Lucifer knows you’re sick before you do.
You chalked it up to allergies at first when you woke up with your throat sore and your head aching. But Lucifer seemed to know from the moment he saw you at breakfast that it was something more. Perhaps it was the way you stumbled over your words while answering questions during class, having difficulty hearing your own voice over the pounding in your head. Perhaps it was your comment on the chill in the air at lunchtime, a remark that caused Leviathan and Satan to give each other a confused, sideways glance. Or, perhaps, it was no one thing at all but rather an accumulation of small changes in you, so small you didn’t even notice them yourself.
Regardless, Lucifer has been giving you knowing looks all day, so when you hear the sharp-knuckled rap on your door after dinner, you know who is on the other side. You don’t even try to speak, but Lucifer lets himself in anyway after a pause. He tilts his head slightly as he closes the door behind him and takes in what must be a sorry sight: your fragile, human body buried beneath a mountain of blankets with only your flushed face visible, your fever-glazed eyes peering at him with weary suspicion.
“What—” you start, but your throat is dry and scratchy, and you can’t force the words out.
Lucifer lifts a brow. He holds out a glass of water and a couple of small pills. You eye them warily, and when your gaze darts to Lucifer’s face he looks like he can’t decide whether to be exasperated or amused. “Do you honestly think I would poison you?” he asks wryly. “You look to be on Death’s door already.”
“I’m not that sick.” You manage a full sentence this time before you reach out and grab the pills, swallowing them down with the water. You wince as the act makes your throat hurt, and your body, too, protests, the movement of your muscles sending a fresh wave of ice through your veins. You sink back beneath the blankets and tug them up to cover every inch of your burning skin.
Lucifer’s gaze goes almost pitying. “You are aware that if you had said something earlier today, I would have brought you medicine sooner, yes?”
You give him the best glare you can muster and don’t bother to answer.
Lucifer sighs, shaking his head, and settles in on the edge of your bed, mattress sinking beneath his weight. You watch in fever-hazed confusion as he tugs off one of his gloves; then he presses his bare hand to your forehead before you have a chance to protest. You shiver as the back of his hand touches your hot skin, even more chilled than before, as if the cold of his hand is drawing away whatever lingering heat remains in your body. “…you have a fever,” Lucifer says with a frown.
“Never would’ve guessed.” Your voice breaks at the end, making it sound less sarcastic and more pathetic.
Lucifer gazes at you for a moment as if in consideration before standing, pulling on his glove, and walking away. You think at first that you’ve annoyed him into abandoning you, but he comes back a minute later with a cold compress in his hands. Returning to your bedside, he smooths back your hair and gently lays the compress where his hand was moments ago.
Maybe it’s the sickness, but you find your breath catching at the sight of this man, this demon, one powerful enough to lead a rebellion against God Himself, treating you with such care.
“You have quite the talent for getting yourself in trouble.” Lucifer’s fingers thread through your hair. “I’m impressed you were able to catch a human cold in the Devildom.”
“I have many talents,” you mumble. Your eyes lid as he continues to stroke your hair softly. You find yourself leaning into it, even as you consider reluctantly, “You shouldn’t touch me. You’ll get sick too.”
Lucifer chuckles; the movement of his fingers doesn’t slow. “I will admit that I haven’t researched it personally, but I don’t believe demons can catch human illnesses. We are entirely different species.”
Your face suddenly burns more than the rest of you. “You make a good point.”
“I always do. Now rest.” The mattress creaks as he shifts slightly. “I’ll stay with you tonight.”
“What?” Your bleary eyes blink open, and you stare up at him in startled confusion. “You’re not leaving?”
“You have a fever. Of course I’m not leaving.” Lucifer’s fingers still, fingertips coming to rest at the nape of your neck, and he looks almost uncertain when he adds, “Although I suppose I can, if that’s what you wish.”
“That’s not what I meant,” you say hurriedly. “I’m just surprised. You aren’t usually this nice to me.” You close your eyes once more, far too tired to attempt to keep them open. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were worried about me.”
Lucifer is silent, motionless, for a long time. Then he says, simply and quietly, “I have known a great many humans to die from illness.” His fingers return to running through your hair, but there is a hesitancy to their slow pace now. “It never bothered me before, but the thought of something happening to you makes me feel… uneasy.”
You understand now, without him having to say it. Lucifer is worried. It is easy for you to forget sometimes that you truly are far more delicate than him, and he has been a demon for a very long time. He has no doubt watched countless humans succumb to illnesses of all sorts. The very catalyst for his rebellion was a sick man and his sister’s love for him. Is it any wonder that Lucifer would be worried? That he would want to stay with you, not only to comfort you but to reassure himself as well? If he can count your labored breaths as they grow more even, watch your skin return to a healthy color and feel it lose the intensity of its heat, he will be okay too.
“…I want you to stay,” you say, and Lucifer’s fingers curl loosely in your hair. Even without opening your eyes, you can sense his pleased smile. “But on one condition. You’re not sitting on the edge of my bed all night. It’s making me uncomfortable.”
Lucifer’s fingers pause. You wait patiently. Then he laughs, the sound low and fond; then you feel a rush of cold as your blankets are lifted up; then strong arms and soft wings envelop your body as he pulls you into his embrace. “Always full of surprises,” he murmurs, lips lightly brushing the top of your head and his fingers running in small circles down your spine. His feathers tickle your arms as he lowers them protectively around you. You bury your head in against his chest, breathing in his warmth, the earthy smell of bergamot and cardamom and amber, and maybe it’s the medicine, or maybe it’s him, the touch of his hand and the safety of his embrace, but you feel better. You feel better already.