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In the Dark, I See Stars

Chapter Text

It took Lucifer a while to notice it, the disturbance. But well, he’d sealed away the vast majority of his power when he’d landed on the earthly plane, his severed wings the key to unlocking it. And then he’d gone and burned them in a fit of rage, making his power even harder to reach, so he figured he deserved a break for his lack of perception in this case.

It was a bit embarrassing that it had taken Malcolm Graham literally showing up on his doorstep for him to notice, though.

The formerly dead man (and yes, Lucifer could say with certainty that the insane human had in fact died) practically glowed to Lucifer’s sight, like the Fires of Hell were still burning away at his fragile soul. It was no small wonder he was still capable of any level of functionality, crazy as the other humans would no doubt saw him.

At first, Lucifer thought Malcolm himself was the source of the disturbance he was so suddenly sensing, but it became clear almost immediately that that wasn’t the case. The man was simply too…small to be the problem Lucifer could now feel. No, Malcolm had only opened the gate for something much more dangerous to slither through: Los Angeles, and maybe even the world as a whole, was about to have a much bigger problem than one traumatized mortal soul wreaking a bit of havoc.

And so he’d sent the cop on his way with a pentecostal coin—little good it would do the human when the demons chased him down after he actually used it—and set to work figuring out what big bad had escaped Hell on Malcolm’s heels.

The process would have gone much quicker had he not been forced to deal with the minor inconvenience of being shot by that embezzling charity wife and the necessity of seeing her arrested. And, of course, that whole ordeal led to the revelation that it was the Detective making him vulnerable, so it was nearly sunrise before Lucifer managed to sequester himself away to meditate on the real problem.

And a real problem it was.

“Dammit, Amenadiel,” Lucifer cursed as he pulled out of his trance. “What have you done?”

He strode towards the intercom by his elevator and called down to his demon’s floor, “Mazikeen…Mazikeen!”

“What?” her voice crackled back after a beat of impatient silence.

“Come up here.”

“Why?”

“Come up here, Maze,” he commanded again without acknowledging her question. “Now.”

The line went dead and a few seconds later the elevator dinged, admitting a clearly sleep-rumpled and irritated woman. “Couldn’t this have waited, Lucifer?”

Lucifer waved her question away with a distracted motion of his hand, instead ordering, without offering any explanation, “I’m going to need that feather you took, Maze.”

“I…” the demon froze, suddenly on unsure ground. She should have known her lord would know about that feather. “May I ask why?”

He snorted, his opinion about needing to explain why he would want his own feather back obvious, but then he sighed, deciding to indulge her. “Malcolm Graham has caused a bit of a problem. Well, I guess Amenadiel is really to blame, but…”

“You need your wings back to deal with one damned soul?” Maze asked slowly, brows scrunched in confusion.

“Of course not,” Lucifer rolled his eyes dramatically and poured out two full glasses of whiskey, sliding one over to Maze. “No, the problem, Maze, is that Malcolm is not an escaped soul. He was resurrected. And Amenadiel, the daft seraphim, clearly had no idea what he was doing. It feels like he just bulldozed his way through Hell with no regard at all for the balance.”

Lucifer had not realized it was possible for his right-hand demon to pale so quickly.

“What escaped?” she asked with slow-dawning realization.

“Hell Beasts,” he replied, expression set in a grim and uncharacteristically serious frown. “I can’t tell how many, but it could be as many as a hundred or more of the things. Hopefully less.”

“Shit. That’s not good.”

“Yes, thank you Maze, for that astute observation. Now if you could, please…the feather? Time moves rather more quickly in the infernal realm, and I’d like to get down there to stop the bleeding, if I could.”

Maze knocked back the remainder of her glass in one large gulp and spun on her heel, disappearing down the stairs and reappearing with a wooden box cradled in her hands before Lucifer had managed two more sips of his own drink.

“Here,” she thrust the container at him as they both moved towards the leather couches in his living room. Rather than take it from her though, Lucifer instead started removing his shirt, tossing it over the back of a chair before he gracefully flopped facedown on the sofa.

“Put the feather on my back, right between the scars,” he directed. “And step back.”

Maze immediately complied.

Seconds after the feather touched his skin, it started to glow. Softly at first, and then with greater and greater intensity, until a mortal would have been blinded for looking at such brightness. As it was, the demon was forced to look away, but not before she saw two massive white wings beginning to solidify from the pure light.

Lucifer keened loudly, cutting himself off with little pain-filled whimpers every time the noises escaping his throat threatened to escalate into tortured screams. His entire body was a tense, quivering line as he fought to keep from thrashing around like a seizing mortal while he clawed at the cushions with a death grip that ripped the leather at the seams.

Finally, a short eternity later, the celestial light began to fade, taking the excruciating pain with it, but Lucifer just laid there for several long moments, panting.

Maze crept forward, almost tiptoeing towards the Devil, and unceremoniously thrust a fresh glass of whiskey in the trembling archangel’s face.

He stared up at her, dazed, for half a second, before hauling himself into a sitting position and grabbing the tumbler.

Liquor sloshed over the edge, dripping onto his bare chest as he brought the drink to his lips with a still-trembling hand.

“Bloody Hell,” he grunted, draining his glass in one go and holding it out for a refill, “That was almost as bad as when you cut ‘em off in the first place!”

They were quiet for a moment as Lucifer stretched his newly regrown appendages. Then he reached deep within himself, feeling along the series of self-imposed locks that kept the majority of his power caged. In the physical realm, one of his wings curled around him, a sharp primary dragging down his chest, leaving a perfectly straight line of blood. And on the metaphysical plane, the restraints crumbled to dust.

Lucifer breathed in light, relishing in the power that lit the stars. It swelled within him, realigning all his jagged edges, tingling along his nerves and making him whole once again.

Maze sucked in an enraptured breath when Lucifer opened glowing Hell Fire eyes, for an instant turning the world around them into a burning inferno before earthly reality settled back over them and he appeared just an ordinary man sitting in a fancy living room, shining eyes and angelic wings tucked out of sight.

“What do you need me to do?” she asked, even more eager now, after that display of power, to get back in her lord’s good graces than she had been the night before when she’d declared herself Lucifer’s inside man against Amenadiel.

He gave her a considering look, debating whether or not he should take her with him to Hell before deciding against it. “Start tracking the Hell Beasts, numbers, locations. I want a priority list when I get back. And Mazikeen,” he said as he flared his wings, “should the Detective call, do let her know I’ll be back soon.”

With that, Lucifer dove off the edge of his balcony and disappeared from the mortal plane.

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He touched down in front of the main gate to Hell, grinning up at the massive Cerberus still loyally guarding this entrance. Malcolm and the Hell Beasts hadn’t escaped through this pathway then, not that Lucifer had really thought they’d come this way. But still, he was pleased to see his guardian unharmed.

The Cerberus towered above him, taller than a pine tree, and all three heads zeroed in on him, halting the procession of damned souls waiting to gain entrance to Hell and their own personal torture chambers. The middle head flicked out a forked tongue, tasting the essence of Lucifer’s soul while the other two heads leaned down to sniff at his physical form more directly.

It barely took a second for the three-headed dog to recognize him as its master, and in the space of a breath it went from being a terrifying beast to deciding it was really just a big puppy, laying down on its back and whining for a tummy rub, giant tail banging against the gates with a spray of crushed stone as it wagged enthusiastically.

Lucifer huffed a laugh and flew up to pet the silly creature’s stomach as requested. “Yes, yes, good boy,” he offered general praise as the dog wiggled happily below him for several minutes before eventually ordering, “Time to get back to work now, good boy.”

The Cerberus immediately rolled back onto his feet, growling at the crowd of clearly petrified mortal souls, much to Lucifer’s amusement. With a final scratch through thick silver fur, the archangel turned and flew through the gates, headed for the Pits which were located as far as possible (both physically and metaphysically) from the infinite rows of cells allocated for torturing the damned.

Hell Beasts were…horrible creatures. Formed from a combination of excess energy from the realm of Hell itself and the insanity and pure destructive violence that bleeds from the especially despicable souls of damned mortals, they were purposeless monstrosities, and it took literal hordes of demons working round the clock to keep them contained in the Pits. It was delicate, dangerous work, work which couldn’t afford even the slightest of distractions.

And Amenadiel’s ham-fisted resurrection of Malcolm had been nothing but distraction; Lucifer could still feel the imbalance running through the core of his realm, so he could only imagine what the place must have felt like as the seraphim bullied his way through Hell’s foundation.

“My lord!” an exhausted demon exclaimed when he landed.

“Where is Bael?’ Lucifer asked, ignoring the kowtowing of the low-ranking demon before him. The demon pointed towards the watchtower at the far east of the Pits, and the Devil nodded his thanks before launching himself back into the air.

“Lucifer!” Bael greeted him with a tired grin when he arrived, the easy familiarity in sharp contrast to the twenty or so other demons in the room who had all dropped to their knees in respect.

“Bael,” he returned the greeting, bending down to kiss his trusted general and sometimes-lover’s cheek. It was too bad he didn’t have more time to indulge in the man while he was down here. Bael was an attractive demon, with his dark bronze skin and silken black hair; he had a face that intermittently shifted between that of a handsome, sharp-featured man and a viciously scarred cat. The sharp canine teeth, though, those were always present, and it was such a pleasure when the demon bit him just so.

Lucifer sighed, shaking off his brief stab of lust to focus on the infinitely less enjoyable task of dealing with Amenadiel’s mess. “How many escaped?” he asked.

“It’s hard to say. We lost more than 300 demons during the escape. Almost everyone working the deep pits was obliterated.” Bael’s face shifted into its cat form as he spoke, barring his teeth in an angry hiss; Lucifer grit his teeth in response, impotent rage filling him. Damn Amenadiel. The stupid angel probably hadn’t spared two thoughts for the trouble his stunt would cause the demons of Hell, let alone the potential danger. Lucifer doubted it would even occur to Amenadiel to grieve for the lost demons, should he ever learn of their deaths.

“Best estimate, though?” Bael continued after a moment of silence. “I’d say 97.”

“That escaped the Pits or that escaped Hell?”

“Hell,” Bael confirmed Lucifer’s fears. “More than 500 escaped the Pits before we could get a lid on it.”

Lucifer nodded in grim understanding. “But you’ve got the situation contained now? All the Hell Beasts still in Hell are back in the pits? And you’re not having trouble keeping them there?”

“It would help if you could repair rips in Hell’s foundation,” Bael stated, staring Lucifer straight in the eye. “Earth’s call is still strong, and it beckons those abominations.”

Lucifer nodded his head in easy agreement. The tears throwing Hell out of balance would self-correct in time, but they couldn’t really afford to wait given the current situation, and the Devil alone had the power to speed the process along.

“I was planning on it,” he stated, causing Bael and the other demons listening to their conversation to visibly relax. “But other than that issue the situation down here is under control?”

Bael confirmed that it was, so Lucifer took his leave. And for nearly the next week (at least in Hell-time), he flew around the infernal realm in a constant effort to fix the damage. It was exhausting work, so when he finally finished cauterizing the last rip, and thus shoving Hell back into near-perfect alignment, he collapsed on his bed back at his palace, sleeping for the first time since his arrival down below.

When he awoke some time later, there was a heavy weight flopped across his chest, and soft fur had somehow found its way into his mouth.

“Aza,” he grumbled, shoving at the hellhound who for some reason always liked to sleep on his head. “Get off me, girl.”

The dog huffed but complied with his command, shifting over so he could sit up. His other two personal hounds, Zeev and Rhan, were curled up at the foot of his luxuriously large bed. Like good boys, he thought, side-eyeing the only female of the pack even as he reached out to scratch behind her ears.

He really had missed them these last five years, and now he needed them on Earth, the only happy thing to come out of this whole catastrophe.

Throwing his arms above his head in a full-body stretch, he rolled out of bed and went about making himself presentable. Once he’d finished dressing, he gestured for his hounds to follow him and made his way towards the main gate out of Hell at a leisurely pace, ignoring the demons that dropped into bows as he passed.

He’d already informed Lilith, the leader of the Lilim, his best legion of hunters, to be on the lookout for his call, just in case he ended up needing them to come topside. So there was nothing left for him to do in Hell. Now he needed to go handle the supremely more difficult task of wrangling the Hell Beasts that had made it to the earthly plane.

And to think, all he’d wanted was a nice century or two of vacation time. Honestly, angels screwed everything up.

Chapter Text

When Lucifer arrived back at his penthouse—the sun just starting to set on what he assumed was the same day he had left—Maze was already there waiting.

The hellhounds all shook their heads, wriggling around to dispel the general discomfort of cross-dimensional travel, and then Aza caught sight of the demon and darted forward with an excited yip to jump up and lick her face.

Of course, hellhounds were massive creatures. Taller than a Great Dane and thicker around in general than most mortal dogs, all three of his hounds looked huge standing next to his tall frame; against Maze, well, she may as well have been a child being tackle hugged by a wolf, and it was no surprise when she was immediately knocked to the ground.

Not that Maze seemed to mind. She hugged the animal back just as happily, scratching behind Aza’s ears just the way she liked.

“No loyalty, that one,” Lucifer muttered with an eye roll, resting his hands on Zeev and Rhan who were sitting obediently on either side of him.

Maze finally shoved Aza off, and the hound trotted back to Lucifer, eyes glowing bright with joy and fur drifting around her like wisps of dark smoke. “Ach, none of that now,” he reprimanded gently, tapping her on her nose. “No infernal aspects while we’re on Earth. We wouldn’t want to accidentally frighten the mortals.”

All three hounds dipped their heads in acknowledgement, and Aza’s fur solidified, her eyes dulling to a deep red, like the color of dried blood. Still intimidating as Hell, giant wolf-like creatures that they were, but at least they didn’t look supernatural any longer.

Satisfied that his pets understood the ground rules, Lucifer turned to address Maze. “You have any success on your end?”

The demon strolled forward, dressed seductively as ever in her black leather get-up, and Lucifer spared a brief thought to wonder if it was too soon to give in to make-up sex.

She handed him a list even as she started summarizing her report. “I’ve got accurate locations on 81 of them. No immediate threats, so I left them alone for now so I could focus on tracking down the rest. Nothing from the Deep Pits though, a day wasn’t enough time to find any of those, assuming some of them escaped.”

Lucifer hummed. “Best estimate Bael could give me was 97. We lost more than 300 guards in the Deep Pits during the breakout though, so it’s safe to assume most of the ones you couldn’t locate are from there.”

Maze, in typical fashion, reacted to the news with a string of furious and highly creative cursing, a large portion of which involved inventive ways to mutilate certain pieces of Amenadiel’s anatomy.

“And here I thought you had a soft spot for that particular part of my holier-than-thou brother,” Lucifer sniped. “The allure of teaching a virgin worn off already, m’dear?”

She glared in response but didn’t offer any kind of retort, so Lucifer went back to scanning through her report, pausing three pages in to look back at her questioningly. “Is this right? 36 all in one spot?”

“You know that group, hive-minded,” she shuddered in revulsion. He nodded, immediately comprehending who she meant. Nobody liked Hell Beasts, but Maze had always particularly despised the ones with insect-esque forms. And the members of this particular group, looking like some nightmarish horse-sized combination of a tarantula, a wasp, and a crab, were especially creepy, even by Hell’s standards.

Good news for them though, the hive-minded ones weren’t particularly hard to deal with; they could take care of a solid third of their escapees within the day.

“Looks like they’re all staying close to LA, that’s good.”

Maze shrugged. “Far as I can tell, they don’t seem too inclined to head east.”

“They must like California’s high concentration of mortals,” he muttered, sharing a look of grim satisfaction with his demon. It meant a higher death toll in the short-term, but it also meant a quicker resolution.

Just then, the elevator dinged and all three hounds jumped to their feet, deep growls rumbling in their chests, though Lucifer was pleased to see them keeping to their non-infernal forms. He waved them down absently and greeted the new arrival with a plastered on smile. “Detective! What a surprise.”

She stopped dead, staring at the dogs who had gone back to lounging at his feet. “L-Lucifer?”

“Yes, hello,” he replied and after another beat of silence, prompted, “Are you quite alright, Detective?”

“A-are those wolves?” she asked, sounding a bit strangled. Lucifer took a moment to surreptitiously sniff the air, brows furrowing when he decided that no, there were no odd smells that could account for the Detective’s sudden desire to breathe shallowly.

“Of course not,” he smirked, waiting until her shoulders began to slump in relief before continuing, “They’re hellhounds.”

She straightened back up, spine gone instantly stiff, and Lucifer grinned. She made a delightful image when riled. “Lucifer! You can’t have wolves in the middle of Los Angeles…in an apartment! Please tell me you at least have a permit!”

“I don’t need a permit,” he explained, tone chiding. “Because these are not wolves, Detective.”

“What if they hurt someone, Lucifer?” she asked, appearing increasingly agitated. “You need—”

“They’re not going to hurt anyone. They’d never attack without my command,” he cut her off in an attempt to placate her. For some reason, she didn’t look especially reassured by his words though, so he continued, “Besides, hellhounds weren’t bred to hunt mortals, at least not ones that are still alive. The humans of L.A. are perfectly safe.”

“Lucifer, wolves aren’t domesticated,” she said, speaking slowly like she thought he was having trouble understanding basic English. “You can’t be sure…”

“Not wolves!” he countered.

“Hellhounds…don’t…exist!” Her voice actually went a little shrill towards the end, and Maze started snickering beside him. The sharp look the Detective sent his demon made it clear she didn’t see the humor in this situation.

“The three right in front of you would tend to demonstrate that they do,” he pointed out reasonably.

She huffed, nostrils flaring, before she shook her head, closing her eyes for a long moment. “Whatever,” she sighed, rolling her shoulders. “I’ll get you the forms for a permit later. This isn’t why I came over…I’ve been trying to reach you all day—”

“Ah, well, you know me. Busy, busy, no rest for the wicked.”

“Right, because deviant foreplay is so time consuming,” she stared pointedly at Maze, who was fondling one of her demon blades rather suggestively.

“Wanna watch,” Maze asked, arching a brow and running her tongue along the knife’s edge. And wasn’t that an enticing idea. Too bad the Detective probably wouldn’t go for it.

And sure enough, her expression settled into a brief moue of distaste before she barreled on, completely bypassing the proposition. “I’ve got a case that I can’t do without you.”

“Really?” Lucifer perked up, eyes bright with intrigue, but a quick glance at Maze reminded him that he really didn’t have the time to be playing handsome devil cop at the moment. “What’s so special about it?”

“You’ll just have to see for yourself,” she replied, and normally that would have been enough to have him chasing at her heels, but right now he needed more.

“Look, Detective, I really am very busy at the moment, so…”

“Please,” she implored. “Just come to Boyle Heights with me. I promise, this is a case with a pulse.”

“Boyle Heights?” he asked, eyes flickering down to Maze’s report.

“Yeah,” she confirmed, looking relieved when he started to nod in acceptance. Maze, on the other hand, looked alarmed.

Yanking him down, she whispered in his ear, “You can’t seriously be thinking about going out there alone? With her?”

“Yes, I am,” he muttered back.

“But you just told me last night you’d figured out what triggers your…little problem! This is dangerous, Lucifer.”

“That was before,” he argued, shrugging his shoulders meaningfully. “We don’t know that it’s still—”

“But we don’t know that it’s not!”

“I’ve got to check it out, Maze.”

She eyed the stubborn set of his jaw and changed tracks. “At least take one of the hounds with you.”

He sighed, but conceded that it was a good idea. “You don’t mind if I bring Rhan with me, do you Detective?” he spoke up, addressing the mortal woman who had been watching the quiet back and forth with a mildly suspicious expression.

She gaped at him with more than her usual level of incredulity. “You want to bring your wolf? To a crime scene? You can’t be serious.”

“He’s very well behaved,” he assured her, scratching behind the dog’s ears and smiling as the animal leaned into his touch.

“That’s so not the point, Lucifer. You can’t bring your…pet to a murder scene! Just the possibility of contamination alone—”

“He won’t mess anything up, promise! I’ll just tell him to stay behind your little tape, no problem.”

“No problem. Right.”

“Right,” Lucifer smiled, pretending not to have noticed the sarcasm heavy in the Detective’s voice. “He could help, you know. If you weren’t so against him.”

“Right, the wolf could help.”

“He’s a scent hound,” Lucifer sniffed, straightening out his slightly askew cufflink. “He could just sniff out your murderer, lead you right to him.”

Chloe rolled her eyes, exasperated. “That’s not how K-9 units work.”

“Maybe not mortal ones,” he retorted.

“Lucifer, you can’t bring—”

“You wouldn’t deny me my comfort animal, would you Detective? I’ve heard I’m entitled to one these days.”

“Since when do you need an emotional support animal?”

“It’s a recent development.” Chloe arched a brow, clearly unimpressed, so he added, “We can call my therapist, if you’d like?”

She sighed, pinching her nose in a sign of frustration. “No, we need to get to the crime scene. Just promise me I’m not going to regret this?”

“Promise!” he chirped, all smug charm now that he’d won. “And as you know, I’m a Devil of my word, Detective.”

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Thanks to Lucifer’s newfound paranoia about partaking in dangerous activities within the Detective’s vicinity, they arrived at the crime scene—a new-age church of all things, which was just typical—in separate cars nearly an hour after leaving Lux.

He hopped out of his corvette as soon as Chloe pulled up behind him, Rhan pressed close to his side, and made for the entrance. The Devil chuckled, highly amused, when the officers and various bystanders hovering outside the building skittered back in fright at the sight of his hellhound, the Detective shooting him a chiding look from his other side.

“Dude, what the Hell is that!” Daniel shouted when he spotted them.

“What the Hell, indeed,” Lucifer purred.

Chloe elbowed him gently in the side and clarified, “It’s his emotional support dog, Dan.”

“That thing?” the other detective pointed at Rhan, wide-eyed. “That’s a wolf, a really big ass wolf!”

Lucifer sighed, mildly annoyed. It was amusing when it was the Detective arguing with him, not so much when it was her estranged husband. “Hellhound, actually,” he corrected, tone mild.

Daniel backed up several more steps, eying Rhan warily. “Hellhound, sure. I don’t think it’s legal to keep a wolf as an ESA pet, Chloe. Did you tell him that?"

“No need to look so worried, Detective Douche,” Lucifer singsonged, clapping the mortal man on his shoulder. “He’d only rip someone apart if I told him to.”

“Lucifer!” Chloe hissed; he winked at her in response, pleased to see her lips twitching like she was fighting back a smile of her own.

“You must be Detective Decker’s civilian consultant,” a new voice chirped and Lucifer turned to see an attractive hispanic woman dressed in a standard forensics team jacket assembling a high-tech camera. “They told me you never break character, but wow, is that really your dog?”

“You’re new here, aren’t you?” he asked, sure he had never seen her face before.

“Oh yeah, sorry! Ella Lopez, I just transferred in a couple days ago,” she introduced herself, darting forward with a bright smile to wrap him in a hug. He endured it with stiff awkwardness, bewildered as always by the need some humans felt to bestow affection on complete strangers.

“Lucifer Morningstar,” he replied when she released him.

“Cool,” she smiled, concentration returning to her equipment.

Lucifer cocked his head to the side in an inquisitive gesture, eyeing the dainty cross hanging from her neck. “I was expecting a different reaction considering your choice of bling.”

“Oh. Dude, I had a friend named Adolf, okay? Adolf. I didn’t hold it against him. And besides, I think the Devil gets a bad rap.”

“Oh?” he asked, leaning forward with sudden eagerness. “You do, do you?”

“Sure, I mean, what’d he really do that was so bad?” she shrugged. “Rebel against his dad? Ask some naked lady if she wanted an apple?”

“Be still my heart, do go on,” Lucifer grinned, awaiting more complimentary comments.

“I suppose he does run Hell. That’s not so great. You know, with the torture and eternal damnation,” she waived her hand in an etcetera motion.

“Yes, well, I’m retired…sort of.”

She peered up at him with raised brows, trying to decide if this was just the kind of normal L.A. weirdness she would have to get used to in her new home. “So, what’s your deal? You some kind of method actor or something?”

“What?” Lucifer squinted at her, taken aback.

“What kind of dog is he, anyway?” she asked as she moved towards the hellhound, holding her hand out for him to sniff. “He’s not really a wolf, is he? Only I know they have some of those breeds that were bred to look like wolves, but are really just sweet—”

Rhan started growling, a deep, grumbling thing, when Ella was about three feet away, and she jerked her hand back as if she’d been burned.

“Hush, Rhan,” Lucifer chided. “We like Ms. Lopez.”

At his words, the hound immediately went quiet. His mouth opened, tongue lolling out in a canine grin, tail wagging happily, and moved to nudge Ella’s hand gently. She relaxed and rewarded the friendly greeting with a scratch behind his ears, murmuring sweet nothings to the animal.

“That one though,” Lucifer spoke up a moment later, pointing at Dan with a smirk that was pure mischief, “that one you can growl at.”

Rhan’s head instantly swiveled to lock dull red eyes on Dan; his lips pulled back in a snarl, the ruff at his neck puffed up threateningly, and the terrifying rumbling started back up.

“Oh come on man,” Dan squeaked, backing away with his hands held up in the universal sign of ‘I am not a threat.’ “Make him stop!”

Lucifer was fighting down giggles when Chloe finally spoke up, tone irritated despite its slight shakiness. “Lucifer, you promised I wouldn’t regret letting you bring him. I’m starting to regret it.”

He sighed, disappointed his opportunity to torment the Douche was over, and called Rhan off. “No more scaring the police officers, boy. Unless one of them’s the murderer,” he added after a moment’s thought. “Then do point him out, please.”

Rhan sat back on his haunches, once again the picture of a happy puppy.

“See Detective, I told you he’d do as I say,” the Devil sniffed, lifting his head up in a superior expression.

“Including rip someone apart, apparently,” Dan muttered loud enough for everyone to hear.

“I doubt that will be necessary,” Lucifer responded in all seriousness, missing the disturbed looks on half the officers’ faces and the indulgent amusement on Chloe’s as he stepped forward to get a good look at the murder victim. “Is this it? Just the one dead girl?”

Chloe looked at him askance. “Um, yes? Were you expecting more?

“Well yes, frankly, I was. This doesn’t look like the work of Hell Beasts at all.”

“Hell Beasts?” And now her tone was a clash between exasperation and concern.

“Hmmm, yes,” Lucifer muttered, not really paying attention to his partner as he tried to figure out if this could be related in any way to his Hell problem. “Don’t worry, I’m taking care of it,”

“Lucifer, if you know about an imminent crime, you need to tell me.”

At that, his attention was finally pulled from the dead girl. The Detective looked truly concerned; as well she should, even if she wouldn’t be much help dealing with the breakout. “Well I don’t know the when or where, or even the what…just general mayhem and destruction kind of thing. But don’t worry, I’ve got it handled.”

“Lucifer—”

“Look, I still don’t understand why you need me on this case.”

Chloe huffed, looking like she was praying for patience, and ordered one of the forensic techs to roll the body over.

“Hail Lucifer?” he whispered leaning in close. “This is sickening.”

“I know, it’s horrific.”

“No, I mean blaming it on me! It’s an atrocity! These misguided satanist nob-heads with frisbees in their earlobes. This poor girl’s death has nothing to do with me, Detective.”

Then, as if his father just wanted to spite his words, that con-artist preacher he’d traumatized with his Devil face a few weeks back burst through the door, ranting about his evil influence and yada yada ya. Malcolm Graham got rid of him easily enough, and with a few over-friendly words to Lucifer and some entirely unnecessary touching, the resurrected detective followed the crazy preacher out of the building, skirting around Rhan who had started growling at him with serious intent.

Lucifer watched him leave, then turned to address his dog with a raised brow. “Are you growling at him because he’s a resurrected soul, because he tried to shoot me last night, or because he’s the murderer?”

Rhan sneezed and tapped his paw three times.

“Ah,” Lucifer nodded and turned to look at the Detective, who was staring at him with wide eyes.

“Lucifer? Did Malcolm seriously try to shoot you yesterday?”

“Yes. And,” he confirmed, pausing dramatically before continuing, “He’s also your murderer!”

He smiled, pleased to have figured this homicide out so quickly for her, but Chloe seemed determined to completely ignore the second part of his sentence.

“Lucifer, why didn’t you report it?”

“Well because I talked him out of it, of course.”

“That’s not the point! Threatening to shoot you is serious! You should’ve gone to the police immediately.”

“Well I’m telling you now, and he’s your killer. So, you can lock him up and throw away the key. Case closed.”

“There’s no evidence linking him to this crime. You can’t just accuse someone because your wolf-dog growled at him, even if he did assault you.”

“Fine, keep investigating. I know you need more for your little human justice system. But I promise you, your murderer just walked out the door.”

“I will keep investigating, if it’s all the same to you. So if we could please, do our jobs?”

“Actually Detective, I’m afraid you’ll have to excuse me,” he informed her as he texted Maze to meet him. They may as well go ahead and take care of the hive-minded while he was in the area. “I’ve got other business I need to take care of.”

“Lucifer! You can’t just take off in the middle of a case!”

“I already identified your killer!” he retorted, fighting down what he knew was unwarranted aggravation. “And I really do have other things to do, so…”

He studiously ignored the Detective’s indignation and strolled towards the exit, Rhan trailing at his heels. He had some Hell Beasts that needed to be sent back to the Pits, no single murder could trump that.

Chloe would agree, if she ever believed his claims.

Chapter Text

By the time Maze arrived at the innocuous street in Boyle Heights that marked their chosen entrance into this section of the L.A. sewage tunnels, Lucifer had managed to smoke three cigarettes and was contemplating lighting up a fourth.

“About time,” he greeted her, to which she merely rolled her eyes and brushed past him to wrench open the manhole in the center of the road.

“After you,” she cocked a brow, a little smirk daring him to complain.

Lucifer eyed the hole with distaste, fingers brushing over the buttons of his shirtfront. He wished he’d thought through his wardrobe more carefully when he was dressing this morning. His Louboutin’s were no doubt about to be ruined, and he doubted the smell would ever come out of his suit. He’d never be able to wear this ensemble again.

With a sigh of resignation, he swung himself down the ladder, Maze and the hounds following right after, which would have looked odd to a mortal: three large dogs climbing down a ladder like any other person.

The tunnels at the bottom were as dark and damp as one would expect, not that any of Hell’s inhabitants had any trouble seeing, but the smell was not quite as rancid as Lucifer had feared. More stale and mildewy than anything. Even so, the Devil wasted no time voicing his complaints, keeping up a constant stream of disparaging comments as they moved purposefully through the twists and turns of the the wide passageways.

After about 15 minutes of this—with Maze mostly ignoring Lucifer while the hounds dutifully listened to their master—they started to hear loud chittering up ahead.

The group paused, and Maze handed over one of her demon blades without a word. Lucifer took the dagger, but made a mental note to grab his own Hell-forged sword when he dropped these hive-minded back below. Knives were really not his preferred method of fighting.

“After you,” he waived Maze on in a sardonic imitation of her earlier words, knowing she hated the hive-minded as much as he hated the idea of ruining his clothes.

She grumbled and moved forward, taking up position on his right so he could fight left-handed, while the hounds fanned out behind them, and together they ghosted out of the tunnel and into the cavernous chamber that was hosting the Hell Beasts.

The floor was damp with more than water, red blood dripping down from the walls; the horse-sized bugs, 36 in total, were scattered around the room, busy fighting over what looked to be the shredded remains of the better part of the Boyle Heights homeless population. In some spots, entire bodies lay untouched, while in others, three or more of the monsters were struggling over single arms.

Their great, large crab claws would rip off small hunks of flesh; then, quick at they’d darted into the melee to steal their prize from their brethren, the creatures would retreat, eight hairy spider legs skittering backwards at high velocity, bringing them and their food to safety. And back again they’d go seconds later, their tiny morsel ground to soup by their strong mandibles in less time than it took to blink.

“Well,” Lucifer pronounced, not bothering to keep his voice down, “I guess we can figure out what drew the little beasties down here.”

It was eery, the way the whole room went still, 36 pairs of giant wasp eyes, flickering red with hellfire, turning to lock on the five newcomers.

Maze huffed a laugh, torn between delight and aggravation at the careless way Lucifer had thrown away their element of surprise.

“Winner’s prize?” she asked, hoping he would agree to turn this into a game.

He leered at her in response, dark promises dancing in his eyes. “You take down 19, and I’ll let you tie me up with hell-chains.”

And with that they both leapt forward to meet the charging monsters, matching grins lighting their faces with manic glee, the hounds baying war cries echoing behind them.

After millennia battling with one another in the depths of Hell, Maze and Lucifer, together with the hellhounds, worked together like a well-oiled machine, dancing among their foes with a deadly precision unmatched by anything native to the earthly plane.

Lucifer dodged left and swung his dagger down to stab his first attacker directly behind its head in a paralyzing blow, then rolled with the motion to avoid a second beast, allowing its stinger to instead strike down a third before he plunged his blade through its chest cavity.

“That’s three!” he shouted, glancing to his right for just long enough to see Maze incapacitate another insect with a series of quick jabs to the thing’s leg joints.

“Four!” she panted back.

And on it went, ducking and weaving, their knives tearing through hard exoskeletons, instinctively coming to each other’s aid when necessary before departing to rain down more destruction in opposite directions. In one particularly memorable flash of motion, Lucifer spotted his dogs ripping one of the creatures apart as its body was pulled in three different directions; and in another, Maze somehow managed to simultaneously behead one beast while throwing a blade straight through the eye of another.

In the end, neither Maze nor Lucifer managed 19 takedowns, the hounds getting credit for nine, which left only 14 for Maze and 13 for the Devil.

“I still won,” she insisted as they walked around attaching a thin line of hell-chain to each of the barely twitching Hell Beasts (and various detached insect parts).

“The deal was 19,” Lucifer singsonged back. “Beating me by one was only a half-win.”

“But you admit, I did beat you,” she said, pointing one of her demon blades at him in emphasis.

He stepped behind her, wrapping one arm around her waist as he pressed himself fully against her back, his other hand reaching up to caress along the graceful line of her neck, and purred her ear, “Wanted to tie me up, didn’t you Mazey?”

“Mmm,” she hummed her agreement, shivering as the fingers at her neck squeezed ever so gently.

He chuckled, the sound vibrating through her. “Then make sure to win our next bet,” he commanded, sucking lightly at her throat and grinding his obvious interest against her before stepping away.

She glared at him for the tease, a pout almost forming on her face before she could control the expression, and went back to tying up the Hell Beasts, much to his amusement.

A few minutes later, their captives were ready for transport, so Lucifer extended his wings and grabbed one end of the chain, ready to drag them back to Hell. “While I’m gone, Maze, be a dear a dispose of all these humans,” he ordered, tone sliding easily from its earlier seductive timbre to a more glib nonchalance.

She cast a look around at the bloody mess of a room and retorted, “They look pretty well disposed of to me.”

“Just put them somewhere they’ll be found, somewhere that wild animals could’ve gotten to them,” he rolled his eyes.

She looked at him askance. “Why? It’s not like anyone would ever find them if we left them here.”

“Yes, well,” he shrugged, “the Detective insists all human bodies should get a proper burial. Some weird mortal sentimentality, but they’d probably like to have these ones found.”

“They do know the person’s not still in the corpse, don’t they?”

“I think so?” he said, but his answer sounded more like a question, and Maze shook her head in disbelief.

“I’ll never understand humans,” she muttered; Lucifer grimaced in agreement. “But fine, if you want them thrown out in the woods, I’ll throw them out in the woods.”

“Well then,” he smiled, “I’ll see you back at Lux when you’re finished. And think, at least this way there won’t be rotting people in our drinking water.”

And with that Lucifer launched himself into the air, disappearing down into the infernal realm to the sound of Maze’s startled laughter.

The only demons present when he arrived at the Pits were all low-ranking, so he didn’t bother to stay and chat, instead opting to dump his load on the guards with instructions to update Bael and leaving as quickly as he’d arrived, with a quick pitstop at his armory to collect his favorite sword, a beautiful obsidian weapon forged in hellfire from one of his own primary feathers.

Tasks in Hell thus complete, Lucifer departed his kingdom, eager to relax at his piano and drink fine scotch for the rest of the night.

Unnoticed by his lord, Bael stood hunched against the palace gates, cursing as he watched the Devil fly away.

🔥 ✨ 🔥 ✨ 😈✨ 🔥 ✨ 🔥

The next morning, Lucifer decided to stop by the precinct, figuring he should check and see if the Detective had made any progress towards arresting Malcolm Graham. In the mean time, he’d sent Maze off with all three of his hellhounds to continue rounding up the lesser Hell Beasts, reckoning he’d be safe enough at the police station to forego bringing a guard dog along.

But he’d barely been at the station ten minutes, hardly enough time to fetch the Detective her first cup of coffee, when he was proven wrong.

“What are you doing here?” he hissed, staring with a mix of shock and anger at his two brothers, brothers he’d scarcely seen hide nor hair of in millennia.

“We’ve come to help, brother.” Michael stated, tone and stance as assured as ever Lucifer remembered them being, even as Gabriel smiled at him uncertainly.

Lucifer narrowed his eyes, displeasure rapidly beginning to overcome his initial surprise. “And you chose to meet me here? Of all places?” he asked, stepping forward aggressively, the cup of coffee he’d poured for Chloe dangling forgotten in his hand.

“This is where you are?” Gabriel, Lucifer noted, at least has the decency to look a little sheepish at Michael’s words, but then Michael had never been the best at diplomacy.

“You couldn’t have waited for me at Lux?” said Lucifer, trying to drop a not-so-subtle hint that seemed to go right over Michael’s head.

“Uriel said you wouldn’t be there until after midnight.”

“Of course, and my need for your divine help was just so pressing you couldn’t have waited a couple of hours to offer up your services.”

“Lucifer, the situation is serious, and it just got—”

Looking away from his brother’s intense stare, Lucifer noticed for the first time the attention the three of them were garnering from the rest of the precinct. Clenching his jaw, he grabbed both of his brothers’ arms and dragged them into the empty conference room, cutting off Michael’s sentence to say, “I’ve got it handled, so you can piss off back to the Silver City.”

“We can’t do that, Lucifer,” Michael shook his head in denial.

At the same moment, Gabriel piped up for the first time, saying, “It’s not just the Hell Beasts that have escaped!”

“Yes, I know, the mortal Amenadiel resurrected,” Lucifer drawled, rolling his eyes. “Hardly the kind of thing that would require three archangels to deal with.”

Gabriel and Michael traded an unreadable look, and the former said, “We’re not talking about that silly damned human, Lucifer.”

“We’re talking about Mum,” Michael completed delivering the news.

“Mum?” Lucifer choked. “You can’t be serious. Her cell’s got a million and one locks on it. For Dad’s sake, it’s all the way at the bottom of the…Deep Pits. Oh.”

“Yes, oh,” Gabriel mocked, his attempt at levity falling flat in the face of such terrifying information.

Lucifer snorted anyways, looking back and forth between his brothers with narrowed eyes. “And you expect us to work together on this, is that it?”

“You help us get mum back to Hell, and we’ll help you with the rest of the Hell Beasts,” Gabriel offered, expression earnest.

The Devil was quiet for a long moment, suspicion drawing his lips down in a tight frown, before he finally replied, “No deal.”

“You can’t be serious,” Michael reared back, appearing genuinely taken aback by Lucifer’s refusal.

“What’s that mortal saying?” Lucifer shot back, arching a contemptuous brow. “As a heart attack? You don’t know the first thing about Hell Beasts. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if all you feathered pricks think that they’re just another type of demon. And the only reason you want my help with Mum is because we all know she’s going to try to kill me, and wouldn’t it be convenient if you could save yourselves the trouble of tracking her down by just hanging around me until she shows up to do the deed! Well, if that’s your goal, feel free to wait on the benches outside of Lux; she’s bound to turn up eventually. Don’t bother coming inside though, you’d just kill the party.”

Before the conversation could continue along its swift downward spiral, Chloe knocked on the glass door and stepped into the room without waiting to be invited in, asking if everything was alright.

“Detective!” Lucifer spun to greet his partner, smile only a little strained. “Hi, yes, we’re just peachy. In fact, they were just about to leave.”

“No we were not,” Michael denied and continued the conversation as though they had not been interrupted. “Brother, this is not the time for your pride or your paranoia. We need to work together.”

Lucifer turned back to glower at him, shoulders stiff with restrained violence. “No, you need me. Not the other way around.”

“Of all the ridiculous!” Michael bellowed, hand slashing though the air in a gesture of pure frustration. “It’s not us mum’s going to—”

“Brothers! Wow, I didn’t realize you had more than just Amenadiel,” Chloe cut in from her spot by the door in an attempt to forestall a shouting match. All three brothers turned in unison to look at her, clearly having forgotten that she was in the room with them.

“Ah, yes. Loads more, actually,” Lucifer informed her in a mutter.

She looked at him expectantly for several awkward seconds before finally asking, “Well, aren’t you going to introduce me?”

Lucifer blinked. “Right, Detective, Michael and Gabriel,” he grouched, pointing to each in turn. “Michael, Gabriel, the Detective.”

She shot her partner a look of fond exasperation and reached her hand out to make a proper introduction, “Chloe Decker, it’s nice to meet you both.”

The two men returned her greeting with all of the general pleasantries, and then they all just stood there, staring at one another.

“So…your parents really favored biblical names, huh?”

Lucifer and Michael gazed back at her with identical twin smirks while Gabriel broke down in seemingly helpless giggles at her words.

“Story of our lives, really,” Lucifer informed her wryly.

“Right, because you’re the Devil. And Michael and Gabriel here are actually that Michael and Gabriel,” Chloe sarcastically guessed. “Who’s older anyway? You all look about the same age.”

“Exactly the same age, if you don’t want to get technical about all that extra time I got from my millennia in Hell.”

“You’re a triplet?” True to form, the Detective opted to ignore the part of his sentence that referenced his non-human reality in favor of the more believable, at least to her, assertion that he was the product of a multiple birth, a fact which obviously came as a great surprise to the woman, based on the way she blinked at them for several long seconds with an almost gobsmacked expression on her face.

“Of course not,” Lucifer scoffed. “The archangels are octuplets, Detective. You know, the seven blowing their trumpets up in Heaven, and your’s truly,” here he bent in a little bow, “reigning down in Hell and all that.”

“Octuplets?” she choked, disbelief written all over her face. “But, you don’t, well, you don’t really…look that much…like each other.”

He supposed that to human eyes, which couldn’t see the divine power that marked them so clearly as archangels to other supernatural beings, they probably didn’t look related. If they were connected by blood at all, mortals would tend to believe it could only be as half-siblings. Certainly not the ⅜’s of a set of octuplets that he claimed they were.

With his long dark black hair, high cheekbones, and russet brown skin, Gabriel almost appeared Native American; except for his clear blue eyes, which were set above a smile so easy and boyishly innocent as to make his face seem alien when contrasted with his two brothers’ more imposing miens.

Michael, on the other hand, was, quite literally, the golden child. Golden curls brushed over golden-tan skin, which somehow enhanced his impossibly golden eyes rather than making him look monochromatic. Even his wings matched, as bright a gold as Gabriel’s were silver, the sun and moon captured in celestial feathers. Not that the Detective could see those.

And then there was Lucifer. Tall, dark, and handsome, he was sin in human form. Standing next to his brothers, Chloe could almost believe he was the real Devil, if only to reconcile how these three supposedly related men could exude such vastly different auras, the sheer seduction that dripped from her partner in sharp contrast to the pureness radiating from both Michael and Gabriel.

“Right,” Lucifer said after yet another uncomfortable pause, “Well like I said, Detective, my brothers were just about to leave. And…I suppose I need to go too. Since they just got in town and all that. Unexpected visitors really are the worst, don’t you agree?”

“Oh, uh, sure… It was nice to meet you!” she called after them as Lucifer hauled the other two archangels out to his car. Bloody inconvenient timing, he never did get his update on the whole Malcolm arrest status thing.

“Thank you for agreeing to talk, brother,” Michael remarked in what the Devil assumed was an attempt to sound gracious.

Lucifer was tempted, so tempted, to refute his brother’s words, but he knew that the best way to get them off his back was to go ahead and agree to hear them out. “The corvette only has two seats, so one of you can come back with me to Lux, and we can have our little chat. And the other can bugger off and go find leads on Mum, or something.”

Lucifer watched with mild chagrin as Michael immediately moved to sit in the car. The blonde was so much easier to be angry with than Gabriel. On the plus side, it would be easier to kick him out after he turned down his offer for a second time. But on the downside, Lucifer’s fury today was now an inevitability.

“Alright then, Gabriel. Shoo,” Lucifer flapped his hands at his more tolerable bother, slid into the driver’s seat of his car with a put-upon sigh, and tore out of the parking lot without pausing to wait for a response.

And a little over half an hour later the two were walking into the Devil’s apartment above Lux, Michael insisting to an exasperated Lucifer that he should accept their help, that a couple more angels were the answer to all his problems.

“What’s next,” Lucifer mocked, pouring himself a very full glass of whisky, “are you going to suggest we should bring Amenadiel in to help clean up this mess too?”

“Well, it can’t hurt. Things would go faster with more hands on deck.”

Lucifer choked, coughing around the burn of liquor caught in the wrong pipe. “Can’t hurt? Sure, let’s bring in the idiot who caused this whole bloody catastrophe in the first place! See if he doesn’t screw it all up even more!”

“Typical,” Michael glared, tugging at his gold curls almost hard enough to hurt. “You’re not going to accept any responsibility for this, are you? It’s all Amenadiel’s fault, and you’re completely innocent.”

“Me? You’re really going to try to place the blame for this one on me? You’re right, that is just typical,” Lucifer sneered.

“Amenadiel messed up. Clearly—”

“Understatement,” the dark-haired archangel muttered under his breath, and Michael raised his voice to continue talking over him.

“—But none of this would have happened if you had just gone back to Hell like you were supposed to. If you’d just been reasonable at any point in the last five years, and heeded his requests—”

“Reasonable? Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me! I don’t know what the Silver City is like these days, Brother, if the place would immediately fall into chaos if dear old Dad decided to take a break and actually enjoy the world he created for once, but I assure you Hell is perfectly capable of running just fine in my absence!”

“Obviously not!” Michael threw his arms out wide in a gesture meant to encompass the entire metaphorical storm currently raging around them.

Lucifer leaned over the bar towards his brother, eyes beginning to light up with hellfire as he spoke. “None of this, none of it, would have happened if you all hadn’t interfered. I could’ve been gone for centuries and Hell would have been just fine! But of course you bloody pillocks had to stick your big, over-intrusive noses in my business and wreck everything!”

“Centuries?” Michael hissed, voice gone quiet with fury. “You planned to be up here for centuries?”

“Yes,” Lucifer jeered, drawing the word out derisively. “After all those millennia downstairs, I thought I’d spend a hundred years up here…maybe 200? Give or take. A nice little sabbatical to kick back, relax, and fuck my way through the human population. But you couldn’t even give me five minutes, could you? Didn’t even get to finish my first drink topside before Amenadiel was breathing down my neck, did I? So maybe you can excuse me if I didn’t feel like listening to him when he kept badgering me every other day for the next five Dad-forsaken years!”

The golden-haired archangel shook his head, lips drawn in a tight line while his jaw muscles visibly clenched. “You irresponsible—”

“Irresponsible! Have you not heard a word I’ve said? It’s like I’m speaking in tongues, or something!” He knocked back remainder of his drink before saying with slow deliberation, “Hell-would-have-been-just-fine. I had systems in place. Barring celestial interference literally ripping holes in the fabric of the realm itself, I had contingencies for anything that could have gone wrong. What more could you possibly have wanted from me!”

“I wanted you to DO. YOUR. JOB!” Michael yelled, face turning red in his fury, and Lucifer rocked back on his heals, lips parting with some unvoiced protest. Nearly a minute passed in silence as the golden angel stood there panting, looking like he would like nothing better than to punch his brother square in the face; then in a calmer voice, he said, “You’re the Lord of Hell, Lucifer. You should be in Hell, doing your job.”

“I can’t win with you, can I?” Lucifer almost whispered.“You’re not happy unless I’m somewhere where you can’t see me, are you?”

Michael shook his head, pain flashing briefly through his eyes. “That’s not—”

“You know, the mortals say forgiveness is divine. I’ve been in Hell for millennia, since the dawn of humanity. I guess grudges are divine too.”

“Lucifer…”

“You can see yourself out,” Lucifer dismissed his once-favorite brother, turning away.

“Lucifer, I didn’t…We still need…”

“Go,” he reiterated, tone flat.

“But—”

Lucifer whipped around in a sudden rage and hurled his empty glass at Michael. “GET OUT!”

And finally, Michael left.

Chapter Text

Lucifer barely registered Maze entering the penthouse, wrapped up as he was in his music, and the demon felt no desire to disturb her lord, instead quietly treading over to the bar to pour herself a drink while she watched him play. There was not a pianist alive who could best the Devil when he really got going, and she relished these moments when she got these world-class performances all to herself.

He slipped smoothly from one song to another, from the Rolling Stones Paint It, Black to Metallica’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and up into Beyonce’s more recent Halo, chords of the other two woven into the background seamlessly. Maze thought she could even detect some classical strains, Ave Maria and Moonlight Sonata, bridged in occasionally. It was a masterful off-the-cuff remix, the songs blended perfectly into something totally unique yet still completely recognizable.

Lucifer continued playing for over half an hour, and when he finally wound down, he looked noticeably less tense than when Maze had first arrived.

“What happened?” she asked, tilting her head towards the shattered remains of one of the bar’s crystal goblets still littering the floor.

He twisted around on the piano bench to face her, not bothering to look at the broken glass. His eyes ran over the quickly fading bruise marring her face, his expression shifting from furious to hungry to languid almost too quickly for even a demon to catch. She knew her injuries reminded him of some of their more fun games, but Satan was a possessive bastard when it suited him, and he had a tendency to torture things that hurt those he cared about.

“What happened, Maze, was my brothers showed up at the precinct,” he answered after he finished perusing her frame.

“What? Why?”

“Seems they’ve decided we could use their help,” he rolled his eyes heavenward.

She scoffed. “So Amenadiel’s decided to try and fix his mistake? Who’s he dragged along for the ride this time?”

“No, not Amenadiel. At least not yet.” Lucifer muttered last part bitterly, thinking back on his argument with Michael. “No, it’s Michael and Gabriel who’ve decided to pop on down.”

“Seriously? Your Father sent two archangels? Heaven’s never bothered to help with Hell’s problems before. What gives?”

“Well,” he drawled. “As if the Hell Beasts weren’t a big enough issue on their own, turns out, they’re not the only ones that escaped.”

“What else got out?” She asked, every inch of her frame taut with wariness.

“Not a what, a who.” He closed his eyes as he answered her and sucked in several deep breaths.

“Lucifer?” Maze prompted when he failed to elaborate. But he stayed silent, staring out the window with a clenched jaw. Fear that Maze would never give voice to began creeping into the shadows of her dark eyes at the Devil’s reticence. And true to form when faced with something that actually managed to frighten her, Maze pushed, “Come on, who escaped?”

“Give me a moment. I’m not exactly sanguine about the situation myself.”

Demons were not exactly known for the virtue of patience though. Barely ten seconds passed before she growled, a wholly animal sound, and pointed one of her blades at him. “Lucifer!”

He sighed, not having the grace to even look concerned by the threat, and said, “My mum…is apparently running around free on Earth.”

“Is this a joke?”

“Unfortunately not.”

Maze jerked into a standing position and started pacing, looking more like a stalking panther than a ruffled human. She had knives in both of her hands; the weapons were continuously twirled around her fingers in an almost hypnotic, deadly pattern, an unconscious effort, Lucifer knew, to soothe her aggravation.

He let her walk without interruption for several minutes, but when she finally moved behind the bar to pour herself a drink, he called out, “Bring the bottle over here, would you?”

She grabbed two and passed one over when she sat down next to him on the piano bench. “Where are Michael and Gabriel, then? Do they have any leads about where she might be?”

“Wouldn’t know,” he scoffed, taking several long pulls from his handle. “I turned down their help.”

Maze closed her eyes. If she would ever deign to pray to anyone other than Lucifer, he imagined she would be doing so now. “Please tell me that, at least, is a joke.”

He waved the hand holding his bottle of whiskey in a dismissive gesture. “They’re as ignorant as Amenadiel when it comes to Hell, and we see how well that worked out for him. They’d probably try to smite the Hell Beasts,” he finished derisively.

“You could try telling them not to,” she said, voice honey sweet.

“Yes, because my brothers and sisters have such a great track record with listening to me.”

“It might be different if you weren’t talking about your regular old family drama.” She continued talking quickly, heading off the indignant retort he so clearly wanted to voice. “Just tell them that smiting Hell Beasts would be the equivalent of dropping a giant mortal bomb. I bet they’d pay attention to you then.”

“We don’t need them,” he insisted stubbornly. “Not for this. If we run into trouble with the Deep Pitters, I’ll just call the Lilim. I’m not exactly lacking in resources, you know.”

“No demon’s a match for the Goddess of Creation, Lucifer. Not if she’s walking free. They might be assholes, but at least Gabriel and Michael can hold their own. And besides, your mom probably wouldn’t want to hurt either of them. Might give you an edge in a fight.”

It was a throwaway comment that hurt all the more for being true. “I’ve got my hounds to protect me,” he growled in a weak last-ditch effort to protest. Maze just arched an unimpressed eyebrow. “Oh fine, when they show up again, I’ll let them help. But I’m not making any deals with them!”

Maze rolled her eyes. “Whatever. Now, I’ve got 17 Hell Beasts tied up in the basement. So if you could go deal with them…”

“Lovely.” He stood and headed towards the elevator. “With my 14, that brings us up to 67. Only 14 regular Hell Beasts left to go. Then we can focus we on the infinitely more destructive Deep Pitters. Always fun.”

“You got 14? And here I thought you hadn’t done anything useful today.” She tossed the words at him with a sly smile, drawing a petulant glare from the archangel.

“Yes well, Dr. Linda proved utterly useless this morning, and I had some aggression I needed to work out.”

The elevator dinged open to a long, dim hallway. At this basement level, there was a distinct lack of decoration. The walls were plain brick, the floor an unadorned concrete, and the evenly-spaced lightbulbs hung from the ceiling bare of any covering. Frankly, it looked like the kind of movie scene that would send the audience’s hearts pounding as they awaited the inevitable horror the main character would find upon stupidly running towards the screams.

And there were screams. But unlike the hypothetical horror movie heroine, the Devil and his demon strode confidently towards the sounds of rage and pain. Lucifer dragged the solid steel door at the end of the hall open, and the noise level suddenly increased by several decibels.

“Ah, you got the wendigos,” Lucifer nodded with approval, staring at the eight nightmarish creatures chained to the far wall and guarded by an alert Rhan. The beasts’ strangely elongated arms were tied over their heads, stretching their emaciated humanoid bodies out in a grim display as the things snarled at him. Bloody fangs and ferocious growls were not characteristics mortals typically associated with stags, and so were all the more disturbing for their presence on these man-eaters.

“And a triad of harpies,” Maze boasted, pointing at a different set of monsters. The half-bird, half-woman vermin were the most intelligent of the lesser Hell Beasts. Lucifer gave a hum of appreciation low in his throat and wrapped his hand around Maze’s waist.

“You have been a busy bee,” he whispered and kissed her ever so lightly on her neck.

“I had to lasso them, with a whip,” she bit her lip and nodded, eyebrows raised in an expression of cat-like satisfaction as she revelled in the remembered violence.

Lucifer paused. “The one with the treble hooks? That I got from that delightful little man in Mumbai?”

“Mmmhmm,” she purred. “Worked like a charm.”

“Maze, what have I said about using my toys before I get to try them out?”

“Are you going to punish me?” She pressed closer to him, all sensual self-assurance.

He huffed a laugh. It was tempting: she took it as beautifully as she dished it out. But he couldn’t forgive her this early in her bid to win back his favor. Bad precedent. He could wait more than a single bloody day before giving in. “Nice try, my dear,” he chuckled when she scowled. “But I believe I need to drag these abominations back to Hell.”

He pulled away and bent down to grab the end of the black chain that bound the 17 Hell Beasts in a line. And in a flash of ethereal white feathers he was gone. The instant cessation of otherworldly screeching was almost eery, but Maze only had a few minutes to mourn the loss of all those tortured sounds before Lucifer returned.

“Any problems?”

He shook his head in the negative. “We have our corroborating evidence on my mum though. Seems she has escaped. Bael’s been having a private breakdown about it; was completely panicked when he finally managed to catch me.”

Maze rolled her eyes, well used to the other demon’s dramatics, and changed the subject slightly. “How are the Duke’s handling it?”

“Quietly. This is not a good time for the horde to riot.”

“Hell, it’s really just piling on at this point, isn’t it.”

“Mmm, and I think I’ve broken my therapist.”

“What? What’d you do to Linda?”

“Linda?” He arched his brows in question. “I didn’t realize you were on a first name basis…with my shrink.”

“We’re friends,” she shrugged with a little what-can-you-do gesture, then narrowed her eyes as a different thought hit her. “Lucifer, if you broke my only adult human friend…” She let the threat hang unfinished.

Somehow, Lucifer realized, he’d managed to land himself in the unenviable position of being the one who’d messed up. “I was careful,” he tried to backpedal. “I only showed her the bare minimum of Hell Fire in my eyes! And at her insistence too. How was I supposed to know even that would reduce her to a gibbering wreck?”

Every line of his body, from his slightly slumped shoulders to his fidgeting hands and pursed lips, showcased his misery over the situation. He’d never tried to prove his divinity to a still living mortal before, not one he didn’t want to hurt. And especially not one who was convinced that so-called ‘rational’ explanations existed for everything he could do. In the past, most people just believed him; they were much more devout back then: all he had to do was display his superior strength or fail to fall to a blade and bam, truth acknowledged.

So he’d let his eyes glow with the tiniest bit of Hell Fire, something so inherently divine that Dr. Linda’s very soul would be forced to recognize his celestial origins. He hadn’t intended for that recognition to drive her into a catatonic state.

“Why didn’t you just show her your wings? At least those wouldn’t scare her.”

He shot Maze an irritated glower for that suggestion. “I can’t go showing her my wings; the poor thing’s already having a Hell of a time resisting me. No need to make it worse.”

“Wait,” Maze drew the word out with slow disbelief. “You’re actually trying to help her to not have sex with you?”

“Yes, shocking I know.”

“Why?” she asked, tone so full of incredulity as to be almost laughable.

“Doctor Linda claims not having sex will make my therapy more effective,” Lucifer informed her with as much confidence as he could muster, but at her continued look of skepticism he conceded with a sigh. “Yes, I don’t quite get it either, but that’s what she says.”

“And you believe her?”

“Well, what’s the point of having a therapist if you don’t listen to them?” He puffed up like an offended cat as he asked the question, oblivious to the fact that he frequently misinterpreted or outright ignored Linda’s advice.

Maze nodded contemplatively, also missing the irony of his words. “Do you think that works for them; like, not having sex actually benefits humans?” she asked, still completely mystified.

Lucifer tilted his head in consideration. “You know, if she ever un-brakes, I might need to have her reexplain the whole no-sex-is-good thing. It seems very counterintuitive, doesn’t it?”

“Maybe you could un-brake her with your wings. At least she’d want to see you then,” she said with a sly grin.

He snorted, a wry half-smile tugging at his lips. “I should’ve just stabbed myself. Or made her stab me.” It may not have ensured Dr. Linda’s complete belief the way his fiery eyes had, but it would have been the safer option.

Maze blinked. “Didn’t you try that with your pet detective?”

“No,” Lucifer denied. “I had her shoot me. And speaking of detectives, I’m going to need you to go help her catch Malcolm Graham. She’s being terribly slow about it.”

“What? Why can’t you do it?” she frowned.

“Because I need to have another chat with my brothers,” he grumbled back, as unhappy with his self-appointed assignment as Maze was with her new task.

“Fine,” she conceded. “But you owe me, Lucifer.”

Well, Lucifer pouted, she at least seemed to have decided that this whole Linda mishap meant she was forgiven.

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Maze entered the police precinct with raised brows. For someone trying to take a break from Hell, Lucifer sure had a penchant for finding places scarily reminiscent of their home right here on Earth. She wondered how the mortals would take it if she told them that there was an entire wing of torture chambers devoted to bureaucratic paperwork, damned souls chained to their chairs as they slogged through the same forms over and over and over. Dead police officers especially liked to torment themselves with paperwork for unsolved cases, or even better, with paperwork outlining their own corruption.

And here was an entire workforce doing the same exact thing during their few short years on Earth. For such short-lived creatures, humans had an incredible talent for sucking the fun out of life.

Maze spotted Decker diligently working through a pile of case folders at a desk towards the back of the room. She was one of the only women in the station, not that the mortal woman played into her femininity at all, what with her professionally staid ponytail, t-shirt, and a subdued leather jacket that not only covered all of her skin but also managed to obscure her curves.

Even so, Maze could see her appeal. Besides being attractive, she also added an element of danger to Lucifer’s life, a novelty to a being that had spent eons as a virtually untouchable entity. Whether that ability to render Lucifer vulnerable would hold true now that the Devil had uncaged his power was doubtful, but Maze knew he had found it intriguing while it lasted.

Maze was a little worried that he’d choose to lock his power back up after this whole catastrophe was solved just so he could bleed again, but that was a problem for another day.

Shaking off her useless musings, the demon strolled over to Lucifer’s pet detective and plopped down in the mesh office chair beside Decker’s desk.

The blonde woman was slow to react, her eyes dragging reluctantly away from her case file to look at her visitor, but when she finally did focus on Maze, her eyes widened in beautiful shock.

“Mazikeen,” she greeted, voice heavy with befuddlement.

“Decker,” Maze nodded back, enjoying the detective’s confusion. “How’s your hunt for Malcolm Graham going? He kill anyone else yet?”

Chloe’s spine stiffened at the casual way Maze asked that question. She glanced around to make sure no one had overheard, then leaned in close to Maze and hissed, “What are you doing here?”

“I’ll take that as a no,” Maze rolled her eyes. “Lucifer said you refused to listen to Rhan, but you’ve had a whole day at this point. I would’ve thought he’d be locked up by now.”

“Rhan? You mean Lucifer’s wolf?”

“Hellhound,” the demon corrected.

“So not the point,” Chloe shook her head almost violently. “Seriously, what are you doing here?”

“I’m here to help you catch Malcolm,” Maze said, like it should be obvious. “Escaped souls from Hell are kind of in the job description.”

“Escaped souls from? Look, Mazikeen, I don’t need your help catching Malcom. Not that we know he even did it, whatever Lucifer thinks his hellhound said. Where is Lucifer, anyway? He’s not answering my calls.”

Maze released a very put upon sigh. “Well clearly you need my help, if you refuse to believe Rhan. Rhan’s never wrong about these things, you know.”

“He’s a dog,” Chloe shot back, staring at Maze like she thought the demon was the one having trouble comprehending the situation.

Mortals, honestly. Maze pulled out one of her demon blades in a vaguely threatening gesture and started cleaning her nails with it. “Look Decker, I’m helping you on this one. So you can quit crying about it and wasting both our time, and fill me in on what you’ve got so far. Since you humans won’t accept Rhan’s word on the matter.”

“Or I could have you escorted out of the building,” Chloe pointed out.

“That didn’t work out for you when you were trying to get rid of Lucifer. What makes you think it will work with me?” Maze smirked.

“Right, and speaking of Lucifer, I could really use him for this case. So if you’re determined to help me, maybe you could get him here,” Chloe suggested, trying to suppress her frustration.

“No can do, Decker. Seems we’re stuck with each other on this one.”

“No? And what’s he doing that’s so important that he can’t be here instead of you?”

“Negotiating an alliance with a couple of archangels,” Maze said, much to Chloe’s consternation.

“He’s hanging out with his brothers,” she reinterpreted Maze’s words, groaning. “You know what? Fine. Fine, I don’t even care.”

“Great!” Maze grinned. “Where do we start? I can have one of the hounds follow him. They can tell us if he does anything else homicidal. Or we could just go take him in now. Lucifer got me a new knee splitter a few months ago that I haven’t gotten to try out yet.” Seeing Chloe’s dropped jaw, Maze decided to switch tracks. “Or we can go for some less permanent methods, if you prefer. A nice hot poker would only leave small scars.”

“You can’t be serious,” Chloe whispered, looking a little green.

Maze nodded sympathetically and reached out to pat the detectives hand. “Don’t like blood? That’s okay. Going with pure psychological torture takes longer, but for an interrogation, it will result in more honesty. Good thinking, Decker.”

“I can’t believe I’m seriously having to say this, but Mazikeen? NO TORTURE. Here.” Chloe slid her copy of the case file over to Maze. “Read this, and try to think of ways we can prove Malcolm did it without hurting anyone. Okay?”

Maze’s gleeful expression dropped. She took the file and muttered, “You’re no fun at all, are you?”

Chloe didn’t bother to respond. Placing her head in her hands, she messaged her temples, fingers moving in rhythmic, soothing circles, and questioned all of her life choices up to this point. But despite her reservations, she was resigned to the crazy woman accompanying her on this case, if for no other reason than Mazikeen’s stubborn refusal to leave.

God help her.

Chapter Text

“Decided you need our help after all, Brother?” Michael’s voice greeted Lucifer as soon as he stepped into the apartment that Amenadiel had been calling home while he stayed on Earth.

Lucifer took a moment to scan the room and nearly wrinkled his nose in exasperation at the stereotypical decorations his brother had chosen to surround himself with. Everything was white and airy. The wooden floors were a pale birch; the walls were painted ivory; and every stitch of fabric, from the sheets on the bed to the curtains covering the windows, were a soft cream. Even the dozens of candles hadn’t escaped the monochromatic horror. It was the kind of decor that would immediately make any human who saw it think: angel. But honestly the Silver City was filled with an abundance of color, so Lucifer didn’t really know why Amenadiel seemed determined to wrap himself up in a washed out cloud.

“Hardly,” he finally answered Michael’s question, tossing a sneer at his three siblings before going back to fiddling with the candles. “I just figured, what with you so willing to fall on the sword of Mum’s wrath, that it would be silly of me to get in your way.”

Lucifer was careful to only address Michael when he spoke. Obscuring part of the truth was possible in Gabriel’s presence so long as one didn’t say anything false. But when the words were directed at the Archangel of Revelation, even lies by omission were impossible. It was the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and misdirects with the unvarnished, nothing-left-out truth were so difficult to pull off.

Gabriel was the original reason Lucifer had developed the habit of never lying. Only later had honesty become a point of pride for him.

“For goodness’ sake Brother, have you no shame?” Amenadiel rumbled at him.

With his back still turned, Lucifer turned his eyes skyward and silently asked his father why he hadn’t given the eldest seraphim a less overbearing personality. Par for the course, he received no response, but he felt better for having ranted at dear old Dad for a few seconds. “That’s rich coming from you, Amenadiel,” he said as he finally spun around to face the other three.

“No, this isn’t my fault, Lucifer. It’s yours. It always has been,” Amenadiel glared at him, taking an aggressive step forward. The two archangels at his back did nothing to defuse the situation, silently watching the drama unfold in front of them.

“Of course you’d say that,” Lucifer shook his head. “You remember Malcolm Graham? That mortal you resurrected from Hell? He’s killing humans now. A teenage girl, murdered. That’s on you,” he threw the accusation out, jabbing his finger at the muscle-bound angel in emphasis.

But of course Amenadiel couldn’t accept the criticism, not from Satan; he yelled and shoved the Devil back several steps. “If you’d just done what was asked of you, none of this would have happened and I’d still be home! Where I belong!”

Only the fact that he’d come here with the express purpose of getting their help kept Lucifer from launching himself at his bald brother; Amenadiel was clearly spoiling for a fight, and usually Lucifer would be all for indulging him. But not today. “Heaven? Really? You sure that’s still home, eh? After all you’ve done?” he needled instead. “Sleeping with a demon. Oh? You two didn’t know about that one? Favorite bro not been completely honest? And they call me the Deceiver.”

Amenadiel punched him.

It was only as Lucifer straightened back up, wiping at his bloody lip and feeling morbidly triumphant, that his other brothers stirred from their stupor and chose to intervene.

“Enough!” Michael ordered. “Amenadiel, I’ve already had this argument with Lucifer. We’ve got bigger things to worry about.”

“Yes,” Lucifer chuckled darkly just as Gabriel opened his mouth to speak. “Funny, isn’t it? How these things just keep repeating themselves over and over. You lot never do get any more original. But you’re right, Bother, we do have bigger problems. So maybe we could skip the obligatory throwdown this time?”

Michael looked ready to retort, but Gabriel stepped forward and pushed him back with a gentle shove. Shooting a chastising look towards Amenadiel, he said, “Maybe I should do the talking? Since you two haven’t had much success not fighting when you’ve talked to Lucifer?”

“Ever the peacemaker, Gabriel,” Lucifer smiled, relaxing a bit with the assurance that his most easy-going brother would be acting as intermediary.

“It’s more pleasant than conflict,” Gabriel agreed with a happy grin.

Lucifer snorted. “Alright then, you said you’d help me with the Hell Beasts if I’d work with you on Mum?” he asked, careful not to phrase it as any kind of binding deal.

“Yep,” Gabriel chirped, then continued earnestly. “Not that we wouldn’t have wanted to help you catch the Hell Beasts even if Mum wasn’t, you know…”

“Threatening to destroy Earth?” Lucifer finished the thought dryly. He chose to ignore the platitude about helping with the Hell Beasts. He was sure Gabriel, at least, would have wanted to help out regardless, not that he actually would have without Father’s command. “Alright, we can team up as long as you all agree to one rule: absolutely no smiting the Hell Beasts.”

“Why?” Amenadiel piped up, and then as if asking the question had opened up the floodgates, he continued, seemingly unable to stop the flow of words. “Surely even you have to agree that those things are abominations! Why keep them locked up at all when you could destroy them? You should have exterminated them long ago.”

Lucifer grew more tense with every charge that dripped like poison off Amenadiel’s tongue. “Lot’s of reasons,” he spat back, “that I really don’t feel like getting into with you right now. Don’t throw around the mere existence of the Hell Beasts just so you can lay the blame at my feet, Amenadiel. We’re here because you screwed up!”

“Hey! Don’t—” Amenadiel started to respond, but Gabriel’s sharp whistle cut him off.

“Guys, please,” he implored, shooting a quelling look at all of them. When they’d all settled down, he turned to face Lucifer with his hands held out in front of him in a placating gesture and said, “Lucifer, I know Amenadiel was…indelicate, but he did raise a valid question. Why can’t we smite them?”

The Devil sighed; time to see if Maze was right. “Smite a Hell Beast, and it’ll blow up like a giant human bomb. The things are causing enough destruction without us adding to the death toll.”

“Why would they explode?” Michael asked. “I’ve never heard of that happening when you smite a demon.”

“They’re not demons,” Lucifer sneered. “They’re Hell Beasts. Completely different, I assure you.”

“I’m surprised no regular demons took the opportunity to escape too,” Amenadiel commented.

Lucifer rolled his eyes. “As I just said, Hell Beasts aren’t demons. Besides, I forbade possession years ago, and demons do generally prefer Hell. Though I’ll grant you the really stupid ones can’t tell the difference between here and a Hell loop.”

“Alright, what kind of numbers are we looking at. Do you know which ones escaped, what threat they each pose to humanity?” Michael asked, the commanding general of Heaven’s armies demanding a report.

Lucifer almost bristled at the expectation in that tone. Even Mazikeen didn’t dare to command him when things were serious. But rolling the tension out of his shoulders, he opted not to comment.

“Maze has locations on the 14 remaining lesser Hell Beasts,” he said, tone mild as he tossed them his demon’s initial report, marked up now with notations checking off the ones they had already returned to the Pits. “They won’t be much of a problem. We should be able to take them out in the next day or so. The real issue is the Deep Pitters, 16 of them. We are still working on finding them.”

“What’s the difference between a lesser Hell Beast and a Deep Pitter?” Gabriel asked.

“All Hell Beasts are formed from the worst aspects of my realm. They take their template from damned mortals. All their wants and desires are fashioned after the humans who end up in Hell. And just like every mortal soul that ends up in Hell, they long for Earth. And just like every mortal soul that actually manages to make it back to Earth, they bring Hell back with them. Hence all the literal and not-so-literal fires. They want to watch the world burn.

"The difference with the Hell Beasts that we keep locked in the Deep Pits, Brother, is that they’re clever…sapient in a way most of the other abominations aren’t. You can think of most Hell Beasts as just,” he paused, a wry smile pulling at his lips, “nearly indestructible rabid animals. But those from the Deep Pits, picture that mortal, Hitler, but take away any desire he had to rule over a successful empire and leave only his genocidal urges. That’s the Deep Pits.”

“And they’re smart enough to pull off that kind of death toll?” Michael pressed, trying to gain a clear picture of the danger.

“Worse, if we give them the chance to really get the ball rolling,” Lucifer grimaced. “Good news is that they’re all drained from crossing over right now, and any plans they have will necessarily take time. Bad news is that humans have invented things like nuclear bombs. So,” he perked up with false cheer, “let’s try not to let this escalate into an extinction event, yeah?”

“And then there’s Mum to consider,” Michael said, rubbing at his temples. “And who knows what she has planned.”

“As long as it’s not another flood,” Gabriel said, sounding hopeful. “She was mostly favoring plagues before Dad sent her to Hell, and humanity can at least recover from those.”

“Whatever she’s going to do, it can’t be anytime soon. Escaping will have cost her,” Lucifer pointed out.

“Which means she’ll be in a human body right now,” Amenadiel announced, realization brightening his eyes.

“What makes you say that?” Lucifer asked.

“Think about it,” Amenadiel grinned, words coming quick in his excitement. “If escaping cost her as much as you’re implying, she won’t have the power to resist Hell’s pull.”

“So she’ll need a human body to anchor herself to the Earthly plane,” Michael finished for him.

“Alright, so we need to find a human who recently almost died? That narrows it down some,” Gabriel nodded.

“Well let’s narrow it down even more,” Lucifer said. “She’ll be in a human who almost died in LA.” At the other three’s skeptical looks, he rolled his eyes and explained, “We all agree she’s coming to kill me. It’s n0t like she couldn’t sense which city I’m in before hopping into a body.”

“Point. Okay then. Amenadiel? You’re in charge of compiling those records to find Mum. Nobody confronts a potential hit alone though, deal? Gabriel, you and I are going to work on adding protections to vulnerable points in the human’s infrastructure. Wards on nuclear bombs, protections against mind control on major world leaders and the like. Lucifer—”

“Yes?” Lucifer drawled sarcastically. “Tell me, Brother, what is my task to be?”

Michael huffed but carried on without otherwise acknowledging Lucifer’s attitude. “You need to locate the Deep Pitters. First thing though when we leave here, we need to finish off the remaining lesser Hell Beasts. They’re causing the most direct destruction at the moment, so getting rid of them needs to be the first priority.”

“So we’re going on a hunt?” Amenadiel asked and feral grins spread across all four brothers faces.

“Just let me call my demon then,” Lucifer said and pulled out his phone. The other three’s smiles dimmed a bit at that, but none of them protested. “She’d hate to miss it.”

🔥 ✨ 🔥 ✨ 😈✨ 🔥 ✨ 🔥

“You believe me now, Decker?”

“Look, Maze, I’ll admit it’s suspicious. But none of it ties Malcolm to the satanic killings.”

“He spent all his money,” Maze huffed, waiving the corrupt cop’s financial records in Chloe’s face.

“Not exactly murder,” the detective pointed out.

“He tried to shoot Lucifer! And he was talked out of it because Lucifer gave him a pentecostal coin.”

“A crime in and of itself,” she conceded. “And I don’t know how Lucifer knew a creepy coin would save him, but still not anything that links him to these specific murders.”

“Do you even know what a pentecostal coin does?”

“No, Maze, what does a pentecostal coin do?” Chloe asked with the air of someone indulging a child.

“It’s a ticket out of Hell,” Maze growled, equally exasperated.

“So it’s a very strong satanic symbol. But Maze, there are lots of satanists in LA. Observing an atypical religion doesn’t equal murder.”

“Lucifer gives him that coin and suddenly Malcolm goes from wanting to kill him to being all buddy-buddy? And you don’t think that’s linked to your kid Corazon dying the next day with the word ‘Morningstar’ marking the site? Not the most common reference to the Devil, but one that points towards LA’s fancy club owner?”

“No! Because that would be insane,” Chloe stressed, reiterating that fact for what felt like the hundredth time.

“Of course it’s insane,” Maze scoffed.

Chloe closed her eyes, praying for patience. “What’s his motive, then? He’s suddenly converted to satanism so he’s decided to go out and murder a bunch of fellow satanists?”

“Decker, imagine just for a second that you’re Malcolm. You died and literally went to Hell and back, and you believe that Lucifer’s the Devil. And then Lucifer turned around and gave you a way to stay out of Hell. What might you do to try and make the Devil happy, to show him that you worship him, after all that?”

“Yeah, except Lucifer would never want someone to murder in his name.”

“But does Malcolm know that? Lucifer doesn’t exactly have the best PR among humans.”

“It’s a good story, but it’s still completely circumstantial. You probably couldn’t even get him indicted on that.”

“So let’s go get a confession,” Maze nearly begged. This whole thing was so boring. Seriously, how did Lucifer enjoy this investigating schtick so much? If it involved more chasing and fighting criminals she could understand, but so far all she’d gotten to do was sift through paper records and argue. “I’ve been thinking about how to get him to talk without breaking your whole ‘no torture’ rule, and I think all we need to do is set the hounds on him! He’ll squeal in seconds.”

Chloe’s head thunked down on her desk. “Threatening violence is off the table too, Maze.”

“So we don’t threaten him,” Maze shrugged. “Rhan, Aza, and Zeev will just circle him and growl while we ask questions.”

“That’s called intimidation, and it’s still illegal.”

Maze grit her teeth and threw out her final hail Mary. “Then I’m going to invite him to Lux. I can wear a wire or something like they do in all those TV shows. If it’s just me, I can get him to talk.”

Chloe was silent for a long moment as she thought it over. “Actually, that could work. If his delusions are what you think they are, then maybe talking to a ‘demon’ without any police around might loosen his tongue. But Maze, this is very important, you can’t threaten him at all. No saying you or the hounds or Lucifer will go after him if he doesn’t confess. No saying you are going to steal the coin if he doesn’t confess. No hounds growling at him.”

After a moment’s thought she also tacked on, “Or having sex with him. It needs to be just a conversation. Give him the opportunity to talk; don’t force him. We don’t want him to have any case for entrapment, okay?”

“I got this, Decker,” Maze smirked. Finally, something interesting to do.

🔥 ✨ 🔥 ✨ 😈✨ 🔥 ✨ 🔥

A few hours later they had all of the surveillance equipment set up in Lucifer’s penthouse and Maze was down at the bar, wired up and waiting for her prey.

“You can’t seriously think Malcolm had anything to do with these murders, Chloe,” Dan muttered from his seat beside her.

“I know it’s all really circumstantial, but I don’t know, I have a gut feeling about this. I can’t believe it, but I do think he did it.”

“A gut feeling? Really?” Dan scoffed. “If he doesn’t confess Chloe, this is going to look really bad for you. You realize that, right?”

She looked away, and when she answered her voice was quiet, an odd mix of uncertainty and conviction. “You know I don’t believe Paolucci’s death was a suicide. And now all of this? There’s something rotten going on, Dan.”

“Malcolm Graham, welcome to the Devil’s lair,” Mazikeen’s voice sounding over the wire halted their conversation. At this time of day, the club was completely empty, so only the low thrum of background music interfered with the recorded conversation, an easily ignorable noise.

Down at the bar Maze watched in amusement as Malcolm’s eyes scanned over her, caught somewhere between suspicious and deeply lustful. “And where is the Devil,” he asked after he finished his perusal.

“Out,” she grinned, sharklike. “It’s just you and me this time.”

He swallowed. “And who are you?”

“Mazikeen,” she introduced herself with no further explanation.

“To him, I mean,” Malcolm clarified right on script.

“Hmmm, so many things: bartender, lover, protector, demon consort. Take your pick.”

“Wait, they’re married,” Maze heard Detective Espinoza’s voice whisper in her earpiece, followed by Decker hushing him.

“Why’d you ask to meet with me?” Malcolm asked, appearing apprehensive but flushed with excitement.

“Drink?” she asked, then poured him a whiskey without waiting for a response. “Lucifer heard about those satanic killings.”

“Yeah, he wasn’t at the last crime scene though,” Malcolm sighed. And oh, this was too easy. The poor human actually looked disappointed.

“Yes, he’s been very busy lately, but he did want me to look into it for him.”

“He did?” Malcolm perked up a bit.

“Oh yes,” she smiled. “Somebody’s clearly trying to pay tribute to him. And he wanted to know all about it.”

“Exactly! It’s a tribute! Some of those other cops, they actually think Lucifer did it, you know? But not me! I know he didn’t do it. I just want you to know, you and Lucifer both to know, I respect the Hell outa him. Get it? Hell?” He gave a deranged little laugh and held his hand up for a high-five. “Up top.”

Maze eyed the man’s fingers, and just as he was starting to look uncertain, she commented, “You’ve got red paint on your hand. Just like the paint that was at the warehouse.”

“Oh,” he pulled his hand back and started to wipe it off against his pants leg. “I must have gotten it on me at the scene.”

“You weren’t wearing gloves? Isn’t that police protocol or something? They always have gloves in the movies.”

Malcolm locked eyes with her and his nervousness slowly dropped away in favor of a smile. “Oh man! You caught me! Literally red handed! Oh, I was wondering if you’d figured it out. I been dyin’ all day to tell Lucifer. You’ll tell him for me, won’t you?”

“You killed those people?” Maze asked, trying to make sure the recording had a very clear confession. This kind of thing wasn’t her preferred method of dealing with things, but let it never be said that she wasn’t competent enough to pull it off.

“You mean those frauds? Yeah. Do you think Lucifer’ll be impressed?”

“He’ll be something, alright,” Maze purred, picturing all the wonderful ways Lucifer would punish this cretin in Hell. “And the police think Lucifer did it?” she asked, honestly curious how this idiot could think Lucifer would be pleased by that even if he was the type of Devil depicted in human religion.

“If you’re worried, I’ve got the perfect person to pin it on!”

“Already got someone picked out to frame for the murders of Rose Davis and Corazon? Well, aren’t you a prepared little boy scout.”

“The street preacher! The one I had to drag outa the first crime scene, ya know? Genius right? That guys crazy, and I already dropped some evidence so,” he sighed, a contented, eager look on his face.

Decker chose that exact moment to enter the room and arrest him, an easy feat after Maze took the opportunity to wrestle the deranged cop’s weapon from him. And Maze had to admit, Decker did look hot cuffing the man. Now that she'd decided not to kill the detective, Maze hoped Lucifer had more luck seducing her in the future. That would be fun to watch.

Maze’s phone dinged, drawing her attention away from the lady cop, and she pulled it out to see a message from Lucifer: 😇➡️🤺👻🙏🏼👫🤯. “My brothers and I are going to fight the rest of the lesser Hell Beasts. Please join me before I go crazy,” she interpreted.

“Well, looks like my work here is done,” Maze announced to the surrounding police officers and headed for the door without a backwards glance. Sometimes, Lucifer’s timing was impeccable.

Chapter Text

“‘Sup losers,” Maze called as she jumped out of her souped up (and armored, though Lucifer had at least insisted she go a little subtle on that point) black SUV, Rhan and Zeev trundling down after her with wolfish grins. Both hounds bounded forward immediately when they caught sight of Lucifer, tails wagging joyously at being reunited with their master after the long separation.

They’d split up a mere five hours ago figuring the task would go faster if each celestial engaged in their own hunt, and Lucifer had insisted Maze take the two hellhounds with her, more concerned with her having someone trustworthy watching her back than he was with increasing his brothers’ efficiency tracking the beasts.

“Hey boys,” Lucifer bent down to greet them even as Aza rushed from his side to pounce on Maze. He’d tried to get her to stop letting Aza jump on her like that, but his demon seemed to like the almost violent affection, so he’d long given it up as a lost cause.

Once the dogs had finally settled down, Lucifer looked up at Maze and announced, “I do believe I won this round.”

She narrowed her eyes. “How many’d you get?”

“Six,” he smirked, smugness radiating off of him like a tangible thing. “And before you ask how I know you didn’t get more, I’ll tell you that my brothers caught six between them. Well, mostly Michael, but still. That leaves only two for you.”

“It wasn’t a competition, Brother,” Michael grumbled from his spot on the other side of the private garage where he was standing guard over his four Hell Beasts, each of which was cut up into a bevy of small, twitching pieces rather than resembling anything like an actual creature.

“Says the first loser,” Lucifer rejoined, tilting his chin up in a superior expression before turning his attention back to Maze. “You got the worms?”

“Yes,” she grimaced and walked around to open the hatch to her trunk, yanking two writhing, pink, fleshy masses onto the concrete at her feet.

As they were at the moment, the Hell Beasts were only vaguely scary, at least to the immortals’ eyes. They were sightless tubes of pure muscle with gaping mouths at one end that opened into an orifice filled with concentric circles of dagger-like teeth. Stretched out, each worm was probably about twelve feet long and as thick as a typical human torso, but they kept twisting back in on themselves, which made them appear smaller.

They were much more terrifying when free. These particular abominations were tunnelers. They had a voracious appetite, eating their way through anything solid to carve out underground pathways; the more they consumed, the larger they grew. The only reason they were contained in this small shape at the moment were the numerous Hell Chains wrapped tightly around their bodies and stuffing up their mouths to keep them from eating. The Hell-forged bindings could neutralize the majority of even an archangel’s power, so they had no trouble knocking the worms into a more manageable size.

“I think I should get extra points for catching them,” Maze said. She cocked her head to the side, staring down at the worms, then reared backed and kicked one harshly in the side, drawing an inhuman, chittering scream from the thing. “They were the size of a subway train by the time I found them.”

“Had they caused much damage?” Lucifer asked, tone dropping its teasing lilt.

“A couple of collapsed apartment buildings out in Pasadena, and I’m sure their sewage and water lines are shot to Hell too. They’ll be real freaked when they go to investigate and find giant holes cutting through the ground. The worms were heading towards the CalTech campus when I got there.”

He spared a moment to feel pity for the humans who must have died when their home collapsed before shoving it down to churn with the impotent rage and unacknowledged guilt festering in a locked-away corner of his mind over this whole situation. There was nothing to be done now except clean the mess up.

“Sounds like you got there in the nick of time,” he said, pulling a smile onto his face.

“Yeah I did, and they were a damn sight more dangerous than your little volcanic gorillas,” Maze lightly mocked, raising her brows towards the five snarling great apes that looked like they were crafted from half-cooled lava.

“Those grow too,” Lucifer protested.

“Not as fast as the worms,” she singsonged back.

He laughed. “Give it up, darling. I’ve already won.”

She cast her eyes over him, then glanced at his final catch and smirked. “See you caught the black widow. Bet that was fun.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time a partner’s tried to eat me mid-coitus,” he muttered sardonically. “But no, I didn’t grace the little beastie with that pleasure before I captured her.”

“Pity,” Maze joked with a teasing leer.

“Okay,” Gabriel broke in, clapping his hand down on Lucifer’s shoulder. “If you two are done flirting, maybe you could drag these things back to Hell, Luci?”

“Oh very well,” Lucifer agreed with a sigh. “Mazikeen, darling, why don’t you and my brothers grab a celebratory drink up in my penthouse? I’ll join you in a few minutes.”

He didn’t wait for his siblings to consent, trusting Maze to keep them around until he made it back from Hell. Chains in hand, he circled the ceiling of the garage once and dove straight through the floor, all fourteen Hell Beasts trailing after him wailing in protest.

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Bael greeted him as he was handing off his quarry to the Pit Guard with the news that the accounting of the Hell Beasts had been completed, so Lucifer flew his duke back to his palace to go over the report.

They touched down at the main entrance, and Lucifer took a moment to appreciate Pandemonium’s architecture. It was a towering structure arching across two separate islands at the center of one one of Hell’s largest volcanoes. The only way to reach it was to either fly or brave the treacherously narrow rock path across the molten lake, and dragons frolicked in the magma, glittering like gems in every color of the rainbow, their beauty deceiving nobody as to their vicious nature.

Beautiful but deadly was a theme with his abode. The surrounding pool of lava cast a flickering glow on the black obsidian of the palace walls, giving the entire building the appearance of a glowing ember, the effect all the more arresting for the lack of drifting ash in this section of Hell.

Turning away from the sight, Lucifer led Bael through the palace halls towards his private wing, nodding small acknowledgements to the occasional noble-demon. All of his dukes were out overseeing their sections of Hell at the moment, but lesser nobles often loitered around the palace in the hopes of catching his attention, even when he was gone on an extended vacation it seemed.

Once they made it to his private office, he poured them both a healthy glass of bourbon (never let it be said demons in Hell couldn’t be industrious when it came to producing products their lord took pleasure in, even if the drink was technically only a facsimile), and flopped down on his leather couch. “So which Deep Pitters am I hunting?” he asked, slipping easily into Lilim, the language of the archdemons.

Bael accepted his glass and handed Lucifer a thick report as he settled next to the Devil. Lucifer flipped to the section naming the Deep Pitters currently on Earth, opting to save reviewing the damage that had been caused by Hell Beasts who hadn’t escaped Hell for later. He scanned the list quickly, then dropped his head back against the back of the couch with a frustrated groan.

“I know it’s not good news,” Bael started.

“Understatement,” Lucifer muttered.

“But you seem…more disquieted than I would have expected?”

Head still leaned back, Lucifer glanced at Bael out of the corner of his eye, noting the demon’s open, earnest expression. It was one of the reasons he liked Bael so much: the sometimes-cat-faced male was unusually sensitive for a demon, which probably also played into his frequent bouts of anxiety.

On the rare occasions he ventured from his post at the Pits to play with the damned mortal souls, Bael tended to favor emotional torment, and over the years he’d grown highly perceptive at sussing out Lucifer’s own moods. He was also willing to indulge his king, at least somewhat, when Lucifer needed softer companionship.

“We still haven’t located my mum,” Lucifer confided after a moment’s contemplation. “Tell me, Bael, you’ve been in charge of her prison since she arrived. How many times do you think she’s going to kill me before she tries to trap me in a cage of my own?”

“I don’t know,” Bael solemnly confessed. “She only spoke once, in all the time she was here.”

“Oh? And what did she say?”

Bael shrugged and stated matter-of-factly, “She asked for you. But you’d told me you wouldn’t interfere, so I refused her request. And no matter what Mazikeen did to her after that, she never said another word.”

They both fell quiet then, sipping at their drinks to the ever-present tune of crackling fire, the palace’s constant companion thanks to the lake of lava surrounding its islands.

“She did nothing when I was cast out of Heaven,” Lucifer eventually broke the silence. “She just stood by and watched as Michael, always the good little soldier boy, followed Dad’s orders.” It was an old wound, as was everything connected to his Fall, and he’d had millennia for the initial sharp pain of betrayal to settle into a more lingering resentment. But still… “So when Dad sent her to be locked up down here, I did the same thing: nothing. After all, what could she possibly have said to justify what she’d done?

“Only now she’s free, potentially planning to kill me at least once, and I can’t help but to wonder what she might have said if I’d gone to see her.”

Lucifer sat up then and twisted to stare down at Bael directly in the eye, his own eyes burning with barely banked flames. “Next time an important prisoner requests my presence, Bael, do not assume what my answer will be.”

Bael didn’t quite shrink back in the face of Lucifer’s anger, but he did bare his throat submissively in silent acknowledgement of the reprimand. Lucifer nodded, satisfied that the message had been received, and stood up.

“Well, seems it’s time for me to head back to Earth. Hopefully I’ll see you again soon with another fresh catch,” he said as he finished the remainder of his drink with a grimace.

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Maze bounced over to Lucifer’s bar, a cheerful swing in her hips. “A toast,” she gloated, “to finally catching the last of the lesser Hell Beasts.”

The three angels all accepted their drinks while they waited for Lucifer to come back from Hell, an air of accomplishment drifting through the room. And then Lucifer flapped back into the penthouse with a scowl on his face.

“Pour me one, would you?” he grumbled, dropping gracelessly onto one of his barstools.

Maze eyed him warily. “What’s happened now?”

Lucifer knocked back the glass she handed him in two large gulps and motioned for her to refill it before answering. “Bael’s finally finished cataloguing exactly which Hell Beasts escaped, and of all the bloody Deep Pitters to have gotten out, one of them had to be Echidna.”

“You’re kidding,” Maze groaned and dropped her head down on the bar. “So much for my toast.”

“What toast?” Lucifer asked.

“Ahem,” Gabriel spoke up before Maze could explain, raising his hand like a schoolboy waiting to be acknowledged. “Perhaps you could explain for the rest of us? Who or what is Echidna?”

“A nasty piece of work,” Maze muttered. One that the Heavenly Host had left them to deal with alone last time Echidna had escaped to wreak havoc on Greece. Barely a year topside, and the humans were still telling stories about her.

Lucifer quirked his lips in a small smile, knowing exactly what had caused her sudden annoyance with his siblings, then turned to his brothers and said, “A nasty piece of work.”

He let the words hang there for a moment, just long enough to see irritation start to creep into each of his brothers’ eyes, before continuing. “Half snake, half disturbingly hot woman, and the so-called Mother of Monsters. If she’s up here then we’re not quite as done with the lesser Hell Beasts as we thought. Once she’s recovered, she’ll just keep popping new ones out.”

“Lovely,” Amenadiel snorted.

“So I take it we should move finding her towards the top of our priority list?” Michael more stated than asked, but Lucifer opted to treat it like a question anyways.

“Right to the number one slot, I’d say, if we want to keep the numbers manageable.”

Michael nodded solemnly, noting that this new information didn’t change the general plan. Lucifer was still in charge of tracking the Hell Beasts, and he promptly assigned Maze the task of locating Echidna. With that decided, the others drifted out of Lucifer’s penthouse, his brothers off to Dad only knew where while his demon went down to the club to enjoy spot of late-night revelry.

Not inclined to party himself, Lucifer instead meandered over to his piano. He tossed his jacket onto the bar, a smooth navy line against the glass surface, and rolled his shirtsleeves up and unbuttoned his collar for comfort. Then he grabbed a decanter of bourbon and a crystal tumbler and, ensemble complete, slid onto the piano bench, running his fingers almost reverently along the ivory keys, feeling their weight and smooth texture as he began to slowly pluck out a melody.

In a slow lilt that didn’t much resemble the hard-hitting notes of the original version of the rock song, Lucifer started to sing, “Risin’ up, back on the street. Did my time, took my chances. Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet. Just a man and his will to survive…So many times, it happens too fast, you trade your passion for glory. Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past. You must fight just to keep them alive!”

And on he played, sometimes singing, sometimes letting his fingers carry the music. He didn’t know how long he’d been at it when the elevator dinged behind him, a pain-filled gasp of his name interrupting an amusing rendition of Elvis’s ‘(You’re the) Devil in Disguise.’

He twisted around, halfway to standing before he’d registered the desire to move, caught somewhere between confusion and budding concern that a Deep Pitter had gotten the jump on Maze, only to come up short at the sight of a complete stranger. She had long auburn hair framing a beautiful face, and her business clothes, disheveled and bloody as they were, did nothing to disguise her shapely body. A thought which disturbed him a second later as his senses picked up a familiar if severely diminished aura.

“Mum?” he asked, alarm shooting adrenalin straight to his heart.

“Lucifer,” she gasped out his name for a second time, taking a staggering step towards him. “Help me!”

She reached her hand out to him as her knees buckled, but he didn’t go to her. He scrambled back, retreating to his living room to snatch up his sword from where he’d tossed it on the couch when he’d returned from Hell. Armed, he stepped back around his piano to observe his mother, sword held loose and at the ready.

She was collapsed on the floor, panting, with no weapon in sight. Her tight pencil skirt and blouse didn’t exactly leave much room to conceal a knife either, not that he trusted that assessment. He’d spent too many years with Maze, who could still sometimes shock him with a dagger despite her scant clothing, to believe his mother was as helpless as she appeared.

But still, she was occupying a mortal shell, her divine power a barely flickering light, so weak he’d almost take her to be a human witch were he not so familiar with her. And it was impossible to bring anything with you when possessing another body, so unless she’d somehow managed to overpower Maze or one of his brothers, she wouldn’t have access to any blades that could hurt him.

Wounded bird was only a good strategy if she had something to strike him with when he came near. With neither power nor weapon, it didn’t make sense for her to come for him now, in this manner. She should be holed up somewhere recuperating. Unless she intended to recover with his help and stab him in the back later.

“Lucifer?” She peered up at him, eyes locked nervously on his black sword. “What are you doing?”

“Hello, Mum,” he finally greeted her, grip tightening on the hilt of his sword. “Long time, no betray.”

Chapter Text

“Betray?” His mum appeared bizarrely shocked by the word.

Lucifer shrugged. “If the soul reflects,” he said, the angelic equivalent to the modern human idiom, ‘If the shoe fits.’

She narrowed her eyes, then apparently opted to flip the conversation around on him.

“Son, I know it was your father who had me locked up in Hell. I don’t blame you for that any more than I blame your siblings for shepherding me down there. No, not even for lending your energy to power the locks,” she reassured after accurately reading the disbelief in his expression. “You were all just obeying orders, I know that. Though you could have at least visited me.”

“Like you did for me?” Lucifer scoffed, simultaneously offended by the notion that he would ever blindly obey his father again and the fact that she believed she deserved such consideration from him.

“So that’s what this is about? You’re mad that I didn’t come see you in Hell?” Somehow she still managed to sound haughty despite the fact that she was sweaty, covered in blood, and kneeling on the floor at sword point.

“Well goodness, you don’t call, you don’t visit, what’s a son to think? But hey! What’s a few thousand millennia between family, am I right? Especially after you stood by and let me be cast out in the first place. Trust me, Mum, I’m way past mad by now.”

“Stood by? Just because my conversations with your father were held in private—”

“You did nothing!"

“And what would you have had me do?” she shouted back, struggling to her feet. “You started a rebellion, Lucifer! I may not have been thrilled with your punishment, but—”

“Yes, the true original sin! I rebelled! Because Heaven forbid your children think for themselves! The famous celestial war…No one even died!”

“That’s only a technicality, and you know it, Son.”

Lucifer rolled his eyes, long habit allowing him to easily shove his regret away. “I didn’t think you cared about the lower orders.”

“They’re still angels, Lucifer. My grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

“And on down the line?”

“Yes! And you know full well that they aren’t capable of reforming completely after they die. Their souls are no better off than all those silly human souls polluting the Silver City now!”

Like he needed the reminder of what his war had cost. It may take a while, and it may be painful, but archangels and those directly created by God and Goddess would eventually regrow as good as new. The millions of others…wouldn’t.

Snakes writhed in his stomach and Lucifer took an aggressive step forward, his eyes flashing red with hellfire.

“So they lost their power, they’re still in Heaven! Even those who joined me in rebellion are still there.”

“Demoted,” she pointed out, mostly unfazed by his show of temper.

“I’m the only one who was cast out, though, wasn’t I?” He jabbed his sword at her carelessly in emphasis, darkly satisfied when she retreated a step. “I may have been the one who led the fight, but I was hardly the only one who thought we needed change.”

“Like I said,” she pursed her lips, giving him a chastising look, “I wasn’t thrilled with your punishment. I didn’t think we should break up the family. But you’re an archangel, Son.”

“The privileges of rank.” He turned his face away, eyes focussed on his blade as he spun it round and round in his hand, soothed by the whistling hiss it made as it cut through the air.

“You’re too powerful to punish the same way those who followed you were punished,” she said, stating the obvious. “And none of the other options your father was considering were any better than Hell. At least this way you became a king!”

“Beelzebub,” Lucifer sneered. “Literally translates as ‘Lord of Flies,’ the ‘god of filth.’ If you were aiming to give me a crown, Mum, you certainly bestowed an illustrious one.”

She stared at him, expression placid, until he relaxed his stance. Then she took a cautious step forward, hand held out beseechingly. “Put the sword down, Son. I’m not here to fight with you.”

“Afraid I can’t do that,” he said and moved to place the tip of his blade ever so delicately against the fragile skin of her human throat.

She blinked. “Why?”

“Why? Well because I have to take you back to Hell.”

“I’m your mother.”

“Yes.” He drew the word out exaggeratedly, the sarcastic ‘And?’ unvoiced but heard nonetheless.

“You can’t put me back in that cage.”

“I assure you, I can.”

She stepped towards him then, heedless of the shallow cut that sliced into her neck at the motion, and smiled when Lucifer instinctively jerked his hand back to avoid injuring her further. “Son, it’s broken. It couldn’t contain a fairy now, let alone me.”

“The locks are already being repaired, Mum. Enough of them are fixed that, weak as you are now, they’d hold you.”

“Ah, but I didn’t just break the locks, I broke the whole cage.” She grinned smugly when his eyes widened in alarm. “You didn’t really think I’d leave my freedom to chance, did you?”

Lucifer stood frozen. For a brief second he wondered how his demons could have missed this before he dismissed the thought. The locks were shattered and Hell was in chaos; there was no reason for anyone to enter the infernal labyrinth that was his mother’s cell. The locks may have kept the entrance closed, but the reality bending interior of the cage, with its ability to confuse and disorient a person until they didn’t know which way was up and which way was down, was far more effective at keeping its prisoner trapped than any door could ever be.

“Well played,” he muttered, sheathing his weapon.

She smirked and walked around him to sit on his couch, but before she could lower herself onto the cushions he stopped her, not about to let anyone, especially a member of his family, sit on his Italian leather sofa in bloody clothes. He tossed a clean button-down shirt and a pair of black silk boxers at her, the best options he could come up with on a moments notice, and ordered her to take a shower, then snatched the decanter off his piano and chugged the remaining whiskey.

It took several more hours of discussion and a quick trip across town to the the sight of his mother’s mortal shell’s murder for Lucifer to become relatively convinced of her good intentions. Not that he intended to leave her alone regardless, but with nowhere to cage her, he figured it was best to avoid violence (hopefully in the future as well) by acting the part of a hospitable host.

Maze was informed of the situation, but she had more important tasks than guarding his de-powered mother, as did Michael and Gabriel. But Amenadiel’s assignment was defunct now, so Lucifer called him to his penthouse with a quick prayer. A couple of threats of dismembership should his brother attempt to tote their mum back to Hell later and Lucifer was on his way to the precinct, happy to leave the other two to their reconciliation.

He was sure he was in for a tedious lecture from Michael at some point, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. It had been a long, sleepless night, and he wanted something less cosmic to entertain himself with at the moment.

He strolled up to Chloe’s workstation half an hour later and was displeased to note the early morning sun casting shadows over an empty desk. Ignoring the wary looks being thrown at him from the other officers, most likely thanks to Aza’s massive body settled docilely at his side, he sat down in the Detective’s chair to wait.

The case file on her computer was open to the case they'd been working before Malcolm Graham’s satanic killings. It was the murder of a nine year old girl. Brown hair, brown eyes, innocent, and far too similar to Beatrice for the lieutenant to have assigned the investigation to the Detective.

Last he knew, they’d arrested an Iosif Sokolov. Middle-aged and greying with a slight beer gut, the man was utterly unremarkable aside from his perverse inclination for young girls. In a rare opportunity to demonstrate his skill as a polyglot, Lucifer had conducted the entire interrogation in Russian, but much as he’d enjoyed the general admiration of the precinct and Chloe specifically, he’d been frustratingly unable to wrangle a confession from the man.

Iosif only admitted to molesting their murder victim’s best friend after he was confronted with her sworn statement accusing him, but he’d held fast to his proclamations of innocence in the face of the murder charges. The man had no hidden desire to confess. His greatest wish was to walk away free, and Lucifer couldn’t draw out what wasn’t there.

It looked like the detective was taking another crack at him though. The file noted that Iosif had been brought up to interrogation room three about two hours ago, so maybe that’s where he’d find Chloe.

“Lucifer?” Her voiced sounded behind him right at that moment.

Lucifer reacted on instinct more than anything, reaching out and grabbing Aza by the scruff of her neck almost as soon as the dog moved. “No, Aza! We don’t jump on humans!”

Aza settled back into a sitting position and looked up at him with wide maroon eyes, a plaintive whine building in her throat.

“Yes, I know the Detective is our favorite, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be bear hugged every time you see her.”

Aza nudged his hand in complaint, then ducked her head in a quick, questioning nod.

“Well because she’s not Maze!” he responded, exasperated. “Humans generally take a gentler touch.”

The dog leaned forward and licked his fingers then cocked her head to the side inquisitively.

“Yes, that should be fine,” he agreed and waved her towards the detective.

Aza immediately moved to sit in front of Chloe, nearly vibrating with happiness. Her tail wagged hopefully while she stared up at the blonde woman. The detective glanced uncertainly at Lucifer, and he gestured for her to hold her hand out with an encouraging smile. Obeying the silent instruction, she held her palm out for the hound to sniff, grinning a little when Aza licked her fingers.

“Dude, that’s freaky,” Dan commented from his spot at his desk several feet way.

“And awesome!” Ella exclaimed as she walked out of the lab before Lucifer had a chance to respond to the Douche. “Man, do you enter them in any dog shows? I bet they’d kill it at the obedience competition!”

“I prefer to play obedience games with people.” He winked at the detective, delighting in the way her nose scrunched up and the deep flush that immediately rose in her cheeks. “Besides, the hounds are hunting dogs, not show ponies.”

“You hunt?” The Douche looked insultingly skeptical at the idea.

Lucifer tugged at his cufflinks with a sniff, realigning them so the ruby-eyed snakes both pointed towards his hands. “Of course I do. Haven’t you ever heard of the Wild Hunt?”

After several seconds of silence, he looked up from examining his clothes and noticed the disbelieving stares of the other three. “What?”

“Sorry, just didn’t take you for the…outdoorsy type,” Ella clarified for them.

“Outdoorsy?” Lucifer raised his brows in surprise. The Wild Hunt was primal, sure, but the heated rush of the chase as his legions swept over the land with all the unstoppable force of a tsunami bore little resemblance to those images he’d seen of men dressed in camouflage perched in trees for hours on end. The Hunt would be just as at home in the middle of an urban jungle as a rainforest. “No, nature’s much more my sister’s schtick.”

Daniel shook his head, expression screwed up in an expression that almost had Lucifer warning him about premature wrinkling; Ella opened her mouth as if to speak, but no words were forthcoming. Chloe opted to just grab his hand and drag him off towards the interrogation rooms with Aza trotting at their heels, effectively ending the conversation.

They entered the observation room and the door swung shut behind them with a resounding bang. Chloe took several deep breaths like she was steeling herself for something. Her fingers remained firmly wrapped around his hand. Glancing down, Lucifer noticed that her knuckles were white and bloodless from the strength of her grip, and he wondered if the lack of pain on his end was confirmation that unlocking his power had nullified his physical vulnerability around the detective.

On the other side of the one-way glass, Lucifer could see Iosif Sokolov. He was dressed in a washed-out grey jumpsuit. His hands were handcuffed to the table in front of him, and his hair hung in greasy, unkempt strands over his forehead.

He was gazing straight at the glass, smiling like the cat that ate the canary.

“Lucifer?” Chloe’s eyes shifted back and forth between her partner and Iosif. She wouldn’t quite meet Lucifer’s eyes even when he tried to tilt her face towards him with a gentle hand on her jaw.

“Detective?” he drawled when she failed to say anything else after nearly a full minute.

She huffed and squared her shoulders. “That guy's guilty.”

“Yes, he is,” Lucifer agreed with a slow nod.

“He still hasn’t confessed.”

“I know.”

“God, but the way he talks about it! That smarmy, self-satisfied look on his face! He’s guilty as sin, and the only thing we can tie to him, definitively, is molesting little Aubrey.” She paused, drawing in a deep, shuddering breath. “He’s guilty, and he’s going to get away with murdering Lucy.”

“Detective…”

“Killing a child, Lucifer. A nine-year-old girl.”

“I know.” He felt like he was on repeat, but he didn’t know what else she wanted from him.

“A couple of years in prison, and he’ll be right back out on the streets. That’s not justice.”

“Detective, I promise you, if he doesn’t pay for it in this life, he will when he’s dead.”

“That’s not good enough. It’s not.” Her shoulders hunched forward with defeat. It was times like these, when he could see the heartbreak written in every inch of her frame, that Lucifer most wished she would believe him when he said he was the Devil.

“I assure you, eternal damnation is exactly as horrible as it sounds.”

“I don’t care if he’s going to burn in Hell for the next ten billion years!” She rounded on him, meeting his eyes for the first time since they entered the room. “It’s. Not. Good. Enough,” she said, each word falling off her tongue like a hammer striking an anvil. “That little girl is dead. He shouldn’t get to live out the rest of his life free when he stole her life from her.”

They both went quiet. Lucifer just watched her, watched as she took exactly ten deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth, her eyes squeezed tightly shut. Her eyelashes were clumped together from tears that hadn’t quite escaped. A fine tremble shook her entire body. When she looked back up at him, her blue orbs burned into him.

“Lucifer, I need you to, to do your thing. On him.” Her jaw was clenched so tight he could see the muscles straining beneath her skin.

“I already asked him what he desires, Detective,” he said, voice soft and gentle. “He’s not going to confess, not when his greatest desire is to be free.”

“I’m not asking you to make him confess,” she denied.

“Then what?”

“I want you to put the fear of, of you into that creep. Whatever it was that you did to drive Jimmy Barnes mad, what you did to those others that made them curl up and cry like, like you really are the Devil. Do it to him. He shouldn’t be allowed peace of mind. Not after what he did.”

“Look at you, listening that little me on your shoulder.”

A reluctant smile tugged at her lips. “Will you do it?”

“For you, Detective? Of course. But no peeking.”

She released his hand to hold her fist out, pinky extended. “Promise.”

He laughed and linked his own pinkie with hers, just as young Beatrice had taught him.

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Chloe followed Lucifer to the door to the interrogation room. A surge of affection warmed her chest at the dramatic little bow he tossed her way before he sauntered into the room, shutting the door firmly behind himself with an assurance that he wouldn’t touch their prisoner.

She waited out in the hallway, hand scratching lightly behind Aza’s ears. The dog really was sweet, despite its scary, wolf-like appearance. Though with the way Lucifer encouraged his pets to growl at Dan, Chloe could understand why her ex didn’t agree. She also had to admit that it was a little concerning that Malcolm Graham had actually turned out to be guilty. She didn’t buy for a second that Lucifer’s other hound, Rhan, had somehow sniffed out the culprit.

She still needed to talk to Lucifer about that. And about several other worrying things he’d said over the last week. Hell Beasts had to be code for something. Or a metaphor. Something that played into Lucifer’s Devil thing. She would have let it go, but there’d been a pretty dramatic uptick in disasters recently, and she couldn’t help but think that his warnings about chaos had something to do with it.

That horrible fire in Glendale Peak that had spilled over into Atwater Village, burning straight through nearly four blocks before the fire department was able to put it out. The huge tunnels they’d found under that collapsed apartment building in Pasadena. And Chloe hadn’t forgotten how weird Lucifer had acted about going to Boyle Heights right before all those half-eaten homeless people had turned up near there.

Whatever was going on, the police needed to know about it. Which meant it fell to her, since Lucifer would never open up to anyone else.

The door jerked open with a rusty squeal, framing Lucifer in a halo of florescent light like a silver-screen mob boss. Chloe peeked around him to get a look at their murderer, and a surge of vicious pleasure boiled through her veins at the sight of the tear-stained, blubbering mess Iosif had become after a mere thirty seconds with her partner.

The Russian started begging in broken English as soon as he caught sight of her, a confession falling from his lips in a desperate tenor. Where he’d buried the murder weapon and his bloody clothes, the pictures he’d taken, all of it choked out without prompting while Lucifer stood serenely at her back.

Lucifer got a text from Maze as an officer came to take Iosif back to his cell, a signed confession ensuring he’d never see the light of day again. Chloe was sure the scumbag would regret waving his right to lawyer later; she could be nothing but thrilled with the way it had panned out.

But Lucifer’s muttered, “That was fast,” and the way he strode out of the precinct with rushed excuses mirrored his behavior in Boyle Heights too closely for comfort. The way Aza howled, a bloodthirsty, eager sound, and loped out the door ahead of him brought to mind images of mythical ‘Wild Hunts’ and half-eaten bodies, sending a sharp chill down her spine. She was confident Lucifer wouldn’t hurt anyone, but still…

Chloe grabbed her keys and peeled out of the parking lot on his heels, ruthlessly suppressing the stab of guilt she felt at tailing her best friend.

Chapter Text

Chloe knew Lucifer didn’t pay attention to things like tails when he was driving, but the way he whipped around corners and sped through lights right as they were about the turn red just to break into a masterful game of dodging and weaving between lanes would have made the most paranoid of spies proud, and Chloe was hard pressed to keep up. Fortunately for her, she was able to track him with the ‘Find My Friends’ app on her phone, so twenty minutes after she had inevitably lost him, she pulled into an abandoned school parking lot to find Lucifer’s classic corvette settled next to a souped-up truck, two dependable looking hybrid Lexus SUV’s, one each in gold and silver, and a sky blue VW Beetle with a pair of crystal angel wings hanging from the rearview mirror.

She parked on the other side of the lot around a corner where her car would be concealed by the red brick of the school building, and hopped out to make her way slowly indoors.

It took her longer than it should have to figure out what was causing the pit of apprehension knotting her gut: the world around her was completely silent. All the normal little sounds of life that she never paid any attention to, the rumbling of cars and the buzzing of bugs that usually accompanied the setting sun, were absent. Even the soft hum of electricity that was human kind’s constant companion in all large cities was gone.

A lone drop of sweat trickled down her spine as her rubber-soled shoes crunched gently against the concrete pathway. Almost compulsively she found herself counting her steps, fifty-three to reach the large wood-paneled door. She yanked it open, cringing at the loud creak it made as it swung on thick metal hinges, and walked inside.

Years on the police force had taught Chloe to listen to her instincts, so ridiculous as she felt for doing so, she unholstered her gun and moved into a ready position against the wall, methodically clearing each empty classroom as she paced forward.

She was beginning to hear noises in the distance. A basketball game, maybe a wrestling match. Some kind of sporting event muffled behind layers of walls, but the yelling was becoming more distinctive as the minutes passed.

And then an explosion rocked the foundation of the school, knocking Chloe to her knees in a spray of dust, though luckily all of the walls around her remained intact. She struggled to her feet, disoriented and ready to run back to her car, before she realized with a nauseating swoop that Lucifer might have been caught in the blast.

“Dammit! I said no smiting, Michael!” Chloe heard his voice ring out as she sprinted through the deserted halls towards the location of the detonation, though she spared no thoughts for her relief.

“It keeps disintegrating every time I try to stab it!” Another voice retorted. Michael, she guessed. “Into a swarm of locusts! Was that your idea of a joke, Brother?”

“That’s what that one does. It’s a million for one deal, lucky you. And no, I’ve told you before that I didn’t make the damned things!” Another explosion rocked the building right as Lucifer finished speaking, and Chloe could hear him shouting again, sounding increasingly frustrated. “I said no smiting! Can’t you ever listen!”

“It was just a little one,” Michael defended himself, and Chloe had a brief flash of insight into what Lucifer’s childhood must have been like. Just a small explosion, like that made blowing things up better. “I just hit a couple of the tiny bug parts. How else am I supposed to fight this beast?”

Seriously, what had Lucifer gotten mixed up in this time? This had to be the weirdest fight dialogue Chloe had ever heard outside of a video game.

And then she turned the corner into the abandoned cafeteria, and she no longer had to wonder.

“You could try trapping it instead.” She heard Lucifer say over the general din of the battle raging before her, but his words were like a distant memory, ringing through her mind but failing to seize her attention. Because what she was witnessing right now was impossible. Maze, Lucifer, his pet wolves, and his three brothers, they were all here, fighting against a horde of monsters that would have looked perfectly at home in a sci-fi horror movie, or perhaps on the pages of a book of Greek myths.

Across the room, Maze and the hounds were engaged with what appeared to be actual zombies. Only the things had no skin. They looked like a human with all of its outer layers peeled back, all exposed muscle and dripping blood as they crawled towards a madly cackling Maze. And what was the woman using to defend herself? Knives. Fucking knives. What the Hell?

Chloe’s eyes darted to a different section of the room where Gabriel and Amenadiel were ganging up on, dear God, were those chimeras? Two different heads: one a snarling lion, sharp fangs bared as it tried to rip into its man-shaped opponent; one a narrow-eyed goat, head lowered and ready to ram strong horns into its victim. And yep, there was the venomous snake masquerading as a tail, spitting deadly fire from its maw like it wanted to claim dragon status as well. Chloe wasn’t well-versed in mythology, but she remembered this monster, if for no other reason than because she’d always been impressed with the ridiculous imaginations of the Ancient Greeks for thinking it up.

They didn’t seem so ridiculous now. The monsters were real, and there were five of them. Five giants with fangs, and the two dark-skinned brothers were dancing around them with…Goddammit, hadn’t these idiots ever heard of guns?

A shout of triumph drew her eyes over to Lucifer’s golden brother. Michael was combatting a literal swarm of locusts with lights. Actual, honest to God, shimmering rainbow lights. And even worse, she realized with a kind of stupefied dismay, it was working. The locusts were slowly being forced to mesh back together into some large, misshapen brown lump. With teeth.

Chloe reached behind her and grabbed onto the wall for support as her legs threatened to give way beneath her. But she kept her gun aloft, pointed fruitlessly at the general chaos.

“Echidna, my dear!” Lucifer yelled out a mocking greeting loud enough that Chloe heard it clearly even over the dull roar of the chimeras’ fires and the general wailing of the other creatures who were dropping like flies, over even Maze’s haunting laughter and the hounds excited howls.

Chloe stared as her partner cut through a writhing mass of snakes towards a monster situated atop a raised dais at one end of the room. The platform probably housed the teacher’s table when school was in session, but right now its only occupant was a hundred foot long snake, one with the upper body of a terrifyingly beautiful woman. Flowing chestnut hair framed a lovely face, highlighting big blue eyes and a becoming womanly figured, bared unashamedly to the world. But from the hips down, she wore the body of a huge, speckled snake.

And, Chloe observed with fascinated horror, she was birthing more monsters in an almost uninterrupted stream. Spiky-skinned snakes surged from her body and straight into the melee attacking Lucifer. A slightly longer pause, and a small chimera emerged, growing at an alarming rate. It would be the same size as the ones battling Amenadiel and Gabriel in less than ten minutes.

“My Lord,” the so-named Echidna hissed back at Lucifer, tone equally as mocking as Lucifer’s had been. “I knew you would come for me. And here you are. I would apologize for the reception; children can be so unruly; but boys will be boys. And I will be honest, watching them rip into you and your brethren has been a delight.”

“I’m sure,” Lucifer agreed dryly. He continued slicing his way forward as he spoke with a kind of skill Chloe would never have expected from him. She’d always known he was strong and graceful in the way one associated with highly trained dancers, but she hadn’t realized he could move like this, that his fighting could be honed into this pure efficiency of motion. Not a single step or jab of his weapon was wasted. He moved like he was born to the sword, like he’d been wielding it for a thousand years.

And God, but he probably had been, she thought, her breaths starting to come in labored pants, little dark spots dancing in her vision. Because the snake lady had just called him My Lord. Because all of this was impossible. Should be impossible. But she knew it was real, could see it with her own two eyes. And she couldn’t write this off as some weird hypnosis trick. She couldn’t pretend blood loss was making her misremember things, not like when she’d been shot by Jimmy Barnes during the first case she’d worked with Lucifer. She couldn’t say this was a trick of the light or laugh about the idea that Lucifer might be a secret body builder in his spare time.

Chloe couldn’t deny that this was all real. And if this was real, then everything Lucifer had ever told her was true. It was all true. He was the Devil. The actual Devil. And Michael and Gabriel were honest to God archangels. Amenadiel was an angel. Sweet Jesus, she was surrounded by them. And Maze. The hellhounds. Fucking Hell, she thought with a hysterical giggle.

She slid down the wall, gun still held limply before her, and tried to fight back the panic that wanted to swallow her up like a living thing. Somewhere buried deep in her subconscious she was grateful that none of the literal monsters in the room seemed to have noticed her, too preoccupied with the supernatural people Chloe had been obliviously calling friends for nearly a year.

She wondered if it was to her detriment or benefit that she was not well-schooled in theology, that she hadn’t bothered to educate herself even after she started working with a man who claimed to be Satan, because everything her partner had ever said about himself had seemed so contrary to the traditional understanding of the Devil. Because how could this man, this being, be the Prince of Lies? The Deceiver?

This man who never lies. Because, oh God, it was all true. He really was the Devil. And God…God, he was real too.

Lucifer had reached the dais by now, a path of twitching, grotesque bodies slain in his wake. Echidna reared up from her lazy sprawl, her confident smirk dropping into a vicious snarl as she rose thirty feet in the air, her head bumping against the high, vaulted ceiling. She said something that Chloe didn’t catch, and a blob of molten lava dripped from her birthing canal to coil at the ground right in front of Lucifer.

Nine heads sprouted from a long, thick body with short legs and a powerful tail, like a Komodo dragon made of fire and extra deadly jaws. The thing lunged, and Chloe cried out in alarm, sure that a sword was no match for a twenty foot long lizard despite all evidence to the contrary. She was on her knees, trying to struggle to her feet so she could run to Lucifer’s aid, and he was…laughing.

He reached out, not with his sword which had cut down so many monsters already, but with his bare hand. His fingers wrapped around one of the thick, muscular necks, and blackness spread rapidly across the creature’s body until there was no red left; then the great lizard crumbled to ash, like the logs in a bonfire after they’d been dowsed with water.

Lucifer lifted his hand up to show a small orb of fire which he played with for several seconds like a magician with a quarter. “Fire? Really? How stupid are you, Echidna?”

A flick of his wrist and that small ball of fire burst into a blazing inferno. Echidna shrieked in agony as the flames wrapped around her body in a burning whip, dragging her down towards their master so he could plunge his black blade straight through her abdomen, ensuring no more monstrous babies would emerge.

Chloe could smell the burning flesh from all the way across the room. It reminded her horrifyingly of a hamburger on a grill. She dropped from her knees to all fours and wretched, then shuffled backwards to curl up in a tucked away corner, hidden from the room by one of the last remaining intact cafeteria tables.

She didn’t see anything else after that, barely even registered the fact that the fighting had stopped, the din of battle quieted in favor of relaxed conversation.

He’s the Devil. He never lied. The words repeated over and over in her head, the soundtrack accompanying the image of Echidna burning in her mind. He’s the Devil, Lucifer lifts up a hand filled with flame. He never lied, a flick of his wrist and the snake lady burns. And repeat.

“Um, Lucifer? Isn’t that your detective?” Blue eyes set in a swarthy, handsome face: Gabriel. Gabriel, the…archangel.

But his detective? Had she sold her soul to the Devil? Was that a real thing? Was it possible to trade your soul by accident? Or maybe she’d agreed, thinking it was all a joke. She didn’t know. She’d been too stupid to ask. Too stupid to believe.

“Detective?” Lucifer was suddenly there, crouched before her.

Instinct had her raising her gun, though her hands trembled so badly she probably couldn’t hit him even at this short range of five feet. “D-don’t! S-stay back!”

“Okay, alright,” Lucifer immediately agreed, voice calm and lulling in a way Chloe rarely heard from him. “I won’t come any closer. You’re safe, Detective. I promise, no one’s going to hurt you.”

“W-what w-w-were? You, you’re you. You’re the Devil! Oh God, it’s all r-real. It’s all real. You’re the Devil. You’re, you’re. And those were?” she continued to babble, tears spilling down her cheeks as her throat started to close over her words, the gun still shaking in her hands.

“Hey, hey now,” Lucifer soothed. “You’re alright; just breathe, Detective. Deep breaths, in and out, just like that. Good, that’s good. You’re okay.”

“Okay, okay,” Chloe nodded, calming down slightly. But then Lucifer smiled a little and rocked forward on his toes, and she jerked back, banging her elbows against the wall.

He paused, hands coming up in a placating gesture. “I’m not going to hurt you Chloe,” he said, tone as serious as she’d ever heard it as he stared at her intently. There was something infinitely sad and resigned in his eyes that, somewhere beneath the visceral fear that occupied most of her mind, broke her heart.

“If you don’t…trust me on that, then you must know that if I’m the Devil,” he clenched his jaw when she flinched, then carried on after a beat of silence, “then Michael and Gabriel are archangels, and Amenadiel’s a seraph. Much as I hate to say it, you don’t think real angels would let the Devil hurt someone, do you? Not right in front of them.”

“I-I…no?” she said, though it came out more like a question.

“Good. That’s good. And I’ve never hurt you either, have I?” Lucifer coaxed.

“No,” she answered more firmly this time. “No, you haven’t.”

Lucifer grinned. “You want to lower the gun then, darling?”

Chloe glanced down, surprised to see her firearm still held at the ready. She slowly dropped her hands back to her side. “Would it even work on you? That time I shot you, did you actually…bleed?”

It didn’t seem possible. He was the freaking Devil. And he’d seemed so honestly shocked when it’d happened, staring at his bloodied hand like being wounded by a gun was a foreign concept.

“Wait, you shot him?” Gabriel piped up, and when she looked over she could see mirth dancing in his eyes.

“And he bled?” Michael laughed as he threw an arm over Gabriel’s shoulders.

“He told me to!” she protested, blushing.

“Satan, felled by a mortal bullet!” Michael continued to guffaw, and Gabriel smirked beside him.

“I could have really hurt him,” she glowered at the two archangels, starting to feel indignant on Lucifer’s behalf. She’d shot their brother! With a gun! But her words only made them laugh harder.

Lucifer glared at his two brothers, then rolled his eyes and turned back to her. “Not to worry, Detective. I was never in any serious danger.”

“But you did get hurt?” she pressed.

“Hmm, yes. Quite the novelty actually,” he grinned. And how was it possible that he looked so much like an excited little boy with a new toy right now?

“So this would work on you?” she asked, waving her gun at him.

He cocked his head in contemplation. There was something distinctly avian in the sharpness of the gesture. Thinking back, she realized just how inhuman even many of the small things like this that he did were. The way he always circled their suspects, that cat-like air of playing with one’s food. The way he watched people, too long and too intent to be considered polite, and the way he would sometimes open his mouth and breathe deeply, and she would swear he was scenting the air.

“Do you know, I’m not actually sure,” he finally answered her.

“You’re not sure! How can you not be—”

“Bit of a long story, that,” Lucifer cut her off. “You usually make me vulnerable, but what with recent changes and all I’m not sure…Well, we can test it out later. Not now though!” he rushed to add, eyeing her like he thought she might start firing off any second now. “A little busy at the moment.” He gestured over his shoulder to where Michael and Gabriel had apparently slunk away to to help Amenadiel and Maze tie the monsters up with menacing black shackles.

An awkward silence fell between them, and in the quiet, Chloe’s anxiety began to churn once again in her gut. “Right, so, you’re the Devil. The actual…Devil,” she said, just for something to say.

“Yes, I guess this does prove I’ve been telling the truth rather handily.” Lucifer appeared a little too pleased with this result, in Chloe’s opinion, now that he seemed to have decided she wasn’t going to run away screaming.

“And…you really look like this?” she asked, starting to feel genuinely curious. She was sure her existential panic would come back later once she was alone. But for now, well, you could only be terrified without anything happening for so long before the emotion had to fade. “You don’t have?”

“Horns and a tail?” he smirked. “No, nothing like that. This is my real appearance, more or less.”

Her eyes widened and her heart started beating double-time. Okay, she may have been a tad premature in thinking her fear was gone. “M-more or less?”

“Well I have to keep my more blatantly divine aspects hidden. Can’t be running around with me bloody wings out all the time, can I? Or even worse, my Devil Face.”

“Your Devil Face? So you can look like, like all the stories say you do?”

His expression couldn’t seem to settle between irritation and good-natured humor, instead switching between the two so fast that he looked like he had Tourette’s. It would have been funny any other day. “They took some artistic license with that, but yes, I can.”

She took a deep breath, steeling her nerves, and asked, “Can I see it?”

“No,” he denied her immediately, tone unequivocal.

“Why not?” She was surprised by how disappointed she was, angry even, that he’d refused her request out of hand.

Lucifer snorted and pulled out the flask he always kept on his person. He offered it to her after he’d taken several long sips, but when she waved it away, he said, “I’d prefer to keep you out of the asylum, if I could. We wouldn’t want you to end up like Jimmy Barnes.”

She stared at him, then reached out and snatched the flask out of his hand. It was a thoughtless action, one she wouldn’t have hesitated to take a day ago, and she determinedly didn’t allow herself to second-guess it before she tipped the flask back and swallowed down the wonderfully smooth whiskey. “He went insane…because he saw your face?”

“Mmmhmm,” Lucifer confirmed, wicked delight lighting his eyes.

“It can do that?” she asked, incredulous.

Lucifer looked back at her, simultaneously self-deprecating and smug, and dryly stated, “It’s very scary.”

Chloe cast a speculative eye over her partner, then looked over at the creepy beasts the other friendly supernatural beings were chaining. “It can’t be worse than those things.” She shuddered, then said with implacable resolution, “I can handle it.”

Lucifer shook his head with a fond smile, impressed with how well she was dealing with everything. “It’s not a matter of bravery, Detective. Dear Jimmy wasn’t driven mad because he was a coward or weak-minded, though he was both of those. My Devil Face isn’t just a physical thing: the sight will touch your soul.”

Something about the way he said that sounded ominous, but Chloe was determined. Taking a deep, shaky breath, she insisted, “I’ve seen a lot of horrible things in my time on the force, things I’ll carry with me, in my soul, for the rest of my life. I can handle it.”

“I admire your tenacity, m’dear, but the answer’s still no.”

“But—”

“Trust me Decker, you don’t want to see,” Maze said, sidling up behind the still-kneeling Lucifer to place her hands on his shoulders. “No human can ‘handle it’.” She finished saying, putting air quotes around the final two words.

“But why?” They went quiet, exchanging a look Chloe couldn’t interpret, so she continued, fighting back the clawing desperation that was beginning to shiver down her spine. “Please, I need to understand.”

“Fine, I’ll spell it out for you.” Maze rolled her eyes. “You ever heard that Nietzsche quote about staring too long into the abyss?”

“If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. Yeah, I’ve heard it.” Chloe nodded, brows furrowed as she tried to figure out where the demon was going with this.

“Lucifer’s the abyss,” Maze stated like that closed the subject.

But Chloe continued to look lost, so Lucifer sighed and added, “Detective…Chloe. My Devil Face, it’s the kind of thing eldritch horrors were templated after. It’s a literal manifestation of soul-burning agony. And if you look at it, that’s exactly what your soul will feel. It’s supposed to be a punishment; so please, trust me when I say you don’t deserve to see it.”

Chloe felt oddly reassured by his words. Or maybe it was the clear proof that he didn’t want to hurt her that made her feel safe. “I…okay. I’m sorry for pushing.”

“Not a problem, Detective,” he smiled.

“And your wings, you said you had those too, right? Would they also drive me mad if I saw them?”

“Well, not in the same way,” he hedged, and Maze snickered beside him.

“What do you mean? What would happen if I saw them?” she asked, glancing back and forth between her two smirking friends.

“Rapture, obsession,” Maze started ticking reactions off on her fingers. “Spontaneous need to drop to your knees and worship their beauty till your dying day.”

“Some mortals can recover from seeing them,” Lucifer cut in, side-eyeing Maze.

“So seeing them doesn’t…hurt the soul like seeing your Devil Face would?”

He chuckled, mischief dancing in his eyes. “No, seeing them touches the soul in a very different way.”

“Rapture,” Maze fake-coughed, and Chloe’s face blushed red with understanding.

“Must you always make things sound dirty, Brother?” Michael asked, walking over from where he and Gabriel had been pretending to help Amenadiel double-check the restraints.

“Wanted me to go with the drug analogy, didn’t you?” He rushed to continue before Michael could deny it. “Fine, then. Our wings are like drugs: They’d give you a better high than you could possibly imagine, and then they’d go away, and it would be the crash to end all crashes.”

“Joy,” Michael corrected, glaring at Lucifer. “They’d fill you with joy and perfect love. It is…depressing to have that happiness disappear when the wings are no longer in sight.”

“You’re a killjoy,” Lucifer muttered.

Chloe watched them lobby insults back and forth, incredulous that these angels could stand before her acting like a pair of teenage boys. And God, they really were angels, weren’t they? What the actual Hell.

Dammit…Shit, she really needed to reevaluate her choice of expletives.

Chapter Text

A part of her, a very large part if she was honest, was screaming at Chloe to run. Sprint back to her car, grab her daughter, and get the hell outta Dodge. But that would be stupid. It was just her lizard brain speaking, and right now she needed every bit of human cunning and forethought millennia of evolution had granted her. (She wasn’t giving up on evolution until told otherwise, thank you very much).

There was a chance Lucifer was every inch the person he’d always represented himself as to her, in which case running would only hurt someone she cared for deeply. On the opposite extreme, she couldn’t help but think that you should never run from a predator. You run, and you incite their prey drive, give them something to chase. She needed to be the fearless kitten that stared down the pitbull and convinced it not to attack through sheer bloody moxie.

Most likely though, Lucifer’s true nature laid somewhere between her affable, over-sexed partner and the apex predator he’d just proven himself to be. Him and the rest of his entourage, because as much as Christian lore painted Satan and his demonic cohorts as the ones to be scared of, she couldn’t claim that the holy angels put her at ease either, not with everything she’d just seen.

So when Maze, who Chloe now knew to be an actual demon, reached out a hand to help Chloe to her feet, rolling her dark eyes at Michael and Lucifer as they continued to bicker back and forth, Chloe forced herself not to flinch away, to instead wrap her own fingers around the knife-happy woman’s and allow herself to be effortlessly hauled to her feet.

Superhuman strength, the detective thought, adding it to the mental list of abilities she’d witnessed from these beings.

An excited yip from across the cafeteria had Chloe looking up to see one of the hellhounds loping towards her. Its fur seemed to float around it like wispy smoke, otherworldly and terrifying, and despite the tongue that lolled out of its mouth in the happy manner of most friendly dogs, she found herself backing away, desperate to escape the massive canine.

“Aza!” Lucifer called out sharply, cutting off his argument with Michael, something about how Pluto was just an ugly lump of ice and how Michael should stop pouting about humanity’s decision to downgrade its planetary status. How their squabbling had landed on that topic, Chloe didn’t have the energy to care.

“We’ve talked about this,” he continued to scold his pet. Aza halted her approach and sat down with a whine. Her fur settled down into a normal-looking black coat, and she inched forward a couple inches in Chloe’s direction, dragging her rear across the floor in a ridiculous manner as she stared at Lucifer with big puppy eyes.

Lucifer glanced over at Chloe, taking in the way she’d retreated back into her corner, and turned back to Aza with a shake of his head. “No, give the Detective some space, girl.”

Aza huffed and hopped forward another inch, a full-body wriggle running from her head down to her tail.

“I’m sure she’ll be happy to give you lots of pats. Later.”

The hellhound barked.

“Aza! Stop being difficult and go guard the Hell Beasts.” The dog turned away from him with a sniff and practically flounced away, tail sticking straight up in a fashion that more resembled a smug cat than a hunting dog. Lucifer tugged at his shirtsleeves with an exasperated frown, muttering, “Honestly, the nerve.”

Chloe watched the interaction with new eyes. “Can you talk to animals?” she blurted before she could think better of it.

“What?” Lucifer looked back at her with raised brows while Maze clutched her stomach in silent laughter.

“I…never mind.” She looked away with a blush.

Lucifer continued to peer at her for several seconds longer before deciding to let the subject drop. “Right then, Detective? I’m going to need you to shut your eyes for a couple of minutes.”

“Why?”

“I’ve got to fly these little beasties back to Hell,” he said, jabbing his finger at the various chained up monsters. Then an impish grin lit his face, the same one that always preceded an inappropriate joke, and she knew exactly what his next words would be before he even started to utter them. “And while you know I’m always up for sex with you darling, I’ve been enjoying our slow seduction without the aid of my wings.”

“Seduction, sure,” she tried to banter back with her usual aplomb and thought she mostly succeeded. She squeezed her eyes shut and waved her hand to signal she was ready. Several seconds later there was a whoosh of displaced air, then several wingbeats, the dragging of chains and a clamor of screeching, then everything went silent as the grave.

“Can I open my eyes now?” Chloe asked.

“Sure,” Maze answered her. “But maybe turn to face the wall or something. Lucifer will only be a minute.”

Chloe peeked about cautiously, taking in the now mostly empty room, then turned to face the wall, ignoring the pricks of discomfort she felt at giving the others her back. “That seemed like a lot of monsters for Lucifer to fly back by himself?”

“Eh, more trouble than it’s worth to let those three idiots help when he’s got plenty of energy to manage it himself,” Maze said, providing more questions than answers.

“Um,” Chloe hesitated for only a moment, “why?”

Maze shrugged and started cleaning flecks of dried blood out from beneath her nails with one of her favored curved blades. “There’s always at least one faction of the Horde looking for an excuse to riot.”

“Oh.”

“It’s all good and fun usually, but this isn’t a great time.” Maze looked almost disappointed at that, Chloe observed incredulously.

Amenadiel chuckled at her expression. “Demons, you could never accuse them of being peace-loving.”

Maze bared her teeth, looking downright pleased by the description, which, actually, was exactly what Chloe would expect from her.

Another whoosh and suddenly Lucifer’s voice was ringing out behind her. “Mazikeen, make a note, Bael is demanding a vacation once everything’s under control.”

“Ha! Of course he is, the big baby.”

Chloe turned around to see Lucifer smirking at his demon’s response.

“I’m thinking we drop him in the Nile,” he continued on blithely. “Saltwater crocodiles are aggressive enough for him, don’t you think?”

“Can we focus, please?” Michael broke in before Maze had a chance to respond, saving Chloe from yet another moment of feeling like she was trapped in the Twilight Zone with a bunch of nutjobs.

"Fine,” Lucifer scowled, conceding with poor grace. “Aza, Rhan, Zeev! Spread out and make sure we didn’t miss any!”

Chloe looked at him in alarm. “Wait, there might be more of those things?”

Lucifer turned to her with a troubled expression, but it was Gabriel who answered her. “Echidna, the one who kept birthing all the other monsters? She called her children back here when we showed up, but there might still be a few out there, uh…”

“Out there, where?”

“They wouldn’t have gone far,” he tried to reassure her, though his tone only made her more uneasy. “No more than a couple of blocks.”

“And what would they have been doing?” she asked with sinking dread.

The others all exchanged an apprehensive look, then Lucifer stepped forward with his hands held out placatingly, which only racked her anxiety up another couple notches. “Many of the Hell Beasts like the taste, that is to say they hunt, ah…”

“They eat humans,” Maze said bluntly, saving Lucifer from his uncharacteristic stuttering.

Chloe paled so fast she actually felt dizzy. “What? But y-you’ve caught them all now, right?”

Lucifer grimaced and sent his brothers and Maze away to help the hounds. Then he led her over to one of the few remaining seats, keeping a careful distance after she’d jerked away when he tried to place a hand on her shoulder, and started to explain. It was a good thing, she thought, that she’d temporarily lost the ability to be shocked, otherwise she was sure each new revelation would have overwhelmed her.

She didn’t know which was worse: his dire proclamations about the remaining Deep Pitters or his half-hearted reassurances about his escaped mother. (All ‘Oh yes, I was worried about that, but turns out, Mum’s a peach. Just, you know, don’t piss off Charlotte Richards if you can avoid it, Detective.’) Because there was a Goddess who somehow never made it into the Bible now too, apparently. And she was possessing a human woman’s dead body. Because why not?

Chloe was practicing her deep breathing exercises, clinging to her sanity by sheer force of will, when the others returned.

Gabriel approached them slowly while the other three hung back. His blue eyes scanned her warily, like he was afraid to spook her if he made any sudden move. She wanted to tell him that she was well past the point of no return by now, that he may as well just act normal; she was bound for the mental asylum anyhow. But she held her tongue.

After an awkward couple of seconds, Gabriel turned his attention to Lucifer. “We got them all, but…” he shook his head, “three block radius, no survivors.”

“None?” Lucifer closed his eyes. It was clearly a rhetorical question, but Gabriel chose to answer him anyways.

“Every man, woman, child, and pet. I imagine the police will start getting calls soon as more family members come home.”

“Oh, God,” Chloe moaned, tears beginning to drip down her face as she pictured the horrific tragedy this neighborhood had been subjected to.

“Detective?” Lucifer made to reach for her but pulled his hand back at the last second. “We should get you home. There’s nothing more…We can—”

“No.” Chloe squared her shoulders, steel stiffening her spine. “No, I’m the human here. I’ll deal with this. You all, you need to leave. Get out of here.”

“But—”

“No, we can’t have you tied up in this. The investigation’s going to be… Just, leave. Avoid traffic cameras, if you can. I’ll take care of this.”

“If you think that’s best.” Lucifer stared at her like he was trying to see into her soul. She didn’t let herself wonder if that was a real possibility.

“I do.”

“Okay,” he finally agreed, then with one last imploring look, he gestured for the others to follow him out the door, and she was alone.

She waited only a minute before going outside. Across the street she could see a dead dog lying in the front yard of a charming blue bungalow house with a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front yard. Right then, she had her cover story.

Taking one final, calming breath, she shoved it all down and pulled out her phone to dial dispatch.

🔥 ✨ 🔥 ✨ 😈✨ 🔥 ✨ 🔥

Maze drummed on her steering wheel as she drove away from the abandoned school, Nirvana’s ‘Smell’s Like Teen Spirit’ pounding through her speaker system. Seriously, who knew Decker had it in her? It made more sense now how the detective produced that spunky little human Maze had grown so fond of.

But it was also a little frustrating. Maze had exactly two and a half human friends, and that was only if you were generous and counted Decker as a half. And one of those people was still locked up in her office quaking over seeing a little Hell Fire in Lucifer’s eyes while the half-friend had bucked up to deal with the massacre that Echidna’s brood had left in their wake.

Maze would never understand what it felt like to have the Devil’s own Hell Fire lick at her soul, seeing as to how she didn’t have a soul, but this still seemed like a big disparity to her. Lucifer claimed he’d only shown Linda the bare minimum level of fire in his eyes, which in the long run should prove less traumatizing than witnessing a full-blown horror movie battle scene with monsters come to life. At least in theory. It’s not like Lucifer had ever tried this before.

That settled it though, didn’t it? Obviously, she’d been too gentle with Linda, and Lucifer’s dad knew the soft approach had never worked for her in the past. Decker wasn’t allowed to hide from her new reality, and she’d risen to the occasion. Maze needed to give the psychiatrist that same opportunity.

She grinned, pleased with her conclusion, and jerked her truck across five lanes of traffic to the exit that would take her to Linda’s office, turning the music volume up so she could belt out the lyrics in time with Kurt Cobain’s distinctive, smoky voice.

“Linda!” She pounded on the doctor’s office door when she arrived, then went quiet, listening. Human ears wouldn’t have picked up the hushed breathing or the tiptoed footsteps through the wall, but Maze knew before the light clack of the deadbolt swinging into place that Linda was present on the other side of the door. “I know you’re in there Linda! I can hear you!”

Her friend made no response, and Maze sighed. She considered breaking in through the window again, but decided against it for now. Linda certainly wasn’t going to escape that way. Humans shied away from three-story drops, she’d learned.

“I’m not going away this time! I promise, I can sit out here shouting at your door a lot longer than you can stay in there!”

No response. Maze banged on the door again. “I’ve had a revelation! I’ve realized that I’ve got to push you!”

No response. Maze narrowed her eyes. “If you leave me out here, I’m just going to start sounding crazier and crazier to anyone who might walk by!”

Linda remained stubbornly silent, and Maze released a subvocal growl. “See, I just got done battling a bunch of Hell Beasts…Escaped monsters from Hell? I’m doing you all a service, you know! Fighting them so we can lock them back up in Hell! Which, okay, I’d probably do it anyways. Sort of part of my job description. And my hobby. Whatever, look, this time was…sweeter? Maybe? I don’t know, I thought of you. And Trixie. And…And protecting you? It’s gotta count for something, right?”

A soft thunk sounded in Linda’s office, causing Maze to perk up. Several seconds passed with nothing else happening, but the demon was encouraged to continue talking nonetheless. “Anyways, so we’re fighting these Hell Beasts, and they’ve killed a whole neighborhood of humans. Actually, you’ll probably hear about it on the news soon. Don’t worry, we already caught the monsters! …You’re welcome!”

Still so quiet. Faster breathing though, either fear or excitement. Probably fear. Maze didn’t think Linda was the type of person exhilarated by the idea of deadly battle. It definitely wasn’t arousal. She knew bloodlust would never translate into literal lust for the doctor, more's the pity.

“So, we finish up all the fighting, and you’ll never guess who had the balls to follow Lucifer. Decker! You know? His detective? She—”

The door was suddenly wrenched open, bringing Maze face to face with Linda’s anxious expression. “Is Chloe okay?”

Maze smiled, wide and bright, feeling a warm sense of accomplishment. “Decker’s fine,” she said, brushing past Linda into the office. “That’s what I’ve been trying to say. She saw everything and was stuck there with us, and she was freaking out, right? And then all of a sudden, she just took charge. And I realized, I couldn’t let you hide anymore.”

“What?” Linda skirted around the office, keeping a wide berth until she was back behind her desk, the sturdy piece of furniture serving as a shield for the moment. Maze didn’t let it bother her. She had made it into Linda’s office without having to break anything.

“Yeah, it makes sense now. Coddling you isn’t helping you.”

“Coddling? You think…” Linda rubbed at her forehead. “Chloe’s really okay? And she knows now?”

“Yeah, Decker’s good. And hey, now you have a human buddy who knows everything too.”

Linda’s eyes scanned the demon, looking for any injuries. “And, you’re okay too? You’re not hurt?”

Maze’s smile softened, losing its manic edge. “Yeah. I wanted to check on you again. See if maybe you’d unbroken some?”

“Unbroken?” She released a slightly hysterical laugh. “I don’t know what to think. I still feel…You’re a demon.”

Maze swallowed thickly, her eyes dropping momentarily to her lap before she looked back up resolutely. “I’m still the same person. We both are. And, you can ask me questions. I’m here for you, Linda.”

The doctor closed her eyes and groaned, then gave a faint little nod. “Hell Beasts? L-Lucifer told me a little bit about them back when… Before. But I, are they escaping because he retired?”

“Retired?” Maze snorted inelegantly. “That’s just Lucifer being dramatic. This is a vacation, more of a sabbatical than anything. We’ll go back in a century or three, sooner if Lucifer’s brothers have anything to say about it.”

“So, he is still king? Aren’t you worried there’ll be some kind of coup in the centuries you’re gone?”

“He’ll always be king, even when sometimes he’d rather not be.”

“Huh,” Linda muttered, looking a bit nonplussed. “You know, I would’ve thought there’d be more power grabs in Hell. Especially with you not actually being there.”

Maze relaxed back into the sofa cushions, glad her friend seemed more curious and less scared now. Even the scent of her fear smelled largely faded, overpowered as it was by better emotions. Still though, this explanation wasn’t exactly happy, and it tread very near to things that were only Lucifer’s to divulge.

“When Lucifer fell, he burned,” she said as succinctly as possible. She appeared a bit haunted, an expression Linda never would have thought she’d see gracing Maze’s face.

“Then he crash-landed in the infernal realm,” she mimed an explosion with her hands, adding in the sound effects for good measure. “And he lit it on fire. That fire’s tied to him, and it’s linked to the fabric of Hell itself. As long as he exists, the fires’ll burn, and as long as they burn, Lucifer will be king”

Then more lightly (if anyone could look lighthearted with that wide of a bloodthirsty grin stretching over their face), Maze finished, saying, “But as for every other position, I guess you could say we invented politics.”

“Oh,” Linda said faintly. “Go…sh, I have so many questions. Like, what are you even doing here? On Earth? Is this the start of the Apocalypse? Are we all going to die? Or is it all some great big plan to start World War III? Or are you just here partying? I don’t know! And Hell…Hell that’s big. Heaven, Hell, the afterlife. God!”

“No world-ending plans! Promise!” Maze laughed, cutting off Linda’s rambling. “Come on, let’s grab a drink. You can ask me all about it over alcohol.”

Linda gave her a long, considering look. Then to Maze’s relief, she agreed, grabbing her purse up off her desk. “I could use a drink. Or five.”

Chapter Text

“Detective! I’m just calling again, in case you need me? Maybe with the Vermont Avenue Massacre? Well at least I’m assuming you’ve been assigned to that. With how many bodies there were, they’ve probably got the whole precinct… Well, anyways, what I meant was, I know this is probably overwhelming for you to have to deal with, and…I’m here for you. So if you need—”

The tone beeped, signaling the end of his message. Lucifer sighed, taking the phone away from his ear. It had been five days since Echidna and the big reveal, and he hadn’t seen the Detective once since she’d sent them away. Nor had she returned a single one of his calls or texts since then.

A couple hours after he’d left her at that school, she’d texted him asking him to stay away from the precinct for a little while while she dealt with the massacre. Then, radio silence.

“Still tryin’ to call Decker?” Maze strolled out of his bedroom, naked as the day she was born. He let his eyes roam over her for a minute before answering, comforted by the familiar, beautiful sight. All this hunting and battling together had shot his resistance plan straight to, well, Hell.

They’d caught two more Deep Pitters the night before, luckily before their plans to blow up the Hollywood Bowl amphitheater during a Beyoncé concert and thus launch another war in the Middle East could be enacted. And Maze had look so very tempting as she wrestled with those ice giants, he couldn’t help himself.

“She’s not answering,” he said, moving to twine his arms around his demon. He nipped at her neck, tugging her closer in eager anticipation of their second round of the morning.

She pulled him over towards his piano instead and hopped up on the lid so she could wrap her toned legs around his waist. A shadowy reflection of the two of them glimmered up at him from the smooth, lacquered finish of the instrument: the graceful curve of her hips, the gentle wave of her hair, his lips pressed to her shoulder. He groaned at the sight. Music and sex together, Maze always knew how to make a morning enjoyable.

“Gorgeous,” he breathed against her skin as she arched back, letting him lave more kisses down her front. She stared down at him with half-lidded eyes, a lazy grin lighting her face.

Not much else was said after that. Last night he’d made her beg (over and over and over again); then she’d flipped the switch on him this morning, letting him wake up tied to the bed. This time was gentler, all sensually rolling hips and softly murmured encouragements as they slowly worked each other towards release.

They quietly held each other, still propped against the Steinway, for several minutes after they finished, relaxed and content as their breathing gradually returned to normal.

“I told you,” Maze said as Lucifer pulled his black silk boxers back on, continuing their earlier conversation as if they hadn’t paused for sex. “You need to confront her. Don’t let Decker hide.”

“I already tried stopping by her house. The Detective’s not there. She’s even sent the spawn away.”

Maze slid of the piano and ambled over to the bar, fixing them each an Irish coffee, heavy on the whiskey. Completely failing at looking unconcerned, she handed Lucifer his drink and asked, “Trixie’s gone?”

“Mmmm,” he nodded, sipping at his coffee with a little moan of appreciation. “According to the Detective’s mother. Had a fascinating conversation with her while I was over there, by the way. But yes, it seems the child will be going with the elder Ms. Decker to New York for a couple of weeks.”

Maze slammed her half-finished mug down on the counter. “Dammit, Lucifer!”

“Hey! It’s not my fault!”

“Of course it is! You need to—”

“It’s probably for the best, anyways. It’ll keep the little urchin away from the Hell Beasts.”

Maze paused, giving him a narrow-eyed look, then settled back on her barstool. “You still need to talk to Decker.”

“Which I’ve been trying to do.”

“She’s still going in to work, isn’t she?”

“I believe so, but—”

“So go talk to her there.”

“She’s asked me not to go to the precinct,” he said, leaning over the bar, his eyes focussed on the steam rising from his cup.

Maze shrugged. “I’m only saying, Linda’s doing way better now. She’s even agreed to get drinks during Happy Hour with us both today, which reminder, don’t be late for that. Decker just needs a push.”

“I’ll think about it,” he sighed, then grabbed her hand and started pulling her towards his bathroom. “Come on, let’s get a shower.”

But they only made it a few steps before the elevator dinged, and Michael stepped into the penthouse. Lucifer closed his eyes in exasperation, while the other archangel froze awkwardly at the unexpected sight of Maze’s fully nude form.

“Stop gawking, Brother,” Lucifer groaned, rubbing at his face.

“He can look,” Maze purred, laughing when Lucifer shoved her in the direction of the bathroom, grumbling at her to bathe without him while he dealt with his brother.

Lucifer turned back to find Michael staring fixedly out the window, jaw clenched like the prude he was. His embarrassment filled the devil with mirth; outwardly though, Lucifer simply rolled his eyes and fixed himself a second Irish coffee, manfully suppressing the urge to further mock the golden archangel.

But it didn’t take long for Lucifer to wish he hadn’t spared his brother from his jokes, as Michael immediately began making demands for their mother’s return to Hell. He had indulged leaving her on Earth, he said, because he had had more pressing tasks to take care of, and as she was obviously low on energy, it was not a priority. But since they’d secured all of the nuclear launch sites now, Michael insisted it was high time he call for her to be locked back up.

“If you won’t take her back, Lucifer, I will,” he declared when Lucifer continued to deny him.

“Because interfering in Hell worked out so well for Amenadiel,” Lucifer bit back, truly exasperated by this point.

“I’m not Amenadiel, Brother. I’ve visited Hell often enough that I know how it works. I won’t go tearing holes in the realm.”

Lucifer shook his head in disgust. “When will you, when will all of you, get it through your thick heads that you don’t know Hell? You drag Mum down there kicking and screaming, and there’s no way you won’t wreck something.”

“The infernal realm’s not that fragile. I can—”

“Mum’s the Goddess of Creation! Even weakened, you think she can’t put up a big enough fight to destroy things? It took me millennia to stabilize Hell! Thousands of years of constant revolts, of reality threatening to fall apart at the seems as the fabric of Hell rewrote itself, melding together with my fire. None of you have ever understood me, what makes you think you can understand my kingdom?”

Lucifer paused as he registered his own shouting. With an abortive swipe of his hand, he stalked over to his bar and poured himself out three shots of whiskey, knocking them all back one after another with barely a breath in between. Feeling calmer, he continued, “You can’t bring her back without my help, not to Hell. So if you want her trapped, you’ll have to find somewhere else to put her.”

Michael stared back at him in frustrated silence for several long seconds, the phantom shadow of his hidden wings a rigid, angry line. “Alright fine, I admit it, we need your help. Happy? Now help us, please. We can avoid any more trouble if you’d just…hold Hell steady while we imprison her.”

“I’m still saying no.”

“Lucifer…”

“And tread carefully, Brother, you don’t want to try it without me.”

“We don’t have a choice!”

“‘Course you do; leave her up here, on Earth.” He offered the suggestion flippantly, but continued more seriously when it looked like Michael would protest. “Look, you go forward without me and you’ll throw things out of balance again. It’s inevitable. And what then? Amenadiel’s screw up released 16 Deep Pitters. You really think the mortal realm can afford to have more of them escape? Or what if it’s something worse? What if you open the door for a Horseman? Or a World Serpent? Death and destruction’s all well and good, but I think dear old Dad might have something to say if you cause this world’s complete annihilation. We got lucky with Mum…We won’t be so fortunate a second time.”

“Threats, Lucifer? Are you really going to blackmail me into letting Mum stay?”

“Yes, it looks like I am.”

Michael groaned. “Of course you are…Dammit Luci, it’s Father’s will that Mum be returned to Hell.”

“You don’t know that,” Lucifer pointed out. “You don’t. You told me just yesterday that all he gave you was a vision of Mum’s empty cell. You only think this is what he wants.”

“Seems pretty clear to me.”

“Oh, please,” Lucifer scoffed. “The bastard was as bloody cryptic as ever! You don’t actually know if he was commanding you to re-imprison her or if he wanted you to come down here so you could sit around a campfire singing kumbaya with your long lost mother. You, me, none of us knows what he really wants because he never just tells us anything!”

They both fell silent again while Michael regarded him contemplatively, head cocked in avian curiosity. “Why are you so determined to keep her here, Luci? We can’t force you to keep her locked up. She could be free in Hell if you wished it.”

“I’m not sending her back without me. She’d probably try to take the place over in my absence.”

“Ringing endorsement, that,” he said dryly.

Lucifer chuckled with a conceding little shrug. “I’ll take her back when I go back. She should be happy enough with a wing of the palace, maybe a volcano or two to play with. I’ll get the extra company, and you lot get her off Earth. Everybody wins.”

“Except for the part where you don’t plan to return for centuries yet,” Michael scowled.

“Oh not this again! It’s a vacation, Brother! It’s not going to hurt anyone. Besides, I intend for Mum to live out her punishment first before I go upsetting Hell’s denizens by welcoming her with open arms.”

“Yes, some punishment, walking around free to enjoy all the luxuries of Earth that money can buy.”

“As a human,” Lucifer pointed out, not even trying to keep the vicious pleasure out of his voice. “Fragile, breakable, aging,” he said the last word with a shudder of revulsion. “Mother’s going to grow old having to deal with her human family, her human job, and her human body. Imagine her at eighty and needing a walker to get around!”

Michael’s hidden feathers puffed in a poorly suppressed humor and Lucifer knew he’d won, at least for now. He could save his trump card for later then, when Michael inevitably started this argument again. No need to advertise any of Hell’s weaknesses if it could be avoided, and that’s exactly what the Heavenly Host would view Mum’s broken cage as: a weakness.

Having failed at his purpose in showing up here, Michael didn’t remain much longer. Lucifer was just trying to decide if he could still join Maze in the shower or if he should start cooking her breakfast when the demon entered the room, her wet hair darkening her red silk robe with streaks of water.

“I don’t like her staying here, Lucifer,” she said, making it clear she had heard and understood at least the gist of his argument with Michael.

He grimaced. Michael wasn’t the only one he could anticipate frequently fighting with about this. “It’s not ideal—”

“Not ideal? She’s a snake!” Maze exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air as she walked over to the refrigerator to pull out the ingredients for omelettes.

"She’s my mother,” he said mildly, following Maze’s lead and getting the cutting board and pans set up. As a final touch, he put on an apron which read ‘May I suggest the sausage’ with an arrow pointing straight down. He had another ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ apron, complete with pitchfork, but he only used that one for special occasions, like when he baked edibles.

Maze snorted and moved to sit across from him on a barstool, her part of the breakfast preparations complete. “And? She’s a manipulative bitch!”

Lucifer pointed his knife at her, but then thought better of any retort he may have offered. “What would you suggest then?”

“Lock her back up!”

“I can’t take her back to Hell, Maze,” he shook his head and started chopping up the tomatoes and onions. “The cage is broken.”

“So fix it!”

“The internal labyrinth is broken,” he grumbled as he began to roughly grate the cheese.

Maze slumped back, momentarily stymied. “Oh.”

“Yes, oh. It will take us centuries to repair it.”

“Maybe if we pulled extra workers from the training grounds?”

“A full millennia, Maze,” he sighed, turning his back on her as he began to actually cook the omelettes. “That’s how long it took to build the damned thing in the first place.”

“And then your Dad commandeered it to house your mom at the last minute,” she complained, still offended by that particular turn of events all this time later.

He quirked a small smile. “He always was an opportunistic bastard. Point being, we don’t have time to wait for it to be fixed. We have to deal with Mum now.”

“And your solution’s to go to the opposite extreme?” she arched her scarred eyebrow at him when he glanced at her over his shoulder. “Just let her go free?”

Lucifer shrugged, unconcerned, most of his attention going towards properly flipping Maze’s omelette. “Let her earn back some trust while she’s too weak for a betrayal to do much harm.”

“You think she can’t wait you out a few measly decades?” Maze asked as he slid her food onto a plate and passed it to her. She grinned at the first piping hot taste, completely unbothered by the heat that would have burned anyone else’s mouth.

“If that’s her plan, then at least we’ll get to watch her stumble through life as a human first.”

The vindictive part of Maze wanted to relish in that image. She knew such a fate would be torture for the formerly all-powerful goddess. But the part of her that was primarily concerned with Lucifer’s safety and wellbeing couldn’t be happy about his decision.

“Fine, but I’m going to watch her. If she tries anything…”

Lucifer chuckled darkly, his eyes burning red for an instant. “I’d expect nothing less, m’dear.”

🔥 ✨ 🔥 ✨ 😈✨ 🔥 ✨ 🔥

Chloe never thought it would come to this, her being forced to hide evidence in a case. She’d always believed if she was ever put in this kind of situation, she would remain steadfast, refuse to be complicit in a coverup, damn the potential consequences to herself and those she cared about. But the whole ‘The Devil is real’ thing changed everything.

For starters, she knew for a fact that Lucifer and his siblings were innocent, at least with regards to this massacre. But there was no way to catch the real killers. Or better stated, they’d already been caught, just not by humans. And in reality the farther away she could keep her very mortal fellow police officers from those things, the better.

And then there was Lucifer. What would happen if anyone tried to arrest him? Jailing the Devil, it sounded completely ridiculous even in her head. The problem was, Lucifer, even as she’d understood his character before the whole celestial reveal had gone down, wouldn’t have taken well to being arrested. And if there was any truth to the way the Bible portrayed him?

But he was legitimately in the right this time, no matter what the truth of his past was. She couldn’t very well give credence to Lucifer’s legend without also acknowledging Michael and Gabriel’s. And they’d all been working together.

So…coverup it was.

She glanced around nervously once more, but she was alone as ever in the viewing room, just her and the traffic surveillance videos. She only had to delete a couple of frames. Most of the scenes that did capture any of the immortals’ cars driving past didn’t show either their license plates or their faces (well except for literally every one that had Lucifer’s corvette, because the flashy idiot clearly hadn’t thought twice about driving to a massive slaughter in an open-air convertible).

Her hand trembled as she reached out, moving the mouse to highlight small sections of the footage. She was no hacking wiz, but she knew enough to erase surveillance that no one would have cause to examine closely after she was done. The camera appearing to glitch a few times wouldn’t be cause for alarm. It wouldn’t. God, she prayed it wouldn’t.

Literally, she prayed. For perhaps the first time in her life, Chloe begged a higher power to help her out.

Then with a final, shaky breath, it was done. Deleted. Gone.

Crap, she couldn’t believe she’d actually done it! Chloe drew in another shaky breath, then another and another, until she was panting, her hands gripped like claws around the edge of the desk.

The Devil made me do it, Chloe imagined saying to the lieutenant if she were ever found out, a hysterical giggle choking in her throat. Her manic humor was cut short though when she thought of Lucifer’s expression whenever he heard phrases like that, his anger and upset at having the blame for other’s misdeeds foisted off onto him.

She sucked in more air, focussing on filling her lungs in a slow, steady rhythm, something she’d had far too much practice with over the course of the last few days.

As she calmed down from her most recent panic attack, she glanced over at her flashing phone. Another call from Lucifer. She guiltily pressed ignore and flipped her cell face-down so she wouldn’t have to see his smiling face looking back at her anymore.

A knock sounded behind her, and Chloe jerked upright. Quickly hitting play on the videos to make it look like she was in here doing her job, she called for whoever it was to come in.

Dan slipped into the room with a grim frown painted on his face. She greeted him as warmly as she could manage given the circumstances, but it didn’t change his expression. Instead of saying anything back, he walked over and sat in the seat next to her, turning it towards her so he could lean in close.

“What’s going on, Chloe?” he fairly whispered despite the closed door and seclusion the viewing room granted them.

Her heart skipped a beat. “What do you mean?”

“Come on, don’t be like that. You know you can trust me.”

“Dan,” she shook her head helplessly, “I don’t, I haven’t—”

“Look, I know the Vermont Avenue Massacre was bad, and with you just happening to find it like that—”

“I did! Just happened to find it, mmhmm,” she rushed to confirm, sounding guilty to her own ears. “I was out looking for a house, and…and…”

“Yeah, look,” he rubbed at the back of his head awkwardly, “I know we see death everyday as part of the job, but look, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

“Ashamed?”

“Yeah, and I get it, ya know? But it’s something we’ve all had to do at some point.”

Her eyes flickered rapidly towards the still playing traffic videos on the screen and back. “That doesn’t make me feel better!”

“Okay. Alright.” He held his hands up placatingly.

“What made you even think? Why would you even consider that I?”

Dan scoffed. “We’ve been married for ten years, Chloe. Separated or not, you think I can’t tell when something’s eatin’ at you?”

She shuddered, mind briefly flashing to the chewed-up corpses she found after the celestial battle before she forcefully shoved the images back. “Fine, sure, but why would you think that I’d—”

“You sent Trixie away,” Dan cut her off. “Like I said, I get that the massacre was horrible, especially with you finding it unprepared like you did, but no one else is sending their kids to the other side of the country.”

“Well, sure, but what’s that got to do with anything?”

Dan stared at her, mouth hanging slightly open, then burst out saying, “For God’s sake, Chloe! You can admit that you’re not okay, to me if no one else. It’s okay not to be okay sometimes.”

“Dan,” she shook her head, “that’s not—”

“I’ve seen you this last week,” he said, talking over her denial. “You’re distracted, jittery. You’re constantly looking over your shoulder or staring off into space. You flinch at loud noises, and you don’t look like your getting any sleep, and I swear it looked like you were about to have a panic attack at your desk yesterday! And I’m trying to tell you that it’s okay to be shaken up like this. Just, don’t bury you head in the sand about it. There’s nothing wrong with talking to a psychiatrist when you need help. We’ve all been there.”

Chloe blinked, completely derailed. “A psychiatrist?

“Yeah,” Dan nodded firmly, looking pleased with himself.

“You think I need to talk about all of…this to one of the precinct’s shrinks?” The idea was ludicrous. The thought alone had that manic hilarity from earlier bubbling back up in her chest, her laughter only held back by the knowledge that such a reaction would only confirm for Dan that she was unhinged.

“If you don’t feel comfortable with one of them,” he said, blithely unaware of her thoughts, “there are plenty of other psychiatrists out there. Hell, doesn’t Lucifer see some lady like everyday of the week?”

“Uh, yeah, he does,” she stuttered. Therapist to the Devil himself. Chloe wondered if Dr. Martin had any idea, or how accepting she might be of anyone else adopting Lucifer’s ‘metaphors.’

“There, see. He could probably get you in to talk to her anytime you want. And you know she’s got to be good, dealing with a rich nutcase like him.”

“Uhuh,” Chloe agreed, at a bit of a loss for words.

Dan leaned forward and patted her knee. “Just promise me you’ll at least think about it?”

“Sure,” Chloe lied.

Dan smiled and gave her knee one more reassuring squeeze, then left saying he should let her get back to work.

Chloe closed her eyes after he shut the door, rubbing her fingers against her temples in an effort to fend off her rising headache. The light from the still-playing surveillance footage flickered on the inside of her eyelids, reminding her again that it was all a lie.

She groaned, a single tear breaking free to roll over her cheek, and wished desperately that her problems were things she could openly talk to a therapist about without finding herself off the force or committed to a mental institution.

Chapter Text

RABBIT.

Lucifer stared at the quiz result, perplexed. Honestly, how the bloody Hell was this supposed to help him deal with Dr. Linda’s shock over his devilish revelation? The stupid ‘Spirit Animal Personality Quiz’ claimed to reveal a person’s intrinsic personality, the way they perceived the world, whether they were likely to face their problems head on or run and hide, whether they were good communicators or antisocial. All things that could help him shape his conversational approach with the good doctor.

But a rabbit?

He supposed dear old Dad had given some humans a greater affinity to certain animals. He hadn’t realized that that meant those people had the mindset of those animals, but it made a certain amount of sense, he supposed. What didn’t make sense was the animals this online test seemed to believe were akin to humanity.

Dogs and cats and horses, he could understand—beasts people regularly interacted with. But he didn’t think his father ever intended humans to develop a particular emotional attachment to rabbits. The hoppy little creatures were good in stew or as lining on a nice coat, but when it came to conversation, you’d be better off trying to relate to a pig. (Which maybe wasn’t the best comparison, now that he thought about it. Pig orgasms could last thirty minutes, so even if their conversational topics were restricted mostly to food and sex, at least they focussed on subjects he enjoyed. And boars did have that delightfully demonish tendency to gore people, so… Geese! He had more in common with geese and their tempers and love of flying than he did with rabbits, and geese were idiots.)

He tried taking the quiz again just to be sure.

I frequently come up with ideas or solutions out of nowhere. “Very accurate,” Lucifer muttered, clicking the answer. “Don’t know how Dr. Linda thinks up half of her little theories.”

I am always looking for new things to experience. He’d picked ‘slightly inaccurate’ last time, but maybe he was being too hard on her (pun intended)? Sure she was no Grecian temple prostitute in terms of sheer hedonism, but few people were, and setting the scale for sexual adventurousness by comparison to his experiences was perhaps unrealistic. Really, the minx was one of the more open-minded lovers he’d taken this decade.

“Slightly accurate,” he decided with a firm nod, changing his response from last time.

RABBIT. Again. Huh.

“Lucifer!” Mazikeen called out from the bar’s entrance and he looked up to see his demon wildly waving one arm in greeting while she dragged Dr. Linda behind her with her other hand.

He grinned and waved back, for one brief moment hopeful that Dr. Linda had completely recovered from her bout of hysteria and this quiz would prove unnecessary, but then he locked eyes with the blonde woman and she froze, all prey animal stillness at catching the scent of an apex predator.

He glanced back down at his phone where the picture of a fluffy, long-eared bunny peered back up at him with big, apprehensive eyes which bore an uncanny resemblance to the wide-eyed look gracing his therapist’s face now.

Rabbit. Huh.

Slow, telegraphed gestures then. No making the first move. Rabbits ran when you approached them.

Maze pushed Dr. Linda into the seat across from him and sat down right next to her, one arm wrapped casually around the back of the human’s chair, caging her. Good, his demon didn’t need to see the quiz results to know about the doctor’s rabbity need to run.

Lucifer leaned back casually after catching the attention of a waiter and smiled his most benign smile. “Dr. Linda, lovely to see you again!”

She stared back at him without answering, her fingers beginning to tap on the table at a rapid pace, then burst out, “You’re the Devil!”

Lucifer cast a questioning look at Maze, to which the demon just shrugged. “Well…yes. That is what I’ve been saying since we met.”

“The actual Devil.”

“Yes,” he nodded at her then turned to accept the drinks he’d ordered before his two companions had arrived. He passed Maze her glass of Angel’s Envy bourbon, smiling wryly when she raised her eyebrows in amusement after the first sip, then gave Dr. Linda a martini made the way she always ordered them at Lux.

She accepted the drink from his hand (a metaphor for accepting his friendship, maybe?), and she wasn’t running away screaming so…success? At the very least, Lucifer didn’t think her brain had melted. Always a plus.

“So Maze tells me she’s been answering all your questions. Anything you want to ask me? I’m completely at your disposal, my dear.”

Linda eyed him warily for another couple of seconds, then took a bracing swallow of her martini (read: chugged three quarters of it) and jumped into her interrogation with a kind of reckless abandon that Lucifer couldn’t help but admire. “You’re the Devil.”

“Mmmhmm,” he hummed, sipping at his whiskey.

“And you’re in L.A. for…a vacation?”

Lucifer didn’t know why she sounded so incredulous about that fact. He talked about it in at least half of his therapy sessions, and alluded to it in the rest. “City of Angels,” he said instead of voicing his confusion. “Where else would I go?”

“Right. Right, of course,” Dr. Linda nodded a touch spastically and took another couple swallows of her martini. Lucifer waved at the waiter to bring her another. “You’re the King of Hell, and Maze is your…demon…”

“Consort, yes,” he finished her sentence for her with a grin.

Dr. Linda choked, and Lucifer let his smile dim so it showed less teeth (Had that been too predatory for the rabbit?). Maze roughly patted her on the back several times until the doctor flapped her hand to signal that she was okay. “Consort?” she croaked. “You’re married!”

He wrinkled his nose. “Well, we had a hundred-year party to celebrate when I named her Consort. ’Twas a wild time, as you can imagine. Does that count?” He sincerely hoped not. He’d made no vows before his father regarding Maze, but well... humans. He locked eyes with Maze and they both shared a half-amused, half-repulsed look at the idea that their mortal friends might consider them bound in holy matrimony.

Dr. Linda didn’t answer, staring down at the table and silently shaking her head instead. “So you’re here, you’re both here, and…wait!” Her head jerked back up like a gopher popping out of a hole. “Who’s ruling Hell for you now? Is there like a prince or princess or…Do you have kids?”

Both celestials flinched so hard at that shrill question that they actually spilled their drinks. Frantic, horrified denials were quick to flow from both of their lips as they tried to mop up the mess, Lucifer’s “Honestly! Nephilim were bad enough! Do I look like someone who would be irresponsible enough to father a half-archangel, half-archdemon?” surpassing even Linda’s original question in pitch.

“Nephilim? Those are real?” Linda inquired, not bothering to acknowledge Lucifer’s ridiculous exclamation, even if his dramatics and complete lack of self-awareness did manage to put her at ease in a way that all his careful body language and soft tones of voice had not.

“Nasty egos, the lot of them,” Lucifer said.

“Without the power to back their confidence up,” Maze tacked on, adding the most important qualifier (in her opinion) for why an ego was a bad thing.

“Right,” Dr. Linda nodded like everything they were saying made complete sense. Then, deciding it was now or never, she asked Lucifer the question she was really curious about. “So you really are a fallen angel? You’re not actually a demon who rules Hell? You actually used to live in Heaven before you rebelled and…fell?”

Lucifer arched a brow as he took another long sip of his drink. “Honestly, Doctor, have you not been paying attention to anything I’ve said during our sessions?” When her only response to that sarcastic question was a silent blink, he sighed and rolled his eyes. “Yes, that about sums it up.”

“Did it hurt?” She asked, biting her lip nervously. Maze tensed up next to her but remained quiet.

“What? When I fell from heaven?” Lucifer asked with a suggestive leer, attempting to turn it into a joke. But Dr. Linda just looked back at him stoically, and he felt that odd pressure that always accompanied her silences during their therapy sessions building in his chest.

He thought about burning up like a comment as he fell, his very nature turned against him, the wound so ingrained on his soul that even after he’d completely healed, he’d still been able to manifest that red, melted husk of eldritch terror as a physical reality on command. And the guilt, humiliation, shame of that loss of control.

It was a bloody miracle the universe, never mind Earth, was still intact. He had come closer to Com Selh than perhaps any other celestial ever without actually losing his sapience and merging with the universe. And given his nature, well, one only needed to look at Hell to see what a universe based around divine fire was like. Mortal life would have been impossible if his family hadn’t all worked together to prevent his destruction (Yet another thing he couldn’t forgive them for).

“Yes, very much so,” he croaked.

“What happened? Why…Why were you cast out?” And there was that gentle voice that made him feel like they were alone in her office as he confessed his inner torment from his seat on her couch. But they weren’t in that safe space, and he had no intention of ever speaking too deeply about this period of his life. He was not the rabbit in need of coaxing in this situation, no matter that Dr. Linda didn’t seem to comprehend her own nature.

“I suppose it’s a story as old as time, Doctor,” he said flippantly, all while Maze continued to hold her silence. “Dad started going into the garage and tinkering with a little project he called humanity. Mum grew cold. Distant. And pretty soon, they were both neglecting their family. I acted out. Dad got pissed and tossed me out of the house. And Mum…Mum did nothing.” And improved relationship or not, that part still stung.

“That…doesn’t sound like the great big rebellion in all the stories,” Dr. Linda prodded.

“Well, there was that too,” he admitted.

“Oh,” she squeaked, gulping down the rest of her martini. And they were back to the big rabbit eyes.

“I didn’t win,” he was quick to reassure her. “Obviously.”

She nodded a little jerkily then asked about the rest of his family, apparently determined to suss out all the hard-hitting questions tonight. Maze had gotten all the easy how-does-Hell-work, how-did-you-torture-Hitler, is-my-Uncle-Edwin-down-there inquiries. Fair or not, though, Lucifer did try to answer her. And if he waxed a little poetic on how Michael’s mind had clearly been affected by his power to make and shape solid matter, well, his brother was a block-headed bastard and deserved every word of censure.

“You sound more fond of your sisters,” Dr. Linda commented after a while. “Protective, even?”

He shot her a deadpan look. “Well, when the competition is Michael.”

“Why do you think you feel more protective of your sisters than you do of your brothers?”

This was starting to feel distinctly like therapy, so of course Lucifer didn’t understand what his shrink was driving at. “Because I like them more?”

He’d always been close with Jophiel, his artsy sister. Jophie had been a bit obsessed with the Romans recently, first with the whole Renaissance deal and then with all the American government buildings, but they had a shared love for beauty in all its forms. And no matter what else was going on in their family, he and Jophie, they’d always had their music.

And Ariel was responsible for breathing life into this planet he loved so much. Life and Fire, their natures danced so well together it was impossible not to understand one another. Of all his true siblings, his fellow octuplets, she was the one most sympathetic when he’d rebelled.

As for Azrael, well, she laughed at all his jokes, no matter how dark. It was hard not to like someone who shared your sense of humor.

Compared with his sisters, he had next to nothing in common with his brothers. Michael was stiff, the original uptight military man, which made him a terrific general for the Heavenly Host’s army, but not much fun to hang out with outside of a fight. Uriel was an insufferable know-it-all who never let anyone actually speak, preferring to carry on conversations as if his precious patterns were the end-all, be-all of communication. Raphael was the complete opposite, practically a mime in his sheer determination to speak as little as possible. The healer was at least not aggravating to be around, but he was a bit dull. And then there was Gabriel, Lucifer’s favorite brother. Easygoing and a natural mediator, Lucifer only wished the other archangel would stop trying to please everybody all the time.

“Hmmm,” Dr. Linda nodded. Her eyes were a little glazed from drink, which made Lucifer wonder if he was imagining the keen intellectual interest in her expression. It could have been confusion or nausea. He wasn’t always the best with reading human emotions. “Are they nicer than your brothers?” she asked. “Ariel seems especially nice. Thank her for…flowers? Yes! For flowers…from me. The thanks should be from me. Because I’m alive.”

Lucifer snorted and shared an amused look with Maze. It seemed the alcohol was finally hitting the good doctor. “Oh please, don’t let her fool you. Ariel has the nastiest temper of any of my siblings.”

“Worse than you?” Dr. Linda sounded dubious.

“Well…”

“Uh, the Rebellion we just talked about ringing any bells, My Lord?” Maze smirked, the honorific rolling off her tongue like sin.

He shifted in his seat. Dammit, she knew she wasn’t supposed to use his title in places he couldn’t act on it, and he was trying very hard to be good for the doctor (who didn’t want to have sex with him again, poor thing, especially not in public).

“Your temper is literally legendary.” Dr. Linda agreed with all of her typical dry wit, slightly slurred though her words were.

He scoffed. “You think it’s a coincidence the Sahara formed at the same time the first humanoids appeared on Earth?”

“Wait!” Dr. Linda threw her hands up in a dramatic hold-on gesture, knocking over her glass in the process and spilling the rest of her current martini over the table and the sleeve of Lucifer’s suit, not that she seemed to notice. “She made the Sahara because she was mad about humans being created?”

“I was hardly the only one upset that Dad was ignoring us and arguing with Mum all the time,” he pointed out, dabbing at his soiled cuff. Maze stood up to fetch some better rags from the bar while the other two continued their conversation. “I just…took it a step further.”

She eyed him with concern. “Um, should I be worried? You know, for the sake of my species?”

“What? Oh, no! Nothing to worry about. I’m actually quite fond of humanity now, and everyone else has had plenty of time to get used to you lot. Besides, some thousand years ago Gabriel prophesied Armageddon, and it’s not scheduled for a couple of years yet, so that’s that I suppose.”

“How soon is a couple of years?”

“Not in your lifetime,” he said nonchalantly, then peered closer when her whole body slumped back in relief. “Would it really have made a difference to you?”

“Uh, yeah! I mean, if it was going to happen next year, I definitely wouldn’t be here, doing my job.”

“Even though you now know for a fact that Heaven and Hell exist?”

She shook her head. “That’s... different. It makes death a little less scary, I guess, but it still all seems so distant, like I have plenty of time. But the world ending...”

“What would you be doing instead?” He asked when it became obvious she wasn’t going to continue.

“I don’t know! Traveling? See the Great Barrier Reef, the Sistine Chapel, maybe go skydiving!”

“Doctor, you’re a mortal,” he stated like he thought it was a fact that had somehow escaped her until this moment.

“I’m aware,” she said slowly. “What’s your point?”

“Well just that your death is already an inevitability. If you want to do those things, you should do them. Don’t let the fact that you might live a few extra decades hold you back from what you truly desire.”

“Carpe diem?” she smiled, oddly touched by his earnest advice.

“Yes, exactly,” he nodded firmly.

“So, Gabriel was the one who made the prophecy?” she asked, changing tracks. “I thought you said Uriel was the one who saw patterns?”

“Uriel’s patterns are more short term. I’ve never seen him accurately predict anything more than a couple of centuries out. Gabriel’s prophecies are inevitabilities.”

“Huh. How far out can he see?”

Lucifer shrugged. “He foretold the exact time and manner of the dinosaur’s extinction event more than a billion years before it happened.”

Linda goggled at the thought. Sitting here sharing a drink during Happy Hour, it was so easy to forget just how powerful Lucifer and his siblings were. He had always come in to her office complaining about things like his brother’s poor taste in alcoholic beverages or his confusion about everyday human interactions, so her brain wanted to slot him in as normal, if still super quirky. Then he said things like that, things that she now knew were real, and she was hit all over again with the enormity of what it meant that he was the actual Devil.

She decided to back down on the whole celestial bombshell interrogation for the moment, instead asking for funny stories from his past interactions with humans. Human history as told by the Devil had been entertaining before she’d learned it was all real, and it actually proved even more hilarious now she knew every word falling from Lucifer’s lips were not a metaphor.

Maze, when she waltzed back over with three waiters eager to clean up their spill, proved just as entertaining a storyteller as the Devil, if for different reasons, and Dr. Linda was surprised when she glanced at her phone a while later to realize it was nearly nine o’clock and she’d been mostly relaxed and laughing for several hours.

“I don’t understand! Now she’s avoiding me? She was doing fine before,” Lucifer complained and knocked back his twelfth whiskey of the hour (which considering they’d been at this bar since five o’clock and he was only just beginning to seem tipsy was saying something).

Linda eyed him as he continued to drink enough alcohol to take down an elephant without flinching. The time for anecdotes had passed, it seemed. “It is a lot to take in,” she tried to caution him.

But he just kept on talking like he hadn’t heard her. “Didn’t seem fazed a bit after the fight with Echidna, did she Maze?”

“She did point her gun at you,” the demon smirked.

“Oh, the Detective got over that,” Lucifer rolled his eyes.

“True,” Maze conceded. “She was talking. It didn’t seem like she was about to lock herself in an office for two weeks.” Maze glanced over at Linda, mirth shining in her dark eyes now that the doctor’s reaction was a non-issue.

“Exactly!” Lucifer exclaimed. “The Detective was completely back to normal. She even ordered me around. All business, unfortunately, but she was clearly fine.”

God save me from emotionally stupid angels, Linda thought. “Right, we’re all here right now as friends, so as your friend, I’m just going to tell you why Chloe is upset.”

“Yes, thank you, that’s only what I’ve been trying to get you to do for the past hour,” Lucifer muttered and stared at her expectantly.

“Alright, look, Chloe didn’t just get proof of divinity, which is already terrifying. She was also thrown into it in a life threatening situation with lots of scary monsters.”

“Life threatening’s a bit of a stretch,” Maze interrupted Linda. “She just sat in a corner while we did all the fighting.”

Linda closed her eyes and took a deep, calming breath. “It wouldn’t have felt like that to her, which is the important thing here. And look at how I reacted and all you did was…” She stopped for a moment, swallowing thickly before she managed to continue. “…Glow your eyes at me in a safe place.

Lucifer stared at her with a bemused expression. “Yes, but that was Hell Fire from me.”

“Wait, what’s so special about it being from you? Would it have been different if it was from your dog?”

“Yes, obviously,” he said like it actually was obvious.

“How?”

“He’s the Devil,” Maze said slowly, not understanding where the confusion is coming from. “The king is the realm?”

When Linda just continued to stare between them in silence, Lucifer sighed and said, “Oh, just say it’s much more potent.”

Linda thought about those red, glowing eyes staring at her, her mind ripping into itself as her whole being cried out for mercy. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! Please! She shied away from the memory, pushing it back into the abyss where it belonged. Mere seconds of contemplation and her heart was already beating double-time; her palms were sweaty and she had to grip her glass hard just to keep her fingers from shaking. It should have made her feel pathetic, but those eyes.

Maze and Lucifer were oblivious to her momentary panic, chatting away about supernatural solutions to their problems instead.

“Maybe I should ask Azrael to talk to the Detective,” Lucifer suggested

Maze narrowed her eyes contemplatively. “Could be worth a shot.”

“Um, isn’t she the Angel of Death?” Linda broke in, not sure if she should be worried for Chloe’s safety in the face of that fact.

The two celestials appeared nonplussed by her question. “Yes, I have told you about her before, haven’t I?” Lucifer asked, seeming concerned for Linda’s mental state.

“You want the Angel of Death to visit Chloe?” Linda pressed on, refusing to feel ridiculous for her anxiety.

“Assuming she’ll answer, yes,” he shrugged. “And considering Michael and Gabriel have apparently decided my vacation is a great time for them all to drop in on me, she had better!” He shouted the last part at the ceiling, which Linda was disconcerted to realize meant he expected someone to actually be listening, and that someone was most likely the Angel of Death.

Surprisingly, it was Maze who first comprehended why this was upsetting Linda. “We’re not going to kill Decker!” she exclaimed, laughing at the thought.

Lucifer jerked around, clearly startled by the suggestion. “Certainly not!”

“Oh. Oh, that’s good,” Linda slumped back, relieved. “Why would you want Azrael to visit her then?”

“Lucifer’s presence draws out people’s desire. Michael’s makes people feel courageous and Gabriel’s makes it impossible to lie,” Maze explained. “Being around Azrael generally soothes grief and encourages acceptance of difficult truths.”

“Comes in handy with the whole collecting dead human’s souls thing,” Lucifer grinned.

Linda took a few seconds to absorb this, then shook her head. “You want my advice? Don’t throw more supernatural stuff into Chloe’s life before she’s ready. Take it slowly and just keep trying to talk to her.”

Lucifer stared at her, unblinking, before nodding his head in understanding, easily accepting Dr. Linda’s guidance.

Maze, on the other hand, leapt from her chair, dragging Linda to her feet with her in one smooth motion. “Dancing!” The demon exclaimed. “We’re going to take Decker out dancing!”

“That’s not—” Linda tried to protest.

“Dancing,” Maze stated emphatically, “is good for the soul.”

“Excellent idea, Maze!” Lucifer started to rise with a grin, but was immediately shot down by the demon.

“Not you,” she said. “This is a girl’s night thing. You stay here.”

“But—” Maze glared at him, and the Devil sank back in his seat with a grumble. “Fine, go dancing with the Detective without me.”

Maze looked positively smug as she flashed him a smile and linked her arm with Linda’s, pulling the protecting therapist along on her new, self-appointed mission.

Chapter Text

Maze stalked into the police precinct for what felt like the hundredth time over the course of a far too short span of time for the demon’s tastes. At this hour the bullpen was almost completely empty. Only one detective other than Decker was even sitting at his desk, and honestly, he looked like the string of empty coffee cups lined up next to his computer was the only thing keeping him awake.

Decker, on the other hand, seemed completely absorbed by whatever was displayed on her monitor.

Maze slunk through the shadows so she could sneak up behind Lucifer’s pet detective, hoping she could suss out which case the woman was working on so maybe he could conveniently show up somewhere that was not the precinct, thus circumventing Decker’s request to stay away from the police station. (And Lucifer claimed Maze wasn’t detail oriented. Maybe measured against him, sure, but Hell knew the Devil was anal retentive, so the comparison was patently unfair.)

Which of course meant that Maze almost immediately had to watch as that plan swirled slowly down the drain thanks to what Decker was actually researching.

Rolling her eyes, Maze reached down without warning and hauled the detective to her feet like she weighed nothing. “Come on, Decker, get up.”

Maze was almost impressed with how quickly the mortal recovered from her shock. Only one full body flinch and then she went completely lax in Maze’s grip, calm as a cucumber. She didn’t know what Lucifer had been so hesitant about. For all her dedication to boring paperwork, Decker was at heart a woman of action. Avoidance was the last thing she needed.

Maze always knew Lucifer was a giant enabler.

“What d’you want, Maze?” Decker asked when the demon released her. Her eyes darted quickly around the room, taking in the late hour and her nearly deserted surroundings, and she rubbed at her face a little too aggressively for Maze to buy the idea that she was tired. That looked like frustration to the demon, which just further proved her point: Decker needed Maze to drag her out of this cheap mimicry of Hell.

“I’ve got…paperwork. To do. To work on,” Chloe said before Maze could answer her question. In truth, Chloe hadn’t been accomplishing much of anything. Instead, she’d been googling Christian Bible stories and low-key panicking about her new reality. A pretty constant state of being since she’d been confronted with The Truth.

“We’re going dancing,” Maze informed her, tugging at her hand.

“What? No. Maze, I just said I had work to do.” She tried to shake the demon off, but Maze tightened her grip and kept walking, lugging Chloe along behind her.

“No,” Maze drawled. “What you’re doing is being stupid. Tell me you weren’t just googling demon hierarchy and I’ll let you go back to your desk.”

“I wasn’t googling demons,” Chloe immediately claimed, but when Maze just looked at her with a mockingly disbelieving expression, she quickly caved and admitted, “Alright, fine! I was, but that doesn’t mean I have time to go dancing right now.”

“You need to get out of your head, Decker. Quit all this existential panicky bullshit and learn to enjoy your life while you still have it! Nothing’s actually changed just because you got the celestial bombshell dropped on you.”

“It’s not panicky bullshit—”

Maze rolled her eyes. “Yeah, don’t care. We’re going dancing. You’re gonna have fun. Linda can talk you off the ledge. And then once you’re drunk enough, I’m gonna take you back to Lux. Little liquid courage and maybe you can ask some of your questions to someone who’s not a computer.”

Suddenly looking at least a bit more interested, Decker said, “Linda’s going to be there?” at the same moment a pretty forensic tech popped her head out of the lab door and exclaimed, “Dancing? I’m in!”

Maze came up short and blinked at the detective. “Who the Hell is she?”

“Oh, sorry! Hi, I’m Ella!” The so-named Ella introduced herself, reaching forward to wrap Maze in an enthusiastic hug, much to both of the other two females' mutual horror (even if the source of the emotion was entirely different).

“Right,” Maze drew the word out with narrowed eyes. “Ellen?”

“Ella, actually, but no worries—”

“Uhuh, look Ellen,” Maze shot the peppy woman a fake smile, “this was really supposed to be—”

“The more the merrier!” Chloe interjected loudly, her voice carrying in the empty room. “Right, Maze?”

Maze couldn’t help but grin at Decker’s gumption, easily conceding to the demand. She could see what Lucifer meant about his detective’s little authoritarian streak. “Linda’s waiting in the Uber,” she said, extending her arm in a courtly gesture to proceed.

“Great!” Ella grinned and linked arms with a grimacing Chloe, and the group headed out.

🔥 ✨ 🔥 ✨ 😈✨ 🔥 ✨ 🔥

A detective, a forensic tech, a psychiatrist and a demon walk into a bar… It sounded like the start of a bad joke, Maze thought.

They were sitting in a booth at one of those western-style dives that was a bit too clean to ever feel truly authentic. It was still a far cry from Lux’s swanky charm though; definitely not what Maze had had in mind when she’d decided to drag these humans out clubbing. But Decker had put her foot down and all but commanded they come to this place, and the other humans had been happy to agree, so Maze had been overruled.

At least there was dancing, even if it was line dancing. Maze wasn’t sure it was possible to slut that up, but get a few more drinks in the mortals and she’d sure as Hell try. For now her companions seemed content to sit around talking and knocking back shots, and Maze figured so long as the conversation remained easy she could heed Linda’s advice and refrain from pushing.

“So I’m curious,” Chloe piped up, and Maze braced herself for another roundabout question about the divine. The demon didn’t know why the detective was so concerned about hedging around the truth. It wasn’t like that Ellen chick was even remotely likely to take their words literally, but whatever.

“Does anyone else think it’s weird how Lucifer and his brothers constantly refer to each other as ‘Brother’?” Chloe asked.

“So weird,” Linda agreed, words only slightly slurred for all that she’d been drinking steadily for several hours at this point. Her alcohol tolerance had really improved since she’d been let in on the Celestial Secret™ (or more like since she met Maze).

The demon watched the three women impersonate the angels for several minutes, their attempts getting progressively worse. Decker’s British accent sounded like some weird mashup of Canadian raising and a Scottish brogue, and Linda broke down giggling every time she tried to affect Lucifer’s signature arrogance. Ella, meanwhile, was just drunk enough to believe her attempts would sound better in Spanish.

“Angel culture,” Maze said, smirking at the others’ antics. “Monks and nuns had to get it from somewhere, ya know?”

“Man, Lucifer really went all out for his role, didn’t he? Down to the last detail. That’s some dedication,” Ella marveled.

Maze rolled her eyes. The things some humans came up with.

“So in angel culture, what does it mean?” Linda asked.

“Hypothetically,” Chloe was quick to tack on.

Maze answered bluntly, just as she had with every ‘hypothetical’ so far. “It’s a hierarchy thing. Most angels in the highest orders are creations, not born; the archangels are the only ones who’re actually related. So calling someone ‘Brother’ or ‘Sister’ is like an acknowledgement that they consider one another family. It’s, I don’t know, an honorific?”

“Is it a big deal that Lucifer calls Amenadiel ‘Brother’?” Linda asked.

Maze scoffed. “He’s hardly the only seraphim Lucifer calls ‘Brother.’ Lucifer’s pretty free with the honorific. I’ve even seen him acknowledge a guardian as his sister, and they’re as low down the rung as you get. But,” she hesitated, “Amenadiel is the only one all eight archangels acknowledge.”

“Aside from each other, right?” Chloe asked, trying to nail down these rules of angel etiquette, a task made difficult by the light buzz fogging her brain.

“Ha! Like they have much of a choice with each other. Refusal’s an offense worthy of starting a war over.”

“Seriously?” Chloe choked out around her coughing fit.

“You didn’t think Lucifer was the only dramatic one in his family, did you?”

“Well…”

Maze rolled her eyes (again). “They’re all a bunch of overgrown toddlers, Decker, I kid you not. Last time Azrael messed up one of Jophiel’s art shows, the beauty queen got all pissed and refused to call Azrael ‘Sister.’ Once. Az tossed her in a black hole in revenge.”

“Whoah! Chloe, dude, it was a good story, but no need to do a spit take! Man, now I’ve got beer on my purse,” Ella grumbled and grabbed several napkins to try and mop up the mess. As she continued cleaning she looked over at Maze and asked, “So you help Lucifer practice his lines? That’s cool. Are you trying out for a part too?”

Maze arched her scarred brow. “No,” she said with no further explanation.

“Just helping him out? That’s really nice of you,” the forensic scientist smiled, ignoring the slight grimace that tightened Maze’s expression at being called ‘nice.’

Linda rushed to change the topic before Maze could dive into a rant about her demonic nature. “So a black hole? Wow! Was that not worth starting a war over?”

Maze shrugged, relaxing back into her seat. “Apparently Jophiel found the whole spaghettification experience inspiring or something. I don’t even know. She invented noodles and gave them as a gift to some hot Chinese chic though, so yay pasta, I guess.”

“Inspiring?” Chloe asked skeptically. “What exactly is Jophiel the archangel of?”

“She’s the beauty of god,” the demon said.

“I’ve seen Lucifer and his brothers,” Ella said, seemingly amused to play along. “If Jophiel’s the one that gets called the beauty, she must be ridiculously hot.”

“If you’re into women who look like Israeli supermodels,” Maze said, her smirk positively lascivious. “I almost seduced her once. The decadence of Rome, ya know?” she offered like that was an explanation real people gave. “Lucifer stopped me though. He was so mad!”

She laughed, lost in her own world. Because the memory of the Devil’s anger over the situation was apparently something to reminisce about.

Maze refocussed in time to catch Decker and Linda exchanging a look, and figured now was the Linda-talks-Decker-off-the-ledge portion of the night. “Alright Ellen—”

“It’s Ella—”

“Whatever. You said you wanted to dance, let’s dance,” she said and unceremoniously yanked Ella from her chair and pushed her towards the other dancers.

“Oh, Maze, I’m not really—”

“Cool your jets, Decker. I got you. You and Linda can sit tight and talk about feelings,” she said with a grimace. “Really not my thing. I’m going to make line dancing sexy again. You can join us when you’re done crying.”

“Um…” But the demon was gone, marching off with an air of determination that didn’t match up with the silly dosey-doeing taking place on the dance floor.

Chloe and Linda awkwardly looked at one another for a moment before abruptly relaxing, and as their shoulders drooped and tremulous smiles spread across their faces, Chloe abruptly realized just how constant her tension had been all week.

“So…you know too?” It wasn’t so much a question as an invitation to start talking, but Linda nodded in confirmation anyways.

“And here we both are.” Chloe raised her brows and sardonically asked, “Did the demon kidnap you for drinks too?”

Linda took a moment to answer that because while it was true that that was how things had more or less gone down last week, Linda had been making good progress learning to let go of her instinctive fear of her divine friends. “Look Chloe, I don’t know what it was like learning about him the way you did—”

“How did you find out?”

“I asked him to prove it, and he showed me his eyes.” Linda shuddered. Just the thought of that fire made her feel like a rabbit before a wolf.

Chloe leaned forward eagerly. This was the first time she had been able to openly discuss her new reality with anyone, and the fact that it was another human only served to put her at ease. “His eyes? Is that part of his Devil Face thing?”

“If it’s not, it sure felt like it.”

Chloe hesitated for a moment, aware of all the ways the other woman could mistake the meaning of her next words. “Lucif—He said that seeing that face drives people insane.”

“I just saw the eyes for a second,” Linda shook her head harshly, “but I believe it.”

Chloe laughed humorlessly. “Angels, demons, man-eating monsters…How did we get sucked into this? It’s all so huge, and I’m…we’re just…”

“Normal people? Nothing special?” Linda quirked an equally humorless smile. “It’s a lot to wrap your head around, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” Chloe huffed wetly, tears gathering in her eyes. “Yeah, it is. What made you decide to trust them?”

Linda was silent for so long Chloe almost thought she wouldn’t answer, but then she sighed and said, “His eyes…I don’t know how to explain it, but I looked into his eyes, and…If he wanted to hurt us, snagging a spot aboard the next space shuttle wouldn’t stop him from catching up to us.”

“I’ve been investigating murders with him for a year. That’s not how…” Chloe furrowed her brows, though despite her words and expression, she wasn’t really denying Linda’s prediction.

Linda shrugged her shoulders helplessly. “I don’t know what to tell you about that, but I have less than zero doubts, negative doubts, that he could find me if he really wanted to.”

“And that’s what convinced you to give them a chance?” Chloe asked incredulously.

Linda had the grace to look a little sheepish and self-deprecating when she answered. “Well knowing that, I figure it’s better to be their friend than not. And Maze was…very insistent,” she tacked on dryly.

Chloe laughed. “I want to trust them both, you know? They haven’t given me any reason not to. But I…”

“Yeah,” Linda nodded sympathetically.

“It’s just…He’s the Devil.”

Yeah,” Linda nodded more emphatically this time. “I mean I…I slept with the Devil.”

“God, that’s just,” Chloe paused, then grimaced. “Ugh, I’ve got to stop saying that too now! I never even realized how often I took the Lord’s name in vain until…”

They looked at each other, then simultaneously broke down in helpless laughter.

“What about Maze? Are you okay with her?” Linda asked when they calmed down.

Chloe frowned. “That’s…different.”

“Is it because we’re in public or something else?”

“No, it’s…She’s a demon.”

Linda pursed her lips, feeling a bit wrong footed by other woman’s response, and Chloe sighed.

“Sorry, that didn’t come out right. It’s just…a lot of stuff is written about demons, but not about Maze, specifically. But all the stories about Lucifer? They’re about him.”

“True, but the legends about demons aren’t any better.”

“I know! I know, okay? I’m explaining this really badly. I’m not even really sure what I’m trying to say. Just…what if the only stories you’d ever heard about humans were about Nazis or Aztec sacrifices?”

Linda looked like she would actually respond, so Chloe quickly continued, hoping she’d find the right words if she simply kept going. “I get that it’s not logical. For fuck’s sake, Maze called herself his demon consort the other day. Even if there are nice demons out there, of course she’s loyal to him. But…I…She’s always been violent. Like really in-your-face violent. And it makes sense that she’d be a demon.”

Chloe closed her eyes like she couldn’t believe she’d actually said that. “…Sort of. But Lucifer? He cracks inappropriate sex jokes, and he brings me coffee made just the way I like it, and sometimes he’s sweet and oddly thoughtful; and yes, he can be reckless and angry and callous, but… but still nothing like you’d expect the Devil to be!”

“I know what you mean,” Linda looked back at her, brown eyes bright with understanding. “So you don’t want to meet with him because…he’s too nice?”

“Sort of.” Chloe rubbed her hands roughly over her face. “Prince of Lies, that’s one of his names. How can I ever trust that I’m not being played. He’s called the freaking Prince of Lies. I’m not arrogant enough to believe I could see through a really good human con artist. And he’s had forever to practice—”

Neither woman had noticed Maze quietly slinking up behind them, so they both jumped about a foot in the air when the demon suddenly emphatically said, “Lucifer NEVER lies.”

Chloe grimaced. “So the both of you keep saying. But when everyone knows you as a liar…?” She shook her head.

“Look, Decker,” Maze leaned forward to place her palms flat on the table on either side of Chloe’s drink. “I won’t lie to you and say Lucifer’s not tricky. He’s better at wordplay than any lawyer you’ll ever meet. But if you can get a straight answer out of him, I promise every word will be the truth.”

“The Devil’s in the details?” Chloe’s lips twisted in an ironic smile.

“Exactly,” Maze nodded in satisfaction and relaxed back. When Chloe continued to look uncertain, she added, “We’re not different people now. And we’ve never lied about what we are. He…We don’t expect…don’t want you to treat us any different now that you believe us.”

Chloe glanced at Linda, and upon receiving an encouraging smile from the doctor, offered Maze a small nod.

Satisfied with this response, Maze gestured back out to the dance floor where Ella was busy marching in step with a few men, and said, “Now, you’ve had time for your therapy session, and I was promised dancing!”

Snickering a little at that assessment, the two blondes followed the demon away from the table, any tension they felt at being close to the infernal being eased by their previous drinking and the cheerful exuberance of the bar’s other patrons.

It was a fun half hour. Maze somehow managed to make a square dance look as sensual as the salsa while Ella bounced between partners with a big smile that made up for her general lack of rhythm, and the other two couldn’t help but get caught up in the atmosphere.

So it was a sweaty, smiling Chloe who bumped into a thickly-muscled man as she was trying to get the attention of the bartender.

“What’re you drinking?” He asked with a friendly smile.

Chloe stuttered, recognizing the interest in the man’s expression and not entirely sure whether or not she wanted to encourage him. But the allure of a free drink eventually made the decision for her even if she wasn’t remotely interested in him beyond that, so she allowed herself to grin and tell him she wanted a Stella Artois.

He handed her her drink a minute later, then leaned against the counter in a pose that unobtrusively stretched his shirt across his pecs and told her that he’d noticed her dancing with her friends.

Chloe hadn’t tried flirting with a stranger in years, minimal attraction or not (and no, Lucifer propositioning her when they first met did not count), which explained why she flushed and released an obnoxious, snorting laugh rather than something approaching normal conversation. And judging by the put-off look on his face, that would have been the end of that had the guy’s apparent girlfriend not chosen that moment to shove her way between them and get in Chloe’s face.

“What’s your deal?” She demanded.

“I, uh, was just getting a beer,” Chloe answered, somehow feeling even more awkward now.

“Well he’s taken, so back off skank!”

“Okay, whoah, I wasn’t—”

“Hey!” And suddenly Maze was there shoving the redheaded woman back. “Nobody calls my skank a skank!” Maze turned around and blithely informed Chloe, “I’m hurting her.”

A string of curse words and white noise filled Chloe’s mind and she reached out instinctively to hold Maze back before the literal demon was released on the innocent (if rude and aggressive) female.

“No, Maze, remember: Violence is not the answer. Clearly this woman is experiencing some major trust issues,” Linda chimed in. Then, seemingly out of left field, the doctor turned her sights on the redhead and said, “Or maybe she’s just a raging bitch.”

“Ooooh snap!” Ella exclaimed, looking delighted right up until the jealous girlfriend reared back and punched Chloe straight in the face. Which naturally meant Ella had to tackle the redhead to the ground, leaving Maze to take out the boyfriend, the woman’s two other equally aggressive female friends and the four men who were with them.

Chloe struggled to her feet and watched with a kind of horrified satisfaction as Maze snapped the legs off one of the barstools and launched herself at her opponents with a grace that belied her inebriated state. She was a ninja against street rats, and it showed in the way she mercilessly beat them back, toying with them just enough that they kept attacking despite their accumulating injuries.

By comparison, Ella was engaged in what looked like a slap war with the girlfriend, and Linda was curled up under the bar chanting Maze’s name over and over, clapping every time the demon landed a particularly good hit.

“Hey! LAPD!” Chloe lifted her badge high over her head as she shouted. “Everybody take a breath—!”

One of the female friends tackled her to the ground.

Chloe rolled with the hit. She was drunk and her coordination was shot to Hell, but so was the other woman, and Chloe was the one with formal training. She had the brunette pinned to the ground with two solid hits (only one of which actually hit the kidney Chloe was aiming for).

When she gained her bearings again, the fighting was mostly winding down, bouncers converging on the brawling patrons. Chloe hauled her captive to her feet and shoved her over towards one of the bouncers, flashing her badge at the man to ensure she wouldn’t be subjected to anymore rough treatment, then asked the man to detain the group that had attacked her friends.

Maze sauntered up to her with a big grin, very clearly thrilled with the way this night had played out, which surprised Chloe not at all. Once Linda and Ella joined them, Chloe walked over to the girlfriend and the other woman who had tackled her and showed them both her badge, letting the severity of the situation sink in for a moment.

“Right, the two of you assaulted a police officer, and the rest of you,” she raised her voice to address the other rabble-rousers, “could all be charged with assault and battery, drunk and disorderly conduct, and a whole slew of other other crimes for this incident. Now, since I’m off duty right now and you just got your asses handed to you by a literal demon—”

Maze smirked and gave the group a jaunty wave, her lips widening into a full-on grin when every man in the line-up flinched back.

“—I’m going to let you go tonight. The bartender’s going to call taxis for all of you, and you’re going to go home. That clear?”

She got no response at first, so she repeated the question again louder, and this time they all frantically nodded back. Satisfied, she turned back to her…friends and motioned for them to follow her towards the exit.

“THAT. WAS. AWESOME!” Ella exclaimed as soon as they were out on the street, looking at Maze with awed eyes. “The way you were all WHAM, BAM, THANK YOU MAM, and they just dropped like flies!”

Maze’s expression was all wicked delight. “I’m awesome,” she said with the air of someone agreeing with an obvious but still pleasing statement.

Chloe watched as the demon sashayed down the sidewalk, glorying in this minor bit of chaos, and suddenly she knew exactly what had prompted Linda to continue associating with Hell’s most powerful residents outside of her professed desire to stay on their good side. “Hey, Maze?”

The demon turned to look at her curiously.

“Tell Lucifer I’ll see him at Lux in the morning,” Chloe said. “Just as soon as I sleep off all this alcohol.”

Maze laughed and clapped Chloe on her shoulder. “You’re alright, Decker. And I told him this would work! You know why?”

“Because you’re awesome?” Linda asked dryly.

“Exactly!” Maze nodded firmly. “Because I’m awesome!”

🔥 ✨ 🔥 ✨ 😈✨ 🔥 ✨ 🔥

Malcolm Graham sat alone in his jail cell, curled up and rocking on the floor. He was squished into a corner. The toilet, an old porcelain thing smelly from decades of use, hugged his left side while the concrete wall was a hard line against his right. With his small, lumpy bed lined up against the other wall, Malcolm had an unobstructed view of his cell bars.

In his hands he held the pentecostal coin Lucifer had granted him, which he flipped over and over in a constant state of motion. They’d let him keep it, this one personal item. They’d let him, no, he’d made them let him keep it; nearly bit the orderly’s hand off when she’d tried to pry it from his fingers.

It was his coin, his chance at freedom. She couldn’t have it!

He would be free. Free free free. Free of this place, free of that place. He’d never go back!

No. No no no. He’d have to go back. But just for a moment! Back to dark and burning and hungry, so hungry, and hurts hurts hurts!

But he had the coin now. He had the coin, and it would be just for a moment, just a second, and then he’d be safe! The coin wouldn’t fail him. It couldn’t!

But he didn’t want to go back, not even for a second. Needed to stay away, stay far far far away. And he could, he could, he just needed to get out of this cell.

He was so hungry. Always so hungry now. They didn’t feed him here: only crumbs for the mice, sludge for the rats. He didn’t want to starve anymore! No no no.

He needed to get away!

A shadow fell over him, and Malcolm looked up, tearing his eyes away from his precious coin.

There was a man there. He wore mismatched clothes like he’d grabbed the first articles that had caught his eye with no consideration for the effect they’d have when paired together: tight, houndstooth slacks, a purple t-shirt with the words ‘soul-eater’ printed above the image of a freaky-looking smiley face, a red and yellow pinstriped overcoat, and a single long earring in the shape of a cross dangling from his ear. Despite his odd fashion sense, he still managed to exude menace.

His dusky skin was pale with the taint of death, highlighting the deep shadows under his eyes, and his hair hung in lank tendrils around a face gone gaunt with severe starvation. But it was his eyes that had Malcolm cowering back. Deep black pits with no sclera, the orbs were split with a reptilian pupil that glowed a bright, predatory amber.

Malcolm whimpered, the scream that so desperately wanted to escape lodged in his throat.

“None of that now poppet.” The thing graced him with a too-wide smile filled with too-sharp teeth. “I’m not here to hurt you.”

“W-w-who are you? What d-d-do you want?” Malcolm managed to gasp out even as his entire body started to shake uncontrollably.

The humanoid creature leaned closer, its face nearly pressed against the cell bars. “I am called Jabez,” it said, voice a hypnotic drawl. “And I have a proposition for you, Malcolm Graham.”

Chapter Text

Lucifer sat alone in his penthouse halfheartedly tapping out chords for an old lullaby his mother used to sing to him back when he was young and nothing was broken. She had a beautiful voice, the kind that could move Dad himself to tears. Lucifer thought sometimes that that was what had originally made Him fall in love with Her. God Spoke and reality shifted around him. Goddess Sang.

And speak of the Devil’s mother, as the goddess trapped in a mortal body stepped out of the elevator, Lucifer let the music taper off.

“Isn’t Amenadiel supposed to be watching you?” He asked without turning around.

“I used to sing that to you,” she said softly instead of answering him.

He swallowed around the sudden lump in his throat. “Not for a long time now.”

“No,” she agreed. “I could…sing for you now? Maybe with you accompanying this time?” She gestured at the piano with a hopeful smile.

Lucifer stood up and moved behind the bar to fix himself a drink. After a moment’s hesitation, he poured one for his mother as well. “I’d prefer we didn’t,” he finally said as he passed over the glass.

She glanced away, though not before he caught the flash of hurt in her eyes. “Yes, right, I…this shell’s vocal cords wouldn’t have done that tune justice, I’m sure.”

It was strange the way he could still read her so well even in this form. No great ruby wings, the merest shadow of her full presence, and he could still parse her emotions like they were back weaving galaxies from stardust and fire instead of here, now, with millennia of anger and silence standing between them. But then maybe that was her intention, let him see enough to empathize. It was hard to tell with his parents.

They were quiet for a long moment before she lifted the tumbler in her hands to her lips and took a sip of her whiskey. “It burns.” She looked at him with big, surprised eyes, then grinned with bright delight, seeing straight to the heart of his bibulousness in a way only Ariel had ever before managed. She placed her fist at the the base of her throat and rubbed lightly. “Right here, like the moment before you ignite a fire.”

He flushed and remained silent, as if admitting aloud that whiskey reminded him of his stars would somehow render that fact even more embarrassing.

Goddess sighed when he failed to offer any other response and they both finished their drinks without another word. But when Lucifer reached for the bottle to pour them one more round, she gently stopped him with a hand on his arm. “Take a walk with me, Son.”

Lucifer let his eyes drag slowly around his penthouse, then glanced back at his mother and raised his eyebrows, his expression so sarcastic no words were needed to convey his disdain for the idea.

Goddess gave him a deadpan look back. “Not here,” she said, and an image pressed itself into Lucifer’s mind. “Fly us there.”

He tilted his head in a slight nod. “Very well.”

As he moved to pick her up, she snatched the handle of single malt off the counter. “We’ll need this, too,” she said, drawing a huff of laughter from her son in his first truly unguarded moment of the night, and for just a second the ever-present coil of tension between them relaxed its hold.

Lucifer winged them quickly away from the city, slow enough not to harm his mother’s mortal body but still far faster than most humans would be comfortable with, and soon they were touching down in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

Goddess had picked a particularly lovely little outcropping for their midnight stroll, the red sandstone like an ice cream swirl on a warm summer’s day, vanilla and raspberry twirled around one another into delicious peaks on an otherwise flat landscape. Above them stretched the black velvet of the night sky, the canvas of twinkling stars shining all the brighter for the darkened state of the new moon. It didn’t quite compare to the skies of old, what with the abundance of light pollution pervading Earth these days, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

The two celestials stepped down onto a well-worn path and started walking. They didn’t speak, instead passing the bottle of whiskey back and forth, feeling the alcohol burn as they looked up and remembered a time long past.

“Why did you want to come out here, Mum?” Lucifer asked when the bottle eventually ran dry.

She stepped up to an old Joshua tree and ran her fingers along the rough surface of its trunk, taking a moment to appreciate the difficulty inherent in creating such diverse forms of life. It had been a long time since she’d made anything new. Glancing back over her shoulder at him, she said, “You spent forty years with your father’s Israelites as they wandered the wilderness, forty days with your father’s incarnation while he fasted in the Judaean Desert. Is it wrong for me to want forty minutes with you in a place like this too?”

Lucifer stopped walking, a bitter weight dropping to settle in his stomach. “Jealousy, Mum?”

She turned away and started hiking again. “You’ve always loved deserts, Son. Where else can you see your stars so well?”

Lucifer caught up to her in three long strides and spun her around to face him, his eyes shifting to red as hellfire leaked up from his core. “Don’t try to manipulate me,” he growled. “I won’t stand for it, Mum.”

“Manipulate you?” She had the gall to gasp like it was an outrageous suggestion. “I’m your mother! And I’ve missed you, Lucifer.”

“And whose fault is that?”

“I can’t make amends if you won’t let me! I’m trying to be here for you now. Doesn’t that count for something?”

Lucifer shook his head and stepped back so they were no longer touching. “If I won’t let you? Giving up already?” He asked, tone suspiciously monotonous.

“Of course not!” Goddess snapped. “Stop deliberately misunderstanding me.”

Lucifer paused at that, wondering if that really was what he’d been doing. “What do you want, Mum? What do you really want?” He asked, and even to his own ears he sounded tired, almost petulant. It reminded him uncomfortably of the Detective’s spawn whenever she stayed up too late, ornery but determined not to sleep.

“I want my family back,” Goddess said. And he knew she wasn’t lying, but he was the universe’s foremost expert on fibbing with the truth, and in the deepest recesses of his mind, he acknowledged that he’d come by that talent honestly.

He didn’t call her out on it though. “That’s a pipe dream,” he muttered instead.

“I’m out of Hell,” she noted, conveniently glossing over the how of that fact. “I’m spending time with you…and Amenadiel. And Michael and Gabriel are down here too. Four of my boys…It doesn’t seem so farfetched that I could reunite with the rest of my children.” She offered him a tremulous smile that he was almost loathe to disrupt. Almost.

“My brothers are only on Earth to help with the Hell Beasts and because they want to lock you back up.”

“I won you over,” she pointed out, to which Lucifer laughed sardonically.

“No, you destroyed your cage. I don’t have anywhere else to put you.”

She smirked, openly smug about that particular accomplishment. “Which allowed me the opportunity to reconnect with you.”

Lucifer didn’t have a ready retort, so they both fell silent then. After a minute they resumed walking, their argument seemingly finished. That was always how their disagreements went: in stops and starts, small, incremental steps in a steady march forward. Not at all the way fights with his dad usually played out, with Lucifer yelling and throwing fire while his father stood by, silent and disapproving, until there was nothing left to say. Or on one memorable occasion, until he was forced to react and Lucifer was tossed out of Heaven.

“The Hell Beasts…?”

“Yes?” Lucifer peered at his mother out of the corner of his eye, but it appeared she’d only brought the things up for idle chit-chat, something to restart the conversation but not something to really concern herself over.

“Why don’t you smite them?”

“They have a nasty habit of exploding when you do that,” he observed dryly.

“So?” Goddess shrugged.

“So we’re trying not to destroy California,” he said.

“Or you could go ahead and wipe this area off the face of the Earth and be done with the whole foul business.”

Lucifer rolled his eyes. “Yes, that would certainly be more expedient, wouldn’t it? Except for the part where all of the innocent humans die.”

“Humans die,” she said, callous as usual when it came to mortals.

“Doesn’t mean we have to speed it up for them.”

She sighed. “I’ll never understand what you see in those creatures. They’re filthy, and they excrete things that smell.”

“Yes, well, luckily they typically do that part in private,” he said drolly.

“There’s no privacy when you’re inside one of their bodies!”

Lucifer’s mind automatically twisted those words into a double entendre, and if literally anyone other than his mother had said them, he would have gleefully jumped to point out the innuendo.

“Maybe you’ll learn to appreciate them after you spend sixty or so years stuck in that shell,” he said with a smirk instead, as pleased with himself over his brilliant punishment as his mother had been about breaking her cage.

“I doubt sixty or so centuries could manage that,” she grumbled.

"Perhaps some of them will surprise you,” he said lightly. They never ceased to surprise Lucifer.

Goddess continued to glower. “None of them have before.”

“Had you ever even talked to any of them before this?”

“Of course,” she sniffed.

“As an equal?”

“Why would I do that?”

Lucifer almost laughed at the expression of sheer bewilderment gracing her face even as he fought not to roll his eyes at her stubborn dislike of the species.

Humans could be cruel and selfish and idiotic, and they generally had an over inflated sense of their importance in the grand scheme of things. But there was such an immediacy to them, a burning zest for life which was heightened by their mortality. They loved and hated, celebrated and mourned and created and explored with their entire being. Even in destruction, perhaps especially then, they were fully present. Lucifer often complained about humanity’s tendency to deny themselves that which they desired, but zealots the world over had demonstrated that even that could be done with great passion.

And humans changed so rapidly: one decade sworn enemies, the next great allies; their laws constantly in flux, changing from year to year, month to month, sometimes even day to day; their languages shifting into something unrecognizable in a few short centuries. Goddess had always loved experiencing new things, so Dad’s creations or not, she should appreciate humans. Eventually... Hopefully...

“You liked the whiskey, didn’t you?” He asked.

“I don’t have to speak to them to drink their liquor, Son.”

“No, but you also can’t like it without admitting that humans have some redeeming qualities.”

Goddess arched a brow, unimpressed. “There is nothing they can create that we can’t make better.”

“Of course not…Except maybe that Macallan.” Lucifer tossed the empty bottle with a flamboyant flip of his wrist, catching it gracefully as gravity dragged it back a second later. “That was a work of art. Truly divine.”

Goddess shook her head and kept walking, allowing the desert stillness to shroud them in a veil of silence. “Your brother found a lead on one of those vermin you’re chasing,” she said after a minute.

“So that’s why he left you alone?”

“If only.”

“What?”

“He didn’t leave me alone. He dropped me off with this meat-sack’s family,” Goddess complained.

Lucifer did roll his eyes at that. Of course Amenadiel didn’t wait for Lucifer to set up the monitoring wards before he tossed their mother on the innocent bystanders. Honestly, it was like his brother was deliberately obtuse when it came to all things Lucifer and Hell. Despite the millennia the seraph had spent herding the Devil back down below, Amenadiel didn’t know the first thing about punishment.

“And so of course you came straight to me.”

Goddess rounded on him. “If I have to associate with those annoying humans to satisfy you, I will,” she snarled. “But as nice and tingly as it feels, there’s only so many times I can shut that husband up with sex before he wants to stop and talk—”

“Okay, Mother! Can we not—”

“—And those kids and their incessant whining about gluten! Can you blame me if I needed to get away after a day of that?”

Lucifer grinned wickedly. Only one day in and she’d already been reduced to this.

“Did you at least catch which beast Amenadiel located before he flounced off?”

A wry look was his only response.

“Or at least what the beast might be planning?” He pressed on anyways.

Goddess waved her hand distractedly, her attention once more mostly on the stars. “Something about a bigger, badder Great Depression and the stock market crashing. Normal doom and gloom mortal problems. I don’t know. I stopped paying attention when Amenadiel said he was leaving me with the humans.”

“Well, that’s at least one more taken care of then,” Lucifer chirped brightly, valiantly ignoring his frustration at the less than stellar report.

“Hmmm?” Goddess tore her eyes away from the sky to focus back on her son. “Oh, no. Your brother wasn’t sure if it was just a regular human or not. If it is a Hell Beast, it has a talent for shrouding. Amenadiel’s gone to try his hand at human investigating.”

She scoffed at the notion, but there was an indulgent softness in her eyes as she thought of her son’s latest diversion.

“And he thought he could do a better job of that than the Detective?” Lucifer growled, positively scandalized at the notion.

“Off to fetch your pet, then?” Goddess sighed.

Lucifer’s lips thinned at the derogatory term, but he chose to let it slide. The barest thin sliver of pink was just beginning to paint the horizon, and Maze had said the Detective would come to Lux to speak with him this morning. Perfect timing really, now that he had some nice, world-saving investigative work to offer her as an olive branch.

He could drop his mum back off at her human house, set up some basic monitoring wards, and be back in his penthouse with time to spare.

Sometimes, Amenadiel managed to be helpful. Even if those instances were few and far between. And usually unintentional.

🔥 ✨ 🔥 ✨ 😈✨ 🔥 ✨ 🔥

“That one, Poppet. He’s perfect. Such a bright, shining soul.”

Malcolm shivered as that unnaturally cold breath whispered over the nape of his neck. Jabez, unfortunately, had a habit of standing just a little too close, the sharp edges of its nails digging in just a little too hard as it caressed Malcolm’s fragile skin.

The former detective reached into his pocket to squeeze his Pentecostal coin in a tight, white-knuckled grip, then moved to step towards his target, the sharp blade of the knife held in his other hand glinting in the pre-dawn light.

Jabez pulled him back. “Make it sensational,” it purred. “So He can’t possibly miss it.”

“I—” Malcolm swallowed thickly. “You do promise, don’t you? You swear that…that—”

“Shhhh,” Jabez soothed, draping itself over Malcolm’s back and running a rough hand through the man’s short locks. “We had a deal. Don’t tell me you doubt me now? That you want to back out?”

“No!” Malcolm hastened to reassure. “I’m not backing out! I want this, I do! I just…just—”

“Good.” Jabez abruptly released him and shoved him forward. “Then go and fulfill your part before the pretty little dove gets away.”

Malcolm looked up frantically and noticed that the jogger was indeed about to stop stretching. So with a determined nod, he stalked forward. He would do this, and Lucifer would come.

And when the Devil did, the Beasts would be waiting. And Malcolm would be free.

Chapter Text

“So Heaven, Hell, all of it’s real?” Chloe asked almost as soon as she stepped out of the elevator, not giving herself a chance to tuck tail and run at the sight of Lucifer waiting for her.

Lounging as he was in the crook of his L-shaped sofa with his bare feet just peeking out from under a thick fur blanket, his silk robe drooping to expose the smooth skin of his left shoulder, and a steaming mug of definitely spiked coffee clutched in one hand, he looked deceptively harmless. Chloe wished she could appreciate the ruse, but it only made her more nervous.

“Yes.” Lucifer stared at her intently, desperately trying to decode her expression.

It was so difficult, sometimes, to read human emotions. Dr. Linda was helping him, but still…They focussed so much on small eye movements and little facial ticks, and their body language was all wrong. They lent towards one another when they were feeling both aggressive and compassionate, and sometimes just to express eagerness. But there was no accompanying flare of wings or shuffling of feathers to let him know which meaning was intended.

He knew he had had many failures of communication from his end as well. Lust and fear and anger he was sure he got right; he’d seen them often enough in the damned souls of Hell. But sometimes when he told a joke, phantom muscles twitched with the urge to puff his wings up in good humor. How was anyone supposed to tell when he was being serious if he couldn’t flatten his feathers down in a strict line?

Demons were easier. They at least used ample hand gestures, and their facial expressions tended to be more exaggerated than either humans or angels. Subtle, they were not.

And his siblings still moved right even when their wings were tucked away on another plane and mostly hidden to his sight. It had greatly amused him how confounded Amenadiel got whenever he tried to talk to Lucifer during those five years he had walked the Earth sans wings, not even the shadow of his feathers visible for his brother to read.

The Detective took a small, shuffling step closer, and Lucifer decided she looked like she was running through a mental list, maybe debating what to ask next. “So, can you go there whenever you feel like it?” She finally settled on.

And somehow she’d managed to hit an emotional bruise with her first question.

Not quite able to keep the bitterness out of his voice, he drawled, “Well down to Hell, sure. Not up to the Silver City though. I’ve not been welcome there in quite some time.”

She stared at him for another long moment, almost unblinking, then she sat across from him, in the seat furthest away from his own he noted. Her foot tapped against the ground rhythmically, making up for the stillness of her face, while her fingers fiddled with the hem of her sweater. Every couple of seconds, counted with the even tap tap tap of her toes, she shifted ever so slightly, like she was fighting the urge to leap from her chair, before she settled back down.

“How does that even work?” She suddenly shouted in clear distress, the loud noise cracking like lightning through the silent penthouse.

Lucifer flinched back from the unexpected harshness. He wanted to tuck his wings in tight, the angelic equivalent of holding one’s arms out in surrender, to signal ‘I-am-not-a-threat,’ but the divine appendages were hidden from her, so instead he just ended up looking like he was huddling in on himself, head ducked and shoulders drawn up in a human gesture of fear. Miscommunication or not, though, his body language did have the intended effect: the Detective relaxed, and when she spoke again, her tone was softer.

“Are they both just sitting somewhere out there in space? Or is there a whole ’nother fairytale land hidden in a closet, or…or—”

“Been reading fantasy novels, Detective?” He chuckled, good humor restored.

“Lucifer!” Chloe implored.

He sighed. Dr. Linda had been like this too, he reminded himself, and she’d responded best when he was calm. Calm and logical. Humans in this modern era, they liked their science. They wanted to know all the tedious mechanics of how the world worked. Very focussed on the individual trees instead of the the forest, his father’s creations.

“Have you ever seen a picture of the multiverse theory?” He launched into his explanation. “All those universe spheres floating around next to each other in…well, there’s not a word for it in any mortal language—you humans haven’t discovered it yet, can’t yet conceptualize it…Not actually sure your brains were built to comprehend it actually,” he mused.

“But the point is those orbs don’t normally touch. Now, Heaven and Hell, to put it in incredibly simplified terms, are basically their own separate universes squished up against this one so closely that the fabric between them and you is thin. Which is why it’s relatively easy for us celestials to travel back and forth.”

“So can human souls, or whatever, cross over easily too?” She asked, thinking of her father and how much she wished to speak to him again. If the Devil was real, then maybe things like ouija boards actually worked. Suddenly the idea of performing a séance seemed less creepy and ridiculous and more hopeful and realistic.

But then Lucifer laughed like it was the silliest notion he’d heard all week, and her fledging dream crumbled to dust.

“Azrael would be out of a job if you lot could cross over on your own. Without her, you humans would just sit in your dead bodies, trapped, while they slowly disintegrated.”

He continued to chuckle, clearly not grasping how frankly horrifying she found the information he’d just imparted. He was trying to be understanding, she thought. But it was like he believed if he was just calm enough, just logical enough, that she would get over her shock. Like she could accept this new reality in a couple of days and move on. All good, everything back to normal.

And the thing is, it wasn’t even his fault. Lucifer wasn’t human. He didn’t, couldn’t, understand the way these revelations had shaken her foundation. His frame of reference simply wasn’t in the same ballpark. He was a three-dimensional being trying to explain depth to a two-dimensional stick figure, and not understanding why the concept didn’t compute.

She closed her eyes, took a deep calming breath, and changed the direction of their conversation. “And things like Hell Beasts? Can they cross over without help?”

“Eh,” he made a noncommittal sound in response before saying, “The goal, Detective, is to stop them before they recover from their cross-dimensional trip to Earth. Once they’re back in top shape, I guess you could say all Hell will break loose.”

So that was a ‘yes,’ she decided. “Did coming here injure them or something?”

“More like drained. Crossing between realms requires a lot of energy. Lucky for us, they’re completely exhausted at the moment.”

Which was just great. If they could rack up this kind of death toll at their low point, she dreaded what was to come.

Lucifer though, she ran a speculative eye over him, noting his bright eyes and typical upbeat attitude. “You don’t seem to be having too much trouble jumping back and forth?”

“Darling,” he grinned not a little smugly and gestured up towards the sky, “I lit the stars. I’m not lacking for energy.” Then he promptly killed the gravity of his words with a suggestive leer. Ignoring his typical Luciferness, she glanced at the sun, and resolved to shelve that comment for the moment. Compartmentalization was key if she wanted to keep her sanity.

“But what about your mom?” She asked. Lucifer had told her she was confined to a mortal shell. That seemed pretty diminished for a goddess.

“What about her?”

“Well if you can cross back and forth with no problem, why is she so…tired?”

He stared at her, jaw actually dropped in bewilderment. “You think my mum is drained from traveling to Earth?”

“Isn’t she?”

“Of course not!” He chortled, sounding strangled by his hilarity.

She scowled, miffed by his reaction (and secretly glad she was relaxing enough to feel irritated with her friend). “Then why?”

“Detective,” he breathed, words interspersed with honest to God giggles, “the cage my mum was trapped in was capable of containing, well, my mum. Goddess of all creation? There were literally millions of locks on that cage, each one powered by the force of a star. Getting free of that would drain anyone.”

“Right, of course,” she said sarcastically. “So if there’s actually a goddess, are any of the Bible stories true? Adam and Eve? The apple?”

“Hmm, oh yes. Kickstarted your species cognitive revolution, didn’t I? You’re welcome,” he smiled and dipped his head in a dramatic little bow.

Chloe blinked. “Humans actually came from Adam and Eve?”

“In a sense,” Lucifer shrugged. “Adam and Eve were the first beings on Earth granted immortal souls by Dad even if they weren’t technically the first homo sapiens.”

Chloe nodded slowly. “And the apple? Did it really give us the ‘knowledge of good and evil,’ or whatever?” She asked, waving her arm in a wide circle like she was trying to encompass all of that knowledge in a gesture.

“More like a banana, really.” He glanced pointedly down at his crotch, grinning wickedly when Chloe automatically slapped a hand to her face in exasperation.

He smirked, remembering his first sexual encounter with an aching fondness burning in his chest. The pleasure had taken him by surprise, and he hadn’t reigned in his divine power quite as well as he should have, but he couldn’t regret that slight loss of control. He rather enjoyed what humans had done with their ability to reason.

And he could never regret Eve and Adam. That first innocent touch, a sweet smile and warm eyes. The way they’d given of themselves so freely, without fear or judgement or reservation, only love. The original Devil’s threesome.

They’d lain beneath the branches of the Great Tree for hours afterwards as he’d regaled them with stories of the Silver City and the creation of the stars. As they’d feasted on sweet figs and clear spring water, he’d confided in them his frustrations with his family. And gentle Eve, with all her newfound knowledge and naiveté, had asked him why he followed if he was so dissatisfied, and he hadn’t been able to give her a good answer.

“You’re looking at the original sin,” he told Chloe. “A snake tempted a woman to taste the forbidden fruit? Your Bible is filled with metaphors that you humans tend to take a little too literally,” he said, which was just ironic considering everyone always assumed all his literal statements were metaphors.

“That…” Chloe trailed off, staring at him with her mouth agape for one long second, then continued in an incredulous voice, “…Actually makes a disturbing amount of sense.”

She was quiet for a moment, trying to figure out what she wanted to ask next, but the more she heard, the more one thing seemed to stick out in her mind like a hot poker, an anomaly that didn’t fit with the rest of the facts written down in the mental case file she’d titled: LUCIFER.

“Why did you say I make you vulnerable? When I shot you, did you really only get hurt because it was me who shot you?”

“Yes, it was the strangest thing. Mortal weapons never had any effect on me before you came around, then suddenly when I’m in your presence…?” He drew his pointer finger across his throat and grinned boyishly, like an unexpected case of mortality was pure entertainment gold.

Deep breaths, Chloe reminded herself. In for four, out for four, just like in all those yoga classes her mother used to drag her to when she was a teenager. “But you don’t think that’s still a problem now? For reasons you still haven’t explained.”

“Great question!” Lucifer sprang to his feet in one smooth, lightening quick motion, then hesitated when Chloe instinctively jerked back. At a more sedate pace he walked over to the shelves on the other side of the room and grabbed an antique dagger. Though extremely sharp and ornately decorated with all manner of religious symbols intended to protect the weapon’s bearer, the twelfth century blade was made of regular mortal iron and should have no effect against him if Chloe no longer made him vulnerable.

“Let’s test it!” He said, and before she could protest, he slashed the edge against his palm. Nothing happened. He stared at his unblemished hand for a second before flipping it around to show Chloe.

“Huh,” he muttered, “I wonder…? Detective,” he said as he stepped up to Chloe’s seat, “tell me, what is it you desire?”

She stared up at him, then glanced from side to side as if expecting something to jump out, for something more to happen, but Lucifer continued to stand over her, waiting for her to react. “Uh…yeah, your voodoo trick still doesn’t work.”

Lucifer started nodding immediately, too preoccupied to take offense over her calling his ability a ‘voodoo trick.’ “Hmmm, I suppose it makes sense that you would still be immune…”

“You want to share with the class?”

Lucifer snapped back to attention. It took a while to explain, as first he had to run through the entire ordeal of locking away most of his power. Chloe struggled to accept that yes, he really had voluntarily reduced himself to something almost human, that when she had first met him he would have struggled to lift an eighteen wheeler whereas now he was back in tip top star-lighting shape.

From there things only got more bizarre.

Lucifer had gone to Chloe’s house shortly after the big reveal to try and talk to her, but she had already fled to a hotel. Chloe’s mother, on the other hand, had stopped by to pick up a few things before flying out to New York, and she’d been more than happy to talk to Lucifer, telling him all about her troubles conceiving and the desperation that had driven her to seek out the help of a witch doctor.

Chloe’s birth was a miracle, Penelope Decker insisted. Lucifer figured the word was close enough, if not entirely accurate.

“Real witches,” Chloe rubbed at her temples, “because that’s a thing now. Are they at least still human?”

“For the most part,” Lucifer shrugged.

“For the most part? What does that even mean?”

“Witches, shamans, psychics, any humans born with real power really, they’re all the descendants of nephilim.”

Chloe sighed. She needed to buy a bunch of books on the occult or something. She could probably manage to keep them hidden from Lucifer and Maze. At least she hoped they’d dropped the bad habit of rifling through her drawers by this point, otherwise they’d never let her live it down. “And nephilim are?”

“Products of angelic dalliances with humans,” said he with a little leering smile, patient in the face of her questions where she knew he would have mocked most other people for their ignorance.

“Yours?” She asked.

He shook his head no, appearing honestly offended by the question, and asked why everyone seemed to think he would do something so irresponsible…which she chose to ignore.

“Huh. I would have thought all the other angels were a little more, I don’t know, chaste?”

“On Earth as it is in Heaven, m’dear. Dear old Dad has to bless them in marriage first, of course,” he rolled his eyes. “The dullards. But there’s plenty of sex going on in the Silver City.”

Chloe wrinkled her nose, not even trying to conceal how icky she found his statement. “Isn’t that incest?”

Lucifer blinked and went silent for one awkward beat, then he tossed his head back and roared with laughter. “You think,” he chortled, “You think that,” another breathless little giggle escaped him before he finally regained enough composure to finish his sentence. “No, no, not incest. Hell! The look on their faces if you ever! No, technically the only actual children of Mum and Dad are the eight archangels.”

“But…don’t you call Amenadiel your brother?” She asked even though Maze had briefly explained this quirk of Lucifer's the other night.

He nodded and, still grinning widely, explained, “God and Goddess directly created all of the seraphim, and most of the cherubim and thrones too, so I mostly choose to consider them my siblings, but they’re no more related to me, on a genetic level, than Adam was to Eve. And the millions that make up the Middle and Lowest Orders were born from marriages, not created at all. Besides, Amenadiel was the first seraph. He’s sort of my older brother.”

“But only sort of?” Chloe smirked, thinking that her partner sounded like such a typical, petulant little brother.

“He was crafted fully formed not long after I was born. I had to actually grow up,” Lucifer complained. He said it like childhood should have been a perfectly avoidable inconvenience, the way other people might talk about bad traffic or finding mold on their bread when they went to make a sandwich.

“Right, I feel for you. Really, I do,” Chloe drawled sarcastically. Not that Lucifer seemed to notice her tone, what with the way he perked up at her words.

“Thank you,” he enunciated. The vindicated martyr.

She shook her head fondly, fighting back the smile that wanted to emerge at his antics. And wasn’t it a relief to still be able to feel this easy in his presence. “Anyways, so you think the reason I’m immune to your power and used to make you vulnerable is because my mom had a spell cast on her by a nephilim?”

“No, not a nephilim. They and their direct children were all killed—work for me now actually—but the Host didn’t bother going after all the grandchildren. Power doesn’t always breed true, you know? So Dad just decreed ‘Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’ and called it a day instead. Obviously that was a less complete solution, and you humans are notoriously bad at judging which people are actually witches, so lot’s of them are still running around.”

“Oh. So then…what?”

“I think your mother had a spell cast on her by one of those lucky descendants using one of my feathers as a focus,” he stated matter-of-factly, like a doctor diagnosing a cold.

“One of your feathers? How would they have gotten one of those?”

“Oh, I went through a bit of a phase a few centuries back — thought gifting feathers to mortals would be a good way to piss off Dad. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if some of them were missed when he sent his emissaries down to confiscate them. Would at least explain why your freakishness only works against me.”

“Used to work against you,” she said, uncomfortable with even the idea that her presence could cause Lucifer harm. Devil or not, no human should have that kind of power over the divine. “You’re not vulnerable around me anymore.”

“Point. But you are still immune to my charms,” he grinned.

“Yeah, charms,” she snorted. Then a new and disturbing thought dropped like lead into her stomach. “Wait! This doesn’t mean you’re partly my father, or grandfather, or genetically related or something, does it?”

“What!” He yelped, jerking away from her. “Of course not! What in the world gave you that ridiculous idea?”

“Hey! It’s not that far fetched!”

“Of course it is!”

“If you were partly responsible for my concep—”

“Detective, please! Stop talking! Oh, I can’t unthink that,” he moaned, shuddering.

“Wow. That takes daddy kink to a whole new level,” Mazikeen’s voice suddenly sounded behind them.

“Shut up, Maze,” Lucifer grumbled, not at all startled by her presence even as Chloe jumped in surprise.

“Want to make her scream, ‘Ay Papi!’?” His demon snickered, reveling in his torture.

“Maze—”

“I should tell Linda that she finally has proof Freud wasn’t crazy,” she carried on, ignoring his warning tone.

“I’m going to gag you!” He growled.

“Promises, promises,” Maze laughed, plopping down on the couch next to him. She slid onto her back, resting her head in Lucifer’s lap. His hands came up almost unconsciously, digging into her hair as he began methodically working his fingers from the crown of her head to the base of her neck and back.

Aza hopped up on the couch as soon as Maze was situated, draping herself over the demon’s body like she was trying her hand at being a lapdog. Lucifer didn’t think she was doing a particularly good job, what with the way she completely covered Maze, her head resting on the demon’s shoulder blocking Maze from Chloe’s view entirely. Not that Maze seemed to mind, cooing sweet nothings at the canine as she scratched behind the hellhound’s ears in much the same fashion as Lucifer was scratching at her scalp.

Chloe watched the byplay with no little fascination, wondering if this was what they looked like down in Hell, indulging each other as they lounged around on expensive furniture. She imagined that it was probably a lot warmer, and the lighting was probably redder, more fiery. But she could see this exact same conversation happening down there: the two of them snickering over jokes about kinky sex, their man-eating dog begging for more pets.

It was an odd image of domestic bliss, but a happy one. And for one fleeting second, Chloe wanted with a deep, burning kind of longing.

She shoved the feeling down, resolutely locking it away in a dark corner of her mind.

“So if you’re an archangel,” she said, asking the first question that popped into her head, “and Amenadiel’s just a seraph, why was he the one sent to make you go back to Hell? Shouldn’t they have sent another archangel to deal with you?”

“Being just a seraph is nothing to scoff at, Detective,” Lucifer answered with an amused smirk. “And Amenadiel is First Among the Seraphim.”

“So if it came to a fight, he could beat you?”

Lucifer wrinkled his nose and made a so-so gesture with his hand. “I told you earlier that the archangels were born, not created, but I don’t think you fully grasped what that means.”

“Okay?”

“See, it’s like this: we archangels were conceived. Sort of like when you humans procreate, Mum and Dad didn’t have any control over how powerful we were; they didn’t get to pick how we look or what our personalities would be like. We Are What We Are,” he said with an odd intonation, a gravity behind his last sentence that resonated deep in Chloe’s bones.

“But,” he continued in a more normal voice, “every other member of the Heavenly Host, from the highest seraphim to the lowest guardian, was either created or born of a lesser creation. Mum and Dad wove their power together, cherry picking abilities and personality traits, and then they said ‘Let this being be,’ and they were.”

They were both quiet for a moment, and then Chloe hesitantly asked, “Lucifer, are you trying to tell me that, genetically speaking, you’re actually a god?”

He looked at her curiously. “I suppose in human terms, sure. That would be an accurate description.”

“So, when you rebelled, you actually had reason to believe that, I mean, that you could actually be…stronger? Than God?”

“I thought so at the time, yes. But Dad’s…Dad.” He shrugged, like it was an obvious fact of life that no one could outmatch his father. And she supposed in reality, it was.

Honestly, Chloe wasn’t sure how many more times she could experience a complete paradigm shift over the course of this one conversation before her brain just gave up and melted. Because seriously? The idea that this very human looking weirdo she’d spent the last year traipsing around LA solving crimes with actually had the power to light literal stars wasn’t getting any easier to accept.

“I…this still doesn’t explain why sending Amenadiel instead of Michael or Gabriel was a good idea. The opposite, really. Unless your parents gave the seraphim as much power as an archangel?”

He shook his head. “Not even close, but that’s precisely why sending a seraph was a good idea.”

At Chloe’s confused expression, Maze shoved Aza down to the other end of the couch and sat up from where she’d been letting Lucifer pet her hair. “Amenadiel doesn’t have as much raw power, so when he decides violence is the answer, we’re not all risking the whole world going boom if he loses control.” The demon mimed an explosion with her hands, looking far too gleeful at the prospect for Chloe’s comfort.

“But…that would take a really BIG loss of control…right?” Chloe tried to clarify.

“Eh, for the whole world, maybe. Wouldn’t take much for him to wipe out California, though,” Maze said, and Lucifer grinned so brightly at what he obviously took as a compliment that Chloe could almost convince herself it was said in jest.

“So to answer your question,” Lucifer blithely continued, “Could Amenadiel beat me in a fight? Probably, since I’d have to hold back so much more than him, to be so much more careful than him. But you’ll notice he never risked it. Play fighting aside, not once in the last five years has he tried to make me go back to Hell by force. Thought he’d annoy me into obeying instead,” he finished his explanation with a grumble.

Everything was said so nonchalantly that it took an inordinate amount of time for the impact of their words to click in her mind, but when they did her stomach swooped with the kind of nauseous terror that came from realizing that the continued existence of everything within a thousand mile radius hinged on the self-control of her impulsive best friend.

“A-are you t-telling me that you could wipe out an entire state…by accident? Just, oops! Bye-Bye California!” Chloe tried to keep the rising hysteria out of her voice, but judging by the distressed whine Lucifer’s hellhound released at her words, she wasn’t sure she was particularly successful. God, she wished Linda was here with her for this.

“Yes, of course,” he confirmed absently, eyeing Aza as she crept off the couch and tiptoed closer and closer to the Detective’s chair in a clear attempt to sneak snuggle its occupant. Honestly, she seemed to have let the whole ‘emotional support animal’ thing go straight to her head.

Focussing back on Chloe, he finally noticed the wide-eyed panic that was stealing her breath away and hastened to reassure her. “Don’t worry, Detective! I haven’t done anything that sloppy in literal eons. Earth is completely safe.”

“And your brothers, Michael and Gabriel? Your mom? Could…Could—”

“Chloe, I promise you, we’re all perfectly in control. The planet is over 4 billion years old, and not once, in all that time, have any of us had an accident. You’re safe.”

“So s-something like the dinosaurs? That wasn’t…?”

“Why does everyone always ask about the dinosaurs?” He said with such a put upon air that Chloe finally felt her equilibrium shift back into balance.

She wondered if this was going to be her life now. Revelation after revelation pushing her to near panic, followed by Lucifer and Maze acting so exasperatingly like themselves that she was forced to calm down. She supposed she would have to learn to deal with it.

Chloe didn’t know if the giant hellhound suddenly occupying her lap and begging for cuddles was helping or hindering that effort.

Chapter Text

“Remind me again why we’re running a sting operation with Lucifer’s entire wack-job family?”

“It’s hardly his entire family, Dan,” Chloe muttered defensively.

Unfortunately, there was no way to tell her colleagues that they needed the immortal angels along for the ride because she was worried their target might be an escaped monster from Hell bent on destroying the human race without sounding like a schizophrenic crazy person. Which had meant more illegal obfuscation when she’d recorded made-up backgrounds in her reports to explain why Lucifer’s brothers were qualified to work with the police for this case.

She wondered what happened when a soul was too corrupt in life for admittance into Heaven, but on too good of terms with the King of Hell to be accepted for punishment down below. Rebirth to fix her karma? Forced to wander the Earthly plane as a ghost forever? Cursed to spend eternity partying with Lucifer’s demons? Transformation into a demon?

Maybe Michael and Gabriel would put in a good word for her with old Saint Paul, assuming he really did guard the pearly gates. Or she could get Lucifer to introduce her to Azrael; it was probably a good idea to get on the good side of the shepherd of souls.

Dan stopped fidgeting with the surveillance equipment to level a very unimpressed look in her direction. “So there’s more of them?” He drawled out, slow and sarcastic. “That’s great. Not my point though, Chloe. They’re civilians, probably certifiably insane civilians if their brother is any example—”

“Lucifer’s not crazy!”

“He thinks he’s the Devil,” Dan deadpanned. “Either he’s delusional, or he’s so messed up in the head he thinks that’s a good way to get attention.”

“That’s not—”

“Whatever, all I’m trying to say is that pushing for this op wasn’t smart. We have no business being here.”

“I got a tip, and I’m following it through,” Chloe bit out.

At least that statement was true. Misleading, but still true.

Lucifer had been dramatically offended on her behalf when Amenadiel had burst into his penthouse and confessed that he’d failed to locate their latest Hell Beast. The thing was apparently shrouded, but the seraph had believed he would be able to sense it if he was nearby regardless. What he hadn’t accounted for was the cacophony of greed and cutthroat morals pervading Los Angeles’s financial district, which had effectively masked the low tenor of any stray bits of aura the beast had failed to properly hide.

Not that Amenadiel had conceded defeat then. He’d tried his hand at a new approach: part investigator, part cat burglar, and all around ineffective detective. But as it turned out, Amenadiel had been more fascinated by the machines humans had built in the last century, airplanes and cars and atomic clocks, than in the progress of their financial institutions, and he had no idea how to interpret all of the documents he'd stolen, let alone determine if any of the markets were being manipulated by someone for malicious ends.

“Honestly,” Lucifer had rolled his eyes, “this is why you should leave the detective work to the real detectives.”

He had waved at Chloe then with such faith, such complete confidence that she would be able to wade through the mire of overcomplicated human financial records to find the perpetrator disguising itself as one of her species that she couldn’t turn down his request for help.

Only the knowledge that she was the only available detective ‘in the know’ kept her from regretting that now as she was faced with Dan’s judging eyes.

“Following it through?” He asked incredulously. “We’re homicide, Chloe. You should’ve kicked this over to the Commercial Crimes Division the second it landed on your desk.”

“Look, I have a gut feeling—”

“You have gut feeling? Seriously? Do you have any idea how bad it’s going to look that you insisted on keeping this case if anything goes wrong?”

Hot anger burned through Chloe’s blood, bubbling just beneath the surface as she fought to not just punch her ex in his face. She would admit she’d been surprised by this Hell Beast’s tactics at first. All of the destruction she’d learned about up until this point had made the creatures seem more like mindless harbingers of death, not sophisticated villains.

“It’s trying to cause a stock market crash?” She had asked doubtfully as Amenadiel finished his report. "Doesn’t that seem a little…”

“Bloodless?” Lucifer had laughed sardonically. “They aren’t all man-eaters, Detective. Granted, most of the lesser Hell Beasts seem to like the way you humans taste, but the Deep Pitters? They want to watch the world burn on a much larger scale.”

She wished he could at least try to sound less casual about those creepy things eating people, but the point stood that this was larger than one single murder, larger than a thousand murders. And Chloe was the only human in a position to help, the only one who could approach this situation aware of the bigger game being played. They didn’t have time to find a more numbers-savvy white collar detective who wouldn’t have a mental breakdown when faced with proof of the divine.

“Not everything is about appearances, Dan,” she sneered. “And I think we’ve proven that my instincts are good. Or don’t you remember the last time I stuck to my guns? I was right then, and I’m right now.”

Dan winced. “Yeah, you were right about Malcolm being corrupt—”

“He was a homicidal psychopath,” Chloe corrected.

“Being right once doesn’t mean you’re right every time!”

Lucifer’s greeting thankfully interrupted her response before things could spiral completely out of control.

“Good evening, Detective!” He crowed as he stepped through the doorless arch which led to his bedroom. He was decked out in a bespoke black tuxedo, the bowtie still hanging loose around his neck in a way that suggested repose if one ignored the rest of his perfectly put together image. He glanced at Dan, disdain shading his eyes for one second, then turned his nose up in the opposite of a polite nod. “Detective Douche.”

For once Chloe couldn’t blame Lucifer for the name calling, immature as she normally found the behavior. They were standing in Lucifer’s home, eating his food, and using his money to investigate a tip he had brought them which could potentially save their entire country from ruin. And here Dan was badmouthing him and his family. Everything about Lucifer’s physicality was enhanced well beyond human abilities; Chloe could only assume his hearing was no exception. But even if Lucifer was normal, he probably could have overheard their conversation. Dan wasn’t exactly making an effort to keep his voice down.

Dan looked like he wanted to respond to the oft-repeated jab, but the hellhounds trotted out right behind the Devil, their dull red eyes locked on the man their master found irritating. He turned back to messing with the equipment resolutely.

Maze swept up the stairs a moment later dressed in a silken black number that somehow managed to be both quintessentially Maze and gracefully sophisticated at the same time. Lucifer’s three brothers followed within seconds, stepping in from the balcony like the penthouse floor was a normal entrance point for any building.

Chloe wondered if some supernatural announcement had gone out calling the celestial beings here right at this moment, but forced herself to shove her curiosity aside for the time being. “Alright good, now that everybody’s here, we can get started,” she said with a forced bright smile.

“Not that any of them bothered to come inside and introduce themselves,” Dan muttered under his breath. He may as well have shouted with the way the angels all turned to look at him though.

Gabriel laughed lightly, obviously amused, while Amenadiel kept a placid facade in a poor attempt to act like the words hadn’t reached his ears. Michael narrowed his golden eyes and tilted his chin up in an expression eerily similar to some of Lucifer’s more condescending looks, and was only stopped from uttering a sharp rebuttal by the gentle hand Gabriel placed on his shoulder.

“Don’t get your panties in a bunch, Brother,” Lucifer snickered. “Daniel here is always a douche.”

“Hey!” Dan spun around, but the rest of his words died on his lips when he was once again met with the hungry stares of the three massive canines still sitting next to Lucifer.

Lucifer smirked wickedly and patted one of the male hound’s heads, Rhan or Zeev, Chloe couldn’t tell the two black wolf-like animals apart. She knew it wasn’t Aza though, who had butted her head against Lucifer’s back as soon as he scratched at the other dog’s ears, demanding pets of her own.

Maze looked over and locked gazes with Chloe. “Overgrown toddlers,” the demon mouthed, rolling her eyes.

“So now that we’re all here,” Chloe reiterated, studiously ignoring Maze as she tried to head off a petty argument, even if she did want to laugh at the imagery, “We should go over the plan again.”

“Great idea, Detective!” Lucifer singsonged.

Chloe didn’t know whether to be flattered by Lucifer’s clear faith in her or intimidated by the focus of all the divine beings. It wasn’t a normal feeling for her, typically confident in her expertise as she was, but there was no choice now but to power forward.

“Thanks, Lucifer,” she settled on saying. “Right, so chatter on the streets says the hacker known as Typhoon is sending an envoy to this gala tonight. At some point during the silent auction, the envoy is going to deliver a flash drive to our real bad guy.”

Maze pulled three photos from somewhere and tossed them on the table, cutting off Chloe’s speech. “Those three are our best bet for the envoy’s identity.”

“How did you get these?” Dan asked suspiciously as he leaned over to examine the stills of two notorious men and one chillingly unknown woman.

A mischievous smile spread over the demon’s lips. “Trust me, Dan,” she purred, “You don’t wanna know.”

Dan looked like he very much did want to know, so Chloe spoke up once again, trying to keep everyone on track. “Okay, so when you five get into the party,” she said, waving at the immortals, “keep your eyes peeled for these three couriers. With something as expensive and high profile as the malware Typhoon designed, the exchange is probably going to be done face-to-face, but still be on the lookout for the envoy leaving the flash drive at a drop spot instead.”

“Wait! You’re just going to trust her intel is good?” Dan jabbed his finger in Maze’s direction, shaking his head like he couldn’t believe his ears. “If this tip turns out to be real…Chloe this is NASDAQ we’re talking about. Trillions of dollars pass through their system every day. If their data gets corrupted, if their networks collapse…?” Dan shook his head again, going pale just thinking about it. “I’ve already said I don’t think we should be the ones handling this, but now you’re not even going to question where the civilian bartender got her information?”

Chloe wished Dan didn’t have a point. She too had been in favor of involving the feds, or at the very least alerting NASDAQ that they were being targeted. But Lucifer had refused. He was the Devil, he said, and Hell Beasts were his jurisdiction. He was convinced involving more humans and all the agencies that came with them would only serve to alert the Hell Beast that they were on to it.

So Lucifer had persuaded her superiors to sit on the information, and in the end Chloe had agreed, though she couldn’t help the nagging thoughts poking at her brain, whispering that the Devil and his ilk would not be the ones paying the price if they failed.

Perhaps it was her own anxiety that made her snap at Dan, or maybe it was her frustration at being forced to rehash the same arguments over and over with her ex. Either way, her next words were harsh, almost snarled.

“This is the play, Dan. Either get on board or get out.”

Dan’s nostrils flared; the right side of his upper lip pulled high in his classic I-can’t-believe-the-crap-I-have-to-deal-with smile. For a second she thought he might actually walk, that he might ditch this investigation he’d insisted on helping her with, but he looked around at the rest of the group, every last one of them delusional civilians in his eyes, and seemed to resign himself to the situation.

“Fine,” he muttered.

“Excellent!” Lucifer cheered. “Now that’s all sorted out, we can get back to planning for the party.”

The others crowded close again. Michael bumped shoulders with Lucifer and leaned in to whisper, “Your detective I understand, but what’s the use of the other one?”

Lucifer looked caught somewhere between laughing and stoically ignoring his brother. An awkward pause, then he offered Michael a genuine smile, and they both relaxed.

Dan’s scoff went ignored.

Well, at least someone was bonding over this experience. Chloe would have to worry about Dan’s relationship with the Heavenly Host later when they didn’t have the weight of the world’s economy bearing down on their shoulders. She got back to outlining their plan, praying to God that they would have the Devil’s own luck on their side tonight.

🔥 ✨ 🔥 ✨ 😈✨ 🔥 ✨ 🔥

The ballroom hosting the night’s charity gala was more swanky than elegant. The owner of the building, a Mr. Frank Whithouse, had originally intended to set up shop in Vegas, and he hadn’t felt the need to redraw all his architectural plans when he had instead settled in Los Angeles. This resulted in a hotel filled with a number of towering rooms richly decorated with plush carpets and fake marble columns and not much else—ideal for a space intended to be filled with slot machines and craps tables, uncomfortably cavernous for a hotel in LA, and perfect for a silent auction offering such large prizes as a new Ferrari LaFerrari.

Maze cast her eyes around the hall quickly, then closed them and lifted her nose up to take a deep breath. “I smell her all over this place,” she said. “She’s here.”

“She? Well, that certainly narrows it down,” Lucifer mused, ignoring Dan’s voice in his ear mocking the idea that their perp could be sniffed out. “Māmōnā or Heiðr do you think?”

“Māmōnā wasn’t on Bael’s list,” Maze denied. “But Midasa was. I’ll bet you that Ferrari it’s her.”

“Okay, but if it’s Heiðr I want that boat.” Lucifer pointed to the large television hanging between two columns that was running through a slideshow of pictures featuring a sleek fifty foot yacht.

Maze narrowed her eyes. “If I win, you get me both.”

“Deal.”

“No!” Chloe’s voice buzzed in their ears, “We are not here for you to bid on all of the fancy crap in there.”

“The deal’s already been made, Detective,” Lucifer protested indignantly. “Besides, it’s for charity. Don’t you want me to do my part to save the…” He glanced around for some indication of the fundraiser’s purpose. “…the sick children?”

“You’ll do those kids a lot more good making sure the economy doesn’t collapse,” Chloe hissed.

Maze laughed. “Chill, Clo, we can get you something too.”

“That’s not—”

“Like this necklace!” Lucifer exclaimed, excitedly pulling Maze over to a glass container displaying a thick strand of diamonds and sapphires. “Wouldn’t she look lovely in this? The sapphires would definitely bring out your eyes, Detective.”

“Lucifer, I don’t need a sapphire necklace. What would I even do with something like that? And stop saying ‘detective.’ You’re supposed to be keeping a low profile.”

“You could try wearing it,” Maze suggested with a roll of her eyes, ignoring Chloe’s reprimand since it wasn’t directed at her.

Lucifer grinned wickedly and winked at Maze before saying, “Maybe a little Titanic-style modeling for us, hmmm? Our favorite demon here has hidden artistic depths, you know.”

“Guys, can we please focus on the task at hand?” Chloe pleaded.

In their van nearly a block down the street, Dan watched her rub at her temples with a long-suffering, I-told-you-so expression on his face. Unlike their celestial allies, the two policemen weren’t having much fun tonight. They were stuffed together in a cramped surveillance room which was too small to stand upright in, their shoulders bumping every time they reached to flick one switch or another, and the last group of officers to use the van had left the scraps of their ham sandwiches behind to stew in the summer heat, creating a rancid stench that no amount of febreze could conceal.

To make matters even worse, at least in Dan’s opinion, their ‘agents’ on the floor were unpredictable at best. Maze and Lucifer were the only ones who had spoken up so far, and they weren’t exactly painting a picture of professional concentration. And as chaotic as those two were, the other three were even bigger wildcards. Michael at least behaved like he had prior military experience, though given some of the ridiculous crap Dan had heard Lucifer say about his family, that experience was probably more along the lines of service in a commune militia.

“I think I have eyes on our courier,” Gabriel piped up then, much to Chloe’s relief and Dan’s mild shock.

Gabriel was at the far side of the room from Maze and Lucifer, lounging near the open bar. With the multitude of tables and the dozen large flower displays clustered in this area, it was an ideal place for the envoy to make the exchange. Or, as seemed to be the case here, to casually drop the drive in the giant pot of fire lilies near the emergency exit before moving to order herself a vodka soda.

Chloe reminded Gabriel to leave the flash drive alone so they could wait for their buyer to pick it up and instructed Amenadiel, who was sitting at the bar himself, to quietly escort the courier out of the building where Dan would meet him to arrest her. This was all accomplished with minimal fuss. Amenadiel stalked the woman through the hall, waiting until she moved to leave the gala on her own ten minutes later, and within half an hour Anya Petrov was in police custody.

And then it was a waiting game. The four immortals still at the party had all masked their presence, so the Hell Beast would not notice them until it was too late. But as the hours ticked on, it seemed less and less likely that anyone was going to come for the flash drive. Maybe the buyer was supposed to pick it up later, after the flower arrangements made it to the trash. Maybe she was supposed to come in tomorrow or the next day to grab it and had only shown up to the gala to watch the courier deliver it. Or maybe the beast had spotted one of them. Maze and Lucifer’s faces were well known to the denizens of Hell, and Amenadiel could have been more discreet following the envoy.

Their only consolation was that Maze had smelled her, could still smell her. It was too bad that sense of smell couldn’t get them closer.

With only fifteen minutes to go until bidding was set to close, it looked like they had missed their window. Then out of the shadows a tiny slip of a woman slithered up to the pot of fire lilies. She was barely five feet tall, if that, waif-like and willowy, she moved like a reed swaying in the wind. Big eyes and an overly large forehead lent her a doll-like appearance, which under the circumstances made her seem creepy rather than innocent. Lucifer recognized her on sight. It seemed Maze would owe him that yacht after all.

“Heiðr,” he hissed. In a flash he was standing right behind her, so close he need only reach out and she would be in his grasp.

The Hell Beast froze. Her head turned slowly to face him, like an owl’s swiveling 180 degrees on her neck while the rest of her body remained unmoved, still facing forward. Those big, luminous eyes blinked, and then a nasty smile crept across her face. “My Lord,” she nodded, her chin dipping down to knock against her spine. “Are you here to drag me back to Hell?”

Heiðr spread her arms as she finished speaking, and the humans milling about the room began to drift closer, hypnotized by the pulsing waves of power rippling from her form. The message was clear: Lucifer could take her, but people would die in the process.

He narrowed his eyes. It was one thing for Maze to taunt him. Or Chloe. Or any of his other favored demons and humans. But this stupid little upstart of a Hell Beast was punching far above her station if she thought he would tolerate threats from her. “You have two choices,” he growled, the sound rumbling down through his chest to lightly shake the foundation of the building. The lights flickered, and several ladies let out startled shrieks, their husbands halfheartedly trying to reassure them that they were not in the middle of an earthquake even as they scanned the room for shelter. “Either come with me quietly, and you can spend your days in the Pits plotting out your next escape, or fight back, and I’ll destroy you on the spot.”

Heiðr clenched her jaw, her eyes bleeding black, but as Maze and Gabriel and Michael all stepped forward, each releasing the shrouds they’d kept up to conceal their power, she seemed to realize that not only was she outmatched, she was outnumbered, and she stood no chance of escaping. So she turned around completely, her face finally lining up over her chest again, and held out her arms for Lucifer to shackle them with Hell Chains.

“You should check Conference Room A, My Lord,” she simpered in a sickeningly sweet tone. “Word on the grapevine is that an old friend of yours left you a gift in there.”

Lucifer stiffened. They weren’t expecting any other beasts to be here, and one look at Maze confirmed that she hadn’t smelled any more either. Apprehension tightened his chest. He thrust the chains at Gabriel, who dragged Heiðr away without a word; then he ventured over to the double doors guarding the named conference room with Michael and Maze flanking him on either side. A single touch and the lock fell to his power, as so many others had in the past, and then they were staring at a scene straight out of a horror movie.

Behind him, several humans screamed, some shouting for the police, others exclaiming that they were going to be sick. But Lucifer couldn’t pay attention to that. He was too busy controlling his rage.

A giant Pentecostal star was painted in crimson blood on the cream carpet. Four bodies occupied the outer four points of the star, positioned so they were sitting cross-legged, holding their own decapitated heads in their laps. A man and a woman in workout clothes, another man and woman in formal attire.

And at the top of the star hung the crowning jewel: Frank Whithouse, owner of the hotel in which they stood. He was dangling from the ceiling, naked, his arms and legs spread out so that someone standing in the doorway would have a perfect view of his blood eagled body, his ribs cut open at his spine, his lungs strung up to resemble a pair of wings.

Lucifer didn’t need the message painted in blood to know this was for him. He recognized every one of these victims. He had granted favors to all of them. But still his eyes burned with hellfire as he read the writing on the wall:

FOR YOU

LORD LUCIFER

STAR OF THE MORNING

Chapter Text

Malcolm Graham. That pest. That disgusting piece of vermin. He just couldn’t resist nibbling at the wires until he lit the house on fire, could he?

His fingerprints were all over the gala crime scene. His skin and blood cells were clumped under the athletic female victim’s once perfectly manicured nails. He hadn’t even bothered to avoid the security cameras when he’d exited the building. He’d only cared to stay hidden long enough to get his gruesome scene set up, but he clearly had no problem with the police identifying him as the culprit.

Chloe had been shouting at her phone for the past fifteen minutes, furious that no one had let her know about Malcolm’s escape. The fact that the precinct was overwhelmed thanks to all the other Hell Beast incidents was no excuse. The former detective was obsessed with her partner, and she had been the one to arrest him. It was hardly a stretch of the imagination to conclude that they were high on the serial killer’s hate list.

Lucifer was more concerned with his inability to sense Malcolm.

“Isn’t his soul marked with hellfire?”

Lucifer didn’t think his brother meant to sound accusing or like he thought the Devil was being deliberately incompetent. Bullheaded was just Michael’s natural cadence. Still, it grated.

“I didn’t notice his presence on Earth last time until he was standing right in front of me. Maybe you could shed some light on why that is, Amenadiel?” Lucifer turned to glare at the seraph, growing even more annoyed when he noticed the way the light shining off his brother’s bald head resembled a classic angelic halo.

“Your failure now is not my fault.”

“Oh no? So you didn’t cleanse dear Malcolm’s aura when you brought him back?”

“Only enough to keep you from noticing him,” Amenadiel snorted, “not enough to keep you from finding him if you were really looking, especially not now you’ve taken your power back.”

“I am looking! But this wouldn’t be the first time you overdid it, would it?”

“I didn’t overdo the cleanse! It has to be something else!”

Lucifer scoffed. “You would say that.”

They left the crime scene an hour later, everyone heading back to their own homes. Malcolm’s actions were frustrating but they didn’t merit the celestials' focus. There were, as the saying went, bigger fish to fry. Lucifer did insist on Chloe coming to stay at Lux with him and Maze though. A homicidal human might not pose much of a threat to the immortals, but he was definitely a danger to a woman living alone, cop or not.

Chloe didn’t protest the arrangement. Odd as it seemed, the idea of staying with a demon and the Devil actually allowed her to relax, secure in the fact that she would be absolutely safe while she slept, and for the first time since she found out The Truth, Chloe went an entire night without experiencing a single nightmare.

After such a late night, Chloe decided not to go in to the office first thing in the morning. Instead, she allowed Lucifer to spoil her with a breakfast feast. Mountains of fluffy golden eggs, French toast dripping with rich maple syrup, a rainbow of fresh fruits arranged artistically in a neat spiral, strawberries drifting into orange wedges into cubes of pineapple, then the plump green grapes and the blueberries and a giant slice of purple dragon fruit right at the center.

Chloe was tempted to make a big deal out of the treatment, but based on the way Maze accepted her plate as her due without any fanfare, Chloe suspected the two of them ate like this every morning. The only real surprise was that Lucifer did all the cooking himself. Except for the coffee; Maze was in charge of brewing that—imported straight from Italy every week, the demon boasted.

At some point, Chloe’s outfit from the previous day had also been laundered, so feeling luxuriously full and well-rested for the first time in weeks, she headed towards the elevator ready to tackle the day. It was eleven o’clock on the dot when she clicked the down button, plenty of time for her to make it to the precinct before lunch. With a soft ding, the doors slid open, and at that exact same moment, Chloe’s phone started to ring.

She almost continued forward without answering, but a quick glance at the screen showed the police chief’s name. She hesitated, then stepped back into Lucifer’s penthouse to answer.

“What’s wrong?” Lucifer asked when she hung up, frowning with concern as he eyed her pale cheeks.

“Malcolm struck again. Another set of five murders set up in a pentagram just like last night.”

Lucifer straightened up from his position bent over the bar and set down his forkful of eggs. “Who did he kill this time?”

Chloe stared at her notepad and read off the five messily scrawled names in a curt, tired tone. “Allison Smith, a fifth-grade school teacher; Barbara Williams, a new accounting associate at KPMG; Dr. DeAndre Green, a history professor at UCLA; and Lucas Hernandez, a waiter at some Italian restaurant. Those were the four decapitated victims. Angela Hale, that big-time human rights activist? She was the one blood eagled at the top of the star.”

Lucifer closed his eyes, conscious of the hellfire that wanted to rise up in response to his emotions. It wouldn’t do to scar the Detective right as she was warming up to them again. “Well at least the little bastard is consistent. I granted favors to those five too.”

Maze dropped her giant mug of coffee down on the bar with a loud bang—the one with the words The Devil Made Me Drink It scrawled beneath a sinisterly grinning red devil cartoon. “It’s only been what? Thirteen-ish hours since we found the gala pentagram? That’s a pretty fast turnaround for humans, isn’t it?”

“Thirteen exactly. I suppose our ex-detective thinks he’s being funny,” Lucifer sneered.

“You know,” Maze mused, a sly quirk pulling at the corners of her lips, “When I’m searching, I could cover a lot more ground if you would fetch Areion from Hell.”

“I can’t bring Areion up here for you, Maze,” Lucifer rolled his eyes.

“Why not?” At his deadpan expression, she complained, “But I’m the only one who can’t fly!”

Both immortals ignored Chloe’s indignantly waved hand.

Lucifer spread his arms in a mock-placating gesture. “Your horse is made of fire,” he pointed out, tone insufferably reasonable.

“Only his wings.”

“And his mane and his tail and his eyes,” Lucifer started listing out the animal’s other less-than-normal attributes, grinning when it drew a growl from Maze. “Besides, where would we even keep him?”

“Uh, here?” Maze gestured around at the penthouse like it was the obvious answer.

“I think not,” Lucifer wrinkled his nose and picked invisible lent off his sleeve. “The furniture’s Italian leather; it’s far too flammable.”

“Wait, you’d keep a horse in your house? Like a pet dog?” Chloe broke in, picturing Lucifer running around commanding a giant fiery stallion to stay off the couch or telling Maze that she shouldn’t feed the thing food from the dinner table.

Lucifer looked over at her like she was the weird one in this conversation. “Don’t be silly, Detective. I’m not some low-ranking legionnaire.”

“The Malibu property!” Maze suddenly exclaimed before Chloe could think up a decent response to that, eyes brightening with triumph. “It’s secluded, lot’s of space, and everything’s made out of stone, metal and glass.”

When Lucifer cocked his head with what appeared to be honest consideration, Chloe decided it was time to shut the whole idea down; with a little more wrangling the three of them arrived at the scene of the murders less than an hour later, Chloe vouching for Maze’s presence over Dan’s protests. This pentagram was located clean across the city from the first, in the far east rather than right up next to the shore. It would have taken Malcolm a solid hour to travel between the two sites. Ella assured Chloe that all five victims had been killed at the scene, but a quick check proved that none of them had been missing prior to the gala murders. That took some serious premeditation, and with any luck, it also meant Malcolm probably hadn’t gotten more than an hour of sleep in the last day.

“Is that human blood?” Chloe asked, pointing at the red star and the new message written on the wall: JUST CALL ME ANGEL OF THE MORNING, ANGEL.

“No,” Lucifer and Maze said at the same time. They shared a quick look, laughter at some inside joke hidden behind their eyes, then Maze sniffed the air and stepped forward alone, saying, “Goat or lamb would be my guess.”

Ella blinked up at them. She was crouched over the bloody symbol diligently collecting samples with a long cotton swab but had paused when the demon spoke. “Wow, weirdly good guess, Maze! And she’s right my crime fighting friends. Thank God for small mercies, that there be good ole goat’s blood!”

Lucifer huffed. “Oh now he’s just taunting me! And with Chip Taylor lyrics no less! Honestly, the nerve of some people.”

“Yeah, that was the part that took a lot of nerve,” Chloe sassed much to Lucifer’s delight.

Unfortunately they could glean little else from the scene. They already knew the perpetrator’s identity, and they knew what connected the victims. Lucifer set to texting all those he’d made deals with in the past, but he’d performed favors for more than a thousand people in the six years since he left Hell, and based on the current victim pool, there was no way to know which of those people would be the next five targets. The thirteen hour timeframe was their only real lead, and that was just a guess.

It was a situation destined to cause mass panic among the citizens of LA. Despite police assurances that the victimology was not random and that they had already reached out to potential marks, people were still terrified. Attendance at clubs and bars cut down by half overnight. Restaurants struggled to fill tables, and parents watched their teenagers with hawk-eyed vigilance.

But their efforts were all in vain. Thirteen hours later, five more bodies turned up in the southwestern corner of the city, this grouping appearing even more random to those out of the loop than the last: a drug dealer, a professional triathlete, a YouTube famous starlet, a nurse, and a stay-at-home mother. Different ages, different races, different genders, different professions and socioeconomic backgrounds. It was the work of a Devil worshipper, one who didn’t care who he slaughtered.

Local Satanic sects found themselves on the receiving end of violent attacks and vandalism that night. One boy was even admitted to the ICU after he was injured defending his girlfriend. Both teens regularly attended the local church in their neighborhood, but their gothic attire saw them targeted anyways.

And still Malcolm Graham remained free.

“He’s making a pentagram,” Maze worked out with two hours to go before the fourth set of murders was set to drop.

“Yes, thank you Mazikeen, we did actually realize he’s drawing stars.”

“No!” She slapped Lucifer on the back of his head, smirking triumphantly when he rubbed at the sore spot with a positively affronted look on his face. “I mean he’s making one giant pentagram. The locations are points on the star!”

Chloe sat up form where she’d been slumped over a pile of Malcolm’s financial records trying to figure out where he might be staying. “Maze! That’s brilliant!”

“I know.”

“Hang on, I think I have a map of LA in here somewhere,” Chloe said as she riffled through the disorganized mess she’d made on Lucifer’s coffee table. He slid forward and tugged it out from the bottom of a pile that looked like it was about to topple over the edge. Chloe snatched it out of his hand and spread it out wide in front of them.

“Okay, so we have Whithouse’s hotel in Santa Monica here.” She circled the location in the northwest with a thick red marker. “And the arena in South El Monte.” Another red circle in the northeast; she used the edge of a book to draw a line between the two sites, and then another to the latest spot at the bottom of Redondo Beach in the southwest. “They’re not equidistant,” she muttered under her breath. “And not enough points to tell if the angle means anything…”

“I think I might be able to help you there, Detective.” Lucifer reached out and tapped the circle over Whithouse’s hotel. “I organized the party for Frank’s grand opening. Miss Allison Smith of South El Monte High School was in charge of the student talent show and desperately wanted to impress her boss by hosting it at the Pico River Sports Arena, and Tim, our drug dealer in Redondo Beach, wanted to sell at Sea Hawk’s games with impunity.”

“Oookaaay, so Malcolm’s clearly still obsessed with you.”

“Of course he is,” Lucifer preened.

“That wasn’t compliment. And why didn’t you mention this before now?”

Lucifer shrugged. “It didn’t occur to me until Maze came up with her giant star theory that it might be helpful.”

Chloe could have spent hours upbraiding him for dismissing something so huge as insignificant, but not now when they had less than two hours to go before five more people would lose their lives. The big question was whether Malcolm was going to pick a local in the far north of LA, as one would if they were drawing the pentagram with an unbroken line, or if he would choose a place in the southeast, saving the top point for last. The question became even more pressing when it turned out Lucifer could list multiple potential buildings in both general areas on the map. They didn’t have enough manpower to dispatch officers everywhere.

Chloe could feel the time slipping away with every hard thump of her heart. Malcolm surely already had his next five victims with him at the next location. The kind of crime scenes he was setting up took time to execute. At least an hour, more likely two or three. It was physically painful how much it hurt to hope for these people, how the possibility of getting there in time made her throat close tight, made her hands tremble and her thought process fuzz—She was moving too slow, but knowing that only made it harder to think quick.

They were pulling into the parking lot at the Artesia City Hall, office of a small-time politician whose election Lucifer had bankrolled, when they got the call from one of the cruisers sent to another location. Less than two miles away, still thirty minutes left in their thirteen hour window. The bodies were still warm when they walked into the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.

“At least we were right about Malcolm saving the point of the star for last.”

“All things considered, Maze, that’s not much of an accomplishment,” Chloe sighed, turning away so she didn’t have to look at the grisly scene up on stage anymore. “Come on, there’s nothing for us to do here.”

“Back to Lux, m'dear?”

“Yeah.” Chloe scrubbed at her face, rubbing her eyes so hard she saw dots when she blinked them back open. “Forensics can handle all this. Dan or somebody can get witness statements. What we need to do is figure out where up north Malcolm’s going to be, and we have to get it right this time.”

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The low shrubbery sprinkling the ground out here gave the area an appearance of greenery. From a distance one could even be forgiven for thinking the low mountains sported trees rather than a blanket of desert brush. But it was a desert, dry and dusty, the dirt that wasn’t loose like sand scaled over like the back of a giant snake. Excepting the occasional avid outdoorsman, no one bothered to venture out to this barren patch of land in the middle of Nevada, and even those wandering souls had better places to hike. Which was probably why the military brass had decided it was the perfect place to set up shop sometime back in the 1980’s—no one knew exactly when; those with a high enough security clearance to learn the full history of the base had no interest in visiting.

From the outside it didn’t look like much, just a chainlink fence with some barbwire at the top stretching around miles and miles of blank desert. Sensitive ears might have caught the low hum signifying the electricity running through the fence, and a trained eye might have noticed a few of the thousands of cameras looking out for intruders. But the biggest tell that this was not a run-of-the mill location was actually the gigantic parking lot that was always filled to the brim with cars, far too many for the relatively low number of hangars, which housed at most a dozen or so planes and helicopters. But no one standing on the outside of the fence would be able to see far enough to realize this disparity between the number of workers and the number of visible jobs.

Boredom. One of the greatest defenses the American government could devise to protect one of its largest nuclear weapons centers.

Cherufe didn’t need anything so paltry as sight to know exactly what was going on here though. He could sense the explosive power buried deep beneath the ground, not unlike the volcanos he’d used in times long past to destroy whole villages, but so much more powerful than even that. He drifted forward, his molten body melting into a formless blob as he flowed over the ground, burning it in a long black line of scorched earth. When he was close to the fence, he rose up, assuming a towering man-like shape. Not that anyone would ever mistake him for something even approaching human, not with the way he glowed the deep orange of an ember, his magma skin sizzling and crackling with relish under the bright heat of the midday sun.

He reached out, his flaming fingers hovering just shy of the wards Gabriel had placed to guard this facility. “Predictable,” he chuckled and it sounded like two boulders grinding together. “Always so predictable.”

Cherufe pulled his hand back. Not yet. He had to wait until the time was right. Just a few more hours. Tonight. Audaces Fortuna Juvat—Fortune favors the bold.

He would enter the game tonight.

Chapter Text

They had narrowed down the places for Malcolm’s fifth pentagram to nine likely locations: three buildings in the Glendale area, a spot up in the Crescenta Highlands, another in the Verdugo Mountains Open Space Preserve, and a few popular bars and restaurants by Dodger’s Stadium. It was only ten o’clock, so they still had four hours, but nobody cared to wait. Dispatch cars had been sent to unobtrusively watch eight of the buildings for suspicious activity, more still patrolling the general area, and Chloe, Maze and Lucifer were getting ready to head to the ninth site. Malcolm had chosen a center for the performing arts for his last set of murders, so they figured Alex Theatre in Glendale was a good bet for this one. Something about the staging of it rang true.

Before they could leave however, Lucifer’s brothers landed on the penthouse balcony, their wings tucked away within moments, long before Chloe could turn and catch sight of their divinity.

“Brother! We’ve found another one,” Michael announced proudly. He stood with his hands on his hips, chest puffed out and flaxen locks artfully windswept like he was posing for a superhero portrait.

Lucifer looked over the three muscle-bound angels and arched his brows. “And you’re here because…?”

Michael’s triumphant expression faltered. Gabriel tucked a strand of black hair that had come loose from his braid back behind his ear in a gesture Lucifer recognized with a pang of guilt as nervous, then stepped forward to rescue his golden brother from his floundering. “It’s a fire beast, Luci. It just pinged off the wards I set up around the nukes out in Nevada.”

Well he supposed that made sense. Fire and fusion were his area of expertise, but still… “Maze can go with you.”

“But—”

“She’s got plenty of experience containing explosions, and I want to see dear Malcolm’s arrest through.”

Maze perked up at the casual order, the prospect of battling a ferocious Hell Beast far more exciting than arresting a human serial killer. She pranced forward, pulling two of her curved blades from her belt to spin them in her hands. “Well boys, what’re we waiting for?”

Michael shook his head and looked back at Lucifer with something almost imploring tightening his gold eyes. “That’s…We were hoping that you'd want to—”

“Oh for Dad’s sake, take the hellhounds too if you’re so worried.”

Maze jerked around fast enough to give a human whiplash. “Nuh-uh, nope, you're not going alone! You're taking at least one of them with you.”

Lucifer rolled his eyes. “I’m a big boy, Mazey. I think I can handle Malcolm Graham by myself. You better hurry along though; nuclear war waits for no one.”

Maze glowered at his patronizing tone and whistled sharply for the dogs, then stomped over to the the balcony and flung herself straight over the edge, cackling madly as she waited for Amenadiel to swoop down and save her from splattering on the ground.

In no time at all they touched down on a barren stretch of Nevada desert, a landscape that on any other night would have been entirely uninteresting. But tonight the air was filled with screams, the sound of tearing metal and hissing fire. The humans were trying to fight back, raining bullets and grenades down on the burning giant cleaving through their fence, little good that it did them. When Cherufe bothered to take note of them at all, it was only to turn their explosives back against them. In the seconds since the celestial pack had landed, one of the helicopters had been blown clean out of the sky, another forced to swerve to avoid the same fate.

Cherufe went back to pounding at the wards, electric blue spiderwebs of power blooming into sight every time he landed a hit, lighting the whole base up in a bubble of energy. Maze took a moment to wonder how this incident would affect the security clearance of the soldiers stationed here—the fact that Lucifer was at the very least an invulnerable supernatural being was no secret among the upper echelons of the American government; Maze herself had long ago made a game out of seeing how many CIA agents she could seduce (current count: 37); but it was still a piece of information the higher-ups didn’t like spread around. She imagined the brass squawking about this for the next six months, running around like headless chickens as they tried to figure out how to handle the reality of this attack, and nearly giggled.

A massive fireball careening towards them cut off her moment of levity. Michael and Gabriel charged in a synchronized attack that Maze couldn’t help but admire, their swords flashing out to sever Cherufe’s legs at his knees. Unfortunately, just as Maze knew it would, this action only bought them a few seconds. Cherufe’s stumps landed on the ground with a shuddering thump and began to bubble, lapping at the surrounding earth and turning it molten. The new magma attached itself to Cherufe, and he stood back up.

Gabriel grimaced and began hacking at the beast, repeating the process over and over again. Michael, on the other hand, simply stepped back, a wild snarl twisting his face, and the very matter of the world shifted. The air around Cherufe became a cloud of diamond shards pelting the monster in a continuous deluge; the ground beneath his feet froze, slowing his recovery; and darkness seemed to drift up from his hide as all the molecules in the atmosphere around him fled, creating a small vacuum. Michael could have done more, could have condensed the nearby atoms to swallow the Hell Beast in a black hole or destroyed him with antimatter. But even now God’s decree against killing humans held true, and he refused to risk it.

Meanwhile, Amenadiel was busy putting out the fires around the humans and trying to save as many of them from the wreckage as he could while the hellhounds headed off the human reinforcements that were attempting to join the battle. Feral wolves were probably going to feature in quite a few nightmares in the coming years, even though the dogs were acting to protect the soldiers.

Maze nodded to herself and darted forward, but it was not towards Cherufe that she ran. There was a small outcropping of rocks fifty yards to the south, and it was these she needed to defeat the monster. Her dagger was flashing as soon as she got there, carving the sigils Lucifer had designed millennia ago to harness the power of stars into the locks on his mother’s cage. A minute later she gathered her completed stones up and sprinted in a circle around Cherufe, dropping the rocks in strategic spots as she ran along her path.

A howl of rage rent the air when Maze completed her circuit, and then quiet. From one instant to another the Beast transformed from a towering giant of molten destruction to a blackened husk no larger than the average toddler.

And that should have been it. The enemy crushed beneath her ruthless brilliance, wailing over his subjugation.

But Cherufe was not crying out.

He was laughing.

Laughing like he’d won.

Maze stalked forward and kicked the thing’s head. It spun on his neck three times before stilling. “You’re headed back to the Pits, Beast. What do you think you’re laughing at?”

Cherufe grinned; rapidly cooling lava dripped out of his mouth, squeezing around obsidian fangs. “The Achilles heal of angels everywhere: their arrogance,” he crowed. “So sure that nothing can touch them, that they can deal with any threat, especially one as paltry as a single pathetic human.” Cherufe laughed like thunder clapping, like boulders colliding as they rolled down a mountainside, an avalanche rumbling in their wake.

“And you, Mazikeen of the Lilim, I remember the days when you would have seen this coming fifty moves out, but you’ve grown complacent, haven’t you? Snared by the same disease that chokes the angels, so confident that your lord and master will be up for any challenge. It never crossed your mind that us Beasts could be coordinated and clever, did it? That we could trick the Devil himself!”

His laugh this time was a volcano erupting. Earthshaking. Terrifying. Maze felt like Hell was freezing over, the fire that burned like a star at her core turning to gray ash. Because she could see it now, the Beasts that had been sacrificed like pawns, the man elevated to knighthood, jumping over obstacles where the taint of a Beast’s power would have ignited suspicion, all to draw the king out from behind his protective wall.

Humanity was never the target.

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It was too bad they couldn’t turn on the lights in this place, Lucifer thought. Alex Theatre was a charming place; a big stage looking out on a sea of red seats, he imagined it was the kind of playhouse the Detective might have performed in had she stuck with acting. A woman of action, live performances would have suited her personality. But it was too dim for her eyes to see all that. He doubted she would have even used her flashlight if the emergency exit signs were just a bit brighter.

The great necessity of sneaking. Lucifer didn’t see the point. With the way theaters were designed to carry sound, they could throw a rave in here and Malcolm would be none the wiser until he actually entered the building. And once he made the fatal mistake of getting that close, there would be no escaping the Devil.

Only half an hour until midnight. If this was the right location, Malcolm would have to show up soon.

“So Detective, how should we pass the time until our murderer gets here?”

Chloe squinted at him with her lips pursed. “We should stay quiet,” she said, then walked to the other end of the stage to check something or the other.

Lucifer shrugged and sat down, letting his feet dangle into the orchestra pit. Who would have thought stakeouts inside the building would be even more boring than those spent squished in a car out on the street?

The chorus of LeoSoul’s Do Ya Thang piercing the silence was exactly what the Detective did not want to hear at the moment.

“Maze, m’dear, can this wait?” He whispered none too quietly into his phone. “I’m supposed to be executing an ambush right now, so—”

“Lucifer! You need to get out of there right now!”

“What?” He straightened up, instinctively tensing at the note of panic running through his favorite demon’s voice. His brows furrowed in confusion as he sought out the Detective’s form in the dark. She’d made it all the way to the back row of seats while he’d been distracted, still quite alone. “But we haven’t caught Mal—”

“It’s a trap! Listen to me, you need to grab Chloe and get out!”

Maze might have said something else after that, but Lucifer didn’t hear it. “Detective!” He shouted, dropping his phone as he went from a seated position to leaping over the orchestra pit in one fluid motion. But he was already too late. They were already here.

A bat-like creature dove from the rafters and snatched Chloe up in its talons before she even had time to register Lucifer’s call. At that same moment, he felt it, a shroud eleven Deep Pitters strong suddenly enveloping him, cutting him off from Maze and his family—the two of them had never been alone in this theatre. He tried to power forward, to get to Chloe before she could be hurt, but the Beasts were peeling away from the shadows, rising up from the floorboards like ghouls in a graveyard. Surrounding him.

He lashed out with fire, a searing blue whip spiraling around him in a vortex. But it barely slowed the Beasts down. It was just a mundane blaze, nothing of the divine energy present in his Hell Fire. He couldn’t risk exposing the Detective to that, couldn’t manifest his wings for the same reason. No celestial sword, no infernal knives, not for a human arrest.

Claws ripped into his ribs, and he threw his fist in a sharp jab, crushing one of the thing’s faces. Fangs drilled into his shoulder; a blade punched through his hipbone as he reached to dislodge the biter. Pain throbbed in time with his heartbeat, lancing across his torso to connect the three injuries, the first of many.

Lucifer grunted as he pulled the dagger out of his joint.

He had a weapon. He had a weapon, and he was going to destroy these cretins. Rend them limb from bloody limb. By the time he was through with these bugs, they would be in so many pieces eons would pass before they could gather all their parts back together! He would put their heads in one pit, their torsos in another; feed their arms and legs to the lesser Hell Beasts!

“Enough!” A high, cold voice rang out like a shockwave, loud and clearly heard even over the din of battle.

The rabid Beasts immediately withdrew. Lucifer looked towards the speaker, a flippantly scathing remark ready to fly out of his mouth, and froze.

“Jabez,” he croaked just as a forked tongue flicked out to taste the fear on Chloe’s bared neck.

Reptilian amber eyes glittered malevolently back at him. “Good evening, My Lord.”

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Goddess was locked away in her human shell’s luxuriously large bathroom when Lucifer disappeared from her awareness.

Bubble baths were something she thought she could learn to appreciate about the Earthly plane, especially if it meant alone time away from her mortal ‘family.’ Lavender bath salts and ocean mist candles, Frank Sinatra and a tall glass of bourbon. She was relaxed back, idly tapping her fingers along to the beat of the music. A faint smile graced her lips as she tried to picture the battle that was lighting up three of her sons' auras with the kind of excitement they only ever broadcast in the middle of an exhilarating fight. She had to chuckle at the way Lucifer’s boredom managed to shine even brighter than their exuberance. That restless stirring of energy that said chaos was sure to follow.

She was mid-swallow when everything changed. Lucifer went from bored to horrified to gone. Vanished from one second to the next. Just gone. GONE!

Goddess stumbled to her feet, knocking her drink to the ground and one of the candles into the water. She didn’t pause to scoop it out, didn’t bother to protect her fragile feet from the shards of glass littering the marble floor either. She slipped with all due haste to the door, shoving past the ‘husband’ as he tried to ask if everything was alright, and grabbed the first articles of clothing she saw—a satin nightgown and a pair of mud boots—and sprinted down to the garage to steal a car.

“MICHAEL! GABRIEL! AMENADIEL!” She shouted both mentally and aloud. “WHAT’S HAPPENED TO YOUR BROTHER?”

Three voices drifted back to her at once. A trap, a trick. They couldn’t pinpoint Lucifer’s location to travel to his aid. They only had the vaguest sense of where this Alex Theatre the demon spoke of was located. The human detective, the handsome one she’d indulged in recently, was refusing to hand out ‘sensitive’ information. The memory of his words pressed into her mind with Amenadiel’s prayer: “You’re our consultant’s brothers, not policemen!” As if that ranked him higher than her children.

Goddess didn’t know what to do. She wasn’t equipped to join a search, definitely not a fight. She didn’t have that kind of energy right now. All she could do was fling demands at her other sons to use their greater strength to save their brother.

Helplessness was not an aspect of humanity she would ever grow to appreciate.

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“Let her go, Jabez!” Lucifer didn’t think he did a good job keeping the desperation out of his voice, but at least he could be reasonably sure it stayed clear of his expression.

“Or what?” the Hell Beast sneered. “Will you smite me, Lightbringer? And kill us both in one fell swoop? No, I think I will hold on to her as insurance for your good behavior.”

As far as human shields went, the creature had chosen a good one. There was no way he could get to Chloe before Jabez destroyed her fragile body. He had one hand wound in her ponytail like a rope, forcing her head to the side so her jugular was exposed to his sharp teeth. His other arm was draped under the Detective’s arm and up over her chest so his hand covered her mouth in a deceptively light hold. She was stuck, and the cavalry would not be riding in to their rescue. Just as he was prohibited from using many of his best weapons by Chloe’s presence, Lucifer could not tear apart the shroud cutting him off from his siblings and Maze without blowing this building sky high. He wished, suddenly, that he had an ounce of his brother Raphael's talent for the finicky, precision-based approach to utilizing power. Maybe then he wouldn't be stuck in this dreadful catch-22.

But he was as stuck as the Detective.

Lucifer narrowed his eyes. He sucked in a deep, calming breath and squared his shoulders, his every muscle gone stiff with tension, then offered, “A deal: me for her.”

“You would give up your freedom? For a mortal?” Jabez didn’t seem surprised. Impassive though his face remained, he exuded the air of one whose plans were coming together perfectly.

Chloe tried to speak around the hand covering her mouth to no avail. With a quick glance at her face, Lucifer nodded. “She walks out of here with no more injuries than she has at this exact moment. And you all agree never to have contact with her again, her or her family and friends—excluding me of course. Nor will you or your…associates command or influence anyone to have contact with any of them. Agree to that, and I’ll lock myself in those Hell Chains you brought with you.”

“You think I’m fool enough to believe Hell Chains could hold you forever?” Jabez snorted. “No, you must also agree not to fight back or try to escape.”

Lucifer clenched his jaw, feeling the metaphorical walls closing in around him. It was a smart stipulation for the Hell Beast to add, and it would make Lucifer’s situation so much more difficult. But he had to save the Detective. It would have been bad enough if Jabez only had a taste for human flesh like so many of the lesser Hell Beasts. But no, this Deep Pitter preferred to feast on mortal souls, and whatever torture awaited him, Lucifer couldn’t allow that to be Chloe’s eternal fate.

“We have a deal,” the archangel stated, and the power of their words wrapped around him in an immutable bond.

Jabez smiled, a cruel thing full of teeth, and released Chloe from his hold. “Run along poppet,” he mocked. “You are free to go.”

She staggered away for the first few steps, then sprinted over to Lucifer and flung her arms around him in a hug. “Lucifer, don’t do this. Please.”

Jabez tossed the Hell Chains at Lucifer’s feet before he could reply. Reluctantly he removed her arms from around him and bent to pick up the shackles. “It’s done, Detective. None of these maggots can touch you now, but you need to go.”

She shook her head, tears welling in her eyes. “No, please. I can’t just leave you.”

“I’ll be fine—”

“No, he won’t,” Jabez called out, raucous cheering from the other ten Hell Beasts echoing the same sentiment. Lucifer ignored them, continuing to talk to the Detective over the litany of graphic descriptions for all the torture the they intended to visit upon him. And though Chloe looked like she was about to be physically ill at their words, Lucifer could tell she was trying her best to tune them out too.

“I’ll be fine,” he repeated. “But you need to get out of here. I’m sure Ella and Detective Douche are both worried about you. And Charlotte’s probably ripped half the city apart looking for you at this point.”

If he thought it would do him any good, he would pray to his father that Chloe got his message. He hadn’t left himself much of a loophole with this deal, but ‘the Devil’s in the details’ was not a saying for nothing. Now he needed the detective to update his family.

Hence dropping Charlotte’s name, the one celestial being whose name Jabez wouldn’t associate with divinity. “Do you understand, Detective? You need to leave. Now.”

He couldn’t risk Jabez reneging before the Detective was truly safe. Unlikely though that possibility was, she needed to get out of here as quickly as possible.

To his relief, she slowly nodded her head and stepped away from him. Without breaking eye contact, he snapped the cuffs around his wrists, grimacing at their immediate muffling effect. All his power forced within the confines of his skin, his senses restricted to something barely better than human. It left him ten times more limited than even chopping his wings off had.

Now he had to facd the music.

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Chloe barely made it three blocks before she pulled over on the side of the road, gasping for breath. Tears blurred her eyes as she scrabbled at her jacket for her phone. The screen shook in her trembling, white-knuckled grip, but she still managed to find Maze’s name in her contact list a few seconds later.

“What happened!” Maze screeched after less than one ring.

Chloe reached for words, but they wouldn’t come. Her tongue was swollen, heavy and mute, her throat spasming around each rasping pull of oxygen.

“Where's Lucifer?” Maze's tone was frantic and begging in a way Chloe never would have imagined the demon capable before this moment. “We can’t sense him! He’s disappeared, and—”

“They took him,” she finally managed to choke out. “He traded himself. Lucifer, for me, he’s gone.”

Chapter Text

Lucifer eyed the spot where his shackles attached to the wall contemplatively. It was a pleasant red brick, a stylistic choice that matched the luxurious leather chairs and mahogany desk situated several feet away from where Lucifer hung. A strong material, but no match for the Devil. If it weren’t for the terms of his deal, he would simply rip his chains right off the wall and use his own fetters as weapons against his enemies. As things stood though, he was going to have to stay here, bound and naked, and allow the Hell Beasts to do whatever they wanted to him.

And not in a fun way.

A giant arched window dominated the far wall, spilling ample sunlight into a otherwise dim room. Lucifer could just make out a tree line beyond the rows of smokestacks rising like sooty straws from the factory roofs surrounding what he believed must have once been a series of storage warehouses. Sitting under the sunlight (which at the moment seemed more like a spotlight than anything) was a veritable arsenal of meticulously aligned torture implements. The obsidian sheen of the tools served as a dead give away that they were not mortal implements. All of them forged in Hell, they were designed to work just as well against incorporeal souls as against physical bodies and would have no trouble cutting into Lucifer’s immortal flesh.*

The loud creak of a sliding metal door grating open drew his attention away from the macabre objects.

Jabez looked much the same as he had in the past during the brief visits Lucifer made to the Pits every few decades: same gaunt face and stringy hair, same deathly pallor sucking the color from his dusky skin, same snake-like amber eyes, and worst of all, the same terrible sense of fashion. Even the orange and purple plaid he’d favored last century was better than this monstrosity of competing patterns. And the ‘Soul Eater’ text scrawled on his t-shirt was embarrassingly on the nose. Honestly.

Jabez prowled forward, a nasty grin showcasing his sharp teeth. The large cross earring dangling from his ear knocked against his cheek with every step. “Good morning, My Lord. I trust the accommodations are to your liking?”

Lucifer didn’t reply.

“I apologize for the wait. The others are so eager for some time with you, and you know how it is corralling wild tempers. A king’s work never ceases.”

“King?” Lucifer scoffed. “Please tell me you’re not that deluded.”

“We are small in number, I know,” Jabez shrugged. “But if a human who rules a ramshackle village less than a thousand strong can claim that title, I think the leader of Beasts also qualifies.”

Lucifer rolled his eyes in an exaggerated, slow motion, smirking when Jabez’s face twisted into an angry snarl. “You lead a pack of rabid wolves. You’re a mutt with delusions of grandeur, nothing more.”

Jabez drew himself up, rolling back deceptively thin shoulders to release a pair of pale, bat-like wings not unlike the more demonic depictions of the Devil painted throughout history. With his sharp chin tilted up so he could stare down his long nose at Lucifer, Jabez resembled a featherless vulture, aggravated and territorial over every scavenged scrap of meat.

“You have lost, Lord Lucifer. You can sneer and jeer, but it is I who have laid you low. For eons you have locked us Beasts away, condemned us to the Pits for merely existing. You have denied us our right to Earth. Denied us our very natures! You have chained us, enslaved us to your mercy! But now it is you who is at our mercy.”

Jabez placed his spindly fingers almost gently upon Lucifer’s throat. He leaned close so his nose brushed the shell of Lucifer’s ear, and hissed, “How long do you think Hell will hold my kin with you as my captive, poppet? You have lost; try to surrender with grace. No pithy quips will save you now.”

Well that was a ridiculous notion. Of course comedy wouldn’t save him. That was Maze and the Detective’s job. But it would certainly make this whole ordeal more pleasant in the meantime. Besides, he was Satan. Being adversarial was kind of in the name.

“Have you been practicing that speech?” Lucifer mocked.

“For the last fifteen centuries,” Jabez confirmed, completely unashamed.

“Ah, well, I guess everyone can’t be a gifted orator,” the archangel said, all faux-sympathy. “Just goes to show not even all the practice in the world can help some people.”

Jabez glowered. “Joke all you like, My Lord. I’ll have you reduced to screaming soon enough.”

“Well, I certainly hope your skill at torturing outshines your rhetoric. It would be a sad day in Hell if you were the best nightmare we could produce.”

Jabez smiled, small and cruel, and walked over to run his fingers along several of the instruments of torture in a motion disturbingly reminiscent of a lover’s caress. “I have two options here to gag you, My Lord: the Heretic’s Fork or the Pear of Anguish. You may choose.”

“Kind of you,” Lucifer rolled his eyes. There was no way to know if his choice would be honored. Jabez could as easily decide to use the device Lucifer claimed he didn’t want, or it could be a double-bluff, so there was no real point in trying to trick him. Not that either option constituted much of a choice.

The Heretic’s Fork was a metal rod with bi-pronged forks on both ends. The middle of the rod had a buckle through which a belt was attached. It was placed between the breastbone and throat, just under the chin, with the belt tied around the neck. The slightest movement would cause the forks to pierce his throat or chest, and thus Lucifer would be prevented from either talking or sleeping.

While the Pear of Anguish would allow him to move his head, it would also cause a more constant pain. The tool worked a bit like a normal gag in that it was inserted into the mouth, but the pear-shaped body could be spread into a few spoon segments by turning a screw located on its handle. Twist, twist, twist of the key, and his jaw would keep right on stretching past its breaking point.

Lucifer could think of positives and negatives to using either, so in the end he simply played an obnoxiously loud round of Eenie Meenie Miney Mo and picked the Pear.

He wasn’t surprised when Jabez complied and forced the gag into his mouth. He didn’t really think the creature was experienced enough with psychological torture to try and make Lucifer complicit in his own pain, but for an elementary attempt at a mind game, it wasn’t too bad. Not the most elegant play, but he gave Jabez points for effort.

A satisfied sigh slipped out around a forked tongue as the Beast stepped back to admire the picture his captive made: bound and gagged and helpless, framed against a red canvas. He turned to the row of tools, picking a few up before shaking his head and setting them back down. With a considering look he tapped his finger to the sharp point of a Judas Cradle, a seat Lucifer would prefer to keep far, far away from his balls, thank you very much.

Jabez cackled, probably guessing what his prisoner was thinking. “Later, I promise,” he said like he was trying to reassure Lucifer that he wouldn’t take away a promised treat. “For now, I want to slice into your flesh.”

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Chloe stared around Lucifer’s penthouse in a daze. Everything still looked perfect. The leather couch with its matching set of chairs was still the picture of luxury. The glass shelves behind the bar were still stacked high with enough fine liquor to purchase a small island. The piano still gleamed beneath the low light. The view from the balcony still made her think of a king looking out at his vast empire.

But Lucifer wasn’t here.

Linda squeezed her hand supportively. The doctor was the first person Chloe called after hanging up on Maze. She’d met Chloe at Lux without asking any questions, and she’d been firmly in her corner ever since: stopping the celestials from badgering her; ordering Maze to fetch her a shock blanket; forcing Chloe to drink sugar-rich juice as they all waited for her mind to stop repeating he’s gone-he’s gone-he’s gone over and over again.

Chloe had barely managed a cursory explanation on the phone with Maze before a fog crept over her senses. She couldn’t remember the drive to Lux or calling Linda, even though she knew she’d done both things. It was like her brain was glitching, seizing on small, unimportant bits of stimuli like the way the leather of the steering wheel felt beneath her palms and the flashing lights when she’d stumbled into the club. She recalled Linda gripping her by the shoulders and telling her to breathe and the quiet when they’d stepped off the elevator.

And then the shouting, and all the questions. “He’s gone,” she’d croaked, and the mantra kept ringing endlessly behind her eyes.

He’s gone. He’s gone. He’s gone!

But things were starting to come back into focus now. She was in Lucifer’s penthouse, and he wasn’t here. He was gone, and it was all wrong. But she wasn’t alone. Linda was here. And Maze, she was standing in front of Chloe protectively, knives out and ready to cut down anyone who dared attack the detective.

It took Chloe another second to realize why Maze was taking such a defensive position. Charlotte Richards—or not Charlotte: host of the Goddess, Chloe reminded herself—Goddess was struggling in Amenadiel’s arms, shouting furiously at everyone in the room.

“That worm has my son because of her!” She snarled, looking every inch the wrathful deity despite her human shell.

Chloe and Linda, the only two humans in the room, instinctively shrank back, but the others all stood their ground not appearing particularly phased.

“And she may be the only means we have of finding him,” Gabriel said.

Goddess froze, all her struggles halted by that simple sentence. “What do you mean?”

“You’re weak right now mother,” Michael stated with no inflection. “But we still can’t sense him either.”

The blood drained from her face. Gabriel shot his brother a chastising look as he explained, “We’re going to have to rely on human methods to track him down.”

“Have you tried praying?” Goddess asked desperately.

Michael appeared irritated his competence was being questioned, but Amenadiel answered calmly as he released her from his restraining arms. “I can’t tell if he’s getting my prayers, but I doubt it. It feels like I’m flinging words into the ether. And if he’s tried praying to any of us, they’re not getting through.”

Goddess stared at Amenadiel for a long second, then turned her piercing gaze on Chloe. “What happened to my son?”

Chloe swallowed thickly. She hadn’t put much thought into meeting the Goddess of Creation. Frankly, it was pretty low down on her bucket list, and she would have preferred to avoid the introduction if at all possible. Lucifer’s brief mentions of his mother had painted a suitably terrifying picture, scary more in the antediluvian appease-this-super-powerful-and-temperamental-entity sense than the out-and-out horror of the Hell Beasts, but scary all the same. And here Chloe was meeting her under probably the worst possible set of circumstances.

She told herself the tremble in her voice as she talked about the ambush was fear of the Goddess. Maybe if she told herself that enough, it would replace the dull panic of he’s gone-he’s gone-he’s gone.

Her tale, recited with militaristic efficiency, concluded with, “And Lucifer agreed to trade his freedom for me. He put on the chains Jabez threw at him, and he made me leave.”

The others were silent for a single beat of her heart, then Maze released a string of creatively gruesome curses. The angels exchanged foreboding looks while Goddess glared at Chloe like she would like nothing better than to smite her. Linda wrapped an arm around Chloe’s shoulders in a show of confused solidarity.

“Great,” Maze said once she’d calmed down a titch, “Lucifer’s gone and made himself a damsel in distress. This is just perfect.”

“But he can get out of those chains,” Chloe protested, wishing desperately that someone would confirm her statement. But everyone simply looked back at her with varying degrees of pity. “I know he can! Jabez made him promise he wouldn’t try to escape, but even Lucifer would lie in that situation…Right?”

“Chloe,” Gabriel shook his head, “he made a deal.”

“So? I know the whole deal thing’s important to him, but given the circumstances I think he can break it.”

Amenadiel answered this time, tone as horribly gentle as Gabriel’s. “No Chloe, he can’t. He literally cannot go back on his word.”

“But that doesn’t… He’s just going to have to…? Because he said he would…? That’s nonsensical!”

“His word is his bond,” Michael said gravely. Chloe almost felt grateful for the lack of sympathy when he spoke, but that same stoic stare also lit her blood on fire with anger.

“How can words bind someone when actual chains can't!”

Goddess huffed and turned away to march over to the bar and grab an entire handle of bourbon in a move that reminded Chloe painfully of Lucifer. She closed her eyes, seeming to savor the burn as the alcohol slipped down her throat, then nodded to herself and looked up to watch her children as they tried to explain universal concepts in simple terms.

“Have you ever hear the expression, ‘Names have power’?” Gabriel asked.

Chloe’s eyes flickered between the three brothers, Maze, and the steadily drinking Goddess, but she couldn’t find any hints in their expressions. “Yes?” She said unsurely.

Gabriel nodded like she had given him a far more eloquent response, and continued with his explanation. “Power likes to tie itself to specific patterns. So the older a name, the more well-known it is, the more powerful it becomes. And Lucifer’s deals are the same. He’s been making them for longer than humanity has existed, so when he binds himself, he invokes power with the weight of thousands of millennia behind it. It’s technically his own power, but it would still take him centuries in Jabez’s hands to unwind it.”

“So Chloe?” Maze interjected. “I need you to tell me exactly what Lucifer agreed to, word for word, because a loophole is the only chance you have of ever seeing him again.”

Chloe squeezed her eyes shut and nodded, trying to force her brain to focus on those last moments with her partner, to relive it in technicolor, no glossing over the finer details to spare her feelings.

“Contact?” Maze stilled with predator alertness. “You’re sure that’s the word he used?”

“I…Yes, yes I’m sure. Lucifer said he wouldn’t ever try to escape if Jabez agreed never to have contact with me or my family and friends again.”

“Just Jabez?”

“Uh…”

“Focus Decker. Lucifer will sense it if they break the deal, but I need to know what to do to force that. Was it just Jabez?”

“I thought the deals were binding?”

Maze growled impatiently. “Lucifer’s always liked punishing oath-breakers, so his deals have only ever bound him. Now… was it just Jabez?”

“No,” she answered, feeling a bit chastised (by Maze of all people) for going off track. “No, Lucifer said ‘you all.’”

“So no names were listed?”

“No. He just said ‘you all’ and ‘your associates.’”

“Good,” Maze smiled, looking relieved. “That’s good.”

“Good! What about any of this is good?” Chloe exclaimed. “Lucifer is trapped with those things! They’re probably torturing him right now!”

“No probably about it,” Maze muttered bitterly, barely contained rage glittering in her dark eyes.

Chloe continued rambling as if she hadn’t heard the demon’s words. “What if they mutilate him? Or…or kill him!”

“Well if anyone could drive them to murder,” Maze said, appearing somewhat cheered by the thought.

Chloe stared at her, then scrubbed roughly at her face. “Murder, Maze! Oh God, what if they kill him?”

“Look Decker, they’re not going to do that. And even if they did, him dying would probably not be the end of the world.”

“Probably?” Chloe croaked, derailed from her building panic.

Maze shrugged. “Depends on how gruesome they make it, ya know?”

Chloe pushed the shock blanket off her shoulders and started to stand, needing to move to expel some of her frustration. Linda pulled her back down before she managed to rise an inch off the couch.

“Uh, Maze?” The doctor said, finally speaking up to gently remind the demon who she was talking to. “We’re kind of new to the whole divine reality thing, remember?”

Maze at least had the decency to look chagrined at that.

“Some deaths take longer to recover from than others.”

“Oh, sorry,” Chloe drawled sarcastically, “I didn’t realize dying was a thing people recovered from now.”

Maze eyed Chloe like she was the slow kid in school. “I’m pretty sure I’ve heard him tell you he’s immortal like a hundred times.”

And now Chloe actually felt like she belonged on the short bus. “Right, anyways, why would the length of time it would take him to…recover?”

“Re-form.”

“Re-form. Right. Why would how long that took him maybe lead to the end of the world? Unless you didn’t mean that literally?” She tacked on hopefully.

“No,” Maze gazed contemplatively up at the chandelier that resembled tangled roots dangling into a cavern which hung centerstage in the living room, “I meant that pretty literally.”

“Great.”

“Uhuh.” Maze popped another bite of the pop tart Chloe only just realized she’d been casually munching on the whole time into her mouth. “And it’s because his power gets all frizzy when he’s dead. Too long like that and it might destabilize Hell again. More things could escape.”

Why did all the people she cared about have to be so nonchalant about these kinds of things? It was seriously infuriating how they could make her feel awkward for being worried. Like she was the weird one.

“So what’s the plan now?” Chloe asked, shaking off that brief stab of aggravation.

“Same as before,” Maze said.

“We find and capture the next Hell Beast,” Michael grinned viciously.

“And when we do, Lucifer will rip those beasts to shreds.” Maze looked far too delighted at the prospect, like a child handed an unlimited supply of chocolate.

Left unsaid was the fear the Hell Beasts would bunker down now they had their prize.

“And me?”

“You? You need to figure out where they are keeping him. And maybe track down that witch doctor Lucifer told me about,” Maze said. “The one who used his feather to help your mom.”

Chloe nodded determinedly, but she couldn’t help the way her shoulders hunched forward. Find a witch her mom hadn’t seen in over thirty years, and pinpoint a torture chamber in more than five hundred square miles worth of potential locations, assuming the Hell Beasts even kept Lucifer in LA. If she had harbored any hope of a task making her feel less helpless, that hope had just been roundly squished.

Wasn’t finding your religion supposed to make the path forward more clear?

Chapter Text

Chloe marched into the precinct with one goal in mind: find Oscar Delvaux (aka Shelita John). Because apparently the witch doctor who helped her mom get pregnant moonlighted as a drag queen.

He was only nineteen when Penelope Decker ran across him, fresh out of high school with every intention of following in the family business. But sorcery struggled to pay the bills on the best of days, and he found his true calling dancing on stage dressed as a beautiful woman. Or so the story went.

Chloe would have found her mother’s prattling over the phone much more interesting on a different day, one where Lucifer’s freedom wasn’t on the line. But Trixie was safe and having a blast in New York, and Chloe had a name. It was time to get to work.

The problem was actually making it to her desk to run the search. Cops, as a general rule, were an overworked lot, homicide detectives even more so. Dark circles under their eyes, tight expressions and unkempt hair, six or seven cups of coffee on their desks, all half-drunk and long gone cold, these were all normal sights in the LA precinct.

So Chloe knew she must look especially pale and drawn today. No less than four men had stopped her to make sure she was okay, and the security guard had held up the line at the metal detector just so she could offer Chloe a donut.

Somewhere beneath the manic edges sharpening her mind, she felt grateful for the show of support, especially given the general hostility she’d received following Palmetto. But again, today was not the day for such things. Chloe could only curse her lack of foresight. A little under-eye concealer, some blush, and perhaps a hellhound or two would have cleared the path.

Aza would have growled at anyone who dared approach her. If only the hounds weren’t scouring the city for trace scents of the Beasts. Maze would also have been helpful, but like the hounds, she was otherwise occupied: Amenadiel had flown her down to Hell to ready a demonic invasion force just in case the Wild Hunt would be useful at some later point. (A thought which did not send violent chills down Chloe’s spine.)

In a spot of good luck, there was only one fifty-five year old Oscar Delvaux with the stage name Shelita John living in LA. Chloe jotted down both his home address, which doubled as his magical office, as well as the theatre where he performed four nights a week, and made to leave. Unfortunately, Dan chose that moment to notice her grungy state.

“Rough night?” He asked as he sidled up to her desk, eyes trailing over her day-old clothes and pallid skin with concern.

“Sorry, Dan, I’ve got to run,” she said and tried to step around him. But he stopped her with a hand to her arm; he kept his grip firm as he started to question her, his brows furrowed in confusion.

“Hey, whoah, I’m on this case too, remember? Is that a lead?” He tilted his chin towards the scrap of paper clutched in Chloe’s fist.

She didn’t respond, eyes darting around as she tried to determine the quickest means of escaping this conversation.

Dan narrowed his eyes at her shifty behavior. “Look, I know we all struck out last night, but we’re gonna get him. Malcolm can’t run forever.”

Chloe offered a strained smile. “Yeah, I know. It’s just eating at me, I guess. But I know we’ll catch him.”

She didn’t try to dart around Dan again, instead holding his gaze in an effort to reassure him she was fine. After a moment he nodded and relaxed, releasing her arm to point at the note she’d scribbled Oscar Delvaux's information on. “So what’d you find out?”

“Just a guy who might know something that could help us track him,” Chloe tried to be evasive without lying, but she didn’t think she nailed it nearly as well as Lucifer always managed to. “It’s a long shot,” she tacked on quickly.

“You planning to run off on your own?” Dan surveyed the bullpen briefly, then looked back at her. "Where is Lucifer, anyway? He hasn’t left your side in days.”

Chloe knew she was going to flinch before Dan even finished his sentence, but she was helpless to stop it. Her body was halfway through a full-body jerk before she managed to tense her muscles in an effort to abort the motion.

Dan was not the most tenacious detective on the force. He liked open-and-shut cases; he was satisfied with the easy answer. But that didn’t mean he was incompetent. A hurried all clear message had come from Chloe last night, then she’d disappeared for hours, barely even responding to his texts. And now this? Evading simple questions, the squirming, restless energy doing nothing to hide her exhaustion, her partner nowhere in sight?

He’d been married to Chloe for going on a decade, and separated or not, he still knew when she was hiding something.

He glanced around. Despite the early hour, both conference rooms on this floor were occupied thanks to the recent rash of violence. But it didn’t look like Ella was in the forensic lab yet. He dragged Chloe into the room, careful not to disturb any of the meticulously arranged bits of evidence, and once he’d shut the door and closed the blinds, he turned to regard his ex seriously.

“What’s really going on, Chloe?”

“I already told you,” she tried to insist even as she edged towards the door, “I have a lead that I need to look into—”

“Do you think I’m an idiot? What don’t you want to tell me?”

Chloe squeezed her hands into fists, her short nails digging into her palms. “I can’t deal with this right now, Dan! I can’t. Lucifer…” She closed her eyes, took a calming breath, pushed her emotions back down before she could start screaming.

“What about Lucifer?” Dan asked. Guilt laced his voice, tightened his eyes. But Chloe didn’t have the energy to figure out why he felt bad. She shook her head, and took another shuffling step towards the door.

“What happened, Chloe?” Dan whispered. He didn’t know why he was suddenly so afraid. He didn’t even like Lucifer most days, and surely if something had happened to the consultant, Chloe would have called it in. But still, fear gripped his lungs. “What happened to Lucifer?”

A tear slipped from Chloe’s eye. She hurriedly wiped it away, and the three more that followed before she managed to regain control. “He’s gone,” she confessed. “It’s my fault. He was taken, and it’s…it’s…”

A great weight dropped into Dan’s chest, making it hard for him to breathe. This wasn’t Chloe’s fault, he was sure of that. But it was his. He should have warned the consultant. He knew Malcolm had planned to kill Lucifer, but he’d believed the danger was past. Even once Malcolm escaped jail, he’d figured Lucifer already knew he was a potential target. There was no reason to bring up his insider knowledge, he'd reassured himself, not when everyone knew how psychotic Malcolm was.

“Why didn’t you call it in?” He croaked, then paused; his brows drew down in a forbidding line. “Unless…you don’t think someone in the precinct might be helping Malcolm, do you?”

Chloe twitched; she sucked in a sharp breath. Dan’s eyes widened. His fingers dropped instinctively to the hilt of his gun, the well-oiled reaction of a seasoned cop facing a threat, before he jerked his hand back as though burned and ran it over his head to tug at the hair at the base of his skull instead.

“Alright, okay, so you do think that. Shit. But—but Chloe, you know you can trust me, right?”

Chloe shook her head, unsure how the conversation had devolved into this. “Look, Dan, I don’t have time…I need—”

A muffled crash, and the door to the lab’s storage closet burst open, spilling Ella onto the floor. She looked up at them sheepishly, rubbed at her sore hip as she stood up and chuckled nervously. “Oh, hi guys! Fancy seeing you in here! I, uh, totally didn’t hear anything you just said. Eavesdropping? Soooo unprofessional, am I right?” She bobbed her head in awkward agreement with herself and glanced between the two gaping detectives.

“But, uh, if Lucifer’s been kidnapped, or anything, which I completely, one hundred percent did not hear from you…Let me help?”

“Ella…” Chloe trailed off uncertainly, but she didn’t need to come up with any more words. Ella was more than willing to babble away to fill the silence.

“It’s just, Lucifer’s a pretty cool dude, you know? Not that I’d want him to be missing or hurt or anything if he was a jerk, but he’s not! He’s been really nice to me. He got me coffee,” she started ticking things off on her fingers, waving her other hand around as she spoke, “and recommended some great cheap restaurants, and he let me pet his super scary dog, and he made sure it didn’t growl at me, which honestly, dogs seem to have really mixed reactions to me usually, so that was cool, and—”

“Ella! Look, I—”

“You can’t keep us out of this one, Chloe. He’s obnoxious, but Lucifer’s one of ours.”

Ella nodded in earnest agreement with Dan. “What he said! Mostly minus the obnoxious part.”

Chloe rubbed at her forehead. She didn’t want to get anymore regular humans involved in all this, but Lucifer was missing. She needed help, normal people’s help, not smelling out traces of power or talking to dead people or whatever else the celestials had up their sleeves. So maybe it was selfish, but she found herself agreeing to let Dan and Ella tag along.

“But we do this my way, okay? I don’t have time to deal with pointless arguments.” She stared pointedly at Dan as she spoke. He nodded firmly in agreement, so she turned her attention to Ella. “And you’re sure the lab can spare you?”

Chloe didn’t really think Ella added much out in the field, but she didn’t have the heart to make the scientist stay back, not with those big, worried doe eyes gazing back at her.

“Yep! We’re all good here,” Ella chirped with a single clap of her hands. “Vámanos!”

“Alright then,” Chloe looked between them with a tight-lipped smile, then turned and finally opened the door. “I can explain everything else on the way, and I guess I’ll text Maze an update later."

And miracle of miracles, Dan didn’t protest the demon’s inclusion.

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“Well? Answer me!” Goddess shouted at the sky. But her husband didn’t respond. A single fluffy cloud drifted lazily through the great expanse of blue; the sun shown brightly, cheerfully, the perfect day for a picnic or a hike.

Typical, she thought. God was too composed to engage in an argument. Too serenely calm, always; too sure of his own stance. Their son was missing, stolen by foul beasts, and still all she received was silence. Silence to express his continued anger over her actions millennia ago. He had set on a course of action, and come Hell or high water, he would stick to it for whatever predetermined amount of time he deemed appropriate.

And so she was left shouting into the ether, standing alone on a balcony in the middle of a mortal city. If he thought she wouldn’t hold this reaction against him, he was sorely mistaken. If he believed he was proving his point, in some convoluted way, he was even more off the mark. And if he hoped this would force her to apologize, maybe learn to see humans as useful thanks to the help Lucifer’s pet was sure to play in his recovery, well, she’d have to tell him he was losing his touch. After she enacted a suitable retribution, of course.

Goddess sighed. It had been so long since they’d danced.

Longer still since their son had been with them. The spontaneous celebrations he’d thrown, the music which had spilled forth from every corner of the universe, Lucifer and Jophiel weaving beautiful tapestries of sound, the Host joining in as it suited them, as they rambled across the heavens, inviting the world to revel in the wild energy with them.

Laughter and love and joy. Her family. Her children.

She glared at the sky. “Hold your silence, then,” she hissed, “but don’t you dare refuse to help our son.”

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Michael watched the sun tick over one more degree in its path across the sky.

“Call them,” he said to Gabriel without removing his eyes from the star.

Gabriel bowed his head without a word; Michael felt his brother’s power wash over him, projecting easily across the entire Host to find the rest of the archangels and deliver his message to each of them simultaneously.

As expected, the first to arrive was Raphael. He liked to travel the world unseen, quietly lending his aid to ailing humans. A miraculous recovery from cancer here, outlasting starvation there, overcoming suicidal thoughts, steady hands during a complicated surgery, the list went on.

He landed in a flurry of large cornflower blue wings which dwarfed his stocky body. If Michael were prone to openly expressing his emotions, he would roll his eyes at his brother’s typical shirtless state. Raphael had latched on to the male loincloth-skirt-thing as the perfect fashion choice several centuries ago, and to this day he still insisted it was the most freeing article of clothing available.

Azrael faded into existence a second later, invisibility melting off her like dripping paint to reveal a petite asian woman with wings darker than deep space and black hair to match, which was cut into a dorky bob, completely ruining the intimidation factor her shadowy appearance otherwise lent her.

“‘Sup, bros?” Azrael bounced up on the balls of her feet; her hair bounced with her.

“Sister,” Michael greeted her while Raphael simply nodded to her with a gentle smile.

Gabriel’s grin lit his entire face, crinkling his cobalt eyes and revealing dimples in both of his cheeks. “Hey, Rae-Rae! How’re Nergal and the kids?”

“I think Anubis has been feeling nostalgic lately,” Azrael chuckled wickedly. “Either that or he has a crush on this pretty little mortician over in Edinburgh.”

The scent of ozone was the only warning the other angels had before Ariel touched down on their dusty little patch of dessert.

“I don’t know which is creepier, Sister,” the ebony-skinned angel said in lieu of a proper greeting, sunlight glimmering over her copper feathers and catching on the iridescent crown of flowers holding back her mass of riotous black curls; fresh blooms in pinks and yellows and reds cracked through the dirt at her feet like a fresh summer shower had breathed life into long-dormant seeds. “That your son likes dressing up dead bodies, or that he likes watching a human do the same.”

“Hearse!” Azrael cried, pronouncing it hurs-ay. Nobody laughed at her joke.

“Still hoping that will catch on, Sis?” Gabriel smirked good-naturedly.

She crossed her arms and pouted, but before she could think of a good comeback, Uriel and Jophiel arrived together.

Jophiel tucked her pale rose wings back with a delicate ruffle of feathers. She flicked her wrists, banishing all the dust that had dared to drift up and attach itself to her clothes when she’d landed, then straightened the capped sleeves of her pearl-encrusted dress with a prim sniff before finally looking up to grace her siblings with a beatific smile.

Uriel didn’t bother with any small talk; he didn’t even greet the other archangels before diving right into the main topic of conversation, his own storm-gray feathers puffed up in agitation as he spoke.

“I can’t track the patterns going back in time. The Beasts shrouded themselves before they even made it to Earth, which also makes predicting their future movements…difficult. And before you ask, no, we cannot find and rip through the shrouds, not without drastic consequences like boiling the Pacific or something equally terrible.”

“Well that’s—”

“Unfortunate, yes I know, but realistic,” Uriel said, finishing Gabriel’s sentence for him.

Michael cleared his throat pointedly. “Perhaps—”

“Yes, yes, by all means fill the others in, Brother.”

Michael wished Lucifer were here. It was like a gaping blackhole, his absence whenever the seven of them were all together. He longed to glance up when Uriel made a nuisance of himself like this and lock eyes with his brother, as they so often had in the past. Lucifer would roll his eyes or make some other exaggerated facial expression, perhaps interrupt with a sly comment or an outrageous suggestion; one never really knew with him. But then he would look back at Michael and smirk, would keep pushing until Michael’s stoic facade cracked and a smile tugged at his lips.

This time it was even worse. It almost felt like the early days after Lucifer’s Fall, only now Michael’s anger had cooled, leaving only worry for his brother and the burning need to destroy the creatures who had the audacity to attack a member of the Celestial Family.

“These past couple of weeks Gabriel and I have been helping Lucifer capture some Hell Beasts that escaped to Earth,” he said, not mentioning the force-Mum-back-to-Hell portion of their mission. Everyone already knew that part, and it was unimportant at the moment.

“Hell Beast’s aren’t demons, by the way, so no smiting!” Gabriel piped up, throwing the information at their siblings completely out of order.

“So?” Ariel drawled impatiently. “Why did you call us here? What happened?”

Michael sighed and resisted the urge to pinch his nose. This would be much more efficient if they would let him deliver his report without interruptions. A truncated version would have to do then.

“The Beasts set a trap and forced Lucifer into making a deal for his own surrender,” he bit out before anyone else could speak up.

Jophiel’s face immediately crumpled, one instant radiating happiness, the next the very picture of inconsolable despair. Tears like sparkling diamonds spilled over her perfect caramel cheeks. As the Archangel of Beauty, she occupied the opposite job from Lucifer: designing individual paradises for mortal souls in Heaven. As a result, she spent almost all of her time in the Silver City, and she was readily available today when God looked for someone to carry a message to the other archangels.

“Father…he said…but I didn’t expect—” Jophiel stopped, swallowed, then continued more strongly. “He told me to tell you that he is looking. He…he cast his consciousness out; he’s in millions of spots all over LA. But they must have foreseen his interference. They are well hidden. The most he can offer without breaking the world is help with the Detective's task—whoever that is—narrowing down possible locations.”

Azrael shook her head in mute denial. Raphael frowned and his broad shoulders hunched in. He didn’t sit down and curl up like a little boy trying to huddle into a corner to avoid the shouting adults, but he looked like he wanted to.

It was difficult to remember God was not truly all-knowing; it was the kind of fact which only popped up on the rare occasion when one of his failures struck them over their collective heads. A genius by celestial standards, God outclassed other immortals the same way Einstein surpassed mentally disabled children. That brilliance, combined with the way he could divide his consciousness and cast it away from his physical body to observe numerous other places in the universe at once, left even his most powerful children with the impression of omniscience.

“Is this a joke?” Ariel snapped, and the ground beneath their feet trembled. Unlike the others, she did not look sad or disbelieving or even grimly determined. She looked furious, like a volcano waiting to blow its top at the slightest change in pressure.

“Afraid not, Sis,” Gabriel grimaced.

Ariel growled and stepped forward. The world darkened, thick gray clouds spilling rapidly into the pristine blue sky. The smell of ozone thickened; small animals darted for cover. The whole world fell quiet, still and tense as it held its breath and waited.

“And how,” she hissed like a thousand venomous snakes, “could you let this happen?”

“Ah, well, we weren’t actually with him,” Gabriel admitted, glancing nervously at the sky.

“You sent our brother to fight an army of Hell Beasts alone?”

“He was with his detective,” Michael corrected her, only to immediately regret his words. No one present needed an explanation expounding all the ways having a human for backup was worse than fighting a small infernal army alone.

“You sent him to fight with a human!” Ariel yelled, and the clouds released lightning like it was rain, a million zigzagging bolts across hundreds of miles shooting towards the ground in an explosion of thunder.

Azrael winced as dozens of alerts sounded in her mind at once. It seemed Ariel’s freak lightning storm had already managed to expand to include the nearby states, and it was still growing. She leapt forward and grabbed her sister’s hand.

“Ari! You need to calm down!”

Ariel whipped around to glare at her with jewel-bright eyes. “I am calm!”

“Um…” Azrael pointed awkwardly at the raging storm. Ariel followed her finger and grimaced.

“Maybe it’s time to exit Earth stage right?” The Angel of Death suggested. “We can fill you in later.”

Ariel huffed but didn’t argue, and a minute later the storm died down to a manageable downpour of water rather than electricity, the majority of the danger disappearing with their sister.

“Well that was suitably dramatic,” Gabriel quipped and the others grinned in agreement.

“Who knew she would get that worked up over Lucifer?” Uriel muttered.

Michael smacked him with a hard punch to the shoulder. It was an instinctive, spur-of-the-moment kind of urge, the type without rhyme or reason, a pattern which emerged too rapidly for Uriel to anticipate. He glared at Michael, rubbing at the rapidly forming bruise, then bent down and scooped up a shiny pebble. He tossed it a few yards to their left, then smirked with satisfaction.

Raphael frowned at both of them: Uriel for the comment and what could only be some avenue to future revenge, and Michael for the hit. But true to form, he didn’t actually voice his disapproval.

The others all ignored their antics.

“So what can we do to help?” Azrael asked.

Michael turned away from his staring match with Uriel to answer her. “You can check with souls as you collect them, see if they noticed anything odd before they died that might be helpful. But other than that?” He shrugged. “We mostly wanted to update all of you. Things aren’t dire enough for sheer power to be a huge factor yet, so just keep your senses open, I suppose.”

The others didn’t look happy at that order, but they all nodded nonetheless. Storming LA didn’t make sense, nor did bringing in extra help. More angels in the area would only flood the city with their energy. They would get more scouts, but only at the risk of obscuring the Beasts’ tracks. They weren’t nearly desperate enough for that.

Not yet.