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Petrichor

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--

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.

--