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What's This?

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“What’s this?”

Lucifer approached the Detective’s desk, where she and Miss Lopez were huddled together looking at something on a phone screen. The Detective appeared to startle at the sound of his voice; it was obvious she hadn’t heard him walking up behind them. It wasn't as if he was any quieter than he had been before, but now that she knew the truth, she often seemed skittish around him.

Perhaps it was just his imagination though.

He hoped that it was. 

“Ella was just showing me some old photos of her family’s tree back home,” the Detective explained, before returning the phone to her friend.

The pictures now back in her possession, Miss Lopez promptly decided it was his turn, and... well, it was certainly unlike any tree he’d ever seen before. A myriad of colours filled the screen; gaudy baubles jammed in next to glittering ribbons, which in turn wound themselves around masses of tinsel, leaving barely any foliage on display. He couldn't even be sure that it was a tree, for any branches that were still visible appeared to be just as plastic as the decorations that adorned them. The entire concoction succeeded in clashing terribly with the many electric lights on strings strung across every available surface, creating a combination that could only be described as visual torture for the poor soul forced to look at it.

Which, unfortunately, was him.

“Well, it certainly is…” he started hesitantly. The Detective’s eyes widened, and she shook her head, just a fraction. “...Vibrant?” he ventured.

Ella grinned happily. “I know, right?! Every year me and my brothers compete to see who can bring back the biggest, tackiest decoration. Whoever wins gets to switch on the lights!” She paused, frowning. “Or fix the lights, most of the time. Still, I totally have it in the bag this year!”  

With that, she dashed off into the lab, emerging a few seconds later with something so hideous that Lucifer was certain it must feature in one of the many Christmas Hell loops he’d come across in his time. Despite his disdain for the holiday, he had always felt a special affinity for that particular form of punishment. After all, what could be more tortuous than being forced to spend time with family?

Miss Lopez attempted to hand him the… thing, but he quickly sidestepped, allowing his partner to take the blow. He might never have come into contact with tinsel before, yet there was no doubt in his mind that around the Detective, he'd be allergic to it.

“Wow, Ella, it’s certainly… something!” the Detective said, before catching his eye and biting her lip as she tried to keep herself from laughing. He too felt the urge bubble up inside, and he quickly endeavoured to hold it back, lest he offend Miss Lopez. He knew that if the Detective broke though, so would he. Her laughter was as irresistible to him as... well, everything about her really.

“C’mon you guys! I know it’s bad. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Christmas is full of traditions, they’re important! Mine just happens to be”— she deflated a little—“better looking to the colour blind, is all.”

Hopping up from her chair, the Detective wrapped her arms around the forensic scientist. “Well I think it’s great. And you’re right. It’s important to have traditions.”

Miss Lopez hugged her back tightly. “What about you, are you and Trixie up to anything special this year?”

The Detective smiled. “It’s just me, Dan, and Trixie this year. Mom can’t make it back in time, and Dan’s parents are spending it with his grandparents. That’s okay though, I prefer a quiet family Christmas anyway. Family is what it’s all about, after all.”

“You’re damn right it is!” Miss Lopez said with a grin. “What about you, Lu?”

He froze. Partly because Miss Lopez had referred to him yet again as “Lu”—something which had started not long after she found out Azrael was his sister, and something which he disliked intensely—but also because he genuinely didn’t know how to answer the question without leaving her feeling sorry for him. Which was another thing he wasn’t exactly fond of.

“Oh, the usual,” he replied, brushing it off and hoping it would be enough to assuage her.

Which, of course, it wasn’t.

The moment as Ella asked the question, Chloe felt awful. In all the time she’d known him, had she ever asked Lucifer what he was doing for Christmas? Partying and women, that’s what she’d always assumed. And perhaps that was true. It would certainly be better than doing—

“Nothing,” he admitted after Ella pestered him further, somewhat reluctantly, judging by his tone. “In the past my companions have always tended to be busy, and on the few years I have opened Lux, hardly anyone shows up, for some inexplicable reason.”

Ella's face fell to the floor. “Aw, dude, that’s awful! I’d invite you to Detroit, but y’know, my Abuelita… the Devil…”

“I perfectly understand, Miss Lopez. The thought is appreciated though.” He smiled fondly at Ella before hesitantly placing a hand on her shoulder. She immediately beamed back brightly at him. Chloe couldn't help but notice how much closer they’d grown lately; in fact, when she thought about it, he spent almost as much time in the lab with the scientist as he did by her desk these days.

There was no jealousy there for her now though. For one thing, Lucifer and Ella definitely had more of a brother/sister relationship than anything else. And as for the other… well, she’d be kidding herself if she said that she didn’t already know the Devil’s heart belonged to her.

And hers to him, of course.

She just hadn’t found a way to tell him that yet.

Tell him in a way that would make him believe her, that is.

“You could come to ours,” she blurted out, without really stopping to think it through. It wasn’t until she said it out loud though that she realised how much she actually wanted him to be there. Yes, she didn’t want him to spend the day alone, but more than that, she wanted him there with her. After all the months she’d spent away from him last year, as she took the time to come to terms with her new reality, she now found herself missing him whenever he wasn’t by her side. Even at Christmas, it seemed.

“That’s very kind of you, Detective,” he said, with a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “But as you said, Christmas is for family.” He paused for a moment, his gaze shifting away from her. “And the Devil has no family.”

She opened her mouth to argue with him, but Ella got there first. “What about your brother?”

He huffed. “Amenadiel will most likely be in the Silver City. He spends the majority of his time there these days.” There was an underlying sadness to his voice, betraying the fact he missed his brother more than he would likely ever admit. “He might pop in for a flying visit though.” He smiled genuinely then, overly pleased with his own pun.

“And Ray-Ray?”

“My sister will no doubt be as busy as she is any other day. You humans don’t exactly take a break from dying for the holidays.”

Ella frowned at that. “But she always vis—"

She ground to a halt as a flicker of pain crossed Lucifer's face. One second later though, and his mask was firmly back in place, leaving him the picture of easy going joviality once more. “Azrael always has time for you, Miss Lopez. As do I, I hope you realise.”

“Thanks, buddy!” Ella threw her arms around the Devil before he could react, giving him the hug that had been pretty much inevitable from the beginning. He no longer flinched as much as he once did though, Chloe noted with a smile. It was about time he got used to receiving hugs from someone other than her.

Releasing Lucifer before the squirming started, Ella glanced towards the pile of evidence bags stacked up on the nearby table and rolled her eyes. “This lot won't catalogue itself I suppose,” she said with a put upon sigh, still managing to somehow sound chirpy, despite the task ahead of her. Grabbing as much as she could carry, she headed off towards the lab.

Lucifer moved to help her, but Chloe took hold of his arm. “Wait a minute.” He looked down to where she was touching him, and she immediately let go. When exactly he’d become uncomfortable with her doing that, she didn’t know, but she suspected it had something to do with the conversation they’d had a few months ago when they decided to be friends again. Just friends, nothing more. That last part he’d insisted on.

Because if he thought he wasn’t worthy of her before he took Cain’s life, he certainly didn’t now.

And he refused to change his mind on that.

“You’re sure?” she asked. “That you don’t want to join us?”

Casting one last look towards the lab, he fell down into his usual chair with a sigh. “Detective, I have no desire to spend my time paying homage to a fictional event from a fictional book.”

Her eyes narrowed. Well, that was nothing if not confusing. She leaned over the desk, beckoning him closer. “But I thought,” she whispered, “that it was all real.”

He threw his head back, laughing. “Dragons were once real, Detective. Yet you don’t see humans across the globe celebrating Game of Thrones day every winter.”

Dragons were real.

Right. Okay.

It said a lot that she was now simply able to accept something like that as if it were no big deal. Just another piece of information to add to the ever growing pile of things she once believed didn’t exist. Nothing to freak out about whatsoever. Although, this one was pretty cool, to be fair. Trixie was going to be thrilled.

Ella, having walked past just in time to catch the last part of what Lucifer was saying, ground to a halt. “Dude, NO. Have you seen Game of Thrones?” She shuddered. “I hate to think what George R.R. Martin’s version of a white Christmas would be.”

She wandered off to get more bags, leaving Lucifer chuckling at the idea, before turning his attention back to Chloe. “Still, the point stands. The characters might be real, but the plot differs immensely. After all, if the bible were fact, why would the most important person barely be in it?”

“Pretty sure God’s in the bible, dude,” Ella called out as she headed back to the lab again.

Chloe closed her eyes and put her head in her hands. “You mean you, don’t you? Of course you mean you.”

When she looked back up, he was grinning at her. Then, gradually, his face grew sombre again. “So you see, Detective, you needn’t feel obligated to include me in your celebrations,” he said, adding a small smile at the end.

“I don’t—”

She stopped as he moved forward and placed a hand on top of hers, shaking his head. Savouring the touch she had missed so much, she stroked her thumb along the side of his, causing him to quickly pull away again.

“At least join us for”—she scrambled for a reason, any reason to spend some time with him—“the preparations?” She winced. Was that really the best she could come up with? “I have some time off next week anyway,” she added, rushing to explain, “so there won’t be anything to do around here.”

“Will Daniel not be here?” he asked, avoiding her eyes as he idly played with the pens on her desk.

Her heart sank. He’d rather be with Dan than with her? Honestly, it felt like every time they took a step forward in their relationship lately, they just ended up going back again. Both of them were on tenterhooks around each other constantly, and she was getting tired of it.

“He will,” she said, glancing in the direction of her ex, who started frantically shaking his head at her, gesturing to the massive amount of paperwork he had sat in front of him. “So if you want to work with Dan, you can…” Lucifer sat up a little straighter. “But I could really use the help.”

And there it was. She could tell by the look in his eyes that he’d already given in. Much had changed between them, but one thing remained the same; if she needed him, he was there.

“Of course,” he said with a nod. “I will assist you in any way I can, Detective.”