Lucifer arrived at Decker’s apartment ready for a new case. He knocked sharply on the door and bounced on the balls of his feet. He had left Lux that morning just raring to go, itching for a new case and some do-badder to hunt down. He had to wait for a long few minutes until the door lock clicked, but it wasn't the detective standing behind the door.
Trixie opened it with a gap-toothed grin and called out into the apartment over her shoulder, “Mommy, Lucifer can watch me, he’s already here.”
Lucifer frowned down at her. “Where’s the Detective?”
He tried to peer around her, but she hadn’t opened the door wide enough. A few moments later, Chloe appeared behind her daughter in a dressing gown with her hair drawn back from her very pale, sweat-sheened face. “Lucifer? No, he can’t.”
Chloe put her hands on her daughter’s shoulders and swivelled her back into the apartment. She leaned up against the doorframe and shivered.
“What can't I do?”
She pulled her dressing gown around her tighter before asking a question herself, “Lucifer, why are you here?”
“Have you got a new case? Perhaps a murder? Or a serial killer?” He took the opportunity to step into the apartment and strolled past her with a gleeful look in his eye and then fully took in her haggard appearance.
“You look awful. Why aren’t you dressed? We’ve got work to do.”
He circled around her and then came back to stand by the door. Normally she was the one waiting on him, it felt strange today. Chloe sniffed at him loudly and rummaged in her pocket for a tissue and blew her nose loudly.
“Mommy, he can,” argued Trixie from behind her.
Chloe turned and looked between her daughter and Lucifer, “No, I can call a different babysitter.” Then she shuddered and then ran straight past him towards the bathroom.
“There’s something different about the Detective today.” Lucifer mused, looking around the apartment. It was messier than normal, with unwashed plates stacked up on the countertops and tissues littering the couch. He walked a little closer to the couch and saw a half-eaten sandwich on the coffee table and a duvet sliding onto the floor.
“Mommy’s sick.” Trixie said with a sigh, walking around to stand in front of him.
“Oh, that explains her green face.” Lucifer nodded to himself, proud of his observation skills.
“We were supposed to be on holiday but daddy’s working at the police station and the babysitter is sick too. But now you’re here, we can have a fun day out.”
“A fun day...out?” he repeated dumbly, shaking his head. “With me? You and me. Me and a small child? No, I don’t think so.”
Chloe walks back from the bathroom. Now that she's facing him, he can see the bags under her eyes and the lack of eye rolling directed at him.
“Lucifer, why are you here? I’m not working today, there’s no case. Trixie, I'm going to call the backup babysitter.” She patted down her pockets and then turned towards the couch, rummaging in between the pillows and piles of tissues.
“Right... well that’s put a damper on my day. I was looking forward to doing out some punishment.” He looked around the apartment again and asked, “Where’s Maze? I could do with some cheering up.”
“Maze is out catching a bad man,” Trixie piped up as she watched her mother pacing slowly in front of the TV with a hand on her head and the other dialling the phone. “She’s good at cheering me up too.”
“My kind of cheering up is lots of whiskey.”
Lucifer spoke absently, feeling the child’s gaze shift to begun burning a hole in the side of his face, but he resolutely stared at the blank TV screen on the other side of the room. It wouldn't do to make eye contact, it might only encourage her. But the girl wasn’t put off and continued to talk to him as if he was a full participant in her conversation.
“Maze is teaching me to hula hoop. I can do twenty hoops, but she can do more. Like for minutes.”
“Las Vegas? But -” Chloe sniffed loudly and then sighed in defeat, “Spring break, I didn’t realise. No... okay. Bye.”
“Bad luck in getting someone to watch your sprog?” Lucifer pouted at her. “That’s tough. Oh well, if Maze isn’t here and you’ve got the lurgy then I’ll be off. Things to do, places to go, people to please.”
Chloe groaned again, “I can't believe I'm saying this but it wouldn’t be for long, watching Trixie. I just need a few hours of sleep to feel like a human being again.”
Lucifer looked at her in horror, mouth hanging open.
“Could you? Just for a few hours?”
Trixie locked her gaze on him with wide, excited eyes and repeated her earlier words, “We’re going to have so much fun!”
The detective looked green enough for him to shuffle backwards, but at the girl’s words he hazarded a lean forward in the detective’s direction and whispered loudly to her, “What about the first babysitter?”
“She's sick too.”
“Couldn’t you sleep in shifts or something?”
Lucifer looked pleased with his problem-solving skills, but Chloe shook her head, “It’s making the rounds.”
“Ah, and you want to keep your child away from your germs. How noble of you.”
“No, Trixie gave me the flu. It’s hit me harder too. She wasn’t this bad.” She walked over to lean on the kitchen table and rested her head in her hands. Her frazzled blonde hair spilled down past her face.
Lucifer looked down at the girl with a look of mild distaste. “Little plague-ridden creatures, the lot of them.”
“I’m not sick anymore,” Trixie protested while crossing her arms; the motion made her look like a miniature version of her mother.
Chloe sucked in a deep breath and reached for her wallet inside her jacket on the chair beside her, “Look, just for a few hours. Take her to the park or to the library.”
She slapped down a couple of bills on the table and pushed them towards him. “For lunch,” and she turned to shoot a stern look at her daughter, “But no chocolate cake.”
“Awww.” Trixie let out a whine that the detective stared down with her drawn face. “Okay mommy.”
Chloe groaned to herself again, “I need to sleep, or throw up again.”
“But-” Lucifer pulled a face and backed off sharply, “Detective-!”
“Bye mommy.” Trixie bounced over and hugged Chloe before running to pull on her jacket.
“Bye monkey, and be good.” Chloe replied as she lumbered over to the sink to pour herself a glass of water.
She slowly made her way back to the table which Lucifer was using as a buffer to keep away from Trixie who was loitering by the open door and slowly but surely stuffing her little pink backpack full of crayons from a pot on the nearby shelf. Lucifer had frozen stiff and was staring at her.
“I wouldn’t be asking if I didn’t have another option. But she knows you, and you’re not a complete disaster...most of the time.” Chloe groaned to herself and shook her head, “I’d really owe you-”
“Owe me a favour.” Lucifer flashed his teeth at her. “Well, if only you had said earlier that you were so keen to ask the Devil for a favour. I could think of many ways in which to call it in.”
Chloe froze and then sipped her water slowly before opening her mouth to reply.
“Nope, I’m going to throw up.” She ran back towards the bathroom with her bare feet slapping against the wooden floor.
“Charming!” He grumbled to himself.
It was clear the detective was in no fit state to look after her daughter. But that didn’t mean he wanted the burden. He considered the task for a moment. Was it a burden? It seemed like a simple enough task, and the child was old enough to feed herself, walk, and talk. Which was more than could be said for some of his patrons at Lux in the early hours of the morning. He had dealt with enough of then over the past few years. And there was another scrap of new knowledge that irked him. The idea that Maze was higher up the list of people for the detective to turn to for a favour. It had ignited a red-hot flare of competitiveness somewhere inside his torso.
He looked over the side of the table to face the small human girl who was watching him impatiently. “What is it?”
“Mommy left money on the table.”
“So she did.” Lucifer looked over at the crumpled notes with the sigh of a doomed man. “It’s probably covered in her snotty germs. Never mind, I have some myself.”
He patted his suit jacket pocket and having made his decision he shuffled forwards to usher Trixie out of the door while trying his best to keep at least a foot away from her.
“Very well, a favour for a favour, Detective!” He called out as a parting reminder.
As the door shut behind them, they heard a loud groan of farewell.
They stood in the corridor of the building as Lucifer took stock of his options, “Now, where should I take you? Your mother’s options were astoundingly awful. The park? No, one screaming child is more than enough, thank you very much.”
He looked down at her and then down the corridor, just wondering how he’d got himself into this mess. Was it too late to return her?
No, defeat was not an option. He'd never hear the last of it from Maze.
“I’m not screaming,” Trixie pointed out helpfully, smiling wide at him. It was unnerving, but the girl was oblivious and carried on talking, “Maze took me trick or treating...but it’s not Halloween today.”
“She did, did she?” Lucifer rolled his eyes and felt the spark of his competitive nature flare up brighter within him. “Well I’m far more interesting than Maze and you can tell her that when she's back from dragging whatever foul creature she's hunting out from a gutter and into a cell.”
Trixie’s face screwed up and her eyebrows mashed together in confusion. “But I like the park. You could push me on the swings.”
Lucifer tipped his head in mock consideration of the idea, “Uh, no. And the library-” He snorted loudly, ending of that line of conversation.
“Where are we going then?” The little girl asked, hoisting up the straps of her backpack and looking determined to assess the new plan.
“You want to do something fun.” Lucifer stated, thinking quickly. “And I like fun. Where is the most fun place in LA?”
“The theme park?”
He shook his head and headed off towards the stairs. “No. Try again.”
“The beach?” She asked as she trailed after him with her bracelets scraping along the handrail and clinking noisily. Her feet thudded as she hopped from one step to the next.
Lucifer called over his shoulder and stalked off towards the front door with purpose. He held it open and Trixie ran past him and out towards the car park.
She paused and turned back with a hopeful look. “The park?”
“Oh, again with the park!?”
He threw his hands up in the air and froze when his phone pinged twice. He pulled it out and looked at the screen as the girl amused herself by popping her cheeks over and over again.
“I’ve come up with the perfect daytime activity. We’re going to The Warehouse! You'll have something to tell all your bratty friends when you go back to school.”
The Warehouse was an exclusive events company that organised and threw elaborate parties on an ad-hoc basis for a limited client list. They were the talk of the town for all the poor unfortunate souls who could only dream of getting an invite but as the owner of a very successful nightclub, Lucifer was on that list and received alerts when their latest venture. The fact that it operated on an occasional basis appealed to him because it threw an unpredictability into the mix. Unfortunately for him, it turned out that The Warehouse’s latest daytime rave wasn’t a suitable place for a small human child and they had been tossed out rather unceremoniously by broad shouldered, po-faced bouncer.
“I don’t see the problem.” Lucifer griped as he swiftly walked away from the pavement thumping music and re-straightened his collar. “It was a perfectly sufficient bribe. What a buzz-kill.”
Trixie sprinted to keep up with his pace, having stuffed her new chunky neon glow sticks into every pocket on her person. It gave the impression that she was glowing dimly in a variety of pastel colours. The midday LA sun struck the green glitter in her hair and collected lumps of it dumped onto the ground with each skip.
“That was fun, but the music was reeeallly loud,” she told him with a wide grin.
Lucifer struggled to think where he went wrong and reviewed the last few minutes.
“Under twenty-one's aren’t allowed in.”
“Would this change your mind?” Lucifer had asked as he flashed green bills and attempted to slide past the bouncer.
He saw a couple of women further in dancing under the strobing lights and gave a flirtatious wave in their direction They responded in like and looked him up and down appreciatively, until they spotted Trixie standing beside him trying to shake out glitter from her hair. She had been showered in it when she had reached over the counter by the door and knocked a bowl of green glitter over herself.
“No. It wouldn’t.”
The bouncer grabbed him by the collar of his suit jacket and yanked him backwards. His final view of the inside of the pop-up rave was Trixie squealing in delight and grabbing a fistful of offered neon glow sticks from the woman working the desk in the cloakroom.
No, this wasn't going the way he had planned. Entertaining a child wasn't all as simple as he had thought. How had Maze managed it? She was a demon; all she cared about was torture. Why had he been left in charge of the Detective’s child?
He quickly resolved to drop her back home, regardless of the Detective’s upchuck. No favour was worth this.
They made their way to the car and he leant up against the door with his keys in his hand. He could make it back in time to say hello to the women he saw earlier. Yes, that was a very good idea.
Just as he’s about to voice his change of plan, Trixie tugged on his jacket. “I’m hungry.”
“Of course you are.” He rolled his eyes and then hunched down to rest his hands on his knees to squint at her. “And what do you eat? I recall the detective mentioning something about chocolate cake.”
Trixie pulled a face. “She said I’m not allowed to eat cake today.”
Lucifer’s grin reappeared and stretched across his face. He suddenly felt he could salvage the situation. A little change to his change of plans, and besides the longer he had the little child, the longer he was beating Maze.
“She did, didn’t she...but she’s not here, and I think some Devil’s food cake is the only thing that might salvage this awful morning. No doubt I’ll be hearing nothing aside from how marvellous that rave was every single night for the next three weeks.”
He straightened up and unlocked the car, sparing a second to shoot a dirty look down the road where giddy patrons breezed into The Warehouse’s temporary digs. “A rave, in the day, smacks of tackiness if you ask me.”
“We're having chocolate cake?”
The sight of Trixie bouncing on the spot with joy made him feel vindicated in his choice. Something that had cheered the little girl couldn’t be a terrible idea from the adult-in-charge.
“For lunch?” Her eyes were wide with surprise.
Lucifer pretended to frown as he considered the implications of it. A moment’s pause was, at the very least, what he thought the detective would do. Then he shrugged and said, “I don’t see the problem, a large enough slice should suffice for a meal, if there is no screaming or crying in the process. I think we passed a patisserie on the way here. Hop in.”
They sped off in search of chocolate cake.
He had come to realise that the cake had been a temporary fix on the situation. The child sat beside him with her seat belt on and was slowly shedding green glitter onto the leather seats while spooning chocolate cake with double chocolate frosting into her chocolate-smeared mouth.
True, she wasn’t shouting or crying either and was much better behaved than he was led to believe when considering his own observations of human offspring on the streets of LA. Perhaps that could be credited to the detective, but he wasn’t going to lose sight of how quickly the tables could turn. He had seen that happen with his own eyes; a small human boy had melted onto the sidewalk in fits of histrionics complete with ear deafening screaming and rivers of tears to his mother’s mortifying embarrassment. All over a pair of mismatched socks.
At the time he had chuckled as he had skirted past the scene. Yet now he was faced with a similar situation, he felt like he was in possession of a ticking bomb.
No, the cake had bought him some time, and he had to work out what he was going to do with it. And quickly.
“Are we there yet?” Trixie asked, breaking his quiet but tumultuous contemplation.
She scraped the plastic container for the last few crumbs of cake and tipped them into her mouth. “Where we’re going next…” The girl elaborated as if was the one with a limited intelligence.
He didn't need more time. What he needed...was advice on how to handle this new and unique problem.
“I believe I’ve just had what humans call a lightbulb moment,” he replied having had a sudden flash of clarity.
He drew a deep breath to compose himself and gave shot a smile at the girl because the detective did that a lot to her daughter. It worked; the girl smiled back with toothy, cakey grin.
“I’m in a bit of a tricky situation, and I believe you’re just the woman for the job!”
Lucifer beamed at Linda as she opened the door. He waited for her to step aside and let him in, but the therapist stood in the doorway blocking his entry. He made to move forwards but she didn't budge.
“Look, I know I’ve not booked in for today, but it is a bit of a dire circumstance.”
Linda frowned back at him and shook her head, “Lucifer you can’t just walk into my office like this.”
“Are you with a client now?” He pushed his face forwards until his cheek was up against the wood of the door and called loudly, “Well whoever he or she is they’ll need to wrap it up. This is a much more pressing problem.”
“No, not exactly a client.” Linda sighed resolutely, “But I am a professional, and you can’t expect to get- oh!”
Linda paused as Lucifer tugged his arm to his side, and the therapist saw that attached to the end of it was Trixie. The girl had been fishing inside the glovebox in the car and had pulled out a pair of his sunglasses. They were too big for her face but he hadn’t been able to convince her to take them off.
Trixie waved and introduced herself to Linda with another sprinkle of green glitter. “Hi, I’m Trixie.”
Lucifer leaned forward to whisper to Linda looking like he was in severe pain, “She said that I needed to hold her hand to cross the road. So I did...and she hasn’t let go.”
Trixie grinned up at Linda from behind her glasses and she found herself smiling back. She crouched down in the doorway to speak with the girl.
“Where’s your mom?”
“Mommy’s sick at home, so me and Lucifer are having a fun day.” Trixie explained while brandishing one of her neon glow sticks. “We went to a party.”
Linda smiled at her and stood up to face him. “Chloe asked you to babysit her daughter?”
“Detective Dou-” Lucifer cut himself off and restarted counting off on his fingers as he went, “Detective Daniel is working, the first babysitter is sick, the second babysitter is currently on Spring Break partying it up somewhere far, far, away from any children, the lucky minx. Oh, and Maze is off hunting down a criminal, so it was left to yours truly to step up and take on this unseemly task.”
“I see.” Linda replied, trying to smother a smile which he believed was at his expense. “And the glow sticks?”
“I have come to you for advice,” Lucifer sighed, realising he would have to dig a little deeper and appeal to the therapist's compassion. “Please, Doctor. In all my millennia I have garnered no experience of looking after human spawn.”
“Wait, someone entrusted you with their child?” A voice called from inside the room, and Lucifer’s eyes widened as his brother appeared behind Linda.
“Brother, why are you here?” He narrowed his eyes, “Is that pizza I can smell?”
Lucifer pushed against the door and Linda stepped back to allow him in. He walked up to see the desk, which was normally neatly kept with files on one side and a little desk ornament in the middle unless she was seat behind it, was stacked up with pizza boxes and a tub of coleslaw with a bowl full of wedges. He nudged a half-eaten box of garlic bread with his finger.
He wrinkled his nose, “Pizza. You’re having lunch with my brother.” Then he seemed to reconsider it and tried to extract his hand from Trixie’s to replace it with a potato wedge, “Over here, look more food. Go on, take it.”
“Is he your big brother?” Trixie asked in surprise as the too-big sunglasses slid down her nose, ignoring the wedge and staring up at Amenadiel. “I’m Trixie, we’re having a fun day out. I already had two slices of chocolate cake.”
For a split second, Lucifer considered if he would have more success if it was dipped in ketchup, but then he gave up and tossed it back on the desk. His afternoon was going downhill, and no amount of Devil’s food cake could remedy it now. He could see Amenadiel smirking at him, taking in the sight of the little girl attached to his hand and looked over at Linda who was perched on the edge of her armchair.
“Take a picture, it'll last longer,” he sniped at Amenadiel.
His brother only wiped off his hands and splayed them out to gesture at Lucifer with a smug grin. “Do you have a camera here because Lucie, this is priceless.”
“Lucie!” Trixie said as though she’d just been given two helpings of chocolate cake.
Lucifer realised what the humans truly meant when they referred to desperation.
“You can let go of my hand now, you little limpet.” Lucifer tried to shake off her hand, but the girl just took to the motion and translated it swinging it between them. “Yes, of course you’d think this is this fun, just like every other disaster this morning.”
From her spot of the armchair, Linda looked over and assessed Lucifer. Her years of training meant that she could read into the tense lines of his shoulders, the deep crease in his forehead, and the grinding of his teeth with every swing of their linked hands that the little girl made. He was a dramatic, self-centred man who enjoyed having all the attention on himself. But in all their appointments he had never asked for help so blatantly. While it was clear he that he had no experience looking after children, there was something else eating at him.
Trixie shuffled as close to Amenadiel as her arm, and Lucifer's, could stretch to ask him, “Did you ever have fun days with Lucie?”
“Lucifer! My name is Lucifer! Or if you want to be more precise, the Prince of Darkness.” He slapped a hand to his forehead and groaned at all of them, “Why?”
This time Amenadiel ignored his outburst, and instead addressed the girl directly. “Lucie’s not so great in having fun like normal people.”
Trixie nodded back with a look of grave understanding.
“Lucifer, I’d like to speak with you in the corridor.” Linda called, standing up and straightening her blazer.
There was a moment’s silence as Trixie craned her neck back and looked between the three adults.
“I can tell you about Lucifer when he was your height.” Amenadiel offered.
Trixie immediately released Lucifer's hand and walked over to sit in the chair beside Amenadiel. She shuffled backwards and two glow sticks fell out of her pockets onto the floor behind her, but her attention was fixed and she was brimming with curiosity.
Lucifer was about to protest but instead looked at his free hand in relief. “Nothing embarrassing.” He stabbed a finger in the air at Amenadiel as a warning before following Linda out of the office.
As soon as the office door shut behind them, Lucifer turned to his therapist with clasped hands, “There must be some nugget of advice you can give. Or maybe some kind of book! I can skim the pages now, that should be enough for an afternoon of babysitting.”
Linda continued to frown at him, which wasn’t the response he was expecting. “Come on, I’m only asking to borrow a book. I’ll bring it back if that's what you're worried about!”
Linda tipped her head to the side and asked, “Lucifer, you’ve come here openly looking for help which is a step up for you, but I’m wondering if you’re being a little superficial. What do you think your problem is?”
He pointed accusingly at the closed door behind her. “Isn't it obvious. Two feet tall, with an insatiable chocolate addiction, putting sticky fingers all over the leather seats in my car.”
“I think that maybe you’re...conflating the issue here with something a little less abstract.” Linda circled her hands in the air between them.
That seemed to throw him so she decided to change track and went for something more direct.
“You seem uncomfortable.”
Lucifer blinked and put his hands on his hips. “The Devil’s not known to babysit. I have to consider my reputation. This is only a one-off favour for the Detective.”
“A favour,” Linda nodded now that she understood what had thrown him into this panic spiral, “I see.”
“You do? He crossed his arms and drummed his fingers on his elbow. “Go on then. I’m all ears. Anything to solve this pint-sized problem.”
She stepped back a little and simply said, “Trust. Chloe has entrusted you with her child for the day and you seem to be...well panicking.”
“Panicking? I don’t panic.” Lucifer snorted, “I inspire panic.”
Linda let the silence hang between them before giving her final take, “There isn’t a book you can read. You’ve met a challenging obstacle and like all challenging obstacles you will need to work around it and find a solution.”
“Sounds awfully touchy feely to me.”
He wasn't sure if this impromptu session with the doctor was helping, but eventually he nodded in defeat. Chloe was an intelligent human, and perhaps there was something more to it besides being the last and only option of help. She did mention that she could count on him to have her back, but he had thought that was about working on her cases as a consultant.
“Maze never mentioned having any of these problems when she was watching the girl,” Lucifer groused over the muffled laughter from inside office.
Linda's face crinkled into a smile. “Maze has a knack for being nothing but herself, whereas you prefer-”
“Maze is a demon.”
Linda balked, and he regretted his choice of words. Lately, she had been working through the shock, but she still went off on tangents asking questions about various historical figures or hypothetical scenarios.
“I- um, wasn't going that way with my point. Just be yourself, Lucifer. But um, not completely. What I mean to say is, you’ll have to trust in the trust Chloe put in you,” said Linda encouragingly. “You're halfway through the day now.”
Lucifer stared at her for a long minute before uncrossing his arms and straightening out his jacket. Then he squares off with the door. “Okay, fine.”
“A goat? Really?”
Trixie look fascinated from her seat on the top of the desk. Her legs swung against the wood and her sneakers lit up with each heel tap. Amenadiel nodded with a smug grin when he saw Lucifer striding back into the room.
“The goat story, really? Again?” Lucifer crossed his arms and hung back by the door.
Amenadiel reached for a pizza slice, cramming as much of it into his mouth to avoid replying.
Lucifer waved over Trixie, “Come on, we're leaving. It's not a good idea to linger around gossipy older brothers.”
Amenadiel shrugged at Trixie and she shrugged back. She slid off the table and grabbed her backpack and made her way towards Lucifer only to pause halfway across the room to turn around and roll a neon purple glow stick across the table to Amenadiel.
He picked it up to take a closer look. “Thanks?”
“You're welcome and don't worry there's one for you too.” Trixie told Linda as she trailed Lucifer out of the door, pointing to a bright yellow glow stick in the pencil pot on her desk.
They made it out of the building and Lucifer opened his mouth to speak but Trixie beat him to it. “What’s your job?”
“I’m the Devil.” He stated plainly, reluctantly holding his hand out.
She took it with a grin and they waited for the lights to turn. “At the police station? But you’re not a detective like mommy or daddy.”
He considered the most clean-cut explanation and settled on, “I own a nightclub. I throw parties.”
Trixie nodded, “I’ve already been there, but there was no party and it was boring. Maze was there though.”
Maze, Maze, Maze again, he huffed to himself.
“Alright, do you want to see what I do at the police station.”
The drive was short, but long enough for her to dump more bits of glitter on the interior of the car. He’d need to get it deep cleaned. They were waved in by the desk sergeant after they parked up. Inside the station was a hub of busy workers, with officers in uniform behind the desk and detectives milling around with piles of case files around tables. The two of them walked around the floor with purpose, and Trixie had fallen silent amongst the crowds of adults.
From his vantage point of at least three metres higher off the floor, Lucifer spotted Dan’s hoodie and jacket ensemble before Trixie did, and he instinctively knew he didn’t want to be made fun of twice in one day. Decker had messaged him earlier to check if Trixie had lunch since he had left the cash on the kitchen table. When he had replied saying they had both had, she had mentioned Dan had texted offering to swing by after work, so she had told him about Trixie’s new babysitter. No doubt he had called back to laugh down the phone line for a good five minutes, but Decker had also mentioned Dan would be free later in the afternoon if Lucifer was unexpectedly busy. After hearing that, his resolve had solidified, he wouldn't give Dan the satisfaction of not being able to handle a small child for a few hours.
Lucifer side stepped into the kitchen corner to keep out of sight. “Trixie, how about a game of hide and seek?”
Her face perked up, watching adults walk around an office wasn’t as fun as she had imagined. “Hiding from who?”
“That would be telling. Just make your way back towards the lift. I’ll meet you there.”
She looked around and spotted the lift on the other side of the floor. “Okay, Lucie. First person to hit the button wins!”
She clapped her hands and then sped off, backpack jiggling as she weaved in between people, desks and chairs. Lucifer watched with disbelief as the girl went mostly unnoticed by most of the officers on the floor. He was about to make his way across when he saw the figure of someone in dark trousers crouched down beside the lift, watching Trixie stretch up to slam her hand at the button.
“Lucifer!” Ella greeted as he approached. She stood up and leaned forwards to high-five him but when he didn’t raise his own hand, she settled for slapping his shoulder. “I’ve made a new friend. She’s really cute. Like button nose cute.”
Trixie swayed on the spot next to her looking very pleased. “Ella’s my new friend. We’re going to eat cake.”
The little girl spoke so matter-of-factly that Lucifer wondered if he was about to view a meltdown in person. One in such a public place would be more embarrassing that the mother and son he had seen. Not to mention Dan being close enough to witness it.
“Actually, now that you’re here...I’m wondering if you could help out on a case. See, Morgan and Dubman have got a suspect in custody, but he’s going to have be released because he’s not saying anything. At all.” Ella raised her hands to cut the air dramatically, “They don’t want him to walk because he’ll disappear. Do you think you could do your thing?”
She stared intently at him, and Lucifer leaned backwards. “You’re asking me for a... favour?”
Ella nodded, “Yeah, kinda. It’s no biggie for you, right?”
He groaned loudly, “See, I knew this would happen. Do I look like a soft touch?”
“I’ll watch Trixie while you speak to him.” Ella shrugged.
Lucifer brightened at the thought, “You only had to ask.”
And with that he swept off towards the interrogation room. There was a filthy man inside and he leaned back on his chair casually when Lucifer stepped in. He had the air of a man who had been cuffed and detained for just about as long as they could hold a suspect and grinned with the knowledge that freedom was moments away. Lucifer shut the door behind him and offered a wider, toothier grin. One that had the hairs on the back of the suspect’s neck rising up in a primordial reaction.
Lucifer was out within a minute and the suspect was blubbering all his sins on tape; confessing not only to the crime he was arrested on suspicion of, but to ones the police couldn’t quite link enough evidence to him as well. Detective Morgan was running back in from the viewing room with a determined look on his face and only paused to yell his thanks.
As Lucifer walked back to Ella’s office booth, he caught the end of their conversation.
“So you can tell if it’s a dog, or a cat, or a duck, just by looking at the footprints.”
Lucifer saw the little girl standing on a chair hunched over scattered papers over the table. She pointed between them and leaned over studiously until her nose was centimetres away from the pictures.
Ella nodded encouragingly as she reached for an evidence bag “Yes, and if there’s fur or feathers then that’s pretty helpful too. You can keep these printouts if you’d like, put them in there.”
Trixie looked up to see Lucifer behind the window partition and turned back to Ella to ask mischievously, “What if it was a goat?”
“No goats! I'm going to get my dear brother back for that. And it will be a delicious revenge, you can bet on that.” He composed himself and gestured towards the office behind them, “Anyway, I've done my best which means your criminal is spilling all his secrets so it's time me to take you home. Say goodbye to Ella, Trixie.”
“Goodbye Ella,” Trixie repeated and gave Ella a high-five. “Thanks for the drawings.”
Ella nodded, “Thank you for the glow stick.”
She waved them off with a dim green glow stick and they left the police station with Trixie holding her last two glow sticks in one hand and an evidence bag in the other.
“Detective!” Lucifer called and rapped his knuckles on the apartment door. “I’m here to return your sprog. You would not believe the day I had. It was awful! -”
Chloe opened the door looking much better than the morning standing straighter without glazed eyes or bags under her eyes. Behind her the piles of tissues were missing from the couch and the duvet had disappeared, probably moved back where it belonged.
“Hi monkey, did you have a good day?”
At the sight of her mother, Trixie rushed forward to tackle her and began to chatter about the events of the day, talking over Lucifer's venting behind her, “Mommy! We went to a party with glow sticks and then we had Devil’s cake-”
“I was tossed out by a bouncer from the hottest rave of the month, humiliated in front of my brother who was eating Hawaiian pizzas with my therapist, and if that’s not a sin then I don’t know what is-”
“-and then we went to the doctor and Lucie’s brother told me about when Lucie was little and then we played hide and seek at the police station and Ella gave me this!” Trixie brandished the evidence bag in front of her mother’s face and gulped in a big breath. “It was so much fun!”
Lucifer threw his hands up, “And then to top things off, she tells Ella the goat story Amenadiel blabbed about.”
Chloe crouched down and tipped her head back, trying to see what was inside the plastic bag but could only make out black and white pictures inside, so she ended up nodding enthusiastically. “Looks great, monkey. It’s getting late, pyjamas and teeth please.”
The little girl nodded and shucked off her backpack, sending a rainfall of glitter onto the floor and over their shoes lined up by the door. Chloe stared in confusion but shook the expression off her face when her daughter looked concerned.
“Are you still sick?” Trixie asked with a frown.
“No, I’m feeling much better,” Chloe said as she stood up, giving a reassuring smile and Trixie headed off satisfied to her bedroom.
“I’m feeling worse,” Lucifer butted in, leaning over the table. “But I think it’s safe to say that I trumped Maze! The little hellion told me that they had both fallen asleep after their candy-stealing, and as you can see she’s wide awake right now. So I win. Do children have an off button by any chance? I think that would be-”
Chloe walked around to the kitchen table and sat down on one of the high chairs. He rambled on as he walked forwards but she cut him off with a smile, “Thank you, for watching her.”
He fumbled with his words; the conversation with Linda returning to his thoughts, and then decided a nod would be best to acknowledge her.
Chloe’s smile turned sheepish, “I know it wasn’t ideal, and I’m not sure what I was thinking this morning, but I really do appreciate it.”
“Don't ask me what you were thinking. You entrusted your little sprog to me, the Devil. I only did it for the favour which I will be cashing in, just as soon as I think up something delicious enough.”
She snorted back at him and nodded, “I had a little faith in you, and you seemed to have survived.”
Lucifer coughed awkwardly, “I expect to see you bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning.”
He waggled his finger at her and then dropped it to gesture towards the interior of the apartment with a loose shrug. “Honestly, I don’t know how you do it on a daily basis. I could add it to one of my more specific tortures in hells.”
“It’s called parenting,” Chloe snorted. “But it has its perks.”
“I saw none of those today and my opinion has not changed. Children are awful creatures who grow up to become tedious adults.”
He was rewarded with an eye roll. It was true, the Detective was on her way to recovery. She had more colour in her cheeks and there was life behind her eyes rather than the snotty despair from the morning. And she hadn't ran for the bathroom once in their conversation. Pleased to see it, he went to let himself out of the apartment.
Just before he put a hand on the door, a blur of blue and purple dashed out from the other side of the room and clamped onto his arm, “Bye Lucifer, thank you for the fun day out!” Trixie squeezed his arm and hand, and then released it, tearing back towards the bathroom.
“Yes-” He cleared his throat and saw that Chloe had sat up straighter and was watching him with a look he couldn’t quite decipher. He decided against querying it and opened the door. “Bye Detective.”
“She had a fun day,” Chloe called out, making him pause halfway into the corridor.
He drew his lips back over his teeth in a mock smile, “I beg to differ.”
“Maybe, you could babysit another time?” She grinned at the discomfort that was slapped across his face.
“No. Not again. Not ever.” And with that, he slammed the door shut behind him.
For the first time that day he breathed easy. No tiny child clinging to his arm expecting cake and fun. Why on earth would he put himself through that ordeal again? The detective was mad to consider it. He turned and took the stairs two at a time eager to put the long day behind him but when he reached into his pocket for his car keys, he pulled out something unexpected, a chunky, slightly glittery, pink glow stick.
After a long moment of staring at it, he replaced it back in his pocket and revised his earlier thought with a new caveat. Children were awful creatures who grew up to become tedious adults; Deckers excluded.