"Why are you dressed like that?" Lucifer wanted to know.
After all, it was Mazikeen the Two-Faced he was looking at: the war leader of the Lilim, who had led the hordes of Hell into the jaws of Heaven itself. He was used to seeing her in battle leathers, dressed in the blood of her enemies and wearing the bones of lesser demons in her raven-coloured hair.
He had, however, never seen her wear that hair in pigtails.
She'd matched the pigtails with a perky cable sweater with "M" on it in a bright red Garamond 66-point font, a pleated skirt, and white tennis shoes. On anyone else, this outfit would have looked demure and schoolgirlish; on Maze, it just looked like cosplay of the filthiest kind.
"Hot date," Maze said and winked at him. "I figured this out about people: they like it when you play against type, and sometimes they just like what they like, even when they can't explain why. You should try switching it up some time."
"Why should I, when all of this is still working for me?" Lucifer enquired, leaning his body in its current-season Prada across the holly-strewn grand piano, so as to display it even more preferentially.
Maze patted his arm. "Keep telling yourself that, boss," she said kindly, and then her eyes lit up as an angel in sinful leather walked into Lux on the arm of one of LAPD's finest.
Lucifer wasn't sure why Detective Decker was wearing a frilly dress under her work jacket. He wondered if it was too much to hope that she was wearing it for him.
"Detective, what a pleasant surprise. In the company of my own flesh and blood, no less!"
"In the company of the prettier brother," she corrected, which Lucifer knew was patently untrue; he'd never known the Detective to lie, though, so perhaps her judgment was temporarily impaired. When Amenadiel handed her off and she slid onto one of the bar stools, Lucifer could smell the fumes coming off her. Off his brother as well, as it happened, which was unprecedented.
"We stopped at Murphy's on the way here," Amenadiel confessed, when confronted with Lucifer's raised eyebrow. "Detective Decker's celebrating her break on the Mowbray case. I, uh, might have been passing the precinct at the time she was leaving with her co-workers. It seems Trixie's spending tonight at Grandma Espinoza's, so nobody's at home? Anyway, an hour later, we remembered we ought to be here instead."
"We're celebrating!" Lucifer said, meaningfully, and Maze hoisted a bottle of Chateau d'Yquem and rare Yamazaki 18 from the top shelf.
One might think that, on the night before Christmas, an angel, a demon, an LAPD detective and the former King of Hell could drink the fiery lakes of Purgatory to their dregs, let alone do serious damage to anyone's liquor collection.
But for an establishment like Lux, it was just business as usual. Shot glasses and martini glasses and glasses sufficiently robust to hold spirits lit on fire scattered around them like shrapnel from a warzone.
Detective Decker had had a head start on all of them, so it stood to reason that she was the first to show signs of wear. Lucifer could tell because he'd taken the opportunity to hook his arm around hers around the time of their eighth drink, and she hadn't smacked him in the face like she would have done if she'd been sober. If he was lucky, he'd be able to wrangle her under the strategically-hung mistletoe before she could line up her right hook.
With her left hook she kept a firm grip on Amenadiel's fingers. Lucifer had to hand it to his brother: the big lug could actually drink. And look effortlessly attractive while doing it, which no doubt accounted for the Detective's unrelenting clasp.
"Be a bit more obvious, boss," Maze admonished, eventually. To make him unfasten himself from Chloe, she pushed a shot glass of vintage tequila under Lucifer's nose. After he knocked it back, she extended her exquisite wrist to him, across the curve of which an arc of sea salt had been artfully crushed.
Lucifer inhaled, and breathed in the seas of the underworld, into which had poured the bitter tears of the damned. Come to think of it, they smelled a little like the Pacific Ocean on a bad day. He licked, out of millennia-old habit; he would never forget how Maze's skin tasted.
He told her as much. "Those were the days, weren't they?"
"I keep telling you how they were the best," Mazikeen said. She wiped her hand on the back of her pleated skirt, winking. "Don't worry, boss, you know you'll always be hot to me. I did trade up, though."
"Did you?" Lucifer asked, glaring across the table at his allegedly prettier brother.
Amenadiel flexed his shoulders and tried to look modest. "Is that right?"
"Not so fast," Maze said. "What's that your Father puts out there about pride going before Falling? You're yesterday's news, angel."
The siblings looked at each other, perplexed, as Maze slid over to Detective Decker's side. Her arm snaked around Chloe's waist, and she put her mouth close to Chloe's shell-like ear. "Am I gonna break it to them, or would you like to?"
"Think you already did that," Chloe snickered and rested her head on Maze's cottony shoulder. "I was wondering how long you were gonna make me wait."
"I'm sorry," Maze said, actually sounding like she meant it for once. Chloe leaned in, and for an instant Lucifer found himself unable to believe his eyes. Detective Chloe Decker kissing someone who wasn't the King of Desire, without even mistletoe as an excuse? It made no sense whatsoever.
While waiting for his brain to play catch-up, his mouth went on a frolic of its own.
"Detective, I'm mystified. You kept turning me down! Repeatedly! Which, I realise, is what "kept" means...." Lucifer tried to refocus. "My point. I tried for weeks and weeks to woo you, to no avail! And all it takes is pigtails and a top with a letter on it?"
Chloe had buried herself deeply in Maze's arms; she turned her face from Maze's to the light distractedly. "So I imprinted on cheerleaders from Hot Tub High School; it's, what's the thing? Pavlovian."
"That's not how it's supposed to work," Lucifer protested, and it was Maze's turn to raise an eyebrow. God damn it, she was right, he was an idiot -- people liked what they liked, even when, unlike Chloe, they couldn't say why.
Chloe snickered, "Just look at your face! I'm sorry, Morningstar. It's not you, it's me."
All three of them looked at her with varying degrees of disbelief, and she reconsidered what she'd said. "Okay, fine, actually, it is you. Daddy kink isn't my thing. Or sibling kink! I'm not sure what it is with you and your family, but there's a lot of unresolved tension there, and I'm not getting up in any of that until you fix it."
Lucifer had no idea when this evening had gone off the rails, but he didn't at all approve. Maze dressing in this sexy cheerleader outfit in order to get laid, Chloe giving it a reception that she'd never shown to him -- the whole world had turned upside down.
As the women smiled at and snuggled with each other, he felt aggrieved all the way down to his bones. How deeply unequitable this scene was. He poured himself another drink of Japanese whiskey.
"I don't get it," he said, to his audience at large. "So maybe I do have daddy issues, but that comes with the territory, doesn't it? And the kink just adds to my bad boy charm. I mean, there should be no one in the world who doesn't appreciate all this!"
Amenadiel was the only one to look, and then he looked away. Lucifer watched with growing fascination as his brother had to swallow, the aptly-named Adam's apple bobbing in his chiselled throat. The lights of Lux slid across his perfect face like temptation.
Finally, Lucifer's brain made it to the party, along with the rest of him. Lucifer drawled, "Brother, you're the last person in the world I'd expect to appreciate it, but our Father always had the strangest sense of humour."
"I don't know what you mean," Amenadiel said, too-loudly. Maze surfaced from Chloe's embrace long enough to say to him, "You know those daddy and sibling issues Chloe was talking about? You've got them too, angel."
"I should have known," Lucifer said and took hold of his brother. Amenadiel stiffened, but didn't pull back, and when Lucifer ran an experimental hand down his brother's body he discovered that body had indeed stiffened all over in a most unexpected way.
Across Sunset Boulevard someone had set off Christmas fireworks, and beyond, bells were tolling to ring in the birth of the Messiah. His brother's face was a picture of sibling repulsion and intoxication, rivalry and love: strange and familiar at once, and strangely, familiarly alluring.
"I suppose beggars can't be choosers," Lucifer said, grinning despite himself. Perhaps this Christmas there would be unlikely love between brothers, and goodwill to men, and peace on earth besides.
"Are you planning on begging, brother?" Amenadiel murmured dryly, and Lucifer laughed and drew him under the mistletoe.