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Hallelujah

Chapter Text

“I love you.”

The words fell from his lips like a broken prayer. Spoken so softly, it was borne away on the night air before it reached her ears. The sudden absence of that breath left a hollow ache beneath his breastbone, and he sucked in a shuddering gasp in the hopes to fill it. The pain did not lessen; rather, it grew monstrously large, threatening to swallow him whole if he let his eyes linger on her face much longer. With a louder breath that cracked and wavered beneath the weight of its deliverance, he uttered, “Goodbye.”

Lucifer unfurled his wings. White feathers draped across the balcony, no longer the lurid and scaled flesh of a beast. At least, in his departing, he could give her a show. He pinned on a watery smile, blinking back the tears that pricked at his eyes. His fingers itched to touch her, to caress her face one last time, but he knew if he succumbed to the temptation, he would never leave. So instead, he spread his wings, heavy with reluctance, and drew back his wayward hand.

I’ll be back , he wanted to say, promise . He was a devil of his word, after all, but a thought could be broken where words could not. He could offer her no solace for his return, not when it would not be true.

With an upward swing and downward thrust, he left her. He circled LUX, watching her through blurred vision as she stared up through the heavens as if searching for him. A gruff laugh tore at his throat, but it hissed through his teeth as more of a sob. The sky was no friend to him, not even among the stars that he had so lovingly made.

He banked hard, the cold night air of L.A. ripping across his face like a knife. In a downward spiral, he spun, until the Earth was reaching up to meet him with her warm, familiar embrace. And through her he passed until the air grew muggy and singed, and ash kissed his skin in the absence of rain.

Hell’s king was home.

Chapter Text

Ten months had passed since he had said goodbye to her on that balcony. Ten months, seventeen days, and four hours precisely, if his math was right. Although, in the deep bowels of Hell, it had been over four years since he had seen her heaven-sent face.

The first days back on the job had been memorable. Demons were swelling at his feet, either snapping in anger or whimpering and begging for forgiveness. He had met them with anger of his own, fueled by the well of pain in his heart. They had shied back, a little learned at his temper. Still, a few had continued to pester him. They didn’t last long, and they only served their use past spreading the word of their king’s wrath. He was not in the mood to be trifled with. After the groveling demons were dealt with, he had retreated to his throne high above the wailing pits of black stone and oily water. To the open air, he groused, lamented, growled, and despaired. It was no Dr. Linda Martin, but it was a vent to his problems. Hell was used to the cries of the anguished.

Eventually, his voice died away, and any tears he allowed himself to shed dried. In its place came numbness, a salve that passed the days, weeks, months, years in a dreary, colorless sludge.

His salvation did not come in the form of a pitying sibling or even the faceless voice of his Father from above. Rather, it came in a hissing, furtive prayer so strong in his mind that it gave him whiplash.

Lucifer . He flinched back as if shocked as his name was invoked by a voice that was unmistakably Chloe’s. Please… I don’t know if you can even hear me, but if you can, I need help. I—.

Her voice, plaintive and afraid, broke away, and Lucifer fell back into his seat, his hands gripping the black stone until it crumbled into dust. She was in trouble. She was in trouble, and Lucifer would be twice damned if he wasn’t going to answer her prayer. No demon, angel, nor even God himself would keep him in place. Lucifer stood on the lip of his throne with more purpose than he had had in the past four hellish years.

He smoothed the ash from his cuffs and unfurled his wings with a smooth roll of his shoulders. In a fluster of pearlescent feathers, he was gone.

 

Where the screams of the damned in Hell had become familiar, almost like a balm to his ears, the shrieking and whining peals of L.A.’s streets were a discordant song—one Lucifer found he had desperately missed.

The city didn’t hold his attention for long. With a sharp tug at his flyaway lapels, he banished his wings and stared down the poorly-lit bar he stood in front of. Chloe’s prayer had come from here, he was sure of it. If not, well… he swallowed and tried not to think of the consequences if he was wrong.

Lucifer pressed his lips into a thin line and pulled open the door to the establishment. In an instant, he was met with the loud thumping of bass and the chattering of many drunken clubbers. Nothing looked amiss, but if he had learned anything from his partnership with Chloe and the LAPD, it was that some skeezy place like this always had a hidden basement for nefarious purposes.

Lucifer easily slipped into the throng of swaying people. He stood out a little; his suit and silk shirt were a little high-end for the dive, but no one was going to call him out on it. Not when he fixed anyone who gave him an odd look with a withering stare. He really wasn’t in the mood to deal with idiots tonight.

Once he had reached the opposite end of the crowd, he spun in a small circle, looking for anything out of place. There: beside the frankly-pitiful VIP section was an innocuous door flanked by a pair of beefy gentlemen. Lucifer didn’t know about most dives, but he was willing to bet they usually didn’t anything valued enough to warrant such high security. With his prey in mind, he started to prowl towards the door. The security, to their part, saw him before he could wrench the door open.

He sucked in a deep breath when one of the men put a forceful hand up to his chest to stop him mid stride. Lucifer shot him a sideways look, his jaw jutting forward.

“Gentlemen,” He ground out, his voice a long shot from its usual honeyed tone. If he had wanted, he could have spent his breath convincing the men to let him past, no questions asked, and surely they would have done it. That would take far too long, though, and one thing he did not have was patience. He had already wasted enough time as it was. He went to take another step forward, but the hand only pressed harder against his chest. “I’d advise you to let me past. Maybe I’ll let you even let you leave your little den of iniquity unscathed.”

“You threatening us, pal?” One of the men barked out, shooting his companion an amused look.

“Yes, how kind of you to realize.”

The security guard had the decency to look annoyed. “Look, bud, I think you’ve had one to many to drink. We’re gonna have to ask you to leave” The man made to strongarm him, gripping his shoulder tightly.

“Oh, for the love of—” Lucifer spit out and grappled the arm grabbing him. In an instant, he had the man placed flush against the wall with his face jammed into the doorframe. “Sorry, chap, I don’t have time to play games. I’ve got a detective to rescue, and I—”

He broke off with a stuttering gasp when something cold, hard, and biting slid uncomfortably between the seam of his suit right into his skin.

“Bloody hell…” He hissed and wrenched out the switchblade lodged in his lower back. Blood dripped dark and glittering off the tip as he brandished it at the other man. With a flare of his devil eyes, he spit out between gritted teeth at the guard. “If only I had the time to punish you properly.”

He rammed the first guard’s head against the door with a sharp crack, and the man fell limp to the floor. Burning eyes still locked on the other, he threw aside the knife and gripped the man by his shoulders, ramming his knee into his solar plexus. The man fell aside with a strangled cry, and Lucifer spared him no further glances. Gingerly, he touched his hand to the stinging wound on his back, screwing up his face as his fingers came away bloody. At least it meant he had picked the right place. Ignoring the muffled screams of the bar’s patrons behind him, he kicked open the door with a sharp bark of pain as the action pulled at his accosted back.

He clutched at the wound and stumbled against the door frame as the door flew open and revealed a laughably cliche dark staircase and hallway. Huffing a breath, Lucifer pulled himself upright and all but flew down the stairs. He was breathing heavy by the time he reached the bottom; the guard had managed to get him good. Lucifer gave a humorless chuckle and scanned the hallway stretching out before him. If he were a rotten piece of human scum, where would be keep the Detective?

His eyes roved as he shouldered himself along through the hallways. Most of the doors were open and led to banal, boring storage rooms full of nothing but dust and cheap liquor.

The two doors at the end of the hallway, however, were shut. Pulling in a shallow breath through his teeth, Lucifer gave the knob of the first one a sharp twist. The deadlock slipped open with a sharp clack, and a horribly foul smell filtered from the dank room. Sat in the center of the room, strapped down to a metal folding chair by zip ties was a beaten and bloodied person. A heat swelled in Lucifer’s chest, and his heart flew into his throat as he took in the shock of blond hair and the gray pallor painting the person’s skin.

At the sound of the door opening, the prisoner swallowed visibly and raised their head. A pair of eyes, nearly swelled shut by black and purple bruises, found Lucifer’s: ones that were unmistakably brown. The pressure that had been building in Lucifer’s chest wheezed out in relief. It wasn’t Chloe. The prisoner gave him a look of confusion, although the air around them tasted heavily of fear. Lucifer gave them a look and then stared at the other door he had yet to open. He held up a pausing finger at the prisoner. “Be right back. One moment…”

He stepped out of the room and considered the unopened door. She had to be behind it. If she wasn’t, though, he was ready to tear this place apart until he found her. He placed his hand on the doorknob and twisted it slowly. With a gentle push, the door swung open, and he found himself face to face with a trio of handguns pointed at his chest.

Swallowing thickly, Lucifer raised his hands in surrender. His gaze jumped from person to person. There were three people with guns and two more brutes flanking to table in the corner of the room. Sat at the table with her hands cuffed to the chair was Chloe, staring at him with wide blue eyes. With his heart fluttering wildly in his chest, he met her gaze and gave her a wan smile. His smile faltered when he took in her worse-for-wear appearance and the blood trickling from a cut on her brow.

They had hurt her.

“Oh, you’ll pay for that.” Lucifer growled, his eyes flaring with brimstone and his smooth skin giving way to the devilish husk beneath. One of the gun wielders let out a shriek and dropped their weapon. The other two looked close to pissing themselves, but they held the line with wavering hands. With a feral snarl, Lucifer grabbed the gun closest to him and wrenched its owner’s wrist up. A toothy smile split his lips at the crack of shattering bone, and he dispatched the sniveling owner with a heavy punch to his jaw. The man fell to the concrete floor like a sack of potatoes.

Lucifer turned to attack the last gunner, but he flinched back as a shot rang out. A bullet whizzed past his head, clipping the charred cheek and set his ear to ringing. He pulled his lips back and slammed the gun still in his hand against the scum’s temple. They were out like a light. Turning to the last two gentlemen, he swiped irritably at the blood welling on his face.

“Now,” He said. His tone was arctic, and as he stalked towards the brutes, he brandished his wings. “I suggest you miserable excuses for human stains leave and turn yourselves into the police before I do something we both regret.”

The pair stared at him dumbfound, and Lucifer flared his wings wide. “GO!” He roared, his voice rumbling and swelling in his chest like a bullhorn.

The two men broke into action, scrambling over one another to get past the devil.

He turned to watch them go, not shifting until both were out the door and he could no longer hear their footsteps pounding up the stairs.

“Lucifer…”

Blinking, Lucifer turned sharply to Chloe, sheathing his wings in a solid movement. He let his devil face melt away as he hurried to her side. He wasted little time in tearing the cuffs apart as though they were wet paper. As soon as they were off, he rocked back on his heels, his hand, now trembling, hovering over Chloe’s shoulders.

“You heard… you came…” She breathed, the beginnings of tears glistening in her eyes.

The plaintiveness in her voice broke something in Lucifer’s chest, and he choked back a watery breath. “Of course, darling.” He managed.

A hesitant smile graced Chloe’s face, and it was the most beautiful thing Lucifer had seen in years. Her arms snaked around him and pulled the dumbfound devil flush to her. Lucifer wanted to melt into the embrace, but Chloe’s hands found the stab wound on the small of his back rather forcefully. He tried to smother the grimace, but she picked it out even in the dim lighting. She drew back, a small look of horror on her face. “Oh, shit, you’re hurt.”

Lucifer flashed a tight smile. “I’m fine, Detective.”

Chloe withdrew her arms with a sharp intake of breath. “I thought you didn’t lie.” She brought her hand, slick with his own blood, into the light.

Lucifer swallowed. “Alright, there might have been a small tiff upstairs where one of the chaps managed to stabbed me.” He admitted.

“Lucifer—”

He cut off her chastising with a shushing hiss and twisted his head at the sound of banging upstairs. Silently, he rose to his full height and picked his way among the fallen bodies to the door. Chloe shadowed him with a stolen sidearm gripped tightly in her hands.

Ever so slightly, Lucifer peeked his head around the door frame as heavy footfalls clattered down the steps. He let his shoulders fall in relief, and he turned back to Chloe with a reassuring grin. “No worries. Looks like some concerned citizen up top called our friends at the LAPD.”

“You’re sure it’s the cops?”

“Unless more of them were corrupt then I thought, yes. Even Dan is here, in all his douche-y glory.” He beckoned for Chloe to peer out at their intrepid saviors.

When he turned back to look at her, his face was captured by her hands and his lips were mashed rather messily into hers. Despite the circumstances and impending audience, he let his eyes flutter closed. His hands found hers and curled around her very tangibly real touch. When they finally broke apart in a huff of stolen breath, Lucifer stared down at her in soft awe. “Well,” he rumbled with a cracking voice, “I do suppose that was long overdue.”

Chapter Text

“There’s some poor sap in the next room over who looks like they’ve been tortured to Hell and back.”

The ‘trust me, I would know’  went unsaid.

Chloe merely blinked at him, and the thought finally crossed Lucifer’s mind that that might not have been the right thing to start off with. But the police, or SWAT, or whichever cavalry was coming to their aid was clomping their way quite noisily down the hall, and Lucifer was still a bit thrown by the desperation in Chloe’s kiss. Perhaps it could be brushed off, just this once.

Chloe cleared her throat and dropped her hands away from his face. Instantly, Lucifer missed the warmth of her touch, but he held his tongue. Her hands went from smoothing her shirt to fiddling with the creases in her jeans to messing with the necklace chain looped around her neck.

His necklace, with the little bullet charm looking no worse for wear, if not a bit more polished by a constant lingering touch. A small burst of affection lit deep in Lucifer’s chest.

She finally rested her hands at her sides, although her fingers still twitched with a restless air. “Right,” she said, something steeling in her gaze. She opened her mouth as though to saying something else, but Dan chose that moment to appear in the doorway where they stood.

Relief bled into the man’s eyes, warring with alarm, as he saw Chloe. His shoulders deflated with an exhale of relief. “You—You’re here... You’re alright,” he breathed.

His Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed, and his expression twisted into something Lucifer had learned as Daniel’s guilty face. “We lost your signal, and the entire joint had been cleared out, no evidence, nothing, and we found your gun dumped in the dumpster in the alley, and I—”

“Dan, I’m fine,” Chloe interrupted before Dan made himself purple in the face with his unhalting explanation.

Dan nodded and blinked, dropping his head. He drew his shoulders up and raised it again, finally seeming to notice Lucifer for the first time. His expression became nigh-venomous, one strong enough to curdle the blood of some lesser demons. “You.”

Lucifer gave him a wan smile, half-expecting a fist to come flying at his face at any given moment. “Hello, Daniel.”

Dan worked his jaw, and he flicked his gaze to the two unconscious people laying on the floor. He looked back to Lucifer, and Lucifer imagined the gears grinding in his head as he put two and two together. “You did this, and the men upstairs.” It was a statement, not a question.

“No thanks necessary.” Lucifer wondered if the men upstairs was referring to the two other chaps he had waylayed or the brutes he had scared off with wings and devil face. Perhaps it was both.

Sucking in a breath and huffing it out as a heavy sigh, Dan looked like he had many other things to say, but he bit his tongue and put them aside. For now. “I’m glad you’re safe,” he said to Chloe.

He ran his tongue over his teeth as if chewing on his words and turned to Lucifer. “Thanks, man, for keeping her safe.”

The thanks seemed to pain Dan to say, but Lucifer made out the sincerity to them. He bit back the snark tickling his tongue and instead dipped his head. “Of course, Daniel.”

Who was he kidding? The snark flew from his tongue as readily as the cheeky grin that followed it. “At least one of us is there for the Detective in her time of need.”

On cue, before Chloe could spring into action to stop it, Dan’s fist was crashing into Lucifer’s cheek, and Lucifer was joining the other two people on the floor.

“Dan.” Chloe’s words were barbed, and she was between him and Dan when Lucifer blinked against the suddenly-swimming room.

He barked a laugh, causing both the detectives to look at him in surprise. He touched the smarting flesh of his rapidly-bruising cheek and dabbed at the blood welling from his lip. “I suppose that was long overdue, too.”

Lucifer sat up on his elbows and made to pull himself back up, brush it off, and go on as if nothing had happened. He had forgotten about the stab wound on his lower back, the injury having crusted over with dried blood and the thin fabric of his shirt. Being knocked back had torn at the wound, though, and when he tried to get up, a stab of pain lanced up and down his side.

“Gah…” He hissed, getting no farther than halfway before falling back. He dragged out a pained grin. “Ah, it would look like I’ve fallen and can’t get up.”

Despite it all, past the mix of emotions in Chloe’s expression, the corner of her mouth twitched upwards. Chloe began picking her way to Lucifer’s side, looking mildly concerned but not nearly as much as she had when she first found out he was actively bleeding. Progress…

Dan had the decency to look aghast, and he looked away sharply with a small whiff of guilt following him when Lucifer turned his attention to him. He muttered something unintelligible before turning on his heel and inching his way back out of the room. “I’ll go find someone to…” His words trailed off, and he disappeared around the corner.

Chloe paused beside Lucifer long enough to watch Dan flee before helping Lucifer to his feet. Lucifer muttered complaints the entire time, only a select few in actual English. Most were in the demons’ tongue; they were by far the most creative, and Lucifer had picked up a few new favorites from his recent time in Hell. Once they were standing again, Lucifer leaned against Chloe while he collected his thoughts and his breath. Slowly, she led him, with his arm looped through her elbow, out of the room.

“Well, that was certainly exciting,” Lucifer breathed, pushing away from Chloe. She gave him a roll of her eyes, and something delighted in the pit of Lucifer’s stomach at the action. It felt familiar, like easily slotting back into their old banter.

“You really didn’t have to antagonize him.”

“But Detective! Where would be the fun in that?”

Chloe arched an eyebrow, clearly eyeing the bruise forming on his face. “You call that fun?”

“Certainly the most fun than I’ve had in a long while.” The words left Lucifer’s lips before he could think to stop them. The easy air between them grew cold, and they both diverted their gazes. The entire leaving for Hell and being gone for nearly a year had been completely ignored so far.

Chloe bit at her lip before deciding to broach the topic. “So, are you here to stay, or are you…” She broke off, struggling to spit out the words, and instead opted for simply pointing down.

When Lucifer said nothing, she looked back to him. He met her pale blue gaze, unable to hide the pain festering in his own face. “Please,” he whispered, “let’s not discuss this now. Not here.”

His eyes flicked to a few officers edging past them. This was hardly the place to be discussing Hell and the Devil’s place in it. And he was desperate to avoid the entire topic for as long as possible. At the moment, he craved nothing but normalcy.

Thankfully, Chloe seemed to understand, and she nodded her head sharply. “Of course.” She placed her hand lightly on his elbow. “Let’s go find someone to stitch you up.”

She was offering him a watery smile, half-hearted and missing the joy it had held mere moments ago. Lucifer mirrored it. They were both willing to grasp at straws for normalcy, at least as long as Hell allowed.

Chapter Text

It turned out, Hell could wait a day.

Twenty-four hours hardly seemed more than a blip, especially when Lucifer was still running on Hell’s clock. He spent it well, or at least, he tried to.

He slipped away from the bar-turned-crime-scene as soon as possible, which was as soon as he had given the first responders his statement and let the paramedics flutter over him all while telling him he really should go to the hospital .

Chloe was watching him like a hawk the entire time, but Lucifer didn’t really mind. She took it well when he wanted to get away. He wanted her to come with him, and he could see she wanted to as well, but duty called. A detective apparently couldn’t just disappear into the night again so soon after being rescued from a kidnapping.

He retreated to LUX, pleased to find it almost as he had left it. He had bequeathed it to Chloe in a hasty Will he had written up before his departure, but apparently Chloe had imparted it to Maze soon after. It made sense, of course. Maze knew the place and its patrons far better, even though she was off on a bounty far more often than she was at LUX. The staff looked pleased to see him, at least, and they waved him in with little fanfare.

Something twisted in Lucifer’s chest. This was like coming home, only to find it felt no different than any other day. There was no celebration or jubilance to it; it was like sliding back into an old skin, one that maybe no longer fit just right, but it looked the exact same on the outside.

Lucifer spared the nightclub floor a half glance before making his way to the penthouse. That was nearly the same, too, although it was scattered with various torture weapons and empty takeout containers. Lucifer’s mouth quirked in a half smile as he picked up one of Maze’s knives and twisted it between his fingers.

He stood leaning against the railing of the penthouse balcony for two hours nursing a glass of scotch and staring at the stars. He had missed the stars in Hell; down there, clouds of ash blotted out most of the sky, and beyond them was nothing but the yawning black abyss. Hell was lacking in decent taste of alcohol as well, but that went unsaid.

He was a quarter of the way through the bottle of scotch when the elevator finally dinged. The pink edges of dawn were just beginning to mirror against the chrome buildings of Los Angeles. It was nearly dawn. Lucifer straightened and turned, a pleased grin splitting his face as he took in Chloe staring at him.

“Devil got your tongue?” He hedged and pulled away from the balcony. He collected another glass from the bar and poured a healthy serving of scotch into it before offering it to Chloe. She stared at it in turn before accepting it.

“I just… didn’t expect…” She didn’t drink it; rather, she turned it between her hands, watching the amber liquid swirl against the crystal.

“Me to still be here? To even be real?”

Chloe looked up at him, the surprise in her eyes giving way to a distant bittersweetness. “Yeah,” she agreed with a huffed laugh and took a sip from her glass.

Lucifer eyed the two dark stains smudged beneath her eyes. “No sleep?”

“Yeah,” she repeated and scrubbed at her face absently. “Just got done wrapping up that mess, actually.”

Smiling softly, Lucifer pried the glass from her grip. “Well, you’re welcome to the bed. Doesn’t look like Maze’s used it much.”

Chloe opened her mouth to protest.

“I’ll still be here when you wake up. Devil’s honor.” Lucifer held up three fingers with the glass still clamped in his grip.

Chloe chewed at her lip before stifling a yawn. “Alright,” she acquiesced.

Lucifer watched as she padded up the stairs to the bed. He didn’t let out the breath he was holding until he heard the shifting of Egyptian cotton sheets. Puffing out the breath, he set the half-empty glasses aside and walked back out to the balcony. There he stayed until Chloe awoke, watching the sun rise.

 

He startled out of a doze when a hand rested lightly on his shoulder, and he instinctively pulled away from the touch with rising hackles. Chloe’s face edged into his peripheral vision, and he let his shoulders fall. The sun was nearly at its zenith, and it threw golden rays across Chloe’s face. It illuminated her hair like an angel’s halo, and her eyes, still clouded with sleep, reflected the light like a standing pool.

Lucifer’s planned ‘good morning, sleepy head,’ caught in his throat. Draped in one of his silk robes, she looked far more angelic than any number of his siblings.

She blinked to clear the cloudiness from her eyes, and her brow quirked as she caught his expression. “What?”

Lucifer cleared his throat. “You look beautiful,” he rasped, managing a small smile.

Chloe huffed in disbelief and rested her elbows against the balcony. Lucifer didn’t miss the dusting of pink that played across her features. She was silent for a few heartbeats. Finally, she spoke. “How’s your back?”

Lucifer rested his hands on the metal railing, his fingers working at the metal. “All better now.”

Chloe nodded, but there was a stiltedness to her movements. “Lucifer—”

“I don’t know how long I’m going to be able to stay,” he admitted in a soft voice. It stopped Chloe short, and she looked at him with wide, pained eyes. Lucifer pressed his lips together and dropped his head. “Until the demons figure out I’m gone again, which won’t be long, the needy whelps. Dad knows, they’ve probably already noticed.”

His hands clenched the railing, making it whine with the sound of tortured metal. He relaxed his grip when Chloe’s hand was placed over his. He slowly released the railing, and she slipped her fingers, warm and familiar, into his palm. She squeezed his hand and traced her thumb over the back of it. “We’ll figure it out. We’ve got time, at least a little bit, right?”

Lucifer nodded, not trusting his tongue to spit out the right words. “Just a little bit…” He mumbled.

 

Chloe had been given leave for a few days, so she hung around LUX and filled Lucifer in on the happenings of the past year. All the interesting cases, how Trixie had learned a few new bad words and now had a pretty good aim with a knife, of Maze dragging a bounty home once in the dead of night and scaring Chloe out of her mind when she stumbled into the kitchen in search of some water, how Charlie was now up and walking and babbling—still with no sight of wings, much to Linda’s relief.

Lucifer drank it in with quiet appreciation, all the while silently willing Chloe not to ask about his time in Hell.

She was, of course, herself, so when she finally ran out of memories to recall, she asked.

“How was… Hell?”

Lucifer darted his tongue over his lips and mulled over what to say. “Lonely,” he finally said, daring to shoot a glance at Chloe.

Her expression twisted, bordering on pity, and Lucifer stood abruptly. “How about we go and see my brother and nephew? And you can bring your spawn; I’m sure she’s been missing me.”

Chloe worried her hands in her lap and slowly nodded. “All—Alright. I need to change anyway.” She picked at the day-old clothes that had seen her through her unfortunate kidnapping and ensuing rescue. “See you there?”

“Of course.”

Lucifer saw Chloe to the elevator, offering her one last smile before the doors of the gilded cage slid closed. He turned sharply on his heel and disappeared into his old bedroom. His clothes could do with a change as well; he kept finding Hell’s ash buried in the most inconvenient creases. Hopefully Maze hadn’t decimated his closet.

 

True to his word, he met her at Linda’s place. He had arrived a good twenty minutes before she did, and when he had knocked—not after waffling for five minutes on the doorstep—Amenadiel with a drooling Charlie perched on his arm greeted him.

Lucifer stared at his brother for a few moments, and Amenadiel stared back. It was Charlie’s babbling and grabby hands at Lucifer’s Armani suit that broke the silence. Lucifer cleared his throat and Amenadiel sputtered out an eloquent, “You’re back!”

“Ah…” Lucifer muttered just as articulately.

Amenadiel’s expression fell. “You’re not back,” he surmised.

“ ‘Fraid not, brother. Just… cleaning up some business. I’m only around for, well…” He was waffling again. He trailed off with a flap of his hand.

“Right,” Amenadiel said. “Does Chloe know you’re… visiting?”

Lucifer gave a wavering smile. “Hmm, yes, well, you have her to thank for me popping up topside.”

“Of course.” Amenadiel laughed. He bounced Charlie in his arms as the boy began to blubber at the lack of attention.

Lucifer hummed in agreement. “Might I come in?”

Amenadiel stepped aside, and Lucifer entered, nearly having to veer backwards to avoid Charlie’s waving fists.

“The good Doctor not home?” Lucifer queried absently.

“She’s got appointments right now.”

“Of course.”

Amenadiel led him to the living room and set Charlie down on the floor. Both watched as he toddled around, aimlessly bumbling into things without a care in the world.

Neither of them seemed too keen on chatting about Lucifer’s limited presence on Earth, so they opted for small talk. It turned out, neither angel nor devil were very good at small talk.

Thankfully, Chloe turned up soon to save them from parroting statements about the weather between each other.

 

With her came Trixie. Of course, Lucifer had specifically requested she come along, but he had forgotten just how clingy the child was. And, he blinked as he finally pried away the arms encircling his waist, he wasn’t aware of how quickly human spawn grew in the span of an Earth year. She was nearly at chest height, a development Lucifer found he wasn’t quite ready for.

“Yes, hello, spawn.” He patted her lightly on the head, still eyeing her warily as though she were about to sprout up another three inches.

His action only garnered a giggle from Trixie, and she clamped onto his hand before he could retract it. With a sigh, he accepted his fate and let her pull him down onto the floor beside Charlie. Now he had two sticky, needy creatures to fend off. Not much different from Hell, actually, he mused.

Five minutes later, Charlie was babbling happily in his lap, desperately trying to pull Lucifer’s thumb into his mouth, and Trixie was regaling him with tales of her adventures—most of them involving bounty hunters on Mars. Dad forbid any of his siblings, aside from Amenadiel (the angel had already taken a dozen pictures), from seeing him like this.

He was half tuning out Trixie’s rambling when a question slipped out of her mouth, followed by an uncomfortable silence.

“Are you going to leave us again, Lucifer?”

Apparently, Chloe and Amenadiel had heard the question, too, because their conversation tapered off, and both turned to look at Lucifer.

Lucifer swallowed against the hard knot that suddenly formed in his throat. He had already told Chloe he had to return—at least, he had edged around the topic enough to keep her from pressing it. Of course, there were options; there were always options . Ones he never had the heart nor stomach to take.

Trixie’s question had frozen him solid, though, and a small part of his mind asked why not stay? He breathed in a shaky breath and raked his eyes over the small crowd. His family . Of course, a certain demon and doctor were missing, but the lot of them were here.

He finally turned back to Trixie and met her dark gaze. She looked close to tears, as if she knew his answer, but there was also a spark of defiance there. It was the same spark Chloe held in her eyes when she was fending off angry tears, ones he all-too-often put there. His stomach flip-flopped, and he held out his hand to her. She dutifully placed her small palm into his, the corners of her mouth turning up ever-so-slightly into a smile.

“I will find a way to stay.” He croaked out the promise, surprised at the sudden sting behind his own eyes. He flicked his gaze to Chloe and held her surprised stare. “My word is my bond.”

The moment was ruined when Trixie rocketed forward and pressed a giggling Charlie between a Devil-child sandwich. Her arms were looped around Lucifer’s neck, and for once, he was willing to ignore the stickiness of her hands. He pulled her tight against him with his free arm and closed his eyes. This was his family.

Dad himself would have to come down from the Heavens to tear them apart.

“I knew you’d stay.” Trixie whispered into his ear.

If only he had as much faith as the spawn.

The tension in the air simmered down to what it once had, although Lucifer was aware that Chloe and Amenadiel kept glancing at him. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore. He extracted himself from the grabby hands and stepped around Trixie and a multitude of baby toys littering the floor.

“I’m going to… get some fresh air.” He threw the explanation over his shoulder and slipped out the door.

Once free, he sucked in a breath and patted his pockets down. They were dreadfully empty of both cigarettes and lighter. He loosed a growl under his breath and took to pacing the length of the house’s patio. The snick of the door closing grabbed his attention, and he stopped mid step.

Chloe approached him, her face a carefully-schooled mask. Try as she might, she wasn’t able to hide the concern pressing a small crease into her brow. “Hey, you okay?”

She grazed her fingers over his arm, wavering between pulling back or gripping him tight.

Lucifer made the decision for her. He leaned into the touch, and her hand found a place on his arm.

“Mm, quite. I’ve just made an impossible-to-keep promise to your spawn.” He laughed tersely. “And I have every intention to keep it.”

Chloe’s mask fell away, folding her face into a frown. “But…” She struggled against her own thoughts, warring between her own want and logic.

“Like I said, my word is my bond, Detective.” He cupped her face with his hand and ran his thumb over her forehead to smooth out the creases. “We have time to figure it out.”

A soft smile replaced the frown, and she pressed herself into his touch. Warmth spun like honey through his veins, filling his head with a buzz far better than any drug or spirit could ever give him. He leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss against her crown. Her hair tickled his jaw, and her fingers met the back of his hand, her palm splaying across it.

He wished the Earth would stop spinning, that Amenadiel could freeze time, that he might encase this moment in amber and keep it forever. To never lose this heady glow of warmth that felt more angelic than any grace or heavenly clouds ever would.

Time ticked on, and the Earth kept spinning.

And clearly fate had other ideas.

There was a rush of air and the fading sound of feathers flapping behind him, and Lucifer stiffened. He worked his jaw and met Chloe’s confused eyes. Unless Amenadiel had decided to creep on them rather unstealthily, there was another one of his heaven-sent siblings behind him.

Grinding his heel into the patio floor, he turned with squared shoulders. His hand fell away from Chloe’s face, but she still gripped it with her own hand tightly. He gave her fingers a squeeze and turned around fully.

His heart shuttered in his chest.

“Michael.”