“It’s all true,” She breathed. The figure before her was a nightmare creature dressed in Lucifer’s familiar suit.
The posture was familiar. The voice, when it said “Detective?” in a gentle question was familiar.
It occupied a horrific uncanny valley. Almost a person, but horribly, unmistakably, not.
“It’s all true,” She repeated again, blankly.
The monster’s head tilted to the side. Its alien, burning eyes narrowed; a caricature of puzzlement.
Lucifer – no, not Lucifer, not her partner – Lucifer, as in the fairy-tale creature. The mythical beast. Satan.
Satan reached a hand out towards her, and Chloe fell on her ass in her attempt to back away.
The creature made a startled sound, low in its throat.
“Detective,” It repeated. And, then: “Oh.”
It had looked down at its hands. It turned the burned, horrifying flesh over, staring at it with an expression of surprise and distaste.
“This is... This is not how I'd intended to tell you,” It said, the words tilted like an apology.
Behind it, Pierce was laid out on the floor in a spreading puddle of blood. He was quite obviously dead, a curved knife in his chest that Chloe recognized with a jolt.
The monster followed her line of sight and its shoulders slouched defensively.
“Chloe,” It said.
And it tried to reach for her again.
“Stay back!” She snapped. Her heart was pounding. The adrenaline in her system was making her feel shaky and cold, and she knew she was going into shock.
Chloe knew that she’d been on the edge of accepting that Lucifer was… more. More than human.
She remembered the cacophony of bullets. She remembered Lucifer’s arms around her, and then coming to her senses on a rooftop across the street.
Things that she couldn’t explain. And hadn’t that always been the case, with him? There had been so many things she couldn’t explain, because the only explanation was impossible.
Chloe had woken up on a rooftop, and the impossible didn’t seem so big anymore.
She didn’t know what she’d expected to find when she had charged in here.
The air around the creature seemed to blur and throb. It wasn’t just the burnt, twisted flesh – although that was awful – there was something other, something not-of-Earth in the figure, in its eyes, and seeing it made her lizard brain screech at her to run.
It hurt to look at him.
And Chloe remembered, sharply, the dozens of perps who confronted Lucifer and ended up screaming, and screaming, and screaming.
She understood why, now.
Chloe stumbled to her knees, feeling sick.
“Chloe,” It said, and when she wasn’t looking at it, it was just Lucifer’s voice, tight with worry.
Like Pierce had been a trick. Like Dan had tricked her. This, though? This felt worse.
“Chloe,” It said again, and pain lanced straight through her chest.
She had trusted him.
“Stay away from me,” She said, low and harsh. She dared to drag her eyes up to look at it again, and it recoiled, flinching, like she’d hurt it.
“Stay away from me!” She yelled.
The creature took a step back. Another.
It nodded, slowly.
“I… I understand,” It said, so softly that Chloe only just caught the words.
The air creaked and shifted, and a giant pair of bloody, mangled wings emerged from its back. The monster groaned and grit its teeth. It flapped the wings, and… Chloe can’t quite follow what happened. The world bent, and he was gone.
A few blood-stained feathers drifted to the ground, joining the existing detritus.
The crime scene was massive.
Pierce’s body was a macabre centerpiece at the heart of it, but the entire room was trashed with flecks of blood and chips of plaster, bullets and shattered artifacts and feathers.
There were a lot of feathers.
Chloe gulped in breath after breath. Her hands were shaky.
She sank to the ground and wrapped her arms around herself.
She didn’t move until the backup unit arrived and wrapped her up in a shock blanket.
They tried to ask her what happened, but Chloe’s throat was too tight to speak, even if she could somehow have figured out the words to explain. Someone ushered her up and away from the scene when it became clear that she was way too out-of-it to be useful.
She endured having penlights flashed in her eyes. Her blood pressure was tested. The medical team made disapproving noises.
When they asked her if she was hurt, her brow wrinkled in confusion.
Yes, she wanted to say. Yes, she was hurt.
But perhaps not in the way they meant.
Chloe lost track of time.
Internal Affairs seized the crime scene. They took charge of the investigation.
They interviewed Chloe and asked her questions that she struggled to answer – partly because she genuinely had been in shock and hadn’t been forming long-term memories, and partly because the things she did remember would land her in a loony bin if she didn’t keep them to herself.
She didn’t tell them about Lucifer. She denied he was even there with her.
She had a bruise from the bullet that nearly killed her, vividly black and purple. She wore a button-down that let it peek out of the collar. It was a manipulative move, she knew, but didn’t feel guilty about it. The agents that interviewed her glanced at it every so often. She’d told them the truth about that, at least - that she’d followed a lead to the Sinnerman’s location and Pierce, her former fiancé, lieutenant of the LAPD, and underground crime boss, had shot her intending to kill her.
Her voice, when she spoke, was flat. Factual, without the attendant emotions.
Chloe didn’t want to be a victim, but she was. Underneath the hard front she presented, she felt fragile. Splintered. Betrayed.
She talked about Pierce and felt empty. She relayed the facts like they happened to someone else.
Throughout the interview, her thoughts circled back to seeing that monstrous figure again, and again, and again.
She wished, desperately, that she could stop.
“This is bullshit,” She hissed. “I was doing my job.”
The new Lieutenant gave her a placid, unyielding stare.
“Detective Decker, this is not a reprimand. You were involved in a shooting. The incident is still under investigation. We cannot put you back on field duty until that’s put to bed, and sending you back out into the field so soon after it happened would be negligence on our part.”
She fumed. She was fine. She didn’t need or want to be treated with kid gloves.
“You’re on administrative leave,” He said. “Please stay in town in case IA needs to call in you for further questioning.”
“How long?” She asked.
“We’ll reevaluate in two weeks.”
Chloe grit her teeth. Lieutenant Adad was a by-the-books, unyielding hard-ass. It’s why he rose through the ranks to take this position, and it’s why she knew arguing with him wasn’t going to do a damn bit of good.
She nodded her acceptance and managed to leave without making a spectacle of herself.
Chloe was not cut out for administrative leave.
She wanted to be working.
She wanted the physical and mental strain of solving cases. She wanted the distraction.
Her home had been scrubbed down to a spotless shine. Her socks had all been paired and rolled. Trixie’s toys had been organized, although she made no bets on that lasting for more than a week.
Trixie kept giving her too-mature, speculative looks. A ‘why is Mommy acting like a basketcase’ expression that was sobering.
In apology, Chloe took Trixie to the beach. They spent hours playing in the sun and surf until the little girl was exhausted, at which point they settled on sand-speckled towels to sun bathe.
“Are you okay?” Trixie asked.
“I’m fine, sweetie,” Chloe reassured her. She turned to lie on her side, facing Trixie, and Trixie turned to face her as well.
“Why aren’t you at work?”
Chloe pushed hair back from Trixie’s eyes, tucking it behind her ear. She cupped her daughter’s face and gave her a reassuring smile.
“It’s just office politics. The last crime scene was…difficult, so they asked me to take a break for a little bit.”
Chloe hadn’t told her about Pierce. She hoped, if she just never mentioned him again, that Trixie would forget about him.
Trixie’s frown deepened.
“Is Lucifer okay?”
“He’s fine, monkey.”
Chloe had a lump in her throat, and she forced herself to smile. She had so many memories of Trixie glomping onto Lucifer. Beaming at him. Drawing pictures of him. Amending the ‘no boys allowed’ sign on her door to say ‘except Lucifer,’ which she had later further amended to include ‘and Dad.’
Lucifer, who had responded to all of it with pure befuddlement, like he’d never interacted with a child before.
Knowing what she knew now, she wondered if that was precisely the ‘why’ of it.
“Lucifer’s taking a break too, monkey,” She said.
“We should go see him,” Trixie stated.
Chloe rubbed her thumb along her daughter’s soft, sun-warm cheek.
She didn’t answer.
The weekend passed, and on Monday, the tedium of being on administrative leave became mild torture. Trixie had gone to school. Her house was clean. She had no case files to work. Daytime television had never been her cup of tea and, despite the zillion choices she had on Netflix, nothing actually tempted her to sit and watch.
She was restless. Bored.
The house made her feel trapped but, really, where should she go? It was mid-morning on a Monday, and she was by herself.
She thought about going to Lux to see what Lucifer was up to.
The thought flitted through her like a habit. ‘Go and see Lucifer,’ like he was still her friend. It was how she’d thought of it – go and see if her crazy partner could distract her from her thoughts with his whirlwind lifestyle.
It sent a sharp spike of pain through her.
For a moment, she’d actually forgotten.
She sat on her couch and propped her elbows on her knees. She breathed, bunching her hands in the fabric of her pants.
The existential crisis, she was finding, came in waves. The horror of it came in waves. The overwhelmed, choking feeling she had when she remembered what she saw, and the implications…
It was too much to think about all at once.
Chloe got her panic back under control. She checked the clock and found that half an hour had passed.
Her hands, when she released her pants, were aching and sore from how tightly her fingers had been clenched.
She was thirsty, and tired, and all at once she was furiously angry. She was livid with him for doing this to her.
Chloe snatched up her keys.
He may be the Devil, but she was a woman scorned.
Lux didn’t open until the evening but the cleaning crew let her in when she arrived. She didn’t have her badge to flash but hadn’t even needed it.
They’d known who she was, when she'd given her name.
Chloe eyed them warily as she walked through the lobby, and then up to the elevator. There was nothing about the cleaning staff that seemed out of place, but who knew? Lucifer had seemed human, and look where that assumption had gotten her.
She jabbed the button for the penthouse floor.
Chloe squared her shoulders, bouncing lightly on her toes. She was not going to let him intimidate her. She didn’t give a fuck who he thought he was; she was angry. And hurt. And she was going to give him a piece of her mind.
Underneath her anger, the fear made her stomach feel like it was in free fall.
Her hands shook, and she honestly had no idea which emotion was to blame.
The elevator opened.
Chloe took a deep, deep breath. She hesitated, and was spurred into action when the elevator doors started sliding shut again.
She smacked her palm against the closing edge, and the sensor pushed the doors back open.
Chloe stepped into the penthouse.
She had been expecting…
She wasn’t sure what she’d been expecting.
Lucifer, at his piano, or at his bar. Playing or drinking like nothing had changed.
Or maybe that burnt, monstrous creature, lurking at the balcony or in the shadows of the library.
She didn’t immediately see either iteration of him, and her steps faltered as she left the elevator and pushed her way into his home.
There were small signs of Dan and Ella still extant – chairs moved and glasses left on the bar top – evidence of when they’d used this space to question the Sinnerman thug that had delivered them straight to Pierce’s trap.
Her eyes lingered on the misplaced chairs for a long, long moment.
It had been four days since the shootout. Lucifer’s penthouse was normally OCD neat.
The space felt empty. Unoccupied. Had he not been back here since it happened?
“Lucifer?” She called.
Her voice echoed against the marble and glass.
There was no answer.
Chloe checked the shadowed corners, but there was nothing lurking. She walked through the penthouse, opening doors, checking rooms as methodically as she’d clear a scene.
He wasn’t here.
She sat in his ridiculous expensive leather couch, looking out at his ridiculous expensive skyline view, and thought.
She thought about the tattered, blood-soaked wings that had appeared at the creature’s back. She thought about how, with a creaking flap of them, it had disappeared.
She had yelled at it to stay away from her.
And so it left.
Chloe looked around the untouched, abandoned space, and she couldn’t decide if this was better or worse than the dropcloths left behind the last time he’d fled.
There was a tiny, worried, niggling thought –
- What if he didn’t come back?
“Lucifer?” She said again.
Chloe pulled out her phone and, with a few swipes, brought up the text conversation she’d been having with him. The message history went back nearly a year. The tone, both hers and his, flitted back and forth between entirely professional correspondences, to jokes, to lunch orders, to flirtations.
She had teased Satan.
And he had teased her right back.
There were no new messages.
What if he was gone?
A lump formed in her throat at the thought.
It would be cruel, she thought. It would be cruel of him to leave like that – to drop that bomb on her and then vanish. And Lucifer, despite whatever else he was, wasn't cruel.
She shook her head.
He was Satan. Not the man she knew.
Whatever he had been pretending to be with her in the last couple of years – whatever game he'd been playing, it hadn't been the truth.
Had it been a joke to him? She wondered.
Telling everyone up and down that he was the Devil, knowing he wouldn't be believed without proof. Telling a detective that he was the Devil – had it been a joke?
The thought twisted her up inside, and yet, she couldn’t discount the possibility.
A long game, perhaps. Something to entertain him in his immortality. Is that spelled with one 'm' or two, she thought, and felt sick.
The man she'd thought she'd known wasn't... he wasn't...
Chloe remembered answering questions on the stand. Charlotte Richards had given her every reason to call Lucifer a liar – every reason. And Chloe hadn't done it. She'd believed in Lucifer; called him the best partner she'd ever had, and it had let her father's killer walk away.
How Satan must have laughed, she thought darkly. After all, wasn't one of his many names 'The Father of Lies'?
And yet – Lucifer had seemed genuinely upset with the outcome. Genuinely moved by her words when she defended him.
Chloe's eyes pricked with tears and, even though the penthouse was empty, she felt observed and judged for this weakness. She clenched her jaw and closed her eyes until the urge to break down and weep passed.
She hesitated for a long time before crafting and sending a text.
Lucifer. We should talk. Come back, please.
She had written it and re-written it a dozen times before settling on that language. The 'please' was the hardest part to type. Chloe was still angry.
But maybe he was angry, too. And, with Lucifer, a 'please' always used to go a long way. She hoped that was still true.
Chloe left the penthouse not long afterwards.
She was hyperaware of her silent phone the entire drive back to her house.
Dan called her the next day.
“Hey, have you seen Lucifer? IA's been trying to get a hold of him but he's not answering his messages.”
She hadn't slept, not really. She had made dinner with Trixie, watched something animated that she could barely remember, and tucked her daughter into bed, all while obsessing over her silent phone.
She'd dozed rather than slept, jolting awake when her mind spat back images of Lucifer.
The scarred nightmare creature.
This is... This is not how I'd intended to tell you, it had said.
Implying that Lucifer had been planning to tell her, at some point.
“Yeah, sorry,” She jerked back to the conversation at hand. “Sorry, Dan. No, I haven't seen him.”
Dan made a grunt of disappointed acknowledgement.
“I'll swing by Lux, I guess. If he gets in touch with you, let him know they're looking for him, okay? He needs to make a statement.”
“I'll do that.”
“I read the transcript of your interview, Chlo,” He said. Only that, but it was in the tone of his voice. The 'you and I both know it was bullshit' cadence. “We should talk, tonight.”
Chloe's throat tightened.
“Yeah,” She agreed.
Trixie was aware that something was off with this Taco Tuesday. Her eyes shifted restlessly from Chloe to Dan and back again. She made the expected noises when she bit into the food; as pleased as any child eating a favorite meal.
But there was a silence at the table that wasn’t just a side-effect from full mouths.
Chloe could feel it. She knew the other two could as well, and she felt guilty for it.
She watched Trixie.
Her little monkey was getting to be less and less ‘little’ by the day. There was a maturity in this worried silence that wouldn't have been there when Trixie was younger.
Chloe wished she could shield Trixie from growing up, but knew she couldn’t.
After dinner, Chloe occupied herself with cleaning up the table and Dan shepherded Trixie through her bedtime rituals. She listened to him reading her a bedtime story.
She wondered how many more nights like this she’d have before Trixie didn’t want these stories anymore.
Eventually, Dan closed the door and wandered out, soft-footed, although they both knew Trixie wasn't quite asleep yet.
Chloe topped up her glass of wine and gestured the bottle towards Dan in offer, but Dan shook his head.
But unspoken agreement, they settled in the living room.
“What happened, Chloe?” Dan asked quietly. “Lucifer left with you to go to the loft. I know the guy can be a flake, but it just doesn't make sense that he wouldn't have been there with you. You told IA he split off. Is that true?”
Chloe took a long sip of her wine.
She could lie. She could lie, and Dan would believe it. He wouldn't question it if she threw Lucifer under the bus.
She gripped the stem of her wineglass tighter at the thought.
“No,” She said. She swallowed. “He was there with me.”
Dan didn’t push her. He looked at her with his big, blue eyes and waited her out, patient in a way that he hadn't been until after they'd been divorced.
“We arrived at the loft together. The place was quiet, when we walked in. Full of… full of antiquities and statues and busts. It looked expensive, and eclectic, and it… didn’t feel right. That sort of wealth didn’t jive with the way that thug was pleading for his sister’s safety. We walked into the foyer, and it was exposed. I put my hand on my gun.”
She remembered that prickly, unsettled feeling. That ‘danger’ instinct that had been screaming at her.
You’re clearly smart, and you have notable instincts. Trust yourself.
She took another sip of her wine.
“Pierce stepped out from the blind corner. He had men with him; two beside him, four more on the balcony, and they were all armed. Pierce told me to leave my gun holstered. He told me that he would have skipped town and reinvented himself, but that he wanted to kill Lucifer first.”
Dan shifted closer to her on the couch. Chloe looked up at him, not sure when she’d dropped her eyes.
He hesitated but, tentatively, reached out and put his hand on her knee. His palm was warm, and the squeeze he gave her was reassuring.
“Pierce told me to step aside, and Lucif-” Her voice hitched, and she cleared her throat. “Lucifer agreed with him, and tried to get me to leave.”
“Why do I already know that you didn’t?” Dan said, and it surprised a laugh out of her. The motion jostled loose the tears that had been clinging to her lashes, unnoticed, and she wiped them off her cheek.
“I… I tried to talk Pierce out of… I tried to reason with him. After everything, I still thought he cared about me, so I stood between them.”
Dan’s hand on her knee tightened, but he didn’t interrupt.
“And I shot him,” She said in a small voice.
“You shot Pierce?”
“In an exposed position, with several armed shooters targeting you, you –” Dan cleared his throat.
“They were going to open fire,” Chloe said defensively. “The things Pierce was saying, the way he looked at me when I tried to talk him down – my best chance was a preemptive strike.”
Dan subsided, tense like he still wanted to argue, but he didn’t speak.
“I shot Pierce high in the chest. And the man to his right – he fired back, caught my vest.”
Her fingers drifted up to touch the bruise on her chest. An inch higher and she’d’ve died. Less than an inch.
“The impact was… it knocked the air out of me, and I fell. I blacked out for a moment, but I could feel that…That Lucifer shielded me. I could hear the bullets. His screaming.”
She wiped the tears away from her face again.
“Chloe,” Dan’s voice was gentle. His hand, on her knee, was gentle. “What happened to Lucifer’s body?”
“He was shot,” She said. And then, she realized he was asking what had happened to Lucifer’s corpse.
She swallowed, hard.
“One second, we were in the loft, and the next second, we were on the rooftop across the street.”
Dan inhaled to speak, and she stopped him.
“I know it sounds crazy. I know. But it’s what happened.” She set her wineglass down on the table and twisted her fingers together.
“He checked that I was okay. And then, just like that, he was gone again, and I was alone on the rooftop. He’d gone back to deal with Pierce.”
“The rooftop only had one access door, and it was locked. I had to kick it open to leave.”
“Did you see any of the scene photos, Dan? All those shell casings, all of that broken glass and blood and… and feathers. Did you see?”
He nodded, but he was frowning. He was withdrawing from her.
“I’m not crazy,” She insisted. “And I know what I saw. You called me, then, and told me about the trap, and… I started to tell you what I’d seen, but I heard gunfire. I ran through the building. Down the stairs, across the street. By the time I got back to the loft, the shooting had stopped. I walked in, and it – it looked like a bomb had gone off. And then I saw him.”
She was shaking, she realized. Fine tremors that ran through her body, like hypothermic shivering.
“He was standing there, but it wasn’t him. It – His face. Dan – he was telling the truth.”
“Chloe, what are you saying?”
“He was telling the truth about who he was. This whole time.”
“Lucifer,” She hissed. “Dan, I saw his real face. He’s not human. He’s not human.”
Dan made shushing noises at her, and she realized her voice had gotten louder. She glanced back at Trixie’s door and listened, but all was quiet.
Her heart thudded in her chest.
“What did you see, Chloe?” Dan asked when a moment passed and it became clear Trixie was probably sleeping, or at the least not likely to emerge.
“Its skin was just… gone. Its head, its hands, they were –”
She stumbled over the words.
“It was like a burn victim. All of its skin was red and twisted and scarred, but its eyes, Dan. They glowed. They burned, and,” She shook her head. “It wasn’t human.”
Dan was silent for a long time. Chloe couldn’t imagine what he was thinking.
“What happened next?” He asked.
She picked up her wineglass again and, in a few long drinks, finished the contents. She kept the empty glass in her hand, turning it around and around.
“He reached for me. He had Lucifer’s voice, but… I couldn’t. I shouted at him to stay back. And he left.”
“Do you know where he went?”
He was still thinking about this like a case. Like Lucifer was someone he could track down and talk to. He thought Lucifer walked out the front door.
“No,” Chloe said. “He agreed to stay away, and then he opened up his wings, and then he was gone.”
“Wings,” She confirmed.
She laughed, because it sounded like crazy horseshit, and it was ridiculous to think that Dan would believe her.
The future stretched in front of her, overwhelming. Dan would push her into having a psychological evaluation, or go above her head and get her boss to mandate it. Chloe would either lie like a dog, or break down and spill something insane, and she’d lose custody of Trixie. She’d become just like Jimmy Barnes. Locked up somewhere with padded walls and plexiglass windows, so she could scream about the Devil far away from decent, secular society.
She didn’t know when the laughter turned into full-blown crying, but Dan gathered her up. He was warm, and his arms were strong, and Chloe pressed her face against his chest.
She swiped at her wet cheeks.
“And of course I have no proof of any of this,” She said, trying to get herself back under control. Trying to get this spiraling situation back under control. “You know what, I probably imagined it. You know how the brain gets funny when it’s dealing with shock, trauma,” She faked a smile. “I’m sure I’m just… remembering it wrong.”
Dan rubbed his hand along her back, up and down, up and down.
“Do you…” He cleared his throat, started again. “Do you remember Jimmy Barnes?”
Chloe flinched, but Dan’s hands kept rubbing her back.
“I interviewed him while you were in the hospital. I… bent protocol, a bit, to get there, but you were my wife, and that asshole had shot you. It wasn’t easy to get a coherent statement out of him. He was… very one-track-mind about the whole Lucifer thing. But ballistic forensics had run the scene, and there was evidence of multiple gunshots, and bullets that were just… lying spent in the middle of the floor. It made no sense. I asked him about it, but Jimmy insisted that he’d shot Lucifer. Emptied the chamber at him. And he was so obviously crazy that I let go of the weirdness and just… I stopped thinking about it. I moved on. But then there was Malcom, and – and all of the suspects that break down around him, and the pier, and…”
He let out a gusty sigh.
“There have always been so many weird things around him. Shit that just didn’t make logical sense, and I brushed it off so many times. I don’t think you’re crazy, Chloe.”
His arms around her tightened.
“I have no idea what to do with that information, but… I believe you.”
The relief left her breathless.
For a long while, they held each other, not speaking.
The evening hour bled over into nighttime, and when Chloe rose from the couch, it felt natural to take Dan by the hand and pull him up with her.
“Stay, tonight. Please,” She said. He nodded.
They went through a familiar bed-time routine. Chloe lent him a toothbrush, and he borrowed her toothpaste. It was the only hiccup in the illusion that things were still the same. They’d been separated for years but they moved around each other with thoughtless synchronicity, and the ease of it all was a comfort to her.
She settled on ‘her’ side of the bed. He settled on ‘his’ side. He’d striped to his boxes and an undershirt, and Chloe had bundled herself up in flannel pajamas. She’d probably wake up roasting in the middle of the night but, for now, she felt cold, and the layers helped.
They laid on their backs in the dark, both staring up at the ceiling, not sleeping. It was easier to talk like this and, after a while, they did.
They skirted around the earth-shattering, existential questions. They didn’t mention Charlotte, by unspoken mutual agreement. Both topics felt too big to tackle tonight.
Instead, they talked about the little things that never made sense, and suddenly did.
“That day at the pier, when he disappeared right in front of us,” Dan said.
“He did that before, a couple of times. When I went to arrest him for that street preacher’s murder. And when he set up that duel for Hofmeister and his protégé. Just, poof, teleported.”
“That thing, where he looks at you, and you suddenly spill your secrets.”
“That never worked on me,” Chloe told him. They both made a contemplative ‘hmm’ noise.
Chloe closed her eyes. She felt stupid and angry at herself. Lucifer had been so brazenly other. He had told her to her face what he was.
“I saw his reflection, once,” She said. “In the kidnapping case, with what’s-his-face. The ‘women are fluffy bunnies’ asshole. Lucifer confronted the siblings, and I saw his reflection against a metal drum.” She swallowed. “I saw him, and held my gun on him. And he goaded me to shoot him to go ahead and prove it already, so I did.”
“You shot him?” Dan asked, tone somewhere between impressed and appalled.
“Yeah. In the leg. Just winged him, but he bled, just like a person.”
“But before that, in the stakeout he’d told me that getting shot was just like… pressure, to him. Like this,” And she flicked her fingers against Dan’s bicep. He grunted.
“He was so surprised by his blood,” She said.
She turned on her side and faced Dan. Puzzle pieces were clicking together in her head.
“I don’t think he lied, about what he thought bullets would do to him. He never lied about anything else, so why would he lie about that?”
“That night, at the Dunlear charity thing, he had bullet holes in his shirt,” He said. “Gun residue on Mrs. Dunlear’s hands. Gun in her purse. She definitely shot him.”
“Jimmy Barnes definitely shot him. I was bleeding out, but I saw it happen. The impact.”
“Huh. So when he asked you to shoot him, do you think he was really trying to prove it to you?”
Chloe's throat was tight, and she didn't answer. She wasn't sure. She genuinely couldn't decide which answer would be worse.
They talked for a while longer, rehashing their history with Lucifer in this new context. Things he'd said. Things he'd done.
But at this point, Chloe had been awake for far too long without real rest. When Dan tentatively reached out, she snuggled closer, letting him be the big spoon.
Eventually, the pauses between sentences stretched out further and further until it became silence.
Chloe slept deeply. She didn't dream.
Chloe woke to the smell of cooking bacon wafting in under her bedroom door.
She remembered Lucifer breaking into her house to cook and, for a moment, her heart lept to her throat.
But then she heard Dan's quiet voice. Trixie's higher-pitched answers. The night before came rushing back.
Chloe felt an odd weight settle in her stomach.
Talking to Dan had helped.
The distance away from Lucifer had given her time to think – to 'process', as she was sure Linda would have said.
A thought occurred to her, as she got up and shuffled to the bathroom.
Linda, as in Lucifer's therapist.
What on Earth had that therapy looked like? Had Lucifer told her the truth? Shown her? Or did they discuss his problems in metaphors?
She peed, brushed her teeth, and gave her still-too-pale face a lingering look of disappointment in the mirror.
“Morning, Mommy!” Trixie chirped as she walked into the kitchen. Chloe gave her a genuine smile in return.
Whatever else was happening in her life, Trixie was healthy and happy, and that was far from nothing.
“Heya Chlo. Eggs?” Dan asked.
“Please, yes. I'm starving.”
He cracked an egg into the skillet. The pan was still slick with bacon grease and her mouth watered with anticipation. Dan did know exactly how she liked her eggs.
“Okay, monkey, if you're done, you should go get dressed,” Chloe said, scooping up her daughter's smeary plate and placing a kiss on her head as she walked by. It wasn't quite time for Trixie to get ready for school yet, but it would give her a moment to talk to Dan alone.
Trixie obligingly slid out of the chair and went to her room.
Dan left the egg frying and met Chloe's eyes.
“She asked, and I told her we'd stayed up talking about a case; that it got so late that it was just easier for me to sleep here last night.”
“Thanks,” She said, and Dan's expression turned rueful.
“I'd offer to go kick his ass, but...” He shrugged, and the surreality of the whole situation made her huff out a laugh.
Dan nudged the egg with the spatula and deemed it done. He served it and gestured at the plate of bacon with a questioning eyebrow raised.
Chloe nodded and he added a couple of strips to her plate before handing it over. He munched on the remaining piece.
“What are we going to do?” Chloe asked.
“I mean, what can we do? I think if he was actually going to hurt any of us, he'd've done so by now. So,” He chomped the last bite and chewed. He chipmunked the bacon into a cheek and finished the thought. “I'm going to go back to work. Trix will go to school. Your administrative leave will be finished soon, and you'll go back to being a badass detective. And Lucifer... well.” Dan swallowed. “There's no way to know what he's going to do until he does it, but, hell, that's not new. So I'm going to brace for impact but hope for the best.”
“What does 'the best' look like?” She asked.
Dan chewed his lip.
“I think 'best case scenario' is we never see him again,” He said.
“No?” Dan asked, reading her expression.
Trixie came back into the kitchen, though, and the conversation was set aside.
“Interesting look, kiddo,” Dan observed.
“Maybe lose the sequined jacket, monkey. It's going to be hot today,” Chloe added.
Dan agreed to drop Trixie off, since the school was more or less in the same direction as the precinct. It made logistical sense, but it also meant that all too quickly, Chloe was once again looking at an empty home with nothing to do but stress and overthink.
The thought from that morning surfaced again – what did Linda know about Lucifer?
Chloe drummed her fingers against her thigh.
Did patient confidentiality still apply when the patient wasn’t even human?
It was worth a shot. And even if Linda couldn’t provide details, well, she still probably knew Lucifer better than Chloe did. It was a place to start.
Chloe grabbed her keys and headed out the door with a purpose.
When Chloe arrived at Dr. Martin’s practice, the “in session” light was turned on.
She settled onto a couch in the waiting area, feeling kind of like an asshole for barging over like this. She pulled out her phone and checked the time. 10:48 a.m.
Which… if they were hour-long sessions, maybe she wouldn’t have long to wait?
Chloe opened up her saved voicemails. There was one that Lucifer had sent her almost a year ago that was tickling at her memory.
It was dozens of messages back. She had a horrible habit of not deleting things from her mailbox.
There were plenty of messages from him, all starting with a lilting “Detective,” that made her heart clench. But they weren’t the one she was after.
Eventually, she found it.
“Detective,” It started, same as always. “Hello. It’s me. Lucifer,” As if anyone else in Chloe’s life had that accent. He’d never bothered explaining who it was, before. Had he been nervous?
“I just wanted to apologize for being, well. For being so elusive. But I also wanted to say that I’m done with hiding. So. I’m coming over now to tell you the truth about me. Because I think it’s time I finally opened your eyes as to why strange things sometimes happen around me. Why my brother’s so saintly, and Maze is so…” A quiet huff of a laugh. “Not. And why I’m so, well, magnetic.” A pause, and Chloe could easily imagine him smiling in self-satisfaction. “No, but, seriously. I… I want to tell you everything. No more going backwards.”
Chloe set aside the implications about Maze and Amenadiel for now. She’d worry about that later.
She listened to the message again.
According to Lucifer, he’d called her and left this message right before he’d gotten kidnapped and dumped in a desert. With everything that had happened with Pierce, Chloe believed he was telling the truth about that – that Pierce had knocked him out and kidnapped him.
Which meant that when he said “I’m coming over now to tell you the truth about me,” that had been his intent.
Everything in his tone of voice implied that he was planning to share something big with her. When Chloe had first heard the message, she’d thought Lucifer was planning to tell her his real history, his real name.
When he’d swanned back into the precinct acting like his normal self, she’d been disappointed, but not really surprised. Lucifer had changed his legal name to Lucifer Morningstar, for goodness sake. He’d gone to who-knew-what extent to erase his history before showing up in LA. He made constant jokes about being the Devil. He’d embraced the persona so completely that Chloe hadn’t believed he’d ever willingly set it aside.
But, listening to the message now…
Chloe was more and more sure that Lucifer had planned to actually tell her the truth, and that the kidnapping had derailed it.
The “in session” light switched off, and the door opened.
A short, older gentleman ambled out, looking like he’d been crying. He cleared his throat when he spotted Chloe, but Chloe had already looked back down at her phone to give him privacy.
“Chloe!” Linda’s voice chirped, and Chloe looked up. She exchanged a quick nod of greeting with the other man, which he perfunctorily returned before heading down the corridor towards the elevator.
“I wasn’t expecting to see you,” Linda said. Her eyes traced Chloe up and down, expression curious. “What’s up?”
Chloe pushed stray wisps of hair back behind her ears.
“I should have called first,” Chloe said apologetically. “Sorry, Linda. I was hoping you had a minute?”
“Is this about Lucifer? Have you seen him?”
“Yes,” Chloe said, throat tight.
Linda sighed in relief.
“He hasn’t been answering my calls. He’s missed several appointments. Is he okay?”
“Oh, I…” Chloe swallowed. The hope in Linda’s eyes dampened into concern as Chloe searched for the right words. “That’s not… what I meant,” She said.
And the concern turned into realization.
“Oh,” Linda said, low and flat, her eyes wide. “Well, then.” She smoothed her hands down her skirt. “Perhaps you’d better come in.”
Chloe followed Linda inside.
It felt like a lifetime ago that she had first walked in here with the burr-in-her-side club owner that wouldn’t leave Delilah’s murder investigation to the professionals.
“I’d offer you a drink, but I think even with this conversation, it’s a bit early in the morning,” Linda said, wrinkling her nose sympathetically.
Chloe managed a weak smile in answer. She sat on the couch.
Linda visibly dithered between her ‘therapist’ chair and the couch, and chose the latter, sitting sideways on the couch to face Chloe. It was informal and personal, and telegraphed clearly that this wasn’t a therapy session – it was a conversation.
“So,” Linda prompted. “What brings you to my office?”
The words were neutral. She was feeling Chloe out.
“I saw his face,” Chloe said, cutting right to the heart of it. She didn’t think she’d misread Linda’s response, earlier – Linda did know about Lucifer, which was both boggling and, hopefully, helpful.
“When was this?” Linda asked.
“Four days ago.”
“Ah,” Linda said, like pieces had just fallen into place for her. “I haven’t seen him since last week. I made it very clear to him, previously, that if he was going to cancel an appointment he needed to tell me. Him dropping off the radar was… worrying. It makes more sense, though, if… well. I’m jumping ahead. Tell me what happened? What prompted him to show you?”
“You were worried about him?” Chloe said, frowning, ignoring the request.
“Well yes,” Linda replied simply.
At Chloe’s uncomprehending stare, Linda’s expression softened and she added: “Chloe, the most important thing that I realized after Lucifer showed me his… other side… is that, despite that, he’s still Lucifer. He’s candid to the point of being obnoxious, sometimes, and the person that you knew before he showed you his other form – that person is who he is. That he also happens to literally be the Devil is nearly always secondary to the rest of his issues. I’ll not go into detail, but I will tell you – the things I work through with him in therapy are pretty much exactly the same things I work through with any other emotionally stunted narcissist.”
Instead of being reassuring, though, the words made Chloe feel like she had lead weights in her stomach.
“But you’ve seen him?” She said. “Have you actually seen him – his… his eyes?”
“Yes,” Linda said. She pursed her lips, nodding. “He showed me. And it was fucking terrifying.”
Her gaze goes distant, but she shakes her head, dismissing it. She shrugged.
“It definitely took some time to process it,” Linda admitted. “And I wouldn’t say I’m done processing it, either. I mean, oof. Not a small thing to learn. He showed me almost two years ago and I still get blindsided now and again by little realizations. And you only learned four days ago? How are you holding up?”
“Not… great,” Chloe admitted.
“What happened?” Linda asked again.
And, bit by bit, Chloe told her. She explained how they found the file on Pierce that Charlotte Richards had started. That they followed up on the investigation discretely. How one thing had led to another, up through the confrontation in the loft.
Linda let her speak and, after a while, Chloe stopped trying to interpret the subtle emotions that crossed the doctor’s face as she relayed the story.
“I ran up through the loft. There was dust everywhere from the chipped plaster. And I could tell, you know? That the fighting had just stopped. And there he was. Standing over Pierce’s body. He stood up, and he turned, and I saw his face –”
“He – oh,” Linda interrupted, and she looked surprised at herself for doing so. Chloe looked at her askance.
“It’s just, he’d been struggling with how to tell you for a while. I’d assumed that, when he showed you his eyes, it was a decision that he’d been in control of. That it wasn’t his choice… I’m sorry, please continue,” Linda said, brushing her comments aside.
“It wasn’t just his eyes,” Chloe said. “His whole face, his hands – it was like seeing a monster wearing Lucifer’s suit.”
“He got his Devil face back?”
“How – what?”
“Just… an issue he was struggling with. He wasn’t able to pull up that other face at will. Got super annoyed when I suggested it was, perhaps, just a… performance issue and, he was overthinking it.” She looked at Chloe. “Which I’m assuming was correct, but that’s neither here nor there. You saw his face. It’s… certainly a lot to take in. How did he deal with the situation?”
“He… he called my name. Or, well, ‘Detective,’ in that way of his, and – ” Chloe swallowed. “I freaked. I fell, and when he reached out for me, I freaked out harder. I told him to stay back.”
Linda’s expression remained neutral, but Chloe could feel the other woman’s tension.
“I shouted at him to – to stay away from me, and – his wings, he just –” She made a shaky gesture. Her hands were trembling. “He was gone.”
She let out a barbed breath.
“I went by Lux, yesterday, but he was gone. I’ve texted him, but he doesn’t answer. He’s gone. He’s just gone. I told him to stay away, and…”
She felt ashamed. All of her memories of Lucifer tumbled at her, one after another. There were so many good memories, even when he was being an infuriating prick. What Linda had said, about Lucifer being the person that she knew despite whatever else he was – deep down, Chloe knew it was true.
And she’d banished him.
The shame was a crushing weight, and she startled when Linda reached across the couch to clasp one of Chloe’s hands in her own.
“We can’t control how we react to trauma. I’m not judging you, Chloe.”
“I think I really hurt him,” Chloe said, her voice small.
Linda didn’t deny it, and it was the last, tiny catalytic push needed to send Chloe into tears.
She was getting so tired of crying. It was exhausting.
Linda scooted closer on the couch, rubbing Chloe’s back in that same comforting motion that Dan had employed. The familiarity of the gesture, so soon after her last breakdown, helped Chloe in putting the cork back in the bottle and getting herself back under control.
She took in a couple of ragged breathes, and rolled her shoulders.
“I don’t know what to do,” Chloe admitted.
Linda’s hand gradually stilled and she withdrew, settling back on the couch.
“Lucifer is… He’s a bit of a drama queen,” Linda said. “But he cares about you immensely. I think it’s likely that he’s retreated to lick his wounds and give you some space. I doubt he’s gone for good.” She gave Chloe a reassuring smile.
“I hope you’re right,” Chloe said. “I really, really hope you’re right.”
Chloe left Linda’s office feeling…
She wasn’t sure.
Her heart still ached, but in a completely different way.
Lucifer hadn’t betrayed her.
She’d betrayed him.
What Linda had said – about how people couldn’t control their reactions to traumatic events – Chloe had been a cop for a long time. She knew there was truth in it, but she couldn’t shake the guilt for how much her reaction must have hurt him.
She drove to Lux.
Lucifer’s penthouse remained completely unchanged. She knew he hadn’t been back.
Chloe was tempted to put the chairs back in their places and clean up the bar, but didn’t want to lose that visual clue in case Lucifer did come back. If Lucifer came back, he would restore his apartment to order, and Chloe would be able to see it even if he didn’t answer her texts or calls or come see her…
She made herself stop thinking about it.
Lucifer’s penthouse was opulent without being tacky. It was expensive and pristine, but comfortable. Inviting.
A man of wealth and taste, she thought, and her lip twitched despite herself.
Chloe put a reminder on her phone; an alarm that would tell her when she needed to leave to go get Trixie.
And then she let herself wander.
She never had gotten to go through his sock drawer, that crazy birthday evening when she’d been upset because he’d left. Again.
She drifted through the apartment.
The books, manuscripts, engravings – artifacts and antiques that she’d assumed he’d collected to look posh – she lingered over them, now, wondering when he got them. What they meant to him.
In the cupboards in his bathroom, she found hair gel, a straightener, eyeliner, condoms. Several baggies of unlabeled pills and powders that she assumed were illegal drugs. What would legality mean to the Devil? Or, for that matter, to someone who’d lived through centuries of recreational opium use, and cocaine as a soda additive.
Felony possession must seem so trivial to him.
His bed was still lined with black, silk sheets. Her heart hurt when she remembered the night she’d stormed over here, drunk and angry and throwing herself at him, and how he, a slut to his core who had expressed again and again how much he wanted to have sex with her, had respected her inability to consent and let her sleep it off.
Oh, you don’t remember the part where you passed out, woke up again, shouted at me ‘It’s too hot in this 5-star Hell hole’ I believe it was, then tore your clothes off and proceeded to hog the bed?
He’d grinned and grinned as he’d teased her, delighted and childish, and Chloe had wanted to throw a brick at his head, at the time.
Later, when she was done being embarrassed by it, her gratitude at his respect and restraint had been dizzying.
Chloe climbed into the bed again.
She could smell him, faintly, on the pillows. That mild, pleasant, masculine smell, and his cologne.
Chloe missed him.
She hoped, wherever he’d gone to get away from her, that he was okay.
She hoped that he would come back soon.
Chloe woke to her alarm and, for a moment, was totally disoriented.
She thumbed off her phone and blinked at the surroundings.
Why was she -?
Ah. Right. She must have dozed off.
She slid out of Lucifer’s bed. She collected her shoes and jacket and made herself leave the penthouse.
Trixie, when Chloe collected her, was bubbling with excitement. Her science class had gotten to go outside to witness what happened when you mixed Diet Coke with Mentos.
The messy explosion had been fun, but Chloe was proud that her daughter seemed nearly as excited to explain the science behind it.
After all, she wasn’t going to get to be the first president of Mars if she didn’t keep her grades up.
They stopped to pick up dinner at a hole-in-the-wall place that made amazing pupusas. Chloe always ordered more than she planned to eat because the leftovers were nearly as good.
Chloe kept the containers in the front seat with her as she finished driving home.
“I won’t sneak any,” Trixie protested.
“Uh-huh. It seems to me like you said that last time, and the time before that.”
Trixie returned an exaggerated pout, but her eyes gleamed with mischievous mirth.
Not that Chloe really blamed her. They smelled delicious.
Still. Her little monkey could wait.
There was a familiar car parked down the street, and Chloe felt a chill run up her spine.
Mazikeen, the demon from Hell, was in her home.
More fairly; Mazikeen, her roommate, had come back to the apartment which she paid rent on.
Chloe really wished she hadn't kept pushing this particular freak-out to the back-burner. She honestly hadn't thought Maze would be coming back. Why had she come back?
Was it about Lucifer?
Chloe thought about looping around, driving Trixie to Dan, coming back to deal with this alone, but for one – it would probably upset and confuse Trixie, and for two...
Like Lucifer, Maze had also been upfront about who she'd been.
Chloe had let Maze babysit. Up until recently, Trixie had adored Maze.
And from the way Dan told the story, Maze had immediately regretted the words. It had been an angry outburst intended to push Dan back. Trixie had been friendly fire.
I wanted to see Lucifer, but he wasn't here. So I made a new friend. What's your name?
Mazikeen. But you can call me Maze.
“Hey Monkey, stay in the car for a minute, okay? I need to go deal with something inside. You can have one pupusa while you wait. How many pupusas?”
“One,” Trixie said in a beleaguered sigh.
Chloe parked and passed back the food parcel. Her stomach growled with the waft of warm food smells, but she had bigger concerns.
Trixie cheerfully took the bag from her.
Chloe unbuckled her belt and left the car.
The front door was still unlocked, and Chloe's knee-jerk reaction was we talked about that, Maze.
Like home burglaries would have ever been a blip on the demon's radar.
She walked inside. Mazikeen was sat at the kitchen counter, situated directly across the living room from the front door. She stood up when Chloe walked in, hands raised and out to her sides in a 'peace' gesture, and she scanned the empty space around Chloe's waist back and forth, looking for someone much shorter than Chloe.
“I had her wait in the car,” Chloe said.
Maze nodded, her jaw clenched.
“I’m going to be leaving, soon. Amenadiel was restored, and he owes me. So I’m going home.”
Chloe processed that statement.
“You’re going back to Hell? Why?”
Chloe barely saw Mazikeen move. One moment, her roommate was lounged against the wall - the next, the demon was leaning close to Chloe's face, teeth bared in a sneer.
Chloe yelped in surprise and took a step back.
Mazikeen closed the distance until Chloe’s back hit the wall behind her, then Maze brought her arms up to either side of Chloe’s head, caging her.
Chloe had known that Maze was dangerous. She had seen Maze beat up a dozen armed, angry gang members. Her reputation as a bounty hunter was ‘ruthlessly effective.’
But she had never really ‘pinged’ on Chloe’s radar as a threat to her. Until now.
Chloe forced herself into unwavering eye-contact with Maze, even as her heart pounded.
The look Maze gave her was disgusted. Like Chloe was a thing she’d found on her shoe.
“I heard about what happened. He saved your life, again, and you…”
Maze shoved away from the wall and took a few steps back. Her knives flick, flick, flicked in her hands as she paced, looking for the right words.
Chloe watched the spinning blades.
Even if she’d been armed, she knew she couldn’t take Maze in a fight.
Is this how people felt, before they were murdered? This frozen, frantic dread?
Maze looked at her and gave an unamused snort, vanishing the knives with a barely visible blur.
“I’m not going to hurt you, Decker.”
Chloe didn’t relax, but with the knives out of sight, her tongue came unstuck.
“Is this about Lucifer?” She asked.
Maze’s left eye flashed in a brief, inhuman glimmer of pale light. It was so odd that Chloe didn’t even feel fear so much as simple surprise. Why just the left side?
“He left. Without me. And I get it. We’ve been quarreling. But I never thought he’d go back to Hell.” The glare she sent Chloe could have melted steel. “Do you understand how much he hates it there? He cut off his wings to avoid going back. And this is the third time he’s gone there because of you. But hey. You know what they say about the charm of threes.”
“What do you mean,” Chloe said, swallowing. “What are you talking about, he went to Hell?”
Maze cocked her head, her expression cruel; a mockery of confusion.
“He’s not on Earth. I can feel it. And he’s banished from Heaven. You made it clear he wasn’t welcome here anymore. Where do you think he went when you cast him away?”
“I didn’t!” Chloe protested.
“Oh?” Mazikeen said, voice low. “Perhaps I misunderstood. I wasn’t there, after all. So you tell me, Decker. What did you say to him?”
Stay away from me!
The words echoed in her head. And, too, Lucifer’s pained, resigned: I… I understand.
“That isn’t fair,” Chloe said. “It isn’t. I had no warning-”
Maze snorted with disbelief, interrupting her.
“He’s been telling you to your face for three years. I know you’ve seen behind the curtain. He wasn’t subtle about his powers. No, Decker. You knew exactly what he was. You just chose not to believe it. So don’t you tell me you had no warning. You don’t get to use that excuse.”
Chloe’s stomach twisted at the accusation. It cut deep, because she knew it was true. She and Dan had talked about the multitude of things Lucifer had done that they’d both just swept under a ‘not thinking about it’ rug.
Lucifer had never been anything but honest with her.
“Yeah,” Maze sneered. “I thought so.”
“I told him to stay away,” She confessed. The words spilled out almost unbidden.
Maze nodded, like it was nothing less than she’d been expecting.
“Well good job, Decker. He is.” She gave Chloe a considering look. “He loved you, you know,” Maze said, blunt and cold.
“I know,” Chloe said, too emotionally worn down to pretend it wasn’t true. The past-tense was nearly as painful as the knowledge of how badly she’d hurt him.
Maze nodded again, satisfied with the wound she’d inflicted, and turned to leave through the back door.
Chloe resisted the urge to sink to her knees once Maze was gone.
She scrubbed at her face, hard, to banish the tears. Trixie was still waiting in the car.
Ah, she realized. That’s why Maze left the back way.
That was probably for the best, all things considered.
Chloe forced her breathing back under control. She pasted a smile back on her face and went to collect her daughter.
There was more than one pupusa missing, and Chloe went through the motions of teasing the little girl about it.
He loved you, you know.
And she’d sent him back to Hell.
“I’m fine, baby. How would you feel about dinner in the living room, tonight? Want to watch a movie?”
The girl perked up at the idea.
Chloe just… kept moving. Kept up the façade. Cuddled close to Trixie and made herself eat, even if the normally-delicious food settled like lead in her stomach.
She tucked Trixie into bed, later, and read her a story. She did the voices, reading with enthusiasm, and felt like she herself was just doing a Chloe voice. She felt disassociated, and it was a relief when she finally turned off Trixie’s bedroom light and retreated to her own room.
The mask dropped. Chloe slid down the wall, onto the floor. She curled her legs up, wrapped her arms around them, and shook.
Eventually, she made her way into bed.
Chloe didn’t sleep.
Chloe was staring at the ceiling when her phone alarm sounded. She flopped her hand onto the nightstand to collect the device and thumb off the alarm.
She rolled out of bed.
Her body was achy with exhaustion. She’d make an effort today to get in some exercise. Go on a long jog, maybe. Tire herself out enough that she’d be able to sleep even if she couldn’t get her mind to stop whirring.
She was pretty sure she’d pieced together more of her timeline with Lucifer, from Maze’s words. Third time’s the charm.
Meaning Lucifer had been back to Hell twice before that because of her.
Chloe was pretty sure it had been that time with Malcom, and then with Dr. Carlisle.
Guilt formed a tight knot in her throat.
At breakfast, Trixie responded to a few prods about her schoolwork and enthusiastically bubbled out information while Chloe nodded along. Trixie was used to her being less-responsive in the morning, and if she noticed her mother was still more distracted than usual, she didn’t comment on it.
Or, at least, she didn’t until she’d been buckled up into the backseat and Chloe was driving her to school.
Chloe realized they’d been driving in silence. No morning radio or music, because Chloe had heard the first few sentences of too-cheery commercial voices and had switched the sound off.
“Are you okay?” Trixie asked.
“Yeah, baby. I’m okay. I’ve just got a lot on my mind.”
“Is it about Lucifer?”
“What makes you say that?”
Trixie thumped a foot idly back and forth against the back of the passenger-side chair.
“He’s your partner,” She said simply. “You said the last crime scene was difficult, and then he hasn’t been by since then. Lucifer always shows up, even when you’re not working. Is he okay?”
Chloe pressed her lips together.
“He just needed to go back home for a bit.”
“He went back to Hell?” Trixie said incredulously.
“What makes you say that, baby?”
“Because he’s the Devil,” Trxie said, the ‘duh’ evident in her voice.
“And that doesn’t bother you?”
In the review mirror, Trixie was giving her a look like she’d grown a second head.
“He’s Lucifer,” She said. In a quiet tone, she added. “I like him a lot better than Pierce.” And she gave Chloe a not-subtle encouraging smile.
Chloe briefly closed her eyes.
She opened them again, and lifted her foot off the brake, seeing the light had changed.
The car in the cross-lane blindsided her, tearing through its red light.
The impact was immense, crushing through the driver-side door. Her airbag deployed, throwing her back into her seat, but the side-impact sent… something… into her body, below ribs that she felt bend and crack under the onslaught.
The world was filled with pain, and the glitter of broken glass, and Trixie’s screaming.
Her car spun out across the intersection, propelled by the impact. The world smeared across the shattered windshield.
Chloe’s mouth filled with blood almost immediately. Punctured lung, maybe? Internal hemorrhaging. Trauma. Chloe could hear Trixie screaming and screaming in the backseat, so at least her daughter was still alive.
Chloe tried to twist to see her, but the bent shape of her door, the tight seatbelt, and the airbag all work to pin her in place. Her entire left side shrieked with pain. She could see her daughter in the crooked rearview mirror, though, and while Trixie was panicking, her daughter didn’t look injured.
Chloe could feel that she was injured.
She coughed blood onto the airbag.
There were scratches all along her forehead, down her cheek. Glass cuts, maybe? From the windshield? Blood tricked down and obscured her vision.
Something was wrong with her side. Really, viscerally wrong.
She was getting dizzy. Dealer’s choice as to whether it was from blood-loss or the inability to breathe.
Chloe was acutely aware of the fact that she was dying.
I’m so sorry, She thought. Trixie, Lucifer, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.
Chloe managed a couple more weak, gurgling coughs.
And fell still.
The loop reset.
Chloe ran onto the scene. She saw Lucifer and fell back. Lucifer reached for her. She recoiled. Shouted at him to stay away from her.
He unfurled wings that had been shot to bloody ribbons protecting her, and left to return to Hell, a place he hated, at her demand.
Chloe stumbled through the days afterwards. Talking with Dan, with Linda, with Maze. She was confronted with all the ways Lucifer had shown her the truth. She was confronted with all the ways he had selflessly loved her, in his damaged but sincere way, and the knowledge that she had driven him away. That he had left believing that she didn’t love him, too. Left to go back to suffering and isolation and pain. Because of her.
She had hurt him, badly, and the guilt was a knot in her throat.
The car blindsided her.
The loop reset.
There was a strain of some kind of wild herb that had grown on one of the small Polynesian islands a millennia or so ago. It was tangy and garlicy and the people used it to flavor their food.
The herb had gone extinct at some point, and the flavor had disappeared on Earth.
It still existed here, though.
In the distance, a woman smothered a squalling, hare-lipped baby.
It would take a while for the infant to suffocate and, in the meantime, Lucifer sat and stared out at the waves, eating from a rough wooden bowl and doing his best to block out the sound of the woman’s desperate sobbing.
The loop had a nasty habit of resetting before he got down to the best of the rich, concentrated broth at the bottom.
Lucifer tipped the bowl back to swallow it down.
The loop reset, and the bowl vanished from his hands.
He sighed and stomped back over to the simmering pot to dish out another helping.
The baby’s crying was nearly as off-putting as the woman’s, and he went back down to the beach again.
He could just about manage to get to the best bits of the soup, if he didn’t spend too much time navel-gazing.
When the loop reset again, Lucifer made no effort to stand. He lay back on the sand and stared up at the stars while the woman behind him wailed inconsolably and damned herself, over and over.
He lifted his hand, spreading his burnt, gnarled fingers against the starry backdrop. He hadn't bothered to change back to his angelic form since arriving in Hell. This was closer to the truth of him, anyway.
Chloe had been right to run from him.
He was monstrous. A monster.
The woman behind him sobbed in giant, rending heaves of sound.
He’d had enough of it.
Lucifer found the door and walked out, back into the falling ash.
When he’d returned to Hell, he hadn’t been sure what to expect.
Part of him had been worried that that loop with Uriel would still be waiting for him, but it hadn’t made an appearance. When he’d tested his internal waters, so to speak, he realized that while he still felt sorrow and loss, he didn’t feel guilty about it anymore. He’d done what he’d had to do. It hurt, but Lucifer didn’t feel like he needed punishment for it.
He’d worried, too, that there would be consequences for killing Pierce.
But Lucifer didn’t need to do much self-examination to know that he hadn’t felt guilty about that, either.
Lucifer looked down at his scarred, red hands again.
If Amenadiel’s theory was right, Lucifer himself was to blame for both the loss and restoration of his Devil face. He may not have Linda’s expertise, but he could fumble his way through it well enough.
He’d convinced himself, somewhere along the way – when he’d gotten rid of Mom without causing a war, maybe? – that he didn’t deserve the mantle of Lord of Hell anymore.
Lucifer snorted, disgusted at himself.
As much as Cain pissed him off, in some ways, Lucifer was grateful. Cain had reminded him of who he really was.
He had put Cain down like the rabid dog he’d been, but Lucifer hadn’t felt guilt.
Deep down, you know you’re a monster, and that you belong in Hell, where you will torture yourself with that truth for eternity. Because no matter what you tell yourself, you can’t outrun what you’ve done. What you truly are.
And Cain, insufferable and arrogant even as he was dying, had replied: And neither can you.
Hell’s throne had been occupied by one of the more powerful demons when Lucifer had gotten back.
It had regretted the decision immensely by the time Lucifer got done with it.
Even with his wings still healing, Lucifer had been fairly wild with heartache. It had been easy to turn that suffering onto someone else.
He’d fought like he had nothing to lose. It had, more or less, been accurate. The demon hadn’t known what had hit it.
After that was finished, it had been easy enough to restore Hell back to a smoothly functioning realm. For all that Amenadiel bitched about the chaos caused by Lucifer leaving, Hell was an automated system, these days. There had been a few hundred souls that had needed a bit of direct intervention to get their loops running smoothly – sociopaths were always a hoot that way – but the rest of the millions that had died since Lucifer had left had found their places without any need for direction.
Hell was a well-oiled machine.
Lucifer almost wished it wasn’t.
Once he’d reclaimed his throne, once he’d reasserted himself with the demons, once he’d dealt with the straggling souls… Lucifer was left with far too much time on his hands to just sit and think.
It was one of the reasons why Lucifer had vacationed up to Earth so often in the first place. It was a wonderful source of distraction.
Not that that was an option, now.
He sighed, brushing ash off his shoulders like it wouldn’t just accumulate again in another few minutes.
He’d gotten used to Earth.
Even in LA, the air had been clear and sweet and restorative when compared to Hell.
Here, the sulfur was thick against his tongue. The ash was obnoxious and got simply everywhere.
The heat, at least, had been easy to get used to again.
Lucifer wended his way through the rows of burning, columnar rocks, making a meandering path back to his throne at the heart of Hell. He could fly – his wings had healed – but he wasn’t in any hurry.
Eternity stretched in front of him and Lucifer let the weight settle on him.
It wasn’t like he wasn’t used to it.
Lucifer missed… Lots of things from Earth.
Lux. Long nights full of expensive whiskey, good music, and enthusiastic sex.
He missed the rumbling feel of the Corvette and the wind in his hair.
The pleasure of pulling out people’s desires, and giving it to them.
Hawaiian bread with fried eggs.
He missed his conversations with Linda, as much as they’d sometimes made him squirm with discomfort. The doctor had genuinely been trying to help him and it had been novel and touching.
He missed the pleasant tingly high of drugs, even if the sensation was woefully fleeting, what with his metabolism.
The thrill of catching the bad guy.
The way the Detective rolled her eyes when he made an inappropriate comment at a crime scene.
The way the crowd at Lux would be drawn in, enraptured, when he sang.
The Detective’s hair.
The Detective’s ridiculous honking giggly laughter.
The beauty spot below her right eye.
The way she smelled.
He missed her.
Lucifer missed Chloe so much it hurt.
Stay away from me!
Lucifer leaned against a column of rock and just… breathed.
Lucifer found a loop with a well-stocked freezer and helped himself to a pint of Cherry Garcia while the loop's suicide slowly bled out in their bathtub.
He fluttered out his wings, stretching them in the living room, and gave them a thorough once-over.
There were a few patches, here and there, where bone had chipped and flesh had had to regrow. The skin had healed, but the new feathers growing in were still small. Overall, the wings looked perhaps a bit threadbare, but whole.
The agony of using them like a shield had been… memorable.
Lucifer didn't regret it for a second.
He folded the wings away again and settled on the couch with his borrowed ice cream.
The Hell loops had never satisfied him before, stilted and finite as they were. The same small experiences and regrets replayed over and over again. He used to tire of them quickly.
They offered tantalizing glimpses of Earth, and that had never been enough for him. Lucifer had always wanted more. More, without the accompanying pain and evil and tragedy that catalyzed the Hell loops to begin with.
It was pathetic, really, how much comfort he took in being able to have even this much, now.
Lucifer tossed the pint of ice cream onto the coffee table with genuine contempt for himself. He lay back on the couch.
“How the mighty have Fallen,” He muttered.
The Lilim sent an emissary to ask about Mazikeen.
Lucifer lounged on the throne and regarded Azoal with a burning gaze.
“I released Mazikeen of her vows of service,” He said. “I did not bring her with me when I returned.”
Like Mazikeen, half of her face was a twisted ruin.
Unlike Mazikeen, she meekly accepted his words, offering him no challenge or question, and slunk away to report back to the rest of the Lilim.
Lucifer had been expecting some sort of inquiry. It was unheard of, what he’d done. The Lord of Hell, leaving a demon behind on Earth.
But Azoal didn’t ask.
Maybe Lucifer had gone a bit too far in cowing the demons back when he’d returned.
That was another thing he’d missed about Earth – humans, as a whole having very little in the way of self-preservation or common sense – regularly challenged him, or chastised him, or outright threatened him.
The Detective especially had had no fear of him at all.
Until she realized what she’d actually been partnered with.
Then there had been fear.
He shifted in his throne, discomfited.
A thought occurred to him. A way to see the Detective again, without hurting her.
Oh, he shouldn’t do it. He knew he shouldn’t. He could only imagine what Linda would say about this idea.
Lucifer ignored all the little voices telling him not to. He rose from the throne and ventured out into Hell.
He’d been meaning to visit this soul anyway.
Los Angeles stretched out in the background, its glittering city lights an artificial sea of stars.
Lucifer watched Amenadiel and Charlotte quietly talking. His brother was such an earnest sap. And Charlotte…
There was a lot about Charlotte that reminded Lucifer of his mother that went beyond the familiar face.
Cain stepped forward. He raised his gun, intending to slay Amenadiel, and Charlotte stepped between them.
The gun fired.
“You’d think that you’d’ve gotten better at aiming that thing, what with all the time you had to practice,” Lucifer drawled.
Cain turned to glare at him.
Somewhat predictably, Cain aimed and fired at Lucifer.
For the first time in ages, Lucifer smiled.
“This is all your fault!” Cain growled at him once the gun was empty.
Lucifer pressed his fingers to his chest in an exaggerated “moi?” gesture.
Cain rushed him, and Lucifer caught the man easily.
There was no comparison at all between Lucifer’s strength and Cain’s. Cain was a plaything, here. A damned soul, and Lucifer was the Lord of Hell.
Lucifer grabbed Cain’s hand and hip and spun them in a waltzing dance for the sheer pleasure of Cain’s impotent fury. He scratched and scrabbled at Lucifer, unable to break the crushing grip Lucifer had on him, and Lucifer let loose peals of laughter.
He released Cain on a spin, sending the man tumbling into the grass in a heap.
Lucifer walked past the frozen tableau of his brother and Charlotte. He stood by the edge of the cliff, looking out at the city.
“You surprised me, Cain,” Lucifer said pleasantly. “That dig I made about killing Charlotte – I thought surely that was just the icing on top of a long, long life full of all of the terrible and sordid little things you’d done. This surely can’t be all you feel guilty for? I don’t buy it. What else have you got?”
“I have no regrets,” Cain spat.
Lucifer glanced over his shoulder, eyebrows raised.
“Well that’s clearly not true, otherwise you wouldn’t be here.”
Lucifer tested the waters, so to speak. He nudged the shape of the loop, looking for weak spots. Guilt to hang the frame upon. The options were pretty threadbare.
“Wow,” Lucifer said. “You really are quite the little sociopath, aren’t you? I’d be impressed, but I hate you.”
“Thanks,” Cain said sarcastically.
“I thought for sure you’d feel guilty about what you did to the Detective, but…” Lucifer waved his hands expansively. “She really was just a tool to you, wasn’t she?”
“Like I said,” Cain replied, foolishly smug. “I don’t have regrets. Clearly you do, though. Nice face.”
Lucifer touched fingers to his scarred cheeks. It had been a while since he’d thought about it.
He inclined his head to Cain.
“Well,” Lucifer admitted. “You may have a point about that. But you know what, I’ve been thinking about it. She was the means to your end, wasn’t she? A way of escaping the torment of a too-long life?”
Cain’s eyes narrowed at Lucifer’s playful tone.
The man was cunning. He knew a trap was coming, and it delighted Lucifer all the more that there was exactly nothing that Cain could do to stop him.
After all, punishment was Lucifer’s job. And he was very, very good at it.
“I think,” Lucifer said slowly. “That you maybe just didn’t give your actions enough consideration the first time through. So why don’t we make this a teaching experience, hm?” Lucifer willed the loop to shift and bend. Los Angeles vanished. The night sky was replaced with bright, clear daylight.
The ground was scattered with thin, scrubby grass poking amongst the sandy soil. Small lizards sunned on the rocks; distantly, there was the chatter of a moving river, the quiet bleating of sheep.
Cain’s eyes widened.
“No,” He said.
The home was barely more than a hut, held together with mud and bramble. In the hills beyond the hut, a shepherd guided a large flock of sheep.
Cain bent and picked up a rock.
“No,” Cain repeated, strained. “No, no, no.”
“Now then,” Lucifer clapped his hands. “That feels better. Have a nice life, Cain.” He smiled, eyes burning. “You’re going to be reliving it forever.”
Cain’s fingers tightened around the rock. He stared at Abel in the distance, eyes bleak.
Lucifer left the loop.
Lucifer leaned against the door, staring up at the falling ash.
He wanted a cigarette.
Seeing Cain again…
Lucifer was satisfied that Cain was getting the punishment he deserved. It was gratifying in the way that doing a job well was gratifying.
But it hadn’t scratched the itch to see the Detective.
Confronted with Cain, Lucifer couldn’t bear to see her through the window of that asshole’s memories.
But that was alright.
Lucifer had other options.
Dr. Jason Carlisle’s loop focused on the moment he most regretted, but it wasn’t the only thing in his life the professor felt guilty about. Far from it.
Lucifer opened the door and walked out into the crowd of imagined people all hurling vitriol and accusations at the professor as he clutched his laptop bag and endured their judgment.
“You’d have done the same thing!” The doctor protested. “I didn’t have a choice!”
Lucifer weaved his way to the front of the crowd.
“Hello doctor,” Lucifer greeted. The man looked at him blankly for a moment before recognition dawned.
“You,” The man breathed. “Stay back!”
Lucifer grit his teeth against the familiar words.
He struck like a snake, closing the distance and grabbing Carlisle’s jaw in a firm grip.
“Come now,” Lucifer said. “Look at these people.” Lucifer gestured at the crowd. “They’re hardly worth your time, are they? Surely you have more important moments in your life. Say, for example, cutting your own throat?”
Lucifer released him and pushed him back.
Carlisle blinked, stumbling. His expression darkened as he remembered.
Lucifer flexed his will, and the loop changed.
And there she was.
Lucifer withdrew to the shadows. An unseen presence, watching as the Detective cornered Carlisle in a gated alley.
“Put down the knife,” She ordered, gun drawn. She was a righteous, furious presence, standing there. Her eyes were wide with – perhaps fear? But she didn’t waver, staring the professor down.
Lucifer’s heart ached.
She was so beautiful.
“I didn’t have a choice then, and I don’t have one now. You’ll understand, soon enough.”
Carlisle brought the knife across his throat.
Chloe’s eyes widened in horror and disbelief. The loop reset.
Lucifer watched it, over and over, until he couldn’t bear it anymore.
When he left the loop, he promised himself that he wouldn’t go back.
He went back.
Lucifer thought about the Detective so often that he would turn, sometimes, walking the halls of Hell, expecting to see her walking beside him. She had shorter legs than him but she’d never struggled to keep his pace.
He’d reach to check his phone and see if she'd texted, before remembering he’d left his phone on Earth. It wasn’t like there was cellular reception in Hell. It wasn't like she would ever have anything to do with him again even if he did have his phone.
Lucifer wandered Hell in a manner that he would fervently deny could be called ‘moping,’ but admitted to himself was, a bit, moping.
He’d visit some of his old, favorite Hell loops. Hell wasn’t a place of pleasure. The scraps of it he could steal from the backgrounds of people’s memories were pale in comparison to what he’d experienced on Earth.
It was something.
And nearly every day, he’d find his way back to Dr. Carlisle’s Hell, just to see her again.
It wasn’t healthy.
He didn’t even need Linda to tell him that.
Lucifer visited the bit of Hell that had once been home to his mother. The door still hung open on its hinges. The room beyond was shallow and empty. Just a bit of hollow, smooth rock, not deep enough to be a cell. Her prison was gone.
Lucifer looked at the empty space and wondered if, perhaps, this was where things had gone wrong.
He never had asked his mother how she had broken out of Hell.
One way or another, it had never come up.
He remembered her confession – that she had manipulated Lucifer into falling in love with Chloe, knowing it would stoke his anger that much more when she ripped the ‘by the way, your father made her’ rug out from under his feet. She had set out to break Lucifer's heart, and she had.
His mother never had understood how or why Chloe had meant so much to him. The Goddess hadn't been capable of compassion for the humans.
And yet, Lucifer didn't doubt that, in her own twisted way, his mother had loved him very much.
Lucifer wished he had his flask.
He found a bar-fight-turned-murder and helped himself to the top shelf while the damned soul beat a man to death with a pool cue.
There was even less point in trying to get drunk in Hell than there was on Earth. At least on Earth, the booze had been real - if somewhat ineffective against his celestial liver.
Still. It gave him the illusion of a familiar burn down his throat.
He wondered how things would have gone differently if his mother hadn’t shown up.
Maybe, he’d’ve had the chance to tell Chloe the truth in a way that was less frightening.
Eased her into it, slowly. Explained before-hand what she’d be seeing before revealing it to her. The way he’d been planning to do before he’d gotten kidnapped.
Maybe, there had been a way he could have shown her the truth, and she still would have –
Lucifer shut the thought down.
He was already indulging in enough illusions as it was.
Amenadiel was in his throne room.
“There you are, brother,” The angel greeted, tone exasperated, as if he’d been waiting for a while. His dark wings rustled at his back. Amenadiel frowned, taking a good look at him. Lucifer didn't bother bringing his angelic face back up. Amenadiel had seen his burned visage before, and Lucifer wasn't feeling particularly inclined to make an effort to hide what he was for Amenadiel's sake.
When Amenadiel shifted, Lucifer could see that he hadn’t come alone.
Lucifer’s steps forward stopped.
Seeing him, Mazikeen knelt. It was a show of repentance, and not nearly good enough to bank Lucifer’s anger.
“I should rend you limb from limb,” Lucifer said. His voice was steady, quiet. He was stating a fact. At the edges of the throne room, the gathered demons watched, eager at this promise of violence.
“Luci,” Amenadiel said but Lucifer held up a hand, sparing his brother a warning glare. How the Lord of Hell handled a disobedient demon was none of his business.
Even if the demon was Maze.
“I understand quite a lot happened since I left,” Amenadiel plowed forward, like they were playing catch-up at tea. “Perhaps there’s somewhere we can discuss this privately?”
“What’s to say?” Lucifer snorted. “She sided with Cain to destroy my life on Earth. And how did the First Murderer come to be in possession of one of your knives, Mazikeen?”
“I double-crossed him. His men temporarily had me captive. I lost a knife when I fought my way free.”
“It does seem to be your habit to betray your allies,” Lucifer said.
“I returned to serve you,” She said, jaw jutted stubbornly, but Lucifer knew her. She was afraid. As well she should be.
Lucifer had every right to tear her apart. It would probably be smart to do so, too. The gossipy demons lurking in the corners would note his ruthlessness. It would stop them from trying to make a power play for at least another decade or so.
Amenadiel’s wings rustled, like he planned to step in front of Mazikeen if Lucifer moved to attack.
“You have no place here, brother. Stand aside!” Lucifer snapped.
“Amenadiel,” Maze said. She shot him a look and, unhappily, Amenadiel stepped back.
Begrudgingly, Lucifer felt a little frisson of respect for the demon. This spark – this fearlessness – had been why she’d risen so far to begin with. Mazikeen may have been forged in Hell but she’d always been clever and independent. Unlike so many of her kind, obsequiousness was not in her nature.
She’d chosen to return to Hell knowing it would probably be the last thing she did. She stood in front of Lucifer knowing he’d be justified in ending her.
“I’ve missed you, Maze,” Lucifer said.
Mazikeen inclined her head, accepting the words.
Lucifer said no more about it. He finished climbing the stairs and slouched down into the throne. Mazikeen followed him and took her place at his right side.
Amenadiel looked back and forth between them, confused, but then he’d always been a bit thick.
“What?” Lucifer said lazily.
Amenadiel passed another doubtful glance between Lucifer and Mazikeen. He licked his lips, inhaling like he planned to ask a question, and then at whatever expression Maze was wearing, he decided to drop it.
He shook his head and changed the topic.
“I’m surprised to find you back here,” Amenadiel said. “It seems not that long ago that you were insisting that Earth was your home. And that you’d never come back to Hell.”
“What can I say? Things change.” Lucifer raised an eyebrow. “Why? Are you saying you want me to leave Hell unattended again?”
“No, no,” Amenadiel back-peddled. “I was just… surprised.”
“Well,” Lucifer clapped his hands. “As thrilling as this bit of catching up has been, I’m sure there’s a dulcet choir of feathered sycophants up there missing a baritone. Off you pop,” Lucifer said dismissively.
Amenadiel gave him an unimpressed stare.
“You just surprised her, Lucifer,” Amenadiel said gently. “Just give her time.”
“Amenadiel,” Lucifer said, letting his eyes burn brightly. The room throbbed with his power. “Leave.”
The angel held up his hands in a ‘peace’ gesture.
With a last disappointed look at Lucifer, Amenadiel flapped his wings and vanished from Hell.
The days in Hell settled into a familiar pattern.
Lucifer would deal with any loops that weren’t working correctly, or that were fun to indulge in. Mazikeen would serve as a go-between with the demonic clans. Lucifer would dispense punishment where appropriate. Maze would point out particularly juicy or entertaining souls for his enjoyment.
It was what they’d done for millennia. Lucifer fell back into it with barely a thought.
He didn’t go back to Dr. Carlisle’s Hell.
Now that Mazikeen was here – now that she could see him doing it, it felt…
He didn’t want to hear what she’d say about it. He could imagine.
He wouldn’t go back.
“Well, this is just… sad.”
Lucifer sighed and closed his eyes.
“Why are you here, Maze?”
“Found a stubborn little soul that’s turned its loop into a spa day. It’s just really not getting the whole punishment concept. There’s guilt, but it’s buried way deep. It could use your attention.”
In front of them, Chloe raised her gun.
“Put down the knife,” She ordered.
“Lucifer,” Maze said. Lucifer turned to regard her, missing the moment Carlisle cut his own throat. It wasn’t like he didn’t have this scenario memorized.
Maze frowned at him.
“Why did you accept me back?” Maze asked.
Lucifer rubbed his hands over his rough, scarred cheeks. A habit from when he had stubble to tickle his palms.
He didn’t answer her.
He left the loop. Mazikeen followed, closing the door firmly behind her. Her eyes searched Lucifer’s face, and Lucifer couldn’t name what she was looking for.
They walked through Hell in silence that was almost companionable. The ash fell and crunched softly under their feet. The sounds of moans and screams and begging slipped through the doors as they walked by.
“I love what you did with Cain, by the way,” Maze offered.
It pulled a faint smile to his lips.
“Where is he in his timeline?”
“Just figured out he’s cursed and immortal.”
Lucifer nodded, satisfied. He’d made sure the loop would draw out ever mundane, exhausting moment of Cain’s life. The slowest loop in all of Hell.
They continued walking.
“I don’t like how I left things with Linda,” Maze said at length.
Lucifer gave her a prompting look.
Her mouth twisted with displeasure.
“After I fought my way free from Cain’s men, I went to her. He’d lied – said he had a target painted on her. I was drugged. Off my game. I won, of course, but I didn’t leave that warehouse unscathed. When I got to Linda, I let the relief at seeing she was okay get the better of me, and, well. I took a moment to recover my strength.”
Lucifer could read the I passed out between the lines.
“She patched me up. Let me stay with her while I recovered. She was good to me.”
They walked on. Lucifer was curious as to where this story was going and gave Maze the time to organize her thoughts.
“You left Earth,” She said. “I could feel it. At first, I thought you’d died. I had a knife missing, and Cain was a wily son of a bitch. So I went digging. You know how easy it is to get into the LAPD’s files. I read the reports. The transcripts. There were bodies recovered, but not yours. According to Decker’s statement, you didn’t go with her to the lofts, but it felt like bullshit. And then she came to see Linda.”
“Ah,” Lucifer said.
Maze nodded. Her expression darkened.
“And when she left, I confronted Linda. I wanted to know what she’d said. I… scared her.”
“Did you hurt her?” Lucifer asked, voice cold with warning.
“No,” Maze said quickly. “No. I didn’t lay a finger on her. But I knew she was still scared after what your mother had done to her. I knew it, and I used it, and she told me what happened.”
Lucifer looked away.
“When you go back topside,” Maze said. “I’d like to go with you. I… don’t like how I left things.”
“I’m not going back, Maze.”
Lucifer walked on. Maze lagged behind for a few steps, and Lucifer could feel her incredulous stare against his skin.
She caught up quickly.
“Okay, you’re giving things time to cool off. That might not be a bad idea. But you can’t mean that you’re going to stay away forever.”
“Not forever, no,” Lucifer agreed.
Maze gave him a suspicious look.
The Detective was a young woman. Give or take another sixty, seventy years on Earth and she’d be whisked away to Heaven.
That was fine. That was manageable. That was only a few thousand years in Hell. Lucifer would just… he’d just grit his teeth and wait it out. He’d never see her again, and it was…
It’d be fine.
It was fine.
He just… wouldn’t think about it.
“Were the demons always this… gossipy?” Mazikeen asked.
Lucifer was sat on his throne – really, more laying sideways on it than sitting on it. He let his gaze drift up to Mazikeen.
“I mean, look at them. Trixie’s classmates had more decorum.” Mazikeen scowled out at them. “They’re up to something,” She said darkly.
“Well, Maze, if anyone can root it out, it’d be you. Have at it.” Lucifer waved lazily. Maybe a nap? The throne really wasn’t the most comfortable place for one but ask Lucifer if he gave a shit. It wasn’t like he didn’t have eternity to stretch out any kinks that might develop while he slept.
He squirmed further down, propping his legs and head up on the arms of the throne, and closed his eyes.
He tried not to think about his bed at Lux. He tried not to think about the black silk sheets, and how very good the Detective had looked that night she’d gotten drunk and stolen his bed.
Lucifer tried not to think at all.
Eventually, he slept.
“Lucifer. Lucifer, get up.”
Lucifer grumbled and turned, trying to find a more comfortable position.
“Lucifer!” Maze barked.
He cracked open his eyes.
“What is it, Maze?”
She grabbed him by the lapel and started dragging him out of the chair.
“Maze!” He protested, batting away her hand and righting himself. He stood, glowering at her, but she reached for him again.
Lucifer could tell that something had gone wrong. Badly wrong, if it had shaken Mazikeen like this.
He followed her without protest, brow crinkling as he considered the possibilities. An uprising? A breach?
Maze marched through Hell’s corridors and Lucifer’s frown deepened when he realized she was leading him to a loop door. There was a gaggle of lower echelon demons crowding around it, their misshaped faces contorted in various expressions of sadistic glee.
Lucifer felt a sinking sensation of dread. It had to be someone special to get this kind of reaction out of them.
Hell pulsed with Lucifer’s power and the demons skittered back, looking caught-out, as they noticed him. He recognized several of the Lilim, and Azoal sneered at Maze.
“Earth made you soft, Mazikeen,” Azoal giggled.
Maze didn’t hesitate. In a blur of motion, she sent her blade deep into Azoal’s chest. The demon had a moment to look profoundly surprised before it toppled backwards. With a gesture, Maze drew the blade back to herself. It made a sucking noise as it left Azoal’s body that was very audible in the sudden silence.
“Anyone else?” Maze asked sweetly.
In terms of crowd dispersal, it did the job.
Lucifer had a very, very bad feeling about what was inside that loop.
Maze jerked her head for Lucifer to go through the door, her body language making it clear that she intended to stay there and guard the entrance from any other prying eyes.
Maze kept her gaze averted from Lucifer as he walked past.
Lucifer took a bracing breath and stepped through the door.
Lucifer felt an unexpected pang run through him when he entered the loop and saw Daniel.
The detective was lying in bed with Chloe, perhaps recounting a memory in the days leading up to his divorce. Lucifer could easily imagine that losing Chloe was the biggest regret of Daniel’s life.
For a moment, he watched them in bed together, trying and failing not to drink in the sight of the Detective. She was pale, looking small in too-large flannel pajamas. Her eyes were puffy – she’d been crying. Lucifer could see that plainly.
But still heart-breakingly lovely. So lovely that Lucifer’s breath stalled in his chest. He released it on a jagged sigh; a small moan of sound.
The occupants in the bed paid him no mind. Lucifer didn’t want to be seen, and so he wasn’t seen.
Eventually, though, tiny details started pressing themselves into his awareness.
The room was familiar.
This was her bedroom at the apartment she shared with Maze. When had Daniel been in bed with her here? She hadn’t moved here until after they’d divorced.
Daniel said his name and Lucifer’s attention snapped to the conversation.
“…unbelievable close rate. That alone should have tipped us off. How many unsolved cases did you have?”
“That Lucifer wanted to participate in directly? Not one.”
Daniel blew out a breath.
“You guys really made the rest of us look bad, you know that?”
Chloe smiled, but she had fresh tears in her eyes. She thumbed them away.
This had to have been very, very recent, then, if Daniel was talking about Lucifer in the past tense.
“Still can’t believe Satan was stealing my pudding cups,” He grumbled.
She’d told the Douche the truth? And he’d believed her?
Lucifer was impressed with Dan despite himself.
Lucifer watched on. The conversation was about him, of course. They were rehashing a multitude of things that he’d done that a human couldn’t have done.
She didn’t sound like she was broken or terrified.
She and Dan discussed Lucifer in a way that was… almost rueful. Like an acknowledgement that they hadn’t believed because they’d chosen not to.
It made Lucifer oddly sad, realizing that Daniel must have died soon after this.
It hadn’t been more than a few days or so, Earth-side, since Lucifer had left.
The sleepy conversation faded into quiet, and then into sleep, and the scene moved forward.
The air became fragrant with cooking food. Lucifer could hear a skillet sizzling away in the kitchen.
Chloe woke up in the bed.
Lucifer blinked, frowning. The loop should have followed the soul.
He exited the bedroom.
There was Dan, cooking breakfast. Trixie at the kitchen island, idly sketching out something with her crayons.
A perfectly domestic scene, and it made Lucifer’s heart hurt.
Dad help him, but he even missed the sticky-fingered offspring.
“Soo… you stayed over last night,” Trixie said, pretending to pay attention to her drawing. She really was a wonderfully manipulative little thing.
“I did, baby, but it’s just because we were up late talking about a case. I got super tired, and Mommy offered to let me crash here.”
Trixie chewed on the end of the crayon, considering it. The crayon was replaced with toast when Dan pushed a plate in her direction.
“Have you seen Lucifer?” Trixie asked.
Dan paused in prodding the eggs with his spatula.
“Not recently, monkey. Why do you ask?”
“I think Mommy really misses him,” Trixie said, in a childish, lisping version of sotto voce.
Dan plated up the cooked bacon.
“I’ll let him know if I see him, okay?”
The little girl nodded.
Lucifer’s frown deepened, watching this exchange. This… didn’t feel like punishment. Lucifer could feel the low thrum of guilt that powered this particular cell, but… it felt off, somehow. Nebulous.
Lucifer was confused.
What had happened after he’d left Earth? Why would this scene be part of Daniel’s self-imposed punishment?
Chloe emerged from her bedroom. She was still in her pajamas. Her hair was a wild tangle of bedhead. She was still pale and exhausted-looking, her eyes red-rimmed.
Lucifer swallowed, hard.
This was his fault. Chloe looked battered down and miserable, and it was because of Lucifer.
He watched Chloe transform for her daughter’s sake. Putting on a show of ‘everything is normal and fine’ that the little urchin was too shrewd to fall for, and exactly shrewd enough to play along with for her mother’s sake.
Trixie didn’t protest when they tried to get her out of the room, obligingly trotting off to go get dressed.
Dan regarded Chloe.
“I’d offer to kick his ass, but…” He trailed off, and Chloe laughed.
Had someone harmed her? What on Earth was Dan talking about?
“What are we going to do?” Chloe asked.
“I mean, what can we do? I think if he was actually going to hurt any of us, he'd've done so by now. So, I'm going to go back to work. Trix will go to school. Your administrative leave will be finished soon, and you'll go back to being a badass detective. And Lucifer... well. There's no way to know what he's going to do until he does it, but, hell, that's not new. So I'm going to brace for impact but hope for the best.”
Lucifer leaned against the kitchen wall.
Chloe nodded, accepting the words.
“What does 'the best' look like?” She asked.
“I think 'best case scenario' is we never see him again,” Dan said.
Lucifer turned away.
He hadn’t expected to agree with the Douche, of all people.
“No?” Dan asked, and Lucifer turned back, realizing he’d missed something.
But, Trixie emerged then, bedecked and bedazzled in an appalling mishmash of clothes.
Lucifer wondered if Chloe and Dan had any idea how good the child was at manipulating them. She would be a formidable little thing in a few more years.
Trixie agreed to change after some parental direction. And, then, Dan started collecting her to take her to school.
Lucifer hovered in the doorway, wanting one more look at Chloe before he followed Dan through the rest of this loop.
His heart ached, and ached, and ached - a physical pain in his chest and clogging his throat.
He turned his back on her and followed Dan.
The edges of the loop faltered and blurred. The car with Dan and Trixie drove away, out of sight and beyond the stage for the scene.
But… that didn’t make sense.
Lucifer pushed at the walls.
He could feel that there was nothing beyond them. Whatever was beyond wasn’t part of this memory.
The soul was still back in the house.
Lucifer slid to his knees in the grass, pushing at the wall.
Understanding tore through him mercilessly.
Lucifer clutched handfuls of grass, digging his fingers deep into the dirt.
A keening noise loitered in his throat, inhuman and suffering.
Lucifer watched the day unfold, nearly numb with anguish.
Chloe didn’t belong here.
If Lucifer had one fundamental understanding of anything in the world, it was that Chloe Decker should have lived to an old, old age, and gone to Heaven when she died.
What had caused this? What had she done that she felt this guilty about? He felt around the shape of the loop, looking for the event that had triggered this.
The loop reset, juddering to a halt in the middle of Linda’s office and shifting to...
To the loft where Lucifer had confronted Pierce.
Lucifer’s heart sank with dread. What had she done after he'd left?
The Detective pounded up the steps to the foyer. The air was thick with plaster dust.
And… there he was.
Lucifer looked at himself, standing over Cain’s body. His dark suit was scruffy from the fight. It was the same one he was still wearing now, Lucifer realized. He’d never bothered to change and, since Hell wasn’t entirely physical, there hadn’t been a need.
The remembered-Lucifer turned.
Lucifer winced. He truly looked like a monster. Hideous and burnt and unmistakably of Hell.
“It’s all true,” Chloe said, voice blank with shock.
Lucifer didn’t want to watch this.
He remembered it, vividly. It was a bleeding wound on his heart.
He didn’t move the loop forward, though. Something had happened, after he left – something that the Detective felt guilty about.
He watched the scene play out. Watched himself recoil, like a struck dog, when she shouted at him to stay away.
His simulacrum spread its bloodied, shattered wings, and whisked itself off to Hell.
Chloe stumbled back on shaking legs. She was crying, pale with terror.
“I’m so sorry,” Lucifer rasped, still willing himself to remain unseen.
The Detective sank to the floor, trembling like a leaf, staring vacantly at the chipped tile.
The loop flickered, moving time forward, and then paramedics were seeing to her.
The loop moved forward again, moving on, and Lucifer… didn’t understand.
He didn’t understand why the Detective had ended up in Hell.
There had been nothing about that moment that should have weighed on her soul. What had he missed?
He flexed his will, skipping events forward again. A talk with her boss. An uneventful weekend at home with her daughter. Mundane, except for the Detective’s drawn, miserable mien and furtive bouts of tears.
She went to Lux, and Lucifer slowed things down again, baffled at seeing his penthouse.
“Lucifer?” She called, tentative at first, and then louder and more insistent with each repeat.
He followed the Detective as she walked through his home. She checked room after room, dissatisfaction radiating off of her.
Eventually, she drifted to a couch in his living area that faced out towards the LA skyline.
She took out her phone, and Lucifer crept closer to see.
She was scrolling through her text history with... well. With himself.
Lucifer read over her shoulder. He was glad he was invisible for more than one reason, at the moment. Chloe would doubtless have thrown an elbow at his middle otherwise. She hated it when he did this.
Had hated it, he mentally corrected himself. She had hated it. When she’d been alive.
His vision blurred as he read along with her. They’d had such wonderful conversations. The Detective had such a sharp, funny wit when she relaxed and let herself play.
Lucifer swallowed around the lump in his throat.
The Detective started typing, pecking out words, erasing them, pecking them out again. Lucifer thumbed away his tears and brought the screen back into focus.
Lucifer. We should talk. Come back, please.
And she hit ‘Send.’
Lucifer walked away from the couch.
“Is this…” His throat was too tight to finish. He cleared his throat. “Is this a joke?” He hissed at his father. “Payback for Mum? For Cain? What is this?!”
The loop moved forward. An evening with Trixie. Dan showed up.
Lucifer wanted to see what she’d said to Linda. The good doctor had a knack for pulling out the things that Lucifer didn’t want to talk about – there was a chance she’d done the same with Chloe. He flexed his will and therapist’s familiar office formed around them.
And, for a moment, Chloe looked right at Lucifer.
Lucifer’s heart thumped, hard, but then Chloe’s brow wrinkled in dismissive confusion, and she turned her attention back to Linda.
The petite doctor invited Chloe inside. Chloe settled onto Lucifer’s normal spot on the couch. Linda sat next to her, and Lucifer felt a little jealous stab. Linda never sat next to him.
“So, what brings you to my office?”
“I saw his face,” Chloe said bluntly. She twisted her fingers in her lap in a nervous fidget.
“When was this?”
“Four days ago.”
“Ah,” Linda said. “I haven’t seen him since last week. I made it very clear to him, previously, that if he was going to cancel an appointment he needed to tell me.”
Lucifer winced a little at that. She had read him the riot act when he’d disappeared to Las Vegas the first time. For such a tiny mortal, she could be daunting when she chose to be.
“Him dropping off the radar was… worrying. It makes more sense, though, if… well. I’m jumping ahead. Tell me what happened? What prompted him to show you?”
“You were worried about him?”
“Well yes,” Linda replied.
Maybe Lucifer shouldn’t be watching this.
“Chloe, the most important thing that I realized after Lucifer showed him his… other side… is that, despite that, he’s still Lucifer. He’s candid to the point of being obnoxious, sometimes, and the person that you knew before he showed you his other form – that person is who he is. That he also happens to literally be the Devil is nearly always secondary to the rest of his issues. I’ll not go into detail, but I will tell you – the things I work through with him in therapy are pretty much exactly the same things I work through with any other emotionally stunted narcissist.”
“Rude,” Lucifer protested, and shut up when Chloe started to look in his direction again.
She had a puzzled, searching expression on her face, and her eyes swept over the area where Lucifer was standing.
He folded Hell around himself more tightly, willing himself not to be seen, and she looked away.
The loop faltered, feeding on her confusion, and then juddered forward in a disjointed lurch. Lucifer put a steadying hand against the wall of Linda’s office.
That… wasn’t supposed to happen.
“I shouted at him to – to stay away from me, and – his wings, he just… He was gone.” The Detective let out a harsh breath. “I went by Lux, yesterday, but he was gone. I’ve texted him, but he doesn’t answer. He’s gone. He’s just gone. I told him to stay away, and…”
“We can’t control how we react to trauma. I’m not judging you, Chloe,” Linda said gently.
“I think I really hurt him,” Chloe said, her voice small and full of grief. She started crying.
Lucifer couldn’t bear this.
He couldn’t bear it.
Chloe didn’t belong in Hell, and she didn’t deserve to feel guilty about what Lucifer had done to her.
He growled, shaking the room. Chloe looked at him again.
And Lucifer stopped trying to hide.
“Lucifer,” She said.
Linda, the office, the scenery faded, continuing forward in the background without her. Chloe was detached from it. She stood from the couch and walked to Lucifer.
The framework shifted. Lux again; his penthouse.
Chloe stared at Lucifer, her expression something between fear and hope.
With a jolt, Lucifer remembered that he was still in his scarred, twisted form, and hastily changed into the more human-looking version of himself.
She cocked her head at the transition, frowning and searching his eyes. She was still crying.
“I’m sorry,” Chloe said, barely a whisper. “Lucifer, I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t. Don’t say that,” Lucifer said harshly. “You’ve nothing to be sorry for. You shouldn’t be here, Detective.”
“Here?” Chloe looked around. Lux flickered and became a small, aged restaurant. The air became redolent with the smell of spices and cooking food. It moved forward again; Chloe’s apartment. A blurred, unsubstantial Maze mimed her half of a conversation, body language angry and jerky as the scene sped past.
“You’re in Hell, Chloe,” Lucifer said.
The lighting changed. Evening became night became the next morning.
“I wanted to talk to you,” Chloe said. She shook her head, slowly, like a waking dreamer.
The apartment vanished. The streets of Los Angeles blurred past. A shape that might’ve been Chloe’s car. A fuzzy image of a child in the backseat. A shadow where Chloe would have been sitting, had she not been standing in front of Lucifer, apart from it all.
Lucifer reached for her. His fingers trembled.
Chloe stepped forward, closing the distance between them. She pressed close, laying her head against his chest like she was exhausted, and Lucifer wrapped his arms around her. He held her tightly, tight enough that he was probably hurting her, and he was too choked with grief to speak.
The car spun across the scene, propelled by a collision. Insubstantial debris scattered at their feet. The Detective’s car came to rest with the driver side door facing them, and Lucifer could see how impacted and twisted the door had become. The corner of the incoming car’s bumper looked to have caught it at the worst possible angle.
Chloe coughed against his chest. Lucifer felt the warm spray of blood.
Her fingers gripped at his shoulders and he pushed her back. The left side of her chest was crushed. Her face was scratched and bleeding.
“No,” Lucifer said. “No, no, no.”
He couldn’t watch this.
Lucifer gathered Chloe up, holding her tight, and found the door.
Chloe struggled as he approached the threshold, still coughing blood but determined to stay.
Lucifer growled and bodily lifted her, carrying her through the door and out into Hell.
Maze pushed away from the wall, looking them both over.
“Decker,” She greeted.
Chloe’s wounds vanished. She looked up at the falling ash, dumbfounded.
“Maze,” Lucifer said. “I realize I promised I’d take you with me when –”
“Are you fucking kidding me? Go! Just come back for me,” Maze barked.
Lucifer nodded and spread his wings.
He really needed to make sure he didn’t screw this one up, like he had with Abel.
The intersection was only a few blocks down from the Detective’s apartment. Lucifer had recognized it in Chloe’s memories. It was where he chose to appear now.
Chloe’s soul, in his hands, pulsed and burned with a scorching heat. Souls really weren’t made to be held like this.
“Amenadiel, brother, I could really use some help here!” Lucifer shouted, already moving across the wreckage. From the look of things, it couldn’t have been more than thirty minutes since Chloe had died. The two cars were still sprawled in the intersection. Police had arrived. Paramedics.
He spotted Trixie, sobbing inconsolably, perched in the back of an ambulance.
The driver-side door of Chloe’s car had been pried open. The seat was empty and covered in blood.
Lucifer looked around frantically.
He spotted the Detective just as her body bag was being zipped shut.
Time slowed to a molasses crawl.
“Luci, what-?” Amenadiel started, appearing behind him.
Lucifer dashed forward and shoved Chloe’s soul back into her body. He flapped his hands out as soon as it was done, trying to shake loose the lingering heat and pain. He unzipped the body bag and placed his scorched hands on her chest.
He spread his wings as wide as he could with the ambulance and police cars parked on either side. He poured his will into healing that broken human form.
Chloe’s ribs straightened. Her crushed organs reformed. The cuts and bruises and broken bones gave way under the force of his divine intent.
Amenadiel knelt at his other side.
“I feel like I should be warning you not to mess with the natural order of things, but…” He stroked Chloe’s blood-soaked hair.
Lucifer ignored him. He concentrated hard, making sure he got this right.
Eventually, he was satisfied. He let the divine light fade, spent from the effort.
He folded his wings away and sat on the glass-strewn asphalt, wincing as a bit of shrapnel stabbed him in the ass.
There was no dignity in losing his invulnerability.
He gave a breathless huff of a laugh, on the verge of tears from stress and relief. He looked at Chloe’s slack, bloodied face. He was confident she’d wake up as soon as Amenadiel restored time to its normal speed.
“Thank you,” Lucifer said.
“Oh, don’t mention it. Really. Do not,” Amenadiel said. He stood from his crouch and offered Lucifer a hand up. Lucifer took it gratefully, rising onto shaking legs.
Amenadiel gave Chloe a long, lingering look, and then Lucifer.
He nodded, satisfied with whatever conclusion he had reached, and flew off.
Chloe sat up in the bag, coughing and gasping.
“Steady,” Lucifer soothed, taking hold of her shoulders. She grasped at him with claw-like fingers.
“Woah!” One of the paramedics shouted. “What the fuck!”
She tried to nudge Lucifer out of the way.
“Sir, clear the space, please,” The paramedic insisted.
“Lucifer,” Chloe rasped. “Lucifer.” She looked around, baffled and shocked. Coming back from the dead was, admittedly, a lot to take in.
“Let the paramedics check you over,” Lucifer said gently.
“Trixie,” Chloe said. Her teeth were chattering. Would half an hour be enough time to lower the body temperature? Maybe.
“I’ll see to your urchin,” Lucifer reassured her. “Stay here.”
Chloe nodded, shivering, and Lucifer finally let the medical tech take his place by her gurney.
Trixie was sobbing messily, and the EMT that was patching up the glass scratches on her arms and legs was clearly trying and clearly failing to console the child.
“Lucifer,” She warbled, spotting him. “Mom-”
“Your mother’s alright,” Lucifer said, figuring it’d be best to defuse the source of her angst as soon as possible. The EMT turned and gave him an incredulous, judgmental stare. Lucifer raised an eyebrow and tilted his head back towards the Detective.
The tech leaned around the door of the ambulance to see the scene, and his jaw dropped.
“Oh my God,” He said.
Lucifer rolled his eyes.
“Hardly,” He said. “Is the waif intact?”
“What?” The tech said, still goggling at the resurrection.
Lucifer snapped his fingers, drawing the man’s attention back.
“Is she injured?” Lucifer demanded.
“N…no, just some scrapes.”
“Good. See to her, then.” He waved an imperious hand and the tech finally turned and went back to bandaging Trixie’s wounds. Trixie, though, would have nothing to do with it. She squirmed free and hopped off the back of the ambulance where she’d been sitting.
Lucifer scooped her up. It was easy enough to understand what she wanted, even if she wasn’t articulating it. His shoes crunched over the strewn debris. The sharp pain in his ass reminded him of how hazardous all of it was to normal humans.
“Mommy!” Trixie gulped. Her face was a mess of snot and tears. Lucifer propped her up on his hip, holding her about the waist and trying to keep her face away from him. “Mommy!”
“Baby!” Chloe was still sitting on the gurney, half-in and half-out of the body bag. She was wrapped in blankets and flocked by confused EMTs, but unmistakably alive.
The urchin started bawling again in earnest, and then turned and buried her face against Lucifer’s shoulder.
Lucifer made a strangled sound. He sighed, resigned to burning the suit, and started rubbing a hand along the child’s tiny back.
She was such a small thing, really. It was amazing that those little muscles and bones could put forth that much force for sobbing.
“Chloe!” A familiar voice called.
Dan ran towards them. He looked with wild indecision between Chloe and Lucifer and Trixie, and Lucifer decided for him, shifting the little girl and holding her out towards her father.
Trixie latched onto Dan like a limpet.
“I’m alright,” Chloe said. “I think I’m… I think I’m alright.”
“Chloe,” Dan said, voice wrought.
He must have been called as soon as Chloe’s body was identified. Next of kin. Come deal with your dead ex-wife and semi-orphaned daughter.
Dan’s eyes caught Lucifer’s, and his expression crumpled. “Thank you,” Dan said, rough and sincere.
Lucifer nodded, uncomfortable with the gratitude, and with the understanding that Dan must have figured out, more or less, exactly what Lucifer had done. The body bag was pretty telling.
Dan’s attention turned back to his family.
Lucifer withdrew, making an effort to be unnoticed.
Once he was around the other side of the ambulance and, once clear of any observers, he spread his wings and returned to Hell.
Mazikeen took in the state of his suit.
She raised a scarred eyebrow.
“Everything go okay up there?” She asked.
“More or less,” Lucifer said, noncommittal.
“You did unpunch Decker’s clock, right?”
“Okay?” Maze ventured. “That’s a good thing, isn’t it?”
“Of course it is!” Lucifer snapped. Maze held up her hands.
Lucifer regarded Hell. The ash and sulfur and rocks. The endless souls torturing themselves over guilt that may or may not be entirely deserved.
He hated it here.
“Shall we?” Lucifer said, offering Maze his arm.
He was never coming back here.
The first thing Lucifer did, upon arriving back in his penthouse, was put his chairs back and clean up the bar.
Honestly. It was like Daniel had been raised in a barn.
He poured himself a drink. He gestured the bottle towards Maze, but she shook her head.
“No,” She said. “I’m going to go deal with my mess.”
But, she came over to the bar first, stealing and downing the drink Lucifer had poured for himself. She slammed the glass back onto the bar top and, without another word, turned and left.
Lucifer rolled his eyes.
He refilled the glass.
This, he thought, taking a long swallow, this was so much better. The alcohol burned down his throat and it was only a bottle and a half later before Lucifer started feeling pleasantly fuzzed around the edges.
Lucifer found his phone in his bedroom. The battery was completely dead, of course, and he plugged it in to charge.
His bedsheets were rumpled, and he remembered that Chloe had taken a nap, here. Yesterday? The day before?
Lucifer was tired.
He stripped off his ruined suit and stepped into his shower, turning the water on as hot as it would go. Hell hadn’t left physical ash on him but Lucifer still felt like he was smeared with the stuff.
He scrubbed until he felt clean. It took some time. Eventually, he leaned forward, bracing his arms against the shower wall and letting the spray beat down on his back.
He turned the water off when he realized he was nearly dozing on his feet. Resurrections really took a toll, and healing had never been his particular wheelhouse.
He dried himself off perfunctorily and shambled back out to his bedroom. He crawled into bed with a sigh.
The silk felt wonderful against his naked skin. Very faintly, he could smell the Detective’s familiar shampoo scent on his pillows.
Lucifer fell asleep within moments.
Lucifer woke to the feel of someone settling into bed beside him.
He cracked open an eye.
Chloe was staring up at the ceiling, her hands clasped across her lap. She was fully dressed, although she’d kicked off her shoes at least before climbing into bed.
Lucifer frowned, confused.
“Hi,” She said, not looking over but aware that she had his attention.
“Detective,” He replied, voice gravelly from sleep.
And, then, silence.
From the ambient light in the room, Lucifer guessed it was late evening. He’d slept the day away.
Chloe was doing nothing more than lying in bed beside him, breathing, for all the world acting like this was something they did.
Lucifer slowly sat up. The silk slid down his chest and pooled in his lap, and he belatedly remembered he was naked.
Chloe’s eyes skimmed across his skin, briefly, and then locked back up on the ceiling. A faint, pink blush colored her cheeks.
“Much as I normally wouldn’t object to finding a beautiful woman in my bed, I must admit, this wasn’t a scenario I’d envisioned,” Lucifer said.
“You brought me back from the dead,” Chloe stated.
Right, yes. That was probably something she wanted to talk about.
“I did,” Lucifer agreed. He tucked the sheet around his waist, making sure the fun bits were covered.
“I was in Hell,” Chloe stated.
“You shouldn’t have been,” He snarled.
Finally, Chloe’s eyes met his. She swallowed, hard.
“Genuinely? Or just because you didn’t want me there?”
“Both!” He exclaimed.
He wanted to pace, but she was lying on the sheets. Lucifer was normally shameless and wouldn’t have balked at that little inconvenience, but he was already feeling too naked from the conversation.
He rubbed his hands over his stubbled cheeks. After so many weeks in Hell in his other appearance, the tickle on his palms felt pleasant and new.
“You felt guilt for something you shouldn’t have felt guilty about.”
“I hurt you,” Chloe said.
Lucifer sniffed dismissively, but Chloe sat up, getting on his eye level, and gave him a stubborn glare.
“I did, Lucifer. I know I did. And I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry.”
“You’ve nothing to apologize for!” He said, appalled. He took her shoulders in his palms. “Chloe, I understand why you reacted the way that you did. I don’t blame you for it.”
Chloe’s eyes glistened, but she set her mouth in a firm line.
“Linda said… that you’re exactly the person you’ve always been. And I know you never lied. You didn’t deserve that, Lucifer.”
Lucifer closed his eyes. Under his hands, Chloe’s shoulders were warm.
“I’m sorry,” She said again.
“I forgive you,” Lucifer said. “Now, please. Don’t ever do that again.”
“I’ll do my very best not to die,” She said.
“I’ll hold you to that, Detective,” He said, and she nodded, hearing how serious he was under the playful words.
Chloe stood up. Lucifer gathered the sheets more firmly around him.
“I have so many things I want to ask you,” Chloe said. She shook her head. “I’ve got to get back to Trixie and Dan. They’re both still pretty freaked out with… everything that happened. Thank you, by the way. For saving my life. Again. Resurrection, huh?”
“I had a step-brother that got famous for it, and he was half human.”
“I’m not. I’m not going to deal with that tonight,” She decided. She looked skyward. “Oh, I have so many questions. Not tonight, though. I’ll be back tomorrow? Promise me you won’t leave again?”
“I’ll be here,” He agreed.
Hope was sinking tiny, sharp teeth into him.
Chloe walked out of his bedroom, pausing briefly.
“Good night, Lucifer,” She said. The smile she gave him was tentative and shaky, but sincere.
“Detective,” He acknowledged
She departed. The elevator chimed softly, and Lucifer was left alone in his penthouse once more.
He slid out of bed and found his bathrobe, slipping into it and tying the belt.
He padded on bare feet back over to his bar.
He couldn’t stop smiling.
It was several glasses of bourbon later that Lucifer looked up from his piano.
Hell was a place for the guilty to seek out punishment for their sins. It was full of murders, rapists, villains. The worst of humanity’s offerings.
Now that the crisis was over, Lucifer put his finger on what had been bothering him.
I was in Hell.
You shouldn’t have been!
Lucifer lit a cigarette and drew in a deep lungful of smoke.
“Azrael. Are you still lurking about?” He said on the exhale.
A rustle of feathers and a faint displacement of air signaled his sibling’s entrance.
“Heeeeey, bro,” The angel said, voice full of unconvincing nonchalance.
Lucifer stared at her coldly. She fidgeted.
“So!” She said brightly. “I see you’re back Earth-side. Which is great. Ella’s got this new translator app that she’s wanted to show you. It’s pretty hilariously bad.”
Lucifer continued to stare.
Azrael smiled nervously. She cleared her throat.
“I’ve been thinking about the Lux theme nights that you host sometimes? Maybe you could-”
“It’s curious,” Lucifer interrupted. The other angel immediately fell silent. “That the Detective’s soul wound up in Hell.”
He stood from the piano bench. Azrael stepped backward with each step Lucifer took forward.
“I mean, humans, am I right?” She gave a thin laugh. “Half the saints are in Hell. Guilt’s a strange creature that way.”
Her eyes darted around the room and she wrung her hands. She’d never been good at bluffing.
“Why?” Lucifer asked, letting his irises burn.
“You were both being miserable idiots. I saw a way to fix it. It was just a nudge, really!” She hastened to downplay it. “She was kinda on the fence already and it just… I… I didn’t want things to end like that. So I… maybe… ushered her a bit… downwards.”
The muscle in Lucifer’s jaw was ticking with how hard he was grinding his teeth.
“Azrael,” Lucifer said, very softly. “Promise me you’ll not do that again.”
Azrael nodded sharply, eyes wide.
Lucifer turned and walked to the bar. Azrael audibly breathed a sigh of relief when his attention turned away from her.
Lucifer pulled out two tumblers and filled both with a generous serving of his best scotch.
“Now then, sister, now that we’ve got that settled,” He said pleasantly. He offered her the other glass and, tentatively, the angel took it from him.
Lucifer clinked his glass against hers and they both took a sip.
“Blargh,” Azrael pronounced, screwing up her face. “I mean, I get it, I guess, but it’s not my cup of tea. Any chance I can get a cosmo?”
Lucifer gave an aggrieved sigh.
“You and Amenadiel both. I swear to Dad, I don’t know how I’m related to you.”
His imp of a sister giggled.
“I’ve got to get back to work,” She said. She put her glass down, smiling. “I love you, Lu. Try not to be an idiot anymore, okay?”
Lucifer scowled. He had a scathing retort on the tip of his tongue, but his sister spread her wings and vanished before he could get it out.
“Brat,” Lucifer muttered, taking a long drink of his perfectly delightful scotch.
He moved to his balcony. The warm breeze ruffled his hair and toyed at the edges of his bathrobe.
Los Angeles glittered and gleamed below him.
Tomorrow, the Detective would come by, and they would talk. The Detective, who apparently didn’t hate him. The Detective, who apparently didn’t fear him, and who had missed him when he’d been gone.
The future stretched out in front of him with all of its possibilities.
Lucifer couldn’t wait.
Hopes for season 4: That we actually get to see or hear about more about the mechanics of Hell. I have so many headcanons (see above) and I can't wait to get proven wrong about all of them. :D
I hope you enjoyed the story!