Pairing: Zeke/Devil 
                 Rating: R for dark themes, language, violence,
                 m/m sexual content, religious themes. The usual stuff.
Notes: My long overdue return to "Brimstone" fic.
                 You'll most likely need to read the previous
                 stories in the series first, which you can find at

                 Disclaimer: The characters don't belong to me. The
                 following is written purely for fun, not for
Feedback: Always welcome.


Games Demons Play #5: Consequences

                 By sidewinder


                                  * * * * *

                 He was falling.

                 Always falling.

                 As he crossed the dimensional boundary separating
                 Earth from Heaven and Hell, his outstretched wings
                 could do no more than slow his descent through the
                 air that grew hotter and more pungent with each
                 passing moment. He fell too fast, in the emptiness
                 between Paradise above and his fiery prison below,
                 the seemingly infinite weight of his damned essence
                 denying him the ability to even attempt to soar
                 upward. He hadn't even tried in centuries. Instead
                 he kept his eyes downward, on the burning plains
                 and rivers of fire beneath him, rushing upon him
                 faster and faster, a blur of angry flames and murky
                 darkness. The blistering winds shredded the last
                 remnants of his human guise as he fell, until he at
                 last caught an upward blast of hot air upon which
                 he could coast back to his home. Pandemonium, the
                 center of Hell--he saw and headed toward the wicked
                 spires, halls, and monuments which had been built
                 by thousands of years of damned souls' labor. He
                 soared to the highest spire of all, which marked
                 his home, his palace. His prison. Beneath him he
                 could hear the shrieks of terror and misery of
                 thousands of his subjects, but they meant nothing
                 to him at that moment.

                 He had too many other things on his mind. And one
                 very specific soul.

                 He landed lightly on the balcony that circled the
                 very tip of the high spire. The fierce winds
                 buffeted and lashed against his leathered flesh,
                 which had been worn rough and desensitized through
                 millennia of abuse under these conditions. He
                 folded blackened wings against his body and dug his
                 fingers into the railing as he looked out onto the
                 endless misery beneath him.

                 His world. His kingdom. Billions of souls, all his.
                 Some feared him, some hated him. Some were insane
                 enough to worship him and love him, in all his
                 terrible and hateful glory.

                 But not the one he loved. Never the one he loved.

                 He was raw and bleeding inside. "Trust me," Ezekiel
                 had said. A terrible mistake. Ezekiel didn't know
                 what he was asking. Ezekiel didn't know what this
                 could do to both of them.

                 Lucifer himself had not known the depths of his
                 emotions until Ezekiel had found them and ripped
                 them free. He had believed his own heart to be as
                 weathered and hardened as his flesh, impervious to
                 such feelings as love and concern.

                 It was supposed to have just been a fun little
                 game, for fuck's sake. A way to throw Ezekiel off
                 balance. Teach him a few things about respecting
                 his master. Lucifer had found the mortal soul
                 attractive and intriguing, and what he wanted, he
                 took--to satisfy his lusts, pure and simple.

                 How *love* had crept into the equation, Lucifer
                 didn't know. He didn't *want* to know. He just
                 wanted it to go away.

                 He stayed there, brooding and thinking, for some
                 time. It could have been minutes, hours...possibly
                 even days. Time lost so much of its meaning here in
                 this realm which never changed. He sensed one of
                 his brothers approaching, and that shook him out of
                 his thoughts. The dark figure descended from the
                 smoke-heavy skies and landed heavily next to
                 Lucifer, shaking the entire platform with the
                 weight of his large, muscled body. His wings, like
                 Lucifer's, were black as night, millennia of ash
                 and smoke having irrevocably stained them from
                 their initial pure white. His long hair was also
                 blackened and stained, his flesh leathery and dark
                 brown. His face was pinched into an eternal scowl,
                 lines etched deep and harsh. It was hard to
                 remember how beautiful he had once been, not at all
                 like the fearsome creature he had become. Lucifer
                 didn't like to remember it, for it only served to
                 remind him of the transformation he, too, had
                 undergone over time.

                 "Moloch," Lucifer greeted him, "to what do I owe
                 the pleasure of your company on this day?"

                 "No particular reason," the fallen angel answered.
                 "I was merely...passing by and saw you here. Only
                 polite to stop and pay my respects."

                 *Bullshit,* Lucifer thought to himself, though he
                 bit his tongue. Moloch never stopped by to simply
                 chat or 'pay his respects'. The belligerent
                 creature was always looking for a fight.

                 Indeed, the first question out of Moloch's mouth
                 was, "And how is the situation with Ashur and the
                 other escapees, these days? It has been some time
                 since you addressed the council on the matter."

                 "Because there is nothing new to report. The
                 situation is quite well under control. That bitch
                 will be back where she belongs soon enough."

                 "And just how soon is 'soon enough', Lucifer? We
                 have been waiting for months, waiting while your
                 little police detective fumbles along, picking off
                 the weaker ones while continually allowing Ashur to
                 wander free, to build her power on Earth."

                 "He will deal with her when he is ready. I have
                 complete faith in his abilities."

                 "Well, that is all well and good, but some of the
                 rest of us do not share in your faith." Moloch
                 stepped closer to Lucifer, studied him with fiery-
                 red eyes. "Something is wrong with you, brother.
                 You are troubled."

                 Lucifer snorted. "I am *always* troubled, Moloch."

                 "No, it is more than that." Moloch paused, his
                 scowl deepening. "You are not yourself these days.
                 This Ezekiel Stone...what has he done to you?"

                 "What has he done? He has reminded me how to
                 *feel,* Moloch." Lucifer turned away from the
                 angel's gaze and looked out across the endless
                 burning plains of his domain. *Damn him for that.
                 Damn him for all of eternity,* Lucifer thought. He
                 didn't want to feel this. He didn't want to feel

                 "You are hurting, brother. You should stop this.
                 Get another to finish this mission--better still
                 send an army instead of one man!" Moloch urged,
                 placing a heavy hand on the devil's shoulder.
                 Lucifer shrugged off the sympathetic gesture,
                 knowing it was nothing but a ruse.

                 "No. No, it is too late now, the damage is done."
                 Lucifer closed his eyes and breathed in deep of the
                 acrid smoke, the sulfur and burning flesh and every
                 other putrid smell his senses had grown numb to for

                 "You let yourself fall in love with him," Moloch
                 observed, not hiding the shock and disgust in his

                 "I did not *let* anything happen. It was entirely
                 against my will, I assure you."

                 "What is wrong with you, Lucifer? First you allow
                 Ashur and the others to escape through your
                 negligence, and now you fall victim to *love* for a
                 mortal soul?" Moloch shook his head.

                 "What of it?"

                 "Well, it makes me wonder if you are still capable
                 of ruling our dominion. And I am not the only one
                 of our brethren who is wondering the same thing."

                 "So that is what this is about. The vultures are
                 circling. Talking about rebellion...that is how we
                 ended up here in the first place, is it not?"

                 "And now that we are here, we must make the best of
                 it. Prove to God and his legion of mindless, self-
                 righteous followers that we are stronger! We cannot
                 lose our souls, Lucifer, not a thousand, one
                 hundred and thirteen, not ONE. Some day the great
                 battle will come and we will need every soul to
                 ensure our victory. And here you turn it into a
                 GAME, making bargains with a mortal to clean up
                 your mistakes. And then you fall victim to LOVE and
                 you expect your brothers not to protest?"

                 "Is this a challenge?" Lucifer growled, turning and
                 stepping into Moloch's space. "Speak it, say it if
                 it is! I will fight you right now--all of you--if
                 that is what you want."

                 Moloch stepped back and shook his head. "Not now,
                 brother. This is merely a warning. But should you
                 not heed it..." Moloch trailed off, then shrugged.
                 "You might be the strongest of us, Lucifer, but can
                 you stand alone against us all and win?"

                 With that warning, Moloch unfurled his wings and
                 took flight. Rage burned just barely under
                 Lucifer's control. The threat hadn't come as much
                 of a surprise to him, really, for he truly trusted
                 none of his fellow fallen angels. What loyalty and
                 brotherhood they'd shared at one time was long
                 since gone, replaced by resentment and thirst for
                 power. Always more power. His power.

                 He turned away from the view of the plains and the
                 city and stepped through the doorway, down the long
                 winding stairwell that led to his private chambers.
                 No one would dare bother him there. He needed time
                 alone to think. Time to feel. Time to decide what
                 he was going to do about Ezekiel Stone.

                                  * * * * *

                 Lucifer left the detective alone for several weeks.
                 At least, he never revealed his presence to him,
                 even though he spent time every day watching him
                 from near and afar. Just checking in on the man's
                 progress, or so he told himself, even though he
                 knew that was only part of the reason he watched.
                 The other part was that he just wanted to be close
                 to Ezekiel.

                 He wanted to talk to him. He wanted to enjoy
                 another round of their usual verbal games and
                 abuse. It was fun to have an adversary who, every
                 once in a while (but not too often), actually
                 managed to get the upper hand on him. But more than
                 talking, he wanted to fuck the undead daylights out
                 of Stone, to feel him writhing under the burning
                 touch of his hands and struggling the entire time,
                 trying to deny that he enjoyed it, that he wanted
                 it and would do anything for it.

                 And more than even that...more than even that,
                 Lucifer ached for what he could not ask from
                 Ezekiel. To give over control and let Ezekiel take
                 him, to have his buried feelings ripped free again,
                 if only for a moment.

                 "Trust me," Ezekiel had said.

                 No. That wasn't even the issue. He *did* trust
                 Ezekiel, as much as he could...but he couldn't
                 trust *himself*. Opening himself to Ezekiel once,
                 unexpectedly and without preparation, had nearly
                 destroyed the mortal. The pain and rage walled up
                 inside Lucifer was more horrific than Ezekiel could
                 endure. He had not simply "blacked out" as a result
                 of the joining; the fragile faux-human shell
                 containing his soul had shattered and the very
                 fabric of his soul had been damaged. Lucifer had
                 rushed to repair the damage, drawing as much of his
                 power as he could across the dimensions to keep
                 Ezekiel's soul in this realm, bound to his own
                 essence until he could release it back into a
                 recreated demonic body. When Ezekiel had awoken,
                 Lucifer had decided it was best not to tell him
                 exactly what had happened, how near to
                 destruction he'd been. The detective didn't
                 remember it; he simply knew he felt terrible.
                 Lucifer hoped that would be warning enough not to
                 try a stunt like that again--warning enough to both
                 of them.

                 At home, his brothers now kept their whispers of
                 discontent mostly to themselves, and the threat of
                 rebellion seemed a distant one. That was one small
                 relief. It wasn't the first time such talk had
                 arisen, but it was a threat he did not take
                 lightly. Meanwhile, Ezekiel caught the demon in
                 Albuquerque and was on the road again, heading
                 toward Texas, on the trail of another escapee who
                 was not doing a good job of keeping a low profile.
                 His actions were making the national news and
                 Ezekiel had not needed Lucifer's help in
                 recognizing that a demon had to be responsible for
                 the terrible crime wave. Stone *did* have good
                 instincts, after all. And these days there seemed
                 to be more confidence in his steps, his movements,
                 even in his hunting. He was less likely to stall
                 and agonize over making that final killshot. He was
                 more focused on his job and less on haunting and
                 pining for Rosalyn. That should have all been well
                 and good, and just what Lucifer had wanted to see.
                 And yet...

                 And yet, something wasn't right. Something was
                 missing. Something had grown darker about him.
                 Since the night the tables had been turned, and
                 Ezekiel had touched his soul...

                 Well, it had to be expected, Lucifer supposed. What
                 Ezekiel had touched and the damage it had caused
                 had to have left its mark on him. How severe a
                 mark, however, Lucifer wasn't certain.

                 *The price of your love, you fool. You should have
                 protected him from this. You should have stopped
                 the game when you had the chance.*

                 But it was too late now. Finally, he could stay in
                 the shadows no longer. It was time to attempt to
                 restore balance, to measure the extent of the
                 damage done and see if it could be repaired.
                 Ezekiel was spending another night alone in a
                 dreary, anonymous motel room, watching the TV,
                 working his way through a bag of chips and a six
                 pack of beer.

                 "Here you are, blessed with a second chance of life
                 on Earth, and the best you can do is waste your
                 time with junk food and late night television?" The
                 devil sat in the worn old armchair by the TV and
                 shook his head. "You know, if you're going to waste
                 your time here with idle pursuits, you could at
                 least waste it with some more *interesting* idle
                 pursuits. Something a little more meaningful than
                 'Frankenstein Meets the Mummy Princess'."

                 Ezekiel, who was sitting back against the headboard
                 of the bed, looked at Lucifer briefly and then
                 turned his attention back to the TV. His expression
                 showed no surprise, nor dread, nor pleasure at
                 finally seeing the devil again. It showed nothing
                 at all. "Haven't seen you for a while," was all he
                 had to say.

                 "I've been busy."

                 Ezekiel shrugged and popped open another bottle of
                 beer. He played with the TV remote, flipping idly
                 through the stations, not paying any direct
                 attention to Lucifer. The disrespect was grating on
                 the devil's nerves. He never would take it from
                 anyone else, never, but he always seemed to take it
                 from Stone. He supposed, in retrospect, he should
                 have taken his lenience with Ezekiel's attitude as
                 the first sign that he'd developed dangerous
                 feelings for him.

                 "So what do you want?" Ezekiel finally asked him.
                 "You have something to tell me about the next demon
                 I'm supposed to go after? Or do you just want to

                 "Well! We're getting right to the point tonight,
                 aren't we?"

                 "Why waste time? It's not as if we ever have
                 anything new to say to each other." Ezekiel tilted
                 his head, looking upward as he continued, "Let's
                 see if I've got the routine down by now. You want
                 me to work harder and stop wasting time. Fine. I
                 tell you I'm working as hard as I can, especially
                 when you don't give me any help, so get off my
                 case." He paused to take a sip of his beer. "You
                 want me to admit that I want you. Fine, yeah, I'll
                 admit it. You won that game. You messed up my head
                 somehow, and now I can't go a day without thinking
                 about getting fucked by you. Hell, I can barely go
                 an hour without thinking about it. I don't
                 understand it, but I can't seem to do anything
                 about it.

                 "Then, you want to convince me that I belong to
                 you, that I belong in Hell, no matter what I do
                 here on Earth now. You know what? Maybe you're
                 right. I don't know any more. And I don't feel like
                 arguing about it." Ezekiel put down his beer and
                 turned off the TV. Then he got up from the bed and
                 walked toward Lucifer. He kneeled down before the
                 devil and placed his hands on Lucifer's thighs,
                 then he stared him right in the eyes as he
                 concluded his speech, "We go through all of that
                 and then it comes down to just one thing--you're
                 either here to give me a clue, or you're here
                 for a fuck. Or maybe both. So what is it?" Ezekiel
                 asked, running his hands slowly up the devil's

                 Lucifer clapped his hands. "Very good, Ezekiel.
                 Tell me, how many times did you practice that
                 little speech?"

                 "Don't know. Doesn't matter. Just tell me why
                 you're here now so we can get on with it."

                 "You know me so well, why do *you* think I'm here,
                 hmm?" Lucifer asked, intrigued to know what was
                 going through Ezekiel's mind. The defiance of his
                 words, and the boldness of his actions, had caught
                 the devil somewhat by surprise. This wasn't quite
                 the same Ezekiel Stone he was used to. That
                 darkness that he'd sensed from afar seemed to be
                 much stronger than he'd realized. He could see it
                 clouding Stone's normally sparkling eyes. The
                 softness he was used to seeing there was nowhere to
                 be found, replaced by a harshness he wasn't sure he
                 liked at all.

                 "I think you want more of what I gave you the last
                 time you popped by for a visit," Ezekiel answered
                 him. "You want another good hard fuck, don't you?
                 Like you'd never ask anyone else to give you,
                 'cause I'm the only one who can give you what you

                 Lucifer knew he ought to throw Stone to the bed and
                 stop this. Fuck him hard and without mercy, but
                 with plenty of pain and humiliation, remind him who
                 was the master and in control of this relationship.
                 But Ezekiel's hands wouldn't stop moving,
                 caressing, sliding up now over his groin and
                 rubbing against his already stiff cock. Yes, he
                 wanted it, more than anything, but he couldn't let
                 it happen like that again. He grabbed the
                 detective's hands and forced him to stop. "This
                 *will* destroy you, Ezekiel. You're playing with
                 powers you don't understand. You don't know how
                 close you came to destroying yourself last time."

                 "So? What does that matter to me."

                 "You would welcome annihilation?" the devil asked,
                 the answer suddenly and sickeningly clear in
                 Ezekiel's surface thoughts, before he even spoke of

                 "It would be better than spending the rest of
                 eternity in Hell. Better than being this...twisted
                 up inside. Wanting you."

                 The words stung. So did the pain and fear, now
                 leaking out behind the darkness in the detective's
                 eyes. "Liar," the devil dismissed, not wanting to
                 hear this kind of defeatist talk from Stone. "You
                 have too much of a fighting spirit to be so ready
                 to give up! And what about your precious Rosalyn?
                 What happened to your conviction that you were
                 meant to be with her again, someday?"

                 Ezekiel shook his head. "I can't expect things to
                 work out between us. Not now. You were right about
                 that. I wouldn't want to touch be with
                 her. I wouldn't subject her to that. She's too good
                 to ever be touched by someone who's been touched
                 and used like I've been, by you."

                 Lucifer's grip on Stone's hands tightened, so tight
                 he could hear and feel Ezekiel's bones cracking.
                 Stone cried out in agony but Lucifer could not stop
                 himself. "Do not forget who I am, Ezekiel Stone. I
                 am your master. I am Lucifer, ruler of Hell, and I
                 could send you back there right now, back to the
                 eternal suffering you deserve for your insolence!
                 And if you thought Hell was bad before, keep this
                 attitude up, detective, and see what kind of misery
                 you'll endure for the rest of time! Do you hear me?
                 DO YOU HEAR ME?!"

                 Lucifer released Ezekiel's crushed hands and kicked
                 the kneeling man away from him in disgust. Who he
                 was more disgusted with--the mortal or himself--he
                 didn't know. It didn't matter.

                 Fucking mess. What a fucking mess this had become.
                 He wanted to leave. It had been a mistake to come
                 here in the first place. He *knew* that this would
                 happen. Love led only to misery and pain, and his
                 love could do nothing but destroy the object of his

                 He turned away from Ezekiel, turned his head and
                 pulled his legs up against his chest, curling up
                 around the pain raging inside him. *What have you
                 done to me, Ezekiel? And what have I done to you?*
                 This was why he never wanted to deal with love
                 again. Never wanted to have to deal with these
                 emotions, because they hurt too much, and he in
                 turn could only hurt others. It was an endless,
                 vicious cycle that he was better off avoiding

                 Ezekiel was a good man. At least he had been.
                 Lucifer knew now that he had fallen in love with
                 him because of that goodness, something so rare, so
                 unlike anything he'd had the chance to touch since
                 he had first fallen from Heaven and been condemned
                 to Hell.

                 Now he'd touched it and in doing so, he might very
                 well have destroyed it. The game was over. They
                 both had lost.

                 He wasn't aware of how much time passed, how long
                 he sat there lost in the misery of his thoughts. It
                 was Ezekiel's touch on his clenched fist that
                 finally drew him back.

                 Not a demanding touch, nor lustful. Not falsely
                 sympathetic like his brother's, nor angry. Just a
                 soft, soothing touch, testing, reaching out.
                 Reaching for him. Lucifer turned his head and found
                 the mortal soul kneeling once more before him, his
                 broken fingers already healed, the darkness that
                 had clouded his bright eyes gone. "I'm sorry,"
                 Ezekiel said. "That was...I shouldn't have said
                 those things."

                 "The apology is accepted. It's about time you
                 learned some manners," Lucifer sniffed.

                 "I don't know what's happening to me. There's
                 a...darkness inside me, that didn't used to be
                 there. Sometimes I can't control it."

                 "I am that darkness, Ezekiel. Such is the
                 consequence of game you played with me last
                 time...and why we can never play it again. You got
                 too close to me, too close to things I can't share
                 with someone as fragile as you. I could lose you
                 entirely to it."

                 Ezekiel nodded, seeming to understand. After a
                 while, he finally said, "So. Where does that leave
                 us? What *can* we do, if we can't do that?" The
                 question came with a small smile. The smile, more
                 than anything else, caught Lucifer by surprise, and
                 he laughed.

                 A little laughter felt good right now, damn good.
                 To hold Ezekiel and see if he could mend some of
                 the damage he'd done would feel even better. He
                 took Ezekiel's hand and stood, pulling the
                 detective up to his feet with him. "We can do
                 this," Lucifer said, and then he kissed Stone. It
                 was the same kind of gentle, healing kiss he'd
                 shared with Ezekiel before leaving, the last time.
                 The kind of kiss he hadn't shared with anyone else
                 in millennia. Ezekiel responded to him, for once
                 without struggle, without resentment and anger and
                 with simple...


                 Fuck, and it hurt. It was wonderful and it hurt
                 magnificently and it was breathless and it was
                 agonizing. It was all he wanted and not nearly
                 enough, and all that he was certain he didn't
                 deserve but Ezekiel gave it to him nevertheless.
                 The pain was worth it. Someday he would overcome
                 it. This love he felt was not a curse; it was his
                 last hope. He felt Ezekiel's arms around his waist,
                 pulling him closer, and he gave himself over to the
                 embrace. Not *too* much, not as much as he ached to
                 give, for he knew he couldn't. Perhaps someday he
                 could, when he found some way to kill the rage and
                 darkness inside him. But he would not destroy this
                 one most precious soul in the process.

                 And for the first time, Lucifer sensed something
                 more than pure lust and desire behind Ezekiel's
                 actions, behind his kiss. He knew better than to
                 mistake it for love, but it was something.
                 Something akin to...understanding.

                 It was enough for now.


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