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i want the fire back

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Linda was rather used to people striding into her office, without appointments, and declaring their problems to her as though she should already know them. In fact, she liked to think that she’d adjusted pretty well to it, even if sometimes she had no idea what her celestial visitors were talking about.

Of course, right now she wasn’t in her office. She was in her house, holding the baby that had just been restored to her. Charlie. Her own little angel, who was peacefully sleeping, despite the fact that Maze had entered the house already ranting, looking so angry that Linda honestly couldn’t tell what the problem’s severity was. Maze would look just as distressed if the sky was literally falling as she would if someone stole her Cheerios.

“I’m gonna kill him,” Maze raged, and Linda noted dimly that she’d uttered the phrase at least six times in the span of forty-five seconds, among various other threats Linda hadn't been able to keep track of.

“Keep your voice down,” she hushed her. The demon glared but complied. “Maze, what happened? What’s got you so upset?”

“Lucifer,” Maze hissed. “That bastard—”

Linda made the universal noise of a mom voicing disapproval and Maze shut up instantly. “Let me put Charlie to bed,” she said calmly, “and then you can tell me what Lucifer’s done.”

Once Charlie was in his crib, Linda walked back into the living room and gestured to the couch. “Let’s sit,” she said in a tone that said it wasn’t a suggestion, and Maze reluctantly did. She still tapped her foot as though she’d like to continue pacing.

They sat for several seconds in silence, until Maze stopped her tapping, and Linda raised an eyebrow. “Now,” she said, and her voice was sympathetic, “what’s wrong?”

“He left!” Maze burst out.

Immediately, her thoughts went to Lucifer’s disappearance to Las Vegas. “Without telling anybody?”

“He told Chloe,” Maze said, without the bitterness she might have once held toward the idea of Chloe knowing something about Lucifer before her. “He told Chloe, and she called me just now, and she told me to tell you. And Amenadiel, but I’m sure Amenadiel already knows.”

As though her words were a prediction, Amenadiel bolted out of his bedroom and stood before them, eyes wide with confusion. “Hell has a king again,” he said. “I just felt his presence. He went?”

“He went,” Maze confirmed. “Something about—about protecting Charlie, keeping the demons from invading Earth…” She cut herself off.

Linda’s jaw dropped. “Lucifer went back to Hell?”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you!” Maze spat out. She looked dangerously close to scratching someone’s eyes out.

“Without you?” Amenadiel broke into the conversation before Maze could say anything she would regret.

Maze stopped abruptly and clenched her hands tight on her lap. In an instant, her whole mood had changed from righteous anger to... this simple, sad resignation. “Without me,” she said miserably.

For once, Linda thought, there wasn’t a trace of rage or excitement or lust or any kind of energy on Maze’s face. Instead, she just looked… lost. “I thought you liked Earth?” she inquired, in her passive therapist voice. It was easier to do that than to face the fact that not only was Lucifer gone, but Maze might want to leave too.

“What do I have here?” Maze asked plaintively. It wasn’t an angry demand, like it might have once been. She still sounded empty, and sad, and above all else, quiet. “I tried to make a connection, like you said. I didn’t—she didn’t want—” she huffed. “She had something important to take care of. It was important, I’ll give her that, but. It still hurts. I keep thinking... what do I really have?”

Linda watched Maze wrap her arms around herself, a protective self-hug, and her chest ached with compassion. “You have us,” she responded honestly. “You’re part of this family now. And Chloe and Trixie’s. You're Dan's friend, and Ella's too. You have so much going for you here, Maze. And the opportunity, always, for more.”

She bristled. “Maybe so, but I know where my blood is. It’s back in Hell. And he didn’t even ask if I wanted to go with him! When I spent all that time trying to get him to take me back! Instead, he just left!” She stopped and chewed on her lip. “He left without saying goodbye.”

“Are you sure that’s not what you’re really upset about?” Linda asked gently.

Maze sat quietly. It was the quietest Linda had ever seen her. “Maybe. Can you…” she trailed off. “Can you do me a favor?”

“Of course.”

“Can you not be my therapist for a minute?” she mumbled, eyes firmly avoiding Linda’s. “Can you just hug me or some other sentimental human bullshit?”

Without thinking, Linda had already leaned forward to wrap her arms around her friend. “I can do you one better,” she said into Maze’s hair, feeling arms tighten around her waist. “I can hug you and I can order pizza. And we can watch something violent and bloody, and you'll drink rum and I'll drink water but pretend it's rum until we’re not so sad anymore.”

Out of the blue, Maze suddenly was holding on to her even tighter. “Can’t get Netflix in Hell,” she said finally, voice thick with emotion, and eventually she pulled back. If she looked away and scrubbed her sleeve over her face to wipe at her suspiciously damp eyes, Linda didn’t say anything, and she sent away Amenadiel to order the pizza before he could.

Things could be worse, Linda reflected. They could have both devolved into crying messes, and then Charlie would have cried too from the noise, and then they'd be in trouble. She picked up the remote and started scrolling through her queue. It was an odd collection of her favorites (mostly screwball comedies and cheesy sci-fi), Amenadiel’s tentative ventures into the world of online streaming (documentaries and the occasional romance), and Maze’s set of horror films that she thought were hilarious. Once, Linda had come in the door from a long day filled with appointments and nearly screamed when she saw Maze crawling upside down on the floor like something out of The Exorcist. Though she’d only done it a couple more times—“to preserve the fun of the scare,” she’d said—the visual still made Linda resolve not to pick any of the scarier movies… just in case Maze found more “inspiration.”

“Okay,” Maze said, interrupting Linda's mental monologue. “But once the pity party’s over…”

“What?”

“We have to figure out a way to get Lucifer free from Hell.”

“Oh. Oh, definitely.” Linda leaned back and pondered. “Should we call Chloe and get her in on this too?”

Maze had already pulled out her phone and dialed Chloe’s number. “Might as well. Girl could probably use the rum and mindless television even more than us.”

Linda listened to Maze brusquely but well-meaningly invite Chloe over—somehow managing to cram at least three unhidden insults into her awkward attempts at comfort—and smiled. They were going to make a plan and fix this. They were going to get the Devil back from Hell. Yeah, things could be worse.