Because the sex is great—really great, better than great, great’s not really a good enough word, actually—it takes Chloe a little too long to realize that even though Lucifer looks at her like she (and not he—and yes, sometimes that still breaks her brain just a little) put the stars in the sky, even first thing in the morning when she knows she looks roughly like something the cat dragged in, he's rarely the first to initiate physical contact. When she touches his arm or his shoulder or presses her lips to whatever tantalizing patch of skin is left bare by the collar or cuff of his shirt, he always smiles. His eyes always soften. He often murmurs sweet words or tender words or words that immediately result in larger swaths of bare skin.
But, unless it’s something polite or professional, he doesn't initiate.
At first, she thinks she’s being ridiculous. Like a good detective, she goes looking for evidence. She wears sleeveless shirts, shirts that bare the nape of her neck. He raises his eyebrows and gives exaggerated leers, but that’s nothing new. She pretends to stumble. Of course, Lucifer reaches out to steady her, but as soon as she’s stable he draws his hands respectfully back again, tucking them into the pockets of his suit.
Finally, when she’s certain she’s not imagining things—her own evidence backed by unspecific but illuminating conversations with Linda and Maze and even Ella—she makes sure she and Lucifer have an evening free where they won’t be disturbed. She knows he’s more relaxed at his penthouse, surrounded by the things he has so painstakingly and specifically chosen to bring him pleasure or joy or comfort, so she meets him there. He sits at the piano, playing a melody she’s never heard before, an untouched glass of whiskey gleaming in the golden light, an unlit cigarette forgotten in a crystal ashtray.
“Detective!” He smiles. His eyes soften. Her heart skips the same beat it always skips when the full weight of having the entirety of his attention sinks home. His powers may not work on her the way they work on others, but he doesn’t need them to make her knees weak. “I wasn't expecting you. Weren’t you meant to have the child tonight?”
“Dan’s got her,” she says, shrugging out of her coat. She’s wearing a loose silk shirt that shifts, impossibly soft, against her skin. One of Lucifer’s eyebrows lifts and the smile turns hungry; she realizes she’s backlit and he can probably see the shape of her body beneath it. Rolling her eyes, she helps herself to a glass of wine. “I just... I guess I wanted to talk.”
Because she’s turned to face him again, she catches the flash of something she can only name terror cross his face.
“No,” she says at once, crossing to the piano. “Lucifer, no. Not like that.”
And though the smile returns almost before she notices it was gone, his eyes remain wary. She doesn’t miss the subtle stiffness in his posture or the way his fingers twitch before reaching for his glass. She’s seen children with that look. She’s seen beaten dogs with it. She hates seeing it on one of the faces most precious to her.
“Oh, Lucifer,” she breathes, almost a sigh, as she feels tears sting her eyes. Before he can shift completely into the protective concern she knows so well and loves so deeply and absolutely does not want to set the tone of tonight’s conversation, she moves to his couch and sits, tucking her feet up underneath her. Instead of asking him to join her, she waits for him to decide he wants to. Of course he does. And though he sits and immediately crosses his legs and faces toward her, almost leaning into her space, she notes the hand’s breadth he’s left between them.
“Detective?” he asks, the vulnerability so palpable her breath catches again and she has to swallow hard.
“Do you want to hold my hand?”
He blinks at her, expression turning the kind of quizzical she can only describe as adorable, even though she knows how galled he’d be if she used the word.
To clarify, she says, “Not will you hold my hand. Do you want to?”
Again, an expression she knows too well from seeing it on frightened children waiting for the shouting to start, waiting for the hand in the dark or the sound of glass breaking, briefly shatters the composure he works so hard to maintain. As if worried she’s testing him—which, of course he thinks she’s testing him, oh, Lucifer—he says, “You... forgive me, Detective. Is that what you wish?”
Because she doesn’t want to hide behind her wine glass, she sets it on the table and faces him fully, palms open on her thighs. “Lucifer,” she says, careful not to let anything he might misunderstand as rejection color her tone. “I love you.” This time, she can't quite banish the tears before she blinks and they fall. “I know you love me.”
“Never in doubt,” he agrees. “Detective—”
Inhaling deeply, she says, “Yesterday, when I was standing at the bathroom sink, I saw you reach for me. I think you were going to touch the small of my back or rest your hand on the curve of my waist. I also saw you drop your hand and step back instead of doing it.”
“Did I?“ Genuine confusion knits his brow.
Gently, so gently, she continues, “This morning, at the station, your fingers brushed my wrist as you were reaching for a file at the same time I went for my coffee. You apologized.”
He drops his eyes. “If I’ve not been adequately attentive—”
“Lucifer,” she says, inching forward so their knees touch. He doesn't flinch or pull away, which she considers a win. She puts a hand against his stubbled cheek and feels the tension beneath her fingers. “That’s not what I’m saying. It’s really not. This isn’t about me. It’s about you. It’s about what you want. It’s about what you desire. Because... because I think you want things and you... stop yourself.”
“That’s hardly accurate,” he retorts, a little sharp. Defensive. She wonders how it took her so long to see the hurt beneath the acid, the innuendo, the armor. “I’ve always been quite open about what I desire. Shall we retire downstairs to see the evidence?”
She doesn’t protest or admonish him or rise to his bait. Tipping his glass back, he empties it in a single pull. She doesn’t think the high color in his cheeks is from the alcohol. A war rages within him as he decides whether he’ll stay on the couch or retreat to the bar for another drink; she can see it so clearly now that she knows what to look for. After a moment, he sets his glass down next to hers. “Of course I want to hold your hand,” he says, words still clipped and precise. “I always want to hold your hand, brush my fingers through your hair, kiss the curve of your collarbone.”
She nods. “Okay.”
His eyes search hers and he says nothing. His closed hands open, flatten. His shuddering intake of breath is audible as he abruptly closes the distance and takes her hands in his. She smiles encouragement and squeezes his fingers briefly. She’s close enough to see him swallow. After a moment, his thumbs brush the insides of her wrists. Remarkably, the gesture’s not at all sexual even though there’s no denying the frisson of sensation the light touch sends through her. Because he’s looking down at their hands, she can only see the sinfully long fringe of his eyelashes and the curve of his cheeks as he smiles.
It’s so intimate she can scarcely breathe.
She’s aware of the strength in his hands. They look so human, skin and bone and blood, but they’re also perfect. Genuinely. They’re the hands made by a God who wanted his child to pull music from any instrument he touched, both literal and metaphorical. They’re hands made by a God who left his child in the dark for eons, bereft of music, bereft of touch. She bends at the waist and kisses the back of one hand and then the other.
His thumbs pause, coming to rest against her pulse. “I never,” he begins, voice breaking a little on the final syllable. He clears his throat. “It is incredibly important to me that you never feel… used. Taken advantage of. I could not—I could not abide it.”
“Hey,” she replies. “Why not let me worry about that?”
Dampness shines in his eyes and leaves tiny stars on the ends of his eyelashes. Lifting one shoulder in a shrug she says, “When have you known me to let you get away with anything? We’re partners. Give and take. For both of us.”
A single exhaled ha is almost a laugh, though it could just as easily be a sob, and she knows it. One hand leaves hers and he cups her cheek as she’d done for him earlier. She doesn’t look away from his searching gaze, doesn’t blink, and wills him to see whatever it is he needs to see.
“I do not think,” he says with wonder, “human language has invented a word sublime enough to describe you.”
As his thumb begins the same rhythmic stroking, this time of her cheekbone, she leans into his touch.
“I—it’s...” His confusion is as adorable as his quizzical was earlier. “Very strange.”
She asks the question with her eyebrows.
“I think I would like—” Here he does laugh, a little self-deprecating, perhaps, but not self-flagellating. She's relieved to hear no secret loathing in it. “I would simply like to hold you, if I may. Chloe.”
He uses her name so rarely it always catches her off-guard. It’s music, every time; a song he sings only for her. A star, tiny and delicate and lovingly wrought, that he drops into her hand, into her heart.
She’s loath to give the God who left a son with a heart as tender as Lucifer’s alone to punish himself for eons any credit, but she does have to admit she fits into the curve of Lucifer’s body as if she was designed for it.
In the morning, Lucifer brings her a mug of coffee just the way she likes it. She smells buttered toast and bacon, decadent. As she murmurs a sleepy thank you, he kisses her forehead. The brush of his lips is warm, easy.
“Thank you,” she says again, and not for the coffee, as she opens her eyes.
“Thank you,” he echoes, running the backs of his fingers along her cheek before tucking her hair behind her ear. “Thank you.”