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Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

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“Daniel?”

The subject responded slowly, looking up at him through the glare of the sun. “Lucifer? I haven’t seen you in weeks.” under his breath, he added, "dick."

He was crouched over a body, doing detective things. Dan looked back down. “Chloe could probably use your help here - she keeps calling you, but fuck if I know why after you ran off again . Where have you been, man?”

Lucifer put his hands in his pockets, frowning. He looked up at the sunny, blue sky then back down at him. “Why are you here?”

Dan squinted up at him, holding a hand to block the sun, the light cutting harsh lines of shadow this time of day. “This is my case. I actually shouldn’t even be here myself; I'm too involved in it. But when has that ever stopped an LAPD assignment?"

“But why do you think that?” Lucifer regarded the body without interest. Another boring case.

“You’re really out of the loop, aren’t you? I shot this guy while he was running away. It was an accident. A few days ago, he robbed that liquor store over there,” he pointed, “then took off. I heard gunshots and saw the clerk in the store go down, so I went after the guy still upright.”

He paused. Lucifer waited.

“I told him to stop. He didn’t.”

“And why would you think someone called me in for this?”

Dan gestured, “It’s what you do, isn’t it? Turn up and provide insight. Maybe I’ll get lucky, and this guy shot someone for real.”

“But he didn’t, did he?”

He thought about it. “You should call Chloe. She'll be pissed if she finds out you were here and didn't. And you should stop running off. Even Trixie asks about you.”

Surprise entered his voice for the first time, curious. "The urchin? Really?

"Something about Stir-Friday? Sounded like a knockoff of Taco Tuesday."

Yes. That. It happened a few times. He'd gotten pretty adept at cooking slices of steak just right and everything that went with it. That was before Eve. "Chloe really was your better half."

"Tell me something I don't know."

Lucifer smiled wide. "Pythagoras had a foot fetish. Mostly mine."

"Who?"

Lucifer huffed, "the man credited with the invention of A squared plus B squared equals C squared?"

Dan finally stood, shaking his head. "The theorem guy?" 

Lucifer gave him a vaguely impressed look.

"Despite appearances, I did well enough in college to actually help my kid with her homework."

His face fell softly. "Ah. Right. I do hope she'll be alright. At least Maze watching her."

"Trix will be just fine. She's a tough kid, and Chloe said Maze comes over to sit sometimes. She adores Charlie too. Are you actually back in town again or just visiting?"

"Short visit I'm afraid. I've been swamped whipping Hell back into shape. It's a full-time job these days."

"No rest for the wicked? You really should come by the improv class again, to participate. Amenadiel comes by Wednesday nights now when he can get away. We have a lot of fun."

"You sound oddly less angry than the last few times I saw you, Daniel."

Dan bit his lip. “I don’t blame you anymore for Charlotte. I did, for a really long time. I’m still not a fan of yours, but even I have to admit there were things beyond your control. Things it honestly wasn’t fair of me to blame you for.”

Lucifer looked down at the body. “There seem to be some other things you needed to let go of. Do you believe this was your fault?”

“I mean, I could pin it on all on my instincts.” He ground his teeth, “I’m so tired of people getting away with things. I was angry when I shot at him, and I shouldn’t have been. I dunno. Maybe I’m in the wrong line of work. After Charlotte, I should have stayed on desk duty.”

“When did you stop blaming me for her?”

Dan turned and walked away. Lucifer followed. “Right before you left,  I think. I talked to Dr. Martin - probably not a good idea either since she’s your therapist and it’s not good to cross professional lines. But she helped. I’m going to go see her again today.” 

“This might sound odd coming from the Devil, but I’m glad you went to her.” 

Lucifer looked around and snagged a coffee from a tray that someone left behind. He popped the lid off and dumped half his flask into the paper cup. He took a long swallow. “Oh, yes, cold crime scene coffee, straight from the precinct, probably 3 hours or so old. Oddly miss that.”

“Why don’t you come back anyway? What’s the deal this time? Married another hooker?”

“Can’t, I’m afraid, no streetwalkers - this, or last time. I really shouldn’t even be here at all. I’ll probably do quite a bit of drinking later tonight.”

He snorted, “You can say that again. I could use a drink myself. Sure, you’re helpful sometimes, but I really don’t get why you keep hanging on to the Devil persona. I get you’re pretty invested in it, but don’t you think it’s time for something new?”

“Funny you should say that. Now, of all times.”

Someone yelled. 

A man raised a gun, pointing in their direction.

Dan looked up and leapt, shoving Lucifer out of the way, spilling coffee all over the pavement.

Shots rang out and struck flesh, wet and yielding before steel.

Cops tackled the man, bringing him to the ground. Dan followed, falling to the street, bleeding from multiple strikes.

Lucifer watched, oddly detached. “That was interesting. Did you really save someone or did you just push me out of the way because I'm here now?”

The dead man rose from where he’d been cold for hours, gloating over Dan as he struggled to breathe around the bullet holes.

The shooter who arrived broke free of the uniformed officers and started screaming about how Dan killed his brother, waving his heavy gun in the air and taking aim at Dan one more time. 

This wasn’t the first time he watched. It was the first time Dan ‘saved’ him though. The first time, when Lucifer found him, he didn’t interfere. He did, however, immediately run out and make sure Chloe was nowhere to be found before returning to see when it began, where it started. He happened to catch Dan near the end of it this time.

Lucifer held out a hand and stopped the charging man from shooting again. He was held there frozen in time while everyone else kept moving. If it continues, the shooter unloads the rest of his clip into Dan and it was a vision Lucifer could do without witnessing this time.

His friend spasmed, bled out, and died.

Again.