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The World is Unraveling

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“Lucifer, we need to talk about something.”

Amenadiel spoke without preamble, approaching from behind, while Lucifer watched his mother’s table through his sunglasses, so it wasn’t obvious exactly where he was looking.

“What?” Lucifer said irritably. “Can’t it wait? I’m busy keeping an eye on our mercurial mother.” For all that Amenadiel had insisted Lucifer come here, he seemed remarkably unconcerned about what their mother was up to.

“No, it’s important.” Of course, his brother could always be counted upon to bring new meaning to the word persistence. “I think you might be in danger.”

At that, Lucifer’s attention was diverted. His immediate thought was that Amenadiel had somehow discovered the changes in his relationship with Chloe. After all, it was possible he had some kind of pervy miracle-dar connection with the human he’d had a hand in creating. Lucifer’s next instinct was to deflect. What had happened between himself and Chloe the previous night was his most precious memory, a brightly burning secret he would guard close to his heart like a dragon with his hoard. He didn’t want anyone to know, especially not his family. They’d only find some way to take it from him, like they had last time.

“Is it the Yakuza?” He turned to Amenadiel with mock solemnity. “The nephilim? One Million Mums?” He couldn’t help himself with the last one. Mirth seemed to be bursting out of him at the most innocuous things.

“It’s Maze,” his brother cut his recitation short, which was probably for the best. “She's angry with you, brother.” Lucifer allowed himself to relax. Amenadiel hadn’t found out about Chloe.

“Is it Tuesday already?” He laughed that it could be something so trivial. “Anger is Maze’s default setting, sort of baked into her demon DNA.” He tapped his fingers on his scotch glass, looking over at his mother’s table again.

“No, this is different, Luci. I think you really need to talk to her.” But Lucifer had too much on his mind to concern himself with the odd hang-up Amenadiel had never managed to get over when it came to Maze.

“She’ll get over it,” Lucifer exclaimed, turning back to look at his brother. “She always does. Right now, we have bigger issues to deal with, like whether or not Mum is wasting our time.”

At least she’d picked a pleasant enough spot for it; the bright, airy breakfast bar had been a delightful place to spend an hour waiting for Amenadiel to turn up from wherever he’d been. Lucifer had kept one eye on his mother while pondering the frankly baffling events of this morning. If it turned out that his family had pulled him away from spending time with Chloe for nothing…

He lowered his glasses slightly to let his mother know he was still watching as her contact was distracted by the menu. She gave him a subtle nod, and he made an ‘ok’ hand gesture to confirm.

“If she believes her client has found another piece of the Flaming Sword, then so do I,” Amenadiel stated, stalwart as ever.

“Oh, such a loyal son,” Lucifer said, clapping his brother on the shoulder. “But Mum hasn’t adapted to this world as well as you might think. This chap could be conning her.” The longer he watched, the more certain he was. His Mother toasted her client. “I think I’m going to go make sure-” Lucifer half-rose, but Amenadiel kept him in his seat.

“She seems to be doing just fine,” Amenadiel said, just as their mother pulled out a briefcase that looked like every movie cliche come to life.

Lucifer pulled off his glasses, discarding all pretense. “That’s not the money, is it?”

“Of course not,” Amenadiel - poor, naive Amenadiel - answered. “She wouldn’t bring it to the meeting.” Their mother opened the case to reveal stacks of cash, which her client quickly tried to cover up.

“Oh no, of course not,” Lucifer asked sarcastically, as the client struggled to close the briefcase. “That would be absurd, wouldn’t it?”

“She’s just showing it to him,” Amenadiel protested, and at the moment Lucifer couldn’t decide which of the two of them was worse. “I mean, it’s not like she’s just going to hand it to him before she… gets the piece. That’s great.” Amenadiel’s voice trailed away as their mother did just that, and Lucifer fought the urge to strangle them both.

“And now she’s letting him leave,” Lucifer pointed out as the client made his getaway. “Marvellous.” It was past time to intervene - he got up and stalked over to the table, his brother following.

“Well, that went well,” Mum said blithely, looking up at them.

“Oh, you think so?” Lucifer said in his most pleasant tone, hands in his pockets, until he could be sure that throttling was definitely off the table.

“I do.” His Mother was all confidence and smiles. “He has what we need in his safe in the back room,” she told them, like it wasn’t the oldest trick in the book.

“Oh?” Lucifer was blinded by the sheer stupidity.

“He’s going to get it right now,” she continued, and Lucifer forced down a growl of frustration.

“Mum,” he explained, as if to a child. “You just handed him a briefcase full of cash with no proof whatsoever he has what we need.”

“And?”

“You’ve been conned,” he declared. For all her cunning, his mother could be incredibly naive at times.

She scoffed. “He’s a client of mine, darling,” she said dismissively. “I don’t think he’d be that foolhardy.”

Lucifer made a noise of utter disbelief - he knew exactly the sort of scum Charlotte Richards defended - and his Mother looked from him to Amenadiel and then to the door where her client had disappeared.

“I’m sure he’ll be right back,” she said, but she no longer sounded quite so certain. All three of them looked at each other, Lucifer highly sceptical, Amenadiel shaking his head. Doubt crept into her expression at their lack of support. “Maybe we should check, just to be sure.”

Lucifer nodded. “I think that’s a good idea, don’t you?” he said, already leading the way. So long as he was first on the scene he might still be able to salvage the situation.

He burst into the back room, heedless of any feeble attempts to stop him, and found the body.

“See, he didn’t con me!” Mum exclaimed, vindicated.

“Instead, he’s dead, and someone’s robbed him of what’s ours. Much better.” Lucifer’s mind raced as he tried to figure out some way to salvage the situation. “Well, the good news is, after this spectacular bungling-” he cast a scathing glance at his mother “-I happen to work with a homicide detective.”

The absolute last thing he wanted to do was get Chloe involved in all of this. But the potential for disaster if some other detective got the case far outweighed the risks.

“If you find the killer, then you’ll find our piece of the Flaming Sword,” his Mother concluded.

Amenadiel was making meaningless sounds behind them while Lucifer wondered how he would manage having his Mother and Chloe working in close proximity without letting the proverbial cat out of the bag. He would need to debrief Chloe more thoroughly first.

Smirking at the unintended pun, he pulled out his phone, already dialing the Detective.

A large hand descended onto his, halting him in his tracks.

“You’re not calling her!” Amenadiel hissed, and it was only then that Lucifer realized how badly he’d already misstepped. It was such a relief to have everything out in the open with Chloe that it was difficult to remember he was supposed to be far more circumspect. Of course, the only option left in this particular situation was to double down.

“Of course I am, what could be simpler?” he asked, shaking off his brother’s touch. “I’ll just tell her we’ve encountered this awful tragedy completely by chance and that she needs to come right away.”

“And you don’t think that might make her, I don’t know, suspicious?”

Lucifer barked a laugh. “Don’t be ridiculous; the Detective would never suspect me of anything.” He kept his face carefully schooled to avoid revealing just how true his statement was. Chloe was truly good. In every way.

“Wouldn’t she suspect Charlotte Richards?” Amenadiel continued to protest, but the phone was already at Lucifer’s ear. He made a shushing gesture, and his brother subsided with ill grace.

“Lucifer!” Chloe’s warm, welcoming voice suffused his entire body, and he turned away to hide the smile he couldn’t help from breaking across his face. How it was possible that he was allowed to have this? He didn’t think he would ever understand. “I’m surprised to hear from you so soon; how’s everything with your Mom?”

“Ah, Detective!” he said lightly, trying to telegraph without words that this was not just a social call. “I’m afraid something’s happened. I need you to come at once.”

Oh, God - shit, sorry - what happened? Is it your Mom?”

“We’ve discovered a body,” he said, letting her unfortunate name drop pass for the present as he flapped his hand at Amenadiel, who was becoming more agitated. Lucifer didn’t dare look at his mother for fear she might glean something from his expression. She was rather annoyingly adept at that sort of thing.

“What?” Chloe’s voice was untuned with surprise, and he spared a brief thought of frustration that they hadn’t had more time to adjust to their new status before his family got in the way - as usual. “Where are you? Is everyone okay?” He winced at the note of panic in her voice.

“Yes, yes, we’re all fine. Well, apart from the dead guy,” he said, and Amenadiel threw up his hands in exasperation. “Look, I’ll text you the details, but I really must get going now. Come as soon as you can!” He hung up, already composing his first text message.

<It’s Mum. Not the way you think. Easier to explain when you’re here. Meet me out front BEFORE anyone else.> He sent her the address.

“How do we even know this guy had our missing piece?” Amenadiel was saying. “We could be involving Chloe for nothing.”

“Mum was certain, though, weren’t you, Mother?” Lucifer asked sweetly, as his phone pinged with Chloe’s answer.

<On my way.>

He couldn’t help a rising feeling of excitement at finally being able to work a case with the Detective in the know. At the same time, his Mother had best hope she was right, because if he discovered he’d pointlessly involved Chloe in this mess... he really would strangle them both. It was no matter to him whether they assaulted the Silver City tomorrow or a hundred years from now, but it was clear that so long as his Mother remained on Earth, she would be a threat to his relationship with Chloe. And if locking Mum in Heaven could distract his Father from himself and Chloe as well (say for the next six decades or so), so much the better.

“Of course I’m sure,” Mum confirmed, and Lucifer shot Amenadiel a look before going outside to wait for Chloe.

He also relentlessly quashed the thought that it had been too long since he’d last seen her. That was ridiculous.

*

Chloe had thought, when she’d received Lucifer’s call, that it was all too good to be true. Of course something would be going down, and she wouldn’t get a chance to breathe before she got thrown headfirst into Lucifer’s world. This would be a test: would she be able to handle it all?

Judging by her reaction when she thought about working a case with Lucifer telling her the whole truth, the answer would be a resounding yes.

She drove to the beachfront restaurant Lucifer had directed her to, wondering what she was going to be facing. Lucifer had been typically vague on the phone, but she suspected it was because he’d been with his family. Her heart sank a little. Did he not want his family to know about her? Remembering Trixie’s reaction when she’d walked in the door that morning, still in her clothes from yesterday, made her blush and smile. She’d barely been able to help a smirking Maze get her little monkey out the door. Dan had given Chloe an odd look when she’d walked into work far later than was usual for her, but hadn’t said anything. If he were to have asked what had happened, she’d have been honest, but she didn’t think she’d bring it up on her own.

Suddenly, Lucifer’s avoidance of the subject on the phone made a lot more sense. If she didn’t even want to tell Dan, how much more would Lucifer want to keep it from his lunatic family? The realization made her feel better.

He was waiting outside for her, and her heart gave a leap at the sight of him, which was ridiculous, given that it had only been a few hours since they'd parted ways. From the way his eyes lit up and he barely gave her a chance to get out of her car before he was in front of her, though, it seemed he felt the same way.

“Thank you for coming,” he said warmly, grasping her hands briefly. “And first, allow me to apologize. I never wanted you to become involved in any of this.”

Chloe shook her head, smiling up at him. “Don’t worry about that, I came as soon as I could. I’m just glad you’re all okay.” She looked back at Amenadiel and Charlotte, who were hanging around the door looking conspicuously inconspicuous.

Lucifer followed her gaze. “Yes, that’s the second thing. I told them to let me do the talking because I wanted to speak to you first. It is not my intention to tell my family about us. Especially Mother. Although, Amenadiel is just as bad, because he would simply inform her immediately. Mum has proven that she is perfectly willing to interfere in matters between us if it suits her, and I…” He frowned, trailing away. Chloe felt a burst of warmth fill her chest and apologized silently for ever doubting him.

“You don’t want her screwing things up,” she finished for him, sticking her hands in her pockets. “Gotcha. We’re just partners, right?”

Lucifer sent her a grateful look. “Which brings us to the third thing. This murder. None of us had anything to do with it,” he said, holding her eyes, and Chloe nodded once, satisfied. “Assuming he had what we’re looking for, it was taken from him when he was killed. We’re hopeful that catching the killer will lead us to it.”

Chloe nodded again. “I’d ask you what it is you’re looking for, but your Mom’s headed over here now, so I expect you to explain more later, all right?”

Lucifer agreed quickly just as his Mother’s voice rang out across the parking lot.

“What is taking you two so long? Need I remind you that there is a killer on the loose who is currently in possession of something very important!”

Lucifer turned, blocking her from Charlotte’s view, whether intentionally or not. “Say that a bit louder, Mum; I don’t think the whole beach heard you.”

That brought Charlotte up short. “Lucifer. Does she… Does she know?” Unable to see Charlotte’s face, Chloe couldn’t interpret the complicated mess of emotions in the woman’s voice, but it raised her hackles.

“What? That there’s a dead man in the back room of that restaurant, and my Father’s ex found the body? Yes, that’s the reason why she’s here. Do keep up, please.”

Chloe fought to keep a smile from her face. She supposed she shouldn’t be surprised at how smoothly he’d handled that - because after all, Devil - but this was her first chance to really appreciate it.

“Oh.” Charlotte sounded thrown, but she recovered her aplomb admirably. “Well, in that case, what are you waiting for? And where’s the police? Doesn’t there usually need to be more of them for this sort of thing?”

“I didn’t call this in,” Chloe answered, moving past Lucifer with a brief touch of reassurance. “You didn’t call 911, you called me, and I’m not mobilizing the precinct until I’ve assessed the situation.”

“Oh, very well. Assess away,” the other woman allowed. “But do it quickly. There’s no time to waste.”

“I’ll be the judge of that,” Chloe said in return, walking past her. It was only then that she remembered she’d just stared down the actual Goddess of Creation. Her heart skipped a beat, and she started to shake.

Then Lucifer was at her side. “Just keep walking, Detective,” he murmured, and she firmed her resolve. She could do this. It was just a normal case.

“That’s it; just a normal case,” Lucifer repeated, and she shot him a glare at his patronizing tone, unaware that she’d been speaking aloud.

“Give me a break, Lucifer; it’s not every day you face down an actual Goddess,” she hissed. Her partner shrugged unhelpfully.

“Well, it is for me,” he encouraged, “but you’re doing wonderfully.”

Chloe rolled her eyes.

Amenadiel had vanished by the time she reached the restaurant, which was actually somewhat of a relief. How exactly did one interact with the angel responsible for one’s creation? Pulling out her gun, she tried to focus. Case. Potential active crime scene. Follow protocol.

“The lock’s damaged,” she observed, pushing the door open. She looked at Lucifer. “Was that you?”

“Probably not?” he replied with little certainty, and Chloe despaired for the millionth time about getting him to respect a crime scene. It certainly didn’t take a trained detective to notice the dead body on the floor, or that there was nothing particularly supernatural about the situation. She trusted Lucifer, but his judgement wasn’t the best when it came to this sort of thing.

Giving the room another cursory glance, she holstered her gun and pulled out her phone. “Okay, I’m calling this in. Stay back; this is now an active crime scene.” She called dispatch, hearing as she did so Lucifer unsuccessfully trying to shoo his Mother away in the background. Once that was done, she went to inform the owner of the building that there was going to be a murder investigation in his back room and to close up shop for the day. Then she took the two of them outside to wait for the other units.

Chloe adopted a strong stance, hoping that Lucifer was right, and his Mother didn’t understand the human world very well. “Ms. Richards, Lucifer and I have some confidential police matters to discuss while we wait for backup. I want you to stay here. If you leave, you will be considered a suspect.” Charlotte shrugged regally and did as she was told. Chloe took the opportunity to pull Lucifer out of earshot.

“You’re handling Mum like a pro, Detective; well done.” He grinned. Chloe swore inwardly. The urge to kiss his stupid face was even stronger now. “So what’s this ‘delicate police matter’ you wished to discuss with me?”

“Nothing, I just needed to keep your Mom from hovering,” Chloe murmured. “It’s time you told me what the hell this is all about.”

Lucifer made a face. “Well, Heaven, actually, but very well. Do you remember that case from several months ago involving the fraudulent yoga instructor?”

Chloe frowned. “The one where the murder weapon vanished right from under our noses? How could I forget?”

“Well, it didn’t vanish; I took it for safekeeping.” He spoke over Chloe’s protests. “Because it is the blade of the Angel of Death and dangerous for humans. That’s why those little massacres followed it everywhere it went.”

Chloe stared. “So, wait - you have it? You’ve had it this whole time?”

“Well, not here, but yes, it’s somewhere safe. In any case, the blade is missing a piece, and the dead man in there was supposed to be getting it for Mum. We have reason to believe it was taken from him, and that the killer now has it.”

“Okay.” Chloe held up a finger, trying to process everything she’d just heard in context of what was relevant for the case. “So this piece… is it also dangerous the way the sword is?”

Lucifer’s eyes were grave. “It could very well be, Detective. Celestial objects tend not to mix well with humanity. Without knowing what it is, though, it’s hard to say for certain.”

“Right. So we need to catch the killer as quickly as possible,” Chloe summed up.

“Indeed. Glad you’re on board with the plan,” Lucifer said, and Chloe shot him a look.

“What’s the blade of the Angel of Death - who is apparently a thing - doing on Earth in the first place, anyway?” she asked, expecting one of his flippant responses. It was a surprise when his expression shuttered faster than a window for a hurricane.

“It was… brought here,” he answered slowly, unwillingly. “By one of my brothers.”

Chloe was still curious, but she knew she had to tread carefully. “Not the Angel of Death?”

“No, Azrael is my sister,” Lucifer explained, and his expression eased marginally. Chloe took a moment to process the fact that the Angel of Death was apparently female before getting back to the matter at hand.

“Okay,” Chloe said softly. She badly wanted to touch him, but didn’t dare in case his Mother was watching. “I’m sorry, Lucifer. I won’t ask about it any more.” The how of the blade getting to Earth (especially so long ago) mattered less than what to do about it now, and she knew enough about Lucifer’s family to understand what a difficult topic it was for him. “For now we’ve gotta focus on finding our bad guy, right?”

Lucifer’s demeanour relaxed, and he nodded just as the first cruisers started trundling into the parking lot. Chloe went to meet them, and in the process of setting up the scene and working the investigation, the issue of the blade was pushed to the back of her mind.

“So tell me,” Chloe said to Charlotte, choosing firmly to think of her as such instead of who she actually was. “Why does Zeke Moore, a manager at an import/export company, have you representing him?” She needed to figure out how much information Lucifer’s Mother had… retained to see if she could be useful to the case. Keep it together, Decker. You can do this.

“Because I’m the best.” Charlotte said.

“At getting criminals off,” Chloe retorted automatically. A look of confusion crossed the other woman’s face.

“That’s not true,” Charlotte protested. At Charlotte’s tone, Chloe found herself actually forgetting that she was speaking to a Goddess in human form. She’d never really interacted much with the real Charlotte beforehand, so she had no point of reference to compare it to. “I haven’t slept with any of my clients.”

It took Chloe a second. Then she got it, and she had to call upon her dormant acting skills to keep from bursting out laughing. Now she could see the family resemblance.

“You represent the worst of the worst,” she said instead, forging ahead with the conversation before she foundered. “So why was Zeke a client?”

Charlotte shrugged. “Because he works for Bianca Ruiz.”

“What, the tequila magnate?” Lucifer spoke up, and Chloe wasn’t surprised, given how well-connected he was.

“Bianca’s tequila empire is a front,” she informed them both, hoping that Lucifer hadn’t had anything to do with it. “She uses the distribution routes to smuggle guns, drugs, and, oh yeah, people-” she glared pointedly at Charlotte, wondering if the Goddess had a conscience “-so we’ve been after her for a long time.”

“So who do you think did this?” Charlotte sounded unmoved by the litany of Bianca’s crimes. “A rival of some sort?”

Chloe wouldn’t let herself be led. “That’s what we’re here to figure out. Ella, what do we have?” she called back.

“Well, no smoking gun,” Ella said slowly, crouching over the body, “but poor Zeke here got shot twice. Once in the thigh - bullet winged him - and then another went through his hand, hitting him in the chest. Probably trying to defend himself.” She demonstrated with her own body, bringing her arm up, hand at chest level. “Too bad you can’t catch bullets,” she informed the vic.

“Well, he can’t, maybe,” Lucifer said, and Chloe shot him a look. Lucifer met her gaze with a bland expression.

“I don’t think this was a professional hit. Maybe a robbery gone wrong?” Chloe suggested as casually as possible. She certainly hadn’t been expecting to put her acting classes to such use when she got up this morning, but catching sight of Lucifer’s proud grin out of the corner of her eye made it all worth it.

Charlotte pounced. “Any idea of what was taken?” It was a good thing Chloe already knew what had happened or she would have immediately been suspicious of the leading question.

Ella gave a rundown, adding, “No sign of forced entry, though.”

That was finally some information Chloe could use. “Which means the killer either knew the combination, or he just waited for the vic to open it to strike.”

The other evidence Ella uncovered was, unfortunately, less helpful, as they couldn’t even decide what the image on the phone’s screen was. (“So our lead on the killer is a pair of butt-boob-eyes. It’s a great start,” Chloe said, but had to admit she couldn’t think of any better suggestions.)

To make matters worse, Charlotte insisted on riding along with them back to the precinct. Chloe wanted to ask more about the sword and its pieces, or even just about what had happened that morning, but she could hardly do it with the Goddess of Creation in the backseat.

Chloe cast a sidelong glance at Lucifer’s profile as he stared resolutely out the window. His constant complaining about his Dad made sense now, but his relationship with his Mother seemed just as complicated. She thought of the way Charlotte had tried to get her to call Lucifer a liar on the witness stand, how Lucifer had practically begged her not to reveal the change in their relationship, for fear his Mother might try to ruin it. It stoked the parental anger in her heart, and she would have had some very pointed questions for Charlotte had she been free to speak her mind.

Instead, she bit her tongue and kept driving, even when Charlotte commented disdainfully about how long it was taking, and Lucifer, never one to pass up an opportunity to insult her driving, chimed in gleefully.

Chloe could only shake her head. Actual deities in her car, and they were worse than Trixie.

It was a relief when they arrived at the precinct. She asked Dan to pull the files they had on Bianca Ruiz, and then went to the lab to check in with Ella.

“I’m running through Google image search,” she told them, glancing up from her laptop. “Should only take a few minutes.”

Chloe smiled up at Lucifer, finally free of his Mother for the first time since this morning, before she realized what exactly that meant. She looked around.

“Where’s Charlotte?”

Her horror at the thought of the Goddess left to her own devices in the middle of the precinct was diverted when horrible sounds started coming from Ella’s laptop. Dan (and Charlotte, Chloe was relieved to see) drifted in, drawn by the disaster, which was like the musical equivalent of a car crash.

“You guys, it’s a record label,” Ella said over the cacophony. “The symbol on the phone we found is the label’s logo!”

“And they choose to publish this music of their own free will?” Lucifer asked. Chloe was surprised he’d even accorded it the title of music. Lucifer’s dislike of hip-hop was legendary.

“It’s a vanity label,” Ella explained. “It only exists to make this one guy’s music.” She pulled up an image of the individual in question.

“Okay, well, who owns it?” Chloe asked, fighting the urge to cover her ears. “And could you please turn it off?”

Ella did so, and blessed silence reigned in the precinct. “Chet Ruiz,” she said, in response to Chloe’s first question.

“Bianca’s youngest son,” Charlotte supplied. “Half our billing goes to keep him out of jail.”

Chloe was realizing there were definite upsides to working this case with a Goddess of Creation instead of the real Charlotte - a real lawyer would know better than to reveal that kind of information. “So Bianca’s own son robbed and killed one of her most loyal soldiers?” Chloe mused.

“The files barely mention Chet,” Dan spoke up. “I didn’t know he was actually part of the family business.”

“He’s not,” Charlotte said. “Bianca tries to keep him as far away from it all as possible.”

“Maybe he started to resent that, decided to make a play?” Chloe suggested.

“And then dropped his phone, proving just how right his mother was about him,” Lucifer observed.

“Well, if Chet is the killer, this could be our chance to take down Bianca as well,” Chloe said. “Cut off the head of her entire operation.” If Celestial shenanigans were what it took to finally put Queen Tequila behind bars, she wasn’t going to argue. “This could be huge.”

“Bummer is,” Ella said, “the phone proves that Chet was in the room, but doesn’t definitively tie him to the murder.”

Ella was correct, and her assertion also reminded Chloe that this was a real murder, whatever the motive might have been, which would be a lot easier to work without a Goddess with an agenda breathing down her neck.

Chloe delegated tasks. “Dan, why don’t you work on hacking the passcode. I’ll have a chat with Chet. And Charlotte, thank you so much for your help, but now that one of your clients is our main suspect, it’s best you go.” She ushered the other woman toward the door.

Charlotte held the door before Chloe could close it on her. “I don’t think I have to go just yet.”

“Maybe not,” Chloe admitted, “but I think you should.”

“Bianca’s having a party today,” Charlotte said quickly, and Chloe reluctantly let her back into the room. “It’s the launch of her new tequila. I’m sure Chet will be there, and I’m invited.” She raised her hand.

Damn. Chloe couldn’t turn down an opportunity like that. She glanced over at Lucifer. Sorry, I tried. Lucifer grimaced.

“You know, Chloe, it would be a good chance to go undercover.” Dan was the unexpected voice of support. “Gather some intel before they even know we’re onto them.”

Chloe cleared her throat, unable to argue with him. “All right.”

“Fine,” Lucifer said. “Good, it’s settled; the Detective and I will go, so thank you so much for your help.” Lucifer made a good attempt, but was once again thwarted by his Mother.

“I don’t think so,” Charlotte said firmly, and for the first time, Chloe didn’t have any trouble believing that Charlotte was actually his mother as she waved a finger in the Devil’s face. “The invitation is under my name. I will go.” Her entire demeanour softened, simpering. “Perhaps Detective Espinoza should join me.”

Chloe made a mental note to find some way to warn Dan about Charlotte as soon as possible. Luckily, Lucifer was having none of it.

“No. That’s not happening. Very well. If I must, I’ll go with you,” he said, but all Chloe could think of was the potential for disaster of having the both of them on an undercover op with no oversight.

“No, I’ll go with Charlotte,” she interrupted, and Lucifer’s gaze shot to her face.

“But, Detective-” There was real fear in his voice, but she wouldn’t let him talk her out of it.

“No more arguing.”

Lucifer subsided, but he didn’t look happy.

“Very well,” Charlotte said, cutting off further discussion. “But I suggest you go shopping,” she said to Chloe. “This isn’t the kind of place you can attend in pyjamas.”

Chloe was again struck by the family resemblance. What was wrong with the way she dressed?

Pyjamas?” she echoed, eyes narrowed, and followed Charlotte out of the lab.

“This is ridiculous,” Lucifer exclaimed, and there was a brief moment when she thought he would defend her style to his Mother before he lightly caught her arm, glancing at the statuesque form of Charlotte as she moved ahead of them. “Detective, I must protest; you’re not safe being alone with her.”

“Lucifer.” Chloe squeezed his hand briefly as she slipped it off her arm. “I’ll be fine. I’m her ticket to finding what she’s looking for. She’s not going to do anything to screw that up.” He still looked dubious, so she gave him a reassuring smile. “I’ll be fine,” she repeated. “I promise I’ll be careful. Maybe you could try to find out more about Chet? You’ve got contacts. And are you sure the other pieces of the sword are safe?”

“Detective?” Charlotte called back, having noticed that they weren’t with her. “Lucifer, do leave the Detective to it; she’s got a lot to do before the party.”

Chloe rolled her eyes at Lucifer, walking to join his Mother, feeling his eyes on her the entire time. Charlotte informed her of the address and dress code, and with a final disparaging comment, left the precinct.

It gave Chloe an idea. Charlotte was right - Chloe did have work to do. She might not be able to reveal the fact that she was in love with Lucifer, but she could send a message - prove the Goddess wrong in a way that even she would understand.

Chapter Text

Lucifer’s admiration for the Detective was immeasurable. It had been a scant few days since he’d revealed his true face to her and, not only had she weathered the storm, she was thriving. Their partnership remained unchanged - perhaps even enhanced, given his newfound ability to tell the whole truth without reservation. She was able to deal with his Mum as easily as she dealt with her human suspects. His Mother was undeniably shrewd and yet Chloe had managed to work alongside her all day and given nothing away.

If he hadn’t known better, he’d have said that Chloe had forgotten the passionate night they’d spent together. But then she would look at him with the memory banked in her eyes, and he’d fall in love all over again, unable to believe that this was really happening.

Lucifer prided himself on having a fairly well-developed imagination, but he never could have dreamed his life could be like this. It was almost enough to make him regret his hesitation in showing Chloe the truth.

That was also why he had to protect her. The thought of what his Mother could do if left to her own devices with regards to the Detective left a hard knot in his stomach. He hadn’t forgotten that Mum had attempted to kill Chloe at least once, and though it was true that Mum’s focus now seemed to be on finding the missing piece, she’d become increasingly erratic of late. He couldn’t chance anything happening to Chloe while he wasn’t there.

Which is how he found himself lingering outside the ballroom in which the party was being held, concealed in a corner unobservable from the room at large, watching his Mother check in with the hostess. Chloe had yet to arrive, and he had to admit he was curious to discover what she considered proper attire for an event like this. Of course, Chloe looked gorgeous in whatever she chose to wear, but perhaps he should have offered to purchase something for her. Mum’s comments had been out of line, and he wished he could take her to task for them; he didn’t want her to be given further fodder if whatever Chloe turned up wearing was deemed unsuitable.

Then Chloe entered, and his jaw hit the floor.

He’d never seen her dressed like this before. If it weren’t for the fact he would know her anywhere, he’d barely even recognize her. Even when she’d been dressed for the undercover gala they’d attended months before, she’d still looked like herself, just fancier. But this…

She’d straightened her hair. He’d somehow never realized how long it was, despite recent ample experience running his hands through it. Even though the majority of her skin was actually covered, the combination of thigh-high boots and the thigh-length lace number sent his blood rushing south, fantasies coming hard and fast such that he started to feel a touch lightheaded. The dress was a shade of red that was abruptly his most favourite colour ever.

Head held high with a slight smile on her face that proclaimed to all and sundry that she knew exactly how amazing she looked, she strode right past his Mother, barely affording her a glance.

“Let’s get this pyjama party started,” she said, deadpan, and Lucifer wanted to applaud.

He was about to follow her inside, drawn as if by magnetic pull, only to find Maze, of all people, standing in his way.

“Quit drooling,” she said, sneering. “You look ridiculous.”

Lucifer looked back, but he could no longer see either of them; they’d gone farther inside. He shook himself slightly, knowing that Maze was probably correct in her assessment, before turning to her.

“What are you doing here, Maze?”

“Looking for you. You missed your therapy appointment,” she said sweetly. Which took Lucifer by surprise, because he realized it was true. He was usually on top of his scheduling.

“So Dr. Linda sent you to look for me?” he asked, suspicious. It was more like his therapist to call or send a text.

“Nope,” Maze rejoined, sounding almost gleeful. “Because she’s suspended. Because of you. Because you have been a terrible, selfish friend. To her. Now you’re gonna fix it.”

Lucifer stared. The demon’s delivery was oddly stilted, and it was unlike Maze to be concerned about anyone other than herself. However, if what she said was true… He owed Linda for her rescue during the Johnson case, and he paid his debts, especially to a friend.

“Gladly,” he said. “Once the party’s over, and the Detective is no longer alone with my Mum.”

“No, Lucifer,” Maze ordered. “Now!”

People were starting to stare. He grabbed her arm and pulled her back further into cover, talking quietly.

“Listen, Mazikeen. It is imperative that Mum not discover that the Detective knows. Chloe’s only just found out the truth about all of this; I am not leaving her unprotected!”

Maze retaliated by grasping him by the collar, hissing even more venomously.

“Chloe is a badass who can take care of herself. You’re going to take care of what happened to Linda - which is one hundred percent your fault, by the way - or I’ll tell Amenadiel about you and Chloe.”

Who would then go straight to Mum. Lucifer felt his eyes flash. “You dare-”

“Oh, I do,” Maze scoffed, unconcerned. “I don’t work for you anymore, remember? You're coming with me to talk to the asshole in charge of Linda’s fate. You can go back to playing puppy dog around your favourite human later.”

Lucifer clenched his fists, but they both knew she had him. “Very well,” he conceded. “I suppose the Detective can manage without me for the time being. Lead the way.”

Maze stalked off without another word. With one final glance back at the ballroom, Lucifer followed her.


 

“There’s Chet,” Chloe said, spotting their suspect at the bar. So long as she focused on the case, on what she was here to do, she could forget that she was running a sting with the Goddess of Creation. “I’ll go talk to him.”

“You know, that’s wise,” Charlotte said, and Chloe looked at her, thrown by the uncharacteristic vote of confidence. “You seem more his type than me, and you’re not particularly intimidating, so that should help.”

“Help what?” Chloe didn’t think she liked where this was going.

“Well, in seducing him, of course,” Charlotte replied, as though it should be self-evident, and Chloe briefly wondered whether the blatant sexuality was something Lucifer had gotten from her, or the other way around, before deciding she didn’t want to know.

“I’m not gonna seduce him, Charlotte,” she said, in the same exasperated tone she would use to talk Lucifer out of seducing someone else.

“Not with that posture, you’re not,” Charlotte shot back, and now the family resemblance was uncanny. “Fine. I’ll do it.”

But Chloe was ready for that, thanks to months of working with Lucifer, and held the woman back. “No. There’s going to be no seducing. We just need to get Chet to talk - have him incriminate himself. Then we can arrest him and flip him on Bianca.”

“You expect him to betray his own mother?” Charlotte said dubiously. “One who’s given him everything he’s ever wanted?”

“Not all kids appreciate what their parents have given them,” Chloe commented without thinking.

“Well, that I agree with,” Charlotte said, and Chloe had to bite her tongue to keep from giving away the entire thing. You have to actually give them something first, she thought viciously, before letting it go.

“I just think with a little pressure, he’ll crack,” Chloe said aloud, just as a sharply dressed man stepped into Chet’s personal space. “Oh, bodyguard,” she observed. “Maybe he’s not as easy to get to as I thought.”

“Why would an overprotective mother bring her murderous son to a tequila-fueled party?” Charlotte asked. Chloe already found herself missing Lucifer’s unique insight.

“Well, if her son killed Zeke, she has no idea,” Chloe replied, before realizing exactly what that meant. “Okay. I’ve got an idea.”

The plan went off nearly without a hitch, aside from having to pretend like she was a massive fan of the worst music ever.

After phoning Dan to let him know what she’d found, she texted Lucifer. The uneasy team up with Charlotte meant she wanted to discuss the developments in the case, the way they always did. She needed her partner.


 

“Lucifer, that’s even worse.”

At Maze’s words, Lucifer’s face slowly fell - or maybe that was the blood dripping down his face. He grimaced. He wasn’t quite sure what the demon meant. It had been a great plan, and one that was working perfectly. It had even seemed like Maze was on board, right up until she wasn’t. “What are you talking about?” he asked, bewildered.

They sat in the middle of the plaza they’d ruined, his suit in a similar state, and Lucifer was left wondering if he’d hit Maze so hard he’d knocked something loose.

Maze rolled her eyes, like he was being the unreasonable one. “You know, I spent a lot of time wondering what your angle even was,” she said. “I find out you’re going back to Heaven. And then after that, you decide to reveal yourself to Chloe. It didn’t make any sense.”

Lucifer frowned. “I’m afraid I don’t see where you’re going with this, Mazikeen.”

“Just questioning your convenient choice of timing,” Maze said dangerously. “You were setting things up for leaving, weren’t you? So you could have your special time with Chloe and then end it all before you vanished. How could you do that to her?”

None of Maze’s physical blows had landed so deeply as that one. Her assessment was uncomfortably accurate.

“Does she even know what you’re planning?” Maze asked pointedly. As Lucifer opened his mouth, she made a brusque gesture. “Never mind. I already know what the answer is. Come on. You’re going to tell Linda how you screwed her over.”

Lucifer followed in a daze, wondering how his day could have gone so wrong so quickly, and in so many different ways.

*

As the elevator neared its destination, Chloe heard the sound of a piano playing some dark melody. Once the doors opened, however, Lucifer shifted seamlessly into the easily recognizable strains of “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

She chuckled, folding her arms as she regarded him. She’d spent the whole day forcing down the random bursts of affection she felt for him, and enjoyed the thought that they were finally alone.

As the music swelled to a rousing chorus, Lucifer turned to grin at her, and that was when she saw the bruising on his face, and noticed the fact that he’d changed his suit.

Her playful mood vanished as her feet took her quickly to the piano, and she bent over him to gently inspect his face.

“What happened to you?” she said.

“Oh, this?” Lucifer’s tone was the forced-casual one she knew all too well. “Just a little fisticuffs between friends.” But Chloe wasn’t about to let him brush her off like he’d done so many times before.

“Meaning?” she pressed, hands still on his face.

Lucifer let the facade go with a sigh, leaning into her touch.

“Maze and I fought,” he admitted. “She’s quite upset with me.”

“What’s going on?” Chloe asked, sinking down onto the bench beside him.

“Well, at first I thought she was mad on Doctor Linda’s behalf - she’s facing suspension on account of what she did for me at the hospital.” The words came out in a rush. Chloe was stunned. She’d had no idea Linda was even involved. “I tried to fix things, but I fear I only made them worse.”

Chloe’s heart went out to him. “Maybe there’s something I can do. I’ll poke some of my contacts.” Lucifer didn’t look reassured.

“That’s not all, Detective. The real reason Maze was upset… she’d found out about my plan. A plan that it’s time I also shared with you.”

Chloe didn’t like the sound of this. “What plan, Lucifer?”

Lucifer twisted his body to face her. “Our plan to infiltrate Heaven.”

There was a buzzing in Chloe’s ears. “What?” Her voice was barely a whisper in her shock, letting her hands fall from his face. Just when she’d finally thought she was getting a handle on things.

Lucifer winced. “Not permanently,” he said hastily. “And time passes much more slowly on the Celestial plane. You’ll hardly even notice I’m gone.” He forced a smile.

Chloe barely heard him, gripping his elbows as though to reassure herself of his continued presence. “Explain,” she managed to say.

Lucifer sighed. “That’s the real reason we’re searching for the final piece of the blade. Not just because Celestial artifacts are dangerous for humans, though they are, but because - fully assembled - Azrael’s blade becomes the Flaming Sword. With it, we’ll be able to cut through the gates of Heaven and confront Dad.”

Chloe’s mouth fell open. She’d been dealing with all the recent revelations in large part by forcing them down to a human scale she could understand. Perhaps it was the shock, but this plan sounded like Biblical, end-of-days shit. To think it had been going on under her very nose without her knowing a thing about it shook her more than anything she’d learned in the last few days.

Even with the truth about Lucifer being the Devil, she’d at least had some inkling. But for him to have been keeping a secret this massive…

She took several deep breaths. “Lucifer,” she said at last. “When exactly were you going to tell me about this? I mean, going back to Heaven? God?” He looked at her with those ancient eyes, and she suppressed a shiver. “This is… huge.” Words failed her. She might not be an expert, but it didn’t take a theologian to know that the Devil and Heaven didn’t exactly mix well.

“Well, it’s not like I could have brought it up before, now could I?” he replied, a touch petulantly. Chloe had to admit he had a point. “Besides,” Lucifer continued, “that’s just what Mum believes the plan is. In fact, I intend to lock her in Heaven with Dad. Let the two of them fight it out.”

Chloe stared at him in mute horror.

“How-” She cleared her throat, tried again. “How long have you been planning this?”

Lucifer’s lips pursed. “It’s a long story,” he hedged. “But as an actual plan? Only since, well. Since I came back from -” He halted, licking his lips nervously.

“Vegas?” Chloe finished, keeping her tone as level as possible. Her chest suddenly felt hollow, and she forced the old emotions away with difficulty.

Lucifer nodded, looking chagrinned. “That’s when Mum told me Azrael’s blade was the Flaming Sword. She’s been obsessed with going back to Heaven ever since she came to Earth; this is simply an opportunity to give her what she wants, as well as keep her from interfering in my life any further. Two birds, et cetera.”

Chloe shook her head. “So, you’re all going back? Your Mom, your brother? Maze?”

He smiled a little at that. “Not Maze,” he said, not unkindly. “But yes, Mum and Amenadiel.”

“And what happens?” Chloe asked, feeling like her brain was working through molasses. Lucifer looked at her quizzically.

“I just told you,” he began. “I lock Mum in with Dad -” but Chloe shook her head again, cutting him off.

“Not that. What happens when you-” she looked at him significantly “-go back to Heaven?” Lucifer frowned. “Leaving aside the fact that having two gods fighting it out sounds a lot like the Apocalypse to me-”

Lucifer scoffed. “You and Doctor Linda, always with the dire predictions! It’ll be fine... probably.”

Chloe glared at him, but refused to let him dodge the question. “If Maze can’t go, won’t it be dangerous for you?”

Lucifer rose, making an exaggerated gesture - a sure sign he wasn’t nearly as confident as he would like to appear. “It’ll be fine,” he repeated. “Maze can’t go because she’s of Hell; I’m not. Anyway, it’s not like I’m actually planning to go inside.” All Chloe heard was that going inside would be dangerous and, therefore, there was at least some element of danger to the plan. “It’ll just be there and back again, nothing to worry about.”

Chloe regarded him. “I want to go with you,” she said.

Lucifer whirled, eyes wide with surprise. “You want... what?”

“I want to go with you,” Chloe repeated stubbornly. She would have wanted to regardless, to be by her partner’s side, but if she were being honest she was also curious. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to catch a glimpse of Heaven?

“You can’t,” Lucifer said at once. “It’s too-” He cut off, looking furious with himself.

Dangerous?” Chloe finished, pointedly. Lucifer grimaced.

“It’s not that,” he said. “I don’t… There’s no way to know what might happen if a living soul crosses the plane. It’s unprecedented, and I don’t particularly want to test it out on you.”

Chloe nodded, accepting this. It was a reasonable enough objection, even if she still suspected he was trying to downplay the amount of risk involved. She was a mother, and a cop. Now that she’d warmed to the subject, her mind was swirling with worst-case scenarios.

“Fine. I’m not stupid enough to think I’d actually be able to do anything,” she said, and Lucifer relaxed. But Chloe wasn’t done. “So what if something goes wrong?” she demanded. “I mean, it’s God, right? All-powerful? All-knowing?” Lucifer scowled, sighing, but Chloe pressed on. “What if He’s ready for you? What if your Mom figures out what you’re doing and stops you? What if…”

Lucifer sat back down next to her, cupping her face in his hands. “Chloe, darling, relax,” he said earnestly. “Just breathe. There’s no need to worry.”

Chloe snorted. “Sure. I find out my partner’s the Devil, and then I learn he’s been planning to pull a fast one on the divine creators of the universe, and I had no idea. But there’s ‘no need to worry.’”

“I was going to tell you,” Lucifer protested. Chloe shook her head.

“Really?” She’d been on the receiving end of his excuses too many times not to be skeptical. “Not just a ‘Off for a few days on personal business, nothing to worry about?’”

He didn’t refute it immediately, which was answer enough. Chloe made a low sound.

“What if you’d gotten hurt?” she asked quietly. It was all too big, too much. She focused on what she could understand. “What if you’d died, and I didn’t know where you’d gone?” Lucifer blinked. “I mean, it’s not like your brother would think to come back and let me know, assuming he even still could.”

“Oh, you’d have gotten over it,” he said breezily. Chloe felt her heart grow still and cold.

“No, Lucifer,” she said. “I wouldn’t. I would have spent the rest of my life wondering what happened to you, waiting for you to appear unexpectedly out of nowhere, the way you always do.” Her lips twisted. It went against the grain, to make such an admission out loud, but she needed him to understand. She would have had no way of knowing if he’d even made it to Heaven, or if he’d been forced to stay there longer than he’d planned… at what point would she have felt it safe to assume he wasn’t coming back?

“Chloe…” Lucifer breathed out. He seemed incapable of further speech, astonished in the way Chloe was coming to learn meant that he was unaccustomed to anyone desiring his presence for its own sake.

She leaned her head against Lucifer’s shoulder. She thought about trying to talk him out of his plan, but already knew how successful that would be. She didn’t want to fight with him. “Promise me you’ll be careful?” she asked instead, looking up at him.

Lucifer pulled back slightly to meet her eyes. “I swear it.”

“And your word is your bond,” Chloe said, satisfied. A profound emotion crossed Lucifer’s face and she found herself pulled into a kiss. She sighed against his lips, which parted for her tongue.

After a moment, Chloe had to end the kiss, pressing her forehead to his, breathing in the spicy scent of his cologne.

“You don’t make it easy on a girl, you know that?” she murmured.

Lucifer chuckled. “In my defense, I never intended for you to get involved in any of this.” Chloe heard what went unsaid; that after he revealed the truth he hadn’t expected her to have a part in his life any longer. Before she could respond to either the spoken or unspoken statement, Lucifer took a deep breath, visibly shaking off the serious mood.

“So, how did things go with Mum?” he asked, getting up to pour them both a drink. Chloe let out a short laugh. Lucifer smirked at her, stoppering the bottle. “That well?”

“Oh, the sting went fine,” she told him, taking the glass he offered. “Didn’t manage to catch Chet, but I did find out what was on his phone. Your Mother played her role perfectly.”

Lucifer arched a cynical brow, no doubt hearing the inherent ‘but’ that was approaching.

But... I stopped by the precinct on my way over, and good thing, too. I caught her trying to sneak Chet’s phone out of evidence.”

“I notice you changed, as well,” Lucifer said, giving her a once over, ignoring the second half of her statement. Chloe’s eyes narrowed.

“How do you know that?”

Lucifer spun his tumbler in his hands. “I may have… followed you to the party,” he admitted, and Chloe felt her cheeks grow warm at the thought that he’d seen her in that outfit. “My Mother is not to be trusted… as she has proven.” He downed his glass and poured another.

Chloe jumped at the chance to draw attention away from what she’d worn to the party. “She fed me a very interesting story about being separated from your Father, as well as threats Bianca had made against her and her family - you - if she didn’t get Chet’s phone back from the police.” She’d had to draw on all her acting skills to keep a straight face when Charlotte had started going on about her ex-Husband, appealing to her sensibilities as a mother herself.

Lucifer grimaced.

“Well, I’m sure that whatever she told you about dear old Dad is no more than the truth, but I highly doubt that Bianca Ruiz knows how I’m connected to Charlotte. So either Bianca was referring to the real Charlotte’s children…”

“Or maybe,” Chloe finished, “Bianca has whatever Zeke smuggled, and she tried to make a deal. That’s what I thought, too. I told your Mother that in return for not arresting her immediately, she’ll help us set up another sting. She’ll exchange the phone while we listen in to get enough evidence to incriminate Bianca.”

“Well played, Detective,” Lucifer said approvingly, toasting her with his glass. “When are they to meet?”

“A... couple of hours,” Chloe answered, attention diverted. Her gaze had fallen on the blade lying out on a table. “Is that-”

“Yes, Detective; now don’t touch,” Lucifer warned, moving swiftly to stand in her line of sight. “Remember, it doesn’t play nice with humans, and I don’t fancy finding out whether or not you’re miracle enough for it to matter.”

“Gotcha,” Chloe said faintly, still trying to process the fact that this all-powerful weapon was sitting out innocently on a table in Lucifer’s living room. “So what’s that other piece?”

“Oh, that’s Johnson’s belt buckle,” Lucifer said. “That’s what was making him act all saintly, gave him the power to heal. Just a tiny piece of divinity. Made him think he was Dad.”

Chloe nodded slowly. They still hadn’t addressed everything that had gone down during that case, but she didn’t know where to start untying the complicated knot that was Lucifer’s feelings toward his Father.

“It won’t be complete until we find the last piece,” Lucifer explained, “but since I’m the only one who can ignite it, it stays with me.”

“What do you mean, you’re the only one?” Chloe asked.

“Because I’m the Lightbringer,” Lucifer said, something that wasn’t quite pride in his voice. “At least, I was. Actually…” He shot her a speculative look. Chloe looked back, bewildered.

“I want to try something,” he said. “Stay right there, Detective.” He went over to the table.

“Okay,” Chloe agreed, unsure of what was happening but willing to play along. Lucifer picked up the sword. She watched apprehensively. He closed his eyes and flames, actual fire, began to lick along the edges of the blade. Her mouth dropped open. “Lucifer, what-”

As she spoke, Lucifer opened his eyes, looking straight at her. All at once, the sword burst into brilliant, glorious life, such that Chloe could feel the heat even from her place across the room. The light mirrored the brightness of his eyes as he gazed at her with adoration and Chloe felt a lump rise in her throat.

There he stood, one of the most powerful entities in Creation, holding a blazing sword, cast in the light from the setting sun, and he looked at her with the universe in his eyes, as though he would like nothing more than to lay it at her feet.

“Lightbringer,” she murmured.

Then the moment passed, and he was her partner Lucifer again, looking between her and the sword with a curious expression.

“Well, what do you know?” he mused. The flames flickered and went out and only then did Chloe stand, staring at him.

What the hell was she doing? What could she, a mere human (miraculous or otherwise) possibly have done to have this supreme being look at her like that? Back when she’d still believed Lucifer was human, she’d thought they were too different to be compatible. How much more true was that now that she understood who and what he really was?

“Huh.” Lucifer huffed a laugh, still staring between the sword and his hands.

“What was that?” Chloe asked carefully. It was obvious that whatever he'd tried, he hadn't been expecting it to work.

That,” Lucifer said, tossing the sword onto the table and dusting off his hands, as though the most powerful weapon in Creation were a cheese knife, “was my dear Mother being proven completely wrong and I can't even rub it in her face.”

Chloe frowned, thrown. “What do you mean?”

Lucifer slipped his hands in his pockets, regarding her. “Well, she was so intent on keeping us apart because she was convinced that it was you keeping me here, when all along you were the one capable of making it work.”

Chloe opened her mouth to ask another question, then she thought of the look in Lucifer's eyes and thought she understood. “Lucifer…”

Lucifer shrugged casually, as though to dismiss the heavy emotions in the room. “It's still incomplete, of course,” he said. “We require the piece.”

Chloe looked at him, now in the throes of a slightly different dilemma. How could she possibly be so important to someone who’d existed since the dawn of time? However, this, at least, was something she knew how to respond to.

“C’mon, Lightbringer,” she said, as he looked up at her with an almost sheepish expression. “Get over here.”

He came, and she wrapped him in an embrace. At the reminder of how much his Mother had hurt him she needed to reassure him that she wasn’t going anywhere.

“Why aren’t you afraid of me, Detective?” he asked softly.

“Why should I be?” Chloe answered, tilting her head to look up at him. “You keep saying that you’re not evil, that you punish evil.” She still remembered vividly the time when Lucifer had been framed for murder. He’d been so gutted by the thought that anyone could believe him capable of the killings. “And I know you always tell the truth. You can’t have it both ways, Lucifer. And I’ve never been afraid of you.”

Lucifer let out a shaky breath. “Don’t be fooled by what you’ve just seen,” he told her grimly. “There’s nothing remotely angelic about me. You’ve seen my true face. If you knew even a fraction of the things I’ve done…”

Chloe knew he was referring to being in charge of Hell. She was a cop. Seeing the worst of humanity was her day to day. But she knew even she would have a hard time dealing with what stories Lucifer might have to tell, should he choose to share them. It was why she guiltily felt glad that he seemed to have no such inclination. Her heart bled to think of him torturing the guilty for eons, forcing himself into the role of a punisher because it was what he believed he deserved. Until he thought that was all he was.

“You’re right; I don’t,” she said. “And if you ever want to talk to me about it, I’m here for you. I’ll listen, no matter how hard it might be for me to hear.” Lucifer made a disbelieving sound, and Chloe squeezed him tighter to keep him from pulling away. “But you’re also the Lucifer who gives piano lessons to Trixie. Who got sick in my bathroom. Who flushed out a murder suspect by playing a 90s ballad to me on an electronic keyboard.” She arched an eyebrow at Lucifer, who was staring down at her with a conflicted expression.

“Do you want me to go on?” Chloe asked. “I can, you know. You didn’t take advantage of me when I was drunk and took care of me instead. You came over after my dad’s case and stole Trixie’s sandwich and then told me my dad would be proud of me.” She cupped his cheek in her hand, careful of the bruises. “Lucifer. I told you. If you think I don’t know who you are by now, you’re wrong.”

She stretched up to kiss him and he returned it with all the emotion she’d just seen glowing in his eyes. Kissing Lucifer was always an incredible experience. But now Chloe could imagine that he was imparting that light to her, infusing her entire body. She was used to their kisses being hungry and desperate on Lucifer’s end; this time she was the one clinging tighter, pressing deeper. Seeking more of that light while hoping in vain to keep him close. Lucifer was the one who held her steady, giving her all that she needed and more. Her head was spinning when they parted, such that she almost missed the way he was looking at her, like a marvel that could never be understood.

“I’m not saying what you did back then doesn’t matter,” she murmured breathily. “I would never presume to know how you feel. But I am saying that neither one negates the other. They both make up Lucifer Morningstar, my partner - now in every sense of the word.” She smirked up at him, and he stared back at her, wide-eyed. Chloe knew he was still on the fence about whether or not her feelings for him were all a manipulation, and any grand declarations would simply push him away. All she could do was keep reiterating that they were based on fact, and hadn’t just sprung into being fully formed.

“Now, let’s go, partner,” she said, clapping him on the shoulder. “We don’t want to be late for your Mother’s plan to oh-so-unexpectedly screw us over.”

Lucifer chuckled and followed her, and Chloe turned her mind back to the case with a sense of relief. All this talk of Heaven and Hell and flaming swords… it was too much. It was easy to forget that they still had a murder to solve. The case gave her something tangible to focus on, action that she could take. It reassured her that whatever else they might be, whatever she might learn about him and his world, she and Lucifer were still crime solving partners. No matter what.


 

Hours later, Chloe was satisfied with the successful sting. They had the phone unlocked, and while Charlotte had, as predicted, been playing her own angle, it meant that they’d recovered what Zeke had smuggled, as well.

In the parking lot afterwards, as Lucifer’s Mother was in the bathroom cleaning herself up from the tequila she’d (intentionally) spilled, Lucifer covertly showed her a perfectly ordinary key.

“To a safety deposit box,” he said in response to her questioning look. “I’ll drop my Mum off at Lux and then go retrieve whatever’s inside. Would you like to be there when I open it?”

Chloe’s heart swelled at the gesture of trust. “Thanks, Lucifer, but I’ve gotta file the report on the sting and get people on the hunt for Chet now that we have proof he’s the killer. Plus, I promised Trixie two stories at bedtime.”

Lucifer rolled his eyes, but the motion seemed mostly fond. “Oh, very well, Detective, if you must.”

“Just…” She placed her fingertips on Lucifer’s forearm. “Text me if anything comes up?” she implored him. “Don’t… don’t leave without telling me.”

Lucifer’s eyes softened, and he nodded. “I promise.”

Chloe looked over Lucifer’s shoulder. “And now it looks like your Mom is on her way, so I’ll say thanks for the assist, partner.” She smiled as Lucifer slipped his hands into his pockets. “See you later.” She walked away to her car as Lucifer turned to face his Mother.

Back in the safety of her cruiser, Chloe texted Lucifer the kiss she hadn’t been able to give him in person. A while later, she got a response from Lucifer containing creatively explicit emojis and a devil face.

Chloe shook her head as she drove to the precinct. The more things changed…

Chapter Text

Lucifer, 9:55pm:

[Attachment: 1 image]

 

Chloe, 10:00pm:

??

What is that?

 

L:

What was in the safety deposit box.

A book. Sumerian.

 

C:

Can you read it? What’s it say?

 

L:

I can’t read Sumerian. Speak it though.

I speak everything.

 

C:

...You speak every language.

 

L:

I do.

□□□□□□□□□□□□□

 

C:

????

What is that?

My phone shows empty boxes

I thought you said you don’t read every language?

I just ran it through Google translate

It came out as R rated gibberish.

 

L:

Voice recognition.

It’s a litany of the things I want to do to you. In Sanskrit.

From the Kama Sutra.

 

C:

Such filth, Mr. Morningstar!

I should wash your mouth out with soap :P

 

L:

Tease.

You’d have to tie me down first.

 

C:

Wouldn’t you just get out of it?

 

L:

Only if I tried. I’d let you do it.

 

C:

I’ll keep that in mind.

And maybe save the Kama Sutra stuff

for later

Grab a copy, we could work our way through it?

 

L:

Why, Detective!

No need for that, I have it memorized.

 

C:

Of course you do

 

L:

Also I own the original.

 

C:

 

L:

?

 

C:

Nothing.

Gnight, Lucifer.

See you tomorrow.

 

L:

Goodnight, Chloe. 

Chapter Text

“Detective! To what do I owe the pleasure of your dulcet tones?”

Chloe grinned in spite of herself, tucking her phone under one ear as she flipped through the case file on her desk. “Morning, Lucifer. Sorry, it’s not a social call - we’ve got a case.”

“Oh dear. That is unfortunate.”

Chloe sat up a bit. “What? You usually jump at the chance to work a new case.”

“Yes, well, I don’t usually have my stick in the mud brother wandering off somewhere with the final piece of the Flaming Sword.”

“Wait. Amenadiel has the piece?”

“Indeed; things got a bit revelatory last night. I was just about to call you.”

“Okay…” Chloe took another sip of her coffee, trying to get her sluggish brain to work through the implications. “Well, could you come meet me at the crime scene maybe, get me up to speed? Unless you find him in the meantime.”

She trusted his word, but had also spent the previous night in a state of mild panic, worried that at any second she’d receive the message: they’d succeeded, the Sword was complete, and they were off to assault Heaven. She admitted a little guiltily to wanting to see her partner in the flesh. If it also had the added effect of delaying the Sword’s assembly, she wasn’t going to argue with that, either.

A sigh rustled down the line, and she couldn’t tell whether it was directed at her or the situation in general. “Very well, Detective. Text me the details; I’ll see you later.”

“Great. Thanks, Lucifer.”

*

“So what happened last night?” Chloe asked Lucifer once he’d arrived. She forced down the urge to kiss him, since they were at work. At a grisly crime scene. Down, girl.

Lucifer grimaced. “Well, Amenadiel can read Sumerian, so he was working on translating the book. Turns out his necklace was the final piece of the Flaming Sword - the key that binds the other pieces together. Bloody figures.”

Chloe’s eyes widened. “Wow.”

“That about sums it up. Now he needs to ‘process,’ so he’s gone, and Mum’s losing it even more than usual.”

They walked together into the warehouse, not bothering to stop their conversation. It wasn’t like they hadn’t said crazier things around their coworkers before. Or at least Lucifer hadn’t. Lucifer was still on his phone, presumably trying to contact his brother.

“This is ridiculous,” he groused. “You have experience with emotionally fragile men, don’t you?”

The dig was too good to pass up. “You’re self-aware today.”

Lucifer looked at her, face set in annoyance, but there was the slightest amount of doubt in his eyes that Chloe hastened to assuage away with a teasing smile. Sure, Lucifer was volatile and insecure, but he had good reason to be.

“No, I meant Dan,” he said, the uncertainty dropping away, and Chloe playfully rolled her eyes. “Anyway, how do you stop them from overthinking everything?”

“I wish I knew,” she said, looking at the chief overthinker in her life. Lucifer made another face as he sent the text.

“I mean, leave it to Amenadiel to turn a compliment into something to angst over. He should be happy he’s Dad’s favourite.”

Chloe stopped walking. “Wait, what?”

Lucifer turned back, realizing she wasn’t beside him. “Oh, that’s the best part of all this. The book said that God entrusted the key to his favourite son.”

Chloe shook her head. “That’s awful. Are you sure that’s what it said?” She didn’t want to cast aspersions on Amenadiel’s translation ability, but as a parent the notion of playing favourites between children filled her with horror.

An odd light entered Lucifer’s eyes, but he shrugged. “I suppose my brother could have made an error in translation, but at this point it hardly matters. He believes it, and now he’s refusing to complete the Sword.”

Chloe secretly cheered for Amenadiel, but they couldn’t discuss it any further. They had a murder to investigate.

“Body dump,” Ella called as they approached. Lucifer lifted the police tape for Chloe automatically, and she thanked him with a smile. “Weird one, too, and not just ‘cause of the whole buck-naked, deep-fried head thing.”

Chloe surveyed the scene with a frown - it was one of the more gruesome bodies she’d seen in a while.

“Someone also shaved this poor guy’s entire body,” Ella continued, gesturing to the victim’s unnaturally smooth skin, which Chloe hadn’t noticed before due to the horrible state of his head and shoulders.

“Well, maybe our killer’s just chaetophobic,” Lucifer chimed in. “Fear of hair,” he explained, before anyone could ask. “Always fun when they turn up in Hell. Lots of wigs involved.”

Before she’d learned the truth, Chloe had grown accustomed to the random factoids of varying relevance Lucifer would throw out, but this was the first one she’d had to deal with while in possession of full context. Lucifer was still distracted with his phone, or she thought he wouldn’t have been quite so cavalier about it. He sent her an apologetic look, and Chloe shrugged, pushing aside her slew of new questions to be dealt with later.

Ella also ignored the interjection. “But I’m pretty sure-” She sniffed at the corpse, and Chloe made a face. She was a cop, and dealing with dead bodies was an unpleasant part of her job that she endured. She would never be able to fathom Ella’s casual relationship with death. “This guy got a bath in bleach.”

Chloe’s focus sharpened. “So, whoever dumped him is a pro.”

“It’s like he just vanished off the face of the Earth,” Lucifer commented, and it took a second for Chloe to realize he was probably referring to Amenadiel, not the case.

Ella, however, had no such insight. “I know. But it’s pretty tough to cover every track.”

“If anyone can find something, it’s you, Ella,” Chloe said, feeling badly for not having given Ella’s expert analysis the attention it deserved.

“Oh, that is so sweet!” Ella exclaimed, jumping up to hug her. “You know, you’re not so much with the nice words, but when they come out…”

Before Chloe could ask what exactly the other woman meant by that, Lucifer interrupted.

“Yes, well, until you do find something,” he said, looking briefly at Ella, “I’ve got some personal business I need to tend to.” And then he was walking away before Chloe could call him back, not that she thought it would do any good. She was just happy he’d agreed to come at all.

Ella looked after Lucifer’s retreating form with concern. “Hey, is Lucifer okay?” she asked.

“Yeah.” Chloe hesitated, trying to come up with an explanation that wouldn’t sound like complete nonsense. “I think he just wants to check up on his brother.”

Ella nodded with sudden comprehension. “Ahh. Totally get that, yeah. You’re such a sweetie for letting him go deal with his family stuff.”

Chloe shrugged. “Not like he gave me much of a choice,” she muttered, and the other woman gave her a sympathetic look that seemed to say, Lucifer, right? before returning to her task.

Chloe wasn’t so sure. She bit her lip. The way he’d practically fled the scene without so much as a backward glance, after how close and open they’d been lately, stung more than it usually would.

Shaking herself, she turned her attention back to the crime scene for the time being. She trusted Lucifer, and he’d promised that he wouldn’t leave without telling her.

*

Lucifer made his way to Linda’s office, still fuming over Amenadiel’s behaviour. He knew his sudden departure had surprised the Detective, but the way Amenadiel had taken the news of Dad’s favouritism concerned him. He hadn’t forgotten that Amenadiel was only on Earth in the first place to send him back to Hell, and while Amenadiel seemed to have given up on that directive, Lucifer didn’t like the thought of what Amenadiel could get up to if left to his own devices. His silence was worrying.

Lucifer didn’t think Linda would have any leads on his brother’s whereabouts, but he felt the need to check, given that Linda was the only other human who knew the truth about Celestials.

He pounded on the door when he arrived, after trying the handle and finding it uncharacteristically locked. The door opened a crack, and Linda peered out. “Doctor,” he said.

“Hi, Lucifer,” Linda greeted him in a nonchalant tone. “What’s up?” She made a strange face.

Something was going on, but Lucifer couldn’t spend time worrying about it. “I’m wondering if you’ve seen Amenadiel,” he said, already anticipating what the answer was going to be.

“Nope. Haven’t seen that family member, no,” Linda replied with a few leading jerks of her head, and Lucifer frowned.

“Can you stop being weird and just let me in?” He pushed past her into the room and was suddenly confronted with the sight of his Mother.

“Mum,” he said in surprise. He knew he’d introduced the two women, but even with his Mother’s erratic behaviour, if he were to make a list of places he wasn’t expecting to see her, Linda’s office would be near the top. “What are you doing here?”

“Oh, you know,” his Mother hedged, and Lucifer’s instincts were immediately roused. He noticed she was still in her clothes from the day before, which was unlike her. “Girl stuff.”

Naked girl stuff?” Lucifer made the obvious joke to throw them off the scent, turning to leer at Linda. “Doctor Linda, I had no idea.” Linda laughed awkwardly as he saw what was behind her: a massive burned hole in the wall that, unless he very much missed his guess, she’d placed herself in front of specifically to draw his attention. “What is that?” He pointed at the damage. There was a tense silence.

He rounded on his Mother, discarding all attempts at levity. “All right, out with it, Mother.”

The Goddess tried to play it off. “It’s nothing.” She shrugged. “That spoiled brat Chet Ruiz stabbed me, and now I’m bleeding light; it’s no big deal.”

For a moment, the eons between them melted away, and Lucifer was just a son full of concern for his Mother. “What?” He went to inspect the site she was holding her hands in front of. “That’s a huge deal!” He found her middle rather bafflingly bound with duct tape before she batted his hands away and hid her stomach from view once again.

Belatedly, he began to work through the implications. “Mum, if your powers are returning to this degree, then your human body won’t be able to contain it. You’ll...” He paused as it sank in. “You’ll burst. Oh no.” His Mother stared back at him, stoic. “I need to find Amenadiel, now,” he said, already heading for the door.

“I’d rather you didn’t,” Mum called after him. “I mean, it’s bad enough that you’ll be worried…” He turned back to face her.

“No, that’s just it, Mum. Amenadiel has the missing piece of the Sword.”

The change that came over the Goddess was striking. Her features turned soft with joy, and she stumbled over her words. “You’re- you’re kidding.” A wide, artless smile spread across her face, her sincerity somehow more worrisome to Lucifer because of how rare it was. “Son, why didn’t you say something?” Because, at least in part, he’d known that this would be her reaction, he wanted to yell. “Now we can finally ignite it and cut through the Gates of Heaven, and I can see my… I can - I can see my children.”

With each word Lucifer’s disquiet grew. He had no doubt that his Mother’s emotion was genuine, but her sincerity was almost worse than her guile, because her excitement made her unpredictable. She spoke as if he wasn’t in on the plan at all, much less an integral part of it. Suddenly her recent desperation made all too much sense, and he feared what it would drive her to do.

“Yes,” he replied, working on a plan to salvage the situation before it got any worse. “Yes, but for now, I need to find Amenadiel, and you need to stay away from humans.” He indicated her stomach. “You’re a ticking bomb.”

This time, he nearly had the door open before his Mother said, offhanded, “Actually, speaking of that, I may have already harmed someone.” She laughed a little, even as she chose her words with great care, and Lucifer felt a dull thud as the pieces fell together.

“Oh no,” he said. He closed the door again, staring at the burned hole on the wall; Linda, nearly forgotten, still stood in the same place with her mouth open. “No, no, no.” He whirled on his Mother. “I just came from a crime scene. The man with a burned head. Please tell me that wasn’t Chet.” He hoped beyond hope, even though he already knew what the answer would be.

His Mother, as requested, didn’t tell him, but her expression said enough. A cold knot wormed its way through his insides. “The Detective is on that case!” he exclaimed, too disturbed by the implications to worry about whether or not he ought to reveal Chloe’s involvement.

“Well, not to worry,” his Mother snapped, back to her usual self. “I had a pro clean up the mess.”

Unfortunately, her usual self was still as oblivious as ever. “You don’t understand - the Detective is good,” he said, with growing apprehension. “Annoyingly good,” he added, thinking of all the times he would have liked her to have been even just slightly less so (and pointedly not thinking about the times it had worked to his advantage).

“Well, then we just need to find Amenadiel, don’t we?”

“Yes!”

“And get the piece.” His Mother stated the obvious.

“Because if we don’t get you back to Heaven before the Detective gets to you, then she is quite literally toast,” Lucifer finished, breaking his cardinal rule of never revealing how much he cared about Chloe around his Mother.

The flippant pun was as close as he could safely come to revealing his true fear; Lucifer clenched his jaw as he was assaulted by the image of Chloe, dead with her head broiled like Chet’s, which was going to have a place of honour in his nightmares from now on. The stakes had suddenly become all too real; what little patience he’d had for his brother’s equivocation was gone. It was time for desperate measures.

“Right, Mum, get in the car,” he ordered. “I’m taking you back to Lux so you don’t hurt anyone else.” As his Mother shrugged and did as she was bid, he turned to Linda, who was looking quite shell shocked by the day’s events.

“Doctor Linda, so sorry for all the trouble,” he told her gently. “I’ll pay for someone to fix your wall… again.” The thought of his Mother and the potential for her to create disaster had him rushing out the door before he could reassure her further. He’d make sure to apologize properly to her later.

But even that moment was one too many. When he stepped out into the hallway, his Mother was gone, vanished without a trace, though he searched all the way down to his car. He fought the urge to tear his hair out, already texting Maze that he needed her to expand her search. He headed to the precinct. A single thought had crystallized in his head, leaving no room for anything else.

Protect Chloe. No matter the cost.

Chapter Text

Maze was on the hunt, but Lucifer still hadn’t decided what he was going to tell Chloe. If he told her the truth, she’d want to go after his Mother herself, which would put her in danger. All he could think of to do was to stall until Amenadiel was found, and then it wouldn’t matter.

As he walked in, Chloe was leaving one of the interview rooms. “Hey, Lucifer! Did you find your brother?”

“Not yet,” he admitted. “But I’m working on it.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re here,” Chloe said. “We’ve got nothing on the Chet Ruiz case.”

Lucifer wasn’t surprised. His Mother - Charlotte - would have the best contacts when it came to that sort of thing. His tacit omission of his Mother’s disappearance sat uneasily on his shoulders as they went to the evidence lab to check with Ella.

“Please tell me you have something,” Chloe begged the technician.

“Nope, nada,” Ella replied, and Lucifer relaxed slightly. “There’s just one thing I’m waiting on.”

The tension returned. “But you said you have nada,” Lucifer reminded her.

“Well, the only thing we know for sure is that someone had to drive there to dump the body.” Ella made an expansive gesture with her hands as she spoke. “So, the tech team is checking the vicinity for cameras, but it’s such a remote place, so don’t get your hopes up.”

Lucifer’s mood brightened. So long as they couldn’t locate the “pro” his Mother had hired, Chloe would have no way to link Charlotte to the body. Remembering how remote the warehouse had been, he let out a sigh of disappointment.

“Ooh, yes. I think you’re right, Miss Lopez. Sadly, the only witness to this one is my dear old Dad.”

Ella laughed. “Oh, right. Your Dad,” she said, clicking her tongue, “is always watching… Wait a second.” Her eyes lit up. “That gives me an idea!”

“It does?” Lucifer clenched his jaw - he should know better by now than to tempt fate.

Ella turned to them, already at the computer. “Satellite imaging takes sporadic photos of, well, everything, so…”

“So there may be footage of the killer going to or from the warehouse,” Chloe finished eagerly. Ella nodded, ponytail bouncing.

“I mean, it’s a long shot, but thank you, Lucifer.”

Lucifer fought to keep the grimace off his face. “You’re so welcome.”

Of course, after all that, there was no way they wouldn’t get a hit, so he went with Chloe to go check it out, still with no idea as to what he was going to tell her. Chloe, of course, noticed his distraction.

“Lucifer.” She touched his arm, glancing at him. “Do you think Amenadiel is okay?”

Lucifer sighed. “I’m certain he’s fine, Detective. He’s just being his usual moody self.”

Chloe nodded, turning back to the road. “You said he didn’t want to complete the sword now. Is that why he’s avoiding you?”

“Yes, he’s taken it as a sign that he should go back to being Dad’s flunky.” Lucifer made a noise of distaste. “Which I oppose on principle alone, if nothing else.”

Chloe was silent for a long moment. “I dunno, Lucifer. Maybe he’s right, about not completing the sword.”

Lucifer turned to her, unable to help the instinctive sting of betrayal. “So you’re taking my Father’s side after all?”

“Lucifer. No,” she said immediately. “That’s not what I meant. I’m just… I’m afraid you won’t come back.”

Lucifer was stunned anew. It never ceased to amaze him, no matter how many times he assumed he was on his own, the way he always was, that Chloe stepped out effortlessly to catch him, and reassure him that she would stay by his side. He didn’t think he would ever get used to it.

“Detective, I gave you my word,” he said softly.

Chloe looked over to meet his eyes, serious and sad. “And I know you’ll keep it, if you can. It’s that last part that worries me.”

Lucifer didn’t know what to say. He was unaccustomed to concern over his well being. A full explanation perched on the tip of his tongue - why he no longer had a choice in the matter - but he hesitated a second too long, and the moment passed; Chloe was stopping the car.

“So we’re looking for this van.” She handed him her phone to show him a still from the surveillance footage. “APB got a hit that it was parked in the lot across the street,” she told him as they got out. Faced with the possibility that they would soon uncover the pros that would lead them straight to his Mother - and who knew what the Detective would do then - Lucifer could think of nothing else to do except bluff.

“Yes, but how do we know this parked van’s even the same one?” he asked, examining the photo on Chloe’s phone. “I mean, there’s no licence plates on this image.”

“Oh come on,” Chloe said, sounding a bit more like her old exasperated self. “How many vans have dandelions on the side?”

In a city the size of LA, probably quite a few, but he didn’t doubt that the van they’d located was the same one. Nothing in his life was ever simple, except when he needed it not to be. He squinted at the image in a last-ditch attempt to get Chloe to change her mind. “They could be jellyfish,” he suggested.

“What? Jellyfish?” Chloe asked dubiously, indicating the image on the side of the van ahead of them that quite clearly depicted dandelions.

“Right, yes,” Lucifer conceded, handing back her phone. The conversation was treading awkwardly close to lying.

Chloe stopped him with a hand on his arm.

“Look, Lucifer, I know this whole thing with the sword and your brother has you stressed, but I need you to keep it from affecting the case, okay?” she said not unkindly. “I promise, as soon as you get wind of your brother, I’ll let you go deal with it, but until then I could really use your help here.”

Lucifer nodded, but before he could respond, two people in hazmat suits appeared, carrying a gruesome cadaver.

Chloe sprang into action, drawing her gun. “LAPD!” she shouted. “Don’t move!”

The two figures dropped the body immediately as they put their hands up.

“Still think it’s not the same van?” she asked him as an aside, keeping her eyes trained on their suspects, and Lucifer knew he was going to have a hard time explaining this away.

“Definitely rethinking the lasagna I had for lunch,” he said, straightening his jacket.

“Oh my gosh, this is not what it looks like,” one of the figures said in a female voice.

“What, minions’ day out?” Lucifer quipped, trying to buy time.

Chloe, of course, was all business. “Take off your hoods,” she ordered. “Slowly.”

They obeyed, revealing two girls who would have looked more at home on a college cheer team than in a dirty back lot with a dead body in the foreground.

“I know this looks bad, but we can explain,” the one on the left said. “I’m Ava. This is my sister Kathleen.”

“Hi, how’re you doing?” the other sister chirped.

Thrown by the casual greeting, Lucifer began to wonder if there was a chance they might not actually be the “pros” his Mother had hired. They certainly didn’t fit the image of the kind of people she (or indeed, the real Charlotte) would associate with.

“Friendliest serial killers ever,” he commented. If it turned out they weren’t the ones he and the Detective were looking for, then he might get another chance to explain things to Chloe while at the same time keeping her away from his Mother.

“Oh, that’s hilarious,” Ava said. He supposed it would take an odd sense of humour to be in this line of work. “We’re not killers.” Both sisters laughed nervously.

“God, no,” Kathleen chimed in. “We run Dandy Lyon cleaners,” she explained. “Lyon’s our last name. Get it?”

“We take care of crime scenes, dead body removals, all the icky stuff,” her sister elaborated. “But totally legit.”

“Yeah, like this poor guy?” Kathleen indicated the body. “Died of a heart attack.”

“Like two weeks ago,” Ava finished, as Chloe began to holster her gun.

“Right, well, perfectly good explanation,” Lucifer said, sticking to his plan to get Chloe away from the scene as quickly as possible. “I knew it. Shall we, Detective?”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Chloe chided, and Lucifer’s smile froze on his face. “Why was your van outside of an abandoned warehouse in Eagle Rock at 3 a.m. last night?” she demanded of the cleaners.

“I’m pretty sure you’re mistaken,” Ava said slowly. “We were nowhere near that area.” Lucifer barely had time to get his hopes up again before Kathleen guiltily disagreed.

“Well…” Kathleen said, trailing away, and Lucifer fought the urge to roll his eyes. Bloody brilliant. Ava made a sound of disgust.

“Ugh. Eagle Rock. Do not tell me you went to see Brad again,” Ava hissed. “I thought you were done with that jerk.”

“I was,” Kathleen retorted, “until I ran into him at Jamba Juice.”

“I understand completely.” Lucifer seized what he knew was going to be his final chance: this was the van that had been outside the warehouse after all. “I mean, what’s more intoxicating than a Mango-a-Go-Go?” Both sisters smiled uncertainly at him before going back to glaring at each other. “Alibi sorted,” he said lightly. “We’ll just leave you here with Soupy, and be on our way.” He tapped Chloe’s arm. “Come on.”

“No, wait, wait,” Chloe said. “Hold on. Can I talk to you for a second?” Lucifer’s heart sank as they walked a little distance away. Behind them, the Lyon sisters resumed their task.

“Enough with this,” Chloe said firmly. Lucifer had to admit it hadn’t been his most subtle work. “Why are you trying to rush our investigation? I told you I’d let you go deal with your family stuff once Maze finds Amenadiel. Why do I get the feeling you’re hiding something from me, even after everything that’s happened? What aren’t you telling me?” She frowned up at him.

“I…”

Chloe’s eyes narrowed. “I knew it. Tell. Me.”

Lucifer sighed. The jig was up. “The truth is, Detective: I know who killed Chet. It was my Mother.”

What?

“After you arrested Bianca, Chet went after Charlotte Richards. He stabbed her, but Charlotte is currently a Goddess of Creation stuffed into a human body. But despite her shoddy new container, her powers have been returning ever since she came to Earth. Instead of killing her, the wound allowed her inner light to escape, and that’s what broiled Chet’s head.”

Chloe just stared at him, then took a deep breath. “Lucifer! Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

“I…” Lucifer sought for the words to explain. “I didn’t want you to worry. I thought that if I could find Amenadiel before you found the killer, then it wouldn’t matter.”

“Worry?” Chloe exclaimed. “Lucifer, this is my job. I put myself in danger, and I stop dangerous people from hurting others. And now to find you’ve kept me chasing after shadows…” She broke off, looking down, and Lucifer felt like he’d just been punched in the gut. All of the carefully thought out reasons he’d thought he had for not telling her went out the window.

Chloe looked up again, fixing him with her gaze. “I honestly thought we were past all this. I thought we were partners. I thought you trusted me.”

“Detective - Chloe,” Lucifer protested. “I do trust you.”

Chloe shook her head. “No, you don’t.” Lucifer opened his mouth to protest again, but she wasn’t finished. “Because that’s not what this is. You don’t decide what I get to know. Especially if it’s pertinent to a case. It’s not your job to protect me: we face things together, remember? This is going backwards, Lucifer, and it’s not good. For anyone.”

Without giving him a chance to respond, she pulled her cop persona back on. “So. Is your Mom currently a threat?”

“I don’t know,” Lucifer answered slowly. “I’ve got Maze out looking for her as well as Amenadiel.” His phone pinged, and he checked the message from Maze.

“Maze is bringing Amenadiel to Lux,” he reported to Chloe. “Still no sign of Mum.”

Chloe nodded. “Okay. I’ll put a BOLO out for your Mom.”

Lucifer made an abortive gesture. “Detective, you can’t! Did you miss the bit where Mum’s spewing light everywhere? She’s a danger to anyone who comes across her.”

“And you expect me to just leave her walking around LA?” Chloe sounded flatly skeptical. Lucifer gave her a pleading look, and she sighed. “Look. I’ll put out the BOLO, but as soon as I get a hit, I’ll call you, and let you come handle it, all right? But we need to find her, fast.”

When Lucifer reluctantly agreed, Chloe’s face softened, and she looked at him wryly. “I hope you know I’m not crazy enough to try and bring in the Goddess of Creation for murder. Not when you’ve explained what’s going on. Besides which, it sounds like it was in self-defense.”

Lucifer huffed a laugh. He needed to stop underestimating Chloe Decker.

“Are these the cleaners your Mom hired?” She jerked her thumb behind her at the sisters who were now standing awkwardly around their van.

Lucifer raised one shoulder in a shrug. “That, I don’t know. She didn’t give me any details. It certainly seems like they are.”

Chloe processed the information. “Okay. Well, they’ve got an alibi. I’m going to check it out. If they could be hired to cover up this murder, maybe they’ve done it before. I don’t have jurisdiction over the Goddess of Creation though, so I’ll leave that to you.” She smiled at him for the first time since he’d come clean and he felt his heart skip a beat. He nodded his agreement.

Chloe stepped slightly closer to him. “Just… don’t ever do this again, okay? We’ve been through too much together.”

Lucifer hesitated only slightly, thinking of potential scenarios when he might have cause to regret giving his word. But the Detective just gave him that look, and his resolve crumbled. He never wanted to lie to her. “I give you my word,” he promised, and Chloe squeezed his hand in gratitude.

“Thank you, Lucifer. Now, you go to Lux to talk with your brother while I check out the cleaners’ alibi. Let me know if you find your Mom first? I…” She faltered, then forged ahead. “I want to at least get a chance to say goodbye.” She offered up a brave smile.

Lucifer suddenly had trouble breathing again. He’d never expected that telling Chloe the truth would result in him having to leave her behind. She was a police officer, and the child of a police officer. Her father had been killed in the line of duty. She knew what it was like to see someone off and never have them return.

“Chloe,” he said, feeling like his heart was being stretched on a rack, “I don’t have a choice. We have to get Mum off this plane of existence before she does even more damage.”

“I know,” Chloe responded simply. She also understood necessity. “I just wish there was some way I could go with you.”

Lucifer shook his head in amazement. “Oh, you don’t want to do that, Heaven’s very boring,” he said lightly, to cover up the heavy emotions that threatened to swallow him. “Besides, I won’t be there very long. Just slice open the Gates, kick Mum in, and slam them on her backside. Safe as houses.”

Chloe nodded uneasily, and Lucifer could tell she didn’t believe him. “Just… keep me updated. Please?”

“Of course.”

Chloe’s gaze flicked to his lips, and he could tell she wanted to kiss him, but didn’t feel as though she could since they were still technically “at work.” Inwardly rolling his eyes at her sense of propriety, he pecked her lightly on the cheek before departing. “Anon, darling.”

“Lucifer!” Chloe scolded without sounding like she meant it.

Just before he was out of earshot, he heard one of the sisters squeal, “You two are so cute together!” He smirked, to imagine Chloe’s expression.

Chapter Text

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.”

“Oh?”

“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.

Chapter Text

“Okay, Charlotte, this has been a great chat, but are you actually going to confess?” Chloe asked, as their conversation faltered for the second time. She didn’t fool herself that she could take on a Goddess; her only plan was to stall for time until Lucifer got here. She was keeping the fact that she knew the truth as a last resort - she had no idea how Lucifer’s Mother would react to that news and didn’t much want to find out. Come on, Lucifer, hurry up.

“I’ll never understand why you concern yourselves with one little human, but fine. Yes, I was involved in Chet’s death, but not in the way you think.”

Chloe almost smiled. The Goddess had no idea what Chloe thought. “Well, correct me if I’m wrong: you killed him, you hired a cleaner to take care of the body, and then you killed the cleaner.”

For the first time, the other woman’s expression faltered. “The cleaner’s dead? Well, that’s unfortunate.” Chloe knew she was seeing the closest thing to regret the Goddess would ever feel for a human. “I certainly had nothing to do with that.”

Chloe blinked. That, she hadn’t expected, and what’s more, she believed her. “But if you didn’t, then who did?” Chloe said.

“Mum!” Lucifer’s voice rang out, sounding desperate and half-crazed as he appeared from around the corner, holding Azrael’s Blade. “I’ve got it! I’ve got the blade and the final piece. You let the Detective go, and they are yours.” But instead of his mother’s, it was Chloe’s eyes that he held imploringly with his gaze.

“Lucifer.” She tried to keep her voice as calm and soothing as possible. “It’s okay. I’m fine. I’m not going anywhere.”

Charlotte looked between them with slowly dawning realization. “Are- are you two…?”

Chloe didn’t know what either of them would have said to that, but it turned out it didn’t matter.

“No one’s going anywhere!” The new voice came from the opposite end of the pier, along with the click of a safety. Chloe whirled, gun drawn, and found herself facing Hector Ruiz.

“Well, I think we found our mystery killer,” Charlotte commented.

“How can you be so glib?” Hector exclaimed. “You were our lawyer! You betrayed us!”

“Put the gun down, Hector,” Chloe ordered.

It didn’t seem like Hector was listening. “Thank you for leading me to her, Detective,” he said. “You promised to approach this fairly, and you did. But now, I have to make things right for my family.”

“Well, a little wrinkle!” Lucifer cried. “You shoot her, and we’re all dead, okay?”

Chloe clenched her jaw. While it was the truth, it wouldn’t talk Hector down. She remained silent, however - too many voices in this situation could lead to disaster. She could only hope Lucifer knew what he was doing.

“Look, it’s very difficult to explain,” Lucifer continued, as Chloe watched Hector for any sign of movement. “But believe me when I say that there are many, many lives at stake here. So please, just... put the gun down.”

To her astonishment, it looked like Hector was doing just that. She slowly began to lower her gun as Hector lowered his, when suddenly something hardened in his face.

“No!” Lucifer shouted as the gun fired, and Chloe almost didn’t recognize his voice, panicked and raw. Then came a moment that felt like it lasted an eternity as Chloe waited for the world to explode.

*

Lucifer looked around at the motionless world. He didn’t know how it had happened, and at the moment he didn’t care. No one was going to die today.

He looked at Chloe, who was frozen in her firm, protective stance, and he thought his heart might burst with pride. Though he may have cursed the stubbornness that brought her here, she wouldn’t be the woman he loved without it. He gently caressed her cheek. She was here. Not dead. Alive.

Then he remembered his Mother, who was watching him with bemusement. He grabbed her by the arm, with no other thought in his mind than away, and dragged her off the pier with him.

All the wind left him in a rush as he hit the unforgiving sand, and he groaned in pain. Right. Chloe. Nearby.

Recovering, he grabbed the blade and the key where they’d fallen and brought them together, and the sword ignited at last. He stared at it briefly. With this blade, Adam and Eve had been driven from Eden. With it, he could cut a swath through the heavens, bring his Father to account.

With this sword, his rebellion might not have failed.

Swallowing hard, he firmed his resolve, lowering the sword to point it at his Mother.

“I’m sorry, Mum. But I’m afraid that this ends, now.”

She pushed back slightly, surprise scrawled across her features. Even after all this, she’d still believed he could be on her side.

“You’ve hurt so many people, Mum. It has to stop,” he told her point blank. She’d been walking a path of destruction since she’d arrived, and he’d mostly turned a blind eye. No more.

“You know that everything I’ve done, I’ve done for us, for our family,” his Mother protested, but she was losing it even more than he’d realized if she thought that was an argument that would sway him.

“You used me,” he said, and it felt good to say the words at last. He’d spent so long deceiving himself, but now he could see the truth. “Used Chloe.” Both were unforgivable.

“Me?” his Mother exclaimed, backing further away. “What about your Father? He created Chloe just to manipulate you.”

“Manipulate me how, exactly?” he demanded. Mum blinked, as though the thought had never occurred to her. “All Chloe has given me is her trust. Her acceptance. Her… love.” He swallowed against an onslaught of emotion before pressing on. “It’s you who’s been trying to use us against each other, force us apart.”

His Mother’s mouth had fallen open. She scrambled to her feet. “So it’s true. You and Chloe...”

“Yes,” he answered, feeling a rush of satisfaction. “I showed her my face, told her the truth, and she didn’t run from me. For so long, I thought it was because of Father’s plan, but it turns out it’s just… Chloe.” The woman who could love the Devil. He shook his head. “For the first time since my creation I have something that’s mine, and I am not leaving, Mum!”

He brandished the sword, and she raised her hands in surrender.

“Okay,” she said, but not like he’d convinced her; like she was agreeing under duress. “I can take care of it for both of us. Get revenge. Destroy Him. Just give me the sword, and I’ll do the rest.”

He was already shaking his head. If his Mother had proven anything during her time on Earth, it was that putting the Flaming Sword in her hands would be a nightmare waiting to happen.

“Please, son,” she begged. “I just want a chance to start over!”

Now that, he did believe. It was tempting. So tempting. But he’d been the black sheep of the family long enough that he didn’t attach the same fondness to old memories.

“But… going home?” He spoke slowly as his mind caught up with what his heart was telling him. “That’s not starting over, that’s… that’s going backwards.” Backwards. The word triggered the memory of what Chloe had said to him, as though it had been lying in wait for this very moment. “And that’s not good for anyone.” He took several deep breaths; he understood what he needed to do.

“So now it’s time for you to move forwards, Mum,” he decided. “Even if that means I’ll never see you again.” He raised the sword.

“Lucifer! No!” his Mother cried, misinterpreting his intentions. Lucifer barely heard her. He focused all his will into the point of the blade, and he cut a hole in the world.


 

Chloe blinked, and when she realized she wasn’t dead, she fired twice at Hector, dropping him. Then she looked around. Dan had appeared and Lucifer and his Mom were gone.

No, no, no! She refused to believe it. He promised! Lucifer had sworn he wouldn’t leave without saying goodbye.

“Lucifer!” she shouted, not sure what good it would do. “Lucifer!” He’d vanished in the space between one blink and the next. What other explanation could there be? Maybe he’d taken his Mum so that the bullet would miss her, in which case she would have to thank him, but she felt sick in the pit of her stomach at the thought of not knowing where he was or when he’d come back.

“Chloe!” Dan beckoned her over to the edge of the pier. Chloe peered over and there was Lucifer, standing on the beach over Charlotte’s body, looking lost.

All of the tension left her body in a moment of impossibly strong relief, and she collapsed against the railing. She couldn’t decide if she wanted to laugh or cry.

“Lucifer!” she called out to him, and he turned as if in a daze, raising his hand in a slight wave and she did laugh a little bit, out of relief, before the full impact of the scene hit her.

Without another thought, she was running down the ramp to the beach, flying across the sand. Lucifer took a few hesitant steps toward her, but he hadn’t gotten far before she threw herself into his arms.

“You’re here,” she sobbed into his shoulder. “You’re here. You’re okay.” For a moment, she just let herself hold him, before she remembered why she’d been worried in the first place. She pulled back to look into his face. He seemed to be having trouble focusing.

“Did you…?” she asked, unable to voice her actual query. Did you go to Heaven? Did you kill Goddess?

Lucifer shook his head slowly. “I never left,” he said. “Amenadiel. He slowed time, and I…” He looked down at his hands, which were empty except for the piece she recognized as Amenadiel’s necklace. “I used the sword to open a- a portal. Gave Mum her own universe.” His eyes found hers before she’d had time to process the implications of that, and his expression abruptly crumpled.

“She’s gone,” he said, and that, she did understand. “Mum’s gone.”

Goddess had been a manipulative, homicidal psychopath, but she was still his Mother, and had been since before the dawn of time.

“I’m sorry,” Chloe told him. “Lucifer, I’m so sorry.” She pulled him into her arms. If he let out a sob or two of his own into her shoulder, she didn’t draw attention to it. They stood like that for a long time.

Presently, the real world invaded their bubble. Charlotte - the real Charlotte - awakened with no memory of anything that had happened in the past several months, including her tryst with Dan, who was dividing his attention between her and shooting bewildered glances at Chloe.

She’d given Lucifer a moment alone to compose himself (his quiet “Mum?” when Charlotte had turned out not to be dead had broken her heart), and when he joined her again he was almost back to his normal self.

“What do you think will happen to Charlotte?” he asked as the woman in question was carted off by EMS.

“Judging by her law firm’s track record, probably not much,” Chloe answered. “We’re pinning both deaths on Hector. He killed Ava - Ella found a Mondo blowtorch in his car, and seeing as it wasn’t really Charlotte who killed Chet…” She shook her head. “Normally I wouldn’t approve of shifting blame, but since Hector’s dead and can’t stand trial... it’s the neatest solution.”

She bit the inside of her cheek. She always hated when she was forced to kill someone in the line of duty. Her decision to use lethal force on Hector had been made in a split second, when she’d still thought he was a threat to Charlotte, and by extension most of Santa Monica pier. It was pointless to wish she could take it back. Instead, she took Lucifer’s hand, still overwhelmed with gratitude that he was here with her.

“Chloe…” Lucifer murmured her name. She wanted to ask him what had happened, with the sword, and what he’d meant by “another universe,” but she didn’t want to push so soon - he still looked like he was about to crack.

“I guess the cat’s sort of out of the bag now, huh?” she said instead, smiling up at him. “With Dan, at least.”

Lucifer huffed a laugh. “I suppose so. You did put on quite a show, Detective.”

Chloe blushed, punching his arm lightly. “Yeah, well, I was worried about you. When I couldn’t see you, I thought…”

Understanding dawned, and Lucifer traced a hand through the hair behind her ear. “I’m sorry. I never meant to-”

She shook her head. “It’s okay. You did what you had to do.” Her brows drew together in a frown. “So… Amenadiel can control time?”

“Yes,” Lucifer said, his expression lightening. “Though he’s lost his powers recently, so I’m not sure how he managed… Linda!” Panic crossed his face, and Chloe squeezed his hand, keeping him by her side.

“I got a call, actually: apparently Maze brought her into emergency and listed me as next of kin. She’s been admitted to St. Claire’s. Her condition is stable, Lucifer.”

Lucifer only looked mildly appeased by her words. “It’s my Mother’s fault she’s injured,” he burst out, confirming Chloe’s suspicions. “I have to see her.”

Chloe nodded. “Do you want me to go with you?” she asked. “Only, I’m going to be tied up in red tape for a while with this case since I shot Hector - visiting hours might be over by the time I’m done.” Lucifer was already shaking his head.

“Visiting hours won’t be a problem for me, remember?” Chloe chuckled - how could she have forgotten? “But I’ll be all right to go on my own, Detective.”

Chloe didn’t want to let him leave. But she also didn’t want him to think she was coddling him, and really, it wasn’t fair to expect him to wait around doing nothing while his friend was in the hospital.

“Okay,” she said softly. “Tell Linda I’m thinking about her, and I’ll visit soon.” Lucifer nodded. “Come by my place after?” she asked. “We can get drunk and watch Supernatural, and you can tell me how they got it all wrong.” Drunk-watching that show had been a favourite pastime of theirs for a while now and seemed like just the thing they needed to unwind after the insane few days they’d had. She was especially looking forward to it now that she knew he was telling the truth.

Lucifer chuckled, shaking his head as he looked at her candidly. “Wouldn’t miss it.” He kissed her cheek, in deference to the fact that they were still at an active crime scene, and smiled. “I’ll see you soon, Chloe.”

The memory of that smile would haunt Chloe for days to come.