Author's Note: Thank you kindly, again, for all of your supportive reviews and comments! I only foresaw this being a two chapter story but if you're all keen for more then I certainly don't mind finding an excuse to spend a bit more time with our favorite fallen angel and detective.

Anything Brighter

3.

The week has been a wretched one for Chloe. She has had to make up excuses for why Dan hasn't come to pick up Trixie when he is supposed to, and why he wasn't there for Taco Tuesday. She detests lying to her daughter, even if it is all in the name of ensuring that the girl feels secure and loved. She hasn't seen Lucifer since the night she dropped him off at Lux and hasn't had a spare minute to even contact him to chat. Though she scolds herself for it, there is a brief flare of disappointment every time she receives a text or a call and it isn't him.

"Stupid," she mutters to herself as she drives to the gym. "Stupid, stupid, stupid, Chloe."

When all the weight machines are taken and she ends up running on the treadmill, her frustration is peaked by the fact that she could have just gone for a jog at home. Exercise has always calmed her, and right now, she needs some space without the stresses of her soon-to-be ex-husband behaving like a high schooler who doesn't want to confront her, her mother's OCD requests to know an exact date that she can take Trixie to Disneyland, and her own confusion over the hope she feels buoying up every time she thinks about sitting with Lucifer on the curb when he said that she had helped him.

The following day, she had sent him a text asking how he was but never heard back.

Sighing, she closes her eyes and turns up the music, focusing on the rhythm of her feet, her heart, and her breathing. Sweating now, she is starting to feel the tension leave her body. How anyone could turn to drugs or alcohol or eating when upset instead of exercising has always confused her, for it was the best way she knew to make her body feel utterly spent while her mind sharpened.

A rap song comes on. Rolling her eyes, she snatches up her phone to press skip on Pandora, a risk she is willing to take at the moment, pretending that she doesn't remember the club owner expressing a similar distaste for the genre the first day they met.

Get him out of your head, Chloe, she scolds herself.

Which is easier said than done when she realizes that she has no less than seven texts from him that she hadn't noticed while jogging. They're in all caps and make her immediately shut off the machine.

CHLOE.

PLEASE, COME QUICKLY.

NO, COME IMMEDIATELY.

THIS IS AN EMERGENCY.

USE YOUR FLASHY LIGHTS AND SPEED.

IT'S NOT LIKE YOU CAN GIVE YOURSELF A SPEEDING TICKET, CAN YOU?

THIS IS NOT A JOKE. I NEED HELP.

Hopping off of the treadmill, Chloe only spares a moment to write back OMW before power walking to the locker room to grab her bag. Without bothering to shower or change her clothes, she halfheartedly towels off then jogs to her car once in the parking lot, her heart feeling like it's stuttering as she frets over what new peril her partner could have landed himself in. He was uncannily good at making enemies and letting them close. She tries to console herself that he wouldn't be making jokes about speeding if it really were an emergency, but then again, Lucifer seemed incapable of not making jokes even under the most dangerous of circumstances.

"Shit," she curses when she hits a stagnant stretch of traffic merging onto Sunset Blvd. Biting her lip, she wonders if she really should place one of her lights on her hood. Instead, she creeps along until she reaches a side street and makes her way through a ritzy residential neighborhood, keeping a weather eye open for pedestrians since she is driving ten miles over the speed limit. She thinks back on their recent case involving a spousal homicide. Lucifer hadn't even had a chance to interview the wife, but he had met her. Could he have said or done something while Chloe wasn't around that would make the woman put out a hit on him? The family was suspected of having mafia connections.

Wiping some of the sweat off of her temple, she goes through a mental checklist of where she placed her gun and ID in her bag before working out. How Lucifer made it through a week without police assistance before he met her is something she intends to ask him about. Then again, Maze seemed to have served more for a bodyguard role back in the early days before they seemed to have had some sort of falling out.

By the time she reaches Lux, she is sweating anew, though not from her run. After hastily parking, she snatches up her gun and badge then jogs inside. She uses the personal access fob Lucifer gave her ages ago to head straight for his quarters. The elevator doors close sluggishly, and as they do, she holds her breath, listening for any noise from a struggle upstairs. The club isn't open yet. There is only the whirring hum of the elevator.

When the doors open, she dashes into the room.

"Lucifer?!"

"Help!"

Chloe immediately aims her gun as she jogs past the bar. To her surprise, she finds Lucifer sitting on his bed, glaring up at Maze who seems to be holding something out of his reach. The expression he casts Chloe looks for all the world like a child who has just got an adult on his side. The smugness on his face alone makes the gun in her arms waver.

"I can't believe this," Maze barks, "You called her?"

"I didn't call anyone," he seethes back. "If you were clever enough to have figured out my passcode you would've seen that for yourself."

Chloe's dark brows are now lowered over her eyes as she studies the device in Maze's hands, double-checking that it really is just a phone. When she shoots a look back at Lucifer, it's clear that he is unharmed, yet something about him is fundamentally… off.

"Lucifer," Chloe begins as she lowers her gun. "Why're you wearing pajamas?"

He turns his smoldering eyes on her as if she had just suggested he make underwear out of a shaved poodle's fur. "They are not pajamas, Detective. It's loungewear."

"You can say that again," Maze scoffs. "You've been doing a lot of lounging lately."

"Well, excuse me," Lucifer retorts, a line between his brows, "but a man is entitled to wear sweatpants and a T-shirt when he is ill. Besides, it's still Calvin Klein."

"Wait a minute," Chloe says, lowering her gun completely. "You're sick?"

"No," Maze emphatically answers while Lucifer just as loudly replies with a "Yes."

Chloe shakes her head. The rush of relief she feels, coupled with the frustration over having been so alarmed makes her shove her gun back into its holster. She is still in her tank top and leggings, however, so she doesn't even have somewhere to buckle her belt. Instead, she tosses the gun and badge onto a bar stool and helps herself to a drink. She hears Maze snort behind her but ignores the taunt. "This is ridiculous," Chloe mutters under her breath.

"Told you," Maze agrees. Chloe turns around with her brandy just in time to see the other woman chuck the phone back at Lucifer. He lets it bounce off his thigh and land on the bed. As Maze strides past Chloe to the exit, she arches a scarred brow and whispers, "He's delusional."

"Ya think?" Chloe replies.

Maze hesitates a moment and Chloe shares her awkwardness over agreeing with the bartender on something for the first time. In the span of a second, they both seem to decide that it was an accident and leave it at that. Maze leaves. Chloe sips her drink. Out of the corner of her eye, she can catch Lucifer watching her, but he is staying silent and for the moment, all she wants to do is make him squirm in guilt.

"So," Chloe announces once she downs the last of the amber liquid, spinning to brace her elbows on the bar and face him. "It's an emergency because you have a cold?"

"I don't have a cold," Lucifer replies around a scowl. "And if you're only going to belittle me then you can walk your sexy, sweaty ass out that door. Believe me, I've been berated enough already."

Sexy?

Chloe narrows her eyes and doesn't budge. "If you don't have a cold and you're not injured, what could possibly merit Lucifer Morningstar wearing sweatpants?"

"I've told you," he insists, irritation in his spine and voice, "I'm ill. Am I honestly the only one who hears the echo in here?"

"Fine," she assents lowly, shoving off the bar and striding over to him. Lucifer straightens fractionally as she does so, growing stiffer the closer she comes. Ignoring his tense body language, she sits down so hard beside him that the mattress jostles. He parts his lips, likely to make some sort of joke about her finally being on a bed with him, but her hand suddenly on his forehead seems to startle him into silence.

Chloe narrows her eyes, reading more into the fact that he has gone completely rigid under her touch than the warmth of his skin. He reminds her of a chained dog who has been straining to get out of its collar so long that it freezes once it realizes that a human is reaching around the sores it has made for the buckle.

"You don't seem warmer than usual," she observes.

As soon as her hand is removed, the life breathes back into him and he grins. "And how would you know without sampling my charms?"

She fixes him with her stare, waiting for him to connect the dots.

"Of course," he quietly concedes. "The night I didn't sleep with you."

"That doesn't matter. All humans have a body temperature of around 98.6. You don't have a fever."

"Key word there being humans."

"Meaning I don't have to sleep with you to know what's normal."

"Precisely," he says around a grin. "Haven't you ever craved something a bit more than plain old vanilla?"

Chloe wants to hop to her feet and storm out, flipping him the bird, but holds herself back.

Calico cats, she chants in her head. Calico cats.

"In fact," he continues in a suggestive tone, "While you're here…"

"You know what?" she snaps, losing the battle and glaring at him. "Just no. Why does everything have to be a sex joke to you?"

He raises his brows, leaning away from her as if she had just flung out a hand. "It doesn't have to be a joke if you're game."

Now she does throw her hands in the air. "I honestly have no idea how you've ever even had sex."

He lets out a distinctly nervous laugh. "I beg your pardon?"

"You think you're somehow coming onto me but you've literally just sat there this whole time, rigid as a middle-schooler who's practically sitting on his hands."

Lucifer scowls as he shifts his hands from either side of his hips and tucks them between his knees, only to let out a flustered huff as he realizes that's even worse.

Chloe shakes her head. "I mean, what do you actually do? Just lie there? You act you've never touched anyone in your life, or like no one's ever touched you."

"And who's to say they have?" he snips back as he resolves to fold his arms over his chest, staring at his knees.

"The very definition of sex is one body part touching another," she groans, practically to the ceiling.

"Are you seriously trying to give me sex ed?" he squeaks, sneering at her.

"When someone's actions don't match up with their body language or words," she pontificates as if talking to someone far younger, "they do seem like they need a bit of schooling."

With that, she rises and heads over to the bar to collect her things.

Lucifer lets out a rolling, incredulous laugh. "Oh, this is ridiculous."

"You're right. It is," she agrees with her back to him.

"You're just going to leave? All because I made a sex joke? Even you aren't that prudish."

She knows it was just a taunt but it pricks the back of her neck and her thin patience all the same. Thin because she had just violated multiple traffic laws in her panic to come to his aid. Thin because she had been so worried about his well being. Thin because she has let herself care.

"Coming from the man who has been trying to have sex with me from day one then chickened out at his first opportunity?" she says, peering at him as she gathers her belt off the barstool. "I'll take that for what it's worth: nothing."

Lucifer has risen to his feet, his lips parted and she hates the way she can literally see the struggle for a response in his dark eyes. After waiting a moment and receiving none, she shakes her head and strides towards the elevator.

"So if I slept with you that night, you wouldn't be leaving?" he calls after her.

The elevator doors open.

"You don't get it, Lucifer."

"No, I think I do, actually," he presses, his voice rising. "Maze is right. I am delusional. All this time, I thought you were different. Maybe I wanted you to be different. But instead, you're just like all the others. If I don't have sex with you then I serve no purpose. Well, excuse me for actually understanding, for the first time in my life, that it can mean something more than just a bit of fun. Than just two body parts touching."

Chloe stares at the elevator doors. The prickling of his words on the back of her neck has shifted into a chill. Maybe it's just the sweat, but she grows cold. She sees herself through different eyes. Grey eyes. Jaded eyes. Her affection is a clumsy bag of bricks. Men in the past have called her somewhat cold. Reserved. It is a part of her personality she has always tried to balance. But never has she been made to feel so diseased. The elevator doors close. Once they're shut, she stiffly turns to face him.

Her voice is soft because her throat is tight. "Is that really what you think of me?"

Though his lips are parted, he seems to have lost command of language. She doesn't blink and knows that she can't keep the disappointment out of her eyes. He presses his lips together and looks away. For some reason, the sight of just how wrinkled his shirt and sweatpants are makes her throat all the tighter. His hair is also void of product, curls making the short tufs twist in different directions. He has never looked messier and she has never felt messier.

"How could you ever think I'm that shallow?" she nearly whispers.

He lets out another mirthless chuckle, his focus on one of the plants on the balcony swaying in the breeze. "It's not a question of depth, Detective, but rather of desire."

"No." She takes a step towards him, shaking her head. "Don't try to divert this."

"I'm diverting anything," he replies, returning his attention to her with his same, pained smile. "It's a simple truth about the world. Everything everyone does and ever has done has been out of some impulse to get what they want."

"Maybe that's how you've lived your life, but that isn't how I've lived mine," she insists, halting a few yards from him.

"Of course you have. You don't catch bad guys out of the goodness of your heart. You do it to help make the world a better place. That's a want, Detective. A desire." He pauses, looking her up and down, and his voice softens. "Albeit an admirable one."

"Yet you still think I would cast you aside just because you didn't have sex with me?" she asks, lowering her brows.

"Everyone wants to have sex with me, and I mean that literally."

"Oh God," she groans as she closes her eyes. "That ego."

"Don't go bringing Dad into it. Actually, yes, bring Dad into it," he amends, a spark suddenly in his dark eyes. "He's the one who created me this way. If you humans find me universally attractive then it's his fault."

"Right. Because 'Dad' is God?"

"Keep up," he chirps.

"Did our conversation last week mean nothing to you?" she snips before he can launch into one of his rants about being the Devil. "Because it meant something to me. Clearly I was mistaken."

With that, she pivots and once more strides towards her gun belt on the bar stool.

"Because you keep leaving," he stutters behind her.

"I have a life," she replies as she grabs her things. "One that, shockingly, doesn't revolve around you."

He is silent. She has nearly reached the elevator when his strained voice calls out to her. "Then I'm sorry."

Chloe casts him a sidelong glance. He looks for all the world like he really is struggling against something physical blocking his words.

"I'm sorry I'm such a rubbish friend. I'm sorry I didn't have sex with you." He throws his hands up, as if he has quit in his fight against the thing trying to keep his words inside, or maybe it's just that he has let too many slip out. Lucifer sinks back into a sit onto the bed, looking as if all the energy has left his limbs. "I didn't realize… but I should have."

"Realized what?" she asks, not budging from her spot once more by the elevator.

To her surprise, he uses both hands to rub his face then keeps them there. Hunched as he is, he looks thin.

"Lucifer?" she quietly prompts.

"The button is right there in front of you," he replies from behind his hands.

"Do you want me to leave?"

"You want to leave."

"What do you want?"

"I don't know," he says so softly, in such a strained voice that she stiffens. "I can't even think anymore."

Chloe strides over to him and resumes her seat beside him on the bed. When he doesn't react, she reminds herself not to touch him and rests her holster in her lap, resolving to wait until he shows any sign of life. Half a minute passes. Then another. She narrows her eyes, watching his sides to make sure he is still breathing. When another minute passes in silence, Chloe softly clears her throat.

"You have nothing to apologize for. Least of all for not sleeping with me. It was wrong. I was wrong. You were right. You made the right decision. I don't hold it against you at all." She pauses, waiting for a reaction, but he is still hiding behind his hands. "And just because you didn't sleep with one person doesn't somehow mean that you're…" She scans the ceiling, searching for a word. "Unattractive."

"Back to the potato, are we?" he asks from behind his hands.

Chloe immediately smirks. "You must have had relationships before that weren't founded on sex. I'm sure Linda-"

"Dr. Linda?" he gripes, his voice oddly muffled from his palms.

"She told me that you two weren't sleeping together anymore because she found it unethical. But you're still seeing her. That's a relationship."

Lucifer scoffs and finally pulls his hands away, his yellowed skin flushing pink now that the pressure is gone. "Dr. Linda is hardly a stellar example. I paid for my sessions in sex."

"But you're not poor," is the first thing out of Chloe's mouth, even though a flurry of alarm bells are sounding off in her head.

"Money is boring. Everyone has money. That wasn't what she wanted."

"Lucifer," Chloe hisses, leaning towards him, as if they are at risk of being overheard. "What you're describing is more than immoral. It's illegal."

He scoffs. "And here I thought I ought to be getting praised for seeking guidance when I've needed it."

"Not by prostituting yourself!"

He jerks his head to her, the energy immediately back in him. She knows she has just ruffled the black feather. "I am most certainly not a prostitute."

"You are having sex with someone in exchange for their services."

"Was," he corrects, his brows lowering. "And what else was I supposed to do? Wait in line like all the other people? Giving her what she wanted gave me all sorts of advantages. She even met with me after hours."

"Yeah, I'll bet she did," Chloe replies flatly.

"No need to take a tone, Detective, there was nothing underhand about it."

She presses the edge of her palm against her thigh. "I could have her arrested."

A line forms between his brows. "But you wouldn't."

"I can't believe she could be this stupid. She's risked losing her business."

"She's risked nothing because nothing underhand was going on," Lucifer replies loudly. "It's not as if I wasn't willing."

"And you wonder why you see yourself the way you do? You wonder why you've completely defined yourself based on your desirability? Come on, Lucifer. No one has to have a psych degree to work that out. She's supposed to be helping you. Not reinforcing… ugh!" she finishes clenching her fists.

Lucifer eyes her for several moments as her shoulders rise and fall. The confusion is evident in his voice. "You've become quite worked up over this."

Chloe shakes her head. "Because somehow, you always manage to get the short end of the stick."

"No argument here."

"It's like you've been conditioned to believe that the only things you deserve in life are corrupt in some way. That you're not allowed anything simple or normal or pure."

"What did you say?" he whispers.

Chloe meets his gaze. Though his brows are lowered, his eyes are boring into hers void of anger. Instead, there is something intensely calculating, as if he's doing math. As if he's trying to assess whether or not she is any of those things, or if she is trying to manipulate him like the rest of the world. She rubs her face. The sweat has dried, leaving her skin clammy with makeup and salt.

"Why did you ask for my help?" she softly asks. "Why do you think you're ill?"

Lucifer looks away from her. His expression holds for some time, then his face slowly softens. He rests a hand on the wrinkled cotton of his chest. "Detective," he lowly begins. "What does cancer feel like?"

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