The lift doors slide open, with a light ping that’s mostly drowned out by the mournful melody that floats through the air. She stands there, listening. His back is to her and he doesn’t appear to have heard her come in. The glossy surface of the instrument reflects the bar’s backlight casting him in a warm, caramel glow. A cigarette sits in an ashtray, smoke drifting lazily upwards, dispersing into the air, the sickly-sweet smell mingling with the scent of expensive scotch and woody cologne.
His long fingers dance across the ivory keys, his body moving with the music, pressing closer to the piano with his head dipped. He’s engrossed in the song. It’s slow at first, smooth yet sad. Every note carefully plucked, stark against the low accompanying chords.
She steps further into the apartment as the tempo picks up, remaining unnoticed as the chords weave into a heartfelt harmony. The tune is beautiful but filled with sorrow. The sombre sound resonates within her. Her heart clenching at the emotion poured into every note. The depth of pain contained within convey a sense of bleak desolation that words cannot.
Stood by the bar now, she studies the man at the piano. Clad in naught but a black silk robe, he shimmers in the low light. His dark hair is unusually messy, haphazardly sticking up, so chaotic in contrast with his usual perfectly coiffed way.
The notes grow more intense, filling the room with a sense of melancholy and then it falls abruptly silent. His hands hovering over the keys, a palpable sense of grief hanging heavy in the air. She sucks in a breath, expecting him to turn around at any moment. He doesn’t. Instead, he picks the tune up for the final verse.
It’s a repeat of the previous but, it becomes slightly more discordant. His movements more jarred, amplifying the feeling of despondence that it brings. The tune wanes, gradually growing less and less until it suddenly ends when his hands hit all the wrong keys, throwing the room into an uneasy silence. The only sound his, unsteady, rasping breaths.
It shakes her to her core. She’s never heard him play anything so subdued. The last time he’d played anything even close had been right after Father Frank’s death. She wants to say something, make herself known but, feels as though she’s just intruded on a very personal moment. If there’s one thing she’s certain of though, is that the music he plays always reflects his emotional state. It’s the one way he can truly express himself, raw and unfiltered. Piecing together that information and the song he had just played, she can see that he needs someone right now.
“Lucifer?” She says softly, stepping towards him.
His head snaps up as if he’d been completely unaware of her the entire time, which she finds hard to believe considering his heightened senses but, he doesn’t turn around.
“Are you okay?”
Standing behind him now, she gently rests a hand on his shoulder.
He swallows and, for a moment, doesn’t respond.
She rounds the bench, taking a seat next to him as he slowly turns to look her in the eyes.
Her breath catches. His dark brown eyes are filled with a nebulous whirlwind of sorrow, glistening as tears well there, threating at any moment to spill over his red rims.
“Lucifer,” her hand raises to cup his stubbly cheek, her fingers dragging soothing patterns and producing a soft rasping sound. “What’s wrong?”
Her throat constricts at the sight of his obvious pain. She has no idea what’s wrong, but she wants to help, to sooth his aching soul if she can.
His lips part slightly, a distressed look washing over his features. A single syllable tumbles from his lips, more a sound than a word, caught in the back of his throat before it had fully formed.
“Talk to me, Lucifer.”
“I…” he hesitates, looking into her eyes with a fierce intensity. “You won’t understand,” he manages, merely more than a shaky whisper.
Her face hardens. Seriously? After everything they’ve been through, he still believes that? She sighs, steeling herself. It’s not the time to get annoyed with him, not when he’s clearly hurting. “Try me,” she whispers, shuffling closer to him, wrapping her free arm around his waist.
Squeezing his eyes shut, he swallows. “One year ago,” he begins before taking a long pause, his breathing becoming ragged. She tries to think back, it had been a year ago when he had started acting out. Making out with witnesses, punching Dan and trying to get himself killed by that sniper. It had been clear that something had been very wrong but, he wouldn’t talk to her then either. Is this connected? Whatever the case, he seems more willing to open up to her now that they are… well, together. She strokes his face, coaxing him to continue. “My brother died.”
“Oh, Lucifer,” she says as she pulls him closer, his head coming to rest on her shoulder. “Why didn’t you say anything?”
He buries his head in the crook of her neck, his arms remaining limp by his sides. “He didn’t just die.” His words are muffled against her, she can feel his hot breath on her skin, the movement of his Adam’s apple bobbing against her as he swallows. “I… k--killed him,” he whispers.
She freezes, halting all motions to comfort him. “Y—you killed your brother?”
He stiffens against her and suddenly pulls away. “I didn’t want to,” he cries, “I didn’t have a choice.” Averting his eyes from her, he stares, unseeing, into the distance. “I didn’t want to,” he repeats, barely a whisper.
Surely there is some explanation. Lucifer isn’t a cold-blooded killer and he’s distraught by what he’s done.
“He was going to kill Maze and then Mum and then…” a sob escapes his lips, wracking his frame, “he was going to kill you. I couldn’t let him….”
He killed his own brother to save her? All this time he’d been bottling up his pain… silently suffering deep down. “Come here,” she says holding her arms open. He rests his head on her shoulder once more, this time wrapping his arms around her.
“Why?” He manages between shaky breaths.
“Why do I feel like this now? I don’t understand. ”
She sighs pulling him tight against her, rubbing calming circles onto his back as he hides his face in her hair. “Someone once told me ‘there’s no expiration date on the process of healing’. It’s true, Lucifer, you can’t just wait and hope that feelings go away. You need to talk and process them.” She feels him nodding against her. “You don’t have to bottle it up anymore. It’s okay to let it out.”
And he does. He sobs into her shoulder, his warm tears soaking her t-shirt, his whole body shaking. She holds him tight, rocking him slightly until the tears finally slow. He sniffles, pulling away from her, rubbing his red, puffy eyes with the back of his hand. “Thank you.”
“That’s okay, Lucifer,” she says, caressing his face, taking his hand in hers. “You don’t need to hide from me anymore. I’m here for you. There’s nothing you could say or do that would change that. Understand?” He’s so used to having no one, it hurts her like a lance to the heart. But, not anymore. Not if she can help it.
He nods slowly.
She pulls him down, resting his forehead against hers.
“I love you,” he whispers reverentially.
“I love you too.”