“I couldn’t find any professional recordings of Lucifer singing,” Ella said hold out a thumb drive, “But he’s the accompanying pianist on Delilah’s original demo tapes.”
“Thank you,” Linda said warmly. “Amenadiel found dozens of YouTube posts where someone at Lux recorded one of Lucifer’s sets on their phone, he plays them for Charlie but the sound quality doesn’t do him justice.”
“Linda,” Ella said tentatively. “You’d tell me if… If Lucifer were dead right? Because, you know, Chloe’s a mess and,” she gestured to the thumb drive, “this. It’s like -um- you and Amenadiel want Charlie to know who his Uncle -um- was. Like you don’t think he’s ever going to meet Lucifer for himself. But you guys wouldn’t hide something like that, right?” She giggled, high pitched and nervous. “I mean Chloe’s a cop and Lucifer was fine the last time I saw him and then he was just gone… He doesn’t answer his phone, emails, texts- And if he’s dead and you’re covering it up… Chloe would never do that- Maze, sure, no question, I mean telling the police would totally get in the way of her slowly torturing whoever did it to death, but not you or Chloe.”
“Lucifer’s not dead,” Linda said. “He had to go back to- To where he came from.” She thought, ‘He’s in Hell. As far as we know he isn’t -can’t- come back.’
“Where there are no phones? He couldn’t even leave an address?” Ella exclaimed. “I totally can’t see him as Amish but, seriously, I can do snail mail if that’s the only option.”
Linda shook her head. She bit her lip, her eyes watering.
“Could you tell me again how he’s not dead and try to sound convincing this time?” Ella begged. “‘Cause I’m getting seriously scared here.”
Linda looked away. ‘I wish I could,’ she thought. ‘Lucifer may not have died but he’s trapped in Hell all the same and the distinction is a little hard for me to see.’
Chloe took out a notebook as Amenadiel settled into the chair she’d indicated, on the opposite side of her kitchen table.
“Linda said you had questions for me?” he asked.
“Yes,” Chloe said sternly. “And just so you know, that shit about blood-packs and ultra-thin kevlar didn’t fly when I was actively trying to suppress any thoughts about Lucifer being supernatural. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t try to lie to me again.”
“I am sorry about that Chloe,” Amenadiel said sincerely. “At the time, I believed it was of utmost importance to keep knowledge of the Divine from all humans. I would still be cautious about sharing this information indiscriminately but I know that you are entitled to answers.”
Chloe nodded sharply. “I’ve already spoken to Maze and Linda,” she warned him. “But there are things I’d still like some clarification on.”
Amenadiel spread his hands slightly, inviting her questions.
“Okay,” Chloe took a deep breath. “Hell needs a king to prevent things like what happened at the Mayan? Demonic possession would be a regular thing if Lucifer hadn’t forbidden it?”
“Yes,” Amenadiel replied.
“And the King of Hell has to be a Celestial?”
“That means you, your brothers and sisters, your parents and Charlie?”
Amenadiel hesitated. “That is a comprehensive list of Celestials.”
“How many siblings do you and Lucifer have?”
“Chloe-“ Amenadiel protested.
“I’m not suggesting Charlie,” Chloe said quickly. “And I’ve learnt my lesson about trusting unsubstantiated stories… After all, apparently none of the major religions noticed that you exist.”
“I did avoid interacting with humanity until just recently,” Amenadiel replied.
“So I’m not putting stock in seven archangels, or even the concept of archangels vs other angels, when I find more sources agreeing on the number seven than on who the seven are. Still, I always got the impression from Lucifer that your family was large,” Chloe continued.
“So why has Lucifer been stuck with Hell since the dawn of humanity?” Chloe demanded. “I checked with Maze, even factoring in him living in L.A. for nine years he still averages a month or two per century outside of Hell and that’s time he stole, nothing he was allowed. Is ruling Hell his punishment? Because if it is-”
“No,” Amenadiel interrupted. “It’s not a punishment. Lucifer- no Samael was created to rule Hell. His ordained purpose was to drive out and contain darkness; physical darkness when Father ordered him to light the stars, metaphorical darkness as the keeper of Hell. Ruling Hell is only a punishment because Lucifer makes it one.”
“You know that’s worse don’t you?” Chloe asked quietly. “When I first started digging into all the stories about Lucifer it didn’t make any sense that someone who didn’t have free will could want it. How could you want anything if you didn’t have free will to start with? But from what you’re saying, Lucifer -all of you, any of you- you can want something other than the purpose you were created for but you can’t escape that purpose. Lucifer wants the wrong things according to you Father so ruling Hell becomes a punishment to him, one he’s suffered since… What? The dawn of humanity? ...And me, how do I fit in? Maze told me I’m a ‘miracle’? That you ‘blessed’ my parents? What does that even mean?” Chloe demanded. “What does your Father want from me?”
“I don’t know,” Amenadiel said. “My Father hasn’t assigned humans a name since Eve, you’re not designed to fulfill a purpose the way angels are. Chloe, my Father directed that you be born and you’re immune to Lucifer’s powers but not to my powers, or any other angel’s as far as we know, take from that what you will. But, from what I have observed, every attempt to determine Father’s reason for creating you has resulted in misery. Some things are not meant to be known.”
Chloe frowned, “Well, here’s one more indisputable fact: Lucifer returned to Hell. He willingly assumed a role he hates. He left with no expectation that he would be any less miserable for going willingly. He left because it was the only way he could see to keep us, the Earth safe. And,” Chloe took a deep breath, “I don’t think I’m overstating it to think that protecting me was a big part of why he made that choice. So, tell me I’m wrong Amenadiel but when I think about the effect I’ve had on Lucifer’s life… I don’t see the difference between your Father and Father Kinley. I feel used! I feel like I was made to be a weapon against someone I love. And I hate it! Tell me your Father’s plan wasn’t to use me to back Lucifer into a corner he couldn’t get out of.”
“I can’t. I told you, I don’t know what my Father’s plan is,” Amenadiel sighed.
“Because right now?” Chloe continued over him. “All I want is to pick-up where Lucifer left off and find a way to derail this damned plan of your Father’s. It’s not right to put that on Lucifer alone! It’s not fair! And I’m not going to stand by and let him be sacrificed like this!”
Lucifer walked down the street outside of the Lux, his arm around a pretty blond in a fluffy coat, “Delilah darling, tell me what’s holding you down.”
Delilah smiled sadly as a car slowed, a gun appearing in the window. “All you asked was for me to get my life together.”
“No,” Lucifer shouted. He tucked Delilah in tight against him, the bullets impacting against his back didn’t even rate a flinch. There was a horrendous screech of metal on metal as the shooter’s car collided fatally with a bus. Lucifer stepped back from Delilah, his hands still cupping her shoulders as he crouched a bit to catch her eye. “It wasn’t your fault,” he told her sincerely. “You just needed more time. And now you can have it.”
Delilah shook her head. “I’m so sorry,” she said as her knees gave out.
Lucifer looked down and saw the red of blood blossoming on her dress, on his shirt. He drew himself up to his full height, “No,” he stated firmly and the street around them froze. He smiled, the blood vanished from his shirt as he offered Delilah his hand. “Darling, I’m the Devil. You’ve no cause for guilt on my behalf. No cause for guilt at all.”
She looked up at him from where she sat on the pavement, blood pooling around her. “I had so much… And I wasted it all,” she said mournfully.
Then it was all gone. Lucifer sat at a piano in a recording studio. “Darling, for this? You owe me nothing,” he heard himself tell Delilah. “After all, I doubt you’ll have time to sing with me once the producers I contacted listen to this demo.”
“Are you sure I’m good enough?” the blond asked, her voice full of uncertainty.
“You have no idea how much I’m going to regret losing you to stardom,” Lucifer assured her.
The buzz of the intercom interrupted them. “We’re on a schedule!” the guy in the control room groused.
“Creten,” Lucifer muttered, Delilah giggled and he started to play. A moment later Delilah’s voice rose in counterpoint, beautiful as he remembered and agonizingly painful… The only music that could exist in Hell was that which was ladened with misery. Before the song ended Lucifer stepped back, as he walked away a memory-ghost of him seamlessly resumed its place in Delilah’s loop.
He opened the door walked out of the recording studio into an endless corridor of doors. Ash rained down on him. Lucifer leaned back against the door and slowly slid down it. “Darling Delilah,” he sighed, “How do I make you believe me? You’ve nothing to feel guilty for.”
A shadow fell across him. Lucifer glanced up with an irritated frown that morphed into surprise. “What are you?” he demanded as he scrambled to his feet.