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If You Love Me, Don't Let Go

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He wanted to die.

Or vanish, more correctly. To dissipate from himself and no longer exist.

The streets of Los Angeles lay piebald, light and dark between street lamps and the night. Lucifer sat in his car outside the Doctor’s office for a long time, his own words clanging in his ears. Why, why, why do I hate myself so much?

It was early enough. He could go back to the club, dissolve himself in liquor and drugs and sex. Probably run into Eve and use her for a night’s pleasure, for forgetfulness. But that thought, which once would have been delightful, seemed wretched. He was wretched, and had nowhere to go. Dan the douche hated him too, Ella had a party of some kind, Amenadiel and the Doctor were preoccupied with the budding life in her, Maze was busy, being, well, Maze, and Eve he found he didn’t much care. He didn’t much care about anything. He felt only this starving blue-dark, folding around his lungs and squeezing the air from him. Which was ridiculous -- he was a celestial, an angel -- this whole matter of not breathing was silly.

But he wanted to drown in the ocean. If only he could. He wanted to drive into traffic and feel himself mangle and tear and blink out like a light. He wanted the slice of demonic blades to open his throat.

He’d decided before he turned the ignition and drove.

There was one golden berth in the city, and as he stood on the Detective's doorstep, it occurred to him that he had no excuse for being there. Especially after what he’d said earlier.

The Detective opened the door, amber brown hair fanning her shoulders, curves soft in her pajamas.

“Lucifer,” she said, bewildered.

Things had been so strange between them these last months: sometimes intimate, and sometimes strained. It was like a spider’s web to Lucifer: delicate but also strong.

She grasped his elbow, all the heat he could ever need.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“I was just in the neighborhood,” he began.

But her question, so simple, bored right into his core. His rotten core. He heard himself gasp, a sound of despair rather than shock, and tears stinging his eyes.

“Let’s come inside and have some tea.”

Her palm touched his, skin whispering against skin.

“The urchin isn’t home?” Lucifer mumbled, dabing his eyes.

“No. It’s Dan’s night to take her.”

“I should probably go,” Lucifer said.

He was afraid, afraid of being close to the Detective, of allowing her to see him again. His loathsome self.

“You are not going,” the Detective said in her that’s final voice.

She lead him to the couch and he sat there, looking at his shiny, meaningless shoes while he listened to her rummage through cupboards for mugs. That was not meaningless, but melodic, a certain kind of music.

“I have chamomile, mint, blueberry, and rooibos.”

“I think I’ll go. I’m sorry to inconvenience you.”

“Lucifer,” the Detective said, voice surprisingly plaintive.

The Detective put the mugs down on the counter.

“Let’s just talk.”

“I don’t know . . . if I can, really.”

He was scraped thin and the words fluttered away, no more than scraps of rice paper in the wind.

How did one say to the woman one loved that he hated himself? That it was the wellspring of his many problems? What he had told the Detective earlier might be cruel, but this was almost crueler: to foist that on her, as if it were her problem, not his.

So he stayed silent as she sat next to him.

“Then we won’t talk,” the Detective said.

It was quiet, pleasantly so. He could hear the Detective’s heartbeat, and smell her shampoo and toothpaste, and feel her warmth.

He softened like river clay and leaned down, putting his head on her lap. There was no hesitance as she stroked his hair and massaged the sides of his head.

Despite everything between them, she had opened the door for him, welcomed him into her house, wanted to nurture and care for him. Like she loved him too.

She rubbed his shoulders and Lucifer caught himself doing a very human thing -- falling asleep. He jerked awake.

“You can sleep here if you want,” the Detective ran her finger over his ear.

“No, I really think I will be going,” Lucifer rose. “I just needed to be with someone who . . . cared.”

“Of course I lo -- I care for you. A lot of people do.”

But not a lot of people would answer the door, he thought wryly.

He straightened his suit and wished the Detective good-night. As he drove home, he felt something like starlight inside. No, it wasn’t resolved. But as the Doctor had said, it was a start, and tomorrow, tomorrow was brimful of possibilities. And the Devil always reveled in those.