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Lucifer Morningstar, the Devil himself, no longer concerns himself with the torture and punishment of damned souls. Nor does he any longer fill his retirement with his fairly recent hobby of helping LAPD’s finest hunt down and imprison the murderers that roam their streets. Nowadays, he dedicates his unlimited supply of time to maintaining as constant a high as possible… all in a futile attempt to keep from punishing himself

It's a full-time job with no real benefits, but it blissfully leaves very little time for other things, like thinking for example. Except for the increasingly frequent and incredibly inconvenient intervals where he reaches for the next bottle of booze, handful of pills, line of cocaine, or roach; only to find his supply exhausted. Only then is he forced to descend to the club for emergency supplies until his next order arrives. 

He knows the good Doctor Linda Martin would tell him this isn't a healthy coping mechanism, that chemically-induced distraction isn't the answer, but he doesn't particularly care. That's why he's stopped going to his therapy appointments. The alcohol, the drugs, they're not a perfect solution, but they're the only thing that can even remotely dull the piercing agony of betrayal and abandonment… brief as the respite may be. 

His alcohol and drugs don’t judge him for not showing the Detective the truth before she could see it for herself at the worst possible time. They don’t harp on about how he should give the Detective time to come around.

Bollocks. He’s older than time, and he knows quite well that it heals nothing . At best it allows for scars to form; scars that pull and twist, marring the pristine form that preceded their arrival with ugly patches of ridged and waxy tissue, obscuring the shape of what lies beneath.

He wonders, in those fleeting moments of despairing sobriety, about the severity of the scarring he’s caused for her .

Anything, any effort, any length is worth it if he can only erase the image of her tattooed on his retinas. Of her wide, red-rimmed eyes shining with tears, her soft lips puckered as she fought back sobs of fear. Of the choked cadence of her trembling voice constantly burning in his ears, drowning out any other sounds that might try to reach him. 

"I was helping him try to send you back to Hell."

"I'm terrified!”

"You are the embodiment of all evil." 

He has his answer now. She can no longer deny the truth in order to collect the eggs she'd needed so badly from him for so long (yet nowhere near long enough, never that). So he fights to lose himself, his days melting into nights and back again and again without any acknowledgment of their passage from him. He'd finally locked his elevator for the first time in history after his staff gently brought their concerns to him about the dozens of huffy people he'd brusquely turned away from seeking the best night of their lives causing problems down at the club. No sense in making his employees and club-goers pay for his foul mood. 

He’s not here to ruin lives, after all. Though it seems it’s all he’s able to do.

Poison. Dad’s Poison.

He orders food, alcohol, and drugs, and when they arrive downstairs he receives a call on the penthouse landline that they're loaded in the elevator. Only then does he disengage the lift and call it to the penthouse. Once he unloads the contents, he sends the carriage back down to the club and locks it again until the next delivery. 

He hasn't seen anyone but Patrick for weeks. Has barely showered or changed out of his robe, boxer briefs, and socks during that time. One of his toes has actually poked a hole in one of his Versace socks, and he hasn’t even found the energy to change it, or even to complain to the emptiness of his penthouse about the shoddy quality. He hasn't spoken to anyone, or entertained any guests in his home. 

So he's understandably beyond confused when he's awakened late one afternoon by a slight weight perched on his chest, and an insistent, featherlight tapping on his ungroomed cheeks. 

He groans and turns his throbbing head away, only for it to be yanked back into position by tiny, blunted claws gripping his beard. His groan deepens. Had one of the smaller hellbeasts somehow gotten into his chambers? 

Wait. I'm not in Hell. 

Though he might as well be. 

The unceasing tapping begins again, harder now and accompanied this time by a haunting giggle and a tiny, ominously close voice chanting, 

"Da! Da! Da! Da!" Another bone-chilling cackle, followed by "Up! Da-deeee, up!" 

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His eyes spring open in alarm, and he immediately regrets it as the brilliant sunlight streaming in his enormous windows stabs his retinas with the enthusiastic force of Mazikeen going after a greater drakkon. 

He holds up a shielding hand with an agonized grunt, only to be greeted when his vision clears by a delighted, unintelligible squeal and a pair of burningly curious deep brown eyes mere inches from his own. 

There is a child in his bed, and it's sitting on his chest and touching him with its unfathomably sticky, utterly filthy paws. And grinning. 

This is the oddest nightmare I've ever had. 

He's frozen in sheer disbelief and denial for a long moment, absolutely positive that this is some kind of nightmare, or the worst of bad highs. 

But this is the closest to sober he's been in days. He ran out of hallucinogens yesterday, and he'd already depleted his supplier's stock with no hope of replenishment for a few more days. 

He stares in horror at the chubby-cheeked face hovering ecstatically above him until he notices that its lips and chin are shiny with what can only be drool, and now he can see that its hands are as well and oh bloody Hell it's ON ME!  

He bolts upright, dislodging his giggling assailant and sending it rolling roughly across his ebony silk sheets as he scrambles clumsily away, across the room where he can observe it in relative safety from any further contamination. He swipes at the slimy slickness coating his chest and beard in a vile film with an exclamation of disgust, which the toddler watches with an unnerving cackle and a derisive raspberry as it rights itself from its abrupt tumble. 

It watches him with sparkling, disturbingly familiar brown eyes for a moment before pulling itself to its feet and stumbling across the expanse of his mattress with its arms lifted high, hands flapping in a grabby motion. 

"Up! Da, up!" Its tone is imperious, and again he's struck by a jarring sense of familiarity, which is utter bollocks since the only human offspring he's encountered in this day and age is the Detective's, and she hadn't been anywhere near this small even when they first met years ago. 

Although there is a certain unsettling similarity between the two, somehow. He shrugs off that thought. Perhaps all larval humans look alike to some degree. After all, they're not fully formed yet. 

"What the bloody Hell are you, then?" He asks it warily, since it can speak. He glances out into the sitting area, wondering if its parent is out there, someone clever enough to bypass the elevator lockdown. 

"Meeeeee!" The creature squeals, and Lucifer flinches at the dull throb the ear-shattering noise sends pounding through his temples. "Ro-reeeee!" 

"Right," he mutters. "I suppose it was too much to ask for coherence from a larval human. How did you get here?" 

It merely replies with another demand of "Up!" which Lucifer easily ignores. He leaves it where it is, and bolts out of the bedroom, searching frantically for whoever brought it into his domain. 

The flat is a wreck, of course. He has neither cleaned up after himself, nor allowed his cleaning crew to enter for weeks, not since he'd caught the Detective at her attempt at betrayal. Not since she'd fled his presence in a storm of terror and crocodile tears. He pushes those thoughts viciously away. He has a more pressing problem right now than his failed attempt at something meaningful, something more here on Earth. 

There's no one here. The lift is still locked, and he can see that the carriage is still on Lux’s level. The balcony doors are closed, not that human toddlers typically rain from the sky, even when his mother was around to send plagues and whatnot. He surveys his home, perplexed, as his sleep-muddled mind tries to make sense of the past few minutes. 

Just as he begins to convince himself that perhaps it had been a nightmare after all, he registers a faint grunting coming from his bedroom, followed by the rapid pattering of footsteps on marble as the tiny terror appears at the top of the stairs to his bedroom. It squeals with unholy glee when it spies him again, and sits in order to slither with careful concentration down the stairs before standing and tottering toward him. 

He retreats instinctively, pulling his robe tightly over himself as though it were a suit of armor, but the child is undeterred in its approach. He watches it with the wary fascination one would typically reserve for a pit viper coiled to strike at any moment. 

He'd really be more comfortable with the viper. The mysterious spawn's movements are stilted and graceless, something like a marionette with tangled strings and a terribly unskilled operator. As he moves out of its trajectory, it trips on the smooth marble floor and skids a foot or two on its front. 

There's an ominous moment of silence where Lucifer is fairly certain his heart stops beating. Neither of them moves or breathes before the child takes a wavering breath and releases a wail worthy of a banshee. He half-expects his glassware to start shattering as the sheer, unexpected strength of it startles the still discombobulated Devil out of all proportion and his wings burst forth, bristling with nervous energy. 

The caterwauling ceases the instant the leaking brown eyes open and fix on the feathery expanse of snowy white wings. The child sits up, sniffling and spreading its arms again with an inarticulate cry of "Weeeeeens!" 

And that's when the Devil’s mind melts entirely, because as the arms spread, the tiny human's shoulders flex and a pair of downy magenta wings sprout from it. 

The strength bleeds from his legs, and he sinks slowly to the ground, his wings pooling around him limply in sheer disbelief. The child crawls the few feet separating them and hauls itself into his lap, mantling its own wings and curling comfortably into his chest. A few sniffles escape it, leftover from the thankfully brief crying jag, but it seems content to nestle against the unresponsive adult for now. 

When Lucifer's mind resets, he finds himself sitting slouched on the floor of his utterly trashed living room, playing unwilling mattress to a snoring, winged toddler. Its arms are wrapped securely around his torso as far as the diminutive appendages can reach, and he feels an odd flutter in his chest at the warmth of it. Somehow, Miss Lopez's influence, no doubt , his own arms— and wings— have traitorously wrapped around the creature snuggled against him. Unthinkingly, he runs his dexterous fingers through the downy, flamingo pink feathers, and the wings flex and press instinctively into his palm while their owner sleeps on, burrowing deeper into his reluctant embrace. He feels an odd wriggle in his chest, as though his heart is attempting to roll over. 

"What in Dad's name are you?" he murmurs, reluctant to move for fear of waking the creature. Its head rests trustingly against his chest, ear pressed over his heart, which he can feel thrumming with the stress of this unprecedented situation. He's distressingly sober now, but even with his new clarity of mind and the glorious fact that his head is no longer pounding like a drum, no answers come to him, and his favorite robe is probably already ruined. His phone is… where is his phone? He hasn't seen it in… how long? 

Who would he call, anyway? The Doctor? 

"Yes, hello Linda, I seem to have somehow acquired a winged spawn infestation in my penthouse, can you recommend an exterminator?" 

That would likely require far more explanations than he has at the moment, so he rules that out for now. He briefly considers asking Azrael to pay a visit, but she'd only visited him once, and left so abruptly… he sighs, and the tiny body curls into him more closely with a contented exhalation. 

Bollocks. I'll have to ask Amenadiel. 

Suddenly it stirs, wings flailing a bit as it rears back with a gasp. Lucifer freezes as it struggles to its feet, trips over its trailing wingtips and grabs his hand, tugging at him desperately with small grunts of effort. 

"Up!" It whines urgently, "Da, up!" 

"You have quite the obsession with those words, child," he frowns, "What is it you desire exactly?" 

"Uuuuuup!" 

He pulls himself slowly to his feet as the child dances impatiently before him. He folds his wings away, and after a moment, it does the same. It grabs his hand again and refuses to be shaken off, tugging him toward the bedroom again. 

"Poddee!" It mumbles urgently, "Haffa poddeeeee." 

Lucifer follows, baffled, as the creature leads him directly to his en suite bathroom and gestures urgently at the toilet. 

"Oh bloody Hell, you can't be serious," trepidation blooms as he realizes what it needs. "Where are your parents?" 

A sticky, drooling child in his penthouse is torture enough. A smelly, excrement-covered one is simply not an option. He lifts the lid for the toilet and gestures expansively. "There you are, have at it, then." 

The child groans desperately as it dances in place. "Hep! Haffa hep me!" 

"What on earth could you possibly need help with?" he snaps, and the child's face crumples. Its clumsy fingers fumble with its clothing, and Lucifer spies the problem immediately. It's wearing some sort of jumpsuit, with straps over each shoulder. The child can't manage the buttons with its subpar dexterity. He sighs, put-upon, but kneels and undoes them before turning away to give it some privacy. 

"Big," comes the next grunted complaint, and Lucifer turns back in exasperation to find the spawn trying to heave itself up onto the toilet seat, full moon shining brightly and underwear and purple overalls strewn on the bathroom floor. 

At least it still has its shirt on, Lucifer thinks wryly as he gingerly picks it up, careful to only touch the bright green cotton of the garment (which at least appears clean, if a bit damp around the collar) and sets it gently on the seat. It— she — he amends reluctantly, holds tightly to his arms as the tinkling sound of her relief fills the room. He supposes he can see the sense in that, the seat is big enough that she could potentially fall through.

When the waterfall ceases, Lucifer worriedly hands her a small bundle of toilet paper. Fortunately, the child takes it without complaint and Lucifer places her back on her feet. She starts to walk away, but Lucifer bravely blocks her path. 

"Pants, child," he gestures at the underwear, and a mulish look spreads across the cherubic face. 

"No." 

"Yes."

"No."  

"Not up for debate, I'm afraid," he lifts an eyebrow. "Now, pants ." 

She regards him suspiciously before taking the undergarments with a huff and clumsily stepping into them. He basks in his victory, then hands her the overalls. "Now this contraption. I'll help you with the buttons." 

The chocolate eyes light with mischief, and she snatches the overalls from his hands, bolting from the room and giggling madly. He stares after her, befuddled, until he realizes that there is now a half-naked, occasionally winged spawn racing around his penthouse. He hadn't thought she could move so fast. 

I really hope this is a nightmare. 

He chases her down, scooping up the discarded garment and managing to wrestle the child into it and get the buttons fastened with only a minimum of frustrated screaming from both of them. However, it appears that their impromptu nap has energized her. After herding her carefully away from his bar, dangerous weapons, and heavy statues that are definitely not made for climbing, he comes upon a stroke of genius and goes to find one of the large canvas bags from the farmer's market. 

*

"And you've no idea where it came from?" Amenadiel is observing the growling and grunting child with wary fascination. "Are you certain about this form of restraint?" 

Lucifer had cut two holes in the bottom of a tote large enough for the child's legs to fit through, and the bag itself was plenty large enough to fit the child's body inside so the head and arms could poke out. Two straps on the top had been fastened over the shoulders to keep the child from levering itself out of the bag, and he'd hung it from his robe hook in the bathroom. The child had discovered to her delight that she could make the bag swing from side to side by leaning and had spent most of the time swinging her dangling legs and giggling as she tested the limits of her movement. The restraint had bought him the time he needed to shower, groom, and dress before praying for his brother. 

"It's not in pain, and it's not destroying my penthouse," Lucifer shrugs, as the subject of his dispassionate assessment continues her struggle to free herself from her canvas confines. "Until I know more, this is the best I could come up with." 

"Da, out!" she whines pitifully, tugging on her dark, curly hair in frustration. Lucifer feels that flippy sensation in his chest again, and rubs his palm over his shirt irritatedly. 

"It speaks!" 

"Yes, I told you as much, brother," Lucifer rolls his eyes. "Unfortunately, it doesn't make much sense. The questions right now are where did she come from, and what do we do with her?" 

"I would assume you would call the LAPD, and let them find the parents?" 

"Yes, well, slight problem there." 

"What problem?" 

Lucifer unhooks the bag and moves to the open area of the sitting room before reluctantly helping the wriggling child free of its restraint. She stands, peering up at the two men before stretching her arms up toward them. 

"Up! Unca Meni, up!" 

Amenadiel glances at his brother in confusion. Lucifer holds up his index finger, rolls his shoulders, and his brilliant, pearly wings appear once more. The child shrieks with joy. "Weeeens!" 

"Luci, what are you–" he doesn't finish the sentence though, because he's too busy choking on the words. His eyes nearly protrude from his head in shock at the appearance of the fluffy pink wings now spread and flapping excitedly, leaving tiny bits of downy magenta specks floating in the eddying breeze. When he finally catches his breath again, he looks utterly terrified. "What is it?" 

"I was hoping you could tell me." Lucifer scoffs. "It can't be an angel, it's far too small. And look at this." 

He kneels next to the child, who moves eagerly into the circle of his outstretched arm. His fingers gently trace over the child's knee, which is starting to show the faint purpling of a bruise. 

"What happened?"

"She tripped and fell on the floor," Lucifer replies, folding his wings away. The girl pouts for a moment before doing the same, and Amenadiel gapes in wonder. "I was hoping you would know if Dad was experimenting with some new type of angel that starts out young, and can be injured like a human." 

"Father hasn't made anything new since He created humans," the angel shakes his bald head contemplatively. "I have no idea what this means." 

"Damn," Lucifer sighs. The little girl seats herself on his knee, leaning into him as he stiffens at the contact. "You were my only hope, brother." 

"She seems really comfortable with you, Luci," Amenadiel observes the pair of them. "How long has she been here?" 

"I'm not sure," he shakes his head, shifting the small body off his knee and rising to his feet. "She woke me up, and then when I saw the wings I was a bit shocked, and then she took a nap on me… at least a few hours, maybe more." 

"Da," She reaches up and tugs his fingers. He looks down at her curiously. 

"What is it, child?" 

"Is it calling you 'dad'?" Amenadiel asks incredulously. Lucifer feels simultaneous thrills of ice and warmth shoot through his body at the idea, even as he scoffs. 

"If she is, she is very confused," he snorts. "You know as well as I do that it's impossible." 

"Luci, I told you Linda's pregnant, right?" Amenadiel tilts his head suggestively. 

"Yes, but you were basically human when you and she were–" Lucifer begins dismissively, but Amenadiel cuts him off. 

"Luci, my point is that we don't know what's possible. Maybe what we think we know isn't accurate at all."

" Thousands of years of phenomenal sexual performances and no previous winged progeny isn't enough of a sample size for you, bro?" He scoffs. "Besides, we both know Dad would never allow me , of any of us, to become a father." 

"Da," The child insists, "hungee." 

"I suppose that means you're hungry, child?" 

"Not child," she huffs, crossing her arms. "Ro-ree." 

"Rory?" Lucifer asks, puzzled. "Your name is Rory?" 

"Ro-ree," she agrees emphatically, working very hard to correctly pronounce the 'r' sound. "Hungee, Da." 

Lucifer nods absently. "I suppose we should do something about that, then." He glances at his brother. "What do larval humans eat?" 

"Luci, you've forgotten more about humans than I've ever known." Amenadiel lifts his hands and backs a step away, though he looks as though he wants to say more on their previous topic. "Why not ask Chloe? She would know, she has a child." 

"Not an option," Lucifer snaps, his tone and expression rigid. Amenadiel stares at him in curious concern, but he offers nothing more. "Perhaps I can ask the Doctor." 

"While you're doing that, maybe I can check with Raphael to see if he knows what we're dealing with." 

Lucifer considers for a moment, staring back at the disconcertingly familiar eyes gazing up at him and wishing with a pang that his mother was here. She would know what to do, surely. He nods slowly, reluctantly agreeing with his brother’s plan even though he knows getting answers from Heaven would be as likely as getting timely loan repayment from an inveterate gambler. 

Amenadiel takes a last look at the odd little girl standing at his brother’s knee before he spreads his wings to leave. She grins at his fluffy grey wings, but they don't elicit the squeal of joy that the appearance of Lucifer's have been heralded with each time. 

"Unca Meni, bwing Chawwie to pway?" 

Amenadiel transfers his blank stare to Lucifer, who merely shrugs in response. 

"I'll be back once I've seen what information can be found about this creature," Amenadiel vows seriously. "Perhaps I can see if Raphael has any insight into Linda's situation while I'm there." 

"Yes, yes, go frolic, brother," Lucifer smirks. "I'll keep you posted on what's going on with… this. Best not linger too long though, or your offspring may be in college by the time you return." 

Amenadiel's dark eyes widen at the reminder that time passes more quickly on Earth than in Heaven, and he vanishes into the sky without another word.

"No Chawwie?" 

"I… suppose not, " Lucifer settles for a generic response since he has no idea what a chawwie is (but it's clearly not here), and the child heaves a despondent sigh against him. 

"Hungee!" She says again, with more than a hint of impatience this time, and Lucifer runs his tongue over his teeth as he considers. 

"Alright, child, Rory," he corrects himself at her annoyed huff. "I don't know what to feed you, but I know someone who will. I need to find my phone. Do you know what gummy bears are?" 

"Gummeeeeee!" 

"I'm going to assume from the enthusiasm, that's a yes." He digs around in the couch cushions until he finds a half-eaten pack of the sugary treat, wrangles the child back in the bag and hangs her from the hook again. He watches her happily popping candy into her sticky maw for a moment before he goes to look for his phone. 

He checks back in frequently, though he doesn't know what he expects to find. The child is restrained and safe, after all. Twenty minutes later, he's cleaned up the worst of the mess but failed to locate his phone. 

"Well, child, it appears we'll be taking a little road trip," Lucifer remarks as he enters the bathroom yet again. He finds her happily crinkling the empty bag and cooing to herself. "And, as I don't trust you not to make a mess, we're going to leave you in your restraint. Shall we go?" 

He doesn't know why he bothers to ask, or why his lips stretch in an involuntary smile when she claps her sticky hands and cries, "Go!" excitedly. 

"First things first, you're not getting anywhere near my car with that level of grime on you." He grabs a hand towel and soaps it liberally, wiping down the protesting toddler ruthlessly before rinsing it and wiping her down again. Then, after staring at her with narrowed eyes for a moment, grabs several more towels and tucks them under his arm before lifting the bag from its hook and heading for the elevator. 

"Mr. Morningstar!" Patrick hails him happily when he steps off the elevator and into the parking level at Lux. "It's great to see you out and ab- Holy crap is that a kid? In a bag?" 

"Patwick!" Rory coos happily, and both men look down at her in surprise. She waves and grins excitedly, "Da, Patwick!"

"Dad?" Patrick's jaw drops as he stares at Lucifer, who shrugs and shifts uncomfortably. The bag hangs from his elbow as though it weighs nothing, and Rory swings her bare feet and giggles as it sways. 

"Don't ask, I've no idea. She turned up in my penthouse while I was asleep and the elevator locked. I'm taking her to a friend to find out what I need to feed her until we find her progenitors." 

"Uh," Patrick exhales uncertainly, aware that he could be walking into a trap but determined to do so anyway. "You're taking her in a bag?" 

"Would a crate be more appropriate?" Lucifer asks artlessly. "I could stop by a pet store, but I wasn't sure if they had cages big enough for–" 

Artwork by LustForArt

"Whoa," Patrick interrupts worriedly. "You need a car seat." 

"Yes, the Corvette has those. Two, in fact," Lucifer scoffs, "Thank you, Patrick." 

"No," the bartender jumps nervously in front of his boss. "I mean a child's car seat. And… you really shouldn't carry her in a tote bag." 

"No?" 

"Yeah, definitely no." Patrick glances longingly at the elevator before turning back toward his car. "Look, I help my sister out a lot with my nephew, he looks about her age. I've got a carseat and a sling you can use until you get her back with her parents." 

"Oh," Lucifer blinks in surprise. "Thank you, Patrick, that's surprisingly helpful. Although I don't know exactly why one would need a sling? Surely you humans don't actually fling your offspring?" 

"Uh…." Patrick's green eyes widen in alarm. "No, definitely no flinging. It's this fabric, uh, thing that the kid gets buckled into and it straps to your body so you don't have to hold onto them all the time." 

"Oh, well that's far more boring than I'd imagined, so that means you're probably right. I don't suppose you know what to feed her?" 

"Yeah, I'm not an expert," Patrick laughs. "Bert only eats cheerios and goldfish crackers when he's with me, and that's not really healthy for actual food." 

"Hm," Lucifer files this information away as Patrick pulls a bulky seat from the back seat of his car and what appears to be a backpack from the boot. 

"So, these aren't really supposed to be in the front seat of cars, but you’re friends with the cops,” he grins, but remains focused on carefully buckling the enormous contraption into the Corvette's passenger seat so he misses Lucifer’s barely-restrained flinch. “Since it's only temporary, you're probably okay," he turns to remove Rory from the bag and finds her asleep, draped over the top like a rag doll. 

"She just slept a few hours ago. Is that normal?" Lucifer asks anxiously, and Patrick looks up at his boss in surprise. 

"Kids sleep a lot," Patrick shrugs, "But I don't really know what's a normal schedule for one. Hopefully, your friend will, or you'll find the parents or a foster family for her soon." 

"Foster family?" Lucifer frowns at the unfamiliar term. 

"Yeah, somebody to take care of her until the police find her real family." 

"I… assumed she would be staying with me." 

"Uh… wow, really?" The younger man clears his throat and focuses on showing Lucifer how to operate the safety straps as he tries to hide his shock. Seeing his boss with a kid had been shocking enough. The fact that he was actually willing to take care of it for any length of time? That was unbelievable. 

"Of course. She appeared in my penthouse. She seems comfortable in my presence." 

"Whatever works, sir," Patrick hides his smile at Lucifer's defensive tone. "This is the carry sling. You wear it like a backpack, and the kid sits in it so their chest is against your back." 

"How is a backpack any better than a tote bag?" Lucifer asks, baffled. "It's reusable canvas!" 

"I'm not sure, but… it is, somehow." 

"I defer to your experience," Lucifer shakes his head at the eccentricities of humans, "but it makes no sense to me. Plus it puts her grubby little hands within reach of my hair, and I can’t have that travesty." 

"You promise you're not actually gonna throw her, right?" He carefully adds a joking uptilt to the question, but Lucifer can sense the real concern behind the question. Patrick has always had a kind heart, and he reassures him easily. 

"There will be no flinging of the child," he promises. "Besides, if I did she would probably just manifest her wings and try to fly." 

"Weens?" Rory says sleepily, looking up at him and wriggling hopefully. 

"No wings, child, not in public." 

"Otay," She replies dejectedly. 

Patrick smirks at the exchange, well used to his boss' eccentricities by now, as he buckles the toddler into the seat, adjusting the safety harness to the appropriate fit with Lucifer watching closely. "Just, uh, be careful driving, okay? They're pretty fragile at this stage." 

Lucifer glances down at the blooming bruise on the tiny knee and nods in understanding, a surge of protectiveness washing over him at the idea of the child suffering further injury under his care. 

"Thank you, Patrick, for the loan of the safety equipment. I'll get it back to you in one piece." 

"Sure thing, boss," the bartender shrugs off the thanks and heads back toward the elevator for his shift. "Hope you find her parents soon!" 

"Me too," Lucifer murmurs as he slides behind the wheel. "I have quite a lot of questions for them."

Chapter Text

Linda's entire building is closed when he arrives, and he curses under his breath at forgetting something so simple as the time of day. 

He glances at the sleeping child next to him, wondering how long he has before it wakes and demands sustenance again. Humans are fragile, and probably can't survive for long on gummy bears alone. Granted, he doesn’t think she’s human, but she certainly bruises like one.

Linda's home is across town, and with traffic, this time of day is too far away to be reasonable in terms of getting information in time to feed this little goblin. Who else can he ask? 

Miss Lopez . He considers. She’s human, and female, both points in her favor even if she doesn’t actually have a child. It's problematic in that the Detective may still be at the precinct, but he knows her haunts well enough that he'll likely be able to avoid her. He shakes his head, narrowing his eyes in annoyance as he turns his Corvette toward the station. At least it's not far away. 

He breathes a sigh of relief when he doesn't see the Detective's cruiser in the parking garage. Wanting to remain a little inconspicuous, he parks away from his normal space before puzzling out how to remove the child from the seat and insert it into the sling.

He manages the removal but the sling defeats him, the unconscious child merely oozing out from however he tries to place her. He grabs one of the towels and drapes it over his shoulder before picking up the snoring toddler with a resigned sigh and allowing her to snuggle loosely against him. 

He dials his magnetism as low as it will go, hoping to avoid attracting too much attention. It seems to work, as he's only stopped twice on his way to the lab, both times by people merely wanting to coo over the child. He manages to brush them off quickly with a brusque, "Are you blind? The child is clearly peacefully sleeping, kindly let her remain so!" 

A ridiculously strong wave of relief sweeps over him when he spots the forensic scientist in her lab, contentedly bobbing her head to the music her headphones are pumping into her ears. He ignores the pang in his chest when he catches sight of the Detective's unoccupied desk, his empty chair sitting forlornly beside it. 

It’s been nearly a month since he’s been unwelcome here, and he wonders who sits in it now. Do they make sure she smiles? Do they make sure she eats something other than those vile vending machine horrors they call sandwiches?

Do they make sure she’s safe?

He clears his throat to dispel the lump that forms in his throat at the idea of being replaced… at the idea of her replacing him, forgetting about him and moving on. He wishes he had the luxury of forgetting. And yet, he wants to remember everything.

Ella spins at the sound, a wide smile forming when she sees who her visitor is. Once she sees what he's carrying, though, her eyes widen and the smile becomes incandescent. 

"Oh. My. God!" She exclaims, thankfully quietly. "Who is this ? Oh my… Lucifer, is this why you haven't been working with us? Is she yours? What's her name?" 

The presence of the toddler at least guarantees his immunity from a hug this once, so he counts that as a small win for the day. He glances down at the girl, whose face is now buried against the side of his neck. 

"Er, no, that’s not...” He clears his throat and addresses the other questions instead. “This little miscreant just appeared today. She says her name is Rory. I'm working on locating her family, but in the meantime, I need to know what to feed her to ensure her health. I was hoping you may have some wisdom in that field?" 

He glances up beseechingly, only to be greeted by a grinning Ella snapping photos of him cradling the child against his hip. 

"Really, Miss Lopez?" 

"This is possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen, and that includes the show I caught with Skippy the water-skiing squirrel."

Lucifer blinks at her blankly, not entirely certain she's speaking English, or how he feels about being compared to a rodent performing watersports. "I don't know what any of that means, but the child has indicated that she's hungry, and I've no idea what proper sustenance for her entails. Can you help me, Miss Lopez?" 

"Um, I guess I can try? I mean, I'm not around littles all that often, but I used to babysit a lot when I was younger. How old is she?" 

"I've no idea," Lucifer scoffs. "My best guess is that she's younger than the Detective's offspring." 

Ella snickers. "Right, you're not much on kids. Okay. Where did you say she came from?" 

"Again, no idea. This afternoon, she woke me from a dead sleep by sitting on my chest and repeatedly touching me with her sticky paws. My lift had been locked, and no one else was there." 

"Hmm… almost like a locked room mystery!" Ella snaps one more photo of the pair of them, then tucks her phone away before she approaches. "Okay, well, hopefully, they'll find her family soon, though she seems really comfortable with you. The nice thing is, she's old enough to have just regular food. You'll have to cut it up small, and you can just let her eat with her hands." 

Lucifer looks at her in horror, and she can't help but laugh. "The not-so-nice thing is that kids this age are usually super picky, and they love to throw things."

"What age is that?" 

"Eh, not really sure, maybe 2-3 years? Is she wearing a diaper?" 

"Er, no. She was very good about telling me when she needed the loo." 

"Oh, nice, you lucked out there, then." Ella winks at him, then turns toward one of her beeping machines. She keeps talking as she carefully slides a tray with an array of multicolored dots and lines into a slot on the machine. "Maybe 3 or 4 years, then. Snag some string cheese, applesauce, and chicken nuggets. Make sure she gets some milk, if she doesn't have an intolerance. Try to avoid sugary stuff like candy, if you give her juice, cut it with water by about half volume. Other than that, you can offer her normal food, simple stuff. Kids can be super picky about what they eat, so good luck with that. You’ll need some patience to find what she likes, unless she can tell you. You just have to make sure everything is cut up into little bite-size pieces. No alcohol!

The last bit was accompanied by an admonishing finger waving in his direction, but he only scoffs. The Detective had always been very clear about that with her offspring, as well. He had always assumed human palates weren't refined enough at young ages to appreciate the finer points of alcoholic beverages. 

"Well, that is incredibly helpful information, Miss Lopez, thank you!" he grins, relieved at the simplicity of the answer. "I'll admit I was expecting to have to find some sort of required child chow, but this seems far simpler." 

Just then Rory stirs sleepily against him and he tenses. She blinks up at him with a beatific smile and her tiny hand pats his chest, chubby fingers folding loosely around the lapel of his jacket. 

"Da," she yawns widely, leaning her cheek back against his shoulder before her sharp brown eyes spot the newcomer. "Tee Ewwa!" 

The cry is jubilant, and the child stretches her arms out toward the woman, making grabby hand motions just as she had with Amenadiel. 

Lucifer and Ella stare at one another in surprise. 

"You know her?" 

"Did she call you 'Dad' ?" 

“I’ve never seen this kiddo before,” Ella shakes her head, but grins and holds out her hands, wiggling her fingers invitingly for the cheerful girl to come to her. Rory leans her direction eagerly, making happy noises. Lucifer willingly lets her go, though his side feels a little chilled where the warmth of her body had rested against him.

“Well that makes two of us, but she clearly seems to know you ,” Lucifer huffs, smoothing his hands over his jacket where the small hand had lain, checking for sticky spots. Fortunately, he doesn’t find anything, but he makes a mental note to re-adjust the towel when he takes the girl back. He’d put on one of his least favorite suits— a mustard-yellow monstrosity that he’d let his tailor talk him into— for just this reason. At least if he has to discard it, he won’t be losing something he actually likes.

Ella tickles Rory, who immediately starts wriggling. “Da! Poddee!!”

“Oh, bloody hell, not again,” Lucifer groans. “I don’t suppose you have any idea how often that particular phenomenon occurs, Miss Lopez?”

Ella looks blankly at him, then her attention is drawn to the squirming child in her arms and her eyes twinkle with mirth. “Sorry, buddy, little bladder, small capacity. C’mon kiddo, Auntie Ella will take you to potty this time.”

“Noooooo, Da-deeee!” Rory whines, reaching imperiously back for Lucifer.

“Looks like you’ve been adopted, buddy,” Ella smirks, giggles bubbling over at her friend’s resigned expression. “Look, I’ll make you a list of stuff to buy while you’re gone, okay? If she’s going to be with you for a day or two, you’re going to want some changes of clothes, too— kids get messy.”

Lucifer reluctantly holds out his hands and takes the straining toddler back. He settles her on his hip, and Ella stifles a smile at how awkwardly gentle he is. He points an accusatory finger at her as she giggles and grabs it with her fingers. “Do not urinate on me, child.”

“Ro-ree!” she demands, and Lucifer rolls his eyes dramatically. “Poddeee!”

“Yes, all right, we’re going,” he grumbles. “We’ll be right back, Miss Lopez. I appreciate the help with the supplies and care tips.”

The unlikely pair disappears toward the hallway that houses the bathrooms, and Ella pulls a sheet of paper from her notepad, quickly jotting down supplies. She’s only gotten a few lines down before a familiar voice drifts in from the door.

“Hey Ella, you got a minute?”

*

Chloe had been at the scene of a serious motorcycle accident once, ages ago as a uniformed officer, where the biker had appeared uninjured until they removed their helmet, collapsing immediately afterward. It turned out the biker’s skull had been shattered in the crash, and the helmet had been the only thing holding the pieces in place. She can’t remember if that biker lived or died now, but she’s pretty sure that’s what she feels like.

Nothing shows on the surface; no wounds, no bruises or protruding bones, but she is shattered. Her mind jumps tracks mid-conversation. She found her keys in the freezer the other day. She’d been acting strangely enough in the past few weeks that Trixie had actually asked to go stay with Dan for a little while. Now that she’s alone most of the time, she finds herself often brushing away tears that she hadn’t been aware were leaking from her constantly red-rimmed eyes.

She’d just had a crying jag in the parking garage of all places, because she’d passed by a car that looked like Lucifer’s on the way in. She’d almost backed up to look at the plate, but then she’d spotted a child’s seat in the passenger seat, and kept going. Obviously, it wasn’t Lucifer’s car. He wouldn’t come here now, anyway, and certainly not with a safety seat riding shotgun.

Not after what she’s done.

Not after the running, and the lying, and the plotting. When she looks in the mirror, she can barely recognize herself now. Is it even possible that she’s the same person she was two months ago? 

The person that was engaged to a crime boss, even though she was pretty sure she was in love with her slightly-unreliable partner? The person that didn’t believe in an afterlife, or some cosmic ruling force of the universe, who only believed in sensible, concrete things that could be seen, felt, and proven?  

She doesn’t see how she could possibly be that person anymore. That Chloe would never have been able to comprehend the level of fear that knowing it’s all real could bestow. Could never entertain the idea of conspiring with a stranger to harm another person, let alone her partner. Could never begin to suspect that the man she was working so hard to convince herself that she wasn’t in love with was truly everything he claimed to be… except a monster.

She feels like she’s become something new, yet ancient. Like she’s risen from the ashes of herself, only to find that everything she’d loved before has now been reduced to dust courtesy of her own fear-driven reactions. 

When Lucifer had turned to her with tears in his eyes that night, begging to know how she could have done… what she’d done… it hadn’t been fear that had flooded her, then, not even when he’d flipped whatever celestial switch he keeps inside and presented his other self to her. 

Not fear, at least not primarily, despite her sobbed excuse of being terrified. She had been terrified when she’d seen him standing over Cain. When she’d finally been forced to face the truth, the brilliant light of a thousand suns had filled the dark room that had previously been her world, her life. Nothing was the same. Everything she’d known to be true, everything her blind self had felt and drawn conjectures on without seeing the whole picture had been the lie… and Lucifer had finally shown her the truth, after simply telling her for so many years and hoping to be believed.

To be trusted.

To be accepted.

Once she’d returned from Rome, she had gotten past the fear of him fairly quickly… mostly. But she’d had a harder time disentangling him from the cosmic truths now swirling around her in a maelstrom of towering beings so far beyond her ken and comprehension that she still can’t wrap her mind around any of it. 

But it hadn’t been fear that had ruled her when he’d confronted her about her actions that night in his penthouse, at least not of him. It had been shame. A deep, overwhelming well of guilt and self-castigation that had bubbled up from her brand-new awareness of the toxic depths of darkness swirling inside her. She was certainly afraid— she was terrified how very easily Kinley had manipulated her, at how far she had gone down a path that had become so dark and twisted that she could no longer see the way out until it was nearly too late. It was paralyzing to contemplate an incomprehensible life beyond life. She was petrified at how very small she felt, and how very large he seemed in their respective roles.

He’d turned away from her, but his reflection in the window had been clear as crystal. His eyes dark and wet, his upper lip trembling in a restrained snarl, lines of pain written deeply in his beautiful, agelessly ancient countenance. In that moment, she couldn’t fathom how she’d ever thought him human.

Because no human could bear the amount of torment, of agony that she’d briefly been allowed to witness, before he’d closed himself to her. No human could hold the weighted memories of such ancient wounds in the depths of their eyes. 

The tired chime of the elevator alerts her that she’s arrived on her level, and she pulls herself out of her reverie with a herculean effort. Everything takes so much more effort these days. Without a partner to rely on, each case seems to drag on far longer than it should, though her solve rate remains higher than average. The number of inquiries about her former partner have fallen, but she still fields plenty from co-workers hopeful that their ebullient Devil of a consultant will come back to work. 

She tells them he’s taking a sabbatical. A much-deserved break from his relentless drive for justice. That she doesn’t know when, or if he’ll be coming back, but she thinks he might be enjoying himself so much that he’s likely to choose not to return. 

Because as far as the LAPD goes, she’s fairly certain they’d rather have an effervescent Lucifer on their team than a prickly Detective Decker, and she tells herself that’s not depressing at all. She takes the stairs toward the bullpen and pauses at her desk for a moment, debating whether to just call it a day, or talk to Ella first. She’d seen her friend in her lab, head bent diligently over her table, no doubt poring over findings for a case. She glances at the file in her hand and rubs her eyes. 

Just a few more minutes. I’ll talk to Ella, then call it a day.  

She turns toward the lab and finds her friend scribbling quickly on a loose sheet of paper.

“Hey Ella, you got a minute?”

“Hey Decker!” she looks up from her writing with a welcoming grin, and Chloe steps into the lab. “Yeah, I was just jotting down a quick list for–” A machine chimes and Ella alerts on it like a Pointer. “Oh, hold that thought, gotta print off these results so I can get the next one started. What did you need?”

“I’m looking for the findings on the murder weapon for the Riley case. I was sure I had them, but now I can’t find them, and…” she sighs, running a hand roughly over her fraying French braid. “I’m sorry, I’m a mess.”

“Don’t worry about it, I’ve got you,” Ella moves to her computer and flips to a new screen. “I can print you a new one. Dan was looking for it too, he might have nabbed yours.”

Chloe steps into the lab, setting the folder down on the table and glancing curiously down at the paper Ella had been scribbling on. A shopping list? For… a kid?

“Got any tips for last-minute emergency toddler supplies?” Ella asks, returning to the table with her printout of the requested results and noticing her interest. “Or tips for a total kid newbie?”

“How old is the kid?” 

“Not really sure. Maybe around 3?” Ella shrugs. “She can talk, and she’s apparently potty trained, but that’s really all we know.”

“How do they not–”

“Yes, but we’ve been through this twice now, and I’m telling you that trousers are mandatory when in public,” a very familiar petulant voice wafts through the door. “I don’t like it either, but humans can be quite prudish, especially here in America, so it’s something we must simply learn to deal with, all right?”

“No.”  

“Saying ‘no’ in that definitive tone doesn’t change the outcome of the situation, I’m afraid,” Lucifer chides, his voice sounding oddly distorted. “And the improbable largeness of your eyes right now does nothing to sway me on my trouser stance, you miniscule menace. If I must wear them, then so must you. What is your fascination with my cheeks, child?”

A joyful giggle precedes the appearance of a sight that Chloe Decker had never in her life expected to see: Lucifer Morningstar, the debonair Devil, playboy extraordinaire, deep in conversation with a laughing, dark-haired toddler clinging to his chest like a baby koala. The little girl has both hands firmly on his stubbled cheeks, smooshing them together until his lips form a reluctant duck face. 

That explains why he’d sounded so strange when he was speaking. She stares unabashedly, her jaw actually dropping in surprise as he enters the room in a fawn-colored suit and slate-blue shirt. It’s not one that she’s seen before, and while it’s not the most flattering, he manages— somehow— to pull it off without a hitch. Her heart rate kicks up at his unexpected proximity, but he’s only got eyes for Ella, turning to her with a puckered smile, due to the child’s hands still squeezing his cheeks into a distorted moue.

“My apologies for taking so long Miss Lopez, this one apparently intends to join a nudist colony at the earliest opportu–” his warm tone cuts off as he realizes they’re not alone in the room. Chloe watches, stricken, as the openness in his expression slowly slides into a blank mask, despite the toddler continuing to mash his cheeks between her tiny palms. His arms instinctively tighten around the child and a muscle tics in his jaw.

Right on cue, her memory serves up one of the (many) moments she wishes she could take back since realizing the truth of her partner, on location at The Cabin, for their second case after she’d returned from Rome.

“So... You don't bite the heads off of children?”

“Uh, no. Of course not. I detest the little creatures. And I'd certainly never put one in my mouth.”

She stares wide-eyed at the pair, but Lucifer’s eyes skate over her and settle again on Ella instead. He remains standing stiffly in the doorway, not acknowledging her beyond a brief nod. “I do indeed appreciate your help with the supply suggestions, darling. If you’ve got that list, we’ll just be on our way.”

The little girl turns in his arms, then, and Chloe’s heart lurches. She looks so much like Trixie had at that age. How had Lucifer wound up with a child in his care? What kind of a mother would allow that? Her dark eyes light up with joy and she reaches out an open hand. “Mommeeeee!” She turns excitedly back to Lucifer, tugging on his earlobe as he tries to twist his head from her grasp. “Da! Mommee!! See Mommeeee!”

Chloe’s heart flips in her chest and she’s already reaching out to the delighted little girl when Lucifer’s placating voice rings out.

“Yes, we’re working on finding your mother, Rory,” he sighs, his eyes closing briefly. Chloe takes the opportunity to force her hands limply back to her sides. “Food first though, yes?”

“Hungee!” The toddler agrees vehemently, still reaching toward Chloe with a beseeching expression that tugs at her heart far more than it should. “Mommee work?”

“I suppose that’s possible, child,” an annoyed huff from the baby has Lucifer lifting his eyes to the ceiling accusingly. “Rory. Let’s take Miss Lopez’s list and we’ll go get your supplies.”

Ella, who had just completed the list, hands it to him hesitantly, glancing back and forth between Lucifer and Chloe with wide, curious eyes. “Do you need any help with her?”

“I’m sure we’ll manage,” he sniffs, as he tucks the list into his pocket and turns to leave. “I truly do appreciate the assistance, Miss Lopez. I’d say you were a Godsend, but I think I’ve had rather enough of those to go on with. Enjoy the rest of your evening.”

The toddler melts into Lucifer’s arms, resting her cheek on his towel-covered shoulder and waves her hand wistfully at the two women as Lucifer carries her away. “Buh-bye! Bye Ewwa! Bye Mommee! Wub you!”

“Awww, love you too, Rory! Be good!” Ella calls after them, waving enthusiastically as Chloe stands frozen, staring at the stiffly retreating shoulders of her former partner and the plaintive expression on the little girl’s face, wondering why her heart feels like it’s being ripped to shreds. 

“Okay, spill it.” Ella’s determined face suddenly fills her vision. “What was that?”

“Where did he get a kid?” Chloe splutters. And why did she call me Mommy?

“He hasn’t told you?”

“We’re… not speaking.” I kind of tried to kill him and lied a whole lot, and now I don’t know how to even start trying to repair that mistake.

If I ever can.

“Yeah, that was pretty obvious,” Ella scoffs. “What happened? And why is Rory calling him Dad and you Mommy?”

“I’ve never seen that kid before now, Ella,” Chloe rolls her eyes, but her heart pounds in her chest. She’s well aware of Lucifer’s sexual history. The girl is obviously comfortable and familiar with him… she looked enough like him that she could be his. “Little kids confuse people for their parents all the time, especially from a distance.”

“She knew my name, too, and I hadn’t seen her before now,” Ella shakes her head, a contemplative look in her eyes. “She called me ‘Tee Ewwa’, which aside from being the cutest thing ever , is maybe what? Auntie Ella?” 

“How would she know you, if you don’t know her?”

“I dunno,” the scientist shrugs, her gaze sharpening on her friend. “But I do know that you’re evading the question of why aren’t you and Lucifer speaking? Is it because of Pierce? Because that dude is so not worth losing what you two have.”

“It’s Pierce, but it’s also not Pierce. There’s… it’s too much, Ella, I can’t explain it,” Chloe’s eyes drift out the lab door where Lucifer and his tiny passenger are disappearing through the silver elevator doors. 

She called me Mommy. What does that mean? What is he up to?

“Did he say anything else about the girl?”

“Just that she appeared in his locked apartment this afternoon and woke him up, and that she was hungry, so he needed tips on feeding while they locate her family.”

“He’s working with Missing Persons?”

“I guess so? How else would they find her family?”

“Did you check with them?”

“Of course I didn’t check— Chloe, what is going on with you?”

“With me? ” Chloe blurts. “Lucifer Morningstar despise s children, why on Earth would he be caring for one? Why would Missing Persons leave an abandoned child with the biggest degenerate in Los Angeles when they have vetted people with child care experience ready and waiting for these kinds of situations?”

“Wow,” Ella’s eyes are wide, and she takes a cautious step back from her friend. “Kinda harsh, there, Chlo’, not gonna lie. The kid seemed super happy with him, and he came to someone he trusted for information on how to best care for her. I don’t know what happened between the two of you, but I know he’s got a huge soft spot for your kid, and I know she loves him to pieces. You never had a problem with him being around her before.”

“Yeah, well…” Chloe sputters incoherently, inexplicably upset by watching Lucifer walk away from her without a word, carting this unknown child. “That was before.”

“Before what?” Ella asks reasonably. “One thing I know, Lucifer’s heart is always in the right place. He’s trying to help that kid the best way he knows how.”

“That’s what I’m worried about,” Chloe mutters, “he doesn’t know anything.”

“C’mon, he’s got a huge family, he had to have been around kids at some point. Even if he was the youngest, with as many siblings as he says he has, the older ones would have been spitting them out as he was growing up.”

“Maybe,” Chloe accedes with a sigh, knowing she can’t win this conversation without Ella having all the facts. “Can I get that report? I’m gonna finish the Riley case paperwork and head home. I’m beat.”

“Yeah, sure,” Ella hands her the printout, giving her the side-eye. “Get some rest.”

Chloe hesitates, unsure if she should try to salvage the conversation. She feels like she’s acting like (like Lucifer) a lunatic, but she doesn’t have the energy to spare to worry about her ex-partner (the Devil) and whether or not he’s now kidnapping children.

Lucifer wouldn’t kidnap children , a second inner voice speaks up solidly. That’s Kinley talking, not you. You know exactly how you can find out the truth. The same exact thing you could have done last time, and didn’t.

“Yeah,” she rubs the bridge of her nose carefully. “You’re right Ella, I could use some rest. Thanks for printing this off for me, I appreciate it.”

Chloe sits at her desk and pulls out her phone, hovering over Lucifer’s contact information. Why haven’t I deleted this yet? He’s never coming back, and I really can’t blame him. Her finger hesitates over the phone icon, but at the last second she changes her mind and sends a text instead.

If you need help with Rory, I’ll help. Kids aren’t easy.

Yes. That should do. She sets the phone aside and completes the Riley case report, depositing it into the new Lieutenant’s inbox before packing up for the night. She checks her phone hopefully, but not only does she have no response, her message hasn’t even been read.

Well, that’s just inconsiderate. She scowls at the device in her hand before sliding it into her pocket. I’m only trying to help.

Right, that other little voice pipes up again. And how many messages from him did we ignore while we were chumming it up with a priest hell-bent on banishing him to Hell, hm? I can’t remember, did he beg us for an assurance of our safety for the full month we were gone, or was it only three weeks and a few days before he gave up?

She ruthlessly suppresses the memory of those frantic, then hopeless messages, turning her thoughts to other things. Does she still have some of Trixie’s old things at home? She thinks she does. She and Dan had always had a second child in the back of their minds… a fantasy for ‘later’, when life had settled down. 

She snorts quietly as she unlocks her car door and slips behind the wheel. Settled down. Yeah, because that’s definitely what happened. She drives home on autopilot, blinking in surprise at the front of her building once she arrives. How long had she been sitting in this parking space idling?

Whenever Trixie isn’t around, her evening routine includes scrounging together dinner and catching up on whatever little chores have fallen by the wayside in busier times. With Trixie choosing to stay with Dan for a while due to Chloe’s recent, odd behavior, that’s exactly what she does tonight. She keeps her phone in her pocket with the ringtone volume up, telling herself that she’s not at all hoping for (or expecting) any communication from Lucifer. She’s already broken his trust so thoroughly, why would he reach out to her, even for help he might desperately need?

Especially for help he might desperately need. 

Later, she finds herself in the attic without any apparent conscious decision to go there, sorting through boxes upon boxes that should really have been donated or thrown away by now. She finds one labeled Trixie, 3-4y , and pulls it from the stack, heaving it down the awkward folding staircase and into the tiny laundry nook. Sorting through the clothing, she nods to herself. They seem about the right size for the little girl that had clung so happily to Lucifer. She even comes across a set of purple overalls like the girl had been wearing at the station. 

Once she pops the entire contents of the box into the washer, she goes back up to the attic to see if she can find any of Trixie’s old toys. She’s pretty sure they’d all been donated, but she has time, so it certainly can’t hurt to check. 

An hour later, she decides that the attic is clear of old toys, so Chloe takes the opportunity to do a covert run on Trixie’s room, and does find several toys there that haven’t been touched or played with in years. She takes them to the sink to soak in a diluted bleach solution, then goes to switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer. Another hour of scrubbing and drying later, and the toys are clean and ready for a new owner, and the clothes are ready to be folded.

Staring down at the box of neatly-folded clothes and the bag of clean, previously-loved toys, she doesn’t second-guess herself. She’s far past that now, well into fifteenth and sixteenth guesses, but she gathers her courage and transports her treasures out to the cruiser. 

Even if he wants nothing to do with me, I’m positive he won’t turn down something to keep the kiddo occupied for a little while.

It’s late by the time she arrives at Lux, well past nine, but she knows Lucifer is a night owl by habit, so she isn’t too concerned. She smirks at the idea of him having to deal with a cranky toddler up well past her probable bedtime, and wonders again exactly how the hauntingly familiar little girl came to be in his care. 

She won’t wonder long, because she intends to find out. She pulls in a deep breath as she parks— her reserved parking space hasn’t been removed yet, and she wonders if that’s just because his staff hasn’t gotten around to it yet, or if he just doesn’t care enough to give the order until he needs it for someone else.

Maybe he forgot he gave it to me.

She ignores the aching pang in her chest at the thought of her place in his life being reassigned to someone else… it’s nearly as bad as the yawning chasm his absence has left in her life. She sucks in a deep breath and shakes her thoughts back to her current mission: Providing a devilish caregiver and a foundling child with some much-needed supplies. Getting them over to the elevator takes two trips before she calls the lift, but when she enters the carriage, the Penthouse button is dark and inaccessible. 

That’s… never happened before. Is the elevator broken?

She chooses the club level instead, and it delivers her there with a cheerful chime. The heavy bass downbeat thrums against her sternum as the doors open to the bustling club below, and she pauses on the mezzanine, half-fearing to find Lucifer on the dance floor, spinning the toddler in the center of a circle of adoring, scantily-clad clubgoers. 

When she doesn’t spy him on the floor, she breathes a sigh of relief and skips down the stairs when she spots Patrick behind the bar. He greets her with a smile as she approaches.

“Detective Decker!” he seems genuinely happy to see her. “It’s been a long time! I heard you were out of town, how was your trip?”

“Uh, it was… educational.” In the worst possible way. “I can’t get up to the Penthouse? I brought some stuff for Rory…”

“Oh, right, the lock!” His warm hazel eyes light up and he slides out from behind the bar, gesturing for her to follow as he jogs up the winding staircase. “Man, that kid is a cutie, isn’t she? So weird how she just turned up, but now you’re back I’m sure you two will have it all figured out in no time, huh? He probably hasn’t had a chance to give you the key yet, but I’ve got your back, Detective.”

He inserts a tiny key into an invisible slot and the Penthouse icon lights up at the top of the button array. He presses the button, then enters a code and removes the key. “All set! I’ve gotta get back to work, but I’ll see you around!”

I doubt it , she thinks grimly, but she smiles back at him anyway, grateful for the help. “Thanks Patrick, you’re the best.”

“Welcome back, Detective Decker, it hasn’t felt the same around here without you.” 

The doors close, and she’s suddenly nervous. Memories of the last few times she’s been in this elevator flood her mind, bringing with them fresh waves of now-familiar shame and guilt, and she has to focus on breathing or she’s going to lose the composure she’s been so carefully maintaining. 

Has the ride always been this long? Is it actually broken? Am I really having a nightmare right now, and when I step out of the elevator there will be a table set with grilled cheeses and a red rose and poisoned wine? 

The low chime interrupts her increasingly agitated thoughts, and she pulls in a sharp breath to steady her racing heartbeat. She sets the box down outside the doors, followed by the bag. There is no table, no candles. No sandwiches or poison. And no Lucifer or eerily familiar child, either. She doesn’t sense any movement in the flat. 

I could just leave the stuff here. He can figure it out. Probably.

But if she does that, if she ding-dong-ditches the supplies… she’ll never get the answers about the kid. 

How did she wind up here with you? Why did you decide to take care of her? Where did she come from? Why did she recognize Ella, and call me Mommy?

Honestly, it’s probably that last one that makes her decide just dropping off the supplies and leaving isn’t an option. She absolutely has to know. Rory had looked so heartbreakingly familiar, but she’s absolutely positive that she’s never seen the girl before.

“Lucifer?” she calls quietly, reluctant to wake Rory if she’s sleeping. She glances around. The penthouse is in disarray— many things that had been positioned elegantly on the floor have been removed entirely or moved out of reach of curious (probably sticky) fingers. 

Something inside her twinges as she spies a few plushie toys scattered around, and a fuzzy purple blanket tossed over the back of the couch, oddly coated in a light dusting of pink fluff.

She catches a small rustling noise coming from the bedroom, and hesitates by the couch before slowly shuffling in that direction. “Lucifer?”

When she reaches the foot of the marble stairs leading to the bedroom, she spies a lump under a fluffy white blanket.

She should definitely leave. He’s asleep, obviously the girl is asleep as well, or the place would be bedlam. Hell, maybe he’s found the parents by now, and the kid just wore the poor Devil out during their day together.

She turns to leave, flicking a wistful glance over her shoulder just as the white blanket twitches aside. She gasps in amazement as the blanket resolves into an enormous, shimmering, snow-white wing , and underneath it she spies a small, feathery fuchsia bundle. She slowly spins back to face the bed, jaw hanging slack as she blindly scales the stairs and approaches the sleeping figures. 

He’s got wings. Her mind short-circuits as she’s forcibly reminded that he’s not only the Devil, he’s a son of capital-G God… the fallen angel. He said he cut them off— oh, but then he said he had them back again, didn’t he? Are angels like starfish, re-growing limbs when they’re severed?  

Lucifer’s certainly prickly enough to be one. She stifles a snort at the wry observation, and it pulls her out of her shock. His wings are magnificent, snowy-white, and moving slowly with the ebb and flow of his even breaths. The gorgeous ones she’d seen on display at the auction don’t hold a candle to them at all. She shivers a little as she remembers the enormous, pebbled scars on his back, and the chunks of flesh that had been attached at the bases of the fake wings, and her mind veers away from imagining how it would feel to have such an integral part of oneself sliced away.

Keeping a wary eye on the Devil, she bends over to inspect the tiny pink mound, and can just make out a tousled head of dark hair tucked underneath Lucifer’s bristly chin. Suddenly there’s a magenta eruption as it moves, bending awkwardly backward and she gasps again— the child has wings too.

She must make some sound, because there’s a sudden whirl of blinding white and gleaming, deadly sharp feathers are pressed to her throat. She freezes instantly, and her eyes slowly slide from the beautiful, bladed feathers of death currently kissing her skin to the crimson, glowing eyes of the Devil. 

art by @wernchie

Chapter Text

“Detective?” His voice is raspy with sleep, and yet seething with menace. An involuntary, strangled sound escapes her and he pulls back imperceptibly, confusion flickering in the brilliant depths of his flaring eyes. It lasts only for an instant; he steels himself, his brow lowering as his eyes sweep over her, assessing her for weapons, no doubt. His gaze catches on her service weapon, and his voice is hard when he speaks again. “How did you get in here?”

“Er,” she hesitates when her voice squeaks from nerves, and he draws the threatening blades back a bit more so she can answer. She pulls in a trembling breath and works to hold her voice steady as she meets the eyes glowing like embers in the dim light. “Patrick let me up. I, uh… brought some stuff for Rory.”

His brow wrinkles further and the wing at her throat lowers to mantle protectively around the small body peacefully nestled into his arms. His eyes still burn brightly, though his expression loses some of the anger she’d seen when he’d first awakened. “Why are you really here? Surely you don’t think the child is a danger to humanity as well?”

“No, of course not, I…” she sighs, “I know you don’t have any experience with kids, and I offered to help. You didn’t respond to my text, so… I thought I would just bring some stuff by and make sure you were doing okay.”

“Oh, really?” he scoffs quietly, his eyes dimming as he glances down at the snoring toddler. “You wanted to be of service to the Devil, eh? What is it you’d like in return then, hm? What’s your plot this time? You think if you help me, then what, I’ll return to Hell out of gratitude for freeing me from this little imp?”

“Lucifer, I–”

“Because as you may have noticed, Detective, it may be rather difficult to find someone else to care for her until her parents are located. She tends to sprout pretty wings at the drop of a celestial hat. Good luck explaining that to the buffoons in charge of your pitiful Child Protective Services.” He hasn’t even bothered to sit up or raise his voice beyond a gritty whisper, simply glaring up at her from his sleeping position with the little girl tucked into his winged embrace. She feels like she should be terrified, to come upon the Devil in his lair this way, with his glorious white wings on display… and yet all she can see is her mercurial partner, protecting someone weaker than he from an obvious threat— her. “And child or no, I can tell you I vastly prefer this particular Hell to the one I left behind, so your reasoning is faulty.”

“No, you’re right, it seems like she’s in the best possible place for her,” Chloe takes a careful step back, holding her hands up and hoping that some distance will help convince Lucifer that she doesn’t mean any harm. Ignoring the sharp pain in her chest at his continued suspicions of her motives proves to be difficult, and she can feel a lump forming in her throat.

It's not like I don’t deserve the cynicism. But it burns anyway.

“I didn’t get to see everything that was on Ella’s list, but I, uh, thought you could use some clothes, and maybe toys to keep her busy? I brought some of Trixie’s old stuff– it’s all clean, and still in good condition.”

“Twix!” Lucifer’s wing wobbles and a dark, tousled head pops up above the top arch. Her tiny fingers grip the feathers over the sturdy bone and heavy brown eyes widen in surprise as she takes in Chloe standing by the bed. “Mommee! Where Twix? Seepytime?”

“Bloody Hell , not again.” Lucifer groans as he sits up and folds his wings away as Chloe gapes in amazement at the smooth, otherworldly movement. He glances down at the little girl with a cocked eyebrow, and she pouts in response. Chloe stifles a smile when she notices that Rory is wrapped in one of Lucifer’s shirts, the one he’d been wearing earlier today with the sleeves raggedly cut off at the elbow and her downy pink wings protruding from the back.

He sliced up one of his beloved shirts to make this kid some PJs.

“Da, weeens!”

“No, the deal was that you could have your wings out so long as you went to sleep. You’re awake now, the wings must be furled. Chop chop, child, a deal is a deal.”

Chloe rolls her eyes at her partner’s choice of vocabulary in his attempt to reason with a toddler, but finds her jaw dropping again as she merely huffs and rolls her shoulders in an awkward imitation of the man, folding her wings away into invisibility. She yawns hugely, stretching and rubbing her eyes sleepily. 

“Mommee seep?” she asks hopefully, yawning again and patting the mattress next to her in invitation. “Time fo’ seep!”

“You’re right, Rory, it is time for sleep,” she says gently, giving the drowsy toddler a warm smile. “I need to talk to Lucifer for a minute, so why don’t I grab one of your stuffies and you can snuggle with it until he comes back?”

“Weens?” Rory asks, her dark eyes lighting. “Seep, weens?”

“Yes, you little goblin, if you settle down to sleep, you may have your wings out. That was the deal.” Lucifer slips his legs off the far side of the mattress and stands, stretching slightly before reaching for his robe and sliding it over the satin sleep pants that sit low on his defined hips. She notices with a start that the giant scars that had once marred his back have gone, leaving nothing but a blank expanse of lightly freckled skin stretched over sharply delineated muscle. She’s still staring when he turns around, wrapping the robe tightly across his chest and tying the belt. “I thought you were going to choose a soft toy?”

“Right,” she blinks, stepping back again and nearly toppling down the stairs. She manages to catch herself with a small exclamation as she hears Rory’s anxious voice ring out,

“Otay, Mommee?” 

“I’m fine, sweetie,” the pet name just slips out, and she doesn’t try to call it back. “Just going to get your stuffie, one second.”

They do a little do-si-do at the doorway to the bedroom when Lucifer appears at the top of the stairs just as Chloe is returning with the toy. He eyes her suspiciously for a moment before stepping aside to allow Chloe the honor of delivering it to his ward. He gives her a mocking bow with a sweeping gesture as she passes him, but he doesn’t move any further away, guarding their interaction carefully. 

She presents the child with a small stuffed unicorn, and she immediately wraps her arms around it, squeezing tightly as she settles down into the same curled position she’d been in earlier with another stifled yawn. “Hosie song? Da, sing hosie song?”

Chloe looks to Lucifer, who merely looks baffled. “What song?”

“Pitty! Pitty hosies!” Chloe’s mouth opens in a soft ‘oh’ of recognition that Lucifer doesn’t miss. “Da-deee, sing pease?”

“I’m sorry, Rory,” he sighs, “I don’t know which song you’re asking for.”

“You no lie!” She sits up indignantly, lower lip jutting. “Nevah! You know song!”

“You’re correct, I don’t lie,” he responds evenly, his brows drawing in. “Therefore you should believe me when I say I am unfamiliar with the song you’re requesting.”

Rory’s little face crumples in disappointment, and Chloe speaks up. “Hey, Rory? I, um… I don’t sing as nicely as Lucifer, but I think I know the song you’d like to hear. Do you want me to sing it for you?”

“Pease?” She looks up at Chloe with those achingly familiar eyes shining with unshed tears, and Chloe can’t do anything but pull in a wavering breath, try to forget the Devil is watching her, and sing.

“Hush-a-bye, don't you cry, go to sleep you little baby.” Unseen behind her, Lucifer tilts his head as he observes the child relaxing back into the mattress with a relieved sigh, curling herself around the plush unicorn she’d picked out at the nightmarish box store earlier that evening. “ When you wake, you’ll have cake, and all the pretty little horses.”

She can feel the weight of the intensity of his gaze on her as she reaches over and tenderly brushes back Rory’s curly hair, smoothing it away from her face. She loses the tune only for an instant when the soft pink wings unfurl, mantling loosely around the girl’s body in a cocoon of feathery warmth.

“Blacks and bays, dapples and greys, a coach and six white horses. Blacks and bays, dapples and greys, all the pretty little horses.”

The wings slowly relax, drifting into a more comfortable position as Rory’s breathing starts to even out and Chloe softly finishes the song, “ Hush-a-bye, don't you cry, all the pretty little horses.”

She leans down and presses a soft kiss to Rory’s temple, her hand stroking the downy feathers of the now-limp wing sweetly as she pulls away without jostling the mattress. She turns, and blinks away the tears suddenly clouding her vision.

“Detective?”

She shakes her head, grabbing his hand and tugging him along after her until they’re far enough from the bedroom where they can have a low conversation without disturbing his guest.

Daddee. Mommee. Those hauntingly familiar eyes.

“Who is she, Lucifer? You really don’t know where she came from?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea,” Lucifer shakes his head in frustration, moving to the bar and pulling down a glass. He waves it in Chloe’s direction and after a minute hesitation, she nods her acceptance. He pours two glasses and slides one deftly across the bar to her. “My best guess is that she managed to flap up here somehow, but I don’t know how she managed to get in . The doors to the balcony were all closed when I woke. Amenadiel is Upstairs now, checking to see if anyone up there knows anything about this… enigma.”

“Lucifer, have you… have you really looked at her eyes?” She asks the question hesitantly, because yes, they remind her of Trixie, but even more than that… they’re his eyes.

“Detective, I have seen more of this child than I have ever wanted to see of any larval humanoid form,” he scoffs, shivering dramatically. She almost smiles at the response. “She knocked over a bag of flour as we were baking, and she had to have a bath . I don’t know how neither of us drowned.”

“Is she a screamer, or a giggler?”

“Bit of both, apparently,” he lifts a wry eyebrow. “Screaming going in, then had quite a bit of fun with my disgusted reactions at having to scrub her down, then shrieking again when it was time to get out.”

“Trixie used to do that, too,” Chloe smiles fondly. It fades quickly when she looks up and meets his bewildered gaze. 

“Why are you here?” He asks again, and this time there’s an undercurrent of frustration in his tone. “What do you want?”

“I just thought you could use… some help,” she wants to say ‘a friend’ or ‘a partner’... but she’s already torched those bridges too thoroughly to risk setting foot on them. “Like I said in my text, kids aren’t easy.”

“I didn’t get your text,” Lucifer growls, glancing around the chaos of his usually immaculate penthouse. “I’ve… misplaced my phone, and I’m sure the battery is dead, so I may never find it. Hell, I may have flung it off the balcony.”

How long ago did the messages stop? Chloe wonders, tucking her lip between her teeth. She glances around the penthouse again, taking in details she hadn’t absorbed before. The place has obviously been cleaned recently, but not thoroughly. Not to his usual exacting standards. Most of the fancy bottles lining the shelves are empty, or missing. There’s a fine dusting of white powder on a couple of the surfaces. Lucifer had seemed well-put-together at the station earlier, but he was fast asleep by 9:30 PM. 

She knows him by now. She knows how well he handles being alone. That is to say, how badly he handles being alone. Especially when he’s hurting. Guilt seethes nauseatingly in her gut. She certainly knows he’s hurting now, and she hates that she’s the reason why.

“Lucifer, are you… okay?”

He scoffs again, but doesn’t answer. He doesn’t need to. She’s positive he’s just as okay as she is, and now he’s dealing with a winged toddler on top of everything else.

“How is it that she has wings?” She sips the alcohol, focusing on the slow burn as it slides smoothly down her throat, warming the icy self-recrimination gnawing at her insides. “I mean… is she a younger sister of yours?”

“She is not an angel.”

Chloe looks up in disbelief, and Lucifer smirks at her incredulous expression. “It’s true, Detective, she is not an angel. First of all, we were made the way we are, no pesky growing pains required. Father demanded immediate perfection, and those of us that failed to meet those expectations… Well. Once we were no longer useful, he disposed of us .” Chloe senses a 'royal we' as his upper lip trembles as he restrains a snarl and she catches the faint crimson glow in his irises before it fades, almost too quick to see. How often had she noticed that before, and written it off as a trick of the light? He clears his throat and continues before she can think of anything reassuring to say. “But also, she tripped this afternoon, just after she woke me, and fell on the floor. Her knee has a rather impressive bruise on it now.”

“So?”

“So the only thing that can injure an angel is another angel, or celestial or infernal weapons. As much as I love my stone floors, they are merely earthly stone, and thus do not qualify as any of those.”

“That can’t be right. I’ve seen you– oh .” Her blue eyes go wide and seek his, but he looks away. 

She remembers their conversations weeks ago, where he’d admitted his vulnerability around her. With her nearness, he too can be injured by mortal means. He too can die. The knowledge that she had nearly become the weapon wielded against him strikes her again and again, like iron fists to the gut, the chest. 

The heart. 

She pulls in a wavering breath. “So, not an angel, then. A… daughter?”

Her stomach lurches at the idea of Lucifer having a child with someone that looks enough like her for the little girl to consistently think Chloe was her mother. Maybe he has a type?

“What? No!” He barks a laugh, a real one straight from his belly that he immediately stifles with a panicked look toward his bedroom that would have been funny in another circumstance. “Angels can’t procreate, trust me on that . If it were possible, well. You’re aware of my history, Detective, and that’s only in the 8 years I’ve been here on Earth. This isn’t the only visit I’ve made topside, only my longest. I’ve had many, many opportunities to plant seeds, and not a single one has sprouted. It would take a…” he cuts off his words with a choked sound, his dark eyes widening as he stares at her, panicked.

“She has your eyes, Lucifer,” Chloe presses gently, wondering what thought just occurred to him, “same shape, same color, same expressions. She has your hair, and clearly your imperious nature.” Lucifer just stares blankly at her until she continues, apparently caught up in his own racing thoughts. “And she calls you ‘Dad’.”

“That doesn’t mean anything, she’s called you 'Mommy' several times this evening. She's obviously an incredibly confused child!” He snaps himself out of his stupor, shaking his head in vehement denial. “Similarities to anyone can be found, if one looks hard enough. Younglings are amorphous, largely without their own shape until they’ve grown into themselves a bit. For example, she has your little turned-up button of a nose, Detective, and she wrinkles it just as you do when she’s confronted with something she finds unpleasant. She narrows her eyes and gets that same bloody look in them that you get when you think you’re being thwarted. She has your tone at times, and she is every bit as stubborn.”

“And she calls me ‘Mommy,’” Chloe breathes, glancing back at the bedroom, where the soft snores of the mystery girl echo faintly. Almost to herself, she whispers, “She asked for the Horsie song.”

“Yes, I’ll apparently need the title of that, so I can sing it for her later. It seems to be a favorite–”

“It was Trixie’s favorite when she was little,” Chloe muses, “my grandma used to sing it to me, and…” Her head snaps toward the box of clothes she’d brought, still sitting in front of the elevator doors. “Where are the clothes she wore today at the precinct?”

“In the hamper,” Lucifer replies slowly. “Bag of flour, remember?”

“Go get them.”

“What? Why?”

“Just… Please, Lucifer, I have an idea, and it’s insane.” She laughs bitterly, “ So insane, but you know what? My entire life has been insane for a couple of months now, so I’m just gonna go with it, and we’re gonna follow this lead. Go. Get. Her. Clothes.”

He watches her for a moment, head tilted. She stares steadily back, and finally, he finishes his glass and stalks off toward a hallway she’s never been down. She bolts for the elevator and grabs the box, digging fiercely until she finds what she’s looking for. 

She takes a steadying breath, smoothing the neatly folded garments and carrying them over to the bar in trembling hands. When Lucifer returns, he holds a similarly folded pile in his own hands, though without the trembling. 

“Detective?”

She waves him over and takes them from him, unfolding them and placing them side by side. The ones Lucifer had brought are clearly more well-used– a bit more faded, a little more frayed and worn and of course absolutely covered in a powdery white substance that she devoutly hopes is flour, but they’re identical. Chloe flips the overalls and a shaky sigh escapes. Lucifer unthinkingly leans closer, looking for what had caused her reaction.

It’s there. A stain that Chloe had tried every trick in the book to remove, but apparently whatever plant Trixie had landed in was the most stubborn on the planet. It had refused to budge from the fabric, and Trixie had loved those overalls so much that Chloe had simply dealt with the stain, despite her mother’s disappointed huff every time she spotted it. The outfits are the same. They’re not identical, they are the same outfits.

“I don’t…” he breathes, and he’s leaning so close now that his breath is hot against her ear and sends shivers down her spine. “What?”

“Lucifer… How?” She whispers. “She thinks we’re her parents. Is it… how is it even possible that I’m entertaining the thought that this is our kid?”

Chapter Text

Lucifer leaves the police station with a list of toddler supplies and a lead weight settling in his chest. Chloe had been frozen in terror just by his mere presence, eyes wide and blank. He seethes as he carefully buckles the child into her bulky safety seat, letting the burn of dejection slowly thaw the icy wave of his own anxiety at coming face-to-face with her so unexpectedly.

It’s not that he had expected anything different. Of course he hadn’t– why would she react any differently than any other human to seeing his face? He is the Devil, after all, and now she knows that.

“No you’re not. Not to me.”

Well. He’d known even then that she wouldn’t have been able to accept him. Allowing himself to even hope for anything more, anything better had been sheer foolishness on his part, driven home by her actions once she’d returned from her little Roman holiday with a vial full of poison with his name on it. 

He finally wins his war with the child’s safety straps and sucks in a sharp breath through his teeth, closing his eyes in an attempt to soothe and gather his raw nerves. A tiny hand rests softly on his cheek, and he looks down into Rory’s concerned eyes.

“Otay, Da?” The hand strokes down toward his chin before patting his jaw gently, the miniature thumb tracing along his cheek in such a familiar way that it feels as though he’s been punched in the stomach. 

“I’m… fine,” he croaks, and Rory pats his cheek again. He straightens, glancing around to make sure no one else had witnessed his moment of weakness. “Let’s go find you some food, darling.”

Rory solves the dinner problem quite neatly as they drive, opening her arms and squealing, “Nugs!! Nugs!!!” while gesturing wildly toward the golden arches perched at the crossroads. Lucifer isn’t entirely certain what ‘nugs’ are, but he recognizes a desire when he sees it, and reluctantly makes the turn.

He pulls in the drive-thru and quickly figures out the fragmented order spilling eagerly from the girl’s lips, then pulls off to the side where a small, unoccupied metal table sits. 

“Yes, child, I’m aware you’re hungry, but you are certainly not going to be ingesting anything in my car,” he grumbles as she struggles in his grasp. She tears into the food packaging with a ferocity that actually has him a little concerned, but she seems to manage feeding herself as he looks on in mildly fascinated horror. 

She decimates the so-called “happy” meal, even managing to finagle the straw to slurp the last vestiges of orange soda with a deafening rattle. He’s happy to see that it lives up to its name, providing her with some entertainment in the form of a cheaply made toy in the image of some random animated character. He fastidiously wipes down her face and hands before allowing her back in the car, which she tolerates with a minimum of fuss. 

He pulls the supply list from his jacket pocket and eyes it warily, as though it may bite. He glances at the babbling child next to him, and fiercely misses his cell phone. Without it, he’s going to have to venture into the near-hell of retail outlets in order to procure the supplies Miss Lopez has deemed essential.

He skims down the daunting paper, wondering how many stops he’s going to have to make, when a blaring horn catches his attention. He glances up, annoyed, and his eyes fall on a possibility. He glances at the girl again, then back up to the building that could prove to be his bane or his boon. 

“Well, Rory,” he sighs, turning the key in the ignition. “Have you ever been to a ‘Wal-Mart’? I’m betting with that ensemble you’re wearing, you have. I may need your help to survive intact.”

“I hep, Da! I hep!” she bounces in her seat, and an involuntary smile tugs at the corner of his mouth. 

“Right. Still not your father, by the way,” he glares at the boxy edifice before them, curling his lip at the garish yellow stylized star on the dull blue background as he pulls into the parking lot to choose his spot with care. “Venturing into the bowels of Hell, it is.”

It had taken him ten minutes to properly disinfect the cart and situate the squirming child properly in the torture device of a seat. (If she can bruise, surely she can become ill?) He skillfully evades Rory’s attempts to grab the list from his hands, and strides briskly down the cluttered aisles looking hopefully up at the aisle headings.

Rory spots a few things that she apparently already has a proclivity for, and gestures animatedly for them– loosely termed ‘fruit’ snacks (which seem to Lucifer like they’re basically gummy bears with a slightly healthier marketing strategy), Oreos (“Can’t argue with your taste, child, we’ll get two packages, shall we?”), and some yogurt sleeves (“Go-gurt? Sounds absolutely vile, but if you insist…”)

He rounds it off with Ella’s suggestions of string cheese, goldfish crackers, and various fruits then reluctantly turns to scan the store for the larval human section. 

After fending off the unsolicited advice of far too many eager women (and a couple of slightly shy fathers), he manages to choose 2 not-complete-travesties for the child to wear, along with packages of socks and undergarments. He glances down at the list one last time, wrinkling his nose at the last suggestion: 

Toys, ”, he mutters, and Rory perks up, her attention turning from crinkling the Oreo packaging. 

“Toy?” 

“Ah, we’re familiar with the term, hm?” Lucifer smiles wryly, “I suppose I’m not surprised. I’ll certainly need your help for this, then.”

He steels himself and stalks toward the brightly colored section, reluctantly approaching despite the sticky flooring and raucous sounds of unattended children playing in the aisles. “All right, which ones draw your fancy, child?”

Rory looks around delightedly, then points imperiously at the back aisle. “Puzza!”

Lucifer lifts an eyebrow, puzzled indeed, but he moves obediently in the direction she indicates, encouraged by the distinct lack of children in this particular aisle and Rory’s excited clapping. She bounces, causing the dilapidated cart to rattle outrageously, leaning and reaching for some of the boxes along the side. “ Puzza!!”

“Aha,” he lifts his head in understanding. “Puzzles. Clever thing, then, are you? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, what with your celestial qualities. All right, which one, then?” He glances at the wall, taking in the variety. 

“She wants a puzzle?” Lucifer glances to his left, startled to find an empty space there until he looks down. A child about the Urchin’s age stands there blinking up at him benignly from behind thick glasses.. 

Bloody Hell, am I a magnet for them now?

“So she says,” he replies cautiously, tensing in case this one shows the same inclination for sudden hug attacks that the Detective’s spawn seems to enjoy. “We were just choosing, so if you wouldn’t mind just–”

“You looked like you needed some help,” the girl smiles crookedly. “The puzzles are marked by age range, so that might help you narrow it down. She looks about the same age as my brother, and he loves these kind.” She gestures toward a wooden monstrosity that depicts multiple cartoonish sea creatures all fawning over a human boy in snorkeling equipment. Lucifer frowns.

“This is a highly inaccurate representation.”

“Right?” The girl agrees enthusiastically. “But it keeps him occupied and away from my stuff, so I just go with it.”

“Hm,” Lucifer eyes the girl with a new respect. “Well said, child, and a brilliant strategy. Thank you.”

“Sure,” she shrugs, then ducks in front of him to pick up an elaborate sea-life puzzle. “Good luck!”

Rory had spent her time during his conversation slowly maneuvering herself closer to the shelf with the puzzles, and managed to latch on to a die-cut dinosaur puzzle. 

“Oooh, nice choice,” Lucifer approves with a smile. “I was rather fond of those as well. Not an accurate rendering, but I can understand the misconception. Will that be all, then?”

Rory looks uncertainly at the wall of choices before her, then down at the puzzle clutched tightly in her hands. “Fishies?”

Lucifer follows her look and finds the box, pulling it off the shelf. “This one?”

“Fishies!” Rory clutches the dinosaur one, but reaches a hand toward the one Lucifer now holds as well. It looks a bit advanced for her supposed age, and Lucifer eyes her uncertainly. She senses his hesitation and sets her chin. He recognizes the look and doesn’t bother to argue, merely setting the box in the buggy. 

They have a heated disagreement over a stuffed cat (“I will not permit any form of domestic feline in my flat!”) and reach a compromise on a stuffed tiger, shark, and unicorn. With the addition of a few coloring books and an agonizing decision (on Rory’s part) between crayons or colored pencils (crayons win), Lucifer declares the trip successful and bolts for the exit. 

He’s glad he chose this suit now, because it will most certainly need to be burned. His skin crawls, and he marvels a little at how very different the press of humanity is here versus at Lux, where people are often packed much more tightly. 

After a mind-numbing checkout experience where a dead-eyed cashier had listlessly asked him if he’d found everything he’d needed, he hurries from the store with his mundane treasures. The cashier gapes after him with a stunned, “Uh, thanks!” when he tells the man to keep the change after throwing several hundred dollar bills on the counter and stepping back with an anxious glance toward the door. Rory waves at the stunned employee as they leave with a cheerful, “Buh-bye!”

The child falls asleep again in the car, and Lucifer resigns himself to yet another trip to the toilet when she wakes. His foot presses a little more heavily on the gas pedal when the worry crosses his mind about what would happen if she wakes before they reach Lux.

He takes advantage of the drive to think a bit about his current situation. From the time he was so rudely awakened by the oddly familiar fledgling to now, he’s really only had time to react and it’s left him feeling off-balance. Coming face-to-face with the Detective didn’t help that feeling, and had also stirred up the already angry nest of hornets humming in his heart. The single glimpse he’d gotten of her face before he’d resolutely turned away had told him exactly what she was thinking of– their little question and answer session at The Cabin, between interrogations. 

Seeing him with a child, after asking if he ate them must have really thrown her for a loop, even aside from her overall fear of him specifically. His lip lifts in a sneer and he turns from this train of thought. He’s already gripping the wheel so tightly his knuckles are shining white, and he doesn’t want to damage his beloved Corvette because of misplaced frustration at a narrow-minded human who really couldn’t help her reaction to him. It’s only natural, after all.

He flips tracks back to Rory’s appearance, and what he knows so far: Wings. Bruises. Problematic knowledge.

She’d known Ella immediately, by name. Well, more or less by name. She’d certainly recognized him , and Amenadiel, and even Patrick and the Detective, though where she was coming up with ‘Dad’, ‘Uncle’, and ‘Mommy’ is certainly beyond him. There’s not a chance in Heaven that Michael could have anything to do with this… is there? 

How? And, more importantly, why? It seems too much effort for a mere prank, and he can’t imagine how saddling him with an incredibly insistent toddler could be anything other than a cosmic joke… and a terrible one at that. He chases that particular trail of thought for the rest of the drive home, huffing in frustration as he pulls into his reserved parking space near the lift. 

He unpacks his purchases and takes them into the elevator before coming back for the sleeping passenger, lifting her into his arms with the awkward grace of building familiarity. The way the loose weight of her melts against him with utter trust and a contented little sound in the crook of his neck causes that strange little flip in his chest again. His brows contract as he looks down at the dark head nestled on his shoulder. Is he developing a heart condition? If fledgling angels can bruise their knees, can an ancient devil develop cardiomyopathy? 

He grumbles at his new security measures, using his gift with locks to bypass the tedious key and code routine, then drapes the toddler on his bed, chuckling a bit as she immediately rolls onto her stomach and starfishes extravagantly. He checks in with Amenadiel, and with a last glance at his now snoring guest goes to look for his phone again. 

He needs to talk to Linda. 

After another fruitless search, he acknowledges that there's a strong possibility that his phone had been destroyed in the weeks he'd been blindly maintaining his high. Maybe even before that. While the Detective had been plotting in Rome? He'd been sending her messages– merely asking for an assurance that she was safe– and he recalls a particularly despairing evening out on his balcony, ranting as always to the unresponsive night sky. That's the last time he recalls actually using the device. 

He'll order a new one tomorrow.

 He puts away Rory’s snacks, and wonders if he'll need to feed the creature again this evening. It's nearing sunset now… surely they sleep once the sun goes down at this age? 

He carries the bags of supplies to his guest room and looks it over critically. Removing his terribly contaminated jacket, he rolls up the sleeves of his slate blue shirt and gets to work accommodating his unconventional houseguest's needs. 

An hour later he's smoothing a fresh set of sheets on the guest bed and surveying the now echoingly empty room with a moue of disappointment. 

It looks like a prison cell. 

Or at least what he imagines a prison cell would look like. Too empty, and certainly not suitable for such a bright child. He heads for his linen closet and pulls out the fluffy white rug he'd intended to use as seating for his date with the Detective before everything had crumbled to dust. He follows that with several squashy throw pillows and drags them all back to the room, splaying them across the floor. They warm it considerably, adding a layer of friendliness that the child is probably too young to appreciate, but he's nothing if not a considerate host. 

He spins in the doorway and nearly trips over his yawning guest. She looks around in puzzled surprise. 

"Where bed?" 

"Er, there's one right in front of you, child, have you gone blind?" He gestures at the queen-size berth before them, but the child only scowls. She gazes up at him petulantly. 

“My bed! Where my bed?" She wanders into the room glaring at the available bed suspiciously. When she reaches the fluffy rug, she collapses onto it with a sigh. 

"Ooo, soft!" Rory spreads her arms and legs and starts moving them as though she's making a snow angel. "Fwuffy!" 

She seems to forget her disgruntlement with the bed in the sheer bliss of playing in the fluffy rug, and Lucifer merely stands in the doorway watching her for a moment, wondering why her enjoyment of such an inane thing is causing a warm feeling in his chest. After a time, she sits up, fingers threading themselves through the silky fibers. 

“I suppose you’re going to argue with me about going back to sleep,” Lucifer observes as the child warily eyes the large bed beside her again. 

“No seepy!” she shakes her head, wagging her feet back and forth so her little shoes click together at the toes. “Snack!”

Lucifer considers. It has been several hours since she’d eaten that processed monstrosity she’d called a meal, happy or otherwise, and Miss Lopez had advised him that she would probably eat small amounts fairly frequently. A snack is probably a reasonable request. 

“Snacktime, then,” he agrees affably, stepping back and moving toward the kitchen. A small grunt echoes from the room behind him, followed by pattering footsteps and tiny fingers clutch his hand as she catches up. “Why do all you small humans insist on grabbing hands?”

“Cake?” She ignores the question, driving right to the point of her hurry to catch up. “Choccy cake, Da?”

“We didn’t purchase any cake, you gremlin,” Lucifer points out. “And the Det– I’ve heard that sugar isn’t part of a preferable diet for younglings, particularly this time of day.” He shies away from the mention of his former partner. It’s easier not to remember her face when she’d caught him sneaking Trixie a plastic blister pack of chocolate cake to hide in her room as part of a deal payoff in lieu of the driving lessons her mother had forbidden. “We have cheese, and grapes– which I’m apparently supposed to slice for you. I’ll have you know that even Cleopatra didn’t insist on having her grapes sliced! Although she did enjoy–” he glances down at the innocent brown eyes looking up at him. He sighs. “Nevermind. Probably inappropriate. We have mandarin oranges, apples, mini-muffins…”

“Cake!”

“Hm. Drive a hard bargain, do you?” They’ve reached the kitchen by now, and he peruses the cabinets and his pantry. “You’re in luck, or perhaps I am, given your impressive stubborn streak. We have the ingredients for cake, but we’ll have to make it. So. You can have a cake in an hour, or a different snack now. What will it be?”

“We bake?” her eyes light up with excitement, apparently familiar with the idea of making a cake from scratch. 

“If that’s what you’re set on.” She squeals, and he only flinches a little at the shrillness of the sound. He starts to gather ingredients, taking her excitement as confirmation of her choice.

Somehow, during the process, she manages to tip the bag of flour all over her lap as she sits on the counter, enthusiastically cheering him on as he mixes the batter. 

"Oops," she groans, with a little giggle. He eyes her warily as she starts tracing crude patterns in the flour now coating the countertop. He pours the batter into the prepared cake pan and slides it in the oven before turning to the flour-coated toddler, hands on his hips as he surveys the mess. 

How did she manage to get it in her hair so quickly? 

Ah well. He's cleaned up worse messes– just this afternoon, in fact. 

"All right, we've got some time while we're waiting for that to bake, and you're not getting anywhere near my Italian leather settee looking as though you've been breaded with cocaine. Are you capable of having a bath without drowning yourself?" 

"No swim," Rory frowns, patting the flour into a tiny, smooth pile. "No baff." 

"Very much yes bath, I'm afraid. You've doomed us both to that ordeal with this little escapade," he gestures broadly to the fine dusting of flour coating most of the working surfaces of the kitchen. "And we'll need to be quick about it or your cake will burn, and I'm sure you don't want that." 

"No burn cake! Bad cake." 

"We can agree on that assessment," Lucifer says dryly. "Which means we need to get started on that bath." 

The bath itself is less traumatizing than he supposes it could have been. Once her clothing is divested, she streaks loudly and joyfully around the bath and bedrooms as Lucifer realizes with slight panic that he didn't think to purchase any pajamas. He looks down at his shirt and sighs. 

It's already ruined. And it had been good enough for… well. It will do in a pinch. He starts the water and adds a capful of jasmine bubble solution, letting it fill a little as he tracks down the shrieking heathen currently running disturbingly naked laps around his bedroom, wraps her in a towel, and dumps her gently into the tub without further ado. She coos happily at the depth of the bubbles, immediately sculpting them in fanciful, if clumsy shapes. 

"Look!" She demands, when Lucifer remains determinedly turned away, keeping her in his peripheral vision. "Youcorn! I make youcorn! Da-dee, look !" 

"I can assure you that I am not your father, and that is certainly not a unicorn of any known species," Lucifer argues, glancing briefly at the amorphous pile of bubbles in front of the child, culminating in a drooping point at the top. He tilts his head thoughtfully, considering. "There is a certain resemblance to a mountain that I once frequented, but it got wiped out epochs ago in a tectonic shift." 

Rory gazes at the mound before her, copying him by tilting her head to take in the different angles and details apparently only visible to her, despite his likely superior vision. Eventually, she shrugs in another disturbingly familiar gesture and slaps both hands down on the pile, dissolving it with a burst of flying bubbles. 

She giggles as she smears the bubbles over her hair, creating a fine paste when they contact the film of flour. and Lucifer stands to retrieve a washcloth. 

"Okay child, your cake is going to be done soon, so we need to hurry now," he holds up the cloth, and she reaches out for it. He hesitates, quite willing to avoid the nightmare of scrubbing the squirming creature, but also unsure of her ability. "Are you sure?" 

"I do it!" She commands, wiggling her fingers in a mute request. "I know how!" 

He narrows his eyes at her, but she only glares back with those disconcertingly intelligent eyes. "Fine. But you need to wash your hair as well, or it's going to dry into papier-mâché. Trust me, you won't enjoy that at all." 

She considers this, then nods. He hands her the soaped cloth and she starts to run it over herself with surprising dexterity, removing the flour film from her skin. "You hep wash hair. Wash weens?" 

"No!" Lucifer stops her before she can unfurl her downy appendages, "I will NOT have you turn my bathroom into a bloody birdbath, leave those wings right where they are, young lady." 

"Otay," She seems a little disappointed, but she obeys willingly enough. The scent of warm cake starts to drift into the room and she perks up as she sniffs appreciatively. "Cake!" 

"Yes, as I said, we'd best hurry," he pulls the spray attachment from the wall and adjusts the temperature and water pressure settings. “Close your eyes.”

Rory scrunches her face earnestly while Lucifer turns the spray into her fine, black hair. She squawks a few times, when he has to use his carefully manicured fingernails, then a fine comb to loosen the flour paste matting it into stiff spikes. Once the residue is removed, he quickly shampoos and rinses. Rory only splutters twice when she moves suddenly and the water streams over her face.

After another awkward wrestling match involving the towel and another bout of a shrieking, naked whirlwind, he convinces her to don her underwear and wrangles her into his far oversized shirt. 

Hmmm… that won’t do. Rolling the sleeves proves far too bulky, so he simply tears them off. The shoulders of the shirt are broad enough that even without sleeves, her arms are covered nearly to the elbow, and the shirt hangs nearly to her ankles. He surveys the result and nods to himself. Better.

“Up!” she demands when he pulls the cake from the oven and pulls the frosting from the pantry. (Though he doesn’t usually bake cakes, he usually has no trouble finding other uses for frosting, and so keeps it on hand.)

“We can’t ice it yet, you delinquent, it’s still too warm. Perhaps you’d like to fill the time by fiddling with one of your toys or puzzles?”

“Caaaaaake!” 

“You want cake without icing, then?”

“No,” she pouts dejectedly. Lucifer groans and threads his fingers through his hair. How do humans do this for 18 years? It’s been six hours and I’m nearly ready to set her free in the forest. “How long?”

“Half an hour, give or take,” her puzzled expression says that she doesn’t yet have a real concept of time. He glances around and his eyes fall on the enormous television he’d purchased a few months ago during his sleepless week. “If we watch a television show, when it’s over we’ll be able to ice the cake.”

“Yayyyy!” She bolts for the TV, nearly tripping over the trailing shirt. “Ponies!”

“I’m not familiar with ponies, how about Bones?” He doesn’t really expect recognition, but Rory seems just as excited by that prospect. She giggles and claps her hands. 

Bones!” She hauls herself up on the couch and looks at him expectantly. His eyebrows lift in surprise, and a smile curls his lips.

“Well, I see your parents have discerning taste. Bones it is.” He locates the remote and sets up the queue, starting the episode. “Will you wait there while I change? You’ve utterly destroyed what’s left of this suit, you little harridan.”

“Mmhm,” she hums, mesmerized by the theme song and intro. He hurries into his closet and changes into his sleep pants and robe as quickly as he can. When he returns, she’s nestled under the fuzzy purple blanket she had picked out at that atrocious bargain outlet, grinning at him and lifting her arms. “Sit wif me!”

He stretches out on the short leg of his couch, but Rory has other ideas. She crawls over to him, and before he quite realizes her intentions, crawls into his lap and curls into his chest. He huffs in surprise as she flops down onto him, thanking his celestial invulnerability when her tiny foot lands directly on his crotch before he repositions her into a more comfortable position. She fidgets and fumbles, trying to spread the blanket over the both of them until he takes pity and helps her with it.

“Better now?” he asks sarcastically, but she only nods contentedly, resting her head on his chest and watching the episode. She giggles when the troop of little girls turns up at the lab with their samples and dead body in tow, and looks up at him when Bones curtly informs them that they should have left it alone. 

“Rude! They hepped!”

Lucifer considers for a moment. He didn’t really think she would be able to actually follow the plot of the show at this age… but then she had seemed to understand most of the things he’d said to her over the course of the afternoon. Perhaps she’s more intelligent than her size and physical abilities currently reflect. 

“They did try to help,” he acknowledges. “But they didn’t know that disturbing crime scenes can contaminate evidence and cause a killer to get away. They should have called for help and let the police handle it.”

He definitely doesn’t think of the number of times the Detective had chastised him for touching evidence, or doing inappropriate things at crime scenes, or stealing confiscated drugs from evidence lockup.

“Mommee catch dem,” she pats his chest reassuringly. “You an’ Mommee smartest, catch bad guys.”

art by @CocoCat38

It’s the longest sentence he’s heard her utter, and he looks down at her, beyond confused. “Do you know your mum’s name, child?”

“Mommee.”

Okay, perhaps not too intelligent, then.

It was worth a try. 

So she thinks I’m her dad, and the Detective apparently looks like her mom. There can’t possibly be two people as good looking as us. And her mum catches bad guys with me. Er, her dad. Is the child delusional? Or had memories implanted?

A slight chill climbs up his spine. What if Michael’s been wreaking havoc on other Earths? 

What would be the point of spawning a half angel gremlin with a different Detective, then dumping her here , though? Aside from chaos, of course. And that’s assuming a half-angel gremlin would even be possible. It’s far more likely that his father is tinkering with something new and… And what? This one escaped and adopted me? And apparently, the Detective? He shakes his head, unable to make sense of any of this. 

Amenadiel, I hope you’re getting some information up there while I’m down here babysitting.

They finish the episode, Rory giggling madly when Brennan appears at the end, dancing around in her skeleton outfit complete with tutu and oversized hands and talking to the children about science. She looks up at him with bright eyes. “Tee Ewwa should do dat!”

He chuckles, surprised at her humor. “Miss Lopez would probably enjoy that, yes.”

“Cake now?”

“Cake now,” he agrees ruefully. “Come on then, you bottomless pit.”

She scrambles off his lap and toward the kitchen with a shrill “Caaaaaaaake!” as he turns off the television and follows in the wake of her exuberance. 

It’s a bit of a toss-up on whether the cake or the child gets more icing… though Lucifer manages to nab his fair share as well. It’s still pleasantly warm as he cuts a small slice for her (and a much larger slice for himself – who knows if whatever she is is affected by sugar the way humans are) and then stands uncertainly… wondering where he should feed her. 

She solves the problem for him by leading him to the guest room and snuggling down onto the rug. Lucifer glances at the deep brown icing, then narrows his eyes at the pristine white rug. 

“Not a chance.”

“But soft!” Her eyes become larger, and he’s again forcibly reminded of the Urchin and her uncanny wiles. He pushes that thought away forcefully, focusing on the tiny beast before him, rather than the one in his memory that he’s unlikely to ever encounter again.

“Also white, child. White and chocolate do not good bedfellows make. Well, rather, they do, but not in this particular context.” He catches himself before he digs himself deeper and tilts his head as she hangs hers sadly, shuffling back to her feet. “A compromise, then. Go get your blanket, you can spread it over the rug and still have the softness.”

“Yaaayyyy!” She scampers into the sitting room, dragging the blanket behind her when she returns. He spreads it over the fluffy white rug and she settles happily. As he sets the plate on the blanket before her, she wriggles her shoulders and looks up at him. “Weens itchy! Come out?”

artwork by @Biologistin13

“Yes, you can bring your wings out,” he hesitates. “But you mustn’t show them to anyone else unless I tell you it’s all right. That’s very important child, do you understand?”

“I know,” she unfurls her wings and stretches them, fluffy pink bits of down scattering and coating the purple blanket in a fine dusting as she ruffles her feathers comfortably. “Secret, not s’posed to show.”

“Quite right,” he sighs, relieved at her apparent understanding. He watches her reach for the cake warily. Miss Lopez had been very firm that the child shouldn’t have silverware, so he’d merely cut the cake into small squares… and now he can only hope for the best. 

It takes a surprisingly short time for her to polish off her cake, and she must have been starving, because there’s not a crumb to be found, not even on the blanket… even to Lucifer’s sharp eyes. “More cake?” she asks innocently, and Lucifer snorts at the obvious attempt at manipulation. 

“I think not,” he smirks and though she huffs in annoyance, there’s a twinkle in her eye that suspects she knew the answer before she asked. “If you are still hungry, you may have some cheese, and some goldfish crackers.”

“Fishies?”

“Oh bloody– yes, fishies.” He rolls his eyes, collects her plate and heads for the kitchen to assemble a slightly-more-healthy snack assortment on her now-pristine plate. She demands to be lifted once again, and she lightly flaps her wings as he carefully lifts and balances her on the countertop. She chews contentedly as he packages the remnants of the cake for storage and wipes down the counter surfaces. By the time he’s done with that, she’s wriggling uncomfortably in her seat, and he knows what’s coming before she opens her mouth.

Twenty minutes, a harrowing bowel movement, and six vehement handwashings later, Lucifer admits defeat, and merely lets the child run laps with her wings flapping wildly in his living room. She retrieves the plushies and they run laps with her– she clicks her tongue for the unicorn, growls for the tiger, and makes swishing noises to show that the shark is swimming– while Lucifer watches, perplexed, from the couch. 

So that’s a yes on the sugar effect. No wonder the Detective was so angry when she caught me sneaking the Urchin cake.

Fortunately, she runs out of energy before his sanity snaps and he retrieves the ingenious Bag of Restraint again. She plods into the living room, dragging her magenta dusted purple blanket as though the weight of the world is upon it. He empties his glass of scotch as she crawls up onto the couch and leans away from her as she snuggles into his side. 

“Sleepy now, eh?”

“Mmhm,” she hums into his ribcage, her warm little body curled into his. Deep in the penthouse, his clock chimes nine, and he wonders if he’s ever been so tired in his long, long life. 

“Well, then let’s get you settled for the night, hm?” She nods, and he slides out from under her, waiting for her to get up, but she merely stretches her arms pathetically toward him. “Really?”

She makes the same grabby motions she had earlier in the afternoon and he rolls his eyes and pulls the fuzzy blanket off her, tossing it over the back of the couch. He leans down and she throws her arms around his neck, warm little palms pressing into the skin there as she rests her cheek against his shoulder. When he reaches the guest room, she whines quietly and holds on tighter. 

“Too big!” Her voice wavers, and he hopes to Dad that she’s not going to cry now. He’s so close to having some peace… “Not my bed.”

“Yes, I’ll be happy to get you back to your bed, the moment we find out exactly where that is, darling,” Lucifer pats her back, as he’s seen the Detective do with the Urchin, and it seems to work, Rory’s little arms loosening and sliding away as he guides her under the sheets of the guest bed. 

She pulls the blankets up to her chin and even with her wings wrapped around her body, she looks remarkably fragile, dwarfed by the queen-size mattress. “Do you want one of your toys?”

He remembers the Spawn sleeping surrounded by miscellaneous soft toys. Perhaps then she won’t feel so overwhelmed. 

He squashes the memory of himself tucked into a crevice in Hell, not long after his fall, making himself as small as he could and trying not to be noticed by the denizens as his wings slowly knitted back together and he desperately threw prayers to any sibling that might be listening. 

None of them had listened. Or if they had, they hadn’t bothered to respond.

She nods her head, and he retrieves her shark plushie. She tucks it under the blanket with her, slender arms wrapping tightly around it. He stands up and adjusts his robe. 

“Right then, see you in the morning, imp.”

“You no sing, Da?”

“I most certainly do sing, child, but I really should tell you again that I am not your father.” He really should have pushed this subject earlier, but everything about this day has just been bizarre, and being called ‘Dad’ was oddly the least strange thing about it all. “I promise I’ll do everything in my power to find him, though, and your mother as well.”

And I intend to have some choice words with them, whoever they may be.

“You bein' silly,” she giggles, and his mouth turns up at the musical sound of her laughter. Far less creepy than it had sounded this morning. He turns to leave the room and she calls after him, “Kiss! Da! Ny-ny kiss!”

He looks back at her, brows furrowed. “I’m not your father, gremlin, you should really hold out for one from him, yes?”

“Pease?”

Bloody hell. Why does she have to look so much like Beatrice?

Because she does. If her hair were longer, and if she were taller, with some missing teeth, she could be the little Urchin he’d first met years ago. Or her sister.

The crushed look on her face makes something in his chest writhe unpleasantly. He’s not her father. But she thinks he is right now, and he’s clearly upsetting her by denying that. 

He knows how it feels to be rejected. It’s not something one forgets, after all. Especially by one’s father… even perhaps if the one doing the rejecting isn’t exactly one’s father, after all.

He sighs and glares at his ceiling yet again, striding back into the room like a man toward the gallows. She looks up at him with sad eyes, and he leans down, closing his eyes and brushing his lips lightly across the top of her head. Her fine hair snags on his stubbled chin as he pulls away, and two sets of dark eyes look into one another for a long moment. Her lips curve into a shy smile and she snuggles onto her side.

“Nigh’ Daddee, lub you.” Something fierce flares wings of flame in his chest at her mumbled words, and he nearly stumbles with the strength of it. 

“Good night, Rory.” His breath catches in his throat, and he suppresses a flare of anger at the child’s actual father. He should be here. Or rather, she should be with him rather than curled up in Lucifer’s guest bed .

He leaves the guest room door open (one of the few rooms in the penthouse with a door at all), and the dim hallway light on, in case she gets frightened of the dark.

As he pours himself another drink, he ponders his first day in weeks that he hadn’t spent desperately trying to forget… well, everything. He still wants to forget, but today was the first day in a long time he’d been able to focus on something external, something other than his problems with the Detective, and how empty his life is and will continue to be now that he no longer has her in his corner. The bizarre appearance of his unwelcome houseguest had freed him from his fugue state, allowed him a breath of fresh air… even if it was tainted with the potential presence of his family after eons of silence. 

He empties the tumbler in a single draught, closing his eyes and relishing the pleasing burn of the alcohol. He sets the glass back on the bar and braces his palms against it, leaning forward and dropping his head until his forehead nearly brushes the smooth surface. Any remaining energy drains from him in a veritable flood and he decides now is definitely a good time to return to his bed.

He removes the robe, but leaves the trousers in place as he crawls between his sheets, resting his cheek on his pillow with a low groan. The light from the hall bothers him, but he grits his teeth and squeezes his eyes closed until his exhaustion takes over and tugs him into fitful sleep. 

It feels like seconds later when he’s patted into sweating wakefulness once more, with tiny, gentle hands stroking his cheek and a small voice whispering near his ear.

“S’otay Da-dee, s’otay. Up! You otay!”

“What the–” he gasps, lurching back. Dark eyes topped with tangled black hair stare solemnly back at him as his breathing slowly returns to normal. 

“Bad dweam?” Rory asks sadly, patting his arm. “I seep here, you no more bad dweam.”

“Right,” he mumbles, running trembling fingers through his sweaty hair. 

This is why you were drugging yourself into oblivion, remember? Still think taking yesterday off was a brilliant idea? Focusing outward?

Rory scoots closer and gently pats his pillow. “Seep. I stay wif you.”

“Was your bed not satisfactory?” Lucifer asks grumpily, feeling uncomfortably clammy and still a bit queasy from wherever his mind had taken him. He’s glad he can’t remember this time… the others have been nothing less than torture.

“Big. Hear noise, you sad. I sad. We snuggle, no sad.”

“No sad, hm?” A smile tugs at his lips. “We’re not going to make a habit of this while you’re here, are we clear?”

Rory only yawns and rubs her eyes, her dusky magenta wings stretching behind her before folding in again. “Weens, Da? Weens warm, safe. Feel nice.”

“Yes, you can leave your wings out, but only if you sleep , not chitchat all night long.”

You weens,” she insists, edging closer and patting his shoulder to make her intentions clear. “Ween snuggle!”

He groans and collapses on his back, looking up at the impossibly large eyes hovering over him. “Wing snuggle. Where on earth have you learned about these things?”

He hasn’t thought about such mundane things as the huddles he and his siblings used to partake in when they were younger– and closer– since just after his fall. He had nearly forgotten what the warmth– the acceptance– felt like.

“Pease?”

“You’re really working the begging, you realize that?” Her eyes only get larger, and suddenly he can’t restrain a bark of real laughter, his first in what feels like months. “You know exactly how to get what you want.”

She only gazes up at him beseechingly, and he folds like an accordion.

“Only while we’re sleeping,” he cautions, sitting up and unfurling his wings. Rory stretches hers to mirror his, grinning widely at the appearance of his gleaming white expanse of feathers. “Deal?”

“Deal,” she replies carefully, holding out her hand to shake. He laughs again, well, whoever taught her about deals at least taught her properly. He tucks his left wing tightly under his shoulder, and lays it along the mattress before settling on that side. Rory seems familiar with the process and wastes no time crawling into his embrace, careful not to muss or crack any feather shafts. She mantles her own downy wings around herself, and Lucifer lets his right wing drape over the both of them, sealing them in a loose, feathery cocoon of warmth and comfort. 

“Nigh-nigh, Da,” Rory sighs contentedly as she snuggles into his chest, just as she had on the couch earlier during Bones

“Still not your father, imp,” he murmurs into her hair, “but I’ll keep you safe until we find him. Sleep well.”

artwork by Calia Lynn

Chapter Text

He does. He sleeps so well, in fact, that he doesn’t register the intruder until she’s standing beside the bed, hovering ominously over the pair of them. 

Before he’s fully awake he’s snapping into motion to protect the fragile bundle so trustingly tucked into his embrace. Eyes blazing and primaries sharpened and ready for defense, his wing whips out like lightning to drive the attacker away. It’s not until a small, strangled noise escapes his target, and the drowsiness starts to recede that he recognizes her. The fog of sleep quickly melts into confusion, which is then completely burned away by the fires of fury.

“Detective?” his wing retracts automatically, he would never hurt his– wait . She’s no longer his, if she ever had been. She belongs to Kinley and his ilk, now. He steels himself, ready to protect the child in his care.

How dare she try to attack while I was sleeping? Did she not see the child? Is she targeting the child as well?  

“How did you get up here?” he growls threateningly. He may still be vulnerable in her presence, but he will not allow harm to come to an innocent under his protection. He’ll fly them both away if he has to, Amenadiel will find him wherever they wind up. 

She squeaks again, and the sound is so thick with fear that his wing pulls back further without a conscious decision to do so. “Patrick let me come up. I, uh… brought some stuff for Rory.”

A likely story. His gaze darts down at the sleeping girl in his arms, and he catches Chloe’s eyes straying toward her as well. Wrath rumbles in his chest like thunder, but he carefully pulls his mask back in place, shuttering his emotions behind thick blockades. “Why are you really here? Surely you don’t think the child is a danger to humanity as well?”

“No, of course not, I…” hurt flashes in her eyes and he nearly scoffs in disbelief. She sighs, but wisely doesn’t make any sudden moves. “I know you don’t have any experience with kids, and I offered to help. You didn’t respond to my text, so… I thought I would just bring some stuff by and make sure you were doing okay.”

“Oh really,” he huffs, not bothering to disguise his obvious doubt in her truthfulness. The odd flicker of hurt disarms him a little, though, and he lets his eyes dim as he checks to make sure Rory is still sleeping. He softens his voice to avoid waking her, though his rage simmers just below the surface. “You wanted to be of service to the Devil, hm? What is it you’d like in return then, eh? What’s your plot this time? You help me, and I return to Hell out of gratitude for freeing me from this little imp?”

“Lucifer, I–” he notices her gaze flickering from Rory’s nearly obscured wings to his, still on full display, and it only makes him angrier

Certainly, she’s enthralled by the bloody wings now. That’s probably why she didn’t bolt in terror the moment I moved. They’re probably what drew her to the bedside to begin with… just like that bloody auctioneer. Once they’re seen, little human minds just can’t cope.

He will not allow Rory’s beautiful wings to be hacked off and styled artistically above some malevolent poacher’s mantle. Not while he still draws breath.

“Because as you may have noticed, Detective, it may be rather difficult to find someone else to care for her until her parents are located. She tends to sprout pretty wings at the drop of a celestial hat. Good luck explaining that to the buffoons in charge of your pitiful Child Protective Services.” His wing curls more tightly around Rory of its own volition as the rasp of his growl cuts through the darkness of the room. “And child or no, I can tell you I vastly prefer this particular Hell to the one I left behind, so your reasoning is faulty.”

“No, you’re right, it seems like she’s in the best possible place for her,” Chloe takes a slow step back, lifting her hands in a ridiculous show of surrender. As though she didn’t come into his home in the dead of night, wearing her service weapon on her hip. She swallows thickly, and her voice is a bit hoarse as she continues. “I didn’t get to see everything that was on Ella’s list, but I, uh, thought you could use some clothes, and maybe toys to keep her busy? I brought some of Trixie’s old stuff– it’s all clean, and still in good condition.”

“Twix!” Lucifer curses inwardly as he feels dainty fingers threading into his feathers, pushing his protective wing away. She reaches up and grabs the arch of his wing, pulling herself up to peek over the top with wide, surprised eyes. “Mommee! Where Twix? Seepytime?”

“Bloody Hell , not again,” he groans. He squeezes his eyes closed for a moment as he finishes cursing internally before sitting up and furling his wings. He glances down at Rory and lifts an eyebrow, wondering if she’ll remember their deal. Her pout tells him that she does. 

“Da, weeens!” The protest is half-hearted, as though she already knows she’s lost the argument.

“No, the deal was that you could have your wings out so long as you went to sleep. You’re awake now, the wings must be furled. Chop chop, child, a deal is a deal.”

He smirks at Chloe’s eye roll, closely followed by her sagging jaw as Rory obeys, rolling her shoulders and neatly furling her wings without further complaint. A yawn ambushes the young girl and she stretches, rubbing the back of her hand sleepily across her eyes. 

“Mommee seep?” she pats the spot beside her, glancing up at the Detective, who gapes back at her blankly. “Time fo’ seep!”

“You’re right, Rory, it is time for sleep,” Chloe seems to gather herself, smiling warmly at the toddler, and Lucifer’s heart gives a savage squeeze, remembering the rare moments she would gift him with a smile like that. “I need to talk to Lucifer for a minute, so why don’t I grab one of your stuffies and you can snuggle with it until he comes back?”

“Weens?” Rory tries again, sensing a fresh target. “Seep, weens?”

“Yes, you little goblin, if you settle down to sleep, you may have your wings out. That was the deal.” Lucifer swivels his feet off the bed, facing away from the pair of them so they won’t see the involuntary grin stretch across his lips at Rory’s attempt to divide and conquer. He stretches his shoulders, stiff from the unaccustomed feeling of having his wings out for an extended period of time as he slips his robe back on and ties it tightly, a layer of silk armor between himself and his former partner, now potential enemy. He’s surprised to find her still standing where she had been, staring at him. “I thought you were going to choose a soft toy?”

“Right,” she staggers backward, nearly falling down the stairs, and suddenly he’s back in the loft. 

Chloe’s gun is trained on him and his furled wings are full of fire and lead and blood and she’s murmuring ‘It’s all true’ over and over again until her heel catches on the stairs and she falls with a terrified cry, never taking her eyes off the horror he’s become, the horror he’s finally revealed to her…

“Otay, Mommee?” Rory’s concern breaks him from the vice-like grip of memory. 

“I’m fine, sweetie, just going to get your stuffie. One second.” She flees as though hellhounds are on her heels. 

Perhaps she’s afraid they will be.

He moves toward the entrance to his bedroom, fully expecting to find her frantically pushing the elevator button in an escape attempt, and nearly bumps into her, instead. He stares hard at her in warning before allowing her past, and there is an awkward shuffle as she tries to make it through the door without coming closer to him than she has to. He gives her a sarcastic bow and welcoming gesture as she approaches the girl in his bed. 

Lucifer snorts silently to himself as Chloe hands the girl the unicorn plush toy she’d picked out, and Rory wraps her arms around it happily. Rory settles back into his bed facing them with a yawn. “Hosie song? Da, sing hosie song?”

“What song?” Lucifer shakes his head at Chloe’s questioning look. She’d asked him to sing earlier, but hadn’t made a specific request. 

“Pitty! Pitty hosies!” Something flashes in Chloe’s face, and Lucifer wonders what she’s just realized. “Da-deee, sing pease?”

“I’m sorry, Rory,” he sighs, truly apologetic that he can’t grant this desire. “I don’t know which song you’re asking for.”

“You no lie!” she cries heatedly, sitting up and pouting in protest. “Nevah! You know song!”

“You’re correct, I don’t lie,” he says slowly, wondering how she knows this. He doesn’t recall mentioning it today, but admittedly he’s been a little… scattered. “Therefore you should believe me when I say I am unfamiliar with the song you’re requesting.”

 “Hey, Rory?” The girl redirects her ire at the Detective, who licks her lips and offers an olive branch. “I, um… I don’t sing as nicely as Lucifer, but I think I know the song you’d like to hear. Do you want me to sing it for you?”

Rory agrees, and Lucifer enters free fall as Chloe opens her mouth and begins to sing. The song itself isn’t anything special, some asinine drivel about horses and carriages, and cake– aha, there’s the fixation – but the soft simplicity of her voice as she sings the lullaby soothes something within him that he hadn’t realized was hurting. 

He’s never heard her sing before, and while he’s heard the love in her voice when she’s spoken to her daughter– and perhaps, once or twice, to him– before… He doesn’t know what it is he hears in her voice now, but it nearly drives him to his knees. Rory’s wings unfurl during the song and the Detective only falters for a moment before leaning down and brushing wild dark curls back as the girl relaxes into sleep, her wings trembling into relaxation around her. 

When she turns to face him, he’s prepared for nearly anything: antagonism, accusation, fear, hatred… anything but wide eyes wet with tears. 

“Detective?” The concern falls from his mouth before he can check it, and his mind simply grinds to a halt when she takes his hand and drags him to the far side of the sitting room, where a quiet conversation won’t wake the child. 

“You really don’t know where she came from?” Her voice is low and urgent, and he watches her carefully before shaking his head. 

“I haven’t the faintest idea,” he pulls a tumbler from the bar and glances an invitation at Chloe that she accepts, much to his surprise. He slides hers across the bar as he drains and refills his own. How is this day still continuing? Has it not been long enough? “My best guess is that she managed to flap up here somehow, but I don’t know how she managed to get in. The doors to the balcony were all closed when I woke. Amenadiel is Upstairs now, checking to see if anyone up there knows anything about this… enigma.”

She looks him in the eye for a long time, and he simply looks back. If she thinks I’m lying, she can think again. He hadn’t lied to her back when she didn’t believe him, he’s certainly not about to start now. If she still can’t accept that… well. It’s not as though they’ve anything left to preserve now, eh?

He’s not sure he’s ever felt so broken.

“Lucifer, have you… have you really looked at her eyes?” 

He’s looked at Chloe’s eyes. He’d know their color anywhere– like sunlight playing on water. Their clarity, their depth of expression. The shape of them, the way her lashes kiss her cheek when she looks down shyly after he compliments her for something that she does so well when everyone else blatantly ignores it. The way they well with tears when she’s really speaking from the heart, and the way they flash with anger or indignation when she thinks a criminal is going to get away. He knows the way they soften when she looks at her daughter, and the way they brighten when she laughs, and now he also knows how they shine like a rabbit’s in a headlights’ beam when she’s terrified to the point of immobility. 

Wait. She’d asked him a question. Right. Time to dissemble a bit.

“Detective, I have seen more of this child than I have ever wanted to see of any larval humanoid form,” he gives a theatrical shudder, and the corner of Chloe’s mouth twitches. “She knocked over a bag of flour as we were baking, and she had to have a bath. I don’t know how neither of us drowned.”

They compare brief bathtime stories before Lucifer can’t take the soft look in her eyes anymore. It confuses him, and he’s had quite enough of that recently, thank-you-very-much.

“Why are you here?” he demands resentfully. He’s… he doesn’t think she’s here to kill him right now, but he doesn’t know… “What do you want?”

“I just thought you could use… some help,” he narrows his eyes. It’s not quite a lie, but he can tell it’s not what she had intended to say. “Like I said in my text, kids aren’t easy.”

Oh. The phone situation. He groans inwardly. He really needs to fix that first thing tomorrow.

“I didn’t get your text,” his voice is raspy with irritation. His eyes skim his apartment, taking in the only partly-tamed chaos from the past few weeks, let alone the sheer pandemonium of today. “I’ve… misplaced my phone, and I’m sure the battery is dead, so I may never find it. Hell, I may have flung it off the balcony.” 

I may have gotten a little frustrated when I couldn’t ascertain whether you had wound up running into danger when you ran from me, you see… and I might have destroyed it in a fit of anger… but I can’t remember because I was higher than my father’s highest tower and willfully trying to forget.

“Lucifer, are you… okay?”

He huffs a non-answer, still gazing at his flat, but he feels Chloe’s eyes on him. Evaluating. He always knows when she’s looking at him. He can feel the heat of her gaze, no matter what. He wonders when that will go away. He wonders if she’ll ever look at him again, after this. 

Don’t be ridiculous, why would she?

“How is it that she has wings?” his gaze snaps to hers, and she takes a sip from her glass, seeming to savor the warmth of the scotch. “I mean… is she a younger sister of yours?”

Lucifer remembers the bruise on her knee. The tiny scrape on her hand he’d noticed in the bath. “She is not an angel.”

She throws him her signature ‘are you serious’ look and he can’t restrain his smirk. Didn’t think I’d get to see that one again. “It’s true, Detective, she is not an angel. First of all, we were made the way we are, no pesky growing pains required. Father demanded immediate perfection, and those of us that failed to meet those expectations… Well. Once we were no longer useful, he disposed of us.” A sneer quivers upon his upper lip, but he manages to pull it back before he bares his teeth at the rush of ancient anger that still bubbles so near the surface. He clears his throat, redirects. “But also, she tripped this afternoon, just after she woke me, and fell on the floor. Her knee has a rather impressive bruise on it now.”

“So?” He nearly rolls his eyes. Even after she learned the truth she still couldn’t be bothered to listen to the truths I’ve told her? Still couldn’t be persuaded to believe me?  

“So the only thing that can injure an angel is another angel, or celestial or infernal weapons.” He tries not to sound too condescending, but it’s not as though he hasn’t told her this before… several times now. “As much as I love my stone floors, they are merely earthly stone, and thus do not qualify as any of those.”

“That can’t be right. I’ve seen you– oh .” There it is. Finally, finally the light of comprehension dawns in those crystalline eyes, and he can’t bear to look any longer. He averts his gaze. She swallows hard. “So, not an angel, then. A… daughter?”

“What? No!” He nearly brays with laughter. That’s what, two times today? Three? It’s been so long since he’s laughed, he’s nearly forgotten what it feels like. “Angels can’t procreate, trust me on that . If it were possible, well. You’re aware of my history, Detective, and that’s only in the 8 years I’ve been here on Earth. This isn’t the only visit I’ve made topside, only my longest. I’ve had many, many opportunities to plant seeds, and not a single one has sprouted. It would take a–” 

He cuts off suddenly, his lungs suddenly devoid of air. Miracle. It would take a bloody miracle for a half-angel child to exist. It’s too much of a Dad-damned coincidence that we just happen to have one of those at hand, isn’t it?

“She has your eyes, Lucifer,” Chloe persists, clearly closing in on the same conclusion he has… or at least part of it. The question now is… how? “The same shape, same color, same expressions. She has your hair, and clearly your imperious nature… and she calls you ‘Dad’.”  

“That doesn’t mean anything, she’s an incredibly confused child!” He jerks his head sharply in a negative, unwilling to entertain this fresh hell, yet unable to pull himself from the ingrained habit of helping to lead her to the correct answers. “Similarities to anyone can be found, if one looks hard enough. Younglings are amorphous, largely without their own shape until they’ve grown into themselves a bit. For example, she has your little turned-up button of a nose, Detective, and she wrinkles it just as you do when she’s confronted with something she finds unpleasant. She narrows her eyes and gets that same bloody look in them that you get when you think you’re being thwarted. She has your tone at times, and she is every bit as stubborn.”

“And she calls me ‘Mommy,’” Chloe sighs, her gaze drawn back to the bedroom where Rory’s snoring rolls forth like a tiny buzzsaw… further proof of parentage, perhaps? She murmurs quietly, “She asked for the Horsie song.”

“Yes, I’ll apparently need the title of that, so I can sing it for her later. It seems to be a favorite–” If she’s going to be around for any length of time, he’ll need to have some songs on hand. “Clearly the child has an affinity for music."

“It was Trixie’s favorite when she was little,” she spins the glass in her hand, watching the dim lighting ripple off the amber liquid. “My grandma used to sing it to me, and…” she trails off in thought, then snaps to attention abruptly, focusing on a paper moving box placed haphazardly beside the elevator. “Where are the clothes she wore today at the precinct?”

He goes to fish them from the laundry, and when he returns she has an identical outfit spread on the bar. She flips over the purple garment, then the one he hands her, and suddenly the world is spinning. The one Rory had been wearing is older, more worn and faded, but the impossible proof is staring back at them in the form of an unobtrusive stain. An identical unobtrusive stain. 

How? 

“I don’t…” he moves closer, entranced by the paradox of the same outfit from two points in time. She looks like Beatrice. “What?”

“Lucifer… How?” She murmurs breathlessly. “She thinks we’re her parents. Is it… how is it even possible that I’m entertaining the thought that this is our kid?”

How is it possible that he’s entertaining the same thought?

Chapter Text

A long moment of silence greets her tentative question, as though neither can believe the question needed to be asked. They stare at the clothing spread in front them before slowly turning in tandem to stare wide-eyed at one another. Lucifer breaks the spell first.

“Detective, I know I’m billions of years old, but I don’t have dementia. ” The thin veil of humor over his panic helps Chloe ground herself as well. He leers at her, but there’s no heat behind it, and he actually takes a step back as he speaks. “I would certainly remember if we’d done the deed, and I would have made absolutely sure that you wouldn’t forget it, either.”

“Yes, because carrying a child for nine months is such a forgettable experience,” Chloe shoots back without thinking. “Is… is time travel a real thing?”

“Not… in the manner you’re likely thinking, Detective.” His brow furrows in thought, and she bites her lip to avoid firing off more questions and distracting him. He aims a scathing glare at his ceiling in a familiar habit, and Chloe only now realizes that he’s actually glaring at his father– the only way he can. ”At least not that I’m aware of. Amenadiel has some power over time… or at least he did , before he fell. He’s got his wings back now– just back from the Silver City, in fact– but his power was never traveling through time, only slowing it.”

“Slowing time?” Chloe frowns distractedly. He’s got his wings back? What is it with the on-again, off-again wing situations? She opts to leave that can of worms for later and focus on the now. “What kind of a power is that? What did he use it for, the DMV?”

“Mostly he used it to tear me away from my little Earthly getaways without alerting the humans I was mingling with of any celestial happenings. He’d appear, freeze time, argue pedantically and I’d usually get so bored I’d eventually let him drag me back to Hell.”

“Right,” Chloe agrees softly, but her mind is racing. Because Amenadiel is an angel, and God – God! – cast Lucifer into Hell for rebelling against him.

Another, quieter voice pipes up in her head, What does rebelling even mean? Did he lead an army? Did he stomp his foot and have a tantrum? Did he date some tramp from the wrong side of the celestial tracks?

She glances at her partner through her lashes, trying to picture him on a white horse holding a sword aloft, screaming a battle cry of “Drugs not hugs!” and charging a wall of angels in riot gear. 

Her mind spins, wondering why she hadn’t asked Kinley that question? What did he do to get tossed out of Heaven? The Lucifer she knows barely puts any effort into ruling Lux, he hires people to do the job far better than he ever could. He doesn’t want to rule Hell, he’s said that often enough. What would cause him to expend the effort to revolt in Heaven? Or has he simply changed in the intervening eons, and figured out what it is he wants to do?

Yeah Decker, it was pretty clear for a while there that he wanted to do you … but that didn’t happen and yet he hasn’t thrown you out of his domain yet.

What had he done with his time on Earth? Party, mostly… at least judging from the stories he’s told over the past few years. Sponsored artists and entrepreneurs. Opened a nightclub, once he got the chance. And solved murders with her. If he had been playing a game to bring about the end of the world, it would have to be so convoluted that Chloe can’t even find a string to tug. And while Lucifer can certainly pull off convoluted better than anyone she knows, he also blurts out the worst possible truths without thinking, has terrible impulse control, and despite his rabid dislike of being manipulated, is almost worryingly predictable in his unpredictability. 

The man needs a personal aide, there’s no way he would have truly wanted to rule Heaven. At least, not the Lucifer she knows.

She can accept, now, that he’s not that dark picture that Kinley had tried to paint, and her insides burn with shame every time she thinks of how very weakly she had defended the man she had known in the calm face of the priest’s supposed higher knowledge. His supposed higher calling

“... but that’s neither here nor there, and I definitely would have won that fight even if he hadn’t thrown it to me,” Lucifer sniffs, having continued to talk as Chloe yanks herself from the morass of her own thoughts. “The point is that even Amenadiel couldn’t travel in time. It is possible to travel to different worlds , or even different timelines altogether, though. Dad liked to tinker, and that involved playing in all sorts of sandboxes.”

“Different worlds? Like… planets?” Chloe blinks stupidly up at the Devil, still standing closely enough to her that she can feel his body heat through his robe and her layers of clothing. 

“Mmm…” he hums noncommittally, bobbing his head from side to side. “In the most literal term, yes, but also no.”

“Well that’s clear as mud, thank you.” She rolls her eyes and flexes her head backward, stretching the tension from her neck. “Can we shed some light on that at all?”

“I suppose the nitty-gritty details aren’t all that important,” Lucifer sighs after a long moment of thought. 

“You don’t know how to explain it, do you?”

“Not a clue, Detective.” They stare at each other and really see one another for the first time in… well, maybe ever. Chloe’s mouth quirks in that warm smile that he thought he’d never see again, and his own smile shines bright in return. “But suffice it to say that there are other universes, worlds, timelines, whatever you want to call them where we may or may not still exist, but everything could be very, very different. Rory could be a visitor from one of those worlds, if her parents truly are a version of you and I. I’m still not entirely convinced of that, she could still be some type of manipulation from my father.”

“But you don’t think she is.” It’s not a question, because Chloe doesn’t think she is, either. She doesn’t know how , but she has no doubt that little girl sleeping in the next room is hers. And, apparently Lucifer’s, as well. A flicker of hope flares to life in her breast. Is there a possibility that she hasn’t destroyed everything between them, after all? “So, somewhere you and I…?”

“Yes, there’s possibly an alternate reality– or several realities really, surely not all versions of you are quite so very stubborn in their self-denial– where some poor unfortunate damned soul has been put to work knitting jumpers for the frost-bitten demons of Hell once it froze over.” Lucifer waves off the supposition, and her tiny spark of hope withers and dies at the ease with which he writes them off. Writes her off. 

Turnabout is fair play. How easily had she pushed him aside when she ran to Rome? How many pleading messages had she ruthlessly ignored, or worse– read, then not bothered to respond? 

That isn’t fair– this, all of this has always been real to him! He’s never had his world turned upside down and inside out by someone he trusted!

Oh… 

Hasn’t he, though? If any of what she read in Rome is true, then Lucifer was once his father’s favorite son. The most beloved of a host of beloved children. He had (supposedly) loved his father so much that he had refused to put humanity above his love for his father when commanded to do so. 

He must have trusted Him very much. Before.

How much had he trusted her , before? And how very thoroughly had she shattered that faith?

“But I thought you said half-angels weren’t possible?” She ventures, wondering why he was entertaining it now. “That angels can’t procreate?”

“Under normal circumstances, that is true,” his brows draw together and he hesitates. “At least, I believe it to be true. I suppose I am the only angel– until recently– that ever tested that hypothesis, but trust me when I say I was very thorough in my testing.”

“Gross,” she murmurs, wondering if even he knows how many people he’s slept with throughout history. Surely he’d stop counting at some point?

“I’ve sent Amenadiel to the Silver City to do some digging. I’m hoping to hear from him soon with some update,” Lucifer continues, blind to her inner ramblings and realizations. “But until I find a reason to suspect anything malevolent, I intend to protect this child. So you can go back to Kinley–”

“What?” She huffs, feeling as though he’s just punched her in the stomach. Like the air has been sucked from her lungs and replaced with molten lead. “You… you don’t really think that I’d…” 

That you’d what, Decker? Her inner voice sounds like Maze now, sinuous and darkly taunting. That you’d pretend you accepted him so you could get close enough to poison him? 

It was supposed to sedate him! She argues uselessly, but the other voice merely laughs cruelly.

Right, because Kinley’s so trustworthy. I’m sure he told you the whole truth. But you worked with him anyway. Plotted together for weeks while your partner of more than three years was worried out of his mind for your mental health and safety. If you could do that, why shouldn’t he believe you capable of harming a dangerous half-angel– especially one that might literally be the spawn of Satan?

‘Cause there’s all sorts of prophecies about that sort of thing, ya know.

“You do really think I’d do something that horrible,” she realizes flatly, the lead in her lungs slowly solidifying and moving to encase her heart as well. “Because really, look how much damage the ‘antichrist’ is supposed to wreak in those doomsday prophecies. Right?”

He says nothing, but he doesn’t need to. She knows it’s true, and the worst part is, she can’t even blame him for thinking so badly of her. She’d spent three years telling him she was there for him, that he could tell her anything, that he was a good person, a good man . And the moment she’d gotten a glimpse below his stunningly handsome exterior, seen the depths of his damage and pain… she’d run. And perhaps the running wouldn’t have been so bad– he certainly hadn’t seemed to think so when she’d returned– except then she’d done the one thing he’d never done to her. 

She’d lied. 

“Everything’s okay.” 

“I think I just… want to get back to work.”

“What I saw was my partner.”

And then, perhaps even worse, she’d demanded that he trust her.

“I know that we have a lot to talk about and I have a lot to explain, and I know that a lot of this is my fault, but you need to trust me right now.”

Her brain sees fit to throw those words at her several times a day. They never fail to make her throat tighten and her eyes burn. Demanding his trust after she’d literally been caught carrying the vial Kinley had given her had been cruel, borne of desperation to make it right . Keeping the vial had felt a bit like Pandora’s box, both wanting to know what had actually been in it, but also wanting to be able to deny knowledge of what she could have done… what would have happened to him if she hadn’t spilled his glass, if she hadn’t stopped him drinking the vial when he’d found it. 

He obviously knew what it was. Would he have actually drunk it?

Looking into his dark eyes now, their usual sparkle extinguished, she wonders if maybe he would have. She remembers the manic expression in his face when she’d tried to arrest him for that street preacher’s murder, how he’d goaded one of the rookies into shooting at him, then disappeared. She remembers his ragged voice demanding that a sniper shoot him as he shielded the intended target. 

Oh God, he would have, she realizes with a dawning horror crawling up her throat.

“It’s quite all right, you know,” he murmurs, and she leans closer to hear him better. “I’ve been telling you that I’m a monster for years now. It’s actually a bit of a relief that you finally believe me. Once I’ve seen to whatever this situation with the child is, once I’ve made certain she is safe, you’re welcome to renew your attack on me any way you please.” He huffs a melancholy almost-laugh. “Hell, if you catch me at the right time, you may not even have to lift a finger. I’ve never really been able to test my tolerance to illicit substances with you around. If you show up when I’m high enough, it might be enough to slide me right into an overdose. No fanatic priest required, just a nice Devilish DIY shuffle off the formerly-immortal coil, eh?”

“Don’t say that,” she hisses instantly, but he only lifts a languid eyebrow at her vehemence. He turns to gather the purple overalls that Rory had worn that day and returns them to the laundry hamper,wherever that is– Chloe never has ventured into the depths of the flat, even that day she and Linda had spent her birthday here, drinking and dancing to try to drown the rejection she’d felt over her partner abandoning her again. She neatly folds her copy of the outfit and deposits it back in the box, smoothing it down obsessively as though by doing so she can iron out her own thoughts and feelings on this new level of celestial strangeness.

“You’re still here,” his voice rings dully from the doorway to his bedroom, after he checks on the sleeping girl. He doesn’t seem surprised, only resigned. 

“We’re not done.”

“Aren’t we?” he snaps exhaustedly, running a hand through his messy, half-gelled curls. “You said you wanted to help, now you’ve provided Rory with clothing and entertainment. What else could possibly hold you here?”

“You’re forgetting something,” Chloe says evenly, taking a few steps toward him. He doesn’t visibly tense, but he does angle his body so he’s solidly between her and the bedroom entrance. She remembers belatedly that she’s still wearing her service weapon, and winces. “Even if I were still working with Kinley, even if I still wanted to try to… to send you back to Hell… Lucifer, Rory’s apparently mine, too. Even if I felt nothing for you, my partner, my… my best friend… Do you really think I’d let anything happen to my daughter?”

“If the daughter in question were half-devil, and supposedly prophesied to bring about the end of the world?” he huffs a humorless laugh, dark eyes trained steadily on hers as she continues to move toward him. “I have no way to know.”

“Not half-devil,” Chloe shakes her head as she closes the distance between them, hoping she can manage to get through to him. “Half- you . Half-me, too, if what you said earlier was right. She’s us , and I’d like to help keep her safe.”

“You’ll pardon me for remaining skeptical, Detective, but I’m quite sure you’ve not forgotten that I am the Devil. The Devil is me.” He allows his eyes to flicker crimson, but Chloe easily squashes the faint flicker of fear that licks at the back of her mind.

“That’s not all you are, though,” she argues. She’s close enough to reach out to him now, but halts when he stiffens, his eyes hardening. "All that tells me is that the Devil giggles at dick jokes and can't keep from making a sarcastic remark if his life depends on it. You're not what Kinley tried to make you out to be. You're just… you. With some added extra dimensions." 

“You’ve lied to me before, and quite recently. No matter whose child she is, this… this blasted fledgling is in my care, and I will not allow harm to come to her.” His eyes are burning, not with the furious fire she’d seen when he’d awakened or even the hint of warning a heartbeat ago, but with a determined intensity she’s only seen before when he’s been trying to protect her , and her heart melts even as it lurches. 

“Please let me help her, Lucifer,” she murmurs, twisting her hands before her. “Let me help you. It’s obvious that she’s comfortable with you, but… I know how difficult kids can be when you don’t have someone to depend on for backup. I’d… I’d like to be your partner in this. We can keep her safe together until we figure this out.”

“Keep her safe from what, exactly?” Lucifer lifts a skeptical eyebrow at her, and she doesn’t really have an answer to give. What kinds of threats are there to half-angel children? A shiver runs through her at the thought of someone like Kinley getting wind of a half-angel child… especially one that might be the Devil’s own daughter. “No one knows she’s here but you, Patrick, Miss Lopez, and my brother. Unless you’ve managed to alert your Vatican friends as to her presence before I woke, there’s no threat to her beyond you .”

“I don’t… they’re not my friends, Lucifer!” She growls, frustrated. “I went to them for information, to… to find out more , and Kinley found me. He saw how terrified I was, and he used me against you until I realized what it was that I was really afraid of. He’s in jail, I don’t know of anyone else he was working with, and I have no intentions of ever hurting you again, okay? Do you really think I’d try to harm a child?”

“I don’t like thinking that, Detective, but I also didn’t think you would try to harm me , so you may understand my reluctance to follow my instincts to trust you just now.” He watches her with hooded eyes, his expression carefully blank. She gazes back, willing him to believe her and waiting on tenterhooks as he makes his decision. 

There’s not much I can do if he says no– what am I going to do, try to get custody of a kid that nobody can even trace, that I haven’t even had yet?

“I appreciate the offer of support,” he finally replies grudgingly, “but you have your job and your current offspring to oversee, and I know how busy that keeps you. Rory seems to think of you as her mother, so perhaps if she asks for you and can’t be distracted, we can arrange some time for the two of you to spend together where I can watch over the both of you. Otherwise, if I have questions, will you allow me to text you once I have a new phone?”

The lump swells in her throat again, and she swallows hard as she tries to force it down. She can understand why he doesn’t want her around… but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. The fact that she’s back to being unable to read him, after being permitted to see behind his walls for so long now only makes it more painful that his barriers are back in place and thicker than ever. Because of her.

“Maybe… maybe I can pick up your phone tomorrow and bring it by for you? So you don’t have to drag Rory out and about again? I know how challenging errands are with a toddler…” 

He waves the offer away with a shake of his head. “I’ll need my phone long before you’re done for the day, and I need to make an appointment. I’ll let you know if she asks for you, Detective, and we’ll arrange something satisfactory if you’re amenable.”

“Okay,” she agrees reluctantly. “But, just so you know, I… don’t have Trixie right now, so you wouldn’t be, um, imposing or anything if you did need my help. I’ve got plenty of free time.”

“What do you mean, you don’t have the Urchin?” Lucifer’s brows lift in surprise, and the carefully smooth mask cracks a little to reveal some concern underneath. “Is she all right?”

“She’s fine,” she reassures him quickly, and his chin lifts a little in relief. Her heart squeezes when her brain helpfully reminds her that a month ago she was convinced that this man was such a danger to her daughter that she uprooted her life and yanked her halfway across the world to get away from him. “She… decided she wanted some extra time with Dan, so she’s spending a week or two with him.”

“Mommy, what’s wrong? You’re being weird, and this is the third time you’ve sent me to school with two slices of bread and cauliflower for lunch since we’ve been back from vacation.”

"Why won't you tell me what's going on? You're being so weird, and you won't let me talk to Maze or Lucifer. They're my friends!" 

A blaring smoke alarm and Trixie’s panicked cry. “Mom!! You left the stove burner on and the dish towel is on fire!” Chloe had been more careful after that, but it had been less than a week before Trixie had hesitantly approached her with her idea… and it had broken her heart that her daughter had become so withdrawn around her.

“Mom… I think I should stay with Daddy for a while.” 

“Hm. Willingly spending more time with your ex-douche? Are you certain she isn’t ill?”

“He is her father, Lucifer,” Chloe rolls her eyes despite herself. “He could certainly use the company to distract him from losing Charlotte, and… I haven’t exactly been great company lately.”

“No? Back to all work and no play, eh?” A cold smirk crosses his face before his expression fades back to blank. “Well, I suppose your new partner approves of that.”

“Lucifer,” she tries to reach toward him again, but he steps back and cuts her off.

“At any rate, it’s past your bedtime, Detective, and you’ve given me reason to understand that younglings tend to be up and about early. I’m sure she will enjoy the toys and clothing you’ve provided. If there’s nothing else you need, I’ll operate the lift for you.” 

What can she do, but reluctantly turn and head for the elevator? He really couldn’t be any clearer that he doesn’t trust her and doesn’t want her nearby, especially while he sleeps. The silver doors slide open and she can practically feel him shoving her inside, even though he doesn’t come near enough to touch her.

He doesn’t have anything in his hands, and after Patrick’s multiple step security process Chloe watches in surprise as Lucifer merely places his palm against the panel. A faint beep sounds, and he steps quickly away as she tilts her head at him curiously. 

“You’ve seen my skill with locks, Detective, this is merely an extension of that,” he explains without her having to ask. “On your way out, would you be so kind as to let Patrick know I’ll be needing to use the child seat tomorrow as well?”

“Of course,” she murmurs. He starts to move back into the penthouse, and before she can think about it, her hand stretches out and rests on his forearm. He stops instantly, looking down at it in shock.

“I’m sorry, Lucifer,” she tells him earnestly, seizing his moment of surprise and stepping closer before she can lose her nerve again. “I’m sorry for the way I reacted when I saw you. For what I tried to do to you. For leaving. For… for lying. I… wish things could have happened differently, but they didn’t and I’m sorry, and… I want to fix this. I just don’t know how.”

He pulls away from her gentle grip, placing himself firmly on the other side of the door tracks. His dark eyes shine with sorrow and regret, and memories he wishes he could forget. He pulls in a thick breath as the doors start to close, and she hears him murmur, “I’m sorry, too.”

*

Lux is even busier now than it had been when she’d first arrived, but this time she doesn’t need to waste time searching the bar for the Devil. She doesn’t miss the jealous looks thrown her way as she steps out of the elevator and hurries down the stairs toward the bar. Patrick materializes like magic once she reaches it with his warm, familiar smile firmly in place.

“Having a drink, Detective Decker?” He reaches for a glass. “You didn’t stay long, you okay?”

“No,” she smiles weakly at him, still trying to force that lump in her throat down. “I mean, um, I’m fine, but no drink, thanks. I, uh, Lucifer asked me to let you know he would need the car seat tomorrow. He has to go out to get a new phone.”

“Oh!” Patrick laughs. “Actually, I’ve got it.”

You’ve got it?” Chloe parrots, confused. “How did that happen?”

Patrick bends down and retrieves a small box that he sets on the counter between them. Inside is a dented silver lighter, a flattened silver cigarette case, one of Maze’s knives, and what certainly looks like Lucifer’s cell phone. She glances back up at Patrick, who is reviewing the contents of the box wryly. 

“What?”

“Let’s just say I’m a magnet, okay?” Patrick shakes his head and pulls out the phone. “If anything falls from that balcony, I’m gonna be the one that finds it. The phone was a surprise, I was across the street, standing under the awning one night on my smoke break. Heard a thump and looked up and that phone slid right off the awning and into my face. How it didn’t break, I have no idea, but when I saw the lock screen, I knew whose it was. I’ve kept it charged for him, for when he wants it back, but until yesterday I hadn’t seen him in weeks. Not since he locked the elevator.”

Chloe’s heart hammers in her chest as she takes the phone from him and thumbs the screen to life, only to find a photo of herself looking up at her, blue eyes sparkling in a beam of light and a small smile flickering at the corners of her mouth. 

When did he take that? A water droplet splatters on the screen, and it takes her a moment to realize that a tear had escaped her and landed there. She hurriedly wipes her eyes, sniffling quietly while Patrick pretends not to notice.

“Um, we got distracted going through the stuff I brought for Rory so I don’t have a key. Can you make sure he gets this back?”

“Oh, I really can’t leave the bar,” he looks guiltily over his shoulder at the two other bartenders scrambling to take care of the throng. “But I can take a minute to let you back up?”

She waffles. He’d made it very clear that she was welcome to remove herself from his presence. But he did need his phone. And he surely wasn’t asleep yet. Finally she agrees, and next thing she knows she’s right back in the elevator going back to the penthouse she’d just been unceremoniously expelled from.

The door opens with its quiet chime. The box and bag she’d left there have already been cleared away, and the penthouse is dark and silent. She decides to leave it on the piano where he can’t miss it. She makes sure the sound is up, and resolves to call him in the morning so he’s sure to find it before he makes a trip for nothing. Her bootheels clack as she crosses the stone floor to the piano, sounding loud as gunshots in the stillness of the night. She throws an anxious glance at the bedroom, where soft snores and the softer rustle of feathers over silk are the only sounds to be heard. 

She moves as quietly as possible back to the elevator and escapes without further confrontation, breathing a sigh of mingled relief and disappointment as the carriage descends. It stops at the club level, and Chloe looks at the panel in surprise. The light for the parking garage is still lit, and none of the clubbers leave through the parking garage, so the carriage doesn’t usually stop there on the way down. 

The door slides open and Chloe’s greeted by a willowy woman with long, wavy sable tresses wearing a flowing white sundress. Her grin fades a little when she spots Chloe, but she steps into the carriage anyway with a cheerful little giggle. Chloe’s eyes widen when she catches sight of the height of her heels, impressed that she’s able to move as fluidly as she is when she appears to be pretty tipsy. 

The woman stares wide-eyed around the carriage, looking at the panel of buttons in wonder as though she’s never seen anything like it before in her life. 

“Did you just leave Luce’s place?” she asks curiously, wide brown eyes looking up Chloe’s excitedly. “I came all the way here to see him, I’m so excited! I haven’t seen him in forever!”

“Uh, yeah, he’s asleep,” Chloe replies brusquely, completely unsurprised that this gorgeous specimen of humanity is a frequent visitor to Lucifer’s penthouse. “Patrick says he’s not seeing anyone right now.”

“Oh,” the doe-eyes blink back at her, nonplussed. “But you–?”

“We work together,” Chloe says blandly. Worked together. Are working together. Doesn’t matter. I get to go up. You don’t. For now. “But maybe you should try calling him later. He’s got his phone back now.”

“Phone?”

“Yeah, phone.” Chloe takes hers from her pocket and waves it vaguely in the air. “He lost it, but I just returned it to him, so you can call him now.”

“Okay, I’m sure I can figure out how to do that!” The woman smiles excitedly. “Things have changed so much since the last time I was here! People have told me, but I didn’t believe them until I saw it! I mean, look at this!” She points excitedly at the panel of buttons on the elevator. “And this moving box! And those lights in the club! I flew here and saw what clouds look like from above ! Can you believe that??”

“Mm-hmm,” Chloe hums, staring at the lit numbers and wondering why it’s taking so long to reach the parking level, and why she was unfortunate enough to be stuck in an elevator with this drunk, hot woman with eager intentions of visiting her partner. Ex-partner. Father of my future, alternate-reality child. Whatever we are. Finally her level lights and the carriage lurches to a halt. “Well, it’s been… weird, but this is my stop. Are you headed back to the club?”

“Yeah, I guess so if I can’t get to Luce’s place,” she pouts a little, and Chloe cringes at the familiarity of the nickname. Lucifer has always reacted poorly to nicknames, to her knowledge. “I’ve been here for days trying to see him, but he hasn’t come down to dance! If you talk to him, can you tell him I came to see him?”

“Uh, sure,” Chloe says reluctantly. This woman seems so earnest. She pushes the button for Lux level and steps out of the carriage. “Stay here and it’ll take you back to Lux. What’s your name?”

“I’m Eve!” She bubbles with a small curtsy. “Tell him I’ve finally left Adam behind, and I’ll be back tomorrow!”

“Yeah, okay,” Chloe shrugs, agreeing easily enough. It won’t be the first time someone’s asked her to put in a word for them with Lucifer… not that he ever needs encouragement.

“Thanks so much!” she squeals as the doors close between them. “This is so–”

What it was, Chloe never finds out, but she’s suddenly frozen, staring at her distorted reflection in the silver doors. 

Eve? And… Adam. Did I just share an elevator with the first woman and agree to pass on a message to the Devil from her?

How is this my life?

Chapter Text

Lucifer wakes with the sensation of tiny fingers threading through his feathers and a feeling of pure contentment. He hums happily as the little hands continue to arrange and straighten skewed feathers until a small wriggling motion tugs the feathers of his opposite wing and pulls him further into wakefulness as he remembers his current situation. He pulls his right wing back quickly, and is greeted by a bright grin and brighter brown eyes. 

“Da-deee!!” The little nightmare giggles. “You wake now!”

“Yes, I’m awake,” he grumbles, pulling his left wing out from under her slight weight and flexing it before folding it tightly to his back. He inspects the feathers of his right wing, surprised to find them in near-perfect order. “Someone’s properly taught you the art of preening, child, nicely done.”

She hums as she sits up and stretches dramatically, arms flung wide. “Poddee, Da.”

“Color me surprised,” he says dryly, stepping back to throw his robe back on. “To the bathroom with you, then, child.”

“Ro-ree!!” She corrects again, irritated. She wriggles herself to the edge of the mattress and slides down the side, tucking her wings away as she dashes toward the bathroom with Lucifer reluctantly following.

One of the purchases he’d made yesterday had been a child-size toilet. They had come in a variety of colors, and Rory had chosen a garish orange monstrosity. Right now, though, Lucifer finds it the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen, since it means he no longer has to hold the child in place while she relieves herself. 

He does , however, still have to stand guard to keep her from streaking. He unceremoniously deposits the child in front of the box of clothing that Chloe had dropped off and she rummages through happily, pulling out a blue-and-green striped t-shirt and some black leggings with brightly colored flowers that are smiling maniacally. Lucifer stares at the chosen garments in undisguised horror, then back at the expectant child.

This is what you choose to wear?”

“Yep!” She hugs the clothes to her chest, twirling side to side in contentment.

“Well, that settles that idea,” he mutters to himself. “You’re most definitely not my child. Though I suppose the travesty of your fashion sense doesn’t rule out the Detective as your mother. As long as you’re clothed, I’m considering it a win, but I want my complaint noted on the record.”

“Record,” Rory repeats carefully, puzzled. 

“Nevermind,” he sighs, resigned to losing many battles today. “Just… get dressed and we’ll get you some breakfast.”

He makes sure she steps into a fresh pair of underwear, then allows her to dress herself… until it becomes apparent that she can’t. She gets tangled in the shirt, and winds up stuck in a convoluted position he’s only seen in a select few talented contortionists before he can get her unwound and the shirt on in the proper fashion. The leggings prove just as time-consuming, though at least without the pretzel positioning. Socks… He’d led a rebellion against God himself, and he thinks to himself that it was easier than convincing Rory to leave the socks on long enough to put on shoes. 

They’re moving to the kitchen when a familiar ringtone sounds out from the direction of the piano. He reaches the instrument and stares down at the Detective’s face on his phone screen as the strains of ‘ Eternal Flame’ die into silence. It gives a sad little beep as the tally of missed calls ticks up one. He looks at the lit display and winces

537 Missed Calls

31 New Voicemails

5233 Unread Messages

He glances around again, suddenly doubting the security of his penthouse. The phone is nearly fully-charged, so he pockets it to deal with later. One less errand to run.

Rory thankfully agrees to scrambled eggs for breakfast, though she cuts a deal for cake for dessert. He inhales the omelet he prepares for himself (Rory wrinkles her nose in distaste at his choices of peppers and onions), then peruses his phone while he waits for Rory to meticulously finish her own breakfast. 

He marvels a little at how neatly she eats, and wonders briefly why she had been so very drool-coated when she’d awakened him yesterday, but has remained fairly clean since. He navigates to his messages, mostly solicitations which no longer require a response, a few from Miss Lopez, and several from Doctor Linda, checking in with an increasingly worried tone. He clears the missed call log entirely without reviewing it, and dials his voicemail box. Only two really catch his attention. 

One from three days ago, from one of his bartenders:

Hey boss, sorry to bother you, but there’s this lady here that’s been asking about you for days now. Says she’s a friend of yours from forever ago and she came into town to see you. She’s a little crazy, but she says her name is Eve, and that you’ll be happy to see her.”

And one from ten minutes ago, from the Detective:

“Um, hey Lucifer, I was… just calling so you’d know your phone is back. Patrick found it and held onto it for you, and he let me back up last night to give it to you so you wouldn’t have to go buy a new one. I promise I didn’t go any further than the piano, and I left right away, okay? I meant it when I said I don’t want to hurt you, and that I want to help you with Rory. Um. I ran into a friend of yours on my way to the garage last night, she says her name is Eve, and… uh, she was really excited to see you, so… she said she’ll be at the club again tonight. If you, um, need a babysitter or something, I’ll help with that too, okay? Just… call me. If you need anything. Or… um, even if you just want to talk or something. Um. Okay, bye.”

He listens to her message twice, then saves it before disconnecting the call. 

“Done, Da!” Rory announces triumphantly, brandishing eggy hands at her empty plate, covered in traces of smeared  catsup. (He hadn’t been sure if hatred of  catsup could be genetic or not, but he supposes that even so, loving  catsup alone probably wouldn’t rule out the Detective as the potential future mother of this child.)

“Okay then,” He lifts her carefully off the stool and they march to the bathroom so she can wash her hands. (The toilet he had purchased ingeniously doubles as a step-stool so she can also reach the sink.) “You remember the deal?”

“I cowwor, den cake!” He dries her hands gently with a soft towel and she climbs down carefully.

Where do you color?” he asks suspiciously, mind whirling with tales of the Detective’s offspring scribbling on her walls at some age or other. 

“On da papuh!” She repeats obediently, still smiling. 

“Very well,” he agrees, “You know where your supplies are?” 

“Sheff!”

“Yes, on the shelf in your room. Off with you then. I’ll be quick, but you must hold to the deal or no cake.” He reminds her firmly, and she nods, holding his gaze.

“Deal!” She chirps happily, trotting off toward the guest room. “Cake!”

Lucifer has never taken a faster shower, or completed his grooming regimen so quickly in his very long life. He appears anxiously in the doorway to his guest room twenty minutes later to find Rory laying on her stomach on the fluffy white rug, her coloring book open on the stone floor in front of her and a veritable rainbow of crayons scattered around her. She’s concentrating hard, her little tongue poking out between her teeth as the bright blue crayon moves haphazardly across the paper.

She had predictably chosen a coloring book full of unicorns and pegasi, but had also surprised him with a more advanced coloring book of different bird species. She had been fascinated by the wings on the cover, and when he had allowed her to flip through the book she had clutched it so tightly he hadn’t had the heart to argue, though it looked far beyond her current skill and dexterity level. 

She’s working on the unicorns at the moment, adding streaks of brilliant blue to an otherwise yellow mane, turning it a sort of mottled green color. He does notice that she has managed to follow the lines fairly well, which he hadn’t expected of a child this approximate age. 

He leaves her to her coloring, and goes to uphold his end of the deal– returning in short order with a slice of cake for each of them. She glances up this time when he arrives at the door and her eyes light with her grin. 

“Yes, cake, I’m aware,” he cuts her off her excited exclamation with a chuckle. “Where is your blanket?”

She trots obediently out to the living room sofa and grabs her purple blanket to spread over the white fluff of the rug, and they sit comfortably on the floor together and eat their decadent dessert. 

She babbles away, tapping the toes of her old shoes together repeatedly as Lucifer listens to whatever it is she’s trying to explain. He glances down at the well-worn slip-ons– he’d found them tossed beside the couch as he’d been cleaning yesterday, after their little supply run. Obviously, Rory had made herself at home upon her arrival and removed her shoes… he just has no idea why. After a few minutes, he notices some faded writing on the bottom of her left shoe. 

“Aurora?” he reads aloud, interested despite himself. 

“Hm?” She looks up at him questioningly. 

“Your shoe says ‘Aurora’,” he muses. 

“Mmhmm,” she mumbles around a mouthful of messy chocolate crumbs. He waits until she swallows before he asks his next question.

“Do you know why it says that?”

“My shoo,” she tilts her head at him, brow creasing in confusion. 

“Yes, I’m aware that it’s your shoe,” he sighs. “I suppose it’s preposterous trying to get answers from a baby.”

“Not a baby!” she shouts, offended. 

“I’m older than the stars,” he points out calmly, “ everyone alive is a baby compared to me.”

“Not a baby,” she insists, her fingers catching crumbs and smears of frosting from her plate. “Big girl.”

“Hm,” he doesn’t argue, supposing it must be frustrating to be so small and not be able to understand or articulate things properly. “Can you tell me your name? Your full name? It might help us locate your parents.”

Now she looks at him as though he’s crazy. “Ro-ree!”

“Thank you Rory,” he sighs. “What’s your last name, darling?”

“Mow-nin-stah.” She pronounces it carefully, proudly, and he feels that funny little flipping sensation in his chest again. “Aw-ro-rah Mow-nin-stah. Meee!”

Aurora Morningstar. He smiles to himself. His alternate self– if this is an alternate timeline’s daughter– must be quite the sentimental sort. 

“Do you know how you got here?”

“Wite!” 

“Yes, your rug is white, but do you know how you got here?”

“Shinee wite!” She waves her hands around her dramatically, then licks the crumbs from her fingers and looks sadly down at her now clear plate. “More cake?”

“No, we’re on a strict one-slice limit, I’m afraid. But we need to work on getting you home. You can’t stay here, your parents will be worried.” And this is certainly no place for a child. I definitely have no business with one.

She looks around the room. “Home.”

“Right. We need to get you home. Your home.”

“This home.”

“I can assure you, it is not.”

“Is too!”

“It truly isn’t.”

“Is!”

“Then where is your bed?” He asks exasperatedly. “Where are all the brightly-colored trappings that are apparently required for child-rearing?” He stops and takes a breath as her face crumples and moisture collects in her familiar brown eyes. He mutters to himself, “Why am I arguing with a child about my flat being her home?”

Her lip is trembling now, and even someone as ignorant of children as himself knows what that means. “Please don’t cry, Rory, we’ll find out where you belong. I just… I think you need your parents. Come on then, let’s wash your hands and you can look through the toys that the Detective brought over for you.”

“Toys?” Her voice is small and slightly trembly, but it sounds hopeful, and that makes him hopeful that they can avoid the waterworks for now. 

“Mmhmm, a whole bag of them, once you’ve washed your hands and face.”

That manages to pull her away from the precipice of a tearful breakdown, and Lucifer breathes a silent sigh of relief. He throws another prayer up to his brother while the child washes up under his careful eye, imparting his new knowledge and suspicions. If she’s really managed to jump worlds– or times– somehow, his brother may need to consult their father, and the anxiety that boils in his gut at that idea is nearly overwhelming. 

How can I protect her from Father?  

He doesn’t know, but he intends to try his best if it comes down to it. 

His phone rings again, ‘Eternal Flame’ playing softly from his pocket. He stares at it for a moment before he answers. 

“Lucifer Morningstar.”

There’s a brief silence at his brusque greeting, followed by a quiet clearing of a throat. “Hey. It’s me.”

“I gathered that from my caller ID, Detective. Did you need something?” 

“I… I wanted to make sure you found your phone. I wanted to save you a trip out with a toddler.” She pauses, an awkward silence blooming in the light of his near-hostility. “How’s Rory?”

“Currently elbow-deep in the bag of toys you brought over last night,” He chuckles, watching the child still pulling every toy from the bag and greeting it like it was an old friend. “Your choices seem to meet her approval, at least. She seems very familiar with them.”

“Have you heard anything from Amenadiel?” 

“Not yet,” He acknowledges Rory’s excitement at finding yet another toy with a smile and a nod as he continues his thought, “Time moves faster here than in Heaven, so he really hasn’t had much chance to gather information yet. I’m keeping him updated. I did manage to find out her name today, and it appears we were at least partially right. I still can’t verify that an alternate you is her mother, but it appears that an alternate me could certainly be her father. Her name is written on the bottom of one of her shoes, and she told me her last name when I asked: She’s Aurora Morningstar, Rory for short.”

There’s nothing but dead silence on the line for so long that Lucifer pulls the phone from his ear to check and see if the call had been disconnected. He brings it back to his ear. “Detective?”

He can just make out the faint sounds of panting breaths. Reluctant concern swells within his chest. “Detective? Are you all right?”

“Lucifer,” his name is soft, barely breathed, and his stomach performs an acrobatic flip as he strains to listen. “If… if I ever had another daughter, I wanted to name her Aurora. I… I must be her mother.”

“We’ve established that you’re not , in fact, her mother,” he reminds her warily, trying to soothe her with the knowledge that she does not have a child with the Devil. “At best, it’s an alternate version of you, with possibly vastly different experiences.”

And clearly none of the bad ones, since nothing in Rory’s behavior indicates that her parents can’t stand to be in a room together. He feels a pang of envy for that other Lucifer, that his life is filled with the light of affection for his Detective, her offspring, and their offspring. Except for right now, of course, when their offspring has somehow wound up here in his incredibly incapable hands.

She doesn’t respond, and he tries for a joke to lighten the mood, “Whoever the other you is, though, she appears to share your atrocious fashion sense, and sadly it was passed on to poor Rory. She chose a striped shirt and flower-print leggings to wear today.”

A watery laugh sounds over the line, and Lucifer swallows heavily. There’s another moment of silence between them before Chloe asks, “Can I come see her tonight?”

“Detective, I’m not sure that’s wise,” he argues, careful to keep his tone gentle. “There’s no need for you to force yourself to bear my presence, and the child is perfectly safe.”

“I know you’ll keep her safe, but… I’d like to get to know her, and, um, I miss you.” The last few words are rushed so quickly that they run together, but Lucifer doesn’t ask her to repeat herself. He’s too busy trying not to swallow his tongue at the unexpected admission. When he doesn’t respond, she goes on to say, “Surely it would be more calming for Rory to have her mother around? Has… has she asked for me at all?”

“Again, Detective, you’re not her mother, just as I am not her father, that’s simply too advanced a situation to explain to her at this age. But no, to answer your question, she hasn’t asked after you today.”

“Oh,” is the quiet response. He's been trying to reassure her, why does she sound so disappointed? 

“Rory,” He calls softly, closing his eyes and shaking his head as he wonders why he does these things to himself. “Would you like your mother to come visit us this evening?”

“Mommee?” The child snaps her attention from her new toys and lasers in on the word. “Mommee home?”

“Not yet, darling, but she can come later, if you want her to.”

“Yayyy!” Rory flings her hands in the air in celebration. “Mommee seep wif us?”

“Ah, no,” Lucifer corrects quickly, Chloe’s choked breath echoing in his ear. “We said last night that we weren’t going to make a habit of you sleeping in bed with me, remember?”

“Bed too big!” the girl complains, pouting, and Lucifer can only laugh. 

“Then we’ll fill it with pillows, but either way, your mother is certainly not sleeping here.” He’s firm but gentle, and Rory’s face only falls a little. “But you want her to come visit?”

“Pease?”

“There you have it, Detective, the child has issued your summons. I’ll leave Patrick instructions to let you up… not that he needs them, apparently”

“Okay, I’ll see you after work then. Do you want me to bring anything?”

“I think we have everything we need but your company,” he says easily, before scrambling to backtrack, “for the child, of course.”

“Of course,” he must be imagining the disappointment in her tone. “I’ll… text you when I’m on my way, then.”

“Very well,” he says awkwardly. “Enjoy the rest of your day, Detective.”

*

When Amenadiel arrives in Heaven, the first sibling he sees is Gabriel, and he nearly groans at his rotten luck. 

“Menni!” She crows cheerfully, throwing her arms around him in a far-too-enthusiastic hug. “What’s up bro? You’re back way sooner than I thought you’d be, Earth just can’t compare, right? You don’t even have to say it, I just know.”

“Riiiight,” Amenadiel says slowly, edging away from his overly chatty sister. “You don’t happen to know where Raphael is, do you? I have a question for him.”

“Oooh, did the humans give you another disease? Or did you catch Chlamydia again?”

“That was a false positive,” he defends instantly as she dissolves into laughter, tight curls bouncing in her mirth. “And how did you even find out about that?”

“I learn all sorts of interesting stuff, bro,” she wheezes. “I check in on everybody from time to time. Except Lucifer, of course. Best to steer clear of that particular train wreck, if ya know what I mean. Don’t want any of that guilt-by-association rubbing off, thank you very much. Seraqael is still paying for considering siding with him during the rebellion.”

Anyway,” he redirects pointedly, “it was a false positive , and I don’t have questions about me, it’s about something else. Do you know where he is?”

“Same place as always, if he’s not in the infirmary, he’s in the library.” She shrugs. “He’s got the entire medical section memorized, why does he spend so much time there, anyway? It’s so booooring !”

Maybe because he has more than 3 brain cells , Amenadiel thinks to himself, carefully not letting his expression change. 

“Thanks Gabriel,” he says aloud, with a small smile. “Good to see you.”

She narrows her eyes and watches him leave, her head tilted a little to the right as she wonders what he’s up to. She makes a mental note to follow up with Remi and Raphael later. A Messenger’s gotta be on top of the news, after all.

When he doesn’t find his brother in the infirmary, Amenadiel heads directly to the library and finds the Healer tucked away in a squashy armchair dozing over a book, tendrils of sandy brown hair fluttering with each heavy inhale and exhale. 

“Even the mighty Healer needs to rest every now and then, right Brother?” Amenadiel smiles as he approaches, and the wispy frame slumped in the chair startles into consciousness. “Do you have a moment for some questions, Raphael?”

“Amenadiel!” a wide smile graces the slender face of the Healer, his pale green eyes lighting in warm greeting. “I didn’t expect to see you back again so soon, welcome! Did you decide to come back to the Silver City permanently after all? I’m sure Remi would be thrilled to have you back on the training grounds, no one’s been able to hold their own against her since you left.”

“Which means you get the pleasure of patching up her sparring partners, hm?” Amusement lights the deep brown eyes of the eldest angel, and Raphael smiles wryly in return. “As much as I’m sure my siblings would appreciate the reprieve from Remi’s teaching methods, I’m afraid I’ve decided to make Earth my home. I do have a couple of situations I’d like to ask you about, though.”

“Are you all right?” Raphael’s gaze sharpens on his brother, checking for signs of injury or malaise. “Did you catch another human disease?”

“Did Gabriel tell the entire host?” Amenadiel groans, rubbing his palm over his scalp. “ No , I’m perfectly healthy. I just need to know about, er, procreation.”

“Human procreation?” Raphael clarifies blankly. “Why?”

“Well,” Amenadiel hesitates uncomfortably, “We’ve… encountered what we believe to be either a new project of Father’s, or… well, we really don’t know what else it could be.”

“Father hasn’t created anything new since the most recent Life Draft on Earth.” Raphael’s thin brows draw together in confusion. “When you say ‘we’...?”

“It’s… an interesting tale.”

Raphael waves a hand and a second armchair appears next to the one he’s occupying. Amenadiel sighs and sits, leaning forward until his elbows rest on his thighs. “A… child appeared in Lucifer’s apartment today.”

“A human child?” The Healer’s eyebrows lift in surprise. “I haven’t spoken to Lucifer since he fell, but… he doesn’t seem quite the type to encourage the presence of younglings.”

“He’s not,” Amenadiel laughs, shaking his head as he remembers Lucifer’s method of restraining the child. “With the exception of one small one, but this one is different. We don’t know how it got there or where it came from, and it has wings , Raph.”

“Humans don’t have wings,” Raphael says slowly, as though Amenadiel has suffered a head injury. 

“I’m aware,” he replies dryly. “Which is why we wondered if it was a new creation of Father’s. It can speak a little, and it can furl and unfurl its wings, but it is very small. It can also become injured by mundane means.”

“You’re certain this isn’t Lucifer simply playing a prank on you?” Raphael closes his book and focuses with laser precision on his brother. 

“I’ve seen it, Raphael. It speaks, and its wings are not fully feathered yet, only covered in down.” 

“How big is it? Can you bring it to me for examination?”

“Lucifer has assumed guardianship of it until we can figure out what it is, and where it belongs. I doubt he’ll be willing to allow it to come here, outside of his protection.” Amenadiel leans back, tapping his fingertips together in thought. “It is small, not even as high as my waist. Raph, is it possible that this is an angel-human hybrid?”

“Nephilim are a human myth, brother,” Raphael laughs. “Angels cannot breed.”

“Are you certain?” Amenadiel presses, thinking of Linda now, and her certainty that he is the father of the new life within her. “What about a fallen angel?”

“You think this creature is Lucifer’s get?” Raphael’s pale brows lift in surprise. “I’ve heard your tales of his… activities on Earth. Surely if the act of falling would render an angel fertile with a human, this would have happened thousands of years ago?”

“I didn't say that. But, do we know that it hasn’t?” Amenadiel points out, very carefully not mentioning that the mystery child may have referred to Lucifer as its father. “ How would we know? Legends usually spring from something, right?”

"That's simple," Raphael waves a hand vaguely, "You know Remi can sense all of us. She would know if any new beings came into existence." 

"Okay, so probably not a half-angel then," Amenadiel muses. "Are you certain that Father hasn't–" 

"Raphael!" The doors to the library clatter open and a brusque female voice rings through the hallowed silence. The two brothers glance at one another, and Raphael responds hesitantly. 

"Here, Remi," he sighs. "Do you need me on the training field again? I've told you, Camael is never going to…" 

"There's a new celestial presence on Earth! I feel it, brother!" She strides into view, her spear clacking aggressively on the marble floors, and stops short as she spies Amenadiel. 

A feral grin paints her lips as he stands to greet her enthusiastic embrace. "Brother, you're back! And just in time… it appears our promiscuous brother has sired a child . We must find it, and bring it back to the Silver City before he can corrupt it." 

"We don't know that the child is Lucifer's, Remi," Amenadiel cautions, glancing at his brother, who remains silent. "And while it's true that he is very, er, active among the humans, I've told you that he's not evil."

Amenadiel, I hope you're getting some information up there while I'm down here babysitting. 

The snarky comment fills his mind in Lucifer's voice, accompanied by a burst of new information about the girl, including suspicions of alternate timelines or universes, the idea that Michael could be involved somehow, and the fact that the child had recognized people that she'd never met throughout the course of their day. 

He blinks at the sudden influx of information while Remi rants about their fallen brother's behavior patterns. 

"If he is as promiscuous as you’ve said, it's going to take forever to locate the human that's incubating his spawn," She growls, "I would appreciate your help on this hunt, you know his haunts and habits far better than I." 

Amenadiel is torn. Should he explain the situation with the unidentified child and order Remi to stand down until they work it out? A sudden thought chills him to the bone: I can't let her find Linda. 

Decision made. 

"I will handle this hunt alone, Remi," he orders, squaring his shoulders and letting his voice ring with authority. "Lucifer trusts me, but he may be protective over something he considers his. It would be best if you remain here in the Silver City so we don't tip our hand about the hunt." 

"But Amenadiel," the Huntress protests, "Lucifer is slippery! He's already managed to trick you into letting him stay out of Hell. If he proves too clever again… we cannot let a celestial being be raised on Earth ."

She makes her statement with a sneer of disgust, and Amenadiel's upper lip trembles with a repressed snarl. 

"Are you suggesting that I'm too stupid to handle our fallen brother, Remiel?" The question is deadly quiet, and the Huntress stills before her elder brother, standing straighter and puffing out her chest. "Are you suggesting that I am incapable?" 

"N-no," she stammers, her complexion paling by several shades. "I only wish to take part in the hunt, brother, it's been too long since we have spent time together." 

“I agree, Remi,” he lets his expression soften, and watches some of the tension bleed from her posture. “But Earth is a big place, and much has changed since you last visited the plane. You would need to learn to blend in among the humans, and that would waste much valuable time in our search. I can handle this. You are needed here.

“But–”

I will investigate this new presence and see what can be determined with Raphael’s help,” Amenadiel intones commandingly, and like a good soldier, Remi bows to his will. 

For now.

Amenadiel turns back to Raphael once the doors close behind her, anxiety playing around his stolid features. 

“Why so anxious, brother?” The Healer reaches across the gap between them and rests a calming hand on his brother’s forearm. “If this creature is a spawn of Lucifer, the worst you’ll have to do is remove it to the Silver City. Our fallen brother isn’t likely to put up a fight about that. He'll likely thank you for ridding him of it."

“Perhaps,” Amenadiel says quietly, a sick feeling blooming in his stomach as he recalls how gently Lucifer had handled the child, how easily she had draped herself upon him. “Raphael, can you tell me what happens to us when we fall?”

Pale green eyes narrow in contemplation. “What do you mean?”

“Well, for example, my experience and Lucifer’s have been very different. Luci still maintains all his powers, except for when he’d removed his wings. Now that he has them back, he’s back to himself again fully. When I fell, it was… different.”

“Different how?” He leans forward, interested now.

“When I fell… my wings molted. All my feathers were gone. My powers were gone. My strength. My ability to hear prayer. All of it. I was… human, brother.”

“And your theory is that you did this to yourself , as punishment for the methods you had employed against Lucifer?” He chews his lip in thought. “Why would that be the case?”

“Because when I needed my powers over time to save a human that Mom had harmed, I could use them,” Amenadiel admits carefully. “And when I needed my wings to make sure Charlotte got her escort here, I grew them. They responded to my need, without any prayer or attempt to gain Father’s attention. It was all me, Raph.”

“But then why wouldn’t Lucifer have lost his?” the Healer muses curiously, then shudders. “He didn’t lose his wings, you said he cut them off.”

“He did,” Amenadiel nods solemnly, his face creasing with sorrow. “Many, many times. They kept coming back, and he would cut them off again and again. I had to burn them to dispose of them.” 

“But if your theory is true, then wouldn’t they have simply stayed gone?”

“They did, for years,” the warrior considers. “But they came back after he helped Mom to her own universe. He lost his devil face around then, too.”

“Devil face?”

“It’s… difficult to explain,” Amenadiel shrugs helplessly. “Indescribable. But the point is, our experiences have been entirely different. How… how would I be able to know how close to being human I truly was?”

“It doesn’t matter now, brother, you’ve got your powers back!” Raphael smiles reassuringly, and Amenadiel doesn’t correct him that his time powers still haven’t recovered. 

“Right,” Amenadiel smiles stiffly and stands. “So, we have no information on half-celestial children, or on how they might differ from humans.”

“None,” Raphael agrees, shaking his head sadly. “Leave it to Lucifer to go against Father’s most basic rules of nature. It will be fascinating to study the child once you bring it here.”

“Study it?” his heart clenches, and his stomach drops. “Why… why would you need to study it?”

“We don’t know what it is!” Raphael’s eyes glow with excitement. “We don’t know what it can do, or what it can withstand– it’s a wealth of information, just waiting to be unlocked!”

“It’s a child , Raphael,” he reminds the Healer abruptly, and Raphael looks at him askance. “It is a being, just as we are. As humans are. Since when do we treat fellow beings as if they are something to study?”

“Relax, brother,” Raphael chuckles, “There will be nothing done that will permanently damage it. I am the Healer, after all. Any harm can easily be repaired, and just think what we could learn!”

“I’d best get on with the hunt,” Amenadiel snaps, anxiety curling and twisting in his stomach. “Or Remiel will take it into her own hands. Be at peace, brother.”

He’s gone before Raphael can return the blessing, leaving the Healer shrugging off his confusion and opening his book back to the page he’d been perusing when he’d dozed off. He stares at it, but his mind whirls.

What will we learn from this new creature?

Chapter Text

Lucifer spends what should have been the most utterly mind-numbing day of his life puttering around his penthouse on the heels of the winged toddler that seems to think he’s her father.

It should have been boring. Or horrifying. He should have been tempted to hire a nanny with excellent references for discretion and gone about his day. He should have been tearing his hair out by midday.

But none of those things happened.

It probably helps that his days for the past several weeks have been spent in a hectic haze of trying to maintain a steady state of forgetfulness. The fact that he would normally be repulsed at the sheer amount of effort and time it takes to keep up with an exceedingly energetic and mercurial toddler barely registers in the sheer, overwhelming relief of having something to easily hold his attention. Anything to keep him from obsessing over the events of the past few months.

It’s an oddly welcome, if bitter, respite. He spends the day effortlessly not thinking about the Detective and her reaction to his untimely reveal… except for those occasions where Rory does or says something that reminds him so strongly of her that his breath catches in his throat. 

Thankfully, it only happens a half-dozen times or so throughout the course of the day, which is a vast improvement over the near-constant buzzing he’d been fighting since she’d fled from his nightmarish presence in the loft. Since she’d returned with a tiny vial of poison and a plot to lull him into a blissful sense of false security in order to banish him permanently back to Hell.

Rory fills the day with endless babbling, small messes, and chaotic episodes of hyperactivity that make him smile despite his overall wariness of the child. She seems to have more energy today than yesterday. He finds himself wondering if whatever event had brought her to him had sapped her of some of her usual energy. 

Or perhaps it’s the cake she manages to wrangle a deal for at every opportunity.

For a youngling, she is disturbingly canny at striking deals, and she seems to know exactly how far she can push him without going too far. For her part, she’s largely even-tempered– cheerful even– until she comes up against the walls of exhaustion, or hunger, or outright denial. 

They have a heated standoff over the piano. She demands to be allowed to play, and he flatly denies her the opportunity, which sends her into a dramatic meltdown in mid-afternoon. He will not be swayed, and no amount of large eyes or tantrums will get her way. Eventually, she melts into a tearful, wailing puddle on his marble floor in the center of the room, and Lucifer, at a loss as to what to do, sits on the bench and starts to play.

He chooses something soft, soothing– as much for his own nerves as in hope of taming the tiny weeping beast curled disconsolately on the Oriental rug. He plays so quietly that at first the heartbroken child doesn’t even register the music over the sound of her own tears. Finally, her sobs quiet into hiccups and the floating melody settles softly in her heart. She sits up and yawns, rubbing her sensitive eyes, raw and reddened from tears. She looks wistfully at him and slowly creeps closer. He registers her approach and gives her a small smile, but doesn’t break his silence.

“Da?” She extends her arms hesitantly, as though afraid she might be rebuffed and his heart flips upside down once more. “Up? Pease?”

He watches her for a moment, but doesn’t stop playing. “You cannot touch the piano, Rory, it’s a very sensitive instrument.”

“I no touch,” her dark eyes are sad, but filled with a yearning that he understands without further words. “I sit wif you? You pway?”

“Very well then,” he agrees quietly, and her watery smile warms him all the way through. “Do you need help up on the bench?”

“I do it,” she says firmly, and he leaves her to her clumsy scramble. Once she hoists herself up with an ungainly grunt, she ignores his mild protests and wriggles into his lap, settling herself into just the right position where she can watch him play without obstructing his movement and reach too much. She rests her cheek against his chest, her fingers toying with the lapel of his jacket. After a moment, he notices she’s humming along under her breath. 

“You know this song?” he asks curiously, and she hums a quiet affirmative before switching to a simple descant to pair with the melody flowing from his fingers. Intrigued, he segues into a different song, and she matches him effortlessly after taking a moment to identify it. “You do know music, don’t you Rory?”

“You teach,” she mumbles into his jacket, pressing closer as she curls into a ball. Her shoulders twitch, but she keeps her wings in despite an obvious urge to let them loose. There’s infinite sadness in her voice when she voices her next muffled question. “Why I no pway, Da? I bad? You no teach no more?”

“Your dad is teaching you to play, hm?” he muses, looking down at her rather than his fingers dancing lightly along the keys. That strange ache is back in his chest, throbbing with the beat of his heart. “I’m sorry, Rory, I didn’t know that. As I’ve told you, I’m afraid I’m not your dad… or at least, not the one you know. But I’m sure that makes very little sense or difference to you at this point, Imp.” He sighs, considering. “You’re not bad at all, but I think you might be a bit tired. Fancy a nap?”

“Seepy,” she agrees, rubbing her cheek against the soft wool of his jacket. “Pway, pease?”

Well, at least she isn’t asking for the ‘horsie song’. He hadn’t gotten the name of that song yet, nor had a chance to try to find it online with some of the simple lyrics he remembers from the Detective’s haunting rendition last night. He continues to play, the music filling both of them with a soft joy that resonates between them as Rory drifts into sleep. She melts into a boneless heap in his arms, and once she starts snoring lightly, he takes her into the guest bedroom and situates her more comfortably.

Remembering her complaint about the bed being too big, he raids the flat for pillows and piles them around her, effectively blocking off half the bed. She curls into herself, her little fingers clutching the fluffy purple blanket he drapes over her tightly. He stands watching her for a long moment, puzzled at how this tiny creature has somehow managed to bumble into his shambles of a life and erect a meager shelter to protect against the storm he’s been huddled against for weeks now. Rather than turning his life upside-down, he somehow feels as though he’s suddenly been righted– like a turtle that had been flailing on its back suddenly set on its feet by a kind stranger passing by. 

She mumbles a little in her sleep, and he scuttles quickly out the door, leaving it partly open so she won’t awaken in an unfamiliar dark room. Sighing heavily, he makes his way into the living room to survey the damage. By his normal standards, it’s a veritable train wreck… but by his more recent environmental situation… it’s nearly pristine. 

The contents from the Urchin’s donated bag of toys are strewn quite literally everywhere. The low coffee table is askew from where she’d tripped over the leg, and her crayons are spilling over the lip of it in a veritable rainbow. A half-finished coloring page of a winged unicorn drinking from a pool of suspiciously orange water (the child does seem to have a theme with the color orange) waits forlornly on the surface of the table, half-covered with puzzle pieces. 

When he surveys the chaos, though, he doesn’t feel a sense of rising anxiety, only mild amusement as he recalls how very much the child had enjoyed her activities. She had given her total and complete attention to each project until something else had caught her eye and drawn her away, and he’s self-aware enough to recognize that as a reflection of his own tendency to do the same. 

His phone chimes lightly, and he grimaces as he pulls it from his pocket to see the reminder flashing across the screen that the Detective will be arriving soon. The corner of his lip twitches downward for a moment as he considers.

How long is the imp likely to sleep? There’s no sense in the Detective visiting if the child is merely going to nap the entire time…  

He waffles for a bit before sliding the phone back into his pocket and embarking on a cleaning spree. This time he puts his full attention into it, clearing away the smeared remnants of his lines, emptying and washing the ash trays, and disposing of the empty bottles lining the shelves of his bar as he makes notes of what he needs to replenish. He straightens Rory’s things as he goes, returning them to their new niches on the shelves in the guest room before professing himself satisfied and dropping onto a low chair on the balcony with a tumbler of scotch cupped loosely in his hand. 

He leans his head against the cushion and closes his eyes, basking in the warmth of the sun on his face and breeze ruffling his hair. When the soft flutter of large wings fills the air around him, he groans. 

“Please tell me you have glorious news, Brother,” he cracks an eye open lazily, but sits bolt upright when he takes in the grave expression on Amenadiel’s face. “Not so glorious, then. What did you find out?”

“Where is the child?” 

“She’s asleep,” Lucifer glances into the quiet penthouse. “Why?”

“Luci, we need to keep a close watch on her. I spoke with Raphael and Remiel, and… Remi senses her as a celestial. She wanted to come here and take her to the Silver City.”

“Like Hell she will,” he snarls, but deep down, relief wars with suspicion in Lucifer’s mind. This is confirmation that this child could indeed be a child of his and the Detective’s… somehow. “What does it mean that Remi senses her?”

“I’m not completely sure, but… they think she is your child from a coupling with a human.”

“Brother,” Lucifer hesitates, watching Amenadiel carefully. “They… may be right.”

“They–” he trails off incredulously. “What happened to ‘impossible’?” 

“She’s not my daughter,” Lucifer clarifies confusingly. “At least, not here, not now.

“Care to explain?”

“I think she’s either from an alternate earth, or another timeline,” he offers with a lifted eyebrow to acknowledge the strangeness of the situation. “I’ve no idea how she’s arrived, but she recognizes me as her father, and seems to know me fairly well.”

“But the mother–”

“Yes, well that’s another oddity,” he leans forward and sets his glass on a low table before rubbing his temples in exasperation. “She recognizes the Detective as her mother. And we have some evidence that may actually be the case.” 

“What evidence?”

“Aside from her familiarity with both of us, bits and pieces in her features and mannerisms, and her recognition of the people she’s met, Chloe also found the exact clothing Rory was wearing when she arrived among some of the Urchin’s castoffs that she’d brought over for her to use.”

“Chloe was here?” Amenadiel’s face lights up with a smile, but Lucifer waves it off impatiently.

“Not the point, brother,” he sighs. “She saw me with the child at the station when I went to ask Miss Lopez for pointers on how to keep the gremlin alive until we figure this out. She said she wanted to help, since I have no child care experience.”

“You think she’s lying?” The elder angel’s brow creases in concern at his brother’s dark expression. “What happened between you two, Luci?”

Lucifer had refused to discuss the reason for his recent spiral with anyone . He hadn’t been attending sessions with Linda, who had worriedly turned to Amenadiel for information he didn’t have. The angel had been reluctant to approach Chloe for information, wary of overwhelming her with another divine being confrontation after her recent revelation to the truth of Lucifer’s identity. 

“Nothing worth mentioning,” Lucifer growls, making Amenadiel doubt the statement. “Suffice it to say that she misled me regarding her acceptance of my identity, and we’ve dissolved our partnership as a result. So, I feel justified in having some doubts as to her concerns about Rory’s welfare.”

“Luci, that… seems like it might be something you should talk about.” Amenadiel probes gently, “Linda has been worried about you these past few weeks, have you spoken with her at all?”

“I’ve only just gotten my phone back this morning,” Lucifer huffs, neatly dodging the question. “I had… misplaced it weeks ago.”

“Misplaced.” Amenadiel deadpans, familiar with his brother’s habit of hurling things off his balcony when displeased.

Lucifer hums a noncommittal agreement before redirecting the conversation back to the original subject. “You said Remi sensed Rory, and she’s decided she’s my offspring. Your constipated expression says there is a problem, so out with it.”

“Remi wants to take her to the Silver City, before you corrupt her,” Amenadiel admits hesitantly, watching flashes of hurt, then resignation, then fury spark in his brother’s expressive eyes. He hurries to add, “I’ve convinced them to let me handle the ‘hunt’ in order to buy us some time to figure out what to do.”

Lucifer considers their options, his lip curling at his sister’s heavy-handed accusation of his corrupting the child. He wonders if Rory could be happy in the Silver City. Granted, he never had been, especially once he’d realized he would never succeed in pleasing his father… but the rest of his siblings seemed to be happy enough to live there under His thumb. 

He scans the skyline of the city before him, recalling her behavior over the past day since she’d appeared. Rory was precocious, much as he had been. She was curious about everything. She was loud, and unapologetically messy, and creative. She was joyous and innocent, and free. Just as he had been, in the beginning. If he allows her to be taken– if he releases her from his protection– he knows that will all cease to be. All of the delightful idiosyncrasies that make her Rory will be extracted, rooted out and burned rather than nurtured and explored as they would be here on Earth, with her parents. 

Assuming I can somehow get her back to them.

No. If the child were taken back to the Silver City, they would either carve off the bits that didn’t fit in to mold her into one of them, or crush the life from her entirely. Or worse– raise her as Heaven’s golden child, only to cast her out later, as they had with him. 

How do I hide a celestial presence from a bloodhound like Remi? And how to convince Amenadiel not to turn over the child?

“Wait,” his eyes narrow on his brother’s tight expression. “What do you mean ‘until we figure out what to do’?”

Amenadiel doesn’t respond, but his eyes drift down to the stone floor of the balcony before glancing back up worriedly. “Linda is pregnant, Luci, with my child.” He squares his shoulders, resolve forming in his eyes like ice. “You didn’t hear the way Raphael was speaking about this little one– they want to perform tests on her to see what she can withstand, observe her differences and likenesses to us. It was… chilling. If we allow them to take this child, they will return for mine.”

“They will not touch a barb of her feathers while I draw breath,” Lucifer growls furiously, eyes flaring red as rage washes over him at Amenadiel’s revelation. “Even if she is not the child of this body, she bears my name proudly, and I will not allow her to be prodded and degraded like a bloody rat in a study!”

“I won’t be able to keep Remi off the hunt for long, Luci,” he warns. “What are we going to do?”

“Hell if I know,” Lucifer sighs, the embers of his eyes fading back into their normal deep brown. “I tried questioning the child as to how she arrived here, and she didn’t seem to know.”

“What did she say? How coherent is she?” Amenadiel asks, curious now about developmental stages of half-angel children. “You’re certain Chloe is the mother?”

“Well, not this Chloe, but the Detective seems fairly certain based on her gut instinct, the child’s recognition, and the outfit…” Lucifer trails off. “She seems capable of expressing herself fairly well, until she gets too tired, or hungry or frustrated, then she inevitably gets her knickers in a twist and simply cries it out until she settles. I do think she understands more than she can articulate, but when I asked her how she got here, she only said ‘white’.”

“White?” Amenadiel parrots, lost. Lucifer shrugs hopelessly. He’d been trying to figure that out since he’d asked, to no avail.

“Your guess is as good as mine., brother,” he closes his eyes and huffs. “If she wakes while you’re still here we can ask her again. The best way to keep her safe would be to get her back to her own timeline, her own family… but how to do that? Are your time powers back along with those stubby wings of yours?”

“My wings are not stubby, they’re perfectly proportional for my frame, Luci!” He hesitates and regroups when Lucifer’s chuckle cuts through his indignant response. His eyes tighten, and he swallows hard. “But… I… no, my powers haven’t returned. “I don’t know that they would help us in this instance anyway… it wouldn’t slow down Remi, and time travel has never been my skill. And how would we even begin to try to find the right place for her? In time or space?”

“She’s the key,” Lucifer muses. “She has to be. She got herself here, somehow. We just need to find out how… maybe why … so we can reverse it.”

A shrill bouncing giggle wafts from the depths of the penthouse, and Lucifer groans. He knows that sound far too well now. “Oh, bloody Hell.”

“What–” Amenadiel starts to ask as he turns to look in the direction of the sound. His eyes widen at the sight that meets his wondering eyes. Lucifer hasn’t bothered to turn. “Er, Luci?”

“She’s naked again, isn’t she.” It’s not a question, but Amenadiel nods anyway, watching the flesh-colored blur of the child darting around the living room, making odd swishing noises as she raises her stuffed shark above her head. “Wings out?”

“Uh, yeah,” as Amenadiel chuckles as he watches, a fluffy magenta feather drifting toward the slightly open balcony door before coming to rest daintily on the marble floor. “Guess she really is yours, huh?”

“Oh, shut it , Amenadiel,” Lucifer growls, but there’s no heat to it. “We go through this every time she has to void her bladder or bowels, or takes a bath, or changes clothing. If I didn’t have to wrestle her into her clothing myself, I’d be proud of her tenacity. I don’t suppose you’d like to have a go? Little practice run for fatherhood, eh?”

“You know, I think I’ll watch the master at work first,” Amenadiel grins, gesturing toward the cackling toddler, happily flapping her wings and sending faint wisps of pink feathery barbs everywhere. “Show me how it’s done, brother.”

“I bloody hate you,” Lucifer mutters as he stands, squares his shoulders, and strides for the door, calling loudly, “Right, Imp, what did we agree on when you’ve finished with the loo?”

“...Pants,” comes the tiny voice after a long moment. Amenadiel stifles a smile as he watches them through the glass. The little girl has curled her wings around herself, trying to hide her transgression a bit too late. 

And?” Lucifer asks expectantly.

“... Trousers,” she sighs heavily, her wings and head drooping. “And shirt.”

“And are you wearing any of those items right now?” 

“No?” Amenadiel can’t restrain it anymore, and a bark of laughter escapes him, drawing the child’s attention. She lights up with the hope of escape from her father’s disapproval. “Unca Meni!”

She moves to dart past Lucifer to the balcony, but he’s too quick, reaching out and snagging her with one arm and tucking her, giggling, underneath it like a folded newspaper, wings and all. “No you don’t, you miniature menace. Clothes first , then you can greet your Uncle. I think you should introduce him to all of your stuffed friends and very thoroughly show him every single coloring page you’ve done. Make sure you point out all the details so he can properly appreciate them, hm?”

“Otay,” her laughter vibrates against his ribcage as he traipses them to the bathroom, where, sure enough, her clothing is scattered. 

“Did you wash your hands?” He lifts an eyebrow at the girl, whose deep brown eyes widen. He sighs and sets her down. “Wings in. Dress. Wash. Then you can come say hello to your useless Uncle, I think he wants to properly meet you too.”

“I heard that , Luci,” Amenadiel’s voice floats in from the sitting room.

“You were meant to,” Lucifer calls back, smirking. He hears the rustle of her diminutive wings, and the softer shush of fabric as she pulls on her underpants. He turns toward her frustrated grunts as she tries to pull on the leggings. “Want some help?”

“Pease?” she groans, leaning back dramatically and lifting her legs with an unrepentant smile. 

“You know, they’d be much easier to get back on if you’d only pull them down , not off,” he points out, but she only scoffs. He straightens the bunched fabric and smooths them around her waist as she stretches for the shirt. “You’ll need to put your wings away before that will go on properly.”

She pouts for a moment, but when he doesn’t waver or offer an alternative, she shrugs her wings away and struggles into the shirt, this time managing not to tangle herself into a pretzel. 

“Nicely done, Rory,” he offers, and she glows at his compliment. “Now wash up, and we can go out to see Amenadiel.”

He scoots the step stool closer to the vanity, and she obediently clambers up it so she can reach the sink to wash her hands, humming a little song as she carefully works the soap in between fingers and over her hands up to her wrists before rinsing and reaching for the hand towel. 

She turns to him rather than climbing back down and lifts her hands in supplication. “Up?” she asks hopefully. He eyes her suspiciously. 

“Why?” he wonders aloud. “You’re perfectly capable of walking from here to the settee.”

“Wanna hug!” She flaps her hands with those now-familiar grabby motions, and a little frown flickers across Lucifer’s lips as that odd fluttering sensation in his chest makes another appearance. 

“Are you certain Miss Lopez isn’t your mother?” he asks sarcastically, but Rory only looks at him in confusion. “Nevermind, child. Let’s go see your Uncle, then, hm?”

He clears his throat and turns away, and hears a little huff of disappointment behind him, followed by the scrabbling noises that indicate she’s climbing down. A moment later she catches up and clasps his hand, swinging it cheerfully between them. He looks down at her grinning face and the fluttering intensifies. He rubs his hand over his heart briefly before turning the movement into a smoothing gesture for his jacket, and makes a note to talk to Doctor Linda about that soon. Surely she’ll have some idea what it is, even if she isn’t ‘ that kind of doctor’.

When they reach the stairs to the bedroom, she clutches his hand tightly and swings herself forward and down with a shrieking giggle. He’s prepared this time, though the first time she’d done it this morning, he’d nearly flung her across the room in a startled reaction. Once her feet are firmly on the ground, she releases him and bolts across the room to the angel standing beside the bar, her bare feet slapping against the stone floor. 

“Unca Meni, why you not bwing Chawwie?”

Amenadiel glances up at Lucifer, who merely looks back at him, innocently waiting for his answer with lifted brows and a nearly-hidden smirk. 

“I’m… I’m sorry, little one, but I don’t know what that means.” The girl glares up at her uncle, dark brows lowering truculently over dangerously glittering eyes. 

“Well, brother, seems like you two are getting on swimmingly. I’m going to call the good Doctor while you’re here to keep an eye on your darling niece . I need to ask her some things.”

“Luci, I–”

“You’ll be fine , just don’t serve her anything from the bar. I’ll be right out on the balcony should you need me to save you. I’ve managed for a full day now, I’m sure you can survive ten minutes or so.” He steps outside and closes the door behind him, waving cheerfully through the glass as his brother stares wistfully after him. He snickers a little to himself as he pulls out his phone and finds the contact he needs. The call doesn’t even finish a single ring before Linda Martin’s breathless voice fills his ear. 

“Lucifer! I’ve been worried sick! I came to Lux but the elevator wouldn’t take me to the penthouse and your staff wouldn’t tell me anything. What has been happening?”

“Well, Doctor,” he considers for a moment, “It’s a bit of a long story, really. Would you have some time for a session tomorrow?”

Chapter Text

The whole precinct has been abuzz today, and Chloe has been bearing the brunt of it. Lucifer’s impromptu visit yesterday has made the gossip rounds after his long, lamented absence, and the fact that the notorious bachelor was toting a child was of great interest to everyone.

It certainly doesn’t help that Ella has been flashing the photos she snapped to anyone that asks (and many that don’t) . Chloe has barely managed to get any work done thanks to the number of co-workers stopping to chat and ask about Lucifer.

As much as she’d missed Lucifer’s presence these past weeks, thinking of him is still painful enough that the renewal of her co-workers’ queries about his return keeps a low-grade threat of tears burning just behind her eyes virtually all day. Especially now that they’re asking questions about whether the girl is his daughter, what Chloe knows about the mother, whether he is thinking of settling down with a family.

“I don’t know!” She finally snaps at a wide-eyed Cacuzza sometime mid-afternoon, who rapidly backs away a couple of paces, surprised at the detective’s vehemence. “We’re not… I’ve barely spoken to him since I’ve been back, okay? I don’t know what he’s been doing, or who he’s been doing it with, or where the girl came from or why she’s with him! So please go away and let me do my job!”

The bubble of empty space around her desk remains conspicuously wide for the remainder of the day until she feels a familiar presence at her elbow. 

“What,” she growls, not taking her eyes from the file she’s been staring at for the past twenty minutes.

“Rough day, huh?”

“Dan,” she sighs, closing her eyes and releasing a slow breath, “I am really not in the mood to chat right now, so I hope you’re here about a case.”

I can’t focus on anything because I’m too distracted wondering how it’s possible that I have a daughter by a man I’ve never had sex with, and she’s somehow here and innocent and beautiful, and like four years old. 

“Trixie was asking about you the other day,” he offers, and she throws a scathing look over her shoulder.

“I’ve called her at least once every day this week and left messages that she hasn’t returned, Dan,” her voice is empty of all emotion, but her eyes shine with everything she manages to repress in her words. “I’ve texted. I came over to your place this weekend and she spent the entire time in her room avoiding me.”

“Yeah,” he admits, running a hand awkwardly through his hair. “Having Lucifer rear his ugly head again probably isn’t helping your situation much right now, either, I guess.”

Lucifer’s burnt visage floats in front of her eyes again, eyes alight with Hellfire as he turns toward her with a sigh of relief and a concerned, “Detective?” falling from his crisped lips. Pierce’s still body sprawls on the floor behind him, the front of Lucifer’s suit is torn to shreds from bullets but barely a speck of blood on him, and none of it surrounding the holes in his shirt. She blinks herself out of the memory before she can start hyperventilating again.

“You wanna talk about it?” he asks gently. She flinches when he rests a careful hand on her shoulder and he pulls back, his face contorting worriedly. “Did he do something to you?”

“No,” she denies flatly, immediately, and he relaxes minutely. I saw something, and then I did something horrible to him. 

But of course, she can’t say that.

“It’s just… it’s complicated,” she heaves a shaky sigh, everything feeling far too close to the surface right now. “With Pierce, and Charlotte, and Lucifer… I… think I’m just tired.”

“Well you know I support you for shutting Lucifer out, he’s never had any business here–” he begins angrily, but stops when a tear escapes and skips down her cheek. He huffs a sigh. “Sorry, Chlo’. Maybe… maybe you should talk to someone. Trix needs you.”

“I need her, too,” Chloe breathes. I also need my partner, but I don’t see how that’s ever going to happen. “Maybe I’ll see if I can talk to Linda.”

Oh my God, Linda .  

She sits up straighter, eyes widening with hope. She’s been his therapist for years. Does she know?

She glances at the clock. Not enough time to visit before she heads to Lux. But maybe…

“You’re a genius, Dan. I’m going to see if I can talk to Linda.” She pulls out her phone and fires off a text.

I’m having a really rough time. Can we talk? Off the record?

She waits anxiously, a breath of relief bursting from her when three little dancing dots appear. 

Name the time and place, and I’m there. That’s what Tribe is for!

She asks Linda to meet her at her apartment tomorrow after work and feels a weight lift from her shoulders. Okay. It’s a step. 

Smiling tremulously up at Dan, she waves him off. “Did you actually have something for me, or did you only come over because I blew up at Cacuzza?”

He hands her a file with a sour smile. “I know you don’t want to hear it, but you don’t need him, Chlo’. Don’t let him get back in your head. He’s a friggin’ disaster.”

So am I. We’re kind of a matched pair.

“I’ll see what I can do.” The nebulous promise seems to satisfy him for now, and he pats her shoulder sympathetically before crossing the bullpen back to his desk. No one else breaches the bubble around her desk, and she finds herself staring at Lucifer’s empty chair instead of the file Dan had handed her for the next few minutes.

She’s thought about removing it so many times over the past weeks. Having it here, empty… it’s a constant, painful reminder of his absence, and all the reasons behind it. But not having it here… Removing the very idea that he’ll one day occupy it again… that is infinitely worse.

His revelation, her realization that had made all the truths he’d told her somehow feel like he’d been lying to her for years. Her paralyzing fear, and subsequent flight from Los Angeles, her plotting, and return. Her lies. His anguish. Her betrayal. His anger. Their fight. His withdrawal. 

His absence. Her silence. And yet, the chair remains. She can’t bring herself to admit that he won’t be back, can’t bring herself to admit that their relationship… whatever it is … is irreparably damaged. 

Can’t bring herself to admit that without him, she is irreparably damaged. 

She’s hiding it. Mostly. Maybe mostly. She functions… on the surface. She goes through the motions, but only in the most shallow sense of them. Trixie had seen through the facade easily, and had finally become so angry at her mother’s stubborn refusal to open up, had removed herself to Dan’s care. Chloe swallows the lump in her throat. Maybe I’m not hiding it at all.

At least her solve rate hadn’t suffered too much. She’s still a good Detective, even if every other facet of her life is shattering into razor-sharp slivers.

Maybe I should ask Ella how she deals with thinking all of this is real…

Ah, but there’s the difference, isn’t it? Ella thinks it’s real, believes it… but Chloe knows.

Shouldn’t that make it easier? I’ve got literal proof… why is it so hard to acknowledge that Lucifer told me the truth from the beginning? Once Dan confessed to Palmetto, I had no problem believing him. I’ve always known that Lucifer isn’t a liar, so why is it so hard for me now that he’s proven he’s been telling the truth all this time?

Around and around she’s gone, chasing her existential tail until she’s so dizzy she can’t think any more, only to repeat the entire process again, and again, and again.

She’s tired. She’s torn . She’s definitely traumatized. She rubs her eyes vigorously and releases a silent sigh. Talking to Linda is probably a really good idea. 

She just needs to get through the next 24 hours, and somehow manage not to alienate her partner even further during their visit tonight.

She closes her eyes and takes a deep, calming breath. Somehow, we can get past this. I can do this.

*

Los Angeles, 2025-ish

“I can’t do this,” Chloe murmurs to Lucifer as they stand on Linda’s stoop, Rory clinging contentedly to Lucifer’s neck and patting his cheek. The texture of his stubble has always been a favorite of hers, and Chloe’s heart swells every time she sees how very close the bond is between the two. It makes her ache for the Rory that had appeared back in 2021, angry and hurting because she thought her father had abandoned them– had abandoned her.  

The Rory that, by the time she’d been departing back to her own time, had begged Lucifer to keep the loop intact, to preserve that broken, angry childhood out of fear of losing who she had become as a result.

“Promise that you won’t change me! Give me your word!” They’d all been crying then, as the otherworldly light had surrounded their anachronistic daughter like a whirlwind. “Promise me!”

“I… I can’t ,” Lucifer had gasped, reaching out toward her, his dark eyes shining with tears. “I’ve already assumed my father’s mantle of God, I refuse to ignore my child as He did. We’ll make it work, Rory, We will. I can’t let abandonment poison you the way it has me, love.

Chloe had never been more relieved, or more proud of him than that moment. She wonders what happened to that timeline’s Rory. Did she return to her dying mother’s side, to live out the rest of her existence? Did she simply wink out of being when Lucifer refused to leave? Did she return to that deathbed to find new memories and a father that had never left holding her mother’s feeble hand, welcoming her back with a warm hug and a kiss to the top of her head? She’ll never know, and maybe she’ll always mourn that Rory a little, the one that had very proudly been her mother’s daughter. She glances fondly at the entwined pair next to her, not at all sorry to admit to herself that this Rory is very much her father’s daughter. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.

She shakes herself back to her present anxieties of leaving their daughter behind while they go on assignment. Trixie was spending some long-overdue time with Dan’s parents, but Penelope still wasn’t quite in the Celestial know, and with Rory’s wings making random appearances… Well. It would have been a bad idea to have Penelope babysit for an extended period of time.

“We’re going to be undercover for a week , how did we get talked into this?” Chloe shifts her weight restlessly, fiddling with her (his) ring on her right hand as her shoulder brushes softly against his navy jacket. “We’ve only been back with the LAPD for a few months, and you’re still not quite settled Upstairs, and–”

“Something to do with a serial killer that seems to be making bloody waves in a certain affluent neighborhood?” Lucifer teases lightly, leaning on the doorbell obnoxiously until Chloe sighs and swats his hand away while Rory watches, giggling. “I’m fairly certain they didn’t have to do more than ask you to get involved in the case, but I was otherwise occupied Upstairs when the initial conversation took place. Everything will be fine . We’ll catch our killer. Amenadiel is quite capable of holding the Universe together by himself in the interim, and it’s not as though I’ll be unreachable if he truly needs a hand. This whole co-God endeavor was a brilliant idea, darling, and everyone up there has been cooperating fairly well for a while now. You know that, or you wouldn’t have been bored enough to go back to detectiving.” He pauses and leers at her, impelling her to roll her eyes fondly. “But as to your question as to how we got talked into this, I wasn’t paying much attention when you brought it up to me , because at the time , you were–”

“Linda, hi!” Chloe elbows him in the ribs, ignoring his ribald chuckle in her ear as their friend answers the door. “Are you sure this isn’t too much to ask? Two pre-schoolers is a lot , and I don’t want–”

“Chloe,” Linda interjects evenly, her twinkling hazel eyes crinkled in amusement, “I haven’t changed my mind in the last six hours. Or even in the last four days, despite you asking me multiple times a day. Charlie and Rory get along great , neither of them are flighted yet, and until you actually decide you want to tell your mom about Rory’s unique genetics… Let’s face it, it’s either me, Ella, or Maze and Eve.”

Chloe represses a shudder, while Lucifer tries to stifle his grin. Ella is living with Carol now, and he might be a little surprised if Rory sprouted wings, so she was out. And after last time, Chloe had decided no more extended visits with the aunties until Rory was older.

“Tee Winda!” Rory cries, stretching out her hands in a combined greeting and request to be held in one. Linda smiles at the girl and gladly accepts her from her father. “Pway wif Chawwie?”

“You get to play with Charlie for an entire week ,” Lucifer grins at Rory’s widened eyes. “With any luck the two of you will wear each other out and sleep for another one once your mother and I get back.”

“You go?” Rory asks uncertainly, toying with Linda’s blonde hair. She watches anxiously as Lucifer walks back to the car to get the rest of the supplies that Chloe hadn’t been able to carry. “You come back?”

“We’ll be back, baby,” Chloe assures her, throat tight. “We’ll be back in a week. Hopefully sooner, okay? Do you remember how long that is?”

“Seven seeps,” Rory repeats dully, her excitement at seeing Linda dimmed by her knowledge that her parents are going to be away for a while. 

“That’s right, sweetie, you’re so clever,” she smiles, blinking back tears when Rory gives her a brave, watery smile. “And you’re going to have so much fun with Linda and Charlie, you probably won’t even notice how long we’re gone.”

“Will too!” she disputes vehemently, at the same time Lucifer returns and scoffs,

“Of course she’ll notice, Detective, she’s far too much like you to let our absence go without comment.” Chloe shoots him a Look , but he shrugs it off unapologetically. Linda helps them inside with her gear, and Rory reaches for him again. He takes her back, kissing her cheek and then making her giggle uncontrollably by tickling her neck with his stubble– another trait she shares with her mother. “You’ll be good for the Doctor, won’t you, darling?”

“I be good,” Rory sighs, resting her head against her daddy’s shoulder, and reaching a hand out to her mother, who takes it and presses a kiss to her palm. “Miss you.”

“We’ll call you every night,” Chloe assures her, and Rory nods.

“Da, sing?” She looks up, brown eyes wide and hopeful. “You sing me seep?”

“Perhaps not every night, Imp,” he brushes his lips against his daughter’s temple and she giggles again. “But when I can, I’ll be happy to sing for you. And once we’re back home, we’ll resume your piano lessons.”

“Tee Winda!” Rory lights up and bounces in his arms. “I pway peeno!”

“That’s wonderful Rory,” Linda exclaims, with exactly the right amount of enthusiasm to appease the proud toddler. “Charlie has a toy keyboard, maybe you can play with that while you’re here with us.”

Lucifer winces, but doesn’t make a comment, and Chloe stifles a smile. She knows his opinions of all the ‘toy’ keyboards, and none of them are good.

“I’m sure Rory will enjoy that, Linda,” she chuckles, not meeting Lucifer’s injured gaze. “Hopefully your hearing won’t suffer.”

“I found one with volume control,” she says in a stage whisper and a conspiratorial smile. “Charlie thinks the controller for it is broken, but I’ve really just glued it in the ‘low’ position.”

“Oooh, clever, Doctor, nicely done!” He glances at Chloe and nods at her Look , knowing they need to be going. “All right, darling, give your mother a hug and kiss, and we’ll leave you to your vacation with Aunt Linda and Charlie.”

She clings to him, and he holds her tightly, murmuring in her ear softly until she nods and busses his cheek with tears in her eyes. Chloe reaches to take her and she repeats the performance with her mother before being reluctantly surrendered to her Aunt Linda. They watch from the door, Rory waving until her parents are out of sight, then heaving a sad sigh. 

“Ready to come and play with Charlie, Rory?” Linda asks gently, feeling the little girl trembling in her arms. “I’ve got some apple slices and cheese snacks for later, too.”

“Otay,” she agrees affably, and for a while, she loses herself in playing with her gentle cousin and the carefully cultivated schedule that Linda keeps for the pair of them.

*

She’s excited about the toy keyboard, until she hears it. The tone is flat and dull, nothing like the beautiful ringing tones her daddy can coax from the gleaming instrument in their living room, or even like the hesitating, simple plinks she can manage in her practice exercises. After a few attempts at the fingering exercises she’s familiar with, she pushes it away in a huff. 

“Whatsa matter?” Charlie asks, noticing her dissatisfaction.

“Not music,” Rory complains petulantly. “Pways funny.”

Charlie glances between his cousin and his toy, shrugging. “Sounds okay to me.”

She just huffs again and shakes her head. She misses her Da. Mommee, too. They’d never been gone this long before.

They’d kept their promise. She’d been at Linda’s for three sleeps already, but last night Da hadn’t been able to come to the phone. Mommee hadn’t said why, but Rory hadn’t slept well without hearing his voice, and she’d been cranky all day as a result. The music had been the last straw. Her chin wobbles and hot tears burn paths down her little cheeks as she struggles not to cry. Linda notices, and makes an offer.

“Are you tired, Rory?” 

She isn’t, not really. But she knows if she agrees to go lay down then she can cry without Charlie watching. She doesn’t like feeling like a baby in front of Charlie.

“Seepy,” she agrees, rubbing her watery eyes and nodding. 

“C’mon, kiddo, how about a nap?” Linda stands and offers her a hand with a sympathetic smile. Rory takes it without argument, and allows Linda to lead her to the cot set up in Charlie’s room. She nests in her blankets, unfurling her wings and curling them tightly around herself as Linda closes the curtains to filter out the worst of the late afternoon California sunlight. Linda perches gingerly on the edge of the cot and her fingers brush Rory’s hair back. 

Not like her mom does, but close enough that if Rory closes her eyes, she can pretend. “Get some rest, it’s been a rough day. When you wake up, maybe we can make some cookies for after dinner.”

Rory prefers cake to cookies, but cookies are acceptable, too. She nods, sniffling. Linda doesn’t touch her wings, knowing that Rory is very particular in who is and is not allowed to touch them, but does ruffle her hair once more before she stands and exits the room, leaving the door slightly open.

Once her footsteps fade back downstairs, Rory lets her tears fall freely. Her tiny frame shakes as she sobs into her hands, her chest swelling with a fierce desire to have her Da there with her. 

He’s funny, and he always knows what to say to make her smile, and rubbing her fingers over his spiky cheeks is her very favorite thing in the entire world. 

She misses him with every fiber of her tiny being, and she focuses on that pain so tightly that at first she doesn’t notice the sparkles of light flickering across her wings and skin, a glowing whirlwind of incandescence surrounding her until she can see it through her eyelids. When she opens her eyes, it dazzles her, and her breath catches in a sob until suddenly it disappears as though a bulb had blown. When she blinks away the glowing afterimages behind her lids, she finds herself at home. 

She glances around, confused, her eyes drifting to her parents’ bedroom. She hears the soft sound of breathing and a wide grin spreads across her wet cheeks.

They’re back!

“Daddee?”

*

Los Angeles, 2018

“I’m very sorry, Rory, I won’t do it again,” Amenadiel apologizes sincerely, meeting the girl’s accusing gaze steadily.

She’s perched in Lucifer’s lap, glaring at her Uncle from within the safe confines of her own bright pink feathers, and further surrounded by the security of her father’s gleaming white ones. Amenadiel has seated himself in one of the chairs across the room, attempting to look small and contrite.

Lucifer is more than a little surprised at the vehemence of the response he’d had to Rory’s enraged shriek, his own wings appearing of their own accord as he’d caught the winged cannonball that had hurtled at him and attached herself to his person. He’d mantled around her, ready to protect before he’d even really registered what had happened.

He’d been enjoying watching his lummox of a brother be led around by this three-foot-tall winged tyrant, while enjoying a slight reprieve from the same fate that he’d been suffering all day. She’d fluttered her wings excitedly at her uncle’s stumbling praise of one of the colorings she had done. Amenadiel had been leaning over, and his dangling necklace had become tangled in the soft down of her feathers. He had unthinkingly reached to free it, and the moment he had touched her feathers, Rory had screamed like a banshee and darted for the safety of Lucifer’s unleashed bladed primaries. 

They hadn’t remained bladed long, of course, he’d relaxed them once he’d calmed and realized it was only Rory’s reaction to having her wings touched rather than an actual attack… apparently she did not approve of her feathers being manhandled by someone other than himself or the Detective. But she had huddled herself so tightly in his embrace that he hadn’t put them away yet, allowing her that extra layer of safety between herself and her perceived threat. 

“No touch weens, Unca Meni,” she growls, and Lucifer finds himself impressed by the amount of threat she manages to pour into the words even as he stifles his laughter at this fuchsia featherduster threatening the Fist of God. “Rude.”

“It is very rude, isn’t it, Rory,” Lucifer agrees, unable to contain a smirk at his brother’s expense. “Sometimes Amenadiel forgets his manners, I’m afraid, but he’s apologized now. Will you accept it?”

She looks back at Lucifer, before narrowing her eyes once more at her uncle, then slowly nodding. 

“I am sorry, Rory,” Amenadiel says once more, and Lucifer tries not to be bitter that it’s a much better apology than he has ever gotten from his brother… for far worse transgressions.

“Otay,” she wriggles, and Lucifer pulls his wings back and furls them, allowing her room to do the same. “You no touch again!”

“I promise,” he vows solemnly. She regards him seriously for a moment before crossing the room to him, and reaching up to hug him. He glances down at her in surprise before turning his wide eyes to his smirking brother. His arms wrap tentatively around the slender shoulders, and Rory relaxes into his embrace before trundling off to find something else to play with. Amenadiel watches her go, swallowing to try to alleviate the sudden dryness of his mouth. “We can’t let them take her, Luci.”

“Glad to have you on board with the plan, bro,” Lucifer replies dryly. “The question now is, how do we prevent that from happening? The only answer I have is to somehow return her to wherever she came from. And since we have no idea how she got here, let alone where– or when– she’s from, that’s going to prove rather difficult.”

“Where do we even start?” Amenadiel flounders, and Lucifer wishes that he had an answer because he’s been asking the same question. 

“The only clue we have is her,” Lucifer nods to the child, quietly concentrating on her dinosaur puzzle. Both men watch her for a moment, before Lucifer calls her over. “Rory, where were you, before you came here?”

Rory lifts an eyebrow in an expression so like his own that Amenadiel snorts before turning it into a cough. She looks over her shoulder and points. “Puzza, Da.”

“Right,” Lucifer sighs, reframing his question. “Do you remember where you were, before you so rudely climbed on top of me and woke me up yesterday?”

Her forehead creases, and for a moment he thinks she still doesn’t understand the question. “Tee Winda’s house. You an’ Mommee lef fo’ work.”

“You were at Linda’s house while your Mum and Dad were working,” Lucifer glances at Amenadiel, who only looks confused. “What were you doing before you came here? Did Linda bring you?”

She tilts her head, regarding him with curiosity. “Pway peeno, but sound bad. I sad. Miss you, sad. Den wite!” Her arms flail around her as though she’s waving sparklers, “Pitty wites! Den here. You back! You catch bad guy?”

“I’m sure they did,” Lucifer muses, a slow, sad smile crossing his face. “They always do.” He turns to his brother, who had been watching the interaction in fascination. “So. Pity whites. That shines a light on everything, doesn’t it?”

“Wite,” Rory nods in agreement, and Lucifer does a double-take back to the girl. “Pitty, swirwy wite!”

“Light?” Amenadiel asks urgently, leaning forward interestedly. “Swirly lights?”

“Uh-huh,” she nods slowly, as though wondering why the two men were repeating after her. “Puzza now, Da?”

“Yes, you can work on your puzzle,” Lucifer sits back in his chair contemplatively. “Thank you, Rory.”

The girl shrugs and trots back to her puzzle, flopping down on her belly. The brothers look at one another and have a silent conversation. Amenadiel shakes his head, already knowing what Lucifer is about to say.

“It’s got to be Dad’s doing.”

“Luci, you always default to that. It could be any number of things!”

“Okay, name one.” Lucifer crosses his leg and tics his foot, gesturing expansively toward his brother. “Go on, then.”

“... Solar flares?”

“Really,” Lucifer replies sarcastically, “you’re going to blame this on my star? That’s the best you’ve got?”

“Okay, what’s your theory then, besides Father messing with your life?” Amenadiel huffs, sitting back and crossing his arms defensively over his chest. He shakes his head disbelievingly. “What if… what if half-angels have powers, too? What if she brought herself here?” 

“Let’s say that’s true, brother, that still doesn’t tell us where or when she came from!” He stands and crosses to the bar to pour himself a drink. He feels that he’s earned it after dealing with his brother for nearly two hours. He pours a second and carries both glasses back to his chair. If Amenadiel doesn’t want it, he’ll certainly drink it. “Or how to get her back there before your sadistic little sidekick comes after her. It’s clear that she doesn’t know herself.”

“She missed you. She was sad, and she missed you. Then lights.” Amenadiel’s brow creases in thought, but after a moment he shakes his head. “There’s too much we don’t know. Luci…”

“No.” The Devil growls into his glass, already intuiting the leap his brother is about to take.

“Luci, she might know something. It’s her job!”

“No, ” he growls again, emptying his glass . The clack of the glass echoes sharply through the room as he sets it back on the low table in front of him, perhaps harder than he’d intended. “What’s to stop her from running to Remiel, or Raphael, or Gabriel or Michael once she has wind of our suspicions?”

Amenadiel considers his response for a long time. Long enough that Lucifer empties the second glass and takes both for a refill, then empties both of them again before his brother answers. “She and Remi have never really gotten along. Remi has no use for knowledge outside of hunting, fighting, and stalking, and Zaphkiel has no use for those who do not respect knowledge of all sorts. She’s closer to Raphael, and while he is interested, he would never leave the Silver City. Gabriel is too flighty, and Zaph would never willingly seek out her company merely to spread a rumor, and Michael…”

“If Michael has his bloody fingers in this, you know he’s going to be listening to everything.” Lucifer warns. “You know how he is.”

The elevator chimes, and Amenadiel sighs, glancing up. Lucifer winces as he realizes what time it must be, his suspicions confirmed when Amenadiel stands with a warm smile spreading across his open features. 

“Chloe! It’s so good to see you again, I didn’t know you were coming.”

“Mommeeeee!” Rory cries joyously, springing up from her puzzle and throwing herself into her mother’s surprised arms. “You home!”

She scoops the girl up automatically, resting her on her hip with a happy greeting before turning to the two angels now facing her; one warm, one wary. Her stomach twists at her partner’s shuttered expression, but she clears her throat and says, “Hey guys… sorry I’m a little late. Traffic was Hell.”

Chapter Text

It’s early enough when Chloe arrives at Lux that Patrick isn’t too busy at the bar, so he can unlock the elevator for her without needing to wait for a break in the crowd. 

“Do you know if he’s intending to come down and play any time soon?” He asks as he goes through the process. “We’ve had customers asking for weeks, but nobody’s seen him at all until yesterday.”

“I didn’t… um… he hasn’t said anything to me about it, but maybe I can ask him,” Chloe offers. 

It’s not like I can sit up there and ignore him for however long I’m there. Though it’s entirely possible he may want to ignore her.

“That would be great ,” Patrick seems relieved. “There’s this one lady that’s been pretty persistent, even though nobody remembers even seeing her before this week. She’s hot , but kinda… odd.”

“Do you mean Eve?” Chloe wonders, remembering the woman from last night, that had never even been in an elevator before… possibly the very first woman. 

Oh God… was she Lucifer’s first? First what exactly? Girlfriend? Fling? Sex toy?

Okay, that might be a little unfair. She remembers her interminable interviews with 92 of his lovers… those people were using him every bit as much as he was using them. Maybe even more so, considering how downcast he’d been after that case. 

But there are stories about the serpent in the Garden, and… she wonders how much is the truth. If any of it is the truth. If he would still answer, if she could gather the strength to ask, to have a real conversation rather than simply hurling poorly veiled fear-fueled accusations at him.

She wonders if that open book he’d claimed to be is closed now. Access denied. 

“Yeah!” Patrick laughs, “Do you know her then? Is she somebody that works with you, because nobody here knows her, but she’s been fixated on the boss.”

“I met her last night, she was trying to go up as I was leaving.” A sour taste fills her mouth, but she forces a smile. “I left him a message about her, but I’ll make sure I bring it up again tonight, okay? Can’t have her bothering you guys nonstop to get to Lucifer.”

“Thanks, Detective Decker,” Patrick’s tone is thick with relief as the silver doors slide shut between them and the carriage jolts smoothly into upward motion. She forces herself not to anxiously pace the confines of the car, maintaining deep, even breaths even as her heart flutters in her chest. 

Just a friendly visit with a future daughter and her future father. That you recently tried to probably kill… and now he suspects you want to harm the child, too. 

How is she going to fix this? 

There’s a way. I’ll find it.

She spots Amenadiel as he stands to greet her, a friendly smile blooming on his dark face. “Chloe! It’s so good to see you again, I didn’t know you were coming.”

She starts to smile back, only to be assaulted by a hyperactive toddler, shrieking a warcry of “Mommeeee!” as she barrels into her arms at full force. The smile morphs into a grin, and Chloe uses her momentum to swing the excited girl up onto her hip with a small huff of effort. She’s heavy for her size. “You home!” 

She holds Rory tightly and coos a hello before turning back to the two men across the room, both standing now and regarding her with entirely opposite expressions; Amenadiel’s warm and welcoming, and Lucifer’s carefully cool and blank. Amenadiel had always been the more aloof of the two before… but she supposes that she should be happy it’s only indifference she sees in Lucifer’s mask. It could be much, much worse. She swallows the lump in her throat, ignores the nervous fluttering in her stomach, and gives a little cough that she tries to pass as a chuckle. “Hey guys… sorry I’m a little late. Traffic was Hell.”

Amenadiel smiles affably but Lucifer barely bats an eye, when before he would have appreciated her poor attempt at humor. He crosses the room to the bar and pours himself a half-glass of an amber liquid. Chloe suppresses a frown. 

Devil, remember? Can he even get drunk? Judging from what she’s seen him put away, she’s guessing maybe not. She remembers the remnants of the mess she’d found last night. But it sure doesn’t stop him from trying.

The Penthouse is in surprisingly good order now, despite having hosted an energetic toddler most of the day… and Rory, too. She glances around awkwardly and sees something on the floor where Rory had appeared from. 

“What have we got here?” She asks with exaggerated interest. “Is this yours, Rory?”

“Puzza!” The girl waves at it enthusiastically, and wiggles to get down so she can show it off. “Dinathors!”

“She’s putting this together herself?” She glances at it in surprise, the pieces are far smaller than she’d expected for a child of Rory’s apparent age. She glances up at Lucifer, who is very carefully not looking in her direction. When he doesn’t meet her eye, she looks to Amenadiel, who shrugs.

“She started it just after I got here this afternoon,” Amenadiel offers, his brows furrowing as he flickers his gaze between Chloe and Lucifer. “I don’t know anything about children, but… she seems to be fairly intelligent.”

“I smawt!” Rory exclaims indignantly, tiny hands balling into fists and planting themselves on her hips. 

“Careful brother, you’ve only just weaseled your way back into her good graces,” Lucifer teases dryly, making his way to the piano. “Don’t want to have to apologize again, do you? You might strain yourself.”

He seats himself gracefully on the piano bench and lifts the fallboard, which catches Rory’s attention immediately. 

“Pway?” she asks, dancing in place a little as her hands twist eagerly in front of her. “I pway? Pease?”

“Rory, the Detective has just come all the way here to visit you,” he says gently, flicking his gaze briefly to Chloe before riveting it back on the eager child. “Don’t you want to spend some time with her before she has to leave?”

“Weeve?” Her brown eyes widen and she whips around to glare accusingly at Chloe. “You go backa work again?”

“Um,” Chloe flounders for a moment, wondering how to answer without lying. “I… can only stay for a little bit, sweetie, but I wanted to see you. I have to go home later, though.”

“You home.” Rory tilts her head and looks up at Chloe, her brows lowering as she reaches for her hand. “You here.”

She glances at Lucifer for help, but he only lifts a languid brow before turning to the keys before him. She can hear him in her mind, as clearly as if he’d spoken. You wanted to spend time with the child, I’ll leave the master to it, shall I?

He starts to play softly and Rory gazes longingly at the piano and the man seated at it before heaving a sigh, and turning back to the woman standing beside her. “Mommee, cowwor? Cowwor wif me?”

“Sure, let’s color. Do you have–” Rory bolts into the guest room and emerges with her coloring books and crayons, leading the way to the low coffee table and scattering the supplies for easy access for the both of them. Chloe chuckles and settles down beside the girl. “I guess you’ve learned your way around the place today, huh kiddo? Did you have fun?”

“Mmhm,” Rory hums an affirmative as she picks a picture and places the book in front of Chloe, patting it. “You do dis one, Mommee!”

“Okay,” Chloe agrees easily, but her breath catches when she looks down at it. It’s a dove, its white wings spread and mantled over a smaller bird beside it on the branch as fat raindrops slide off the leaves around them. She remembers the pair of them curled in slumber last night, wings wrapped softly around themselves in a protective feathery cocoon, and pulls in a shaky breath. She glances up and finds Amenadiel standing quietly nearby, watching his brother at the piano with a troubled expression. Unsure what Lucifer has told him, she decides to try small talk. “So, Amenadiel, how have you been?”

“Well, I, uh, was away for a little bit. I only got back a few weeks ago,” he hedges, careful of making Chloe uncomfortable. A small smile crosses his lips as he recalls his recent decision to make Earth his home, and the news from Linda about their impending parenthood. “But I’ve been… good.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” she tells him earnestly, and she means it. It’s nice to know that someone in this room is doing well. “Did you, um, go somewhere nice?”

“Uh… I went home for a while,” he shrugs his shoulders, and settles into one of the chairs with a last look at Lucifer, who is studiously ignoring all of them, apparently lost in the soft tones of his music. Rory hums quietly along with the tune under her breath, and Chloe wonders if she’s ever heard anything more beautiful in her life. “I… took someone with me.”

Home. Home for Amenadiel is Heaven. And if he took someone with him… Suddenly she’s back on that overlook, standing next to a despondent Lucifer. 

“Well, at least you'll get to see her, Detective. Eventually. In Heaven. But I... well, sadly, she's gone somewhere I simply can't follow.”

“You took Charlotte…?” she chokes, feeling tears burning behind her eyes at Amenadiel’s nod. Rory’s head snaps up, suddenly interested in the adults’ conversation. 

“Chawwie?” Her eyes flicker between the two eagerly. “You bwing Chawwie?”

“No baby, not Charlie, Charlotte,” Chloe corrects gently, and the girl settles back down with a soft, disappointed ‘oh’.

“You understand her?” Amenadiel asks, nodding at the girl circumspectly. 

“Toddler speak isn’t something you forget in a hurry,” she chuckles a little. “It’s an acquired skill, I guess. Who’s Charlie?”

“We don’t know, she’s asked about him a few times now, but we didn’t understand what she was saying. We were trying earlier to get some information from her about how she came here,” he glances down at the girl. She’s studiously coloring a turquoise hillside– or is it supposed to be a waterfall?– her tongue held carefully between her teeth as she concentrates. “So we can begin trying to find a way to return her to where she belongs.”

“Any luck?” She spares a glance toward her partner, but he gives no indication that she’s even in the room, let alone that he has any of his attention on their conversation. 

“None yet. She said she was with Linda before pretty lights brought her here, but she didn’t have any more to give us than that.”

“Pretty lights?”

“Your guess might be as good as ours, at this point. Maybe you can try to convince him to let me approach our sister for information?” His expression is hopeful, and Chloe feels her own face fall. 

Amenadiel doesn’t know. Lucifer didn’t tell him?

Then, unbidden, has he spoken to anyone since it all fell apart?

She has a horrible feeling that the answer is a resounding no… She closes her eyes and swallows hard, trying to force down the lump that hasn’t really left since she got into the elevator. “I… don’t think he’ll listen to me, Amenadiel. Not about this.”

Not about anything, anymore. And she can’t blame him.

“I know a lot of this is my fault, but you need to trust me right now.”

“Very well, Imp, if you’re that insistent. Go wash first, though, or you’ll not touch the keys.” The music stops and with an excited squeal Rory dashes from the piano toward the bedroom, and a moment later they can hear water running in the sink. 

Chloe blinks. She hadn’t even noticed Rory moving away from their activity. She looks back at Lucifer, whose eyes are glued to the entrance to his bedroom, amusement flickering in the set of his mouth and the lines around his eyes. 

“Can she play?” The question bleeds from her unwittingly, and surprisingly, he answers.

“She says her father has been teaching her.” They’re the first words he’s spoken to her today, but he still doesn’t look at her, and the cold feeling in her stomach condenses unpleasantly.

“You mean, you’ve been teaching her.” Because Lucifer… some version of Lucifer, somewhere or when, is her father. And isn’t that a disorienting thought. She blinks when he scoffs derisively.

“We went over this yesterday, Detective, I am not her father, any more than you are her mother,” frustration colors his tone as Rory appears in the doorway and slithers down the stairs toward the piano without hesitation. “I understand why the child cannot comprehend, but you… really, am I speaking Sanskrit? Akkadian? Am I perhaps in a new Hell Loop where I am doomed to explain things over and over again until I collapse from exhaustion, and still no one believes or understands what I’m saying?”

A small grunt erupts from the bench and she sees the top of Rory’s dark head appear above the lid of the piano. Lucifer turns his attention to her, all traces of irritation gone. “All right, Gremlin, let me see your hands, now. Good. Now, show me what you’ve learned.”

Rory wiggles her fingers a little, as though stretching them. Chloe can’t see how she places them on the keys from her position on the couch, but she can tell Lucifer is gently correcting the child’s positioning. Two pairs of dark eyes are focused intently on the ivory keys before them, and Chloe wishes she had her phone out so she could take photos.

She’d remembered to remove her sidearm today, at least, and locked it in the car. She glances at Amenadiel, who seems as though he’s forgotten she’s beside him. He’s watching his brother and niece (?) with a sense of fascination, and she wonders if he’s ever seen this side of Lucifer before. If anyone has seen this side before… the gentle instructor. 

“Nicely done, Rory. Do you know any exercises?” The tiny head nods, and quavering notes fill the air as the girl performs a simple, halting scale, first ascending then descending. He helps her make a minor adjustment, quietly murmuring suggestions into her ear, and she does it again, more confidently this time. “That was better! Do you feel the difference?”

“Uh-huh,” the head nods again, and the girl’s expression as she looks up at him glows with adoration. Lucifer smiles back at her, and something in Chloe’s chest struggles against her ribcage. “Again?”

“Yes, and then the next.”

Chloe doesn’t quite recall how it happens, but she slowly gravitates toward the piano until she’s standing beside them, watching raptly as tiny, tentative fingers are guided by the graceful sureness of larger hands. Never does a sharp or cross word escape his lips, and Rory absolutely beams with every scrap of praise he provides. 

Finally she stops, flexing her fingers in her lap with a little grimace. 

“Done now?” Lucifer asks, amusement thick in his tone. “It’s quite a workout for little fingers, is it not?”

“We pway?” She looks up at him beseechingly, still flexing her fingers. “We pway song?”

“Which song is that, darling?” The affectation rolls off his tongue so easily, and suddenly his ease of manner with this little girl is twisting like a knife in Chloe’s chest. It’s so similar to how their relationship had been, before.

Before I threw it all away.

The next notes the little girl taps out, drives the knife a little deeper, and all the breath from Chloe’s lungs with it. Her eyes widen as she struggles to draw air into her frozen lungs, and she sees Lucifer stiffen next to the girl on the bench. Unaware, Rory, keeps tapping out the simple melody. 

“We pway? Pease? Mommee, you haffa hep!” Rory demands, patting the bench next to her. Lucifer shoots her a neutral look, not wanting to upset Rory. When Chloe doesn’t respond, Rory reaches out and pats her arm. “You pway wif us?”

Rory taps out the melody again, and Chloe understands what she’s asking for. Her fingers are too small to play the chords properly, but she can plink the primary notes of the song. If Lucifer plays the accompaniment… She glances at him and he gives her a bob of his head. A resigned, if we must.

She sits gingerly on the bench, and Rory scrambles into her lap so Chloe’s arms can reach the keys around Rory’s tiny frame. Lucifer maintains a careful distance between them, and Chloe misses the heat of his shoulder pressed against hers.

“Do you play?”

“Hm, no. No, I don’t.”

“All right Rory, start us off, then,” Lucifer requests, and the grinning child plinks three notes to get them started with more confidence than Chloe ever had. Lucifer starts in the simple accompaniment, and Chloe fills in the missing notes to form the basic framework of the song. She glances up briefly and spies Amenadiel with his phone pointed at them, grinning widely, and she can’t help a small smile. 

Even Lucifer can’t contain a smile at the girl’s obvious delight, and Chloe finds herself humming lightly along as they play. 

Heart and Soul.

We can fix this. We can.

artwork by @LaurieYa2

*

Amenadiel makes his exit soon after, promising to check back in with Lucifer the next day. Once he’s gone, Lucifer loses no time in removing himself from the piano and placing more space between them. 

“Well, you’ve had your piano lesson now,” he says lightly, pouring himself another drink, “so how about you spend some time with the Detective while I make your dinner, hm?”

“Egg sammich?” A hopeful grin spreads across her face, and her eyes widen pleadingly. “Egg sammich, pease?”

“We’d agreed on grilled cheese for dinner,” a small frown tugs at the corners of his lips. “I’m afraid I don’t have the proper bread for the sandwich I think you’re asking for.”

Rory’s face falls, and Chloe speaks up, rubbing the little girl’s back soothingly. “How about grilled cheese tonight, and I’ll bring some Hawaiian bread for egg sandwiches tomorrow night, Rory?”

“Otay,” the girl sighs dramatically, and climbs off her mother’s lap. “Puzza, Mommee?”

“Yeah, we can work on your puzzle, Rory, unless Lucifer wants help in the kitchen?” She glances up at her partner, telling herself that she’s not disappointed when he immediately waves off her offer.

“I may never recover from her ‘help’ baking yesterday, I’m sure I can manage some grilled cheeses. Will you be eating with us, then, Detective?” He still doesn’t look at her, his eyes merely flicking in her direction, and she hesitates on her answer, unsure of her welcome. “An extra sandwich or two is no hardship.”

She starts to open her mouth to accept, but recent memory floods her and the words swell in her throat, threatening to choke the life from her. 

The elevator door opens to reveal him anxiously fretting over the placement of an elegant vase containing a single red rose between two place settings on his low table. A vial of an unidentified liquid burns her thigh through her pocket. His nervous smile and huffed laughter as he presents the dinner he had painstakingly prepared.

“I, uh... made you... grilled cheese, your favorite. And not the smelly, fancy stuff. Just the yummy, orange kind that you like.” He takes the wine and starts to pour as he catches her eye. “Detective, there is something I'd like to say to you. Whilst I... realize that knowing the truth about me may not be easy for you... I am glad that there are no secrets between us now. And if you ever have any more questions, I shall be happy to answer any and all of them. I've always been honest with you, Detective. And I always will be.”

Her heart flips in her chest as her resolve wavers. She forces a small smile and nod, and he jerks back suddenly with a forced laugh.

“Oh! Sorry. Silly me,” he scrambles to his feet and retreats to his bedroom, calling over his shoulder, “I forgot the music. I made a playlist full of bad '90s jams for you.”

This is the moment. The perfect opportunity. She pulls the vial from her pocket, trembling hands making it much harder than it should have been.

She gasps as she surfaces again into the present, finding her partner actually looking at her now, concern only partially veiled. 

“You’re certainly not obligated to stay, Detective,” he’s saying coolly, his expression tightly controlled. “I was merely being polite, but of course you’re free to go at any time–”

“No!” She blurts loudly, causing Rory to look up at her from her puzzle curiously. She gentles her tone and forces a smile, blinking back tears of shame. “I mean, yes. I mean, I-I’d like to stay and eat with the two of you.”

“Hmm,” the corners of his eyes tighten almost imperceptibly. His voice is light when he speaks again, but Chloe feels the words like a sledgehammer to the heart, “Rory, I’ll just be in the kitchen, and I’ll hear you if you need anything. Nothing to eat or drink until dinner, all right?”

“Otay, Da,” she agrees easily, sifting through pieces of her puzzle. He hesitates another moment before turning and moving to the kitchen. Chloe swallows thickly, nodding to herself to acknowledge the unspoken warning. 

Don’t try anything to harm her. I’ll know if you do.

“Did you put this all together yourself so far, Rory?” She settles on the floor next to her sort-of daughter, helping her sift through pieces. The girl hums an affirmative, and Chloe casts around for something to talk about. “Have you had fun with your dad?”

“Mmhm,” a small smile crosses her expression before it falls into a slight frown. “You not here.”

“No,” Chloe agrees quietly. “But I’m here now.”

“You work. Bad dweam.” Rory’s familiar brown eyes turn up toward her, and Chloe thinks she sees an accusation there. “No seep when you not here.”

“You had bad dreams?”

“Uh-uh,” she shakes her head, fitting a piece of a triceratops into place along its spiked frill. “Da. Needed snuggles.”

“Your dad was having nightmares, huh?” Chloe asks quietly. “You were asleep when I came in last night, though.”

“Snuggles hep. Seep wif snuggles, no bad dweam for Da.”

She wonders if Rory’s father regularly has nightmares that need soothing. She wonders if her Lucifer regularly has nightmares that are never soothed. She wonders, too, if she’s lost any right to consider him her Lucifer. Another small piece of her heart calves into her chest and shatters. 

“I’m glad you were here to help him with the bad dreams,” Chloe stage whispers, and Rory giggles. “I bet your dad was glad you were there for him, too.”

“Good snuggles,” Rory agrees, snapping a dimetrodon’s spiny sail into the puzzle. Chloe hands her an iguanodon’s arm, tapping the space where it should go and Rory happily adds it as well. After a moment, she asks, “Why Unca Meni no bwing Chawwie to pway?”

She doesn’t want to upset her by asking who Charlie is… clearly she’s supposed to know. “Do you know where Charlie is? Maybe we can ask for him to come?”

Rory looks up at her, her confused expression and puppyish head tilt an exact replica of her father’s. Chloe stifles a smile. 

“Home?” Rory asks, uncertainly.

“Where’s home for Charlie?”

“Tee Winda’s?” The head tilt intensifies, like she’s not sure if it’s a trick question. 

“Of course you know Linda, too,” Chloe murmurs. And she’s her Auntie, just like Ella. If Charlie lives with Linda… “Rory, do you know how old Charlie is? Is he a grown-up?”

“No!” The little girl giggles, and it sounds like music. “He wittle, wike me!”

“Like you, huh?” So… Linda’s son? Chloe wonders who the father is… but then realizes that Rory expects Charlie to be in Amenadiel’s care. “Is Charlie Amenadiel’s son?” Now the look that’s leveled at her is Trixie’s, and it clearly says ‘Duh, mom.’  

“Yeah,” she says slowly, and her eyes narrow. “His weens no pitty wike my weens!”

“No?” Chloe asks, chuckling. “What color are Charlie’s wings, then?”

“Gwey,” Rory wrinkles her nose. “Boooowing!”

And there’s Lucifer again. She really is ours.

“Your wings are very pretty, Rory,” she assures her honestly. She doesn’t think she’s ever seen anything more heartwarming than Lucifer snuggled up with that little girl, both their wings wrapped together in a feathery pod. “But it’s not very nice to call Charlie’s wings boring.”

“Itchy,” the girl changes the subject– clearly another trait she gets from her father– wriggling her shoulders and wrinkling her nose. “Out?”

“Um,” Chloe bites her lip, but she’s saved by the trouble of answering as Lucifer enters the room with an announcement that dinner is ready. Rory snaps to her feet with a happy exclamation, apparently forgetting any discomfort from her itchy wings. She reaches the kitchen in time to see Rory grunting in effort as she hauls herself up on the stool at the bar, Lucifer watching her carefully out of the corner of his eye as he ladles a creamy tomato soup into a small bowl.

“Sooooop!” Rory cries happily, and Chloe giggles as Lucifer turns away to hide his own smile. “You make sooop an’ cheese!”

“Yes, well,” he clears his throat, sliding a plate in front of her with a small dish of soup in the corner. “You said that’s what you wanted.”

Rory grabs one of the sandwich slices and happily dunks it into the dish, swishing it around until she deems it adequately coated before bringing it to her lips with a contented hum. Her eyes crinkle as she chews, and Lucifer slides a plate into Chloe’s reach, being careful not to approach her more closely than necessary. She looks down at the perfectly toasted sandwich, and she’s suddenly unable to swallow. 

“Thank you,” she murmurs, but when she looks up, he’s back at the stove making his own meal. She clears her throat and picks up the sandwich, forcing herself to take a bite. It’s delicious. Hot and buttery, crisp and oozing with her favorite cheap orange cheese that she knows Lucifer looks at with mild disgust. She glances over to him and sees him slicing cheese from a block of… something for his own sandwich. Speaking a little louder, she asks, “How was your day, Lucifer? Did you and Rory get along all right?”

“Both of us survived the experience unscathed,” he grunts, paying far more attention to the skillet before him than strictly necessary. “And now you’ve managed to unearth some more information, so perhaps we’ll be able to get somewhere with that.”

“About Charlie, you mean?” She’s interested, and doesn’t make any effort to hide it. Maybe if they treat Rory’s appearance as a case, they can find their feet again? “Do you know who he is now?”

“I have a suspicion,” he slides his own sandwich onto a plate, but instead of coming to the bar to join them for the meal, he moves the pan to the sink, starting to wash up. “I’d rather not speculate.”

“You’d rather not speculate with me, you mean,” she ventures, and though she tries, she can’t keep the hurt from her tone. His shoulders stiffen, and his own voice is tight when he responds.

“My apologies, Detective, but this situation involves more than Rory’s and my safety, there may be others that could be affected as well, and this needs to be handled delicately.” He continues to wash the pan, though Chloe can see perfectly well that it’s already clean. “I need to speak with Amenadiel before I say anything to someone else.”

“Amenadiel asked me to see if I could convince you to let him speak to someone for help, a sister?” 

He scoffs, but doesn’t seem surprised. He finally moves the pan into the adjacent sink and picks up his spatula and proceeds to give it the same painstaking attention. She looks down at her delicious sandwich, her stomach rebelling due to the level of discomfort she’s causing him simply by being in the same room. “Would she? Help, I mean?”

“Amenadiel’s already poked the hornet’s nest that contains our siblings, and now he wants to involve another one,” he huffs. “I haven’t spoken to her since my Fall, so I doubt she would help me, but if Amenadiel can spin it correctly, she might help him.”  

“Do any of your siblings speak to you?” She regrets the question before he even turns to look incredulously in her direction for the first time since she’d arrived. “I mean… if it’s been that long, surely someone–?”  

Please, please tell me you haven’t truly been alone all that time.  

Why? Her antagonistic other inner voice wonders, the one that sounds like Maze. You weren’t all that worried about how alone he’d be when you were planning to send him back to Hell with that priest.

“I had a sister drop by,” a small sliver of hope unfurls in her chest, only to be ripped out by the root as he blithely continues, “a few months ago. First time I’d seen her since my Fall. She left after a few minutes’ explanation of how she had been worried about a reunion being awkward and explaining how she’d sent Miss Lopez out here to be my friend.”

Wait, what?

“But no, Detective, my siblings are not keen to associate with the Devil,” he apparently decides he can’t convincingly distract himself with the spatula any longer and moves on to meticulously cleaning the cheese knife. “Amenadiel’s job was to ensure my return to Hell whenever I escaped, so I would see him on occasion but it was hardly a friendly interaction. I’m afraid I don’t have the same understanding of ‘family ties’ that you humans do. The only ties mine inflicted were shackles to the throne of Hell.”

The prickle of burning tears is back behind her eyes again, and she has a brief, unrelated thought wondering if all those repressed tears might eventually flood into her brain and come out her ears or something. She looks down at Rory, still blissfully ensnared in making sure her sandwich is properly soggy before eating it. She smiles at the ring of tomato soup around the girl’s mouth and dribbling down her chin, and reaches to wipe it with her napkin, which Rory tolerates with only a slight wrinkle of her nose.

“I’m sorry,” she offers again, and she can only just make out his huff over the sound of the running water as he rinses the dishes. 

“You’ve already said that.”

“Yes, but… this was an apology for asking such a personal question, when I’ve given you no reason to believe you can trust me again.” She takes another bite of her food, now cold. It sticks in her throat when she swallows, and when she looks up from her coughing fit, a glass of water has manifested within her reach. Her voice catches as she thanks him before taking a sip. He’s back across the room, leaning against the counter as he picks up his own sandwich and neatly inhales it. He wipes any remaining crumbs from the bristles surrounding his lips and turns to slide his plate into the sink before he turns to look at her with wary eyes.

“I’d very much like to know your angle, Detective,” the shutters on his usually expressive eyes are welded shut, but she doesn’t have to see the hurt in them to know it’s there. She can read him well enough by now to discern it from the set of his shoulders, the casual tone of his voice, the way his agile fingers fiddle with his cufflinks. “I find that I’ve never been more disconcerted by my inability to draw on your desires than I am right now. You said you wanted to help the child and you did, you brought clothes and entertainment. Why are you still here?”

“Lucifer,” she sighs, words failing her as she stares helplessly back at him. The little girl looks up from her dinner, her curious gaze bouncing between the two tense adults in the room with her. “I don’t… I never wanted to hurt you.”

“Really, ” he sneers, turning away again, just as he had the night of their confrontation, only this time she doesn’t need the reflection to show her the expression on his face. She knows it’s the same carefully contained blankness, and she doesn’t want to see the tears shining in his eyes. 

“I didn’t – he told me it was a sedative!” she cries, unable to hold back her final, pitiful defense any longer. “It was… he said that… it was best for everyone to send you back, even what was best for you, but–”

“Yes, I’m sure your rabid priest had nothing but the best of intentions toward the Devil. You’ve already made yourself quite clear, no need for a repeat performance,” he says coldly. Rory stirs anxiously on the stool next to her mother, glancing between her parents as she tries to puzzle out the tension in the room. “Did you consult any other sources before you offered to pour an unknown substance into my glass? Or was the Catholic church sufficiently persuasive, what with their extensive history of tolerance and benevolence?”

“Please,” she can’t hold the tears back anymore, but she doesn’t bother to brush them away. “I… I changed my mind! I was going to tell you everything, I figured it out–”

“You hurt?” Rory’s strident voice pipes up, startling them both. Her brown eyes are wide, her lips starting to tremble as her agile little mind fits the bits and pieces of the conversation together. “Mommee? You hurt Da?”

Chloe opens her mouth, but her voice lodges in her throat, unable to use the feeble defense she’d just hurled at her partner in the face of the young girl’s watery gaze.

“She didn’t hurt me, Rory,” Lucifer says quietly, his voice gentle, but still edged with ice. “You needn’t worry, darling, everyone knows the Devil doesn’t have feelings , and she hasn’t done anything to hurt me physically.”

Rory narrows her eyes, still flickering her gaze between them with the certainty that something is wrong. “Why you hurt?”

“I am unhurt, Rory,” Lucifer repeats firmly, gesturing to himself grandly. “I’m perfectly fine, you’ve my word. Now, have you finished your dinner?”

She nods, turning her attention to her mother as Lucifer retrieves her platter. “Mommee cwy?”

“I’m okay, sweetie,” Chloe croaks. “It’s okay, it was just a little fight. Everything’s fine now.”

“Mommee otay?” She swivels her head across the room once Chloe nods, wiping her tears away with her napkin. “Daddee too?”

“Perfectly fine, Imp,” Lucifer tosses over his shoulder, though he remains facing away from the pair of them. “Now, what would you like to do until bedtime?”

“TV?” The girl’s fingers thread anxiously in front of her in a nervous gesture that Chloe recognizes as her own habit. “We watch Bones? ” 

“You might need a bath first, Rory,” Chloe suggests gently, and the girl makes an irritated noise, waving her hands in frustration.

“Awweady had baf!” She protests indignantly. Chloe looks at Lucifer’s back, since he’s back at the sink washing Rory’s dishes. She glances back at her own half-eaten sandwich, but can’t force herself to eat anymore. 

As though sensing her stare, he shrugs. “There was a catsup mishap at lunch.”

“Oh,” Chloe blinks blankly for a moment. “You really let her watch Bones? That show’s kinda graphic for a kid, isn’t it?”

“She was already familiar with the show, and she likes it.” His tone is back to bland, utterly disinterested in her opinion. “Go wash, child, and find your blanket while I speak to your ‘mother’, then you can say goodbye and we’ll watch Bones.”

“You go backa work?” Rory asks her mother plaintively. Chloe swallows hard and reaches out to stroke the child’s silky hair behind her ear. “You haf to?”

“Yeah, baby, I gotta go,” she says quietly, and the little one accepts it with the quiet unease of a child that’s learned not to argue when a parent has to leave. “But I’ll see you again soon, okay?”

“Otay,” Rory carefully climbs off her stool, after indignantly swatting Chloe’s hands away when she tries to help. She trundles off to the bathroom and Chloe looks back at Lucifer’s rigid form. 

I have to fix this. How do I fix this?

“Lucifer–”

The shrill tone of his cell cuts her off, and she groans when he immediately dries his hands and answers it. “Patrick?” he moves to put the dishes away, wedging the phone between his ear and shoulder as he speaks. “Oh. Of course. Yes, I got the message about that.” A heavy sigh. “I’m really not set up for entertaining anyone right now. How long?” A groan now, and he rubs his palm over his face. “Fine. Fine! Send her up, Patrick. No, it’s quite all right to comp her drinks. No. I haven’t given her a keycode. Mm. No matter, Patrick, it’s fine. Send her up, and with any luck she’ll be back in the club soon enough. Thank you.”

The water in the bathroom switches on, and Lucifer glares at the ceiling again. “Excuse me just a moment, Detective.”

Without another word, he strides from the room. She follows him as far as the living room as the water shuts off and a moment later she hears him growl, “Oh no you don’t you little gremlin!” followed immediately by a shrieking cackle and a flash of skin and fluffy magenta wings pursued by her besuited partner. She makes it around the couch before Lucifer carefully tackles her, twisting so he slides along the marble floor on his back with the child giggling hysterically in his arms. 

“Every time!” He mutters, wrestling her clothing into place as she gives a token struggle, but she’s laughing too hard to really put up a fight. An answering, if somewhat reluctant smile lights his face, and Rory’s hand strokes his cheek gently. “I really think you just like making me chase you , you little…” 

He trails off when he realizes Chloe’s watching them, and he scrambles to his feet, the now-clothed child clinging to his shoulder and resting comfortably on his hip, her wings folded against her back and shedding pink bits of fuzz all over his suit. He straightens his jacket as best he can and clears his throat. 

“I uh, guess she gets the naked thing from you, huh?” Chloe asks, and the sheer indignance on his face makes her snort with laughter, which makes Rory break out in giggles again. The affront fades to surprise as his gaze slides past her.

“Wings away, Rory,” he murmurs, and the girl obeys immediately before following his gaze, her face lighting up with joy. 

“Eeeeb!” She shouts happily, wriggling to be let down. Lucifer lets her slide to the floor, and she runs past Chloe to the petite, sable-haired woman standing shyly near the elevator. “Tee Eeb! Up!”

Chloe turns to see the woman’s wide doe-eyes look from the girl to Lucifer before sliding to Chloe and back to Rory, still imperiously demanding to be lifted. 

Lucifer clears his throat. “Hello, Eve. Er, long time, no see.”

“Heya Luce,” she smiles widely, dimples appearing in her delicate cheeks as she looks again down at the toddler and holds out a hand to her. “Who’s this little angel?”

Chapter Text

“This is Rory,” he hesitates a moment before continuing, “and this is Detective Chloe Decker. Rory seems to already know you, and I believe you met the Detective the other day?”

“Oh! Hey, yeah, I saw you in the elevator, hi!” Chloe waves halfheartedly, but Eve doesn’t notice as she glances down at Rory once more before greeting her. “Hello Rory! Your wings are so pretty!”

“I know,” Rory replies impatiently, still flapping her hands at Eve. “Up, pease?”

“Oh, of course, how rude of me!” Eve laughs, bending to scoop up the girl and place her on her hip before crossing the room to Lucifer, bypassing Chloe entirely. “Thanks for letting me come up, I was starting to think you were avoiding me.”

“As you can see, I’ve had my hands a bit full,” Lucifer gestures to the toddler currently playing with Eve’s loose tresses. “I’m afraid I didn’t know you’d been visiting until just this morning. I haven’t been seeing anyone, and have been… busy.”

“I see that,” Eve tucks her plump lip between her teeth and looks up at him through her lashes. She bounces the little girl on her hip, and Rory giggles before wriggling to be let down again. Once on the ground, the girl scurries over to her puzzle again. “How old is she?”

“No idea,” Lucifer shrugs at the same time Rory proudly says, 

“I free an’ a haff!”

“Ah, well, there we have it,” Lucifer shrugs, but Eve looks confused. “What?”

“She’s your daughter, right?” She asks uncertainly, “I mean, I heard Chloe say… and the wings and all are kind of a giveaway, but you don’t know how old she is? Where’s her mom?”

“Long story, darling, and I’m afraid I don’t know most of it.” Lucifer sighs. “Would you like a drink? Detective, don’t feel like you have to stay, but it would be polite to allow Rory to say goodbye.”

Rory pops up her head from the puzzle she’d gone back to work on. “Mommee weavin’?”

“Mommy?” Eve repeats incredulously, glancing between Chloe and Lucifer again. “She told me yesterday she works with you?”

“I do.”

“We used to work together,” they answer at the same time, and Lucifer’s use of the past tense sends another stabbing sensation into her chest that nearly drives the breath from her. He continues, his eyes not straying in Chloe’s direction at all. “But we’ve dissolved the partnership recently. She’s here to visit the child, but we are not the parents.”

“Lucifer,” Chloe says quietly, nodding at Rory when his eyes flicker briefly toward her. He lifts his chin in acknowledgement. She hurriedly offers, “Um, why don’t I take Rory to play in her bedroom for a little while, and you can have a visit with Eve?”

He appraises her briefly before nodding slowly. 

“C’mon Rory, you can show me your room.” Rory stands up slowly, glancing at Lucifer and Eve before crossing to her mother and taking her hand to lead the way. 

“Rory?” Lucifer calls softly, reminding her, “Nothing to eat or drink before bed, all right?”

“Otay, Da,” she waves over her shoulder, then looks up at Chloe. “We pway?”

“Yeah, looks like Bones might be off the menu for a little bit, kiddo, your dad has company.” Chloe pulls air into her empty lungs and tries to ignore the twisting snakes in her stomach. This is the second time he’d warned the girl not to ingest anything when she was alone with her. 

He really does think I’m going to poison her.

Still can’t blame him for that, though, can you Decker?

She swallows down the rising nausea, and focuses on entertaining Rory. She’d wanted to spend more time with the girl, so she tells herself that she’s glad for the opportunity, and not at all disappointed that yet another vital conversation with her (ex) partner has been interrupted.

Did he mean it? She wonders, as she settles onto Rory’s fluffy rug, and Rory patters over to the neatly arranged shelves to bring over her coloring books and crayons. She hadn't really thought that their partnership was over… only… What if I can’t fix this?

A ball of ice forms around her heart. Lucifer doesn’t lie. She remembers that now, can’t even fathom how she’d forgotten it long enough to get sucked into Kinley’s plot, but did she remember too late? 

Lucifer seems to think so.  

Chloe lets Rory’s chatter roll over her, offering little confirmatory listening sounds whenever Rory seems to expect one. She automatically flips back to the coloring page she’d half-heartedly worked on before, the dove sheltering the smaller bird under its wings from the rain. She picks up the grey crayon, and sets herself to work.

*

Lucifer watches the Detective trail after Rory toward the guest room (Rory’s room) , and reminds himself that he neither needs nor wants to go after them. He already knows the outcome of their interrupted conversation, so there’s no need for them to finish it. 

Plus it would be rude to Eve.

Right, Eve.

He gestures grandly toward his bar with an empty, charming smile. “Drink?”

“That would be nice, thanks Luce,” she smiles up at him, looking exactly as she had when he’d last seen her in the Garden. Somehow, he doesn’t find it odd that it only stirs a fond memory of his first friend, and not anything more… visceral. Especially considering what they’d been doing the last time he’d seen her in the Garden. He lets the fondness overpower his distaste at her use of a nickname, and pulls down two fresh tumblers and a decanter.

“What brings you to Los Angeles, darling?” He wonders aloud as he pours them each a measure. Eve’s fingers linger on his as he hands over her glass, but she’d always been tactile with him. “How did you even get to Earth? Last I’d heard you were in the Silver City with your oaf of a husband.”

“Yeah,” Eve says flatly, taking a deep drink and rolling her eyes. “Adam’s still up there. I just… got bored, I guess. I meet so many people up there, and chat with everyone. Their stories are all so interesting , you know? And… I realized that there aren’t any new stories in Heaven. Everyone has stories from when they were alive, but nothing happens up there. I wanna be here, where the action is!”

“Well, I won’t argue with you about the Silver City’s level of boring,” he smirks and she shoots him a wicked grin from behind her glass, her crimson lips wrapping around the rim to take another drink. “But that doesn’t explain how you got here. I mean, you’ve obviously got your old body back, how did that happen?”

He wonders briefly if this anomaly has anything to do with Rory’s appearance, but Eve dissolves that with an airy laugh. 

“Did you know there’s a huge library in Heaven?”

Lucifer smirks, wondering if she knows how many books in that library had been written by him… unless they’ve all been removed, of course, but he can’t see Duma putting up with anyone abusing a book… even one written by the Adversary. But then, he doubts Eve had spent much time in the astrophysics section. 

“I found out that since I’d been directly created by the hand of God, that I should be able to slip back into my old bones. So I did!” She looks so proud of herself that Lucifer can only smile and stare for a moment. 

“But… Eve… you’re still not immortal. What happens when you die? What if you can’t get back into Heaven?” He empties his glass and pours another before glancing down at her in concern. “Sure, Earth is infinitely preferable to the Silver City, but why risk the chance of Hell? I can assure you that as boring as Heaven is, Hell is… worse. In every possible way.”

“Well,” Eve sips nervously, “I guess if I can’t get back into Heaven, at least I know someone at the other place?” 

“I’m not there , darling, I’m here,” he corrects her gently, watching her face fall. “And while I can manipulate loops to an extent, I can’t pull you out of one. If you wind up there, only you can get out… and no one ever has before.”

“Oh,” she swallows and licks her lips nervously. She’s quiet for a moment, then shakes off her thoughts and chuckles. “I guess I’ll just have to be good.”

“I’m certain you won’t find any problems there,” he chuckles. His ring clicks on his glass as he taps his fingers against it restlessly, dark eyes darting down the hall, where he can hear Rory nattering on about her day. The Detective’s responses are quiet, almost subdued, and he wonders what has her so distracted. He pulls himself back mentally when Eve sighs quietly across the bar from him. He clears his throat. “Well. If it’s a good time you’re after, Lux is certainly the place you want. I’ve told Patrick your beverages are to be complimentary. Where have you been staying?”

“Oh!” Her eyes crinkle in a shy smile. “I met a guy that brought me to LA in his plane, and he told me I could use his place while I was here! He’s been so kind, but he’s really busy, he’s hardly been here all week. In fact, I haven’t seen him since the morning after we arrived.”

“Hm,” Lucifer shrugs. It’s not as though he hasn’t offered a beautiful woman a place to stay before. “I’m glad you’ve been taken care of so well. What will you do, now that you’re here on Earth to stay?”

“I… didn’t really think about that,” she frowns, a worry line appearing between her brows. 

Of course she hadn’t. Last time she was here all she needed was a husband to provide and to do the work around the farmstead. Times have more than changed. Not that there was ever a time outside the Garden where it wasn’t dangerous for a beautiful woman, alone.

He really looks at her, and she blushes under his blatant evaluation. His dark eyes glitter with concern, and she bites her lip, entirely misconstruing his scrutiny. 

At least Lux is safe. Or at least, as safe as he could make it. He stares hard at her for a moment, thinking. 

“I might have an idea for you,” he offers, and she looks up from her glass and wandering thoughts with interest. “I brought a demon with me to Earth, when I came to stay. She can… teach you about modern times. How to keep yourself safe, how to find your way around.”

“Really?” Eve breathes excitedly, sidling closer until her arm rests against his. “I’ve never met a demon before! I mean, I know all about Lilith , of course, from Adam, but–”

“Word from the wise, my dear, do not bring up Lilith to Mazikeen,” he snickers. “I’ve seen her pull fingernails from people for far less.”

“Oh,” Eve’s eyes widen, then a smile spreads across her open face. Her delicate fingers trace a pattern along his forearm as she leans further into his space. “She sounds amazing! When can I meet her?”

Bollocks, I haven’t seen Maze in weeks… is she even in town?

“Let me call her and see,” he offers, pulling out his phone. Eve watches curiously as he shifts until there's a little distance between them and pulls up the contact.

“What.” Maze's response is swift but curt, and Lucifer can’t help but roll his eyes at his dramatic demon diva. He can’t imagine where she’s picked that habit up.

“Mazikeen, where are you? Are you currently on a bounty?”

“I’ve been steering clear of the station since Decker’s been back. It’s… awkward.” She sounds out the final word distastefully, and he knows she’s lamenting these new human emotions much like he has been for the past couple of months. “And I’m in my apartment.”

“You are?” He asks, surprised. Maze had moved back into her old apartment a couple of levels below his penthouse once the Detective had returned from Rome, but he’d admittedly not kept tabs on his right-hand demon in the intervening weeks.“I’d no idea you were still staying here.”

“You gotta problem with it?” She challenges, and the corner of his mouth turns up.

“Quite the contrary. I’ve got a job for you, if you think you’re up for it. Protection detail, of a sort.”

“Decker still out for your head on a pike, then?” The demon asks nonchalantly, but he can suddenly hear the hiss of her blade as she flicks it around her finger. 

“No, Maze,” he hesitates, then adds honestly, “Or at least, not to my immediate knowledge. I have a visitor that’s new in town and needs a… guide. Show her around, keep her safe, teach her how to integrate into society as it is these days.”

“If you brought one of my sisters up here, Lucifer, I swear –”

“Of course I haven’t!” He soothes, and she subsides, grumbling. “Eve has decided to give life on Earth a second try, and she’s just a little lost.”

“So why don’t you play tourguide to humanity, then?” 

“My hands are a bit full at the moment,” he prevaricates, unwilling to divulge the appearance of the child until he knows more, especially with the fresh memory of his demon's recent betrayal. “Do you want the job or not?”

“Wait, Eve?” Maze repeats breathlessly. “The bimbo that God made to replace Lilith? She’s here?? Oh, I am so in for this!”

“Protection detail, Mazikeen,” he reminds her brusquely. “She needs to be taught how to stay safe in today’s world .”

“Easy,” she drawls. “When do I get her?”

“I’ll check with her and have her meet you at Lux,” he offers. “I’ll text you and let you know, it probably won’t be more than half an hour.”

“Then I’ll go grab a bottle. I don’t wanna miss any of this.” The call disconnects, and he smirks at his easy success. Let Maze bill him.

“Well, she’s certainly eager to meet you, darling,” he smiles into his glass as he empties it again, offering her a refill as he pours into his own, which she accepts. “She’ll make a good guide for you.”

“Thanks, Luce, I really appreciate it,” her smile is soft. “It’s really sweet of you to look out for me like this.”

“Well,” he shrugs off her comment, “anything for… an old friend.”

“Speaking of friends ,” she glances back at the hallway the Detective and Rory had disappeared down. “What’s up with your, um, ex-co-worker?”

“I’m not entirely sure,” Lucifer shakes his head and puffs out an exasperated breath. It's an excellent question, and he doubts he'll ever manage a real answer. The Detective is as much a mystery to him now as she has ever been, if not more so. “She recently realized I’d been telling the truth about who– what– I am, and she’s terrified of me. But then Rory showed up out of nowhere, and… it’s complicated. We don’t know much about her yet, and the Detective is very good at finding information.”

Hmm. She is good at finding information. Maybe, if she’s not actually trying to kill me or the child, I can get her to help find out more about Rory. She did say she wants to help…

“–the mom and dad thing?” Eve is asking when he emerges from his thoughts.

“Hm?” He snaps his gaze up from his contemplation of the amber liquid in his glass. “So sorry, Eve, I… got lost in my thoughts for a moment.”

“She calls you Daddy?” Eve says with a little laugh. “And your partner Mommy, but neither one of you know who she is? Luce, if I didn’t know you don’t lie…”

“Believe me, I know,” he says, rubbing a palm along his cheek again, recalling the warmth he’d felt when Rory had stroked him there. “It’s the oddest thing, Eve, but she does know us. My best guesses aren’t enough to speculate about until we get more to go on, but I’d like to ask you not to say anything to Mazikeen about her yet. The child may be in some danger from my family if word gets out.”

She widens her eyes in surprise. “They’d hurt her?”

“She’s apparently the Devil’s Spawn, after all,” he growls bitterly, “and that’s bound to be a problem even if she’s not from this time or world. And she’s also half-human, and only Dad knows how that is possible. At best, she’d wind up as a Heavenly lab rat. And I won’t allow that, Eve. You mustn’t say anything. I’m hoping to have her back to… wherever she came from soon enough.”

“Okay,” she agrees easily. “It’s not like she’s gonna ask, right?”

“I’m sure you ladies will have plenty of other things to talk about,” he chuckles, and Eve’s eyes glint with interest. “When you go back down to the bar, just ask one of the bar staff to point you to her, they all know Mazikeen quite well.”

“This is so exciting!” Eve squeals delightedly. She clings to his elbow and bounces in excitement, and he can’t help but smile at her childlike energy. She’d always been that way in the Garden, too. Eager to explore, to experience. “Should I go down now?”

“I’m sure she’ll be at the bar waiting for you,” he assures her easily. “I’ll text her and let her know you’re on your way. Just… heed what she says, all right? She’ll keep you safe until you can manage on your own.”

“Sounds like a plan,” her eyes sparkle with anticipation. “When do you think I can come see you again?”

“I’ll have Maze get you a phone, and make sure my number is programmed in it,” he offers. “She’ll teach you how to use it, and I’ll let you know when I’ve settled my little fledgling issue.”

“Thanks, Luce!” She chirps happily, whirling and throwing her arms around him in an enthusiastic hug. “Oh, this is so much better than Heaven already! Getting to see you again, and now not only meeting, but getting to hang out with a demon? This is gonna be my best day ever!”

“Let me help you with the elevator,” he gives her a gentle squeeze and releases her, keeping one broad hand on her back to guide her along toward the carriage. “Have a good time, and have Mazikeen call me if you run into any snags, all right?”

“I will.” She kisses his cheek, then steps into the carriage, murmuring to herself, “ So exciting!”  

The doors start to slide closed and she calls, “See you soon!” just before they seal between them. He releases a small sigh of relief, and turns back to his flat. 

“Rory?” He calls, after taking a moment to pull himself together, “Do you still want to watch Bones? I think we’ve got time for–”

He looks down at the toddler dancing excitedly at his feet, clutching her fuzzy purple blanket. He laughs. “That’s a yes, then? Did you leave the Detective alone in your bedroom?”

“Just putting away the crayons,” Chloe’s voice appears from the hallway, sounding amused. The smile falls from her face as she comes into view from the hallway. "Umm, you have some…" Her hand drifts up and brushes subtly at her cheek. 

Lucifer's head tilts as he waits for her to finish her sentence, but Rory giggles and points. 

"Wipstitch, Da! On your cheek!" 

Lucifer's fingers brush his own cheek, feeling the waxy residue from Eve's crimson lipstick. His nose wrinkles in distaste, and he grabs a towel from the bar to scrub it away, only succeeding in smearing it through his scruff. 

Chloe approaches slowly, glancing around the room. “Eve didn’t say long…”

“She’s here for fun , Detective,” Lucifer sniffs as he glances in the mirror and makes certain the imprint of the second woman's lips are removed from his person before he moves to queue up their show. “Right now, Lux is the best place for her, and I’ve arranged a guide for her to ensure her safety. Did you enjoy your time with the child?”

Rory nods, seated eagerly on the couch, her blanket balled up in her lap and watching her Daddy carefully. 

“We had fun coloring, and Rory told me all about her day,” she shifts her weight from foot to foot, unsure if she’s invited to watch Bones or not. “Lucifer, can we talk?”

“Now is probably not the best time,” he deflects, eyes darting to the girl waiting to watch TV with her Daddy. “Especially if you’re hoping to continue our previous conversation. I don’t want to upset her.”

“Yeah, you’re right…” she takes a fortifying breath. “I can… stay ‘til bedtime? Maybe teach you the Horsie song? And, um, we can talk once she’s asleep?”

“You’ll have to sit through at least one episode of Bones ,” he warns. “Possibly two, the child is very invested in the story.”

“I can deal, Lucifer,” she rolls her eyes as Lucifer moves to the couch, removes his jacket and sets it aside before removing his shoes and perching himself in the corner, stretching his legs out onto the Ottoman pressed up against it. Chloe watches in disbelief as Rory settles in and presses under his right arm, nudging him with the purple blanket liberally coated in pink fuzz. Lucifer sighs and spreads the blanket over the pair of them, his arm wrapping loosely around the girl as she snuggles into his side. 

He glances up at her, remote raised in his left hand. “Did you decide not to stay after all?”

“What?” she asks stupidly, looking down at her partner (Ex-partner, that snide little voice inside reminds her) stretched on his couch with a toddler cuddled against his side and snuggled under a fuzzy purple blanket. 

She's seen Lucifer laughing and suave. She's seen him nude and seductive. She's seen him injured and confused, confident and cocky, earnest and speechless. She's lain on the floor with him, shoulder-to-shoulder, laughing at him about his face paint as they played board games with her daughter. She's witnessed him spiraling out of control down a rabbit hole she couldn't comprehend, half-mad with sleep deprivation, and seen him dark and defensive and terrified

She’s imagined Lucifer Morningstar a thousand other different ways, but never like this. Never relaxing at home with his daughter, snuggling in under a fluffy blanket for TV night. 

She likes it.

Way more than she should. Especially with the way their relationship is dangling right now. 

We can fix it.  

He’s still looking at her, brows lifted in query. She blinks and shakes her head. Shit. Get it together. “Right. Um, I’ll just… sit, then?”

“You sit wif us, Mommee?” Rory pats the couch next to her like she had the mattress last night, and Chloe’s heart clenches a little when Lucifer stiffens. She hesitates, her brain freezing as she tries to make the ridiculously impossible decision of where to sit. 

We don’t want Rory to be upset. Lucifer doesn’t want me close. If I sit far away, will he be more comfortable, or will he think I’m still afraid of him? Does his wish for Rory to be oblivious to her parents’ problems extend to having me sit so close? 

He’s kept his distance all evening. Rory’s looking up at her with pleading brown eyes that remind her so much of Trixie. She glances at Lucifer one more time, and she thinks she sees him sigh a little before bobbing his head to indicate the seat next to the child. As though he could easily guess what had been going through her mind. 

That’s right, Decker, nobody knows you better than Satan. She pushes that sarcastic thought aside and settles in next to Rory, pulling off her boots and tucking her socked feet underneath her. Rory doesn’t move away from Lucifer’s side, but he removes his arm from around her shoulders, instead folding his hands neatly in his lap. 

Avoiding contact with me.

Chloe suffers through two excruciating episodes of watching FBI Agent Booth and his Forensic Scientist consultant Brennan dancing around one another while Brennan tries to bond with Booth’s apparently new girlfriend, obviously trying to make sure she keeps a place in Booth’s life despite his deepening relationship. In the second episode, Brennan develops a deep empathy for the victim, culminating in her making dangerous decisions to try to figure out what had happened to the victim– then breaking down sobbing when Booth saves her from getting run down by a car, and confessing that she regrets not giving them a chance to be together.

“He offered himself to her, but she never gave him a chance.”

“I’m with someone.”

“I understand,” Brennan sobs, sniffling, “I missed my chance.”

Chloe fights back tears, though whether they're empathetic for Brennan's misery, or for her own, she really couldn't say. She doesn’t want to find that she’s missed her chance. A light snore sounds beside her, and she looks down to find Rory has crawled entirely into Lucifer’s lap and fallen asleep. She’d been so riveted to the drama on the screen, she hadn’t paid the slightest attention when that had happened. His arms are curled loosely around the girl, whose head is resting on his heart, one limp hand brushing against the right side of his neck. 

Chloe remembers the way Rory stroked his cheek earlier, and thinks of all the times she’d done that… before . She wonders if it’s a habit that Rory picked up from her mother. The Chloe that didn’t miss her chance.

The episode ends with Brennan sighing and promising herself, “Three days. Three days for the world to turn rightside up again.”

It’s already been far longer than that for Chloe, and she still certainly feels upside down, but… I’m trying. I can do this. We can do this.

She glances up from the sleeping girl in her partner’s lap and finds him staring at her intensely. There’s something in his eyes that makes Chloe wonder if he’s sad about them missing their chance, too. 

“Let me get this gremlin to bed, and we can have a chat, Detective, if you’re still willing.”

She swallows and smiles tremulously. “Yeah. Yeah, I’m… I’m willing.”

Chapter Text

Chloe trails after Lucifer as he carries Rory’s limp form to bed, finding her shark plushie and tucking it into her arms before he snugs the blanket around her. The girl doesn’t so much as twitch as the adults make their way to the door, and Lucifer makes sure the door remains ajar so she has some light if she does wake. 

He heads for the bar and grabs a tumbler and a decanter. Chloe shakes her head when he lifts a brow in inquiry toward her, so he gestures her out to the balcony where they can speak without having to worry about waking the child. He pours himself a measure, then goes to stand at the railing, leaning against it with his back facing the city. 

She takes a moment to gather her argument, arrange the words she wants to say into something pleasing, something convincing … but she winds up just getting lost in looking at him. The glow from the city below limns him in light, the features of his face mostly shrouded in shadow, highlighted only by the distant lamps inside the penthouse. His eyes glint darkly as he lifts his glass to his obscured mouth, and it’s quiet enough that she can hear him swallow. She has an unsettling thought that he appears to be dissolving into darkness in that moment, but when she blinks he merely looks tired, and maybe a little sad.

“First things first, then,” he finally says with a sigh. “What’s the name of that blasted song?”

The demand surprises a laugh from her, and she tries to still her anxious fingers. “It’s an old song, but I’m sure you can find sheet music for it, or just look it up on YouTube. It’s called ‘All the Pretty Little Horses’, and Trixie used to demand it all the time when she was little.”

“Thank you,” he nods shortly. “I’ll look it up this evening. I had one other item I wanted to ask of you, Detective, but of course you’re free to decline.”

“Oh,” Chloe’s a little taken aback at the cool distance in his tone, though she supposes that she really shouldn’t be. “Okay, um… what do you need?”

“You’re the best Detective I know,” he offers diffidently, “and you’ve already proven helpful at getting some information from Rory that we hadn’t managed to get before. I’d like to ask for your help in getting further information from her, so we can get her back to her own time before she comes to harm here.”

“Lucifer, I–”

“I’ll offer you a favor in return,” he continues, talking over her. “With the stipulation that I will not return to Hell at your request, but if you so choose, I will leave Los Angeles and relocate somewhere you would never risk crossing my path again.”

“I-I don’t want you to leave,” Chloe stammers after a wordless moment of shock, her voice trembling. “I wouldn’t ask you to do that, and I’ll help you with Rory without a favor in return. I… I want to help.”

“And I would rather not be in your debt,” Lucifer says, the casual cruelty of his tone cutting her open as easily as one of Maze’s knives. “So… deal, or no deal?”

“Okay, fine,” a flare of anger wells up, and she sets her jaw as she makes a snap decision. “Deal. And I already know what I want.”

“Oooh, that was a quick about-face,” he purrs. “Decided there is something you want from the Devil after all, eh?”

“Yeah,” she challenges, lifting her chin. “I want my partner back. I want things back the way they were between us.”

Lucifer laughs, a surprised bark that catches in the back of his throat as his shoulders lurch forward. “Very funny, well played, Detective.” He takes another drink from his glass. “But I’m afraid deals are not a joking matter for me, so if you truly know what you want to ask for, then ask away.”

“I mean it, Lucifer,” she steps closer, crossing her arms tightly over her chest to control her trembling. “I want my partner back. I… want you to come back to work, at least. With me.”

“Hm. Still think you need the eggs, eh?” He lifts a brow, a dark line rising in the shadows obscuring his expression. “You don’t, you know. You’re more capable than most of the rest of those buffoons combined, even on your worst day.”

Chloe cringes internally, recognizing the reference from early in their partnership where she’d essentially told her partner that she didn’t care if he was crazy… so long as he was useful. He’d never once thrown that back at her… until now.

Maybe you finally used up whatever credit you had, Decker. Attempted murder and/or banishment has to have a pretty heavy price tag in the trust department.

“I’m not playing, Lucifer,” she warns him, gripping her elbows until her knuckles scream with the strain as she struggles to muster the courage to say her next words. “I may not ‘need the eggs’, but I need my partner. I need you.”  

He scoffs, turning away and skirting around her to refill his tumbler. “For how long?”

As long as it takes for me to prove you can trust me again.  

“Ten cases.” 

“Ten?!” He splutters, laughing. “That will take months! There can’t be that much information to glean from the child. Five.”

“Ten,” Chloe maintains evenly, as he comes back to lean on the railing again with his refilled glass. “No paperwork, but your presence is required from the initial call-out to the collar and booking.”

“Seven,” Lucifer says shrewdly, “and I won’t steal any impounded drugs from lockup.”

“I don’t know why you do that anyway, it’s not like you can’t afford to buy your own.”

“Because it’s fun, darling,” he purrs. She rolls her eyes, and he huffs an involuntary laugh. “And they’d only go to waste otherwise, sitting there on those shelves, languishing.”

“Ten. No paperwork, and I’ll make sure Dan doesn’t come after you for stealing his pudding.”

“Oh, please, as if I can’t handle being on Daniel’s shit list,” he snorts, but she can hear his ring tapping against the glass as he considers. “Besides, he’s angry with me for larger things now, the pudding cups are hardly a blip on his rage radar.”

He’s not wrong there. Dan’s been on the anti-Lucifer warpath since Charlotte was killed. 

“Fine. Ten, no paperwork, and I’ll make sure Ella doesn’t hug you.”

He huffs another laugh and empties his glass. “You’re a capable woman, Detective, but there is no force on the planet that can stop a Miss Lopez hug. Believe me, I’m the Devil, and I’ve tried.” She feels the cold weight of his hooded gaze, and she stares back into the darkness hiding him. A faint sigh escapes him, and he murmurs something that sounds suspiciously like, “ Extortionist.”

“Well?” She asks archly, lifting her chin in challenge. She thinks she sees the corner of his mouth lift.

“Ten,” he agrees with a heavy exhalation. “No paperwork. You’ll need to step up the information gathering from Rory though, for her own safety, and I won’t be able to start until after she… returns to her own situation.”

“What? Why?”

“She’ll need protection, Detective, and I can’t exactly hire a nanny for a child that may decide to unfurl her wings every time she decides to go starkers.” 

Okay, good point. And yet… 

It might be a way to buy herself more time with him… first time with him and Rory while solving this mystery, then the cases after? More time equals more opportunity for trust building, right? 

But I want my partner back, before the new Lieutenant assigns someone else.

“You can start after Rory leaves… if Amenadiel or someone you trust isn’t available to watch her.”

“I’m the Devil , Detective, there is no one I can trust.” The words are heartbreaking, because they aren’t hissed bitterly, or growled angrily. They’re merely uttered, quiet and matter-of fact. An offer of an accepted truth. She wishes she could see his face… but then wonders if she could bear to see the hollow look she’s sure she would find in his eyes, and blinks away the tears that threaten to fall.

“You trust Linda,” she offers timidly. “Don’t you?”

“I can’t ask Linda to risk herself by babysitting a half-angel child that’s on Heaven’s hit-list,” Lucifer shakes his head, a flare of light from below illuminating a worried crease on his brow. “She has… her own problems to deal with, and my family has already caused her more than enough harm. I’ll not endanger her again.”

“Amenadiel?” Chloe asks, confused. 

“No, it’s…” he sighs, frustration vibrating in the tense lines of his shoulders. “Nevermind. Not Linda. Perhaps Amenadiel.”

“What about Maze?”

“Not Maze,” Lucifer growls, so low that Chloe feels it more than hears it. She thinks she sees his eyes flicker red, and she’s no longer naive enough to believe it’s a trick of the light.

“Oookay,” Chloe says slowly, resisting the urge to take a step back. “I thought you guys were friends?”

“Nevermind,” he says again, and this time exhaustion lies heavily in his tone. Chloe wonders, but decides not to push. For now. “You have a deal. Now, what did you wish to discuss this evening, Detective?”

She hesitates, wondering if now is the time to pursue their conversation from the kitchen, or if she should wait, now that she knows she’ll have access to him for at least a few months. “I don’t want to hurt you,” she blurts finally, the words falling from her lips before she can stop them. Lucifer’s breath hitches, but she can’t tell if it’s a snort, or a laugh. “I don’t know how to prove it, but I’ll find a way .”

I will. I can't lose him now. 

“Hmm,” his tone is noncommittal, unimpressed. He doesn’t remark further until the silence stretches painfully between them. “Was there anything else, then?”

She sighs, her eyelids drooping in defeat as a wave of fatigue washes over her. “I guess not.”

“We’ll start tomorrow evening then, trying to get more information from Rory?”

“Oh, I’ve… um, got a date tomorrow night.” Chloe wets her lips.

“I see,” Lucifer replies quietly, and Chloe rushes to clarify,

“With Linda. We’re having drinks.”

“I see,” he repeats, this time thoughtfully. 

“I can have her meet me at Lux, and I can come up when we’re done with our girls’ night?” She offers hopefully. “I just… haven’t talked to her in a long time, and, um…”

“Say no more, Detective, I’m only a consultant but I can manage this basic deduction,” his low voice rumbles in the still night air. “If you’d like to meet at Lux, I’ll have Patrick comp your drinks.”

“You don’t have to–”

“It’s the least I can do, for scarring the two of you so very badly,” he chuckles darkly, emptying his glass again and turning to re-enter the penthouse, leaving Chloe to follow after. “If your chat runs long, we can start the next day, no matter.”

“We’re not scarred ,” Chloe argues weakly, but Lucifer only laughs, its empty echo ringing in the looming silence.

“Let Linda show you hers,” he suggests, replacing the depleted decanter back on the glass shelving. “I’m sure you’ll have plenty to chat about.”

“Well, what’s a girls’ night without gossip, right?” Chloe tries for levity, but neither of them can gather the energy for a smile. He walks with her to the lift, keeping a healthy distance between them until they step into the carriage so he can operate the lock.

“Good night, Detective,” he dismisses her quietly as he steps back into the flat. “Enjoy your evening.”

The doors slide shut as she murmurs, “You too.”

She tries not to remember the carefully blank expression in his dark eyes as the elevator jolts into motion.

*

When Lucifer wakes in the darkness, panting, it’s to the now-familiar sensation of a small hand soothingly stroking his cheek and uttering calming nonsense. 

“You are the actual Devil. I mean... Every story of good and bad from throughout history, throughout time, says that you are the embodiment of evil.” 

The Detective’s tremulous words echo in his mind, where they blend with her holding an axe to his chest and pressing viciously until she’d cleaved his heart from his ribs and set it afire before his anguished eyes. 

“You offer this to me? Why would I want something so dark and tarnished? So damaged? Is this what you think I deserve?”

“Da?” He blinks in the darkness, and Rory’s little face comes into focus, eyes wide with concern. “S’otay, Da-ddee, s’otay.”

“Yes,” he croaks, his hand trembling as he wipes sweat from his brow and scrapes his palm over his face. “Yes, Rory, I’m okay, thank you for waking me.”

“Mommee go?” Rory asks sadly. “Why she go? No bad dweam when Mommee here.”

He sighs as he sits up, closing his eyes and trying not to feel how sticky with sweat he is. “I… don’t know how to explain so you can understand, child. I know that we seem very much like your parents…” Apparently we are your parents, in a far luckier timeline . “But I can assure you, we are not. You must think very hard about how you arrived here, Rory, so we can figure out how to get you back to your Mum and Dad. They must be terribly worried.”

Her brow wrinkles as she tries to consider his words. He stands and makes his way to the bathroom, turning briefly when Rory makes an inquiring noise.

“I’m only going to have a quick wash, Rory, I’m all sweaty from the… from the dream.”

The cool water clears the last vestiges of the nightmare from his mind as it cleanses the sweat from his skin… even if it can’t erase the haunting memory of it. He gazes into his own eyes in the mirror for a long moment with the washcloth pressed to the bottom half of his face, only realizing his breathing is too rapid and shallow when the washcloth becomes uncomfortably warm against his skin. He refreshes it with cool water and does another once-over before running his damp fingers through his untamed curls and turning away. Rory is still sitting on his bed when he returns, looking at him thoughtfully with her little fingers twisting together in front of her in an anxious gesture that reminds him so much of the Detective that his breath hitches in his chest.

 “Did you have a bad dream, too?” He asks gently, but the girl shakes her head. “Bed still too big, then?”

“Not my bed,” she says quietly, her brows lowered. “No Mommee. Where Twix?”

“Beatrice is… with her father. Or so the Detective says.” Lucifer tilts his head curiously as he watches the little girl think . Her expression is so like her mother’s…

“Twix in Heaven??” Rory’s eyes widen and start to shine with tears, much to Lucifer’s horror.

“What?” He gasps, aghast, “No, of course not! Why would you think… She’s just at Daniel’s apartment, or… whatever hovel he lives in.” Realization sets in. “Oh. Are you… is your , uh, Twix… is her father no longer among the living, then?”

Rory sniffles and nods, rubbing the back of her hand over her nose. Lucifer hurriedly fumbles for a tissue and thrusts it at the little girl. Lucifer considers this new bit of information.

Daniel doesn’t appear to be in ill-health, but he does have a dangerous job. If Rory’s Mum and Dad are a crime-solving duo, then it would make sense that Daniel would have been in her time (world, whatever) as well. Perhaps something happened. He and Daniel didn’t part on good terms, but he wouldn’t wish the Urchin to be parted from her father before it became inevitable. He’ll have to find a way to keep watch… just in case.

“The Urchin is fine, Rory,” he assures the girl, whose cheeks are red now from rubbing with the swiftly disintegrating tissue. “Look, I… have a photo from just a few days ago that she sent me…”

Apparently, the Detective hadn’t thought to block his contact information on her Offspring’s phone. Or perhaps she had and the clever little minx had skirted around it and reversed it. He opens their message history and shows Rory a photograph Trixie had sent him of herself in some cheap plastic headband with devil horns that she’d found at a novelty shop while she and Daniel had been out. 

Rory gazes at the photo for a long moment, then back up at Lucifer before transferring her eyes back to the phone. She reaches out to touch the screen, and Lucifer winces but doesn’t move the device away from her damp fingers. The image zooms in when she touches it, and Rory clumsily swipes it until it shows an enlargement of Trixie’s beaming face.

“See?” Lucifer says quietly, as Rory leans into his side. “She’s okay.”

“Wong,” Rory pouts, waving the phone away. “Wong! Diff’rent!”

“Different, hm?” He muses, wondering what that means. Three and a half years. I wonder. He fiddles with his phone for a moment and downloads a new app. After playing with some of the settings, he shows Rory another image. “How does she look here?”

Rory doesn’t want to look, pointedly directing her gaze away, but still leaning into his side, craving the comfort of his warmth. He patiently holds the phone in front of them until she finally turns her head to look. Her eyes widen and she smiles. “Twix!”

“Well, every little bit of information helps, I suppose,” he murmurs to himself, then, a bit louder. “According to this, Beatrice will look like this about five years from now.”

Rory’s face screws up in thought, but more tears don’t seem to be on the horizon. Lucifer continues carefully, mostly ordering his own thoughts. “So, you’ve certainly traveled in time, at the very least… It seems your pretty, swirly lights managed to take you on a little trip, Rory. You were at Linda’s before you arrived here, and your Mum and Dad… they were working…” He pulls in a contemplative breath. “And you missed me. Your Dad, I mean.”

“I missed you a wot,” Rory corrects indignantly, fisting her little hand over her heart. “Hurt, here.”

A sad smile twists his mouth, and his left arm sneaks around the girl’s shoulders and pulls her tighter without him actually making the decision to do so. She snuggles against him, her little fingers clutching the robe he’d thrown on when he’d washed the film of nightmare sweat from his skin. “So you missed your Dad so much your heart hurt, and you wound up here. Perhaps we don’t need the Detective to get information from you after all, Imp. After all, I know a desire when I hear it.”

Rory presses her head against his ribcage and yawns widely. “Seepy.”

“Yes, you’ll need your sleep,” he flexes his shoulders with a small sigh, already anticipating her next request. “Come on then, time for bed.”

Rory sighs happily as his wings unfurl, curling against him with her head tucked beneath his chin. Tiny puffs of air brush against his collar bones as she settles in, too tired even to unfurl her own wings this time. He thinks she’s asleep before his right wing covers them both, and he huffs a small laugh. 

Rory drops into an easy sleep, but his own mind keeps spinning. Amenadiel may have a point, perhaps half-angels do have powers. She missed her Dad, desired to see him so badly that… what? She manifested a way to travel to him? Or at least, a version of him? How did that work? Is it a world-traveling power? A time-traveling power? He snorts softly to himself.

It would have to be world-traveling. His current situation… there is no promise for a future child with the Detective here. But somehow she’d jumped here . Whatever it is, it’s clearly desire-based, so it would make sense that it could manifest in an offspring of his.

So, if the travel stems from her missing her father so badly it deposited her in his bedroom… how do they get Rory to want to go back so badly that she makes it happen? And what if she just winds up in another random world and/or time jump? He finds himself oddly reluctant to send the girl off into the unknown with powers she clearly can’t control. 

A low growl rumbles in his chest when his thoughts come up against a wall of unknowns. Something to discuss with Linda, perhaps. If anyone can get into the mind of a child, surely she can.

Rory’s even breathing soothes him, even as her tiny snores amuse him, and he finds himself unconsciously breathing in her scent. The odd, fruity smell of the bubblegum shampoo she’d picked out blends with the strawberry body wash and a freshness that seems to just be her scent., and he finds himself memorizing it. Soon enough she’ll be gone. I’ll finish the deal with the Detective, and I’ll go back to… to the way everything was before.

But for now, sleep beckons. 

*

“Lucifer! I… what on earth are you doing with a child?”

Linda had made room for him at ten o’clock that morning, and he’d made sure to allow for plenty of time to get Rory up, bathed, dressed in something presentable (that still takes far more time than he likes, due to her penchant for zooming around his flat stark naked at every opportunity), and fed in time to get to the appointment. 

“Tee Winda!” Rory cries happily, and Linda glances at the girl in puzzlement. Rory takes in her expression, then glances back at her father uncertainly. 

“It’s okay, Rory, remember what we talked about?” She nods hesitantly, clinging to him a little more tightly. Lucifer looks over the dark head to his therapist. “Doctor Linda Martin, this is Aurora, er… Morningstar. She goes by Rory, and she is apparently the daughter of… an alternate me. And, um, the Detective.”

Rory waves shyly from her position plastered against Lucifer’s shoulder as Linda gapes at the pair of them. 

“You’re gonna have to run that by me again. Slower.” The therapist blinks at him from behind her black-rimmed glasses and slowly sinks into her chair, flipping her pen between suddenly restless fingers. 

“Rory showed up a couple of days ago, in my locked penthouse, while I was… asleep.” Passed out may be a more accurate term, but the good Doctor doesn’t need to know that. “We’ve managed to learn a little about her over the past couple days, but we have yet to figure out how to get her back to where– or when– she came from.”

“And you’ve just… accepted that this is your daughter?” Linda asks incredulously, “Just like that?”

“Gah, it’s like I’m speaking Babylonian,” he grumbles to himself. “Do try to keep up, Doctor, Rory is not my daughter, she is the daughter of an alternate me. Somewhere or somewhen that another Lucifer and his Detective haven’t… haven’t had the problems that we’ve had here. Still working out the details of that, I’m afraid. But she’s managed to provide some fairly convincing proof.”

“What kind of proof can a toddler provide?”

“Rory,” Lucifer says softly, gaining the girl’s attention from curiously examining everything in the room. She looks to him and he grins mischievously. “Wings?”

“Weeeens!” Rory exclaims happily, spreading her arms and shrugging her shoulders to let her downy wings unfurl. Linda gasps as her hand cups protectively over her still-flat stomach. Rory’s wings flutter excitedly, and tiny bits of pink down billow around the room on the churned air. Lucifer notes the subtle appearance of a few quills among the down and grimaces inwardly. No wonder the child had been complaining of her wings being itchy. She’s getting some pinfeathers.  

“Well done, Rory!” He smiles at her relieved expression from allowing her wings freedom, and makes a mental note to let her keep them out at home more frequently. “Why don’t you sit over here, and preen them a little bit while Linda and I have a chat, hm?”

“Otay, Da,” she says amiably, flopping down cross-legged onto the floor and folding a wing around her, dark head bowed as she slowly cards her fingers through the soft down with quiet giggles. 

“Any remaining doubts, Doctor?” Lucifer asks breezily. “She also calls the Detective ‘mum’, Miss Lopez and you her aunts, Amenadiel her ‘Unca Meni’, and recognized a visitor to my penthouse that I hadn’t seen in thousands of years ‘til then. I think those are far too many examples to be coincidental.”

“Wow,” Linda breathes quietly, her gaze distant. “Does this… I mean… will I finally reach a point where this stuff just doesn’t even make a ripple? Is there a saturation point or something where I just start accepting that anything is possible?”

“There are plenty of impossible things,” Lucifer scoffs. “Birkenstocks will never be fashionable. Hell will never be pleasant. Amenadiel will never not have a stick up his–”

“Okay,” Linda interrupts, glancing at the girl quickly. “Nevermind. I…” She visibly shakes herself. “Let’s get back on track, shall we? I… haven’t seen you in weeks, Lucifer. I was worried about you. Let’s talk about how you’ve been.”

“Must we?” He grimaces, fidgeting with his cufflinks as Linda levels her calm gaze at him and waits him out. He lasts nearly two minutes in silence before releasing a gusty sigh. “Fine. I’ve… been better.”

“Putting off the conversation isn’t going to make it any easier, Lucifer,” she chides lightly. “What happened a few weeks ago? Last I heard, you were concerned about Chloe’s apparent acceptance of your Devilish side.”

“Oh, Doctor,” he groans, leaning forward to pour himself a glass of water, “I don’t think we have enough time for this today, and…” he shoots a look toward the child, still happily preening her fluffy wings, “I don’t want to upset her. If she were to understand…”

Linda shoots him a sharp look, tilting her head as she tries to read between the lines. Clearly something had happened, something bad , or Lucifer wouldn’t have been avoiding sessions and her multiple calls to check up on him. “Was there a… problem with her… acceptance?”

“Understatement,” Lucifer mutters into his glass, his eyes dark with anguish. “It’s a long story involving a rogue priest, a potential poison, and a terrible betrayal. Suffice it to say that she is utterly terrified, and we’ve not been in contact until this little hiccup threw me back in her path when I went to Miss Lopez for advice on how to keep the child alive until we could figure out how to return her to her rightful place.”

“So Ch– she doesn’t quite accept you after all, but now she knows about, um, her ?” Linda asks, trying to avoid names so she doesn’t attract Rory’s attention. 

“In a nutshell, yes,” Lucifer nods sharply. “I’m under obligation to keep the little gremlin safe, and… if… if she represents a threat to me, then surely she could be a threat to… to my offspring as well? But it’s all so confusing.”

He runs his fingers through his hair, loosening the hold his styling gel has on it and causing a small curl to spring free over his forehead. “She says she wants to help, but I’m wary of them being alone together.”

Linda takes a moment to consider what little he’s told her. A priest? Poison? Betrayal… None of that adds up to anything good. Would Chloe harm Lucifer? Would Chloe harm a child? Even the Devil’s child? She doesn’t think so, but then, she hasn’t spoken to Chloe since… before everything blew up. First she was gone for a month, then there was a whirlwind week or two where Lucifer was in a tizzy about her being back, and then radio silence. From both of them. 

Then suddenly Lucifer had called, and Chloe had texted on the same day. And now this… fascinating addition. Interesting.  

“What are you afraid might happen?” She probes carefully, “Are you all right?”

“Physically, I’m fine,” He waves off her concern, but won’t meet her eye. His face is drawn, and she’s not sure she’s seen him look this exhausted since the time he'd decided to put off sleeping a few months ago. “But… I find I am all out of trust, Doctor.”

“You’re out of trust.” She sits back abruptly, surprised. She hadn’t thought anything could shake the trust he had placed in Chloe. “I think it would help if you could tell me at least some of what happened, Lucifer.”

He pulls in a hissed breath between clenched teeth, fiddling with the glass in his hand. She lets him gather his thoughts, noticing the tension drawing his shoulders in as though preparing for a physical attack. “The– she – led me to believe she had managed to accept what she had seen. My face. My… other side. All of it. She… asked me out. For a date , Doctor! We were… I thought maybe… but I was wrong.” He empties his glass, his eyes focused on nothing as he swallows hard. His voice is roughened as he continues, barking a coarse laugh. “The priest came to me, to warn me , he said. I told you about that, remember? You said to… to feel her out, to let her tell me what… She had a vial in her purse. The priest said it was probably poison. I found it, offered to drink it, but she stopped me. Quite vehement about me not drinking it, she was. But the priest was setting up a round of murders to… to bait me into showing my other face, and the Detective… she was working with him, to… to send me back to Hell.” He chokes off, unable to continue. 

“Oh, Lucifer,” Linda breathes, her heart squeezing in her chest. “Are you sure?”

“She admitted it, Doctor,” he sputters thickly, his expression carefully blank. “Said she’d changed her mind later, but… I can’t… she lied to me, and I never once suspected! How can I… how can I trust what she says now?”

She feels a cold chill run down her spine. She’d wondered, when she’d found out Chloe was back, if she should reach out, offer her a friendly ear. But she hadn’t wanted to push, hadn’t wanted to frighten her further, or send her running again. Now she’s sorry she hadn’t. But she’s reaching out now, she soothes herself with that thought. Surely that counts for something?

“You said you crossed paths again, though? Had you seen her, since… since all that happened?”

“No,” he huffs a humorless laugh. “I locked myself in the penthouse and tried my best to lose myself and as much time as possible. Made it several weeks before this little gremlin showed up and shocked me into sobriety.” 

Rory’s eyes lift at the use of the affectation, and her brow wrinkles in concern at something she sees in her father’s countenance. She stands and crosses the room, resting a tiny palm on his stubbled cheek, stroking softly. “Otay, Da?”

“Yes, darling, I’m all right,” his smile is weak, but real. Rory shoots a suspicious glance at Linda and pulls herself up on Lucifer’s lap, her left wing wrapping supportively around his back as far as it can reach. Linda watches in surprise as Lucifer’s right arm moves around the girl’s waist, snugging her in close without hesitation. “Just… chatting with the good Doctor, that’s all.”

“Bad dweams,” Rory says clearly, looking at Linda with narrowed eyes before glancing back up at her dad. “You tell. She hep.”

“My dreams are nothing to worry about,” he assures the girl, distracted, but Linda pounces on the opening.

“You’ve been having more nightmares?”

“Mostly just memories, Doctor, hardly anything that hasn’t already been said or lived,” he groans, and Rory pats the lapel of his jacket reassuringly. “Rory’s managed to wake me from a few of them since she’s been here. They seem to worry her.”

“Lucifer, what–”

“But that brings me to my next subject, Doctor,” he interjects smoothly, effectively talking over her. “I need you to tell me how to make her want to go back to where she belongs, because Amenadiel tells me the Silver City is now aware of her Celestial presence, and they want to make her into some sort of angelic science experiment.”

“They… what?” The hand is back over her abdomen, pressing firmly. Lucifer belatedly recalls that she’s carrying his brother’s spawn. 

“Right,” Lucifer says slowly. “Probably shouldn’t have mentioned that, I suppose, but we’re working on putting them off, Doctor. I’m sure by the time your little parasite is revealed, Amenadiel will have it all squared away. But back to my original question,” he plows on hurriedly, “how do I make this little imp want to return to her parents? Clearly they’ve already managed something to keep her safe in their time.”

“You’re asking me to tell you how to… what now?”

“Rory told us that she was at your home while her parents were working, and she missed me until her heart hurt. Then shiny lights came and swirled, and then she was in my penthouse. So… I thought perhaps if a half-angel could have a… a power, like mine, or Amenadiel’s, perhaps it might be related to mine somehow, so her mysterious transport into my penthouse was driven by her desire to see her father? And she just got… I don’t know, blown off-course?”

“You think her… angelic gift is to be able to travel wherever her desire takes her. Even through time?” Linda rephrases, trying to wrap her mind around this new possibility, part of her mind wandering off to indulge thoughts on what her own child might be capable of, based on Amenadiel’s talents. And oh God, wings. She finds herself staring at the little girl’s wings, still protectively wrapped around her father. 

“Time, perhaps,” Lucifer acknowledges, watching her carefully as he notes her quickened breathing. “But there’s also a strong possibility of world-hopping, since I can’t imagine the Detective and I repairing our relationship at this point, certainly not to the level of happily having a child together.”

“And you think the… the other yous are happy?”

“Based on Rory’s reaction when the Detective and I had a disagreement yesterday, yes, I would venture to say they seem to be. She was… upset. And confused that the Detective wasn’t staying at the penthouse, which she knows as home.”

“Hm,” Linda considers, her pen tapping against the notebook she has yet to open this session, too busy reeling from revelation after revelation. “And you think Rory missing you so fiercely is what brought her to the penthouse?”

“It’s the only guess I’ve got thus far,” Lucifer shrugs. Rory looks up at him and pats his chest again. “I’ve yet to speak with Amenadiel about it, though. He wants to consult another one of our sisters. Because that worked so well when he went to speak to Raphael…”

“One of your sisters might know something?” Linda prompts curiously. 

“Zaphkiel,” Lucifer snorts. “She is a bit of a know-it-all, I’ll give her that. ‘Angel of Knowledge’ and all.”

“But you’re reluctant to involve another sibling, now that you know what some of them want to do with Rory?”

“You can’t tell me you’re eager to introduce your incubating larva to my family, Doctor,” Lucifer asks incredulously, and Linda’s hand tightens again over her belly. “I thought not. Can you help me convince her , then?” He nods significantly at the child wrapped happily around him. 

“Does she even understand what’s happened?” Linda glances down at the bright pair of eyes regarding her, and she sees both the resemblance to her father, and the seething intelligence behind them. “Does she know how she triggered the travel? If that’s even what happened?”

“If you can get better answers from her, Doctor, I would be quite literally eternally grateful,” he gestures with an open palm to the child, who rests her hand in his without hesitation. “It seems she’s as in the dark about her ‘shiny light’ as we are, though.”

“Rory?” Linda says gently, and the dark eyes turn curiously to her. “You were at my house before?”

“Mmhm, pway wif Chawwie,” she nods. “Peeno was wong , sound bad. Sad. Miss home. Da.” She presses her cheek to Lucifer’s chest, and Linda notes that his arm tightens reassuringly around her.

“As best we can tell, Charlie might be your spawn’s name,” Lucifer offers tensely. “Rory recognizes the Detective’s offspring as her sister… if I age the photo by about 5 years forward.”

“Wow,” Linda breathes again, and Lucifer’s expression softens. “This is… I’m never going to take normal for granted. Ever.”

“Regretting taking on the Devil as a client now, aren’t you Doctor?” Lucifer asks lightly, but his eyes hold the burden of guilt in them. 

“Nope,” Linda replies easily. “I wouldn’t trade you for anything, Lucifer. Having you in my life has brought me so much more , that I can’t even imagine it without you anymore.”

His jaw drops a little, a small sound stuck in his throat and she smiles at him briefly until a soft chime sounds from her desk, a notification that their time is drawing to a close. 

“Bollocks,” he whispers, and Rory giggles. 

“Let me think about this, Lucifer, and see if I can come up with any ideas. Pediatric therapy isn’t my forte, but let me reach out to some contacts and see if they have suggestions. Okay?”

“It’s worth exploring the option,” Lucifer sighs. “Thank you for fitting me in today, Doctor, I… I know I’m a bit of a mess.”

“Don’t avoid sessions again,” she chastises firmly, and he ducks his head an acknowledgement. “You know that you need them most when you want to avoid them.”

“I wouldn’t need to avoid them if you didn’t insist on prodding all the painful bits!” He protests, shifting Rory gently off his lap and standing, straightening his jacket and cuffs. “Rory, wings away, darling, we’ve got to be going.”

Linda watches wonderingly as the toddler shrugs her shoulders, obediently folding her magenta wings away into nothingness. That never gets old.  

“I’ll see you at your usual appointment time in a few days, Lucifer,” Linda reminds him steadily, her hazel eyes unflinchingly meeting his. “If you miss it, I’ll come to you, and I’ll make Maze make Patrick let me up.”

“Very well,” he sighs, nodding. “‘Til next time, then, Doctor. Rory?” 

He gestures toward the door and the little girl smiles and waves at Linda, who gives her a grin and returns a wiggle of her fingers. Rory pauses at the door and holds up her hand. Lucifer looks down at her for a moment and sighs again before offering his own. The little girl takes it and the long, dexterous fingers of the Devil carefully wrap around the tiny hand of his daughter as they exit the office.

“Wow,” Linda breathes, wholly to herself this time. 

I have so much to talk about with Chloe.

Chapter Text

“Chloe, are you sure you’re okay?” A small hand rests on her shoulder, wrenching her out of her introspective trance and she nearly throws herself off of her chair in her ungainly reaction. “Whoa, sorry! Sorry!”

Ella throws up her hands in a warding motion, protecting herself from Chloe’s flailing arms as she backs away and gives her friend some space. “Jeez Louise, girl, wound a little tight, are we? You’ve been out of it all day.”

“Sorry, Ella,” she struggles to calm her breathing, placing a shaking hand over her racing heart as though to keep it from bursting from her chest. “I was just… stuck in my own thoughts, I guess, I didn’t even hear you beside me.”

“What were you thinking about so hard that you got that lost?” Ella narrows her eyes speculatively. “You’re not still on about Lucifer being a danger to little Rory, are you?”

Chloe gapes at her friend, unable to frame a reply as Ella continues defensively, “Because he’s been sending me photos all day, and let me just tell you, method actor or no, that dude would be an amazing dad. That kid looks ridiculously happy in every picture he’s sent, and you should see how he’s –”

“Ella,” Chloe tries, but the smaller woman only speaks faster.

“Been taking care of her for the last couple of days, and they made cake together, and then he told me she–”

“Ella,” she tries again, to no avail.

“-really likes music, too, and she fell asleep in his lap while he was playing the piano, and–”

“Ella!” Chloe finally shouts, causing heads to turn all around, and Ella to lapse into stuttering silence. “I’m not worried about Lucifer caring for Rory.” He’s worried about her being safe around me, instead, and I don’t like that I gave him a good reason for that suspicion.  

“Oh,” Ella exhales, cheeks flushing pink. “Sorry, you were just… you were so weird about it the other day, and you’ve been a little out of it since then, and… I don’t like it when my friends fight , okay? Especially when nobody will tell me what’s going on!”

“I know,” Chloe admits, when Ella quiets, sniffling a little. “It’s been really tense between us for a while now, but… I’ve gotten him to agree to come back to work, at least for a while, so… that’s something right?” She smiles, as Ella’s dark eyes light with hope. “Once he comes back to work, he’ll remember how great we all are together, and… and he won’t want to leave. We’ll make sure he knows how much we want him here, won’t we?”

And how well did ‘Quintessential Deckerstar’ work when he was trying to remind you how great you were together, Decker? Didn’t it just annoy the Hell out of you? As I recall, you told him that it hurt too much. But of course, you’re always right, so I’m sure it’ll go completely differently this time.

“You bet your brown boots we will!” Ella cheers excitedly. “When is he coming back?”

“Oh,” Chloe deflates a little, her own inner thoughts stinging viciously. “He said he couldn’t come back until they figure out where Rory belongs, but if he can find some reliable, protective child care then maybe we might get him back sooner. I told him I’d call him when I get assigned a new case.” 

Don’t want to waste any of my precious case time with him on ones I’ve already started

“Man, it’s gonna be awesome having Lucifer back again!” Ella sighs happily, and Chloe can’t help but smile. “I’ve missed him.”

“Me too,” Chloe murmurs, grabbing her water bottle and taking a deep drink. “I’ve, uh, gotta head out soon. Did you happen to get the ballistics report for the Weisenfeld case?”

“Backlog,” Ella deadpans, and Chloe groans. “I know, dude, it sucks. I got Tony to bump you up a little, but he can only do so much.”

“Thanks Ella,” Chloe smiles at her friend. “LA would have so many more murderers roaming the streets if we didn’t have you on our side, you know that?”

“Awww, I do what I can,” Ella grins modestly, tossing her ponytail as Dan strides up to Chloe’s desk with a small stack of files. “Hey, Dan, how’s it going?”

He grimaces and holds up the files. “Paperwork for the Poynter case is a friggin’ nightmare.” Chloe winces in sympathy, and Ella nearly flinches. 

“Bernie was the CSI tech on that one, wasn’t he?” Ella asks tentatively. Bernie of the unfortunate surname Botchky was their newest hire, the ink from his forensics diploma barely dry. “Sorry buddy, he’s learning really fast though!”

“He seems really nice,” Dan allows with only a slight roll of his eyes. “But he’s really gotta get a handle on his reports. The Lieutenant chewed my ass for a half an hour earlier because the wrong results were logged on the report I turned in with the Fletcher case.”

Chloe manages not to roll her own eyes. If Dan had bothered to double-check the reports before slapping them into the Lieutenant’s inbox, he wouldn’t have had that issue, but shortcuts had always been Dan’s MO… along with blaming others when those shortcuts got him stuck in the weeds.

“I’ll talk with him,” Ella offers easily, “Maybe I can give him some pointers on organizing stuff. My binder system–”

“That would be amazing, Ella, thanks,” Dan breathes gratefully. He turns to his ex-wife as Ella bounces back toward her lab. “Chlo’, you got a minute to talk?”

“Sure,” she glances at the files curiously, wondering if he needed a sounding block, or just some help going over financials. 

“It’s, uh… it’s about Trix.” He runs a nervous hand through his sandy hair, the lines around his grey eyes deepening a little as her expression falls.

“Oh,” her fingers twine together unconsciously, and she nods, swallowing hard. “Yeah, sure. Uh, conference room?”

“Yeah, great,” He moves off toward the nearest one, Chloe trailing along anxiously and wondering what this conversation will bring. She’d been checking in with Trixie daily, but the conversations had been stilted, Trixie obviously still unhappy with her mother’s evasive answers to the questions she’d been asking. 

“Why won’t you tell me what’s wrong? I’m not a little kid anymore!”

“You’re not okay! Stop lying to me!”

“Maze told me to stop texting her, because you told her she couldn’t talk to me anymore, and Lucifer barely texts me back anymore either. They’re my friends, they’re our friends. Why are you making them stay away?”

Dan is already seated at the table by the time Chloe shuffles through the door, closing it gently behind her. Dan scatters a couple of the files in front of them, explaining at her puzzled look, “In case anybody walks in, we’re going over the paperwork discrepancies on the Poynter case, okay?”

“Fine,” Chloe blusters. “Just… say what you need to say, Dan.”

“Look, Chlo’, Trix has been with me for a couple of weeks now, and you know I’m happy to keep her. Anytime,” he raises his eyebrows and tilts his head in her direction until she nods her acknowledgement. “But… something’s up. She’s not happy, and she won’t talk to me about it. And it seems worse when you call to check in with her. Did… something happen while you guys were out of town? Or before?”

“Dan–” she sighs, but he lifts a hand in a request for silence. 

“Chloe, if something happened to you, I need to know, okay? If you don’t want to give me details, fine, but if it’s affecting Trixie, if it’s affecting Trixie because it’s affecting you, then I need to know. Is it Pierce?” His eyes are hard as flint as he practically spits the name. Chloe suppresses her flinch, because she’s heard the name said in just that tone before, in an interrogation room, with a very disheveled Lucifer. 

“It’s not Pierce, Dan,” she shakes her head, working to keep the exasperation out of her tone. “I’m just… trying to work some stuff through in my head, and it’s taking me some time.”

“If it’s not Pierce, it’s Lucifer then,” and now he isn’t spitting, but hissing like an enraged snake. “Why else would he have disappeared after that case with the priest? What did he do? Did he hurt you? I swear to God, if he so much as–”

“Lucifer would never hurt me, Dan,” The absolute certainty in Chloe’s cold tone practically shuts Dan down mid-word, her own icy blue eyes meeting and striking sparks from his flinty grey. “He would never hurt me. If anything,” she takes a shuddering breath, “I hurt him. Badly. That’s why he left. I… I broke his trust in a big way. And I’m… having trouble, um, maybe remembering who I am because of it.”

Dan stares at her for a moment, his eyes blank with shock before he blinks himself back to their conversation, the anger igniting in them once more. “Chlo’, whatever you did? Whatever it is you’re beating yourself up for? I guarantee you that guy deserves it. And a thousand times more. Hell, a hundred thousand. He’s not a good guy, so don’t let him make you guilt yourself so badly that you upset our daughter over him. He’s not worth that.”

Chloe wonders how many times Lucifer has heard similar things said about him. How many times he’s said, or thought those same things about himself.  

“I’m not worth it.” The soft, sad admission rings in her memory, tinged with salt air and the rush of waves and wind, and her dark-eyed partner in his blue-striped suit standing uncertainly next to her on the sand, listing off reasons why she deserves so much better than anything he could offer her. 

“The other side of me is bad, it’s… monstrous, even… Right now I can’t show it to you, so I’m just going to have to tell you.

Detective. Chloe. I am the Devil.”

“No you’re not,” she’d told him. And she’d meant it. Her partner, the man she’d been steadily falling in love with over and over again for the past three years despite her increasingly desperate efforts not to … he couldn’t possibly be the Devil, because she loved him. “Not to me.”

“I’m not having this conversation with you right now, Dan,” she says exhaustedly. “I can take Trixie back if she’s too much for you right now, I know you’re still grieving Charlotte, and–”

“I said she’s not a problem and I meant it, Chloe, but you need to get your shit together,” Dan says without rancor. “Whatever it is that’s going on in your head, you need to get it worked out, because our little girl is upset by it. You get me?”

“Yeah,” she sighs, rolling her shoulders to ease some of the tension she can feel creeping up her neck to start a stress headache. “I get you, Dan. I’m talking with Linda tonight. I… think she’ll be able to point me in the right direction.”

“Good,” he releases a sigh, and some of the tension flows from his own posture. “I just don’t like seeing the two of you upset, okay?”

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Chloe says absently, picturing Trixie’s face when she’d asked to go stay with Dan after Chloe had repeatedly refused to tell her why she was so distracted lately. “But it’s not Lucifer’s fault, Dan, you’ve got to believe me on that. He’s going to be coming back to work soon, and I don’t want you to antagonize him, okay?”

He starts to bristle, but it’s Chloe’s turn to hold up a silencing hand. “You don’t have to be nice, but if you can’t at least tolerate him, please just avoid him altogether. Just… I just want some peace , and you’re not the only one that lost Charlotte, you know? She was… she was like family to Lucifer, too.”

When she finally meets his gaze, Dan looks stricken, as though he’d forgotten that Charlotte meant anything to anyone other than himself. But Chloe is right. She’d meant something to all of them, to Ella and Linda, to Lucifer and his brother. She’d had an ex-husband, and kids as well. Even Trixie had been affected by Charlotte’s sudden death. Then followed so closely by everything with Pierce, and the sudden uprooting flight to Rome… Chloe swallows again, trying to rid herself of the persistent lump in her throat. She finally croaks, “You’re not the only one that lost Charlotte, Dan. She was our friend, too. You’re not alone in this, okay? Just… try to remember that.”

“I’ll… try,” he chokes, and Chloe rests a soothing palm on his shoulder. She knows he’s not just talking about trying to remember he’s not alone. “I’ll try, Chlo’.”

“Me too, Dan,” she murmurs, steeling herself as they gather the files to return to the bullpen. “I’ll try, too.”

*

Linda arrives at Lux early, anticipating trouble finding a booth. She shouldn’t be surprised to find that Lucifer has set one aside for them, with a small reserved card bearing elegant script, 

Reserved for the Doctor and the Detective

She smiles at his thoughtfulness, sliding into the soft velvet seat of the booth to await Chloe’s arrival as one of the wait staff stops to take her order. She sighs wistfully and orders a virgin Sex on the Beach and a water, having a feeling she’s going to appreciate being forced to keep her wits about her if she’s going to make any progress with Chloe this evening. 

Lucifer has trained his staff to look after his friends well, and her drink arrives almost before she can really take in the people surrounding her. She takes a sip, the tangy peach with the bitterness of the cranberry and sweetness of orange exploding in a perfect meld on her tongue in an icy burst of refreshment, missing only the bite of the absent vodka. She closes her eyes in enjoyment, only to pop them back open again when she hears a familiar voice.

“Linda!” Maze cries happily, black eyes glittering in the strobing lights of the club. “I didn’t know you were coming out tonight! I’ve got someone you’ve gotta meet!”

She turns away for a moment, searching the dance floor before waving down a petite woman with long, thick sable hair currently in the center of the dance floor. She spies Maze right away, as though her eyes had never left her, and starts making her way easily through the throng toward them.

“This is Eve!” Maze shouts over the heavy thrum of the bass beat. “Eve, this is Linda, probably the most amazing adult human on the planet!”

“Hiiii!” Eve gushes excitedly, throwing slim arms around Linda’s shoulders in an exuberant hug. “It’s so nice to meet you! Maze has talked about you a lot! She says you’re friends with Lucifer, too!”

“Oh, um, hello,” Linda pats the woman’s bare back slightly awkwardly as Maze slides into the booth across from her. “It’s, uh, nice to meet you too, Eve.”

“Eve’s new in town!” Maze calls across the table, as Eve seats herself next to the demon. “Lucifer asked me to keep an eye on her, show her the ropes.”

“I see,” Linda says slowly. “Have you been in town long?”

“Only a few days!” Eve shakes her head, eyes wide with excitement. Or possibly drugs. Linda notices her dilated pupils. Probably drugs, then. “I’ve been looking forward to seeing Lucifer again for a long time, and I finally just… did it!”

“Have you known him for a while, then?” she takes another sip of her drink, only to nearly spit it out when the younger woman responds nonchalantly,

“Oh, just since the beginning of time, really.” She giggles, and Maze laughs along with her as Linda gasps, grabbing a napkin just in case she fails to swallow her slushy mouthful. 

“Um… did you say your name is Eve?” Linda asks carefully, hazel eyes flickering back and forth between her demon best friend and the woman leaning casually against her, who nods. Lucifer did mention he’d had a visitor that he hadn’t seen for a long, long time… and Rory had recognized her. “So… you haven’t seen Lucifer in thousands of years, but when you visited him, Rory recognized you?”

“She did!” Eve coos happily, taking the glass of vivid green alcohol one of the wait staff hands her and taking a long drink. “She is the cutest little thing, too, with those adorable little wings! I never thought Lucifer would be caught anywhere near a kid, but–”

“Wait, what?” Maze’s smile had melted away, leaving behind blank confusion. “Who’s Rory?”

“Oops,” Eve mutters into her drink, eyes closing briefly as she winces. 

“You haven’t met her, Maze? Aren’t you living here?” Linda asks, curious.

“Yeah,” the demon grunts brusquely, “But just because Lucifer isn’t pissed at me anymore doesn’t mean he wants me around either. I haven’t seen him since just after Chloe tried to banish him back to Hell after she got back.”

Maze looks like she wants to stab something– or some one. Linda takes a deep drink of her mocktail to avoid any ill-advised commentary on her thoughts about Chloe’s actions.

“Chloe? The woman that used to work with him?” Eve pipes up. “Rory’s mom?”

“No, Chloe’s kid is Trixie,” Maze shakes her head. “Who’s Rory?”

“Umm… maybe I’m confused, then,” Eve keeps her eyes averted and fixed on her drink, a faint flush staining her cheeks. Maze looks to Linda, who changes the subject quickly.

“Maze, why would Lucifer be angry with you?” 

“Because I was working with Pierce to distract Lucifer from Decker so Pierce could hook her,” Maze downs half her drink in a single, long swallow. She gives a self-satisfied smirk, but Linda detects a faint hint of shame behind it. “Winding him up with a little gaslighting and daddy issues was so easy . Perfect payback for him not taking me back to Hell when I asked.”

“Maze,” Linda sighs, shaking her head. “I know you and Lucifer have your issues, but what you did to him was terribly cruel. And what about Chloe? What did she do to earn your ire? I know Amenadiel and I hurt you, but it’s not healthy to–”

“He wouldn’t take me home , Linda!” Maze bursts out, slamming her fist on the table and making Eve jump nervously beside her. “He knew Decker was never going to choose him, and he still refused to take me home because his all-powerful Daddy might hurt his precious Detective! Pushing her toward that asshole Cain was the easiest thing I’ve ever done, and it tormented all three of them! It was delicious, and they all deserved it.”

“Oh yeah?” A new voice joins the fray, and Linda’s heart sinks at the timing as she notices Chloe standing beside the table, arms crossed and furious fire flashing in her eyes. Linda can read enough of her expression to know that she’d heard at least part of Maze’s outburst. “What exactly did I do to you, Maze? What did I do, aside from welcome you into my home and life, with my daughter , and make you my friend?” 

“You were the reason he wouldn’t take me home, Decker!” The demon snarls, standing and jarring the table’s edge into Linda’s ribs. “I was at his side for millennia . I bled, and fought, and lived for him! I followed him here, left my home and everything I knew behind because he asked me to. For what? Just for him to abandon me once he made you his new toy? His little pet? ” The venom pouring from Maze’s lips burns, but not as badly as the tears that form in her black eyes. “He never even thought twice about me once you entered the mix, nothing else mattered if you were on the other side of the equation. Not his mother, not his brother, not me , nothing! And you were completely oblivious, it was delicious to watch him turn himself inside out trying to keep you safe… but it was even better watching all that misplaced hope drain from him as he was losing you to that lying immortal asshole, Cain.” 

Linda watches as Chloe pales, the thin line of her mouth twisting as though she’s tasted something bitter. But Maze isn’t done.

“And then! When you finally realized he hadn’t been delusional or lying to you for years, when he finally scraped up the guts to face you in all his Infernal Glory, you ran! He sacrificed and fought and despaired so much over what you would think of him, trying to find some way he could fit himself into your tiny, insignificant, human life … and when faced with reality you turned tail and disappeared.” Maze’s grin is cruel, feral, her black eyes glittering in the strobing lights of the club as she picks over Chloe’s armor, finding every weak spot she can and gouging deep. “You left , and he wouldn’t even let me hunt you down to make sure you were safe when he was so worried he was practically frothing at the mouth.”

The demon barks a laugh, dark and malicious. “And then you came back with a priest in tow. I gotta say… when you go all out, you really go. I wouldn’t have suspected you capable of duping the Devil, but you did– and he didn’t even suspect anything. Do you know how hard it is to get anything past him, Decker? But then, I guess you always did get a free pass with him.”

“Yeah?” Chloe challenges, taking a step closer to the table and lifting her chin. “Is that why you sent Trixie to school with pot brownies for her teacher? Is that why you called her a stupid little brat? Huh? To get back at me because Lucifer wouldn’t take you home? Because you were having a tantrum?”

“C’mon, Eve,” the flat-eyed demon nudges the woman beside her, who has been staring blankly at Chloe during Mazikeen’s diatribe. She flicks the table placard, knocking it over. “Looks like the Doctor and the Detective have some bonding to do. And you’re gonna tell me what you know about this Rory chick.”

Eve slides a guilty glance at Linda, but stands smoothly, the demon curling her lip at Chloe and knocking her shoulder with her own as she passes. Linda transfers her horrified gaze from where it had been locked on Maze up to Chloe’s pale face and now trembling lower lip, and forces her blank expression into an approximation of a smile.

“Well,” she says, a bit more breathlessly than she’d hoped. “Not quite the start to girls’ night that I’d hoped for, but… would you like a drink?

“Um,” Chloe’s tongue flickers out over dry lips, and she nods as she sinks onto the deep blue velvet seat. “Yeah. Yeah, I think I would. Uh, thanks for meeting with me, Linda, it… I’ve missed you.”

“Sounds like you’ve had a lot to keep you busy,” Linda replies lightly, taking a slow sip of her rapidly melting mocktail. Condensation slides down the curve of the glass, forming a ring-shaped puddle on the table. Linda’s fingertip idly traces shapes on the tabletop with the liquid. “How have you been?”

“I… think you probably already know the answer to that question,” Chloe chokes on a forced laugh, and Linda reaches across the table and covers her hand with her own. 

“I’m your friend Chloe,” she reminds her, hazel eyes wide and empathetic. “You said you needed to talk, I’m here to listen. Tribe doesn’t judge, right?”

“Maybe,” Chloe allows, glancing in the direction Maze and Eve had disappeared. “I’m… definitely feeling judged right now.”

“Maze has had a… difficult time of things lately,” Linda allows with a heavy sigh. “She shouldn’t have said any of that to you. I won’t apologize for her, but I’m sorry you had to hear it.”

“I probably needed to hear it,” Chloe blinks back tears before turning her hopeful blue eyes on her friend. “There’s so much I don’t know yet, and… you know , right? About… about Lucifer? And Maze?”

“Know what?” Linda asks carefully, unwilling to let Chloe dance around the truth. She knows how tempting it is, to leave it unspoken, unrecognized. Best to bring the truth out of the shadows and into the light where it can be examined fully.

“That they are what they claim to be,” Chloe’s shoulders slump, and she fidgets with a tendril of hair that’s come loose from her ponytail. “That Lucifer is the real, actual Devil, and Maze is one of his demons. From Hell.”

“Yes,” Linda acknowledges simply, squeezing Chloe’s cold hand before pulling away from the contact. “I’ve known for quite some time now, well over a year.”

“And you’re… okay with everything?” Chloe’s eyes search hers, looking for assurance.

“Well, everything is a very broad term,” Linda chuckles a little, as a waitress appears to take Chloe’s order. Linda smiles to herself when Chloe orders two fingers of the whiskey Lucifer usually drinks when he’s down at the club. Once they’re alone again, Linda continues. “I was terrified at first. I completely froze up when he showed me, and locked myself in my office for weeks. I refused to come out, canceled all my appointments, and would not return his calls at all.”

“You heard Maze,” Chloe admits, her voice thick with shame. “I ran. To Rome. For a month. You’re so much stronger than I am, Linda, I… I don’t know–”

“You can’t compare your reaction to mine, Chloe,” Linda says gently. “You can’t. Our situations were nowhere near the same. Not even in the stratosphere.”

“You saw his… his face?” Chloe asks, eyes averted to the tabletop. 

“I did,” Linda nods slowly, seeing it again in her mind’s eye. Now , with some distance, and the added buffer of seeing his wings as well, she can see it for what it is , a manifestation of the monster he fears he is inside. The monster he felt impelled to become when his entire family had rejected him. “But, Chloe… I’m a professional. I am trained to handle psychologically traumatic situations, and I still froze and panicked. I failed my patient when he needed me most, and–”

“I’m a cop , Linda,” Chloe fires back, self-recrimination evident in her fiery tone. “I’m not exactly a stranger to stressful situations either. He was my partner , and I fled like a goddamned rabbit chased by a pack of wolves!”

“I think Lucifer might say that we’re both human ,” Linda offers quietly, barely heard over the deep vibrations of the music still incongruously surrounding them. “And that the important thing is that we came back.”

“You didn’t come back with a priest and a plan to send him back to Hell for all eternity,” Chloe spits bitterly. Linda doesn’t say anything for a moment as Chloe’s drink arrives, gathering her thoughts.

Priest. Poison. Betrayal. Riiiight.

“So… I take it you went to Rome with a specific purpose in mind?” Linda probes carefully. “Not just for a little getaway.”

“I thought…” Chloe swallows hard before taking a sip of her whiskey, keeping the glass in her hand and swirling it idly. “Who would know more about… about the Devil than the Catholic church? And… it’s in Rome, and I needed to get away , so…”

“So you spoke to a priest, and found one that believed you.”

“He found me , actually,” Chloe grimaces. “I… didn’t want to believe what he was telling me. The ‘evidence’ he was showing me was all circumstantial, but there was so much of it, and he was so sure . He was patient, and understanding, and…” 

“And you were afraid, and vulnerable.” The Detective nods miserably, still not meeting her eyes. “Chloe… what happened when you came back?”

“The priest, he told me that… that every time Lucifer visits Earth, horrible things happen. When I argued, he even allowed that maybe it was just something that followed Lucifer, not anything he specifically set out to do, but… that him being here was dangerous for, um, for everyone. Even Lucifer. He said… that if we just sent him back to Hell, to where he belonged , that it would protect everyone, Lucifer included.” Chloe sighs, obviously not wanting to admit even to herself how badly she had wanted to believe the priest. “He gave me a little bottle that I was… I was supposed to slip into Lucifer’s drink. He said it was a sedative . And then he was going to perform some… ceremony, or maybe ritual, I don’t know. That would, um, send him back to Hell. For… for good.”

When I told Lucifer Chloe would find a way to tell him if something was really wrong… this is not what I meant. Linda closes her eyes and pulls in a deep breath, reminding herself not to blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, which is something like, ‘What the fuck, Chloe?’

Filter engaged. Filter engaged. Filter engaged. Finally, she convinces herself that it’s safe to open her mouth.

“You agreed to that before you left Rome, though?” Chloe nods, but doesn’t speak. “What about once you were back?”

“It was… weird,” she replies haltingly, as though trying to work out her own thoughts as she speaks. “He was… I expected him to be different , since I knew what– who– he really was, but,” she huffs a little laugh, “he was just him.” She finally glances up, her watery blue eyes meeting Linda’s hazel gaze. “He seemed… so relieved that I believed him, that I’d come back. Happy, even.”

Linda waits quietly, noticing Chloe’s fingers anxiously fidgeting with the rim of her glass as her eyes drop again to contemplate the light playing off the amber liquid within. Finally, she continues. 

“He was… eager. To show me what he could do to help me, or remind me, I guess, since I technically already knew , just never believed him before. It was… it was like he was trying to prove that he’d always been telling me the truth. That he could be useful.”

“Truth has always been important to Lucifer,” a small smile crosses Linda’s face, the next words slipping out almost unconsciously, “and I think he’s been conditioned to want to be useful to people he wants to remain in his life. I think the only person he lies to is himself, out of self-preservation. ”

“And that’s why I know how very badly I messed up,” Chloe sighs, leaning down until her forehead is pressed against the cool tabletop. “He forgave me for running, and he was happy when I came back… but then I lied.

“I’m here if you want to talk about it, Chloe,” Linda reminds her, when she doesn’t speak again for several minutes. 

“I had to get him alone, so the priest could… um… do the thing,” the words come slowly now, as though they’re pulled out painfully by the roots. “I told him I wanted to go out with him, on a date.” Linda flinches, and Chloe must catch the motion, because she lifts her face from the table with a small sniffle. “I know, Linda…”

“Chloe…” Linda doesn’t want to hurt her friend any more than she’s obviously already hurting herself, and yet… 

“It’s okay, Linda, hit me,” Chloe says morosely, gesturing loosely with the hand not holding her glass. “It can’t be any worse than what I’ve already been telling myself.”

“That’s… Chloe, I’m not sure you could have done more to hurt him if you’d disemboweled him with one of Maze’s knives,” Linda says bluntly. For a moment she’s shocked at herself– it’s not as though she can even blame the alcohol, since her drink doesn’t even have any– but then she recognizes the burning in her gut. As much as she’s trying not to be, she is angry. 

Lucifer has struggled so much trying to come to terms with his emotions after brutally suppressing them for most of his existence, to accept that he has them at all and learn how to act on them appropriately… to have them weaponized against him Something must show on her face, because Chloe flinches. Linda continues, gentling her voice, if not her words. “You could have easily slipped that ‘sedative’ into a cup of coffee just as you were about to head out somewhere at work, then simply carted him to wherever you needed to take him. Nobody would have known, and certainly no one would have suspected you of anything if you’d just mentioned that Lucifer had taken off mid-case without another word. That’s… using his feelings for you against him… Chloe, I’m not trying to be mean, but that is cold.”  

“Yeah,” she barks an empty laugh, “No wonder Maze is proud of me, huh? I really managed to show her what I’m made of.”

“Was the date the priest’s idea?” Linda asks, hoping it was.

“No,” Chloe swallows hard and sets her jaw. “That was all me.”

Damn. Linda bites her lip and nods, trying to keep her personal opinion under wraps. “So… he agreed to go out with you, and then what happened?” Tell me you turned it around, Chloe. Tell me you didn’t–

“I told him I’d meet him here, and we’d have dinner,” Chloe empties her glass, and a moment later their friendly server has another placed on the table. She laughs weakly, “He… made me grilled cheese, and told me he was… glad we didn’t have any more secrets between us, and that he hadn’t ever, and wouldn’t ever lie to me. Then he went to turn on a playlist that he’d made, and I went to empty the vial into his glass–”

“Chloe–” Linda breathes, but not loudly enough to interrupt her friend’s confession.

“But the music was loud and my hands were shaky, and I spilled the glass, broke it even,” she pulls in a trembling breath. “He came running out and I was stammering an apology– I couldn’t even tell you if it was because of what I was trying to do, or for breaking the glass– and he shooed me away so he could clean up the mess, so I wouldn’t get hurt.” Her face tightens as she tries, and fails, to fight back the tears that force their way to the surface. “He cut himself on the glass, Linda, and I accused him of… of hurting himself to manipulate how I felt about him.”

“Oh, Chloe,” Linda’s voice is flat, emotionless but for the slight tremor she can’t quite contain. “That’s not–”

“I know,” she hiccups a little, takes another drink. “He told me. And then I got a call out to a case. I left him there, but he followed me. And um, the perp threw an axe at me. Lucifer… he, uh, jumped in front of it. It didn’t hurt him, but it just barely missed. That’s when I realized. The priest must have known somehow, what happens to him when I’m around. That he can be hurt when he’s near me.”

“Did you tell him?” Chloe’s silence speaks volumes, and Linda sighs again. “The priest did.”

“He told you about that?” 

“A very little,” Linda allows, but doesn’t offer anything more. 

“I told him, the priest, that I wasn’t going to help him anymore, because… because I’d remembered who Lucifer really is. I figured out that I wasn’t afraid of him anymore. Him , him, I mean. Just… everything else was… is…”

“It’s, um, eye-opening,” Linda offers, a small olive branch to try to give Chloe something to cling to as she drifts in the rough seas caused by the storms of her own actions. “Suddenly there is a lot more to existence , and you feel so very small and insignificant.”

“Yes!” Chloe cries roughly, clinging to that explanation. “I… did a terrible job trying to explain that to him, when he confronted me…” 

“How could you do that to me? To me?”

“Because I’m terrified!” She had screamed, and he hadn’t allowed himself to flinch in the face of her fear. “You are the actual Devil. I mean... Every story of good and bad from throughout history, throughout time, says that you are the embodiment of evil.”

It had been easier to claim overall fear than to try to explain that her fear wasn’t that he would harm her, that he would corrupt her. Once she’d gotten past her initial shock and seen him again, her fear had been of that looming otherness, the Great Unknown. But also that, if he was still the man she knew (if rather a lot more than she had known), he would grow bored of her, and leave her crumpled and wasted like a piece of notepaper used to wrap a wad of spent chewing gum. 

That his enormous, limitless existence could never be content with a small life such as hers. Could never truly stay.  

So it hadn’t been a lie, when she’d claimed to be terrified. She was. She still is . But now she’s realized that she can’t quite imagine her life without him in it. Somehow, she needs to convince him to stay. Which is why she’s here, spilling her shameful actions to Linda in the hopes of making her own thoughts finally make sense again.

“The priest was a fanatic,” Chloe says dully, emptying her glass again. She waves off the server offering another refill. “He arranged for two people to be murdered while he was trying to get Lucifer to show his face to them for the Church to have proof of who he is. I arrested him, but… the damage was done, and I did it all myself.”

“I took him to volunteer at a soup kitchen for our rescheduled date, Linda,” she barks a bitter laugh, and Linda winces. Lucifer is a good man, but he’d much rather finance a soup kitchen than spend time serving at one. The fallen archangel had gotten a belly full of servitude in Heaven, and had chosen to avoid it ever since. If he chooses to do something for you, that’s how he shows you’re important to him. “Lucifer called me out for trying to… to change him. The priest had approached him and told him about the plan to send him back to Hell– completely leaving out the fact that it was his plan, not mine.”  

“He found the vial in my purse.” She swipes angrily at the tears still creeping down her cheeks as Linda quietly sips her drink, taking in the confession. “The sedative, or… whatever it was. I don’t know what he did with it, but he made sure he took it from me. He stopped coming in to work, and I… how could I face him again after that, Linda?” she pleads, clasping her hands under her chin. She feels cold tears dangling there and wipes them away again impatiently. “And then he showed up the other day with Rory at the precinct, and… something about her tugged at my heart.”

“Is that what made you decide to open communication with Lucifer again? Meeting Rory?”

“Maybe,” Chloe allows, shrugging a little. Truthfully, he’d been on her mind a lot during their last case. A pilot had been killed, and Dan had been chomping at the bit to prove he could be her new partner, and she’d accused him of being as hot-headed as Lucifer. Their suspect had overheard the name and had cheerfully asked if Chloe was ‘Lucifer’s Detective that he’s always going on about’. Dan had not been pleased, but Chloe had unashamedly cashed in Lucifer’s favor that the man owed to get the information they needed for the case. 

I should probably remember to tell him about that.

She wonders if he’ll be angry at her. She sighs inwardly. Angrier at her.

“I don’t know how to fix this, Linda,” she mutters, as her friend leans closer to hear. “But I want to.

“Are you still afraid of him?” she asks bluntly “If you are…”

“I’m more afraid of losing him than I ever could be afraid of him.” Chloe lifts her eyes, and Linda doesn’t see doubt there, only determination. “I lost sight of that, for too long. I… think I’m seeing clearly now. I think the world has gone right side up again.”

She smiles faintly, remembering her Bones-related revelation from last night. I hope I haven’t missed my chance.

“Can I give you a word of advice?”

“Please,” she doesn’t beg… but it’s a very near thing.

“You can’t lie to him again, Chloe,” the therapist gives her a piercing look, though not an unkind one. “You have to be as transparent as possible, and I know how hard that is when you’re already feeling so raw, but you know him better than almost anyone, and you… you know best how much he’s hurting right now. And how he reacts when he’s hurting.”

“He makes himself scarce, or he makes himself angry and loud until everyone leaves him alone,” Chloe nods thoughtfully. “He made himself scarce first, hiding up in the penthouse alone for weeks. And then when I surprised him, he puffed up like a mama cat protecting her kittens and did his best to chase me off.”

Lucifer had been worried that Chloe might pose a threat to the girl , Linda recalls suddenly, her hand folding surreptitiously over her stomach under the table. She swallows hard, sliding her empty mocktail glass to the outer edge of the table and grabbing her water for a drink. 

“And… what are your thoughts on Rory?” Subtle, Linda. Smooth.

“There’s… something about her. She looks so much like Trixie did at that age. She called me ‘Mommy’, and she’s… familiar. Lucifer told me today that her name is Aurora, and I never told anyone that if I ever had another daughter, that’s what I wanted to name her.”

“So you agree with Lucifer’s theory that she could be the daughter of another you?” Chloe hums noncommittally, and Linda tips her head curiously. “What’s your theory, then?”

“Not a theory, just… a hope? Maybe?” A flickering light in the distance– something to blunder toward in the dark.

“What’s your hope , then?”

“I hope she’s a sign that I haven’t destroyed everything between us,” she confesses quietly, leaving her friend staring at her in surprise. “ I hope that she’s somehow managed to travel back to us from somewhere in our future. She was wearing an outfit that used to be Trixie’s when she arrived, Linda. What are the odds of that, if she came from a… an alternate earth or something?”

“You think Rory’s an indication that you could have a future together with Lucifer,” Linda muses, lifting her chin. Okay, so probably not a danger to Rory or… or other half-angels. Good to know. “Well. I suppose you’ve got your work cut out for you then, hm?”

“I do, and no plans aside from ‘don’t lie’,” Chloe huffs a desolate laugh. Linda spares a pitying smile as she stands, smoothing her skirt down over her hips and reaching for her purse in the booth. Chloe shifts out of the plush seat as well, tugging her bottom lip between her teeth. 

“If you’re going up to the penthouse tonight, you might want to start by warning him that Maze is now aware of Rory,” Linda advises pragmatically. “I had no idea he hadn’t clued her in, but if she was working against him as recently as a few months ago… I can see why he would want to keep that information close to the vest.”

“Yeah, I’ll… open with that.” 

The women part with a light embrace, and Chloe heads to the bar to get Patrick to let her up to the penthouse, grateful that she doesn’t spy Maze or Eve anywhere. She wonders briefly if Maze has a key to the penthouse level while she’s waiting for Patrick to clear the current orders. Finally, he leads her to the silver sliding doors and enters his key and code. 

“Any news on when the boss will come back to the club?” He asks hopefully, and she feels a small pang of guilt that she’d forgotten to ask. 

“He wasn’t quite sure, Patrick, but I’ll make sure he knows you were asking.”

“You’re the best, Detective Decker!” he grins and gives her a friendly pat on the shoulder as he lightly steps out of the carriage just before the doors slip shut.

Chapter Text

Lucifer had taken his time returning to Lux after his appointment with Doctor Martin, because he knew Amenadiel would still be haunting his penthouse, waiting to try to convince him to allow Zaphkiel to be informed of their little nephil-shaped problem. 

Not that I consider Rory a problem, he thinks to himself as he’s unbuckling the safety harness in her child seat. 

Wait. He pauses, oblivious to Rory’s fidgeting. I don’t consider Rory a problem?

He considers that for a moment before he’s jogged back into motion by the girl’s mild fussing to be out

It’s true, and he doesn’t quite understand why. Her appearance, while abrupt and confusing, hasn’t been lamented at all. Certainly, he’s mourned the loss of some clothing, and he absolutely regrets the trip to that blasted box store, but Rory herself… 

How odd.

He’d willingly taken on the role of her keeper and protector, despite being distressingly aware of how sticky and unreasonable children are, and he hasn’t looked back. Granted, his life has never had a great deal of structure, especially these past few weeks where his single-minded goal has been to forget , but… shouldn’t he be feeling as though he’s being tied down? As though he’s missing something? Shouldn’t he feel as though he’s being wasted on baby-sitting a child?

He doesn’t. And that intrigues him enough that he barely notices when Rory’s tiny hand grasps his as they walk slowly to the elevator. He lifts her automatically so she can press the button for the Penthouse, and vaguely waves his hand in the direction of the security pad until it beeps and flickers green. 

He doesn’t feel put-upon, or pent-up or frustrated at suddenly becoming the caretaker to a precocious toddler. Part of it is the fact that she clearly knows him, and trusts him. She’s supremely comfortable in his presence, and something about her soothes him in a way he’s never experienced before. But part of it too, is that he clearly has the same effect on her. She likes being near him, seeks out contact with him, and has primarily only been truly upset when she’s been overwhelmed by the strange inconsistencies between her old life and her new (temporary) circumstances.

Rory hasn’t asked to be let down. In fact, she’s wrapped her arms around his neck and is clinging tightly to him as the carriage rises. “Ready for lunch?” he asks quietly, and she nods against his shoulder. 

The doors glide open and he looks down at the dark head currently drooping against his chest. “Do you want to nap first? Or sit with Amenadiel while I cook?”

“No,” she yawns, rubbing her eyes. “Stay wif you.”

“All right then,” he agrees affably, heading directly for the kitchen. Amenadiel trails after them, marveling at the sight of his brother with a toddler draped over his shoulder, and not a complaint to be heard. “I think perhaps something quick, so how about grilled cheese once more, since we still have some soup I can re-heat, then you can get some rest.”

“Cheese,” Rory concurs as Amenadiel seats himself at the bar. 

“Well then, Gremlin, I’m going to need both arms for this. How about you snuggle with your uncle for a few minutes? You’ll still be right here watching.”

“Otay.”

Lucifer deposits the girl unceremoniously in Amenadiel’s startled arms. She transfers easily to him, obviously trusting of her uncle, which speaks well for Lucifer and Amenadiel’s relationship where she comes from. The bulky angel cradles his ‘niece’, astounded by the solid weight of her, and how tightly she clings to him. 

“Sandwich, brother?” Amenadiel nods silently as Lucifer turns to the refrigerator, pulling out leftover tomato soup, butter and cheese, then removing a loaf of bread from the pantry before retrieving his skillet and heating the stovetop. “Any news on the celestial front?”

“We need to speak to Zaphkiel,” Amenadiel begins, anticipating Lucifer’s groan of dismay as he sets a saucepan on the stove to reheat the soup. “Luci, she’s the only one that might know, aside from Father.”

“And you really think, after your last foray among our siblings, that bringing another one into this is really going to help?” Lucifer gestures vaguely with his spatula as he waits for the buttered bread to toast before adding the cheese to melt. “I don’t know that we have any other options, Luci,” Amenadiel argues, as Rory toys quietly with the string dangling from his hood. “We need answers, and you know Father isn’t going to provide any.”

“Obviously,” Lucifer huffs, placing the slices of bread together and readying two more for toasting while he waits for the sandwich to finish cooking. “But how likely is Zaphkiel to help when I’m the one needing the assistance?”

“We won’t know until we ask.” 

Lucifer growls to himself as he slowly stirs the soup, hating that Amenadiel is right. They’re unlikely to find out anything more without some celestial help, since Rory likely can’t tell them anything more. 

If you really think that, then why did you cut that deal with the Detective?

This time he growls at himself, and ignores Amendiel’s quizzical look as the sound reaches him. He slides Rory’s sandwich from the sizzling pan and sets the next one to cook as he slices the first into small dipping sticks and ladles a bit of soup into a small bowl before placing the platter in front of the empty stool next to Amenadiel. 

“Here you are, Rory. Wash up, then you can eat.”

Rory obediently trots to the bathroom and he’s relieved when he hears the faucet turn on, immediately followed by the little song she hums when she’s washing her hands.

“What we need is to figure out how to trigger her to return to her place of origin,” his eyebrows furrow as he leans on the bar across from his brother. “Do you really think Zaphkiel is going to be able to help with that?”

“The sooner we get her back to her time, the better,” Amenadiel points out reasonably. “Remi is already aware of Rory’s presence. The longer she’s here, the more likely it will be that Remi herself will come sniffing around.”

“Yes, and we both know how gentle she is not,” the Devil grumbles, ruefully fingering the thin scar beneath the point of his chin, somewhat hidden by his stubble. “Let’s say we succeed in returning Rory before our dear sister comes looking. What about your spawn, then? What happens when she senses him?”

“Him?” Amenadiel looks confused. Lucifer explains that the Detective had figured out who the ‘Chawwie’ that Rory had been asking after was, and a brilliant smile spreads across the open face. “A son , Luci!”

“Yes, all right,” Lucifer allows, with a small smile for the proud father-to-be. “But the question remains. What happens when your psychopathic sidekick senses him?

Rory pads back into the room then, and Lucifer helps the girl up onto the stool where she digs into her sandwich slices with enthusiasm, paying the same amount of attention in dunking them as she had the previous evening. Lucifer returns to the stove to finish making the second sandwich while Amenadiel considers their options. 

“Soup, brother?” Amenadiel declines the offer, and a plate appears before him with a perfectly grilled sandwich resting on it. Lucifer glances at the leftover soup with a small grimace and pours the remainder of it into a bowl before preparing his own sandwich. 

No orange melty monstrosity for him , thank you very much. 

He notices Rory’s shoulders flexing uncomfortably as he works. “Are your wings itchy again, Rory?”

“Mmmhm,” she grunts around a gooey mouthful of half-masticated carbohydrates. Lucifer winces a little, and Rory finishes chewing, swallowing before she continues. “Weens itch! Out?”

“Finish your lunch first, I don’t want you to get any soup on your feathers,” the girl’s nose wrinkles, and she nods vehemently. “Then you can bring them out. We’ll see if any of those new pinfeathers need tending yet, all right?”

“T’anks!” she murmurs around another mouthful, closing her mouth again at Lucifer’s chiding glance. She redoubles her focus on her meal, ready to claim her reward of releasing her wings. 

Amenadiel watches the exchange curiously. “Pinfeathers?”

“Mm,” Lucifer makes an assenting sound around his own mouthful of melted Gruyere and toasted bread. He finishes inhaling his sandwich and stirs the melted shreds of cheese he’d added to his bowl of soup before he continues, “She complained the other day of her wings itching, but I only just noticed them during my appointment with the Doctor this morning.”

“She brought out her wings in public?” Amenadiel’s eyebrows lift in concern, but Lucifer waves him off. 

“It’s only Linda, she’s already seen my wings. And my Devil face. Rory’s fuschia fuzz wasn’t going to phase her in the slightest.” He smirks over his shoulder at his brother. “Besides, I daresay she may need to be getting rather used to it, yes?”

“Right,” Amenadiel agrees absently, polishing off his sandwich and brushing crumbs off his drab olive hoodie. Lucifer finishes his own soup at the same moment, and Rory starts on her last sandwich stick. Amenadiel fidgets for a moment before catching Lucifer’s eye. 

“And you’re certain your assessment of Zaphkiel is correct?” Lucifer asks with a sigh, continuing their previous conversation as though there hadn’t been a break in the flow. “What if she learns something about this other timeline that only makes things worse?”

“All she’s going to be able to see is where Rory comes from, and what happened to bring her here,” Amenadiel replies easily. “It can’t be anything too drastically different, if Rory is so comfortable here, now.”

“Drastically different enough that I have a child with the Detective , Amenadiel,” Lucifer reminds him, glancing carefully at said child, who is completely engrossed in soaking her final sandwich slice in tomato soup. “I’d say that’s an opening for quite a lot of differences.”

“What happened with, uh, with her, Luci?” Amenadiel asks, choosing his words more carefully at Lucifer’s intercepting look. “You were so happy, you said she’d accepted you, and then you just–”

“Nothing you need worry yourself over, brother,” Lucifer replies lightly, “I merely… got a little ahead of myself, that’s all. Once we get Rory back to her rightful place, I’ll be working with the Detective a little longer, and then we’ll likely go our separate ways. Perhaps I’ll relocate somewhere in the Eastern hemisphere this time, if I can find a climate that agrees with me as well as Los Angeles.”

“But you love it here,” Amenadiel’s brow wrinkles in confusion. 

“I do, but you know how it is, a rolling stone gathers no moss and all that,” he swoops in and takes Rory’s plate as she drains her soup bowl. “We can’t both of us settle down and live boring lives, you know. Help her down and have her wash her hands again, would you, Amenadiel? Then she can let her wings breathe for a bit and we can check those pinfeathers.”

When he exits the kitchen, Rory is sprawled on the Oriental rug working on her dinosaur puzzle with her wings spread to their fullest extent around her. Amenadiel stands a little distance away, being careful not to accidentally touch them. 

“Were they uncomfortable when you were tending them earlier, Rory?” he asks, standing beside his brother and wincing in sympathy at the porcupine-like quills just visible among the fluffy down. 

“Nuh-uh, jus’ itchy,” the girl shakes her head, making small clicking sounds with her tongue. 

He’s relieved that at least she isn’t sore yet. He knows that tender, pinching feeling just before the shafts are ready to be crumbled away, as though the feathers themselves are fighting to be free of their keratin prison. He kneels carefully beside her before asking, “May I touch?”

“Mmmhm,” she hums easily, lifting her right wing to brush against his outstretched palm. He feels the warmth of the quills, pulsing with blood beneath the light contact. He gently cards his fingertips through the downy growth, feeling her wing relax under his ministrations. Another kind of warmth blooms in his chest at the trust she extends to him as easily as breathing.

“Looks like there’s nothing to be done for them yet, darling, though we’ll give them a proper grooming in a bit,” Lucifer stands, brushing his hands together and wrinkling his nose at the fine pink dusty motes that drift free, grafting themselves onto his heather grey suit. He sighs, wondering briefly if he’s doomed his wardrobe to look as though it’s been stored on a flamingo farm until he relocates. “Outside, perhaps. Just… be careful you don’t knock them against anything, Rory, those new feathers are going to be tender, and if any of them bleed, we may need to pull them out and that hurts .”

“I be carefoo,” she promises, glancing apprehensively over her shoulder. “No hurt.”

“Not if we can help it,” he assures her. “Just be gentle, no hard flapping for now.”

“Otay,” she shrugs, her wings wriggling with the motion, and goes back to her puzzle, tongue held carefully between her teeth in concentration. 

Amenadiel and Lucifer retreat across the room to finish their conversation. 

“We need to know , Luci,” Amenadiel says quietly, though his tone is urgent. Lucifer’s dark eyes rest on the little girl sprawled on his rug, covering it in bits of pink fluff. 

“I will not allow her to be brought to the Silver City, brother, I cannot protect her there.” He doesn’t like it, but Amenadiel is right. They need to get Rory back to safety, and that means away from Remiel’s Search. “Her power works by touch, so if Zaphkiel agrees to help us, she must agree to meet us here on Earth. It doesn’t have to be here , but if not Lux, then I’d prefer somewhere secluded.” 

“That’s a reasonable request,” Amenadiel agrees. “It… would probably be easier if I went to her, to explain in person.”

“Yes…” Lucifer snickers half-heartedly, “Not really a situation where a phone call will suffice, eh?” 

He heaves a resigned sigh and makes a shooing motion in his brother’s direction. “All right, off with you, then. The sooner we get started, the sooner it either all blows up in our faces, or gets resolved. Either way, I suppose it’s a resolution. You’ll let me know what you find out?”

“Of course,” he bows his head and Lucifer walks with him to the balcony, watching contemplatively as he spreads his slate-grey wings and departs. A tiny hand tugs at his cuff, and he looks down to find Rory gazing up, her own wings folded neatly at her shoulders. 

She tries to suppress a yawn and fails, rubbing a sleepy eye with one little fist. “Ready for some rest now?”

“Mmhm,” she hums sleepily, reaching up in the now-familiar request to be lifted. He hesitates a moment, but only so he can be sure not to unduly jostle her tender wings before he scoops her up. 

“Come on then, Imp, let’s get you snugged in your too-big bed with some of your ridiculous cadre of poly-filled friends, hm?” Rory smiles against his neck, snuggling in closer as his hand automatically strokes her back, between her wings. They flutter lightly at the soft touch and he watches the scattering feather fluff, wondering with amusement if his hair is going to look as though he’s lost a fight with a feather boa. He lowers the girl onto the bed slowly, giving her time to arrange her wings how she wants them before patrolling the room to find all three of her plushie toys, which he then dumps unceremoniously over her as she giggles in protest. 

“Da?”

“Hm?”

“You sing?” The request is hesitant, and that odd feeling lights up in his chest again, as though his heart is suddenly equipped with hummingbirds’ wings. Damn, he’d forgotten to ask Linda about that. He seats himself on the edge of the bed, and leans toward the girl, as though he’s about to tell her a grave secret.

“I’ve learned a song just for you ,” he confesses, and her eyes widen and glow with happiness. “Do you want to hear it?”

“Pease?” She says eagerly, reaching out and grabbing his hand. 

“Very well then,” he smiles. “Close your eyes. And be kind, this is my first time singing this song, and you’re likely to be the only one to ever hear me perform it.”

The little girl squeezes her eyes shut tight, as though awaiting a present, and Lucifer softly starts to hum the refrain to the song she had requested two nights ago. Her smile is incandescent as he starts to sing, and she falls asleep long before his voice breaks at the finish.

*

He stares at the sleeping child for a while from his perch on the edge of the bed, wondering about the situation she’d left behind. He wonders if the other Linda has realized she’s gone, and wishes he could reassure her of the child’s safety. Well, relative safety, anyway.

She’s sprawled on her stomach, her wings loosely spread on either side of her, and his hands automatically move to start tending her feathers, tenderly straightening and combing through them with gentle fingers. She flexes her wings lightly, making small contented noises in her sleep as he starts to hum, adding a soft soundtrack to this rare moment of peace.

He lets his thoughts ramble as he takes in the girl’s sleeping features, noting similarities to his own facial structure as well as the Detective’s, blending them perfectly into this tiny creature that’s so easily wormed her way into his life. He wonders how she came to be. Granted, Amenadiel and Linda have apparently managed to procreate, but Amenadiel had been nearly human at that point in time, and he… Well. The Detective does have an effect on him, it’s true, but he doesn’t lose his powers around her, only his invulnerability. 

Is that enough? He shakes his head, irritated with the direction his thoughts have gone. Sternly, he reminds himself that It doesn’t matter. The Detective’s actions made it very clear where she stands in her comfort level with me.

But what about afterward? Another voice inside pipes up, and he scowls because it sounds like Linda. She didn’t run screaming when you nearly launched yourself at her the other night to protect Rory. She apologized for how she’d reacted. For working with the priest. Now she’s asking you to allow her to help you with Rory, and she says she wants to keep working with you. She’s trying to be partners again.

Is she, though? He sighs, because he doesn’t know. His fingers drift through the child’s downy feathers one more time before he smooths his palms over them, surveying his work before he stands and leaves the room, heading for the bar to pour himself a drink to ponder over. The Detective has proven that she can and will lie to him, and he apparently can’t– or doesn’t want to– tell when she is lying. He wants to believe her… but he’s afraid to allow himself to hope for her change of heart. 

And right now, allowing himself to hope might endanger Rory further, if she really is just playing him again to further the priest’s agenda.

But she arrested him, the Linda voice in his mind reminds him, and he snarls softly. 

Because he orchestrated the murder of two humans , and the grisly suicide of a third, not because of the actions he sponsored against me. He paces slowly, circling the room several times before moving out onto the balcony and leaning over the railing, staring down at the city below without truly seeing it. And she lectured me that entire case, trying to change me into something better , something more acceptable. She has no idea how much she’s already changed me… I would never be able to change enough to appease her. To be worthy of her. She’ll never really be able to accept me, and… I don’t want to think about how much of myself I would be willing to give up if she ever could.

She did say she was trying… that she wanted to be able to accept you, Doctor Martin’s calm voice sounds in his inner ear. That has to count for something, doesn’t it? Especially since she knows nothing of the sacrifices you’ve made for her. You haven't told her about the things you’ve needed to do to keep her safe, behind the Celestial scenes. Maybe if you do–

“That’s not the bloody point!” He snarls aloud, startling himself a little. He tilts his head back tiredly, letting the warmth of the sun wash over his face as he stretches the tight muscles of his shoulders and wishes he could let his wings out for a true stretch. He growls a gravelly sigh and opens his eyes, letting the harsh early afternoon sunlight dazzle him for a moment before he blinks it away, the dancing stars in his eyes settling instead in the ripples in his glass of whiskey. “What I’ve done for her doesn’t matter in the slightest against what I am. No one can just get past that.”

I did, his inner Linda reminds him. He huffs a laugh, unwilling to admit that he’s essentially losing an argument with himself.

“It’s different,” he mutters under his breath before retreating into his whiskey. “So bloody different.”

He pulls himself from his sulking eventually and makes his rounds of the flat again, tidying up the few out of place items from Rory’s morning activities. His fingers itch to play the piano, but he doesn’t want to wake the child, so he pulls out his phone instead. He smiles when he finds a few messages from Miss Lopez asking if he’s made any progress on identifying Rory’s parents, and automatically saves a few of the photographs she’s obligingly sent of Rory clinging to him at the precinct.

I suppose Roderick wasn’t entirely wrong. Even in that horrid suit I still look damn good.

He flips to his photo gallery and opens the image Amenadiel had sent him last night, of the three of them at the piano playing together. Chloe is the only one looking at the camera, Rory’s concentration is completely on her finger placement, and his own smile as he looks down at her… it makes his heart flutter in his chest again. They look like a family , and a frown tugs at the corners of his mouth as he realizes that he could have had this. Somewhere, somewhen, there is a Lucifer that has a loving family at his side. He envies him.

Is it even possible to be jealous of oneself?

His other inner voice doesn’t respond to the silent question, and he decides that is an answer he will never seek from Linda. He sends a few photos to Miss Lopez, closes the gallery and flicks the screen into darkness before tucking the phone back into his jacket pocket.

He glances around, trying to decide how to fill the remainder of his day. He gazes longingly at the piano again, but turns back to the bar for a refill before settling on his couch with his remote, ready to start a new episode of Bones

“Luce?” The hesitant voice comes from the stairwell, and he turns, slinging an arm over the back of the sofa with a surprised smile. 

“Eve?” The woman waves shyly, her heels clicking against the marble floor as she makes her way across the room to him. “I wasn’t expecting you. Come in, how is Mazikeen treating you?”

“She said she needed to run an errand, and that I should wait up here with you until she’s back?”

“Demons,” he mutters under his breath, but his expression remains welcoming. It’s not Eve’s fault he’s not in the mood for company, after all, and it’s not as though he can just turn her loose in Los Angeles on her own.

She managed okay for a week or so before she got in touch, though, didn’t she?

He shrugs off that snide thought, and gestures expansively to the seats. “I was just about to kill some time. Rory’s taking a nap and I didn’t want to disturb her with the piano.”

“I really never thought I’d see you taking care of a kid, Luce,” Eve chuckles as she perches next to him on the couch, tucking one leg underneath her so she can face him better. Her knee brushes his thigh, and he has the unprecedented urge to move away from the contact. “What happened to that old carefree Lucifer from the Garden?”

“Quite a lot,” Lucifer smirks. “It’s been a very long time for me since the Garden, Eve, and Hell… Hell is not a place for carelessness, unless one fancies demon steel in one’s tender bits.”

Her smile fades a little, and she reaches up to tuck a loose lock of sable hair back behind her ear. “Was it terrible?”

“Terrible would have been… bearable,” he chuckles darkly, his ring clicking against his glass as his fingers flutter on it. “I vastly prefer my circumstances here.”

“Child and all, huh?” The corner of her lip turns up and he huffs another laugh, this time with some genuine humor. “No ex-partner today?”

“She’s working, she intends to visit later this evening,” he shrugs, fiddling with the television remote in his hand. “She’s agreed to help me try to get more information about Rory so we can try to get her back to where she came from.”

“I thought you said she’s afraid of you?” Eve’s brow furrows as Lucifer nods his agreement. “Why does she keep coming back, then?”

“I’ve spent three years trying and failing to figure out why the Detective does the things she does,” he shakes his head ruefully, glancing at Eve from the corner of his eye. “I don’t think I’ve ever really succeeded. She is… unique.”

You’re unique,” Eve reaches out and places her delicate hand lightly on his elbow. “If she can’t accept that… Luce, that’s her loss.”

“You have no idea what you’re saying,” he waves her off, irritated. “No one can just… accept what I’ve become. You haven’t seen…” he drowns the rest of the sentence with a deep drink.

“Hey,” she says softly, and the familiarity of the tone snaps his eyes up to meet hers. She looks back at him affectionately. “I know you. You’re the one that taught me what it meant to be myself, remember?”

“Well, someone had to,” he scoffs, “Dad knows Adam was fine with you just languishing in his misogynistic shadow.”

Eve wrinkles her nose and toys with the hem of her dress, vivid red today, with pale gold embroidery. “My point is that you’re you , and you’re amazing. You deserve to be accepted for who you are, just like anyone else. If she can’t do that… she can’t be much of a partner.”

He turns to her, his eyes narrowed speculatively. “Why are you really here, Eve? If you wanted to come back to Earth there are so many places you could have gone. Why Los Angeles? Why Lux?”

“The pilot I met was coming here–”

“The truth , if you please,” he snaps. “I’ve quite had my fill of being lied to of late.”

“It is true,” she pouts, relenting a bit when he only lifts an eyebrow. “I was bored in Heaven, and Earth is way more interesting, but… I knew you were here, and I… missed you?” She looks up at him with wide, dark eyes. “You know, I thought we could have fun together, like old times?”

“Eve,” he sighs, closing his eyes briefly against the hope burning in hers. “That was thousands of years ago.”

“We had an amazing time together!” She protests, eager to make sure her argument is heard. “It was the best time of my life. You… I never felt more like myself than when we were together!”

“I’m sorry,” he murmurs as she reaches out again, taking his hand between hers this time and squeezing it. “If you’ve come all this way for me… you’ve made a mistake, darling. I’m… not worth the effort.”

She did this to you, didn’t she?” There’s a layer of ice under the accusation, and her fingers tighten further around his hand, keeping him from pulling away. “She rejected you, and now… you’ve forgotten who you are?”

“I know what I am,” Lucifer scoffs. “And the Detective does now, as well. It’s you that’s in the dark here, Eve, so you shouldn't make assumptions based on old information. You don’t know me anymore, you only knew me as I was.”

“Then show me,” the second woman challenges, chin high and eyes afire. He looks down at her and a sad smile flickers across his lips. She had been so meek at first, way back then. Once she had started to show more of herself, though, the brighter her flame had burned. Like sweeping ash off a bed of coals, she glowed bright with determination to prove herself. 

“Very well,” he releases a long, slow breath, steeling himself for her response. He spares a hope that she won’t scream and wake the child. “You asked for it, darling, remember that.”

He closes his eyes and concentrates on bringing his Devil face forth. It feels familiar and alien all at once, after being without it for nearly a year it feels strange to have it answer to his summons once more. He hears Eve’s breath hitch, and he tenses, keeping his eyes closed as he waits to see if she’ll scream, run, or some combination of the two. 

Instead, he feels a slight weight on his leg, and a dainty hand caressing his cheek. His eyes pop open in surprise, and looks down to find a sleepy-eyed Rory perched on his lap, her tiny fingers caressing the ridges of his charred cheek. She’s smiling up at him lovingly, and he can’t breathe, staring back at her with burning eyes as her hand pats his tenderly. 

“Daddee,” she says quietly, and he waits for her response with bated breath. “Cake, pease?”

What.”  

It’s the only response he can formulate. He knows his Devil face is firmly in place, he can feel it. And yet, here sits Rory calmly on his lap, touching his nightmarish visage without the slightest hesitation or trepidation, asking for cake?

“Cake?” she repeats her request, patting his cheek again to keep his attention on her. “Snack time?”

“Right,” he says dazedly, releasing his hold on his Devil face and allowing it to fade. Rory pouts for a moment, but smiles when her palm rasps across his stubble again. He clears his throat, which suddenly feels as though something has been nesting in it, then swallows hard. When he speaks again, his voice is rough with suppressed emotions he doesn’t dare name. “Cake. We can have cake.”

“Yayyy!” Rory cheers, throwing her arms around his neck. He lifts his eyes from the tousled head of hair nestled against his neck to meet the dark eyes of the woman smiling back at him. 

“See?” She says kindly, squeezing the hand she’s still holding between hers. “It’s not so hard. Rory thinks you’re worth the effort, and so do I.”

Rory pulls away from the embrace and slips off his lap, his large hand moving automatically to her head and smoothing out her wild locks of hair. He clears his throat again, then empties his glass and stands. “Well. Would you care for some chocolate cake, Eve?”

“I’d like that,” she smiles shyly, and Rory happily takes a hand of each of the adults and pulls them excitedly toward the kitchen to commence sugar consumption. Eve’s shoulder nudges his arm as they trail along after the eager toddler, and if Lucifer’s smile is a little watery, she is kind enough not to comment on it.

With Eve’s help they manage to finish off the last of the cake, then Rory convinces her ‘Tee Eeb’ to come and color with her while Lucifer is allowed to play the piano to entertain the pair of them. 

Lucifer appreciates the respite the music allows him; his hands have something to do that requires little thought and he can watch Rory interacting cheerfully with Eve while his mind whirls and spins. 

How is it possible? The child clearly wasn’t at all disturbed by his face, hadn’t shown even the slightest hesitation when touching his burned and flayed skin. Had she seen it before when her mother wasn’t around? He can’t even begin to picture how such trusting acceptance would even start to become a reality. 

But Eve hadn’t reacted either. Had he somehow manifested a lesser version of the face? Toned it down without realizing? Was that possible? He’s starting to see what Linda was talking about, wondering now if anything or everything was possible after all, in the right circumstance. But his face hadn’t felt any different than it had before. Still cragged and ravaged, whorled, and monstrous. 

And they weren’t afraid of him. 

Why hadn’t they been afraid?

Why hadn’t they bolted in utter terror the way she had? She’d promised him she hadn’t seen him as the Devil… until she had. Then she’d run, so far and so fast she hadn’t shown her face again for a month. And then… he closes his eyes, his fingers faltering in their sure melody for a moment until he regains his composure. Rory looks up at him at his stumble, brow creasing until he finds the rhythm again. 

He continues to play, and eventually Rory winds up on the bench with him, watching his fingers avidly. He slows his movements, giving her a chance to absorb them more easily, which segues into an impromptu lesson. Eve stands by the piano and watches, applauding enthusiastically each time Rory earns praise from her teacher. 

His phone vibrates in his jacket and he pulls it from his pocket, finding a message from Maze. 

“Looks like your demon guide is back from her errand,” he says lightly as he places it face down on the piano. “You may want to go before she comes looking for you. I still haven’t filled her in on my guest.”

Eve nods, smiling secretively. “Thanks for letting me hang out with you this afternoon, Rory,” she winks at the girl, who grins happily up at her. Eve crosses behind the bench on her way to the stairwell, running her fingers lightly across Lucifer’s shoulders. He stiffens a little under her touch when her fingertips scratch lightly at the short hairs at the nape of his neck. “I’ll see you guys again soon?”

“Buh-bye,” Rory calls happily, transferring her attention back to the keyboard before her. 

“I’m sure we’ll cross paths again soon enough,” Lucifer assures her, relaxing as she pulls away and moves toward the stairs. “Enjoy your time with Maze.”

“Oh, we’ve been having fun!” Eve laughs, and the sultry tone of it would usually pique his interest, but at the moment he only chuckles, his attention bent on correcting Rory’s hand placement. The clicking of her heels recedes downstairs unheeded by the pair at the instrument. Rory’s halting efforts fill the empty spaces in the penthouse, undercut by the low murmur of Lucifer’s instructions and intermittent pauses for him to show her a new exercise or help her reposition her little hands over the keys. 

When she stops and flexes her fingers again he chuckles and offers television as a distraction. Late afternoon sunlight streams in the windows as Rory stampedes into her bedroom to retrieve her purple blanket. Drifting pink bits of fluff catch in the golden beams of light, and Lucifer stifles a smile as he makes himself comfortable on the couch. She climbs up and nestles in beside him, and he finds himself wondering what her usual homelife is like. 

She said her parents work together, so who watches her while they’re solving crimes? Clearly, she’s familiar with Bones . Do they watch it as a family, or is it solely with her father? The Detective had seemed interested enough as they were watching last night, perhaps that other Detective had learned to love the show as well? Or at least tolerate it. What had the child asked for the other day? Ponies? The Detective had expressed some concerns about letting the child watch such a graphic show…

“What would you like to watch?” He asks, curious to hear her answer. She snuggles against his side contentedly and tilts her head to look up at him. “I can try to find your ‘Ponies’, though I’ll admit I’m not sure it exists here…”

“No Bones? ” She asks, curling her fingers into his shirt. “I wike Boof. An’ Hoggins.”

“I like them, too,” he assures her with a smile. “ Bones it is, then, Gremlin.”

“Yay,” she says quietly, smiling as he presses play on the queue. She had brought her shark with her this time, and she clutches it tight as the episode unfolds. 

After a while she turns to him and observes, “Why Boof wif Hannah?”

Lucifer regards the child curiously. “Why wouldn’t he be with her? She’s lovely. They like each other.”

“But Boof wubs Bones ,” Rory seems genuinely distressed by this, and Lucifer pauses the show to give Rory’s question his attention. “Why he not wif her?”

“Oh,” Lucifer sighs and shifts awkwardly, wondering how to address the question that feels far too relevant for his own current situation for comfort. “They do have feelings for each other, you’re right. But… they hurt each other. They, er, ran away from themselves, or each other, I suppose. And now they… don’t know how to move forward. They’re… afraid. Or something.”

Ugh, why do I have the feeling Dad is laughing His omnipresent arse off right now?

“Dey scared?” She cocks her head, perplexed, and Lucifer nods. “Why?”

“Oh, child, I am most certainly the wrong person to explain this to you. This would usually be the point with the Urchin where I would tell her to ask her mother.”

“Miss Twix,” Rory mutters, burying herself further into his side. He hears a small sniffle.

“You could see her, if you find a way back to where you came from,” he offers carefully. He feels Rory’s head turn against his ribs and he looks down to find her staring back up at him. “You got here because you missed your dad. Maybe if you miss your sister badly enough, you’ll wind up back home?”

“Home.” She purses her lips in a pout, and Lucifer shrugs to himself. It had been worth a try. 

“All right then,” he acquiesces. “Shall we continue watching?”

“Yeah,” she shuffles around a bit so she winds up in his lap again, clutching her shark to her chest. Lucifer can’t help but laugh when Rory blows a rude raspberry every time Hannah appears on the screen.

I can’t even chastise her for that. It’s how I felt every time I saw the Detective with Cain.

His lighthearted mood suddenly evaporates. He’d been so stupid. Trying to allow her to exercise her free will, forcing himself to believe that Cain could change the way he had wanted to change. Letting it all fall apart so spectacularly. His arm tightens around Rory’s waist, and she giggles, apparently ticklish.

The sun slowly works its way lower in the sky, and Rory starts to get antsy. She crawls from his lap and blows off some steam by running some laps around the living room, then playing with some of the toys Chloe had brought over. Finally she looks out at the balcony and looks up at him with hopeful eyes. “Da? We fwy?”

“Not a chance,” he responds before he even considers it. He hasn’t used his wings for anything (aside from Rory’s demanded snuggle sessions) since he’d shielded the Detective with them on instinct.

And look how well that turned out.  

He remembers Maze walking in on him out on the balcony, wings ragged and bloody as he worked feverishly to remove the bullets before the wounds could heal over them. She had leaned against the glass and watched with a disinterested air, her own bruises stark on her skin. 

“Cain was a little tougher to put down than you thought, huh?” She had grunted, unphased by his growled response. 

"You're not exactly in pristine shape yourself, Mazikeen, are you sure you want to fling that stone?" He’d tossed her bloody blade back at her, and she’d caught it under her boot. She had scooped it up without another word, then turned and limped away, and he hadn’t seen her again for weeks, not until she’d appeared to see if he would ask her to hunt down the Detective and her offspring.

Rory’s expression falls, pulling him back to the present. “Pease?”

“Your wings won’t carry you,” Lucifer prevaricates. “Surely you can’t be flighted yet?”

“I no fwy,” Rory rolls her eyes in a gesture so like the Detective that he can’t hide his smile, and doesn’t bother trying. “ You fwy wif me! We fwy!”

“Hmm,” he ponders. Clearly this is something that his other self has done with the child. He wonders how much it bothers the other Detective. He tries to picture his Detective allowing her offspring to do something she deems dangerous, but the pang that strikes his heart when he conjures her expression when she’d realized Maze had been teaching the Urchin knife exercises makes him drop that line of thought. 

He had been thinking earlier that it would be lovely to really stretch his wings though… and it’s almost dark…

“Pease?” Rory tries again, sensing the blood of victory tainting the waters around her. 

Surely a short flight won’t hurt.

“All right, Imp,” he gives in, lifting a finger to curb her excited cheer, “ But a very short one. I’ll order pizza for dinner, and we’ll take a short flight while we’re waiting for delivery. Your wings will remain furled, and you won’t tell your mother. Deal?”

“Deal!” she squeals, hurrying into her bedroom for shoes. 

Chapter Text

Lucifer loves his Corvette. It was the first thing he’d procured for himself when he came to Los Angeles and decided to stay, after all (after replacing the travesty of the white suit). And yes, all right, he'd stolen it at first, but he went back later and obtained it properly, so that's all that really matters, isn't it. He loves the sleek, athletic body. The wind in his hair and the shine of it under the sun. The heady purr of the engine, and the soothing thrum of the road beneath the tires. 

Sometimes he takes it out to the desert at night and really opens it up, with the stars burning brightly above like they never can in Los Angeles. He’d always wanted to take the Detective out there with him one night, and truly show them to her. He would have loved to see their light shining brightly in her ocean blue eyes as her golden hair blows wild in the winds of their passage. Of course, she wouldn’t have believed his stories about setting them alight, about slowly filling the great Void with vast pinpricks of pure, incandescent light. She likely would have laughed when he told her of some of the patterns he’d built in, only known to him and only visible from the Silver City… but maybe one day in the far, far future she would have remembered his tall tales and looked up from her place there, and sought them out. 

It would have been the one way he could still be with her in the Silver City, no matter how insignificant. The thought that she may have remembered him fondly in some small way was a comfort that he didn’t know he needed until the possibility of it had passed him by without even a glance. But that is neither here nor there.

Lucifer loves his Corvette. But once he’s in the air again, once the freedom of flight lightens his heart and he’s feeling the wind in his feathers and face, the glorious stretching of muscles left dormant far too long… he doesn’t know how he ever accepted driving with the top down as an acceptable substitute for flying for so long. 

He tucks Rory securely in his arms, her back to his chest as he unfurls his wings, and she laughs in gleeful anticipation, spreading her arms excitedly. 

“What are the rules, child?”

“No wiggle! No weens! No tellin’ Mommeee!”

“Excellent,” he chuckles at her obvious familiarity with their current position. “Ready?”

“One, Two, Fwee, GO!” Rory cries, and Lucifer launches himself straight up from the balcony, much to Rory’s squealed delight. Several powerful beats of his wings later, and they’re soaring high above the sparkling city lights stretched below them. “Wanna see da ocean, Da! We go see?”

He glances west, where the last lingering tangerine stain of sunset mars the deep blue of the horizon, and folds his left wing into a dramatic bank. Rory giggles as the shoreline draws nearer, which drops into a happy coo once they’re over the water. Bright moonlight shimmers in lacy patterns over the waves and foam and he dives dramatically, Rory’s laughter fluttering around his ears along with the beating of his wings and his own exhilaration at being airborne once more. Shadows dart just under the water as a curious pod of dolphins surfaces to see what the fuss is about. 

“Doffins!! Da, look! They pway wif us!”

artwork by @sofiafgrape

“They do like to play, but I don’t fancy getting soaked this evening, darling, and I think your mother would agree.” He spreads his wings, letting the warm billows of wind over the water keep them aloft with very little effort on his part for the time being. As the air cools, though, he feels the familiar pull of gravity making him work harder to stay in the air. He dips down near the water once more, dangling a giggling Rory a little bit to allow her to trail her fingers in the water before pulling her in close to his chest again and angling upward with some heavy wingbeats for altitude. 

artwork by CocoCat38

He veers toward the bright lights of Santa Monica Pier, keeping himself high enough to avoid being seen, and Rory makes a happy sound at all the lights and the carousel music that drifts up to them among the stars. He starts to feel the dull ache of muscles unaccustomed to use, and reluctantly turns back to Lux. The pizza should be arriving soon, anyway.

artwork by Biologistin13

He touches down on the balcony, backwinging smoothly with a contented sigh, and Rory tips her grinning face up to him, the crown of her tousled head resting against his chest. 

“T’anks, Daddee!” Her hands grasp his, still firmly clasped around her, and she pats them lovingly. “You have fun?”

“That was fun, Rory,” he says sincerely, feeling a swell of warmth in his chest, in the connection he shares with this creature, this child that he barely knows and yet that knows him so very well. “I haven’t flown in a very long time, and this was a wonderful idea you had. Thank you.”

He lowers her to the ground, but she turns and holds up her arms to him. He cocks his head and she widens her hands. “Hug?”

He sighs a little, but his reticence crumbles. He’s just been embracing the child for the better part of half an hour, anyway, what would it hurt to do as she asks? It’s not as though he has to hold any pretenses, here in his own domain. He drops to a knee and gathers her close, feeling her downy wings unfurl as he wraps his own around her. 

“Lub you, Da,” she murmurs into his neck, and he closes his eyes, resting his chin on top of her head and wishing with all his ancient heart that he could be who she thinks he is. 

“Your Da loves you too, Rory,” he whispers back, because he knows it’s true. Rory couldn’t possibly love her father this much if he didn’t love her with all his heart in return. 

Though it didn’t stop you from loving yours that much, did it?

He scowls and shakes off that thought. Rory obviously has a better relationship with her father than he ever had with his own– though where his alternate self had managed to gather the required skills for parenting is beyond him. Perhaps the alternate version of the Detective taught him as they went along. He rubs Rory’s back gently between her wings and she presses back against his palm with a giggle.

“Itchy , Da!” she protests, wriggling her wings. 

“I know,” he chuckles, pulling away and standing fluidly. “Leave them out and we’ll see if that helps a bit. At least until the pizza arrives. Just don’t forget to mind your pinfeathers. We don’t want to break any of them, or they’ll have to be pulled.”

“No pull!”

“Then no break, hm? Do be careful,” he admonishes lightly, as she tucks her fluffy wings tightly to her shoulders and bolts for the bathroom. He closes the balcony doors behind him and is calling after her before he spies their guest. “Be sure you wash for dinner, it should be here s– Detective!”

“Um, hi.” She’s sitting on the couch, curled into the corner where he and Rory had been perched last night with Rory’s purple blanket bunched in her lap. His heart lurches a little at how very small she seems. She had never seemed small before, her presence always filling and commanding a room… until the knowledge of his identity had broken her. She’d managed to sweep together the pieces, but the shards that remain seem to take up far less space than the pristine original had. He hurriedly folds away his wings as she continues, “I came in and you were gone, so I… figured I would wait. I, uh… didn’t expect…”

“Didn’t expect an aerial entrance, hm?” He smirks a little. “It wasn’t precisely on my agenda, but the child asked and it is a lovely night for a flight. My apologies if we startled you. I hope you weren’t waiting long, I wasn’t expecting you quite so early, I had thought you and Linda would have a bit more to chat about.”

“Oh, we, um… had some company.”

“Did Miss Lopez tag along as well?” He asks lightly, removing his pink down-infested jacket, eying it sadly. “I can see where that would make open conversation difficult.”

“No, not Ella, um… Maze. And Eve.” Chloe looks up at him guiltily as he goes still. “They were in the club, and spotted Linda before I got there. Maze is… um… she heard a little bit about Rory, and it sounded like she was going to pry the rest from Eve as they were leaving.”

“Bollocks,” he grumbles, tossing the jacket aside and over one of the low chairs before sinking into it himself. “I forgot to ask the Doctor not to say anything. Well, it was likely only a matter of time. Amenadiel can’t keep anything to himself, especially not from Mazikeen.”

“She… seems really mad at me.” Chloe offers awkwardly after a moment, “and maybe you too.”

“Yes, demons are rather good at holding grudges,” he shakes his head. A small giggle from the direction of the bathroom causes him to whip his head around and raise his voice enough to be heard in the next room. “Aurora Morningstar, you will not leave that bathroom unclothed , you little gremlin! Put everything back on before you come out, we have company.”

He hears her disappointed exhalation, followed by the slow rustle of fabric accompanied by low grumbling as she re-dresses herself. He smirks a little before he catches Chloe’s odd look. “What?”

“Nothing,” her expression looks pinched and he’s concerned for a moment until he realizes she’s hiding a smile. “You just… I saw you land with her. You were so careful, and I got to see your hug, too. You really sounded like a Dad just now. It’s… not a side I ever thought I’d see or hear from you.”

“That makes two of us, Detective,” he huffs, standing and crossing to the bar. “Dad knows I am not father material. But we should probably talk about what you hope to coax from the little imp this evening. I’ve taken the liberty of ordering pizza– I believe you prefer the veggie supreme, yes?”

“Pizza sounds great,” she nods, her fingers twisting in the blanket, absently scraping Rory's bright pink fluff into a small mound near the edge of the blanket. “And… I think you’ve been doing a great job with Rory. She… she obviously loves you, and you’ve been doing everything you can to keep her safe and happy until you get her back to… to the other us.”

“She makes her desires well known, so that makes it easier,” he waves off the compliment. “Now, I discovered this morning that Rory recognizes your offspring as her sister, but only if I age the photo ahead by about five years, so wherever, whenever she’s from, they’re running about that far ahead of us. I don’t know if that will help you in your line of questioning the child, but it seemed important information for you to have.”

“You showed her a picture of Trixie?”

“She was missing her sister, and I…” he remembers Rory’s horrified reaction when he’d said that the Urchin was with her father… assuming he meant Heaven … and veers away from the subject abruptly. “I thought it might help her to see a recent photo to prove that all is well. She’d sent me a photo a few days ago, but Rory said it was ‘wrong’. So I acted on a hunch and downloaded one of those ridiculous photo manipulation apps, set it to age 5 years, and she recognized her sister.”

“Can I see the picture?”

Lucifer pulls his phone from his pocket as the elevator chimes, announcing the arrival of dinner. He flips to his message history and tosses the phone onto the couch next to her before going to greet the delivery girl. Anxiously scanning for Rory’s appearance, he hurries to pay and send her on her way, reminding himself to send Patrick a text to thank him for letting her up.

He glances back at the Detective, who is staring transfixed at his phone. Shrugging, he goes to check on Rory, who is currently struggling with her shoes. He chuckles at her disgruntled expression, because she has them on the wrong feet.

“It’s okay, Imp, you can leave your shoes off. Thank you for putting your clothes back on.” He helps her remove the shoes, frowning at how red her little toes are from being squished into the wrong shoe. “Does that hurt?”

She shakes her head mulishly, and the corners of his mouth twitch at her stubbornness. “Your mother is here, you should go see her.”

Toes forgotten, she leaps to her feet and bolts out of the room with the exultant cry of “Mommmeeeeee!” He stays where he is, letting the two have a moment alone before he follows, listening to the music of their combined laughter. He likes the harmony of it, Chloe’s low chuckle combined with the higher melodic timbre of Rory’s giggle. It’s not until he enters the room and sees them together that he realizes he’d forgotten to ask Rory to put her wings away.

“My apologies, Detective, you’re doomed to be covered in pink fluff for the rest of the evening now,” she lifts her gaze to him and smiles, holding Rory close in a way that makes his heart clench in his chest. “Are we ready for dinner? I know you enjoy cold pizza, but I prefer mine warm.”

“Pizza!” Rory sings happily, grabbing Chloe’s hand. “Mommee, you eat wif us? You stay?”

“Yeah, baby, I’m going to stay for dinner,” Chloe says quietly, and Lucifer resolutely turns away, ruthlessly trying to shut out the amount of affection he hears in her voice in an attempt to keep his guard up. 

Everything in him tells him he can trust this woman. He’s trusted her for years… and it’s like a knife in his beating heart knowing that he can’t allow himself to trust her right now. Because it’s not just him at risk now, it’s Rory , and as much as he doesn’t like thinking the Detective capable of harming an innocent child just because of her lineage… well. He doesn’t like thinking her capable of harming him , either, and she’s already proven that she is– or at the very least was – not only capable, but willing.

Surely this shouldn’t be so bloody difficult. 

He sighs as he carries the pizza boxes to the bar in the kitchen. Rory has proven to be a remarkably neat eater, but he’s been trying to discourage eating elsewhere in the flat (aside from their occasional cake picnics on her blanket-covered rug), and she has been quite willing to go along with it.

The patter of bare feet shakes him out of his thoughts, and he smiles as the tiny girl drags the Detective by the hand into the kitchen, managing to climb up onto her stool with only a small, surreptitious boost from Chloe, who sits next to her as Lucifer sets out the plates and pizza boxes. Rory gets a plastic cup of grape juice (judiciously diluted, as per Miss Lopez’s instructions), and Chloe opts for a bottle of water after her drinks down at Lux. Lucifer, of course, has whiskey. 

Dinner is fairly relaxed, with none of the anxiety from yesterday’s arguments filtering through. Rory chatters about her day, and Lucifer is pleased that she doesn’t mention their flight, even though he knows the Detective is already aware of its occurrence. She finishes a story that Lucifer hadn’t particularly been listening to and Chloe laughs, reaching out to ruffle the child’s hair, then slides a hand softly over the bend of her wing.

Lucifer stiffens and pulls in a breath, but Rory doesn’t react at all, focusing intently on retrieving every piece of sausage under the cheese and eating it first, before moving to the rest of her slice. Chloe notices, of course she does, and shoots him an inquiring look. He shakes his head, but she persists.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, apparently,” Lucifer shrugs, fingers running absently over his ring. “She’s been… rather adamant about no one touching her wings while she’s awake but me, but apparently you’re allowed that liberty as well.”

“Oh,” Chloe glances down at them, pulling her hand away abruptly. “Is that… are wings… I mean, obviously they’re special.”

“Just… very personal. Sensitive. It’s good that she’s comfortable with you touching them,” he offers, clearing his throat. “It means she trusts you.”

“Oh,” a small smile tickles the edges of her lips. “Good.”

“You should know that you need to be careful, though,” he cautions, “she’s got her pinfeathers coming in right now, and they’re very itchy. If they’re mishandled, they can break easily and because of their blood supply it’s painful. Even more so when they need to be pulled. I would spare her that, if possible.”

Chloe looks closer at the girl’s wings, and he notes the change in her expression when she notices the quill-like protrusions among the downy fluff. “How long does it take for them to come in?” She wonders.

“No idea,” Lucifer shrugs helplessly. “I don’t lose feathers often, but when I do they’re typically replaced within a day or two. Rory isn’t a full angel, and she’s a juvenile, which I never had to deal with, so it’s anyone’s guess, really.”

“Your wings–” she says hesitantly, her eyes moving over his shoulder. He knows she’s remembering seeing him land on his balcony, and he wonders what’s going through that nimble mind of hers now. “You really cut them off?”

“Oh, many, many times now,” he laughs bitterly. “But I stopped a few months ago. I suppose it’s a good thing I did.”

“You… why?”

“Why did I stop?” He asks, puzzled. “Well, I suppose it wasn’t getting me anywhere, since the blasted things grew right back. My closet was getting full and it disturbed the good doctor, so I–”

“No!” She cuts him off and pushes her plate away, sounding deeply disturbed now. He pauses, narrowing his eyes in confusion at her distressed reaction. “I meant… why would you cut them off? Didn’t… didn’t it hurt?”

He snorts. “Of course it hurt , I just told you wings are sensitive. But they… well, I thought that they… Ugh, it doesn’t matter. It didn’t work, and I eventually gave it up as a bad job.”

She frowns, but doesn’t push. He can practically see her thinking and he lets himself enjoy it, filing her expression away in his memory for perusal later, after they part ways. She turns to Rory after a moment of silence and gently starts asking her some questions.

“Do you know what your Mommy and Daddy had to do, when they left you at Linda’s, Rory?” The girl looks up, a string of cheese dangling from her mouth to her slice of pizza, and tomato sauce ringing her lips. Lucifer stifles a laugh, glad they’re eating at the bar. “Before you came here?”

She chews for a moment, thinking hard. “Da was heppin’ Mommee wif work. Hadda go away for seven seeps!”

“Seven sleeps, that’s a long time,” Chloe says sympathetically. “No wonder you missed your Da so much. Does he always help your Mommy?”

“No,” Rory says easily. “Sometimes she heps him! Go Heaven, an’ I stay wif Tee Winda an’ Chawwie.”

“Well, that can’t be right,” Lucifer frowns. “The Devil isn’t allowed into Heaven, after all. Are you sure your last name is Morningstar, Rory? Are you certain your father isn’t my brother Michael? Looks just like me, only less charming and funny?”

“Micow bad!” The girl growls. “He bad! Hurt people!”

Lucifer huffs a dry laugh. “Alright, just curious, child. I agree with you that he is indeed bad, but… just another difference, if your father is a version of me that’s allowed back in Heaven. It’s… hard to imagine.”

Perhaps her father never fell, his inner voice taunts. Perhaps her father is the perfect son that our Father always wanted, instead of the flawed one He threw away like last week’s rubbish. 

But… if I– if he – never fell, then how did he meet Chloe? Why would Father have created Chloe at all, if not to manipulate His flawed, fallen son? And how could Chloe possibly help him in Heaven?

“You have a twin brother?” Chloe pipes up, jarring him from his meanderings. 

“Unfortunately,” he growls, and Chloe realizes it’s not a subject to pursue. He softens his tone and turns back to Rory, “But your parents weren’t working in Heaven this time? They were… doing your mother’s job?”

“Mmhm,” Rory agrees, her mouth full of pizza again. “Catchin’ bad guys.”

“I’m sure they do it very well,” Lucifer says, unable to keep fondness from his tone. He does love helping the Detective catch the bad guys. He’ll miss it, when his 10 cases are up. He wonders if he can find another police department to work with when he relocates… and then he wonders if he would even want to, when every case would be haunted by the memory of her. He turns away to grab a napkin, sliding it across the bar to Rory with a pointed look. The girl sheepishly takes it and wipes her face.

“What were you doing when the, um, lights came?” Chloe asks, pursuing her line of questioning. “Where was Linda?”

The thoughtful frown appears again on Rory’s face, and Lucifer marvels again at how similar the expression is to the Detective’s, so serious on such a young face.

“Twy pway peeno, but wong ,” she tries to explain, waving her little hands around. She wrinkles her nose in distaste and says, “ Toy.”

“They never sound right, do they, child?” Lucifer scoffs, understanding her disgust immediately after having the misfortune of hearing a few wannabe musicians playing keyboards for their auditions.

Rory shakes her head ferociously. “ Missed you, all wong, got sad. Winda say naptime, so I go, I cwy, sad.”

“You missed your dad until your heart hurt, and then lights came and brought you here,” Lucifer supplies, when the girl chokes up. She nods, sniffling. “Well, that sounds like a simple enough fix, Imp, you only have to miss your dad again. Or your mum, I suppose, now that you know we aren’t them.”

“Lucifer!” Chloe hisses, but Rory’s thoughtful look is back. “You can’t just–”

“Diff’rent,” Rory interrupts quietly. Her eyes are on him, dark and solemn, but determined, too. “You diff’rent, but same too.”

“How are we different, Rory?” Chloe asks curiously, wondering what the child will say. 

“Dunno,” she shrugs a little, waving her hands at the pair of them. “You… hurt . Mad? Scared?” she shakes her head. “Diff’rent.”

“That’s all right, Rory,” Lucifer assures her, “Wherever your parents are, they’ll be just as they were when you get back to them. We just need to work out how to make that happen.” He sighs, exchanging a glance with Chloe.

“We’ll help you get back to them, Rory,” she chimes in, and the girl gives them a watery smile. “And we’ll both be here for you until we do, okay?”

“You stay wif us?” Rory perks up, a hopeful smile blooming on her face. “You stay here?”

Chloe realizes what she’s just inadvertently promised, and glances at Lucifer apologetically. His face is expressionless, his eyes blank, and she can see he’s trying to find a way to redirect the conversation. 

“Are you done with your pizza, Rory?” She asks quickly, and the girl nods, gesturing to her clean (aside from the crusts– apparently even half-angel children don’t do pizza crust) plate, and Chloe stands to lift her to the ground. “How about you go wash your face and hands, while I talk to your dad for a minute, okay sweetie?”

“Otay,” she says happily, trotting toward the bathroom before stopping and looking back worriedly. “You be here when I back? You stay?”

“I’ll still be here when you’re done. Maybe we can do your puzzle some more, hm?”

Rory smiles and trots off to wash up, and Chloe turns back to Lucifer apologetically. 

“I really put my foot in it, didn’t I?” she says by way of apology. “What now?”

“Well, admittedly, I have no parenting experience, but I believe that simply saying ‘no’ is a viable option, Detective,” he says blandly. “You have your job and your offspring and your life to get back to, after all. You’re already giving quite enough of your free time in trying to unravel this mystery.”

“Maybe if I stay until she’s asleep, then come back in the morning before she wakes?” 

“I won’t lie to the child,” he snips, and Chloe realizes her mistake with a wince. “Besides, she’s often up in the middle of the night.”

“She is?”

“Mm,” Lucifer hums, emptying his whiskey glass and taking his dishes to the sink. “She starts the evening in her own bed, then winds up in mine.”

Chloe follows him with her own and Rory’s dishes, working up the nerve to make an offer she is sure will be refused… but the memory of Rory’s hopeful face gives her courage.

“I… could stay?” He turns to look at her, incredulity written wide on his features. “I mean… I’m… off for the next couple days, and I didn’t have any plans?”

He stares at her for a long moment, calculating, before making a noncommittal noise and turning back to the sink to start washing. She steps up beside him, ready to rinse and dry, their roles reversed from the many times they’ve done this at her own apartment after game nights.

“Why don’t you have a dishwasher?” She wonders curiously, and he scoffs lightly. 

“First of all, I rarely cook for myself, and the few times I’ve attempted to prepare dinner for a guest have been… well, rather disastrous. So, I don’t find myself needing to do dishes very often, aside from my whiskey glasses and the occasional set of wine glasses. I also don't appreciate the spots that appear on the glasses if they're not dried. So I didn’t see the need for one. And Rory will be gone soon enough, so it’s hardly worth the investment for something that will merely rust from disuse.”

“Oh,” she breathes quietly, trying not to flinch at his casual reference to disastrous dinner preparation attempts, knowing she’s been the guest in question for at least two of them. “Well, I guess that makes sense.”

“Occasionally, I do,” he sniffs. “But as to your offer, I… I’m not sure it’s the best idea. I don’t want to confuse Rory, and I don’t want you to be uncomfortable by prolonging your time here–”

“I wouldn’t have offered if I wasn’t willing,” Chloe interrupts, reining in her impatience at his stubborn insistence on assuming her discomfort in his vicinity. “And I hope I’ve made it clear by now that I am comfortable in your presence, Lucifer. But…” her face falls as she makes a connection. “You’re not comfortable in my presence. Are you?”

He doesn’t flinch, but he does stiffen. Chloe fixes her eyes on the plate she’s drying, but doesn’t move away. 

We can fix this. But we have to talk it out.

She can’t keep running away, and she can’t let him run, either.

Rory trots back into the room, humming happily and smiling when she sees the two of them standing together. 

“Puzza, Mommee?”

“Yeah, baby, I’ll be in there in just a minute, okay?” Chloe smiles back at her, blue eyes lighting with affection. Lucifer glances away.

“Otay!” she zips into the next room, wings fluttering excitedly. 

“Mind the pin feathers, Imp!” Lucifer calls after her, and they both chuckle a little at her muffled assent. He doesn’t look up at her, but his next words are clearly for her. “Go play with the child, Detective. See if you can gain any further information. I’m fine here.”

She almost questions him, wanting to finish their conversation, but one look at his expression changes her mind. It’s not blank anymore, but riddled with pain. He’s trying to hide it by keeping his gaze focused down, but Chloe can read him too well by now, even with his walls firmly back in place. She finishes drying his glass, and neatly spreads the towel to dry before moving out to the living area where Rory is already busily picking through pieces for her half-finished dinosaur puzzle.

She hears Lucifer’s low voice rumble, and barely catches the words, “I would like to be.” Then, softer, “I wish I could be again.”

Her heart breaks a little, even as she smiles down at the girl grinning up at her. Their daughter. A tiny tendril of hope coils through the crack, wrapping around her heart and holding it painfully together.

He wants to fix us, too.

Chapter Text

Lucifer seats himself at the piano, not far from where Rory and the Detective are diligently working on their puzzle. Rory’s attention zeroes in when he begins to play softly, but she doesn’t make a move toward the instrument yet. 

“Are you going to go play the piano, Rory?” Chloe asks quietly, noticing the girl’s distraction. Her little body is practically vibrating with the music, and Chloe loves her enthusiasm. “Will you have another lesson with your dad?”

“Awweddy did,” Rory says easily. 

“Oh, you had your lesson already today? What else did you do?”

“Hmm,” she thinks for a moment. “Go see Tee Winda. Dey talk a wot. I make him tell bad dweams so she hep.”

Chloe glances at Lucifer, who appears to be absorbed in the music flowing from his drifting fingertips. He had said Rory kept waking up in the night and winding up in bed with him. “You’re having bad dreams?”

“Nuh-uh,” the girl shakes her head, dark hair flying. “Daddee. Bad dweams when you no here.” Dark eyes look up at her. “Why you go?”

“I… I don’t live here Rory,” Chloe explains gently, and the toddler’s face crumples in confusion. “I have my own apartment with Trixie… or… well, usually.”

“Twix no here,” she sighs morosely, turning back to the puzzle with a small sniffle. “You no stay.”

“I’m here now,” Chloe offers, and the girl nods. Chloe hands her a piece, pointing out where it goes, and she fits it in place clumsily. “What did you do after you saw Linda?”

“Unca Meni ate wif us, but no Chawwie,” she sniffles again, then perks up a little, “then we watch Bones!”

“You really like that show, don’t you?” Chloe laughs, and Rory’s little teeth flash in an eager smile. Her wings rustle against her shoulders, the feathery down fluffing even more than it had been before.

“Good show! Bones is funny, an’ Boof. I wike Hoggins– an’ bugs!”

“Uh-huh,” Chloe agrees, trying to fit the girl’s names with the characters she remembers. “Booth is pretty funny, you’re right.”

“I no wike Hannah,” Rory wrinkles her nose. Chloe thinks about the last episode she’d watched with them.

“I don’t want to have any regrets.”

“I’m with someone.”

She doesn’t want to have regrets, either. More regrets, anyway. She thinks of Eve, and of crimson lipstick staining Lucifer's cheek. 

“I don’t think I like Hannah, either, Rory,” Chloe confides quietly, and the girl’s cheeks dimple as she smiles. “What else did you do?”

“Tee Eeb came,” Chloe tenses, and glances back up at Lucifer again, who is still engrossed in his music as Rory continues, “Da sad, but we had cake! We cowwor, pway peeno. She go.” She quiets for a moment, a sly smile on her face before she turns and wraps an arm around her mother’s torso. “Now you here!”

Chloe stores away most of that information for perusal later, but registers that little smile, and suppresses her own. Rory obviously picked up that smile from her sister; she’s keeping a secret, and from the looks of it, it’s a good one. She considers the sudden subject change and distracting hug, then she remembers the rush of air that had drawn her attention to the balcony in time to see Lucifer descending from the sky, backwinging dramatically as he touched down gently enough that his shoes barely made a sound upon touchdown. Even with how tousled his hair had been on landing, the winds hadn't managed to dislodge all the pink fuzz from Rory's wings stuck there. 

The sheer joy she'd seen glowing on both their faces, and the soft embrace between the two after he'd set her down had drawn tears to her eyes that she’d only just been able to contain. The girl had obviously enjoyed the flight, and yet she hasn’t said a word about it.

A secret, hm?

“Did you have fun flying with your dad?” Chloe asks, her voice trembling with laughter as Rory looks up at her with wide, dark eyes. 

Rory’s glance darts to Lucifer, who has stopped playing and is now watching the pair of them with a small smile on his face. “It’s all right Gremlin, she saw us land. You kept your part of the deal, you can tell her about it.”

Rory immediately launches into an animated retelling of their flight like a greyhound after a lure, and Chloe delights in the girl’s effervescence. Her stilted descriptions of waves and starlight, carnival lights and dolphins are eclipsed by the light in her eyes, and the matching one shining in Lucifer’s. Chloe loves that they’ve had this moment together, but also feels a pang in her heart that she hadn’t been able to share it. 

She wonders briefly if the other Lucifer takes his Chloe flying at night, after Rory and Trixie are in bed. Then she wonders if she’s jealous of her other self. 

How did they make it to where they are? Are they happy? 

If Rory is any indication, they seem to be. Rory had been genuinely distressed at their little argument yesterday, and at the distance between them. She’s obviously used to seeing her parents in a genuine, loving relationship versus… whatever it is she and Lucifer are working within right now.

Once the story winds down, Rory asks hopefully for cake again, which Lucifer vetoes (on the grounds that it’s all been eaten), and offers a cherry popsicle instead, which Rory happily accepts. She abandons her puzzle and slurps happily on it as she watches Lucifer play a bit more. (Watching from what a slightly overprotective Lucifer decides is a safe distance from the piano… no sticky fingers and artificial juices near his precious Steinway, thank you very much.)

“Did you eat it, or wear it, Imp?” Lucifer asks, warily fascinated as he removes the stained popsicle stick from her grasp between two pinched fingers. He's certain that he hasn’t seen anything quite so messy since the time he went out for ice cream sundaes with the Detective and her offspring well over a year ago. 

“Yummy,” Rory shrugs, her wings swaying with the movement, and her nose wrinkles as her fingers impatiently thread through her downy feathers. “Weens itch!

“I know they do, darling,” Lucifer soothes, his own broad palm smoothing down the center of her back, brushing the smaller scapular feathers there. “But hopefully it won’t last too much longer. Maybe a few weeks, at most.”

Rory sighs, and Chloe’s heart squeezes at the discomfort in the girl’s expression. Chloe looks uncertainly to Lucifer. “Is there something we can do to help her?”

Lucifer looks down at the girl, then out to the balcony with a thoughtful frown. He seems to consider something for a moment. “A soak might help,” he says reluctantly. “But at the rate she’s shedding bits of down, my hot tub may never be the same. Fancy a swim, Imp?” 

Twenty minutes later, Rory is happily splashing in the idling hot tub in her underwear, since Lucifer hadn’t thought to purchase a swimsuit for her during their whirlwind trip to retail hell. Both Lucifer and Chloe are seated on the edge of the tub, legs dangling in the water at opposite ends, carefully observing the girl, but she seems perfectly at home in the water, moving her wings carefully against the resistance of the water and sighing as the cool water soothes the itch from the new feather growth. After the unicorn plushie took an unfortunate dip, Chloe had found some toys that could withstand water without being damaged from her donation bag, and Rory plays with them as she floats and gambols in the enormous tub. 

Eventually, the two anxious adults call an end to tub time, and haul the girl from the shallow water with an enormous towel. Chloe handles the drying, with careful instruction from Lucifer about not drying the wings. Rory receives a careful chiding about not flapping her wings, and to simply let them drip-dry. Rory wrinkles her nose at her damp, straggly feathers, but obeys, leaving her wings spread wide behind her. 

The three of them sit quietly on the balcony, Rory eventually letting the weight of her soaked wings draw her into collapsing flat onto her back, the warmth of the stone seeping into her as she looks up at the stars. She points out her favorite ones to her stuffed unicorn, which is looking a little bedraggled after the accidental dip in the hot tub. Chloe drapes another towel over the top of the girl to prevent a chill, since her wings make it pretty impossible to wrap one around her entirely. 

Rory had somehow managed to get both of the single chairs soaking wet, so the two adults settle onto the loveseat after a shared, awkward glance between them. Chloe feels the heat of his proximity, their bare skin brushing against one another from their thighs down feeling far more intimate than it should. She lets herself enjoy the moment. 

After silently listening to Rory lecture her unicorn about star formation for a few minutes, Chloe looks up at her partner (former partner? Soon-to-be-ex-partner?) and her breath catches at the soft expression in his eyes. She’s only seen that a few times before, and then usually only directed at herself… and maybe once or twice at Trixie or Ella.

He catches her gaze, the corner of his mouth twitching up in a smile. “Her father has done a marvelous job educating her,” he sounds almost wistful, and Chloe’s chest aches. She wants to point out that he is her father, but she doesn't want another argument about their supposed doppelgangers. She wonders if he wishes Rory were theirs the same way she hopes she is. “She’s missing some of the finer points, but she hasn’t said anything wrong yet.”

Chloe’s eyes flicker to the girl in surprise. “You mean, she’s really talking about how stars are born?”

“Mmhm,” Lucifer hums lightly. “She’s got an excellent grasp of it, even if it is incredibly basic. I’m assuming her lessons would become more complex as she ages, provided her interest holds.”

“You… why do you know how stars are formed?” Chloe asks, lost as to why this is something Lucifer would feel the need to teach his daughter. “Is that… like, something all angels need to know?”

“No,” he huffs a small laugh, his dark eyes focused upward, on the few dim stars that bravely struggle to be seen through the Los Angeles light pollution. He tries not to think about how badly he'd wanted to share the stories of his stars with her, before . “Not all of them. But that doesn’t really matter right now, Detective. Have you managed to learn anything new and exciting to help us get Rory back to where she belongs this evening?”

Her heart drops a little at his sudden change of subject, the ominous redirect back to their deal, but he hasn't moved away from her, and their thighs and shoulders are nearly pressed together in their current position. "I don't think I learned anything today that will help us get her home," she admits reluctantly. Lucifer nods acceptance, as though he hadn’t really expected anything, and that goads her to continue, “But she told me that you’ve been having bad dreams, and that you were sad when Eve was here earlier?”

“Well, that’s hardly going to help us get her home,” Lucifer scoffs. “She’s a bit of a worrier… it would seem that she gets that from her mother.”

“Maybe,” Chloe nods, not wanting to let him divert her with his barbed remark. “Did you talk to Linda about the dreams?”

“They’re nothing for her to worry about,” he stretches his bare legs out and crosses his ankles in front of him as he laces his fingers together and rests them on his stomach, still staring hard up at the murky Los Angeles sky. “Or Rory. Or you.”

“Rory seems of the opinion that you wouldn’t have them if I was here,” Chloe ventures carefully. “Do you… do you think her dad has them, too?”

“Rory is not even four years old, so you’ll pardon me if I don’t take her opinion as gospel for how to avoid night terrors.” Lucifer says dryly, not looking at her. “As for her father’s situation, it’s not impossible,” his tone is cool, detached as he continues, “if he shares even half my life experiences, nightmares would not only be understandable, but expected. But then again, perhaps not. She said that her parents sometimes work together in Heaven. I can’t imagine my father ever lifting my banishment, so it’s nearly impossible to guess at what differences her world has from ours. The possibilities are too many to count, let alone speculate on.”

“But the outfit she was wearing when she found you…” Chloe says quietly, “You saw the stain. It was exactly the same, Lucifer, it had to be that outfit. She… you don’t think there’s any chance at all that she could be from our future?”

He barks a startled laugh that makes Rory’s wings flutter in surprise, the girl flailing for a moment until she gets them back under control. “All right, Rory?” 

“Otay, Da,” she says quickly. “Weens no itch!”

“Lovely,” he purrs quietly as she settles back to the floor with a yawn. He fidgets with the ring on his right hand again, evaluating her wings. “Those are going to take bloody forever to dry. I hate to have to take a dryer to them, it’ll just undo all the good the soaking did.”

“Is there any reason she can’t nap there until they’re dry?” Chloe wonders. “I mean, I don’t want the water to ruin your guest mattress, and it doesn’t look like she’s uncomfortable where she is…”

On the contrary, Rory is spread on the stone, all six limbs sprawled as wide as they can possibly go, hands, feet, and damp magenta wingtips peeking out from under the enormous black fluffy towel draped over her form. Lucifer scratches his cheek absently for a moment before standing abruptly.

“I’ll be right back,” he says shortly, striding away into the penthouse. Chloe cranes her neck to watch him go before sighing and transferring her gaze to the sky. She tries hard to make out the visible stars and tries to remember what Rory had been explaining to her unicorn friend about gas and dust collapsing to form the core of a new star, wondering why Lucifer had shied away from the subject when she’d asked. 

She pulls her phone from her pocket, looking toward the penthouse where Lucifer had disappeared. Independent research hadn’t gone so well for her the last time she’d tried it. She thumbs the screen dark after only a quick search, not finding any particular link between angels and stars other than a brief reference in Revelations to Satan the seven-headed dragon using his tail to knock a third of them from the skies. She wipes her hand on her jeans, feeling dirty just from the little bit she’d read before closing the tab and shaking her head in disgust.

Never again. Whatever I need to know, I’ll just ask. If he doesn’t want to tell me, I don’t need to know.

Lucifer’s soft footfalls announce his arrival, but he doesn’t sit down again, instead kneeling to pull the towel off the drowsy child and scoop her carefully into his arms before carrying her off to her bedroom. Chloe dithers for a moment, then scoops up the towels before following him. She reaches Rory’s door in time to see her nestling comfortably into the thick, fuzzy white rug that Lucifer has placed on her bed, as he gently drapes the fluffy, pink-mottled purple blanket over her tiny form. 

She murmurs something that he leans forward to catch, and a thin arm snakes out from under the blanket and wraps around his neck. Chloe hears him chuckle and rumble a low response, watching with an aching heart as Rory’s little face nuzzles his cheek, dropping a kiss amongst the stubble. Lucifer’s left arm returns the embrace and his own mouth brushes the girl’s temple as he pulls away, turning and startling a little to find Chloe in the doorway watching. Rory’s bleary eyes find her, and a sleepy smile stretches her lips. 

“Nigh-nigh, Mommee,” she mumbles sleepily, holding out a hand. Lucifer rapidly backs away as Chloe approaches and gives the girl a hug and a kiss good night. Rory’s asleep before Chloe reaches the door, and Lucifer makes sure the door is cracked as they exit. 

“She loves that rug,” he chuckles as they make their way toward the living area, “and I thought it should absorb enough of the extra water that she won’t be sleeping in the wet. I can always go back and move her in a couple of hours once the down has dried. She enjoyed your company this evening, Detective, and I appreciated the bathtime backup. Last time we didn’t have the wings out, but I wasn’t about to entertain the idea of them in my bathtub.” He grimaces and looks out toward the balcony. “I should probably go skim the tub now before the filter is utterly ruined.”

Chloe stifles a chuckle. She had been surprised at how much pink fuzz had been floating in the water when they’d fished the protesting Rory out of it. Though looking at Lucifer now, she can’t imagine why she had been. His grey shirt and black swim trunks are covered in flecks of pink fluff, and he still has bits and pieces stuck in his disheveled hair. 

“What’s funny?” He asks, picking up on her amusement, despite her attempt to hold back her laughter. 

“It just… I don’t think I’ve ever seen you look so… frazzled,” she giggles as he draws himself up to his full, affronted height. “I mean, you look fine, but… you’re covered in pink fuzz, and–” she reaches forward and quickly plucks a bit of fluff from his hair, showing it to him. “You look like you lost a fight with a flamingo.”

He had frozen when she’d reached toward him, but once his eyes focus on the tiny bit of down in her fingers, his expression merely turns rueful. “Yes, well, right now it’s more comfortable for her to have her wings out to relieve the itch whenever possible, so… I can deal with bits of wing fluff for the time being. It can’t be much worse than when I was hacking my wings off twice a day, you can’t imagine the mess–” He cuts off mid-sentence when he registers her distraught expression. His own expression shutters, and he continues with a curt, “My apologies.”

“Why are you apologizing?” Chloe asks, confused. Lucifer huffs and crosses to the bar, putting some distance between them. Annoyed, she follows him. “Hey. What’s wrong?”

He lifts a sardonic brow as he takes a drink from his freshly-poured glass, and now it’s her turn to huff in frustration. “I mean just now, Lucifer, what did I do that made you… shut down? You were… you were telling me about your wings?”

“Yes, and then I turned and saw that appalled expression on your face,” he shakes his head. “It doesn’t matter, Detective, I already know how you feel about my Devil-ness. I’m just glad that the… eldritch horror you have toward me doesn’t seem to extend to Rory. She needs your support, and I appreciate your willingness to put up with my proximity in order to give it to her.”

“The horror wasn’t because you were talking about your wings, you idiot, it was because you were casually talking about cutting them off!” Silence greets her outburst, and Lucifer’s brows furrow as he swallows his mouthful of bourbon. “I’m glad you’re not doing that anymore, Lucifer, but… I don’t know how you can treat repeated self-mutilation so… indifferently.”

“There’s probably quite a lot that we don’t know about one another, Detective,” he says evenly, his dark eyes not quite meeting hers. “Wouldn’t you say?”

“I’m sure there is,” Chloe agrees, not dropping her gaze when he finally meets it. “But there’s plenty that we do know about each other, too. I know you take your coffee black, with at least a third of the cup whiskey. I know you listen to Ella talk about whatever’s on her mind for hours without complaint. I know Trixie misses you so much that she cries about it sometimes. I know you will do everything in your power to protect that little girl in there from every potential danger, including me , and I know that I am not afraid of you, Lucifer Morningstar.”

“Do not lie to me,” the words are a low, ominous hiss as he sets his glass down carefully. “By your own admission, you are terrified . You should be terrified. I’m the Devil, as you well know. You’re hiding it remarkably well now, and I truly don’t know why you’re here. But you are correct that I will protect Rory with everything I have. Everything that I am , until I can get her back to her parents.”

“I’m not lying,” Chloe denies hotly, ignoring Lucifer’s eye roll and taking advantage of the opportunity to present her case. “I’m not afraid of you , Lucifer, but I am afraid. I… this… your world? All this heavenly crap is entirely new to me. I went from being an agnostic to an indoctrinated believer in the span of a few minutes. I was shot and blacked out, then the next thing I knew I was on a roof and you were there– and then you weren’t. I heard gunshots and when I ran to help you, I found something that looked like the animated corpse of a burn victim that sounded like you standing over Pierce’s body! I realized that everything you’d told me was true, that it’s all real and… it just suddenly hit me like a freight train. I am so small and, and insignificant in the face of it–” She shakes her head vehemently, trying to keep the tears at bay. She threads her fingers together and starts to pace, not far, just a few steps in either direction, but the motion helps keep her mind clear, even as her words wander.

“I thought… I thought as a cop that I’d be able to make a difference, you know? But… but if the world, if existence is so much bigger than I thought? What on Earth am I?” She sucks in a desperate breath, feeling her words start to choke her in their desperation to escape. “And not only is God and Heaven and Hell and everything real… but God is an abusive asshole and my best friend, my partner is the Devil . The villain in all the books. And you know what’s even more disturbing? He’s the best person I know. Sure, he’s shallow and impulsive, sleeps with anything that breathes, and frankly he's a bit of an ass” Lucifer’s brow quirks in puzzlement, but she plows onward without stopping. “But he stands by me when I need him to, lets me take the lead when we’re working, does and says some of the sweetest, most ridiculous things without even thinking, and I’m pretty sure he’s saved my life more than once.”

She stands there across the bar from the Devil, panting from her outburst as her hopeful eyes look into his skeptical ones.

“Are you done?” He asks blandly, lifting his glass to take a drink after a long moment of silence between them. 

“I… I think so,” she drops her gaze, a little embarrassed at his lack of response to her tirade. “I… should have said all that before. When you asked if I could accept you, but… but I didn’t have words for it all then. I still probably don’t have all the words, but Linda helped me figure some of it out tonight. I’m just… I’m only me , Lucifer, just regular old Chloe Jane Decker. I’m nothing in the face of all of this. How am I supposed to… to adjust to… to everything?” He smirks humorlessly now, and she catches it easily. “What’s so funny?”

“It’s my fault again, I suppose,” he exhales heavily, taking a deep drink and emptying his glass. “I didn’t get a chance to tell you, after all. And now… well, I’m sure you won’t want to know.”

“Know what?” She sets her chin stubbornly, determined now that he seems to be evading the question.

“Detective,” he shakes his head, again not quite meeting her gaze, “If you’re so overwhelmed with merely knowing all this exists , I truly don’t think this small bit of information will help you in your adjustment. Especially since no one knows what it actually means, only that it is.

“I don’t know what that means.” He laughs outright, and she realizes belatedly that she’d just spouted one of Bones’ most frequently used phrases.

“Well, welcome to the club, darling, because none of us know what it means, and my father isn’t likely to give us a clue.”

“Maybe we can figure it out together, then,” she offers, certain in her knowledge that they can handle anything , even this– whatever it is– together. “But I do want to know.”

“Do you remember when you came here, the first night Rory was here?” He asks, and she narrows her eyes at him suspiciously.

“Are you avoiding the question?”

“You asked me how .” He continues, sounding resigned. “ How it was possible that I could have a child… a, a, a daughter, and I assured you that it wasn’t possible.”

“I remember,” she says slowly, moving closer to the bar to rest her hands on the cool surface. “But now you… you’ve changed your mind.”

“The truth is, Detective, it would take a miracle to allow me to become a parent.” He lifts his eyebrows pointedly, and she tilts her head forward, waiting for him to continue. 

“Okay?”

“It would take a miracle,” he sighs, rubbing his palm over his face, “and you , my dear Detective, are one such miracle. Made possible by God’s word, a blessing placed by none other than my brother Amenadiel, and born to John and Penelope Decker.”

Her knees buckle, and suddenly Lucifer is beside her, guiding her onto the barstool beside her and plying her with a glass of clear liquid. She knocks it back, surprised to find that it’s water. She looks at him, blue eyes wide and blank with shock. He looks back, worry peeping through the cracks in his shuttered expression. She glances down at her empty glass, then back up into his face.

“I’m going to need a stronger drink, and we are having a nice long talk.”

Chapter Text

“Amenadiel?” Zaphkiel looks up from her lotus position, bright hazel eyes squinting up into the silvery light framing the vexed sibling looming over her. She isn’t surprised at the annoyance, since it seems to be her siblings’ default attitude on the rare occasions when they come looking for her. She smirks to herself, flipping her long sheet of brilliant red hair behind her. 

Perhaps it’s because she works so hard to remain unfound.

“I thought I’d heard whispers that you were back among us,” she continues, stretching languidly when her brother remains silent. “Come to see if I can tell you why you fell? Surely you’ve figured it out, since you’ve regained your wings?”

“I am continuing to work toward my complete redemption, sister,” Amenadiel says evenly. He sits beside her at a respectful distance– no one willingly touches the Angel of Knowledge, after all– and she can finally see his expression now that the light is no longer obscuring it from behind. He looks tired. His expression is drawn, and worried. A flicker of concern sparks in her being. 

What could upset the Eldest so?

“What brings you to find me, brother?”

“We need… a favor,” his lips purse distastefully around the word, and Zaphkiel notes his reluctance. She notes something else as well. 

“We?”

“Our brother Lucifer has an… unexpected visitor,” Amenadiel begins evasively. “She has attracted the unwanted attention of some of our other siblings, and we need to return her to her place of origin before they become… more directly involved.”

“And what is it you need from me , exactly?” Zaphkiel finds herself curious, despite her unease at hearing of Lucifer’s involvement. “What is it about this visitor that has you both so unsettled?”

“She’s a child, and she can’t tell us much about where she is from or how she arrived,” he sighs. Zaphkiel nods, she can see how her particular gift could give them some context in order to return the child to its home, but surely the humans have methods for dealing with that? She scrutinizes her brother’s face for more information, and after a moment he nods, adding, “She’s also half-angel. Raphael wants to bring her here for testing , and Remi wants to snatch her away from Lucifer, who has sworn to protect her.”

“You’re asking me to get in the middle of a potential spat between three of our most obstinate siblings?” A feral grin tugs at the corner of her wide mouth, stretching her thin lips. “That sounds right in my wheelhouse. How did Lucifer wind up involved in this?”

“The girl appeared in his quarters, and we think she may be his daughter, from an alternate timeline, or alternate world.”

Really,” Zaph drawls, intrigued. She knows about other universes, of course. Their father had been playing in that sandbox for a long, long time before he sat back and decided to watch rather than play. She had never met someone from one of the other universes, though. Even if it’s only a child, it could be an interesting experience, and when will that opportunity come around again? She considers, then sobers. “Is Michael involved?”

“Not to our knowledge,” Amenadiel shrugs. “You know how he is.”

She nods thoughtfully. If Lucifer was the Lightbringer, Michael was the Bearer of Shadows. Anything he could obscure or obfuscate, he would . No rhyme or reason needed. Much like Lucifer had sown minor chaos for diversion or fun, Michael would do the same just to see what happened… and not just on a minor scale. 

“Well then,” she grins, hazel eyes twinkling with the prospect of something new , “What are we waiting for brother? When will you bring her?”

“She is under Lucifer’s protection, and we wish to keep her from Remi and Raph’s attentions,” Amenadiel begins apologetically. She tilts her head curiously as he continues, “Lucifer was adamant that the child is not to leave his care. We’ll need to go to her. To Earth.”

Her wispy eyebrows rise in surprise. She hasn’t been to Earth in geological ages. The grin lights her eyes again, and Amenadiel looks a little worried. “Even better,” she sighs, looking forward to seeing what her father’s pets have done with the place. “When do we leave?”

*

“You can’t just not know ,” Chloe argues, gesticulating with her half-full glass of whiskey. She’d appropriated the decanter half an hour ago, and Lucifer finds himself mildly impressed at the progress she’s made on the liquid level while remaining mostly coherent… if most definitely not sober.

“I’m afraid you’ll find that where my father is involved, not knowing is something of the default, Detective,” he reminds her for the third time during this circular conversation. “All I know is what Amenadiel and my mother have shared with me, which I have now shared with you. Multiple times.”

“So lemme get this straight,” the slur in her voice is more evident now, and he finds himself hoping that she’ll simply pass out rather than continue to drag him on this hell loop of a conversation. “Your Mom , who was Charlotte Richards before she was Charlotte, breaks out of Hell and comes to find you, to try to get you to help her get back to Heaven and start another fight with your Dad. But she decided it was my fault that you didn’t wanna do that so I needed to get blown up. So you would go.”

Lucifer says nothing, merely waiting for her to continue as she has the past four times they’ve gone on this conversational carousel. “When she couldn’t do that, she tried to make me lie about you in order to win the case for my Dad’s killer, and when I wouldn’t do that , she told you that your Dad put me here as some kind of… trap. For you. Spefi– pacifi– spe-cif-ic-ly for you. And you just believed her.”

“There is a photo of Amenadiel and a very 1980-ish Mama Decker on the wall at that dive bar, Detective, as I’ve told you already.” He sighs, stifling a wry smile as her drunken tongue trips over her words and yet wondering why he’s bothering to continue the conversation. At this point, she’s certainly not going to remember anything he says. He’s fairly certain she’s more inebriated now than she had been when she’d showed up to the penthouse drunk and hell-bent on seducing him before passing out naked in his bed. He ruthlessly suppresses that memory, and keeps talking. “I’ll be happy to tell you where it is once you’re sober, so you can see it for yourself.”

“But what if she was lying!” she bursts out, waving her glass around until the alcohol sloshes onto the bar below. She sets it down with a small splash and a quiet, “Oops, sorry. Izzerra napkin?”

“I think perhaps we’re done with this little chat for the evening, Detective,” he collects a towel and deftly removes her glass, wiping the bar clean as she fidgets with her fingers. “Shall I call you an Uber?” He finishes the whiskey in her glass, and she gapes at him. “What?”

“You drank my whiskey,” she whispers, looking shocked.

“Well, you were pouring it on my bar, I thought drinking it was a better use, and you can consider yourself cut off, darling.” He pulls out his phone. “Now, about that Uber…”

“But…”

“But, what,” he asks, resigned to yet another round-robin rant. 

“Rory asked me to stay,” her voice is soft, and more than a little sad. Lucifer casts his eyes to his ceiling and tries counting to ten. Linda had told him it helps when patience is feeling thin, but this is not the experience he’s having, and he’s tried it many, many times since Chloe started drinking several hours ago.

Maybe it only works when dealing with sober annoyances.

He glances down at his glowing phone screen. Rory has been asleep for hours now, he should be able to go remove the damp rug from under her. Maybe for once, she won’t wake up in the night. He opens the mini-fridge and pulls out a bottle of water and slides it across the bar toward the drunken Detective. “Drink this. You’ll thank me in the morning. I’m going to go re-settle Rory.”

He hears the crack of the plastic ring separating from the cap as he enters the hallway, and finds Rory sleeping soundly with her bedraggled unicorn clutched tightly in her arms. She snuffles a little as he carefully checks her wings, and removes the damp rug from beneath her small body. He’s just readjusting her purple blanket when her lashes part, revealing sleepy brown eyes.

Damn. So close.

“Da?”

“Go back to sleep, Rory,” he whispers as her little hand moves to stroke his cheek. “I was just making sure your wings were dry and comfortable.”

artwork by @LianaPetr

“Stowwy?” She asks hopefully.

“No story, you greedy gremlin, sleep,” he chuckles at her artless pout. “You’re already halfway there, just close your eyes.”

“You sing?”

“You’ve already gotten one song out of me today,” he replies, amused at her continued attempts to make a deal despite her obvious effort to keep her eyes open. “Horses again? I’m afraid it’s the only one I know.”

“Hosies,” she agrees, hugging her unicorn tighter with a small smile. She snuggles into her pillow as Lucifer hums the refrain, then begins the song, singing softly until her eyes flutter closed and her breathing is deep and even. He brushes her hair away from her face with the pad of his thumb, watching her peaceful expression for a long moment before turning to find Chloe watching him from the doorway, her half-empty water bottle clutched tightly in her hands and tears streaming down her face.

“Detective?” He stands, moving toward her in concern. “Are you all right?”

“You’re so good with her,” she sobs quietly, leaning sloppily against the doorframe. “Like, really, ridiculously good. She loves you so much. You’re amazing with Trixie too, and she loves you. Do you know that?”

“Right,” he says quietly, carefully taking her shoulders and guiding her wobbly steps back down the hallway. “I see we’ve reached the weepy stage of our evening now, Drunky. How are we coming along with that water?”

“Not thirsty,” she whines, and Lucifer stifles a chuckle. 

“You’re thirstier than you think, Detective. How about another deal?” He guides her to the couch and helps her sit, but doesn’t sit beside her like she seems to expect. She looks up at him, confused.

“F’what?”

“You drink that water and take some Tylenol, and I’ll let you sleep over.” He would only worry if he tried to send her home with an Uber now. She’s barely capable of walking. He can go without sleep for one night without any ill effects, and maybe if Rory isn’t awakened by his nightmares, she’ll stop harping about them to anyone that will listen.

“Really?” Her eyes are red-rimmed and watery, and he feels a reluctant swell of exasperated fondness for her hopeful expression. 

“Going once,” he teases, “Going twice…”

She pulls the cap off the bottle and chugs most of the rest of it down immediately before stopping for breath. “I’ll take that as a yes, then. Let me get the Tylenol for you before you finish that off.”

She nods silently, watching him go as she wipes her eyes with her sleeve. By the time he returns, her face is dry. He hands her two caplets, and she obediently takes them with the rest of the water. 

“I’ve turned down the bed for you, Detective,” he murmurs, “if you’re tired now.”

She looks down at her clothes in dismay, and he stifles another smile. “I’ve also left a shirt on the bed, if you’d prefer to sleep in that. It seems you found it comfortable, before.”

“Oh,” she says, surprise flaring in her eyes. “Thanks.”

He nods silently, moving back to the bar as she crinkles her empty bottle in her hands and carefully stands to weave her way into his bedroom. He definitely doesn’t listen to the low thud of her boots hitting the floor, or the soft rustle of fabric as she changes her clothes. He hears water running in the bathroom, then the click of the light going out. After a moment of silence, her tentative voice rings out from the room.

“Lucifer?”

“Hm?” He doesn’t move from the bar, but does look in the direction of his bedroom from where he stands, finding her hovering just inside the doorway.

“Um… which side is yours?” She glances over her shoulder at the bed, uncertainly shifting her weight on bare feet. He doesn’t allow his eyes to drop to her mostly bare legs. 

“Sleep wherever you like, Detective, I won’t be joining you,” he says easily. “The sheets are clean, never fear.”

“You’re not… gonna sleep?” Chloe’s brows furrow in confusion. “Am I… Is it because of me?”

Yes.

“I don’t need as much sleep as a human,” he offers another, more palatable truth instead of the brutal one she’s already leapt to. “I often spend my nights playing piano or reading, if I’m not entertaining company.” She glances down the hallway to the open door of Rory’s room. “Not to worry, I won’t be playing piano this evening. Sleep well.”

The words are obviously a dismissal, and he sees her face fall a little as he turns away to refill his glass. When he turns back, he’s surprised to find her standing at the bar opposite him once more, this time dressed in nothing but his Prada. He swallows hard and doesn’t allow his eyes to dip below hers.

“You drank my whiskey,” she says quietly, her sea-blue eyes searching his for… something. 

“Yes,” he agrees with a quiet sigh at this unexpected return to their previous conversation. “I’m afraid you’ve been cut off, my dear, no more booze for you.”

“No,” she flaps her hand, and climbs clumsily up on the stool. His gaze catches on a glint of light at her throat, and his breath catches in his chest. She’s left the top few buttons of the shirt undone, and he’s shocked to find his bullet– his gift– nestling in the hollow of her throat. “I meant… you… you took a drink from me. And you drank it.”

“We’ve established that,” he closes his eyes and rubs his palm over his face, suddenly exhausted. “Is there a point to this line of thought? Would you like more water?”

“Um, yeah, more water might be good,” she nods, a little too fast. He pulls out another bottle and slides it across the bar to her. She’s not coordinated enough to catch it, but it stops before it reaches the edge. The sharp snap of the seal breaking nearly makes him jump as she opens it. “But… I meant that... You drank from my cup. I, um… I thought that… I was afraid that you didn’t trust me anymore, but you did that.”

“Well, you had been drinking from that very cup, Detective,” he points out. “While you may have recently been on board with poisoning me , I do highly doubt you would subject yourself to the same fate.”

“Oh,” she blinks, toying with the lid of the new bottle. “Right. Right, that makes sense.”

“And you’ve assured me that you no longer wish to harm me,” he offers encouragingly. A truth, she did say as much, even if he isn’t sure he’s willing to believe it just yet. Just because he hasn’t been able to divine what game she’s playing, doesn’t mean she isn’t playing one. But he doesn’t like seeing that disappointed look in her eyes, so he continues. “So I thought it safe enough to finish the glass.”

A small smile lights her face, and she takes another exaggeratedly careful drink of water. “I don’t know how to fix us, Lucifer,” she admits, and while she’s still slurring her words a bit, he thinks her eyes seem a little clearer. “I want to fix us. I… I wish I could go back to that loft and just… just shake myself until my brain rattles back into place so I could just think about everything I knew before I ran.”

“None of us can change the past,” he murmurs sadly, then huffs a small laugh, “except maybe Rory.”

“Oh!” she exclaims, causing him to look up from his glass. “Except Rory!”

“We can’t even get her to go home , Detective, I think it’s unlikely that we’d be able to convince her to travel back and, er, distract you after my untimely reveal.” His eyebrows furrow in concern at her eager expression.

“No! Rory!” She flaps her hands excitedly this time, and bounces adorably on her stool, blue eyes alight. “What if Rory is what fixes us?”

“I’m… afraid I’m not following.”

“What if Rory isn’t from some alternate whatever?” Chloe leans forward, the cuffs of his sleeves sliding over her hands as her elbows plant themselves on the bar. Her eyes widen as she presses her slim fingers to her widening grin. “What if she’s from our future? And… and… we’re broken right now, right? I mean, I ran, and I hurt you, and-and we can’t really… connect right now, but Rory is giving us a reason to connect again, to-to work together again. Maybe she’s what brings us back together, so we have a chance to get her back! You know, in the future!”

Lucifer turns to warily eye the decanter she’d been drinking from. “Just how much did you drink, Detective?”

Chloe blows a raspberry that sounds eerily like the ones Rory had blown at Hannah earlier that afternoon. “Why are you so determined to think she’s not yours? Ours? I know you feel a connection to her.”

“Of course I feel it,” he growls quietly, feeling the weight of her indignant gaze upon him. “It’s difficult not to feel a connection to someone that trusts you implicitly and offers affection with no conditions, but the fact remains that I will be finding a way to send her home to her parents sooner rather than later, and then–”

He cuts off abruptly, spinning away to choose another bottle to fill his glass.

“And then what?” She presses, drunk enough not to just let the subject go despite his agitation. He doesn’t answer, and she slips off the stool and rounds the bar on unsteady legs until she’s beside him. “And then what?”

“Nothing,” he grits out, his shoulders hunching away from her presence. “It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but getting Rory safely back to where she comes from, then fulfilling our deal.”

“You said you would answer my questions,” Chloe reminds him stubbornly, keeping herself within his personal space.

“And I have!” He bursts out, anguish crackling in his tone. “I’ve told you how many humans I’ve killed– one . I gave you exactly how I felt about being forced to torture damned souls in Hell. I’ve told you that I have never, would never bite the heads off or eat children. I told you that I would place myself between you and danger over and over again, and that I would never, never lie to you!” He’s breathing hard now, his eyes dark as obsidian, but he forces himself to step back and away when he sees how wide her eyes have gone. The anger evaporates, leaving only exhaustion in its wake. “It’s… it’s a pity you couldn’t extend the same courtesy to me. Good night, Detective, I believe you know where you can find the bedroom.”

He turns on his heel and stalks out to his balcony, bringing the decanter with him, but leaving his glass behind. Chloe gazes at the amber liquid left inside until the ripples still, then reaches for it and empties it in a single gulp. She looks after him, not wanting to leave the conversation on such an ugly note.

Maybe pressing the issue so hard wasn’t such a great idea.

She looks down at her sweating bottle of water and takes another deep drink, missing the burn of the whiskey already. She grabs the bottle, to give her hands something to toy with, and hesitantly follows him outside.

She’s not surprised to find him leaning on the railing with a cigarette dangling loosely between his fore and middle fingers, the tip trailing a wisp of smoke that quickly dissipates in the night breeze. He looks strange without his suit, standing there in nothing more than his swim trunks and a grey Henley.  He doesn’t look up, though she’s sure he has to hear her bare footfalls on the dark stone floor. She approaches the railing and rests her own forearms on it, mirroring his pose minus the cigarette.

“Are you lost?” He asks gruffly, when she doesn’t speak. “I can still order an Uber for you, if you prefer.”

“I’m not lost,” she assures him readily, the words coming easily now to her tipsy mind. “I think I was, for a while. I came a little… untethered when I realized that you were so much more than my eccentric partner that I’d somehow… come to care deeply for. I, um, got a little broken, and when I ran, I couldn’t find my way back. I got turned around in Rome and… like, my guide kinda robbed me and maybe stole a kidney or something, but when I finally made it back here– when I finally got my feet back under me and the world turned rightside up again? I’m… I’m not lost anymore, because now I’m home.”

You’re home , she doesn’t say. Isn’t ready to say.

He lifts his cigarette to his lips and takes a deep drag, the tip flaring red in the dark. She watches the crimson light, remembering the flaming eyes that had caught her in the loft. The same violent glow she had seen in her partner’s eyes when he’d held back an SUV with nothing but a bloody hand and leverage from a light pole to stop a murderous WitSec officer from escaping. 

What I saw was my partner.

A lie, at the time, but now… somehow it’s become the truth. She looks at the ancient being beside her and despite the heavy shutters and thick walls he’s placed around himself again, she can still read him because he is her partner. 

She knows him. The fact that he’s the Devil doesn’t change that. She wishes she’d figured that out sooner.

“I thought I’d found a home, once,” his quiet voice drifts to her ear on a white plume of nicotine-scented smoke.

“Detective, you saved my home.”

“This is your home, Lucifer,” she reminds him, afraid to reach out and rest a trembling hand on his arm. Unable to bear it if he were to flinch away from her. “Lux is your home, Los Angeles is your home.”

He hums noncommittally, flicking the head of ash from his cigarette. Chloe watches it dance briefly on the wind before it drifts down toward the street, dissipating out of sight. She fixes her gaze on his shadowed profile, but he refuses to meet it.

“When I asked you earlier if you weren’t comfortable having me nearby…” Chloe begins, and even from a foot away she can feel him tensing up. “You said… you wanted to be. That you wished you could be.”

He remains silent and unmoving beside her. He could be a statue, for all the response he gives.

“Do you… do you think you could be?” She tries to keep the hope under control, but she’s sure he hears it in her tone. “I want…” She trails off for a moment, suddenly unwilling to push again on the point that she wants what Rory’s parents clearly have. “I’d like to know if you think we have a chance to at least get back to where we were… before.”

“Where exactly was that, Detective?” He smirks, but there’s no humor behind it. “You’ve already got me for ten more cases, because you’re apparently still convinced you need the eggs. Which ‘before’ are we referring to, exactly? The ‘before’ where you thought I was a mostly-harmless but delusional consultant? The ‘before’ where I’m not the Devil, at least not to you? Or perhaps the ‘before’ you enjoyed before Delilah was killed and you walked into my club?”

She opens her mouth, but no sound emerges, which is fine because he’s still talking. “I’m afraid the first two are out of my particular range of abilities, but the last…” he takes another deep drag off his cigarette before snuffing it and flicking it carelessly over the railing. “Well, I can’t give you that exact before scenario, you’ll still know it’s all real. But I can easily remove myself from your personal equation. I’ve been considering relocating, anyway.”

“Relocating?” Her mind’s eye fills with the vision of the penthouse covered in white sheets, and her stomach turns to ice. “But… but what about Lux?”

What about me? Us?

“Lux runs just fine without me,” he huffs dryly. “The past few months have proven that. I can sell it, or leave it to run itself as it has been, it won’t matter in the long run.”

“I… I, um, didn’t mean any of those ‘befores’,” she says quietly, all her courage suddenly draining from her in a rush of cowardice. “I wanted to know if you thought we could at least… work on being friends again?”

“What on Earth makes you think the Devil has friends?” He scoffs, lifting the neck of his decanter to his lips and taking a hefty drink. Chloe echoes him with her bottle of water, feeling the cool liquid slide down her throat and slosh uncomfortably around the ball of ice residing in her stomach.

“You do have friends,” she asserts once she swallows. “Linda and Ella are your friends. Charlotte… the real Charlotte… she was your friend. I thought you and Dan were friends, once.” She hesitates. “You’re my best friend.”

“Really,” he barks, unamused. “That’s laying it on a bit thick, Detective, do you need a rake?”

“You’ve been my best friend for a couple of years now, at least,” she protests weakly. “I… may not have always been the best at showing that.”

“Well, now you know better, so you can rectify that mistake,” he mutters bitterly. “Linda is paid well to associate with me, and Miss Lopez, as delightful as she is, is as ignorant of the truth as you were a few months ago, so she can hardly be expected to stick around if she were to find out. And you–” she flinches, earning her a flicker of his gaze toward her as he sighs, continuing, “I’ve hurt you so many times, Detective. Don’t you think it’s best to cut your losses?”

“Having you in my life isn’t a loss , Lucifer,” she turns to him in exasperation. “I’m sorry I lost sight of who you are, but I know now that… I don’t want to lose you. I think, of all the things I’m afraid of, that’s my number one.”

He shakes his head, running his fingers through his hair and dislodging a couple wisps of pink fluff. They drift down and graft themselves to the shoulders of his Henley like particularly offensive dandruff. “You really should be headed to bed, Detective, I don’t know why we’re bothering to continue this conversation when it’s vanishingly likely you’ll remember any of it in the morning.”

“Well,” she considers for a moment. “I’ve been looking for a way to prove to you that I mean what I’ve been saying. Whatever happened to ‘in vino, veritas’?”

“In your case, the last time I saw you this wasted, it was more like ‘in vino, desiderium’, and the next morning you were horrified.” His smirk is too practiced to be genuine, so she merely responds with an eye roll. “Please do go to sleep. Rory tends to wake early, and I’m sure she’ll be excited to see you… and I’m equally certain she’ll be entirely uncaring about your pending hangover.”

“Are you really not going to sleep at all?” There’s a plaintive note in her voice that he doesn’t understand.

“If I get bored, I may have a little kip on the couch, but I’m very good at finding ways to occupy myself.”

“Do you…” she pauses, then finishes her thought, “I mean, if you wanted to go down to Lux? I mean, I’ll stay with Rory, and Patrick was asking when you were going to come down to the club earlier–”

“No.” The response is unequivocal, brooking no argument, and Chloe doesn’t try, only nodding a silent response. “I think I would like to take a shower, however. Perhaps try to remove some of this blasted down from my person. It’s worse than that bloody case with the dog. ” He stares down into the lit street below before he asks, “My shower is very quiet, Detective, would it keep you awake if I were using my en suite?”

“Of course you can take a shower, Lucifer,” she sighs, giving him a small smile. “I’m already kicking you out of your bed, I’m not going to make you go around looking like you’ve got tube worms sprouting out of your head.”

“Like… what?”

He turns to fully face her for the first time since she’s come to stand beside her, a look of abject horror on his face. She can’t help but giggle.

“I’m sorry, Trixie has been huge into marine life since her field trip to the beach to look at tide pools. They’re these… things, and the ones she showed me are… pink, and-and fluffy-looking, and…” she giggles harder until Lucifer’s expression of stark horror melts into some indefinable mix of affront, humor, and longing. Something about it tugs at her, and when she has her laughter under control, she ventures the question, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong,” he waves off her inquiry, but there’s a softness around his eyes that wasn’t there before. “How is the Urchin?”

“She’s… angry with me,” Chloe admits quietly. “Overall, she’s fine, but I, um, haven’t really been acting like myself lately, and she called me out on it. Went to stay with her Dad, and barely wants to talk to me.”

“That doesn’t seem very on-brand for your Spawn, Detective,” his brows draw together in concern. “She’s… always seemed rather a right ray of sunshine, not unlike Miss Lopez. Holding a grudge hardly seems her style.”

“She’s also too smart for her own good, sometimes,” Chloe snorts, taking another drink from her water, “her best friend has been a demon for the last three years, and she’s too old now for me to pass over her difficult questions with an extra slice of chocolate cake.”

“Yes, she’s been demanding cash from me for quite some time now, and I still owe the child driving lessons, as well,” he mutters, sounding impressed. 

They stand at the railing for a bit longer, a little closer than they had been before. Chloe finishes her water, and looks up at him. “She misses you.”

“So I’ve heard,” he chuckles darkly, “she texts me nearly every day. I’ve been trying not to encourage that behavior, but she’s incredibly persistent.”

“She’s loyal to her friends,” Chloe smiles with pride in her daughter. “She’s turning into an amazing young lady.”

“Quite a remarkable small human, indeed,” Lucifer muses. After a moment, he seems to shake himself out of his thoughts. He steps away from the railing and toward the glass door leading to his bedroom. “Well. I don’t want to keep you awake, I know you’ve had quite the long day, and I really do need my shower. Good night, Detective, I’ll try to be quick.”

“Don’t rush on my account,” she calls after him. “Falling water is like white noise for me, puts me right to sleep.”

He nods and waves his hand over his shoulder, and another giggle slips from her lips as a few more pink wisps of down trail along in his wake.

She’s not sure if she got her message across, but as she watches Rory’s bright pink fluff dance on the breeze… somehow, she doesn’t feel quite so hopeless.

Chapter Text

Lucifer stands under the pounding stream of steaming water with his palms braced against the tile and his head hanging low. It cascades down his back and thighs, doing absolutely nothing to resolve the tension holding him hostage. 

He’d had to adjust the temperature once he’d stepped into the stall, because his normal, just-short-of-boiling preference had resulted in an undignified yelp and an indignant skip backward to soothe his scalded pectorals with cooler water. 

Ah yes, the ultimate irony, the vulnerable Devil taken down with a hot shower.  

He’d found a suitable temperature with some trial and error, and a great deal of grumbling, and then he’d simply let the water wash over him, the soothing sound of it lulling him almost into a state of meditation. If the Devil were prone to such things, of course. Which he is not.

He keeps running over their conversation in his mind, like repetitive scales. He can’t find a lie… but he hadn’t detected one before, either, until he’d already been suspicious of her behavior. He huffs, blowing a spray of water from his lips and pulls his hands from the wall to run them through his hair in an attempt to dislodge any remnants of down.

Tube worms, indeed. He snorts. He’d been taken so off-guard by that odd comparison he hadn’t even made the obvious innuendo. 

Ah well, can’t win them all.

He wrenches his mind away from his temporary adult houseguest to mull over his flight with Rory. Flying had been… confusing. 

Not the act of flight, of course, that is and will always be second nature, even though he’d been without wings for nearly a decade on Earth. But the familiar sensations of it, combined with the new wonder of it that flying with Rory had brought had made it a near-magical experience. He’d managed the entire time to keep his focus on her, her joy, her excitement, her affection. Watching her experiencing flight… it was as though he was seeing it all anew, noticing things he’d long forgotten, or learned to ignore. 

It was refreshing. And a little terrifying.

He needs to find a way to get her back to her own parents, because he’s quickly becoming quite attached to the little creature. Selfish as he is, though, he can’t merely keep her . The sooner he can get her home, the sooner his own life can go back to whatever new normal he can conjure.

He sends a quick prayer to Amenadiel, telling him to hurry his holy arse up with Zaphkiel. If she can find anything out… well, he supposes every little bit of information can be useful. Maybe they’ll find something that Rory misses enough to trigger a trip home. 

He steps out of the shower, absently drying his hair with half-hearted swipes of his towel. He stands before his mirror, staring at his reflection for so long that the fog actually has time to clear from it. He doesn’t hear any movement in the flat, and he spares a moment to hope that the Detective has taken the opportunity to go to sleep. He doesn’t know how much more drunken conversation he can handle, let alone how many more inebriated assurances of her sincerity in wanting to continue their association.

He pulls on a pair of ebony silk sleep pants before shrugging into his crimson-trimmed black silk robe, thinking longingly of the days when he could just tumble into bed stark naked… and now he can’t even tumble into bed, because it’s occupied.

And not in the fun way.

He huffs a wry laugh, brushes his teeth and quietly opens the door. He hears Chloe’s breath catch from the bed, but carefully doesn’t look in her direction. Neither of them speak, and he steps quickly into the sitting room. The penthouse is dimly lit, but with his superior eyesight that hardly matters. He can hear Rory’s soft snoring from her bedroom, and he smiles warmly as he surveys the chaotic leavings of the day. 

A dinosaur puzzle on the Oriental rug. Coloring books splayed across the coffee table with crayons scattered haphazardly all around. Somehow the stuffed shark had wound up mounted atop the rearing horse statue gifted him by Napoleon, and he honestly can’t see that it detracts from the work, so he leaves it in place with a smirk. He spies the tiger’s tail poking out from under the couch and bends down to snatch it up, huffing a laugh as he finds several more toys under there that had come from the Detective’s donated hoard. 

A soft sound from the balcony snaps his head around, just in time to find not only Amenadiel, but Zaphkiel as well standing out there. 

“Well, I’ll be damned,” he murmurs to himself in disbelief. “He actually convinced her to come.”

He stands and moves toward the glass, forgetting his armload of toys until he reaches for the handle and finds his hands occupied. Amenadiel stifles a smile, and Zaphkiel’s expression holds an odd sort of fascination as Amenadiel opens the door and lets them both inside. 

“It looks like Rory had a good time today,” his eldest brother teases lightly. Lucifer rolls his eyes and deposits his colorful burden on the bar, one of the toys emitting a soft, sad squeak as another, heavier one settles on top of it. 

“Hello sister,” Lucifer nods diffidently, “I didn’t think Amenadiel would be successful in gaining your help with our little surprise visitor.”

“How often will I be able to meet a world-traveler?” Zaphkiel asks candidly. “It’s never happened before, and if you’re right… well. It’s worth the trip to find out, anyway.” Her hazel eyes appraise him seriously. “How is life on Earth treating you, Lucifer?”

“Life has been far worse before, so I’m willing to call it a win,” he replies dryly. “What exactly has Amenadiel told you about our situation?”

“That you’ve somehow wound up with a half-angel girl-child here in your dwelling that you’re trying to keep out of Raphael’s overly-curious grasp, and that you think she’s yours. Or at least, an alternate yours,” she corrects hurriedly at Lucifer’s determined look. “I haven’t needed to use my gift in a long time, using it for this is going to be fascinating.”

Lucifer glances toward his bedroom warily. He still doesn’t hear snoring, but he hopes the Detective is asleep. “Does she need to be awake for you to read her?”

“She does not,” her shining red hair shimmers in the soft firelight as she shakes her head, cinnamon and cream barred wings flexing slightly behind her. “But if her circumstances are unpleasant, she may wake anyway.”

“What kind of circumstances?” Lucifer frowns in thought. “She seems a perfectly happy child. Agreeable, even.”

“Then it’ll probably be fine,” Zaphkiel shrugs with a wry grin. “Meni said you couldn’t get much information from her because she’s so young, so I’m guessing I’m kinda your last resort. I guess I can’t blame you for that.”

“I never blamed you for telling what you saw, Zaphkiel,” Lucifer’s lip curls and he doesn’t bother to try to school his expression. “You were just fulfilling your purpose, and I never tried to hide any of my actions leading up to my Fall. The eons of silence afterward, that I blame you for.”

“Yeah…” She lifts a thin brow as the corner of her mouth twitches sadly. “I can see how that’s on me.”

“Mmhm,” Lucifer hums doubtfully. “Well, we might as well be on about it. The sooner we find out her circumstances, hopefully the closer we are to keeping her out of Raphael’s overzealous clutches.”

“Who’s Raphael?” Lucifer closes his eyes and stifles his aggrieved sigh, then answers without turning.

“One of my brothers. He’s… a bit of a scientist, and he’s very interested in obtaining the little gremlin as a testing specimen.” He feels her presence at his shoulder and his wings twitch in the ether, whether to defend himself from a potential attack, or to defend her from his sister he doesn’t know. 

“Hi,” she says warily, apparently addressing Zaphkiel. “I’m Chloe. I guess you’re one of Lucifer’s sisters, then.”

“Zaphkiel,” her muddy eyes sparkle with interest in the low light. She glances to Amenadiel, her smile widening. “Is this the miracle?”

Amenadiel nods while Chloe growls, and Lucifer can feel a looming headache. “Can we please get this over with?”

“What exactly is going on?” Chloe’s tone is sharp, and he feels her edge closer to him, her shoulder lightly brushing his upper arm. “What are you going to do?”

He steels himself and turns to face her. Her hair is mussed, her cheek still has some red lines from the pillow impressed upon it, and she looks absolutely stunning, but he doesn’t let himself get too distracted. “Zaphkiel is the angel of knowledge. She can… I suppose the most apt word is ‘read’ many things about someone with next to no effort. She’ll be able to see everything about Rory’s situation that she’s been privy to.”

“She’s going to read her mind?” Chloe asks, appalled. 

“No, Detective, she won’t see any of Rory’s thoughts or feelings. She’ll only see everything that’s been happening in her proximity. She can do it to a limited extent with objects, but she typically gets her best readings from people directly.”

“You’re a detective,” Zaphkiel says, and Lucifer rolls his eyes at her statement of the obvious. “You can think of my gift as the ability to… witness… without actually being present.”

“So you’ll just be… what, witnessing Rory’s life?” Curiosity wars with envy, and she flickers her gaze between Lucifer and his sister. “That’s… pretty useful.”

“Sometimes,” Zaph agrees, crossing her arms tightly over her chest. “It has its downsides.”

“But, Rory’s so little,” Chloe muses, her eyes clouding with thought. “How will you be able to witness if she doesn’t understand anything going on around her?”

“I’ll still be able to see,” the angel replies with utter confidence. 

“You said Rory might be in danger from your family…” Chloe finds Lucifer’s gaze and holds it. 

“Not from Zaphkiel,” he assures her. “Raphael and Remiel are the primary offenders there, and Amenadiel has convinced them to let him handle the problem for now… but time is of the essence here. If we can begin?”

She searches his eyes for a moment before nodding agreement, her fingers brushing his lightly as Zaphkiel looks on in fascination. Lucifer steps back with a quiet cough and leads the way to Rory’s room. Zaphkiel shrugs her wings away in order to fit more comfortably down the corridor, and the narrow doorway that Lucifer opens to reveal the sleeping child. 

Zaphkiel stops just inside the door, allowing her eyes an instant to adjust to the lower light as her breath catches in her throat. Hazel eyes meet mahogany and Lucifer’s mouth quirks into a smile. “They’re quite something, aren’t they?”

“They’re beautiful,” she breathes quietly, stepping closer. Rory is curled on her side, clutching her still-damp unicorn, and her wings are huddled around her in a living blanket of pink fuzz interspersed with deep vermilion quills. A quiet hiss emits from the angel of knowledge. “Pinfeathers, hm?”

“Mmm,” Lucifer hums agreement. “She’s itchy, and tetchy about the wings, so avoid them.”

“Of course I wouldn’t touch them!” Lucifer shushes his sister’s outrage with a panicked look at the girl, and Zaphkiel takes his hint, continuing more quietly, “That’s just rude.”

“I thought the warning was warranted,” he shrugs. “Amenadiel touched them without her permission, and that’s an experience I’d rather not repeat.”

Her eyes flash copper as she transfers her glare to her eldest brother, who holds up his hands in appeasement. “It was an accident! My necklace got tangled in her down and I was trying to untangle it to avoid breaking any feathers…”

“You need a shorter chain for that thing,” Zaphkiel shakes her head and sits carefully on the edge of the bed, reaching out and lightly touching the girl’s hand.

It’s only a few heartbeats later when she pulls her hand away, but when she lifts her face to them again, it’s easy for even Chloe to see in the dim light that she’s several shades paler, and badly shaken. 

“You said this girl was from another Earth!” She hisses her accusation at Amenadiel, who looks puzzled.

“From another timeline, then,” Lucifer nods, wondering what’s shaken his sister so badly. “We knew it had to be one or the other, so–”

“She’s from this timeline, this Earth, ” her voice starts to gain in volume, and Rory stirs beside her. They all freeze as her dark eyes make an appearance behind heavy lids. 

“Tee Zaffy?” she murmurs sleepily, her eyes wandering to the rest of her family in the room. “Da?”

“It’s okay, Rory, we’re leaving,” Lucifer soothes with a small smile. “‘Zaffy’ just wanted to say hello before she left.”

“Oh,” she yawns, patting her aunt’s arm affectionately. Zaphkiel gazes down at the girl, stunned at the willing contact. “Nigh-nigh, Zaffy.”

“Good night, Rory,” Zaphkiel whispers dazedly, standing smoothly as Rory slips back into sleep. Lucifer waits until everyone is out of the room before straightening her purple blanket and following them to the living room.

“I’ve never known you to make a mistake, sister, but I suppose there’s a first time for everything,” Lucifer says lightly as he crosses back to his bar. “There’s simply no way she’s from this timeline, but you’re right, it was worth a try.”

“Lucifer, I’m not wrong. I would be able to see if it were a different timeline, I know what that looks like. And a different Earth, even one similar enough to reproduce most circumstances would be immediately recognizable. She is yours .” Her gaze switches to Chloe, standing frozen near the couch. “And hers.”

“You’re sure?” Chloe rasps, sounding as though her voice is crawling over desert sand and broken glass to escape her lips. 

“I’m always sure,” Zaphkiel snaps defensively. “I… I’m sure about that , at least, but the things I saw… Lucifer, Amenadiel… I don’t know what they mean.”

“Then why don’t you tell us, and we’ll see if we can make sense out of it?” Lucifer says condescendingly. “Life on Earth can be a bit more complicated than life in the Silver City, so it would make sense that it would confuse you a little–”

“I’m not confused, you moron, I’m in shock!”  

“She’s three and a half, what could possibly shock you in her miniscule life span?” Lucifer wonders, intrigued despite himself. He pours himself a drink and pulls another bottle of water out for Chloe, placing it at the far end of the bar. “Go on then, tell us.”

“You want to know what could possibly shock me?” Zaphkiel smiles wickedly, though her eyes hold more than a hint of fear. “How about this: It’s five earth years from now, Amenadiel has a son that’s older than Rory, Dad’s gone, and you and Amenadiel are working together to take his place.”

“Be serious, sister,” Lucifer scoffs, though uneasiness is starting to coil in his gut. “We need to get this child back to her parents, we don’t have time for practical jokes.”

“What do you mean, Dad is gone?” Amenadiel bursts out, “What does that mean?”

“I don’t have the slightest idea, it happened before she was born, so I didn’t see that far,” her voice trembles, and Amenadiel pulls out a stool for her to sit. After a moment, Lucifer deigns to pour her a drink, which she takes and downs without the slightest wince at the burn. A little color comes back into her pale cheeks. “But from what I can see, you two share the duties, and… everyone I saw seemed perfectly fine with it. The Host is fine with the Devil being a co-God.”

Lucifer giggles , and Chloe and Amenadiel both shoot concerned glances at him. He’s leaning on the bar, his palms flat on the cool stone, and Chloe is eerily reminded of the moment down in Lux just before he’d taunted a rookie cop into shooting at him, then disappeared on the spot. “Lucifer?”

He continues to chuckle, the sounds becoming increasingly high-pitched until he nearly sounds as though he’s being strangled. Chloe moves to his side and carefully reaches out to cover his hand with hers. He instantly leaps away, so quickly she barely registers the movement, only that he’s suddenly on the other end of the bar. Her palm tingles from the fleeting warmth of his skin.

“Is this some trick, sister?” He growls, laughter gone in an instant. Suspicion burns bright in his mahogany eyes. “You know there is no possibility of me returning to the Silver City. You were there when I was cast out. The Host would never accept leadership from me, even with Amenadiel as a bloody co-manager!”

“I don’t know how, Lucifer, I’m sorry,” Her hazel eyes are wet, and he realizes belatedly that she’s worried about what will happen to their father. “I only know that it is. I saw that you and Amenadiel share the duties so you can both spend time with your families– congrats, bro, by the way–” she tosses a smile at Amenadiel, who is still too stunned to respond. “And Chloe here apparently helps keep both of you in line when she’s not working with the police.”

“She doesn’t know.”

Chloe looks up from her twisting fingers at the bleakness in Lucifer’s voice and finds him staring at her with dark and tortured eyes. “What?”

“She… the other you. She… she must not know. I– he– must not have showed her, you.”

“Lucifer, that doesn’t make any sense,” Chloe argues gently. “Your sister said we are Rory’s parents. Not another us, but… us. Of course she knows, because she’s me, and I know.”

“And you can just accept that, can you?” He challenges angrily, slamming his hand against the bar so they all jump in reaction. “You, who was so terrified less than two months ago that you fled to the other side of the world to escape my presence and your new understanding. You are suddenly just… fine with the idea that you somehow have a daughter with the Devil?

 “Well,” Chloe looks up at him, her eyes flicking briefly between Amenadiel, who looks uncomfortable and Zaphkiel, who looks as though she’s wishing for a giant bucket of popcorn. “Yeah. I mean… I’ve kind of been telling you that she’s ours for a couple of days now, so… yes. I’m… I mean, no, I’m not fine with it, I’m…” She sighs and rolls her head back on her shoulders, glaring at the ceiling as she gathers the strength to have this discussion with an eager audience. “Dammit, Lucifer, do you know why I changed my mind about helping Kinley?”

“I figured it had something to do with the fact that your priest murdered two innocent people and coerced a third into suicide,” he snarls, reaching for his glass. Chloe gets there first and snatches it away from him, downing it in one go with a sharp hiss. 

“Do you remember when you told me that I was the difference between when you got hurt, and when you didn’t?” She gestures with his empty glass. The alcohol still buzzing in her veins gives her courage, and her stubbornness lends her strength to meet his nearly-black gaze.

“I have perfect recall, Detective, of course I remember,” he turns away and grabs a bottle from his shelf. “What’s your point?”

“My point is that I realized, when you told me that I make you vulnerable,” she pulls in a deep breath, her eyes boring into his, “that you had been showing me for almost two years that you loved me. And I didn’t see it, because I couldn’t face the truth. Every time you bled around me, every time you stepped between me and danger, between me and Trixie and danger… you were showing us how much you loved us, and… I realized then that I wasn’t afraid of loving you anymore.”

“What.”

“Don’t pretend like you didn’t hear me–” 

“I heard you perfectly well, Detective,” Lucifer says, suddenly calm as a still pond. “I’m merely wondering when your head injury occurred, that’s all.”

“Are they always like this?” Zaphkiel murmurs to Amenadiel, awed. “I didn’t see anything like this in Rory’s time.”

“Luci,” Amenadiel chides lightly, but Lucifer waves him off with a languid hand. 

“You’re right, Amenadiel, we’re getting off topic.” He closes his eyes and straightens his shoulders, taking a pull from the bottle in his hand before setting it down on the bar with a gentle clink. “The point is that we’re no closer to returning Rory to her place of origin. We’ll have to keep trying.” 

“Are you going to just ignore what we were talking about?” Chloe hisses. He opens his eyes and looks mildly back at her, his shuttered expression only fanning her anger into tightly controlled rage until the only sound she can make resembles an angry cat. “What I just told you?”

“Yes,” he says simply, and her jaw drops. “You’ve been drinking quite heavily for you, Detective, and the last time you were drunk in my presence you threw yourself at me rather persistently, so that is exactly what I intend to do. If you wish to continue this conversation in the morning with a hangover, I shall be happy to oblige.”

“Don’t think that I won’t remember,” she warns him, eyes narrowed into furiously burning turquoise slits. Her words are still slightly slurred despite her effort to control it. He notices, smirks, and her palm itches to slap him. “We’re finishing this conversation.”

“As you wish,” he dips his head, but his eyes are lacking their usual sparkle when he’s teasing her. She glares at him for another moment before turning away, but she immediately turns back and rounds the bar to Zaphkiel, surprising the angel by giving her a brief hug. 

Everyone freezes and there’s a sharp, collective indrawn breath in the stillness of the room until Chloe pulls away. Her blue eyes are swimming with tears that are a fairly even blend of fury, guilt, and an overwhelming sadness. Zaphkiel’s wide hazel eyes lock with them, and Chloe nods, a single tear breaking free and skipping down her flushed cheek.

“Did you see?” She murmurs, and Zaphkiel nods, stunned. Chloe sniffles and nods once. “Thank you for trying to help my daughter. Will you tell him what you saw, please?”

Chloe’s eyes flicker to Lucifer and back to his astounded sister. “He doesn’t believe me, and… I can’t blame him for that, because I lied to him, and… and used his own feelings against him in probably the worst way possible. But… he needs to know. We need to move past this, and I think you can help him. Will you?”

“I’ll tell him.” Zaphkiel vows, and Chloe reaches out again and squeezes her hand before turning away and walking back into the bedroom without another word.

Zaphkiel gapes after her, flexing her hand as though Chloe’s touch had burned her. There’s the soft rustle of fabric, and then the bathroom door closes and they hear the shower start running.

Lucifer pulls in a deep breath and looks up to meet the bewildered gazes of his siblings. “What?” He snarls defensively.

“Okay, so…” Zaphkiel starts awkwardly, her delicate fingers lacing together over her crossed knee, “I know she tried to permanently send you back to Hell and everything, but… that human loves you , and if you try to walk away from that, you’re even dumber than Jophiel.”

Chapter Text

“Chloe did what?” Amenadiel breathes, his face slack with shock. His gaze flickers between his siblings while his expression begs them to tell him he’s badly misunderstood.

Lucifer glances toward his bedroom, and silently gestures his siblings toward the balcony, grabbing his bottle as he goes. Clearly, he’s going to need it. He closes the door firmly behind them and Amenadiel loses no time in pressing his query. 

“What happened between you and Chloe, brother?”

“Zaphkiel just saw it, why not let her tell it?” he snaps wearily, though honestly he isn’t sure if it would be more painful to tell it, or to hear it as Zaph had seen it. He slowly slides down the balcony railing and sits, the silk of his pajamas doing nothing to insulate him from the chill of the stone floor. His knees fold against his chest and he takes a long swig from his bottle in preparation.

“I’m asking you , Luci.” Amenadiel sits on the stone floor nearby, his baggy jeans creasing as he crosses his legs and leans forward. “You avoided the question before, but I don’t think you can anymore. Have you talked to Linda about this?”

Zaphkiel’s eyes widen slightly as she remembers Linda from both Rory and Chloe’s recollections. She says nothing, waiting to see what Lucifer will reveal. This isn’t like before , at his Hearing where she’d been required to speak about his doings. This is something entirely different, painfully personal, and she will not reveal anything he would prefer to keep hidden unless the circumstance calls for it.

“After you left for the Silver City with Charlotte, the Detective and I teamed with Daniel and Miss Lopez to go after Cain,” he spits begrudgingly. “He was aiming for you, but he was the one that shot Charlotte. We caught up to him, walked right into the bloody trap he’d laid, and the bastard shot her , Amenadiel! If she hadn’t been wearing a vest, she would have died.

His voice is ragged, and Amenadiel pales a little while Zaph leans forward. “That ham-handed arsehole set his thugs on us with automatic weapons, and the only way I could save her was… was with my wings. I shielded her, then took her up to the roof when there was a lull. I… I didn’t know she had a vest on until that moment, I… I really thought I’d been shielding her body, Brother.”

Amenadiel remains silent, but reaches out a broad hand and rests it supportively on his brother’s shoulder with a gentle squeeze. Lucifer’s dark eyes blink back at him, haunted by the memory of what comes next. “I left her there, went back for Cain. He wasn’t going to stop until he’d killed at least me. Probably both of us. I needed to protect her, and he was mortal at the time. I’d left her far enough away that I was invulnerable again. When he figured out his gun wouldn’t work, he pulled out one of Mazikeen’s blades.”

“Maze?” his brother’s brow creases in surprise, then lowers over his eyes in sadness. “I knew she was having a rough time, but to work with Cain?”

“Hmm,” Lucifer growls, taking another drink. “She’d been working with him for a while, I think. She’s the one that gaslit me into thinking I was doing Dad’s will in my bloody sleep. But apparently he betrayed her in the end as well, she swears he stole the blade from her, and she was pretty roughed up when I saw her. I put my wings away and we fought–” 

“Luci, why fold your wings away? In a fight–”

Lucifer shakes his head, making a strangled sound that might have been a laugh any other time. “I was already about to kill a human , Brother, the least I could do was make it as fair a fight as I could, eh? They were riddled with bullets, and besides, if you could best him while you were mostly human, he wasn’t going to be a challenge for me.

Amenadiel rolls his eyes briefly at his brother’s innate arrogance, but doesn’t interrupt the tale any further. Lucifer describes the fight, and his insistent need to make sure that Cain felt the guilt that he should have before he breathed his last, how he had turned with relief to face his breathless Detective and how she had responded, and what she had seen.

And how she had fled. 

How he had spent a month oscillating between losing himself in drugs and booze and playing melancholy songs either in the club or in his penthouse before she returned, under the sway of a fanatic priest, Heaven-bent to send the Devil back to Hell on an apparently permanent basis. 

How he had been stunned at her seeming acceptance of her new knowledge of him, drawn in and allowed to hope that perhaps, perhaps they had a chance at this, at being happy, at being together .

Only to have it torn from him in the spray of a shattered wineglass and a small golden vial. A murderous priest and a bevy of lies from the person he had trusted most since his Fall. Their confrontation. Her confession. Her flight, again.

He recounts all of it in a deadened monotone, interspersed with frequent pulls from his bottle. The level goes down steadily, and Amenadiel’s expression becomes darker and darker. 

“This is why you locked yourself up here?” Amenadiel gestures widely at their surroundings. “This is why you stopped seeing Linda, and withdrew from everyone? Luci… this is a situation where you need your friends the most!”

“Oh?” Lucifer barks a dry laugh. “Tell me, which friends would those be? Hm?” He lifts a sardonic eyebrow. “The psychologist, the backstabbing demon, and the forensic scientist, who all rank among my betrayer's closest friends? Her Douche of an ex-husband, who just happens to blame me for Charlotte’s death? Or my newly-returned-to-the-Heavenly-Host brother? Eh? Yes, the Devil has loads of friends at his beck and call, hasn’t he?”

He snorts to himself, taking another long drink as Amenadiel turns to Zaphkiel. “What happened in Rome?”

“She was afraid, but she was trying to learn more. She went to the Vatican,” Amenadiel nods in resignation, of course Chloe would think they would hold the answers. They, who hate the Devil above all else. “She was reading, and the priest approached her. He… he wooed her, almost, definitely courting her cooperation. They knew Lucifer was here, they knew Chloe was his weakness, and they needed her . He pressed her for two weeks before she took that vial, Lucifer,” her hazel eyes watch her brother beseechingly, but he only nods, not meeting them. “He followed her back here with the intention of performing some kind of ritual once she’d given you whatever was in that vial.”

“A roofie for the Devil,” Lucifer chuckles darkly. 

“He told her it was a sedative,” Zaphkiel says earnestly, and he believes her. The angel of Knowledge sees everything, after all, and she speaks truth, just as he does. They’ve always respected that about one another, the two of them. “But she changed her mind after you told her about… about being able to get hurt around her. She told him she wasn’t going to help him anymore.”

“That must be when he put plan B into place. Came to see me himself, warned me about her, ” Lucifer smirks, firmly squashing down the small tendril of hope that threatens to twine around his heart like a clinging vine. “So I watched her, and she was acting strangely. Kept… trying to coach me into better behavior, more human behavior. As if I’ve ever cared about any of that.”

“I think she was trying to prove to herself that you aren’t who that priest tried to convince her you were,” Zaphkiel offers, but Lucifer waves that off as speculation. Unless Chloe had confessed it directly to someone else, Zaphkiel couldn’t know just from observing her surroundings. “All right, if you don’t want to hear that, then you should at least hear this: She defended you when she turned down that priest. Told him that you’re not a monster, and that she wouldn’t hurt you. That she hoped one day, the priest sees in you what she sees.”

“And what exactly was that?”

“She didn’t say, exactly… but the look in her eyes when she said it? That was a woman that has realized she’s in love, Brother.” Zaphkiel murmurs, gentle as a summer breeze. “She knows how badly she’s hurt you, how thoroughly she’s broken your trust. You should ask your Linda to tell you how she raked her over the coals just this very evening. But Lucifer, that woman in there is no danger to you or Rory. She wants very badly to keep you in her life, and she’s only trying to work out how to prove herself to be worthy of you.”

“Worthy,” Lucifer sneers, and his siblings look at him in concern. “Come, Sister, we all know, if there’s a question of worthiness , the Detective isn’t the one who is lacking in that department. She may have betrayed me, but who am I but the great Deceiver? The Beast, hm? Surely betraying me was an act for the greater good. That’s what she believed, wasn’t it? That it was for everyone’s benefit to lock me away in Hell. She was going to protect all of them… from me.”

“And then she realized she was wrong .” Zaphkiel repeats firmly, her heart swelling as she crosses the balcony to kneel on her brother’s other side. She rests her slim hand carefully on the silk sleeve covering his forearm, avoiding skin contact as she uses the other hand to prise the bottle from his iron grip. “You heard what she told you earlier. She was afraid then, but now she’s not. She’s met Rory, and she wants that future with her. With you. Rory is your daughter, but if you don’t pull your head out of your ass soon , that beautiful little girl in there will cease to be. She will never be born, and you will lose them both all over again.”

“I don’t…” he sighs, resting his head against the glass barrier with a dull thud. His eyes search the skies for his stars, but they’re obscured by a skimming of clouds and the city lights reflecting from them. 

“You don’t what, Luci?” Amenadiel asks softly. Lucifer’s face spasms a little, a frown playing on his lips as his brows contract. 

“I don’t… know… how ,” he sounds as though the admission were being pulled from him with rusty pliers. “For Dad’s sake, Brother, you know how much I wanted her. How I regarded her. I asked you for an opinion on what I should wear to ask her to come on a date with me!”

“And then chose the exact opposite of my recommendation,” Amenadiel points out dryly. 

“It was the wrong choice,” Lucifer sniffs, flicking his eyes back to the blank skies above. “I stand by my decision.”

“You’re changing the subject, Lucifer,” Zaphkiel reminds him, squeezing his arm gently, careful not to touch his bare skin.

“I’m not.”

“Are, too.”

You said I need to pull my bloody head out of my arse and forgive the Detective,” he recaps. “I’m telling you that I want to . I want us to be… friends… again. But I don’t bloody well know how. ” He fidgets with his sleeve, locking his eyes on his fingers before grasping his knees in an anxious gesture. “I told the Doctor that… I’m all out of trust. I still feel that way. I don’t know how to… to make it better. I can’t forget. I don’t blame her for trying to be rid of me, I only… oh, for Dad’s sake , why does this feel like a sodding therapy session?”

He leaps to his feet and starts to pace his robe swishing agitatedly around his knees. “It’s not like there’s some magical switch I can flick and just suddenly fix things between us. How… how do we heal? Bloody Hell, I need to talk to Linda about this.” He sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose. “You lot are going to be bloody useless at this kind of thing.”

“She’s asked you to stay for ten more cases, right?” Zaphkiel confirms, already knowing the answer. Lucifer nods warily. “Okay. That’s your starting point. You work your cases, you re-learn each other with your new information, you re-build your trust as partners, and you can see what grows from there.”

“None of which helps us with Rory,” Lucifer suddenly stops pacing, drawing himself up short. “We need to keep her out of Remi and Raphael’s clutches. I don’t suppose your glimpse into the future gave any insights as to how they…” he sighs exasperatedly at his siblings’ pointed looks, “ fine, how we talked Remi down from confiscating our daughter?”

Zaphkiel’s wispy brows draw together in thought. “You know… I don’t recall seeing Remi. Not once, from Rory’s entire perspective.”

“Huh,” Amenadiel grunts. “I wonder if we gave her a task that keeps her in the Silver City, brother?”

“Already thinking up honey-do lists to keep our wayward siblings busy, are we, Amenadiel?” Lucifer lifts an eyebrow and Amenadiel shrugs, unrepentant. “Well, if being co-God with you is what allows Rory, and I suppose your Charlie to be safe from our siblings’ machinations, it will be well worth the hassle. We just have to figure out how to get her home.”

“I’ll think on what I’ve seen, Lucifer,” Zaph offers readily, and he glances at her in surprise. “There has to be something in what I’ve witnessed, some clue that will let us figure it out. In the meantime… repair your relationship with the Detective. Enjoy Rory’s company. And yeah, you should probably both talk to Linda more.” She shoots a sly look at Amenadiel. “I’m gonna have to meet this woman that counsels the Devil and befriends demons. She seems truly badass.”

“She is,” the two brothers agree simultaneously, then share a slow grin. 

“Chloe wants you to come back to work, Lucifer. If she calls you for a case, don’t turn it down. Amenadiel and I will protect Rory when you can’t be here, all right?” He glares stonily back at her, but she merely raises a thin brow in expectation. 

Fine,” he spits, more out of exasperation than anger. “I’ll just go off and solve murders while you two babysit my future progeny and protect her from our psychotic siblings. Nothing to worry about there, noooo.”

“I see the drama hasn’t lessened any,” she remarks in a perfectly audible aside to Amenadiel, who’s climbing to his feet beside her. 

“Oh, Father, no,” he laughs. “He wouldn’t be Luci without the drama.”

“Both of you, get off my balcony. I’m going to bed.” Lucifer turns and strides through the door, latching it firmly behind him and leaving his siblings to exit by flight. 

“Still the same old Samael underneath,” Zaphkiel murmurs with a sad smile. Amenadiel nods silently as they watch Lucifer settle his pillows and a very thick and fluffy blanket on the couch. “I’m glad to see that, Brother. It… seeing what you and he do in the Silver City together? It’s… it’s good.”

“I just wish we knew what happens to Dad,” Amenadiel frowns, but Zaphkiel only shrugs.

“Only time will tell, but I can tell you this,” she grins up at him and nudges him with her elbow. “It’s all part of His plan.”

“Don’t let Lucifer hear you say that,” Amenadiel chuckles as he unfurls his shadowy wings. Zaphkiel follows suit with her sleek russet and ivory barred pair as she glances up at the sky. 

“Are you coming home with me?”

“No,” Amenadiel smiles. “You weren’t wrong when you said we needed to talk more to Linda. I think I should stop in to see her in the morning, it’s a bit late for a visit right now.”

“You’re going to do a fly-by and see if she’s awake, aren’t you.”

“Maybe,” his grin is startlingly white in the darkness, and Zaphkiel flashes hers in return. “I’ll introduce you soon, I promise.”

“You’d better, Brother. I’m not above making my own appointment with her. I have it on good authority that she’s open to seeing Celestials as patients.”

“She’d have a field day with you, Sister.” Amenadiel laughs as she launches herself into the sky. She’s gone within a few wingbeats, and he turns one final time to see Lucifer crawling onto his couch, his back pointedly facing the wall of windows as he curls defensively into himself. 

Rory has to be the key. She’s the proof they need that they can learn to trust one another again. If we are all so similar to how she remembers us, surely this must have happened in her past as well. Now we just need to keep her safe until we can get her home… and convince Remi and Raph to leave my son…  

He grins as the words cross his mind. My son . I’m going to have a son

He spreads his broad wings and thinks of Linda as he takes flight.

*

Lucifer’s nightmare manages to wake him before he wakes Rory this time, and he’s grateful, even as he misses her soothing presence.

This time it was the vial. 

It’s not, always. Sometimes it’s Azrael’s blade. Or one of Mazikeen’s knives. Sometimes it’s nothing more Celestial or arcane than a point-blank bullet. Sometimes he’s tempted into bed and in the throes of passion, he finds a blade at his throat and blood soaking his sheets as he gasps and gurgles, drowning in his lifeblood and betrayal. Occasionally, he’s restrained and looking helplessly up at a balding, silver-bearded priest with a vial of foul-tasting fluid and a blade, while Chloe looks on with ice in her eyes and a disdainful expression, as if the mere sight of him disgusts her. 

He wakes the same as he always does; silent, heart racing, and sickened. He feels sticky with sweat, but he won’t go through the bedroom to his en suite, so he moves to the kitchen and wipes himself down with a cool towel there. He takes the towel with him as he heads back to the couch, pressing it to his heated face as he goes. As he reaches the doorway, he walks directly into the Detective.

He’s too surprised to catch her, and she hits the ground with a grunt, looking up at him with worried eyes. 

“Are you okay?” The question is quiet but urgent, and utterly ridiculous, coming from someone who’s just been knocked on her ass by the person she’s querying. “I… thought I heard something.”

“Nothing to worry yourself over,” he reaches down a clammy hand and helps her to her feet. “Did you need something?”

“Sorry,” she shrugs shyly, “Mom radar, I guess. I… um, I heard you. Rory said you were having bad dreams, and this one… sounded pretty nasty.”

“Hmm.”

“Did you… talk to Zaphkiel?”

“You’ll find that my sister is very insistent in getting exactly what she wants,” a small smile curls the corner of his lips. “And she fancied a nice long chat. How is your head?”

“I didn’t hit my head, Lucifer, I only lost my balance.”

“I meant, how is your hangover?” He asks more pointedly. “Setting in yet?”

“I drank three more glasses of water while I was in the shower, and I found some more Tylenol in your medicine cabinet.”

“Ooh, brave of you to go poking around, Detective,” he smirks. “Find anything interesting?”

“A very large baggie of miscellaneous, unlabeled tablets, oddly enough.”

“Did you try any?” He quirks a brow at her, and she rolls her eyes, huffing a reluctant laugh.

“No. I think the booze was enough for tonight, thanks.” She rubs the back of her neck, a little embarrassed, and looks up at him with concern. “Your sister told you, though? What she saw?”

“She did,” he sighs, swiping the damp cloth over his face and across the back of his neck again as he moves off toward the couch. Chloe trails after, like a pale shadow. “She made sure to give me plenty of unsolicited advice, as well. Was that in your dastardly plan?”

“‘Dastardly plan?’” she parrots with a soft laugh. “What, are we in a bad Saturday morning cartoon now? What did she say? Besides… what I did.”

“To be fair , Detective, you’d already told me what you had done,” he collapses down into the corner of the couch, where he’d been sitting the other night when they’d all watched Bones together. He pulls the blanket off the longer portion and onto himself, gesturing for her to have a seat if she chooses. “She only verified it for you, and added a few details to strengthen her argument.”

“Oh,” she says quietly, sitting on the couch just far enough away to leave a Rory-sized space between them. “That’s… that’s good. Right?”

“She volunteered to babysit Rory if you’re assigned a case,” he offers lightly, and she can’t help but perk up a bit. 

“Really?” She scoots a little closer. “Do you trust her to do that?”

“Zaphkiel and I have the truth in common,” a smile flicker across his lips. “But she’s always been far better than I about confronting it head-on. She promised to keep her safe, and I believe her, but I’ll need to hedge her ‘round a bit before I truly offer to leave Rory in her care.”

“How so?”

“Well, ‘keeping her safe’ is a fairly generic promise, and can be interpreted many different ways,” he elaborates, crossing his arms over his chest as his fingers dig into the deep pile of the furry blanket. Chloe carefully doesn’t notice how his robe gaps open a little wider over his chest at the movement. “I’ll need her to promise that she’ll keep her safe from Raphael and Remiel’s planning, for example, and that she’ll relinquish her back into my care once I return here from work.”

Chloe blinks at him blankly for a moment. “Is your entire family this way?”

“What way is that?”

“Like… having to constantly watch for betrayals and… and… stuff,” she finishes lamely, suddenly feeling like the epitome of ‘pot calling kettle’.

He considers for a moment before giving a noncommittal nod. “I suppose. Not so different from demons, really, though demons are typically more open about their treachery. I think it was Steve Irwin that said… well. Nevermind. Point being, my siblings need to be handled carefully. My demons need to be handled carefully. It’s six of one and a half-dozen of the other, so Heaven and Hell are much the same to me. I stay on guard, and it works out. Most of the time.”

“Lucifer, I’m so–” he cuts her off with an upheld palm, a look of pain flashing across his face.

“You’ve already apologized, Detective. More than once, I think. Repeat performances aren’t necessary, I assure you.” He gazes at her, eyes nothing but black pools in the darkness of the room. “I suppose, if we’re going to rebuild trust, that it’s my turn to apologize to you.”

“What?” Her breathless gasp nearly strangles her in surprise. “You didn’t–”

“I’m afraid I can’t apologize for who– for what – I am, but I… I should have tried harder to prove it to you sooner.” The admission is painful, she can tell by how his stomach clenches, his knuckles whitening within the fluff of the blanket. “I intended to show you my face last year, but I’m afraid my untimely kidnapping rather derailed that effort. Once I made my way back to you again, I tried to show you, only to find that my face had gone. Well. I couldn’t show you what I no longer possessed, could I?” he laughs, and shakes his head. “I couldn’t even… my wings were back, but… I’d cut them off just that morning, they weren’t…” he hisses in frustration at his bumbling words. “I didn’t want to show you my wings, because… well. They’re not me. They reflect the angel I was, before I became the Devil. It wasn’t an honest portrayal. Better to tell you the truth and let you keep believing that I was a delusional man than lead you to believe that I’m something else, something better.”

“Your wings are beautiful, Lucifer,” she murmurs, and he chuckles again. 

“Yes, I believe you called those replicas ‘gorgeous’ at the auction, didn't you?” He eyes her sideways, but there’s a twinkle of humor in them, and she smiles sheepishly back at him. “But my point is, they kept growing back, and I could have shown them to you at any time after that, but I didn’t want them, didn’t want to keep them, so I kept lopping them off again and again. So… I am sorry for that, Detective, if I hadn’t been so stubborn, I could have proven to you that I was other long before you ever even considered something ‘more’ with me.”

Chloe doesn’t know about that, she’d considered something more with him months before he’d been kidnapped and left in the desert, only to come back with a crazy story about being kidnapped by his father.

“Apology accepted,” she replies instantly, and he turns to face her in surprise. She licks her lips, considering for a moment before she continues. “I get wanting to show someone only certain sides, you know? I mean… usually it’s only wanting someone to see the best sides… but… I guess with your history, I can kind of see wanting to show someone the worst, especially when they already seemed to see the best.”

“Oh, Detective, I assure you, you never saw me at my best,” he smirks, but there’s no heat behind the flirtation, no real intent. 

“I think I saw more than you realize,” she challenges, lifting her chin. Lucifer raises a brow in query, and she continues, “I saw how much you cared for Delilah and wanted to find her killer. I noticed how pleased you were the first time somebody at work brought you a coffee, and it was just how you liked it– minus the whiskey– and how much effort you put into learning everyone’s favorites after that so you could surprise them back. I know you did something to Trixie’s bully that scared that little monster straight. I watched you make friends with a rock-and-roll priest, and I saw you grieve his loss deeply. I’ve seen how many times you’ve indulged Ella with her hugs and excitement over her hobbies, and I noticed how adorable you were when you and Dan were bonding over those ridiculous action movies–”

“Those movies are cinematic gold , Detective, and you shall not besmirch them!” He protests, and she laughs, shaking her head. 

“I guess my point is, maybe you are the Devil,” he pulls in a deep breath and nods slowly, but she continues, “but that means that the Devil is just… you.”  

“Hangover settling in, is it?” he chuckles, “Back to talking nonsense?”

“Lucifer,” she chides gently, “I don’t know how I would have reacted if you’d been able to show me your face in other circumstances. I… it’s a lot , and I’ve already told you why it’s a lot, and it’s not all about you , you know that, right?”

He hums quiet agreement, and she edges a little nearer. “I couldn’t believe you before, about who you are. But I do now. I’m ready to listen to anything you want to share, okay? We’re… we’re in this together, for Rory, right?”

He doesn’t seem to move, but she knows somehow that she’s said the wrong thing by how he’s stiffened beside her. 

“For Rory,” he murmurs, as though to himself. “Of course. For Rory.”

What did I say? He's pulling away again. 

A yawn ambushes her then, and a wave of exhaustion washes over her. 

“I think you’d best get some rest, Detective.”

“Your bed’s too far away,” she grumbles, leaning against the back of his couch with a groan. 

“Are you going to run me off my couch now, as well?” he teases, reaching across the distance between them and prodding her gently in the ribs with his index finger. 

“It’s a big couch!” she whines playfully. “And comfy.”

“Fine,” he replies tartly. “Then you can have my pillow,” he pulls it from behind him and plops it down next to his hip as she slowly slides down into it, “and my blanket,” he stands and flaps the thick blanket so it drapes perfectly over her, “and my couch.” He steps away with a subservient bow and a playful smile. “And I shall reclaim my bed for the remainder of the evening. Good night, Detective.”

“G’night, Lucifer,” she murmurs sleepily, letting his scent surround her pleasantly as she watches his silk-clad back disappear up the stairs to be swallowed in the darkness of his bedroom. “See you tomorrow.”

*

Chloe wakes in the morning with the full glare of the Los Angeles sun blasting into her throbbing retinas, and all she can do is hide under the blanket and whimper for a moment. The pounding subsides a little with the reintroduction of the insulating darkness, and she searches her mind for any tell-tale blank spots. 

Rory really is hers , just not yet. She’d had a couple of good talks with Lucifer, aired out some things, and brought a few more to light, to be addressed later. She reluctantly concedes that he was probably right to delay some of those subjects until she was sober. Zaphkiel seems like she could be an ally. Rory had seemed happy to see her, at least, so that bodes well for the future. And Lucifer will be God? Well, co-God, but… Wow. It's a lot to take in. 

She slowly peeks out from her cocoon, letting her itchy, red-rimmed eyes slowly adjust to the blazing light. 

Why are there no curtains in here? I know he can afford curtains, he’s got them in the bedroom!

The bedroom. She glances in that direction, the drumbeat of her heart ringing dully in her ears. She wonders if Lucifer had any more nightmares last night while she’d been passed out. Carefully, she sits up, trying not to jostle her fragile skull. 

Tylenol. He has Tylenol in there.  

She gingerly climbs to her feet and makes her way to the bedroom in search of the Hangover Holy Grail. When she climbs the stairs, her breath catches in her throat at the sight before her. She’s seen it before, but now, with the morning light washing over it (gently, because of the Goddamn curtains) , it seems much more ethereal. Otherworldly. And utterly perfect.

The sheets are askew, just the way she left them, because who needs sheets when you have wings, apparently. He’s curled on his side, brilliant white wings spilling across the expanse of amber silk, and two dark shocks of wild, curly hair are just visible over the leading edge of the uppermost wing. Rory’s left wing seems to be curved at an uncomfortable angle, it’s crossed above Lucifer’s, and curls tightly over the bow, but when Chloe approaches to see if she should reposition it, Rory looks utterly content in sleep. She looks more closely, and notices that the pinfeathers look slightly different today, with a waxy sheen to them. She wonders what that means, and makes a mental note to ask Lucifer about them later. Hopefully it’s nothing detrimental.

She reaches out and tenderly runs her fingertips along the leading edge of Rory’s wing, marveling again at the softness of the downy plumes. The girl snuggles closer to her father, and his arm tightens a little around her waist, drawing her closer. Rory twitches her wing in sleep, yanking it out from under Chloe’s gently questing fingers and suddenly there’s a very different feel under her fingertips.

Chloe freezes, because now she’s touching Lucifer’s wing, and her eyes flicker to his face to find his gaze trained blearily on her. She can’t move, she’s locked in place with an apology on her lips when his eyes come into almost-focus, and he gives her a sleepy little smile that sends her heart stuttering into motion again. 

His wing flexes under her hand, and his feathers feel like shifting, sun-warmed silk. Dazed, she pulls her hand away, mouthing her apology. Heavy lids droop down over his gaze once more, and Rory snuggles closer against him. Chloe feels a stab of envy as his wing lifts to shield both of them automatically from the harshness of the morning light that is still ruthlessly drilling into the very back of her skull. 

Nevertheless, she doesn’t move, standing in shock, fingers tingling and heart pounding for another long moment before the throbbing in her head becomes undeniable, and she continues her weary way to the bathroom for the bottle of Tylenol. 

Chapter Text

Two mugs of coffee later (and 3 caplets of Tylenol, label instructions be damned), she feels slightly more human, if also slightly grungy for wearing the same outfit for the second day. She’ll need to stop by her apartment at some point today and pick up some changes of clothes.

She’s starting to worry a little when she finally hears some rustling coming from Lucifer’s bedroom. She tries to think of something to say… ‘Sorry about touching your wings, I promise I didn’t mean to?’ ‘Did Rory hear you have another nightmare last night?’ ‘So, uh, your feathers are super soft, is that, like an all-angel thing, or just you, or…?’

She sighs. It’s too early for this.

It’s not her tousle-haired, black silk robe-clad partner that exits the room, though, but an adorably disheveled Rory. She’s wearing Lucifer’s mutilated blue shirt again, and her hair is an absolute mess of loose, unruly curls infused with pink fuzz. She sits down on the steps and scoots carefully down them, her wings dragging along the floor before she regains her feet and pads into the kitchen. Her face lights up when she spies her mother sitting at the bar nursing her coffee. 

“Mommee!” She says joyfully, though far more quietly than Chloe would expect of an excited toddler. “You here!”

“I’m here, baby,” she slides off the stool, and welcomes the girl in for a hug. “Did you sleep okay?”

“Uh-huh,” she nods, rubbing the back of her hand over her eyes. “Da bad dweam again.”

Chloe nods understandingly. “Do you take care of your Da a lot?” she asks, suddenly worried that a child so young seems to feel such a heavy burden of responsibility for a parent. She’d felt that way with her mother, and certainly doesn’t want that for her daughter. 

Her daughter . She can't keep the grin from her face as she revels in the new evidence that she and Lucifer really do have a chance at a beautiful, happy, loving future together. She just has to figure out how they get there. 

“We take care of us, Mommee,” Rory, oblivious to her mother's train of thought, narrows her eyes and her wings fluff and flex aggressively. “Aww of us.”

“You’re right, Rory,” Chloe gentles her smile, proud of her daughter’s fierce protectiveness. “Family takes care of each other, always. But it’s our responsibility to take care of you first, okay? You don’t have to worry about your Da. He’ll be okay.”

The girl watches her with a skeptical expression for a long moment before she relaxes a little, shoulders sloping into a more relaxed posture and her wings drooping slightly. “Hungee, Mommee.”

“I was just thinking about making us some egg sandwiches. Does that sound good?”

“Yaaayyyy!” Rory’s celebration thrums painfully through Chloe’s inflamed brain and she fights not to wince in front of her observant daughter. “I hep??”

"You want to help, huh?” Chloe picks her up and sets her carefully on the stool, waiting until Rory flares her wings a bit for balance before removing her steadying hand. “How about this: Once I toast the bread and cut the circles out, you eat the circles for me? Then, when we’re ready to put the cheese in, you can do that part?”

“Otay,” Rory agrees after considering the offer for a moment. Chloe smiles and rummages through the pantry until she finds the loaf of Hawaiian bread that Lucifer had purchased the other day, then locates his toaster, which is distressingly shiny for her weary eyes. A few minutes later, and Rory is happily munching around the edges of her circular toast cut-outs like an enormous winged mouse, and Chloe is starting to fry the first couple of sandwiches.

Lucifer appears in the doorway a little while later, wingless and distractedly running his fingers through his wild curls. Chloe tries not to feel disappointed at the disappearance of the wings. She wonders if he leaves them out when he’s here alone, or here alone with Rory… if he’s only tucking them away now because she is here and she isn’t to be trusted.

But he’d seemed so relaxed earlier, when he’d woken to find her touching them… Not just relaxed, he’d smiled so sweetly.

He was also more than half-asleep, Decker, don’t read so much into that.

She smiles tentatively up at him as he descends the steps, and he must see something telling in her expression, because a wicked smirk crosses his expression. 

“I see last night’s libations caught up with you after all, eh?” he murmurs, taking pity on her still-pounding head. “Has Rory been kind to you?”

“Mmhm,” she nods, carefully flipping her current sandwich, and wondering if she should add another. She glances over at Rory, happily munching on hers, and at the stack on the plate beside the stovetop, and decides that what she has should be enough. She slides the sandwich onto the pile and adds some bacon to the pan as Lucifer crosses to the coffeemaker and starts preparing himself a mug, humming under his breath. She notices him checking her own mug, and isn’t surprised at all when he refreshes it without being asked, proceeding to doctor it for her perfectly. 

The sheer domesticity of the scene suddenly blindsides her, and she quickly closes her mouth, worried she’ll say something to destroy this precious illusion of them as a family. She finds herself wondering what their usual morning routine would become, then wrenches herself back to the present. The present, because the future is still uncertain until she can manage to earn her partner’s trust back again. She bites her lip, scooting the bacon around the pan to keep it from sticking until it’s done cooking. She piles the steaming slices of hickory-smoked goodness onto a plate and sets it on the bar with the sandwiches, noticing that Lucifer has relocated her coffee mug to the place setting beside Rory. 

The ghost of a smile flickers across her lips, but she turns away to start cleanup, stopped by a small hand patting her elbow. “Mommee, you eat wif us!”

“Yes, Detective,” Lucifer agrees with a little glint in his eye, “You cooked, I can clean up. Come and eat before everything is cold. You can tell me what you have planned for today.”

She does. She doesn’t really have any plans for the day, other than checking in with Trixie, but she’s hoping to just spend the day with Lucifer and Rory. Maybe see if she can get some more information from Rory, and further her conversation with Lucifer.

Can she fold them away right now?” Chloe asks in concern, when Rory grimaces over her shoulder at her wings, aborting yet another movement to scratch at her feathers. “I mean… would they be any less uncomfortable if she did?”

“Itchy, Mommee,” Rory reminds her, pouting, and Lucifer’s sympathetic smile causes Chloe’s insides to do a little tapdance.

“I know they’re itchy, baby,” Chloe reaches out and smooths Rory’s loose curls before transferring her questioning gaze to Lucifer. “The pinfeathers look different today.”

“Mm,” he agrees around his mouthful of coffee-laced whiskey. “I noticed that last night, or rather this morning, I suppose, when she crawled into bed with me. Again.”

“She said you were having more nightmares,” Chloe offers quietly, looking up at him through her lashes. He shoots a mildly accusing glare at the girl, who merely looks worriedly back at him. “Lucifer, have you talked to Linda about them at all?”

“Didn’t you already ask me that?” He huffs, exasperated. “I’m the Devil , Detective, honestly, I think I can deal with a few measly dreams.”

“I know you can, Lucifer,” she murmurs, reaching across the narrow bar and resting a hand on his. “What I’m saying is, you don’t have to deal with them alone . I get that you’re not ready, that you might never be ready to confide in me again, but you have friends you can talk to, okay?”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” he replies vaguely, shrugging off her concern and her touch with an uneasy expression. “As for the pinfeathers, the change is likely from the keratin sheath starting to loosen. When it starts to crumble off, I’ll be able to teach her how to do a full preening, if she doesn’t already know.”

“I know how!” Rory erupts indignantly.

“Yes, you did a marvelous job with my wings the other night, Imp, but it’s a little different when we’re dealing with pinfeathers, and I’ll show you what I mean when they’re ready.” Rory narrows her eyes at him suspiciously, but subsides when he chuckles and gestures at her breakfast. “Best finish that before it gets cold. Your mum may have other things to do today than simply pass time with us.”

“You go work?” Rory asks her with pleading eyes. Chloe smiles at her, but just as she opens her mouth to answer, her phone alerts. Lucifer snorts a laugh as he recognizes the ringtone. 

“I have a feeling your weekend off just got postponed, Detective.” He smirks at her, but his eyes hold a twinkle of humor, and she recognizes that his teasing isn’t laced with bitterness, but something like nostalgia. 

He misses working cases, too. Another small tendril of hope cracks its seed casing and sprouts tentatively in her heart. Does he just miss the challenge, or does he miss working with me?

“You mean our weekend off, don’t you?” She asks dryly, “You said both Amenadiel and Zaphkiel were willing to watch Rory while you work, right?”

“Ooooh, so we weren’t quite blackout drunk, eh?” His tone is gentle, but Chloe bristles defensively. 

“I remember… well, I think I remember everything we talked about, Lucifer,” she snaps, modulating her tone quickly when she sees a flash of concern in Rory’s expression. The girl is watching them both closely, her little brow wrinkled in concentration, and Chloe fights back a laugh at her head tilt. She looks exactly like her father with that expression. “And we can talk more about all of it later, just… let me see what this case is first. I’m supposed to be off work, but I am technically on-call.”

“Of course,” he gives her a deep nod and stands, taking his plate and Rory’s now-empty one over to the sink. Chloe looks down at her untouched sandwich and sighs, smashing a piece of bacon into her mouth in frustration, which makes Rory giggle. 

She pulls out her phone and yes, it’s a new case notification. Apparently Mueller is out with a stomach bug, and she was next on the roster. She skims the scant details in the e-mailed case file. 

“Hm,” she mutters under her breath.

“An interesting one, then,” Lucifer comments, “at least you won’t be bored.” 

“Vic was found soaking wet in his driveway, next to his rare classic car,” Chloe offers, and watches his head tilt her direction in attentiveness. “Want in?”

“As much as I enjoy rare automobiles, someone should stay with the gremlin, and I don’t know that Zaphkiel will be available on such short notice.” Rory had slipped off her stool and toddled over to Lucifer’s side. She reaches up now and tugs on his robe. He looks down at her, lifting a curious brow.

“You ‘n Mommee goin’ work?” 

If she calls you for a case, don’t turn it down. Zaphkiel’s advice rings in his mind like a gong, and he grits his teeth in frustration. 

“Your mum has to go, but I can stay with you if you prefer.” Lucifer says quietly. Chloe tucks her bottom lip between her teeth, waiting to see what the girl will say. “Otherwise, you’ll have to stay with your dreadfully boring Uncle Amenadiel, with no little Charlie to play with.”

Now that’s just fighting dirty, Chloe thinks to herself, but can’t contain a small smile at her partner’s obvious attempt to get Rory to choose him to stay with her.

“You gotta keep Mommee safe!” She looks up at him entreatingly, dark eyes wide and worried. He wonders suddenly if the Chloe of the future has been injured during Rory’s lifetime, for her to be frightened of something like this happening. 

“Your mother is very capable of taking care of herself, Rory,” Lucifer points out gently, and Chloe again feels the surge of warmth at the way he supports her abilities, though it’s immediately somewhat squashed by the fact that he’s trying to use it as a cover to get out of assisting her on this case.

“Mommee’s good,” Rory agrees vehemently, “ together you better! You be carefoo!”

His eyes find Chloe’s, and she lifts her chin, victorious. He huffs a low chuckle, and shakes his head in defeat. “Fine. I’ll pray to Amenadiel. Perhaps I can arrange for some costumes for you both and you can stage a tea party with him, Rory.”

“Don’t wike tea,” she pouts, and now Chloe does let herself laugh. 

“Just as well,” Lucifer shrugs easily, as Rory trots into the living room, presumably to work on her puzzle some more. “I would have wanted a photo anyway, and I doubt those stubby little fingers of yours can accurately operate a camera, Imp.”

“How about I run home for a shower and change while you get Amenadiel here and briefed on how to care for Rory, then I come pick you up when I’m done?”

“I’m perfectly capable of meeting you at the scene, Detective, just provide me with the address–”

“Nuh-uh,” Chloe cuts him off, smugly adamant. “ Beginning to end, you’re with me. That means you ride with me to and from crime scenes and to question witnesses and suspects.”

“As you wish,” he doesn’t turn away from the sink, but she can see by the curve of his cheek that he’s smiling. A thought occurs to her, and she blurts it out before she thinks twice.

“Maybe we can see if Trixie wants to have lunch with us?” Now he does turn, both brows lifted in surprise this time. “I mean, she misses you, and… you seemed like you kind of missed her when we were talking last night?”

“Does she–” his voice cracks, and he coughs lightly. “Detective, the Urchin, does she… know? What I am?”

“She knows you’re her friend,” Chloe asserts, staring back at him and daring him to refute it. “She knows you’re my partner. Beyond that… I don’t think she cares, Lucifer. She’s been best friends with a demon for the past 3 years, and I’m sure that Maze has told her things that I don’t even want to think about.”

“But…” confusion creases his brow, and… yes, there’s the head tilt, “she was with you , when you fled.”

“Oh,” Chloe sighs. Right, that. Mother of the Year, here I come. “Well, I didn’t take her with me to do my research. I, um, let her stay at the hotel and play with some kids there. She, um… she had a lot of fun, but she didn’t like it when I wouldn’t tell her what I was doing all day during our vacation.”

“You said she was angry because you’d been acting strangely… and wouldn’t talk to her,” Lucifer nods in understanding. 

Well. If I can help the Detective mend her relationship with the Urchin before this is over, all the better. It’s my fault it’s broken, anyway.

“Shall I text her while you’re getting ready, Detective?” he offers, a small smile playing on his lips. She nods, knowing that the invitation will be greeted with excitement if it comes from him. “Very well, I’ll see what I can arrange while I’m waiting for Amenadiel to arrive. You’d best be on your way, then, don’t want to be late for your case.”

“Our case,” she corrects him with a sly smile, and this time his smirk sparks a light in his eyes. 

“Our case,” he agrees, a small burst of warmth igniting in his chest.

*

He manages to shower, complete his grooming routine, dress, then get Rory dressed and still text with the Detective’s ridiculously excited offspring for twenty minutes by the time his brother finally arrives. Rory had seen her mother off with little more than a cheerful, “‘Bye, Mommee!” with a kiss and hug before going back to lecturing her plush Unicorn about the hazards of hot tubs, and safety precautions for the future as she uses a toy hairbrush to sort out the sadly matted mane and tail. Lucifer listens to her nonsensical rules and advice, managing to hide his smile. It sounds as though she has a similar plushie in her time– Could it be the same one?– that has had a similar mishap. Or mishaps. He’s a bit unclear on that, but he doesn’t ask for details.

The elevator chimes, and Amenadiel greets him with his standard aplomb. “Good morning, Luci. It’s good to see you’re taking Zaphkiel’s advice to heart!”

“Well, I do have ten cases to fulfill,” Lucifer shrugs, putting on an air of nonchalance. “May as well get started now rather than later. This one apparently has a lovely classic car as a witness… Miss Lopez was incredibly excited.”

“Unca Meni!” Rory cries excitedly, trotting up to him with arms lifted in the now-familiar demand to be lifted. She’d agreed to fold her wings away a little earlier, so her awkward uncle doesn’t have to be overly careful when he lifts her into his arms for a hug. “We pway today!”

“I’m really excited to get to play with you today, Rory,” Amenadiel assures her, shooting daggers at Lucifer’s mischievous grin. 

“I tried to talk her into a costumed tea party with you, Brother, but you’re in luck– apparently she doesn’t care for tea.” Lucifer snickers at Amenadiel’s wide-eyed expression, and he pats him soothingly on the shoulder as he brandishes the somewhat crumpled paper he’d obtained from Ella after Rory had so mysteriously appeared. “Here is the list of tips and tricks on young human care that Miss Lopez provided for me. I found them very helpful, so I’m sure you’ll be able to glean something useful from them as well. I’ve got my phone, so I’m only a text and a wingbeat away, I’m sure the Detective will release me from this case if something happens with Rory, she’s… quite attached to her, it seems.”

“She’s her daughter, Luci, of course she’s attached,” Amenadiel rolls his eyes, and Rory giggles lightly at his expression. “Don’t even try to tell me you’re not.”

“Well, unlike some angels, I can’t lie,” Lucifer scoffs, fiddling with his cuffs, his lips pursing briefly in displeasure. “I’ve already admitted that I care for her, but that doesn’t change the fact that I need to remain focused on getting her home. The Detective agrees with me on that, but now she’s… ah.” He brushes his hands over his jacket, smoothing imaginary wrinkles. “Nevermind.”

“She’s what?” Amenadiel queries curiously, before he’s distracted by Rory wriggling to be let down. The elevator chimes, and Lucifer’s face lights in relief at his reprieve from questioning.

“She’s here!” He crows delightedly, spurring a grin on Chloe’s face as well. “Detective, you could have texted me when you were close, I could have met you downstairs!”

“Mommeeee!” Rory cries joyfully as she bounds energetically across the room, as happy to see her mother as a labrador whose owner has left the room for five minutes. 

“I wanted to see Rory again anyway,” Chloe smiles as she approaches, and he notices she has a small duffel slung over her shoulder. She scoops up the girl and settles her easily on her hip in a tight hug, tickling her lightly to make her giggle. “And… I thought I could drop off some things? Since I’m working this case now, I should have my days off once we’ve closed it, or at least once the initial investigation is over, and I thought…”

“Yes, you thought that Rory would appreciate having you here.” He eyes her speculatively for a moment, his expression softening as he watches Rory burrow into her shoulder. “I’ll take the bag for you.”

“Thanks, Lucifer,” she murmurs as she hands him the bag, her fingers brush his and linger when he grabs the strap, and he realizes she isn’t just thanking him for taking the burden from her. He gives her a small smile, and she greets Amenadiel as he carries it into the bedroom.

When he returns, they’re both listening raptly to a story that Rory is telling involving her shark and the pony statue. He wonders if it has anything to do with why he found the shark mounted upon it the other day, and makes a mental note to ask the Detective to relay it to him later, because he’s been curious about it ever since.

“Ready now?” He asks briskly, rubbing his hands together and not at all surprised to find that he’s looking forward to solving this case. With her. Chloe nods and busses a kiss to Rory’s cheek, making her giggle again as she lowers her to the floor. “Remember what I said, Brother, I’m only a text away.”

“I won’t forget, Luci,” Amenadiel gives him a pointed look, and he understands that his brother means to address their aborted conversation with him later. 

Bollocks. Well, if the Detective is planning on extending her stay, he’ll just have to wait a bit longer, anyway.

Chloe glances between the two curiously, but doesn’t ask until the doors of the lift have closed them into the carriage. Rory had insisted on a hug and a kiss from her Da, as well, and a slightly embarrassed Lucifer had complied. Chloe thought she’d never seen anything more adorable than the shy way he kissed her cheek, and she compares it mentally to the easy way he’d had with her the night before, when he hadn’t realized he’d had an audience. 

The one time he doesn’t perform better for an audience is when he’s with people he cares about, she realizes with a spreading warmth in her chest. That’s where the real him truly shines through.

“So, what was that about, with Amenadiel?” Curiosity wins out, and she turns to him, wondering if he’ll answer.

“Siblings,” Lucifer groans theatrically. “Be glad you’re an only child, Detective, truly. He was pressing for an answer to a question, and you saved the day, riding in like a knight with a shining elevator.”

“Hm,” she considers for a moment before letting the matter drop… for now. “Did you talk to Trix?”

“At length,” is his long-suffering answer, and she barks a laugh at his over-the-top aggrieved tone. “She’s very excited about lunch, even after I told her I wouldn’t be caught anywhere near a Chuck E Cheese.”

“How do you even know what a Chuck E. Cheese is?” Chloe wonders aloud.

“Hell loops,” he replies simply, “They’re teeming with them, and they’re vile.”

“There are kids in Hell?” Chloe gasps, horrified.

“What?” Lucifer looks quickly at her, alarmed. “Oh. No. Well, I mean, there are a very few incredibly disturbed younger souls down there, but…” he shudders, and there’s no hint of theatricality in the gesture. “Let’s just say they’re right where they should be, hm? But no, the disgusting play place is in many a hell loop of parents and employees alike. It’s deeply disturbing.”

Chloe’s never been in a Hell loop, obviously, but she has been in a Chuck E. Cheese, and… she can only imagine what kinds of horrors could be played out in that setting. She sets aside the disturbing thought of children dark enough to disturb even the Devil for perusal later. Right now… right now they need to focus on the case, and rebuilding their trust in one another. 

It should be like slipping back into a favorite jacket, right?

In some ways, it is. It feels good to have him back in his familiar place at her shoulder, a mere half-pace behind her. To have him sitting beside her, filling the passenger seat with his larger-than-life presence. But the familiarity is often jarred by the dissonance of odd new behaviors that have the stain of sadness on them, speaking of an ending , rather than a rekindling.

A slight pause after his lips part, as he reconsiders what he was about to say. The amused twinkle fading from his eyes as a teasing remark lands wrong. The constant, nagging certainty that a single wrong word will jeopardize everything that she’s so fiercely working for. She catches him watching her a time or two, and she thinks she sees a hint of that longing in his eyes, too, but it’s hiding behind a wall of hurt, and she doesn’t know how to breach it.

She hears him breathing in deeply behind her as she’s reciting the facts of the case from the file she’d been provided. When she turns to glance at him, his eyes are closed, a melancholy little smile on his face. “What’s that look for?”

”Nothing really,” his eyes pop open, and the tinge of sadness is wiped deliberately away as he widens his smile. “Just… taking in the case. Appreciating your total command of all the boring details. Please, do go on.”

She narrows her eyes in suspicion, but his gaze doesn’t waver and she goes back to her recitation, feeling more than hearing the contented sigh behind her as he holds the crime scene tape up for her to cross. 

“Miss Lopez!” He carols happily, only grunting a little when the tiny scientist accosts him with an enthusiastic embrace. “So good to see you again!”

“You know, you’d see me a lot more often if you’d come back to working cases again!” She scolds lightly, glancing with bright curiosity between the partners. “How’s Rory? Any closer to finding her family?”

“Family located,” he assures her wryly, and Chloe nearly chokes. “Now we just need to work out how to get her back to them in a… timely manner.”

“Oh, hey, that’s great news!” Ella celebrates by hugging him tighter before he pries her off his person with a warm smile and an awkward pat to the shoulders. “Did they say how they got separated? Was she kidnapped or something?”

“Or something sums it up quite nicely, I think,” he prevaricates. His gaze drifts past his friend and lights on the car in the driveway obscuring the body from the view of the lookie-loos gathered around. “Oh, my Dad! Is that…”

“Uh-huh,” she replies smugly. “A Mercedes 300SL Gullwing. You do not see many of these babies around.”

“I should say not,” Lucifer purrs, circling the car appreciatively. “Freshly washed, too. What a beauty.”

“Mmhm, he had his own carwash equipment for it and everything,” she gestures to the machinery sitting unobtrusively on the wet stone of the driveway. “In fact, it’s the murder weapon.”

“He was killed with a power washer?” Chloe asks, brow furrowing in surprise. 

“Yup, the killer jammed the nozzle down his throat and just blasted him . Poor guy literally drowned in his own driveway.”

“Goodness, someone thought our victim was quite dirty, indeed,” Lucifer glances down curiously at the sprawled and still-soaked body as Ella gives the victim’s details. He turns to the crowd, looking around in interest before approaching a pair talking to one of the uniformed officers taking preliminary statements.

Ella watches him go from the corner of her eye, and notices Chloe watching him as well. 

“Did you guys finally talk, then?” She can’t help but ask. “Did you come to the scene together?”

“Ella,” Chloe scolds lightly, but her friend only stares unabashedly back at her, waiting. “I picked him up, okay? I’m… we’re going to try to… to see if we can work together again. Okay? That’s… we have to start there.”

“Where’s Rory, then?” Ella turns to accept a phone zipped into an evidence bag, but keeps part of her attention on Chloe’s answer as she thumbs the screen to life and starts browsing the contents.

“Lucifer’s brother is watching her while we’re working.” Chloe’s lips quirk as she remembers Amenadiel’s slightly panicked expression as he’d realized he would truly be alone with the toddler most of the day, but it evaporates quickly when it segues into a mental picture of Lucifer’s initial reaction to Rory’s appearance.

He must have been so confused, and he didn’t have anyone to turn to. Thank goodness for Ella.

“So, according to one of the neighbors, the killer was asking about the value of the car,” Lucifer claps his hands, childishly excited to have something to contribute. “Why leave it here, then? Once the deed was done, why not just take it?”

“I think I’ve got an answer for you,” Ella chimes in. “Turns out Derek, our vic here, was a collector of vintage cars… and it looks like he just won a big one at a private auction. Check out these messages he was receiving from the guy he outbid.” She holds out the bagged phone, and Chloe takes it, squinting to read the display in the bright Los Angeles sun. 

“‘I’m killing you. Before you pick up that car, you’ll be dead.’” She reads off the message, then looks up to find Lucifer leaning over her shoulder.

“Well, this is promising!” His eyes glint with excitement for the hunt, but Ella shoots it down.

“Nah, the messages are anonymous,” She shakes her head, taking the phone back into her possession and maneuvering to another screen and holding it up again. “But according to this, Derek was supposed to get possession of the car at the MME collector’s event later this morning.”

“MME?” Chloe asks, before she’s distracted by the intense interest suddenly emanating from the Devil at her shoulder. 

“Mmhm,” Ella nods absently, “Malibu Motor Enthusiasts. Uber exclusive, even I can’t get in there, and I know my cars. Plus, they're just shady and gray market enough that if you show up to serve a warrant, they will literally stall you at the door while everyone scatters.”

“So, then, how do we get in?” Chloe groans at the unexpected complication.

“Oh, the only way is to show up with your own set of vintage wheels,” Ella grins, then her gaze slides up to meet Lucifer’s. “That's how they know you're in the club.”

“Why, Detective, I think I have just the thing we need,” he purrs.

Chapter Text

“Lucifer!”  

Mazikeen’s enraged shout echoes through the parking garage at Lux, and Lucifer groans internally. The Detective had warned him last night when she’d arrived at the penthouse that Maze was going to pull information from Eve about Rory, but he’d foolishly hoped that he wouldn’t be in the Detective’s vicinity when the demon finally caught up to him. 

Even when he’s invulnerable, her punches still hurt, and letting her land a few punches is always the best way to calm her down quickly. He won’t be able to do that with Chloe nearby. He turns, placing himself between the approaching demon and the Detective.

“Mazikeen,” he parrots back dryly. He spies Eve fluttering anxiously behind Maze, her delicate hands clasping and unclasping nervously in the gauzy fabric of her emerald sundress. “We’re working, is it important?”

“Working, huh?” She sneers, stalking closer. “Looks like you’re about to go joyriding in your Aston to me. Thought you had a kid you were supposed to be protecting.”

“Then I suppose it’s fortunate that ‘Meni Poppins’ was available for childcare duty, isn’t it?” Lucifer smirks, and Maze stops dead, arresting all movement entirely as she processes his statement. 

“You’re letting Amenadiel watch your kid?” A gleeful, malicious grin sparks and spreads like wildfire across her face. “Oh, I am gonna have so much fun with that. How the Hell did this happen, anyway?”

“Why do you care , Maze? You keep reminding me that I’m not your problem anymore, so why are you so interested in my… visitor?”

“Because you’re keeping her secret, duh,” Maze snarls, and Lucifer hears Chloe huff in exasperation behind him. “I am so done with everyone keeping things from me!”

“Do you think the fact that everyone keeps things from you might have something to do with your tendency to overreact to revelations– with sharp, pointy objects?” Lucifer lifts a brow at the karambit demon blade she’s twirling aggressively on her index finger. Maze tightens her grip and her lip curls in a sneering response. “We’re just trying to get her back to where she comes from, there’s no need for you to be involved. You’re already doing quite enough by helping Eve learn about modern-day life. You don’t even like children, Maze, except for the Detective’s spawn.”

“Neither do you ,” she shoots back, “and apparently this one is Decker spawn part deux. How do you explain that?”

“I can’t,” Lucifer sighs, deflating. “I can’t explain it. I… I can’t even imagine it.”

“I can,” Chloe pipes up from behind him, and he startles, having nearly forgotten she was there. 

“You can explain how you and Lucifer have a kid together without ever once boning?” Maze cackles, and Eve’s eyes flicker between the partners, widening. “All right, I’d love to hear it, Decker, go for it.”

“Rory is our future daughter, and her power is time travel.” Chloe says simply, flushing a little at how very silly the words sound, but they’re nothing less than the truth. “She doesn’t have control over it yet, but we left her with Linda in the future while we were working a case, and she missed Lucifer so badly that her powers shot her back in time, to us here.”

“You really believe you’re gonna have a kid with the Devil , Decker? A few weeks ago you ran scared so hard you went halfway across the world and dragged a priest back to shove him back into Hell!” Maze’s black eyes shift back to Lucifer and narrow suspiciously. “ You believe this load of shit?”

“I’m… still not entirely certain,” Lucifer admits uncomfortably, avoiding Chloe’s look. “Zaphkiel could be mistaken, but she seemed fairly sure that Rory is from this timeline, not an alternate as I had previously suspected.”

“Lucifer,” Chloe breathes behind him, but he doesn’t turn to acknowledge her protest.

“Can we discuss this later, Mazikeen? As I mentioned, we are working a case, and the Detective needs to get back to work.”

“You’re working with her again?” Maze’s scarred eyebrow rises incredulously, and the spinning karambit speeds up. “Are you serious?”

“We made a deal, Maze, that’s all. The Detective is helping me try to get more information from Rory so we can get her home, and I’ve agreed to help her with a set number of cases in return. It’s a business arrangement. Now, we have places to be if we’re going to catch our killer.” He spins on his heel, narrowly missing colliding with Chloe in his haste to reach his Aston.

She skitters out of his path and follows on his heels, casting a glance at the disgruntled demon and fidgety first woman left behind. She settles into the plush passenger seat just as Lucifer turns the key, breathing in happily at the smooth roar of the engine. 

“Is it really?” She blurts when his hand reaches for the gear shift. His ring clicks against the knob in a staccato beat but he doesn’t look over at her, instead setting his jaw and staring through the windshield, though they’ve yet to leave the parking space. “Working these cases? Is it really only because of the deal?”

“We did make a deal, Detective, and as you can see I am working to fulfill it,” he points out quietly, still not looking at her. “Whatever other reasons you or I may, or may not have is certainly none of Mazikeen’s business in this moment, do you not agree?”

“You’re avoiding the question again,” she presses, and he hisses in frustration. 

“Can we please focus on the case?” His tone has a broken undertone of pleading to it as he utters her usual line, and Chloe feels a wash of guilt at pressing him so hard, so soon. She reluctantly relents.

They find their pencil-necked purveyor of anonymous threats and illegal kit cars, and though he isn’t their killer, he does give them a weak lead for a scary dude with a shaved head, tattoos, and a Dad-awful Polynesian green Geo metro. Lucifer tries not to sigh as they make their way back to the valet. He supposes it was too much ask for these cases to be quick. His phone vibrates in his pocket, and he answers without checking the caller ID.

“Yes, hello?”

“Luce!” Eve’s excited voice blares over the line, causing him to pull it away from his ear in surprise. “Wow, this thing really works! You sound like you’re right here next to me, that is so amazing.”

“I see Mazikeen is preparing you for 21st century technology,” Lucifer smiles weakly, acutely aware of Chloe hovering near his elbow as they wait for his Aston to be returned to them. “Did you need something, darling?”

“I… wanted to say sorry for telling Maze about Rory,” her voice is thankfully at a more normal volume now, so he gingerly settles the phone back against his ear. “Linda asked me about her when we met her down at Lux, and… well, if I didn’t tell her, she would have–”

“Yes, I’m well aware of Mazikeen’s tendencies,” Lucifer huffs a humorless laugh. “She would have come crashing up to the penthouse to demand answers from me immediately, and I certainly had more than enough company last night to be going on with. It’s quite all right, you’ve no need to apologize.”

“I also wanted to, um, offer to help?” It comes out as a question. “With Rory, I mean. Amenadiel can’t know much about kids, and… well I mean, I had kids, so I at least have some experience there, and Rory already knows me. She’s so sweet, and I don’t mind at all. She’s just such a darling little baby!”

Lucifer considers, wondering if he should consult with Chloe before accepting the offer. He hasn’t heard from Amenadiel, but his brother does have a prideful streak that rivals his own… “That’s a very thoughtful offer, Eve. Let me consider and check in with Amenadiel. I’ll let him know that if he needs help, you’re only a phone call and a stairwell or elevator ride away. My car’s here, darling, I’ve got to go. Enjoy your new toy!”

“I will! Maze is gonna show me what ‘apps’ are!” She giggles, and Lucifer chuckles as he ends the call. He catches Chloe watching him from the corner of her eye. 

“So… Eve has a phone now, huh?” She smiles, but it’s forced. “She must be a fast learner. You didn’t get one until I’d known you for months, and you’d been here for years before that.”

“Yes, well,” he takes the keys from the valet and straightens his cuffs before sliding into the driver’s seat. “There wasn’t anyone that I’d wanted to be able to reach me at any time before that. Anyone that needed to find me knew that I would be at Lux, after all.”

“You got a phone so I could get in touch with you?”

“Don’t sound so surprised, Detective,” he scoffs, “I believe your exact words were, ‘I’m not going to be chasing after you like one of your slutty bimbos, Lucifer. And I’m not just showing up at your apartment and walking into God-knows-what. You need a phone.’” He puts on an American accent as he imitates her, and she barks a laugh at how ridiculous he sounds. 

“Oh yeah,” she shakes her head, amused. “I forgot about that. I’m surprised you remember.”

“I remember everything ,” he replies, the words falling heavily from his lips. “Angels don’t have the luxury of forgetting, ergo neither does the Devil.”

“Oh…” Chloe hesitates, her expression blank. “Wow, really? Like, you don’t forget anything, ever?”

“All memories, present and accounted for, Detective,” his lips pull into a tight smile. “They’re not all clamoring at the surface all the time, thankfully, but they’re easy enough to dredge up with the right triggers.”

“So, when you came to my apartment that night, with the Monopoly game…” Chloe muses, “When you were trying to remind me how good we were together– you really did remember all the moves we made? You were going to try to recreate the game exactly?”

“It had been an enjoyable evening,” he argues, keeping his eyes fixed on the road. “Or at least, I had thought so. Perhaps I was wrong.”

“No, it was fun,” she assures him earnestly, taking a chance and brushing his right hand with her left. “It was a special night, but… well, the fact that it could only happen once was what made it special. We can always have another game night, but we’ll never have the same game night twice. That’s what makes it a treasured memory.”

His hand remains on the gear shift, and she feels a small swell of relief when he doesn’t pull away from her touch. She shoots a glance at him. He looks like he’s considering her words.

“Sounds like something a… friend said to me once,” he glances down at their hands, clicking his onyx ring against the stick shift again. “A long time ago.”

“Oh?” 

He doesn’t elaborate, and she lets it go, afraid to push him anymore than she already has today. She doesn’t say anything more until he passes the turnoff to the precinct. “Um, aren’t we going to the station?”

“If you think I’m allowing my Aston to sit in that foul parking structure, Detective…” he doesn’t finish the sentence, but the look he shoots her gives a clear idea of where it was going. “Besides, if we’re to pick up your Urchin for lunch later, I thought you would appreciate having your cruiser so she’ll have somewhere to sit other than the boot.”

“Oh, Trixie!” Chloe gasps, appalled at having forgotten her lunch date. She checks the time and bites her lip. “Did you guys set a time?”

“She said that she and Daniel are simply staying at home today, so I told her you or I would call or text when we left the station,” Lucifer suddenly looks unsure. “Was that right? I didn’t want to tell her a time, then have to reschedule if we ran late…”

“No!” Chloe blurts, then winces at his clouding expression. “I mean, yes , that was exactly the right thing to tell her. I don’t like disappointing her when work runs long or something goes sideways. Thank you for thinking of that, Lucifer. For thinking of her.”

His expression clears, though he doesn’t respond, and the silence between them stretches comfortably until they pull back into the Lux parking garage. She trails her fingers along the frame of the cherry-red Aston as she rounds it on her way back to her cruiser, appreciating the smooth curves and lines of the body.

“This really is a beautiful car,” she looks up at him as he stands at the bumper waiting for her. “Why don’t you drive it instead of the Corvette?”

“Sentimentality,” he smirks, but doesn’t offer more. “Shall we go see what treasures Miss Lopez has in the form of our scary dudes with horrible taste in automobiles?”

Chloe catches his glance toward the elevator, and reads his intentions. “Do you want to check in on Rory and Amenadiel, while we’re here?”

“Yes,” he admits reluctantly, “But if we do, Rory will want us to stay, and Amenadiel will get all huffy about not being trusted. So… best not.”

They slip into the cruiser, and Lucifer pulls his phone from his pocket, thumbing the screen to life. “I… suppose I should ask you… Eve offered to help Amenadiel with Rory if he needed it. Do you have any objections?” 

“She did?” Chloe blinks in surprise. “I mean… that’s really nice, I guess, but I don’t really know her. How well do you know her?”

“I know you’re not religious, Detective, but really,” he smirks, his eyes truly on her for the first time that day. “Surely you’ve heard the story of the Serpent in the Garden, and the temptation of Eve?”

“Yeah, okay,” Chloe closes her eyes and waves away the unwelcome mental image of Lucifer and Eve entwined in a lush garden. “I get it, you literally know her Biblically, but how well do you really know her? Do you trust her?”

“I haven’t seen her in thousands of years,” he admits easily. “But she is a mother, and she was in Heaven for ages. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with her in the Garden, but I believe that she has a good heart. She’s simply… well, naive may be the best word for her. She has innocent eyes, even though she does love debauchery in general.”

“Do you think Amenadiel can handle Rory on his own?”

“I wouldn’t have left her in his care if I thought he would endanger the gremlin, Detective,” Lucifer draws himself up defensively. “He’s more than capable of seeing her fed and occupied throughout the day, and to protect her from any of my siblings that may come sniffing around, as well.”

“Then… if it’s all right with you, I think I’d rather just let Amenadiel handle it for now, unless he comes up against something he really needs help with.”

“Very well,” Lucifer shrugs, uncaring one way or the other. “She had simply offered. It’s not as though Amenadiel can’t use the practice anyway.”

“Because he’s going to be a dad soon?” Chloe glances at him briefly as she waits for traffic to clear so she can turn out of the garage.

“If Zaphkiel is to be believed. Plus, he’s going to be an uncle in five years’ time, isn’t he?” Lucifer replies smoothly, leaving Chloe suspicious at the diversion. “Best he start practicing now, he’s a bit slow on the uptake, you know.”

“Hmm,” she drops the subject for now, trying not to think about her growing pile of discarded subjects. “Did you and Trixie settle on a place to eat? Aside from ‘ not Chuck E. Cheese’?”

“No, Amenadiel arrived and curtailed our debate. She wants pizza, of course, which I’m amenable to, so long as it’s–”

“Yes, okay, I agree, we’ll not be visiting The-Place-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named,” Chloe laughs, warding off his objection. “How about Luciano’s? It’s halfway between Dan’s and the precinct, and the food is fantastic.”

“Luciano’s?” Lucifer’s grin lights up his expression. “Well, a kindred spirit, eh? I’m willing to give it a try. Sounds like a brilliant place for a light lunch.”

Chloe cocks an eyebrow at him, but he merely smirks a little, obviously pleased with himself for something. The midday traffic is fierce, and by the time they make it back to the station, Ella has a list of potential matches for their tattooed scary dude with the ugly Geo Metro. Lucifer and Chloe briefly disagree on which one to pursue first, until Ella points out that one of them has a loose tie with their first victim.

Ella moves to print out his information, and Lucifer’s phone vibrates in his pocket again. He checks the display and grimaces, walking away without a word to either of them and answering with a suave, “Hello, darling. Is there a problem?”

Ella shifts her gaze to Chloe, who is watching Lucifer walk away. “Darling?” 

“You know Lucifer, he calls everyone darling,” Chloe waves off the affectation, but doesn’t look away from her partner. “It’s probably Eve again.”

“Eve?” 

“Mmhm,” Chloe replies absently. “Old friend. They haven’t seen each other in a long time, but she’s been in town for a week or so. She’s been dropping by Lux to see him.”

“Oooh, man, really?” Ella hisses an indrawn breath. “Tough break, lady. What a time for an ex to start sniffing around.”

Is she an ex? Chloe wonders briefly. Sure, they’d slept together, but Lucifer… doesn’t really do relationships. I mean… if you sleep with someone thousands of years ago and they leave Heaven to track you down and pick up the acquaintance again…  

Dammit. She’s an ex.

“It’s fine,” Chloe asserts, entirely unconvincingly. “We’re… you know, working things out between us. Learning how to be partners again. I’m not worried. Eve doesn’t know him like I do. Uh, like we do. You know, his friends.”

“Uh-huh,” Ella says slowly, watching Chloe with wide brown eyes and a worried crease between them. “You sure you’re okay?”

“I’m not worried,” she repeats, injecting some confidence into her voice just as Lucifer comes back through the door, a small smile on his lips as he tucks his phone back in his pocket. “Everything okay?”

“Fine,” he breezes, waving off her concern. “Are we stopping for lunch before we go looking for our ‘scary dude’?”

“Yeah, let’s do that,” Chloe agrees. She pulls out her own phone. “I’ll text Trix and let her know we’re on our way.”

“No need,” Lucifer’s quick fingers are already on the job. “I was just on the phone with the little Urchin, and told her we’d likely be heading her way soon. She has fantastic timing, really.”

“That was Trixie that called you just now?” Chloe’s jaw drops. Didn’t he say darling? That’s… that can’t be right.

“What? No, of course not,” he laughs, then notices her expression and laughs again, an infectious chuckle that even has Ella smiling. “Well, I mean, yes, she called me, but first it was Eve. Then your offspring beeped in, and of course I had to take the call. Are we ready to leave?”

“Um, yeah,” Chloe shakes her head, bringing herself back to the present. “Yeah, just… let me grab something from my desk.”

“Of course,” Lucifer opens the door for her, starting to follow her through when Ella clears her throat and catches his attention. “Hmm?”

“Eve?” She prompts. “C’mon buddy, spill.”

“She’s… an old friend,” he supplies, considering. “She’s new to Los Angeles, and incredibly naive. She doesn’t know anyone here yet except me, so I’m… well, I suppose I’m all she’s got down here. Maze has taken her under her leather-clad demonic wing, so I’ve no doubt she’ll be city-savvy in no time.”

The Latina crosses her arms and cocks her hip, narrowing her eyes at him suspiciously. “Is she staying with you?”

“I’m afraid my penthouse currently has a ‘no vacancies’ sign up,” he laughs. “Rory has the spare bedroom, the Detective has been camping in my bed, and that leaves the couch for me. I’ve no desire to relocate to the balcony like a bloody roosting pigeon.”

“Chloe’s staying with you? Is she helping you with Rory?” Her eyes light up at that little tidbit, then her expression softens a little. “How is Rory doing?”

“Quite well, all told. She’s staying with my brother Amenadiel today,” Lucifer frowns at the phone still in his hand. “I should probably check in with him. Excuse me, will you?”

He’s out the door before Ella can say anything else, phone pressed to his ear as he strides briskly toward the elevator to await the Detective. The forensic scientist makes a mental note to poke at Chloe for not telling her that she’d been staying at Lux to help with Rory. She frowns out at the bullpen, not seeing Chloe anywhere, which is strange because her desk is right there in sight. 

Huh. Must’ve stopped into the little girls’ room.

Chapter Text

Chloe leans over the sink, letting the cool water drip off the point of her chin before pressing the rough paper towel to her face and heaving a thick exhale. 

The lipstick on his cheek. The afternoon spent with Lucifer and Rory. She left Heaven just to come see him, what if he wants her?

She meets her own gaze in the mirror, reddened eyes gazing into themselves and finding nothing but an all-encompassing fear of losing the promise of a future she’d only just gotten a glimpse of. 

He doesn’t want her, a little voice inside insists, and she wants very badly to believe it. He hasn’t shown the slightest interest. In fact, it seems like he’s packed her off at the earliest opportunity every time she’s come around.

But I told him I loved him, and he just waved it off.

You also told him that you only saw your partner when you came back from Rome with a priest trying to banish him back to Hell, the other voice replies with dry, ruthless honesty. Then instead of confessing to that, you went through a patronizing charade of trying to sculpt the Devil into a model human citizen until he called you out. Yet here he is, working with you again, and even trying to help you repair the damage you did to your relationship with Trixie, too.

He calls her darling, Chloe argues, ignoring that internal accusation and glaring at the mirror. It glares right back, unimpressed.

He calls everyone darling, but he calls you Detective, the other voice replies tartly. She’s only Eve. You’re The Detective.

She straightens her shoulders, standing up to her full height as the flush of upset slowly fades from her cheeks. That’s right, I am The Detective. I’m his Detective, and we’re working these cases so I can remind him of that. ‘Quintessential Deckerstar’, right?

She smiles sadly at how badly she’d reacted to his attempt to revisit their greatest hits. She’ll have to do better. Be better. 

I can do that, because we are better together. Rory was right.

She takes another deep breath, patting the cool, damp paper towel against her overheated skin for another couple of minutes to help the blood recede from her cheeks before she leaves the bathroom and looks toward the lab. Lucifer is nowhere to be seen, so she glances around, puzzled. Ella catches her eye and points toward one of the conference rooms, miming a phone call and Chloe shoots her a grin and a thumbs-up in thanks, heading that direction. They need to get moving if they’re going to have lunch with Trixie and track down their new suspect.

“Yes, I’m well aware of what Zaphkiel said , Brother,” Lucifer’s muffled, frustrated voice filters through the closed door of the room, and Chloe hesitates, knuckles drifting near the door, but not actually contacting the wood. “And she may have, once, but that’s simply not possible now. The Detective said it herself, we’re in it together, for Rory. She is the reason for all of it.”

Wait, what?

*

“Everything is fine , Luci,” Amenadiel answers the phone with what amounts to an audible eyeroll. “Rory is fine, your penthouse is fine, your piano is fine–” a loud crash sounds somewhere accompanied by a faint, familiar giggle, and his brother sighs. “And I’ll make sure that whatever she just knocked over is fine, too.”

“Glad to hear it,” Lucifer replies dryly, trying not to take inventory for which of his treasured possessions would make that particular sound while being destroyed. At least it hadn’t been a shattering noise. “I just wanted to check in, we’ve got a break in the case, and we’ll be hunting down a suspect as soon as we finish lunch with the Detective’s offspring.”

“That’s great, Luci! I’m so glad to see you giving Chloe another chance,” his brother’s tone warms in his ear, and Lucifer has the urge to cut him off before he can wax into one of his typical dull flowery speeches. 

“Yes, we’re working quite as well together as we ever have,” he reaches up and pinches the bridge of his nose. “Look, I was calling to check in, but I also wanted to give you a bit of a… well, not a warning, really because I don’t think there’s any danger there, but just in case– Mazikeen knows about Rory now. Eve told her everything she knows, and Maze is being her typical demonic self about being kept out of the loop.”

“I can handle Maze,” Amenadiel scoffs, offended, and Lucifer glares at the ceiling as he tries to hold onto his patience. 

“Yes, well, that’s yet to be determined, isn’t it, Brother?” He paces the confines of the conference room, prowling in a circle around the office chairs and the plastic table. “But I also wanted to let you know that Eve has expressed interest in helping you with Rory if you needed it. She may try to… insert herself into your day, but the Detective has expressed a wish to keep her out of Rory’s vicinity unless you truly need the assistance.”

“Why would Eve offer to help with Rory?” Amenadiel asks, sounding puzzled, and all Lucifer can do is shrug hopelessly, though his brother can’t see him. “I thought she was here because she wanted to party? Why else would she seek you out?”

“Thank you for the vote in my worth, Amenadiel,” Lucifer groans, squeezing the back of one of the chairs until it squeaks in protest. “She sought me out because she was bored with being treated as a second-class citizen by that caveman of a husband of hers, and we were… good friends once upon a very long time ago. She just needs to gain some confidence in herself, and she’ll be ready to face the modern world. Mazikeen can help her with that.”

“You weren’t exactly friends back in the Garden, Luci,” Amenadiel reminds him unnecessarily.

“Yes, well, I’ve already told her that those days are past. She’s aware that Rory is… well, that she’s mine and the Detective’s. She seems fond of Rory, and Rory seems to enjoy her company as well, which means she’s still around in five years’ time. Whatever my relationship is with the Detective.”

“But Zaphkiel said that Chloe loves you–”

“Yes, I’m well aware of what Zaphkiel said , brother,” Lucifer grits out between clenched teeth. “And she may have, once, but that’s simply not possible now. The Detective said it herself, we’re in it together, for Rory. She is the reason for all of it.”

“I don’t know what that means,” Amenadiel admits slowly. “Zaphkiel was certain that Chloe loves you. That she loves you now … which means she must have said as much to someone, or… or shown it without a doubt somehow, in her interactions with others.”

“She wants Rory ,” Lucifer repeats firmly, ruthlessly shoving down the empty numbness spreading in his chest as he spells out his suspicions to his brother. “She’s already told me that she accepts that Rory is her… our daughter, and it’s already blatantly clear that she loves her. She knows that Rory loves me , and she’s… she’s apparently willing to accept me in that capacity, as Rory’s father. I’m…” he sighs, closing his eyes and leaning forward to brace one hand on the table before him, allowing himself this moment of weakness where no one can witness. “I’m tired , Amenadiel. I don’t know how we get to that future, the one where Rory is happy and loves her parents and everything seems too good to be true, but I want it.

“She told you last night that she loves you.”

“She was utterly sauced an hour before that, Brother, you can hardly hold her to what she said then.”

“You already know how she feels, Luci,” Amenadiel offers quietly, ignoring his scoffed argument. His soothing voice is a balm for Lucifer’s fraying soul. “What’s stopping you?”

“I don’t know,” Lucifer chokes out miserably. His hand forms a fist on the table, slamming down hard enough that the point of the corner breaks the skin of his palm. He straightens up quickly, glancing around as he clears his throat, and the next words snap back to his normal tone. “Anyway, Brother, I wanted to give you that little heads-up about Mazikeen and Eve. Let me know if you need me in the meantime, but I’ll probably be back to Lux after dinner. Don’t let Rory con you into making another cake, all right?”

“Luci, you should talk to Linda about this.”

“Yes, yes, I’m sure she’ll weasel it out of me at some point,” Lucifer laughs, and if it sounds a little tight, well… no one could blame him for that, could they? “I’ll text you when I’m on my way back to Lux.”

He disconnects the call and waits, turning to the door and hovering his hand over the knob for a long moment before opening it. He glances around, surprised and searching for the Detective. He'd been sure she was nearby. He relaxes a little. Perhaps he'd been wrong, after all. 

She rounds a nearby corner and smiles tightly at him. "There you are!" She gestures toward the elevators, "Ready for lunch?" 

"Of course," he smooths his jacket and fidgets briefly with his pocket square as they await the carriage that will take them to the parking garage. "Mustn't keep the Urchin waiting, after all." 

Once they're in the elevator, Chloe glances up, her brow furrowing in concern. "Are you okay?" 

"Fine, Detective,” he says airily, avoiding her gaze. 

“Are you sure?” She presses, a crease forming between her eyebrows, “Because you’ve got… um, it looks like blood on your pocket square.” 

“Wh–” he glances down, and sure enough, his sky blue silk kerchief is now stained with small streaks of crimson. “Oh, bloody Hell…” He glares daggers at his palm, where the injury is still sluggishly oozing blood across the base of his palm. “It’s nothing to worry about, I… merely got frustrated when I was speaking to Amenadiel and forgot you were nearby. It will heal soon enough, though I can’t say the same for my pocket square.”

He fastidiously refolds it so the stains are hidden, and tucks it back into his pocket with his left hand, careful to avoid getting any more blood on it. He obsessively checks his jacket, but doesn’t find any more evidence of his accidental self-harm. Chloe looks him over with a critical eye, then nods. “Looks like that’s all there was. What happened? Is everything okay with Rory?”

“She’s fine, keeping Amenadiel on his toes, and reportedly not doing any permanent damage to my home,” he huffs a laugh as the elevator doors slide open to the parking garage, allowing him to neatly sidestep the other part of her question. Chloe steps out first, Lucifer in his customary position a half-pace behind her as they head to the cruiser. 

She keeps shooting little glances at him as they drive toward Dan’s condo. He can feel it, a pleasant tingling each time her gaze lands on him before flitting away again. His nerves already frayed to the point of snapping, he looses a deep sigh and turns reluctantly to her. “Out with it, Detective. You clearly have something to say.”

She doesn’t answer for a long moment, her eyes riveted on the road and midday traffic surrounding them. She opens her mouth once, only to close it again, her brows creasing as she apparently rethinks whatever she was about to say. He waits, settling into stillness in the passenger seat, a condemned prisoner waiting for the executioner to sharpen their axe.

“I meant it, you know,” she finally blurts, glancing over at him, then quickly away. “Last night. I’m not afraid of loving you anymore.”

“Oh, I’m impressed, Detective, I didn’t think you’d remember saying that,” he replies lightly, but she shoots him a warning glare and he subsides. His heart is racing, and he puts no small effort into keeping his face mildly amused, his breathing even. She’d said it last night, of course, and so had Zaphkiel, then Amenadiel just a few minutes ago, but… it… feels different, falling from her lips in full sobriety, in the glaring light of day and surrounded by mundane lunchtime traffic. It… feels like the truth, and he doesn’t know how to handle a truth that isn’t bitter as cyanide.

“I get why you didn’t want to talk about it last night, and now… now isn’t really a great time either, since we’re on a case and we’re about to have lunch with Trixie, but… you need to know that I meant every word. I don’t know what Zaphkiel told you last night, but… I hope it helped you see that even though my actions toward you have been… erratic… I, um… I stood up where it counted. I didn’t go through with those final steps. I… I didn’t change my mind , so much as wake up from a nightmare where every decision I made was wrong. After I realized you’d been telling the truth all along, I felt like I… couldn’t trust myself anymore.”

She swallows hard at his disbelieving scoff. “I trusted Dan. I loved Dan, I still do, just… differently. He’s one of my best friends, and Trixie’s dad. But what he did, with Malcolm, with Palmetto? I didn’t see it coming. It blindsided me, and suddenly I couldn’t trust anything was real anymore. You helped me get my confidence back after Palmetto. Then I started to trust you and we, um, started to kind of be more , but then I was poisoned and you took off, and showed up married . And what the Hell was that about, anyway?” She blurts out, turning to glare daggers at him. “Just to get divorced like a week later?!”

“Uh, two weeks, ” he starts to defend himself, but she shakes her head and turns her glare back to the traffic. “There were several reasons behind my decision to marry Candy, Detective, but I assure you none of them were to intentionally hurt you.”

“Yeah?” She barks a laugh, “Well intended or not, Lucifer, it hurt. A lot. Not only did I let myself start falling for you, let myself hope for something more with you, but then you left me while I was in the hospital, without a word… only to show up weeks later with a gorgeous bimbo and wearing a wedding ring. How exactly was that not supposed to hurt me?”

“I’d just found out about my father placing you here for me before you got poisoned,” he offers quietly. Neither of them speaks for a long moment, and when she turns to face him, he’s looking away from her, out the window. “I’d come to your apartment that night to confront you, to see if you were in on His master plan… and found you bleeding and afraid. I was terrified I was going to lose you. Once we got you the antidote, I realized that– even knowing you were some kind of manipulation from my father– I would do anything for you. Anything , Detective, including going back to Hell. And you… you were a helpless pawn in my father’s game. I… wanted to set you free, but if I tried to tell you that…”

“I wouldn’t have believed you.” She sighs, her anger draining from her in a rush of understanding. “So you tried to set me free by… what, shackling yourself to the first gorgeous, brainless woman you came across? What an ordeal for you.”

She can’t help the bitterness that saturates her words, but Lucifer only smiles sadly, still not meeting her eyes.

“Candy is quite clever, really. She played the ditzy newlywed well enough to not only fool my mother, but to manage to get some useful information from her about her plans. And I will admit to using our marriage – brief as it was – to drive a wedge between us so that you could be free of your intended purpose.”

“You really think your dad made us… feel this way?” She supposes He could. He is God, after all, but… isn’t Free Will supposed to be a Thing? “I mean… Lucifer, when we first met, I couldn’t stand you. I thought you were a genuine asshole, and I honestly kind of half-hoped you were behind the murder, just so I could have the pleasure of arresting you.”

“I don’t think that anymore,” He huffs a small laugh, but his eyes don’t light with it. “I… well, let’s just say evidence proved me wrong.”

“What evidence?”

“You did choose someone else, didn’t you?” His smile is more of a grimace of pain. “The fact that you could, that you did … that made me realize you were able to make the choice… which simply meant that I’d made an enormous mistake.”

“I wanted to choose you, you idiot!” she growls, and he huffs again, a melancholy little sound.

“Oh, and I wanted you to choose me very badly, but you still didn’t believe the truth. And for everything I knew about Cain… about Pierce… I knew that I was a thousand times worse.” Her heart shatters in her chest at the certainty in his tone, each beat rattling the shards together and stabbing her in a million places. “I thought he was trying to turn over a new leaf, as I had been trying to, but if he didn’t deserve you… there was no possibility in Heaven, Hell, or Earth that I ever could have. You asked me, that night before you accepted his proposal. You asked me who deserved you, and I gave you the only answer I could.”

“Someone… better.” The words echo in her mind, and tears prickle behind her eyes. She’d thought they were so close to something back then. She can understand better now, the impossible dilemma he’d been facing, and she hurts for both of them.

“Lucifer…” she closes her eyes for a long moment and sighs before opening them and focusing again on the road. They’re nearing Dan’s neighborhood now. “I don’t want to get into a conversation about Pierce right now, but I would like to talk about it later, okay? Just…” she shakes herself, tries to bring herself back to the point she was trying to make before she took the detour to Candy and Vegas. “The point I was trying to make is that after Pierce, when I saw you and realized you’d been telling me the truth all this time… I lost all confidence in my judgment. Angel/Devil stuff aside: My husband had lied to me and gaslit me. My partner had abandoned me, then seemed like he was playing games with my emotions. My ex-fiance was a fucking crime boss that had led multiple lives and then tried to have me killed… while trying to kill you too. I couldn’t make any of it make sense, what I saw, what I felt , what I knew. But, when I came back, you showed me that I could. Again, just by trusting me with the truth.”

“I’ve always trusted you with the truth, but I’m glad I could be of service,” he murmurs, unsure how to respond to this sudden trip down memory lane. Why now? He glances down at the healing wound in his palm, and it hits him. She had been there. “Ah. How much of my conversation with Amenadiel did you overhear?” 

Chloe glances at him, and he sees it shining in her eyes: guilt . “How much, Detective?”

“Enough to realize that… you think I’m only tolerating you because I want to get Rory out of our relationship,” she admits quietly, and he nods his acceptance. “I don’t know how I’m going to get through to you, Lucifer, but… that’s not it at all. I do want Rory – and I know you do, too. But more than that, I want you, I want us. All of it. I don’t know how we’re going to get there either, but I know we can, because… Rory was right. We’re just better when we’re together. We’re… incredible. But we have to stop pushing each other away if we’re going to make that progress. We can’t give up on us, okay?”

“I’m tired , Detective,” his voice wavers a little, and her heart clenches at the uncertainty she can hear there. “I’m tired of… of being wary, of being watchful, of waiting for everyone I know to realize I’m telling the truth about what I am and revile me for it.” His voice thickens and deepens with emotion, and she feels her own throat swelling in response. “I’m tired of telling the truth until I’m blue in the face and receiving only hatred and fear when the scales fall from the eyes and I’m finally believed.” A shuddering breath escapes him, and she notices his hands are clenched tightly over his knees, his shoulders hunched as though expecting a blow, and as much as his words sting and burn, her heart goes out to him. When he continues, his voice is small, almost timid. “I showed Eve my face, you know.”

“You did?” Chloe startles, her gaze flickering from the traffic to her partner and back again in surprise. Her insecurities from her little conversation with herself in the bathroom rear their ugly head again. Eve hadn’t seemed upset when she’d seen her at Lux… and she’d still offered to care for Rory. Of course, she was also literally created by God Himself, so maybe she has a leg up on the whole celestial reveal thing.

Yeah, Decker, so were you , remember?

Not fair. I didn’t know that until last night.  

And shouldn’t she be a little more freaked out about that whole situation? Though really, what can she do about it? It’s not like she can dial up Lucifer’s dad. 

“Excuse me, Mr. God, Sir, I’d like to lodge a complaint about the reason behind my existence. I don’t really approve of Your using me to torment Your son and gain an extra grandchild. But I’m also not really averse to that second part, especially if it means I get to keep him in my life…”

“Mmhm,” he says quietly, jarring her back to the present. “I was trying to show her that she doesn’t know me as well as she thinks she does. She was trying to persuade me to…. I don’t really know what, go back to the way we’d been in the Garden, I suppose.” Chloe’s heart beats in her throat as the vision of Lucifer and Eve in the Garden reasserts itself in her brain, this time with lewd sound effects. Thankfully, he seems unaware as he continues speaking, breaking her out of it… even if an unpleasant metallic taste lingers in her mouth. “So I thought, ‘why not show her? Maybe then she’ll leave me be’. Only, when I opened my eyes, Rory was there on my lap, and… she was looking up at me. Touching my cheek… my face… and just… loving me.”

“Rory knows all of you,” Chloe reminds him with a smile. He wants Eve to leave him alone. “She worries about your nightmares, and loves you , wings, face, and all.”

“She asked for cake,” he chuckles, and Chloe joins in. He shakes his head hopelessly. “I want that future too, you know. With Rory. With you. With the Urchin. I… don’t know, anymore, what it’s like to be part of a family like that, if I can even learn … if I ever knew in the first place.”

“Hey,” she reaches her hand out, telegraphing the motion and allowing him the chance to move away as her right hand clasps his left, gently prying his clutching fingers from his trousers and gripping them tightly in hers. Hope blazes in her heart at his admission. Sure, he’d said it to Amenadiel on that call, but admitting it to her face… That has to mean something, doesn’t it? “It’s okay. We’ve got plenty of time, Lucifer, and… we can figure it out together . We’ve… we’ve seen a little of the future, now we just have to figure out how we want to build it. We can do this, but it has to be together.”

“Why are you so patient with me, Detective?” His eyes are still fixed out the window, but don’t seem to be seeing anything they pass. 

“Lucifer, nobody dances on my last nerve like you,” she huffs a laugh, which surprises one out of him as well. “But I’ve found that I actually enjoy dancing with you. I’ll lead when you can’t, and we’ll make up our own steps, our own rhythm on the way.”

His dark gaze flickers to her as she pulls over in front of Dan’s condo and places the car in park. Her smile is watery, but genuine, and a slow one of his own blooms in return. Lucifer follows her when she exits the car.

“Now… you were saying…”

“Lucifer!!!” The voice is shrill with uncontained excitement, and Lucifer’s eyes widen as he swivels to find seventy pounds of ecstatic 10-year-old barreling toward them. 

“Oh, bloody Hell.”

*

Chloe realizes just how much Lucifer had missed Trixie when he not only hugs her back, but when she pulls away from the embrace with wet cheeks and he doesn’t remark on how his suit is ruined. She notices him starting to reach for his pocket square before pausing and smoothing it instead, likely remembering the streaks of blood on it just in time. 

Trixie looks up at him with watery eyes and sniffles a little through her grin. “I missed you!”

Lucifer’s brow creases at her admission, but just as he opens his mouth to respond, the door to Dan’s condo bursts open.

“Trix!” The girl winces slightly, turning to look at her dad with a shy little wave. “You’re supposed to tell me before you go outside!”

“I know,” she admits, “Sorry, Dad, I saw Mom was here, and then I saw Lucifer and I got so excited that I just couldn’t wait!”

“Hrrmm,” Dan grumbles, stopping about a dozen feet outside his door and crossing his arms over his chest. “Do you know what time you’ll have her back, Chlo’?”

“It’ll be about an hour, Dan, we’re on a case.” 

He nods, his grey eyes flickering dismissively in Lucifer’s direction once before he turns and heads back into his apartment. He calls over his shoulder, “Have fun, Trix. Bring me back some supreme, okay?”

“Sure Dad, see you soon!” The door slams behind him, and her shoulders tighten a little as she steps a little closer to Lucifer and whispers, “Are you and my dad having a fight?”

Lucifer sighs and adjusts his cuffs as he considers. “Not exactly, Urchin. Your father is… laboring under the impression that the blame for Charlotte’s death should be laid squarely at my feet, rather than on the man who actually bears the responsibility. And… he’s grieving.”

“You knew Miss Charlotte?” Trixie asks quietly, as they move back toward the car, Chloe keeping in earshot, but not wanting to interrupt their conversation. This is the most she’s heard Trixie speak in weeks , and she swallows thickly as she silently thanks her partner for giving her this opportunity to repair her relationship with her daughter, as well as with him.

“I did,” Lucifer’s smile is sad, but also a little satisfied. “She and I were… good friends. Nearly family, in a way, but she got what she wanted in the end, if perhaps quite a lot sooner than she’d hoped.”

Trixie’s brows lower as she considers this, but then they’re climbing into the car and Chloe catches her daughter’s eyes in the rearview mirror. 

“Hi, Monkey.”

“Hey.”

Lucifer’s brows shoot up in surprise at the drastic change in the girl’s tone, and he turns in his seat in order to see her better.

“What on Earth kind of greeting is that?”

“One that won’t get me grounded, but also lets her know that I’m still mad that she won’t tell me what’s going on,” Trixie explains flatly, angry brown eyes still locked with her mother’s in the rearview. “Why she won’t let Maze text me anymore, or why she yanked me out of school to go to Italy for weeks while she muttered to herself and dragged us to all these dusty libraries, but wouldn’t even talk to me about why she was so jumpy.”

“Beatrice,” Lucifer says softly, noticing Chloe rapidly blinking back tears. “You know your Mum would do anything to keep you safe from harm, don’t you?”

“I guess,” she shrugs, sullen now as she stares out the passenger window. He can feel her knee jumping against the back of his seat. “I’m not a little kid anymore. If she’s going to keep me from talking to my friends , shouldn’t I at least have a good reason?”

“Well, and there you’ve had a bit of a leg up on your Mum,” Lucifer says with a sad smile. “How long have you really known Mazikeen is a demon?”

“Lucifer–” Chloe tries to interject, but he holds up a gentle hand, tilts his head and then gestures to Trixie in a request for an answer. 

“I dunno, ages,” Trixie shrugs again, her brow wrinkling in thought. “I mean, she just is . She’s Maze, you know? What else could she be? She showed me her face at Halloween when I was eight, and it was awesome .” She smiles at the memory. “We got so much candy , and one dude even gave me cash.”

“I see,” he says lightly, lifting a brow at his partner. “And me? How long have you known that I’m the Devil?”

“Uh, you literally told me that when we met.” The girl looks at him like he’s lost his mind, and Lucifer chuckles. Are all children this accepting of the supernatural?

“I did,” he agrees with a nod. “Now, tell me child, have you ever been to a church service?”

“Yeah,” she laughs a little. “My ‘Lita drags me every chance she gets. They really don’t like you there, but everything they say is wrong.”

Chloe focuses on driving, but her eyes keep flitting from her partner to her daughter as she listens quietly to their discussion, wondering if she should try to cut it short before it can blow up.

“Yes, well,” he huffs, amused at her indignance, “you won’t find an argument from me for that statement, child, but the fact of the matter is that… well, nearly every other human on the planet sees the Devil as… something to be terrified of. A monster. Something foul and evil, and dangerous.” He stops speaking when Chloe’s hand rests on his thigh, prying his fingers out of their tightly curled fist again, and threading her fingers between his in support.

“What Lucifer’s saying, Trix, is that I never really believed that he’s the Devil, until… until recently.”

“Yeah, I remember when you thought he was a magician or something,” Trixie scoffs. “I was super excited about that until I asked him and he said ‘I’m not a bloody magician . I’m older than the sun, Urchin. I like a little mystery now and again, why would I want to learn magic and ruin it?’”

“Well done, child,” Lucifer laughs delightedly at her terrible attempt at his accent. “I’m surprised you remember that conversation so well.”

“I was pretty bummed that you weren’t a magician,” Trixie reminds him, a smile teasing the corners of her lips. “But I decided that being the Devil was pretty cool, too.”

“Thank you?” Lucifer tilts his head like a confused puppy, and Trixie giggles. The sound of it makes Chloe smile and for just a moment they share an amused glance in the mirror before the mirth falls from her daughter’s face.

“So, wait. You said you believe him now. Is that why I’m not allowed to text Maze anymore? And why I had to practically beg Lucifer to keep talking to me?” Thunderclouds gather in her expression, and Chloe swallows the lump in her throat. “Is that why I had to make up for a month of schoolwork?”

“Your mum saw my face, and it is far more terrifying than Mazikeen’s, Urchin,” Lucifer supplies softly, and the fire in Trixie’s eyes fades as she meets his gaze. “You mustn’t blame your mum for wanting to keep you safe from us. She… needed time to think, and in order to do that, she needed to get both of you away from here so she could do so without worrying about our proximity.”

“Then why wouldn’t you just tell me , Mom?” Trixie demands angrily, as Chloe pulls into the small parking lot beside the restaurant. “Then I could have just told you that they’re only our friends, and we could have come home!”

“I’m sorry, baby,” Chloe whispers into the silence of the car. “I was… I was scared of a lot of things, almost everything, really… and I didn’t want you to be scared too. I wanted you to feel safe, and… I’m sorry. I should have realized, should have remembered how much you’ve grown up over the past few years, and you’re right. I should have talked with you about what we were doing. But, I am your mom , and you’re not going to like it, but my first priority is always going to be keeping you safe. No matter what the danger is.”

“Mom, ” Trixie sighs, disgusted. “Lucifer and Maze are only dangerous to bad guys. Please tell me you’ve at least figured that out by now.”

“I have,” Chloe promises earnestly, turning to meet her daughter’s furious glare. Lucifer squeezes her fingers gently in support, then clears his throat quietly. 

“As much as I’m enjoying this awkward intervention, we do only have a limited time before Daniel sends a posse to track us down if we don’t get the Spawn back in good time.” He releases her hand and opens his door, turning back when her fingers brush his wrist.

“I have,” Chloe repeats, more firmly this time. Trixie looks at her for a moment before she nods reluctantly, sliding out the door that Lucifer has opened for her and latching onto his hand, despite his protestations. 

“Nope, I haven’t seen you in months. I’m holding your hand, and I’m giving you another hug when you drop me off at Dad’s.”

“Detective, perhaps I can meet you at our suspect’s residence?”

Chloe laughs at their antics. It’s a little watery, but it’s real, and it feels good. “Beginning to end, Lucifer, that’s the deal. You’re with me. Now, what kind of pizza are we thinking?”

*

Chloe doesn’t get a hug when they drop Trixie off at Dan’s after lunch, but after Lucifer successfully peels the child off of him she does get a tentative smile and a quiet, “Love you, Mom.”

It feels like a win. It feels like progress. And it had been wonderful to just spend time with two of her favorite people again, but now it’s back to work. She waits until Trixie disappears through Dan’s front door with a box of leftovers for Dan and a cheerful wave (probably for Lucifer, but… progress ) before she pulls away from the curb and heads toward their Scary Dude’s known address. 

They find Sid Kluge in a bed of blood-stained decorative gravel behind his appalling Polynesian green Geo Metro in his driveway. By the time the scene is processed and they make it back to the precinct, the day is nearly over. Lucifer checks in with an exasperated Amenadiel again on the way home. 

“Luci, we’re fine ,” the angel grumbles. “She’s telling me all sorts of things about Charlie, or at least, I think she is, I can understand maybe half of it. She likes it when I make her unicorn fly–”

“You’re doing what now?”

“Don’t worry about it, Luci, I’ll take the string off the ceiling fan later, I told you, it’s fine.”

“Have you heard anything from Zaphkiel?” Lucifer asks, pinching the bridge of his nose in exasperation. “Or seen hide or feather of Remi or Raphael?”

“Radio silence all day,” Amenadiel assures him, but it doesn’t allay his uneasiness. “I’ll check in with them once you’re back home, just to make sure they aren’t planning on taking action any time soon.”

“Thank you, brother,” he sighs, “I think we’re nearly at a breaking point for this case for the day anyway, we’re in that bloody limbo of waiting for results before we can come up with more leads. I’ll let you know when the Detective releases me.”

“Everything okay?” Chloe asks as Lucifer tucks his phone away.

“Yes, yes, Amenadiel seems to have his knickers in a twist because I’ve checked in multiple times today,” Lucifer smirks. “As though he’s going to be any less anxious when, er, whenever Charlie makes his appearance.”

“You know, I wondered about that,” Chloe pipes up, glad for the respite of a lighter topic. “Rory’s three and a half. You said you aged that photo of Trixie by 5 years and Rory recognized her. Charlie’s older than Rory, so, that’s got to mean Linda gets pregnant really soon, right? I mean, I didn’t realize that she and Amenadiel were still even together.”

“Er, right,” Lucifer agrees uncomfortably. “I admit that I try not to think about that situation at all . I can’t help but feel desperately sorry for Linda every time it crosses my mind. But no, I thought they had broken off their ill-advised trysts a while ago, when Mazikeen got so upset about it.”

“Lucifer,” a thought suddenly occurs to Chloe, and it sends an icicle skittering down her spine. “Um… So, Charlie has wings, like Rory.”

“Yes,” Lucifer smirks. “ Boring ones.”

“But you said the only reason Rory exists… the only reason we could have had her was because I’m a miracle.” She hesitates, feeling out this new, unwelcome suspicion. “What if you’re wrong? I mean, unless Linda’s a miracle, too? How many miracles are there in Los Angeles, anyway?”

“Just the one,” Lucifer assures her, glancing in her direction in puzzlement. “Unless my father has been outsourcing the blessings to my other siblings. Most of them have very little to do with Earth, so Amenadiel has always been His go-to. Why?”

“It’s just, um, Amenadiel’s an angel, so… how does Linda get pregnant with him?” She keeps her eyes on the chaotic traffic, though it feels like there’s a vice around her heart. “What if you’re wrong, what if…”

“I’m not following, Detective,” Lucifer shakes his head. “What’s upsetting you?”

“It’s none of my business,” Chloe stutters, “but it just occurred to me, and, um… Linda said a while back that you guys weren’t, um. That you weren’t sleeping together anymore. Is that… is that still the case? I mean, could Charlie be, uh, yours? Too?”

“What?” Lucifer’s incredulous bark of laughter does nothing to loosen the knot in her gut. “Detective, no. The Doctor is a wonderful woman, and a bit of a hellcat in bed, which is why I’m surprised she was content with a dullard like my brother, but no , we haven’t been physically intimate in years. ” Chloe opens her mouth and he lifts his hand in a request for silence. “ And our friendship – and professional relationship – have come too far to have a simple fling now. I’m certain that Charlie will be Amenadiel’s son. Zaphkiel told us as much, didn’t she?”

She had. Chloe closes her eyes as a surge of relief floods through her. She can’t quite let the puzzle go, though. “But that still doesn’t make sense. Why would Amenadiel be able to have a child with a normal human, but you couldn’t?”

“I’m afraid the only answer I can provide is one that you’re already familiar with,” Lucifer snorts a wry laugh. “You may have heard me complaining that my father can be a right bastard?”

“Yeah,” Chloe laughs a little. “That sounds somewhat familiar.”

“There we are, then,” Lucifer shrugs. “Truly, that’s a reasonable answer to 80% of everything.”

Chloe teases him gently about the math for that supposition the rest of the way back to the precinct, and by the time they’re exiting the car, the atmosphere between them feels more comfortable than it’s been in months, and she eagerly welcomes the relaxation in the tension between them.

They’re descending the staircase, both harboring a small smile, when Ella comes bouncing up to them. “Guys! I found it!”

“Daniel’s sense of humor?” Lucifer chuckles, and Chloe coughs a little to hide her own. His smirk widens.

“Noooo, I think I solved your case! Look,” she pulls out a file and opens it, tapping the photograph on top of several men in fatigues. “That’s Derek, our dry drowning victim. This guy is Sid the Scary Dude. Recognize the third guy?”

“That’s one of the witnesses,” Lucifer pipes up, leaning over Chloe’s shoulder to peer at the photograph. “The one that gave the statement about the killer wanting to know how much the car cost.”

“Mmmhm,” Ella hums triumphantly, beaming. “Marco Franklin! The three of them served together in an explosives ordinance in Iraq – but wait, there’s more!” She bounces excitedly and flips a page in the file. “Marco was just released from prison two days ago after serving a nine-year sentence for bank robbery. He bombed his way into the vault, got caught coming out and, drumroll please–” She waits for a moment, her face falling slightly when neither of her friends indulge her, “It’s suspected that he had two other accomplices, never apprehended.”

“So Sid and Derek were his partners, he got caught, they didn’t… maybe they double-crossed him, and now he’s out…” Chloe’s gaze drifts up to meet Lucifer’s, his head still bent near hers over her shoulder. 

“Looking for closure, hm?” A smile tickles the corner of Lucifer’s mouth, just inches from her own, and a familiar surge of wanting washes over her. She pulls in a steadying lungful of air, heavy with the scent of whiskey and his cologne.

“Well, it sure sounds like this case is closed,” Ella laughs, thankfully drawing her attention. “Ballistics match Marco’s nine-millimeter. Witnesses described someone matching Marco attacking Sid in front of his apartment, and Martinez is on his way to Marco’s place with some uni’s to bring him in.”

“Well, Detective,” Lucifer pulls in a deep breath and straightens up. She immediately misses the warmth of him against her back. “Sounds like it’s one case down, eh? Since you promised no paperwork, do you still need me, or can I go relieve Amenadiel with Rory?”

Right. Amenadiel needs to go check on the situation in Heaven… make sure the ones after Rory aren’t getting restless.

She nods slowly, reluctant to part ways, but understanding that they do need the information that Amenadiel is going to gather. “Sure. I’ll, uh, see you later, then?”

“Of course,” he murmurs, “I’ll order dinner in, shall I?”

“You two are adorable,” Ella gushes, reminding them of their surroundings. “Man, if you weren’t taking care of Rory, I’d totally say we need to go out dancing to celebrate closing this case so fast.”

“Another time, Miss Lopez,” Lucifer promises with a smile, “You know you’re always welcome at Lux. But for now… I have to go save a toddler from her incredibly boring caretaker. Hopefully she’s not catatonic after an entire day with him.”

Chloe chuckles and shakes her head, turning back to Ella as Lucifer moves toward the stairs. “All right, show me what Martinez put on the warrant for Marco.”

She throws a glance over her shoulder and finds Lucifer watching her from the landing as he waits for the elevator carriage to arrive. She gives him a little wave, and he smiles in return. It looks a little sad, but he doesn’t look away until the doors behind him slide open, then hide him from view. She tries not to shiver as his words echo in her mind. 

“One case down, eh?”

How long until he stops counting?

What if he doesn’t stop counting?

She pushes that thought away, and throws herself into the paperwork. When Martinez arrives with an update that Marco Franklin wasn’t at home and hasn’t been seen there in over a day, she can’t help but feel a little better.

Not down yet. She grins, and when the day is done, she goes back to Lux to inform her partner that they still have a case. The chase is on.

Chapter Text

Lucifer stops briefly at Lux before he goes up to his penthouse, apologizing to the staff for his extended absence and making sure everything has been running smoothly. Patrick grins at him from behind the bar, his dexterous fingers efficiently cutting fruit for the evening’s cocktails with only the slightest attention. 

“How’s the kid, boss?” He asks curiously, “Did you ever figure out what happened there?”

“Not entirely,” Lucifer dissembles with a wry smile. “We’ve located her family, she’ll just be staying with me for a bit longer while we’re working out a way to get her back to them. I should return the child seat to you, though.”

“Oh, yeah, don’t worry about that, boss. It’s not like the Corvette has a roof on it or anything. If I need it, I’ll just pull it out, if that’s okay.”

“Oh,” Lucifer blinks in surprise. “Well, yes, I suppose that would work quite well. I do appreciate the loan, Patrick, It wouldn’t do for the Imp to come to harm for the lack of a little restraint. That sling, though… you can certainly take that at any time.”

“You’re not still using the bag, are you?” Patrick asks worriedly, his brows drawing together.

“No,” Lucifer chuckles, “though I do rather think Rory enjoyed that. She clings like a koala, so the sling isn’t necessary. If you don’t need anything from me, I should really be going upstairs. I’m rather afraid to see what’s left of my flat after leaving her with my brother all day.”

“Customers have been asking about you, Mr. Morningstar,” Patrick offers hesitantly. “About when you were planning to play a set, or your, uh, favor thing?”

“Right,” Lucifer sighs, glancing longingly up the curved staircase toward his elevator. “Tell you what, I’ll play a set tonight, and if there’s interest, I’ll offer a short audience session for favors. Not too long, though, I’ll need to keep it brief. A half-hour set, and at most another half-hour for favors.”

The Detective has proven herself no risk to Rory. I can show her that I’m trying to trust her by letting her have that much time alone with her daughter. 

“Oh, that’ll be great,” Patrick sighs, a relieved grin spreading across his face. “People were starting to get a little restless that you’d been gone so long. There were rumors among the staff that you were thinking of selling the club off.”

“Even if I were to relocate, I don’t think I’d be likely to sell off Lux,” Lucifer assures him, glancing around the bar fondly. “I’d more likely hire a manager and just pop in from time to time, but relocation isn’t currently in the plan, Patrick, so you can certainly feel free to shoot down that particular bit of noxious gossip.”

“Gladly. What time will you play your set?”

“I’ll need to wait for the Detective to arrive so she can watch Rory,” Lucifer shrugs, emptying the glass his bartender had poured for him when he’d appeared at the bar. “Within an hour of her arrival, I would assume. I’ll ring down when I know for sure, shall I?”

“Not a problem,” he scoops the neatly sliced fruits into a stainless steel bin and sets it in the tray of ice under the counter. “It’ll be nice to hear you play again, everybody’s been missing it. You uh… you’re not gonna play ‘Creep’ again, though… are you?”

Lucifer barks a laugh and slides the glass back to Patrick as he turns away. “No, I think that song has overstayed its welcome. I’ll have a fresh set for you all, I promise.”

“Thanks again, boss!” Patrick calls, and Lucifer waves him off over his shoulder, still chuckling to himself as he climbs the stairs and presses the call button for the carriage. 

He tries not to imagine the carnage that likely lies in wait for him up in his penthouse during the brief ride up, but he knows that he’s failed when a heavy sigh of relief escapes him as the doors slide open to… a nearly-normal living room. His Loubotins produce a soft echo as he paces into the penthouse, hearing no evidence of a rambunctious toddler and her frazzled angelic uncle. 

“Brother?” Lucifer calls warily, taking careful stock– no broken windows, bar intact, no upended furniture– nothing unnerving but the unsettling silence. 

“Luci!” A desperate whisper comes from the direction of Rory’s room, and Lucifer finds himself at the door nearly before he thinks. He stops at the door, though, blinking in confusion at the sight that meets his disbelieving eyes. 

“Well,” he drawls quietly, a smirk stretching his lips. “It’s not a tea party, but it’s better than nothing.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out his phone, deftly snapping several photos, cackling quietly to himself as Amenadiel’s eyes widen to the point they’re nearly bugging out of his head in indignation.

“Very funny, Luci, incredibly mature. Now will you please help me out here?”

“But she looks so very comfortable,” Lucifer laughs, “and it doesn’t look like you’re done coloring your picture, Brother dear.”

He leans against the door frame, crossing his arms and enjoying the view spread before him. Amenadiel sprawled on his stomach on Rory’s favorite fluffy white rug, coloring book and crayons scattered around him, and a very heavily sleeping toddler sprawled across his back, snoring lightly and leaving a growing dark drool spot on his green sweatshirt, her fluffy pink wings draped loosely across the both of them. 

artwork by @Calia_Lynn

“How does it feel to be taken down by a toddler, Brother?” Lucifer teases lightly, nearly convulsing with silent laughter at Amenadiel’s outraged expression.

“I’m doing you a favor , you know,” Amenadiel reminds him with as much dignity as one can manage when one is God’s greatest warrior, who is currently pinned down by a pint-size nephil with downy, flamingo-pink wings.

“Oh, don’t pretend to be all altruistic on me now,” Lucifer scoffs, stepping quietly into the room. “You’re doing this as much for the future protection of your own offspring as you are for Rory, and we both know it.” He bends down and gently lifts the sleeping child off her chosen mattress, draping her against his own chest.

He breathes deeply as her tousled head rests against his shoulder, the now-familiar sweet scent of her soothing something in him that he hadn’t realized had been tensed until it relaxes. He takes his time crossing the room to her bed as Amenadiel levers himself up from the floor with a low groan. Rory nuzzles into the hollow of his neck, and throws one arm sleepily over his shoulder as she grizzles her complaint at being deposited onto her pillow instead of a warm body. Lucifer holds out a hand behind him, and Amenadiel places the now mostly-pink fuzzy blanket into it so Lucifer can tuck her comfortably into it. He lingers in her space for a long moment, reassuring himself that all is well before he detaches her loosely-clinging hand from his lapel and straightens up.

The smirk falls from his face as he turns to face his brother and takes in his odd expression. “What’s that look for? How long did she have you trapped there?”

Amenadiel doesn’t answer, just shakes his head, and gestures silently that they should leave the room. Lucifer turns out the light, but leaves the door partially open so the room isn’t completely dark in case she wakes. Once they reach the living area, Lucifer takes his phone out again and pulls up an app to order dinner. 

“Well?” He prompts, when his brother simply keeps staring at him like a particularly dense mannequin. “How was your day, then? I must admit, based on the amount of crashing I heard during our conversations, I was expecting more destruction. How long has she been asleep?”

“Everything was fine, Luci,” Amenadiel seems to pull himself from his thoughts, whatever they may be. “She… I didn’t realize how much raw energy children have. She ran around like a wild thing most of the day.”

“How many times did you have to wrestle her back into her clothing?” Lucifer asks shrewdly, and Amenadiel’s face is utterly priceless. He wishes he’d had his phone ready to catch that.  

“Only three,” he chokes out, and Lucifer laughs delightedly. “She finally got quiet a couple hours ago, and wanted to lay down and color– but only if I would, too.”

“And she managed to ambush you and make you her mattress, hm?” Wicked amusement dances in his eyes until something catches them. “Bloody Hell, is that the belt from my silk robe?”

“I told you I’d get it down. You have no idea how long that kept her busy, Luci, believe me, it was necessary.

“I’ve managed to entertain her for days without abusing my wardrobe in this manner, brother,” Lucifer growls, glaring up at the suspended unicorn, windmilling frantically from the ceiling fan above, currently on high power. 

“Yeah, well, I can’t give impromptu piano lessons, so I had to improvise,” Amenadiel shoots back, and then suddenly instead of glaring at one another, they’re both laughing until they’re breathless. 

“She’s quite something, isn’t she?” Lucifer asks fondly, and Amenadiel nods his agreement. 

“She’s… a lot like you, Luci,” Lucifer’s chest swells at the thought, and Amenadiel continues. “You’ve gotten so comfortable with her in such a short time. It’s… it’s wonderful to see.”

“Well,” Lucifer sniffs and straightens his cuffs self-consciously. “Thank you for tending her today, Amenadiel. We managed to close our case, so I probably won’t be needing your toddler mattress services tomorrow. Were you intending to follow up with our fixated siblings now, or were you going to catch up with Doctor Linda first?”

“I spoke with Linda this morning. I was going to touch base with Remi and Raphael now.”

“Linda’s doing all right?”

“She says she’s perfectly fine,” Amenadiel’s wide brow furrows a little. “She seemed a little standoffish, though. Sometimes I worry that she’s overwhelmed by everything that we’ve put upon her, Luci.”

“She’s a strong woman,” Lucifer objects. “She’ll certainly let you know when she’s had enough of… whatever it is you’re offering.” He shudders theatrically, and Amenadiel wrinkles his nose at him. “What are you intending to tell the Silver City crew?”

“I’ll think of something,” Amenadiel shrugs his broad shoulders. “I’m not worried about Raphael coming down here, he never leaves the City, and he certainly wouldn’t pit himself against you. Remi… I don’t want her anywhere near Linda or Rory. I’m going to need to find some way to get through to her. It’s a shame Zaphkiel couldn’t see how we’ll handle her in the future.”

“Well, we can’t have something being easy , now can we?” Lucifer asks rhetorically, and Amenadiel snorts humorlessly. “I do appreciate your guarding her today, and I promise I will only share those photos with Linda. And Maze. And probably the Detective.”

“Luci, that’s literally everyone who knows what we are.”

“I know,” Lucifer giggles joyfully, “It would almost be worth a Daniel reveal, just to be able to show him these photos… but I should probably refrain from that, at least until Rory’s safely back where she comes from. Don’t want him going all Van Helsing on our little Antichrist.”

“You know that’s not a real thing, Luci,” he rolls his eyes and moves toward the balcony. Lucifer follows with an eye roll of his own.

“Of course I know that,” a brisk breeze ruffles his hair and he takes a deep breath of the salt-tinged air. “But humanity has a lot of strange beliefs, especially where the Devil is involved. Like the goat affiliation, for example. I never did understand that one.”

“Yeah,” Amenadiel stiffens for a moment before shrugging his wings into being. “That is a weird thing, isn’t it?”

“Bloody goats,” Lucifer grumbles, and Amenadiel gives a slight cough. “You’re certain you’re going to be able to appease Remi’s hunting instinct, brother? I told Patrick I’d come down to the club for an hour or so tonight, but if you don’t think it’s safe to leave the Detective here with her without angelic protection…”

“You’re going to let Chloe stay with Rory alone?” Amenadiel’s brow lifts in pleased surprise. “Luci, that’s–”

“Yes, yes, I’m… I’m working on it, all right?” Lucifer snaps defensively, and Amenadiel knows better than to push him further. “We’ve been talking , and… and trying to figure out, well, everything , I suppose. Happy?”

“Are you?” Amenadiel turns the question against him, and he simply stares at his brother, mouth hanging slightly open in surprise. “ Are you? Happy?”

“I…” Lucifer considers his answer. “I flew last night, Amenadiel.”

His brother tilts his chin in a silent query, and Lucifer continues, feeling his way slowly among his words. “I haven’t flown, not really , since I got my wings back, you know. Last night, Rory asked if we could fly. It’s obviously something she’s done with her dad before… done with me before…” a small, disbelieving smile flickers across his face. “I agreed, and… Brother, I had forgotten the exhilaration , the sheer freedom. I’d stuffed those memories so far down so I wouldn’t miss them… one request from her and I’ve not only unlocked them, but added a hundred new ones to the vault. Flying with her, it was like experiencing all of it for the first time again. It was… an awakening.”

“That’s not an answer.”

“I’m not happy,” Lucifer sighs. “But last night, when I was flying with Rory, and again when we landed and I found the Detective here on the couch waiting for us… In that moment, I… I felt like perhaps I could be.”

The corner of Amenadiel’s mouth turns up in a sad smile as he gives his little brother a small nod. “Then we’ll just have to find a way to make this work out, Brother. I have faith in us.”

“Faith is your buzzword, Brother,” Lucifer scoffs, brushing off his sleeves as though sentimentality were contaminating him. “Not mine.”

“I think you’ll find some rattling around in you somewhere,” Amenadiel smirks, spreading his wings. “You just have to figure out where you’ve placed it.”

He’s gone before Lucifer can make a retort, leaving him glaring impotently after the retreating angel. 

“That doesn’t make any bloody sense,” he grumbles to himself, before turning to go back inside and finish his dinner order. Once in, he glances up at the stuffed unicorn still sadly oscillating from his ceiling fan. “Right. First things first, that is coming down.”

*

Rush hour traffic has Chloe questioning once more why she chose to live in Los Angeles, and by the time she makes it to the penthouse, she finds Lucifer and a freshly wakened Rory sitting at the bar in the kitchen with an array of food around them. Rory is (surprisingly neatly) dunking a chicken nugget into an absurdly large puddle of catsup, while Lucifer pilfers her fries and smiles at her half-hearted attempts to defend her plate. 

“Hey guys,” she says shyly, her smile widening when Rory’s face lights up with a smile and a squealed, “Mommeee!”, followed by an immediate struggle to get down to greet her properly. Lucifer’s lips quirk in a small smile as well, but he doesn’t move to assist Rory in her descent, instead allowing the girl to make her own careful way to the floor so she can launch herself at her mother. Chloe glances back at the spread feast. “What’s for dinner?”

“Apologies for starting without you, but the Imp was positive she was about to perish of hunger,” Lucifer chuckles as Chloe bends to scoop the girl into an enthusiastic embrace. “I couldn’t decide on any one thing, so we went with a bit of a fusion meal.”

She sways for a moment with her daughter nestled in her arms, sighing contentedly and marveling at how right she feels already. She wonders briefly how badly she’s going to miss her once they figure out how to get her back to her own time before she ruthlessly shoves that thought away and approaches the bar, looking over the offering. 

‘Fusion’ covers it quite well. She spies a rolled-up paper bag with the logo from her favorite burger joint, several cardboard containers from Lucifer’s favorite Chinese restaurant, a few containers with an Italian-sounding name that she isn’t familiar with emblazoned on them, and a cardboard bakery box off to the side that no doubt contains dessert. Or, knowing Lucifer, desserts.

“You sure there’s enough here for me?” She teases, settling Rory back on her stool in front of her nuggets and fries, stealing one for herself and chuckling at Rory’s indignant squawk. She glances at Lucifer and murmurs an apology. “Sorry I’m late. I was waiting for Martinez to bring in Franco, but he’s in the wind. We’ve still got a case, partner.”

“Oh, do we now?” A light kindles in his eyes and a predatory smile creeps along his lips. “Excellent, a hunt.” He turns to the bar before them and gestures expansively. “Best keep your strength up, then, Detective, dig in and Rory can tell you all about her day with her Uncle Amenadiel.”

Without further prompting, Rory launches into the fairly ordinary day of a three-year-old living in the Devil’s not-at-all child-friendly penthouse. At least Amenadiel had wisely kept her out of Lucifer’s closet. Lucifer excuses himself partway through her recitation, and returns tucking his phone back into his pocket as he listens to the remainder of her day.

“I found her sprawled across Amenadiel’s back, sound asleep,” he chuckles, “Amenadiel had been trapped there for nearly an hour, not wanting to wake her.”

“Did you get a video?” Her eyes crinkle as he sadly shakes his head, but he pulls his phone out again and shows her the photographs. He'd caught Amenadiel at the peak of his eye-roll, and Chloe giggles so hard she almost chokes on her soda. “I’m going to need a copy of that, please. I really need to get one of you two the next time I find you all cocooned in each other’s wings, that is truly one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.”

“Adorable?!” Lucifer scoffs, suddenly looking uncomfortable. She wonders if he’s remembering waking this morning to find her touching his feathers, but then he continues. “Our wings are corporeal divinity, Detective, I hardly think adorable is a suitable description.”

“Trust me, it is. ” She laughs at his disgusted expression, and Rory’s giggle provides a lovely descant to their lighthearted banter. Chloe finishes her fettuccine and settles back on her stool with a satisfied sigh. “What’s on the agenda for tonight, then? More Bones?”

“Bones?” Rory pipes up hopefully, but Lucifer shakes his head regretfully. 

“I thought perhaps I might let you ladies have a little ‘girl time’, as it were,” he suggests diffidently. She lifts her eyebrows in surprise, and he shrugs, a little uncomfortably. “Patrick told me that people have been anxious for my return to Lux, so I thought I might take an hour or so to grant some favors, perhaps play a set.”

“Pway?” Rory’s attention easily diverts from Bones to music and she looks up, wide brown eyes hopefully darting between him and the piano. “You pway, Da?”

“I’ll play for you later, Gremlin, but for now I need to go down to Lux for a bit.” His tone is apologetic, and he reaches out instinctively to brush a palm over her flyaway curls as her hopeful expression crumples. “You and your mum will have fun while I’m gone, though, and I’ll be back soon enough.”

Chloe's breath catches and he glances at her with a lifted eyebrow. She's gazing down at his phone, tears shining in her eyes. He leans over and catches sight of what she's looking at. It's the photo Amenadiel had sent him, of the three of them at the piano the first evening the Detective had spent time with them after Rory's arrival. 

"Ah," he says quietly, "Yes, quite." 

“Will you send this to me, please?”

“Is it wise to have it on your phone?” He lifts a concerned eyebrow. “Does the Urchin not peruse it from time to time?”

They’d reached an unspoken agreement not to tell Trixie about Rory unless it became necessary. Accepting that her friend is the Devil is one thing. Accepting that the Devil may well essentially become her stepfather and bringing a half-sister from the future into the mix might prove to be a bit much for even a child as resilient as Trixie to absorb without some pretty drastic ripples.

“I’ll have Ella help me set up a locked album,” she decides after a moment, handing him back his phone reluctantly. “I’d like to have it.”

“Let me know when it’s set up, and I’ll send it for you,” he agrees absently, taking the phone from her. Rory reaches out with grabby hands and he lets her look.

“We pwayin’!” She coos excitedly. “We go down Wux wif you?”

“Not tonight, Gremlin,” he laughs affectionately. “I’m not sure Lux is ready for the hormonal explosion you and I playing ‘Heart and Soul’ together would cause.”

She pouts half-heartedly, and Chloe hides a chuckle behind a cough. “You need to go down now?”

“Mm,” he hums agreement, hiding his smirk as he slips his jacket on and smooths his lapels with a practiced hand. “I told Patrick I’d be down about an hour after you arrived so we could have dinner. I should only be gone an hour or so. You’ll be all right ‘til I return?” 

“Really?” Chloe quirks an ironic brow, and he bobs his head in acknowledgement, but doesn’t retract the question. She laughs. “We’ll be fine without you for an hour, Lucifer. Won’t we, Rory?”

The girl nods doubtfully, still eyeing the elevator wistfully as Lucifer paces over to it and presses the button. The silver doors slide open and he glances back with a wry smile. “It’s only an hour, Rory, I’ll be back well before your bedtime, I promise.”

“Otay,” she sighs, waving sadly as the doors close between them. Chloe looks down at the wilting little girl and her heart twists in her chest. 

How on earth did we manage to leave her for a week for a case?

“You really want to see your Da play piano, don’t you?” She doesn’t need to ask to know the answer. Rory sniffles and nods dejectedly. Chloe surveys the girl, her bright pink wings drooping behind her, and tufts of pink down embedded in her wild curly hair. She leans forward conspiratorially and stage-whispers, “I’ll tell you what: How about you tuck your wings away, we’ll get you in the bathtub, and if you finish in time I’ll sneak you down to Lux so you can watch him play for a few minutes?”

“Weawwy?” Her eyes widen hopefully, and a smile blooms across her chubby face as Chloe nods solemnly. She shrugs her wings away enthusiastically and starts to scramble down from the stool.

“We’ll need to be quick, though, and we need to get your feather fuzz out of your hair. Do you know where your comb is?”

“In da baffroom!” Rory tugs her urgently in that direction, and Chloe allows herself to be dragged, laughing at the girl’s eagerness to go watch her daddy perform. “C’ mon , Mommee!”

“Okay kiddo, let’s get you cleaned up, then we’ll sneak down to Lux.”

*

Lucifer shoves down the pang of guilt he feels at Rory’s morose acceptance of his absence. It’s only an hour, after all, and he promised Patrick that he’d come down and entertain for a bit. He pulls in a deep breath, checking his jacket obsessively for any residual pink fluff as the carriage descends to the club. 

He doesn’t even make it to the piano before he’s approached by the first favor-seekers of the night, so he changes up his plans and holds court first. His booth is empty, of course, and a tumbler of whiskey waits invitingly on the table. He plants himself on the plush seat and sits back comfortably, gesturing for the first anxious young man to sit across from him. “Tell me, Brandon, what is it you desire?”

Half an hour later, he’s made a half-dozen mildly interesting deals, turned away twice as many more looking for his very talented company, and he’s lost interest in the remaining petitioners. He waves the disappointed ones away and crosses the dance floor, seating himself at the piano with a flourish and a smile that seems to illuminate the bar like the sun. The DJ cuts the music and the spotlight flares before focusing on the gleaming Steinway in pride of place, and Lucifer surveys his little kingdom of debauchery and light. 

As he lifts the fallboard and his fingers find the keys, he feels the familiar weightlessness he always experiences when he’s performing, as though all his worries and cares are funneled through his fingers and into the music, allowing his thoughts to drift freely without becoming ensnared in swirling emotion. The listening crowd is rapt, the spotlight glints from the ebony stone on his ring and glistens off his perfectly styled hair as he sings, pouring his heart into the lyrics and his soul into the accompanying notes of each song. After a while, there’s a sussurating intake of breath from the crowd surrounding him, and he opens his eyes to find a familiar tiny body parked on the bench beside him, looking up with eyes full of adoration. 

“Rory?” He blinks back to himself, glancing around until he spies the Detective hurrying down the stairs. “I thought we agreed that I’d play for you later?”

“Mommee said we wisten,” Rory explains happily, “You pway so pwetty, an’ sing!”

“Yes, well, be that as it may, darling, you need to head back upstairs. Lux is no place for children, I can promise you that,” He stands as Chloe pushes her way through the throng breathlessly, lifting an ironic brow at her.

“Sorry,” she murmurs, flushing. “Sorry, we were just listening up on the mezzanine, and she was enraptured, and… I guess I kind of was too, and then she was there beside you. C’mon Rory, we need to–”

“Detective Decker!” An unfamiliar voice roars from the top of the stairway. Chloe whirls, her gaze immediately training on Marco Franklin’s gun pointing shakily in her direction. He swivels it around wildly, crying, “Everybody be cool!”

Chapter Text

Unsurprisingly, nobody is cool. Everyone in the room save for the three around the piano breaks into a panicked stampede for the exits, leaving Marco floundering at the top of the stairs in a river of fast-moving bodies, like a lone salmon trying to swim upstream. He’s still shouting, but nothing can be heard above the alarmed cries of the crowd.

Suddenly, one of the fleeing bar patrons is shoved against the gunman and a gunshot rings out. The noise from the panicked throng redoubles, and Chloe whirls again and finds Lucifer folded around a huddled Rory tucked into his lap, his eyes glowing red with fury as they focus on the splintered bullet hole in the bench of the piano only inches from where the girl had been sitting. The crowd thins and Marco remains, his gun trained on the trio and Chloe shakily steps between the shooter and the father and daughter behind her. 

“Detective,” Lucifer murmurs warningly, but she ignores him, focusing on the threat before them.

“Detective Decker,” Marco says again, overlapping Lucifer’s warning, his voice shaking with nerves, “I need you to listen to me very carefully.”

“Okay,” Chloe says soothingly, trying to tune out the terrified whimpering of the little girl behind her and the low growl of the Devil wrapped protectively around her. She gestures to the few huddled people on the lower level that had been too terrified to try to escape. “Okay, I’m listening, Marco, but you need to let the rest of these people leave, and you need to put the gun down before anyone gets hurt–”

“Yeah,” he pants, eyes wild, “Yeah, you’re right. Everybody out! Move it! Everybody but you three.”

“No,” Chloe says firmly, “I’ll stay, these two need to go with the others.” The mass exodus starts to thin, and Chloe’s eye catches on a familiar form on the stairwell, a cloud of wavy sable hair and a gauzy crimson dress. Wide dark eyes flicker in her direction before Eve stumbles and falls against Marco, sending them both cascading down the stairs. A muffled gunshot reverberates in the echoing silence again as the club finally empties, and a defiant shriek comes from the shadows of the mezzanine.

“I was nearly in position! What did you think you were doing?!”

Chloe blinks as Lucifer’s strong arms close around her waist in an iron grip, and the next thing she knows, the three of them are in the penthouse. Rory’s whimpering cries are muffled in Lucifer’s shirt, and he kneels on the floor with them as Chloe’s knees buckle under her weight, the three of them sheltering together within the protective huddle of his brilliant white wings. 

artwork by @LaurieYa2

This is how he got me to that rooftop. This is how he shielded me from Pierce’s men, she thinks disconnectedly, gazing up at the softly defined feathers cocooning them as he murmurs soothingly to Rory and holds them both close, his fingers tightly gripping the back of her faded cotton blouse. She remembers the bloodied feathers crunching beneath the hard soles of her shoes as she’d surveyed the scene at the loft, desperately trying to distract herself from what she’d seen. Seeing them now whole and healthy, nearly glowing white, she doesn’t know how she could have ever forgotten that Lucifer was once an angel. She clings to them both, lost in her memories and the security she feels right now in the Devil’s embrace. Rory subsides after a long moment, and he continues murmuring to both of them as Chloe slowly comes back to herself, shaking off the paralyzing fear at how close she’d come to losing one or both of them..

“You’re safe,” he murmurs in her memory, his voice heavy with relief and rage as the sun forms a brilliant halo around his head. Before everything literally went to Hell. “That’s all that matters.”  

“It’s okay, you’re safe now. I have to go,” he says urgently in the present, his fingers gentle as he works to pry Rory’s arms from around his neck, then Chloe’s clinging fingers from their desperate grip on his jacket. “Detective, I have to go , please, just… stay here with Rory, I need the both of you to be safe.”

“What… where are you going?” She can’t force her fingers to let him go, and she doesn’t want to.

“I have to go, Detective, Eve was shot, didn’t you see?” He glances back toward the elevator, his eyes flashing red again. “I need to make sure Mazikeen doesn’t kill our suspect… at least not until I’ve had a chance to speak with him.”

“Lucifer, I need to be down there, the police are going to need my statement, they’re going to–”

“Someone needs to stay with Rory,” he points out, and she hisses in frustration as a tremor rolls through Rory’s small frame, tucked into their combined embrace. “I don’t want her back down there with him, do you? Come on, Detective, let me go. I’ll come up and get you once the police have detained our shooter.”

“Tee Eeb gonna be otay?” Rory asks meekly, and Chloe’s heart twists at the pain that crosses Lucifer’s face. 

“I don’t know, darling, I need to go find out,” his lips brush a gentle kiss into her hair, and he lingers there for a moment, his arms still tight around the pair of them. They’re pressed so tightly together she can feel the warmth of his breath on her skin, and she clutches him more tightly, still unwilling to let him go. “We’ll go to the hospital later and make sure, all right?”

“Otay,” she sniffles, nodding against Chloe’s shoulder. His arms tighten briefly around them and she feels safe for a heartbeat longer before he shrugs his wings away and stands, adroitly slipping from her grip and straightening his jacket. 

“I’ll be back shortly, I promise,” his dark eyes find hers, holding her gaze with an intensity that takes her breath away until she nods a reluctant assent. His broad hand squeezes her shoulder briefly, and then he’s gone, the silver doors of the elevator sliding silently closed between them. Rory clings tightly to her, shuddering sniffles wracking her tiny frame as Chloe works to soothe the little girl.

“It’s okay, Rory,” Chloe whispers over and over again, stroking her back, her hair, reassuring herself that she’s safe, and whole, and well. And then, because she doesn’t share Lucifer’s constraints for lying, she adds, “Everything is going to be just fine. Everyone’s going to be fine.”

She paces restlessly, muttering platitudes to the child in her arms as she tries not to imagine what literal Hell is breaking loose a dozen stories below.

*

Lucifer manages to stop Maze from killing their shooter, but it’s a near thing, and he has to break out his glowing eyes to sufficiently cow the demon into obedience. The EMTs arrive and bundle a bloodied and groaning Eve into a gurney, and it’s only at Lucifer’s insistence that the visibly torn demon chooses to ride in the ambulance versus getting her retribution against the man that pulled the trigger. In the end, it’s only knowing that she was leaving him to the tender mercies of the deceptively calm Devil that convinces her to slink into the ambulance. 

The police arrive and detain Marco, not that it was very difficult for them. Only after the babbling shooter is cuffed and removed to a cruiser, wild-eyed and frothing at the mouth as he pleads to be taken away from the man in the suit, does Lucifer fulfill his promise to retrieve the Detective and their daughter from the penthouse so Chloe can give her statement. 

The elevator doors slide open to reveal Chloe pacing anxiously, with a restlessly dozing Rory in her arms. Lucifer’s expression is unreadable, and he merely steps back, gesturing for her to join him in the elevator as he presses the button to take them back down to Lux. When Chloe steps into the carriage his hand hovers protectively over the small of her back, not quite making contact, but close enough that she can feel the heat of it. The ride is quiet, tension snapping and spooling between them until Chloe whispers,

“Is Eve all right?”

“She’s alive,” he says tersely, fingers fidgeting with his cuffs. “They’ve taken her in an ambulance, and I convinced Mazikeen to go with her. They’ve also taken our shooter into custody.”

“Is he still in one piece?” She isn’t really concerned, but it’s a question that needs to be asked, especially since Maze is involved.

“Physically, yes,” he lifts a brow, letting her fill in the yawning hole in that statement. “You may not get much coherence out of him for a few days, though.”

She only nods, remembering Jimmy Barnes’ condition as she slips her right arm around Lucifer’s waist, holding both Lucifer and Rory closer until the doors part and they spill into the club, now teeming with police. Chloe stands at the mezzanine where she’d been when Rory had slipped away from her, overlooking the club below. 

It looks so different when all the lights are up and the floor is empty. Lifeless, somehow, or perhaps soulless is a better word. When Lucifer had been playing, when the spotlight had illuminated him like the celestial being he truly is, there had been a spell cast over the room. The lights glowed brightly, the shadows danced, and the crowd had swayed together, held in the gentle grasp of his music, his joy.

Now, she has to push aside her self-recriminations at allowing Rory to be endangered, and go be a cop. She brushes a kiss to Rory’s temple before turning to Lucifer and asking with her eyes for him to take her so she can do her job. He reaches out without hesitation and takes the child into his own arms, the warmth of his body brushing against hers in the transfer. 

She holds that heat to her as she turns away and descends the stairs, easily finding the officer in charge and starting to walk the scene. As she gives her statement, her eyes frequently jump up to find Lucifer still standing at the railing, eyes resting on her with Rory sound asleep and snugged tightly against him. She wants nothing more than to be there too, wrapped securely in the strength of his embrace. 

Finally , she’s released, and she makes her weary way back up the staircase toward her partner. When she reaches him, she can’t look him in the eye. 

“Are we ready to go to the hospital?”

“Detective, you’re exhausted,” he argues gently, his cheek brushing against Rory’s dark head nestled on his shoulder. “You should stay here with Rory, I can go check on Eve, and make sure Mazikeen doesn’t make any unscheduled trips to your holding cells for Mr. Franklin’s education.”

“If you’re going to the hospital, we’re going with you, Lucifer, that’s not up for debate,” Chloe juts her chin stubbornly, her eyes flashing, and he only stares at her for a long moment, his dark eyes shining with some indefinable emotion. “So what are we doing?”

“I suppose we’re going,” he sighs, holding out an arm. Chloe takes it as an invitation to precede him, but as she moves to brush past him, his arm folds around her shoulders and tugs her close in the nearest thing to a deliberate embrace they’ve shared since that night that Charlotte was killed, winged rescues notwithstanding. She looks up at him in surprise, and finds him looking earnestly back at her. “Please don’t do that again, Detective.”

“Do what?” She asks, baffled, still partially stunned at having him place himself so willingly in her personal space. “I… I know I should have watched Rory more carefully, I’m so sorry–”

“No,” he cuts her off, squeezing her more tightly against him and shaking his head. “You did nothing wrong tonight, except for stepping between me and a shooter. You did it once before, with Cain. I let you then, because I never once entertained the thought he would actually shoot you. Tonight, though…” he chokes, and her own arm snakes under his jacket and tightens protectively around his waist. “Tonight I could have lost you all over again, and Rory, too. I… you can’t do that again, Detective. Will you promise me?”

“I can’t make that promise, Lucifer,” she stammers, and his fingers tighten convulsively on her shoulder. “That’s… when you love someone, it means you’re willing to risk yourself in order to keep them safe.”

His eyes fall to Rory, her face tucked into the hollow under his chin. Chloe feels him hesitate, and she squeezes him again as his eyes lift to meet hers. “I know that you love her. She loves you, too. And so do I. We’ll work it out.”

“I can’t lose you,” he croaks, his throat bobbing as he swallows hard. Rory stirs as though in response to his distress, her tiny hand reaching up to stroke his cheek, and he manages a strangled chuckle as they reach Chloe’s cruiser, parked in its reserved spot beside the Corvette. She reluctantly peels away and pulls the child seat from the ‘Vette, strapping it expertly into her back seat before stepping aside and letting Lucifer buckle the sleeping girl inside. They don’t look away from one another until they move to slide into their seats. Once inside, their hands link over the console as though magnetized, and they hold onto each other tightly the entire silent drive to the hospital.

*

“Well, she can’t be injured too badly, if Mazikeen is shouting at her so much this soon,” Lucifer murmurs, his voice nearly drowned out by the demon’s remonstrances and Eve’s softer cadences echoing down the sterile hallway as they approach the room, causing Rory to shift sleepily against his shoulder. “I’m surprised they haven’t removed her with that racket she’s making.”

“I’d be willing to bet they’ve tried,” Chloe whispers back, noticing the cluster of anxious nursing staff lingering around the open door that Maze’s voice is emanating from. “They couldn’t remove Amenadiel when I was here for my poisoning, I’m willing to bet no one was willing to take on Maze without tactical gear and a taser.”

“If they tried a taser, that would only turn her on,” Lucifer snickers. Chloe gives him a raised eyebrow, and he explains, “It tickles.”

“I would ask if you’re serious, but… I really think I’d rather not know.” They reach the knot of scrub-clad healthcare staff and Chloe clears her throat. “Excuse me, Detective Decker, LAPD. Can I be of some help, here?”

“Oh!” One of the nurses turns to her, relieved. “Detective, we’ve been waiting for extra security, but… the woman in there has knives , and she won’t let us in!”

“She’s a trained bodyguard, and a bounty hunter that does regular work for the LAPD,” Chloe explains sympathetically. “Your patient is under her protection, and she’s wound a little tightly since her ward has already been injured once under her care tonight. We can talk her down.”

“That bitch is nuts ,” another nurse interjects, his wide hazel eyes a little wild. He pulls his navy scrub shirt tight, showing a rent in the tightly-woven fabric. “I thought she was going to gut me.”

“I can assure you that if she intended to gut you, then your internal organs would be making quite the festive garland for this rather dull hallway,” Lucifer chimes in, calmly eyeing the torn fabric. “Mazikeen doesn’t miss unless she intends to. Did you, by chance, try to grab her and forcibly remove her from her charge?”

“I…she…” the young man splutters, before quailing under Lucifer’s gaze. “We needed to check on our patient!”

“And so you shall,” Lucifer agrees quietly, nudging the Detective with his elbow in a silent request to take Rory from him. “How many of you need to attend? Two? Three? Very well, the rest of you can depart. I’ll see to it that you’re not disturbed.”

Chloe turns and accepts Rory’s slight weight, waiting for Lucifer to free himself from the sleeping girl’s loose grip before she settles her more comfortably against her chest and shoulder. His hand lingers for a moment over hers on Rory’s back, then he’s gone, disappearing through the door with a brisk, “Eve, how are you feeling, darling? Mazikeen, you’re concerning the caretakers, they need to come in and tend their patient.”

Chloe watches from the doorway as Eve looks up at him, dark eyes heavy-lidded and shadowed with pain, but a small smile tugs at her lips as he strides to the bedside and holds out his hand. Her fingers tremble as they’re folded into his steady grasp, and he brings his other hand to wrap around them.

“You charged me with keeping her safe!” Maze snarls from her position crouched in the chair at the bedside.

“Yes, and we’ll be having a discussion later about how Hell’s greatest torturer managed to lose track of her charge and allowed her to get shot,” He snaps, his nearly-black eyes surveying the tiny woman in the bed before him. 

“It’s not her fault, Luce,” Eve’s gravelly voice interrupts, her fingers twitching weakly in his. “She told me to keep moving, to get out. She had a plan to take the guy down, but then he almost shot Rory… Is she okay?”

“She’s fine,” he assures her gently, a warm smile gracing his expression that makes something unpleasant coil in Chloe’s stomach. Tension eases out of Eve as she relaxes back into her pillow with a sigh. “She’s asleep, but she wanted to make sure her Auntie Eve was okay before she would go to bed, she’s out in the hall with the Detective, waiting for me to call off your Guard-Demon so your medical staff can come assess your condition.”

Eve’s eyes move past Lucifer and spy Chloe and Rory in the hallway beyond, and a relieved smile spreads across her face. Chloe takes the opportunity to step into the room, managing a trembling smile for the wounded woman. Two of the nurses hesitantly follow her inside, warily eyeing the defensive demon.

“Fine,” Maze growls under her breath as he lifts an eyebrow in her direction, slipping her knives reluctantly into their hidden sheaths. “Do your thing and get out, humans.”

She slumps down into a chair in the corner and watches the nurses with narrowed black eyes as they scurry about their duties, Eve smiling at them sympathetically as Lucifer steps away to give them room to work. 

“Our shooter is in police custody, Mazikeen, and unfortunately he’ll need to remain in one piece,” he murmurs. Maze looks up at him disdainfully and scoffs, but he can only shrug in response. “I did make sure he got a healthy view of what awaits him.”

“That’s not enough ,” the demon insists, her hand automatically reaching for her blade. A glance from Lucifer has her staying the movement, but her frustrated hiss makes the nurses glance over at them anxiously, so she subsides reluctantly. “What did he even want?”

“Some nonsense about tracking down a missing wife,” Lucifer shakes his head. “How he thought the Detective was going to manage that being held at gunpoint… I honestly don’t understand the human thought process.”

“He figured if he had a cop hostage, then he could count on LAPD resources tracking down his wife for him,” Chloe provides, sidling closer to them and drawing the demon’s attention. Maze looks up interestedly, taking in her first view of Rory, who’s starting to stir in her mother’s arms. “Guess he didn’t count on being taken down by the first woman and a flight of stairs.”

“So this is the Decker spawn of Satan, huh?” Maze asks, feigning disinterest. “I was expecting her to have wings.”

“Oh, she does,” Lucifer replies easily. “Her control over them is quite good.”

“Does she have–”

“Tee May!” Rory says sleepily, dark eyes peeling open as a smile appears on her face. “Missed you!”

The demon’s eyes widen and she leans back in her seat as Rory shifts in her mother’s arms and reaches out toward Hell’s best torturer. Her glance flickers to Chloe, who smiles at Rory’s obvious affection for her demonic “aunt” and lets her daughter slither down to the floor to climb up into her lap. Lucifer watches carefully, but doesn’t move to intervene as Rory snuggles into Mazikeen’s stiffened position. 

“What.”

“Mazikeen, meet Rory,” he smirks at the demon’s obviously conflicted confusion. “She’s a bit of a snuggler, as I’m sure you’ll learn.”

The nurses finish their care and scurry from the room as Eve’s tired voice reaches them. “She’s really okay? I was so scared that she was hurt when that gun went off.”

“Tee Eeb!” Rory chirps, relief heavy in her little voice. “You otay?”

“Yeah, sweetie, I’m okay,” The petite woman smiles at the child beaming across the room at her and gives her a weak little wave of her fingers. “I’m just glad you’re safe.”

“Da fwy, taked us home ,” Rory explains, leaning her head tiredly against Maze’s shoulder. Lucifer smirks as he notices the demon’s arm automatically curling around the girl’s tiny body to support her as she slumps into the crook of her elbow. “No mo’ fwaid.”

“Hmm,” Eve smiles, her eyes finding Lucifer’s. “You love your dad a lot, don’t you?”

“Uh-huh,” Rory yawns, rubbing her heavy eyes with the back of her hand. “An’ Mommee, too. And Twix.” She sniffles a little, rubbing her face against Maze’s shoulder and playing with the intricate braid draped over her shoulder. “Miss Twix.”

“When you go back to Linda’s, you’ll be able to see her again,” Lucifer suggests gently, and Chloe’s breath catches in her chest. She glances up at him and his gaze meets hers for a moment. It flickers away again quickly, but not so fast that she can’t read the pain there. She has a sudden, numbing fear that losing Rory might rip the both of them to pieces. “If your pretty lights take you back, you’ll be able to play with Charlie and your sister again, Imp. And your parents will be so happy to see you.”

His only answer is a quiet snore. Maze doesn’t dare to move, and Lucier huffs a disappointed sigh. “Bollocks. It was worth a try.”

Some of the tension that had started to wind in Chloe’s gut relaxes, but then Lucifer crosses the room back to Eve’s bedside and it snakes up to wrap around her chest instead. She looks up at him with wide, dark chocolate eyes. “What on earth were you thinking, Eve, putting yourself in danger that way?”

“I didn’t want anyone to get hurt,” she whispers hoarsely, her delicate fingers tightening in the thin blanket over her stomach. “I… Rory was so afraid, and you can get hurt with her nearby…” she sighs, and darts a slightly accusatory look at Chloe before transferring her gaze to her hand, “and even I can see that if something happened to Chloe, it would destroy you. Nobody would miss me. It was… kind of the obvious choice.”

“The first thing Rory asked once she stopped crying was if you were okay,” Chloe offers in the silence that follows Eve’s statement. “It’s pretty obvious to me that she cares about you… or at least, that she will care about you? I’m not sure how this whole future-slash-time-travel thing works. I don’t know you, Eve, but… I want to thank you for trying to keep Rory safe.”

Eve’s gaze finds and locks with Chloe’s in surprise, her mouth opening soundlessly, but Chloe continues, stepping closer to the bed, to Lucifer . “And I know that you haven’t seen Lucifer in a long time, but let me just point out that if you think he wouldn’t blame himself for you dying to protect us , you’re wrong about that. I appreciate the thought behind what you did, but… I’m a law enforcement officer, I’m trained for handling situations exactly like this one. Lucifer is the Devil , and more than capable of protecting himself and his own. I hope, if you ever find yourself in a situation like this one again, Eve, that you’ll leave it to the professionals.”

“Detective,” Lucifer murmurs, shifting restlessly beside the bed as Eve’s expression crumples. “Perhaps we should go and let Eve get some rest.”

“I didn’t want anyone to get hurt,” Eve says again, glancing up at him as she rests her delicate hand on his jacket sleeve. “I wanted to help.”  

“Your heart’s in the right place, Eve,” he assures her with a small smile, but he pats her hand and shifts out of her grasp, closer to Chloe. “It always has been, but the Detective has a good point. We’ll head home, and you can focus on your recovery, darling. Get some rest, and I do hope you’ll try to keep out of harm’s way after this. It would be a shame for you to escape Heaven only to wind up back at the gates again so soon, hm?”

She nods wordlessly, a tremulous smile playing at the corners of her mouth as Lucifer steps past Chloe, gently gathering her in with a light touch of his hand against the small of her back before he bends to retrieve the soundly sleeping Rory from the still-frozen demon. “We’ll chat when you’re ready, eh Maze?”

“Yeah,” she clears her throat, adjusting her skin-tight bodice and shooting a furtive glance at the girl now nestled into Lucifer’s shoulder. “We… uh, we will. I… guess your kid is okay, Lucifer.”

“Don’t worry, she grows on you,” he chuckles. His right arm holds Rory to him as Chloe steps into the loose circle of his left and they move toward the door as a unit. “Good night ladies. Eve… thank you. For Rory, thank you. I hope you’re feeling better soon.”

Eve makes an inarticulate noise as they leave the room, and Lucifer stops briefly at the nurse’s desk to arrange for payment for Eve’s care, while Chloe looks on with an amused smile. She faintly catches Maze clearing her throat from inside the room, and Lucifer throws her a smirk when they hear the demon confess quietly,

I would miss you, Eve.”

“Really?” Eve’s voice is choked in surprise, and Lucifer huffs a quiet laugh as Maze replies,

“Well, yeah . You’re pretty cool. So… don’t do anything stupid like that again, you hear me?”

Chloe rolls her eyes, and they turn as one to head back to Lux. They still have a lot to talk about. At home.

Chapter Text

By the time Lucifer deposits Rory into her bed, she is dead to the world and snoring like a tiny chainsaw. He grabs her tiger from under the bed and snugs it in beside her, her little hands wrapping tightly around it as her snores snuffle into momentary silence. Chloe appears in the doorway after changing into her pajamas and finds him perched on the edge of the mattress, his broad hand spread across Rory’s back. His eyes are closed, and she notices that he’s matching his breathing to hers. 

“She’s really okay, Lucifer,” she murmurs, and he nods his acceptance, but doesn’t move. She thinks of the bullet hole in the piano bench, and a sick feeling rises in her chest. “How did you move her quickly enough? That bullet…”

“My reaction time is quite good,” his voice trembles a little, and when his eyes open, they’re brimming with emotion. “Which is why you shouldn’t place yourself between me and danger, Detective. Even near you, I’m far better equipped to escape unscathed than any human. And I heal faster, as well.”

“Why can you get hurt when you’re near me?” She steps further into the room, and Lucifer scoots down the mattress, understanding that Chloe needs to be near Rory right now, too. “I mean… how? You got shot during our first case, right after I did, and you were fine. But then, just a few months later I shot you and you played up your leg injury for days.

“Merely testing the waters, Detective, to see if you had a naughty nurse kink in you,” he teases. She snorts quietly, elbowing him gently in the ribs. 

“Be serious, please. You really don’t know why?”

“I’m afraid I don’t,” he shakes his head slowly. “At first I thought you’d been sent by my father as a… kind of weapon. A Devilish kryptonite, if you will. I tried to avoid you, but…” he sighs, and she turns away from Rory to watch his perplexed expression. “I just didn’t want to. You were too bloody fascinating.”

“So you decided to keep working with me, despite the risks?”

“At first, the risk was part of the draw,” he chuckles. “Real pain? Bleeding? Mortality? Something new after eons of knowing exactly what to expect, I was eager to explore and experience.”

“Bet that wore off fast,” she jokes, and he scoffs lightly, but nods.

“Mazikeen became quite the mother dem-hen for a while, I’m quite certain she followed us on every case until we had our first real falling out.”

“The Benny Choi case?”

“Mm,” he agrees, his eyes moving back to rest on Rory again. “She had quite a lot of fun that night. But later, I finally made her keep her distance.”

“What did you fight about?”

“We were fighting about everything around then, I think. She helped Amenadiel steal my wings, and they wound up in the hands of that bloody auctioneer. She managed to redeem herself after that, but she disapproved of our partnership and my willingness to face being injured. Then Amenadiel got the idea to resurrect that dirty detective, and set him after me like a bloody guard dog…”

“He… what?”

“Not really important, Detective, except that you and several other innocent humans wound up in Malcolm’s crosshairs as well. When he was setting me up, when it seemed that you believed him…” he hesitates, dark eyes scanning her face before shaking his head suddenly. “I’m sorry, we’ve gotten off-subject.”

“I guess we have,” she admits reluctantly, debating whether to push for the rest of what he was about to say. She opens her mouth to ask another question when she’s ambushed by a yawn.

“It’s been a long day,” he shifts slightly on the mattress before he stands, allowing his hand to slowly slide away from Rory’s back. “I’m a little afraid Rory might have nightmares tonight, so I thought it might be best if one of us slept in here with her?”

“I thought Rory hasn’t had any nightmares?”

“She hasn’t, but she has just been through a rather traumatic experience, has she not?” He tilts his head, puzzled. “Is this not something children experience after being thoroughly frightened?”

“It is,” Chloe agrees, surprised, “I… guess I just didn’t expect you to think of it.”

“I may not know anything about children,” he draws himself up to his full height, his dark eyes shuttered and flat once more, “but nightmares are another matter. I need less sleep than you do, so unless you’d rather sleep in here, I think it may be best if I take the night shift.”

Chloe looks up at him, and finds herself wondering if he’s more worried that Rory will have nightmares, or that he might wake from his own nightmares and not have Rory nearby to convince him that they weren’t real.

“Sleeping in here is bound to be more comfortable than your couch,” she smiles, trying to inject some humor. “Rory likes having you close, so you’re right, it makes sense. You guys obviously have a… really close bond.”

He glances down at the sleeping child, something tender in his demeanor. “She has proven rather impossible to refuse,” he admits quietly, as a smile toys at the corner of his mouth. 

“Kids are easy to love, because they love everyone so easily,” she muses, and his smile slowly melts away. 

“Yes, well,” he says briskly, toying with his cufflink. “I do believe it’s past your bedtime. I’ll just be a moment changing out of my suit, then the bedroom is all yours.”

He’s gone before she can reply, leaving her alone and blinking in the semi-darkness of Rory’s room, wondering what she’d said to cause his change in demeanor. After a moment she shrugs and writes it off as one of his mercurial shifts. She kisses Rory goodnight and slowly makes her way to his bedroom, unwilling to interrupt him in his nightly routine.

He’s descending the steps from the bedroom level as she approaches, tying the sash of his red satin robe tightly over his matching sleep pants. He nods quietly to her as she passes and she turns, gently catching his elbow as he slips past. “Hey. You okay?”

“Fine, Detective,” he replies shortly, glancing in her direction, but not willing to meet her eyes. “Good night.”

“Thought you didn’t lie,” she challenges, her patience suddenly snapping under the weight of exhaustion and the emotional rollercoaster of the evening. “But that sure sounds like one to me.”

He tilts his head and spreads his hands in a displaying gesture. “As you can see, I am uninjured.”

“You know that’s not what I’m asking,” she seethes, stepping closer, pushing into his space. “What did I say? In Rory’s room?”

“You said that Rory and I have a close bond,” he offers, but she knows that isn’t what made him close himself off. 

“I did, but there’s something else,” she pries, unwilling to let another misunderstanding grow between them like a weed through a crack in a sidewalk. “You heard something that I don’t think I said, and you’re taking it to heart.”

“It’s nothing to concern yourself about,” he waves her off with a surface smile and turns away, but she doesn’t let him go. She steps back into his space, filling the imposed distance between them with her refusal to be brushed aside. 

“What did I say?” She asks again, blue eyes probing his shuttered depths. “Why are you angry?”

“I’m not angry,” he denies flatly, sighing in annoyance when she doesn’t let him sidestep her. “You only reminded me of an unwelcome truth, that’s all. Children love easily. They love where they shouldn’t. They trust where they shouldn’t. Whatever my future self has done to earn her trust and love, I have yet to learn to do. I nearly lost her tonight– nearly lost both of you tonight.” His dark, desolate eyes slowly start to burn as embers glow underneath his alabaster skin, melting it away into that ravaged mask she’d seen standing in front of Pierce’s still form… and more recently, when he’d asked if she could accept him like this. She knows the answer now… but he’s asking a different question this time, and she doesn’t even think he realizes he’s slipped into this appearance. Her heartbeat accelerates as he growls, “ She doesn’t know any better, Detective, but you certainly should. Surely you can see that I am not someone to be depended upon? That I should be avoided at all costs?”

“Lucifer,” she sighs, her eyes fluttering shut in the face of her own narrowly evaded grief and guilt, in addition to his self-hatred. When she opens them again, she acknowledges to herself that the glowing eyes staring back at her are only Lucifer’s eyes. Fiery crimson or soft mahogany, they are the same, always. Full of pain, self-doubt, eons of rejection and loneliness. And love. So, so much love, just burning to escape. “Marco came to Lux looking for me. I’m the one that agreed to let Rory come watch your set. She slipped away on my watch. You didn’t do anything wrong. Sometimes… Sometimes things just happen.

“I… don’t know how to accept that,” he admits in a quiet rumble. "You didn't do anything wrong either." 

She steps closer, ignoring the heat radiating from him in trembling waves and pressing her palm to his dry, ruined cheek. His skin feels brittle beneath her hand, as though he could crumble at any given moment, with the slightest provocation. 

“I know you’re used to dealing with things alone,” she murmurs, taking in every destroyed centimeter of this face and tucking it away inside her heart with the rest of him that she knows so well. “But the weight of the world doesn’t rest on you . You have people that love you. Rory loves you, and yes, kids do love easily, but it’s beyond clear to anyone that sees the two of you together that you have something special. You. Not future you . Right now, you have something so special with that little girl, and I know you feel that.”

“How much of what I feel is borne of desperation for acceptance?” He asks brokenly, averting his flaming eyes. “She already knows me– and loves me through all of it despite my never having earned it. Do… do you know what that is like for something like me, Detective? I– I don’t want to use her for my own gain, just so that I can feel wanted by someone.”

“You're just as deserving of love as any other person." More, she wants to say, but doesn't . "Love isn't something you have to earn , Lucifer. And I know you’re not using her,” Chloe assures him, sliding her hand under his chin and guiding his face up until his gaze reluctantly meets hers. “The very fact that you’re worried about something like that is enough to prove that you would never allow it to happen.”

“You can’t know that,” he argues, his gnarled upper lip curling in disgust at himself, at his perceived weakness in wanting acceptance long denied him. A desiccated muscle in his fleshless cheek twitches. “You can never understand–”

She cuts him off with the simple method of pressing her lips to his scorched ones, taking advantage of his momentary surprise to wrap her arms around his charred neck and pull him closer.

“I’m not worth it.” His melancholy acceptance from the beach washes over her, and she realizes now how deeply it must have hurt him when she’d facetiously whispered “You’re probably right,” before kissing him.

“You can’t understand, Detective. And you never will.” Maybe he was right. Maybe she can never truly understand what he’s been through, but she knows that he doesn’t deserve whatever Hell he’s putting himself through in his mind right now. She seriously doubts he deserved the various Hells he's already been through, including the very literal one. 

He predictably stiffens when she presses against him, but she pours her determination into her kiss and holds him close, unwilling to let him retreat. He’s only just softened against her, his lips beginning to move against hers when her fingers brush over the sandpapery skin at the base of his neck where soft hair would normally be and he suddenly realizes that he’s wearing his other face. He jolts away, gentle hands finding her shoulders and attempting to push her away. She lets him pull back, but leans in again to rest her forehead against his, soft ivory pressed to waxy crimson.

“You’re right,” she whispers, “there’s a lot that I can’t know or understand, but I know you . I may not know your entire history, or your family, but I know your heart, and it's good .”

He shivers in the circle of her arms, and she holds him tighter. “I’m so sorry.”

“What–” he straightens but she clings, burying her face into the opening of his robe at his chest. Roughened skin digs into her cheek, and she wonders in concern if the burn extends to his entire body. “Detective?”

“This is partly my fault. I told you that I’d be there for you, that you… you could open up to me,” she mumbles against his satin robe. “And the minute you really did… the instant I realized you’d been telling me the truth the whole time, I ran. You told me what you were afraid of, and that’s exactly what I did.”

"I don't understand where this is coming from," he sighs, his chest heaving against her. After a moment he allows himself to return her embrace. “We’ve had this discussion, have we not?”

"It doesn't matter if we have," she shakes her head into his shoulder, her throat threatening to close around her answer. "You didn't deserve what I tried to do. You deserve better, and I'm determined to do better." 

They stand locked together, each wrapped in their own guilt, drowning in memories and clinging to one another just to keep their heads above water.

Some time later, she sniffles and leans back, raising her eyes to find her partner’s liquid brown gaze staring back at her in utter confusion, his complexion back to its normal smooth perfection, hair and beard in immaculate order. She reaches up and presses her palm to his bristled cheek, her thumb gently ruffling the stubble there. Relief blooms in his eyes as he realizes what she’s telling him with that simple gesture. 

A small whimper reaches his ears and he steps back, his head twitching toward Rory’s bedroom. “I should make sure Rory’s okay. Good night, Detective.”

“Good night,” she murmurs to his retreating back. His bare feet pad quietly across the stone floor, and she watches for a moment until he disappears down the hall before turning toward his bedroom to settle in for the night.

Nothing had been resolved, but she feels like important steps have been taken. 

*

She wakes gasping in a cold sweat, sitting bolt upright with gunshots ringing in her ears and the metallic scent of blood flooding her memory. The penthouse is quiet, darkness twining around her like icy chains, holding her in place while her heart flutters in fear. 

She knows Lucifer and Rory are fine. That they’re likely sound asleep, maybe even curled together in the blissfully soft shelter of Lucifer’s wings, but she can’t shake the image of the pair of them, silent, slumped, and bleeding on the piano bench down in the club, and before she can argue with herself her bare feet are on the cool stone and she’s halfway down the hallway.

She cracks the door open as quietly as possible and slips inside, leaving it open just far enough to cast some light on the sleeping pair. Her own breathing slows, and her feet draw her farther into the room until her shadow falls across them, safely ensconced within a softly rising and falling shield of dimly gleaming, snow white feathers. A tear spills down her cheek and her breath catches in her chest before she can contain it. 

She bites her lip and covers her mouth with her palm, edging back toward the door. Just enough time passes for her to believe she’ll escape undetected before,

“Detective?” His voice is raspy with sleep and she freezes, her eyes closing and another tear escaping at the similarity to how it had sounded in her nightmare, as she’d hovered over his dying form, frantically pressing her hands against the tide of blood gushing from his wound. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong,” she lies, turning back toward the door. Her face catches the light, tear streaks shining, and he frowns.

“You’re crying.”

“It’s fine,” she croaks, “I… just needed to make sure you were both all right.”

“She’s been sleeping quietly since I brought out my wings,” he folds his right wing to reveal the sleeping child snuggled into his chest. “Did you have a nightmare, Detective?”

She doesn’t answer, just shakes her head and brushes the tears from her cheek. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“We’re fine, Detective,” he assures her, lifting up on one elbow to see her more clearly. “But you aren’t.”

“You were both…” she hesitates, another freshet of tears staining her cheeks, “you were dying. He’d shot you both, and I couldn’t save you.”

“Chloe,” he breathes, easing himself away from the sleeping toddler so he can sit up more fully. “Come on then, we’ll swap out. You’ll feel better when you can feel her breathing against you.”

Her heart beats harder as her name passes his lips, and she knows he’s right. Holding Trixie close has always been her remedy of choice for nightmares, and she has no doubt that Rory can provide that same solace… but right now it doesn’t feel like enough. She sinks onto the opposite end of the mattress and Rory stirs restlessly. Chloe reaches out and smooths a hand along the girl’s back, and she settles back into sleep. The warmth of her sleeping body seeps into Chloe’s fingertips, edging away some of the chill from her nightmare. 

Lucifer slips his feet to the floor, but before he can stand Chloe reaches across the girl between them and brushes her fingers along his bare wrist. He glances over his shoulder, lifting an inquiring eyebrow. 

Stay. The word is there, on the tip of her tongue, but it clings like a burr, refusing to be shaken free.

“Thank you,” she murmurs after a moment, when she can’t force the word she wants to utter past her lips. His cheek pulls back in a smile as he stands and moves toward the door. Rory whimpers as he reaches it and he pauses with his hand on the knob. Chloe wrestles with her reticence. It’s not as if she doesn’t want him there with them– she wonders what’s stopping her from saying so.

“Goodnight, Detective,” he whispers as he pulls the door open.

“Wait,” she reaches out, unwilling to let him leave but unable to ask him to stay. “Lucifer?”

“Yes?”

“I… I think maybe Rory needs you nearby tonight,” she offers. His brows draw in and he looks at her in confusion. She pulls in a deep breath, and adds, “I… think I need you nearby, too. Will you… would you stay with us?”

“Are you… are you certain?”

“I’m sure,” she replies immediately. “I want you to, if you’re comfortable. It would make me feel, um, better. Having you here.”

He turns now, tilting his head as he regards her carefully. Probably looking for a lie. 

He doesn't find one. Rory stirs again and his dark eyes flicker to her, his expression softening. 

“Come on, Lucifer, let’s all get some rest, hm?” Her hand still hangs in the air between them, and he hesitantly reaches out to take it, long fingers wrapping around her clammy palm. She tugs him closer, and he takes a slow step in, still watching her closely. She tugs again until he sinks onto the mattress next to her, pressing against her side from shoulder to hip. 

His gaze searches hers, piercing the darkness between them effortlessly, and his hand slowly lifts until his fingers brush her mussed hair back from her face. She presses her cheek into his palm, leaning into his touch with a quiet sigh. Pulling her feet up, she settles on her side facing Rory. When Lucifer moves to stand, she reaches back to grasp his robe.

“I’m just switching sides, Detective,” he reassures her, but she doesn’t loosen her hold. His hand closes over hers again, its warmth thawing something deep inside that she hadn’t realized was frozen. 

“Please?” Her voice cracks in its plea. “I’ll be able to sleep better when I can feel you both breathing.”

He sighs, but only hesitates a moment before rolling into place behind her. He maintains some small distance between them, but she relaxes when she realizes his chest brushes against her back with each inhale. She wraps an arm around Rory and pulls her close, taking comfort in this physical reassurance of their safety. The girl rolls over and snuggles into her mother’s embrace, sighing happily as one arm loops across her neck to touch her father’s cheek.

Eventually, she feels Lucifer relax little by little behind her, the solid, real weight of his body sinking into the mattress and reminding her he's there with them. His breathing deepens, and with Rory snuggled in her arms she allows her stress and fear to drain from her in a wash of welcome lassitude. She’s just drifting off to sleep when she’s enveloped by a wave of warmth. She cracks an eye open and finds herself covered with Lucifer’s downy-soft wing.

"Is this okay?" He murmurs sleepily, his breath warming the back of her neck. 

"Mmhm," Chloe sighs in contentment and reaches back, grasping Lucifer’s hand and drawing it around her waist. He tightens his arm around her and she laces her fingers between his as sleep creeps quietly in.

artwork by @LaurieYa2

*

Chloe drifts into warm wakefulness, surrounded by an unprecedented feeling of peace. Rory snuffles into her chest and she breathes deeply, the girl’s sweet scent mingling pleasantly with Lucifer’s spice and sandalwood enveloping them all beneath his wing. 

Trailing feathers tickle her forearm when she cards her fingers through Rory’s messy hair just as Lucifer makes a small waking noise behind her, bowing his head forward with a deep sniff and a pleasant rumble in his chest. His wing stretches out, feathers ruffling and muscles going taut, then lax over the trio once more. 

“Good morning,” he rumbles in her ear, bristles tickling her skin. 

It is . She feels as though she’s never had a morning this good in her life, and she’s only just woken up. The only thing missing is Trixie, and she wonders briefly if Trixie counts herself too old for family snuggles by the time Rory is this age, in Rory’s time. She knows that time is coming, when Trixie becomes too ‘cool’ for couch piles with her mom, and she already laments the time she’s lost while Trixie has been angry with her.

“Did you have any more nightmares?” The question reverberates through her, and she rests the back of her head against his chest with a smile. 

“No, I slept perfectly. Rory, too. How about you?”

“Best night of my life,” he murmurs, his lips brushing the shell of her ear. “No contest.”

“You don’t lie,” she can’t stop a smile from curling the corners of her mouth up as his arm tightens around her waist briefly.

“I don’t,” he agrees quietly, a smile of his own caressing the back of her neck. “I nearly lost you, but instead I woke up with you in my arms. There are only a few ways that could be improved, but none of them involve having our daughter in the same bed, Detective.”

“Lucifer,” she chuckles, but the laugh catches in her throat as his lips brush the back of her neck. Her fingers find his wrists and squeeze, his deep inhale against the nape of her neck sending a tongue of flame up her spine that has only a little to do with the physical heat of his body pressed to hers. He leaves another lingering kiss there before retracting his wing and rolling away to go make breakfast. 

The chill that she feels with the removal of his presence has nothing to do with the temperature in the room, so after a few minutes she presses a light kiss to the top of Rory’s head and carefully pries herself from her daughter’s grasp to follow her partner. He’s swaying in the kitchen to the music softly playing from his phone as he flips the eggs frying in the pan before him.

She watches him, a smile playing on her lips as slices of toast pop up from the toaster and he swings around to pull them into a stack, only to be replaced with fresh bread to be toasted. He effortlessly balances frying the eggs with buttering the toast and slicing it into child-friendly slivers, then arranges them on a plate before starting on the next. He turns and throws her a teasing, come-hither smile over his shoulder.

“How do you like your eggs, Detective?”

“Just like you’ve done for Rory is great,” she laughs, nodding at the prepared plate. “But I promise I don’t need my toast cut into finger slices.”

*

The night terrors hadn't managed to snare him. He can't remember the last time his sleep had been so blissful. Certainly before the loft. Before she knew. Before he brought their entire world crashing down around them and left nothing but dust, empty bullet casings, and bloody feathers in his wake. 

Last night… Despite the nightmarish happenings of the evening, despite his fears and insecurities and bruised trust, the Detective had kissed him… while he was wearing his Devil face. Against all odds he had fallen asleep with his family safe in his arms, wrapped in his wings, and even in the dark depths of sleep his unconscious mind had somehow known they were safe and close. 

He wakes with the achingly familiar scent of the Detective’s shampoo surrounding him, and before he's even properly awake he's burying his face in the silky source and inhaling deeply. The warmth of another body pressed close to him is nothing new, of course. His bed on Earth has historically rarely been cold until recently, after all, but this… 

This feeling compares to that as the surface of the sun compares to a guttering candle. The forms breathing serenely beside him now are as familiar as his stars… and as loved. He registers the movement of Chloe's hand under his wing even as he realizes he's breathing her in, but she doesn't seem uncomfortable with his proximity. If anything, she seems just as much at peace as he feels. 

"Good morning," he murmurs, letting her know he's awake but keeping quiet enough to avoid waking Rory. Chloe hums contentedly in his arms and he decides it is a good morning. The best morning. Perhaps the best morning of all eternity. He nearly lost them last night, but impossibly they're still here with him. Both of them. He can hear Rory snoring peacefully under his wing, and a wave of relief washes over him that at least her sleep hadn't been haunted by last night's events. His memory offers him a vision of Chloe standing beside the bed, her face stricken and shining dimly with tears as she looked down at the pair of them. "Did you have any more nightmares?" 

"No, I slept perfectly," she rests the back of her head against the sleep-wrinkled satin robe covering his chest, and he catches the curve of a smile on her cheek as she relaxes back against him, her fingers brushing affectionately through Rory’s unruly curls. "Rory, too. How about you?" 

"Best night of my life." There is no other honest answer he could give. "No contest." 

"You don't lie," she challenges. He pulls her close, wondering if she has any idea of the turmoil in his head right now. 

"I don't," an answering grin stretches his lips as they whisper against the nape of her neck in a feather-light caress. "I nearly lost you, but instead I woke with you in my arms. There are only a few ways that could be improved, but none of them involve having our daughter in the same bed, Detective." 

"Lucifer," she huffs, the sound hitching as he dares to press a true kiss to the back of her neck. Her fingers wrap around his wrists, holding his arms tightly in place around her and it's all he can do to restrain the groan that would surely wake Rory at a most inopportune moment. 

Reluctantly, he leaves one more kiss against the silky skin there before furling his wings and making use of Chloe's surprise at their disappearance to slip from her grasp and extract himself before his arousal becomes inappropriately evident. 

He retreats to the kitchen, expecting her to snuggle her daughter until they both fall back to sleep. He expects her to, perhaps, have a shower and get dressed before presenting herself for breakfast. In short, he expects to have some time to gather himself, to try to sort out his tangled thoughts and feelings before facing her again. 

He certainly doesn't expect to find her leaning against his kitchen counter in faded cotton pajamas, hair still mussed from sleep and smirking, sparkling blue eyes watching him as he executes a spin in front of his stove to the song he's listening to. His mind stutters to a halt for a heartbeat at this unexpected stroke of luck… being fortunate enough to observe her in such a relaxed state. 

"How do you like your eggs, Detective?" He recovers, teasing with an automatic, flirty smile. 

“Just like you’ve done for Rory is great,” she laughs, indicating the plate he's already set aside to cool for Rory. “But I promise I don’t need my toast cut into finger slices.”

His heart does a funny flip at the sound of her laughter, full-bodied and real . How long has it been since they've really laughed together? Was it when they were interrogating Maze's bounties? He can't quite recall without making a complete mental rundown of all their time together since then, but he makes a vow to never take another instance of it for granted. He clears his throat and turns back to the toaster, scrabbling to even his footing. 

"I would expect nothing less from a woman of your caliber than to be able to manage a full slice, Detective." He winces inwardly at the ridiculous innuendo– what does that even mean?– but she only chuckles, wraps her arms playfully around him from behind and says, 

"Does that mean you've got something popping up for me?" 

"Detective!" He gasps in mock scandal, "Where was this version of you when I was making your omelet once upon a time?" 

"She was busy trying to convince me to shoot you," she teases, swaying him in her arms, "for breaking into her house." 

"Tease," he pouts. He feels the slight pressure of her forehead between his shoulders, then an odd tingling warmth. He turns to face her, but she keeps her arms around him, holding him close. "Did you just kiss me, Detective?" 

"It seemed only fair," one corner of her lips quirks up. "I can't quite reach the back of your neck without my bootheels, I can't help it that you're so damn tall." 

"I can't help it that you're so very short, either," he grins down at her. 

"I'm tall enough," she protests, a determined glint in her eyes. 

"For what, exactly?" 

She tips up on her toes, surprising him with a real kiss. This is no careful brush of lips, no soft affirmation of her presence or acceptance. 

Her mouth claims his with the gentle ferocity of a kindled flame to dry tinder, a spark of want quickly ignited into a blazing desire; this kiss is a release valve for the encompassing heat she'd been feeling since she'd awakened wrapped in his arms, and he responds in kind without hesitation.

Perhaps it shouldn't surprise her, but it does. Up til now he's always been hesitant at returning her advances, always holding himself back, maintaining a distance between them no matter how badly he seemed to want to close it. 

But she knows now. There are no more secrets and the embattled walls between them that have been steadily under siege and crumbling since Rory arrived seem to have collapsed like a sand castle caught in an incoming tide overnight. 

She kisses him fiercely, hungrily, and he meets her with equal fervor, a low growl rumbling in his chest when she catches his bottom lip between her teeth and tugs. He retaliates by swiping his hot tongue into her mouth, exploring and doing something that feels so good it might be illegal. She sighs into the kiss, and if it turns to a moan when his long fingers twine into her tangled hair… well. If anything, it only seems to spur him on to greater effort until she's not entirely sure her legs are going to be able to keep her standing. She leans further into him, the broad palm of his hand not currently gripping her hair painting a wide swathe of warmth up her back. 

She would have been quite content to go on in that vein for quite some time, but her niggling responsibility chooses that very moment to remind her that greasy smoke is now rising from the blackened fried eggs still in the skillet behind him, and she reluctantly releases her hold on him to reach past and turn off the burner. 

"Tease," he says again, only this time it's croaked raggedly. His breath is heaving, just as labored as hers is, and she's sure that if she looks more closely at just how dark his eyes have become, she'll dive into them and possibly never come out. 

That single word is enough to loosen the spell, though, and she remembers what they'd been discussing before they'd been… distracted. 

"Would you have bled?" 

"Hm?" He blinks at her in confusion, adorably lost in the aftermath of their moment. 

"If I'd shot you back then. You didn't bleed during our first case," her fingers slide along the satin of his robe, tracing the general area Jimmy Barnes' bullets had hit him, "but when I shot you during the player case, you did. Something changed in those first few months." 

"You… seem oddly intent on exploring my vulnerability, Detective," he turns away and scrapes the no-longer-recognizable eggs into the trash before washing the pan and starting again. "Can I ask why?" 

"Why aren't you?" She returns slowly, taking two more plates out of the cabinet as he turns back to the stove. "I don't like that you get hurt in my presence. Since I'd like you to stick around, I'd… kind of like to find out if it's something we can fix." 

"Are you suggesting that I'm broken?" He quips, trying to deflect from the sudden serious turn in the conversation. 

"Are you saying that your invulnerability fritzing around me doesn't concern you?" 

"As I mentioned, the novelty has worn off a bit over time," he glances back at her, meeting her concerned gaze briefly before his gaze darts away. "But as we've discussed, I don't know exactly why, only that it occurs in your presence." 

"But it didn't always?" 

He sighs and casts her a fond look. "Always the Detective." 

"I thought you liked that about me?" She lifts her chin, meeting his dark gaze. 

"Oh, I do," he purrs, sliding two eggs onto a plate and stepping toward her with an intense expression. 

"Luci?" Amenadiel calls from the living room. "Are you awake?" 

The intensity in his mahogany eyes gentles into a rueful acceptance when a moment later Rory's cheerful, "Unca Meni!" rings through the kitchen, followed by a muffled exclamation of surprise that Chloe recognizes from when Lucifer has been surprised by a Trixie tackle-hug. 

The pair step away from one another, and Lucifer adds more eggs to the pan, slipping a few slices of toast onto the plate with the eggs and sliding it toward her with a nod. 

"We're in the kitchen. Come have breakfast, you two." 

The Fist of God appears in the doorway, with a sleepy-eyed, wild-haired toddler latched around his neck. His expression is solemn. 

"We have a problem, Luci," Amenadiel doesn't waste any time divulging. "I can't find Remi." 

Chapter Text

“I know what I saw, Healer,” Remi spits furiously, twirling her razor-sharp spear aggressively as she paces within the tight confines of the infirmary. “Amenadiel is not only hiding it, he’s actively helping to care for it.”

“Easy, Remi,” Raphael rolls his eyes, neatly decanting his bruise solution into a clay jar and sealing it with wax before placing it on a high shelf. “He told me before that they think this creature is possibly from another timeline, or even an alternate universe. How do we know it’s even the same celestial you sensed?”

“How many new celestials have I sensed since Father created the last of us?” She demands impatiently. 

“None, but–”

“And now somehow you think there might not be just one, but two? When Lucifer has never succeeded in breeding with a human before?” Her black eyes narrow suspiciously. “I’m not stupid. The odds are very high that this creature is the celestial I’ve discovered.”

“If that’s the case, it may simply be that they’re trying to return it to its rightful place,” he soothes carefully. “We all know Lucifer would never want to keep a juvenile around, it would be unbearable for him, with his sinful lifestyle. You know how he is about his freedom.”

“He let it sleep in his bed, brother,” she raps the spear against the floor, its point digging a divot out of the smooth stone. Raphael frowns down at it, concentrating until the floor is once again smooth and unblemished. “We cannot allow it to stay with our fallen brother. The risk is too great.”

“Then by all means, go retrieve it,” the Healer smirks, moving on to his next unguent. “But you should know that Amenadiel informed me that Lucifer retains all his celestial power, so if Lucifer has no intention of letting the child go, you’ll be hard-pressed to win it from him. Amenadiel’s powers have returned to him as well, so if he chooses to side with the Enemy, you haven’t a chance at all without a small army.”

“Not if I bring Michael.”

“Hm,”Raphael considers for a moment, weighing the abilities of all parties involved. “Possible. But Amenadiel mentioned that Lucifer had some concerns that Michael may have been involved in bringing the child to this timeline to begin with, so I’m not sure you could count on the Sword’s assistance if he’s currently executing one of his Grand Plans to sow chaos.”

“Introducing a new celestial into a timeline isn’t chaos, it’s insanity.” The Huntress growls.

“It’s Michael ,” Raphael points out matter-of-factly. “Can we rule that out? If he isn’t already involved, I don’t know that I would recommend alerting him to the situation, he’d be itching to just make it worse, you know how he’s always eager to show Father how unworthy Lucifer is.”

She groans in frustration, unwilling to admit that the Healer is probably right. Her nose wrinkles in disgust as she passes him, the bitter astringent smell of the salve leaving a sour taste in her mouth. “What is that?”

“Hopefully nothing you’ll need to use,” he replies smartly. “Did you need something from me, or are you only here to vent about Amenadiel’s supposed betrayal?”

“What if it has a dangerous talent?” She shakes her head, her mind running risk assessments upon risk assessments. “What if Lucifer decides to keep it, and raise it as a weapon against us?”

“Give them a little time, Remi,” Raphael advises patiently. “Amenadiel would never allow Lucifer to move against Father.”

“He allowed him to stay on Earth,” she snarls, and Raphael has to cede the point. “He allowed Mother to stay on Earth. He lied to us about hunting down the celestial presence. Can we truly trust what we think Amenadiel will or will not do?”

“He didn’t have his powers while Mother was on Earth,” the Healer reminds her. “There was little he could have done to contain Mother at that point. I have faith that our brother is trying to do the right thing… but I do hope I get the opportunity to study this new creature, whatever it may be.”

“Even though he’s lying to us?”

“Even if he’s lying to us , Father knows what he’s about,” he shrugs, resettling his wings behind him as he finishes mixing the ointment and starts dividing it into smaller containers. “He will warn us if this creature is truly anything we need to worry about.”

Remi grunts, dissatisfied with this ‘wait and see’ approach, but unable to come up with a suitable counterargument. “What did he say when he was here?”

“Nothing, really,” he taps each container on his worktable, removing any air bubbles and smoothing the surface of the ointment before affixing the lids. “Said he was checking in. He seemed a bit worried that he couldn’t find you.”

“He should be,” she mutters indignantly. “He’s helping Lucifer and lying about it.”

“If you’re so concerned, why didn’t you just grab it while you were stalking them? You said they were sleeping.”

“They were, and Lucifer had his wing draped over it.”

“Ah,” he nods in understanding. “Yes, best to keep your distance, then. Did you see anything interesting while you were watching it?”

“It has wings, but isn’t flighted yet. Its coordination is stunted, and its fine motor control is practically nonexistent,” Remi sneers in contempt. “It’s defenseless, and I don’t even know if it will be trainable to anything useful.”

“Yet you’re worried Lucifer will make it into a weapon against Father,” Raphael points out, humor lacing his tone. “Make up your mind, Remi, it’s either a threat or it’s not.”

“It’s celestial , and it belongs in the Silver City, not on Earth.”

“You’re right, of course it does,” he sighs, unwilling to argue any further. “I do have work to do, Remiel, don’t you… have some training to catch up on or something? You’ve been gone for ages.”

“I’ll check in at the training grounds, but I intend to go keep watch again,” she flexes her wings impatiently. “I don’t trust them, they could still be plotting something.”

“Yes, I’m sure they’ll find a terrible use for the defenseless fledgling celestial,” Raphael agrees absently, combining the ingredients for his next project in a clean bowl. “Good plan. You’d best get a move on, or you’ll miss something important.”

Remi narrows her eyes, suspecting sarcasm, but not quite able to identify it in her brother’s wry tone. “Tell me the next time Amenadiel appears. If I see a window while he is otherwise occupied, I may be able to seize the child.”

“Right,” the Healer agrees automatically, his mind already on his task. “I’ll do that. Have fun beating your trainees to a pulp.”

*

“What do you mean, you can’t find her?” Lucifer asks, his brows drawing together.

“Who’s Remi?” Chloe asks at the same time. She sets Rory’s plate on the bar as the girl struggles to free herself from her uncle’s embrace and come get breakfast.

“Remiel,” Lucifer supplies, “one of our sisters.”

“One of the ones you said was going to cause trouble about Rory…” Chloe recognizes the name vaguely from their conversation when Zaphkiel had come to read Rory’s history. “And now she’s AWOL?”

“So it seems,” Lucifer agrees, eyeing Amenadiel, who bobs his head uncertainly to the side. 

“I didn’t stay long,” Amenadiel offers, “so I didn’t do a full-on search for her. But Raphael says he hasn’t seen her, and I ran into Gabriel again. She hadn’t seen her either, so I don’t know for certain. But she’s usually pretty… visible.”

“Especially to Gabriel,” Lucifer mutters, flipping more eggs. “Nosy little git.”

“And Gabriel is one of your brothers…” Chloe says, settling names and roles in her mind.

“Sister, actually,” Lucifer corrects gently, shuffling Chloe off to the bar to her own plate. “Quite the gossip, she is, and always eager to share what she knows, which is why it’s unnerving that she didn’t have at least a recent location for Remi.” He directs a look at his brother, who is settling himself at the bar next to Rory, watching in horrified fascination as Rory enthusiastically grabs her toast slices and messily dunks them in the oozing egg yolks before mashing them into her mouth. “Did you get any useful information from Raphael this time, at least?”

“Nothing,” he shakes his head. “I just told him I was checking in, hadn’t found any new information, and I’d check in again later.”

“And he was content with that?”

“He tried to pump me for information on Rory,” Amenadiel admits. “He’s really eager to study her, Luci.”

“Not happening,” Lucifer growls, his eyes flashing briefly red. It fades before Rory looks up from her breakfast, concerned at his tone.

“Not happening,” he agrees firmly. “He was a little less keen when I told him about your suspicions for her being from an alternate Earth or timeline, so hopefully he’ll just let it go once we get her returned to her time.”

“Any new ideas on accomplishing that little task?” Lucifer asks dryly. “I had a hopeful moment last night, but no luck. The little imp admitted to missing her sister, and I thought maybe that would nudge her.”

“I thought for a minute that might actually work,” Chloe chimes in as she finishes buttering her toast. “It was a good try.”

“We’ll find something,” Lucifer mutters, sliding two more eggs onto another plate. “Toast, brother?”

“Er, no thank you,” he glances over at Rory’s gooey plate, watching her munching happily on her soggy toast sticks. Lucifer shrugs and supplies the eggs and a fork to his brother before turning back to the stove again to prepare his own breakfast.

“Have you still got today off, Detective, or is there more to do for yesterday’s case?”

“Still some paperwork, but we got Marco’s confession, and I don’t think we’ll be getting anything coherent out of him today even if we did go in to interview him, so I can take today as planned. I’ll be back on the bottom of the ‘on-call’ roster since I got called in yesterday.”

“Very well then,” he glances at Amenadiel. “Are you free today?”

Amenadiel shifts uncomfortably, and Lucifer sighs. “Out with it, brother. You have plans?”

“With Remi on the loose, I… wanted to check in on Linda.”

“Does she suspect anything about her?” Lucifer asks sharply. “Surely you didn’t tell Raphael about her??”

“No!” Amenadiel blurts, holding his hands up in defense, “Luci, of course I wouldn’t do that. But you know Remi, she’s a huntress, and she’s going to be sniffing around any woman you might know.”

“Well, then she’d find out that there’s nothing there pretty quickly, wouldn’t she?” Chloe points out reasonably. Both angels go still, suddenly not meeting anyone’s eyes. Chloe notices, and turns to Lucifer with blue eyes narrowed to slits. “Okay, what aren’t you telling me? Why would Linda… be… Oh my God.”

Lucifer winces at her words, and she flinches inwardly.

I have got to find something else to say.

“Linda’s already pregnant with Charlie, isn’t she? That’s why you’re worried about her?” Chloe’s eyes widen as her brain kicks into gear. “She seemed a little off the other day, but I was distracted by our conversation, and Maze, and… and Eve, and… why didn’t you tell me?”

She looks to Lucifer, eyes brimming with hurt. His mouth opens, but no sound comes out. It occurs to her in a sudden realization. The blood drains from her face as the two brothers exchange a look

“It was just a precaution, Detective,” Lucifer says quietly, switching off the burner on the stove before crossing the room toward her. She stands up, sliding off her stool and backing away from his cautious approach. “It isn’t my news to share, and the Doctor has always been so good about keeping my secrets that I couldn’t in good conscience go around blabbing hers, now could I?”

“You were afraid I might… Lucifer, I…” she trails off, her eyes searching his and finding pain and uncertainty in their depths. She pulls in deep breath and forces herself to consider his side. He’s got a point, it wasn’t his secret to tell. “You’re right. Sorry, I… no, you’re right. It’s… I’m the one that needs to rebuild trust here, and… after what I told Linda the other night, I can see why she wouldn’t want to share with me that she’s carrying, a, uh… half-angel baby.” 

“Mommee?” Rory asks plaintively. “You otay?”

“Yeah baby, I’m okay,” her laugh is a little watery, but she goes back to her stool and sits across from Rory. “Your plate is a mess. Are you eating it, or making egg art?”

“Eatin’!” She waves her toast stick in an eggy fist, and Lucifer cringes across the room.

“Here, Gremlin, napkin.” He waves one in her direction before tossing it lightly. Chloe catches it and slides it across the bar to the girl, who eyes the egg on her fingers and shrugs, licking the best bits off before picking up the napkin and proceeding to wipe her fingers and face. Lucifer glances warily at Chloe as he slides his own eggs onto two slices of toast already on his plate. He picks one up and neatly folds it before biting into it. After taking a moment to chew and swallow, he offers, “I wanted to make some calls today. I think I know someone that may be able to help get Rory back to where she belongs, but I need to make the visit in person.”

“Luci, he hates you.”

“Well aware, brother,” Lucifer rolls his eyes and finishes his first slice before tackling his second. “I won’t be speaking to him . At least, not directly.”

“Who hates you?” Chloe asks suspiciously. “You’re going to someone that hates you for advice on how to help our daughter?”

“Again, not going directly to him,” Lucifer sighs, put-upon. “I’m going to a mutual acquaintance that owes me a favor, and it just so happens that he will do anything she asks of him.”

“She?” Chloe asks innocently. “Okay then… when are we going?”

“I thought you would stay here with Rory, Detective,” he says uncomfortably. “She’s… a bit suspicious, and I doubt she would see me if I brought someone that she didn’t know with me.”

"Does she like you?" Chloe's tone is sharp, and Lucifer looks at her in confusion. 

"She owes me a favor, Detective, her feelings or lack thereof toward me are irrelevant. She'll uphold her end of her deal." He tilts his head, watching her as he chews the last bit of his breakfast. She focuses on swiping up the last bit of egg yolk with her toast, and doesn't look up. "I thought you could enjoy some time with Rory while I was out, since last night was rather… curtailed." 

"Right," she mutters, trying to convince herself that she's not disappointed at being left behind. At least he’s trusting me with Rory. "So, what makes you think these people can help us?" 

"I don't know that they can, but they do deal somewhat in time travel, and might have some ideas on ways we can coach Rory through returning to her time." 

Rory chooses then to pick up her plate and start licking the remainder of the runny yolk from it, making Chloe laugh at Lucifer and Amenadiel's matching horrorstruck expressions. 

"If you're still hungry, child, I can fix you more…" He offers weakly, as she lowers her plate, tongue eagerly wiping all around her mouth to gather the last bits from her lips. 

"I'm full," she chirps easily, taking her napkin and dutifully wiping her face, but only succeeding in smearing more egg and toast crumbs across it. Lucifer looks as though he’s physically pained at the sight.

"Right," he says doubtfully. Chloe shakes her head and stands, rounding the bar and scooping up the girl, tickling her lightly until she giggles.

"C'mon baby, let's get you cleaned up before your Da has a coronary." 

"What's a crannery?" 

"It means he doesn't like messes," Chloe laughs, and Rory glances over her shoulder apologetically, wiping the back of her hand unhelpfully across her cheek. 

"Sorry, Da!" She calls as they disappear up the stairs toward the bathroom. 

"Quite all right, Imp," Lucifer calls back, gathering the dishes and stacking them in the sink. He exchanges a look with Amenadiel and both of them can only shake their heads in disbelief at their respective futures. 

"You really think they'll help, Luci? You know how he is about you… if he finds out about Rory…" 

"And what makes you think he doesn't already know about her?" Lucifer asks pointedly. "He's in and out of time constantly, he must have some inkling, especially if you and I are co-Godding?" 

"Maybe you're right," Amenadiel sighs. "Are you sure you trust him for this?" 

"Of course not," Lucifer scoffs, "but we've got a rogue huntress likely on our tails and my options are slim, brother, what would you have me do?" 

The angel delivers his own cleared plate and shakes his head, at a loss for other ideas. 

"If nothing else, they can point me in an alternate direction. For Dad's sake, I'm not intending to just hand Rory over to them." 

"I know," Amenadiel crosses his arms over his broad chest. "But I still don't want to leave Linda unguarded. What are we going to do about that?" 

"Perhaps it's time to bring 'Auntie Zaffy' for a visit?" Lucifer suggests after a moment. "As loath as I am to leave the Detective unattended with any of our siblings, neither of us can be in two places at once, and Mazikeen isn't likely to be pried from Eve's side any time soon after last night." 

"What happened last night?"

"Slight run-in with an unexpected visitor at Lux," Lucifer waves a casual hand and Amenadiel narrows his eyes suspiciously at his brother. "Nothing celestial, just a complication with our case. It's been resolved, but Eve was injured and Mazikeen took it rather personally that her ward was injured on her watch. We were assured she'll make a full recovery when we visited her at the hospital later." 

"We are stretched a bit thin, aren't we?" Amenadiel shakes his head. "Asking Zaphkiel for help seems the best option, and she did offer. I'll see if Linda has any suggestions for talking Remi down, as well." 

"You'd likely do as well to ask the Detective," Lucifer points out. "She's been trained on de-escalation techniques as well, and likely with far more hostile subjects. But I suppose it can't hurt to get multiple opinions." 

"What am I de-escalating now?" Chloe returns with Rory bouncing happily beside her, now egg-free and dressed in her familiar purple overalls and an obscenely pink shirt that will clash horribly with the shade of her wings. 

"Hopefully nothing," Lucifer supplies easily, "but Amenadiel was going to ask Linda about suggestions for calling Remi off the hunt. I told him he might pick your brain as well." 

"Oh, right," Chloe looks pleasantly surprised. Rory wanders off toward the rearing horse statue, apparently intent on retrieving her shark plushie. "Sure. Um, are we thinking she might show up here today? Would it be better if I took Rory to my apartment? Or, um, to Linda's?" 

"As far as we're aware, Remi doesn't know about Linda yet," Amenadiel says quietly. "I would as soon not draw any undue attention to her at this point in time, especially from Remi." 

"What exactly does she want?" 

"She… wants to bring Rory to the Silver City to be raised there." 

“Why?" 

"Why, so I won't corrupt her into something twisted, of course," Lucifer replies bitterly. Chloe looks past Amenadiel to her partner, who is lowering his hands from an upright position, as though he'd been praying. 

"Lucifer-" 

"I've passed on the request for Zaphkiel's presence today, brother, but of course if she responds, I wouldn't know it until she arrives. I've asked her to notify you if she can't make it. I’ve given her my conditions for her temporary guardianship, and I’ll need you to obtain her solemn word that she will uphold them in full." 

"What… praying actually works?" Chloe asks, dumbfounded. "Like, you guys actually… hear people praying to you?" 

"No, of course not," Lucifer huffs a laugh. "It only works among the Host, kind of a… Celestial Walkie-Talkie, if you will."

"Then why can't Zaphkiel contact you?" 

"I'm no longer of the Host," Lucifer reminds her gently, "My inbound communication privileges have been revoked since my fall. I can still make myself heard, if they choose to listen, but I stopped praying to most of my siblings a long, long time ago. Amenadiel has been the exception, but he's been forced to be in closer contact with me throughout the millennia. Plus, he's just fun to annoy." Now it's Amenadiel's turn to huff, with annoyance. "In fact, I once spent an entire century while I was in Hell just praying to him the lyrics of a particularly bawdy ballad–" 

"Yes, that was very mature, Luci," Amenadiel cuts him off impatiently. "Zaph says she'll be here soon. I can wait until she arrives before I leave." 

"Excellent. I'll contact Zee, and see when we can meet. Where did I put my phone…" He pats down his robe before crossing to the entrance to his bedroom, with a quick detour to pull Rory off the horse statue and retrieve her shark before locating his phone in the closet. "Bugger. Dead battery. It'll need to charge for a moment before I can contact her. Might as well make myself presentable. Will you three be all right if I…?" 

"Sure," Chloe makes a shooing motion. "Take your time, we'll be fine." 

"Lovely," Lucifer turns and disappears into his bedroom to begin his grooming process, and Chloe turns to Amenadiel with determination written all over her face. 

"All right, what do you know about 'Zee', and this guy that hates Lucifer?" 

*

By the time Lucifer is done with his morning routine, his phone is charged enough that he can take it out onto his balcony and make his call. Chloe tries not to watch him through the windows, but finds her gaze being drawn to him anyway. It appears to be a friendly conversation, his smile is easy and bright, and there’s warmth in his eyes when he speaks. He laughs several times, real ones, and Chloe feels a flutter of unease in her stomach as she yanks her attention back to Rory’s dinosaur puzzle yet again. 

“Well, that’s settled, she can see me this morning,” he announces as he glides into the room, grinning like the cat that got the canary. Amenadiel looks up from his perusal of Lucifer's library, nods once, and goes back to browsing the selection for anything pertaining to celestial gifts. “Quite eager to be out of my debt, that one. No doubt old Johnny boy has been giving her a hard time about it.”

“And you’re sure we should be trusting these people with our daughter?” Chloe asks again, “Even knowing they don’t like you?”

“Darling, no one that truly knows me likes me, but Zee also knows better than to go back on a deal with me,” he replies with devastating candor. A sour taste develops in the back of Chloe's throat, but he doesn't seem to notice her discomfort at his statement as he tilts his head and rubs his hands together in anticipation. “I trust that they won’t double-cross me, at least. They need my assistance often enough that they wouldn’t dare.”

“I don’t think you should go alone,” she protests, pushing herself up so she’s kneeling in front of the puzzle, rather than sprawled on her stomach next to Rory. “You should take backup.”

“The Devil hardly needs backup to cash in on a deal,” he scoffs, straightening his cuffs. “I’ll likely be back by lunchtime, and at least I can count on you not to commit any atrocities to my wardrobe in the name of entertaining the Imp.” He shoots a glare at Amenadiel, who has the grace to look embarrassed, and Chloe decides she doesn’t want to know.

She struggles clumsily to her feet, being careful not to step on Rory’s meticulously assembled puzzle, and makes her way over to her partner. “Look, I know you can take care of yourself, but these people sound dangerous . Isn’t there someone you could take with you?”

“What did Amenadiel tell you?” He sighs, glaring at his brother, who can only shrug. 

“That these people know powerful magic, and can travel in time, to other realities, and that your friend Constantine in particular has some really off-kilter ideas about you.”

“All of which is true,” Lucifer admits, unconcerned. “But they can’t actually do anything to me. Believe me, Constantine has tried everything in his book already, and he’s accepted the inevitable. He doesn’t have to like me, he only has to work with me on occasion. Granted, we work best together when we don’t actually have to work together, which is why using Zee as an intermediary works so well.”

“That, and he’ll do anything she asks?” She parrots his words back to him, lifting an eyebrow and leaning back, crossing her arms doubtfully.

“Yes well, it’s an Achilles heel I’m willing to exploit,” Lucifer grins, then sobers. “Let’s hope he never realizes that I’m in quite the same situation with you.”

“You… what?” she sputters after a long moment of shared silence. She stares up at him, the sun glinting off her wide blue eyes, mouth hanging open in a small ‘O’ of surprise.

“I would,” he murmurs quietly so Amenadiel hopefully can't hear, his dark gaze not leaving hers. “I would do anything you ask. I would have gone back to Hell if you’d asked me, when you saw my face. I would have left the instant you indicated you were uncomfortable in my presence. You wouldn’t have needed the priest. Anything that is mine to command– and there is very little that I cannot command– it is yours for the asking, Detective. You must know that by now?”

“Lucifer,” she whispers breathlessly, as though she’s just been gut-checked. Shame, and no small amount of fear at the sheer amount of power he’s extended to her roil in her stomach as she fights to find the proper words to convey what she wants to say. 

“Nevermind,” he says gently, “I can see that it didn’t occur to you, but… well. Now you know,” he shrugs lightly, looking away with a sad smile. “Next time you decide to banish me… you need only ask.”

“Oh, of all the ridiculous–” the shame and fear boil up into sudden fury, and she takes an angry step forward, shoving into his space and stabbing his chest with her pointer finger. Her eyes blaze into his, wide with surprise. “I made a mistake , Lucifer. It was a big one, I know, and it snowballed, and I let it get out of control. I hurt you. A lot. I get it. And I’m trying to make up for it here, but you… you! ” She turns away from him in a whirl of temper, her hands flailing in the air before smoothing over her still-unbrushed hair, tugging the tangled ends between her fidgeting fingers. 

"Detective, I–" 

"I don't even know what to say to you right now," she growls, pacing agitatedly. "I can't even… I don't want you to leave, I don't… I want you to want to stay with us, but I can't– you can't keep–" 

"I know," he interjects quietly, and suddenly the balloon of rage pops, leaving her feeling wrung-out and exhausted. "Detective, I do know, you've made yourself very clear that right now your desire is for us to make strides together." 

"Then what–" 

"I was merely trying to…" He considers for a moment, shaking his head and looking over her shoulder. "I suppose I wanted to give you a heads-up, as it were. For when you change your mind. No elaborate plans, priests, or potions needed, merely ask and it will be done. That's all. It… seemed like something you should know." 

Chloe scrubs her face with her hands, muffling her scream of frustration by the simple expedient of keeping her lips closed and her palms pressed against them as Lucifer looks on in baffled concern. 

"Mommee?" The tiny voice accompanies a little tug at the hem of her pajama shirt, and Chloe glances down, startled, at Rory’s wide brown eyes staring up at her. Lucifer's eyes. Filled with just as much confusion and uncertainty as the considerably taller pair gazing at her from across the room. 

"It's okay, baby," she says tightly, and Rory draws back a little, glancing uncertainly at Lucifer, who forces a smile and nods, unable to lie. "Go back to your puzzle and I'll come help you in a minute, okay? Your Da has to go see some people." 

"You weavin'?" She asks him anxiously, and he nods again. She crosses the room and holds her hands up imperiously. 

"Yes, Imp," he murmurs, lifting her and wrapping her in a soothing hug. "I won't be gone long. Maybe you can finish your puzzle to show me when I return, hm?" 

"Mmhm," she nuzzles her head under his chin, her curls catching lightly against the bristles there as she nods against his shoulder. "You otay, Da?" 

"Fine," he murmurs into her hair, his broad hand rubbing her back reassuringly. "I'll see you for lunch, and we'll make something less messy than breakfast, hm?" 

She giggles a little, pudgy fingers fidgeting with the lapels of his jacket until he brushes a kiss to the top of her head and sets her back on the floor. She glances between her parents suspiciously once more before trotting back to her puzzle, but it's obvious her attention is now split. 

"Well," he says breezily, straightening his cuffs and jacket. He spares a glance at Amenadiel, who has developed a healthy interest in his first editions across the room. "I'm off, then." 

"We're going to talk more about this later, Lucifer," Chloe warns, swallowing hard against the abrasive words she'd almost allowed to escape and thanking providence for Rory's timely interruption. 

"As you desire, Detective," he nods and paces briskly across the room, checking his pockets for his phone and keys as he waits for the lift to arrive. "Brother, do tell Linda that I've not forgotten about our session tomorrow."

Amenadiel nods silently, his dark eyes remaining on the books before him. 

The elevator doors open and Lucifer moves inside quickly, once the doors slide closed, an oppressive silence fills the penthouse. Chloe stands rooted in place, regret and rage still warring within her, and Amenadiel carefully doesn't look in her direction. Before too long there's a faint sound on the balcony, followed by a light tap on the glass door before Zaphkiel lets herself in with a wide smile lighting her hazel eyes. 

"Hey guys," she greets cheerfully, "Lucifer said you needed some celestial guardianship today?" She glances between Chloe's face, still flushed with anger, and Amenadiel's careful distance. She notes Lucifer's absence, and her face falls. "Okay, what did I miss?" 

Chapter Text

In response to Zaphkiel’s question, Chloe wordlessly holds out her hand. The Angel of Knowledge regards her in surprise– after all, no one willingly touches her, knowing she’ll See everything they’ve seen– but Chloe only makes an imperious beckoning motion, and Zaphkiel gently takes her hand. After a few seconds, a weary sigh escapes her lips, and her shoulders sag as she furls her wings.

“Oh,” she breathes. “Is it always this… active here on Earth?”

“Compared to home, yes,” Amenadiel supplies from across the room. “Humanity is often unpredictable, and Lucifer is doubly so.”

“Looks like the latest drama is celestial, though,” Zaphkiel offers, lifting a wispy brow at her eldest brother. “We’re thinking Remi is on the hunt, then?”

“You know how impatient she is,” he replaces the leatherbound tome he’d been perusing and moves toward Chloe and Zaphkiel, while Rory bounces up to come say hello to her aunt.

“Hey there, Imp,” she kneels and grins down at the girl, using the nickname she’d heard so often during her reading of Rory’s life. “We’re gonna have fun today, aren’t we?”

“Uh-huh,” Rory grins, climbing into her lap for a hug. “You make my youcorn fwy, too?”

“Uhm,” Zaphkiel glances at Chloe, who shrugs, then Amenadiel, who smirks. “Maybe not today, huh? I know we’re going to find plenty to keep us busy, though.”

Rory sighs in sad acceptance, and rests her head against her aunt’s shoulder. “Tee Zaffy, you know why Da sad?”

“I don’t know for sure, kiddo, but I don’t think he’ll be sad for long.” she rubs her palm along the child’s upper arm, another thing she’d seen in her vision that seemed to offer comfort. “He’s worried about you, mostly, I think, so we need to figure out how to get you back to your own time.”

“Tee Winda?”

“Yeah, back to your Auntie Linda,” Zaphkiel smiles and hugs her before shooing her back to her puzzle. “Let me talk to your mom and uncle for a little bit, and then we’ll figure out what we’re going to do today.”

“Otay,” she agrees easily, slipping off her knee and trotting obediently back to her puzzle.

She lifts her hazel eyes to Chloe, whose color is approaching normal again, and offers her a sympathetic smile. “It looks like you’re making progress, you know. He’s… kind of got a lot of baggage to sort through when it comes to trust, and relationships. Our family… well. We haven’t been really helpful with that.”

Chloe presses her lips together, because obviously she hasn’t been really helpful with that recently, either, but her anger at his comments before he’d left continues to simmer. 

Am I angry at him for saying it out loud, though, or am I angry at myself for stooping so low as to use his feelings for me against him? Even Linda was horrified by that, and I really can’t blame her. She sighs. Or him. At least, not entirely. We’ve both made mistakes, and we’re trying to work through them.

Time. It’s going to take time. They have plenty of it.

She hopes.

“Thanks for staying with Rory today, Zaph,” Amenadiel offers, blithely unaware of Chloe’s inner turmoil. “I need to go spend some time with Linda, but with Remi on the loose we didn’t want to leave Rory without some celestial supervision, and Lucifer needed to go look into getting some help returning her to her time.”

“Yeah, I know,” she shrugs, stands, and moves over to one of the low, caramel-colored leather chairs and settles comfortably into it. “He said it should only be a few hours. I’m looking forward to bonding with my niece and sister-in-law.” Chloe’s gaze snaps up, and Zaphkiel coughs. “Well. Future sister-in-law.”

“You really think–?”

“I’ve seen it,” she shakes her head with a small smile. “Through Rory’s point of view. I don’t know how you get there, Chloe, but it’s there. Whatever you do, it’s going to work out.”

“What if it doesn’t?” She whispers, flicking a glance at Rory, whose tongue is poking out between her teeth in concentration as she surveys her scattered puzzle pieces. “What if I do it wrong?”

“Rory’s here,” Zaph offers reassuringly. “I think that’s a pretty good indicator, don’t you?”

“Well, I don’t want to get in the way of girl bonding time,” Amenadiel clears his throat awkwardly. “Pray if you need me, Zaph. I honestly don’t know if Remi would come here, or just go on an immediate hunt. Raphael knows that Rory is here, so Remi likely does, too. I just can’t take the risk that she’ll–”

“Find Linda while she’s on the prowl, I know, I know,” she waves her hand in a shooing motion toward the balcony. “Go on, we’ll hold down the fort here. Tell Linda I’m looking forward to meeting her.”

“I will,” Amenadiel grins, then wastes no time moving to the balcony and unfurling his steely wings. Rory looks up with a smile as he beats them, then looks over at them with humor sparkling in her deep brown eyes.

“He’s so fwuffy,” she sighs, wriggling her own shoulders uncomfortably. “Weens itchy.”

“I don’t think he’s nearly as fluffy as you are right now, Rory,” Chloe chuckles, and Rory’s eyes narrow in offense. “I know your pinfeathers aren’t very comfortable, but your Da says the itching shouldn’t last too long. If you have your wings out, you’ll have to be careful not to bump them so none of the feathers break and bleed, okay?” 

She nods enthusiastically and does a little wriggle. Chloe watches breathlessly as her tiny wings manifest in a swirl of bright pink downy motes. She holds them out and gently stretches them, shaking them a bit to get the fuzzy feathers to settle before folding them comfortably against her back and setting her loose puzzle pieces to rights again with a contented sigh.

“Better?” Chloe asks with a smile, and Rory nods happily, not looking up. Zaphkiel had watched the process with wondering eyes, and Chloe turns to her with questions burning her tongue. “Lucifer says… that you all were never, um, young like this? That you were created as you are?”

“That’s right,” Zaph smiles, gesturing with a delicate hand for Chloe to take the chair next to her so they can chat. “No fledging for us, the only time we have to deal with pinfeathers is if something happens and we lose some. So we only have to deal with one or a few at a time, and rarely. Poor Rory is really getting the raw end of the deal with all those quills. I bet it’s giving Amenadiel very unpleasant flashbacks.”

“Are they very uncomfortable?” Chloe bites her lip and looks back down at Rory in concern.

“They’re no picnic at the lake, but it’s like Rory said, it’s mostly just an itch, and having to be careful the way you move. Breaking one… Yeah, that hurts. 0/10, would not recommend.” She studies the fluffy wings with interest and muses absently, “I wonder what color they’ll be when she feathers out.”

“Color? Won’t… won’t they be pink?”

“Maybe,” she tilts her head. “Maybe not. Amenadiel’s are that metallic grey, like you saw, but one time he flew too close to one of Samael’s stars and singed the feathers off the underside of his left wing. He’s probably the only angel that really knows what Rory’s feeling like right now. When his down grew back in, it was this odd agouti color, but when he feathered out it all went back to his usual coloring.”

“Huh,” Chloe huffs, looking at Rory and trying to imagine what color her wings might transition to. White, like her dad? She’d said Charlie’s were grey like Amenadiel’s… boring. She suppresses a smirk at her daughter’s vanity. 

Clearly she gets that from her dad.

“Zaphkiel,” she begins tentatively, her curiosity burgeoning as she considers what Rory’s life might be like in the future, “will you tell me about it? What you saw, when you read Rory the other night?”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Chloe,” her bright red hair ripples in the morning light as she shakes her head regretfully. “You’re smart, I think you can tell enough about your future from Rory herself to know what you need to know.”

“But–”

“Chloe,” Zaphkiel interrupts her gently, “your daughter is sweet and happy, and she has a network of people that she loves, that love her. She loves her family fiercely, and judging from what I’ve seen here , with you and Lucifer now? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say they– you – love her just as much. What more could you possibly need to know?”

“You’re right,” she sighs gustily, leaning back and crossing her left leg over her right restlessly. “You’re right, I know you’re right. I’m just… afraid.”

“You’re not afraid of Lucifer,” Zaphkiel leans forward, clasping slim fingers over her leather-clad knees. “You’re afraid of losing him?”

“I’m not going to lose him,” Chloe lifts her chin defiantly, meeting the angel’s compassionate gaze with challenge blazing in her own.

“I know,” Zaph smiles, bright teeth flashing through thin lips as she sits back in satisfaction. “That’s what I was just telling you, isn’t it?”

“I… guess it is.” She closes her eyes and pulls in a deep breath, trying to find her inner stillness that she counts on for clarity of thought. It’s buried deep under the roiling fear of making yet another mistake and losing her chance at keeping Lucifer in her life.

“If you’re not afraid of him, and you’re determined that you’re not going to lose him, then what are you afraid of, Chloe?” She speaks with the certainty of one who already knows, but if Chloe herself doesn’t know what it is that’s sending flutters of fear ricocheting through her gut, how can she?

“Everything else ,” the words escape her lips without filtering through her brain first, and she looks back at the angel of knowledge with eyes wide with confusion. “I mean, that’s not–”

“Ah, right,” she lifts her chin in understanding. “What you told Linda, right? Your world got so much bigger, and you felt so very small.”

Chloe nods, her throat suddenly too full of that choking, all-encompassing fear to trust herself to try to speak. 

“Well, Lucifer knows that too,” Zaph points out carefully, “You already told him what you were afraid of. You have to know he’ll answer any questions you have.”

“He already offered, and I…” she squeezes her eyes shut again and swallows hard. “Zaphkiel, I asked the most awful things. I can’t…”

“You’re afraid of hurting him,” Zaphkiel realizes abruptly, eyebrows lifting in understanding. 

“Yeah,” Chloe half-laughs. “I’ve done enough damage, I think.”

“Chloe,” she leans forward again, reaching out and resting a careful hand on Chloe’s sleeved forearm. “I think you probably just pulled the scab off of a long-festering wound. Maybe now… with your help, and Rory’s… maybe now he can start to really heal.

*

Lucifer returns to Lux several hours later with a headache and a foul temper. He steps off the lift and stops dead, finding himself looking at a scene he hadn't imagined he'd see. Especially not any time soon. 

Rory is sprawled on the floor, with Zaphkiel and Chloe kneeling on either side of the girl. Rory's face is scrunched in discomfort, but she’s willingly holding still as Zaphkiel's slender fingers are buried in her downy feathers, gently rolling one of the pinfeather quills as Chloe looks on attentively. 

"See how the sheath is starting to crumble?" Zaphkiel is saying quietly, "That's how you can tell it's ready, but you have to be careful not to break or damage it, these feathers still have a heavy