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Chloe understands, logically, why Lucifer had to go back to hell. Or rather, she understands why someone needed to go down (down? she never found out if hell’s actually down) and take charge. She can’t say she totally understands why it had to be Lucifer. And not even in a selfish way because she wants him back. Well, not totally. She does want him back. But she also thinks someone else could’ve taken over for a change.

They didn’t have a lot of time to discuss all the hell stuff. They got through some of it, parts of his history, bare-bones minutiae of the Divine. (When he says it, she can hear a capital letter.) And she gets it, okay—the Devil, the Fall, torture, sure. She was afraid of him when she first found out, and yes, she did briefly partner with someone who was trying to bind him in hell forever and maybe she did think it was better for the whole of humanity if that happened. He’s tortured people. He rebelled, and there was some kind of civil war up in heaven, and the whole thing with Eve in the Garden of Eden is mostly true, and hell was his punishment. Maybe it was deserved. He certainly seems to think so.

But it was a long punishment. He already did that. And Chloe is cop, okay, so she believes in punishment, in prison. But she also believes in the Bill of Rights, and civil liberties, and no cruel and unusual punishment. Hell? Definitely cruel and unusual punishment. Especially since he already did his time. For literally thousands—millions? How long is an eon, anyway?—of years.

So it’s possible she’s…angry. At God. Okay, no. She’s pissed. Two days after she tells Lucifer she loves him and he spreads his wings and flies away like he’s being physically ripped from her, she goes down to the beach at midnight and yells at the sky.

“What kind of parent would do that?” She screams. She’s had a few drinks. Trixie is with Dan, and Lucifer is gone, and Chloe’s alone, so she went to his penthouse and drank his expensive liquor she can’t pronounce and now she’s down on the beach screaming at God.

And she means it. She can’t imagine subjecting Trixie to any of that, the torture and the fear and the solitude. Worst of all—the self-loathing. Chloe can’t even imagine Trixie completely and utterly hating herself the way Lucifer does. And his own father was the one who made him think he deserved it. It makes Chloe rage. Worse, it makes her ache.

Lucifer, who pointed out her own worth and ability the second time they met, who remembers what coffee she likes and brings her dinner when she’s doing paperwork all night, who lets her kid talk about science class and Harry Potter and that new boyband she’s obsessed with and only wrinkles his nose a few times, who pranks Dan blatantly but also secretly sends him gift baskets and lets him drink for free at Lux, who does silly dances to make Ella smile when a case gets too gruesome, who took on the burden of literally saving humanity by going back to the one place he’s done everything in his power to escape. That man hates himself. Not the way Chloe jokes when she’s eaten too many pieces of pizza or has a bad hangover. He thinks he is genuinely evil.

So she thinks her fury at God is justified.

Chloe keeps going back to the penthouse. Whenever Trixie’s with Dan, whenever the apartment gets dark and quiet and there are shadows around that make her think of baby-snatching demons and Lucifer hiding his face, she runs to the penthouse.

Three weeks of Lucifer in hell. Three weeks working without his dumb commentary and devil jokes. Three weeks of pitying looks from people who think he up and abandoned her because he’s an unreliable womanizer. Chloe has a glass of wine and is trying to do paperwork but a song on the radio is about being trapped in hell and that’s all it takes. Chloe heads straight to Lux. Maze is running it now, and it’s still packed. Lucifer’s piano sits in the middle of the floor, and people keep looking at it. Looking for him. It’s roped off, and Chloe has no doubt Maze would filet anyone who tries to touch it. Fighting a horde of demons to protect baby Charlie seems to have renewed Lucifer and Maze’s bond.

“Decker,” the demon herself says at Chloe’s elbow. Chloe doesn’t even jump. Celestials popping up unannounced is just becoming normal. “You’re getting pathetic.”

“I am not,” Chloe mumbles. “I’m…” She doesn’t have a word for what she is. Anger doesn’t cover it. Sadness isn’t enough. Loneliness doesn’t seem fair when he’s all alone out there.

“Uh huh,” Maze says. “How many nights out of the last three weeks have you slept in his bed?”

Chloe doesn’t dignify that with an answer. She just goes to the elevator and heads to the penthouse. She doesn’t think she owes anyone an explanation. Maybe one person, but she can’t talk to him. And he wouldn’t mind her sleeping in his bed, anyway. He’d have to plenty to say about it, obviously, but she can picture the look he’d get on his face when he thought she couldn’t see, after all the lewd comments and smirks had died down.

It would be awed, soft, a bit broken. He can never believe anyone would want to spend time with him just for him. He can’t fathom someone missing just his presence, not his money or his drugs or his power or sex. That makes her angry, too. All those people he’s spent time with for all the years he’s been on Earth, and none of them took the time to see him for who he really is. No one paid attention to which of his laughs are real and which are fake, which facial expressions he wears like a mask to get what he wants.

She’s just mad in general. At everyone. Even at Lucifer sometimes, though she’s ashamed to even think that. She wishes he would’ve said no. Sent someone else. But of course he wouldn’t. It had to be a celestial, and he wasn’t going to send baby Charlie. He wouldn’t ask Amenadiel, even if Charlie weren’t in the picture. Lucifer would never ask anyone else to take that burden.

And she gets it. It’s part of why she loves him. If she could, she would’ve gone in his place, so she can’t be mad at him for doing it himself. Not that he ever would’ve let her take his place. But she wants to. She knows she can’t actually fathom how awful hell is, but she doesn’t care. If she could spare him the pain of going back, she’d do it.

Easy to think now. Easy to tell herself when it’ll never be tested.

Chloe sits at the piano with her second glass of whiskey and touches the keys softly. She thinks of him gliding effortlessly between ragtime songs and Britney Spears, jazzing up Heart and Soul to make her laugh. She can’t even count how many times they’ve sat here together. She loves sitting beside him while he plays. Even when she didn’t admit any kind of romantic feelings to herself, she loved that. It’s always been so easy to see how good it makes him feel. Even when she was sternly telling everyone, including herself, that they were only friends and only ever would be friends, she loved seeing him eking out some real joy.

The elevator dings behind her. It’s so stupid, the way her heart leaps, the way she scrambles up, his name already hovering on her tongue. Of course it isn’t him. Even if he came back right now, he wouldn’t take the elevator. He has wings.

“Chloe,” Amenadiel says, shocked. Though he has wings, too, so maybe Lucifer would take the elevator. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know anyone would be here.”

Chloe puffs out a breath of air, trying not to be disappointed. She knew it wouldn’t be him. She should’ve known. “Did you come to get something?”

He has Charlie in a baby carrier strapped to his chest, and for one wild second, Chloe pictures him flying that way. Can Charlie fly? Is that something he’ll have to learn, like walking? Does the baby have wings?

“I…” Amenadiel falters for a second, but then he shakes his head. “I miss him,” he says softly. “And Charlie sleeps better here, sometimes. It makes me think—well, I like to think Charlie can sense him.”

Tears are stinging Chloe’s eyes. “Yeah,” is all she can manage to say. They share a commiserating look. Chloe feels a pang of guilt at wishing Amenadiel would’ve gone in Lucifer’s place. She’s willing to bet Amenadiel thinks about that, too, and probably beats himself up over it.

He lifts Charlie out of the carrier and says, “Do you want to hold him?”

Chloe’s arms are opening before she really thinks it over. She misses that baby smell they all seem to have. She used to hold Trixie on her lap and just inhale the scent after a long day of traffic tickets and drunk-tank fights. Charlie settles into her arms and kicks his little legs.

“Hi,” she says. “I’m Chloe.”

Chloe brushes a finger over his tiny fist. She knows it’s completely absurd, and probably just her brain being ridiculous, but she could swear his ears look like Lucifer’s.

“Sometimes I just like to bring Charlie here to think about how Luci would react,” Amenadiel admits with a chuckle. He puts on a British accent. “Brother, that’s Italian leather your spawn is drooling on!

Chloe laughs. That sounds exactly like Lucifer. And of course Amenadiel would know. He’s Lucifer’s brother. He’s known Lucifer for longer than Chloe’s entire world has existed.

That makes her breath catch. She thought she was mostly over those kinds of little revelations, but they still sneak up sometimes. Little things like Lucifer mentioning some extinct animal or one of his name-drops for some historical figure. The way he looks at the stars, all recognition and wistful.

And then Chloe’s crying, because she’s thinking about Lucifer looking at the stars and the realization he can’t see them and might never again slams into her like a freight train. A tear splashes down on Charlie’s head and she brushes it off, taking a deep breath to calm herself.

“Sorry,” she sniffs.

“You don’t have to apologize,” Amenadiel says. He squeezes her shoulder and then takes Charlie from her, which is probably wise. She’s probably a bit too tipsy to be holding a newborn.

“I just keep thinking…he’s all alone,” Chloe says, voice small. “He’s back there and he—he hates it there.” Understatement of the millennium, probably. “They could be hurting him.”

Amenadiel looks down at his son, face twisting in pain. “I know.”

“Can’t we do anything?”

Amenadiel sighs. Somehow, that sigh holds every one of the eons he’s lived. Literal eons. He’s immortal. “I don’t see what we could, Chloe,” he says seriously. “I can only trust this is in my father’s plan.”

Chloe understands why Lucifer hates his father so much now. God’s supposed to be all-powerful and He (she? they? it?) uses that power to punish Lucifer over and over? Chloe doesn’t know if she’ll ever meet God, but they will have words if she ever does. Maybe some bullets.

“Can I ask you a question?” Chloe asks, voice far calmer than she feels.

“Of course,” Amenadiel says. He gets Charlie situated on the couch on a blanket. He laughed about Lucifer’s distress with the baby on the couch, but he’s protecting the couch from potential baby accidents. Although Chloe knows Lucifer’s complaining would only be half serious. He’d replace the couch as many times as Charlie ruined it and he’d never stop his nephew from coming over.

“Lucifer said once that…that all of you—angels—were each created for a purpose.”

“That’s true,” Amenadiel affirms.

“And you always talk about God having a plan. So…so if there’s a big plan, and you all have some—some divine purpose, does that mean God created Lucifer knowing he was going to rebel and fall? Did—” She has to swallow down bile. “Did He create Lucifer specifically to send him to hell?”

Amenadiel doesn’t say anything for a long minute. “I don’t know,” he finally admits quietly. “It’s possible.”

Chloe can hardly breathe. “How could He?” She chokes out. “His own child? How…” She’s dizzy with the force of her anger and heartache. “Lucifer wants to be good,” she insists. “And he just gets—he just gets knocked down every time. What kind of father would do that?”

Amenadiel looks over at his own child, the baby he almost lost to demons, and he shakes his head. “I don’t know, Chloe.”

“And you still have faith in that?” She spits. “You still think God is looking out for your best interests?”

“I don’t know,” he repeats, getting angry now. “I don’t know anything anymore.”

The wind goes out of Chloe’s sails. She can understand that feeling, though probably not on the magnitude he’s feeling it. “Sorry,” she murmurs. “I just miss him. I hate knowing where he is.”

“I do, too,” Amenadiel says. “I’ve been having nightmares. I…” He hesitates. “I hope they’re only nightmares.” He almost whispers it and Chloe’s body goes taut.

“You mean…” She takes a deep breath. “You mean you could be seeing what he’s actually going through?”

“Maybe.” He can’t meet her eyes and a lump rises in her throat. She doesn’t know what’s worse, the idea of him seeing his brother in hell or the fact that part of her is jealous because at least he gets to see Lucifer. “I tried—” He cuts himself off but then he squares his shoulders and looks her right in the eye. “I went to hell. To find him. Just to check on him. And…” He rubs hand over his face. “Chloe, I couldn’t find him.”

Her whole body goes cold. “What?”

“I don’t know hell very well,” Amenadiel admits. “I…That was actually the first time I’ve ever been inside the gates.”

“But haven’t you been the one taking Lucifer back all these years?”

Amenadiel nods. “To the gates.”

Part of her is angry about that, too. Dropping him off like some scolding parent, leaving without even making sure he’s okay. But she pushes that away and reaches for her detective-brain. She needs information. “But what do you mean, you couldn’t find him? Is…is hell a big place?”

“Well, it’s fathomless,” Amenadiel says with a shrug, like trying to imagine some limitless space shouldn’t be a big deal. “But I went to his throne and he wasn’t there.”

“His throne,” Chloe echoes faintly. “Right.” Because he’s the king of hell. Her boyfriend, or whatever he is, has a fucking throne. That’s totally normal.

“An angel entering hell is quite the attraction,” Amenadiel goes on. “I had a lot of demons around me soon. But they’re not exactly known for giving straight answers. None of them would tell me where he was. Chloe, I looked for him,” Amenadiel tells her, voice urgent. He’s desperate for her to believe him. “I looked in every corner I could find. And he was nowhere. I think he’s in danger.”

She’s crying in earnest now. She wants to say of course he’s in danger. He would’ve been in danger either way. She knows his devil appearance is tied to his own self-image, his self-loathing, and he was already on shaky ground in that regard before he went to the depths of hell. He’s lost somewhere, hurting, and she’s sitting at his piano and drinking his booze.

“Okay,” Chloe says. “Okay.” She sniffles and wipes the tears and mascara off her face. She touches the piano keys again, wishing she could touch his hands on the keys. “So let’s figure this out.”

Amenadiel blinks at her. “What do you mean?”

“I mean,” she says slowly, deliberately. She looks up at the ceiling. She doesn’t know if that’s where heaven is, but if Ella’s right and God’s always listening or watching or whatever, it’ll work. She says the next part like a vow. A threat. “We’re going to get Lucifer out of hell.”

 

“We are…doing what?” Linda asks, dazed. “Wait.” She turns to Amenadiel, daze gone now. “Is that something we could’ve done three weeks ago?”

“I don’t know if it’s something we can do now,” he says. “Did you both forget why he went back in the first place?”

“But three weeks might be long enough,” Maze muses. “Down there it’s probably more like…” She considers. “A year. Plenty of time to crush a rebellion and remind everybody who the king is.”

“For him it’s been a year already?” Linda asks, distressed. “Oh, Lucifer.” She shakes her head and Chloe remembers that Linda has known the truth longer than she has, that Linda’s been privy to so many of Lucifer’s worst nightmares for so long.

“The problem is, if he had the situation under control before now, he would’ve come back,” Amenadiel points out.

“Sure, maybe,” Maze says. “Or maybe he got them all in line but now he is trapped. Remember when he got stuck and your mommy had to go save him?” Her sneering tone is completely at odds with the look in her eyes. She’s scared, Chloe realizes. It makes her heart sink.

“When did he get stuck?” Chloe asks. All three of the others fall silent, exchanging looks. “Tell me,” Chloe demands.

“Chloe,” Linda starts, soothing. “When that professor injected you, no one knew how to make the antidote.”

Chloe blinks. “But Lucifer…” She stops. Lucifer saved her. She thought he’d made a deal with someone, found the right person to make the antidote. “Are you saying Lucifer went to hell for that antidote?”

“That’s where the professor was,” Amenadiel confirms. “He had the recipe.”

Chloe puts her head in her hands. “And he got stuck?”

“It was just after everything with Uriel happened,” Linda says. “And his guilt was…” She whistles. “Epic proportions.”

“Uriel?” Chloe asks.

“Wow, you know nothing,” Maze says. “Their dick brother came to kill you and their mom, so Lucifer killed him first. I still don’t know what he was so fucked up about. Uriel got what was coming to him.”

“He was our brother,” Amenadiel reminds her sharply. Softer, he says, “Maze, you know better than anyone Lucifer tortures himself no matter the justification.”

Chloe’s head is spinning. “Hang on,” she says, breathless. “I—there was an angel trying to kill me?”

“Yeah, because Lucifer made a deal with old daddio to save your life when that cop Amenadiel brought back from hell was trying to kill you. After he killed Lucifer. Lucifer was supposed to send mommy back to hell but he broke the deal, and then he killed Uriel before God could get his revenge.” Maze shrugs. “Did you guys talk about anything after you found out or was it all just you trying to bind him to hell?”

“Maze,” Linda scolds.

Chloe can’t get a full breath. “Okay, wait,” she says, holding up a shaky hand. “Wait, wait, wait.”

“This is a lot to find out all at once,” Linda says apologetically.

“Lucifer went to hell to save me,” Chloe says. “And he killed his own brother for me?”

Maze rolls her eyes. “Of course you get hung up on the sappy shit instead of the part where people keep trying to kill you.”

Linda reaches over and takes Chloe’s hand. “Oh, Chloe, so many of the things he did that hurt you are going to make so much more sense now.”

“Yeah,” Chloe agrees faintly. “And I…” She can feel herself wanting to crumple. “I betrayed him.”

“Well, not all the way,” Maze tries to comfort her. “Only a little bit. I did way worse a bunch of times and he still forgave me. You could probably actually kill him and he’d still give you a pass. He thinks the sun shines out of your ass or something.”

Chloe can only shake her head. Linda gives Maze a quelling look. Maze’s heart is in the right place—most likely—but she’s not as comforting as she probably thinks she is. Chloe takes a deep breath. She can’t get lost in her own guilt and shame right now. They’re planning.

“Alright, so, he can get trapped?” Chloe asks. “Explain it to me.”

“People go to hell based on their own guilt,” Amenadiel explains. “In theory, they can leave once they’re not guilty anymore.”

“But we don’t exactly give them reason to stop feeling guilty,” Maze says with a wicked little grin. Literally wicked, Chloe thinks faintly. Pretty much the textbook definition of wicked.

“Hell loops replay someone’s worst guilt over and over,” Amenadiel goes on like Maze hadn’t spoken. “For Lucifer, he was stabbing Uriel in his hell loop. He got stuck in his own guilt and we couldn’t bring him back.”

“Until he remembered he did it for you,” Linda says softly. “And for his mother. And then he remembered he needed to come back to Earth to get you the antidote.”

Chloe swallows hard. “So he could potentially be trapped in a loop right now? Stabbing his brother again and again.” Her heart thumps painfully at the thought. She thinks of him showing up to crime scenes hungover, still tipsy and looking for more to drink, unkempt, yelling at the sniper to shoot him. She’d heard real pain in his voice and hadn’t known how to reach him. She doesn’t want him back in that mental space.

“The more things a person feels guilty about, the more variations you can fit into their hell loop,” Maze says. “I never saw any of Lucifer’s, because he was already the king by the time I came around. But I bet he has a ton of loops.”

“So he could escape one loop and get trapped in another,” Chloe concludes, feeling sick.

“How can we get him out?” Linda asks desperately. “We can’t just leave him there. He’ll self-destruct.”

“He’s always been free to come and go from hell before,” Amenadiel says. “And I think he’d be able to rise above his guilt to get back to us now, with everything that’s happened.” He kind of gestures at Chloe and both Linda and Maze nod. “I don’t think he’s trapped on his own. If he’s trapped, I think something else would have to be keeping him there.”

“Someone,” Maze corrects. She’s using the voice Chloe’s come to recognize as the one she uses when she’s trying to act emotionless but is actually very emotional. “He could be dead, worst-case scenario. Or he could be locked up under some demon rebellion.”

“But a demon can’t take the throne,” Amenadiel points out.

“Doesn’t mean a demon can’t chain him up and pull the strings,” Maze shoots back grimly.

“Then we need to find him!” Linda says. “We have to help him.”

“I don’t know how much we there is in this situation,” Maze points out. She gestures between herself and Amenadiel and then at Chloe and Linda. “We can go help him. You can’t.”

“We killed Lucifer and brought him back,” Linda says hotly. “Do it to me. I’ll go to hell and—”

“Linda, you don’t belong in hell,” Amenadiel cuts in.

“And do what?” Maze asks, arms crossed. “Start up a demon therapy clinic?” She shakes her head. “Neither of you get it. None of you get it. You’ve never lived in hell. None of you will make it back out.”

“I need to find him,” Amenadiel says, eyes blazing.

“Fly me down to the gates,” Maze says. “I don’t have to die to get in and it won’t affect me. I’ll go help Lucifer.”

“Are you sure it wouldn’t affect you, Maze?” Linda asks softly. “You’re very different than you used to be.”

“There’s something else we’re not considering,” Amenadiel cuts in. He’s looking down at his knees now, voice slow like he realized something he wishes he hadn’t. “Lucifer’s free will. Maybe we’re trying to delude ourselves. Maybe he doesn’t want—I just mean his choices have always been the most important thing to him.”

“You think he wouldn’t choose to come back?” Linda asks.

“I think he’s the only one who gets to make that choice,” Amenadiel says.

Linda shakes her head a little. “I think Lucifer’s choices were always the most important thing to him. But not anymore.”

Maze nods. “Now it’s Decker.”

“Well, yes,” Linda admits. “But also what Chloe represents. Acceptance, family, love. He doesn’t fully believe it, I don’t think. Not yet. But he wants it.”

“But if he thinks it’s better for everyone if he stays there…” Amenadiel points out, eyes sad.

“It’s not better for me,” Chloe murmurs.

Maze points at her. “That’s what I’m saying. He wouldn’t stay in hell if he didn’t have to when he’s got Decker waiting here.”

“If he knows he has her,” Linda points out.

“Um, he does,” Chloe says. “Or he should, anyway. I guess he could…well, he’s Lucifer, so he probably doesn’t think he deserves it and he won’t believe I’d wait around.”

“Actually, I think he’d come back even if he didn’t think you love him,” Linda says. “Just to protect you.”

It’s almost a crushing realization. Not only is he willing to brave hell for her—for humanity, yes, but she’s really under no illusions; she’s a big part of it—but he’d come back and keep her safe even if she didn’t choose him. His love, his devotion, is almost a physical weight, and it hurts without him there to see that she’d return the sentiment.

“I need him back,” Chloe all but growls.

Maze chuckles. “Wow, Decker. That was very Lucifer. I’d say he must be rubbing off on you, but he never rubs off if a hole’s available.”

Mazikeen,” Amenadiel says disgustedly.

Chloe can’t help it; she laughs. It sounds exactly like something Lucifer himself would say. She can see the leer he’d give her. God—well, no, not Him—she misses him.

“Can you talk to him?” Chloe asks, hit with a sudden realization. “I don’t know, angel telepathy or something?”

“Not on two different planes of existence,” Amenadiel says. “Not a conversation like you’re imagining, anyway. If he prayed to me, I’d hear it.”

“Can you pray to him?” Chloe asks curiously.

Amenadiel shrugs. “I haven’t even tried in over a thousand years. He never listened to anyone.”

“Even if Amenadiel asked Lucifer if he’s okay, Lucifer can’t really answer,” Maze points out.

“Well, can’t Amenadiel pray to him with a question, and then Lucifer can pray back to Amenadiel with an answer?”

“It’s not really…” Amenadiel furrows his forehead while he tries to come up with an explanation for her. “We don’t communicate that way. When he needs me, he prays…toward me. I can feel him pulling at me, and I can choose to go to him or not. Assuming I have the ability at whatever time he’s praying at me.”

“So it’s more feelings, less words,” Linda surmises.

“It’s like a request for your presence,” Amenadiel says. “All I get from the prayer is that he needs me to show up.”

“But you can’t tell why?”

Amenadiel shrugs. “No. There was no reason for that when we were created. There would never have been a reason I wouldn’t go to one of my siblings when they asked. And we were all in the Silver City together. Our father never anticipated us being on different planes. It was more like getting someone’s attention from across the room.”

“So you could ask him to show up right now,” Chloe says, hope starting to build in her stomach. “You could try it and see if he comes. Maybe when you went to check he was just…he was busy or something. He didn’t know you were there.”

Amenadiel looks almost pitying. “Like I said, Lucifer hasn’t responded to any of us in thousands of years, Chloe.”

“Well, sure,” Linda says, almost judgmental. “Because he thought you all hated him. He thought you thought he deserved his punishment.”

“And I did,” Amenadiel confesses, voice small.

“But you don’t now.” Linda isn’t asking. It’s a statement. “You and Lucifer have grown closer, these past few years. You’ve helped and protected each other. He might come now.”

“If he can,” Maze breaks in to remind them all yet again. Like Chloe could’ve possibly forgotten the worst-case scenarios. Like she doesn’t see his scarred, burned skin when she closes her eyes, thinking of all the ways he could’ve gotten those scars.

The baby monitor beside Linda crackles to life with Charlie’s cries. She stands up. “Amenadiel, please try,” she says before she leaves the room. “We just want to know he’s safe.”

“Well, he’s not safe,” Maze mutters, but she doesn’t protest the request.

Amenadiel watches Linda head up the stairs to their crying child. He nods. “I’ll try,” he says. He closes his eyes and bows his head slightly. Chloe wonders if she’s supposed to fold her arms. Their family was never religious, but Dan’s family prayed over dinner if his abuela was there. They folded their arms. But they were praying to God. Does it work differently if you’re praying to the devil?

Amenadiel opens his eyes. He shrugs. “We’ll see, I suppose.”

All in all, it’s pretty anticlimactic. “That’s it?” Chloe asks.

“That’s it,” Amenadiel confirms.

“Angel stuff is way more boring than you humans like to believe,” Maze says.

Then the three of them just sit there, almost awkwardly. Chloe keeps looking at the sky like Lucifer’s going to come crashing through the ceiling. Then she wonders if she should be looking at the floor instead, since he’s coming from hell.

When Linda comes back down, Charlie in her arms, Amenadiel shakes his head grimly. “I don’t think he’s coming.”

Linda’s eyes fill with tears. “Maybe he can’t. He knows you wouldn’t ask unless it was important, right?”

Amenadiel shrugs. “I don’t know what I know anymore.”

Chloe slaps her hands down on the coffee table. Charlie startles and cries. “We’re doing this,” Chloe says, shooting Charlie a guilty look. “I’ll go down there and get him myself.”

Maze raises her eyebrows, assessing. “You do know how to fight. Sort of. It’s nothing compared to demons, but I’ll be there.”

“Wait,” Linda says. “What about Lucifer’s invulnerability? Will Chloe mess things up?”

Maze shakes her head. “He’s not invulnerable in hell. He can’t die, but he can still bleed.”

Chloe can’t spend too much time thinking about the implications of that or she’s going to throw up. “Okay,” she says. “Then let’s make a plan. Linda, you killed Lucifer and brought him back. So Amenadiel can fly Maze down and you do that with me. I’ll meet you guys…I don’t know, does hell have an intake desk or something?”

Maze is cracking up while Amenadiel and Linda both shake their heads furiously. “Chloe, I have no idea if that will even work on you,” Linda points out. “I’m really not that kind of doctor!”

“We have no way of knowing if you’d even go to hell,” Amenadiel says. “Why would you?”

“It’s based on my own guilt, right?” Chloe asks. “Well, don’t worry about that. I’ve got that part handled.”

“No,” Amenadiel says. “Chloe, I can’t agree to this. If not for your own sake, think of how furious Lucifer would be if you hurt yourself.”

“I’m doing it,” Chloe says firmly. “So either you help me or I find someone else who will. Lucifer needs me.”

“What about Trixie?” Linda asks quietly, looking down at Charlie. Five minutes ago, she was offering to do this herself, but now she’s holding her son. She meets Chloe’s eyes. “What if we can’t bring you back?”

It knocks the wind out of Chloe. She shoves a hand through her hair, thinking about leaving Trixie. Leaving Dan, so soon after Charlotte. Her mother losing her, too, alone with no immediate family left. But she remembers Lucifer’s panic when he couldn’t hide his devil face, the scars so deep in the skin, the way he so often can’t meet her eyes when she’s trying to tell him she cares for him. She thinks of a bullet hole in his leg and in his hand and in his stomach and an ax through his suit jacket, all the times he’s protected her even knowing he could die himself.

Chloe shakes her head. “I have to do this,” she whispers. “He’d do it for me before I could even be lost.”

No one counters that. They all know it’s true. Maze is the first to speak. “I’m in,” she says. She looks at Amenadiel. “But we need you, too.”

Amenadiel looks at Linda. She’s crying, but she nods. Amenadiel strokes his son’s head and says, “Well, I said I am my brother’s keeper. Time to prove it.”

“There’s something else,” Chloe says. “I think we should tell Dan and Ella.”

“Lucifer’s told them a million times,” Maze points out.

“I mean show them,” Chloe says, looking at Amenadiel. “Then Dan will know what really happened if…if something goes wrong. And Ella can help Linda.”

“It would be nice not to be alone,” Linda admits, voice small. “But it’s up to Amenadiel.”

Amenadiel sighs. “I’ve been mostly against exposing humans to divinity,” he starts.

“You sure exposed your divinity to me,” Linda mutters.

“—but I don’t know if that’s such a bad idea anymore. At least the ones we can trust.”

“There’s also Eve,” Chloe points out. “I’m sure she’d help.”

No,” Maze, Amenadiel, and Linda all shout. Amenadiel and Linda look panicked, both glancing at Charlie, but Maze looks actually hurt. Chloe doesn’t know what happened there.

“She didn’t mean for—” Chloe tries to start. She’s not entirely sure why she’s defending Eve, except that she knows Eve never meant to hurt anyone, not really. She saved Trixie, and she helped them save Charlie. They killed a demon together. Maybe that’s some kind of ultimate cosmic bonding experience. Maybe Chloe’s just a little rawer about forgiveness these days.

She’s never been to hell,” Maze points out. “We don’t even know where she is.”

“I don’t think Eve showing up would be very helpful if Lucifer’s hating himself,” Linda adds, and that’s a fair point.

Chloe holds up her hands in defeat. “Okay,” she says. “But for Dan and Ella, do you want to tell them together or separately?”

“Just do it together and get it over with,” Maze says. “We don’t really have time to waste.”

“What’s the difference in time down there?” Chloe asks. “If we do this in two days, how much more time will he lose?”

Maze shrugs. “It’s not always consistent. Probably a few weeks.”

Chloe covers her face with her hands and tries not to scream. Every minute she wastes is so much longer for Lucifer. Her heart is aching. “Chloe, it’s okay,” Linda says, squeezing Chloe’s shoulder. “If anyone can save him, it’s you three.”

“Yeah,” Chloe says. She hopes that’s true.

 

“Holy shit,” Dan breathes, staring at Amenadiel’s wings. “How did you do that?”

“I pulled them from the liminal space behind me,” Amenadiel explains calmly.

“What?” Dan asks, voice high-pitched. Amenadiel doesn’t have another face to show them, not that Chloe thinks that would be a good idea anyway. It took her a month before she could handle being on the same continent as Lucifer after she saw his devil face. They don’t have that kind of time.

“He’s an angel,” Chloe says, looking between Dan and Ella. “And Lucifer needs our help.”

“Wait,” Dan says. Chloe can see the gears in his head turning. “Amenadiel’s an angel. And he’s Lucifer’s brother. So that means Lucifer…”

“Is really the devil,” Linda supplies, nodding encouragingly.

“Lucifer’s…” Dan trails off, dazed.

Ella hasn’t said a single word or moved a muscle since Amenadiel brought out his wings. Her eyes are full of tears, and she’s just staring at the wings.

“Ella?” Chloe checks.

Ella gives herself a little shake. “An angel,” she whispers. “All this time I was begging for a sign, and…”

“That’s why you can just disappear sometimes,” Dan says. “You can…you can fly.”

“Can we get through this faster?” Maze asks. “We gotta go.”

“Wait a second,” Dan says, staring at Maze now. “So you’re...?”

“A demon,” Maze says. “Yeah.” She looks at Chloe. “Should I show them my face?”

“You have one too?” Chloe asks. “Like Lucifer?”

“Not the same,” Maze says. “But…a demon face.”

Chloe glances uneasily at Dan and Ella. “I don’t know if that’s the best idea.” Maze looks almost hurt. Chloe thinks about how rejected Lucifer felt by her fear and revulsion and realizes she just did it to Maze, too. Chloe sighs. She doesn’t mean to keep doing that to people she cares about. “Okay, Maze. Show us.”

Maze’s face is creepy, sure, but it’s not as bad as Lucifer’s. Chloe winces a little at herself. There’s nothing wrong with Lucifer’s face. Well, besides the obvious pain he went through in getting it.

Ella is making these high-pitched squeaking sounds and Dan can’t stop staring at the skeletal half of Maze’s face. “You babysit our kid,” he says breathlessly.

“Yeah,” Maze says, all false bravado. Her face goes back to fully human. “You’re welcome.”

“We know this is a lot to take in,” Linda starts soothingly.

“Oh my God,” Ella cuts her off. “Lucifer’s the actual devil.” She starts hyperventilating. “The devil’s brought me coffee, and—and danced with me and oh my God, I’ve cried on the devil’s shoulder.”

“He’s still Lucifer,” Chloe says sharply. Ella blinks at her, almost guilty but still mostly in shock. “He’s still our Lucifer.”

“Oh God,” Ella says, eyes giant in her face. “Chloe, you’re in love with the actual devil. Satan.”

Chloe pinches the bridge of her nose while Dan exclaims at that. “Jesus, Chloe,” he says.

“Lucifer is in hell right now!” Chloe snaps. “Literal hell. He’s lost. He’s probably hurt and he’s scared and he—” She swallows down a lump in her throat. “He hates himself enough here. But there it’s even worse. He needs me. He needs us.”

“Oh,” Ella says, voice small. “Oh, God, all those times he talked about hell and falling and being punished—oh my God. Oh, Lucifer.” She’s getting it, Chloe thinks. She sounds chastised and worried. Good.

“We’re going in to get him.”

“Um, what?” Dan asks.

“Amenadiel and Maze are going to, well, fly down,” Chloe says. “And I’m going…another way.”

“What way?” Dan asks, teeth clenched.

“Linda’s going to…briefly kill me. And then I’ll come back.” Dan and Ella both start yelling. Chloe sticks two fingers in her mouth and whistles the way her dad taught her when she was twelve. “This is not a discussion. It’s not an argument. This is what we’re doing. I’m going. Dan, I wanted you to know because of Trixie. Ella, Linda needs your help. You can get on board now or you can go away.”

Ella and Dan are both stunned into silence. Maze smirks. She’s always liked when Chloe yells. Linda holds up her hands. “I would normally never ask you to process something like this so quickly,” she says. “But time is different down there. Lucifer’s already been down there for about a year. We don’t know how long he’s been lost.”

“At least a week for us,” Amenadiel says.

“At least a month or two down there,” Maze calculates.

“What do you mean, lost?” Dan asks.

“I couldn’t find him,” Amenadiel says. “Not on his throne,”—Dan and Ella both mutter over that—“and not anywhere in the area. I called for him and he hasn’t come. So…” He shrugs. “We think he may be hurt somewhere. Or held hostage.”

“By who?” Ella asks.

“Demons, probably,” Maze says. “And not ones like me who are loyal to him.”

“You’ve tried to kill him,” Dan points out, nonplussed. “And you’re the loyal one?”

“Yeah,” Maze says darkly. “Imagine the bad ones.”

Ella’s eyes fill up again. “Okay,” she says, swiping at the tears. “Yeah, I’m in.”

“Really?” Linda asks, surprised. “That was fast.”

Ella sighs. “It’s Lucifer,” she says. “And, you know. Leap of faith.”

“What do you need me to do?” Dan asks.

“Stay with Trixie,” Chloe says before anyone else can suggest anything. “If they can’t bring me back…” She can’t finish the sentence. Dan’s eyes bulge out.

“No, Chloe, no way.”

“Dan,” Chloe says sharply. “Not a discussion and not an argument.”

He clenches his jaw and shakes his head. “All this for Lucifer?”

“Yes,” Chloe says firmly. “All this for Lucifer.”

They stare at each other for a second, but Chloe can see the minute Dan relents. “Are you going to say goodbye to her, at least?” He asks softly.

“Of course I am.” Chloe’s throat is constricting. If she thinks about the possibility of leaving Trixie behind, of Trixie going through the pain of losing a parent like Chloe did, her chest starts to feel like it’s collapsing. She has to put her focus on Lucifer.

“Alright,” Dan says. He comes forward and pulls Chloe into his arms. “But if you die, I’m going to hell and kicking Lucifer’s ass.”

It makes Chloe laugh a little through her tears. She’d be a little disappointed to miss that fight.

 

“Hey, monkey,” Chloe says, standing in Trixie’s doorway. “I need to tell you something.”

Trixie sighs wearily. “Okay,” she says. She’s been getting a lot of these talks lately. First Charlotte, then Pierce, then they took off to Europe and she kept catching Chloe crying in the bathroom, and then she almost got shot at Lucifer’s penthouse…the poor girl has to be traumatized by now.

And Chloe’s running off into certain peril again.

Chloe can’t breathe. “Um,” she tries to choke out.

“Is this about Lucifer?” Trixie asks. “I haven’t seen him in a long time.”

“Yeah,” Chloe says. “He’s, um…” She searches for the right thing to say. “Well, he’s in trouble.”

“Like last time?” Trixie asks, eyes big. “When he needed a friend?”

“No, baby, a lot worse,” Chloe tells her. “Someone has him.” Most likely, anyway.

Trixie’s lower lip starts to tremble. “Like someone kidnapped him?”

“Yeah,” Chloe says.

“And they’re hurting him?”

“Yeah,” Chloe repeats. She closes her eyes for a second. “Someone’s hurting him a lot.” That’s true regardless of whether he’s being held captive somewhere. Even if the someone is only himself.

Trixie’s crying now. “Are you gonna go save him?”

Chloe sits down on the bed and pulls her daughter into her arms. “I am,” she promises. “But it’s going to be really dangerous for me.”

“Worse than work?” Trixie checks.

“A lot worse,” Chloe admits. “But Maze and Amenadiel are going to come with me.”

Trixie shudders. She looks up into Chloe’s eyes, brow furrowed. “But Lucifer needs you?” Chloe nods and Trixie nods back. “Okay, Mommy,” she whispers. “Then you gotta go save him.”

Chloe’s bawling now. She pulls Trixie close and squeezes her tight. “I love you so, so much. I always will, no matter what. Okay?”

“I love you, too,” Trixie sobs. “Please come back.”

Chloe cups Trixie’s face in her hands. “I promise you, I will do everything I can to get back to you.”

“Maze and Amenadiel will keep you safe. And once you find Lucifer, he’ll help.” Trixie sniffs. “He won’t let anything bad happen to you ever.”

Chloe kisses Trixie’s forehead. “That’s right,” she agrees. “And I need to make sure nothing bad happens to him, too.”

“Okay,” Trixie says. She wipes at the tears on her face. “Will you tell him I miss him?”

“I absolutely will,” Chloe promises. “That will make him feel so good.”

If nothing else, it’ll make her laugh to see the look on his face.

 

“Are you really sure?” Linda asks for about the ten thousandth time. “Chloe, absolute last chance to back out.”

Chloe’s lying on a bed in an empty hospital room. She has no idea how Linda got her in here and she’s not going to ask. Ella’s pacing around the room. Chloe just nods. “I’m not changing my mind.”

“Okay,” Linda says. She’s blinking back tears and biting her lip. “Okay, here we go. I’ll count down from five.”

Chloe’s tensing as soon as Linda starts. She pauses for a second to let her thoughts move to Lucifer. She pictures his face, sees him sitting at the piano with a real grin on his face. I’m coming, Lucifer, she promises him. I’m coming for you. And then Linda gives her chest the paddles at three, and everything goes completely black before she can even think about the joke he’d make at her phrasing.

When Chloe comes to, she’s lying in a bed. At first, she panics, thinking it didn’t work. But she realizes quickly it isn’t the hospital bed. It looks a lot like her childhood bedroom, actually. There are little sea otters on the blanket. She remembers that blanket.

Chloe climbs out of the bed and leaves the room. It’s the exact layout of their old house. She goes into the room and finds—

“Dad?” She gasps.

John Decker jumps up from his seat at the couch. “Chloe!”

Chloe’s heart is in her throat while she hugs her father. “Daddy,” she says, touching his face. How is this happening? Something horrible crosses her mind. “What are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here!” He should be in heaven, not hell.

“Honey, you must’ve died,” he tells her, crying now. “We’re in heaven.”

Chloe stops in her tracks. “What?”

“What happened, monkey? Did it happen on duty?”

“Dad, wait, stop,” Chloe cuts him off. “This is heaven?”

“I know it’s a lot—”

“No!” Chloe bursts out. “How am I in heaven? I’m supposed to be in hell!”

“No, of course not,” John counters, confused. “Chloe, why would you go to hell?”

“I have plenty to be guilty about,” she says, frustratedly starting to pace. “And Lucifer needs me. I don’t have time for this!”

John pauses. “Chloe, what did you do?” He asks urgently. He seems to know who Lucifer is and what he means to Chloe, so it’s nice that she doesn’t have to waste time catching him up. But it does raise the question of how much he sees from heaven. There are certainly things Chloe could do without him watching.

“Lucifer needs me,” she repeats. “So I was trying to get to him.”

John blows out a long breath. “Oh, Chloe.”

“I’m not supposed to be here,” she insists. How is it possible to cry? Doesn’t she technically not have a body anymore? “He needs me. Linda’s going to bring me back in one minute. I don’t know how long that is here.”

John sighs. “He needs you why?” She recognizes his cop voice, even after all these years. She sniffles and pulls herself together.

“He’s lost down there,” Chloe tells him. “In hell. He’s hurting. He went there to save me, and now he’s stuck. And I love him.”

John searches her face. Then he nods. “Alright,” he says resolutely. “Well, let’s go, then.”

“Go where?” Chloe asks, scrambling to follow him out the front door.

“There must be someone in this place you can talk to. Someone in charge, you know? Someone who can help.”

“Um, Dad,” Chloe says delicately. Maybe he can’t see all that much from heaven. “Do you know who Lucifer is…?”

“Yeah,” he says dryly. “I’ve heard of him.”

“So I don’t know if anyone will be willing to help.”

John’s eyes flash dark. He’s mad. On her behalf. On Lucifer’s behalf, even without meeting him. Chloe tears up again, metaphysically or whatever. She always knew her father was a good man, but this is proving it to her again. It’s a relief to see it as an adult and confirm it’s still true.

“Well, I’ll help,” John vows.

“Dad, you’ve never even met him,” Chloe points out.

“I don’t need to. If he saved you, and you love him, that’s all I need to know.”

She has to stop to hug him. But only for a second; she doesn’t have time to linger. He leads her down their old street, which lets out to a sort of city center. Chloe lets herself look around, being tugged forward by her dad. This was Lucifer’s home. The Silver City. He almost never talks about it, but Amenadiel does. This is where they grew up, sort of. This is where they fought and played pranks on each other and lived with their family.

This is where Lucifer started a rebellion and got rejected by his entire family.

“This is where the angels always go,” John explains, leading her up some stairs. The building is huge, a tall tower jutting into nothing. There’s no sky, no sun, nothing like that. Far, far away on a horizon, Chloe can just barely see a star. That must be where the universe starts.

“Humans,” an angel with huge gray wings says, surprised when he notices them. “What are you doing here?”

“I need to speak with someone about Lucifer,” Chloe takes charge. “And I need to do it now.”

“Lucifer?” He asks, confused. His lips pinch together. “Are you one of the humans he’s wronged?”

“No,” Chloe snaps. “He hasn’t wronged any humans.” Well, maybe Cain, but Chloe doesn’t think he should really count.

“Chloe?”

Chloe whirls around. There’s Charlotte, dressed in a flowing white gown. “Charlotte!” Chloe cries, running to hug her.

“Oh, Chloe,” Charlotte breathes. “What happened? Why are you here?”

“Lucifer’s lost,” Chloe says, everything tumbling out in her haste. “Amenadiel couldn’t find him and we’re worried he’s stuck in hell—”

“Did you say Amenadiel?” The angel cuts in.

“Yes,” Chloe says. “Amenadiel went to hell to help Lucifer.”

“Amenadiel would do no such thing,” the angel says, scandalized. “In hell? Only Samael belongs there.”

Chloe’s hackles are rising at the disdain in his voice. She doesn’t care if he’s some important angel. She’s going to punch him if he keeps sneering like that about Lucifer.

“Hey,” John says. “We just need to talk to someone who can help us.”

“Oh, come with me,” Charlotte says. “I have a bit of an in because of the whole goddess of creation using my body thing.”

“What?” John says faintly, but he keeps up as they leave the angel in the entryway.

“There aren’t really lawyers in heaven,” Charlotte says. “But sometimes humans need to talk to the angels about things. I’m sort of a liaison.”

“Of course you are,” Chloe says with a grin. Leave it to Charlotte to work in heaven.

“We do not want to run into Michael,” Charlotte murmurs under her breath. “He is so unpleasant. I think our best bet will be Azrael.”

“Azrael,” Chloe echoes. “The one with the blade?” The blade that Lucifer used to cut a hole in the universe that one time. Chloe’s still having trouble wrapping her head around that one.

“Yes, exactly,” Charlotte says. “She’s been the closest to hell, because she’s the angel of death. And I found out pretty quickly she’s got a soft spot for Lucifer. A lot of them do, actually. They just won’t admit it if anyone else is around.”

“Not a soft enough spot to help him,” Chloe says bitterly. “Do you have any idea what a difference it would’ve made for him to know any of his siblings still cared? Just building his relationship with Amenadiel has changed him.”

“Chloe, maybe don’t get mad at the person we’re appealing to for help,” John suggests. “I know you’re angry, and I’m sure you have good reason to be, but if we’re short on time—”

“Right, I know,” Chloe says. She shakes her head. “I’ll do my best.”

John laughs a little. “Hiding your anger’s never been your strong suit.”

“Guess I should’ve known acting wouldn’t work out,” Chloe says ruefully.

“Oh, no, you were a great actress.” Her father has always supported her, even in that awful movie. She gets a little pang as she thinks about how Lucifer would interrupt to say it’s his favorite. He never lets her forget that. She walks faster.

Charlotte stops by a girl with a pretty gnarly bowl cut standing by a staircase. The haircut looks like what Trixie did to herself when she was five and got hold of a pair of scissors.

“Azrael,” Charlotte says warmly.

“Hey, Charlotte,” the girl says back. She smiles at Charlotte and stops in her tracks when she notices Chloe. “Whoa, Chloe,” she says.

“Have we met?” Chloe asks, confused. She would’ve thought she’d remember meeting another one of Lucifer’s siblings.

“Ummm…” Azrael’s eyes go big. “Well, no. Not technically.”

Chloe shakes her head. “Look, I don’t really have time to go into specifics.”

Azrael tilts her head. “You were not on my docket today.”

“No,” Chloe agrees. “And this is temporary. But Lucifer’s stuck in hell—”

“What?” Azrael cuts in. “What do you mean?”

“Well, I don’t really know,” Chloe says impatiently. “But Amenadiel went down there and couldn’t find him—”

“Amenadiel went to hell?” Azrael asks, shocked. “Wow.”

“I only have a minute!” Chloe says desperately.

“Hey, it’s okay,” Azrael soothes. “Time is different here. It’ll be alright. You’ll have as long as you need. And I can, you know, help out.”

“Oh.” Chloe’s a bit taken aback. She didn’t even think about that.

John, never one to let his daughter flounder, jumps in. “Chloe was trying to get to hell to help Lucifer.” He says this like it’s perfectly normal. Score one for Dad’s ability to adjust.

“Um, why would you want to go to hell?” Azrael asks, giving Chloe a look like she’s nuts. “I just drop people off outside and it’s bad enough.”

“That’s where Lucifer is,” Chloe says through clenched teeth. “I’m not leaving him there.”

Azrael’s face softens. “Oh, wow,” she says. “You guys finally worked it out, huh?”

Chloe rubs her eyes. “Kind of. We were…working on it. And then some, um, demons? Came to Earth. Kidnapped Amenadiel’s baby and tried to make him the new king of hell. So Lucifer went back to…” Chloe shrugs. “You know. Punish them.”

“The baby’s Amenadiel’s?” Azrael asks incredulously. She cracks up laughing. “That’s amazing. What a hypocrite. When we realized a new celestial was coming on the scene, we all just naturally assumed it was Lucifer. He’s a total slut.” She winces. “Um, sorry.”

Chloe shrugs. “Well, not like I don’t know.”

“Amenadiel has a baby?” Charlotte asks. “Oh, that’s so wonderful.”

“Okay, we are getting off track,” Chloe says. “How do I get to hell so I can help Lucifer?”

Azrael makes a face. “Chloe, there’s not exactly a bus stop between here and hell. You’re in heaven. The only way to get to hell is to go back to Earth and die again.”

Chloe wants to scream. “No,” she says. “No, no! That can’t be it. Lucifer needs me. I don’t even know how I got here. Lucifer said guilt was all it took to get to hell. I have plenty of that.” If she had nothing else to be guilty about, the whole thing with Father Kinley and working against Lucifer should be enough. Sometimes she still wakes up choking on her guilt for that.

Azrael bites her lip. She takes a glance around. “Listen,” she says, voice low. “I’ve heard some rumors. I’m not saying they’re true, okay? But I’ve heard a few things. About Lucifer. And about you.”

“Like what?” John asks.

“Like Lucifer made a deal. Promised to stay in hell as long as Chloe couldn’t get there.”

Chloe’s stunned. “Why would he do that?” She asks. Hurt explodes through her chest. Was he trying to never see her again?

Azrael gives her that look again, the one that means she thinks Chloe’s a weirdo. “Because it’s hell. He didn’t want you to end up there.”

“But he can’t come here,” Chloe says, throat tight. “I’d rather be there with him than here without him.”

“I don’t know if you’d say that if you’d ever been there,” Charlotte breaks in softly.

“He’d rather be alone there as long as you were safe,” John says. “Well, I have to say, I approve.”

“So he was doing his stupid self-sacrifice thing again,” Chloe says. “God, Lucifer.”

“Wow, okay, we don’t just throw around the G-word here,” Azrael points out seriously. Chloe claps a hand over her mouth.

“Oh my G—I mean—oh wow.” Something occurs to her. “Where is He?”

“Who?” Azrael asks.

“God. Can I talk to Him?”

Azrael, John, and Charlotte all goggle at her. “You want to just…what, go knock on His door and have a chat?” Charlotte asks incredulously.

“Well, He should be able to help Lucifer, right?” Chloe says reasonably. “And wasn’t Lucifer’s deal with Him? Wouldn’t it have to be? So if I want to get Lucifer out of hell and out of that deal, I should go straight to the source.”

“You don’t just go talk to Father,” Azrael hisses. “He’s not some college professor who has office hours or something.”

Chloe crosses her arms over her chest. “So He creates us all, tosses us down there without so much as an instruction manual, and then we’re not allowed to go air our grievances? He sounds like a dictator.”

“Chloe,” John scolds, looking a little embarrassed. “I know you’re trying to get sent to hell, but could we be a little less cavalier with the creator of the universe?”

“No,” Chloe says hotly. “I’ve got some serious issues with His parenting.”

“You have to be invited to talk to Him,” Azrael says. “And He doesn’t really invite humans up there.”

“Well, too bad,” Chloe says, setting out for the staircase. Azrael said up there and had glanced over at the staircase. If she won’t tell Chloe where to go, Chloe will just climb as many flights of stairs as it takes.

“You’re not going to make it,” Azrael calls after her. “You can’t get there without wings.”

Chloe bites back a growl of frustration. She turns back to Azrael. “Azrael,” she pleads. “Isn’t Lucifer your brother? Don’t you love him?”

Azrael swallows hard. She nods, just a tiny little nod. “He was my favorite brother,” she whispers. “But we’re not supposed to have favorites.”

“But you did anyway. Because he’s Lucifer. Didn’t he ever help you?”

Azrael shrugs. “There’s not much to help with, here. He always let me follow him around, though. He let me watch him make the stars.”

Wow, okay. Make the stars. Lucifer made the stars. Wow. Chloe files that away to freak out about later.

“He’s torturing himself,” Chloe says. She’s not calling on her acting skills to bring tears to the surface. Her heart throbs every time she thinks about Lucifer down there. “And on top of that, some demons could be hurting him. They could be actually torturing him. Do you really want that for him? Hasn’t he suffered enough?”

Azrael’s eyes are shiny with tears now, too. “He shouldn’t have suffered in the first place,” she murmurs. Then she looks stricken. She glances at the staircase again. “He could smite me for that.”

“Your own father?” John interrupts. His face is tight. “For what, doubting him?”

“There is no doubt in the Silver City,” Azrael says, slightly bitter.

“Oh, that is not good,” Charlotte says. “That is not good at all.”

“Azrael, please,” Chloe begs. “Please take me up there. I have to—” She takes a steadying breath. “I have to at least try.”

Azrael hesitates for another second, but then she swallows hard and squares her shoulders. Her wings go a bit higher, too. “Okay,” she says. “I guess getting wiped from all existence is a small price to pay for Lu. I owe him, anyway.”

“Wait, did you just say Lu?” Chloe has to ask as Azrael takes her arm.

“Oh, he’ll kill me if you start calling him that,” she answers with a laugh. And then they’re in a different room. It’s blinding white, and Chloe’s sure if she still had actual eyes she wouldn’t be able to see at all. It’s also totally empty.

“What, this is it?” Chloe asks.

The whole room rumbles. Chloe doesn’t know how, but somehow she knows it’s someone talking. She doesn’t know what it means, but she would definitely be peeing her pants if that were possible.

Azrael bows her head. “Yes, Father. I did.” The thunder starts up again and Chloe actually grabs onto Azrael in her fear. Azrael’s eyes flit nervously around the room. “Well, Father, she wants to help Lu—Samael. He—” She’s cut off by another crash of thunder and she stiffens. “No, Father. But Samael could be in trouble and I didn’t…” She gulps, but she lifts her chin. “I didn’t want to just leave him there without appealing to you first.”

The answering thunder goes on for a long time. Azrael practically wilts, tears spilling down her cheeks. But she nods. She gives Chloe’s arm a squeeze. “Okay,” she whispers. “You’re up. I have to go now.”

“Wait,” Chloe says desperately. “Are you in trouble?”

“Oh, definitely,” Azrael says. “But, uh, no one else wants to guide the dead, so.” She shrugs and gives Chloe an encouraging, albeit tearful, smile. “Thank you for looking out for my brother,” she says. Chloe hugs her, and then Azrael disappears abruptly.

Chloe stands there for a second, but nothing happens. She looks around, but she’s still alone. “Um, hello?” She calls out. “Uh…God?” She doesn’t know if there’s some kind of more respectful way to address Him.

Thunder breaks out through the room again, and Chloe can’t help but cower in fear, hands over her ears. It’s like nothing she’s ever heard before. Or felt, really, because it fills up her entire body. She’s trembling.

The thunder comes back, slightly gentler this time, and she realizes she can hear words in there.

What would possess you to turn my child against me?

Chloe gulps. “I didn’t turn her against you. She just wants to help Lucifer.”

He was Named. He shall be called Samael. That other one is his Fallen name. He thought he could choose for himself.

“Yeah,” Chloe says, hackles rising. “Well, that’s the one he gave me when I met him, so that’s what I call him. I have a feeling he likes it better these days.”

You come to intercede on his behalf?

Chloe wonders if she’s supposed to use formal language, with the “thou”s and the “thee”s and all that, like in the Bible. But she doesn’t know if she has time to think all that through to figure out how to use those words, so she sticks with what she knows. She takes a deep breath.

“Lucifer has been punished enough.” Her voice is shaking, but she can’t help it. She plows ahead. “He is a good man. I’ve seen him change. He’s kind, and he’s thoughtful—well, he can be thoughtful, and he’s working on it. He doesn’t deserve to be punished for all eternity. He’s already been through so much pain and suffering and—”

You speak of what you do not know.

“I know Lucifer,” Chloe says indignantly. “I know who he really is. Better than you do! You haven’t even talked to him in like a billion years. You threw him out and then completely cut him off. You didn’t even care what happened to him, did you? You left him out there to get hurt and hate himself and never even checked on him.”

Oh, shit, she’s yelling at God. She always said she would, but now that she’s actually doing it, she’s pretty sure she’s going to end up a little speck of dust on this heavenly carpet.

Why do you think I sent his brother to him?

Chloe blinks. “Amenadiel was your way of checking on him? Um, no offense, but that’s not good enough. I mean, Amenadiel wasn’t the one who kicked him out. You…you banished him. And all his siblings hate him, too.”

There is no hate here.

Chloe scoffs. “Oh, please. Amenadiel tried to kill Lucifer when he first came to Earth! And one of the angels down in the lobby made it very clear what he thought of Lucifer. Azrael was terrified of even hinting at disagreeing with Lucifer’s punishment. You cut Lucifer off and the rest of them were too afraid to reach out to him. That’s not how you raise kids.”

You think to compare yourself to me? Okay, that is big thunder. That is carpet-dust-turning thunder. Chloe actually falls to her knees at that one. God is pissed. But the thunder subsides, and Chloe stands up. She’s pissed, too, and if God’s going to turn her to carpet dust, she’s probably already passed the point of no return. Might as well get it all out.

“I’m a parent. And yeah, I’m not a perfect mom. I work too much and I have a lot of rules and sometimes I’m too tired to deal with her and let her eat cake for dinner. But I explain my rules. And if my daughter were as hurt and…and broken as Lucifer, I would do everything I could to help her. You can literally do everything! Aren’t you supposed to be all-powerful? But you won’t do anything for Lucifer.”

I sent you to him.

“I’m not a consolation prize!” Chloe yells. “You don’t get to beat your kid and then buy him a toy afterward and think that’s square. It’s wrong.” Chloe blinks. “And, you know, by the way, I don’t really appreciate being made for someone. Didn’t you learn your lesson with Eve?”

Do not speak of Eve. The thunder makes her shake again.

Chloe swallows hard. “Okay, well, the point is…are you going to help Lucifer or not?”

What would you have me do?

“Get him out of hell! Send someone else to clean up your messes for a while.”

It is his punishment.

“Yeah, well, punishment’s not supposed to last forever. Doesn’t he have rights?”

Chloe gets the distinct impression the thunder’s laughing at her. And not in a very benevolent way. She grinds her teeth together and waits for more words. My creations are to fulfill their roles as created.

Chloe frowns. “Fine, then what about free will? I know you don’t want Lucifer to have it, but I have free will, don’t I? So can’t I take his place?”

There’s a pause this time. You would rule hell?

Chloe hesitates. “Well…” Okay, she’s really not prepared to do that. She wouldn’t even know how. She’s never tortured anyone in her life, despite what Trixie says about her singing in the car and Lucifer’s opinion on her taste in pretty much everything. The thunder is laughing again, and it makes her angrier. “Why don’t you do it?” She asks. “You created the place. You created everyone in there. So why should Lucifer have to suffer for what you did?”

No.

Chloe blows out a frustrated breath. “Make me a new deal, then. Lucifer made a deal to keep me out of hell, right? I’ll make a deal to get him out.”

What do you think you can offer me?

Alright, well, fair point to the big guy, she supposes. It’s not like Chloe has anything God wants. Lucifer had leverage, since God wanted him in hell, anyway. Tears spring into her eyes. She doesn’t want to cry. She hates crying during arguments, though maybe she can get some slack on this one. She can’t help it right now. Lucifer is in pain, and there is literally nothing she can do. She can’t save him. All those times he’s protected her, fought for her, literally gone to hell for her, and she can’t save him when he needs her most.

“Please,” she whispers despite herself. “I love him.” She doesn’t know what she expects that to accomplish. But she’s out of arguments, out of fight. She sinks to the ground and puts her head in her hands. There’s a long, long pause. She thinks maybe God left. Is there a different part of heaven He could’ve gone to? Amenadiel said hell was fathomless; heaven probably is, too.

You would have me take back a deal.

“Yes,” Chloe says. “And if you’re like Lucifer, I know you’ll hate that. But…but can’t you do anything you want?”

There are limitations.

Chloe’s heart sinks. “You can’t break deals?”

That is not a limitation.

“So will you?” She asks, voice small. “Please take back the deal. Let him leave hell.”

He is always free to leave.

“Wait,” Chloe says. “He can leave anytime he wants? Oh.” She stops. “But he won’t because if he stays, I can’t get there. And he thinks he’s protecting me.”

I can send you now. But you will have to convince him to leave.

Chloe’s crying again. “Yes,” she says. “Please.”

Entering hell is not easy. You may not leave again.

Chloe shakes her head. If there’s one thing she knows, it’s that Lucifer will not let her stay there. He’ll get her out. “I’ll go.”

Very well.

“Wait!” Chloe cries. “Can I say goodbye to my father first?”

Chloe’s back down the stairs. She stumbles against John. He catches her. “What happened?” He asks.

“I’m going,” Chloe says quickly. “I’m going to hell to get Lucifer. I just wanted to say goodbye first.”

“Oh, Chloe,” Charlottes breathes. “Hell?”

“I have to,” Chloe says. She hugs Charlotte. “I’m glad I got to see you,” she whispers. “I think you should see if someone will fly you up to talk to God. He takes arguments pretty well, and you’re way better than I am.”

Charlotte raises her eyebrows, eyes glinting as she thinks that over. She bites her lip. “How’s Dan?” She asks quietly. Chloe squeezes her arm.

“He’s…well, he’s been having a hard time,” Chloe says. “I think he’s starting to do better, though.”

“Good.” Charlotte blinks hard. “Can you tell him I…” She swallows hard. “I miss him. But he better clean up his act and do better.”

“I’ll tell him,” Chloe promises. She turns back to John and falls into his arms again. He squeezes her tightly.

“I love you, monkey,” he murmurs into her hair. “I miss you and your mother every day.”

“I love you, too,” she chokes out. “I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again.”

He looks sad, but he nods. “Not coming back if Lucifer can’t, huh?”

She shakes her head. “I’m sorry.” Maybe she’s being kind of presumptuous. But she doesn’t see their relationship ending after all this. Assuming they ever get to have a relationship in the first place.

John waves her apology away. He holds her tight again. “I’m so proud of you,” he says. “I’m so proud of who you are.”

Before she can answer, she’s surrounded by total darkness. And then the screaming starts. Every nerve stands on end. She’s heard people in pain cry out; this is beyond anything she’s ever heard. These are the screams of the damned. They’re being tortured. Panic fills Chloe’s mind immediately. The despair is an actual physical weight in the air. There are inhuman shrieks mixed in with the tortured screams. Chloe puts her hands over her ears and tries to breathe. A burst of fire springs up next to her, almost burning her, and she screams. She has no idea how she can move here, how she can go anywhere or do anything. She’s immobilized by terror, by the overwhelming hopelessness of this place.

“Decker?” She hears Maze call. “Decker, where are you?”

“Maze!” Chloe yells. There are hands reaching out all around her, hands more burned and scarred than Lucifer’s. Some don’t even look human. She thinks of the horde of demons surrounding her in the church and tries to breathe deep. One demon brandishes a whip and another starts throwing burning rocks at Chloe. It would be almost ridiculous if it weren’t the most terrifying thing she’d ever seen. The whip cracks against her skin and she shouts in pain.

And then there’s Maze, literally chopping a path through the hands and the bodies. She growls something in a language Chloe doesn’t recognize, guttural and harsh. The demons around Chloe retreat. Maze grabs onto Chloe.

“We didn’t think you made it.”

Amenadiel pops up, too. He’s trembling, just a little, but he’s carrying one of Maze’s knives and watching all around them for attackers. “I went to heaven,” Chloe says quickly. “Lucifer made a deal. That’s why he’s stuck down here.”

“Of course he did,” Maze mutters. “What a jackass. Come on, this way. I smelled him the second we got here.”

They walk and walk and walk. Chloe doesn’t know how much time passes. It’s impossible to tell here; there’s no change in light or landscape. Everything is fire and pain and fear. She can feel her skin blistering, blood running down her back from the whip. Her lips are parched and cracked. All around her, she hears anguish; wailing, pleading, crying. She’s crying, too, as she walks, blindly holding onto Maze to even stay upright.

She falls to her knees at some point. Her feet are bleeding. Her hands are burned beyond recognition. She can only see inches in front of her. The smoke and falling ash is so thick she can’t take a full breath without coughing. And she thinks she could take all of that if only the sounds of torture would stop.

“Come on, Decker,” Maze commands. “We can’t stop.”

“I can’t go on,” Chloe sobs. “I can’t do this.”

“Chloe,” Maze says, crouching down beside her. “Yes, you can.”

The screams are all Chloe can hear. She clenches her eyes shut and covers her ears, but it does nothing to block them out. “I can’t!”

Maze hauls her upright by her arm. Chloe cries out in pain at the contact with her skin. “Sorry,” Maze says. “But if we stop, we’re dead.”

“Chloe,” Amenadiel says. His voice is so comforting, cutting through the screams and the guttural demon chanting for a second. “We’re here for Lucifer, remember?”

Lucifer. Lucifer, who’s been here for a year, who lived here for millennia with no one but Maze caring about him, who believes he deserves to stay here eternally. Chloe shudders, but she nods. Maze keeps an arm around Chloe’s waist and they start walking again.

They’re ambushed a second later. Chloe can’t hold back her scream of terror just at the mere sight of these creatures. They have faces like Maze, but their bodies are distorted, twisted things; their skin, if that’s what it is, looks like burned leather, and their limbs are all bent in multiple directions. One touches her face and its skin is burning hot. Chloe can feel it searing her. She didn’t think she had any skin left to burn. She can see her own bones in her hand and she stops to vomit, heaving and heaving while the demons grab at her and burn her.

Maze is fighting without so much as stopping to blink. Amenadiel is fighting, too, though not quite as well as she is. He looks slightly dazed, all his movements half a step behind where they’d be on earth. A demon gets its hands around Chloe’s throat.

“Mommy!” She hears Trixie sob. There’s a demon, holding onto Trixie.

“Trixie!” Chloe cries.

“It’s not real,” Maze grunts, beheading a demon. “Ignore it, Decker.”

But Chloe can’t ignore the sight of a demon licking her daughter’s face. “Trixie!” She yells again. She kicks the demon choking her and runs for Trixie.

“Chloe, no!” Amenadiel warns, but it’s too late. Trixie disappears as soon as Chloe’s within striking distance, and then three demons are grabbing at her. She can’t breathe. They’re dragging her over a cliff of some kind, a river of fire below. Chloe kicks at the one holding her feet, but they’re so much stronger than she is. One of them gets a chain around her neck, pulling it so tight she’s sure she’ll suffocate before she hits the fire below. She closes her eyes and waits for it.

A roar cuts through the air, so full of rage Chloe can’t even scream. It’s worse than the thunder of God. It makes every part of her quake in terror. She opens her eyes, searching desperately for the source. The roar seems to come from all directions, but then she spots its source. The demons all shrink away, but Chloe isn’t afraid anymore.

It’s Lucifer. He’s completely in devil form, even larger than he was in the church. The fire seems to bend around him as he flies through the air. He throws the demons off the cliff carelessly and grabs Chloe.

“What are you doing here?” He asks. His voice is all distorted—devilish. It’s a deeper growl than she heard in the church, and if she didn’t know this was Lucifer, she’d be terrified. Her skin burns with his touch and she whimpers. He puts her down, chest heaving as he looks her over. He raises his wings over her and the fire seems to abate. She can breathe fully, the pain starting to recede. She can finally think clearly enough to glare at him.

“I came for you,” she says. “How could you make a deal like that?”

His eyes cut to the side uncertainly. “How did you know about that?”

“Amenadiel couldn’t find you, so we came looking.”

Lucifer’s eyes widen and he notices Amenadiel and Maze. “You came to hell?” He asks Amenadiel, sounding almost breathless.

“I needed to check on my little brother,” Amenadiel says.

“What…” One of Lucifer’s wings swings out to push another demon off the cliff before it can advance on him. A group of demons a few yards away takes off and runs the other direction, yelling out in the language Maze was using earlier.

“We came to take you home,” Maze says brazenly, but even with her demon face, Chloe can see how much she’s feeling.

Chloe wishes there was a way Lucifer could drown out the agonized screaming that surrounds them. It’s still making her tremble. She can’t help but keep looking around for Trixie. She knows it wasn’t real, but it felt so real.

“If you’re here, Father didn’t hold up his end of the deal,” Lucifer says, eyes blazing.

“I talked him out of it,” Chloe says.

Maze whistles. Amenadiel and Lucifer both look blown over. “You spoke to Father?” Amenadiel asks incredulously.

“I argued with Him.”

Lucifer stares at her for a minute. Then he pulls her in close and puts his hands on her face, breathing raggedly. “Chloe,” he says.

“He said you can leave whenever,” Chloe says. “Lucifer, please,” she begs. “I can’t…please. I can’t stay here.” She didn’t even realize she was sobbing until she spoke.

Lucifer doesn’t even answer. He just grabs her hand and suddenly they’re in the hospital room. Linda and Ella are hovering over her, and they both gasp and scream in shock when Lucifer, Amenadiel, and Maze pop into the corner.

“Chloe, are you okay?” Linda asks. “Oh, God, Lucifer! You’re okay! Um, Chloe, do you know where you are and what day it is? Um and…and how’s your—” She glances at the machine Chloe’s hooked to. Chloe’s heartbeat is steady.

Chloe tries to get off the bed. Linda warns her to stop, but it becomes a moot point when Lucifer rushes across the room to grab onto her. Chloe touches his face, brushes her hand through his hair. “There you are.” She puts her arms around him and clings to him. She bursts into tears. Her skin is fine, her lungs are clear, but she can’t forget the sounds, the way it felt to burn.

“You were never supposed to be there,” Lucifer says angrily. “I never wanted you to see that.”

“That’s not why I’m crying,” she gasps. It’s a lie, but not completely. “I thought you were gone, Lucifer. I thought I was never going to see you again.”

She can feel him melt into her touch. “I do apologize,” he murmurs. “But I think you can see why I wanted to shield you from that.” She shudders. Yes, she can see why. Now she understands why Malcolm and Charlotte were both so desperate not to go back.

She pulls back so she can look at him. He brushes the tears off her cheeks and it makes her cry a little more. She leans up and kisses him. He tastes like fire and ashes instead of whiskey but she can’t care. “I ended your deal. So you are not allowed to leave me behind,” she tells him tearfully. “Not anymore.”

“Yes, Detective,” he says with a little smile. He’s crying, too, so at least she’s not alone.

“Sooo….” Ella draws out the word. “Um.”

“Ms. Lopez!” Lucifer says. “I didn’t…” He pushes a hand through his hair. Somehow, coming from hell didn’t knock a lock out of place.

“Look, buddy, I’m way past freaking out at you magically appearing,” Ella says, though her wide eyes are kind of contradicting her. “But some of us are still wondering if you were being held in some kind of demon devil prison thing.”

“Ah, no,” Lucifer says. “I was, you could say, lost of my own volition.”

There’s a pause where nobody speaks. “Huh?” Linda finally asks.

Lucifer sighs. He touches the hollow of Chloe’s throat, where the bullet necklace would be resting. “How are you feeling, darling?” He looks to Linda. “Can we leave, do you think?”

“I’m fine,” Chloe says.

“Liar,” Lucifer chides. “I did this, and I even had the ability to heal, once I’d gotten away from you. I don’t remember feeling very fine.”

Chloe tears up again. She’s surprised she stopped crying in the first place. “I need to see Trixie.” She can’t stop seeing those burned, horrible hands clutching at her daughter. Lucifer nods solemnly, knowing exactly what’s on her mind.

“Doctor?” He asks.

“I…guess?” Linda says. “I mean, it’s probably not the best idea, but—”

Lucifer sits on the hospital bed and gathers Chloe into his arms. “Can you get all three of them, brother?” He asks Amenadiel. “Here, Maze, you can climb on. You’re the most used to it.”

“But we drove together,” Ella says faintly as Maze grabs onto Lucifer’s waist.

“Watch your head,” Lucifer advises.

“I know the drill,” Maze says with an eye roll. But they’re smiling at each other, at least. And then they’re all in Chloe’s kitchen. Dan, sitting on the couch, screeches at their appearance. And probably at Lucifer’s wings. They’re quite the sight.

“Hey,” Maze says carelessly, letting go of Lucifer. She heads to the kitchen. Then Amenadiel pops in—literally—with Ella and Linda.

“Oh my God,” Ella breathes.

“That—okay,” Linda says. “My car is still at the hospital, so…I mean, Charlie’s car seat is in there!”

“We’ll go back for it,” Amenadiel assures her.

“Man, that parking fee is going to cuh-razy,” Ella comments. Her eyes are still as wide as they’ll go and she keeps looking back and forth between Lucifer and Amenadiel. Now that they have time to breathe, Chloe can see an existential crisis brewing. She can’t blame the poor girl.

Lucifer carries Chloe over to the couch and sets her down gently. Chloe’s not usually one for being carried, but she doesn’t mind too much just now. Not only does she feel very wobbly about being back in her own body, but it’s nice to feel him, solid and real, under her hands. She holds onto him so he won’t go away once he’s put her down.

“I promise I’ll come right back,” he says, gently untangling himself from her clutching hands. “But your urchin has been so noisy for months now.”

“What?” Dan asks. “What does that mean?”

“Did someone teach her to pray to me?” Lucifer asks. “It’s been nonstop. Can’t even get a break in bloody hell.”

Trixie must have heard him, because she comes running out of her room. “Lucifer!”

He extricates himself from Chloe just in time for Trixie to crash into him. “Yes, yes, here I am,” he says, rolling his eyes, but Chloe can see him hiding a little smile.

“Did you hear me praying?” Trixie asks earnestly.

“I did,” Lucifer says. “You kept waking me up when I was trying to sleep.”

She giggles. “Sorry. I was just really worried about you.”

“No need, child,” he says breezily. “I am the king down there, if you recall.”

“Well, Mom said you might be in trouble,” Trixie says stubbornly. “I didn’t want you to be scared and think you were all alone.”

Lucifer swallows. “Yes, well,” he says. He shrugs. But then he pats Trixie’s shoulder and says, “Thank you.”

“Did my mom save you?”

Lucifer looks back at Chloe with a soft smile. “Of course she did.”

Trixie turns her attention to Chloe. She darts around Lucifer and climbs onto the couch with Chloe. “Mom, you’re back!”

“Gentle, Trix,” Dan cautions, casting a worried look at Chloe.

“Did you get hurt?” Trixie asks, stopping herself from flinging her arms around Chloe like she normally would. Chloe won’t have it. She gets her arms around Trixie and squeezes.

“No, I’m okay,” she promises. That’s probably the biggest lie she’s ever told her daughter.

“Mom, you’re squeezing so hard,” Trixie complains, squirming.

“Sorry,” Chloe says. “Give me ten more seconds, okay?”

Trixie holds still. “Was it scary?” She whispers.

“So scary,” Chloe tells her shakily. She doesn’t even have words to describe the horror. She hasn’t seen a single movie that’s come within even a fraction of the real thing. She’s never been so grateful to be alive.

“But you’re safe now,” Trixie says encouragingly. “Did Lucifer help you get away?”

“Yes, he did,” Chloe confirms. Trixie beams at Lucifer. Then she notices Maze in the kitchen.

“Maze!” She scrambles off the couch to run to hug Maze.

“What happened?” Dan whispers.

“So much,” Chloe whispers back. “Hey, Trix?” She calls. “Can you—”

“Yeah, yeah, you guys need to grownup talk,” Trixie fills in. “I’ll go read in my room.”

“Thank you, baby. I’ll come see you in a few minutes, okay? And tonight we’ll have a big dinner and watch a movie and stay up late.”

Lucifer makes a little noise. “Hinders my plans,” he mutters. Dan shoots him a dirty look while Trixie runs off. There’s a beat of silence while everyone tries to process everything that’s happened.

“So, Decker,” Maze cuts it. “Tell us how you yelled at God.”

What?” Ella shrieks. “You met God?”

“Yeah,” Chloe says.

“What’d you think?” Linda asks.

Chloe searches for the right words. “Um…well, I didn’t see Him.”

“Yes, it would kill you to behold His face,” Amenadiel says casually. Like that’s common knowledge and also not absolutely terrifying.

“Wow, okay,” Chloe says. “I just thought He was vain or something.”

“He is,” Lucifer says. “Why do you think He made you unable to see Him without dying?”

“Well, we talked, kind of,” Chloe says. “He was just…thunder? Or something?”

Amenadiel and Lucifer both nod. Ella’s mouth is hanging open, Linda is completely frozen, and Dan has his head in his hands.

“You talked to God,” Dan says. “An actual conversation.”

“It was kind of an argument,” Chloe admits.

“Go Decker,” Maze says, opening a bag of chips.

“You argued with God?” Ella asks.

“I kind of, uh, don’t remember,” Chloe says. “It’s been such a long day.”

“It’s ten am,” Linda tells her.

“What?” Chloe gasps.

“Time moves differently,” Amenadiel reminds her. “And you’ve moved through three planes of existence today. We’re lucky your brain hasn’t liquefied.”

Chloe looks at Lucifer, alarmed. That definitely feels like a possibility. “Is he joking?”

Lucifer rolls his eyes. “Has he ever?” His face softens. “Don’t worry, Detective, you’ll be fine. Your brain is especially resilient.” He finally rejoins her on the couch, pulling her into his arms. Normally she’d be self-conscious about any kind of PDA, even just with friends, but she needs him close to her right now.

“Are you just saying that because your powers don’t work on me and it makes you feel better to think it’s not just you?” Chloe asks suspiciously.

“Obviously.”

“Can we get back to you arguing with God?” Ella asks.

“Okay, so, I woke up in…heaven.”

“At least I got rid of Uriel so you didn’t have to listen to him telling you the rules,” Lucifer says, even though he can’t meet anyone’s eyes while he snarks about killing his brother. “You’re welcome for that. But I’m still not happy you went and died—”

“Nope,” Chloe interrupts. “Do not even try me, hypocrite. You did it first.”

He looks a little chastised, but he points out, “I left the building and was immortal again. You don’t have the option.”

“Well, I’m still here, aren’t I?” Chloe asks. “Azrael said it wasn’t my time.”

“You met Ray Ray?” Lucifer asks.

“Wait, Ray Ray?” Ella echoes.

“Oh, yes,” Lucifer says. “Your ghost isn’t a ghost, I’m afraid. Just my awkward baby sister.”

“Ella thought Azrael was a ghost?” Amenadiel asks.

“She showed up before Ella’s time and panicked and said she was a ghost. You know Ray Ray,” Lucifer says, and he and Amenadiel share a little laugh.

“So Ray Ray is…an angel?” Ella asks.

“The angel of death,” Amenadiel confirms.

“And not just because she’s terrible singer,” Lucifer adds.

“Actually, that part I did know,” Ella says.

“What the hell,” Dan breaks in, voice going high. “What is going on? What are we talking about right now? Who is Ray Ray or Azrael or whatever? What is happening?”

“Goodness, Daniel,” Lucifer says, laughing at him. “You’re not handling this half as well as our dear Ms. Lopez.” Except it seems like they might’ve broken Ella with that last reveal. She’s sitting on the floor with her knees tucked up to her chest and she’s not talking anymore, eyes all glazed over. “Oh,” Lucifer says regretfully.

“I got this one,” Maze says. She gets two cups out of the cupboard and pours a liberal amount of Chloe’s last bottle of vodka into both. She hands one to Dan and one to Ella. Then she drinks the rest of the vodka straight from the bottle.

“Mazikeen,” Lucifer says disapprovingly. “I got back from hell today and you’ve gone and finished off the vodka without giving me any?”

I got back from hell today too!” She says defensively.

“I was there for a year. You know the detective doesn’t have any other palatable liquor in this place.”

“Don’t you have your flask?” Maze asks.

“Believe it or not, I didn’t take a flask full of flammable liquid with me to hell, no.”

“I think I got Azrael in trouble,” Chloe says. “She’s the one who took me up to talk to God and He seemed pretty mad.”

Amenadiel and Lucifer exchange a worried look. “Did she leave the room on her accord?” Lucifer checks.

“Yes?” Chloe guesses. “I mean, she told me she had to leave. She did say no one else wants to guide the souls or whatever.”

Both angels relax. “She’ll be alright,” Amenadiel determines.

“Just a little angelic time-out,” Lucifer says. “Which Ray Ray prefers to rubbing elbows with Michael, anyway. The worst part is the scolding I’m sure she’s got.”

“It seemed pretty bad,” Chloe says.

“Father can be harsh,” Amenadiel confesses.

“It’s hard to stay mad at Ray Ray,” Lucifer says. “And she’s too useful for Father to do anything truly terrible. Though she does hate being yelled at.”

“I’ll check on her later,” Amenadiel promises.

“I should check on her,” Lucifer argues. “Need to give her my thanks, anyway.”

“Well, some of us haven’t shut out our siblings for eons,” Amenadiel says. “Some of us respond when called. It’s a two-way street, Luci.”

“Well, some of us were cast out,” Lucifer starts hotly. “And some of us—"

“Hey,” Chloe steps in. Her hand is trembling against Lucifer’s chest. “I do want to know why you were hiding from Amenadiel when he went to find you.”

Lucifer cringes, all but deflating. “And I’m to have this conversation without alcohol?” He glares at Maze again, but he holds onto Chloe’s shaking hand without comment, stroking his thumb soothingly along hers. “Very well. Getting the demons back in line didn’t take much time. Three or four months, really. Of course, the odd one was still popping up trying to kill me, but that’s normal.”

“It is?” Linda asks.

Maze shrugs. “Endless torture can get a little old sometimes.”

Dan covers his face with his hands again. Lucifer steals his vodka. “Anyway, I had things under control,” Lucifer goes on. “So I was preparing to come back. But I had a…realization. That our dear detective often finds guilt where she shouldn’t. And hell, darling, is no place for you. I couldn’t bear the thought of you there. The demons would have such a time with you.” He shudders, eyes haunted, and Chloe’s willing to bet this realization didn’t come spontaneously. She’ll push on that later, when they’re alone. Maybe. She’s genuinely not sure she’ll be able to take it. “So I asked my father to make a deal with me. I didn’t expect a response. He hasn’t spoken to me in millennia, after all.”

“Oh, sure,” Dan says sarcastically, muffled through his hands. “Millennia."

“But He answered. I asked what it would take to ensure the detective didn’t come to hell, regardless of her own guilt. He had His terms, and I accepted.” He looks down into the empty glass for a moment. “Once I decided to stay in hell permanently, I became…” He sighs. “Despondent. I went into a few hell loops here and there. I had my faithful demons who would come to me if I was needed near the throne, but otherwise…” He shrugs. “I lost myself, I think.”

“Lucifer,” Chloe murmurs. She understands how easy it would be lose yourself there now. She can’t imagine what would’ve happened if she’d stayed even another second; he willingly signed up to stay forever. Just for her.

“No one told me Amenadiel came,” he says. “I’m sorry, brother. I didn’t mean to worry you. And…thank you. I know you’ve avoided hell.”

“Well, Luci, like I said, I had to check on my baby brother.” They’re not looking at each other, a little awkward in their affections. “I still would’ve worried if you’d come to see me and told me you weren’t leaving because you made a deal,” Amenadiel points out, bringing them back on solid ground. “You couldn’t sense me?”

“No, the loop I was in was…” Lucifer shakes his head. “Quite distracting, I’m afraid.”

There’s a beat of silence while everyone considers what kind of distractions a hell loop could provide. Chloe feels sick. “You’re staying though, right?” She asks quietly. “You’re not going back?”

He looks at her for a long moment. “I’ll have to go back from time to time,” he says. “To check on things. Make sure everyone’s behaving.”

“But you won’t be gone so long?”

He brushes her hair out of her eyes and smiles at her. “You don’t want me gone for so long, Detective?”

“Lucifer,” Chloe says. She’s on the verge of tears again, picturing him back there. Remembering that place while he’s comforting her now. She should be comforting him. He was there for so long.

His smile softens. “I’ll try not to,” he says. “But it’s a little difficult to judge the passage of time sometimes.”

She nods. “I guess I’ll just have to come get you if you’re gone too long.” Brave words, but she has no idea if she’ll ever be able to back them up.

Lucifer stops smiling. “Please don’t do that again. I don’t know much, but I’m pretty sure humans aren’t meant for dying multiple times.”

“I’m also pretty sure of that,” Dan pipes in.

“Chloe, what was heaven like?” Linda asks.

“Dull beyond imagination,” Lucifer supplies.

“I didn’t see much of it,” Chloe says. “I woke up in my old house with my dad, and then we went to some angel building to talk to God.”

“Wait, you saw your dad?” Dan asks. “How was it?”

Chloe smiles, though she feels tears spring into her eyes as she remembers it. “It was so good,” she whispers. She sniffles. “Um, I saw Charlotte, too,” she adds tentatively.

“You did?” He asks wonderingly. “Is she…” He looks afraid to ask for more information.

“She’s working up there,” Chloe says. “Some kind of liaison between humans and angels.”

Dan laughs, tearing up. “Yeah, course she is.”

“That’s actually a very good idea,” Amenadiel says.

“She misses you,” Chloe tells Dan. His lower lip is trembling now. “But she said you better get your act together.”

Dan nods. “Yeah,” he agrees. “Yeah, I’m working on it.” He shoots Ella a little look and she smiles at him.

“You got to see your father and you left him?” Lucifer asks softly. The for me is implied. Chloe slips her hand into his.

“Well, he’s in heaven,” she points out. “You needed me more.”

Lucifer buries his face in her hair. “I don’t think I deserve you.”

Chloe pushes back. “Hey, why did God say He sent me to you?”

Lucifer looks like she just caught him with his hand in the cookie jar. He shoots a stricken look at Amenadiel, but it’s Maze who fills Chloe in.

“Mama Decker couldn’t get pregnant, so God sent Amenadiel to knock her up so someday Lucifer would run into you. That’s why his powers don’t work on you.”

Everyone turns to stare at Chloe. She looks at Lucifer. “Well, Him blessing your parents specifically so that we’d meet was speculation,” he says cagily.

“Except He confirmed it,” Chloe points out. “You didn’t mean He sent Amenadiel to knock my mom up literally, right?”

“Absolutely not,” Amenadiel confirms quickly. “Your father is your father.”

“Oh, good,” Chloe says, relieved. “That would just be way too weird.”

“Hey, Chloe?” Ella breaks in meekly. She doesn’t seem to have been following much of the conversation. “When you yelled at God, did He get mad at you?”

Chloe shudders when she thinks of the barrage of thunder. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure He did.”

“So what happened after He got mad?” Ella asks, scooting closer to Chloe. “Did you have to apologize?”

“No,” Chloe says. “Um…” She almost feels embarrassed about it now, ridiculous as that is. It’s one thing to yell at God in the moment, all her anger bubbling over, but for some reason, telling Lucifer she yelled at his dad for being a bad parent seems embarrassing. “I told Him He’s a bad father and He should deal with hell Himself instead of making Lucifer do His dirty work.”

Maze cracks up laughing. “Your girl’s gonna be dead in the morning.”

Lucifer’s looking at her like she’s some kind of miracle. Which, apparently, she is. Her head is spinning. “Detective,” he murmurs. “Chloe. He could have wiped you from existence.”

“Yeah, well.” Chloe shrugs. “He could’ve all this time, right? I figured if He did smite me or whatever, maybe at least I’d plant a little seed in His head to get you out of hell.”

“I think you two should come in together,” Linda says. “The self-sacrifice here is way, way above my paygrade, but I’m all you’ve got.”

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it,” Chloe argues.

“Oh, no, there’s several things wrong with it,” Linda says. “Though I’m realizing now I doubt I’ll be able to get either of you to stop.”

Chloe’s exhausted, and she’s starting to fade. Lucifer’s holding her and stroking her hair, and it’s starting to lull her to sleep, as hard as she’s fighting against it. Before she knows it, everyone’s leaving.

“Where’s everyone going?” She asks drowsily.

“Personally, I’m going to cry in the shower and take a long look at my life,” Ella says. “But I can’t speak for anyone else.”

“Sounds good to me,” Dan says. “Chlo, you want me to take Trixie?”

“No,” Chloe says quickly. “No, I need her here.”

He nods understandingly, though he can’t possibly understand. Chloe doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to talk about seeing a demon grabbing Trixie. Her mind keeps shying away from remembering it even while she’s straining her ears to make sure she can hear Trixie moving around in her room.

Maze comes to stand in front of Chloe. She looks down at her for a second. “You did good in hell,” she says. “You want me to stay so you won’t be worried about anything happening to Trix?”

“You know I’ll be here,” Lucifer points out. Then he stops. “That is, if you want me here.”

Chloe rolls her eyes. “No, Lucifer, I died and went to hell to bring you back but I want you to leave now.”

“I was merely checking,” he grumbles. “All your talk of boundaries and consent and then I try to be a gentleman…”

“Call if you need me,” Maze instructs.

“Thank you, Maze,” Chloe says. The lump in her throat is almost hard to speak around. “I wouldn’t have made it without you.”

“Well, yeah,” Maze says. “Duh.” But she leans down and gives Chloe a blink-short hug and shoots a smile over her shoulder as she leaves.

“Mazikeen,” Lucifer stops her just before she walks out the door. Maze looks back expectantly. He takes a deep breath. “Thank you for coming to get me. And thank you for coming back with us. We—I wouldn’t enjoy life here half as much without you.”

Maze’s eyes look a little shiny, but she just nods. “Yeah, well, someone’s gotta protect that baby from evil demons.”

“A more devoted protector we could not ask for,” Lucifer says.

And then they’re alone. It’s absolutely ludicrous after everything they’ve been through, after dying for each other, after yelling at God, but Chloe almost feels shy, glancing up at Lucifer. Luckily, Lucifer doesn’t do shy. He leans down and kisses her right away.

“In case I didn’t mention it before,” he says between kisses. “I missed you very much.” The kisses are soft, much gentler than she’d like from him on a normal day. With everything so built up between them, Chloe’s ready for some passion.

But maybe not on a day when she died, went to heaven, went to hell, and came back to life.

As if he can hear her thoughts, Lucifer stops kissing her, but he rests his forehead against hers. She closes her eyes and breathes him in. He smells vaguely of smoke. She has no idea how that works and she doesn’t plan to ask. “You’re not mad I broke your deal?” Chloe asks.

“Oh, I’m absolutely furious,” Lucifer informs her, voice soft. “I meant it when I said you should not be in hell.”

Chloe shudders, the anguished screams of the damned still ringing in her ears. “Yeah, I can see that. But if you think I’m ever leaving you down there—”

“Yes, I realize it now,” Lucifer says with a little smile. “I should’ve known the mortal who jumped on top of me when she thought a bomb was going off would do something like that.”

She runs her fingers around his face, just touching his skin. “I slept in your bed while you were gone.”

“Did you?” He asks, putting on that devilish grin. “Now I really regret not being there.”

“I missed you,” she says, choked up again. “And it smelled like you. I just wanted to be close to you.”

His smile turns more genuine, that wondering look she’d known she would get. “Well, you’re close to me now, darling. And I’m afraid you may not get rid of me anytime soon.”

“Good,” Chloe says firmly. “I mean it, Lucifer. I want you here. As much as you want to be here.”

He doesn’t even make a lewd joke. He closes his eyes for a second. “Alright, then,” he says, choked up himself now. “If that’s what you desire.”

She snorts. “You can’t just say want like a normal person.”

“A normal person?” Lucifer echoes, horrified. “How dare you. I’m neither of those things. Though I will need to check on Ms. Lopez and the douche at some point. They had quite a lot thrown at them in one day.”

“That’ll be good of you,” she says. His brow furrows a little when she says good. He still isn’t sure the term should apply to him. But he doesn’t argue, at least.

“Now.” He gathers her into his arms again and stands up. He carries her like she’s nothing and she suddenly remembers that dream she had. Her cheeks heat up a little. Maybe tomorrow. “I think you should rest for the whole day.”

Chloe’s never been very good at rest, but she knows he has a point. If nothing else, her body needs time to recuperate physically. “Will you stay?” She asks, putting her arms around his neck. “I think you need rest, too. In a nice, soft bed.”

“Your bed is hardly nice or soft,” Lucifer scoffs. “Especially compared to mine.”

He’s not entirely wrong, but she’s not going to admit that. She’s also not sure how he knows that about her bed. He’s probably just being a snob and guessing. “You know what I mean. Have good things again, now that you’re back.”

His eyes take on that edge he gets when he’s thinking about the worst parts of hell. Parts she didn’t even see and can’t imagine. She has no idea how it could be worse. But then he focuses on her face again and smiles. “I have a very good thing right here.”

She laughs at rests her head against his shoulder. “That was cheesy.”

He shrugs unrepentantly. “There is one thing I thought I might leave to do,” he says as he deposits her on her bed. She holds onto his shirt, like he’s going to leave right then. “I just thought I should take the child somewhere. Children don’t normally sleep in the day, do they?”

“You want to take Trixie out for a little playdate?” Chloe asks incredulously. Somehow that’s the craziest thing she’s heard all day.

No,” he insists. “But I don’t see how you’ll rest if she’s here and…” He grimaces. “Hyperactive.”

“I don’t know,” Chloe says, fear seizing at her heart at the thought of them leaving. “I just want you both right here. I don’t know if I’ll sleep and—and if I do and I wake up alone…” She swallows hard. Lucifer bends his head and kisses her.

“Okay,” he says. “But before I bring her in here, do you want to wash up first?” His voice is so innocent, but she can see the leer in his eyes. “Maybe a nice bath? I’d be happy to help you, of course. You’re probably quite weak from the toll this day’s had on you.”

“No, thank you,” she says sweetly, laughing at his disappointment. She taps her finger against his lips. “But that does sound like a very generous offer I’d love to take you up on later.”

“Yes, very generous,” he agrees seriously. “As you know, I live to serve.”

“I don’t think I did know that, but okay.”

“Detective!” He says, mock-wounded. “Do I not lend you my extreme expertise and talent to help solve murders? From the very goodness of my heart.”

“No, you do not,” she says. She laughs at him. “You walked right into that one.”

“I suppose I did,” he agrees, smiling at her. “Look at you, Chloe Decker,” he says, awed. “Hell and back and you’re still laughing.”

“I’ve got my own good things here,” she points out. “But I don’t think I’ll be laughing later. What I saw, what I felt.” She shudders.

Lucifer has his hand on her hip, drawing little circles with his thumb. “I’ll be here,” he promises quietly.

“What about you?” She asks. “Are you going to have nightmares?”

He shakes his head, but not like he’s saying no. More like he’s trying not to think about something. “It’s likely,” he admits evasively. She doesn’t see how he couldn’t. People can say all they want that he was made for hell, but Chloe refuses to believe it. He was made to be right here with her.

“Well, I’ll be here,” she says.

“A mutually beneficial agreement,” he tells her.

“Quintessential Deckerstar,” she says.

He huffs. “Of course.” He gives her another kiss and then moves off the bed. “I’ll be back with your spawn.”

She watches him leave. She can hear him and Trixie having a conversation. He’s probably telling Trixie to be quiet and let Chloe rest. Trixie’s probably insisting she knows how to be good for her mom when she’s injured. The sounds of their voices bring tears to Chloe’s eyes again when she thinks about how she might’ve lost one or both of them.

She looks up at the ceiling. She needs to ask Lucifer if heaven really is up and hell’s down. She’s pretty sure they aren’t, and he’ll laugh at her, but oh well. She closes her eyes for a second. Hey, God, she thinks. I just wanted to say…thanks. She doesn’t apologize for all the yelling and the accusations. She stands by those. But she figures giving some credit where it’s due never hurt anyone.

She doesn’t get an answer. She finds she’s not actually all that disappointed about it. And maybe, she reflects, when Lucifer and Trixie both come back in and climb onto her bed with her, sandwiching her between them so she can’t possibly forget she’s not alone, listening to Lucifer mutter to himself about thread counts and the state of her sheets and conditions being better in hell, maybe this is all the answer she needs. The people she loves, safe and surrounding her.

Chloe kisses Trixie’s hair. She rests her hand on Lucifer’s arm around her waist. She relishes in the comfort of having them near, and then she closes her eyes and lets herself sleep.