Chapter 1: Chapter One
Chloe wasn’t drunk so much as she was…no she was totally drunk and naked. More naked than drunk, really. Which was good because if Lucifer figured out how completely naked she was he’d stop doing that amazing thing he was doing with his mouth.
Not to mention his tongue, which would be a crime not to mention because it was only slightly less amazing than his lips. Which probably shouldn’t count since his lips were part of his mouth, but then again, so was his tongue.
It was all pretty amazing, she decided, whimpering as he swirled his tongue against the inside of her thigh. She shifted further into the bed, sighing as her fingers curled into his hair.
He slid a hand up her belly, tracing an old stretch mark near her navel, and then reached up to cup her breast. His fingertips traced over her nipple, teasing it into a peak, as his tongue swirled over the inside of her thigh.
Lucifer shifted on the bed, crawling to his knees, and then tugged her thighs over his shoulders in one easy gesture. He nuzzled her with his nose, nipping and kissing her inner thigh, before plunging the blade of his tongue deep within her.
Her back arched as she cried out, her fingers grasping and scrambling to touch any part of him until they finally landed on his pajama-clad thigh. She managed to push herself up a little, just enough to see him and arched into him at the sight.
His cheeks were flushed and his eyes were closed as he buried his mouth against her. He sucked her delicately into his mouth, the tip of his tongue reaching places that should’ve been impossible.
He had been sound asleep when she had slipped out of her clothes and into his bed. Beneath them, Lux was winding down in the early morning hours.
His hands slid down to her bottom, his thumbs digging into her hips, and he tilted his head just enough that she could see his jaw move against her. She could feel his breath against her flesh, his tongue swirling against her and into her, until her entire body trembled, spasming toward something just out of reach.
Then his eyes fluttered open and he stared down at her with a hazy expression. Something clicked within him, some sort of realization, and he reluctantly pulled away. “Ah—”
The rest of his words were muffled when Chloe, annoyed by the sudden unauthorized use of his tongue, bent her legs at the knee, trapping Lucifer’s head in a headlock with her thighs.
“Detective!” he cried, his words muffled against her flesh as he tried to pull free of her insistent grasp. His breath and voice sent little electric jolts of pleasure into her, causing her to tighten her grip on his head.
Folding her legs into a vice grip, she tried to wrestle him into submission, her hips grinding into his nose until her gasps turned into giggles.
“You are drunk,” Lucifer declared when he finally extracted himself from her grasp. Well, grip really. She was still grasping at him with little, grabby fingers. “What’s gotten into you?”
“Not you,” she said with a mournful sigh. Her blue eyes wide with her pout. “We haven’t had sex since…forever.”
Lucifer laughed, a choked nervous sound coming from the top of his throat, and pulled the blanket over her. “Detective,” he said sharply and then groaned when she grabbed him through his pajama bottoms. “Chloe, we can’t—”
“And suddenly the reason for my lack of grandchildren is all too clear.”
Lucifer’s spine stiffened as he extracted Chloe’s hands from him, and shoved them beneath the blankets. He turned his head slowly to see an older man sitting in the chair at the foot of the bed.
The man tipped his head sideways to look at Chloe down the bridge of his nose. He nodded in approval. “She looks different in person.”
“Hey!” Chloe tried to snarl but instead sounded high pitched and slurred. “What’s that supposed to mean?
She struggled to sit up, limbs tangling in the blankets, only for Lucifer to push her back down on the bed. He smiled tightly down at her and turned on his knees to the man.
The man simply shrugged and steepled his hands over his stomach. “Exactly that, my dearest,” he said, amusement tickling his tone. “And for the record. I think he’s a fool for not having sex with you.”
“See,” Chloe slurred, slapping at Lucifer’s arm. “Even your creepy burglar agrees.” She stared at him, her eyes wide and hazy as she pointed a menacing finger at the man. “Just so you know, I’m a cop and you’re under arrest…for stuff.”
She blinked hard and plopped back down on the bed, yawning the rest of her words, and then frowned. “Just as soon as I find my pants.”
The man chuckled and folded his hands over his middle, steepling his fingers. “They’re in the elevator, dear.”
Chloe made a little affirmative sound and nodded, rubbing her cheek against the sheets.
“Oh, that’s nice,” she said on the tail end of a breathy sigh. Her eyes drifted shut, only to snap open and glare at Lucifer. “Lucifer we haven’t had sex in forever. Like ever.”
"We had sex this morning and before you left with Ms. Lopez." Lucifer sighed, scowling when the man nodded in approval. “We’ll talk about that later, detective. Preferably when we don’t have unwanted guests.”
“Oh, don’t mind me,” the man said, quirking a brow. “I’ve seen it millions of times.” He looked out the window, staring out to the city skyline, and then frowned thoughtfully. “A bit like Santa Claus, in a way.”
“Wait a sec,” Chloe murmured and for a moment seemed completely sober. Then she flopped over on her belly, bare bottom sticking up out of the blankets, wiggling as she tried to burrow into the sheets.
Lucifer quickly scrambled to cover her, moving between the detective and his uninvited guest, and crab-walked on his knees to the foot of the bed.
“Right,” he hissed with undisguised menace in his tone. “Normally, I wouldn’t mind the tag in, but sad to say I’m off the market.”
The man looked utterly bemused and tapped his lips with one long finger. “Nonsense, Samael,” he said sternly. “You’re happier now than you have been in centuries.”
“How do you know that…?” Lucifer sucked in his lips and swallowed, his growing annoyance evident in every gesture. “Right, Google’s your friend.”
The man leaned back in his chair. He was a handsome man in his late sixties but had the vigor of a much younger man. His hair was iron-gray but streaked with strands of black. Clear dark eyes filled with perpetual amusement stared out from beneath bushy eyebrows.
“Samael is the name I gave you,” the man said, smiling softly. “Your mother had other ideas, but I always loved the way Samael rang across the sky.” Then he quirked a grin, his eyes shining with genuine fondness. “Then you lit the stars and your mother got her wish.”
Lucifer sat back on his heels, his expression wary. “Dad?”
The man, “Dad,” smiled up at the sky, his expression wistful. “In the flesh, so to speak.” He frowned and looked down at himself. “Or quite literally, actually. Had I known that one day your sister would stuff me into one of these things I would’ve added a few bells and whistles. Or at least rethought the whole appendix thing.”
A look of pure rage flowed over Lucifer’s feature until he trembled. “You bastard.”
“Calm down, child,” Dad said, with an offhanded wave of his hand. “Angels don’t have appendixes. Which is good, because they explode.”
Lucifer climbed out of bed, careful not to disturb Chloe who had begun to softly snore. He stalked toward the man who, at least at the moment, he believed to be his father. “You unimaginable—”
Lucifer glared at him, incredulous, and threw up his hands. “I don’t care about the appendix,” he began slowly, seething as he shook his head. “Why are you here?”
“Oh, that?” Dad sighed and leaned forward on one elbow. “I may have failed to intercede for someone, well, several someones, and your sister became angry.” He tutted, but there wasn’t any real anger in his tone. “Kicked me right out of my own home.”
“Huh,” Lucifer said with a nod. “Wonder where she could’ve got that idea?” He lifted his shoulders, and then dropped them, his expression a mix of emotions. “Oh, wait, forgot.”
Dad rose from the chair and began to pace about the room. “Your situation and mine are completely different,” he said sternly, but then paused when Chloe snuggle-snorted her pillow. “Your wife is quite lovely.”
“She’s not my wife,” Lucifer hissed, dropping his voice to not disturb Chloe. She wasn’t sleeping so much as passed out, but he didn’t want to take any chances. He pulled the blankets up to her chin, shielding her from his father’s gaze. “And you should know, you created her.”
“Not as much as you’d think.” Dad tilted his head sideways, blinking. “I’ve never seen the world through mortal eyes.”
Lucifer breathed out through his open mouth, torn between at least a half-dozen conflicting emotions. At a loss for what to do, and since throwing his father from the balcony of Lux seemed a bit extreme, he decided to proceed as he believed the detective would. “Where did you get this body?”
Dad looked down at himself. “Uh, found it?”
“Found it where, Dad?”
“Does it matter? The soul was long gone.” Dad frowned, rolled his eyes, and then shook his head for good measure. “Honestly, it’s like talking to your mother.”
“Speaking of.” A look came over his face, and for the first time, he looked angry. “Granting your mother her own realm was reckless and foolish.”
“Bloody hell, what was I supposed to—”
“Wait,” Dad said suddenly, leaning forward to listen. “Say that again.”
Lucifer shook his head, wondering if it was too late to chuck his father from the balcony or perhaps simply fly away. Chloe would forgive him, probably once she understood his reasons. “What was I—”
Dad bobbed his head, and then, inexplicably, stuck out his tongue as far as he could. He gave it a hard yank, and then another, before curling it against the roof of his mouth. “Better and better.”
“Why are you mimicking my accent?” Lucifer asked, pinching the bridge of his nose. "There you go, ruining something else for me."
“How else will the humans believe I’m your father?”
A look came over Lucifer’s face and he stared at his father for a long moment. “Why would want to tell people your my father?” he asked, his voice was calm but held a slight tremble. “After all you’ve done?”
Dad nodded calmly in understanding. “All I’ve ever done was put your fate in your own hands.”
Lucifer stared at him, eyes hard. “What do you want?”
“I haven’t quite decided,” Dad admitted, winking as he finger gunned in Lucifer’s general direction. “I mostly dropped by to say hello.”
“I don’t believe that for a moment.”
“Didn’t think you would,” Dad said with a shrug, and then left the bedroom to stand before the elevator. “I may also need your help a bit later, but let’s wait and see if your sister comes around.”
Lucifer followed after him, pausing at the piano. “Where are you going?”
“Out and about,” Dad said, smiling as the elevator doors closed.
Chapter 2: Chapter Two
As many are already aware, Lucifer has just been picked up by Netflix. So, perhaps we will get "Dad" for real now.
Chloe awoke to drawn curtains and soft lilting music drifting through the bedroom. She snuggled into the blankets, feeling safe and secure, listening to Lucifer at his piano.
He was composing, as he often did in the morning, weaving sound and emotion together into impossible shapes. Sometimes she forgot that he was the angel of music.
Humming softly along, she burrowed her head into the pillows and tried to go back to sleep. She had just dozed off when suddenly, she bolted upright in bed.
Pawing at her face, she tried to focus on the hazy, drunken memories hopscotching through her brain. She remembered Ella calling girl’s night fifteen minutes before shift end on Friday.
In the spirit of sisterhood or bros before hos, she still wasn’t sure which, they had avoided Lux, and instead concentrated on the cheaper and less boyfriend owned clubs.
Squishing her face together, Chloe scratched at her head, Ella’s drunken declaration that at least one of them needed to get laid ringing in her ears.
Hours after last call, Chloe streaked through Lux, tearing off her clothes on the way to the penthouse. Naked and more than a little drunk, she bounded into the bedroom where she ambushed a sound asleep and utterly adorable Lucifer.
Pressing her chin against her chest, she pouted at the open doorway until the music came to a slow, pattering stop. She wiggled against the bed, squeezing her thighs together, as anticipation wound its way through her. He knew she was awake.
Clutching the sheet to her breasts, she rolled over onto her side, back to the door, and pretended to be asleep. After a moment, she cracked open an eye, annoyed that he hadn’t joined her and smelled the nutty scent of an expensive coffee wafting through the air.
Burrowing her face into the pillows, she waited, nearly falling asleep again, until a weight settled behind. Warm lips brushed across her bare shoulder.
“Hey,” she mumbled sleepily and flopped over to bury her face into Lucifer’s chest. He smelled amazing. “What time is it?”
“Almost noon,” he said with a subdued version of his usual cheer and then bent to kiss her when she stared up at him. “How do you feel?”
Pretending to be more pitiful than she was, she made a cranky, grumbly sound and curled her fingers into his shirt. “Fine.”
Stealthily undoing one of his shirt buttons, she slipped her fingers into his shirt and traced one of the firm muscles of his abdomen with a fingertip. She kissed the corner of his jaw and nuzzled at his throat as his hand slid up her spine.
Then, her eyes widened, as she suddenly remembered something, and she flopped over gracelessly, trying to get out of bed. “Crap! Trixie.”
Amused, but at the same time baffled, Lucifer frowned as she scrambled away from him and became hopelessly entangled in the sheets. He tilted his head sideways, enjoying the sight of her naked backside, before grabbing her ankle to keep her from tumbling from the bed.
“Relax, Detective,” he said, pulling her towards him by the ankle. “I already took your offspring to the groomer.”
Huffing a sigh and relief mixed with annoyance, Chloe allowed her limbs to go limp and rolled her eyes at him over her shoulder. “She’s not a dog, Lucifer.”
Lucifer’s eyes widened slightly as he nodded, and he laid a hand in the middle of his chest. “That explains why the receptionist at Waggle Daggle was so confused.”
He laughed when she tried to jerk her ankle free, kicking at him.
“Kidding, kidding,” he said with a grin, crawling across the bed to lay beside her. Scooting over until he was almost on top of her, he flung a leg over her hips.
“I took her in for her shampoo and cut, and then dropped her off at Becca’s, I believe it was? Her mother’s number is on my phone.”
Chloe laid her cheek against the bed and smiled up at him. The look in her eyes doing strange things to his insides.
“My pleasure, Detective,” Lucifer said, his voice slightly breathier than usual, and smoothed his palm down her arm. “I made pancakes.”
Rubbing her cheek against the bed, Chloe made a little humming sound and stared at him from beneath her lashes. “I have rules about pancakes.”
“Indeed?” he asked, momentarily baffled, and then groaned, melting into her, when she smothered his lips with hers.
With frantic, fumbling fingers, Chloe undid the buttons of his shirt, her mouth devouring the flesh beneath the parted cloth. “Off,” she demanded, her hand tugging at his belt loops.
Lucifer ignored her, and instead trailed his hand down her side, tracing the curve of her breast with the most delicate of touches. Then, he nudged her onto her back and rolled so that he hovered above her.
He kicked off his shoes while she fumbled with his belt, deciding it was grossly unfair that she was already naked. His head dropped, forehead resting on her collarbone, as she opened his fly and slipped a hand into his boxers.
He kissed her, his hips jerking slightly, as her hand closed over him, gently stroking his shaft.
His eyes fluttered shut as he rocked against her palm, followed by a whimper of protest when her hands moved to his hips.
She pushed his trousers down to his knees and pulled him forward as he kicked off the rest of his clothes. He kissed her deeply, stroking her hair, and settled between her thighs.
His erection brushed against her inner thigh, but he didn’t enter her. Not yet. Instead, he ran his hands down the length of her body, kissing her as his fingers traced the lines of her body.
Chloe moaned softly, arching her back into him, and hooked a leg over his thigh. Her hips ground into him, wanting, as her lips moved across his forehead, over his ear, and down his throat to the hollow of his collarbone.
His fingers danced along her ribcage and over her hip to slip between her thighs. Slowly, he stroked he stroked her, teasing and rubbing, his fingertips gently sliding inside.
Chloe gasped, starbursts appearing in her vision. Pleasure spiraled through her and she made a sound of pure want.
“Lucifer,” she rasped, gasping as his erection, hot and impossibly hard, brush against her. Her hands slid down his shoulders to the place where he once bore terrible scars. “Lucifer.”
Lucifer kissed her again, her tongue sweeping into her mouth, and curled an arm around his leg. Lifting her slightly from the bed, he guided himself into her and planted his hands on either side of her head.
She rolled her hips into his as he rocked against hers, her climax creeping over the edge of her senses. Her hands slipped from his shoulders into the hollow between their bodies. She caressed her breasts, sliding her free hand down the length of her abdomen, to where their bodies joined.
She touched herself and him, as Lucifer kissed her neck and sucked gently at her pulse point. Then, his hand slipped down to join hers, touching them both with a feathery caress.
Suddenly, Chloe clenched around him, her thighs gripping his hips, and flung her head back against the pillows as she came.
Her arms and legs circled around him, drawing him closer, as his thrusts deepened and slowed.
“Chloe,” Lucifer whispered, his lips trembling against her neck. He pulled away, still moving inside her, to press scalding kisses between her breasts.
He mumbled something into her flesh in a language she didn’t understand or simply didn’t catch. Then, his hips lost all rhythm and his thrust became desperate, helpless, and needy.
She clutched him to her as he came, holding him to her, their lips meeting in a close approximation of a kiss.
Then, he collapsed on top of her, their panting breaths mingling as she cuddled in the warmth of his body.
Sated and happy, Chloe breathed a sigh of contentment and pressed a kiss to his forehead. She smoothed a hand over his hair, tangling his curls around her fingers.
He nuzzled her as he began to doze, one hand lying limply on her breast, and scooted over just enough so that he wasn’t laying completely on top of her.
“Someone thought I was the urchin’s step-father,” Lucifer said, after a moment, yawning as he cracked open an eye. “My reputation may never recover.”
“Poor baby.” Chloe giggled, stroking the small of his back, and then kissed him. “You can tell me all—”
Suddenly, the elevator pinged, announcing someone’s arrival in the penthouse. “Lucifer, dear? It seems I’m going to need your help after all.”
“Bloody hell,” Lucifer hissed beneath his breath and tossed the blanket over Chloe. “I had thought he’d gone home.”
“Who?” Chloe demanded shoving the blankets away from her face just as an older man stepped into the bedroom.
“Oh! Hello, my darling! So good to see you again,” the man said warmly, and sat down in the chair at the foot of the bed. “Still naked, I see.”
Chloe glared at Lucifer out of the corner of her eye, suddenly remember the intruder she had dismissed as part of her drunken haze. Clutching the sheet to her chest, she angled in front of Lucifer and walked across the bed to stare down the man. “Hold it right there,” she said with all the detective steel she could muster. “I’m LAPD.”
The man beamed at her, delighted, but also a touch amused. His expression was all too familiar.
“Yes, darling, I know,” he replied as if speaking to a small child. “And I am G. O. D.”
Chloe looked at the man sideways, eyes narrowing as she squinted. “God?”
God shook his head, waving the notion off with a single irreverent flick of his wrist. “Call me Neil.”
“Neil,” Lucifer repeated, almost knocking Chloe to the floor as he shoved past her. “Neil?”
God or Neil or whomever he was shrugged. “I rather look like a Neil, I thought.”
“You know this guy?” Chloe hissed, righting herself on the bed before reaching for Lucifer’s shirt on the floor.
Neil pursed his lips, frowning as he watched her slip the shirt over her shoulders and quickly button it.
“One thing I’ve never quite understood about humans,” he mused, tapping his steepled fingers against his chin. “You eat one apple and suddenly, you all want to wear pants.
“Dad,” Lucifer ground out through his teeth. “What do you want?”
Eyes widened, Chloe looked from Lucifer to Neil, a slight panic replacing her incredulity. “Wait,” she said slowly, inching back ever so slightly. “Dad? You mean he’s really..?”
“The Lord, thy God,” Neil said with an amused, but stern expression. “But please don’t worship me. It’s annoying.”
“God,” Chloe repeated, her entire head moving with the single word. “You’re God?”
God or Neil as he preferred to be called, made a little noncommittal sound as he shrugged.
“Well, I was,” he explained, completely unbothered. “Then, my daughter, Lucifer’s sister, became very cross with me and stripped me of my divinity, sealed away my power, and shoved me into this human body with its ticking time bomb of an appendix.”
Chloe squinted at Neil, still not quite believing that he could possibly be God, himself, and shook her head. “Your appendix?”
“Well, you see, my darling—”
“Which sister?” Lucifer ground out through gritted teeth. Dad was always his most manipulative when he was pretending to be adorable. “I have several.”
“Ah, so you do.” Neil leaned back in the chair, looking thoughtful, and laid his steepled hands across his stomach. “It was the one with the wings.”
Lucifer breathed out a loud, annoyed sigh, and rolled his eyes. “They all have wings.”
“Oh, that’s right,” Neil drew out, mimicking his son’s eye roll, and clucked his tongue. “Because they don’t cut them off to spite me.”
Before Lucifer could say a word, Neil slid down into his chair and began to slowly rub at his temple. “Do you have any idea of the trouble you caused me, child?”
He stared at his son for a long moment, sighing as he shook his head.
“You cut off your wings and the next thing I know Michael is in the garden wailing about how the two of you are no longer twins.”
He paused, shrugging with his palms up in Chloe’s direction, as if to say, you have kids, explain this. Then, he simply sighed and shook his head. “They two of you have never been identical, so I assumed he would come to his senses. Unfortunately, not. So, he decides to lop off his wings.”
“What?” Chloe and Lucifer said in almost unison, but then Chloe added. “You just let him cut them off?”
Neil tutted, waving her off. “Free will, darling. Although, in hindsight…” He deflated a little, his jovial cheer diming just slightly, and shifted in the chair so that he was back to his full height.
“Well, after Michael cut off his wings, Raphael decided that if Michael did it, then it must be a truly lovely idea. And lopped his off, as well.”
Neil covered his eyes with one hand, shaking his head in disbelief. “Except he only managed to cut off one.”
He lolled his head back, looking around the room, before returning his attention back to Chloe and Lucifer. “So, there was Raphael crying and screaming and flopping about while Jophiel poked him with a stick.”
“Such a horrid girl,” Neil tutted in disapproval and then sighed. “And this went on for days until finally, I was forced to intervene.”
“She's always been horrid,”Lucifer deadpanned, his expression cold.
“Yes," Neil agreed, yawning into the back of his hand. “Well, at any rate. By the time I got it all sorted, your wings had grown back. Just in time for Michael to start wailing again, Father, Father, Lucifer and I aren’t twins anymore.”
Neil made a face, sticking his tongue out just slightly. “I washed my hands of the whole thing after that and went back to my citadel.”
Lucifer stared at his father for a long, cool moment. “None of that happened.”
“No,” Neil admitted with a smirk, chuckling softly. “But for a moment, you thought it could have.”
Chloe softened a little, noting the obvious affection in Neil’s eyes. Neil who was Lucifer’s father who was God. It was a bit too much to wrap her mind around at the moment. So much, in fact, that being naked bothered her far, far less than it should. She frowned inwardly, hoping the whole cool with naked wasn’t Neil’s special talent.
“You said you needed Lucifer’s help?”
“Yes, I did, dearest.” Neil brightened, smiling broadly, and then turned to address Lucifer. “Your sister’s on earth.”
Lucifer glowered at his father. “And you want me to talk to her. Typical.”
“Well, I’d do it myself, child,” Neil said, slightly annoyed and pursed his lips. “But, her bodyguard threatened to taze me. Now, I don’t know what that is, but it didn’t seem pleasant.”
“Wait,” Chloe began, now very suspicious. “Why would he taze you?”
Neil cringed a little and sucked in his bottom lip, seeming to consider. “Let’s just agree that humans are very odd. And it's apparently illegal to scale a fence to get to an actress' trailer, even if she is your daughter.”
Chapter 3: Chapter Three
I said I wasn't going to update until I finished Hindsight Principle. Turns out I'm a dirty liar.:)
Chloe stared up at the showerhead, the last of the hot water streaming over her head and down her back. On a normal morning, Lucifer would’ve joined her. He would’ve scrubbed her back and washed her hair, finger combing the long strands until not a single tangle remained. Once the water began to cool, they would slip from the shower, giggling and kissing as they toweled each other off.
Sometimes, most times, if she were honest, they would make love against the shower doors. He was always so gentle with her in those moments, so tender and caring. His clipped panted breaths catching in his throat as he nibbled at her ear. Afterward, he would bundle her in one of his robes, usually the fluffy purple one, and she would help him groom his wings. Watching Lucifer preen was probably one of the most adorable things she had ever seen.
With a longing sigh, her hand slid down her body to where everything was warm, aching, and wet. Her fingers growing slick and her breathing ragged as she half-wondered, more wished, they could eject their unwanted guest. Maybe they could convince Neil to go down to Lux or an hour or so?
“Just what are you doing in there, my darling?”
Chloe squeaked, startled and embarrassed, and pressed her forehead against the cool tile of the shower. Neil, she thought with a groan. Speaking of the devil, or the god or, well, whatever.
“Just a minute,” she called, squeezing her thighs together. The motion sent shocks of pleasure through her. She was so close.
Closing her eyes, she imagined Lucifer’s fingers tracing the underside of her breast instead of her own. His free hand slipping between her thighs as he cuddled up behind her. He entered her slowly, carefully, drawing out her pleasure with long, even strokes.
Crying out softly, she flung an arm against the shower wall and buried her face in the crook of her elbow. Her hips ground against her hand as the fingers she imagined were Lucifer’s plunged deep within her.
Spots danced in her vision as she came, her cries muffled in the crook of her arm. Her teeth bit into her skin, leaving marks, but she felt too amazing to care.
Warm and floaty, she quickly rinsed off again and slipped from the shower. Her clothes were neatly folded near the sink, next to a stack of impossibly fluffy towels.
Snagging one, she toweled herself off and reached out with one hand to wipe the steam fogged mirror. Quickly she finger-combed her hair, able to resist smirking at her reflection. She looked well and truly done.
“Yep,” she said, quirking a pleased grin. “Walking heroin.” But to be fair, he did warn her.
Scooping up her clothes, she quickly pulled on her underwear and jeans. She once again considered whether or not she should start leaving a few things at Lucifer’s, but again vetoed the idea. Neither of them was quite ready to take that step. It was the step before moving in together, which was still very distant on the horizon. Lucifer wouldn’t be happy in her townhouse and she couldn’t live with Trixie over a nightclub. So, it was settled, even if neither had actually broached the subject.
Dismissing the thoughts, for now, she pulled on her turtleneck and realized her shoes were missing. While she hoped they were safely in the living room, a hazy memory involving body shots and a school bus told her that Malibu was not out of the question.
Realizing there was only one way to find out, she padded barefoot out of the bathroom and into the living room.
“Ah, there you are, my darling,” Neil said, his tone chipper as he smiled at her from his place on the leather sofa. “Lucifer and I were just talking about you.”
Her cheeks pinked as she pursed her lips and tilted her head just slightly. “Why?” she asked cautiously and wondered how much or if anything had been overheard.
“We were not,” Lucifer said coolly as he entered the room carrying a large tray. He sat the tray down on the coffee table and then disappeared again to retrieve a carafe of orange juice. “He’s trying to manipulate you, us, me as always!”
“True,” Neil said coyly, bobbing his head in agreement, smiling at Lucifer’s surprised expression, but then quickly dashed it. “I did want to talk about you, but my sweet little star here was far more interested in scowling into his cheese platter.”
“Don’t call me that,” Lucifer roared, flames flickering in his pupils. “Endearing childhood nicknames are for people who don’t cast me into hell!”
Without blinking, Chloe dashed between the sofas to stand between Lucifer and Neil.
“Lucifer, Lucifer, hey, it’s okay,” she soothed, grabbing his arm and putting her free hand against his chest. “Just calm down.”
Lucifer blinked, the flames dying in his eyes, and uttered a frustrated sigh. “Detective, you don’t know—”
“Hey,” Chloe coaxed, desperate to keep his attention. Her hand slid up his arm to cup cheek. “No, I don’t, but what I do know is that this guy could just be a crazy weirdo.”
“Oh, I am a weirdo, my lovely, but not crazy,” Neil said offhandedly, and then tapped his chin with one finger. “Although, crazy would explain a few things.”
Lucifer touched his forehead to Chloe’s, breathing out one last frustrated breath, his eyes fluttering shut. He brushed his lips against hers before pulling away.
“Feigning insanity will not excuse what you’re done.”
“Huh,” Neil more hummed, then said, nodding his head in agreement. He pointed skyward. “That’s what your sister said. Well, what she actually said was I’m tired of your bullshit, Daddy. So, in spirit, it was nigh identical.”
“You haven’t said which sister,” Chloe reminded, her eyes narrowing into a squint. Then, before Neil could answer, she lifted a finger in warning. “Without going off on a tangent.”
“No, she’s right,” Lucifer said, leaning forward, his eyes darkening. Then something dawned on him and he blinked in surprise. “You don’t want my siblings to know.”
“Of course not, child. Your sister hoisted me by my own petard,” Neil chuckled and crossed his legs at the knee. “I would never live it down.”
Lucifer clenched his jaw. There was a tightness around his dark eyes that suggested an emotional implosion was imminent. “Right.”
Neil flinched, obviously surprised, and then lifted his chin toward Chloe, a knowing look in his eyes. “Interesting.”
Exhaling sharply, Chloe shook her head and sat down on the sofa across from Neil. A realization came to her. If Lucifer’s father was anything like his mother, he needed a human body to interact on Earth. That body was once someone else, and would more than likely have identification. “Empty your pockets.”
Neil gapped at her, obviously flustered, but shimmied down on the sofa to comply. “Are you robbing me?”
“It’s all right if you are, my dear,” he insisted in a mellow tone. “It wouldn’t even be the weirdest thing that happened to me this week.”
“Bloody hell,” Lucifer groaned and sat down beside Chloe on the sofa. He handed her a bowl of diced fruit, and then pushed the rest of the tray toward Neil. “Not another one of your damn stories.”
“Parable, child,” Neil corrected, helping himself to a wedge of cheese. “It’s a parable when I do it.”
“It’s bloody annoying, is what it is,” Lucifer grumbled, selecting a fruit from the tray. “And you’re a liar.”
“Perhaps,” Neil agreed, helping himself to a wedge of cheese. He nibbled at it for a moment and then paused to smile at Chloe. “You believe I’m a crazy weirdo.”
“I never said you were crazy,” Chloe said as she began to examine Neil’s wallet and car keys. “Or a weirdo. I said you could be. We just need to—”
A loud, crisp crunch echoed through the penthouse as Lucifer bit down hard on an apple. He chewed with deliberate slowness, eyes fixed on Neil with a challenging stare.
Eyes widening, Chloe shrunk back a bit on the sofa, groaning in disbelief. “—find out who you really are.”
Neil ignored her and instead stared unblinkingly at Lucifer. An enigmatic smile curled at his lips.
“Do you remember when Ithuriel used to sneak you treats?”
His stare unwavering, Lucifer took another bite of the apple and chewed with his lips slightly parted. He caught a piece of apple between his teeth, the skin very red against his lips.
“The things you believe anger me,” Neil said with a fond chuckle. He settled back against the sofa cushions, folding his hands over his middle. “But, as for Ithuriel, you were very young, so you may not.”
Sighing and rolling her eyes, Chloe plucked the piece of fruit from between Lucifer’s teeth and tossed it onto the tray.
“She’s older than Lucifer, then?” she asked, snatching the apple from Lucifer’s hands before he could take another bite. Someone had to be the grown up, and experience told her it would not be the being as old as time.
Neil nodded, humming to himself. “She’s my eldest daughter and second oldest child.”
Lucifer twitched just enough for Chloe to know that what Neil had said was true. Part of her insisted that she was simply trying to verify Neil’s story. The rest of her, however, kept picturing a preteen girl feeding cookies to a dark-haired toddler.
Neil chuckled fondly, leaving her to wonder if he saw her imaginings as clearly as she.
“Ithuriel had never been particularly interested in any her siblings before Lucifer came along.”
Chloe gave Lucifer an affectionate nudge with her knee, but he remained stiff and sullen, glaring at Neil. Sighing, she rolled her eyes and picked Neil’s wallet up from the coffee table.
“So, heaven’s the land of Cool Ranch Puffs and Teeny Tiny Donuts?” she asked, smiling, and flipped open the wallet.
Neil made a humming sound, amused. “Not as such—”
“She fed me Raphael’s pet fungus!” Lucifer bellowed suddenly, throwing up his hands in frustration.
Chloe coughed, trying to stifle a surprised laugh, and dropped the wallet into her lap. “Uh…what?”
“Ah, yes, Foogie.” Neil bobbed his head, a thoughtful look in his eyes. “or was it Foonie? I can’t remember.”
“It was Funoogie,” Lucifer snapped, enunciating the name, and scowled as he pointed with both index fingers to the ceiling. “And it turned my wings pink!”
“Oh,” Neil drew out, his eyes narrowing in disapproval. “So, now you care about your wings.”
“Okay,” Chloe choked out, leaping off her sofa to stand between Neil and Lucifer. Briefly, she wondered just how many times she would have to do this today. Lifting both hands in surrender, she looked back and forth between the pair. Her eyes narrowed and jawed squared as she became every inch the Detective.
“Let’s just, for the moment, ignore the crazy and look at the facts.”
“It’s not crazy if it’s true.” Neil tilted his head to the side, mouth slightly open, an incredulous expression on his face. Frowning, he leaned sideways to look at Lucifer, his expression one of utter disbelief. “Is she always like this?”
“Yes,” Lucifer answered on reflex, frowning at feeling in his chest. He didn’t want to agree with his father, or possible father, on anything, especially regarding Chloe. Yet, the feeling of warmth at their sudden, possible solidarity was unmistakable. It was something best quashed quickly.
“Does he have ID?”
Chloe made a little sound and bent to pick up the wallet from where it had fallen on the floor. Within were credit cards, a gym membership, and lastly, but most importantly, a driver’s license.
“Neil Carey,” she read, pulling the license from the wallet. “I’ll have Ella—”
“Ha!” Neil crowed, slapping his hands against his thighs, and beamed at Lucifer. “Told you I looked like a Neil.”
“Or you can read,” Lucifer said dryly, and then looked anxiously at Chloe.
“Detective, now that we’ve identified this charlatan why don’t we just drop him off from whence he came and get on with our weekend?”
"What? Just like that? You would just abandon me, your father?” Neil protested in undisguised indignation. “Oh, this reminds me, most unpleasantly, of the time Zadkiel started headbutting everyone!”
A little voice inside Chloe’s head began chanting, Don’t ask, Don’t ask, Don’t ask, so she bit her lip, squeezed her eyes shut and ignored it entirely. “Why was he headbutting every—"
A sudden rush of heat swept through the room. The lights above Lucifer snapped and popped in the fixtures, raining shattered glass upon the floor.
“You abandoned me first!”
The words were cold, but without anger, like whispers in the silence of a void. Neil, utterly unbothered, blinked once and tilted his head sideways.
“I never abandoned you,” Neil said calmly, pointing briefly for emphasis. “You were the one who didn’t want to be with his family. Not I.”
Possible father and son glared at each other for several moments, neither willing to back down. Then, Neil smiled faintly, oddly satisfied, all anger forgotten. He turned back to Chloe as if the confrontation had never occurred.
“Zadkiel is one of my younger daughters. And she was headbutting everyone in hopes that I would send her to Hell with Lucifer.”
Chloe gasped into a short laugh, smiling broadly, and slipped an arm around Lucifer. He was still tense and seething, but he relaxed slightly at her touch.
She leaned into him and began to rub soothing circles into the small of his back. After a moment, his anger cooled, and he nuzzled at her, ignoring Neil’s approving look.
“They must’ve been close,” Chloe suggested, smiling as Lucifer, now completely calm, pulled away. “How old was she?”
“Difficult to say, my dear. Time has very little meaning to we celestials.” Neil frowned and sucked in his bottom lip, thinking. “But, she was probably the equivalent to your daughter’s age. Give or take.”
Tears sparkled in Chloe’s eyes and smiled at Lucifer who stiffened and looked away. “I can see Trix doing something like that.”
“Children, the young, those with open and free minds, they have always loved Lucifer.” He met Lucifer’s gaze and smiled, not with his lips or even if eyes, but with his entire being. “And he loves them back.”
Lucifer threw up his hands and looked away, rolling his eyes. “Don’t be ridiculous.”
Neil hummed to himself, back to his old amiable self, and steepled his hands over his middle. “I am nothing, if not, ridiculous.”
With warm eyes he smiled at Lucifer and chuckled softly, twiddling his thumbs. An amiable silence fell upon the penthouse, punctuated by an occasional sigh.
Chloe cleared her throat, wincing at the intrusiveness of the sound. “You said your daughter is an actress?”
Neil nodded at her, but his eyes remained fixed on Lucifer. “She started out as a screenwriter with a bit of modeling on the side. The acting came later.”
“Why would an angel become an actress?” she asked, knowing the answer before it even left her mouth.
Neil paused, seeming to consider. “I suspect it’s the same reason Lucifer runs a nightclub and works as your consultant.”
“Because it’s fun,” Lucifer said coldly, but without any real malice. His eyes blazed as he stared hard at Neil. “I don’t expect—”
A phone rang, a shrill shrieking chime that grated on all the nerves within the room. Frowning, Lucifer grappled at the end table until he found his phone. Before turning it off, he glanced at the screen and realized who had called.
“Offspring,” he answered, rising from the couch to walk out to the balcony. “mmhm. I see. Yes, your mother’s here.”
"Is it Trixie?" Chloe tried to rise from the sofa, but Neil held up a hand, stopping her. “Is she okay?”
“Hold on, urchin,” Lucifer said, glancing over his shoulder. “She’s fine, Detective.”
Giving Lucifer’s back an approving nod, Neil turned to Chloe. “He loves your daughter,” he said, his voice just barely a whisper. “Never doubt that.”
“I know,” she whispered back, leaning forward with her arms on her thighs. “Trixie—”
“Well, my dear,” Lucifer chirped, sounding warm, happy, and suspiciously like Neil. “Part of embracing your desires is facing the consequences of those desires.”
Chloe’s mouth dropped open, panic growing in the pit of her stomach, as Neil bobbed his head from side to side in agreement.
“Oh, don't worry, my dear," Neil called after Chloe when she sprang from the sofa and sprinted toward the balcony. “It’s not as though she has wings to cut off!”
Lucifer looked up at the sky as Trixie pleaded her case. Why the child called him and not one of her parents was beyond him. As was her seeming desire was for him to his permission while simultaneously talking her out of another desire.
“Well, my dear, your mother will no doubt be furious,” he began, but before he could finish, Chloe wrenched the phone from his hand. "But that is the consequence of your--"
“Trixie!” Chloe shrieked into the phone, causing Lucifer and the girl on the other end to wince in unison. “Are you okay, baby?”
“Uhm, I’m okay, Mommy,” Trixie said shyly, obviously up to something. “Tell Lucifer I’ll call him back later.”
“Trixie! Don’t you—” Chloe glowered, panic in her eyes, as her daughter hung up in her ear. “What’s going on, Lucifer?”
“Oh, you mean besides my father deciding sofa surf into my life?” Lucifer began sarcastically, his eyebrows lifted to his hairline. “Not much.”
Chloe mentally counted to ten, barely resisting the urge to redial the number herself. “With Trixie, Lucifer.”
“Oh, that,” Lucifer said with a shrug and plucked his phone from Chloe’s hand. “Your offspring and her fellow urchin are piercing each other’s tongues.”
The bottom dropped out of Chloe’s stomach as she stared at Lucifer in stunned disbelief.
“And you, you,” Chloe began cautiously, taking a deep breath. “Told her no. Please tell me you said no.”
Lucifer wrinkled his nose in confusion and shook his head. “She called for my opinion and I told her—”
“—to embrace her desires,” Chloe finished, wincing so hard that it looked like her face was folding in on itself.
Breathing through her mouth, she snatched the phone back from him. “I’m taking your car.”
Lucifer chased after her as she strode from the balcony to the elevator. “Detective?”
“I’m going to get my daughter, Lucifer,” Chloe snapped, dialing the phone as she stepped into the elevator. “While she still has a tongue.”
“But you’re not even wearing shoes!”
Lucifer sagged, bowing his head, as the elevator closed in his face. Frowning, he went over the events of the last few moments in his head, uncertain what he had done wrong. It wasn’t his place to tell the offspring what she could and couldn’t do with her own body.
A prickling crept down his spine and felt a set of intrusive eyes upon him. “Oh, stop smiling already.”
“I wasn’t,” Neil lied, his face smoothing to calm, stern lines as Lucifer turned from the elevator. He made a smacking sound and lifted his eyebrows. “Does your wife often just run off and leave you?”
“She’s not my wife—”
There was a sudden uptick in the air. A soft, cool celestial breeze that signified that something or someone was crossing the planes. In the blink of an eye, a dark-haired woman appeared.
“Azrael? What are you—”
With a sudden shriek, Neil drew his knees up to his chin and began rocking himself. Eyes wide with terror, he whipped his head about the room, searching every corner.
“Oh, my God, Oh, my God!” he gasped, taking great gulps of air, and curled tighter into a ball. “Where is he? He’s come for me, hasn’t he!”
Azrael raised her eyebrows, glancing back and forth between Lucifer and Neil. “I know you totally can’t see me or hear me, but I’m a chick. Why do they all think I’m a guy?”
“Wait.” Lucifer eyed Neil, licking his lips. “He should know—"
“It’s my appendix isn’t it?” Neil wailed, his accent vanishing in his panic. “And now the Angel of Death is here. Oh my God! I knew this would happen. I just knew it!”
“Well, he’s not wrong. Those things explode. Not sure what dear ole dad was thinking,” Azrael said with a shrug, her wings vanishing behind her back. “Who is this guy?
“I thought he was…” Lucifer shook his head and stared warily at the trembling man on his sofa. “I’m not sure.”
Azrael threw up her hands, her eyes wide and pleading. “Look, whatever, I need your help and I’ve been flying around for hours waiting for your human to leave.”
She pulled Lucifer from the bar, away from Neil, who had curled up into a whimpering ball. “And believe me, I so don’t want to be that girl.”
“What?” Lucifer asked, shaking in his head in confusion. “What girl?”
“The girl that only shows up when she needs something, you dope,” she said, smacking him on the arm, and then exhaled sharply. “I screwed up, Lu. Like major, majorly screwed up.”
Chapter 4: Chapter Four
Lucifer pinched the bridge of his nose and then rolled his eyes for good measure as Neil continued to wail and flop around on the sofa. He sighed and shook his head, his lips drawing together in a tight frown. “Bloody Hell,” he grumbled and reached for a bottle. He poured the three of them drinks and took a sip, glaring over the edge of his tumbler at the still thrashing Neil. “Enough, already.”
Azrael made a frustrated sound and stepped in front of him, trying to regain his attention. “Look, let him do whatever weird human thing he’s doing—”
Neil interrupted with a loud, put-upon sigh, and sat back up on the couch. He brushed himself off, straightening his now rumpled suit, and then crossed his legs at the knee.
“Yes, Lucifer,” Neil said pointedly, eyes drilling into the devil. “Let me do my weird human thing.”
Azrael froze and then turned around slowly, pointed at Neil with one finger. “You can hear me.”
Neil blinked and pretended to glance nervously around the room. After a moment, he seemed to realize it was no use and breathed a sigh before lounging back onto the sofa. “I always hear you, Peaches, even when you don’t think I’m listening.”
Azrael paled as a multitude of emotions, shock at first, and then wonder and fear washed over her features. “Whoa,” she breathed a last, shaking her head in disbelief. “Zellie actually did it.”
She made a face, drawing back her lips to reveal her bottom row of teeth. “I mean, she theorized it was possible and I—”
“Zellie?” Lucifer said a bit a too suddenly, his tone sounding almost like a gasp. He took a quick sip of his drink, savoring burn of alcohol on his tongue, and pretended to be utterly unbothered. In a strange way, it made sense. So much so that it was almost embarrassing that he hadn't realized sooner. There was only one of his siblings that possessed the power and the sheer audacity to strike at their father so soundly, so perfectly.
“So,” he purred, at long last, smugness dripping from his tone as he eyed Neil through the amber liquid at the bottom of the tumbler. “Raziel has finally squirmed from beneath your thumb, has she?”
Neil made a humming, musing sound and leaned forward to pluck a piece of gouda from the platter. He sniffed before popping it into his mouth and chewed thoroughly before swallowing.
“You all have wings for a reason, my darlings,” Neil said, bending forward to select yet another piece of cheese. He held the orange cube between his thumb and forefinger, staring at it for a long moment before popping it into his mouth. “Although, truth be told I had always hoped for tails.”
Wide-eyed and wary, Azrael opened her mouth, revealing her teeth in a cringe. She looked at Lucifer, and then back at Neil seeming to weigh a question in her mind. “So, yeah, you totally haven’t talked to us in thousands of years and I know I’m totally wasting it now, but…” her chin tipped up as she goggled at him. “Tails?”
Popping the cheese in his mouth, Neil nodded as he chewed and then swallowed. “For climbing.”
“Right,” Azrael mouthed, and then snagged Lucifer by the elbow. When he refused to budge, she gave him a pleading, puppy dog look. “I need to talk to you, Lu. Like now.”
Lucifer sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. Anger and annoyance simmered beneath the surface of his calm exterior and with it an unwelcomed smidge of concern. In so many ways, ways he once was fool enough to believe mattered, Raziel was more his twin than Michael. “So—”
“Your mother used to say that of all you children, Raziel was the most like me,” Neil began with a sigh. His tone was soft and wistful but colored with obvious fondness. “I never saw it, of course. Raziel was too sweet, too kind, and far too wise to be anything like me. And as I just demonstrated, she obviously didn't inherit her acting talent from me.”
“Well,” Azrael began, wrinkling her nose as she shifted back and forth on her feet. “She does lock herself in her tower and not talk to anyone for centuries…” she forced a smile and chuckled nervously beneath her breath. “I mean, she’s super mysterious.”
“Raziel is nothing like him,” Lucifer snapped and slammed his glass down on the bar.
“Oh, I quite agree,” Neil chirped cheerfully. Smiling, he picked up a plum from the platter and stuck it into his pocket. “Or I did until she stripped me of my power, my very divinity, and cast me to earth in a mortal shell.” He laughed softly, his dark eyes shining with amusement. “And there I was.”
“Yeah,” Azrael breathed, jerking her head toward the balcony. “Now, please, Lu?”
Lucifer glared at his father for a long moment and then relented with a shake of his head. “Very well,” he sighed and refilled his drink before heading toward the balcony.
Smiling brightly, Neil nodded, but then held up a finger, stopping Azrael when she tried to follow Lucifer outside.
“Yeah?” Azrael murmured, fidgeting under Neil’s unblinking stare. Wrinkling her nose, she hunched her shoulders and kicked at the marble floor with her booted foot. Suddenly, she was a child caught red-handed rather than the pitiless Angel of Death. “I, uh, I’ll fix it, promise.”
Neil regarded her mildly and popped a grape in his mouth before breathing a deep, perturbed sigh. “Once you’re done speaking to your brother,” he said evenly and leaned forward once more to pick through the cheese platter. “I despise brie, ah!”
He snatched a piece of manchego cheese and it popped into his mouth. “Lovely,” he said with a satisfied purr and took a second piece from the platter. “As I was saying, say whatever it is to your brother, and then return to your duties.”
Azrael nodded dumbly, a relieved sigh escaping her lips. She moved away from the bar and was about to walk out onto the balcony when Neil cleared his throat.
“Oh, and, Peaches?” he chirped, fondness rolling around with a clear warning in his tone. “Be a good girl and speak of this to no one.”
Azrael gave her father a side eye but bobbed her head in agreement. “Sure, I mean, it’s not like they’d believe me,” she agreed hesitantly, looking helplessly at Lucifer’s back as he fumed at the horizon, and then to the back of Neil’s head. “What are you going to do?”
“Many things, my darling,” he mused, sighing happily as he gobbled up another piece of cheese. “Go talk to your brother, I can hear him fretting from here.”
Without another word, Azrael darted onto the balcony and closed the double doors behind her.
“Okay,” she breathed, moving to stand beside Lucifer at the balcony rail. “So, yeah, I messed up, like a lot. And now Dad’s on earth, in a human body, demolishing the cheese board you made for your girlfriend.”
“She’s not my…” Lucifer began to protest but instead ran his steepled hands down his face. “Well, out with it.”
Azrael laid her hands on the balcony rail and squeezed hard enough that the metal bar squeaked. “You know what Raziel’s like.” She shrugged one shoulder and chewed at her bottom lip before breathing a sigh. “She’s our little sister, but instead of looking out for her, she’s always looking out for us.”
“She’s the Keeper of Secrets,” Lucifer murmured, staring up at the sky. A niggle of something, he didn’t want to call guilt wandered into the back of his mind. He had burdened Raziel with his secrets as well. “She hides whatever naughty secrets you don’t want to be known from the eyes of eternity. That’s how it works, isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” Azrael spat, bitterly, her nostrils flaring. “And she just does it. Doesn’t even ask for anything in return.”
Lucifer pulled away, lifting his eyebrows, and stared down his nose at his sister. “So, she asked for something and you didn’t uphold your end of the bargain.”
Azrael rolled her eyes and turned so that she could lean her hip against the railing. “Not everything is about deals, you dope,” she growled and bobbed her head from side to side, wrinkling her nose. “But, yeah, It’s kind of the Ella story again.”
“Bloody hell,” Lucifer groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Who do I have to kill?”
“What?” Azrael blanched, making a face, her eyes nearly popping from their sockets. “No! No one! He’s already dead.”
She winced, biting her lip, and then looked down at her shoes. “And that’s kinda the problem, Lu,” she murmured, swallowing hard. “Zellie, Raziel, she didn’t have you to look out for her, she only had me and, as I said before, a lot of humans die. So...”
“You were too busy,” Lucifer offered coldly and reached inside his jacket for his cigarette case. “Don’t fret sister, it’s not as though you encouraged her to pursue a relationship with a man you presumed was out of your league.”
“I…” she drew out, eyes widening as she tossed Lucifer a sideways look, “don’t need to outsource my sex, thanks.”
“Well, there’s a story.” Lucifer shrugged and fumbled with his lighter for a moment before finally lighting his cigarette. “If you’re suggesting you sent her to me, she never arrived.”
“Yeah, Well, I kind of didn’t tell her that I was sending her to you,” Azrael murmured with an apologetic sigh, a barely perceptible tremble quivering at her lip. “I figured with you on earth, the two of you would cross paths eventually. If I can't be with you and I can’t take care of her, at least the two of you could be together. I mean it worked out great with Ella.” She winced and bobbed her head from side to side. “Mostly.”
“So, where has she been?” Lucifer asked, taking a long drag from his cigarette. “Amenadiel didn’t mention her.”
Azrael scoffed, rolling her eyes. “No one finds Zellie unless she wants them to, you know that.” She smiled, full of sisterly pride. “Not even I can hide that well and I’m invisible.”
She glanced over her shoulder at Neil still on the sofa with his back to the balcony doors. “She was in the UK. I checked up on her from time to time, dropping hints she should come to LA, but she was happy there." Azrael smiled wistfully. "For the first time in her existence, she had friends.”
“Until someone showed up to ruin it, I imagine,” Lucifer sneered, glaring the back of Neil’s head. A thoughtful look flowed over his features and he looked back at his sister. A sinking feeling gathered in his gut as he began to mentally snap pieces of this particular puzzle together. That Azrael felt responsible could only mean one thing. “One of her friends died.”
Guilt seemed to crack Azrael’s face down the middle, but she recovered quickly, schooling her features into calm dispassionate lines. “His name was Oliver, and Zellie, she, she loved him so much,” she explained quickly and then gave Lucifer an annoyed look. “Not in a sexy fun times way, so get your mind out of the gutter.”
Lucifer raised his hands in mock surrender. “So, what’s the problem?” he asked, purposely trying to get a rise out of Azrael. It was the only way he would get the full truth from her. “If he died, he should be in The Silver City by now, where she gets to keep him forever.”
“Not if he’s a suicide, Lu,” Azrael nearly shrieked. She closed her eyes and breathed through her mouth, trying to calm herself. “You know Dad’s rule.”
“Yes,” Lucifer hissed, eyes trailing back to Neil. “He’s always been quite judgy on that particular issue.”
Azrael looked over the balcony to stare out over the city. The streets were already congested despite the early hour. “After he died, Raziel came to me and asked, begged really, for his soul.”
“I see,” Lucifer said after a long moment, a sinking feeling weighing in his gut. Azrael didn’t get to chose where souls went, she simply carried them to their destination. “But, you refused.”
“Yeah, I told myself that once she calmed down that she would understand. My hands were tied and I was just doing my job,” Azrael breathed, tears glittering in her eyes. “Lu, I’ve tried so hard to show her that she wasn’t alone and all I managed to do was prove to her that she was.”
Breathing out through his nostrils, Lucifer stared up at the sky, and then down to his feet. A mixture of emotions washed over him, and with them, several things began to click into place. “I assume this Oliver’s soul is still in Hell?”
The balcony doors opened suddenly, and Neil stepped out onto the balcony. “Sorry, my winged sproglettes,” he hummed, pausing for a moment to brush the lapels of his suit, “but this line of inquiry is, dare I say, boring.”
Lucifer and Azrael traded looks and then glared at Neil in unison. “Boring?”
“Yes,” Neil drew out, lifting his brows to his hairline. “Boring, annoying, and not painting me in a particularly flattering light, my dears.”
Lucifer clenched his jaw, grinding his teeth, and flexed his hands at his side. “You unimaginable bastard.”
Neil pursed his lips to keep from smiling. “You rebelled when I created the humans, and yet, of all my children, it is you who loves them the most.”
He turned on his heel to face Azrael, staring her down, but then soften just slightly. “Your sister stormed the gates of hell to rescue her dear Oliver." Neil clucked his tongue in disapproval, but there was an odd expression on his face. Lucifer couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but he knew he had seen it before.
“And succeeded, I imagine.”
Neil chuckled, a smile splitting his features. “Your faith in your sister is endearing, Little Star.”
Lucifer glowered but didn’t bother to protest. Part of him realized his father was simply trying to annoy him. The rest of him simply wanted to ignore his father hard as he could. Instead, he turned his attention back to Azrael who seemed about ready storm off herself.
He snagged her elbow just as she unfurled her wings. “Wait, sister,” he commanded and then glared at Neil as he was struck by what should’ve been an obvious realization. "I know where Raziel is."
Chapter 5: Chapter Five
Lucifer shoved Neil out of his arms the moment they landed, sending the older man stumbling into a pile of discarded trash bags in the alleyway. Shrugging, Neil jumped to his feet with the vigor of a much younger man and brushed himself off. He tilted his head sideways and pointed with his chin at the production studio across the street.
“I remember a time where you were far more reckless.”
A thoughtful look flowed over Neil’s features as he pursed his lips, frowning. “Are you chewing your wings again?”
“What? No,” Lucifer muttered, indignant and rolled his shoulders, folding his wings away.
“Well, I noticed a noticed a few of your flight feathers were a bit ragged and thought perhaps?” He chewed at his bottom lip for a moment before shrugging.
“I’m sure I still have your old cone somewhere.”
Lucifer made a choked sound, sputtering, and clenched his jaw, grinding his teeth.
“Take it up with Domiel,” he spat, at last, nearly seething. “He’s the one who came down to your bidding.”
“Domiel, Domiel,” Neil whispered beneath his breath, as trying to remember, and then snapped his fingers, pointing. “Oh, you mean Sparkles.”
“Yes, Sparkles,” Lucifer spat, lip curling with his sneer. “He destroyed the Detective’s apartment, kidnapped Daniel—”
“And stopped you in mid-chew it looks like,” Neil tutted, shaking his head in exasperation. “Honestly, you children. Did he at least help you move your wife’s sofa as I asked?”
Neil frowned, baffled when Lucifer made a strange gurgling noise and turned several shades of purple. He shrugged and walked to the end of the alley, leaving Lucifer to sort himself out.
“Hers is the one in the middle,” he said, pointing to a trio of trailers at the far end of the lot. "The head of security threatened to taze me when I tried to hop the fence, so we can't go that way." He turned back toward Lucifer and shrugged. "Although, away from your mortal, a taser wouldn't affect you."
Choking down a deep, calming breath, Lucifer inched forward and stood up on tiptoe to get a better look. The trailer was identical to the other two, white with a bit blue trim. Its windows were heavily tinted and huge canopy hanging overhead to block the sun. Nice enough, he supposed, but still a far cry from Raziel’s pillow-strewn throne within the Silver City.
“Which is why my plan,” Neil chided, crossing his arms over his chest in a huff, “was for you to pop us both over there. I’d keep her distracted while you—"
“I’m not helping you kidnap my sister,” Lucifer snapped, suddenly slowly shaking his head. “I’m not helping you, at all, actually.”
“Ah, you’ve always had a soft spot for Princess. All your sisters, really,” Neil teased, and then waved off Lucifer's attempt at protest.
“Denial is a lie’s more palatable cousin, but it's still a falsehood. I’m not asking you to club her over the head.”
He quirked a grin, shrugging. “Not unless you think it would help.”
Lucifer began to answer, but before he could, his phone rang. Lifting one finger, he gave Neil a forbidding look and reached inside his suit coat.
Beaming, Neil clasps his hands together at the wrists and rocked back on his heels. “That must be your wife.”
“She’s not my wife,” Lucifer muttered for the hundredth time, shaking his head. Part of him knew that if he stopped reacting, his father would cease. The rest of him realized that his father would simply find another way to annoy him.
After a moment of fumbling, he pulled out his phone and sighed at the name appearing on his caller ID.
“Ah, Detective!” he chirped cheerfully, giving no indication of his annoyance, and glared at his father. “How was your offspring’s brush with amateur piercing?”
Neil’s lips curled into a knowing smile as he tilted his head up to blink up at the sky. Lucifer was happy, animated in a way he hadn’t been since he was very young. As with all things involving his son, the plan hadn’t worked exactly as intended, and yet still somehow managed to be perfect.
“The Outlands would be a good place for the two of you, as well as any may offspring you will likely produce.”
“One moment, Detective,” Lucifer said tightly and pressed the phone to his shoulder. “We are not moving to The Outlands and we most certainly are not having offspring.”
Neil simply shrugged as Lucifer returned the phone to his ear.
“Silly star and your silly starry notions,” he chided, feigning innocence when Lucifer glared at him. “Someone would need to get rid of the dragon.”
Lucifer scowled and stuck one finger in his ear before giving Neil his back.
“No, Detective,” he answered Chloe on the other end, ignoring Neil entirely. “A dragon, not the dragon.”
Lucifer frowned and tilted his head sideways, staring at the studio lot across the street. He wondered why he was even considering helping his father. Doctor Linda would no doubt have a theory on the matter. Perhaps he would call her once he was off the phone with the detective.
Tension pinched at his expression, his lips thinning into a line, at the muffled sounds of a struggle.
“Detective?” he hissed, anxious as leaned forward clutching at the phone. “Chloe?”
Neil tilted his head, curious, as his son’s expression went from concerned to amused to vaguely annoyed.
“No, Ms. Lopez,” Lucifer began in an almost fatherly tone. “I most certainly will not retrieve you a dragon scale.”
He winced a little, rolling his eyes, and then finally sighed, pressing his lips together in a firm line.
“No, not even a little one—”
Neil chuckled softly, his dark eyes glittering with humor.
“Oh, just give Snickerdoodles her scale,” he coaxed with an offhanded shrug. “It’s not as though Lauren will miss one.”
Exhaling through his nostrils, Lucifer gave his father a warning glare before cupping his hand over the phone.
“Her name is Laurel,” he ground out, indignation dripping from his being. “I won’t cast her from the only home she’s ever known.”
Neil pursed his lips and bobbed his head as he seemed to think over Lucifer’s words.
“No,” he said finally, drawing out the word with a nod. “I’m fairly certain it’s Lauren. As in, No, please, Lauren. Don’t eat me, Lauren! Usually followed by much screaming and crunching of bone.”
Lucifer blinked hard at Neil before returning the phone to his ear. “Laurel.”
Sticking a finger in his ear, he turned on his heel and Neil his back. “Give the detective back her phone... Now, Ms. Lopez.”
He breathed an open mouth sigh. “Lovely.”
Neil smiled softly, bobbing he listened in on Lucifer’s half of the conversation. As usual, his son spoke too much, too freely, and was far too honest. Then again, Lucifer had always been a trusting sort.
“You can tell, can you?” Lucifer murmured, smiling faintly as he tipped his head back up at the sky. For a long moment, he simply listened to Chloe speak. She prodded him with questions, slipping easily into cop mode, and he answered, ever mindful of the ears listening just a few feet away.
“My sister. Raziel. Younger. Ah, it’s hard to explain. Simply put, she can hide things.”
“Like my divinity,” Neil added edgewise and stepped up on the curb to stand beside Lucifer. Once ages ago, they stood together on a similar ledge and watched the unfolding of eternity.
“Remember when she hid Ambriel’s lungs?”
“He had it coming,” Lucifer muttered dismissively, and hunched his shoulders, tucking his chin against his chest before returning to his phone call.
“Long story short, Detective, my idiot brother picked on someone he perceived as weaker than himself.”
“Yes, Ambriel has always been a bit of a prat,” Neil agreed, swinging his arms at his side to get Lucifer’s attention. “Although, I have been meaning to ask. How did you convince her to hide Amenadiel’s hair?”
Ignoring his father, Lucifer stepped off the curb and began to trot across the street.
“Yes, Paradise Studios,” he told Chloe over the phone, ignoring his father, and stepped up onto the meridian, “If it exists, she can hide it.”
“Like my divinity,” Neil said again, sighing as he smoothed a hand down the front of his shirt. “You know, I’ve been wondering for millennia. One day he had a full head of hair, the next he was as bald as an onion, and none of you children would tell me why.”
Why not how, Lucifer noted, wishing the detective were here to help soothe the sick feeling in his gut. Once their father regained his divinity, Raziel would, no doubt, be punished for what she had done. After promising he’d be careful, he hung up the phone and stepped onto the meridian.
The studio was a few yards away, its pristine violet banners fluttering in the slight breeze. A peal of laughter echoed from across the street and he was reminded of a distant carnival in a muddy hamlet that would one day be called Paris.
He hadn't been sure how long he had been on the mortal plane. A few weeks, perhaps. Lucifer had known that it wouldn’t last forever. It wouldn’t matter to Amenadiel that he was woefully unhappy in hell or that he had tried his best to stay out of trouble on the mortal plane.
They had had a brief scuffle in the countryside, but he was the faster flier and managed to get away. Exhausted and cornered, he landed on the village green and began to plot his next move. It was then he saw Raziel standing on a nearby fence post. At first, he had thought she was there to aid Amenadiel, but then she simply smiled and pressed a finger to her lips. Moments later, Amenadiel stalked between them, glaring and searching, and completely unaware. Then, she was gone, leaving only the lingering peals of her laughter in her wake.
It would be almost a full six months before Amenadiel found him again. By then, while he wasn’t exactly ready to return to hell, he had grown bored with the mortal plane and would’ve probably returned on his own given the chance.
“I’m not helping you,” Lucifer snapped suddenly, nearly snarling, and stalked off toward the security booth.
Confused, Neil blinked, making a face before he shrugged and chased after Lucifer.
“Oh, fine,” he coaxed, almost running to keep up with Lucifer’s longer stride. “The dragon can stay in The Outlands. Just don’t come crying to me when it eats one of your children.”
“It’s not about the bloody dragon!” Lucifer hissed, and then wrapped on the security booth window with his knuckles.
The security guard poked his head out and frowned at the pair. He was an older man with dark hair graying at the temples, an ID card dangling from a lanyard around his necked proclaimed his name to be Peter.
Peter was not happy to see either of them, but he was especially unhappy to see Neil.
“We’ve already been over this, sir,” Peter said to Neil before sitting back in his chair. He had a small potbelly, but enough muscle tone in his shoulders to suggest he was no stranger to the gym.
“No one gets in unless they’re on the list.”
“Of course, my good man,” Neil chuckled softly, eyes wide and shining, and gestured to Lucifer with a flourish.
“Which is why I brought my son, Lucifer. Well, his name is Samael, but he prefers Lucifer.”
Lucifer made a sound of protest that Neil promptly ignored and wound his way around so that he was standing directly in front of the window.
“Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking,” Neil said and wrapped his hands around the small sill in front of the window. “He may as well call himself Noun-verb.”
The security guard leaned sideways to give Lucifer a helpless look prompting a soul-deep sigh from the devil.
“You know why—”
“I personally blame climate change,” Neil explained sternly and pointed the sky for emphasis. “Which is a serious matter you humans really ought to get sorted.”
“Right,” the security guard deadpanned, goggling his eyes. “I’ll get right on that.”
“Very good!” Neil chirped, obviously pleased, and then leaned forward so that his head was partly inside the small window. His eyes darted sideways to glance briefly at Lucifer. "The planets aren't mine to give, so you won't be getting a new one. Besides, did you know that my little star is supposed to have six wings and a crown of stars—"
“Six wings?” Lucifer repeated, aghast, and wrinkled his nose in disbelief.
“And a crown of stars,” Neil quipped, nodding sagely. “I saw the wings in a painting some human did of you. One of your worshipers, I suspect. Odd they all think you’re blonde.”
“They also think you’re all forgiving,” Lucifer fumed, flustered as he shook his head. He wasn’t sure whether to be amused or annoyed. This Neil persona was a side of his father he hadn’t quite expected.
“You might lose speed and maneuverability,” Neil murmured thoughtfully as if Lucifer had not spoken, and then looked him up and down. “But you would more than make up for it in pretty.”
“I am not your Mister Potato Head!”
“Uh, right,” Peter deadpanned, slowly shaking his head as he leaned back in his office chair. “As I mentioned before, sir, if you want to see Ms. Weiss, you’ll have to go through her agency.”
Hoping to stop Neil’s next tangent before it began, Lucifer leaned forward, becoming both seducer and tempter within an instant.
“Tell me, my good man,” he purred, lashes lowering as the muscles of the security guard’s face slowly relaxed. “What is it that you desire?”
“Oh, that’s good,” Neil cooed, bobbing his head as he sucked in a breath through his teeth. “Even I almost want to confess to you.”
Lucifer opened his mouth, an angry retort on his tongue, but then clamped his mouth shut, clenching his jaw. His eyes narrowed as he was struck with a sudden realization. Neil didn’t seem particularly bothered about his loss of divinity. In fact, it was almost as if he were stalling.
Lucifer made a sound under his breath before glancing briefly over his shoulder at his father. Neil gave him a strange look but was wide-eyed and encouraging. It was the look of someone baiting a trap.
He turned back to the security guard, turning up the charm. One thing was certain, he had to find Raziel before their father did.
“Come now, surely there’s something you want.”
Peter gaped slacked jawed and swallowed several times as if his mouth had gone dry. “I… want…”
Lucifer hummed beneath his breath, impatience, and though he'd never admitted it, worry, eating away at the seducer.
The security guard flushed, turning red and then purple as he strained only to finally gasp and sputter. “I want someone to recognize me!”
“Recognize?” Lucifer echoed, and then narrowed his eyes to peer down the length of his nose at Peter.
He brightened considerably, beaming, a genuine smile curling at his lips. The years hadn’t been kind to Peter, but there could be no mistake.
“Oh! You’re Peter Meisel!” Lucifer gushed, eyes wide as he covered his heart with one hand. It was a reaction that was too guileless to be anything but sincere.
“King of eighties action thrillers?”
Peter flushed, lifting on a shoulder to bashfully rub at the side of his face. “Well, I wouldn’t say King, but Body Slam: The Hunt for Thelma was number two at the box office for six weeks.”
“Body Slam?” Neil repeated, giving Lucifer a side-eyed, and lolled his head back to look at the sky. “That’s what I get for letting you marry a former actress, I suppose.”
“She’s not my—”
Lucifer clamped his mouth shut, lips thinning into a line, and slowly shook his head. He wasn’t about to be led by the nose through yet another one of his father’s tangents.
Neil shrugged, completely unbothered, and gave Peter a quizzical look. “Tell me, lovely man,” he began thoughtfully, “Do any of your children chop off their own limbs to spite you?”
Peter gaped at him, eyes wide as saucers, and gave Lucifer an incredulous look. “Ah, no?”
“Good, good,” Neil nodded, drawing his lips into a small bud, and then brightened, a slightly manic look in his eyes. “May we see Ms. Weiss now?”
Peter gave Neil a wary look and tried twice before he finally managed to speak. “Well, I wish I could help you, but she left this morning after her table read.”
Across town, Chloe sat behind her desk and frowned at Neil Carey’s picture on her monitor. Other than a parking ticket last spring, there was nothing on his record. He was simply a reclusive old-money millionaire in a town of reclusive old-money millionaires.
There was nothing to suggest how he might have died. He kept to himself and had no enemies. That was assuming he was, in fact, dead. The rules for celestial possession seemed loose at best.
“I could’ve sworn you were off today.”
Chloe gasped, spine rod straight, as she turned in her chair to face the lieutenant. “I, uh, yes…”
“Oh, sorry,” he said sincerely, shaking his head, “I didn’t mean to startle you.”
Heart hammering in her chest, Chloe managed small chuckle and blew out a breath, sending the wisps of hair around her face flying.
“You didn’t,” she lied, glancing back at her computer screen, “I was just really focused.”
“Looked like it,” the lieutenant, leaning sideways to look at the screen.
She followed his eyes to the computer screen, watching his expression. After Pierce, she had learned to take nothing for granted.
The lieutenant frowned at Neil’s photo, his thick brows knitting together as he took a mental note. “Just be sure to log the time.”
“Will do,” Chloe breathed with a relieved sigh and bit her bottom lip. She needed to search Neil Carey’s home but had no probable cause. At least no cause she could use to justify to the lieutenant.
She looked up when the lieutenant chuckled and frowned in confusion when he smiled.
“Enjoy your weekend, Detective,” he said in a tone that brooked no argument, but his eyes smiled. “Whatever this is can wait. Right now, I need you to handle your sister-in-law.”
“I don’t have a sister-in-law,” Chloe stammered and then groaned shaking her head. “No—”
“Oh. My. God!” Ella exclaimed as she barreled toward Chloe’s desk, sending papers flying. “You’ll never guess who’s here!”
Chloe winced, squeezing one eye shut and glanced cautiously at the lieutenant. “My sister-in-law?”
The lieutenant smiled tightly, nodding his head, but then cringed at Ella’s ear-piercing squeal.
“Zella Weiss!” Ella bounced excitedly on the balls of her feet, but then calmed enough to add an unspoken duh to her tone. “Star of The Ravenfall Chronicles?”
“Juliette is a secondary character and she hasn’t had a story purpose since season one,” the lieutenant corrected with the indignation only a diehard fan could muster and gave Chloe a pointed look. “Take her out through lockup. There is less foot traffic that way.”
“Dude!” Ella protested, defensively. “She’s like the lynchpin of the show. And like the only person Rueben can count on! Through thick and thin, she’s got his back.”
The lieutenant scoffed, waving Ella off. “She betrays him almost every season.”
“Only because he takes her for granted!” Ella fumed, flailing her arms. “Besides, she’s a vampire. The human world is new to her.”
“All right, all right,” the lieutenant chuckled, shaking his head. “You win. I bow to the power of leather pants.”
“Ah, I’m afraid I must concur with the lieutenant,” called a softly accented voice from the direction of the interrogation rooms.
The trio turned in near unison and came face to face with Zella Weiss herself. She was stunning, tall with long limbs and fine bones. Her skin was flawless porcelain and her eyes nearly black.
“The character is fun but largely superfluous,” Zella mused and smiled just enough that dimples appeared in her cheeks. "Much of her continued existence is due to her status as a fan favorite."
“She’s just trying to find her way in the world,” Ella insisted, and then paled several shades as she slowly pivoted on her heel to face Chloe. “Wait, you said sister-in-law.”
“Yes,” Zella purred in a most Lucifer-like fashion, her dark eyes glittering. “As in, sister by law. Her husband is my brother.”
Chloe pinched the bridge of her nose. “He’s not my—”
Ella gurgled out a squeak as she glanced frantically between Zella and Chloe. “That means she’s a….wait a fricken minute!”
She rounded on Chloe, glaring. “I knew it! You bailed on our last Nineties Neon Nightie Night to elope, didn’t you?
“No, no,” Chloe began, waggling a finger, and gave Zella a pointed look. “No.”
“On that note, I need to get back to work,” the lieutenant stated with a small laugh and stuck out his hand to Zella. “It’s was a pleasure to meet you, ma’am.”
“Likewise,” Zella said sincerely, smiling as she shook the lieutenant’s hand. “Again, I apologize. I’m not quite accustomed to being recognized.”
“Which is a crime,” Ella gushed, goggle-eyed as she shook her head in disbelief. “I mean you act, dance, sing, and write for your show. And that’s not even counting your novel series or the modeling.”
A thoughtful look crossed the lieutenant’s face. “I assume Weiss is a stage name?”
Zella smiled pleasantly and gave a quick nod of her head. “Yes, as is Zella. It’s short for Raziel.”
“Whoa,” Ella mouthed, paling slightly as realization slowly returned. “I so shouldn’t have asked you to sign my boobs.”
“Ella!” Chloe choked, eyes wide as she shook her head in disbelief, and gave Raziel an apologetic smile. “I’m so sorry.”
“It wasn’t the weirdest thing I’ve been asked to sign,” Raziel replied dryly and shivered slightly. “Word to the wise, never google the word taint. Your curiosity will not be rewarded.”
Chloe reached for Raziel but stopped just short of touching her. “Your brother’s worried about you.”
“I know,” Raziel whispered, her eyes far away, “he’s always had a kind heart.”
The lieutenant cleared his throat and hooked Ella’s arm with his, pulling her away. “We’ll let you ladies catch up.”
“Hey!” Ella protested as the lieutenant dragged her away. “Give her a hug for me, Chlo! And get a sample if you can!”
Raziel gave Chloe a wary look before taking a full step sideways. Then, satisfied she was not about to be pounced, gave an approving nod to the lieutenant as he led Ella to her lab.
“He’s sweet for a demon.”
“Demon?” Chloe sputtered, twisting at her hands until she had them almost hopelessly knotted together. “He’s a demon?”
Raziel smiled mildly, shaking her head. Her dark hair fell from her shoulders into a cascade of curls down her back. She appeared young, easily passing for someone in her twenties, but had an ancient, weighted stare.
“No,” she admitted with a hum. “I just wanted to see what you’d say.”
Chloe shook her head, nostrils flaring as she peered up at the angel. “Why?”
Raziel ducked her head, embarrassed, her front teeth digging into her bottom lip. It made her look shy, endearing, and hopelessly young. After a long moment, she turned on her heel, her long skirt swishing as she moved, and held out both her wrists. “I’ve come to turn myself in.”
Chapter 6: Chapter Six
A curse escaped Chloe’s lips as the traffic light switched from green to yellow the moment she reached the intersection. She glanced into the rearview mirror out of habit, expecting to see Lucifer giving her puppy eyes when she came to a full stop rather than barrel through. Instead, she saw Raziel peering curiously back at her.
The eyes were the same, so dark they appeared black, with the same glittering intensity. Briefly, she wondered how anyone, herself included, could have ever believed either was human.
“Would it help if I told you I sped on the way over?” the angel asked, a frown tugging at her expertly painted lips as she gave Chloe a hopeful look.
“And this morning on the way to the studio, I didn’t yield despite the sign clearly insisting I do so.”
Chloe sucked in a breath between her teeth, her lips twisting in a mock wince of sympathy. “Sorry, no.”
Raziel twisted in her seat so that she could look at Chloe directly. She stared unspeaking, unblinking until the traffic light turned from red to green. Then she tipped her head ever so slightly sideways and smiled.
A shiver ran through Chloe that she tried her best to ignore. Instead, she focused on the road and eased them carefully back into traffic. She had only driven Lucifer’s car a few times and never with a passenger.
“Why do you even want to be—”
“I suppose it’s good you have yet to wed my brother,” Raziel stated, suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, and she shifted back in her seat before slipping on her sunglasses.
“The two of you deserve a proper wedding with flowers and cake and fifty-seven bridesmaids and thirty-six groomsmen.”
Sighing, the angel ignored Chloe's eye roll and fished in the handbag at her feet for her phone.
“As he is the eldest, Amenadiel will no doubt claim the honor of best man for himself. While Michael will insist that as Samalu’s twin, it go to him.”
“That’s…no.” Chloe blinked, a raspy sound escaping her open mouth as she shook her head in pure incredulity. Her brain told her not to ask, but her tongue, treacherous thing that it was, had other ideas. “Samalu?”
Raziel paused for a split second to glance at her phone before meeting Chloe’s eyes in the rearview once more.
“My brother is no longer the Samael I knew as a child nor is he the Lucifer that was cast into hell to be reviled by all of humanity. He is neither, yet both, and greater for it.”
Rolling her shoulders in a shrug, she tapped the phone against her chin and looked thoughtful.
“Which makes it all the more baffling that he would invite rival clans of demons to be in the wedding party.”
Chloe laughed a little, eyes widening in a bulge of disbelief, but then recovered quickly. Years of Lucifer’s eccentricities, his Luciferness as it had become known to their mutual friends, had given her a bit of resistance towards celestial crazy. It also helped that she knew Raziel wasn’t human, and thus possessed different patterns of thought. There was also a fairly good chance that the angel was picking on her.
Even so, it would be best to steer this conversation into a more useful direction or at least away from the subject of marriage.
“Does the name Neil Carey mean anything to you?”
“Oh, many things,” Raziel began with an almost Lucifer like purr, “none of which are important at the moment.”
Chloe rolled her eyes, but let it go for a moment while she considered her next step. Taking Raziel to the penthouse seemed the obvious choice. It was where Lucifer suggested. Even so, she couldn’t shake the feeling that it was a bad idea.
“Could you be little more specific?”
“Yes, but as I said, it's not important,” Raziel stated, the confusion in her tone taking most of the bite from her words, and breathed an exasperated sigh. “Honestly, it’s like speaking to Enoch.”
The moment the word left her mouth, Chloe realized she had just played directly into the angel’s hands. One of these days, she promised herself, she would recognize celestial crazy for the baiting that it was. For now, she gripped the steering wheel with both hands and braced herself for whatever trap Raziel was about to spring.
“The first son of Cain,” Raziel explained, tutting beneath her breath as if it should’ve been obvious. “Sweet fellow, but sadly, dumb as a rock.”
Humming low in her throat, she met Chloe’s eyes in the mirror, her lips twitching into a half smile. “No offense.”
Chloe tightened her grip until her knuckles popped and turned white. It had been years since she had thought about Pierce, longer still since she had spoken of him. He had become a cautionary tale, one she had read, memorized, and then forced herself to forget everything but the lesson. Why Raziel would mention him at all was a mystery.
“I almost married his dad,” she said suddenly, holding her breath as she watched the angel’s reaction in the rearview mirror.
A strange series of emotions flew over Raziel’s face, paling her flawless complexion and pinching at her perfect brows. After a moment, the tip of her tongue flicked out over her bottom lip as if she had a bad taste in her mouth and she frowned deeply, wrinkling her nose.
A surprised laugh escaped Chloe’s lips, and her cheeks reddened as she tried to suppress an all-out giggle. That was the last reaction she had expected.
“Yeah,” she mouthed, choking on a snicker that escaped despite her best efforts. Her eyes teared a little as she felt the almost forgotten sting of old hurt.
“It kind of was.”
The angel smirked. Humor mixed with warmth and kindness glowed in her eyes before finally dimming to a scant spark of mischief.
“Did you have to shave his back?” Raziel asked, almost as if she were wondering out loud. Her gaze was pointed, fierce and almost challenging.
“What? No!” Chloe gasped, eyes narrowing as she shook her head.
Her time with Lucifer had taught her that most celestials tended to be innocently insensitive, and so, she told herself Raziel was just being...her. Still, this seemed different, so much so, that she was willing to bet that the angel had an ulterior motive. So, she tapped into her long-practiced skill of Lucifer wrangling and simply rolled with it.
“No,” she said again, her voice strangled as she tried not to laugh at the mental image of a man so hairy he could replace the rug in front of her fireplace.
It shouldn’t have been funny, but it was, and that made it harder not to laugh.
“We never got to the back-shaving part of our relationship.”
“Ah, well, lucky you, I suppose,” Raziel hummed, seemingly pleased, and sent a quick text message before dropping her phone back into her handbag.
“I recall Lilith had to shave Adam’s. Truth be told, I suspect it was the primary reason she lit on out of there, as it were.”
Chloe pressed her lips together to stifle her laughter, but failed spectacularly. “Dork.”
Raziel gave her a bemused look and bobbed her head in approval.
“I am indeed, Vinca,” the angel sighed before lounging back into her seat. She crossed her legs at the knee and reached out the window so that she could trail her fingertips in the wind.
“I am indeed.”
“Vinca, huh?” Chloe repeated, rolling the word around on her tongue. The word was strange and delivered with an unmistakable fondness. Her eyes narrowed into a suspicious squint, but in truth, she was flattered.
Flustered at what was an obviously a term of endearment, she bobbed her head and opened her eyes just enough to roll them.
“Is that the angelic word for twerp?”
“It comes from the Latin word vincire, which means to bind,” Raziel began, her voice mild, "and it's the genus name of the flowering plant more commonly known as the periwinkle—"
Suddenly, her eyes widened and she groaned, before sinking down into her seat and covering her face with one hand. “Bloody hell.”
Confused, Chloe glanced around and gaped at the sight of a newly erected billboard. A pale, attractive couple stood back to back with the words The Ravenfall Chronicles superimposed over their darkly clad forms. The man she didn’t recognize, but the woman was very clearly Raziel.
“Not famous, huh?”
Raziel sank further down into her seat, until she was almost on the floorboard, and then drew her shoulders up to her ears.
“I’m not!” she insisted, almost mewling before twisting her lips into a full pout. “Xavier is the star of the show, I’m just…”
She frowned, sighing up at the billboard as they whipped past and shook her head.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Chloe began, slyly and did a backward bob of her head to the sign now behind them.
“Roulette is a huge deal.”
Color rushed to Raziel’s pale cheeks, staining them a delicate pink. Chloe pressed her lips together, feeling a surge of protective fondness. Outwardly, Raziel was charming, friendly, and outgoing, but it was all just a front. Deeply down, the angel was shy. Almost painfully so.
Chloe smiled, softening, and dropped her voice to a low, secretive tone. "Ella filled me in while you were signing your book for Davidson."
Raziel shrugged, annoyance replacing her embarrassment, and gave the billboard a flippant shrug. “Which is an unfortunate portmanteau considering Juliette shoots Rueben in the face during the season finale.”
“Uh-huh,” Chloe teased, watching from the corner of her eye as the angel righted herself in her seat. They were still twenty minutes from her apartment. Her place was probably a bad idea, but her instincts once again warned against going to LUX.
“I fell for your brother after I shot him.”
The angel blinked, her mouth falling open before snapping shut. Her cheeks puffed out, whatever she wanted to say remained trapped behind her firmly pursed lips.
“Well, not immediately after,” Chloe admitted, rambling as she twisted her hands around the steering wheel. “I mean, I always really liked him but—”
“Then why did you betroth yourself to a hairy back?”
“I…he…” Chloe began, eyes bulging as she drew out the word. Briefly, she wondered how she managed to step back into this trap. The answer was, of course, the moment she decided to take Lucifer’s gender-swapped clone home with her.
“Complicated?” Raziel repeated in disbelief and shook her head at the sky for a moment. “I know my brother has a plethora of issues. Issues that no doubt make him less than suitable for a woman with a child—”
“He does an amazing job with Trixie,” Chloe said pointedly, feeling a little offended on Lucifer’s behalf. “He’s the first person she calls when—”
Raziel laughed, a low, rolling chuckle, and shook her head. Her expression was teasing, but there was a serious look in her eyes.
“Periwinkles grow in the fields outside my tower in The Silver City. They root into foundations and break through stones that have existed long before time imagined. Wild and scraggly, they owe their existence to a hiccup in my father’s divine plan.”
“Are you saying I’m...I..,” Chloe stammered, feeling a bit of mental whiplash at the abrupt change in subject, but at the same time grasping at Raziel’s words and the answers they promised.
“We’ve, you, other angels I mean have—”
The angel scoffed, humming beneath her breath as she shook her head.
“What I’m saying, Vinca. Is that excessive body hair should always be a deal breaker.”
“Right,” Chloe deadpanned, lifting her brows as her eyes darted back and forth. Sighing, she hunched her shoulders and tried not to look at Raziel for the rest of the drive home.
Neil sighed, sulking as he plopped down on the narrow bed inside Raziel’s trailer. He steepled his hands across his middle and tilted his head sideways to where Lucifer was pouring over a thick stack of papers that had been stapled together.
“No way,” the devil breathed, his eyes wide with awe as he flipped to another page. “That little scamp.”
“What? What?” Neil gasped excitedly and scrambled off the bed to bounce over to where Lucifer stood. “Did you find out where she’s gone?”
Lucifer pulled the bundle closer to him, nearly hugging it, and shook his head as he continued to read. “That little… she’s going to be a new reoccurring character in season three of Legends of the Rose.”
“Yes, I know,” Neil murmured dryly, clearly disappointed, “she turned down a guest starring role on Duck Wars to do so. She insists it was due to a scheduling conflict, but really it was to spite me or quite possibly because she refuses to wear feathers not her own.”
If Lucifer heard, he didn’t react, but instead flipped another page of the script, soaking in every word.
“The Detective and I watch Legends every Monday night,” he explained, as he tried and failed to hide his glee over what he was reading. “I’d heard they had moved production from Vancouver to Los Angeles but had no idea they—”
There was a sharp rap on the trailer door followed by an insistent rattle. Lucifer laid the script on the table and moved toward the door just as a more insistent knock echoed through the small trailer.
“Zella!” a male voice called out and knocked again for emphasis. “I’m not leaving until you talk to me.”
“Ah,” Neil hummed, lifting his brows, and waited until Lucifer began to turn the latch on the door before speaking. “That must be Moonbeam’s boyfriend.”
Lucifer jerked his hand away as if burned. “Boyfriend?”
“Oh, yes,” Neil chirped, leaning sideways so that he could peak between the blinds.
“They were quite the pair last spring. Unfortunately, the young man couldn’t quite get over the fact that Moonbeam was an angel of the Me, and dumped her most spectacularly.”
Lucifer’s face twisted into a snarl, flames flickering briefly in his eyes as he was suddenly struck with an unexpected flash of rage. He flung the door open hard enough to pop off the bottom hinge and send it flying beneath the next trailer.
Lucifer crowded the doorway of the trailer and glared down at the wide-eyed man at the bottom of the steps.
“Is there a problem?” he hissed curtly and paused for a moment to fuss with his cufflinks. He eyed the man up and down, trying to regain his composure. In truth, he was baffled that he lost it at all.
“Uh, sorry,” the man said quickly, eyes bulging as he glanced at the broken door. “I saw the light on and thought… I’m Xavier Lorne. Ms. Weiss and I work together.”
“They also have sex, a lot,” Neil chirped as he tried to push his way passed Lucifer. “Well, they did until her wings popped out while they—”
Lucifer felt his temper flare once more accompanied by the same echo of confusion. “You slept with my sister.”
“No, little star,” Neil corrected, sighing, but his tone was patient. “Weren’t you listening? He had sex with her. They hardly ever slept at all.”
Xavier looked as though he wanted to bolt but dug his heels into the pavement and stood his ground.
“We were dating. I was going to propose, and...well...” he breathed, but then looked up barely able to meet Lucifer’s eyes. “I guess that means you’re Sam.”
“Lucifer. Morningstar,” Lucifer corrected, eyes narrowing as he breathed through his nostrils. Oddly, he didn’t like this man and couldn’t fathom the reason.
“Right,” Xavier deadpanned, paling as he took a protective step back. “No offense, but for the sake of my sanity, I’m going to pretend you said your name was Larry.”
“He looks nothing like a Larry!” Neil protested, finally managing to wiggle his way past Lucifer. “Tom or Paul I could see, but Larry? Preposterous.”
Xavier’s mouth hung open for a moment as he looked from Lucifer to Neil, and then back at Lucifer.
“Right, Larry and the weirdo who is probably a demon or something.”
Lucifer hissed and shoved at Neil, pushing him back into the trailer.
“When’s the last time you saw Raziel?” he asked in the same tone he had heard Chloe use when interrogating witnesses. Briefly, he patted himself down, wishing he had her notebook.
“Right before Oliver died. I was stupid to be jealous of him, and now…” Xavier said, sucking in his bottom lip to fight the tears stinging in his eyes.
“Is she okay?”
Lucifer froze, all anger leaving him, and pressed his lips together. He was sure how to answer Xavier without it being at least a partial lie. Before he could utter a word, his phone began to ring.
“Ah, that must be your wife again!” Neil crowed from somewhere within the trailer, followed by a crash.
“Huh, I don’t remember that being on earth.”
Lucifer rolled his eyes skyward and counted to ten before answering the phone.
“Ah, Detective!” he chirped, pretending to be unbothered, but then paled slightly, clutching the phone to his ear with both hands. “On my way.”
He hung up the phone and gave Xavier a wide, painful grin before clapping him on the shoulder. “Be a good chap and watch my dad.”
Xavier opened his mouth to protest, but before he could utter a single syllable Lucifer rolled his shoulders, unfurling his wings.
“Ah…sure…” he finally managed to stammer before being struck by a sudden uptick in the wind. Stepping back, he craned his neck and searched the sky, looking for any sign of the devil.
“He’s definitely chewing his wings,” Neil tutted, poking his head out of the trailer, and then, bypassing the steps entirely, leaped from the doorway of the trailer to stand beside Xavier. He smiled tightly and bobbed his head as he gave the young man a once over.
“Tell me, my darling,” he began kindly, brushing a bit of imaginary lint from his suit jacket. “Do you have children?”
Xavier frowned, a bit wary, and took another protective step back. “Uh, no.”
Neil sighed, eyes narrowing as he stared down the length of his nose. “Why ever not?”
“I don’t want—”
“Nevermind. I suppose I'll just have to sort that out when I get home,” Neil groaned, throwing up his hands before allowing them to fall limp at his sides. “In the meantime, you do have a car, don't you, my darling? I need to run a small errand to run before my skylarks return.”
Chapter 7: Chapter Seven
Chloe rolled her eyes and shook her head as Raziel barreled past her, nearly knocking her over, the moment the door was unlocked. It was strikingly similar to the numerous times Lucifer had barged into her home during the very early days of their partnership. If there had been any doubts that Raziel and Lucifer were related, they promptly vanished with the clicks of Raziel's stiletto heels.
And probably raised in a barn, Chloe thought, her lips quirking into a wry smile.
I was raised in a garden, Detective, she could almost hear Lucifer say. It was very boring and no, Morgan Freeman isn’t my father.
No, Lucifer’s father, God himself, was currently a man named Neil. More accurately, he was residing in a man named Neil, which likely wouldn’t end well for any involved.
“Do you actually live here?”
Chloe’s brows knit together as she turned the deadbolt. She flashed a tentative smile at Raziel and turned so that her back was to the door. The angel stood in the middle of the room, towering in her heels, and turned in place as she took in her surroundings.
“I do,” she answered with a wry sideways quirk of her lips at the sudden wave of déjà vu. “And, no, I don’t take bribes.”
“I should hope not, Detective,” the angel chided, distracted, and picked up one of the many figurines littering the bar that divided the living room from the kitchen.
“Those are my Trixie's,” Chloe explained, feeling strangely anxious, and glanced down at the other figurines on the bar.
There were three in total, all carved from the same silver-flecked black stone into creatures of legend. At least what the average person would believe were creatures of legend. She’d since learned that dragons and unicorns were real, leaving little doubt that the griffon figurine clutched in Raziel’s hand also represented a real creature.
“Lucifer gave them to her last Christmas,” she explained, trying to sound nonchalant. “He was a bit cagey. about and where he got them.”
“It’s Yule, Detective,” Raziel corrected, sounding very much like her brother, and set the griffon back down on the bar. “And, on that note, do endeavor to keep Saturn in Saturnalia.”
“Right, Saturn,” Chloe deadpanned with a wry bob of her head, “and is he one of your brother’s? or an old drinking buddy, maybe? Or did you two just clip coupons together back in the day?”
Chloe gapped, but then closed her mouth with a click. Her rehearsed witty remark dying on her tongue.
“Although, to be fair, we didn’t clip coupons so much as negotiate a series of contracts that would eventually have far-reaching consequences for all of humanity and the universe, at large.”
“Right,” Chloe more mouthed than said and quirked her lips sideways. “Yeah, and Bob’s your uncle.”
“Is he?” the angel asked, pursing her lips as she seemed to consider. “To hear Daddy tell it, he sprang out of nothing and wandered around a few billion years until he met Mummy, who likewise sprang out of nothing. And together they boinked the universe into existence.”
“I…uh, what?” Chloe stammered, eyes bulging as her upper lip curled back in disbelief. “What—”
“I always suspected that he embellished the story a bit for the sake of drama,” Raziel continued, as if Chloe hadn't spoken, her words ending a hum, and tipped her head back.
Her curls tumbled from her shoulders to cascade down to her waist in a dark wave. The angel blinked once, then again, the whites of her eyes vanishing as her irises expanded. She stared up at the ceiling, or perhaps beyond it, before finally sighing. When she returned her gaze back to Chloe, her eyes were normal.
“Bob is not my uncle.”
Chloe stepped back, even as she willed herself not to react, and bumped into the door. Part of her realized that the angel was testing her. Not in a moral or divine sense. She doubted Raziel cared overmuch her immortal soul or anything of that nature. This was something else entirely. The rest of her, the part that had spent years wrangling the devil, remembered that Raziel was Lucifer’s sister. Angels tended to be grade-A weirdos with a few managing to be simply eccentric. All of them, however, were capable of splash radius crazy.
“Then he lied to me,” Chloe teased, carefully, eyes bulging slightly as she played along. She wanted to believe Raziel leaned more toward the eccentric side of angelic behavior. “Which makes Neil your...?”
Raziel smiled, showing teeth and little humor. “Someone who really ought to buy a ladder.”
“A ladder?” Chloe repeated, not quite following, the hairs on the back of her neck standing on end.
“So, he can finally climb off my back,” Raziel replied mildly, but there was an edge of anger nearly buried beneath her flippant tone. “Are you trying to coax a confession out of me?”
“No, no,” Chloe insisted, bobbing her head for emphasis, and took a tentative step away from the door. “Whatever happened between you and your dad is your business. But, I’m a cop, so I need to know what happened to Neil Carey.”
“Pity. I once played a criminal of the week once. I found the interrogation part of the procedural to be fascinating,” Raziel answered fondly, and tapped at her chin with her index finger. “As for Mister Carey. The last time I saw him, he was playing Go Fish with Ithuriel and Tsukuyomi.”
“Go Fish?” Chloe repeated, narrowing her eyes to a squint, and wrinkled her nose in disbelief. “And who is...?” she blew out a frustrated sigh, catching herself before she derailed her own informal investigation. “Never mind. How did Neil Carey die?”
“I have no idea,” Raziel admitted with a shrug. “All I did was spritz his earthly form with a bit of celestial Febreze and stuff my father inside.”
“So, he was already dead.”
Raziel nodded, her expression thoughtful as if trying to recall. “For a while, I suspect. We could ask Rae-Rae, but she’s far more likely to pawn us off on someone else than aid us directly.”
“Okay,” Chloe breathed, noting the bitterness in Raziel's tone at the mention of the Angel of Death. It was something she'd have to discuss with Lucifer later. “I know I’m going to regret this, but what is celestial Febreze?”
“Oh, that?” Raziel replied lightly as if it were the most normal thing in the world. “The body was a bit pungent when I found it, so I freshened it up a bit. And, I also reinforced it to keep Daddy from leaking out of it.”
“Right,” Chloe deadpanned and blew out a breath so that her hair fluttered around her face. She did a quick mental checklist of the admittedly little she knew about Neil Carey and once again came up empty.
“So why turn yourself in?”
Raziel made a little sound, a half-laugh that could’ve almost been a sob. She stepped away from the bar, her long skirt swishing as she walked to the center of the room. After a moment, she stepped out of her heels and kicked them beneath the coffee table. Their soles very red against the furry white rug. It seemed brother and sister shared the same taste in designers.
“I wanted to meet you,” she stated almost flippantly and plopped down on the sofa. “And, no offense, but I don’t understand what all the fuss is about.”
“Thanks,” Chloe mouthed more than said and crossed the room to sit beside Raziel. “And here I thought you were going to remind me that I’m your father’s last known miracle.”
“Ooh,” Raziel purred, shivering, her dark eyes boring into Chloe. “I find excessive pride to be so…hot.”
Chloe paled, a sound not quite words gurgling in her throat as she fought the urge to scramble off the sofa. “I…uh—”
Raziel’s sultry expression faded as snickers began to spill, one by one, from her lips.
“Ah, the look on your face,” she giggled, her pale cheeks turning scarlet as she tried to reign in her laughter. Humming happily low in her throat, she settled back against the sofa cushions as her laughter petered into a smattering of chuckles, and then vanished entirely.
“But on a more serious note, to hear my siblings tell it, you shoot flames from your lady bits and will one day unite the multiverse with the power of coordinated outerwear.”
A choked laugh escaped Chloe’s chest and she shook her head in disbelief. “I mean, I don’t even—”
“Cute jacket, by the way.”
Chloe sputtered, her eyes jerking reflexively to her chest. The jacket was black with mismatched cuffs embroidered with a multitude of brightly colored flowers.
“Thanks,” she murmured fondly, loving tracing one of the embroidered flowers with a fingernail. “Your brother gave it to me for Valentine’s Day.”
“Ah,” Raziel hummed in approval, but her eyes sparkled with mischief. “So, you’re in the clothe each other part of your relationship.”
“Yeah,” Chloe mouthed more than said, her entire face crinkling as she gave the angel a playful bob of her head. “It’s not back shaving, but I think we’re doing okay."
The angel gave her a look that was half surprise and all sass before surrendering once more into laughter.
“So, all you’re missing now is feed and shelter.”
Chloe shifted on the sofa, her guard dropping by inches, but not completely dropping. God smacking powers aside—and it was a huge aside, to put it mildly—Raziel seemed to be a strange mix of early Lucifer and Hollywood weirdo. Even so, there was something that nagged surprisingly not at the cop in her, but the not quite forgotten actress.
Once again she was reminded that Raziel was an actress. Her quirky, fish out of water charm was little more than an act to protect the angel beneath.
“He and I really haven't talked about moving in together,” Chloe admitted as she picked at the embroidery on her jacket. “I know Trix would be thrilled, but his tastes are a bit outside my price range.”
“And you’re not ready for Lucifer to support you financially.”
Chloe gave Raziel a small, appreciative smile.
“I mean, I’ve never been what you’d consider rich, but I haven’t been poor either,” she admitted, almost babbling, and twisted nervously at her hands. “I know it sounds silly not wanting to take my billionaire boyfriend’s money, but… yeah.”
“There is nothing silly about not wanting to lose your independence,” the angel replied thoughtfully. “But you do realize that Lucifer would be happy living in a dumpster so long as he was with you?”
Chloe blushed and looked away, chewing at her bottom lip. Raziel was right, of course, almost terrifyingly so.
“It’d have to be a big dumpster,” she joked, feeling heat rise to her cheeks, and bobbed her head as if ticking off a list. “Just to fit his pocket square collection and that’s not even considering the piano.”
“Which is non-negotiable, I imagine,” Raziel answered thoughtfully, pursing her lips as she seemed to consider. “Tie the pocket squares together to make a rope fence and put the piano on the curb.”
“It’s a Steinway!” Chloe gasped with an almost Lucifer like indignation before wincing apologetically. “You must think I’m an idiot.”
“I already said I didn’t,” Raziel consoled, her tone mild, before clucking her tongue. “But on that note, meaning you. Raphael theorizes that you and Lucifer will one day give rise to a new race of immortals.”
“No,” Chloe stated firmly, whipping her head around for emphasis. “We’ve gone over this with your Dad and no. Lucifer and I don’t want kids.”
“That is what I told Raphael, but he remains unconvinced,” Raziel said with a sigh. “So, I asked Zadkiel to do a farseeing.”
“What’s a…” Chloe began but stopped herself when she realized she was about to help Raziel launch herself into another tangent. She'd never figure this mess out at this rate. “Never mind, I don’t—”
“A farseeing is a glimpse into the current future, or rather a future what will occur if nothing from that moment on changes,” Raziel explained as if giving a lecture. “So, without giving away too many details, I’ll simply say that your future as a celestial vending machine is all but assured.”
“Celestial vending machine?” Chloe squeaked in indignation, her eyes wide with disbelief and waggled a finger at the angel. “No. No. No.”
Raziel winced, her dark eyes flicking to Chloe’s midsection. “You might be a bit late on at least one of those nos.”
Chloe jerked away in a panic and wrapped her arms around herself, hands splayed across her belly. “I can’t be—”
“You’re not,” Raziel admitted, and then, lifted her shoulders in a shrug. “Well, I suppose you could be. I have no idea. But, if you are, do try to have a ginger. It would make Gabriel happy.”
“Oh, don't even,” Chloe growled, swallowing back a wave of nausea. Filled with a sudden paranoia, she mentally counted back days and realized, to her horror, she was three days late.
“I'm so gonna shoot you.”
Raziel snorted out a laugh and shook her head. “You can try, but I am immortal, indestructible, and, if my show’s Insta is to be believed, incredibly hot in leather.”
“Right,” Chloe muttered, clutching at her belly.
“You are absolutely no fun,” Raziel clucked with an annoyed sigh, waving Chloe off. “Think about it, darling. If you really were pregnant, Lucifer would be shaking his fist at the sky right. Although…"
She stretched, limbs splaying wide, and then propped her foot on the coffee table. It was narrow, smaller than it probably should’ve been for someone of her height, with long tapered toes.
“Fair warning. These are genetic,” she teased, wiggling her toes for good measure. “So be mindful of that if you do decide to breed with my brother.”
A surprised laugh escaped Chloe and she shook her head before reaching out to pinch the angel’s pinky toe. Raziel jerked with a squeak and folded her legs beneath her.
“Yeah,” Chloe breathed, fondly, all annoyance forgotten. “You and Lucifer could probably scale cliff faces with those things.”
“I’m the second-best climber,” Raziel boasted and then tilted her head as if listening to something far away. “Third if count Michael as his own person.”
Something in Raziel’s tone made Chloe reach out for one of the throw pillows and hug it to her middle.
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“Because Michael despises anything that reminds him that he and Lucifer are not identical twins,” Raziel murmured sadly and bowed her head so that her chin rested on her chest. The act was gone, allowing what was truly troubling the angel to bubble to the surface. “He will react poorly to Father’s plan for Lucifer.”
“What plan?” Chloe asked, barely managing to keep her tone calm. After trying for the better part of an hour to wiggle information out of Raziel, she was a bit surprised that the angel was willing to simply volunteer it.
“It’s a bit complicated,” Raziel said, as a sort of melancholily fell over her being. “Complicated and well, mostly just complicated.”
Chloe swallowed hard, her pulse racing, and hugged the pillow tighter as a sudden realization washed over her. She had called Lucifer over an hour ago. Even, if he had been on the other side of the world, it would’ve only taken him seconds to reach her. Something was wrong.
“What else is new?” she muttered before she could stop herself, and then pointed a warning finger at Raziel. “That was a rhetorical question.”
“Fine,” Raziel snapped in mock offense and rolled her shoulders in a shrug. “Then I won’t tell you about the clutch of dragon eggs I’m brooding in evidence lockup.”
“You better be joking,” Chloe choked out, eyes narrowing into slits before she caught herself. She wasn’t falling for it again. “Just tell me what your father’s up to. I mean it. No tangents, no crazy. Just out with it.”
The angel flinched, wide-eyed and paling as she sank back amongst the sofa cushions.
“Domiel was right. Your mom voice is scary,” she breathed, shivering slightly. “But, fine, I was going to incubate the clutch in the wine cellars beneath Lux, but the humidity is all wrong, so—”
“Raziel,” Chloe warned in full mom voice. Inwardly, she was pleased, almost giddy. It wasn’t every day that an angel powerful enough to dethrone God, himself, could be defeated by parenting. Truthfully, it was a bit sad.
“Oh, fine,” Raziel muttered with a mock pout. “But I warn you, you’re going to feel really silly once you learn the whole story.”
She waved off Chloe’s pointed look with one hand and turned so that she sat sideways on the sofa.
“Daddy is playing a game of hot potato with his divinity.”
Chloe narrowed her eyes into a squint and shook her head, not understanding. “What do you mean?”
“He plans to discard his divinity and leave it for someone else to find. And by someone, I mean Lucifer,” Raziel supplied as if it should’ve been obvious. “Lucifer will become the God of this realm, well, the other God of this realm, and Daddy will frolic back into the ether from which he came.”
Chloe opened and closed her mouth, trying twice before finally managing to speak. “That’s insane.”
“Indeed,” Raziel murmured dryly, pulling the other throw pillow out from under her, and tossing it to the floor. “Frolicking at his age? Can you imagine?”
Rolling her eyes, Chloe tipped her head back and sighed deeply at the ceiling. “That’s not what I…”
She froze, a realization washing over her, and slowly craned her head back to stare at Raziel. “You said other God of this realm.”
“So, I did,” the angel murmured in a voice just barely above a whisper and leaned forward to look Chloe in the eye. “Which is why you’re going to feel really silly later. Worry not, I have on good authority that this other God has recently developed a fondness for you, mundane as you are. For now, I suppose I should allow my brother to find one of us.”
Raziel simply smiled, placed a finger on her lips, and vanished. There was no sudden uptick in wind, no waver of reality, not even a puff of smoke, nothing to suggest she had used her wings. She was simply gone.
Swallowing, Chloe quickly patted herself down, searching for her phone. She had just managed to locate it when the room was filled with brilliant white light followed by Lucifer himself.
“Detective?” Lucifer called out, his voice obviously strained, and jumped back startled when Chloe uttered a cry and nearly flung herself at him. “What’s happened? Are you all right?”
“I don’t know,” Chloe breathed as she wound her arms around Lucifer’s middle, her mind racing, and buried her face into his chest. “I don’t know.”
Chapter 8: Chapter Eight
Xavier Lorne, star of the modestly successful television series, The Ravenfall Chronicles, and ex-boyfriend of a rising starlet, who just so happened to be an angel of the lord, slumped in a booth an all-night diner.
“It’s a quarter ‘til the ass crack of dawn,” he murmured on the tail end of a yawn, “do you know where your children are?”
“Most of them are in The Silver City,” Neil supplied from behind his menu, “although, Ithuriel has no doubt gone to The Windowless Rooms with Tsukuyomi while Jophiel is off eroding the rings of Saturn.”
Xavier blinked and craned his neck around to make a full circle. “I’m so not jumping into that rabbit hole.”
“Well, that’s no fun,” Neil breathed in disappointment and flipped a page of his menu. “So, tell me. Are you a good actor?”
Breathing a sigh, Xavier leaned back into the booth to stare up at the ceiling. A cheap light fixture hung from a cobweb filled chain above their heads. Large cracks in the globe’s red plastic surface scattered oily shadows across the table.
“According to the critics? No.”
Neil lifted his bushy brows and peered at Xavier over his menu. “I didn’t ask the critics.”
Xavier laughed and shook his head before taking a long sip of his ice water.
“You sound like Zella,” he mused fondly. A droplet of water clung to his bottom lip which he licked away with a quick lap of his tongue. “She always says, Rick cast you for a reason, Vee.”
“Vee?” Neil repeated, wrinkling his nose as if it were the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard. “and who is this Rick?”
“Yeah, Vee. It was what my grandpa called me when I was a kid,” Xavier muttered with a defensive lift of his shoulders. “He died when I was nine, so I guess that should’ve been my first clue that Zella wasn’t who she said she was.”
Chuckling softly, Neil set down his menu to smile at the approaching waitress.
“Moonbeam has always told stories, to herself, to her siblings, to her mother, and even to me. Your world would be dead without them,” he said in a stern, but almost fatherly tone before turning his attention to their waitress.
“Ah, yes, my darling. I will have the breakfast pizza with spinach instead of kale and a banana split smoothie.”
The waitress nodded her gray head as she scribbled on her notepad, and then pivoted to Xavier.
“And you, sir?”
“I’ll have his kale,” Xavier muttered with an eye roll, “and, I don’t know, the quinoa salad, I guess.”
The waitress scooped up the menus as she hurried away with the promise to return to in a few moments.
“Why do you call her Moonbeam?” he asked after taking another long sip from his glass of water. “And who are you, really?”
A thoughtful look flowed over Neil’s features as he settled back into the booth, mirroring Xavier.
“I call her Moonbeam because she both reflects and obscures the power of the Lightbringer,” he said with a fond sigh. “As for who I am? I can honestly say that for the first time in my existence, I’m truly not sure.”
“So, you’re not a god, then?” Xavier asked tightly the moment the waitress left their table. “You’re just some supernatural weirdo.”
“Capital G, dearest and yes.”
“Uh, huh,” Xavier deadpanned in obvious disbelief and twirled his finger. “God and the Angel Larry went to town riding on a pony.”
“Plucked a feather from his wing,” Neil sang beneath his breath and flung open his hand. There floating in his palm was a feather so pure white it glowed. “and called it…”
“Macaroni…Where did…how…” Xavier breathed, the breath gushing out of him. “Ah, sanity. I hardly knew you.”
The feather tipped end over end so that the quill was pointing to the deep, ragged wrinkle cutting across Neil’s palm. An odd expression fell over Neil's features as he curled his fingers over the feather’s pristine barbs and stuffed it back into his breast pocket.
“Interesting,” he said after a long moment, “It seems Little Star’s ways are almost as mysterious as mine.”
“Right,” Xavier drew out, recovering now that the feather was out of sight. “That doesn’t sound sinister, at all.”
“Nothing of the sort, child,” Neil insisted, waving the younger man off, but then settled back into the booth with a despondent sigh.
“Did you know that after my little Moonbeam stripped me of my power and stuffed me into this body, she flew off without so much as a how-do-you-do?”
“Yeah, totally pretending you don’t have a magic angel feather in your pocket,” Xavier muttered breathlessly, still shaken by his second brush with divinity. Or third, he reminded himself, if he counted Neil, which he didn’t because that would be weird.
“She does that.”
Surprised, Neil bobbed his head and paused for a moment to drum his fingers against the table. “Yes, well. I, of course, rightly assumed she had erred, so I—” he frowned at Xavier’s raised hand. “Yes?”
“Okay, I hate myself for asking this,” Xavier began as he lowered his hand and tucked it beneath the table, “but how exactly did she stuff you into this body? Are you like a tapeworm or something?”
“A tapeworm?” Neil repeated, his bushy eyebrows knitting together in sheer incredulity. “Have you been speaking to Freckles?”
Neil tilted his head, waiting for Xavier to elaborate. When he didn’t, he simply shrugged as if dismissing it entirely.
“Well, not to give too much away as I am both mysterious and unknowable.”
“Uh, huh,” Xavier muttered with a noncommittal bob of his head. “Says the guy who spent two hours telling a bank teller all about the time Michael braided his and Lucifer’s hair together.”
“Yes, well, Doodles has always been a bit clingy,” he muttered, worrying at his bottom lip with his teeth. “But back to Moonbeam. Did you know she allowed me to languish a full two and a half hours before she sent me a vision to explain the whole mess?”
Xavier made a noncommittal noise low in his throat and nodded in mock sympathy. “Poor you.”
“Indeed,” Neil agreed, sucking briefly at his bottom lip. “What’s worse is that the vision she sent was completely vague and nonsensical.”
He paused and smiled warmly when the waitress returned with their order.
“Thank you, my darling,” he chirped, inclining his head, and then began unrolling his silverware. “But as I was saying there is an art to these things. For instance, a few years ago I sent Lucifer a vision of an open door in hell. Which clearly meant his mother was in town and he should take her someplace nice for dinner.”
Xavier leaned forward, eyes darting around as he waited for the waitress to move out of earshot. “The devil has a mother. Like a mom-mom who gave birth to him?”
“Oh, yes,” Neil chirped as he nibbled at his pizza. “He slid out of her celestial clacker at the dawn of time. Well, a bit after, truth be told, but near enough.”
Giving Neil wide-eyed sideways look, Xavier unrolled his silverware and let the napkin drop into his lap.
“Right,” he deadpanned and paused for a moment to pick at his salad. “Are all angels British or just you three?”
“Welsh,” Neil corrected as he busied himself picking the bell peppers off his breakfast pizza. “Moonbeam or Zella, as you seem to prefer, is mimicking a Welsh accent. Little Star does what little stars do.”
“Twinkle twinkle in the sky?” Xavier supplied unhelpfully and stabbed at his salad with a fork. “And from the quick search I did while you were purchasing that herd of goats—”
“They’re a gift for Lucifer.”
“Right,” Xavier signed as he gave up on breakfast and pushed his plate forward. “You obviously didn’t read the anti-goat manifesto he posted on his Insta.”
Frowning, Neil took a bite of his pizza and chewed for a long, thoughtful moment before swallowing. “Raziel sent me a vision of Lucifer holding a cheese grater.”
“Uh huh,” Xavier murmured as he took another sip of his water. “So, obviously, she’s trying to tell you he needs livestock and not, say, a trip to Whole Foods?”
Neil snorted, as if the notion was ridiculous, and gestured with his fork. “You weren’t at his penthouse. He has every cheese in creation, even a few made by the fey.”
“Fairies make cheese?”
“Of course, they do, dearest,” Neil muttered with sigh and wave of his hand. “Why else would they kidnap children?”
"I, well, I, uh," Xavier stammered before finally throwing up his hands in mock surrender. “You got me there.”
“Yes, well, as I was saying,” Neil grumbled and picked a bit at his pizza, shaking his head. “He didn’t have a single goat related product in his home. No cheese, not even milk, and with his wife suffering from an obvious mutton deficiency.”
“That’s so not a thing,” Xavier sighed, fighting the urge to roll his eyes. “Look. How does any of this help me get Zella back?”
Neil picked up his long-forgotten cup of coffee and took a sip. “Are you sure that’s what you want? She’s still very much the angel you rejected. Well, mostly.”
“What do you mean mostly?” Xavier asked, alarm evident in his tone, and leaned forward in his booth. “What did you do?”
“Me?” Neil fumed, obviously offended, and tossed down his napkin. “I’ll have you know that—” suddenly, he clamped his mouth shut and looked away to stare thoughtfully out the diner window.
“Oh, right. It was me.”
Sighing deeply, he took another sip of his coffee before settling back in his booth. A sort of melancholy fell over him as he stared into the depths of his cup.
“Thousands of years ago, my wife and I had a bit of a falling out,” he said, his voice little more than a sigh. “We argued, we fought, we had two more children, Jingles and Jangles, and then she destroyed my citadel, so I sent her to hell. I had hoped that once she cooled down, we could talk things out like a couple of reasonable celestials. Alas, no. Much like our son, she decided that she just lived there now.”
“Wait, wait,” Xavier stammered, making a ‘T’ with his hands. “Are you saying you never intended for, uh, Larry to go to hell?”
“He looks nothing like a Larry,” Neil reminded, rolling his eyes as he sighed and shook his head. “No, I intended for him to go to hell. Remaining, however, has always been negotiable.”
“Yeah,” Xavier breathed, his eyes wide and unblinking. “What does this have to do with Zella?”
“Oh, that?” Neil hummed as if it were an afterthought. “I couldn’t send my Beautiful Lovely to hell so long as she possessed her Key of Creation. So, I had my little Moonbeam hide it from her.”
“You used her against her own mother,” Xavier bit out, breathing harshly through his nose. “That’s so not cool.”
“Yes, well, thousands of years later, she did the same to me,” Neil muttered offhandedly, “so petard hoisted, as it were.”
“So, what happens when you get your key back?” Xavier asked, his jaw clenched as he tried not to grind his teeth. “Are you going to send Zella to hell?”
“No, I couldn’t if I wanted to,” Neil said simply, licking his lips before giving them a smack. “I was hoping that close proximity to Lucifer would erode this vessel as it did his mother’s and I could escape that way. It seems, however, that Raziel took that into consideration and closed that avenue for me.”
“You sound proud.”
Neil chuckled, his eyes shining with obvious fondness. “Oh, I am.”
Across town, Lucifer sat in the semi-dark and watched his sister’s image on the television screen. The show was dreadful, formulaic pap at best, but had a strange unexplained charm. Her character was Juliette, a pureblood vampire, and nightclub owner. Even as a concept it was utterly ridiculous. It was common knowledge, after all, that vampires are far too shy to properly run nightclubs.
Silence fell over the apartment, a sudden emptiness that spread out around him. Sighing, he reached for the remote and paused the show.
“I know you’re here.”
“Yep,” Raziel chirped, ending the word with a pop, and stepped into the living room from the hall. She took a step toward the sofa but then paused to sniff the air. “Something smells good.”
Lucifer tossed the remote onto the coffee table and rose to his feet. “I’m cooking lunches for the week for the detective and her offspring.”
He paused, mentally rolling his eyes at the knowing smile spreading across Raziel’s pale features. “Sister—”
“I forgot my shoes,” Raziel said, pointing with her bare foot to the heels still beneath the coffee table. She frowned, tilting her head, and blinked at the television. “Are you watching my show?”
“Research,” Lucifer insisted and bent to retrieve the heels from beneath the table. He took a step forward and held them out to her. “You upset Chloe.”
Raziel’s face crumbled as she squeezed her eyes shut and sucked in her lips. “This is why I left. Earlier today, I mean.”
Lucifer frowned, but then darted into the kitchen when one of the several timers he set went off. The chickpeas for the detective’s salad were ready. Now all he had to do is dice the celery and avocados, while the rice for the offspring’s taco bowl cooked.
He felt Raziel’s presence behind him, a shadow within his shadows, much as when they were children. Glowering, he gripped the counter’s edge before turning on his heel. He fully expected to find Raziel long gone and was surprised to see her leaning heavily in the doorway.
Her face was a pale impassive mask, but there were tears glittering in the corners of her dark eyes. She sucked in a damp, trembling breath, shaking her head, before launching herself across the kitchen and into his arms.
“Raziel?” he murmured, concerned as he slid his hands up her spine unsure. “What's... what did he do?”
Raziel laughed, a hopeless, wet sound, and pulled away. “You never stay angry with anyone,” she whispered, shaking her head, the rest of her words coming out in a rush. “Not if you believe they’re even a little bit remorseful. It’s why you constantly take back those who betray you, only to be betrayed anew, and it’s why you’ve suffered so dearly over the centuries.”
A second timer went off, but this time Lucifer ignored it to glare at his sister. “You don’t think I’m angry?”
Raziel sniffed loudly and pawed at her eyes before reaching over to turn off the timer. “Your quiche is burning.”
Lucifer uttered a curse and grabbed a hot pad on his way to the oven.
“Raziel,” he breathed the moment his quiche was safe on top of the stove. “You’re right. I’m not angry. I’m bloody well furious.”
“I went to hell,” Raziel said softly with a small brittle smile. “I rescued my Oliver and set his soul free to the cosmos. And then, I locked myself in a cell.”
Lucifer froze, horror dawning on his face. “How did you escape?”
“I didn’t have to,” she muttered with one final sniff. “I don’t know how long I sat in that cell. I wrote two books, embroidered a new gown, told myself countless stories, and yet, nothing happened. Then, one day, a demon walked in and urinated on the wall.”
Lucifer blew out a groaning sigh, rolling his eyes as he pinched the bridge of his nose. “Was he about five feet tall, scaly with one eye?”
“Yes,” Raziel answered, her nostrils flaring slightly, “but that’s not really the point—”
“Aelimari,” Lucifer grumbled, covering his face with one hand as he shook his head. “If I’ve told him once, I’ve told him a thousand times.”
He flung out his hand in an impatient gesture. “Go on.”
“Right,” Raziel said with a quick bob of her head. “He informed me that the cells do not punish the innocent and I should get the hell out of there. No pun intended.”
Lucifer nodded slowly. “You always have been a bit boring.”
“Well, we can’t all jump naked off the Tower of Babel,” Raziel murmured dryly, but then shrugged. “Well, we could but it would be weird with our dangly bits flopping everywhere.”
She walked across the kitchen to the sink and reached for the cutting board. “How much celery do you need?”
“Two cups,” Lucifer answered and reached for his sister, but stopped short of touching her arm. “Raziel.”
“I’ll tell you everything soon. As much as I know, anyway,” she said firmly and selected a knife from the block. “But for now, I need to think. And I can do that better if you're near. Please?”
Lucifer held his breath for a moment, trying to reign back the countless questions bubbling in his mind. “Very well.”
Instead, he saddled up next to his sister and pushed not just the celery, but the avocados, onions, and cilantro toward the cutting board as well. Perhaps he truly was too forgiving.
Chapter 9: Chapter Nine
Patrick had seen a lot in the eleven years he worked at LUX. Angels, demons, and witches frequented often enough to be considered regular patrons. There had even been a vampire once, and a trio of gossamer-winged fey that performed an impromptu concert with Lucifer one sleepy autumn afternoon. Necessity had long ago dictated he assume any that passed through LUX’s gilded doors were something other than human.
Not that he particularly minded. Celestials and other supernatural beings were just people. It was a slogan that really ought to be on a t-shirt. They could even sell them in the lobby. He'd talk it over with Lucifer. That is, assuming he still had a job at the end of the day. Mentally, he sighed at the security monitors from the relative safety of the back office and tried not to cringe at the events currently unfolding.
The years had taught him how to handle drunk angels falling off barstools and demons sucking the pimentos out of the cocktail olives. Although, in all honesty, the last one was mostly Maze. While often a bit rowdy, Demons as a whole were usually respectful of the club’s condiments. Nothing, however, could have prepared him for what was currently within the main floor of the club. Rolling his shoulders, He looked up at the ceiling before making a tentative glance toward the monitor. It was probably too much to that what he had seen had been a mirage or some sort of supernaturally induced psychosis.
“Goats,” Patrick muttered in disbelief, giving the monitor his best side-eye. “There is a herd of goats in LUX.”
He flinched, startled when one of the dancers, still in her street clothes, appeared at his elbow.
“I’m calling Lucifer—”
“No!” Patrick snapped, swatting away the dancer’s phone before she could dial. “Stephanie. I’m the floor manager. I’ll handle it.”
“Fine,” Stephanie grumbled, making a face as she rolled her eyes, “but just so you know. I need to warm up if I’m going to dance tonight.”
“And you couldn’t possibly warm up in the studio upstairs?” Patrick groused, wincing as one of the goats began to tromp up the stairs toward the penthouse elevator. “I mean, it’s not like the boss plopped down several million dollars for exactly that purpose.”
“The band is up there,” Stephanie said pointedly with an exasperated eye roll at Patrick’s confused look. “It’s Sunday?”
“Oh, right, Chloe Day,” Patrick breathed, lifting and then allowed his shoulders to fall. “Even more reason not to bother him.”
“Yeah, because it’s only his home,” the dancer muttered and huffed a dramatic breath. “At least call Sofia.”
Patrick plastered his hand against his face and pinched the bridge of his nose. Sofia was one of the original dancers at LUX and now its general manager. She was also an extreme workaholic. That she trusted him enough to take a rare day off was huge. Goats be damned—pun intended—there was no way he was going to jeopardize it by running to her at the first sign of trouble.
“She’s an immortal,” he explained and reached for his phone. “Not a goat herder.”
Maybe he could call animal control? Excuse me, yes. I have over a dozen goats hanging out at the bar. Could you maybe come get them before they eat the boss’ piano? Brilliant.
That would work because of course, it would. Oh, who was he kidding?
“She’s like two thousand years old,” Stephanie whined, tossing her red hair from her shoulders. “She probably rode one of those things to school!”
“I know you’ve only been in college about fifteen minutes,” Patrick groaned as he flipped through his phone. “But The Renaissance was—”
He spun in his chair at the sound of the door opening behind him. Goats couldn’t use doors. Could they?
“Hello, my lovelies!” Neil chirped, brushing the front of his suit coat before plopping down in the empty chair beside Patrick.
“Great,” Patrick deadpanned as he rose from his chair. “You can’t be back here, sir.”
“Of course, I can,” Neil scoffed with a wave of his hand. “Don’t be ridiculous.”
“I mean…” Patrick smiled tightly and looked up at the sky, counting, before giving Neil a stern look. Prudence was yet another thing he had learned during his tenure at the club. Not only was it best to assume everyone who walked through the door wasn’t human. It was also best to assume they could rend the average person limb from limb.
“Can I help you?”
“Possibly,” Neil purred with a half-smile. “I’m looking for the owner of this fine establishment.”
Patrick chuckled nervously and gripped the back of his neck with one hand. “Ah, Mister Morningstar won’t be in until tomorrow, but I’d be more than happy—”
“Is he aware that there are no less than fourteen goats in the middle of his club?” Neil asked blithely, tutting beneath his breath. “Fifteen if you count the one riding the elevator up to his penthouse. No doubt the health department---”
Patrick uttered a curse and bound from his chair, speeding from the office into the club proper. Shrugging, Neil tilted his head and turned to smile at the dancer still in the room.
“Ah, my darling!” he chirped only for his smile to be replaced with curiosity. “Interesting. Tell me. Do you know someone named Lilith?”
Stephanie froze, her eyes darting sideways, as she smiled and pretended as though she were not attempting to flee. “Uh, my grandma?”
Neil settled back into his chair and steepled his hands over his belly.
Stephanie reached out and pushed the door open just enough that the light from the office spilled out into the darkened hallway. “What is?”
“You have her eyes,” Neil explained, scrutinizing every inch of the dancer’s face, “but near as I can tell you’re human.”
“You don’t know I’m human,” Stephanie said full of false bravado and gave Neil her best death glare. “I could be a demon.”
“Not with that soul peering out at me,” Neil replied mildly, but then grew thoughtful. “Although, I suppose it’s possible that you’re possessed.”
The dancer took a step back, hitting the back wall of the small office. Her lips curled back into a sneer. “Lucifer said it doesn’t work that way.”
“He would, wouldn’t he? Little Star is always ruining my fun,” Neil muttered with a sigh. “But, yes, he’s correct. Demons lack souls so they have no essence, as it were, to go wandering about. Humans, on the other hand, do.”
“So?” Stephanie murmured, peaking out the crack in the doorway. The hall was dark, and Patrick was nowhere to be seen.
“So…” Neil breathed, working at the logistics of this current tangent in his mind. “If a human soul were to be dislodged from its earthly form in some manner, it could conceivably settle into a demon’s body.”
Stephanie blinked, long and hard, and rocked her head from side to side. “Wait? You’re saying humans possess demons and not the other way around?”
“Yes! Nasty buggers, you are. Although, you all do seem willing to tell me just about anything, which is nice,” Neil perked up, smiling as if he were suddenly given a brand-new toy, and waved his hand. “It’s all theory, of course. The closest it’s ever come to happening is the time Peaches accidentally dropped a whole crop of souls bound for The Silver City.”
He turned sideways to glance at the monitor and tipped his head sideways, frowning. One of the goats had managed to climb on top of the piano, while a second gnawed at the chrome edges of a barstool. Tentatively, he reached to pet one of the goats with his index finger.
“Most of the departed souls returned to their original bodies, leading to the very first zombie apocalypse.”
His expression grew dour until only a ghost of his smile remained. He rubbed the monitor, scratching the goat between the horns, and glanced at Stephanie out of the corner of his eye.
“The rest…The rest settled into the newly stillborn.”
Stephanie made a face and lifted her shoulders to her ears in a grumbling shrug. She was interested, even if she refused to admit it. The old man’s tone was a near perfect echo of the guileless enthusiasm Lucifer had whenever he told her something both ridiculously and utterly true.
“So, what happened to them?”
“Oh, that?” Neil murmured his words ending in a dark chuckle. “They were no different from a normal infant, so in most cases, their parents were none the wiser. Some, however, had smatterings of memories. Old pains that would’ve been forgotten the moment they passed through the gates of The Silver City.”
“That sounds more like reincarnation than possession,” Stephanie murmured, half to herself. “So, what happened? Did they grow up?”
“You could say that reincarnation and possession are two things within the same wheelhouse,” Neil explained, his dark eyes glowing with amusement. “And you’d be wrong.”
Behind him the monitor flickered, focusing on the hallway that ran behind the bar. There Patrick seemed to be in deep negotiations with a pair of black spotted goats.
“Lucifer is afraid of goats,” Neil stated with a warm smile. “He’ll face demons, demigods, and even preschoolers without so much as blinking. But pit him against a goat, and well…”
“Yeah,” Stephanie drew out, slightly wrinkling her nose. “I mean. He’s the devil and… well, there was this one time. Trixie, uh, that’s his girlfriend’s kid—”
“Wife,” Neil corrected sternly before gesturing for the dancer to continue. “She’s his wife in the eyes of God.”
Stephanie pursed her lips and gave a jerky shake of her head. “Just not in the eyes of the state of California. Besides, what does married in the eyes of God even mean?
Neil opened his mouth to speak, but then closed it, strangely baffled. What did she mean, what did it mean? He narrowed his eyes, scrutinizing her. Her soul peered back at him, reaching for him as all mortals did. She was human, and yet, reminded him of someone who wasn't quite.
“Really, I’m serious,” the dancer replied earnestly, obviously riled. “Does it mean you can be unmarried in the eyes of God? Like, say He wakes up on the wrong side of cloud or one of the angels is playing the harp too loud and boom you’re not married anymore?”
“Lucifer is the only harpist in the family, sadly. He’ll never admit it, of course. Thinks it’s too cliché or some nonsense. Which is nigh unforgivable given how talented he is.”
“Right,” Stephanie deadpanned, eyes widening slightly, but then a small smile crept across her features. “Most people don’t know this, but Lucifer is also the angel of music."
Neil smiled, nodding. "Yes, there was no music until he created mathematics and universe sang."
"Uh, sure, he also helped invent mayonnaise," Stephanie muttered, her nostrils flaring slightly, and then shrugged. "Anyway, back when I was still a kid, my mom decided I was going to learn to play the cello.”
Her eyes grew distant and her smile lessened but didn’t completely fade.
“My lessons were right after dance class, so I had to drag the thing around all day. I hated it. Then one day there was an accident and, and…”
“I remember,” Neil explained kindly. His eyes lingered on the monitor for a long moment before flicking back to her. “That was when you first met Lucifer.”
“Yeah,” Stephanie said with a jerky bob of her head. “People like to think that God is watching out for us, but it’s the devil who keeps saving us.”
Everything happens for a reason, Lillie-bug,” Neil stated, almost as an aside, but his expression was almost painfully serious. “A reason and a plan plotted so long ago that not even its original author can alter it in its entirety. He tries, of course. A miracle birth here, a bullet moved there, a door left unlocked so that a young girl can escape the man who killed her family.”
Stephanie paled as she sucked in a shaking wet pant. Then, something washed over her features, resolve or something like it, and she shot Neil an icy glare.
“Nice try,” she scoffed, lifting and dropping her shoulders in clear agitation. “Might have even worked on someone who didn’t know that half the people who come through here aren’t human.”
Neil chuckled fondly before pressing off the floor with his feet so that he and the chair sailed across the office.
“That’s Lucifer defiance I hear in you. And also, a smidge of his paranoia. Although, I suppose it’s not paranoia if nearly everyone is out to get you.”
Still glaring, Stephanie crossed her arms over her chest and pressed her lips together into a firm line.
“I wanted you in Lucifer’s path,” Neil began kindly as if speaking to a small child, “or he in yours. However you wish to look at it, the results are much the same.”
The dancer sucked in a hiss of air, her jaw working as she spat words too quickly for her tongue to form. After a moment, she calmed, her eyes fluttering shut as she exhaled.
“I’m only human,” she warned, her arms falling to her sides, “and I'm not sure why I told you all that stuff. Just... But, if you're here to hurt Lucifer, in any way, I will end you.”
Neil gasped and clasped his hands together in obvious delight. He opened his mouth to speak, but before he could say a word there was a quick rap at the door.
Xavier poked his head into the office. His expression was harried and a touch annoyed. Bits of what looked to be straw stuck out in all angles from his dark hair and he had something wet smeared across one cheek.
“Okay, you’re going to have to explain the whole Let’s fill a high-end nightclub with goats plan one more time.”
Raziel glanced over Chloe’s head at Lucifer as the three of them rode the elevator to her Santa Monica apartment.
“You’re taking Daddy’s newest plot extremely well.”
Lucifer grimaced and paused for a moment to fuss with his cufflinks. “You know Dad. He loves jerking everyone’s chain.”
“You think he’s up to something else?” Chloe asked when the elevator doors opened and looked around as the three of them stepped into the apartment.
There was a large screen tv over a mock fireplace and seemed largely out of place in a room dominated with bookshelves.
“You two are definitely related,” Chloe murmured beneath her breath, running her fingertips down the spine of an ancient book.
She was instantly reminded of Lucifer’s own library. He had two, one the penthouse filled with his most treasured volumes, and a second at his estate in Argentina.
“I say, sister,” Lucifer teased as he snatched one of the brightly colored pillows from the leather sofa and pressed it to his chest.
“Add Creation’s most uncomfortable chair and this could be your throne room in The Silver City.”
Chuckling, Raziel kicked off her heels and padded into the bedroom to change.
“Gabriel borrowed the throne, so I have a bean bag chair now.”
Lucifer tossed the pillow back on the sofa and reached down to retrieve what looked to be a script from the coffee table.
“You realize you’ll never see it again,” Lucifer insisted as he flipped through the first few pages. It was the same script he had found in her trailer at the studio.
“I know, he’s terrible at repaying debts,” Raziel hummed as she rifled through her closet. “But he’s even worse at collecting them.”
“What do you mean?” Chloe asked as she peeked around the corner into what looked to be a small office. More bookshelves lined the walls behind an antique desk where a computer sat at the ready.
Frowning, she glanced back into the living room as a realization struck her. “Why are all your windows covered?”
“Ah, I play a vampire on TV,” Raziel reminded, calling out from the bedroom. “I don’t have anything in my contract about avoiding excessive sun exposure, but it makes it easier on the makeup crew.”
“And now you’re playing Amelia Forester on Legends of the Rose,” Lucifer stated, only half paying attention as he continued to read the script.
Raziel sighed, shaking her head as she pulled a crimson silk blouse from the closet. “There goes my NDA.”
She walked across the room to stick her head out the bedroom door. “Just don’t go rambling about it on social media like some kind of numpty.”
“I would never,” Lucifer gasped, indignant, and clutched the script to his chest. His brows knit together, his lips twitching, as he glanced at Chloe, clearly at a loss.
Chloe groaned, rolling her eyes, but then gaped at a sudden realization, narrowly resisting the urge to swoon. Legends of the Rose was her all-time favorite show. One of her proudest moments was when she finally managed to get Lucifer likewise hooked.
“Wait,” she gasped in the loud, high pitched tone she always used when she was excited. “That means you’ve met Gary Preston!”
“Gary Preston?” Lucifer repeated in clear indignation. “He’s so, so…”
“Hot,” Chloe and Raziel chirped in unison.
“Overrated,” Lucifer corrected before laying the script back down on the table. “Sure, he has those dark curls and velvety black eyes but—” he spun and glared at the wall he knew Raziel was behind. “Oh, stop smiling.”
Snickering, Raziel wiped the grin from her face and began tossing a few things in an overnight bag. Lucifer wanted her to stay with him for a bit, at least until things were sorted with their father.
“I’m not,” she assured and gave herself a final once over in the mirror before shouldering the bag. “Oh, before I forget. I got studio passes for the three of you. They should be on the coffee table.”
Lucifer glanced down at a large envelope sitting on the edge of the table. He leaned down to retrieve it, but before he could, he was shoved onto the sofa by an overeager Chloe.
“These are VIP passes,” she squeaked before handing Lucifer a card with his name printed on it. “You even got one for Trix.”
“You’ll still have to go to security to get your photos taken,” Raziel explained as she padded out of the bedroom in her socks. “But after that, you should be able to drop by anytime you wish.”
“Thank you,” Chloe breathed, obviously touched, and slipped the passes into her jacket pocket. “That was nice of you.”
Raziel shrugged before sitting down beside Lucifer on the sofa to put on her boots. “I wrap here in August, and then, I’ll be back in Vancouver for the fourth season of Ravenfall.”
“You don’t sound happy about that,” Chloe noted as she sat down on the chair across from the sofa.
“I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy,” Raziel insisted as she tied her laces into a neat bow. “While it is true that I’ve grown a bit bored with the show, I am fond of my co-workers. Mostly.”
“Right, Captain Cardboard,” Lucifer muttered, making a face as if he had a bad taste in his mouth. “Whatever did you see in him?”
“Abs, Lucifer. Amazing abs,” Raziel quipped, grinning before tucking her head down, embarrassed. “He’s really not that bad an actor.”
“Oh, I remember episode twelve of season three,” Lucifer teased, grinning widely as Raziel began to fidget. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems as that entire episode was merely a flimsy excuse to have your Xavier run around without a shirt.”
“Well, I suppose. I mean, there is no good reason for a vampire to go to the beach and, well—”
Raziel flushed, her pale cheeks pinking, as she lifted her shoulders to her ears.
“I loved that episode,” Lucifer declared suddenly, his eyes dancing with undisguised mischief.
Raziel blinked, her nose wrinkling slightly in disbelief. “You did?”
“Oh, the heat, the abs, innuendo, the unapologetic sexual tension, the abs,” Lucifer gushed, spreading his arms wide in an all-encompassing gesture. “And let’s not forget your amazing fight scene at the end.”
“Credit goes to my stunt double Verónica,” Raziel said with a laugh and shook her dark curls from her shoulders. “I was safely tucked behind a wall of bulletproof glass for most of the scene.”
She stood and took one last look around her apartment. “Well, I think I’m about ready.”
Lucifer nodded, rising from the sofa. He took no more than a half toward the elevator when his phone began to ring.
“Who is it?” Chloe asked after he fished his phone out of his pocket and then frowned when her own began to ring. “Okay, this is probably not good.”
“If it’s Ms. Lopez, tell her the clutch will be gone just as soon as I get my guestroom sorted,” Raziel explained, shrugging as she returned to her place on the sofa.
“Although, I did hide it from the eyes of mortals, so she shouldn’t see it at all.”
The angel tilted her head sideways, considering. “Well, unless she’s more than human or high. In fact, after meeting her, I’d say high is far more likely.”
Chloe narrowed her eyes to a squint, slowly shaking her head, and mustered her best Mom voice. “There better not be—”
“They’re not due to hatch for a few weeks, but sometimes they pip early,” Raziel continued as if Chloe had not said a word. “If that happens, remind her not to poke them. Jophiel lost a perfectly good stick that way.”
“I’ll let her know,” Chloe deadpanned with a healthy eye roll as she answered the phone. “Decker.”
Raziel shrugged and tilted her head sideways, frowning when her brother turned several shades of purple.
“What do you mean there is a herd of goats in LUX?” Lucifer gasped in a tone that suggested he was trying very hard not to yell.
“They ate my mermaid painting—”
“Goats? Mermaid painting?” Raziel repeated, wrinkling her nose, and then sighed. “Did Verchiel decorate your establishment?”
“What? No!” Lucifer snapped, indignant as pressed the phone to his chest. “And what do you mean there is a clutch of dragons in evidence lockup?”
Raziel sighed and retrieved a slender laptop from beneath the coffee table. “As I explained to your wife—”
“I’m not his wife,” Chloe snapped before rising from the sofa and walking toward the adjoining office. “Sorry, Lieutenant.”
Raziel frowned at Chloe’s back before shoving the laptop into her bag. “As you know, dragon eggs can only hatch on the mortal plane," she explained, turning her attention back to Lucifer. "And the humidity in your wine cellar is all wrong.”
“Well, that makes sense,” Lucifer sardonically, hanging up the phone. “Well, if there were in my wine cellar they could eat the goats our father, who art in Hollywood, just turned loose in my club.
“That’s so cruel,” Raziel gasped, her expression utterly horrified. “Everyone knows you’re terrified of goats!”
“They don't scare me,” Lucifer protested, fooling no one, and paused for a moment to fuss with his cufflinks. “I just don’t like them.”
His sister reached out to give him an affectionate pat on the arm.
“Goats are just sheep that have made poor life choices.”
Lucifer jerked away, flustered and temporarily at a loss. He recovered just in time for Chloe to step back into the room and shake her head at both siblings.
“That was Lieutenant Davidson,” Chloe mumbled, seeming a bit baffled, and then set her jaw into a firm line. “Neil Carey’s attorney just reported a number of suspicious transactions from his client’s financial accounts.”
“Like a herd of goats,” Raziel supplied helpfully and rose from the sofa. “Oh, silly, Daddy. As if it would be that simple.”
Lucifer frowned and snagged his sister’s elbow, forcing her to look at him. “What are talking about?”
“You realize that he fully expects you rush in there and rescue your club from the horde of ravenous mermaid eating goats.”
Lucifer gave her a look a pure incredibility and dramatically flailed out his hands. “Of course, I am. Have we even met before?”
He winced, taken aback when Raziel suddenly smacked him on the back of the head.
“Then he drops his Key at your feet. And you, of course, pick it up because it’s shiny and you’re an obsessive-compulsive neat freak. And then, ta-da. Have fun being God now.”
She raised her hand to smack him again, but before she could, Lucifer caught her hand at the wrist.
“Don’t even,” Lucifer warned and tucked her hand under his armpit. “I would never—”
“All right, you two, knock it off,” Chloe snapped and forced herself between the siblings. She sucked in a breath and gave both angels her best mom glare.
“You,” she chided, like a parent to a child, and pointed a stern finger at Raziel. “Stop hitting your brother.”
“But, I,” Raziel began, sulkily, only to look away with a full pout. “Fine.”
Chloe nodded slowly, all business, and then, knowing Lucifer was smirking behind her, pivoted on her heel to face him.
The smirk faded by inches from Lucifer face until he looked away, nearly squirming. “Detective.”
“You’re not rushing ass first into danger.”
Raziel made a little affirmative sound in the back of her throat and nodded in approval. “She does know you.”
“But, I,” Lucifer stammered, and then looked away, mirroring his sister’s pout. “Fine.”
Chloe smiled tightly and looked up at the ceiling, breathing a quick thank you to the person no longer there.
“How did your father find his Key?”
The whites of Raziel’s eyes vanished as she tipped her head sideways as if listening to something unheard.
“He hasn’t,” she said simply, blinking her eyes back to normal. “He merely realizes how he can find it.”
“What do you mean?”
Raziel smiled, wide and painful, and kissed one finger before pressing it to Lucifer’s lips. Once more the whites of her eyes vanished as light began to pour from Lucifer’s chest, right above his heart, and wind around her willowy form.
“This is my Lightbringer power,” Lucifer murmured, his voice a strange mix of wonder and terror. “How are you—"
He gasped, not quite able to believe his eyes. In the center of Raziel’s chest, right above her heart, was an orb of pure golden light.
“You have his Key.”
Raziel shook her head, a tragic look in her solid black eyes, and sucked in a lingering breath.
“No,” she said softly, her eyes returning to normal as the light spilling from Lucifer began to recede. “I have Mother’s Key.”
“Wait,” Chloe cried suddenly, eyes wide with disbelief, “If you have your mother’s key, that means you’re…”
“Indeed, it does. Though it does not please me,” Raziel said with a sad smile, and then looked back at Lucifer. “He can use your Lightbringer powers to reveal where I’ve hidden the other. His. Just as I used them to reveal Mother’s.”
“Yours,” Lucifer corrected solemnly, something within him sinking. “It’s your Key now.”
Raziel looked away, staring at something in the distance. “Ta-da.”
Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
Xavier leaned his hip against the bar and sighed as he surveyed the empty club. Empty, that is, aside from a goat, the world’s most defensive pole dancer, and a man who might just actually be God. He looked up just as a cocktail appeared at his elbow. Oh, right. There was also Patrick, the bartender turned floor manager and the most normal person he’d encountered in the last twenty-four hours.
“Sorry about this,” he offered, flushing a bit, and took a sip of the offered drink.
It had notes of marshmallows and coconut with a smooth floral finish. There was also something else, something that seemed to brighten his senses rather than diminish them.
“Like it?” Patrick asked with a grin as Xavier took a second, larger sip of the drink. “It’s something I threw together for one of Lucifer’s sisters a few years back. The rest of his siblings seemed to enjoy it too, so I kept it on the menu.”
“I’m human,” Xavier assured, sucking the last of the liqueur from his lips, and glanced over his shoulder to the corner of the club Neil had claimed. “My friend…”
He turned back to Patrick just as the manager had placed a fresh drink before him.
“He’s just a weirdo the devil asked me to watch before he flew off to wherever he flies off to.”
“Berkley usually,” Patrick stated with a shrug and busied himself restocking the bar. Goats or not, he had high hopes they’d be able to open tonight. “He takes a class there Wednesday night.”
“The devil,” Xavier began slowly with an incredulous bob of his head. “takes a night class?”
He had a sudden mental image of Lucifer Morningstar shouldering a designer backpack and cramming for finals. What could a university teach the devil that he didn’t know already?
Patrick shrugged again and bent to retrieve a tub of fruit from beneath the bar. Even after becoming floor manager, he found that he still enjoyed doing prep work.
“Apparently, the new lieutenant down at the precinct is big on continuing education.”
Xavier mulled it over for a moment. It made sense in the same manner that Zella could be too perfect in every way imaginable, and yet so endearingly flawed.
“Just out of curiosity,” he mused, almost idly, but then froze in mid-sip when Patrick pulled a long, sharp knife out from beneath the bar.
“Why are am I telling you all this?” Patrick offered with yet another shrug. He brought the knife down on a lime, bisecting it in a single motion.
“Yeah, kind of,” Xavier admitted, the tips of his ears reddening as he ducked his head down. “I thought that kid was going to kick my ass before you sent her upstairs. Thanks for that, by the way.”
“Stef’s overprotective when it comes to Lucifer. As for me?”
Patrick shrugged before spearing a strawberry with his knife. He cut it into perfect slices, and then shoved it to the end of the cutting board before spearing another. The knife flashed, slicing and chopping with perfect deadly accuracy.
“This isn’t even the craziest thing I’ve seen this month.”
Xavier leaned back and took a quick look around the club. While most of the goats had been quarantined in the basement, bits of straw still littered the floor and at least half the furniture was a splintered mess.
Brows lifting to his hairline, he turned back to Patrick. “Really?”
Patrick shrugged again as he swiped at a stubborn slice of strawberry stuck to the edge of his knife. There was a line of long, thin scars on his forearm as if he had been mauled by a gigantic housecat.
“Uh huh,” Xavier breathed with a bob of his head and took another look around the room. “So, it’s like Juliette’s club from the show. Half the staff isn’t human, and it has the world’s scariest teenager as a bouncer.”
“Not quite half,” Patrick corrected, almost offhandedly, as he murdered yet another strawberry. “Just a few demons, a living pillar of fire, and whatever Sofia is. Oh, and the Devil. Plus, Stephanie is a dancer.”
“O-kay,” Xavier mouthed more than said, and then sucked in a breath between his teeth. “I hate myself for asking this, but a pillar of fire?”
“She’s an ember from Hephaestus’ forge, or so she claims,” Patrick explained as he deposited the strawberries into a container filled with strong smelling alcohol. “All I know is that she followed Lucifer home from some outer plan jaunt a few years back and has been here ever since.”
“Uh huh,” Xavier murmured with a sardonic bob of his head. “So, is she a dancer or does she help tend the bar? Maybe work the grill out back?”
Patrick gave him a stern look before wiping his hands off on his apron. “She does whatever Mister Morningstar requires.”
“Right. None of my business,” Xavier muttered tightly, sighing as he shoved away from the bar. “Catch you later.”
He sighed, something he had been doing often as of late, and wandered over to the baby Steinway located in the middle of the club. Other than long scratch marks on the bench and few hoof prints on its polished lid, the piano seemed to have survived the worst of the goat invasion. Picking a piece of straw stuck between two keys, he pecked out a few notes and tried to remind himself why he was still here. Lucifer, the devil himself, had told him to watch over Neil until he, presumably returned. There was also Zella. Raziel he mentally corrected. Briefly, he wondered if Oliver had known the truth, but forced the idea from his mind. It was pointless, much like his lingering jealousy over a dead man.
He felt eyes on him and looked up to see Neil watching him from his darkened corner of the club. The older man was sprawled out on one of the leather loungers, his feet propped up on a milk crate he had sound somewhere with a black spotted goat tucked beneath his right arm.
“Ah, my darling!” Neil cried as Xavier approached and nudged at the goat. “Faust here was telling me of the troubles he has had with his own children.”
“Kids, you mean. Baby goats are called…Never mind.” Xavier sighed, his grin fading at Neil’s blank expression. “So, how is Misses Faust?”
“She buggered off to her own dimension,” Neil muttered, his face contorting as if he had a bad taste in his mouth. “Wants to find herself, she says. Wants to create something without the interference of her husband, she says. As if I ever stopped her from doing anything. Well, unless you count that one plague or that random flood, or the time she created a triumvirate of moons. But otherwise. Never.”
“Look at it this way,” Xavier suggested hastily, interjecting in what was quickly becoming a rant. “At least she didn’t run off with a sexy billy goat from the wrong side of the meadow.”
“I almost wish she had,” Neil replied, sulkily, and gave Faust an absentminded scratch between the horns. “That way, I’d have something to throw those extra moons at.”
Faust uttered an empathetic bleat, his nostrils flaring with a lingering snort.
Neil rolled his head back to look at the ceiling. His flippant manner dropped for an all too brief instant and he breathed a heated breath to the ceiling.
“They were to be a gift to Raziel. Those moons. As if the girl needed more power.”
The caught Xavier attention, so he scurried to a relatively clean spot on the lounger and sat down. Zella had often spoken of the moon and its phases, of gods and goddess, of magic. He had never paid it much mind, dismissing it as superstitious nonsense of an eccentric mind. Now he knew that much that same nonsense was true and worried at what clues he might have missed in his arrogance.
“The maiden, mother, and crone,” he recited aloud and leaned forward so that he could prop himself up on his elbows. “And something about Persephone and Hades, maybe?”
“Ah, yes,” Neil hummed in reply, “the legend of how Moonbeam helped herself find herself.”
“Legend, huh?” Xavier noted and edged ever so closer to Neil. He was certain he was sitting in something sticky, smelly, and disgustingly goat related. “So, no Hades in Hades?”
Seemingly amused, Neil pressed his chin to his chest and hummed low in his throat. It was a gesture so utterly Zella that for a fleeting moment he almost believed that this could be her father.
“Long ago,” Neil began, his voice taking on a lyrical, almost whimsical quality. “Long before humanity became enamored with the silly notion of a one true god other beings also called this plane home.”
Xavier fidgeting and ran his bottom lip against his upper row of teeth, trying everything in his power to keep from smirking.
“Didn’t you make a couple of rules on that subject?” he teased, strangely relieved with Neil’s lips twitched into a slight smile. “Like in a top ten list or something?”
“Yes,” Neil admitted with a quick bob of his head. “I am a creature of order, of rules.”
He seemed strangely tired as if all he had suddenly grown weary of pretending.
“Wishing to spare mortals my wrath, the beings who once walked this world freely fled to its dark and secret places. Places known only to my Moonbeam.”
Xavier leaned further forward, coming very close to toppling from the lounger. “She’s the Keeper of Secrets.”
Neil nodded, his eyes squinting, yet far away, as if he were trying to hear something in the distance.
“She is also Demeter, Persephone, and Hekate. Just as Lucifer is also Prometheus, Hesperus, and, though he has mostly shed the persona, he is also Loki.”
Xavier reached into his pocket for his phone, but then remembered he had left it in the car. Sighing, he gave himself on last pat and tapped at his forehead with a knuckle.
“My mythology is a bit rusty, but from what I can remember, Prometheus is a good guy.”
“As is Lucifer, though, he would never admit it,” Neil hummed with obvious fondness, a bit of his old vigor returning. “And yet, at this moment, within The Silver City, there are hundreds of souls clamoring at the gates, demanding his return.”
Xavier sat back and tried to process all he had just heard. He refused to believe Neil was who he claimed to be. There was no God; just as there as there were no angels until three weeks ago.
The dozing goat woke suddenly, and release a wet, rasping bleat. He tossed his head from side to side, his long ears twitching.
“Yes, I know, dearest one,” Neil soothed and worked absentminded fingers into the goat’s curly fleece. “Children are terrible taxing burdens.”
“Yeah, about that?” Xavier said, twisting around so he could sit cross-legged on the lounger. “You seem to love him very much, and the staff here seems to adore him.”
“So, why would I allow him to become reviled by humanity?” Neil asked in answer to Xavier’s unspoken question. “Simple, my darling. Will and fate. Two things which reside solely within your own hands.”
Xavier raised his hand, pointing with one finger toward the ceiling.
“That doesn’t explain why you’ve done all this stuff to piss him off. Which, B. T. W. is nuts considering he’s the devil.”
Neil chuckled fondly, warm humor filling his eyes, and paused for a moment the dust off the front of his immaculate suitcoat.
“Angering Lucifer would be foolish. No, I am merely trying to annoy him.”
Xavier began to speak, but before he could, Faust uttered what could only be described as an annoyed bleat.
“Right,” Xavier deadpanned, eyes widening as he edged just slightly backward. “I’m going to keep on pretending the goat’s not talking to you.”
Faust bleated again, and if he didn’t’ know better, he would’ve sworn it was an admonishment.
“He’s young, dearest. And yes, I did try that,” Neil admitted, sulking a bit what appeared to be a rather judgmental look from the goat. “I also walked in on him while he and his wife were having sex, twice, and then, I made noodle art with his couscous.”
He ducked his head down and dropped his voice down to a low, conspiratorial whisper. “That last bit is a surprise for later.”
“You also replaced all his whiskey tumblers with World’s Best Dad mugs,” Xavier reminded dryly and wonder, not for the first time, which direction he should be looking to for guidance, “and bought a beach house in Costa Rica.”
“Ah, yes! For my future granddaughter,” Neil explained as he crossed his legs at the ankles and looked entirely too pleased with himself.
“Lucifer will need a place to send her once she begins to act out, and I doubt very seriously, he will consider hell an option.”
Xavier bobbed his head, his eyes widening in mock surprise.
“Better to reign in Costa Rica than to serve in this City of Angels,” he droned dramatically, but then let loose a breath and threw up his hands.
“I guess there are worse places than a six-bedroom, four bath oceanfront estate with a pool.”
Neil inclined his head sideways to peer down at Faust before yawning into the back of his hand.
“She’ll be a bit of a handful, well-meaning, but a bit too much like her father, and far too intelligent for her own good.”
He shifted until he was almost slouching and steepled his hands over his middle.
“The twins will be milder in temperament, but no less remarkable. Unfortunately, they’ll also be gingers.”
“Scary,” Xavier quipped, pretending they weren’t discussing the potential offspring of the devil himself. “So, to recap. You’re trying to piss off the devil.”
“Annoy,” Neil corrected, smiling faintly as he tugged at Faust’s bearded chin. “Little Star’s anger could ignite the universe; his annoyance is mostly just amusing.”
Xavier shifted in the booth, trying to not think of what unseen thing was sticking to his jeans. He frowned as two events suddenly linked themselves in his mind.
“The last time Zella was annoyed there was an eclipse. Which brings up a whole bunch of questions.”
“You wonder if there was always going to be an eclipse or if it was her annoyance that caused it?” Neil mused and helped the goat down from the booth. “Was it planned, millions of years ago, that she would be annoyed the same day of an eclipse? Could one have happened without the other, or would the events have happened either way?”
“No,” Xavier denied with a firm shake of his head. “I'm mostly wondering if you're asshole enough to put your kid in a situation where she'd be hurt.”
Neil beamed, looking utterly pleased, and sprang up from his seat in single, effortless bound.
“Perhaps you are worthy of her, after all.”
“I’m trying to be,” Xavier said sincerely and twisted around so that he could look directly at Neil. “I admit I started seeing her because Rick thought it would be good for the ratings, but we really hit it off. And then—”
“Her wings popped out while the two of you had sex and she broke your favorite lamp.”
“Which was kind of hot,” Xavier admitted, chewing a bit at his bottom lip. “I mean, it was after I processed everything. At the time, it was all blue feathers and the fear of damnation.”
Chuckling softly to himself, Neil strode to the piano Xavier and Faust hot on his heels. He stared down at the black and white keys, still perfect and polished despite the rampaging goats. His hands hovered for a long moment before coming down in a solid clang.
A garble of discordant sound filled the club as Neil struck the keys again and again. Each time he used fewer and fewer fingers until finally, he was poking the keys at random with his index finger.
“What are you—?"
There was a sudden unexplained uptick in the breeze as the lights flickered and the shadows stretched. Xavier gasped, his breath coming in pants, as two pairs of wings, one gleaming white, the other a familiar pale blue, stretched, and then folded behind their owners.
“Zella!” Xavier cried and took stumbling step forward before he managed to stop himself. “I…we… need to talk.”
Groaning, Raziel squeezed her eyes shut and covered her face with one hand. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, go on,” Lucifer fumed, bristling as he sidestepped to stand protectively in front of his sister. “Out with it.”
Xavier swallowed hard, suddenly more frightened than he had ever been. His body lurched forward as he tried to take a step forward only for his feet to refuse to move.
“I…uh… you told me to watch after your dad?” he began helplessly, his mouth opening and closing with fewer words than he was speaking. “I mean if he’s really your dad. Not that I think you’re lying. And, uh, well, you’re the devil. I figured disobeying you was a bad idea and uh…yeah.”
The anger on the devil’s face soon gave way to complete bafflement, and then finally realization.
“Oh, right, I did—”
“No, Xavier, we do not,” Raziel said firmly, anger bubbling just beneath the surface. “Not now, perhaps not ever.”
“You kicked me out of your house, Xavier, broke up with me, and told me you never wanted to see me again,” she hissed, color racing to the apples of her pale cheeks. “Then, less than twenty-four hours later, you decide you want me back.”
“I, I,” Xavier stammered, wincing as he squeezed his eyes shut and sucked in his bottom lip. “I love you?”
“Oh, bloody hell,” Lucifer breathed, giving Xavier a warning shake of his head. “Don’t say another—”
“Love me? Love me?” Raziel repeated with a harsh humorless chuckle. “You call me at least forty-seven times a day, at all hours of the night, you got my stand in fired, and you filled my car with cupcakes.”
Lucifer opened his mouth only to close it, for once, temporarily at a loss. He recovered quickly, tutting beneath his breath as he gave Xavier a disapproving shake of his head.
“I dare say that if the detective were here, she’d arrest him.”
“As she should,” Raziel groused, sniffing a bit as she crossed her arms over her chest. “I loved that car.”
“No, my dear, what you're describing is considered stalking, or at the very least harassment—”
"He's human. There is nothing he can do to me," Raziel fumed, her eyes glittering. “But, my car? Have you any idea how hard it is to get butter creme frosting out of leather upholstery?
“Oh, indeed! I’ve found that a little dish soap followed by diluted hydrogen peroxide and worn toothbrush works wonders—”
Realizing everyone was staring at him, he breathed a grumbling sigh and paused to fuss with his cufflinks. “He also aided and abetted our father.”
He jumped when Raziel snarled suddenly.
“Did he also propose?" she raged, her shoulders rising and falling as if her wings wanted to lash out. "That’s what he does when thinks you have no respect for yourself. He proposes.”
Xavier cast a terrified look from Raziel to Lucifer, as if he were uncertain as to which was the most frightening.
“Oh, you fool,” Lucifer grumbled, covering his face with one hand. “You said you were going to propose, not that you had.”
Xavier winced, his shoulders lifting to his ears, but then seemed to recover enough so that he could glare at Raziel. “Well, she didn’t tell me she was an angel.”
Raziel snorted, sneering as she looked away, and waved him off with a dismissive flick of her wrist. “And you didn’t tell me you were an asshole.”
A slow mocking clap began to fill the club as Neil stepped away from the piano, a wide grin plastered on his face.
“Ah, he’s not who I picked for you,” he chirped and then cocked his head sideways as if to consider. “But I am trying to be more flexible in my old age. Not sure what we’d call you two, however. Ravier? Xaviel? Ah, No matter. Sweetpea will sort it later.”
“Oh, you better not...” Raziel began, hissing as her eyes narrowed. “There better not be a Christie out there somewhere for me.”
Raziel blinked and tipped her head sideways to frown up at Lucifer. “Are you sure? I could’ve sworn her name was Christie.”
“Am I sure?” Lucifer repeated, incredulous, his face twisting in pure indignation. “What do you mean, am I sure?”
“I mean,” Raziel explained as if it should be obvious, “that she looks like a Christie.”
“She most certainly does not—!”
Neil chuckled, his dark eyes shining with a mixture of humor and fondness as he stepped closer to both his children.
“I see the centuries have done little to change things between the two of you.”
He gazed at both his children in turn, but then settled back on Raziel.
“Now, Moonbeam, sweetling,” he began fondly, smiling warmly as he looked her in the eye. “Give Daddy back his divinity so he can go home.”
Neil blinked once, then twice, and tilted his head as if he hadn’t heard correctly. “No?”
“No,” Raziel repeated, the whites of her eyes slowly disappearing as she slowly shook her head in disbelief. “You haven’t learned a damn thing since you’ve been here.”
“Not true, sweetling,” Neil chided, sliding his hands down Raziel’s arms to take her hands. “I’ve learned a great deal.”
“Like what?” Lucifer demanded, his brows knitting together. His father was up to something, more so than usual. “I know all about your plans for me.”
“Three kids and a house in the ‘burbs,” Xavier offered edgewise before giving Raziel a desperate look. “Zella can we just talk—”
Raziel brought a finger to her lips and he vanished, gone as if he never existed. She turned and sighed at Lucifer’s shocked expression.
“Did you just hide your ex from Creation?” he asked, his voice somewhere between disbelief and approval. “Part of me realizes I should admonish you, the rest of me thinks he’s a complete prat and thoroughly approves.”
“I wish I’d thought of it a month ago—”
Neil began pecking once more at the piano, the discordant melody making both angels wince.
Giving both a knowing nod, he pulled away from the piano and turned back to Raziel. “So, you’re not giving me back my divinity?”
“No,” Raziel said firmly and crossed her arms over her chest. “I’m not.”
“Oh, well, I tried,” Neil said with a shrug and slapped his fingers against his palm in a quick clap. “Come along, Faust.”
Lucifer uttered a surprised cry and backpedaled, nearly scrambling on top of the piano when Faust began trotting happily toward Neil.
“I don’t like goats,” he declared and gave Raziel a hopeless look. “Can’t you hide that…thing?”
Raziel touched his sleeve, but otherwise ignored him to glare at their father.
“No, Daddy, you’re going to all fix this,” she hissed, gesturing to club with one hand. “But, first, you’re coming with us to explain everything to the police.
“Are you sure you want that, darling?”
“Since when have you cared what any of us wanted? Raziel snorted, glaring as she looked away. “You care about what you want, and then tell us it's for our own good. That is assuming you can be bothered to speak to us at all.”
“Oh, my sweet girl,” Neil soothed, his eyes wide and full of awe. “You have never been more perfect.”
He then turned to Lucifer, smiling with a thoughtful look on his face. “As for you, little star. My Key of Creation is yours. Take it, leave, it matters not. I, myself, will happily remain Neil.”
Lucifer frowned, eyes narrowing. “What are you up to? It’s not like you to give me a choice or to give up.”
“You’ve always had a choice, my darling,” Neil insisted, brushing as the front of his suit before stepping up to Raziel.
“To the police station, I suppose,” he said as he wound his arms around his daughter’s neck. “Oh, and Moonbeam? Do unhide young Xavier. He’s been extremely helpful.”
“More the reason to keep him hidden,” Lucifer grumbled, only to nearly jump out of his skin when Faust snorted in his direction. “Hate.”
Raziel tilted her head sideways as she rolled her shoulders, unfurling her wings.
“Xavier could start cleaning up the mess or at the very least get rid of the goats.”
“Good idea, Moonbeam!” Neil praised, but then frown as he sifted his fingers through the pale blue feathers of her right wing. “I notice you’re a bit over preened. Are you working too hard, my darling?”
Sighing, Raziel hooked her arm around her father’s waist as Lucifer unfurled his own wings.
“It’s been a stressful few weeks.”
“I know, but you know the rules, sweetling,” Neil replied gently and leaned forward to press his forehead to Raziel’s cheek. “They are—”
“More important than us, they always have been,” she spat, seconds before taking flight. “Which is why I’m determined to make you live by them.”
Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven
I had hoped to finish this before the new season dropped. That's unlikely to happen, but it's still fun to try.
His sister was watching him. Her black eyes following him as he paced the conference room. He wasn’t sure if it was because of their mother’s Key or some sudden paranoia, but he could feel her attention as if it were a tangible thing.
He stopped in his tracks and pivoted towards her. His eyes flashed but then calmed without completely changing. He wasn’t sure why he was so irritated, only that his sister, creepy, intrusive stare aside, wasn’t the direct cause.
Raziel jumped, startled, his tone far harsher than he intended. She recovered almost instantly and blinked, the barest flicker of eyelashes, before tilting her head sideways. “Are you humming my show’s theme song?”
Caught red-handed, Lucifer visibly twitched before turning toward the window. Chloe's desk was just outside the conference room, so he peeled back the blinds just enough to see her as she spoke to Neil Carey's attorney. She was no doubt assuring the man everything was fine. Neil Carey’s recent erratic behavior was in no way the result of being possessed by the One True God—or other True God if one counted Mum or currently his sister. It was a fact he didn’t particularly want to think too hard about, at least not at the moment.
Mentally he sighed, suddenly aware of the origin of his annoyance. This whole situation was ludicrous, even by his standards.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” he muttered at last, but then froze when Chloe reached down to open the bottom drawer of her desk.
He held his breath as he watched her frown as she reached to remove the box he had hidden within. She looked around, searching for him, before carefully peeling back the brightly colored wrapping paper. Inside was an antique comb and hint as to where he planned to take her for their anniversary.
“The song is rather earwormy,” Raziel admitted and pushed off the floor so that the chair spun in a lazy circle. “I sing it at least once a season, more if the ADR doesn’t behave itself, and at every convention. Speaking of.” She craned her head back so that she could look at him over the back of the chair. “I’ll be at Fan Q this fall. You should come. Bring Chloe and her subunit.”
“Her subunit?” Lucifer repeated incredulous but then brightened with realization. “Oh, the offspring? I suppose I could. Ms. Lopez would probably like to attend as well.”
Lucifer watched Chloe gently put the comb back into its box and return it to the bottom desk drawer. She glanced in his direction, and although she couldn’t see him, mirrored his smile.
“Xavier, Rick, and Monica are going, I believe,” Raziel babbled as he only half listened, but instead focused on watching Chloe through the blinds.
She had gone back to work, but with a notable enthusiasm that hadn’t been present just moments earlier. Her eyes were warm when they finally found his and she mouthed what might have been, “Love you.”
Although, he supposed it could have also been, “thank you.” Either way, it pleased him she was happy, and he made a mental note to check on their reservations for next Friday. He’d also have to square the vacation time with Lieutenant Davidson as well as make certain Yvette was available to watch the offspring.
He wasn't particularly concerned. While, Davidson could be a bit heavy-handed, even controlling, he was no more so than any of their previous lieutenants. This included a cursed immortal sociopath, who he eventually killed, a werewolf, who eventually relocated to New Jersey, and a lovely man who just happened to also be a cannibal. Even so, Davidson seemed more father to his men than the, “Don’t run, it’ll toughen your liver” mindset of their previous superiors.
“…I’ll also be handing out advance copies of my book and signing random boobs.”
Raziel sighed, sounding more perplexed than unhappy. “Humans are weird.”
Nodding in agreement, he watched Chloe rise from her desk, file in hand, and stride toward the interrogation room. A sudden unwelcomed memory shivered through his mind, a memory he could not unseen. Scowling, he turned from the window and glared pointedly at his sister.
“Thank you, ever so much, for ruining breasts for me!”
Sputtering a surprised laugh, Raziel pressed her foot to the floor and stopped herself mid-spin. “Excuse me?”
“Episode nineteen of season two?” Lucifer said in pure incredulity as if it should’ve been obvious. “You and Captain Cardboard…”
“Oh, right, I had no idea my side-boob was so traumatizing,” Raziel teased, her eyes wide and patronizing. “You do know we were acting, no?”
“Yes, but,” he grumbled even as he struggled to keep the confusion from his expression. On the surface, he knew that who his sister had sex with was none of his business. Yet, somehow he could not shake the notion that perhaps it was-or more accurately, he fine with her having sex, so long as it wasn't with Xavier Lorne. She deserved better, someone worthy of her, someone he didn’t’ want to punish.
“He should be in a cell,” he insisted, fuming as he began to prowl the about the room once more. The last time he felt this restless, he rebelled against his father.
“At the very least, Maze should strap him to something uncomfortable.”
“Mazikeen,” Raziel snorted, eyes narrowing. She sat up, prim and proper as if the cheap swivel chair were a throne. “She’d sell her own mother for a nickel, and by my reckoning probably has.”
“A bolt of silk, actually,” he admitted with a bit of reluctance. He felt defensive and he wasn’t sure why. His sister wasn’t saying anything that wasn’t true. “Lilith is still rather cross about the matter.”
“Can’t imagine why,” Raziel sighed and slumped a little before throwing her arms over the back of the chair. “Speaking of. Remember when Gabriel sold you to the centaur people?”
“Titans,” he corrected as he turned back around to face her. “I fell in with the centaur people later. And to hear Gabriel tell it, he was just borrowing me.”
Raziel laughed, a winding, joyous sound that eventually melted into a warm hum. It echoed in his ears, resonating against their shared divinity until he was reminded that not only was she the enigmatic Keeper of Secrets, she was also his little sister.
“He never returns anything he borrows,” she reminded, bouncing a bit in her chair and barely able to keep from snickering. "It's a small wonder we ever got you back."
He frowned a little, wondering at the memories resurfacing in his mind. The old hurt remained, but within them was an undeniable layer of fondness. There was also sadness and loss over things he realized now that took for granted.
“The Titans were the first people to care about me and what I wanted,” he admitted with feigned nonchalance, but there was an undeniable mix of hurt and fondness in his tone.
For a very brief moment, he wondered if Raziel would deny his words, if she would insist that she cared. Deep down, he knew she wouldn’t, even if it were true. The Keeper of Secrets seldom volunteered information and never about herself.
“I was with them for a few months before they were called upon by the dragons to aid them in their war against the Leviathan.”
Raziel nodded, her perfect white teeth digging into her bottom lip as began to fill in the details as best she could remember. “Ah, yes, I remember now. They tasked the centaurs to watch over you. But when the war was over, they refused to return you.”
“Yes, well,” Lucifer began fussily, clearly uncomfortable, “I’ve always made an impression.”
“Yes, usually with your butt cheeks,” Raziel teased dryly, wrinkling her nose at Lucifer indignant look.“I don’t remember what exactly happened next, but I do know that the titans pled their case to one of Father’s emissaries, who then intervened and took you from the centaurs.”
“But didn’t give me back to the titans,” Lucifer grumbled, the muscles in her jaw bunching as he ground his teeth. “Instead, he brought me back to The Silver City and turned me over to my tutors. Mum came to visit a few days later and Dad was, well, Dad.”
He shifted his weight back and forth on the balls of his feet, unable to resist the nervous energy coursing through him. A few weeks after his return to The Silver City, he slipped away from the watchful eyes of his siblings and wandered into The Outlands. There he found a silvery blue dragon hatchling still half within her pearlescent egg. His siblings named her Laurel soon after because she always had leaves stuck to her head. Strange he never made the connection before now.
“How large is that clutch you brought with you to earth?”
“Four eggs,” Raziel said with a slight hum in her voice and gave him a sly, sideways look. “I was thinking of giving you one as a wedding present.”
“How Game of Thrones of you,” he grumbled dryly and then sensing eyes on him turned in time to see Dan walk to the door.
Dan knocked once and then stepped inside the conference room.
“Lord Dick,” Dan retorted, smug as he pulled the door closed behind him. “Chlo’s—”
He jumped back startled when Raziel bound from her chair to stand beside Lucifer.
“Lucifer,” she purred, her cheeks pinking as she eyed Dan from head to toe. “Introduce me to your pretty friend.”
Lucifer groaned and resisted throwing up his hands in favor of pinching at the bridge of his nose.
“Lovely,” he grumbled just loud enough to be heard. “I had hoped your attraction to douche was a one-off.”
“Funny,” Dan snapped without any real bite and smiled at Raziel as he extended his hand.
“Hi, I’m Detective Dan Espinoza, and you are?”
Raziel took Dan’s offered hand and held it a bit longer than necessary. “Interested.”
Dan laughed nervously, eyes widening as he shot Lucifer a helpless look. Then, almost as if flipping a switch, he was struck with a sudden realization.
“Wait. You’re Zella Weiss,” he began, blinking rapidly as if he couldn’t quite believe his eyes, and clapped Lucifer on the shoulder. “She’s Zella Weiss.”
“I am, indeed, pretty man,” Raziel purred a slight coy smile curling at her lips. “Pretty Dan.”
“No, no, no,” Lucifer protested and barreled between the pair. He picked up his sister beneath the armpits and carried her a good two feet away from Dan.
He pointed a stern finger at her, a silent command for her to stay, and shot Dan a warning glare. Crisis averted, at least for the moment, he breathed a sigh and fussed for a moment with his cufflinks.
“Am I the only one who doesn’t know you’re famous?”
Raziel stood on tiptoe to give Dan a sly wink over her brother’s shoulder. She darted sideways, trying to get around Lucifer, but he snagged her with an elbow.
“So, it would seem,” she murmured, obviously amused, and tried once more to get around her brother. “Be nice, or I’ll ruin butts for you too.”
Barely holding back a nervous laugh, Dan slowly backed away from the pair and towards the door. If experience had taught him anything, it was that it was never a good sign when someone that attractive was into him.
“How do you guys two know each other?”
Raziel dashed to the left, but then feinted, dodging Lucifer’s elbow before lunging right, and finally sliding around Lucifer.
“I’m his sister,” she quipped, her voice low and sultry. “younger, but wiser. Or at least I should be given that wisdom is one of my spheres of influence. I, myself, have never considered myself particularly wise and have often made unwise choices. Such as the time I punched the sun.”
“Right,” Dan drew out, his entire being cautious. “You punched the sun?”
Raziel rolled her shoulders in a shrug, sighing as she sat back down in her chair. “He had it coming.”
“All right, that’s enough,” Lucifer grumbled and stepped in front of Raziel, blocking her view of Dan. He half suspected she was trying to rile him, but it was best to not take chances. The last thing he needed was a Douche-in-law.
He turned back to Dan and was surprised, as well as a bit relieved at the detective’s grateful expression.
“Chlo mentioned that you offered to give Neil Carey a ride home.”
“I’d love to,” Lucifer muttered, half his breath, and glanced over his shoulder at his sister.
She had her phone out again, smiling as she busied herself texting. Distantly he wondered if anyone would believe that the Keeper of Secrets and de facto Goddess of All Creation was also the world’s oldest millennial.
“Where is our dear Mister Carey?”
“With Lieutenant Davidson,” Raziel answered before Dan could and dropped her phone back into her handbag. “Not that it matters, he’s already won.”
Lieutenant Davidson settled behind his desk and began unbuttoning his cuffs so that he could roll up his sleeves.
“All right, Mister Carey,” he began in the kind tone he reserved for people he believed were outside the norm. He pulled a report from his inbox and skimmed it before sliding it across the desk to Neil.
“We just need you to sign a few things.”
A smile spread across Neil’s face as he leaned back into his chair and steepled his hands over his belly.
“Of course, my dear man,” he chirped cheerfully and quickly sat up when Davidson suddenly produced a pen.
Without reading the report, he quickly scribbled his signature, and then glanced around the room as if he just noticed something amiss.
“Tell me, where is the lovely Detective Decker?”
“Speaking with your attorney,” Davidson said sternly, in a tone that clearly suggested that the detective’s whereabouts were no one’s concern but her own. “You gave him a bit of a scare.”
“He’s always been a bit of a mother hen,” Neil murmured, his perpetual bemusement returning. “Reminds me a bit of my son.”
“I thought you had a daughter,” Davidson said, but then smiled when he saw Chloe standing outside his office. “Speak of the devil.”
“I do,” Neil admitted with a happy bob of his head, “often and with great fondness.”
“I bet,” Davidson answered enigmatically, meeting Chloe’s eyes as she entered the office. “Hey, Chloe. Everything squared away?”
Chloe mirrored the lieutenant’s smile, trying her best to be nonchalant. If the last few days had taught her anything it was that Lucifer’s lack of filter was genetic.
“Yes, Mister Gutierrez apologized again for the false alarm and thanked us for our prompt assistance,” she explained, bobbing her head as she often did when she was nervous. “He asked that Mister Carey call him as soon as it was convenient.”
“Oh, how very thoughtful of him!” Neil chirped, a bit too eagerly to be completely innocent. “And to think I thought he might be embezzling.”
“Is he?” Davidson asked curtly and took back his pen before Neil could steal it.
Chloe made a helpless, bug-eyed look and shook her head. If it had been anyone else, they would’ve known to shut up, but Neil simply looked at her blankly. Sighing at the realization that she was on her own, she met Davidson’s knowing gaze.
“No, he gave us substantial financial records. Every penny is accounted for.”
“Well, then, there you have it,” Neil chirped, clasping his hands together in a messy clap before turning his attention back to the lieutenant. “Might I assume I’m free to go?
“Of course, sir,” Davidson answered and rose with Neil to walk him to the door. “Again, we apologize for the inconvenience.”
“Oh, no, no,” Neil insisted, smiled broadly. This time the cheer and the enthusiasm were completely genuine.
“It’s my fault, truly. Some might say that my son inherited his impulse control problems from me, but in reality, little stars twinkle as they may.”
“It’s your money.” Davidson shrugged. “Well, it’s not like you can take it with you.”
“Actually,” Neil began thoughtfully and tapped at his chin with an index finger. “Under certain circumstances, you could, but it’s still very unlikely. Azrael likes to go through the pockets of the dead, you see.”
“Okay!” Chloe laughed suddenly, a high pitch nervous laugh, her eyes bulging as she shoved Neil bodily out of the office. “Let’s get you home.”
She turned on her heel, inwardly wincing at Davidson’s cool, but slightly amused expression. He knew. She knew he knew. But how could he, except he just did? It didn’t make any sense, and yet, did so perfectly. Really, it was best to leave now and sort it all out later. “Catch you later, Lieutenant!”
“I’ll be here,” Davidson hummed as he stared her down for a long moment. “You’ve been here off and, on all weekend, and I know you’ve got family in town, so go ahead and take Monday off.”
“Will do,” Chloe answered a bit too quickly, and half-led, half-dragged Neil toward the exit. “What the hell are you thinking?
“Nothing in hell, my darling,” Neil quipped and quickened his pace just enough to slip from her insistent grasp. “If it’s the Lieutenant that worries you, you needn’t be. He’s already fully aware of just who and what Lucifer is.”
Chloe stopped short, nearly stumbled, but then took several long steps to catch up with Neil.
“You, you told him?” she began slowly, her voice edge with incredulity, and twisted at her hands. “And he believed you?”
“Why would I tell him something he already knew?” Neil scoffed, snorting as he waved her off. “He learned the truth years ago.”
Chloe shook her head, squinting. She glanced briefly back at Davidson’s office. The lieutenant was frowning at his computer as he often did. Every so often, he’d poke at a key with one meaty finger. In a few minutes, he would leave his office to pour two cups of coffee—one for himself and the other for whomever he planned to check on that afternoon.
Usually, it was Ella, but it was often herself, or Lucifer, sometimes it was Dan. Davidson was a good listener and knew how everyone took their coffee. He even remembered the dash of cinnamon Lucifer liked.
“How? When?” she whispered, replaying all of her and Lucifer’s interactions with Davidson in her mind. Other than being inordinately patient with Lucifer, he had never given so much as an inkling that he knew the truth.
“Why hasn’t he said anything?”
Neil chuckled before bounding up the stairs, taking two at a time, then paused and turned on his heel when he reached the first landing.
“Who would believe him, other than yourself?” Neil explained and hefted his chin slightly in the lieutenant’s direction. “Well, Avery Wyatt, but she’s another story. At any rate, he hoped by not telling you it would keep you and my son from doing anything especially foolish.”
“Right,” Chloe breathed, her eyes following Davidson as he left his office to make a beeline for the coffee station. “Just ordinarily foolish.”
The first cup Davidson poured was for him, black with a dash of salt, but then he paused over the second cup, mulling it over. Grumbling to herself, she followed Neil up the stairs to stand beside him on the land. Then, schooling her features into her best mom look, she put one hand on her hip and glared at God himself.
“Oh! My beautiful lovely used to make that face,” Neil cooed in delight, bouncing on the balls of his feet, but then paused, panic flitting around in his dark eyes.“Has Moonbeam been teaching you magic?”
“Magic?” Chloe deadpanned, eyes narrowing to a squint as she peered hard at him and shook her head. “Moon—Raziel knows magic?”
“Yes, of course! She’s quite the sorceress,” Neil chirped as if it were the most normal thing in the world. “I suppose it helps that she knows the secrets of the universe. At any rate, the reason I ask is because the last person that gave me that look followed up it with a lightning bolt.”
“Uh-huh,” Chloe muttered with a sardonic bob of her head and herded Neil toward the elevator. “I’m still on my level zero cantrips.”
“We all start somewhere, my darling,” Neil soothed, giving her a quick pat on the arm before stepping into the elevator. “As for your good Lieutenant Davidson, the tale of how he came to know the truth is his to tell.”
Rolling her eyes, she stepped into the elevator and sighed at the doors as the closed. Suddenly, she felt strange, as if something was tickling her insides.
“I didn’t eat breakfast,” she grumbled in realization. In fact, she had been running almost non stop since Neil arrived on Lucifer’s doorstep.
She sighed and cast a long eye at the snack machine just across the hall. It had been restocked that morning so the food was fresh, or as fresh as vending machine food could be. She stopped short when she heard Lucifer’s protests in the back of her mind.
Teeny, Tiny Donuts and Cool Ranch Puffs were fine, but apparently, vending machine sandwiches offended his devilish sensibilities.
“We should go to that Pudding Palace or whatnot that Lucifer is so fond of,” Neil suggested and closed his hand into a fist before flinging it outward.
“The Pudding Barn,” she corrected, but then gasped as light began to spill from between Neil’s fingers.
He curled his fingers slowly to reveal two pristine feathers floating just above his palm.
“Moonbeam and Little Star do silly things to their wings when they’re stressed,” he explained fondly, smiling as the feathers began to orbit around each other. "Horrid habit, but it makes their feathers easy to harvest."
One of the feathers was pure white, and Chloe knew without question that it had come from Lucifer’s wings. The other was pale blue, which she knew now had to have come from Raziel.
“Raziel tends to over preen, while Lucifer, Lucifer, he’s a bit more dramatic or self-destructive. Perhaps even both. Used to be, he would just chew his wings when he was upset, but then he moved on to cutting them off entirely. Can you believe it? Oh, of course, you can. You’ve seen it.”
Chloe gasped, her insides going cold. “Those are—”
“Angel feathers? Yes,” Neil answered, the light from the white feather reflecting in his eyes. “Now, hush, darling. I’m looking for something.”
Chloe fell silent, not in compliance, but rather because she suddenly found herself unable to move. Helplessly, she watched as the feathers continued their lazy orbit. Lucifer’s feather glowed, illuminating the shadows cast by his sister’s feather. The shadows grew, stretching into ribbons, and wound around they formed an impossible chain of light and dark.
“Knowledge and secrets,” Neil supplied, answering a question she did not know she had. “There is more to it, of course, but I invoke my right to be mysterious.”
“What’s happening?” she finally managed to gasp and willed her arms to move. She didn’t know what Neil was doing, only that she had to stop him. `
Surprise flitted over Neil’s features but then vanished with his good-natured shrug. “Interesting and truthfully a bit rude for your soul to side so utterly with Lucifer, but fitting I suppose.”
Neil smiled faintly as the feathers tightened their orbit until they began to entwine with each other. After a moment, the two merged, barbs splitting and fusing together until a single blue-white feather remained.
“As for what I’m doing. You are a miracle, my dear. As such you have a spark of divinity hidden deep within your soul,” Neil explained as if it were the most normal thing in the world.
“It’s more a spark of a spark of a spark, really, but the important thing is that it’s mine. Well, it’s actually yours, but Finders Keepers and all that.”
Chloe twitched, her arms moving slightly forward, but her legs remained rooted on the spot and her hands refused to move.
“Don’t do this,” she pleaded, hoping in vain to reach him. I know you love him, and you want what’s best for him, but—"
“So cruel,” Neil chastised without any real admonishment and tucked the feather behind her ear. “But one often finds that he must be cruel to be kind, no?”
Giving her one last smile, Neil bowed with a flourish and disappeared just as the elevator doors pinged. Standing in the open doorway was Lieutenant Davidson, a cup of coffee in hand. It was then that realized to her horror that she had never selected a floor after stepping into the elevator. Davidson no doubt heard everything.
“Uh, Lieutenant,” Chloe stammered, mentally backpedaling, “I, uh, forgot my jacket.”
Saying nothing, David gave her a flat look and thrust a cup of coffee in her direction. It smelled of hazelnuts and had just the barest splash of almond milk—exactly how she took it.
Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
Sorry about the late update guys, I got caught up watching season four. :)
Lucifer sat between his sister and Chloe as he started down Davidson over the expanse of his messy desk. The lieutenant returned his stare, looking the devil square in the eye, before leaning back in his chair and folding his arms behind his head.
“So,” he drew out, his lips forming into a little bow. “That was God.”
He tipped his back to contemplate a crack that ran from one corner of the room to another. The previous occupants of the office had assumed an earthquake had been the cause of the damage. In reality, the truth lay closer to the supernatural.
“And this building is built on a ley-line?” he shrugged, the barest lift of his broad shoulders, and glanced back at both angels in turn. “Cool.”
“Cool?” Chloe repeated; her mouth falling slightly open as she shook her head. “Cool.”
“This entire city is built on ley lines,” Raziel corrected, her eyes growing thoughtful. Ever so slightly, she shifted her weight, straightening until once again the old office chair was her throne.
“The largest junction is beneath LUX, but individual lines can be located with relative ease. That is, assuming one knows where to look.”
“Or what they’re looking for,” Davidson countered as he righted himself in his chair. “All right, I have a question.”
“Tempeh is supposed to taste like that,” Raziel replied as if it were obvious and settled back in her chair. “As meat substitutes go, I much prefer seitan because—”
“—it sounds like Satan,” Chloe groaned, but then manage a wry quirk of her lips. She was getting better at navigating Raziel’s tangents, or at least recognizing them at the start.
“Which is funny because you’re an...?”
“Angel,” Raziel drew out, giving Chloe wary side eye before offering an offhanded shrug. “Obviously.”
Chloe began to protest, but then stopped herself. If she had learned anything in the last two days, it was that there was a method to Raziel’s madness. It wasn’t the typical angel crazy, even if there were such a thing. Rather, her tales within tales were verbal post-it notes with the words look here scribbled upon them.
The real question wasn’t the story, but the reason she was telling it. Feeling eyes on her, she looked up to Davidson’s pondering gaze. Like her, he had been chasing metaphor and clue, while wondering if there was a difference between either. He smiled before giving her a small, noncommittal shrug and returned his attention to Raziel.
“…can we even continue on as angels even with the Keys of Creation?” Raziel asked, rhetorically, and pursed her lips as she tapped thoughtfully at her chin. “I still consider myself me. Which is good because I like me.”
“You have your mom’s Key,” Chloe reminded gently, her lips peeling back just enough to reveal her bottom row of teeth. She was treading into the dangerous ground of had to but didn’t really want to know. “Doesn’t that make you a goddess?”
Raziel chuckled, her dark curls slipping from her shoulders as she shook her head. “What you call God, I call Daddy,” she said with a tone that suggested she was merely humoring Chloe. “Although, I suppose these days everyone just calls him Neil.”
“Right,” Chloe muttered, glancing briefly back to the lieutenant. Whatever Raziel was trying to tell them was something she couldn’t or wouldn’t speak of directly. “So, tell me about ley lines. What do they have to do with your Dad’s plan?”
“Possibly nothing. Otherwise, he would have utilized the junction at LUX,” Raziel began, her tone clipped and professional. It was an orator’s voice mixed with that of a queen or a goddess. “As for ley lines, they are cracks formed in Creation after a certain angel punched the sun.”
Chloe’s lips twitched as her eyes narrowed to a squint. That wasn’t exactly the answer she was looking for. “Why would an angel punch the sun?”
“Oh, he had it coming, Detective. I assure you,” Lucifer muttered, oddly defensive and pointed with one finger out the window where the sun hung low one horizon. “Sol has always been something of a pillock.”
“Yes, even so,” Raziel sighed, shaking her head. “You did just create him. I should’ve been more patient.”
“Oh, come now, sister,” Lucifer purred in a voice that a shade too playful to be pure temptation. “You enjoyed abandoning all that wisdom and temperance.”
Raziel gave him look, her eyes hardening before a laugh escaped her tightly pressed lips.
“Perhaps,” she hummed, the last fringes of a smile tugging at her lips. “Still, shame about the dinosaurs.
“Okay,” Chloe mouthed more than said. Her ponytail flopped against her back as she made a full circle with her head. Over the years, she had learned that sometimes it was best to simply play along.
“So back to the tempeh.”
Raziel frowned, her expression utterly baffled. “What about it?”
“Oh, that reminds me!” Lucifer chirped, scarcely noticing Chloe’s plaintive eye roll. “I recently opened a bistro in Long Beach. We have quite the extensive vegan menu.”
“So, L’enfer is yours, then?” Raziel gushed and turned in her chair to face her brother. “I thought it might be when I saw it listed. Unfortunately, I don’t have the self-congratulatory smugness to be vegan, so I’m just a vegetarian. Besides, you know how I feel about cheese.”
“You have always been nauseatingly humble,” Lucifer agreed with a nod and gestured to Raziel with one hand. “I mean, look at you.”
“Oh, stop it,” Raziel snorted, waving him off. “I mean it.”
“Yep,” Chloe muttered with a smack; eyes wide as she bobbed her head. “I’ve got two of them now.”
She forced a tight smile when Lucifer and Raziel turned to stare expectantly at her. When she didn’t immediately reply, they shrugged in unison and traded matching confused looks as if they weren’t quite sure why she had interrupted them.
Sometimes, such as now, playing along with the leaps of angelic logic didn’t pay off. Even so, there was a change to Lucifer, a lighthearted happiness, that made this current jaunt into absurdity utterly worth it.
“Animals are allowed in The Silver City,” Raziel chirped, solely for the benefit of humans in the room, and propped her elbow against the arm of the chair. “Well, except swine and the occasional monkey.”
“Yes, cheeky bastards,” Lucifer muttered, his lip curling with distaste. “So judgey.”
“They are!” Raziel exclaimed, clutching a hand to her chest, “But no more so than the chickens.”
“Right, chickens are judgey,” Chloe repeated, eyes wide as she prodded the pair along with a bob of her head. “So, you eat tempeh.”
“What? No, ghastly stuff,” Raziel gasped with a strange sort of indignation. “Honestly, you have the strangest thought patterns of anyone I have ever encountered.”
Fortunately, before Chloe could utter a word in her own defense, Lucifer came to her rescue.
“Unless things have truly changed back home that title should still belong to Gazardiel.”
Or not, Chloe mentally grumbled before snapping her fingers in the vain attempt to get either’s attention. “All right, Lucifer, Raziel, we need too—”
“Ah, yes, Miss Hold My Halo,” Raziel hummed fondly, either ignoring or not realizing Chloe had spoken. Sadly, either was equally possible. “You know. We have been skirting the issue for millennia, but I do believe that our elder sister might be a bit odd.”
“Pot meet kettle,” Chloe grumbled beneath her breath, eyes bulging as she glared daggers at Lucifer who suddenly looked all shades of heartbroken.
“My kettle is made of copper, actually, but point taken, Vinca.” Raziel smiled sweetly, but her eyes were dark with glittering intensity.
Chloe exhaled and smiled, pleased, only to bite back a sense of dread when Raziel turned her attention to Davidson.
“After all, we really should focus on the good lieutenant here. He has that sexy older man vibe that suggests he would do splendidly as my next bad life choice.”
“No, no,” Chloe and Lucifer began in unison, but Raziel blithely ignored them to focus all her attention on Davidson.
Raziel pursed her lips and made an offhanded gesture with one hand as she pondered lieutenant. “More importantly, he knows that there are fairies at the bottom of the garden, which is a definite improvement over my last.”
“Not my garden,” Lucifer muttered, wrinkling his nose slightly. “Can’t have them running off with my auxiliary offspring.”
Raziel gave her brother a thoroughly disappointed look, her full lips twisting into a pout. “But they make the best cheese.”
“Oh, indeed, but my auxiliary offspring is—”
“Okay, kids,” Lieutenant Davidson said with a sharp whistle, and gave Raziel a warm smile. “First, I’m flattered, Ms. Weiss, but I’m old enough to be your father.”
“Nonsense,” Raziel snorted, waving him off. “I'm nearly as old as time and you're what? A hundred? Two hundred? How long do humans live anyway?”
“I’m fifty-one,” Davidson corrected stiffly and gave her a critical eye. “According to your IMBD page, you’ve been working on earth for four years.”
“I do so love it when mortals call me out on my nonsense,” Raziel hummed with her lips pressed firmly together.
When Davidson looked as though he were about to apologize, she stuck out the tip of her tongue and shook her head.
“It’s one of the things that drew me to my Oliver and later Xavier.”
“Oh?” Lucifer purred, smirking as his gaze slid sideways. He didn’t like that Raziel was still thinking about Xavier or how melancholy she now seemed. “I thought it was his fantastic abs.”
Raziel did smile then and struggled to keep from laughing. “Oh, indeed. His backside isn’t bad either.”
Her laughter melted into a warm, fond hum as she began chewing at her bottom lip. “But he also has a way of wading through my metaphors and rambles to see me. The real me. Or at least I thought he did.”
Chloe reached out to lightly touch Raziel’s hand.
“I know it hurt when he rejected you,” she began earnestly, choking back something that could have easily been mistaken for a sob. “But you can’t image how hard it is to learn that someone you love isn’t what you thought.”
Raziel lifted her fingers, gently lacing them with Chloe’s, and made a small sound in the back of her throat. “Xavier doesn’t love me. He just wants to.”
“You don't know—”
Davidson cleared his throat, his hand pressed firmly against his lips, as he gave both women a thoughtful look. There was a look of pity in his eyes as they lingered on Raziel.
“I think she does. The same she knew I was thinking about tempeh.”
“Were you?” Raziel teased, her words ending in a sultry purr. She settled back in her chair, once again goddess and queen. “When I was still very young, Daddy came to me with a question.”
At the mention of their father, Lucifer stilled so utterly that he scarcely seemed to breathe. He stared at Raziel in rapt attention, his dark eyes hard.
“I remember,” he said softly, his voice little more than a hiss of air. “Afterward you became more and more—”
Like him, he wanted to say, but he couldn’t, wouldn’t. At least not out loud. She could never be anything like their father.
“—secretive,” he decided after a moment. It wasn’t a lie, not really. “So, what question did dear ole Dad ask you? Must have been important for him to lower himself to speak to one of us.”
Raziel flushed, her cheeks pinking as she ducked down her head, embarrassed. “The universe was weeping, and he could not fathom the reason why.”
Chloe opened her mouth and closed it, unsure what to make of Raziel’s words. Despiting knowing otherwise, part of her still wanted to believe they were nonsense. The angel was no doubt speaking in metaphor or launching into yet another tale that would somehow explain everything. The rest of her, however, was could only accept a dawning realization.
“You know things your father doesn’t.”
Silence fell over the room as if the world itself was holding its breath. It was Lucifer who moved first, shifting in his chair to take his sister’s free hand in his.
“I am The Keeper of Secrets,” Raziel intoned softly, but there was a sadness to her as she glanced up at the ceiling. “Do not let the Neil is his now fool you. If given the choice, Daddy would not waste his time speaking to any of us.”
Lucifer blew out a frustrated breath and tried to pull away, but Raziel only gripped his hand tighter.
“So, when he came to me, fretful and full of sorrow, I told him a story.”
“About what?” Chloe breathed, her eyes wide and full of awe. She wanted to assure Raziel, and Lucifer, that they were wrong. Their father did love them. He was simply the ultimate working dad, who wished dearly for more hours in the day. She couldn’t, not without feeling guilt over many things she missed with her own child.
“About why the universe was weeping, of course,” Raziel murmured light, her nose wrinkling with her smile. “She was afraid of the dark, you see.”
She pressed Lucifer's hand to her chest, right above her heart where the first Key of Creation lay. “Then, when my tale was over, you lit the stars and she wept no more.”
“Yes,” Lucifer grumbled, pulling his hand away. He rubbed at his palm as if it ached. “Another one of Dad’s manipulations.”
“No, he was surprised when it happened,” Raziel said with a shake of her head. “And he shouldn’t have been. You've always known what to do. It might take you a while to figure it out, but you always manage.”
“Right,” Lucifer drew out, suddenly uncomfortable. Not at his sister’s words, but because he wanted to believe them. Lying to himself had been a hard habit to break, and he wasn’t about to start up again now. "What good has it done me?"
“Much, and it will continue to do so,” she said softly, but in a tone that brooked no argument. “My Key of Creation, or rather the one that once belonged to our mother, controls the celestial realm, including the Silver City. While Father’s…”
She bit her lip as she watched realization creep slowly across his features. She knew him well enough to recognize the horror in his eyes.
“The mortal world, including humanity,” Lucifer murmured, his words coming in the barest of whispers. “It would be, they would be mine.”
The weight of his father’s plan crashed upon him, leaving him with a sick, twisted sensation. If he were to take his father’s Key, willingly or by force, the fate of humanity would be in his hands.
He laughed suddenly, bitterly, his mind reeling as his father’s words echoed back to him.
“The planets aren’t mine to give,” he fumed, breathing through his nostrils, as he recalled the words Neil spoke at the studio. Suddenly, he felt like the punchline of a terrible joke. “Peter at the gates of Paradise.”
Raziel groaned and rubbed her eyes with the heel of her free hand. “Hasdiel, likewise, thought it was hilarious.”
“Cupid?” Lucifer chirped in surprised, his mood suddenly brightening. “How is our older brother?”
“Overprotective. He came to warn me about Xavier,” she answered with an offhanded wave of her hand. “And to shoot my executive producer with his bow. So, I suppose you could say he is the same as always.
Davidson shot Chloe an alarmed look who choked out a high, reedy laugh and shook her head.
“Uh, what she means is…” Chloe grimaced as her eyes widened to almost bulging. The last thing she needed was a BOLO that would end in an angel hunt. At least not today. “It’s a metaphor.”
“No, Hasdiel did indeed shoot him. Right in the backside, in fact,” Raziel corrected, sighing before stretching her leg out in front of her.
“Josh, my executive producer then dropped to his knees in front of the studio caterer and proposed. She accepted and the two are now honeymooning in Rio. Speaking of…”
“We’re not honeymooning in Rio,” Chloe bit out, her voice strained as she pinched the bridge of her nose. “We—”
“Oh?” Raziel quipped, surprise coloring her features. “I was not going to suggest you do so, quite the opposite, in fact. However, it does gladden my heart to know that you are at least considering marriage.”
Chloe clamped her mouth shut and forced a smile as she looked away to glare at the ceiling. “I mean, I don’t even…”
“Celestial shenanigans aside,” Davidson interjected, suddenly every inch the police lieutenant. “You said your brother came to warn you. Are you in danger?”
“Probably,” Raziel admitted and sighed before giving Lucifer a pointed glare. “You will be pleased to learn, however, that Hasdiel shares your belief that Xavier is unworthy of me.”
Lucifer brightened, obviously pleased, and paused for a moment to fiddle with his cufflinks. “I knew there was a reason he was one of my favorite brothers.”
“You mean other than refusing to become Amenadiel’s right hand or the time to two of you copulated with all nine of the muses?”
“O-kay!” Chloe drew out, eyes rolling at Lucifer’s self-satisfied grin, and uttered a forced smattering of laughter. “Let’s not talk about supernatural orgies in front of my boss.”
To her surprise, Davidson didn’t seem shocked or even mildly offended. In fact, he barely reacted at all.
“Before I transferred to LA, I worked Vice in Vegas for almost ten years. Almost nothing surprises me anymore,” he explained, his eyes twinkling with barely disguised mischief, but then sobered and grew deathly serious.
“Except for the time I happened upon the devil.”
“Right,” Lucifer hiss, his eyes hardening as he fussed with his cufflinks. “Just how long have you known about me, Lieutenant?”
“A few years,” Davidson admitted and reached into the top desk drawer for an old notebook. “You remember the Richmond bust?”
Lucifer did. Filed somewhere deep in his mind where the names of all those who deserved punishment for their crimes. Once only the sinners occupied those dark recesses of his mind, but over time their names and faces became less clear, less important as a new hollow formed. It was a safe place, a calm place, a place that housed the victims, the innocent, those he had vowed, without ever realizing, to protect.
“Sebastian Richmond murdered the parents and older brother of one of my dancers,” Lucifer said coldly, the embers of anger smoldering just below the surface. “She was just a child and barely escaped with her life.”
“Only because you saved her,” Davidson said after a long tense moment. He flipped open the notebook to a page filled with old case notes.
“I was on the catwalk above. I saw everything. Your face, the wings, you tossing a guy twice your size across the room like a ragdoll. And Stephanie Dische hugging you as if you…”
“weren’t a monster,” Lucifer finished, his nostrils flaring in a snarl. “Oh, I’ve heard—”
Davidson chuckled, but there was a faraway look in his eyes. “I’m pretty sure that girl saw an angel, red skin and all.”
“What did you do?” Chloe breathed, her voice barely a whisper. “When I learned the truth, I ran away for a month.”
Davidson’s lips twisted into a watery smile. “I went home, hugged my own little girl, and tossed my bible into the garbage.”
“Can’t say I blame you, truly,” Raziel piped up, utterly guileless. “It’s horridly written, and the metaphors are terrible. And don’t even get me started on the New Testament.”
Davidson chuckled again, giving Raziel a small smile before shaking his head.
“It screwed me up for a few months. But I kept picturing you with that girl. So, I looked into you, asked around. You know, just trying to make sense out of everything. What did you want? Was I crazy? Why would the devil become a police consultant of all things? And then, it hit me.”
“Oh?” Lucifer purred, his eyes wide and mocking. “Do tell.”
“You’re just trying to live your life on your own terms.” Davidson gave Lucifer a firm, but almost fatherly nod. “I can’t begrudge anyone for that. Not even the devil.”
Lucifer huffed, his tongue flicking out over his bottom lip. “It wasn’t that simple.”
“No, it wasn’t,” Davidson admitted with an amused snort and began drumming his fingers against the desk. “And there are still moments that I wonder if maybe I’m not crazy. But all I can do is make it work. And well, it helps that you’re a good kid.”
Chloe smiled at the wonder shining in Lucifer’s eyes. He was touched, so infinitely touched, that it reminded her of her fleetingly rare true acceptance was for the devil.
“Kid?” Lucifer began with all the feigned indignation he could muster. “How dare you—”
“I’m on your side, Lucifer. Whatever that means,” Davidson said with a small, warm smile, and then nodded briefly at Chloe.
“Yours too. So, I want both of you to be careful. That means, no crazy stunts. No jumping off a building into shark-infested waters with only a knife between your teeth—”
“I would never—” Lucifer clamped his mouth shut, pursing his lips, and then shrugged as if Davidson’s statement was completely reasonable. “Oh, apologies, I have done that.”
“Twice,” Raziel agreed with a short bob of her head, “If you count the time you stole Morpheus’ bathrobe.”
Lucifer brightened, looking for all the world like a cat who had just eaten a canary and leaned sideways in his chair.
“True. But does it truly count if it happened in the dreamscape?”
“We’d have to ask Lethariel,” Raziel replied, but then sighed and turned to face Chloe.
“Unfortunately, we have more serious matters to discuss. Such as your recent soul-sucking. I believe Father used your spark of divinity in conjunction with the ley line beneath the building to perform a scrying.”
Chloe nodded jerkily and swallowed around the lump in her throat. “To find his Key.”
“Yes, I…” Raziel squeezed her eyes shut and breathed out a shaky breath.
Beside her, Lucifer tensed, the arm of his chair squeaking as he clenched his fist, but he said nothing.
“I wanted him to see the pain his unyielding adherence to order, to rules, had caused, but instead...”
Her eyes fluttered open, their whites vanishing with each bat of her long lashes. Chloe wanted to ask the reason for it. Were her eyes like Lucifer’s devil face? Did Raziel also have another form? Whatever the reason, it felt the wrong time to ask, so she bit her tongue, at least for the moment.
“He hurt you.”
Raziel sounded so distraught that Chloe gave her hand a small squeeze and leaned forward until their heads nearly touched. She gave an encouraging smile when the angel blinked at her in surprise.
“I’m okay,” she insisted, nodding as Raziel’s eyes returned to normal. “I was scared and weirded out, but he didn’t hurt me.”
Lucifer’s chair creaked as he turned to face his sister.
“You should leave punishment to the experts, sister,” he hissed, his eyes flickering with flames, but then, he exhaled, willing himself to calm. “I know whose fault this is.”
“You are kind to believe otherwise, but the fault is mine,” Raziel insisted, her voice very small, but growing as she spoke. “I could have locked him in his citadel. Without his divinity, he would have been trapped there for all eternity. But, I didn’t. In my pride, I wanted him to the world as I see it.”
She glanced at Lucifer. “As we see it.”
“He can’t, Zellie,” Lucifer began gently, purposely using to her childhood nickname. “Or won’t. He’s…He’s Dad.”
Raziel smiled sadly, her tongue flicking out to lick at her bottom lip. “I know that now. He is simply not made that way.”
Both angels jumped, startled when Davidson’s chair creaked as he sat up to his full formidable height. He tapped at his upper lip, thinking, before scribbling a something down on his notepad.
“So where is the Key now?”
Bracing herself, Raziel sighed and gave Lucifer a meaningful look.
“Oliver died not long after I learn of Father’s plan for us. I don’t want to think the two are related, but—”
“It’s exactly the sort of manipulation he would do,” Lucifer nearly spat, but then frowned. There was a piece missing, something someone wasn’t telling him. “Azrael told me you asked her for your Oliver’s soul.”
“I did,” Raziel said with a nod. Her eyes hardened, but instead of looking angry, she merely seemed tired and perhaps a little sad. “As you know, any angel can intercede for a mortal. Azrael refused to even consider my petition. She and I argue sometimes, as sisters often do, but I had no idea she hated me so.”
“She doesn’t hate you, sister—”
Suddenly, Chloe gasped and lurched forward as the room began to spin. In the back of her mind, like a flit of shadow out of the corner of her eye, she saw basalt columns and a world of ash.
There in the center, in a winding expanse of gray, was a blinding silver light.
“The Key’s in Hell,” she gasped, her lungs burning as she couldn’t get enough air. For an instant, she felt herself falling, as if she, very essence, was reaching toward that silvery light.
Raziel stilled, her expression fading until was little more than a porcelain mask. “Yes,” she hissed, just barely loud enough to be heard. “It’s in Oliver's cell.”