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The Price of Freewill

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“Which direction is the City of Angels?” The question had a confused, desperate edge to it. The source of said inquiry, a man who was somewhere in his mid to late 30s, fidgeted, unable to look Mr. Fisher in the eye. His gaze drifted just to the left of him, nervous, cautious, and guarded.

“You mean, Los Angeles?” Mr. Fisher asked, his voice laced with concern. The stranger in front of him just nodded, almost imperceptibly, and as he stepped toward the frightened younger man in front of him, he instinctively shied away, keeping a measured distance between them. He had never seen anything quite like the stranger edging back from him. His eyes darted nervously as if he expected to be attacked at any moment, from any direction. He was a mess.

“You need help.” It was a statement, not a question, but the other man’s response to this observation was to move back even further, skittish and untrusting.

Even though it was the middle of the night, under a starry moonless sky, he could still make out several concerning details. His loosely curling dark hair was a matted mess; coated with what looked like blood, which was especially thick with the tacky substance on the left side of the forehead, where a wound was still bleeding, creating a dark trail snaking down to curve into his brow, close to the eye, then continuing further down his cheek. His lower lip was busted, and he had a nasty bruise forming on the right side of his face.

Gaunt, tired eyes kept avoiding his, and his unsteady stance made it look like he might pass out at any moment. Likely had a concussion. He hunched in on himself, seeming almost small in spite of his tall stature. He appeared to be in a great deal of pain, with one hand wrapped around a dark spot blossoming on the side of his plain tattered white t-shirt, and his legs looked like they were shaking with the effort to stay upright in a pair of ratty grey sweatpants.

And no shoes.

He had to be beyond cold. This was not ideal attire for someone in Northern Washington, at night, in the middle of November. The man was probably quite handsome in normal circumstances, but right now, he just looked broken and in desperate need of care.

It broke Mr. Fisher’s heart. The wounded stranger looked about the same age as his son, and he couldn’t help the paternal instinct that kept telling him to take him in his arms and tell him it would be okay… or the urge to beat the living daylights out of whoever was responsible for this. When he had decided to go down to the river to get his Zen on, this is not how he had imagined his night going.

The strange broken man in front of him looked more likely to try to run than accept help though. He needed to try to find a way to keep him from taking off, but he didn’t know how. Silence stretched on, as the man looked at him, careful, pleading eyes finally locked onto his. And with that, he broke the spell by speaking again.

“Please…” he implored. “Which direction?”

Mr. Fisher hesitated, trying to find the right words to say; words that would convince him to trust him. Finally, after a sigh, he answered his question. “Well, you are a very long way from there. You got family in LA?”

“Brother, last I knew.” He had an accent, Mr. Fisher noticed. It sounded English. A pleasant ring to it, even as rough as it was now.

“You got a number for him? I could give him a call.” He tried, holding as still as he could, as if he was trying not to frighten an injured wild animal.

“No.”

“Name?”

The sound of crashing bushes coming from their wooded surroundings put an abrupt stop to the conversation. The stranger’s eyes widened in fear and his head whipped around to stare in the direction of the sound. It was probably just a branch breaking off a tree, but the noise seemed to terrify him. He trembled, eyes darting all around.

Mr. Fisher decided that talking calmly might help. “It’s Okay, Son, it’s just a tree branch.” The other man looked at him suspiciously. He took this as a cue to keep talking. “Look, I’m just trying to help. LA, you know, it’s nowhere near here. Just telling you its south - and I mean, waaaay south of here isn’t going to do you much good. Why don’t you come back with me? I can get you a hot shower and a good meal, then maybe you’ll let me get you the medical attention you need. I mean, really, you ought to be going to a hospital…” He trailed off as he realized the other was not listening to him.

Rather, his eyes were on the stars, a frustrated, confused look on his face. After a few moments of trying to recognize the constellations, he sighed and looked down. Once again, avoiding eye contact. “I can’t read the sky… which way is south?” He finally relented.

Mr. Fisher gestured to his left, down the winding road. “That-a-way.” He offered vaguely. The injured man’s reaction to that statement caught his attention. His expression twisted in agony, and he closed in on himself, shaking, as he took rapid shallow gasping breaths. For a moment, it looked like he was about to have a panic attack.

“But I just came from there.” His voice was broken, choking on fear and frustration.

“What’s down there, son?” Mr. Fisher asked, voice thick with equal parts compassion and barely contained rage.

At first, there was no answer, and when it came, it was a whisper, almost too soft to hear. “They are…”

They are. Whoever ‘they’ were, he had no doubt in his mind that ‘they’ were the ones responsible for this. ‘They’ were monsters, and ‘they’ were going to pay.

“I see,” He said, turning to get his phone from his truck. He was going to call the cops, and they were going to find those bastards. “Stay put, I’m just going to make a call.” But as he reached his vehicle and opened the door, a sudden whooshing sound, followed by a sharp gust of wind caught him off guard. Whirling around, his jaw dropped open. The other man was gone. Without a trace.

Startled, he stepped forward, looking around. But he was nowhere to be seen. He tried to call out to him.

“Son? Where are you? Son?” But there was no answer. Only the night greeted him in reply. Walking forward, he called out for him again, and again, he got nothing. He was so focused on trying to peer into the night that he nearly tripped on the foliage that was sprouting up in the middle of the gravel parking space. It was in the same spot the injured younger man had been standing. How strange. Shaking his head in confusion, he lifted his phone and dialed the Lynden Police Department to report what he had seen.

***

Chloe was antsy.

She needed to move. To do something. But for now, she had to wait.

Sitting in her last-minute-booked seat on the plane as it made its way to Washington gave her time to think at least. And to wake up. She still remembered the call, the call she had almost ignored, except that it had been Dan. Dan, who had been at work. He had been doing a lot of extra hours lately, presumably to help cope with… things. It had to do with Charlotte, she knew, and ironically, now that Lucifer had been gone for a while, he had finally stopped blaming him. Now he seemed to be blaming himself. Sighing, she took the call, expecting him to break down about some revelation or other.

“Hey. Chlo?”

“Dan… its 1:30, I just… why are you calling at this hour?”

He hesitated on the other line. Chloe rubbed and blinked her eyes, willing them to focus.

“So… Lucifer, he went home?” He sounded unsure.

Really? Chloe sighed, she had a hard enough time sleeping without Dan, of all people, bringing up Lucifer. She missed him, and being reminded of it only made her lose more sleep.

“Yeah, something about a family emergency, and needing to fix things.” She muttered tiredly. Technically, it wasn’t a lie. Demons coming to Earth was definitely an emergency in need of fixing, and even though Hell wasn’t really home, it was close enough.

“Did he say where home is, or how long he expected to be away? I mean, it’s been, like a year and a half, and we haven’t even heard from him.” It sounded like he was piecing something together.

“Where are you going with this?” Chloe sighed.

“Are we sure he’s okay?” Chloe sat up, suddenly interested. Why was he bringing this up now? Not once had he shown concern for Lucifer’s wellbeing. Ella had. She asked every couple weeks, like clockwork, if Chloe or anyone had heard from him yet. Ella prayed for him every night. Knowing Ella was praying for the wellbeing of the Devil always amused Chloe, and she really wished she could tell her friend the truth, but, yeah, that wasn’t happening.

After a pause, she had to admit, truthfully, she didn’t know. “You know, he’s… I mean… no, I don’t know for sure, but I have to believe that he is.” It was painful to admit this out loud. It hurt to say it to Dan, especially. “Why?”

“I just got a call from Pam, in Missing Persons. She seemed to be pretty sure that someone found Lucifer in Washington, all busted up and lost in the woods.” He blurted out.

The rest of the call had gone quite differently, as she had switched from sleepy love-sick Chloe Decker into Detective Decker working a case. She wanted details, and details, he had given. It had been a drawn out game of he-said she-said which had taken place for this information to reach her ex.

A man near Lynden Washington ran into the person in question. He had called the Police Department there, they connected him with Missing Persons, and he suggested talking with someone in LA. That someone knew Lucifer… everyone at the LAPD knew him. Everyone loved him. He had somehow gone from amusing distraction to an invaluable member of the team. Chloe suspected their nearly flawless close rate and his Devilish charms had something to do with that. The description sounded too much like Lucifer for Pam to think it was a coincidence, and as the man in question had been asking about LA, she was convinced that, yes, it was him. So she decided to talk to Dan. Why Dan? She knew he was awake, and at work finishing up after a failed stakeout, and she wanted a second opinion. After Dan, too was convinced that this might be Chloe’s vanished partner, he took it upon himself to call her.

Someone who had an English accent, was tall and lean, probably normally handsome, dark slightly curly hair… it could be him. He said he needed to get to LA, and find a brother. Amenadiel, perhaps. The part that concerned her was the description of his condition. Wearing tattered clothes, a t-shirt and sweats, no less, bloody, head injury, busted lip, no shoes? Weak and tired. Frightened and panicked. This part worried her the most.

No, it couldn’t be Lucifer. Lucifer wasn’t vulnerable if Chloe wasn’t near. He was the Devil. He was the Lord of Hell, and the Fallen archangel who had… presumably led a rebellion against God. He could walk through explosions and brush them off with ease. He has tossed a man effortlessly through bullet proof glass. He could hold a car in place while it tried to drive away. He could be shot and the bullets would bounce off of him like he was Superman. So, obviously, it wasn’t him. It was just a poor man in need of help who resembled Lucifer. It had to be, because if it wasn’t…

Chloe had to stay focused.

It wasn’t Lucifer.

But if it was, then that meant there was something out there powerful enough to hurt her Lucifer, who had obviously done just that, and was not likely to stop.

The man had been afraid of something.

Lucifer didn’t scare easily. Well, not when it actually mattered anyway. He was skittish with her. He worried about keeping her safe, about sparing her from seeing things he thought would hurt her. He was afraid of being rejected. He ran from feelings. Never from danger. Not even when he was with Chloe, and essentially mortal. Not even when he should be afraid. So if it was Lucifer, and he was afraid, what did that mean?

And how was she going to protect him?

One thing at a time, Detective Decker, she scolded herself. No point jumping to conclusions yet. Her first step would be to get to Lynden, where she had made an appointment to meet with the witness at the department, a man named Robert Fisher. When she got there, she would show him a picture of Lucifer and ask if this was the man he had seen. Then he would tell her that, no, it was someone else.

Because it had to be.

Then she could offer to help with the investigation, because even if it wasn’t Lucifer, the poor man did need help, and he was trying to get to LA, and maybe she could help him. Maybe helping him would help her get her mind off of Lucifer.

And if this Robert Fisher confirmed that it was Lucifer…

Chloe would tear the State of Washington apart to find him and rein hell down upon the monsters responsible for hurting him.

Then she would hold onto him with all her might and make sure he never left her again.

Chloe was crying.

“I’ll find you, Lucifer. I promise. I’m on my way, just hang in there.” She sniffed. The lady sitting next to her gave her the funniest look, and moved a seat over, crossing herself.

Chapter Text

He ran.  Too weak to trust his wings to carry him far - knowing that the moment he unfurled them, they would be a divinity beacon for those who hunted him.  He ran.  He stumbled and gasped for breath, every part of him aching, crying out in agony. He needed rest. But that was not possible. This was likely his only chance to escape, and he would not squander it.  He didn’t know how long it would take them to realize he had gotten away, so he didn’t stop, because they might already know. They might already be hunting him. Every second was precious.
               
He didn’t stop when he escaped the pocket universe and found himself on Earth.  He didn’t stop after he slipped silently out of the strange, quiet building. He didn’t stop after he crossed the fence and vanished into the forest.  He didn’t stop when the bushes slapped his face, which was already in so much pain, or when his bare feet found a root, or a rock. None of this should have hurt in the first place, but it did. He would worry about that mystery later. For now, he had to put distance between himself and the place he had come from.  Get as far away as possible. He waited far too long for this one chance to waste it.
               
How long had it been? He didn’t know.  Days had blurred together into one long drawn out torment. Days became weeks became months became... years? He was sure it had been years.  But finally, his captors dropped their guard, growing over-confident in their assumption that he was too broken - mistakenly equating vulnerability with helplessness.  Every opponent had a weakness. Every opponent slips up eventually. The trick is to wait until they do, to hold back until the right moment, then strike with finality. So that is what he had done. He waited until they thought he couldn’t fight back, too weak to stand, and too damaged to think straight. It wasn’t a lie, not really.  But he had held onto a secret inner resolve, hiding it away along with his wings - which they didn’t known had grown back - and the last reserves of his divine strength. And he waited for the right moment.
               
That moment came when their boss - his brother - was away, and the ones in charge of watching him decided to take the gag out while having a little... fun.  They wanted to gloat over him, to show him how powerless he was. They should have known better, known it was risky to allow him to speak, but instead, they thought this would prove that he was no longer a threat.  It was so easy to lead them astray. Enduring their cruel treatment as they had their ‘fun’ - while gradually becoming more and more thoroughly sloshed - was painful, but afterward, when they left him lying prone on the floor, alone and unchained, no collar, no gag… nothing - he knew it had been worth the goading.  Finally. He had a path to freedom, and he took it.  If he was lucky, it would be hours before they realized their prize had escaped – vanished right under their reckless, drunken noses.
               
After an uncertain length of time running, he found a road and started down it.  It was a lonely winding path in the middle of nowhere, and since it was easier to run on pavement, he continued down it, glancing furtively behind him every so often. The night sky above was a welcomed sight.  He had missed the stars.  He had missed the taste of free air, and even as the cold bit into him, as his heart pounded in his chest, and his lungs hurt from taking in too many struggled breaths, he felt better than he had in a long time. He could almost smile… almost, if not for the knowledge that it was not over yet. He was not safe, not yet truly free. Not while the threat of recapture still loomed over him.
               
After a while, he spotted a gravel parking lot next to the river which ran parallel to the country road he had been traveling down, with a single vehicle parked in the middle. An older looking human leaned against it, watching the water.  He contemplated ignoring him, and sneaking passed, but the man had a gentle, fatherly light about him, so perhaps it was safe.  After all, he had no idea where he was.
               
After a painful conversation, the man had finally told him to go south.  Unfortunately, south meant going back the way he had come. 
               
This was not good. 
               
At first, he considered taking to the bramble again and going east for a time, then heading south, but that wouldn’t work. He was running out of energy.  Reluctantly, he decided that it might be safe to use his wings - if only briefly.  Assuming he had the strength to fly, he could cover a great deal of distance, and if he did it quickly, tucking his wings away immediately after, he might get away with it.  Having made up his mind, he unfurled his wings and took off.
               
He had been right to be concerned. He was weak.  After only a couple seconds, he touched down again.  Not knowing where he was, or if he had gone too far, he continued to run, grateful they had not caught up to him mid-flight.  Grateful he had not crashed. 
               
A part of him longed to pray for help, but he knew he couldn’t. He couldn’t trust them – didn’t know who he could trust anymore.  And certain that someone was listening in, he had only one option. He had to get to the brother he hoped he could still trust. The one he could find on Earth.  This was a long shot.  But it was the only one he had, and he was too weak to fight this enemy on his own. He needed help, and help was in the City of Angels, so that was his only objective.
               
Get there, get help.
               
He was no longer running when the sky started to brighten.  He was stumbling through neatly kept yards with short grass and all-too-similar looking human dwellings.  Finding his way away from the street, he collapsed against a dainty maple tree with a pile of fallen yellow leaves at its base.  He didn’t have time to rest. He had to keep going, but his legs weren’t working. Maybe it was okay to take a moment.  Just to catch his breath and let his legs recover a little energy. Just a moment. He leaned his head against the bark of the tree, and his eyes, heavy with exhaustion, closed without his bidding them to, and before he knew it, everything faded away.

***
               
“Robert Fisher?” Chloe held out her hand to the older man who had been waiting for her in the empty conference room.  He smiled pleasantly at her. The man wore a red and orange paid jacket, muddy blue jeans, and a green cap.  His weathered face was half covered by an impressive greying beard, and his brown eyes crinkled at the edges charmingly. He seemed like the kind of person who would hold the door for you, and liked to drink beer while talking about life. 
               
“That would be me.  Are you the one coming from LA?” He asked shaking her hand.
               
“My name is Detective Chloe Decker.  Pam from Missing Persons said that you had a run-in with someone last night?”
               
The man’s eyes grew misty as he remembered it. “Yes, Ma’am. Son had been put through Hell from the looks of it.  My guess is kidnapping… though I guess whoever was responsible had a hard time keeping him.”
               
Chloe nodded. “That would stand to reason. Can you tell me a little bit more about the encounter?”  She encouraged. Robert Fisher proceeded to tell his tale, and the more he talked, the more Chloe’s heart ached. Please, don’t let this be Lucifer, her mind was begging. Please, let him be okay. 
               
“…then, and I know it sounds crazy, and believe me, I’m questioning it too…” He faltered, unsure whether to continue. Chloe tensed a bit.  Crazy? Like supernatural?
               
“What sounds crazy?  I promise, I won’t judge.”
               
Mr. Fisher sighed and shook his head.  “Some of the others laughed when I told them this part.” He admitted, clearly grumpy about it.
               
“I won’t laugh.” Chloe promised, feeling a sinking sensation in her chest.
               
“Well…” He hesitated, running his fingers through his beard – some sort of self-soothing motion, no doubt. “Okay.” He straightened up a bit and looked her in the eyes. “When I went to get my phone, I heard a weird whooshing noise and felt a gust of wind, and then… he was gone!”  He waved his hands about dramatically as he said the last bit.
               
Chloe felt her heart stop. Whooshing noise? Like wings unfurling.  And wind… she remembered the wind produced by a flap of Lucifer’s wings… She remembered him standing on the balcony, beautiful white, luminous wings spread out behind him, looking every bit the angel she knew he was, a sorrowful look in his eyes.  He had said good bye, because he was going back to Hell.  What if they didn’t want him to rule anymore? What if he had been attacked? What if…
               
No.
               
Something must have shown on her face, because Mr. Fisher tilted his head and reached out to take her hand.
               
“You alright, Detective?” He looked genuinely concerned.
               
“No, no, I’m fine. Sorry, I’m fine.” Chloe blurted.
               
Mr. Fisher thought this over, then brightened up, hopeful.  “Does that sound like something you’re familiar with, because if so, I would really like an explanation.” He admitted, taking his hand back and scratching his beard.
               
Chloe considered his question, trying to find a way to answer him without saying too much.  Finally she settled on a non-answer. “I’m sorry, I have no way of explaining what happened, but for what it’s worth, I don’t think you’re crazy.”  She smiled reassuringly at him and he seemed to accept that.
               
“Well, you’re more open-minded then the others, then.” He decided.
               
“Tell me, if I showed you a picture, would you be able to ID him?” She asked, pulling out her phone and scrolling to find a good picture of Lucifer. 

“Yeah, I think I can do that.”

It didn’t take long to find a good one. She kept several on her phone to look at whenever her missing him got to be too much. She found one with him sitting at the piano, drink in hand, and smiling affectionately at the camera - at her.
                               
“Is this the man you saw last night?” He took the phone and looked it over. Chloe was holding her breath. She felt so stupid. Of course it wasn’t, it couldn’t…
               
“That’d be him, alright.” The man sighed sadly.  “He looks so happy in this picture, who is he?”  He asked sympathetically looking at her again and handing the phone back.
               
Chloe stopped breathing. Her heart skipped a beat, before catching up by pounding double time. No. Don’t freak out. Lucifer needs help. Lucifer needs Detective Decker, not a panicked love sick girl. She took several deep breaths before she could take her phone back.
               
“He’s my partner.” She nearly whispered as she looked through blurry eyes at the image.
               
Mr. Fisher took her hand again, reassuringly, exuding nothing but empathy. “I’m so sorry to hear that, but for what it’s worth, that partner of yours is a real fighter. I can tell. I think he’s going to be alright.”
               
Chloe felt a single tear slide down her cheek.  “Yeah, he really is. And he had better be.” She said resolutely as she sniffed and wiped her eyes.  “I’m going to find him. And when I find out who did this...” She grew silent, unwilling to self incriminate.
               
After a few customary parting words, the man left, and Chloe was alone with her thoughts.  She needed to figure out what to do. First, she would check out the scene where he had been found, and look for clues. Then she would touch bases back here, and see if any more leads turned up. If he used his wings, there was no telling where he was now. Maybe, if she was lucky, he had already flown back to LA, and he would be waiting for her at Lux, with a story to tell, and an embarrassed smile. Yeah, right, like it could be that easy. 
               
Nothing with Lucifer was ever that easy.
               
One thing was sure though. She needed help. She needed someone who could track down an angel.  Her mind made up, she pulled out her phone and ran her finger through her contacts.  After she found the number she needed, she hit ‘call’ and waited.  It only took a few rings before the line picked up and Amenadiel’s sleepy voice greeted her.

“Hey, um… Amenadiel?  It’s Chloe. I think Lucifer is in trouble.”

Chapter Text

“So, Elohim, was it?” The broker laughed. “I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised, considering what I’m selling.” He looked over the gentleman in front of him skeptically. The research he had made on this potential buyer said that his real name was Bandile Adisa, but that about a year and a half ago, he had started calling himself Elohim.

Elohim Adisa.

He was a wealthy business man from South Africa – a giant in the fashion industry no less, who had been traveling the world around the same time he changed his name – ignoring his business. And if the rumors were true, performing miracles, of all things. The man had creamy coffee skin, shoulder length braids with turquoise beads at the ends, an artful goatee, and a dignified, graceful aged look to him. It was not what he had expected from someone who tried to pass himself off as a deity.

“Do you know what you’re selling?” The man replied casually in a smooth, lightly accented, well-educated voice like honey. This piqued the broker’s interest. He watched the odd man as he took a sip of the tea that had been offered earlier. Even if he wasn’t likely to sell to him on account of him not being quite rich enough, the item in question had him wondering. If he could gain information on it, that would only help to attract more suitably wealthy potential buyers.

“Some sort of angelic relic, I believe. Got these interesting runes on it, as well as the Alpha and Omega symbols.” He grinned at the man. “Whatever it is, it isn’t of this world, as I’m sure you know.”

Elohim raised an eyebrow at him, seemingly amused. “Have you touched it? Do you know? I think not.” The man replied elusively. He was surprisingly perceptive.

The broker laughed. “Of course not. I hear that people who touch it tend to become obsessed, and if I want to make a fortune off it, it’s best I don’t get hooked. They say to touch it is to touch heaven.” He rolled his eyes. He wasn’t sure he bought the hype… but still, he kept it in a box. You never know, right? Especially after how he had seen his prospective buyers react to it. All he had to do was let them put a hand on it, and they were begging him to sell it to them.

Nodding understandingly, the man leaned in. “I see. I suppose that is logical. And yes, humans are not really designed to handle that much divinity. It can cause madness, obsession, rampant devotion and tamper with free will itself.” The broker smiled, somewhat amused at how the man had excluded himself from the term ‘human.’ Clearly, he was even crazier than the rest of his already questionable clientele.

“You seem to know a lot about it, tell me, how did you come by this knowledge?” He took a drag from his cigar and blew it directly at the other man. It was meant to intimidate and put him off – a standard power play.

Adisa waved the smoke away disinterestedly. “Well, you see, it belongs to me.” He sighed, even as the broker raised his eyebrows challengingly, then after a moment of contemplation, he amended his statement. “Or it is meant to. But something happened, and it went missing. I am simply looking to regain what was lost, find out what happened to my son, and go home.”

This was not the response he had expected. How insane was this man? According to his records, he had no children. “Pardon my asking, but what does your ‘son’ have to do with any of this?” He interrogated, making finger quotes around the word ‘son.’

Elohim shook his head and sighed. “He made it for me, and he was holding onto it while I was on vacation. But he went missing, and now, I need the medallion so I can set things right.”

Now that was just too much. His son made it? Yeah right! He started laughing loudly, slapping his knee. “Oh, man, you’re son, huh? What, is he an angel? Mad scientist?” He snorted. “Because even without touching it, I know it’s something special. Never seen anything glow like that. But your son? Sorry to hear he’s missing.” He laughed harder. “If you find him, send him my way, would you, so I can have him make more!”

Elohim’s face grew grim, and something in the air seemed to shift. Suddenly, the situation didn’t feel quite so amusing. The broker’s two body guards, who up until this moment, had been standing passively at either side, tensed and instinctively reached for their guns, eyes darting around, trying to pinpoint the threat they both sensed.

“You will not disrespect my family.” Elohim commanded. No. He COMMANDED. And strangely, the broker felt an overpowering need to do as he was told. It was unnerving. The guards withdrew their hands from their guns apprehensively as the tension died down. “Now,” the intriguing man in front of him continued. “Let me see it, so I can confirm its authenticity, if you please.”

The broker swallowed hard. “I… um… do I have a choice?” He suddenly wished to conclude this business meeting as quickly as possible.

The other man looked confused for a minute, then, as understanding kicked in, he put his face in his hand and he sighed. “I apologize. That was not intentional. Yes, you have the right to refuse.”

Looking over his shoulder, the broker considered for a minute, then deciding it best not to anger the peculiar gentleman further, he motioned to his guards. “Bring it up.” He ordered, and the one on the left held up an ornate rosewood box, and set it on the table between them. Elohim reached forward and lifted the lid to see what lay within.

It was an oval medallion containing a dark blue polished stone with an upside down triangle carved into its center, the lines at the bottom point continuing down. One ending at a horizontal dash and the other bending up to end at a small circle. The stone was set in what looked like white gold, ornate, supposedly Enochian writing carved into the frame, along with the Alpha and Omega symbols. It was undeniably beautiful, feeling somehow both ancient and brand new.

Elohim picked it up, and as his hand touched it, the stone began to glow an intensely vibrant blue, responding to his presence. The broker scooted back in alarm as the stone lit up. Elohim didn’t seem to notice. He had a serene look on his face, eyes closed and a longing smile playing at the corners of his mouth.

“What the?” The broker shook his head. “That thing usually only lights up when hit by direct sunlight.” He gulped. If it lit up just because this man touched it… his story was starting to feel a bit more believable. Who… what was he? Some part of him suspected he knew the answer, even as his brain told him that it was impossible.

“Yes, well, I imagine that would do the trick too. He has always been fond of stars.” He placed it back in the box and it stopped glowing. Then he took another appreciative sip of tea, smiling politely at the broker.

“I… uh… I see.” He cleared his throat. Okay, this was a business meeting. This man was just another potential buyer, right? Just get him to name his price and conclude things. “How much you willing to pay to reclaim your family’s lost piece of jewelry?” He tried to sound casual, but he was far beyond feeling it now.

“I have one hundred grand in cash ready for you. That ought to more than cover the expenses of acquiring it.” He stated calmly.

No, that was a ridiculous offer for a life-changing divine artifact. “You’re yanking my chain, right?” The broker hoped. He didn’t want to refuse the man - he was afraid to, honestly - but that sum was pathetic.

“No. That is the price I am ready to pay.”

“I’ve already got two other buyers willing to pay several hundred million for it.” He countered, reminding himself not to laugh. “And if I auction it, I will probably get even more.

Elohim shook his head. “You’ve been letting them touch it, haven’t you?” He tisked.

“Well, they wanted to see if it was real too.” He defended. Yes, he knew that they would become obsessed, yes, he knew they would be willing to pay anything for it after that, and yes, he knew that was cheating, but he was in the business to get rich, not to play fair. Elohim looked at him with a condemning expression.

“Oh, Morgan, my son, this was folly. You know they lost the will to resist it the moment they touched it.” He scolded. The broker pulled back. How had he known his name was Morgan? A chill ran down his spine. The strange man was not done with him yet, however. “Seeing as you have robbed others of the freedom to refuse you, I have no choice now.” He shook his head. “There are more important things at play than the might of your greed.”

The broker fidgeted nervously, and his guards moved in, drawing their guns, though they seemed hesitant to point them – afraid to. “You have no choice but to do what, exactly.” He gulped.

The air seemed to shift again, and he suddenly felt insignificantly small. “You will sell the medallion to me at the agreed upon price of one hundred thousand, then you will spend the rest of the day contemplating your life choices.” He COMMANDED.

“O… Okay… one hundred thousand is fair, I suppose.” He squeaked out, shaking like a leaf.

“It most assuredly is. And more than you deserve, from where I’m sitting.” Came the curt reply, as the man reached into his satchel and retrieved a few thick rolls of cash. Smiling politely, he handed them over.

Trembling slightly, the broker accepted them, took the clips off and began counting. Elohim watched him calmly. The money was all there. This did not surprise him. He would have been confused if any had been missing, seeing as the stranger seemed to have the power to demand whatever he wanted. He could just outright make him agree to give it away for free! What would the point of paying anything at all be if he was just going to cheat him? “Looks like it’s all here.” He gulped.

Elohim smiled benevolently at him as he picked up the rosewood box containing the item. “Thank you, my son. I hope you find a way to clear your ledger before the end of your life. I really do.” Then he turned and walked out, leaving the broker to sit and wonder.

What just happened? Had he really just agreed to sell the most miraculous thing he had ever come across – a genuine religious artifact – for mere pennies? Why did he do that? Because it would have been wrong to do otherwise, he told himself. But what did that matter to him? He had been doing much worse for a long time… The weight of that realization hit him square in the face, and he sank into his chair, covering his face. What kind of terrible person had he allowed himself to become? His ten-year-old self would be deeply ashamed of the man he was now.

You will spend the rest of the day contemplating your life choices. Shit! He was actually doing it! Who was that man? How? Why? Looking at his two guards, he sighed. If he was really going to do this, he would rather be alone.

“Why don’t you two take the rest of the day off?” He suggested, and as they left, he felt a tear slide down his cheek. He had done so many terrible things…

***

Raziel listened as the strange human who talked like Father prayed again. He had been praying for about a year and a half now. At first, it was a daily thing, then it diminished to weekly, then monthly. Now, he only seemed to pray when he had something important to say. And always to the same sibling. The one who was beyond his reach, beyond everyone’s reach… until now. Now, that he had found his way onto the Mortal Plain, if this human had chosen to pray to him again, he might actually get through. But this time, the prayer wasn’t directed at him. It was directed to her.

Raziel knew this man. As the keeper of divine secrets, she could hear everyone’s prayers, always. She could conceal and reveal them, and she knew what everyone’s deepest darkest secrets were – she knew what people prayed to the Devil for, and she knew what they prayed to God for. This strange human never prayed to God, however, and he seemed to know she was listening in, which is why it was odd that he addressed her directly this time.

“Raziel, daughter. I know you can hear my prayers, so I know that you are aware of the situation with your brother. The simple fact that you have not done anything about it, and seeing as the others have not come to my aid either tells me that you have kept this knowledge from them – that you are not to be trusted. I dearly hope I am wrong in this, but understand me well when I say that when I come home, you will have to answer for your actions. Consider this my final prayer. You will not be privy to my thoughts and actions any further. I have decided to fix this mess myself.”

The Archangel of Secrets felt suddenly cold at that last line. Was it possible? She honestly had no idea where Father had been all this time, but the man did not feel like Father. He felt like… a mostly mortal human… whatever that meant. But if it was somehow Father, perhaps she ought to warn the others.

Putting her hands together in prayer, she directed her warning outward. “Zerachiel, brother. I may have found Father… but I don’t quite understand how. Have your human servants look in on a man named Bandile Adisa. He said he is planning on fixing things, which means he may be a threat.” She sighed as she dropped her hands.

Zerachiel had told her that he was going to be in the Mortal Plane until he recaptured their uncooperative escaped brother, so she knew he heard her. Had he been in the pocket realm, she would have had to go there in person to warn him. Raziel wondered, not for the first time, what she had gotten herself into.

“Uriel,” She sighed. “I miss you. This was your plan, but now it’s falling apart. I don’t know what to do, and it’s all Lucifer’s fault.” She was talking to herself again. She needed to stop doing that. Glaring at nothing in particular, her mind wandered back to the Adversary.

Their selfish, conceited, egomaniac brother deserved to suffer for what he had done. Of that, she was certain. And still Daddy’s favorite, Father was never going to punish His precious Lightbringer, so if she was to see justice done, she would have to do it herself. She may not be the pattern master, but somehow, she vowed to find a way to fix everything. She would see Uriel’s vision fulfilled. By any means necessary. She couldn’t back out now. Not after everything they had already done. She would do this, even if Father Himself aimed to stop her. She would do it.

For Uriel.

Chapter Text

“I can’t believe we made this.” Mîchael said to Samael, as they took in the splendor of the scene before them. The two archangels were standing in a magnificent valley, by a crystal clear pool of water, branching out into dainty little streams. A cascading waterfall crashed down into it, spraying rainbows about as they refracted the light of the star shining from beyond a vibrant blue sky. Puffy clouds drifted lazily by, and trees and shrubbery spotted the landscape artfully. It was paradise. “You think Father will be displeased?”

Samael grinned playfully at him, plopping down happily into the grass at the edge of the water and leaned back with a self-satisfied sigh. “Most certainly. I can already hear him,” He made a mock stormy expression and deepened his voice in a ridiculous impersonation of God. “Samael and Mîchael, I am disappointed in you. I have set fourth great works for you and you waste your blessed gifts on frivolities.” He started to laugh, and Mîchael splashed water at him with a kick of his foot, sending cool droplets into the air.

“Sammy,” He half scolded, even as he resisted the slight chuckle that bubbled up.

“What? You know I’m right.” He said, blocking the drops with his resplendent wings. “But what does it matter? He’ll forgive us.” Sitting up, he took in the troubled look on his brother’s face. He hated it when Mîchael made that face. Sighing, he stood up and placed a reassuring hand on his brother’s shoulder and impulsively brushed a stray curl from his face, earning him an annoyed huff as his brother shooed his hand away. “He always forgives us.” He said it simply, with all the innocent trust of someone who knew nothing of hardship.

“I know… but making an entire new realm… another universe, even if it’s just a little one?” Mîchael shook his head. “Creation is supposed to be Father’s domain.” He turned to look at their work again, and a smile started to creep up again. “Still… I’m happy we did this.” He gestured at the scenery. Samael turned to take it in as well, feeling ridiculously proud of their accomplishment. “It makes me wonder, though…” Mîchael’s voice trailed off as he became lost in thought.

“Oh, please.” Samael laughed. “Really, Mī. Creation is our domain too. Who made the stars? Who terraformed the planets? Who grew the plants?” He shook his head. “Father tells us what to make and we do it for him. He rarely lifts a finger.”

“You’re not wrong.” Mîchael conceded. Suddenly an idea crossed his mind. “Do you think we could create creatures too?” He sounded equal parts excited and worried.

“If anyone can, I would say it would be you.” Samael beamed at his twin.

Mîchael breathed in deeply, relishing in the scene, and for a long time, he just stood there, which made Samael uncomfortable. He hated staying still for too long. After what felt like forever to the impatient Lightbringer, he just had to ask.

“What are you thinking right now?”

“Nothing. I’m just committing this moment to memory. So I can have it to hold onto later.” He sounded pensive.

“Are you worrying over Father’s announcement?” Samael asked, shaking his head. “Because I still don’t know what any of it means.”

Mîchael smiled back at him, nodding. “He does enjoy his riddles, doesn’t He?”

“Why do we all need roles all of a sudden? How am I to rule a place I’ve never even heard of? I much prefer just being the Lightbringer. That, I understand.” He groused, shaking his head. Mîchael shrugged. Samael continued. “And you, the Prince of Heaven? The Sword? Why did it feel like Dad plans to put you in charge of the rest of us? As if he already doesn’t do anything.” He laughed, and stretched his wings, feathers ruffling in agitation, betraying his misgivings even as he tried to act unbothered. The whole notion was beyond confusing, and after a fleeting moment of worry, he just decided not to think too much about it.

“I don’t think we are meant to understand yet.” Mîchael offered, thoughtfully. “But I do know one thing.” Now it was his turn to grin.

“Oh?” Samael was stepping into the pool now, considering splashing his brother, the ‘Prince of Heaven’ – whatever that meant, in the face. “And what’s that?”

“Amenadiel is jealous. Being the first born, he thinks he should command. Did you see the look on his face when he was named the Fist, after I was told that I would lead?” He started to laugh. Samael had to laugh too. Their oldest brother thought he was so important. It was delightful to see him passed up. The mischievous Archangel forgot all about splashing his brother, and they both reveled in their shared amusement.

“Oh, I do believe that is my favorite thing about our dear brother. When he is trying to hide how angry he is. He makes the most ridiculous faces.” Samael scrunched up his face in a mock expression and both archangels fell over in gales of laughter.

“That’s the face!” Mîchael guffawed. “That is exactly what he did!”

After a moment of giggling and taking turns trying to make Amenadiel’s quietly indignant expression, they sat down again, side by side. Mîchael ran his fingers through the grass. “I wish things could stay like this forever.” He sighed. And that same, almost sorrowful look returned. “But…”

“Your visions, again?” Samael took his brother’s hand. “What did you see?”

“Oh, the usual. Things I know Father would never allow to happen. Disasters… mostly. But lately… I’ve been seeing visions of us... and we’re both alone.” There were tears in his eyes as he looked at his brother. “I don’t want to be alone.”

“Mī… you should know that can never happen. I would never leave you alone.” With that, he embraced his emotional brother. After a moment, he grinned, going for humor to lighten the mood. “I’m far too possessive to let you go.” He smirked, tightening his hold. Mîchael shook his head and pulled back from his brother, with some effort, as his twin wouldn’t let go of him.

“Greed is a sin, remember.” He teased, as he untangled himself.

“I don’t even know what that means.” Samael snarked. “Dad makes up this word, ‘sin,’ and we’re all just supposed to agree that this means something is bad. If ‘sin’ means ‘bad,’ then I’ve got another one for you. Failure to communicate effectively is a sin.”

“You’re not wrong.” Mîchael admitted with a head shake.

They stayed there for a while more, companionable and content, feeling the warmth of the star, and the wind at their sides. As the wind grew stronger, it began to rustle the trees. It was colder than it should have been.

He felt something…

Someone was touching his shoulder…

Hey…

Are you okay?

Who was touching him?

As he opened his eyes, the reality of his situation came crashing in around him. Fear seized him and he started to take quick frightened gasps. Everything hurt. He had fallen asleep and he hadn’t meant to, and someone had found him, someone had touched him, and he wasn’t healing right… and…

“Hey, hey, it’s okay! I’m not going to hurt you!” The woman in front of him exclaimed, stepping back, giving him space. “See?”

Breathe. He needed to focus on his breathing. In. Out. In. Out. Slowly – far too slowly – he steadied himself and struggled into a sitting position. What a sorry mess he must look, laying crumpled out in the cold, under a tree, wearing these rags. If he wasn’t so desperate still, he might have been embarrassed. But as it was, he had to admit, the look of concern and… pity on the human woman’s face made perfect sense.

“There you go. Yeah, you’re okay.” She said encouragingly, kneeling down so she wasn’t towering over him. Strangely, this helped. He didn’t like being looked down upon. She seemed less – threatening this way. She shouldn’t have seemed threatening at all.

He really needed to get his panicking under control. This behavior was not like him. He was supposed to be stronger than that. Trying to smile reassuringly, He leaned against the tree. “I… I didn’t mean to fall asleep here.” He managed. “I will go, and trouble you no further.” He said tiredly.

The woman was taken aback. “Go? You need to come inside, hon, you look an awful mess! What happened to you?” As she said this, she reached out and placed her hand on his, in what was likely meant to be a comforting gesture.

He filched. Hard.

He pulled back from her so abruptly that he hit his already hurting head on the trunk of the maple tree. Ouch! Why was everything still hurting? What was wrong with him?

“I’m so, so, so, sooo sorry!” She exclaimed pulling her hand back as if she thought she had burned him. Maybe she had. He was so confused.

The two just stared at one another for a long time. Him weary, her worried. After a time, she tried again. “I have some clean clothes in there, my husband’s stuff won’t be a perfect fit, but it will be better than this. You can take a shower.” She offered.

“I don’t wish to impose…”

“Nonsense.” She said, standing slowly and backing up before turning to gesture toward the building. “I insist.” She was giving him space. He was grateful.

After considering his options, he stood up, legs shaking and sore. Turning her suggestion over, he realized the necessity of it. He stuck out too much looking like this. He needed to wear something a little less wretched, and it might help to clean some of the blood off. Quietly, he followed her into her home. He was met by a family inside. A small dog that liked him more than he wanted it to, a tiny human boy who couldn’t stop staring from his raised seat by the table, and an adolescent girl who seemed far too intrigued by him as she sat next to her untouched plate of food. And a man… this must be her husband, whose reaction upon seeing the condition he was in was to grab a gun and demand to know who had done this to him and “where are those sons-o’-bitches” so he could “shoot them all dead!” It would have been funny if he wasn’t in such a great deal of pain.

Quietly, he made use of their facilities. The water felt good. Even as it washed over the open, bleeding stab wound on his side, and over the injury on his head which, thankfully, was closing up. The woman had given him some basic medical supplies, and he used these to bandage his head and side. And after a quick look at his feet, those as well. He had cuts and abrasions everywhere. And bruises. Big ugly splotches of discolored flesh, angry from abuse. After he had done what he could for his injuries, he found a neatly folded pile of clothes.

The husband was thicker than him, and shorter too, but the oversized blue hooded sweater seemed to fit well enough. It was warm and soft. He liked the feel of it. The pants were another matter. They were made of a light grey canvas - jeans, humans called them jeans - and they were just too short. And he needed a belt to keep them on. But it was still better than what he had before. As he stepped out, he noticed that the rest of the family had gone, and the woman was eyeing him approvingly.

“That’s much better,” She said, smiling warmly. He smiled carefully back, still cautious. He wasn’t used to kindness for the sake of kindness. Sighing, she motioned for him to follow and pointed at a luxuriant cushioned couch. “How about you take a break here, I bet it will feel much better than the tree.” She offered, and he sat into it, without meaning to. He was so exhausted. It was so soft, and comfortable. It was nice.

Looking tentatively, he asked her the same question he had posed to the other human. “Which direction is the City of Angels?”

The kind woman – she had brown hair, light blue eyes, and very thin lips on a wildly freckled face – tilted her head. “LA? South.” Her nose crinkled a bit as her brow furrowed in confusion.

He hadn’t overshot. Good. “Which way is south?”

Confused, she pointed. “Why? You have family there?”

His eyes were getting heavy. They started to close. “I hope so…” He said before he drifted off. He hadn’t meant to fall asleep.

This time, there were no dreams. When he woke, he heard people talking outside. They were talking about him. But he had no intention to stay and let them get in the way. He knew they meant well, but he couldn’t stay. They were still looking for him.

Silent as a prowling cat, he rose from the couch and slipped out the back door. There were law enforcement vehicles there with flashing lights, but it wasn’t hard to avoid them. After he made his way past the humans who were just trying to help, he straightened his sore back and started heading south.

Chapter Text

The coffee in her hands had been empty for the past five minutes, but Chloe was still staring blankly at it, unable to bring herself to look way. Running on three hours of sleep was hard enough as it was, but doing so while trying to work a case? When that case was about trying to rescue her partner. Who happened to be the man she loved… when he had been very badly hurt? One would think this was as bad as it could get… except it wasn’t. Throw into the mix the undeniable understanding that said partner was a celestial being, and that his predicament could mean problems for everyone on Earth...

Chloe laughed manically at her empty cup.

How was she supposed to stay sane through all of this? She was starting to understand why the protagonists in so many popular sci-fi fantasy flicks would lament about being the ‘chosen one.’ Why me? She wanted to shout it from the rooftops. Where was God - Lucifer’s Dad during all of this? And what about the angels – his siblings? Or maybe a demon or two? And who knows who – what - else might exist out there who would be better suited for heading an investigation to save the Devil?

But no. They weren’t here. It was just her. Chloe Plane-Jane Decker.

“I’m sorry, Chloe, but what you’re saying… it can’t possibly be right.” Amenadiel had said to her. “Lucifer may not seem it, but in Hell… no one would dare challenge him. Only a very select few beings are powerful enough to take him on in his own kingdom.”

Suddenly, another cup of coffee appeared in front of her. Startled from her thoughts, she looked up to see the young man who had taken her original order smiling down at her as he set it on the table. She tried to process what was happening. Had she made a second order and forgotten?

“You look like you could use a second cup.” He said cheerily. “On the house.” He grinned and turned to head back to his post by the register. She was the only customer at the moment. Looking around at the small corner store cafe with the yellow walls and the black and white photos of water features, her eyes rested on the only other person in the room. He wore a white apron, but under it, she got the impression that he liked retro fashion. He wore his hair combed up to the side and he had dark rimmed glasses. He was a little young to be flirting with her, she thought, but then, you never know…

“No, I can’t…” Chloe started to protest.

“I’m not trying to flirt.” He interjected, still grinning. “Not that I wouldn’t… it’s just you don’t seem in the mood.” Chloe blinked twice. So much for that theory.

“Then why?” She took the cup and stared at him. It was warm and welcoming in her hand, and it smelled soooo inviting. She really wanted it.

“My dad just recovered from a bout with lung cancer. The look on your face reminded me of how my Mom looked during the particularly rough patches. I guess… I figured you’re going through something, and needed a boost.” He shrugged as another customer came in with two excited children running up to the display case, the bell at the entryway dinging merrily as they entered.

“Thank you!” She breathed emphatically, smiling appreciatively at him, even as he turned his attention to the man and two kids trying to make an order. She chose to ignore the fact that he said she resembled the spouse of someone with cancer… ugh. What would Lucifer say?

Taking a sip, she thought of the irony that the only person helping her was a twenty-something year old hipster who worked at a family run coffee shop. But the coffee was good. And it helped to clear her head.

It had been a long morning. After meeting with Mr. Fisher and talking with Amenadiel, she chatted with the Detective who had been officially assigned to the case, and she had been able to surmise very quickly that he wasn’t going to be much help. He had flirted shamelessly with her the entire time she was there, and the bit about Lucifer vanishing had thrown him off completely. But on the up-shot, he gave her free rein to do her own investigating, as long as she reported any findings she made back to him. Of course. He wanted credit if she cracked the case.

Then, after prying herself away from the cad, she took off to investigate the scene. It was a nice drive, and a lovely location. Making her way to the river and back, she shivered. It was so much colder up here than in LA, and glancing at the grey sky, she felt a lump in her throat as she realized that Lucifer had been out in this cold all night. Lucifer hated the cold.

After a quick once over, a clue - which would mean absolutely nothing to anyone not in the KNOW – came to her attention. Nestled in a random patch of orange flowers was an impossibly soft down feather. Picking it up, she turned it over. The poor thing had no glow to it at all. She sighed, wondering if Lucifer’s feathers were a reflection of his mental state, wondering if they still glowed after falling out, wondering at how bad it had to be for him if… She stopped herself from wandering too far down that rabbit hole. She would worry about that after she found him. After careful consideration, she put it in her purse. No use leaving a bit of divinity laying out there for just anyone to find.

Then she headed down the road, going south, as Mr. Fisher had indicated. When the road turned away, she got out and looked for any signs that Lucifer might have come upon the road at that point, and sure enough, she found a promising trail of broken bramble. But there was nothing in that direction for miles, and she was not properly equipped for a hike, so she took a few pictures with her phone, made note of the exact location, and headed back to the station.

And on her way, she had decided she needed coffee.

Sighing, she stood up to leave, and thanked the young man again as she headed out.

“No problem. Hope you have a better day.” He replied, smiling warmly.

Washington State had a lot of nice people, Chloe thought with a smile as she got back into the police cruiser she had been allowed to check out. As she pulled into the midmorning traffic, her mind returned to the conversation she had with Amenadiel.

“Only a select few? Who are those few?” She demanded of the sleepy angel, who had probably been up all night as well… dealing with Charlie.

Amenadiel considered for a moment, before answering through a yawn. “Father, Mom…” He paused on the other line for a moment more. “Maybe Michael. He’s a vessel for Father’s power, and even without it, he’s formidable.”

Chloe felt a small serge of panic at the mention of this particular angel. “As in The Michael who threw Lucifer out of Heaven?” Chloe had demanded, trying not to freak out.

Amenadiel laughed on the other end. “Oh, you don’t need to worry about him. He may be a self-important know-it-all who doesn’t care about anyone or anything except what he and Father Keep calling the ‘greater good,’ but he isn’t malicious or anything. Unless Father ordered him to, he would never attack Lucifer.”

Chloe still didn’t know what to make of that. Amenadiel’s description of Michael hadn’t been the most encouraging. Would God order him to attack? And if this was not God’s doing… then maybe they should try asking Michael for help? After all, people prayed to him all the time. And he was a symbol of law enforcement all over the world… so? Of course, Amenadiel had insisted that this was a terrible idea, declaring that Michael and Lucifer did not get along, and Lucifer would rather die a thousand times over than get help from him.

Furthermore, the ‘Prince of Heaven’ only ever left the Silver City for the most dire of situations, when either all of humanity or the Silver City itself were in peril, usually delegating ‘lesser tasks’ to ‘lesser angels.’ And in those rare instances when he did come to Earth, it was only for a brief visit. A brief – often destructive – but very efficient visit.

She had to admit, that didn’t sound like such a great solution. What about his other siblings? No, they would never help Lucifer. Well… Azrael might, but she was busy. Angel of Death and all that. But Amenadiel had agreed to help. He assured her that as soon as Linda woke up to take over with Charlie, he would check out Hell to determine whether or not Lucifer was actually missing. And he promised that if he found out that his brother was gone… he would do everything he could to help.

But in the meantime, it was just her. Chloe Plane-Jane Decker.

“Why me?” She lamented, even as she laughed humorlessly at the absurdity of it all.

***

Sitting in the waiting room of a Mr. Dodson, Private I., Elohim rubbed His eyes. His human vessel was getting tired, and watching cat videos to pass the time was not helping to stave off the sleepiness anymore. It would be so much easier to deal with this if He had not been stuck in this mortal coil. How ironic. The very thing He had wanted turned out to be the same thing that was holding Him back. Well, He had wanted to experience life the way His beautiful creations did, and that did come with conflict, danger, worry, and strife. Be careful what you wish for. Especially when you are a celestial being whose will can manifest into a literal reality at any time. This was not His first visit to Earth, nor would it be the last, but it was the first time anything had ever gone wrong.

He tried to recall whether or not He had been aware that this – whatever it was – would happen. But one of the perks of inhabiting a human for an extended time was that His divinity needed to be diminished in order to maintain without going supernova. As such, His mind was limited as well. Limited to what a human mind could handle… which, unfortunately meant that most memories were a bit fuzzy. Normally, this was a bonus… as He rather enjoyed the change. He could recall His other visits to Earth remarkably well, however. He remembered having tea with the Queen of England, and meditating with a Buddhist in Feudal Japan. He remembered climbing Mt. Everest, and visiting LA so He could reconnect with His son. Most visits were impromptu, but this last one had been planned.

He wanted to see His son again.

Elohim smiled at the fond memory of having finally had a chance to talk to His beloved Lightbringer. Earl Johnson had been His vessel at the time. He had told people honestly that He was God, and not surprisingly, they assumed Earl had lost his mind. He wasn’t bothered by being in the psychiatric ward, though. It was in the right city, and He was certain that it was only a matter of time before Samael, going around telling everyone he was the Devil, would end up there as well. As it turned out, He was right. But it hadn’t happened in the way He expected.

Samael was working a case with Detective Chloe Decker. Seeing His beautiful miracle was a bonus, even if they hadn’t interacted directly. She was doing so much good for so many people, and His son, it seemed, was completely smitten. It was adorable. But that was before the human nurse took off the relic he had been using, which had promptly ended the visit.

Now His vessel was Bandile Adisa, from South Africa.

Having learned from his visit to LA, He decided calling Himself God was a bit much, but people didn’t react quite as dramatically to His other names, so Elohim it was. But now He was ready to go home. It had been His hope that finding the medallion would be enough. He would just unlock it, let Himself in, leave the human vessel behind, restore Himself, and be on His way. Then setting everything straight would be easy as pie. He had not anticipated the diminished divinity of His mortal self being insufficient. This was a problem. And after realizing Raziel’s deceit, He knew He couldn’t just order His children to fix things for Him.

So He would deal with this Himself.

Currently, He found Himself in London. It was a lovely old city. It was also home to a fantastic private investigator. The man was almost like a real life Sherlock Holms. He had successfully led Him to the medallion, so maybe he could lead Him to another piece of divinity as well. He wasn’t sure if it was lost, but He had good reason to believe it just might be.

Turning His attention back to His phone, the Presence chuckled heartily as the cat in the video fell into bathwater, only to fly straight up, fur puffed out exaggeratedly as it darted lightning quick out of the screen, wild eyed and furious. Finally, the receptionist called Him up. “Elohim Adisa? Mr. Dodson will see you now.” He said, motioning toward the doorway.

The Creator of the universe got up, stretched and paused the video. He followed the young human to the office where Dodson sat waiting, a smile on his face. Dodson was in his mid-fifties, wearing a grey suit, and a trench coat. He had salt and pepper hair and a very long thin face with sharp eyes, a big nose, and a welcoming smile.

“It’s good to see you again, bloke!” The man announced happily, getting up to shake hands. “Were you able to acquire your medallion?”

Elohim smiled genuinely at the human. “Yes, thanks to you. And now, it seems, I am in need of your talents again.”

“Another religious trinket?” the investigator inquired, sitting back down. Elohim took His seat on the other side of the desk, and reached into the folder He had brought to pull out His artistic rendition of the next item of interest.

“Quite right, my friend.” He slid the paper across to the man, who picked it up and gave an appreciative whistle.

“Anyone ever tell you that you are quite the artist?” He said, looking at the meticulous drawings of a dagger, detailed to precision.

“Oh, certainly, I’ve heard it.” He said, smiling. If only the man had known how much of an artist He really was. He smirked at His own inside joke.

“These will be very helpful. Anything else you can tell me about it? Rumors, strange happenings? Supposed magical properties?” Dodson was an atheist, and a firm believer in science, but he also knew that when people believed in something’s power, that alone could create a trail to follow. Elohim liked this about the man. He didn’t disregard anything that may be a clue.

“All of the above.” Came the simple reply.

“Wouldn’t expect anything less from you, my good man.” Dodson commented, as he reached for a pen and paper. “Now, let’s start at the beginning again, shall we?”

“Certainly, but… perhaps not quite that far back.” Elohim replied, an amused twinkle in his eye.

Chapter Text

“Did you find anything, Detective Decker?” Came the insufferably indifferent voice of Detective… what was his name again? Chloe checked the name plate on his desk. Ah, right, the ironically and unimaginatively named Detective Christian Christensen – his parents probably thought they were being clever. This was the guy in charge of Lucifer’s case.

“Possibly, yes. Can you get a satellite view of the area south of the location Fisher provided? I found a path of broken bushes, suggesting he came onto the road from there.” She replied smoothly as she sat down.

Christiansen rolled his eyes. “There ain’t nothing there, Sugar. I already pulled up those images, buuut…” He leaned forward and took his mouse, clicking and maneuvering it, then motioned for her to look at his computer monitor. She came around to look, and sure enough, there wasn’t anything visible there. This didn’t surprise her, of course. And she doubted she would be able to convince the man next to her to see things her way. Chloe sighed as she noticed he was eyeing her chest. She wondered if he had seen Hot Tub High School, and dearly hoped he hadn’t.

“Not surprising. It means that whatever is in there is well hidden.” She muttered to herself, pushing the distracting – frustrating – image of Christensen hitting pause and ogling her exposed breasts aside.

“Or there’s nothing there.” He countered, taking a bite of his bear claw and continuing to eye her lecherously.

Chloe considered arguing her case, but decided against it. The last thing Lucifer needed was a bunch of bumbling humans traipsing into a celestial warzone… or whatever else might be up there. If they were too oblivious to connect the dots, that might be for the best. She could ask Amenadiel to check it out later. “Well, that’s all I found out there. If you think it’s a dead end…” She trailed off, mind wandering. She needed more information. So far, all she had was intel about where he was last night… but something told her this man wasn’t likely to be forthcoming with his findings unless she made him think it was worth it. Sighing, she knew what to do. Chloe looked at him and smiled like she thought he was just the cleverest man on the planet. Thank Lucifer’s Dad for the acting classes her mother made her take. “But I bet you found something interesting while I was out.”

Sitting up straight to preen under the praise, he grinned at the pretty LA Detective. “They said you were sharp.” He stated, eyeing her chest. Again. Ugh. “I sure did.” Chloe waited for more. But he was being tight lipped. The man grinned smugly at her before turning to look at his computer.

“I’ve been so worried, anything you can tell me to ease my concern, I would be really grateful for.” She said biting her lip and looking at him through long lashes. That got his attention.

“I… um… you know… it’s a conflict of interest for you to be involved.” He fumbled a bit, clearly impressed by her display of feminine vulnerability. “You ought to be flying back… but I see no harm in easing your concern.” He seemed to think for a minute before deciding. “You wanna hear about what I found?”

Chloe sat down next to him, locking her eyes onto him like he had something very fascinating to say. Hopefully, he did. “Yes, please. He is my partner.” She laid it on thick, batting her eyelashes just slightly. Not quite Lucinda level flirty, but close. Christensen gulped.

“I got a trail of witnesses describing a man who fits the description. If it’s our guy, he got a change of clothes, and an unreported ride into Oregon somehow, but he still has no shoes. Of all the ridiculous things to go without.” He looked at her quizzically. “Is that partner of yours all there in the head?” He queried.

Chloe cringed inwardly. She hated when people challenged Lucifer’s sanity. It made her feel guilty. She had spent years thinking he was potentially delusional. The product of an abusive family… which, from where she was standing, that part might still be true. “Oh, he’s fine. Perfectly sane.” She dismissed his comment, leaning in.

“Really? With a name like Lucifer?” He sounded surprised by her vote of confidence. Then, after thinking it over, his grin got wider. “Oh, I get it. What better way to get hot dates than declare yourself the father of sin, right?” He laughed. “That’s probably how he managed to get partnered up with the Detective who starred in Hot Tub High School.” He waggled his eyebrows at her suggestively. Chloe inwardly screamed.

As if Lucifer needed gimmicks to get laid. As if she was that easy. Chloe laughed, pretending not to be insulted for both their sakes. “So? Can you tell me more about the witness statements?”

“Sure thing, Sugar.” He grinned at her, eyes drifting to her breasts… AGAIN! Man, could he be any more disgusting? “We got accounts of a tall slender built handsome man with an English accent and no shoes, possessing of injuries that match what Mr. Fisher described heading south. A woman in Newport Oregon said she found him in her backyard, but he disappeared on her while she was talking to the local police. A guy gave him a lift in his truck and dropped him off at Waldport… there was a couple on the beach there who saw him, a kid who said he gave him a pair of pants in Yachats, a family gave him a lift in their SUV from Thor’s Well to just passed the Sea Lion Caves. And a couple others along the way… last sighting, he was jogging through the sandy beaches, still heading south.”

Chloe smiled. She wondered if Lucifer realized he was leaving a pretty easy trail to follow. Then a worry started to set it. If this idiot could track him… “Thanks so much. I guess I’m going to be heading to Oregon to see if I can find him.” She laughed.

Christensen looked disappointed. She ignored it. Grabbing her coffee and smiling one last time, she made her way out of the precinct. Thinking quickly, an idea struck her.

Pulling out her phone, she gave Maze a call. The fact that she had not thought to contact her ex-roommate before now was just proof of how dog tired she was, and she mentally kicked herself for taking this long to think of it.

“Yo!” Maze said on the other line. “Make this quick, Decker, I’m waiting on a bounty, and I expect him here any minute.”

“Never one for pleasantries, huh?” Chloe shook her head as she made her way down the steps.

“Is this important or are you just looking for a good time?” Maze half teased on the other end.

“Lucifer is on Earth, he’s been beaten half to death, and right now, he is somewhere in Oregon jogging south down a beach on the coastline, leaving a way-too-easy trail for whoever attacked him to follow, and I am currently stuck in Washington until I can rent a car or get another flight... How’s that for important?” Chloe replied.

This statement was greeted with by dead silence for a couple seconds. Then she heard movement, as Maze was presumably getting up out of her seat… or whatever, and forgetting all about the bounty. “I’ll take care of it. Let me get my knives.” The demon said with a steely edge in her voice which made Chloe involuntarily shiver.

Seriously, Chloe thought. How had she ever believed Maze was human?

***

He had been traveling south for some time, walking, running, sometimes feeling bold enough to catch a ride with a well-meaning human in their vehicle for a ways. The change of clothes helped a little to blend in, but the pants were all wrong. At some point, a young human similar in build and height to him offered him a better fit. The new pants were more comfortable, and they reached all the way down to his ankles. They were black jeans this time. Overall, a great improvement.

“Dude, where are your shoes?” the human had asked when he handed the garment over. He had no answer for that.

It was a popular question, though. The standard interaction would go something like this:

“Am I getting close to the City of Angels yet?”

“LA? You gotta keep heading south. You got family there?”

“Yes?”

“Cool, that’s nice... wait, woah, hey, where are your shoes?”

“I don’t know.”

Then he would be on his way. Some would try to get him shoes, insisting that he had to have shoes, but fit was an issue, and he didn’t have the time to wait for the right shoes. So he went without.

The sun was high in the sky and he jogged at an easy pace along a sandy beach by the edge of the ocean. For whatever reason, humans asked him about shoes less when he was on the sand.

The interactions were less urgent, too.

“Aren’t your feet cold?”

“Yes. But I can manage.”

“I hear ya. I hate getting sand in my shoes too. Enjoy your run.”

As he trotted along the beach, listening to the ebb and flow of the water, he almost felt at peace. He hadn’t been spotted yet, and a small hope was starting to grow in him that he may have successfully given them the slip. He was grateful to be alone, without any humans nearby. Presumably driven in by the looming clouds and the promise of heavy rainfall in the air. He knew they were trying to be helpful, but interacting with them made him nervous. He told himself it was because it left a trail that could lead the enemy to him, but deep down, he knew it was more than that. If only he could use his wings, he could already be at his destination, but he still felt it was too risky. And he wasn’t sure he had the strength.

As he made his way over some driftwood and around a bend where a bit of rocky outcropping obscured his line of sight, he felt a chill creep up his spine as he realized with trepidation that he was no longer alone. Darting his eyes wildly, it didn’t take long to spot them. Several figures advancing from all directions. He was surrounded.

Stopping to assess the situation, he felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. He still didn’t have the strength to effectively fight them off. He was tired and sore from running, and he had been tired and sore before that. The bruise on his cheek was less noticeable, and the busted lip was mending. The head injury was no longer bleeding, and his various other wounds showed similar progress, but his side still hurt tremendously, and he knew that fighting would reopen the wound.

This was decidedly bad.

Feeling his heart rate spike, he leaned into a fighting stance, and let out a menacing unearthly growl as his eyes flared at them. Normally, this would have been enough to terrify just about any opponent, but now he felt more like a prey animal bluffing to scare off a predator, and judging from the wicked grins on their faces, his attackers seemed to have drawn the same conclusion.

“Now, now. That isn’t very nice. After we came all this way to give you a ride home.” A particularly nasty looking one sneered, still advancing. He looked mostly like a human wearing tattered robes, save the gaping rotten hole in his midsection, along with the missing eye and partially missing skull revealing more rotten flesh underneath. He was big, and muscular, and he had a pair of skeleton wings on his back - useless for flying, but still quite effective as weapons.

“The boss is not too pleased with you running off like this.” Another remarked, swishing her whip like a stalking feline. She looked as if half of her had been scoured by flesh melting chemical burns, while the other half was still pristine. “Seems you could use a bit of disciplining.” She purred, crouching and ready to pounce.

There were eight in all, only three had wings that looked functional. He was still not sure he had the strength to fly far, but it looked like this might be his best chance. No point hiding his divinity when they had already found him.

He brought his arms up in a defensive stance, and waited. He could feel every muscle in his body screaming to run. Now! Get away! And his breaths were coming in desperate gasps as his heart drummed madly. It hurt, but he willed himself to stay focused. Breath. In. Out. Focus just a little longer. Timing was everything.

“Take him.” He heard the first - their ring leader - command, and with that, his assailants charged from all sides.

Right as they were about the bare down on him, he unfurled his wings and cried out as he arched them in twin semicircles, tearing into his surprised attackers, slicing several of them open and causing all of them to fly back from the force of impact, creating an opening for escape. Then, giving in to his desire to flee, he brought his wings down in a powerful thrust and launched himself into the air.

When he was at his best, he was the fastest of all his siblings. But now… Well he just hoped his wings would be strong enough to carry him to safety.

As he ripped through the sky, however, he felt someone crash into him from behind. One of the fliers had caught up. As he righted himself, turning midflight, he saw the other two swiftly gaining even as he fought off the first. An aerial battle against three was preferable to a grounded fight against eight, but still. As the other two collided with him midair, they started to lose altitude quickly. Kicking them off as they bore down from above, he was propelled at high velocity into the surface of the ocean. Grabbing one by the foot he yanked forcefully. He succeeded in catching the others as their wings tangled – amateurs – and he braced himself for impact.

All four hit the water at breathtaking speed. Literally. The pain knocked the wind right out of him, and he felt himself blink out of consciousness for a moment as they all sank into the frigid waters.

Chapter Text

The crime scene was bizarre. That’s what she had been told. But nothing could have prepared Ella for what she found when she stepped under the yellow police tape and entered the abandoned warehouse.

Plants! Everywhere.

Sprouting out of the cement floor. Everything from shrubs to baby trees, some fruiting, and some flowering… It was like a Jackson Pollock painting, except with plants splattered all over the place instead of colors. It was as if Bob Ross had gotten ahold of another artist’s industrialism painting and decided to sprinkle happy little trees everywhere, just to brighten the mood.

And stranger still, the roof had been busted wide open. There were splinters and chucks from it scattered all about. Something had come barreling through it at tremendous speed. Something tough enough to bust through an industrial grade roof…

“Woah.” Ella said.

A uni off to the side nodded in agreement. “So weird, right?” She said. “But it gets weirder. Wait till you see the body.” She pointed toward the middle of the large room, and as Ella glanced over, she noticed, among the foliage, a prone form, laying at an odd angle, with what looked like strange protrusions coming out of it.

The uni was so right, too. As Ella approached, she saw that the body looked like he had been dead for a week in some places, a month or longer in others, and only recently deceased everywhere else. Like a calico cat of rotted, blackened, and pristine flesh. What the Heck? And it looked like someone had attached leathery wings to his back. Wings that were torn and slashed up and broken in multiple places. It was something straight out of a horror flick. Hmm… Cause of death? Broken back and neck… or complications from rotting flesh… perhaps from the unorthodox body modifications? She didn’t know. At least, not yet, anyway.

Ella knelt down to examine it, sliding on her gloves and reaching to inspect where the wings met the back. It looked like they had been stabbed into the flesh and the wound had healed over… or more accurately, there was no sign of a wound at all anymore, which meant it had to have been done to the victim while he was alive. Possibly at his request. Ella shrugged. She had seen stranger things.

Ever vigilant, she suspected there was more to the story, so before continuing to investigate the body, she decided to take stalk of the rest of the room. As she looked around, she saw two shadows on the wall… like the kind you would see from a nuclear explosion. Walking up to get a closer look, she found her mouth hanging open. Yep, they definitely looked like the kind of shadow cast from the intense heat of a blast… which was beyond bizarre, as nothing else had been blown up. She seriously hoped there was no radiation in the area… no one had brought equipment to test for that. She made a note to get ahold of some - just in case. Then she noticed two spots on the floor in about the correct place for the mystery people to have been standing. It was almost like…

“We got three vics for this case!” Ella hooted, proud of her perplexing discovery. Two officers turned to look at her, clearly confused. “See, we got these two spots right here, the concrete floor is all cracked and spalling, as if it was exposed to thermal shock, and we have nuclear shadows on the wall!” She announced, much to the confusion of everyone else in the room, including Dan, who had just walked in as she was declaring her discovery. “Y’all done been smote!” Ella announced, busting a move.

“How is that possible?” Dan asked as he approached her, equal parts confusion and ‘why did I have to be assigned to this case’ written on his face.

“Don’t know yet. Did you get a look at the body?” Dan shook his head.

“Do I want to?” He was already putting on his gloves and heaving with an exasperated sigh.

“It’s super weird, Dan!” Ella elated. Rubbing his temple as he went, he made his way over, and Ella continued to survey the area, looking for more clues. She couldn’t help the excitement she felt over solving the puzzle laid out before her, and she found herself wishing Lucifer was there. He would love the weirdness.

Returning her attention to the task at hand, she started checking the surroundings for anything else that might stand out. It looked as if the two smote vics were holding something heavy - or something really strong – down, and there were signs of a struggle, including scuff marks, cracked cement, blood, and… Ella reached into the weird plants and pulled out a battered feather. It was a sorry sight, covered in rubble, blood, and… ooookay? Ocean water? They were several miles from the ocean.

“Sooooo strange.” She muttered. Stepping back, she started to make out a pattern in the chaos of the plants. It almost looked as if they were making a sort of trail. As she walked down the general direction, she was pretty sure she was right, because she could see a blood trail coming into view, which had previously not been noticed because of all the greenery. She couldn’t blame the others for missing this. They were all so busy trying to process. Some were whispering about witches and demons. Ella shook her head. Yeah, right.

“Is this a body modification?” She heard Dan demanding from over by the dead body.

She could hear one of the others commenting about how Lucifer would probably have an answer to that question, and “God, I hope he’s okay. Did you hear about the call Pam had gotten?”

Ella tuned in to hear Dan explaining that he had talked to Pam about it, and that Chloe was on it. The rumor had been all anyone could talk about that morning, and Ella had found herself making more than one prayer to the Big Guy, asking that he take care of her friend. Maybe send an angel or two, because Lucifer deserved it. Taking a steadying breath, she turned back to the mystery at hand.

The blood trail led to a back storage room, and bracing herself for the unexpected, she opened the door and stepped in. The room was cast in twilight, as there was only one small, dusty window, high in the wall. But it was just light enough to see the wings crumpled in front of the doorway.

WINGS!

Great big, majestic wings. Bigger than anything she had ever heard of on any bird. They were dirty, covered in rubble and blood, and busted up, but still beautiful. And it broke her heart to see them in such terrible condition. Tentatively, she reached out to touch one, remembering at the last minute that she still had her gloves on. Something in her rebelled at the idea of not feeling them with her bare skin, and she found herself pulling the gloves off without even considering the ramifications of such an action. Placing her hand on a relatively clean spot, she was surprised by how soft they were. Like rabbit fur was coarse in comparison. Had to be synthetic. Nothing in nature was this… perfect. Nothing man made that she knew of was either, but then you never know. But, God, they were so pretty, and big and… Her brain tried to kick back into gear for a moment as she contemplated how they were too big to be real… And why were they covered in blood? But they were so beautiful and…

Ella shook her head. She hadn’t realized she was staring and stroking the wing in front of her. She had actually lost track of herself. That was odd. Forcing herself to look away, her breath caught when she noticed yet another vic!

There was someone lying face down in a patch of giant grass, almost lost in the gloom of the deep shadows filling the majority of the room. His hoodie had been shredded and two crescent shaped wounds were glistening with blood on his back.

Realization hit Ella like a bolt of lightning as she rushed over to the – hopefully – still living angel. The angel, whose wings had been violently cut from his back. The angel who had smote his attackers.

Ella’s mind was rewiring now, adapting and rethinking how she thought about the crime scene. There weren’t three victims, or four. Only one. The others were killed in self-defense, by one of God’s angels, who was now bleeding out in front of her. Ella reached out to check for a pulse.

The angel whimpered softly at her touch and twitched a little, trying unsuccessfully to pull away from the contact. “Hey, hey, you’re okay. I’m a friend.” Ella said in a soothing voice, as she made a reassuring hush. She stroked his loosely curling black hair comfortingly and continued to make calming sounds, and she felt him relax slightly under her gentle ministrations.

“Okay, I…” What was she going to do? She already knew she couldn’t take him to a hospital. They would freak out, and probably try to do experiments on him or something… or else, they would just not know how to treat an angel. Her head was spinning. She needed to slow the bleeding.

Without hesitating, she tore off her Taco Cat jacket, kissed it a fond goodbye and pressed it to his back, applying pressure to slow the blood flow. She could feel his body tense in response, and she found herself apologizing. But she couldn’t hold her jacket to him forever, knowing that eventually someone would walk in, so thinking quickly, she fished the police tape she had out of her jacket pocket, which fortunately had not yet been soaked in blood, and proceeded to start wrapping it around him.

“I’m going to turn you over now.” She warned, before putting her hand on his shoulder, getting ready to wrap the tape the rest of the way around as she went.

Gently, she eased him onto his side, and a fragile groan escaped him. “Sorry. Sorry. I’m sorry, I’m not trying to hurt you.” She heard herself saying, even as her brain short circuited. “Easy.”

Gently, she tipped him over onto his back. And her heart stopped. No! No, way. It couldn’t be.

“Oh, my God! Lucifer!” She exclaimed pulling back in surprise.

No answer came from the prone form in front of her. His eyes were closed tightly, tear stains dried on his cheeks. He had a wound on the head, covered in a soaked bandage, and another one just below it. A fresh bruise was blossoming on his face, and fresh blood smeared the corner of his mouth.

Lucifer!

Lucifer had wings! And someone had cut them off.

Lucifer was an angel… well, a fallen angel, anyway, but still an angel. She felt sick to see her friend in such a state. Her friend, who was a literal son of God. How could The Big Guy let this happen to his own son?

He’s the Devil. Somewhere in the deepest recesses of her mind, someone was screaming at her to get away. The Devil was supposed to be evil incarnate, right? Except she had never believed that.

The Devil gets a bad rap. She meant it then, and now… Her heart was racing… but yeah, she still believed it. Lucifer was her friend. He liked drugs and sex, and played beautiful music. He was a closet-case cuddler, and they went to a nudist colony together...

“Carajo.” She gasped.

She had seen the Devil naked! And so had half of LA. Ella laughed in spite of herself at the absurdity of it. If he was evil, he was terrible at it.

And he was in terrible shape, she remembered, growing somber again. Ella felt furious with those… whatever they were, for what they had done. If they weren’t already dead, why, she would just… Ella shook her head in frustration.

“So… now what?” She wondered, more or less to herself.

Lucifer stirred and tried to reach up, muttering something unintelligible, eyes screwing more tightly shut. Ella caught his trembling hand in hers. He was cold. Too cold, and if freaked her out all over again. She did not need an angel dying on her watch. Let alone when that angel was her friend.

“Don’t you dare die on me, dude. Not now that I finally believe you!” She begged.

“Not…”He stirred a bit, as if he was trying to rouse himself, but after a moment, he gave up, becoming lax and still again. She felt his hand go limp in hers. “City… angels?” His voice was hoarse and faint. Ragged. And his breathing was weak and faltering.

“No, bud. This isn’t Heaven.” She sighed, feeling her heart break. “You’re in LA.”

Lucifer smiled faintly at that.

“I’m gonna take care of you. I’ve got this, okay?” She reassured. He didn’t respond.

Think, Ella, she told herself. She had two enormous wings and a busted up Lucifer in here in need of immediate medical attention, and a room full of police officers who would probably open fire if they had any reason to believe he was the actual Devil. She wondered if this happened to him because someone had thought he was evil. She hated that he had to bear that kind of stigma everywhere he went. It made her want to punch Lucifer’s Dad for being such a thoughtless parent.

“Seriously, Big Guy!” Ella seethed at the ceiling, as she returned to the task of making an impromptu bandage out of her ruined jacket and yellow police tape. “You and I are back on rocky ground. You had better have a phenomenally good reason for all of this!”

Just then the door opened and Dan walked in. “Hey, Ella, did you find anything in…” his voice trailed off as he took in the scene before him.

“Dan!” Ella exclaimed, seeing the petrified look on his face. “It’s okay. It’s just Lucifer.” She tried.

“L… Lu… cifer?” Dan managed out, his face running through an array of mixed feelings, as his eyes darted between the broken angel and the severed wings. For a minute, he did nothing but tremble and gape. Next, he started to open and close his mouth multiple times, chewing on words that wouldn’t form. Then Ella’s heart spiked when she saw terror shift into resolve as Dan drew his gun.

Chapter Text

Amenadiel brushed ash off his shoulder as he made his way through the corridors of unending doorways. A worry was growing in him as he searched. Where was Lucifer?

“I think Lucifer is in trouble.” Chloe had said to him on the phone. The tale she spun after this already shocking declaration seemed impossible. Lucifer was back on Earth, and he had been beaten half to death, and was now potentially lost?

Last he knew, Lucifer was perfectly fine... unhappy, but still in one piece, ruling Hell as he had done for ages. Lucifer’s power in Hell was terrifying, and Amenadiel couldn’t think of a single being who had the capacity to overpower him on his own turf who might have any reason to do so. Unless his time on Earth had changed him more than anyone had realized...

When he arrived in Hell, he had expected it to be a quick visit. He would find Lucifer on his throne… or perhaps in his rooms, holding court or having a council meeting… when none of these options panned out, he figured his brother was making his rounds. All he needed to do was demand to see the King upon encountering a demon, and it would tell him where to find him... or escort him. But this is not what happened.

“I have come to see your King.” Amenadiel said to the first demon he found, a hideous creature that resembled a hairless bear.

The demon glared at him in the blue gloom of the underworld. “The King isn’t interested in seeing you. Why don’t you flutter back to heaven, you filthy angel?” It – he? – snarled.

“You dare to challenge me, little demon?” Amenadiel sneered back, filling in the expected line for the age old conflict. Amenadiel was amused by himself, even as he said it, realizing that his heart was just not in it anymore. But the demon was, of course, more than willing to have a go at him. The creature attacked. Amenadiel dealt with it easily, and after a mild beating, the beast relented.

“Fine. Go and see our King if you want.” Then it laughed. “If you can find him. Last I heard, he was preoccupied with this new room. Can’t seem to pull himself away.” It spat, condescendingly.

No.

Had Lucifer been trapped by his guilt over Uriel again?

If that was so, it was possible someone could have used his Hell loop to contain him... Chloe’s claim didn’t seem so unfounded anymore. He had to find that room. Having never been there himself, it took some effort to find, but eventually he spotted an open door with a familiar golden light drifting out.

Carefully, Amenadiel made his way in and found himself standing in Lucifer’s penthouse. But it was empty. The piano sat idle and untouched. No Uriel, no Luci… relief was short lived however, as terrible scenarios started to spin in his mind, offering up explanations for this. He had been here, but someone had taken him, Uriel was gone only because Lucifer wasn’t here anymore...?

As he lost himself to thought, he felt a presence looming behind him, and on instinct, God’s first born whipped around, ready for a fight. A beautiful blonde woman stood just inside the doorway.

“Astaroth.” Amenadiel sighed.

“I prefer Inanna, if you please.” she replied curtly.

Amenadiel was glad to see her. She was one of Lucifer’s most loyal and reliable. While he was away, she had been the one trying to keep order. But while she was undeniably cunning, she was not very strong. Her sway over other demons came from Lucifer’s favor, a favor he no doubt bestowed upon her because unlike most demons, she preferred to wear the guise of a human beauty. This was likely a result of her days spent masquerading as a Goddess back when demons freely roamed the Earth. Amenadiel knew she would not betray her King, because for her to do that would be suicide.

“Inanna then.” He amended. “Where’s Lucifer.”

Astaroth looked him over scrutinizing, then she laughed. It wasn’t friendly, but it wasn’t venomous either. “Is it true? You and our beloved King are on better terms, now?” It almost sounded like she was mocking him, but mostly, he suspected she was just curious.

“Yes, Luci and I are...” he contemplated how best to word it. “Well... we decided we were tired of being at one another’s throats, I guess.” He settled on.

The demon in front of him snorted and grinned. “That’s a funny way of saying that you care. How touching.” Amenadiel shrugged. “I just have one more question.” She continued.

Amenadiel was running out of patience, but he knew that he had to humor her if he wanted her cooperation. “Make it quick.”

“If you were to learn that our King was in mortal danger, and you knew that in order to save him, you would have to risk your own life, what would you do?” She looked challengingly at him.

Ah, Amenadiel thought. She was trying to decide if she could trust him. This meant something really was wrong. “Had you asked me that a few years back, I would have probably given a different answer. I have always cared about Lucifer in a way, but I didn’t understand him. I thought he was evil. Not worthy of love.” It hurt to admit that out loud. “Now, however, I would not hesitate to save my brother. It’s the least I can do. Is he alright, Inanna?” He implored, voice laced with concern.

She smiled at his answer, and it surprised him when he saw that it appeared to be genuine. “Earth has been good for you. Come with me. I’ll let you decide how he is for yourself.”

Nodding in agreement, he followed her out of the empty Hell loop, and as Astaroth shed her beautiful guise to reveal an ancient scrawny long-nosed hag with gray skin and gargoyle wings to take flight, he unfurled his wings and set off after her.

They flew to a remote part of Hell that Amenadiel had never been to. The area looked like it had been trashed and abandoned. Like the ruins of a brutal battle. Even the rooms for the damned souls were empty and destroyed... save one. Astaroth changed back into the form of a maiden and motioned for him to enter. Fearing the worst, and having no clue what to expect, he approached.

It immediately became apparent that it had not just formed as most loops in Hell do, but rather, it had been built. This was only done for residents who needed to be held against their will. Souls who did not seek punishment. It had thick, imposing locks, clearly built to contain a being of great power. Amenadiel shuddered as he realized there were Divine and Infernal symbols etched into the metal of the structure; metal which had originally come from the Silver City.

This room had been specifically built to contain an archangel.

Like Lucifer.

Or him. Looking back at Astaroth, he wondered if this was a trap. She just grinned back at him. “What? Second guessing your answer from before?” She challenged.

Right. This was for Lucifer. Stealing himself, he went in and was immediately greeted by a familiar sight.

Tall silver spires, vibrant blue sky, marble floor, ornate sculptures... He was standing in the central square of the Silver City, surrounded by almost all of his siblings.

***

He’s the Devil! He’s the Devil!

Dan’s mind was trapped in a loop of too-convenient coincidences and impossibilities playing out in rapid fire. Jimmy Barns… Lucifer just waking up after being shot by Malcom… Trixie telling him that Lucifer had “got better” after being killed… impossible strength… what do you desire… the unexplainable scene in the loft … Tiernan’s goons attacking, leaving his shirt riddled with bullet holes… the incident at the Mayan. … Charlotte’s nightmares and talk of Hell… The evidence had always been there.

And now this crime scene. With a body that had wings which seemed too real. Unexplainable nuclear shadows on the walls… and now angel wings? Lucifer – the Devil – a fallen angel… a monster.

Dan felt himself reaching for his gun. He was facing evil incarnate, but in this moment, the beast was vulnerable. All he had to do was pull the trigger and he might be able to send it back to Hell.

Some part of him registered Ella between them. She kept calling it an angel. She was in danger. They were all in danger. Ella was saying something, but her words weren’t registering.

He was so focused on his intent, he wasn’t paying attention to his feet and suddenly, he tripped on one of the busted up bloody wings. Stumbling, he caught himself by grabbing onto it. His eyes locked onto the severed appendages, and his brain broke even more. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he felt his gun being taken from him and his gloves being pulled off.

Ella. Why was she…?

The diminutive woman guided his hands back to the wings, and as his ungloved hands came in contact with the feathers he was overwhelmed even further. Soft! He was touching the divine.

A memory of Lucifer sitting next to him in the empty room where he had caught Dan imitating him in his improve group came back to him. The Devil said he was trying to be more like Dan… helpful.

Why would evil incarnate say that? Why was he even here?

To steal my pudding, call me a douche and prank me with Chewbacca contests, he thought with annoyance. Dan laughed at the absurdity of it. His voice sounded hysterical. The Devil was nothing but a celestial pudding thief who acted like a child in desperate need of parenting.

But, the Devil also broke Julian’s back. A cop killer, and human trafficker. “I’m not evil, I punish evil.” His words. Dan found his eyes roaming over to the wings in front of him.

They were in terrible shape. Blood grime and rubble marred the splendor, and they looked broken in several places. Tears sprang to his eyes as the reality of what had been done to these wings dawned on him. Lucifer was a pain in the ass, but he also saved lives, including Chloe’s... and Trixie’s!

Curling his hand into the feathers, he suddenly realized that hurting the celestial creature in front of him was the farthest thing from what he wanted to do. He was overwhelmed by an inexplicable need to help. To do the right thing. Just this one time. Dan was tired of screwing everything up.

He was probably already bound for Hell anyway, he reasoned, so maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing to have the Devil on his side... as a - he wasn’t ready to call the dick his friend. With a sigh, and a shake of his head, he let go of the wings and focused back on Ella.

“Hey, dude... are we good?” Ella asked, noticing the change. Dan just stared at her, his brain still short circuiting a bit. “Yeah, I totally get it, Devil? Yeah right, he’s still our friend. And he’s an angel. I mean, come on, Lucifer defied God - his Dad – because he wanted freewill...”

Was she rambling?

“...which, if you ask me, is a pretty reasonable request, right? It never made sense for an angel who was willing to risk everything for freedom to suddenly become evil...”

Yep. She was rambling.

“...He was, like, totally God’s favorite, and then he’s evil?”

“Ella.” Dan tried to get her attention before she dropped the word, ‘evil’ again.

“...As if! Why would God’s favorite son turn out to be evil, you know? When the Big Guy is supposed to be all-knowing...” She said it again. He really wanted her to stop saying that word.

“Ella!” Still, she kept going.

“...It never made sense, until now. Obviously, he was never evil to begin with...”

“Ella, we’re good.” He insisted, trying to get her attention so she would stop saying that word!

“It’s just cruel propaganda from the Church, because the story of good versus evil sells...”

Dan put his hand on her shoulder, and finally, she stopped rambling. Thank G… goodness for that. “We’re good. I’m not going to shoot him... but” He looked at his weapon in her hand. “Can I have my gun back?” He asked a little sheepishly.

“Oh, right, right, right.” She handed it back, but kept herself between them as a kind of human shield. “Right...” She said again, shrugging nervously.

They stood in silence as Dan put his gun away. Then, realizing they were going nowhere fast, he broke the silence. “So... how’re we gonna save this celestial pudding thief anyway?”

This question sparked an argument of sorts about what to do with “the Devil himself,” “you mean one of God’s angels?” “No, I mean the Devil.” “Still an angel.” ... and “where can we stash wings?” “Your place?” “Are you kidding, I got Trix! What about yours?” “Have you seen my place?” ...and “He needs a hospital.” “No way! They’ll do experiments on him!” Finally, they agreed on a plan.

Ella created a diversion by freaking out about a call she supposedly got about a brother in critical condition. Technically, she wasn’t acting, she really was freaking out. And it technically wasn’t a lie when she thought of Lucifer - the Devil (no, he’s still an angel!) - as a brother, and man, if that wasn’t the craziest idea ever... Dan’s job was to sneak the wings and the wounded celestial into his car, then she would get the day off to go tend to ‘her brother’ and Dan would leave to investigate ‘a lead.’

He was spotted by a coworker while hauling one of the wings out, but he told the officer it was a left-over Halloween prop, which he was collecting for evidence. It seemed to work. Fortunately, no one noticed him carrying out the Devil (never mind he had to drop him in order to obscure him behind the crazy shrubbery twice in order to pull that off). And Lucifer had no business being that heavy, he thought with a grumble. After he managed to get him shoved into the back seat of his cruiser along with one of his wings, which fortunately folded in, and the other wing crammed into the trunk, he looked at his handiwork with a sigh. Ella wasn’t going to like how he was just stuffed in there, but whatever.

After that, they made their escape. First, they made a quick stop at a storage rental facility to stash the wings, then Ella made a big deal about adjusting him so he was more comfortable, fussing about Dan’s crude handling. Then they were back to arguing. He still wanted to take him to a hospital, but Ella was against it, insisting that they would have no clue about how to treat an angel.

“Neither do we.” Dan countered. “Who even does?”

“Another angel?” the forensic scientist hazarded.

“Yeah, right, let’s just go find an angel, because Lucifer’s family all...” Then it hit him. Of course! Amenadiel! Amenadiel was an angel! Woah.

Apparently having the same thought, Ella grabbed her phone. “Do you think Linda KNOWS?”

“If not, she’s in for a shock. Her son is half angel.” Dan laughed nervously.

“Oh, my. G... Lucifer’s Dad! Charlie is a Nephilim!” Ella exclaimed loudly, which earned her a whimper from the back seat. “Oh, I’m so sorry, Luce!” She said, glancing back. As Ella dialed Linda’s number, Dan changed course to head over to his therapist’s home. This day was too weird.

After a short pause, Linda must have answered. “Hey, it’s Ella. Is Amenadiel home? ... Oh, looking for Lucifer? ... Down south? You mean Hell? ... So, like… you know? ... How long? ... Yeah, well, um... Dan and I are on our way ... with Lucifer. ... Wings. They were cut off. … We put them in storage. ... Yep. ... Totally cool, well no, actually, we’re freaking out. ... He’s in really bad shape, we don’t know what to do. ... I never said you were that kind of Doctor. We thought Amenadiel would know what to do. ... Okay. ... Thanks so much. ... Uh-huh. ... You’re seriously the best. ... See you in a few. Bye.”

Dan glanced expectantly at her. “So..?”

“She’s known for a really long time. We’re good to bring him. His brother isn’t there, but he’ll be back soon.” Dan nodded, processing. Good.

They were about half way there when the Devil in the back started to stir, muttering something incomprehensible. The only words they could make out were, “Father,” “no,” “sword,” “relic,” and “forgive.” He was gasping weakly for breath, and when Dan glanced back, he wished he hadn’t.

His face was a pale mask of pain, tears clinging to the edge of his eyes, and his battered body was trembling. Dan looked at Ella. She was crying and shaking her head in anger.

“I don’t get it.” Dan finally said, refusing to acknowledge that his voice was cracking a little. “Who could have done this to him?”

“I don’t know, Dude.” Ella replied weakly. “I really don’t know.”