Lucifer headed to Lux. He arrived before Maze and poured himself a drink, still thinking about the things Chloe had said. It was already difficult to remember that his romantic involvement with the Detective was still very much a recent development. Even in spite of this business with his Mother interfering, it felt so natural.
The more time they spent together, he found it harder to believe that their relationship had been put in place by his Father. The Detective hadn’t changed - she was still the stubborn, driven woman he’d fallen in love with. The things she said, while astonishing to him, certainly hadn’t been fed to her by God, and she was clearly still in possession of her faculties, as was evidenced by the way she’d just taken him to task.
All in all, he was starting to come to the realization that the worst had not come to pass, and that maybe Chloe really was in love with the Devil, impossible as that might seem. And that was dangerous, because the last time he’d arrived at that conclusion, he’d found himself in Hell - literally.
He was startled out of his thoughts by the sound of the elevator. Lucifer turned to see Maze dragging his unconscious brother into the penthouse.
“Nicely done, Mazikeen,” Lucifer said.
“He doesn’t have the piece,” Maze said, tossing her burden onto the couch. Amenadiel groaned but didn’t reawaken.
“What did you do to him?” Lucifer asked, curious, as he began to pour her a drink.
“Tazed him,” Maze replied, taking the glass from him. Lucifer shot her a wide grin before he surveyed his brother’s body.
With a sigh, he pulled out his phone to inform Chloe.
<Amenadiel doesn’t have the piece. Still not going anywhere.>
“Who’re you texting?” Maze asked, sickly sweet, and Lucifer twisted to keep her from seeing his screen, adding his habitual devil emoji before sending the message on its way.
“None of your business,” he snapped, slipping his phone into his jacket. The last thing he wanted to do was discuss Chloe with Maze.
“So, Chloe hasn’t dumped you yet, huh?” the demon said lazily, and Lucifer shifted, at pains to conceal how deeply her jibe had struck, considering that he was currently wrestling with that very issue.
“No, and I’ll thank you not to discuss the matter any further,” he said, turning away to refill his drink. If Maze wanted one, she could get it herself. He sensed her moving closer, and then she was in his face, glaring up at him.
“I don’t know how she puts up with you,” she cooed silkily, tilting her head to regard him. “If you hurt her, no matter the reason, I will kick your ass again. Don’t screw this up.”
“Yes, yes, understood,” he said, leaning away from Maze. Privately, he thought that if he did somehow manage to hurt Chloe again, he’d deserve far worse.
Thankfully, his brother chose that moment to stir. Without looking at each other, he and Maze both took up their usual positions: he, seated on the coffee table by Amenadiel’s head, Maze at relaxed attention by his feet. He smiled inwardly. Some things never changed.
He got a reply from the Detective, and he checked it quickly while their guest was still out of it.
<Okay. I’ll talk to you later, right?> Even through text, Lucifer could hear her deliberately choosing to trust him. Then, a moment later, <I should get a cool emoji.> She signed off with a shield that looked like a cop badge.
He couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face - how was it that she always managed to be exactly what he needed? He put the phone away, ignoring the pointed look Maze was giving him.
“Hello, brother,” Lucifer said pleasantly as Amenadiel regained consciousness. “I notice you’ve changed your look. Where’s your pretty necklace?”
“Oh, I’ve put it in a safe place,” his brother responded, blinking groggily.
“Ah. Keister it, did you?” Lucifer threw out, hoping that his brother would still be out of it enough to correct him.
“Nope,” Maze announced unexpectedly. “Already checked. Not there.”
“Lovely.” Lucifer suddenly found himself faced with the mental image of Maze checking his brother’s various orifices. “Listen, Amenadiel, I need the final piece,” he said, as his brother slowly sat up.
“Right,” Amenadiel replied, not sounding like he was about to acquiesce. “So you and Mom can slice through the Gates of Heaven and destroy Father. Yeah. I know.”
“Maze, darling?” Lucifer said, reminding the demon of the second half of her task without bothering to respond to Amenadiel’s accusation. Maze left without a word. His brother watched without comment, used to their secrets.
“I’ve been thinking about this deeply,” Amenadiel said, before Lucifer could get a word in edgewise. “And I think we’ve been looking at this the wrong way.”
“That necklace was a gift! It wasn’t some manipulation.” The former angel spoke with passion, and Lucifer could tell he was gearing up for one of his long-winded, cringe-worthy speeches. His brother was utterly predictable.
“You only think that because it was gifted to you,” Lucifer commented. Everything their Father did was a manipulation.
“No, no, Luci, it’s all about perspective!” Amenadiel burst out, as if in rebuttal, despite Lucifer just having said the same thing. “Father doesn’t always make things clear because he wants us to form our own beliefs. And I strongly believe that I am to guard that piece.” Lucifer took his time turning back to face his brother. “Now I may have lost my way, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t rectify things now.”
Lucifer closed his eyes so he wouldn’t have to see Amenadiel’s painfully earnest expression. “Fine,” he sighed. “What if I was to tell you I never planned on destroying Dad?”
“I’d say you were full of it,” Amenadiel retorted, and oh, how that stung. Of course, the big, bad Devil should want to destroy God. But he didn’t have time to decide how he really felt about that, so he pushed past it.
“Yes, I want to assemble the sword. Yes, I want to cut through the Gates, blah, blah. But then I was just going to kick Mum into Heaven and slam the Gates behind her!” It felt like he’d explained this “secret” plan far too many times already. “Let the two lovebirds torture each other for eternity!”
“And that’s better,” Amenadiel stated dubiously.
“Yes?” Lucifer replied, uncertain by which metric his brother meant.
“No!” Amenadiel exclaimed. “Regardless of whether you’re with Mom or not, I simply can’t let Mom loose on Dad.” He paced back over to the couch, and Lucifer held in a yell of frustration with difficulty. “Now it is finally time I went back to being the loyal soldier He entrusted me to be. Mom’s not going anywhere.”
Lucifer rolled his eyes. Perhaps before their Mother got here would be the best time to inform him of the true stakes.
“Well, I am afraid that we do not have a choice, brother!” Lucifer said. “Mum’s powers are returning, and it won’t be long before we can’t contain them.” Amenadiel turned with a look of surprise. “I mean, she’s already killed one person, and now the Detective-” Lucifer barely kept from calling her Chloe. “The Detective is on her case.” He took a deep breath. “Mum gave me the slip. I don’t know where she is. So long as she’s on this plane, she is a danger to everyone,” he said, hoping Amenadiel might get his head out of his arse and appreciate the severity of the situation. “So please, no discussion. Mum has to go.” Lucifer could see by his brother’s face that Amenadiel was already mostly convinced.
“We have to find Mom,” Amenadiel stated after a moment, and Lucifer could have punched him.
“Oh, you think so?” Lucifer said sarcastically, as a message from Chloe popped up on his phone.
<Kathleen’s alibi was bogus. I’m going to investigate now.> Lucifer’s heart clenched. After a brief internal struggle, he sent a reply.
<Where are you? I’ll meet you there. BE CAREFUL!>
“So how do we find Mom?” Amenadiel asked, unaware of the new development in the case. “Follow the trail of roasted humans?”
“Well, if anyone can find that wily Goddess, it’s Maze,” Lucifer replied, distracted. “She’s on it. And you’re one to talk, considering that your angst is what caused this whole mess in the first place.”
“My angst?” Amenadiel rounded on him, but Lucifer couldn’t have cared less.
“Come on. I have to go meet the Detective, and you’re coming with me.” There was no way Lucifer was letting his brother out of his sight again. He swore inventively under his breath. Why did this plan to assault Heaven feel more like herding cats?
His phone pinged again once they made it downstairs to the bar.
<Got another burned head. Ava Lyon. Need to find your Mom, now.>
“Another burned head,” he reported, and Amenadiel blinked, but before Lucifer could respond to the text, a voice rang out from the entryway.
“Hello, boys.” Speak of the Devil’s Mother…
Charlotte sauntered in like she hadn’t a care in the world. She’d even found time to change her clothes in addition to all the murder.
“What have you been doing?” Amenadiel asked casually.
“Oh, this and that,” she answered, leaning against the bar and helping herself to his drink.
“‘This’ being firing up the Celestial barbeque so ‘that’ you can grill another head?” Lucifer said.
“No,” his Mother replied. “I just needed to get cleaned up. Get some air. Don’t you just hate being kept in the dark?” she said pointedly, and Lucifer swallowed.
“The good news is, you found Amenadiel,” his Mother continued, smiling beatifically. “So we have the piece?”
Lucifer chuckled. “Yes, well, interesting story, actually. Why don’t you tell her, brother?”
“Oh, no,” Amenadiel replied. Bloody coward. “This one’s all you, brother; I insist.”
“Thank you,” Lucifer said sarcastically. He could have pushed the issue, made his brother take responsibility, but he had a mind to try a new plan that wouldn’t require the assistance of his recalcitrant sibling.
“Right, well, upon careful consideration, we’ve decided this whole Flaming Sword plan is a crap idea.”
“Yes, crap,” Amenadiel chimed in, monotone, and Lucifer wanted to punch him. It was hard enough pulling this new plan half-formed out of his ass. He could do without the Abbott and Costello routine.
“Have you ever considered finding, well, I don’t know, a place of your own?” Lucifer suggested, and Amenadiel nodded.
“Yeah, somewhere away from Dad, maybe?”
“Somewhere familiar, warmer, perhaps?” Lucifer added. He could see the moment his Mother got it, and he wanted to wince at the expression on her face.
“You want me back in Hell?” she asked incredulously.
“Well, not in Hell, per se,” Lucifer explained quickly, “but in charge of Hell! I mean, after all, it is a kingdom without a ruler.” The more he thought about it, the better a solution it became. Amenadiel wouldn’t have to go against their Father, his Mother would be off the earthly plane and he would have finally squared his deal, and filled his vacancy.
“He is right,” Amenadiel felt the need to contribute again. “I mean, there’s a great opportunity for upward mobility.” Lucifer barely resisted the urge to throttle him.
“Lick of paint here or there,” Lucifer suggested, trying to keep it rolling, to imply that he wasn’t intending it as a bad thing. “The columns would look great in white.” His Mother continued to stare at them. “Beige?” He knew it wasn’t the colour Mum objected to, but he couldn’t help it. He now truly believed that this was their best option, and he could sense her getting ready to dismiss it out of hand.
“So it’s true.” Charlotte’s voice was hushed. Lucifer couldn’t tell if it was from disbelief or menace. “You are working against me. You never planned on going with me to Heaven.” Her voice was low and dangerous and Lucifer felt a completely ridiculous pang of nostalgia. It was just like old times…
Then the first half of her statement hit him, and his eyes narrowed. “Wait. How did you find out?” he asked, feeling the sick stirrings of apprehension in his stomach.
“Well, I persuaded your little doctor,” his Mother confessed. Lucifer stared at her in horror. “I’m sorry,” she said, not sounding at all like she meant it. “I had no choice.”
“What did you do?” he asked bleakly. The number of times he’d heard those exact words in Hell... How had this situation gotten so wildly out of hand?
He started to turn away but found himself grabbed by his lapel and pulled to attention like a chastened schoolboy. “Mum?” It came out as a question, though he hadn’t meant it to.
“Mom, listen, I understand. You’re angry…” Amenadiel began, and their Mother grabbed him too.
“I’m not angry,” the Goddess hissed. “Just disappointed.” With that, she hurled them both through the air. Lucifer let out a very undignified sound, caught completely off guard. It was one thing to know that his Mother’s powers were returning; it was quite another to experience it firsthand.
They collided with the piano in a tremendous crash, wood splinters and snapped strings flying everywhere, and his first thought was that at least his poor piano wasn’t the Corvette.
Mum was upon them immediately. “Give me the piece!” she demanded, holding out her hand to Amenadiel.
“No, Mom.” His brother’s voice was sad, but firm. “You’re going to have to kill me.”
There was a tense moment when she looked at Lucifer. Lucifer stared back, still winded, wondering what his Mother was going to do now.
At least she didn’t appear to be entertaining the possibility. “Guess I’ll have to find another way, won’t I?” She stalked off.
In the aftermath, the two brothers took the opportunity to right themselves, scrabbling in the wreckage of the piano.
“Well, now look what you made her do,” Lucifer said with a groan, surveying what was once his beloved instrument. “I’ve just had this tuned!” It was easier to focus on that than their Mother’s deteriorating mental state, although he was also genuinely annoyed.
His brother rounded on him. “Me? How about you suggesting Hell as a retirement home? Nice. Maybe if you had just mentioned a pottery class, or water aerobics, she would have gone for it.”
Lucifer shot Amenadiel a scathing look - his job would have been a lot easier without Amenadiel’s inane commentary. He’d had quite enough of his brother’s stupidity for one millennium. “Oh, and did you have a better idea?” Of course not - it was always his job to come up with the plans.
“Mom’s coming undone, Luci,” Amenadiel said instead. “In every way.”
“I know,” Lucifer replied. As if that weren’t already painfully obvious. “And she doesn’t care who she hurts anymore.” He paused, memory hitting him like a wrecking ball. “Linda.” For a moment, he couldn’t breathe. If she’d gotten hurt because of his Mother’s agenda, it was all his fault. He would have started off immediately but Amenadiel stopped him.
“I’ll go check on Linda,” Amenadiel said, sounding briefly like the old Amenadiel, delegating and giving orders. “You go after Mom; she’ll listen to you. But Luci, don’t you dare promise her that piece, because I won’t give it to her.”
Lucifer declined to argue, instead making his way to his car, fuming. As if he would make keeping his word contingent upon another. But if Amenadiel was so dead set against giving their Mother the sword, then it was only fair that he be the one to come up with an alternate solution that didn’t involve the destruction of the earthly plane.
His phone rang once he made it into the garage; it was Chloe. He picked up, feeling relieved.
“Detective!” he exclaimed, trying to keep the worst of the worry from his voice. “Listen, I need to tell you about my M-”
“Little old me?” Hearing his Mother’s voice come through the speaker instead of Chloe’s brought him to a standstill. Cold terror coursed through him. “You were right, dear,” Mum continued, quietly threatening. “Your Detective is quite good.” Her chuckle sent shivers down his spine as she whispered, “She got me.”
No. No, no, no. How could this be happening? How could his Mother have Chloe? He’d told Chloe everything, told her to stay away!
“Where are you?” His voice was a whisper against the ringing in his ears.
“Santa Monica Pier,” came the answer, low and deadly. “Such a beautiful place. So many people.”
Lucifer was already at his car, endeavouring not to crush the phone in his hand that was his lifeline to the Detective. “If you hurt anyone, Mum, if you hurt her-” His throat closed up, seared by a single moment of white-hot panic as he saw his nightmare coming true. He couldn’t lose Chloe. Not ever. Why had he allowed them to separate?
“If you and your brother had just given me what I needed…” His Mother’s voice faded in and out, and he gripped the car door tight enough to leave dents in the metal. “But who knows? Maybe you still can.” The words were meaningless nonsense, unable to find purchase against the overbearing imperative to get to Chloe, to put himself between her and anything that would harm her.
“All right, that’s enough,” Chloe said in the background. He conceived a desperate hope that she would get on the line, and he would be able to talk her out of confronting his Mother.
“Detective!” he shouted, his voice echoing off the concrete pillars.
“Yeah, Lucifer, I’m here.”
Lucifer nearly collapsed to hear her voice so close to his ear, and he stumbled over his words, his tongue feeling suddenly too big for his mouth. “Chloe, listen, please listen. Mum is dangerously unstable. She doesn’t care who she hurts. You need to get away from her.”
“Lucifer, I told you, this is my job. Everything is fine. Everything is under control. Just get here as soon as you can.”
“Detective! Please, I am begging you-” The Devil didn’t beg. But she’d ended the call.
Lucifer wasn’t aware of getting in his car or dialing Amenadiel’s number. He was barely able to avoid a wreck on the exit ramp, too focused on making intelligible words.
“She’s on Santa Monica Pier, and she wants the piece,” he told his brother. “We have to give it to her, Amenadiel. We’ve run out of options.” There were more cars in front of him, like the universe itself was conspiring to keep him from Chloe. “Please. Brother, please.” He could hardly force the words past the lump in his throat. “She has Chloe.”
He was begging again, but it seemed to be the only word that hadn’t deserted him, running on a constant loop through his mind. Please. Please don’t take her away. Please let me keep her.