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The Devil You Know

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“We’ve got a case,” Dean said, sounding far less than pleased as he climbed into the Impala and slammed the driver’s side door behind him.

Sam’s head throbbed from the noise, and he was hit by a rush of vertigo as he turned to look at his brother. From the back seat, Lucifer’s echo snickered and asked how many fingers am I holding up, Sam—you have no idea, do you—

“That doesn’t sound good,” Sam said, doing his best to ignore his least-welcome tagalong. “I thought... you didn’t want anything too tough, until...” He waved vaguely in the direction of the backseat.

On instinct, Dean’s eyes shot to the rearview, and, when seeing nothing and no one there, seemed to catch up to Sam’s meaning. He grit his teeth. “Look, I’m not happy about it, Sam, but I just heard some guy talking in there about some club owner in L.A. that hulked out and tossed him around and made him see shit. Place’s packed every night. That’s a lot of people that could get hurt.” Dean blew a forceful huff out through his nose. “Hell of a stage name.”

Sam tilted his head on instinct, and had to stifle a groan at the renewed wave of nausea. He would kill for a nap, for an hour of sleep, of peace from Lucifer’s ramblings... anything.

It was a lifetime of cooperation that had Dean filling in the blanks without Sam having to risk his lunch by opening his mouth to ask.

“The guy calls himself Morningstar. Lucifer Morningstar.”

A chill went down Sam’s spine. In the back seat, Lucifer continued to laugh.

“Yeah, not quite,” he said, and squeezed his eyes closed.

“Yeah,” Dean seemed to agree. “But whether it’s some asshole on PCP that’s putting roofies in the booze or what, we’re checkin’ it out.”

“Right.” Sam pressed hard at the fading scar on his hand, and felt the suffocating presence of Lucifer crackle and dissipate, if only for a little while.

From one devil to another. Maybe if people knew what Hell was like, they’d be a little less eager to lay claim to it.

But not likely.

The Impala screamed out of the gas station, and it was only the sight of Dean’s white knuckles on the steering wheel that kept Sam from begging him to slow down.

 


 

“So I’ve been looking into this club,” Sam said two days later, voice dragging as Dean came in with what smelled overwhelmingly like grease in a foam clamshell case. He managed to hide his dry-heave as his brother turned to close the door behind him, steeled himself, and continued. “Lux. It’s a little above our standard fare, Dean. Admission alone is almost a hundred bucks per person, and we can’t just walk in looking like...” Sam gestured between the two of them, at their plaid flannel shirts and mud-stained jeans, heavy, worn work boots and bruised knuckles. Hunters, the silence said. We can’t just walk in looking like Hunters.

Dean sneered as he wandered over to drop the diner food on the small table, Sam hurriedly pulling his laptop away from the plastic bag. Admittedly, the smell of Dean’s (usual) food was nauseating, but his stomach growled and it just made Sam realize that it’d been almost thirty hours since he’d last managed to choke something down. Without prompting, Dean pulled out a styrofoam soup cup that was filled with—oh thank God, just cubes of fruit salad. Sam sighed, his expression smoothing over into one he hoped was close enough to thanks, and saw his brother nod in return. Dean offered a plastic fork as an olive branch, and leaned as far away from Sam as he could when he unearthed his burger and dug in.

“So,” Dean said around a mouthful of meat, “We wait for the guy to come out and get him there.”

Sam chewed thoughtfully on a piece of melon, his eyes falling closed when it didn’t taste like ash in his mouth. Sweet, almost too sweet, but he’d take anything over the taste of blood.

Now that he thought about it, ever since they’d pulled into L.A, Lucifer had been strangely absent. He didn’t want to think too much about that. At this point, far be it for Sam to look such a gift horse in the mouth.

“No dice. Guy lives in the penthouse above the club.” Sam opened his eyes to squint at Lux’s website. There seemed to be no shortage of photos of the inside; well dressed patrons and nearly undressed dancers, multiple floors and sleek furnishings, and a bar broad enough to make the old Roadhouse look like like a tailgate. However, despite the best of Sam’s sharp eyes (even if they were a little less sharp at current than normal), the tall, dark, and handsome fellow whose silhouette seemed to appear in most photos seemed never to get a good shot of his face. Irritated, Sam tapped the fork against the cup before he speared a grape and crushed it between his teeth. “No shortage of security. This place looks pretty exclusive.”

“Monkey suits?” Dean asked with a groan. Sam knew he hated the way they itched.

Sam made a face. “Maybe the pants, but we’d probably be better off with button-downs. We don’t want to look like Feds, either.” He squinted at the patrons in the photos. “Mostly looks like the guys are in businesswear. We might have to go shopping. Even our normal suits don’t exactly scream the kind of class that would get us in the door.”

Dean groaned and set his burger back into the takeout container. “Sam, you’re killin’ me. We’re already runnin’ low on cash, and you tell me we need new clothes and almost two hundred bucks to get us in the door?”

Sam shrugged. The nausea was still far from abated, and he didn’t want to argue more than he had to. “You wanted to check his out,” he said. “I was all for staying away from anything that calls itself Lucifer on principle. But you insisted.” He opened his eyes to level his brother with a glare. “You’re the one who always says we do the job right or we don’t do it at all.”

Dean looked unhappy at that. He picked at a french fry, then shifted, uncomfortable. “I don’t know my measurements for all that fancy shit, Sam. You’re gonna have to help me, lawyer boy.”

It was a testament to how far they’d come that Sam didn’t flinch at that—just offered a small, wry smile. “I got your back,” he said.

And with the echo of Lucifer silent for the first time in weeks, it didn’t feel like a lie.

 


 

The next night found them waiting patiently as they were able, tucked into well-fitting clothes that made Dean seem more uncomfortable than their usual crowd of grieving family members. Sam had barely managed six hours of sleep, but even that was a blessing compared to the usual fifteen minutes here or there. Still, it seemed to make the dark rings under his eyes more pronounced; make him look less well, the closer his body got to being back on track.

For reasons unknown.

And, of course, while waiting, now seemed to be the perfect time for Dean to decide to bring it up. “You actually got some sleep last night, looked like,” he said under his breath. “No talking or anything. Did you take something, or...?” He sounded wary; like himself. It was years of this life that had taught them that when things seemed too good to be true, they usually were. Or that someone wasn’t telling the whole truth.

Sam shook his head, and for the first time, a head rush didn’t follow. He’d even managed to steal a bite or two of Dean’s leftover second burger before they left for the club. “No, I. I don’t know. Since we got in yesterday, he’s just been... gone.”

He didn’t see Dean’s fist clench, but he heard every accompanying pop of his work-worn knuckles protesting. “I don’t like it. Don’t get me wrong, but—”

“I know,” Sam agreed. His eyes narrowed as a sleek little black car pulled in behind where they’d just pulled in with the Impala (and Dean had shiftily finally handed over the keys to the valet with a death threat). A familiar figure climbed out, broad-shouldered and lean; but too far away for Sam to get a clear look at his face.

The man seemed in good enough spirits, but just before he went to toss his keys at the valet, he stopped short. His head tilted in that peculiar way that Sam hadn’t seen since Cas, and even though he couldn’t see the guy’s expression, Sam suddenly felt the urge to go still. Like prey.

He reached out to curl his hand in Dean’s sleeve, rolled up just like his around his forearm.

“Sam, what?” Dean asked, low and urgent.

Sam didn’t take his eyes off the man, easily a hundred feet away or more, as he stepped forward and reached out a hand and laid it on the Impala’s roof.

Dean growled.

The man that Sam could only now guess was the one calling himself Lucifer pulled away like he’d been burned, and took two long, swift strides toward the valet, head dipped down as he addressed the man still holding Baby’s keys. He stood there for a moment before he turned on a dime.

It didn’t matter that they were just looking into a rumor. It didn’t matter that it had been years. Sam hunched and ducked his head and Dean did the same, the two of them hopefully blending in enough in their silk shirts and nice slacks, in their shiny shoes and freshly-trimmed hair that this stranger they’d never seen wouldn’t be able to pick them out of a crowd.

It made no sense for Sam to think that he could, only that there was this strange certainty that if he saw their faces, then, well, he could.

“Dean,” Sam hissed under his breath. “I don’t like this. Something isn’t right.”

He could hear his brother’s teeth grating and the silent vibe of agreement, but then Dean had to go and open his big mouth and say, “Yeah, I know. But we’re already here. We have to check it out.”

“We’re outmatched,” Sam whispered, though he had no idea how he could ever know that. “We’ve got our guns and two silver knives between us. We’ve got one flask of holy water.”

“Sam, chill,” Dean said, suddenly urgent. “I know you’ve been seeing him, but this guy isn’t him. You’d know. And besides, Death said that the Cage is a done deal. There’s no way, Sam. There’s just no way that the Devil would pop the Cage, and, what. Play celebrity in Los Angeles? Why?” Dean shot him a look with his craned neck, and Sam could tell how much it was starting to hurt. And Dean did have a point. “At worst, we just got made by a demon playing dress-up. We can be in and out in twenty minutes. But I need you to stay with me, okay?”

Sam nodded once.

When they glanced up again, the guy was gone without a trace, but in the forty additional minutes they stood in line, no one gave them any trouble or much of a second glance.

Sam wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

 


 

The inside of Lux was more vast than Sam had been able to glean from pictures alone. With high vaulted ceilings and areas spread across three levels, it was far from anything they’d ever faced. And with the night in full swing, the place was packed with well-dressed civilians, clueless and helpless as they came.

And the guy calling himself Lucifer was nowhere to be seen.

“Split up,” Dean said after they’d made their first perimeter sweep.

“What? Dean, no!” Sam snapped.

“Hey, I don’t like this any more than you,” Dean shot right back, their voices luckily being drowned out by the Top 40s remixes blasting through the speakers, and it didn’t seem anyone was paying their argument any mind. “If we did just get made, this thing could be anywhere, just watchin’ us. And the last damn thing I want to do is leave you on your own when you’re like this. But we gotta. Meet at the bar in ten minutes.”

Terse and unhappy, Sam nodded. It was the last thing he wanted, true, but he could see the practicality. If this... thing did know who and what they were, they would draw more attention sticking together. It wasn’t great, but those were the facts.

As soon as they were in agreement, Dean was sliding off between a group of women holding flutes of champagne and putting on his most charming smile, and despite the tension, Sam couldn’t fault him for it. Sure, they were working—but after all the shit they’d been through, he figured letting Dean chat up a beautiful woman or five couldn’t hurt his morale.

Sam, meanwhile, decided that first things were first, and the best way to find out about the boss was to talk to the employees. And in his experience? Bartenders loved to gossip.

He grabbed a bar stool at the end and caught the eye of a fierce-looking black woman who was dressed to kill in something with an inordinate number of straps and cutouts. She gave Sam a sharp-eyed once-over before her mouth split on a seductive smile.

Sam got the idea that this woman probably hadn’t been turned down in quite a while. He flushed, distracting himself by scanning the bottles at the bar for something he recognized, and bit the inside of his cheek to keep himself focused. It wasn’t so much the heat in her eyes as it was the feline attention she paid with her dark eyes, lingering on his own too-sharp cheekbones and under-eye circles.

“What can I get you, handsome?” She asked, bending over the bar too far to be anything but completely on purpose.

“Um,” Sam faltered, then grinned sheepishly. From experience, he knew that he did the puppy-eyed thing pretty well, and he’d much rather be underestimated than anything else. “Jim Beam?”

The woman arched a brow and inclined her head, her hair falling over her shoulder in a sensual sweep. “Coming right up.”

Sam kept his eyes on her as she poured his drink, then bought it back to him. Instead of wandering to the other customers, she seemed perfectly content to lean against the bar as he took his first sip, watching him right back. “I haven’t seen you around before,” she said, and reached out a well-manicured hand in a mockery of a dainty gesture. “Mazikeen.”

“Um, Nick,” Sam said, and obligingly brushed his lips over her knuckles. He didn’t see the way her eyes seemed to go dark as the spotlight passed before he went back to nursing his bourbon. “No, I’ve never been. I’m just in town for a few days and some of my friends have said great things about this place on Facebook. Thought I’d stop by.” He pushed that puppy-grin again. “Now I’m sure glad I did.”

Her smile was sharp, all teeth. “Oh, definitely. You’re lucky; the boss is in-house tonight. It’s always the most fun that way.”

Sam set his glass down at that, his instincts sending him a keen warning. “You don’t say?”

“Mm,” Mazikeen agreed, then reached forward with surprisingly sharp reflexes to snatch up Sam’s glass and drain the more-than-half that remained. “So, Nick. You sure I can’t interest you in something else? Maybe Jägermeister? That usually tends to be popular with guys like you.” Her smile was gone now, her nails tapping against his empty glass.

In a flash, Sam was back on his feet, and the woman’s eyes had once again flashed black.

Panicked, Sam’s eyes swept the crowd. All these civilians. Maybe he shouldn’t have let Dean leave him alone.

Mazikeen,” said a smooth, warning voice.

A man’s hand brushed his shoulder as he swept around the edge of the bar, standing hip-to-hip with the demon woman.

It was him.

An immaculate haircut and designer suit, broad shoulders with a slim build, the guy truly did seem the picture-perfect definition of tall, dark, and handsome. His eyes glittered in the low light, but not with the kind of malice Sam was used to seeing in his dreams and waking nightmares.

But he knew without a doubt that this was no demon.

He stumbled backward, and his barstool knocked over with a crash. So much for not making a scene, but—

“Of all the people I expected to see in my club, you’re far from one of them, Sam,” the man said, Mazikeen pouring another drink into Sam’s empty glass and handing it to him. He drained it without breaking eye-contact, or even glancing at the perfect print the woman’s lipstick had left when she’d taken it from Sam in the first place. His voice was twisted with an unfamiliar accent, but the power behind his words was something that followed Sam from his every waking moment into the scream of the dark.

Sam took another step back and fought the instinct to run.

Stop,” Morningstar said, and he did.

Sam’s eyes went wide with panic.

Sit,” he ordered then, and Sam found himself seated on his righted stool without the man so much as blinking.

“It is you,” Sam whispered, his voice drowned out by the music, but Morningstar seemed to hear him perfectly. “Isn’t it?”

Lucifer nodded once, but that was all. His eyes seemed to drink Sam in like something unexpected, even something... dangerous. But Sam was no more of a danger to an archangel than a dust bunny was to a demigod.

“How?” Sam asked, and his voice broke. After everything he’d done, every moment he’d suffered, and Lucifer was just... here, casual as you please. He wondered absently if he and Dean would live to see the sun rise.

Probably not.

Lucifer set the glass down, his dark eyes fixed on the ring of moisture Sam’s original drink had left on the bar. Mazikeen was still a silent force at his side. He seemed to consider his words before he answered. “Not without a great sacrifice.”

“What do you want?” Sam demanded, desperate.

Lucifer looked up at that, his eyes narrowed. “You came here. What do you want?” His lip lifted in a snarl, and Sam finally saw something in that face that set him off-kilter.

Fear.

“I—” Sam hesitated, his head tilted in that way that he still did sometimes against his better judgement, like a muscle memory that was burned into his brain and that he couldn’t be rid of, not anymore. “But you. You can’t be here. Not when you’re...” Sam tentatively tapped his temple with his index finger. Panic hit him. “Am I—?”

Lucifer’s hand snapped out to grab his wrist, his expression gone tense. Sam tried to pull away, but to no avail.

“Interesting,” he said, his eyes locked with Sam’s. “There’s a shadow. On your soul. Coming through the cracks.” This man, this version of Lucifer, had tension lines around his eyes and mouth, but seemed so out of place that he wondered if they had been there before or after Lucifer had taken over his body.

Sam was suddenly filled with fury. Once, this creature had whispered through the eons, had directed Sam’s life because he was special, he was important, and yet, here he was in the body of a man that was unscathed as he would have been, and it wasn’t jealousy, it wasn’t—

“You would know,” Sam spat. “You did this to me.”

Lucifer shook his head, his eyes huge and dark in that stupidly attractive face, almost sad, almost pitying, but maybe that wasn’t the right word—

“No, Sam,” Lucifer said quietly. “I never. Never could have. Never would have. I... was not entirely honest.” His fingers loosened the crushing pressure around Sam’s wrist. “I told you that if you won, you’d win, but. I never intended to go back to the Cage, not ever.” Finally, he let Sam go. “I did not descend with you, as I should have.”

Sam tried to move, to flee, but still found himself stuck. “What? Stop. Let me go,” he said, and hoped it sounded more demanding than begging.

Dean would be here any minute, and Sam wanted to find him and have them out the door before Lucifer could beat him into submission all over again. Maybe not with Sam’s own hands, this time, but. He would still have to watch with his own eyes.

He wished he’d never gone to bed last night, wished he hadn’t traded those six hours of sleep for the world’s sanity.

“I cut off my wings,” Lucifer said quietly. He glanced at the woman. “Or, Maze did. The Cage was built for archangels. And in the fractions of microseconds before we Fell, I... was not.” He closed his eyes for a moment, then looked back up at Sam. “In a way, I did do this to you. I was not there to protect you as I should have been.” His expression went dark with fury, though not directed at Sam. “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry, my ass,” Sam whispered, feeling sick.

All that light, all that sound and fury and the strength of the storm that had once been Lucifer, with wings that stretched for hundreds of miles that could take him, take them anywhere—it had all been wrapped inside Sam’s flesh, Sam’s blood, Sam’s vessel, and now, what? That part of Lucifer... was gone?

He couldn’t. He just couldn’t believe that.

Sam dry-heaved once, the horror of that statement sinking into him. The miles-huge empty space inside him had never felt so vast, knowing that maybe nothing ever again could fill it. Not that he wanted —but he’d always wondered—but it was all for nothing—

“Maze, take him upstairs,” he heard Lucifer say. “Gently. Then collect his brother. I’m not feeling in the partying mood anymore.”

“No!” Sam snapped, and tried to rear back—but Lucifer still had him stuck in whatever little spell or compulsion he’d woven, and Sam couldn’t go anywhere. Not if Lucifer didn’t want him to.

He panicked.

Blood was all that Sam could hear; the pounding of blood in his head and his ears, until even the music and his own breathing was gone to him. Memories of hooks and chains, of brands and of the dark and of the cold surrounded him.

“Oh for Hell’s sake,” he heard Mazikeen say, but it sounded like a million million miles were between them.

Sam shuddered, his hands clutching at his own shirt, the stupid purple shirt the saleswoman had said brings out the green in your eyes and Dean had spent the rest of the afternoon being an ass and batting his eyelashes at Sam like a loon, and Dean—

“Sam,” said that smooth voice by his ear, and Sam felt a hand on his back, warm between his shoulder blades, and—

It felt like the first breath he’d ever taken, like his lungs had never tasted oxygen as sweet, and the people around him were suddenly in focus, as was their staring. He had been spun around in that stupid stool and Lucifer was standing before him now, his hands resting on Sam’s shoulders, and if he didn’t know better he would say that was a look of concern on the Devil’s unfamiliar features, in those wide, dark eyes, that downturned mouth, that hair that seemed a little more askew than Sam remembered it being a moment ago, and Sam couldn’t look at him and see him like that, like he cared; he couldn’t, so he didn’t.

Over Lucifer’s shoulder, he made eye contact with Dean, and saw the saw rage that twisted his brother’s face as he tried to push through to him.

“Sam! Sammy!”

“Mazikeen,” Lucifer said, a mumble under the roar of sound that was the rest of Lux. “Gently.”

“Dean,” Sam said, a quiet bleat of desperate sound that he hadn’t made since he was barely three feet tall and had no idea about the things that went bump in the night. He couldn’t help but look at Lucifer now, a silent prayer for mercy. “Please.”

“I know,” said Lucifer, and it sounded like he did. “I know.”

His fingers against Sam’s forehead were soft, heated, human.

“I know,” Lucifer said one last time, soothing and gentle, and Sam didn’t remember what happened after that.

 


 

“Get your hands off him!”

“Lucifer, if you would just let me—”

No, Mazikeen. As a matter of fact, why don’t you go back downstairs? I need you to keep an eye on things. Let Dean watch. He needs to know I mean Sam no harm.”

“My ass! After everything you’ve done to him in the last few months—”

“Was not me. I’ve been here and haven’t had my fingers anywhere near Sam’s consciousness; haven’t you been paying attention?”

Someone was touching Sam’s face, cradling it in their hands the way Dean used to after a particularly bad injury and the worry got the best of him. It was... nice. He hadn’t been touched like that in a while. Too long.

“Oh, Sam,” that voice sighed. It was a tone he’d heard before, heavy and tired and impossibly old. Sad. “The damage you’ve suffered.”

Don’t!” And that had to be Dean, that choked rage, and that more than anything was what had Sam opening his eyes, despite the soothing peace he’d found himself drifting in.

But Lucifer’s eyes were the first he saw, and those were his hands holding Sam’s head upright, gently, like he was something precious. “There he is,” Lucifer said. “Sleep well?”

Sam looked for Dean before he answered, and found him, whole and unharmed (though clearly furious) in what looked like a comfortable enough chair. No ropes to be seen, either. So, another one of those little compulsion tricks. Sam sighed; he knew his brother would prefer being bound and chained any day to being restrained in a way he considered unnatural.

“Dean,” he said in relief. “You okay?”

Me, okay?” Dean snapped back, though seeming appeased, and some of the tension in his shoulders drained away. “You okay?”

“Yeah,” Sam replied. “Yeah, I’m fine. I feel...” he looked up at Lucifer, at the tilt in his head, the curiosity in his eyes, and the nearly obsessive way he couldn’t seem to look away from Sam. In truth, Sam hadn’t felt this good in a long, long time. Years, maybe. “What did you do?”

Lucifer’s thumbs stroked over Sam’s cheeks, little trails of warm, affectionate pressure that Lucifer followed with a small, upward twist of his mouth. “Helped,” he said. “A little. You’ve got quite the fracture in there, and what you’ve been seeing is the darkness leaking in. I patched up some of the cracks.” Another slow circuit of Lucifer’s thumbs over Sam’s cheeks, and Sam couldn’t help his eyes fluttering closed for a moment, only ever a moment. “I can’t fix it all at once. I’m not...” Lucifer trailed off, and Sam glanced up to see his conflicted expression. “...since my wings. But over time, I could repair the damage for you, Sam. A little at a time.”

Dean snarled like a wild thing. “If you think I’m gonna let you keep my brother like some sort of sick pet—”

“God. That’s one sentence I could’ve gone without hearing.”

Abruptly, Lucifer’s hands dropped away from Sam and he turned with what looked like surprise, and—dare he say it?—delight. “Detective Decker!”

Dean craned his head back to see the woman that voice belonged to—a truly stunning woman with her hair back in a rough bun, glancing between Sam and Lucifer like she wasn’t sure what to make of them. Sam could see the telltale flare of her blazer that signaled a gun on her hip.

What the hell?

“Lucifer, I’ve been calling you for an hour. I thought you wanted to work with me?” Her eyes settled on Sam, and narrowed. “This isn’t some sort of sex game thing, is it?”

“No!” Dean hollered, looking both put out at the fact that this woman was calmly calling him Lucifer, but also like hearing the word Detective was the best thing he’d heard all week. “He’s holding us against our will. Get us the fuck out of here.”

Detective Decker, whoever she was, seemed unimpressed as she looked over at Dean’s complete lack of bonds, and at Sam’s moth-toward-a-flame leaning that was going on. “Really,” she replied. Then, she leveled Lucifer with an irritated look. “If you’re gonna ignore me to have a gay threesome, the least you can do is send a text.”

Dean choked.

Sam, a little confused and against his better judgement, almost liked her. “Um,” he said, drawing Lucifer’s renewed attentions, as well as the detective’s. “Really, it’s not like that,” he said. Then he looked at Lucifer, really looked, and then back at the woman. “Wait. You know what he is?”

At that, the woman seemed to lose patience and rolled her eyes hard. “More believers? Jesus.”

“I’d rather you not bring him into this,” Lucifer replied, petulant. “This is Sam. He’s a former associate of mine.”

“Does he owe you secret favors, too?” She crossed her arms over her chest.

Sam felt cold all over. Secret favors. Did that mean Lucifer was making deals? Maybe there really was a case here. He should’ve known that any streak of benevolence coming from Lucifer had to come with a price.

“No, no,” Lucifer said. Abruptly, that strangely good mood of his seemed to die down. “No. I actually owe Sam a number of favors. Innumerable, in fact.”

The detective arched an eyebrow, seeming truly shocked at that unexpected turn. The toe of her boot, which had started tapping just a moment before, suddenly stopped. She blinked at Lucifer, long and slow, and gave him a hard, level look.

Lucifer cleared his throat, then turned back to Sam. With a subtle sweep of his hand, Sam felt the tension of his muscles melt away, and knew with certainty that he could move about freely as he so desired. And despite the fact that his first instinct was to get the hell out of Dodge, this weird development of Lucifer actually communicating with a human in a way that wasn’t ending in fire and blood was... interesting.

“Sam, you’re free to stay as long as you’d like. Dean, I’d rather you not, but I don’t expect you to listen.” Lucifer turned, smirking as he clapped his hands once together, almost seeming like... a kid. It would almost be endearing if it didn’t look so out of place on the creature Sam knew so intrinsically. “Anyway, off you pop. I have to go to work.”

“You? Work?” Dean sputtered, his restraints apparently gone as well as he surged out of the chair, then seemed to not know what to do with himself at being free. Then, of course, his first matter of business was to rush to Sam, to check him over and check his eyes (probably looking for signs of concussion), then turn Sam’s head this way and that. He scowled, and Sam wasn’t sure if it was because he expected something to be wrong, or because Lucifer had laid hands on Sam in the first place.

“Why, yes,” Lucifer said with a smug grin. “I learned a little bit in my time with Sam. I’m a civilian consultant for the LAPD’s homicide division.”

The detective seemed to look at Sam in a new light, then. “You cops?” She asked with a frown.

“Ehhh,” Sam hedged.

“Private investigators,” Lucifer covered smoothly, and took a few steps toward the woman. “Well, come on, then. Death and destruction await!”

“Yeah, not on my watch,” she grumbled, and yeah, Sam thought that maybe he liked her. “And the case can wait five more minutes. You’ve got people here that know more about you than I do, and they seem wise to your shit.” She turned to Lucifer and pressed one finger into his chest, hard. “They’re coming with us.”

“Absolutely not,” Lucifer said with a frown, and brushed a hand over the front of his suit, as if to soothe over her needling. “Sam’s not well. He needs to rest.” Decker looked up like that she might believe. Sam knew he probably looked a hell of a lot worse than he felt at the moment. “And Dean—Dean I don’t want anywhere near me with a loaded weapon, again,” Lucifer added.

Decker peered at Lucifer. “I thought you said getting shot didn’t hurt you. You know, other than...” She fidgeted, and Lucifer absently rubbed at his outer thigh. Sam traced the movement and wondered what the hell kind of stuff had been going on since Lucifer had apparently been partying it up here in LA with the fucking cops.

“Yes, that’s true. But Dean had a rather special gun and has a rather bad temper.” Lucifer scowled. “Can we go? I’d rather converse with Detective Douche than go over this song and dance.”

“Lady, what the hell kind of stuff do you know about this guy, and why aren’t you running screaming?” Dean asked, an almost queasy expression on his face as he turned to her. “You’re not a demon, are you?”

Decker sighed, then pointed at Sam and Dean. “I don’t know where you’re from or who you are, or how you know this idiot.” She rolled her eyes at Lucifer. “But I do know he hasn’t propositioned me once in the last five minutes, which is kind of his personal best. And, to be honest, I could probably use the help if you guys are tough enough to put up with him.”

Propositioned? Dean mouthed, and shot Sam a look that was part intrigued, part almost-terrified at what that was all about.

Sam, abruptly, reconsidered whether he rather liked this Decker woman at all.

“Yeah, whatever,” Dean said then, and shot Lucifer a glare. “Honestly, I’d rather not let him out of my sight. The devil you know, and all that.”

That, at least, seemed to finally put Lucifer in better spirits. “You have no idea,” he agreed. Still, he eyed Sam with what seemed like worry. “Are you sure, Sam? I’d really rather you rest up here. Though, you know I always welcome your company.”

He did seem sincere in that, though. And now, his attention was focused solely on Sam as he strode over, arm outstretched like he planned to help Sam to his feet.

“Nu-uh,” Dean said, and put himself between his little brother and their most dangerous enemy. Lucifer ground to a halt. “Sam.”

As prompted, Sam got to his feet on his own. He felt better now than he’d been feeling while hunting for the last three months. And, really, the only way to test whether Lucifer had really helped him was to go out and put that newfound health to the test.

“Like he said,” Sam agreed slowly, though kept his eyes on Lucifer, new form and all. “The devil you know.”

Lucifer nodded slowly. “Right.” He tilted his head at Sam, a slow surveying up and down, before he turned on his heel and started toward the elevators. “Well then, let’s not keep the dead waiting! You first, Detective. Winchesters, follow along.”

As they did, indeed, follow along behind Lucifer and his new pet human, Dean shot Sam a bewildered glance.

It seemed, like always, the Winchesters had gotten themselves into another hell of a mess.