Her lids were burning from exhaustion and so did her muscles, her heart. She wanted nothing more than to soak in her bathtub and then disappear under her blankets and never leave their safety again. Nodding to herself absentmindedly, she put aside the dishes from lunch. She forced herself not to think of dinner. Not of the dinner with Marcus, not about whatever it had been that Lucifer had fabricated. Her stomach lurched and Chloe shook herself. Not going there. This was not worth her pain, her tears. She’s got that.
A knock on the door startled her out of her trance and had her limbs filling with lead. Couldn’t she be left alone for once? She’d stood up Marcus, but she really couldn’t be bothered right now. She did not have the emotional capacity for this. Making her way over to the door, she squared her shoulders and opened up to reveal a disheveled Lucifer. The urge to slam the door into his face nearly led to action, but she got a grip on herself.
“What do you want?”, she managed to keep her voice level which she was proud of. Hurt cursed through her veins, quietly whispered under her skin. Not you.
His mouth opened and closed wordlessly as he took a deep breath. Every other time she would’ve felt concern for her partner as he stood at her doorstep, hair mussed and eyes rimmed red. Disappointment shoved concern out of the way, biting and scratching and she was hurting. He stayed quiet.
“I thought so”, she whispered, tremors silently wrecking her words. She swallowed once, twice then stretched out her arm for the doorknob and –
“I want you to choose me”, the words tumbled from his lips, raw and vulnerable. She froze in her step, while her traitorous heart quickened its pace excitedly. No, Chloe mentally scolded it, don’t get your hopes up.
“What?”, escaped her dumbly. Now it was his turn to swallow and he straightened his posture.
“Detective, may I come in?”, his attempt to find his way back into normality, his confident and steady self, was prevented by his cracking voice that tore the partly erected walls down.
She didn’t know why she nodded, but she did, stepping away. Maybe because his words sounded like an attempt to open up to her, maybe it was the insecurity with which he carried himself as he shuffled into her living room. Trying to clear her head, she closed the door. This outdid her expectations for the night and she couldn’t say she was happy about it. She just wanted to sleep for a few hours or rather a few days. Crossing her arms, she glanced at him as he fiddled with his cufflinks. It drove her mad.
Her clipped statement had him snap up his head at her.
“Right”, he muttered under his breath, before he cleared his throat, “Detective, I am sorry for - for before. It’s just, I’ve been avoiding dealing with things and”, god, those damned eyes, “but, I talked to Linda and, well, I realized”
He’d started pacing up and down her living room. He’d started pacing up and down her living room. Her fingers shook with exhaustion as they massaged her temples.
“Lucifer”, she snapped and with a flinch he fell quiet. Ah shit. Guilt rose from its slumber and raised its ugly head. “Lucifer”, she repeated more softly, but unable to keep the resignation out of her voice, “will you sit down please? You’re driving me crazy and not in a good way.”
The tall man just stared at her, before nodding and lowering himself onto the cushions of the couch. The lack of a retort left her bereft. What the hell was just happening?
“Alright”, he sighed and with a forced smile he continued, “And I realized that A, I am horrible at voicing my feelings”, the way he whined how bored he was when doing paperwork said otherwise,
“so”, he swallowed and her heart jumped skittery and excitedly like Trixie on a sugar high.
“well, I also finally realized that I avoided dealing with”, his voice hoarsened the longer he spoke, the longer he looked at her, with dark, vulnerable eyes.
“with how I feel about you.”
Her stomach lurched, this time pleasantly.
“Okay?”, she breathed and hoped to dear life that this would not go in the direction it had earlier. Her arms loosened from the tight embrace with which they held her.
“So”, he was fiddling with his ring this time, “I – I know, there are a lot of things that I still have to tell you and, and I want to tell you, but I need to find a way first.”
She could only nod, a feeling welling up inside her chest that she’d suppressed for so long. His eyes hung on her, hungrily drinking her in like a man lost in the desert finding water. How had she never noticed the unbearably soft look on his face when he was looking at her?
“I – well, more like Doctor Linda”, he did the contemplating tilt of his head that he always sported when he admitted something, “– decided to ask me what I truly desire.”
He swallowed once more and with his eyes glazing, he smiled if a little self-depreciatingly, “I desire you to choose me.”
“Not Marcus”, she added the unspoken end of his sentence for him and even though a part of her recoiled at the thought of choosing between them, she reached for his hand. He nodded and directed his gaze downwards at their joined fingers.
“I don’t deserve you, Chloe”, he whispered and if that didn’t break her heart, she didn’t know what would.
You deserve someone as good as you and that isn’t me.
“Maybe you don’t”, she agreed, her sight blurring a little, while her lips tugged up into a bitter smile, “But that’s my choice. What I want.”
“Right”, Lucifer tried to remove his hand from her grip, but she held on tighter. This man could be extraordinarily dense sometimes, it was ridiculous. Her thumb brushed across his palm.
“Lucifer, I-“, a knock at the door caused her to flinch violently. A groan escaped her, the frown on her forehead deepening.
“Can’t a woman be left in peace for once?”, she grumbled.
Giving her partner a soft smile that he carefully reciprocated she stood up. Her fingers slipped out of his and the sense of longing that overcame her was ridiculous. She was a grown woman, not a lovesick schoolgirl. At least she liked to think that.
She pulled open the door and took a step back as if she’d just hit an invisible wall. Shit. Marcus.
“I’m sorry for just stopping by, but when you didn’t make dinner…” This was absolutely not ideal. She could not deal with this right now.
“No, no, I”, she stuttered, not sure what to answer, “I’m sorry. The day, it’s been…”
“It’s okay”, Marcus took a step forward, making his way past her, “I can say, what I need to say here.“
This was not good. No, scratch that, this was a disaster. Lucifer was waiting for her on her couch, after finally having opened up to her, he was hanging in the limbo and she really, really just wanted to go to sleep. She could not deal with this, not after the rollercoaster of a day.
“Marcus, can we talk another time?”, she tried to hold him back, but without avail, “it’s really not a good time.”
“I will leave if you don’t wanna see me after this, but please, hear me out.”
“Marcus”, she protested weakly, but his gaze fell onto the man sitting in her living room, leaning his forearms onto his thighs, defeated and his soft eyes hardened for a moment.
“What is he doing here?”
Before she could even think of an answer or even open her mouth, he cut in, “Never mind. It’s not important. I can do this with him here too.”
He could do what with Lucifer here too?
“What are you-?”, her voice low and unsure.
He, Marcus, didn’t start pacing. Instead he stood, his face hopeful as he begun, “For days I’ve been thinking about how I screwed up, about how I could make things better”
She was torn. She couldn’t deal with this. She couldn’t - she didn’t want to. Why did they have to do this to her? Oblivious to her distress Pierce continued and she trained her eyes onto him. She felt Lucifer’s gaze on her, not burning, but – and she didn’t really know why she knew – concerned. It always did.
“When you find that person that gives life meaning, nothing else matters”, her attention focused on the man in front of her. She was a detective. She dealt with grizzly murders all the time. She could do this.
“I know you don’t trust me, I know I’ve made mistakes, I’ve made an eternity” – a snort sounded from the off-, “ worth of mistakes, but, please, let me spend the rest of my days making it up to you.”
What was he doing? Was he-? He lowered himself onto one knee, pulling out a ring and she felt like she was going to be sick. She couldn’t…
“Chloe Decker, will you marry me?”
A ring in his finger, glittering in the low light of the room. Time stood still, everything did, before a motion behind Marcus drew her eyes towards Lucifer. He had snapped up his head, staring at her with a look of blank desperation. His eyes glazed with tears, that held on for dear life. Never in her life had she seen Lucifer that close to the verge of crying. Not even when he hadn’t been sleeping, not even when he’d told a sniper to shoot him.
Chloe, he mouthed, unconsciously as if he was calling out for her.
This was the man that had sat next to her hospital bed three times, two of which he’d waited for her to wake up. This was the man that had risked his life in order to safe her and Trixie from Malcom, that had carried her out of a burning building. Her partner, who cheered her up with puns and innuendos and brought her coffee. Who’d let her daughter draw a unicorn onto his cheek and made a necklace out of the bullet she shot him with, like the ridiculous, attentive man that he was. He threw her her own prom just because she had told him she’d never gotten the chance to go to one in high school. Every time he wasn’t working a case and it’d led to a critical situation he rushed over, eyes wide open and a worried Detective on his lips. He was infuriating, secretive, erratic and annoying at best. But –
She turned towards Marcus, who was still looking at her with hopeful eyes.
“I’m sorry”, she whispered and reached out to close the tiny box the ring sat in, “But I can’t marry you.”
A frown took over his face. “What is that supposed to mean?”
“I cannot marry you, Marcus. I am sorry. But…”
“No”, she shook her head with what she hoped was a reassuring smile, “you’re a great guy, but no.”
He stared at her, bewildered. “But.”
Okay, this was enough. She couldn’t deal with this anymore. Her nerves were rubbed raw by a whirl storm of hurt and feelings.
“It’s a no. Please leave.”
A thunderstorm darkened his face and unconsciously she took a step back. His gaze flickered between Lucifer and her, dare she say calculating, before he got up, threw her a last disappointed look and rushed out of the apartment.
The door fell shut with a loud crack. Chloe stood in the middle of her home, frozen, before she staggered over to the couch and let herself fall onto it.
Silence rung through the flat, finally broken by a soft “Detective?”
She couldn’t do this anymore. She couldn’t run from what she felt and be strong anymore, she couldn’t keep resisting the urge to curl up against his warm body and give in anymore.
With a last exhausted exhale she leant towards him, sneaking her arms around his waist. A confused sound escaped him, but he embraced her almost immediately. His heart thumped rhythmically, if a little fast, against his ribcage, while his scent enveloped her.
“Where do we go from here?”, she said quietly into the room.
“I don’t know”, he mumbled, tentatively and shifted to look at her. The vulnerability in his eyes melted into softness.
“You’ll tell me what’s been going on with you? And all the other stuff?”
“You have my word.”
She nodded at that, a tiny smile on her lips. Carefully she stretched her neck, cradling his cheek awkwardly with her other hand to pull him down to her. He followed her lead easily and when they met in the middle, the world tilted back into its axis. Softly his lips caressed hers, a soft sigh escaping him. Warmth cursed through her tired body and she scooted even closer. His grip around her tightened and with a last, reverent push of his lips against hers he pulled away. A small frown still lingered on his forehead, gaze unsure.
Chloe cupped his cheek again, her eyes catching his. She needed him to understand.
“I choose you.”