Lucifer slowly walked to the gates of the boring public school he had enrolled into. He silently cursed himself for disguising himself as a sixteen year old boy, as he had a strong suspicion he would start behaving like one soon. He breathed in slowly and walked on, conspicuously avoiding stares from other teenagers.
His path was interrupted by another boy, who looked a bit similar to him, only with brown hair and a smile that made him want to laugh as well as punch the boy's face.
"Gabriel" he noted.
"Lucifer. Finally, the one with the brains returns, however tiny as it may be, compared to mine."
"You seem to be in a jovial mood." Lucifer asked, cautiously. His brother, no matter how amusing, was still one of his enemies.
"Of course, I am. I am happy to see my brother last on Earth for more than a second without destroying it. So what brings you up here, brother dear? Or did the Prophet pull you up by accident? My god, she really does seem to have horrible choice in angels. Why, Raphael was on Earth that day, at one of the wine tastings he enjoys! Sadly, or in this case, fortunately, she had pulled you up by then. Speaking of which, where is that girl. I seem to be a little fond of her nowadays. The ones who speak the least are the ones who think the best"
Lucifer sighed, "I barely know her name." He couldn't believe he was talking to a brother of his after millennia, and neither of them had killed each other yet.
Gabriel chucked, "Well, ask her then! She is quite a special girl, you know. The only beings she has communicated with are angels, yourself included. I have a feeling you might enjoy talking to her, judging by that silly grin you had on your face last night."
By this time they had walked to class together. Everyone within a two-meter radius was staring slack-jawed at them. While Lucifer did not notice anyone, Gabriel seemed to enjoy the attention he received. He winked at random girls and walked as if he owned the world, which he most probably thought he did. Lucifer felt a little peaceful and more…joyous around him.
Gabriel suddenly stopped, "Ah well, brother, time for me to leave. As much as you love listening to me, you have a conversation to attend to and I have a life to live. So goodbye and may the angels…oh, no in that case, watch over yourself."
Gabriel walked away, giggling at his silly joke.
Lucifer walked into the slightly stuffy room and found her there. She seemed a little more attractive that day. He frowned at where his thought process had led him to, but still walked over to her.
"Would you like to sit behind with me today?" he asked, breathing a little harder than usual. As a result, his voice lost its melodic quality and became a little raspy.
'Ah well, even the best fail sometimes'
She flinched when she heard those words, shocked at being spoken to. Then she looked up at him and a myriad of emotions sailed across her face. She finally settled on curious, after a mix of surprise, bashfulness and a little anger. She cocked a barely visible, fair eyebrow at him.
'I am noticing too many bits and pieces related to her appearance. She looks normal, but my mind seems to transform her into a classic beauty'
He replied, "I assume you know who I am."
She simply nodded.
"Well…" he thought for a while, clearly unable to bring forth a reason for her to talk to him.
She snorted delicately, then picked up her books and moved to sit near the dark end of the room. He followed her and occupied the seat beside her. The large benches, which seated two each, made it easier for them to communicate with each other.
Mrs. Stanley entered the room and was immediately occupied by a group of studious children who occupied the front seat. She seemed to take no notice of the face that the girl beside him wasn't in her usual place. He wondered how exceptionally unobservant human beings were and how utterly convenient that shortcoming was proving to be. He turned towards the girl beside him, who was in the process of extending a hand out to him and giving him an odd expression.
He waited a little, then slowly extended his own hand and touched the tiniest finger on her hand with his index finger.
After a moment, her inner voice spoke in his ear. 'Lucifer'
He replied, 'I apologize, but I do not know your name'
If she was surprised, she didn't show it. She simply replied, 'Skylar Brookstein.'
He nodded silently, and then tried to continue the conversation. However, his words died out barely before they reached his mouth.
'This girl is intimidating me with her mere presence. I have met countless beautiful women whose beauty exceeded hers and yet, she seems to create a strange giddy feeling within me. But then again, I assume I engineer things too much.'
He looked at her and registered the expression of shock on her face. He immediately realized that she had heard every word he thought and quickly terminated their contact.
She looked thrown for a moment and then gently took his hand again. The gesture seemed more companionable rather than romantic, which distressed him a bit. He controlled his emotions and breathed slowly for a while.
What he did not expect was the torrents of her emotions that flowed into his thinking space. He was literally assaulted by her longing for him to return, her pain, her joy at seeing him again…
It was she who broke their contact now. She was breathing rapidly and when he looked into her eyes, he saw the extreme fear of humiliation and rejection pouring out of them, like imaginary torrents of tears.
They both sat there for a while, trying to get their thoughts together, while the rest of the classroom concentrated on Shakespeare's 'Much Ado about Nothing."
Then finally, Lucifer gently took her hand.
'It's possibly because we are not used to this.'
She nodded imperceptibly, 'Do you intend to destroy my world'
He was at a loss of words. She had not said 'humanity' or 'the earth. She had said my world. The personal touch she gave to her sentence made him a little ashamed of himself.
'I have my reasons. My father…he dislikes me because of the entire human race. He prefers them over me. How could I forgive them, for what they have made of me? '
Skylar sighed, 'I seem to understand your predicament, but I may have a comparison for you. It is quite simple, as compared to the horrors you had to undergo'
He was a little intrigued. No one had tried to empathize with him before. 'Go on'
Skylar proceeded, 'Human beings have our own form of healers, who use a morphed form of nature, known as science to cure people. They are known as doctors. Do you know this?'
'Some doctors treat human beings for their mental health. When I was a child, my mother took me to these doctors as I never spoke. They diagnosed me as an autistic child. Autism is a serious disease to be diagnosed with. My parents were devastated. Slowly, they lost hope in me recovering and wrote me off. They moved on, to another child and a life where someone would support them when they became old. Someone, who would make them proud.'
A single tear rolled down her cheeks and landed on their entwined palms.
No one seemed to notice me scream internally that it was all untrue, that I too was normal, just like any other human. I felt as if I was lost in an unknown world. I stopped trying to communicate with human beings. I would wander off into forests and seek the silence, so that I could nurse my broken heart. Once, I fell down a small slope and grazed my knee quite badly. While I hobbled home, an old lady who saw me in pain took me home and nursed my wounds. She told me that she used to be a doctor and so, it had always been her job to heal people.'
'Do you understand what I'm trying to say here, Lucifer? That day I realized that human beings might not all be similar. That was the day the angels started talking to me.'
Lucifer shot back defensively, 'Yes, all human beings are different. You are ultimately repeating the same jargon my father tried feeding to me. Human beings are born of mud and will always resort to their devious ways. Even that woman might have had an ulterior motive towards healing you. '
Skylar smiled sadly, 'That is the problem. You seem to look at species more than at souls, or personalities.'
He creased his brows, 'What do you mean by that?'
Mrs. Stanley paused the movie. "That's it class, time's up! Your assignment is due tomorrow. Make sure you bring it in, unless you want to spend the rest of the class writing an essay instead of watching a movie"
A few of the students groaned loudly, eliciting eye-rolls and a few giggles from the girls. Lucifer turned to Skylar's bundle of books and checked her schedule. Unfortunately, they seemed to have only one period together, which was now over. He spoke normally, "Will you have lunch with me today, Skylar?"
Deathly silence spread across the room. Lucifer realized that he wore the widest smile he had ever cared to put on. He shut his inner voice off and went with the moment.
'It has been years since I have been carefree. I might as well enjoy it.'
Skylar on the other hand looked flabbergasted at the attention she was suddenly receiving. She gave him a strange look, nodded once pushed past him and walked away. He looked at her leave and he looked at everyone else watch her leave. He smiled slowly as he walked to his next class.
'I have a feeling she enjoyed that'
During lunch time, Lucifer scoured the cafeteria for an elusive glimpse of fair hair that had neither been permed or dyed or highlighted with obnoxiously loud colours. He was tapped on the shoulder by someone.
'Are you looking for Skylar, Luca?" a small, wiry boy with braces asked him timidly.
He remembered seeing the boy before, but did not comment on it. "Yes. Do you know where I can find her?"
The boy said, "Yeah, I do. Follow me."
They walked to a little garden a few yards away from school. A small hidden meadow came into view, which was filled with people similar to the boy beside him. Some were disabled; some just had blemishes on their faces, some were completely normal, while others were unique. Artists had set up easels and were working on future masterpieces. Writers lay sprawled on the ground, their pens earnestly scratching rapidly filling notebooks. Some people quietly read books while munching on their lunch.
The boy noticed the puzzled look on Lucifer's face and supplied, "It's a place that offers solitude for those who cannot tolerate the atmosphere in school between classes. They seem to enjoy being here and the school doesn't bother with us, as long as we are safe from the bullies."
Lucifer's heart filled with cold hatred. 'How can she defend the same people she has to run from?'
"I'm Derek, by the way, not that you'd be interested to know…"
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Derek. Thank you for troubling yourself for my sake"
Derek narrowed his eyes, "Why are you so formal while speaking?
He replied, "Ah, it's an inherent trait. My father never tolerated slovenly behavior or language, even though I was the youngest."
Derek grunted like he understood, "Oh, I can understand. Parental pressure is a pain. Well, here she is. I'll see you around then?" His voice shook with a tinge of hope.
He grinned, "Most definitely."
He found Skylar unwrapping her lunch under the shade of a tree. She looked up towards him and smiled. She was unpacking her lunch, which consisted of two large sandwiches. He walked towards her and seated himself beside her, immediately taking her hand.
'I knew you would find me'
Then she glanced at the sandwiches and wrinkled her nose, 'I can eat only one of these. I wonder why my mother packs so much food for me'
'Why are you here?'
'I find the peace and solitude here very welcoming. I talk to most of the angels here. However my head seems empty today. They might have sensed your presence and kept away'
'Why can't human beings accept a person for who they are. It's a disgusting thing to judge people on their exterior or their incapability to do something.'
She simply said, 'You are doing it again.'
He looked at her, impassive, waiting for her to continue.
She continued, 'As I said, you seem to look at species more than souls. A human is superior to a dog, when it comes to species. However, if the human kills another living creature, while the dog saves the life of another creature, the dog will be rendered to be more superior to the human.'
'You seem to hate an entire species, because you were discriminated against by your father. You have barely had any contact with members of this species as you were in Hell…' She flinched slightly when she saw his expression... 'Surely you have no reason to hate my species. We are as much creations of the supernatural force as you are.'
Lucifer asked quietly, 'So you intend to say that all my suffering was for nothing.'
Skylar looked into his eyes and calmly said, 'No. What I intend to say is that you need to stop suffering. You might be stronger than an average human, but there is only so much suffering a living being can take. Look into your heart, Lucifer, and think of what you truly want to be. Your body might limit you, but your soul can be molded. Does your heart, however pained and angry it might be, still want to take millions of lives.'
Lucifer was quiet for a while. Then he asked, 'Skylar, what is your intent behind explaining this point of view to me.'
Skylar thought for a moment and replied, 'I have no noble motives, only a desire for survival which is as strong as anyone with a will to live and…'
She hesitated for a moment and continued, 'I dislike seeing you in pain. I dislike seeing Aurelia's face sag with sadness whenever she recounts your tragedy. I want you to come out of the horrible wall of suffering you have built around yourself for millennia. I want you to live.
Derek interrupted their conversation, "Uh, guys, we have to go now…"
Skylar jumped and nodded at Derek. Then she began packing her uneaten lunch, but was stopped by Lucifer. When she looked at him, he simply picked out a sandwich and pressed it into her hand. Then he took the other sandwich and bit a large chunk off it.
"One must never waste good food." He supplied, in answer to their quizzical looks.
A short burst of laughter tumbled its way out of Skylar's chest .She coughed a bit and looked at two astounded faces. She took a large bite of her sandwich and nodded vehemently.
Derek cracked up, laughing uncontrollably. Lucifer smiled gently and continued munching onto his sandwich. Finally when Derek's laughter subsided, he looked over at Lucifer and said, "You're a great guy, Luca. You really crack me up. I'll see you around" . He turned away and walked to class.
Lucifer suddenly remembered him. He was the boy he had helped up in class on his first day. He cocked an eyebrow and turned towards Skylar. She touched his elbow and said, 'Ah, Luca DiAngelo. Now I understand. Isn't it a bit too obvious though.'
He laughed and replied, ' That's the beauty of it. A large number of personalities can never understand the obvious. Now, eat your sandwich.'
'Gladly.' She took another bite.
He sat there for a moment and then he said, 'Skylar?'
'Thank you for caring.'
'You are most welcome, Lucifer.'