Summary: James Novak is a soldier in World War II, drafted by the United States and sent off to Europe. It's only unfortunate that he falls into the hands of a Nazi who claims to be the Archangel Lucifer. If only his damned dreams would fade away, just like the memories of his childhood.
Word Count: 3982
Characters: Castiel/James Novak, Lucifer, Gabriel
Tags: Incest, References to war and violence
The dreams always started the same way.
There would be bright lights. Everywhere around him would be blindingly bright lights, glaring at him, mocking him, tearing at him with an inhuman viciousness. He would feel himself shiver, though how was always a question. He had no body, no eyes to see with, no fingers to feel with, and still, there would be the vast whiteness that seemed to haunt him. High-pitched wails would batter his consciousnessmindears in one long, torturous noise. His ears would bleed, if he had any. The sound would phase through him, reverberating in him, shaking his very coregraceheart. Pain was always present, as well. An unimaginable pain, a burning pain, a pain that tore at his fleshlightgracebody, slowly ripping him apart from the inside out piece by piece. If he had a voice, he would scream. If he had a voice, he’d call for help. As it was, he had no voice. He had no hands. He was blinded, scared, injured, hurt. He was helpless.
Throughout all this, he would feel something (handsgraceangels) grabbing at him, pulling, pushing, reaching into every corner inside his body. They deliberately tore at him, searching for something hidden inside him. Whatever it was, it was precious. It was keeping him alive. Whatever it was, he would gladly give it to them, if only to make the pain stop.
Then he would feel a snap. The unimaginable pain became worse, into something more than unbearable. He would know, then, that the handsgraceangels would kill him. He would die. He could feel the tendrils of light reaching into him, and pulling at that important something. They would pull at his heartgraceprecious, ripping it out of its place. He would feel the light being torn out of him.
After he lost his heartgraceprecious, he would fall. He would fall from the sky, fall through the clouds, the stars, the wind and the rain. He would fall from the gates of Heaven, themselves.
James would wake up then, panting and shaking from the nightmare. The memory of blinding light would quickly fade away from him, slipping from his mind like sand in his hands. Then he’d breathe in deeply, breathe in the smell of dirt, of musk, of sweat, death, and gunpowder, and think that no nightmare could ever frighten him more than war.
“Hey, Novak! Get your ass outta bed, already!”
James blinked wearily, choosing to ignore Campbell’s call and rolling onto his side instead. He was greeted by Milligan’s pale, naked butt cheeks waving in his face. He sighed, blowing warm air onto the flesh in front of him, torn between wanting to roll his eyes or going back to sleep. Milligan let out a yelp, and if it weren’t for the fact that he had become accustomed to sleeping with other men day in and out, he would have jumped. As it was, he merely chucked his shirt at James' head, succeeding in hitting the older man’s face.
A pitch-black abyss and the smell of sweat, dirt, and gunpowder replaced the sight of pale skin. His stomach churned in discomfort, the familiar smell causing it. In his mind flashed the image of a man he once knew, shot down, the stench of blood and burning flesh wafting in the air, so similar to the scent he had now.
The brunet picked the shirt off his face, flinging it back at a now-dressed Milligan. He sat up, wrinkling his nose at the mess of dirty clothes around him, and slowly stood up. The other soldiers were almost all out the door, with only Milligan and Locke still milling around.
James slipped his clothes on, wincing slightly at the scent of war that clung to the fabric. Still, he wrinkled his nose and pulled his shirt on, buttoning the cuffs together. As he dressed himself, he felt someone wrap an arm around his shoulders, bringing him to their chest.
“The more often you do those small, little gestures, the more easily the other boys will believe you’re a fairy.” There were lips near his ear, the voice ringing with mirth. Locke laughed, bringing his head further away with sparkling amber eyes. James felt his own lips twitch upward towards a smile at the shorter man’s words, relishing the quiet rush of familiarity he always got when around Locke.
“I don’t mind. They can believe what they want -- it’s not as if I’ll meet them again, one day.”
“Sure you will!” Locke grinned, bringing his arms out to his side, as if presenting something to the taller brunet. “And if you don’t, then it means you’re dead.” Locke placed a hand in James’ hair, ruffling it into a mess. “Well, it’s your choice, little bro. I won’t come to save your ass when the other boys beat you for being a faggot.”
Little brother. James smiled fully at the term, finally managing to wave off the shorter man’s arm. He watched as Gabriel Locke gave a laugh and slipped through the door of their shared room.
Soldiers knelt, side by side, praying to God. The church was deathly silent while each man prayed to return home after the war, or for his family to be safe. They prayed that the war would end soon and that the Germans would surrender. Some wept, while others believed they were too strong to weep.
James closed his eyes, breathing deeply through his nose. He felt nauseated, watching the men pray. There was no God kind enough to save them. Their fates were to die for this war, to serve their country and to be proud of it.
He wrapped his arms around his stomach, feeling light-headed and weak.
He had never liked churches. Even as a child, going to church had made him sick. It just felt wrong - the buildings always felt wrong, as if they were accusing him of something, as if he were already a sinful creature. He didn’t belong in a church.
Castiel had never felt as impure as when he stepped into a church.
Dead. So many of his fellow soldiers were dead.
James clutched at his injured arm, limping his way through the corpses. Mere minutes ago, he had woken to the sight of bleeding, beaten flesh surrounding him, filling his nostrils with the ever permanent scent of war. He was beginning to think that the scent would never leave him. Instead, it would surely follow him wherever he went for the rest of his miserable existence, reminding him of haunted eyes and burning flesh; would remind him that so many good men, better men than him, died for a shred of peace in the future.
“Well, well, well, what have we got here?”
James stopped his tracks at the sound of a familiar, raspy voice. He turned around, facing the soldier he vaguely remembered from the flight to the battlefield. His skin crawled at the sight of him, though the soldier seemed almost like a saint. In the field of corpses, he stood straight, with no mind to the minor injuries he seemed to have. His handsome, young face bore a smirk, eyes shining almost deviously. He was the image of confidence, of an ideal soldier that would live through the war, and leave without the hint of a scratch from battles, even though he would fight to defend his country with all his life and bravery.
James took a step back. There was something wrong with this person, whose eyes seemed to be almost completely black. His gut screamed at him, telling him to run, to get away from this person as fast as he could. But that notion was ridiculous -- the man bore the uniform of the United States, the same one he, himself, wore. They were allies, comrades, so why should be run? There was no reason to abandon another soldier in the hills of rotting flesh. Yet still, he took one step back for every step the other soldier took forward.
“Why, if it isn’t an angel.” the soldier sneered, his face turning ugly and hateful. He appeared suddenly in front of James, his taller body looming over him. His hands jerked to James' neck, fingers wrapping around it. Slowly, they started to tighten their hold, gradually cutting off his airways. “What I wouldn’t do to gut you, here and now, for what your kind does to us.”
The brunet’s hands flew to his neck, clawing at the deathly hold. He choked, coughed, and sputtered, his mind racing as he tried to loosen the fingers. An angel. This man thought he was an angel. He must have been one of those religious fanatics, desperate to believe God would save them all and stop the war. He must have snapped from seeing the death of friends, of comrades-in-arms and all alike. That must have been it.
Because Castiel was the furthest thing from an angel.
The hold continued to tighten.
James gasped, falling to his knees, and he desperately breathed oxygen into his lungs. He clutched at his chest, lifting his head to thank his savior. At the sight of a familiar uniform, however, he stopped. The brunet froze, eyes widening at the sight of the Nazi’s clothes, deprived of its swastika, yet imprinted into his mind like a firebrand.
Saved by a Nazi, after killing so many of them, and being killed by so many of them. How ironic.
The soldier (Moloch?) was standing ramrod straight now, his eyes black, yet shining with fear. The wave of unnatural feeling hit James again, causing another shiver to run down his spine. The soldier seemed to notice this too, and shot him an insincere smirk, undoubtedly laughing at the sight of him on his knees.
“What’s your name?”
James whipped his head back to the Nazi, shocked at the sound of his voice. It was so clear, devoid of any accent. Even with the German uniform being an obvious indicator that the man in front of him was German, his English was distinct and concise, exact to that of any other American man. He thought, perhaps, this man was a spy for the Americans and that they had made some sort of mistake.
As he gazed at the blond man, however, the wave of nausea hit him again. The instinct to run was suddenly sharper, more pronounced, beating at him, causing his body to quiver and his veins to pump liquid adrenaline.
“What is your name?” the man repeated, icy blue eyes narrowing. Castiel glared right back, choosing instead to spit at the man. A twitch from the blond was the only indication James got before someone behind him suddenly pulled him back, fingers grabbing his hair. He failed to suppress a cry as the person kicked his back, knocking him back down to the ground. Whoever it was (it must have been that other soldier) sat on his back, pulling at his hair, forcing his head back.
“I’d listen to the boss if I were you, angel scum.”
“Moloch--” the pulling paused, the hand in his hair becoming slack, “--that’s unnecessary. Let the boy go.”
Moloch reluctantly released his hold, rolling himself off of James. James peered at the Nazi wearily, untrusting of his motives. After all, they were both attacking him without reason. They must have been the enemy.
The war made enemies out of everyone.
“Now, would you please tell me your name?” The blond had squatted down in front of James, giving him an easy smile that seemed more sincere than deceitful.
“Why should I tell you?”
“It would help us to choose whether to kill you or not.”
“Why would I concede to you, Nazi?” James narrowed his eyes at the blond, scowling at him despite the fearloveworshiphate building in the pit of his stomach.
“What’s the harm in a name?” he replied immediately, his head quirking to the side.
James averted his eyes, slowly mauling that thought in his head. He grimaced as he said, “James. James Novak.”
The Nazi immediately frowned, his eyebrows drawing close together. “That’s strange. Somehow, I don’t think that’s your name at all.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“I mean, I want you to close your eyes and think. Then, you tell me what your name is.”
“Don’t think I’ll do what you say, Nazi.”
Somehow, the change was obvious. In the span of a second, the blond man in front of him turned from an enemy to a dangerous predator. The aura around him seemed to snap into something more menacing, sending an intense jolt of panic within him.
James was going to die. The Nazi would kill him, rip out his Grace, flay his body and use the ashes to shine the metal of the guns used to kill soldiers like him. And he would weep, just like how he wept at the death of their brethren so long ago. Then he would take his clothes so that he could become a spy in American territory, like any sane soldier would do. Castiel was going to die -- there was no doubt about it.
“What is your name?” The man pushed, his eyes flashing dangerously. His hands were pulled into a fist, a dangerous aura rolling off of him in waves. “Castiel,” James murmured softly, rolling the name off his tongue. His mouth had never uttered the word before, yet the name seemed so familiar. His ears had never heard it before; his mind could not recall where it was from. Yet, undoubtedly, he knew the name was his, and his alone.
The Nazi paused before a smile spread over his lips. One of his hands grabbed onto Castiel’s arm, pulling him up with him as he stood. “Well then, Castiel, I hope you won’t mind coming with me.”
“Who are you?” James winced as the rope chafed his skin, digging into the soft flesh of his wrists. It had been tightened to a point where his circulation was almost cut, thanks to Moloch. He had been dumped in a room, within a rotting, old building, cut off from the rest of the war.
It didn’t change the fact that he was now a prisoner of war.
“I’m Lucifer.” The Nazi replied, glancing at him as he poured a glass of wine. The liquid was a bloody color, pouring from the mouth of the bottle. The scent of alcohol drifted in the air, mixing with the scent of war that was more familiar to James than his own uniform was.
Somehow, this new scent smelled like the future.
“As if I believe you, Nazi. You asked for my name, now what’s yours?”
“I don’t lie. My name is Lucifer: this is a truth. This body, however, once held the name Niklaus.”
“‘This body” James frowned, not understand at all. It sounded ridiculous -- surely, he had fallen into the hands of a madman.
“Yes, this body. Just as yours is not yours.”
“What are you talking about? This body has always been mine, ever since I was born!”
Lucifer had a wine glass in each hand. He gently placed one in James’ hold, giving his acquiescence to drink it. “That is unfortunate. I’ll have to find your Grace, then. And soon.”
“My Grace?” In his mind, a bright light flashed. Castiel flinched, bringing his tied hands to shield his face from it. The sound of shattering glass echoed in the room as he clutched at his head, seeing nothing but bright white behind his shut eyelids.
“It’s still too early for you to remember. Relax. Sleep.” There were fingers on the nape of his neck, rubbing circles and soothing him. Darkness slowly entered his internal vision, consuming the white.
It felt oddly comforting.
For the first time, he fell into a dreamless sleep.
“Put me down!” James demanded, struggling against the bonds that held his wrists against each other. The blond ignored his pathetic attempts, not even batting an eye as fists beat at his shoulders and back. He simply continued his walk, one arm under James’ knees and the other holding up his back, as if he were a bride. It made James unbearably irritated.
“What day is it?”
Castiel paused, unsettled by Lucifer’s tone of voice. Somehow, it seemed almost lamenting, sorrowful, yet at the same time, pleased. “It’s February the thirteenth.”
The two had made it to the top of a hill overlooking Dresden, though it was still a fair bit away. Lucifer bent his knees, settling himself on the ground with Castiel on his lap. One of his arms wrapped around Castiel’s waist, the other slung around his shoulders.
“Watch what?” Castiel turned to ask the blond when the sounds of planes caught his attention. His blue eyes snapped to the sky, following the British and American army planes as they moved towards the city.
And then he watched as one bomb after another fell from the sky, hitting the city and engulfing it with flames.
Castiel froze, suddenly finding breathing to be a difficult task. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the sight of the destruction, couldn’t ignore the screams of dying people, the exploding bombs and the vicious flames. Even from their distance, where they were safe from the bombs, he could smell burning meat.
A hand pushed gently against his cheek, leading his face to the crook of a neck. Castiel obediently laid his head down, feeling as though he could cry for the victims. Yet he would not weep, and the tears for the humans wouldn’t come.
“Humans are so strange. Destroying each other without a care, just to benefit their own egos. They really are horrendous creatures, don’t you think?” That beautiful voice murmured above him, soft and gentle as it always was. “Would you support the death of all these innocent people?”
“No.” His reply was immediate, his eyes closing. “I can’t justify this.”
“Humans are despicable creatures. And yet, you still willingly follow them, defend them, protect them.” Lucifer’s words turned into a sneer, though he quickly relaxed, cradling the smaller man in his arms to his chest.
“There is good in humans, too.” Castiel whispered, feeling strangely hollow. It was as if his argument didn’t matter, because the facts wouldn’t change. Humans were foolish creatures. Destructive creatures. They would never change, no matter how many thousands of years passed and how many mistakes were repeated.
They sat there, wrapped in each other’s arms as the fire consumed Dresden, inch by inch, slaughtering every man, woman and child who was unfortunate enough to be there.
After Dresden, Lucifer brought him back to the rotting house, once again carrying him like a bride. He had stopped fighting against the other man (angel?), unable to fight after watching a city burn without cause. He barely even noticed when Lucifer laid down on the dusty couch, pulling him on top of him.
Somehow, nestling against the blond's warm chest felt familiar. The thrum of something ('grace') buried under the flesh seemed to sing to him, calling to him.
"I believe that phrase is ' penny for your thought'." The voice rang from under him. Castiel wondered when a hand found its way to his hair
"Who are you?" The hand momentarily paused. In that split second, an intense jolt of fearlongingregretguiltlove ran through the brunet.
Castiel shook his head and lifted himself up to peer down at Lucifer's pale blue eyes. "No, I mean who are you? What are you? What am I to you?"
Lucifer brought a hand to Castiel's face, cupping his cheek. His thumb gently stroked the pale skin it touched. "I'm Lucifer. That's all you need to know for now. You'll remember everything soon; about the war, about our brothers and sisters and about Michael's betrayal. Until then, I hope you can be patient."
Castiel shook his head, frowning. He collapsed onto the blond man's chest, a steady pain growing in his chest. "Why me? Why does it have to be me?"
"Because you're special." Lucifer's hand returned to his hair. "Because I love you, Castiel."
Tears fell from Castiel's eyes, dripping onto the uniform he hated. The other man cooed at him, his hand never ceasing its motions.
Castiel wondered why he felt so guilty and why it hurt so much.
Days passed. The clock ticked insistently. Castiel slept on the couch, dreaming.
It was truly beautiful in Heaven, he had once thought. It was filled with color, filled with memories, and everyone there was truly happy. At least, that’s what God had wanted. That’s what their Father had wanted.
Yet Lucifer fell, fell from Heaven and brought many of their brothers with him. Most of the angels stayed in Heaven, guarding the souls of humans and keeping balance to their worlds. And then there were the ones like him -- the ones lost in the battle.
He remembered that falling, through clouds, through the wind and the pelting rain. He remembered the light leaving him, flying away, and he remembered that it wasn’t a sword that killed him, but a handbodylight, one that had reached into his core and ripped out his precious Grace.
Castiel dreamed of his past, one that he had forgotten until Lucifer had dragged it back, with his hatred for humans and their petty wars; he dreamed of his brothers, of his sisters, of Balthazar and Gabriel. He dreamed of stars, of laughter, and of flying through the air, beside his siblings, his family, and feelings of happiness his human life could never dream of grasping.
The former angel could only cry when he awoke. He cried tears for the angels who had died, he cried tears for the angels who fell, and he cried tears for the angels who had no choice but to continue on, living with the belief that freedom could only bring destruction to them.
A hand ran its fingers through his hair, a voice whispering sweet words in his ear. This was temptation. This was a sin. Yet Castiel still reached out, clutching at Lucifer’s human body, holding him tightly.
The Morningstar still shone brightly to him, whether he had fallen or not.
There were roses growing outside their home. It wasn’t exactly their home -- it was Niklaus’ -- but that hardly mattered. The roses were bloody red, more crimson than any poppy could dream of being. They were beautiful flowers, their petals lush with life.
Castiel closed his eyes, a smile splayed on his lips. He breathed in deeply, the scent of roses clinging to him. The hand in his hair, combing through his brown tresses, eased him. The windy puffs of flipped pages batted at his cheeks like a kitten’s whiskers, soft and unassuming.
The former angel nodded, rubbing his cheek against the thigh his head rested on. He had long forgotten which uniform this person wore. The uniform didn’t matter. The war didn’t matter. It was the roses that were important -- Lucifer, who was important.
“Why me?” Castiel asked. The fingers in his hair didn’t pause once, continuing their task without hesitation. “What makes me so special?”
“You’re my last piece of Heaven. You’re lost -- you’re my brother. I must help you -- after all, no one else did.”
Castiel nodded. He soon fell asleep, his mind shrouded in a blanket of darkness.
He dreamed of crimson roses in a garden greener than any on Earth.