Lucifer closed the door behind him and brushed ash from the lapels of his shirt with the back of his hand. It was a nonchalant little gesture that he wasn’t even aware of, just something he did after torturing the damned souls in their personal hell loops. He straightened his back as his face slowly drifted back from burning red to pale white. No ray of sunshine had ever touched Hell’s endless corridors, and the slight tan he had brought down with him from the mortal’s world was long-lost.
Lucifer had worked enough for the time being, he decided. The demons he now ruled with an iron hand could carry on without him for a while. He turned and walked through the maze of seemingly endless corridors towards the square where his throne towered over the desperate landscape. At the foot of it was the place he used to rest, a cavern carved into the dark grey rock. He would have preferred to not have a front gate as there were enough doors in Hell already, but he didn’t want the ever present screams of the tortured to follow him inside.
However, when he reached the square, he sensed something that didn’t belong there: Hope. Why was there hope drifting through the air? He looked up to search the blackness above with glowing eyes, but even he wasn’t able to visually make it out. Apparently it didn’t stand a chance against the despair of the underworld. Still, it became stronger. Finally, Lucifer’s attention focused on the middle of the square where a shimmer caught his gaze and manifested itself into a person, an actual angel.
His brother’s name sounded strange coming out of his mouth, and that wasn’t due to the general muffled sounds down here. He hadn’t said it in almost three years.
Amenadiel tried to smile, but it didn’t reach his eyes. Hell wasn’t a place that allowed joy, or even signs of it.
“To what do I owe the rare honour of a heavenly visitor?” Lucifer finally asked, his voice laced with scepticism. His heart made a strange jump when he saw Amenadiel’s attempt at a smile fade into sadness.
“Linda died,” he sighed, the two words apparently costing him a lot of effort.
Unexpected pain shot through Lucifer, clutching at his heart. The woman who had helped him sort through the mess that was his emotions, had helped him become a better man, even if it had turned out to have been to no avail in the end. He was stuck back in Hell anyway. At least, now he knew what for — or whom.
He didn’t allow himself to let his thoughts go down that road any further, so he did his best to drown out the pain and the whirlwind of emotions that came along with it.
“She had an accident.”
“Anyone involved in it that I should personally attend to?”
“No. She went to fast and veered off the road. She was in a hurry to pick up Charlie.”
Silence fell between the two brothers as Lucifer coped with the fact that there was nobody for him to punish for his therapist’s — and friend’s — death. Nobody to unleash his restrained emotions on.
“So why are you here then?” he asked, a little accusing, although he didn’t mean to sound like that.
“I’m moving up to Heaven with Charlie, so he doesn’t have to grow up without his mother. In fact, he’s up there already. I was, too. But I wanted to let you know.”
“Thank you,” Lucifer replied honestly. “It’s been a while since I last had a visitor.”
“Sure you do.”
He was tempted to ask the question that spooked him ever since he had left Earth, but he knew it would tear open a wound that had barely begun to heal. And deep down he suspected it never would, not in all the countless millennials that lay ahead of him.
But Amenadiel spared him the effort of asking.
“She’s doing alright, you know?” Lucifer’s eyes locked with his brother’s soft gaze. “She was in a very dark mental state for a while, she even quit work for a year. Then she slowly started getting better when she realized you were really gone and wouldn’t come back. It took her a lot of effort and therapy, but she’s living again now, back to work and spending a lot of time with Trixie. She even goes out for a couple of drinks with some new friends she made at the precinct. She’s still hurting, though, and she misses you every day, that’s what she told me when I let her know about me and Charlie. But every week seems to be a little better than the one before, she said. Just so you know, she’s doing her best to live a happy life, like you wanted it for her.”
Lucifer hung on Amenadiel’s lips, soaking up every word he said. He was desperate for news of his Detective, and only now did he realize how much he had needed to hear that she was good. Or as good as she could be after he had left her standing on his balcony, alone. Lonely.
But it was a dangerous path, his feelings for her — his love for her — threatening to overwhelm him any time and challenging his best intentions to keep her safe, even if that meant he could never be with her again.
“Thank you,” he repeated, unable to form any other words at the moment.
Amenadiel nodded and looked down on the smouldering ground before glancing around and casting a short glance up to where in other places would be a sky instead of endless darkness. Letting out a deep breath, he slowly walked closer to Lucifer until he was right in front of him. He cleared his throat and Lucifer couldn’t help his curiosity. What was his angelic brother up to?
Amenadiel spread his wings around the both of them, thus creating a shielded space for just the two of them and turned his voice into a whisper as he said, “I brought something for you.”
Lucifer’s eyes lit up like they hadn’t during the last three years.
“Yes. Kind of.”
He grabbed something from his pocket and then opened his hand for Lucifer to see for himself. On his palm lay a feather, silvery and divine.
“Azrael?” Lucifer’s eyebrows shot up in question, a blank look on his face.
Amenadiel nodded and cleared his throat.
“If you tuck it between your own feathers, you’ll be able to visit Earth and stay invisible. I tried, it works.”
Lucifer blinked and stared at his brother. He could perfectly see how this feather could be of great value for him, but what he couldn’t wrap his head around was why Amenadiel would do something like this. It didn’t fit with the picture he had of him.
“Does she know?”
“That depends. Does she know that I have one of her feathers? Yes. Does she know I’m giving it to you? No. Let’s leave it at that.”
Lucifer slowly nodded before a new thought crossed his mind.
“What do you want for it?”
“I would love to say nothing, but I’m afraid I have one condition: If you use it, use it wisely. Don’t interfere with her life in a way that could even slightly threaten to destroy the peace she’s trying to find for herself. She’s gone through so much already.”
Lucifer didn’t have to think about it twice. He stood by his decision to keep her safe, even if it meant the biggest sacrifice he’d ever made.
“I have your word,” Amenadiel said as he handed over the feather. “I’m afraid I’ll have to leave now.”
“Say hi to Linda and Charlie from me, please, will you?”
Amenadiel stretched his wings, but the fraction of a second before he took flight, Lucifer interrupted his departure.
“Wait! Just… why? Why are you doing this?” he asked.
“Because Chloe isn’t the only one who’s hurting, I suppose. You have my deepest respect for your decision to keep Earth safe of bloodthirsty demons. I know that’s not your main reason for being back on Hell’s throne, but still. You could have chosen a different path, but you assume responsibility, and that’s why I’m proud of you.”
With that, Amenadiel flapped his wings and disappeared, leaving for a happier place that was everything Hell was not.
Lucifer stood, staring after him until the hope his brother had brought with him had subsided, only to then stare at the feather in his palm, delicate and fragile, yet so powerful.