The first thing Chloe became aware of was motion. She was moving, but she wasn't in control of it. She was... being carried?
Yes, that was it. Where was she though? It was hard to think with her head spinning like this. Feeling unable to open her eyes quite yet, she tried to focus her mind on what was happening, to get a sense of whether she was in danger.
Not wanting to alert whoever was carrying her to her ever growing consciousness, she forced her body to remain limp. They must have picked up on something though, because suddenly they halted. She thought she heard her name, but it was a voice she couldn't quite place. God, her head hurt. The ache in her chest seemed to make sense somehow, but what else had happened to her?
She couldn't remember.
They started pushing forward again, albeit at a slower pace than before. It wasn't a smooth journey either, the strong arms holding her in an iron grip doing little to soften the jolts from every step they took. One, two, three, four... then they would stop for a few seconds before setting off once more, slowly continuing their descent.
That made sense. Stairs would explain the jostling, but not why they kept stopping.
She concentrated on what she could hear. The sound of heavy breathing, the thump of laboured footsteps hitting each step. Whoever was holding her was obviously tiring. That was good, if she needed to fight to get free it made success possible. The more time that passed, the stronger she felt.
Suddenly she found herself crushed closer as her body started to slip out of the grasp of whoever was carrying her, only one arm wrapped around her now as they struggled to hold on. The smell of expensive cologne and cigarettes hit her, and she smiled at the familiarity. Lucifer. She breathed a sigh of relief. Of course it was him, he was always the one to carry her away to safety.
Managing to crack her eyes open for a second, she found him leaning over her, his face turned away, one arm braced against the wall while the other still held her close. Smiling, she nestled in further as he adjusted his grip, cradling her to him as he righted himself. She would never admit it, but she loved being in his arms. He made her feel so protected, so cherished, so sa...
The memory hit her full force and panic overwhelmed her. Fight or flight took over and she opted for both as she attempted to twist away from him. From the Devil. It was no good though, for he simply tightened his embrace until she found she couldn't move at all. The world swayed around her as he turned and slowly, carefully, lowered her to the floor. She threw herself backwards, smacking into the opposite wall in her desperate attempt to flee.
The impact brought her to her senses, and her training kicked in as she searched for a means of escape. Going down would involve getting past him, but the other option... well that meant climbing stairs and she didn't know if she was capable of that yet. She looked above, taking in the many flights spiraling above her in the near darkness. Just how far had he carried her, anyway?
Afraid of what she might see if she so much as glanced in his direction, she focused on their surroundings instead. The space was dimly lit, with bulkhead lights on each level that flickered in and out of existence at irregular intervals. It didn't appear to be an area that was used often, dust and dirt covering the steps, graffiti and water stains decorating the walls. A back entrance to the loft perhaps, the perfect route to take if you didn't want to be seen.
After a few minutes had ticked by, she cautiously turned her attention to the man in front of her, relieved not to find red eyes staring back at her. Man was the wrong word to use now she supposed. The landing they were on was small, and even with her as far away from him as possible their feet were almost touching. He was shrouded in the shadows, his black suit blending in with the dark stain behind him.
The light overhead blinked on and off, revealing that he looked like Lucifer again, but not a Lucifer she'd ever seen before. He sat opposite her, his legs gathered against his chest, arms holding his knees as he leaned forward to rest his head there, his eyes fixed on the floor below. Making himself as small and non-threatening as possible, she realised.
He must have felt the weight of her gaze for the next time the light above him sprang back to life he was staring at her, his face betraying a curious kind of trepidation. It was obvious he wanted to say something, he just didn't know what. Any other day a Lucifer lost for words would have been shocking. But today was not any other day. He sighed as they were plunged into twilight once more, and she braced herself for whatever he'd decided upon. For what could he say, after what she'd just seen?
"Be not afraid..." was the last thing she expected to come out of his mouth. Even with the lack of light, she could still make out the look of disgust on his face as he said it. He sounded like something out of the bible.
Because he was something out of the bible.
Hysteria rose, and she clapped a hand over her mouth to keep it from bubbling out. Lucifer, her Lucifer, was a goddamn angel. Literally.
They sat there together for what seemed like an eternity. He shifted awkwardly in the darkness as he watched her, not saying another word. Meanwhile, her heart felt like it was trying to beat out of her chest. Gradually though, her breathing evened out and she began to regain her composure. He wasn't going to hurt her, she was sure of that. He'd never hurt her before, so why would he start now? In truth he seemed to be just as afraid as she was, judging by how much he was trembling. She swallowed, trying to find her voice. "Lucifer..."
His eyes snapped to hers. "Don't let me keep you, Detective. It would be best for both of us if you leave." He said leave, but she knew what he meant. Run away. In response, her eyes drifted towards the way out. It would be so easy to go. To walk down those stairs and never look back. It seemed Lucifer trying to make it easier for her as well, pushing himself even further into the corner, away from the stairs.
The second he moved though, she saw him wince, heard his sharp intake of breath.
He was injured.
And just like that, everything else fell away. Shoving all thoughts of who he really was, what he really was, aside, she tentatively moved towards him. That was for later. Only one thing mattered right now. He was her partner, and he was in pain. She saw him close his eyes, an obvious attempt to shield himself from watching her leave, only for them to fly open again when he realised she hadn't.
"You're hurt." It wasn't a question. Now that she was close enough to really look at him, she could see how pale he was, paler than he should be even in this light. Despite no longer carrying her, he still sounded like he was struggling to catch his breath. Evidently surprised by the fact that she even cared, he frowned as she came closer. Then his features became stoic once more.
"Nothing to trouble yourself with, Detective. You can go." Turning his head away, he stared at the wall, his muscles tense and quivering with the effort of hiding what was wrong. She crouched down beside him, her concern chasing away the last of her vertigo. Reaching out, she gently touched the side of his face, silently asking him to look her again. He flinched at the contact, but didn't resist.
Once she had his attention, she smiled softly. "Well we both know I'm not going to do that."
When the light above his head blinked on again, it showed a strange mix of confusion and wonder in his eyes, as though he couldn't quite believe what he was hearing. And she had to admit, there was a voice in her head that couldn't believe what she was doing. But she had to help. It was what they did for each other, what they'd always done for each other from the moment they met.
Placing her hand on his shoulder, she carefully drew him backwards until he was sat up straight, not missing the way he gritted his teeth together during the process. It worried her; with the exception of the time she'd shot him, he'd rarely ever seemed bothered by injury. If anything, he had a tendency to deliberately put himself in harm's way, consequences be damned.
She paused for a moment.
There was something important about that, niggling at the back of her mind. What it was though, she wasn't sure.
He continued to watch her curiously, clearly expecting her to bolt at any moment. There was a part of her that still wanted to. Resisting the urge, she took a deep breath to steady herself, concentrating on the task in front of her. The first thing she could see in the dimness was a rather nasty cut on his arm, but that didn't explain the amount of pain he was in. Leaning forward to examine the rest of him, she braced a hand against the wall beside his head, not wanting to risk losing her balance and fall. No sooner had she touched it though than she yanked her hand away, almost doing the exact thing she'd been trying to avoid.
The wall was wet. Not just damp, but actually coated with something that was now covering her palm. Disgusted, she went to wipe it on her jeans, but stopped as an acrid smell hit her nose that was all too familiar.
That was the first time that she really looked at the wall behind him, the first time she properly took in what she could see. The stain started out high above her, at almost the same height Lucifer was. It was as though someone had dragged a large mop down the wall, dipped in blood. When the light over their heads flared once more, she could see even more pooled below.
Tentatively, even though she knew the answer, she used her other hand to lightly touch the back of his jacket. It was soaked through. The implications of that chilled her to the bone. He was seriously injured, yet he'd carried her all this way. She thought he'd lowered her to the floor when she struggled rather than drop her, but no. He'd collapsed.
And slid down the damn wall.
He must have been shot, there was no other explanation. But how many times? The memory of all of those guns pointed at them both was horrifying. He'd gotten her to safety… but when he'd returned…
All of this couldn't have come from one bullet. She was assuming, hoping, that the shots had at least been through and through; there was very little she could do for him otherwise. Calling an ambulance was obviously out of the question. It was at that moment that she finally remembered her phone. Fishing it out from her pocket, she turned on the screen. Not the most ideal light source, but it was better than what she had at the moment.
Lucifer had fallen strangely silent. She wondered for a moment if he was still conscious, but he remained sat upright with his back held deliberately away from the wall, tremors running through his frame as he fought to stay still. His eyes were closed, and she could tell he was actively trying to control his breathing. She realised then that he wasn't doing it for his benefit, but hers. He was still trying not to frighten her. "Hey," she said softly, lightly touching his arm, "It's okay. Everything's okay."
He cracked one eye open to look at her. "Yes, Detective. I noticed how okay everything was when you collapsed," he said, sarcasm lacing his every word. Ah. That explained her head then; she must have hit it on the stairs when she fell.
Still, it was reassuring to know that even a life threatening injury didn't stop Lucifer from being Lucifer. It was a reminder she desperately needed right now, something to hold onto every time she felt the panic begin to rise up again.
He was still him. She was still her. They were partners. Friends. More than that even. Or they had been. It was another thing she couldn't face thinking about at the moment.
"Oh, because if you discovered I was actually an angel one day you'd be perfectly fine with it I suppose? No freak outs whatsoever?" she replied absentmindedly, concentrating on her task of slowly peeling his jacket away from his chest as she tried to get a better look. Her heart skipped a beat as she ran the light from her phone over his shirt; there must have been at least ten bullet holes there. And yet, no blood.
His breath hitched for a second as she continued her exploration, pulling his shirt free of his trousers. Then she heard him grumble, "Not an angel." Whether he meant her or himself she wasn't sure, but she didn't exactly have time to dwell on it too much. Not when she was far too busy trying to work out how there wasn't a single mark on him underneath his shirt. No points of entry, no damage at all.
"There's no wound or blood."
Wasn't that what he'd told her once when she'd questioned him about getting shot? She ran a hand over his skin, barely registering the way he swallowed heavily as she touched him.
"I'm sorry," he said, breaking the silence that had suddenly fallen between them. She looked at him questioningly. "That I didn't catch you, when you fell."
He was talking about after she'd seen him. But he'd been halfway across the room, and in just as much shock as she was, judging by the look on his… face.
Oh God, his face.
Wait. Was it God that did that to him?
The panic swelled inside her again as she tried to recall what little she knew of the bible. So many questions, so much she didn't know.
Not the time... Not the time...
Too late she realised she'd actually been muttering the words out loud. When he looked at her, worry filled his eyes. Hesitantly, he covered her hand that remained on his arm with his own in an attempt to comfort her. And to her shame, she pulled away. Instantly he dropped his gaze to the floor again. A full minute passed before she could force herself to focus on what needed to be done. "Can you stand?" she asked, relieved at how steady she sounded.
He nodded, apparently unwilling to trust his own voice right then. Gradually he began to rise, a painful hiss escaping him as he did so. Reaching out, he grabbed the hand rail, the metal groaning and twisting under his grip. It was all too easy to forget just how strong he was sometimes, something which of course made perfect sense now.
All those times he'd lifted men twice his size with one hand. Never mind when he'd thrown someone twelve feet through a window like it was nothing. She'd gone over the footage of that particular incident again and again, trying to fathom how it was possible. One bullet though, one piece of evidence that contradicted what he'd been saying had been enough for her to brush him off as delusional.
She'd been a fool.
They both stood there silently as she wondered how to proceed. She was sure that they must be near the bottom of the building by now; there couldn't be that many more flights left to tackle. Hopefully, together, they could manage it. She wasn't sure how to support him without touching his back though, and by the looks of him he was definitely going to need that help. His pallor had worsened considerably since he'd risen, and now that he was closer to the light she could see the sheen on his face. He was sweating. She didn't think she'd ever seen him sweat.
Woefully she cast a glance back to the wall, taking in the blood he'd left there. She had to keep him alive, no matter what. The future she'd thought they would have together might have changed now, but there was still a future nonetheless. And he needed to be there for that.
Maneuvering herself into his side, she carefully placed his arm across her shoulders, trying not to jostle him. He looked down at her in shock, that she dared come so close to him. She shrugged slightly, before gently urging him forward. The first step was the worst, feeling him shudder against her as he began moving, but after that they made agonisingly slow but steady progress.
When they reached the next landing he moved away from her, leaning sideways against the wall as he rested. She waited until his breathing evened out before speaking. "Why'd you carry me all this way anyway?"
Wearily he looked at her. "Wasn't sure," he said quietly, "who was coming." He wavered as he pushed himself away from the wall, and instantly she moved to his side again. "More of Cain's men… backup unit…" Pausing, he took a few seconds to regain his balance, leaning heavily onto her shoulders. "Either way, bodies on the floor, you unconscious… didn't look good." Indicating they should start moving again, he pushed against her slightly, but as they reached the first step, he wavered. "And I… I couldn't leave you."
The words I would never leave you were left unspoken yet she heard them anyway. What she had done to inspire such devotion from a creature such as him, she would never understand. But this wasn't a game, of that she was certain. For him, what was between them, whatever it was, it was real. She wasn't some way for him to amuse himself for a few years of his immortal life.
Or what was supposed to be an immortal life anyway. Lucifer was relying on her more and more for support now, and her body was starting to protest. She'd never realised before just how heavy he was. It was as if he weighed twice as much as a man his size should.
Finally, she could see light at the bottom of the stairwell. Breathing a sigh of relief, she nudged her partner, who had taken to feeling his way down the steps rather than looking, his eyes closed in exhaustion. The grip he had on the hand rail had grown progressively weaker, the visible indentations he'd been leaving every time he grabbed it fading away. They were so close now. So close that perhaps she hurried without meaning to, or maybe he did, but regardless, the result was the same.
He stumbled, and he fell.
His cry of agony shattered the silence as he hit the staircase with a sickening thud. He slid down the last few remaining steps until his feet touched the floor, at which point he immediately arched his back away from the rough edges of the stairs, throwing his head back towards her.
Oh God, his eyes.
Had they glowed like that upstairs? Had she just not noticed? They blazed brightly in the darkness, lit with raging fire from that writhed and consumed, both beckoning and repulsing her all at the same time. Unconsciously, much like she had in the loft, she tried to back away from him. It was her foot hitting the stair behind that made her realise what she was doing, made her realise that she was ready to abandon the man twisting with pain in front of her all over again.
Get it together, Decker.
Determinedly, she forced herself to take that first step down towards him. After that, it was easy, but before she could reach him fully she saw him take hold of one of the nearby spindles, the metal groaning almost as loudly as him as he used it to help wrench himself onto his side. The effort cost him dearly, and the worrying sound of his gasping breaths as he attempted to ride out the pain helped chase back any remaining reticence she might have had.
Rounding the staircase, she found him lying almost deathly still, his eyes screwed tightly shut, hand still clenched around the railing. She brushed her fingers over his, and he inhaled sharply, flinching away.
"I'm sorry," he forced out, before she had a chance to say anything. "I didn't mean to-"
"Lucifer, it's fine," she said hurriedly. He scoffed, and she couldn't exactly blame him for not believing her. She reached out for him again, squeezing his fingers lightly. "Look. I'm going to get scared, okay? Today… to say today hasn't been easy would be the understatement of the century. But right now? I'm more scared for you than I am of you." His hand twitched under hers, and slowly he brought himself to look at her. The flames inside his eyes were extinguished, but they still remained unrecognisable, filled with a fear all of his own.
She reached for her phone. "I can't do this by myself," she said. "We need help." He gave no response, continuing to look at her blearily. She got the distinct impression he was giving up. "Lucifer!" she urged, wishing she could shake him into action but not daring to do so. The last thing she wanted to do was cause him further injury. "Who can I call? Your brother?"
He shook his head slightly. "Gone, remember?" There was a bitterness in his voice that she didn't understand, along with an unmistakable sadness.
"But surely we can…"
Another shake of his head. "He's gone home." He raised his eyes to the ceiling and sighed. "His home, anyway."
She hadn't even started to think about the other implications of what she now knew to be true. Amenadiel was an angel. Maze was a…
Her heart turned to ice as the realisation kicked in. A demon. The Devil. Pierce.
She'd left them all alone with her daughter.
What kind of people-
What kind of monsters had she allowed into their lives?
What kind of mother was she?
Tears filled her eyes and she slammed them shut, turning away from the stairs. She couldn't do this. She couldn't afford to lose it right now. Wrapping her arms tight around her chest, she tried not to think about anything but the need to breathe.
In. Out. In. Out.
Lucifer had never hurt Trixie. Maze had never hurt Trixie, not intentionally anyway. And Pierce… the thought chilled her to the bone. Another thing to shove into another box, another thing to bury in the back of her mind. It was getting crowded in there, and right now, she felt very close to breaking.
"Detective?" Lucifer's voice came from behind her, small and concerned. Taking a shaky breath, she turned back to face him, and face the only option she had left available to her.
"I'm calling Maze," she said, bringing up the bounty hunter's contact details on her phone. No sooner had she done that though than Lucifer's hand shot out from the railing, clamping around her wrist like a vice. Not enough to hurt her, but not a grip that would allow her to continue either.
"No. Not her."
He practically growled the words, and for a moment she thought she saw those embers in his eyes flare to life once more. Instinctively she tried to prise her hand away. He let her go immediately, looking down at the floor with contrition. "She's half the reason we're in this bloody mess," he said bitterly.
We're. Not I'm. We're.
Maze had something to do with this. Something to do with Pierce? Maze, who was supposed to be her friend. Maze, who was a demon. Maze… who wasn't going to be able to help them.
The betrayal stung. It was yet another thing to put off thinking about, another question added to the string around her chest, tightening more with each new revelation, making it harder to breathe. "Well who can I call then?" she said. It was a plea she needed to make, but she hated, hated how weak she sounded. Her headache had returned, sharp lightning flashing through her brain just at the time she needed it the least.
Lucifer didn't reply, his eyes still fixed on the ground, the ragged breath being torn from his lungs the only sound. A slight tremor ran through him, and she wasn't sure if it was from anger or from shock. "Lucifer!" she snapped, sharper than she intended, her worry beginning to make her desperate.
His head bowed even further. "Linda," he said quietly as he exhaled. "You can call Linda."
Time seemed to slow. "She knows, doesn't she?"
It was too much. She'd reached the tipping point, the final revelation in a deluge that had broken through the barrier she had constructed in her mind, the only thing left allowing her to function. Her breath came in short, sharp gasps, and she wondered if they sounded as much like sobs to him as they did to her.
She had to get away. Phone still clutched in her hand, she focused all her energy on forcing herself to move towards the exit. At the edges of her consciousness, she thought she heard him call weakly after her, but it didn't stop her from taking another step. And another. But when he said her actual name... it was enough that when she reached the door, she stopped. She couldn't leave him. Yes, she couldn't bring herself to look at him right now, but she couldn't just leave him either.
Decision made, she steeled herself before pivoting on her heels and walking back to the stairs. To the stairs, and up the stairs, climbing past Lucifer's prone body and continuing until she was on the landing two flights above. There, she leant against the wall, staring at her phone screen blankly.
He'd told her. He'd told Linda.
But not her.
That wasn't right though, was it? He told everyone. He'd always been truthful about who he was. Which meant… which meant for Linda to believe him...
It was ironic really, how much of her fell apart at the same time she put the pieces together. Linda knew in the same way that Chloe knew… because she'd seen the same thing Chloe had. And as much as she tried to tell herself that perhaps he hadn't meant for it to happen… that perhaps the circumstances had been the same... some part of her knew that wasn't how it had gone down.
He'd proved it to her.
It made sense really, even she could admit that. Linda was his therapist. And setting aside the ridiculous notion of the Devil even having a therapist, if he wanted her to help him, well, Lucifer would have had to have been honest with her, wouldn't he? Honest, and open.
Like he was supposed to be with his partner.
Like he was supposed to be with his friend.
Like he was supposed to be with her.
And it hurt.
When her legs began to give way, she let herself fall to the hard concrete below, curling her knees up close to her chest. She felt numb.
Her dim surroundings seemed fitting really, as the colour drained from her world. Little by little, blow by blow, everything that had happened had chipped away at the future she'd thought ahead of her. Ahead of them both. And now, she found herself wondering if there was anything left.
A groan came from below, quickly followed by the sound of retching. It was enough to bring her back to the present, at least enough to pull up Linda's contact details up on her phone. She shivered as she dialled, and told herself it was because of the cold wall at her back. Shock was something she really couldn't afford right now. And neither could he.
All she could do was hope beyond hope that Linda wasn't in session. She had no idea what she was going to do if she was. If she were honest, she didn't know what she was going to do even with her friend's help, but it was better than trying to handle this on her own.
"Chloe?" Linda answered, "Now really isn't a good time…" Her words were hurried and hushed. The distinct click of a door being closed could be heard down the line as the therapist moved into another room.
Chloe opened her mouth to speak, but all that came out was a unrestrained sob. "Chloe? Chloe, what's wrong?" Linda's concern grounded her slightly, and she tried to make herself say something, anything. Everything would be okay if she could just get help.
That was what she told herself, over and over.
"It's Lucifer," she finally managed to choke out. "He needs you."
She could have sworn she heard Linda breathe a sigh of relief. "Tell him if he needs an emergency appointment I can come to him, but it's not convenient for me to have anyone at the office right now. I can only deal with one celes- with one patient at a time."
The silence that followed indicated that it was Chloe's turn to speak, but yet again she couldn't seem to find the words. Why was this so hard? She knew what she needed to say, so why couldn't she just say it?
"He's the Devil."
The truth was torn from her throat, and it shattered her. Saying it out loud had made it all far too real. The words were a kick to the stomach, the feel of her heart being ripped from her chest.
What she had to say next though, that was even harder. "He's the Devil… and I think he's dying."
Linda was talking, but Chloe was lost, tears streaming down her cheeks as the reality of the day's events continued to sink in. "Oh god, Linda… there's so much blood… I don't know what to do…" she said, stuttering between short, convulsive gasps.
"Chloe, I need you to take some deep breaths for me, okay? Tell me where you are."
After a few more moments of panic, she was able to do exactly that. The door to the room Linda was in opened again, and a muffled voice started speaking in the background. With the therapist otherwise occupied, Chloe rested her head back against the wall, closing her eyes and letting the hand holding her phone fall to the floor, as she tried to centre herself.
It was then that she heard a noise from above.
She jerked upright. Had that been someone talking? She couldn't quite tell. Straining, she tried to listen harder, but all she could hear were the sounds from her phone, which were no longer indistinct.
"Maze!" she heard Linda exclaim as she lifted the phone to her ear again.
"Can you leave him?" Maze's sharp tone sliced through the airwaves, and for a moment Chloe was unable to say anything at all, taken back by both the demon's sudden appearance on the call and her unfathomable question.
"What…?" she eventually replied, dumbfounded.
"Can. You. Leave. Him?" Maze repeated, as if she were talking to a child. Worse than that actually, because she'd never heard her talk to Trixie that way.
Chloe snapped. "No, I can't leave him. Pierce is dead, Lucifer is bleeding out, and I have no idea whether backup is going to find us first, or someone else entirely. So if you actually have any helpful suggestions, now's the time."
Linda asked a question that Chloe couldn't quite hear, and the demon grumbled back at her. The only words she caught were, "She needs to know." Whatever Maze was talking about though, it didn't seem like she was about to find out anytime soon.
"Fine. Get him out of there. We're on our way."
"Wait!" Chloe said hurriedly. "It's not that easy! I'm not sure he can even stand, never mind walk. We'll just have to wait here and hope-"
The last thing she expected to hear in response was laughter. "Easy? Have you not been paying attention this entire time? It's exactly that easy. You ask him to jump, and that idiot will ask off which building. If you tell him to move, he'll move."
Chloe couldn't believe what she was hearing. Maze did know she was talking about Lucifer, right? Lucifer who didn't listen to a word she said half the time? "Ma-" she started to protest, but the bounty hunter had already ended the call.
"Great. Just great," she muttered to herself. Another noise came from above, and this time it was definitely the sound of voices. Shoving the phone back in her pocket, she moved quietly and quickly down the stairs, coming to a halt when she saw Lucifer, who was now sat upright with his head in his hands. Vomit coated the steps in front of him, and she tried not to think about just how much red she could see there.
"That… was not pleasant," he said as she approached, the shaking of his body creeping into his voice now.
She sank down onto the step beside him. "You should have waited for me to help you up," she replied, lightly chastising. He was going to need her help a lot in a minute, and she needed to get him to accept that. The last thing she needed was for that famous Morningstar pride to kick in.
"I heard voices," he said, shifting slightly on the step and stiffly straightening his back as much as he could before looking at her. "Thought you might need my help."
"Lucifer…" She shook her head in exasperation. "The only person you need to be helping right now is yourself."
Standing, she moved to the bottom of the stairwell, taking care where she stood, and held out her hand. He looked at her from under thick dark eyelashes, his eyes deadly serious. "I've fought through worse, Detective."
Somehow, she didn't doubt him for a second.
"I don't need you to fight, Lucifer, I need you to leave."
He blinked in surprise, and then his face fell into resignation. "Of course. As you pointed out though, I find myself somewhat indisposed at the moment, so if you don't mind…" He gestured towards the door, and it was then she realised her mistake.
"With me, Lucifer, I need you to leave with me. We can't just stay here waiting for whoever's coming."
She didn't think she'd ever seen him look so worried. "In all honesty, Detective…" he said, dropping his gaze to stared at the floor beneath her feet, "I'm not sure I can." He tried to push himself up off the stairs slightly to demonstrate, promptly falling back down again as his entire body convulsed and he hissed in pain.
Was Maze right? Did she really hold that much power over him as she could make him do this? Should she make him do this? It could be Dan and Ella upstairs. Someone who could help them. In her heart of hearts though, she knew that wasn't the case. She highly doubted backup were here yet either. Whoever was up there, they were bad news for Lucifer.
And she wouldn't let them take him.
His head jerked up towards her, his expression bewildered. "I beg your pardon?"
"Lucifer, stand up. We have to go."
For a moment, he looked like a lost little boy, unable to understand why someone wanted to cause him hurt. A thought flashed through her mind; had he looked like that the day they kicked him out of Heaven?
"Lucifer, please. You have to do this. For me."
He took her hand.
They didn't make it as far as she would have liked. He was simply too heavy; with his full weight on her almost from the beginning it wasn't long until she started to struggle with walking herself. Several times she stopped, trying to shift him into a position that would allow her to better support him, but never quite managing it for long.
As they rounded the corner into the alleyway behind a nearby building, his feet began to drag across the floor. Without any assistance from him she could only carry him a short distance, and just as they passed the nearest dumpster his arm finally, inevitably, slipped from her shoulders and he fell.
Her heart leapt into her throat as he collapsed; there was nothing she could do to catch him. Kneeling down, she checked him over as best she could. Thankfully he'd managed to brace his arms against the ground before he hit it fully, but it had left him barely able to hold himself up on all fours. It was clear there was no way she was going to be able to get him on his feet again.
"I'm sorry," he said, shaking his head and breathing heavily. "I- I can't. I can't go any further."
Gently, she cupped his face with her palm, brushing her thumb over his cheek as he looked up at her, the agony he was enduring evident in his eyes. Another wave of pain rolled through him and he grimaced. The face she knew so well vanished, replaced by the nightmarish vision she'd seen in the loft. It might have only been for an second, but the change in texture of the skin beneath her fingers was enough to cause her to jerk her hand away.
Immediately she regretted it. Disappointment and shame flashed across his face, and he dropped his head to the floor again. "Hey," she said softly, guilt flooding her. "Help's coming. It won't be long now."
Or so she hoped.
Apart from the sound of his laboured breaths, he remained silent, refusing to look at her. "Lucifer," she prompted, taking hold of his arms. He winced, and she realised she'd strayed too close to the only visible wound he had by accident.
"Sorry, I'm sorry…" she muttered quietly, removing her hand. It felt like everything she did seemed to only make things worse. "Look, everything's going to be alright, okay?"
He met her eyes then, and all she saw was sadness, ancient and bitter. "Is it?" he asked, without any hope whatsoever. "Somehow I doubt that, Detective."
They both knew he wasn't talking about his injuries.
She had no idea what to tell him. It wasn't like she knew what was going to happen in the next hour, never mind the coming days, weeks or even months. If she were honest with herself, she didn't even want to have to think about it. Because if she did, then that would mean thinking about how her best friend, her partner, the man she… the man she... was the Devil.
And how her life would never be the same again because of that.
Closing her eyes, she shook her head a couple of times, trying to clear it before deciding on a course of action. She couldn't just sit here doing nothing.
"I'm going to take a look at your back, alright? See if there's anything I can do to stem the bleeding. Do you think you can manage to sit up?"
He sighed somewhat exasperatedly at her question, quite obviously considering the endeavour pointless. Regardless though, he did as she asked. As he always did, apparently. Carefully he pushed himself from the ground until he was on his knees, with her assisting where she was able.
Ironically, he looked as if he were about to pray.
Perhaps that's what they needed right now.
Leaning around to examine his back, she regarded the sodden jacket with concern. Blood was already starting to drip down around his feet. She tried to strip it from him as gently as she could, but the noise that slipped out between his clenched teeth soon made it obvious that was going to be impossible. "It's no use, Detective," he said shakily. "There's nothing you can do."
"Please," she said. "I have to try."
It only took a few seconds for him to reluctantly give in, reaching up into his suit jacket and pulling out… a knife. Maze's knife. The knife. She stared at it, unable to banish the memory of it buried to the hilt in the chest of the man she once thought she'd loved. The blade looked as if it had been wiped clean once already, but putting her hands on it felt like a different matter entirely.
Her fingerprints. On a murder weapon.
But she had to. There was no other choice.
Lucifer waited expectantly, the knife balanced upon his palm. When she went to take it however, he closed his fingers around the handle. "You don't have to do this," he said, quietly but determinedly, sensing her hesitation.
She was just as determined though, and lightly she wrapped her fingers around his wrist, motioning for him to give her the weapon with her other hand. "Be careful," he said, as he allowed her to lift it from his grasp, "it's sharp."
Moving behind him, she gently lifted the collar of his jacket away from his skin, placing the blade against it. Even that caused a tremor to run through him. This was going to be tricky. She could see no other way to do this that wouldn't involve having to tug at the material, and yet she knew that was only going to cause him more pain.
Perhaps he was right. Perhaps she was just making things worse for him for no real reason. She wasn't a doctor, and even the training she did have had in no way prepared her for dealing with an injury of this scale. But…
He would do it for her. He would do anything for her.
And so she persevered. To her surprise though, when she started to drag the knife down, she met no resistance whatsoever. The blade cut through the fabric like a hot knife through butter. In fact, she found herself having to be extra careful, lest she accidentally catch his skin.
It wasn't long before she was peeling away the back of the jacket. The sight of his once pristine shirt drenched in blood was sickening. Gathering herself, she made short work of that too, and soon she was left staring at the skin of his back. Or rather, where there had been skin. Now it was nothing but a waterfall of red, slowly cascading down his body to join the vast pool forming on the concrete below.
The worst of it seemed to be flowing from the area where she knew his scars to be. Shrugging off her own jacket, she put the knife to work again, cutting it into the closest thing she could fashion to bandages and cloths. Taking hold of one of the remnants, she hesitated, hovering above his skin. "I'm sorry," she said, placing her hand upon his shoulder, "This is going to hurt."
"I somehow doubt it can hurt more that it already does, Detect- GAH!"
She'd barely touched him. Out of instinct he shied away from her, and when she crawled around to his side to check on him she found him almost deathly pale, his hands white-knuckled where they held on tightly to his knees. "Is this really necessary?" he bit out, sweat running down his forehead. Abandoning her task for the time being, she placed her hand over his, trying to reassure him.
"Let me help you," she pleaded, desperate for him to allow her to continue. She'd never forgive herself if she didn't. He turned his head towards her, and when he saw the look on her face, the anguish in his eyes appeared to dim. Gradually he wrestled himself back under control, before giving her a reluctant nod.
She prepared to start again. When she lay the cloth over his skin, he hunched slightly, but otherwise made no sound. It wasn't until she started to use it to wipe the blood away that he grunted, but even then, he held himself still, allowing her to work. The material soon became soaked, but that wasn't what worried her.
No, that would be the fact she could see no wound underneath whatsoever.
It didn't matter which part of his back she dragged the cloth across, all she found was smooth, unmarked skin. The tension in Lucifer's frame only increased as she continued her search, forcing him fight harder against his body's natural urge to get away from her and what she was doing.
And then suddenly, his skin wasn't so clear anymore. She watched with horror as the blood welled up once more, oozing out of his pores and running in rivulets down his spine. "Lucifer…" she breathed, "I think you have internal bleeding." In truth, she didn't know enough about it to be sure, nor how it would apply to angels of all things, but what else could it be? There was no damage, no entry wounds, nothing at all to indicate what had done this.
None of this made sense.
Then again, did anything now?
She hadn't expected to hear him chuckle. A chuckle that soon turned into a cough which one minute had him spluttering, and the next was wracking his body until he fell forward onto his hands again, ridding himself of what little remained in his stomach.
There was no point continuing. She threw the sodden rags to the side and offered him a clean one, which he accepted gratefully. After wiping his mouth, he made no attempt to sit up again, staying where he was until he caught his breath. After a few minutes, he turned his head and gave her a wry smile. "You have no idea how right you are, Detective," he said, his voice hoarse and broken. Before now, she couldn't have ever imagined him sounding so fragile.
She felt hopeless. "What do we do, Lucifer?"
Having closed his eyes for moment while he recovered, he cracked one open to look at her. "I suppose leaving me here is out of the question?"
It was like talking to Maze all over again. At this point in time, she was struggling to understand either of them. "Do you… do you want me to?" she asked.
To her astonishment, he actually seemed to be giving it some thought. Then he sighed, and slowly shook his head. "No," he said. "No, I don't want you to."
"Then I won't," she said, gifting him a small smile. It was a smile that soon fell from her face though as his left arm went out from under him, and he slumped down to the floor. He tried to push himself up again with her help, but it was clear he wasn't going to be able to remain upright for long. She moved closer, trying to hold him steady as his body veered from side to side. "Come here," she said, leaning back against the wall and gradually guiding him down until he lay on his side, his head resting in her lap.
They sat there quietly for a while, her fingers carding through his hair, his rapid breathing echoing in the alleyway far too loudly to her ears than it should be. It wasn't until those same breaths began to slow down a little that she realised her mistake.
"Lucifer?" she said, stopping what she was doing immediately. A grumble of protest came from below, and he looked up at her with unfocused eyes. "You can't go to sleep, okay?"
His face was the picture of confusion. "Why not? I'm tired."
He said it in exactly the same way he always did when he was complaining about anything; paperwork, the coffee at the precinct, long stakeouts with no snacks. Something inside her warmed at the familiarity. Nothing had changed.
And yet, at the same time, everything had.
How could it be that such a short time ago she was standing underneath the stars, her heart overwhelmed with joy as the man she had waited so long for finally told her how he felt?
How did she end up here, lying in the dirt in a rapidly darkening alleyway, with the Devil dying in her arms?
"Just… talk to me? Please? You're good at that."
"It's not the only thing I'm good at," he muttered, and she imagined that if he'd had the energy, there would have been a smirk and an eyebrow waggle to accompany that. As it was though, there was no life beneath his words at all. This was a Lucifer running on empty, his usual responses nothing but automatic now.
He tried to stretch, his long lean body uncomfortable on the hard ground, but he visibly blanched almost as soon as he did. She almost expected him to start retching again, but instead he merely brought his legs up as close to him as he could, shivering against her. She desperately wished she had something to cover him with, bitterly regretting having sacrificed her jacket for nothing.
"Very well, Detective, what would you like to talk about?" he asked, a little more alert now.
Not-so-subtly he pushed his head against her palm, silently asking for her to continue her ministrations. Her side of the deal, she supposed. "Anything at all," she said, fingernails scratching lightly at his scalp, "You pick."
And so, he started talking. She thought he might tell her tales of Heaven and Hell, things she had so many questions about but wasn't yet ready to hear the answers to. Whether he recognised that, or if he plain just didn't want to talk about it, she didn't know, but either way, his chosen subject was unanticipated.
With remarkable detail, he spoke about the work they had done as partners. Facts, figures, times and places, they were all there, woven into stories that went as far as the clothes she'd been wearing that day, the jokes that had made her laugh, how many times he'd caught her rolling her eyes at him.
Eventually she caught onto the fact that it wasn't that he didn't want to talk about the other aspects of his life; it was just that they didn't matter to him. This did.
Between each tale he stopped to catch his breath, and as he continued those intervals became longer and longer, until he started taking breaks in the middle of recounting their time together, the minutiae starting to become muddled.
"Sssh," she said softly, as he stumbled over the name of a victim, and cursed himself for doing so. "That's enough now. Thank you, Lucifer. That was… that was wonderful."
"No. There's one more thing, Detect... Chloe."
The sound of her name leaving his lips caused a familiar warmth to wrap itself around her heart. It was another thing that remained that same between them, and she was glad of it.
"I need you to know-"
Suddenly, she realised what he was trying to do. "No," she said sharply, cutting him off. He looked at her with wide eyes, shocked at her insistence. "This isn't the last time we'll talk to each other. You're not going to die. I won't let you."
He remained silent. The man who wouldn't lie, refusing to give her what she needed most right now; false hope.
"And besides," she continued, "you're the Devil, you can come back, right?"
She kept her tone light, but underneath she meant it seriously. If she lost him, she had to have that thread of hope to cling onto. No matter who he really was, what he really was, he'd become one of the most important people in her life, and she needed to know he would return to her.
After all, he'd left Hell once before, surely he could do it again?
She found the answer in his eyes before he even said a word.
"Far too much guilt kicking around in here these days for that I'm afraid," he said, placing his hand over his heart. Though he'd tried to match her tone, it was an effort that had failed, the words hanging heavily in the air.
Guilt though? What did guilt matter? And guilt for what? He couldn't possibly mean-
"Lucifer... Pierce, he planned to kill you first, remember? I shot him long before you went anywhere near him. You can't feel guilty for-"
"I don't," he said abruptly, and with complete certainty. Tentatively, his hand moved from his chest to rest on her leg. Then he turned his face away, as though he couldn't bear to look at her. "I feel guilt for many things, but not for that."
It struck her like lightning. Her. He was talking about her.
"Hey," she said. When there was no reply, she curled her arm around him further until she could stroke her fingers across his cheek, encouraging him to look at her again.
"You have nothing to feel guilty about. I'm…" she tailed off, suddenly lost for what to say. She wasn't okay, nothing about this was okay.
"No need to trouble yourself with a lie, Detective," Lucifer said wearily. He sounded so weak now, and she hated it. "I saw your face after… after," he sighed, "after you saw mine."
She drew breath to speak, but stopped when she felt his arm go limp, his hand sliding from her knee. Just as she did when Trixie was sick, she ran her head across his forehead out of habit. His skin was clammy, colder to the touch than she'd ever felt it.
To her relief, he spoke again, although this time it was barely a whisper. "You can't leave Hell-" he broke off, coughing, before sagging back into her embrace. She combed her fingers through his hair once more, trying to console him, but he no longer leaned into her touch. "You can't leave Hell if you deserve... to be there."
"Lucifer, you don't deserve-"
He'd gone still under her hand. Too still.
One second. Two seconds. Finally the sound of a rattled, shallow breath hit her ears, and tears filled her eyes. He was still here. He hadn't left her, not yet. Moving her hand to his neck, she found his pulse, thready and weak. She left her hand there, the faint pulsing the closest thing she had to comfort at the moment. How much longer did he have?
And where the hell were Maze and Linda?
She had no idea how much time passed as they sat there, huddled together in the twilight. It could have been minutes, it could have been hours. Checking her phone constantly had proved pointless; the last text she'd received had been from Linda saying they were on their way, and after that there was nothing. Thanks to having used it as a flashlight for so long, the battery was now dead.
Not that she could have done anything with it anyway, despite every bone in her body urging her to call for help. In amongst his stories, he'd been insistent she refrain from doing so. Something about humanity being unable to handle proof of the divine… which they were likely to get if he ended up in hospital.
And so, she did the only thing she could do.
For the first time in her life, Chloe Decker looked up to the skies, and she prayed.
She prayed for someone to save the Devil.
The sound of squealing tyres had her heart racing as not one, but two cars pulled up next to the building. Was this it? Were they about to be discovered? Or had the cavalry finally arrived?
Footsteps echoed a short way down the alley and then stopped.
"He's over here."
A great weight lifted off her chest. Maze. They were here.
Linda appeared from behind the dumpster, with the bounty hunter trailing behind. "What took you so long?" Chloe asked, more harshly than she meant to, the unfortunate consequence of having run out of patience quite some time ago.
"Traffic," Maze replied, unaffected by Chloe's ire. "We don't all have the ability to make the lights turn green, you know," she said, nodding at the body in her arms.
Linda merely gave her an apologetic smile before kneeling down beside Lucifer, her concern for her patient evident. Softly, she took his head in her hands, allowing Chloe to slide out from under him before taking her place.
Maze kicked one of Lucifer's legs. "He out?" she said blithely. Chloe looked up from where she was dusting off her knees and glared at her. Without stopping to think, she grabbed her arm, tugging her away from him.
At that moment, it didn't matter that she was a demon. All Maze was right now, as far as she was concerned, was her asshole of an ex-roommate.
"Yes, he's unconscious," she hissed, "has been for a while now. Which I would have told you, had you asked before kicking him."
The demon merely shrugged. "I've done worse."
Chloe's face hardened, as she thought of what Lucifer had implied earlier. "Yes. You have."
"Oh." Maze averted her gaze, but not before Chloe saw something there in her face that she'd never seen before. Guilt.
It was also the first time she really took notice of the state her former friend was in, her face covered in cuts and bruises which were starting to swell. She looked like she'd been in a bar fight. Or maybe ten bar fights.
Linda's voice came from behind them, and they both turned towards her. "As much as I hate to interrupt whatever this," she gestured between the two of them with her free hand, "is. We really need to get him away from-" her eyes flickered to Chloe and widened slightly as she stopped mid-sentence. "Here. Away from here."
Maze huffed and shook her head. "Sit up him, will you?"
Chloe knelt down again and with Linda's help managed to get Lucifer into an upright position, her hands on his chest and shoulder to stop him from falling forwards. Maze circled around to behind him, to look, Chloe assumed, at his back.
Instead, she barely had time to hear her mutter, "Unconscious, huh? Better make sure he stays that way," before Maze struck him in the back of the head, hard.
Lucifer grunted, pitching forward and to the side, away from Chloe's grasp. It was only through Linda managing to grab his other shoulder in time that he didn't topple over completely.
Within seconds Chloe was on her feet again. "What the hell, Maze?!" she said, shoving her against the wall. "What do you think you're doing?"
As she hit the hard surface, the woman she had once considered a friend grimaced a little, and Chloe removed her hands. She'd forgotten Lucifer wasn't the only one who was injured here. "I'm being kind," Maze ground out, rubbing her shoulder. "I thought you humans were supposed to like that kind of thing?"
Chloe spluttered at first, lost for words.
"Kind?! How is causing him even more pain being kind?!" she asked incredulously, glancing down at Linda, who by her expression clearly had no idea what was going on either.
Maze pushed away from the wall and crouched down behind the Devil. When Chloe put a hand on her shoulder, warding her off whatever she was planning to do next, she looked up at her, her expression deadly serious. "Believe me, Decker, you don't want him awake for this."
And with that, the demon slipped her arms under Lucifer's, and to Chloe's amazement, hoisted him up single handedly, until he was half standing, half sagged against her. Linda scrambled up behind her, heading in the direction of the vehicles.
All Chloe could do was watch as Maze dragged him across the concrete, his body lifeless in her arms. The thought of the agony his injuries must be causing him sickened her. Maze was right, she couldn't be more glad that he wasn't awake and having to endure this.
"Chloe?" She felt a hand upon her arm, and turned to find Linda standing beside her. She must have zoned out, somehow having missed that Maze had nearly finished getting Lucifer into the back of…
"Is that my car?" she said, confusion furrowing her brow.
"Ah," Linda replied. "Yes, yes it is."
"How did you…?"
Linda simply raised her eyebrows and tilted her head towards Maze. "Don't ask."
"Wasn't easy," Maze called out, slamming the car door behind her, shunting one of Lucifer's feet that hadn't quite been inside back into the vehicle. "There's a lot of cops out front."
Chloe's brow furrowed further. "I haven't heard any sirens."
Linda shook her head. "Neither did we."
"Whatever they've got going on, they're keeping it very quiet," Maze said. She paused, then looked at Linda. "You ready?"
The therapist nodded, fishing out her keys and tugging on Chloe's arm lightly. "Come with me," she said, encouraging her to walk towards the smaller vehicle parked next to hers. Maze returned to Chloe's car, sliding into the driver's seat.
"But…" Chloe said, looking at the car containing the Devil. Linda stepped forward and took her by the hand.
"You shouldn't be driving right now. Maze will take him to Lux, and we'll meet up with them there, okay?"
In a daze, Chloe watched as her car pulled away, tyres squealing on the asphalt. In one big rush, the adrenaline of the day left her, and everything started spinning as she lost her footing. Linda wrapped a supportive arm around her waist, preventing her from falling and guiding her into the passenger seat. Once she was seated herself, she leaned across, buckling Chloe in.
"I know it doesn't seem like it now," she said as she started the engine, "but everything will be okay, Chloe. Lucifer will be okay. You both will."
Her words fell on deaf ears. Chloe turned her face to the window, completely and utterly drained. Linda pulled out into traffic, and as the city began to drift by, Chloe allowed the world to blur into nothingness.
She didn't rest for long. Her mind was still too frantic; filled with worry and endless questions. When things started to come into focus again, a familiar looking bar caught her eye. She sat up, double checking the next time they drove past a building she recognised to be sure. "This isn't the way to Lux," she said, turning to Linda, who remained staring steadfastly ahead as she negotiated the other vehicles.
"No. It isn't," she replied.
"Linda, why aren't we driving to Lux?" Chloe tried to keep her voice level, but inside she was panicking. Something wasn't right here. They should be with Lucifer, they should be trying to help. Yet for some reason, they were heading in the opposite direction.
"Chloe…" Linda sighed, finally glancing at her. "You need to trust me. We're doing the best thing for Lucifer we could possibly be doing right now. I promise."
This was ridiculous. Her patience was already frayed from earlier, and she was tired of being kept in the dark by the people in her life. "What's that supposed to mean?" she snapped. Linda flinched at her tone, and she chastised herself for it. The doctor was trying to help, she knew that much.
And so the next time she spoke, she was quieter, her outrage having dissipated as quickly as it had arrived. "Please, just tell me what's going on."
Linda didn't look at her again, turning off into a side street as the road they were on began to curve, always keeping the car headed in the same direction.
Away from Lucifer.
"I can't. I'm sorry."
The sound of Linda's phone going off rang through the car, and Chloe grabbed it. Linda made no move to admonish her. Instead, she immediately asked, "Is it Maze? Is there news?"
Chloe swiped open the message, barely holding back a sob of relief as she read it. "He's stopped bleeding."
"Oh thank Go-"
The therapist cut off mid-sentence, and Chloe wondered how often she caught herself doing that these days. She also wondered how often she would find herself doing it now.
The next turning saw them drive past a park, and to Chloe's surprise, Linda pulled into the next available parking space. "We need to wait here a while," she said, switching off the engine and offering no further explanation.
"Why?" Chloe said. Linda just looked at her, unwilling to repeat the same answer yet again.
"Fine. If you won't take me to Lux, I'll get there myself." Chloe opened the car door, slamming it behind her and walking out into the dark, towards where a street light illuminated a small seating area.
It wasn't until she fished the phone out of her pocket that she remembered the flat battery; calling an Uber would be impossible, and she didn't have enough cash on her for a taxi. Her hand gripped the phone so tightly her fingers hurt, and she found herself sorely tempted to throw the damn thing on the ground.
"You can't go there."
Her heart threatened to leap out of her chest; she hadn't heard Linda get out of the car.
Tears came dangerously close to spilling from her eyes as she whirled around to face her. "You keep saying that, but you won't tell me why. I should be with him. He'd want me to be."
"You're right," she said. "He would. But there are things I can't tell you right now, Chloe. Things that he should be the one to tell you."
She couldn't take this anymore. "But he doesn't though, does he? He doesn't tell me anything!"
"You know that's not true," Linda said, as composed as ever.
And she did. She really did. But it didn't change anything. Didn't fill that empty chasm in her chest where her heart used to be. Didn't alter the fact that, despite whatever she told herself, it still felt like betrayal.
She sank down onto the nearest bench, burying in her head in her hands.
"I don't understand..." she whispered, more to herself than to Linda, "why did he keep this from me?"
Linda sat down beside her, crossing her legs and placing her hands firmly across her knee. She stayed silent, giving Chloe the space she needed to grieve what she'd lost. To grieve what she thought she'd had with Lucifer.
When her tears subsided, Chloe sat up again. She couldn't bring herself to do anything but stare aimlessly ahead of her, too emotionally exhausted to even wipe her eyes. After a minute or two, she felt Linda take her hand.
"I'm afraid that's a question I can't answer," the therapist said. She paused for a second. "Doctor-Devil confidentiality applies even here I'm afraid."
Chloe tried to summon a smile at the attempt to lighten the mood, but it was an attempt that failed miserably. "Doctor Devil... Sounds like a sex game Lucifer would come up with."
Too late, she realised what she'd just said, as she felt Linda stiffen slightly. "Oh. I'm sorry, I-"
"It's okay, Chloe," Linda said, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze before releasing it. "That one threw me for a loop too at first, believe me. It's not every day you find out you had sex with the Devil."
It's not every day you find out that you kissed the Devil either, Chloe thought. Or that he kissed you. Kissed you like you were the most precious thing to him in the universe.
"If I could give you some advice though, as a friend?" Linda took a deep breath, uncrossing her legs and angling her body towards Chloe.
She nodded; she'd take whatever she could get at the moment
"When you ask yourself why he didn't tell you… why he didn't show you… try to remember who he is. What he's been through. How he sees himself, and more importantly, how humanity sees him."
Lucifer's voice spoke as clearly within her mind as if he'd been standing there right in front of her.
I was afraid. The other side of me… it's monstrous. If you saw all of me… you would run away.
"He thought he'd lose me." The realisation was like a lead weight in her stomach.
Linda said nothing, but gave her a small smile, which was all the confirmation she needed.
"I thought he knew me better than that," Chloe said quietly. No sooner were the words out of her mouth though than the image of the loft flashed before her eyes. The fear she'd felt. The way her first instinct was to back away from him.
How must he have felt, seeing her react that way?
"I asked him to show me, you know."
Linda's voice brought her back to the present. She looked at her curiously; she'd thought that perhaps the doctor wouldn't want to talk about her own experience of dealing with Lucifer's identity. Apparently, she had been wrong.
"I told him, that if he were honest with me, completely honest about who he was, that I could understand. That I could help him. And when he did…"
Chloe thought about all those times Lucifer had been alone with suspects. The times she would arrive to find them grovelling on the floor, the abject terror in their eyes. The insanity.
"You're okay now though, right?" She couldn't help the edge of hope that creeped into her question.
"We are," the therapist agreed. "But…" her eyes dropped to the ground. "I know I hurt him deeply that day, although he would never admit it if you asked him. He was my patient, he needed me, and I abandoned him."
The admission brought forth a memory. "He said to me once, that he thought he'd scared you off. That he was worried for you. Was that…?"
"Most likely." Linda was still staring at the ground, apparently ashamed to look at her. "I cancelled his appointments, refused to take his calls. I basically locked myself in my office and let the world crash down around me." She glanced up for a second, eyes narrowing slightly. "You're taking this much better than I did."
"Honestly? I don't think that I am," Chloe admitted. "I'm still not entirely sure this isn't some horrible nightmare I'm going to wake up from any second."
"I felt like that for a long time myself."
They both sat in silence for a while, the light from above forming a strange oasis from the darkness and noise of the city around them.
"Therapy," Linda said eventually, "is about trust. You work with a patient, build a relationship, until you reach the point where they're able to be completely open with you. You asked me why he didn't tell you. It's not the only reason, I'm sure, but what I did that day, I think it caused more damage than either of us wanted to admit. It showed him that even a human who assured him that they wanted to know the real him, couldn't handle it."
"But… that's understandable, isn't it? He wasn't who you thought he was."
Linda faced her properly then, her expression grim. "That's just it though. He is."
She took a deep breath. "Lucifer... is easily the most complicated patient I've ever had. Coming to terms with what he is, it wasn't easy. It still isn't easy, a lot of the time. But what he is, it isn't who he is. Lucifer doesn't lie."
"I know," Chloe said, staring down at her hands as she wrung them together on her lap, "he's always told people he's the Devil."
I just never believed him.
"No, Chloe. Lucifer doesn't lie about who he is. Someone who tells terrible jokes, and can't resist a good pun. Who sulks if he comes for an appointment and I don't have candy on the table. Who cares more deeply about his friends than I think even he realises. The man you've come to know? That's exactly who he is. He's not playing a role, or a game. Nothing about him has changed. He's been the Devil all along, you just didn't know it."
Chloe closed her eyes. "But I did know it. Or some part of me did, or should have done. It wasn't like the signs weren't there, y'know? I could have tried to…" She shook her head and sighed. "I guess I owe him an apology."
"No, you don't." Linda's voice was firm, resolved. "Chloe, I was his therapist for months and I didn't believe him. You're a detective. You needed concrete proof more than anyone."
Detective… Chloe… I am the Devil.
"He wanted me to believe him though, didn't he?" she said, looking at her friend as tears began to form once more. "Without proof. He thought…"
Her heart ached just having to say it.
"He thought I trusted him enough to believe him."
There was a moment's pause. "You may well be right," Linda said, choosing her words carefully. "But Chloe… wanting something doesn't mean it's possible. And maybe Lucifer realised that."
She drummed her fingers against her legs, in a way that made Chloe think she was unsure about whether or not she should continue. "Showing you his wings… that was a big step for him. I hope you know that."
Lucifer had wings.
Well of course he has wings, how do you think he left the roof so quickly? the rational part of her brain concluded.
Unfortunately, that particular part of her brain went unheard thanks to the rest of her drowning under the idea of her partner having friggin' angel wings.
She'd laughed at that.
The memory of the wings she'd seen at the auction house came to her. The wings he'd had stolen from him. Wings that he'd look at with such longing. Wings he'd cut off.
They were beautiful.
She couldn't even imagine how beautiful they'd look as part of him.
"What do they look like?" she choked out. It was the wrong question, it wasn't what she wanted to ask, but it was all her scrambled brain could string together at the moment.
"Chloe?" Linda asked with a frown. "What do you mean-"
It only took a few seconds for realisation to dawn. "Oh."
"...You saw his face."
All Chloe could do was nod blindly.
Before she knew it, Linda had pulled her into a hug. "I'm sorry, Chloe."
God, she was sick of crying. Her eyes felt raw from it, as raw as her soul after everything that had been stripped from it today. She sobbed until she had no more left to give.
It took a long time for her to pull away. "What happened?" Linda asked as she released her.
"Pierce, he… he attacked us. Lucifer killed him." She couldn't bring herself to go into any more detail than that.
Linda nodded, and Chloe could almost see her mind absorbing the information. Dealing with anymore questions though, that was beyond her right now. There would be enough of having to recount the past few hours over the coming days. She didn't have to be a police officer to know what a logistical nightmare this was going to be to explain.
"You've seen his wings then?" she asked, changing the subject while she still had the chance. Thankfully, as a therapist, Linda seemed to easily pick up on the fact this was something she didn't want to talk about any longer, and she willingly acquiesced.
"Yes. They are… indescribable really." There was an unmistakable note of wonder in her voice.
"I've seen them," Chloe said. At Linda's obvious bewilderment at that, she explained further. "Well, a copy of them, at an auction. They were..."
Gorgeous. She could still feel the awe that had washed over her when she looked at them.
"If those were fake though, then the real thing must be..."
Linda nodded. "They are. Although, they're also surprising in a way."
Chloe looked at her curiously.
"The Devil with white wings, it's a bit of a dichotomy. Not what you'd expect."
She tried again to picture it. Would he look strange? Would it not suit him? Or would he look complete somehow, in a way he hadn't been before?
Those weren't the questions that haunted her though. Only one did.
If she'd seen his wings, up there in the loft, would it have made any difference?
She didn't know.
She'd never know.
But she wanted to.
"I still can't see him, can I?" she asked. As she expected, Linda shook her head.
"I'm sorry, but no. Not yet. Maybe in a few days…?"
"A few days?!"
The sound of a text alert from Linda's phone interrupted whatever response she might have had. Maze's name appeared on the screen, and although Linda attempted to angle the phone away, it was too late.
Chloe had seen the message clearly.
PENTHOUSE. NOW. BRING HER WITH YOU.
"I don't understand," Linda said, looking down at her phone. "We're not supposed to… he can't…"
She read the message again. And again, as if that would somehow provide an explanation.
Then, she looked up at Chloe in alarm.
An Easter treat from me to you!
When they arrived, security let them straight in on sight. At first glance, everything in the penthouse seemed normal. Everything, that is, apart from the silence. The piano lay abandoned, the sound system mute. Without them, and with the absence of Lucifer's voice echoing through the air, the place felt empty. Hollow.
"Maze? Lucifer?" Chloe called out. She thought she saw the outline of Lucifer's body on his bed, but just as she was about to rush over there Maze came storming out of the bedroom, knife spinning in one hand.
They both spoke at the same time, their voices clashing.
"Is he okay?!"
"Where the hell have you been?"
Maze stood there, glaring, her blade still twirling as she waited for an answer. It was obvious she wasn't going to be the first to volunteer any information.
At least l know where the knife went, Chloe reasoned.
Mimicking Maze from earlier, she deadpanned, "Traffic." As per normal, her response didn't achieve the desired reaction from the demon, Maze simply giving her an appreciative grin instead.
"He's in there." She tilted her head towards the bedroom.
Chloe felt her heart sink as she entered the room. Lucifer lay prone across on the bed, his feet at the head, body angled away from the entrance. He was still coated in blood, but to her relief, Maze had been right, he didn't seem to be actively bleeding anymore.
Still, she'd expected him to look… better, somehow? If he'd healed enough to stop bleeding this quickly…
But his skin, what she could see of it, was even paler than it had been in the alleyway, and to her ears it sounded like he was still having trouble breathing. She gently sat down beside him on the bed, stroking her fingers through his hair. He didn't wake.
She'd been so focused on Lucifer that she realised she had lost track of the conversation. "They're stuck," she heard Maze say.
Linda appeared to immediately grasp what she meant. "Oh."
"Stuck? What's stuck?" Chloe asked. Maze looked at Linda and lifted her eyebrows.
The doctor nodded. "She knows."
"His wings. Every time he comes to and tries release them, that happens." She cocked her head towards the bed, where Lucifer still remained unconscious. "They're broken, probably."
Maze moved a little further into the room and leaned against the wall, arms folded. "There's ways of getting them out, but…"
She flicked the blade in her hand.
Linda visibly paled. "You're not saying…?"
"Last resort. It'd probably kill him."
Chloe felt sick. Were they actually talking about cutting his wings out of him? How would that even work? And how did they fit in there anyway?
"What happens if you don't?" she asked, afraid of the answer.
Maze pushed herself away from the wall. "Then they'll heal inside him. And you don't want that. Believe me."
"Is that why you... " Linda hesitated. "Is that why you needed us back here? So you could..."
She looked pointedly at the knife.
"Huh?" Maze followed Linda's gaze down to her weapon. "Ohhh. No. This will cut him even without- well, it'll do the job, put it that way."
"She's here to make sure he doesn't kill me."
Chloe realised then that they were talking about her. "What…?" she said incredulously. The man lying down beside her didn't even look like he could move, never mind kill anyone. "Maze, you're being ridiculous."
"Am I?" she said, walking towards the bed slowly. "That's the Devil you're sitting next to, Chloe. Do you think he's going to be pleased to find the demon who betrayed him here, with what I'm going to be doing to him?"
Chloe swallowed heavily. "What are you going to do to him?" she asked.
"Fix him." Her eyes tracked down his body. "Or try to, at least."
She turned sharply, grabbing a bunch of keys from the bedside table and handing them to Linda. "Here. Back corridor, third room on the left. There should be some pretty heavy duty painkillers in one of the drawers. Possibly some in the cupboards. Bring back whatever you can find."
Linda looked taken aback. "Why would he need to keep painkillers here?" she asked, "It's not like he," her gaze flickered to Chloe for a moment, "gets hurt often."
Chloe tried not to feel guilty about that. The doctor was obviously under the impression that whenever Lucifer was injured, it was her fault somehow. It was typical of him not to have mentioned that half the time it was him throwing himself in the line of fire, with little to no consideration for his own safety.
The thought invoked that same feeling she'd had earlier. She examined the man beside her, at the blood that covered his body. Was that what had happened here? How exactly had he got her out of that ambush?
Maze's voice broke her concentration. "Aftercare, you know, for when it goes too far," she said with a shrug. Linda's eyes widened as realisation kicked in.
"Oh… I didn't know he was into... Not to that level, anyway. He's never mentioned it."
"He's not." Maze walked over to the bed, sitting on the edge and unzipping her boots. "Or at least he's not anymore. Reminds him too much of Hell."
"Then why…?" Chloe had to ask; she'd always assumed that kind of thing was exactly Lucifer's bag. More than one of the sexual partners of his she'd interviewed had straight out told her as much.
"Because it's what you humans want, isn't it? Well, some of you. He asks what you want, and then he gives it to you. That's what he's 'into'."
Chloe watched as Linda looked at Lucifer, concern upon her face. She could almost see the therapist making notes in her mind for their next session.
"Linda!" Maze snapped her fingers, gesturing towards the back of the penthouse. "Drugs."
Linda blinked, coming back from whatever it was she'd been thinking about. "Don't you need to wait?" she asked, as Maze climbed up onto the bed, swinging one leg over Lucifer and straddling his thighs.
"They won't help with this," she said, looking down at the body beneath her with almost what Chloe would have described as sadness. If it wasn't Maze that is. "Nothing will."
Linda cast another look back at Lucifer before nodding silently, turning on her heels and quickly heading out of the room.
Chloe sat on the floor in a daze, trying to absorb what she'd just heard. Oddly enough, one thing stood out at the forefront of her mind though. Pointedly nodding her head at Maze's discarded boots, she looked at her with one raised eyebrow.
"What?" Maze replied as she shifted further up the bed, knees spanning Lucifer's hips as she positioned herself over his back. "You try dealing with the bitching about heels damaging the silk."
If anything, that just made her eyebrow rise further. "You're telling me Lucifer has a problem with girls who wear heels in bed."
Maze looked down at her. "Maybe you don't know him as well as you think you do, Decker."
You've got that right, she thought, studying the unconscious Devil in front of her. There was so much she didn't know about him, and apparently the truth of who he was, was only the beginning.
"Ready to do your thing?"
"My thing…?" Chloe glanced up at Maze, and her mouth dropped open in horror at what she saw. Her arms were raised in the air, hands clamped together to form a fist. "What are you do-"
There was nothing she could do to stop her. Maze brought her arms down full force, and they smashed into Lucifer's back with a sickening crack.
The effect was instantaneous. His eyes flew open, and the inferno within made what she'd witnessed earlier pale in comparison. Heat engulfed him, a devastating explosion that appeared to shatter his very being. Flames ignited in its wake, licking through the cracks that had formed upon his skin, attempting to break free of the prison that was his body.
Light flared inside the room as the shadows that normally reigned over the penthouse at night retreated, burned away by the strength of his fury. The fires of his domain blazed alongside their creator, escaping the smothering darkness that surrounded them and reclaiming their throne.
He opened his mouth, and there was no other word for it, the sound he made as his skin fell away was a roar. It reverberated through the air, pushing past her defenses and sinking into her muscles, leaving them ripped open and frozen as it twisted through her body. It was a sound that settled into her bones, digging into the marrow and awakening something deep within that she rarely allowed to break free.
A primal, undeniable force that tore at her senses until it was all that remained.
Pure, unadulterated fear that turned her to stone, unable to look away as the distorted blur that was his arm reached behind him, taking hold of the demon that sat astride him and hurling her away as if she were nothing.
And to him, perhaps she was.
Chloe barely had time to even register he had moved. One minute Maze was on top of him, her fist buried into the meat of his back, and then the next she was gone, smashing into the wall that made up one side of the entrance to the bedroom and taking a good chunk of the stone with her as she skidded into the living room. A loud crash followed, a splintering of wood that sounding suspiciously like the piano. And then, there was silence.
The move had cost the Devil dearly; when he roared again it was torturous, the cry of a wild animal, crippled and feral. Agony spilled from his lips as his form contorted, strange protrusions pushing up from underneath the skin of his back, only to disappear again as another wave of suffering ran through him.
It was too much.
What she had seen, what she had heard, it all molded together to form a nightmare come to life, a vision not meant to be seen by any human eye still living. The sheer terror of it all had Chloe scrambling back away from the bed into the corner of the room, the cool glass against her back offering no sanctuary, nowhere to hide from the creature that awaited her in the dark.
Only one thought occupied her mind now, on an endless loop that wouldn't abide until she accepted the truth.
He didn't lie. Lucifer had never lied.
He was a monster.
It was different to how it had been before. There, in the loft, with his usual tailored suit and concerned expression, some part of her had recognised him underneath. But here? Right now? She could see no semblance of him in the beast that lay before her, growling softly in the returning darkness.
She could find no humanity here.
Had it always been this way? She'd seen him angry before, seen him oh so close to breaking as the violence took hold, the darker side of him he'd always warned her about battling for control. Was this what had always been waiting, hidden under the surface, covered with layers of skin and fabric and lies?
How many times had he come close to letting go? How often did this creature emerge when she wasn't looking, consuming the man she knew and burying him under this endless hate and anger? And why, of all people, was she able to stop it?
Because she could, she knew that now. Her hand on his chest, the plea in her voice; she'd seen the wrath in his eyes die time and time again because of it. Maze had been right; for some unfathomable reason, she, and only she, possessed the ability to allay his rage.
And perhaps she could do that now.
She watched him carefully. The Devil lay almost deathly still upon the silken sheets, his motionlessness only broken by the occasional tremor that would leave him writhing until it passed. The black material surrounding him only served to highlight the raw, jagged remains of the burns that covered his body, burns which had never been allowed to heal as they should. It left her wanting to claw the image from her mind, to rid herself of it before it embedded itself permanently in her dreams.
Linda had said his wings were a dichotomy, but for her the idea of that was nothing compared to trying to amalgamate this creature with Lucifer. Suddenly the lengths he went to in order to achieve perfection outside of his natural physicality made sense. He hid this part of himself so well that the further away he looked from it in the mirror, the easier it must have been to pretend it wasn't there.
What he'd said earlier that day, about not seeing himself that way anymore, it felt like a lifetime ago now.
She was still shaking. Her mind had calmed, her body had not. It took a while before she could convince herself to move, every instinct she had screaming at her not to go closer to the danger. Lucifer, for his part, remained as he was, his head angled in the direction within which he'd thrown Maze. She got the distinct impression he was waiting for her to awaken. Whether he was preparing to attack, or be attacked, she didn't know.
Finally, her muscles relented, and she felt able to move again. Cautiously, she unfolded her arms from around her knees, preparing to push herself up from the floor. The second her hands touched the surface though, his head turned, focusing on her in an instant. When his eyes snapped to hers, she lost the ability to breathe. He tilted his head curiously, a hunter observing its prey.
Fear began to crawl up her spine again, and she found herself pressing further back into the corner, the need to cower under his gaze overwhelming. His rasping breaths slowly became growls once more, and when she whimpered, he smiled, a twisted version of her partner that would never have looked at her like that in a million years.
It was enough to remind her that it wasn't what she was dealing with, but who that was important.
"Lucifer," she begged. "Don't. Please. Don't do this."
Something flashed across his face. He blinked at her. Once, twice, confusion swirling in the depths of his fiery gaze. She tried to fight through the panic that still gripped her, wanting to go to him, wanting to bring him back to himself. His face changed once more, and for a few seconds, it was Lucifer staring back at her. He opened his mouth to speak…
Just as Maze marched back into the room, armed with what looked to be a leg from the piano. She looked at each of them in turn; taking note of how Chloe cowered in the corner while Lucifer lay on the bed, struggling to maintain his human form.
"Good job, Decker," she said, rolling her eyes in her direction. "You've been a big help."
Lucifer snarled at her derision, and Maze turned to face him, snapping something at him in a language Chloe neither knew or understood. Guttural and sharp, it grated against the ears, but it was nothing compared to how it felt when Lucifer responded in kind.
The sheer power in his voice was unlike anything she'd ever heard, the lights above them flashing as his words thundered into the room. She curled even tighter into herself, and as what he was saying echoed in her mind she began to hyperventilate. Her eyes closed and she found herself praying, wishing for anything that would make it all just stop.
And then it did.
The sudden silence was deafening. Chloe couldn't stop shivering, her body rocking back and forth uncontrollably. Somebody was talking, but she couldn't make out the words, couldn't hear anything over the sound of her own heartbeat.
Maze's laughter cut through the fog like a knife. "I don't serve you anymore, remember?" she snapped.
Lucifer however didn't answer, and when Chloe dared to glance towards the bed she found him staring at her in shock, his face slowly but constantly shifting between forms.
"Detective… I'm sorry… I-"
The sound of a slap cut through the room. In an instant the shifting stopped, and it was the scarred, ruined version of himself that faced Maze, his teeth bared.
"Very scary," she said, paying him no mind whatsoever. "Now, how about instead of trying to help her, you help me for a change?"
She cast an eye in Chloe's direction, and this time there was definitely sadness there. "Looks like you broke her anyway. And she's not going to get any less broken by you putting your pretty face on."
"It's a shame really," she said, as she turned back to Lucifer. "I thought she was stronger than that."
Chloe was watching what was happening, but it felt as though she wasn't really there, like it was a dream, or a show on the television. Logically, she knew her mind had distanced itself so she didn't lose it completely, but that didn't make the situation seem any more real. She was numb, and she wanted to stay that way.
The sound of multiple bottles and bags of pills being deposited on the bedside table announced Linda's return. "Wha- what happened?" she said, looking at Chloe with concern.
"Lucifer happened," replied Maze, nonchalant. "This all you could find?"
Linda nodded. "There's, er," she coughed. "Some interesting stuff in there."
"Don't worry, Doc," Maze said, moving onto the bed and mounting Lucifer again. He made a noise of protest, and weakly tried to throw her off. The demon moved out of the way with ease, and he groaned, the pain too great for him to continue. "The chains aren't for him."
She paused, reconsidering. "We might need them later though, if he won't stay still that is."
"No," he said, "not that."
"Help me then."
Linda had moved over to Chloe, who was still huddled in the corner. Chloe could hear her speaking, feel her hand on her arm, but it was no good. She couldn't connect with anything. Couldn't break free, from this... whatever it was.
Getting no response, the doctor turned her focus back to Maze. "Is there anything I can do to help?" she asked, rising from the floor.
"There is," Maze said. "You can pray."
"W- What?" Linda replied, astonished. "Why?"
Maze rolled her eyes. "Well, I can hardly do it, can I?" She gestured in Chloe's direction. "And she's hardly going to be getting on her knees for Lucifer any time soon."
Slowly, she ran a finger down Lucifer's spine, as though she were searching for something. He grimaced under her touch. "Besides, he'll listen to you."
Linda looked as though she needed to sit down. "God. God is going to listen to me."
"Sure, why not? Maze said, smiling as she managed to hit something that made Lucifer jerk. "He listens to all his precious humans."
"Well, I, um-" The therapist stumbled, lost for words. "I mean, what do I even say?"
Maze kept it together for a few more seconds before she cracked, throwing her head back and laughing. "Amenadiel, Linda, pray to Amenadiel. We're going to need him. God… God doesn't give a shit."
The doctor gave Maze a look of disapproval before leaving the room again, muttering something about now not being the time.
Maze ignored her, leaning forward and running her fingertips over the back of Lucifer's head, far more gently that Chloe could have ever pictured her doing. "I'm not sure he ever has."
It was the compassion in her voice that made Chloe blink, made reality come back into focus a little more. It didn't fit with what she knew, and it was enough to clear some of the haze in her mind. She gasped, and the sound drew Lucifer's attention.
"Chloe?" he said, the fire in his eyes wavering, dying down into familiar warm brown before rising up again. Oh, and it was worse, so much worse to see that face say her name instead of her title. It didn't seem right, it wasn't him.
But it was.
So she ignored it, focusing instead on the voice she knew so well, the voice she would recognise anywhere, no matter the face it came out of. Slowly, she rose from her position on the floor, stretching out her limbs and gingerly walking over to the chair beside his bed. Close, but not too close. When she sat, she heard him exhale, as though he'd been holding his breath the entire time she moved.
"So what do we do?" she asked Maze, finding her voice again.
"I get his wings out, you keep him from throwing me into the damn wall again. Simple."
Lucifer said nothing, still watching Chloe carefully, as if he were waiting for her to bolt at any moment. She had to admit; part of her wanted to.
"How…?" she asked.
Maze pressed into Lucifer's spine again and he winced and bucked slightly. In response she simply tightened the grip she had on his hips with her knees. The demon clearly had no intention of going anywhere this time.
"Angels…" Lucifer stiffened at the word. "They aren't all that different from humans really. Well, apart from the obvious. Hit 'em in the right spot, and poof, feathers everywhere."
"How do you even-" Lucifer started, but stopped abruptly when a look of disgust appeared on his face. "Right. My brother. Please, don't go on."
Maze chuckled. "I figure I must have hit the wrong spot the first time though, right?" She continued to light trace her fingertips up and down his back, and he tensed again, a low growl emitting from his throat. "So if you just tell me…"
"The bloody things can stay in there as far as I'm concerned, Maze."
"Oh, okay then. Because being practically crippled is an option, is it? Can't fly. Can't fight. What happens when they eventually kick your ass back down to Hell, huh?"
She dug her fingers in and he blanched, gritting his teeth.
Chloe's heart stopped. They could do that? Would they send him back to Hell again someday?
The fact that he didn't argue with her spoke volumes.
"Lucifer," Chloe said, quiet but insistent. "Let her help. If not for you... then for me?"
Something in his face softened, brown eyes staring back at her, and she knew what his answer would be before he even spoke.
"As you wish, Detective."
He sighed, long and slow. "Mazikeen, if you please?"
This time, Maze took it steady. One by one, she tested his vertebrae, until finally he flinched and said, "There."
Suddenly she didn't seem quite so confident anymore. Turning to Chloe, she looked at her expectantly and asked, "You ready?"
Chloe got the distinct impression that was a question for all three of them.
"What do I do?"
"Talk to him. Hold… urgh," she said, pulling a face that was eerily similar to Trixie's back when she would catch her kissing Dan. "Hold his hand or something if you have to."
The image of Lucifer, overtaken by rage and pain, played again, still fresh in her mind. She shuddered a little. Maze wasn't the only one dreading this.
"Decker, listen to me. I have never met anyone who can control him the way you can. All you have to do is keep him calm until it's done. Got it?"
Chloe looked at Lucifer, who was currently grumbling something along the lines of, "She doesn't control me…" under his breath.
Maze snorted. "You keep telling yourself that."
"Okay," Chloe said, and it was self-reassurance more than anything. "Okay." Steadying herself, she slid from the chair onto the floor until she was eye level with Lucifer. He watched her cautiously, as though he still were waiting for her to run. His hands were hanging loosely over the side of the mattress, and she reached for them.
As soon as she touched his skin though, he pulled away. Wrapping his fingers firmly around the frame of the bed instead, he shook his head at her. "I don't want to hurt you."
She laid her hands on top of his. "You won't. You never have."
He blinked, and when his eyes opened again it was an endless, surging pool of flame that stared back at her, just for a few seconds. "You don't know that," he said, dark and serious.
She squeezed his hands tighter. "I do."
It was at that moment that they were interrupted by a rather pissed off sounding demon.
"If you two lovebirds have quite finished?"
Chloe wasn't sure who flinched more at that, her or Lucifer. Still, she backed away, giving him space for whatever was about to happen. "It's going to be okay," she said, before looking up at Maze and giving her a small nod.
At the first strike, he made almost no sound, just a choked off gasp as his body absorbed the blow, that he smothered as quickly as he could. His face constricted under the pain, but his eyes remained locked onto hers, not wavering for even a second. It was as though she were an anchor, the only thing keeping the beast inside him tethered.
"Again," he growled.
The second blow saw him cry out, his head bowed, hands crushing the point at which he held the bed frame until the entire structure bent and pitched inwards. She couldn't help but reach for him, but as she did his skin began to change again, scars snaking their way up his arms, growing thicker and longer which each shudder that wracked his body. Regardless, she pushed on, but his head whipped up to meet her. "No."
She'd never seen the fire in his eyes ignite from this close before. It started in his pupil, one infinitesimally small spark that burned so hot it was white, barely even visible before the rest of his iris caught. The spread reminded her of wildfire, of an unstoppable fury that consumed everything it touched, until all that was left was the radiating heat of those inhuman eyes, piercing into her own.
It wasn't a request, it was a command. Maze stiffened above him, and for moment Chloe was able to see how she must have looked in Hell; determined, deadly, and without mercy. The demon gave a single nod, and drew back her fist once again.
This time when it connected, something cracked. It wasn't the loudest noise, barely even audible over the sound of Lucifer heaving in gulps of air, but it was enough. Enough to steal the breath from his lungs, to make his entire body spasm, jerking up off the bed, as something bulged out near his spine.
All Chloe could focus on was his face as his humanity was stripped away from him once more. There was no sudden change this time. No, it was more like he was being flayed; the skin from around his eyes peeling, melting away in a cascade that rippled down his body. His eyes were wild, unfocused, and the next time Maze struck…
A flash of white exploded from one side of his back. He continued to cry out, the glass windows surrounding them starting to crack as Maze continued to strike him with precision, blow after blow, until Chloe had to cover her ears, the sound of his agony too much for her to bear.
Until at last, it was over. The final hit caused something to wrench free from his body, a white, twisted and torn thing that rose high into the air before crashing back to the ground.
And as it fell, so did he, his head lolling to the side as conscious thought slipped away.
Chloe couldn't breathe, couldn't move, couldn't tear her eyes away from him.
That was until a single bloodied feather, glowing softly in the darkness, floated into view.
She rose from the floor.
White. So much white. It was all her mind could comprehend.
Everything else fell away. The thud of his wings hitting the floor. The feathers that fell, dislodged in the impact. The sound that accompanied them, like rain upon the marble.
Maze climbed down from the bed, bending down beside her and scooping up something from below. Chloe barely noticed.
The voice seemed distant, unimportant compared to the sight in front of her. His wings were the most breathtaking thing she'd ever seen, their soft glow a stark contrast to the dimness of the room.
But the longer she looked at them, the more she noticed something was wrong. Every time she blinked, there was more clarity. A broken feather. No, shattered feathers. Each one tainted by blood, no longer seeping but caked throughout, no part of his wing left untouched.
"Decker," the voice insisted again.
Still, she didn't respond.
"Chloe." A hand grabbed her shoulder, spinning her around. The world snapped sharply into focus. Maze stood there, and her eyes… was she crying?
"How many did he take for you?" she demanded yet again.
"I don't… I don't understand," Chloe said.
In answer, Maze opened up the cupped hands she held out in front of her...
…and let a dozen or more bullets fall to the floor.
Oh god no.
This time, when she turned to Lucifer, she saw everything.
The feathers, frayed and broken, littering the marble and the bed around him.
The break in his right wing, the fractured bone clearly visible as it lay awkwardly on the sheets.
The bullets that had joined them, those few lucky enough to be dislodged when his wings broke free.
And finally, the many holes that indicated those still buried, surrounded by blood spatter she was more used to seeing on corpses than something still alive.
If he were a human, he'd be dead.
For all she knew, he should be dead.
"Lucifer," she breathed. "What did you do?"
He stirred underneath her, just for a moment.
"Keep you safe…" he mumbled, barely audible. "All that… all that matters."
And then it hit her. Unbidden, she closed her eyes, and suddenly she was back there, an intense pain in her chest, the sound of gunfire all around. The darkness was taking her, pulling her down, and all she could hear was him screaming… and screaming… and screaming.
He'd sheltered her.
And this had been the price he'd paid.
She dropped to her knees, cradling his face in her hands. "Lucifer…"
He opened his eyes to look at her, the flames within barely moving.
"Don't cry," he whispered. "You shouldn't cry, not over me."
"You saved me." She shook her head. "I can't believe... why would… thank you."
"You saved me too," he said in reply. "...More than you know."
"Okay," Linda called out as she rounded the corner into the bedroom, "I did the best I-"
She skidded to a halt. "Oh my," she gasped.
"Mazikeen?" Lucifer said. The demon stepped into view. "Ah, there you are. Can you please..." He shifted awkwardly on the bed, before seemingly coming to the conclusion that finding a position that was less painful was going to be impossible. He sighed wearily. "These things aren't going to cut themselves off, you know. Chop, chop."
The Devil lay in front of her, casually talking about amputating parts of his body and looking awful pleased at having made a pun about it.
This was her life now.
All three women spoke in unison. They stared at each other, and Maze broke the silence first. "I told you before. I'm not doing that again. Ever."
"Lucifer, you can't. You promised me you wouldn't do that to yourself anymore," Linda pointed out.
"Didn't say somebody else couldn't do it for me," he grumbled under his breath.
He'd done this before? Multiple times? Why?
"You used them to save me," she said quietly. "You can't do this."
She thought she saw a flash of anger in his eyes, but when she looked again, it was gone. Eventually, he inclined his head slightly. "If you insist, Detective."
"What do we do then?" Linda asked, "How do we fix this?"
"Beats me, you're the doctor," Maze replied.
"How many times, I'm not that kind of-"
Linda looked at Chloe pleadingly, silently asking for help. Luckily for her, this, she knew.
"We remove the bullets," Chloe said decisively. "Clean the wounds, bandage what we can. Do you have any supplies?" she asked Maze.
"A few. Down in the bar. We keep them there for bar fights, that kind of thing. It's rare, but it happens."
"Okay. Something is better than nothing. Go get them." Maze bristled at the order, but complied nonetheless. "Linda, do you think you could fetch some water?"
Linda nodded, disappearing towards the kitchen.
"So authoritative, Detective. I like it."
She rolled her eyes. With him, it was almost automatic by now. "You're not funny, Lucifer. How much pain are you in?"
He tried to shrug, but by the look on his face immediately regretted it. "Less than I was, more than when I've not been shot," he said blithely.
An evasion, something she was more than used to.
"I-" he hesitated. "I can't turn back though. It's too much."
It was only when she saw him looking at this hands that she understood. He was talking about his face.
Just as she was about to reassure him that it was okay though, Linda returned with the water. "I hope you don't mind, Chloe," she said, "but I called Ella earlier to tell her you and Lucifer were safe. She's going to let Dan know."
Shit. She hadn't thought about either of them the entire time. And with her phone off…
"Are they at the loft?"
Linda shook her head. "She said when they got there the place was already swarming with cops. They both got sent home. There's people looking for you."
Chloe must have looked worried, for the next thing she knew Linda's hand was on her shoulder. "Maze has the place on lockdown. Nobody is getting in here anytime soon."
"That's not going to make it any easier to explain…" she sighed.
The touch of leathered skin brushed over her hand, and this time, she managed to resist the urge to pull away at his touch. "There are ways of making these things disappear, Detective," he said, and for a second she saw the old Lucifer there, the one who thought he was above such things as petty human laws. "Don't worry. I'll make sure you are not punished for this. None of you will be."
He said it with such surety that she couldn't help but believe him. Lucifer never lied, after all.
She heard the sound of the elevator, and it wasn't long before Maze joined them again, first aid box in hand.
"Will this do?"
Chloe took it from her, examining the contents carefully. "It'll have to." She took out the gauze, needle and thread, anything that could be useful. Linda held out her hand.
"Pretty sure I can remember the basics."
Maze looked up from where she'd been inspecting the damage to Lucifer's left wing, tracing the edges of one of the bullet holes with her blade. "No stitches. He'll heal quickly… after."
Without warning, she stuck her knife into the wound, causing Lucifer to yell. Chloe wouldn't have thought he could pale in this form, and yet, he did, letting out a stream of unrecognisable curses. After a few minutes, Maze managed to prise the bullet out, and it dropped to the floor with a clink.
"I'm getting good at this," she said with a smirk.
Lucifer growled. "A little warning next time, Mazikeen?"
"I can do better than that," she said, abandoning her position by the bed to wave a bag of pills in front of him. She tossed them to Chloe, who caught them without thinking. "There's more on the table when you need them."
Chloe looked at her in disbelief. "More than this? Let me get this straight, you think he's going to take all of these?" There must have been 50 in there at least.
"No. He'll need to take all of these." She gestured with her knife. to the myriad of bottles and bags of medication that Linda had gathered earlier. "You saw how much that hurt, Decker. Even with you here, they won't kill the pain for long. Wings are… sensitive, or so I've been told. Imagine digging out glass from under your fingernails." She paused, thinking, and grinned. "Or one of Trixie's legos from your foot. I'm taking that one to Hell with me by the way, if I ever get back there."
"Why me? If you know how many he needs…"
"Because he trusts you. It doesn't matter how out of it he gets, he'll take whatever you give him."
Lucifer was unusually silent. This was normally about the point she'd expect him to argue. Instead, he merely indicated towards where she knew his safe to be. "You'll find a bottle of the good stuff in there, Detective. Should wash things down nicely."
She stood, and he rattled off the combination. As she went to type it in though, she stopped. "Lucifer, that's my badge number."
"Is it?" he said, oh so innocently.
Shaking her head, she smiled. He wasn't fooling anybody.
It was time to begin. Before she could stop him, Lucifer grabbed a handful of the pills, throwing them into his mouth and swallowing them whole. "Just to start things off," he said lightly. Almost as an afterthought, he added at a volume that only she could hear, "You'll do fine, Detective."
A few minutes later, she saw the fiery points that counted as his pupils dilate, and those charred lips of his smiled dreamily.
"Oh, that's lovely…" he slurred, closing his eyes.
"We should move quickly," Linda said. Already, Maze had started working on the next impact point.
They continued in relative silence, and it was just after the third bullet came loose that Chloe spoke again. "How long do you think-"
She didn't even get to finish her sentence before she heard Lucifer whimper, as Maze twisted her blade in a little further. Lifting up one of his eyelids, she was shocked to find him already starting to focus. When the next bullet was freed, he whined, making her decision for her. She opened up the bag in her hand, and it wasn't long until he was pain free once more.
They fell into a pattern, Maze expertly wielding a weapon that was in no way meant for surgery, while Linda washed down his feathers and stemmed the worst of the bleeding as best she could. When she noticed the pain getting too much, Chloe would measure out the pills again.
She hadn't noticed how fast she was getting through them.
"Chloe," Linda warned, "That's all we have. You need to make them last."
All she could think about was the trust she could see in Lucifer's eyes. He was counting on her to make this bearable for him. He was counting on her to-
"She's right." Maze said, sweating with the effort of digging out those bullets lodged into the thicker muscles that lined the top of his wing. "He's endured far worse than this. Why do you think he looks the way he does?"
Chloe didn't even want to think about that. All she cared about was that at the moment, she could help him not be in pain anymore, just for a little while. Still, she slowed down, leaving him just that bit more conscious, just a bit more self-aware.
He didn't take his eyes off her the entire time.
It felt like a hundred years had passed when the last bullet hit the floor.
With a loud thunk, Maze buried her knife into the table beside the bed.
"And now, we wait," she said.
She stalked over to the bar, never looking back for a second. Linda followed. Thinking Lucifer was still out of it after the last dose she gave him, Chloe went to stand and join them, but as soon as she did, she felt a hand around her wrist.
"Don't go," he murmured.
"Lucifer…" she said, "You need to rest, okay?"
He shook his head blearily. "Don't go," he repeated. She realised then what he meant.
Gently, she removed her wrist from his grip, moving his arm back onto the bed in a way that would be more comfortable for sleeping. "I'm not going anywhere," she assured him softly. "I'll be here when you wake up, I promise."
With that, his face relaxed and he closed his eyes, slipping away into sleep almost immediately.
When she got to the bar, there was already a drink waiting for her. Maze had the right idea; after what they'd just finished doing, they could all use one. In fact, after all she'd been through today, Chloe was surprised she hadn't thought about hitting the bar already.
"There's really nothing more we can do?" Linda asked as she pulled up stool, her vodka swirling in her hand.
"Not until he gets here, no," Maze replied, pouring a round of shots and downing them, one by one. She looked across the penthouse to where Lucifer still lay sleeping.
"They chained him when they let him fall, you know."
She said it casually, as though she wasn't talking about one of the biggest events in a biblical history.
"They let him fall, and they let him burn."
"That's why he doesn't like chains?" Linda asked. Maze nodded, before snatching up a bottle from underneath the bar.
"When I found him, he was broken. And I don't mean emotionally," she spat, the word distasteful on her tongue. "Bone, skin, there was nothing left Hell hadn't torn to pieces. If he were one of mine, it would have been my best work."
Neither Chloe nor Linda asked what she meant by one of mine. They already knew.
"His wings healed first. They always do, for angels. But… there was too much fighting, too much bloodshed. They healed, but they healed wrong. And so, when it was over," she hesitated for a moment, taking a drink straight from the bottle, "he asked me to break him all over again."
Something in her eyes glistened. Linda reached out to her, but she simply shook her head and moved further away across the bar.
"Do you know how many bones are in an angel's wing? I do. I know how to break all of them. I know the sound they make when they snap. I know the time it takes for them to set. And I know how much it hurts."
Chloe sipped at her drink. Hearing Maze talk about Lucifer... how had she never realised just how much she cared for him, underneath it all? She knew they were friends, knew they'd been friends for a long time… longer than she ever could have imagined, she knew now. But the way Maze spoke about him, it was almost like they were family.
Which made how she could have betrayed him even harder to understand.
And yet… family hurt each other sometimes. She knew that too.
Maze slammed her now empty bottle down upon the counter, wiping at her mouth. "It took months," she said, "to get him back to how he should be. Couldn't do it all at once, you see. Always another rebellion around the corner, always another fight to be had. Weakness has no place in Hell."
She smiled then, and it was all teeth. "And he was never weak. Never merciful. Never trusting. Not like he is up here."
With the way she looked at Chloe then, she got the distinct impression Maze blamed her for that.
"I was his right hand and still he didn't trust me, not completely. But I protected him when he needed it, served him when I wanted to. It was enough. And when it was time, he told me which bone to break, and I did. The rest, he dealt with himself."
The sound of something hitting the doors on the balcony attracted her attention, but when Chloe turned to look, there was nothing there. It had probably been a bird. Maze, however, looked disappointed, as though she'd been expecting something else entirely.
"That's why I can't help him. I don't know how to fix him. I only know how to break him."
Neither of the humans in the room said a word.
A low groan sounded from the bedroom.
"I'll go," Chloe said, slipping down from the stool and placing her drink back on the bar.
When she got there however, he'd already slipped back into unconsciousness again.
A wave of exhaustion washed over her, and it was only then she realised just how tired she was herself. She considered for a moment crawling onto the bed to lie beside Lucifer, but no sooner had she thought it than she dismissed it. There was no way of doing that without disturbing his wings.
The fact that she'd had the urge in the first place though… it said a lot.
Instead, she retrieved a blanket from the closet, draping it over herself as she curled up in the armchair next to him. The sofa would have been comfier, but… she didn't want him to wake up alone.
She closed her eyes, listening to the comforting sound of his breathing.
Within seconds, she was asleep.
The sound of Amenadiel's voice brought her out of her slumber.
"Oh Luci," he said. "What have you done?"
He approached the bed, his hand outstretched, but stopped short of actually touching the bloodstained feathers. Lucifer stirred, his attention drawn to Chloe.
"Worth it," he muttered, sotto voce.
Amenadiel followed his brother's gaze to where she sat curled up in the armchair. "Chloe."
He sounded shocked. "Chloe, you can't be here."
Lucifer's voice was stronger now, a little less drowsy. He looked at Chloe for a second, and then amended. "She stays as long as she wants to."
"Brother…" Amenadiel warned.
"I'm not going anywhere," Chloe said.
She smiled at Lucifer, and he returned it. And although to see a smile on that face was still disconcerting, it was his smile. As time went on, she saw more and more of him in there.
"Very well," Amenadiel said, albeit it reluctantly, and she couldn't for the life of her understand why.
Why was it such a problem that she stay?
There was no time to ask though, Amenadiel busy examining the break in Lucifer's wing with grave concern.
"Knife's over there if you want to cut them off, brother. Make your life easier." Lucifer's voice was muffled by the pillow he currently had his head buried into, but Chloe could still hear the note of distress there.
To her surprise, Amenadiel paused, looking at the blade still buried into the bedside table, almost as if he were considering it. When he looked back at her, it must have shown on her face, for he shrugged. "They grew back before."
Lucifer raised his head. "They won't. Not this time."
Chloe thought of the horrific scars that had once marred his back. They were nothing compared to what she was seeing now of course, but the pain he must have gone through…
"Can you save them?" she asked Amenadiel.
He lifted the most damaged wing slightly, leaning over to take a closer look at it. Lucifer made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a whine.
"I think so. We have a brother who would normally be in charge of this kind of thing… but I've dealt with enough injuries in battle to know the basics."
"Your brother won't help?"
Amenadiel just looked at her sadly.
An annoyed grumble broke the sudden quiet.
"Well if you're not going to do me the courtesy of removing the bloody things, can we at least get on with it?"
Amenadiel took a deep breath. Chloe tried not to laugh; she knew exactly how it felt having to deal with Lucifer sometimes, and his brother must have been doing it for… well, longer than she wanted to think about right now.
"Chloe, you're not going to want to be in the room while I do this," Amenadiel said, as he started to adjust both his and Lucifer's position so that he could better access his wing.
"For once, he's right, Detective," Lucifer forced out, his voice breaking as he struggled with the pain of being moved. "I don't- I don't want you here for this."
Standing up from the chair, she moved closer, crouching down and taking Lucifer's hand. "Alright. I'll just be in the other room if you need me, okay?"
When she went to leave, he tugged her back again. "Don't sit near the bar."
She smiled. "Tired of me drinking the top shelf?"
Wearily he looked at her, not laughing. "Just… don't sit there. Or on the balcony." Letting go of her hand, he shoved his face in the pillow again, evidently unwilling to explain further.
Puzzled, she turned to leave. "Chloe?" Amenadiel called out after her. "Ask Maze if she has anything he can bite down onto."
Her face fell. She'd thought the worst was over. Apparently, she'd been wrong.
Taking one last look at Lucifer, she walked out of the room.
It was like being stuck in a hospital waiting room. Maze had disappeared into the back of the penthouse for a while, and emerged carrying what looked like a selection of ropes and other objects Chloe couldn't quite identify. She could hear the murmur of the three of them talking, but not what they were saying.
Something occurred to her. She turned to Linda, who was sat on the other sofa. "What did Maze mean earlier, when she said the drugs would have more of an effect with me here?"
The doctor floundered for a moment, and Chloe braced herself for the usual excuses of therapy and confidentiality. But they never came. Footsteps across the marble floor had Linda turning her head over towards the bedroom, just as Maze vaulted over the back of the sofa and dropped down next to her.
"What I meant was-" she started to explain.
"Maze…" Linda said, warningly.
"Look, if she hasn't figured it out by now, she will soon. And if she doesn't, well, he's not going to tell her to leave, is he?"
Linda looked at Chloe, and let her eyes fall to the floor. "I suppose not, no."
"Will somebody please just tell me what's going on? Why does everybody want me to leave all the time?" Chloe demanded.
"Because you're the reason he's in this mess," Maze stated bluntly.
"Lucifer is an angel. Immortal. Invulnerable. Except... around you."
She couldn't breathe. Couldn't speak.
Memories hit her like a battering ram. It appears you make me vulnerable too. The Devil gets burned by fire. It's not me I was worried about, Detective.
...What's happening to me?
"Why?" she managed to stammer out. "Why would he stay with me, if that's true?"
"Because he's a fool," said Maze, at the same time Linda said softly, "I think you know the answer to that, Chloe."
Her thoughts were whirring, her heart thudding so loudly in her chest she thought it might escape at any moment.
And then, it all fell away as a scream tore its way into the penthouse.
A scream that didn't stop. It only grew louder, to the point where even Maze looked sickened to hear it, shifting uncomfortably on the sofa. Underneath, there came a low grunt of effort from Amenadiel, follow by the snap of bone grinding against bone.
The room exploded.
Glass from every direction shattered into the air. The wall behind the bar became a waterfall, whisky spilling onto the floor as each bottle fractured and broke, almost inaudible over the inhuman howl that shook the apartment.
Chloe threw herself down on the sofa, covering her head with her arms. Across from her, Linda did the same thing. The room continued to shake, items stored lovingly on the library shelves falling to the floor, with books soon following.
It seemed to go on forever, despite the fact it was probably no more than a few seconds.
When it stopped, the silence was terrifying, far more so than anything Chloe had encountered that day so far.
Before she even knew it, she was halfway to the bedroom. Maze was there in an instant, taking her by the arm. "You might not want to go in there, not yet."
Chloe glared at her. "Let. Me. Go."
The demon did exactly that, stepping aside with a flourish that clearly said, it's your funeral.
Chloe turned, immediately walking straight into Amenadiel.
He caught her by the shoulders, steadying her. "It's done," he said. Stepping back, he looked at her kindly. "He's asking for you. But Chloe-"
"I can't stay," she whispered. "I know. But I need to see him."
Nodding just the once, he smiled sympathetically. "I'll leave you two to it."
Lucifer was no longer in the same position as he had been when she left. He now lay on the edge of the bed, his right wing spread out over the mattress, supported by pillows and blankets, while the other hung over the side, where it covered much of the floor.
She thought he might have been asleep, but when her foot crunched on the remains of what had been the stained glass window as she entered the room, he mumbled her name.
"Hey," she said softly, crouching down in front of him so their faces were level.
"You're still here," he replied, wonderous and unbelieving.
She knelt down properly on the floor and took his hand. He tried to shy away at the feel of her warm, smooth skin against his own, but she held on tightly, unwilling to let him run from her.
"Of course I am."
She smiled, and for the first time she thought she saw the tiniest ember of hope in his eyes.
He never stopped looking at her for a second as his fingers carefully curled around her own, searching her face for even a hint of discomfort at his touch.
"You'll stay?" he asked, that ever growing hope evident in his voice now.
She closed her eyes, not wanting to see the look on his face as she said her next words.
His hand tensed, but before he could remove it she brought her other hand up to stop him, placing it on top of his and pressing down gently. He could have easily broken free, she knew that, but he acquiesced, remaining where he was, his fingers trembling underneath hers.
"You know why I can't," she said, opening her eyes and watching as understanding dawned.
"They told you."
She nodded, and he looked away. "They shouldn't have."
"Lucifer…" she sighed. "Of course they should, they needed to. What would you have me do, stay while you lie here in agony, taking twice as long to heal, just so I don't leave?"
The look on his ravaged face told her that yes, he would have her do exactly that.
She ran a hand over the top of his head, her memory providing the feel of soft, silken hair where there was none. He leaned into her touch, and her smile returned as she held the side of his face with her other hand, stroking a thumb over his cheekbone.
"I don't think I'll ever understand why you stayed," she said, "knowing you could get hurt around me. But Lucifer, you can't expect me to do the same. I don't want to go, I don't want to leave you, but I can't sit and watch you suffer either. Not when there's something I can do to help you."
Her eyes fell to the floor as her chest grew heavy, and a tear ran down her cheek. "This is all my fault. None of this would have happened if it wasn't for me."
It was his hand that hovered over their entwined fingers now, and he altered their positions until he ensconced both of hers safely within his own. "No, Detective. I meant what I said earlier. You cannot blame yourself. It was my choice to stay. My choice to protect you."
Removing one hand, he wiped away her tears. "And as for your question, the answer is simple really."
She blinked, and found warm, rich brown eyes staring back at her.
There he was.
"Chloe," he said, in that soft, reverent way as he always spoke her name. "There's nowhere else I'd rather be. Father himself couldn't make me leave you."
He left her breathless.
This man. This wonderful, complicated, unfathomable man.
How could she have ever doubted how she felt about him? About all of him. The dark, the light, the good and the bad. They were all part of the person he was. Her partner. Her friend.
It was true, there was much she didn't know, much she couldn't even hope to understand.
There was one thing she understood though, and that was him. Who he was at his core.
Devil or angel, it didn't matter.
To her, he was just… Lucifer.
The rest though? Well that was a different matter entirely.
Her former worldview was gone, fractured beyond repair. The mere thought of Heaven and Hell, Gods and angels, it caused a swell of panic to rise and sit in her throat, waiting for the moment she would break and it could escape.
She could see now why Lucifer had warned her of humanity's inability to handle proof of divinity; just the idea of it was both awe inspiring and terrifying.
But she had the Devil on her side, and there were others who could help her as well, now that she knew. Linda for one. Maze… well, maybe not so much.
She would get there though, that was the important thing. And she had to make sure he knew that.
"I need time, Lucifer. We both do."
The look he gave her in response was apprehensive; him being him, she already knew he expected the worst.
"You need time to heal," she said, unable to stop her gaze from drifting to his still-bloodied wings. "Time away from me."
He opened his mouth to protest, but she shook her head.
"And I… I need time to come to terms with all of this. What it all means, for me, for us…"
There it was again, that tiny spark of hope at her use of the word us.
"But, Lucifer..." She pulled her hands away from his, and cupped his face. "I'm coming back. I'm not going anywhere, I promise. I just need time, that's all."
He smiled, and suddenly all she could see in the face looking back at her was love.
Yes, it wasn't the face she was used to. But it was still Lucifer, and that was all that mattered.
"Time heals all wounds, Detective?" he said, pensive but hopeful.
She leaned forward, pressing a kiss to his forehead, the skin there underneath not feeling quite so strange anymore. When she drew back, it was barely.
And when she spoke, it was her choice to let her lips brush against his.
She chose him.
She would always choose him.