“Mmm.” Half-awake, Chloe let her hand drift slowly down the firm planes of Dan’s chest, across his smooth belly.
“Mmm,” a rumble of agreement. Something wasn’t right. They didn’t do this anymore, Chloe remembered with a spike of adrenalin that caught at her throat. She opened her eyes, scrambling backward in shock at the complete stranger smiling up at her in a satisfied way. Or at least, she tried to. She found herself squashed up against a very well-endowed, very naked woman, who squawked in protest as she was abruptly woken. She blinked up at Chloe and her annoyed expression melted into appreciation. “Good morning, Lucifer,” she purred.
Chloe looked wildly around at the opulent surroundings, at the spare yet stylish and very expensive bedroom that she wasn’t proud that she recognized. There was a flash of movement in the corner of her vision and she looked up, at the three naked figures among rumpled sheets reflected in the mirror on the ceiling.
Gorgeous male stranger, check. Gorgeous female stranger, check. And Lucifer, eyes wide in shock, his expression slowly morphing from disbelief into horror as Chloe understood what she was seeing.
That was it. She’d officially lost it. Too many long hours. It was stress. Caused-by-Lucifer stress. That’s why she was, what? Imagining she was him? What other explanation could there be?
Trixie! She fumbled for the phone on the bedside table, Lucifer’s new shiny smartphone he was so enamored of. It was password protected. But wait, he’d told her his password once – what was it… C for…. He’d been so pleased with himself (as usual), his tongue curling around the word. Even as it came to her as though purred in her ear, Lucifer’s fingers were typing C a r n a l.
Trixie’s cell phone rang and rang. Chloe’s heart started to pound, panic tightened her throat, and she was just about to hang up and call 911 when the call connected.
“Trixie! Thank God.” Chloe raised her hand to brush her hair back, an automatic gesture that she recognized as such when her fingers brushed over short, silky hair.
“Hi Lucifer, what’s up?” her daughter chirped. Definitely a breakdown. She was hallucinating Trixie thinking she was Lucifer too.
The beautiful young man was sliding his hand towards her – Lucifer’s – groin, pressing kisses along her – Lucifer’s – back and she – Lucifer – was hard, aroused, ready to go, just like that.
She ignored it, with difficulty.
“Trixie!” she said again, “Where’s Mommy?”
“Asleep, silly,” Trixie chided.
Asleep! “Honey, could you do me a favor? I need you to go hide in your closet and pull your clothes in front of you, like we practiced—I mean, like you practiced with your mom.”
“Is something wrong?” Trixie said, sounding worried.
“No, probably not. I just want to check something, okay?”
“Sure thing. Hey, when are you coming to dinner again?”
“All right. Sheesh, you sound just like Mommy.”
Belatedly, it occurred to Chloe that she really had no idea what had happened, she couldn’t assume that just because she was (despite herself she looked down, and then averted her gaze hurriedly from Lucifer’s very impressive… ness) somehow, impossibly, inhabiting Lucifer’s body, there was no guarantee that he was in hers. What if this was something bigger? What if it was some widespread phenomenon? What if there was a stranger in her body? “Trixie,” she said urgently.
“I like it when you call me offspring or spawn.”
“Trixie, go now.”
“All right.” A deep, put upon sounding sigh from her daughter, and few long moments later Trixie whispered that she was safe in her closet.
“Okay, I’m hanging up now. Don’t come out until I call you.”
“Not even if Mommy calls you, okay?”
“It’s a game.”
Her daughter’s tone became calculating. “A game that Mommy doesn’t like?”
Chloe sighed. “I’ll pay you ten dollars.”
“Deal!” Trixie agreed, sounding way too pleased with herself, and the call disconnected. Chloe made a mental note to have a serious talk with her daughter about her willingness to deliberately go against her mother’s wishes just because certain people were sneaky enough to bribe her with money. Or chocolate cake.
Another questing hand sidled towards Chloe’s groin. Chloe grabbed it, not realizing until there was a gasp of pain that she had extra strength now. She looked at the girl’s shocked face. “Sorry,” she said briefly. “You need to go now. Both of you.”
Lucifer’s bedmates pouted, but obediently withdrew. Chloe averted her eyes as they slid out of the bed and disappeared into Lucifer’s luxurious bathroom. She swung her long legs over the edge of the bed and, clutching the shiny cost-more-than-Trixie’s-education smartphone, took a deep breath and dialed her own cell number.
A familiar ring tone dragged him from Morpheus’s arms. (Metaphorically speaking, of course, they didn’t have that kind of relationship anymore.) He’d fumbled the phone from the side table, swiped to answer and mumbled a greeting before he registered that it wasn’t his phone, he wasn’t in his own bed, and he wasn’t in his own skin.
“Lucifer?” his own voice said, sounding urgent.
“Yes, of course.” Lucifer sat up and looked around, taking stock of his surroundings. He was in a bedroom, obviously. It was inoffensively and inexpensively decorated, and reasonably tidy apart from a few items of clothing tossed over the wardrobe door, including a vaguely familiar looking bathrobe. Lucifer glanced at the bedside table, where a nauseatingly charming photo of the Espinoza-Decker family smiled out at him.
Okay, that made sense. She sounded wide awake. Clearly she’d had time to put the pieces together. Good to know all that detective training was good for something really useful.
“You’re not going to believe this—”
“Chloe, why are you me and I you?” he asked, yawning. He stretched under the covers, absorbing the unfamiliar curves of his body, the absence of his usual morning erection, the fascinatingly different sensations that the brush of cotton against his breasts was eliciting. “Not that I’m against the idea, obviously,” he said, in his best seductive tone, “The possibilities are intriguing.” It didn’t work quite as well in Chloe’s voice, but first try and all, he could work on that.
“Lucifer, what the hell?”
“Probably,” he agreed, yawning again. His new body felt surprisingly tired. An aftereffect from the transfer, probably. “Any chance we can get some more shut-eye, sort this out later?” Lucifer slid his hand under the covers, down his belly and over his carefully trimmed pubic hair – very nice – and stroked his new genitals, the feathery, electric sensation an extremely interesting development. “Oh, hello.”
“No, we can’t,” she said, sounding quite sexily forceful with his voice. “Lucifer, why aren’t you worried about this?” And then, in an endearingly outraged squeak, “Are you checking me out? ”
“Well, obviously,” he said. “You’ve clearly been up for a while, had time to appreciate the situation. Are you telling me you haven’t copped a feel at least?”
“Of course not!”
“Not even a single peek?” He could almost hear her blushing over the phone.
“I couldn’t exactly help it, with Ken and Barbie groping me,” she said defensively.
“Who? Oh yes, I remember — that charming couple of the tequilas and sexy samba routine last night.”
“I don’t know, they were here when I woke up.”
“Mmm,” he said, smiling reminiscently. “Feel free to have a go with them. They’ll spice your morning right up.”
Lucifer’s blasé attitude to their insane predicament was oddly calming. Chloe knew she should be totally freaked out but Lucifer had a way of making one feel that everything was under control. Must be nice to go through life as a smooth rich white guy, she thought bitterly. Except now she was the smooth rich white guy, apparently. Unless she really had snapped of course. Maybe she was actually locked away somewhere in some nice psychiatric facility where she couldn’t do any harm.
And now he was urging her to have a threesome with the two strangers, which was just wrong on so many levels. And, reassuringly, very him. “No, Lucifer,” she said, very firmly.
“If you’re feeling a little weird about using someone else’s body, it being your first time and all, don’t you worry, Detective” he assured her. “I give you full permission and consent to do whatever you wish with me. Have fun, Detective!”
Lucifer’s body liked the idea, at least. His erection had not flagged at all during the conversation — did Lucifer go around like this all the time or was it just morning wood? And she was tempted. The samba couple hadn’t emerged from the bathroom yet. The shower was running and it sounded like they were making full use of the double sized shower with the conveniently placed handholds.
“Go on, Detective, live a little,” Lucifer urged, and it was her voice, saying those words, that snapped her out of it. ‘Living a little’ was why she now spent her whole career as a cop still living down an ill-fated five minutes of screen time, among other lapses of judgement. And why was she so tempted, when she should be thinking only of figuring out how to get her own body back. It was probably Lucifer’s body’s fault. His arousal was very distracting.
“No,” she said resolutely.
“Your loss,” he sighed. “I suppose that means you don’t want me to have a go with your body, either.”
“Absolutely not!” She looked around for a robe, anything at all to cover herself up as she got out of the bed. “We’ve got to figure out what happened! Get our bodies back!” She pulled on a pair of silk boxer shorts she’d gingerly retrieved from the floor. “God, what are we going to tell Trixie? I’ve got her hiding in her closet. Poor kid must be terrified.”
“Why did you — oh, in case this situation was more sinister. Good thinking, Detective!”
“How can you be sure it’s not?”
“Maze can look after your offspring, no problem,” Lucifer promised, sounding like there was no doubt that Maze would just drop everything to do what he said. “I’ll give her a call now.”
“I should be the one to call her.”
“And tell her what? You’re me, remember? Leave it to Maze,” he said confidently, and what else could she do? This whole thing was nuts. “Everything will be fine, Detective,” Lucifer said, soothingly, as though reading her mind.
It had been a long time since Lucifer had inhabited a female body, and never one of someone he knew. Someone who delighted and baffled him in equal measure. Someone he cared about. Obviously he was going to have to hunt down whatever angel or demon spawn dared do this to him and destroy them utterly, but there was plenty of time for that. No reason they couldn’t have a bit of fun first. The Detective was way too wound up.
“Really, Detective, a nice spot of sex would help you de-stress. Are you sure you won’t change your mind? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see how the other half live, or rather, shag,” he pointed out. “And as it happens, I have an appointment with Doctor Linda this morning. Take my body for a test drive and meet me there after you’re done. No hurry.”
Lucifer hung up on her spluttering, as adorable as it was. He didn’t want to be late. Tardiness was (or should be, in his expert opinion) a cardinal sin. He stretched again, sighing at the wasted opportunity. But he’d promised, so that probably meant skipping his morning shower as well, unless he kept his eyes closed. The Detective undoubtedly would object to him ogling her body again, even though that horse had well and truly bolted after that time she’d pulled a gun on him clad only in a precariously (as it turned out) tied towel. He sighed in a put-upon way and got up, virtuously keeping his eyes front and center.
Among the Detective’s array of boring sweaters and jeans Lucifer found a sleek, shiny red top that showed off her delicious curves admirably. He was tempted by the mini skirt, which combined with a pair of instant-erection-eliciting Armani stilettos, made his legs look sensational. But after due consideration he decided that although he was of course completely confident of his ability to carry them off, they might be a tad impractical if he had to run or fight in them. Which, now he came to think of it, was probably why the Detective wore those boring square-heeled boots all the time. It was a relief to finally have an explanation for them, really.
Chloe stared at Lucifer’s face in the mirror. It looked exactly the same as always. No wonder men these days went for the designer stubble look — less upkeep. The face looked uncharacteristically worried though. That was all her, she knew. She took a deep breath. Okay, either she was insane and nothing she did mattered, or this was happening. She was, somehow, incredibly, crazily, Lucifer. She had to work out how to fix it. She had to treat it like one of her cases.
First things first. As much as she would have preferred to head straight home to catch Lucifer before he left for his appointment, his body was covered in dried sweat and other bodily fluids she didn’t want to think about too closely and she ached, not unpleasantly, in areas she wasn’t used to. She firmly waved Lucifer’s guests into the elevator and then, trying very hard not to think about what she was doing, stripped off the shorts and stepped into the marble-tiled stall and turned the hot water on.
It was very hard to stick to her resolution once she was in the shower, soaping Lucifer’s body. His very firm, very responsive body, which continued to maintain its very impressive erection with a steadfastness that made her wonder if getting dressed was going to be an issue. How did Lucifer do this? Even as the question occurred to her she figured she knew the answer: he didn’t. If Lucifer had a desire, a craving, hell, a vague inkling, he satisfied it.
She knew Lucifer wouldn’t mind if she did… experiment. Of course, then he’d be insufferably smug about the whole thing. It was that thought, along with her own insistence that Lucifer keep his hands off her own body, that helped her resist temptation.
Picking something to wear from Lucifer’s very extensive range of black suits didn’t take long, though she did raise her eyebrows at some of the labels. One designer she was nearly certain had been dead for at least twenty years, but the suit didn’t look or feel vintage.
Thankfully, by the time she had dried off, Lucifer’s penis was behaving itself. His suit pants were so closely tailored that she had no idea what she would have done, otherwise. Once she was completely dressed she took a moment to admire the picture she presented in the mirror. Lucifer was, she had to admit, an incredibly sexy man. Now, apparently, so was she.
Maze laughed and laughed and refused to stop even when he demanded she do so. “Oh, this is delicious,” she announced, smirking as she walked around him, eyeing him from every angle in a predatory and inappropriately sexual way.
“Please remember that this is the Detective Decker’s body you are ogling,” Lucifer said primly.
“You wear it so well,” Maze purred, squeezing his arse.
“Oi!” Lucifer, protested, squirming away.
“Since when are you prudish?”
“The Detective has made it very clear that her fun parts are a no-go area while I’m inhabiting her body.”
Maze pouted but backed off.
“Disappointing, I agree, but there we are,” Lucifer sighed. “Now, I need you to go turn over a few supernatural rocks, find out who values their immortal life so little they thought it’d be fun to prank the devil.”
“I don’t work for you anymore, remember?”
“But this is an emergency!”
“Not from where I stand.”
“If you won’t do it for me, do it for the Detective.”
Maze continued to stare at him expectantly. “Off you pop, then,” he suggested meaningfully.
“What about Trixie?” She waved vaguely towards the Detective’s offspring, clutching her cloth animal with one hand and some kind of hideous sugary breakfast bar (no doubt created by forces working to destroy humanity) in the other. She was staring at Lucifer as though she was having trouble grasping the situation, even though Maze had explained it to her in quite simple terms, barely referencing the metaphysical at all. Not the brightest spark, clearly.
“What about her?”
“I can’t leave her here alone.”
“Why ever not?”
Maze shrugged. “Apparently she’s too young to be left alone.”
“She won’t be alone. She has YouTube, the nanny of the 21st century.”
“Chloe wouldn’t like it.”
“I suppose not,” Lucifer said, picturing the pinched expression on the Detective’s face. “Get a sitter then.”
“Okay, but you’re paying.”
Lucifer was starting to regret his sartorial choice — these leather pants seemed to be inhibiting his ability to breathe properly. He tried ineffectually to adjust them around his stomach. “Have I got these on right? I’ll never be able to consume anything wearing them!”
“The tortures of Hell are nothing compared to what women on the earthly plane put themselves through in the name of fashion,” Maze said dryly.
“You’re telling me.”
“You know who’s to blame for all this, don’t you?”
“Obviously not, or they would be currently trying to apologize minus a tongue or possibly a head, wouldn’t they?”
Maze stared at him, eyebrows raised in a particularly pointed manner.
“You don’t mean Mum?”
Lucifer rolled his eyes. “You can’t blame my mother for everything bad that happens, Maze.”
There was no reasoning with her on the subject. “Right, I’m off to Doctor Linda,” he said. “You,” he said, pointing to the small human who was watching proceedings with wide eyes, still clutching her uneaten sugary breakfast product. “Do what Maze says and everything will be fine.”
“Yes, Lucifer,” she said. And then, alarmingly tearily, “I want my Mommy.”
“There, there,” he said, patting her gingerly on the head, and made his escape, Maze’s glare burning holes in his back. Not literally, but he had a feeling it wasn’t for want of trying.
Well, it looked like he’d broken her. Again. This was getting boring.
“Oh, come on,” he said. “You’ve accepted that I’m the devil. Why is this so hard to believe?”
Doctor Linda closed her unattractively gaping mouth and sat up straight, drawing her shoulders back firmly. “Okay,” she said, as if to herself.
“That’s more like it,” he said, smiling approvingly.
“Let me get this straight. You're, Lucifer, the actual devil—”
“Old news, move along.”
“Except now you are inhabiting Chloe’s body?”
“Is Chloe… in there too?”
“No, of course not. That’d be a bit crowded, wouldn’t it? Chloe’s in my body, obviously.”
“And where is Chloe now?”
“I’ve told her to meet me here. I can’t just have her going about willy-nilly. I don’t know what exactly’s been done to us yet. It’s not inconceivable that my body might have retained at least some of my powers. If that’s the case, who knows what mischief the Detective could cause?”
“Because you are normally such a poster child of restraint?”
“That’s different, I’m me. Also, I know what I’m doing. Chloe in my body is like automatic rifle in the hands of a man-child who feels hard done-by because females won’t sleep with him.”
“How did this happen?”
“A very good question.” Lucifer frowned. “This sort of power isn’t just given to any old supernatural being. I’d suspect dear old Dad was behind this if He hadn’t made it clear recently that His care factor is somewhat lacking.”
“God did this?” Doctor Linda asked faintly.
“Weren’t you listening? I distinctly said it wasn’t Him. Probably.”
“Do you think whoever did this meant you harm?”
“Because I’m more vulnerable in this body, you mean?”
“Well, I still have my angelic strength and power, obviously, as that isn’t tied to the physical form, so if the being who did this hoped putting me into Detective Decker’s body would weaken me, they are in for a nasty surprise. I’m quite looking forward to meeting them.”
“So somebody did this to you, but you don’t know who, or how to fix it.”
“I’ve got Maze on it. I have complete faith in her.”
“She seems very resourceful,” Doctor Linda nodded.
“Oh, she is.” The Detective’s phone rang. Lucifer stared at the display.
“You know my policy on phones during our sessions.”
“It’s the precinct,” Lucifer frowned.
“Perhaps you should call in sick on Chloe’s behalf.”
“Yes, that might be best, till we get this sorted.”
“After all, it’s not like you can maintain the pretense of being Detective Decker.”
“Well, of course I could.”
“I accept your challenge, Doctor.”
“No, that’s not—”
“This could be fun.” Lucifer got up from the couch and tugged uselessly at the top of his pants again, grateful that the waistband was no longer actively digging into his stomach. Why no one had thought to add women’s clothing to the list of torments in Hell, he had no idea. He leaned down and kissed Doctor Linda on the cheek.
The phone had stopped ringing. Lucifer hit the call button. “Decker,” he announced briskly. “What’s up?”
As he left the office, shutting the door behind him he heard Doctor Linda say, as if to herself. “I blame myself for that one.”
It took all of Chloe’s self-control not to speed on the way to work. God knew what he was up to at the station, what he was telling the Captain. He’d texted ‘CHANGE OF PLAN, MEET YOU AT STATION’, and then blatantly ignored her when she immediately tried to call him. She nearly turned into the staff parking area, then remembered who she was pretending to be and swung the Corvette into the priority parking spot directly in front. She expected at least a few disapproving looks, but apparently Lucifer had found the time to charm every single cop who worked out of her station, because she was met with smiles and greetings ranging from shy and simpering to outright propositions. And that was just from the male officers.
Lucifer was waiting for her at her desk, not, thankfully, engaged in flirting with anyone. Hopefully because he recognized how inappropriate that would be while he was pretending to be her but more likely because he was engrossed in playing a game on her phone.
Or not. “Detective!” Lucifer beamed when she loomed over him, holding up her phone to show Chloe the picture of her and Trixie building a sandcastle at the beach a couple of years ago.
“Shh,” Chloe hissed, snatching it from his hand. She looked down at the screen for a moment. Dan had taken the photo, of course. Chloe was smiling, happy, ignorant of the fact that those golden days came with an expiration date.
“Nice bikini,” Lucifer said, somehow managing to leer even with her face, and that was just too weird.
“Ugh,” Chloe said. She powered off the screen and tucked her phone away. She held out Lucifer’s phone to him and he took it and somehow managed to slide it into the back pocket of the leather pants that hadn’t seen light of day since before she’d gotten pregnant with Trixie. Of course he’d picked the most inappropriate outfit he could possibly have chosen to wear to her place of work. “You seem out of sorts, Detective,” Lucifer said, eyeing her with a doubtful expression.
“In fact, if that was a thing that could happen to me, I’d describe the expression on my face as constipated. Perhaps you should consider increasing my fiber intake, now that my body is temporarily human?”
An officer she only knew by sight gave Lucifer a doubtful look as she passed by. Great. Last thing she needed were rumors floating around that Chloe Decker was talking crazy. Again.
She grabbed his arm and dragged him into the printer room. “Out,” she said brusquely to the filing clerk. “Hi Lucifer,” the clerk beamed, and exited the room with every sign of reluctance.
“Friend of yours?”
“Who, Roger? Not really, we went a couple of quite satisfying rounds a month or so ago, that’s all.”
“Against this very table, I believe,” he smirked, patting the edge of the desk he was leaning against.
Chloe clenched her teeth. She refused to be baited. “Lucifer, we have to figure out what happened and fix this.” Chloe gestured sharply between them.
“I couldn’t agree more, Detective,” Lucifer said, in that airy way that he had that she could never tell meant if he was taking something seriously or not. “I’ve got Maze working on it.”
Huh, that could be very good or very bad. “Wait, you told me Maze was looking after Trixie.”
“No, it’s all sorted. She’s arranged a sitter.”
“Well, we should be working on it, too. It’s our bodies!”
Lucifer raised his eyebrows. “This is a supernatural case, Detective, and in case you’ve forgotten, I don’t have my wings anymore. ”
Yesterday Chloe would have rolled her eyes at his nonsense, but today she had to pee standing up and was currently arguing with someone wearing her face. The feeling of helplessness was infuriating. “We can’t just do nothing,” she argued.
“We’re not doing nothing. We’re working a case. Uniforms brought in a suspect for that home invasion that went wrong in Bel Air last week.”
“We can’t work the case.”
“Of course we can.”
“You’ll never be able to fool people.”
“Watch me. Well you will be watching me, because you’re my trusty sidekick now,” Lucifer said smugly. He smirked. “I do like it this way around.”
“I think you mean to chide, ‘Detective!’”
“What about Dan?”
Lucifer rolled his eyes. Chloe stared at him until he noticed. “Oh, you’re serious?”
“Yes, I’m serious. I was married to him for years, he will know something is up. And what about Trixie? Who exactly is this sitter that Maze has gotten?”
“I don’t know.” Lucifer tilted his head, looking confused by her concern. “Maze won’t let your daughter come to harm,” he said, as though that was obvious.
“Lucifer, I want to trust her, I do. But this is my daughter.”
Lucifer stood up and took hold of her shoulders, not seeming at all fazed about the fact that he now had to reach up to do it, his eyes looking out of her face blazing with the same conviction that she saw in him when talking about things important to him, like his family or his obsession with the truth. “Do you trust me? ” he asked her, and oh, that wasn’t fair, because this was Trixie they were talking about. But she did trust him, and Maze was insanely loyal to him. More than that, Maze was her friend, and she suspected that Maze bestowed that same loyalty to those she called friend. She had to trust Maze, too.
“Hello, evildoer,” Lucifer said, taking a seat opposite the noisome little man, who was staring at him in repulsively lascivious sort of way. Ugh. If this was what women had to put with on a regular basis, no wonder they invented Women’s Lib.
He glanced behind him. Chloe had taken up a position against the wall, her arms crossed, staring broodingly at the suspect. She did make a handsome devil, if he did say so himself.
He turned back to face the suspect and leaned forward. “Detective Decker would like me to ask you polite but probing questions in order to elicit the information we need,” he said confidingly. “She suggested I appeal to your better nature, but let’s be completely honest, shall we? We both know you don’t have one, so let’s just get straight to the point.”
“I ain’t saying nothing till I see a lawyer.”
“It’s funny how it’s always the, shall we say, less law-abiding types that know their rights,” Lucifer observed, smiling genially. The little weasel flinched, proving he wasn’t quite as stupid as his previous statement had indicated. “Now, here’s how this is going to go,” Lucifer decided to give him a chance. “I don’t have the time to play by human rules, so I’m going to ask you a few on point questions and you’re going to tell me what I want to know.”
The weasel leered at him. At Him! “You and what army—”
Between the hysterical screaming stage and the terrified weeping stage, Lucifer got his answers.
He slipped out of the room, leaving the Detective to do the boring official writing stuff down part of the interrogation and promptly ran straight into Detective Douche. Dan blinked at him and then all but dragged him into the observation room and started whining in a very unbecoming way about leaving ‘any civilian contractor, but in particular, Lucifer Morningstar, Chloe, have you lost your mind?’ alone in a room with a suspect.
Since he had nothing better to do while he waited for Chloe — he didn’t have his cigarettes and Chloe would eviscerate him if he had sex with any of her co-workers while in her body, even the really attractive ones — he took the opportunity to study Dan. Certainly he was objectively attractive — nice bone structure, really quite lovely grey eyes and, as Lucifer had had the opportunity to appreciate during their outing to the Turkish baths, the man was ripped.
Shame about the extremely off-putting personality. “No, I’m sorry, I just don’t see it,” he announced loudly, over whatever inane drivel Dan was still spouting.
“I thought maybe having the lady parts would make a difference because clearly Detective Decker found you attractive enough at least once—”
Dan gaped at him like the proverbial stranded fish.
“But nothing,” Lucifer continued, “not even a tingle.” He brightened. “Maybe you’re like one of those frocks that look like nothing at all on the hanger but put the right woman in it and voila. And Detective Decker certainly is the right woman.”
“What?” Detective Douche said. “Chloe, why are you talking about yourself in the third person?”
Lucifer, with what he considered was quite heroic resolve, pulled Dan’s head down to his, and snogged him. Off balance, Dan’s arms came around him and for a moment Dan responded, but then he froze and tried to pull away. Graciously, Lucifer allowed him to straighten, using the momentum to slide his way up Dan’s body, wrapping his legs around Dan’s waist, and diving back in to the kiss.
“Umphh,” Dan said eloquently. Lucifer tightened his legs and wriggled, rubbing this crotch against Dan’s rapidly hardening dick. Dan’s hands slid around to Lucifer’s arse and took his weight, assisting him to achieve a quite satisfying rhythm.
“Mmm,” Lucifer agreed, because apparently he had severely underestimated Detective Dan.
Reluctantly, Lucifer stopped making out with Dan. “Finished with the suspect already? That was quick.”
“What did we agree?” Chloe demanded, unaccountably sounding quite cross.
“Well, I didn’t think Dan counted,” he said, feeling injured. “He’s nothing your body hasn’t done before, after all.” Detective Decker glared at him in a way that made him very glad that the human form she was wearing no longer held any angelic power. “Oh, very well,” he sighed, and released Dan, who staggered a couple of steps backwards and stared between them.
“Chloe, what’s going on?”
Lucifer raised an eyebrow. “Did you want to tell him, or shall I?”
“It’s hard to explain,” Chloe said.
“It’s not hard at all,” Lucifer said. “I’m you and you’re me.”
“So much for letting me explain.”
“Sorry, go ahead, Detective.”
“Chloe, why are you talking like each other?” Dan said, still looking at Chloe. Honestly, it must have been the sex, because the douche was as thick as two short planks.
“Because we are. Each other, I mean. Somehow we’ve switched bodies.”
Dan’s face took on a stupidly confused expression. “That’s not possible.”
Chloe sighed. “Yesterday I would have agreed with you.”
It was clear that the concept was beyond Dan’s limited intellectual capacity. “Detective, we’re wasting our time,” Lucifer said. His phone rang. “Saved by the bell,” he said, as Mazikeen’s caller ID showed up.
The first thing Lucifer saw on entering Lux was the Detective’s offspring sitting on the bar, wearing skinny leather pants similar to his own, a slinky black fitted jacket with spikes and leather bands in her scraped back hair. She was also carrying a wicked-looking dagger, and was grinning, dare he say, fiendishly. “What’s with the Mini-Me?” he asked Maze, who was casually tossing one of her demon knives in the air and catching it again, while meditatively eyeing the stunningly attractive creature chained to the bar.
“Hi Lucifer! Maze took me shopping!” the tiny wanna-be demon announced cheerfully.
“I can see that,” Lucifer said. “Very nice, very lethal-looking.”
The small human beamed.
“I didn’t ask you to take her to the mall, though, Mazikeen, I asked you find the celestial being who decided today was a good day to die by playing fast and loose with my bodily integrity.”
“The sitter cancelled, and I couldn’t exactly take her demon hunting looking like a sweet, innocent, human child, now could I?”
Lucifer winced at the mental image that invoked, and he’d seen actual Hell. “They would have eaten her alive.”
“Literally,” Maze pointed out, unnecessarily, in Lucifer’s opinion. In his peripheral vision, he saw the Detective’s eyes widen in horror.
“Anyway, here it is,” Maze pointed at her captive with her knife. “Now you owe me a favor.”
“This is the creature is responsible for my current predicament?” Maze’s captive appeared, at first glance at least, to be a human female. It was hard to be sure, with all the duct tape Maze had deemed necessary to keep her mouth shut. Long dark hair spilled over her bare shoulders and a truly spectacular set of knockers appeared in imminent danger of spilling over the top of her strapless red sequined evening dress. An airline sleep mask covered her eyes. As choices for blindfolds went, it was a somewhat mundane, given Maze’s interests. For a nearly naked creature chained to a bar and being menaced by, well, Maze, she was displaying a remarkable lack of the pant-wetting terror that could be reasonably expected from a being in that situation.
“You don’t recognize it?”
“Should I?” Lucifer asked, prowling around the bound creature. The being tilted her head as if following the sound of his movement, demonstrating what Lucifer felt was quite a Darwin Award-worthy lack of appropriate awe and terror. “In my defense, she is wearing quite a lot of duct tape on her face.”
Maze stepped forward. She ripped the several layers of tape from her prisoner’s mouth and, with a quite unnecessarily smug flourish, removed the eye mask. The creature yawned, made some stretching type grimaces with its mouth. “Hello, Lucifer,” it smiled, its golden eyes flashing.
“Desire?” Lucifer stared at the Endless in disbelief. “I haven’t seen you in eons. What on Dad’s earth are you playing at?”
“How could I resist? When I heard…”
“Heard what, exactly?”
“About this human that’s got Lucifer Morningstar following her around like a puppy dog. I had to come see for myself.”
“We work together on cases,” Lucifer said, indignantly, “Punishing the guilty. That’s all.”
“Uh huh. I’m not blind, man.”
“Well, whatever you think you know,” Lucifer handwaved, because this really wasn’t the time or place, not with so many interested ears and eyes and by that he meant Maze and her little protégé, both watching him with sharp, knowing expressions. “Feel free to swap our bodies back, soon as you like,” Lucifer suggested. “Chop, chop,” he prompted, when Desire just continued to sit smirking at him, for all the world like it was reclining on a throne and not wrapped ridiculously in miles of useless chains. Lucifer would have to ask Maze later why she’d bothered.
“I think you’ll find that you can,” Lucifer growled, his voice resonating on greater than mere human wavelengths. He saw the child wince and cover her ears with her hands, nearly taking her own ear off with the dagger before the Detective took charge of the weapon, hugging her offspring tightly to her side.
Desire shrugged. “It’s kind of a one way spell, but don’t sweat it, my man.”
Lucifer resisted a nearly overpowering urge to punch the Endless right in its smirking mouth, for the first time truly regretting the limitations of his powers since he’d renounced his wings.
“All you have to do is experience a moment of true connection,” Desire informed him helpfully. “You don’t have to fall madly in love, that’s gone out with the mastodon and the disk drive.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Lucifer scoffed. “How is our swapping bodies supposed to help with that, for the love of Dad?”
“It’s a twist on walking in the other person’s shoes.” Desire shrugged. “I’m still working out the rough edges. I was dying to try it out, and I can’t really get away with doing it to regular humans. They tend to implode. So when I heard about you two, I couldn’t resist.”
“Detective Decker’s a regular human, in case you haven’t noticed!”
“Is she, though?”
Lucifer glared at the Endless.
“Fine, whatever.” Desire casually broke the chains binding its form to the bar. It stretched, muscles rippling as its human disguise melted away, leaving the aquiline profile and artlessly styled black hair Lucifer remembered it wearing the last time they’d met. “Hail, Samael,” it intoned.
For a moment, Chloe’s mind simply refused to process what she was seeing. And then every weird thing that Lucifer had ever said, ever done, ever implied, slotted into place in her mind as though they were just waiting for her to accept reality. She picked up Trixie and clutched her tightly, fighting the urge to run away, forcing herself to take the time to assess the danger they were in.
The devil himself. She was in a room with the devil, a demon (because of course Maze — her roommate — the woman she’d trusted with her child, was a demon), and whoever, whatever the creature who’d just morphed in front of them was.
“Mommy, I can’t breathe,” Trixie complained.
“You know I’m Mommy?”
“Maze explained it to me. Mommy, can I change bodies with someone too? Pleeeeaaaase.”
“I really hope not, monkey,” Chloe said, looking at Maze. Maze of the daggers and whips and sex swing, who had taken care of her daughter and bitched and moaned but had been trying to be a friend to Chloe and was looking at her now with her brow creased, as though worried Chloe might, what? Run screaming?
“If you don’t make the connection the spell will wear off naturally in about a week or so,” the being was saying to Lucifer. “Maybe a month.”
Lucifer’s voice raised in outrage. “A month!”
“A year, max.” It seemed unfazed by the murderous expression Lucifer was leveling at him.
“I’m afraid that simply isn’t acceptable,” Lucifer said, his tone icy, and yet with an edge of violence to it that sent chills down Chloe’s spine. This wasn’t the exuberant and boastful nightclub owner slash dilettante civilian consultant that she’d worked side by side with; this was the literal devil about to unleash Hell.
Biblical, in the most horrifying sense of the word.
She had to do something. Not just for Trixie, or any other potential innocents that would get caught in the fallout. She couldn’t let Lucifer do that for himself, because Lucifer’s very self was tied to his belief in punishing the guilty. If innocent lives were lost today, she worried that Lucifer might just be destroyed along with them. “Lucifer,” Chloe said, and her voice broke. “Lucifer,” she said again, firmly.
“I’ll be with you in a jiffy, Detective,” Lucifer said, not turning around. “I just need to take care of this situation.”
Leap of faith time. Chloe turned to Maze and shifted her hold on Trixie, ready to hand her over to Maze as the demon instinctively moved to take her from Chloe’s arms. Maze’s eyes widened and Chloe could see the disbelief on her face. Chloe held her eyes steadily. Maze’s expression was uncharacteristically open for a moment, an expression of wonder moving over her features as she understood that Chloe was trusting her with her child. Then her eyes narrowed and her mouth tightened, and in that determined expression Chloe saw the iron will that enabled her to follow her Lord out of Hell. But Maze was more than that creature now, she was Lucifer’s equal on Earth, and she was Chloe’s friend. Chloe had no doubt in her mind at all that Maze would protect Chloe from anyone or anything who threatened Trixie, even Lucifer himself.
Chloe stepped between Lucifer and the Desire being, who had at least enough self-preservation instinct that its cocky expression had faded somewhat. “Lucifer,” she said, steadily, forcing herself not to flinch at the glowing coals that were Lucifer’s eyes, as he finally looked at her instead of his intended victim.
Chloe looked into the fires of hell and the fires of hell glared back at her. Somewhere in the back of her mind she wondered why she wasn’t gibbering in terror, why her mind hadn’t broken the way the Devil had broken so many souls before her. But this was Lucifer. Lucifer of the ridiculous yet harmless innuendo, Lucifer who cared about her, cared about family for all that he railed against them. Lucifer who valued truth above all; Lucifer who punished wrongdoers and was outraged by evil done in his name.
Slowly Chloe reached out. She cradled Lucifer’s cheek, barely registering the dissonance, because her features or not, that was Lucifer staring back at her, his brows drawing together in confusion. She bent and pressed their lips together, closing her eyes, holding on.
After a moment that lasted forever, the pressure of her lips was returned, and then Lucifer tilted his head so that their foreheads pressed together and they stood, breathing in unison.
“Fantastic,” a voice said cheerfully, intruding on their moment. “I had faith you could do it, Lucifer.”
Chloe opened her eyes slowly, reluctant for the moment to end, to see Lucifer’s dark eyes looking at her with such an expression of disbelief and wonder that Chloe’s heart broke for him.
“Drinks all around, I think,” Lucifer announced cheerfully, after Desire had made a typically dramatic and unrepentant exit. Detective Decker was still giving him these looks that he couldn’t quite interpret, something between understanding and wonder and pity. Pity! Him, the Lord of Hell! On the plus side, though, she was still here with him; she hadn’t come to her senses and got as far away as common sense and self-preservation would dictate.
“You know what?” Maze said, “I’m just going to take Trixie home. It’s past her bedtime.”
“It’s not even night time yet,” the child piped up.
Maze leaned over and put her face close to the child’s. “It’s night time in Hell,” she said solemnly.
The child’s eyes got very wide. She turned to her mother and held up her arms. “Good night, Mommy,” she said. The Detective hugged her tightly.
“I’ll be home soon, monkey,” she said. “Be good for Maze.”
“I will,” the child assured her. “Take care of Lucifer,” she said solemnly.
Lucifer glared at her indignantly as she hugged his legs, just as though she hadn’t seen his true face. Children were usually more receptive to believing in the divine. Not that receptive though. “Good night, Lucifer,” she said.
And just like that they were gone. Leaving him alone with Detective Decker. Lucifer went to the bar and poured two glasses of bourbon. He handed one to the Detective, who had followed him silently, still giving him that look — that made him feel nervous and anticipatory and afraid of saying the wrong thing. None of which were feelings at all familiar to him. He didn’t like it.
“Shouldn’t you have gone with her?” he said, gesturing vaguely in the direction of the door.
“I see you,” the Detective said, gently, as if he hadn’t spoken, and where did she get off treating him like she thought he was breakable?
“I should think so,” he huffed. “It’s not like I haven’t been telling you I’m the devil all along.”
“I know. I’m sorry it took me so long.”
“Well, you’re only human,” he acknowledged graciously.
The Detective smiled crookedly at that. She put down her untouched drink on the bar and moved closer to him, looking up at him steadily as she got right up close and personal. Lucifer found himself having to resist the urge to take a step backwards as she reached for him.
“You’re not evil,” she said, cradling his cheek just as she had earlier, and her eyes were clear and unwavering and Lucifer had the impression she was looking straight into his soul. He felt oddly off balance, unsure of his path for the first time in millennia. What was it about this mere human that affected him so?
“Yes, well,” he said, clearing his throat of the strange lump that seemed to have formed. “You shouldn’t believe everything you read in the Bible…”
“…although, possibly more than you actually do.”
The Detective nodded. She stepped back and slid onto a bar stool, picking up her bourbon and throwing back the shot. “How about you give me the highlights,” she suggested, waving to the stool beside her.
“I guess I could do that,” he conceded, joining her. He held up the bottle. “Another shot, Detective?”
“My name is Chloe.”
Lucifer inclined his head. He poured them both another drink. “Well then, Chloe,” he said, lifting his glass. “In the beginning….”