The kid was still mad at her. It had been months and she hadn't given up holding onto that grudge. Maze supposed she had to be a little impressed. Would be, too, if it weren't so weirdly… disconcerting. Yeah. Disconcerting.
Now Trixie was trailing after Chloe as she went about getting ready to leave. If Maze were a lesser demon- person- demon, she wouldn't care that Trixie didn't want to be left with her for the next week. She wouldn't care that she had been the last resort, too, with Dan at a conference all week and Chloe's mother filming some throwback to the 80s movie.
The longer she was up here, the longer she palled around with these mortals, the more feelings she had. Feelings beyond being pissed at Lucifer for refusing to take her home. Soft, gooshy feelings that had no place in a demon's heart. She had thought she was okay with it, that she was getting used to it. And then…
Well, thinking about it did no good. She had wronged Trixie and the little human wasn't going to let her forget it. And she didn't know what to do about that. She supposed she could ask Linda—probably, she should ask Linda—but that felt like admitting defeat. She had been here for almost eight years, surely she could figure out how to make a little kid like her again.
"Are you listening to me?"
"Yeah, sure," Maze said, absolutely not listening. "Don't worry, Decker, me and the kid can handle it."
Decker looked conflicted and then kept on re-explaining everything they weren't to do. There were an awful lot of rules and phone numbers and schedules and Maze didn't get it. How hard could it possibly be to watch a kid Trixie's age for a week? She was pretty self-sufficient. It was going to be no big deal.
Okay, maybe that was wishful thinking given how now Trixie was standing by her bedroom door, glaring furiously at Maze, her arms crossed over her chest. Maze mirrored her pose, glaring right back. If she thought she could intimidate a demon, she had another think coming. Maze had been glared at by way more dangerous things in her time on the surface, never mind her eons in Hell.
"Maze," Decker snapped and then sighed when Maze made a face at her.
She had been sort of listening! Schedule on the fridge, a ridiculous list of emergency numbers next to it, don't do anything fun, she got it. Trixie was going to be fine, it was going to be fine. Maybe she could…
Maybe she could use this time to—ugh, feelings—figure out how to make up to her. Sure, she had said some things that maybe she regretted now. Maybe regretted a lot now. But there had to be some easy way to get Trixie to just stop glaring like that.
"I'm going to miss my flight," Decker muttered and rushed over to kiss the side of Trixie's head. "Okay, you know the rules, be good, call me if you need anything." Then she pointed at Maze. "Same goes for you."
"We'll be fine, Decker. Go, have fun with Lucifer." She grinned wickedly, just to make Decker squirm, and it worked. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
"Right, okay," Decker grabbed her suitcase and paused at the door. "Love you, Trix. Be good!"
"I love you too, Mommy," Trixie said, turning and waving goodbye as Decker left.
Maze didn't feel relieved that she wasn't being glared at anymore. That would be ridiculous. She just didn't like being the focus of that much disappointment. Especially coming from such a small body. Where did she keep all those feelings?
Then Trixie turned back to her and resumed her glowering, all tiny and fierce and full of anger. Maze could relate to the last two, at least. And she wasn't going to be the one to break first, oh no. She could stand there all day.
Maybe not all day.
Man, that kid was stubborn. Maybe she should call Linda to deal with this. Maybe this had been a huge mistake if Trixie was really that dead set against letting bygones by bygones. Was it too late to call Decker back and make up some excuse and jet? There was a reason she had moved out after Lucifer's fuck up with his face, after all.
"You're mean," Trixie finally said after an interminable time.
"I'm a demon, kid," Maze said back to her, stating the obvious in case Trixie had forgotten.
It felt like an excuse, which was ridiculous because it was true. She was a demon, and demons weren't nice. Demons didn't do nice. At least not for long periods of time. Not without some ulterior motive.
"That doesn't make it okay," Trixie said and Maze couldn't identify the emotion in her voice but she didn't like it. It made her feel squirrely inside. "You hurt my feelings."
"Yeah," she said, and pointed out the obvious again. "That was kind of the point."
Trixie heaved out a sigh and rolled her eyes. "You're supposed to say you're sorry."
Oh. Well. That… would be a first. But… Maze kind of was. In a way. Maybe that was what the squirrely feeling was: regret. Weird.
"Fine, I'm sorry," she said, crossing her arms tighter. "And I don't really think you're a brat, I guess."
Trixie stared at her for what felt like forever. Then nodded, dropped her arms, and said, "Okay."
"Okay?" Maze asked, some tension she hadn't noticed she was carrying releasing. "That's it?"
"When people say they're sorry and mean it, you're supposed to forgive them, duh," Trixie said and Maze really did not appreciate that "duh" on the end. "Now that Mommy's gone can you show me that knife trick where you flip it again? I can't get it right."
Maze blinked, slowly dropping her own arms. If it was that easy to get the kid to stop being mad, what had she wasted all those months for? There should be some kind of manual that came with these things. How was she supposed to know a "sorry" would do it? It wasn't like she had grown up here and had someone to teach her these things.
It left her feeling kind of wrong-footed and awkward, but she shrugged the feeling off.
"Yeah, sure," she said, reaching to the middle of her back to pull a knife out of her pants. "Show me what you're doing."
Chloe wasn't sure which she was more nervous about: leaving Trixie with Maze or having to spend a significant amount of time in close quarters with Lucifer for the first time since… since it all went down. She was glad he was taking a different flight than her—a chartered one she had politely declined; lord knew the devil wasn't going to fly commercial—which would give her time to prepare herself.
Like that was all she needed. Time. Like she hadn't already had so much of it and yet not enough. She had needed to wrap her head around everything, true, but at some point it had just… gotten easier to not text him than to try to open that line of communication again. They had managed a couple awkward cases together, but she thought that it probably wouldn't last much longer, not if they couldn't click anymore.
He was going to get bored and frustrated and leave soon, she knew it in her bones.
It was both all she wanted and the last thing she wanted. She wanted him to get it over with; to go back to- to being focused on the angelic machinations of his family. To wander off and find something novel to occupy his time with again. Surely this whole consultant business was just a lark for him, knowing what she knew now. And she didn't think her heart could take it if he- If he insisted on staying and got her hopes up.
She would just have to make sure they stayed down.
And as for Maze and Trixie… Chloe would have been a lot more comfortable leaving her with almost anyone else, but everyone seemed to be busy. Dan was at a conference and couldn't—wouldn't—cut it short to come back and take care of his child. Linda was going to be out of town mid-week. Ella… Nothing against Ella, just Trixie didn't know her that well and when it came down to it, Chloe would rather leave Trixie with someone she knew than not. Even if she was still mad at Maze.
They would sort things out. Trixie never could stay mad long if she couldn't ignore the existence of the other person completely.
The flight wasn't that long—LA to Seattle—and for once she found herself wishing it was longer. She was going to have to get a cab from the airport to the hotel she was staying at and then meet up with Lucifer and go talk to the Seattle PD about the case.
It was a weird one. There had been a spate of jumpers that was moving up the coast. If the pattern followed, it was going to hit Seattle next, and as one of the original detectives on the case, she was going there to provide "assistance and insight" to the officers working the cases. It was something about an interdepartment cooperation initiative that she hadn't really payed attention to. She knew what it meant in practical terms: being forced to barge in on someone else's turf.
She hated it when it was done to her and she hated doing it.
But she didn't get to make those choices, not when she was on everyone's shit list again, this time for Pierce. Lucifer had paved the way for her to get along better with her fellow cops when he started working with her, but that didn't help her now. There was still an investigation into the Sinnerman's network going, one she couldn't be a part of, that nearly the entire precinct was on. Except for her. And Lucifer.
She got to the hotel she was supposed to stay at without incident, paying the cab driver and watching as he drove off before turning to drag her suitcase inside. Lucifer, of course, was staying elsewhere, in some fancy place near the center of town. He had offered to get her a room there, too, but she had declined. Something anxious and awkward curled in her stomach whenever she thought too hard about how easily he could do that: offer to take her along on his chartered flight, offer to pay for a week's stay at a fancy hotel.
"Reservation for Decker," she told the front desk person, pulling out her license.
The woman frowned at her computer, before looking up at Chloe. "Could it be under a different name?"
She felt a sinking feeling in her stomach and shook her head. "It's not in there?"
"No, I'm sorry," the woman said, her keyboard clacking as she typed something and then shook her head again.
Okay, that was okay, she could just rent a room and have the department reimburse her. "Okay, well, I'd like to rent a room then."
The woman looked regretful as she slowly said, "I'm sorry. We're all booked up. There's a conference in the area, and-"
"Fuck," Chloe muttered, then sighed and shook her head. "No, it's alright. There's got to be something with a vacancy somewhere. Thank you."
She dragged her suitcase back outside and started to search on her phone for something, anything. Anything that didn't involve having to call Lucifer and take him up on his offer of a room. Anything.
But there was nothing, not within a reasonable distance. The hotels were all booked up, the motels were all booked up, even the airbnbs were either booked or looked too shady to stay in. She sat down on her suitcase with a huff of frustrated breath and glared at her phone. There was no getting around it.
"Detective!" Lucifer said, picking up on the first ring. "I trust you made it safely?"
"Yeah," she said. "The plane isn't the problem. They screwed up my reservation and everything around here is booked up."
"Ah," he said, suddenly sounding cautious. It was a tone he'd taken with her more often as the months passed and she had moments where she just couldn't deal with the whole "devil" thing. Where she had to take a step back, a step away, and let her brain readjust again. "I'm afraid the same is true here."
"They messed up your reservation?" she asked, that sinking feeling back.
"No, no, I have a room, but it's the last in the inn, so to speak."
Great, she was going to have to find something further out and just… take an uber in every day. The department was going to love that.
"My suite has a pullout couch," he said slowly, giving her time to refuse the offer before he got the whole thing out. She appreciated it. "And there's certainly enough room for two people."
"I-" she started, then stopped. She shouldn't; she really shouldn't, not when they were still so rocky. But she really did not want to be commuting from some godawful distance outside of Seattle. "Yeah, okay," she said with a resigned sigh. "Thanks."
"My pleasure," he said, and only then did she start thinking about all the different ways this could go wrong.
They were here for a week, minimum, and the last thing she wanted was to deal with Lucifer being, well, him for a week. Not when- Well. She would have to make due. It was a week, not forever. And maybe… maybe it would help them work out some of their issues. Maybe it would help things go back to the way they were. Maybe one of them could fix things. And maybe that meant Lucifer wouldn't get tired of her and of working with the police and leave. She could only hope.
It was funny that the thing she was afraid of the most wasn't that he was the Devil, but that she would lose him.
In agreeing to babysit Trixie for a week, Maze hadn't considered that things would go wrong so quickly.
"Okay, okay," she said, scowling at the first aid kit in front of her. "It's just a little scratch."
"It h-hurts," Trixie whimpered, the tone grinding on Maze's nerves and she wasn't sure why.
"Yeah but you'll have a neat scar," she said as she pulled out a bottle of antiseptic and some bandaids with cartoon characters on them. "Look, it's not even going to need real bandages."
She reached for Trixie's arm, but the kid curled around it, keeping it close to her body like she was mortally wounded instead of having just scratched herself with a knife. It wasn't even a demon blade for crying out loud. The dramatics weren't necessary.
"Look," she said, holding out the antiseptic and a clean towel. "You're getting blood all over your shirt. Let me see."
Trixie's bottom lip wobbled and the last thing Maze wanted was for her to start crying. She wasn't sure how to deal with that, and she hated not being sure of things. And she hated giving up so she couldn't call Linda and make her deal with it, either.
"Is it gonna hurt?" Trixie asked, using her head to motion to the antiseptic.
"Probably?" Maze said, shrugging. "I don't know. I'm a demon; I don't get sick. It's only you humans that have to deal with nasty germs and antiseptic."
Trixie's bottom lip trembled again.
"Okay how about this," Maze said, desperate. "If you let me deal with your arm, I'll let you have chocolate cake for dinner."
"You'd let me anyway," Trixie said, but she slowly held out her arm and turned her head away.
"Yeah, true," Maze said. "That shit is delicious. Hold still."
She wiped away the trickles of blood and poured the antiseptic over the cut. The kid shrieked like she was dying, but to her credit, didn't move her arm.
"Almost done," Maze said, grabbing the bandaids.
It really was just a little cut, barely deep enough to bleed. But—and Decker had drilled this into her head when they first started playing with knives—little kids didn't have the same pain tolerance as adults and if she let Trixie get hurt she'd have her head.
"Hey we should definitely not tell your mom about this." Maze put one bandaid over the deepest part of the cut, then another one crisscross, just to be safe.
"I know that," Trixie said, scowling, her voice watery. If she started crying… "She'd make us stop."
"Yeah, exactly," Maze said.
For someone who just a few hours ago didn't want anything to do with her, it was good to hear that Trixie would be upset if they had to stop with their lessons. Really, it was a miracle they'd managed to go so long without Trixie cutting herself. Decker should be proud of her kid.
"I want cake for lunch, too," Trixie demanded, her bottom lip wobbling again, only now Maze was pretty sure it was on purpose. "My arm hurts."
"You're gonna get sick of it if you have it for every meal," she cautioned, but Trixie was having none of it.
"I would never." She inspected the bandaids on her arm and nodded to herself. "Okay. We should go to the park. Tommy's gonna be there today and he said I was lying about learning knife fights."
"Well we'll have to show him," Maze said, indignant on Trixie's behalf, and stood up to put the first aid kit away and gather up Trixie's practice knives. "Can't have anyone calling you a liar."
"Yeah!" Trixie said, punching the air. "Can we stop for ice cream on the way back?"
"What, do you think I'm made of money, kid?" Decker would kill Maze if she let Trixie have ice cream and cake for lunch and then cake again for dinner, she was pretty sure. "You can have ice cream tomorrow. Or maybe after dinner, whatever."
"Okay," Trixie said with a pout, drawing out the word and making it sound like Maze had just told her she couldn't have any cake at all ever again. It was ridiculous.
"Come on, go get your shoes. We've gotta show Tommy what's up."
Trixie ran to the front door and started pulling on her shoes, Maze following more slowly. A part of her wondered if this was really a good idea, taking a bunch of knives to the park to show up a ten-year-old. The rest of her was too indignant over the little shit calling Trixie a liar to listen to that part. Besides, that part sounded an awful lot like Decker, and she was boring.
At the park, Maze handed Trixie the knives and, when she took off at a run, shouted after her a reminder to run with the blades pointed down. The last thing she needed was the kid falling and gouging an eye out or something.
Tommy looked like the kind of sniveling little shit that would be jealous of everyone cooler than him. Maze definitely bought that he had said something mean to Trixie. She wondered if maybe she should do something about that, threaten him or something. But Trixie looked like she had a handle on it as she brought him back to where Maze was standing.
"This is Maze," Trixie was saying. "She's the one teaching me, look."
She showed him her little knives, and then turned and threw one at a big palm tree on the edge of the park. It didn't sink in very far, but it did hit the tree blade-first and stuck for a moment before falling to the ground.
Tommy was looking at her with wide eyes as she turned back to him, a smug grin on her face. Atta girl.
"See? I told you I could do it."
"I bet you can't do it again. You were just lucky," he said, crossing his little arms over his chest and glaring at her.
"Yeah? Watch me," Trixie said stubbornly and turned back to face the tree. She threw another knife, which stuck in the tree this time, and then another one that hit just a bit above the first and stuck.
He was quiet for a moment, staring at the tree, then turned to Trixie with a furious look on his face. "You can't play with knives in the park! I'm telling my mom on you."
Maze hadn't thought of that. It would be just like humans to have dumb rules about where you could and couldn't go flinging knives around. They'd probably better get out of there before his mother came over and tried to give Maze shit. She was pretty sure threatening a kid's parents was on the list of things she wasn't to do while Decker was gone.
That was okay. She could wait until Decker was back, and then do it.
"Time to go," she told Trixie, grabbing her shoulder before she could take off after the other kid and prodded her in the direction of her knives. "Let's get ice cream. You did good."
"Ice cream! Yes!" Trixie yelled and quickly collected her knives to hand back to Maze.
Just in time, too. It looked like a "concerned parent" was stalking over to them and Maze didn't know what would happen if the bitch tried to threaten her or Trixie. Surely Decker had meant don't threaten parents unless they threatened her first, but it was probably best not to test it.
Still, she sent a smirk back over her shoulder as she hurried Trixie away, meeting the woman's furious gaze and winking. Never let it be said she didn't get the last word—or gesture—in.
"Oh wow," Chloe said as she stepped into Lucifer's hotel room.
No, suite. It was a suite with multiple rooms. It was ridiculously opulent and fancier than any single person needed. She could see a bed through the doorway, which was big enough to easily fit four people. The couch was already pulled out, too, off to the side. Someone had made it up—she couldn't picture Lucifer doing it, so he must have called a maid—and ready. She went to put her bag over by it, but Lucifer stopped her.
"You can have the bedroom, darling," he said, eyeing the pullout with some distaste. "I insist."
"You're too long to fit on that," she said, moving to put her suitcase by it again. "It's okay, I've definitely slept on worse."
"No, really," he said, picking up her suitcase as soon as she set it down and turning to go to the bedroom. "It's only right."
"Lucifer," she said, grabbing the handle and ignoring the thrill that went through her at the feeling of his hand against hers. "Don't be ridiculous."
But he had that stubborn set to his jaw that said he wasn't going to give this up; that he was determined to do something for her that he decided was nice regardless of what she thought of it. And she had to admit it… it was nice. It was nice to know that he wanted her to be comfortable, that he would put himself out to make sure that she was.
He didn't let go of the handle, but he didn't try to pull it from her either. "I'm not being ridiculous."
"You are," she said and pulled at her suitcase, but he was like a rock, refusing to be moved. She huffed in frustration and stopped. "Fine, if you're going to be like that then it's a big enough bed. I'm sure we can share."
She had offered it as a trump card that would make him back down. She couldn't deny that a part of her was thrilled at the idea, though, and wanted him to accept. She shouldn't let her heart get more tangled up with him, but he wasn't making it easy, because he stared at her for a moment, searching her gaze, and then hefted the suitcase until she had to let go.
"Alright," he said. "If that's what you desire."
She rolled her eyes, but he didn't catch it, having turned the rest of the way to go to the bedroom. What she desired was to sleep on the- well, that was a lie. She didn't want to sleep on the pullout. As comfortable as it looked—and it did look comfortable—the bed looked like it would be a dream to sleep on. Like she would be ruined for all other beds.
"Glad we got that sorted out," she muttered, ignoring the look of consternation he flashed back at her. Then she said, louder, "I'm going to go find something to eat. You're welcome to come with me if you want, but I'm thinking fast food more than fine dining."
He popped his head out of the bedroom and studied her for a moment, making her want to squirm under his gaze.
"Perhaps somewhere in the middle?" he asked, coming out of the room to where she was standing, still in the foyer.
It had a foyer. If this was the kind of place he stayed when he went traveling, no wonder he had turned down the department's offer of a hotel room. It was ridiculous and over the top unnecessary and exquisitely him.
"Yeah, sure," she said. Really, she didn't want to wait for food—something ready-made would suit her just fine—but, well. Why not? It wasn't a vacation, but it was the closest thing she was likely to get. May as well enjoy it.
They ended up at an out-of-the-way Italian restaurant, one that didn't have candles on the table but had the lights slightly dimmed like it was trying for the same ambiance. Something in the middle indeed.
It felt almost like a date, with Lucifer pulling her chair out for her and ordering wine that she wouldn't have been able to afford in her lifetime. She didn't feel out of place in her comfy travel outfit, but if he had decided to go one step higher on the "fancy" ladder, she would have. She liked to think that he had specifically chosen somewhere that would be comfortable for her, but couldn't be sure.
Maybe he was just craving Italian food.
Regardless, the food was delicious and they quietly discussed the case. Someone was making people jump to their deaths—usually young men in their late 20s, usually somewhat wealthy, usually from the tops of very tall buildings. It looked like some kind of serial killer, but no one would have made the connection if a young officer who had just transferred down from northern California hadn't made the connection to the cold case.
As the detective with the best close rate, Chloe had been put on the case. And where Chloe went, so went Lucifer. They'd spent the past couple weeks investigating and re-interviewing witnesses. As they traced the occurrences up the coast, it became clear that the next target was either Seattle again or the surrounding areas, and if the person causing all this kept to the timeline, it would be within the next week.
It didn't give them much time to find the killer, even though all it took was one call from the new lieutenant and they were headed there to partner with the SPD. Regardless, they had the most information, so they were going to try.
"Dessert, Detective?" Lucifer asked when their plates were empty.
She really shouldn't; even though they were talking work, with the soft look in his eyes and the wine and the timbre of his voice, it felt like a date. She didn't want to be led on, but the food had been delicious and she was tired from the flight and dessert sounded really good.
So, against her better judgment—judgment that was growing quieter and quieter—she said yes. The cannoli she got was delicious, the perfect amount of crunch and meltingly soft filling, of sweet and tart.
"You have a little-" Lucifer started, reaching across the table to touch the side of her cheek with his thumb.
She froze at the touch, a frisson of fire going through her as he dragged his thumb down and a feeling of loss replacing it as he sat back, a bit of cheese filling on his thumb. His gaze darkened as it met hers, and he slowly put his thumb in his mouth and sucked off the filling.
She swallowed, hard, and then looked away. She could feel her cheeks coloring and knew Lucifer could see it too.
"We should get back to the hotel," she said, her voice rough, and, after a moment, the side of his mouth quirked in a rueful smile and he nodded.
"Early morning tomorrow, then?" he asked.
"For both of us," she said sternly as the waitress brought over the check. She made a lackluster grab for it, but didn't complain when Lucifer swiped it out from under her hand and paid for both of them. "Thanks."
"My pleasure," he said with a soft smile that had her insides melting.
She reminded herself he was the Devil, he wasn't going to stay, she shouldn't let her heart get carried away, but none of it helped stop the flutter in her gut at the look he was sending her. This was going to be a long week.