Lucifer’s phone buzzed, and he pulled it from his pocket as the Detective and her offspring approached. The text, oddly enough from the Detective, read, “You don’t have to say yes,” and he saw her slipping away her own phone.
Sneaky! Lucifer approved. Still, if the Detective asked, he was likely to agree. He wasn’t sure why the child was there at the precinct, but possibly Daniel had dropped her off there.
“Go ahead,” Chloe prompted, gently squeezing the child’s shoulder. Was it meant to be encouraging?
Wait, Beatrice was asking? Not Chloe?
“Um, Lucifer?” Beatrice began. “I was wondering if I could ask you a favor.”
Lucifer eyed Chloe, his brows lifting, and Chloe said quickly, “She doesn’t mean it like that. It’s not a -” She lowered her voice. “- a Devilish thing.”
Beatrice grinned suddenly, a spark of mischief in her dark eyes drawing Lucifer’s attention. He focused; the child was a surprisingly apt negotiator. “I can try to think of that kind of favor if you want, but don’t you already owe me? Since Mom said no to the driving lessons.”
Lucifer nodded and asked, “What would you like?” He suspected from the way that Chloe lifted a hand to hide her smile that she could tell he was dreading the child’s answer. Paint on his newest Armani? An appearance at her school? It could be anything.
“I want to build a bat house,” Beatrice informed him. “Some people from the nature center came to talk to my science class, and they told us about these bats with big ears. They’re so cute! I want to build them a house.”
Lucifer couldn’t find anything that sounded like a favor in the child’s rambling. This was not exactly a disappointment. “Good luck with that,” he replied, relieved.
Beatrice shot a quick look at Chloe, who nodded encouragingly. “We’re not allowed to put things on our building, or even the trees, so I was wondering if I could put it up at your place, on your balcony.”
Lucifer pondered his answer. “You’re making the house yourself?”
Beatrice nodded. “From a kit. I don’t have to cut the boards or anything, just nail them together. Don’t worry,” she added, with more perception than made Lucifer entirely comfortable. “It won’t look bad.”
A bat house would probably not do great things for the aesthetic of his balcony. But it might be worth it to not have this favor hanging over his head. The child could certainly ask worse things of him. “Would this conclude our deal?”
Beatrice hesitated, but then nodded.
“Fine,” Lucifer agreed.
The child beamed. “I’ll go tell Dad! Thanks, Lucifer!” She looked for a moment like she was going to hug him, but then dashed down the hall, apparently in search of Daniel. Lucifer exhaled. He hadn’t been holding his breath, not quite, but he had found that children were especially unpredictable, particularly where hugs were involved. Best to stay on his toes.
“Hey, thanks,” Chloe said, giving him a smile and leaning in just a little. They had been trying to keep things reasonably professional at work, but Lucifer figured that their relationship was pretty obvious from the way Miss Lopez basically turned into a heart-eyes emoji every time she saw them. “You really didn’t have to do that.”
Lucifer shrugged, though not so much that he’d mar the lines of his suit. “I owed the child a favor.”
“Yeah, but you didn’t have to say yes,” Chloe repeated. “So thanks.”
“Well, you’re welcome,” Lucifer replied, smiling despite himself. “I’m not sure any bats will nest there, though.”
“Would you mind if they did?” Chloe asked. “I mean, some people are sc - ah, uncomfortable around bats.”
“Detective!” Lucifer drew himself up. “I am certainly not afraid of bats.”
Chloe had that too-serious look that she sometimes got when she was trying not to smile. “Okay, if you’re sure. Because back when we first started living together, Maze had to get Trixie to take a spider outside, and I figured I'd better check.”
“That is completely different,” Lucifer replied. “Not that I dislike spiders, either; after all, they eat the annoying insects, as do some bats.”
Chloe’s serious expression disappeared, and she but back a laugh. “Okay, okay. Good. Well, I’ll tell you when Trixie has finished the bat house. Is it okay if she brings it over herself? She’s only ever been downstairs at Lux, after all.”
That gave Lucifer a moment’s pause. Let the child into his home, his space? All the time they had spent together had been elsewhere.
Chloe must have seen his uncertainty, as she said, “I’ll tell her to be careful, but if you don’t want her there, it’s okay.”
Lucifer looked down at Chloe, studying her expression. She seemed sincere. “She can come,” he said, with a short nod. “It’s part of the favor, after all.”
It was part of the favor, but it was more than that. Trixie, after all, was part of Chloe’s life: the most important part, if Lucifer was being honest with himself. He didn’t mind that at all, and appreciated that Chloe was a good mum. He wanted to be part of Chloe’s life, and he knew that accepting her offspring was part of that - and not just because Linda had told him.
Well, Linda had said he should do more than accepting, really, but that acceptance was a good start.
“Let me know when the bat house is ready,” Lucifer said, with a nod. “We’ll make a night of it. Dinner, maybe a movie.” He paused. “Ah, you should -”
“Yeah, we’ll pick the movie,” Chloe agreed, the corners of her eyes crinkling as she smiled. “Thanks, Lucifer.”
Chloe kept Lucifer updated on the progress of the bat house. He knew the day the kit was purchased, and then when the child had picked out a paint color, and then when she and her mother planned to put the house together.
As the day of the bat house placement grew closer, Lucifer became increasingly nervous. He’d asked Linda for advice, and she’d suggested that he treat Trixie as he always did, that putting on a show for her wouldn’t necessarily help their relationship.
Naturally, Lucifer looked elsewhere for advice.
“Daniel, do you have a moment?”
Lucifer settled down next to Daniel, who looked up from his salad with some relief. Perhaps catching Lucifer’s raised eyebrows, he shook his head ruefully. “Too much pudding,” he muttered. “What do you need?”
“Advice,” Lucifer replied briskly. “I’m having some woman issues.”
Daniel sighed. “Man, do you really think I’m the right person to ask about Chloe? Whatever you did, just… get her some flowers or something.”
Lucifer shook his head, unable to keep back his smile. “Trust me, Daniel, I have no need of any help where the Detective is concerned. At all. In any arena.”
“Dude, seriously?” Daniel muttered, turning back to his salad.
“No, the woman I need help with is young Beatrice,” Lucifer continued, trying not to sound embarrassed. “She and the Detective are coming over to the penthouse this evening, and I want to make sure it goes well.”
Lucifer risked a glance over, and saw that Daniel’s expression had softened. “Okay, this is a little weird,” Daniel admitted, “but I love Trixie more than anything, and I appreciate that you’re asking me.”
Lucifer inclined his head. “I assumed you would know what I should do. Not that I want to replace you in her affections,” he added, unable to entirely repress a shudder at the thought. “But the Detective loves her.”
“Yeah, man, don’t worry,” Daniel replied, taking a forkful of his kale. Lucifer made a mental note to see if he’d cashed in his favor from the American Kale Association; getting Beyoncé to wear the sweatshirt in that video had been a genius move on his part.
Lucifer steered his focus away from leafy greens and back to the topic at hand. “Don’t worry? Why not?”
“Look, as much as I hate to admit it, Trixie loves you,” Daniel said, though he smiled as he shook his head. “And I’m glad. Chloe really cares about you, and it’s important for you and Trix to get along if this… whatever it is between you and Chloe is going to work. And she wants it to, so I want it to.” He rubbed his forehead, adding, “I can’t believe I’m talking about my ex-wife’s love life to her boyfriend, the Devil, and trying to help him be, what, step-Satan to my kid.”
“Boyfriend,” Lucifer echoed, pleased. Then he paused. Step-Satan? He hadn’t thought that far ahead in the relationship, but, well, it was possible.
Daniel hesitated. “That is what you are, right? Because if you’re just messing around with Chloe… look I don’t care if it sends me to Hell, I’ll kick your ass.”
“What a fascinating theology,” Lucifer murmured. “If anything, smiting the Devil would send you to Heaven. Fear not, Daniel. I am not, as you say, messing around with the Detective. I -”
But no. He couldn’t say it to Daniel. Not when he hadn’t said it to her, when he’d barely admitted it to himself.
From Daniel’s expression, he didn’t have to. “Okay,” he said. "Trixie’s favorite pizza is from Nino’s, around the corner. “She only likes cheese pizza, and get an order of fries, too…”
Lucifer nodded, listening as Daniel continued with his advice. It was still going to be a challenge, entertaining the child, but Daniel’s help made it seem a little less daunting.
Beatrice looked to be all eyes as she came into the penthouse with the Detective. That was fine with Lucifer, as being all eyes meant that less grabbing might be involved. The fact that the child was carrying what Lucifer assumed to be the bat house had to reduce the grabbing factor as well.
“Here we are, now,” Lucifer greeted.
“Wow,” Beatrice said, sounding awed. "Lucifer, your apartment is huge.
“Thank you,” Lucifer replied, nonplussed. Compared to all of Hell, after all, it was quite small.
The child moved through the apartment, still clinging to the bat house as she marveled aloud at Lucifer’s decor, his bar, his piano, his books, and his view. Well, she did have good taste.
“Can I, ah?” Lucifer asked finally, gesturing to the bat house. It had been wrapped in some sort of plastic bag, and Lucifer was curious to see just what he would be attaching to his balcony.
Beatrice grinned and nodded, and carefully sat the bat house on Lucifer’s table. “Up to a thousand little brown bats could fit in here,” she announced.
Lucifer did not mind bats, specifically, but the thought of a thousand of them living on his balcony was a bit daunting.
“Don’t worry,” Beatrice added. “They won’t fly in your hair or anything. That’s just in movies and stuff.”
Why was Chloe covering her hand with her mouth? Was he that funny with her offspring?
“That’s good,” Lucifer replied. Gesturing again toward the bat house, he asked, “Do you want to do the honors?”
Nodding, Beatrice pulled off the plastic.
The bat house was green. It wasn’t a bold or bright color, but neither was it particularly soothing.
It had a bat painted on each side.
In bright green glitter.
Across the top, someone, presumably Beatrice, had painted WELCOME! COME IN!
Also in bright green glitter.
“It’s supposed to be a light color, because it gets so hot here,” Beatrice chattered. “I didn’t want it to be grey or white, because that was boring, and green is supposed to mean life, and I want the bats to live a long time.” She turned to Lucifer, asking earnestly, “What do you think?”
Lucifer considered his words, then replied, with total sincerity, “I have never seen anything like this in my entire life, which as you know has been very long.”
Chloe winked at him over the child’s head, and Lucifer smiled in return, particularly as Beatrice seemed to take his remark as something positive.
“Well,” he said briskly. “Shall we hang it, now? Where should it go?” he asked, turning to Beatrice.
The child rummaged in a pocket and came up with a battered paper. Reading from it, she said, “It should be at least ten feet off the ground.” She looked up with a grin that Lucifer couldn’t help but return. “I think we’re good there. It should be somewhere that gets at least six hours of sun a day, south-southeast, preferably a hundred thirty-five degrees az… azi…”
“Azimuth.” Lucifer supplied. He pointed. “It should go about there, along that wall.”
Beatrice and the Detective exchanged a surprised look. “How did you know that?” Chloe asked.
“Azimuth?” Lucifer queried. “It’s not an uncommon word. It just means -”
“No,” Chloe replied, shaking her head but still looking a bit amused. “How did you know which direction was a hundred thirty-five degrees.”
“Huh. I’m not sure,” Lucifer replied, frowning as he thought about it. “I just did.”
“Maybe you have to know stuff like that for when you’re flying,” Beatrice suggested. "You're a compass. Cool." Still, her attention was clearly elsewhere, as she asked, “Are you going to hang it, Lucifer? Can you do it right now?”
He did, much to the surprised amusement of the women. “What, do you think I don’t know how these things work?” he asked. "I was alive before tools were invented. Even invented some of them myself." He managed to keep his expression to a smile, and not a leer, but he was pretty sure that Chloe knew what tools he meant.
The child had been suitably impressed, but more, Chloe had been. She’d approved of the pizza delivery that Lucifer had pre-arranged, and then they all sat on the couch to watch the movie Beatrice had deemed the closest to a bat movie that she had: Hotel Transylvania. He hadn’t even said anything when Beatrice sat between him and Chloe.
“How did you know to get Nino’s?” Chloe asked, when Beatrice had gone out to the balcony to watch for bats. “And you have Twizzlers, her favorite.”
“I did get a little help from Daniel,” Lucifer admitted. “Only I wanted it to go well.”
Chloe didn’t say anything for long enough that Lucifer started to get concerned that he’d upset her. The way her eyes glistened when she stretched up to kiss him didn’t exactly make him less confused, though she stroked the nape of his neck in a way he quite liked. “You’re really trying, huh?” she asked, and he wondered if perhaps she was getting a cold, as her voice sounded odd. Humans were a puzzle.
“Well, yes. After all, the child likely wouldn’t have enjoyed haute cuisine, and I do want my guests to be comfortable.”
Lucifer felt Chloe’s laugh more than he heard it. “Well, thank you.” They remained close for a moment longer, and then Chloe eased away with a glance at the balcony, saying, “But we need to get out of your hair. School tomorrow. Come on, Monkey!”
Lucifer heard Beatrice sigh, and then she yelled, “Come on, bats! There’s a new house here just waiting for you!”
Lucifer waved away Chloe’s attempt to hush the child, saying, “Not likely anybody’d notice up here, except for the bats.”
Beatrice smiled at Lucifer as she came inside, though she said, “No bats yet.”
“Well, give them time, babe,” Chloe replied. “They probably haven’t even seen the house yet.”
“I’ll keep watch for them,” Lucifer reassured. Well, of course he would, with the possibility of a thousand little brown bats as neighbors. Still, they’d be quiet, if they set up house. There were worse neighbors to have.
“Thanks, Lucifer! Maybe they’ll come tonight,” Beatrice suggested, as she and Chloe headed for the elevator.
But they didn’t. It took a few weeks for them - well, him - to find the bat house.