The highway was miraculously free of traffic, a rare sight in Los Angeles. It was as if someone had simply plucked every other vehicle off the road. Chloe Decker, however, did not notice this small miracle. Her attention was focused on the man sitting beside her in the car. The man she had shot not an hour ago.
Not that you would know it by looking at him. Lucifer Morningstar was lounging impressively in the passenger seat, though the confined space made his pose a tad underwhelming. He was leaning back against the headrest, eyes half opened though Chloe knew he was alert. His left foot was tapping along to the song playing softly from the radio, body incapable of being completely still for any length of time.
Her gaze slid to his right thigh, where his hand was resting protectively over the bullet graze, thumb tracing the area lightly. Though she knew it must hurt, he had not stopped touching the injury since it had been bandaged. It must be shock or something, why else would he be so obsessed? Then again, he had reacted similarly once he had noticed he was bleeding. The look he had worn could only be described as marveling, as if bleeding were a pleasant surprise.
"Detective, far be it for me to tell you how to drive but if you keep taking your eyes off the road, I fear we'll crash." Lucifer said mildly, bright eyes flickering to meet her own.
Chloe felt heat flower across her cheeks at being caught staring. Returning her focus to the road, she caught Lucifer's smirk in her peripherals.
"We're not going to crash." she said to alleviate her own embarrassment. "Give me some credit."
One of Lucifer's brows rose in an elegant arch. "This coming from the woman who just shot me."
She was just able to hold back the flinch. That moment in the warehouse still felt so surreal. She could still feel the weight of the gun in her hand, feel the recoil...
"Lucifer, I am so, so sorry I shot you. I don't know what came over me." she said, frowning as she chanced another glance at him.
"It's not your fault Detective. I did ask for it after all." he chuckled to himself. "Though I must say, I'm a little surprised it took so little convincing."
"It doesn't matter whether or not you asked for it." she argued.
Lucifer merely shrugged, clearly not agreeing with her. His attitude about the incident was worryingly casual, like he was indifferent. She was not even sure what that meant but it certainly scared her. What in the world had made him so flippant about his own life? Didn't he know he could have died? She could have shot him in the chest. Or one of the siblings who had staged the kidnapping could have attacked him from behind.
"Do you think it'll scar?" he asked suddenly, prodding the small, round hole in his pants curiously.
Chloe did not answer immediately, more concerned with switching lanes as their exit was coming up soon.
"What did you say?" she asked.
"Do bullet wounds scar?" he repeated. "Your's did if I'm not mistaken. But I'm not human so maybe not. I wasn't supposed to bleed either though…"
Chloe could feel the beginnings of a headache. A threatening pressure was forming just behind her eye, as it often did when Lucifer went off on one of his delusional tangents. His talk of scars, however, also reminded her of the scene she had walked in on earlier in the evening.
She had firmly blocked out the naked Lucifer part because… well first of all it was completely inappropriate and second she was still married. Those scars on his back though… she had never seen anything like that before.
They had been massive, at least a foot long and five inches at their widest point. The skin was rough and knotted, raised lines spreading across the area like corded tree branches. She could not imagine what could have caused such a thing but she knew it must have been a traumatic experience. That level of damage was not something someone could just shrug off.
And it must have affected Lucifer deeply, judging from his reaction when she had tried to touch them. In the two months they had worked together, that was the only time she had seen him display anything even resembling vulnerability. It had been a deeply emotional moment, something she should not have been privy to. They were not close enough for that, hardly more than strangers. Yet he had felt comfortable enough to show her them… and everything else.
"Lucifer, what happened to your back?" she asked carefully.
He looked at her oddly, brow furrowing. "Detective, I already answered that question. I told you, Maze cut off my wings."
She wanted to cry in that moment, seeing him so completely caught up in his own delusion. The earnest look he wore proved he believed wholehearted what he was saying. It was horrifically cruel.
"People don't have wings." she said softly, trying to remember her psychology classes from back in school.
She had always been warned about threatening a person's delusion, some could become dangerous or violent.
"Yes I know. But I'm not human. Honestly, it's like you don't listen to a word I say."
Chloe did not trust herself to answer, her lip was wobbling dangerously. Were the scars on his back what had caused him to believe he was really the Devil? And if that was the case, what had happened to him?
She tried to picture Lucifer as a child and found she could not. Something about the image was off, like he had never been young, which was ridiculous.
"Detective, have I upset you?" he asked, subdued.
His smirk was gone now, replaced with a worried frown. He was leaning towards her, trying to get a better look at her face.
"It's not you." she said, not liking how concerned he now was.
He seemed to hardly care that he had been shot but now that she was upset, he was acting like that was the most important thing in the world to him.
"But you're…" he trailed off, eyes screwed up, puzzled.
How did she ever get into this mess?
"How often do you see Dr. Martin?" The words were hardly across her lips before she covered her mouth. "Oh God, I'm sorry. That's personal."
Lucifer was still watching her, searching for something. His fingers still danced lightly over the bloodstain on his pants.
"I see the good doctor once a week usually."
Well, that was something at least. He seriously needed help, though she doubted one therapist would be enough for the man. His Devil shtick ran far deeper than she had initially thought, so much so he literally thought himself impervious to bullets...or he had at least. After tonight, she could safely say he was not.
"And does it… help?" Chloe was walking a fine line, she knew.
Lux was near now, the top of the building slowly becoming more and more pronounced.
Lucifer sighed. "Sometimes."
And then there was silence.
Her partner turned his head away and stared out the window. His shoulders slumped beneath the leather jacket he wore for the sting. Chloe preferred him in his suits. The leather just did not look quite right on him, too underwhelming and plain for his boisterous personality. In fact, quiet did not suit him either.
It was only now, faced with an unnaturally contemplative Lucifer, that she found she absolutely loathed it.
He had a wonderful smile. Some people's eyes were always cold but his smile lit up his entire face, crow's feet crinkling. The world delighted him in a childlike way, every discovery amazing him.
"Detective, you've passed Lux."
Chloe sucked in a breath, daydream spinning away. Sure enough, she had plowed right on by the night club, and considering the exterior of the place was lit up light a Christmas tree, that was no small feat.
"Shit." she swore, executing a 'completely legal' u-turn.
She pulled into the narrow space between the club and building next store, stopping just short of the parking garage. The moment she put the car in park, Lucifer was fumbling with the seat-belt she had demanded he wear. The device gave way with a click and he opened the door, swinging his injured leg out carefully before climbing to his feet.
"Thank you for the ride Detective." he leaned down to address her, one hand resting against the top of the car. "I'll be late tomorrow."
"You don't have to come in." she said hurriedly, shooting another look at his leg.
"Of course I do! We're partners remember?" Besides," he paused long enough to look over his shoulder before dropping his voice, "Maze is a terrible nurse."
"If we're really partners, then you would help me with the paperwork." Chloe teased, trying to ease the tension from before.
She was relieved when Lucifer smiled crookedly at her comment. She did not want to leave him feeling badly, especially because it was her prodding that had diminished his good mood.
"Good night Detective." he said, closing the car door.
She watched for a minute as he limped towards the main entrance and engaged the bouncer at the door in a brief conversation. Even with the limp, he was the picture of grace. Most of the people lined up were watching him hungrily and he prowled down the line, greeting his guests.
He was giving off a completely different vibe from a moment ago. It was beginning to dawn on Chloe that Lucifer was a fantastic actor. If she had not witnessed it herself, she never would have believed he was that good at pretending.
The weight of worry melted off his shoulders, his towering form demanding the attention of everyone in his vicinity. The smirk was back in place, though far more predatory this time.
He was playing a part, she realized.
The only question was, which parts of him were just acts?
That was the question that dogged her the entire way to her mother's home. The dashboard clock said it was nearly eleven and she hoped the sitter had been able to put Trixie down. Her daughter always had a hard time falling asleep on these late nights.
She pulled into the driveway and entered the borrowed home, sending the sitter home with a promise to pay her the next time she babysat.
The house was pretty clean, only a few Barbie dolls left out for unsuspecting adult feet to step on. Gathering the toys up, she made her way to Trixie's room. At first, she thought her daughter was sleeping but when she set the dolls on the dresser, Trixie sat up.
"Mommy?" she said, rubbing at her eyes.
"Hey Monkey." she sat on the bed and opened her arms for a hug.
Trixie crawled into her grasp easily, small body fitting perfectly on her lap. She was going to miss these sorts of moments when her daughter became older and no longer wanted cuddles.
"Why are you home so late?"
"Mommy was arresting someone." she said, running her hand through that wild dark hair.
Trixie frowned, pulling her head away so she could look her in the eye. "Was it dangerous?" she asked.
This was one of the worst parts about being a detective. Trixie was growing up and becoming more informed about what it meant to be an officer of the law.
"Sort of." she said, not wanting to lie but also refusing to scare her. "Lucifer got hurt."
Trixie's eyes widened in alarm and she grasped Chloe's face with her hands. "Is he okay?" she said in that stage whisper children use.
Chloe gathered her hands gently and held them, the soft warm skin a contrast to her own calloused fingers. "He's okay. It was just a graze."
Trixie broke into a smile, missing front teeth leaving a large gap which Chloe found absolutely adorable.
"Good." she said.
Chloe once again wondered about the one way connection her daughter had formed with the club owner. Trixie adored him, always asking if he was ever going to come over for a play date. The fact he was an adult did not seem to register with her daughter, who treated him as she would any of her school friends.
She wondered if there was something to that, if Lucifer gave off some signal that drew Trixie to him. He certainly was childish enough to be seven.
"Who's taking care of Lucifer if he's hurt? His mommy?" Trixie had climbed out of her lap and was now sat beside her, feet swinging lightly against the mattress.
The question surprised Chloe. "Monkey, Lucifer is an adult. He doesn't need anyone to take care of him."
"But when you get hurt at work Grandma takes care of you and you're an adult." Trixie noted.
And Chloe could not argue with that because it was one hundred percent true. Every time she was injured on the job or got sick, she would usually call her mother. That was the relationship between parents and children. Lucifer, however, had never spoken about his mother. He complained about his father, and to a lesser extent, his siblings, but never once had he brought up the woman who had birthed him.
A picture of her partner was starting to form and she did not like it at all.
It involved Lucifer as a younger man - she still could not picture him as a child - estranged from his family and left behind with massive scars. His brown eyes were uncertain, mouth partially opened as he searched fruitlessly for someone. Anyone.
It was the same look she saw every time a traumatized kid was brought into the station, haunted eyes unable to cry even as their lips quivered under the weight of the cruelty they had been unfairly wrought. It was the look of teens in foster care who pretended to be indifferent to the world that had let them down one time too many.
It was the look of people who had been abandoned.
Robotically, she said good night to Trixie and tucked her in. Her daughter was asleep within seconds, content with the knowledge that her mother was safe.
She moved into the dining room and opened up her work laptop. The Los Angeles Police Department crest was the background, official and foreboding. She opened up the police database, entering her password and badge number to gain access. Once in, a search page was displayed.
Not sure how else to start, she simply typed 'Lucifer Morningstar' into the name bar and clicked enter.
The police database only held certain information. Criminal records, vehicle registration, property ownership. Things that would be important for investigations.
The first thing to come up is information about a parking ticket from five years ago. A parking meter had run out and Lucifer's convertible had been ticketed for illegal parking. Otherwise, the section was empty.
Vehicle registration proved to be equally unenlightening. According to their records, he had only ever owned one car, the black 1962 Corvette Convertible. He had bought it five years ago from a private seller.
There was nothing under property ownership as he rented Lux and did no technically own it but there was a note about the business saying it had opened five years ago - the exact same day he had bought his car.
She was sensing a theme here.
If Lucifer had ever been abused, or his family had been marked for it, that should have shown up in his records. That was based on the hope his birth name really was Lucifer Morningstar. But even if he had legally changed it, there should have been a record of that too. Instead, she found absolutely nothing. It was like he had crawled out of a hole five years ago and began his life.
Clicking out of the database, she opened Google. Once again, she searched her partner's name.
It took a bit of fiddling with the filter option to remove the results related to the Bible or churches. Apparently, Lucifer's reputation did not exceed California as most of what she found was from local papers and magazines.
A few articles were about Lux but she ignored these as they were more about the club itself rather than the owner. It was not until midway through the seventh page of results that she found something.
It's one of those gaudy paparazzi sites, filled with candid photos of celebrities just trying to go about their lives. Lucifer had an entire page to himself, his name at the top in bright red font.
Most of the photos were of a very pissed off Maze holding her fists out threateningly with Lucifer in the background. A few, however, actually show the club owner without his ninja bartender.
One was of him playing the piano at Lux. The bar was almost completely empty, aside from a few people clustered on the couch to hear him play. Shot glasses are lined up along the top of the piano, an ashtray holding several cigarette butts.
Lucifer was looking down at his hands but his expression was completely lax, eyes hooded. He was leaning over the keys, in his own world as he played. She had never seen him like that, so completely enthralled.
Tearing her eyes away from the photo proves harder than she thought. There was something mesmerizing about it, about the curl of his fingers as they hovered delicately over the keys.
Clicking to the next photo, she gave her head a firm shake.
The next one was of the pool connected to Lux. A dozen people were in the water, most of them clutching plastic cups. Lucifer's back was to the camera, his shoulder's rolling as he shrugged out of his button up shirt.
This time, his scars are clearly visible.
She zoomed in on his back until the photo became somewhat grainy. The skin looks even worse, like the flesh had been melted. It cannot be a burn because there's no discoloration but she cannot imagine what else could have caused the spider web of scar tissue. They are the exact same shape and size, twin crescents that sit directly over his shoulder blades and frame his spine.
Abruptly, she clicks off, feeling sickened.
The clock shows it is past midnight now but she is too wired for sleep. The image of the scars refuse to dissipate, lurking in her vision.
She is now fairly certain that something terrible, something monstrous, happened to her partner in his youth. And from what she had gathered from his Biblical ramblings, he had gone through it all alone.
Chloe was not someone who could ignore suffering. It was the reason she became a cop, to make a difference. And she was certain this was one of those situations. If her father was still alive, he would never have ignored someone like Lucifer.
And she was not about to either.