She was beautiful.
Lucifer surveyed the dance floor from his position at the bar, searching for a flash of blonde hair out of habit. Only the dark haired beauty caught his eye though, despite only having glimpsed her through the throng for a second. The heavy beat of the music pulsed around him, the air thick with desire. On evenings like this he could almost taste it, touch it, as if it were a tangible thing. His vision slowly became hazy and he sighed in relief, the whisky he'd been consuming non stop since returning from work finally beginning to affect him.
Because that's all it was now, work. No drinks to celebrate solving a case, no visits to the Detective's home, barely even the chance to speak to her when they were together. Which was rare these days, now that she knew. Over and over his dreams were haunted by her face, the horror there as she saw him for who he truly was. Which is why tonight, like every night, he found himself seeking the kind of blackout oblivion that only drugs and alcohol could provide.
Go home, she'd said. As if this was home. The Detective had become home a long time ago, and he was fairly certain she was lost to him now. True, he was still allowed to attend crime scenes, but he was of more use to Daniel these days than he was to her. It was only recently that he'd realised how little she needed him, and the last few weeks had done nothing but prove that. Outside of work he kept his distance as she'd asked, despite hating every single second he was away from her. Hardly a day went by when he didn't see her, and yet he missed her terribly.
Still, if she insisted on him spending his time in Lux, he felt he should at least try to take advantage of what his club had to offer. The crowd parted again in front of him, and he watched as the woman he'd noticed earlier swayed her hips to the beat, lost in the music. Her long dark hair danced around her body, and he wondered what it would feel like against his skin. He could have her, if he wanted. He could have any of them.
But she wasn't her. None of the many women he'd taken to his bed lately were. Not even the men had helped. Sighing, he turned and tapped the bar, another drink appearing beside him before his fingers even left the surface. The shipments to Lux had doubled in size lately, and he knew none his employees could figure out why. It wasn't their place to ask though, and he wasn't about to explain. Flying crates filled with the strongest liquor money could buy from the storeroom to the penthouse had been easy. A fine purpose for his wings if ever there was one.
It was nothing compared to the last time he'd used them though. Saving her had been the most important thing he had ever used his wings for, or would ever use his wings for. The recovery from that day had taken longer than it should have, thanks to his refusal to fully leave the Detective. He'd taken flight from the loft as soon as he became aware of what had transpired, he had no choice, but he stayed close, unable to bring himself to go without making sure she got the help she needed. He observed from a distance as she was led away from the scene, followed her home to make sure she got there safely, called Linda to let her know her services were required and waited until she arrived. It was only when the agony became too much for him that he finally left her.
And then there was nothing. No calls, no texts. Not from her, only from the doctor. He lay alone in the penthouse for days, carving out the bullets that had already healed into his skin. There were those that would have helped had he called, but the elevator remained locked. He wasn't ready for anyone else to know.
To know what had happened, and to know what he'd done.
It hadn't taken long for the first aftershocks to hit, his true nature not being the only one to be revealed that day of course. Mazikeen was still dealing with the ramifications of that, her requests to visit the spawn denied. The traitorous demon was here even now, working behind the bar, paying a self-imposed penance to the master she'd once considered a friend. He couldn't care less. As far as he was concerned, they were done. For eternity.
The drink in his hand was gone again, a new one in its place. This time, with some pills as a chaser. He gave a nod of thanks to the bartender, before downing them both. It wouldn't take long for them to start working, his metabolism already overwhelmed by the amount of alcohol it was dealing with. This was a nightly routine he had perfected, his usual steps taken to achieve any semblance of intoxication amplified tenfold. He found himself smiling for the first time that day, knowing that soon, for a little while, they would help him forget.
Because he couldn't stand it anymore. Didn't want to remember than she needed time, that she wanted space. He wanted her here with him. So if drinking enough, taking enough, would help him escape from the reasons she wasn't, then that's what he would do.
Anything was better than waiting, than hoping. At first, he'd waited for her call. Then after nearly a month, when the number for the precinct flashed up on his phone, he'd hoped. It wasn't the Detective though. It was never her, not anymore. Apprehensively he'd agreed to help Daniel with an interrogation, knowing she was likely to be at the precinct. When he arrived she'd been at her desk, but as soon as he was within sight she walked away.
He'd felt it like a physical blow.
She didn't ask him to leave though, and he chose to cling to that like a lifeline. So the next day, he went in again. And the day after that, and the day after that. Until eventually, the team were headed out to a crime scene when she looked at him, actually looked at him, and said, "You coming?"
The joy he'd felt in that moment was something no drug could ever hope to reproduce. Although now that he'd had a few, these ones were really trying. The lights were brighter, the music louder. When he spun around to face the bar again, the room went with him. He was pleased to find the bottle had now been left there, the staff too busy to keep up with his rate of replenishment. Psychic bartenders; always his favourite kind.
Reaching to pour himself a drink, he frowned as the amber liquid missed the glass entirely. He tried again, with the same result. As he stared at his own hand in confusion, he felt an arm wrap around him from the side. A lithe female body rubbed against his as she manoeuvred her way around him. The woman from the dance floor. Apparently all he needed to do to bring a human to him these days was look at them.
All except one, that is.
He shook himself, determined to rid himself of thoughts of the Detective for the evening. She wasn't here. The beauty in front of him was. Her hand left his waist, dragging deliciously across his hip. Moving closer, he heard the unmistakable clink of glass upon glass, as he lowered his head to hers. He grinned against her skin, purring into her ear. "You know, they call that stealing, where I'm from."
Breathing her in, he dared to run his lips down her neck to her shoulder, close enough so she could feel him there, but never quite touching. Slowly she turned on the spot, handing him a drink before picking up her own. After tipping her glass towards his, she took a sip, never taking her eyes off him for a second.
"It's not stealing if you're sharing," she replied with a wicked smile.
His kind of girl.
"Many thieves in Hell are there?"
Definitely his kind of girl.
He did love it when they joined in with the game, not that it was a game for him of course. The rest of her drink disappeared as she waited for him to answer. Letting his eyes roam over her body, he returned her smile in appreciation. There was something familiar about this woman, something tugging at his normally near perfect memory.
He pushed it aside. The point of tonight was to forget, wasn't it?
"Plenty of thieves, darling," he responded, relieving her of her now empty glass and placing it on the bar behind, leaning over her body and deliberating brushing past it as he drew back again. He tilted his head down, meeting eyes that were filled with just as much fire as his own.
"Tell me, have you ever had something stolen from you? What is it you desire to have more than anything else in this life?" he asked, his power enveloping her as he idly ran his fingers through her hair, before sweeping it back over her shoulder.
Her reply was a whisper, a caress that he seemed to hear in his mind rather than with his ears. "You. I only want you."
He didn't even have to think about it, grabbing her hand and pulling her through the crowd with ease. As soon as they stepped foot inside the elevator he captured her lips with his own. Her scent filled the enclosed space and he luxuriated in it, in that rich, heady aroma, undercut with something that reminded him of hellfire.
They fell into the penthouse, tearing at each other's clothes, and when she pulled out a packet of pills from within her bra, he didn't object. Chloe wasn't here, so nothing could hurt him anyway.
Except the fact that Chloe wasn't here.
The high he'd been on the verge of losing downstairs returned, and the next few hours passed in a haze of lust and wanting. Because that was all he needed, to be wanted. Every time his eyes began to regain focus, every time he started to remember, she would bring him something to take, to drink. Eventually, the cumulative effect of it all helped him reach a point he'd never quite been able to achieve on his own. And for that, he was grateful.
After he collapsed onto the bed, exhausted but closer to happy than he had been in weeks, she lay naked alongside him, moulding her body perfectly to his. Running a hand up over his chest, she gently cupped his face, turning his head towards her. "Tell me everything," she said, such concern in her voice that he couldn't help but believe that she cared.
And so he did.
"Have you thought any more about talking to him?"
Chloe lifted her head to look at her friend, for the first time since arriving for her appointment. Her hands, which she had been staring at from the moment she sat down, continued to wring in her lap.
Linda looked at her sympathetically. It was a look Chloe was beginning to hate.
Most of her colleagues had concluded that there had been some kind of falling out between her and Lucifer, and naturally they assumed the blame lay with him. Which led to the shoulder pats, the lemon bars left on her desk, Dan constantly checking to see if she was okay, and Ella hugging her every chance she could. It wasn't right. They didn't know.
"Why? Because you're scared of him?"
Her answer was rapid, instinctual. "No!" She shifted on the sofa, trying to think of a way to explain herself. "I've never been scared of him, not really. I'm scared… of what it all means, I guess."
"And what is that?"
Her newly appointed therapist sat in the chair opposite, legs crossed and notepad poised. Chloe sometimes wondered if coming here had been a good idea. On the one hand, it was a relief to talk to someone who could understand. But on the other, Linda didn't know everything, and what she did know she often wasn't willing to share. Apparently, for her, ethics applied even in celestial situations.
"Heaven. Hell. God. A Goddess apparently? It's all real. So very, very, real. And yet it still doesn't feel real." Finally Chloe unclasped her hands, burying her head in them as she continued talking. "I've never believed, you know? Never thought for a second that it all actually existed. But he told me, day after day after day. Who he was. What he'd done. Where he was from. It was all true. And it's… it's too much to handle."
Linda nodded. "I know. I've been there."
Frustrated, Chloe raised her head sharply, snapping her response. "Yeah, and you got over it in like what, a week? I've barely spoken to him for over two months, Linda!"
The doctor appeared torn for a few seconds. Then she stood and crossed the room, joining her friend on the sofa. Chloe sat up, and Linda took her hands, holding them tightly. "I'm not over it. Not yet. I'm not sure I ever will be, not really. It takes time to-"
"It's not the same for you," Chloe interrupted. "I'm sorry, but it isn't. You're not… he's not…" Tears began to fill her eyes as she thought of what could have been, what should have been. "It wasn't supposed to be like this."
Letting go of her hands, Linda wrapped both arms around her. "I know. I know. I'm sorry."
Chloe cried until her session was over.
That evening, sleep eluded her. For hours she sat by the fire in her apartment, a glass of wine in one hand and her phone in the other, until the flames died down and the early morning sunrise began to appear over the horizon. She couldn't stop looking at the text message on her screen, the one she'd been trying to draw up the courage to send all night. So many times she'd nearly done it, only to pull her hand away at the last second.
"It's easier, thinking of him as just my partner again, and nothing more."
Those were her last words to Linda as she left. She was doing what Lucifer did best; lying to herself. He hadn't been just her partner for a very long time now.
"Does he know that though?" Linda had asked. "From what you've told me, it doesn't sound like you are partners anymore."
Her assessment wasn't incorrect. When Dan had suggested Lucifer come back to work, she'd agreed out of necessity. They were trying to crack a particularly tough case, and his… abilities were needed. Sometimes it felt like it was the wrong decision. Because he was still Lucifer. He looked like Lucifer, dressed like Lucifer, acted like Lucifer. He was the same and yet he wasn't, all at the same time. With him there, it was hard not to let herself fall back into old patterns, into the partnership they'd created together. But she couldn't, not yet. She didn't know how to. So instead, she withdrew further away.
And gradually, their routines altered. She didn't drink the lattes he left on her desk, so after a few days he stopped bringing them. When he greeted her like he always did she didn't answer, so he stopped doing that too. Sometimes she'd slip and smile at him, or laugh at one of his frankly terrible jokes. It was the hope on his face that made her realise what she'd done. False hope, because for her, nothing had really changed. Day by day, bit by bit, she watched as the brightness in his eyes began to die.
"Start slow," Linda had suggested. "It's okay to reach out, even if what you have to say isn't what he wants to hear right now. He'll understand, or at least he'll try to. He'll try for you."
She was right, Chloe knew she was. And yet, something held her back. It had taken her this long to realise what it was. She wasn't ready, and it was hurting him. It was in his eyes, every time he looked at her. She didn't want to hurt him any more than she already had.
Putting down her empty glass, she read the draft of her message yet again. I'm trying. I just need more time, that's all. Before she had time to change her mind, she quickly made an addition. I'm sorry.
She took a deep breath, hovering her finger over the send button once more. It was important he knew that all hope wasn't lost. She needed to do this, for him.
And so she did.