When Chloe came to, the first thing she noticed was the smell. Ash and smoke hung thick and cloying in the air; not the sickly-sweet stench of cigarettes, but the overpowering scent of a building reduced to rubble and ruins by a blazing inferno.
She forced her eyes to open. What she could see of her surroundings from where she lay was blackened and burnt.
Her hearing was the last of her senses to return, and with it came reality, overwhelming her and threatening to wash away the last meagre scraps of sanity she still had, because this couldn’t be real, there was just no way. This was just a cruel trick and if she just rolled her eyes and whacked him in the arm, he’d knock it off, like he always did, because there was no way in Hell this was real. Not when she knew that sound.
Chloe scrambled out of her partner’s loose hold to see him for herself, to disprove what couldn’t possibly by true. It was true, and it took everything in her not to scream, drop to her knees and punch the charred concrete floor until her knuckles were so bloodied and broken that the physical pain drowned out the terrible, heart-wrenching agony inside.
Lucifer, lying in a rapidly growing pool of his own blood, riddled with bullets and making a horrible wheezing, whistling sound with every shallow breath, weakly coughing up blood. At least one – probably more – of the bullets had punctured his lungs, among many other important structures, and even as Chloe rushed back to his side to try and stem the flow of blood, she knew in her heart that there was nothing she or anyone else could do to save him.
“Chloe,” he rasped, blood escaping his lips to drip down his chin. His voice was barely recognisable, barely louder than a whisper and so scratchy and thin she could almost feel how much pain he must be in. He coughed again, more crimson blood bubbling up and staining his perfect white teeth.
“I’m here,” she reassured him tearfully, finding his hand and holding it tenderly in hers. Lucifer smiled faintly, squeezing her hand back even as tears tracked down his cheeks, the sheer excruciating pain he was in finally getting the better of his need to be strong. “I’m not going anywhere, Lucifer.”
“C’mere, please?” Another painful wheeze. “if ‘m gon’ die,” he coughs, choking on his own blood, “wanna die holdin’ you.” His Detective nodded, heedless of the blood pool as she snuggled up to him, her head resting on his chest. Lucifer shifted as much as he was able, bringing out his wings in all their mangled glory and wrapping them tight around Chloe as he poured the remnants of his grace into her. He heard her gasp, opened his mouth to tell her it was OK, that he would never hurt her, but only a sickening rattle would emerge. His body was shutting down too fast; he was running out of time.
Chloe. He prayed, attempting to squeeze her hand and only managing a feeble twitch. Chloe, listen to me. I don’t have much time. Yes, it’s all real. And feel free to quiz Maze and Linda on that when you get out of here, but right now you need to focus on what I’m trying to tell you.
Okay. She replied, twisting so that she could see his face. He offered a watery, scarlet-stained smile before his beautiful face screwed up in pain again.
I’m dying. We both know that. So, I’m doing something that is going to kill me, but will help you stay alive without me to protect you. Every angel has a quantity of grace, similar to what human souls are made of but charged with celestial energy. Our powers, immortality, strength, etc come from that. And I’m giving it all to you. You’ll be invulnerable to mortal weapons, age far slower and be many times stronger and faster than you are now.
Chloe didn’t respond, verbally or telepathically, but he could feel her astonishment through the bond his grace had created between them.
You may also get the ability to communicate with my siblings the way we are right now, through prayers. And perhaps some of my stronger memories, all of which are horrible so, sorry in advance for the nightmares. Lucifer couldn’t laugh, but she sensed his amusement in his achingly familiar playful tone and curiously, through this new, ephemeral bond that they now shared. His feelings were similar enough to her own to be recognisable, but everything was magnified a hundredfold and completely alien.
Chloe could feel him growing weaker, too. His mind-speech was starting to become slurred and strangely static, like trying to speak through a phone in a bad reception area.
Safe here until backup arrives. My name, Lightbringer: i created the stars. Used that same power to create an explosion... Sinnerman goons dead, Pierce too. Chloe… E’rything I have… yours. Love you.
Lucifer’s eyes closed, his face relaxing like he was simply asleep and having a pleasant dream, his wings folding back wherever it was that they went. Chloe heard the very last reedy, shuddering breath leaving his lungs like a cymbal crash, felt the river of power he had been giving her slow to a trickle and stop entirely. The flood of tears she’d been trying to hold back burst forth and she hunched over Lucifer’s body, inhaling his woodsmoke, whiskey and spice scent that she loved so much and taking the time to savour it, knowing that this would be the last time she ever smelled it. She brushed a few curls from his forehead, her fingers leaving smears of crimson in their wake and she nuzzled into the crook of his neck, tucking her nose against the hollow of his throat and wrapping her arms around him, crying so hard she could scarcely breathe in between the gasping sobs as she clung to him like she could stop the warmth slowly leaving his body, the stiffness creeping into his joints as she waited for the promised backup to arrive.
Chloe didn’t stop crying when uniformed officers and a few EMTs pried her away from him, nor when she got home and curled up in bed with Trixie, and by the time she drove to Lux to meet with Lucifer’s lawyer several days later, the salty water leaking from her eyes was exhausted, but she still felt the loss of him like a missing limb. She’d thought they’d have the rest of their lives to sort themselves out, to get to know every painful, embarrassing, hilarious and endearing detail of each other’s lives. Instead, all she had left of her beloved partner and best friend was his essence, tangled up with her own soul to the point where she struggled to distinguish where she ended, and he began.
She’d wake up to the feel of familiar calloused fingers stroking her hair, brushing against the back of her neck, and she’d roll over, still half-asleep, to see Lucifer lying next to her, sleepy and soft and oh so inviting when he smiled at her like that. She would reach out for him, only to be met with nothing but air and warm sunlight on her bed disturbed by only herself as reality reasserted itself.
The voices in her head turned out to be comforting, not disturbing. Sometimes she’d talk with Azrael, Lucifer’s little sister. They would share funny stories about his antics, tears of laughter covering up tears of grief. Other times it would be Amenadiel, to help her better understand what had been going on with the celestials while she and Lucifer were friends. Occasionally, it would be Raphael, the healer, who would gently coax her away from Maze’s hell-forged weapons and encourage her to spill her troubles while he numbed the pain of her loss with his ability.
It was her sole conversation with Raziel, the Angel of Knowledge, which gave her the most peace of mind. She had patiently explained that while Lucifer as he was when she knew him no longer existed, pieces of him still existed everywhere. In his home that she had moved into and made her own after much deliberation; in the faint whiff of his cologne that still lingered on his clothes; in the aftermath of his generosity and his rage, and in the stars, Lucifer’s most praised and beloved creations. Every weekend without fail, she would drive far out into the desert, until the LA light pollution no longer obscured the stars and she could sit and watch them, her partner’s legacy that would continue to exist long after she and all of her descendants had passed away.
And if the simulacrums of Lucifer that plagued her when she was half-asleep seemed a little more real out there away from the world, well, that was no-ones business but hers.