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Among the Stars

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Why her? Why couldn't one of the countless,  less complicated mothers do this? Camping had never been her thing. Shootings? Car chases? Blood? Sure. Bugs, snakes, and humidity? Pass. But for her daughter, she’d do anything.

She sat just outside her tent, watching the river water weave between the large rocks Trixie and her friends sat on earlier, chatting about whatever new fad was in.  The sky above her was black, dotted with stars.

It was late, and it would be only a few hours before she needed to be up again for the hike the kids had planned, but she just couldn’t sleep. The wind had woken her, startling her enough to grab at the empty space her gun usually occupied. After that she couldn't get back to sleep. So she slipped out of the tent and kept guard. Just in case.

It had been a hard three months since the kidnapping. The only time she felt safe was when Lucifer was near. Ironic, really. Feeling safe around the devil himself. At least it would be, if she actually believed in his silly fantasies.

As she carved her name in the dirt with a stick, a rustle of leaves caught her attention. It was somewhere behind her. Too big to be a squirrel, and too clumsy to be a deer.

She listened closely, tuning in to the way the ground crunched under the beings feet. Two legs, human. Instinctively, she tested the end of the stick against her skin, flimsy but sharp. She could work with sharp.

She shifted her body into the shadows before standing. Slowly, she walked toward the noise, the stick raised in her hands. A makeshift weapon.

"LAPD, hands up!" She shouted

"Detective, really? What's with the formalities? If you want me in handcuffs all you need to do is ask." Lucifer walked out from behind a tree, his mouth turned up in a wicked smile.

Chloe's shoulders dropped, the stick falling to the ground. "What the hell, Lucifer? How are you here?"

Despite her tone, she was glad to see him. The way his presence instantly calmed her was more than a little confusing, but she welcomed the relief.

"Dan told me you'd be out here," he said, joining her at her side.

"Well you found me. What do you need?" It was always something. Lucifer was more needy than her 7 year old daughter.

Lucifer’s eyes darkened, he looked almost disappointed in her bluntness, "I'm not sure. I think I just wanted to not be alone."

"Come on," Chloe said, sighing. She motioned toward the spot she'd been sitting before. He followed at her heels, humming Sinnerman

He took his seat beside her. It was a strange sight to see. A man decked out in a Prada suit, likely brand new and worth more than her entire wardrobe, sitting in the dirt. But she liked him that way, always gray in a world of black and white.

For a while, neither one spoke a word. The song of the flowing river and an owl singing a desperate midnight tune played background music to Lucifer’s humming. Chloe couldn't help but notice the slight shift in his posture, the way he found silent excuses to move closer to her.

Six months ago she wouldn't have rolled her eyes and called him out. Now, she found herself aching for him to just get it over with and wrap his arm around her shoulders.

"I couldn't sleep either," his voice shocked her from her thoughts.

"How do you know I couldn't sleep?"

Lucifer rolled his eyes, his smile was smug, "You're not the only one with detective skills you know."

Chloe nodded, "Fine. You're right," she tossed her hands in the air, mocking surrender. "So is that why you came here? Because misery loves company?"

Lucifer fixed his eyes to the clear sky above them, ignoring the question completely. "Do you see that? That cluster of stars there?"

"The ones that look like a square with legs?" Chloe asked.

Lucifer clucked his tongue against his teeth, "Oh he wouldn't like you," he said. He moved behind her, taking her head into his hands and moving it just slightly. "You humans are so simple minded sometimes. Look at it now."

"It looks like a…” She narrowed her eyes at the constellation, trying to decode the shape, “A horse?"

"Yes! Now you got it! That's Pegasus."

Chloe leaned her head back against his chest, feeling the warmth of his body on the nape of her neck. Her eyes fluttered shut, his comforting effect in full force. As she rested, Lucifer continued, making his way through the entire night sky. It seemed he knew something about every single constellation in their line of sight.

“How do you know all of this?” she asked, her voice slurred with sleep.

Lucifer brushed his lips against her hair. It was barely there, as  light as a feather, but still it sent chills racing down her spine. "Well, Dad always has liked bragging about his artwork.”

Chloe sighed. Of course. One nice moment, and then it's back. The permanent reminder that Lucifer was not at all mentally stable. She wanted to pull away, to tell him to get lost, but the anxiety of not being able to relax was just too much. What's one more night?

She felt a fingertip brush over her cheek, "I think it's time for sleep now, Detective." Lucifer’s voice was fading, much softer than before. The light behind her eyelids slowly slipped away, and at the last moment before all consciousness left her she felt him lift her from the ground.

She should have stopped him, told him to put her down, but her lips couldn’t find the words. Everything felt like a dream, she couldn’t fight it anymore.  It’d been months since she’d had any real sleep.  Gently, he tucked her into the empty sleeping bag next to Trixie’s sleeping body .

“Goodnight, Chloe,” he whispered, his hand coming up to her brow to brush her hair from her face.

Goodnight, she thought as she watched, through barely cracked eye lids, climb out of the tent and back out into the wild.