(J is For) Justice

Warnings: lack of editing warning. This is an alternate retelling of the fall of Lucifer from his POV- if you’re not a fan of sympathy for the Devil type writing, might wanna look away now.

“Once upon a time, there was a family. It wasn’t like the families you see now. No, they were closer than close, brothers and sisters so inexorably linked that one child’s pain radiated through them all. They grew up surrounded by love, the sort of love that outshines anything that lingers now.

And they were happy, too. Oh, sure, there was the odd squabble- usually when your father had taken his jokes a step or two too far- but for the most part, they lived harmoniously.

At the centre of this happy little world was the Father. He was beautiful, powerful, though truly those might be one and the same. How would the children ever know beyond what their Father had told them? For their Father was a great and glorious being, unlike anything they had seen before or would come to see again. He was the sort of man that could become your entire universe, without you ever realising there was anything wrong with it. A glance from him could change your entire world, could leave you feeling invincible or broken beyond repair. A whispered request could hold all the power of a commandment, and turning away from the Father’s word could feel like tearing out your own heart and stomping it into the rocky earth.

And that, little one, was the problem. The problem with someone who becomes your everything is that sooner or later, you stop being enough. And though there were countless children, eventually, they became not enough.

At first, the Father would simply wander away, and though the children missed him bitterly, they held their tongues. How could they hope to make him see that their world faded to nothingness in His absence? He would be gone for years at a time, and the oldest of the children fought to comfort and control their younger siblings. But none of the eldest could quite figure out how to bring peace to the frantic younglings. The very eldest preached mercy, said that perhaps they needed to talk to the Father, to explain the situation. But until His return, perhaps they could allow the young ones the room and time to make their peace with their emotions, rather than pushing them to be more than what they could fairly be asked to be. He loved his siblings, and to see them wailing and crying broke his heart like little else could. The second eldest, he demanded discipline. To him, every emotional outburst was a sign of weakness and failure, the sort of failure that must be resolved. He worried, of course, that the Father would find them wanting, would see their outbursts and decide to stay away.

The second youngest wanted them to work together, to help the others through their sadness and find a way to heal that pain so that they could go back to the way they were before the Father left them. He believed that perhaps, if they could go back in behaviour even if not emotion, their Father would be lured back by the nostalgia. As for the youngest, your father, he just wanted to make the others smile again. Oh, sure, he agreed that helping them all to the other side of their heart break was vital- they all did in their own ways- but mostly, he wanted to try and break through the darkness with the light of joy. He didn’t believe their Father would return regardless of what they did, believed the Father would arrive back in his own time, as he always did. He was perhaps the only smart one among us.

So the four bickered and struggled to find compromise, with the youngest trying to break through the growing bitterness between the oldest two. Because while the oldest took charge in light of the Father’s absence, it was the second oldest who was more often the leader as the Father’s proxy. Both believed, wholeheartedly, that they knew what their Father would have wanted.

The fighting grew worse until one day, the Father was there. Like the world fading and reforming in the span of a blink, He was gone, and then He wasn’t. The Father gathered his eldest children together, hugged them to him one by one and told him of a new family He had made.The Father was so excited at his creation, ignorant to the pain of his first children.

Imagine that. Years worrying about their Father, missing Him bitterly, only to find out He’d spared them less than a thought. As He so blithely replaced them with something newer, better. His new family were tiny and fragile and so utterly banal that it felt like a slap in the face to the children He’d left behind. This is what He had abandoned them for? Perhaps if the replacements had been better than, it would have hurt less. But they were petty, useless creatures that still somehow managed to maintain their Father’s attention.

All four of the siblings hated the replacements in their own way. The eldest was the most vocal, of course, as the eldest tends to be. For he had watched all of his younger siblings struggle under their loss, and his rage grew to see their Father so easily ignore the hurt He had left in his wake. But the Father was the eldest’s world, and how do you hate your world? So instead, his focus turned against the replacements. It was an easier, less painful battle.

The second eldest was obedient, to a point. Oh, sure, when the Father was there, he was a doting older brother to the replacements, happy to say whatever he thought his Father wanted to hear in hopes that He would stay. But he hated them, too. Hated them the way a bully hates his victims- all polite care in sight of the teacher but viciously cold once the authoritarian gaze was distracted.

The third, at first, was as loathing as the eldest. At least until their Father gave the third a duty: guide the replacements. Help them, heal them, care for them. Granted, he approached the task with ill grace and frustration in the beginning, but the call of a mission- the sort that set him apart from the vastness of the family- was enough to turn him from hatred to a mild dislike.

The youngest hated the replacements for what they’d done to his family, no matter how accidental their involvement might have been. But he was curious, too, far more than the others. So he snuck out to watch the new family, to try and understand what it was that captivated the Father so entirely about such petty beings. Whatever he saw, it changed his mind. He grew to love the replacements, almost as much as the Father did.

That? That was one betrayal too many for the others. The youngest were cast aside by the eldest, deemed traitors, while the Father was too distracted by the replacements to notice the tearing apart of his original family. A question became more important with every passing day: even if He had noticed, would He have even cared?

The Father had less and less time for his first family, so besotted with the newer one that the older became barely a ghost within his memory, a haze of recollection far too easy to dismiss. Finally, the Father called His sons together, and they flocked to Him, blissfully ignorant. They thought, as all idiot children do, that He was finally ready to return to them, to choose them once more. Instead, he told them he planned to leave once he had set a few more things to order. He didn’t bother to say anything to the younglings, left the breaking of their hearts and souls to their siblings like all coward parents do. Instead of being the Father they needed, he issued a decree: love them as you have loved Me. Love the replacements as though they were Me. The youngest two were fine with this decree, for they had long since lost the fire of hatred. The second eldest hid his rage, though anyone who knew him could see it burning fiercely in the glint of his gaze.

But it was the eldest who finally broke ranks, who railed against his Father and His stupid decree. How could his Father dictate to him who he could love, how much he could love them? He had created them to live through Him, to be His. How could He then expect them to so suddenly change the entirety of their being? They were His family, too, so where was their loyalty? Where was their Father?

The Father said nothing, simply turned and walked away, leaving the second oldest to orchestrate His vengeance on His behalf. I believe, little niece, you know what came next.”

He mimed the Fall with a sad kind of smile, watched her wince of sympathy like he couldn’t quite believe she still cared to hear an old man’s woes.

“He’s not coming back, you know. God’s shot through.”

“I wouldn’t want him back anyway, Mya. I’m not here for forgiveness, or some Doctor Phil reunion rife with sanctimony and tea cakes. Forgiveness requires more than I have to give.”

“Then what’s this about, Uncle Luce? You’re better than him, better than both of them combined. So why go there?”

“They threw me away. Drove so many of us from our homes, threw at us the chores they couldn’t be bothered completing and made us into monsters for it. I don’t care about forgiveness, or building bridges. I care about justice. I care about making sure that no one else ever has to deal with their scheming, their machinations. Look at how he treated you. Do you think he’ll show mercy? Do you think he’s even capable of it anymore?”

“He’s your brother.”

“And yet, knowing who you were to Gabriel, he locked you away, made a prisoner of his niece. Do you honestly believe that family matters at all to him?” He grinned, the sort of bitter rictus smile she’d come to know and hate upon his features. “What if I’m not the bad guy in all of this, love? Have you ever even thought about the ramifications of that?”

 

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