A/N: Hello my dear readers. Yes, you're reading correctly, I've finally managed to get the alternative ending of TSTOS online. As I already said, this is the not-so-happy-ending that had shot into my head during writing the fifth chapter, so if you want to have their happily ever after, then please don't read any further. Let the last chapter be the ending as it was meant to be, and read the one-shot sequel if you like. (I'll upload that in my one-shot collection 'Between Trust and Confession' in a couple of days.)
This chapter could be considered a little dark at a certain part, and therefore comes with a warning.
Also, the alternative ending starts with a choice, as the title suggests, that was made after Chloe and Lucifer had their "talk" in his penthouse. So for those of you, who had also read the happy-ending, you can skip the whole part up till then.
This chapter was beta-read by Daemon. You're my awesome sidekick! :D Thank you so much! All remaining mistakes are my own.
For all the others, happy reading! :D
Alternative Ending: The choices we make
The loud throbbing of Chloe's heartbeat resounding in her ears kept her from perceiving that the room had become dead silent. She didn't know for how long she'd stopped breathing, but when the burning in her lungs became too painful she eventually inhaled deeply. Her sight was still fixed at the picture in front of her; the grotesque face with its haunting eyes that stared right into hers. She wanted to look away, but couldn't bring her head to turn or her lids to close. No single muscle in her body obeyed her will. When after a while the shock subsided, her body started to tremble, easing up some of the tension, and finally, she was able to move her hands to the pictures, hastily gathering them up and closing the file shut to spare her further insight into this nightmare.
She breathed a sigh of relief, when all of a sudden the photos flashed up again in front of her inner eye, scaring her anew. A thick lump formed inside her throat, slowly throttling the air supply, and she had to swallow several times before she could get rid of it, stifling down the panic-fuelled cry in the process that crawled up on her and threatened to break out any moment. She tightly clutched onto any composure that was left inside of her, frantically trying not to lose it right here in her boss's office, and pushed the terrifying thought to the back of her head. There must be an explanation to all of this, she told herself. A reasonable explanation to why in these pictures, that showed one of their intimate moments, Lucifer looked as if he was... Chloe couldn't bring it over herself to even say the word in her mind, to even consider it. No! She shook her head, determined. He wasn't! He couldn't be!
The Lieutenant's cautious-sounding voice brought her back into the here and now, and Chloe reminded herself once again that she was in the office of her boss, together with her. She harrumphed and took several more breaths to call herself back to order before she looked up and straight into her superior's eyes.
"Do you want me to do something about it?" Monroe asked softly, worried for her employee. Never before in her life had she witnessed her Detective getting silent and pale within the blink of an eye. When she saw the pictures the first time, she had hoped that Chloe knew this already, and, trusting her ability for public safety, she had contemplated to leave it up to her on how to proceed. But seeing her reaction first-hand, she knew in this instant that Chloe hadn't known either who the man, Mr Morningstar, actually was; what he actually was. And this completely turned the tables.
The void in her head was still pressing down on her like a heavy weight when Chloe found herself shaking her head vigorously, denying the other woman's offer. As if this little gesture had opened the dike, a million and one questions suddenly flooded her mind. She was confused at them, couldn't even think one coherent thought, let alone voice them out loud. And if she was totally honest with herself, she was scared to the bones. It wasn't the red colour of his skin or the deep, dark scars she'd seen on his back. What really shook her to the core were those eyes that, despite being just on this photograph, seemed like they were piercing right through her, as if they knew she was looking at them. Still, the need to protect him, Lucifer, her partner, was the loudest voice in her head. "No, Lieutenant," Chloe eventually answered in a surprisingly steady tone. She looked down at her fingers, realising their almost uncontrollable shiver, and she quickly clutched the file in her hands tighter. "Please forget that you've ever seen them," she bid quietly without a second thought. Squinting her eyes shut and silently ordering herself to calm down, she turned her attention back to the woman in front of her and added with all earnestness, "And tell Garcia to destroy the footage."
Her Lieutenant looked at her as if she'd just spoken in Mandarin. "Are you absolutely sure about that?" she inquired sceptically. After all, this wasn't like one of her officers had swept a speeding ticket under the table. This was far worse. Maybe even a threat to life as she knew it. Not that she personally wouldn't prefer to lock this whole thing in a safe and throw away the key. But she was the Lieutenant. She had to think about the precinct, the community first, regardless of her personal feelings.
Chloe couldn't believe the words that had just left her mouth, but thinking about it, she was sure; she was certain of it. Nodding her head, she verbally affirmed as well, "Yes!" She took another deep breath. The sound of her heart was still blaring in her ears, and it was almost impossible for her to concentrate on what she was about to say next. But she needed to make this clear. "As you told me already, Lieutenant. You want me to decide what to do with those pictures. And I ask you to forget you've ever seen them. And tell Garcia to destroy all evidence of their existence." The tone in her voice got steadier with each syllable, bringing back her self-control, and in the end, she stared at her superior with a stern and demanding expression.
"Well, I can't say that I wouldn't be glad to forget what is on them, but-" Monroe started her objection, but was quickly cut off by her Detective.
"Lieutenant, I need your word on this," Chloe pleaded adamantly. It wasn't just her personal feelings about those pictures. If they really were true, then people had to be kept safe. But this also included Lucifer. And she needed to be absolutely sure that she could trust her boss to provide safety to her partner as well. It was dreadful to imagine those pictures in the wrong hands. When she saw the woman opposite to her nodding her confirmation, some of her tension eased down again. Without another word, she grabbed the file, tightly pressing it to her chest as if she wanted to protect its content, and stood up from the chair. Turning around, Chloe was about to grab the door handle when a sudden thought kept her back and made her face her boss again. "Are these the only copies?" she wondered, her speech wavered by the worried feeling inside of her.
"Yes," Monroe assured right away, nodding. Her view lowered back onto her desk when she repeated, "I will tell Garcia to instantly delete all the footage." After taking a breath she continued, "And to pretend that he'd never seen them, as I do. You have my word, Detective."
The last sentence had been spoken softer than the words before and Chloe instantly knew, her boss would keep them. "Good!" she replied, relieved, and was about to turn back to the door when the Lieutenant's voice rose again.
"And in return, I have your word that you will take care of this... incidence?" Monroe wanted to make sure, her tone slightly alerting at the possible impact this situation could have.
Chloe paused and gripped the file firmer. She didn't like at all how the woman's voice had sounded, what she had implied with her words. After all, it was still her partner, right? It was still Lucifer, it... Chloe's mind stopped abruptly as she realised the expression she'd been silently using. Lucifer wasn't an it! Lucifer was a he, wasn't he? The throbbing in her ears quickened, revealing how the rate of her pulse had increased as if she was on a run. She looked back to her Lieutenant, her eyes steadfastly fixed on hers, when she calmly answered, "You have my word that I will do anything to keep everyone safe."
Her boss visibly relaxed into her chair, nodding reassured, and Chloe quickly turned around, rushed out of the room and shut the door loudly behind herself. Not wanting to spend just one more second inside this building, she made a beeline to the elevator, silently praying that it would be there at the push of the button, and thanking relieved when the loud ping instantly resounded and the door slid open. She scurried inside and quickly pressed the button for ground level. Only when the door slid shut again, she allowed herself to breathe. Her body trembled as the air blew up her lungs, and she almost choked on herself when she tried to keep the wave of emotions at bay that were washing over her. She couldn't break down now. Not here! Not in the precinct, with all these people everywhere.
When the lift arrived at the floor, she hurried out to the taxi that was waiting for her. With the past events of the night, she had felt too tired to drive on her own and had used a taxi to get to the precinct. And right now she was glad she didn't have to drive back on her own. She wouldn't be able to do so after what she'd just seen. Hastily opening the door, she quickly got inside the car, slamming the door shut when she was seated.
"Do you want to drive back to your home, ma'am?" the friendly driver asked. His warm eyes reflected from the rear-view mirror he was peering into to have a look at her.
Chloe thought about his question. Going directly back home and getting a clear head first really sounded tempting. She could take her time to think everything through before she would take action, before she would have to face him again... She almost was about to answer with a 'yes' when her mind abruptly changed plans: She wouldn't be able to relax again before she had her answers. And she needed them now, the sooner the better, she thought to herself and quickly stated, "No!" Her jaw started to quaver and she halted for a moment, took a deep breath to compose herself, and ordered in a friendly manner, "Please drive to LUX." The man nodded into the mirror, starting the engine, and Chloe quickly buckled up when the car moved into the lane and drove off.
The drive had been silent all the way to LUX. Chloe was too caught up in her thoughts to even register the changing surroundings. Only when the car arrived at the side road of the building and stopped, she snapped back into reality and quickly turned her attention from the window to the driver. "Could you please wait here?" she asked in a tone that was filled with affliction. "I won't take long. You can keep the clock running," she added, trying to make it sound more nonchalant this time.
The driver turned to her, flashing her his warmest smile, and replied, "Don't worry, ma'am. You can take as long as you need. I'll wait here." Then he turned back and switched off the clock. A gesture he wouldn't have done for a lot of his passengers. But this woman was different. She'd been so chatty and nice on the way to the police department, and when she'd come back, her whole behaviour had changed. She seemed deeply distressed and he instantly depicted in his mind that something terrible must have happened. He was glad that he'd changed tours with his colleague last minute, knowing that his fellow would have most probably taken advantage and charge her even the double price for waiting. But he wasn't anything like his colleague: When someone was in trouble, he would try to help. And this woman clearly needed all the help she could get. Even if it was as simple as switching off the clock so she wouldn't need to pay for waiting.
Chloe nodded thankfully at the man before she unbuckled and stepped out of the car. She walked ahead, towards the side entry of the club and almost tripped over her feet when she suddenly spotted the Corvette parking right next to it. She'd been so distracted in her mind again, that she hadn't even registered the car standing there. Lucifer's car, with which Detective Anderson had brought her home that night. In an instant, the memories of the ride shot back into her head and she saw the Detective's beaming eyes when he took a seat behind the wheel. He'd told her that he'd admired the car since the first time he'd spotted it in front of the precinct and that he couldn't quite believe he was sitting in the driver's seat of that precious metal lady. Chloe had intended to be driven home in one of the police cars, but when she'd seen the look on her colleagues face, she'd suggested to him to drive her home first, so he could enjoy the longer ride. They had been chatting and joking during the way back to her home and it was only thanks to the lightheartedness of their talk that she was able to fall asleep right away, rather than tossing and turning in bed, and unintentionally recalling all the events. She swallowed down the queasy feeling this little memory trip had stirred up inside of her and turned to the door, opening it and stepping inside.
The club looked almost deserted if it weren't for the few staff members who cleaned the floor and made everything ready for the upcoming night. Chloe cast a glance over to the bar where she used to sit with Lucifer during those times of the day, discussing their current case, enjoying the quiet atmosphere that was so very different from when the club would open only two hours later and would instantly be filled with young partying people, and, most importantly, simply relishing the time she had alone with him. A lump formed in her throat at the memory. She hastily swallowed it down and pushed the thoughts to the back of her mind. There was no time to reminisce about them right now, she told herself and made her way over to the lift. The doors instantly slid open when she pressed the button, and she stepped inside. She selected the number to his penthouse and watched the doors slide close again before the lift took off, ignoring the nervous tremble of her legs that increased, the closer she came to his floor.
The indirect light that shimmered from the marble coloured wall on her back bathed the little cubicle into a comfortable ambience, and she almost shrieked when the loud ping resounded, announcing that she'd reached the penthouse and the doors sprang back open. The hesitation to leave this safe cell rumbled around inside of her, making her fingers quiver visibly, and she quickly pulled the sleeves over her knuckles and clutched the file tighter to cover her discomfort. Taking a deep breath and plucking up all her courage, she finally walked out of the elevator and into the entrance area of his apartment.
"I'm glad you decided to step out of the lift by yourself, Chloe," Lucifer's cheerful voice instantly sounded through the room, addressing her. "I was about to get up and get you," he teased while eliciting more of the soft tunes out of his grand that had already filled the air.
For a moment, Chloe froze at his words. Had he known she would come? Had he sensed her? She quickly shook her head to get rid of the fear that crept up on her spine. This wasn't something new. Somehow he always knew when she was nearby; then, he had closed his eyes and taken a deep breath as if he could smell her presence. And all this time she hadn't spent one bit of concern about that behaviour. So why was she starting now? Because of the pictures she'd seen? She almost wanted to answer in the affirmative, before she silently rebuked herself. First, she needed to talk to him. She needed answers. A reasonable explanation. And only after that, she would allow her feelings to get the better of her.
Lucifer was playing the melody on his piano that he had played the night before; the same song that had pushed the worrying thoughts aside and had calmed his heart down. He hadn't been worried about anything when he'd started to play the song, this time. The trip to the hospital had been easy. As expected, the doctors didn't find any of his ribs broken or his inner organs affected by the two bullet hits. They had discharged him with a package of ointment to help his haematomas heal, and had told him to rest and cool the areas with ice until the bruises would disappear. When he came home, he'd instantly spotted his car on the side road and sighed with relief. He had checked for scratches on the paint, of course, but only briefly, when he felt sleep slowly wrapping itself around him. He'd barely managed to reach his bedroom before he dropped down onto the pillow and snored his way into dreamland. When he woke up a couple of hours later, alerted by noises coming from the entrance area, he quickly got up and caught sight of the Brittany's making their way over to him, dressed only in a breath of nothing, to welcome him back. He'd laughed out with joy, had waltzed over to them and gently but firmly had pushed them back into the elevator. Their surprised and befuddled faces almost made him feel pity for them, but he'd only apologised with a smile and said that he didn't need them at the moment. He didn't need anyone at the moment, or anytime in the future, except for a certain feisty Police Detective, he'd silently admitted and strolled over to his grand, taking a seat and starting to play the melody that reminded him so much of her.
But now, he felt worry crawling up from the depths of his guts. Several moments have passed by, and still, he hadn't heard anything from Chloe: No words, no sounds, not even the slightest noises. And if he didn't know that she was standing in the entrance area and didn't feel her gaze lingering on him, he would have thought he imagined things. This certainly wasn't a sick bed visit how he had dreamed about, that would end in some delightful pleasure for the both of them. This was something else. This was serious.
Lucifer's suspicion quickly got confirmed when he glanced up from the black and white keys and beheld her. She looked so fragile to him; her skin tone was dangerously pale, and her eyes, even if she tried anything possible to hide it from him, reflected sheer fear. His smile instantly vanished from his face and he felt his heart sinking to his boots. "What happened?" he asked her, full of worry, and jumped up from his seat, driven by the inner need to immediately embrace her into a tight hug and scare away whatever must have frightened her. Suddenly he spotted her whole body flinching at his move, and he froze midway.
"Stay, please," Chloe managed to get out in a voice that was barely above a whisper, raising her hand in a stop gesture to support her words. Unwittingly, her eyes wandered down to the fingers of her outstretched hand: They were shaking again. Both her hands were, right now, and it was that strong that she felt it move up her arms, over her shoulders and down her torso. She needed to get back control over herself before it reached her knees and she would drop down to the floor like a lifeless puppet. Looking back at him, she saw his affirming nod and him taking back his seat at the piano. She exhaled with relief and directly felt some of her strength coming back, making her stand steadily again.
Lucifer was bewildered about her behaviour and didn't quite know how to react properly. But apparently, she needed physical space between them. Hence he fought down the urge to close the distance and wrap her in his arms, and also remained completely still when he watched her cautiously approaching the piano. His eyes followed her hand clutching back around a file she held tightly pressed to her chest, and he recognised with dismay that her fingers were trembling. "I prefer to make you tremble for a different reason," he quipped, lightly raising the corners of his mouth to a faint smile to make up for the wary tone in his voice. The smile, however, dropped quickly southwards at the lack of response from her side. His concern for her grew further, and a feeling added itself to it that her fear must have something to do with what was inside of that file. When she was at the side of the piano, she wordlessly put the thing onto the black gleaming cover and shoved it towards him as far as her arm could reach. "What's that?" he asked her curiously but waited for her to take several steps back towards the exit before he grabbed for the little beige coloured paper.
"They had-," Chloe's voice broke off. She cleared her throat and tried it again. "They had surveillance cameras all around the house," she explained shakily and was glad that her voice didn't fail her the second time.
Lucifer had been about to open it when he heard her words. "So?" he wondered, completely clueless, and looked back up to her, puzzled. His whole attention was fixed at the woman opposite of him, as he patiently awaited her answer.
"These are pictures from when we-" She stopped abruptly, unable to say anything more on that part when the elucidation instantly brought back the memories. She had felt so aroused and, at the same time, safe with him back then that she hadn't questioned his demand to keep her eyes shut for one split second. She hadn't even spent one single thought at the reason for him to do so. And it horrified her now, to know that during this time, he had been looking like this. "They show you.. but also not... and I think...," she stammered incoherently and stopped again to swallow down the new lump in her throat. "Actually, I don't know what to think," she admitted quietly, completely overwhelmed by the situation.
Lucifer chuckled lightly at the unexpected insight. His half open mouth stretched to a sad smile, and his eyes wandered from the top of his piano to the file in his hands to her and aback. Collecting his thoughts, he considered for a moment to open it nevertheless; to simply get certainty of what exactly she'd seen of him. But he simply placed the file back on top of his grand. Truth be told, he was afraid of it, afraid of the realisation he most definitely would get, that he had caused her such a fright. His chest tightened almost painfully, and for a moment he didn't know if his heart had stopped its service or if he only had one of these panic attacks Linda once had talked to him about. Finding it hard to breathe properly, he waited a moment, closing his eyes to call himself to order, before he locked up all the emotions inside of him and put on his mask of cockiness and indifference. "Well, do you want a drink, then?" he suggested in his usual cheerful tone, grabbing his glass that stood near the corner of the cover and taking a sip.
Chloe slowly shook her head. Absent-minded, her look wandered around the room and fixed itself on the sun that had almost disappeared behind the horizon. The nervousness grew within her and only added to the coldness that filled her up. She wrapped her arms around herself, trying to get at least some form of comforting warmth. Her chest rose, and after she breathed out the air from her lungs, she fixed her sight on the ground in front of her and replied with a low voice, "I want an answer."
"You already know the answer, Chloe," Lucifer replied calmly, his voice carrying away the chagrin this small sentence from her had stirred up inside of him. He flashed her another one of his sad smiles, before he continued, "I've never lied to you about who I am. I've told you so, right from the start."
"No!" she countered firmly and vehemently shook her head. Fresh tears welled up in her eyes and her chin trembled from the barrage of emotions that flooded over her at the impact this little word had caused. "I don't want to believe it!" she breathed and quickly wiped the little drops from her cheeks that had fallen down.
Lucifer closed his eyes and clenched his teeth in anger. A low grumble managed to escape his throat before he had himself back under control. "That's not my fault!" he retorted and looked back at her with almost black eyes.
"Please," she begged him, her voice rose several octaves in her despair. If he could just tell her something reasonable for her to believe in. Something, that could stop her world from falling apart. She would give anything for that. "Explain it to me," she pleaded imploringly. "So I can...," she trailed off, not able to continue speaking out the words her thought has provided her with.
"What?" Lucifer laughed out, mocking her to hide the hurt he felt at her denial. "Go back to your home and pretend that I don't exist?" he blared the last words in anger. Rising up from his seat, he took several steps towards her, his fiery red eyes flashing up at her as he spat, "I am the devil, Chloe! Whether you want to believe it or not!" When he saw her jumping with fright, shrinking back from him and clutching her arms even tighter around herself, his eyes quickly switched back to their brown colour. He stared at her, lost, hurt and helpless about how to go on without causing more damage to her fragile soul. He hadn't wanted to scare her, had never intended to do so. But he also couldn't see any other way for her to understand. To stop denying what was right in front of her, and to finally start believing his words, to believe him.
Chloe shook her head, causing further tears to run down her face. She was shocked to see those eyes first-hand. Their fiery colour. This fire that burned inside of them, inside of him. When he slowly started to approach her, her instinctive reaction was to move backwards, closer to the elevator.
It was nothing like the reaction he'd seen from Linda, back then, when he'd showed her his other self. Linda was shocked, and a little frightened, yes. But Chloe? The pure fear in her eyes awoke something inside of him that was beyond angst, beyond the feeling of panic to lose her for good, and he instantly regretted his decision. "I'm still me!" he quickly affirmed her, his voice louder than usual, but equally soft. "I will never hurt you, Chloe," he assured her, shaking his head to underline it, allowing the desperation he felt about the possibility of her leaving him to sound through. And when he saw her making small steps towards the exit, he almost shouted, pleading to her sense of reason, "You know that!"
She stopped and blinked her eyes, wiping away the wetness on her cheeks to buy herself some time, making it look like she had to consider his words for a moment. The truth was, she didn't know anything anymore, least of all what to do now. She was torn between the feelings she still had for him and the inner urge to run for her life and hide somewhere where he couldn't find her, if this was even possible. After all, it didn't happen that often that the man you considered your partner, your friend, the man you trusted to no end, who you fell for, turned out to be the devil, literally; a figure that for thousands of years was described as a monster, the epitome of Evil. How was this even rudimentarily comparable to the things she knew about him? But right now, all she could digest was the huge amount of fear and helplessness that ran through her. She fiddled with her hands, feeling the cold sweat that had soaked her fingers, except for one tiny area that felt as smooth as always. Looking down at her hands, her heart skipped a beat when she spotted the ring that was still on her finger. She'd completely forgotten to take it off. Not even her daughter had mentioned the little piece of metal one time. Within those few days, she'd become so used to it that her mind had already accepted it as a part of herself. As if she needed reconfirmation that the ring hadn't blended into her skin, she twisted it around her finger a couple of times.
"These pictures there, are the only copy," it suddenly blurted out of her mouth, and she continued out of the need to interrupt the silence that had fallen between them, "I told the Lieutenant to make sure that all the footage will be destroyed." Single teardrops fled her eyes and she quickly wiped them off, snuffling audibly, before she went on, "And to forget that she had ever seen them." As mighty as the fear about everything she'd experienced within the past half hour had been, the need to protect him occupied the major part of her mind. But she had to protect the people in her life as well, most importantly her daughter, but also the Detectives she worked with. "Please don't come to the precinct anymore," she pleaded softly. "I-," her voice broke again, and once more she needed to take a deep breath before she could restart her attempt to speak, "I made sure that Monroe won't do anything on her own... regarding you," she added with a shaky tone, and slowly the fear and worry inside of her took over again. "But I can't protect you when you show up in the precinct again."
Lucifer pricked up his ears at her words. Why did she think that he needed protection? That he couldn't handle it himself, regarding Monroe or the other Detectives? He watched how her hands played with each other, how she stepped further back, towards the bar, placing something he couldn't make out onto its counter before she continued her path to the elevator. Panic gripped him. Panic, that she actually meant she wanted to protect the others from him. Maybe even protect herself... But she wouldn't need to! "I'm still me!" he repeated with despair, this time refraining from adding that she knew that. As special as she was, she was only human, and humans tended to run away from things that frightened them, things they couldn't or didn't want to understand.
Chloe had reached the elevator and felt for the button, pressing it firmly with quavering fingers while she shook her head from side to side. Fresh tears flooded her eyes, blurring her sight up to the point where she no longer could make out the silhouette of his body. The ping resounded, slightly startling her, followed by the sound of the doors opening, and she whispered with a heavy heart, "Goodbye, Lucifer." She stepped into the elevator, quickly pressing ground level, before she pushed herself in the farthest corner of the little cubicle, hiding from his stare that followed her until the doors closed.
The lift down felt agonisingly long and with each passing second her ability to hold all these distressing emotions at bay shrunk. With the last of her strength, she dragged herself back to the taxi, slumping down into the backseat and slamming the door shut.
"Shall I drive you home now, ma'am?"
The driver's innocent question burst all her remaining walls and she broke down, crying her eyes out. It felt like dying, so tremendous was the pain inside of her. As if her heart was being ripped from out of her chest.
"Ma'am, is everything alright?" the driver asked hastily, appalled and at a lost. He stretched his arm against the steering wheel to turn his body halfway towards her, looking for any visible injury.
"Yeah, yeah," she lied poorly, and blubbered out, "Just drive me back, please." She couldn't even say the word aloud that ran through her head: Home. She knew, deep inside of her heart that she would never feel home again. He was her home. And she'd lost him. She'd lost part of herself up there, with her decision. And it hurt, so badly that she had no words to describe it with.
Still baffled about the sudden situation he found himself in, the driver turned back in his seat, and without further words he started the engine, driving off.
Lucifer stared at the closed elevator doors for some time, seemingly unperturbed. Then he took a short breath of air, went back to his piano, grabbed his drink and emptied it as if nothing had happened. For a moment he stood there, wrapped in silence, tasting the remains of bourbon on his tongue and feeling the cool glass in his hand, while his eyes aimlessly wandered around the room. After a while, he turned around and strolled over to the bar, putting his glass down and refilling it with his finest beverage.
Slowly his mind started to process what just happened, recalling the words that had been spoken, and her last ones resounded in his ears. 'Goodbye, Lucifer.' The way she had looked at him, the way she spoke those two words, it didn't sound like a goodbye to him, rather like a farewell. He took the glass back in his hand, raising it up to his lips and tilting it slightly to take a sip. 'Farewell,' it shot through his head, spoken with her sweet voice, over and over again. And then it sank in.
Lucifer let out a groan that got louder to overrule the word that still ran around in his head and ended in a blaring scream coming from deep within. His grip around the glass tightened and with savaged force he threw it against the wall, hitting several bottles, smashing them, before he rammed his fists onto the counter, destroying everything that was within reach to match his shattered heart. He felt his cheeks heating up and his eyes burning, until another, hitherto unfamiliar sensation took hold of him: The feeling of hot tears welling up in his eyes and running down his face. He panted, exhausted by the rage and in equal shares agony that streaked him and let his upper body drop down against the remains of the counter. The tears didn't want to cease, and as a new wave of desperation hit him, his body shook and he cried loudly into the palms of his hands.
What was he supposed to do? The inner feelings completely overpowered him, keeping him from forming even one usable thought, and the need to feel anything different than the pain that tightened his chest up to the point he was no longer able to breathe, went sky-high. He placed his hands on both sides and grabbed the pieces of glass, hoping to eliminate the ache in his heart when he could just ram the shards into his flesh. He compressed his fingers as firmly as possible. But it was too late. There was no pain. The shards didn't cut through his skin because Chloe was already too far away. It was forlorn.
She was gone.
Broken, he turned around and sank to the ground. Slowly the leaking alcohol dropped down on him, drenching his head and shirt, but he didn't care about it. He felt numb as if her leaving had also taken away any emotions he once had owned. He would do anything to feel again. Even pain. If he just knew how! His hands were still filled with the shards of glass and he began to roll them around in his fists as if they were just a bunch of marbles. Somehow the crunching sound soothed him, how it invaded the silence around him, reminding him that he still was alive. But from time to time, there was a slightly different sound that reached his ear.
When his curiosity finally got the better of him, he stared down at the hand the noise had come from and opened his fingers. There it was, looking at him like a bright shine of light. He emptied his other hand and with thumb and forefinger carefully grabbed the ring and held it in front of his eyes. This was Chloe's ring! He clearly remembered the moment inside the jeweller's shop when he got sight of it, on the day before the undercover operation had started. It was perfect. Just like Chloe. And in that moment he could think of nothing else but how it would look on her finger.
Lucifer sighed and smiled sadly as he let the ring hover in front of him like he used to do with his pentecostal coin, lightly pushing it to make it rotate around its axis. He thought back at the moment he'd given it to her, how delighted and carefree she'd been, and at the days that had followed after. That, despite the danger around them, this time had brought them so close together that nothing could keep them apart. Like when he'd yelled at her, but actually was only mad at himself for cheating on her. And then, he ran and hid behind the couch like a five-year-old. Still, directly after he'd calmed down, Chloe was there for him, spending him comfort and assuring him that everything was fine. Right now, he wished they still were in that house, where she couldn't run far from him, but had to face him eventually; and he could have another chance to explain himself to her, to assure her as well that everything was fine after she'd calmed down.
Sighing again, he clutched his fingers tightly around the ring, keeping his most sacred treasure safe. This ring meant so much more to him than just these human marriage phrases he'd read in the book. It belonged to Chloe, to no one else but her. This ring was a promise, his promise, to her. That whatever might be, he would be there for her. He would do anything for her. He would protect her, make sure she was safe and felt secure. But that also meant, he would put her needs in front of his own at any time, her wellbeing above all else, even if it hurt him, he told himself and, once again, the look on Chloe's face showed up in front of his inner eye, further tightening his chest. How scared she was. Scared of him. And who could blame her? He closed his eyes, pressing some fresh tears out of them to run down his cheeks. He knew she needed time right now: Time to process all the things she'd just seen and heard, to get a clear mind. Even if it tore his heart apart not to go right after her. But he owed her this much. He'd done enough damage to her today. She shouldn't have to waste one more minute with him when she longed for that day with her child for so long.
Grabbing his phone and glancing at the time, Lucifer nodded to himself. Yes, right tomorrow morning, he promised himself, he would go to Chloe and see if he could fix the things with her, assure her that he never had and never will mean any harm to her. Ever!
Lucifer wiped the tears off of his face, snuffled down the remaining ones in his eyes, and stood up. He headed for the bathroom, determined to take a hot shower, to get his thoughts straight, and then, get some sleep to make the time run faster until he would see Chloe again.
Lucifer was still deep in his dreams when a buzzing sound caught his ears, abruptly pulling him out. He groaned into the pillow and clutched his hands above his ears, trying to shield the sound from cutting through his brain like a chainsaw. It was still too early to get up. He hadn't found any sleep that night. The events of the previous day had kept him up until early in the morning when he finally fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion. For a moment, he considered to simply ignore this noise, to wait until it would go away, so he could catch up on some more rest, but when his mind started working, his head shot up. This could be Chloe!
He reached for the phone on his bedside table. Just when he wanted to hit the answer button, the call silenced again and he swore under his breath. Rubbing the sand out of his eyes with his free hand, he switched on his phone and stared at the screen. Several missed calls from Maze. 'Damn it!' it ran through his head. How much he'd loved to see her name standing there... Maze was the last person he wanted to talk to right now. Chloe had probably told her about what happened and she would give him an earful. Or worse, Chloe had thrown her out of their house, and she would want to kick his ass back to hell for destroying another one of her friendships.
The phone in his hand sprang back to life. It was Maze again. Lucifer groaned once more but decided to take the call. This way, he could at least check in what mood Chloe was this morning. Hitting the answer button, he pressed the little device to his ear, starting to talk right away, hoping he could explain himself before she would cut off his head, "Look, Maze-"
"Lucifer, you need to come!" Maze interrupted him frantically.
Lucifer sprang up in his bed, his mind completely alert. She didn't sound like Maze at all. She rather sounded as if she was distraught, and had been crying. And she never cried! "What happened?" he spoke into the receiver, his voice filled with worry but surprisingly calm. He got up from the bed, directly heading into the dressing room as he waited for her answer.
"Something," Maze's voice broke. Audibly, she snuffled her nose and started again, "Something happened to Chloe."
A loud sob resounded through the phone, right into his ear, and Lucifer's heart stopped beating. "What happened?" he repeated, appalled, immediately freezing in his track.
A moment of silence passed, before he heard her voice again, filled with tears, but clear, "Just come!"
"I'm on my way!" Lucifer assured her sincerely, ended the call, and grabbed the first suit from his closet. His mind was entirely blank. He didn't want to think. He didn't want to do anything that could keep him from getting to Chloe as fast as possible. Acting completely on autopilot, he dressed in record time and rushed back out of the dressing room, his phone stowed into his trousers pocket. He hurried to the elevator, and pressed the call button with more force than needed, agitatedly awaiting the little cubicle to arrive. The fear that something bad had happened to Chloe, his Chloe, crawled up on him, threatening to overpower everything inside of him that still was sane. He shook his head out of his thoughts and pushed the feeling back down. There was no time for that now. He couldn't allow this emotion to get the better of him, knowing that it would do nothing but make him break down right here. And he couldn't afford that. First, he needed to get to Chloe and see if she was alright...
The elevator finally arrived with a loud ping, and its doors slid open. Lucifer darted into it, hastily pressing the ground floor button. And once again pushing back his fears as the doors slid close and the lift moved down.
He overran every red light, every stop sign in this city to get to her as fast as possible, not caring for any consequences in the slightest. He would deal later with them. Right now, his only concern was Chloe. Everything else was irrelevant.
When he turned into the street, he saw emergency lights illuminating the area, becoming even brighter the further he drove into the parking lot. He stopped the car and jumped out of it, passing several police cars as he headed for the ambulance van that stood near the front gate, assuming that Chloe was inside. But when he came closer, he saw only Dan sitting on a stretcher, wrapped in a blanket, his wrist in the hands of a paramedic, probably checking his pulse, his eyes puffy red and painted in shock as he looked at him. His mouth opened slightly as if he was about to say something, but Lucifer didn't care for him anymore. He turned around, rushing towards the gate that divided the outer area from the inner walkway. He went around the corner and almost bumped into Maze. "Where's Chloe?" he asked frantically, his worry doubled when he saw the distraught look on her face as she lifted her head.
"You better-" was all she managed to get out before he cut her off.
"Just tell me where she is!" he urged her. She silently pointed to their house, and he quickly rushed past her and through the open door. When he saw a police officer standing above a covered body, his heart froze in his chest. With eyes and mouth wide open, he voiced, aghast, "Chloe?" The police officer looked up at his word and sternly shook his head, lifting the sheet to reveal a dead young woman. A huge rock fell off Lucifer's chest and he took an assuaging, deep breath. He looked across the open area, but couldn't see Chloe anywhere, and his senses went instantly back on full alert. He hurried to the stairs, intending on checking the upper floor.
"Mr Morningstar?" The Lieutenant's surprised voice suddenly resounded behind him.
Lucifer was too distracted with his worries to register the light fright that swung in her tone. He wheeled around to her. "What happened? Where's Chloe?" he asked, urging, not missing a beat.
Monroe was visibly nervous to see him here, especially so close in front of her, with an expression on his face that she couldn't pin down. It shortly left her speechless. She swallowed the lump in her throat before she put on her well-trained professional mask and replied calmly, advising him, "You should leave."
Flabbergasted by her words, he silently shook his head and simply turned around, making clear that he would go nowhere before he hadn't found his beloved Chloe. Gripping the handrail, he jogged up the stairs, ignoring the other police officers and forensics that stood in his way as he tore past them.
The distinct sound of photos being taken came to his ears and he headed for its source. He was about to enter when someone else blocked his way again. Someone familiar.
"Lucifer," Ella stated, startled. Her big eyes were filled with tears, which escaped from their corners now and then ran down her cheeks. She hastily wiped them off of her face, trying to win the race against her emotions and contain her professionalism. "You should go back outside," she pleaded in a gentle but tearful voice.
"No!" he breathed, half in determination, half in horror, and stared at the entrance of Chloe's bedroom. More and more it sunk into his mind that something terrible had happened to her. He was scared stiff, and almost too afraid to go in there, but he had to. He needed to see with his own eyes what had happened to Chloe. If she was...
Lucifer didn't dare to spin that thought further. With heavy steps, he went forward and suddenly felt gentle hands clasp around his arm, trying to pull him back towards the stairs. He quickly turned around and shoved Ella off of him. "Let me!" he demanded, and then, without another thought, walked up and stepped into the room.
The first image that caught his eyes let his blood freeze in his veins. He wanted to avert his gaze but somehow, he couldn't make his head turn away. Against the door of the closet was hanging the small human, her body rigid and coloured in a palish blue on those areas that weren't covered in deep, red bruises. She was completely naked and even from this far, he saw the deep cuts across her chest, almost flesh deep.
Lucifer fought against the need to throw up immediately and suppressed the urge to turn around and flee again. He'd never cared about a dead human body, no matter how battered they were in the past. But now, seeing the child, Trixie, hanging there, turned his stomach upside down. He didn't even want to imagine what pain this little girl must have gone through. When his first wave of shock subsided, anger built up inside of him, quickly growing into a full-fledged rage and his eyes flashed fiery red. Whoever had done this to her would pay, in this world, and the one below!
'Chloe!' it suddenly shot through his head, and he shook himself out of his thoughts, quickly blinking his eyes back to their brown colour. He hadn't even realised that he'd clenched his hands so tightly that his fingernails had bored into his palms. But there was no mark left on the skin as he took a look at them. No cuts, not even the tiniest bit of damage. Was Chloe not here?
The distinct sound of someone taking pictures went back to his ears, and his anger and wonder instantly vanished from his system, leaving him with the only other feeling that increased the more seconds passed. His hands started shaking and he clenched them again, his breathing increased and he forced himself to exhale as silently as possible. His heart throbbed loudly in his ears and he stared at the door that had, up to now, shielded his view from the rest of the room. Bracing himself for the worst, he took several steps further into the room, passing the door, and turned to the side.
Everything inside of him shattered to pieces as he saw Chloe lying on the bed, outstretched, her arms and feet tied up against the headboard and footboard, her eyes dull, directed towards the closet, terror carved into her features that she'd felt as she witnessed her daughter dying before her very eyes. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't move. He couldn't even form one single thought as he stared at her. Only slowly his mind began to register that the red colour her body was covered in didn't come from a dress, but from the big slash across her throat. "No!" he breathed in horror, and it quickly dawned on him that this wasn't a dream, wasn't a nightmare, but harsh reality. That his Chloe was lying there, in front of him... dead.
He bolted forward and flung his arms around her figure, tightly pressing her against himself. A flash of pain spread from his heart through his body, shaking him up. "No!" he shouted, shocked, and tightened the grip around her. She was cold and stark, and he wanted nothing more than to warm her up, to bring her back to life. Someone gripped his arm and tried to pull him away, and he rapidly shook his upper body, pushing that person off of him, before Ella's soft voice resounded behind him, addressing the person, "Let him! Just... let him."
Lucifer didn't care about what was going on around him, he buried his head deep into the crook of her neck, pulling her tighter towards himself. Hot tears shot into his eyes, but they didn't dare to leave. A wave of emotions washed over him, making him tremble, and with a loud cry, he sobbed against her, "Chloe!"
He was too late. He'd failed her. Never again would he see her smile, hear her voice in his ears, or smell her sweet scent. And knowing that the last moment between them had been a fight, tore him apart. This couldn't be it! This couldn't be the end! "No!" he cried against her head, denying to believe it, and the trembling increased, letting his body shiver almost uncontrollably. His eyes turned back to their fiery colour as the rage went back inside of him, fighting with his sorrow about the upper hand of him. His cry turned louder until he screamed his lungs out in agony, raising the roof and letting the people across the area shudder in fright. "NO!"
Lucifer's eyes sprang open and he panted like a steam machine, staring up at the dark ceiling of his apartment as he tried to come down from the nightmare. He clutched his hand above his eyes, rubbing the sleep away, and thereby, bringing him further into the here and now. Slowly, he turned his head and was startled again, as he beheld Trixie standing right next to him, staring at him with her big doe eyes, without saying a word. Her pupils appeared even darker in the light of the moon, giving a sharp contrast to the white of her eyes and letting her look like she'd been arisen right out of a horror movie. "What is?" he managed to get out without stumbling over the words, quickly hiding his in-fright-shaking hands as he pushed himself into an upright position.
"I had a bad dream again," Trixie whispered straightforwardly. Then, she tilted her head, her hands clutching around her soft toy, and she asked a little louder, "You, too?"
Nodding quickly, he briefly shut his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. When he looked back at her, he confirmed softly, "Yes, Trixie. Me, too." He took a deep breath to calm himself down some more, before he stood up, exhaling a silent breath of relief as his legs didn't quaver. "Come on, child. Let's bring you back to your mother," he announced and held his hand out to her. Trixie stared at it for a moment, before she looked up and voicelessly stretched her arms out to him. Sighing to himself, Lucifer picked her up, knowing that it was too early in the morning for him to get into one of these endless discussions with her about his dislike for body contact. Simply bringing her back without a murmur would take only a split of the time, anyway.
Carefully, walking across the room, skilfully circling around her shoes and toys she'd spread out on the floor, he made his way over to his bedroom. He took the two steps up and then, with two large ones, stopped right in front of his bed. A light smile tugged at the corners of his lips when he saw Chloe lying in the middle of it, her even breaths giving away that she was still asleep. He grabbed the duvet, lifting it up, and then carefully placed the child down onto the mattress, waiting until she had crawled further under the blanket before he tucked it back around her.
"What's wrong?" Chloe's sleepy voice suddenly piped up. She blinked several times, trying to adjust her eyes to the sudden figures in front of her. When she fully saw her daughter, she smiled warmly at her and gently grasped around her, pulling her closer.
"We had a bad dream, mummy," Trixie informed her and snuggled up against her.
"Again?" Chloe wondered, perplexed. When she saw her daughter nodding her head, she leant down and kissed her on her forehead. "It's alright now. I won't let the dream come back, baby," she promised her and wrapped the cover tighter around her.
Lucifer exhaled a low, relieved sigh. It felt good to see the two right in front of him. Safe. Secure. Well. He was about to turn around and go back to his couch when Chloe's voice rose again.
"Wait," she called for him in a hushed tone. When he looked back at her, she asked, wondering, "Trix said 'we'. Did you have one, too?" Seeing his affirming nod, she added, "Was it the same dream like last time?" His expression saddened and he nodded with a heavy sigh. Chloe's features softened instantly and she tilted her head, nodding to the space behind her and patting with her free hand onto the mattress as she suggested quietly, "Come, lay down a bit."
Lucifer hesitated at first. It hadn't been easy between them after she'd found out that he really was the devil. Their relationship had been tensed since. He didn't want to scare her again. But as he saw her determined stare, he smiled warmly and walked around the bed. He wouldn't argue with her right now. He was glad she allowed him to be close to her again. Crawling under the duvet himself, he laid down on the pillow, leaving a decent gap between their bodies. He was taken by surprise when Chloe turned her body halfway to him, whispering a soft "come closer" while she grabbed him by his arm and pulled him towards her until he was directly at her back.
"Try to sleep, alright?" she told him and turned her head some more, her lips finding his, and she pressed a gentle kiss on his mouth while her fingers found the back of his head, caringly holding him in position and caressing his scalp.
He instantly leant into her, deepening the kiss some more, before he tenderly pulled away, still too afraid to scare her again. "I'll try," he whispered to her ear and snuggled into her soft hair, taking a deep breath of her sweet scent.
Chloe lowered her hand. Moving along his arm until she reached his wrist, she carefully grabbed it and pulled him with her as she moved her arm around her daughter, once more bringing him closer to her. Her head was still turned and she pressed another kiss against the corner of his mouth, before she shifted herself again, facing her daughter.
Lucifer relished the feeling of her being so firmly pressed against his body, sensing the warmth that radiated from her and feeling the firm softness of her back and behind against his front. Their fingers gently intertwined, holding each other tightly, and he caressed with his thumb the side of her knuckles. When she leant slightly forward, he further snuggled into her. Placing a tender kiss on her shoulder, he buried his face into her neck and took a deep, liberating breath. Slowly, he drifted back to sleep.
Lucifer awoke with a start. His wide open eyes stared blankly at the ceiling, and tiny tears rolled down the sides of his head as he blinked himself fully awake. He took a deep breath, squinting his eyes shut, and ran his hand over his face, wiping away the salty liquid that had gathered at the corners of his eyes. He suppressed a sob, and then at one go, pushed himself up from the uncomfortable bed of his hotel room. It wasn't like one of those fancy hotels he'd used in the past. It didn't matter where he found a place to stay, as long as it was available on the spot. He wouldn't find rest anyway. He couldn't. Not since that day...
Shifting to the side, he placed his feet on the ground, grumbling in distaste at the rough floor beneath his bare feet. He stood up and headed directly to the stack of whisky on the little table in the corner of the room, filling the glass almost to the brim, and then grabbed it, taking a large sip to numb his feelings again.
He heard Maze's worried-stricken voice behind him and turned around. He nodded at her, sighing, and then took another large sip. He walked up to the balcony door, opening it, and stepped out to the railing. The cool breeze rushed past him, giving his in-sweat-covered body a shiver. But he ignored it. He didn't care if he was cold. Or tired. He didn't care about anything anymore. Except for finding him... Neither hearing it when Maze stepped up to him, nor feeling her presence right next to him, he instantly shrank back as she laid her hand on his arm. Then he turned his head and stared at her attentively, waiting for her to voice the thought that was so visible on her face.
"It's been three weeks by now," she declared concernedly. "Even for you, this long without sleep for more than two hours a night is too much, Lucifer." She was worried for him, deeply. The devil she used to know was completely gone, having left only a shell of him behind that consisted of nothing but grief and guilt. He was worn out, not just by the lack of proper rest. Also from the lack of nutrition he imposed on his body, taking in nothing but bourbon. She eyed him warily. He averted his gaze, but she saw the emptiness in his eyes before he could turn his head and look up at the night sky. Having another try, she gently placed her hand on his back, smiling relieved as he didn't shrink away from her this time. She slightly ran her hand up and down his back, trying to give him some much-needed comfort. "We haven't found him yet," she reminded him in a hushed tone. "He's human. He will die, eventually. So, why not wait till that happens, and then we can torture him for the rest of eternity?" she suggested, sure of it, and glanced at him.
Lucifer shook his head, declining her idea right away. "He took her life!" he countered, calm but decidedly, and sternly looked back at her. "He has no right to live his to the fullest!" He took a deep breath, exhaling through his mouth, and then added firmly, "I will find this bastard and drag him down to hell myself!"
Maze sighed and pressed her lips to a thin line. She knew how stubborn he could be, so his answer hadn't really surprised her. Still, he appeared so fragile to her, even more in the soft light of the moon that fell upon him. She feared he would break down, rather sooner than later. "Then at least take those sleeping pills Linda had given you," she urged him, and added imploringly, "Your body will shut down if you don't have a decent sleep, Lucifer. You're already running at your limits."
Lucifer shook his head again. "I can't," he denied in a soft whisper. He glanced back at her, seeing her pleading look, and admitted sorrowfully, "Those pills prevent me from dreaming." When he saw her features turning into a baffled look, he elucidated, "In my dreams, they're still alive." He sighed again, swallowing down the new wave of tears that welled up his throat, and emptied his drink in one go. Placing the glass on the railing, he took out a cigarette, lighting it up.
He took another glance at her, but instantly turned away from the sad expression on her face, fixing his sight on the metal rail in front of him instead as he took a long drag. He ignored Maze, and eventually, she turned around and headed back inside, getting at least herself the much-needed sleep, so she could watch out for him. Looking up, his eyes wandered over the city lights of New York. Maze and he had hunted this man across the whole country. Still, this scumbag managed to always be one step ahead of them. But this time they were close! He felt it in his guts, that it wouldn't take much longer before he had this filthy excuse of a human being. And then... Heaving a sigh, he took another drag from his cigarette and stared back up at the stars, at the North Star in particular. He uttered a soft "Dad?" and exhaled the smoke from his lungs. "Please, tell me, is she OK?" The star flickered several times, shining brightly, and Lucifer smiled lightly at the confirmation. He sighed again, his heart feeling a little less heavy than before, as he whispered, "Thank you." Taking another drag from his cigarette, he stubbed out the rest, grabbed the glass and went back inside. He stepped up to the little table again, refilling his glass, and then took a seat on the bed.
"And what do you want to do, after we punished him?" Maze asked and looked up from her side of the bed.
Lucifer straightened and turned his head, looking with one eye into her direction as he answered, determined, "Then I will enter the gates of heaven. By force, if dad doesn't let me in." Turning his head back, he took a large gulp, and then added, "Nothing will keep me away from Chloe any longer. So, dad either lets me to her or destroys me." He sighed again, and once more brought the cool glass up to his lips, nodding determinedly after he lowered the drink again. Nothing would keep him away from her ever again. Not even God!
~ ~ THE END ~ ~
~ REALLY ~
~ TRUE ~
A/N: Alright, I hope you enjoyed this story and also this alternative ending. Please be so kind and let me know what you think of it. And if you've read the happy-one as well, which one you prefer. Thank you all so very much for your reviews, for putting this story to your favourites and/or alerts and for your continuing support. You are awesome! :D
Have a nice day!