All previous stories in the series can be
                 found at
  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)
                 Rating: R
  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".
Series: Games Demons Play, Story #7

Midnight Sun
 By sidewinder

                 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
                 this end.

                 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
                 man's eyes.

                 "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
                 don't...really know."

                 "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
                 he wished.

                 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.

                 Ezekiel smiled.

                 "Is it time?" he asked, his voice weak
                 and rough.


                 "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."

                 "Good enough?"

                 "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 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
        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
                 him go.

                 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 *

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