Chloe stood in front of the elevator to the penthouse, more nervous about going up to see Lucifer than she had ever been. It wasn't that he was the Devil. It wasn't that they had barely seen each other outside of work since she found out. It wasn't even that she didn't know who else she was going to find with him up there or how she felt about that.
It was that she was about to ask him for a favor.
She licked her lips, pressed the button, and rode the elevator up. Before the doors even opened she could hear the sound of the piano and Lucifer's velvety voice, singing a song she didn't recognize and couldn't quite make out the words to. It was soulful, beautiful and sad, but he stopped as soon as the doors started to open.
"Party's over, love," he said, not turning, as she stepped out. "Come back another t-"
As soon as her foot hit the floor, the thump of the heel ringing out in the room, he broke off and whirled around.
"Detective?" he said, like he couldn't believe his eyes and needed to check, to have her confirm what he was seeing because he couldn't trust it to be real. Had it really been that long since she'd been up here?
"Hi," she said, and crossed the room, coming to sit beside him at the piano. She ran a finger over a key, not pressing it down, just stroking the cool ivory while she worked up the nerve to look at Lucifer.
"To what do I owe the pleasure?" he asked, sounding so much like himself that she couldn't help but smile and meet his gaze. His eyes were bright, and the smile on his face gentle and radiant. He looked so happy that she almost couldn't believe it was just because she was there. She had missed this, the way he looked at her sometimes. She had missed a lot.
"I need a favor," she said in a rush, before she could lose her nerve.
"...Ah," Lucifer said, the light fading from his eyes. He leaned back a little, becoming cold and stiff, turning into someone she had rarely seen and never met. "Of course."
It stung, the way he turned from her, but she forged ahead anyway. "I need help finding a Miss Polly Painter doll for Trixie for Christmas. It's back-ordered online and I've been to every toy store in the city."
"And it's so important to get this doll you would ask a favor from the Devil." He didn't sound happy about it, his voice flat. Was he trying to warn her off? Intimidate her into not asking? It wasn't going to work.
"No, I'd ask a favor from you. Between Pierce and Maze, it's been a rough year for Trixie," she explained, stubbornly going forward. "And she really wants this doll. I was hoping you would somehow be able to get it. I'll pay whatever it costs. And I'll owe you one."
He seemed to think about it, studying her closely for a long moment before nodding once, sharply, and sticking out his hand. "One Miss Polly Painter doll coming right up," he said, and they shook on it. "And I'll be collecting that favor from you now, if you don't mind."
She blinked at him. She hadn't expected he would want something from her immediately; it seemed like he hoarded favors the way a dragon hoarded gold. But she swallowed and nodded, waiting for him to tell her what he wanted.
He was quiet for a long time, his gaze focused on his fingers on the keys. If she had to guess by the tic in his jaw, he was wrestling with himself over whether to ask for whatever he wanted or just let it go. It should have made her nervous, watching him be indecisive about whether what he was going to ask for was appropriate or not. But this was Lucifer. She trusted him. He must have seen some of that in her gaze, because his face softened and he leaned toward her a fraction, no longer aloof and cold.
"I seem..." he started before pausing and swallowing, looking away and up toward the heavens as though asking for strength. She new he wasn't, that the last thing he would do would be asking his Father for anything, but she couldn't stop the association. "I seem to be... missing. The point of my half-brother's fake birthday."
"Okay..." she said and waited for him to continue. She couldn't blame him for not wanting to celebrate the birth of the brother everyone used as an excuse to shit-talk him, and she had no idea where this was going.
"Daniel is at that conference for the next two weeks, right?" he finally continued, and didn't wait for her response. "I thought maybe we could..." When she just continued to watch him, patiently waiting for him to get out whatever request this was, he seemed to lose his nerve and sighed instead, saying, "Never mind, it was a foolish thought. You should go, Detective. Your slate's clean."
"Whoa, wait a second," she said, blinking in surprise. What the hell was he trying to ask for that was so embarrassing and had to do with Christmas, and not understanding it? "You can tell me. I promise I won't-" she stopped short. Wait a second. "Wait a second, are you asking me to teach you the... the spirit of Christmas?"
He pressed his lips together into a thin line and looked away, focusing on the far window. "I know you don't want-"
She cut him off before he could start telling her what she did and did not want. She knew what she wanted, and she thought she knew what he wanted. She thought that, maybe, he was lonely, and didn't know how else to say it. "Well I may not be as good at it as a ghost or three, but of course you can spend the season with me and Trixie."
The tension around his eyes lightened and he smiled, a small, private smile that he saved just for her, and she loved it. She wanted to kiss it off of him but knew that she couldn't, not anymore. Instead, she reached out and drew his head down, pressing her forehead against his. For a moment, they were both quiet, just breathing each other in.
"I miss you," she finally said, admitting to it like it was some big secret. Lucifer jerked, and she let him go, let him straighten away from her. She couldn't interpret the look in his eyes as he stared at her, but it had her worried while they sat in silence.
"I..." he said, then stopped, swallowed, looked away and back. "I miss you too," he said, not quite meeting her eyes.
"Okay." She smiled at him, soft and gentle. "We're going shopping for a Christmas tree tomorrow after work. Want to come?"
"I'd love nothing more," he told her, smiling that small, private smile again. If she could, she would box it up and keep it in her pocket, to pull out on days when she really needed a little reminder that there was good in the world.
"Okay," she said again, standing up. She let her hand caress the side of his face before she stepped back. "Tomorrow, after work. I'll see you in the morning."
"Goodnight, Detective," he said. She felt his eyes on her all the way back to the elevator, and when she turned around, he was watching and still smiling. She lifted her fingers in a little wave, and his smile grew. It was the last thing she saw as the elevator doors closed.