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It's Only Me

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Chloe shoved her way through the revolving door into the street, sending a courier flying. The several minutes it had taken to hustle down from the roof had seemed like forever and she was frantic. Her cell rang yet again - Dan. She dumped the call again, then switched her phone off. He’d already said he’d called for backup and he was not going to change her mind about getting to Lucifer so there was no need to talk any more.

She took off at a sprint, hardly feeling the pain from her bruised chest with all the adrenaline coursing through her system. She knew she was only a few blocks from the loft and somehow she also knew Lucifer was there, that he’d gone after Pierce. But as she ran uneasy thoughts kept pushing insistently at her, and she couldn’t help wondering what the hell had happened after she’d blacked out.

How did Lucifer get us out of there?

They’d been right out in the open with all those guns pointed at them.

Why did Lucifer take me to a roof? And how did he get off the rooftop so fast?

What he’d said to her last night kept running through her head, and she kept seeing the sadness in his eyes before she’d held his face and kissed him.

Chloe… I am the Devil.

Had she been denying the truth all along? Lucifer always said he never lied, and she’d taken that to mean that he always told his truth, but could he really be telling her the actual truth and she just didn’t want to see it?

Maybe I do know...

She barrelled around a corner, spotted the loft building up ahead, and stubbornly forced the thoughts away. What she was thinking was flat out impossible. It was weird, but this was Lucifer ! He did inexplicable shit all the time and then insisted it was because he was Satan. And now he’d run off to tackle the Sinnerman alone because the dumbass had a thing for facing down homicidal maniacs. Jimmy Barnes, Malcolm Graham, the Halloween sniper... and somehow he’d always brazened his way through. It was his mentalist / escape artist / hypnotist thing! She’d never been able to figure it out!

But, still… her brain kept trying to make connections. Absolutely insane connections that anyone in their right mind would reject out of hand. She was relieved when she finally reached the loft building, her lungs and legs burning, and could instead focus on getting inside.

Chloe noticed the front entranceway was standing wide open so veered towards it, unwilling to waste a single moment. She bounded up the steps three at a time, pausing at the top to force her breathing back under control and pull her second gun from its ankle holster. She became aware of the wail of sirens getting nearer and felt a surge of hope; Dan’s backup. But she couldn't wait for them; she had to find Lucifer.

She listened at the door, instincts on high alert. She couldn’t hear anything from inside; there were no further gunshots, shouting or sounds of a struggle. She felt a sudden stab of terror that she was too late; that Pierce had killed Lucifer and was lying in wait for her. She pushed down her fears and crept silently inside, heading upstairs for the atrium where they’d been ambushed.

Nearing the staircase she pulled up short in astonishment. The windows on the landing were completely destroyed, the wooden frames smashed inwards and hanging splintered as if rammed by a truck. Blue sky and skyscrapers peeked through. There were no shrapnel marks and nothing was singed, so it can’t have been a bomb. It looked more like a wrecking ball had smashed it in.

Chloe mentally filed it away and quickly crept closer, staying low and out of sight, hearing laughter echoing from the atrium ahead. She peeked around the balustrade and saw Lucifer, and the rush of relief she felt at seeing he was okay was tempered by the fact that he was crouched over a body on the floor. She could see that it was Marcus. She forced down the cascade of conflicted emotions that surged up at the realisation and threw quick glances around the room. Three of Pierce’s men were also lying motionless; there had been four, but one appeared to have fled the scene.

Right now she didn’t care about the how, she only cared that Lucifer was okay. She holstered her gun and stood up, legs weak with relief and the aftereffects of adrenaline. She quickly made her way down the steps towards him.

“Lucifer.”

He stood up… but something was wrong. His head was… oh, God . She stopped dead, shock rooting her to the spot. That couldn’t be...

“...Lucifer?”

---------------

Lucifer smiled grimly to himself as Cain fell lifelessly to the floor. It had been quite a while since he’d felt such satisfaction at administering punishment, and if his wings had been up to it he would have been tempted to fly straight down to Hell to ensure the malevolent bastard was getting the toasty welcome he deserved. Preferably involving a very large and active volcano.

He felt a twinge of disquiet at killing a human, but ignored it. Cain had had it coming. If anyone had deserved it, it was him. And it was the Devil’s job to give sinners their due, after all. It’s not like he could ever go to Heaven anyway. Not that he would.

“Lucifer.”

He heard the Detective’s voice behind him; she’d made it back. That was rather quick; luckily he’d already defeated Cain but in hindsight he should probably have attempted to fly her to safety further away. His concealed wings throbbed painfully at the thought. He’d only just made it back here as it was.

He stood and turned to face her, smiling with relief that it was over; it had been a close thing but Cain was dead and Chloe was unharmed. He expected her to launch into her usual rant about him running into danger but to his surprise she stopped dead and just stared at him. She looked utterly gobsmacked. Was it because he’d killed Pierce? Surely she didn’t still harbour feelings for that treacherous git? He’d tried to kill her!

She started to back up, back away from him, her eyes never leaving his face, and gasped, “It’s all true.”

Lucifer felt a prickle of unease. What was true? She already knew Pierce was the Sinnerman, how could this possibly be a surprise to her now?

“Detective?”

What was wrong? Why was she looking at him like that?

----------------

This can’t be real, Chloe thought desperately.

It is real. I’ve seen it before.

Her partner was gone, and in his place was something that belonged in a horror movie, or an hallucination. A scorched-looking creature with a misshapen, hairless head and fissured skin stood before her. Eyes that literally glowed with an otherworldly fire gazed back into hers. Then the Devil sighed and the corners of his mouth turned up in a small smile.

Chloe had a wild thought that it looked like he was happy to see her.

“It’s all true,” she faintly heard herself say. Lucifer really is the Devil. THE Devil. At this realisation Chloe’s thought processes came to a sudden juddering halt but for three words running on a loop through her brain.

It’s all true it’s all true it’s all true…

She saw him freeze, the easy smile dropping from his impossibly disfigured face.

“Detective?”

Lucifer’s voice. Chloe’s stomach plummeted at hearing her partner’s familiar rich tones coming from that utterly inhuman body and the tiny hairs on the back of her neck stood up. She shuddered and her mouth moved again but she had no idea what she said as the sudden roaring in her ears drowned everything else out. Her feet moved without conscious direction and shuffled her backwards, as if trying to distance her from what she was seeing even as her brain fought to make sense of it.

How can he actually be who he says he is? How?

That Lucifer wasn’t human was now undeniable. Somehow this...creature… was him. Her eccentric partner was suddenly a stranger. Her rational mind had always demanded proof… well there it was. But how can this possibly be real?!

Lucifer’s hands abruptly lifted to his face, fingertips skimming across the rough, pitted skin. The glowing eyes widened, then closed, and Lucifer dropped his face in his hands, broad shoulders slumping. When he spoke, his muffled voice was bleak.

“Oh, no, no, no...of course it would happen now! Bollocks!

A moment later he lowered his hands and her dark-haired, dark-eyed partner was back, his face apprehensive. He said tentatively, “Detective? It’s alright, it’s... only me.”

She didn’t answer. She felt numb, detachedly watching flashes of disjointed memory, seeing the proof that Lucifer had always given her, and realising she’d wilfully refused to see the truth about him right from the start. Realising, also, how thoroughly he'd insinuated himself into her life.

One moment the man in front of her was dragging her onto the dancefloor at Lux and happily bouncing around to The Clash and the next he was hurling a grown man twenty feet through a glass wall.

She saw Lucifer juggling breast implants. Lucifer hypnotising suspects.

Lucifer lifting a man twice his girth off the floor with one hand and slamming him into a wall above his head.

Lucifer letting her giggling daughter paint a unicorn on his face. Lucifer facing down a sniper.

Lucifer stealing Trixie’s sandwich.

Lucifer standing over a cowering would-be murderer, his face reflecting for a split second in polished steel. A face exactly like the one she’d just seen, that she’d convinced herself she had imagined.

His concerned brown eyes gazing down at her as she regained consciousness on the roof cradled in his arms.

The look on his face when he told her she was special and he wasn’t worth it. The feel of his soft lips when she kissed him.

It’s all true it’s all true it’s all true

Lucifer took a couple of hesitant steps towards her, reaching for her, almost beseechingly. Her feet continued to shuffle her backwards until her heels bumped the bottom step of the staircase. She half turned, off balance, and grabbed the banister to steady herself. One foot placed itself on the first step, still subconsciously trying to give her space to think.

Lucifer froze. The Detective looked poised to bolt up the stairs and he felt a sudden jolt of panic.

“Detective, PLEASE! Don’t… don’t run away,” He pleaded, his voice shaking slightly. “You must know that I would never hurt you,” he said desperately, terrified that she would flee any second and he’d never see her again.

Through her shock Chloe dimly realised that yes, of course she knew. She remembered what he’d said to her not ten minutes ago up on the roof.

You’re safe. That’s all that matters.

She wasn’t going to run; this was Lucifer . Not a stranger.

“Detective… say something…” her partner implored her, his voice hoarse.

She wanted to, she knew she needed to, but she simply couldn't do it. They’d been partners for over a year now and he’d become such a big part of her life, and she knew him better than she’d ever known anyone, for all that she hadn’t known this. She wanted so desperately to tell him so, tell him that she'd be okay, but she was trapped in her own frozen body and speechless with shock.

She could barely even think, fragmented thoughts whirling chaotically through her head… she just needed a minute to get herself together…

...no wonder he’s so weird, he really isn’t human

…how did he survive those burns, they must be so painful

… I KISSED SATAN AND SLAPPED HIM ON THE ASS

...why did I see that face? which one is the real one?

…all this time I kept accusing him of not being honest with me

In the face of Chloe’s silence Lucifer tried a different tack, his tone turning cajoling. “Detective, I…uh, I know you hate surprises. But, really, it can hardly be a surprise at this stage, can it? I’ve been telling you who I am since day one! Not to mention you sort of believed me once already, remember? At least, believed me enough to shoot me that time...” He quickly held up his hands as he realised what he’d just said. “Ah, just to be clear, I am not suggesting you try that again...”

Just shut up, shut up a minute would you, thought Chloe exasperatedly, squeezing her eyes shut and jerking her head from side to side. Give me a freakin’ second to take this in, for God’s sake … then she gasped as a new realisation hit like another bullet to the chest.

God. He’s real. He really is Lucifer’s father. Heaven is real. That’s where Charlotte’s gone, Lucifer said so and he doesn’t lie. Tears sprang to her eyes.

And Dad too - he’s safe. He’s not gone forever… one day I’m gonna see him again. A tiny choked sob escaped her throat . He’s okay. Dad’s really okay. And one day Mom will see him again too, and Trixie… he’ll get to meet my baby after all.

It all hit her then, how much more big picture existence had just become, what it all really meant, and she sank slowly onto the step, her chest heaving and silent tears streaming down her face.

It’s all true… ALL of it...

Lucifer watched Chloe crumple to the floor in tears and felt despair settle over him like a shroud. A moment later he knew that his Devil face had reasserted itself and try as he might, he could not make his human form return. Chloe was the only person whose opinion he had ever truly cared about, and now - now she was terrified of him, didn’t want him near her.

He nodded desolately. Of course.

He wanted to be angry, to fight it because he couldn’t bear the alternative; losing her and everything he cared about. But he knew it was already too late. He couldn’t blame Chloe for her reaction; after all he’d just proved he really was the fiend everyone thought him to be.

He had betrayed his father, annihilated his own brother, banished his mum, put his friends in mortal danger, and hurt the woman he cared about... many times. And now he had broken his father’s ultimate commandment and taken a human life. In anger, for revenge, which made him no better than Cain. His face again showed who he truly was on the inside; who he had always been.

Lucifer had never in his life felt more like a monster.

“I’m sorry, Detective,” he choked. Suddenly he couldn’t bear forcing Chloe to look at him a moment longer, and hid himself from her sight.

The sirens were right outside now, their piercing racket coming in the shattered window and echoing through the halls and high ceilings around them. The police would be inside in a matter of moments, and they would find a dead hero with an otherworldly dagger stuck in him, surrounded by proof of the divine. They could also find a creature of unspeakable evil standing over him; but much as Lucifer welcomed the thought of them pulling their guns and putting him out of his misery he couldn’t allow that to happen. He looked at Chloe, who had half turned towards the sound of the sirens with a stricken look on her face, then turned back toward him, her blue-green eyes widening when she registered his disappearance.

Lucifer placed his hands together and closed his eyes.

Amenadiel. It’s Lucifer. I need your help.

Several long, tense moments later the wail of sirens cut off and there was a strong gust of wind as his brother landed. He heard Amenadiel say drily into the sudden silence, “Can’t you even go a day without me before getting into trouble, Luci?” Then the cheerful tone abruptly changed as he realised something was wrong. “What th...?… Your face. ..” he trailed off.

“Hello, Brother.” Lucifer opened his eyes, resigned to seeing revulsion in his eldest sibling’s expression but was surprised to see only concern. He lowered his hands and half turned to indicate Cain’s body on the floor behind him. Amenadiel’s eyes widened in shock.

“What in Father’s name happened?” Amenadiel couldn’t hide his dismay at seeing the hilt of Maze’s dagger protruding from Cain’s chest. “ You did this? You killed a human?”

“His humanity was questionable.” Lucifer’s attempt at levity fell flat, and he couldn’t meet his brother’s gaze. A multitude of excuses crowded his tongue but he knew that’s all they were. Excuses. For all his talk of a ‘fair fight’ he’d known Cain had never stood a chance against him, despite his injured wings. He’d been toying with him. He hadn’t needed to kill him. The fact of the matter was, he had been so consumed with rage in that moment with the Detective shot and Cain determined to shove Maze’s blade through his heart that he had wanted him dead, to Hell with the consequences.

His thoughts flashed back to the Spider, dangling helplessly in his grip after murdering Frank. He’d been incandescent with fury in that moment too, but the Detective had talked him down. And he remembered the liar Jerry Blackcrow, when it was Amenadiel’s turn to calm the raging beast inside him. But he suspected even the Detective wouldn’t have been able to stop him this time.

It was my choice to do this, he thought. I’ve damned myself all over again. He glanced at Chloe . I’m at least thankful the Detective was spared the sight of me skewering the bastard .

Cain had used Chloe, lied to her, manipulated her, and tried to kill her. Lucifer would end him again in a heartbeat. And that’s how he knew he truly wasn’t worthy.

Amenadiel looked down at the body on the floor with open contempt. “Well,” he said coldly, “He tried to kill me, but took poor brave Charlotte’s life instead. I’m inclined to agree with you on that point, Brother.” Amenadiel looked up at Lucifer, belatedly noting the front of his white shirt was shredded. “Are those bullet holes?”

Lucifer glanced down at himself. “Yes, but it’s nothing. It’s my wings that are damaged - I can’t fly. Not now. Vengeful fury will only get you a few blocks, it seems.” He attempted a shrug, then winced.

“Damaged? How?”

Lucifer huffed and spread his hands to indicate the room around them. Amenadiel suddenly noticed all the trash on the floor - hundreds of bullet casings, chunks of wood, tile and glass, and… Lucifer’s distinctive white feathers scattered from one end of the enormous room to the other.

There was one right next to his foot, so he bent down to pick it up. It was a broken covert and like all the rest, stained with blood. He realised what Lucifer must have done, and he was overcome with both compassion and pride for his little brother.

“Luci...”

Amenadiel’s shocked tone was so uncharacteristically gentle Lucifer had to swallow past a sudden lump in his throat.

He cleared it, then continued in a forced light tone, “So you can see why I called. The police are right outside and we need to clear this place before they come in. Can’t have divine relics or even just formerly-immortal, crusty old human ones,” - at this he aimed a kick at the prone form of the ancient corpse on the floor - “falling into human hands. There’s no telling what an autopsy might dig up from a millennia-old body. And that’s aside from the fact that he’s got one of the Detective’s bullets in him and Miss Lopez will be able to discern the type of weapon that finished him off.” Amenadiel raised an incredulous eyebrow.

Lucifer scowled. “I do pay attention when it suits me, Brother.”

Despite himself, Amenadiel was impressed. “So it would seem.”

Lucifer went on, “Anyway, Maze’s Hell-forged blades are known to the police; much as the little shit has angered me lately I don’t wish to have her falsely sent up for murder.” He snorted. “For the second time in under a month, no less.”

Amenadiel nodded. Lucifer was right, leaving Cain’s body behind would make things far too complicated.

“Agreed. So we take it with us. Then what? And what are we going to do about Chloe?” He glanced over at the Detective sitting on the stairs on the far side of the room, frozen with an astonished expression on her face.

“She saw you.” Amenadiel’s eyes softened in understanding.

“Yes, of course she bloody saw me! My face came back at the absolute worst possible time...” Lucifer trailed off, then gave a bark of mirthless laughter.

“Or rather… I inadvertently chose the worst possible time to bring it back, right?” Lucifer laughed bitterly, teeth brilliantly white against darkly burned flesh. “I really am the master of self sabotage. All this time… my wings constantly regrowing, thinking Father forced the Detective to have feelings for me, losing my Devil face and now being stuck with it… I’ve done it all to myself, haven’t I?”

Amenadiel shrugged helplessly. It certainly seemed that way. “So that means you can un do it as well, Luci. You just have to believe in yourself.”

Lucifer snorted in derision. “Spare me the Hallmark platitudes, Amenadiel. I can’t . Not when even the Detective…” he stopped, his ravaged features twisting in pain. Whether it was physical or emotional Amenadiel couldn’t tell.

He looked around the huge space and suppressed a shudder; it was a mess. Bullet holes and bodies everywhere, and it looked like someone had thrown a blood-soaked feather pillow into helicopter blades. He dreaded to think what his brother’s beautiful wings must look like now, and the agony he must be enduring being so close to Chloe and unable to heal. Not to mention his emotional state, judging by the fact he was unable to summon his angelic form.

Not since he’d last seen Lucifer in Hell had Amenadiel seen his brother so melancholy. He tried to think; what would Lucifer do for him if their situations were reversed? He shook his head; since both booze and sex with strangers were currently off the table, he settled on cracking a dumb joke.

He squeezed Lucifer’s arm then brandished the feather in his hand. He said lightly, “Too bad with time stopped we can’t Hoover all these up. A dustbuster worked great on mine.”

Lucifer stared at him in disbelief for a few seconds, then gave a little amused snort. It was so unlike his staid older sibling to try to cheer him up, and more than a little weird. But he appreciated it all the same.

----------------

The two brothers got the job done quickly and efficiently, pulling a dust sheet off a statue to wipe the drops of Lucifer’s blood from the floor, then bundling all the larger feather fragments that Amenadiel gathered into it. Lucifer walked the room, grudgingly using his long-scorned Lightbringer powers to incinerate every last tattered shred of divinity he could find. The acrid stench of burned feathers filled the air and fine ash lay in tiny piles all around the room, so Amenadiel gave several powerful beats of his wings to disperse them.  Lucifer handed the bundled sheet to Amenadiel, yanked the blade from Cain’s breastbone with rather more force than was strictly necessary, then grabbed the corpse by the shirtfront and lifted it easily off the floor.

“Let’s go.”

“To the penthouse, I assume?”

“Yes… wait, no!” Lucifer amended. “No, we can’t bloody well go there, Daniel and Miss Lopez are still there with the hitman.” At his brother’s single raised eyebrow he added, “Long story.” He jiggled Cain. “His fault.” Then he flinched sharply and added, “Besides, I could really do with some of Linda’s doctoring skills.”

“Alright. We’ll go to Linda’s then.” Amenadiel’s eyes softened. “I should speak with her anyway.” Then he glanced over at the Detective, still frozen on the stairs.

“You want to just leave Chloe here?” His tone was disapproving.

Lucifer exploded, “Of course I bloody don’t, but what choice do I have, Brother?” Lucifer threw him an exasperated look but Amenadiel could tell he was deeply distressed.

“She’s terrified of me. Look at her; she doesn’t want to be anywhere near me and I even made her cry. We can’t take her with us, she’d...” He stopped, his face falling as he seemed to realise something.

He promptly dropped Cain back onto the floor with a thud, walked over to Chloe, and crouched on one knee in front of her. She stared, unseeing, at him, her blue-green eyes glistening. He saw a tear, frozen in time rolled halfway down her cheek, and reached out to brush it away. He stopped short of cupping her face when he saw the grotesquely seared flesh of his hand and was reminded anew; unclean unworthy.

She was close enough for him to feel her warmth on his palm but he knew he would never touch her again. If this was the price he had to pay for keeping her safe he couldn’t regret it, but his eyes prickled and his throat constricted so tightly he thought it would choke him. He swallowed thickly as he gazed at her one last time.

“I’m… so sorry, Chloe,” he said, his voice hollow with anguish. “Goodbye.”


Chapter Text

Chloe blinked. Lucifer was gone. And as she stared in disbelief at the place where he’d just been, Pierce’s body also vanished. One second there, the next disappeared. Impossible. But she realised she’d seen that before, too, and put the inconveniently impossible fact from her mind. In Lux when that trigger-happy rookie had shot at him, and at his crazy dueling punishment for Nick the paparazzo and his freak protege. More jigsaw pieces were starting to fall.

The truth has been right in front of me this whole time… he really has never lied to me.

She finally found her voice, and croaked, “Lucifer?” She swallowed with an effort, looked around the room and called out again, more loudly this time. “ Lucifer?

No answer. He’d gone. Poof .

The wailing of the sirens outside stopped and she heard the bangs and shouts of the SWAT team entering the building. She shakily got to her feet, then spotted her Glock on the floor and retrieved it, taking three tries to tuck it back in its holster. Then her vision darkened and her knees gave way. She hit the floor, wondering with mild annoyance why her legs weren’t working.

It’s shock. You’re in shock.

Yeah, that’s probably it.

She would most likely have passed out but for the sharp, acrid smell that filled the room. She wondered vaguely what it was; it smelled horrible, like burning chemicals, but she was positive that it hadn’t been there before Lucifer had vanished.

She heard heavy footsteps on the stairway behind her and voices shouting all around as her colleagues searched the building. A male voice exclaimed, “What in the fuck happened here?”

A pair of black-booted, blue-clad legs walked into her narrowed field of vision and a young SWAT cop crouched down in front of her. She lifted her blank gaze to him; under his helmet his concerned, very human face with its hazel eyes and clean-shaven jaw looked slightly fuzzy around the edges.

“Detective Decker? You okay?” His voice sounded far away.

She numbly shook her head and thought nope. Pretty sure I’m not.

She heard him utter a soft expletive and felt gentle hands on her, methodically checking her over, finding the hole in her shirt and the bullet in her vest, then heard him calling for medics. He kept up a reassuring murmur as he lay her gently down on the floor with her knees up.

When the medics arrived they loaded her onto a gurney and took her out to a waiting ambulance, the cop explaining to them that she seemed to be in shock from a gunshot to her vest. She almost laughed out loud.

Who gives a flying damn about that? Don’t you know I’m partners with Satan?

-----------------------

Maze and Linda were on the couch catching up on the news of the past month when Amenadiel and Lucifer suddenly appeared out of thin air in the middle of the office. Linda yelped in fright and Maze was up and off the couch in front of her in an instant, fists raised in challenge.

“Pardon the intrusion, Linda, but we require your assistance…”

Linda peeked around Maze, who was weaving slightly on her feet. “Amenadiel! And…  Lucifer? What happened to your -?” Then she spotted Cain. “And who the hell is that ? Is he-?” Any further questions were promptly drowned out by Maze’s enraged battle cry as she launched herself at Lucifer.

“You’re dead, you hear me motherfucker?!

Lucifer braced himself to bat her away, but was surprised when she instead drove her knee into Cain, tearing the body from his grasp and riding it to the floor. She'd whipped out her demon blade and plunged it into Cain's chest before they even landed.

Linda let out a muffled scream, both hands over her mouth. “Maze, what the Hell!

Maze climbed off Cain, wiping her blade clean on his shirt and chuckling with dark satisfaction. “Was it good for you too?” Then she spat in his face.

Behind her she heard Lucifer remark mildly, “To answer your first question, Mazikeen, yes and no; Yes he’s dead and no he can’t hear you.”

Maze got unsteadily to her feet and turned to face the others. Still dazed from the beating she’d taken earlier she took a moment to realise that it wasn’t Lucifer, playboy club owner standing before her; it was Lucifer, the Morning Star. The Lord of Hell towered over her in all his infernal glory, his eyes twin orbs of hellfire, and Maze had to fight hard not to drop to one knee. She wasn’t his creature anymore, but she had been for millennia; old habits died hard.

Lucifer held something up; her other Hell-forged blade. “I had thought perhaps you’d had enough of gaslighting me and decided to help Cain kill me instead.” His voice was deceptively calm but as he twirled the blade his eyes flickered angrily.

Maze stood in silence. Linda wasn’t the only person she had to apologise to. But she had so thoroughly betrayed her former master that she expected nothing less than death from him - Lucifer hated being manipulated. She steeled herself for the killing blow.

“But judging by this little demonstration,” Lucifer went on, “it seems you weren’t working with him after all.”

Maze lifted her chin and said bluntly, “Oh, I was.” The luminous eyes narrowed ominously and Maze’s gaze shifted guiltily to Amenadiel, then Linda, who both regarded her with shocked looks on their faces. Her expression softened. “I stopped.” And then, simply, “I’m sorry. I was mad. I wanted to go home.”

Lucifer’s fiery gaze widened in surprise, then swept her up and down, taking in her injuries and her thoroughly exhausted appearance. He heaved a sigh.

“Right. Well then. What’s done is done.” He held out her dagger hilt first, and Maze took it, completely bewildered.

“That’s it?”

“What, disappointed are you?”

“No, I’m grateful for my life. I just don’t know why you’d-”

Linda jumped suddenly to her feet, her voice rising. “Who the hell is that guy? Why did Maze stab him?! What the hell is going on around here today!”

Lucifer sighed impatiently and lifted the corpse; vertical with his feet on the floor Cain looked like he was standing up. Eyes open, unseeing. Unnerving as Hell.

“Things have taken a bit of a turn. As for who this sack of arse is; Linda, Cain. Cain, Linda.”

“That’s Lieutenant Pierce? Your BOSS?!”

“No, the Detective’s boss,” Lucifer corrected primly.

“And Maze just killed him?!” Linda gasped. “ Shit!

Maze gave a self-satisfied smile. “He had it coming… for a really long time, Linda.”

Lucifer shook his head. “Much as I approve of the sentiment, Mazikeen, I beat you to it.”

“You -?” Linda gaped at him. Lucifer had killed a cop. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, he’d killed a human . Oh, shit.

Maze’s eyes widened too as she looked up at Lucifer, and what he’d said sank in.

“Wait. You killed him?” At Lucifer’s terse nod Maze shook her head slightly and swore under her breath. Then she went to look out the window to check if there was any fire and/or brimstone falling out of the sky yet.

Linda eyed the corpse warily. “Why did you bring him here?”

Lucifer gave the body a cursory shake. “Don’t worry, Doctor, with his mark gone he’s dead - permanently this time. We couldn’t leave him for the police to find and the penthouse is currently unavailable so we were obliged to bring him along. Very sorry for the imposition.”

Linda almost laughed at the incongruity of the flame-eyed, scorched-looking Devil before her casually toting a bloodied corpse like a piece of luggage and the polite, apologetic tone of his voice. The ludicrousness of the situation did not prevent her from getting a serious case of the creeps, however.

She raised her hands in a hold it gesture. “Can you... take him somewhere else, please, Lucifer? He’s freaking me out!”

Maze added, “Yeah, Linda’s office is not for dirtbag storage. Stick him in Amenadiel’s old rooms or something. Why bring him anyway? Why not just dump him?”

Lucifer replied enigmatically, “He might yet come in useful. But in the meantime we can’t have humans finding him.”

“Alright. Give me a minute.” Amenadiel stooped down, unceremoniously grabbed Cain, spread his wings and disappeared with a thump of displaced air.

“Wh-?” Linda did a massive double take. “Amenadiel got his wings back?”

Lucifer nodded. “He did. Although it’s probably more accurate to say he took his wings back, as per his theory.” He added grudgingly, “And he’s being surprisingly un-insufferable about it...”

“That’s... great. Really great. “Linda’s surprised expression morphed into a slightly dreamy look. “Wow…” she breathed. Then she saw Maze watching her with a smirk on her face and flushed.

Amenadiel got back mere seconds later and furled his wings again. “Linda, may we use your desk?”

Linda nodded and tried to regain her composure. “Um, of course. What for?”

Amenadiel started moving Linda’s stationery and folders into the drawers, beckoning to Lucifer to come sit down. “Lucifer’s been shot.”

Lucifer started to carefully shrug off his jacket, wincing as he did so. Linda was quickly by his side, checking him over and helping him.

“What? Where? And for crying out loud, I keep telling you I’m not that kind of doctor!”

The Devil made an impatient sound. “Yes, I know, Linda, but I can hardly rock up at the nearest emergency room can I? Besides the fact I look like Wade Wilson’s demonic twin it’s my wings that need seeing to. And there’s no bloody way I’m going to a vet.”

Linda looked him over; he looked fine. The only blood she could see was on his upper arm, where it appeared he’d been slashed with a knife. Maybe it wasn’t that bad…?

Maze raised a hand. “I’ve got experience fishing bullets out of dumbasses. I’ll do it.”

Lucifer backed off a step, raising his hands. “Ah - much as I appreciate your expertise, Maze, after witnessing your demonic bedside manner on your reasonably attractive bounty Rivers I think I’d rather Linda and Amenadiel did it. I really don’t fancy you jamming your finger into me like you’re trying to get the last lolly out of the jar.”

Maze looked him up and down, a lascivious grin on her face. Scowling, Lucifer snapped, “Surprisingly, Maze, not in the mood !”

Linda and Amenadiel glanced at each other. Amenadiel said exasperatedly to Maze, “Really? Now?

She threw him a dismissive look. “So boring.”

In a voice that brooked no argument Linda cut in, “I’m sure we can all help. Let’s get started before you heal up with the bullet still in there.”

Amenadiel cleared his throat. “Actually, Linda, there’s a lot more than one…”

Linda quickly gave everyone orders and they reorganised the paltry remnants of the first aid supplies and filled Linda’s small office trash can with warm soapy water. Soon Lucifer was seated at the cleared desk nursing the bottle of whisky from Linda’s top drawer and with his head pillowed on his arms. He visibly braced himself and grunted in agony as first one mangled, bloodied wing emerged from his back, then the other, and shakily fanned out both sides of him to lie across the desk. Linda gasped oh my God and the angel and demon’s faces darkened with anger.

Maze growled, “Cain’s men did this? They’re dead .”

Lucifer bit back a groan with his head on the desk and replied tightly, “All in good time, Maze. Just this once, though, I’m happy to put business before pleasure.”

As it turned out, Lucifer’s invulnerability meant only Maze and Amenadiel could get the bullets out, so they took a wing each while Linda cleaned the wounds of a celestial friend for the second time that day.

Lucifer told them what had happened at the loft. Maze took the news that Chloe knew Lucifer’s real identity, and most probably hers too, surprisingly well. She looked resigned, focused on the job at hand, methodically working across the limb with her blade and dropping each extracted slug into one of Linda’s decorative glass vases. Away from Chloe the bullet wounds had stopped bleeding and were starting to heal, so luckily dressings weren’t needed. The gash on his arm would take longer, however, as it had been inflicted with a celestial weapon, so Linda tore his sleeve a bit so she could bandage it up. Lucifer tsked but made no further comment. Then he turned back to Maze.

“So since you pulled that stunt in San Bernardino and I’ve made you homeless and possibly jobless to boot, shall we call a truce for the time being? I could use your help hunting down the rest of Cain’s organisation. I’ve got a score to settle then I’m going back to Hell. You’re quite welcome to join me if you wish, but be warned you’ll be copping a rather drastic demotion...”

Linda cut in, “You’re leaving? Why? What about Chloe? And Lux? Your lives here?”

Lucifer looked up at her, pain in his eyes. “My life here doesn’t matter anymore, Linda. It’s over. The Detective knows ,” he said heavily.

Linda nodded. “You mentioned that.” A moment later she added, “So?”

So , Doctor, I hurt her, again, and I don’t wish to hurt her any more. Plus there is the minor inconvenience that I am no longer able to shift into my human form. So I can hardly stay on Earth, can I?” He put his scarred chin in his red right hand, threw back a hefty swig from the bottle and muttered, “Even L.A. couldn’t handle something this weird.”

Amenadiel levered another bullet out and dropped it into the vase. Plink.

Linda dabbed carefully at the wound and said with infinite patience, “As per Amenadiel’s theory about his wings and your face, I’m sure that whatever you’re feeling now that’s making your Devil face dominant will pass. And as for Chloe, give her time! It took me over a week to get my head around all this, remember? She’ll be fine.”

Lucifer wearily shook his head and let it drop onto his folded arms with a frustrated growl. “I don't know why you keep trying to tell me ‘everything’s okay’ when it very clearly isn't, Linda. Nothing will ever alter the fact that I can’t escape who I am, who I’ve always been. It’s clear to me now, finally; the Devil is fit only for Hell.”

------------------------

The operation continued, the conversation punctuated with the occasional sharp intake of breath or grumble from the patient and murmurs of reassurance from Linda. The water in the container turned red and was replaced. And replaced again.

“You know,” Maze said thoughtfully, holding up her latest find, “These are nine millimeters. A wing, even a vulnerable, angel one, shouldn’t be solid enough to stop a nine millimeter, no matter the weapon it was shot from.” She dropped the bullet into the vase with the rest of their bloodied collection. She continued, “Fired from an auto each one could’ve punched through drywall, so they should’ve all gone straight through; feather, muscle, bone, whatever. You and Decker should both be dead.”

“Don’t sound so bloody disappointed,” Lucifer mumbled tetchily into the desk.

Maze shrugged and set to work finding the next one. “Just saying. There’s hardly any penetration. I thought you’d wanna know.” Lucifer’s eyes narrowed suspiciously and he twisted his head around to study the demon, who sure enough had a tiny smirk on her face. Lucifer rolled his eyes and ignored her.

Linda hummed thoughtfully as she gently sponged the wound and surrounding feathers then rinsed and squeezed out the bloodied cloths. “Since Amenadiel’s theory seems to have been proven right on two counts now…”

Lucifer snorted. Linda ignored him.

“... Maybe... you control your vulnerability too?” They all looked at her questioningly.

She continued, “I mean, you were expecting to get hurt because you knew you were vulnerable around Chloe, but you were also determined to keep her safe. Maybe willing your wings to protect her made them invulnerable enough to do it? Like Amenadiel wanting to help get me to the ER in time made his powers work again.”

Blank stares. Linda mentally facepalmed. For ancient celestial beings they could be a little thick sometimes.

So , it follows that maybe you needn’t be vulnerable at all around Chloe any more! Physically, I mean, obviously, because maintaining the emotional intimacy in your relationship would be a good thing...”

All three of them looked doubtfully at her. Linda gave them a look and countered, “Hey. It’s no more bananas than any of the theories I’ve heard you guys come up with.”

Lucifer regarded her with a thoughtful expression, then hummed noncommittally and put his head back down. He muttered, “You have a point there.”

Amenadiel nodded appreciatively. “That’s a very interesting idea, Doctor.”

“Thank you, Doctor ,” Linda teasingly replied.

Maze rolled her eyes. “Get a room.”

They both did a double take, and Maze said carelessly, “What.”

Lucifer was oblivious to their little exchange, having suddenly remembered he had reason to be pissed at Amenadiel. “Oh, by the way, thanks for the heads up, Brother,” he said sarcastically. “You could have dropped by to let us know that Cain had killed Charlotte.”

Linda gasped. “Charlotte is dead?” She paled. “Oh no - did she…?”

“She’s alright, Linda,” Amenadiel said gently. “She redeemed herself, at the end. She saved my life.” Linda fell silent, her eyes brimming with sudden tears.

Then to Lucifer, Amenadiel went on, “I took her home. I would have told you what happened, but I promised I would stay with her.”

Lucifer hummed noncommittally, then craned his neck to look up at his big brother. “How is dear Charlotte doing, anyway? What does she think of the Silver C-” He hissed as Maze pulled out a broken feather. “Bloody HELL, Mazikeen!”

“Sorry,” she answered, and promptly yanked out another one. Lucifer’s wing jerked away from her, nearly clobbering Linda over the head.

“OW! Easy! Kindly stop plucking me like some sort of infernal chicken! Just worry about the sodding bullets for the time being would you Maze? Otherwise there’ll be nothing bloody left of me.”

Maze made an alright fine , face and started probing his wing again. Lucifer took a deep breath and settled back down on the desk.

Amenadiel grimaced in sympathy for Lucifer and answered, “She’s very much relieved to not be in Hell of course, but misses Daniel and her children and regrets not being able to say goodbye.”

Lucifer nodded. “As do I. And we all miss her, Daniel especially. Oh by the way, would you let her know that he found her files on Pierce? They came in very handy for getting the Detective to finally believe me about him, so thank her for me would you?” A fond smile lightened his ravaged features.

“When Daniel found out he was rather fired up to take Pierce on all by himself. He quite impressed me there.” A moment later the smile fell from his face. “I might even miss the old Douche.” He sighed heavily and took another swig from the bottle.

Linda cleared her throat and replied patiently, “There’s no reason for you to leave, Lucifer. Just give Chloe time. Your true identity is a lot for a human to deal with, especially us agnostics…”

Lucifer scoffed and gestured at his ruined face. “Time to deal with this ? There’s no way I can stay on Earth looking like this, Linda. And besides… I’ve caused the Detective enough pain. She’ll be better off without me.” He nodded almost imperceptibly, like he was trying to convince himself, then looked around for a something else to talk about. He again noted Maze’s battered appearance.

“So, Maze, what happened to you? Meet the Hellblazer in a dark alley again?”

Chapter Text

Chloe Decker had always been exceptionally good at compartmentalising. It’s what helped make her so well-suited to the stresses of law enforcement.

But her totally ordinary, sensible world had just been turned on its head so she was entitled to lose it a bit.

So she did. The ambos gave her oxygen, a blanket and a mild sedative, and after a spell of quietly freaking out (she had no idea how long), battling her sense of disbelief with the truth of what she knew she’d seen, and playing back what had happened after Lucifer had turned around and nuked everything she thought she knew about the world, she started to feel more like herself again. Even though she recognised the only thing that had actually changed with this little revelation was her . Nothing else had changed, only her perception of it.

During her journey to this realisation, she came up with a very effective antidote to paranormal wig-outs. Whenever panic threatened at the fact that Lucifer was the actual Devil in charge of actual Hell that existed... somewhere, she just pictured him doing his everyday, mundane schtick at work. Bitching about the station’s crappy coffee then spiking it. Keeping her entertained on stakeouts. Making himself scarce whenever she mentioned the word ‘paperwork’. In fits of giggles making micropenis jokes. Who knows? Maybe he did that stuff in Hell too.

It helped, too, remembering the look on his face when he’d realised she’d seen him. He’d been scared. He. Had been scared. Of her. Well, probably not her so much, but of her reaction. He’d been the one to run, after all. And it was clear that what he’d shown her he hadn’t meant to. He hadn’t even been aware he was doing it, at first. But how could that be?

She went through their texts, all the silly, boring, totally - well sort of - normal conversations that they had on a daily basis, finding earth-shattering new meanings in many of the dumb things Lucifer said, and browsing the amusing duckface selfies Lucifer took whenever he stole her phone.

Still shaking her head in disbelief, she found her new knowledge was a whole lot easier to deal with when she kept in mind what a massive dork he was most of the time. And remembered how cluelessly sweet, thoughtlessly generous, and hopelessly childish he could be. The other side of him, the darker, more violent aspects of his mercurial personality made a lot more sense now too, of course. He really was a paradox, and only now was she beginning to understand why.

With a little professional distance she was also able to think things through more clearly, and come up with something that would make some kind of sense to everyone else. It looked like her old acting skills were going to get a dusting off as well.

What she knew that could go into a report: the Sinnerman and his men had set a trap for them. She’d been shot in the chest and knocked unconscious. She’d woken up safely away from the scene. She’d heard gunshots and run back. The place was wrecked and the shooters had been taken out. She didn’t know where Lucifer was.

What she knew that would never go in any report; her partner Lucifer Morningstar really was the Devil, he had killed the Sinnerman - who was in fact the Force’s golden boy Lieutenant Marcus Pierce - and both of them had vanished into thin air right before her eyes.

At least having been unconscious gave her an excuse for not having an explanation for the scene inside the loft. She was sure as hell (which was a sure thing now that she thought about it) going to have to come up with something , though. She highly doubted there were cameras anywhere inside the building; Pierce - or rather, she amended with a shudder, Cain - wouldn’t have used it for an ambush otherwise.

There was a sudden commotion as Ella arrived and promptly tried to climb into the back of the ambulance with her.

“Chloe! Oh my God! What happened!? The unis told me you got shot! Are you alright? Is she alright?” She promptly started bombarding the ambos and Chloe with nonstop questions and wouldn’t relent until they let her in. She threw her arms around Chloe and hugged her so tightly Chloe let out a squeak of pain from her bruised ribs.

“I’m fine, Ella, just a little woozy. I lost consciousness for a while there with the punch to the chest but I had a vest on.”

Ella gasped when she saw the hole in her shirt. “Oh, crap that was so close! Pierce did this?” She gently tugged back the top of Chloe’s vest and moaned when she saw the large red haloed bruise starting on her pale skin. Her expression turned fierce. “I should have clocked that culero when I had the chance!”

Chloe silently agreed with her, kicking herself that she’d pooched her shot at him. She took comfort in the fact that Lucifer had done what she’d been unable to, and stopped Pierce before he could hurt anybody else. She distractedly answered Ella’s questions while she pulled out her phone and tried to call Lucifer again, but again it went straight to voicemail so she hung up. Why wouldn’t he answer her?

Doing his usual thing and taking off when things get difficult, she thought with irritation.

Then felt a stab of guilt that she’d completely wigged out on him - he was probably freaking out.

Then the irritation came back again. HE’S freaking out?

With a twinge she remembered the expression on his face after he'd realised she’d seen him. He’d been just as stunned as she was. Why had he looked like that though? Was it his real face, and the one that she knew so well was some kind of illusion? She frowned, remembering the incident in Ella’s lab after Lucifer had been kidnapped. He’d tried to show her then, hadn’t he? But it hadn’t worked for some reason and she’d thought he was messing with her. And he hadn’t realised at first that he was showing it to her this time. But why? What did it mean?

And what about the holes in his shirt - bullet holes? But no blood. He used to say he was immortal, until the day he’d goaded her into shooting him, at least. She knew he could bleed. It was what had derailed her early suspicions about him and all the impossible things she’d seen him do, and made her file away his outlandish claims under ‘Luciferness’ so she could ignore them. But he’d been just as shocked as she was when it happened. Staring at the blood on his fingers like he’d never bled before… which meant he actually hadn’t . But again, why?

She massaged her temples, trying to wrap her head around it all. She had a thought that at this point anyone else would be checking themselves into a psych ward but she knew, at least, that she wasn’t crazy. This was real. Even if it was completely nuts.

She desperately wanted to go find Lucifer but she knew she had to stay, at least long enough to make sure they didn’t find anything that could hurt him. She was thankful he’d taken Pierce’s body with him; that made things far less complicated, but they could still be in a lot of trouble. Now that her initial shock had receded her protective instincts had kicked in, and she didn’t want this incident to blow their partnership. Not to mention his secret.

Much as he was always honest about who he was, she knew he didn’t want everyone actually believing him, especially considering his rep. It was no doubt the reason why he’d never proved himself to her all this time; he'd been worried she'd believe all the stories about him rather than trust what she'd learned for herself. She shook her head to dispel the feeling of unreality that these thoughts were causing; her Lucifer really was the Lucifer. And he was also very clearly not what everyone thought he was.

She finally understood why it pissed him off so much that ‘the Devil’ was used as a scapegoat for all the bad shit that happened in the world. He was one of the most decent and honourable men she’d ever met. If someone unfairly blamed her for things completely beyond her control she’d take it personally too. Anyone would. Then she snorted a half hysterical laugh, imagining Lucifer’s disapproval at yet again being associated with goats. After all, he’d told her he didn’t even like their cheese.

Ella threw her a questioning look but she shook her head dismissively . You really don’t wanna know, chica.

She thanked the medics but flatly refused to go with them to the hospital, instead following Ella back into the loft to try to figure out what happened there. When she stepped back inside the atrium she looked around in surprise at the full extent of the destruction. The blown-in windows she’d already seen, but she had overlooked other details in her relief and then shock at seeing Lucifer. Shell casings littered the floor and bullet holes peppered the antiques that were piled around the place. Broken glass, chunks of wood and dust covered a good deal of the room. There was one body still on the floor but the other two were gone. As Chloe looked around she saw the usual crime scene techs as well as officers from multiple divisions and even a pair of Feds skulking in the corner.

Ella sniffed the air. “What is that? Not propellant. Smells like… burnt hair? Gross.” She glanced over at Chloe. “Was there a fire? Nothing’s burned that I can see.” Chloe shrugged. She still had no idea what it was either. Maybe some kinda… Hell smell? It could be a thing...

Ella shrugged back, got out her camera and started walking the scene.

Dan arrived a short time later, making a beeline for her and hugging her tight. He swore when he spotted the bullet hole in her shirt. “Jesus, Chlo,” he whispered softly, like a prayer, “Thank God you’re okay.”

Chloe mentally corrected him no, thank Lucifer, then squeezed him back, barely refraining from bursting into tears again at the thought of nearly having left him and Trixie behind.

Dan pulled back, his own eyes moist. Then he stopped and frowned slightly. “What is it?”

Chloe raised her eyebrows. “What is what?”

Dan was giving her a penetrating look. “I dunno. It’s just… something’s up.”

That’s the understatement of the century, Chloe thought. Trust Dan to notice something was bothering her. Her ex and a detective to boot; she’d have to be careful with what she said around him. She covered her disconcertion with a dismissive head shake. “It’s nothing. I’m fine. Just a bit shaken up, that’s all.”

Thankfully Dan accepted her answer without further question. He squeezed her shoulder a little awkwardly then looked around the room. “Where’s Lucifer?”

He killed Pierce, who really is the Biblical Cain and who’s probably walked it off by now because he is in fact immortal, and then they both disappeared into thin air right in front of me. Because Lucifer really is the Devil, don’t you know.

“I wish I knew,” Chloe said truthfully. “I blacked out when I got shot, then came to in a building down the street. Got back to find the place shot up and both Lucifer and Pierce gone. I’ve tried calling him but it keeps going to voicemail. Maybe he went after Pierce.”

Dan shook his head. “Lucifer would be nuts to go after a powerful mob boss all by himself.” Then in a flare of sudden anger, he hissed, “Which is probably exactly what he’s doing. Crazy asshole! I swear, Chloe, if he screws up our investigation and lets that bastard get away-” Chloe placed a reassuring hand on his arm.

“He won’t.” ...She’d nearly slipped and said ‘didn’t’. She glanced at the unfamiliar cops around them. Any of these guys could be working for Pierce.

“Why are the Feds here?”

Dan muttered, “I told them about the Sinnerman operation moving from Chicago to L.A. and how they set us up. Apparently most of this antique crap is blackmailed and stolen goods, and there’s military grade weapons too, tech, all worth big money. I didn’t give them Pierce - he has way too much clout downtown for us to accuse him of anything yet - but I told them we strongly suspect the organisation has infiltrated the department. We’ll need a lot more evidence than a few suss photos, but the DA will be by later. The fact that his office was already investigating the Sinnerman in LA has already been a big help.” He swallowed. “Thanks to Charlotte.”

Chloe squeezed his arm in sympathy and nodded. “What about Barrow? Who’s watching him at Lucifer’s place?”

“I dropped him at the Station.” Before Chloe could object he added, “Don’t worry, the watch commander is someone I trust; he found a safe place for him away from the rest of the holding cells. He’s stalling his lawyer so we’ve got some time.”

Ella walked up to them. “You guys ready for this?” They nodded.

“Okay. Based on my preliminary walk-through and details from first on scene it got pretty cray-cray in here. First off; bodies.” She pointed at the corpse facedown on the floor. “One dead from multiple gunshots.” She pointed to markings on the floor next to one of the columns. “Another guy was found there with a spinal injury; he’s at St. Claire’s under guard.” She pointed down a darkened corridor. “Another one with a head injury down there. Also in hospital.” Then she added in an undertone, with an eye to the cops around them, “Pierce is missing. Nobody’s seen him yet today.”

I bet they haven’t, Chloe thought. “Pierce had four guys with him. That means there’s another one unaccounted for.”

Ella nodded. “Okay. We can check streetcam footage, he probably booked it outta here. There was a helluva firefight, maybe a rival gang showed up or something? Rappelled in through the window? Distracted Pierce’s guys long enough for Lucifer to get you out?”

A frisson of dread crawled up Chloe’s spine. “Firefight?”

The forensic tech nodded enthusiastically. “Hell yeah! The counterterrorism guys are here too, and Criminal Gangs. Weapons were mostly automatics; pretty insane firepower for such close quarters. Overkill, really." She pointed around the room. "We got a Heckler down here, a USP over there, an Intratec TEC-9 over there, a SIG-Sauer, and a Beretta. And that’s just here; they found heaps more stashed all over this place, enough for a small army. It’s going to take all freakin’ day to bag and tag everything. And probably half the night. We’ve called for more help.”

Chloe looked at the Beretta on the floor and smiled grimly. She said in an undertone to Dan and Ella, “That’s the gun Pierce held on us. He wasn’t wearing gloves.”

None of them reacted, but this was great news. It would tie Pierce to the scene. It was a start.

Chloe prompted, “So… a firefight?”

Ella nodded. “Yeah! From the locations of shell casings we’re looking at at least three shooters on the balcony upstairs all blasting away at a single target on the floor…” she walked over to a spot surrounded by crime scene markers and stood in it, “...here. Judging by the halo of bullet holes in the surrounding tiles it was a really big target, and absorbed most of the gunfire.”

“What were they shooting at?” Chloe surprised herself with how normal her voice sounded.

“Dunno. Whatever it was, it be dead. There’s gotta be a couple hundred shell casings in here.” Ella tapped her teeth thoughtfully. “The rival gang theory sounds most likely. But where are the bodies? And the blood? And why wouldn’t they have at least tried to return fire?” Her sharp eyes suddenly spotted something partially tucked under the corner of a large antique rug.

“What the-?” It was a single small white feather. She might have ignored it if not for the spatter of still-tacky blood on it. She grabbed her camera.

“What the hell is this?”

She took several photos in situ then grabbed her kit and carefully swabbed the blood.

“Random.”

“What is it, Ella?”

“Bloody feather.”

“Huh?”

“Yeah, I know. Like, what is this, was there a literal ‘sitting duck’ down here?” She giggled at her own joke, then sobered and muttered thoughtfully, “Possibly someone got shot wearing a down parka? Or used a pillow as an old school silencer?” She shook her head dismissively and rambled on, thinking aloud. “Nah. Considering the number of witnesses who called 911 about Rambo shooting up the place I don’t think these guys gave a damn about making noise...” She saw the look on Chloe’s face and shrugged.

“This is just a really weird scene. Like bonkers . Those windows up there look like a truck rammed through them, but we’re on the second floor. I’d suspect a wrecking ball except for the fact that a giant crane couldn’t have just up and disappeared before we got here, and while both finials either side of the staircase got taken out the bannisters and the stairs themselves are untouched. Also, there’s way too many casings for these guys to have been shooting at just one person… or… mutant swan, or giant chicken, or albino condor, or whatever the hell it was, right?” she snorted. “But the gunfire was almost entirely concentrated in this one spot. They’d have Swiss cheesed the thing and there should be blood and guts everywhere, but… nada . They coulda been shooting at an enormous feather pillow for all I can figure out!” Ella blew out a frustrated breath. Instead of clearing things up all this scene was doing was raising even more questions.

She suddenly noticed that Chloe was looking a little peaky and mentally kicked herself; Chloe didn’t need to hear this after what she’d just been through. She gave her a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry, I’ll figure it out! These guys aren’t going to get away with it, trust me on that, okay? We’ve still got streetcam footage to look through, the guys in hospital to interrogate, I’ll get the blacklight out later and see if I can find anything, we’ll find you some leads, I promise.” She patted Chloe on the arm then moved away to continue her search with renewed vigour.

Chloe felt faint. She was pretty damn sure she knew what it was that the gunmen had been shooting at; that area was exactly where she and Lucifer had been standing when she’d tried to take down Pierce.

She now knew what had happened after she’d been shot, even though… even though she knew it should be impossible.

All of the shooters had opened fire on them. Lucifer had shielded them both, then whisked them safely away to a rooftop blocks from here. Then he had disappeared into thin air, come back here through those windows and taken on five armed men all by himself.

Chloe remembered in her headlong dash from the rooftop seeing several feathers in the mesh that bordered the helipad. She’d not paid much attention at the time, being in such a hurry to get back to Lucifer, but she knew they’d been pure white, with blood on them, just like the one Ella had found. Much larger though; far too big to be from some pigeon that got hit by a helicopter.

Just last week Lucifer had been paranoid that he was ‘the angel of San Bernardino’. And had complained that his wings were back and his father was using them to control him.

The feathers… the feathers were Lucifer’s .

Holy crap.

Very holy crap.

Her stomach did a slow, sickening roll. The mind-numbing realisation that her partner did indeed have wings and really was actually an angel was tempered by the knowledge that he must be severely injured. Every feather she'd seen had been spattered with blood; Lucifer’s blood. He must have taken literally dozens of bullets for her. Never mind how did an angel bleed; how the Hell had he still been standing?

“I uh... might get out of here, okay Dan? I’m not feeling so great.”

Dan was surprised; normally Chloe would keep working until she was literally out on her feet. She must be really shook up.

“Sure, Chlo. Don’t worry, we’ve got this. You need me to drive you?”

“No!” She said quickly. A little too quickly. She smiled weakly and shook her head. “No, I’m okay. I’ll call you guys later.” She turned and left, pulling out her phone as she went.

She had to find Lucifer. She had no idea what she was going to do once she found him, but… she just had to make sure he was okay.

----------------

She’d been to Lux and the penthouse, he wasn’t there. None of his staff knew where he was. She tried tracking his phone but the GPS couldn’t find it. She tried calling Amenadiel, Maze and Linda, but as with Lucifer she only managed to reach their voicemail.

Then another realisation hit her. What if Maze was actually a demon like they’d also claimed? And if Amenadiel really was Lucifer’s brother that meant he was an angel too... This on top of the fact that her partner was the Devil and her boss was an immortal from the Bible. What the Hell did that make Linda, then? And Dan, and Ella? Did everyone in her life suddenly have a huge supernatural secret? And she hadn’t suspected any of it. She was starting to feel like the World’s Worst Detective and it was weirding her out and pissing her off in equal measure.

She decided to try tracking Maze’s phone; she’d once said she'd followed him through the gates of Hell, after all. Thankfully it worked, and she wasn’t at all surprised when it led her to the doorstep of a certain therapist in Beverly Hills. She would have come here next anyway.

Walking through the waiting area to Linda’s office door Chloe heard a muffled grunt come from the room beyond, followed by an annoyed exclamation by a familiar female voice.

“Don’t be such a baby!”

Bingo. Chloe banged on the door.

“Linda! It’s Chloe! Open up, I need to talk to you!”

Silence fell on the other side of the door, followed by urgent whispering. Then Linda’s voice replied, “Ahh, Detective Decker? It’s really not a good time. I’m with a patient right now…”

Chloe cut in, “Don’t give me that crap! I know Maze is in there! I’ve tracked her phone.”

There was another silence, then Linda’s suspiciously chirpy voice came back again. “Oh! Right! Uh, she must have left it here. She’s not here though. Could you please leave a message on my service and I’ll get back to you as soon as-”

“Open the damn door, Linda!”

“Chloe, it’s really not a good - ”

The four people inside the office heard a loud thump as something hit the door. Hard. It shuddered in its frame. There was another thump. The Detective was trying to kick her way in.

“Chloe, what the hell are you doing? Just wait a-”

A moment later there was a loud crunch and the door flew open, splinters flying from the broken locks, and the Detective stood in the doorway, panting slightly. They all gaped at her. She stared back at them.

Linda was standing with a bloody cloth in each hand. Maze looked like a leather-and-chains-clad barbarian from a gladiator movie, bruised and disheveled with a bloodied bandage around her arm. Amenadiel was wearing a dress. And the fearsome, flayed figure of the Devil himself was sitting at Linda’s desk, enormous, ragged white wings spattered dark red with dried blood fanning out from his shoulders. Their span was so huge the tips of the longest feathers brushed the walls on either side of the office. Eyes that glowed like hot coals met her incredulous gaze. Then the wings flinched and folded up behind him and Chloe’s eyes nearly fell out of her head.

They’re really real. Holy… uh...

Chloe sagged against the door frame, feeling very lightheaded all of a sudden.

Linda’s calm voice broke the stunned silence. “Alright then Chloe, come on in. And would you mind closing the door behind you?”

 

Chapter Text

Chloe stayed frozen in the doorway. She hadn’t been expecting to find Lucifer here as well, and while she’d been preparing herself to see that unsettling face again, nothing could have prepared her for the sight of those wings. No statue, stained glass window or painting could ever come close.

Linda dropped the cloths and hurried over to guide Chloe into the room, gently steering her over to sit on the couch. Then she hastily wrestled the door shut.

“Hey, Decker. Welcome to the party.” Maze reached over to insistently tug Lucifer’s wing back down onto the desk and went back to work on it with an air of forced casualness.

WING, Chloe thought. He really does... wow. Just look at those things. The counterfeit ones at the antiquities auction just couldn't compare to the real thing, seeing them on his back, enormous and powerful, as much a part of Lucifer as an arm or leg. She could see them move slightly with every breath he took.

Chloe watched, transfixed, as Maze expertly extracted a small object from the wing then dropped it into a vase on Linda’s desk with a loud plink . It looked like a bullet. A loud buzzing started in her ears.

Her gaze flicked to the owner of the wings. Aside from said feathery limbs, Lucifer hadn’t moved a muscle, and was silently watching her with those flickering red-gold eyes. She couldn’t read his expression; all the usual tells were absent with his face looking like that. But why didn’t he say something? Was he mad at her?

“Chloe?” Linda was speaking to her. She slowly dragged her gaze from Lucifer’s unearthly glowing irises to Linda’s warm brown ones.

The therapist smiled and squeezed her hand, acting like everything was normal. It was a little confusing yet at the same time oddly reassuring. Apparently Linda already knew who Lucifer was, and she seemed to be totally fine with it. Well, she is his therapist. Welcome to LA, where even Satan himself is in therapy...

“Would you like a drink? A glass of water?”

Chloe nodded. Her mouth was as dry as a cotton ball.

Lucifer stayed deathly still, not wanting to scare the Detective any more than she must already be, but his stillness belied the knot of nerves that twisted in his gut. He should have realised she was near when his pain levels hit the roof again, but that had all been forgotten when the door flew open and the Detective stood framed there, that steely look in her eyes. His heart had leapt with hope, but now she’d gone quiet again and he was worried. Why did she come here? Why isn’t she running? Have I broken her?

Linda poured Chloe a glass of water from the jug on the cabinet and handed it to her, then sat beside her, a comforting presence. Chloe took a long drink, then looked again at the bloodied and battered... fallen angel sitting at Linda’s desk.

She whispered, “Lucifer? Is that really you?”

“Yes, Detective,” Lucifer answered cautiously.

“And are those… all bullet wounds?”

Amenadiel's deep, soothing voice answered for him. “They are.” He retrieved another one, and dropped it with the others into the vase.

Plink.

They had quite a collection going. Chloe gulped, remembering how many shell casings she’d seen on the floor of the atrium.

“You took all those bullets for me...” How did he survive getting shot so many times? Chloe’s stomach clenched at the sight of her partner, so many feathers of those gorgeous wings broken, split or missing. The blood all over them. His face and body looking burned and the hunch of his shoulders hinting at the pain he was in...

“Does it hurt?”

Lucifer made a soft chuffing sound. “As you well know, Detective, getting shot doesn’t bloody tickle.”

Chloe gave a slight shake of her head. “No, I know that does, I mean…” Chloe lifted a distracted hand to her face, then gestured at his. “The…”

Lucifer’s mouth fell open in a little ‘O’ of surprise. That was the last thing he’d thought would be on her mind. He shook his head. “No. It doesn’t hurt. It’s actually not what it looks like.”

There was an awkward silence for a few moments, Linda studying Chloe carefully. Then she smoothly turned and spoke to Maze and Amenadiel. “How about we take a break and give these two a minute?” She stood up and gestured towards the door. Amenadiel and Maze moved as one, Maze looking rather relieved to have an excuse to leave. Amenadiel wrenched the door open and the two of them left without a word. When Linda moved to follow them Lucifer objected, “No, Doctor, stay! I hardly think the Detective would want to be left alone with me...”

Linda stopped in the doorway to turn and look at her. “You’ll be alright, won’t you Chloe?”

Chloe nodded, a little distracted but composed. She was trying her hardest not to focus too much attention on the wings - she’d process those another time. She already had more than enough to deal with at the moment. “Yeah? Yeah. I’m good.”

Linda smiled approvingly. “Great. We’ll be just down the hall.”

Then she turned back to her patient and said gently, “We aren’t finished with you yet, Lucifer. Don’t put them away, okay?” She gave him a reassuring smile, then cut her eyes meaningfully at Chloe and raised her eyebrows. The message was clear. Talk to her.

Lucifer nodded obediently, not bothering to mention that he had already tried and failed to sheathe his blasted wings. With the Detective here the pain had been excruciating so it seemed he had no choice but to keep them out. The last thing he wanted to do was to send the Detective away, but he also didn’t want to bleed all over the desk, so he tried to keep in mind Linda’s mind-over-matter theory and will his invulnerability to work. The way he felt right now, however, he doubted he’d ever feel invulnerable again. Exposed, hurt and helpless, he was laid bare before the Detective, and not in a good way. He was completely at her mercy.

Linda again wrestled with the door, cursing softly, and wedged it back into its frame.

The Devil and the Detective regarded each other, each momentarily lost for words.

Chloe knew the fearsome apparition before her was still Lucifer. The man who’d saved her again and again and become such an important part of her life, and who’d been so scared of losing her once she knew this side of him. He’d told her so himself the other night.

The longer she studied him the more she could see the man she knew so well. The proud aquiline nose, the upturned almond-shaped eyes, the strong jawline, the generous mouth. Those magnificent shoulders. His familiar voice.

“You really are the Devil. You actually exist. And you’re here. In LA.”

Lucifer nodded, once. “Of course.” The glowing eyes burned into hers but his voice, as always, was gentle. And ever so slightly reproachful. A glimpse, again, of her partner behind the inhuman mask.

“I’ve told you many times I’ve never lied to you, Detective.”

That’s right, he hadn’t. He’d told her the truth from the very beginning, and it was her who’d done the lying. She’d lied to herself, refusing to believe him and the evidence of her own eyes, instead berating him for using crazy metaphors. And now that she knew he hadn’t been doing anything of the sort she couldn’t really blame him for not pressing the issue.

She blurted, “I’m sorry I didn’t believe you. About any of it. And I’m sorry I’ve spent all this time accusing you of... metaphoring me with ‘Devil talk’. It must’ve been really frustrating.”

Lucifer stared at her for several moments, then an amused little comma appeared at the corner of his mouth. “You have no idea. But there’s no need to apologise, Detective. I wasn’t exactly determined to convince you. Not proving myself to you was… safer. For me, I mean, not you.”

“Wh… why do you look like that now? You said it doesn’t hurt, but...” she trailed off. How could it not?

Lucifer barked a short, bitter laugh and looked away. “No, it doesn’t hurt. But as to why, I told you - I’m a monster.” He glanced up at her and away again. “I’m not doing it on purpose. I can’t help it. I’m sorry you’re being subjected to it, this face is a punishment that you don’t deserve.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Well, believe it or not, Detective,” Lucifer began, then gave a snort of incredulous laughter, “It’s actually a metaphor.”

Chloe frowned. “What? But it’s real! I can see it!” And without even thinking about it she abruptly stood, took a few steps to the desk, and reached out to gently cup his face in her hand. Lucifer flinched slightly in surprise, staring up at her. Chloe lightly rubbed her thumb along his jaw and instead of the usual rough stubble, she felt only smooth, hardened flesh, harshly pockmarked with scars and unnaturally warm. How could this not be real?

“And I can feel it, too.”

Lucifer looked up at her with something akin to awe. There wasn’t a trace of fear on the Detective’s face, only curiosity. This woman seemed immune to him even in this form.

After a pause to gather his thoughts, he asked, “Do you remember what you said to me in the alleyway?”

Chloe pondered for a moment. “That you told me your truth?”

Lucifer nodded. “Yes. And that my metaphors were real for me. Well, turns out you were absolutely right.”

Chloe stared at him. “Hm? I don’t get it.”

“We’ve only just recently ‘got it’ ourselves. It seems one of the many, many things Dad neglected to tell his offspring is that for celestials, metaphors are our truth. So for example, when we feel unworthy, we lose our wings and fall. When we feel... intimacy with someone, we become literally, physically vulnerable. If we feel like a monster, we become one. Celestial beings determine their own reality, and punish themselves just as human souls create their own punishments in Hell.”

“Wow,” Chloe breathed. “That’s... wow.“ Simultaneously mind-blowing and horrifying, is what it was, getting a peek behind the curtain like this. “So God… uh, your dad ... didn’t do this to you? This is just how you see yourself? Oh, Lucifer…” She felt her heart break at the familiarity of it all; he always seemed so damn determined to believe the worst about himself. “This isn’t who you are.”

Lucifer looked away, his eyes ancient. “It’s truer now than it’s ever been. I’m a monster.”

“No you’re not. I told you. Not to me.”

Lucifer’s fiery gaze snapped back to hers and his wings flared slightly. “Are you blind? Look at me!”

“You. Are not . A monster, Lucifer.” Chloe said with every ounce of the conviction she felt. At which point, to her astonishment, as she looked at Lucifer she saw a flash of light skin and black hair. Then his mouth twisted and the Devil face reappeared, eyes flaming.

“But don’t you see what I’ve DONE? I killed a human! Taken a life in anger, for retribution, and I’d do it again!”

Chloe frowned in confusion. “You said Pierce was immortal… but he’s actually dead?”

Lucifer’s gaze fell to the desk. “Yes. To cut a long story short, it stuck this time.” He went on, more quietly, “I ended his life. I’m no better than he was. I belong in Hell.” As much as Lucifer was desperate to stay with the Detective, part of him wished the office floor would open up and deliver him straight to his old kingdom. Although if he were completely honest, even that might be preferable to enduring this torture. He felt like a gargoyle being dragged to confession.

Chloe knelt by the desk and grasped Lucifer’s hands. She countered adamantly, “No. That’s bullshit. I know what you did for me back there, okay? Pierce was determined to kill you and his men tried to kill us. I’m grateful that you made sure it was him and not me. Thank you for saving my life.”

She squeezed his hands. They were roughened and raw, the nails jagged and split; nothing like their usual manicured elegance.

Lucifer looked down at them, studiously avoiding meeting her eyes, and Chloe’s stomach fluttered at seeing the ridged, charred-looking flesh of his scalp, even though she knew it wasn’t really real. Her heart ached at the knowledge that it was Lucifer’s own self-loathing that was doing this to him, branding it into his body for all to see.

“Lucifer,” she said firmly, “People do things they would never normally do to protect the people they…” she paused, “… care about. He had to be stopped. I tried, but I missed. I tried to do exactly the same thing you did. And I’ve done it before - you haven’t forgotten Malcolm, have you?”

Lucifer shook his head stubbornly. “That was different. Malcolm was a murderous psychopath who was going to kill you and Beatrice.”

“And Pierce was the god damn Sinnerman ! He was going to kill you ! He murdered Charlotte and who knows how many others. Sometimes in this job you don’t have any choice but to take the bad guy down. It’s not something that ever leaves you, but as long as you did it for the right reasons you can learn to live with it.”

Lucifer abruptly shook his head, releasing her hands and banging on the desk in impotent frustration. “But that’s just it, Detective! I didn’t have to kill him! He was only human, albeit a very old and cunning one, and he never stood a chance against me. Even if he was armed with Hellforged steel.” Lucifer stood abruptly, though the movement pained him and his wings spasmed in response.

Racked by shame, he wanted nothing more than to get out, get away, slink back to Hell where he belonged. But he was physically incapable of going anywhere. He couldn’t even pace the room because he took up too much space with his wings out. He could barely even think with the unceasing agony from his back.

He fixed his fiery glare on the stubborn Detective, who had also gotten to her feet and was looking steadily right back at him. He was beyond saving, but Chloe was always so determined to believe the best of people; even cold-blooded murderers like himself and Cain, and was too pure of heart to see the ugly truth. She was better off far, far away from him.

“I chose to end his life. And I enjoyed doing it. Relished it, even. I let my anger rule me - I could only think of how he had come so close to killing you, that he wouldn’t stop coming after me and didn’t care if you died as well. You didn’t see the look in his eyes when he ordered his men to finish us…”

His eyes blazed even brighter then, like the strike and flare of matches, and his wings shuddered reflexively. Chloe shivered, thinking again of how close they’d both come to being victims of the Sinnerman, and what Lucifer had gone through to save them. Then felt a surge of fury toward Pierce, the man who’d seduced her and supposedly loved her, yet still ordered her death. She wasn’t at all sorry he was dead; even though they still had to bring down the rest of his network at least she knew he wouldn’t be coming after Lucifer any more.

If she was sorry about anything, it was that she hadn’t been the one to take Pierce out herself. It was her job, not Lucifer’s, and she had the training to deal with it. Lucifer didn’t.

When Chloe said nothing, merely looked impassively back at him for several moments, Lucifer thought dejectedly that perhaps she was finally listening. But then she shook her head and walked around the desk towards him. Being very careful not to touch his wings, she stopped right in front of him and gazed unflinchingly up into his hellish visage.

Then, to his astonishment, she slid her arms around him and rested her head on his chest. Lucifer held himself stiffly, at a bit of a loss as to what to do, but despite himself he couldn’t suppress the rush of happiness at having her close to him again. This incredible woman...

“It’s easy to second guess yourself,” Chloe murmured into the tatters of his shirt. “After something like this has happened, think of how you might have done things differently.” She released him from the hug, but took both his hands in hers and rubbed her thumbs soothingly over the red, roughened flesh. He gazed silently down into her earnest face.

“And taking a life stays with you, as it should. And you’ll have to learn to deal with it. I’ll help you. But remember, in the end you did what had to be done to protect life. It doesn’t make you a monster. It makes you human. Or - ” she corrected with a smile, “ - I guess - not all that different from one.”

To Chloe’s amazement Lucifer’s features blurred and changed again to the golden skin and dark curls that she knew so well. Then stayed that way. He was actually listening to her. But his eyes still glowed like embers. She decided that was in some ways even more unnerving than seeing the whole thing.

“How can you still believe in me, after this? And this?” he added, indicating himself with an angry jerk of his chin.

“I know you’re not a monster, Lucifer. I know it. I know you . You’re not perfect, but nobody is. All that crap that people say about the Devil being evil - it’s just not true. You’ve told me, and proven it to me loads of times.”

“I wish it was that simple, Detective. I’d always thought Father gave me this face as a punishment. And I’ve always enjoyed using it on sinners as such. But we define ourselves. Human, angel... come to think of it, possibly... even demon...” he added to himself thoughtfully.

Chloe squinted slightly. “Meaning...?”

“It means , as I told you, that I gave myself this face. I believed myself a monster, and a monster I became. Evil made incarnate, quite literally, and definitely not in any kind of state to live among humans any more.”

Chloe said slowly, “But it’s gone away before, right?” Lucifer frowned, confused, and Chloe added, “Didn’t it - I think you tried to show me in Ella’s lab months ago. But it didn’t work.”

“No! I mean, yes, I really was trying to prove myself to you, but I was unable to summon this face. Just as I’m unable to summon my human form now.”

Chloe smiled and said, “Well about that...” She lifted their joined hands so he could see. His eyebrows shot up and he looked down at himself, releasing her hands to run his fingers through his hair. Then he closed his eyes and heaved a shuddering sigh, the movement echoing in his wings.

“See?” Chloe said softly. “Told ya. No monsters here.” Lucifer’s eyes opened again, their usual dark brown, and Chloe grinned happily at his dumbfounded expression. She had her partner back and it was quite satisfying to be the one to surprise him for a change. Then it nearly took her breath away when his expression changed to one of absolute delight and the most radiant smile she’d ever seen lit up his face.

Lucifer saw the Detective grinning at him and couldn’t even begin to identify all the emotions he was feeling. Joy and relief were the most potent; the Detective finally knew the truth of him, and she was still here! She’d accepted him, believed in him when even he hadn’t. He felt something lift him up inside, something that made him feel stronger than he'd ever felt before. He felt like he could do anything, take on the hordes of Hell, fly even without his wings, like he was invincible ! And at that realisation, to his amazement, the torment from his wings once again receded to a dull ache as they went back to healing themselves.

Bloody Hell, Linda was right again! I have most definitely not been paying her enough.

He was so deliriously happy he felt a sudden burning desire to sweep the Detective off her feet and kiss her with everything he had. But he didn’t. Because he also felt suddenly, inexplicably… unsure of himself. Awkward.

He didn’t understand it; this woman had seen him in all his naked splendour multiple times, knew his failings and his flaws, had seen him at his absolute worst and compared to almost anyone else, barely batted an eyelid. When they’d kissed last night the Detective had been all for it, but he was sure that things must be different now. Despite her proclamations, her romantic feelings for him would undoubtedly have changed since discovering the truth.

Perhaps it’s best I don’t rock the boat, he reasoned. Being friends with the Devil seems to be acceptable, but snogging the Devil is undoubtedly out of the question. That he got to keep her as a friend was more than he deserved, and he’d take it, even though the thought of what he'd lost was almost more than he could bear.

“Thank you, Detective,” he said, his voice a little rough. “And don’t take this the wrong way, but... why aren’t you at work? What are you doing here?”

Chloe punched him in his good arm. “Looking for you! I was worried about you, you big dumb jerk. Why didn’t you answer my calls?”

“Were you trying to call me?”

“Of course I was! I figured out what happened at the loft and I thought you were dying!” Now that she knew he was okay and she didn’t have anything else to focus on, reaction was starting to set in again, and worry was being replaced by anger. She knew it wasn’t entirely his fault but she couldn’t help it.

Lucifer grinned, blissfully unaware of her change of mood. “Takes more than bullets to kill me, Detective. Permanently, anyway.” The self-satisfied smirk fell from his face a moment later when she suddenly rounded on him, looking like she wanted to knock his block off.

“AND I have a bone to pick with you! What the hell was your deal, leaving me to face all that alone? You asked me not to run away and then you went and did it! Don’t ever do that to me again.”

Lucifer took a half step back, his wings hunching inwards defensively. “Uh… I left you behind because I upset you and made you cry, Detective. I didn’t think you’d want to come with with us - I didn’t want to scare you anymore!”

Chloe countered, “I wasn’t crying because I was scared, Lucifer. It was all just… a lot to take in!”

Lucifer threw his hands in the air. “Well, I know that now ! But honestly, human tears are utterly baffling. You cry out of sadness, happiness, frustration, fright, anger, even just from laughing too hard. How was I supposed to know what they were for? You didn’t say anything!”

He didn’t know what else to say; between his unaccustomed incertitude and the Detective’s sudden unpredictable mood swings he was feeling rather flustered. To cover his discomfiture, he put his hands together and called Amenadiel to get his feathered arse back pronto. He needed backup.

Chloe frowned as Lucifer abruptly stopping talking and put his hands together, but when a few seconds later she heard laughter in the hall as the others headed back something else clicked into place. Praying. Angels. Amenadiel’s his brother. Actual brother, not adopted. Angel too!

“Oh! Right! It’s you guys talking to each other! In your heads! So you are some kinda Jedi!” Chloe felt like laughing. Did she really just say that? Then her knees went a bit wobbly so she sat down on the desk. She was starting to feel like… she didn’t know how to feel anymore.

Lucifer grinned at her expression, relieved she seemed to have changed her mind about being pissed off at him. “Not exactly, we usually just text. Our celestial radio has been a bit on the blink lately.” At Chloe’s confused look he added flippantly, “We’ve had a few hardware issues.”

A few seconds later their friends were shoving their way back through the wreckage of the door. They’d had their own reconciliation session down the hall and were considerably happier than when they’d left - even Maze looked less murderous than usual. Upon seeing Lucifer back in his angelic form, however, she seemed a little crestfallen.

Linda and Amenadiel shared a knowing smile, then Linda made her way to Chloe and wrapped her arms around her.

“Welcome to the celestial insider club! I am so proud of you, lady. You’re handling this so much better than I did.”

Chloe hugged her back, rather tightly, and said with false bravado, “A lot of that is thanks to you, but don’t speak too soon. I really haven't a clue how I’m feeling about it at the moment but at least I didn’t shoot him this time. That’s progress, right?”

Amenadiel’s deep booming laughter surprised everyone. Lucifer thought about punching him but threw a proudly affectionate grin at the Detective instead.

Chloe added a little awkwardly, “Um, I’m sorry I broke your door.”

Linda grinned. “I’m not. Don’t worry, I know a guy.”

Lucifer sat down and spread his wings across the desk again. “Be sure to have Gary send me the bill again, won’t you, Linda...”

Linda cheerfully agreed and Chloe felt another little surreal moment; the Devil and his therapist were casually discussing office repairs… how was Linda so okay with all of this?

Remembering her thoughts from earlier, she leaned in and asked, “Uh, Linda… so... are you an angel too?”

Linda burst out laughing. “What? Me? An angel? No!”

Lucifer cracked up as well. “Linda an angel? Hardly! Nothing could be further from the… ah...” He noticed his brother glaring daggers at him and diplomatically shut his mouth. He added hastily, “Um, that is to say, while she’s not my sibling Linda is a cracking example of humanity… absolutely top shelf…”

Linda, still giggling, patted Chloe’s cheek and said, “Bless your heart.”

Chloe then looked over at Maze, who, for the first time since she’d known her, looked uncertain and even a little bit nervous.

“But you - you're really …?”

“A demon, yeah. I was created to torture, but I don’t hurt innocents. I’d never hurt you or Trixie.” She frowned, thought for a second, then added wretchedly, “Not on purpose. I know I’ve been an asshole, I’ll make it up to her. And I won’t even make weed brownies or throw any more knives at the wall. The little human is safe with me - you know that, right?” Her expression was heartbreakingly hopeful.

Chloe nodded, reassuring herself as well as her roommate. “Yeah I do. Knowing the truth doesn’t change how I feel about you guys; all it does is explain a few things. Of course I’ll need time to deal with it all because when I stop to think about it it’s kinda…” her gaze was involuntarily drawn to Lucifer’s wings - still there, still impossible - and she blinked hard, feeling woozy again. “I think it’s just gonna take some time.” Focus on something else… she turned resolutely away to face the other angel in the room.

“Amenadiel, um…”

“Yes, I really am Lucifer’s brother. I am the Firstborn of the angels and Emissary of...”

“No... I know that, or some of it, anyway... actually what I was going to say was, why are you wearing a dress?”

This time is was Lucifer and Maze’s turn to howl with laughter. Even Amenadiel cracked an indulgent smile. “It’s a robe.”

“Oh, sorry.”

Linda threw Amenadiel a flirty look. “I kinda like it.”

Behind Linda and Amenadiel's backs Maze caught Chloe's eye and grinned, then pulled a sex face and made suggestive motions with her fingers. Chloe was surprised. Was that Maze's way of saying Linda and Amenadiel were a thing now? Hmm. That could certainly explain some of Maze's odd behaviour lately...

Lucifer rolled his eyes and cut in impatiently from his seated position at the desk, “All right, that’s enough. Has everyone forgotten we have a criminal operation to take down and two of my largest appendages are still half pumped full of lead?”

 

Chapter Text

The others went back to work on Lucifer and Chloe felt rather useless, although if she was completely honest with herself she was more than a little relieved she wasn’t needed for the operation; she needed a bit more time to deal with Lucifer’s wings, on top of everything else. She sat on the couch sipping the dram of whiskey which Lucifer had solicitously poured for her, half wishing it were twice the size.

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

“Actually, Chloe, it might be best for Lucifer if you-” Amenadiel began reluctantly, but Lucifer quickly cut him off.

“Don’t worry, Brother, it’s fine, I’m healing. Linda was right.” Ignoring Amenadiel’s surprised look he went on, “Yes there is actually, Detective. We need a plan of attack to catch the rest of Pierce’s minions. One that’s compatible with human methods, as we can’t just send them all to Hell after their boss, unfortunately.”

“Why not? They deserve it,” Maze said distractedly. She was concentrating on extracting a bullet and didn’t notice the looks she was getting from both Chloe and Linda.

Lucifer didn’t notice either. “You’re most probably right, Maze, but leaving a trail of corpses behind you tends to aggravate law enforcement and that’s a complication none of us want.”

Maze grunted noncommittally, remembering with satisfaction the carnage she’d left at Pierce’s hideout. Sometimes complicated was just worth it.

Lucifer went on, “Now that we aren’t going back to Hell we need to work out how to manage this dumpster fire properly. And the Detective is obviously perfectly suited to help us do that.” He grinned proudly at her.

So Lucifer had been planning on going back to Hell. Chloe let that slide for now and focused on the other implication of what he’d said. “Lucifer, are you asking me to help you cover up Pierce’s death?”

He gave her one of his Detective, duh looks and spread his hands. “Of course I am! Foremost reason being Cain’s mortal remains are many thousands of years old and an anomaly that humans are not ready for.” At Chloe’s stunned look he added smugly, “I told you he was much older than he looked.”

Amenadiel elaborated, “We can’t let forensic scientists have him, Chloe. Even though technically he is human, a body of such extreme age is bound to show… irregularities compared to contemporary humans. Even if it isn’t proof of divinity per se it would certainly classify as proof of the supernatural. Which as far as Father is concerned is unacceptable.”

Lucifer added, “And on this one point I happen to agree with him. After all, it’s the 21st century and some people still lose their shit if they think they see Dad’s face on a piece of toast.”

Chloe suddenly remembered something. “Uh, guys? Where IS Pierce?”

Lucifer waved his left hand toward the lobby. “Amenadiel put him in an office just down the hall. I have a feeling he might come in useful so we’ve kept him around, but we’d best not take too long about it. It’s not like he’ll stay fresh.”

PLINK. In the sudden silence the sound of Maze dropping another bullet into the vase was deafening.

Chloe didn’t know what shocked her more; that her former boss and ex-fiance’s corpse was currently lying dumped in a room mere feet away or that her partner could be so blase about it.

Lucifer- !”

Lucifer was taken aback at the Detective’s reaction. “What?”

“How can you be so... callous! It’s human remains you’re talking about, not some… damn roadkill!”

He looked genuinely bewildered. “What’s the difference?”

Chloe flinched. Then Lucifer flinched as well because Amenadiel had poked him, entreating him with his eyes to shut his damn fool mouth.

Amenadiel spoke before his brother could make things worse. “It’s merely an empty shell, Chloe. Cain… er, Pierce, has long since departed. Lucifer doesn’t mean any disrespect.” He added meaningfully, “DO you, Lucifer.”

Lucifer completely missed the hint. “Like Hell I don’t, Brother. You know as well as I do the human reverence for dead flesh is pointless, and that stone-faced prick is even less deserving of it than most…”

Chloe stared at Lucifer, again as if seeing him for the first time. She knew she shouldn’t be so disturbed by his dismissive attitude; he’d said something similar many times before, after all. She’d always outwardly ignored him but privately wondered how a civilian could be so relaxed around violent death when it freaked the hell out of most people. Some scenes still even bothered her sometimes. She’d thought maybe his parents were morticians, maybe he’d spent time in a war zone, toyed briefly with the idea he was a clinical psychopath… but she didn’t have that luxury any more.

He was an angel. So it finally made sense as to why so many of his attitudes and opinions were so far removed from her perspective as to be completely inhuman; he really wasn’t one.

That would take as much getting used to as the wings. More, even. It filtered through in everything he said and did. She’d always thought him harmlessly eccentric or kidding and Ella thought he was a method actor. But here he was, talking about a person, someone they’d worked with, someone she’d been in a relationship with, however briefly and regardless of how it had ended, like he was nothing more than a slab of dead meat.

Linda was speaking to her. “Chloe, he’s not trying to be cruel. From a celestial’s perspective the immortal soul is the only part of a person that really matters.” Amenadiel hummed his agreement as he dropped another bullet into the vase. Plink.

Linda added, rather pointedly at Lucifer, “But he would be well advised to remember that humans do form attachments to the physical, and emotions are complex and can’t simply be turned off.”

Lucifer finally seemed to get why he was being glared at, and why Chloe was so troubled. “Oh! I see. My apologies, Detective. I should have realised. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” He looked down at the table and clenched his fists. “Again.”

He looked like he was beating himself up again so Chloe hurriedly said, “It’s okay, Lucifer, I know you didn’t. And you’re right, it’s not really ‘him’ any more, and besides, It’s not that I’m sorry he’s dead.” She gestured helplessly. “It’s just… it’s gonna take some getting used to, knowing everything you say now is the literal truth and not just… ‘Luciferness’. I kinda have to get used to it all over again.”

Her partner said rude, thoughtless things to her all the time, in all seriousness and without the slightest intent to offend. Like whether she’d ever been dropped on her head when she was a baby or whether her ‘offspring’ had been a mistake. She knew he didn’t say things like that just to piss her off, it was because he was genuinely curious and seemed to have zero brain filter. She almost laughed; Lucifer might be the Devil, but he wasn’t a troll. Not to his friends, at least. It would help a lot to keep that in mind, going forward.

Lucifer hummed in agreement. “And Dad knows I can be a lot to deal with even on the best of days. I suppose I could try to temper my…”

Chloe prompted teasingly, “... Luciferness ...” and he nodded, quite earnestly.

“Exactly. Give you a chance to regroup, so to speak. Perhaps a code word might be in order - you know, for when you need me to shut up…”

Chloe raised an eyebrow. “What, like ‘monkeybottoms’?” At Lucifer’s delighted grin she rolled her eyes.

“No, Lucifer, I’m not saying monkeybottoms.”

“Oh, come on, Detective, be a sport-”

So Decker,” Maze brusquely interrupted their banter. “Are you going to help or not?”

Chloe looked at the semicircle of expectantly waiting faces. She never thought she’d be the kind of cop who’d even consider doing something like this, and on paper it would be just as bad as what Dan had done. Worse, even. Because to every good cop on the force Lt Marcus Pierce was a hero and she would be an accessory after the fact to his murder. Not to mention guilty of interfering with a homicide investigation, evidence tampering, conspiracy... she swallowed.

At the same time she knew this shitshow couldn’t be dealt with ‘by the book’. Even the notion of taking human rules and regulations into consideration was laughable. Didn’t she answer to a higher power now? The highest, in fact?

She’d always tried to do what was right, and that usually meant what was lawful. Covering up what Lucifer had done made sense, was undoubtedly the right move, but in the eyes of the law, it would most definitely be wrong.

Linda seemed to sense her conflict. With a glance at the three celestials who stood around her she said, “I know how you feel, Chloe. There seems to be different rules now, and they can be hard to reconcile with the way us humans do things.” Then she added, firmly, “But you always have a choice.”

Chloe realised that despite her reservations she already knew what her choice was. She had to have Lucifer’s back on this, whatever happened. She took a deep breath and scooted forward slightly on the couch.

“I’m in.”

Lucifer grinned and raised the whiskey bottle in a quick cheers in her direction. “Amen.”

---------------

So as the level in the vase crept up and the level in the whiskey bottle went down, they talked over what they would do next. Maze groused that she wanted to get started tracking down Cain’s people, and Lucifer was quite happy to set her on the guy from the loft, but Chloe was quick to point out they didn’t have anything to go on yet. She rang Ella at the scene to see how they were doing.

To the lab tech’s frustration, streetcams had come up with nothing useful, they couldn’t ID the body and they were still waiting on prints from the weapons. The mercenaries in hospital had no ID either, but at least they had regained consciousness.

“Okay, thanks Ella. Keep me posted.” Chloe hung up.

Lucifer shrugged. “Well, regardless, Detective, our first move will be to go to the penthouse so I can freshen up and change. I refuse to be seen in public looking like this; I’d rather get about naked. Going to my place also means we can catch up with our wannabe assassin.”

Chloe shook her head. “Barrow’s not there anymore, Dan’s at the loft too. He told me Barrow’s in safe hands in lockup.”

“In that case we still go to the penthouse first, but then we go to the station for Barrow.” His dark brows knitted together. “I’m keen to have a word with that dissembling little prick.”

Chloe nodded. “Okay. We should be able to get what we need out of him with your mojo thing.” Jedi mind trick , she thought to herself. Out loud she added, “There’s still so much we don’t know. Even just the basics, like... how big is this thing? How many in the Sinnerman network? Did it move to LA with Pierce or was it already here? Does it have men inside the precinct other than Pierce...?”

Maze piped up, “There’s chicks in the gang too.”

Chloe raised an eyebrow. “Yeah? How do you know?”

“I met one today. Broke her neck while I was booking it from Pierce’s hideout.”

Chloe blinked. “You did what where now?”

Maze sighed in irritation. She wanted to get hunting, unleash some pent up anger on the deserving, not play nursemaid and talk about how much she’d screwed up. “I was - kinda - working with him. First to frame Lucifer for his murder so I could go back home, but then the wimp decided he didn’t wanna die. So he asked me to roofie Amenadiel and bring him in so he could kill him and get his mark back.” Everyone gaped at her. He did what?

Maze went on, “I said it was a stupid idea and tried to kill him instead but he bluffed me by threatening Linda and knocked me out with the sedative. I woke up chained to a pipe and worked my way through the goons he left to guard me, then came here.”

Everyone was staring at her and she shrugged self-consciously, then looked at Linda. “I told you: I changed my mind.”

Amenadiel nodded sadly. “I see. That’s why he tried to shoot me. Poor Charlotte.”

Linda’s eyes were wide. “Wow. You only kicked about five people’s asses in the tiki bar that time, I can only imagine what an all-out brawl with twelve would’ve been like. I wish I could’ve seen it!”

Maze added with satisfaction, “I was still a little out of it but I know I got everybody.”

Chloe was still staring at her. Twelve? She shook herself slightly, then filed away the information and replied, “Okay. When and where was this?”

“A few hours ago at a factory in Hollywood.”

“Okay, then let’s start there. Thanks to you we even have probable cause.” She threw Maze an appreciative look. “Twelve, huh?”

Maze grinned. “I got room for more.”

“That’s great, Maze. A dozen down, we’ve got Barrow in lockup…”

Lucifer added, “I took care of the three at the loft with Cain. One got away, but that won’t be for long…”

“Yeah, I know. Ella took us through the scene. You made a hell of a mess back there.”

Lucifer scoffed. “You should have seen it before.”

Amenadiel asked curiously, “Did Ella have any theories as to what happened?”

Chloe replied, “She was throwing a few suggestions around... she mentioned something about a rival gang crashing in the window and shooting the place up, and a disappearing wrecking ball...” Amenadiel nodded, reassured.

Then Chloe snorted. “... and a hit on an albino condor but she was only joking about that one…”

Both Lucifer and Amenadiel’s heads whipped around. “What did you say?”

Chloe was a bit taken aback at the intensity of Amenadiel’s reply. “What? She was kidding. She only said that because of the feather she found…”

Amenadiel growled in annoyance and Lucifer swore. They simultaneously rounded on each other and said accusingly, “You missed one!”

They glared at each other then retorted, again in unison, “You missed it too!”

Lucifer blew out a frustrated breath. “Bugger.”

Chloe held her palms up in a calming gesture. “It’s fine, no one suspected what it was. How could they? Ella figured it was a feather from a victim’s parka or something.”

Amenadiel snorted with laughter, but sobered when he saw Lucifer’s indignant expression. “Sorry, yes, this is serious.”

Lucifer said pointedly to Chloe, “Did it have blood on it?”

Understanding dawned. “Oh. A bit, yeah.” Angel blood.

Lucifer grimaced. “ That’s how they’ll know. We’ll have to retrieve or destroy it before Miss Lopez can test it.” He groaned theatrically and hunched his back across the desk, joints popping as he stretched. His wings did too, half folding and arching back, high over his head. Then the right one extended to its full span, wingtips nudging the window blinds, before returning to a folded position. The left one did the same on the other side.

Lucifer heaved a put-upon sigh and looked up at Amenadiel mournfully. “Aren’t you finished yet ?”

“Just a couple more, I think Luci,” he encouraged, reaching for his brother’s wing again. He was quietly very impressed at the amount of patience Lucifer was demonstrating. It wasn’t like him at all.

Lucifer grumbled in frustration and took another swig from the bottle. At first he’d wished he could’ve just cut the bloody things off again and been done with it. But with his wings shot halfway to Hell and unable to fly home he hadn’t really had any choice in the matter, had he? It’s not like anybody here would have helped him do it.

All things considered though, it had worked out for the best. He didn’t loathe his wings anymore now that he knew they weren’t his father’s doing, and they had certainly come in handy. They’d saved the day in fact. And he had to admit that even if they were a half-shredded shadow of their former glory it just felt… right to have them back again.

----------------------

Amenadiel dropped the final bullet into the vase with a flourish. “I think that’s it, Luci. All done. How do they feel now?”

Lucifer stood up and gingerly tested his wings, fanning them gently and being careful not to knock any of Linda’s knickknacks to the floor.

Even in the cramped space of the office the breeze he created was strong enough to flutter the blinds and sweep Chloe’s hair back from her face. She watched his wings bend and flex to catch the air, still awe-inspiring despite their ragged state, and couldn’t help wondering what Lucifer looked like in flight. How fast was he? How far could he go? A condor, albino or otherwise, had nothing on that wingspan.

Lucifer flinched uncomfortably but nodded in satisfaction, then swept his right wing forward to inspect the feathers more closely. He frowned, puzzled. “Is it just the light in here or are they pink?”

Linda looked ruefully at the blood-tinted water in the bowl. “Sorry, Lucifer. I did my best but there was so much blood…”

“Oh, I don’t mind , Linda. I like pink. And let’s face it, anything looks good on me. I’ll just have to forego green for today, is all. At least until I can clean up properly.”

“You’re gonna colour coordinate with your wings ? Why? No one’s gonna know if you clash!”

I’ll know.”

Chloe watched in amazement as Lucifer then carefully rolled his shoulders, aforementioned soft pink wings folding to his back and ...vanishing. Now, aside from the state of his shirt, he looked much like he did any other day. A far cry from when she’d first walked in.

Lucifer sighed in relief, then finished off the last of Linda’s whisky.

“So much better. Thank you Linda. Amenadiel.” He eyed Maze. “Mazikeen. You’ve regained some brownie points. Help mop up the rest of Cain’s stooges and I’d say we were even. You can start with the little bastard who shot me and took off from the loft. Standard rates apply, and you’re more than welcome to rough him up a bit.”

Maze smiled with anticipation. “How can I say no?”

Chloe added hastily, “A bit , Maze. We need to question him.”

Maze grunted, “Killjoy.” Then she added to Lucifer, “Deal.” She’d intended to hunt down Cain’s dirtbags regardless, so squaring things up with Lucifer and getting paid would be a bonus.

Lucifer picked up and shook the vase, over half-filled with bullets. “How many were there, does anyone know? I lost count around the seventy mark.”

“A hundred and three,” answered Linda wearily, rolling her neck and massaging the base of her spine.

Lucifer whistled. “We cracked a century! Goodness me…” Then his carefree air faded as he turned the vase in his hands, a dark scowl crossing his handsome face. Chloe wondered if he was thinking of the men who’d shot him, possibly contemplating their punishment a hundred and three different ways. Then he caught her eye, grinned, and brandished the vase, his momentary mood forgotten.

“Fancy any more ammo bling, Detective? There’s enough here for an entire jewellery collection. Could maybe even stretch to a tiara.”

“I’m happy with my necklace, thanks Lucifer,” Chloe answered with a shy smile, still reeling at the sheer number of bullets he’d taken. To protect her.

With every bullet she’d watched get pulled from her partner’s body she couldn’t help a little selfishly thinking; what if that had been the one that had killed her? She knew if she thought about it too much she’d fall to pieces and freak Lucifer out again so she was trying not to, but it was hard when all the bullets and blood were right there in front of her. She’d been shot once and that was bad enough, but angels were tough indeed if they could walk away from getting shot over a hundred times. She recalled when he’d been stabbed in Lux he hadn’t even noticed. And then to her disbelief had casually gripped the knife in his shoulder and pulled it out. His pain threshold really was superhuman. Literally.

He clearly did still feel pain, he just bore it extremely well. She remembered the first time she’d gotten a glimpse of it, of what he kept hidden behind his happy-go-lucky playboy persona… and a sudden realisation made her go cold.

It was before they’d even officially started working together. He’d invited her up to his apartment before the Player party and decided to strip naked and try to seduce her. She’d been mortified and a little pissed, but when he’d turned around to display himself to her all annoyance at him had been forgotten. Even in the low light of the penthouse primed for seduction she couldn’t miss seeing the scars on his back. Massive, crescent-shaped wounds. And then he’d told her...

That’s where I cut my wings off.

Oh God. He really did do it.

Of course she hadn’t believed him at the time but now she knew, she knew that was true too, he’d cut off his wings , he got Maze to take a knife to him and saw through his back … oh, Jesus!

Overcome with shock and nausea, she stood abruptly and staggered for the door. She had to get out of there or she was going to throw up all over Linda’s carpet. She wrenched the broken door open and before the others could even react raced down the hallway to the bathroom. She crashed into one of the stalls just in time and heaved up Linda’s whiskey and the meagre remnants of her breakfast. Then the thought of Marcus’ corpse cooling behind one of the doors she’d just run past made her retch violently again. Her eyes streamed with tears and great, racking sobs tore from her chest.

“Chloe?” It was Linda, come to check on her. She felt gentle hands gathering her hair and holding it back from her face. “What’s wrong bebbeh?”

Chloe lifted her head, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Why’d he do it, Linda?”

Linda shook her head, confused. “What did he do now?”

“His wings! He really did cut them off! Why would he do that? Why would he hurt himself like that? Oh my God…”

Linda crouched down and put her arms around Chloe, holding her as she wept, as all the grief, the shock, the worry and rollercoaster of emotions she’d gone through over the past day rolled over her like a tidal wave. She clung to Linda like she was drowning, and sobbed her heart out.

After a while she quietened, and Linda murmured softly into her hair.

“Shhh, don’t worry, he’s in a much healthier place now. He won’t do that again.”

“Why did he do it at all ?” Chloe cried. “It’d be like… amputating your own arms… !”

Linda sighed. “You know Lucifer, he likes grand gestures. And he doesn’t do things by halves. He wanted to show his father, in the strongest of terms, that he was done with Hell. Done with his family.”

Chloe sniffed and mumbled, “He wanted to be his own man.”

Linda nodded. “Yes. And rejecting his divinity, his father’s gift, probably seemed to him to be the logical solution.”

Chloe snorted suddenly, then broke into hiccuping giggles. “Lucifer? Logical? You’ve gotta be kidding.”

Linda started giggling too. “I wish I was!”

It wasn’t that funny but more laughter bubbled unexpectedly up through her tears. Chloe remembered other times when her partner had proven just how irrational and impulsive he was; he drove her crazy sometimes because he seemed to be all heart and fire and passion and no brain. At least, no desire in the slightest to stop and think things through before doing something stupid .

Lucifer as ‘Douchifer’... Lucifer thinking multiple murder suspects were his parents... Lucifer forcing himself to stay awake so he wouldn’t go flying around rescuing people in his sleep… wait - maybe that really happened? She shook her head in exasperation.

Either way, Lucifer, why didn’t you just go talk to the family that got rescued, dumbass!?

Their laughter was cathartic and when it subsided Chloe felt like she’d mostly gotten herself back under control. She turned awkwardly on the floor, then grimaced and closed the toilet lid.

Still randomly snorting with laughter she groaned, “Oh, gross, we’re hugging on a restroom floor. I’m so sorry Linda…”

They both got up and Linda said wryly, “It’s just like back at college. All that’s missing is the buckets of booze.”

Chloe gave her a wan smile. “Maybe later?”

Linda nodded. “It’s a date.” She turned and headed for the door. “I better go check on the God Squad. Take all the time you need. They’re probably still arguing over what to do next anyway...”

“Linda?” When her friend turned to face her Chloe said quietly, “Thank you for being there for him when I wasn’t.”

Linda shook her head slightly. “You were, though, as much as he let you. And now that you know, he’ll talk to you. He always wanted to, he was just terrified of scaring you off.” She made a face.

“But just to give you a heads up, there’s a lot to catch up on. Like a lot . And it doesn’t ever seem to stop.” Linda’s expression was a mix of fondness and exasperation.

“Knowing who they really are, and everything that comes with it, can be tough. But just try to keep in mind they’re still the same people they always were, and they’re new to all this too.”

Chloe nodded. Linda was right, as outrageous as it sounded. She knew even Satan was just trying to figure stuff out, the same as everybody else.

“And you can always come to me, it’ll be great to talk to somebody who actually has a clue about how nucking futs all this is!”

Chloe sniffled but laughed, feeling so much better she wondered if Linda could secretly be an angel after all.

-----------------

Once she freshened up and put her cop face back on Chloe returned to the others. Surprisingly, nobody questioned her sudden disappearing act. Chloe found out later, to her amusement, that Linda had told them it was a human thing… when you gotta go you gotta go .

Maze was drumming her nails impatiently on the arm of the couch and Lucifer was putting his jacket back on.

“It’s just a quick stop off at the penthouse first, Maze, we’ll go to Pierce’s place straight after…” Maze growled. She clearly didn’t approve of this plan, and Chloe didn’t either.

She countered, “We can’t, Lucifer. Lux is a half hour out of our way in the wrong direction! We have to get to Pierce’s HQ before anyone else does. More of his people could be there already, cleaning the place out.”

Lucifer pouted. “But Detective! I can’t go around in public looking like this!”

That was true. But time was of the essence. Chloe looked hopefully at Amenadiel. “Um, Amenadiel? I don’t suppose you could…”

He raised an eyebrow and finished for her, “...stop by Lucifer’s place and organise him a wardrobe change?” He heaved a long-suffering sigh, then added grudgingly, “I’ll get him a shirt .”

Lucifer brushed his jacket off and looked down at himself, sullenly flicking the slash on his jacket sleeve. He grumbled, “I suppose I can make do.” He pulled the pocket square out and held it up; there were matching bullet holes through the top of it and the jacket below. He carefully refolded the square and tucked it back in, neatly covering the hole. “Oh and you know where I keep the spare smartphones, Brother, it seems I’ll need one of those as well.” He reached into his inside breast pocket and pulled out his cell, which sported a bullet hole right through the screen.

He noticed Chloe staring and held it up. “At least I had a good reason for not answering your calls, Detective.”

Chloe nodded numbly. Yep, that’s a good one alright.

Amenadiel grouched, “Need anything else while I’m acting as your personal courier?”

Lucifer slapped him cheerfully on the back. “Oh don’t be like that, Brother. I'll owe you one. I’ll get you something nice, maybe a new hoodie? They seem to be your fashion item of choice. That is, if you aren’t permanently back to wearing a frock.” Amenadiel scoffed but for once refrained from arguing.

Linda added, “Uh, before you go, don’t forget about Pierce. You can’t leave him here, the building super will find him.”

“That would be awkward. Very well, we’ll take him. We can hardly stick him in the Detective’s boot though. Sorry - trunk .” He then smiled winningly at Amenadiel, who knew what was coming next.

“Brother? Would you mind dropping him off at this hideout Maze is taking us to so we can keep an eye on him? I won’t be able to manage it for a little while yet. I’ll call you,” he smirkingly put his hands together, “When we get there. And you can bring my shirt!”

Amenadiel rolled his eyes. Why was he always the one relegated to moving dead bodies? “Sure, Luci.”

Lucifer hustled Chloe toward the door. “Lovely. Thank you all so much for your very generous aid. We’ll leave you alone now, Linda. Coming, Mazikeen? Shall I drive, Detective?” Chloe stopped him, planting her feet.

“Not so fast. I think you’re forgetting something.” At his quizzical look she added, “The feather Ella found...?”

Lucifer grinned. “Not to worry, Detective. Amenadiel is on that too.” He added, to his brother, “Miss Lopez should still be at the loft where you picked me up.” Amenadiel nodded.

Chloe frowned. “The place is locked down and swarming with cops now. Uniforms, forensics, Feds. How are you gonna-?”

Lucifer flapped a hand at his brother. “Oh don’t worry about that. It’ll be no problem at all for angelic Timecop here.”

Linda clapped her hands together, grinning. “You’re gonna love this, Chloe! Amenadiel? Can stop time .”

Chloe shook her head and did a slow blink. “Stop… time? No way. Like, literally?” She gaped at Amenadiel. “Shut the front door.”

Lucifer chuckled gleefully at her dumbstruck expression. “Yes way. Heads up, Brother!” And before Chloe realised what was happening, he’d snatched up the empty whiskey bottle and hurled it at the window.

Chloe gasped... but Lucifer was already laughing and Amenadiel was standing at the far side of the room by the window, arm outstretched and gripping the bottle by the neck. He gave Lucifer a stern look and walked over to place the bottle next to the trash. (He would admit to a little guilty pleasure at the impressed looks on the humans’ faces, however.)

Chloe realised with a start that it wasn’t just Amenadiel who’d moved. Lucifer was suddenly on the other side of Linda, and Maze had a bored look on her face despite having apparently teleported from the couch to the doorway in front of her. She’d apparently missed something.

“OHHH…” Cue lightbulb moment. Time stopped, they didn’t. All those sudden disappearances… Lux, Nick’s gunshot, the loft... that explains it. Wow. Another one I didn’t see coming.

But she thought she rallied really well, under the circumstances. Maybe once you knew The Big Thing, you toughened up to all the other littler big things after that. Like… supernatural calluses.

“Uh… well, in that case, you’ll need to get the feather AND the blood swab from Ella’s crime scene kit. It has Lucifer’s blood on it too.” She felt a little guilty at purposely sabotaging Ella’s work but knew it had to be done. She turned to leave.

She heard Amenadiel reply, “Alright. I’ll see you at the factory, then. Thank you for everything, Linda.”

Chloe heard a rustling, thumping sound behind her and her hair flew into her face in a sudden blast of wind. The blinds still rattling in the window, she whirled around to see that Amenadiel had disappeared. Chloe took a deep breath then slowly let it out again.

“Okay. Yeah.” She knew what that was, now. And she had a feeling she may as well get used to it.

“Right. Well, we better get going. Thanks again, Linda.”

They left the office, Maze stopping to give Linda a quick hug, then headed to Chloe’s car. As they walked away Linda heard Chloe ask the other two, "You weren't really going to go back to Hell, were you?"

Good luck answering that one, Lucifer, Linda thought sympathetically. She looked around at the mess in her office and sighed, shaking her head. Then she walked over to her desk, pulled her phone from the drawer, and dialed a number.

“Hi Gary. It’s Linda. Martin. You fixed my office door a few months back? ...Yes! Hi. How are you? ...Uh, well, funny you should ask that actually, you’ll never guess what happened...”

Chapter Text

“You are UN believable!”

Chloe couldn’t believe it; Lucifer really had been planning on running out on her again . Hands clenched hard on the steering wheel she took a deep breath and groused, “First you take off to Vegas after I nearly die, then you ditch me after I find out who you are, and if I hadn’t caught up with you you’re telling me you’d’ve just… just disappeared off the face of the Earth ?”

Lucifer put up both hands in a placating gesture and hastily clarified, “That was only because I thought you wouldn’t want me around, remember? I doubt I’d have lasted long in Hell anyway, I would’ve got bored and come back. I came back from Vegas, didn’t I?”

Chloe thought rancorously yeah, eventually, after first making me sick with worry, and then bringing some bimbo back with you.

Lucifer blithely went on, “Probably wouldn’t have come back to L.A. though. I was thinking more Australia; from one downunder to the other.” He chuckled. “Sydney during the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a party and a half, and I hear the Queensland coast is a lot like California. Balls-deep in sand and surf, not to mention sandy surfers...”

Chloe threw him a glare. “Also not to mention clear on the other side of the Pacific. That would still count as bailing on me, Lucifer.”

Unperturbed, Lucifer replied reasonably, “That’s all beside the point now though, isn’t it? You’re fine, we’re fine, you want me to stay, therefore I’m not going anywhere.” He threw her a shit-eating grin. “Detective.”

Chloe hid a smile. Even though his pathological self-centeredness made him a monumental pain in her ass she could never stay mad at him for very long. It was one of the more infuriating things about him. And there were plenty.

“Is that a promise?” She demanded, giving him the side-eye.

Lucifer looked back at her, his dark eyes solemn. “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.” After a thoughtful pause, he added, “Literally, they couldn’t.”

To her surprise, Chloe burst out laughing. Before learning his true identity, Lucifer saying stuff like that merely induced eye rolls but now she knew he was being completely sincere she found it hilarious. The slightly miffed expression on Lucifer’s face only made it funnier.

“I know. I know, I’m sorry Lucifer, I don’t mean to laugh, I just got this mental picture…” she snorted again. Then her phone buzzed so she popped in her Bluetooth earpiece and took the call.

“Decker.”

“Hey Chlo. You feeling any better?” It was Dan.

“Hi. Yeah, I am, thanks. Any news on our suspects?”

“Ah, actually, that’s why I’m calling. Sorry, it’s bad news; Barrow’s gone.”

“What?”

“Sergeant Byrne took his lawyer to see him and the holding cell was empty. The area cameras had been turned off and there’s nothing on the tapes. We’re looking into it.”

“Damn it.” Maybe they should have gone to the precinct first.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what to tell you. Either Pierce came and got him out or another of his guys found out about Barrow being there.”

“Shit. Well I guess that answers whether or not Pierce had people on the inside,” Chloe said to herself ruefully.

Dan corrected, “ Has . He’s in the shit for dereliction, but the Sinnerman investigation is still under wraps for now, so as far anyone outside of the Feds and the DA’s office knows Pierce is still in charge. He could be running but I think it’s more likely the arrogant son of a bitch is gonna try to bullshit his way out, use his connections to set us up so none of this sticks to him.”

Chloe mentally facepalmed for her slip of the tongue. Dan doesn’t know Pierce is dead. Luckily he’d assumed she’d used the past tense to refer to his job as their boss. “Yeah, of course. You know what I mean.”

Dan grunted his agreement, then asked, “Have you found Lucifer yet? He might be able to give us something to go on.”

Chloe hesitated. She hadn’t talked to Lucifer yet about what he was going to say in his statement. Because while she knew he wouldn’t lie, he obviously could not tell the truth. Until they sorted out their story it’d be best to keep Dan out of the loop, even though it felt wrong lying to him. But at this point she didn’t have a choice, unless she wanted Dan to tag along.

She unconsciously flicked a guilty glance at Lucifer, who raised a questioning eyebrow and mouthed, Douche?

Chloe ignored him, then said pointedly, “No, he hasn’t turned up yet. But you know what he’s like, running off half-cocked without thinking first and not telling me anything.” Lucifer had the grace to look a little abashed. But only a little. Then he smirked, and Chloe knew it was because she’d said ‘cocked’.

Dan was murmuring sympathetically. “Yeah. I still can’t believe he knew Pierce is the Sinnerman.” He fell silent for a moment, and when he went on his voice was bitter. “He knew there was a criminal psychopath in our department. And not just in the department, our goddamned boss . Sometimes I think Lucifer’s a criminal himself - no past, associates with criminals, half the time it seems like he’s trying to screw up cases for us... and then he does something incredible like track down your antidote. And sometimes I think we’re friends, and then he goes and pulls a jerk move like -” He stopped himself, clearly overwrought.

Chloe looked over at her partner lounging in the passenger seat, looking out the window and pretending not to listen. “I know what you mean - sometimes he gets his wires a bit crossed. But he did try to tell me about Pierce, sort of, and he is on our side, Dan.” Lucifer turned back to her, obviously pleased to hear her sticking up for him.

Dan grunted. “Yeah. I guess.” He added that he’d put out a BOLO on Barrow, then said goodbye and hung up. Chloe ended the call and sighed.

“So you know Barrow, Pierce’s guy who tried to kill Dan? He’s gotten out of lockup somehow and disappeared.”

Lucifer opened his mouth, no doubt to make some snide comment about Dan, but before he could utter a word Maze spoke up from the backseat.

“On it.” She unclipped her seat belt and opened her door, and was about to leap onto the roadway but was stayed by Chloe’s sudden shriek of alarm and the car swerving as she accidentally jerked the steering wheel.

“Whoah whoah whoah! Hold up! Do not jump out of my car!” Maze stopped and gave her an impatient look as if to say what’s your problem? Chloe took a deep breath and tried to get her hammering heartbeat to go back to normal. “Shit, Maze, don’t do that to me! Are you trying to give me a heart attack?”

Lucifer threw an amused glance at the demon in the backseat. “Detective, there’s no need to fret, Maze always lands on her feet. Even in stiletto bootheels.”

“Not the point!” Chloe retorted. “ I’m driving, driver sets the rules, and while I’m driving passengers don’t jump out of the car!”

Maze replied without missing a beat, “Fine. Pull over then.”

Chloe shook her head. “Dan’s taking care of it. Right now, we need you.” She glanced in the rearview mirror, saw the rebellious look on Maze’s face, and added hopefully, “Please, Maze?”

Suddenly Chloe, the car, and all the traffic around them came to an abrupt halt. Amenadiel had apparently reached the loft.

Maze grinned. “Car’s stopped, Decker. So it’s okay to get out.”

Lucifer turned his tall frame in his seat to look at her pleadingly. “No, no, don’t take off, Maze, when time resumes and she sees you gone I’m the one she’ll be having a go at!”

Maze just looked at him. “I should care?”

Lucifer smiled ingratiatingly. “Your helping me is part of our deal, remember? Don’t worry, this Barrow chap will still be lurking out there for you when we’re done. It might even be a little more sporting, giving him a head start, eh?”

Maze was itching to go; even cops with all their technology couldn’t do half as good a job of hunting humans as she could. Plus, now she was feeling recovered from her morning battle she was super pissed at Cain’s people and wanted to nail the lot of them to the wall. Or at least, a selection of their body parts. And by tracking down Barrow she’d still be helping Lucifer, as per their deal.

But… she did also have Decker to make up with, and the factory thing shouldn’t take long… She slammed the door shut, glowering.

“Fine, if Amenadiel shifts his ass. But you guys quit it with the D&Ms. If I have to sit in this car hearing about feelings for one more minute I’m gonna throw you under it.”

--------------

Amenadiel walked briskly through the silent, crowded tableau of humans in the loft, feeling an unaccustomed apprehension. He’d agreed readily enough to liberate the evidence from Ella - he was the only one who could do it, after all - but he was feeling uneasy.

In fact, he would never, ever admit it to Lucifer or Maze but he was nervous as Hell; he remembered all too vividly what had happened when last he’d tried to steal proof of divinity from under the noses of the police. He was back to full strength and knew there was no reason that his powers would again fail him in a room full of humans, but he intended to find Ella and retrieve the evidence as quickly as possible... just in case.

He found her standing in front of the gaping hole that used to be the windows, backlit by the late afternoon sun reflecting off the towering glass high rises outside. She was talking to Dan; at least, Amenadiel assumed it was talking. Judging by the expression on her face and the extravagant gesture she was making, she could also have been yelling, or possibly even about to vomit.

Amenadiel glanced around the nearby floor looking for the kit Chloe had described. He quickly found it, dug out the plastic ziplock bag containing Lucifer’s feather and the tube containing the bloody swab and stashed them both safely in his robe, then put the bag back exactly how he’d found it.

Suddenly he heard Lucifer’s impatient voice in his head.

Amenadiel, could you hurry it up a bit please? I’m stuck in the car having to make small talk with Maze. And if we aren’t underway in the next 30 relative seconds she’s likely to abandon ship which will land me in the shit with the Detective.

Amenadiel rolled his eyes and sent him a curt reply, then prepared to leave, pausing momentarily in front of Dan.

His friend’s eyes were shadowed, his boyishly handsome face etched with lines of exhaustion and grief. It pained Amenadiel to know that he hadn’t been there for both Charlotte and Dan when they’d needed him, but he knew it couldn’t have been helped. He’d promised to stay with Charlotte, and even power over time itself didn’t mean he could be in two places at once. And now helping Dan would have to wait again, until he’d finished helping conceal Cain’s true identity. But when that was done he would find Dan and support him through his time of trial, as Dan had supported him.

He hurriedly winged it out of there, letting time roll forward once more, and returned to the penthouse. Cain was still safely stashed in Luci’s walk-in robe, and since he had time to kill while waiting for Lucifer to call, he headed to the bar to fix himself a drink.

“Whiskey, whisky, bourbon or Scotch?” he muttered resignedly, looking over the familiar rows of bottles. He sighed. “They all taste the same to me.” The angel poured himself a measure of bourbon and raised his glass to the ceiling. He murmured softly, “To Charlotte.” Then he remembered he also had to get Lucifer a shirt so he headed for the closet, sipping his drink.

Running errands for my little brother like this , he thought grumpily. It is beneath me. I am the First of God’s angels, after all; His warrior and emissary. Not Lucifer’s courier service.

He quickly banished such petty thoughts; helping Lucifer, even indulging his more annoying demands, meant helping to find justice for Charlotte. Which would be a good thing for him as well, helping to finish what he and Charlotte had started. Mainly, it would mean not having to face Charlotte’s wrath by going back to the Silver City without a decent progress report on the smashing of the Sinnerman organisation.

Accept it as part of your penance, he chided himself. For your sins of arrogance and pride. He started to reach for a pristine white shirt from the multitude on the racks, then stopped, a sly grin spreading slowly across his face. He wandered further into the closet, humming softly.

-----------------

Maze led the other two around the back of the factory to the small door near the loading bay that she’d used to escape. As they ascended the short set of steps she slowed her pace, her stance wary. Lucifer also reacted, head cocked thoughtfully as if listening.

Chloe walked up and tried the door. “Locked.”

“Wasn’t me. I didn’t even shut it,” Maze said tersely.

Chloe realised what she meant. “Crap. Somebody’s here already.” She stepped back and popped open the stud on her holster.

Wordlessly, Lucifer strode up to the door and turned the handle. They heard a soft click as the lock unlatched and he pulled the door silently open, graciously sweeping his arm to indicate Maze should go first.

“Mazikeen darling - would you like first crack at him?”

Maze licked her lips and shot forward in a blur. Nobody had to ask her twice.

Chloe stared after her then at the door, then at Lucifer, who noticed her wide-eyed look of astonishment and gave her a quizzical look. It’s not like he hadn’t done this in her presence loads of times before.

“How did you do that? How DO you do that?” Like when he’d got himself out of her handcuffs or out of her car that time. Not to mention when he broke into her house whenever he felt like it. She’d always figured lock picking was just another of his random skills but this time she was 100% positive all he’d done was turn the door handle as if it was already unlocked, which she knew it wasn’t.

Lucifer adjusted his cuffs, preening a little. “There isn’t a lock on this planet that can hold me, Detective.”

“I thought desire was your mojo.”

“It is one of my talents, yes. But bringing out a human’s innermost desires isn’t all that different to unlocking a door… many humans deny their true selves, seal their desires up nice and tight in polite little boxes and then lose the key. But I don’t need a key. Let’s just say it’s the celestial metaphor thing again. I’m sure Linda would have a lot to say abou-”

Just then they heard a loud crash, several gunshots, and an agonised male scream from the darkness beyond the door.

“Ah - looks like Maze has found us a lead! Shall we?” And he stepped back, as always courteously allowing her to go first. Chloe drew her Glock and moved past him into the cool grey shadows of the darkened factory. First pausing to lock the door behind them, Lucifer followed, his long strides quickly overtaking Chloe’s as they passed dozens of tall concrete pillars, following the sounds of a fight up ahead. They rounded a corner and Lucifer smiled at what he saw there.

“Hello there! Look who it is, Detective! Our trigger-happy little absconder! Saved us the trouble of hunting you down, you have.”

It was the henchman who’d run from the loft. Maze had him in a choke hold and was kicking his legs out from under him every time he tried to stand up. He was bleeding from a cut over his eye and various weapons and bundles of cash were scattered on the floor around him.

Maze taunted, “You looking for somebody? Sorry dude, they’re all dead.”

The big black man’s eyes bulged and his lips had gone a weird blue colour from lack of oxygen. His fingers scrabbled at her arm around his neck, then a moment later his eyes rolled to the ceiling and he collapsed to the floor with a grunt.

“He was no fun.” Maze sniffed. “I hope this Barrow scumbag is more of a challenge.” She dragged the unconscious man by the scruff of the neck over to a chair and lashed him securely into it with several of Chloe’s cable ties.

Lucifer peeled off several hundred dollar bills from his money clip and held it out to her. "A deal's a deal."

Maze took it and tucked the money away, but eyed the unconscious man in the chair with anticipation. The money had sweetened the deal but she wasn't done with this guy yet.

Chloe still had her gun drawn. “There could be others here. I need to clear the rest of the building.” She went to move along the corridor but Maze put out a hand to stop her.

The demon turned to Lucifer. “Anyone else?”

Lucifer paused thoughtfully, then shook his head. “Nope. Just us.”

“How do you know that?” Chloe asked.

Lucifer shrugged. “The same way I always know when you’re near, Detective.” When Chloe didn’t respond he suggested, “Uh… celestial radar?”

Then Chloe frowned. “Hang on. What about the time you nearly got strangled by that guitar murderer? Or when you got kidnapped? They totally got the drop on you.”

Maze snorted with laughter. Lucifer cleared his throat and answered defensively, “Yes, well, as a matter of fact both of those times I happened to be distracted on the phone. Otherwise they wouldn’t have got near me.”

“Right. Okay.” Wow. Lucifer had always pulled his weight in their partnership but the more she learned about what he could do the more she realised he’d probably done a lot more behind the scenes that she’d had no clue about. Another thing she realised? She should probably start confiscating his phone while they were out chasing down suspects.

Lucifer suddenly glanced at the ceiling and said, “On that note; incoming .”

A few seconds later, in a wind generated by powerful sweeps of enormous blue-grey wings, Amenadiel arrived. Chloe gasped in awe; that particular angelic trait was definitely going to take the most getting used to. Amenadiel did the shoulder thing and his wings folded neatly away - just how the Hell did they just disappear right through their clothes like that? - then he held something out to Lucifer. A clean shirt. Lucifer took one look at it and humphed in indignation.

Green? Really?”

Amenadiel shrugged, his face expressionless but with a telltale sparkle in his eyes. “It was the first one I saw.”

“Like Hell it was,” Lucifer retorted sourly, taking off his jacket and cufflinks. “I haven’t worn it since the St. Paddy’s Day booze up at Lux last year; I’m surprised you even managed to find it.”

Scowling blackly he crossed his arms, grabbed handfuls of his ruined shirt and yanked. With a loud tearing sound the shirt split apart down the back, Lucifer’s superhuman strength breaking the strong silk fibres in one easy movement as though the high end shirt was made of tissue paper. Lucifer angrily wadded it up and threw it at Amenadiel’s head, who ducked, then he snatched the fresh shirt from his chuckling brother’s hands.

Maze laughed too. She loved giving her former Lord a hard time, and loved it even more when his normally boring brother joined in. As for Chloe, her jaw was almost on the floor.

For once, Lucifer literally tearing his shirt off hadn’t been meant to be sexy, but ho-ly crap it was. For a start, it forcibly reminded her of a dream she’d once had featuring him and her and the top of his piano, where she’d been the one tearing the shirt off him . The memory sent an involuntary shiver through her and she felt the blood rush to her cheeks. It seemed her feelings for Lucifer hadn’t changed since her little revelation; in more ways than one, if the mad fluttering in her stomach was any indication.

And for once he didn’t seem to be aware of his partially naked appearance, wasn’t playing up to it or being cheeky or making suggestive remarks - he was too busy being pissed at Amenadiel, black brows lowered and dark eyes flashing, all lithe muscles and broad shoulders and simmering temper…

Chloe swallowed, remembering with a delicious warmth the moment in her dream when she’d slammed him back against the wall of the elevator, her hands exploring the powerful muscles of his chest, her mouth on his, his questing tongue plunging insistently into her eager mouth, his large strong hands tugging at her clothes…

Strange that this was the situation she found herself in, approving for once of Lucifer taking his clothes off and actually wishing he’d go back to doing it more often. She wondered idly if he’d do the same thing if someone shot him in the pants…

Detective!

“Whut?” Chloe jumped. Lucifer was looking at her in consternation, already doing up his second cufflink.

“You didn’t hear me, you were just staring off into space. Are you okay? Are you having another freak out?”

“No, no, I’m fine, I’m all good. I was just thinking. About… um…” She thought fast. “Case stuff. You know. Work.”

“Right.” Lucifer frowned. Zoning out like that wasn’t like the Detective; usually he was the distracted one. Then he shook his head. The Detective was allowed to be distracted; Linda had been the same, no, far worse, after learning the truth of who he was, and that was after she would actually talk to him again. He raised a disbelieving eyebrow.

“You’re not fooling me, Detective. I know what’s really going on.”

Chloe’s eyes widened. How could he possibly know? Was this another desire mojo thing? “Uh… you do?” If she blushed any harder she’d catch fire.

“Of course. Linda went through something similar. She had it much worse, though; every time she saw me she’d turn into a babbling idiot with only one thing on her mind..."

Incandescent with embarrassment, Chloe wished the floor would open her up and swallow her whole.

"...Couldn’t get her to focus on anything else at all. It was all Hell this, Hitler that...”

Chloe did a double take. What?

“You’re only human so it’s to be expected really, so don’t feel bad. There’s no need to spare my feelings. I do appreciate the gesture, though.” He smiled warmly at her, and she couldn’t help but smile back, even though she was inwardly thrown by the baffling turn the conversation had taken. Hitler? ... what?

Lucifer turned back to Amenadiel as he shrugged his jacket back on. “I thought we agreed you would bring Cain?”

Amenadiel’s eyes flicked apologetically to Chloe. “I did. I thought it best to leave him in the next room for now. I didn’t want to cause Chloe any... distress.”

And just like that the flames of Chloe’s arousal were doused by a torrent of ice water. She gave Amenadiel a wan smile, thinking that was actually really considerate. Because not dragging the corpse of her former lover around in front of her like a steak on a piece of string was probably quite a lot of thoughtfulness as far as an angel was concerned. It was undoubtedly for the best; after all, they had work to do and she had enough to deal with without throwing hormones into the mix.

“Thanks, Amenadiel, but it’s okay. Like you said it’s just a shell. Besides, after everything that creep did I’m over him. He’s totally rearview.” She frowned. “But ...what exactly are you guys planning on doing with him?”

Lucifer opened his mouth to answer, but was interrupted by a groan from their captive in the chair. Lucifer held up a finger. “Hold that thought.”

By the time they walked over to him the man had revived and was trying to get out of his bindings.

Chloe got out her notebook and said coldly, “Detective Chloe Decker. Remember me? You tried to kill me this morning.” The man stayed silent, so she continued, “You’re a known accomplice of Marcus Pierce, who is under investigation for multiple homicides, attempted murder of a police officer, criminal conspiracy, extortion and domestic terrorism charges, just to give you the highlights. You’re looking at twenty-five to life without parole but maybe I can put in a good word with the D.A. if you help us out with some information. Starting with, what’s your name?”

The man snorted in derision. “I’m not telling you shit.”

Maze slapped him hard across the back of the head. “Mind your manners. Or I’ll do to you what I did to the rest of your crew back there.”

The big man winced but straightened, jeering, “ You ? You think you’re Bruce Lee or something? You’re full of it. All demons are liars.”

Maze smiled sweetly at him. “You think so? Go find eleven more of your loser buddies and try me.”

Lucifer raised an eyebrow. The man seemed to have rediscovered his balls since fleeing from the loft. He addressed him. “Very well then, I’ll call you Forrest Gump, since you like to run.”

“I want my lawyer. I’ve got rights. You can’t do anything to me.”

“You have me all wrong, Gumpy. I don’t want to do anything to you. I only wish to ask you a few questions.”

Lucifer smiled disarmingly but the man instantly shut his eyes and craned his neck around to avoid looking at him, as the fake Sinnerman had done. It appeared that pillock Cain had warned Gump about him too. Lucifer tutted and grasped him firmly by the chin to force his head back around. “ Look at me! ” Lucifer’s commanding tone cracked like a whip and the man immediately did so, his face slackening as he fell in thrall to Lucifer’s piercing gaze.

Lucifer nodded to himself in satisfaction. “Tell me; where’s the rest of your little Marcus Pierce fan club?”

“I dunno. It’s why I came here. I want to find him. I have to find him.”

“Are you sure you want to do that? You left him high and dry at the loft this morning, no doubt he took a dim view of that.”

“You took me by surprise, that’s all. He... he knows I’m loyal, he’ll forgive me. He knows I’ll do anything for him.”

Lucifer leaned in closer. “Why? What’s in it for you?”

A tiny smile lit Gump’s face. “Eternal life. He promised to make me immortal.”

Lucifer laughed in derision. “And whatever makes you think he could deliver on that promise? Or that he would even if he could?”

The large black man replied placidly, “Because he’s Cain, the first murderer. He’s walked the Earth for thousands of years and he’s not scared of anything. You can’t kill him, he’s immortal.”

Maze and Lucifer shared a look and rolled their eyes.

The mobster smiled dreamily. “I’ve seen it. People have tried, and failed. He just comes back again and again and gets rid of anyone in his way. You’re gonna regret screwing with him, just like all the others.”

Lucifer was curious. What did this deluded fool mean about Cain making him immortal? He stepped closer. “Right. So Pierce is Cain, cursed with immortality, yadda yadda. That would result in you becoming immortal how, exactly?”

Gump spoke almost reverently. “When the time comes and I’m worthy, he’ll kill me. And grant me the Gift of Eternity.”

Lucifer snorted loudly, breaking the trance and making the big man jump.

“What a load of tosh! If he killed you you’d be dead! The only eternity you’d see is your punishment in Hell!”

The man shook his head and retorted defiantly, “You’re wrong. He knows how to do it. He told us. He knows things. Ancient rituals like summoning and binding spells. Carroll used one to trap you in that coldroom…”

Lucifer and Maze both perked up at that; he must be talking about the decoy Sinnerman.

“...and it worked. You couldn’t break out of there because he put a spell on it.”

Lucifer pursed his lips. Well he couldn’t disagree with that, since he in fact hadn’t been able to punch or fly his way out, or even break down the door. And now that he thought about it, Sinner-phony had gloated that he’d used ‘a little something extra to hold the Devil.’

Damn it.

Lucifer growled, “Did that interfering twat Constantine tell him how to do it? He’s like a bad penny, that one, always turning up. As if he wasn’t in enough trouble already...” And as if he didn’t know the one thing guaranteed to piss off the Lord of Hell was trying to coerce or constrain him in any way...

The man shook his head. “I dunno who that is, but he don’t know shit about the occult compared to Cain. He’s the real deal, cursed by God Himself.”

Lucifer had a sudden thought and leaned in toward him. “Is that why this bogus Sinnerman tried to get me to kill him? He murdered my favours just to piss me off then tried to goad me into taking revenge by taking his life. He kept going on about how ‘it had to be me’.”

The man’s lip curled. “That goddamn double-crosser. Carroll was Cain’s right hand man, hell, Cain raised the son of a bitch like he was his own son but he turned on us. Said he was getting too old, that Cain shoulda given him the Gift already, but nobody tells Cain what to do. So Carroll used what he knew to try and get it from you instead. But Cain found out and put him down first.”

Lucifer grimaced. Cain had been an exceptionally gifted liar, that much was certain, no doubt from untold centuries of practise. What better way to manipulate his followers than to use proof of one thing to falsely prove something else? Combine the kernel of truth that he was in fact immortal with the enormous, bald-faced porkie that he could somehow bestow that immortality on a chosen few who proved their devotion?

He’d set up a nice little cult with himself as the almighty leader, and with his disciples willing to do anything on his say-so. Lucifer swore under his breath.

Happy, Dad? Cain exploited these unsuspecting mortals, put himself and his ‘power’ above them so he would be worshipped. He got the idea from you, no doubt. The arrogant prick committed the first murder in your beloved creation and your idea of punishment was to set him loose in it with a get out of Hell free card? Nice one. Better he’d been safe in a Hell loop unable to cause suffering to anyone but himself. You should have left his comeuppance to the professionals, namely moi .

Gump looked like the weasel who got the cream. “He went crazy in the end, and Cain put him down like a rabid dog. Just like he’ll find out where I am and come put you down.” He smirked defiantly. “We know Decker makes you killable. It’s just a matter of time, and Cain’s got all the time in the world.”

Lucifer took a threatening step toward him. “You little-”

Maze hurriedly moved in front of him, deferentially lowering her head. “Please, my Lord, permit me?”

Lucifer was momentarily taken aback at the demon using his old title, but upon seeing the sinister smile on her face he realised she had something in mind. Far be it from him to stand in the way of his most gifted torturer doing what she did best, so he stepped back and graciously indicated she go right ahead.

Maze sauntered over to the man, licking her lips and quivering in anticipation. She had been studying him with an expert eye and realised this was no mere gangster or hired mercenary, this was a zealot. She had seen countless fanatics in Hell over the millennia, those who had committed unspeakably evil acts in the name of their cause, whatever it was, all with the deluded belief that they were righteous and therefore untouchable.

Their strength was predicated on faith which was harder to snuff out. Until that faith was extinguished, Lucifer wouldn’t be able to use his desires against him. She knew exactly how to break him, though, and it was going to be so much fun .

She placed her hands either side of him on his chair, then said flatly, “A matter of time, huh? Is that so.”

The big man returned her gaze levelly, a patronising smirk on his face. “Yeah. He’s gonna kill you, your little doctor friend, your roommate and her little brat too. You can’t stop an immortal. Nobody can.”

Maze said nothing, merely held his gaze, her eyes as hard and pitiless as obsidian. With a sneer she finally straightened, turning on her heel and disappearing into the adjoining room. Shortly she reappeared, dragging Cain’s greyed corpse unceremoniously across the floor behind her by a foot. Despite the huge difference in size she picked it up with ease and threw it bodily into a chair.

Lucifer chuckled with approval. “Oh we know he was immortal. Emphasis on the was .”

Without preamble Maze lashed out and slapped the corpse across the face. Hard. “Wake up, asshole! Your boy here wants to talk to you!” She backhanded Cain with even more force and his head rocked to the side, causing him to topple over. The henchman flinched hard when Maze grabbed a handful of Cain’s short hair and yanked him back upright, and stared, agape, at his boss’ unseeing blue eyes, where an opaque film had already clouded them over. And that the corpse had begun to stiffen was apparent in the way that the crushed right hand had its digits bent and fixed at queasy, unnatural angles.

Maze made a show of waiting, put her ear close to Cain’s mouth then said mockingly, “What? Didn’t quite catch that.” She laughed in sadistic delight at the horrified expression on Gump’s face then let go of the corpse’s hair so he flopped back down.

Gump shook his head slightly and stammered, “He - he’s gonna wake up. He always does…”

They all looked at the deceased who did a slow slide to land on his face on the floor.

Several seconds later Lucifer chuckled, then said with complete insincerity, “Hmm. The invincible immortal Cain shouldn’t be bothered by a mere dagger through the heart, should he? Goodness, he should be right as rain by now! As Monty Python once said, ‘it’s only a flesh wound!” He snickered. “Although I must say, if he is playing possum hats off to him because he’s got to be the first person I’ve ever seen actually able to induce rigor mortis. Now that is true commitment to one’s craft, don’t you think?”

Gump started to shake his head in frantic denial, eyes wide. “But it’s not possible, he can’t be dead! He can’t die!

Lucifer’s voice was sultry with vindictive relish. “He can , and he did . You see, you missed quite a bit after you scarpered from the loft. Show him, Mazikeen.”

Maze flicked out her blade and twirled it back and forth in her victim’s face, shivering in obscene pleasure as she scented the sharp tang of his fear. His Adam’s apple bobbed furiously as he gulped, fidgeting nervously, his gaze torn between his dead leader and the evil-looking blade slashing the air near his throat.

“See this?” She murmured. “It’s made of demon steel, forged in the bowels of Hell. It can kill anything, including him.” She jerked her head at Lucifer then leaned in close, whispering, “And you know who he is.”

The henchman’s eyes darted to Lucifer, who was looking back at him with an air of watchful anticipation, like a cat waiting to see if a mouse will bolt.

“If God’s own son can be vanquished by Hell-forged steel,” the demon murmured breathily into the man’s ear, “What makes you think some human merely cursed by Him could survive it?” At the dawning horror on Gump’s face Maze felt arousal pulse low in her belly.

“Your false god has forsaken you,” she hissed spitefully, and with eyes half-lidded, stepped back to yield her prey to her former master. Lucifer advanced slowly on their victim with an air of almost palpable menace. Maze sighed wistfully. Sometimes I really miss the good old days .

Lucifer spared a glance for the body on the floor then pinned his quarry like a cobra sizing up its prey.

“Cain can’t save you - he couldn’t even save himself,” he said contemptuously. “So despite all of your ridiculous notions about cheating death, you will die. That’s not even the best part; you know what awaits you, don’t you?” The henchman swallowed with difficulty, his face a sickly grey colour. Lucifer smiled, but the glint in his eyes was cold and merciless.

“Your not-so-mighty, not-so-immortal leader has been in Hell for centuries by now, tormented by his worst fears, the most nightmarish suffering he could conceive of. And after his long life, I’ve no doubt he can conceive of quite a lot.” The cold smile disappeared, his voice deepening to a growl and his irises igniting into blazing hues. “Make no mistake, unless you choose redemption you will follow him.”

Gump stared in slack-jawed horror as Morningstar’s features melted away into a twisted wreck of scorched flesh. He felt a blast of heat so intense he felt his skin blister and peel and his stomach dropped sickeningly as the floor beneath his chair gave way. Roiling flames closed over his head as he plummeted into a seething abyss and flesh began to roast from his very bones. And through his agonised screams he heard the voice of the Devil reverberating in his head.

It’s true what they say… confession is good for the soul…

-----------------

Maze and Lucifer watched in amusement as Gump screeched like a trapped cat, heaving frantically at his bonds, then dissolved into tears, begging for mercy and promising to tell them anything they wanted to know.

Lucifer straightened, then sighed contentedly, adjusting his cuffs. It’s lovely to be back, he thought. It was nice to know he still had it, it being the ability to induce sphincter-loosening hallucinations in those who deserved it.

“Detective, you can question him now…” He turned to face Chloe but she wasn’t there. He looked around but couldn’t see her anywhere. She was gone.

“Detective?”

Bugger.

 

Chapter Text

Chloe found a little corner away from the interrogation to head off the panic attack and breathe .

And quickly call Linda, Olga and Dan; to warn Linda, to check on Trixie, and to ask Dan to go get their daughter and take her someplace safe.

He’s gonna kill you, your little doctor friend, your roommate and her little brat too, he’d said.

They know about Trixie. While Pierce was dating me, he told his goons I had a kid. The depth of his betrayal made her want him alive again, just so she could kill him herself. Fear squeezed like a fist inside her as she remembered the helpless terror when Trixie had been taken by Malcolm Graham. She couldn’t allow her job to risk her daughter’s life again.

When Olga reassured her Trixie was home and everything was fine she was so relieved tears sprang to her eyes. She asked Olga to take Trixie to her apartment in the other wing of the complex until Dan came to get her, just to be on the safe side. The elderly woman had been surprised at first, and grumbled a little, but agreed.

Chloe’d had to talk fast on the phone with Dan as she couldn’t yet tell him how or even what she knew, or even what she was doing, but she had to make sure their little girl was kept safe. Dan, like her, had learned to trust her instincts over the years and she knew he’d get home as soon as he could.

'Gump' had probably been talking out of his ass anyway.

The final blindside from the questioning she knew was the truth, though.

We know Decker makes you killable.

When Lucifer had told her about celestial metaphors being real the vulnerability thing had kind of been buried in the avalanche of everything else. But what it apparently meant was that when Lucifer wasn’t with her he was un killable. Invulnerable. Immortal . Bullets, poison gas, nothing could hurt him. But when he was with her, they could. He was as mortal as she was.

And yet he had chosen to remain her partner, to put himself at risk every single day they worked together. She remembered with a jolt what had happened in the hangar with Malcolm.

He’d shot Lucifer, point blank, in the stomach. Her partner had fallen to the floor, bleeding all over the place. He’d stopped moving and she’d been sure he was dead. Then hey presto! He’d gotten back up and distracted Malcolm long enough for Chloe to reach her gun and put four bullets in him.

Lucifer had told her afterwards he’d died, then gotten better. Later, she’d known it wasn’t a vest and blood packs like Amenadiel claimed, but she’d decided not to test the blood sample because she also hadn’t believed it really could’ve been his blood. How could it’ve been, when he’d been standing right there in front of her, totally fine, with only a bloodied hole in his shirt? That whole thing - she hadn’t known what it was but she’d been so sure of what it wasn’t . So she’d found it easier to just remember that she trusted him, and to stop thinking about it.

But now, since she’d realised Lucifer had always told her the truth, she knew that’s what had really happened; he had actually died. Then gotten better. So, he was vulnerable around her, but dying still didn’t stick? Even the angel thing didn’t help that one make any more sense. She rubbed her temples. She could really do with that beer with Linda right about now.

And on top of all that, she’d been confronted with sides of Lucifer and Maze that she’d never seen before. Not like that. She knew who they really were, about their predilection for punishment and their disregard for the dead, and yet she’d been shocked at the cruelty they displayed as they tag teamed a sadistic torture, all without drawing a single drop of blood. They performed it so elegantly, so expertly, so completely devoid of compassion or empathy that it truly was inhuman, and if she was completely honest with herself, sickening to watch.

But Lucifer’s the Devil, and Maze is a demon. Punishing the guilty is literally their job. Their God-given right , even! And she had to admit using Pierce to get the guy to talk had been a damn effective interrogation tool.

So torture isn’t wrong when the Devil does it, right? Right? She was crazy trying to apply human sensibilities to celestial beings. Linda had warned her about this - things are done differently in their world and she had to choose whether or not she could be part of it.

She could still hear the echoes of the man’s frantic screams as Lucifer leaned in and showed him… whatever it was he did that made the bad guys scream like that. It can’t have just been his face, surely? Seeing it for herself had shocked her to her core but the thug and all the others had been terrified ; Jimmy Barnes had ended up a screaming lunatic in a padded cell, a danger to himself and others.

Lucifer’s always done this, she reminded herself . This is nothing new. You just have a new perspective now on what it actually IS that he does . He only ever does it to the guilty, and it somehow makes them want to confess. Perhaps he literally puts the ‘fear of God’ into them. By scaring the hell out of them.

She’d always half turned a blind eye to it but trusted that whatever it was, Lucifer would only do it to those who deserved it. He was a good man and wanted to protect the innocent, just as she did. Even if he kept telling himself and anyone else who’d listen that he really didn’t care, and that he was a monster.

“Detective?” She heard him calling her. He sounded worried.

“Over here, Lucifer.”

Lucifer appeared from around the corner. He heaved a sigh of relief when he saw her, then fussed with his cufflinks and gave her a sheepish look. “Apologies, Detective. I sort of… forgot you were there. I thought I’d well and truly scared you off this time.”

“No, no, I’m okay, I just needed to call Linda and Dan and check on Trixie.”

Lucifer frowned in confusion, then his expression cleared. “Ah yes. Gumpy did threaten the Spawn, didn’t he?” He added reassuringly, “All piss and wind, Detective. Cain can’t do a thing to any of us any more, and we’ll have rounded up all of his minions before long.” He looked more closely at Chloe and added doubtfully, “Is that the only reason you left?”

Chloe met his gaze and answered truthfully, “No. I’ll admit it did get a little too… intense for me back there so I thought I’d just stand back, let you do your thing.” At Lucifer’s uncertain look she pushed on bravely, “I’m okay. I’d be a massive hypocrite wouldn’t I, if I suddenly started getting upset at you for scaring the shit out of suspects just because now I kinda understand how you do it.” Then she amended, “At least, the ‘what’, if not the ‘how’, exactly.” A shy smiled lifted the corners of her mouth. “Judging by the screaming, I’m guessing it went well?”

Lucifer visibly relaxed. “Perfectly. He’s all ready for you now.” Then he added hurriedly, “Ah, just let me go move Cain back out of the way first…”

Chloe reached out and lightly touched his arm. “Thanks, partner.” She said it like they were in an old-time western. Pard-nuh .

He beamed at her and gave her one of his endearing little half bows. “You’re welcome, Detective.”

-----------

While Chloe questioned a tearful but very helpful Gump (actual name Clyde Benoit) the angels followed Maze to Cain’s latest centre of operations. It was a dark and dismal rabbit warren of a place with dank concrete floors and corridors leading off in all directions. An assortment of mismatched white lamps dangled from overhead pipes, trying to inject a little light and warmth into the place and failing miserably. It emanated a confined, oppressive vibe and Lucifer hated it instantly.

Rusted pipes threaded the low ceiling and walls leading only Dad knew where, perhaps to the enormous red cast iron tanks that peppered the space. One room sported a flat screen TV and a hideous, grubby-looking sofa while the adjoining one seemed to be the main area of operations. Several banks of TV monitors covered the wall and a number of desks bore computers, modems and other tech, with thick bunches of cables and leads snaking off into every corner of the dimly lit room.

Not even wannabe industrial chic, it looked like a frat house for Home Depot. Spartan, utilitarian, cold and soulless. Lucifer shuddered; if home is where the heart is, no wonder Cain had wanted to off himself.

Maze led them to where she’d been held captive. Apparently she’d interrupted a poker game during her fight for freedom; a flipped card table and a dozen bloodied corpses lay scattered across the floor amongst betting chips and drink cans. It was seedy and dingy and smelled like stale beer, gun oil and death.

Lucifer stepped carefully over the bodies, turning to face Maze with an amused nod at her handiwork.

Maze looked impassively back at him and deadpanned, “They said I wasn’t that scary.”

Lucifer laughed, knowing Maze never took such insults lightly. Pity the poor bastard who impugned Mazikeen of the Lilim’s demon cred.

While he was looking over at the TV monitors on the wall he suddenly noticed the hundreds of rocks of all different shapes, sizes and colours that lined every available surface in the large room.

“What’s with all the rocks? His family portraits?” Lucifer snarked. “I must say the resemblance is uncanny.”

Maze shrugged. “Beats me. He has ‘em at his house too, maybe it’s some kinda-”

Lucifer suddenly barked, “Hands off!

Surprised, she looked up at him but he was glaring at Amenadiel behind her, who had a revolver in his hands. They watched him hastily drop it back on the floor.

Lucifer continued, “We need to clear the place of any indication of supernatural goings-on but unless you want to be mistaken for one of Pierce’s goons in the process, don’t touch anything with your bare hands.” He pulled out his pocket square and flapped it meaningfully at Amenadiel, who crouched down and sheepishly swiped the gun clean of his fingerprints with a corner of his robe. Then he noticed that the big dead guy on the floor next to him was wearing a pair of black gloves so he stole them.

Maze retrieved her jacket from where she’d discarded it when fighting Cain, put it on, and pulled a pair of leather half-finger biker gloves from the pocket. As she did so, she saw Lucifer head toward the computer terminals and called out, “Don’t bother. I’ve been here before and snooped already. Cain was old school – “

Lucifer retorted in a bored tone, “Indeed. The oldest!” but turned and sauntered back, looking at Maze expectantly. She continued her impromptu orientation.

“He didn’t keep anything personal on computer, including favours. Those are all for remote access to security monitors and law enforcement databases, tracking their marks, tapping phones, that kinda thing. They hack into the FBI too, and Interpol.” Maze pointed. “See? Live feeds.”

Lucifer looked at a screen on the far right of the wall and realised with a flash of anger they were from cameras inside the station, including the Detective’s and Daniel’s desks.

“He has audio too; must’ve bugged the place when he first moved in.”

“Anything in the interrogation rooms?” Amenadiel asked worriedly.

“Nah. He already had access to interview transcripts.”

Amenadiel heaved a sigh of relief; he and Lucifer had had more than a few top secret conversations and angelic bust-ups in those rooms.

“There’s nothing out here that your dad wouldn’t want humans to find.” Maze headed for a smaller structure built into a far corner of the huge room, some kind of manager’s office. “In here , on the other hand...” She gestured at the door. “I haven’t had a chance to poke around in here yet. Do ya mind…?”

“Very well.” Lucifer strode up to the door and put his hand on it. Nothing happened. He frowned and tried turning the door handle. It again refused to open, but this time there was a loud electrical crackle and fat sparks flew from his fingers. He swore and flapped his hand furiously.

“Barrier spell! The prat was paranoid even in his own bloody hideout.” Lucifer gestured encouragingly to his brother. “Here, Amenadiel, you reckon you’re the strongest, why don’t you give it a go?”

Amenadiel approached the door, intending to break it open. But as soon as his fist made contact there was a deafening crack and an explosion of sickly green light and the angel was hurled backwards clear across the room to smash into the flatscreen TV. He landed on the floor with a grunt, shards of black glass showering down around him.

Lucifer turned back and pouted at the door. “Shit.”

Amenadiel huffed impatiently and picked himself up out of the wreckage on the floor. “Shouldn’t any spells he’d cast have mostly dissipated now he’s dead?”

“You’d think, wouldn’t you. I suppose that means somebody else cast it.” Lucifer nodded decisively, turning to leave. “Right. I’ll go get him.”

“Wait, wait, wait just a minute, Luci,” urged Amenadiel. Lucifer paused, watching as his brother walked back over to them, unhurriedly brushing glass from his robes. “What are you planning on doing? Throwing him through the damn thing?”

Lucifer replied sarcastically, “Well we are rather past the point of asking him nicely, Brother.”

Maze scoffed, “You’ll splatter his brains all over the room. While I’d normally pay money to see that, I thought this was supposed to be a stealth operation. Decker won’t like it.”

Chloe walked into the room. “I won’t like what? And what the Hell was all that noise?” Of course the first thing she noticed was the smashed TV and she rounded accusingly on Lucifer. He innocently shook his head and pointed at Amenadiel.

Amenadiel shrugged apologetically. “Sorry. We’re trying to get into this room, but it’s been powerfully warded against us.”

Chloe shook her head slightly in confusion. “‘Warded’?”

Lucifer nodded. “Yes. Cain put a spell on it to repel celestial beings. Arcane magic. I can’t even kick the door down, never mind unlock it.” He huffed angrily. “Slippery bastard.”

“Really? Magic?” She must have sounded skeptical because Maze snorted.

“Decker, you’re literally standing in a room with a demon, the Devil, and an angel. Is the existence of magic really such a stretch?”

“No, I believe you, it’s just…” Chloe glanced at it. This is nuts. It just looked like a regular door!  “What if I gave it a shot?”

Lucifer blanched. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Chloe frowned. “Why the hell not? I kick doors in all the time. And I’m not a celestial being.”

Lucifer squirmed. “No, but…”

Chloe’s breath caught in her throat. “‘ But’? There’s a ‘ but’ ? But what?!”

Lucifer hesitated. “Well the fact of the matter is, Detective – “

Amenadiel spoke firmly over him. “She is human . Not celestial. So she’ll be fine.”

Lucifer objected, “Surely we can’t take the chance, Brother – unlike you, the Detective wouldn’t survive getting blasted into an appliance. I’ll just go fetch Cain...”

Amenadiel held out his hands placatingly. “Trust me, Luci. This particular spell is ineffective on humans...”

Chloe ground her teeth together. The nerve of those guys, talking about her as if she wasn’t standing right here. What was Lucifer trying to do, wrap her in cotton wool? She was a cop , damn it. And she was a cop long before he came along.

While they were busy arguing she walked up to the door, planted her left foot, shifted her weight just so, and drove her right bootheel into the lock. The door flew inwards, hitting the wall inside with a satisfying crunch. She strode in, pulling a pair of nitrile gloves from her jacket pocket.

Before she’d gone two steps into the darkened room she heard a high pitched beeping noise start up from a brightly-lit keypad on the wall. To her horror, she also saw that on the LCD display above it a countdown had started.

4…3…2...

She whirled to face the others, her face stricken. “Oh crap, I think it’s rigged to…

blow…what the-” Chloe felt a sudden dizziness, no doubt from moving instantaneously from a standing position to flat on her back on the floor. Any further thoughts on the subject were drowned out by a sound like a freight train thundering directly over her head, so loud and heavy it reverberated like a solid thing through her entire body. She felt a pressure as though she was being squeezed like a tube of toothpaste and her ears popped. The floor shook beneath her.

Then it stopped just as abruptly as it had begun.

She became aware there was a weight on top of her and in her disorientation started to fight it.

“Settle down, Detective, it’s alright…”

Her ears were ringing so much she could barely hear, but she realised it was Lucifer and stopped struggling. He was half lying over her, shielding her with his body, with his wings mantled around both of them to form a faintly glowing feathery cocoon. Chloe stared, wide-eyed, up at him, his face illuminated by the wall of ragged feathers that encircled them.

“What…” Then her brain caught up. “Amenadiel stopped time again, didn’t he?”

“He did indeed. It seems Cain booby trapped the place against human as well as celestial trespassers. No doubt to destroy all evidence of his operation - could be why we haven’t seen any minions hanging around.” He reconsidered for a moment. “Aside from Gumpy that is, but perhaps he didn’t know about it - he seems a bit of a nob.”

“A bomb.” Chloe clenched her hands to stop them from shaking. She was glad she was already lying down because she was pretty sure her legs wouldn't be able to hold her at this point.

“Yes. Well, bombs , plural. Four, to be precise, at strategic points around the place.”

“But they detonated, I heard the explosion! And felt it! How come we’re not dead?”

“There was a little bit of detonation; Amenadiel stopped time the instant they were set off,” Lucifer explained. “So we could locate them. Then it was just a matter of taking them somewhere else to finish blowing up. I just had to get you down and shield you from a teensy bit of the initial blast wave.”

Holy shit. What did that mean? It sounded like she’d been less than a second away from getting blown up. She decided very quickly that she didn’t want to think about it.

“But… didn’t you just finish telling me I made you vulnerable?”

“You did make me vulnerable. Well, still do, but Linda - and Amenadiel too, I suppose - made me realise I have a degree of conscious control over it, just like I have over my appearance.”

Chloe slowly let out a shuddering breath, Lucifer’s comforting presence helping her thrumming pulse to wind down. “Thank you, Lucifer. That’s twice today that you’ve saved my ass from getting shot and/or blown off.”

Lucifer shifted his body slightly, resting his chin in his hand so he could better see her face, then said teasingly, “Your arse is a work of art. I consider saving it as performing a valuable public service.”

Chloe snorted and rolled her eyes, but couldn’t help the frisson that ran through her. This felt a bit like… pillow talk. On a concrete floor in an immortal mob boss’ hideout, a hint of plastic explosive in the air...

Chloe was suddenly very aware of how close Lucifer was, and how comfortable his warm weight felt half sprawled across her. Still spiked with adrenalin, she gave a nervous laugh and her mouth started running of its own accord. “So much for me being the experienced one. Busting in here like Rambo without a jockstrap was really stupid.”

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, Detective,” Lucifer replied placidly. “We didn’t suspect anything either; Cain was a cunning one, alright. But you got us in here and there’s no harm done. Besides, I do far worse far more often when it comes to 'blowing' things...”

Just then they heard Amenadiel clearing his throat followed by Maze’s half-amused, half-irritated drawl. “You guys gonna stay in there all night?”

Lucifer let out a resigned sigh. “The grindstone beckons...” and his warmth along her side disappeared as he rolled away. His wings retracted with a soft rustling and harsh overhead lights were suddenly shining right in her eyes. Chloe squinted up and saw Maze and Amenadiel looking down at her. Lucifer courteously helped her stagger to her feet then fastidiously brushed himself down.

Maze eyed her warily. “You alright, Decker?”

Chloe nodded briskly. “Yeah. Bit rattled, but okay.” Legs feel like they’ll give way any second, but okay. The adrenalin flooding her system had her shaking like a leaf, so she wobbled over to the nearby computer to sit down before she fell down.

She finally had a proper look around at the room Pierce had gone to so much trouble to protect. It was about 15 feet by 30 feet with sleek black filing cabinets lining all four walls. Three banks of them were higher than her head and the fourth ran below the window on the left side of the room. The window was barred and shuttered with Venetian blinds, and the loading bay beyond was dark with encroaching twilight.

Maze had already pulled open the first drawer of the cabinet by the window and was rifling through it. Lucifer scoffed.

“Filing cabinets? Bloody Hell, who even has filing cabinets any more?”

“Cops,” replied Chloe, snapping on her gloves and booting up the computer.

“Real estate agents,” added Amenadiel.

“Lux,” finished Maze.

Lucifer sniffed dismissively. “You’d think we were still in the Dark Ages making scratches on parchment.”

Chloe snorted, Lucifer’s familiar petulance helping her recover her equilibrium. “Says the guy who was there. And who only joined the 21st century by getting a cellphone less than six months ago.”

Lucifer nodded his head in acknowledgment of a fair point. “Touche.” Then he threw her a cheeky grin. “Seems like only yesterday, doesn’t it Detective?”

Maze waved vaguely at the computer. “Cain’s guys could hack into pretty much anything, so he knew the risks of keeping stuff on computer. As far as his favours and network of crooked cops went, looks like he stayed old school.”

Chloe tutted disapprovingly at the computer before her. “Speaking of hacking, Lucifer, does your ‘no lock can stop me’ mojo extend to security logins?” She gestured at the keyboard and huffed in frustration. None of her pathetic attempts at guessing the password had worked; S1nn3rm4n . 1mm0rt4L1. c4iN43vA. Just embarrassing, really.

Lucifer cocked his head thoughtfully. “Do you know what, I have no idea. I’ve never actually thought about it. Computers are still a brand new phenomenon as far as I’m concerned and the possibility never even occurred to me. I didn’t bother with the security keypad at the university that time, but maybe I could’ve...” He trailed off, walking around behind her and leaning one hand casually on the desk.

His hip lightly brushed her arm and as he placed his other hand on top of the computer console she could feel his warm breath tickling her neck. He was so close, he only had to turn his head slightly to the right to nibble on her earlobe...  

Stop thinking about it. Stop thinking about it.

“Try it now?”

Chloe cleared the password field and pressed RETURN. And bingo - they were in. Holy shit.

Lucifer straightened, chuckling. “Well how about that? You learn something new every day. Although I suppose it explains why I’ve never had a problem getting into your phone, Detective. Do you actually have a passcode?”

Chloe threw him a long-suffering look, also recalling the time he’d broken into her computer at work. Then she remembered the photo he’d uploaded for her desktop background and felt her face heat up yet again. As his hip once more inadvertently nudged her she was suddenly reminded of those incredible abs and very impressive... she shook her head slightly.

Do NOT finish that thought. Get back to work. For Go- goodness' sake.

She cleared her throat to cover her discomfiture and started scanning through the documents on the hard drive.

“Nice one, Lucifer, thanks. We might have to start loaning you out to Tech now.”

Lucifer scoffed. “Ugh, boring. Not interested, unless someone pulls a Terminator or RoboCop -type stunt and programs killer robots or something. That could be fun.”

Chloe giggled but kept her eyes glued to the screen. Lucifer started working through the drawers nearby, watching her with a soft smile on his face and trying valiantly not to backseat drive as she quickly sifted through the files on the computer.

Maze made short work of the first drawer and moved quickly onto the second. She let out a low whistle at what she saw inside. “Hell’s Bells.” She looked over at Lucifer and Amenadiel.

“Guys.”

“What?”

“You two might wanna come see this...”

Amenadiel headed straight over but Lucifer rolled his eyes. “Must I.”

“Yes.”

Lucifer grudgingly came over and said impatiently, “What is it?”

Maze swept her hand over the files in the cabinet. “Check it out. Files. On all of us.”

“Us?” Lucifer perused the labels on the files. “Oh! Yes, well Cain did mention early on that he was monitoring celestial activity on Earth, so he - what!?” Lucifer pulled out a thick file labelled with a familiar name and flipped through it. A moment later he exploded, “He even knew about Charlotte being Mum! How the Hell did he figure that one out?”

Chloe felt yet another wave of unreality wash over her, almost dizzying. Charlotte Richards had actually been Lucifer’s mom? A goddess? Not his stepmom? That didn’t compute at all . She’d been professionally acquainted with Charlotte for years, and even longer by her reputation at the department. She sighed. Like a series of tsunamis, every answer she got merely gave rise to even bigger questions behind it.

Fuck, Linda had warned her there was a lot to catch up on but this was getting beyond ridiculous. She didn’t have time to unpack it though, she just had to keep rolling with it. Rolling... tumbling end over end with barely enough time to get her feet under her before getting knocked down again.

The only anchor she had right now was the job. Focus on the job. Deal with everything else later.

She got up from the desk and joined the others at the filing cabinet. There were some unfamiliar names, but also thick folders on Lucifer, Mazikeen… ‘of the Lilim’? ‘Amenadiel/ Dr Canaan’? Pierce had done his homework.

“He’s been pretty high up the ranks in the police force for a while now, Lucifer. There’s not much that a well-connected investigator who isn’t worried about bending the law can’t find out once they put their mind to it. It’s probably why he became a cop in the first place.”

Lucifer nodded. “Well, yes I suppose you’re right. He was all the way over in Chicago, after all, when he heard about how you shot me and made me bleed. It’s why he came to Los Angeles. To see if you’d do the same for him, make him vulnerable, so he could die.”

“What?”

“Yes, he was quite over living by this point and wanted to be near you when someone killed him in the hope that you’d neutralise his immortality.”

Chloe felt no shock this time. Instead, a ball of pure rage flared to life in her gut. “So... that night he saved my life...?”

“Attempted suicide-by-proxy. After he’d put you in harm’s way in the first place, that is.”

The flare became a fireball. “That...fucking... ASSHOLE!” Chloe exploded.

That lying, manipulative piece of shit. ‘I couldn’t let anything happen to my best detective’ my ass , Chloe fumed. No wonder he’d changed his tune so quickly after that night, and why he’d then wanted to transfer out.

He hadn’t gotten what he wanted from her so he’d planned to just take off. Until he figured out something else he wanted from her, that is. That two-faced, using, narcissistic prick . Was all of it bullshit, despite what he’d said to her that final time on the phone?

She said through gritted teeth, “Was there anything real about him?”

“Well, he seems to have revealed himself to his followers,” answered Lucifer. “Probably not because he trusted them though; far from it. I think it was purely to manipulate them. He showed them miracles and then made promises in order to keep them on a leash, keep them loyal. All those millennia among humanity and he never cared for a single one. Well, except for you that is, which is what led to him finally losing his Mark.”

“What mark?”

“The circle on his upper right arm. It was the sign of Dad’s curse on him. He usually concealed it with tattoos, but finally rid himself of it when he decided to stop using you.” At Chloe’s mystified look he elucidated, “When he broke up with you.”

Chloe was speechless. She’d heard some doozies when it came to guys’ reasons for dumping her but ‘to get rid of a curse from God’ was certainly a new one.

She spluttered, “How did that work? What did breaking up with me have to do with lifting a curse?”

“It was a tiny but crucial act of selflessless which gave him a shot at redemption, and which proved he truly did care for you, Detective. Don’t blame yourself for believing the things he told you - I think he even believed them. But ultimately he cared more about himself. He was a self-centred, vindictive creature to the end with only the briefest spark of compassion to brighten his miserable existence.” He regarded her earnestly. “I shouldn’t be surprised that you brought it out of him; after all you do the same for me.”

Chloe heard the familiar self-disparaging tone in her partner’s voice and instantly leapt to his defence. “Lucifer, you’re nothing like him! You’re as different from each other as it’s possible to get. When you and me… didn’t work out I hoped Pierce was right for me, felt like logically he should have been, but deep down I knew he wasn’t...”

Digging through the filing cabinet Maze groaned. Ugh why WHY was everything about feels with these two lately? She needed to head off this nauseating conversation before they wasted any more time. She spotted an unexpected folder and fished it out, the corners of her mouth twitching in amusement, then slapped it hard into Lucifer’s chest.

Do you mind, Maze,” Lucifer muttered, catching the folder in surprise. Then he read the label. Instantly his dark brows slammed together and he quickly flipped it open. “Gaudium? That cheeky little sod! When did he go AWOL?”

Amenadiel looked over from the drawer he was diligently searching and raised his eyebrows. “Knowing him, probably not long after you did. I tried to tell you ages ago. Who knows how many of your demons have abandoned their posts?”

“According to Earth’s pre-eminent expert ,” answered Lucifer, smugly indicating the drawer, “Just the one.”

Amenadiel looked pointedly at Maze. Lucifer bristled. “I will have you know Mazikeen never abandoned anything.”

Maze looked surprised and pleased that Lucifer would defend her honour - so to speak - then he ruined it.

“I fired her.”

Maze shook her head in exasperation, pulled all of the celestial files from the drawer, and dumped them on the desk to take with them. Then dived into the next drawer. The quicker they got finished the quicker she could go on the hunt and work off a little frustration.

---------------------

Names. Lists and lists of names. People in police departments, federal bureaus, people all over the country. L.A. Chicago. New York. Washington. All over the globe . The Sinnerman network had infiltrated Interpol, foreign governments, multinational corporations. Cain had had his tentacles wrapped around people from all walks of life - judges and CEOs right down to gangbangers and nobodies.

Maze couldn’t help being a little impressed. Cain had given even Lucifer a run for his money; though he’d lacked the Devil’s power over desire, he’d been amongst humans a lot longer than Lucifer had and had used that time astutely.

Nearing the end of the final cabinet, a familiar name leapt out at her.

Benjamin Christopher Rivers.

“What the hell?” She quickly pulled it and had a quick look through. “Ohhh, right! This must’ve been what he was talking about...”

Chloe looked over from the computer screen. “What’s that? Who?”

Maze showed her the file. “Here - Ben Rivers! Remember him? The bounty I tracked down in Canada. He told me the scuzzy cop who set him up was just some bit player - what was his name again? Hernandez. No. Herrera. Rivers said a bunch of stuff about him being part of something bigger - he must be one of Cain’s people. You can use him!”

“We haven’t got time to go looking for Rivers, Maze.”

“Not Rivers, Herrera . And we know exactly where he is; safe in prison.”

“He didn’t say anything about this when we arrested him…”

“Why would he? Back then you didn’t know the right questions to ask him. Now you do, you can lean a little harder, maybe get him to take a plea deal. Bear witness to all this shit.” She patted the filing cabinets. “Should be easier now Cain’s outta the picture.”

Chloe nodded. Their case against Pierce and his crew was getting better by the minute. “Yeah. Good idea, Maze.”

Rivers had been cleared of the double homicide frame job, but as Maze skimmed the file she realised that if the cops found this they’d probably go after him again. Maze tucked his photo into her jacket then added the folder to the pile to take with them; she might give it back to him. Not that she needed an excuse to go find him again.

They scanned the rest of the recent folders and the occasional name was familiar;

Sam Gladis, the guy who’d kidnapped Lucifer. Joey Pileggi who’d been murdered then had his legs shattered. Frida Marquez who had been shot to death then strung up by her own hair. Maggie Cole, and the details of the car accident arranged for her roller derby rival. And most recently, Darren Hanson, the driver who’d been coerced to frame his own employer for Charlotte Richards’ murder. They were all here.

As well as, no doubt, connections to countless other, unsolved cases, or cases solved with coerced confessions and falsified evidence. Criminal Gangs division were going to have a field day. And Internal Affairs were going to have a collective heart attack.

Maze straightened. “Aside from the door, these weren’t secured. Anyone - well, anyone human - with the security code could’ve just come in here and accessed them.”

Lucifer scoffed. “Well it wasn't because Cain was a trusting soul. Arrogant tosser no doubt believed nobody in his outfit would ever dare cross him. And between his platoon of door bitches out there and the twofold protections on this room he was confident his secrets were safe.”

“That Carroll guy must've used this information to target the people you did favours for, Lucifer,” Chloe mused. “This is a huge operation. Carroll was trusted, but there were more deputies who could step up and do ‘Sinnerman’ activities while Pierce was busy pretending to be a cop.” Her lip curled with loathing as she remembered his crocodile tears over Charlotte. And busy pretending to give a shit.

“I think it’s safe to assume he told them everything. We already know from Benoit - uh, Forrest Gump - that he told them you’re vulnerable around me, and he knew Maze was a demon.”

Lucifer hummed his assent as he finished rooting through his final drawer, then gracefully stood up. “Mmm. Being underlings to an unkillable Biblical figure no doubt desensitised them to supernatural hooey; Gumpy and the others at the loft weren’t the slightest bit fazed by seeing my wings. None of them had any compunctions about blasting away at me with machine guns either.”

He nudged the pile of files to be confiscated and asked Maze, “Find any dirt on him? Anything for the X Files?”

Maze shook her head. “Not really. Lots of wills, presumably from past aliases, but no photos, IDs or personal stuff.”

Chloe piped up, “Nothing here on the computer either. He must’ve gotten very good at covering his tracks as far as his identities through the years.”

“He’s been covering his tracks for millennia ,” Lucifer replied. “I imagine staying hidden becomes second nature after that long.” He grunted. “Really though, what a waste of time, even for an immortal. I don’t know why he bothered.”

Chloe wondered for a moment if he was kidding, then realised he wasn’t. This was that angelic sensibilities thing again.

She said slowly, “Because human identities have a shelf life, Lucifer. We’re supposed to age and die. I know you guys haven’t been here that long but you understand the concept of mortality, right? If he’d kept the same name all this time, even moving around a lot, with information technology being what it is these days he may as well have carried a big sign saying ‘Hi, I'm Not Entirely Human’. You guys said your dad didn’t want proof of this stuff getting out, right? Well, if you’re planning on staying in LA people will eventually get suspicious. The fact you won’t age, your name...going around telling everyone you’re the Devil…someday it’s gonna come back and bite you in the ass.”

Lucifer chuckled. “Nobody believes me though! That’s what’s so bloody funny about it! I mean I don’t want to rub it in, Detective, but it’s taken you over a year to believe me and we’ve been working together on a near-daily basis.”

“But you’ve only been here six years, Lucifer. What about in twenty years’ time? Thirty? When you still haven’t aged? Everyone in LA knows you, they’ll notice. And I guarantee people will believe you then.”

Lucifer just looked at her - he really seemed to have never thought that far ahead. Amenadiel was more the methodical thinker and planner type but according to Maze he’d been tasked with getting Lucifer to go back to Hell. He'd probably figured they didn’t need a long-term plan for living on Earth.

Lucifer blinked, then flapped a careless hand at her. “Oh, why worry about that now , Detective. That won’t be for ages yet.”

She shrugged. For now, he had a point. They had far more pressing concerns.

Amenadiel asked, “What did you find on that computer, then?”

“Surveillance photos, footage, recordings. Of what seems to be his own people at this as well as other bases.”

Amenadiel nodded. “Makes sense he feared betrayal. Like they say; a dishonest man trusts no one. Not fully, at least.”

Lucifer glanced at his brother. “Oh dear; are we on there? Is Amenadiel’s big hallelujah entrance on there?” He glanced around warily. “Are we being filmed right now?”

Chloe shook her head. “No, there’s only one camera, in the operations area and luckily we haven't gone over there.” She added quietly, “You’re in the footage though, Maze.”

Maze perked up. “The fight from this morning?”

Chloe nodded soberly. “Yeah.” She didn’t know how to delete computer files in a way that tech wouldn’t be able to retrieve them, so the cops were going to find out that Mazikeen Smith had killed everybody out there. In an impressively efficient and gruesome variety of ways, too.

Maze grinned eagerly. “Can I get a copy?” She scampered around behind the desk.

Chloe blinked. “What?”

“I want a copy. What’s the resolution like?” She pulled out her phone.

Chloe stammered, “Uh, it’s really good. High definition.” She added pointedly, “And proof undeniable that you’re responsible for the body count out there.”

Maze’s delighted smile got even wider. “Awesome! I’ve never had a souvenir of battle that didn’t involve a whole lot of mess. Let’s see it.”

Chloe shook her head, nonplussed. “I don’t think you realise how bad this is, Maze… we’re talking twelve dead men here.”

“Eleven. One was a woman,” Maze added bluntly. At Chloe’s expression she rolled her eyes. “Don’t sweat it, Decker. Justifiable homicide. Self defense. Standing my ground. Take your pick.”

Chloe opened her mouth, then shut it again. She didn’t have Maze’s confidence. Twelve people. Twelve very nasty and dangerous people, but still. Twelve. Technically that made Maze a mass murderer.

Maze seemed to sense her doubt. “You saw what happened, right? The baseball bats, the knives, the Uzi? The big bald dude who bodyslammed me into the poker table then kicked the shit outta me? The bigger Mexican asshole who broke a chair over my head? Once I got free, those fuckers were determined to take me out. And if I still go to jail, so what? I could do with a little time off. Prison sounds like a spa retreat to a demon.” She shrugged. “Either way, I can go now, yeah? We’re done, and Barrow’s trail is getting cold.”

“Okay. But just know that we’ll have your back, Maze, whatever happens...”

“Yeah, yeah, I got it.” Maze vanished through the door.

Lucifer cleared his throat. “Okay, now that’s all sorted we do have one more job to do, then we’re done.” He clasped his hands together and said hesitantly, “Detective, you may not wish to be present for this, in light of what happened with Gumpy. I’ll just quickly make sure forensics knows Pierce was here. ‘Place him at the scene’, as you say. Avoiding that pesky camera, of course; Amenadiel can help there. Alright?”

“Uh… yeah? But you can’t leave the body, right? What are you gonna do?”

“Pierce is going to lend a hand. Two, even.”

At Chloe’s raised eyebrows he explained, “I saw it in a movie once. Se7en , with Brad Pitt? Kevin Spacey leads the police to his next victim by stamping his severed hand all over the crime scene.” Chloe’s eyes widened and he hastened to add, “Though of course we don’t need to go full Method on this, there will be no actual severing involved.” He sniffed. We’re not barbarians.”

--------------------

So while Chloe retraced their steps making sure they hadn’t left anything behind to contaminate the scene (she’d laughed at the absurdity of doing so, considering they’d just spent the better part of the evening tampering with evidence), Lucifer had fun dragging Cain around the headquarters gleefully stamping his fingerprints onto everything from filing cabinets to keyboards and weapons. When he attempted to take Cain into the bathroom, Amenadiel stopped him and said exasperatedly, “No one’s going to dust that!”

Lucifer protested, “I’m just being thorough.”

“I think we’re good, Luci. It’s time for us to go.” He eyed the corpse, sprawled inelegantly on the floor getting stiffer by the minute. “We’re done with him, right? Now what? I’m not putting him anywhere near Uriel.”

Lucifer pondered for a moment then grinned; he’d have the last laugh, and over Cain’s dead body. “I have the perfect idea. Drop him in a volcano.” He chuckled delightedly at the body at his feet. “Regrow that, you bastard.”

Amenadiel laughed too. “Fine by me.” He bent down and lifted Cain by the back of his belt, hoisting him easily off the floor, then carried him like an oversized denim and plaid handbag back to the main room. He gathered up the confiscated files with his other arm and unfurled his wings in preparation to leave.

“I’ll let Charlotte know how things are going.”

Lucifer nodded, a slight tightening around his eyes the only outward sign of emotion. “Right. Do that, and give her my… well… my regards, won’t you Brother.”

“I will.” And with a powerful sweep of his dark grey wings, Amenadiel was gone.

Behind him Lucifer heard Chloe mutter, “Nope. Still not getting any more used to that.”

He turned to face her. She was standing there slack-jawed, his old torn up shirt bundled under her arm. “Well you needn’t worry about me suddenly doing it all the time, Detective. I chose to be earthbound for five years and I’m quite used to getting around without the old feathery backpacks now. Besides, it’s a bit more hazardous in this day and age without Amenadiel’s ability to stop time.”

“I’ll bet.” She blew out a breath. “Time to call in the troops?”

Lucifer nodded. “Yes. And time for tea. I’m bloody ravenous!”

Chloe pulled out her phone and went to call dispatch, but before she could complete the action it rang in her hand, making her jump. It was Dan. She laughed as she answered the call. “Nice timing, Dan, I was just about to-”

“Chloe!” Dan cut her off, his voice hoarse; he sounded ready to lose it. Chloe’s stomach clenched in sudden apprehension and an icy hand ghosted up the back of her neck.

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s Trixie! Somebody’s taken her!”

Chapter Text

“What?!” Chloe gasped. Oh God Jesus no not again please no…

She felt a wave of lightheadedness wash over her and her senseless fingers nearly dropped the phone. She could barely hear what Dan said next.

“They got her here at Olga’s. Barely twenty minutes ago. Broke down the door and fucking took her...”

Chloe’s heart was jackhammering in her ears but she grasped desperately at Dan’s words. He took her, he didn’t kill her. Trixie’s alive.

“Olga,” She rasped. “Is Olga alright?”

“She’s okay, but the son of a bitch gave her a black eye ‘cause she put up a fight - tried to stab him with her knitting needles.”

“Can she give a description?”

“She already did - it fits Barrow." She heard Dan swear under his breath. "You told Olga to take Trixie to her apartment - how did you know they were coming?”

“I didn’t know! Like I told you, I just… had a feeling. We’ve come into some information and I think Barrow’s feeling cornered…”

Dan made a muffled sound like a half sob. “Oh, Christ, Chloe, the guy’s a stone-cold killer…”

Chloe could hear the barely restrained panic in her ex-husband’s voice and knew he was remembering how Barrow had tried to kill him. He was probably having flashbacks of Malcolm too. She wanted to scream but they couldn’t fall apart now...

“It’ll be okay, Dan, we’ll get Trixie back…”

Behind her Lucifer’s face showed the briefest flash of shock before his expression hardened. He turned on his heel and strode from the room.

Dan went on, clearly fighting to keep himself under control. “So it looks like Pierce got Barrow out of lockup and now they’re running scared. I got nothing from the shooters at the hospital, nothing on the BOLO yet, Ella’s still at the loft … have you found Lucifer?”

“Yeah, he’s- “ Chloe turned back to her partner only to realise he wasn’t there. Then she heard shouting back where they’d left Benoit and started running toward it.

Dan said urgently, “Chloe, get him over to the hospital! See if he can use his thing to get ‘em to talk, maybe they know where he’s taken her…”

Chloe interrupted, “Dan, we found another of Pierce’s guys, the fourth shooter from the loft. He’s flipped, and is willing to turn State’s Witness. We found him at Pierce’s headquarters - “ she rattled off the address of the factory, “ - on a tipoff from Maze, and we’ll need at least a couple of teams here ASAP. There’s multiple deceased, weapons, documentation, tech, the lot. And it’s big , Dan, we need to call in the big guns. The Feds, Homeland Security, hell I don’t know, even the goddamn CIA might want in on this. Let them sort it all out…”

She rounded the corner and saw that Lucifer had grabbed Benoit and hoisted both him and his chair clear off the floor. His irises were lit up like distant twin suns in the semi-darkness and he was bellowing furiously into Benoit’s face. “Where would he go? What other rocks do you cockroaches have to hide under?”

“I don’t know! I don’t know, I swear,” the big man blubbered. “I thought they’d come back here!” Lucifer dropped him back to the floor, cursing viciously in some guttural language Chloe didn’t recognise, and Benoit sat there meekly, his head down and eyes squeezed shut, apparently trying to make himself invisible.

Lucifer’s unearthly gaze turned on Chloe, but instead of fear she felt a sudden surge of hope. The Devil himself was on their side. And he was pissed.

Chloe heard herself say, “We’ll get her back, Dan. Maze is tracking Barrow right now. In the meantime send teams here. We’ve got to take these bastards down.”

“What - what the hell, Chloe, how-”

“Don’t worry about it now, Dan! Please, just get our people here!” She repeated the address of the factory, said goodbye and ended the call. Then dialed Maze.

The demon answered on the third ring. “Fucking Hell Decker, I said I’d call you...”

“Maze, Trixie’s been abducted; we think Barrow’s got her.” The fear came back full force, dragging icy claws through her guts. She couldn’t stop her voice from quavering.

Maze fell silent. Then hissed, “He took her from Olga’s, didn’t he.”

Chloe blinked in surprise. “Yeah. How -?”

Maze swore. “I just missed him. Ten minutes earlier and I would’ve had him. Shit!” She was furious that she hadn’t gone after him sooner. And now the Little Human was in danger. Damn it to Hell!

Chloe fought to keep her voice steady. “Much as I’d like to see that sonofabitch dead, we need him alive, Maze. Benoit gave him up as one of Pierce’s lieutenants - he knows everything about the Sinnerman operation. He could be the key to tearing the whole thing down.” Then her gaze locked on Lucifer’s and with a core of steel in her voice she added softly, “But if that bastard tries to hurt Trixie...”

Lucifer gave a little nod, understanding her willingness to protect her child at all costs.

Maze grunted in affirmation. “Got it. I’m on their trail. Don’t call me, I’ll text you when I’ve found her.” And she hung up.

Chloe took a breath and let it out slowly, her thoughts chaotic. Then she blurted, “Can Amenadiel get to her?

Lucifer shook his head, his eyes back to their usual dark brown. “He could, if only he knew where she was. And the likelihood of Beatrice randomly deciding to pray to her mother’s partner’s brother is slim to say the least. Maze is our best bet.”

“Then… maybe… could you ask Amenadiel to go get Linda, or to, I dunno, watch over her? When I called to warn her earlier she was going to head straight home.”

Lucifer nodded, placed his palms together and closed his eyes.

Chloe left him to it and paced. She was frantic to do something, but she couldn’t do anything. She just had to sit, and wait. They couldn’t even leave the scene until backup arrived - they couldn’t risk losing all of this evidence plus a valuable witness.

If she had any faith in God she probably would have prayed, but from what she’d heard about Him from Lucifer, she knew it’d be pointless. Instead, she took comfort from her faith in her friends; a demon, an angel and the Devil himself.

-------------------------

Cain’s house in the Hollywood Hills loomed in the darkness at the end of the long driveway, overlooking the distant lights of the city below. It was far enough away from the closest property that Barrow wasn’t worried about the neighbours, so he pulled his whimpering hostage out of the car and straight up the front steps.

“I wanna go home.” The girl’s voice was steady enough, but he could feel her shaking. Good. If she was scared she’d go on behaving herself. He knew Morningstar would probably set his demon after them; the girl was his insurance but he still had to hurry if he was going to stay ahead of her.

No one had seen or heard from Cain since morning; word was both he and Morningstar had disappeared after the ambush. Hopefully they’d killed each other. Either way, damage control had been put into action without him - Barrow couldn’t afford to sit around on his ass waiting for him to show up.

He banged loudly on the door. “You there, Boss? It’s me!” When several moments had passed without any response he impatiently raised his foot and kicked the door in. Once inside, he switched on a small flashlight and checked each of the largest rocks in Cain’s collection in the entranceway, letting each tumble to the floor.

He led the girl upstairs, closed the curtains and checked the specimens there too. Finally he found what he was looking for at the base of a large fossilised shell and breathed a sigh of relief. He flicked open his switchblade and prised at the shell’s base until a small plug of plaster fell out. He was just about to pull out the tightly rolled sheaf of papers he knew was hidden inside when he heard the girl gasp beside him.

“Maze!”

He whirled. A lithe dark figure was silhouetted in the glass door to the back garden and his blood ran cold. The demon had found him. She was already inside the room .

He grabbed the girl and lifted his gun.

“Don’t come any closer!”

--------------------

As Maze approached Cain’s house she saw torchlight shining through the louvred windows on the ground floor. After quickly texting Chloe she broke in the same way she had before and silently followed Cain’s flunky and his terrified hostage upstairs, waiting for her chance. When he pushed over the giant shell rock and started digging around at the base of it with his switchblade she made her move, moving silent as a wraith towards the pair while Barrow was preoccupied. Unfortunately, Trixie chose that moment to turn around.

“Maze!”

Instantly Barrow whirled and lifted his gun to Trixie’s head. The girl froze, her dark eyes fixed on the gun, and Maze scented the rush of her fear. In that moment she knew she was going to kill Barrow. She barely restrained a growl. The hardest thing about existing on this plane, in this fucked up corner of Creation, was seeing how the innocent were made to suffer along with the guilty. At least in Hell it was only the deserving who received punishment, and it was times like this that she wished more than anything she was back there doling it out.

Well tonight, Barrow, she thought fiercely, I’m going to bring Hell to you.

“Drop your knives. I know you’ve got ‘em,” growled Barrow.

Maze sighed and made a show of pulling several knives from various sheaths around her body, dropping them to the floor with a clatter. Trixie jumped at the noise, and Maze had to resist a strange and powerful urge to run to her.

“Let her go.”

Barrow scoffed. “I don’t think so. Not yet. Raise your hands and turn around.”

Maze did so, turning a 360 as well as shedding her jacket and tossing it on the couch. She also surreptitiously cracked her knuckles.

Trixie started whimpering softly.

Barrow shook her. “Shut up!” Trixie let out a terrified wail.

“Little Human! Look at me.” Trixie’s eyes dragged from the gun near her head and met Maze’s. The high pitched keening stopped, but when Maze saw the blank terror in the girl’s eyes she felt a righteous fury towards Barrow that she’d never felt in all her centuries in Hell. Even after all the time that had passed, and the new confidence from the fighting lessons Maze had been giving her, Trixie had only recently stopped having nightmares about Malcolm Graham. And now this asshole was going to bring all that shit back again. She wanted to hug Trixie tight with one arm while slowly and methodically tearing Barrow limb from limb with the other.

She bit back her rage and kept her voice gentle. “Trixie, everything’s gonna be fine, I promise.” She held Trixie’s gaze and held out her clenched fist. “No no touch touch swear.” She raised a scarred eyebrow, and Trixie’s eyes widened with first confusion, then understanding.

Maze nodded once, slowly, then smiled at her. She put her hand back up and said coldly to Barrow, “You’re gonna regret this.”

In a blur of movement she slid a demon blade from the hidden sheath at her back and a split second later it had crossed the room and buried itself deep in the wrist of Barrow’s gun arm. He screamed in pain, his hand opening uselessly, and the gun fell to the floor in a spatter of blood.

Now , Trixie!”

Trixie unleashed a rebel yell and threw her elbow as hard as she could into Barrow’s groin. He folded in the middle, emitting a sound like the whistle of a boiling kettle, both hands dropping to his bruised crotch, and Trixie wrenched free. She bolted straight to Maze, wrapping her arms tightly around the demon’s waist and trembling like a leaf.

Without taking her eyes from Barrow, Maze put her arm around Trixie’s shoulders and whispered tersely, “Good work, Little Human. Here.” With her other hand she pulled out her cellphone and handed it to her. “It’s alright, your mom’s on her way. Go downstairs and call her - she’s under ‘Granny Panties’. Do it now!”

Trixie gulped, her dark eyes huge in the dim light, then nodded and disappeared down the stairs, her sneakers squeaking on the steps. Maze’s eyes glinted with fury as she glared at Barrow. Just you and me now, deadmeat.

Barrow, on his knees, reached over and quickly scooped up the gun with his other hand to shakily point it at her again. He got to his feet and with a grimace pulled the blade out of his forearm. Then he held it up and panted, “Doesn’t matter, I don’t need the brat anymore now I got you.” He brandished the gun.

Maze smiled sweetly, but her eyes were as cold and lifeless as a shark’s. “If you like me you should just tell me.”

His ferrety little face darkened with anger. “I know what you did to my people, you crazy bitch. I owe you. And I can’t have you coming after me. Too bad you missed your chance to take me out.”

Maze snorted. “I never miss. I’m giving you a choice.”

“What choice?”

“If you say sorry and ask really, really nicely, I might take you in in one piece. Try to shoot me and the number goes up.” She added, more quietly but with feeling, “Please, try.

Barrow answered mockingly, “Yeah? Can’t see how you’re gonna do that, when I have a gun, and your fancy knife.” He cocked the weapon and aimed it at her head.

Instantly Maze’s left eye turned a cloudy grey and shrank back in a shadowed bony socket. Exposed, jagged teeth moved in the torn and rotted flesh of her cheek as she grinned with unholy delight and hissed, “Itssh a bhhlade ,” and opened her hand. Then several things all happened at once.

The demon steel wrenched itself from Barrow’s grasp and flew straight as an arrow back to her hand. Barrow fired reflexively and downstairs, Trixie screamed. The bullet whined past Maze’s temple and punched into the wall as she dived away. She rolled to a crouch, pivoted, and whipped her blade backhand at him over the top of the couch, the demon steel a blur as it sliced through the air. This time it embedded itself in his leg.

He screamed in frustration and fired again. “You fucking bitch! I’m gonna kill you!”

Maze laughed and dodged as a lamp and a large rock exploded into fragments behind her and again called her blade. Barrow swore and staggered backwards into the fireplace as it tore free of his flesh, drops of blood pinwheeling off it and speckling across Maze’s face when she caught it.

She heard Barrow swearing furiously and smiled, using his voice to pinpoint her target. The steel sang in the air as she hurled it back, this time burying it in his upper chest. He gasped and kept firing, grasping the blade with his free hand, but Maze was too quick. A well-aimed rock knocked the gun aside, and the demon moved unnaturally fast, leaping the couch and unleashing a flying roundhouse kick to his ribs. The air left his lungs in a whoosh and he flew sideways, crashing through the sliding door onto the back patio in a shower of glass.

Maze chuckled and called out to him, sensuality warming her tone. “I can do thisssh allll night…”

Barrow grunted in agony as the knife again pulled itself free and disappeared into the darkness inside the house. He sat up, shedding crumbs of tempered glass from his clothes, gun raised and searching for his target. He couldn’t see her. He blinked. She’d been right out in the open - where the fuck did she go?

“You tookh a hhhuman under our phrotecshhtion, Varrowhh,” he heard her hiss softly from the gloom. “Ssso foolishhh…”

Then Barrow heard a low growl that seemed to come from behind him . A sudden, instinctive panic gripped him and he lurched to his feet and turned to run. Before he’d limped two steps, though, he howled and went down again as her blade suddenly embedded itself in the back of his thigh.

He sobbed, “I wasn’t gonna hurt her, I just wanted to get out of town, I swear- ah fuck! ” The knife pulled itself free again. “Please…listen to me, she was just gonna be insurance while I got my shit together…”

“Don’t worry Varrowhh,” Maze called out, “I’m not trhhying to kill you. I want to havvhh my fun fhhirssst…”

Barrow raised his gun and strafed the windows behind him with bullets. The remainder of the glass panels shattered and fell, but he still couldn’t see her, even in the bright glare of the muzzle flashes. When his gun clicked empty he swore and threw it aside, but before he could pull his other one from his jacket the demon was on him.

She drove her fist into his face, breaking his nose and smearing it across his cheek. Blood spurted and Barrow cried out, raising his hands to protect himself, and Maze punched him again in the side of the head. Red starbursts exploded across his vision and he fell back to the ground, dazed. He felt her iron grip on the scruff of his neck and next thing he knew she was dragging him back inside the house. Whimpering in terror, he somehow managed to pull his second gun, but before he could do anything else the room turned upside down and he was airborne.

He crashed through the dining table, wood splintering beneath him and his gun spinning from his hand. Blood flowed into his eyes from a gash on his forehead but he struggled blindly to his knees, searching the floor desperately for his weapon with outstretched hands. Then he blinked his eyes clear and saw the demon silently watching him. He tried to scramble away, but his back came up against the balcony window. He wheezed and moaned at the pains that racked his body.

She moved soundlessly from the shadows, stalking him. As she moved into the faint light that filtered through the curtains above him Barrow thought he was going to piss his pants; she was looking at him the way a starving man would ogle a buffet.

A sibilant rasp came from the tattered ruins of her face. “I ssshould kill you.” She twirled her dripping blade over and over, the cloudy, pale eye in the demon half of her face unnervingly blank.

He was defenceless and he knew better than to expect mercy from a demon; she was gonna kill him. Eventually; he knew Mazikeen of the Lilim had been Lucifer’s chief torturer in Hell and she’d probably forgotten more about torture than even Cain had ever known. If only he hadn’t lost his gun, he could’ve put a bullet in his own head…

He knew begging was pointless and yet he couldn’t stop himself.

“Please... don’t kill me... I’ll testify! I’ll give you Cain… give you everything! I’ve got his List, I’ll give it up, I’ll tell you everything, just please don’t kill me…”

Maze crouched and regarded him coolly as he continued to yammer. She leaned closer, fist clenched tight on the handle of her blade and pressed her finger almost intimately to his mouth. He took the hint and shut up, staring into the disfigured demonic face inches from his own.

Maze’s torn lips drew back in a silent snarl. In her mind’s eye she saw Trixie, small and terrified with this man’s gun to her head. Barrow was the worst kind of human, a coward who preyed on the innocent, and he did not deserve to live. What he deserved was to be sent straight to Hell in tiny, bleeding pieces. Maze raised her blade...

“Maze?” Trixie’s timid voice came floating up the stairs.

Maze hesitated, and the blade’s descent halted. Then she growled and the blade flashed downwards again, but again stopped, just as the wickedly sharp tip broke the skin on Barrow’s neck. He gasped, his eyes squeezing shut, and cowered back against the wall.

“Maze? Are you there?” The little human was sounding more and more frightened.

Maze glared at her hapless quarry for a long moment, then grabbed him by the shirt and delivered a vicious headbutt, knocking him out cold. A moment later the human side of her face returned and she called out, “It’s okay, Little Human, I’m here. Just wait down there a minute.”

She quickly wiped and sheathed her blade, then tore off one of her bounty’s long sleeves and bound his forearm to staunch the bleeding. The other injuries she ignored; she’d only been playing with him. Then she dragged him into the kitchen and cuffed him to the refrigerator door.

“You can come up now,” Maze called. Trixie appeared at the top of the stairs, took in her unconscious kidnapper and the destruction of the room, then dashed to Maze and wrapped her arms tightly around her. She buried her face in the demon’s chest, taking great, shuddering breaths. Maze held her close with one hand and patted her a little awkwardly on the back with the other.

“It’s okay, Trix’. You’re safe now.”

Trixie raised her head, blinking furiously and trying very hard not to cry. Maze marvelled that a human so young could show such courage.

Trixie looked warily over at the body on the floor. “Is he dead?”

“Nah. Just unconscious. He won’t bother you again.” And then to Maze’s surprise and delight, Trixie walked over to Barrow and kicked him as hard as she could in the shin.

That’s for hitting Olga.”

Maze felt a rush of pride. “You tell him, Trix’.” She held out her hand and when Trixie took it she led her over to sit on the couch.

“You okay?”

Trixie nodded. There were no tears but she was still shaking with reaction as she clung to the demon’s side, and Maze felt at a bit of a loss as to what to say. She wished Decker would hurry up and get here, she’d do that mystical ‘mom’ thing and make everything better.

“I guess I can’t call you Little Human now, since you aren’t so little anymore. Maybe I could call you Little Demon instead. You sure fight like one.” She held out her fist to Trixie. “Knuckles.”

A shy smile spread across the girl’s face as she fistbumped her. Then she asked in a quiet voice, “If I was a demon would that mean I don’t have to be scared of anything anymore?”

Maze shook her head. “Even demons get scared, you know.”

The look Trixie gave her made it apparent that she didn’t believe a word, and that she’d be using one of the special words Maze had taught her if only her mother wasn’t so goddamned uptight about it.

“But you’re not scared of anything!”

Maze straightened a little. “That used to be true, not anymore. Now, there is one thing.”

Trixie’s eyes were enormous. “Really?”

Maze curled an arm around her and pulled her closer on the couch. “That I could lose you or Linda. The thought of never seeing you guys again, that is the worst thing I can think of. Especially…” she trailed off.

Trixie prompted, “What?”

Maze said slowly, forcing every word, “Especially... after all the mean stuff I said.”

Trixie gazed back at her silently, and she pushed on, “It scared me that I might never get to tell you I didn’t mean it. I was mad at a friend and taking it out on everybody else.”

“Mom gets mad at Lucifer all the time and she never calls me names.”

Maze flinched. Such brutal honesty cut her right to the quick, and the pain she felt at those simple words was not the kind she enjoyed. “Yeah, I know she doesn’t. I’m sorry.”

Trixie snuggled closer into her side, throwing an arm around her, and a comforting, if somewhat alien warmth bloomed in the demon’s chest.

Shortly Trixie answered, “Alright, I accept your apology." Then she added sternly, "But don’t do it again, okay?”

“I won’t.”

Trixie rested her head on Maze’s shoulder. “Why were you so mad at your friend anyway?”

“I told you about it, remember? You even gave me advice. The one who was sneaking around with Amenadiel behind my back and lying about it?”

“Oh I remember. But then you were gonna help them tell you the truth. Didn’t it work?”

“Yeah it did. She even apologised. And bought me a really cool present. But I kept punishing her because I was still mad. She’s my best friend and I never thought she’d betray my trust like that. We’re cool now though.”

Trixie hummed. “Yeah. I kind of did that to you, too. I didn’t wanna see you, even though I really missed you. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. I get it.”

“Did you say sorry to Daddy too?”

Maze shifted in her seat. “Not yet. I’ve got a bit of a list. Hurting you was an accident, but I was mean on purpose to pretty much everybody else. Especially Lucifer. But he sorta deserved it.”

“What did he do? He’s a big doofus sometimes, like when he calls me a ‘spawn’ or asks whether I need a leash when we go out. I mostly just ignore him, but sometimes he’s really funny.”

“He wouldn’t take me back to... home.”

Trixie replied dismissively, “Huh. But that’s a dumb reason to be mad. You can just catch an Uber and come home any time you want!”

Maze looked fondly down at the top of Trixie’s dark head. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. My bad.”

They heard the sudden rev of an engine in the driveway and saw the flash of blue and red lights against the backs of the curtains.

Maze quickly disengaged herself from Trixie and peeked out the window. “It’s your mom.”

Trixie cried, “Mommy!” and leapt up from the couch. She bounded down the stairs and out the front door, throwing herself into her mother’s arms before she’d taken two steps from the car.

“Monkey!” Chloe wrapped her arms around her daughter and hugged her tight, tears of relief spilling down her cheeks. She looked up and saw Maze watching them from the doorway.

“Thank you, Maze.”

Maze merely shrugged, a satisfied smile spreading across her blood-spattered face.

 

---------------------

 

The interview took place at Barrow’s hospital bed with him handcuffed to one of the railings. It was their third bedside interview that morning, after the two shooters from the loft had taken one look at Lucifer, still alive and decidedly pissed off, and decided to squeal louder than a stuck pig.

Barrow, though, had changed his mind about flipping now that he wasn’t being used as a human knife block. He probably thought he wasn’t implicated in the Sinnerman network since his name hadn’t been on the papers recovered from Pierce’s house.

“You’re a known accomplice of Lieutenant Marcus Pierce, allegedly the crime boss known as ‘The Sinnerman’, or ‘Cain’. We have you and your associates on charges including murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy and blackmail across a dozen states and that’s just domestic. I hear Interpol wants to get their hands on you as well.”

“Where’s your proof?” he jeered. “You’ve got nothing.”

“You seem very sure about that.”

Barrow shrugged. He either believed they hadn’t found the warded room yet, or that when they did, the evidence would all be lost in a raging inferno. He sat there with an arrogant little smirk on his face; Chloe would have the greatest satisfaction in wiping it off.

“We’ve got plenty. A whole room of it, actually,” she said with particular emphasis. Barrow’s smirk flickered uncertainly and Chloe suppressed a smile. “The bounty hunter Mazikeen Smith tipped us off. Remember her? She’s the one you tried to kill last night. You also held her captive at an old industrial estate in Hollywood. We investigated reports of a disturbance there yesterday evening, and it turns out there was a whole LOT of highly detailed evidence on your organisation’s activities just sitting there waiting for us to find it.”

The smile fell from Barrow’s face and his eyes widened in confusion. Chloe could almost see the gears turning in his head. “But the…” he caught himself, apparently thinking better of mentioning the explosives.

Lucifer smiled smugly, knowing exactly what the gangster had been going to say. “Your little ‘welcome mat’ went off, but unfortunately there was a hitch. Too bad for you that every detail of every one of your nasty little extortions is still present and accounted for.”

Barrow’s face went blank. “I dunno what you’re talking about.” He gazed expressionlessly at Chloe, then at Lucifer. And before he could look away, Lucifer leaned forward, skewering him with a look. The mobster tried to tear his eyes away, but it was too late; Lucifer had him.

Lucifer murmured, “You may have lied to Daniel but you can’t lie to me.”

Barrow’s face assumed a familiar mesmerised expression and he shook his head slightly. “No…”

“So tell me,” Lucifer purred, “What did Pierce promise you ?”

Barrow stared into Lucifer’s unblinking eyes for several moments, then mumbled, “Nothing.”

Lucifer cocked his head slightly. That was unexpected. He leaned closer, willing the man to tell him more. “Why follow him then?”

Barrow frowned, trying unsuccessfully to resist telling Lucifer anything. “He had dirt on me. I was nineteen, killed a cop during a robbery. Bastard tracked me down… made me work for him. I figured I’d bide my time, work my way up, and take over from him when he got whacked or had a heart attack or whatever, but I found out pretty quickly that wasn’t gonna happen.”

Lucifer snorted with mirth. “No, I suppose it wasn’t.”

Chloe threw him a look and Lucifer suppressed his laughter with a cough. He went on, “What is it you desire, then?”

Barrow’s mouth set in a cruel line. “I wanna run my own crew. No more of this hiding in the shadows bullshit playing at being some kinda boogieman. That was Cain’s M.O.; stay hidden, be anonymous, faceless, play the long game. I don’t have time for that, I want people to know my name. I wanna own this town.”

“So unlike apparently everyone else you didn’t believe he’d make you… “ Lucifer paused at Chloe’s elbow in his ribs, reminding him that they were recording the interview. He amended, “...That he’d give you any of his power, then?”

“Nah. He never gave any of us shit. Hoarded everything and still everybody worshipped the ground he walked on. So I didn’t buy it - I always knew he’d never share power like that. And when he killed Carroll that just proved it.”

Lucifer hummed in agreement. “Yes, Cain never was known for his generosity of spirit. Quite the opposite, in fact.”

So, despite having an immortal for a leader, this man’s desire was something far more pragmatic than dreams of everlasting life. Lucifer couldn’t decide whether he was disappointed by his lack of imagination or impressed by his single-mindedness. “So what was your plan, then?”

Barrow found himself unable to stop talking. “When he became vulnerable I organised a little ‘accident’ for him so I could step in and take over. But now I find out the jerk went and got himself killed first. Either way, he’s dead now, so I can-”

Lucifer let out a loud amused snort. “You were going to gank him?” Well, impressed it was. “His foster-brother-in-arms in his culty little crime family betrays and murders him… oh, how perfectly karmic that would’ve been…” He was almost disappointed that he’d been the one to kill Cain instead. Almost.

The Detective was giving him the look that he knew meant he needed to shut up about something. He subsided, but only for a moment, because he remembered something else that had long been bothering him.

“What about Mike Alonso?” He asked abruptly. “Your rat-faced hatchet man who killed Sam Gladis. We haven’t found any mention of him in your records, and yet he rather-too-conveniently showed up to take out the man Cain compelled to kidnap me. I just know you lot had something to do with Alonso killing Sammy… what was it?”

Barrow blinked slowly and shrugged. “Alonso isn’t one of us, he’s just some pissant little drug dealer. But Cain needed to throw you off his scent and Gladis was a loose end, so we just got Alonso high and told him we saw Gladis fooling around with his old lady. Crazy little tweaker took care of him for us and didn’t even know -”

Lucifer brought his hand down with a bang on the bedside table. “HA! I knew it!”

Chloe gave him her could you at least try to act a little bit professional look, but he just gave her a self-satisfied grin. “I wish I hated saying I told you so, Detective, but… I don’t.”

 

------------------

 

They were able to get what they needed from Barrow before the nursing staff came in to kick them out citing their patient’s need to rest. That was fine with Chloe; if she had to spend any more time with that vile excuse for a man she was likely to do something she’d regret. The entire time her right hand had itched with the impulse to punch him in his busted up face.

It didn’t help she was still exhausted from the events of the past couple of days. While Trixie had slept surprisingly well after her ordeal, Chloe had found herself tossing and turning, the stresses of the day making it hard for her to get more than a few hours of sleep. Thank Maybelline for under-eye-bag concealer.

She asked Lucifer to drive, which he was only too happy to do. Unlike her, he looked as fresh as an otherworldly daisy in a pristine navy suit and white silk shirt, although he’d been griping that he hadn’t been able to clean the blood off his wings yet. From what she could gather it was quite a process; Chloe wondered how he’d even reach back there - after all, he hadn’t been able to get all those bullets out by himself. Maybe he used a broom?

“So glad to be out of there,” she groaned, rolling her neck then letting her head drop back onto the headrest. She decided she was okay with having a nap on the drive back to the station, so long as she didn’t drool.

Her partner hummed in agreement. “Indeed. I’m also rather glad to see the back of that vermin.” Then he gave her a sly look as he started the engine. “I did manage to spit in his lunch and added a rectal exam to his chart as well if it makes you feel any better.”

Actually, it did. And even though she knew she shouldn’t encourage him, she found she really didn’t have it in her right now to object. “Thanks, Lucifer.” She yawned so widely her jaw clicked.

He gave her a surprised look. “Not even an eyeroll? Are you feeling alright?”

Chloe sighed. “I’m fine. Let’s just get back to the station.” She wanted nothing more than to go home, take a nap, then have some reassuringly normal quality time with Trixie. Although tearing her from Maze’s side might pose a challenge since tag-teaming Barrow’s takedown last night had apparently lit a fire under her butt to learn more fight moves.

But she couldn’t go home yet. Their interim lieutenant had been only too happy to hand the sprawling and complex Sinnerman investigation over to the Feds, who’d spent all night and much of the morning going through the evidence in the warded room, but they’d all still had to field questions from agents trying to make sense of Pierce’s organisation and its reach. At least the usual inter-bureau bullshit seemed to be absent for a change, as everyone played nice to make sure the rest of Pierce’s crew were apprehended as soon as possible.

The LAPD had been spared the highly embarrassing task of having to put out a BOLO on their own homicide lieutenant by the statement of Clyde Benoit, who had confirmed both that Pierce was dead, and that he’d been the Sinnerman kingpin. He’d also spilled on several compromised cops in police departments in California, as well as Pierce’s old command in Chicago. Internal Affairs had a dozen in their crosshairs already, and the number would undoubtedly go up.

The other gunmen had also corroborated the detectives’ version of events that Pierce had orchestrated an ambush to try and kill them, and despite Chloe’s reservations, Lucifer had been obliged to give a statement too. And… so far so good. Chloe had read it - it was a masterclass in telling the absolute truth while also skirting around certain problematic facts that belonged more in a Scooby Doo cartoon than a police report. She recognised that it was something he’d always done to everyone, including her. Although to be fair, the misunderstandings between them weren’t all on Lucifer; a lot of them had been caused by her own misconceptions and denials.

She was guilty of doing the same thing everyone else did when faced with this odd, unabashedly direct, often highly contradictory man, whose irreverence and sense of humour kept people off balance and doubtful that he ever took anything seriously; they gave him a pass.

They didn’t question too hard because he was charming and genuine and because he was always so matter-of-fact about the outrageous things he said. He owned it. People felt ridiculous at the mere thought of giving any credence to the weird stuff, preferring to shrug off what he said and did as playing a character or being an eccentric Brit.

Because there’s no way the Devil would run a nightclub and moonlight as a police consultant in LA, that is if he even existed in the first place, right? Even letting such a crazy-ass paranoid thought cross your mind was enough to make you think you needed to either start seeing a therapist or quit smoking those weekend doobies.

And so she'd lived in denial since the night they first met, and she’d seen far weirder shit than most people who knew him.

She mentally facepalmed, remembering with exasperation just how oblivious she’d been. And for how long. She’d fully expected Lucifer to be teasing her mercilessly but he’d barely mentioned it. Yet. He was either much more mature than she gave him credit for or merely biding his time until she was less likely to spook at the slightest provocation. She was still wrapping her head around who he really was, after all.

Their coffee ritual this morning was a case in point.

He’d graciously handed her her latte, then spiked his espresso with the booze in his flask, taking a sip and sighing loudly in pleasure. Chloe had thanked him, and then he'd made an off-hand comment that this was why he could never get good coffee in Hell; the good baristas never ended up there.

Ella had laughed but Chloe had damn near choked on her latte. Then needed to retreat to the bathroom to get herself together a bit and try not to freak out about how casually he'd always spoken of a place which was literally every human being’s worst nightmare-

“Volkswanker!”

Chloe’s thoughts were rudely interrupted as her car horn blared and Lucifer pumped the brakes, narrowly avoiding a collision. A Volkswagen sedan, swerving carelessly, had cut them off, and the clincher was that the driver also took the time to flip them a lazy middle finger out his window.

Lucifer growled. “Insolent little turd!” Then he glanced at Chloe and added hopefully, “Shall we give chase, Detective?”

Chloe leaned forward to peer out the windshield for a few seconds then flopped back in her seat. “I got his plate, Lucifer. He’ll get his comeuppance from the DMV.”

Lucifer looked like he was going to argue with her, but then he surprised her by nodding.  “Very well.” He even cracked a small smile.

Up ahead, to the VW driver’s shock, there shortly came a sudden loud bang from the engine and it cut out. Smoke started to pour from under the hood and into the car’s cabin. The driver pulled over, cursing German engineering, LA roads, and life in general.

As they passed, Chloe saw him angrily thumping his steering wheel. She laughed in delight.

“Look at that! Karma in action!”

Lucifer smiled innocently. “Karma indeed.” Then added gleefully to himself, nobody road rages like the Devil.

----------------------

They were nearly back at the precinct when Chloe’s phone buzzed. She answered.

“Decker.”

Pause.

“Why?”

Pause.

“Who?”

Longer pause. A quiet sigh.

“Alright. On our way.” She ended the call. “Shit.”

“What’s wrong?”

“We’ve been ordered back to the loft. Dispatch said the Feds have more questions and want to go over our statements again.”

Lucifer scoffed in irritation. “Why can’t we just do that at the station like we normally do? We’re practically there already.”

Chloe bit her lip. “I don’t know.” Whatever the reason they’d been summoned back to the crime scene, she doubted it was good.

 

-----------------------

When they arrived Ella was already there. As soon as she spotted them she hustled up the stairs and met them by the shattered window, full of questions. “Hey guys! How’d things go at the hospital? Do you know what this is about?”

“Went great. Got what we needed. As to this, we were just told the Feds have more questions. You?” Chloe hedged, throwing a surreptitious glance at Lucifer, who merely shrugged and looked bored.

Ella squirmed a little. “Maybe. In between losing evidence and the gaping holes in my report I figure the Feds wanna make sure I’m not some kinda basket case who’s gonna compromise their investigation.” She turned huge eyes on Chloe. “You’ll back me up, right?”

“Of course, Ella,” Chloe replied with feeling. Then she added innocently, “You said you lost evidence?”

Ella nodded glumly. “Yep. Pierce’s prints from the gun were still there, thank God, but that white feather and the blood swab I took from it disappeared from my logged evidence bag sometime late yesterday afternoon. But when I say lost I really mean some pendejo stole it.”

Chloe and Lucifer traded guilty glances, both thinking the same thing. Angelic Timecop.

Ella went on, her tone equal parts pissed and apprehensive. “I didn’t see who, but it must’ve been one of Pierce’s dirty cops because I was here all day.” She swore some more in Spanish. " Hijo de las mil putas..." Lucifer looked at her, surprised, then his mouth quirked in an approving grin. 

Chloe kept her expression neutral, but nodded sympathetically. “Don’t worry Ella, your professionalism is indisputable and we’ll tell the Feds that. And they already know the department is compromised.”

“Thanks, Chloe.” Ella smiled, then added smugly, “Besides, it’s not like I didn’t find more.”

Lucifer suddenly went very still. Chloe noticed, and prompted, “More blood?”

“Yeah. After it got dark I finished up with Luminol and found smears of residue on the floor. Someone had cleaned up before we got here, but I got some blood out from between the tiles.”

Chloe said casually, “Nice. Any DNA?”

“Was about to start testing when I got called back here. I’m hoping I’ll get something because I wanna be able to put something normal in a forensic report. I got out the black light as well last night, ya see, and I saw something luminescing blue, really faintly, outta the corner of my eye." She squinted slightly.

"When I looked right at it I couldn’t see anything, but by looking a bit off to the side I managed to find it. A pile of tiny little fibers that had collected in a corner together near the stairs. I first thought they could be little white hairs but when I checked them under the microscope today I saw that they were actually barbules.”

Chloe gave her a blank look. “Huh?”

“From feathers. They’re like, the basic structural unit of a feather, sorta thing. Again with the feathers! But minced up really small, like, you know, shot into teeny tiny pieces?”  She caught Chloe’s eye then huffed and made a WTF gesture. “And I figured out what that weird smell was when we first arrived, too. Smelled like burnt hair, right? Except it was most likely burnt feathers , which are composed of keratin just like hair. So since I could hardly float a giant flaming albino phoenix theory at the Feds there were gaps in my report. Maybe they’re bringing in one of their own people to help me out. But I seriously have no idea what else to tell them.”

And for that matter, Chloe didn’t know what else to say to Ella. Ella ended the awkward pause by heaving a frustrated sigh and changing the subject.

“So, anyways, have you heard about how far back this Sinnerman thing goes? I was chatting with one of the Feds around the coffee machine this morning and they’ve dug up documented cases all the way back to early last century.”

“Well that urban legend has been around for a long time, it’s probably why Pierce adopted it.”

“No, not the urban legend. Documented cases. All over, including Chicago back in Capone’s time.” Ella shook her head. “It’s all just so nuts.” Then she snorted. “Kinda funny though, thinking how Pierce musta come in and taken over the operation from someone, but kept the name to use the mystique of the Sinnerman mythology. Reminds me of the Dread Pirate Roberts. You know, from The Princess Bride ? As you wish !” She laughed.

Chloe blinked. That made a lot of sense. It would certainly make more sense to the cops than the idea that Pierce had been around since the dawn of humanity and had been running the gang himself for well over a hundred years.

Ella shook her head impatiently. “I’m still kinda annoyed at myself though, because with all my experience with secret identity tropes I still didn’t figure it out! Oldest trick in the book. I mean come on, Pierce conveniently “follows” the Sinnerman here to LA? Please. It’s like when Peter Parker goes to Washington on a school trip, and lo and behold, Spider-Man shows up! It’s super obvious now I think about it.”

Lucifer regarded Ella with an amused half smile. “Well, Miss Lopez, you’ve certainly come up with some fascinating theories. You must have given the matter considerable thought.”

Ella shrugged. “I like to make things make sense. And I gotta say, this case has been driving me a little loco .”

They heard footsteps coming down the corridor leading from the main entrance and turned to greet the newcomers. But instead of a pair of Federal agents it was Dan.

Ella frowned. “Dan? What did they call you in for?”

Dan shrugged. “I just go where I’m told. Dispatch told me to meet you guys here.” He turned a sympathetic look to Lucifer. “Hey man. How you holding up?” Dan’s eyes were shadowed, his grief for Charlotte still raw, and he was still on edge after Trixie’s kidnapping.

Which was why Lucifer’s carefree reply sent him into an instant rage.

“Me? No problems here. I’ve had a brilliant past couple of days.” Lucifer grinned happily. The Detective knew who he was and had exceeded his wildest hopes in accepting him, it appeared Dad was letting him live his own life after all, and Cain was gone, his legacy on Earth pretty much finished. Lucifer felt happier than he had for a very long time.

Dan gaped at him for a second, then spluttered heatedly, “What about Charlotte? Don’t you even care about her? She was your stepmom , for God’s sake!”

Lucifer held up a finger. “Well, she was, past tense, but…”

Dan saw red. “Shut the fuck up!” He took a wild swing at him, his fist connecting with Lucifer’s jaw. Then he let out a yelp of pain and pulled his hand back, cradling it to his chest, staring at Lucifer in disbelief. The tall man had barely reacted, merely looked surprised and mildly offended. Dan, however, was wondering if he’d broken a couple of knuckles. His hand hurt like he’d punched a wall. How hard was that son of a bitch’s head?!

“What the bloody Hell was that for, Daniel?”

“You know damn well, you heartless bastard!”

Dan stepped up close to Lucifer, bristling with anger and looking like he wanted to lash out again. For Lucifer’s part, he didn’t look angry, just bewildered. Chloe hurriedly put herself between them.

“Dan, stop! He didn’t mean it like that!”

“Bullshit! How the Hell else could he have meant it?” Dan spat furiously. “‘Past tense’. Rubbing her death in my face like that… what the fuck is the matter with you?”

Chloe had no answer for Dan on that one. She couldn’t explain to him that the Charlotte Richards who had died two nights ago hadn’t actually been Lucifer’s stepmom anymore. Not that the other Charlotte Richards had technically been his step mom at all.

Why was Dan here anyway? He should be at home. And where the hell were the Feds? They were late, and why would they want to talk to them here and not at the station? It didn’t make sense.

Chloe had a sudden prickling sensation at the back of her neck and a powerful feeling of déjà vu. She remembered when she and Lucifer had first walked these halls, expecting to find Barrow’s sister and instead encountering only Pierce’s ambush. This felt eerily familiar.

She promptly grabbed Lucifer by the shirt and gave him a shake, diverting his attention from Dan.

He was taken aback. “Are you having a go at me too now, Detective-”

“Forget that, Lucifer! Is there anyone else here?”

Lucifer looked at her, startled. “Here? No. Just us.” Then his eyes widened. His head whipped around and he took a step toward the yawning void where the window used to be. Chloe followed his gaze outside and saw movement and a bright flash from the top of the nearest skyscraper as something metallic reflected in the sunlight. Then they both saw a large puff of white smoke and a sudden thunderous BOOM echoed off the surrounding buildings. Their eyes met, widening in realisation.

Lucifer grabbed her and shoved her with the others toward the stairs. “Get back, Detective!” Then he pivoted, sprinted towards the gaping hole in the wall and hurled himself through it.

Ella screamed. “Omigod! LUC-”

Lucifer just managed to get outside with his wings fully unfurled before the rocket propelled grenade hit him square in the chest. The large shell exploded with a deafening roar and hot razor sharp shrapnel pinged painfully into him. His body and wings shielded the others from the blast, leaving a vaguely angel-shaped silhouette on the outside of the building, but the percussion shattered the rest of the windows. A huge ball of flame enveloped Lucifer and he was propelled backwards back inside the building, taking out the remaining window frames and sections of wall on the way. He collided with one of the staircase’s stone balustrades and it cracked from top to bottom at the impact. He landed in a disorderly pile of arms, legs and wings.

“Bastard.” He groaned, slightly dazed and winded, the agony of the violent explosion screaming along every nerve ending. But he managed to untangle himself and climb to his feet, relieved that his wings seemed to have finally finished healing from yesterday’s shooting. He was going to need them.

A few feet away, lying up the steps and covered in dust and debris, was Ella. She was staring at him, a dumbfounded expression on her face. She whispered weakly, “Lucifer?”

He didn’t answer, merely checked the others were alright (further down the stairs and also gaping like landed trout but alright) and impatiently patted out the flames that licked hungrily along his tattered jacket sleeves and trousers. Then he turned to glare outside; with the entire wall pretty much gone now he had a clear view of who were presumably Cain’s flunkies and he could see they were preparing to attack again.

As he lined himself up he called over his shoulder, “Detective, you’d best call an ambulance.”

Chloe yelled back a bit louder than necessary because of the ringing in her ears. “But we’re fine!”

Lucifer replied, “Oh it’s not for you,” He pointed through the gaping hole in the wall. “It’s for them .”

There was another echoing BOOM as a second rocket was fired, and Lucifer dove back out of the building, disappearing in a flash of red-soled Louboutins. His wings snapped open and he shot skyward like an arrow to meet the missile, wings propelling him powerfully through the air.

But this time, just before it reached him he pulled up sharply, twisted in midair, and with his right wing batted it towards the ground like a cat swatting at a ping pong ball. It disappeared into the empty alleyway below, detonating with a force that shook the ground and brought down a large section of wall. As a huge cloud of dust and smoke rolled skyward, Lucifer vanished.

--------------------

Regan Yamazaki peered through the binoculars at the loft building, waiting for the grenade’s impact on the second floor. However, just as it reached the target, to his astonishment Morningstar leaped out of the window with his wings spread wide, and took the grenade right in the chest. There was a huge explosion and he was swallowed up by a massive fireball.

Booyah! Direct hit!” He yelled, and a cheer erupted from the rest of his team on the roof. Yamazaki laughed; the Devil had been sent back to Hell, where he belonged. That had to hurt, he thought spitefully.

Yamazaki kept his binoculars trained on the target, waiting for the smoke to clear; with any luck they’d still taken out Decker and the other detectives despite the Devil getting in the way. If not, at least their quarterback was toast. Barrow had wanted to get rid of them and send the rest of the cops a message that they were not to be fucked with; Yamazaki had to admit that he liked the new boss’ style.

A gust of wind stirred the cloud of dust and smoke and it curled lazily up and away from the blast zone. The wall and windows were completely gone, and he could see something very large moving in the shadows inside...

No. That’s impossible .

“He’s not dead! The fuck…?”

The Devil’s suit was burning and in shreds but he was still standing, and still very much alive.

“Shit! Fire again!” Yamazaki saw Morningstar turn and point right at them. With the binoculars he could see his eyes were… were fucking red .

“Fire, damn you!”

With a deafening boom the second missile was away, and the Devil launched himself off the ledge and headed straight for it at a speed that could scarcely be believed. He met it halfway, and then… slapped it. Just casually brought his wing around like he was throwing a right hook and belted it right out of the air. It plunged into the open canyon of an alleyway and an explosion rocked the surrounding buildings, setting off alarms and sending flames and black smoke rolling into the sky.

Yamazaki looked back up and realised Morningstar had disappeared. He dropped the binoculars and lifted his Tec-9, warily scanning the sky with his finger on the trigger. Shit, shit, shit. Why isn’t he dead? Yamazaki couldn’t understand it. Decker made him vulnerable; Morningstar should be nothing more than a red mist and a bloody smear on the side of the building.

Why didn’t it work?!

Suddenly he heard a shout and a dull thump behind him. He whirled to see Morningstar standing over Nielsen facedown on the roof, casually holding the rocket launcher in his right hand like a baseball bat. His smile was cold, even though his eyes glowed like fire.

Oh shit.

--------------------

Lucifer wielded the empty bazooka with ease, his irises aflame with righteous wrath. “Hello, minions.”

As one Cain’s people started yelling and opened fire on him, and Lucifer waded straight in. He swung the bazooka one-handed back and forth like a scythe, knocking two men flying. A young black woman with a shaved head unloaded her weapon into his chest as he advanced on her, so he dropped the bazooka and grabbed her pistol, bending the barrel sideways with a quick flick of his wrist. Then a bald guy with a ginger goatee and heavily tatted arms opened fire at Lucifer’s back and the woman fell, caught in the spray of bullets.

Lucifer rounded on the other shooter in annoyance. “You people really are incredibly thick, aren’t you?” He threw the woman’s pistol at him with unerring accuracy, laying the big man out with a meaty thwack to the temple.

Lucifer noticed a few bolting for the roof exit. He unfurled his wings, beating them once to sail over their heads and land by the stairwell, blocking their escape. He tsked disapprovingly and reached back to snap off the door handle, then grabbed the two first thugs and smashed their heads together. He then picked up the third, who screamed and futilely fought his grip, and threw her against the outside wall of the stairwell. She collapsed unconscious in a heap.

Eight down, one to go. Nine flunkies with bazookas and machine guns was a serious escalation from last time, for all the good it did them. Lucifer figured this was Barrow’s doing; he probably wanted to get back at everyone who’d been involved in his incarceration. And he had said he planned to assume control of Cain’s organisation and come out of the shadows.

But still; bazookas? Lucifer rolled his eyes at the wannabe supervillain. For goodness’ sake. Why doesn’t he just go get himself some sharks with lasers on their heads?

The last man standing was a man of Japanese descent, who unloaded his automatic pistol with increasing desperation into Lucifer’s chest. As the bullets bounced harmlessly off, Lucifer threw him an exasperated look and said, “What exactly are you hoping to achieve here?”

The thug’s weapon finally clicked on empty and he dropped it, yanking a revolver from a holster at his back.

Lucifer shook his head. “No, no, no. I’ve had quite enough of that for one day thank you!” He snatched it and threw it aside, then eyed the man with a narrowed gaze. “Barrow sent you, didn’t he?”

The minion didn’t answer, just stared at him. Then started to babble. “But Decker was right there, we used enough firepower to take out a tank! It should’ve worked!”

Lucifer shrugged. “Sorry, not sorry,” he replied, and punched his lights out.

------------------------

Chloe, Ella and Dan stood unsteadily at the top of the stairs, holding on to the bannisters for support and watching incredulously as the battle unfolded on the opposite rooftop. Although battle wasn’t exactly the right word for it, as it was more a case of Lucifer, impervious to the hailstorm of gunfire, quickly and with brutal efficiency taking out each gangster one by one.

Chloe hadn’t seen what had happened with the first grenade, she’d been too busy tumbling down the stairs taking cover with the others. But when she lifted her head and saw him rising to his feet in the rubble, those awe-inspiring wings settling back on his shoulders, his suit torn to shreds and in flames, she knew. He wasn’t injured by the blast, more pissed off than anything, but it still must’ve fucking hurt. She knew he felt it; even bullets hurt him. He’d told her. So grenades...

And then he’d dived straight back out the window to take on another one.

Met an RPG head on and deflected it like he was swatting at a pesky fly. Then disappeared, reappeared, and started mopping the floor with a rooftop full of armed thugs.

Don’t freak out. Don’t freak out. You need to help the others not freak out. So you can’t freak out.

She tried to think of Lucifer with the munchies with chocolate on his lip... Lucifer asleep on his feet with his face pressed up against an elevator wall... Lucifer cracking dick jokes and flinging vegetables at Dan...

But all she could think about was how he’d leapt into action for them, pushing them to safety then taking off to tackle a fucking bazooka .

Goddammit, Lucifer, you are really not making things easy for me… not that you ever do.

She knew she should say something to Dan and Ella but she had no words. She tore her eyes from Lucifer for a moment to look over at them, standing there stupefied, mouths hanging open. They barely moved except for a few blinks.

That’s probably how I looked when I found out , Chloe thought.

And then suddenly, in what seemed like mere seconds, it was all over. There was a final brief rattattatatatat of machine gun fire which Lucifer took point blank in the chest, and after exchanging a few words with the hapless gunman, he laid him out with a single punch. Lucifer paused for a few moments, tugging out of habit on what was left of his cuffs, then looked over to see them all watching from the loft.

Beside her Chloe heard Dan’s soft intake of breath and sensed him backing away. Then Lucifer disappeared.

She finally found her voice. “Guys… it’s okay…”

Ella and Dan stumbled away from the window and down the stairs clutching the banister, but stopped in their tracks when Lucifer landed with a sweep of ragged wings in the middle of the atrium. They gaped as he promptly rolled his shoulders and the wings disappeared, but even without them, he was still a sight.

Most of the front of his suit had been blown away, his bare chest and the ragged remnants of his jacket and trousers were shredded and singed by fire. Every inch of exposed skin was grubby with soot and his normally perfectly styled hair was sticking up all over the place.

He nodded to Chloe as she also came down the stairs. “Detective." He regarded the others solemnly for a long moment. "Daniel. Miss Lopez.” Then a few beats later he snorted and dissolved into chuckles.

“If you could only see your faces! This is one for the album...” He reached for his phone, then realised his breast pocket was gone along with most of the front of his suit. “Blast!” he muttered in frustration. “I don’t know why I even bother getting dressed at all !” He caught Chloe’s eye and gestured at himself. “See?!”

Ella slowly sidled over and tentatively reached out to poke him in the arm. He was solid alright, and not an hallucination. Dark eyes enormous in her pale face, Ella gasped and crossed herself.

Lucifer noticed the gesture and remarked acidly, “Miss Lopez, please .”

Ella hastily dropped her hands and took a few steps back. “S-sorry…” Then her eyes widened even further and her hands flew to her mouth. She whispered through her fingers, “Dude. I made you go to friggin’ church!

Lucifer shrugged philosophically. “A deal’s a deal.”

Dan sputtered to life. “I - I called you a dick. Oh, shit, I called you a dick… OH SHIT I punched you in the face…” He turned the colour of curdled milk and started to sweat.

Lucifer lifted a mischievous eyebrow. “You also helped frame me for murder, tried to stab me with a celestial blade, and slept with my mum, but that’s all water under the bridge now, Daniel.”

“Oh… fuck … I’m gonna go to Hell…” Dan’s voice was barely audible.

Lucifer’s cheeky grin disappeared, replaced by an anxious look. “Whether you do or not, Daniel, I do hope you realise it’s got nothing at all to do with me. It’s not personal . I would suggest, though, that if you have any concerns you get on top of things to redeem yourself sooner rather than later, considering the hazardous line of work you’re in...” He gestured meaningfully up the stairs at the demolished wall.

Chloe thought she’d best stop him there. Dan looked like he was about to have a heart attack; even she felt like she was having palpitations after what they’d just seen.

Monkeybottoms , Lucifer.”

Lucifer stopped and looked at her, then glanced uncertainly back at Dan. “Oh?”

Chloe nodded emphatically. Lucifer peered at the other two, noting Ella had gone uncharacteristically quiet and Dan had started to shake. Both were staring at him as if he’d grown a second head.

Chloe could see Dan was about one mention of ‘Hell’ away from losing it altogether. She figured the best option would be to give them space and talk them through it. It had helped her cope, and knowing Lucifer he wasn’t likely to stop talking anytime soon.

“Thanks for having our backs, Lucifer. We can take it from here.” She smiled reassuringly at him but via raised eyebrows and meaningful head jerks attempted to communicate to him to get going.

“Ah… right.” Lucifer nodded in understanding; it appeared the Detective was telling him to make himself scarce. It was undoubtedly for the best, after all she did have recent firsthand experience of a shock of this nature. He glanced in concern at Ella and Daniel who were standing there gobsmacked - he belatedly hoped he hadn’t scrambled their brains with this little revelation. But at least they were alive and unhurt, and he was confident that the Detective would help them cope; best he let her take the lead. These two weren’t miracles after all, and he didn’t want to give them a mental breakdown.

“Right, well, then, I might go, um…”

Chloe suggested brightly, “... put some clothes on?” She was trying really hard to keep her eyes on his face.

Lucifer nodded. “Brilliant idea, Detective. I’ll go do that. Clean up a bit.”

“No need to rush back. We’ve got this. We’ll call for some backup, get over there and collect those guys, and after that it’s only boring arrest paperwork. I’ll come up with something, so you don’t need to, you know…we’re good.”

“Of course. Right. I might… ah... put my head in at Lux, actually, make sure they’re on top of things for Charlotte’s memorial gathering tomorrow night. I’ll be busy for quite a while, I suspect...”

“Sure. No problem, Lucifer. Thank you. I’ll call you later.” Chloe shook her head, “No, actually, you call me. You know, once you’ve got another phone.”

Lucifer nodded, and with a parting glance at the other two, was gone in a sweep of feathers and a powerful gust of wind.

For several beats the three of them just gazed wordlessly at the spot where he’d disappeared.

Then Ella said faintly, “So... all that really just happened? I don’t need to book a CAT scan?”

Chloe nodded. “It happened.”

Ella shook herself slightly. “Oh, right... that’s...” she trailed off. Looking down she saw a small pink feather next to her foot. She bent down to pick it up, then just stared at it.

Chloe waited, hoping they wouldn't faint as she couldn't catch both of them. She wondered how long she was out of it like this… and then Ella broke the spell.

“Wooohoooo!!” She suddenly punched the air and let out an excited whoop, scaring the absolute shit out of Dan, who screamed.

Aaaaaggghhh!! ” He leaped backwards in fright, then started agitatedly scrubbing his hands through his hair. He took several quick strides away from them, only to do a 180 and come right back again; he looked like he wasn’t even aware of what his legs were doing, like his brain couldn’t decide whether to freak out then and there or run off and freak out somewhere else.

Finally he shook his head and exploded, “NO! What the fuck, no, no, NO, no way! He can’t be! He’s not! Nope!” He stared down at his hands and compulsively twisted them together, trying to stop the uncontrollable shaking.

Ella guffawed with laughter, slapping Dan on the back. “Come on dude, he totally is! We all saw it! Right? That was friggin’ EPIC!!” She spun away in a little circle and did a little dance. “Oh. My God. Oh. My God. This. Is. So. Cool! ” Then she rounded on Chloe, still grinning but pointing accusingly at her.

“And you! You knew! You freaking KNEW, didn’t you, and you didn’t say anything! How could you not say anything, Secret Squirrel?” She pounced on Chloe and squeezed her, then jumped madly up and down, squealing.

“I only found out yesterday, I’m still getting used to the idea myself…” Chloe explained, comforted by the lab tech’s ecstatic reaction. She’d hoped that Ella in particular might take the news better than she had, but even so, this was something else. Ella was acting more like she’d found out Lucifer was secretly a rock star rather than the literal lord of Hell and didn’t seem scared at all.

In fact, she seemed thrilled. Then Chloe remembered her own reaction had been less about fear of Lucifer as ‘the Devil’ and more shock that he existed in the first place. Ella didn’t have that limitation as she had already believed. It also no doubt helped that Ella’s faith seemed more based in a human, loving outlook on religion, rather than a judgmental, fear-mongering one, and she seemed to follow religion according to her own values and open-mindedness.

Meanwhile, Ella kept talking a mile a minute, but her breathing had accelerated and she was sinking slowly to the floor as her legs had started to fail her.

“I knew the Devil got a bad rap. Why is he here though? Why does he work for the LAPD? That’s insane! And his wings are pink ! Who knew? Pretty sure that’s not in the Bible. They’re not leathery and batty at all, more sweet and floofy. He’s like a six foot three, totally kickass My Little Pony . And he’s a standup dude! Why has the Church got it in for him that he’s a bad guy, when he is SO not…”

She reached the floor and nearly tipped over. “Whoah crap I’m feeling a little -” She paused for breath, putting her head down, and Chloe hurried over and crouched beside her, steadying her and rubbing calming circles on her back.

“Slow down, Ella, just breathe.” Chloe wished she had a paper bag for her, but after a few moments Ella managed to get her breathing back under control on her own.

Chloe casually pointed out, “His wings are white, actually. They look pink because of the blood on them.”

Ella’s head snapped up. “Blood?”

Blood. White feathers and blood, she thought. The barbules. The bullet casings. The trail of blood residue on the floor .

Chloe could see the enigma of the loft scene, the mysterious target, the bloody feather, all falling into place for her. Ella stammered, “Chloe, oh my God, what the bad guys were shooting at… was it...?” she trailed off, shocked.

Chloe nodded grimly. “Yeah. It was.”

Ella shook her head in disbelief, her fingertips over her mouth. “What the fuck happened here?”

“Pierce’s men started shooting and Lucifer put himself between me and the bullets. Then he got us out to a rooftop down the street.” Chloe eyed Dan, who’d grabbed on to a nearby statue to steady himself, his head down and breathing hard.

“He saved my life, guys. And just now he saved all of us. We know him. He’s not what people think.”

Ella gave a half-snort laugh. “Yeah… yeah, no, I’m getting that.”

Dan raised his head, his eyes haunted. He said hoarsely, “So there really is a Hell? And he’s in charge of it?”

“Yeah.”

Dan shuddered, then his gaze fell to the ground again. He whispered “ Fuck .”

“And… there’s more.” They both looked at her as if to say you have got to be kidding.

“He was the one who killed Pierce. It was self-defence,” She added hurriedly. “Also, what Lucifer said about Pierce being Cain from the Bible, that was true too. He’s only ever told us the truth.”

Dan’s voice was stronger, already holding the beginnings of anger. “The truth. Right. After it was already too late.”

Chloe put up her hands in a calming gesture. “He tried to tell me weeks ago, Dan. I just didn’t listen to him. It isn’t his fault Charlotte died-”

Dan stared at her, stricken. “How the fuck can you defend him, Chloe? He’s Satan! All the crap he’s put us through, all the times he’s... he was just messing with us!”

Ella stared at him, struck dumb by his hateful reaction. But this is Lucifer we’re talking about, Dan… he’s not like that.

Chloe kept her voice steady, soothing. “No, Dan. I know you guys haven't always gotten along, and that he hasn’t always done the sensible, or considerate thing, but he means well. He’s our friend. Remember he’s saved my life a dozen times by now. He’s saved your ass a couple times too, don’t forget. If he didn’t care he wouldn’t have bothered. Hell, he would never have started helping us to begin with!”

“Helping!” Dan scoffed. “He always makes everything about himself. Any ‘helping’ he does is by accident. There’s so much we don’t know about him, Chloe. All those dodgy dealings, all the people he sleeps with, all the favours he gives out…” He blanched. “Oh my God, you even let him near our daughter…”

Chloe’s hackles rose. “That’s not fair, Dan, he is not a danger to Trixie, or to any of us. Listen to me - he saved our lives! He’s been helping us for months ! Just look at the proof in front of you!”

Dan stared at Chloe, wide-eyed. “He’s got you… like, brainwashed or hypnotised or  something. Like he did to the driver the other day. He’s messing with your head, just like he’s always done, and... I get it. This is all a big con. It’s what he does , Chloe! He lies and tricks people and worms his way into their lives and fucks them up...”

Chloe opened her mouth to defend her partner but Ella spoke up first. “No, dude. I was taught that too, but that’s the lie. Come on, you know Lucifer. That’s not him at all.” She threw her hands in the air. “So the Church got it wrong - it’s not like they’ve never gotten anything wrong before! You can’t believe everything you’re told. You can’t doubt everything either; you gotta think for yourself. He’s our bud!”

Dan raised his clenched fists to his head in frustration and furiously shook his head. “Listen to yourself, Ella! He’s EVIL. He knew who Pierce was and he said nothing! He just stood by and let him murder Charlotte! He’s poison, you just can’t see it!”

No.” Chloe’s voice held an edge of steel. Then she went on, more gently, "Dan, you're exhausted and overwrought. You aren't thinking straight..."

Dan could see in her eyes that he wasn’t getting through to her.

Fuck. What am I gonna do? he whispered helplessly. He looked at both of them, his face a mask of rising panic. Lucifer had them under his control somehow, was using his powers on them so they wouldn’t listen to reason. He had to do something. He had to save them. But how?

Chloe reached out to him, pleading softly. “Dan, please , listen to me. People have been telling him he’s evil for so long even he started to believe it. But he’s not . He’s a good man.”

Dan’s face twisted, fear and hate turning his familiar features into somebody that Chloe didn’t recognise. “He’s not a man. He’s a… a thing . Please, Chloe, stay away from him.” He backed away, muttering indistinctly to himself, then turned and abruptly left.

Chloe and Ella turned worried gazes to each other. That did not go well. And they had no idea what Dan would do next.

 

Chapter Text

It was very late. Or rather, very very early.

Dan was still up, glued to his laptop. Strewn around him on the kitchen table were hastily scrawled notes interspersed with empty coffee mugs, the remains of a halfhearted dinner, and half a tumbler of bourbon. Dan’s face was lit by the suffuse glow of the screen as he feverishly scoured the web for intel, trying to dig up something, anything that he could use to stop Lucifer.

There were dark circles under his eyes and his face was pinched and tired, the skin dull and sallow. He’d hardly slept since Charlotte died; between being so focused on nailing Pierce and Trixie being taken he’d barely stopped to rest. Not that he could sleep anyway with loss clenching tight like a knot in the pit of his stomach and the other side of the bed so cold and empty.

He hadn’t really grieved yet; he couldn’t. He’d felt only a horrible numbness, every emotion in him dulled. Except for anger, and fear. Anger at Pierce for killing Charlotte. Fear for his daughter’s life. Anger at Lucifer for his deceit and for drawing him, drawing all of them in so completely. And fear for Chloe and Ella and everybody else that that smooth talking, manipulative bastard had got his hooks into.

Open beside him was the battered Holy Bible he’d received for his Confirmation, excavated from an old box of keepsakes where it had lain forgotten for decades. Every so often he flipped through it to look up passages he found on various websites; Satanism, evangelism, Church news, blogs. Everything he found just seemed to confirm what he’d seen for himself.

Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Dan had actually really liked the guy, despite their initial antagonism. He was smart, fun, dynamic, and reasonably funny when he wasn’t being a dick. He was generous to friends and selfless when it came to granting people’s desires, going by the statements of dozens of his exes. And of course he’d aligned himself with the good guys, had helped Chloe bring many murderers to justice, and had saved Chloe’s life at least three times now. He appeared to be a highly honourable man who never broke a deal. That there was a fugly-ass clown painting hanging in his penthouse was testament to that.

Even Trixie liked him, and she was usually an impeccable judge of character. If you didn’t know who he really was, you believed his good guy charade.

He is the father of lies.

He always claimed to never lie, but he hid his lies with the truth. Dan frowned; his logic seemed a little flawed but his exhausted brain and frayed nerves just skimmed over the contradiction.

He’s polite and charming, then little by little he starts giving the orders.

He charmed his way into tagging along with Chloe, then used his influence to become a civilian consultant with the LAPD. And he’d kept the position despite constantly breaking the rules, bending the law, and working each case for his own agenda. Chloe had been straight as an arrow before she met Lucifer, but she’d changed, become more lenient, started doing things more and more his way and he was dragging her down with him.

He conceals himself, and lies through and uses well-meaning people.

He presented himself as an eccentric club owner but had Chloe and the entire LAPD, various judges, business people, politicians and big Hollywood names under his thumb. Who knew how far his influence went now? He’d probably only taken out the ‘Sinnerman’ to get rid of the competition.

Dan felt sick to his stomach remembering how he’d actually given Lucifer advice about Chloe, when she’d been going to refuse to take him back after he’d ditched her to go to Vegas. He had unwittingly helped the Devil win her over. So he had to fight to get her back.

But how?

The widely accepted first step seemed to be Confession, followed by receiving the Holy Eucharist to ensure the Devil couldn’t get a foothold in his soul too. So in a few more hours he’d head to St Brigid’s for the early Mass, and while he was there he’d get other protections, including blessed salt and holy water. Other suggestions included performing an exorcism, although Lucifer didn’t seem to be actually possessing Chloe and Ella, just controlling them somehow.

Dan thought of telling the Feds that Lucifer had murdered Pierce, but what good would that do? There was no body, no murder weapon, no witnesses, and his own word was worth crap, especially where Lucifer was concerned. After all, he’d been instrumental in Malcolm setting Lucifer up for the murder of the street preacher.

He felt the accustomed surge of guilt, then crushed it. What he’d done to Lucifer didn’t matter anymore. He’s the Devil. He deserved it.

He remembered how he’d thought Malcolm was insane, ranting about Hell and killing the Devil while he’d kept Dan prisoner. Perhaps Malcolm hadn’t been so crazy after all. He must have known who Lucifer really was and had been trying to fight him somehow. Had Malcolm actually been a good guy? But if that were true why did he take Trixie?

Maybe Lucifer had ordered him to do it. To allow Lucifer to then save the day and appear the hero. It was plausible but seemed unlikely that the Devil would go to such lengths for just one person, plus it didn’t explain why Malcolm had tried to first kill Lucifer, then frame him.

Dan scrubbed his face with his hands. It didn’t matter. Malcolm was dead. He was on his own.

He needed to find a weakness, but the Devil didn’t seem to have any. He could fly and travel through solid walls. He’s super strong. Even explosives can’t kill him. He’s got mind control powers. He has money and influence and no qualms about using it. And he’s got Chloe, Ella, Trixie and the entire LAPD wrapped around his little finger.

What’s his weak spot? Crucifixes? No, that’s vampires. Oh Jesus don’t let vampires be a real thing too , he thought desperately. Prayers, like in the Exorcist movie? Shit. He’d need to talk to a priest or something for that, and they’d probably call the mental evaluation unit on him. Maybe screw the mystical crap, that was completely beyond him, not to mention it freaked him out. Everything he knew about that stuff came from horror movies.

Think, Espinoza. Come at this logically. How does he keep getting away with living in LA, doing favours, and getting close enough to people to entrap them? He was flaunting himself right out in the open and nobody has a clue!

Then he caught sight of another Bible quotation on the screen:

Open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.

That’s it.

He’s able to do it because everybody thinks he’s just pretending, he thought. All I have to do is expose him.

Dan pounded his fist on the table. “Of course!” Knowledge is power, and if people knew what he really was they’d resist him, just like he was doing. Lucifer couldn’t mind control everybody, otherwise he would’ve done it by now. He’d have to give up, and leave, and Chloe and Ella and everybody else would be safe.

How to do it though? He’d have to make it as public as possible, and prove it to everyone beyond a shadow of a doubt, so there was no way Lucifer could sweet talk or deal his way out of it, dismiss Dan as a nutcase or say it was all an illusion.

Public…

Tonight. Charlotte’s memorial gathering at Lux. The District Attorney, US Attorney and the Feds were all holding a joint press conference there beforehand; they were going to make a statement about the Sinnerman investigation and how Charlotte had been the one to kick it off, and that it had gotten her killed. It was national news, maybe even global, and guaranteed coverage, especially if there was drama.

How to do it though? If he confronted Lucifer about who he was he’d just agree like he always did, and everybody would think it was just Lucifer’s usual shtick. Nobody would believe him and he’d come off looking like a complete whackjob. He’d have to call Lucifer out, then back it up with proof. He gulped.

He’d have to ‘kill’ him. Prove he was immortal, that he wasn’t human. Shoot him. In the head - that way he couldn’t claim he’d worn a vest. Or maybe, so he didn’t tip Lucifer off, prove it first. And it had to be done up close and personal - he couldn’t risk anybody else getting hurt. Plus he’d most probably get only one chance, because pulling a gun while surrounded by Feds would likely get him killed. But he couldn’t let that stop him. Chloe’s immortal soul was at stake.

He put his head in his hands. He could scarcely believe what he was contemplating. This was fucking insanity .

But he had to do it. Lucifer had to be stopped, and this was the only thing he could think of that had even a remote chance of success. And hopefully he’d redeem himself so he wouldn’t end up in Hell where Lucifer could get all the payback he wanted…

Just then a gust of wind blew through the room from behind him. It ruffled his notes on the kitchen table, sending their pages fluttering in the strong breeze. Dan grabbed at them in irritation, then with a sudden jolt of terror realised he hadn’t left any doors or windows open.

Oh fuck. He’s found me.

He lunged out of his seat and whirled, expecting to see Lucifer but to his astonishment it was Amenadiel standing there. Gone were his usual jeans and hoodie, and he was wearing long, dark grey sleeveless robes with some kind of gauntlets on his forearms. And behind him, arching from his broad shoulders, were a pair of enormous wings, rustling slightly as they settled behind him. Unlike Lucifer’s, the feathers were dark in colour, the blue-grey of storm clouds.

Dan’s mouth dropped open in shock.

Amenadiel let Dan see his wings for a moment before rolling his shoulders to fold them away. He smiled at the dumbstruck human.

“Hello, Dan.”

“Holy shit! Y-you’re an angel?” Dan stammered, backing away a few steps. His shoulders hit the wall with a thump.

Amenadiel looked surprised. “Of course. Lucifer told me that you’d learned the truth about him, and he is my brother.”

“I... hadn’t put it together yet,” Dan mumbled. “Hadn’t even thought about it. I guess I still thought one of you was adopted.”

Amenadiel shook his head, chuckling, his wide smile brilliantly white against dark chocolate skin. “Everyone seems to think that. No.”

My best friend is an angel, Dan thought incredulously. No wonder he’s clueless about hookers and pimps. And improv. He might have fled the room but for the fact his legs felt like they’d turned to jello.

“And Lucifer is...” He couldn’t even say it.

“The Devil. Yes.”

“Did he... send you after me?” Why else would he get a visit from an angel? Was he about to get smited? Fuck.

Amenadiel lifted a disapproving eyebrow. “He is my little brother. He doesn’t send me anywhere.” He paused, then added under his breath, “Although he has been taking liberties a bit lately...”

Dan shivered, folding his arms defensively across his body. “So why isn’t he in... in Hell? What does he want with us?”

Amenadiel frowned slightly. “ Us meaning humans ?” Then his mouth quirked in a small smile. “Luci’s mostly just after a good time, fulfilling desires and indulging his own. But he has expanded his interests since coming to live amongst you.” His smile widened to an easy grin. “As have I.”

Dan blinked, then countered, “There has to be more to it than that.”

Amenadiel frowned again. “I’m sorry?”

“What’s he done to Chloe and Ella? He’s got them under his control somehow! Why aren’t you stopping him?” Dan asked brusquely. “Everybody knows the Devil makes bad shit happen, he’s gotta have some kinda agenda, like the Apocalypse or something…”

Amenadiel was silent, staring back at Dan in disbelief. He opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, then finally said, “That’s what people say, Dan, but you know him. You know better.” His eyes narrowed. “Don’t you?”

Dan shifted uneasily under his friend’s piercing gaze, then fired back, “Ever since he showed up, things have gone to shit. I got demoted, my marriage ended, I had a guy…” He stopped. He couldn’t tell Amenadiel that; I had a guy killed.

“I-I’ve stolen evidence, threatened to shoot a suspect…”

“And... you think Lucifer had a hand in it?” Dan was about to agree but decided to stay silent when he saw the look on Amenadiel’s face.

“Lucifer has never had power over sin, Dan,” he said sternly. “Humans make their own choices, and damn themselves by their own actions . Even I once thought as you do, that he was evil, and that my mistakes were somehow his fault. I unjustly blamed him because I didn’t want to accept my own culpability.”

His expression turned earnest. “I was wrong . And it took me far too long to realise it. But he has forgiven me, and helped me, even though we hardly ever agree on things and he never does as he is told. He even set me some good examples when I was learning to live among humans, believe it or not.”

Dan didn’t, and Amenadiel must have seen it in his face. He studied him closely, and Dan felt inexplicably nervous at the scrutiny, like a perp cuffed to an interview table, his usual role as an interrogator reversed. Could an angel read your mind?

“You don’t believe me.”

“How can I?” Dan mumbled obstinately. “He’s Satan.”

“And my brother ,” countered Amenadiel. “You think you know him through your people’s stories, but that’s all they are - stories. He has never tried to control any living soul, as to him free will is inviolable, and always has been. It’s the very reason he was cast from Heaven.”

He regarded Dan for a moment then added reproachfully, “ Satan saved your life, helped capture those who tried to kill you, and you still believe he must be evil? After all he’s done to help you? Dan.”

Dan shook his head in emphatic denial. “It could all be some kinda trick!” He yelled. “That’s what the Devil does , he tricks people! Pretends to be a good guy, then when he’s got you he turns on you. He’s not upfront with us about lots of things. He’s hijacked investigations, he’s got criminal connections, he takes drugs, sleeps with anything that moves, doesn’t treat Chloe right, he’s violent and selfish and a dick, doesn’t give a shit when people die, and is a killer !”

Amenadiel hummed noncommittally. “Don’t forget wilful, irreverent, short-tempered and… well, he isn’t perfect, certainly.” He looked at Dan thoughtfully. “But neither am I. Nor you. Does that make us evil?” He shook his head. “Luci killed Cain to defend himself. Because Cain would have stopped at nothing to kill him, no matter how many innocents, including Chloe, and you, and maybe even Trixie, were killed in the process.”

Dan shivered at the fierce look in his friend’s eyes. Right now he didn’t seem at all like the Amenadiel he knew. He seemed ancient and unknowable, and Dan didn’t have any trouble picturing him holding a flaming sword aloft, calling down destruction and divine fury and rains of fire like in the Bible.

Amenadiel’s voice was hard. “It was a necessary execution and as the arm of God’s justice Lucifer has more right than any of His angels to carry out punishment, even though the burden weighs heavily on him.” Then he sighed. “As to his treatment of Chloe he’s still learning about human relationships, and has made many mistakes, but his motivation has always been selfless as far as she is concerned. Chloe is safe with Lucifer, Dan. Everything he’s done has been to protect her, even when it cost him dearly.”

Suddenly the angel raised an eyebrow and his dimples appeared, and Dan saw his best friend again.

Amenadiel chided him gently, “Can you say the same? Don’t forget, you told me yourself about the mistakes you made in your marriage.”

He had. They’d gotten hammered together one night and Dan had totally spilled his guts about everything that had happened with Malcolm. Amenadiel was just such a good listener that he couldn’t help himself. Well, maybe he could answer some questions too.

He demanded, “If Lucifer’s not evil then why was he sent to Hell?”

Amenadiel replied evenly, “Because he defied God. He saw that He had given humans free will and Lucifer wanted to have it too. This incited a rebellion that tore our family apart, and as punishment Luci was exiled from Heaven and sent to the Underworld to rule over those who chose to misuse their free will.” Amenadiel’s lips pursed slightly. “Lucifer never hurt anyone but he has suffered deeply for his defiance. And then six years ago he decided he’d had enough. So he left Hell and came here.”

Dan was floored. Lucifer got thrown into Hell just for wanting to do his own thing? That seemed really unfair.

He stared at Amenadiel for a moment, then said, “Alright then, why was Malcolm Graham after him? Did Malcolm kill all those people for Lucifer then turn on him? Was he trying to stop him?”

Amenadiel tensed; Dan could see that he was reluctant to answer. But he visibly steeled himself, took a deep breath, and replied candidly, “Malcolm tried to kill Lucifer because I ordered him to.”

“Ha!” Dan cried triumphantly, certain he’d caught Amenadiel out. “Because he’s evil! Like I said!”

Amenadiel’s voice was quiet, but firm. “No. I was a self-righteous fool.”

Dan shook his head, uncomprehending. “Why, then?”

“I wanted Lucifer off Earth and back on his throne, whatever it took. I arrogantly believed that he was evil and therefore anything I did to him, however reckless or dishonourable, was justified.” He hesitated, then plunged onward.

“When Malcolm Graham’s life support was switched off, I was there. His soul was damned, but I brought him back and... threatened to return him to Hell if he didn’t kill Lucifer for me.” Amenadiel’s gaze dropped to the floor and he swallowed. “His murdering four innocent people, imprisoning you, kidnapping your daughter, killing Lucifer... every sin that Malcolm then committed was on me. And I had to atone for my sins, just as humans do.”

Dan was shocked and spellbound at the same time. “How?”

Amenadiel met his gaze and replied simply, “I fell.”

-------------------------

Dan shook his head, trying to deal with how surreal his life had become in the space of less than a day, and slot the things that Amenadiel had told him into the bigger picture that he’d gotten so very wrong. Starting with; Lucifer wasn’t a bad guy after all.

It wasn’t a trick, it was the truth. Dan had let his fear and the Devil’s reputation blind him to what he’d learned for himself about Lucifer, and in the process he’d almost made an horrific mistake. Dan was intensely relieved and grateful that Amenadiel had come and talked him off the proverbial ledge before he’d gone and done something incredibly stupid.

And the second thing he realised was that even though Lucifer and Amenadiel were supernatural beings, they were still the same people they’d always been.

Amenadiel had apparently been, in every practical sense, human the whole time they’d been friends. The problems he’d talked to him about had certainly been the normal human kind. He’d had girl problems, fights with his brother, a lack of communication with his dad (his DAD!!), health scares and other ordinary stuff. At times he’d spoken of feeling directionless and struggled with low self esteem, had made mistakes, had even gotten himself thrown in jail.

This was the Amenadiel who danced like a total dork when he got drunk, who sank like a stone whenever he wiped out surfing, who he’d shared countless Friday night beers with. He was still the same person, he just happened to be an angel now. Or rather, again .

Lucifer had been his friend too, and he had what Dan considered ‘human’ issues as well; in fact he had more emotional problems than anyone he knew. He’d told Dan that he wanted to be somebody else, and told Boris Sokolov, the ‘human lie detector’, that the world would be better off without him. Hell, they’d even first bonded over how shitty they felt about the mistakes they’d both made, hurting the people closest to them. He took drugs and tried to find solace in quite frankly staggering amounts of sex, and if it was possible for angels to be alcoholics he very clearly was one.

And... Lucifer loved cheesy action movies as much as he did. He enjoyed giving Dan a hard time, just as much as Dan relished giving it back. He was a boss musician and seemed to genuinely enjoy seeing people have fun. He had a dedication to justice that matched Chloe’s, and he’d been an outstanding partner to her for over a year now.

He also had the hots for her but didn’t seem to have the faintest idea about how to deal with it. Sometimes, for all his worldliness, Lucifer seemed like a big, awkward, dumbass teenager.

Dan’s head was fairly spinning. The Devil did in fact exist, but he wasn’t the root of all evil. He was just as clueless as the rest of them. Talk about the world turning inside out on you. What would be next? He’d find out the earth was actually flat and being carried around on the backs of four elephants and a giant space turtle?

Amenadiel is an angel, and Lucifer is the Devil, but they’re also just guys; they just happened to be slightly weird, inconceivably ancient, not human guys. And this was all fucking crazy .

He shook his head in disbelief, then took a deep breath and let it out again. “Okay, I-I get it. Lucifer’s not evil.” He was silent for a long moment. Then he straightened a little and added stubbornly, “But he’s still a dick.”

Amenadiel broke into guffaws of laughter and slapped Dan heartily on the back. “I can’t disagree with you there!”

Surprised, Dan smiled too, then remembered Amenadiel had always sympathised with him when Lucifer was being a pain in the ass. It seemed Satan pissed off his family just as much as he pissed off everybody else.

He felt the fog of fear and desperation recede, and the crushing weight of dread that had haunted him lift. He felt like himself again. He shuddered, thinking of how close he’d come to doing something truly reprehensible. Amenadiel really was an angel; here he was, once again pulling him out of a dark place. Things felt so suddenly, surreally normal that Dan wondered if he should ask the angel in his kitchen if he wanted a beer. He certainly could do with another bourbon.

Then Amenadiel sobered, cleared his throat and said quietly, “Dan, I’m so sorry you lost Charlotte. And that I haven’t been here for you. I promised her I would stay with her, and then I had obligations...”

“No, man, that’s cool, I get it, you’re busy...” Like, flying around doing God stuff, sort of thing…?

Amenadiel added hesitantly, “There’s… something else I think you should know. Charlotte... is dead because of me.”

Dan felt like he’d been punched in the stomach. “What?”

“Cain - I mean, Pierce - killed her, but it was only because he was trying to kill ME. He wanted something from my father and thought that killing me would help him get it. Charlotte gave her life to save me.”

Dan’s head was spinning, but he somehow managed to say, “Pierce pulled the trigger, man. You can’t blame yourself.” Just like I can’t blame Lucifer for my crap, he chastised himself. God I was so stupid .

Amenadiel nodded silently, then looked down at the floor. Then he said quietly, “Charlotte is a wonderful, brave woman and one of the most remarkable humans I’ve ever met.”

Dan huffed a laugh, smiling proudly if a little wobbly. “Yeah. She was something, alright.”

Then the smile dropped from his face. He remained silent for several moments, and Amenadiel was about to approach him when Dan blurted suddenly, “Just tell me where she went. I need to know. She was so scared that she was a bad person, she had nightmares every night that she was gonna go to Hell… I thought it was PTSD or something after her close call but now I figure it must’ve been real...”

Amenadiel took a step toward him and was relieved that Dan didn’t flinch or try to get away. He closed the distance between them as Dan kept talking, the grief and worry on his face heartbreakingly raw.

“Her conscience was eating her alive. It’s why she quit her firm and started working for the D.A.’s office; she hoped that if she made up for the bad things she’d done that maybe her guilt would go away...”

Amenadiel laid two comforting hands on his friend’s shoulders and looked solemnly into his eyes. “Don’t worry Dan, she’s safe - in Heaven. I escorted her there myself.” Dan let out his breath in a rush, and tears of relief sprang to his eyes.

“Good. That’s… good.” He swallowed thickly and swiped at his eyes with the back of his hand. He didn’t know how much longer he’d be able to hold it together.

Amenadiel went on, “She’s waiting for you there. And she asked me to give you a message.”

Dan gave him a shaky smile, thinking how crazy and sweet it was that Charlotte was sending him love notes from beyond the grave. But Amenadiel didn’t smile back.

“However you choose to live your life, Dan, there are consequences. In Charlotte’s first life she was wicked, she helped bad people hurt others and get away with it. She lied to herself, transferred blame to others, justified her actions that she was just doing her job, but deep down she knew that what she was doing was wrong.”

Dan felt a cold chill slide up between his shoulder blades, like somebody was walking across his grave. That last bit sounded uncomfortably familiar.

Amenadiel went on, “She got a taste of Hell for it, so when she got a second chance she didn’t squander it. And she doesn’t want to see you make the same mistakes she did.”

Dan shuddered. Did Charlotte, up in Heaven, now know the terrible things he’d done? And yet here she was, still looking out for him, urging him to be better so she could save him from the kind of suffering she’d endured. She’d gotten a second chance, but this was most likely his one and only shot. And he knew he was really screwing it up.

“I’ve done things… so many bad things,” he confessed hoarsely. “Much worse than Charlotte ever did. What do I do?”

Amenadiel smiled softly. “Finding redemption is simple, Dan, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Repent of your sins, atone for them, and forgive yourself. Live in a way that would make Charlotte proud and you’ll see her again one day, I promise.”

Dan couldn’t take any more. His face crumpled, and Amenadiel embraced him as he broke down into racking sobs, allowing himself to finally grieve.

 

-------------------

 

Lucifer spent the entire day leading up to Charlotte’s party deep in preparations; he had had quite a bit of catching up to do with Lux business, having been AWOL for much of the past two days getting shot at and blown up. He was so busy, in fact, that despite having a new phone he didn’t get a chance to call the Detective all day.

It definitely wasn’t because he didn’t want to know that Ella and Daniel were taking the revelation of his identity badly. Nope. Definitely not. Even though they probably were. Especially Miss Lopez. She was Dad’s fangirl; how could she not?

Which was beside the point because the reason he wasn’t calling the Detective was because he simply didn’t have the time.

Amongst other errands, Lucifer tracked down the special agent in charge of the Sinnerman investigation and had a very productive little chat. By the end of it the FBI had decided to keep Pierce’s identity under wraps in all their press releases, and use his Cain alias instead. This suited the LAPD brass for obvious reasons, and in return they were only too happy to give full credit for the historic takedown to the FBI.

It also suited the angels because it meant keeping photos of Cain out of the media, thus preventing anyone from his unnaturally lengthy past realising there was anything weird going on. And as a bonus, Lucifer’s little black book of favours received a healthy boost once everything was done and dusted.

Evening rolled around and the media arrived, the press conference going off without a hitch. It came as a shock to no one that the press dived on the ‘Sinnerman’ story like a fat kid on a Smartie - they were practically drooling at the urban- myth- come- to- life, ‘real life dark fairytale’ angle. Lucifer even heard talk of a movie. He thought Will Ferrell would make a brilliant Cain… or maybe Walter Matthau. Tall, dark, bad-tempered, dead for twenty years - he’d be perfect.

Lucifer slipped away before the press conference finished, retreating into Lux to get a much needed drink before the doors opened. He stopped in front of the elegant artistic tribute to Charlotte, raising his tumbler to her smiling portrait on the large stand.

Next to it was a collage of photos that the event planner had couriered over from her ex-husband; as Lucifer scanned them he played ‘Charlotte or Mum?’ to distract himself from the fact that he'd never see either of them again. He sighed heavily and finished his whisky, placing the glass with finality on a nearby table. Losing those he cared about seemed to be his lot in life, he should be used to it by now.

-----------------------

Finn and Rory waved Chloe past the lineup of people waiting behind the velvet rope as they usually did and she headed into Lux. She waved down at Madison in the DJ booth, then spotted Lucifer looking at a beautifully lit and styled homage to Charlotte on the far side of the dance floor. She felt a stab of fresh grief at seeing Charlotte’s smiling face again, and a wave of sorrow for Dan’s loss, but consoled herself with the knowledge she was safe, and that they’d all meet again someday.

She studied Lucifer, noticing he looked a bit glum, with a slump in his usually straight shoulders. She remembered what he’d said about never seeing Charlotte again; that the Devil had been banished from Heaven seemed to be one thing the stories had got right. His dad had kicked him out and they weren’t talking, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t reconcile at some point. They were just taking a ridiculously long time about it since neither of them had anything as pesky as a mortal lifespan and the prospect of it abruptly ending to hurry them along.

But never say never, she figured. Especially to an immortal.

Lucifer also hadn’t called her; no doubt he was quietly freaking out about revealing himself to yet more of his friends and was, as usual, avoiding the issue. And maybe even second guessing that she’d asked him to leave. She watched him give a great sigh and throw back the rest of his drink, and as he placed it on a nearby table he looked up, seemingly alerted to something. She felt a little shiver when she realised that he’d sensed she was there.

And sure enough, he turned around, his posture instantly straightening and his open smile lighting up the room when he saw her.

Chloe smiled back and headed down to meet him, her stomach starting up with butterflies. As she neared him he gave her a slow up-and-down, his head tilting appreciatively and his smile turning flirtatious.

“Hello Detective.” The butterflies kicked it up a notch at that smooth honey and whisky voice. “You look… absolutely stunning .” He looked a little dazed and Chloe mentally high-fived herself. She’d made a special effort tonight.

Her hair was down and spilling across her shoulders in glossy caramel blonde waves, and the v-neck black floral dress she wore was short and flowy, showing off her long, shapely legs in Maze’s black over-the-knee boots. She was even wearing sexy underwear for once; no granny panties tonight!

She saw Lucifer’s eyes drop to her mouth, bright with bold red lipstick, and the tip of his tongue subconsciously brushed his lip. Then his eyes dropped further to her décolletage and he spotted her necklace; his bullet, nestled on its chain over her heart. His eyes softened and those adorable tiny dimples appeared.

“Thank you,” she answered, feeling a bit like a teenager on prom night. “You look amazing too, Lucifer.” Amazing didn’t begin to cover it; Lucifer Morningstar, as always, was sex on legs. His chiselled good looks and manly physique always looked incredible in his elegant suits, and tonight he was devilishly handsome all in black. Black suit, silk shirt and waistcoat with small black mother-of-pearl buttons, all set off with a crimson pocket square. His black hair and designer scruff were groomed to perfection, emphasising his classical features and the strong planes of his face. Chloe couldn’t help herself; she reached up to give him a light hug then found herself pulling him down slightly to plant a soft, chaste kiss on his cheek.

Lucifer was surprised but pleased at the Detective’s ease with him; every last trace of anxiety about who he was seemed to have vanished. Either that or she was a far better actress than he gave her credit for. He breathed a silent sigh of relief that however impossible it had seemed in the aftermath of Cain’s death, everything seemed to have gone back to normal. It only remained to be seen how the others had taken the revelation of his true identity. They weren’t here so it didn’t look promising, and he found himself unwilling to ask.

The Detective stepped back and pinned him with a reproachful look. “You were supposed to call me.”

Lucifer had the grace to look abashed. “I know, Detective, but it’s been a madhouse around here today. I’ve barely had time to scratch myself.”

Chloe hummed and let it slide. It wasn’t a lie; he had been keeping himself busy. She knew because she’d rung Patrick here at the club several times today to check on him. She had too much reason to be wary of his radio silences these days not to.

They fell back on safer subjects, Lucifer enquiring after ‘the Offspring’ and the latest details from the department grapevine. Chloe had learned that Cain’s inside man, or rather woman, had been tracked down fairly easily after she’d used dispatch to set them up; it had been a rookie, one of Pierce’s new recruits since moving to LA. She was young and impressionable and folded like a cheap suit under questioning - she’d let Barrow out to get on Pierce’s good side, not knowing he was already dead. Barrow had by then assumed control of the gang and had given her instructions for the set-up at the loft.

Lucifer laughed. “Well!  She backed the wrong horse, didn’t she?”

Chloe answered wryly, “Yeah. She wasn’t the only one.”

Lucifer cheerfully agreed, missing the self-criticism in her tone. “We were all rather taken by that faux lumberjack con-artist weren’t we, Detective. Still, at least we came to our senses before too much harm was done.”

Chloe snorted incredulously, remembering the calamitous events of the past few days. Murder, attempted murder, bombings, a kidnapping, more attempted murders by rocket propelled grenade and half a city block looking like a war zone... there was plenty of harm done! But then she remembered who she was talking to. Lucifer’s benchmark for ‘too much harm’ would be in a whole other universe to hers. Her heart broke a little for him, that he’d seen so much in his lifetime that even getting his wings shot to pieces wasn’t all that big of a deal anymore.

That was probably why he liked coming over to spend time with her and Trixie, she thought. To do normal, boring, human stuff like sharing a meal or playing Monopoly. Getting his face painted and his ass thoroughly kicked by a nine year old real estate tycoon might be annoying but it was hardly traumatic. Lucifer had moaned about it but she could tell he’d been keen to do it again. She smiled at the memory.

Lucifer saw it, and nudged her. “Penny for your thoughts, Detective?”

She was about to answer him when Lucifer straightened and looked past her, distracted. Chloe followed his gaze and saw Linda and Amenadiel coming down the stairs - with Dan. Thank God. Dan had been dodging all her calls and she’d been really worried about him. She sighed in relief and hurried over to give him a big hug.

She whispered, “I’m so glad you’re okay.”

Dan hugged her back and said quietly, “I am now. I’ll tell you about it later, alright?”

Chloe nodded. “Okay.” Then louder, she said, “I see you’ve met Linda. Where have you guys been? I got tired of waiting.”

Amenadiel spoke up hurriedly. “My fault. I needed a wardrobe change.” His robe was gone, and in its place was a stylish dark grey three piece suit with a subtly rose-tinted shirt and a black and white paisley tie. Chloe recognised it as what he’d worn to the religious auction the night she’d first met him. It went very nicely with Linda’s sleeveless, high-necked black midi sheath, which featured a mesh cutout across one shoulder that really set off her toned arms. She and Amenadiel were holding hands, Chloe noticed with a smile.

Lucifer snorted. “Yes, I appreciate you not taking dress code literally, Brother.” Amenadiel merely gave him a look.

As a matter of fact they were late because the three of them had had a little debate in a nearby alleyway before coming in. Dan had wanted Linda’s professional opinion on whether or not he should be honest with Lucifer about how he’d first reacted. Amenadiel had put his two cents in and said yes, since Lucifer valued honesty, but Linda had said no. At least not now, because it would hurt him needlessly and he was no doubt already feeling insecure about it. So they weren’t telling him. Dan called Ella and asked her to not say anything either, and after commending him for coming to his senses, she’d happily agreed.

Lucifer was looking back at him with an unreadable expression. Surprise? Hope? Apprehension?

Dan held out his hand, a shy smile on his face. “Thanks, man. For tonight. And yesterday. And for, you know, everything else.”

Lucifer took Dan’s hand, shaking it firmly and raising an appreciative eyebrow. “Well, well. Way to play it cool, Daniel. Colour me impressed.”

Dan, vividly recalling his initial reaction, flushed. “Amenadiel helped,” he admitted. The understatement of the century, he thought, his face burning. He couldn’t even look at Chloe. He felt Amenadiel put his hand on his shoulder and give it a comforting squeeze.

Lucifer looked at his brother, surprised. “Did he now?”

Amenadiel shrugged pragmatically. “We are a lot for humans to take in.”

Lucifer smirked. “Indeed. Some of us more than others.”

Both Amenadiel and Dan rolled their eyes.

Linda shook her head, ignoring him. “Like I told Chloe, Dan, it took me a whole week to get over it...” she blushed furiously when Lucifer’s grin got even wider, and quickly added, “Your existence , I mean!” Lucifer snorted with laughter and Linda levelled her best schoolmarm glare at him. “So, you’ve got nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s a big… ah…” she paused, choosing her words carefully, “... Adjustment ,” she finished pointedly.

Lucifer raised a suggestive eyebrow at her and mouthed I bet it was.

Linda primly turned her attention back to Dan. “I will say, though, even something like this becomes normal surprisingly quickly, although the knowledge changes you.” She smiled reassuringly. “But then, we’re changed every day by the things we learn. It’s a necessary part of life, and growth.”

“Hmm, you’re right there, Doctor,” Lucifer agreed, finally deciding to quit it with the smutty innuendos. “Goodness knows we’ve changed, haven’t we, Brother?” He slapped Amenadiel playfully on the arm.

Then he looked around and added, “So where’s Miss Lopez?” He sounded a little resigned. “I wasn’t really expecting her to come, what with her being one of Dad’s and all, but-”

Suddenly there was a squeal from the upstairs walkway and they all looked up to see Ella break loose from the crowd of new arrivals and come barrelling down the staircase, somehow managing to not take a tumble despite the fact she was wearing a full length evening dress and towering heels. She leaped down the final set of steps and flew across the room like a silver-sequined tornado, flinging her arms around Lucifer and giving him an enormous hug.

“Thank you Lucifer, thankyou thankyou thankyou,” she cried, her cheek against his chest. “You’re so awesome, you’re the best, if anybody ever has a problem with you, you send them to me, okay? I’ll sort ‘em out.”

Lucifer went rigid like he usually did when she hugged him, then to Ella’s surprise rather than try to squirm away she felt him relax, his arms encircling her, and give her a gentle squeeze in return. A few moments later his deep voice rumbled into her ear.

“Thank you, Miss Lopez. I... very much appreciate that.”

Ella raised her head and went on brightly, “And by the way, don’t worry, first thing I did when I got back to the lab yesterday was to bin your, you know,” she rose up on her tiptoes to stage whisper in his ear, “ angel blood, before it got to processing. So it’s all cool.” She shook her head, grinning from ear to ear. “SO goddamn cool.”

Lucifer huffed an incredulous laugh and looked down at Ella in utter bafflement. This tiny human woman of faith, whose head didn’t even reach his chin, was boldly hugging him as she often did… but this time she knew who he was. In spite of everything she must have been taught about him, she had come here, trusting that he was no danger to her.

He looked around at the circle of friendly human faces; Chloe, Linda, Dan and Ella. All of them had accepted him for who and what he was, and he couldn’t quite believe it was really happening.

“You’re all here,” he said in wonder.

Ella expected him to end the hug and escape as per usual, but to her surprise his arms stayed firmly wrapped around her. He didn’t seem to want to let her go.

She squeezed him back even tighter. “Of course we are, Luce. We’re your friends. Who listens when assholes talk shit about their friends?”

Lucifer blinked several times, then opened his mouth to speak. Nothing came out, so he cleared his throat and tried again. “I don’t know what to say.” He looked a little lost. “This has never happened before.”

Dan watched Lucifer, clearly overcome by the fact that they all believed him, and wondered how he’d ever thought he was evil. He’d been angry and scared and looking for somebody to blame, that’s how. Which is what Lucifer’s had to put up with his whole life, Dan thought guiltily. I really am a douche.

He remembered the interviews of Lucifer’s sexual partners last year. Lucifer had remembered the names of all ninety two people over a two month period, and all of them had raved about how considerate and generous (as well as creative) a lover he was. He also remembered how crushed Lucifer had been when he’d realised they didn’t have the same regard for him. For all that Lucifer often affected that he didn’t care about stuff like that, he did care; a lot.

Linda smiled happily at her patient, now friend. She knew how much this acceptance meant to him, and she could see he didn’t quite know how to deal with it. She thought she’d better step in and help him out.

“You don’t have to say anything, Lucifer. But I think perhaps this calls for a toast, don’t you?”

Lucifer shook himself slightly, the familiarity of playing the host helping him regain his equilibrium, and let go of Ella to briskly clap his hands. “Right you are, Doctor! Where are my manners?” He ushered everyone over to the bar and addressed his bartenders. “Drinks for everyone if you please, lads. What’s your poison, Detective? Would you like to start off with an IPA? I got in some boutique brews just for you, since you refuse to adopt any of my recommendations...”

Chloe smiled at his fussing. “I’d love a beer, thanks Lucifer.”

“Hey Espinoza !” There was a shout from across the club and Dan turned at the familiar voice to greet a colleague but instead startled badly when he saw Maze standing silently right behind him.

“Jesus-!”

Maze eyed Dan with amusement and leaned nonchalantly on the bar, reaching for the whisky the bartender poured for her. She moved unnecessarily close into Dan’s personal space and looked pleased when he backed up a little. “Something the matter, Dan?” she asked coyly.

Dan gulped and squeaked, “Uh... demon ?”

Maze leaned even closer and replied in a breathy whisper, “Yup.”

Dan worriedly caught Amenadiel’s eye, who gave him a meh it’s fine look and shrugged. Dan nodded slowly.

“Okay. Right. That makes a scary kind of sense, actually.” He gathered what was left of his dignity and added, “Um, Maze, I haven’t, um, thanked you yet for finding Trixie. What you did for us is… well, I’ll never forget it. Thank you.” He held out his hand.

The demon nodded in surprise but ignored his hand, instead punching him playfully in the shoulder. “No worries, Douche. Trixie’s family now, which makes you family by default. And nobody fucks with our family.”

“Ow.” Dan rubbed his aching shoulder. A demon from Hell considered him family; he didn’t know whether to feel flattered or fucking terrified. He settled for vaguely uneasy, which was how he felt about a lot of his actual blood relatives anyway, so that was surprisingly fine.

After making sure everyone had a drink, Lucifer turned to Charlotte’s portrait and gallantly saluted her with his glass. “To dear absent friends.” Everyone lifted their glasses as well and joined in the toast, a little misty-eyed. To Charlotte.

Lucifer took a sip then turned back to the others, a huge grin on his face. “And to the ones who are still here, despite everything , cheers to you lot too.”

Maze nodded solemnly and looked at Linda. She added, “To friendship.”

“Yeah! To friendship!” Ella yelled enthusiastically and everyone laughed and clinked their glasses together in the middle of the circle.

Lucifer sipped his drink then gestured at Dan and Ella. “So what happened with you two after I left yesterday?” He grinned eagerly at Chloe. “Did Daniel faint? Please tell me he fainted.”

Dan smiled weakly but Chloe laughed and shook her head. “Nope. No fainting. He dropped the f-bomb a few times though.”

Lucifer nodded. “Understandable.” He threw a sly look at Ella. “What about Miss Lopez? Does she have a secret sailor mouth?”

“Actually, Ella just rolled with it. She hyperventilated for a minute or two, but that was about it.” Chloe snort laughed, adding, “Actually, I seem to remember her comparing you to a My Little Pony .”

Dan exploded with laughter. “That’s right she did! I forgot about that.”

Ella giggled too. “Did I? I don’t remember.”

Lucifer retorted haughtily, “ Little ?” He sniffed, then recovered with a shameless smirk, raising a suggestive eyebrow. “If you must compare me to barnyard animals, Miss Lopez, I’m less little pony and more thoroughbred stallion , if you catch my drift...”

Amenadiel rolled his eyes. Did he have to make everything about his penis? “Yes, Luci, we get it,” he groaned.

Linda nudged Chloe. “You know, he’s not wrong,” she murmured.

Chloe nearly choked on her beer.

“I thought goats were more your thing,” said Dan. “What’s with that?”

Amenadiel and Maze traded glances and snorted with laughter, earning an irritated glare from Lucifer. “It wasn’t me ! For goodness’ sake…”

Amenadiel’s laughter subsided and he turned to ask Dan, “So what is a Your Little Pony ?”

Thanks to the excellent wifi in Lux, Dan was able to show both him and Maze what it was, and the three of them then spent the next ten minutes laughing their asses off gleefully brainstorming brony names for Lucifer. Maze came up with Rainbro Douche , Amenadiel liked Appletini , and Dan’s favourite was Twinkle Fluff . Lucifer asked what they were laughing at so Maze showed him, and then laughed even harder at the outraged look on his face.

He glared at Ella. “You likened me to a child’s plaything ?”

Ella giggled, then sobered at Lucifer’s forbidding expression. She shrugged. “I was wigging out, dude. You’d just finished going angelic Top Gun and I can’t be held responsible for things I might’ve said while dealing with that.”

“Do something nice, take a rocket in the chest, and this is the thanks I get?” He made a disgusted noise. “You’re all a bunch of bloody ingrates.”

Chloe bumped him affectionately with her shoulder. “Don’t worry Lucifer, we know you’re a badass. If it makes you feel any better, after yesterday I think of you more like a feathery ICBM. Or the Terminator .”

Lucifer brightened. “Really?”

“Really.”

Lucifer nodded, mollified. “That’s more like it.”

------------------------

While he returned to Chloe and the others as often as he could, Lucifer was obliged to also do the rounds of Lux. Ever the charismatic host, he mingled with lawmakers and lawbreakers alike, maintaining order and charming all as Charlotte’s former cop buddies, lawyer friends and the FBI rubbed shoulders with some of her earlier, sketchier clientele.

Everyone knew that Lucifer Morningstar did not abide violence under his roof - unless he was the one doing it - and bar a couple of exceptions (who quickly found themselves shirtfronted, scared shitless, and ejected unceremoniously into the street) everyone put their differences aside to share fond memories of Charlotte.

Dan found himself blindsided by a few such stories; when Amenadiel told them about how Charlotte had kneed some random guy in the balls and stolen his motorbike to give chase after Pierce, for example. Dan’s jaw had nearly hit the floor.

“Charlotte really did that?”

Amenadiel grinned. “Damn straight. She wasn’t going to let anything stop her. And that night she broke into Pierce’s house as well.”

Chloe, Ella and Linda shared their bachelorette night stories and there was laughter, tears, and more toasts. Maze had no hard feelings about that night, although she was a bit annoyed at herself for having let a busload of highly athletic water polo players go to waste; Charlotte’s move had been fucking inspired . She turned to her picture and murmured in apology, “Sorry babe. Your party kicked my party’s ass .”

Then she brightened as she remembered something. “Hey guys, guys !” They all looked at her and she grinned. “I have a funny story too! Did Dan ever tell you about the time him, me and Charlotte nearly had a three-way?”

--------------------

Despite the unhappy reason for the gathering, it was a fantastic party and a wonderful send-off for Charlotte. Chloe had a great time with her friends and other colleagues, though when Lucifer was off charming the brass and wrangling various (alleged) crime families she found her eyes constantly roaming the club looking for him. Except for their newly extended Tribe, nobody in the club knew who it really was they were talking to and she found that knowledge exhilarating, as well as quite funny. She watched him as he circulated and networked and did his thing, and more than once their eyes met, and held, across the crowded nightclub. Apparently he was keeping tabs on her too.

When she wasn’t busy staking out Lucifer she had a LOT to talk about with Linda, Ella and Maze. She’d been particularly surprised, and maybe even a tiny bit pissed, to learn that Charlotte had also known the truth about Lucifer. Apparently the angels had inadvertently let slip a few things about her missing time, and Lucifer had shown her his wings to prove to her that she wasn’t crazy. Chloe couldn’t begrudge him that; he’d done it as a kindness. And Linda had known longer than anybody because she’d threatened fairly early on to quit being his therapist if he wasn’t honest with her. Again, Chloe could understand.

She already knew why Lucifer hadn’t shown her. He’d told her himself, and Linda had confirmed it - he’d been terrified of losing her. Maybe she should feel flattered that he hadn’t been willing to risk it. Like anyone, she understood what it was like to fear losing someone important to you. But still, a small part of her couldn’t help thinking he’d have saved them both a hell of a lot of pain and frustration if only he’d trusted her enough.

She would let it go, though, for both their sakes. There were no more barriers between them and she was determined that they would move forward together, and not dwell on the past. She wanted to reassure him every way she knew how that she was going to stay, that she cared for him, and how much their relationship meant to her.

Every time he rejoined their group she found various excuses to nudge, hug, and otherwise get close to him, to communicate via her words and her touch that nothing had changed between them. Except she knew something had changed.

She was still very much in love with him, and she didn’t have to hide it anymore.

She loved him, so much. She felt it in her soul, her bones. She could no longer imagine her life without him in it, him and his maddening Luciferness. He’d become so fundamental to the life that she wanted, both for herself and her daughter, that despite where he came from, he’d become home to her. She wanted to make him happy, because he deserved to be happy, and to do everything in her power to stop him from ever being hurt again.

They’d both been hiding how they really felt about each other for so long, but after Lucifer’s confession the other night and her subsequently learning the truth about him, nothing was stopping them now. And on that note, she decided she was not wasting one more minute with him not knowing how she felt. She was not going to let anything else come between them, least of all fear.

After midnight the party finally started to wind down. The crowd had thinned considerably and Lucifer dispensed with hosting duties to settle down with the Tribe. His jacket was off and he sat comfortably on the lounge next to Chloe, his knee lightly touching hers as they talked, occasionally fielding random questions from Ella, who was beside herself at having not one but two Sons of God to cross-examine.

When Amenadiel suggested to Lucifer that they all head up to the penthouse for a nightcap, Chloe decided it was time to take Maze’s advice and throw caution to the wind. She got up and headed for the DJ area.

Madison glanced up from his mixing desk and lowered his headphones. “Hey, Chloe. What’s up?”

Chloe smiled, a little shyly. “Do you take requests?”

Madison smiled back, his striking blue eyes crinkling at the corners. “Sure. For the boss’ partner, anything.”

Chloe named her song and Madison nodded, giving her a knowing wink. Chloe thanked him and headed back to the others, noticing that Lucifer was watching her, a curious look on his face. As she neared him the old song faded out and the familiar intro of another one came over Lux’ speakers. She grinned at his expression; he didn’t have a clue what was going on.

----------------

Lucifer was a little taken aback when the Detective abruptly got up from the couch and walked away. He wondered for a moment if he might have said something to piss her off, but then dismissed it since she’d always been more than capable of telling him where to go when he’d done something she didn’t like.

He was just wondering what else it could have been when she stopped and had words with Madison, who then smiled and winked at her.

The Detective appeared to be hitting on his DJ. Lucifer decided he didn’t like that at all . Although... Mads was certainly a good enough sort if the Detective was going to start dating again, but it did seem a tad soon after the Man Ham and Madison wouldn’t be keen on being the rebound guy...

Then while he was still pondering that she turned and walked away, heading back towards him. Okay, so if she wasn’t hitting on him what on Earth was she doing?

Then Christine and the Queens faded out and Yazoo faded up. He heard Ella exclaim, “Awww! I love this song! Such a classic, and muy romantic… I really love the eclectic mix of music you play here, Luce…”

Then the Detective stopped directly in front of him and held out her hand.

“May I have this dance, Lucifer?”

Lucifer looked up at her, a vision, the ceiling lights of Lux limning her golden hair like a halo and knew he’d shamelessly take literally any chance to be close to her, even though it was only as friends now. Her choosing this song was no doubt to show him that she remembered and still valued their partnership; she really was the most amazing woman.

He stood up, then took her hand with a smile. “It would be my pleasure, Detective. It’s one of our greatest hits after all, and worthy of a reprise!” They walked together onto the dance floor. Behind them, Ella watched wide-eyed and Linda was perched on the edge of her seat, grinning like a loon.

 

Looking from a window above, it's like a story of love

Can you hear me

Came back only yesterday

I'm moving further away

Want you near me

 

All I needed was the love you gave

All I needed for another day

And all I ever knew

Only you

 

As they moved slowly together Lucifer looked up at the ceiling and said teasingly, “I feel a bit shortchanged, Detective. Where’s my confetti?”

Chloe replied impishly, “I’ve got something even better, Lucifer.”

Lucifer raised an eyebrow. “Better than sparkly foil confetti? It’d have to be pretty bloody good to top that-”

And before Lucifer knew what was happening, Chloe went up on her tiptoes and kissed him. He stopped dancing and froze with surprise as her mouth met his and her tongue slid gently inside. After a few dizzying moments she pulled back and looked up at him, her face only a couple of inches from his.

Chloe had to smile, he looked just as bewildered as the first time she’d planted one on him at the beach.

Lucifer cleared his throat. “Detective, ah, what do you think you’re doing?”

She giggled. “You’re the expert, what does it look like I’m doing?” She inched ever closer, swaying to the music and winding her arms around his neck. God damn but his upper body in that waistcoat...

Lucifer looked at her dubiously. “Did you drink an entire bucket of wine with Linda tonight, by chance?”

“Pssh. A bottle at the most. I’m fine.”

She certainly did appear to be tipsy, but not plastered like she’d been the night she’d tried to jump him. She had to be pretty out of it though, if she was kissing him; had she forgotten who he was?

A line appeared between his brows and his eyes lit up with flames. “Has some bastard spiked your drink?”

Chloe snorted with laughter. “No! I’m fine. Better than fine, actually. I’m amazing .” She realised the double entendre and grinned, throwing him a slightly overdone lascivious wink. “At least that’s what I’m told ...” She giggled at his dumbfounded expression.

“But really, Detective, this isn’t like you - you don’t do this sort of thing. You said it yourself.”

Chloe blew out her cheeks in frustration and gave him an impatient look. “Firstly, Lucifer, this is different. I barely knew you back then. Secondly, I’m not some kinda nun; I’ve been giving you signals all night. But I’ve come to realise either you’re not gonna get subtlety, or maybe I’m even more crap at this than I thought, or maybe you’re just in denial. So I’m making my feelings known.” She added under her breath and I swear, Lucifer, if you turn me down this time…

She looked at him, her blue-green eyes open and sincere, and said simply, “I’m not gonna dance around it anymore, Lucifer. I want you.”

Lucifer’s eyebrows rose. “You want me… to what?”

“I want... you .”

He asked slowly, disbelievingly, “What - you’re telling me you want to go upstairs?”

“Yes.” She closed the final space between them, pressing herself up against him. She could feel his lithe muscles and the heat of his body even through his suit.

He started to pull away. “But…”

Oh no you don’t. Chloe gripped him tighter. “Lucifer, don’t freak out on me. I am done with you running away, okay?”

“But Detective, I’m-”

Chloe put a finger on his lips. “Shut up.”

He complied.

Chloe continued, “Lucifer, I’m saying yes. I’m saying HELL YES. I am not delirious, hammered or high. I am in full command of my faculties. The light is green. What the hell do you want me to do, a cartwheel or something?”

He shook his head. “But… you know who I am, now. How could you possibly want to have sex with me?”

She drew her arms a little closer around his neck. “There was an adjustment period, I’ll admit, but my feelings for you haven’t changed, Lucifer. If anything what we’ve been through the past few days has made them stronger. You’re my partner and my best friend. I care about you, a lot, and I know you feel the same about me. You don’t scare me. Never have, never will.” She lifted her hand to the side of his face, her thumb skimming lightly across the corner of his mouth. “I wanna be with you. And I don’t mean just for tonight.”

He gazed down at her, his dark eyes hopeful, but still holding traces of doubt. So she kissed him again, the tender touch of her lips growing slowly more insistent, and this time he responded. He leaned into her, closing his eyes and placing his large hands on her waist, his entire world narrowing down to where her soft mouth met his.

Lucifer had kissed a lot of people, but even the wildest snog he could remember paled in comparison to the gentlest brush of the Detective’s lips. Her gently probing tongue, her breath warm on his cheek, every movement of her body against his telegraphed straight down to the innermost parts of him, the rush of feeling threatening to obliterate his self control. A strange fluttering sensation below his ribs reminded him of his wings, and if they’d chosen to burst free at that moment he decided he couldn’t have cared less.

He sighed softly and pulled her closer. Chloe shifted slightly so she would fit more snugly against him and then her boot accidentally pressed down with her full weight right onto his toe. He flinched and let out a little yelp.

“Ow bugger!

They pulled back and looked at each other, slightly breathless, Chloe’s face glowing as much from the kiss as from embarrassment that her klutziness had ruined the moment.

“I’m so sorry! Are you-” then stopped. Of course he’s okay. But she knew what it meant that it had hurt; he was letting himself be vulnerable around her again. Lucifer seemed to realise it too and they both started to laugh, relaxing, bodies drawing back together again as if by each other’s gravity.

Deckerstaaar! ” They heard Ella bellow, followed by cheers and whistling from the sidelines; they looked over to see the Tribe all grinning at them like idiots. Ella let out a whoop and made a number of rather lewd gestures, while Linda triumphantly held out her hand to Maze, who shrugged and put twenty bucks in it.

Lucifer and Chloe laughingly shook their heads and went back to slow dancing, whispering sweet nothings and revelling in their renewed intimacy, their attention on each other and nobody else.

-----------------------

Maze held up her glass to clink it against Linda’s and Ella’s. “Didn’t know Decker had it in her. Looks like Lucifer’s finally gonna seal the deal with Chloe tonight.” She threw back her whiskey and plonked the empty glass on the table. “It’s about damn time.”

Linda sighed happily, absolutely delighted for them, but Ella turned to Maze with wide eyes. “ Deal ?”

Maze shook her head. “Chill, Ellen. It’s a figure of speech. I mean they’re gonna bone.”

Ella relaxed. “Right, I got you. And it’s Ella ...”

“That’s what I said.”

The three of them watched Lucifer and Chloe moving around slowly on the dancefloor, Chloe with her arms looped around Lucifer’s neck and her chin resting on his shoulder, and Lucifer with his fingers interlaced in the small of Chloe’s back. They both had blissful little smiles on their faces and every so often Chloe would lift her head and they’d murmur quietly to each other, their lips almost touching. Sometimes they’d laugh, or kiss again.

Maze wondered when they were gonna get down to it. All these soppy looks were leaving her feeling frustrated and a little nauseous.

Amenadiel suddenly skidded to a halt beside their table, having been shoved rather forcefully in the back by an overly helpful Dan. Amenadiel smiled a little shyly at Linda and held out his hand as he’d seen Chloe do to Lucifer. “Would you like to dance, Linda?”

A delighted smile broke across Linda’s face and she nodded. “I’d love to.” She took his hand and let him lead her onto the dancefloor. Other couples soon joined them.

Maze let out a put-upon sigh and glanced over at Ella. “ You wanna dance?”

Ella shook her head. “Nah. When it comes to couple dancing I’m more of a reggaetón girl myself, ya know?” She swivelled her hips, then popped her booty with a raunchy little twerk, laughing.

Maze turned to face her fully, more interested now. “Wanna show me?”

 

----------------------

 

As their song ended, Chloe waved goodbye to the others with a smile, then took Lucifer by the hand and led him resolutely toward the lift. Lucifer saw the others grinning and wiggling their fingers at him and waved back distractedly, still slightly shell-shocked that this was actually happening. Before the lift doors had closed, though, he had the Detective up against the wall and was kissing her with unbridled lust.

She kissed him back with a passion that surprised him, her arms entwined around his neck and her leg hooked around his arse. Then she raked her bootheel down his calf and sighed, murmuring, “This elevator’s gonna take too damn long…”

Chloe made a tiny sound of surprise as her feet abruptly left the floor and Lucifer swept her into his arms. She giggled and pulled herself closer, nosing just inside his collar to suck and nip at his neck. There was a brief sense of falling as the elevator seemed to slip slightly on its cable, and then a strong breeze lifted her hair.

Wait up - a breeze? Inside an elevator?

She raised her head and realised with a start they were suddenly in the middle of Lucifer’s living room. He started carrying her bridal-style across the penthouse.

“What-? What just happened? Did Amenadiel stop time again?”

“No, and Amenadiel had better not try anything of the sort tonight if he knows what’s good for him,” Lucifer muttered darkly.

“Then what happened?”

“You said the lift would take too long, so we skipped it.”

She slapped him lightly on the chest. “Are you telling me we just flew?!”

“No, more like a hop,” he replied matter-of-factly, carrying her up the steps into his bedroom.

“Wow.” She grinned, thrilled. “How thoughtful. But gimme a heads-up next time.”

Lucifer threw her a roguish look. “Next time? That sounds promising.”

Chloe leaned up to kiss him again, with a little light suction on his bottom lip. She drew back and gave him a bewitching smile. “Mmm, more like a promise?”

Lucifer lowered her to the floor and lifted his hand to tuck her hair behind her ear and trace the line of her jaw with his thumb.

He frowned slightly. “Detective… are you absolutely sure? I mean… I am me. Do you really want to do this?”

Chloe blinked at his words, which seemed to echo from a dream. Then put her arms around him. “Yes, Lucifer. What we have is real. I want this.” She pushed him backwards until he was pressed up against the engraved stone wall. “I’ve wanted this since even before that day on the beach.”

He looked down at her, his expression tender. “As have I, Detective.”

She kissed him again, her tongue exploring as her fingers fumbled to undo the buttons on his waistcoat. Then she drew back, tugging his shirt loose, and went to unbutton that, too. Then she apparently thought better of it and wrenched the shirt apart instead, the buttons popping off and bouncing across the floor.

Lucifer chuckled. “A little impatient, are we, Detective?”

Chloe smiled and countered, “I think I’ve waited long enough.” She pushed the shirt back off his shoulders and took a moment to appreciate the beauty of his upper body. Lucifer bent to nuzzle her neck while his hands roamed, undoing the buttons of her dress down to her waist then moving around to gently squeeze her backside.

Chloe lifted her left hand to the nape of his neck and went up on tiptoes to nibble and kiss her way up to his earlobe, and while she was doing that, her right hand trailed lightly down his chest and abs, before venturing lower. Her hand glided surely across him with a gentle pressure, and she stroked the firm length of him through his pants.

Her touch was like an electric shock. Lucifer gasped and there was a sudden loud whump as his wings unfurled; one shot out and smashed a bedside lamp and the other knocked the clown painting clean off the wall. There was a tearing noise and they both looked over to see that the creepy mer-clown had been impaled on the Balinese demon statue by the bed.

Lucifer groaned in dismay. “Bugger! That’s what comes of forgetting to wingboner-proof the penthouse. Bloody annoying things, I thought I had a handle on them...” He promptly folded them away.

“Seems like they want out.” Chloe’s mild response was at complete odds with how she felt at having glimpsed his wings again - and he’d hidden them away before she’d had a chance to get a proper look. The first time she’d seen them they’d freaked her out but they provoked a rather different response in her now... those powerful, impossible wings thrilled her to bits.

Lucifer grunted and went back to kissing her. “I can’t help that I can’t seem to control myself around you,” he muttered tetchily into her mouth.

He seemed a little embarrassed by the admission but Chloe was delighted. She’d never thought herself the type to make any guy lose control before, much less Lucifer ‘seen it all’ Morningstar. She’d never felt so sexy.

“Don’t hide them on my account Lucifer, I wanna see them. Besides, I’m going to have to get used to them at some point, aren’t I?” She smiled shyly. “And I like ‘em.”

REALLY like. Like, you have no idea how much.

His mouth twisted wryly. “Do you? Even in the wretched state they’re in?”

“Uh-huh. I strongly approve of the battle-ravaged angel look. It suits you.” Her eyes got a mischievous look and she reached up to run her fingers through his dark hair, wrapping a hank of it around her finger and coaxing out a couple of reluctant curls. “And I love these. Bed hair suits you too, no surprise. You could stand to be a little less immaculate all the time.” At his sour look she realised what she’d said and laughingly added, “Not that kind of immaculate! You know what I mean.”

Tiny dimples appeared at the corners of Lucifer’s mouth, proof of his amusement. He inclined his head in acquiescence. “Very well, Detective, never let it be said that I would deny you anything…” And with that he shrugged his shoulders and his wings again unfolded, so huge his wing tips almost brushed the walls.

“Wow,” Chloe breathed. “Wow.” Still ragged and damaged, they were nevertheless the most beautiful things she’d ever seen. No longer pink, now they were a pure, lambent white.

“You got them clean.” She reached out to finally touch one, gently running her hand along his right wing shoulder. She was amazed at how small and delicate the feathers were there compared to the enormous, stiff flight feathers on the trailing edges. The limb moved under her hand, following Lucifer’s every movement.

“How did you manage it by yourself?” she asked curiously.

“Wasn’t that hard. Damn sight easier than cutting them off, anyway.”

Chloe carded her fingers down through the bigger and fluffier feathers, the coverts, she corrected herself, then ran her hand along the top of the wing to the much larger, stiffer primaries at the end. She’d done her homework since she’d last seen him, though now she thought about it, there was no reason to expect angels to use human terminology for bird anatomy about themselves. But then again, why wouldn't they?

She walked around behind him so she could inspect where his wings joined his back. Her stomach fluttered a little uncomfortably when she saw the familiar crescent shapes over his shoulder blades, the muscle and ligament covered by smaller feathers where his scars used to be, and was reminded of how he’d hurt himself. She didn’t know how he could’ve possibly taken a blade to these gorgeous things...no. Don’t think about that.

“How’d you do it? Your shower’s big but it’s not that big. How did you even reach back here?”

“They are extremely flexible, Detective,” he replied, and demonstrated by hunching his back slightly, his wings stretching forward then curling around his body, then up to the ceiling, then furling tightly to his back. He continued, “Still, I didn’t have time to faff about. So I did a run to the hardware store and hired a pressure washer.”

Chloe was glad he was facing away from her as she fought back a smile. “Really?”

Lucifer nodded. “Hmm. Set it up on the balcony. All done in under twenty minutes.”

Chloe felt a guilty relief that he hadn’t asked her to help; the absurdity of blasting away at an angel with a high powered water jet would probably have made her laugh hysterically and she wouldn’t have wanted to add insult to his injuries.

Looking him over, Chloe wondered if she might still be able to help. She spotted a feather sticking out so gently smoothed it back into place. Lucifer sighed and his wings relaxed a little, the movement exposing the line of skin of his back between them. Encouraged, she moved up behind him, smoothing another, larger one, then softly kissed the back of his neck. Pulling her hand along another covert to smooth it, she laid another lingering kiss between his shoulder blades. She smoothed at least a dozen more feathers down, leaving a trail of kisses down his spine, then reached forward under his wings, wrapped her arms around him, and buried her face in his scapular feathers.

“That’s much better, thank you,” Lucifer murmured, his hands crossed over hers.

“You’re welcome,” Chloe mumbled back. She felt so zen after that she felt like falling asleep. But that was not an option. She hugged herself closer to him and heaved an enormous sigh, then started languidly tracing her fingers over him; over his perfect abs and up his strongly muscled chest, humming thoughtfully. Then she let go of him to reach back and unclasp her lacy black strapless bra. She pulled it off, then dangled it enticingly over his shoulder. Then she dropped it on the floor and leaned in to brush her nipples lightly across his back.

“Is this better, Lucifer?” she murmured. She reached forward again to caress and explore, then moved closer, pressing her chest more firmly into him.

“Is this better?” Her lips grazed his neck. His wings shivered and his feathers tickled her bare skin.

When Lucifer realised the Detective had freed those spectacular boobs and was currently rubbing them against his naked back, he nearly forgot how to stand up. He whipped his wings out of the way and snaked out a long arm to pull her to him. Closer, he needed her closer. He wanted to wrap his wings around her and crush her to him, and he had to force himself to curb his strength so he didn’t accidentally hurt her. He settled for getting his hands under her thighs and lifting her up so he could reach her mouth, and those beautiful breasts, better.

“Mmm, very much better, Detective…”

Chloe made a sexy murmur of approval and wrapped both legs firmly around him like she was shimmying up a tree. Lucifer kept one hand where it was and with the other inched the zipper of her nearest boot down her leg. He carried her towards the bed, then sat on it with her straddling his lap on her knees. Chloe noticed that somehow his wings weren’t bent or squashed, as the ends seemed to be passing freely right through the bed. Maybe it was the same inexplicable thing that happened with their clothes? She shrugged. Angels.

She also got a better look at the wreckage on the floor and frowned guiltily at it. “I’m sorry about your lamp. Not the painting, though. That thing always gave me the creeps.” She flipped her long hair so it spilled across his shoulders as she nibbled and sucked his earlobe. “Mmm… I never understood why you had it anyway. It’s not exactly your style. Did you lose a bet or something?” Her hands roamed, fingertips tracing his well-defined muscles like an erotic book in Braille.

Lucifer made a sound of approval at her explorations. “I know perfectly well that it was an abomination. But it was a… keepsake.”

She snorted in disbelief. “Of what? The time Pennywise got knocked up by the Swamp Thing?” She realised he’d finished unzipping her left boot and promptly kicked it off.

Lucifer snorted too, laughter rumbling up through his body into hers. Then he replied into her collarbone, “No, no, not quite; of when I went to find the professor for you.” He laid a row of rough stubble kisses along her shoulder, raising his free hand to run his fingers through her hair. Chloe leaned into Lucifer’s touch, sighing, and threaded her fingers through his thick dark curls in return while she nuzzled behind his ear.

She had a vague thought that something he’d said hadn’t quite made sense and she should be paying closer attention but she was finding it hard to focus when he kept doing such nice things to her.

“Um, what professor?”

“Carlisle, of course. I needed to… mmmh... get the formula for your antidote.”

Chloe abruptly stopped what she was doing, much to Lucifer’s disappointment. She got off his lap and looked down at him in puzzlement, pushing the very sexily mussed curtain of her hair out of her face. Her dress was also askew with one pert breast peeking out and she was standing a little lopsidedly as she still had one boot on.

“Carlisle? My antidote? But you didn’t get it from him.”

Lucifer leaned back on the bed and huffed a little laugh. “Oh didn’t I?”

“But he killed himself right after he injected me. There was no time.”

Lucifer tugged Chloe back toward him, then got to his feet and ghosted his lips up her long neck. “I most certainly did get it from him, Detective. It was the only place I could get it. He never wrote it down, remember?” He turned them both around so the backs of Chloe’s legs touched the bed, then nudged her gently so she’d sit down.

Chloe sat, but grabbed Lucifer’s hands and stilled them so that she could focus on what he was saying. “But wait, what? I thought you must’ve…” She trailed off, frowning. “So when did you get it, then?”

“After Carlisle landed in Hell.” He knelt before her, lifted her still-booted leg and slowly slid the zipper down, then pulled the boot off and tossed it over his shoulder. Still holding her leg, he laid a row of gentle but scratchy stubble kisses from her ankle to her thigh.

Meanwhile, Chloe’s eyes were like saucers. “What?” She shook her head. “Hell?!

Lucifer raised an eyebrow. “Why surprised, Detective? He was a serial killer and terrorist who then committed the mortal sin of suicide. Where else would he have gone?” He put her leg down and placed his hands either side of her on the bed.

Chloe shook her head. “No… it’s not the fact he went to Hell, I mean, you’re real, so Hell is real, and he was a bad guy, so it makes sense he’d end up there. I mean, you seriously went after him?”

Lucifer shrugged complacently. “It was the only way.” He pushed himself up on his arms and kissed her, closing his eyes and nudging her until she tipped backwards onto the bed. He followed, walking his hands forward and propping himself up on top of her to kiss her again.

Chloe was only half aware of his attentions, and lay back on the bed a little dazed. Wow. He went through Hell to save me. Again literally.

But he’s the Devil, Chloe reminded herself. Him going to Hell is probably like me going to the corner store or something.

Lucifer made his way from her mouth along her jaw to her earlobe, then back to her mouth, his tongue teasing and probing. Soon Chloe found herself pleasantly distracted and she decided she wasn’t going to let this news faze her; after getting over finding out who he really was she felt practically bulletproof as far as shock went.

Either way you are not going to wig out and ruin this. He isn’t making a big deal out of it, so neither will you.

Chloe nodded. “Okay. Alright. Okay.” Mentally adding Lucifer’s trip to Hell to the rapidly growing mountain range of things to talk about at a more convenient time, she twisted her head around to eye the destroyed painting. “So… you went back to Hell and decided to commemorate the occasion with a… that?” She considered it for a moment, then grimaced. “Actually you know what? I get it.”

“No, it was part of the deal I made so we could get the antidote for you.” Lucifer explained. “And then it somehow… came to mean something else.”

“Like a memento of when you saved my life?”

“Mmm, sort of.”

“That’s so sweet, Lucifer. But seriously, ugh.” She grimaced. “You shouldn’t have had to look at that thing every day. Never mind wake up to it. It’s gross. You want a better keepsake?” She lifted her arms around his neck and gently pulled him down to her so that their foreheads touched. “You got me.”

Lucifer closed his eyes and said wonderingly. “I do, don’t I?”

Chloe nodded. “Yep.” She kissed him, gently at first, but gradually becoming more passionate. She felt Lucifer’s mouth curve into a smile as he returned the kiss. Chloe pulled back, then gave him a naughty smile and arched her back so her boobs pressed against his bare chest. “Wanna see what happens when you put me on the wall?”

Lucifer chuckled approvingly and promptly got up off the bed, pulling her up by the hand then backing her over to the wall by the window. He murmured, “I have an idea… ” And before she knew what was happening he’d cupped his hands under her butt and lifted her a good six feet off the floor. And held her there, her back braced against the wall, with no apparent effort whatsoever. She gasped in surprise; she’d witnessed his strength many times before but she still couldn’t comprehend the sheer ease with which he could do something like this. Also, the other times had been rather alarming as he’d been about to unleash Hell on a suspect, but this time she found it, as well as his gentleness with her, incredibly arousing.

He nuzzled his face in between her thighs under her dress, humming appreciatively.

“Hmm… nice undies, Detective…”

Chloe grinned, wondering what he was going to do about them. She got her answer a moment later when he braced her weight with one hand, reached up and grabbed the waistband of her delicate black lacy underwear, then with a growl tore the crotch apart with his teeth. Chloe gave a delighted squeal of laughter.

“Lucifer!”

This is a bit different to how he usually holds people up against walls, she thought wickedly. Then Lucifer started doing experimental little flicks with his tongue and she gasped again, reflexively grabbing handfuls of his hair and digging her heels into his back. His feathers tickled her toes and she writhed, her thighs clamping tightly in reflex around his head. Then he chuckled and the pleasurable vibrations triggered another bout of squirming.

Oh, that’s very nice… oh God that’s nice… no, NO, whatever you do don’t say ‘God’ at him...

A few minutes later and Lucifer still hadn’t come up for air, and a sweet tension had started to build. Chloe moaned and pressed her hands back on the wall, trying to grind herself onto his face but unable to get the right leverage. And, she realised, there was almost six feet of incredibly sexy Devil that she couldn’t get her hands on from all the way up here. A lot more if you counted all his appendages. She longed to have his beautiful, powerful body at her fingertips and she hadn’t even got his pants off yet.

She forced her eyes open and took in the view below her. The skirt of her dress was hiked up around her hips and Lucifer’s mussed dark head was moving purposefully underneath it, his luminescent white wings - he’s ‘the Lightbringer’, she remembered in awe - folded up neatly behind him and his broad shoulders and strongly muscled arms holding her aloft with ease. Chloe twitched her skirt aside, threaded her fingers through his hair, and pulled him gently back.

“Lucifer…”

He opened his eyes to gaze up at her, his eyes a fathomless black in the muted light of his bedroom. He looked a little uncertain. “What’s wrong?”

Chloe looked down at him, delightfully dishevelled, and grinned. “Nothing’s wrong,” she replied a little breathlessly. “It’s just that I can’t reach you from up here.” Her pink tongue moistened her lips, and his dark eyes followed the movement with interest. “I want my turn.”

His hesitant look gave way to a delighted smile. “Oh. Well in that case...” He promptly lifted her from the wall, popped her slightly into the air like he was shooting a basket, then let her drop straight into his arms. Chloe was too surprised to even yelp, but started giggling at his eagerness.

He set her down on the floor and she went to unbuckle his belt, then changed her mind. Instead she held Lucifer’s gaze as she first undid the waist tie of her dress and let it fall aside. Then, smiling, she pushed her dress back off her shoulders, baring her breasts, but Lucifer quickly stepped forward, cinching in her sleeves at her elbows and effectively restraining them by her sides. He grinned and leaned in to buss her décolletage, the light touch of his rough stubble setting the delicate skin tingling.

Chloe leaned toward him, skimming her lips along his neck, his jaw, anywhere she could reach, and since her forearms were still free she reached forward to feel her way to unbuckling his belt. Lucifer hummed encouragingly into her neck but didn’t release her arms, so she moved on to the clasp and zipper. She got them undone but held them up, jiggling them teasingly.

“I want you naked.” She giggled against his cheek. “Ready? Together on three.”

Lucifer chuckled. “One…” he began slowly, then immediately let go of her dress.

As it pooled with her ripped underwear around her feet Chloe protested, “Hey!” Then she started laughing. “You cheated!” She then dropped his pants as well, only to look down and realise he still had boxer briefs on.

Lucifer laughed evilly as she playfully shoved him in the chest. “No fair!” Then she leapt forward, giggling, and hooked her fingers into them, determined to pull them off.

Lucifer kept laughing even as this gorgeous woman was trying to yank his undies down. “I never said I’d take the deal,” he wheezed, playfully twisting away from her, kicking free of his trousers and shoes. “And it was your own assumption I went commando.”

“It was a reasonable assumption!” retorted Chloe, butt naked, chasing him around the bed. “I was remembering that day in the pawn shop, not like I could ever forget it. You weren’t wearing underwear then, so I figured you freeball.”

Lucifer stopped dead. “We went to an adult store together? When was that? Good grief. I didn’t think it was possible but I think my memory’s starting to go.”

Chloe pounced on him, locking her arms around his waist. “Pawn, not porrn, you British-sounding doofus. Pawnbroker.”

Lucifer laughed. “Oh! Of course.” He looked down at her and made a grunt of approval at her nude state and its close proximity, and felt a stirring in the aforementioned undies. “Look at that - two heavenly bodies occupying the same space - we’re defying the laws of physics, Detective.”

He rested his hands on the small of her back and leaned down to kiss her but she ducked away; she had a hold of the waistband of his boxer briefs and was dragging them down.

Chloe knelt on the deep pile rug in front of Lucifer and looked up to see him watching her intently. She felt suddenly, woefully out of her depth. Desire was literally Lucifer’s God-given talent! What if he thought she was crap? Or worse, boring and crap? Then she figured screw it. Don’t overthink this. Just live in the moment. Be more Lucifer.

Lucifer watched the Detective as she knelt before him, looking a little hesitant. He fretted for a split second that she wasn’t into it, into him, after all, but then she smiled, took him in hand and blew all his fears out of the water.

Her warm tongue flicked and swirled, her other hand skimming lightly up the back of his leg to fondle his arse. Then her eagerly suctioning mouth joined in and Lucifer groaned in longing, his legs twitching and jerking with the desire to thrust himself deeper. His hands caressed her head, tangling in her hair, and his wings rustled as he shuddered. He found himself so aroused by the sight of her that he had to close his eyes so as not to go too far…but he had a sinking feeling that even his superhuman willpower was no match for her.

Chloe looked up at him and his eyes were closed, his head tipped back slightly, and his wings, arching high over his head, looked even huger from this angle. He quivered helplessly under her touch and she loved seeing the effect she was having on him.

“Detective,” he suddenly rasped, eyes still jammed tightly shut. “I don’t think I can stand much longer. Or even stand up much longer…”

Suddenly Chloe couldn’t stand it anymore either. She released him with a final kiss, got to her feet, and pushed him back onto the bed. He regarded her in surprised amusement as she crawled up the bed to straddle him, and reached for her, eyes half-lidded and a come-hither smile on his face.

“Lucifer. Condoms.” She wrapped her hand around him again, aching with the need to have him inside her.

Lucifer blinked, then waved at the bedside drawer. “In there. But they’re not necessary, Detective, I only use them to put my partners at ease. I can’t catch or carry human diseases, and all angels except my brother Michael the Demiurge are unable to reproduce.”

Chloe shook her head, preoccupied, and leaned forward to suck and lightly chew on his earlobe. “The Demi-what?”

Demiurge. The divine artisan responsible for the creation of the physical universe. He can wield Dad’s power to create matter from nothingness, although he isn’t able to shape it … uh… by himself ...” Chloe had sat back and was just staring at him, so he trailed off. Then he added helpfully, “Long story short, Michael’s not around so we needn’t worry.” He swept her hair aside so he had an unimpeded view of her breasts, then ran his hands proprietorially over her hips and bum.

“Okay.” Chloe replied, then huffed a tiny laugh. It felt completely surreal to take such an outrageous excuse to not wear protection at face value, but Chloe knew that of course Lucifer was telling her the truth. She felt a surge of affection for this wonderful man, someone she knew she could trust completely, and feel utterly safe and cherished with. It was absolutely the sexiest thing about him.

She leaned in and kissed him again, almost feverish in her urgency. She ground herself against him, then fumbled between their bodies so that she could guide him into her. With a low moan she sank slowly onto him, and Lucifer let out a soft sigh in response. He sat up suddenly, putting his hands on her back and locking her body firmly against his. He didn’t move for several seconds, just rested his head against her chest with his eyes closed. His wings suddenly mantled around them, enveloping them both in faintly glowing ragged white feathers.

“Detective...” His voice was barely a whisper.

Chloe put her hands on his face and tilted his head up toward her. He opened his eyes and blinked at her, an expression of almost reverential awe on his face. Then he pulled her even closer, one hand on the back of her head, and drew her down to him. They kissed again, slowly, tenderly, and Chloe started gently rocking her hips. Lucifer groaned hoarsely and matched her rhythm, his strong hands gripping her and his lips everywhere.

Lucifer focused on trying to figure out the Detective's needs rather than thinking about his own. He wanted to give her the best night of her life but it was proving rather more difficult than usual; he'd had to start thinking about other things, like cricket and jazz albums and his Lux to-do list, as being present in the moment was doing absolutely nothing for his staying power.

“Lucifer,” Chloe panted in his ear after what seemed like only seconds, “I need you above me.” Lucifer nodded, then, holding her immobile to him with one hand and bracing their weight on the bed with the other, effortlessly flipped them both over so that Chloe was on her back. Her legs were still wrapped around him and now she reached up her arms too, running her hands over his shoulders, his wings, his back, his arse. Her fingers threaded through his hair and when she kissed him with those full, luscious lips he had to force himself not to think about what they'd been doing to him only a short time before.

Lucifer breathed deeply through his nose, struggling to control himself at seeing the Detective beneath him, breasts pressed against his chest, her hair in a glorious tangle across his linen. He braced himself on his elbows and slowed his pace, trying to think of the unsexiest things he could in a last ditch attempt to delay the inevitable.

Crocs. Paperwork. Broken vending machines. A huge vat of bubbling white semen... no! Pudding! Cat hair. Cat hair in his dinner. Cat shit on his shoe. A horde of snotty little ankle biters in a ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese... 

Chloe twisted under Lucifer; the inexorable pressure was building, rearing up, curling between her legs like a wave about to break. She was so close… “Lucifer…” she moaned, jerking her head to the side and clamping her legs more tightly around him.

Then Chloe's breath hitched and she moaned his name, and Lucifer knew it wasn't going to work. His wings fell either side of them on the bed, twitching and  cocooning them both again. He abruptly stopped moving, gritted his teeth, and panted desperately, “Chloe… I’m sorry… I can’t last…”

She heard her name on his lips, and the frantic need in his voice sent her toppling over the edge. Chloe cried out as she felt the wave surge and crash over her and gasped short, high-pitched breaths into his neck, driving her hips furiously into him and digging her fingers into his back. Lucifer let out a lusty groan and joined her, thrusting himself into her again and again, his fists tangled in her long hair and his stubble rasping her raw. He repeated her name like a mantra. Chloe, Chloe... Chloe...

Her body arched beneath him with the intensity of her climax, and she squeezed her eyelids so tightly shut that sparks wheeled across her vision. The orgasm exploded through her body, igniting every nerve ending and unleashing a scream from her throat.

LUCIFER!

 

--------------------

 

Afterwards they lay entwined together across the bed. Chloe snuggled in, both next to Lucifer and underneath him, his right arm and wing draped comfortably across her body, his feathers tickling her bare skin.

Chloe looked at him, collapsed face first on the bed beside her. His eyes were closed, his rapid breathing of a short time before now deep and even. Had he fallen asleep already? Did even angel guys do that?

She rolled onto her side and got her arm out from under his wing, then trailed her fingers tenderly through the short hair at the nape of his neck.

“Hey,” she whispered. “You awake?”

Lucifer’s eyes stayed closed but he chuckled. “Detective, I have you in my bed at long last and you think I’d dare sleep before you were done with me?” His eyes opened and he raised his head, rolling onto his side and propping his head in his hand. He looked at her and grinned sinfully. “Not bloody likely.” He reached over, resting his large hand comfortably on her hip, and gazed into her face, his expression inscrutable.

Chloe felt a little self-conscious at the attention, and was suddenly reminded of how many sexual partners he’d had. Was he evaluating her performance? Had she been crap after all?

“What is it?” she asked, a little anxiously.

His hand moved along her side in an automatic caress. “I was just thinking…”

Here it comes, Chloe thought. The brutal Morningstar honesty…

“I was just remembering watching you. As you came and called out to me, I…” He paused, his fingers trailing up her arm to cup her face. His thumb traced the curve of her lips and he murmured in wonder, “My whole life... I’ve never seen a sight so breathtaking.”

Oh. Chloe felt her ears go pink. “I bet you say that to all the girls.” Then added, “And guys.”

Lucifer shook his head solemnly. “No. Never. The entire experience was markedly different to what I’m used to.”

“Different how? I didn’t think I would be breaking any new ground.” She suspected what he meant but she was curious, and excited, as to what he thought about it.

Lucifer frowned. “It was… more, somehow. More fun, more… free? I seemed to feel it more. It was different, I think just because it was with you. And I didn’t last anywhere near as long as I normally do. Maybe it’s because you’re a mi-” he stopped himself, then quickly recovered. “-Mazing. You’re bloody amazing. The most extraordinary woman I’ve ever met. I think it’s just because of you.” He entwined his fingers through hers and sighed. “Maybe Linda can offer some insights,” he wondered aloud.

Chloe smiled. “It isn’t a huge mystery, Lucifer. It wasn’t just sex. We made love.”

He squinted down at her. “Having sex and making love are the same thing, aren’t they? Bonking, boning, having a shag, having it off, how’s your father, get your end in… humans have a veritable litany of euphemisms for the act of coitus, it’s a fucking obsession.”

Chloe giggled. His intonation made it clear he hadn’t used the word ‘fucking’ merely for emphasis, rather to also mean ‘obsession with fucking’. Then she snorted. Like he was one to talk.

“I happen to think ‘having sex’ and ‘making love’ are two totally different things,” she announced firmly.

“Really? Like how being ‘alone’ and being ‘lonely’ are different? I wasn’t aware of that distinction either until Linda told me.”

“You said yourself that it felt different. For me, making love isn’t just about getting off. There’s an emotional connection too. Intimacy.”

“Hm,” Lucifer pondered. “And here I thought I knew everything there was to know about sex.” He laid a kiss on the top of her head. “Well, in actual fact I do, it’s just the emotions side of things that are still a mystery.” Then he brightened. “Maybe... if I ‘make love’ more rather than ‘have sex’ I’ll finally be able to figure them out. Maybe it classifies as therapy!” He seemed quite enthused about the idea and gave her boob an affectionate little squeeze. “Sign me up!”

Chloe laughed and rolled closer to him. He lifted his wing as she threw a long leg over his and rested her hand on his chest. She pillowed her head on his arm and once she was comfy he settled his wing over them again.

Chloe added, “Anyhow, whatever we’re calling it, you were pretty awesome yourself. But you know that.”

He huffed a self-deprecating laugh. “Actually, this was the first time I didn’t.”

She rolled her eyes and gave his chest a playful poke. “Now you’re just fishing for compliments.”

He snorted. “Not at all. You know that my abilities don’t work on you, Detective.”

“Yeah, so?”

“So, this was the first time I’ve had... intercourse with a human where I didn’t already know what they wanted. I was flying blind, so to speak.” His fingertips traced a light pattern up the smooth skin of her arm.

“This was a first?” Chloe pondered his words, then smiled, inordinately pleased. “So in a way, you just popped your cherry.”

Lucifer scoffed. Then turned thoughtful. “Perhaps.” He was silent for a moment, then asked, “How do you lot normally get each other to express sexual desires? Many humans I’ve found are disinclined to tell me exactly what they want unless I help them.”

Chloe let out a sigh and ran her fingers absently through his feathers. “Trust. We just try to be honest with our partners and hope that they’ll be accepting, and then do the same for them. In healthy relationships, we talk about what we want.” She huffed a laugh. “But I guess in the heat of the moment, it mostly just means we wing it.”

Lucifer lifted his head slightly and Chloe giggled at the look he gave her. “So to speak. You get to tell me what you want too, you know. This isn’t all about the human in the equation.”

Lucifer grunted. “Sounds like a recipe for disappointment to me.”

She traced a finger along his lips. “Well, I'm not disappointed, I think we’re incredible together. And one thing I know I can do is trust you, Lucifer. Completely.”

Lucifer shifted uncomfortably and put his hand on her hip again, as if seeking comfort. “Um, Detective, about that… I do have something to tell you. I have never lied to you, but there have been certain things I’ve avoided sharing…”

Chloe rolled her eyes. “You mean like the fact you’ve got wings and could’ve proved to me that you were the Devil at any time?”

Lucifer cleared his throat. “Yes, well, there was that, but there’s more. Rather a lot more.”

He seemed to be getting apprehensive again and Chloe suppressed a sigh. As if anything he told her at this point could possibly scare her off. The Lord of Hell was high maintenance and needed lots of love and reassurance, that was for sure. But she knew she could handle it, and he was most definitely worth it. She rubbed her thumb soothingly over the outside of his wrist.

“We’ve been working together for well over a year now, Lucifer. And all this time...well, maybe I didn’t know the truth, but I knew you weren’t being completely honest with me.”

“I did try, Detective…” he said defensively.

“I know,” Chloe answered quickly. “I’m not mad at you anymore. Okay?” She gave him a reassuring squeeze. "I still trusted you, even if I didn’t always believe you. I mean, there’s still some things I don’t get, like why you took off to Vegas just when we first got together, but-”

Lucifer opened his mouth to interrupt, but Chloe spoke more loudly. “BUT… my point is, I’m okay with it. I don’t need to know it all right away.” She craned her neck around to plant a soft, reassuring kiss on his chin. “You can tell me when you’re ready. I’ll be here. I’ve always said that.”

Lucifer nodded, then got up onto his elbow and looked down into her face, combing his fingers through her hair. “Very well,” he said softly. He moved his hand from her hip up her arm, then cupped her cheek and leaned in to slowly and languorously kiss her again. Then he pulled back slightly, his dark eyes solemn.

“Chloe…” He said her name with a kind of reverence, rolling it around his tongue like he was tasting a fine whisky. “I want to ask you something. It’s very important.”

Chloe nestled down in her feathery fort. “Ask away.”

He enveloped her hand in his, gazed soulfully into her eyes and began, “Darling…” then with a cheeky grin he pulled her hand beneath his wing and casually placed it on his rapidly growing erection.

“Are you up for another go? This time with your boots on?”

Chloe burst into laughter. He had warned her about his stamina. She didn’t answer, instead giving him a quick kiss, raising a suggestive eyebrow, and ducking her head under his wing.

Intrigued, Lucifer waited, and a couple of moments later shivered blissfully as he felt her caress him. He sighed, then she did something very nice indeed that made his whole body jerk in reaction. “Bloody Hell!”

Chloe’s gleeful chuckle caused a throbbing in response and Lucifer fisted his hands in the bedsheets. “Detective…” He drew in a sharp breath then let out a guttural moan of appreciation. “You’re going to be the death of me. Again.” Then he smiled happily and closed his eyes.

Worth it.

 

 

The End.