January 25th, 2016
“…what I’m about to ask is going to be quite difficult for you. Pull yourself together. That’s it. That’s all I’m asking. Get it together before it’s too late. You’re wasting your talent. Your life.”
“I let you down.”
“Then fix it.”
Delilah looked up at him, a glimmer of hope returning to her eyes. “I’m gonna do what you asked. I’m gonna get it together, Lucifer. I promise.”
“It’s not about me.” Lucifer sighed – why did humans never understand that their actions were about them . They were freely gifted with the one thing he’d rebelled against his father for and had been tossed down to Hell for his efforts – free will. But they never seemed to appreciate it. “All these terrible things that weren’t supposed to happen? They happened. What happens next is up to you.”
Delilah chewed on her lip as she mulled over his words, and then nodded determinedly in agreeance. “Okay. Hey, is it alright if I go out the back way? I don’t wanna deal with the paparazzi tonight.”
“Of course. Tell your driver to pull into the service entrance and you can go out through the basement. I trust you remember the way?”
Delilah smiled gratefully. “Yeah. I had some good times working here. Thanks Lucifer.”
After a brief hug goodbye, Lucifer watched as she typed out a quick text on her phone before speaking to Patrick at the bar and then disappearing into the kitchen.
He really hoped she kept her promise.
With her gone, Lucifer stretched his arms out across the back of the booth, his long legs extended in front of him, one crossed over the other as he looked down at his club below – a king surveying his kingdom. He’d been on Earth for five years now and had indulged in every sin and act of debauchery it had to offer – multiple times over. But recently he’d been feeling restless, bored even. He could have whatever he wanted, and more often than not whomever he wanted, and his bed was never empty – unless he chose it to be. But nothing ever surprised him anymore.
His demon bartender broke him out of his melancholy, loudly placing a tumbler of whiskey down on the table in front of him.
“Someone’s here to see you – looking for a favour” Maze informed him.
Lucifer groaned. Usually he was happy to play this game, making deals and entertaining humans’ weird and wonderful desires. But tonight, he just wasn’t in the mood. “Not tonight Mazikeen. Tell them to come back tomorrow.”
Maze grinned knowingly. “Oh, I think you’re gonna wanna see this one.”
Lucifer raised an intrigued eyebrow before peering around Maze towards the top of the staircase. His eyes widened at the sight he was met with, suddenly feeling far less bored. Unconsciously he sat up straighter in his seat as he took in the young woman who looked to be in her early thirties, with long wavy blonde hair that framed her strikingly beautiful face and cascaded down over delicate shoulders. The fitted but classy little black dress she wore highlighted her impressively toned physique, and his mouth felt suddenly very dry when the lights caught her impossibly long legs as she descended the stairs.
“You’re welcome.” Maze smirked, sauntering away as the woman made her way over to him.
As confident as she had seemed at the top of the staircase, as she came to a stop in front of him, Lucifer could tell that she was actually nervous, although she was doing her best to hide it.
“Lucifer Morningstar?” she asked, wringing her hands together.
Lucifer stood up to meet her and smiled warmly, feeling the need to put her at ease. “The one and only.”
She relaxed somewhat at the confirmation and gave him a small smile in return.
“And who might you be, darling?”
The woman opened her mouth to reply but Lucifer beat her to it as a spark of recognition hit him. “Actually, you look familiar – have we met before? I could swear I’ve seen you naked.”
Her smile turned into a scowl and she glared at him. “You know what, this was a mistake – I should never have come here.”
Lucifer felt an inexplicable panic at the thought of her leaving. His hand shot out and grabbed her gently by the wrist – not preventing her from going if she wanted to, but imploring her to stay. “Wait. Please, don’t go. I’m sorry. Why don’t we start again, hmm?”
The sincerity in his voice must have won her over, because after a few moments of regarding him – during which he thought she was going to flee, she nodded and took a seat at the booth.
Lucifer let out a relieved breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding and sat down next to her. “Lovely. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss…?” he greeted, holding out his hand.
“Decker. Chloe Decker,” she told him.
As she slipped her smaller hand into his larger one, a jolt of electricity shot through his veins at the contact. And if her sharp inhale was anything to go by, she had felt it too.
“Chloe,” he repeated with a smile, liking how it sounded on his tongue. “And what can I do for you, Chloe?”
Chloe looked nervous again and began to fidget. “Mr Morningstar, I-”
“Please, call me Lucifer,” he interrupted smoothly.
Normally he was happy to maintain a barrier of formality with his associates, but for some reason that didn’t feel right with her.
She gave him a small smile before dropping her gaze and resuming fidgeting. “Lucifer, I- I need a favour. And I’ve heard you’re the man to come to for that.”
“Well, you heard correctly,” he grinned. “And what kind of favour do you need?” he asked, holding her gaze as he leaned in closer to her. “Tell me, Chloe – what is it you truly desire?”
Instead of the slack-jawed response he usually received, Chloe narrowed her eyes and looked at him like she thought he wasn’t quite all there. “Are you…trying to hypnotise me or something?”
Lucifer snapped his head back, scrunching his brow in confusion as he regarded her curiously. “It’s not working. Why is it not working?”
“Umm, maybe I’m just immune to your weird jedi mind tricks.”
“Fascinating.” Lucifer regarded her with curious intrigue. “I’m not a jedi though. But I do have the ability to draw out people’s forbidden desires – usually.”
Chloe raised a sceptical eyebrow. “Right…okaay.”
Turning her attention to her purse, she began rooting around in it. As she searched for whatever she was looking for, something in it caught Lucifer’s eye.
“Oh, you’re a cop!”
“What?” Chloe asked distractedly, before realising that he’d spotted her badge. “Oh, yeah - a detective actually. I work homicide.”
Lucifer grinned. “Well, Detective, it seems we have something in common – we both like to punish bad guys!”
Chloe frowned. “I thought you ran a nightclub?”
“That’s more of a post-retirement pastime. Pre-retirement I was heavily involved in the justice system.”
Chloe quirked an eyebrow and decided not to ask – plausible deniability and all. She really hoped he wasn’t some sort of criminal overlord or mob boss as she really didn’t need any more problems in her life. Who was she kidding though – even if he was, she’d still be here, because she was that desperate for help, and she’d exhausted all other options.
“So, about my favour…” she began again hesitantly.
“Yes, indeed! Seeing as how I can’t draw out your hidden desires, do tell! I’m intrigued to know what twist of fate has brought you into my acquaintance.”
Chloe took a deep breath, seemingly trying to muster as much courage as possible. As she looked up at him, her sea green eyes were wide and emanating emotion. “I need some money.”
“Oh,” Lucifer replied, disappointed. “Is that all? I was hoping you might have something more interesting in mind. Like sex – which is always on the table by the way.”
Chloe just rolled her eyes, already having gotten used to his flirtatiousness.
“Does the LAPD not pay enough? Or are you just not taking enough bribes?”
“No it doesn’t, and no I don’t take any bribes.” A tender smile pulled at her lips as she pulled up a photo of a small child on her phone. “This is my daughter, Trixie.”
“Trixie’s a hooker’s name,” Lucifer pointed out bluntly.
Chloe scowled at him again. “Thanks,” she deadpanned. “It’s short for Beatrice.” This guy was seriously annoying, and seriously offensive, but she also seriously needed his help.
Lucifer looked at the photo of the young girl with a face splitting smile and skinny little arms wrapped around her mother’s neck in a loving embrace. Her eyes were the same as Chloe’s, albeit a darker colour. He tended to avoid children as much as possible, never really understanding the sticky – and generally very loud and annoying, miniature creatures. No surprise really given that that children never made it to Hell. “So, does your offspring require a new bike, or driving lessons perhaps?”
Chloe huffed in amusement – he was clearly clueless about kids. Given his playboy reputation though, that wasn’t particularly surprising. “Um she’s 7, so no on the driving lessons front.” She looked back down at the screen and Lucifer was sure he could see tears misting her eyes as she traced the image of the young girl with her finger. “She has cancer.” Her voice cracked on the last word, as if her heart broke a little bit more every time she said it.
“Oh.” Lucifer felt terrible for having teased her. “I’m sorry,” he told her, truly meaning it. Human diseases really were cruel – especially when inflicted upon those so young and innocent.
When she looked back up at him, there was no disguising the tears glistening in her eyes. Lucifer’s chest tightened at seeing her upset, and in that moment he wanted nothing more than to take away her pain. It was a strange realisation considering he barely knew her. He held out his pocket square to her in offering, which she took gratefully and dabbed at the moisture that had trickled down her cheeks.
She gave him a small, watery smile. “Thank you.”
“What type of cancer does she have?” he asked tentatively, hoping his questioning wouldn’t make her cry more.
“She has leukemia – T-cell ALL.”
“I’m no doctor, but I’m presuming that’s not good? Not that there are any good types of cancer.”
“No, it’s not – it sucks. I hate it – I hate it more than I’ve ever hated anything for what it’s done to Trixie. She was diagnosed 2 years ago, and she’s been through every treatment and procedure in the book. She never complained though – not once, even when the chemo ravaged her little body so much she was throwing up ‘til there was nothing left, or when she felt so ill she couldn’t even get out of bed. She just carried on with a smile on her face and did whatever was asked of her.” Chloe swallowed, her eyes filled with pain and frustration as she continued. “We thought she’d beaten it, but a month ago the treatment stopped working and the doctors pretty much said there’s nothing more they can do. But there is something they can do! I’ve researched everything there is to know about her disease, read every paper ever published – even the ones not in English. There’s a new treatment called CAR T-cell therapy – it was originally used to treat B-cell ALL, but there’ve been trials on kids with T-cell ALL too, and the results have been incredible! So many of those kids went into remission and were completely cured. It might be her last chance, but Trixie deserves that chance – she’s so strong, she’s a fighter and she’s not ready to give up. And I’m not ready to give up on her either – I’ll never give up on her, and I’ll fight like hell to give her every chance of being able to live.”
A small, proud smile pulled at Lucifer’s lips. She showed a strength and resilience, despite the awful hand she’d been dealt, and he very much admired that. “And why won’t her inept doctors allow her to have this treatment?”
Chloe laughed humourlessly. “Money – it’s always about money. Our broken healthcare system is rigged against anyone who isn’t a millionaire. And my crappy insurance won’t cover experimental treatment – I had to sell my apartment to cover the deficit with her previous treatments. I don’t have anything left to sell, and the only reason we’re not homeless is because my mom lets us live at her beach house.”
She looked to be on the verge of tears again and he had to clench the material of the booth seat to stop himself reaching out to comfort her, unsure of how it would be received. He’d never been one to initiate affection before – unless it was sexual of course, but this woman whom he’d known for less than half an hour was stirring feelings in him that he’d never experienced before.
“And what about the child’s father? Surely this burden shouldn’t be yours to shoulder alone.”
“We separated over a year ago – he didn’t handle the diagnosis well. He’s a cop too and preferred to bury himself in work and pretend it wasn’t happening. He was never around, so all of the hospital trips and everything else Trixie needed was up to me. I know he loves her, but I couldn’t deal with his selfishness anymore, and his behaviour was starting to affect Trix – and that was absolutely something I couldn’t have. So I told him he had to go.”
Lucifer huffed in disgust. “Sounds like you’re well shot of Detective Douche!”
Chloe laughed at the moniker and Lucifer found that it was a sound he’d very much like to hear again.
“So, how much does your spawn need for this treatment of hers then?”
Chloe looked uncomfortable again, wringing her fingers as if she anticipated the amount would deter him from helping her. “It’s…expensive.” She cringed. “I- I can show you all of the articles about how successful it’s been if you want – I’m not trying to scam you or anything-”
Lucifer waved his hand in dismissal, curtailing her nervous rambling. The thought had never crossed his mind – he could tell liars a mile off, and she was not one. “That won’t be necessary. I believe you.” She visibly relaxed at his assurance, and in an uncharacteristic move, he reached over and placed his hand atop hers, stopping her fidgeting. “How much, Chloe?”
Chloe looked down at their joined hands for a moment and then met his eyes. “$375,000 for one treatment cycle. I- I know it’s expensive, and that doesn’t even cover the cost of hospital stays…I might be able to raise some of it from somewhere . But I have no chance of raising it all on my own – not in time anyway. And Trixie deserves that chance – I know her, and I know she’d fight with everything she has if she was just given a chance.”
Chloe was breathing heavily at the end of her impassioned speech, like it had taken her last bit of strength to plead her case and she was now running on fumes.
Lucifer looked at her looking at him – she was strong and stubborn and although there was a flicker of hope in her eyes, she looked like she was waiting for him to tell her that $375,000 was a preposterous amount and to leave and never darken his doorway again.
He would have given her $375 million.
“If you come by tomorrow with your bank details, I’ll arrange for the funds to be transferred immediately.”
Chloe blinked in surprise as if she hadn’t heard him correctly. “You will? Really?”
The relieved, and he had to admit – beautiful, smile that lit up her entire face was worth every cent, and then some. It was like a literal weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
Without warning, she launched herself into his arms, enveloping him in a fierce hug. “Thank you! You have no idea how much this means to me!”
If the moisture he could feel leaking onto his neck was anything to go by, he may have some idea. He patted her somewhat awkwardly on the back to begin with – startled as he was and unused to the human custom of hugging, but he found her touch and her intoxicating scent that surrounded him – a mixture of vanilla, the ocean and something uniquely her, to be strangely comforting. He soon found himself wrapping his arms around her waist and returning her embrace.
When she pulled back, he found that he was disappointed at the loss of contact.
She blushed prettily with embarrassment when she looked up at him. “Sorry – I didn’t mean to tackle you like that.”
Lucifer grinned mischievously. “No apologies necessary, darling. You wouldn’t be the first woman to throw themselves at me after all.”
Chloe giggled, far more relaxed now. “Thank you,” she repeated. “I really appreciate you helping me.”
“You’re welcome, Detective.”
They chatted amiably for a while, time passing without him realising, and Lucifer found himself thoroughly enjoying her company – she was obviously beautiful, but she was also smart, witty and bizarrely immune to his charms. It was a unique combination. She may have come here wanting something from him, but if he wasn’t completely misreading her, she also seemed to be enjoying his company too. He would wager that perhaps this is what it felt like to have a friend.
“So, what did you have in mind in exchange for helping me?” Chloe asked, taking a sip of the rosé he’d had brought over for her and absolutely refused to let her pay for. “I’m not sure I could ever repay you for what you’re doing for me.”
“Don’t worry about that now – call it an IOU. Let’s focus on fixing your spawn first, hmm?”
Chloe smiled. “You’re not how I imagined, you know.”
“I mean sure, you’re arrogant and cocky.”
Lucifer grinned at the perceived compliment. “Do go on.”
“And you’re clearly an outrageous flirt.”
“Just honest, Detective,” he teased.
Chloe’s voice softened as she continued. “But you’re kind too, you care – and I don’t think you let many people see that.”
Lucifer dropped his gaze shyly. “Don’t tell anyone – you’ll ruin my reputation.”
“Your secret’s safe with me.” Chloe smiled and bumped his arm in a fond gesture. “Well, I’d better get going.”
“Already?” Lucifer asked, failing to hide the disappointment in his voice.
“Yeah, I need to relieve the babysitter.”
To his delight, she also sounded reluctant to leave.
“Right, of course.” Lucifer followed her as she stood up. “Well, if I may say so – you look lovely tonight, Detective. Beautiful.”
“Thank you.” Chloe blushed shyly. “Being a cop and looking after a sick kid, doesn’t exactly leave me much time to go anywhere and dress up. It was nice to have the opportunity.”
“A travesty that should be rectified.”
“Besides, I wasn’t sure I’d be allowed in if I was wearing jeans and a sweater.”
“Well, for future reference, you’ll be permitted entry here wearing whatever you desire – or nothing,” Lucifer replied, his eyes twinkling with mischief.
Chloe rolled her eyes. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
Lucifer grinned. He found that he rather enjoyed eliciting those eye rolls of hers, and had already figured out that they were more an attempt to disguise her amusement at his antics rather than a display of actual annoyance. “Allow me to walk you out.”
She acquiesced and with a gentle hand placed at the small of her back, he guided her through the club, the other patrons parting like the dead sea to create a path for them. Once outside he tutted at her lack of a jacket and her involuntary shiver in the chill of the night as they waited for the valet to bring up her car. Ever the gentleman, and given his significant advantage in terms of volume of spare clothing, he shrugged off his own jacket and draped it around her shoulders.
Despite her protests that she was fine, he smiled when she snuggled into it and pulled the lapels tighter around her. Stubborn indeed. “You can return it to me tomorrow when you come back with your account details.”
“Thank you. And not just for the jacket – for everything.”
Lucifer shuffled his feet shyly. “You said that already. And like I said before – you’re welcome, Detective. It’s really not a big deal.”
Chloe placed her hand lightly on his forearm, her eyes soft but earnest as she implored him to look at her. “It is a big deal to me. And I won’t forget it, Lucifer.”
Lucifer gave her a small smile, not used to such sincerity or gratitude being directed at him.
The next few moments seemed to happen in slow motion, even though he was fairly certain his feathered brother was nowhere in sight. He saw it about to unfold right before it did - the screech of tyres, the screams of onlookers as they dashed to take cover, the glisten of the metal on the gun as it caught the light of the street lamps. And then came the unmistakable BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG of shots fired – and heading their way.
Instinctually, and without hesitation, Lucifer grabbed Chloe - holding her tightly to him and turning her so she was shielded by his much larger frame as they were thrown to the ground.
And then everything went black.