There was no other thought. Pierce had given the order to finish them. Lucifer's wings erupted to circle around Chloe.
Still in shock at seeing her shot, his world narrowed to how limply she lay in his arms, the deafening gunfire, and the hot thuds of bullets lodging into his feathery limbs. The Devil stayed cocooned with her in his wings, even when the pain became enough to pull a cry of agony from him.
Pain he could deal with. Losing Chloe he could not. Lucifer just needed to wait until the bullets ran out, then he could make a break for it, take his Detective away and assure she survived, assured he healed whatever was broken with her fragile frame. He could do it. It wasn't too late. It couldn't be too late.
Fate was not so kind.
A bullet shot among the spray of hot lead and pierced directly in the joint of his wing’s elbow. The limb dipped, flinched downward with the force. It was too far. Next was his shoulder, a shot slanting down atop his trapezius muscle, where it sliced a hot line to embed on the inside of his shoulder blade. Lucifer jerked, breathless. He bent in over Chloe’s prone form, half a flinch from the tearing pain, half to continue shielding her with his flagging wing. Another line of bullets rained into the brim of the wing muscle. He wouldn’t be able to protect his head much longer.
A jolt of fear iced over that thought. He wouldn’t be able to protect Chloe much longer.
The gunfire stopped, leaving the air smoking and ringing after the chaos. Lucifer’s wing slipped dangerously lower, but he tried anyway. He tried.
Beads of blood scattered when he moved. Lucifer managed to flap backward with Chloe once, before it became evident flight with one wing wouldn’t be possible. The bullets in his wing’s wrist and elbow incapacitated it. Small spheres of scarlet rolled down the waxier feathers and spattered on the floor where he staggered. More soaked into the softer down, turning white to red. Lucifer’s frame tilted awkwardly to the left till he caught himself on his knee, keeping hold of Chloe.
It never occurred to Lucifer to drop her and flee himself.
Lucifer kicked away again, his more functional wing half carrying the Devil and his burden against one of the pillars. The statue by it tilted and crashed. He barely heard it over the litany of No and This can’t be happening in his head.
Chloe remained unmoving against him.
He slumped down the column and shielded her with his wings once more. The left limb shook with effort to drape over her. It ended up mostly laying atop her, even as Lucifer reflexively combed at the hair against Chloe’s forehead.
“Detective,” he breathed between pants. “Detective? Please… Don’t…” He glanced up swiftly, trying to keep track of all the armed men.
Pierce stood up, favoring his lower left side as the other men reloaded their weapons with sharp clicks. His footsteps were heavy against the red spotted floor and drifting white and scarlet feathers. “You’re still bleeding.” He aimed his gun at Lucifer’s head. “Good.”
Still bleeding. Lucifer ducked and lifted his wing as several shots fired. His arms curled around Chloe’s torso in a bid to protect her. He kept the trembling limb aloft even after the shots stopped, fresher pain smearing into the old. He ignored it as best he could, desperately hoping as he dragged his fingers just under the detective’s collar bone, on the fringe of the bullet proof vest under her shirt. He grazed the mashed metal of the bullet against the mesh. She was breathing. Her soul was still strongly anchored under his hand.
She’s alive. She’s alive. Thank Dad…
She was still alive. He was still vulnerable. Men were moving around him, freshly loaded weapons finding even more lethal angles to attack. But she was alive right now.
“CAIN!” Lucifer shouted, willing up a spike of anger to cover the fear rattling down his spine. “You let her go! You let her go, or I swear,” his voice lowered, a dangerous, promising edge in it. “When you send me to Hell I will find a way to reach up, with the vilest demon if I must! You will not last another year of your coveted mortal life!”
“Like I can let you live,” Pierce retorted, reloading his gun calmly.
Lucifer lowered his wing, just enough to glare darkly over it, pupils glowing red. “If you kill her there’s not one of Hell’s hounds I won’t unleash to find you and end you, preferably dragging you to my old stomping grounds.” He grinned, sharp, white, promising.
Pierce aimed his gun toward him once more, blue eyes steady. “She chose when she shot me. You can’t shield the two of you forever.”
Lucifer tightened his wings, unable to check the movement. His eyes were still glowing red as he stared down the first murderer, the two measuring each other, unyielding in their promise to destroy the other.
Lucifer’s gaze darted down. Chloe’s light blue were still hazy from being knocked breathless by the bullet, but she stared up at him, lips parted. The wings had left a drop of blood sliding down her cheek, a mar he wanted to wipe away and fawn over her in relief that she was awake. “Detective,” he breathed, the red leaving his eyes in an instant.
She stared back, confused.
“Bullet proof vest?” Pierce guessed.
Lucifer’s attention focused back on him, as leery as any coiled rattle snake as men closed in on them.
“Let. Her. Go.” Every word was a steely gavel.
Pierce seemed to consider, glancing to his men that only waited for this word to butcher the two of them. They could. Neither party doubted it at this point. Lucifer held his breath, mind scrambling. Chloe's stare lowered to the shivering wings encircling her.
“You mean it, don’t you,” Pierce finally said. “If I kill you, you will find a way from Hell to have me hunted down.”
“I don’t lie,” Lucifer promised.
“And if I kill her, you will become invincible.”
Lucifer only glared at him, wings angling lower from protecting himself to hide Chloe further.
Pierce continued his steady stare. One of the men near him was staring at the feathers drifting around their feet.
“Boss,” the hired gun said, quiet, as though that might forgive his daring. “This… Do you realize how much this might be worth? What his wings could fetch?”
Pierce flicked his gaze to the man, then nodded to himself, some internal decision made. He kept his gun leveled at Lucifer's forehead. “All right. Let’s deal.”
Lucifer felt a little thread of hope dangling, dangerous and gleaming. His frame was tight to the point of trembling. One little misstep…
But still, the Devil grinned. “Yes, let’s.”