Her eyes widen, her breath catches. She takes a step back, unconsciously.
“It’s all true.”
(He’s the Devil.
He’s the Devil.
I kissed the—
I’m in love with—
Wait… Dad said—)
Cue Chloe, seven years old, innocent and playful and sitting at her kitchen table. “Dad, what’s God like?”
John Decker pauses in the midst of making a sandwich for his daughter. His mouth turns up in a half-smile and he ruffles her hair. “I don’t know, sweetie. No one really knows what God’s like, except angels.”
“Mom doesn’t believe in him,” Chloe confides, like it’s supposed to be a secret. “But we all know he’s good, right?”
“I mean, I hope so,” John shrugs. “I certainly hope so. And I think there’s enough good things in the world to believe that God is good.”
She squints. “Well, I mean, the Devil is bad, right? That’s how we know God’s good. It’s the fight between good and evil.”
The sandwich, finished, gets plated and passed to her. “I don’t know that the Devil’s evil,” John answers thoughtfully while she eats. “After all, he was an angel before he disobeyed. I think maybe he just… needed to learn a lesson. Maybe he’s still learning it. But, no, I don’t think he’s evil.”
Chloe nods, lost in thought, and takes a bite of her sandwich. She groans with happiness, the conversation forgotten. “How do you make these so good, Dad?”
“No. No, no, no, no.”
It’s the first thing she hears when she’s pulled out of her memories. A mumbling voice. She shakes her head to herself. Lucifer’s voice. She looks up and sees him—God, that face, does it hurt?—touching a hand to his cheek. Even with the angry, burning red of his flesh overwhelming most of the features she’s familiar with, she can still see the horror in his expression. “Why now?” he whispers.
“Lu—” she swallows, throat gone bone-dry, and tries again. “Lucifer.”
He looks up automatically, catching her eye for a brief second before he spins himself around, now facing away from her. “Don’t look at me,” he says, voice choked. He has nowhere left to look but down at Pierce’s corpse. “You can’t see. You’re not supposed to see.”
Chloe breathes out carefully, avoiding thinking about Pierce. That sonofabitch. Focus. “Okay,” she says, extending her hands and speaking as calmly as possible. She tries not to think about the fact that this is how she deals with people with guns. People that could be dangerous to themselves or others. “Okay, Lucifer, it’s okay. You don’t have to look at me.”
“It’s not about me looking at you,” he hisses. “It’s about you having to look at—at this!” He gestures angrily at his face, but with his back to her it’s difficult to see. “Of course, it happens now.”
“What happens now?” she asks, still maintaining a calm voice. Quit interrogating him, he’s not a suspect, a voice that sounds like Linda chides in her head. “Is this about your face? Did your—” she swallows hard, again, with a new realization. “Did your father do that to you?”
His dad is God his dad is God oh my god I’ve thought about how much his father must suck—I once told Dan that Lucifer’s father must be a total jackass—
“No, I did it to me!” he answers, his voice rising in frustration. “Or I… I think I did. And you…” he halts abruptly. “Why haven’t you run out of here screaming yet?”
Chloe steadies herself and steps forward. “Lucifer, in the past few days my world has turned upside down.” Another step. “I was going to marry Pierce, then I broke it off.” Another step. “I found out that he was the Sinnerman, that he killed people.” Another step. “He killed Charlotte. He tried to kill Dan.” Another. She forces a tremulous smile. “Do you really think this is the craziest thing that’s happened to me this week?”
She’s only a foot away from him now, maybe less. Close enough that they could touch, easily. He stiffens, seems to do—something—to his face, shuddering with the effort, then loosens the tension in his body. He turns, and his face has returned to almost-normal now. Brown eyes, not fiery; pale skin, not red. Streaks of light—like bolts of lightning—make their way down his face, underneath his skin. Hellfire, she thinks erratically.
“Actually,” he rasps, and he must have been screaming earlier, he’s so hoarse, “I think it probably is the craziest thing that’s happened to you. Ever.”
She lets out a laugh that edges toward the hysterical but doesn’t go over that edge. “Okay. Yeah, you’re right. It probably is. But… I’m a cop. I’m good at compartmentalizing. And this?” she gestures to him, to the streaks and crackles of light under his skin. “Does not make me afraid. If that’s what you’re worried about.”
Lucifer barks out a laugh, and it is hysterical. “Detective, how can you not be afraid of this? Of me? I’m a monster! And you… you’re friends with the Devil! Just yesterday, you kissed the Devil!”
Yeah, okay, maybe she’d thought that herself a few minutes ago. He doesn’t need to know that. “Doesn’t matter,” she replies with a confidence she doesn’t feel. “I told you how I think of you. And you’re not a monster.”
“But I am the Devil,” he responds, and his voice suddenly carries a weariness that hadn’t been present before. “And none of that ‘not to me’ nonsense. I am the Devil. I know you must believe that now.”
She hears a siren. Backup, on its way. It’s far off, but it won’t be long. “I do,” she says. “I believe you are the Devil, yes. I even believe that you think of yourself as evil. Maybe God thinks that, too. But I don’t. And I won’t. Nothing you could say could ever make me believe that you are a monster, Lucifer, so don’t even try with me right now. Like I said, it’s been a crazy week. I don’t have the time to talk you out of this, backup’s on its way. Just know that… that I don’t think that way about you.” She takes a deep breath, pauses to look at him, really look at him. “You’re the same as you were yesterday, Lucifer, and the day before that and every day since I’ve known you. Learning that this is real… it’s gonna throw me for a loop, sure. But it’s not gonna make me scared of you or make me hate you. I know you.”
“You don’t,” he says quietly. He doesn’t look her in the eye.
“I do,” she insists. “You’re a good… man, if man’s still the right word. Whatever you are, you’re good. I do believe that. You would never lie to me. You would never intentionally hurt me, or Trixie, or Dan or Ella or any of our coworkers. All you’ve ever done since day one is tell me the truth, I get that now. So, tell me this: do I really, honest-to-goodness-truth, need to be afraid of you?” she presses. “And not any of that ‘I bring bad luck’ crap. Are you an actual, physical threat to my safety?”
He exhales shakily and meets her eyes. His are wide and shiny, full of tears instead of flames, and she wonders irrationally if angel’s tears have healing properties. Maybe that was unicorns, actually. Irrelevant.
“No. No, I would never hurt you.”
“See?” she pushes, giving him a smile. “I knew that.”
It’s tiny, it’s fragile, but he smiles back.
“Okay,” she sighs in relief. “Glad that’s fixed, for now. Now, on to the supernatural crime scene that a shit-ton of cops are about to stumble on.” She glances around. “Where did all of these feathers come from?”
He clears his throat, and just like that, he’s back to normal, or at least acting like it pretty well. “Me, I’m afraid. My wings were the only things protecting you from about a hundred bullets.”
“Your—” her brain freezes, reboots. The wings, from all those months ago, that had been on sale at the auction. “They reattach? What, like Velcro?”
“No, they grew back.”
“So… angels are like lizards. Sure, why not.” She shakes her head and cuts him off before he can protest, as she can tell he’s about to do. “Never mind, you can catch me up later. There’s a lot I’m going to have to reinterpret now. Anyway, I’m guessing we should clean up these feathers?”
Lucifer nods. “If we’re not wanting proof of divinity floating around out there, which, trust me, we don’t. We also need to get rid of Pierce. The body of Cain, having withstood millennia? It’s too risky if science discovers it.”
“Of course,” she says faintly. She’s getting a new epiphany every ten seconds, it seems like, but this one really takes her by surprise. “Yeah. Millennia.”
He brushes past her to begin picking up the dozens of feathers littering the floor. “When you’re a little less in shock,” he says, not unkindly, “I have a few incredible puns to make about you getting million-year-old dick, Detective.”
They manage to clean up the feathers in only a couple of minutes, Lucifer getting rid of them—somehow, something about other planes of existence that she doesn’t quite understand. But they don’t really have many options when it comes to the giant hole in the window. “I’m afraid I came in guns blazing,” Lucifer says apologetically. “I rather didn’t think about how it would look in a crime scene.”
“Uh-huh.” A pause as she absorbs the sight. “It looks like a wrecking ball came in here. Do you think we could make a wrecking ball part of the story?”
“That we tell SWAT when they bust in here in about five minutes.”
“Detective, I can’t lie.”
Crap. She looks over at Pierce. “Let’s deal with him first. Look, Lucifer, I know you can… avoid the truth. What exactly are you going to tell SWAT?”
Lucifer shrugs as they pick up opposite ends of the corpse.
(That’s how she has to think of it. The corpse. Anything else, and she really will have a meltdown.)
She tunes back in as he finishes up whatever he was saying while she was blanking out. “—that you got hit, I got you out of here, I came back. No comment on the window. I can truthfully say that I didn’t see what happened to it since, well, I’m afraid I was in a bit of a blind rage. I don’t remember any of that specific part.”
“What about Pierce?” She inclines her head to the body they’re carrying out.
“I can’t lie about killing him.”
“But it was self-defense, right?”
“Well, yes, technically, but Detective, we cannot leave the body here. Like I said, he’d expose the divine, or at least the really freaky. Can’t have that.”
She frowns. “Okay. What if I say that Pierce disappeared, and you just don’t contradict me?”
“That works, unless somebody asks me directly what happened to him and compels me to answer. As they would do in a trial, I suspect.”
They lug the body to the big doors, and Lucifer grimaces, groaning a little, until wings pop out of his back. They’re just as gorgeous as the ones at the auction, though gory and maimed. They’re stained with blood, several feathers hanging by a thread, and she swallows at the sight. “I’m going to take him to Lux,” he says, panting heavily just from the exertion of pulling them out. “I’ll be back in just a few minutes.”
He takes Pierce in his arms, braces himself, and flaps his wings a few times. They look like their own little warzone. Then he disappears—not that he flies up, just that he literally disappears from sight.
Without being entirely aware of doing it, Chloe finds herself sitting on the hard floor of the building. “Yeah, okay. Teleportation and wings, sure,” she mutters to herself, then looks around to survey the rest of the scene.
Okay, it looks like a madhouse. Pierce’s men are scattered across the floor, some dead, some unconscious. There are at least a hundred shell casings on the ground, and she realizes suddenly that they have no way to explain where the bullets went. They won’t be there when Ella combs the area. And Lucifer’s wings definitely can’t be presented as an explanation. She presses a hand to her eyes. “I’m so gonna get suspended,” she mutters. “Though, honestly, at this point a break doesn’t sound too bad.”
“I can imagine,” a voice says, and it isn’t Lucifer’s.
Her head snaps up, and she sighs in shaky relief. “Amenadiel.”
The angel—she’s really going up in the world lately, in terms of contacts—smiles at her, and her eyes catch on his gray wings. They’re smoother than Lucifer’s, less downy and more sleek. His are more suited for gliding, perhaps. Not that she knows anything about wings or how they work on angels of all things. “I’m sorry I missed the firefight,” he jokes. “I see you’re in the know.”
“Charlotte?” she asks with baited breath. If anyone would know, he would, and Lucifer had seemed so sure before…
He kneels next to her and places a hand on her shoulder. “In Heaven,” he answers simply, and she nearly gives in to the blooming pressure behind her eyes urging her to cry. “I was there, with her, when I felt Cain’s presence land in Hell. I’m afraid many demons are going rather… wild to be the first one to torture him. It’s an exclusive privilege. When I sensed it, I came back to check on everyone. But no, Charlotte is safe, and she’s happy. She wanted me to let you know that it wasn’t your fault. That you couldn’t have known what Pierce really was, so don’t blame yourself.”
Chloe grimaces and grits her teeth to avoid tears once more. “Am I the only one to get a message from the beyond?”
“Oh, most souls do have many messages they like to give to their friends and families. Charlotte was no exception. A simple ‘don’t be sad’ to Trixie and Ella, some words for her children about being good and her always loving them. A message for Dan.” He tightens the hand on her shoulder. “I believe I really should give those words to him in private, however. Does Dan also know?”
“No one knows except me.”
“And Linda.” Lucifer’s voice from the corner of the room surprises her, and she looks up at him. He’s taken the opportunity to freshen up the tiniest bit while he was at Lux, his hair obviously finger-combed, but he still looks just as shocked as she feels. “I told Linda, a while ago.”
Chloe nods once. “You can give me details later. Cops are gonna be here any minute. Pierce?”
“Stashed away, for now.” He frowns, speaking more to himself than to her and Amenadiel. “We’ll have to bury him later. Perhaps with Uriel.”
She ignores that odd name-drop—for now, she’s ignoring all information irrelevant to the crime scene she’s covering up, which makes her feel like the worst cop ever—and stands. Amenadiel stands with her, taking her hand to help her to her feet. “Have we determined what we’re going to say? I don’t have any good ideas,” she admits.
Amenadiel lifts a finger. “I do believe I have one final gift for you, before I return to the Silver City.”
Before her eyes appears Pierce’s corpse. It’s lifelike, the open wound in his chest resembling the one with Maze’s knife in it she saw not ten minutes ago. Pierce’s eyes are open, his knees bent. It looks exactly like the real body had. She shuts her eyes, tight, to avoid looking at it for too long.
“It’ll disappear from evidence within the hour,” Amenadiel shrugs. “Long enough for them to know that Pierce is dead, soon enough that they won’t have time to examine it and discover it’s a fake. They’ll likely believe it’s been stolen by the Sinnerman’s people. A temporary gift, but one that I hope will help.”
“Yes, thank you,” Lucifer adds. “At least now I won’t have to step around the truth. I can say I killed him in self-defense, and pictures will verify that much, at least.”
Amenadiel sighs. “Luci…”
A moment of brief hilarity, knowing that an angel has nicknamed his brother the Devil as “Luci,” before Chloe crash-lands back into reality. “What?” she demands, noting how they’re both standing tensely. “What’s wrong?”
Lucifer shoves his hands in his suit pockets, an uncharacteristic, messy action for him. “Angels aren’t supposed to kill humans. It’s against the rules.”
“What kind of rules? What will happen?”
He clasps his hands together and does that wide smiley thing where she knows he’s putting on a brave face and ignoring the issue. “Father’s rules. And no point in wondering about that now, is there? Amenadiel, you probably shouldn’t be here, not if you’re wanting to get back to the Silver City soon. Don’t want you getting tied up in this crime scene business. The Detective and I will deal with everything else. Thank you, brother.”
“Of course,” Amenadiel inclines his head, and, with a flap of his wings, he disappears like Lucifer had before.
They stand in silence for a moment. Chloe feels her throat go dry. “Whatever happens,” she offers up, “I’ll help. I’ll… talk to God, or angels or whoever. Tell them that this wasn’t your fault.”
“I thank you, Detective, but it is,” he responds, without a trace of emotion in his voice. “I chose to kill Pierce. I’m an angel—I’m stronger than him on my worst of days—it wasn’t a fair fight. Not only that, but I made sure he went to Hell. I made him embrace his guilt over killing Charlotte. Having that kind of influence on a dying soul—it’s not very angelic of me.”
“Whatever happens because of this,” she doubles down, “I’m going to support you. I know you say you shouldn’t have killed him, but I don’t see how a prison could hold him. I don’t see how we could have walked away from this any other way without him trying to kill us later. And he didn’t deserve to go to Heaven.”
He half-shrugs, looking away from her. “Yes, well.”
She can hear the signs of SWAT outside, getting ready. It’s noiseless enough to hear a pin drop, but she’s familiar with their process. “Lucifer?” she asks, until he gives in and makes eye contact with her. “I’m glad I know now.”
SWAT bursts in before he can reply.
The whole thing is long and crazy, but luckily, she can claim to be out of commission for most of her testimony. Lucifer, however, is stuck answering questions for far longer, so she hangs around outside, getting treated for the bruise on her chest. “It’s tiny,” she complains to the medic.
Ella, who’s been waiting beside her, rolls her eyes. “Chloe, you got shot! Deal with the hovering! We were all so worried.”
Chloe bites back a retort. Everyone’s just stressed, still reeling from all the death and betrayal. “I know,” she finally replies, her voice calm. “And I’m sorry. I can’t believe we didn’t realize this was an ambush. Talk about amateur hour on my part.”
“Mine, too,” a voice behind her says, and she turns to find Dan. He’s still pale and withdrawn-looking, probably still in shock from the events of the past couple days. “They’re, uh, done with Lucifer, by the way.”
She sighs. “Dan,” she says, placing a hand on his shoulder, “this wasn’t your fault. It’s C—Pierce’s. No one else.”
She bites her lip but knows when to give up on a lost cause. She’ll talk with him later, when he’s had time to come down from the shock and the grief. She cranes her neck, looking around. “Where did Lucifer go?”
“He told me he was going home. Something about having more stuff to take care of.” Dan rolls his eyes and huffs. “Probably more lies.”
The medic dismisses Chloe when she asks, and she leaves, though she can still hear Ella kindly but firmly chewing Dan out for “getting Lucifer totally wrong.” The drive to Lux is long and near-silent, having hitched a ride with one of the cops on the scene, and he drops her off with a quick “goodnight.” That’s when she looks around and realizes it’s evening, almost nightfall.
Strangely, although it’s been the longest day of her life, it still feels like it should only be midafternoon.
Fear grips at her chest, stealing the air from her lungs, for just a second as she ponders being alone with the devil in the dark. “Stop it,” she chides herself. “Just… stop. He’s the same. You’re the same. It’s the same.” The sensation loosens, allowing her to catch her breath, but she needs a distraction. So, she calls Maze as she makes her way inside and into the elevator. Currently, she and Linda are both watching Trixie while Dan remains at the scene of Pierce’s death, and Maze sounds like she’s raring for a fight once Chloe explains nearly dying at the hands of Pierce.
“I can lead the cops back to Pierce’s place, get them some leads on his guys. Hopefully shut this whole ‘Sinnerman’ thing down. They already got on my nerves, threatening to go after Linda like that, but this? I’m gonna end them,” Maze promises. Even without being able to see her, Chloe knows she’s baring her teeth in a snarl.
“Okay, great. Thank you for staying with Trixie tonight,” Chloe says. “I know Dan and I appreciate it. And… thank you for protecting Linda. Maze, I know we’ve had our differences recently, but you’ve really come through. I’m glad I can trust you. With my child’s life. I hope you know how important that is.”
Maze huffs over the phone. “I know she’s pissed at me right now, and maybe you are too, but I’d do anything to help that little hellion. She’s the best human I know.”
Chloe cringes. “Right. Demon,” she mutters to herself. “That’s gonna take some getting used to.”
“What was that?” Maze asks suspiciously.
“Nothing. Gotta go. Tell Trixie I love her. Bye!” she hangs up.
Luckily, the elevator doors pop open before she has too long to think to herself. At first glance, however, the apartment seems empty, though thankfully without any white sheets over the furniture. At least he hasn’t run away yet, she thinks to herself, and enters, walking past the piano and bar. For once, the alcohol seems untouched. “Lucifer?” she calls out tentatively.
The only response is a groan of pain, which seems to be coming from the bathroom.
“Shit,” she says to herself, and steps forward, moving cautiously. She wishes she had her gun; unfortunately, she had to give it up, due to that suspension she’d predicted. It could be worse. She was only suspended until the investigation into P—C—whoever her once-fiancé was, was over. But her gun sure could’ve brought some peace of mind right about now.
As she enters the bedroom area of the apartment, she notices drops of blood on the floor, leading her to the bathroom, where Lucifer is splayed out in the bathtub.
More accurately, he and his wings are splayed out in the bathtub. His incredibly gory, excessively bleeding wings, which look like they’re only hanging on by a thread. “What the hell,” she gasps, not even thinking before the words leave her mouth.
Lucifer swings his head toward her, his eyes just barely open as he tilts in and out of consciousness. “What the hell indeed, Detective,” he slurs. “Was j’st tryna pull out the bullets. Bad—bad idea.”
“You should’ve called for help,” she scolds, dropping to her knees to help sit him up. “If not me, then your brother.”
“He was busy,” Lucifer mumbles, panting, as she examines the damaged wings. “He—helped me. Bury Pierce. Today. Then he had to… had to go back. To Heaven.”
She sits up straighter, alarmed. “Lucifer, you sound like you’re having trouble breathing.”
“Should bloody hope so, ’cause I am.”
“What can I do? What do you need?”
He spits out a laugh, along with a little blood, and gestures to the pliers at his side in the bathtub. Distantly, she notes that he’s only wearing his briefs. “Finish the job for me, would you, Detective? And maybe get me a glass of something—anything—s’long as it’s strong.”
She stands. “I’ll get you something good. You’re probably gonna wanna be drunk for this.”
“Oh, Detective, it takes more than a glass to get me drunk. It’d probably take the whole bar. Don’t have time for that.” He waves a hand dismissively. “But it can at least numb the pain, I suppose.”
Without stopping to consider that too much, she heads to the bar, gets him a very full glass of whiskey, and returns. She brings the whole bottle along, too, for good measure. “Is this okay?” she asks anxiously.
He takes the glass and swallows it down at once. Refilling it, he rasps out, “Very helpful.”
Biting her lip, she surveys the scene. Pliers, blood, fallen feathers everywhere. And his wings—so beautiful, but they look so painful at the moment. “Is there anything else that can help before I pull out these bullets? There’s gotta be tons in there.”
“Luckily most of them… went through and through,” he chokes out, pouring himself a third glass. “There’s maybe only a dozen or so still lodged in there. But still, all the wounds need to be dressed. Don’t worry, I smoked multiple joints only ten minutes ago or so. I’ve heard that helps with pain.”
Chloe groans. “It helps with stuff like back pain, Lucifer, not pulling out multiple bullets pain.”
He rolls his eyes. “Can’t hurt, can it? Now will you hurry up?” He looks at her imploringly. “Please?”
The word is so rare from him that it startles her into action. “Okay,” she tells herself, standing at the sink as she washes her hands. “You can do this.” Sitting on the lip of the tub, she picks up the bloodstained pliers, noting a couple of bullets already sitting on the bathtub floor. “Any particular place I should start?”
“There’s one at the base that’s killing me,” he tells her, pinching the bridge of his nose to fight the pain. “Left wing, lower down.”
She bends over him and struggles to pull it out. At a particularly rough tug, he cries out and knocks over the glass of whiskey with his right wing, spilling it all over his leg. “Sorry, sorry,” she whispers, not sure why she’s being so quiet but hardly daring to raise her voice.
“No worries, Detective.” His hands tremble violently as he pours himself another glass, drinking from it heavily. “Keep going, please.”
On her second try, she manages to get it out, and moves on to the rest. The others seem to be lodged on the outer areas of his wings, which makes them easier to remove. Occasionally, he moans or stifles a cry by biting down on his knuckles, like a child. The whole process only takes ten or so minutes. “Done,” she soothes, and plucks out the last stray bullet. “I think that’s all of them. Where’s your first aid kit?”
He shrugs. “I’m not quite used to being mortal, still. Afraid I don’t have one.”
She presses a hand to her eyes, more from exhaustion than exasperation. “If you call down to Lux, will they bring up the bar’s?”
“Probably. May I borrow your phone?”
While he’s making the call, she wanders into his bedroom, pulling his sheets down and pouring him a glass of water for when he goes to bed. You’re fluffing up the Devil’s pillow, she thinks to herself, and nearly crosses herself from some strange instinct, though she’s not by any means religious. “This is ridiculous,” she tells herself.
She turns and finds him bracing himself against the frame of the bathroom door. “That you refuse to stay still,” she bites out before thinking, moving to his side to help him sit on the bed. Once he’s seated, she sighs, feeling some tension drain out of her shoulders. “Sorry. Just… I’m having a bit of a hard time wrapping my head around all of…” she waves her hand around vaguely. “…this. One minute, it’s like everything’s normal, the next I’m thinking ‘Devil’ this or ‘Devil’ that and I feel so… weird.”
He’s quiet, playing with the bottle in his hand that’s close to empty. “I understand. It can be hard to come to terms with. If you—if you need to leave, I wouldn’t hold it against you.”
Chloe blinks. “Lucifer,” she says slowly. “You’re still bleeding. A lot. I’m not leaving until I can rest assured that you’re going to be okay.”
“But I.” He visibly swallows, hard. “I scare you. You don’t have to stay if I—”
“Stop it,” she interrupts. “Have you forgotten everything I’ve said today? I just meant that it feels weird knowing that when I’m here with you, I’m not just with my friend Lucifer. I’m with the actual Devil. I’ve spent so long thinking of your stories in terms of, like, delusions or elaborate metaphors or something. It’s strange having to resolve all of that, knowing now that it’s true.” She smiles hesitantly at him, sitting next to him on the bedside. “I’m not scared of you. The very fact that you’d let me go if I was? Means I couldn’t be.”
His mouth is slightly ajar, and his eyes are trained on her. “You must be a miracle,” he says, mostly to himself, but she hears. “Otherwise you’d have run out of here screaming by now.”
A knock at the door signifies that a barkeep has arrived with their much-needed first aid kit. “I’m going to go get that,” she says, her lip quirking up in a teasing grin. “I’m not running out of here screaming, though. Okay?”
He nods tentatively, and she fetches the kit. When she returns, he’s laying facedown on the bed, his wings spread out across the comforter. The sight of him—only in his underwear—flat on his stomach makes her stop to swallow. Then she moves on to finish the job.
Though she warns him it might sting, he still overdramatically cries out when she disinfects the wounds. As she does her best to wrap them in gauze, she smiles at his theatrics. “Seems like you’re feeling a little better, at least,” she remarks.
Lucifer stops his grumbling and looks at her, and his eyes shine with something like tenderness. “A little better, yes,” he agrees, and she looks down to continue working.
Soon enough, his wings are more bandages than they are feathers, and she looks at her work with satisfaction. “I think you’ll live,” she confides, and Lucifer, whose eyes are heavy with exhaustion, merely nods in agreement. “Hey, you should eat something before you fall asleep.” She pauses. “Do you even own a fridge?”
“F’course, Detective, m’not an animal,” he rasps, pulling up an arm to grasp his pillow.
Damn it, it’s cute. She takes a moment to gripe internally about that—the Devil hugging a pillow to his chest should probably not be cute—before searching through his penthouse for what she eventually finds to be a mini-fridge… filled with tiny liqueur bottles. “Lucifer,” she calls out, “this is not a substantial meal.”
“I find vodka to always be substantial,” he disagrees, his voice sounding far too close, and she whirls around to find him standing behind her. Or, more accurately, swaying behind her.
“You’re not supposed to be out of bed,” she accuses.
He chuckles, almost drunkenly from blood loss and possibly shock. “I usually only hear that from very voracious lovers, Detective. Don’t tell me—”
She raises up a hand. “Do not finish that sentence. Go get back in bed, I’m gonna scavenge your cabinets.”
“No need.” He lifts up her phone. “I’ve called for delivery. You enjoy pepperoni, yes? No need to fret, it’s all on my card. I took the liberty of ordering some for Maze and Linda, too, while they watch your spawn. A token of thanks.”
Chloe blinks. “Oh… okay. Thank you, Lucifer.”
“Of course. Well, it’s for my sake, really. I haven’t been grocery shopping in a while, to say the least. The most you’d find in those cabinets are beer nuts from downstairs and possibly leftover edible underwear. Delicious for sexual endeavors. Actual meals? Not so satisfying.” He shakes his head. “That, and, as you are my guest, I need to provide you with a meal.”
Something clicks in her head. “You knew Maze was with Linda watching Trixie. Were you talking with her earlier?”
He tilts his head curiously. “We text on occasion, yes. Mostly emojis and physical threats, but occasionally relaying information.”
“Does she know… that I know?”
“Yes, I informed her in case she needed to abruptly find other lodgings. She and I are—not on the best of terms,” he grimaces, “but I didn’t want to surprise her with this little bombshell of you knowing our true origins.”
“She didn’t act like she knew when I was on the phone with her.” Chloe ponders. “Was she trying to make everything seem normal? So that I wouldn’t freak out?”
Lucifer shrugs. “Possibly. Mazikeen is skilled in the art of deflection. She’s also rather good at pretending something didn’t happen if she didn’t want it to. I imagine if you’d come home intent on kicking her out for her demon nature, she’d have simply acted as if she had no idea what you were talking about. Never mind the fact that she brings up her true nature as much as I do.”
“You said you two were on the outs. Is this… that stuff you mentioned a couple of weeks back? When you weren’t sleeping?”
“Yes, she and Pierce were working together to drive me insane.” Lucifer rolls his eyes. “I’m practically over it, but I’d rather not see her in person just yet.”
Chloe shakes her head. “I don’t understand how… you can just be over it.”
He shrugs again as they walk back to his bedroom. “I’m not human, Detective. My life span is much longer. I don’t have the luxury of holding many grudges—it’d take too long. There’s only one really worth having.” He looks up to the ceiling.
She grimaces. “God?” Another strange thing to get used to.
“But of course. And, until recently, my mother.”
As they wait for the pizza, him sitting on the bed and her insisting on getting him some water or at least “something without alcoholic content, Lucifer, or you’ll get dehydrated,” he tells her the story of God and the Goddess and how, until recently, Charlotte’s body was inhabited by something much more divine than human.
When they reach the end of the story, the pizza’s arrived. Chloe, sitting on the edge of the bed, stops midway from taking a bite. “Wait. You’re telling me that Dan—my ex-husband Dan—the father of my child—was dating the Divine Goddess?”
Lucifer barks out a laugh. “More like acting as her booty call. There’s a whole string of ironies to be had, once you know the truth. Yes, that was both very alarming, as her son, and quite hilarious, as a bystander.”
“I just…” she giggles. “Oh, man, that’s crazy. So then—Charlotte—her feelings for Dan were real, right? Not just a leftover, or whatever?”
Abruptly, with the mention of Charlotte, the mood is somber now, without her meaning to make it so. “Yes,” he answers simply, looking down at the pizza box in the middle of the bed. “Yes, her feelings for Dan, and anything else she said or did, was genuine to her soul and hers alone. Humans are, as they say, the sole beholders of free will.”
She frowns. “You have free will.”
He makes that face once more—the one where he’s trying to acknowledge something bad that happened to him, but without truly exploring it—and looks up at her through his lashes. On anyone else it would be a cheap come-on. With him, it feels like he’s not quite sure how to say what he wants. “Oh, yes, Detective. And I Fell for it.”
Unconsciously, her hand drifts to a part of his wing that is less bandaged than the rest, stroking along a feather in a way that makes him shudder just slightly. “Did it hurt?” she asks tentatively, afraid to question him on such an obviously sore subject. She half-expects him to make it into a joke about that corny, age-old pickup line, just to evade the real conversation. Did it hurt when you fell from Heaven? Quite literally: fell.
Lucifer makes a soft, sharp noise instead, and gently removes her hand from his wing. “More than anything in Creation had ever hurt before, I suspect,” he answers, avoiding eye contact.
Frustratingly, she feels just as far away from him as she did in the warehouse, struggling to convince him that she wasn’t going to run. “You can tell me the gory details, you know,” she says quietly. “I already told you I’m not running away.”
“Ah,” he clicks his tongue and responds bitingly, and she knows that tone. That Self Destructive, I’m-gonna-turn-your-words-around-on-you tone he’s so good at using when he’s upset. “But what gory details do you mean, Detective? The part where I fell into a lake of fire, like the stories say? Where I burned for centuries? Or do you mean what followed after, when I learned what it is to torture and be tortured all at once?” He gives her a rough grin. “Do you want to know my personal pain, or do you want the things that would make your stomach turn? For example, what works best when torturing Hitler? Or someone less megalomaniacal, perhaps, someone more ordinary. Someone like Malcolm, perhaps? I wasn’t personally there to supervise his torture, but I know what works on the little people. The dirty cops, the B-list actresses, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, the people we see every day. Is that what you want to know?”
Chloe takes a deep breath. It’s a lot to take in. “Not unless you want to tell me,” she says carefully. “I have no real interest in torture.”
He scoffs, as if that’s the simplistic, human answer he expected.
“But,” she continues, treading lightly, “I don’t think you do either. Punishment, maybe, but not blind torture.”
Lucifer’s head snaps up, and he looks at her in confusion, eyes widened as if in fear. As if he’s afraid of what she has to say, and that it might be true.
“You just said that having to torture souls was a torture to you, too,” she pushes. “I know you’ve done things I can never imagine—seen things I could never comprehend—all of it. You’ve been around for—forever, I guess. Whatever. I think about that too hard, my brain probably explodes. So, I won’t. But whatever you want to tell me? I’ll listen. Even if it is the hard stuff. You want to tell me what it’s like to torture people like Malcolm or that stockbroker I arrested last month for homicide? Go ahead. I’ll listen. You want to tell me what it was like to Fall? I’ll listen to that, too.”
The expression on his face is unreadable. Her only option is to keep going, to say it all. Get it all out in the open.
“I’m here for you,” she says gently. “I didn’t come here to patch you up. I didn’t even know you were that hurt until I saw you. I came here to check on you and see if you wanted to talk. If you don’t, that’s okay. I’m just glad we’re both all right.”
He coughs and turns his head. “Yes, well, for the last few centuries I mostly just supervised anyway, left it to the demons,” he mutters, and plasters on a fake smile. “Thank you for the concern, Detective. Now, I’m afraid I’ve kept you too long.”
“Oh, of course,” she nods, mock-seriously smiling at him. “Hey, does your couch fold out?”
“As if I would ever purchase a fold out couch,” he responds without considering the purpose of the question, enunciating the last three words like they make him physically ill. “How pedestrian.”
Chloe reaches for an afghan at the foot of the bed. “Okay! I’m stealing this, then.”
“Trixie’s already asleep and if I come in this late, I’m just gonna disturb everyone and wake her up,” she says matter-of-factly, standing with blanket in hand. “Besides, that drive takes forever this late at night. I’m just gonna crash on your couch, don’t mind me. Goodnight, Lucifer!”
She all but darts out of his bedroom, pausing to stick her head back in for a more heartfelt addition. “I told you,” she says, and his head twists to look at her in the corner of his doorway, his mouth still an “O” of surprise. “I’m here for you, even when you don’t feel like talking… or when you feel like talking about everything. Let me know if you need anything in the middle of the night!”
As she makes her way to his couch, she practically hears his intake of breath for response and automatically calls out over her shoulder, “No bedroom-related needs, please!” She can hear him stifling a laugh as she sets herself up on the couch, and she suppresses a smile.
She wakes in the middle of the night for—well, not for not particular reason, but something she can’t quite name. Was there a sound? No. It’s more like a presence. She can feel a presence standing over her.
Chloe opens her eyes and yes, there is indeed a presence looming over her in the dark. It’s the Devil himself.
It’s almost alarming how casually she takes that in stride, yawning and rubbing her eyes. “Lucifer?” she mumbles, her voice sleep-heavy. “What’s wrong? Your wings hurting?”
“Um.” She can practically hear his thoughts churning in his head, and he clears his throat awkwardly. “Um, never mind.” He turns to leave—back toward his bedroom.
“Wait.” She sits up, noting where she’s kicked the afghan off in her sleep. “Wait, no, what’s up?”
He sounds embarrassed, but it’s too dark to see. “It’s nothing. My wings are well enough. Goodnight, Detective.” He turns again to leave.
Chloe sighs. “Would you wait, please?”
Slowly, as if he’s praying for rescue—though that’s unlikely—he turns, and she pats the couch cushion beside her. He sits. Her eyes are adjusting to the dark, and she can somewhat see where he is now: the robe he’s thrown on, the fact that his wings are gone, the hesitant expression on his face. “What happened?” she asks patiently. It’s the voice she uses when Trixie crawls into her bed at night or appears to be throwing a temper tantrum for no reason. There’s usually a reason—she just has to pry it out. That same patience she uses on Trixie is often useful for Lucifer, she’s found.
Lucifer groans. “This is silly. I’m the Devil, I’m not supposed to have—” he cuts himself off. There’s a slight, awkward pause.
“Nightmares?” she finishes knowingly.
At his silence, she knows she’s correct. “Look,” she says, deciding to lean against him instead of sitting up all the way, and he lets out a little undignified noise at her sudden weight against him, “everyone has bad dreams. Yeah, even the Devil. Today was a tough day, for both of us. I’d be surprised if we were just fine.”
He crosses his arms like a child. “You seem like you’re doing just fine.”
“Compartmentalizing, remember? Besides, if you think I didn’t have a good stress-cry on the ride over here, you’re totally wrong. Officer Lee is just way too nice to blackmail me over it.” She shrugs. “Everyone deals in their own way. But if your brain is sending you these messages in your sleep, it can mean you’re not dealing, or maybe there’s something you’re neglecting. What was your dream about?”
“Well.” He pauses. “Today. You. Dying before I could get to you.”
“Mortality’s a scary thing.” She thinks for a second. “I guess it’s probably even scarier for you, since you’ve never had to confront it before, huh?”
Lucifer chuckles morosely. “It’s only scary because most of the people I’ve grown to lo—care for, will be going someplace I can’t follow, I’m afraid.”
She remembers his words at Charlotte’s crime scene. In the total darkness of the room, it feels easier for him—for both of them—to say these things she’s not sure they could ever say out loud. “Heaven. Right.”
“You, your spawn, Miss Lopez, Linda—even Dan, I think,” he trails off. “You’ll all die, and I’ll never see you again. Charlotte reminded me of that. It’s something I’ve been… purposefully neglecting to think about.”
Chloe bites her lip. “Look, cops deal with a lot of death. I get it. It can be tough. And I’d love to talk you through it and figuring out mortality but, I gotta be honest, I’m really not qualified. Maybe you should talk to Linda about it. She’s in the know. Maybe she can help.”
“Yes, we’ve discussed mortality before.”
“Yeah, in the hypothetical,” she says. “Maybe with—with Charlotte, now, you can figure out exactly how to work through it. Both of you.”
He relaxes, just a little, enough for her to feel him losing the stiffness in his shoulders. “That sounds like a decent idea, Detective. Thank you.”
“Of course.” She waits for a second. “You got any ice cream in this dump?”
They’re still sitting on the couch maybe twenty or so minutes later, this time with two cartons of mint chocolate chip lying nearly forgotten in their laps. A lamp in the corner of the room emits a soft glow, letting them see both their ice cream and each other. The dim light helps her feel even sleepier, and looking at Lucifer, she can tell he feels the same.
“Here.” She takes his carton and sets them on the table beside the couch. “We can clean up later.”
She meant to say something else—to start up a conversation, maybe? —but now she can’t remember, and he seems content enough to sit in silence. Slowly, they end up leaning against each other again, until, in a reverse of their previous positions, his head rests against her shoulder. Without thinking, she wraps an arm around his shoulders, and he inhales deeply before settling.
A pause. “It hurt,” he mumbles.
She’s a little too tired to strike up some panic, but muted fear still floods into her sleep-filled brain. “Your wings?” she asks. “Your wings are hurting?”
“No.” He exhales shakily. “My Fall.”
“Oh. Oh.” She tightens her arm around him. “You wanna talk about that, huh?”
Lucifer shrugs sleepily, his eyes downcast. “You said—whenever I wanted. I don’t—I don’t want, exactly, to talk about it, but. I thought you deserved to know, if anyone did.” His voice drops, low, but not quite a whisper. “And I’ve never told anyone before. Maybe it’s time I did.”
“Okay. I’ll listen.”
He nods once. “I—” he breaks off at the start, sounding slightly frustrated with himself. “I don’t know where to begin.”
She thinks. “Is it…” Maybe it’s an inappropriate question, but she started asking so she might as well continue. “Is it why your devil face looks the way it does? Because of the lake of fire?”
“Yes.” He doesn’t shudder so much as he begins to tremble. Not a lot, but enough for her to notice while she’s plastered to his side. “Yes, that… I was there for a while. The burns steeped. Millennia later, they’re still healing. Even though I gave myself that face… I think it’s kind of a reflection of what I was like then.”
“Does it hurt?” she asks, reaching to cup a hand in his hair. She runs her fingers through it.
“Still?” He shakes his head. “No, not anymore. But at the beginning, I couldn’t even gather enough strength to pull myself out, the pain was so… so much. I’d still be in the lake now, probably, if it weren’t for Maze.”
Chloe shouldn’t be surprised, but still finds herself that way. “Maze pulled you out?”
He nestles in closer. “Demons are impervious to hellfire. Have to be, to survive down there. She waded in waist-deep, when no other demon was brave enough to touch the fallen angel, and she dragged me out while I howled and cried and begged her to let go and leave me there. The others were happy enough to treat me as their king once I arose, but Mazikeen was the first one to serve me. She was the strongest of them all. And the only one who could bear to touch me while I was still healing, when I needed looking after.”
“So in return, you made her your second-in-command.” She doesn’t word it like a question—it makes sense, now.
“Yes. It’s sort of funny. She was the only demon who was ever somewhat kind to me, and so I’ve only ever given her the most hideous tasks of all. I placed her in charge whenever I came to visit Earth. I made her deal with more bureaucracy than torture half the time, which is torture in itself for demons. I made her leave her home to accompany me here.” He chuckles humorlessly. “I still don’t think she’s ever forgiven me for making her cut off my wings when we came to Earth.”
“They grew back.” She continues to card her fingers through his hair while he trembles minutely against her. “What happened after the lake?”
The shivering grows more intense, but he calms himself after a second. “I think I spent probably a few decades trying to figure out what had happened to me. My Father’s never been the most… communicative. It must have taken me years down there to understand what had happened—that I’d Fallen. It had never been done before, you see. I begged Him to take me back, then I railed against Him, then I tried to flee Hell. Only to find that there’s no escape without wings, and mine were too badly burned to fly for a long, long time. Finally, I prayed to my brothers and sisters to get me out, to save me. Only one ever responded to my call.”
She’s afraid to ask. “Who?”
“Michael.” He laughs harshly. “My other half. My twin, you see. Mother used to joke that we were so alike. Arrogant, charming, and always so competitive with each other. Angels are all competitive, in a way. The difference, though, was that he reveled in my Fall, where my other siblings mourned and stayed away. He visited—he surveyed the hell around us—and he laughed. Hell only had a small number of souls then. Humans were so new, not a lot had died just yet and even fewer deserved eternal punishment. It was only demons and fire. He spread his arms wide and said, ‘So this is your kingdom. Enjoy it, S-Samael. Enjoy the consequences of defying Father.’ And then Maze…” he grins, despite himself. “Maze did the one thing that forever earned her my favor, my forgiveness no matter what sins she committed against me. She chased him out of Hell.”
“Maze chased an angel out of Hell?”
“An archangel. One of God’s favorites. Without an ounce of fear in her. And I loved her for it.” He settles against her. “It’s why I can never truly hate her, you know. Not after everything she’s done for me. Not when she chased off my self-righteous bastard of a brother, when all I could do was sit there and bask in the pain of my burns.”
Chloe rubs a hand over his back, where his wings would be if he had them out. “They grew back beautiful,” she answers honestly. “And so did the rest of you.”
He laughs. “You remember my devil face, right? That thing you saw just a few short hours ago? It’s been known to drive men mad, you know.”
“Yeah, I know,” she replies flippantly. “And to be frank, I think some of them were probably being a little dramatic. Yeah, I flipped out for a second. I got over it real quick.”
“You—you’re a miracle, though,” he says, voice faltering. “And my devil form—well. It’s so… horrific.”
Without thinking, she presses a quick kiss to the crown of his head and stays close as she whispers to him. “Nope. Surprising, yes. Concerning, definitely, knowing you’ve been in that pain. Horrific? Nah.”
Suddenly, the smooth skin under her lips turns scarred and hard. She pulls back to find that, in the soft glow of the lamp, he’s turned red and brittle, and his eyes are glinting and bloodshot. “Not horrific?” the face asks, the face with the voice of Lucifer. “You’re quite sure?”
For a moment, her hindbrain wants to curl up and cry, or flee, or both. Instead, she takes a deep breath, remembers her father’s words—But no, I don’t think he’s evil—remembers her own experiences with the being sitting next to her, and steels herself. A strange kind of affection flows through her when she looks again at his devil face. “Quite sure,” she echoes him, reaching to bring a hand up to his red, mottled cheek. In this form, his skin holds an intense, dry heat to it, like he has an ungodly fever. “What else do you need from me as proof?”
There’s a press of dry, harsh lips to hers, and she closes her eyes automatically for the brief, almost chaste kiss. Before she can truly recognize what’s happening, before she can respond, he pulls away, already chanting, “Sorry, sorry, I shouldn’t have—”
“Stop,” she murmurs breathlessly, opening her eyes and leaning in to kiss him once more. He lets her, and she brings her hands up to his face again. A long, red hand comes up to cup her jaw, holding her close. The mouth moving against hers, letting her explore his other face, is dry and cracked like a man who’s been lost in the desert, and she aches with sympathy for his story. Horrific, he’s learned to call himself. Learned to believe.
The Devil lets out a slight moan against her tongue, and she feels a wicked grin threatening to come over her face and break the kiss. I can make the Devil moan. She stifles that feeling of intense satisfaction and presses further into the sensations overwhelming her. The skin under her fingers turns smooth and cool again, and the lips against hers feel plump and soft. Chloe opens her eyes to find that he’s back to his human-like self.
“Not horrific,” she says gently against his mouth. “Got it?”
Lucifer lets out a wry chuckle. “Yes, Detective.”
As if silently agreeing to settle for the night, they move together to lay back against the couch, him reaching to pull the afghan over their legs. “I’m glad you decided to tell me,” she says. “About your Fall. I feel like I, like I know you better now. And I do—I do want to know you, okay?”
Under the afghan, his hand fumbles until his fingers tangle with hers. She accepts his hand wordlessly, holding it tight, and he lets out a messy exhale. “Thank you, Chloe,” he says softly.
Everything else—the investigation into Cain, dealing with her demon roommate, reconciling the celestial with the life she’s come to know—she can handle. Chloe closes her eyes and lets sleep take her.