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The Heart Of Worship

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The rush of displaced air gusts a sheaf of stapled paperwork backwards off the coffee table as Lucifer's wings roll free from his shoulder blades in a breaking wave of faintly luminous white. 

 

She admires him from a safe distance as he neatly folds his shirt and sets it to one side - her devil, her morning star, the most dangerous creature on planet Earth. The smaller feathers closest to his scapulae can't be much longer than her little finger, but the big ones at the tips of his wings are nearly as long as her arm, and they all glow dimly like an old star, illuminating the long, tanned lines of his back and beyond. 

 

He eyes the chair she's set out on the balcony as though it might bite him, and there's a poorly-concealed edge of skittishness to his voice as he dubiously offers, "And you're, uh. Quite certain about this, then, Detective?"

 

She pads barefoot across the room to join him in the late afternoon sunshine, setting her glass on the coffee table as she passes it with a gentle clink that sounds like a decision made. He swivels to face her, lifting his left wing up and over her head in a smooth, effortless motion that still stalls her brain with the sudden, mind-bending reminder that they're a part of him, part of his body that moves and feels and aches like any other, because Lucifer Morningstar is not human

 

"I don't want to do anything you're not comfortable with," she says as she slides into his personal space to rest her hands on the lean cut of his hips and stroke her thumbs soothingly across the bare skin just above his waistband, "so if you'd rather -"

 

"No," he says quickly, leaning into the contact, into her , like she's magnetic. "I want to, I just - you're sure you don't mind?" There's an awkward chuckle stuck in his throat that sounds more like a gulp. "I'd hate to be a bother."

 

God, she loves him, this wonderfully thoughtful, generous man who gives and gives and gives of himself until she's spent and shaking and never thinks to ask for anything in return. Her arms come up to wind around his neck as she lifts up on her tiptoes to kiss him, and she feels him shiver and hum contentedly against her lips as he hooks his fingers into her belt loops. He's love-dazed and happy when she pulls away, and it takes him a second to react when she murmurs, "Lucifer. You're never a bother. I want to take care of you."

 

Whatever he's about to say catches on his tongue, and he swallows it rather than spit it out, but that's okay. He's heard so few loving words in his time, and she knows how often they still taste wrong in his mouth. He kisses her again instead and she winds her fingers into his carefully-styled hair, freeing soft curls from the rigid hold of an hour's worth of morning fussing and expensive product.

 

"I looked up how to do it and everything," she murmurs against his lips when he finally pulls away, tugging a little at the short strands at the back of his head to hear the breath sigh out of him in a sound that isn't a moan yet but easily could be. Her nose is brushing against his and god , he's so tall and handsome and hers . "All my targeted ads are about birds now. And some, uh, creative Diablo fanfiction. Google thinks I'm a weirdo."

 

Lucifer chokes, and a laugh blurts out of him like a rusty engine spluttering to life; he reluctantly lets go of her to sit down, straddling the chair with his arms folded along the back. He holds his wings halfway open, with plenty of space for her in between, but there's a tense, agitated set to them, feathers puffed uneasily as though he senses a threat. 

 

She says his name, soft and soothing, and he takes in a breath that shudders its way down to his lungs. "It's alright, Detective," he tells her, and she believes him because he doesn't lie. "It's not you, it's just - I'm - it's been a while since anyone did this for me."

 

She takes a step, just the one, to put him back within reach, and his shiver runs through his feathers like a summer breeze through trembling leaves. Avoiding the wings for now, she lays her hands on the stiff slope of his shoulders instead, digging her thumbs into the base of his neck to knead the muscle. She's spent enough evenings bleeding tension from his neck and shoulders as he lay purring with his head in her lap to be confident he likes this 

 

Up this close she can see the difference, night and day, between the larger feathers he can easily reach at the outer edges and the soft, downy fluff where feathers fade into skin. The latter are disordered and untidy, so unlike her fastidious devil, and verging on grey compared to the sheen of the cleaner feathers. "How long is a while?"

 

Lucifer sighs at her touch, and although he doesn't relax instantly it's as though something softens in him, a sharp edge she hadn't even realised he'd bared. She watches the dark cut of his stubble from behind him, the sharp line of his jaw, as he offers, "Not since I lived in the Silver City."

 

The words coil, thick and heavy as anchoring ropes, in the pit of her gut. Her human brain, with a lifespan of a century if she's very lucky, can't even begin to conceive of such a long and lonely period of neglect. It takes a second even to register that that means he's not had anyone groom him in all the time she's known him, and then it hits her like a rapid-fire series of slaps. Not in her lifetime. Not in the lifetime of anyone still living. Not in all of human history. "Seriously? All that time?"

 

He hums noncommittally and cants his head sideways to give her massaging fingers better access to the corded muscle joining his neck and shoulder. She takes the hint, and moves her focus to that spot. He gets a recurring knot of anxious tension there that she's become intimately familiar with since his father came to Earth, and she seeks it out automatically. "Not even Maze?"

 

For a second, the name hangs like a dark cloud between them, and she kicks herself for saying it. She's still not sure where Maze is - doesn't he knows, either - but she knows he's still angry, that whatever Maze did before she disappeared was one step too far for Lucifer. 

 

Eventually, choosing his words carefully, he offers, "Mazikeen was my most loyal demon, Detective, but you must have noticed that even she has - oh, that's nice - a prodigious aptitude for betrayal."

 

"You didn't trust her to touch your wings," she says softly. 

 

His head is drooping, gradually making its way down to rest on his folded arms, muscles flexing as he presses back against her hands. He's relaxing now, eyelids shuttering to half-mast, like her touch softens not just his uneasiness, but also the edges of the armour he wears around his soul. So it slips from his lips easily, naturally, past the barricade of jokes and sarcasm he normally uses to cordon off the lonely eons he spent in the dark; "Can't trust anyone in Hell, darling. Not even Maze. You'd be amazed what my rivals would pay for a pair of angel wings, with or without the rest of me attached."

 

He chuckles to himself as though there's humor in that rather than horror, but he doesn't elaborate and she forces herself to resist the urge to probe further. She wants to know everything about her devil, all his sharp edges and ancient scars, but his past is something she's coaxing out of him gently and in tiny increments, one painful anecdote at a time, given to her like precious keepsakes in soft, quiet moments when her arms and her heart can offer him a safe haven, somewhere he can admit how raw and deep his wounds run.

 

He never refuses to answer her questions about Hell or the countless eons he spent there, but his shoulders draw up defensively and his lively demeanor flattens when he speaks of it, as though even the name of the place rejects anything good and sweet and kind. And Lucifer - who created light, who is light, this man she loves more than life - has already spent far too long in the dark. 

 

Still, an ornate antique vial hovers above a wine glass in her mind's eye and she feels her gaze boring into the back of his dark head as she hesitantly ventures, "You trust me, though?"

 

His eyes widen fractionally and his head tilts to lock eyes with her. He regards her with the warmth of the freshly-brewed coffee he always brings her first thing in the morning, his reply a soft, immediate tug at her heartstrings. "I do, Detective."

 

Something in her chest grips her heart and squeezes, and when her words fail her she bends over and presses a lingering kiss to his shoulder. His skin is smooth and sun-warmed and sprinkled with freckles, too many to count. She knows because she's tried, marking each one with a kiss in the hours between late night and early morning, when time goes weightless and liquid around them. "I'm gonna start on your wings now, okay?"

 

He's relaxed considerably throughout her massage, and now his celestial limbs droop, bowed against the balcony floor. One of them spasms a little when he tries to move it and - she realises it's asleep , like it's an arm or a leg, because these heavenly, glowing things her brain keeps passing off as costume pieces are real and attached and feeling . He spreads them out to their full wingspan with a twitch of a muscle in his back that she's certain humans do not possess, and his feathers ruffle in what might be anticipation, or an attempt to wake his drowsy body back up. "Have at it, darling."

 

Which - 

 

Her hands still, scant inches above his opalescent plumage, hovering awkwardly in mid-air, as her eyes travel from the tip of one graceful, arched limb to the tip of the other, and finally she asks, "Is...is there a certain way you want me to do this, or?"

 

His answering rumble of laughter is liquid warmth, trickling honey-sweet down her spine, and he smiles at her from the corner of his eye. "Top to bottom, if you don't mind. But it mostly comes down to personal preference, so you've plenty of leeway."

 

His breath catches when her hands land, resting reverently on the high arch of his closest wing for a moment before she sinks her fingers into his plumage and he sighs that breath out in a long exhale that sounds like coming home, like her hands belong there and he never realised it until just now. His eyelids flutter closed, long eyelashes against sharp cheekbones.

 

She cards her fingers through his feathers tentatively, working from the top, getting a feel for how to lay them flat. The vanes seem to 'zip' neatly together as she combs them into place, and occasionally Lucifer lets out a small sound of approval. 

 

"Is this okay? I'm not hurting you?"

 

He doesn't open his eyes, this time. "Not at all, darling. You can dig in a little if you like; you won't be strong enough to pull any feathers out that aren't already loose."

 

Experimenting, she scritches her fingernails lightly against the skin beneath his feathers, and he rumbles with pleasure. “ Perfect .”

 

It's surprisingly relaxing. Lucifer's feathers are soft and sleek and slip easily into place under her combing fingers as she straightens them, working in neat, orderly sections. She works inwards, starting with the bigger feathers while she’s still getting used to the motions, and moving onto the smaller ones closer to his skin as she gets more comfortable, and sometimes when she brushes against the skin beneath the plumage his mouth quirks and he wriggles, gooseflesh raising beneath her touch. 

 

Oil pearls to meet her hands as she works through his feathers, colourless and smelling faintly of ozone, like the liminal quiet before a storm breaks. He shifts his shoulders to guide her hands, enjoying the attention, and when her fingers accidentally skate over his oil gland he startles like she shocked him and his wing lifts, arching, pressing into her hand. Half a smile twists her mouth. “Ticklish?”

 

His voice sounds strained, and his hips twitch as she repeats the motion. “Something like that.”

 

"Oh," she says, and then, " Oh . You like this, don't you?"

 

He makes a deep, lazy rumble of assent. "A little more than I anticipated."

 

That's unexpected, she thinks, even as her body responds to him, an answering spark kindling low in her gut. She keeps working, keeps her hands moving, but she's painfully aware of him now, the faint tremor in the wings when she touches him, the way his breath hitches in his throat and comes out as half a moan when her fingers brush the oil gland near his ribs. 

 

She tugs gently at handfuls of feathers, experimenting, and he groans, huffing a laugh. “You’re going to be the death of me, Detective.”

 

She purses her lips around her pleasure at the effect she has on him, teasing, "Feels good?" 

 

Lucifer’s voice is wryly affectionate, sending a hot cascade of want down her spine, where it settles into the steady heat in her belly. “You know it does, you cheeky minx.” 

 

“What does this feel like?” she asks him, watching his shoulders move as he breathes, the slow, gentle movement of his hips. 

 

She leans in to kiss him again, his cheek this time, and he tilts his face into it. “Mm?” 

 

“You know.” She removes one hand from his wing, her skin soft and gleaming with oil, and trails the backs of her fingers down his arm from his broad shoulder to his elbow and back, feather-light. “Is it more like when I touch you here?” 

 

Her hand strokes down the broad planes of his back, following an erratic pathway of freckles around the faint ridges of his ribs, leaning down to get closer to him. Her mouth hovers bare inches from the outer shell of his ear when her wandering hand skirts teasingly across the front of his pants to cup him through the fabric and gently squeeze. “Or here?”

 

She’s close enough to hear his lips part. Lucifer lifts his head from his arms and tips it back against her shoulder, putting his weight on her to rock his hips up against her hand. “ Detective ,” he murmurs, as much a plea as a warning, and doesn’t answer the question. 

 

She lingers there for a moment, one hand stroking him through his dress pants as the other futzes with the little downy feathers right where his wings meet the skin of his back, smoothing her fingers through them. Lucifer’s head tips sideways to pant into her neck, eyes closed to slits, and the quiet, throaty exhalations tell her that’s where he’s most sensitive, where he most likes to be touched. He’s already half-hard, and his cock swells under her hand, tenting the expensive fabric. She’s not exactly comfortable, bent down like this so he can lean on her, but she can’t tear her eyes away from him, head canted at an angle to gaze at the long line of his aquiline nose, the dark curve of his eyelashes, the sharp cut of his cheekbones. He's breathing in short, unsteady pants, pupils blown wide and dark with desire, and the urge to kiss him is overwhelming. So she does, a light, open-mouthed press of lips that immediately turns filthy as he moans and deepens it, licking into her mouth until she has to pull away to breathe. 

 

And then he moves. 

 

She doesn't see it, but he must do; one second he's straddling the chair with his back to her and the next he's knocking the chair aside with his shin, towering over her, tall and chiseled and fuck , sometimes she looks at him and she can picture what Heaven looks like. 

 

He looks disoriented for a moment, blinking and licking his lips, like he's waiting for his upstairs brain to sync back up with his downstairs one, and then he's crowding her back against the floor-to-ceiling windows to the penthouse with an almost predatory grace, like he's hunting her, and maybe that should make her pulse flutter in a bad way but it doesn't, and she happily lets him press his advantage.

 

Her back hits sun-warmed glass with a dull, monotone thud, pleasantly warm through the thin fabric of her baggy sleep shirt, but he's cradling the back of her head with one hand - delicately, the way she used to cradle Trixie when she was so tiny Chloe feared she might break - and when she laughs he joins her, leaning in to reclaim her mouth. 

 

"Not that I'm complaining," she murmurs breathlessly in between kisses, winding her hands into his hair and pulling gently, the way she knows he likes, "But this is not the effect I was expecting this to have on you."

 

He purrs happily, matching her smile with that megawatt grin that makes her believe he lit the sun. "Me neither. I certainly don't recall enjoying it this much when I was small."

 

His wings bristle, flaring to show their vulnerable undersides, as she abandons his hair to run her palms along his wing bone, like he's displaying for her. Firm, warm pressure slides down her thigh as his hand moves to hitch her leg up around his hip, and the first slow grind of his hips is a tentative, questioning thing, a silent request for permission she's only too happy to give. 

 

 "I want you," he breathes into their shared air, deep dark eyes burning into hers. "Please."

 

She swallows down something she can't name at the vulnerability in his eyes, bottomless wells of desire. She takes his face in her hands, stroking his stubble, his cheeks, his throat. "You have me, Lucifer."

 

The wanting, needy sound he makes when she murmurs his name stokes the fire in her belly into an inferno. He does away with her shirt - a comfy oversized band tee she's had since Trixie was born, and god it's not sexy in the slightest but he still looks at her like she is and she loves him, she loves him - and starts to kiss a lazy, winding path down her body, pausing to ring her nipples with his tongue and suck each one in turn into the hot, wet heat of his mouth. 

 

She winds her arms around him, one hand clutching his dark head close to her breast and the other reaching for the soft underside of a wing. He coaxes her nipples into stiff, eager peaks with confident swirls of that clever tongue, pressing his wing into her grasping hand, pulling her closer like he wants to crawl inside her skin, and when he releases the swollen bud it's with a playful look from beneath lowered eyelashes and a gentle, lingering tug between perfectly white teeth that makes her gasp and arch her back towards his mouth. 

 

She catches her bottom lip between her teeth as he sinks slowly to his knees, laying a trail of heated, open-mouthed kisses down her belly. 

 

"You should wear my clothes more often, Detective," he informs her, voice husky. "You look positively delectable." 

 

He inches the waistband of the silly silky boxer briefs she's borrowing downwards, laving at each strip of skin he reveals with lips and teeth and tongue, and when they finally drop to pool around her bare feet he presses a kiss to her mound, just above where she wants him, before flicking his eyes up to meet hers. 

 

His gaze is scorching, sentient sin. 

 

"Although, I do much prefer you like this."

 

Her breath catches in her throat and her heart stutters out of rhythm for a beat, for two, and she breathes, "Jesus, Lucifer," as he lifts her leg over his shoulder with a slew of reverent kisses from the inside of her knee all along the seam of her inner thigh, and then he's on her and all rational thought scatters from her mind like a fleeting scent in the wind. 

 

His hands steady her to begin with, one at the sharp jut of her hip and the other smoothing along the clenching thigh over his shoulder, while his tongue works between her legs, teasing gasps and whimpers from her like he's at the piano, playing a piece he knows as well as his own soul. But when he releases her leg to slowly crook a finger into her heat, she tries to pull him closer, digging her heel into his back. Precarious, she wobbles as she tries to tug him closer, and his wings come up to press against the glass on either side of her, steadying her with strong walls of feathers.

 

She buries her fingers in them and grinds down against the bridge of his nose until she's teetering on tiptoe at the edge of a familiar precipice. Stars dance behind her eyelids as she squeezes them shut, tipping her head back against the glass. " Lucifer.. ."

 

He burrs a chuckle as he rolls her clit with his tongue, small firm circles in rhythm with the curl of his fingers inside her, and the vibration tips her over the edge with a whimper, legs trembling. He licks her through it until it's too much, until she tugs on his hair, pulling him up to kiss him, hot and filthy as aftershocks roll over her in steadily decreasing waves of pleasure.

 

" Fuck , Lucifer," she pants, nipping at his kiss-swollen bottom lip, feeling her way down his torso to fumble at his belt as he smirks smugly at her from his half-foot height advantage. It seems to take forever for her greedy fingers to navigate the simple buckle, and he's hot and hard and eager without the fabric between them, satin-smooth freckled skin flushed and weeping precome. She wraps her hand around him, using the coating of oil from his wings to ease the slide of her strokes. 

 

Lucifer's head drops forward against the glass with a moan that goes straight to her core, rutting into her grip. She winds her free arm around him to reach his wings, burying her fingers in the short feathers and tugging as his hips grind against hers. 

 

" Detective…"

 

She's sucking a blossoming hickey over his collarbone, nipping at the freckle in the dip at the base of his throat, and he angles his head for her as she kisses her way up over his jawline and back to his mouth. 

 

"Chloe," she prompts, barely more than a whisper. 

 

" Chloe ," he repeats at the end of an exhale, hips stuttering against her hand, losing his rhythm for a moment. He says it again as he presses his face into her neck, sets his teeth to her shoulder, winds his fingers into her hair. "Chloe...Chloe…"

 

He comes on a gasp of her name, as every muscle in his body goes rigid, hips stuttering into her hand once, twice, three times, and then he has to catch the glass with his palm to keep from crushing her as he slumps forward, tension melting into something sweet and boneless and absolutely in love. 

 

They sink to the balcony floor, for a while; Chloe's back presses against the glass, and Lucifer coils between her open legs like a fat cat in a sunbeam, twisting onto his back with his head resting on her thigh. 

 

The sun turns his gaze warm and whiskey-gold, and he can't take his eyes off her, grinning drowsily when she traces the shape of his cupid's bow with the pad of her forefinger. When the sweat of exertion starts to cool on her skin she hooks her discarded sleep shirt with her free foot, and he groans in complaint as her breasts vanish from view, but joins her good-naturedly when she giggles at him. 

 

Her fingers comb absentmindedly through what she can reach of the undersides of his wings, fascinated with how they catch and reflect the sunlight, casting prismatic rainbows across the floor, the glass, even the overhanging ceiling. His plumage is slick against her legs, and the wing she's focusing on twitches gently, oversensitive, whenever she finds skin beneath feathers. 

 

Finally, still watching her work with that same smitten expression on his face, he murmurs, "It'd be like hair, I imagine."

 

"Hmm?" she brushes her knuckles over his jaw, scratching fondly at his stubble as his eyelids droop with pleasure. "What's like hair?"

 

He clears his throat. Stirs beneath her hands. Tilts his head to nuzzle, relaxed, at her thigh. “You asked what it feels like, remember? When you touch my wings. I...suppose the closest human analogy would be your hair. I meant to tell you before, but -" one sculpted dark eyebrow reaches for his hairline. "You had me rather distracted."

 

Her own hair hangs free above his face and he reaches out to twist an ombre lock around his finger, sounding distant and far away. "Did your mother ever stroke your hair when you were small, Detective? Mine did, a very long time ago. It's innocent, but nice. Comforting. It...I suppose it feels like -" he hesitates; a moment of uncertainty, even after all this time. "Like you love me."

 

"I do love you, Lucifer."

 

His smile softens at the edges, blinking slow like he's trying to commit her face to memory, and his free hand catches her own, pulling it from his wing to bring it to his lips and press a kiss to her knuckles. "And I you, Chloe." 

 

He keeps hold of her hand. Not tightly, but he laces their fingers together and she gets the sense all the same that it's a lifeline for him. "But it's different with you. I - hm. If I do this -"

 

His lip quirks at her as he releases the long curl, and reaches up instead to bury his fingers in her hair and tug , just the way she likes when he has her under him in their bed . Her teeth snag her lip, heat rushing to her cheeks, and the quirk becomes a smile as he lets her go. His voice is like an audible shrug as he settles back, closing his eyes. "It's different. It feels like you want me, too."

 

She chuckles. "Not so innocent?"

 

His tone is warm with amusement. "Indeed."

 

"So you wouldn't be opposed to letting me do this for you again?"

 

He wiggles a little against her thigh, like he's settling in for a long doze, and his eyes drift closed over his love for her. "I wouldn't mind that in the slightest, Detective."