The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. - Mahatma Gandhi

The Judgment Hall was a place of judgment, but also a place of beauty. Its vast walls and ceiling seemed to stretch for miles, but the intricate carvings were clearly visible. Tall pillars supported the domed roof, stained glass windows allowing the sun to bathe it in a golden light. It was a magnificent place to be, He admitted to Himself reluctantly. But it would have been much better if the pitiful humans and the self-righteous angels did not fill the hall to its maximum capacity. Those imbeciles just made Him sick.

Though it was not just disgust that created His overwhelming hatred towards the two beings. There was more than that. It was not fear, nor was it conceit. It was…jealousy? Yes, there was jealousy. He chuckled to Himself darkly, amused by the irony of the situation. He was one of the most powerful beings in the universe, almost as powerful as God himself; yet He was jealous of the weak humans, and the arrogant angels.

Why? What could they possibly have that He did not?

"What are you doing here?" The harsh voice drew Him from His musings and He turned to look the very enraged archangel Gabriel. Well, it was about time someone noticed Him.

"Ah, Gabriel," He said, mockingly polite. "How are you this fine day?"

Gabriel narrowed his eyes at Him and his great white wings twitched in anger. "You are not welcome here, leave now."

He arched his eyebrows calmly at the archangel. "Au contraire. I was invited, Gabriel. I think that would mean that I am indeed welcome."

Gabriel opened his mouth to argue, but was cut off by the gentle tones of the master of the hall. "Peace, Gabriel. He speaks the truth, I invited Him here."

He straightened from His slouched position by the wall and watched God approach carefully. While He had acted very relaxed and casual for Gabriel, inside He was a bundle of nerves. He had not been expecting God's invitation and it made Him nervous when God did things He did not expect.

God studied Him carefully for a moment before gesturing towards the grand double doors leading out of the hall. "Walk with me?"

He frowned, but nodded and followed God through the doors. There was no reason not to, and many reasons why He should. Slowly the pair strolled through the halls, neither speaking for long time. At last God stopped on a balcony looking out over the sky, watching the sun set.

"You seemed surprised by my invitation."

He shifted slightly. He did not expect for God to talk of that of all things. "I was not expecting to talk to you today, if that is what you mean."

"You watched the Judging for quite some time. I was under the impression you hate watching the Judging."

"I do."

"Then why watch?"

He was getting angry at God's questions. He knew they were leading up to some grand point God was likely trying to make, but did not yet know what it was. "I enjoy watching the ignominious humans squirm." He gave a sadistic smile. "They are so weak and so easy to manipulate. It is a wonder any can get into Heaven at all."

"Perhaps," God answered evenly. "But that is not the reason you watched them. Not today."

His eyes narrowed and He stared at God, trying to figure out what he was getting at, and slightly amazed at God's perceptions. "Really?" He sneered.

"Yes. There was no contempt in your eyes this day, only anger. Why is that, do you think? What would make you angry at the 'poor, pitiful humans'?" God cocked his head and studied Him further. "Or should I say, what would make you jealous of humans?"

"I am not jealous," He snapped immediately in denial.

"It could not possibly be their strength, nor their power. There is no need for riches up here, so it cannot be their possessions. What is the one thing they have that you do not?"

He did not say anything, but the answer hit Him like a ton of bricks. Forgiveness. They were so freely forgiven for their sins, but He was not. A part of Him wanted to be forgiven, but He could not. The dice were cast, fate decided. It was His destiny to stand against God, and nothing could stop it now. Besides, God could never give it to Him. He had sinned one too many times.

"I am not jealous." He repeated, wanting only to get away from God's sharp eyes. "I must be off. I need to welcome the newcomers." With a nod He turned away from God and started to walk away. He had only reached the end of the hallway when He heard God speak.

"I am a god of forgiveness. I forgive everyone, Lucifer. Including you."

Slowly Lucifer turned and looked at God. The conflicting emotions and decisions swirling before his eyes. And for a split second, he knew that that was what he truly wanted, for God to forgive him. For a moment hope swelled inside him and he was about to go down on his knees and beg for forgiveness, when he remembered exactly who he was. He was Lucifer, Satan, the ruler of Hell. He was what gave humans choice and he knew that it was too late for him.

"My decision has already been made. There is no going back now. It is my fate to rule Hell." He turned and quickly walked down the hall so God could not finish arguing his point.

God smiled slightly and watched Lucifer hurry away. "Perhaps," he said lightly, "Perhaps not."