He awoke to a dull burning sensation on his face, and liquid dripping from his chin onto his chest. His skin tingled all over, but it wasn’t entirely unpleasant. When he moved his hands to grasp at something, he realized the sensation was being caused by the thin sheet that had been pulled over him; he was in a small bed, and there was a dip in the bed next to him where Kore was seated.
As he reached up to touch the liquid on his face, Kore said, “Water. You were a bit bloody, and I thought I might as well clean some of it up while you were asleep so you didn’t have to feel it.”
“Thank you,” Lucifer whispered. Kore hummed in acknowledgement, taking a dry towel and patting Lucifer’s face with it. The feeling was not unlike pins and needles, but when Kore stopped, the dull burn of the water was gone, as was the prickling of the dry towel.
“How do you feel?” Kore asked, gazing down at him curiously.
“Better,” Lucifer said as he sat up, voice still hoarse. He paused, “I greatly appreciate your kindness, but you did not owe me this. You weren’t supposed to do this.” Kore picked at his cuticles.
“I have done a lot of things I wasn’t supposed to,” he murmured.
“This you could be damned for,” Lucifer replied solemnly.
“I have been already,” Kore said. He sighed and shrugged his shoulders.
“Why is that?” Lucifer asked, partly curious, partly worried. Kore chewed on his lip and tapped his foot nervously.
“I thought you would have already known, having been an angel,” he said, looking away, his voice shaking. Lucifer shook his head and waited for Kore’s answer. “I-I have… impure thoughts,” he said just above a whisper.
“All humans have impure thoughts,” Lucifer replied soothingly, not quite able to separate himself from the divine forgiveness. “You can repent, and all will be forgiven.” Even more quietly, Kore said, “... a-about… men.” His face flushed bright red.
“Ah, I see,” Lucifer said thoughtfully. After a few moments, he felt the bed lurching, then he heard Kore gasping for breath.
Lucifer lifted his hand from the bed and felt around for Kore’s arm. It burned at first to touch him, but the sensation quickly dulled to a tolerable warmth beneath his hand. He he felt his way up Kore’s arm, shoulder, and neck, until he reached Kore’s face. He then cupped K ore’s cheek and wiped away a few of the tears. Kore flinched at first, but then sobbed harder. Lucifer frowned, and stopped wiping the tears, opting instead to instead pull Kore into a hug. The sensation was not unlike having a knife lightly scraping his skin everywhere they made contact, but still he didn’t find it unpleasant. It hurt, yes, but it was also warm, and something about that made him wish he could keep Kore close forever.
The tears burned when they hit his skin, but Lucifer was okay with that. Someone else was in pain, someone not sentenced to be in agony for the rest of his existence, someone with more worth. As he carded his hand through Kore’s hair he said, without thinking, “I will protect you.”
Kore looked up at him, tears still running down his cheeks, “What?”
“In Inferno. After all, this is my first step toward Inferno,” Lucifer said calmly. Kore smiled weakly, though Lucifer couldn’t see it.
“Will it hurt?” he asked tentatively.
“Will what hurt?” Lucifer replied, wiping away Kore’s tears once again, having noticed by the way he spoke that he was no longer crying.
“I don’t know… Going to Hell? Being in Hell?” He shrunk into himself as he thought about the pain he had always been told those who go to Hell endure.
“I have never been, but I imagine it will, yes, at least at first,” Lucifer replied. Kore’s eyes widened, and Lucifer lifted his chin to make sure Kore was looking at him, and his voice hardened, “I will keep you safe.”
That is when the screaming ceased. Father did not notice. We said nothing, but we knew the pain had not stopped. Our Morning Star had found something more painful than his existence, and now, not bound by divine council, not required to stand by, he was looking past his own pain, to that of another’s. The crying, though, the crying never stopped. How could it? His Father had abandoned him. The Father had abandoned him.