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Petrichor

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Chloe yells at God on an unusually hot Friday evening in the fall.

Which is lucky, in a way, because she completely forgets to pick up her jacket on the way to storming out of Linda’s house, Lucifer following close on her heels.

She’s halfway down the block when she realises and the thought of going back for it flashes vaguely across her mind, the idea absurd and absolutely, positively never going to happen. She snorts a somewhat frantic laugh just imagining it.

“Detective!” Concern sends Lucifer’s voice up several octaves. “Are you–”

“I left my jacket,” she says, addressing the words vaguely over her shoulder towards where she knows he’s hurrying to catch her. “Y’know … screamed at God, lost my coat, no big deal.”

“Very big deal!” Lucifer protests, his voice drawing nearer.

Chloe presses her hands to her heated cheeks and laughs again, no less manic.

The thing is, she’s not sorry. Embarrassed at making a scene, sure. Terrified God is going to smite her out of existence, oh, abso-fucking-lutely. But that’s not the same as sorry. Sorry implies regret and despite the sheer panic coursing through her, Chloe can’t actually find an ounce of regret for anything she said to Lucifer’s father tonight. And definitely not for throwing the last of her red wine right in Michael’s face on the way out.

“Detective, slow down–”

“I can’t – I need to...” She gestures vaguely at the sidewalk in front of her.

“Just – wait a minute!”

Chloe ignores him, not slowing her pace even as sweat starts to collect across her collarbones, strangely cool in the warm evening air. Each step seems to untangle another piece of the angry knot of memories still twisting in her chest, sending fragments of the evening flitting across her frantic mind.

The casual cruelty in everything Michael said, all those pointed comments she didn’t understand. Amenadiel’s pained silence. The tremble in Lucifer’s knee when she pressed her hand to his thigh under the table.

And that name.

The one his father wouldn’t stop using, even when Lucifer flinched. Even when his eyes flashed red and his voice broke and he begged not to hear it again.

A simple request, the first in millenia, and Lucifer’s father had simply shook his head.

Rage starts to simmer under Chloe’s skin again, the memories crowding in faster than she can outrun them – a wine glass shattering under Lucifer’s shaking hand, tears in Linda’s eyes, a glimpse of triumph in Michael’s, and then the overwhelming urge to do something, say something, spreading through Chloe’s veins faster than the wine pooling red across Linda’s dining table.

She glances at her hand, finding the sticky residue on her palm from where she slammed it down right into the spill, just before she stood up and finally said, ‘That’s enough’.

The stain doesn’t quite come out when she wipes her hand on her dark jeans, a stubborn shadow of purple lingering in the centre of her palm. Clenching her hand into a fist, she picks up her pace even more just as the scent of Lucifer’s cologne on the air tells her he’s right behind her.

“Would you please – oh, for goodness sake – Chloe!”

Chloe startles a little at Lucifer’s rare use of her own name, surprise making her slow down just enough for him to catch her at last. His hand closes around her arm and the weight of the whole evening seems to crash down on her all at once.

“What?!” she bursts out, far too loud in the quiet street.

Lucifer releases her immediately, hurt flashing across his face, and for a split second she hates herself in a way she hasn’t since those awful, endless days after she betrayed him with Kinley.

“The car’s over there,” is all Lucifer says, pointing back in the opposite direction to the one she’s been blindly walking.

“Oh.” Chloe deflates, looking back beyond Linda’s house to where the Corvette is parked. “Right.”

Lucifer’s laugh doesn’t reach his eyes. “So shall we…?”

“Lucifer, wait, wait.” She reaches for him as he starts to move, grabbing a fistful of his sleeve. “I’m so sorry, I was–”

“Having a celestial meltdown?” he says, not unkindly. “It’s quite alright.”

“No, no, it’s not – it’s not that.” She manoeuvres herself into his path, tugging lightly on his sleeve until he comes to a stop in front of her. “This isn’t about me.”

“Perhaps it should be,” he murmurs, frowning as he studies her face. “Are you alright, Detective?”

“Are you?” she counters.

She reaches up to cradle his jaw under her palm and Lucifer leans into the contact with a whisper of a sigh. For a moment there is nothing in her whole world but the rustle of trees, the distant hum of traffic, and Lucifer, breathing like he might fall apart.

“Detective...” Something flickers in his eyes, exhaustion or pain or maybe both, and Chloe’s heart clenches in her chest with an echo of his distress. He removes her hand from his cheek, staring down at the remnants of wine staining her palm. “I...”

Just then, the peace of the quiet street is shattered by the sudden passing of a car, loud music blaring out of the open passenger-side window. Lucifer startles at the sound, the end of his sentence suddenly forgotten.

It’s almost a tangible thing, the way his guard goes right back up after that. Chloe watches, her heart sinking, as his whole face goes blank for a second before he squares his shoulders and musters something close to a smile. It’s a bland, empty little thing that doesn’t touch his eyes and she hates it, hates his father, hates this whole damn evening.

“C’mon,” she tries, already knowing it’s too late, “talk to me. Are you–”

“Oh, never mind me, it’s you I’m worried about, Detective!” Lucifer dips at the knees, lowering himself closer to her height and frowning right in her face. “You’re clearly panicking.”

Chloe swallows a sigh. “I’m fine. It’s–”

“No, no, y’see you’re not really blinking.” He starts to walk back to the Corvette, leaving her no choice but to follow. “It’s quite unsettling actually.”

“Lucifer–”

“Do you need to put your head between your knees?” He spins to look at her, walking backwards now, practically vibrating with restless energy. “Or do you need me to put my head between your knees? Because you were definitely relaxed after–”

“Lucifer, stop, okay? Just stop.”

He does as she asks and it’s then that Chloe realises they’ve landed right back outside Linda’s house. She glances back at the closed door as another flood of memories scatter across her tired mind.

Lucifer, utterly silent by her side while she shouted herself hoarse at his family. The sound of the door slamming behind him as he followed her out. The bite in his voice as he chased her, calling for her to slow down, to stop.

A horrible idea presents itself, the claws of it sinking deeper the longer Lucifer smiles that false brittle smile at her.

“You’re angry,” she blurts out. “Aren’t you?”

He doesn’t lie, of course. “Furious, Detective–”

Chloe’s heart cracks, splintering just like the wine glass. “With me?”

Lucifer blinks, falling completely silent for a moment, just long enough for Chloe’s imagination to supply his answer. He comes back to himself quickly but it’s already too late. She’s already conjured a flash of disappointment in his eyes, contempt for her silly, human meddling, and she can’t bear to look up at him and find out if it’s real.

“Look,” she says, rushing to explain, “I know your relationship with your family is ... complicated–”

“Understatement of literally all time.”

“And I can’t pretend to have understood half of what was said tonight and – and maybe I’ve only made things worse and I shouldn’t have interfered but y’know what, I’m not sorry I did, okay?” Defiance pushes back the rising tide of panic, lending strength to her words. “I’m not.”

“Detective–”

“No, no, they were hurting you, Lucifer.” She stands her ground as he strides towards her but her bravery still doesn’t quite stretch to looking him in the eye. “I couldn’t bear it. I couldn’t just–”

Lucifer’s hands land on her shoulders, heavy but gentle, and the gesture steals whatever else she was going to say.

“You seem to be under a misapprehension,” he says, giving her shoulders a squeeze. “So let me be very clear ... I am not angry with you.”

His voice seems to curl around her, the warmth in his words soothing over her anxiety until it starts to loosen it’s stranglehold on her common sense at last.

“Oh,” she says, addressing his shoes.

“Detective,” he says, voice soft and low. “Look at me, please.”

Chloe does as he asks, powerless to deny him anything when he sounds like that, and the last of her fears melt away on the warm breeze because Lucifer’s eyes are just like the rest of him, they never lie. There is real anger burning there but it’s an ancient, weary thing, not for her. There’s no hint of the disdain she imagined either, just a wary sort of confusion that makes her regret her hasty assumptions.

“I’m sorry, that was stupid,” she says, sighing the words out. “I guess I thought–”

“You thought wrong,” he says cheerfully, patting her shoulders before removing his hands. “Happens to the best of us at times.”

“Well in my defence, I just yelled at the creator of the universe so I’m kind of–”

“I knew it, I knew you were panicking!”

“Fine, maybe just a little bit,” she admits, huffing a laugh.

“Though why on earth you’d think you yelling at my dad would make me angry is quite beyond me,” Lucifer says, shaking his head with a good impression of her usual exasperation. “I mean, what you did back there was…”

For a moment he seems to teeter on the edge of saying something serious, something real, and Chloe takes a half step towards him, holding her breath.

“Quite literally the best thing I’ve ever seen,” he settles on, the veneer of amusement slipping smoothly back in place. “Ever, ever, ever.”

Chloe swallows down her disappointment, sternly reminding herself how difficult this must be for him, how many years of pain he’s lived with, how very not helpful it would be if she smacked his arm and told him to stop avoiding his feelings. It’s tempting though.

“And I’m immortal, Detective, so you know I’ve seen a lot of things over the years…”

Just then, a movement behind him steals Chloe’s attention and the end of Lucifer’s sentence is lost to the sudden roaring in her ears. She can’t breathe, can’t move, can’t do anything but stare at the man now standing on the path in Linda’s front yard while Lucifer rambles on.

“Seriously, if I could go back in time and witness one single moment in all of creation over again–”

“Lucifer.”

“I think it would have to be you yelling at that bloody–”

“Lucifer!”

He stops, looking at her at last. “Ah – he’s behind me, isn’t he?”

Chloe answers, “Yes,” at the exact moment that Lucifer’s father says the same thing.

She half-expects a joke in reply but Lucifer’s eyes flash red and his whole frame goes rigid as if detecting a threat. He spins around, stepping in front to shield her and Chloe has no time to marvel at the inhuman speed with which he moves because she’s too busy staring at the enormous wings that have just appeared across his back, filling her entire field of vision with bright white feathers.

“Lucifer!” Chloe gasps, snatching back the hand that seems to be moving of its own accord, reaching for his – his wings. Of course. Her boyfriend has wings. Which he recently used to fly away from her and down to Hell for thousands of years.

Maybe she should hate them for that fact alone but oh, they’re beautiful.

Even through the veil of tears in her eyes on that awful, awful night they were still beautiful.

Chloe takes her chance to look at them properly now, completely forgetting his father standing just beyond them, forgetting this evening and her own name and anything in the world except how perfect Lucifer is like this. How divine. Her eyes move hungrily, flitting from the impossibly small feathers at his shoulders down to the huge arches that flex and shimmer when he breathes, and it feels like all the time in the world still wouldn’t be long enough to look. She could stare at him forever.

It should be frightening perhaps, this very real reminder that the man she loves is not a man at all, but the longer Chloe looks the more his wings settle into her mind the same as any other part of him, like his hip flask and his three piece suits and his mojo. His feathers are pristine and bright but not actually flawless and she feels her lips curl into a smile at the realisation. They’re ever so slightly crooked in places, a little damaged just like him, and she loves them all the more for it.

She’s just staring at one particularly ruffled feather, wondering if it hurts, when Lucifer’s father clears his throat and reality slams back in.

“Lucifer, we’re too exposed,” Chloe manages to say, tearing her eyes from his back to look frantically around the street. “All these houses. Someone could see.”

“They won’t,” Lucifer says, just as every light in the street winks out at once.

Chloe actually feels her jaw drop, like she’s some kind of cartoon character. “Did you…”

“Nope.” The gleam of his wings shimmers in the darkness as they dip down with his sigh. “That would be my father.”

“I only need a moment, Son.” Lucifer’s father’s voice carries over to Chloe, though she can’t see him beyond the shield of Lucifer’s wings. “I just want to talk.”

“I don’t have anything to say to you right now,” Lucifer says tightly.

“I meant to Chloe.”

“Not happening, Dad.” Lucifer scoffs a laugh but Chloe hears the thread of fear underneath, a perfect match to her own.

“I have your coat, Miss Decker–”

“I’ll buy you another one,” Lucifer says, jerking his head to glance back at her. “I’ll buy you the whole bloody factory if you like.”

“It’s okay,” Chloe hears herself say.

“What?”

Terror is coursing through her veins, screaming at her to run, but there’s something else too, a glimpse of something on Lucifer’s father’s face when he walked down Linda’s garden path a moment ago. It itches at her, too much to be ignored, because she could swear it was the same expression she’s seen on her own face and Dan’s a hundred times before – a parent who did the wrong thing and doesn’t know how to fix it.

“I’ll talk to him,” she says.

Lucifer all but growls in frustration. He rolls his shoulders and his wings disappear, leaving a starburst of white that seems to hang in the darkness for a moment. When Chloe’s vision clears he’s facing her again, crowding right into her space, his face all sharp angles and shadows in low light.

“You don’t have to,” he mutters, just for her ears.

“I know,” she says softly, laying a hand on his arm. “I want to.”

Lucifer sighs, powerless in front of that simple truth. He won’t deny her wish, she knows, but it will cost him something to stand aside and she silently promises herself to make sure it’s worth the price.

“Very well,” he says, the darkness in his eyes far more than just a trick of the dim light. “If you’re sure, Detective?”

“I’m sure.” She gives his forearm a squeeze through his jacket. “I can handle your dad.”

Lucifer’s lips quirk. “That much is true.”

“Why don’t you go and start the car?”

“I–” He falters, nervous in a way she’s never quite seen before. “I don’t want to leave you alone with him.”

Somehow his nerves seem to ease her own, her fears pushed aside by the far more urgent need to protect him, to find a way to soothe the tight line of his shoulders and the tension of his clenched jaw.

“It’s okay, Lucifer,” she says, speaking slow and clear. “This won’t take long and then we can get out of here.”

“Promise?” he says, sounding so much like a lost little boy that she wants to take his hand and take him home right now.

She settles for brushing a kiss against his cheek, feeling him sigh at the contact.

“I promise,” she says.

He lets her go without further argument, though Chloe can practically feel the tension radiating off him as he steps aside to let her pass. His footsteps recede as he heads over to the Corvette and without him Chloe suddenly feels very lonely in the dark. Small and insignificant and so very, very mortal.

And yet, furious still.

She breathes out half a laugh, because isn’t that just the most human thing in the world? She’s terrified, an ant looking up at a boot, and she doesn’t even care. The panic, the fear, it all takes a backseat, pushed aside under the fury that straightens her spine when she looks at Lucifer’s father. There’s really no power like it, she thinks vaguely, her lips curling into a faint smile at the thought. He really shouldn’t have hurt the man she loves.

“You wanted to talk.” Chloe drops her smile. “So talk.”

God himself has the good grace to look a little embarrassed, which figures, really. He invented grace after all.

“Talk was perhaps the wrong word,” he says delicately, handing over her jacket. “I wanted to apologise.”

“Right.” Chloe scoffs a mirthless laugh, folding her arms over her coat. “Well, you got the wrong person. Your son is over there.”

“You heard him, I don’t think he wants to hear from me right now.”

“So what, you’re just not going to try?”

Something flickers in his face. “You think I should?”

“What I think is that you shouldn’t have behaved like that at dinner.”

“You’re right,” he agrees, hands raised in surrender. “I can’t speak for Michael’s behaviour but mine was … not acceptable. I see that now.”

“Okay.” Chloe shifts her weight, wrong-footed by his sudden contrition.

“And you were right to scold me.”

“So I don’t need to … I don’t know, expect a plague of locusts tomorrow?” She’s not entirely sure that she’s joking. “Rivers running red?”

“Believe it or not, I don’t really go in for that,” he says, with a soft laugh.

Oh. She made God laugh. Chloe’s heart skips a beat and she glances down, watching her knuckles whitening as she clutches her coat under her fist.

“Besides, I really do want to make things right with my son, Chloe,” he goes on, “and hurting you would be the very last thing to win me favour with him.”

“I just…” The heat of her anger starts to cool, leaving only the heat of the evening swirling around them. “I don’t get it. Why come here, why now? You say you’re not here to take Lucifer back to Hell, you tell him that you just want to talk and then you treat him like that? It doesn’t make sense.”

“Well, you know my son doesn’t lie,” he begins, and Chloe jolts back a step, surprised to realise he’s actually going to offer an explanation. “So when he says that my being here doesn’t bother him – that it doesn’t mean anything – he really believes that.”

“So what, that pissed you off?” she says, anger not as far away as she’d thought.

“No, no, of course not,” he says, waving the suggestion away. “My son has always been a passionate creature, Chloe. I tried to … tempt him, I suppose. To bait him into realising that he does still care even if he couldn’t bear to admit it, even to himself. A foolish idea I suppose, thinking I could tempt the Devil.”

Regret pulls frown lines across his face and damn it, it was a lot harder to rage at him when he didn’t look so downcast. Chloe wants to believe him, can feel her resistance crumbling to his guileless face and his soft words but something else pulls at her instincts, reminding her to check the facts like any good cop.

“But … I thought you were supposed to be all knowing,” she says, even as her brain screams that everything about this conversation is absurd.

She shoves the feeling aside, focusing on the facts. He is just another suspect, spinning a story that she’s not sure if she believes.

“So doesn’t that mean you already knew your plan wouldn’t work.” The idea floods her with disgust, the sudden rush of it making her brave enough or maybe stupid enough to point an accusing finger right in the face of the creator of all things. “That you would only hurt him.”

Lucifer’s father hangs his head. “I’m sure my son thinks that’s the case.”

“It’s not?”

“No, it’s not,” he bites out.

For the first time Chloe feels a hint of the power lurking beneath his pleasant face. She swallows hard, almost dropping her jacket, but his irritation fades as soon as it sparked.

“Let me put it like this…” He casts around for a moment. “When I was … packing for my trip, shall we say, I couldn’t – well, I couldn’t fit everything in the suitcase.”

“I–” Her grip on sanity slips, ever so slightly. She takes a breath, then another, trying to concentrate on the smell of roses drifting from Linda’s front yard and the hint of rain that’s starting to hang in the warm air. “I don’t understand.”

“This form, down here ... it couldn’t sustain all of me.”

“So – what?” Chloe pushes her sweat-damp bangs off her forehead, teetering right on the edge of losing it. “Omniscience was over the baggage limit?”

“Something like that,” he says, unnervingly calm.

“So you – you really don’t know what’s going to happen?”

“I really don’t.” He grins, a flash of perfect white teeth in the gloom. “It’s quite a novelty, I must admit.”

Right. Because he’s God. She’s talking to God. She’s talking to God and her boyfriend has wings and his dad left his omniscience behind in heaven like an unneeded extra shirt for a vacation.

Chloe hears the sharp, hysterical laugh before she realises she’s the one making the sound. In the distance there is movement near the Corvette, Lucifer’s dark outline shifting slightly as if he’s thinking of coming over. She wards him off with a wave of her hand, turning her attention back to his father and forcing her spiralling mind to focus for just a little while longer.

“Does Lucifer know?”

“He doesn’t believe me.”

“I’m not sure I do either.”

“As is your right,” he says, with another faint smile. “I can’t very well invent free will and then complain when people exercise it, can I?”

Another laugh escapes her, shrill and far louder than she intends. Chloe’s head spins with more than the wine she drank tonight and this time she doesn’t have it in her to ward Lucifer off when he starts to approach.

His father glances back over his shoulder, watching his son approach with something like trepidation and a hint of that same expression from earlier.

“Apologise,” she tells him, rushing to say her piece before her rational mind can catch up and stop her from giving advice to God himself. “It doesn’t have to be for – for everything, just for this. For tonight. If you really want a relationship with your son, you have to try.

“I–”

“And you should, you know. You should want that.” She lowers her voice as Lucifer nears, the words spilling out of her in a whisper that’s edged with tears. “He’s a good man. He’s generous and he believes in justice and he – he tries. He tries so hard–”

“You really do love him.” Lucifer’s father regards her with dawning wonder. “Don’t you?”

“Of course I do.” Self preservation is a very, very small voice in the back of her mind, easy to ignore. Chloe steps a little closer, close enough to look Almighty God right in the face, and she could swear that there’s hellfire burning in her eyes when they meet his. “So don’t you try to take him from me.”

--

Chapter Text

--

Chloe’s words seem to hang for a moment in the stifling air as Lucifer’s footsteps draw ever closer. Common sense tells her to snatch them back, to apologise, because mortal women really shouldn’t threaten God and expect it to do any good. But then Lucifer’s familiar frame emerges from the gloom, his frantic eyes calming at the sight of her, and just like that she doesn’t regret a single word.

“Detective?” The familiar cadence of his voice soothes over her frayed nerves. “Are you alright?”

She looks up at him, breathing harder than when she was all but fleeing Linda’s house, and just about manages a mute nod.

Lucifer frowns, rounding on his father. “What–”

“Oh, she’s more than alright.” Lucifer’s father’s voice seems very far away, lost to the ringing in Chloe’s ears. “She is a force to be reckoned with, your Detective.”

It dimly occurs to Chloe to be annoyed that she’s being discussed as if she wasn’t standing right there but he doesn’t sound as though he’s furious, which goes some way to calming her racing pulse.

“Let’s go, Lucifer.” The suggestion tumbles from her lips without her permission. “Please?”

“With pleasure,” Lucifer says, taking her coat from her nerveless fingers before she drops it.

He takes her hand, his grip just strong enough to ground her, pulling her back from surreal thoughts about omniscience and fate and the beautiful, rebellious boy that became the man she loves. Barely aware of her own limbs moving, she lets Lucifer lead her away towards the Corvette, hearing the hum of the running engine from across the street. Her getaway car.

Unless of course they’re flying home.

Chloe lets out another splutter of panicked laughter and Lucifer glances sharply across at her, worry etched into every line of his face.

“S’nothing,” she says, shaking her head even though the motion makes stars dance across her field of vision. “Let’s just go. Please.”

“Wait.” His father holds up a hand and Lucifer stops automatically, as if without thinking.

“Nope,” Lucifer says, moving on with some effort. He shakes his head like he’s trying to clear water from his ears. “You heard the lady, we’re off. Thanks for a terrible evening.”

“I’m sorry.”

This time Lucifer stops entirely of his own accord.

Chloe feels the tremor that runs right through him, a shudder that rolls across his whole frame and down his arm to where he holds her hand. He doesn’t turn back, doesn’t walk on, doesn’t even seem to be breathing.

“I’m sorry,” his father says again. “Lucifer.”

Hearing his name on his father’s lips at last, Lucifer chokes out a broken laugh that’s more than halfway to a sob. Chloe’s heart breaks at the sound.

“And I’d like to see you again before I go back to the Silver City, if I may. Just you.”

Lucifer’s grip on her hand is almost crushing now but Chloe doesn’t let go, just leans in and presses her arm against his, feeling him sag a little against her.

“It’s your choice,” she murmurs, a reminder for his ears only. “Yours.”

Lucifer breathes in and out slowly and then, without turning around to his father, he nods his head once.

Every light in the street blinks back on in unison.

“What…” Chloe jerks her head around, finding the street empty.

“Typical,” Lucifer mutters, turning with her to stare at the spot where his father had been standing. He nods his head at the empty sidewalk, a muscle jumping in his jaw. “Infuriating show off, isn’t he?”

Chloe launches herself forward and throws her arms around his neck.

Lucifer stumbles backwards a little, clearly not expecting the hug. He never does, she thinks, which only makes her hold on tighter, her hands slipping under his suit jacket to clutch at the cool silk at the back of his vest. Lucifer stutters out a sigh against her temple and all the tension bleeds out of him at once, until he is nothing but gentle breaths and soft edges under her hands.

As soon as Lucifer relaxes it feels like everything about this evening crashes in on Chloe instead and quite suddenly, she’s the one who needs holding up. Lucifer seems to recognise the shift and he pulls her a little tighter against him, smoothing a hand over her hair and tucking her head under his chin. On another day the stifling heat in the air and the warmth of his body wrapped this tightly around her would be too much but tonight it’s barely enough to stop Chloe from shaking. She presses her face into his jacket, breathing in the familiar scent of him until her breathing starts to return to normal.

“I should never have left you alone with him,” Lucifer says, a tortured whisper against her forehead. “What did he say to you?”

“No, no, nothing bad.” Chloe pulls back, disguising the lingering tremor in her hands by toying idly with the buttons on his vest. “He actually apologised–”

“Two apologies from my father in one night? Bloody hell, you really are a miracle, Detective.” Lucifer’s lips lift in a faint smile that drops as he peers down at her. “But you – did you get what you wanted?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I – ah – I rather assumed that the miracle shaped elephant in the room is what you wanted to talk to him about.”

“Oh – no, actually,” she says, humming a surprised laugh. “I forgot about that.”

“You forgot?” Lucifer looks at her like she’s lost her mind, which isn’t entirely outside of the realms of possibility.

“What? It’s not like he would’ve explained it anyway.”

“Probably not,” he concedes.

“But y’know, I don’t even want to know.” Chloe blurts out the thought the second it takes shape in her mind but the truth of it seems to slot perfectly into place, like finding the last piece of evidence to close a case. She takes her first full breath in what feels like forever. “It doesn’t matter.”

“It doesn’t?” Lucifer doesn’t look convinced. In fact he looks poised for something unpleasant – disappointment or pain or both – and Chloe’s smile fades at the dead-eyed resignation in his face.

”I might’ve been ... put in your path or whatever but this...” She slides her hands down to settle on his hips, giving him a little squeeze. ”This was all us, baby.”

The endearment slips out without conscious thought but when Lucifer goes a little weak against her, his mouth falling open in an adorable ‘oh’ of surprise, she quietly resolves to say it again as soon as possible. And often.

“I quite agree,” he says, when he eventually recovers the ability to speak. “But if my father didn’t drop some hideous revelation on you then–”

“Why was I losing it? Oh, I don’t know,” she says, without heat, “maybe just because I was talking to God!” She tilts her head to the side, remembering. “Also, I kind of yelled at him again a little bit.”

Lucifer tries not to smile at that and fails miserably. “Fair point,” he says, inclining his head. “I understand that this whole evening must have been a bit–”

“Batshit crazy?” she says.

At the exact same moment he delicately says, “Celestially overwhelming.”

Chloe snorts a laugh. “That’s one way to put it.”

“Well, come on then,” he says, suddenly businesslike. He takes her hand with his free one and swings her coat from his other, pulling her towards the car. “I know just what you need.”

--

“Oh,” Chloe says, as Lucifer smoothly pulls the car in outside a familiar apartment building. “Y’know, when you said you knew what I needed, I wasn’t expecting this.”

“Oh yes? And just what were you expecting?”

“Well,” she says, shrugging, “I sort of assumed the end of that sentence was ‘a damn good seeing to’.”

Lucifer smiles at her attempt at his accent. “Well that’s always on the table, darling, obviously.”

Chloe rolls her eyes, even as she smiles at him. She looks up to the unit on the right, finding the light on in Dan’s windows. “So what are we doing here then?”

“Well, it’s still unfathomably early,” Lucifer says, tapping his wrist where a watch would be, “but it’s dark which means it must be around the Child’s bedtime. I thought you could … I don’t know … tuck her in or something.”

“Oh.” Chloe all but melts into the passenger seat. “Lucifer–”

“You’ve been a tremendous sport about all of my divine family drama,” he goes on, looking sideways at her, “but I don’t want your brain to completely explode so – well, I thought something a little bit ... human might help. And there’s nothing more human than tightening blankets around children when they’re perfectly capable of doing it themselves.”

“I can’t believe you thought of this.”

“Was I wrong?” Discomfort slides over him as he fusses with the lapels of his suit. “Forget it, I–”

“No, no.” Chloe reaches over and closes her hand over his, halting his restless movements. “It’s not – it’s ... perfect, Lucifer. Thank you.”

The uncertainty slides from his face under the weight of her praise, replaced by a soft smile and a tinge of something on his cheeks that could almost be a blush. It pulls at something in Chloe’s chest, how affected he gets by one simple compliment from her, even after an eternity of praise from almost every other human he meets. She leans over the center console awkwardly, missing his cheek and landing a kiss on the edge of his jaw instead.

“Well, go on then,” he says, and that is definitely a blush now, the colour blooming high on his cheeks. “I’ll wait here, if you don’t mind. This evening’s already been a bit traumatic, I don’t really fancy getting shot again to top it all off.”

“I won’t be long.”

“And then we’ll circle back around to that ‘damn good seeing to’ idea, yes?” he calls out, as she steps out of the car.

The elderly lady just passing on the sidewalk stutters a little, her eyes growing wide behind her glasses, and Chloe has to hide her laughter behind her hand.

She’s still smiling when she knocks on Dan’s door.

He looks pleased to see her but there’s also a slightly crazed look in his eyes that’s all too familiar, the same expression she saw in every airport bathroom mirror on her way to Europe. Just like that, Chloe’s momentary good mood evaporates. Guilt starts to sneak up her spine until she remembers the glint of the gun in Dan’s hand and that endless thirty seconds when she thought she’d lost Lucifer all over again.

“We were just passing,” she says, not bothering to say who ‘we’ is, as Dan stands aside to let her in. “And I thought I’d look in and say goodnight to Trixie–”

“Look, Chlo–”

“That’s all I’m here for, Dan.” He cringes back and she deflates, immediately regretting her harshness. “I’m sorry, I know you’re going through a lot and I want to be there for you, I really do, but–”

“I know I shouldn’t have shot–”

“No, you shouldn’t! But – but it’s not even that.” She splutters a laugh at the absurdity of it all. Her ex-husband shot her boyfriend and it isn’t even the weirdest thing that’s happened lately. “Look, tonight has been kind of insane and I just – I just want to see our little girl and forget about everything else for a while.”

“You sure you don’t want to talk about it?” he says, ushering her into the living room.

“Your head would explode.”

“Try me.”

“Well, let’s see…” Chloe drags a hand through her hair. “I yelled at God and then I gave him some parenting advice.”

Dan’s legs seem to give out as he all but collapses down onto his couch.

“Told you,” she says, the flutterings of her earlier panic starting up again.

“Jesus Christ, Chloe.”

“Nope.” Chloe slaps a hand over her mouth, swallowing the sudden urge to laugh. “He wasn’t there actually.”

Even Dan manages a laugh at that.

“You’re gonna be fine, y’know,” she says, into the silence that follows. “I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, but you are. Just ... don’t shoot Lucifer again, okay?”

“No promises,” he jokes weakly, and then jerks his head towards the door down the hall. “Go on then, she’s probably still awake.”

He’s right, Trixie is still awake when Chloe pokes her head around her bedroom door. She’s curled up on her side, her comforter tucked under her chin, and a weight drops off Chloe’s shoulders at the mere sight of her daughter.

“Mom?” Trixie blinks at the sudden intrusion of light from the hallway. She sits up slightly, turning on her bedside lamp. “What’s wrong? Why–”

“Nothing, honey,” Chloe says quickly, slipping inside and closing the door. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. We were just in the neighbourhood and I thought I’d come say goodnight.”

“Oh,” Trixie relaxes immediately, flopping back onto her pillow. She lets out a sleepy little sigh, turning back onto her side and trying to hide the stuffed animal she’s hugging to her chest, the one she said she was too old for just last week.

“Did you and your dad have a good night?” Chloe says, moving to perch on the edge of Trixie’s bed.

Trixie nods into her pillow. “What about you? Where’ve you been?”

“I…” Chloe blows out a breath. “I’ve been out for dinner with some of Lucifer’s family.”

“Cool. Were they nice?”

Tears spring unbidden to Chloe’s eyes. “Not really, Monkey.”

“Oh.” Trixie frowns with her whole face. “Is Lucifer okay?”

“I’ll make sure he is,” Chloe says, smoothing a hand over her daughter’s hair.

“Is he here?” she says, looking hopefully towards her bedroom door.

“No, he’s waiting outside.”

“Oh.” Trixie chews on her lip. “Is that ‘cause he’s mad at me?”

“What? No, baby, why would he be mad at you?”

“Oh, no – no reason.” Trixie’s eyes slide away guiltily.

“Trixie…”

Trixie sits up again, scooting back against her pillow and giving up on hiding the old teddy bear still clutched in her arms.

“Maze wanted to know something so I asked him for her,” she says, the words spilling out in a rush now, “and then I told her what he said.”

“Okay…” Chloe says slowly, not following. “What was it about?”

“Something about his ring and Maze’s Mom.”

“Maze’s Mom? And you told Maze this?”

“He never said it was a secret!” Trixie insists, then falters. “But – but I keep thinking ... if it wasn’t a secret then why didn’t Maze just ask him herself?”

“Well … Maze really shouldn’t have put you in a position like that,” Chloe says, making a mental note to take it up with the demon as soon as possible, “and Lucifer hasn’t said anything about being upset with you. But y’know, Monkey, if you feel bad about something afterwards, a lot of the time that’s a good sign that it wasn’t the right thing to do.”

“I know.” Trixie sniffs, tears collecting in her eyes, and Chloe’s heart twists in her chest.

“Hey, hey, c’mere,” she says, folding her little girl into her arms. “It’s okay, I know you didn’t mean any harm. You’ll see Lucifer soon, I promise, and you can tell him you’re sorry.”

“Maybe – maybe we could have a proper Game Night,” Trixie says, dragging a fist over her running nose as she pulls away. “We haven’t had fun in ages.”

Chloe passes her a tissue from the nightstand. “Oh, gee thanks–”

“I meant with Lucifer,” Trixie amends hastily, settling back down. “Not since before he went away. And if his family are mean like you said then he’ll need cheering up, right?”

“Right.” Chloe brushes a stray tear off her cheek, marvelling at the girl beside her, four feet nothing of pure goodness that somehow she brought into this world. “How’d you get so smart?”

“Books, Mom,” Trixie says, a little of her usual spirit back. “So ... Games Night? Can we?”

“You’re not getting too big to play boardgames with your mom and her friends then?”

“Not yet, Mom.”

“Oh, not yet,” Chloe says, with a laugh. “That’s something.”

“Plus Lucifer always pays up when I win.”

“Not with real money?”

“No...” her daughter lies, poorly too. “So can we? Please?”

“I’ll ask Lucifer,” Chloe says, reaching for the comforter and tucking it back around Trixie, who hums happily at the fuss. Chloe’s throat tightens, thick with love for her little girl and for the fallen angel waiting outside who thought to give her this moment. “I promise.”

“Wait, why didn’t Lucifer come inside?” Trixie asks, as her eyes slip closed. “If he’s not mad at me?”

“Oh – well...” Chloe says, getting up off the bed and starting to back towards the door, “he and your dad aren’t getting along great right now so–”

Trixie cracks one eye open. “Is that because you and Lucifer are a couple now?”

“What? No!” Chloe stumbles, almost tripping on a discarded shoe. “How did you–”

“Like you said,” Trixie interrupts, flashing her a smug grin that looks a lot like Lucifer’s, “I’m smart.”

Chloe busies herself with lining up Trixie’s sneakers safely by the wall. “Well … you know, it’s–”

“Mom, relax,” Trixie says, with a yawn that’s almost bored. “I don’t mind. I’m happy.”

“You are?”

“Of course! You were so sad when he was gone and now you’re so much better.”

Put like that, it sounds so simple. But then, Chloe thinks as she smiles down at her daughter, her heart full to bursting, maybe it is.

“And besides,” Trixie goes on, “I’ve been shipping you two for like ... forever.”

“What does–”

“Google it,” Trixie says, with all the pre-teen exasperation she can manage when she’s half asleep.

“Yes, boss.” Chloe huffs a laugh, touching off the lamp and leaning down to press a kiss into Trixie’s hair. “Sleep well.”

She pauses on the threshold on her way out, her hand on her heart as she looks back at the small shape under the covers.

“Hey Trixie… d’you want to know a secret?” she whispers into the dark. “I’m happy too.”

“That shouldn’t be a secret, Mom,” Trixie murmurs sleepily, as Chloe backs out of the room. “You should tell Lucifer.”

“So damn smart,” Chloe repeats, mostly to herself.

--

She finds Lucifer leaning against the Corvette, his long legs crossed at his ankles and his face tipped up towards the night sky.

“Feels like rain,” he says, as she approaches.

He’s discarded his jacket and his shirt sleeves are rolled up to his elbows, revealing tanned forearms dusted with dark hair. The bracelet that Dan gave him is long gone.

“Thank you.” She settles herself beside him, leaning against the car and studying the column of his throat as he stares up at the sky. “I really needed that.”

A smile flits across his face. “You’re entirely welcome, Detective.”

“Trixie was upset you didn’t come inside. She thinks you’re mad at her.”

“What?” Lucifer snaps his gaze away from the sky, vaguely horrified. “Why on earth would she think that?”

“Something about some story she weaseled out of you for Maze–”

“Oh … oh, of course,” he says, eyes screwing tight like he’s just realised something unpleasant. “That little minx.”

“Who – Maze?”

“No, your daughter!” he says, pushing off the car and starting to pace the sidewalk. “I can’t believe this ... tricked by an eleven year old–”

“She’s ten actually.”

Lucifer throws up at his hands. “My reputation will never recover if this gets out.”

“Hey, what exactly did she tell Maze? Do I need to be worried about this?”

“Oh, only the truth, I suppose,” he says, deflating slightly.

“Well whatever it was, Trixie feels awful–”

“So she should,” he mutters, toying idly with his ring. Beneath the performance of indignation, there’s a very real flash of hurt in his eyes.

“Lucifer,” Chloe says, laying a gentle hand on his arm to stop his pacing. “She was crying.”

“Yes, well …” A different sort of pain flits across his face. “I suppose I should be impressed, really. She might be the only ten year old in existence who could actually pull something like that off.”

Chloe smiles. “Is miracle an inherited trait, do we think?”

Lucifer hums a reluctant laugh. “She didn’t get it from Daniel, that’s for sure.”

“Come on, let’s get out of here,” she says, pushing off the car. “I don’t know about you but I could use a drink.”

Lucifer hesitates slightly as she passes him, his hands hovering oddly as if he was about to reach out to stop her and then changed his mind.

She looks back but all he says is, “I believe I know a place.”

The same strange air of awkwardness seems to linger around Lucifer once they’re in the car. He fidgets with the key but doesn’t turn on the ignition and Chloe feels nervous butterflies take flight in her stomach without quite knowing why.

“Detective, I’ve been thinking,” he finally says, when the silence between them has stretched almost too thin to bear. “And I owe you an apology.”

“Uh-oh,” Chloe says, the joke immediately falling flat. “Sorry.” She shifts in her seat, turning slightly to give him her full attention. “Go on.”

“It’s just – well, I realised I didn’t thank you earlier,” he says, staring through the windshield as if there’s something far more riveting beyond it than an empty street. “And I should have.”

“Oh, is that all?”

“Is that all?” he repeats, incredulous.

“Yeah, I mean–”

“No, Detective, what you said tonight…” He can’t seem to keep still, his long legs shifting restlessly in the footwell. “Well, I can’t pretend I understand why you – I mean you can’t possibly have understood half of what my father or Michael was saying–”

“I didn’t,” Chloe agrees, and it’s only when she speaks that she realises she’d been holding her breath. “And I don’t need to.”

“You don’t?”

“When you’re ready to talk about it, yes, of course I’d like to understand – about that name – about your other brother – all of it.”

Lucifer sucks in a sharp breath, still staring resolutely forward.

“But I didn’t need to understand everything they were saying tonight to know that it was hurting you,” she goes on, the echo of shattering glass in her ears. “That was enough.”

“But that’s what I don’t–” Lucifer cuts himself off with a groan, the frustration entirely for himself.

He tips his head to the sky, screwing his eyes shut for a moment, and the urge to reach for him starts to sing along Choe’s bones. There’s something about the way he’s holding himself – so carefully still, like he could fly apart at the slightest touch – that makes her pause and curl her nails into the wine stain on her palm instead.

“Detective, what you did for me tonight – standing up for me like that, it…” Lucifer’s words start to sound a little stilted, as though he’s been practising this speech while she was inside. Chloe’s heart aches with the thought that he probably did. “Well, it meant a great deal to me.”

“Lucifer–”

“No,” he corrects, closing his eyes again, “it meant everything, actually.”

“Oh.” The word falls from her lips as a whisper.

“So … thank you,” he concludes awkwardly, his lips lifting into a self-conscious smile that makes her ache to take him in her arms and hold him until that shy little smile turns warm and bright and real.

“Lucifer, you don’t need to thank me,” she says instead, hating how his head shakes automatically at her words. “I mean it.”

A quiet scoff slips past his lips.

“No – listen to me, I’m just – I’m on your side, okay?” She digs her nails further into her palm at the dawning realisation that he really doesn’t understand this yet. “No matter what. I’ll always be on your side.”

“But–”

“No, see … that’s how this works – when you…” She promised herself she wouldn’t bring this up again, resolved to put the awkwardness of her panic in the evidence room aside while they dealt with his family, but now she sees her mistake. She should never have stopped saying it. “When you love someone it’s – it’s unconditional, okay?”

She lets herself reach for him at last, cupping his cheek under her palm and gently turning his face towards her. “Do you understand?”

“I …” Lucifer’s eyes are over-bright and a little lost and there’s a tremble in his bottom lip that tugs at something deep in her chest. But it’s the disbelief that breaks her, the absolute confusion behind the wonder he’s looking at her with, the bewildered surprise that something like this could be true, could be his.

“I’ve never had that before,” he says finally, with a shrug that carries the weight of all his lonely centuries.

And all those moments tonight when Chloe thought her heart was breaking... oh, they were nothing at all compared to this.

Still, somehow she manages to find a smile for him. “Pretty great, isn’t it?”

Lucifer chokes out a laugh. “I suppose I could get used to it.”

“You’d better,” she says fiercely, patting a gentle slap against his cheek.

He captures her hand with his, pressing it into his cheek for a moment before leaning over to brush his lips against hers. The kiss is impossibly gentle, a soft and sweet thank you that is barely there and everywhere all at once. It’s not nearly enough. Chloe hums a vaguely dissatisfied sound in her throat, reaching over to rest her hand above his heart and feeling it race beneath her palm as she deepens the kiss.

Lucifer pulls away quicker than she’d like, his breathing heavy as he rests his forehead against hers. “I believe I could use that drink now, Detective,” he says.

Her hand is still resting on his neck and Chloe vaguely thinks about dragging his lips back to hers, about the wine on his tongue and how much better it tasted than anything she drank from a glass tonight, before the sound of a door opening in the distance reminds her just where they are.

She pulls away with a start, covering the movement with a self conscious laugh and ignoring the smirk Lucifer gives her when she glances guiltily around to see if anyone is nearby.

“C’mon then,” she says, tipping her eyes up to the ever darkening clouds. “Let’s get to Lux before it rains.”

“Of course. Just – one moment.” He holds up a finger as he pulls his phone out of his pocket with his other hand.

“What…” She glances across at his screen, seeing the name above the text chain he’s pulled up. “Wait, Lucifer, what are–”

“Just a second, please.”

“She’ll be asleep.”

“Detective, please.” He rolls his eyes, his tired face pale in the screen’s blue light. “I’m not sure if it’s sweet or foolish that you think she doesn’t stash her phone under her pillow. This arbitrary bedtime you insist on–”

“Just – c’mon, don’t make her feel worse.”

“I’m not!” he says, mildly aggrieved. “I’m … taking her side.”

“You’re – what?”

“Maze is the one to blame here. As usual. So...”

He spins the phone around so she can see the text he’s just typed out to Trixie, six top hat emojis and three words – I forgive you.

Chloe stares at him.

“What?” he says, tucking the phone away in his pocket. “Unconditional, that’s what you said.”

“Oh,” she says.

Oh.

If her heart was breaking before, this can only be what it feels like when it heals.

“I…” Somehow she manages to choke out a vaguely affirmative sound. “That’s – that’s right.”

“Lovely,” Lucifer says, like it’s all no big deal, like he didn’t just reach into her soul and brand this moment there, a permanent mark that will never, ever leave her. Then, because she’s still staring he says again, “What?”

“No, no – nothing.” Chloe drags her gaze away, propping her arm up on the door and hiding her growing smile behind her hand. “Just drive.”

He pulls the car out into the street, slipping easily up the gears until they’re barrelling along far beyond the speed limit. For once Chloe doesn’t bother to scold him, even as the wind starts to whip through her loose hair, tangling knots into her curls. She tips her head back and lets herself feel it, watching the ever darkening clouds moving above them.

--

Chapter Text

--

They’re almost at Lux when the heavens open, so to speak.

“Oh, bollocks,” is Lucifer’s colourful response.

He floors the gas to make it the last few hundred yards and Chloe shrieks, half for the acceleration and half for the sudden deluge of rain soaking into her blouse. Lucifer swerves into the valet entrance since it’s closer, jumping out smoothly when the car has barely stopped moving.

“Get the roof up please,” he says, throwing the keys to one of his attendants, “and quickly.”

Despite the rain he lingers until Chloe jumps out after him before snatching up her hand and making a dash for the shelter of the entrance. Lucifer’s long legs set a pace she can barely match but he ignores her protests, all but dragging her along with him. A little rain, it seems, is just about the only thing in the world that can actually make Lucifer Morningstar break into a run.

Chloe laughs at the thought and once she starts, it’s hard to stop.

By the time they make it inside she’s completely out of breath, laughing so hard that she has to stop and put her hands on her damp knees to calm down. Lucifer stops beside her, brushing his hand down his sleeves and frowning at her laughter, which only makes her laugh harder. He looks like a cat caught out in the rain, so very offended by the mere presence of raindrops in his hair, and she – she loves him so damn much, she thinks wildly, the feeling shocking pleasurably through her.

The double doors to Lux’s main floor swing open behind them, letting out a blast of music and heat, and Chloe reaches for his hand.

“Let’s go dancing,” she says, the idea tripping off her tongue in a breathless rush.

“Let’s – what?”

“C’mon...” she says, grinning up at him. “Don’t you want to?”

“What on earth has gotten into you, Detective?”

“Something Trixie said, sort of.” She rakes a hand through her damp bangs, remembering. “About happiness and – and having fun.”

“Wouldn’t happiness be going upstairs and getting dry?” he says, gesturing to the raindrops that are scattering a polka dot pattern across the fabric of her blouse. Then, his eyes lighting up, he adds, “Actually fun could be getting you a little more–”

Chloe holds up her hand and Lucifer trails off, letting the end of his sentence hang instead.

“We can have that kind of fun later,” she promises, leaning up to knock a little of the standing water off his shoulders. “Dancing first.”

“But–”

“Oh come on, it’s only a little rain. And besides….” She drags her gaze very deliberately down his arm, right across where the rain has plastered his white shirt tight against his skin. “I think it kinda suits you...”

Predictably, Lucifer perks up at that. Chloe suppresses a smile, dancing a single finger up and down his arm until she catches him flashing a speculative look over her shoulder towards the club.

“C’mon … I know you love this place,” she says, pressing her advantage, “and I bet you’ve barely been down since you got back.”

“Not as much as I’d like, I suppose. I’ve had more pressing matters–”

“Exactly! Don’t we deserve some fun? Everything’s been so crazy lately, even by our standards. And I don’t just mean tonight, Lucifer, I mean ... evil twins and miracles and – and finding out you’re invincible because my ex-husband shot you!”

A couple of passing club goers do a double take and Chloe wonders just when exactly she became this person, the one who throws out celestial truths in a crowded lobby and trusts that anyone who hears won’t believe their ears anyway.

“I suppose when you list it all out like that, it is a bit absurd,” he allows.

“But at the same time … I am so happy right now, y’know?” She tangles their fingers together, tugging slightly at his. “You do know that, right? I’m so happy that I got you back, that we’re–”

Lucifer cuts her off with a kiss, catching her with a strong arm around her waist when she stumbles back in surprise. And it should probably embarrass her, she realises dimly, that he’s kissing her like they’re alone when they’re very much not, that people are coming and going all around them as he licks into her mouth and draws a whimper from her throat, but she can’t find it in herself to care where they are anymore. When he sinks his hand into her rain-damp hair and tugs, ever so slightly, the flush that blooms across her chest is not from shame, not at all.

“Is that a yes then?” she says shakily, when he eventually releases her.

“Oh, Detective,” he chides, his eyes sparkling, “you had me at ‘dancing’.”

--

It’s early enough that Lux isn’t too busy, the music not yet reaching that thudding volume that comes later in the night, but the whole place seems to come alive as Lucifer moves through the crowd.

He slides effortlessly through the press of people – a smile here, a handshake there – and Chloe lets herself be carried along with him, her hand tucked safely into the crook of his arm. She doesn’t miss the way his shoulders seem to loosen with every step and when he beams down at her, his eyes brighter than the lightbulbs dotted all around them, she knows she was right to suggest this.

Lucifer leads her straight to the dance floor, bypassing the bar for maybe the first time ever, and Chloe laughs at the eagerness in his steps. She doesn’t quite know what to expect, vaguely assuming it’ll be different from the few times they’ve done this before, something a little closer to what she sees from others around them – heat and sweat and the close press of hips swaying together. Anticipation tightens in her gut as he pulls her through the crowd but when they come to a stop in the center of the floor he pulls her into the same sort of traditional hold he did when they stood here alone all those months ago.

“What?” he says, when she wrinkles her nose in surprise.

“Nothing,” she says, as they start to move. “Go on – you lead, I follow, right?”

“Ooh does that apply to everything tonight?” He raises his eyebrows hopefully.

Chloe tips her head back and laughs, feeling reckless. “You say that like you don’t love it the other way round.”

“Oh, Detective…” Lucifer grins wolfishly, pulling her a little closer in hold. “When it comes to you, you know I like it every way.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Chloe says, rolling her eyes. “Shut up and dance.”

It’s not what she was expecting but as Lucifer spins her effortlessly through the press of his patrons, somehow matching their old fashioned steps to the modern music pulsing around them, Chloe decides it might just be better. There’s something to be said for the quick-quick-slow of his steps, the way he’s holding her close but not quite close enough, always seeming to step back when she steps forward. He doesn’t even seem to mind when she treads on his toes, just hums a quiet laugh into her neck, ruffling her hair with his breath.

“You’re pretty good at this,” she allows, after the second time he effortlessly changes their speed to match the change of song.

“And you’re terrible,” he replies, blunt as ever, and Chloe laughs.

She’s not sure how long they dance for, stopping only for the drinks that Lucifer somehow summons without seeming to make a specific order, but the club seems much busier by the time they’re sliding into a booth that’s tucked half out of sight against the far wall.

Lucifer seems oblivious to the attention that constantly lands on him, the way that every club-goer seems to find a reason to pass their booth, their eyes sliding towards him as they pretend to check for free tables nearby. He doesn’t ignore them exactly, sparing a nod here and there, even half a smile sometimes, but his attention never quite leaves Chloe. He seems almost effortlessly aware of her, his eyes following the sway of her hips when she excuses herself to freshen up, his head inclining automatically towards hers whenever she speaks, and it doesn’t take long before the weight of his focus has heat simmering under her skin.

Chloe’s head starts to spin pleasurably, drunk on the feeling of Lucifer’s body as he presses himself against her side despite the very generous size of the booth they’re sharing. The rain has long since dried on their clothes but Chloe can still smell it on him, an unfamiliar but pleasant note to the scent of his skin whenever he leans to speak into her ear. Lucifer moves far closer than even the loud music demands, his breath ghosting over her heated skin until she’s shivering with every syllable that he curls into the shell of her ear.

Chloe isn’t sure when exactly this unspoken game between them began, neither wanting to be the one who gives in and suggests they go upstairs, but she is not about to break. Not yet. She finishes her drink, watching him watch her swallow it down, and orders another.

“Alright, out with it, Detective,” Lucifer says, after Chloe thanks the bartender delivering their drinks. The hand that isn’t holding his drink lands on her thigh, the touch like a secret, under the table and out of sight. “Since when do you know my staff by name?”

“Since I started coming here all the time.” She runs an idle finger over the condensation on her glass. “When you were gone.”

“Ah – drinking your troubles away, was it?”

“Something like that.”

“An oldie but a goodie,” he says, flashing her a sympathetic smile. “And a favourite of mine, as you know.”

“It didn’t really work,” she says, her fingertip now tracing patterns into his wrist with the cool water from the outside of her glass. “It’s nice to come back here like this though, with you.”

“Of course it is,” he says lightly, though she can hear the pleased note he’s trying to keep out of his voice. “I’m sure Amenadiel didn’t run things anywhere near as well as I do.”

Chloe hums a note of disagreement in her throat. “That’s not why I like it better with you.”

“No?” Lucifer says, just as another group dawdles near their table, several of them trying to catch his attention.

Chloe curls her toes with a sudden savage pleasure when he doesn’t so much as look at them.

“No,” she says. Possessiveness has never really been her thing but it is singing in her blood tonight. “I like that everyone wants your attention,” she tells him, the alcohol and the weight of his hand on her thigh making her bold, “but only I get it.”

Lucifer’s breath stutters, ever so slightly, before he recovers. “Is that so, Detective?”

“Yes,” she says at once, and he presses a lingering kiss to the underside of her jaw in reward.

Chloe arches her neck for him, catching a flash of jealousy from one of the women nearby before Lucifer’s mouth lands on her skin again and her eyes roll to the ceiling, seeing nothing at all.

“I like it,” she murmurs, slurring a little when his lips press against her pulse point, “that you’re mine.”

She’s not sure what she expects when she admits that, isn’t really thinking beyond the fact that it’s true, but then Lucifer goes weak against her, whining something that vaguely sounds like agreement into her neck, and she’s glad – so damn glad – that she said it.

Lucifer noses his way up to her face, turning it towards him with a hand on her cheek and he kisses her like – well, not like it’s his last night on earth, because she knows that kiss and this isn’t it, this is desperate in an entirely different way, open-mouthed and filthy. His tongue slides against hers, whiskey and wine and everything good, until the thud of the music disappears under the drumbeat of her heartbeat in her ears.

Chloe toys with the neck of his shirt, telling herself that they’re in public and she can’t – she won’t – she shouldn’t – maybe she’ll just slide her hand underneath ever so slightly – but her fingers only end up tangling between two button holes and pulling awkwardly at the fabric. Lucifer jerks back, clearly having felt the tug on his shirt, and Chloe feels her cheeks start to flush.

Just like that, the fragile balloon of her confidence pops and suddenly she’s back to being the same old Chloe Decker – awkward and weird and chronically bad at flirting.

“Your outfits have too many damn buttons,” she whines, hiding her embarrassment with a grumble. “Anyone ever tell you that?”

Lucifer just smiles. “Well if we’re doing sartorial critiques, Detective...” he says, and how the hell can he even pronounce a word like that right now, when she can barely even remember her own name? His hand finds her thigh under the table again, his touch heavy and warm. “I do love you in these tight jeans of course–”

“‘Cause you’re a leg man,” she blurts, without thinking.

Lucifer hums a laugh into her ear. “That I am,” he agrees, sounding so delighted by her absurd outburst that she forgets her embarrassment for a moment.

“But consider this, Detective...” His fingertips inch up her thigh, the touch featherlight but the path deliberate. “If you happened to be wearing a dress right now, just think how much easier it’d be for me to just…”

“What – right here?” she says, closing her hand over his but not removing it.

He hums an affirmative. “If you wanted it.”

“Maybe if we got someone to kill the lights again.”

“Oh no, no, no.” Lucifer hisses, dropping his forehead into her shoulder. “You did not just bring my father into this.”

“Sorry.” Her laugh is half a groan. “See this is why I shouldn’t–”

“Shouldn’t what?”

Try to be sexy, she thinks.

“Nothing,” she says.

Chloe reaches for the nearest glass – his – and takes a long drink, not looking at him.

“Just how much have you had to drink tonight, Detective?” Lucifer asks, mildly amused.

“Definitely not enough to let you do … that in public.”

“Not even enough to say it apparently,” he grumbles.

“Enough that I’m thinking about it though.”

The admission slips out without any real consideration, half a truth wrapped up in a joke. She isn’t trying to tease him – isn’t trying anything at all really – so it takes a moment for her to catch the meaning behind Lucifer’s slightly choked breath and the sudden flex of his fingers on her thigh. She looks up to find him staring at her, his pupils blown so wide they’re almost black in the dim light of the club, and that’s when she understands.

The Devil himself really is weak for her, as much for her awkward jokes as her pretty words.

Chloe’s confidence makes a swift and sudden recovery and she reaches for him, sinking her hand into his hair to toy with the soft curls that the rain has loosened.

“That’s it.” Lucifer groans, his control fraying and she – she did that, she realises, with a sudden rush of power that makes her head spin. “Upstairs, right now.”

It might be the first real demand he’s ever made of her and it’s easy – so very easy – to obey.

Like before, the club seems to wake up as Lucifer moves through it but this time he doesn’t spare so much as a smile for the eager eyes and half outstretched hands of his patrons. That same possessive feeling from earlier starts to thrill through Chloe again, vicious and sweet as he leads her towards the exit, effortlessly sidestepping anyone in their way.

“Just look at them all,” she says, stopping at the top of the staircase to stare out over the club floor at all the heads turning their way. “So sad that you’re leaving.”

‘They’ll live.” Lucifer steps close behind her, trapping her between the warmth of his body and the cool edge of the railing.

“Are you sure?” The evidence of just how much he wants her is an unmistakable pressure at her back. Chloe grins wickedly over her shoulder at him, pushing back ever so slightly until he hisses. “I wouldn’t want you to neglect them.”

“Oh please, I made two deals when you went to the bathroom.”

“Good boy,” she says.

Lucifer groans at the praise and the sound goes right to the ache between her thighs.

“I think I’ll have to bring you down here more often,” Chloe says, counting all the envious eyes that watch his hand find its way under the edge of her blouse.

“I don’t–”

“I’m serious, Lucifer. Look at them, they need you.” She leans her head back against the solid plane of his chest behind her. “They must have a King.”

Chloe regrets it the second the words leave her lips.

Lucifer’s hand stills against her stomach, the only tell that he heard her.

She can’t think what made her say it, what on earth possessed her to take the words that once shattered her heart and throw them out so casually like this. It’s either the drinks or the leftover stress from earlier or just the blind desire coursing through her veins, making her stupid with it. Whatever the reason, it’s too late now and she can’t breathe – can’t think – can’t do a thing to snatch the reckless words back.

And then, quite suddenly, Lucifer laughs.

Chloe freezes, not sure she trusts the sound but there’s nothing false about the rumble in his chest as he presses against her, no lie in the helpless noises he’s making against her neck. She spins around to face him, spluttering out a choked laugh of her own, half relief and half joy.

Lucifer just shakes his head and says, almost conversationally, “I am so completely in love with you, y’know.”

Chloe forgets how to breathe. The whole club seems to disappear around her, faces and voices blurring away until the only thing left is Lucifer, his heart in his hands, giving her everything.

“I’m sorry I didn’t say it sooner,” he goes on quickly, discomfort pinching a frown onto his face when she doesn’t manage a word in reply. “Crippling abandonment issues, you know how it is.”

He tries for a carelessness shrug but there’s far too much tension in his frame to sell it.

“Believe me, it’s not that I didn’t feel–”

“I know,” she interrupts, finding her voice at last. She lifts her hand to rest it on his chest, right over his racing heart. “I understand.”

Hope flickers in Lucifer’s eyes. “You – you do?”

“I do,” she says softly.

And she does, finally. She understands. Because his words were new but that look in his eyes wasn’t. She’s seen it a hundred times before, has heard that same lilt in his voice as well, in all the big moments –

This is real, isn’t it?

Don’t you know that, Detective?

and in so many little ones –

You look heaven sent

I like work very much

My clever Detective

Lucifer talks and talks and talks and she’s been listening without hearing him for so long.

“Oh… okay, good,” is all he says now. “Glad that’s settled.”

Chloe curls her hand around the edge of his vest, pulling him down so she can kiss the vaguely nervous smile off his face. Affection tames the fire in her belly into something sweeter until Lucifer lets out a vaguely relieved moan against her, the sound catching rough and low in his throat in a way that makes her feel it everywhere. Longing sweeps back through her and she clutches at his back, raking her nails down the cool silk of his vest just to feel the way it makes him shake before pulling back from the kiss to hug him instead, burying her smiling face in his chest. She’s never felt like this before – fond and still yearning, tender and desperate all at the same time. It’s dizzying and a little scary and so, so good.

Lucifer beams back at her when they part, the brightest thing in her whole universe.

“Now then…” His voice is low and sweet, smoother than the whiskey she just tasted on his tongue. “Just where were we, Detective?”

“I was being really, really weird,” she says, humming a laugh.

“You were driving me crazy is what you were doing,” he counters, his hands toying with the hem of her shirt.

Chloe laughs, shaking her head because it’s silly and it’s also true and maybe – just maybe – it doesn’t matter that she’s a complete disaster at flirting because he wants her anyway. He loves her anyway. It feels like her heart might beat out of her chest.

“Take me to bed then,” she says.

“I am trying,” Lucifer mutters, exasperated and fond.

“Oh,” she says with a start, after he has all but dragged her the rest of the way out of the club and into the elevator, “I love you too, by the way!” She smiles at his wide-eyed gaze. “But you already knew–”

He kisses her before she can finish the sentence.

--

It’s still raining.

It’s the first thing Chloe notices when the elevator doors slide open on the penthouse. A rare thunderstorm has rolled in while they’ve been downstairs and the rain is dancing down onto the balcony, splashing in through the open door. Her blouse is half open already and the cool air shocks over her bare skin as they stumble out, though it’s Lucifer’s hands on her waist that really make her shiver.

“Oh,” Chloe gasps out, her eyes going to the water collecting on his pristine floors. “Look at that – we should–”

“Leave it,” Lucifer says carelessly, trying to steer them towards the bedroom.

“Oh, now he doesn’t mind the rain…”

Lucifer nips at her lower lip. “I’m not out in it now, Detective.”

Chloe ducks out of his embrace and starts walking backwards to the open door. “Well…”

“Don’t you dare.”

“What?” she says innocently, undoing the last buttons of her blouse and letting it fall open. She smiles as his eyes fall to the familiar necklace hanging low between her breasts. “You don’t want to fuck me in the rain?”

The speed Lucifer moves with isn’t at all human. One second he’s staring at her from across the room and the next he’s right in front of her, his hands closing around the open edges of her shirt. Heat crawls across Chloe’s chest where his knuckles graze over the soft swell of her breasts but he removes his hands almost immediately, something vaguely anxious flitting across his face as he makes to step back.

Chloe catches his hands before he can snatch them away, tipping her head back to show him the smile there, a silent confirmation that he didn’t scare her. Far from it, actually. She liked it and he seems to understand the message in the curl of her lips.

As if her smile has granted him permission, Lucifer’s hands move under her shirt and around her back, his palms wide as he presses her towards him, the lines of his body hard against the softness of hers. Chloe moves for his vest, returning to the buttons she’d started on in the elevator but he quickly bats her hands away, clamping both his hands on her waist instead and walking her determinedly backwards towards the balcony.

Chloe bites her lip to stop from laughing when she realises where he’s taking them. The pleasure of her joy shocks through her, sweet and unexpected. Whenever she thought about him in the past – and oh, she thought about him – her imagination never gave her this. In her head they clashed together, intense and desperate, or else it was impossibly slow and gentle and then somewhere along the way when things got painful and strained between them she forgot the sound of his laughter, the music of it disappearing from her daydreams like it disappeared from her life.

Lucifer’s laugh is rich and low now as he effortlessly moves them backwards, ignoring her half-hearted attempts to squirm away. It’s fun – so much fun – and Chloe wants him so much, the reality better than any fantasy she ever had.

He doesn’t actually take them all the way outside, stopping instead when her back bumps up against the smooth glass beside the open door.

“Not as nice as you’d think,” he says by way of explanation, when Chloe flicks a look over her shoulder to the rain-soaked balcony. “Trust me – logistical nightmare.”

“You just don’t want to get...” Chloe closes her eyes, the sentence trailing off as she realises her mistake.

“Wet?” he suggests, a predictably delighted grin lighting up his face. “You, on the other hand…”

She bites her lip to stop herself grinning back. “Shut up.”

Lucifer does as she asks, the amusement in his eyes darkening into something else as he steps in closer. Chloe toes off her shoes and kicks them aside, giving up their slight extra height just to feel him tower over her completely, his broad shoulders blocking the rest of the room from her view, narrowing her entire universe to nothing but him.

They’re close enough that she can feel the heat of his body on hers even though he’s carefully holding back a teasing inch of space between them. Chloe arches her back towards him, a needy whine of disapproval slipping from her lips that seems to shatter his restraint at last.

Finally – finally – Lucifer closes the distance between them, pressing her back into the glass with strong hands as he lowers his head to kiss her at last. She lets him lead, opening her mouth when his tongue demands it, giving him back a little taste of the control he willingly gave up when he told her he loved her, a reminder that he can have it and still have her. Lucifer’s hand goes to her throat, his thumb brushing carefully over the sensitive skin under her jaw and Chloe arches into the feeling, shuddering at the gently restrained strength in his fingers.

“You’re wearing my necklace,” he says against her lips, breathless and weak.

“I am.” Chloe follows his eyes as they move to the bullet lying against her chest, watching it rise and fall as she breathes. “Do you like it?”

Lucifer’s only answer is a hand in her hair, a gentle tug that makes her arch her back and lift her chest up to meet him as he kisses a path down her throat to the necklace. His lips press the bullet into her chest, his warm mouth around the cold metal sending a welcome shiver across her heated skin.

“Is that a yes?” she manages to say, holding onto his shoulders to keep him there.

Lucifer lets out a ragged, wrecked little laugh against her skin. “Don’t ever take it off,” he says, more a plea than a demand.

“Okay,” Chloe says, too far gone even to tease him. “Whatever you say.”

Lucifer hums his approval to that, his hands curling possessively around her ribcage under her shirt as he noses his way to her breasts, his mouth closing hot and wet over the thin fabric of her bra. Chloe tangles her hand into his curls in reward, dragging nails across his scalp until he shudders and draws back, dropping abruptly to his knees in front of her.

“Wait…” She mumbles out a vague protest, gesturing at the hard floor as his long clever fingers work on the button of her jeans. “You–”

“Oh, don’t worry about me, Detective,” he murmurs, dragging her jeans down in one smooth motion. He grins up at her as she tries to kick them all the way off, hooking his fingers into the lace of her panties to pull them aside. “Invulnerable again, remember? That goes for the knees too.”

Chloe splutters out a laugh at that, the sound choking away when Lucifer lowers his head between her thighs without further preamble. She whimpers a sound that might be his name as he flattens his tongue against her and Lucifer groans his appreciation, guiding her hand to take hold of her underwear for him. His hand moves to land on her stomach, his fingers spread wide, holding her in place against the glass while his other hand moves between her legs, one long finger pressing into her and curling just right.

It really shouldn’t be working for her like this, the angle not quite right, one leg of her jeans still absurdly stuck somewhere around her ankle, but Chloe feels the edge of her release approaching all the same, the feeling coiling low in her belly as Lucifer sweeps his tongue with lazy, slow movements that make her whimper for more.

The rain taps out a constant soundtrack on the balcony and Chloe curls her free hand around the edge of the glass for support as Lucifer nudges her knees wider, opening her up more for him. A cool spray of rain mists across her knuckles as her thighs begin to shake, her feet sliding slightly on the smooth floors until his hand slung over stomach is the main thing holding her up.

In the end it’s something about the sight of Lucifer on his knees before her – fully dressed when she’s more than halfway naked, his shirt sleeves still rolled neatly to his elbows – that finally sends her over the edge. His hair is a riot of rain-made curls and she releases the door so she can sink her hand into them, holding tight as he guides her through it. Lucifer hums his approval for every tremble, pressing lingering kisses to the soft skin of her shaking thighs until something sweeter than desire starts to surge in her chest.

“Up,” she says, flapping her hands vaguely at his shoulders. “Up here, please.”

Lucifer gently moves her underwear back in place and presses a kiss to the scrap of lace, laughing when it makes her squirm. He stands up, wiping his face with his hand before sucking two fingers into his mouth, humming a pleased sound that goes right to the pulsing aftershocks between her legs.

“Good?” His grin is smug but there’s something soft and almost vulnerable lurking behind his confidence, reminding Chloe that before her, he never had to ask.

“Good,” she says honestly, because she likes what her praise does to him, the way it makes him weak. “So, so good.”

Lucifer hums a pleased note in the back of his throat and Chloe surges up and kisses him, tasting herself on his tongue as the smooth fabric of his vest slides against her bare stomach.

The feeling reminds her that she’s half naked, only her underwear and open shirt left on while he’s almost completely fully dressed. Suddenly the contrast isn’t as enjoyable as it was a moment ago, the dim lights of the penthouse feeling brighter than she’d like. Chloe tries to close her shirt around herself but Lucifer doesn’t let her, pulling back to tut a gentle disapproving sound against her lips. He deliberately sweeps his eyes over her and the open adoration in his gaze melts away her embarrassment like it’s nothing, making her itch to look at him too. She kicks her jeans off her ankle and hooks her leg up and around him, pulling him towards her as her hands fumble over the buttons of his vest.

“What did I say before?” she grumbles, somehow managing to undo the buttons before moving onto his shirt. “Too many damn buttons.”

Lucifer laughs though the sound weakens a little when she finally gets her hands on him. Chloe slides her hands around his trim waist, pressing wide palms into his back and pulling him closer to her until he snaps his hips up against hers. The movement isn’t entirely within his control, if the hard line of his jaw is anything to go by, but he does it again when she whimpers a little at the friction.

A sudden flash of lightning illuminates the penthouse and Chloe laughs, raising a teasing eyebrow. “Was that you?”

“Oh please,” Lucifer says, nipping at her lower lip before soothing over the sting. “I’m not Thor.”

“No.” Chloe laughs, her head knocking back against the glass again. “I know who you are, baby.”

She says it carelessly, too happy to pay much attention to her words, but Lucifer’s reaction is sudden and surprising, driven by something far more than just the silly endearment. He hisses in a sharp breath and just as quickly lets it out, his eyes slipping closed on the sigh. Chloe doesn’t have to ask why. The memory of dinner – the timeless pain in his eyes and that unfamiliar name from his father’s lips – crashes back in on her at once, making her heart twist in her chest.

She reaches for him carefully, slowly, and the tight line of his jaw relaxes a little when her palm settles on his cheek.

“You’re Lucifer,” she tells him, soft and sure. He snaps his eyes back open, finding hers. “And you’re mine.”

“Say that again,” he says, almost shy. “Please.”

“Lucifer,” she whispers, tracing the outline of his trembling lip. Lucifer smiles against her fingertips, a little sad and a little hopeful, and she loves him so much it hurts. “My Lucifer.”

He shudders at that, leaning down suddenly and picking her up in one smooth motion. Chloe locks her legs around his waist, burying her face in his neck and letting him lead them away from the open door and the sound of the rain towards the quiet peace of his bedroom.

There, she gives him what he needs – nothing but his name from her lips, over and over again.

“Lucifer,” she says, soft and quiet when he lays her down and undresses her with quick, gentle hands.

Lucifer,” she says, impatient as he hovers over her, his fingers dancing featherlight across her ribcage.

His name is a sigh that he captures with a kiss, a moan that makes a shudder roll down his spine, a teasing bite into the skin of his shoulder.

“Lucifer,” she says. “Lucifer. Lucifer.”

And then when he’s laid bare beside her, entirely at her mercy, she says, “Mine.”

Lucifer swallows hard, staring as she slowly – so very slowly – moves the bullet pendant out of her way and takes him into her mouth.

For all she’s said his name, hers doesn’t once fall from his lips, even now.

Instead he says, “Detective,” the professional title utterly incongruous while he’s holding her hair and the necklace back from her face like this – in a tight but careful fist, watching her every move with unblinking, dark eyes.

He says, “Yes,” and, “Please,” and then again, “Detective...” his voice making a rough whine out of the familiar syllables, the sound dragging pleasantly over her skin.

When Lucifer tugs at her arms, motioning for her to come back up, Chloe releases him but doesn’t go far. She rests her chin on his hip and looks at him, letting the anticipation stretch until it aches between her legs. “What? You don’t want–”

He shakes his head. “I want you,” he says quietly. “Please, love.”

Chloe closes her eyes and smiles, not caring if she never ever hears her own name from him again, just as long as he doesn’t stop saying that.

She crawls back up his body and Lucifer flips them over effortlessly just as another lightning strike lights up the dark room, illuminating the perfect lines of his face as he braces his weight on his forearms. He looks completely wrecked, his hair in disarray, his pupils blown wide, and all of it for her. Because of her.

“Lucifer,” she says quietly, returning to his name because he still needs it and because she likes it, likes the sound of it on her lips in his bedroom and likes the way it makes the sharp line of his jaw soften just a little before he leans down and presses his lips to her neck, sucking a mark into the soft skin there.

“Lucifer, please.” She whimpers as his tongue dips into the hollows of her collarbones, his lips tracing a warm, lazy path across her chest. These are the only stars the Lightbringer makes now – the constellations he maps across the freckles on her skin, the galaxies that burst behind her eyes when he rolls his hips against hers. “Please.”

Chloe shifts her hips, humming a sigh as he finally sinks into the heat of her, a pleasant stretch that aches in the sweetest way. Lucifer stills, giving her a moment and taking one for himself, his eyes fluttering closed. Chloe opens her mouth to roll the syllables of his name again but when he opens his eyes there’s something so sweetly vulnerable there that she says instead, “Yours.”

The look that crosses Lucifer’s face is bewildered, grateful and so, so soft, and the realisation shivers through Chloe that it’s the first time he’s heard her say it. For all the claims she’s laid on him tonight, she hasn’t told him this.

“Yours,” she repeats, and he finally starts to move, careful, slow rolls of his hips that make her dig her nails into his back, needing more. She wraps her legs high around him, taking him deeper. “I’m yours.”

“Chloe,” he says at last, leaning to kiss her. “Chloe.”

Time seems to take on a strangely hazy quality as they move together, almost as if Lucifer is the one with the power to slow it, the seconds falling by like honey from a spoon, endless and sweet.

Her name is all he says now. “Chloe,” into her neck and, “Chloe,” into her hair, awed and reverent and then desperate and low.

She matches him, his name the only word she still knows how to speak when he’s this close – seated so deep inside her, each roll of his hips setting her every nerve ending on fire.

“Lucifer,” she says, over and over, “Lucifer, Lucifer...” until he comes apart and takes her with him, and the stars he conjured under her skin burst into supernova.

--

Chapter Text

--

Objectively, Chloe looks … a mess.

She’s on her way back from the bathroom after cleaning herself up when she catches sight of herself in the mirror in Lucifer’s closet and stutters to a stop. The reflection of her lips twitches up into a rueful smile.

The rain has dried her hair into a riot of haphazard curls, her bangs sticking up in a million directions, and there’s more mascara under her eyes than left on them. When she slipped on Lucifer’s discarded shirt in the dim light of the bedroom she clearly missed half the buttons and the ones she did manage aren’t lined up right, making the fabric drape oddly across her chest.

Chloe tugs the collar aside and snorts a laugh at the marks spread across her chest, along with the beginnings of what might be a stubble rash.

“What’s so funny?” Lucifer’s voice comes from behind her.

“Me,” she says, trying to coax her hair into some semblance of order. “I look ridiculous.”

“Hardly,” Lucifer says, his tall frame appearing in the mirror as he steps up and wraps his arms around her waist. His reflection grins at her, his hand warm on her stomach through the thin fabric of his shirt. “You look ravishing, Detective.”

“I don’t know about that...” She tilts her neck to examine the beginnings of a bruise there. “Ravished maybe.”

“Oh, definitely that.” Lucifer ducks his head to suck another open-mouthed kiss to the same spot, making certain that there will be a bruise there in the morning.

Chloe bats half-heartedly at him but it’s hardly convincing when the sound that hums from her lips isn’t disapproving at all. Lucifer has slipped into his black pyjama bottoms and the cool satin slides pleasantly against the back of her thighs as he presses against her without any real intent, his chest a solid warmth that she can’t help but sink back against.

“Do you want me to fetch you a fresh shirt?” he offers, rubbing his thumb and forefinger over the fabric at her waist.

“No, I want this one,” she says, ducking her head into the collar and inhaling the scent of rain and whiskey and Lucifer’s cologne, mixed with a note of hers. “It smells like you.”

Like home, she thinks, but doesn’t say it.

Lucifer hums a happy note of approval, his fingers spreading wide on her stomach, heavy and possessive. “Come back to bed,” he says, a whisper against the shell of her ear. “I’ll get cold without you.”

Chloe snorts in disbelief, patting his perpetually warm hands. “Babe, you’re a furnace.”

“Fine.” He huffs. “Bored then.”

“I’ve been gone two minutes,” she says, rolling her eyes at him even as her traitorous reflection starts to smile.

“And I miss you,” he says sweetly, if a little petulantly.

Chloe reaches a hand back to pat his cheek. “At least let me take my mascara off so you can wake up to your actual girlfriend and not a Panda tomorrow, okay?”

“I’ve always wanted a Panda.”

“You’re ridiculous.”

“I am nothing of the sort.”

“Go warm up my side of the bed for me,” she says, elbowing him lightly in the ribs until he loosens his hold. It’s silly and kind of lovely that she misses the warmth of him immediately. “I’ll be right out.”

“As her majesty commands...”

“Excuse me?” Chloe spins around to the empty space he just vacated. “Lucifer…”

“Yes?” There’s mischief in his eyes as he pokes his head back through the archway.

“What–”

“You said it, Detective–”

“I–”

“I never much cared for the title down there obviously … but up here? Oh, I think I could get used–”

“No, no. No. I was joking.”

“Oh, there’s no taking it back now.” He moves back inside, leaning against the archway and folding his arms over his bare chest, the picture of ease. “And obviously if I’m a King, you know that makes you–”

“Don’t,” she says, holding up a hand even as his silliness charms a smile out of her. “Don’t even say it.”

Lucifer stalks back over to her, his amusement fading into something else – sweet but with an edge.

“This is your kingdom now, Detective,” he says, waving an idle hand back towards the bedroom. He leans in close, a dangerous smile playing around his lips. “And you know I’ll get down on my knees for you anytime.”

Chloe laughs, her heart swelling with fondness and desire, a heady mix that makes her blood heat pleasantly. Lucifer leans down and presses a swift kiss to her laughing mouth, pulling away before she can reach for him to prolong it.

“Now then, fair warning,” he says briskly, backing out of the room again. “If you take longer than five minutes, I will get the tiara out of the safe and make you wear it.”

Chloe snorts a laugh, cutting the sound short when he doesn’t join in. “Wait – you don’t – you don’t actually own a tiara, right? Lucifer?”

He doesn’t answer.

--

Lucifer’s empty bed, the sheets rumpled but bare, is the first sign that something’s not right.

Chloe pads back out of his closet, her face clean and her hair tamed into a vague attempt at a braid, and her eyes fall to the empty space immediately.

“Lucifer?” She scans the dimly lit bedroom and then peers out towards the bar, half-expecting to catch him sneaking in one last whiskey before bed.

There is a half empty glass of whiskey on the piano, but no Lucifer.

The contented smile that’s been playing around Chloe’s lips since their silly conversation in the closet starts to falter.

“Lucifer?” she tries again, the marble steps cold against her feet as she heads out into the living room.

“Here,” he says quietly.

Chloe follows his voice, finding his shadowed outline at the open door to the balcony.

Lucifer’s back is to the room, his whole frame held unnaturally still as he watches the thunderstorm receding over the horizon. There’s no sign of his wings but the scent of ozone seems to linger in the air, stronger than just the distant storm, and it makes her think of them without quite knowing why. Chloe crosses the room towards him, vaguely wondering if he hid his wings away when he heard her calling. The thought makes her strangely sad.

“There you are,” she whispers, coming to a stop by his side at the open door.

The sharp line of Lucifer’s shoulders softens slightly when she bumps her arm up against his.

“Hello, Detective.” The city lights seem to glitter in his eyes, the only brightness there at all.

Gone is all his ease from a few moments ago, revealing it for what it really was – a performance. It’s so obvious now and guilt is a shiver up her spine for not seeing it sooner, for falling for his easy jokes and missing the tension lurking underneath. Lucifer wasn’t cold or bored when he came looking for her, he was running. Running from whatever thoughts have driven him here, to the rain-soaked floor and the cool night air.

After this evening, it’s not hard to imagine what those thoughts must be.

Even so, he still found a moment to pick up her discarded jeans and fold them neatly over the arm of the couch while she was gone. The simple thoughtfulness of the gesture makes tears burn behind Chloe’s eyes.

Lucifer doesn’t notice, still watching the dark line of clouds on the far away horizon. The storm has burned off the earlier heat in the air, leaving behind a fresh breeze that rustles through the plants as the rain eases into gentle pitter-patter across the slick floor. Lucifer isn’t all the way outside but he’s close enough that the damp awning is dripping into his hair and down his bare back, though he hardly seems to have noticed.

“Careful,” Chloe says. Lucifer exhales softly as she closes her hand over his arm. “You’re getting rained on.”

He doesn’t resist when she pulls him back a few paces into the room, biddable under her hands in a way that frightens her. He’s here but not quite here, his mind back at Linda’s dinner table or further away, lost somewhere that she can’t follow.

For what feels like the hundredth time tonight, the memory of the disastrous dinner crowds in on Chloe’s tired mind, crushing all the breath out of her in a rush. She studies the lines of Lucifer’s profile as he stares at the skies, wondering if he has any idea how much she’s burning with the injustice of it all, any inkling of the fact that she will tear the Silver City apart if she ever finds herself there without him.

“Lucifer…” The sound of his name seems to jolt him back to the present, to her. “Are you okay?”

She knows he needs this sometimes – the straight question, the push to find words for the feelings he doesn’t always understand.

Lucifer moves to face her at last, his sad eyes turning soft with all the feelings that belong to her alone.

“Yes,” he says, the tiniest smile playing around his lips as traces the tip of his finger along the line of her jaw. Then he looks back to the sky and all the light goes out of his eyes again. “No.”

Chloe nods, understanding the contradiction.

He is and he isn’t.

They’re okay.

He is not.

The buzz of tiredness in her bones sharpens into something else – the ache of concern laced with a nagging doubt that picks away at her, whispering that she took a wrong turn somewhere tonight. His world is falling apart and she took him drinking and dancing instead of facing it. Just like Eve. Chloe screws her eyes shut against the realisation but it’s too late, the thought has sunk its claws in deep.

“Lucifer, I’m so sorry,” she says, her hand closing around his forearm again. “I shouldn’t have suggested the club, it was a stupid idea. I don’t know what I was thinking–”

“What?” He snaps his gaze back to her, baffled. “Detective, I haven’t had that much fun in millenia–”

“But after everything that happened tonight–”

“No, no – don’t you see? Everything that happened tonight is why–”

“But–”

“No – it reminded me – you reminded me … who I am,” he says, quietly grateful in a way that makes something tender bloom in the center of her chest. Lucifer smiles shyly, his eyes bright. “I admit I really needed that tonight.”

“Oh.” Chloe reconsiders her hasty assumption and finds it lacking.

Yes, there was drinking and yes there was dancing but he’s never been further away from the frantic wide-eyed man he was with Eve, the one who spent so many nights trying to feel something – anything at all – besides the pain of his long life. He wasn’t his old self tonight, not for a single second. The warmth of his laughter was real. He was the man who dances the foxtrot in his own nightclub, who makes jokes and deals and kisses the woman he loves and no-one else. Her Lucifer.

Chloe trails her hand down his arm and takes his hand, suddenly desperate to have him back in bed, safe in her arms. Before she can move Lucifer turns slightly towards her, tugging their clasped hands up to hover in the space between them.

“Samael is – was my name, you see,” he says, so very quietly. “It’s the name my father gave me.”

His voice is carefully casual but his eyes give him away, burning with a timeless agony that twists into Chloe’s chest like a knife. She presses her lips together, trapping the whimper in her throat, afraid that he’ll stop talking if he hears it.

“They didn’t – he didn’t ... take it from me, or anything. It was my choice,” Lucifer goes on, the grip of his hand around her fingers tightening. “I haven’t answered to it for a very, very long time. As my father is well aware.”

“I – I see.” Chloe curls her free hand around his waist, feeling him relax slightly at the press of her cold fingers against his warm skin.

“I’m not–” Lucifer shrugs helplessly, trying for a smile. “It’s just not who I am anymore.”

Chloe nods sharply, tears stinging her tired eyes. The shadow of his past is much too much to comprehend but this – Lucifer standing in front of her, offering up a piece of himself – this she understands. And she has never loved him more.

“Thank you,” she says, her voice barely there. “Thank you for telling me.”

She flexes the fingers in his hand until he releases his hold and then she flattens her palm against his bare chest, pressing the heel of her hand hard over his heart, making him feel it.

“And for the record,” she whispers, looking up at him through wet eyelashes, “I like who you are now.”

Lucifer lets out a shaky breath, ducking his forehead to press against hers. “I think ... perhaps I’m starting to as well,” he murmurs, like it’s a secret meant just for her.

The cool night air whips the tails of his shirt against her bare thighs but Chloe doesn’t feel a thing, a sudden surge of joy burning bright enough to warm her all over, right down to her chilly toes. She slides her hands down and around his waist, hiding her smiling face in his chest.

“I’m proud of you,” she says, a ragged little whisper into his skin that’s almost lost to the fall of rain outside. “D’you know that?”

Lucifer’s only response is a startled yelp as her nose brushes against him. “Bloody hell, you’re cold.”

The segue is so ridiculous that it startles a laugh out of her. “Shut up,” she says, rubbing her cold nose against him again.

Lucifer laughs in reply, the sound rumbling pleasantly in his chest, right under her ear.

“C’mon,” he says, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and steering her away from the open door and back towards the bedroom. “If you ask nicely maybe I’ll warm you up.”

Everything about him seems immeasurably lighter all of a sudden, as though the confession has lifted a weight from his shoulders. Chloe feels her own heart lift in reply, her footsteps light across the smooth floors.

Her smile stays in place until the moment they enter the bedroom and Lucifer moves across the halo of light from one of the bedside lamps.

“Lucifer! Oh my–” Chloe clamps her hand over her mouth, swallowing the end of the phrase.

“What?”

“Your–” Her tired mind goes into overdrive, trying to make sense of what she’s seeing. “Your back...”

“What?” he says again, twisting to try and see. “My wings aren’t out are they?”

“No.” Chloe takes hold of his shoulders, steering him to stand sideways in front of the long mirror in the corner of the room. “Did I…” She meets his eyes in the reflection, following them as they move down his back to find the lines of bright red scratches standing out against his skin. “Did I do that?”

Chloe moves a shaking hand up towards the set of purple half-moons across his shoulder.

Lucifer grins as she lines her nails up, the perfect match to the marks. “Oh, well done, Detective.”

“What?” Chloe snatches her hand back, snapping out of her daze and diving headlong into a panic instead. “I don’t – I don’t understand…” she mutters, pacing the floor beside Lucifer’s bed.

“What’s wrong?” Lucifer gleefully dips his shoulder to get a better angle to see the scratches. “I don’t mind! A little pain with my pleasure is–”

“It’s not that!” She stops her pacing, fixing him with a stare and forcing herself to speak slowly, even as her heart races. “Lucifer, how is this even possible? I thought – I thought you were invulnerable again.”

“Oh.” Lucifer’s smile freezes in place. “I forgot about that.”

“He forgot,” she says to herself, throwing up her hands. “Great.”

“Oh dear, you’re doing that not blinking thing again.”

Chloe collapses down onto the end of the bed, digging her toes into the comforter that’s been pushed off onto the floor. It doesn’t do much to ground her.

“Thinking about it...” Lucifer says slowly, lifting a hand and absently rubbing at the back of his head, “I suppose this explains that bloody headache.”

“What headache? Are you okay?”

“No, no, not now,” he says, waving away her concern. “The day my father arrived – that night I had the most blinding headache. I thought it was the fight with Maze and Michael in the precinct but it wasn’t, was it? It was you!”

“Me?”

“Yes, you! Bopping me over the head with that great big rock at the zoo.”

“I…” Chloe crushes a handful of his silk sheets under her fist. “I hurt you?”

“No harm done,” Lucifer says quickly, frowning at the look on her face.

“But–” She forces herself to take a deep breath, then another. “Lucifer, what does this mean? I thought you were invulnerable again?”

“Around you, yes,” he says slowly, peering over his shoulder at his back again. “But not to you, it seems.”

“To me?”

“Well, isn’t it obvious, Detective?” He spreads his arms wide in a helpless shrug. “Only you can hurt me now.”

“I…” Chloe blinks, hearing but not absorbing the words. “Really?”

“I think so.”

“You don’t – you don’t seem to mind.”

“Mind?” he repeats, a flicker of hurt crossing his face. “Why would I mind? You’re not planning on shooting me, are you?”

“Of course not, but–”

“Then why would I mind?” A hint of a smile tugs at his lips. “D’you know, I quite like the idea actually.”

“But – no, wait, we don’t know it’s that,” she says, clinging to the one thing that never lets her down – evidence. “Maybe you’re just vulnerable around me again?”

“Easy enough to find out,” Lucifer says, turning and disappearing down the steps out of the room.

“What–”

He returns quickly with a short sharp knife in his hand, the kind he uses to slice fruit for cocktails.

“No, Lucifer, don’t–” Instinct makes her blood run cold as he holds the blade to the palm of his hand. “Let’s find another–”

“Oh don’t worry, I’ve done this before,” he says cheerfully, like that makes it any better. “Not my first rodeo, as they say.”

“But–”

He grins blithely as he slashes the blade across his hand.

“Lucifer!” Chloe starts, jumping off the bed and hurrying towards him just as he unfurls his palm to show her the perfect unblemished skin there.

“Told you,” he says, examining his hand with mild interest.

“It – it really is just me...”

“Yep.” He slashes at his hand again then offers her the knife. “Want a go? Just to make sure?”

“What? No!” She snatches the knife carefully out of his hands, putting it down safely out of the way.

“Detective, are you quite alright?” Lucifer says, watching her warily as she starts to pull at the tail of her braid, her fingers moving restlessly back and forth over the ends of her hair.

Chloe sucks in a deep breath but it doesn’t seem to fill her lungs. “I’m just – I’m trying to understand what this means.”

“It’s not that complicated, really.” He approaches her slowly, like she might bolt. It’s not entirely out of the question. “You’re the only mortal who can hurt me.”

“Just me?”

He huffs a nervous laugh. “Feels a bit on the nose, I admit. Even for my subconscious.”

“No,” Chloe hears herself say. She laughs, the sound short and sharp. “No.”

“Er … no?”

“No,” she says, powerless to stop the frantic rise of her voice. She’s had dinner with God and sex with the Devil tonight but for some reason it’s the four perfect scratches on his back that have finally sent her over the edge. “No. No, thank you. Nope.”

With that, she sits back down on the bed, props her elbows on her knees and hides her face in her shaking hands.

“Detective?”

Chloe watches through the cage of her fingers as Lucifer drops to his knees in front of her.

“Chloe?” he tries instead, carefully peeling her hands away from her face and ducking his head to catch her gaze.

Guilt floods through her instantly, drowning out some of her panic because Lucifer looks vaguely terrified now, a mixture of bewildered concern and confusion pulling deep lines between his eyebrows.

“Please say something, love,” he says, quietly desperate in a way that reminds her that he’s been through the ringer tonight too, just as much as she has. “And preferably not just ‘no’ again.”

“Okay, so … I could hurt you,” she says slowly, testing the idea out. “But only me?”

“Yes.” He sits down beside her on the end of the bed and turns towards her, propping his knee up on the mattress. “I’m still invulnerable around you, I’m just vulnerable to you.” His lips curl into a smile, cautious but warm. “Always have been, really, if you think about it.”

Chloe looks at him, keeping her eyes fixed on his nervous smile as she forces herself to examine the facts logically. This is a choice he’s made, she knows, even if it is a subconscious one. More than that, it’s a choice that means she was wrong, so utterly wrong, to ever be scared about him pulling away. He’s letting her in, body and soul, on faith alone.

In hindsight, Chloe is surprised she didn’t start crying sooner.

“Oh bloody hell, I’ve said the wrong thing,” Lucifer says, horrified. “I’m sorry, I thought you’d be happy–”

Chloe waves her hands vaguely, trying to signal that she is – she is happy. She’s happy and she’s a little freaked out and she loves him so much, and damn it, it’s been a really, really weird night. She curls herself into his body, half falling into his lap and clutching at any part of him she can reach.

“I’m sorry,” she whispers as his arms come up to wrap around her. “I am happy – it’s just–”

“Too many revelations for one night?” he suggests. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be,” she says fiercely, batting an ineffectual fist at the solid wall of his chest. “Don’t be sorry.”

“Okay.” Lucifer smooths his hand over her hair until she stops struggling against him. “Okay.”

The steady rhythm of his heart is a soothing pulse under her ear and she matches her breathing to it, in and out, until the burn of tears in her throat recedes at last.

“Lucifer...” She pulls back slightly, meeting his eyes. It feels important that she’s looking at him when she says this. “I need you to know – I can’t – I can’t promise that I’ll never hurt you. But I can promise that I never, ever want to.”

“I know that,” he says thoughtfully. “I believe Doctor Linda would say ... that’s the whole point.”

“What do you mean?”

Lucifer reaches a hand into the neck of her shirt and tugs out the chain of her necklace. “I mean,” he says, closing his fist around the bullet pendant, “that I trust you, Chloe.”

It isn’t until he says the words and her entire existence narrows to this moment – gentle rain and soft light and the man she loves, brave enough to hand her his heart even knowing she might bruise it – that Chloe realises that these are the three little words she’s really been waiting for. This is what kept her up at night after he went away, wondering what could have happened if that tiny vial of poison had never come into their lives, wondering if without it, she would not have lost him.

“You do?”

“Of course I do,” he says easily, smiling at her.

Something heavy lifts away from Chloe’s heart, a weight that pressed there for so long she’d half-forgotten what it feels like to be without it. It feels like freedom. Like flying. Chloe crawls back into Lucifer’s lap and he brushes the tears from her cheeks with his thumbs, capturing her cheeks under his palms.

“I’m yours,” he says softly, repeating back her own words from earlier as he draws her lips to his. He tastes like whiskey and he kisses her like he loves her, and she never, ever wants to lose this.

Chloe pours everything she feels for him into the kiss – all the soft, silly feelings she thought she was too old and clever to feel, and all the desperate, aching ones that only he has ever drawn out of her. Lucifer whimpers into her mouth and she knows he understands the message in the gentle slide of her tongue against his and the way she’s holding him just a little bit too tight.

She kisses him with no destination in mind, too tired to contemplate anything beyond this, even as the ache between her legs tempts her to think otherwise. It’s Lucifer who pulls back in the end, scooting back onto the bed and pulling her up with him towards the soft silk of his pillows.

Chloe cuddles up to him, encouraging him to turn onto his side, and Lucifer lets out a vaguely self-conscious laugh when she has to direct him where she wants him. The realisation aches through Chloe that maybe no-one has ever thought to hold him like this before, not once in all his lonely years. She pushes the stray thought aside, hating every lover he has ever had.

Lucifer’s embarrassed laughter slurs into the hum of a happy sigh when Chloe molds her body against his back and snakes her arm around to rest against his stomach, anchoring him against her. It’s not quite a perfect fit, she’s tiny compared to his height so her knees don’t line up quite right against the back of his, but the way Lucifer goes quiet and boneless tells her it’s more than good enough.

“Tomorrow...” she says speculatively, running an idle hand over his abs. “Can we just not go anywhere at all?”

“Deal,” he says at once. “No celestial drama. Sunday, too.”

Chloe hums her agreement, tightening her hold on him as Lucifer tugs her hand up to tuck it sweetly under his chin, curling his fingers gently around her fist.

She’s almost asleep when Lucifer moves the hand he’s holding, lifting it gently to press a kiss against her pulsepoint. She holds her breath as he licks a careful line to the center of her palm, his lips closing over her skin as if he can still taste the wine that she’s long since washed away.

The memory of dinner flickers across her mind again, her palm echoing with the pain of slamming it into Linda’s table as she kicked her chair aside and stood up for the man she loves. It feels like five minutes and a lifetime ago, all at once.

Chloe presses a gentle kiss to the nape of Lucifer’s neck and his breathing falters slightly, as if he hadn’t realised she was awake. He relaxes when she kisses him a second time, right where she knows the nail marks are dug into his shoulder, the brand that marks him as hers.

“I won’t let him hurt you,” she says, a fierce whisper into the quiet of their bedroom.

It’s not a promise she can make, not really, but she makes it anyway.

It sounds like there’s a smile in Lucifer’s voice when he says, very quietly, “I know.”

It’s enough, in the end, that he believes her. It’s everything.

Chloe falls asleep to the lullaby of Lucifer’s slow, steady breaths and the quiet fall of rain outside.

--