“Lucifer?” Chloe’s voice carried softly as she stepped out of the elevator.
Cautiously moving further into the penthouse, she found the Devil in question sitting on his bed, vacantly staring through the floor in front of him. He didn’t visibly acknowledge her presence. Chloe stopped at the top of the steps leading to his bedroom, not wanting to risk startling him.
“I am truly sorry that you had to see my face, Detective. I meant to give you proof, eventually, but... I had hoped for a vastly different scenario in which to do so. I was too cowardly for too long.” He didn’t look up from the floor, and his expression remained flat. His voice sounded completely defeated.
Chloe crossed over to the bed, sitting down next to him. The air around the penthouse somehow seemed far more still than normal, despite the open balcony, lacking its usual feeling of life. Chloe leaned forward in order to see Lucifer’s face. She’d seen him at some pretty rough lows, but he had never looked quite so lost as he did now.
“I know you meant to, Lucifer.” Chloe sighed. “And I’m sorry for not believing you before. I don’t really have any decent excuse, considering everything that we’ve been through.” She reached over to pick up Lucifer’s hand, tenderly holding it between both her own. It was only then that he turned to look back at her, his eyes seeming to reach into her soul.
Though she couldn’t deny his true identity any longer, Chloe still did not see the Devil. She saw a broken man, terrified that his world was crumbling down around him. His eyes were glossy, threatening to spill tears, and his breathing hitched slightly. He briefly glanced down at their hands.
“Why are you here?”
“Because you need me. And because I need you.”
“But… you aren’t scared?”
Now it was Chloe’s turn to stare at the floor, as she let out a small huff.
“Honestly, I’m terrified. I’m terrified of what this all means, and I have no idea how to even begin to process it. I’m pretty sure a good chunk of my world just got turned sideways.” She looked back up to face her partner. “But I told you a long time ago that I’m not scared of you. That’s still true.” She gave his hand a light squeeze to emphasize her point.
Lucifer stared at her in disbelief for a moment, then squeezed his eyes shut. A shuddering sigh accompanied the tears that escaped when Chloe scooted closer to him. He didn’t resist as she reached up to guide his head down onto her shoulder, and Chloe held him as he quietly wept, occasionally brushing tears off his cheeks.
When his breathing evened out a few minutes later, Lucifer sat up and wiped his eyes with his robe sleeves. Chloe rubbed circles on his lower back, just as she did with Trixie after a nightmare.
“You know, Detective, I really do not deserve you.”
“I think we’re way past that point, Lucifer.” Chloe again reached up to his head, this time pulling him down just enough to leave a soft kiss to his temple. She held his face in her hands, forcing him to look at her eyes. “Are you gonna be ok?”
Finally, the Devil cracked the faintest of smiles.
“I think I may be, yes. Once my wings heal.”
“Oh--right. I guess those are real too, then,” Chloe chuckled, shaking her head slightly. It was going to take a while to remember all of the pieces that fit together in this puzzle now.
“Would you like to see them?"
“Um, sure, I guess…”
Lucifer stood up, offering his hand to her.
“I’m afraid it’s a bit cramped in my room. Better out there where there’s more space.”
He led her down to the main living area, holding onto her hand as if it were a lifeline. They stood in front of the couch, and Lucifer pushed her away from himself reluctantly, suddenly looking a little frightened.
“You probably want to step back for this, or even sit down, or--”
“Lucifer. It’s ok. You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, I believe you now.”
Lucifer sighed, looking defeatedly at the floor again. “No. No, Detective, I--Chloe--I have to. You deserve to know, and to see, all of me.”
He looked back into his partner’s eyes with that soul-searching gaze again, and she gave a small nod. Then he shrugged his shoulders, and two enormous white wings seemed to sprout from nothing out of his back, filling a good amount of the room with feathers.
Chloe couldn’t stop herself from gasping, both at the shock of wings appearing out of nothing, and their sheer beauty. Despite being almost half covered in blood, and with feathers bent or broken or missing in places, she’d still never seen anything nearly so magnificent in her whole life. She didn’t realize how wide her eyes had gotten until she forced herself to blink. Unconsciously, she began slowly step towards the wings, raising a hand out to the right one.
He flinched, involuntarily, when Chloe’s hand finally reached his feathers. She held her hand steady as he lowered the wing slightly, giving her better access to the top of it. Chloe ghosted her fingers along the edge, careful not to touch near any obvious damage. The feathers didn’t feel fully real. She thought it was somewhere halfway between touching a cloud, and the static she sensed when her foot fell asleep. Her brain simply couldn’t process it properly. When she gave up on trying to figure it out any further, Chloe turned to face the Devil once again.
“Lucifer…” she breathed, “they’re gorgeous. But what happened? It looks like you were used for target practice!”
“Well, in a sense, I was.”
“When Pierce shot you, you fell unconscious. He then ordered his men to finish us both off, so... I did what I had to do. I protected you until I could fly you out to safety.”
Chloe reached up and hugged Lucifer’s neck, trying to avoid his damaged wings. He held her as she took her own turn crying, and despite the discomfort, his wings instinctively moved to encircle her. They stopped a couple feet away from Chloe’s body, the strain and stiffness becoming too painful to flex them way he wanted to. Lucifer cradled her back and smoothed her hair until she pulled slightly away from him, sliding her hands down to his chest.
“Is there anything we can do for them? Do they hurt?”
“I honestly don’t believe anyone’s ever shot at angel wings before.” He chuckled. “I don’t really know. But yes, they are still quite painful.”
“Would cleaning them help?”
“Well, I don’t suppose it would make things any worse.”
An hour later, Chloe was sat on a rug in front of a shirtless Lucifer in the middle of his floor, surrounded by several large boxes of shop rags and a bottle of baby shampoo that she’d rushed out to buy. Off to one side were three of Lucifer’s largest cooking pots, filled with hot water.
“You’ll tell me if I hurt you, right?” She knew he would, but still felt she should ask.
“Of course, darling.” Lucifer smiled warmly at her, finally without fear in his eyes.
“Alright then, out with it,” Chloe said, sitting up on her knees. Lucifer had put his wings away for a while, claiming they bothered him less. He now slowly extended the right one until it rested on the rug in front of Chloe, and tried to angle it as best he could to give her easy access.
Chloe swirled a few drops of the shampoo into one of the pots, and plunged a rag into it. She wrung most of the water back out, and reached up to the top of Lucifer’s wing, where it joined his body. Placing her free hand on his shoulder first, she very gently began to wipe away the dust and dried blood from the first wound she came across. Lucifer was all but holding his breath.
“Hey,” Chloe stopped her cleaning. “Hey, you sure you’re ok?”
“Yes, Detective. I am more than ok, now.” He finally gave a smile that reached his eyes. Chloe replied with her own half-smile in return, and continued tenderly washing his feathers. Except for twisting the rags from the water, they sat in a companionable silence for a good half hour as Chloe worked.
After a while, Chloe got up to change out the water in the pots, and transfer soiled rags into a trash bag. Lucifer stretched his legs a little, and changed his position slightly now that Chloe had gotten to the back side of his wing. They fell into a routine, and it took Chloe nearly two hours to finish the first one. She walked up on her knees, inspecting each row of feathers across the front one more time, then carefully guiding the wing over her head to look at the back again.
Chloe smoothed down the feathers where his wing met his back, and then leaned forward to place a kiss on his spine. Lucifer’s muscles relaxed even more than they already had been, and he sighed.
“One down, one to go,” Chloe said.
“You’re doing amazing, darling,” said Lucifer, offering up his left hand to Chloe and guiding her to sit down in front of him again. “Now I don’t know about you, but I’m getting famished. How about we take a break?”
“Yeah, my arms could definitely use a break.”
Lucifer reached out to gently rub her arms, lightly massaging them.
“I’ll order us something to eat, and perhaps I can help make it easier on your end of things.”
Over Chinese take-out, Lucifer and Chloe started a discussion, the both of them finally settled enough mentally to start processing the day thus far. While the subjects seemingly ranged all over the place, it all drew back to Lucifer indeed being the Devil he’d always claimed he was. Chloe was just beginning to process what that really meant, and how it related to everything else they’d experienced together over the last couple of years.
“I’m sorry,” said Chloe, shaking her head. “I don’t know if I’ll ever understand all of this completely.”
“That makes two of us, love. But that’s also what makes you such a wonderful detective. You don’t stop until you know all the answers that can be known.”
Lucifer’s compliment, while genuine, also had the desired effect of disarming her a bit further. Throwing what caution he had left to the wind, he insisted on giving Chloe a massage.
“No funny business, I promise,” he said, holding up his hands in mock submission. “Come sit here.” Sitting on the couch with his legs spread open, he patted the front of the cushions below him. Chloe smirked at him, but obliged, sitting on the floor with her back towards him.
Starting at her shoulders, Lucifer skillfully worked out the soreness and strain through her arms, all the way down to her fingers. The Devil had expert hands, and Chloe all but fell asleep as he worked. She lolled her head back into his lap once, catching herself just before nodding off, and drawing a laugh from Lucifer.
“Enjoying yourself, my dear?” Ahh, back again was that sly and all-knowing grin she’d grown so accustomed to. His eyes twinkled as he leaned his face forward over hers.
“Mmm, yeah... I think I’d better get started on your other wing, before you put me to sleep.” Chloe’s gaze was completely content. Lucifer moved his hands back up to grasp her upper arms and help her raise to her feet. They resumed their previous positions on the rug.
Lucifer winced slightly as he brought his left wing out, though not nearly as much as he had with the right. This one was not quite as damaged, but still needed a significant amount of care. Lucifer tilted it up into Chloe’s waiting hands. They exchanged smiles.
The second wing didn’t take as long, due to Chloe’s quickly learned experience, and requiring less attention than the first. They continued their conversation, Chloe leading with most of the questions. Occasionally one of the answers would catch her off guard, and her hands would pause on his wing while her brain caught up with what she was hearing. Lucifer usually gave a chuckle at this, twitching the feathers just under Chloe’s fingers to snap her back to reality.
Chloe once again made a final check across the wing, smoothing down a few of the more wayward feathers as she did so. Lucifer grinned up at her, helping her stand up as he did the same.
He brought his right wing out, now fully healed, and briefly extended both upwards in a stretch as far as the room would allow. Some feathers were still missing from the left, but both wings subtly emanated their own soft glow now, from the inside out. Lucifer glanced at each wing in turn, and then gave Chloe a warm smile, pulling her hands closer to him. She wrapped her arms around his back, under his wings, and they held each other tightly for a few moments.
“Thank you,” he whispered. “You’ve no idea what this means.”
Chloe smiled against his chest. “I know.”
Exhausted from the events of the day, mentally, physically, and emotionally, Chloe agreed to stay at the penthouse for the night. It was already getting late, and Lucifer swore to be on his best behavior. After they each took showers, Lucifer allowed Chloe full access to his closet. She chose a soft shirt of his to change into, dried her hair, and after a bit of coaxing, joined Lucifer on his enormous bed.
“All right?” he asked, fluffing up some of his many pillows.
“You know we’re going to have to figure out what to tell everyone, about what happened today. I don’t even know where to start with that.” Chloe scooted next to Lucifer, settling beside him with her head resting on his chest.
He stroked her hair a few times before replying. “Yes, but that can wait until tomorrow.”
Chloe’s face relaxed, and she glanced up at his. Lucifer looked into her eyes, wishing he could explain to her that she was the most precious thing in all of creation. He decided it would be impossible to do so, and chose to show her instead, to the best of his abilities.
Lucifer bent forward slightly from the back of the bed, and brought his wings out once again. The left finally matched the right now, both immaculate. He stretched them forward a bit before curling them around Chloe and himself for the second time that day. Chloe closed her eyes and sighed into his chest, instantly comforted and falling asleep almost immediately.
The Devil watched her in his arms for a few minutes, smiling. He then closed his own eyes, and let sleep slowly take him under. This, he thought, this is what these wings are meant for. They’re not a punishment. They’re for her.