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Actually, Do Shoot the Messenger

Chapter Text

Dan could hear the piano before the elevator made it all the way to the penthouse, something with crashing rock chords that he didn’t recognize. The soundproofing really was very good; he couldn’t actually hear Lucifer singing until the doors opened. “I know that I’ve been wrong, but I know where I belong, I’m gonna fly between the moons of Venus… Ah, it’s you, Detective Espinoza. Forget something?”

He’d spent the ride up the elevator composing what he was going to say. It was a really good statement, too, covering all the salient points. In Dan’s mind, however, Lucifer had been wearing clothes. “I… uh,” Dan explained. His carefully organized thoughts couldn’t compete with the sight of Lucifer, stark naked, standing up from his piano, cigarette in hand. “Can you put some clothes back on?”

“Are you sure? This,” Lucifer said, gesturing at himself, “is still on offer, if you’re up for it. I could certainly use the distraction, now that the dear Detective has decided I’m a monster, again, without giving me a chance to explain, again.”

The bitterness in Lucifer’s voice rankled Dan almost as much as being called a “distraction”. He wasn’t sure there was a victim in this scenario, definitely not in the way Chloe had assumed, but if there was, it was certainly not Lucifer. “Chloe sent me up here, actually, to tell you,” he ground his teeth, “she’s sorry, and that she’ll hold up her end of the deal you two made. This, by the way, is your opportunity to explain what that was,” he said, jaw clenched.

“I’m fairly certain you don’t want to know.” Lucifer, unashamed, walked around the piano and shrugged his bathrobe back on. “But it must have been a truly interesting conversation you had. Oh, to have been a fly on that wall,” he said. He tugged the belt of the robe, cinching it with a yank. “There, satisfied?”

“No, actually,” Dan said. “Extremely not satisfied. Seriously, you and Chlo… conspire against me, you manipulate me into sex with you to score points off each other in some weird game, and I didn’t even get to come...” Dan choked. He hadn’t meant to say that last part, but he knew from experience that once you started confessing your feelings to Lucifer, it was hard to stop. The anger drained away abruptly, leaving him numb and tired and more sad than anything else. “No, that last thing at least wasn’t your fault. I’m sorry, man, I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

Lucifer’s expression softened slightly. “I’m fine. Now, anyway. The parking structure is out of range, so no damage done.”

Dan was shaking his head. “No, no more cryptic remarks. Chloe said… you had something to show me. Something that apparently got her to start buying into your Devil cult-of-personality bullshit again, even though she should know better.”

“The Detective said I should show you? Really?” Lucifer ground out his cigarette, giving Dan an appraising look. “Hmm.”

Dan was achy and emotionally wrung out, sobering up, and he’d had about enough of Lucifer. “Just cut it out with the dark mystery thing, man. It’s childish. Tell me whatever it is you have to tell me that you think will make a difference. Or don’t. I don’t even care any more. I’ve been a homicide detective for longer than ‘Lucifer Morningstar’ has existed, I guarantee I’ve seen worse than whatever sad little secret you’ve been holding onto to get Chloe to feel sorry for you. My father fucking hit me, too, Lucifer. It’s not an excuse to lie to people and jerk them around the way you do.”

Something dangerous flickered in Lucifer’s eyes and Dan remembered that he could be violent when provoked, but he discovered he didn’t much care. “Very well,” Lucifer said, his voice controlled. “If you insist. Come with me,” he said, and Dan followed Lucifer across the penthouse to… the bathroom. Which also didn’t have a door, Dan noticed, but which did have a pair of floor-length mirrors set at angles to each other. Lucifer gestured for Dan to step past him. Dan looked into four different versions of his own reflection.

The moment stretched, Dan watching Lucifer stand there behind him like he was about to say something. “O-kay. What am I looking at?” Dan finally said impatiently, and Lucifer took a step forward, putting his hands firmly on Dan’s upper arms. Dan started to object, trying to jerk away in annoyance, but Lucifer’s grip was sure as he squared up behind him so Dan was held tight against his chest, and Dan felt him take a deep breath, like he was bracing for something. Dan rolled his eyes. “Stop being a weirdo, I’m not in the mood for any more of your games, Lucif-...”

“Look,” Lucifer said. And Dan met the Devil’s eyes in the mirror.

“Fuck!” Dan choked out, staring into them: burning, inhuman, orange-red irises with black sclera like a reptile, filled with banked flame that flickered to life as he watched. And the face was worse, fearsome and twisted and scarred and burned, like… like… “The Devil,” Dan whispered. But not a friendly red cartoon satyr or a video game boss or Tim Curry in Legend. The actual, unmistakable Devil: an angel, fallen, cast into a lake of fire. Lucifer Morningstar. Layers of willful self-delusion peeled away as Dan stared helplessly at the version of Lucifer that had always been there, never hidden, yet somehow just beyond his ability to comprehend. He could feel his brain trying to come up with a sensible explanation for what he was seeing. “It’s a… a trick… trick mirror…” he gasped, taking short, panicky breaths, knowing he was hyperventilating but unable to stop.

“I’m afraid not,” the gnarled horror said in Lucifer’s voice, giving his right arm a firm squeeze. Dan looked down at the hand, leathery burnt scarlet, twisted and withered like the hands of a charred cadaver, but alive: flexing against his upper arm and wearing the ring Lucifer never took off. Dan screamed in sudden animal panic and recoiled, tried to twist free, but the Devil’s grip was like iron, keeping his arms pinned to his sides. “Easy, Daniel,” Lucifer’s voice said. Dan kicked the floor, trying to pitch them both over backwards and break the Devil’s hold that way, but he might as well have been fighting a custom-fitted Dan-clamp. Lucifer’s grip yielded just enough to prevent Dan from hurting himself in his struggles and no more, even as Dan lashed out at him savagely. The angle was bad and Dan was weakening, struggling to breathe in his panic, as his vision shot with sparks and started to grey out.

Dan’s knees buckled. Lucifer let him collapse, easing him to the floor, but maintaining his grip. “Daniel! Daniel. Dan.” He shook Dan gently, then more firmly, trying to get a response, then loudly said “Detective Douche.”

Dan’s eyes flew open and he gasped. It was just Lucifer in the mirror again, dark eyes, pale skin, curly black hair, bathrobe somewhat in disarray, kneeling behind him on the floor, still holding him firmly. “Breathe, Douche. Remember your improv. Right? You’re fine. It’s only me. Become a tree or whatever it is you do.”

He gasped again, hauled in a ragged breath. Let it out slowly. Drink in the sunlight, push it out to the tips of the branches and roots. Lucifer’s hands eased on his upper arms as Dan got himself under control, although it was clear from his posture that he was ready to pounce on Dan if he bolted.

Dan scooted away from him, scrambling backward until he hit a wall. Lucifer tried to look harmless. “Daniel? Remember this was Chloe’s idea, don’t shoot the messenger. Or, actually, do shoot the messenger if you think it’ll help you feel better: you can’t hurt me, I’m the Devil. Also, say something.”

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Dan breathed.

“All right, that’s a start. Say something else.

“Fuck! Is he real, too?”

Lucifer stood up, smoothing down his robe. “That’s your first question?” He offered Dan his hand. Dan stared at it. “Come on, then, if you’re past the screaming-and-trying-to-run stage I’d like to have the rest of this conversation nearer the alcohol, I’m feeling a bit dry,” which was such a Lucifer thing to say that Dan put out a shaking hand, grasped Lucifer’s forearm, and let Lucifer, without exertion, lift him to his feet.

And… that felt normal, too. Dan had always known how deceptively strong Lucifer was. He’d seen the CCTV footage of that time Lucifer threw a 200lb public relations executive 15 feet through plate glass, one handed. In fact, not even an hour ago, Lucifer had picked Dan up and set him down like a kitten, and Dan had barely noticed that at the time... oh right, I fucked the real actual Devil, in the ass. “Guh,” Dan said. “Hnnngh.”

“Ooh,” Lucifer said, still holding Dan upright with one hand. “That one looked like it hurt. Tell me all about it, over by the booze.” Steering Dan back across the penthouse by his elbow, Lucifer calculated the odds of his staying on a barstool and settled him into one of the armchairs instead. “Stay. Good Daniel.”

Some incalculable amount of time later, a drink was put in Dan’s hand, and he downed it at once, without tasting it or looking at it. Lucifer brought the bottle with him and sat down, opposite Dan, another glass in his hand. “If it helps, you’re doing very well. Linda took two weeks to start speaking to me again and another week to make any sense, and Chloe completely forgot I existed for three days. And as for Charlotte… she was a bit of a special case, but I wouldn’t say she handled it well, exactly. I really need to stop underestimating you, Daniel, you’re full of pleasant surprises.”

Dan took a deep breath. “If you’re for real, does that mean… Hell? Charlotte,” he said shakily. “She was so afraid. Is she…?”

So Lucifer tried to explain that Dan had actually known two Charlottes, and what had become of each of them, and it all got very convoluted, and Dan, jagged with panic adrenaline and from slamming 100-proof like apple juice, felt like he understood about half of it. But Lucifer finished it off with “She’s in Heaven. With Amenadiel, I believe, though I’ve not spoken to him in some time.” Dan wasn’t sure whether he wanted to scream at Lucifer for not saying anything sooner or maybe cry in desperate relief that Charlotte, the essence of Charlotte, wasn’t destroyed forever, or perhaps just collapse from the sheer existential overload of it all. He settled for gulping his whisky and listening to his brain fizzle.

Lucifer did impossible things all the time. He also did improbable things regularly, which made the impossible things sort of blend in. Unlocking handcuffs? Sure, he’s some kind of escape artist. Getting murder suspects to speak the truth of their hearts, regardless of their own self-interest? He’s a hypnotist, too. That time Dan had been certain that Lucifer had been shot dead by Malcolm? Well, he must have been wearing a vest (and if Dan thought he’d seen bare skin through the holes in Lucifer’s shirt and in the gaps between buttons before Lucifer had smoothed out his tux, well, he must have been mistaken, obviously). Perfectly explainable, nothing unusual, that’s just Lucifer.

Dan hadn’t even noticed when the blanket of “that’s just Lucifer” had spread to cover things that were physically impossible, but it went back a long time, all the way back to when Chloe had tried to arrest Lucifer for the murder of that crazy street preacher and Lucifer had vanished in front of five witnesses. Recovering the complex and specific formula for an antidote from the mind of a dead man who kept no notes? Teleporting himself and Charlotte Richards off the pier in the blink of an eye? Not to mention whatever the hell had happened to make Lt. Marcus “the Sinnerman” Pierce’s trusted, handpicked ambush team turn their weapons randomly on a spot in the center of the room, and then on each other, and then hand themselves in to law enforcement, sobbing with gratitude at the chance to confess their crimes and implicate their boss in every major operation that had gone down in Los Angeles County in the last 9 months. So much for Ella's killer mutant swan theory, Dan thought. 

Lucifer leaned forward and clicked his fingers loudly under Dan’s chin. He jumped. “If you’re going to have an existential crisis, at least do it aloud. It’s incredibly boring to watch you sit there, monologuing internally.”

Dan’s eyes widened. “You can hear my thoughts?”

“Of course not,” Lucifer said quickly. “No, I definitely wouldn’t have invited you up here if I could hear your thoughts. You slept with my mum. That’s a comparative assessment of my skills I can live without, thank you.” Lucifer gestured, on with it. “Well go on, ask your questions, Chloe is still working through hers and she’s known for ages. Would you believe she actually kept notes on me all this time?”

Dan looked at the Adversary, the Beast of the Pit, the God of This World, Satan, and Lucifer who is called Morning Star, who was drinking, making inappropriate sexual remarks, and looking at him like he was waiting for him to do something amusing. Like always. Dan just looked back at him for a moment. “No questions,” he said. “Not now, anyway. You being the Devil doesn’t actually change anything, does it?”

“Oh, well done, Daniel! No, it doesn’t change anything, not really,” Lucifer replied, leaning forward. “Well, it might help you put some facts in order, maybe shake you up enough that you stop feeling like you’ve seen everything. And you might be more kindly disposed toward me if you don’t think I’m lying about everything all the time. But no, you don’t really know anything you didn’t know before.” Lucifer gestured with his glass, encompassing himself, the penthouse, Los Angeles. Maybe reality. “You can’t! If you comprehended the universe in any real fashion you’d go gibbering round the bend.” He drank his whisky with an appreciative sound. “Mm. I would, too. I might have a bit more perspective than you but I don’t know what the Hell is going on most of the time, either, if it helps. Dear old Dad doesn’t share his plans with family members any more than he does with humans, we’re all just blundering around and guessing.”

“Your dad…” Dan started, and trailed off, not sure he wanted to prod that particular sore spot again. “So who all knows? Who you really are, I mean.”

“My dear Daniel, I tell everyone. I’ve never kept it a secret. But to answer your question, the people who believe me are yourself, Chloe, Candy, my therapist, and of course Maze and my brother. And Beatrice: your clever spawn saw through me right away.” He paused, considering. “Oh, and I’m not sure about Miss Lopez; if she hasn’t guessed some part of it by now, I’d be astonished, but she’s kept it to herself.”

Dan covered his sudden pang of sympathy with a sip of whisky. For a moment he caught a glimpse of how impossibly lonely it was, immortal in a mortal world, telling everyone who you were but never being believed, only humored. Lucifer’s playboy persona made more sense in that context, Dan had to admit. If the only personal connections you could make were brief, shallow ones, you might as well have your pick of L.A.’s most beautiful people.

Lucifer clicked his fingers again near Dan’s ear. “Stay with me, Dan. Mortal brains don’t like being confronted with evidence of the divine, I don’t want you thinking this was all a dream tomorrow. Though you’ve already shown remarkable resilience to divine influences.”

“I… what? When?”

“Ooh,” Lucifer said, looking chagrined. “Not sure I should tell you about that one, actually, you’re going to take it the wrong way.”

Dan set down his glass. “Yeah, you definitely need to tell me now.”

Lucifer emptied his own glass and topped up Dan’s. “Right. So you remember the Full Yoga Massacre of 2016, I’m sure. Well, what happened then was my mum, inhabiting the body of Charlotte Richards, got it into her head to try to aggravate my father…” Even glossing over Maze’s and Amendadiel’s involvement and what had happened with Uriel, it took a long time to explain.

As predicted, Dan was upset. “You’re telling me nine people died because of your supernatural bullshit? And you didn’t say anyth-...” Dan groaned. “Oh, no. You probably did say something, didn’t you, and no one paid attention, like always.”

“Actually, in that particular case I didn’t tell anyone what was really going on,” Lucifer said. “Sorry about that, by the way, but I had to get the knife back before any more humans touched it.” And then he had to explain what the Blade did in human hands. Dan had several questions that required Lucifer to backtrack and fill in more details, but eventually Lucifer managed to convince Dan that the whole mess really wasn’t his fault and that he’d done his best to contain it.

“And I stabbed you? I don’t remember that at all,” Dan said.

“Hardly a stab, more of an aggressive prod, I’d say,” Lucifer said. “Scarcely felt it.”

“So, since you came to L.A., how many people have died because of supernatural-...”

“Celestial,” Lucifer corrected.

“...fine, because of celestial bullshit.”

“Uh,” Lucifer said. “A moment,” as he sipped thoughtfully. “Counting the nine we just discussed?” At Dan’s nod, Lucifer said “Fourteen, then. But two of those were more supernatural-adjacent. And one was Cain. I mean, Pierce.”

“Christ,” Dan said, then “Sorry. Shit,” although Lucifer hadn’t reacted to the blasphemy. “I can’t believe I almost forgot you said that back when.... So I guess that’s true, then, Pierce was Cain. From the Bible.”

Lucifer was watching Dan intently. “After a fashion. Probably best to think of the Bible as something like, oh, fanfiction, based on an adaptation of a true story, but yes, Cain was the eldest son of the first humans on earth, and also the Sinnerman, and also Marcus Pierce. Also a complete prick,” he apparently couldn’t help adding.

Dan got up, and walked away from Lucifer, to the window, looking out over the city, and realized what Lucifer was waiting for him to say. “You knew,” Dan said. “You knew who he was, the whole time. You let him pursue Chloe, you let him in the house where my daughter sleeps…

“Daniel…”

“...you let him murder…” He couldn’t finish the thought. Dan clenched his fists, let a sharp breath out through his nose.

“I made a mistake,” Lucifer admitted, very quietly, and Dan, without turning around, heard him set his glass down and stand up. “Several mistakes, the most innocent of which was wanting to believe Cain could actually change, could be a better person, because Chloe wanted him to be.” Dan scoffed, but Lucifer continued. “After all, that’s how it worked out for me.” He joined Dan at the window. “But I made other mistakes, too, to… to protect my ego, to express my anger, because I was frightened... and I don’t deserve forgiveness for those.” Dan looked over at Lucifer’s rather wan smile. “And if my brother is right, then my other face being back is the manifestation of my guilt over those mistakes.”

Sounds like a conversation you should have with your therapist, Dan thought, realizing as he did so that Lucifer probably had--he’d listed “my therapist” among his inner circle, after all. Dan looked out at the spectacular view from Lucifer's apartment, watching the traffic crawl in the distance, trying to imagine how Lucifer saw the world from his window. “Our lives are probably so meaningless to you,” Dan said quietly, after a moment. 

“On the contrary, my dear Daniel. I get so little time with you, how could you be anything but precious to me?” At Dan’s blank expression, Lucifer continued, “Human souls are eternal. Try to make the world a better place, learn to forgive yourself, and someday, hopefully not soon, you’ll see Charlotte again.” And I never will, Lucifer didn’t say aloud, but Dan heard it anyway. And there was that strange little twist of sympathy, again.

Dan looked out over the city, noticing how the traffic patterns on the distant freeway had shifted. “What time is it?” he suddenly wondered aloud.

“Gone two a.m.,” Lucifer said without looking.

“Hell,” Dan said. “I should probably be getting home.”

Lucifer eyed him. “You could stay here.”

“Ugh,” Dan said. “Thanks, man, but I’m not really in the mood to couch it tonight.”

“I meant in bed, with me. Ideally after an orgasm or two,” Lucifer said blandly.

If Dan had still been holding his glass, he definitely would have dropped it. “You have got to be joking.”

“I wasn’t before, and I’m not now,” Lucifer said, mildly. “Think of the harm to my reputation if I let you go home without getting you off. Not to mention it’s practically a public service at this point, relieving you of nigh-terminal blue balls.”

“You’re the Devil.”

“The irrationally sexy Devil, yes. You said you wanted to take me apart, and I’m not ashamed to admit you nearly succeeded,” Lucifer said with a wry smile. “I’m up for another go, if you are.”

Apparently it was just Dan’s night to feel every emotion there was. Between the whisky, the shock still lingering in his system, and his state of trembling emotional exhaustion, Dan was reasonably sure he wasn’t going to be able to get it up. However, as Lucifer shucked his robe off and stood invitingly naked in the window, Dan’s body immediately proved him wrong. It was Dan, this time, that closed the distance between them and pulled Lucifer’s face down into a hungry kiss.

Lucifer made a pleased noise, nearly a purr, and guided Dan back to the bed, stripping him efficiently as they went. Dan was semi-hard as his pants came down and it was the matter of a few practiced strokes to get him fully ready again. He sat down on the bed to scuff his shoes off. “So what you said earlier about not needing a condom…”

“To bugger the Devil?” Lucifer asked slyly, just to see Dan blush. “No, it’s true, I can’t catch or carry any human diseases, nor get anyone pregnant--not that that’s an issue in this case--but some partners prefer one to contain the mess. It’s up to you.”

“No thanks, then,” Dan said, decisively, scooting to the middle of the bed.

“How daring.” Lucifer pushed Dan gently down onto the bed, straddling his hips.“Although if you don’t mind, I’ll drive.”

“Er, are you okay to do this some more? Did I hurt you, bef-... oh!” Dan gasped as Lucifer grasped his cock, lining Dan up with his asshole. “Guess not,” he said.

“I’ll explain later,” Lucifer said, leaning back and sinking down onto Dan with a soft sigh of satisfaction. “I’m fine,” he purred. “Oh, yes. Very fine indeed.” He leaned back and hitched his hips and Dan must have hit him in a good spot, because Lucifer’s cock twitched and he gasped. It was such a good sound that Dan immediately wanted him to do it again, and he started to bring his knees up so he could thrust. Lucifer stilled him with a hand on his thigh. “Let me,” he said. “At least to start.”

The urge to move was still strong for Dan, but he suppressed it, letting Lucifer set the pace. As Lucifer started to ride him, he let his hands roam over Lucifer’s thighs, feeling the flex of muscle under smooth skin. Something occurred to him. “When you change… is it all over, or just your face and hands?”

Lucifer paused. “All over,” he said. “Why?”

“I just… I dunno. It’s interesting to think about,” Dan said, as Lucifer started to rise and sink again. And it was, the image of the scarred, scarlet Devil riding his dick was strangely compelling. Dan could remember how terrified he had been, but it was oddly detached from his recollection of Lucifer’s inhuman features, as though what Lucifer looked like and how Dan had felt when looking at him were completely unrelated things.

“Really? Hmm. Interesting you think so,” Lucifer said, moving faster, leaning forward to kiss Dan. Dan raised his legs again and this time Lucifer let him, let him brace against the bed so he could drive into Lucifer with short, urgent thrusts. “Developing a Devil fetish, are you? That’s--ah!--new.” Lucifer leaned back and let Dan’s curved shaft work that sweet spot just inside him, panting as Dan’s girth rubbed it over and over. Through slitted eyes he saw Dan watching him hungrily, and let his head roll back, let Dan see what he was doing to him.

Dan, ever eager to please, reached for Lucifer’s dick, but Lucifer caught his wrist before he made contact. “I won’t last,” Lucifer warned him, “if you touch me there. And I very much want to last.” Dan whimpered with startled lust, his eyes wide and blue. “Oh, really?” Lucifer asked, playfulness in his voice. “Do you like being held down? I can certainly do that,” and he grabbed Dan’s other wrist, forced his hands above his head and pinned them down. Dan lost his rhythm for a moment as he squirmed, testing Lucifer’s grip.

“G-... Devil damn it,” Dan whispered. “That’s… really fucking hot.” It was more than hot; Lucifer’s weight on his wrists gave Dan the leverage he needed to really pound into Lucifer from this angle. There was no reassuring latex barrier between him and the slick clench of Lucifer’s ass this time, and he could feel the grip and drag of the delicate skin around his cock, the wringing heat of Lucifer’s body. “Fuck,” he gasped. He tried to slow down but Lucifer was riding him hard with a motion that came more from flexion of spine than the lift of legs or thighs, pistoning up and down on him freely. “Shit. Stop,” he panted.

Lucifer froze, still pinning Dan by his wrists and hips. “Are you all right?”

Dan tried to force himself to relax, to let go of the tension that was building too fast. He shuddered. “Yes, I’m... really, really close.”

Lucifer laughed, and Dan could feel the squeeze of it in his pelvic muscles, which did nothing for his desperately-trying-not-to-come situation. “Let it go, Daniel. Honestly, if anyone’s earned it…” he said, looking down into Dan’s eyes, and started to roll his hips again.

“Not… before… you,” Dan managed, through clenched teeth.

“You really are something else,” Lucifer marvelled. “Very well.” He shifted his weight and Dan thought, with a twinge of disappointment, that Lucifer was going to let go of him, but instead he transferred one of Dan’s wrists to his other hand, using his long fingers to keep Dan’s wrists together. His now-free hand went to his own cock, pulling the loose skin taut, gently at first and then more urgently as he rose up on his thighs again, giving Dan the room to thrust as he pleased. Dan did so, watching Lucifer’s face as he fucked into him steadily. The actual Devil. Former lord of hell, he reminded himself, with something like awe. Satan, jerking himself off while he rode Dan’s dick. Dan wasn’t sure whether that additional detail made the burden of celestial understanding easier or more difficult to bear. The Devil’s guyliner doesn’t smudge when he sweats, that was definitely forbidden knowledge, as was the knowledge that the Devil preferred a thumb-underneath reverse grip with a twist at the end when stroking himself off. Dan felt the electrical charge of climax starting to build again but he could tell Lucifer was close, too, could feel the tension in him. The hand gripping his wrist was grinding the bones together painfully, probably with bruising force, but it was fucking magnificent Dan could make the Devil lose even that much control.

Lucifer moaned and bowed his spine, arching over Dan as he came, spurting hot over Dan’s chest and neck. Dan pounded into Lucifer’s ass for a half-dozen more erratic thrusts before he finally let go himself, crying out with the unrelenting force of it, burying himself deep as Lucifer sank down onto him with a pleased sigh.

“Oh, Daniel,” Lucifer said, as Dan, shuddering, pulsed inside him. “What am I going to do with you?”

“Find something I can wipe off with,” came the breathless reply. “And let go of my hands before you break something.”

“Oh,” Lucifer said, releasing his grip and letting Dan try to massage the blood back into his wrists, “did I hurt you?” He lifted himself up on his hands and knees so Dan, softening, could pull gently out, then collapsed next to Dan rather ungracefully. “Just a moment,” he said. “Ah, Daniel, that was brilliant, you’ve completely undone me. When my legs are working again I’ll get some towelettes,” he promised.

“And some water,” Dan murmured.

“Of course,” Lucifer said.

+++

Dan must have dozed off. When consciousness drifted back in, most of the lights in the penthouse were off, his chest was clean and Lucifer was pressing a bottle of water into his hand. “Sorry to wake you,” Lucifer said, “but you went through a lot of my liquor and I wouldn’t want to be your head in the morning if you don’t have some of this.”

“Ngh,” Dan replied. “Thank you,” he added automatically after he downed about half the bottle in two long swallows. “I must have just… checked out for a minute, that hasn’t happened to me since before Trixie was born.”

Lucifer smiled. “Believe me, I’m delighted with your stamina, my dear Daniel. It’s been quite a day for Luci-Dan, hasn’t it?”

Dan chuckled. “I thought it was Douchifer,” he said, finishing off the water.

“I was being polite,” Lucifer retorted, pulling the bedspread back into some semblance of order. Dan sank into the pillows with a profound sigh. He didn’t often sleep fully nude but he couldn’t muster the energy to go hunting for his briefs, and Lucifer didn’t seem like the pajamas type, so he snuggled into the too-soft mattress with its decadent high-threadcount sheets.

The last lamp flicked off, the blankets moved and Lucifer slid into bed beside him, not touching, but perhaps closer than was perfectly necessary. Close enough to feel the warmth of his skin. “Do you really think I’m a douche?” Dan asked.

“Sometimes,” Lucifer admitted. “Not very often, any more, but I hate to let go of a good nickname. Do you still think I’m a dick?”

Dan was quiet for so long Lucifer thought he’d fallen asleep, but he had been thinking it over. “For a while, I thought you were an immature, sexually irresponsible, alcoholic playboy junkie who liked pretending to fight crime, who screwed up as many investigations as he assisted in, who got everyone to indulge him and excuse him by being rich and eccentric. I thought you were using Chloe and dangerous to have around my daughter.”

“Mm. And now?”

“Well, maybe some of those things I thought about you are true,” Dan said sleepily, “But some of them aren’t. I stopped worrying about Chloe and Trixie a while ago, anyway; they can both run circles around you.”

“That’s certainly true,” Lucifer conceded.

“I could never be friends with the man I thought you were. But I dunno... the Devil on earth, just trying to figure his shit out with the rest of us? Maybe me and that guy can be friends.”

“Naked friends?” Lucifer asked hopefully.

“Yeah,” Dan said, sinking into unconsciousness at last. “Why not.” He fell asleep with the Devil’s long fingers idly stroking his spine.