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if you saw all of me

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When Chloe comes to - she screams. She can’t help it. What she’s seeing can’t be real, it’s almost too much to try to comprehend.

“Well, I guess that answers that question,” Maze’s voice is dry. “Now aren’t you glad we didn’t take her to the hospital?”

Chloe can see that it’s her roommate. She can even understand it, if she really puts her mind to it. But something is wrong with Maze. Terribly, terribly wrong. Half of her body is horrifying, like the skin itself has been peeled away, revealing the underneath. But it’s not healthy tissue that lies below, it’s almost as if she were a decomposing corpse. It’s all stringy sinew and rotted muscle, a sunken white eye sits in a dark socket. The rest of Maze is untouched, normal dark, caramel skin, and a smirk sharper than a knife’s blade.

Chloe is torn between fright and feeling like she’s going to be sick.

“Maze,” says the second creature from over her shoulder. Chloe scrambles upright, her human hindbrain gibbering in sheer panic as she struggles against the impulse to press her back against something solid and hold perfectly still like startled prey. It’s a creature that resembles anything familiar in only the barest terms in that it’s vaguely…person shaped.

It shifts and cracks open like lava floes, charred and burning, its skin stretching into impossible proportions, limbs extending to unnatural lengths, caught somewhere between human and animal. Flames lick along its body, flaring out like the surface of the sun, but its face, if it can be called a face, is oddly familiar despite Chloe having no idea how to conceptualize it.

Eyes that burn like embers, white and empty, and rows of razor edged teeth seem to appear and shift at random in a nauseating mishmash of features. It’s head is cradled by a great, heavy circlet, broken on one side, leaving jagged, horn-like points.

“Let the Detective breathe,” it says and if it wasn’t scary enough, the sound of it speaking is enough to spike her adrenaline once more. It’s distorted and low, like the rumbling of an earthquake, the sharp hiss of pressure, something impossibly familiar in the dictation. It’s power distilled, awful, undeniable might. It makes her tremble.

“Brother,” says the third thing, in a voice like rolling thunder and Chloe struggles to understand what she’s even looking at. It’s shadow, darkness coalesced, but with the heart of a star. An eclipse inverted. It seems to bend the very air around it, curving like gravity. When it moves, it’s nothing like the flowing, fiery thing. It moves like an absence, either sudden or so slowly you don’t even notice it. “We cannot be sure she will recover.”

The fire creature’s features convulse and fluctuate, tangling up into a nightmarish snarl, burning bright and white hot. Chloe fears she will be singed, but she feels nothing when it washes over her. The darkness thing dips in response and fades slowly backwards, creeping away like it’s been chastised. The burning one turns towards her, twisting inhumanly, wings sprouting and multiplying at his back, feathers like tongues of flame, and steps infinitesimally closer. Chloe fights a flinch, choosing instead to keep her focus on it, somehow knowing it is the most dangerous of all the creatures around her.

“Chloe,” it murmurs and it resounds through her bones, like it has reached in and plucked the very fibers of her being by speaking her name “I know it doesn’t seem like it, but I’m going to take care of you. It’s going to be okay.” Looking into its eyes, many and varied, is like staring into the sun. Bright and ill advised.

But...she knows those eyes, has watched them stare back at her a thousand different times with a thousand different meanings. They look at her now with unbridled concern.

“Lucifer?” she asks, frightened beyond compare.

And oh, is this what they see? Is this is what drives the humans mad? It’s a little tempting to give way to it, to the part of her that tells her to beg for mercy, to say “Please, stop, don’t come any closer,” but the rest of her remembers how the hurt shines in Lucifer’s eyes when they call him evil and she forces the instinct away.

The creature doesn’t smile, but it’s molten form moves in a way that somehow conveys the same thing, eyes opening up on his shoulders, his arms, teeth retracting, edges rounding. “Hello, my dear,” he says, as tenderly as he can and it still reverberates powerfully through the air.

“Told you she’d figure it out,” Maze retorts to the shadow.

“It appears I underestimated her tenacity,” it replies. Chloe struggles to connect the dots, a headache forming behind her eye. But it had called Lucifer brother, so it must be Amenadiel.

“Lucifer, what is happening?” Chloe asks, doing her best to keep her fear under control.

“It seems that ridiculous little postulant that tried to escape knew a bit more than I expected, but not as much as he believed.”

Chloe can hardly spare a thought for the case they had been on, mostly distracted by how Lucifer sounds both exactly and nothing like his actual self. The pattern of the words is the same, the same cadence, but the voice echoes within itself at times, like three or four are speaking at once, before quieting back down to one, both holy and terrifying. She’s struck for a moment by the thought that awe and awful come from the same place.

“In an effort to escape your pursuit he attempted a sort of…command, if you will. Instead of concealing his own form from you, he’s revealed ours.”

“The Heavenly Tongue is difficult to pronounce,” Amenadiel does allow, his body ebbing, waxing and waning.

“How…how long will it last?”

Lucifer’s form flickers and dims, eyes closing and vanishing, teeth and limbs shortening. “We don’t know.”

Chloe makes a choked noise and buries her face in her hands. “I- I don’t know if I can...” she breathes heavily for a moment. “I don’t think I can -” Her throat closes up against the words. She doesn’t think she can bear it. To look upon divinity and be unfazed. It’s nearly too much already.

“As far as we know, you’re the only one who can see us,” Maze says, her speech pulled funny by her mouth, half dead. “Dan and the others seem fine.”

“Worry not, Chloe,” Amenadiel’s words feel like pressure against her skull, her ears threatening to pop. “It is most likely temporary.”

Chloe laughs a bit wetly. “Let’s hope so.”

“Surely,” Lucifer says, and his voice sounding like a very hesitant landslide, “It is not so terrible.”

She looks up at him, boiling and blistering heat. A dire, destructive force. But the eyes, blood colored they may be, are the same. She reaches out slowly, with shaking fingers, giving him plenty of time to move away. But he doesn’t. His narrow chest rises and falls, and she gets the sense that he’s bracing himself for the worst.

When she makes contact it feels like normal, smooth skin under her touch. Warm, but not overly so. She stares in confusion. He wraps his impossible hand around hers, the fingers too long, with too many joints, curling around her wrist. Flames tickling painlessly along her skin.

The features are foreign and different, more androgynous, yet still familiar - his forward facing eyes close at the contact, but a half dozen more open up on his shoulders and forearms, watching. Perhaps...it’s not as terrifying as she thought. There’s a sort of otherworldly beauty to him, like a wildfire, crackling and uncontainable. Entrancing, in its own way.

“Could…could be worse,” she says slowly, and smiles hesitantly. He laughs like a bolt of lightning, bright and scorching.

But it’s him. It’s still him. And that’s all that matters.

Chapter Text

There's something incredibly strange walking into the precinct with a pillar of flame in the shape of a person following after you. Chloe keeps expecting someone to notice, but it's all easy smiles and friendly acknowledgements that Lucifer politely returns. He stays half a step further back than normal, as if to keep from touching her by accident.

She's so used to his casual, polite touches that she feels almost bereft at this clear boundary he's put between them.

The shape of him spikes a little when he notices her attention, flames hardening briefly into thorns before everything withdraws, pulling in closer, making him seem smaller than before. He steps past her.

She catches at him, fingers circling around a wrist that feels totally human, delicate and warm, while her mind sees her fingers around red, boiling skin.

“Don't.” She doesn't even know what she means, only that, whatever his reaction was, it had been negative.

“What?” he questions, voice pitched deliberately soft to keep from startling her. She wonders what it sounds like to everyone else. Is this a whisper? Words spoken in a low murmur? To her it's the rolling sound of a distant aftershock.

“You should be yourself,” she tells him, fighting against the human instinct to get as far away from an upset angel as she can. “Even though I can see it now, you shouldn't stop being you.”

“That's very kind of you to say,” he replies and Chloe knows a cop out when she hears it. She can practically picture him, grinning tightly as he shoves his hands into his pocket. Closing off behind a hundred different masks.

Except now he's stripped of such vestments, his figure laid bare to her gaze. Like this, she can see quite literally how he feels. Embers bank and thorns bristle defensively along his shoulders, down his back. A dozen eyes swivel to focus on her across his face, his chest. She swallows, bracing against the scrutiny. She tightens her grip and doesn't look away, meeting it head on.

“I mean it.” Her words are firm and steady. Then she releases him. She doesn't press the matter further, but continues down the stairs towards her desk. When he joins her, little sparks sweep up his limbs, no thorns in sight. Something inside in her warms to see it.

Dan is waiting for her at her desk, relief clear on his face. “Hey, Chlo, you feeling better?”

She nods. “Yeah, just a dizzy spell, I’m fine.”

“You sure? Lucifer said you hadn’t hit your head or anything, but it was weird for you to just pass out like that.” He glances over at Lucifer and there’s a quick moment where she wonders if Dan will see, if he’ll notice, but his gaze rests on Lucifer without any unusual recognition.

She reaches out to give Dan’s arm a brief squeeze. “Really,” she smiles, “I feel fine. I just needed a moment to rest.”

He nods. “Well, we're still sorting all the worshipers. We should have some ready to interview in a bit, if you’re up for it.”

“I am.”

Dan smiles. “Cool. I’m gonna go help Diaz wrangle the parishioners. I’ll have something for you soon.” He sidles by, clapping a brief hand to Lucifer's shoulder as he passes. They both watch him go.

Lucifer straightens, one overly long limb stretching out in a gesture of acquiescence, allowing her to step in front of him as she moves towards her chair. He still doesn't touch her, but now is not the time to press.

She pulls up the files that Dan has started preparing, they are fairly brief at this point, given the number of people taken in and the short amount of time to gather information. It’s largely just basic data: name, description, address. She starts compiling what they know about the structure of the Order, who the bigger players are, but she keeps getting distracted by the shifting and fluctuation of the angel next to her.

She glances over, watching for a moment before forcing her focus back to the computer and stack of files in front of her. She should be thinking about speaking with witnesses and chasing down leads, but her mind wanders to earlier events.

Does the makeup of Lucifer’s appearance hold some sort of meaning? After all, fire and blood and might are pretty on brand for the devil. Or is the fact that he’s so different from Amenadiel true of all angels?

“You're staring,” Lucifer says abruptly.

She blinks, realizing she got caught up in the slow undulation along his arms. “Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to.”

His face is all teeth, expression caught halfway between grinning and snarling. “I know it's nightmarish. Shall we set up a safe word for when it becomes too much? Perhaps a return to Monkey Bottoms?”

“No,” she objects instinctively, “That’s not what I-”

He cuts her off. “No need to punish yourself with it, darling,” and the endearment somehow slices like an insult. “I know it’s not easy to...to look on it. Perhaps it was foolish of me to think we could just pretend otherwise, but there’s no need for you to subject yourself to it for my sake.”

“Lucifer, stop.” She splays her hands out on her desk, trying to bear up underneath his torrent of words. “It’s mesmerizing.” It comes out a little too sharp, a little too honest.

His countenance flickers. “What?”

“It’s just -” she looks away now, unable to meet his many eyed gaze. “It’s like a campfire, you know? There’s something...” She struggles to find the right word. Soothing isn’t quite right for the discordant creature he is. “Captivating,” she settles on, “about it.” She makes a encompassing gesture at him and fights the blush that wants to warm her cheeks.

“Oh.” His many eyes go a bit wide. Some of them blink rapidly, as if trying to process the idea that she might not find him horrific.

Knowing that he’s been avoiding direct contact for some reason, despite the fact that she had touched him earlier, at the penthouse, palm to cheek; she reaches out. Eyes recede, sinking down and vanishing before her touch. She pauses. “It...doesn’t hurt you, does it?”

He relaxes. “No, it feels pleasant, as it does whenever you touch me.”

She ignores the way his voice dips, practically rolls against her senses like a physical caress. She fixes an unimpressed look at him. He sighs at her unwillingness to play and answers her more seriously.

“I feel your hand on my sleeve. There’s enough pressure that I can feel warmth through the material, but nothing more.”

“So, you wouldn’t feel it if I were to...poke one of your other eyes.”

His laugh is bright and loud this time, he goes briefly incandescent. “No, not while I still have control of myself and my form.”

“Control?” Something about that sentence sets off her investigative interest. “Is that why I don’t feel the-” she pauses, frowning, “feel what I see?”

He shifts, chair creaking. She gets the sensation he’s regretting his last few words.

“Yes. It’s only because of my control that my true form is contained in a...humanoid shape. I appear the same as I was before.”

“So there’s more?” Her voice quavers despite her best intentions.

His skin bursts into spikes before he ruthlessly suppresses it, the texture of him taking on a hard, sleek edge, like glass. “Yes.”

He’s already incomprehensible, she can’t even imagine more. She inhales to ask more questions, even though she knows he’s uncomfortable, when Dan comes up breaking into the moment with his typical affable professionalism.

“Hey, we have one of the worshipers ready in interview two for you, if you’re good to go.” He looks between the two of them, noting the odd atmosphere but clearly deciding not to draw attention to it.

Chloe gathers up her detective instincts, redirecting them away from Lucifer and toward the case. She’ll have time to ask him more about it later. “Right. We’re ready, brief us.”

“Monique Johnson, changed her name to Cherish after joining the Order of the Holy Origin six months ago. She’s one of their newer members and she’s willing to talk, unlike the rest. They’ve all clammed up tight and most of them have called their lawyers. Maybe you and Lucifer can get something we can run with.”

“We’ll do our best, I assure you, Detective,” Lucifer says and somehow the word ‘Detective’ sounds completely different when he’s referring to Dan. Trapped in human vocal cords, the variance is lost, but she can hear it clearly now. It's more sensation than actual cadence. Detective for Dan is blunt, but not in a bad way, like a cliff-face or an outcropping that protects you from wind. Solid.

She hadn’t realized the distinction until he spoke the title with Dan as the intended recipient and it didn’t resonate in the same way as it does for her.

“Chloe?” Dan snaps her attention back to him and she blinks. Now he looks concerned. “I can take point on this if you need a break.”

“No, sorry, just lost in thought.” She shakes her head. But the thought niggles at her, just what impression followed Lucifer’s pronunciation of her title?

Her question is answered as Lucifer turns to her and asks, “Detective?”

The sound of her title rings oddly in her ears. She hadn’t been looking for it before, but now she hears it. It’s like the ocean, wide and vast and endless. It’s power and respect and knowledge and the tempting possibility of being overtaken. She swallows, taken aback by the enormity of it.

“Right,” she says again, faint. Lucifer’s hand wraps around her elbow.

“Are you sure you’re all right?” he asks, his concern clear. She focuses on the little whorls and spirals of light along his fingers.

She nods. “Yeah, just stood up a bit too fast, I think.”

He must frown at her white lie, if her translation of how his borders go ashy is correct, but he says nothing.

“Come on,” she says, nudging him. “We have a witness to talk to.”

Cherish. Her chart gives the barebones, twenty-two years old, hispanic. From what Chloe can see of the young woman waiting in the room she seems confident and self assured. Lucifer’s vision rests on her through the one-sided glass. He’s inhumanly still, regarding their interviewee.

“What do you think?” she asks.

His exhale rasps out of him like a hiss of pneumatic pressure. “Young,” he says, “and brash. Smart.”

Chloe nods. She’d been thinking along similar lines. “Shall we go have a chat?”

He glows a little brighter - excitement, she would guess - and his head dips in a bow. They exit the viewing room and head inside. Cherish looks up at their entrance, scrutinizing them.

“Cherish Johnson?” Chloe asks as she takes a seat. Lucifer remains standing. Cherish’s attention flicks over to him, appraising in an appreciative sort of way before returning back to Chloe.

“That’s me,” she replies.

“And you joined the Order of the Holy Origin six months ago, is that correct?”

“Yes,” she answers.

“What can you tell us about Hiram Callahan?”

“Probably not much more than you already know. He was a nice guy, talked about his dead wife a lot. I think he originally joined because he was lonely.” Cherish pauses, hesitating.

“Go on,” Chloe nudges calmly.

“He could get angry sometimes.” She shrugs.

“Did he get into it with anyone in particular?”

She nods. “Yeah, Levi. But that’s not exactly new.”

Levi Whitlock, the man they had attempted to chase down when he’d shouted strange words in their direction and everything had gone dark. More and more things are pointing his direction.

“Hiram get into a lot of arguments?” Lucifer asks, curious.

“Not at first, but lately? Yeah. There was a lot of fighting happening.”

“And what about you?” Chloe wants to know just how Cherish fits into all of this.

“What about me?” Cherish lifts her chin a little, getting defensive.

Lucifer steps in. “Well, surely a pretty thing such as yourself wanted more than spending time in some stuffy Order. Tell me, what do you really want? Is this what you truly desire?”

And it's strange to see this towering inferno bend seductively toward their witness, a dozen glinting mouths all wearing the same familiar smirk. The room seems to fill with a low, gentle heat, the kind that eases tension, loosens control. Chloe, for all that she’s immune to the effects, can practically see Lucifer’s influence drift outwards like smoke. Cherish reacts just as they all do, body language softening, gaze growing darker. Wanting.

They don't know, Chloe thinks. They look at him and they don't know. But she does. And it's not just that her eyes have been opened to his surreal anomalous self, but she notices how carefully he's arranged himself, the smallest extension of his power reaching out to say, it's okay, you can tell me. His form is nearly human in this moment, the configuration of him stuffed down into something the correct size and shape, if not for the myriad of eyes and mouths and the twisting conflagrations that gyre around his limbs. Yet, the supernaturalness of him doesn't matter at all because she can see past all of that and recognize the man she knows, the person he really is.

Chloe's brought back to the situation at hand by Cherish’s response.

“I just wanted a place where I could belong.” Her smile goes lopsided. “Everything just got so out of hand, it didn’t used to be like this and then Levi got that stupid book.”

It's fascinating, seeing Lucifer's curiosity, whip crack fast, occur in real time, eyes bubbling into existence, moving to focus on Cherish. “The book?” he prompts calmly, but he’s clearly onto something.

“Yeah, Tobias found it at some like religious items sale. They scope out things from stuff like that all the time, but this...it was different.”

“Different?” Lucifer asks.

Cherish nods. “Yeah. It was in ancient Hebrew and another language we couldn't figure out, but by translating one side, they started to decipher the other.”

Lucifer snorts derisively and the plumes of flame on his face flutter from it.

“Go on,” Chloe prods.

“It was the language of angels. Or so they said. Levi and Tobias became obsessed with it, constantly practicing the words, trying to understand. They changed everything. The principles of the Order started to come from the book, tenants about names and ranking that had never mattered before. They’d always use this phrase to justify it. Trian iach aresodi essho koh osf nimegesh.”

Lucifer speaks, a slight correction of her words. “Trian’iach arezodi esskho k’osf n’m gesh.”

It's both beautiful and powerful, hearing what must be his first language rolling off of his tongue. The light in Lucifer’s chest brightens as he speaks, shining out from the cracks of his skin, the edges going diaphanous.

For a moment there is complete silence as they both stare at Lucifer in something akin to awe.

Cherish’s eyebrows are as high as they can go. “Damn,” she breaks the silence with casual blasphemy. “That sounds way better than whatever Levi tries to gargle out.”

“Yes, well.” The clearing of Lucifer's throat is like the grinding of stone.

Chloe watches him, trying to understand what she's seeing since she doesn't have the advantage of a human face with understandable expressions. Given the way the light has dimmed and the veins of white hot power have thinned to gossamer threads, she think he might be embarrassed.

Lucifer translates, “Let there be peace and not disorder.”

Cherish harrumphs. “That’s not what Levi said it said.”

“And what was this Levi’s bastardized interpretation?” Lucifer asks.

“It was more like ‘Let's implement a new order where we are on the top and you are on the bottom.’”

Lucifer blazes hotter for a moment and Chloe narrows in. “How did the other members feel about this?”

Cherish shrugs. “It depended on where they fell on the food chain. If you were high enough you even got to see some of the book. Blessed, they said.” She crosses her arms. “It all comes back to that book. They got possessive and aggressive when anyone questioned them about it.”

“So it began to sow discord.” Lucifer's words rumble around in her head.

Cherish nods. “Things just got worse and worse. Levi started lashing out, getting all paranoid and secretive about the book. No one was allowed to look at it anymore. It wasn't all that surprising when you guys busted in and said he was under arrest given how Levi and Hiram nearly came to blows over it the day before.”

“Do you think Levi killed Hiram?”

She nods. “Yeah. Yeah, I do. The way Levi looked when Hiram tried to take the book? I'd never seen anything like that in my life. No one else will speak up though, they’re either too scared or too enraptured. I only came to the next meeting at all to tell them I'd be leaving the Order.” She gestures to them. “And then you showed up and it all went to Hell.”

Chloe fights the urge to snort at the irony and maintains her composure. “Do you have any idea where Levi might have went? Places he might hole up?”

“Sorry, no. Tobias would know, though. The two of them were in it all together. Ask him.”

The rest of their questions prove less fruitful and they conclude the interview with Cherish. Chloe gets to her feet. Lucifer follows out behind her.

“We need to speak with Tobias, see what he knows.” She chews on her bottom lip. “And get with whoever talked to him first.”

“That would be information Daniel would have, no?”

“Yeah.”

“I’ll join you in a minute, Detective.”

She hums absently at him, mind focused on the case and how it’s starting to unfold. She heads towards Dan’s desk, pleased to see him there, a case file spread across the desk. The crime scene photos of Hiram’s body are laid out nearby. He looks up when she leans her hip against the edge of his desk.

“Hey, Chlo. How’d it go?”

“According to Cherish, tensions were high at the Order. There was some infighting about a holy book of some sort. She didn’t have any idea where Levi Whitlock might have ran off to, but she pointed us in Tobias’ direction.

Dan frowns. “Well, that’s something at least.”

“Who did Tobias’ initial interview?”

“I did.” Dan sits back a little and crosses his arms, thoughtful.

“What was your impression of him?”

His face sours. “Arrogant. One of those holier-than-thou types, you know? Good at making you feel like dirt.”

Chloe hums. “Sounds like a real charmer.”

Dan snorts. “Yeah. He seems to believe that Hiram deserved what he got, but I couldn’t get much else out of him.”

She nods. “Thanks. Is his file with the others?”

“Yeah. Maybe you and Lucifer will have better luck getting him to talk.” The lines around his mouth seem heavier today.

She smiles, walking backwards towards her desk. “The devil’s luck.”

She’s rewarded with a laugh, pulling Dan out of his melancholy. Lucifer isn’t there when she returns to her seat. There’s no sign of him in the open area so she goes looking. She peeks her head inside the break room and spots him.

Lucifer is standing at the vending machine, his head split into multiple faces. The one eyeing the food is somewhat reminiscent of a lion in shape; long, flat nose, round muzzle. The one facing her is human enough, even it's not quite the face she's used to.

It smiles upon seeing her and she thinks she finally has an answer for how he always seems to sense her without turning around. He literally has eyes in the back of his head. And faces. And a myriad of other strange things. She wonders if the slightly more exotic appearance has to do with him loosening his control a little bit or if this still falls in the range of ‘humanoid’ for him.

“Detective,” he greets without turning. “Can I interest you in some cool ranch puffs?” he asks, the machine whirring as it sucks in a dollar. He studies the selection, most of them trained on the rows of treats before him except for the ones watching her.

She comes up to him and places her hand to the small of his back. There’s nothing but the sensation of finely spun material under her touch, but he straightens a little in surprise, muscles tensing. In the corner of her eye she sees his blaze brighten, going white with blue edges, before they recede back to normal levels.

“Is there any chocolate left?” she asks, pretending to study the vending machines selection with undue scrutiny.

“Ah, there’s a Hershey bar or two.”

She leans forward, increasing the amount of contact between them as she peers at the candy. Two small wings sprout from one shoulder and flutter slightly, alula spreading. Chloe bites back a smile.

This might be the strange thing that's ever happened to her, but there's something reassuring to know he reacts to her just the same. He hits the corresponding buttons for her chocolate bar and then sticks in another dollar for his ranch puffs.

They split the snacks at her desk, regrouping before they tackle Tobias. It's both fascinating and a little bit off putting to watch him eat. Occasionally a different mouth will slide into place to munch down on a cool ranch puff.

“Does it matter which mouth gets the food?” she blurts.

He stops. “...No.” His answer is slow. “I technically don't need to eat at all. I merely do so for the pleasure of it. Whatever meager energy I can strip from it is rather negligible compared to my celestial stamina.”

Chloe breaks off a piece of chocolate and mulls that over. “That must be nifty, to never have to watch what you eat.”

He chuckles, light fluttering over his face and throat. “Yes, quite.”

She steals a cool ranch puff and wipes the dust off on her jeans. “Right. Let's get down to it. Tobias Montgomery, the apparent right hand man to Levi’s little Order. He's not called a lawyer yet, but he's left the option open. So far he's not answered any questions.”

Lucifer leans over to look at the file. “If Cherish’s information is correct, he likely has an idea, if not definite knowledge, of where Levi has absconded to.”

“And Levi is looking more and more suspect. He argued with the victim the day before his death.”

“And he fled the scene when we arrived. He’s also smart enough to grasp the basic tenants of the Celestial Tongue, which makes him dangerous.”

“Not to mention he may be violent.”

“The sooner we find him, the better,” Lucifer concludes.

“Let's go see what Tobias has to say.”

Tobias Montgomery is all that Dan described and more. He sits with his arms folded, a smug, superior expression splashed across his face. His gaze draws slowly down her body as she walks in and it rankles her, but she won't let him make her feel uncomfortable.

Next to her Lucifer’s lines go jagged with irritation and there's something feral about the jaws that open, the canines too long and thick.

“Tobias Montgomery,” Chloe starts, reading him his rights, though he pays them no attention, appearing bored with the whole thing. “I'm Detective Decker and this is my partner Lucifer Morningstar.”

Tobias snorts. “Hilarious. I thought police officers weren't supposed to lie. I guess I expected too much.”

“I assure you,” Lucifer says, unseen lips pulling back from carnivorous openings. “I am not a police officer.”

Chloe decides to get right to it and start off with something easy to gauge just how difficult Tobias was going to be. “Was Levi Whitlock the Leader of the Order of the Holy Origin?”

“We are all brothers and sisters in the Order, Detective Decker,” Tobias replies.

Difficult, then. “So you weren’t applying the principles found in your book?” Chloe asks. “Let there be peace and not disorder?”

Trian’iach arezodi esskho k’osf n’m gesh,” Lucifer says once again, as easy as breathing. The low tremble of holy words runs along her skin.

Tobias stiffens. “How-!”

Chloe doesn't give him time to contemplate. “And when you found the book, how did Levi react?”

He’s clearly off guard, fumbling his retort. “It was - we all find joy in the holy writings, of course.”

“And when Levi became obsessed, paranoid, did you notice? Or were you too busy basking in the adulation of your followers?” Lucifer questions, his words a dangerous, sibilant hiss.

“It wasn’t like that,” Tobias snaps. “We had found truth! The words of angels themselves speaking to us, instructing us. Iadnah. We knew not everyone would understand.”

“What does the book say about murder, Tobias?” Chloe asks.

Trian’iach Iabes osfjah esskho az‘iamosf teloc,” Lucifer answers. “Let there be Life and not death.”

“Heavenly words out of the Devil’s mouth,” Tobias sneers. “You can quote the holy writings as much as you like, serpent, it will gain you nothing from me.”

“Is that so?”

Something about Lucifer’s words ping oddly, the fricatives catching funny, drawing out. She turns too look at him and freezes.

Lucifer's face ripples, contorting unnaturally. It sort of...pulls away from him like one would pull apart dough, fashioning a sort of mask that coalesces, hovering an inch or two in front of the surface of his head. Chloe can’t seem to look away even as her stomach rolls queasily. The cheeks and brows stretch oddly, angled and exaggerated, bone white. The texture imitates flayed open musculature, the eyes burning red and black. The false face is ever changing, a tumultuous primordial impression perfectly designed to induce hellish terror.

Chloe feels her heart speed up, pounding behind her ribs. It’s like that first glimpse of him when she came to consciousness in the penthouse but far worse because he’s dialed it up. He’s projecting pure, undistilled fear and it fills the small room. It niggles past her meager defenses and, even though she tries to fight it, tries to tell herself everything is fine and she’s safe here, she’s safe with him, it’s no use. She’s helpless against it.

Tobias startles backwards, face going slack with fright. “Oh god, no, no, please, I’m sorry!”

Lucifer’s whole semblance breaks out into spikes, but the visage dissipates. “Tell the good Detective what you know.” His voice is indifferent to Tobias’ fear even as his erinaceous demeanor paints a picture of offense.

He turns to her and she knows what she must look like, pupils involuntarily blown wide with panic, lungs expanding too rapidly. Almost immediately everything inhuman about him retracts, snapping inwards, his body sinking into a dark, pitch black. He steps away, fists curling at his sides. If she didn’t know better, she’d think he’d leave behind footprints of charcoal smudged against the floor.

“Lucifer,” she tries to utter his name, but it gets lodged in her throat. It had just taken her off guard, she hadn’t expected it to breach her resistance and influence her like that. She feels terrible - a weird sort of guilt that curdles in her chest.

“I - I don’t know where Levi went, but there’s a few places he might go. I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you everything, oh god.” Tobias continues to babble in the background.

“Someone will be in to take your statement,” Chloe says, mostly out of habit and stands. Lucifer’s already mostly at the door.

“Wait,” she tells him once they’re outside the interrogation room.

He comes to a halt. His pyre is wind-beaten, shifting direction and fluttering low and close to his skin.

She reaches out to grab him, an unintentional parallel from earlier, but he shakes free of her, his arms defensively growing points against her that she cannot feel. “Apologies, Detective,” he chokes out, “A moment - please.”

She comes to a stop at request. “Okay,” she says softly. “Okay, come find me when you’re ready.”

He nods and vanishes around a corner. Chloe sighs and presses her palm to her brow. She’d think that after seeing all she’s seen, that he wouldn’t feel the need to hide, but Lucifer’s never coped well with vulnerability.

She pulls Dan from his desk and heads back into the room with Tobias, but she’s not paying much attention. Thankfully, Dan is giving the interrogation studious concentration, not asking about Tobias’ sudden change in demeanor. She’s still caught on the way Lucifer had, in an instant, smothered himself so ruthlessly that he’d been featureless. A large obsidian figure. Blank.

The edges of her nails bite into her palms and she wonders if she’s screwed up everything. Thankfully, the conversation with Tobias concludes and Dan has a few locations to scout out.

Chloe goes back to her desk in a haze of recrimination and sorrow. Lucifer’s vanished. She stares blankly at case files until she can’t stand it any more and gets up to look at the murder board in the conference room. A few things have been added and she tapes up what they learned from Cherish about the book causing contentions and the little she remembers from talking to Tobias. Dan will have more information on that than her.

After a little while there’s a hesitant rapping on the glass door. Chloe looks up to spot Lucifer. He still burns low, but it’s better than him being unadorned. He opens the door and steps carefully inside. There’s distance between them once again and she aches at it.

“Lucifer, I am so sorry,” she says immediately, the words leaving her in a rush.

He pauses. “Whatever for?” he asks, voice uncharacteristically timid.

She doesn’t know how to explain it, how she shouldn’t have let the pressure of his sway impact her like that. She doesn’t know how to tell him that she’s not scared of him, that she knows it hurt him to have her react like that.

“Detective, I-” he starts, but he’s cut off by Dan leaning in the room, his expression that mix of grim and excited that one gets when there’s been a break on a case.

“We’ve got a lead.”

Chapter Text

“So, here's what we've got,” Dan says, walking into the room. He plucks a marker from the tray of the white board and pulls up a map of Los Angeles. Chloe does her best to focus and not examine the signs of Lucifer's form out of her periphery.

“According to Tobias, there's two main possibilities where our suspect could have gone. Levi is capital O Obsessed over this book, right? So the likely spots where he's holed up are either the auction house where they first bought the book.” The marker squeaks as he circles a location relatively close by. “Or the church it originally came from.” It gets circled as well, further out on the edges of the city.

He caps the marker and glances at Lucifer from the corner of his eye. Chloe doesn’t know what Dan sees, but clearly Lucifer’s in enough of a somber mood to be noticed.

“Diego and I can take the church,” Dan offers to Chloe.

“No,” Lucifer refutes quietly. “It’s quite all right, Daniel. The Detective and I can handle it.”

She wants to ask if he's sure, but Dan gives him the credit of knowing his own mind and nods, decision made. “You got it. Diego and I will head to FLA Auctions, see if Levi has poked his head around.”

“Nice work, Dan,” Chloe says, grateful that he picked up the slack when she was preoccupied. She looks to Lucifer. “You ready?” He nods. “Then let's go.”

Lucifer wordlessly trails after her. He stays quiet as he slips into the passenger’s side seat and all through leaving the precinct and merging into traffic. She taps her fingers on the steering wheel. Her hands lifts in an aborted motion to turn on the radio before she dismisses it and generally tries not to let the silence eat at her. Finally, she can’t take it any longer.

“It's too long of a drive for you not to talk to me, Lucifer.”

His form swivels toward her, but he says nothing.

“Are...are you upset?” she tries, “About what happened in the interrogation room?”

Finally, a reaction. Prongs spicule out of his chest, blunt, but no less dangerous were they tangible.

“Yes,” he says, the sibilant dragged out.

“I'm sorry-” she tries again, but he cuts her off with a growl.

“No.”

Chloe’s mouth shuts with a click at his vehement refusal.

“You have nothing to apologize for,” he continues, “I'm the one who is sorry, I should have realized - I shouldn't have done that with you in the room.”

She wonders if his knuckles would be white, hands clenched in his lap. To her eyes he's still nearly flameless. It's like looking at a clear lake at night, a black mirror. Every now and then his edges fluctuate, spiking out and then sucking back in. It looks painful.

“You've taken this all so well, for a moment I forgot.” His sentence comes to an abrupt halt, landing hard on the final, clipped sound.

“It's all right, Lucifer,” she attempts to soothe.

“It isn't.”

She takes a deep breath. “It was just...unexpected. The way the room felt...” A shiver runs down her spine.

“It's an infernal ability, it's possible that's why it still extended to you. Everything else is me, intrinsic, angelic.” He says the last word like it soiled inside his mouth. “I suppose that's why you remain largely unfazed.”

“I screamed when I first saw you,” she reminds him.

A few thorns bloom from his collarbones and she swallows down her regret at pointing out the truth.

“Yet, minutes later you were bold enough to touch me.” His eyes blink at different times, all of them taking her in. “You were afraid only for a moment.”

“And I was afraid only for a moment this time, too, Lucifer.” She grips the steering wheel tighter. “It's not some devil versus angel thing.”

He's quiet for a moment. “No, perhaps not.” She looks over at him in surprise and notes little embers have begun to glow in his chest. “Maybe...it is just a you thing.”

She shakes her head a little. “I know you, Lucifer. Even when I don't understand what's happening or what I'm seeing, I know who you are.”

A few hopeful little flames spurt along his skin, like oil catching fire on dark waters.

“You should do it again,” she says firmly.

He makes a choking sound. “I’m sorry?”

“The scary thing, you should do it again when I’m expecting it.” She steels her spine, ready. “Try it now.”

“Detective, I’m not going to do that.”

She psychs herself up. “No, come on, it will be fine.”

Her assurances don’t make any difference. “No. You are currently operating a motor vehicle. If it goes poorly, it could kill us both.”

Oh. Right. That makes sense. She looks over at him. “Later, then?”

“Does it matter that much to you?” he asks, sounding weary.

“For you to know that I’m not scared of you? Yeah, it does.”

He sighs, but there’s a note of amusement in it. “Very well, Detective. Later.”

“I’ll hold you to it,” she confirms. “So, this book that Levi has, do you know anything about it?”

“Not specifically, no. There’s quite a few things it could be, but the fact that it does contain Celestial Tongue narrows it down. It could be one of my sibling’s transcriptions from the Silver City that somehow found its way here. It could be a nephilim’s hand. Perhaps one of my sibling's spent some time on earth and decided to write a novel.”

She’s pretty sure he’s pulling her leg with that last one.

“Not one of your own scholarly pursuits?” she asked, brow raised. “An angelic kama sutra?”

He laughs. “No, I’m afraid not. I’m sure any of my works in the City were destroyed and even so, you would have found them quite boring, I assure you.”

“Really.” She doesn’t quite believe that.

He hums. “A lot of my papers would fall under the realm of astrophysics, I believe. The nature of stars, how to listen to the song of the universe and weave something new from it.”

“It sounds beautiful, Lucifer.”

“Well, it was. To me. But there is a terrible amount of mathematics involved that would bore you to tears.” Still, his chest burns with bright pleasure at her interest.

“I don’t know, if it sounded anything like what you spoke earlier, I think it would be fascinating.”

“Humans do tend to become infatuated with it,” he replies, “Something about the divinity that your soul remembers, I think. That’s why it’s rarely used. ‘The human and the divine don’t mix’, Amenadiel would always say, and on some level it’s true. The weak minded become fixated, allowing it to consume them.”

“Is that what's happened to Levi?”

“I can only assume so. It could make him dangerous and aggressive, if he feels we might confiscate the book from him.”

Chloe nods. “Then we will have to be careful, won’t we?”

”Yes.”

The GPS turns them down a long, rural road that gives way to rougher and rougher gravel to the point that Lucifer has to brace himself with a hand against the dashboard to keep from knocking about.

The road, if it can even deserve to be called that, curves and they slowly roll up to the church. Chloe peers at it from the windshield. The stone is still intact, mostly, if dabbed with green moss and algae. The structure is all there, but a few of the windows are broken and the doors are long gone. It’s a sepulchral sight.

“Well, that’s cheerful.” She un-clicks her seatbelt and steps out. There’s no sign of any other cars, but it doesn’t eliminate the possibility that Levi arrived here on foot.

“I’ll admit, it’s certainly seen better days.” Lucifer’s form stretches back, as if he’s leaning on his heels, taking in the dilapidated structure.

“Come on, let’s check it out.” Chloe steps through the entrance; the only evidence of doors are rusty hinges and remnants of rotted wood clinging to them. Lucifer hesitates at the archway. There is something sacrilegious about the Devil in a church, even if he wasn’t revealed to her gaze, a solitary spire of infernal flame, fringes dark and favillous.

She turns back to face him. “We could have done the auction house,” she tells him. “I don't want you forcing yourself to go to inside out of some self flagellation.”

His head shakes. “That's not it at all, Detective. Levi is apart of an organization that calls itself the Order of the Holy Origin. He's fallen into a dangerous thrall centered on the book. This is where the book came from. If he's anywhere, Levi is here. The sooner we retrieve it from human hands, the better.”

“Right.” She feels a bit silly for not putting it together herself, but it makes sense. “Can you go inside?” she asks.

He snorts, scattering sparks. “Of course I can, I'm not a vampire.”

As if to prove it and his bravery, he takes a long stride inside the church. Chloe carefully follows after, taking it in.

Most of the pews are missing and those that are present are broken and long taken over with vines. Rubble crunches underfoot. Far gone are the days of a bustling congregation, ladies in cauls and hats, altar boys shuffling in their robes. The painted frescoes on the walls have long since peeled, only flaky remains indicating they were ever there. Some are easily identifiable, religious scenes, phases of the moon, others too faded to even make out.

“What a load of mummery,” he says, his derision clear. His foot kicks a bit of debris. It goes skittering across the marble floor and out of sight.

Chloe must admit, it is a bit much. There's probably a few hundred candles set alight, which not only serves no purpose in the bright, midday sun, but also pose an incredible fire hazard.

Still, it's enough to prove Lucifer's theory correct. Someone else has been here. It wouldn't be unreasonable to assume it was their suspect. Chloe takes out her gun, but keeps it held to the side, finger off of the trigger.

“Levi?” She raises her voice. “Levi Whitlock?”

They turn the corner and spot him, kneeling at the altar with a great, weathered book spread out on top of the stone.

“Levi, I'm going to need you to turn around and put your hands up for me.” Her tone coasts the line between conciliatory and commanding.

He shakes his head. “I can't.”

“Levi, I won't ask you again.” The warning is clear.

“On your feet.” Lucifer’s voice crackles through the air, leaving behind the scent of ozone.

Finally, Levi starts to get his feet under him and slowly stands, gazing down at the book.

“Turn around, Levi. Nice and slow.” Chloe raises her gun, clicks the safety off, but keeps her finger off the trigger. This could still be resolved peacefully.

Except, when he turns Levi has his own gun in hand and a large blade on his belt. Chloe's finger twitches.

“I am a good and obedient servant,” Levi insists, manic. “God will forgive me of my tresspasses.”

“You’ll have to answer to the law first, Levi,” Lucifer tells him, “Before supplicating my father.”

Levi latches onto that with a jerk, eyes staring at Lucifer with fervid attention. “Your father?”

Something in Chloe prickles with unease.

“Yes, my father. God. The Big Y in the sky.”

“You’re an angel,” he says, voice hoarse.

“Bingo! Now hand over the book and come along quietly, I’ve had more than enough of your meddling.” Lucifer’s irritation makes his voice abrade. So much for being careful.

“No,” Levi shakes his head. “The book is mine!”

“I assure you,” Lucifer snaps, “It is not.”

“No, no, it’s mine. I read the words, I understood them. The angel’s words, the words of the Father.” Levi raises a gun. The muzzle trembles, but his aim doesn’t waver.

“Lucifer, step back,” Chloe warns. Her finger slides into place.

“They are my words, you sinful creature, en iadnah’mahd.” The words crack through the air like a whip.

Whatever Lucifer had said, it’s enough to send Levi into a spiral. If you are an angel, then I will look upon you and rejoice, for I have been blessed. Zam’ran noqod vah cicahl ia’hy ath,” he starts, the words spilling off his tongue and Lucifer’s feet stumble. Levi’s voice raises, echoing eerily through the church, his eyes feverish. “Micma ahm’iran khjeh ahlar khjeh li’ad!”

“Lucifer?” Chloe calls out, keeping her eyes on their suspect as the strange chanting continues. “Lucifer, what’s happening? What’s he saying?”

But Lucifer doesn't answer, he falls forward with a choked groan, the flames guttering and drawing in. He coughs up white-hot lava, dribbling from his mouth like blood.

“Lucifer!” she shouts, but before she can move toward him, some unseen force blows her back. Levi is still chanting, but he gets buffeted back a few steps as well.

Lucifer’s form fluctuates wildly as he starts to diverge and unravel. It's a gruesome, horrific sight. Limbs begin to extend, joints snapping horrendously backwards as the aspects of his body shift and sharpen into something more animal than human. Tails and wings sprout and multiply, thrashing with anger, with pain. The halo fractures into thinner rings, one circling his head like a diadem, another sinking through his neck to hang like a collar, the other remaining, horn like, in its position.

Chloe knows this is different than just being able to see what he really looks like, this is Lucifer completely stripped of the human appearance he wraps himself up in, a primordial, unformed thing.

Lucifer's head lifts to look up at the man. Levi's smug smile has vanished into pale faced fear as clusters of white eyes all swivel to focus on him. Lucifer's extremities shift, bracing himself, as his chest billows with heaving breaths. There he stands in all his terrible, wonderfully glory. A creature of holy writings and nightmares.

Lucifer inhales, long and ragged. Then there's a moment of unbroken stillness before his face unhinges, splitting open like overripe fruit to reveal a too deep mouth bristling with teeth. It stretches impossibly wide and he roars.

It's inhuman. An unholy explosion of sound that makes her back break out into a cold sweat and every hair stand on end. Everything in the room rattles and the hundreds of candles are instantly snuffed.

Pandemonium breaks out.

What had once been sections of his face twist and elongate into necks, sprouting new faces filled with eyes and teeth, snake like, crowned and horned. Spikes line down his spine, nettling defensively.

Scripture, unbidden, rises in her mind. So down the great dragon was thrown - the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan.

Chloe staggers a step backwards. Lucifer’s entire focus is the human in front of him and he starts moving, chitinous plates shifting over vulnerable places, thickening a dense set of armor as he stalks towards Levi.

The first gunshot strikes Lucifer. He hisses, static overlaid a dozen times. The pursuit of his target is unaffected, his progress resolute as he continues onward. The second shot goes wide and a starburst of pain draws a hot line across her arm, just below her shoulder. The force of it spins her enough to falter in her steps, sending her crashing into a nearby pew. She lets out a sound of pain, unable to stifle it before she cuts it off between grit teeth.

But of course Lucifer hears it. Two heads snap around to asses her before returning forward. He releases another terrible roar, this one somehow worse than the last. It’s a cacophony of jarring sounds, anguish and fury multiplied by many vociferous hollows. Lucifer moves in a split moment, suddenly from one place to the next, no longer an inexorable stalk, but an abrupt strike.

Levi screams, high and clear, and Chloe stumbles her way over, one hand still wrapped around the graze in her arm, blood seeping out between her fingers, the other in an iron grip around her gun.

The immense shape of Lucifer blocks most of her vision, a slew of wings mantling with threat, feathers edged razor sharp. Haltingly she makes her way closer, stepping over a broad tail whose scutes slide across the stonework floor with a rush of sound. Edging around a haunch she's able to get an angle on what's happening.

Lucifer has a clawed hand completely encircling Levi’s limb, the one that had held the gun. The weapon itself has been reduced to molten slag. The man is still screaming, almost mindlessly, as Lucifer looms over him. That's when she realizes what is happening, Lucifer hasn't merely retrained the man, but is actively pulling at the limb. The shoulder begins to stretch gruesomely as one clawed hand presses against Levi’s chest to keep the human immobile.

Lucifer’s voice is a hundred vicious snarls, the drag of sharp metal against stone. It shrieks across her senses painfully. "Lavachk khe lehusoz. Bah’al esskho rhak’ir tk bahlteem holq."

“Lucifer,” Chloe gasps.

The shoulder joint dislocates with a sickening pop, Levi’s scream goes shrill, and the mouths that dapple across Lucifer's shoulder grin with vicious satisfaction. Her wound throbs. Even now she sees his sense of justice, an arm for an arm. But she doesn’t want this. She doesn’t want this for him. There’s no way for her to stop him herself. He’s too massive and powerful, immovable against her meager human strength. She can only ask.

“Lucifer, stop. Please.”

Eyes bubble up on Lucifer's side where she stands, staring at her. She swallows back her fear and holsters her gun. She won't need it for this. Cautiously, she raises her hand, shaking, still stained with her blood, and reaches out to touch him. Her palm presses against his ribs. There’s no human shell to dull the sense of what she’s touching now, no dichotomy between what she sees and what she feels. It’s like touching a live wire, tingling almost painfully in her hand, down her arms. She grits her teeth against it and refuses to move back.

Lucifer goes completely still, not even breathing. She slides her touch up towards the spines of his back, leaning her weight against the coarse scales of his side despite the unpleasant biting sensation.

Lucifer,” she tries again. “This isn’t you.”

His tails lash irritably and he makes a horrible, grating sound that reverberates through her chest, stuttering the beat of her heart. Teeth erupt near her hand threateningly, wicked sharp crescents, but she refuses to be frightened off by him. If he doesn’t want her here, then he can move her himself.

Levi has devolved into crying, face streaked with tears. Lucifer’s grip doesn't slacken in the slightest. For a moment, Chloe thinks he's not going to heed her, that he's going to rip the man's arm clean off.

Then his long, clawed fingers slowly begin to unwind from around the limb. Chloe breathes out a shaky sigh of relief and tucks the side of her face against Lucifer’s rough hide. The angry stinging wherever she makes contact with him begins to subside, or perhaps her nerves are just growing dull to the sensation. It lessens until it’s almost the feeling of velvet rubbed the wrong way. Unpleasant, but not harmful.

Lucifer slips away from the man, now limp and unconscious from pain or fright or both, and tries to contort himself into a shape smaller, less intimidating. It's little use at this juncture. Heads conjoin and retract until there's two or three, all hovering uncertainly, watching her.

She can't read any expression, the features not even in the remotest realm of familiarity to get a grasp at understanding, but she gets the sense that he’s bracing himself for the worst. Yet, he’s the brightest thing in the gloaming of the darkened church and Chloe can't look away. He stares back, eyes all focused on her, silently conveying nothing more than shameful desperation.

Have no fear, she thinks. “I'm not afraid,” she tells him. “I'm not, but Lucifer, hurting this man isn't going to help.”

One head snarls, twisting to look over in Levi’s direction with disgust. Another lowers until a large eye is level with the wound in her arm, a painful line of flesh dug out by the bullet. It still oozes. Lucifer makes a sound like he'd like to go back and finish what he started, but she shifts her hand from his side to his head and tugs a little, surprised by her own recklessness.

She swallows back a dim panic. “Hey, focus on me. Don't look at him.”

Lucifer exhales a billow of a breath and sinks closer to the floor, limbs shifting to encompass her.

“I'm okay, Lucifer. I'm okay.”

He croons, the sound too vocal to be purring, too formless to be words.

“Are you all right?” she asks. His hold around her tightens around her but he doesn't reply. Maybe he can't reply. “Lucifer?” she prompts, worried.

He shifts and makes a sound of pain, old creaking wood. He is hurt. Worry and anger churn in her gut.

“Show me. Come on, Lucifer.”

With a moan like a great tree finally falling, his composition twists, uncovering his softer parts. Blindingly bright ichor drips from the wound, Levi’s knife embedded deep to the hilt. It must have happened in the scuffle. She doesn't know how she's supposed to help, she doesn't know if it's hit any vital organs, if he even has vital organs. It's not like he's fit to be brought to a hospital.

He rumbles a little when she grips the handle, but doesn't move. She swallows nervously and, with a bracing hand, tries to yank it free. It comes loose with an awful sucking sound and Chloe tosses the blade away from both of them. He makes no noise, but the stained glass windows burst overhead and a headache blooms, sharp and unexpected, behind her eyes before it vanishes as quickly as it had come. A wing comes up overhead to protect her from the raining glass and a smaller one shifts to hide the wound away.

Her legs shake and she feels lightheaded. She presses a palm to her forehead, pushes hair out of her face. “I - I think I might sit down for a moment, if that's all right.”

And if her sit is more of a controlled fall, well, it doesn’t matter, because Lucifer's arms sweep to catch her and carefully lower her to the ground. “Thanks,” she manages.

Lucifer curls his massive form around her protectively, cradling her against his ribs. The heat of his skin is searing, no longer stuffed into human norms. Two wings come up to screen her off from the outside, and a tail twines around her leg, powerful, adroit muscle. She starts to sweat a little, but has no intention of moving. His main head shifts to rest in her lap, a heavy, impossible weight, the rest receding into his body. She runs her fingers down what she thinks is the top, but it's hard to tell when mouths and eyes keep slipping positions. They stay like that for a long moment until she feels like she can breath again.

He lifts from his position against her legs to press at the wound marring her arm, neck twisting and extending. The shape of his head narrows like an alligator, nose nudging forward. His mouth opens, the rows of razor sharp teeth absent, only the smallest and roundest of molars visible, as if he's made an effort in order not to frighten her.

“Lucifer?” she asks as his maw moves to her bullet graze.

He exhales, a heated psithurism of breath against her skin. A tongue flicks out and wipes it clean with one careful swipe. It feels like frost tickling along her skin and she watches in amazement as the bleeding turns sluggish before the wound begins to scab and heal.

She presses her fingers to it and there’s only the slight sensation of old bruising and then even that fades. “Lucifer,” she says again, awed. Another wing sprouts and curls against her side, a susurration of feathers, the edge of thin bone tucking her in closer to him. The head shortens, something close to human in shape, but the lips don’t move when he speaks.

"Chloe." The sound seems to come from everywhere and nowhere at once. A dozen unseen throats exhaling her name. Her mouth goes dry.

"Chloe," he says again and it's almost palpable, the emotion he holds in the syllables of her name. It’s the cool rush of water to a parched throat, the first inhale after a long awaited relief. It’s sunlight, streaming through an open window and the taste of wild honey on her tongue.

Love and fear and faith. The softest hope under-threading it all. The backs of her eyes prickle with heat. It steals the breath from her lungs, the sheer, terrifying beauty of him, he’s massive and alien and lovely. And oh, God, she shouldn't but she does, she does love him, all the horrifying, incomprehensible parts of him. A soul deep redamancy neither of them ever expected.

She kisses him. She takes his strangely shaped head and kisses him, fearlessly pressing against his odd mouth. Her tongue flicks against sharp-edged teeth recklessly, sampling the taste of stardust from its source. It's like licking a battery, dangerous and electric. He gingerly returns it, the wet brush of him as he slips past her lips dragging sparks across her senses. A gesture freely offered, freely given, sweeter than the rush of power and far stronger than anything that could hope to divide them.

They slip against each other, again and again, and it’s engulfing, consuming. She moans, a little rough, a little broken, but there’s no way for the sound to avoid his notice. His control lapses and his form folds around her, twisting with ravenous impulse, supplying ardent reciprocation as he kisses her from a dozen burning mouths. Goosebumps break out across her skin and her next inhale shakes.

There is no escape. Solid tails wrap around her limbs and lift, her toes leaving the ground, shifting her tighter against him. It cuts off any chance of breaking away, but she has no desire to be rescued out of his hand. She doesn't want to be anywhere else in this moment but ensnared here with him. So she eases back against his steady hold, gives into it, into him, allows his incomprehensible self to coil around her until they're so intertwined she can't tell up from down, feathers and scales and fire taking up every inch of her vision.

Her blood throbs heavy in her veins, her heart racing as she tries to kiss every inch of him. Soft down cushions her head and shoulders, tipping her back as scales shift and press at the seam of her jeans right where she aches. Chloe lets her head loll, lips parting. Lucifer hums, a nearly subsonic sound that she feels more than she hears, vibrating. It sets a bolt of arousal down her belly to settle there.

“Lucifer.” An utterance, blasphemous praise leaving her lips, “Lucifer.”

There's something profane about what they're doing here, tangled up on the bare floor of an abandoned church, but there was something far more sacred in the absence of space between them, something hallowed in his heaving gasps and her soft moans. The holiness of base fulfillment and the purity of acceptance.

The temperature is building, pushing in from every angle. Sweat pools at the hollow of her throat. Claws dulled down into blunted tips scrape gently across her back and down, bracketing her hips. She moans a little, feverish with need, all her muscles slack. She's not sure how many hands he has at this moment, too lost in the sensation to check, the press of long fingers at her knees, curving around her thighs as he pulls her impossibly further into him.

"Chloe," he entreats, desire, hungry and longing and lingering. It fills the small spaces between them, a pocket of heated craving, of a want so strong it could hardly bear speaking.

It projects around her, an inverse of the sensation that expanded from him in the interrogation room. He calls to her in a hundred different whispers, slippery like silk—the same part that calls to every other human, that’s never called to her. But there’s no demand to it, it glissades along her awareness flirtatious and wistful. She can practically feel it run along whatever inborn barrier that shields her from it.

Anything you desire.

The promise inherent in his words is clear. Whatever she desired he would do. This great and powerful creature would twist himself into anything she wanted of him, would make the entire world bend the knee, would give her his throne if she asked.

But she wants none of that. She only wants him. She presses her nose against something that might be a neck and inhales heavily. His scent is no longer of cologne and smoke, but something deeper that tugs at her the base fibers of her being with an inexorable grip. It's something of sunlight, of wildfires raging, of the unknowable depths of the space between stars. Ancient and somehow familiar.

“You,” she tells him. “I want you.”

She pulls nearer and slides an open mouthed kiss to whatever is closest. The ridged texture of scales gives way to skin above her mouth. The impulse to bite down burns through her and she indulges it, marking strange skin with her teeth.

The groan that is torn from his ever-shifting throats sears through her nerves like lightning, the sound a soft thunderous rumble that flows over her skin with a nearly violent thrill.

Fangs graze her thighs in playful retaliation and she shudders, letting them fall open to him. He surges closer, pressing tighter, greedy. Chloe reaches out for whatever she can touch, gliding her hands against him. The impression of desire responds, nestling, galvanic against her skin. What would it feel like, to have that force wiggle past her protections and sink into her?

As if knowing her thoughts, Lucifer’s frame quivers. Incalescence swirls, torrid and yearning, and she wants to burrow into it, take it into herself and never be parted from it. As if it only needed her permission, it slowly breaches her barriers. She gasps and her whole body jerks, but she’s held steady by heteroclite limbs, unable to squirm as the taction rolls through her.

It’s pure, distilled passion, intoxicating and debilitating. Carnality carves through her like a hot knife. She can’t manage to get enough air in her lungs to call out, reduced to incoherent mewls as ardor to the furthest degree sears down to her deepest parts.

The sensation mounts, growing more and more overwhelming. It’s like he’s inside her, with her, stoking flames that have never before been reached, like he’s buried down into her nervous system, lighting her up. It spreads, sweet and thick and ineffable, the taste of honey bursting in her mouth. She strains to contain it as it settles, deep and exhilarating. She’s shaking, drowning in it as he swallows her, submerges her into an almost forceful phenomena of pleasure.

It crests, a wave of blistering heat, and her breath catches as she teeters on the verge, fingers digging into the constantly altering flesh around her, under her.

She hangs there for a moment of complete stillness, complete rapture, enveloped in a creature she can have no hope of fully understanding, but it doesn’t matter because she loves him, oh, oh god, she - she’s - then it crashes over her.

Everything goes white, fingers and toes curling, limbs pulled taut. Chloe cries out, clenching down on nothing, except she doesn’t feel empty, she feels impossibly full, stretched wide.

Lucifer crunches inward, figure compressing, tightening. He makes a terrible, wounded noise of a pleasure so visceral that it borders on pain. Glass shatters and the earth shakes underneath them, but Chloe is safely ensconced in his hold and feels nothing except the inexorable swell of drawn out bliss, replete.

She almost sobs as he withdraws, his influence pulling away, leaving her. If she had the energy, she'd try to grab at him, hold him to her, but she can hardly manage the effort of forming words. A low aftershock of satisfaction softens the departure.

Everything feels like jelly, like every ounce of pleasure has been wrung from the very fibers of her being. She doesn't notice being gently set on the ground, can't even register that the hands on her are human sized, frantically moving down her body. It feels nice, in a distant sort of way. With her nervous system as overloaded as it is, all she can do is hum and lift a little bit into the touch. Time feels stretched out like taffy, one moment it's hands and then there is a mouth against her own, lips soft and familiar, the slightest scrape of stubble.

“Chloe,” he says and it's the note of fear that finally pulls her out of her haze. “Come on, Chloe, my darling, come back to me.”

“Lucifer?” She blinks, bleary-eyed. His face, both familiar and somehow not, swims before her. Eyes, nose, mouth. All a normal peachy color. That’s important for some reason, she knows.

“Oh, thank the stars,” he gasps. His hands cradle her head. The light from outside catches, highlighting tear tail down his cheeks. Her arm feels four times as heavy as she lifts it slowly to drag the tips of her fingers down the silvery tracks.

“What's wrong?”

“Nothing,” he tells her, clearly relieved, eyes are red rimmed and liquid. “Nothing at all, darling. Everything is fine.”

She presses her palm fully to his cheek and he leans into it, just a little, like he can’t help himself. “Good,” she tells him. “That's good, cause I think I just had sex with you.”

His eyes widen.

“It was nice,” she pats his face absently. “I liked it.”

It all feels very distant and simple in the moment, but more and more of reality makes itself known as Lucifer carefully sits her up against the altar.

“You're naked,” she notes, taking him in. It's strangely mundane after seeing him in all his true glory.

He pauses. “Yes, ah, my clothes were lost somewhere in the metaphysical process.”

That's a bit too complicated for her to wrap her head around at the moment, but it's at least a problem she can solve.

“There’s a pair of sweatpants in the cruiser,” she says.

He frowns, “I don't think your lounging pants will fit, Detective.”

She shakes her head and whoa, no, that was a bad idea. The wood behind her head is cool as she halts the motion and breathes through the sudden nausea. “They're for you. Devil sized.”

He looks surprised. She offers him a smile. “You have the bad habit of losing your clothes, I was being preventative.”

“My clever Detective.” He leans forward and kisses her forehead, lingering long enough for it to feel oddly final.

A broken pained sound redirects their attention to Levi, still mostly unconscious, splayed out on the other side of the altar. A flush blooms at the base of her throat at realizing their suspect was lying on the floor a few yards away while they - they...

She swallows dryly.

Lucifer's hands drift to her hips and a phantom pang of pleasure races through her. There's a brief flash of cool metal against her skin where her shirt rides up and then Lucifer is pulling away, her handcuffs in his possession.

His face is steely as he stands and she wants to catch at him, reassure him that she's fine, Levi has been suitably punished, but he's stepped away before she can raise a hand.

There's the sound of someone being dragged, scraping across the gritty floor, followed by a dull thud. The clickclickclick of the cuffs tightening is loud in the cavernous church, but soon Lucifer pads back into her field of vision and crouches so she's not eye level with, well - so she can look into his face.

“I'll be right back. Don't go anywhere.” A crinkle marrs the perfection of his brow. The book is tucked under his arm, against his side.

“Don't leave me waiting, Morningstar,” she calls after him, taking full appreciation of the sight of his naked self walking away. It wasn't quite as breathtaking as the creature that lay underneath, but it was still a mighty fine ass.

He doesn’t comment or offer a quip and something sours in her stomach.

He returns, wearing pants and holding a water bottle. The lid cracks loudly in the silence between them and he kneels down next to her. One hand carefully tips it to her mouth, the other stabilizes the back of her head. She greedily sucks it down and makes an annoyed sound when he pulls it away.

“Slowly, Detective.”

The word doesn't ring like it did before and it sounds flat to her ears.

“Phone,” she manages after he's placed the water bottle beside her. His must be a lost cause alongside whatever else had been on his person, but he slips hers out of her pocket for her. Then he steps away to look over the mess they’d made of the building, his back to her.

She rings Dan and tells him they found Levi and he'd been armed and shot at them. Dan is alarmed, but she reports back that they’re both fine, and that Levi has been apprehend and neutralized. She’s not sure how to explain the bullets, though. One must have been lost somewhere in Lucifer’s thick hide, now absent, and any evidence of her wound had been miraculously healed.

There would be Levi’s testimony, though how reliable the word of a raving zaelot would be would serve them well with keeping this off the record. Chloe’s not sure Levi will be much use if he does wake up. Jimmy wasn't, and Levi had seen much more than anyone else had. Although, not as much as her. She wonders if anyone had ever witnessed Lucifer as much as she had. Her head feels a bit like it’s been stuffed with cotton, but apart from that, remarkably sane...she thinks.

As they wait for Dan and backup to arrive, she's had time to grow slowly mortified, yet strangely unrepentant. She doesn't regret what they did. Still, there were much better times and much better places for such things. Places that had beds with sheets.

“You’re back to normal,” she says, eyes drifting to the long line of his back. She watches him still, shoulder blades moving under skin as he leans back.

“Yes,” he answers.

“That’s good. And you’re not hurt? From where you were stabbed?” The blade had been sunk deep in strange, unknowable parts of him. She’s not sure how that would translate to his human self, if it even would.

“No. I’m fine, Detective. My control is back in place and I am unharmed.”

Relief trickles down her spine. He’s safe. “It would have been hard to fit you through the doors otherwise,” she says, amusement curling the edges of her mouth.

“Quite,” he replies.

She must fall into a doze at some point, because the next thing she knows is Lucifer gently shaking her awake. The loopiness has faded completely and the chill of the stone has seeped into her.

The sound of vehicles pulling up outside causes her to force herself to her feet. Lucifer helps her, his hands never drifting past propriety. “Thanks,” she says, giving him a smile, but he only steps back as soon as she has her footing. She frowns. “Hey, are you okay?”

“Given my state of undress, perhaps it's better that I wait in the car.”

She blinks. “Yeah, okay. If you want to, that's fine.”

His head angles in acknowledgement and he steps away, barefooted over broken glass and wreckage. She sighs. When backup arrives, Dan with them, she waits, hip braced against against the altar behind her.

Dan takes in the shards of broken glass, the weird gouges in the floor, and their unconscious suspect with a raised eyebrow.

“Do I wanna know?” he asks, sounding resigned.

Chloe answers him honestly. “You really, really don't.”

He nods and directs some officers to collect Levi Whitlock. “I can wrap things up here if you want to get Lucifer home.” Dan doesn't look directly at her when he makes the suggestion. “He looks a bit chilly.”

Chloe grips Dan’s shoulder and leans up on her toes to press a kiss to his cheek. “Thank you.”

Dan merely nods and steps away to yell at a rookie officer.

Lucifer is still in the car when she returns. Somehow she thought he might not be, that he'd take off without a word. She slides in her seat and reaches back for her seat belt.

His eyes rest on her, two, brown, human. It’s almost strange to have him returned to human appearance, somehow she’d gotten used to having a small inferno in the seat beside her.

“Dan is going to handle wrapping up the case.”

Lucifer nods. The book lies in the back seat of her cruiser. She’d honestly thought he would have destroyed it, but maybe he wants it for other reasons. The engine rolls over and she pulls away from the church. She's both glad and weirdly saddened by seeing it grow smaller in her rear view mirror. They reach a main road and she turns on to it, heading back into LA.

“Back to Lux?” she asks.

“Yes,” he says, voice flayed. “The quicker the book is removed from humanity's eyes, the safer the world will be.”

“I must admit, I'm curious. What did Levi say? To make that...happen?”

“He - he spoke a Command in the Celestial Tongue. He wanted to unveil the mysteries of creation.” Lucifer’s fists clench. “And so he stripped me of the form I bind myself to.”

“So all that other stuff is what you really look like.”

“I really look like this,” he says sharply. “And I really look like the devil when I wear that face. I really look however I want. I define my reality.”

“I'm sorry.” She feels like she's been apologizing all day. “I didn't mean any offense.”

He sags back in his chair, shoulders slumping. “No. I apologize, Detective. There is no reason for me to yell.”

“I upset you, it's a natural reaction,” she says, pushing down the sting of hurt his words brought.

He shakes his head. “I haven't even the faintest justification to be upset with you. Not - Not after what I did.” He looks sick with himself. “When you weren't responding, when I thought that you were - that I had -”

“What? Put me in a coma by fucking me with your true form?” she says, trying to inject some lightness into the conversation. If anything, he stiffens further, lips thinning.

“Catatonia would be preferable to burning the soul out of you,” he snaps.

She sighs. Having him clothed back in human shape with the handsome, chiseled features that she loves is wonderful, it is, but she somehow misses how easy it became to read him when she could really see him. “I'm sorry, that was insensitive of me, but Lucifer, you couldn't have.”

“You don't know that.”

“I do,” she counters. “I could...feel it. You didn't go any further than I wanted you to.” She looks at him out of the corner of her eye. “Didn't you?”

He shifts a little. “There...there was a resistance. A protection around you. I -” His voice is hoarse when he finishes. “I could feel you let me in.”

“Did I seem unwilling?” she asks, just a touch of sharpness in her tone.

“No.” He visibly swallows. “No.”

“Because I wasn't,” she tells him, just to make it completely clear to him. “I’ll be honest with you, Lucifer, it was probably the weirdest goddamned thing I've ever experienced. I-” her voice cuts off as the memory of it flashes through her mind. “I can't even explain it.”

“Humans aren't meant to witness it, let alone - let alone do what we - what I did.”

“We,” she corrects his statement back to its original intention. “I wanted it, Lucifer. I wanted you.”

He shakes his head, just minutely, like he can't fathom the idea.

“Would I lie to you? About something like this?”

“How could you?” he asks instead. “How could you possibly look at the abomination that I am and -” he chokes off.

“How could I not?” she returns. “How could I not look at you and love you, Lucifer?”

At his abrupt silence she realizes this is the first time she's said it aloud. She trembles, just slightly, but doesn't take it back.

“I won't speak for you,” she adds after a moment, “But the way you said my name, the way it felt, it seemed like maybe you-”

“I do,” he cuts her off. “Surely, you must know I do.”

She keeps her eyes focused forward on the road, but reaches down to tangle their fingers together. He grips tightly in return.

“Okay,” she says and tries to breathe around this revelation, this sudden leap in progress, which is no less weighty after everything that's been revealed between them. “Okay.”

“Okay?” he repeats.

“Yes,” she says firmly. “So we move on from here, together.”

“I'd like that,” he says quietly, squeezing her hand.

“Good. And I’d like to do it again sometime. What we did today. You and I with no barriers.” She can't resist a quick glance to gauge the response. He's staring at her, eyes black with intensity. “Not everyday, because it's - it's a lot. But maybe for special occasions.”

“Special occasions?” His voice is gravel and sin.

She hums. “Anniversaries, birthdays, that sort of thing.”

Finally, finally, the smallest smile takes up residence on his face.

“I won't fit in the penthouse,” he answers slowly and a jolt of excitement squeezes her heart at his acquiescence. “We...would have to use another location.” He begins to warm to the idea. “I have a house in the mountains. It's private and expansive enough to hold me.”

“Good. We'll plan it for some point in the future.”

“The future,” he repeats, the small smile growing into something wider.

She nods and his thumb runs back and forth against her hand. It might have been her imagination, but she swears she feels the painless tickle of flames on her skin.