In retrospect, it should have been obvious that things were about to go downhill with the way the morning had gone: a phone call way too early in the morning, running out of cigarettes before he even made it out of the house, the traffic awful. None of that were telltale signs per se, but still, he figured he should have known. Things were bound to fall apart at some point after all.
“Do you reckon this case is going to be as dull as the last few?” Lucifer asked as he fiddled with the air conditioning in Detective Decker’s car.
“I don’t know how you can call any homicide case dull but this one doesn’t have an immediate suspect, yet, so I guess you can have some fun questioning people.” Chloe answered as she slapped Lucifer’s fingers away from the buttons, her eyes never leaving the road.
Lucifer huffed. “They were dull. All crimes of greed. Not one of them had a reason to kill anyone. They all just wanted their bloody money. I’m waiting for the day that someone tries to kill me for what I have with Lux and all.”
“Don’t say that.”
Lucifer raised an eyebrow at Chloe’s response. “Don’t say what?”
“Don’t talk about people killing you.” She said with emphasis.
“Detective, you do care for me after all.”
She gave an exasperated sigh. “Of course, I do, Lucifer. No matter how annoying you are, I still don’t want you dead.”
He smiled widely. “That’s nice to hear. But, as always, your worry is misplaced. No one can kill me. At least not, when you’re not around.”
“Right. The Devil is immortal, after all.”
“That he is.”
“And still he gets kidnapped and dropped somewhere in the desert. All powerful being that he is.”
Lucifer rolled his eyes. “Okay, let’s stop talking about me in the third person, shall we? The kidnapping is still a mystery that I will solve. But it doesn’t have to be of your concern. I’m fine. Mostly. I still feel violated, but I’ll deal with that as well. Dear old dad will pay, sooner or later.”
“If you want to talk to someone about that, I’m here.” Chloe said, her voice sincere. Even though she thought it was all a metaphor, she still cared and wanted to understand. Lucifer could tell that much.
“Thank you.” He was just as sincere.
They reached the crime scene shortly after. The officer at the door of the building let them through with a nod and Lucifer followed Chloe out into the spacious garden of the mansion. The sun reflected off the pond in the middle and the entire scene would have been immensely beautiful, if it hadn’t been for the dead body propped up in the fountain.
Dan was waiting for them, watching Ella as she carefully took close-up pictures of the obviously strangled neck of the dead woman.
Chloe stepped up next to Dan. “Hey.”
Lucifer narrowed his eyes only the tiniest bit, when he saw Daniel place his hand on Chloe’s back for a second. Then he stopped himself. He had no reason to be jealous, it wasn’t his place. The Detective could be intimate with whomever she chose. And if that someone was Detective Douche, he wasn’t going to argue and he sure as hell wouldn’t be jealous.
Okay, maybe just a little bit.
“So, what have we got so far?” Chloe asked taking a couple steps closer to the body.
“Well,” Ella began, “she has been strangled but I don’t think that’s what killed her.”
“Then what did?” Lucifer asked.
Dan looked up at him as if he only just now noticed Lucifer was there as well. He gave Lucifer an irritated look. It was clear he somehow had a problem with the club owner being here, but Lucifer wasn’t going to push it, so he simply gave the Douche an innocent smile.
Ella got up from her crouch. “The bruise of the strangulation looks like it was done post mortem. I can’t tell you anything else until we get her out of the water.”
“Okay, then chop, chop. If you’re done with your pictures, get to it. Meanwhile, are there any witnesses to talk to? Who found the body?” Lucifer rubbed his hands together.
Dan once again turned to look at him. “You don’t call the shots around here, man. You’re the consultant, not the detective.”
“Dan, please.” Chloe stepped between them “He’s my partner and therefore his word is as valid as yours or mine.”
“Yeah, right.” Dan scoffed. “If you overlook the fact that he’s a nutcase.”
“What’s gotten into you lately? Since when are you this hostile with Lucifer?” Chloe crossed her arms. “I thought you two got along.”
“In my defense, I have been nothing but polite to the Douche, so this isn’t on me.”
Dan took a few quick steps towards Lucifer, crowding him, which to Lucifer looked ridiculous. He was taller than Daniel and with his wings and therefore his powers returned, Daniel didn’t stand a chance against the Devil. Lucifer simply smiled down at the detective, a condescending smile, confident if not cocky.
“What are you going to do?” Lucifer asked, his voice low, daring Daniel to make a move.
“Dan!” Chloe raised her voice and pushed between the two men. “Don’t do this. Not here.”
“Why do you still work with him? After everything he’s done? He left you. Twice! Without any explanation and then he comes crawling back without so much as an apology, fucks up your investigations and you just take him back!” Dan was on a roll now. “He lies, he runs shady business with shady people and we don’t even know who he really is!”
“I don’t lie!” Lucifer spat, every word carefully enunciated.
“He is my partner! He saved my life countless times.” Chloe countered. “And you don’t have to like it but I will work with him as long as I see fit and you will respect that. And you will respect him.”
Dan seemed stunned. “Are you… are you actually sleeping with this guy?”
“What?” Chloe seemed perplexed.
“You’re fucking him, aren’t you?” Dan gave a small, disbelieving laugh. “Not only do you bring this mental case near my daughter, you have the audacity to fuck him and bring him around crime scenes.”
Chloe slapped him. Quite hard at that.
“How dare you?”, she hissed and stepped back from him, her eyes filled with rage.
Lucifer was about to step in, to stop this entire thing from escalating but something caught his eye. The sun reflected off of something far up the skyscraper that towered over them. First, he thought it had to be a window, but it set off his alarm bells.
A rifle scope.
“Everybody down!” He yelled and pulled Chloe, who was standing directly in front of him, down to the ground, shielding her with his own body. A shot rang out only a second later. He felt Chloe flinch underneath him, her hand grabbed his suit jacket tightly.
People panicked and threw themselves to the ground as well, Ella hid behind the fountain and Dan—Dan was on the ground, lying on his back, a slowly growing circle of red adorning the front of his shirt.
Lucifer felt his insides grow cold. Dan wasn’t breathing, his chest not rising and falling anymore. Lucifer couldn’t tear his eyes away as he still shielded Chloe. She hadn’t seen it, yet. He couldn’t let her see. He couldn’t do this to her.
His head snapped up. There was movement at the window where the shot had come from. The killer was fleeing. Lucifer got up from the ground in one fluid motion, almost too fast to be entirely human. He was just about to run after the bastard with the rifle, but Chloe’s sharp intake of breath stopped him in his tracks.
“Dan!” Chloe choked on the word and she scrambled over the floor to Daniel’s side. “Dan? Hey—Dan, please, no. Don’t do this to me, Dan.” She carefully lifted his head, her hand pressing on the bleeding bullet wound. “Please, no, no.” Her words turned into sobs and all Lucifer could do was stand and stare.
Again, he had failed to protect her and her loved ones.
“Somebody do something!” Chloe yelled out suddenly and it startled Lucifer into action.
“We need an ambulance!”, he pleaded. Ella nodded, her entire body shaking from shock. But still she started running to get help. Other officers had started running to catch whoever had shot at them. It was chaos all around. In the middle of it all lay Dan, Chloe next to him, both so very still compared to everything going on around them.
Lucifer kneeled down next to Chloe. His hands replaced hers on the wound and he pressed down hard. But there was no pulse. No life underneath his hands. He felt Chloe next to himself but he didn’t dare look up at her. She cradled Daniel’s head in her hands and he could hear her softly repeating ‘no, no’ over and over underneath her breath.
And for the first time in a very long time he swallowed his pride and turned heavenwards. Only for her. “Michael, please, brother.” Lucifer’s voice was barely more than whisper. “Let me help him. Let me heal him. Just this once. I beg of you, help me.” He didn’t expect an answer, not even a sign. And for the longest moment he was sure, none would come.
But suddenly warmth flooded his hands and then down into Daniel’s body. He almost let out a laugh of relief but stopped himself. He waited for any sign that something had changed and then he felt the faintest heartbeat underneath his fingertips and Dan took a rattling breath. Chloe choked on a breath and held onto Dan tighter. Lucifer kept pressing down on the wound until the ambulance arrived, knowing and trusting that Michael had done enough to save Dan somehow.
The EMP gently tried to move Chloe aside but she held onto Dan tightly, refusing to be removed.
“No, no, don’t take him away from me, please.” Chloe sobbed.
Lucifer took her face in his hands to force her to look at him, not thinking about the blood on his hands that now stained her already tear-stained face. “Chloe, look at me. Hey.” He waited until her eyes were focusing on him. “Chloe. They’re trying to help. They just want to help Dan. You need to let them do their job.”
Slowly she let go and Lucifer lifted her up from the ground to help her stand a few feet away from where the EMT now placed Dan’s body—no, still Dan—on a stretcher, an oxygen mask covering his face. Chloe buried her face in Lucifer’s chest and he held her, knowing nothing else to do than offer comfort.
When Dan was loaded into the ambulance, Lucifer carefully pushed Chloe at an arm’s length to look at her. “Detective. Chloe, can you come with me? I’ll drive you to the hospital.”
She nodded quickly but couldn’t form any words. She was in shock, that much Lucifer knew, and he was certainly not qualified to deal with anyone in shock. All his thoughts were spinning around a definite middle: let Dan be okay, because I can’t bear her losing someone she loves.
They arrived at the hospital shortly after the ambulance and Lucifer guided Chloe to the ER, where a nurse told them they’d have to wait in the waiting room as long as Daniel was in a critical condition. Chloe tried to argue that she was his next of kin but that didn’t change anything. Daniel had been brought into surgery immediately and all they could do was wait.
“He can’t die, Lucifer. He can’t. Not after what I did. Not now.” Chloe whispered, her eyes had run out of tears half an hour ago and they were still waiting for news.
“This isn’t your fault, Chloe. There’s nothing you could have done.”
“But if he dies, the last thing I ever said to him—the last thing I did was slap him.” Her voice wavered as she spoke those words. “I can’t have that be the last thing I did.”
Lucifer lay his arm around her and she leaned into him. “It won’t be. He will be fine. Dan is strong, he will make it through this, I promise.”
“Don’t promise what you can’t keep.” She responded quietly.
“I promise, Chloe. And I don’t go back on my word.”
He already knew that to be true. He would help Daniel somehow. He had asked for Michael’s help and his brother had actually granted him his wish, lending Lucifer the power of healing that he didn’t possess himself. Michael of course would want something in return, for angels just like Lucifer rarely ever granted favors without some quid pro quo. But why not get something more out of this deal? Lucifer would grovel in front of his brother, if only it meant that Michael would help.
Just then, the ER nurse came through the door to their left. Chloe was on her feet immediately and waited for the young male to bring her the good news, but Lucifer saw something in his eyes before the man had spoken.
“Miss Decker?” Chloe nodded quickly and the nurse took in a breath before speaking. “I’m sorry to inform you, but Mr. Espinoza suffered from a loss of blood circulation during the surgery. There has been an absence of brainstem reflexes since then. We stabilized his vitals but I’m afraid there’s little hope he’ll recover.”
“What does that mean?” Chloe breathed out.
“We have machines keeping Mr. Espinoza alive at the moment but his brain has ceased to show any vital signs.”
“You’re saying he’s brain dead?”
“Yes. I’m sorry.”
Lucifer caught Chloe as she swayed. Her grip on his arm was so tight it would leave bruises but he didn’t mind.
Chloe’s eyes found the nurse. “Can I see him?”
“Yes, follow me.” He led them down a hall, then another. When he stopped in front of a door, he hesitated. “Don’t panic. Seeing him hooked up to the machines can be shocking.” Then he opened the door for Chloe.
Chloe rushed to Dan’s side and carefully took his hand into her hands. The tears started flowing again. Lucifer stayed back, not wanting to disrupt her moment of grief but finally stepped closer.
All Lucifer could think about as he looked down on Dan was that Michael hadn’t done much after all. Sure, Dan had survived until he reached the hospital, had died in surgery. So, technically Michael had saved his life only for the doctors to fuck things up. He could have done more.
Brain dead. It meant Dan’s soul was gone. His body alive, yes, but his soul had already passed the threshold into the next life. Lucifer would beg Michael, he would. The Devil himself would kneel in front of his brother just so that Chloe wouldn’t have to suffer. Lucifer would offer Michael anything, if only Michael agreed to return Daniel’s soul from Heaven.
Lucifer took Daniel’s other hand to feel the steady pulse beneath his fingertips, to reassure himself that there was a still a chance that he’d make it. To be sure that he wouldn’t break his promise to Chloe. And just then, underneath the pulse he felt it. A hum. A burning. Fire.
Daniel’s soul had not ascended. No, it had descended. Daniel Espinoza’s soul had gone to Hell. Dan Espinoza’s soul belonged to Lucifer.
Lucifer let out a shuddering breath. He didn’t need Michael.
“I’m sorry, Chloe, I—” He didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t lie to her but he couldn’t tell the truth, either. But she took the decision from him.
“It’s okay. You don’t have to be here.”
“Where is young Beatrice?” Lucifer swallowed hard at the thought of the child.
Chloe’s eyes became unfocused for a moment, then she took in a shaky breath. “She’s with Dan’s parents for the week. They’re on vacation. Oh God, what do I tell her? What—?”
She was about to hyperventilate. Lucifer quickly stepped around the bed and held her close. “It’s alright, Chloe. Breathe.” He murmured into her hair. “Don’t tell them anything, yet. Let them have a day or two more of peace.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Yes, you can”, he said determinedly. “Dan will make it through this. There’s no need to scare Beatrice or his parents.”
“How?” Chloe sobbed. “How is he going to make it through this?”
“I need you to have faith.”
“Faith in what?”
Lucifer looked down on her, took her hand and carefully placed it on Dan’s. “Have faith in Daniel.” He held on to Chloe as she held on to Dan and they stood in silence for a while, the beeping of the monitors the only sound in the room. Then, slowly, Lucifer freed himself from Chloe’s embrace.
“Detective, I have got to go.”
She nodded quickly, wiping at her eyes. “Yeah, of course, you’ve got things to do.”
“It’s not like that. I want to be here. For you. I don’t want to leave but I have to.” He bit the inside of his cheek until he tasted blood. “I have to keep my promise.” He moved towards the door, his hand leaving Chloe’s eventually. “I will be back soon.” And with that and a last look at Chloe he left.
He rushed into Lux, slightly surprised to find Maze behind the bar with Patrick, who was restocking the bar. Since she didn’t work as his bartender anymore, Maze barely spent any time at the club. Now she was leaning on the bar, sipping a drink.
“Patrick, don’t open Lux tonight.” Lucifer commanded without so much as a ‘hello’, and beckoned Maze to follow him with a wave of his hand.
“Why not?” Maze questioned but put the glass down immediately.
Lucifer didn’t stop walking, kept making his way towards the elevator. “Daniel Espinoza is dead.”
Maze’s eyes widened. “What? How? Where’s Chloe?”
“Upstairs, Maze, now!”
She followed him quickly, the elevator doors sliding closed behind her. “Chloe is at the hospital with Dan. Brain dead. Soul gone but body still alive. And guess which direction the Douche took.”
“I already see where this is going and I’m not going to let you do it.” Maze objected.
“Oh, Mazie”, Lucifer smiled down at her as the elevator reached his loft. “You forget your place. I don’t need your permission to do anything.” He stepped out and took off his suit jacket.
“What about the consequences? What about that precious balance? You will fuck everything up by bringing him back to life. You father won’t like it.”
Lucifer scoffed. “When have you ever known me to care about what my father wants. Besides, I’ve sort of got Michael on my side. He already intervened once and that means Dan’s life won’t affect the balance. It’s only fair, I get to bring someone back after the disaster that was Malcolm Graham.”
“Listen to yourself.” Maze pleaded. “You’re talking yourself into this.”
“I promised Chloe, I wouldn’t let him die.”
“Then you won’t be able to keep that promise.”
“Yes, I will!” Lucifer roared and spun around to face Maze. And she cowered.
“Lucifer, your eyes…”
He knew. He could feel it. But that was impossible. His Devil face had been taken from him when the wings had reappeared, meaning his eyes shouldn’t be burning with the fires of hell right now. But still he felt it. “Impossible.” He muttered.
“They’re not red.” Maze said quietly.
Lucifer turned to look at himself in the glass behind the bar. Sure enough, his eyes were burning but not red, no. The reflection looking back at him had almost white glowing eyes. It wasn’t Lucifer. It was Samael. “No”, he breathed. “No! Take it back! Take them back!” He turned his head heavenwards. “I don’t want them. Not the wings, not the power, not the eyes. I don’t want to be him!”
“Lucifer, please.” Maze stepped closer to him. “Calm down. You’re going to start an earthquake.” Sure enough, slight trembles had shaken the apartment. “Look at me. You don’t have to be him. You’re still Lucifer. To me, you will always be Lucifer. And to Chloe as well. The wings won’t change that.” She paused. “And not that I think it’s a good idea but the wings are your only way to bring Dan back.”
The white glow faded from Lucifer’s eyes and his breath came easier. “You’re right. I define who I am, not him. Me.” He stepped away rolling up the sleeves of his shirt. “I won’t let him control me.”
“I get that.” Maze said slowly and Lucifer could tell she was choosing her words carefully. Whether it was due to his temper or something else he didn’t know. “Lucifer, you have always gone your own way but this is taking it too far. Think of the consequences.”
“Like what, hm? If I don’t do this, I will break a promise.” He leaned down on the piano with both elbows. The muscles in his back flexed involuntarily and he repressed the urge to stretch his wings. “If I don’t do this, Chloe will lose him. Beatrice will lose her father.”
“But if you do it, Dan will know the truth. He will tell Chloe and you don’t know what will happen then.”
Maze had a point. There was no way he would be able to keep his true identity from Daniel. Not that he was actively trying to hide it but neither Dan nor Chloe believed him. And Lucifer had the bad feeling that they would take their offspring and run. Losing Chloe…
He didn’t know, if he could bear that. But there was no choice, really.
“I am going to do this, Maze. You’re not under your oath anymore, I know that. But I would like you to accompany me.” He turned back to face the demon.
Maze hesitated. “No. I’m not going back.”
“No, Lucifer, I’m staying. You’ll do fine on your own. You have your wings.”
He grimaced. “That I do.” He rolled his shoulders once and then slowly let his wings unfurl. He carefully stretched them out as far as he could without knocking over any furniture and gave them an experimental flap. “I won’t be gone long, Maze.”
“I know. I’ll be here.” She said and stepped away further to give him space. “Be safe, Lucifer.”
And in a gust of wind he took flight, his wings cutting through dimensions easily, strong flaps of his wings taking Lucifer back to his domain, his kingdom. Once again, the Devil had returned to Hell.