it might
have been years before.
The devil liked to believe, though, that
it was because of *him* that Ezekiel
never went back to Rosalyn. He wanted to
believe he'd left some mark on Stone's
heart, but he could never be certain. He
could have stolen into the man's thoughts
to find out, but he was not certain he'd
be happy with what he found there. It was
easier to leave Stone's motivations a
mystery, to allow himself to believe what
And now the time he'd dreaded was here.
Time for Ezekiel Stone to die. Time for
his soul to pass on, to be judged as
worthy of eternal happiness or damned
once again to eternal suffering. The
devil had dreaded this moment, because he
had a very strong feeling as to what the
judgement would be this time. Stone would
leave this world, and leave Lucifer
behind forever. He would go to the one
place the devil would never be able to
reach him again--Heaven.
But Lucifer could avoid the moment no longer.
The clock was ticking and he was wasting
time, staring at a wooden door and
brooding instead of looking into his
beloved mortal's eyes one last time. He
took a step forward. The door creaked
open, and he stepped into a room
illuminated only by the soft light of the
moon outside. Ezekiel was in bed, asleep.
Lucifer approached slowly, taking what
time he could to study the figure lying
at rest before him.
Ezekiel was old, now, with gray thinning
hair and wrinkled skin, but
still...still, he was beautiful. So very
beautiful. In his sleep it was so easy to
see the younger man that had been the
devil's lover, his servant--*his* in
every way, except for his heart. Lucifer
walked to the bed and sat gently on the
edge, not wanting to disturb the man's
sleep. He needed time to watch, to think,
to remember. To try to figure out how he
was possibly going to deal with losing
the only thing that mattered to him.
Going through that once, eons before, had
been terrible enough. To have to go
through the same thing a second time...he
wasn't certain he could take it.
He hadn't intended to awaken Ezekiel. He
thought he would only come here to hold
vigil, to observe in silence as he had
for years. But Ezekiel must have sensed
his nearness. Lucifer watched as the
mortal man stirred in his sleep, his eyes
eventually opening to look up into
Lucifer's watchful gaze.
"Is it time?" he asked, his voice weak
"I had...a feeling, it would be soon.
I've been waiting for it."
Lucifer nodded slightly. There was no
fear in Ezekiel's voice. He knew it was
his time to move on. Lucifer could not
think of what to say. He waited for
Ezekiel to continue.
"All of these years, I never saw
you...but I knew you were with me,
"I didn't want to interfere. This was
your second chance, after all."
"How did I do?"
Lucifer gave him a small smile. "As much
as it pains me to say it, you lived
a...good life, Ezekiel."
"I can't answer that. You'll know soon
Ezekiel reached for his hand. Lucifer
felt the old but still familiar fingers
wrap around his own. The touch was
agonizing. He almost wanted to pull away,
but he couldn't. Ezekiel held his gaze
and said, "I missed you. I didn't...know
it, back then...not until after you were
gone. I realized...I had come...to love
you. It just took me a long time to
accept it...and to forgive you for the
things you did. But I do, now. I forgive
you. I love you, Morning Star."
No words had ever hurt so badly. To be
loved, to be forgiven...two things he
knew he did not deserve, and yet Ezekiel
gave them to him without asking. "You
don't...know how much that means. How it
hurts." He clutched the mortal's hand
tighter. "But I thank you for it. And
I still love you, Ezekiel. I always
will," he answered, struggling to keep
his emotions under control.
He could feel Ezekiel's life force
beginning to waver. It was too soon! Far
too soon. There was so much more to say.
He needed more time. He needed eternity
with this soul, not just a few fleeting
He leaned down to kiss the dying man's
forehead, trying to find the words to
express his heart's ache. "If I am the
Morning Star, then you, Ezekel Stone, you
are...my Midnight Sun. The one bright
light in my endless darkness. I will
never forget you."
He met Ezekiel's lips for one last kiss,
one to carry with him for eternity. He
tasted Ezekiel's love for him, felt it
fully for the first time. In return he
opened his soul to the mortal, let him
feel his terrible, painful love in all of
its agonizing glory, how desperately he
needed Ezekiel and did not want to let
There was just time enough to ask Ezekiel
to come with him, to return to the
darkness. Time enough to ask Ezekiel to
pledge his soul to the devil, to eternal
damnation, so that they could be
together. Decades before, Lucifer had
sworn that he would never allow God to
take this mortal away from him. He would
have asked this of Ezekiel without a
second thought, and he knew that should
he ask, Ezekiel would say yes to him.
He couldn't do it. He couldn't damn
Ezekiel to come back to the darkness with
him. Lucifer loved the man enough to want
his soul to know the happiness and light
of Heaven, even if it meant they would
never be together again. Lucifer would
bear the pain of their separation,
knowing Ezekiel's soul was at peace, and
would never know suffering again.
One final breath escaped the mortal's
lips as Lucifer broke the kiss. His
chance to ask was past. One whisper of
air and Ezekiel was gone, the light fading
out from his open, questioning eyes. His soul
was freed from its tired, useless shell,
and it slipped away from those mortal
remains easily. Lucifer watched, and he
saw and then felt the glorious brightness
that was Ezekiel's soul float up from the
bed, hover, and then wrap around the devil
in one final caress.
Ezekiel's voice filled his mind, full and
strong now instead of weak and fading.
*Everyone gets a second chance someday,
Morning Star. You gave me mine, and I am
yours. Follow me, when you're ready. I'll
be waiting...follow me...*
He could not find his own voice to answer
Ezekiel's parting words. He ached as the
light pulled away from him and floated
upward, dissipating into the air at last
and leaving behind only darkness.
And then Lucifer began to grieve.
* * * * *
They were coming for him. He knew they
would be, eventually. He'd been waiting
for them for some time.
His brothers. His once loyal, devoted
legion of fallen angels were now prepared
to rebel against him, just as they had
rebelled against their father so many
ages ago. He had always known this day
would come. It was inevitable, and the
time was finally here.
He didn't mind. Since Ezekiel's death,
the devil's heart just hadn't been in his
"work" any more. He was tired. Tired of
it all. Torture and suffering no longer
interested him. He saw the petty power
struggles within his domain as no more
than meaningless games, and he couldn't
be bothered with them. He visited Earth
rarely, no longer amused by the pranks he
used to play to pass the time, nor by the
more complex amusements of tempting and
damning souls. Empty diversions, all of
them. Everything just left him feeling
empty. He spent most of his time alone,
up here on this balcony, or drifting
aimlessly through the dark clouds of his
The others saw his condition and took
note. To them, their leader had grown
soft, listless...vulnerable. They
couldn't comprehend the changes he had
gone through, nor the reasons why. He
refused to answer their questions,
knowing they would not understand. Their
hearts still burned with the fire of
vengeance and retribution. His only
burned for one thing.
Lucifer stood on the ancient, wind-buffeted
high spire in the center of his kingdom.
Once he had seen a kind of beauty in this
place; now he only saw it as his billions
of damned souls did, as a place of sorrow
and darkness, of eternal night and suffering.
The winds carried the bitter stench of death,
decay, and burning flesh. The winds also
carried the distant screeches and cries
of his brothers, still far off for now,
but growing closer by the minute.
Yes, they were on their way. They would
descend upon him at any moment. And no
matter how he hard he would fight, how
many of his brothers he wounded or even
killed in the battle, they would defeat
him in the end. He was one against an
army of thousands, for he knew that not
even those few he considered his closest
allies would stand at his side in this
battle. No, he knew what would happen.
They would capture him and drag him down
to the worst, lowest dungeons of Hell.
They would leave him there with the most
wicked of his damned souls, leave him at
the "mercy" of those worst demons in a
prison that he would be lucky to escape
from in ten thousand years' time.
Part of him was ready to accept that
fate. Such was the inevitable price of
power and glory, he knew quite well. Just
as his mortal souls paid for their sinful
lives, so he would be held accountable
for his own. But another part of him
rejected such an end--the part that had
always been a rebel, that had urged him
to object to his father's need for
complete submission and compliance so
very long ago.
He gazed up at the bleary, smoke-filled
skies. Squinting into the darkness, he
could swear that high up above, he could
make out the distant glimmer of one
bright star. He had first spotted that
speck of light it in the dark sky not
long after Ezekiel's passing. Was it his
Midnight Sun, he had wondered? Or was it
merely a figment of his disturbed mind?
He wasn't certain. But every time he
looked up at that star and meditated upon
it, he felt a strange sense of peace fill
him, as if some of the weight of his dark
soul was lightening. If he stayed focused
on the star for a long period of time, he
began to imagine that he could even fly
to it, buoyed by the sensation of light
with which it filled him. Perhaps for
once, he thought, his battered wings
could find the power to fight against the
downward pull of his soul and allow him
to break free of this miserable prison.
What did he have to lose if he failed?
And if he succeeded...
It was a long shot, he knew that. He was
very likely going insane, imagining this
bright star, thinking it was Ezekiel
there to guide him to Heaven. But turning
his gaze back down to the fiery world
below him, to the infinite pain, suffering
and misery that soon would be his to share
in, he decided that embracing an insane
vision would be better than accepting the
fate awaiting him here.
If he followed this star, he might find
his way to a better place. Back to
Ezekiel. Back to Heaven, yes, if God
would take him. He supposed he could suck
up his pride for once and ask.
After all, he thought with a smile, at
least now he had one friend up there who
would put in a good word for him.
He looked back up at the skies and, sure
enough, his star was still there. Waiting
for him. Calling to him, telling him to
follow his heart. He stretched his wings.
He didn't feel tired any longer. In fact,
he felt stronger than he had in a very,
very long time. Maybe he was strong
enough to make it. He supposed there was
only one way to find out.
He stepped off from the balcony and took
* End *