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Burning Like a Star

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"It's all true."

Chloe said it two, maybe three times, before the thing in front of her — Lucifer, the thing was Lucifer, and oh God it was all true — seemed to realize something was wrong.

He took a step toward her. She took a step back. His hands came up to make some sort of placating gesture, and he froze, eyes going impossibly wide at the sight of the burnt flesh. She took another step back.

He flinched at her movement. He flinched at her movement. Then he turned and was gone.

As much as she wished she could have time to... to consider all the facts, she could hear sirens getting closer. There was the backup she had called for on her race back here. She looked around the crime scene for what felt like the first time and groaned.

There were feathers everywhere. How was she going to explain that? And the dead bodies, and the knife, and- And the other dead body. And the knife, that would have Lucifer's fingerprints on it. Lucifer, who wasn't there, because he was the Devil.

There wasn't time for her to get her fingerprints on the knife, and she didn't really want to go near the body anyway. She wanted...

It was nonsensical, but she wanted Lucifer.

She was calmer, after spending the rest of the day and most of the night at the station. She'd been able to think through things, sort everything — well, most of everything — out in her head. There were things she'd had to put in the "worry about later" box, but that was okay. She had the time, what with the suspension and all.

The elevator to the penthouse at Lux was locked, and maybe she should have taken the hint and left well enough alone, but... Lucifer had given her the code for a reason, hadn't he?

She found herself crossing her arms nervously. The ride up seemed to take forever, which maybe was a good thing, because by the time the doors were opening, she had her arms resting loosely by her sides. She looked... casual.

Maybe like she was trying too hard, but that couldn't be helped because she was trying hard.

The elevator doors opened on a wreckage. The room was trashed. Even the piano had been destroyed. And that was, maybe, the thing that tipped her over from nervous of Lucifer to nervous for Lucifer. She stepped through the wreckage carefully, avoiding the broken glass and puddles of alcohol, going around the scattered piano keys, walking by the remains of a chair and trying to keep her breathing even.

"Lucifer?" she called.

She caught what she thought might be a cut off whimper, from the direction of his bathroom. If she held her breath and strained her ears, she could hear a susurrus of sound in that direction.

She wasn't sure what she expected to see when she rounded the corner. It definitely wasn't the thing from the shootout — Lucifer, not a thing, just Lucifer — standing in front of the mirror, clawing at his face, a semi-hysterical mantra of "I can't make it go away" coming from his lips.

If she lived to be a hundred years old, she would still never forgive herself for how she paused in the bathroom's doorway instead of going straight to him. Something in her — probably the only sensible part of her — wanted to run away screaming, and it wasn't until she saw the blood dripping to the ground from the gouges in his cheeks that she could put that aside.

She rushed to him, grabbing his wrists and pulling them away from his face. His eyes were wild, and he flinched with his whole body when she touched him. She immediately dropped his wrists and stepped away, holding up her hands in a non-threatening gesture.

"I'm sorry," she said as his muttering gave way to silence and he turned away. "I didn't mean to hurt you," she added. His skin looked... painful, to say the least. She probably shouldn't have touched it.

Except he had crumpled onto the edge of the tub and dropped his face into his hands, so it couldn't hurt that badly. His shoulders hitched once, twice, and she couldn't stand it anymore. She stepped closer until she was in his space.

"Hey, it's okay," she said, daring to reach out and put a hand on his arm, keeping her touch light. "We'll figure this out."

He shook his head, a miserable sound rising from him before he whispered, "I can't make it go away, Detective. I'm sorry, I can't make it go away."

"It's okay," she said again, and, "We'll figure it out, together."

He let out a choked sob and slowly tilted forward until the top of his head was pressed against her stomach. She let him stay there as he shuddered. Slowly, gently, she let her hand drift up to cradle the back of his neck, her thumb sweeping back and forth in a soothing rhythm. His skin felt like nothing more than gnarled scar tissue, and she could feel some of the tension flow out of her body at that.

Still cupping the back of his neck, she let her other hand stroke over the bald, shiny skin of his head, again and again. She found herself murmuring soothing nothings to him, telling him everything would be alright, and that she was there, and that it would be okay.

She couldn't ignore the blood dripping from his face to the floor for long, though, the soft plink of it grating on her nerves.

"Can you look at me for a second, Lucifer?" she asked finally, letting her hands drop, and he froze, tension screaming in every line of his body. "Please?"

He slowly sat back, lifting his head but not meeting her eyes. That was okay. She didn't need him to be looking directly at her for her to be able to see the deep gouges in his cheeks, the raw-looking skin peeled away to reveal even rawer flesh underneath.

"Oh, babe, what have you done to yourself," she whispered.

A muscle in his jaw ticked as he turned his face away, and the edge of the tub creaked under his fingers.

"Let's get you cleaned up, okay?" she said, reaching out to brush her fingers underneath the deepest of the gouges. They came away bloody, and she wiped them on her shirt. It was already a loss anyway.

She turned and took a few steps away from him, just to get a washcloth and wet it with hot water from the tap. She wrung it out and turned back to Lucifer, stepping back into his space. She could see the tightness of his shoulders let go just the tiniest bit, almost imperceptible.

"C'mere," she said, his eyes closing as she reached out and took his chin between her fingers, lifting his head and turning it a bit so she could see one cheek full on. It was... bad. Her first instinct was to tell him that he needed stitches, but... She kept thinking back to all the times he'd gotten hurt and then seemed fine far too quickly. She'd ask him about it, but not yet.

When she pressed the warm cloth to his face he hissed but didn't jerk away. "Sorry, sorry," she murmured as she dabbed at the blood on one cheek, rinsed the cloth, and then just pressed the hot, damp cloth against his cheek for a moment. The bleeding had finally stopped, and the cloth was barely tinged pink when she pulled it away.

She repeated the entire process for the other side, being as gentle and tender as she could. She almost missed the soft sigh Lucifer let out when she pressed the cloth against his cheek when she was done, almost missed the way he leaned into her hand just the slightest bit. Almost.

"Do these need stitches?" she asked when she'd dropped the cloth, turning back to him only to catch him turning his head away from her. As though that would stop her from seeing him. As though anything he did could stop her from seeing him.

"They'll heal," he said, his voice rough.

She almost let it go at that, before something, a tickle in the back of her mind, made her tell him, "That's not exactly what I asked. Do they need stitches?"

There was a long pause before he said, "No," and only the fact that he'd never lied to her before — fuck, he'd never lied to her — kept her from pressing further.

"Bandages?" she asked, and he shook his head.

"They'll be gone shortly after you leave," he said, something bitter and unpleasant in his voice.

"Oh, am I going somewhere?" she asked, keeping her tone light.

He didn't respond, didn't play into the banter, just sighed and dropped his head. So she sighed too and sat next to him on the edge of the tub, letting her fingers brush over his before gripping the edge like he was. After a couple seconds of sitting silently, she carefully — ever so carefully — made him loosen his fingers and slipped her hand underneath his, lightly holding onto him. He could still pull away with ease, but he didn't. She counted it as a success.

His hand stayed limp in hers, so she drew it into her lap, closed her other hand over it, gripped him tighter when he didn't show signs of it hurting. God, he looked like a burn victim, and she couldn't imagine the scar tissue — it looked paper-thin in some places — didn't hurt when touched, but... But even if it did, maybe he needed this more.

"Whatever game you're playing at-" he started suddenly, still refusing to look at her. She had been about to let go of his hand and turn his head to her — and what she was going to do after that, she wasn't quite sure — but instead she scoffed.

"I'm not playing at anything. I'm trying to be here for you." She squeezed his hand to make her point, the rough texture of his skin against hers a shock every time she focused on it. His elegant pianist fingers were so-

"I'm the Devil," he roared, whirling on her and ripping his hand out of hers, his eyes flashing with what she could only assume was hellfire.

But she held her ground. "Yes, very scary, I'm absolutely terrified," she said, deadpan. She was a bit surprised to find that there wasn't any part of her that wanted to run. Something in her had changed since she found him. It was like seeing him so distraught had settled something in her, the horrifying visage before her settling on top of the Lucifer she knew.

He was the Devil. He was also her friend, and partner, and almost-lover. So many times, her almost-lover.

"What is it going to take for you to believe me?" he spat. His voice was harsh, rough with emotion and something that reeked of fear. Of her. Fear of her and her reaction and-

"I do believe you, you idiot," she said, not unkindly despite her words. "What is it going to take for you to believe in me? I'm not afraid of you, Lucifer. How could I be?"

"How could you not?" He snorted derisively before standing and spreading his arms, turning in a slow circle as he said, "This is who I am, Detective. Take a good look at the monster before you."

She snorted out a laugh before she could stop herself, knowing it was inappropriate, that she should be handling this differently, but unable to contain herself. "Monster? Lucifer, you're terrified of my nine-year-old. Are you kidding?"

He gaped at her, so she stood and stepped forward until she was within a hairsbreadth of touching him. He stood, frozen in place, until she reached up with a finger and pushed his chin up. "Close your mouth; you're going to let in flies."

His mouth snapped shut and he took an unsteady step back from her, first one, then another. She let him retreat, didn't chase after him until he had stopped and she could advance on him, slowly.

Before she could reach him, "I killed Cain. Pierce. I murdered him."

"Yeah," she said, another step forward and they were back to standing a hairs-breadth apart, so close she had to look up to catch his eye. "It was self-defense. You know that, right?"

"He was human," Lucifer said, like that should mean something.

"He was trying to kill us. If I hadn't been wearing a vest, he would have killed me, at least."

Lucifer clenched his jaw hard, a muscle jumping in his temple. Oh, he did not like the reminder of that, that much was obvious.

"Tell me," she said softly, reaching for him again, cupping his cheek in her hand, not putting any pressure on the scratches but letting him know she was there all the same. "Tell me what else you could have done."

"I could have subdued him!" Lucifer yelled. "I didn't need to murder him. I could have- He was human. Do you know what that means? Angels aren't allowed to kill humans. Period."

She sighed, slid her hand around the back of his neck, letting her fingers fall on the base of his skull, where hair should be. "How?" was all she said.

"I-" he said, and faltered. She let her fingers scritch his scalp, gently, ever so gently, and waited. "I- I don't- I could have thought of something, don't you see?"

"I don't," she said, and he jerked back from her, her hand slipping off him and her arm dropping. "He was going to kill us, kill me, in cold blood. You did what you had to do."

"I-" he said and stopped. She could see the conflict warring on his face, the desire to believe her against the surety that he was a monster. And didn't that just break her heart. She wanted to- to fight for him, to beat the people who convinced him he was a monster into the ground.

As if he could hear her thoughts, he whispered, "I'm a monster."

"You're not," she said. "And you'll never be able to convince me you are."

He looked utterly lost at that, his eyes wide and uncertain. "But-"

"No," she said before he could start trying to change her mind, and continued before she could change her mind. "I could never love a monster."

His jaw tightened, his entire body pulled taught as a bowstring. "I understand," he said, his voice stiff.

"And I love you," she said slowly, wanting to ease him into the idea somehow.

He immediately started shaking his head, stepping around her and backing toward the door. "You don't. You can't."

"I can," she said, and added, helplessly, "How could I not? You're- You're so- For fuck's sake, Lucifer, you're everything. As much as you annoy me sometimes, I wouldn't have it — have you — any other way."

He was still shaking his head. "Don't," he said. "Don't, just because you think- It doesn't matter. I have to go back to Hell." His face twisted in pain, and she gasped. "I can't stay here like this."

"No," she said, ignoring her pounding heart to force the entire weight of her being into that single word. He was not going back to Hell. He wasn't going anywhere if she had anything to say about it, and a part of her, a hopeful, desperate part of her, thought maybe she did.

"I can't stay here looking like this," he hissed, gesturing to his face.

"We'll figure something out," she told him again. "We will figure something out. You're not going back there."


"I'm serious, Lucifer. So suck it up. You're stuck here, and you're stuck with me. Got it?"

He nodded, his adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed hard. "I can't stay here looking like this," he repeated.

"I told you we'd figure something out," she said, "and we will. How- What happened? You-"

There was a bitter twist to his expression as he said, "Falling from a great height and landing in a lake of fire tends to make one a bit crispy."

It was her turn to gape at him, horrified. "You-"

"Mm, quite," he said, turning from her — like he finally, finally didn't feel the need to keep her in the edges of his vision — and walked away. She trailed after him, trying to absorb that, as he went down a hall and into a cosy room that hadn't been destroyed. He dropped down onto a couch, bending forward with his elbows on his knees. After a moment, he dropped his head into his hands.

She sat next to him and put a hand on his back, running it up and down slowly, like she did to Trixie when she was sick, carefully avoiding where his scars were. He relaxed under her hand by inches, and she stayed quiet, letting him take the comfort he needed.

He seemed steadier when he mumbled, his voice muffled by his hands, "I can't make it go away."

"You've said," she told him dryly, letting her hand come to a stop in the middle of his back. "What can't you make go away."

He made a low, wounded noise of frustration. "This face. This- This body. I can't- He took it from the me last time I was going to show you and I was so angry, but now He's given it back and I don't want it."

"Okay," she said, starting up the soothing motion of her hand again. "I don't- Fuck." She had no idea what to do. This wasn't something they covered in school or the academy or anywhere. There was no "Five Things to Do When Your Devil Loses His Good Looks" list in Cosmo or anything. All she had was her intuition, and she wasn't sure how much that was worth in this situation.

"Have you talked to Amenadiel?" she finally asked, reasoning that if they were brothers, Amenadiel must be an angel, and an angel could probably plead Lucifer's case in front of God or do something.

Lucifer made a bitter scoff and said, "Amenadiel has gone back to the Silver City. He took Charlotte's soul there, after his wings came back."

Oh thank... Amenadiel, that Charlotte's soul wasn't in Hell. But-

"His wings came back? What happened to them before?"

"Oh yes," Lucifer said, still bitter, still speaking into his hands as though he couldn't bear to lift his head and face her. "He Fell metaphorically, because he felt he didn't deserve to be an angel anymore or some such rot. I-" he choked off whatever he was about to say. "In any case, I don't think he'll be returning any time soon."

There was something about that description... but she couldn't quite put her finger on what. It felt like something important though, something she was missing. She let her hand smooth up his back to the back of his neck, and let it rest there. He stiffened a bit, but didn't say anything. He didn't say anything, either, when she she turned on the couch to face him and reached out to touch his cheek with her other hand.

When he didn't object, she gently urged him to look at her. It took a moment, but he finally let his hands drop and lifted his head, his disconcerting eyes focusing on her and his mouth turned down in a grimace. She could see there on his face, plain as day, that he didn't understand why she would want to look at him, why she would want to see him like this. She didn't really understand it either; she should be running and screaming and probably packing up Trixie's things and sending her far away, but she wasn't. Instead, her heart was breaking for him and she desperately wanted to help him fix this.

So she found herself cupping his face, drawing him nearer, and moving smoothly to her knees on the couch so she could press a kiss against his forehead. His quiet gasp would probably haunt her forever.

"I promise you," she said against his forehead, "we're going to figure this out."

It wasn't until she sat back that he said, "Don't make promises you can't keep, Detective."

She smiled and lied through her teeth, hoping he would be fooled. "I'm not."

"I-" He blinked at her, face twisted with confusion. "I don't understand why you're here."

She blinked too, taken aback. "Because... because we're friends and I want to help you, and I was worried about you."

He grimaced but didn't say anything, so she continued explaining.

"Lucifer, you killed someone today." It was technically yesterday by this point, but neither of them had slept, had they? And didn't that make it the same day? And she was getting lost in semantics to distract her from how it was Pierce he had killed, that Pierce had tried to kill her and that Pierce wasn't even Pierce at all.

"I know," he said when her silence went on too long, his voice miserable. "You should be-"

"Here," she said before he could finish that sentence. "I should be here, with you, making sure you're okay, because I don't think- Because killing someone... It doesn't-" She growled, frustrated at her inability to put into words the horror of killing someone, even someone who deserved to die.

And there was no doubt in her mind. Pierce had deserved to die.

Maybe that made her a bad person.

At least if she went to Hell, she had an in with the boss.

"Killing someone is traumatic," she finally said, "and I don't know if you've called Linda about it yet."

"No, I-" he looked away. "I can't, until I'm... until I look like myself again."

"She doesn't know?" Chloe hazarded a guess.

"Oh, she does," Lucifer said with a strained laugh. "It nearly drove her mad. She doesn't deserve having to see me again."

"I-" The problem was, Chloe didn't know how Linda felt about... everything, so she couldn't just tell Lucifer it would be okay and he should call her. After all, Lucifer probably knew Linda better than she did, when it came to this, and if he was reluctant to talk to her, it was probably for the best.

But. "I still think you should talk to somebody."

"Who?" he snapped, and immediately looked ashamed and leaned away from her. "I'm sorry, I-"

"It's okay," she said, reaching for him and drawing him back toward her, cupping his face again so she could force him to meet her eyes. "It's okay. I'm not afraid of you, Lucifer, even when you're being a- a pissy bitch."

That drew a reluctant laugh from him, just as she had intended, but he sobered quickly — too quickly — and said, "You should be."

"Should I?" she asked, picturing him with a unicorn drawn on his cheek, him dancing with her and holding her so carefully like she was precious, him telling her- "I don't think I should."

He blinked at her, again, the surprise on his face making her heart hurt. And making her kind of mad, truth be told, because she trusted him with her... her everything, even though he kept- She trusted him, but he clearly didn't trust her.

"I'm the Devil," he said slowly, as if that were something she could have missed. "Look at me."

"You're Lucifer," she countered. "You look hurt, not scary. You look like you should be in the burn ward at the hospital, not like someone who could ever hurt me."

"That-" he started and then paused. "I- You can't- I use this face to punish people, don't you understand?"

Something about that clicked and meshed with Amenadiel not feeling like he deserved to be an angel and- "Lucifer. Are you... are you punishing yourself with it right now?"

"That's ridiculous," he immediately said. "Why would I- It isn't- No, of course not."

She met his gaze, watched the way it kept flicking away from an then back to her face. Watched his focus wavering, indecision and hesitation making him break off his denial for a moment before firming into something certain and fragile.

"Lucifer," she said again. "Will you call Linda and- and talk about this with her?"

"Now?" he asked, looking entirely uneasy with the idea, and she shook her head, not pointing out that it was.

"I can leave," she said, thinking that she needed to be home in time to eat breakfast with Trixie, that maybe Lucifer could use some time to digest everything she had laid on him in the past hour. But something awful flickered across his features at her suggestion, too fast for her to identify.

"Ah, you don't need to do that. Unless, of course, you want to, I'm not-"

"Hey," she broke in, reaching out to him again, her hand cupping his scarred cheek seeming to calm him. "I need to get Trixie off to school anyway. I'll be back. Just... talk to Linda at some point while I'm gone, okay?"

"I-" he said, turning his head slightly into her hand. "Alright. Will I see you after I talk to her?"

She smiled and leaned forward, pressing a kiss to his cheek other cheek.

"Text me when you're done and I'll come over," she said.

As she left, she could feel Lucifer's gaze on her all the way to the door, and when she looked back, the glimpse she caught before she turned the corner was heartbreaking. She wanted to go back and reassure him some more, so he didn't look like this was the last time he was going to see her. So he didn't look like he was trying to memorize her.

But she had to be home for Trixie, and it was already getting light out. Plus, she hadn't slept at all, so she could do with a nap.

By the time she was crawling into bed, she was dead on her feet, the day — and night — catching up with her. As she let sleep pull her under, the last image she saw, burned into her brain, was Lucifer dragging his nails down his face in anguish.

Her sleep was deep, and if she had nightmares, she couldn't remember them. When she woke, it was dark out again, and she stretched, glad that it was Dan's day to pick up Trixie, and only somewhat worried about Lucifer. His text might not have woken her, but if he really needed her there he would call, of that she was certain.

So when she picked up her phone, she was surprised to see four texts from him, spaced out through the afternoon.

Lucifer 😈 (01:34pm): i talked to linda. can i see you?
Lucifer 😈 (02:36pm): detective?
Lucifer 😈 (03:29pm): i suppose i should have seen this coming
Lucifer 😈 (05:16pm): i'm sorry

Shit. He hadn't even used any emojis. She shot up and started pulling on clothes, grabbing them haphazardly out of her closet. When she was done, she looked presentable enough, and grabbed up her phone.

Chloe (05:41pm): sorry was napping. on my way over

He would have been proud of her driving. She didn't slap the lights on top of the car, but it was a close thing, and she made it to Lux in record time. Soon enough the elevator doors were opening on the penthouse and she was stepping out.

Lucifer was sitting at the wrecked bar, a tumbler and a nearly empty bottle of whiskey in front of him. Where he had found the whiskey, she didn't know. His face, though. His face was healed from what she could see. It was amazing.

But he still looked like the Devil.

"So what's a nice devil like you doing in a place like this?" she called to him as she went over.

He jumped at her voice and turned his bleary gaze on her. Just how much had he been drinking? "Detective? Chloe?" He stood with barely a wobble, took a single step forward and then froze. "Are you real?"

"Am I- Of course I'm real. I was sleeping, Lucifer, not dropping off the face of the Earth." She crossed her arms over her chest, projecting every ounce of "disapproving mom" that she could.

"Oh," he said, his voice small. "I thought- I wouldn't blame you if you did. Disappear off the face of the Earth, that is."

She couldn't stand seeing him looking so miserable, so she moved to his side and took a swig out of the bottle before he could stop her. When he didn't try to nab it back, or offer her a glass, she frowned and took a bigger swig. Nothing.

While she was drinking top shelf whiskey, Lucifer had started to slowly ease away from her, until he was out of arms reach. She frowned again and deliberately walked toward him. He froze, which she supposed was slightly better than walking away from her, but not by much. Still, she grasped his upper arm and squeezed lightly. All the tension went out of him at once, and he slumped a little with it.

"Did talking to Linda help?"

He was staring at her hand on his arm instead of answering, so she gave it a little shake, jostling him just enough to get him to look at her.

"Oh," he said, meeting her gaze for the first time since she came in. "No, not particularly. She wanted to come here, but I- She didn't... react well, the last time she saw me like this."

Chloe had to assume that "this" meant "as the Devil" and not "drunk and getting drunker." No matter what she may think — Linda was stronger than Lucifer realized, probably — it was his decision and she wasn't going to argue it until he was sober.

Instead, she let her hand drop. He had been staring at it again, in a way that made her think that he was uncomfortable with her touching him. At a loss for what to do, she picked up the whiskey bottle again and screwed the cap on tight.

"I wasn't done with that," Lucifer said, sounding almost sulky.

"I really think you've had enough for now," she told him, eyeing the way he was slightly swaying in place now.

"I disagree," he said, making a grab for the bottle. She leaned out of the way and he ended up nearly losing his balance and falling over. His speech wasn't slurred, though, when he said, "I'm still conscious."

"I know," she said, "and I want to talk to you."

She didn't realize how that would sound until he stiffened and said, "Ah. I suppose that's that then."

She smacked his shoulder and grabbed his hands, walking backward as she pulled him across the wrecked space and down to the room they had been in earlier.

"You need to stop assuming the worst right now," she said as he let her lead him through to the couch in front of the TV. "I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. Get used to it."

"The last person — the last innocent person — I showed this face to — before you, I mean — broke for a long time."

He looked utterly miserable as she pushed him gently until he sat on the couch, so she brushed aside the bit of hurt that she hadn't been the first person he'd shown himself to and said, "I'm not them, whoever they are."

"Linda," he mumbled. "It was Linda."

Oh, that would explain why he didn't want her to come over. And why he was so certain she herself would take it badly, come to think about it. If his therapist hadn't wanted anything to do with him for-

"How long was a long time?"

"Two weeks," he said, and then glared at her when she burst out laughing.

It was inappropriate, she knew that. Two weeks was a long time when you didn't know if it was going to be forever. But he had made it sound-

"Lucifer, that's barely any time at all." She finally sat next to him, not touching him, but close enough that he could shift over if he chose to.

He didn't choose to.

"What did you need to talk about?" he asked stiffly.

She blinked. "I just meant that I didn't want to sit here in silence while you got drunk and passed out somewhere."

He leered at her, the effect strangely disconcerting on his red face. "You could always get sloshed too, Detective. You're in no danger of "throwing yourself at me" this time."

"Throwing myself at you?" She tried to hide the sting of hurt at his words, but it must have shown on her face because he immediately tried to walk it back.

"That's what you called it!"

"That was years ago, Lucifer," she said as she turned to face him, pulling her knee up. "There's no way you remember that."

"I remember everything you say," he said, the soft smile on his face stealing her breath away, before he looked away quickly.

The warmth in her chest grew like the dawn, filling the empty spaces his careless words had left behind. She wanted to kiss him. Even with the burned skin and inhuman eyes, she wanted to kiss him.

"In any case," he said quickly before she could respond, "if you're not going to join me in-"

"Drinking yourself to death," she put in, and he grimaced as though he were caught out somehow, even though she was pretty sure he couldn't die.

"-then you could always leave," he finished with, his features tight.

"Do you want me to?" she asked carefully.

He didn't look at her, wouldn't look at her. The silence grew, and grew, and grew, until she finally sighed and shifted, ready to get up and leave.

She made it as far as the elevator before she heard his footsteps, swift behind her. He was standing a respectable distance away, not close enough to touch, when she turned around.

"No," he said. "I don't. I should just let you go, but... I can't."

Tension she hadn't known she'd been carrying drained out of her and she couldn't help but smile. She stepped forward and reached for him, her hand only grazing his arm before he turned abruptly and stalked to the bar, his expression tight.

"Lucifer," she called gently, and he stopped in his tracks, shoulders up around his ears. She moved toward him and took his hand, firming her grip when he tried to pull away, and gently tugged him in the opposite direction. "Let's go watch a movie or something."

"A bit of Netflix and chill?" he asked, smirking at her.

"Maybe," she said, delighting in the way his eyes went wide, the dark sclera showing all around the iris. They were beautiful, in a way, the same way a fire burning was beautiful. Dangerous, but beautiful.

His hand twitched as his eyes narrowed. "Don't," he said shortly.

"Don't what?" she asked, pushing him down onto the couch. He fell back with a thump and immediately slid to one end.

"Don't joke about that," he said, lips a thin line. He didn't look happy.

"Who says I'm joking?" she said flippantly, sitting on the opposite end of the couch and pulling her legs up under her.

"Please," he scoffed and gestured to himself. "I'm stuck like this and you're-" he gestured to her helplessly.

She pushed down the urge to ask exactly what she was, to probe and push just to stroke her own ego. It wasn't the time, and he looked genuinely upset.

"You're not going to be stuck like that forever," she told him. "And I thought we were... Before, when you-"

"And if I am trapped in this skin forever?" he asked quietly, the edges of his voice ragged with vulnerability.

"Well." She took a long, slow look, thinking it over. He wasn't bad-looking like this, really. Still had the same bone structure, the long pianist fingers, the same softness in his eyes when he looked at her. The differences were all cosmetic, not something fundamental to his being.

"Well," she said again, starting to grin at him, "then I guess we'll be staying in a lot."

"Don't," he said again. "Do not joke about this, about-" He cut off, turning away from her.

"About what?" she asked, sliding closer to him and putting her hand on his arm. "About still wanting you when you're like this?"

"You don't," he said, but he looked down at her hand as he did, studying it, and she squeezed gently, reaching with her other hand to cup his face.

"I do," she said, drawing his face closer to hers until she could rest her forehead against his, eyes closing and a sense of peace filling her. She wondered what it felt like for him, these quiet moments.

"You can't," he whispered, his breath puffing across her face, his voice trembling slightly.

"But I do," she said again. "I do, and I'd prove it to you if you let me."

She waited and waited and waited, but he didn't move to kiss her. He was holding his breath, instead, and when she pulled away just enough to tilt her head, just enough to be about to press her lips to his, he tore away from her, suddenly standing next to the couch.

"I won't-" he started and broke off, breathing hard. "I won't sully-"

"It wouldn't be sullying anything," she said sharply, but he just shook his head, and looked like he was thinking of taking a step back. His eyes flicked away from hers, to the doorway, and back. "It wouldn't," she repeated, but softened and slid back on the couch until he had plenty of space to sit if he wanted to. "But I'm not going to press, okay?"

He sat down cautiously, eyeing her. She held up her hands, a sad smile on her face, and shrugged a little.

"I really think," she said, when he had settled like a skittish cat, "that you should let Linda come over. I think she'll be fine and I think you could use someone to talk to who... Who isn't me," she said. "A neutral party." When he didn't say anything, she sighed and turned to face the TV screen. "Why don't we watch a movie."

He didn't tell her no, so she leaned forward to pick up the remote and then settled back and clicked on the TV. She opened Netflix and had to laugh a little at the suggestions for what to watch. There were a lot of procedurals.

"Doing research?" she asked, glancing over to him with a smile on her face.

His lips were quirked in a half smile as he said, "I hardly think any of these could be considered research. Their understanding of police procedure is shoddy at best."

"Oh, and you have such a great understanding of it yourself?" she asked, grinning.

"Certainly better than any of them," he said, and then the smile faded from his face and he added, softly, "Fat lot of good it'll do me now."

"What?" She blinked. "You- We're going to fix this, Lucifer. I swear."

He smiled ruefully, not looking at her anymore. "Well, you know now."


"About me."

She had no idea what he was talking about, and it must have shown on her face when he glanced over, because he continued with, "I doubt you're going to want me back at the station even if I do get my other face back."

"What are you talking about?" she asked, right before it clicked ands he said, "For fuck's sake, Lucifer, I'm sitting here with you while you look like Halloween come early. Why wouldn't I want you as my partner? Nothing's changed."

"I'm sure that will change once it's had its chance to sink in," he told her, as though it were obvious. As though his friendship meant that little to her. As though she hadn't had every chance to run away — as though he hadn't given her every chance to run away — and not taken any of them.

"Wow," she said. "Just, wow." She couldn't figure out how to put into words just how angry and offended she was, so she just said, "Wow," again.

The smile he turned on her was more of a grimace. "See?" he said. "There you go. Once you come to terms with-"

"Oh, the only thing I'm coming to terms with right now is how much of an asshole you can be," she told him. "But I knew that already."

"How much of an-" he repeated slowly.

"Yeah," she said. "How much of an asshole you are sometimes. I don't need it to sink in, Lucifer. Believe me, it has. And I'm still here. You can try to push me away with your-" she gestured to him indistinctly "-general bullshit, but it's not going to work."

"I-" he started but she rolled right over him.

"I may not have been a good friend lately- No, don't try to argue, we both know it's true- but I have never, not for a single moment, stopped loving you. Even when I didn't want to. Maybe especially when I didn't want to. You being the Devil doesn't change that. Regardless of what your job used to be, you're not him. Not to me."

She paused for the briefest second, not long enough for him to get a word in edgewise, then said, "You know what my dad used to tell me, right before he died? He would tell me that my job wasn't my identity. And I think you really need to think on that for a while."

It took him a few tries before he was able to respond, but she sat there patiently, waiting. Finally, he said, the fragility of his voice making her heart hurt, "You really love me?"

"Yes," she said, letting every bit of frustration she was feeling bleed into her voice. "I do. And it hurts every time you tell me that I don't."

"I never said-"

"No, you never said it outright, but that's what you mean, isn't it? That I don't love you enough to overlook your flaws, that I don't love you enough to stay, that I don't love you enough." She took a deep, shaky breath. "And, you know, maybe you're right. I'm sure my love could never match the love of-" she made a gesture vaguely toward the heavens, and Lucifer immediately scowled.

"Don't," he said. "Don't compare yourself to that bunch of twats. You-" He fell silent, and she waited for him to go on, but he just stared at her, helplessly.

"I love you," she said again, filling the silence. "I love you."

"I- If you're just saying that in hopes it will-"

"Are you serious right now?" she asked. Hadn't she just told him to stop doing that? "This isn't a fucking fairytale. I can't just... My love isn't going to fix your issues and I know that. I just want you to stop telling me that I don't."

She angrily dashed away the tears that had fallen. When Lucifer reached out to her but stopped, his hand hovering midair in indecision before he dropped it, she sighed and turned back to the TV.

"Can we just- Can we just watch something on TV now?" she asked, every once of tiredness she felt seeping into her voice.

"Netflix without the chill?" he asked shakily, and she nodded. "I think we can manage that."

She scrolled through the options for something light and settled on Happy Feet, then leaned into the side of the couch, getting comfortable. It would be more comfortable to be leaning on Lucifer, but she wasn't going to risk it. Not now.

She must have dozed off at some point, even with the nap — some conversations were exhausting — and woke to Lucifer crouched in front of her, saying her name, his hand hovering over her shoulder. She was scrunched up in the corner of the couch and her neck twinged when she straightened.

"When is Daniel dropping off Beatrice?"

She stretched, the movement bringing his hand in contact with her shoulder, and he jerked back like he was burned. "Not until tomorrow. Do you want me to stay?"

"I-" He looked indecisive, and his expressions were starting to look normal on his face, not like a parody of her friend on a monster. "Yes, I believe I do."

He looked... nervous. She ran a hand through her hair, trying to untangle it from the mess it had become while she slept, and then reached for him. He didn't duck out of the way, but he tensed when she touched his cheek.

"Then of course I'll stay." She paused, then said, "And you will too?"

"It is my penthouse," he said and she sighed.

"You know that's not what I mean. Promise me you're not going to freak out again and go back to Hell."

He sat back on his heels, his mouth a thin line. "Detective..."

"Promise me," she said, leaning forward and taking his face in her hands, ignoring his flinch. "Promise me I'm not going to wake up tomorrow morning and you'll be gone."

She pressed her forehead to his and whispered, "Promise me. Please."

"I-" She could feel him swallow. "I promise."

"Thank you." She pressed a kiss to his forehead, feeling him shudder under her lips.

In the morning, she called Dan and asked him to keep Trixie for just a little while longer. Then she talked to Trixie for a bit, until she couldn't deny that she was avoiding going out to see if Lucifer was still there. He never lied — God, he had never lied to her — but breaking a promise wasn't the same thing as lying. Fuck, she should have worded it more clearly.

She wandered out of the guest room, hoping she would find him in front of the TV, or maybe making breakfast, or even up in the library. What she didn't expect was to find him in his bedroom, sprawled across the bed, sound asleep. It took her a few moments to convince herself to move on, to leave him to sleep.

What she wanted to do was climb into bed next to him. What she wanted to do was shove him over and curl up against him. What she wanted to do was run her hands over his horrible skin and make him feel how much she loved him.

What she couldn't do was fix him.

She didn't know what she was going to do if they couldn't figure this out. He was right, after all; he couldn't stay if he looked like that. Not unless he became a recluse, and she just... couldn't picture Lucifer — Lucifer, who craved attention and physical pleasure more than anyone she had ever known — being content with living in solitude for any length of time.

In the kitchen, she rummaged through the fridge and cabinets, pulling out the ingredients to make herself some eggs. A part of her hoped that the smell would rouse Lucifer, that he would come out and join her for breakfast. When she was done, there was still no sign of him, so she cleaned up after herself and went to go check on him.

He wasn't in bed anymore. She could hear the sound of running water coming from the bathroom, and almost turned to continue toward the living room when the crash of breaking glass came from that direction.

She didn't stop to think, just sprinted to the bathroom and skidded to a stop in the steamy room. The mirror was in shards on the floor, and Lucifer was cradling a bloody fist to his chest. She grabbed the hand towel off its hook and grabbed his hand, checking for glass before she pressed the towel to it.

"Why would you do that?" she asked as he hissed in pain, her voice perhaps a bit louder and angrier than it should have been. "What were you thinking?"

"I forgot for a moment I'm vulnerable around you, nothing more."

"What does that even mean?" She swore as she carefully lifted the towel off his knuckles just to see that they were still bleeding. She pressed it against them harder.

She looked up at him, scowling, just to see him smiling sadly down at her.

"I'm vulnerable around you," he said. "Physically. I can be hurt, bleed, killed by mortal means when I'm around you."

She gaped at him. That- That explained so much. That explained why he threw himself into danger like he forgot that he could die. And it- "Why are you still here, then?"

"I made you a promise," he said. "Remember?"

"No, not- I mean- I mean why did you stick around me once you found out?"

He shrugged helplessly. "How could I not?"

"Easily!" she said. "You're- I'm not- Lucifer, you could partner with anyone in the precinct if you even wanted to still be a consultant. You don't-"

"But none of them are you," he said, as thought it were obvious, as though it were an answer.

Her heart clenched. She supposed it was. He could be so sweet sometimes, and then he would do something like try to buy her with cars and fancy dinners like-

Like he didn't know she would have dumped Marcus in a hot second if only he'd asked.

He was watching her, eyes soft and smile rueful. His fingers twitched where she held his hand, and she let her grip on the towel she was holding to it loosen.

She was suddenly very, very aware that he was only wearing a towel, slung low on his hips. That she was standing so close to his mostly-naked body that she could feel the heat of him. Her eyes tracked the line of a drop of water trailing down his chest, and she wished she could trace it with her tongue.

It didn't matter, anymore, that he barely looked human at the moment.

"Sorry," he mumbled, moving to step away from her for no reason that she could see. She stopped him with a hand on his arm. "I don't appreciate-" he started and cut off with a choked noise when she traced the line of water with the back of her finger.

"Chloe," he murmured.

When she looked up, his eyes were wide. His other hand came up and hovered a breath from her cheek, so she leaned just far enough for him to touch her. He looked... shocked, and awed, and so very, very fragile in that moment.

So she stood up on her tiptoes, her free hand going to his neck, and pressed her lips to his.

His lips were dry and a little rough, not chapped but scarred. She didn't have time to wonder how much sensation he had in them because he was nibbling at her bottom lip, drawing a quiet gasp from her.

He didn't take advantage of that until she licked his lips, asking entrance.

His mouth was minty, and he breathed a soft sigh as she let her tongue slide along his, leading him back to her mouth. He knew what he was doing, that much was clear as his tongue explored her mouth sending a bolt of warmth straight to her core. She wanted more, but he kept the kiss light, just little touches of his tongue and movements of his lips against her.

She let her hand slide down his chest, coming to rest over his heart.

A moment later, he ripped himself away from her. "I don't- You can't- You can't want this."

"What?" She licked her lips as though she could still taste him on them.

"This!" he said, motioning to himself. "You can't-"

He shifted and hissed, stepping back with another hiss if pain. It took her a confused moment to realize-

"Did you just step on glass?"

"I told you," he said, his lips thin and eyes full of frustrated anger. She was glad it wasn't directed at her, because it was kind of scary. She could see why perps were... how they were around him. "Sometimes I forget I'm vulnerable around you."

"Right," she said, and gently pushed at his chest. "Go sit on the edge of the tub. I'll get something to clean this up."

By the time she was back with a dustpan and brush, he had tweezers and his foot up on his knee as he tried to dig the glass out. When she knelt to sweep up the glass she got an eyeful and quickly turned away.

When she glanced back — she couldn't help it! — he was watching her with a knowing smirk that quickly faded. He was still cursing at his foot when she finished sweeping up the last of the glass, so she went and sat by his side, plucking the tweezers out of his hand.

"Hold still," she said and wiped the blood off with a towel. She had the sliver out in seconds, and smirked at Lucifer's petulant frown.

She reached for him, intending to pick up where they left off, but he slid away and stood, towering over her. When she frowned up at him in worry, he frowned right back at her.

"What's the problem?" she asked, her mind running through a cascade of reasons why he wouldn't want to kiss her again, all coming back to one thing: he no longer wanted her. She had fucked up with Marcus, fucked up too badly for him to forgive, and-

"This," he said, gesturing to himself. "This face, this body, is used to punish people. Not- not- it's not meant for anything else."

That stopped her thoughts short.

"I don't see how you could possibly want anything but to run when I'm like this."

Oh, Lucifer.

"Lucifer," she said, not standing, craning her neck so she could look him in the eye. "Are you a different person?"

"I- No, of course not. I'm still the same cheeky devil you know." The smile that crossed his face wasn't a happy one. "I-"

He looked distressed, so she broke in before he could continue. "Exactly. You're the same person. I love you — you — and it doesn't matter what you look like, because you're still the person I love."

He blinked rapidly, so she stood and pulled him into a tight hug. He clung to her, his face buried in her hair. She held him tight against her, trying to convey the depth of her feeling through the strength of her arms. It didn't seem enough — could never seem enough — but she didn't know how else to show him that she wasn't afraid of him. That she could never be afraid of him.

After a long moment — longer than she thought he would have let her hug him — he pulled back.

"I need to dress," he said, his discomfort in every line of his body.

It was strange, him having any kind of modesty, so unlike him that she would have worried he'd been replaced with a doppelgänger. And, in a way, she supposed he had.

Lucifer used his clothing as an armor, and she could almost feel the vulnerability oozing out of him as they hugged. She could understand why he was so quick to want that armor between him and the world — even when the world was only her — but it still made her... sad for him. She was getting used to this new face, but didn't think she would ever get used to how different he was when he was wearing it.

At least, when he was wearing it not by choice. She supposed that when it was his choice, when it was a cloak he put on while he was punishing people, it was different. That was still the Lucifer she knew, still the infuriating man she loved, because he had been allowing her to see that part of him all along. She didn't love him any less like this, but it was... strange.

She almost wanted to call Linda and have her come over without asking Lucifer first. It would be a breach of his trust, but she thought he needed it. That he needed to have someone talk some sense into him. That if this was caused by his own guilt, then he needed someone who wasn't her to talk him out of it.

But the breach of trust that would be — his face if he came out of his room and saw Linda there — was... It wasn't something she thought she could handle. So she sat on the couch that was just barely in view of the opening to the bedroom and waited.

When he finally came out, he looked almost surprised to see her there, as though she would have left. As though she would have taken the chance to escape, and just the thought of that had her heart clenching in her chest.

"Hey," she said, before he could say anything. "Can we talk about Linda coming here? Please?"

"What's there to talk about, Detective?" he asked, a bitter smile twisting his features. "I doubt she would come even if asked, especially when I'm this."

"But you said she'd seen you like this before," Chloe reasoned. Now that she'd had time to think it over, if Linda had seen him like this, and continued to be his therapist, then she had to be strong enough to see it again.

She wasn't sure what it would do to him to be stuck like this for much longer. There were going to be questions at the precinct that she could only hold off for so long, too. And he was going back to Hell over her dead body.

If worst came to worst, surely he could — and she couldn't believe she was even thinking this — pay off someone to make the police matter go away. Lord knew she'd dealt with enough dirty cops in her time to know that there was someone who would take the money and make his troubles disappear.

"Yes, and it broke her, for a long time." A look of something almost like shame broke through the blankness on his face. "I never should have shown her."

"First of all, two weeks still isn't a long time," she said, waving off his protests. "Second of all, of course you should have shown her. You should have shown me, too, before I had to find out like this."

She wasn't angry with him, about how she found out. There were worse ways she could have, and the better ways... She wasn't sure if there hadn't been a crisis — if Lucifer hadn't needed her to be strong for him — she wasn't sure if she would have reacted better than Linda.

It was a sobering thought.

"I don't want to push," she said carefully, mock glaring at Lucifer's snort of disbelief, "but I really think... If whole thing-" she gestured at his face "-is because you- you feel guilt over protecting- protecting me-"

"Of course I don't feel guilt over that," he murmured, taking a step forward before visibly restraining himself. She wasn't sure what she had to do to convince him that she wasn't afraid of him when he was like this. "But I murdered Pierce. I made sure he went to Hell. I-" he swallowed, hard "-I'm a- Angels aren't allowed to kill humans."

Well, that was another thing to process that she filed in the back of her mind before she asked the most important question. "Do I need to worry about some angel or G- your father coming for you?"

"I don't know," he said, the bleak honesty in his voice making her step forward into his space so she could run a hand down his arm and tangle their fingers together, squeezing his hand gently.

"Okay," she said. "We'll deal with that when it comes." She considered whether or not to tell him the next bit, and abruptly said, "I'm glad you killed him. No, I'm happy you killed him."

"I-" He blinked at her, then glanced to their entwined fingers, and back to her. "Chloe, you-"

"I what?" she asked, squeezing his hand in reassurance again, her heart breaking at the soft way he said her name. She loved hearing it in his voice, in his accent, but not like this.

"You don't understand," he said in a rush. "I murdered him, and I was glad. I was- I was glad because he tried to kill you. But also because if he was dead, if he was in Hell, that meant he would never have you again, even if you changed your mind about- and I-" He let go of her hand and stepped away. "I don't-"

She knew that it shouldn't warm her, that he was that jealous of Pierce, but... After so long thinking that he didn't want her like that, after so long of thinking that no one ever would because she was too old and too plain and had a kid and all those things her mother would passive aggressively worry over at her- After so long of knowing, in her bones, that after Dan no one was going to love her, hearing that Lucifer had been that jealous had her smiling gently at him.

"That's okay," she told him, reaching for his hand again. He let her take it, but only reluctantly curled his fingers around hers. She brought her other hand to hold his, sandwiching it in between hers like she was trying to warm him. And, she supposed she was, in a way. She was trying to pass on the warmth in her chest.

"It's okay," she said again. "It's okay to feel jealous and to feel glad he's dead. I'm glad he's dead. I don't think I could live here, knowing he was rotting in a cell somewhere. I don't think I would ever feel-" she shuddered at the memory of Pierce touching her, of them having sex, of the way he- "-safe. I don't think I would ever feel safe if he weren't dead. And I think... I think you did the right thing. If you're a bad person for killing a murderer to protect me, jealous or not, then I'm a bad person for being glad he's dead."

"No," he said, his voice harsh. "No, you're not a bad person for- How could you even think that, you're the most-"

"I don't," she said. "That's my point. I don't think I'm a bad person for being glad he's dead and I don't think you're a bad person for killing him."

He seemed to mull it over, seemingly ending on unconvinced.

"Please," she said, letting a hint of desperation into her voice. "Please, will you talk to Linda about all this? If you haven't already?"

"I'm sure she has other clients-" he started, for what must have been the first time in his life, but Chloe interrupted.

"And I'm sure this counts as an emergency. Just... leave a message if she's with another client. I can call if you want me to. I just... I really think you should talk about this with her instead of hiding here."

"Hiding?" he asked, incredulity written in every line of his body.

"Yeah," she said, not backing down. "Hiding."

"And what would you have me do?" he asked, his eyes flashing. "You can't seriously think I could leave, looking like this."

"No," she said — admitted. "No, you couldn't, but that doesn't mean you have to shut out people who care about you. Please."

He still looked indecisive, but said, "If you insist," and she breathed a sigh of relief.

"Thank you," she breathed out.

He grimaced, but nodded. "Would you... be here? When I'm done?"

"Of course," she said. "Do you want privacy? I can go-"

"No, no," he said quickly. "Stay here, it's alright. I'll just-" he motioned to the back of the penthouse, where she assumed there were more rooms she had never seen.

"Okay." She darted in before he could move, going up on her tiptoes and kissing him swiftly before turning away. "I'll put the TV on, too."

She could feel him standing there for a long moment before she heard him turn and walk away. She touched her fingertips to her lips once she was sure he had left the room, smiling slightly.

By the time Lucifer returned, she had watched enough television to last her the rest of the week and was itching to do something, anything, that wasn't just sit there. It was close enough to lunch time that she could start making something, but that plan was quickly shoved to the side when Lucifer sat down on the opposite end of the couch.

She studied him, noting the way the fingers of one hand were opening and clenching over and over, the way he wasn't quite looking at her, the way he had kept enough space between them for another person or two to sit down. He was nervous about something.

"Would you-" he started, then stopped, swallowing.

"Yes," she said immediately, not waiting for him to continue. Right now, she would do anything he asked, and while she wasn't going to tell him that — she knew he wouldn't take advantage of it, but she didn't want to give him even a chance — she was okay with agreeing to whatever he was asking for without knowing what it was.

"You don't know what I'm asking for," he said, echoing her thoughts.

"I know," she told him with a shrug. "So you should tell me what I just agreed to."

"I won't hold you to it," he said, and she sighed.

"Lucifer, stop stalling. What's going on?"

"Dr. Linda's coming over," he said, his sharp eyes studying her as he asked, "Would you be- could we- she offered to-"

"Help us talk to each other?" she asked, taking pity on him. Relief was obvious on his face as he nodded. "Okay, sure. But you know you can tell me anything, right?"

"I know," he said, almost wonderingly, before admitting, "I just... I don't know how."

"Okay," she said again. "Sounds good. When's she coming?"

"She should be here in an hour."

"Oh good." She cast a glance in the direction of the kitchen. "Plenty of time for lunch."

Lucifer may have looked different, he may have been worryingly subdued, but he still worked well with her. They moved around each other in the kitchen like this was a regular occurrence, them fixing lunch together. It was soothing, in a way, knowing that whatever they had lost, they still had this. They still had this intimate knowledge of how the other moved, how they worked.

As they sat down, she carefully asked, "When this is fixed... can I ask you some things?"

He laughed a little, mirthlessly. "You can ask me whatever you want if you still wish to."

She sent a confused look his way, even as she made delighted sounds over how good her sandwich was that had him staring at her and swallowing convulsively. "Why wouldn't I?"

He looked away. "There are things you don't know."

"Well, yeah, that's why I have questions."

"No," he said, his gaze focused on the doorway instead of on her. "I mean things you wouldn't even think to ask about but... but you need to hear."

He swallowed again, and she wanted to reach out to him, to touch his hand and stroke his cheek and tell him that whatever it was, it wasn't going to scare her away.

But she didn't know that, did she? She couldn't think of something that would make her stop loving him. Anything he did in the past... she was confident he was a different person now.

"So tell me," she said simply, putting down her sandwich and focusing on him.

He flicked a glance to her, but was looking away just as quickly. "I- I can't. Not yet. Please," he added softly.

"Okay," she said, and picked up her sandwich again. "Whenever you're ready, then."

"What did I do to deserve you?" he asked in an undertone, but she still caught it, and smiled wickedly at him.

"Oh, I can think of a few things."

It drew the desired laugh out of him, and he looked startled at that. She softened her smile, reached out and touched the back of his hand with whisper-soft fingers.

"It's not about what you deserve," she said, choosing her words carefully. "It's about what you want."

He looked at her, his face stunned. They sat like that for a moment in silence, her face calm, and his slowly morphing into a mess of confusion, desire, and shock.

Before she could say anything, before he could react with anything other than those three emotions, the elevator dinged and Linda called to them from the foyer. Had that much time really passed or had Linda rushed? Chloe supposed it was probably a mix of the two.

"Lucifer? Chloe?"

"In the kitchen!" she called, touching his hand again and mouthing, "It's okay," when she saw the fear in his eyes.

Linda came through the entryway, her steps stuttering slightly as she came around the corner and saw Lucifer for the first time. His smile was more of a grimace, and Chloe knew that he had noticed that stumble.

"Doctor!" he said, his voice overly cheerful. "Care for a cuppa?"

Linda smiled at him with a sort of detachment that Chloe hoped came from a place of therapeutic distance and not from an impending breakdown over Lucifer's face. Linda was stronger than that... Right?

"No thank you," she said, eyeing their sandwiches. Chloe took a big bite of hers, trying to hurry through eating it, as Linda asked her, "So you're in the know now, I see."

Chloe choked down the bite of sandwich — that had been a mistake — and nodded. "Kind of hard not to be," she said, shrugging a little and glancing to the side to Lucifer, who was looking incredibly uncomfortable with the whole situation. "I'm glad, though."

He blinked, his gaze snapping to hers, something unreadable in its depths.

"Of course I'm glad," she said to his unspoken question, frowning a little. "What, you think I only want to know about the fun parts of you?"

He glanced to Linda, before saying, "You wouldn't be the first."

Chloe rolled her eyes a little. "If I'm honest..."

"Honesty is always good," Linda murmured when she paused, unsure if this was something that she should say or not.

"I'm kind of hurt that you think I'm that... shallow."

She immediately focused on her sandwich, not wanting to see whatever look was on his face, taking another bite so she didn't have to talk more. Spilling her guts in front of this Linda, therapist Linda, felt so much different from talking to her as a friend. Chloe had never liked therapists when she had to go see them. She thought maybe this would feel different, but no, it was just the same.

"It isn't shallow," Lucifer said, his voice tight. "It's what's to be expected."

"Well if you've been trying to only show me your fun parts-" she paused for a moment, waiting for the innuendo that never came "-then you've been doing a bad job of it."

His lips thinned at that, and she spread her arms wide in a helpless gesture. "You are the single most infuriating man I have ever met. You don't get that title by being fun, buster."

Before he could respond, Linda cleared her throat delicately. "Perhaps we should move this conversation to somewhere more comfortable."

"Surely we have time for the Detective to finish her sandwich," Lucifer protested. It sounded like stalling to Chloe, so, staring him dead in the eye, she popped the last bite into her mouth.

When she raised her eyebrows at him in challenge, all he said was, "Well played, Detective." He turned back to Linda. "Can I get you anything? I'm afraid the alcohol selection is subpar at the moment, but I'm sure I could find something downstairs that meets your satisfaction."

"Oo," Linda said, her eyes lighting up. "Could I maybe get a shot of-" her gaze sharpened "-Stop Stalling, Lucifer?"

"The 2015?" he asked, not missing a beat, as Chloe choked down her laughter.

"How about today's? I'm hoping to get home before dark."

"Come on, Lucifer." Chloe wiped her fingers off on a napkin and stood. She tucked her arm in his, and tugged gently to get him moving. "The sooner we talk, the sooner you can get back to only showing me the fun parts of you."

"Why, Detective, I do believe Hell is freezing over as we speak."

"Ha ha," she said, but couldn't stop her smile from growing, even though it didn't sound like his heart was in it. Still, she squeezed his arm a bit.

"Well, this certainly seems to have... made you closer," Linda said from behind them as they walked down the hall without Chloe letting go. And when Chloe glanced back, she was smiling the smile she usually only had when they were gossiping.

"Is that a professional interest, Doctor Martin?" Chloe asked, mouthing, "I'll tell you later," before she turned back so Lucifer could usher her through the doorway.

"You could say so," Linda said, following them in. The warning look Lucifer was shooting her was interesting, and she seemed to take it to heart. "Unfortunately, I'm not at liberty to discuss more."

"Sure, sure," Chloe said. Lucifer sat at the opposite end of the couch from her, as much space between them as possible. Linda settled in a chair opposite them, and then silence reigned.

It quickly grew uncomfortable. This was why Chloe hated therapists. They made her feel like she was on the wrong end of an interrogation, with the silences followed by pointed questions that she didn't want to answer.

"Lucifer," Linda said. "You had some things you wanted to tell Chloe?"

He shifted uncomfortably as Chloe turned her attention to him. He looked like he was about to try to back out of this whole thing. Well if he did, she was half planning to make him sit down and tell her everything anyway.

"This is seeming more and more to be a rather poor idea," he said.

"It can't be all that bad," Chloe told him, turning slightly and tucking her leg up under herself. "I know you. You're a good per-"

"I murdered my brother," he said, cutting her off mid-word, leaving her mouth hanging open.

He- He murdered his- Did that fall under any human jurisdiction even? His brother was an angel, right? How many siblings did he have? That was probably in the Bible, right? Or something she could google?

"Lucifer," Linda said, bringing Chloe's focus out of the spiral it had been going into. "Do you want to explain why you killed your brother?"

"Isn't it enough that I did it?" he asked bitterly. "So, you see, Detective, killing Cain — Pierce — wasn't the first time I've killed someone."

"I think why you did it matters a lot," Chloe said — admitted, really. She was a cop. There shouldn't be any circumstance in which she condoned murder. But she was glad Pierce — Cain? — was dead. And Lucifer...

Lucifer was a good person. He tried so hard to do the right thing, and while he sometimes got that wrong, she was pretty sure that he knew murder was almost never the right answer. So if he killed his brother...

She glanced at Linda, who had sat back against the chair and was watching them. This felt like a conversation she didn't want a witness for, but Linda had to already know about this, and if Linda knew, it couldn't be that bad, could it?

"I agree with Chloe, Lucifer," Linda said. "The why matters."

"Yes, well," Lucifer muttered, uncomfortable. He didn't turn to look at Chloe, instead focusing on the unoccupied chair as he spoke. "You see, Detective, each of my siblings holds dominion over a particular part of the natural world. Amenadiel can manipulate time, Azrael makes sure souls get where they're supposed to go, and Uriel..."

He paused so long that Chloe thought he wasn't going to continue. Just as she was about to prompt him to continue, he said, "Uriel could see patterns."

"Patterns?" she asked when he paused again.

"I suppose you would call it more cause and effect. A butterfly flaps its wings and a tsunami happens on the other side of the world. Or a mother trips over a skateboard in the morning and a car crash happens across town that afternoon."

It took her a second to put the pieces together. "You think that car accident I was in last year wasn't an accident."

His sad smile was more of a grimace. "I know it wasn't. Uriel was going to kill you."

"Why didn't you turn him in?" she asked, realizing what a stupid question it was a second too late to stop herself from asking. She tipped her head in acknowledgment when Lucifer shot her a look.

"It wasn't something so straightforward," he said. "The chain reaction he was starting would take two days. You would be just as dead at the end of it as if he'd murdered you himself, but Uriel didn't like getting his hands dirty."

A sort of sense of unreality settled over her as she slowly realized how close she'd come to dying. She had no doubt that Lucifer was telling the truth about this, that if he had let his brother do... something, then she was going to die. So instead he...

"I couldn't let him," he said helplessly.

She put her hands over mouth in horror as it sank in. He'd killed his own brother for her. He'd had to choose between her and family, and he'd chosen her. He'd-

"Lucifer," she said through her fingers, her eyes filling with tears.

"Let it sink in, Detective," he said, his voice colder than she'd ever heard it. "I'm a murderer twice over. Are you sure you want to-" his voice cracked and he cleared his throat "-are you sure you want to say you love me now?"

Before Linda could say anything, Chloe slid down the couch, grabbing Lucifer's face and turning it toward her. She pressed her lips to his, briefly, then to his forehead.

"Of course I do," she said, her lips brushing the scarred skin of his forehead. "Of course I do."

She kissed him again, and this time, he kissed back, softly. His eyes were suspiciously wet when she pulled back, and he blinked rapidly when she ran her hand over the top of his head in a gentle caress.

"Of course I do," she said for a third time, just to drive it home.

Linda cleared her throat delicately, bringing their attention back to her. Instead of sliding back to the other end of the couch, Chloe settled herself against Lucifer, dashing the tears off her face and taking his hand in hers. He stared down at their clasped hands for a moment, before raising those hellfire eyes to meet her gaze for what felt like the first time in hours.

"Does this help you understand, Lucifer," Linda asked, "how similar the situations are?"

"Not particularly, no," he said, still staring at his hand in Chloe's lap. So Chloe brought it up to her lips and kissed the back of it. When she glanced to him, his mouth was slightly open like he couldn't believe this was actually happening to him.

Linda opened her mouth, then closed it, looking thoughtful. When she opened it again, she was focused on Chloe.

"Chloe, do you see the similarities?"

Chloe blinked and thought about it for a moment, then said, "Yeah, I think so."

"What would you say is the main thing that connects the two events?" Linda was focused on her, and she could feel Lucifer watching her, too. It made her want to shift uncomfortably in her seat, long-faded memories of school making her want to squirm.

Still, she took the time to consider the question carefully, to consider how to put into words what truly tied the two deaths together. And what she came up with had something sour turning in her stomach.

"They were both to protect me."

She knew her unhappiness was clear in her voice from the way Linda's brow crinkled slightly and Lucifer tensed beside her. But how could she not feel... guilty over it? That she was the reason Lucifer was stuck like this. That if he had never met her, he would have never had to kill his own brother. That he would be happier if-

"Chloe," Linda said, and Chloe looked up. "You sound unhappy about that."

It wasn't a question, but Chloe answered like it was anyway, studying her and Lucifer's entwined hands in her lap rather than look at either of them.

"Lucifer..." She didn't miss how his fingers twitched in hers at his name. "Lucifer killed his brother. Because of me. He felt like he had to- to kill his... Because of me." She paused, knowing she wasn't explaining what she meant very well. But she pressed on anyway. "I can't help feeling that if he never met me-" Lucifer seemed to tense further "-he'd still have his brother. He'd be happier and I'm not-"


The response from Lucifer was immediate and firm, promising dire consequences if anyone argued. He disentangled his fingers from hers, and she felt a swift pang of loss. But then he cupped her face — hesitating only briefly before touching her — in a mirror of their previous position.

"No," he said, again. "You are worth so much more than Uriel could have ever hoped to be. You are- You're- I wasn't happy before I met you. I was enjoying what life on this plane had to offer, and it was better than Hell, but I wasn't happy."

The intensity in his gaze took her breath away. She wasn't quite sure if she believed him, but she believed that he believed what he was saying.

The Devil never lied, after all.

"You have brought so much joy to my life, Chloe. So much meaning and friendship and-" His voice broke off and he seemed at a loss for words. When he finally continued, his voice was thick was emotion. "And love. I wouldn't- I would kill a hundred of my siblings if it meant keeping you safe. I-"

She realized she was shaking her head only when he let his hands drop, only when he pulled back into himself a little. She wanted to reach out to him, but instead she hugged herself, hunching over a little.

"You're-" But she found that she couldn't go on, so she turned the attention back to him. "I've killed to keep you safe, before. Not even to keep you safe, really, I killed Malcolm because he kidnapped Trixie and because I thought he killed you. He was dangerous, but I'm sure I could have done something-"

"He was dangerous," Lucifer said, interrupting her. "His time in Hell had driven him mad, and he was dangerous to everyone around him. You did the right thing."

"Maybe I did the right thing, but I wasn't thinking about other people. I was thinking about Trixie and you, on the floor, bleeding out. I wanted him to pay." She took a breath. "You killed your brother and Pierce to save me. I shot Malcolm for you. It's the same."

"It is not the same." Lucifer shoved himself up and began to pace, and it made Chloe's heart clench painfully. She wanted — needed — to convince him that it was the same, but she didn't know how. She looked at Linda helplessly.

"Lucifer," Linda said, and he slowed his pacing but didn't stop entirely. His hands were clenched at his sides. Chloe wanted to get in his way, wanted to take his hands and ease his fists, wanted to soothe his suffering. It was... it was hard, watching and knowing there was very little she could do.

"Lucifer," Linda said again, more firmly this time, and with a heavy sigh, he stopped and turned to face her. "How is this different?"

"It-" His clenched fists opened and closed, before he sagged into his seat again. "It just is," he said.

"I think you know-" Linda said as she crossed her legs and leaned forward a little, like she was about to impart a great secret. Chloe found herself leaning forward too. "-that it's not. I think you're afraid that if you admit-"

"I'm not afraid," Lucifer said, disgust in his voice. "What could I possibly have to be afraid of? I'm-"

"The Devil, yes, we know," Linda finished for him. "I think you're afraid that if you let Chloe see all the dark parts of you, she won't love you anymore."

Lucifer flinched at the word "love" and Chloe bit her lip. She loved him — she'd told him she loved him — but it was still strange hearing it come from someone else's mouth. It made her feel naked.

"That's not- Of course she- I don't-" he spluttered, taking quick, sideways glances toward Chloe as he protested. "It's not the same," he finally repeated weakly.

"It is, babe," Chloe said quietly. She reached out for him, drawing the backs of her fingers down his cheek in a soft caress. The ridges of his scars were rough under her fingertips but they felt... lessened. "I know it's- it's hard for you to believe, and that's okay. You don't have to believe it, but you have to stop punishing yourself for it."

He shook his head, slowly, his gaze skittering away from hers, so she looked to Linda for help.

"She's right, Lucifer. You don't need to believe it now — that's what therapy's for — but if this-" she motioned to his face "-is you punishing yourself, it has to stop."

He sighed, heavily, so Chloe reached over and took his hand, squeezing it gently. He stared down at their entwined fingers, but his gaze was far away.

Then his skin flickered. Once. Twice. The third time was the charm, apparently, because one minute she was watching his ravaged face, his brow furrowed in concentration, the next he had his real- his usual face back.

"Hey," she said softly, reaching out with her free hand to trail her fingers down the side of his face. "You did it."

The three of them were silent for a moment, Lucifer staring down at their hands, Chloe smiling gently at him, and Linda watching them both. The sigh Lucifer finally let out was heavy with relief and seemed to come from the bottom of his soul. He slumped forward, tension going out of his frame in a rush.

He was clinging to Chloe's hand like she was his only lifeline.

When it became clear he wasn't going to say anything, she lifted his hand and kissed the back of it. He jerked, like he hadn't been expecting the touch of her lips even though his eyes had followed the movement.

She let their joined hands fall and leaned toward him. He mirrored the motion, and they met in the middle, lips pressing together in a soft kiss. It was tentative, both of them trying to take the other's lead. Chloe broke away slightly with a soft laugh and she could feel Lucifer's smile.

When she turned a little to look to Linda, Lucifer sat back, his grip loosening on her hand. It didn't matter. She wasn't letting him go.

Linda was watching them with a satisfied smile on her face, and when Chloe tipped her head toward the elevator, she shook herself and stood.

"That's my cue," she said. "Lucifer, I'll see you on Wednesday. Chloe, we're still on for drinks tomorrow night?"

"Of course," Lucifer murmured at the same time Chloe said, "Definitely."

"Thank you," Chloe continued when Lucifer didn't seem able to continue. She had no doubt that they would end up on Linda's couch at some point, probably more than once. But it would be worth it.

Linda just tipped her head with a knowing smile and left.

As soon as the elevator doors closed behind her, Chloe turned back to Lucifer, a smile playing across her lips. He was watching her, something wary in his eyes that had her frowning as soon as she noticed it.

"What?" she asked.

"I won't... hold you to anything you may have said while you were... helping me," he said after a long moment of studying her face.

She had no idea what he was talking about, and she wracked her brain for anything she could have said that she might not have meant. She wasn't like him — she lied when she felt it necessary — but she couldn't think of any point where she'd felt she needed to. In fact, she had been almost painfully honest with him, hoping that he would somehow sense it and it would drive her point — that he wasn't a monster — home better. So, she stuck with the truth.

"I have no idea what you're talking about."

He frowned, searching for something in her face before he said, "When you said..."

She had said so many things, so she stayed silent, just raising her brows at him in question.

He sighed, and leaned away from her a little. "When you said you loved me. You needn't-"

"I do," she said, and he blinked. The confusion on his face would be adorable if it were for any other reason. She tamped down on her frustration — he was the actual Devil. Of course he'd have trouble believing someone loved him — and reached for him. "I do, Lucifer. I love you."

"I-" His mouth opened and closed a couple times and she smiled, cupping his cheek and drawing his head down so she could press her forehead against his.

"I love you," she said softly into the quiet space between them, her words just for him. "I haven't said anything I won't stand by, and that includes that I love you." Maybe repeating it over and over again would drive it home.

He pulled back, and she let him go. His eyes were suspiciously wet and red-rimmed, and he blinked hard. She could only smile a little sadly at him and wait. He seemed to struggle with what to say. Anxiety began to slowly grow in her stomach, even though she knew that, after all this, he loved her too. She just didn't know if he was going to be able to admit it, or accept her love, or if this was another thing that was going to drive him away.

"I-" he said finally, his voice hoarse. He swallowed, and shook his head a little, eyes never leaving hers. "You-"

When he fell silent again, she shook her head too, rushing to soothe the look of panic that flared in his eyes with, "It's alright. I know."

"It isn't," he said, shaking his head a little and sounding frustrated with himself and still looking mildly panic-stricken. She shook her head again with a smile, even as she thought she saw burnt flesh flickering through for a moment.

"It is. Come here." Even with those words, she was going to him, straddling his lap and framing his face with her hands. She let the tips of her fingers drift over the skin of his temples, her thumbs tracing across his cheekbones. When she leaned down to kiss him, he met her eagerly, every touch of his lips pressing gratitude into her skin.

She slid her hands down until she was bracing herself against his shoulders. His hands finally moved from where they'd settled on her hips when she first settled on his lap, but he only went as far as circling his arms around her back and holding her close like he was afraid she was going to disappear if he didn't.

I'm here, she tried to tell him with her lips and her tongue. I'm not going anywhere.

He groaned and trailed light kisses down her neck, making her shudder in pleasure against his touch. When she shifted, his fingers briefly dug into her skin before he loosened his grip, nearly letting her go entirely.

She pulled back just enough to murmur, "Are you sure you want to do this now? We have time," against his lips.

"I have never been more sure of anything, darling," he said just as quietly. "But are you-"

She shut him up with a hard kiss and nipped at his bottom lip before pulling back again. "Yes," was all she said.

When she woke up hours later, after lovemaking that was in turns drawn out and desperate, it was to see Lucifer sitting on the side of the bed, brooding.

"Hey," she said, smiling slightly when he jumped and turned to look at her. She didn't know what he was brooding about, but she had to ask, just to soothe her own anxiety, "No regrets?"

He blinked, looking genuinely startled at the question. "Of course not," he said.

"You're not going to freak out and run off to get fake-married to someone else?" she asked, studying his face, still quirking her lips in a light smile to mask the seriousness of the question.

"No," he said and then, in a rush, "I love you."

"I love you too," she said, making the snap decision not to make a big deal out of it, and lifted her hand to reach for him. "Stop brooding and come back here."

A slow smile spread across his face, the utter delight in it lighting him up. She grinned back and grabbed his arm when he got close, pulling him even closer.

"I love you," she murmured against his lips and smirked at the full body shudder that went through him. He might not be totally okay, she might not be totally okay, but they were good enough, and that was plenty for the moment.