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The Vulnerability Gambit

Chapter Text

Mazikeen stood outside on the street corner for nearly an hour. Long enough to be propositioned five times in five different ways. She stood there long enough for resolve to turn to doubt and back to resolve, and long enough to be ashamed for standing out on the sidewalk like some lovelorn Disney Channel character. Just do it already and get it over with.

Daytime at Lux was always slow unless Lucifer was hosting a private party. He wasn't. The place was dead. The lights were on, and a few employees were scurrying around doing their respective duties, but that was the extent of it.

It had been a month since Maze had last been to Lux and seen Lucifer. Nonetheless, she walked in as confidently as she ever did, as though she had every right to be there. No one questioned her. 

“Hey Mazikeen,” Len called from behind the bar where he was restocking the inventory for the evening. She glared in his direction, but he had already looked away.  Seriously? Didn’t anyone know she wasn’t supposed to be here? Not that they could stop her if they did.

She stalked over to the elevator and slammed her fist on the button. Nothing.

It wasn't like she expected to be able to just waltz right in like she used to.

Or so she thought until an over-aged boy scout with blond hair saw her and jogged up to her side, apologizing profusely for not recognizing her sooner. She vaguely recognized him as Todd the dishwasher; apparently, he got a promotion. “What are you?”

He dug a hand of thick fingers down his pants pocket and fished out a white card with a black strip. “I’m supposed to watch the elevator,” he panted and then added, “Ma’am,” and swiped the card and pressed the button. 

Todd stepped back as the elevator arrived and opened. 

“Is he upstairs?”

He nodded vigorously, cheeks rosy and sporting one big dimple. Adorable. It made Maze queasy. “Yeah, I mean, I think so? We think he's up there; he told us not to let anyone up.”

“Except me?" she asked.

"Well, no, he said everyone. But you're his, uhm?" his voice broke, unsure how to end the sentence.

She narrowed her eyes, "His what?”

“His business partner, right? Ms. Mazikeen. Ma’am.” He nodded again, smiling so wide she thought his dimple might bore right through his cheek.

Business partner? She frowned and wondered what kind of trick this was. She and Lucifer had not parted on good terms, and so she was expecting a fight. This so-called security guard couldn't be under orders to greet her warmly and send her on up to his boss’s penthouse.  Could he?

It had to be a trap. In that case, it was a shitty ruse and only sufficed to set her on guard even more. The possibilities were exciting, and her blood started pumping faster in anticipation.

She suspected Lucifer would be waiting at the top dutifully informed and ready. He wasn’t going to let her betrayal go unpunished. She dropped her hand to her side, fingers playing over the hilt of her blade.

She was ready too. 

The elevator dinged as it rose floor after floor. The prospect of fighting Lucifer was exhilarating. Lucifer was far more powerful than she was, but Maze had been fighting at his side for millennia, and she knew how to exploit his weaknesses. She could fight dirty, and she could fight hard if she needed to. Maybe after fighting they could talk.

This was it. The elevator reached the penthouse floor.

The doors swooshed open. She tensed.

Nothing happened. Cautiously, she stepped out of the elevator, the doors customarily staying open and the illumination from within casting a golden glow across the dark floor.

Any second now Lucifer would strike, she held her breath, her eyes straining to see into the shadows. Was he hiding? Ridiculous. Lucifer didn’t hide.

And yet. She knew he was here. Why didn't he show himself.

Empty bottles were strewn across the bar, crowded among empty tumbler glasses, pill bottles, traces of powder, and cigarette stubs.  Another step forward and broken glass crunched under her boot. The acrid scent of spilled alcohol teased her nose and beneath that the stench of something familiar. A smell that reminded her of home, but not of Lucifer.

Movement caught her eye by the balcony doors where a cold breeze caused the curtains to swell inwards.

“Hello?” She called out.

There were no humans.

“Lucifer?”

She stepped forward again and froze as she heard an indrawn breath. 

“Mazikeen.”

She froze at the sound of his voice and spun to face him.  Nothing moved, but now she could discern what should have been apparent from the start. There he was, his human form sitting with legs outstretched on the floor, back leaning against the wall. The shadows were deep, and the utter stillness of him was unnatural.

“This is it then,” he said, voice low and hoarse. His right leg moved, drawing up at the knee. Nothing else happened.

“I’m ready,” she grinned. She hated when Lucifer got melodramatic and cryptic. Was it going to happen now? Was he going to attack her? Her hand fell back to the hilt of her blade. Bring it on. Lucifer did not forgive; he did not tolerate disobedience.

A fight was coming, only after that could they could reconcile their differences.

There was no attack, only more stillness. He lifted a hand, slowly, and gestured toward the coffee table. "I suppose you've been looking for that."

Her lost blade lay neatly on the glass. “Where did you find it?”

“Cain. It evened the odds a little, but not enough. Sorry, not sorry.”

She stepped over and picked it up, checked that it was clean. She held both blades ready. If he was giving her weapon back, that meant he had something more powerful that he was planning to strike her with.

But still, he didn’t move.

They both stayed predator still, eyes locked on each other.

A full minute passed. Tension engulfed the room. Another minute. She shifted on her feet, any moment now.

Any moment.

It started getting awkward. Maze yawned.

Lucifer rolled his eyes. “Are you going to do it or just stand there and wait for me to die of boredom.” 

“Do what?”

He sounded just as exasperated, “Fight me. Try to make me take you back to Hell. That’s what this is all about, isn’t it?”

The fight drained from her, and in a slow revelation, she saw the penthouse through new lenses. There was sickness here — desperation, like when she’d tricked him into thinking he was the Angel of San Bernardino. As far as torture went, she was still quite proud of that one; it had been exquisite in the way it fed off his insecurities and escalated his paranoia. She knew if he hadn’t been the recipient of that scheme, he would have been proud of her achievement.  

 “What is wrong with you?”

He moved as though to stand up, grunted, and dropped back down with a sour look on his face. “So many questions, Mazikeen. Why are we wasting time?”

She sheathed her weapons and strode forward. That smell she’d caught onto earlier, it was coming from Lucifer. Lucifer never smelled like that, even in Hell his scent had been other, celestial. His face was pale, eyes shadowed, hair dirty and unkempt. “Take off your robe.”

That elicited a grin on his face, making him look more like himself. “Oh, Mazey, one last jaunt is it?”

“Take it off now,” she demanded and when he didn’t reply she stepped forward and grabbed his robe. His hand shot out and grasped her wrist, his grip crushing, but just as quickly he released her and let his arm drop back to his side.

“Do what you will,” he said, his tone deceptively calm.

And so, she did; she pushed aside the silk fabric and revealed what was hidden beneath. Taped to the skin of his side, just below his ribs, was a large square bandage, the gauze stiff and stained yellow. She peeled that aside too, her movement quick and steady but not gentle. The fabric caught on the wound beneath, peeling dried blood, tearing partial scabs to reveal a deep and jagged wound seeping dark oozing fluid.

“What did you do?” What she saw did not make sense; it was a puncture wound fouled with contamination and rot. Lucifer could not be injured like this.

“I didn’t do this,” he answered vehemently. He brought his hand up and pressed the soiled bandage back down over the festering injury.

“How?”

“Does it matter?” he asked.

“Yes,” she grated out between clenched teeth. She grabbed Lucifer’s arm forcing him up to his feet as he grunted in protest and pain. He was too weak to fend her off as she dragged him over to the couch and dropped him in place among the mess of discarded blankets and clothing that had collected there. She allowed him a short moment to catch his breath.

“Someone dared take a weapon to you?” she demanded, feeling fury build from deep within.

“So it seems,” he said tiredly, one hand resting protectively over the wound.

Maze watched Lucifer shift as he struggled in an undignified manner to sit up properly. It was a humiliating sight. Rather than watch the pathetic struggle she strode back to the bar and poured two glasses of whiskey, thankful that by the time she turned back that he'd managed to right himself.  She put his glass on the table and he leaned forward to grasp it, his hand unsteady as he lifted the glass and took a long drink.

Enough with this bullshit already. “Tell me what happened. Who do I need to kill?”

 

Chapter Text

"Why did you come here?” Lucifer asked, eyes narrowed.

Maze glared. “You should have taken me home when I asked you to.” 

“That doesn’t give you leave to betray me, Mazikeen. Cain had your blade. You were working with him against me, last I recall.” Lucifer did not shift his gaze away from Maze as he took another sip from the glass of whiskey she brought him.

“I didn’t give it to him,” she said fiercely.

“You betrayed me.”

She took a step back as Lucifer’s eyes darkened and then slowly ignited with power.  Her heart and breath quickened as he stood, his temper fueling his reserves of inner strength.  Even like this, Lucifer was not weak.

“You manipulated me,” he accused.

His anger was potent. Maze licked her lower lip in excitement, meeting his hellfire gaze head-on. “You refused to take me home. I did what I had to do.”

The fire within dimmed and Lucifer's eyes returned their regular dark brown as his strength faded. He sat back down and laughed bitterly; the sound filled with frustration. “You never asked why.”

“You went to Hell for Cain. Why was he more important to you than I am?”

“I can’t take you back. Hell hasn’t been waiting patiently for my return. They’ve been busy plotting and fighting each other for scraps of power. The realm is in chaos, and you know who they all want to punish for it? Me. And it’s never been just me, for as long as I ruled, it's been us. That’s how it’s always been. They’ll be just as satisfied taking pieces out of you as they would be from me.”

“It hasn’t been about you and me in a long time,” Maze countered.

“Hasn’t it?” Lucifer asked.

“What about Chloe?” She assumed she already knew his answer. He would do anything to keep Chloe safe. Chloe made Lucifer vulnerable, and that realization had frozen her to the core more than any deception or uprising in Hell ever could. He could die. Allowing such a threat to persist was against her very nature.

She hadn't understood how Lucifer could let his feelings for Chloe rule him so completely, at least not until Cain had threated Linda. 

“You always stood by my side in Hell,” he said, drawing Maze out of her thoughts.  “Are you still with me?”

“Always.”

“I'm not going back there, Mazikeen,” Lucifer informed her again. 

"You aren't the only one with humans to take care of," she said thinking of Linda, Trixie, and even Chloe. “I’m good here for now.”

He nodded. She didn't take it as a sign that all was forgiven, but at least it was a start.

“How badly are you injured?” she asked bluntly reaching out to poke his abdomen before he batted her hand away.

“Bad enough.” The fact he admitted to being injured at all emphasized the seriousness of the wound, but he was not looking for pity. Lucifer's lips stretched in a vicious smile. “After the incident, I brought the worme back here. He’s in a cage in the cellar.”

“Cage?” Mazikeen asked, “Where did you get a cage from?”

“You’d be surprised how many people own wild animals in this city.”

She laughed briefly, “Who is it? I thought we were the only ones from Hell on this plane?” Maze raised an eyebrow.

“A miscount. It’s Zeabos.”

“I thought we killed him in the Horde uprising.” Maze snorted, and the more she thought about it, the more absurd it sounded. “Zeabos got the drop on you?” Zeabos was a runt. He had never displayed the might or cunning it would take to dare challenge the Lord of Hell and had been no more than a pawn to the demon insurgents.

Lucifer looked annoyed. “I was distracted,” he evaded the question and refused to elaborate. 

Maze took a deep breath, trying not to laugh anymore. “Zeabos?” she asked again, “Why would he attack you now?” 

“I was too busy bleeding at the time to do more than subdue him.” Lucifer moved to stand up. “Let’s go ask him, shall we?” 

Maze narrowed her eyes. “I’ll go.”

“He’s my prisoner, Mazikeen.”

“And you look like shit. You go down there, and he will know how weak you are. I will deal with this.”

Lucifer rose to his feet again, back straight and eyes red once again, his expression cold and angry. “Mind how you speak to me,” he growled.

Maze smiled. His toying with humanity hadn’t weakened him as much as she’d come to believe. “My Lord,” she answered in acquiescence, voice smooth as silk, and ignored the way he glared at her.

“Ten minutes,” Lucifer ordered. “And we’ll go together.” 

Maze went to sit at his bar and poured herself more to drink while Lucifer went to ready himself.

True to his word he emerged from his dressing room ten minutes later, clean, sharply dressed in his three-piece suit and looking as close to the Lucifer of old as possible. There was nothing he could do about the pallor of his complexion or the fine lines of pain and fatigue around his eyes and mouth, but he carried himself with renewed strength.

“It’ll do,” she said, assessing him closely. 

He barred his teeth in a predatory smile. “Let’s get this over with, then shall we?” They walked together to the elevator, taking it down.

They took the hall past the storage room and the wine cellar to a large wooden door framed in black iron. Lucifer only needed to place his hand on the handle for the lock to disengage and let them in.  “After you,” he waved Mazikeen in front of him, and she strode into the darkness. There was no need for light.  Her eyes were well adapted for the darkness, as were Lucifer’s.

The cage rested in the middle of the room, big enough for a large wild animal, and there was plenty of space inside for a runt like Zeabos. The demon runt crouched and hissed as they entered.

This was going to be fun.

Chapter Text

Lucifer held back, leaning idly against the wall beside the door to watch Mazikeen work her magic.

He watched while Zeabos hissed and spat through the iron bars, cowering defensively and whispering threats and vile promises as Mazikeen circled him. The way Maze could draw out the trepidation and terror in those she focused her efforts on was like conducting a symphony. When Zeabos turned and cast his gaze past Mazikeen and onto Lucifer, however, he started to grin. His rotting yellow teeth poked out from chapped and bleeding lips.

“The Lord is well?” Zeabos asked with a high, sickeningly sweet voice.

Lucifer spread his arms in display and smiled. “Your assassination attempt failed. Thirty years to prepare and this is all you’ve got?” he asked in a light voice. “Why the Horde trusted such a task to a worme like you I can only wonder.”

But Zeabos only hissed and laughed, spittle flying out his mouth. “The angel stinks of Hell, this worme’s venom was potent.”

Lucifer didn’t even need to reprimand the demon for the insolence of calling him an angel; Mazikeen had it covered. Quick as a striking snake she grabbed Zeabos’s hair and pulled him forcefully up against the bars, pressing her knife against the demon’s mouth with her other hand. “How do you address your Lord?”

“Lord Lucifer,” Zeabos sputtered, but moments later he smiled again despite Mazikeen’s direct threat. “Absent Hell-Lord and consort of humans,” his tone insinuated that this was the worst of insults. “Bowing to mortal whims and fancies, the once-lord is nothing but a servant to the humans,” he was cut off with a squeak when Mazikeen made a slow cut across the demon’s face to show that threats were to be taken seriously.

“Next time you’ll lose your tongue” Maze promised.

Lucifer regarded all of it with boredom. “Maze, I do so love to watch you work, but you’ll excuse me, I have better things to do.”

He watched Mazikeen lick her lips in anticipation and then stood and walked out of the room, closing the door firmly behind him before pressing his hand protectively against the wound on his side.

His knees nearly gave out on him as he took a step forward and had to sit down.

In Hell, the demon’s verbal insubordination would have earned swift and severe consequences. He would have gladly stayed to watch Mazikeen carve out the worme’s tongue, but they still needed Zeabos to talk. Was it poison? Was there an antidote? What was happening to him?

Saliva collected in his mouth as an uneasy feeling churned in his stomach.

Not again.

He needed to get back to his penthouse. The drink Mazikeen served him brought on a sharp cramp in his belly, just like everything he’d consumed since that morning.

At least he’d been able to muster the strength to go downstairs and show the vile worme that his efforts had proved ineffective: even if it was an act.

Hopefully, the act was also enough to also convince Mazikeen that he wasn't doing as poorly as he felt.

He walked unsteadily to the elevator. He could only hold off the revolting physical manifestation of his weakness long enough to make it back to his penthouse. The first thing he did was stagger his way to the bathroom. All the alcohol he’d drank earlier came up in ghastly heaves, leaving him even more exhausted and aching than before. When he was sure his stomach was finished rejecting its contents, he returned to the couch and laid down, head spinning. Something jabbed into his back from beneath and he dug the offending object out from between the cushions.

Oh, it was his phone. He didn’t remember misplacing it. There was an unread text message. He swiped the screen; the detective, again. Sent hours ago, by the looks of it.

[3:25 pm] Detective: Maze is looking for you.

He stared at the message for a while. That would have been helpful to see earlier.

[10:12pm] Lucifer: Found me.

It was the first message from the detective he’d returned in a week. He’d ignored her calls, ignored the messages she left, ignored the texts. Until now. He didn’t expect an answer, but his phone chimed with another incoming message while it was still in his hand.

[10:13pm] Detective: Vegas?

He let out a quick breath, wincing as it jarred the wound on his side. He hadn’t wanted to give her the impression he’d run away. 

[10:16pm] Lucifer: Lux.

[10:16pm] Detective: Why?

Why indeed? He’d thought he could handle it on his own. He’d thought he could sit at home and drink the pain away until he healed, and no one would be the wiser that some lesser demon had bested him. That strategy had always worked in Hell when it had been of the utmost importance to maintain the illusion of strength.

It was humiliating that he’d been unprepared for an attack by a sniveling worme who had been nothing more than a minor inconvenience in Hell. He thought he had left Hell behind, and the confidence in that had made him complacent. Hell did find him, even here, and now it had the power to make him sick, maybe even kill him. An entire day spent sitting on the floor in near delirium attested to that.

He had no experience handling serious wounds here; why wasn’t he healing as he should?

Worse yet, Mazikeen was here.

There was once a time he would have laughed at the thought his Maze would ever betray him. Now, it was all he could do to grasp at the thin threads of loyalty that might still exist between them.

His phone chimed again with another text from Chloe.

[10:20pm] Detective: Lucifer?

He felt like a thousand bricks were pressing down on his chest.

He trusted Chloe. She knew what he was, and even after seeing the other side of him, she hadn’t pushed him away.

But then Zeabos happened and rather than add to an already complicated situation he’d chosen to retreat and hide. How much of his other side could he show the detective before she would turn away? It was a chance he couldn’t afford to take.

He couldn’t expect her to shoulder even more burdens on his behalf.

Could he?

His hand shook, and he rested the phone on his forehead for a moment. I need you.

The closest he could get to typing out the words was to imagine himself doing it. It was stupid to ask. It was better not to be rejected. Chloe knew what he was now. There was no reason for her to help him. She wouldn’t come.

He was alone. Mazikeen was here, but Mazikeen had betrayed him. She had sided with Cain and had tried to rip his world apart, and he couldn’t let her see how weak he was.

He was so tired. He closed his eyes and felt the world drift, and when he opened them again, he was aware of losing time but had no idea how much.  There was one more message.

[11:41] Detective: Call me.

The detective’s last message had been sent over an hour ago. How had he been unaware for so long?

Before he could second guess himself again, he touched the call screen and her name. He didn’t expect her to answer. He’d waited too long. She was probably busy. Or asleep.

“Lucifer?”

Now that he heard her voice it was difficult to find his own.

“Detective,” he answered quietly.  He didn’t know what to say.

There was silence on her end of the line as well. Lucifer swallowed and licked his lips. Texting was easier. Why hadn’t he texted her back?

“Are you okay?” she asked

This wasn’t Hell, was all this secrecy necessary?

“No.” His heart pounded in his chest, his mouth was dry, and his throat felt like he’d swallowed glass. Just that one word felt nearly impossible to say, but nowhere near as hard as what he wanted to say. I need you.

Silence again. “What’s wrong?” she asked, her voice sounding higher with tension.

He squeezed his eyes shut. “I-” he felt like he was going to be sick again. I need you. “I need you.” 

Now she would hang up. He had always been alone. He would always be alone; it was what he deserved.

“Do you want me to come over?”

“Yes,” he said, barely daring to say it aloud just in case doing so would bring reality crashing down on him. He’d wake up, and he’d still be alone.

“You’ll have to tell your security to let me in this time,” she reminded him.

“I will,” he promised.

Was it real? The day had been filled with so many confusing dreams and nightmares. Was this one of them? He held the phone to his ear and closed his eyes.

Chapter Text

It was just Maze and Zeabos now.

She secured the door to the room to ensure their privacy.

Opening the cage, she stepped back, giving the demon room to come out if he wanted. He wore the glamor of a short bald man, round in the middle, ugly, but harmless. She knew his appearance was a deception, and she looked forward to the challenge to come. It had been too long since last engaging with her kind.

“Come on out, little worm,” she called sweetly. Zeabos didn’t seem willing to move for a minute or two, but then, slowly, he emerged on hands and knees.

“Mazikeen, slave of angels,” he whispered, looking up at her now.

“I am my own master,” she informed him, strolling, amused by how Zeabos moved at the same pace to keep the empty cage between them. Despite his taunting words, he feared her.

“Master of nothing,” he sneered and sucked air in between his teeth. 

“You’ll soon understand what I am a master at,” she corrected him and smiled, her teeth gleaming bright even in the darkness.

“Your hell-lord is not of us. Do you not miss your kin?” Zeabos asked, still careful to keep his distance. “The Horde knows valuable Mazikeen. Come home, join us. Rule with us.”

She trailed her knife across the bars, the screeching sound of the scraping of metal on metal pleasing to her ears. Her hell-forged blade scored the iron as though it were butter.

“Why did you attack Lucifer?”

The demon growled, his illusion of human features falling away to reveal bloated yellowish-white skin and oily black eyes protruding bulbously from his distorted face. His nails morphed and extended into vicious talons, his teeth into fangs.

Mazikeen grinned and allowed the Hell-formed features of her other face to manifest.

The glee she felt was evident as she bared her teeth.

The demon sprung forward but caught only air as Mazikeen sidestepped and moved around him with practiced efficiency.

Zeabos screamed shrilly and attempted to strike again. Mazikeen grasped his forearm, pulling him forward and off balance, and then twisted and pinned him to the floor. 

With a knee to his chest, she allowed him time to struggle.

“Why did you attack Lucifer?” she asked again.

The only answer was a stream of spit aimed at her face. As she’d hoped, she would have to work for her answers.

She brought the tip of her blade to Zeabos’ middle talon and watched as he attempted to retract his claw. The demon released a high-pitched wail as she slowly dug into the base of his appendage and then flicked her wrist. The blackened talon came loose, and she tossed it across the room.

“Why did you attack Lucifer?” she asked a third time, eager for more resistance. 

“It was my duty,” Zeabos panted.

“How did you escape Hell?”

“Followed secret and hidden through gates while the fires of old grew cold.”

“You snuck out behind Lucifer when he came to this plane to retrieve the Torch?” she clarified. The fragmented speech of this caste of demons was something she did not miss.

“Did not catch him, but Zeabos waits,” Zeabos growled again and showed his teeth. “Angel blood was my reward.”

Hearing the demon boast at drawing Lucifer’s blood brought forth a cold and bitter rage within her. The demon’s screams felt soothing as she dug her blade into his remaining talons, loosening and extracting each one with deliberate slowness.

“You did this for the Horde Uprising?” Maze asked, not that there had been any doubt. She adjusted her hold and focused on the demon's other hand threateningly.

“Yes, yes, weaken the Hell-Angel. The Horde shall rule.”

She rolled her eyes and laughed. “News flash, the Horde fell thirty years ago! You’re fighting a war that never happened.”

She gave him some time for that to sink in.

“Was the blade poisoned?”

“No need. Your master reeks of corruption. Reeks of rot and death.” 

“Never speak of Lucifer like that.” That was all the incentive she needed for her to remove the remaining talons on his other hand. His pleas for mercy only stoked her want for vengeance.

“What did you do to him?”

He panted through a vicious smile. “Hell has come for your King. Submit to the Horde.”

She released him and stepped back, contemplating what to do next while the demon curled up and licked his bloody fingers.

“You wanted Lucifer to return to Hell weakened for your faction to subdue him,” she concluded. “You failed. Lucifer returned with the Torch and reignited the flame. The Horde is no more! We defeated them, all of them. Those who weren’t unmade were hurled into the pit. You attacked Lucifer for nothing, and you will die for a cause that hasn’t existed in decades.”

He didn’t know anything. There wasn’t even any point in torturing him further, but there was one last thing she needed. When she had finished extracting the worme’s fangs, she swung her arm in an arc, her curved blade cutting through the demon’s neck in one slice. 

That which had once been Zeabos fell limp to the floor, and she watched dispassionately as the body began to ooze and disintegrate before her eyes, becoming nothing more than an ugly stain on the floor within minutes.

Only the talons and fangs remained, those she kept.

The smell of the filth stuck to her and reeked like putrid fish. She left the noxious waste on the storage room floor, and she entered the elevator and slammed her fist against the button for the penthouse.

All was silent as she stepped out.

“Lucifer!” She yelled and tossed the trophy of talons and teeth on the counter before helping herself to a glass of whiskey.

There he was, stretched out on the couch sleeping with his phone clutched in his hand the same way Trixie held her dolls.

“Lucifer!” she called out his name again, trying to wake him.

Nothing.

She tapped her nails on the bar and took another drink. Whatever. She needed to shower and change her clothes. Maybe he’d be ready to wake up by the time she finished.

The clothes she’d been wearing were good for the trash, and she shoved them into a bag as she stripped down in the penthouse bathroom. Then she cleaned her knives in the sink, wiping the clots off with one of Lucifer’s designer towels before shoving that in the trash as well. 

The water was a relief, and she turned the heat up. This was something she missed. Chloe’s hot water seemed incapable of climbing to the heights that Lucifer’s could, something about safety features. She turned her face up to the stream, relishing the feel of the heat on her skin. She stayed in that position as the bathroom filled with steam.

Eventually, she turned the shower off and stepped out, letting water pool on the bathroom floor as she stepped from heated tiles and onto the plush rug in Lucifer’s wardrobe and plucked one of his robes off the rack. It would do until she had a chance to call one of Lucifer’s people to bring her up something more her style. 

She left her knives on the bathroom sink and walked out.

She hadn’t even heard Chloe arrive.

“Hey, Chloe.” Maze didn’t slow down as she regarded the other woman and casually walked across the room and poured herself another drink. “Want one?”

Chloe stood halfway between the elevator and the couch; expression dazed as she stared at the still sleeping Lucifer.

When Chloe didn’t answer Maze poured two drinks anyway before coming to join her, and they stood together, staring at Lucifer sleeping.

Maze made a disgusted noise at the back of her throat at the sight of it, nudging her roommate with her elbow in solidarity. 

“What?” Chloe turned her head toward Maze for a moment, her gaze owlish.

Enough was enough. Maze handed her the glass of whiskey and took a step forward.

“Lucifer!” She shouted and clapped her hands just above his face for extra measure, startling both Lucifer on the couch and Chloe at her side.

Lucifer’s phone dropped to the floor with a clatter, and he blinked his eyes, squinting towards the two women staring at him. His gaze shifted to fix on Chloe a moment later.

Maze looked from one to the other and rolled her eyes. Lucifer was trying to push himself into a seated position, so she decided to help and grabbed his arm and pulled him up. He groaned and pressed his hand against his side as he sat up, jaw clenched, but didn’t protest.

Chloe might as well have been a statue.

Maze ignored her, assuming she would reanimate when she was ready. 

“I did it.” Maze told Lucifer, pride clear in her voice. She eagerly went back to the bar to retrieve the offering of talons and fangs she’d collected for him, proudly holding her hand out to display the spoils. “He told me everything,” she said proudly.

His eyes remained locked on Chloe, but he moved his hand, holding it out for Maze to give him the tribute.  Slowly his gaze shifted, looking down at the gore covered items on his palm.

“Why?”

She ignored his baffled tone and laughed. “He wanted you weakened for the Horde!” She threw up her arms in exasperation. “Can you believe it? He didn’t even know they were defeated.” 

He dropped the offering onto the coffee table and wiped his hand on his trousers.

This time he looked up at Maze, his eyes finally meeting hers. “Did he have a remedy?”

Here, she knew she had failed. “No. Their intention was to weaken you and force your surrender.”

“What happened?” Chloe asked.

Maze turned; she'd almost forgotten Chloe was there at all.

“Lucifer was stabbed by a Hell-dagger in a futile attempt to usurp his dominion.”  She explained as plainly as she knew how.

“Stabbed by who?” 

Maze nodded encouragingly, pleased that Decker was catching on. “A demon. He’s no longer a problem. That’s all that's left,” she waved toward the scattered items on the table.

“You killed someone?” Chloe asked in a steadily rising voice. “Is there a body here?”

“More like a puddle.” Maze grinned. “The rest of the corpse succumbed to putrification. Don’t worry; he wasn’t one of your humans.”

“Detective?” Lucifer asked, his voice unusually rough, but he succeeded in drawing Chloe’s attention back to him.

“You were stabbed,” Chloe seemed to be still processing that fact. But this time stepped into action. “When? Are you okay?”

Maze stepped back and watched with curious fascination as the woman rushed forward, her hands on his shirt already undoing the buttons as he sat silent and dumbfounded. 

“Last week,” he finally said, arms at his sides as she opened his shirt, revealing the soiled bandage just below his ribs.

“The wound is corrupted,” Maze explained helpfully.

Chloe looked at her and then back at Lucifer and gently peeled off a corner of tape holding the bandage in place. “How long has it been like this?” She asked, not touching the wound but carefully probing the skin around it.

Lucifer pulled her hand away and patted the bandage back in place. “It started changing a couple of days after it happened.”

But Chloe wasn’t done with all the touching yet, she placed her hand on Lucifer’s cheek and frowned. “You’re not always this hot, are you?” she asked, shifting her hand from his cheek to his forehead.

And at Lucifer’s answering grin she shook her head impatiently.

“Don’t start. Seriously, your skin isn’t usually this warm to the touch, and it’s worse around the wound. You’ve been sick for how many days, and you didn’t call me? Why didn’t you call me?” 

“I didn’t want to upset you,” Lucifer answered and leaned back against the couch, closing his eyes in exhaustion.

“Congratulations. This is me upset,” Chloe answered. “Did you even think to see a doctor?”

Maze scoffed at the suggestion, “It’s Hell-wrought. What do you think your doctors or hospitals are going to be able to do for him?” 

“I don’t know,” Chloe answered and let out a harsh breath. “Antibiotics, maybe. How do you normally treat this kind of thing?”

“There’s a concoction brewed in the caves of Hell made from the spores of a phosphorescent slime.” Maze answered.

“That's what he needs to get better?” Chloe asked her.  “How do we get that?” 

“We don’t. Hell is off limits.” Lucifer answered.

Chloe only spared Lucifer a brief glare before turning back to Maze. “Has this kind of thing happened before?”

Lucifer raised his hand and waved it in the air, “I'm right here."

Both Maze and Chloe ignored him.

“Never like this.”

"Okay, what do you do when Lucifer is sick?” She asked instead.

Lucifer opened his eyes briefly and looked at Maze, who looked back at Lucifer.

Maze shrugged. “He doesn’t get sick.”

“Ever?” 

“Ever.”

“As much as you both keep telling me about all this immortality and invulnerability stuff, don’t blame me if I'm skeptical when I see my Partner so sick he can’t even sit up. So, nothing like this,” she motioned toward Lucifer’s wound, “has happened before, and your whole plan is to do nothing and wait it out. Is it working?"

"No," Lucifer admitted.

“He's not dying, Chloe,” Maze added.

"Do we know that for sure?" Chloe demanded. "How about we try things my way and see what happens?”

“Detective,” Lucifer spoke up again. “None of your medicine is going to work on me,” he reminded her.

Chloe sighed. “You’ve said I affect your so-called invulnerability, and you feel the effect of alcohol and drugs faster when you're around me. That would be the same for medicine, wouldn’t it? Is there anyone, any doctor you know who you can call? One of your favors or something?”

“Dr. Linda,” Lucifer spoke up.

“Linda is a psychiatrist,” Chloe objected. “We need someone who can treat your wound.”

Maze finally nodded and smiled. “We know one. Lucifer, remember the doctor from the New Year’s party a year ago? The one with the great ass?”

Chapter Text

Dr. William Rush was done, so done with this day.

It started with a hangover and got steadily worse from there. Being a free agent wasn’t always as glamorous as it sounded. His first call of the day took him to the mansion of a reclusive shut-in who, it seemed, had never in his life ever thrown out anything. In the course of finding his way through a maze of decaying newspapers and unopened Amazon purchases, a possum attacked him.  

Next up was a football star with his penis stuck in a sex doll.

And then, a lounge singer with a sore throat who expected him to be able to cure a common cold. 

But there was hope. He was about to enjoy what was steadily promising to be a long night with the beautiful woman he’d just met at the hotel bar.

Her name was Stacy, or maybe Tracy. She was here for a dentist’s convention, was staying at the hotel for the weekend, didn’t know anyone in the city, and was looking for a fun way to kill time. Well, that was something he could help with.

The phone buzzing on his belt was only a minor inconvenience, and if it had been anyone other than Eve, his assistant, he wouldn't have answered it. 

“I’ve got an emergency for you,” Eve said as soon as the call connected.

“Tell them the ER is open twenty-four-seven. I’m busy.” He said and took another drink.

“It was Morningstar’s associate.”

That got his attention. “Maze called you?” Adjusting the phone to hold onto it better he asked, “Did something happen at Lux?”  

“I don’t think so, the address she gave me isn’t for the nightclub. It’s in a residential area.”

“Was it personal or…?” he asked slowly.

“She said she wants you for her boss. Does that make sense to you? She was adamant that I call you right away.”

“Oh,” he said, much more interested now, and he put his drink down and leaned closer to the woman at his side, “Sorry, I need to take this,” he apologized and got up and walked out into the hall where he could hear the call better. 

“She wants me for Lucifer?” he tried to keep his voice neutral, his potential ‘date’ in the hotel bar all but forgotten. “Why would she call you about that?”

“The medical kind of want.” Eve deadpanned.

“Oh,” and damn it, yes, he was disappointed. “Did Maze say what the emergency is?”

At the sound of Eve making a thoughtful humming noise on the other end, he knew how unsuccessful he’d been at hiding his letdown. Nonetheless, he was already headed toward the elevator to get back to his room and get his bag. 

“Should I call her back and tell her you’re unavailable?”

“No, no. I’m going. Anything else you can tell me? What are we dealing with?”

“I asked; she said something about a wound, other than that, she didn’t seem big on sharing,” Eve said dryly.

“Right.” He threw some extra supplies into his bag just in case.

The neighborhood wasn’t what he’d been expecting; there were no sprawling mansions, no clubs. Just middle-class residential houses and apartment complexes. Not Morningstar’s regular scene. He parked his car on the street and looked at the address Eve had texted him again. Apartment.

Wrong address, maybe? 

The street was utterly silent as he walked up the dark sidewalk leading to the building. No stray party stragglers hanging out in dark corners or passed out on the stairs, no loud music.

He hoped he wasn’t waking up some old lady and her five cats when he knocked on the door. 

Nope. Maze opened the door. Right place, then. But that still didn’t solve the mystery of the quiet neighborhood or the comfortable apartment with kids’ drawings all over the walls.

The last time he’d seen her had been under extremely different circumstances, and he couldn’t help how his heartbeat quickened at just the memory of it.

“Right, so, uh, what seems to be the problem?” he asked her, shifting on his feet uncomfortably. He was here professionally, he reminded himself.  

Maze swung the door closed behind him and stepped into his personal space.

Rush tensed. She took another step closer and leaned in, her lips nearly touching his. “If you hurt him,” she whispered, “You’ll deal with me.”

He forced a smile onto his face despite the threat. “Good thing I’m the best. Where’s Lucifer?” 

Maze didn’t move.

“You called me, remember?” He stood his ground despite every instinct telling him that wasn’t a good idea. But then when had he ever played things safe?

Maze backed off at the sound of footsteps running down the stairs.  “Dr. Rush?” the woman asked coming into view, looking him up and down with no less intensity than Maze had. He assumed this was the resident of the apartment. He shook her hand.

“Detective Decker,” the woman introduced herself.

He froze. “You’re a cop?” He was going to have to thank Eve for the fair warning.

She picked up on his tension right away but shook her head dismissively. “Whatever it is, I don’t care. Lucifer’s upstairs; come with me.”

Rush followed, vaguely aware of Maze leaving out the front door as he was led up the stairs. What was Lucifer doing with a police detective in a suburban apartment?

They went directly to what he guessed was her bedroom. Not Morningstar’s style, and there was nothing here to reflect the taste of the man lying in bed. But then why would there be? Morningstar lived in a luxury penthouse above his nightclub.

The man in question was propped up by pillows with his legs tucked under the covers, chest bare, and a large bandage taped across his lower left side.

Whatever Detective Decker was to this man, it wasn’t adversarial. Were they family? Dating?

And none of it was any of his business. It wasn’t his habit to pry into the lives of his patients. Not even the ones he’d seen naked, maybe especially not those.

“Mr. Morningstar,” Rush greeted his patient and approached the bed.

He was keeping it professional.

“William,” Lucifer greeted him back.

And Rush couldn’t suppress the attraction that welled up in him at the sound of Lucifer saying his name.

Right. He was keeping it professional.

He sat down on the side of the bed beside his patient, “May I take a look?” he asked, hands hovering above the bandage.

“Yes, Doctor, the detective seems to think you will be able to fix me.”

With the tape removed and the bandage peeled back, he regarded what was underneath. He took a breath, this was bad. “Stab wound?”

“Yes,” Lucifer answered reluctantly.

“Did you report it?” Rush asked.

The disdainful scoff he received in reply spoke volumes.

He was looking at a single deep puncture wound, and the exposed tissue yellowed with infection and the skin surrounding it swollen and dark. “How long ago did this happen?” 

“A week,” the cop at the door said sternly.

Lucifer didn’t contradict her.

“Why didn’t you get it treated?” He asked his patient.

Detective Decker answered for him again, full throttle sarcasm. “Because he’s invulnerable.” 

“In the past, I have always healed just fine on my own,” Lucifer countered.

“From stab wounds? Okay,” Rush said unable to resist the snark in his tone, “Congratulations, it’s infected.”

Not his business, he reminded himself. This wasn’t a social call; he was getting paid for this. People called him because he was discreet, not because they wanted a lecture.

“Can you help him?” Detective Decker asked from the doorway.

“It looks like the wound is septic, but a round of antibiotics should help.” He told her and then looked back at Lucifer. “You’ll need to stay in the hospital for about a week or so until the infection clears up. They’ll do a full examination to test for complications, blood cultures to narrow down which antibiotics you’ll need. The wound will need debriding to clear out the dead tissue. With proper treatment, you should recover.”

“No hospitals,” Lucifer answered. “Can you do that here?”

“A hospital is the best-”

Detective Decker stepped forward and interrupted him. “No hospitals,” she echoed Lucifer. “And no blood tests.” 

Rush stood up to better address them both. “Sepsis is a potentially fatal infection. It’s not something you want to mess around with.” 

“Can it be done here?” she asked. “Whatever it takes, he’ll pay.”

“The detective is right,” Lucifer agreed. “Whatever treatment you’re able to provide, it has to be here. Unless there’s a hospital you know with an option for live-in visitors. And I’ll pay you double your normal fee. Have your assistant call Maze, and she’ll arrange payment for you.”

Detective Decker frowned, “Is Maze working for you again?”

“She never worked for me,” Lucifer insisted. “Maze knows how to access all my accounts.”

Rush sighed. At least with Lucifer, he could trust he’d get paid. But it wasn’t about the money. “If I refuse?”

“Then I’ll continue with my original plan and heal on my own accord.”

And the infection would continue to get worse. He could call the state medical board, claim he had a patient with psychiatric problems refusing treatment. Someone claiming to be the Devil would undoubtedly fit the bill.

But he wasn’t going to. Damn it.

“Fine. Double.”

Lucifer smiled. “It’s a deal.”

Chapter Text

The bedroom light felt harsh this late at night, or was it early in the morning? Chloe still couldn’t bring herself to enter the space occupied by Lucifer and Dr. Rush, relegating herself to lurking in the doorway instead.

It was still hard to believe everything that had come to pass since walking in on Lucifer in his penthouse.

Would her plan work? Would being vulnerable while in her presence help him be responsive to medical treatment that he otherwise wouldn't be? Or would that vulnerability compromise his immune system and make him sicker?

How could Maze and Lucifer both just listen to her as if she knew what to do? Did they have that much faith in her?

What other options were there? Lucifer's grand scheme of ignoring the wound and letting himself heal had backfired spectacularly, and returning to Hell to find the cure had been outright rejected.

She thought back on the state of his penthouse. Was that how he had been living for the past week? Empty tumblers and bottles of alcohol had crowded nearly every available surface, and broken glass was strewn across the floor. And despite the mess, she hadn’t seen any plates or evidence of food. Had he eaten at all?

Why hadn’t he asked for help sooner? Why let it get this far?

They couldn’t stay at Lux. If she was going to take care of Lucifer, she had to do it in her own space without uprooting Trixie more than she had to.

Maze packed his clothes while Chloe concentrated on toiletries from the bathroom. Did he use all this stuff? The selection and organization of his beauty regime was astounding. She by-passed the makeup completely, concentrating only on the items she thought were necessary — things like toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, and soap.

Lucifer only vaguely tracked their movements. He didn't say a word or direct the packing, seemingly uninterested with the entire endeavor. He did disappear into his bedroom briefly at one point but came out shortly after with just a small pouch clutched in his hand and resumed his place on the couch, this time letting his eyes drift shut until Chloe and Maze were ready to take him down to the car.

Chloe knew they were lucky he was cooperating at all.

Everything about the night felt surreal. She had driven home with a creature as old as the stars passed out in the back seat of her car.

And now here he lay on her bed. If anything, he looked worse than before. The process of bringing him to her apartment had taken a toll.

She hated going against the doctor’s recommendation to go to a hospital, but Lucifer wasn’t human. He wasn’t human. What were the chances medicine was going to help him?

Dr. Rush examined Lucifer before doing anything else. He took Lucifer’s temperature, then brought out a blood pressure cuff, explained what he was doing as he wrapped it around Lucifer's arm and pumped it up, checking his watch. "Not as bad as I expected," he said and wrote something down on a clipboard.

And now, Lucifer’s expression reminded her of Trixie when she’d taken her for her flu shot earlier that year. He watched Dr. Rush prepare an injection of antibiotics with a mixture of deep suspicion and concern.

"Not a fan?" she asked.

"No, not even a little. How do people do this for fun?"

"You've never?" She asked, open-ended.

"Under normal circumstances, my skin is invulnerable to such things." He watched right up until the needle touched his skin and then focused towards her instead.

Chloe offered him a wan smile.

"Too bad that invulnerability doesn't apply to knives," Dr. Rush commented wryly as he finished the injection and capped and disposed of the needle into a sharps container in his bag.

Lucifer rolled his eyes. "That's it then? I don't feel any different."

"You haven’t been listening to me at all. Have you?” Dr. Rush asked in exasperation. “You should be in a hospital.”

“Not happening,” Lucifer insisted.

“Alright then.” Dr. Rush sighed and stood up. "It’s going to take a lot more than just one injection before you start feeling better. I've got to look at what I've got on hand, and then make a call, get some extra supplies delivered here." He glanced from Lucifer to Chloe. "I'll be right back." 

Chloe listened as his footsteps retreated down the stairs and heard the front door open and close behind him.

"Well, Detective?" Lucifer asked finally.

"At least you finally found a way to get into my bed," she said, wanting to break the tension. The joke felt wrong, and she regretted it as soon as it was out of her mouth.

Lucifer seemed to appreciate it though, answering with a quick, "Kind of defeats the purpose if you aren't in it with me." It was enough to diffuse some of the awkwardness in the air and bring back a sense of normalcy.

Chloe finally stepped into the room, hesitantly coming closer. "How are you feeling?"

“Like we’re wasting an extraordinary opportunity.”

She smiled; this was more like the Lucifer she knew. "I mean, how badly does being around me affect you? Are we risking you getting sicker by doing this?"

He considered it. "I don't feel worse than I did earlier in the day." He sighed. "I'm sorry I got you involved, Detective."

How could she explain that she wanted to help him, that she was glad he finally involved her? She remained standing a few feet away, wishing she could bridge the distance between them.

"If this doesn’t work, and you start feeling worse, I need you to let me know right away."

He nodded. “I will. You didn't have to give up your room. I would have been fine on the couch."

"You'll be able to rest better up here, you know, out of the way of things."

"Out of the way," he repeated slowly, "Of course."

That wasn’t what she meant and was about to correct him, but Dr. Rush was already back at the door.

"I've arranged to have what I need to be delivered," Dr. Rush came back into the room bringing with him the stale smell of cigarette smoke and another bag clutched in his hand.

"Lucifer, to help your wound heal faster, I need to remove the infection, it's called debriding," he explained. He excused himself to wash his hands and returned.

Chloe watched the doctor closely. Everything about him screamed sketchy; what kind of doctor worked out of the back of his sports car and made house calls in the middle of the night? But, she had to admit, when it came to his medical expertise and ability, he seemed exceptional. Even his bedside manner was excellent. She'd expected him to be cynical and react like everyone else, herself included, when faced with Lucifer's lucifer-ness. Other than his one well-deserved comment about Lucifer’s invulnerability, he'd been respectful, taking it all in without judgment.

The doctor continued to explain what he was doing every step of the way, and why he was doing it. Applying a topical analgesic, rinsing the wound. He was even more careful when he brought out the scalpel and forceps and started the procedure. 

Chloe watched, drawn in by the confidence and ease with which Dr. Rush worked. Lucifer was so still that she didn't notice how his right hand was fisted around a knot of the fabric so tightly his knuckles were white. Then she looked at his face, his eyes staring fixedly up at the ceiling.

“Lucifer,” she said softly, catching his attention, his head turned towards her, his eyes wide and searching. “It will be okay,” she whispered, but the spoken reassurance felt hollow even to her ears. He didn't respond, but he also didn't look away, and she wished she had some insight into what he was thinking. Did he blame her for making him agree to this? Was he in pain? Angry? Scared?

Before, she would have sat by his side and held his hand, because before, she would have assumed he wanted that kind of comfort. Now, she wasn't sure if she trusted any of her prior assumptions. Could the Devil get scared? Did he feel pain? 

"I think we've got it," Dr. Rush said, inspecting the area carefully before rinsing it generously with more clear saline solution.

The doctor opened a sealed gauze bandage and placed it over the wound, and then another to cover that, taping it in place.

When all that was done Lucifer finally closed his eyes, releasing his grip on the bed-sheet. He looked exhausted, his face pale, body shivering slightly.

And Chloe still couldn’t bring herself to go to him; she just stood there watching. This was her fault. Lucifer was subjecting himself to this because she asked him to, because she presumed to know what was best for him. How could he even…

The doorbell rang, startling her, and she realized how intensely she'd been staring. She waited a moment, wondering if Maze would answer it. But the doorbell rang again.

It was a relief to break away from the intensity of her thoughts and retreat from the bedroom to answer the door.

Maze was nowhere to be found and compared to the blazing light in the upstairs bedroom, and the living room was dark and full of shadows.

Chloe opened the door to a young woman standing with an armload of bags and a metal pole. She looked like she'd just rolled out of bed, her hair up in a ponytail and still blinking the sleep out of her eyes. It was, she checked her watch, four a.m.

The young woman smiled and adjusted her hold on her bags. "Hi, I'm Eve, Dr. Rush's assistant. He asked me to bring him some supplies for his patient."

Chloe stepped to the side, pulling the door wide open to let Eve in. "I'm Chloe." She locked the door behind her and moved to help. "Dr. Rush is upstairs with Lucifer," she explained, leading the way.

Eve knocked on the door frame to get her boss's attention before entering.

"Oh good, you're finally here," he said and waved her in. "Set up the pole?"

He was crouched on Lucifer's right-hand side, various sealed bags spread out in front of him. He tied a rubber tourniquet around Lucifer’s arm just above the bend in his elbow and put on a fresh pair of gloves before opening the bags and getting his things organized, screwing a pre-filled syringe to a tube and squirting it before placing it aside and starting another needle.

Lucifer had a similar look to before, suspicion and concern. “How is putting another hole in me supposed to heal the one that’s a problem?”

"We're going to start with some broad-spectrum antibiotics. With this,” he gestured to the supplies laid out in front of him, “we can keep the new holes in your body to a minimum, agreed?"

Dr. Rush gently prodded the top of Lucifer’s hand, “Make a light fist,” he instructed, and then slid the needle under the skin, held it there for just a moment and then slid the cannula down just as he eased the needle out, keeping everything in place as he pressed down with a finger just below. He quickly screwed in the extension tubing, and gave an experimental press with the syringe, sending fluid down the tube and into his patient’s hand.

 “How does that feel?”

“Cold?” Lucifer answered, staring down at the thing on his arm.

“Good.” Dr. Rush said and taped everything in place.

The I.V. pole and bags were set up, and the doctor attached the tube.

Lucifer looked at Chloe again before turning back to the doctor. "And that's all? A couple of these and the detective will be able to reclaim her home?"

"You should be in a hospital."

Chloe spoke up, "He has to stay here."

Dr. Rush raised his eyebrows briefly, but he seemed beyond the point of arguing for now. "Four hours on the I.V. You have my number, and I’m going to give my number to Detective Decker as well. If there are any problems, any questions, call me right away. I’ll be back in a few hours."

"And then that’s it?" Lucifer asked skeptically.

"No,” Dr. Rush explained, again. “There’s no quick fix here. Sepsis is a serious condition; you should be in the hospital getting blood tests, there are major complications like organ failure, low blood pressure, breathing difficulties, they can monitor all that far more efficiently than I can in your girl-friend’s bedroom.”

“Just friends,” Lucifer protested.

Dr. Rush rolled his eyes. “Doesn’t matter. If I suspect at any time your condition is deteriorating, the hospital is where you’re going whether you like it or not. If all goes well and you respond to the antibiotics, we'll do the I.V. up to four or five days, and then you can switch to tablets."

"Four days of this?” Lucifer asked, staring at his hand. “And how long for tablets?”

"About a week, not too long." The doctor responded.

Lucifer looked ready to call the whole thing off.

"That's fine," Chloe interjected quickly. "That will be fine; we can do this," she said again, firmly. “Let’s just see if this works first, okay?”

Lucifer stared at her for a long moment, but he finally nodded before resting his head back down on the pillow and closing his eyes. “Yes, Detective,” he acquiesced. 

"We should let him rest," Dr. Rush told Chloe.

She hesitated. It felt wrong to leave Lucifer alone upstairs like this.

Lucifer sensed her hesitation and opened his eyes briefly. "I'll be fine, Detective."

"I won't be far," she assured him and nodded to the doctor and led the way downstairs.

The routine action of setting up the filter and preparing the coffee machine helped settle her nerves even more.

"Would you like some too?" she asked, remembering Dr. Rush's assistant was still with them. The young woman seemed adept at blending into the background.

Eve shook her head, "I should go back home and try to sleep another couple hours before work." 

Dr. Rush spoke up, "Take the morning off, Eve, I'm not going to be doing much of anything tomorrow other than sleeping and coming back here to check on my patient. By the way, double our usual fee. Lucifer said you can contact Maze for payment." 

"Sure. I'm headed back home anyway, see you tomorrow, Rush."

He walked her to the door and then returned to the kitchen island counter and perched on the stool.

Chloe poured the doctor a cup and placed the sugar and cream on the counter if he wanted it.  "Thanks for coming out here and taking care of him."

The doctor shrugged. "It's kind of my job."

"Right. But, you were, you know," she paused as she thought about the right words. "Good to him." 

"Why wouldn't I be?" he asked, taking a sip, watching her closely.

"Not everyone is," she said, thinking about the station, her co-workers. "Lucifer's not exactly easy to work with."

"You work together?" Now he was really looking at her. "I thought you said you're a cop?"

"He's my partner. A civilian consultant with the LAPD."

He laughed. "You're kidding me?"

"No joke," she confirmed.

“How?” he asked, thoroughly dumbfounded.

She shrugged. “He’s Lucifer.”

"It can be surprising how much you don't know about a person, can't it?" Dr. Rush asked her, and in response all she could do was laugh.

Chapter Text

Dan brought Trixie home on Sunday afternoon. Chloe met them at the door and pulled Dan aside to the living room to talk. Trixie, of course, was right there with them.

Chloe took a deep breath, deciding the best way to do this would be to just come right out with it. “Lucifer’s here. He’s sick, and I took the week off to take care of him.”

Trixie reacted as though Chloe had just told her she was going to have a week-long play date with her best friend. “Lucifer is going to be here all week? Is he going to make us omelets and play board games and sing karaoke with us?”

“No, monkey, he’s not feeling well. He’s going to need a lot of rest.”

Dan stared at her in disbelief. “Seriously? You’re taking time off for this?”

“I made the arrangements with the lieutenant this morning.”

“Why?”

“Lucifer needs me. And I’ll need your help too, to take Trixie to and from school.”

Dan sat very still, the muscles in his jaw clenching as the lines on his forehead became more pronounced. “Trixie, honey, could you go put your stuff away in your room?”

Trixie rolled her eyes, but she got up and grabbed her bag, dragging it into her room as requested.

Dan lowered his voice. “Why does he have to be here; can’t he afford to hire a nurse to take care of him back at his place?”

“It’s complicated,” Chloe said, knowing that wasn’t any kind of explanation. “He was attacked; stabbed, about a week ago.”

Dan frowned. “Stabbed? By who? Did he report it?”

Chloe shook her head, “That isn’t important right now. All I can say is he didn’t go for help; he couldn’t go for help. He’s never dealt with anything like this before, but he trusts me. There’s no one else who can help him.”

“This is more of Lucifer’s craziness, isn’t it? You can’t let him set you up as his only support system. He’s just going to end up dragging you down with him.”

She cleared her throat. “It’s not like that, all I can tell you is there’s stuff going on you don’t understand,” she said, trying to be patient.

Dan finally relented. “I’ll do it for you. And for Trixie. Not him.”

“Thank you.” That was all she was asking for. 

“Call me if you have any problems.”

Chloe knew he wasn’t talking about Lucifer’s health. “I will,” she agreed, it was a simple enough promise to get him on board, and she wasn’t in the mood for an argument. It seemed to be enough because Dan nodded and left.

That went a lot better than she’d expected.

Trixie peeked out of her room and rejoined Chloe on the couch. “Can I go see Lucifer now?”

“No, monkey.”

“But won’t he get lonely?” Trixie asked.

Chloe sat on the couch beside her daughter and wrapped her arm around her shoulder. “No, as I said, he’s sleeping.”

“How do you know? Maybe I should go check.”

“He’s been sleeping since he got here. I don’t want you to bother him.”

“How about later?”

“We’ll see,” Chloe answered.

Trixie frowned. “You always say we’ll see, when you mean no.”

“He’s going to be here all week; you’ll get a chance to visit when he starts feeling a little better, I promise.”

Trixie had more questions, of course, she did. Both her parents were police detectives; Chloe should have known her daughter would be curious.

“Is he sick like Daddy when he threw up on the floor or is he sick like when you were shot?” Trixie asked, and then her eyes went incredibly wide. “Or is he sick like when the bad man poisoned you?” Her entire body going rigid with distress. 

Chloe pulled Trixie into a hug, holding her tight. “No, not like that. Someone hurt him, and he’s very tired, but he’s going to be okay, we’re going to make sure of it.”

Trixie seemed to relax at the reassurance, but Chloe kept a close eye on her. There were several times in the day that she caught Trixie watching her closely, and she could swear she could hear the gears turning in the little girl’s head, contemplating ways to sneak upstairs and check on Lucifer.

Dr. Rush had been by earlier that day to start Lucifer’s I.V., and he came back shortly before supper to check on his patient again.

Trixie was, as usual, intensely interested. “You’re here to help Lucifer?” she asked skipping to keep pace beside him.

“That’s what I get paid for,” he grinned down at the girl.

“Are you a real doctor?” She asked this time putting herself in his way, so he was forced to stop.

“Top of my class at Harvard.” He raised his eyebrows, “May I go check on my patient?” He asked, humoring the young girl.

Trixie stepped aside, eyeing him with suspicion, and then turned on Chloe. “Can I go watch?”

“No, monkey,” Chloe stated firmly. “We need to let him work, okay?”

The little girl seemed to accept that, albeit grudgingly. She waited at the bottom of the stairs and approached Dr. Rush again on his way down.

“Lucifer is my friend. Are you going to make Lucifer feel better?”

The doctor crouched down to her eye level. “He’s lucky to have such protective friends. It’s going to take some time, but yes, he’ll get better.”

Chloe stepped up and joined Trixie at her side, placing a hand on her daughter’s shoulder.  Dr. Rush stood up and offered her an encouraging smile. “He’s already responding to the antibiotics. Keep giving him fluids, make sure he gets plenty of rest, and if he keeps progressing as he has so far, he should be fine. I’ll be back tomorrow.”

“Thank you,” Chloe said and gently steered Trixie aside to let him pass.

“Now can I go visit?” Trixie begged again after Dr. Rush left.

“Not today, you heard what the doctor said, Lucifer needs plenty of rest.” Chloe stood firm.

Chloe tried her best to keep Trixie occupied for the rest of the afternoon and evening. They cooked supper together, watched a movie, she read her a longer bedtime story than usual; all in hopes of distracting the girl enough to keep her from obsessing about disturbing Lucifer upstairs.

For the most part, it worked. Chloe tucked her daughter in, kissed her on the forehead and said goodnight.

“Can I visit Lucifer in the morning?” the little girl asked again.

“Maybe,” Chloe gave in.

After putting Trixie to bed, Chloe headed upstairs. She quietly stepped into the bedroom and sat beside the bed, Lucifer’s eyes opened briefly, looking up at her before closing them again. His hand slid over towards hers, lightly grasping her fingers. She let him fall back to sleep and stayed by his side until she felt her eyelids begin drooping and needed to go to bed as well. 

Chloe caught Dan before he took Trixie to school and pulled him aside. “Thanks for helping out; it means a lot.”

From the look on Dan’s face, he was still less than impressed with the whole situation. “How is he?” he asked grudgingly.

Chloe smiled, but it felt brittle. “Getting better. It was really bad, Dan.”

His demeanor softened, and he pulled her into a comforting hug. “I hope he knows how fortunate he is to have someone like you.”

She squeezed her eyes shut against the flood of emotion she felt welling up inside. The last few days had been intense. Until now, she’d been too overwhelmed with Lucifer’s condition that she hadn’t stopped to process her own stress. 

But then she heard footsteps running down the stairs as Trixie came to join them, ready to go to school.  Trixie had managed to sneak upstairs after all.

Dan stepped back, a hand still comfortingly on Chloe’s shoulder. “I’ve got to go, but we’ll talk about this later, right?”

“Yes, later,” Chloe agreed and closed the door after him.

It was barely eight a.m. and she already felt exhausted.

Next up, she needed to check on Lucifer. Thankfully it didn’t look like Trixie woke him up, but there was a coloring book on the nightstand, and her daughter’s Miss Alien doll tucked up beside Lucifer’s arm.  Chloe picked it up and placed it aside with the coloring book.

Was it normal for someone like Lucifer to sleep this much? She’d never seen him sleep before. He didn’t fall asleep in the car while she was driving, no matter how long of a trip it was. He never drifted off at a stake out. 

The only time she ever saw him affected by lack of sleep had been those weird couple of weeks when he claimed hadn't been able to sleep at all. Just thinking about that time, about how she had fallen for Pierce’s lies and manipulations, made her feel nauseous.  There’d been a lot more going on behind Lucifer’s insomnia than she’d understood at the time, but how could she have known? She’d thought Lucifer’s sleeping issues had been stress induced. Nothing he’d said had made sense. It was all craziness: confusing reality with an episode of Bones, talking about wings and angels, being controlled by his father, and then warning her about Pierce being Cain. His warnings about Pierce had been all true, though, hadn’t they?

If only he’d been able to talk to her without the side dish of delusional ranting. It wasn’t delusional though, was it? Did that mean Lucifer’s dad, God, really was manipulating him as he said? How much of Lucifer’s paranoia was justified? 

Her bedroom was dim with the curtains drawn against the morning sun, and she stood beside the bed watching Lucifer sleep. She wished she understood better what was normal for him. His eyes looked shadowed and bruised. His head was turned to the side on the pillow, face toward the doorway, his breath slow and even in sleep. 

The glass of water beside the bed was still half full. Dr. Rush had been adamant about Lucifer drinking as much as possible, which Lucifer had been on board with until learned drinking meant water, not whiskey. Alcohol ran the risk of negating the effects of the antibiotics. It took some convincing, but eventually, Lucifer gave his word on that too, no alcohol until he was done taking the medicine. 

She hesitantly rested her hand on his forehead.

He still felt too warm.

Chloe sat beside him on the bed and placed her hand on his shoulder, “Lucifer,” she whispered, shaking him gently. “I need you to wake up. Just for a minute okay?”

He groaned and licked his lips, turning his head and opening his eyes to look at her. “Detective?” he said slowly and then tensed, trying to sit up until the pain in his side flared, and he lied back down.

“It’s me, you’re okay,” she tried to assure him. “I’m going to take your temperature,” she explained, holding the thermometer ready. 

He opened his mouth and let her pop it in. This wasn’t their first checkup.  She took his temperature every few hours and wrote it down in the notebook beside his bed. Any significant changes and she was supposed to call Dr. Rush immediately. The thermometer beeped, and she wrote down the time and temperature. 

“Now try and drink something,” she instructed.

Lucifer carefully pushed himself up on his elbow, taking a few sips of the offered glass of water before lying down again. 

“How about the bathroom?” Chloe asked next.

“I went earlier,” he mumbled tiredly, “I’m not a complete invalid.”

Maybe all the sleep was just his body's way of healing. She placed her hand back on his forehead again, brushing at his hair with her fingers. “Go ahead and go back to sleep; I’ll be back soon.”

When it came time to decide what to make for lunch, she remembered that she had intended to go grocery shopping today. In the bottom cupboard, she reached back and found a can of chicken noodle soup.

After lunch, she was going to have to order some groceries online, but for now, she was going to feed the devil canned soup.

She had to stop thinking of him as THE DEVIL. He was Lucifer; just like before. Only now she understood why he was different. Did he need to eat?

She poured some soup into a mug for him and brought it upstairs

"Oh, hey you're awake," she said, seeing that his eyes were open. He was lying still, staring up at the ceiling, his eyes glassy.

She set the mug on the nightstand beside Trixie's coloring book and alien doll. Was that a jewelry pouch tucked behind the baby photo of Trixie?

“Are you doing okay?”

“Better, I think?” He turned his gaze on her, but he looked unfocused. "What day is it?”

“Monday.”

“When did you and Maze bring me here?”

“Late Saturday.”

“It feels all mixed up. I'm going to turn into Rip Van Winkle if I keep sleeping like this."

"Don't worry; I packed your shaving kit."

He grinned tiredly, but the smile helped him look a little more like his old self, "Good one, Detective."

He tried pushing himself up with his right arm and then winced as he pressed his hand with the I.V. port in it against the mattress. He made a frustrated noise and used the other arm instead. "Is this thing in my hand supposed to feel like this?” 

Chloe took his right hand, looking at the cannula taped to his skin. His hand was a little bruised but not swollen.  " How does it feel?"

"Uncomfortable, like there’s a pressure under my skin."

"I think that might be normal, but we can ask Dr. Rush about it when he comes this afternoon," she said, trying to offer some reassurance, aware of how strange all this must be to him. "I brought you some soup. You do need to eat, right?"

He frowned. "What?"

"I mean, I've seen you eat, but do you need to? Is that a thing?"

"Yes, Detective, eating is a thing I do. There is food in the Silver City and in Hell. Both, I might add, take somewhat different forms than the vast array of delights this world offers. Never underestimate the positive contributions of gluttony on the palate." He leaned over and sniffed at the mug; by his expression this was not one of those contributions. "What is it?"

"Chicken Noodle."

He hummed and stretched. "I could have come down to eat with you." 

She didn’t even want to think of him trying to navigate the stairs just yet. "How about if I bring mine up and eat with you here?”

He nodded, "I'd like that."

She left and brought up her mug as well, but by the time she got back he'd already fallen back to sleep. She hated to bother him, but she woke him up again. “Lucifer, time to eat,” she coaxed gently.

He opened his eyes, pushing himself up again to sit up a little straighter.

This time she sat on the chair beside the bed. He drank the soup slowly. They didn’t talk; he looked to have barely enough energy to finish the soup. As soon as he handed the mug back, he lied back down. 

She watched him drift off to sleep and gently brushed her fingers across his forehead. “Rest well, and I’ll be back to check on you soon.”

Chloe was back downstairs when Dr. Rush arrived that afternoon to check up on his patient and hook up the I.V. treatment.

His clothes were disheveled, shoulders stooped, and his eyes shadowed, red-rimmed and dilated. She placed her arm across the doorway blocking his way as he stepped forward. “Are you high?” She demanded bluntly.

“Not anymore.”

 She didn’t believe him.

“I’m fine,” Dr. Rush insisted. “Are you going to let me in or not? I happen to have a patient waiting for me upstairs, remember?”

She weighed her options but stepped back and let him in despite her reservations. She followed him up the stairs, intent on keeping an eye on him.

Despite his appearance, Dr. Rush proved to be just as proficient and competent as he’d been any other day. He examined Lucifer again: took his temperature and blood pressure, asked about how much water he was drinking, and if he managed to eat any food. Any nausea?

He checked the bandage.

He made Lucifer get up and out of bed, walk across the room and back.

Lucifer rolled his eyes, but he did as he was asked. He was steady on his feet.

Chloe watched it all, paying close attention to everything. Lucifer was progressing remarkably well. She shared a smile with him, relieved beyond words, and then escorted Dr. Rush out.

That evening, Trixie was finally allowed to go upstairs and visit with Lucifer before bedtime, but only with the stern warning not to disturb him if he was sleeping.

His eyes were closed, but when she poked his arm, he looked at her. She’d woken him up, but he didn’t seem disturbed, so Trixie was pretty sure she wasn’t going to get into trouble.

"Did Mommy take good care of you today?" Trixie asked.

“She did. She made me soup," Lucifer said.

"Did she make chicken noodle? That’s what she makes for me when I'm not feeling well." 

"Yes, I think it may have been vaguely chicken-like," he agreed.

"What else did you do?"

“Sleep. How do you humans get anything done when you spend so much time unconscious?"

"Mommy says sleeping helps people feel better. Did she visit a lot?"

"What does it mean when someone does this," Lucifer asked and reached out, placing his palm over Trixie's forehead.  

She giggled. "That’s how you take someone's temperature."

“No,” he disagreed. “There’s a digital stick for that. Does everyone touch each others’ foreheads when they’re not feeling well?”

Trixie shook her head, no. “Only for people they care about.” 

He hummed and picked at the tape on his hand.

"I don't think you're allowed to peel it off. Does it itch?" she asked.

"Like you wouldn't believe."

Trixie got up and found a facecloth in the upstairs bathroom and ran cold water on it, then squeezed until the water drops were mostly out and brought it back. She put it on Lucifer's hand over the tape.

"How’s that?"

"Aren't you clever." He smiled at her.

But then Chloe was calling from downstairs, and it was time for bed.

 

Chapter Text

Chloe checked on Lucifer when she got up. He lay silent, chest rising and falling in sleep. She brushed her fingers across his brow, and his skin felt nearly normal, not nearly as warm as he’d been the past few days. Even the shadows under his eyes had lightened. He was getting better. She lingered by his side for a moment and headed back downstairs. 

She resumed her usual routine: start the coffee machine, wake up Trixie, make breakfast.

The eggs were frying in the pan when Trixie jumped up and ran to the stairs.

"Lucifer!" She hopped excitedly and grabbed his legs in a hug.

He braced himself against the wall for stability, his entire body going rigid and immobile as the little girl wrapped herself around him.

"Trixie, honey, be careful with Lucifer; he's not feeling well."  Chloe was ready to abandon the eggs, but Trixie released him, stepping back.  "Sorry, Lucifer."

He took a step away as he was released. It looked like he’d tried to clean up before coming down. He wore a fresh suit, his typical black pants and white dress shirt, wrinkled from the way Maze had shoved them into his travel bag. Instead of cufflinks, his sleeves were rolled up his arms part way. His feet were bare. He’d also managed to shave, but his hair damp as it was now, seemed unsure whether to stick up or twist into curls.

Not quite fine, Chloe surmised but getting closer.

"Good morning; how are you feeling?" Chloe greeted him.

Lucifer made his way to the kitchen island and perched on the bar stool. He rubbed his face and looked at her like he wasn't sure how to answer. "The medicine seems to be working," he assured her.

That sounded evasive, completely sidestepping any comment about how he felt, but Chloe ignored it for now.  

She busied herself with buttering the toast and flipping the eggs from the pan to Trixie's plate. "Want some? How do you like your eggs?" she asked Lucifer.

He regarded the counter critically, seeing Chloe had a plate ready for herself.

"Allow me? I see you already have your plate ready," He asked and then stood and came around the counter.

She eyed him closely, trying to determine if he was well enough yet, but it wasn't like he was unfamiliar with cooking in her kitchen.

“Sure,” she agreed, putting down the spatula and taking the stool he'd just vacated. He made his scrambled eggs with ease, adding in some spices he knew exactly where to find in the cupboard, and then pulled up another stool and sat with them to eat. 

It felt homey. Trixie chatted about school and a project she was doing in science with crystals, and Lucifer asked questions like what the purpose was, only to be perplexed by the answer that it was just to see how they form.

Then Trixie raced off to brush her teeth and to get dressed and ready for Dan to pick her up. Lucifer stayed sitting, watching it all intently.

It struck Chloe again suddenly how foreign all this must be to him. All the times he came to her apartment to visit, she now understood hid odd curiosity. What was she to him? Was this all just an amusing diversion to him to pass the time -observing humans in their natural habitat- or was there more to it?

But then Dan was at the door to pick up Trixie for school, and there was a flurry of activity as Trixie grabbed her lunch bag and backpack. Dan spotted Lucifer at the counter and came inside.

Lucifer’s back straightened. Chloe noticed his right hand, the one with the I.V. port, was quickly shoved in his pocket, and he stood up. “Daniel.”

“Hey, man,” Dan said warily. Chloe could see the suspicion in his eyes. “Feeling better?”

Lucifer smiled acerbically. “I had no idea you missed my presence so much. Or is it, with the detective on vacation, you find you have to do some work on your own?”

“Okay, that’s enough,” Chloe interjected before anything could escalate and changed the subject. “Dan, could you remind Trixie to bring home her homework after school when you pick her up?”

Dan kept his eyes pinned on Lucifer but agreed. There was no more time to argue, as Trixie ran out the door with her lunch and backpack, forcing Dan had to follow.

And then the apartment was suddenly quiet.  

“What the hell was that?”

Lucifer was back on the stool, idly poking his fork into the eggs he’d made.

“All he did was ask if you’re feeling better,” she pressed. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting to get out of him. An explanation was probably too much to hope for. An apology? She wasn’t the one Lucifer owed an apology to. “Dan’s been helpful, taking Trixie to and from school, making sure I can be here with you. He didn’t deserve that.”

“I handled that badly.” At least he had the sense to look remorseful.

She stared at him, wishing she could understand his thought process better.

“Detective?” Lucifer asked, looking at her now.

Was she crazy to think he looked vulnerable, insecure even?

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll sort things out with Dan,” she said and shook her head. She didn’t want to go down the road of doubting everything she thought she knew about Lucifer. He was her partner, he never lied to her, and he’d said he needed her. That was what she knew.

It was easier to put her problems aside for a moment with something to distract herself with. She started stacking the dishes up beside the sink.

Lucifer added his plate to the pile and stepped up beside her.

“You wash; I dry?” He asked.

Chloe was about to accept his offer to help and was about to hand him a towel when she noticed he was leaning heavily against the counter.

“Lucifer, I think you should sit down.”

He rubbed his forehead and made a frustrated noise. “I’m fine. I’ve been sleeping for days, and I just want to…” he paused and held onto the counter for extra support as he swayed unsteadily.

Chloe grabbed his arm and helped him back to the chair. “It’s okay to rest; you’re still recovering. Do you want to head back upstairs?"

For a moment she thought he would argue, but his shoulders slumped, and he nodded. "I’m not much use like this am I?” He stood back up and turned to go, pausing to look back at her. “Thank you for breakfast, Detective."

When he stood, she was at his side in an instant, ready to help him if he needed it. He froze, resolutely not touching her or accepting any help.

“I’ll be fine on my own.” 

“Lucifer, you’re still recovering. These things take time.”

Nonetheless, she stepped away from him, and he resolutely, though slowly, made his way back upstairs.

She didn’t know what to make of it, and rather than obsess on things she didn’t understand and couldn’t change she focused on working instead. Any work would do. Cleaning came first; wiping the counter, mopping the floor. When that was done and she still needed a distraction she pulled out the box of cold case files she’d asked Dan to bring. She’d had to hand off her active cases when she requested her sudden leave of absence, but at least she could still do this. It didn’t take long for her to get engrossed in the task, delving into the unsolved mysteries and taking notes to cross-reference later.

About an hour later she got a text. 

She put down the forensic report she was reading and picked up her phone.

[10:12 am] Lucifer: There is a spider on your ceiling.

Chloe frowned.

[10:13 am] Chloe: Are you afraid of spiders?

[10:15 am] Lucifer: No. Just thought you would want to know your apartment is infested.

[10:17 am] Chloe: How many are there?

[10:17am] Lucifer: 1

[10:20 am] Chloe: Want me to kill it for you?

[10:21 am] Lucifer: No, he has taken refuge in your closet, I’ll let you know if he returns.

She wasn't sure what she was supposed to do with that, so she put her phone aside and went back to her files.

[10:44 am] Lucifer: I have no socks.

[10:47 am] Chloe: Maze packed your clothes. She must have forgotten. Do you want to borrow mine?

[10:48 am] Lucifer: Shall I assume I have permission to go through your drawers?

"Lucifer!" Chloe yelled and raced upstairs. But he was just sitting cross-legged on the bed grinning at her.  She rolled her eyes. "Do not go through my drawers, or any of my other stuff. Please."

"Yes, Detective," he answered innocently.

"Is there anything you need?"

"Nope," he assured her.

She headed back downstairs.

Not fifteen minutes later, her phone beeped again.

[11:03 am] Lucifer: How do turtles communicate with each other?

Chloe ignored it.

[11:05am] Lucifer: Detective?

[11:09 am] Lucifer: With shell phones.

[11:20 am] Lucifer: What did the mermaid wear to math class?

Chloe rolled her eyes.

[11:23 am] Chloe: What?

[11:24 am] Lucifer: An algae-bra.

She snorted and put the phone down again. And then it beeped again.

[11:35 am] Lucifer: What did the elephant say to the naked man?

[11:36 am] Lucifer: How do you breathe through that tiny thing?

Chloe snorted. How long was he going to keep this up?

[11:42 am] Chloe: Do you feel well enough to come down for lunch? 

It didn't take long. A minute later Lucifer was at her side. His suit from earlier was even more rumpled from having gone back to bed in it, but he was more awake than she’d seen him thus far. 

"What's for lunch today, Detective? More soup?" he asked. 

"I'll make some sandwiches," she offered.

"Oh, the ones with the holes?"

She smiled. "Yeah, I can do those."

He wandered into the living room as she pulled out the ingredients, poking into everything as though he hadn’t been in her apartment hundreds of times doing the same thing. He took a moment to study the files spread around. “Is this what you’re doing with your time off? Don't you have any hobbies? Favorite porn sites? Viral cat videos? Knitting?"

He picked up a paperback novel resting on the side table, and read the back before flipping through the pages, a smile forming. “Oh, did you read up to this bit with the grapes yet?”

She snatched the book away from him. "With all this time on my hands, I figured I might as well do something productive." She shoved the book back on the shelf and returned to the kitchen to turn on the element to heat the frying pan. "It looks like I'm going to be stuck here with you for over a week, so I had to think of something to keep occupied."

“Stuck?” Lucifer asked, sitting perched on the arm of the couch.

“Yeah, well, we are kind of trapped together for the next while.”

"I never asked you to do this for me."

She paused. “No, but it’s not like we had a choice.”

He tensed even more, his tone immediately turning defensive. “I didn’t compel you to do anything.”

Everything she was saying was the wrong thing, but maybe there was still time to smooth things over before things could get any worse. “You didn’t need to. You said you needed me."

"A moment of weakness on my part," he said rigidly.

That hurt. She clenched her jaw. So, what if he was the Devil, he was still Lucifer, and he was still a pigheaded man-baby. "What was I supposed to do? Leave you sick and alone in your penthouse? You said yourself you weren't getting better," she accused. "I'm doing this for you, to help you. You could at least pretend to be grateful."

He stood, striding forward and closing the distance between them. "Grateful to be subjected to your human medicine; to be at someone else’s mercy while obliged to remain vulnerable?"

His eyes. How many times had she seen a tint of red flash through Lucifer’s eyes as his temper flared in the course of their work? She’d always just written it off as a trick of the light, because rationally what else could it be? But that threat had always been directed at someone or something else, never her. Her breath caught in her chest for a moment, heartbeat quickening at the instinctual danger those eyes represented. Not human. Other.

Despite the foreboding, she stood her ground. In the moment of fight or flight, fight won out, and she felt a wave of disturbingly passionate anger well up from deep within. “Is this what you’re going to do now? Flash your devil face at me whenever we argue?”

He blinked, eyes immediately returning to their natural dark brown. " Detective," he started, voice apologetic, quickly stepping back and out of her personal space.

She wasn’t scared of him; she was furious, and the intensity behind her sudden reaction was terrifying and exhilarating all at once. The adrenalin rush still flooding her system left her hands shaking.

"I'm sorry if trying to help you is such a major inconvenience. I know it sucks. I know my apartment isn't up to your standards, but this is all I've got and I'm trying to make the best of it.”

“Detective,” he said again. “I didn’t…”

She took a deep breath, why couldn’t she calm down?

This was Lucifer, her partner, not some monster from a storybook and embodiment of all things evil. Lucifer, who went to therapy with Linda to help him understand his feelings. Lucifer, her civilian consultant who skipped out on paperwork and made a mess of reorganizing her desk when he thought she was mad at him.

Intellectually she could grasp these things, but her emotions were something else altogether.

But she wasn’t going to let her out of control temper rule her. She had more control than that, didn’t she?

Still trying to get a rein over her anger, she took a deep breath and counted to ten in her head. Lucifer was staring at her as though waiting for a bomb to explode. Based on her reaction, he wasn’t that far off. It took all her training as a police officer, and all the patience of being a mother, to bury those feelings deep.

“Never mind. Sit down, and I’ll make you a sandwich.”

He closed his eyes a moment. “I…” he paused and swallowed, clearly shaken. His eyes flicked past her, looking at the clock on the wall. “I should go back upstairs; the doctor will be here soon to start my next treatment.” They both knew that was an exaggeration; Dr. Rush wasn’t going to arrive until mid-afternoon.

She didn’t call him on it; it was probably for the best if they both had a chance to cool down.

“That’s a good idea,” Chloe agreed, switching the oven off and putting everything away. Her hands were still shaking, and she felt confused and irritated by the power of her outburst. She needed more time to settle down and think.

He nodded and headed back upstairs without another word.

There were no more text messages from Lucifer; not a sound came from upstairs.

That silence wasn’t broken until the doorbell rang in the midafternoon.

Dr. Rush stood on the doorstep, looking much better than the day before; his eyes clear, clothes clean, and professional once more.  It was a vast improvement to showing up at the door high the day before.

He offered a contrite smile. “Listen, Detective Decker, yesterday wasn’t the best of days. But…”

“But, it’s none of my business,” Chloe finished for him.

Dr. Rush nodded; his relief was almost palpable. “Thank you,” he said. “I’ll, uh, just go upstairs now.”

She didn’t go up with him this time.  Half an hour later he came back down, lingering by the door for a moment.

“Did something happen?” Dr. Rush asked uncertainly.

Chloe looked up. “What do you mean?”

He hesitated. “It’s none of my business,” he said, repeating Chloe’s words from earlier.

Chloe nodded. “You’re right.”

“Right,” he echoed again, and then he was gone, leaving Chloe alone again with her thoughts.  

 

Chapter Text

The only thing Trixie could think of all day was how much she wanted to go home. It wasn't fair; her mom and Lucifer didn’t have to go to work, why should she have to go to school? Every moment of the day felt like forever until the moment her dad picked her up. Getting stuck in traffic was even worse; none of the cars were moving, and she felt like she could get out and walk home faster.  

Trixie practically raced out of the car as soon as her dad stopped in front of the apartment. She ran up, bursting through the door and shrugging off her backpack before pouncing on her mom, who was sitting in the living room with a pile of folders and papers spread out around her. "Can I go say hi to Lucifer?" she asked as she threw her arms around her in a big hug, ready to run up the stairs as soon as letting go.

But her mom caught her arm, holding her back. “Sorry, monkey, that’s not a good idea right now.”

“Why not?”

“Well, you know how when you’re not feeling well you get kind of cranky? Lucifer is cranky.”

“Please?” Trixie tried to beg. “Just quick? Just to say hi and come back?”

Her mom sighed. “Fine, just a quick visit and then come back and do your homework. And don’t bug him.”

She raced upstairs, hoping this time Lucifer would be awake. She got as far as the bedroom door; she hadn’t seen him hooked up to the I.V. pole yet, and the sight of it stopped her in her tracks.

He wasn’t sleeping, and so she stepped into the room. He went from staring up at the ceiling to staring at her.

“Hi, Lucifer.”

He frowned. “I don’t think your mother will approve of you coming to visit me,” he warned quietly.

“She said I could visit if I don’t bug you.” Trixie couldn’t stop staring at the tube in his hand. “How sick are you?”

“Less than before.”

“Are you getting better?”

“The wound is healing,” he answered. “Are you sure she said it was alright?”

Trixie nodded and stepped in further. “Are you cranky?”

“Am I what?”

“Mommy said you’re cranky from being sick.” She explained.

He let out a quick breath. “I suppose so,” he agreed.

“Why don’t you color?" She looked over at the coloring book on the nightstand, disappointed that he hadn’t touched it yet. "Coloring helps me feel better when I’m upset.”

“It does?” He blinked at her tiredly but sat up, leaning back against the headboard. "How does it work?"

She crawled up on the end of the bed to sit with him.  "You use the crayons to color the animals in the book," she explained.

He accepted the book when she passed it to him and started flipping through the pages. "Why didn't they add the colors when they printed the book?"

"Haven't you ever colored before?" She rolled her eyes.

"These animals already have proper colors," he continued. "Why would I need to put colors on them?"

"But this way we can make them whatever color we want them," she explained further.

"Really?" he asked with more interest. "There's no wrong way to do it?"

She laughed. "It's not like school; you can even color outside the lines if you want to."

"Lovely... This one looks promising," he said, folding the book open to a page with an octopus on it. "It kind of looks like a creature called a Grell from where I used to live," he explained. He picked out a green crayon to color in the tentacles. "Only, instead of swimming in water, they float in the air. And they have beaks," he found an orange crayon and drew that detail in, regarding it carefully.

Trixie looked at it just as seriously. "What color is its body?"

"That’s green too," he said, coloring that in next, making sure to add squiggles on it to make it look wrinkled.  "How’s that?"

Trixie laughed. "It looks silly."

"At least on paper it does." He started flipping through the rest of the coloring book with new interest.  

"I have to go do my homework." Trixie sighed, and moved to hop off the bed and go back downstairs.

“Wait,” he called out before she could get far. "You could bring your homework here," he offered, and then added, "If you’re allowed."

"Okay," she smiled and ran downstairs to get her backpack.

“Do your homework at the kitchen table,” her mom stopped her before she could get far.

Trixie skidded to a halt. "But Lucifer told me I could do my homework upstairs with him."

“He said that?”

Trixie nodded. “I’m teaching him how to color.”

"Oh,” her mom said. “So, he’s coloring, and doesn’t mind you doing your homework upstairs with him?”

Trixie tried not to giggle at the weird face her mom was making. “Please?” She begged again; after all, begging had worked earlier.

“Promise you’ll do your work?" her mom asked.

“Promise.”

"Okay, I'll check it for you after."  

Trixie ran back upstairs this time with her backpack and homework. Lucifer was still looking through the coloring book, but looked up at her when she returned.

“You’re sure you have your mother’s permission?” he asked again as she climbed back up on the end of the bed.

“Yep, she said it’s okay so long as I do my homework.”

He pulled his legs up under him to give her more space.

"I'll do my math while you color," Trixie offered.

"Deal," he agreed, folding the book open on the page he chose to work on next. He paused in his contemplation of the coloring book and looked at her intently. "Does your mother ever get angry at you?"

She looked up from her math equations.  "Sometimes."

"What does she do when you get in trouble?"

"Sometimes she sends me to my room."

He nodded. "Right, that makes sense. And how long does it take for her to forgive you after?"

She thought about it. "Depends on what I do. If it’s an accident then not very long, but if I do something really bad it takes longer."

"About how long?" he asked intently.  

Trixie narrowed her eyes. "Did Mommy get mad at you?"

He sighed. "I behaved badly."

"Did you say sorry?"

"I don't think she wants to hear anything I say, right now."

"Don't worry, Lucifer. She always forgives me; she’ll forgive you too."

“I’m not so sure she will this time,” he confided, seeming very sad.

Trixie almost asked why, but a moment later he let out a breath and the sadness she thought she’d seen faded, replaced suddenly with a renewed interest on the coloring book. He held up a picture of a whale.

“What color do you think this thing would be if it had legs and ate rocks?”

Trixie giggled, “Orange?”

“Orange it is then,” he agreed and started picking out various shades of orange and red.

Trixie smiled before looking back down at her work. They sat quietly for a while, each engrossed in their respective tasks until she got to a problem she didn't understand and asked for help. Lucifer put down his coloring and looked at her paper.

“Doesn’t your teacher already know how to answer these?”

“I think so.”

“Then why do you have to do them for her?”

Trixie laughed. “Because I have to learn how.”

“And what exactly are you supposed to do,” he asked next.

Trixie spent the next ten minutes explaining to him how she had to answer the questions, and why she couldn’t just write the answer, she had to show the steps she used to get there.

“Why does it matter how you did it if you already know what the correct answer is?”

“Because how to get the answer is the part we’re supposed to learn.” She thought it was funny how Lucifer knew all the answers, but the process of solving the equation was the part he didn’t understand.

When the page was complete, she gathered up her homework and stuffed it back into her backpack to take downstairs.

"Going already?" he asked.

"I'm all done. Mommy wanted to check my homework when I finished."

"Will you come back later?"

"Sure," she said, and then headed back downstairs.

Trixie gave her mom her homework, and then it was time for supper. Her dad picked her up for roller-derby a bit later, and when she got back, there was only enough time to have a quick snack and a bedtime story before being tucked in.

...

Chloe didn’t sleep well, and she felt overly tired in the morning getting Trixie ready for school. At least Trixie was having a good morning and needed very little prompting to get up and dressed and have breakfast.    

When Dan picked Trixie up, he caught Chloe’s attention at the door for a moment, “Hey, tell Lucifer I’ll take him up on his offer when he’s back on his feet.”

Chloe was about to ask what offer that was when Trixie ran out the door, dragging Dan with her.

Honestly, she was just too tired to care this morning.

There was no sign of Lucifer up and about so far, and that worried her; what if he was getting sick again?  

She went upstairs to check. No, he didn’t look worse. Lucifer was already dressed for the day, his hair pushed into the closest thing resembling styled that she’d seen so far, and sitting up in bed playing a game on his phone. She knocked on the doorframe. “I’m about to make breakfast; do you want to come down?”

He lowered the phone, his attention on her. “Thank you, Detective,” he answered, not moving and not saying anything more.

“Are eggs and toast okay?”

“Didn’t you already have breakfast with your offspring?” he asked in response, she could see he knew she had. “I can prepare something, no need to trouble yourself.”

“Oh, sure. That works.” Now that he was feeling better, she supposed the best thing to do was to back off. Considering their argument the day before, she knew he resented the lack of independence his illness had forced on him.

She headed back to the living room. Lucifer didn’t need her, but she still had a lot of work she could do. She focused on the cold case files again, and immered herself back into old reports and crime scene photos.

Lucifer didn’t say anything when he came down, Chloe was aware of the sounds in the kitchen as he prepared breakfast. The pan on the stove, the sound of the eggs sizzling as they cooked. She was determined to give him the space he wanted and was mindful not to bother him. If he wanted her company while he ate, he would ask, wouldn’t he? And if he didn’t want to speak to her before going back upstairs, well, that was his decision too.  

She kept her cellphone close by just in case he wanted to text her again. Maybe she’d even guess at some of his bad pun jokes this time. The hours passed, and her phone remained silent. Everything upstairs was quiet. She assumed he must have gone back to sleep; he was still recovering.

Chloe headed back upstairs at noon. This time Lucifer had Trixie’s coloring book open and an array of crayons spread out on the bed around him.

“Hey, it’s lunch. How about some sandwiches?” she asked from the doorway, not wanting to invade his space.

“Thank you, Detective, I don’t need any food at the moment,” he said politely, but Chloe knew a dismissal when she heard one.

“Okay,” Chloe said, careful not to sound disappointed. It was fine. She’d be annoyed too if she couldn’t go home or work or do any of her normal routine things.  

Dr. Rush arrived not long after.

“How are things today?” he asked as he entered.

“Fine, why?”

“Not that I mean to pry, but you seemed kind of tense yesterday.”

“Did Lucifer say something?”

“No, he didn’t say anything at all. Which, for Lucifer- Mr. Morningstar, that’s odd isn’t it?”  

“How well do you know him?” Chloe asked; a question she’d been pondering since she’d met him.

“Professionally?” he asked, “Maze has called on me a few times to handle certain delicate situations at the club. Socially, we’ve bumped into each other at various parties in the past.”

“We had a bit of a disagreement yesterday. It’s not a big deal.” 

Chloe went back to her work as Dr. Rush headed upstairs, and she was so engrossed in her task that she barely noticed when he left.

...

It was mid-afternoon when Maze stopped in, and Lucifer was sleeping.

"You look cozy," Maze observed scathingly from the doorway. The room was bright with afternoon sunshine, the window open and the curtains pushed to the side as far as they could go.

She watched as Lucifer woke, awareness dawning slowly as he shifted and then slowly blinked his eyes open. Shivers of unease ran down Maze’s spine. In Hell, this kind of inattentiveness would have been disastrous.

The fatigue vanished, and he quickly sat up as soon as he realized Maze was his visitor.

“Oh, it’s you.” He kept his right hand lowered beside him, out of sight as much as he could while currently connected to the tube running to the medicine bag on the pole.  

Lucifer combed his left hand through his hair to smooth it out but to no avail. "Did you make the payment to the doctor on my behalf?"

"It's done." She walked in, looking around the room, staring at everything and then fixing her eyes on some of the papers taped to the wall beside the bed. She reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out Lucifer’s silver flask, placing it on the crowded nightstand.

He regarded the flask longingly. “I’ve been banned from alcohol for the duration of my recovery,” he told her.

“Should I take it back?”

“Leave it; I’ll place it in my travel bag for safekeeping later.”

"Trixie is coloring Hell-beasts now?" she asked, focusing on a safe topic.

"That was me," he corrected her proudly and waved a hand toward the book and crayons on the nightstand.

"You colored them?" she asked. Trixie had tried to get Maze to color with her multiple times, but she'd never understood the purpose of the defective books. Why not just print them properly in the first place?

“Well, of course, I did,” he reached over and passed her the coloring book.

Maze plopped down beside him on the bed, his left side, away from the medicine, and started flipping through the pages. She examined the ones Lucifer filled in, appreciating the added detail. The underlying pictures were all simple renditions of earth animals, but the ones Lucifer modified were altered to accurately resemble the beasts in her realm.

"Do you remember that time a boggle found its way into your throne room?"

Lucifer grinned. "Slippery little wanker, wasn't he?"

Maze smirked. "Ugh, it left its oil everywhere. What happened to it?"

"I sent it back to the Feywild; it should have never found its way to Hell."  

She put the book of outlined pictures down. Maybe she'd take the book later and keep the pictures for herself.

"Is the human remedy working?" She didn't like the thing on his hand. It was obscene to see plastic tubes poking out from Lucifer's skin, damaging and discoloring his flesh.

"I’m healing well, this phase of the treatment," he said, indicating the medicine bag on the pole, “will be complete as soon as the doctor returns to unhook me. The Detective believes so long as she is near, and I remain vulnerable, the treatment should continue working."

"Have you guys boned yet?"   

He snorted. "I screwed up, Mazikeen. She’s frightened of me now.”

“What did you do?”

“We argued, and my eyes accidentally flashed with hellfire,” he said morosely.

“You directed your gaze at her, and she hasn’t kicked you out yet?”  

He ran a hand through his hair again, messing it up even more. “I don’t understand why she hasn’t.”

“What’s your plan?”

“I gave my word that I would see the medical treatment through. I’ll stay here until the detective tells me otherwise.” He sighed and picked at the tape on his hand.

“Sounds boring.”

“Extremely," he agreed. "But enough about that. Tell me, Mazikeen. Where have you been?"

Maze shrugged. "Lux. You neglected to inform your human employees that I don't work for you anymore. They keep asking me what to do."

"Because I told them to. Who else would be better at taking care of Lux in my absence?" he asked.

"You could have asked."

"You would have refused." He stated bluntly.

"I'm staying in the penthouse." She countered, waiting for a reaction. When there was none, she tilted her head to the side and added, “And your bed.”

"You left me, Mazikeen. I never said you weren't welcome back."

She'd known, and it wasn’t like she ever stopped helping herself to whiskey and making use of his penthouse when she wanted to. "You released me from my vow. I go where I want."

He nodded.

There was another matter though, "My trophies went missing. The ones I took from Zeabos."

"Oh, that was me," he said and reached over to the nightstand to pick up a small black velvet pouch hidden behind a framed photo of a younger Trixie.  

She stared at the pouch in his hand, it looked like one of the bags he stored precious jewelry in, in fact, she was sure it was, and she couldn't help but wonder when he'd made the switch. "Why did you take them?"

"I assumed it was a gift; my apologies for making assumptions,” he said and handed the pouch back to her.      

"I didn't think you wanted them."

"I've always valued your tributes."

She pushed it back into his hand. "Keep them. Trophies are powerful talisman."

He accepted.

She stood up. Lucifer still looked sick and weak, and the dripping of the medicine bag into the tube made her insides feel itchy and wrong.  

"Leaving already?" he asked.

“I have things to do.”  

“Surely nothing that can’t wait, Maze?”

She hesitated. This was the first time he’d used her nickname since she’d come back to him. “There's a new season of ‘Leave it to Lesley’ online that I haven't seen yet."

Lucifer didn’t even hesitate before patting the mattress beside him. "Come on then."

Maze shrugged and sat at his side. She turned on her phone and started the streaming app. "It's about rich young humans finding cunning ways to insult and torture each other."

"Sounds like your wheelhouse," he said with feigned enthusiasm; nonetheless, he waited expectantly.

She settled in and started the first episode.

They sat awkwardly at first, painfully aware of the other’s proximity. After about ten minutes she relaxed slightly, and they shifted closer together as they focused on the small screen. Maze kept her legs stretched out while Lucifer bent his up and leaned against her.

And then Lucifer started asking questions about the show. "Who is Brenden?"

She tapped the screen to pause the video. "Leslie's little sister's boyfriend."

It took only a minute for him to tap the screen to pause it again. "And why do they care if Jackson went to the party?"

She explained that Jackson wasn't supposed to be at the party because he had an essay due the next day.

"They are conniving little humans, aren't they?" he commented, impressed, as another character vindictively destroyed Jackson's research material while he was away.

Maze stole one of Lucifer's pillows to wedge behind her back, and Lucifer stretched out his arm behind her shoulders as he found a more comfortable position.

They got through one episode and Maze hesitated, unsure if she should continue, but Lucifer tapped the icon to start the next episode in the series before she could close the app.

And so, they watched that one too.

"If I didn't know they were human I'd think they're hell-spawn," Lucifer said in fascination. "All the gossiping and backstabbing; the only thing missing are some beasts to rise out of the depths and devour a few of them, and it would be just like your home."  

Maze snorted. "Like when the umber hulk burrowed under the Archduke's tower."

"Just like that," Lucifer grinned wickedly.

They watched some more, but during the third episode she noticed Lucifer wasn't asking questions or making comments anymore. His head was tilted to the side and his eyes were closed.  

Maze turned off the phone.

Carefully, she slid out of bed and replaced the pillow she'd stolen to give him more support. For a while, she just sat and watched him. Even without an immediate threat, seeing him vulnerable filled her will dread and unease. In Hell it was always necessary to exude strength and authority, any hint of weakness risked defiance among the factions.

Maze clenched her jaw, wishing she could go back and relive the thrill of killing Zeabos all over again. She trudged back down the stairs and pulled out her hidden bottle of whiskey from the top cupboard and drank straight from the bottle.

"You were up there for a while. Is everything okay?" Chloe asked from the living room.

Maze sauntered over to perch on the edge of the couch. "What is all this?" She asked, looking at the files spread around.

"Cold Cases."  

"Ha, I knew it. So, is this the reason you exiled Lucifer upstairs? Was he getting on your nerves?"

"What do you mean?" Chloe looked up and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear. "He's not exiled. I gave him my bedroom."

“Lucifer thinks you’re scared of him, but you aren’t, are you?” Maze grinned, oh, now she understood what was happening. Why would Lucifer think Chloe was afraid? Unless…  

“You’re much better at the torture thing than I gave you credit for."

But Chloe just continued looking clueless.

"It’s good; I get it,” Maze nodded, feeling impressed. “I got so angry at him I wore fake angel wings to mess with his head."

"That was you?" Chloe frowned.

"Point is," Maze said, getting back on track, "Kudos. I couldn't have done it better myself."  

"I’m not trying to do anything." Chloe insisted.

“It’s a good strategy, Decker. You can protect him more efficiently when you’ve got the upper hand. What better way to make Lucifer behave than to make him feel guilty?”

"I'm not." Chloe defended herself. "What did he tell you?"

"Only that he screwed the pooch by losing his temper. Then he practically begged me to stick around and watch human shows with him. Social deprivation, simple but effective. I didn’t realize you were aware of how squirrley he gets when he's alone."

"I’m not torturing him. I didn’t even know he thought I was afraid of him."

“Don’t worry, Decker; your secret is safe with me.” Maze winked at her and left.

 

Chapter Text

She was not torturing him, at least not intentionally.

Did he think she feared him? Was that what his aloof behavior had been all about today? It hit home to her, yet again, how different Lucifer’s interpretation of events could be from her own.

Chloe was about to head upstairs to talk to Lucifer when Dr. Rush returned to disconnect the I.V. treatment. She paced the apartment impatiently while the doctor was upstairs. How long did it take to unhook an I.V.?  She’d seen the doctor perform the task in thirty seconds. What was taking so long?

It was impossible to get Maze’s words out of her head...  How was she going to fix this?

Why was it so difficult to communicate?

After the argument, they’d both needed a chance to cool off. There’d been plenty of struggles and disagreements in the past, but they always got past it. She forgave Lucifer for running off and getting married in Vegas, and she forgave him for betraying her trust when he’d disappeared with the fake-Sinnerman.

Why would things be any different just because of a stupid argument?

That was before she knew what he was, though, wasn’t it? It’s easy to forgive your handsome, mentally unstable, delusional but well-meaning partner. Was it as easy to forgive the literal devil?

So far, she wasn’t noticing much of a difference.

It was bad timing that Dr. Rush finish with Lucifer at the same time Dan dropped Trixie off from school. There was no chance for Chloe to go upstairs and talk to him. Trixie ran in pleading to visit Lucifer right away, and barely waited for an answer before running upstairs and shouting her greeting

The girl had hardly been up there for a minute before running back downstairs to her bedroom to grab a stack of paper and pencils to take back upstairs.  

It was just as well. Chloe wanted to think things through before hashing this out with Lucifer. She considered how many misunderstandings and misconceptions they needed to sort through. It wasn’t going to be solved in one conversation, but they had to start somewhere. There had to be a way to move forward.

She started making a stir fry for supper, still thinking over what she could say.

Trixie came running back down the stairs at dinner time. “Can I eat upstairs with Lucifer? Please?”

“Maybe you should give Lucifer a break? You’ve been pestering him since you got home.”

“Please? He said I could. Can I please? We’re drawing pictures. Did you know Lucifer can draw?”

“What kind of pictures?” she asked, unaware that Lucifer cared about drawing anything more elaborate than stick figures.

But Trixie ran back up and brought down a hand full of papers, shoving them in front of her. Yep, stick figures. Chloe flipped through them, her mouth turning up in a smile as she did.

“What are these supposed to be?”

“You and him. See, that’s you, and that’s your badge.” Trixie pointed out a  little triangle thing at the end of one of the stick figure hands. “And that's Lucifer,” she pointed out the bigger stick figure standing in a Superman pose.

Chloe readied some plates. “Go ahead; bring the dishes back down when you’re done.”

In her excitement to take the plates upstairs, Trixie left the papers on the counter.

Chloe ate alone, staring at the drawings and musing at the Devil drawing stick figure cartoons with her daughter.

For now, she gave Lucifer some space. Trixie was upstairs keeping him company, and from the occasional laughter she heard coming down the stairs, it sounded like they were having fun.

She spent the evening cleaning up the cold case files and putting them back into their boxes. Lucifer had been right, this wasn’t a vacation, but that didn’t mean she had to seek extra work to make up the time. She wasn’t being paid for this.

With the boxes packed up and stacked in the corner, Chloe found the book she’d been reading shoved in with the other paperbacks on the shelf. It wasn’t factual or historical, not a biography or a true crime novel, it was just a romantic adventure story. It hadn’t been horrible. The bookmark was still where she’d left it. Maybe she could get back into it if she gave it a chance.

When it was Trixie’s bedtime, Chloe went upstairs to get her. Trixie was lying on her tummy across the foot of the bed, pencil gripped in her hand and intently working on a drawing while Lucifer sat with his legs stretched out and crossed at the ankles. He looked like he was sleeping again, leaning against the headboard with his head tilted back and eyes closed. The bed itself was an explosion of paper and drawings.

“Trixie, clean up; it’s time for bed,” Chloe whispered, trying not to wake him. Lucifer opened his eyes at the sound of her voice, sitting up abruptly in response to her presence. He helped Trixie collect the papers, tapping them together into a neat pile to place aside.

Once they got the papers sorted out, Trixie crawled up to Lucifer’s side and wrapped her arms around him. “Good night, Lucifer."

He looked tense and uncomfortable but patted her awkwardly on the head.  

Chloe stepped out of the way as Trixie barrelled past her and ran down the stairs, but rather than follow her, she lingered by the door.

“We need to talk.”

He nodded solemnly. “Yes, Detective.” He cleared his throat and absently rubbed at the back of his right hand. Dr. Rush had removed the I.V. port, leaving behind tape residue and bruised skin.

Was that why the doctor had taken so long upstairs with him today?

“It’s just the tablets now, and I’m on the mend. If you’d rather have your home back to yourself, surely there’s no need to continue-”

“You aren’t thinking of stopping now, are you?” she asked incredulously. “After everything you’ve been through so far, you’ve got to know that’s not how antibiotics work; if you stop them too soon, and if there is still some bacteria left you’ll get sick again.”

“I’m sure my immune system will handle-”

“No, Lucifer. You gave your word you would try things my way, and we’re not done yet,” she said, noticing her grip on the door frame was so hard her knuckles were white.

“Detective…” he breathed.

“I have to put Trixie to bed, but I’ll come back after.”

“I’ll be here.”

Chloe rushed through Trixie’s bedtime routine, and true to his word, Lucifer was precisely where she left him when she returned. He was already asleep. The shadows under his eyes stood out prominently, and she let him rest. They could talk in the morning.

The next morning, everything that could go wrong did. Trixie couldn’t find the t-shirt she wanted to wear. Distracted by helping Trixie find her t-shirt, the eggs burnt in the frying pan. There was barely enough milk left for Trixie to have a bowl of cereal, Dan arrived early, and Chloe still had to pack her daughter’s lunch.

After a frantic search, they found the t-shirt draped across the back of a chair in Trixie’s room. The homework had been on the side counter all along. Dan helped by scraping burnt egg bits off the frying pan while he waited for Chloe to pack a bagged lunch, and Trixie grabbed an apple to eat it in the car.

Then they left, and the house felt preternaturally still.

Chloe allowed herself a minute to catch her breath. The need to talk to Lucifer was still forefront on her mind. Before any further disasters or acts of god (ha) could distract her, she poured two cups of coffee and headed upstairs.

“Hey,” she called out quietly as she approached the door to the bedroom.

She didn’t know how long he’d been awake, but he was ready for the day, wearing a dark purple dress shirt tucked into black dress pants, with the sleeves rolled partway up his arms.

“Detective, is it time for us to have our talk now?” The trepidation in his tone was clear.

“We need to,” she agreed and stepped closer to hand him the mug of coffee.

He accepted the cup and swung his legs to the side; sitting on the edge of the bed, bare feet on the floor.  

He reached for the silver flask on the nightstand. “I can’t imbibe, but would you like some?”

“Lucifer, it’s nine a.m.”

He nodded resignedly, reaching over to put it back.

On impulse, she changed her mind and held out her mug. “Just a little,” she agreed. Did it mean something to him, to have her accept his offer? Every time she walked into Lux or his penthouse, invariably the first thing he did was slip around the bar and pour two glasses of alcohol. Was there more to this custom of his than she was aware?

The corner of his mouth turned upwards, and he complied, adding only a small amount before recapping the flask and placing it back on the nightstand.

“About our argument,” Chloe began.

He nodded, his gaze drifting away from her again, silently waiting for her to go on. It looked to her like he was waiting for her to pass judgment.

“I don’t like when we argue.”

He drank more of the coffee before answering. “It was unacceptable for me to expose that part of myself in anger. I never meant to scare you.”

“I know.” They were so close their shoulders were touching, and Chloe could feel the tension radiating off him. “You didn‘t scare me. I don’t know why, but I felt so angry. The way your eyes flashed while we argued was different. You didn’t know what you were showing me in the loft. You weren’t trying to-”

“I didn’t know this time either, I swear,” he pleaded, looking up at her. “I would never intentionally threaten you like that, Detective.”

Chloe nodded, the emotion in his voice; the subtle tremor as he spoke was undeniable. “I believe you. I know things haven’t been the same since… since the loft.”

“Since you saw the Devil I really am.” He looked away again.

Chloe pressed on. “Did you mean it? That it was only a moment of weakness when you told me you needed me?”

“It was selfish of me to involve you in my problems.”

“It’s not selfish to ask for help, Lucifer,” she reached up and placed her palm against his cheek, gently coaxing him to look her in the eye.

“You’ve seen more than enough of me.”

Chloe continued, “We argued, and I lost my temper. But that’s sort of what people do; we lose our tempers and fight sometimes. I just needed some time to calm down. I hope you know that.”

It bothered her he didn’t affirm her statement. “Do you miss him?” he asked.

“Who?”

“The person you thought I was?” he asked, his voice very low.

“No,” she said, and he looked up abruptly, expression pained. “I still have you.”

“I miss him,” Lucifer pressed on. “I miss how you used to look at him when you thought he wasn’t looking. I miss that he was someone you could think of as good, even if you believed nothing he said. I miss thinking that as much as I care about you, that maybe you could have cared about him the same way.”

“Lucifer, I care about you.”

“But I’m someone, something, different now. Now you know what I am, well, there’s no coming back from that, is there?”

Chloe was quiet, and they both sat silently for a moment. “I don’t want to come back from that. My eyes are open, it’s true, but there’s still only one you. You said you never lied. All this time, were you pretending to be someone you weren’t?”

“I don’t understand.”

“When you spent the evening playing board games with Trixie and me, when you barged into my apartment at all hours just to come over and spend time with us or make us breakfast, were you playing a role? Were you pretending to be something you aren’t?”

“You mean like Daniel and his improv? No. Never.”

“Then, that delusional club owner you’re talking about, that’s still you. It might take me time to come to terms with the fact that the actual Devil is a major goofball who makes terrible puns and eats cool ranch puffs, but I’ll get there. You held so much back from me before, stuff you couldn’t talk about because I wouldn’t understand or wouldn’t believe you. You don’t have to do that anymore. All this means, is now I get to know the real you.”

“The real me,” he repeated slowly, “is the Devil.”

“I know. And I can’t say I don’t see you that way, not anymore. But, do you want to know what I see? I see my partner, the Devil,” she said and placed her hand over his, her smaller fingers curling around his knuckles. “Who is just a guy; someone who loves stealing my ex-husband’s pudding cups and saying inappropriate things to get a rise out of people. I see a guy who cares deeply for random strangers, even though he tries to hide it and pretend he doesn’t. I see a guy who would do anything to protect his friends. You are the Devil, Lucifer, but that’s not all you are.”

“Chloe,” Lucifer said, his voice breaking.

“You haven’t changed. You’re still you.”

He was quiet for a minute, then cleared his throat. “I didn’t lie. When I said I needed you, I meant it. And I’m not ungrateful for your help.”

They sat together, holding hands as the minutes passed.

“I want you to stay here with me until you’re done taking all the antibiotics. I don’t want you to risk getting sick like that again.”

“I will. But with me on the mend, we no longer have to stay confined to your apartment while I sleep excessive amounts each day. Nothing is stopping us from leaving your apartment so long as we stay together.”

“That sounds like a good idea.”

“Excellent. First stop will be my penthouse; I can pick up some fresh suits that haven’t been boorishly shoved into a bag and wrinkled beyond all reason, and find me some cuff-links and socks.”

“We definitely can,” she laughed, looking down at his toes. “Will you come have breakfast with me? I’ve missed your company.”

“Well, who am I to deny you me?” he answered with a relieved grin.