He was late. She was pacing.
For the millionth time since she'd met Lucifer Morningstar, Chloe wondered why she was putting up with him. But even as she checked her phone again to make sure she hadn't missed a call from him -- Lucifer never called, but it didn't hurt to check -- her mind played tricks on her, she could hear the click of his heels on the Linoleum as though he was walking in the door. Her gaze went to the front door: no Lucifer.
Only Trixie's presence kept her from making a sound to voice her frustration, or otherwise taking it out on the countertop in front of her.
The shuffle of Maze's feet cheered her at least somewhat, the slim woman turning in the middle of the floor on the tiptoes of her new footie pajamas. They matched Trixie's, all over soft, white fluffy material with a single horn sticking out of the hood. It'd been her idea to get one for Mazikeen too and though Chloe had been uncertain about it, she'd wrapped it and put it under the tree with the rest of the gifts. Maze had wrestled the slim box several times in the past two weeks, trying to guess what was inside. She'd done a horrible job of hiding her grin when she'd slipped into them at Trixie's insistence. Now the two were a cozy, comfortable pair, sliding and turning across the floor.
There was a rainbow tail on the backsides of both unicorn onesies and Maze shook hers at Trixie, dancing to the musical guest playing during the parade. The floats had stopped for the moment and Trixie had declared a dance party while they waited for it to start back up. Maze, whom Chloe had assumed would grump about the morning and return to bed after the initial noise died down, was currently meeting the challenge of a child's Christmas Morning energy.
"He's here!" Trixie yelled, twisting her feet back and forth to shuffle across the floor, not really making progress towards the door, but her attention focused on the face in the window.
Chloe felt the skip in her heartbeat at her daughter's pronouncement and the excitement in it. Not for the first time, she wondered if it was safe, letting Trixie spend so much time (read: any time at all) with Lucifer. Her daughter adored him, for reasons Chloe couldn't, or didn't want to understand.
He swung the door open with all the grace and effort of a model, but the grin on his face as he slid into the apartment always reminded her somewhat of Kramer from that one sitcom, sliding in so dramatically so that all eyes couldn't help but turn towards him. She wondered if he was capable of coming through a door any other way. Even she wasn't immune to his dramatic flair, though she did her best to press her smile down before he noticed it.
Trixie beelined for Lucifer's leg, wrapping her tiny arms around him, stuffed unicorn horn mushed against the fine fabric of his dark suit. The sight drew Chloe's attention to Lucifer's suit. Instead of his usual black, he'd gone with a dark red that looked to be the texture of a finely crushed velvet. It was darker than the standard Christmas red, something more akin to the deep red of pooled blood.
"Yes, yes," he murmured, patting Trixie's head. "Maze, what are you wearing?"
"A unicorn… onesie." She looked at Trixie for confirmation and the girl nodded. Maze grinned. Her whole demeanor changed around Lucifer, defiant, proud, challenging. Her smile was one of confidence and daring as though she wanted him to give her a hard time about it. Maze pointed at Trixie. "The little one has one too." Lucifer spared a glance for Trixie and nodded. "So she does." Then he crouched down and produced something from behind his back.
Chloe hadn't even noticed he'd been holding something back and her head cocked, and she pushed up onto her toes to get a better look from behind the kitchen counter.
"I know it's not chocolate cake, but Christmas is more a time for cookies, is it not?"
Trixie gave him a gap-toothed grin. "Yes!" She snatched the cellophane wrapped package from his hand and threw herself against his shoulder in another attempt at a hug. "Thanks, Lucifer!" With the quickness only a child has when in possession of sugary contraband, Trixie pushed away from Lucifer and darted towards the couch preparing to tear into her gift.
"Wait a second. Trixie, you can't have cookies for breakfast, we'll have something else--" She stopped, feeling the glares from Lucifer and Maze that had fallen on her. "What?"
"It's Christmas-" they said, but not quite in unison and without even a glance at each other.
Lucifer stepped forward, coming up to the other side of the kitchen counter. "Cookies, are a Christmas food. It's Christmas. She should be able to have--"
"He has a point, mom."
"Alright, monkey." Chloe sighed. There was no winning with this bunch.
Maze poked Lucifer in the chest. "Where's mine?"
Lucifer produced a second cellophane wrapped cookie from the pocket of his suit and handed it to Maze. "The rest of your gift is at Lux."
Maze unwrapped her cookie, a circular shape like a lopsided star with one too many points. It was covered in red icing and sprinkles, a few falling into the fur of her outfit as she took a bite. She nodded as she chewed and made an appreciative sound.
As Maze moved back towards the living room, Lucifer's attention turned to Chloe.
She cocked her head to the side and scowled. "You're late."
"Well, who gets murdered on Christmas, Detective?" He sounded affronted by the thought. "I hadn't exactly been dressed for the festivities."
She rolled her eyes. "It's not festive, it's a murder." Her eyes narrowed a thought coalescing. "Unless you left a Brittany or someone behind this morning?" She hated the way her own voice sounded around the words. She had no right to be mad at anyone he'd spent Christmas - or any morning - with. When it came to Lucifer though, the more logical, even-minded parts of her brain got jumbled.
"I did not. However, those were not the kind of festivities I was talking about, Detective." He grinned, leaning forward a little as he did so. He tucked his hands in his pocket a clear sign he was rather pleased with himself. "I meant, Christmas."
"So you rushed out to buy a red suit?" She shook her head and came out from around the counter. "I wouldn't think Christmas would be a big deal to you anyway. That's not like your thing, is it?" She didn't put air quotes up, but she stressed the word your, drawing it out.
"Not my thing? I'll have you know, Detective, that Christmas is incredibly important."
From the couch, where Maze had wondered over to watch the beginnings of the parade with Trixie, she spoke up. "He likes it when people address their cards to him, instead of Santa."
"You know Santa, Lucifer?" Trixie perks up from her cookie and turns half-around to follow their conversation.
"I'll have you know," he said, turning towards the sofa, "I know what people want more than anyone else. Including that bearded, rotund elf. What does he know about what people desire? Nothing. Besides, I look much better in red than he does."
Maze shrugged and returned to the parade. Chloe smiled as Trixie did the same, taking a large bite of her cookie as she leaned against Maze. It was a strange sight; she was still learning how caring Maze could be, especially when it came to Trixie.
After all the things she'd heard people say in Lucifer's presence, the way they revealed themselves after only a simple question from her partner… Well, he was no saint, but he did seem to understand the things people wanted. And while his little parlor trick had never worked on her, there seemed to be something to it. At least it was something she had yet to learn how to explain.
Lucifer tugged on the front of his suit jacket, feeling his point had been made.
"Shall we, Detective?" He held out a hand, gesturing towards the door.
Chloe nodded. "Maze, you're okay watching Trixie?" She stepped over to the couch, leaning down to kiss Trixie on the head. The soft fuzz of the onesie filled her hands as she pulled the hood down to look at her daughter. "Monkey, you behave for Maze, okay?"
"I will, Mama."
"Alright. I'll call when I can. Daddy should be here to pick up before lunch."
Maze gave her a quick, understanding nod. "I've got the kid."
"Are we ready then?" Lucifer asked.
"Ready," she replied.
"Great." He made his way to the door, holding it open for Chloe. Before he pulled the door closed, he glanced back at Maze. "Maze, don't your gift at Lux. When you're ready." He grinned and closed the door.
"You got Maze a Christmas present?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes." He didn't elaborate as they made their way to the car, and Chloe didn't press. Lucifer's relationship with Maze was a complicated one, and she knew she would probably never understand the two of them. Whatever it was, even though Maze had moved out of Lux, she still looked to Lucifer for… something.
Lucifer pulled her attention back with a simple, quiet, "Detective?"
She looked up. "Yes, Lucifer?"
"I got something for you as well," he said.
In his hand he held a small box. It was gold and wrapped in a white ribbon and Chloe felt the pit of her stomach give out. She wasn't sure she wanted to see whatever was in that box, but she reached for it instinctively.
"You don't have to open it now. I know we've got a murder to attend."
Chloe nodded. Her head felt fuzzy, a little disconnected. Perhaps it was better that they go, working would clear her head. She took the box and slipped it inside her jacket pocket.
"I'll open it after," she said.
"That's fine, Detective." He smiled, teeth flashing brilliantly in the sunlight.
Over the top of the car, Chloe saw the front door open. Trixie burst through, the hood of her onesie flopping behind her as she came after them. In her hands she was carrying a thin, rectangular package.
Trixie held the gift up and ran to Lucifer's window. "Lucifer! You forgot your present!" Lucifer took the gift and reached out to pull up Trixie's hood. "Thank you," he said, ducking his head to look at Chloe through the window. He was smiling.
"Yes, that's from me and Trixie," Chloe said.
"I'll open it on the way," Lucifer said. Then he looked back to Trixie. "Thank you, Trixie."
"You're welcome!" She smiled and bounced on her toes, before turning around and running back up to the front door. Maze was there waiting for her, half-eaten cookies in both hands. She shrugged and held the door open until Trixie was inside. She waved a cookie-filled hand before letting the door close.
Chloe got in the car and sighed. "Let's get to the scene."
She didn't really want to watch Lucifer open the gift she and Trixie had put together. It made her more than a little nervous. It wasn't like she was in the habit of buying gifts for people that could afford anything they wanted. And this was Lucifer, it wasn't like he was exactly easy to buy for.
Lucifer sat with the gift on his lap as they pulled away from the house. "You don't have to open it now," Chloe said, trying not to look at him. He gave her a curious look.
"I'm surprised, Detective. I didn't expect a gift."
She shrugged, uncertain what to say. It had been impossible to find something she wanted to get for him, but she'd never really questioned whether or not she would get him something. She and Trixie had gone shopping for him specifically,
"Well, we got you one," she said.
He tugged at the ribbon on top, sliding it apart easily. The box was decorative on its own without wrapping paper, so only the ribbon had been keeping it together. The top of the box slipped off easily with a gentle tug from Lucifer. Carefully, he peeled back the tissue paper and inside was a small dark gray pocket square with gold stars, and a pair of silver cufflinks.
"Detective," Lucifer said. There was something akin to wonder in his voice.
"Trixie helped," she said quickly. Hoping to dissuade some of the anxiety she felt. Her gaze was focused on the road, giving her the best excuse not to look over at his face. "She thought you might like the stars because of your name…" It sounded apologetic and she cursed herself for it. It'd seemed like a good gift until just this moment when it was in front of him. "I hope you like them."
Gently, he picked up one of the cufflinks. "They're love--" The cufflink was turned up towards him, the carved wing motif visible. After a moment he finished his thought. "Lovely. These are perfect, Detective. Thank you. And thank the small one for me."
Chloe let breath out of her tight chest, it burned and the breath didn't help it ease. Lucifer had gone silent, folding the pocket square and replacing the white one from his suit with the new one once he was done. His suit jacket had big, gaudy buttons instead of cufflinks so once the fabric was handled he slipped the lid back on the box.
He fiddled with the fabric in his pocket for the rest of their drive. It was quiet in the car, tense and anxious and Chloe hated every moment of it. She didn't know how to fix it either, so she focused on driving and sat in frustrating silence. It was usually Lucifer that filled these drives with mindless or self-centered chatter.
"Detective," Lucifer turned his attention to her as she pulled the car into park. They were parked on the street across from a large hotel. The block was full of flashing lights and service vehicles, uniformed officers blocking the nearby intersection and redirecting traffic.
"I know I said you could wait, but before we go in, would you mind opening your gift?"
She turned off the car and pulled the box from her pocket. He was watching her carefully, his brow creased with what she could only assumed was worry. She nodded, if only to get that look off his face and assuage her own nervous energy.
Like his gift, the box containing hers was only held closed by a ribbon which came off easily. The box was small enough to fit in the palm of her hand and the lid slipped off with a slight airy sound. Inside on a small padded piece of fabric was a gold chain. A charm hung from the necklace and though it had flipped over in transit, she could see the shape of it before she even touched it.
The small gold charm was grooved against her thumb as she lifted it off the cushion to turn it over. She gasped and looked at Lucifer who was watching her intently.
"This is-- … How--"
He started to grin and she looked back down at the box in her hand. Staring back at her was a delicate golden charm in the shape of narrow wings, feathers shaped at various intervals across the bottom, creating very familiar silhouette. It looked like a complete set of the motif on the cufflinks she'd bought for Lucifer. The similarity was striking.
"It's beautiful, Lucifer," Chloe said at last, her fingers tracing the engraved wings. "It's too nice. I can't keep this--" she shook her head and started to slip the lid back on.
Lucifer's hand stopped her, coving the necklace. "Please, Detective. Keep it."
"It's too much," she mused, staring down at it.
He pulled his hand away. "I hope you'll wear it."
A knock on her window made her jump and Chloe's hand gripped the box tight at the center of a reflexive fist. An officer was standing there, waiting.
She opened the door, hiding the box away as she did. "Yes?"
"I thought I'd show you to the scene, Detective."
"Right. A moment," she said. With a nod she gestured to the front of the hotel. "I'll be right there." She pulled the door closed, keeping an eye on the officer as he walked away.
She tugged on the necklace, freeing it from the cushion and the box quickly. She turned to Lucifer and held it out. "I'll wear it. Can you help?"
Without a word, Lucifer took the necklace from her and unhooked the clasp. Chloe pulled her hair aside and let him pull the chain around her neck. As the charm settled on her skin, it was almost warm and within a second she could barely feel it anymore. She reached up to touch it, straightening it as her ponytail fell back in place.
"You like it?"
"I do, Lucifer." She smiled and pushed the box into the console of her car, out of the way. "Thank you."
He grinned and popped open his door, long legs unfolding as he exited the car. She smiled, at him or for herself as she lifted herself out of the car as well. Their doors shut in unison and a few moments later they were amongst a wave of service personnel. Lucifer stood out like a flashing light in a sea of shadows, the crushed red velvet of his suit reflecting all manner of lights as he made his way through the hotel lobby.
As they were checked into the scene, Chloe's hand went to her neck and she stroked the winged charm. Lucifer caught her gaze and smiled. "Merry Christmas, Detective."