"Shame about Lux, Lucifer."
When Chloe looked up, Lucifer was staring after the officer with a puzzled look on his face. She went to ask him what had happened to Lux but found herself pausing, pulling back. She was doing that a lot, lately, ever since- Ever since she found out.
She'd been back at work for a month, after both she and Lucifer had been cleared of all charges. Lucifer had shown up a week into her return, acting for all the world like nothing was different. Like he hadn't turned her entire world upside down and then just disappeared out of it for months. He hadn't reached out once in all the time she'd been suspended.
And she hadn't been able to bring herself to reach out to him. What was she supposed to say? "Hey so I guess you're really the Devil, sorry for all those times I refused to believe you"? Or maybe, "So what was it really like, being cast out of Heaven and into a lake of burning fire"?
She shook her head a little, shaking the thoughts out. He had shown up and acted like nothing had happened when they were around other people. Alone together, though, things were different. He was quieter, more subdued, like he'd taken everything he was and muffled it for her. So she could get used to him again. She was trying, she was.
It was just a lot to take in. And it left them with moments like this, where she wanted to ask something — something simple, something partners who weren't friends would still ask — and got hung up in her own thoughts instead.
"What happened to Lux?" she asked before she could get stuck again.
Lucifer blinked at her and, okay, maybe she had been a bit quiet around him lately, but he didn't need to look at her like that. Like she had done something miraculous.
"I have no idea," he said, sounding mystified. He took a step away from her desk before glancing back at her. She looked away quickly and heard him sigh before his footsteps moved away.
She tried not to feel relieved when he was gone. She was getting better about it — about not feeling the oppressive weight of knowing when he was around — but she wasn't all there yet. She didn't know if she ever would be.
It was a sobering thought. They had been so close to being... being something, and now it was almost like he was a stranger. There was so much she didn't know about him, so much she hadn't even known to ask back Before.
It was like her life had split itself into two sections, like time cleaving itself after Jesus' birth. Before She Found Out and After Knowing. She was pretty sure she was glad she knew now, even if it had wrecked their relationship. She could hope that was temporary, hope they could get back to what they had been. But she couldn't help missing not knowing a little. It was... simpler.
She was startled out of her thoughts when Ella skidded to a stop in front of her desk.
"Chloe! Have you seen Lucifer? Is he okay?"
"He was just here and he seemed fine?" she said cautiously, starting to get worried. She looked around to see if she could see him and spotted him standing in a tight cluster of officers. As if he could feel her eyes on him, he glanced over and locked gazes with her for a moment. Her breath caught at the intensity of it.
He looked... distressed. Upset. Like he needed someone to hug him and tell him everything was going to be alright. She could feel her fingers curling against the urge to go to him.
"So..." Ella said, drawing out the word. When Chloe looked up, startled, she saw that Ella had followed her line of sight and was looking at Lucifer. When she looked back to Chloe, her eyes were so sad that Chloe wanted to hide from her disappointment. It wasn't something she was used to feeling coming from Ella.
"I don't know what happened between you two," Ella continued. "But I know we're all rooting for you and he's gonna need your support now so maybe you can forgive him for whatever he did and..." She made a motion that Chloe didn't want to ask the meaning of.
"It's not that easy," she said before her brain caught up with everything Ella had said. "Wait, what happened? What did I miss?"
"Oh man, he didn't tell you?" Chloe resisted the urge to say that there was a lot he didn't tell her, it turned out. "Lux burned down."
"Yeah, it's crazy! Larry — the hot one, not Old Larry — said witnesses were saying it went up like a matchstick. One minute, it was fine, then fwoosh!" Ella mimed the word as she said it, hands moving in a big motion.
How had they not heard about this? The call must have come into the station, and everyone knew that Lux was Lucifer's. Chloe looked to him again; he was pale and the conversation must have been done because he was headed back to them.
"They're working on containment right now," Ella was saying. "So I guess it's not burned down burned down yet, but-" She stopped abruptly as Lucifer reached them and threw herself at him, squeezing him in a tight hug. Chloe found herself smiling at his continued discomfort with Ella's hugs, so much like his reaction to Trixie's. "I'm so sorry, Lucifer! Are you okay? Do you need somewhere to stay? Are they going to be able to save your stuff?"
"I don't know, Miss Lopez," Lucifer said. Chloe wasn't sure which one of Ella's rapid-fire questions he was responding to, or if he was responding to all of them at once. "But perhaps you could-" He disentangled himself from her gently, then just stood there, looking lost.
Chloe found herself standing and reaching for him, putting a hand on his arm and squeezing gently. He didn't react to it at all and maybe that was what had her opening her mouth and offering, "If you need somewhere to stay, my couch has your name on it."
She knew he wasn't going to take her up on it — he had houses throughout SoCal after all — but it felt like the kind of olive branch he would appreciate at the moment. It felt like something he might need. Most of all, it felt like a safe, empty gesture.
"I'd-" Lucifer said, his voice thick until he cleared it and started again. "I'd appreciate that. It seems Lux isn't the only one of my properties... currently affected."
Her instant regret at offering must have shown on her face because he was quick to take back his acceptance. "Of course, I can get a hotel for a few nights, Detective. No need to worry. I'm sure everything will be sorted by then, and I've been thinking about taking a holiday anyway."
Her eyes snapped to his. Taking a holiday? This was the first she was hearing about that, although she supposed she shouldn't be surprised. The fear clenching her heart, though, was surprising. She didn't want him to leave, not when — if she knew him at all — she knew he might not come back.
Between the lost look in his eyes and that, she found herself opening her mouth and saying, "No, it's fine. Maze is still out finding herself. I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you took her room for a couple days."
He looked uncertain as he glanced between her and Ella, who was still standing there, watching them with something disturbingly like hearts in her eyes. "I suppose, if it's not too much trouble..."
"It's not," Chloe said quickly. Before she could say more, another officer was calling Lucifer over, presumably to take a statement. He nodded once, sharply, and walked away.
Ella looked delighted at the turn of events, but Chloe couldn't help but wonder what she had gotten herself into.
Over the course of the day, Chloe found herself glancing to her side, expecting Lucifer to be there, only to find empty space. She hadn't seen him once since she offered up Maze's room as a temporary spot for him.
She kept pushing down the urge to go find him, to make sure he was okay. He didn't need that. He was the Devil, and Lux was probably just a plaything to him. A passing fancy, given how long he'd been alive.
She was probably the same.
The thought had her frowning at her computer screen, not seeing it, as her chest tightened uncomfortably. He meant so much to her, even now, when she wasn't sure they could find a way forward. The thought that she didn't mean nearly as much to him — and how could she? She was just... herself and Lucifer was... an ancient being with more experience with everything than she had with anything — had tears pricking at her eyes.
She blinked them away. She didn't have time for pining over him like an angsty teenager. Her life was nothing more than a mayfly to him; she could never be anything more than a blip in his.
By the time she was ready to head home, she had a building headache and a pain in her chest that came from overthinking. And Lucifer was still nowhere to be found.
She decided that if he wanted to stay with her, he would find his way to her himself, and headed home. Once she was there and the babysitter had gone, she found herself getting more and more anxious the later it got without Lucifer showing up. Trixie was, thankfully, oblivious to how keyed up she was getting, instead busy with dinner and a bath.
She jumped when someone knocked on the door and cursed under her breath. What now?
What now was Lucifer, standing on her doorstep with a garment bag in one hand and the handle to a rolling suitcase in the other. He smelled mildly of smoke and his face as pale with dark circles under his eyes. He looked like he'd been up for days.
There must have been some of her confusion at why he had knocked instead of just letting himself in like he usually did, because he leaned back a little and said, "Ah, Detective. If you're having second thoughts, I can always go to a hotel."
"No, no," she said, shaking herself out of her reverie and stepping aside so he could come in.
"Lucifer!" Trixie came running out of her room in her pajamas, and some instinctive part of Chloe took over before the rational part of her could.
She stepped in between Lucifer and Trixie, saying, "Hey Trix, there's a slice of cake in the fridge for dessert. Why don't you go get that out."
Trixie's eyes went wide and she grinned as she veered off for the kitchen. When Chloe turned back to Lucifer, she expected him to look relieved at not having to endure a hug from Trixie. Instead, he looked... stricken.
"Perhaps I should go to a hotel after all," he murmured, not looking at her.
She hoped he missed the aborted motion to reach out to him and pull him away from the door. She almost wanted to tell him that yes, he should go to a hotel, that she couldn't deal with this. Instead, she curled her hand at her side and shook her head.
"Don't be ridiculous," she said, wincing internally at the faint tremble in her voice. Judging by the look on his face, Lucifer hadn't missed that either.
"Where are you going, Lucifer?" Trixie was standing in the kitchen entryway, the slice of cake Chloe had meant for them to share already half gone.
Lucifer's confused, slightly hurt look when Chloe explained, "I wasn't sure if you were really going to show up," had her wanting to just take the entire day for a do-over.
"He's staying with us for a few days, monkey," she said instead, moving behind Lucifer to close the door before he could get the bright idea to escape. Trixie's gleeful shriek could have shattered eardrums, and Chloe turned in time to see Lucifer grimacing, but the corners of his lips were twitching.
Right. This was Lucifer. How could she have thought — even subconsciously — that he might hurt Trixie?
She pointed him to Maze's room and made Trixie — who had finished the cake; boy that kid could eat fast — go brush her teeth again. By the time Chloe had wrangled Trixie into bed and told her that no, Lucifer could not come read to her tonight, and no, she could not get just one more chapter three times in a row, and yes, Lucifer would be there in the morning, it was nearing 10pm.
When she came out of Trixie's room, closing the door quietly behind her, Lucifer was hovering in the doorway to Maze's room, looking somehow both like he belonged there and terribly out of place. His face was grim, and she smiled at him, hoping to get him to smile back. The smile he returned didn't make it to his eyes, and she felt her own smile fading in return.
"Want a drink?" she offered, moving for the kitchen.
"Please," he said, trailing after her and distressingly silent after that. The silence had been happening more and more lately, like the Lucifer she knew was pulling away from her and being replaced by this... shell.
She poured a generous portion of whiskey into the glass for him and got herself a glass of wine. She moved back to the living room, and sat on the couch, motioning for him to take a seat at the other end. The dark color under his eyes had deepened over the past hour and a half, and his face was drawn and pinched. He looked even more exhausted, if that were possible.
"What happened?" she asked quietly after the silence had drawn out to become uncomfortable. She couldn't remember a time Before when he had been this quiet for this long.
He took a long sip of his drink and said, "It looks like arson. Targeted arson at that. My other properties in the area have burned, too. I-" He swallowed. "I have nowhere left in California to go."
She blinked at him. That was... that was a lot of property. "And they were all hit at the same time? Was anyone hurt?"
"No one was hurt," he said, studying the whiskey in his tumbler. "Every single building was mysteriously empty, and apparently the tenants were saying they had a "bad feeling" and left."
"Was it-" She stopped, not sure if she wanted to ask the question. He looked over to her and she ended up gesturing to the ceiling.
"It's a rather stronger showing than needed to intimidate me back to Hell," he mused, considering it. He said more, but Chloe couldn't hear it over the ringing in her ears.
"You're going back to Hell?" she blurted out, interrupting him.
He was quiet for long enough that she felt her chest constricting, crushing her heart. She was just a mayfly to him; she knew it and it shouldn't hurt this much.
"No," he said finally. "I suppose not. But this-" he gestured vaguely "-was never meant to be permanent."
"Oh," she said quietly, staring into her wine glass. She had known it, she had worried over it since she found out, but somehow hearing it — hearing that she didn't matter to him the way he had mattered to her, still mattered to her — was like a punch to the gut.
"Perhaps this is telling me it's time to move on," he continued like she hadn't said anything. "My East coast properties weren't touched, and of course the ski lodge in Colorado was still intact when I called."
They were silent for a moment, her trying to control her breathing and him staring into space. Before she could say something, could try to convince him to stay even though she didn't know where to start with that, he spoke again.
"Are you sure you wouldn't rather I went to a hotel, Detective? I'm sure you don't need me in your hair."
"I told Trixie you'd be here when she woke up," she managed to get out.
He nodded grimly, and she was struck by the sudden realization that that had been the wrong thing to say.
"And I want you here," she admitted quietly, ignoring his sharp intake of breath.
"Anything you desire," was all he said in return.
She wanted to tell him that what she desired was that he stay, but was that really fair? She was still having these... moments, when her hindbrain took over like she was in the presence of a large predator. Was it fair to ask him to ask around if she didn't know if that would ever stop?
Was it fair to ask him to stay around when she knew that his life was just... so much more than being a club owner and police consultant in LA?
She pushed the thought out of her head even though she couldn't quite get the tightness in her chest to ease. There were more important things to think about.
"If someone is targeting you, the new Lieutenant should give you a protective detail."
"I hardly think I need it," he said, a slight smile touching his lips.
"Oh, right." She felt foolish. Of course he didn't need it. He was the Devil. Even if he was killed, did it matter? He'd go back to Hell, and as awful as she found the idea of her Lucifer being in Hell, well. He wasn't really hers, was he? And he'd said he always meant to go home eventually.
"Besides, I have you."
She jerked up her head at that, just in time to catch the soft look in his eyes and the smile lighting up his face. She returned the smile helplessly, and thought that maybe, just maybe, she was getting things wrong.
The thought was dashed out of her head, though, when he said, "At least most of the more valuable items in my collection are in storage. I didn't lose much beyond the buildings."
Right, his collection. Of ancient artifacts. Because he was eons old and what had she been thinking?
She slapped her knee with her free hand, immediately feeling ridiculous, and stood.
"I should head to bed," she said, pausing briefly for the innuendo that she was sure was coming. But Lucifer just nodded shortly and stood too. "If you want to get the smoke smell off, towels are in the bathroom closet."
"Thank you, Detective." He looked like he wanted to say more, so she stood there for a moment, waiting. When he didn't, she took her wine glass to the kitchen and headed for bed.
Chloe woke to the sound of Trixie giggling in the kitchen and Lucifer's quiet murmur. She lay in bed for a sleepy moment, enjoying the sound and wishing that could be every morning, that it could be her life.
She could only stay in that unrealistic daydream for so long, though, before she had to get up and go find out what mischief the two of them were getting up to. She ran a brush through her hair and shrugged on a robe before heading downstairs to see what the fuss was about.
"Detective!" Lucifer looked a distressing mixture of guilty and worried, and she felt her heart going out to him before she reigned it in by reminding herself that he was probably causing trouble of some kind and was just upset at being caught out at it.
"We're making pancakes!" Trixie said, sounding absolutely delighted to be stirring what looked like chocolate chips into pancake batter. She glanced to Lucifer and, when she saw he wasn't looking, popped a chocolate chip in her mouth. The grin on her face and the glance she snuck Chloe had Chloe's heart filling with almost too much love to contain.
"Er, I hope this is alright," he said, glancing at Trixie again and edging away a little, like he didn't want her to get chocolate on his-
"Are you wearing a t-shirt?" Chloe blurted out before she could reassure him that, moments of knee-jerk reaction aside, she liked it when he spent time with her daughter.
"It seemed... prudent," he said, awkwardly running a hand through his hair, making the soft curls stand out more. She wanted to run her own fingers through it and kiss the spot of batter on his cheek off.
"What's that mean?" Trixie asked, looking back to Chloe.
Before she could explain, Lucifer was saying, "A very, very good idea. Especially when around urchins who haven't yet mastered the art of keeping all the pancake batter in the bowl."
Trixie giggled, and Chloe found herself nearly knocked over by the strength of her wanting. She made her way to a kitchen chair and sat down, letting the two of them cook while she tried to calm down her feelings and sort then out.
While Lucifer explained how to tell when it was time to flip a pancake to Trixie, Chloe tried to remind herself that she couldn't get used to this. She couldn't want to get used to this. It would only end in a broken heart.
She just needed to keep reminding herself that he was the Devil. The actual, literal Devil, and she could never be more than just a passing fancy to him.
The pancakes were delicious, of course, and they spent the meal listening to Trixie talk about all the fun things they could do that night. Chloe thought about pointing out that they didn't know if Lucifer was coming back for the night — she didn't know how long Trixie had been up before her, and Lucifer's tolerance for children was notoriously small — but opted to keep her mouth shut. If she was worried about jinxing it, well, no one but her would know, would they?
Lucifer was surprisingly attentive, answering Trixie's questions and shooting down some of her more grandiose ideas for after-school activities in a much more gentle fashion than Chloe would have expected. There was something... soft about him as they ate. Something she couldn't put her finger on.
After breakfast was done and she'd showered and packed Trixie off to school, she hovered in the entryway, wondering if she should offer Lucifer a ride to the station or not. He was still in the bathroom, getting ready for the day, so she went and knocked on the door.
"Lucifer? Do you need a ride into the station?"
There was silence for a moment before the door opened in a swirl of steam. She jumped and stepped back at the sudden movement, and half expected him to be half-naked — or full-naked — but no. He was dressed in a suit, his hair no longer curly and the softness that had been hanging around him all morning gone.
"That won't be necessary," he said, with a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. "I need to go round to the insurance office before I come in."
"Oh, okay," she said, disappointment sinking in her stomach. Whether it was because he had put his armor back on even though it was just them or because she wanted to spend more time with just him was up in the air.
Something had switched overnight. Or maybe that morning when she came downstairs. Something about seeing him with Trixie, maybe, and that stricken look when she intervened before Trixie could hug him the night before, had her... reevaluating the distance between them. Maybe it was time to let that distance close, to let it heal.
If only it were that easy. If only she could be sure he wanted it to heal, that he was going to stay.
"I'll see you later, then," she said, turning to go back to the front door.
Her name on his lips had her freezing in place before she turned slowly to face him. Was this it? Was this the point where he told her that he'd made other arrangements and would be leaving California?
"I would never hurt Beatrice. Or you. I wanted you to know that."
Oh. "I do know that," she said with a reassuring smile. He didn't return it, instead searching her face for something. It didn't seem like he found it, so she tried, "You talk a big game, sure, but I know you have a soft spot for her."
The smile he gave her was soft and sad, like he didn't believe a word she was saying. "I just wanted you to know," he repeated and she couldn't do anything other than nod.
She sat in her car for a long time when she got to work, trying to tame the mess of feelings in her so she could go to work and not feel like she was about to burst into tears. She knew where everything had gone so wrong between them, could pinpoint the exact moment. It was burned — ha — in her memory, after all.
And now, when they were together, it was almost like she could forget everything she had learned. Almost. It wasn't until they were apart that the doubt and fear started to creep back in. He was Satan, and it had been months but she still didn't know what to do with that.
The morning dragged on with multiple people dropping by Chloe's desk to check on Lucifer, only to find it was just her. She promised to pass on well wishes over and over again until she began to feel more like Lucifer's secretary than his partner.
Finally, a call came in, just when she was starting to think about taking a break from paperwork for lunch. She took out her cell, about to call Lucifer, and paused. Should she really interrupt what he was doing? Surely dealing with a multitude of insurance claims and the logistics of housing for the people in his rental properties that had been displaced by the fires was more important for him than coming to a crime scene with her.
She couldn't stop from wondering what his life would be like if he'd never met her. He enjoyed solving murders — or at least enjoyed punishing the people involved — and she didn't have any reason to believe that he didn't want to be helping her. But how many... pastimes had he tried before working with the police? And how many would he try after?
She put away her phone.
The crime scene was... sad. Something about this one was tugging at her heart more than usual, and a part of her was glad Lucifer wasn't there to make an inappropriate comment. A smaller, quieter part of her wished he were there to make that inappropriate comment, to break the tension she was carrying in her shoulders, to touch the small of her back with the tips of his fingers and give her a small, secret smile that said he understood.
A woman — late 30s, early 40s — slumped on a stool at a vanity, face turned to the side and dirty blonde hair fanning across the cluttered surface. Her eyes were open and glazed with death. The mirror panel to the side was spattered with red and flecks of gray. One arm rested on the vanity, the other dangled loosely at her side. On the floor underneath it was a gun.
It looked like an open and shut suicide, but something in her gut told her to look closer.
Chloe jumped, not realizing Ella had come to stand beside her. She made a noncommittal noise, which Ella took as the encouragement to continue it was.
"Just that she felt this was the only answer to her problems. She shrugged. "I know it feels like it sometimes, but things always get better."
If only that were true.
"Where's Lucifer?" she continued. "He really knows how to lighten the mood and I think we could use it."
"Right here, Miss Lopez." His voice came from so close behind her that Chloe found herself jumping again, jerking in surprise and almost backing into him.
She glanced back to him, meeting his eyes, and came to the sudden realization that she should have called him. In the depths of his eyes was a gut-wrenching sadness, and his gaze kept flicking between her and the woman's body.
"What have you got for us, Ella?" she asked, turning back and shaking off the guilt.
"You mean besides this never being the answer?" she asked. Lucifer stepped away, and Chloe found herself missing the heat of him at her back almost immediately. There was something about his solid presence behind her that was still comforting.
"Renee Aisley, 39. She died of a single gunshot wound to the head, obviously. It seems like an open and shut suicide." Ella paused before adding, "I hope she finds whatever peace in Heaven she couldn't find here."
"You needn't worry about that, Miss Lopez," Lucifer said, moving around Chloe to poke at the makeup on the vanity. She really hoped that was true, but couldn't stop the worry that the woman was in Hell because she killed herself. Wasn't that what the Bible said?
"Let's hold off on making an official call," she said quietly, keeping half an eye on him as he opened drawers and rummaged through their contents. "Something about this doesn't feel right."
Ella nodded, her face serious. "I'll let the ME know."
"Thanks, Ella," Chloe said before Ella went back to photographing the scene.
"I can tell you already she had atrocious taste in makeup," Lucifer said, turning with an eyebrow pencil in his hand. "There are better brands at the chemist's." He dropped it with a frown of distaste and turned to her, a smile on his face that yet again wasn't reaching his eyes. "Shall we go talk to the husband?"
"Is she... you know..." Chloe blurted out, gesturing to the ground. He frowned, not understanding, and she added, "Because she committed suicide?"
His lips quirked in a sad half-smile. "I don't know, Detective. It's not a definite thing, if that's what you're asking. But I'm just the punisher. I don't decide — or know — who goes where."
She nodded. She knew he had said something to the effect more than once, but it never hurt to check. "Let's go talk to the husband."
Caleb Aisley was a tall man, looked to be near his wife's age, and had the beginnings of stubble on his cheeks. He was dressed for work in a nice suit. She was sure Lucifer would have multiple reasons why it wasn't actually a nice suit, and hoped he would keep them to himself.
Caleb turned as they approached, his face a crumpled mask of grief. "Detectives. How can I help you?" he asked, his voice shaky.
"Mr. Aisley," Chloe started, deciding to let him believe they were both detectives for the moment. "I'm Chloe Decker and this is my partner." Sometimes it was best to leave Lucifer's name out of things. "I'm sorry for your loss."
"Thank you," he said and burst into rough sobs.
She glanced to Lucifer, who looked utterly bored with the whole affair. What would he be doing if it weren't for her dragging him to crime scenes? Would he still be the party boy, searching for that elusive high? Or would he have moved on from that by now even if he hadn't met her?
"Is there somewhere we can sit down?" she asked, looking around at the empty foyer. There was a small table by the door with a bowl for keys, and a round mirror on the wall. That was it.
"Uh," Caleb said after a moment of gathering himself. "I suppose the kitchen?"
In the kitchen, she and Lucifer sat in adjacent chairs, across the table from Caleb, who was slumped in his chair. It felt almost like Before, except for the way Lucifer was holding himself stiffly and sitting with a good foot of space between their chairs. Something about the space between them made her gut clench.
"Caleb," Lucifer said, leaning forward, a devilish glint in his eyes. "Why don't you tell me what you-"
She reached over and pulled Lucifer back upright, silencing him with a look.
"Am I a suspect?" Caleb asked, his eyes wide, exactly what she didn't want him asking. Or thinking. Not yet, not when she wasn't sure if the gut feeling she had that there was something more to this had any basis in reality.
"We just want to get a timeline of events," she said. "Why don't you tell us what happened?"
He looked between them, the confusion written clearly in the way his brow was furrowed and his mouth turned down. After a moment of silence he started talking.
"I was on a golf trip," he said passing a hand over his red-rimmed eyes. "I knew something was wrong, but I- I had this trip to Myrtle Beach planned for months. She told me that everything was fine and I should go. If I hadn't maybe- maybe she'd still be-"
He broke off with a choked sound, covering his eyes. Lucifer was frowning and glanced at her, as though asking to be allowed to work his mojo on the man. Chloe shook her head slightly, mouthing "wait" to him. He looked away. She didn't have the energy to deal with his sulking, so she turned back to Caleb, who was wiping at his eyes.
Before she could prompt him, he resumed talking. "I was getting home late because my flight was delayed. When I opened the door-" He paused again, visibly trying to pull himself together. "When I opened the door I heard the gunshot. I thought it was a car backfiring."
He laughed a little, mirthlessly, and shuddered. "I made a sandwich. My wife was dead upstairs and I was eating a fucking sandwich."
When he stopped and it didn't seem like he was going to continue, Chloe made an encouraging noise. He shook his head a little and continued with, "I called for her around 7:30 and she didn't answer, so I went to look for her. I- I found- She was-"
He broke down, sobbing into his hands. When she glanced to Lucifer, he was still frowning, his eyes far away. They were investigating a potential murder and he was daydreaming about... what? What could he possibly be daydreaming about?
"Did you touch anything?" he asked suddenly, his eyes sharpening and focusing on Caleb.
"N- No," he said, sniffling, and pulled out a handkerchief to dab at his eyes with. "I left and called the police. It was... It was pretty obvious she was dead. No one could survive that. Right?"
Chloe nodded, reassuring him. Renee would have been dead as soon as the gun went off, the bullet passing directly through the center of her forehead and into her brain mass, exiting out the back with no little amount of brain with it.
Lucifer was watching Caleb, his gaze intense. When he didn't let up on it, Caleb started to fidget, squirming under the intensity. Chloe expected him to start on his desire thing, but he just stared at Caleb before abruptly standing and stalking off.
"Thank you," she said to Caleb. "We'll be in contact if we have any more questions."
Then she rushed after her errant partner.
"What was that?" she said when she found him standing outside, having a smoke. She was a little taken aback by that; she couldn't remember the last time she had seen him smoking.
"I don't like this," he said, blowing out a stream of smoke that seemed to go on forever. "There's something wrong here."
"I know," she said, turning to look in the same direction he was. There was nothing there, just a a row of houses, their lights on as it got darker. "But I can't put my finger on what."
Lucifer shifted away from her slightly and she took a step away from him to give him room, ignoring the pang in her heart as she did. When she looked to him again, he was watching her, something she couldn't identify in his eyes.
"The necklaces," he finally said after taking another drag of the cigarette.
She closed her eyes so she could better picture the crime scene. The vanity was covered in makeup, with a ring holder on the left, several rings neatly ordered on it, and a necklace tree on the right, empty.
The necklaces had been interspersed with the makeup like someone had cleaned them up in a hurry.
"You're right," she told him, returning his small, pleased smile with one of her own. "We need to find out what she was doing today, and who might have wanted her dead."
The rest of the day was a bust. They scheduled interviews with several of Renee's friends and found her daily schedule in a planner. She'd had pilates in the afternoon, which she had canceled last minute, and a haircut that was also canceled. So she spent the day at home, alone.
But something was still telling Chloe it wasn't suicide.
"I'll see you at home?" she asked Lucifer as they were leaving.
"Of course," he said, inclining his head slightly. "I'll make dinner."
Someone behind them squeaked, and Chloe whipped around to see who had caught them. No, not caught them, she was letting a friend stay because his home burnt down. There as nothing to be "caught" about that.
"Sorry!" Ella said, wilting a little under the force of Lucifer's stare. "Just, keep being cute guys!"
Then she pushed past them and was gone.
"Right," Chloe said, utterly mystified. She turned back to Lucifer, who was staring after Ella, something wistful in his eyes.
She was surprised by the sharp pang of jealousy that brought on. She knew they were friends, but she hadn't thought it was like that. The thought of him and Ella dating...
She tried to tell herself that it was because Ella was a devout Christian and he was the Devil, but it sounded flimsy even in her head. If she were a good friend, she would encourage it. But...
"At home, Detective," Lucifer said, turning the same look on her, making her shift uncomfortably. She wasn't sure if she wanted that, either.
"Right, see you," she said and strode off toward her car at a pace barely below a run.
She wasn't sure how, but she made it home before Lucifer did. When she opened the door for him an hour later — he'd rung the doorbell again, and while a piece of her appreciated that he wasn't sneaking up on her, a piece of her was unnerved by how unnatural it felt — it became apparent what he'd been doing.
"Lucifer!" Trixie shouted and ran to hug him.
There was still that gut instinct to redirect her, even though Chloe knew Lucifer would never hurt her. She knew it, really. Just because he was the Devil didn't mean his whole personality had changed, and he'd never hurt Trixie before. In fact-
He dropped the groceries in his hands so she wouldn't crash into them and let her hug him for a minute before gently pushing her away, the look of distaste on his face marred by a tiny, almost not there smile.
"I'm gonna help cook dinner," Trixie informed him when she let go, her hands on her hips, looking as fierce as a ten-year-old could look.
Chloe sighed. "We talked about this, monkey. I said you can ask to help. You can't just tell him you're helping."
Trixie heaved a put-upon sigh and changed it to, "Can I help cook dinner."
Lucifer sighed himself, glancing to Chloe, but not like he was looking for rescue. "Well I suppose, as long as you wash those sticky hands."
"I'm not sticky," Trixie protested, but dutifully went over to the sink.
"Thank you," Chloe said quietly, crossing to take the grocery bags from him. "You didn't have to buy these. I could've-"
Lucifer made a face and broke in with, "Nonsense. It's the least I can do, considering you're providing the roof over my head for the time being."
It was something anyone would do, but something about it struck Chloe as... off. Maybe it was because she knew what he was now, maybe it was just because she knew who he had been Before.
Either way, she found herself saying, "You know you don't have to repay me for this, right? It's what friends do, not a tit for tat thing. You don't have to... make things even between us."
"No, I suppose I could never hope to do that," he said quietly, almost to himself. She felt something crack in her when he added, "Thank you, Detective."
"You-" she started, intending to tell him that their friendship wasn't transactional and there was no making things even, but Trixie chose that moment to come back into the room.
"My hands are clean," she said, sticking them out at them like she was waiting for inspection. "Can we make dinner now?"
Lucifer let out a breathy sound that might have been a chuckle if there were more substance behind it. "Yes, urchin. Go take this to the kitchen."
He handed her the smallest, lightest bag, and wouldn't let Chloe take any of the others.
"Go sit," he told her. "I'm sure you've had a long day. Let me and the spawn take care of dinner. I promise she'll be-"
"I know," she interrupted, reaching out to touch his cheek. "I know. I'm sorry." She dropped her hand, her fingers curling at her side like they could catch and hold the warmth of his skin. "Now go. Trix won't be patient for much longer. Come get me when dinner's done."
She turned, heading for the couch, thinking she could catch up with some reading. When she glanced back before sitting down, Lucifer was still standing there, rooted to the spot, staring at her with something in his eyes that she couldn't identify. Their gazes met, and she quirked a small smile at him before turning away.
Maybe she didn't need to feel jealous of Ella after all. The realization had her smiling as she picked up her tablet and settled in to the corner of the couch.
"Does it bother you?"
Chloe looked up from where she was pouring a glass of wine, brow furrowed as she glanced back to Lucifer. He wasn't looking at her, instead focusing on the door. One of his hands was clenched at his side, and he looked like he dearly wanted to escape the conversation already.
"Does what bother me?"
She moved to the couch with her glass of wine, sitting down and, when Lucifer didn't follow suit, patted the cushion next to her. He settled on the far end, nervously flicking a bit of lint from his pants leg.
"When I... use my powers. To find out what people desire." He looked at her out of the corner of his eye as he smoothed his palms across his pants.
She took a minute to think about it, sipping her wine. It had appeared among the rest of the groceries, a good vintage, and she wondered if it was something he had been able to salvage from Lux. It was far more expensive than the wine she usually drank, to say the least.
Did it bother her? Now that she knew it wasn't just people falling for his charming self — and he did know how to turn on the charm when he wanted to; she had to admit that to herself — and he was actually doing something to them... Yeah, it did kind of bother her when she thought about it.
"How does it work?" she asked instead of giving him a direct answer and his face fell. She wanted to comfort him, to take it back and lie and tell him that of course it didn't bother her. But... But if he wasn't going to lie to her, she should do him the same courtesy.
"I can draw out people's truths," he said, which was completely unhelpful, so she asked the real question she wanted to know.
"So if they don't want to tell you, you can make them?"
A terrible look crossed his face and was gone in an instant, so fast she almost thought she imagined the anguish. He shook his head firmly, as he turned slightly forward so he wasn't facing her directly anymore. He stared at the blank TV screen while he thought.
"It's about trust," he said as he folded his hands together, leaning his forearms on his knees, his back bowed. She wanted to reach out to him, to take away the grief that bent his frame. She had to clench her hands together to stop herself. "People are drawn to me. It's how dear old Dad made me. I'm a people person you could say." His laugh held no mirth and he fell silent again.
"Okay," Chloe said softly, glancing back to Trixie's room to make sure the door was still closed and she hadn't woken up. "So people... trust you?"
She didn't mean to sound so dubious, and she cringed when it came out like she couldn't picture it. Except... she couldn't. She couldn't picture her trusting him enough to tell him anything the moment they first met. If anything, she actively distrusted him. Now, she would trust him with her life-
She would trust him with her life. Still. Even though he was the Devil. The thought was a sobering one. The only person she trusted to truly have her back was Satan.
Lucifer huffed out a breath that was too sad to be a laugh. "Yes, Detective, people trust me. I've never given anyone reason not to. I'm true to my word, after all."
"I know," she said. "I know that. I just..."
She just what? Wanted to understand? Wanted to know him better? Wanted him to tell her that oh, it was a huge mistake, he didn't really have this power and wasn't really the Devil and everything could go back to the way it was?
Except, no, the way it was... that wasn't good either. There was too much hurt between them, too much that had gone wrong. The kiss on the balcony had been wonderful, but could she really see him spending more than a couple months, a couple weeks with her? Even then?
"I understand," he said, breaking her out of her thoughts. She nodded slightly, before she caught the look on his face.
"Lucifer, no," she said, reaching out for him without thinking. When her brain caught up with her body, she froze for a second, her fingers curling, before awkwardly lowering her arm. He watched it, the corners of his mouth turned down.
"Sorry," she said, not sure if she was apologizing for almost touching him, or not touching him, or because of what she had accidentally been implying. "I just meant... I don't know; I just want to understand."
She took a long drink of her wine. Lucifer picked up his tumbler and downed it in one go, ice clinking. He didn't put it down, or get up to get another glass, choosing instead to roll it between his hands slowly, as he stared at the floor.
"I don't know how it works exactly," he finally said. "But I know I have never forced anyone to do anything. I don't take over their will, I don't-" He looked at her helplessly, and she nodded her understanding.
"I know," she said. "I know you would never do that. I know you." She said it with absolute conviction that she wasn't sure she felt, but it seemed to help.
"I'm an open book, Detective," he said, spreading his arms wide. "Ask anything and I shall answer."
There were so many things she wanted to ask, so many questions filling her head. Few, if any, were actually related to him being the Devil in anything other than a tangential manner. They were important to her, yes, but she didn't think she could bring herself to just ask something like "How long are you planning to stay in LA," or "What did that kiss on the balcony mean to you," or "What do I mean to you?"
Those weren't the type of questions he was inviting. And she didn't know if she was strong enough to hear the answer to them anyway. She wanted, so much, to mean something to him, but, knowing what she knew now, she just couldn't see how it could be true. How it could-
"What's Hell like?" she blurted out, mouth firming into a straight line when she realized what she'd asked. It wasn't a question he would answer, that she knew.
"Dark," he said. "Cold. Ashy."
She stared at him, finding herself asking, "Is that why you chose LA?"
He nodded once, sharply, and put his tumbler down with a thunk. He looked uncomfortable, so very uncomfortable, like a suspect right before caving and admitting to a murder.
"What else?" she pressed.
"Why do you want to know?" he snapped, looking immediately so guilty that she didn't call him out on it. "It isn't like you'll be going there."
That was reassuring to hear, at least. But it didn't stop the feeling that there was more that he wasn't saying. She wasn't sure why she was so desperate to hear more, except that she still, after all this time, wanted to know him better.
"Because I care about you," she said finally, "and that was part of your life."
He glanced to her as he swallowed, hard. "Not a very interesting part, I'm afraid," he croaked out. "Nor is it a story you would want to hear."
He looked so certain and so alone, that when she reached out for him again, she didn't stop this time and laid a hand on his shoulder, squeezing gently. He froze, and she let go quickly.
"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to," she said, not quite able to keep the disappointment out of her voice. He had said he was an open book, but it wasn't true, was it? It was never true. But she shouldn't have pushed.
"No, it's-" he cleared his throat. "It's alright. There are-"
He took a deep breath, glancing to the front door, and she could feel his desire to flee. A part of her was already resigned to it. Then his focus was on her and he took another deep breath.
"There are doors, everywhere. Long hallways, filled with door upon door upon door. That's where most souls are — in their own private Hells. Only the worst got- well, never mind that." His eyes were far away, distant and empty. She regretted pushing, but before she could interrupt, he was continuing. "It's... claustrophobic and largely empty. Ash is in the air constantly, floating and sticking and getting in your lungs. It never..."
He drifted off, his mouth working but no sound coming out, his eyes far away. It was a horrible thing to watch, and Chloe couldn't bear it for more than a second.
"I'm sorry," she said, sliding forward before she could think better of it, wrapping him in a hug. "I'm so sorry," she said into his shoulder as his arms slowly came up around her. "Please don't go back there."
He cleared his throat roughly, his arms tightening until she felt her bones creak. "I have no intention to, darling. Not ever."
His arms loosened, and he let them drop when she pulled back, swiping at her eyes so the tears didn't fall. Hell sounded awful, and she knew he was keeping the worst from her. She couldn't stand to think about Lucifer there, in those empty halls.
He stood abruptly, dusting himself off as though ridding himself of memories of ash. "I'm rather tired, Detective. I'll see you in the morning."
Then he was gone, the door to Maze's room closing swiftly behind him. Chloe shivered and got up to put the glasses in the sink. When she went to bed that night, she dreamt of endless blue halls and woke with the taste of ash on her tongue.
When Chloe woke the next morning, Lucifer was already gone. There was breakfast waiting for her on the counter — just scrambled eggs and toast, covered in plastic wrap, but there was something sweet about it that warmed her heart — and Trixie had already eaten.
"Lucifer said he had to go take care of business," Trixie told her. "Did his house really burn up?"
"Where'd you hear that?" Chloe asked before adding, "Yeah, it did. That's why he's staying here with us for a while."
"I saw it on the TV," Trixie said, and Chloe made a mental note to pay more attention to what her kid was watching. The news hadn't been child-appropriate in a long time. "How long is he gonna be here?"
"Only until he finds a new house. Is that okay?" She popped her breakfast in the microwave to warm it up a bit and sat down. "He can get a hotel."
Trixie chewed on her lip for a minute before asking, "Does this mean Maze isn't coming back?"
"Oh, no, monkey, when Maze comes back he's leaving." They hadn't really talked about it, but it was still Maze's room. She hadn't said when she'd be back, just that she needed to sort some things out. And Chloe wasn't all that sure she would be coming back. But the lie of "when" slipped out easily enough.
"Okay, then he can stay." With that, all the worry in Trixie's face was gone, replaced by a sunny grin. "He said he'd teach me how to bake cake!"
"That's good," Chloe said as she got up to get her breakfast. Even reheated, it was delicious. "Now go get ready for school. It's almost time to leave."
She'd need to check with Lucifer that he really didn't mind teaching Trixie to bake. The idea that he felt obligated just because she was providing him somewhere to stay sat heavy in her gut. The last thing she wanted was for him to feel like he owed her. Like he had to put up with Trixie because he owed a debt.
At the station, later that day, Chloe found herself rereading the notes she'd taken when they talked to Renee's friends. Something wasn't sitting with her right, and she couldn't put her finger on it. All of her friends described Renee as a bit of a workaholic, a bit of a loner, but a good friend. She didn't have any enemies, and she hadn't been acting strange. There was nothing to suggest she had been planning to commit suicide, but no suspects either.
The husband would usually be on the top of her list — and he was, insomuch as she had a suspect list at all — but everyone she'd talked to the day before had described him as utterly devoted to his wife. There had been no serious arguments, Renee didn't complain about him, and they seemed to be as much in love as the day they got married according to Renee's best friend.
There had to be something Chloe was missing; she knew it. There had to be.
They would need to talk to her coworkers next. Maybe they would have something more helpful to-
Lucifer slid into the chair by her desk, startling her out of her thoughts. He looked far more haggard than sleeping in Maze's room warranted. She wanted to reach out to him, wanted to touch his cheek and sweep a thumb over the dark circles under his eyes and tell him he should go back to her house and get some rest.
"You okay?" she asked instead.
He gave her a wan smile. "Of course, Detective. Never better. Now, what miscreants are we going after today?"
"What's the news on Lux?" she asked instead of answering his question. It was the only reason she could think of for why he would look so much worse than he had that morning.
"Ah, the investigators found accelerant. At each of the properties that burnt down." He fiddled with his shirt cuffs, then seemed to realize he was doing it and purposefully stopped, settling into an almost eerie stillness.
She wondered if that was what he was like when he wasn't playing at being human. If all the strange little quirks she had brushed off as "just Lucifer" were really because he was an angel. Ex-angel.
She shook her head a little. "So it's definitely arson."
"I'm afraid so," he said. "I'm sure the state's arson investigators will want to have a chat with me sometime soon."
She almost asked why. After all the trouble she had gone through to save Lux — all the trouble they both had gone through — she couldn't picture him burning it down. It took her a moment to remember that people didn't know Lucifer as well as she did. That there would be questions, especially since it was only his buildings that were targeted as far as she knew.
"Today's case?" he asked, drawing her out of her thoughts.
"Right. We need to-"
Before she could tell him that they needed to start interviewing coworkers, a man she didn't recognize stopped behind Lucifer. He was tall, and broad, and had the look of someone who spent a lot of time outdoors.
"Mr. Morningstar?" he said another man came to stand beside him. "I understand it's your properties that are being investigated?"
"Well hello," Lucifer said, eyeing the man up and down. He grinned, turning on the charm in a way that had Chloe wanting to turn away. She felt... Her stomach was churning uncomfortably, and she must have made a noise, because Lucifer immediately turned to look at her, the grin on his face fading into a softer smile for a moment before he turned back to the men. "And who might you be?"
"Officers Dawson and Cricks," the man — Dawson — said. "If you would come with us, we have a few questions."
"Of course, gentlemen," Lucifer said. He stood, shooting a small smile Chloe's way. "I'll be back in just a tick, Detective."
She smiled at him, but didn't say anything, unsure what to say. After a moment, Lucifer's face fell a little and he allowed the officers to lead him away to an interrogation room.
She'd never had a problem with Lucifer... being Lucifer before. She knew how he operated, and accepted it. But there was something about watching him start to flirt with other people in front of her when she knew what he was-
No, that wasn't true. It had nothing to do with what he was. He was the same person he had always been. The problem was that they had been so close to having something together. And now... Had she thrown that away? Had all the time she spent avoiding him, and being short with him, and just not being there after she basically promised him she would be... Had that ruined everything?
Did she care that it had been ruined?
Yes. Yes she did. And quite a lot, if the lump in her throat were anything to go by. She swallowed, hard, and tried to focus on her computer. She needed to get the address of the office Renee had worked at, and a list of coworkers to interview. If Lucifer wasn't back in half an hour, she'd head out without him.
When half an hour passed and there was no sign of Lucifer, she found herself wandering down to the interrogation room and letting herself into the viewing area. Lucifer was still in there, with Dawson and Cricks, and he looked impatient. She hit the button to turn up the volume on the speaker so she could hear what was being said.
"-don't see how this is any of your concern," Lucifer was saying, frowning slightly and leaning back in the chair. Dawson and Cricks both leaned forward, like sharks scenting blood in the water.
"Look at it from our perspective, Mr. Morningstar," Cricks said, sounding like he was smiling, which had the hairs on the back of Chloe's neck rising. "You're a successful businessman and quite the, if you'll forgive me for being frank, the playboy-"
"No, I don't think I will forgive you," Lucifer said, still frowning and the emotion was slowly leeching out of his eyes. "My past exploits-"
"Even if it wasn't you who set fire to all those buildings — and" Dawson said, "we have our doubts about that, truth be told — you have to admit that it's awfully convenient that you work for the police and are friends with the right people to access the evidence and files for this case."
Oh, for the love of- Were they really implying that Lucifer was only working with her so he could tamper with evidence? That was ridiculous.
"Surely you're not implying that the Detective or Miss Lopez are so lacking in morals they would break the law just to-"
"Chloe Decker has been involved with multiple officers lacking in just such morals."
For a moment, she was stunned. She had known that it looked suspicious, her being involved in putting Malcolm in a coma and her being involved with Dan and Pierce. But she had thought all of the work she had put in during her suspension to clear her and Lucifer of any possible charges... She had thought that no one held it against her when coming back to work had been so uneventful.
She should have known better after the Palmetto.
In the interrogation room, Lucifer was pushing himself to his feet, hands braced on the table, his features drawn in an ugly frown.
"You will not-"
That was her cue. She dashed out of the room and barged into the interrogation room. Lucifer turned toward her, a glower on his face that cleared only the slightest bit when he saw who it was. Dawson and Cricks were sitting in their respective chairs with their faces so carefully bored that she knew they were faking.
"Detective-" Lucifer started, glancing back to the two detectives before meeting her eyes.
"Sorry guys," she said to Dawson and Cricks, ignoring Lucifer entirely, "but I need to borrow Lucifer for some casework. I'm sure he can finish this up after he calls his lawyer, right?"
They glared at her. That was two more enemies she'd made. Great. But the look on Lucifer's face — something like relief and something like gratitude and something like surprise — made it worth it.
"Sure," Cricks said darkly. "You can lawyer up if you want, Morningstar, but that's not going to help you if you set those fires. People could have died."
"I suggest you check the security tapes for the scenes," she said, "seeing as how he was with me when the fires were started."
She really hoped that was true.
"At seven in the morning?"
Okay, maybe not. But she just raised an eyebrow and swept out of the room, Lucifer on her heels. Then she realized what she had said, and went pale.
"Detective?" Lucifer asked. "Are you quite alright?"
"I just implied we were sleeping together," she said shakily, "so no. I am not alright. This is going to be all over the station in an hour."
"I'm sure-" Lucifer started, his voice stiff, but she cut him off.
"I can't think about this right now. We need to go interview Renee Aisley's coworkers." The last thing she needed was the entire department — the entire precinct — thinking she was sleeping with her consultant. What was the new Lieutenant going to think? Christ, first she had almost married the last Lieutenant, and now people were going to think she was sleeping with Lucifer.
But what was she supposed to do about it? Lucifer would set them straight if anyone brought it up, she was sure. He didn't lie, and she... She was starting to be pretty sure that he didn't want her anymore. And she needed to start accepting that, no matter how much it hurt.
Renee's coworkers were much more helpful than her close friends had been.
"Oh, we're like one big family here," the woman who sat across from Renee said when asked about how Renee fit in at the office. "Everyone loved Renee."
"A rather incestuous family," Lucifer said, and, when Chloe shot him a look, protested, "You can't tell me you haven't noticed, Detective!"
"That's not why we're here," Chloe said with another pointed look, and he subsided, wandering out of the conference room to talk to a pair of people hovering in the kitchen, trying to look like they weren't trying to listen in.
"Ms. Carlisle, What about Renee's husband?" she asked, turning back to the woman. "Had you ever met him?"
"Oh, yes," Ms. Carlisle said. "They always came to social events together."
"Oh, like after work drinks, holiday parties, that sort of thing."
Chloe noted that down and added a "controlling?" next to it. There was nothing definitive pointing to the husband, not yet, but she had a bad feeling about him. And her gut was usually right.
"When was the last time you saw them?"
Ms. Carlisle's gaze flicked to the side, to the door, and back to Chloe. "It must have been the Christmas party, I think."
"Ms. Carlisle," Chloe said firmly. "If there's something you're not saying-"
"Okay, okay," Ms. Carlisle said, breaking quickly and leaning forward. "The last time he came to drinks after work — last week — it was like he was a completely different person. He was usually so nice and attentive to Renee! But this time he was grouchy and kept snapping at people." She took a breath, her eyes wide. "Why, do you think he-"
"We have no suspects at this time," Chloe lied deftly, before asking, "You say it was like he was a different person?"
"Yeah, he could be kind of touchy with us, but never with Renee. Until last week."
Chloe tried not to draw the parallels. She didn't want to be thinking about Lucifer and how he had lied to her for so long, how he'd hidden such a huge part of him, a part he let other people see but not her.
"He was just so different! And he got drunk, like really drunk. We all figured he just had a bad day at work or something."
A bad day at work. That could have been it. Caleb had certainly seemed grief-stricken at the scene, genuinely grief-stricken. Had he been a little bit too stricken?
Was she just looking at him as a suspect because of Lucifer? Knowing Lucifer had been hiding such a big, violent side of himself... He had tortured people — souls — and sent people to Hell. He had killed Pierce. She felt like her feelings about the entire thing were flip flopping all over the place, like a dying fish on a beach, and she felt a brief pang of longing for Before. She hadn't known what a blessing it was to not know.
A part of her wanted to go back to Before, but now that she knew... Now that she had all the information, now that she knew how much she didn't know about him... Going back wouldn't be fair to either of them, even if she could.
"Honestly, though, do you think he killed her? He was just so different... Like he had two personalities and was just then letting us see the second one."
Chloe internally shook herself out of her thoughts. "I really can't say. Thank you for your time, Ms. Carlisle."
She shook the woman's hand and walked her to the conference room door, opening it to ask for the next person to be sent in. She didn't see Lucifer anywhere, and maybe that was for the best.
By the time the day wound down and she had interviewed the last person, the feeling in her gut about Caleb Aisley had grown into a full-blown suspicion, and she was ready to add him as a suspect. She thanked the last person and stood, exiting the conference room to find Lucifer leaning on the wall next to it.
"Hey," she said. "Where've you been?"
He was fiddling with a piece of paper. She managed to catch a glimpse of what looked like a phone number on it, and decided not to ask. She didn't want to know if he had been flirting and picking up phone numbers while she was working.
"Interviewing people, of course," he said, and she sighed.
"You could have just sat in with me and helped," she said as they stepped into the elevator to take it down.
"I wanted to... get more honest answers," he admitted, focusing on the numbers ticking down on the panel by the door.
It took her a moment to get what he was saying. "You mean you wanted to use your desire mojo on them."
He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye and nodded, looking uncomfortable.
"Lucifer," she sighed. "You don't have to- to hide pieces of yourself from me. Not anymore. I thought that- that knowing about you meant you were going to stop hiding." She blew out a frustrated breath.
"I believe I wasn't the one who started hiding, Detective," he said stiffly, and she had to admit, he was right.
"I know," she said, coming to a quick decision that she was probably going to regret later, when things got overwhelming again. "But I'm done. No more hiding. And I wish you wouldn't hide from me, either."
He nodded slowly, glancing to her again, studying her. She hoped he found whatever he needed, but his face didn't give anything away. She wasn't used to having that blank face directed at her, and it made her shudder with discomfort. He quirked a sad smile at that, and she turned away.
"I think it's worth looking into the husband again," she said to the elevator doors as they opened.
"Agreed," Lucifer said.
"Everyone I talked to said that it was like he had two personalities and even Renee seemed surprised by his switch." Before she could think better of it, she muttered, "I certainly know what that's like."
She really hoped he hadn't heard that, but when she chanced a glance at him, he was frowning into the distance, his jaw clenched. She couldn't take it back, though. It was true.
So she sighed and got in the car, waiting for him to get in the passenger seat. "I need to type up these notes when we get back to the station. We need to see if there's any way the husband could have gotten back in time to murder her."
"I have every confidence that you'll find something," he said, and she glanced at him sharply. "I'm afraid I've made some appointments to see houses and flats over the next few days. I don't know how much time it will take from working with you."
"Oh," she said, surprised by the amount of hurt and disappointment that followed. Hadn't she just been thinking about how she couldn't really trust him anymore? And here she was, upset that he was going to be moving out of the temporary arrangement they had.
She had known it would be temporary, had gone into it depending on that, not expecting to enjoy having him around so much. It had only been a few days, but she did enjoy it. She just had to cling to the thought that he would eventually get bored of them and stop being helpful and, dare she think it, fun.
She needed him out before that happened. She wanted to have the comfort of the "what if" without knowing how it would crash and burn for sure.
Chloe didn't expect Lucifer to be there for dinner that night. He had begged off work as soon as they returned to the station earlier, claiming he was going to an open house. No, not claiming. He never lied.
He had told her that he'd made more than one appointment, so she wouldn't have been surprised if she'd just not seen him for a few days. But just as she was thinking about getting up and starting dinner, he bustled through the front door, takeout bags in his hands.
His smile, when he saw her, had the briefest flash of radiance before it dimmed a little.
"I stopped at that chinese place you like," he said as he went to set down the bags in the kitchen. He started pulling down plates and opening up cartons as she got up and went to stand next to him. It smelled delicious.
"Thank you," she said quietly with a little smile, and she leaned over to bump his arm with her shoulder. "Perfect timing," she told him as he turned to her, something bright in his eyes. "I was just thinking of getting up to start making dinner."
"Oh, there's no need for that," he said, a smile playing around his lips. "It's only right I should take care of dinner while you're allowing me to stay here. Think of it as a return-"
"Lucifer," she said seriously and his mouth snapped shut. "I know I've said this before, but you know you don't need to pay me back for any of this, right? This is what friends do."
His smile took on an uncertain edge, and she wondered — not for the first time — how long it had been since someone just did something for Lucifer, no strings attached.
"If you'd rather I-" he started, his hands stilling as he turned more toward her.
"No," she said before he could finish. "If you want to make dinner or bring us dinner or whatever, that's fine, you just don't have to."
"Alright, Detective," he said, but she had the feeling she hadn't gotten through to him at all.
She would have kept pressing it, maybe needed to keep pressing it because the last thing she wanted was for him to feel indebted to her, but the smell of food must have drifted into Trixie's room, because she came running out and attacked him with a hug.
"Yes, hello, urchin," he said, his hands up like he was trying to fend off a much bigger attacker.
"Hey Trix," Chloe said, and motioned to the plates. "Why don't you bring those to the table."
"She's never going to stop doing that, is she?" Lucifer asked, watching after Trixie as she carried the plates over.
"Probably not. You better get used to it." Chloe couldn't help but smile at him when he turned to her, surprised. "What?"
"Nothing," he said, shaking his head a little. "Just- Thank you."
It was her turn to be confused as she collected some of the boxes. "For what?"
"For not..." He glanced at Trixie, then back to Chloe. She waited, but he didn't seem like he knew how to continue, so she just nodded in acknowledgment.
"Let's eat," she said, putting the boxes down and pulliing out a seat. Trixie was already sitting and as soon as the boxes touched the table, she was grabbing one and spilling way too much rice out onto her plate.
Lucifer sat, too, looking thoughtful. He was silent as Trixie told them about her day, and Chloe was certain he wasn't paying any attention.
"How did house hunting go?" she asked when the meal was almost over and Trixie had wound down.
"House hunting?" Trixie immediately asked, her eyes lighting up. "Are we moving?"
"No, monkey." Chloe hadn't even considered that Trixie would want Lucifer to stay as much as she did. That was an unforesen complication. "Lucifer's just staying with us until he can find a new place to live."
"I'll be out of your hair soon enough," he said to both of them, a smile pasted on his face. "No need to worry."
Trixie pouted at him, and he looked to Chloe in panic. "But I don't want you to go!"
"Ah, well..." He seemed at a loss for words, looking to Chloe for help.
"He can't stay here. What happens when Maze comes back? We don't have enough bedrooms."
"Oh." Trixie said, her face falling, before it brightened. "But Lucifer could find us a place with enough bedrooms."
"I don't think so, monkey," Chloe said. "He needs his own place."
"Oh," Trixie said, pushing her plate away. "I'm not hungry anymore. Can I go play?"
"Sure," Chloe said and she took off. When Chloe looked back to Lucifer, that look of mild panic was still on his face and she smiled, a bit sadly, at him. "Don't worry, she'll forget all about it."
"Right, yes, of course," he said, blinking and turning back to his food.
Chloe watched him finish eating, feeling something heavy settle in her gut. She hadn't thought this would work. When she offered him a place, she assumed that he would say no, and when he said yes she assumed he would be a terrible houseguest. She should have known better.
"So, house hunting?" she asked before she could dwell on how nice it was to have him there, how comfortable it felt.
He glanced at her then away, almost guiltily. "Nothing quite right yet, I'm afraid."
"I'm sorry," she said, only mostly honestly. "Are you looking at more tomorrow?"
"Two private showings and one open house," he said. "I'm afraid I won't be much use to you at the station."
"That's alright," she said and was proud of herself for keeping her voice steady. "I know this is more important."
He frowned, but didn't say anything, so she got up to do the dishes, effectively ending the conversation. She tried to remind herself that he was the Devil, that his life was eons longer than hers and never-ending. That she — a divorced cop with a daughter going into middle school — could never be enough to interest him.
But the longer he stayed, the harder it got to put weight behind all of that.
A few days later, after a series of nightly dinners where Lucifer revealed the housing market in LA was frustratingly low on appropriate places for him, Chloe woke in the middle of the night to a soft noise coming from downstairs.
She paused on the stairs when she heard voices coming from Trixie's room — she immediately identified Trixie, but it took a moment to realize the soft voice talking to her was Lucifer. Of course it was Lucifer; there was no one else in the house. She just... never thought she would hear him willingly interacting with Trixie on his own.
"It was the bad man," Trixie was saying, her voice watery. "He wasn't dead anymore and he came to get me."
"He's in Hell and he's not getting out. Ever." Lucifer's voice was surprisingly dark with emotion, although she supposed it made sense. He'd never been killed before Malcolm, as far a she knew. "You don't have to worry about him coming for you."
"But what if he does get out? What if he comes back?"
"Then I promise your mother or I will stop him again," he said, and Chloe couldn't help but wonder what was going to happen when he moved on, how he would keep that promise.
It was silent for a moment, then Trixie burst out with, "But you're not here anymore! Why aren't you here anymore? Did you and Mommy have a fight?"
Chloe's breath caught in her throat. She had been so caught up in her own hurt over the past few months she hadn't considered how Trixie would feel to have Lucifer effectively shut out from their lives. And not once had Trixie asked where Lucifer was. Not once.
"I... Your mother is a very good person, child. And she... she knows what monsters look like. And I'm... I'm one."
Chloe covered her mouth to hide her gasp. He thought... He sounded so full of conviction, so sad. And it wasn't even true. She did know monsters. She looked into their faces every day at work. And Lucifer...
Lucifer definitely wasn't one.
She almost continued down the stairs to talk to him, but Trixie already had it covered.
"No you're not," she said, and Chloe heard her sheets rustle like she was getting up.
"How would you know?" Lucifer sounded exasperated, and sort of uncomfortable, so Chloe thought that maybe Trixie was hugging him. Good. He deserved hugs.
"You saved me and Mommy from the bad man, and even though you don't like it when I'm sticky you still let me have all the candy and snacks I want. Even when Mommy tells you not to."
Her voice was muffled. She was definitely hugging him.
"Monsters can do nice things sometimes."
"But you're nice all the time."
Chloe's face was wet, and it took her a moment to realize it was because she was crying. She didn't know what to do. Lucifer probably wouldn't appreciate knowing she'd overheard him, but how could she let him continue thinking that she thought he was a monster?
Even when she hadn't wanted to see him, she hadn't gone that far. He wasn't a monster, he was just...
He was Lucifer.
Before she could go the rest of the way down, he was saying, "Alright you little urchin; it's time for you to go back to sleep."
Chloe wiped the tears off her face, sniffing quietly, and decided to go up the stairs. She could talk to Lucifer later, once she had gathered her thoughts and wouldn't fuck up the conversation because she was tired.
The last thing she wanted was to chase him away by being too... emotional at him. She wanted him to stay as long as she could get him to, and the thought had her pausing at the doorway to her room, surprised.
She wanted him to stay. Not just for a little while, but for a long time. And she couldn't tell if he felt the same, if he even could feel the same. She didn't know how to find out without baring her heart for him to see.
The last thing she wanted was to hand him her heart only for him to drop it in the dirt again. There were only so many times she could handle ruining things between them, and she had reached her limit.
She fell asleep still thinking about it, not sure what to do.
Dawson and Cricks were hanging around her desk when she got there the next morning. She paused as soon as she saw them, a feeling of dread filling her stomach. It felt ominous, for them to be there so early. As if Lucifer were their top priority. Maybe they had found the arsonist and just wanted Lucifer to hear it from them?
She crossed to her desk, determinedly acting nonchalant. If she thought there was even a chance that Lucifer had torched his own buildings, she'd have brought him in herself. But he just couldn't have. He loved Lux. He was already in the process of lining up contractors to rebuild. Those weren't the actions of an arsonist.
"Lucifer's not here," she said, as though it weren't immediately obvious by his lack of presence beside her.
"Mm," Dawson said, looking to Cricks and then back at her, an unsettling light in his eyes. "We reviewed the tapes."
Her immediate thought was that they were here because they'd seen Lucifer on the tapes, which was ridiculous. If Lucifer were to decide to run an insurance scam involving arson, surely he would be smart enough to have someone else do the actual fire setting.
It took her a moment to realize they were waiting for her to respond. She didn't want to say anything to incriminate Lucifer. He hadn't done anything, true, but she knew how some cops operated. Dirty cops were everywhere, people weren't what they seemed, and she was having a hard time not looking at everyone — even people only adjacent to cops — with suspicion.
"Okay?" she said as she sat down and pulled her keyboard toward herself.
They both looked sour at her lack of interest. Good. It was ridiculous coming after Lucifer. He never lied, so if he said he didn't do it, then he didn't do it. If she were in their place, she- Well, she would probably be keeping a close eye on Lucifer. The thought was sour in her stomach.
"There was nothing on the tapes," Cricks said, reaching down to pick up a pen off her desk and twirl it through his fingers. Rude.
"Okay..." she said again. Where was this going?
"By nothing we mean nothing," Dawson said. "There were no people nearby. There were no cars going by. The buildings went up in flames with no apparent cause."
She was pretty sure they had mentioned before that they had found the ignition point, but okay. She could let them have their mystery.
"I'm not sure why you're telling me this," she said and snatched her pen out of Cricks' fingers, mid-twirl.
"We had hoped to talk with your... consultant." Cricks said and picked up another pen.
"Seriously? Stop touching my stuff." Chloe snatched that pen out of his fingers too. "Lucifer's not here. As I said."
"Well when he comes in," Dawson said, "send him up. We need to ask him some questions."
"Sure," Chloe said, pointedly looking toward the elevator.
"We'll be waiting," Cricks said before they finally left.
Dan replaced them almost immediately, coming to lean against her desk with a, "Hey Chlo."
"Hey," she said as she logged into her computer and opened her email. There were far too many messages to even think about dealing with. She should text Lucifer and let him know the arson investigators were looking for him. "Any news on the Peterson case?"
"Not yet." He paused, then, for long enough that she looked up from the text she was typing out. His face was serious as he asked, "How are you holding up?"
"How am I holding up?" she asked, trying to figure out what he was talking about, her pulse starting to race as she imagined endless possibilities.
"Yeah," he said. "I know Lucifer's living with you."
"Oh, that." She studied his expression for a moment, searching for any trace of jealousy or upset. The two of them had started getting along better at some point, but that didn't mean Dan was going to be happy that Lucifer was sharing a house with his daughter. Especially after Charlotte-
But there was nothing there, just a sort of quiet concern. So she looked around to make sure Lucifer hadn't popped up somewhere and continued with, "He's a surprisingly good guest. He makes breakfast."
She couldn't help the quiet wonder that filled her voice at that. The Devil made her breakfast in the mornings. Made her and her daughter breakfast. It was...
"I'm happy for you," Dan was saying, an odd sort of wistful smile on his face.
He had never made her breakfast, so she wasn't sure what he was getting all nostalgic about.
Except, oh. This was something he could have had with Charlotte. He and Lucifer had been inching their way back to getting along, but it was slow and she should have thought about that before she responded.
"I'm sorry, Dan," she said, reaching out and touching his hand.
His smile widened a bit. Then he stood and said, "Lucifer's heading your way. I should go check with forensics on the Peterson case."
He was gone before she could say goodbye, heading away from her desk and from the direction Lucifer was coming from. She eyed Lucifer as he came toward her, trying to reconcile the man in front of her with the one who had called himself a monster last night.
She knew there were hidden — and not-so-hidden — depths to Lucifer. They had just grown deeper during the months After. Deep enough that she wasn't sure she could ever find a bottom.
"Dawson and Cricks want you upstairs," she said as soon as he came up to her desk, before he had a chance to sit down on the edge.
"Wonderful," he said and started to fiddle with his cufflinks, making sure his sleeves were perfect. "Is everything alright with Daniel?"
"Yeah, he's fine." She wanted to reach out and take his hands, to stop the nervous habit and reassure him that whatever it was, it would be alright. But he didn't need her for that, did he? How could he, when all of this was so... beneath him.
"You should go, before they come around looking for you again."
"Of course, Detective," he said, and he suddenly looked so very tired. "I'll just be out of your way then."
As he disappeared up to the second floor, she found herself wanting to go after him, wanting to know why he looked so tired and to protect him from-
From what? He could take care of himself. He didn't need her. Still... She should make sure that he knew there was someone in his corner if he needed it. She'd do that when he came back down.
She shook herself out of her thoughts and settled in for some tedious paperwork while she waited for Lucifer to come back.
When Lucifer finally came and found her, she was with Ella in the lab, going over some anomalies that showed up in the forensics analysis for the Aisley case. He looked cheerful as ever, but there was a tightness to his eyes that she didn't like.
"Are you okay?" she asked in a low voice as he came to stand beside her.
"Later, Detective, please?" he said, and she subsided but slid a half step closer to him, offering silent support.
"Hey Lucifer," Ella said when she turned around, the report in her hands. "How you holding up, buddy?"
"I'm quite alright, Miss Lopez," he said, which was a lie if Chloe ever heard one. "The Detective has been... very kind in letting me stay with her."
Chloe eyed him, wondering if the undertones she was hearing in that simple statement were really there, or if she was reading too much into the pause and the way he inflected "kind." She wasn't being kind, at least not anymore. She-
She wanted him there.
It wasn't just that she didn't want him to leave. There was something passive in that, something that felt more like letting it happen to her, rather than an active desire. And it was an active desire. She wanted.
"Are you alright, Detective?" he asked, and she came back to herself with a jolt, realizing she'd been staring at him for an uncomfortably long time. "I can-"
"No, no," she said, shaking her head a little. "Sorry, just got lost in thought for a moment."
The look on his face said that was what he was afraid of.
"Can you start over, Ella?" she asked, turning away from him and taking the report Ella had been handing her when he walked in.
"I found something off with the GSR on the victim's hands." Ella motioned them over. "If you're going to shoot yourself, you're going to hold the gun like this." She demonstrated, holding her hands as if there was a gun in them and then twisting to "aim" it into her mouth.
Lucifer glanced to Chloe, delight in his eyes, about to make a joke about blowjobs she could tell. She almost went to step on his foot, like that ever stopped him, but something stopped her. Maybe she could give him this one. The tension around his eyes had faded and-
"Guys," Ella said. "As cute as it is, stop making heart eyes at each other and pay attention."
"Heart eyes?" Lucifer said, sputtering. "I most certainly do not-"
"I don't make heart eyes," Chloe said at the same time. "Especially not at-"
"Yeah, okay," Ella said, cutting them both off, holding her hands up. "You definitely do, but I'll let it go for now. It's super cute, by the way."
"It's not-" Lucifer started while Chloe just covered her eyes and shook her head.
"Let it go," she told him, and he shot an offended look at her. It was starting to sink in that he was so... put off by the idea of being into her now, and she wasn't liking the way it made her feel. So she folded up the feelings of loss and embarrassment and put them in a little box in her head and shoved it out of the way.
He grumbled, but did, and Ella continued. "So, you can see there'd be gaps in the GSR on each hand, if she was using two hands, especially around the fingers, right? Well the gaps don't match that."
"Okay, so she was only using one hand, I don't-" Chloe started.
"No, they don't match that either. There are big, empty spaces, like someone was helping her hold the gun." She paused. "I say helping but I really mean forcing her to."
Lucifer's face darkened and Chloe put a hand on his arm. "I think we need to go over alibis again. There has to be someone- And the way her coworkers talked about her husband, I'd like to check into his alibi more closely."
"Yes," Lucifer said, his voice low. "The person who did this will be regretting their actions very soon."
He whirled and stalked out of the room, Chloe looking after him, confused. When she turned back to Ella, Ella just shrugged.
"Thanks, Ella," Chloe said. "I need to..."
"Go after him?" Ella asked with a grin. "Go get it girl."
"Yeah, that's not happening," Chloe muttered as she hurried out of the lab, almost bumping into Lucifer who was right outside the door.
"What was that about?" she demanded as soon as she stopped, the door hissing shut behind her.
"Surely you can't be upset that I want to bring the- the perpetrator of this crime to justice." He stood stiffly, his back ramrod straight. She wanted to reach out to him, to put a hand on his arm and soften him.
Instead, she said, "Of course not. But you're usually not this worked up about things."
"Worked up?" he scoffed. "I am not worked up. I'm merely thinking of- of the husband finding out someone murdered his wife like that."
"Lucifer," she said gently, still not reaching out. "It could be the husband. You heard what her coworkers said."
He stiffened further. "Yes, like he was suddenly a different person. People don't change like that, Detective."
She sighed. "Yeah, Lucifer, sometimes they do." When it didn't look like he was going to continue, she sighed again and changed the subject. "What did the arson guys want?"
"Oh, just to re-ask some questions. It appears the investigation is at a standstill. Perhaps we should offer our assistance." He smirked, and she couldn't help but smile back. This was the Lucifer she knew.
"Yeah, I'm sure that would go over well," she said and motioned to the stairs. "We need to go over those alibis."
"After you, Detective," he said, motioning her forward with a sharp look in his eyes. She tossed him a confused one of her own but took the lead as usual.
The problem with not wanting Lucifer to leave — and she couldn't get over that feeling of rightness when she came downstairs in the morning and he was already there or at night when they shared a drink or watching him humor Trixie's demands-
The problem with all of that was that Chloe know it couldn't last, wouldn't last. Even if Lucifer wanted to stay as much as she wanted him to stay — which was doubtful — Maze would be back someday and the house just wasn't big enough for four of them. Plus-
Plus this was all novel to Lucifer, so of course he was being the perfect houseguest. Of course he was living up to her every secret dream of what living with him could be like. He would bore of it soon enough and move on. How could he not when humanity had to mean so little to him in the grand scheme of things.
She didn't want to deal with the heartbreak of that happening. She couldn't deal with the heartbreak of that happening. And it would happen, she was sure of it, just like how she drove him away every time they had tried to make a go of it before.
It would be better to be the one to walk away this time. It would be-
She startled and almost dropped her cup of coffee as Lucifer came up to her desk and perched on the edge of it like an overly large bird. She took a quick sip of coffee to hide the soft smile that crept over her face, brought on by his presence alone.
It faded when she noticed the expression on his face shuttering before he pasted a smile on. She frowned at him, trying to puzzle out why he had gone from delighted to closed off without her even saying anything.
"Can you not sneak up on me when I'm thinking?" she said with a quirk of her lips to show she wasn't serious.
"My apologies, Detective," he said, and her smile faded into a frown again.
"Are you okay?" she asked, her fingers tightening around the coffee mug to resist the urge to reach out to him, offer him physical comfort for whatever was bothering him.
He blinked at her. "Of course. I was hoping- I mean to say, I wanted to ask- And of course I understand if you don't want to, but-"
"Spit it out," she said, nerves making her clutch the mug so tightly her knuckles went white. Lucifer glanced down his eyes flicking over her fingers, and for the briefest moment he looked... sad.
"I-" He looked around, as if to be sure no one was listening, before leaning toward her a little and lowering his voice. "I would rather not overstay my welcome as your guest, but I find myself... in a bit of a dilemma over a few houses to live in while Lux is being rebuilt."
She wanted to tell him he wasn't overstaying his welcome at all. She wanted to invite him to stay longer, to give him a key and let him know that he was wanted.
Instead, she said, "Okay..."
"I was hoping you would come with me this afternoon to tour them. I-" He looked away, a muscle in his jaw ticcing.
She put her coffee down and reached across the desk, covering his hand with hers. His gaze snapped to their hands before he looked up at her with a small smile.
"I value your opinion," he said, his voice low enough that she almost missed it. Then he said, brightly, "So, what do you say? Want to help me find my next lovenest?"
"First of all, ew," she said, grimacing but unable to hide the laughter in her voice. "And secondly, sure, let me go talk to the lieutenant."
"Already done," he said with a grin. Maybe it should bother her, how he didn't wait to find out what she wanted before rolling right ahead anyway. Maybe she should be mad he was talking to people on her behalf before she had a say in anything.
Maybe he just knew her well enough to know she was going to say yes.
Everything about going with Lucifer to view houses felt wrong, and Chloe wasn't sure why. Maybe it was the realtor, who kept sending Lucifer sultry looks as they walked around and she expounded on the property's good points. It could have been that Chloe just wasn't comfortable in the richer sections of LA, where wealth oozed from every front door.
More likely, was that she just didn't want him to leave her.
No, not leave her. He wasn't leaving her, he was just living with her for the moment. There was no her for him to leave, no them to break up. She had completely torpedoed that with her need for space After.
"Do you hear that dripping?" she asked Lucifer, who cocked his head like a dog and listened for a moment before nodding.
"It sounds like a leaky faucet in the main bath," he said to the realtor. "I don't think this one is the one."
"It's easily fixable-" she started, but Lucifer just shook his head.
"Let's go see the next one," he said firmly, fingertips warm on the small of Chloe's back as he guided her toward the front door.
She tried not to shiver at the contact.
"Darling," he said when they reached the next house. "Why don't you have a look around with Becky. I'll be just a moment."
She looked at him, trying to puzzle out what he wasn't saying. He was drumming his fingers on a box in his breast pocket. Ah, he needed a smoke. Maybe the nicotine affected him more when he was around her? She needed to ask that, but later, when they weren't around regular people.
Still, she crinkled her nose in distaste as she watched him pull out a cigarette and light up. Smokers weren't the best people to be kissing.
Which didn't matter, because she wasn't going to be kissing him. She shook herself a little, then smiled at Becky and followed her up the drive.
She tuned out the realtor as they walked around, instead focusing her attention on giving the place a good once-over. She wanted Lucifer to be living in a good house while Lux was being rebuilt. The perfect house. Something that didn't need work or was too far from the station or-
No, being too far from the station wasn't a problem. He was a consultant, and if he didn't wanted to live out here and not deal with a commute, then she couldn't- She couldn't-
Becky was saying something about the ceilings, but Chloe wasn't paying attention. There was a shadow in the corner of the living room that didn't look right. As she got closer to it, she realized-
"Nope, this one has roaches," she said, pointing to the dead bug on the floor just as Lucifer came into the room, smelling faintly of smoke.
Becky looked horrified. "Okay!" she said with a false cheeriness that grated on Chloe's nerves. "Let's move on to the next one. It's a great condo in-"
It was not a great condo. It wasn't a penthouse and she didn't think Lucifer would really be happy living squished between two floors like that. The house they saw after that had a pool that looked just a bit too scummy — and she knew she was reaching with that one, but Lucifer didn't call her out on it — and so they moved on.
The last house on the list was...
It was perfect. She couldn't find a single thing wrong with it as she walked around, and when she was finished, Becky chattering away in the background, Chloe had to admit that this would be a good fit. And that he was going to be moving out sooner, rather than later.
When she turned to Lucifer, he was studying her with an intense look in his eyes, like something important, something big hinged on her response to this house. She opened her mouth to tell him that it seemed like the one, but he cut in before she could say anything.
"I don't think this one will work either," he said, still focusing on her. "The bedroom isn't South-facing, and I like a lot of sunlight in the mornings."
It was ridiculous, a transparent excuse to not buy the house, but she couldn't stop the slow smile that spread over her face as he nodded decisively. Maybe he didn't want to leave yet as much as she wanted him to stay.
They were on the couch again after Trixie had gone to bed. It had become something of a nightly ritual, the two of them just sharing space if not a drink and conversation.
This night, Lucifer had a tumbler of whiskey in his hands and seemed nervous, shifting and fiddling with his cuffs and taking a long drink before setting the tumbler down and angling his body toward hers.
"Detective," he said, and he sounded nervous, "I've been thinking..."
He paused there, and when he didn't continue, Chloe shifted on the couch, drawing a leg up and turning to face him. "That's dangerous," she said lightly, raising an eyebrow and smiling gently at him.
He huffed out an almost silent laugh, just a puff of air that had her smile widening. For a moment, he settled back, shoulders relaxing a bit, a teasing smile on his face before it faded and he tensed again.
She was starting to get nervous too. Was this the point where he told her that he was moving out? That he'd found a place to live until Lux was rebuilt, that he couldn't stand living with her and her spawn any longer? That he hadn't overstayed his welcome, maybe, but he'd overstayed his... comfort?
Before her thoughts could spiral further, she leaned forward a little, hesitating before reaching out to him and touching his arm. "What is it?"
He reached up and laid his hand over hers for a moment, a warm and comforting pressure. Then he leaned back, away from her, and cleared his throat.
"I was thinking that perhaps..." He paused again, but seemed to rally his courage and continued quickly with, "Perhaps we could find something — a house — together. I've-"
"No," she said, almost before she registered what he was asking. "Absolutely not."
He blinked at her, taken aback by her quick refusal, and said, "You don't even want to think about it? I could buy-"
"No," she said again, shaking her head, and he deflated. She couldn't take the time to care about that; her heart was pounding so loud he could probably hear it and she needed to get out of the conversation. "I should head to bed."
"Detective-" he started, reaching out before curling his fingers and dropping his arm when she moved away.
"I'll see you in the morning," she said hurriedly and fled.
The problem wasn't that she didn't want to live with him. The problem was that she wanted it too much, and it could only end in heartbreak.
She wanted it. She wanted him to be there, and she wanted him to want her to be there. But she couldn't picture a world where he didn't decide that playing house wasn't fun anymore. Where would that leave her and Trixie? Alone. That was where.
She couldn't do that to Trixie. She couldn't keep moving her around and changing schools and making her life chaos. It wasn't fair to her and it wasn't fair to Lucifer to expect him to... It wasn't fair for Chloe to expect him to love her. More than once, she'd thought they were something, thought they were-
But it was never true, was it?
She couldn't live with him, knowing that even if he was interested, he wasn't interested in long-term. That if things got too intense, if she got too intense, he would be gone. That was the last thing she wanted.
He may think he was the monster, but it would be her if she tried to tie him down with her feelings.
She mechanically went through the motions of getting ready for bed and was in her bed, lights off, and staring at the ceiling before long. She could let him live with her for a while, that was fine. That was easy. That left her in charge.
She nearly jumped out of her skin when a soft knock came at her door.
"Detective?" Lucifer's voice floated through the darkness.
She almost asked what he wanted, but she just couldn't- She couldn't deal with him at the moment. She needed space. So she did the only thing she could think of. She pretended to be asleep.
She heard a thunk against the closed door, and realized it must have been Lucifer's forehead hitting it as he continued. "I- I'm sorry," he said, his voice barely audible through the door. "I didn't intend to make you uncomfortable. I thought perhaps-" He chuckled darkly. "But I see I was wrong. I'm sorry."
He paused for a long time, until she thought that maybe he'd left, but then she thought she caught the sound of a sigh and he said, "I suppose you're asleep anyway. I'll just-"
There was the sound of soft footsteps and then silence. And Chloe, she didn't know what to do with that. What to do with any of it. Sometimes he could be so... sweet and so genuine that she almost believed he might...
She slowly drifted off to sleep, holding the fantasy of him loving her close.
"Did you know," Lucifer said casually over breakfast the next morning, and Chloe tensed, sure he was going to bring up something about living together again. Instead, he said, "there's a Little Johnny's across from four of my properties."
Chloe relaxed and went back to dishing out pancakes. She'd woken earlier than Lucifer for once after a night of restless sleep and decided to surprise him with breakfast. She didn't want to think about how much it felt like apology breakfast. That would imply she had something to apologize for, and not wanting to get her heart crushed yet again wasn't.
"The pizza place?" Trixie said, perking up immediately. "There's one by Dad's house. It's delicious. Can we have pizza for dinner?"
"No," Chloe said as Lucifer opened his mouth. He snapped it shut. "Here, go eat your pancakes," she added, handing the plate off to Trixie, who immediately went to drown them in maple syrup, pizza forgotten.
Lucifer was lounging against the counter, not quite close enough to be in her space, but close enough that she could feel him near, the little hairs on her arms rising like she was near a predator. She supposed she was.
"The owner owes me a favor," he said like he hadn't been interrupted.
"Who doesn't?" she asked without thinking about it, a grin tossed his way as she spoke.
He seemed to brighten at that, not taking offense. "She agreed to give me copies of the security footage."
"Shouldn't the arson team already have that?" she asked, lowering her voice and glancing to Trixie to make sure she wasn't listening.
"Oh, certainly," he said. "But they seem too busy considering yours truly a suspect to investigate properly."
It was on the tip of her tongue to defend them, to say they were doing their jobs and even though she knew he would never do something like that, they didn't know him. But she bit off the words before they could start. They did seem to be focusing an awful lot of energy on Lucifer when they could be investigating more likely arsonists.
"I don't suppose you'd like to spend a day boring yourself to death with the CCTV instead of paperwork," he continued, a nervous tinge to his words that she couldn't quite puzzle out the meaning to. "I'm sure I can make it worth your while."
"Yeah, sure," she said instead of dwelling on it, rolling her eyes when he looked genuinely surprised. "Not the making it worth my while part. You don't need to make it worth my while, you know. I'd help you because you're my friend."
"Ah, yes, right, of course," he said, blinking at her before clearing his throat and standing up straight, no longer leaning on the counter.
"Go eat your pancakes," she said, handing him his plate with a smile and a lean of her head toward the table. At his moue of distaste, she laughed and said, "Sit on the other end of the table from her. Surely her stickiness circle is smaller than that."
He grumbled about the radius being larger than the kitchen but did what Chloe said anyway, falling into only slightly awkward conversation about school with Trixie as he ate. By the time Chloe's pancakes were done, Trixie had gone off to get cleaned up and Lucifer was almost done with his stack. He looked torn as he took his last bite as she sat down.
"You don't need to sit here with me," she told him, reaching for the maple syrup. "You can go get the tapes if you want. Bring them back here and we can use my laptop after Trixie goes to school."
"As you wish," he said and got up.
She didn't bother to tell him that no, that was not what she wished any more than she bothered to tell him about the pang that hit her chest as he stood to leave. A piece of her wanted him to say he'd rather stay with her even though she knew how ridiculous that was. She turned her focus to her breakfast before he made it out of the room.
Reviewing security tapes was incredibly boring work. Chloe set up all four videos on her laptop screen, then cast it to the TV so both of them could see it without having Lucifer leaning over her shoulder for hours.
The footage they got only ran from a couple hours before smoke started coming from the four buildings to a couple hours after the firefighters got the blazes under control. The fires started within minutes of each other, possibly at the same time given she was assuming the smoke meant the fires had started shortly before.
"I don't know why I've got all four up," she said with a sigh, studying the crowds as they started to gather. "It's not like it'll be one person, not with them all starting at the same time."
Lucifer shrugged a little, settling back against the couch and crossing his ankles as he stretched his legs out in front of him, looking for all the world like he was watching a movie and not four of his buildings burning down. Chloe couldn't help but wonder if it bothered him, that all these people had been displaced and lost their belongings. Or if the relative lengths of their lives meant he didn't see anything that happened there as... important, any more than she would think an ant's troubles were important.
"If one of my siblings is behind this," he said, startling her out of her thoughts, and she almost wanted to tell him what they were when she caught his wince but she doubted they would go over any better than him thinking she was reacting to the mention of divinity, "then you never know what you might find. Some of them can be in many places at once."
"But not you or Amenadiel," she clarified, just to be sure. It would be handy, having a partner who could help corner a suspect by getting ahead of and behind him.
"Much to my disappointment, no," he said, and she had to smile at that.
"So if this is a sibling or an- an act of God-" she started, but he broke in quickly.
"I highly doubt He has any interest in direct action, Detective." He scowled at the TV for a moment. "It isn't His style, getting His hands dirty like this. Not for me."
She didn't know how to respond to that. He seemed to take her discomfort as coming from the overt reminder of the divine and kept casting tiny glances her way, as though waiting for her to... to have a breakdown over the reminder that his father was God. But that wasn't it. What did you say to someone whose parent had effectively kicked them out of their home? How did you respond to a millenia of hurt over a parent not wanting anything to do with their child?
She couldn't imagine it, being the parent or the child. There as nothing Trixie could do that would end with her being cut off from any part of her family, and nothing Chloe herself could do that would result in her mother disowning her. It was a kind of unconditional love Lucifer had never felt, and it made her heart hurt.
"Okay," she finally said when it became clear Lucifer wasn't going to fill the silence. "So maybe a sibling."
"Probably one of those wankers," he corrected. "The synchronicity is suspect."
She watched as people slowly filtered out of the buildings, wandering off up and down the street seemingly without destination. The residents left during a workday. The ones who had "had a bad feeling" and decided to leave. None of them looked overly suspicious.
Lucifer fidgeted next to her, unable to take the boredom. She cast a look at him as he tapped a foot and fiddled with his cuffs and in general made a distracting nuisance of himself next to her.
"Must we really watch all of this?" he asked. "We can't fast forward to the good parts?"
"And which are the good parts?" she asked, bumping her shoulder against his arm with a quick smirk before refocusing on the TV. "The part where we see a clear shot of who did this and can hand it to the arson team wrapped in a bow?"
"Ideally," he said, fingers tapping out a rhythm on his knee.
She wanted to reach out and lay a hand over his, to still his restlessness, but couldn't bring herself to make the move. Would it be too much, after so long of not casually touching him? After so long of avoiding and stepping away and being afraid?
"You don't have to stay," she allowed, quirking her lips in a half smile without looking away from the TV. "This is boring; I get that. And I know how you feel about boring things."
"No, I-" he said, cutting himself off almost as soon as he started.
She didn't turn to look at him, fear of what she might see on his face keeping her focused on the TV, but oh, how she wanted to. She wanted to know what he had been about to reveal, what piece of himself he'd been about to hold out for the taking.
"I wouldn't want to abandon you to the-"
The image on all four videos glitched, jerking into white fuzz for maybe a second, before resolving back into the front of the buildings. Chloe was already reaching forward to rewind them to make sure it wasn't a glitch with her computer.
"Could that be..." she said, drifting off when she couldn't bring herself to say the words that wanted to come next.
"An angel?" Lucifer finished for her, looking grim. "Yes. Camera equipment doesn't always work well around Brahmiel when he's projecting himself."
"But it could just be... a glitch, right?" she asked, not sure if she wanted him to say yes or not. It was suspicious that they were all at the same moment, but that could be explained away by a bug in the camera equipment, maybe. "It's not necessarily... divine intervention?"
He turned an inscrutable look on her, one that had her squirming inside in shame. She was reaching, she knew it, but she just... She wanted there to be a nice, normal explanation for the fires that she could wrap up and give to Dawson and Cricks, something that would make sense to them and completely clear Lucifer's name.
"I suppose," he allowed, but sounded doubtful. "Although if anything- What's that?"
The glitch was still synced across the four videos, but this time, right after it, a dark shape darted across each screen in a different direction. She rewound again and played it forward slowly, moving through the glitch at quarter speed and then pausing on the mysterious figures.
"I- I have no idea," she said, clicking forward a couple frames and then backward. The shape was a vague dark triangle with- oh, it was a head. Someone in what looked like a cloak, maybe, and a bare head. "Are they... monks?"
Lucifer had leaned forward, elbows on his knees, hands dangling between his legs, and was studying the image. He cocked his head a bit, and she had to bite back a laugh at the image: the Lord of Hell looking like nothing more than a curious golden retriever.
"Either that or cosplayers," he finally said, then turned toward her, his knees knocking against hers before he angled them away. "Does this mean we don't have to watch the rest?"
She laughed, and turned toward him more, scooting down the couch just a touch so her knees pressed against his leg. "Trying to get out of doing any more work?"
He scoffed, his eyes fixed on the spot where her knees touched his leg. "This is hardly work. There isn't enough people trying to kill us."
"You don't think that was what this was?" she asked, her slightly playful mood evaporating more quickly than it had come. "If you had been in one of those buildings..."
"I would have been fine," he said. "If this was one of my siblings, I'm not sure what they hoped to accomplish. This would hardly work to drive me back to Hell."
"Maybe it's not about driving you back to Hell directly," she said, pushing down a shiver that threatened to go through her at the thought of Lucifer trapped in Hell. "Maybe it's about taking away your options so you have to choose to go back."
He was shaking his head before she could finish the sentence. "Nothing could make me choose to go back. They could strip me of my flats, my houses, my money, and leave me penniless and in the street, and I still would rather stay here." A muscle in his jaw ticked. "I built myself up from the bottom once before. I would do it again."
"I wouldn't let that happen," she said quietly, surprised at the vehemence in her own voice. "Even if you lost all your money, all your worldly possessions, you would still have me and a place to stay."
He swallowed once, then twice, before he could say anything. "Detective... I..."
His gaze caught hers, and his eyes were full of endless wonder. Declaring that she wouldn't let a friend end up homeless shouldn't cause that much wonder and disbelief, that much emotion, in anyone. Her fingers twitched as she almost reached out to cup his cheek, to give him something physical to ground himself with — to ground her with — but stopped.
"Yeah," she breathed instead, and saved him from having to continue by straightening from her unconscious lean toward him and turning back to the video. "Monks would make sense if an- an angel is involved."
He was quiet for a moment, and when she snuck a glance at him, he was still staring at her. Finally, he blinked and shook his head a little and turned back to the TV.
"It's too blury to tell what monastery they're from," he said, frowning.
"I'll have to give this to Dawson and Cricks," she said with a sigh. "The monks, at least."
Lucifer grimaced. "They don't seem too fond of me."
"Not something you're used to?" she asked with a smirk.
"Who could resist my charming personality?" he asked. "Besides you, of course."
"Mm," she said, a strange warmth filling her. Did she really want to be flirting with him when she still had moments of... difficulty with the knowledge that he was the Devil? "I suppose you've grown on me a little."
He gave her a quick, soft smile like he hadn't expected her to admit that. How hot and cold must she have been if he looked like... that over something as simple as "I don't entirely dislike you"?
She considered saying more, telling him exactly what he meant to her, Devil and all, but she couldn't force the words past the lump in her throat. Past her worries of it being... presumptuous to assume that mattered to him at all, soft look or no. Everything about him was just... so big now. So unbelievably all-encompassing, cosmically huge.
And she was so incredibly small.
"I should bring this to them," she said instead of the hundred other things she wanted to say, clearing her throat a little.
Lucifer cleared his throat too. "Right. Off we pop then, I suppose."
"Right," she said, echoing him and started shutting down her computer. She wiped her palms on the side of her pants as she stood, and turned to him, opening her mouth to say... something, apologize for the hot and cold, apologize for not being able to see past the Devil, she didn't know.
"I-" she started at the same time Lucifer stood and said, "Detective-"
With a wan smile, he motioned to her and said, "You first."
She opened her mouth, took a breath, and paused. "It was nothing," she finally said, and knew she wasn't imagining the disappointment in his eyes.
"Then," he said, offering her his arm hesitantly, which she took with a bemnused smile, "let's be off shall we?"
After a very long and exhausting conversation with Dawson and Cricks, most of which was them grandstanding about who was in charge of the investigation, Chloe found herself back down at her desk. Lucifer was off getting a snack from the vending machine. She hoped he brought back something for her. They hadn't had lunch before they left home.
Her home. It was good to be specific like that. To keep any... misunderstandings, any untruths from settling in her brain. Easier. Less damage to her heart when he inevitably moved out.
The warrant for ticket information for the Aisley case had finally come through, so she decided to double-check the information, make sure that Caleb Aisley's flight information matched what she had. Which was... longer than a single entry. Had they gotten the dates wrong and sent her the information for his flight out and his flight back?
She scrolled through it quickly, scanning the document. It all seemed to check out. Caleb Aisley boarded a morning flight, which arrived in LA on time, no incidents.
And then there was the second entry. Another Caleb Aisley boarded a much earlier flight, which also arrived in LA a few minutes early, no incidents.
No incidents besides a man using Caleb Aisley's information had boarded it. Or, in a more likely scenario, Caleb Aisley himself had boarded it and a man looking like him had taken the second flight.
Did he have siblings? They'd confirmed his wife was an only child with deceased parents, but with Caleb's initial alibi seeming to work out, they hadn't checked into his family. It was time to do that. She should find Lucifer and-
"Detective?" Lucifer said as he placed a cup of coffee down in front of her. She jumped in surprise at his sudden arrival and didn't miss the look of regret that flashed over his face.
"Thanks," she said instead of explaining and took a sip of the coffee — just the way she liked it.
"Well?" he asked, perching on the edge of her desk — the edge she'd started keeping mostly clear so long ago when he'd first started worming his way into her life — with a grin.
"Well what?" she asked, hiding a smile behind her cup. She loved it when he looked like this, open and happy and with the shadows in his eyes lightened.
"You have that look about you," he said, and when she quirked an eyebrow at him, continue with, "The one you get when you have a break in a case." His smile had turned fond and she wanted to blush and look away, but she couldn't. Not when he looked so... So happy with her.
She wanted him to look like that all the time.
"A look, huh?" she said, only teasing him a little as she turned away just enough to put in the request to look up Caleb Aisley's family.
"Like you've remembered how clever you are and like it," he said.
Her eyes shot to his, but he glanced away immediately, looking faintly embarrassed. It wasn't the time or the place to pursue it, but oh how she wanted to.
"Well nothing too "clever" this time," she said instead, still watching him. His gaze flickered back to her for a moment before he seemed to find the wall across the station very interesting. "There are two tickets under his name here for the day he came home."
"And you think if he took the earlier flight, he would have been in time to kill his wife?" Lucifer seemed to muddle it over in his brain for a bit before a slow smile spread across his face. "I think it may be time to pay Caleb Aisley another visit."
"I have them checking if he has any siblings who could've used a different ID of his — maybe a passport? — and taken the later flight," she said, gesturing vaguely at the computer but already standing. They had enough to bring him in even without that.
Maze called while they were still in the car, sitting in traffic. Chloe almost let it go to voicemail — she still wasn't on the best terms with Lucifer — but picked up in the end.
It was a quick call — just a check-in, really — and Chloe couldn't decide if she was grateful or not. Maze had been making noises about moving out ever since she came home to find Chloe sitting on the couch, freaking out, because she'd just found out the man she loved wasn't even human.
She still wasn't sure if the reason Maze had gone on the whole "finding herself" trip was her fault. She suspected it may have been.
Still, Maze had continued to make noises about moving out no matter how much Chloe said she was okay with everything. Her comments had only become more frequent since giving Chloe permission to let Lucifer stay in her room. Chloe supposed it shouldn't have come as a surprise, but she had still held hope at that point that Maze would come back.
She didn't know which she was dreading more: having to tell Trixie that Maze wasn't going to live with them anymore, or having the check for half the rent not coming anymore. There was no way they could afford to live there without a second, contributing adult in the household.
It was almost enough to have her give in and agree to Lucifer's flight of fancy. Living with him until he got bored of them might be better than trying to find a two bedroom in her price range.
Traffic had started flowing again by the time Maze hung up — and not without some barbs thrown Lucifer's way that Chloe didn't understand — and it wasn't long until they were standing in front of the Aisley house, ringing the doorbell.
Aisley opened the door mid-laugh, his head aimed back toward someone further into the house. As he caught sight of who was on his doorstep, his laughter choked off with a strangled noise.
"Uh, Detectives," he said, and yelled back, "Ricky, the detectives are here. You know, the nice ones after- after-"
"Mr. Aisley," Chloe said, once again not bothering to correct the man on Lucifer not being a detective. "Could we come in?"
"Of course," he said, stepping aside and ushering them in. As Chloe passed, she could see perspiration on his brow.
"'Detective,'" Lucifer murmured quietly to her as they walked down the hall. "Seems I've got a promotion."
"Don't get used to it," Chloe said, the fondness in her voice all too apparent.
In the kitchen, where Aisley led them, was another man who looked almost identical to him. That answered who was using the second ticket. He stood by the sink, fidgeting with an empty glass. Aisley himself was shifting his weight from foot to foot, nowhere near as collected as he had been right after his wife's death.
"Can I get you something to drink?" Aisley asked once the silence had drawn out and gotten to him.
"No, thank you," Chloe said, and motioned to the other man. "We have some followup questions we'd like to ask. Would you prefer to do it in private?"
"No, no," Aisely said, glancing to Ricky swiftly. "I have nothing to hide from Ricky."
"Mmhmm," Chloe said. "Your brother?"
"Yes, we're twins." Aisley didn't look comfortable with admitting that. If anything, he looked more nervous. Like he knew they were onto him.
"We found a second plane ticket in your name," she said, flipping open her notebook like she had to look at it to jog her memory. It was more for something to give her hands to do.
"Uh, right," he said, glancing to his brother again. "The second ticket was for Ricky."
"Ricky couldn't get his own ticket?" Lucifer asked, eyeing him up and down. "Those are designer jeans. Must've cost you a pretty penny."
Ricky glanced to his brother for help, who immediately responded with, "Ricky's... on the do not fly list," he said, wincing.
"And it was so important that he fly across the country because..." Chloe asked, putting aside the questions of why he was on the list until it became relevant.
"He had to attend a family funeral," Aisley said. "There wasn't enough time to get across the country any other way."
"A funeral?" Lucifer jumped in to ask. "And this just happened to coincide with your golfing trip? I suppose you were killing two birds with one stone." He glanced to Ricky, who had paled but didn't jump in. "Or one wife with one bullet."
The blood drained from Aisley's face as he started to sputter denials. Ricky's face had taken on a grim pallor. Neither looked on the verge of running, but Chloe tensed just in case.
"It's not his fault!" Ricky burst out with, ignoring Aisley's rough command to shut it. Chloe turned half of her attention to him. "He's- He's been different lately. Like sometimes he's another person. He just gets so angry, and when he found out Renee was cheating on him-"
Lucifer made a disgusted noise. "That's worth killing someone for?"
"Well, no, but he's suddenly got this... This angry side to him and-"
"Oh, come off it," Lucifer broke in again, scowling. He glanced to Chloe — a quick, nervous flicker that she almost missed — before going on. "It's not something new. It's always been there, you've just refused to see it."
"No, that's not true!" Ricky cried, taking a step forward. Chloe had her gun up before his foot hit the ground, and he froze, but didn't stop talking. "It's not true, he was always so nice, he's always been nice. He didn't-"
"He did," Lucifer snarled, leaning forward slightly like he was going to attack. Chloe put her hand on his stomach — her eyes not leaving Ricky and her gun still trained in his direction in her other hand — holding him back without actually restraining him. He settled on his heels, but his stomach was still tense against her hand.
"He did," he said slightly more calmly but not less forcefully. "You've just been ignoring it. Everyone's been ignoring it and then being surprised when it comes out."
Oh. Oh. This wasn't about the case at all, was it? She opened her mouth, about to say... something, she wasn't sure what, when a shot rang out.
For a moment, she thought her gun had gone off accidentally, and her attention was immediately on Ricky. But while he looked just as shocked as she felt, he wasn't hurt in any way. Lucifer groaned beside her and slowly crumpled to the floor.
Aisley was standing there at the kitchen table, gun pointed at her now, hands shaking slightly. She reacted almost without thinking, shooting him in the shoulder. The gun flew out of his hand and he stumbled back against the wall with a scream before sinking to the floor, leaving a long streak of blood.
Lucifer groaned on the floor, but she couldn't spare a look at him yet. She motioned with her gun to Ricky.
"Get over there with your brother."
Ricky moved, hands held up, eyes wide and terrified. Good. She walked across the room and recovered Aisley's gun. She took out her disposable cuffs and zip tied Ricky first, arms behind his back, and then Aisley, ignoring his scream when she pulled his arm aroud behind his back. He was bleeding sluggishly, but he'd live.
Once they were taken care of, she dropped to her knees at Lucifer's side. He hadn't moved from the floor, and there was a growing pool of blood underneath him. Swiftly growing. Her heart stopped.
"I don't think I enjoy getting shot, Detective," Lucifer said, his voice strained with pain.
"I don't think anyone does," she said, her voice just as strained, but with fear instead of pain. She scooted to the counter and grabbed a dish towel. "You need to roll over for me so I can put pressure on this."
He cried out as he forced his body over, and she winced at the soaking blood stain on his back. She pressed the towel over the wound and pressed down as hard as she could. He jerked and fisted his hands and she was glad she couldn't see his face.
"You're gonna be okay," she said, her voice strained. She wasn't actually sure of that. The amount of blood... She pulled the radio off her belt and was going to call for backup when Lucifer made a pained sound.
"Don't," he panted. "No hospital."
"Lucifer," she said, pressing down harder and wincing at his noise of pain and the feeling of wet towel beneath her hand. She tried to sound as level as possible when she said, "You're going to bleed out if we don't get you to the hospital fast."
Her voice only wavered a little. She didn't know what she was going to do if he died. She didn't know if she could survive him dying and still be the same person she was now. Tears pricked at her eyes and she clicked on the radio.
Lucifer whimpered a little as he twisted and reached around, flailing his arm a little before she dropped her radio and grabbed his hand and squeezed.
"You can't." His voice was wobbling as he said, "I need to get away from here fast."
"Chloe," he said — no, begged — and she didn't want to hear that tone in his voice ever again. "Please."
"Okay, okay," she said and clicked on her radio again, calling for backup and a bus for Aisley. Then she helped Lucifer struggle to his feet. The bleeding was slowing, but she couldn't tell if that was a good thing or if it was because he was running out of blood.
As they neared the car she tried to take him to the passenger side but he resisted. "I need to get away from you," he said through gasps of pain. "You make me vulnerable. I need to get away. You need to stay here. Please."
"What does that even mean?" she asked, but acquiesced and helped him get to the driver's side. Once she'd wrestled the door open and helped him in, she reached over and buckled his seat belt for him and handed him the keys. "You're going to explain later, got it? You can't die on me."
"'M not gonna die," he mumbled and turned the car on with a wince and shifted into drive. "I'll see you at home."
"Okay," she said and stepped back, shutting the door carefully. As she watched him drive away, she bit her lip until it bled, resisting the urge to run after him. He would explain later. He wasn't going to die and he would explain later and-
She loved him so much she didn't know how she would survive losing him.
Oh, God, she loved him.
She turned, shaking, and went back into the house.
The shower was running when she got home. Trixie was with Dan so it had to be Lucifer. It felt like she could breathe for the first time in hours.
What she wanted to do was go up and knock on the door, check to make sure it was really him and he was really okay. What she did do was putter around the kitchen, putting together a light dinner and trying to make her hands stop trembling. He was fine. If he was in the shower he was fine and if he wasn't out in the next ten minutes she would go up there but he was fine.
The shower turned off and she breathed out a sigh of relief.
By the time Lucifer appeared, she had made two sandwiches and was leaning on the counter, trying not to look like she was nervously waiting for him. When he spotted her, he did a slow turn, arms out, so she must not have been doing a very good job.
"Good as new," he said with a hesitant grin as he turned back to face her.
She had to clench her fists to resist the urge to step closer to him, to run her hands over his chest and shoulders and check that he was still whole. Still here.
His grin faltered the longer she stood there, silent. But her mind had ground to a halt, it seemed. What did you say to the man — devil — you're in love with when there are still so many questions up in the air?
"Detective?" he asked finally, not moving and looking nervous. "I can explain..."
But he drifted off like he had no idea what he was supposed to be explaining, which she supposed was fair. There was just so much of it.
"Vulnerable?" she finally asked, taking a step toward him, sandwiches forgotten. "You said I make you vulnerable."
"You do," he said and followed her lead when she left the kitchen and went to sit down. She sat at one corner of the couch, him at the other, the space between them a yawning chasm in the moment.
"What does that mean? I- I make it so things can hurt you?" She didn't know how she felt about that, about being his kryptonite.
He nodded. "When I'm near you, I'm- Usually, I'm fairly indestructible. The only things that can injure me in any way are either heaven- or hell-forged. Weapons, angels, demons, doesn't matter."
"I'm not either of those," she said, but her voice raised in a question at the end.
"I suppose not," he said, which wasn't reassuring at all. "But my- the way I- You make me vulnerable. When you're near me I can be hurt."
She almost laughed at the double meaning she was sure he hadn't noticed. She was vulnerable around him, too; he could hurt her, just not in the same way.
"What's the range?" she found herself asking, needing to know how far away she would need to get any time he was hurt while working with her.
"I don't know," he said. "It varies. Less than a mile, perhaps?"
She nodded. He was a big boy; if he thought the risk of being injured was worth being around her, she wasn't going to question it. The selfish part of her that wanted him with her always refused to question it.
"Okay," she said.
"Okay?" he asked, looking confused. "That's all?"
She shrugged a little, but met his gaze with a steady one of her own. "That's all. I'm glad I know now so I can take it into account. What else did you expect me to say?"
"I- I don't know," he said, still looking mildly baffled. "I guess I didn't expect you to let me off that easy."
"Would you rather I throw you out for your own safety?" she asked, amusement seeping into her voice.
"Of course not!" He looked upset at the very thought of it. "I- Living here, with you and your urchin, has been-" He paused, then finished, in a softer voice, "I've enjoyed it very much."
"I guess you're not the worst roommate I've had," she said, unable to hide the smile growing on her face as she teased him.
But she couldn't stop thinking about the sight of him on the floor, blood pooling around his body, and her realization of just how much she loved him. It felt like something she should keep secret, keep safe, but was that fair to him?
It would only end in heartache for her, she knew that. She knew that. But...
"I-" she started, but her voice caught on the lump in her throat.
"What is it?" he asked, looking concerned. Looking at her like she mattered. In moments like this, she almost felt like it could be true. But that little doubt in the back of her mind — even as he kept watching her with earnest eyes — wouldn't go away.
"Seeing you, on the floor-" she started before breaking off and swallowing. "Afterwards, all I could think was that if you died I'd never get to tell you-"
She stopped again, taking a deep breath and closing her eyes against his gaze, feeling like it was boring into her very soul. She couldn't see him, but it felt like he had stopped breathing too. They were both waiting for her to take a leap off the edge of the cliff, and she-
"I can't love you," she said with a choked laugh and half-hearted shake of her head as she opened her eyes, her heart in her throat.
"Of course," he said, rueful but not at all surprised. "I wouldn't expect you to be able to love a monster."
He blinked, as if he hadn't intended to say that. She blinked, because that wasn't what she had meant at all.
"I meant it's a bad idea for me to love you. How can we be anything together when you're-" she gestured vaguely "-and I'm just-" she gestured vaguely again and smiled self-deprecatingly. "We must be a joke to you. Or- Or like a pet goldfish that barely lives at all, or-"
He was shaking his head, and he slid down the couch and grabbed her shoulders but didn't shake her — he was always so gentle with her — his fingers stiff. "Chloe, no. Of course not. You're- You're the most- If I had to choose, Heaven or Hell or you, it would be you, every time. Without a second thought. You're-" He broke off again, his eyes shining, and she couldn't breathe.
She couldn't breathe. This went beyond just not viewing her as inferior. She had imagined at best he would take her love confession with something approaching grace and a couple dirty jokes. She never even considered that he-
"You're absolutely everything," he continued, not quite looking at her. "You're the warmth of the sun and the light of the stars all at once; I can never look away from you. You're- You're so- You could never be a- a goldfish. You're everything." He paused, and she almost opened her mouth to say something — what, she wasn't sure, but definitely something — before he added, "And, as you said, I'm just-" He gestured at himself, with a sad half smile.
She put her hands over his on her shoulders and squeezed before gently detaching them. He went to pull back, looking away from her and blinking rapidly, but she didn't let him go. She just settled their hands in her lap and squeezed them again.
"You know," she said casually, calmly, like her heart wasn't racing in her chest, "I heard you telling Trixie you were a monster that night."
He whipped back around to look at her she almost got a sympathy headache. "You heard?"
"Yeah, and I agree with her. It's not true." She bit her bottom lip, waiting for his response, waiting to see if he'd try to argue or if he'd brush it off.
"I- What- How-"
Her smile was tinged with sadness as she reached up to cup his cheek. "Because of how you treat people. And how you help Trixie when you think no one's looking. And how all you've ever done is support me, no matter how much of an asshole I'm being to you at the time."
She let her thumb sweep across his cheekbone, giving in to the urge to bring her other hand up so she was cupping his face.
"You're a good person," she said, putting the force of all of her belief into the single sentence.
He was staring at her with wide, red-rimmed eyes. "I know you think-" he tried to protest, but she quieted him with her fingers on his lips. His eyes went even wider at that.
"No, I know," she told him, not moving her hand. "You're not a monster. Not to me, not to anyone who knows you."
He blinked, hard, and swallowed, before pressing a kiss to her fingertips before she took them away. She went back to cupping his face, thumbs moving in a constant rhythm. His mouth opened a couple times as if he was about to say something, but no sounds came out.
So she pulled his head down and kissed him.
He was pliant under her fingers and jolted at the first touch of her lips to his, like he hadn't actually expected her to go through with it. He got with the program quickly, though, and she couldn't help but smile into the kiss.
He nibbled on her bottom lip, sending a thrill of heat through her, as she licked across the seam of his lips, asking for entrance as he practically melted into her. A request that he granted, gladly if she went by the soft noise he made.
When she finally pulled back, just enough to be not quite touching, he made a little whine of protest before resting his forehead on hers. It was a weight she gladly bore. They were silent for a moment, and then she pulled back further, enough that he opened his eyes. They were bright — brighter than she'd seen in a while — and he looked so happy she almost forgot why she'd pulled away.
"Would you do me the honor-"
"Do you want-"
They both laughed and Chloe could feel a grin growing on her face as she motioned for him to go first.
"Would you like to go for dinner tomorrow night?" he asked, looking as nervous as she felt.
"Of course," she said with a grin, then leaned in to kiss him again.
In the back of her mind, Chloe had thought that if she ever started dating Lucifer, there would be some... big change in their relationship. He'd be more inappropriate maybe, or want her to put out immediately, or something.
She expected things to feel different, and instead, everything was... normal.
After making out on the couch like teenagers for half the night, they had eventually remembered the sandwiches and gone to eat those. The rest of the night passed with the usual gentle teasing and comfortable silence she'd gotten used to.
When she finally had to admit it was time for bed, Lucifer stood with her and pressed a soft kiss to her lips. In the privacy of her own room, she pressed her fingers against them for a moment before shaking her head and getting ready for bed. She felt like a silly teenager whose crush had just admitted to liking her back.
She felt like her heart would burst. She never really expected to feel that way again, not after Dan and Marcus had so thoroughly-
She shook her head, cutting off the thoughts and settled into her bed. She fell asleep with a smile on her face and sunk into happy dreams.
In the morning, she woke to the smell of bacon and the sound of it sizzling in the kitchen. When she ventured out of her bedroom, Lucifer was just plating breakfast, shirt sleeves rolled up to protect them from the grease, "Kiss the Cook" apron on to protect the rest of his clothes.
"Morning," she said, and his face lit up when he looked up and saw her. The intensity of his expression had her blushing and looking away.
"Good morning, Detective," he said and she could hear the happiness in his voice. Her gaze was pulled to him as though she were a magnet and he was her magnetic north, and she wondered when that had happened. Had she really become so wrapped up in him in under twelve hours or had it always been like this and she was just now noticing the depth of her feeling?
She had the suspicion that it was the latter and wasn't sure if she should be scared of that or not. Was it falling hard and fast when they'd known each other for years?
"Is everything alright?" he asked when she didn't say anything further or move into the room.
"Uh, yeah, just- Thinking about the case," she said, wincing a little.
His lips thinned, but he didn't call her on the lie.
"What'd you make?" she asked as she wondered if she could kiss him before sitting down. If she should kiss him, because he was watching her warily now, the look of pure joy on his face having faded.
"Just eggs in a basket," he said, and she could hear the false cheer in his voice.
Before she could ask what was wrong, he put down the plates and stepped back from the table instead of sitting like he normally would. Was this the part where he told her he was having second thoughts about being together?
"Second thoughts, darling?" he asked, his voice no less cheery than before, and for a startled moment she thought maybe she had said her own thoughts out loud.
But no, he was just asking if she had second thoughts, and judging by the way his jaw ticked and he looked braced for a blow, he thought he knew the answer already.
"Of course not," she said, stepping forward and reaching out to tug him toward her. She went up on her tiptoes and pressed a kiss to his lips as he sighed in soft relief. His hands found their way to her hips, holding her with fingers that dug in just a little too hard.
She broke away and sunk back to her heels as he let go too. "This," she said, motioning between them "us, isn't something I'm going to have second thoughts about. I've already had my second thoughts, and third thoughts, and you know what I decided?"
He shook his head dumbly, and she smiled a sad smile at him for a moment. His eyes were wide and so focused on her that she wasn't sure whether she wanted to squirm or bask in the attention.
"You're worth it," she said, and he blinked, then blinked again, harder, his eyes beginning to go glassy. She cupped his cheek with one hand, and repeated, "You're worth it. You're worth anything you could possibly throw at me."
He blinked hard, again, and she pulled him into a tight hug. He buried his face in her hair, holding her just as tightly as she was holding him. After a moment, she felt his lips against her head and she smiled into his chest. When she finally pulled back, he was smiling down at her with all the force of the sun, and he was radiant.
Later, as they were walking into the station, with Lucifer's hand at the small of her back and a satisfied smile on her face, she realized she should have talked to him about being circumspect around their coworkers. The last thing she wanted was to be split up because they were dating.
She felt like there was a neon sign hanging over them, advertising that she had kissed him last night and that morning. Advertising that they were a couple, should anyone glance their way. She almost shrugged off Lucifer's touch as they went through the doors, but it felt so... natural that she couldn't bring herself to do it.
And she needn't have worried. No one said a thing to her, or even looked at them twice. It was like nothing had changed.
There was a note from Ella on Chloe's desk, so soon they found themselves in the lab while Ella turned down the music she had blasting.
"You guys, you're not gonna believe this," she said as soon as she could be heard over the music.
Lucifer had already wandered off to poke around the lab, leaving Chloe to ask, "What?"
Ella shoved a printout of security cam footage of what Chloe recognized as the street by Lux. There was a figure in a hooded robe, his face just barely visible in the light. He looked weird, to be sure, but not any weirder than the rest of LA.
"This guy's at all the crime scenes! Or at least someone who looks like him. Not actually the same guy since he can't be in more than once place at once."
"Okay, good," Chloe said, grabbing the waving photo out of Ella's hand so she could study it more closely. There wasn't anything remarkable about the guy, beyond the robe. Mid-40s, light hair, no identifying marks that she could see. "But this isn't our case," she added as an afterthought.
"I know," Ella said. "And I already gave it to Dawson." She grimaced and shook her head, but didn't say anything else about the arson guys. "But I thought you guys would want to see it too. Just in case."
"Is he a monk or something?" Chloe asked, squinting a bit as she tried to make out a line of something on the edge of the hood. Lucifer had wandered back over, and was looking over her shoulder at the printout.
"Running the stitching along the edge of the robe wasn't helpful but one of the guys in Vice says it might be the cross and daisy symbols of the Holy Order of the Wandering Rabbits." Ella shrugged, but Chloe could feel Lucifer jerk a little against her back.
"Hm," he said and plucked the printout from her hands to examine it more closely. "It seems your man in Vice is on to something. I recognize this stitching as those sanctimonious little buggers."
When both Ella and Chloe turned to him, he shrugged. "They have a monastery in the southern end of the city. Sometimes they show up to protest outside Lux."
"And you didn't think to tell anyone?" Chloe demanded, wanting to shake him. "They could be — probably are — dangerous!"
"Well they're hardly the only ones, darling. If I spent all my time being concerned with street preachers and monks who don't like the Devil living in LA, I'd have no time for you."
Ella made a squeaky noise that Chloe ignored. Lucifer just looked delighted at it.
"You'd also have no time for me-" she could feel the tips of her ears go red at that "-if you got... exorcised or whatever it is "street preachers and monks" do to devils."
"That's ghosts," he said, which wasn't her point at all.
She sighed in frustration and nodded her head a bit in a "touché" gesture. It wasn't worth getting into at the moment. "Dawson and Cricks already know this?" she asked Ella instead.
"Yeah, they warned me not to tell you guys, but that's ridiculous. It's not like Lucifer's a real suspect."
"Thank you, Miss Lopez," he said with an all too smug smile on his face.
"Yeah, okay," Chloe said and turned towards the door. "I have to finish paperwork to close the Aisley case. Are you coming with me?"
He grimaced and looked torn, which made her laugh a little. "I'm sure you can find something else to do; you don't have to."
The relief on his face was so overblown she laughed again, smiling at him as he said, "As much as I'd love to spend the time with you, I'll pass on watching you do paperwork. I need to talk to some firms about rebuilding Lux."
"That's fine," she said. "I suppose I'll see you when I get home?"
"Of course," he said, and hesitated, before pressing a quick kiss to her lips then turning and striding out of the lab.
Chloe turned to Ella, whose eyes were huge with glee. "Not a word," she said, pointing a finger. "Not a single word."
Ella mimed zipping her lips, which was good enough for Chloe.
At the end of the day, Lucifer was nowhere to be found, so Chloe headed home to get ready for their date.
She showered and did her makeup before hurrying to her bedroom. A tiny, vain part of her wanted to make an entrance, and there was no reason not to give into that impulse.
He hadn't told her where they were going — just to be ready for seven — so she pulled out her little black dress and shimmied into it. It hugged all the right places and took attention away from the pieces of her body she could never quite convince herself to like.
Her earrings were missing. The outfit wasn't complete without the diamond and rose gold earrings that went with her necklace. It had been ages since she'd been able to wear them, so they could be anywhere. But, after tearing her jewelry box apart, she had to admit that they weren't there.
She could recognize she was channeling her nerves into the search for the earrings but wasn't that a good thing? At least she wasn't biting her newly painted nails or tracking down Lucifer to demand he tell her where they were going so she could be sure to dress appropriately. Most importantly, at least she wasn't letting that niggling doubt break her and have her break up with him before they really got to be anything.
The shower had been off for a while and it was possible the box with her earrings had been put in the medicine cabinet or a drawer, so she crept out of her room and down to the bathroom.
The door was closed and she was about to flee back to her room when it opened and Lucifer nearly walked into her. His hair was impeccable, not a single bit out of place, and he was wearing slacks.
But that was all he was wearing.
Her eyes was drawn to the cut of his abs, the vee of his hips. She wanted to lick her way down the dark trail of hair that disappeared into his slacks. She was so intent on admiring him that she almost didn't register his small gasp.
When she tore her eyes away from his chest and met his gaze, the look in them took her breath away. He looked stunned and like he wanted to worship her.
"You look..." he started, but couldn't seem to finish, his mouth opening and closing more than once.
She glanced back down at his torso and licked her lips unconsciously.
"Yeah," she said, meeting his darkening gaze and licking her lips deliberately. "You too."
He shook his head a little, and she wasn't sure if he was denying it or denying her interpretation. The little laugh he huffed out didn't help, either, as he lifted a hand and ran the back of his fingers gently down her loose hair, before dropping it and stepping back.
"You are beautiful beyond words, darling," he murmured, finally, and she knew she was starting to blush. "On a normal day, you are the moon, and I want to bask in your beauty, but right now- Right now you're the sun, as if I'll be struck blind by looking too long."
What could she say in response to that? Instead of trying — and to hide how furiously she was blushing — she stepped forward and pulled him into a kiss.
She meant it to be a quick thing, just to distract him from saying anything else, but she found herself deepening it, her hands resting on the hard plane of his chest. When she started to slide them lower, he caught her wrists with a strangled groan and broke away from her mouth.
"We'll be late," he said, strain and indecision coloring his voice.
A part of her wanted to tell him that she didn't care. But she did. She wanted to go on a proper date with him. So she regretfully took a step back.
"Go get dressed," she said and was surprised at how breathless she sounded, "while I touch up my makeup."
She watched him walk away, unashamedly watching the way the muscles of his back flexed and only vaguely noting that his scars were gone. He turned back with a saucy, knowing grin before disappearing around the corner. She could only shake her head in amusement and resume her search for her earrings.
The date was magical, like Lucifer had been planning it for a long, long time. They talked and laughed and ate good food and drank good wine and not once did she regret saying yes.
When it was over, he kissed her at the door like he was dropping her off, with a sweetness she didn't know he possessed, then opened it for her and followed her in.
As soon as the door closed behind them, Lucifer had her pressed against it and was kissing her with a hunger that threatened to consume her if she let it.
His feverish touch lit a fire in her, and she had his suit jacket off and shirt untucked in seconds. Her hands ran up his sides, under his shirt, drawing a shiver out of him. When he bit lightly on her pulse point, she gasped and arched into his touch.
"I was thinking-"
She didn't know how he had the ability to form sentences as he mouthed his way down her neck and one of her hands came up to bury itself in his hair, but she made a noise of interest anyway.
"-there's a house-" he started, and she used her grip in his hair to pull his head away from her neck.
"Are you seriously trying to use sex to get me to agree to this?" she snapped, the rising heat in her cooling so swiftly she felt light-headed.
"No!" he said, looking appalled. Then he paused, a lopsided smile on his face and looking considering, and asked, "Would it work?"
"No!" She pushed him back and slipped out from between him and the door, walking further into the room, not caring if he was joking. She whirled on him as he followed her, pointing a finger at him sharply. "You don't get to try to manipulate me with sex."
He looked so hurt at that, she almost regretted saying it. But if they were going to do this, she needed to set boundaries, damn it, and that was one of them.
"I would never-"
"Lucifer," she said, forcing her voice to stay calm. "You do that to people all the time. You've flirted and seduced and bargained your way through life up here. And I'm okay with that. I'd never try to tell you to stop. But you're not going to do it to me."
"I would never," he said, and only the desperation in his voice had her believing him. "Chloe, I'd never do that to you. You're not-" He stopped and took a deep breath before cautiously stepping toward her. "I'd never intentionally- You have to know that I-"
She couldn't handle the desperation and fear on his face anymore, and stepped into his space to meet him, hand going up to cup his cheek as she said, "I believe you. I know it's not intentional, but it's- It's like a landslide, and I can't get caught up in it."
"Alright," he said, going to pull away, but she didn't let him, instead drawing his face down so she could kiss him again.
"You're not buying us a house," she murmured against his lips, figuring that he might need to hear it to get it really stuck in his brain.
"Even though Maze has gone off to who knows where-" he started, but she shushed him with another kiss.
And then added, "She fucked off to San Francisco, that's not "who knows where"."
He laughed, but it still sounded tight and worried. So she deepened the kiss and slid her hands around his body to dip into the back of his waistband.
"Okay?" she asked, just to be sure he was still on board.
"More than," he said, and he sounded more sure of himself, of them.
So she let it go and squeezed his ass, the pleased sound he made in response going straight to her core. Then his hands were stripping off her shirt and she was unbuttoning his as fast as she could, and all thoughts about houses flew from her mind.
Over the next few days, Lucifer had taken to brooding more. After an appointment with Linda, he came home and asked if they could talk. Chloe's heart leaped in her throat for a moment before she nodded and followed him into the living room.
He was quiet for a long time, staring at his hands and fiddling with his fingers. He looked pale, and drawn, and most of all worried. So Chloe sat next to him, his body a line of heat down her side, and relaxed a little when he leaned into her.
"I don't want to break up," he finally blurted out, desperately, glancing at her sideways and then looking away quickly like he couldn't bear to see her reaction.
She blinked and twisted around so she was facing him. "We're not going to break up," she said, trying for soothing but just ending up sounding worried. She didn't want to ask him what he'd done — that wasn't fair to him — but she didn't know what else could make him think they were going to break up.
"Do you... not want to find a house together because you don't see this — us — lasting?"
He was twisting his hands together, and it took a minute for her to register the question, it was so ridiculous. How could he think- In what world did-
"Lucifer, no," she said finally, grabbing his white-knuckled hands and squeezing them. "C'mere babe," she added, and pulled him into a tight hug. He wrapped his arms around her with a shudder and squeezed as she asked, "Is that what's got you all broody?"
"I am not broody," he said, managing to sound indignant even though he was clinging to her and had his face buried in her hair.
"Of course not," she said, patting his shoulder a little before she let go and sat back. "So that's what has you so not-broody? That I think renting a place together is a bad idea right now?"
"I don't understand," he admitted and gestured around vaguely as he added, "I thought this was going well."
"It is," she said, leaning back against the couch and taking his hands where they were back to being white-knuckled on his knees. "But this was only ever supposed to be temporary. And sometimes things that work when they're temporary don't when they're longterm."
He didn't look like he understood what she was saying — and he definitely wasn't reassured by it, judging by the way his jaw ticked — so she tried a different approach.
"You always expected to go back to living at Lux or somewhere else, right?" He nodded warily. "Well people behave differently when they're a guest in someone's home. You get that, right?"
He nodded again, looking like he wanted to protest, but she raised a hand and pressed her fingertips against his lips. He kissed them with a hint of a smirk, but didn't try to interrupt her.
"So just because we work right now while you're a guest here doesn't mean it would be the same if you weren't." She could feel a knot growing in her stomach as she talked, trying to get around saying "I could never afford to live in a place that would meet your standards" without actually saying it.
"You and me," she continued, "we're in it for the long term. At least I hope we are." The soft, happy smile on his face when she said that was more reassuring than words could ever be. "But can you really picture yourself living with Trixie right now? I mean if the place was filled with your things and she could get sticky hands all over everything?"
He didn't take time to consider it, which was worrisome, but his immediate answer was, "Of course. And I suppose I can admit that she's less prone to being sticky now."
She smiled at that, but didn't back down. "Lucifer, I'm serious. Can you really picture that? Would you really be okay with that?"
"I wouldn't be here if I couldn't," he said, meeting her eyes with a fierce resolution, as if daring her to ask him one more time.
"Are you certain?" This had been one of her reservations about being in a relationship with Lucifer. She was rapidly approaching middle aged, she had a child, she didn't travel in anything that even approximated his social circles, but Trixie was the big one. He didn't do kids, and if he couldn't handle Trixie then she couldn't be with him.
"Chloe, I wouldn't start lying to you now. I've-" He looked away for a moment before looking back, meeting her gaze, resolute. "I've talked it over with Dr. Linda. She- We don't think it will be a problem, but I suppose it's impossible to be certain unless we try."
"Okay, and what happens if it doesn't work out?" And there it was, her big fear laid out on the table. "What happens if you stay with us, and then six months, a year from now it turns out we're not as good together as we think we'd be, and I'd have to uproot Trixie all over again to find somewhere new to live."
"You wouldn't be the one who had to leave, darling, I'd make sure of it." He looked so, so certain of this, so certain that he could just make it so with a thought, that she had to bring it up.
"I could never afford to stay in a place that would meet your standards," she said. "I'm a cop. I don't exactly bring in the big bucks, which is why I was living in my mom's house and why I have- had Maze as as roommate."
"I wouldn't-" he started, but she could see where he was going with it and interrupted him before he got anywhere.
"No, I will not live in a house where my boyfriend is also my landlord."
He opened and closed his mouth at that, brow crinkled adorably. There was the hitch in his plan. He had God knew how much money, and she had a cop's salary. Child support from Dan. And that was it.
He sighed a little, and finally said, "Will you at least look at the house I found?"
She sighed too. This was going to be a discussion that needed to be had many times over before it sunk in, she could tell. But what could it hurt?
"Sure, fine, show me."
He grabbed his tablet with a grin and quickly pulled up a listing. It was... it was actually a good choice. Three bedrooms, two baths, set back from the road a bit and in one of the best school districts in LA. She would almost be a fool to not discuss how they could make it work.
And then she caught sight of the price tag. It wasn't for rent; it was for sale and it was for sale for much, much more than she could afford for a mortgage payment every month.
Still, she swiped through the pictures while Lucifer looked on, his nervousness visible on his pinched face. There were some interesting design choices — why a carpeted bathroom? why? — but nothing that really stood out as major flaws.
When she was done, it was with a heart full of regret that she put it down and turned back to Lucifer.
"There is zero chance I could afford that mortgage payment," she said, firm and trying to keep the regret out of her voice so he wouldn't have anything to pick at, any way to weasel her into agreeing.
"That's the beauty of it," he said, his eyes lighting up like she had shown him the path to getting what he wanted. "I would buy it and you-"
"Yes, absolutely," she said and regretted it when his eyes lit up. "You should buy it and you should live there, but I can't just-"
"But that's not the point of it," he said, frowning. "I wouldn't want to live there if not with you and your spawn."
But she wasn't really listening, rolling right over him with, "-move into a house you own. What happens when we fight and you want to kick us out-"
"I would nev-" he started, trying to deny it, but she kept on going.
"-and I can't just uproot Trixie and move to... yes, okay, the best school district near the station. But it wouldn't be fair to make her change schools again. It just wouldn't fair to her and-"
"I already talked to Beatrice about it and she's fine with it," he said, bringing her torrent of words to a screeching halt.
"You what?" They were going to have to do some serious boundary setting after this conversation.
"Er," he said, blinking and leaning back a bit.
"Who else did you talk to?" she asked, leaning toward him, using her body to intimidate him into answering without talking around the truth. As if it were actually possible for her to do that.
"Well," he said and stopped.
"I talked to Maze and... checked with Daniel-"
Something on her face had him stopping short. If he had orchestrated Maze leaving, she was going to kill him. If he thought Dan could dictate anything about where she lived in LA, she would kill him.
"Mixing money and friends is always a bad thing," she said with finality instead of any of the other words that wanted to rip their way out of her throat.
"No," she said and got up and walked calmly to her bedroom, shut the door, and screamed into a pillow.
He didn't come check on her.
The problem was, she couldn't let it go.
Later that night, she pulled it up on her own tablet, just to... well, just to torture herself, she supposed. Because there was no way she could afford it. Absolutely no way.
No. There was no "and yet." How could he have dangled this in front of her face, knowing she could never accept? How could he have- Except he was Lucifer and he didn't understand why it was entirely inappropriate.
And it was such a nice house. Just much too expensive.
They had the talk about boundaries, about discussing major life changes involving her with her first. Lucifer didn't bring up the house at all, which she was glad for, because she had looked into the school district more and it really would have been great for Trixie to be going to that school and not, well.
But she can't afford it. And no matter how many times she checked her savings account, she would never be able to afford a downpayment, never mind a fraction of the mortgage. And she couldn't — she just couldn't — let Lucifer buy it outright for her. That was crossing a line.
And that was all well and good, up until her house burned down.
It happened in the middle of the day. They were at work, Trixie was at school.
It could've been worse. It absolutely could have been worse. No one was hurt. The fire was mostly confined to her bedroom. She wouldn't need to replace all the belongings of Trixie and Maze in addition to hers.
It could have been worse.
By the time she and Lucifer came to a screeching stop at the edge of the circled group of rubberneckers, the firefighters had the blaze out. The air felt thick, hot and stifling, and even though Chloe knew she was only imagining it, she was finding it hard to breathe.
It could have been so much worse.
She was out of the car and pushing her way through the crowd, only vaguely aware of Lucifer trailing behind her. The voices of the crowd buzzed in her ears, like a mosquito that wouldn't let her think.
They already had the details from the dispatcher. The fire itself was confined to her bedroom. The arson investigators would be looking for the ignition point as soon as they were okayed to go in.
She stopped at the line the uniforms were holding, staring at the smoke curling up from the back of the house, unable to make herself go any further even as the officer in front of her recognized her and waved her through. Her hands were trembling.
She became aware of Lucifer's voice slowly as he came around in front of her. A part of her wanted to ease the panic in his voice; dealing with his worry and probable guilt would be so much easier than dealing with everything else. But she couldn't. She needed-
Dark movement at the edge of the crowd opposite her caught her eye. It was a man in a monk's robe, slipping away.
"Lucifer," she snapped and pointed.
He immediately zeroed in on who she was pointing at, and she barely had time to see his mouth firm into a harsh line before he was off, long legs eating up the ground. Her own personal attack dog.
The monk saw Lucifer coming and began to run. It wasn't enough to save him. She walked slowly across the open space, behind the fire truck, in between the squad cars, and through the crowd of people. Half of them were watching the firefighters still, the other half had turned to watch the new drama.
She took her time making it through the crowd. She could see Lucifer well enough, one knee on the suspect's back and grinding his face into the ground with a hand fisted in his hair. She watched calmly as Lucifer bent down further to talk directly into the monk's ear. There was a horrified shriek, and then the monk was screaming and struggling, trying to get away.
Lucifer held him easily.
Maybe she should be more horrified by this. Maybe she should feel something other than an intense, vindictive pleasure in the monk's feral fear. Maybe, if she were a better person, she would. But she wasn't and she didn't.
As she came to stand beside them, Lucifer looked up at her, his eyes still aglow with the fires of Hell. She realized it didn't scare her anymore. This part of him. He was right. It had always been there, she had just been refusing to see it.
"Let him up," she said quietly.
Lucifer stood, dragging the monk up by the nape of his neck like an errant kitten. Chloe didn't even wait for him to gain his footing before punching him in the face, hard enough to split his lip and one of her knuckles. It felt good.
She shook out her hand as one of the uniforms came up to them.
"Deliver him to arson," she said as Lucifer handed the monk over to the uniform. "I think he wants to make a full confession."
As they walked away — the monk no longer screaming but sobbing incontrollably instead — she turned back to her house. She had insurance. She would be able to replace her things. It would be okay. It could have been much, much worse.
She jumped as Lucifer took her hand. "What are you-"
"You're bleeding," he said, lifting up her hand to inspect it. She realized, somewhat clinically, that she was shaking. Her knuckles hurt, but it was a distant sort of sensation.
"I-" she started, but couldn't continue, not sure what she was going to say but feeling like she had to say something. She was shaking harder.
Lucifer didn't seem sure what to do, and after a moment of hesitation, he pulled her into a tight hug. Her arms came up around him, at first loosely and then clinging to him like he was the only thing keeping her afloat.
Then, Chloe started to cry.
"Here's what we're going to do."
It was two days later, and they were staying in a hotel suite that probably cost more per night than her rent every month. She was letting Lucifer pay for it, no argument. She was treating herself. Everything in her bedroom had been a loss, she had no insurance money yet, and she needed to somehow afford a new wardrobe, a new place to live, and countless other things using just her savings. She didn't know if she had enough for first, last, and a security deposit, never mind the rest of what she needed.
She'd been turning the idea over in her head constantly since Lucifer brought it up, and maybe this was a sign. Not from God — fuck God — but from the universe at large.
Trixie was enjoying the hotel stay and didn't seem bothered that they couldn't go back to their house yet to collect her things; it was an active crime scene still. She'd woken up with nightmares once the first night, and crawled into bed to sleep between Chloe and Lucifer. Chloe had expected him to complain, but he just moved over sleepily as Trixie climbed over him, and went back to sleep. In the morning, he didn't mention it.
Lucifer sat up at attention, glancing toward the cracked door to Trixie's room in the suite. Chloe smiled a half smile, letting amusement get the better of her for a moment.
"Not that, yet," she said. "Although I should probably close her door for this discussion."
She got up and shut the door softly, only taking a moment to stand there and watch her baby sleeping. If Trixie had been home when the arsonist had been setting the fire...
No, she wasn't thinking about that.
"Yet?" Lucifer asked, smirking just the tiniest bit in an altogether too attractive way. "Why Detective, do you have designs on me tonight?"
"You could say that," she said, then sobered. "We need to talk."
The smirk fell off Lucifer's face immediately and a brief look of panic flashed across it as he visibly tensed, and just as visibly forced himself to appear relaxed.
She didn't waste time trying to reassure him that she didn't mean it like that, she just dove into the conversation.
"Look, here's what we're going to do. We — me and you — are going to buy this house together. I will put up some of the down payment and pay what I'm paying now in rent. You will put up the re-"
"But why go through the trouble when I can just buy it outright?" he asked, looking genuinely confused. "I had planned-"
"No way buster," she said, shaking her head. "If you're so desperate to do this you can live like a normal person and have a mortgage and all those other responsible human things you've never had to do."
He regarded her for a moment, still confused, but finally sighed. "Fine, a mortgage, I can do that. Even if it's ridiculous."
She already had her mouth open to continue the argument and ended up gawping like a fish, brought up short by his easy agreement. She hadn't expected him to just... agree to her terms like that. At the very least, she expected a token resistance.
She snapped her mouth shut and waited a moment for him to take it back. When he didn't, she said, "...Okay. So let's do this."
"Now?" he asked, glancing to the digital clock by the TV, which showed it was nearing midnight. Then he narrowed his eyes. "Is this what gets you going, Detective? Talk of mortgages? Loan rates? Private mortgage insurance?" he finished in as seductive a voice as he could manage.
He had got up and was leaning over her by the time she started to laugh. She shoved him a little, making him rock back on his heels, a self-satisfied smile on his face. She shook her head and stood, too, before grabbing the front of his shirt and pulling him closer for a deep kiss.
In the morning, when she woke up, it was to Lucifer sitting next to her in bed, talking quietly to someone on his phone. She snuggled closer and his free hand absently started running through her hair, gently untangling it from its sleep-mussed state.
She had barely begun to enjoy it when his hand froze, and she looked up in time to see his face fall.
"I see," he said, and then, "I'll let you know," and hung up.
He looked so crestfallen that she was immediately awake.
"What? What happened?" she demanded, pushing herself up, adrenaline already starting to course through her.
"The house was sold." He wasn't looking at her, focused on some distant point ahead of him. There was a catch in his voice, like he thought his only chance at cohabited bliss had been torpedoed.
She flopped back down onto the bed. "There are other houses, Lucifer," she reminded him, before buring her face into his hip and throwing an arm across his legs. It didn't sound like Trixie was awake yet; maybe she could catch a few more minutes of sleep.
"Yes, but," he started and paused, before saying quietly, "This one was perfect."
"Mm," she said, patting his leg comfortingly. "I'm sure we'll be able to find another just as perfect. There're a lot of houses in LA."
One of his hands came to rest over hers on his leg, and she threaded her fingers through his, squeezing gently. It was sometimes hard to remember that this was new to him and he was just as afraid of losing it as she was. Maybe moreso, because he had less experience to know how to work things out when they went sour.
Not that she was great at that either, looking at her history with Dan.
Instead of dwelling on it, she let go of his hand long enough that she could pointedly put his other one on her head again. He chuckled lightly and obligingly began running his fingers through her hair.
"We'll find another place," she mumbled. "Soon. But not right now."
Then she was drifting off again, the comforting heat of him and the feeling of his hand in her hair lulling her back into sleep.
The arson case wrapped up quickly after that, the monk's confession implicating his entire small monastery. They were arrested and Lucifer went down to lockup to put the fear of him into them. They wouldn't have to worry about any more arson from that corner.
"So was it one of your siblings?" Chloe asked one night as they lay together on the hotel bed, browsing Zillow for houses together. She was proud of herself for being able to say it without pausing in the middle, without giving herself time to swallow before saying "siblings."
Lucifer sighed. "I can't be sure which one, but yes. They used a Messenger, and the odds of tracking whatever poor soul was used for that, well..."
"Mm." Chloe turned over how she felt about that, peering at it from multiple angles. In the end, there was little she could do about divine interference. She would have to trust Lucifer to protect her. It grated, yes, but there was little she could do about it, beyond maybe having Maze teach her some self defense when she came back.
"You needn't worry, darling," Lucifer said, and he opened his mouth to continue but Chloe beat him to it.
"I'm not," she said, leaning up enough that she could peck him on the cheek. "I know you'll do your best to make sure I'm safe."
"You have no idea," he murmured and set the tablet aside, turning more fully into her so he could capture her lips with a fervent kiss. She made a mental note to dig into what he meant by that later, and gave herself to the heat growing between them.
In the end, they found a house they and Trixie could all agree on. It was smaller and less expensive than the original one Lucifer had found, but no closer to being in Chloe's budget, so their agreement stood.
"Welcome home," she murmured to Lucifer as Trixie ran ahead of them and through the open front door, yelling about getting to pick her own room.
"Yes, it is, isn't it?" he said, wonder tinging his voice. When she glanced to him, trying to puzzle out what he meant, he clarified with, "A home."
"Your home," she said, understanding filling her.
She went up on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek, then followed Trixie inside, Lucifer at her heels. It was their home, and no matter what lay ahead for them, in that moment, she had never been happier.