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Colored Crimson in My Eyes

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THEN

            The child was so small. And…broken. Blank hazel eyes turned vaguely in his direction, pale skin faded to a sickly shade by harsh fluorescent lighting, dark hair grown unruly and chaotic. Tiny fists clenched. A hard set to a small jaw.

            So much rage.

            “Hello there, small person.”

            “I’m thirteen.”

            “Still small.”

            “Does it matter?”

            “Oh, not really, no, I’m just trying to get a reaction out of you.”

            That blank, uncompromising stare again.

            “A bloody reaction. You know, ‘rage, rage, against the dying of the light’, all that rubbish. I know you’ve got it in you; I can see it. It’s bloody obvious.”

            The child blinked for the first time, turning empty eyes away to stare vacantly at something else. “Murdock men have got the devil in them,” he muttered, faint enough that a human might not have heard. But a human wasn’t listening.

            “Oh, you have no idea.”

NOW

            “OUT, Lucifer.”

            “But Chloe, things were just getting interesting – oof – Well now, shoving’s not very neighborly, is it?”

            Detective Chloe Decker, wrapped in a hotel-issued towel and a foul mood, glowered at Lucifer Morningstar from the door to her hotel room, her hair dripping on the industrial carpeting. Lucifer beamed at her, undeterred.

            “I just thought you might be in the mood for some morning – activities.”

            “No, Lucifer. No. We are not – just no.”

            “Now don’t look like that; maybe I just meant breakfast. I hear the spread downstairs is quite…well, edible. It’s edible. There have been no further compliments. You couldn’t have gotten a better hotel?”

            Chloe sighed. Through her teeth. “Lucifer. The department picked the hotel. The department paid for the hotel. Just like they paid for the training seminars I will be attending all weekend. The same seminars you will not be attending or I swear to god I will shoot you again.”

            “Oh, well bringing my father into this is just rude.”

            “So go entertain yourself with whatever debauchery New York has to offer, I really don’t care, just get out of my room.”

            Lucifer huffed, looking very put upon, “Fine, fine. I suppose I can scare up a good orgy if I get bored.”

            “Excellent. You do that.” Chloe then proceeded to slam the door in his face.

            “Rude again,” Lucifer muttered before pitching his voice to carry, “You know, you’re getting harder to shock these days, I’ll have to try harder.”

            “You do that!” she yelled back absently.

            “Dreadfully hard to shock these days,” Lucifer muttered, already meandering down the hall.

            Now, who did he know in New York City…

THEN

            “YOU BROUGHT IT BACK HERE?” the she-demon whisper-shouted at him.

            “Yes, now do keep your voice down, the little creature’s hearing is exceptional.”

            “You’re not keeping it here.”

            “It’s a ‘him’. Humans are dreadfully sensitive about their pronouns and personhood. And, Maz, I think you’ll find that I’m in charge and what I say goes. The little creature stays.”

NOW

            The building was a dump. Actually, that was uncharitable to dumps. Lucifer internally apologized to any dumps he had maligned with his assessment of this…squatter’s nest masquerading as an office building. What was the little devil thinking?

            The office was empty. Well, it was seven in the morning. Lucifer wandered through, trailing restless fingers over every spotlessly clean surface. So tidy. Everything in its place.

            The right office was easy to find. Everything neutral, everything so neatly organized and bland. The braille labels on the filing cabinet cinched it. Grinning to himself, Lucifer artfully arranged himself in the (leather, smooth as butter, black as Lucifer’s soul and disgustingly expensive. Excellent, the little monster kept the birthday present) desk chair and settled in to wait.

THEN

            “You didn’t have to take me in. I was fine with the nuns.”

            “You take that back right now. No progeny of mine is fine with nuns.”

NOW

            The kid came in chattering with someone about trial law. He was pretending he didn’t already know Lucifer was there just like he did when he was tiny and still thought lying to the Prince of Lies was possible. It was…Lucifer wasn’t sure what the word for it was. Nor did he know quite what to do with the bloom of warmth in his chest at the thought of it.

            He waited until his quarry was in the doorway, timing the spread of his smile across his face to coordinate precisely with Matthew switching on the lights. The effect was, of course, lost on the kid, but Lucifer’s presence had never really thrown him in the first place. The yelp of dismay from the companion was gratifying in it’s own way.

            “Hello, baby brother; it’s been a while, hasn’t it?”

            “Lucifer, get out of my chair.” Matt didn’t look at all impressed with all the effort Lucifer had put into this little stunt. But there was a smile twitching at the corners of his mouth, so Lucifer counted this one as a win. One point to the devil, no points for devil jr.

            The companion; shorter, softer, blonder and…lighter, less weighed-down, less…there wasn’t a word for Matt. If Matt was an ember, constantly burning, fueled by rage and stubbornness and fire, this kid was the earth. Constant and…living, not consuming and consumed.

            Lucifer had gotten good at reading mortals over the millennia. Not that his insights were generally very welcome.

            “Lucifer? Matt, buddy, that’s taking the theme a little too far.” The companion laughed but there was an edge of nervous tension, the fight-or-flight response Lucifer tended to provoke in mortals.

            “Well,” Lucifer said magnanimously, “It was my theme first.”

            Companion raised a skeptical eyebrow. Matthew was…smirking. Little bastard had co-opted the Lucifer smirk. “And Matt, hate to break it you now that you’ve officially gone crazy, but this is not a soap opera and you don’t have any long-lost brothers.”

            “Oh, we’re not actually brothers, more just vaguely related,” Lucifer explained, “but ‘baby brother’ just has that cute ring to it.” He grinned disarmingly. Matt did not look disarmed. He looked like he was about to laugh.

            “Foggy,” he choked on a snicker, the brat, “Meet Lucifer, he, ah, raised me. For a few years. Oh, and he’s the devil.”

            “Matthew,” Lucifer huffed in exasperation, “If you say it in that tone no one will believe you, I have a hard enough time getting people to believe me and I have supernatural powers to back it up.”

            Companion (Foggy? What sort of horrible parent named their child after a weather event? And not even a good one, like Raine, or Storm, just fog. No one liked fog; it was an all-over disappointing and vaguely life-threatening forecast. What sort of friends was Matthew making?) heaved a sigh, “This is my life, going insane. I blame you, Matt.”

            “I accept that,” Matt acknowledged.

            “Now, I think we have time for coffee and some of those pastry things they sell for way too much money at Starbucks,” Lucifer said cheerfully.

THEN

            The she-demon went down with a crash. The small human stood over her, pinning her, a foot on her throat.

            “I could break you like a toothpick,” she hissed.

            “You’d better give up quickly, Lucifer’s going to be home soon,” the child replied calmly.

            The demon-woman bared her teeth in vicious, approving smile, “You’ll do.”

NOW

            “I thought you were raised by nuns,” Foggy said, picking at his coffee cake and getting crumbs all over his desk.

“I was raised by nuns.” Matt confirmed, prying beverages from the little dinky cardboard carrier thing,  “And the devil.” 

“Your grandfather.” 

“Ye-” 

“Yes, but we don’t use that word, it makes me feel old,” Lucifer interjected. Explaining everything to Foggy had been…tiresome.

“Lucifer, your input was not requested or required,” Matt huffed at him, a little smile crinkling his eyes.

“Well then, someone’s being a bit rude,” Lucifer huffed right back, yanking the cardboard thing with their drinks out of his hands and plucking the coffee cups out with ease.

“I’m still not sold on you being ‘the devil’, I mean, what are the odds?”

“That the devil takes a few days off from hell to jaunt about the mortal world sometime in the mid-twentieth century, accidentally impregnates a human girl and doesn’t find out about his progeny until one of his brothers gate-crashes hell to gloat about said devil’s grandson rotting away in a nunnery? No, that doesn’t seem plausible at all,” Lucifer said sarcastically, sipping his absurdly complicated beverage.

“I was hardly rotting away,” Matt sounded amused, good, “And don’t call it a ‘nunnery’.”

“What else would I call it? Nuns ‘R Us? Wimple Wearhouse?”

“Anything that doesn’t make me sound like a character from Hamlet.”

Lucifer shuddered delicately, “Ghastly play.”

Matt hummed in agreement and Foggy just sort of threw up his hands in surrender.

THEN

            “And why exactly do I need to be here?”

            “This is a parent-teacher conference, Mr. Morningstar. As Matt’s legal guardian your attendance is, well, mandatory.”

            “According to whom? Are there truancy officers for this sort of thing?”

            “Ah, not as far as I know, Mr. Morningstar.”

            “Then what’s to guarantee I go to these? I mean, the kid’s a genius, happy as a clam with his books, does his homework on time. He’s practically a bloody after-school special on the virtues of scholarship.”

            “There were some…concerns from the faculty about Matt’s…integration into our school community.”

            The devil went very still, eyes unnaturally bright, face unnaturally shaded, “What exactly is there to ‘integrate’?”

            “Well, I’m sure you’re aware he’s ah, not like the other children.”

            “No, he’s smarter and better looking. More honorable too, but we’re working on that. Wouldn’t want him to grow up a total goody-two-shoes.”

            “He’s blind.”

            “Has that stopped him? No. He has a 4.0 GPA and if the cretins here don’t want to play nice, he’s got me and Maz to spend time with at home. Now, are we done here? Good. I’ve got to run, after all, places to see, people to do. Ta.”

NOW

            It was out before Matt could stop him. The secretary was just so…enticing. Big blue doe-eyes and long blonde hair. Charming.

            “Now, what is it that you want?” Lucifer purred at her and she froze, fingers tightening on her file folders.

            “To be safe. I just want to be safe again,” she whispered.

            “Oh, well then, I am so very sorry, this got uncomfortable rather quickly, didn’t it?  I will go, over there, and quite possibly never ask you another personal question ever again.”  Lucifer tried to shuffle off but the office was rather a bit too small for that and oh, look there was Matt behind him, glowering like the son-of-a-devil he was.

            “What did you do to my secretary?” 

“I was making conversation.” 

Matt lashed out with two stiff fingers, jabbing him hard in the ribs too fast and too subtle for the office’s other occupants to spot it.

“Ow, Matthew.  That was uncalled for and mean.” 

Matt smirked, turned and stalked back into his office.

“I would hit you back but I’m not a troglodyte,” Lucifer called after his grandson’s retreating back.

THEN

            “Tsk. Matthew, we’ve discussed this.”

            “They wouldn’t listen.”

            “Then you weren’t saying the right things.”

            “THAT DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK, LUCIFER,” the boy snarled.

            “Violence is for punishing those who deserve it, Matthew,” the devil snapped back, “No, don’t walk away, this is important. You have a voice for a reason. Anything you want you should be able to get with words.”

            The boy glared, hot and bright and so very angry, “Like that worked so well for you with your father.”

            “Then I didn’t use the right words, did I?” The devil hissed, face shifting, halfway to less-than-human for a few vital seconds before he regained control, “Come with me, we’ll put some ice on your face and knuckles. Perhaps someday you’ll learn that you can’t simply bash anyone who disagrees with you over the head. We’re not angels, we don’t smite.”

NOW

            Lucifer did the smart thing and waited until Matt and Karen were out of the office to try his trick on Foggy. He sat on an extra desk chair, absently spinning round and round, deceptively relaxed.

            “So, Foggy. What is it that you want?”

            Foggy looked up from the case file he was reviewing and blinked owlishly at him, “Honestly, right now I’d kill for a bagel but I’d settle for my best friend not being a dumbass. I’m gonna go ahead and blame you for the leather jumpsuit and him ninja-ing criminals into the pavement.”

            Lucifer blinked at him. This was…unexpected. Foggy went back to puttering around the office, humming ‘La Vie Bohem’ off-key under his breath.

            When Karen and Matt returned to the office, Lucifer flopped his head over the back of the chair to stare at his grandson with narrowed eyes, “Matt. Over there is a man with zero deep dark secrets. None. You have found a person with nothing but good intentions. Or maybe he’s just immune to my tricks. You know, I have a detective that’s immune. That must be it. How did you find another person that’s immune?” He knew he sounded a little petulant on last sentence but he couldn’t help it.

            “You can’t own people, Lucifer,” Matt sighed.

            “I can claim them. I claimed you. Like baggage at an airport.”

            “That’s not the same, Lucifer.”

            “Well I’ve claimed Chloe. She’s mine. I found her all on my own.”

            Karen looked like she wasn’t sure if she should laugh or look away.

THEN

            “Every night you fight with the kid is another two bottles of schnapps we have to replace.”

            “I’m the lord of hell and you’re my minion. We can afford more schnapps.”

            “Not the point. This is embarrassing. You’re drinking peppermint schnapps like a sorority girl at a rave because you had a fight with your kid. It’s so midlife crisis I could throw up.”

            “Shut up, Maz.”

            The she-devil rolled her eyes and poured him another shot, “You know he’ll forgive you, Lucifer. He’s human like that. They don’t hold grudges.”

            “I know, Maz. It’s part of their charm. They’re so…experimental. They move on, try new things. It’s…compelling.”

            “No more schnapps for you, you’re getting maudlin.”

NOW

            “Oh dear,” Lucifer muttered, “I made the mistake of mentioning I might visit family while I was in New York. Now my therapist is texting me asking how it’s going. This is what I get for paying her with sex.”

            “You’re sleeping with your therapist?” Matt said incredulously, then paused, blinked behind his glasses and repeated, “...You have a therapist?” 

“And you don’t?” Lucifer raised a sardonic eyebrow, “Oh, wait, no, you put on a skintight red bodysuit with horns and go out and trounce criminals.  At least I got a detective before I started hunting down evil-doers.”  

Matt rubbed his hands over his eyes, pushing his glasses up into his hair and mumbled something like “Thank god Karen and Foggy went to get bagels.”

THEN

            “That is absolutely sickening.”

            “Maz! Maz!” the devil hissed at the she-demon, “Help, I’m trapped.”

            “Just remove the barnacle,” her voice was dry and a little bit viciously amused.

            “Where would I put it?”

            “Him.” A look. “What? You’re always saying I’ve got to call it a ‘him’ because of humans,” she waved her hand vaguely.

            The sleeping boy made a soft noise and curled closer, catlike and somehow smaller with his eyes closed, face mashed into the devil’s shoulder.

            “Just leave him, Maz,” the devil said absently, “He’ll wake up eventually.”

            The she-demon snorted, “Enjoy being some brat’s pillow.”

            “Not ‘some brat’, Maz. My brat, and that makes all the difference, now doesn’t it?”

NOW

            “What do you want, Lucifer?” Matt asked, tipping his head to the side in that devilish way, ever skeptical. 

“I can’t drop in on my favorite progeny every once and a while?” Lucifer asked airily. 

“You generally don’t.” 

“Well that’s just because half the time when I see you I’m enduring traumatizing flashbacks to when you were fifteen and horrible.  Oh, there it goes.  I’ll just sit here then until it fades.”  

“You do that,” Matt said archly, a smirk tugging the corners of his mouth upwards.

“I’ll have to decline, the past, it’s unbearable. You were the worst teenager imaginable. Always…emoting all over the place.”

“And what does your therapist have to say about your penchant for hyperbole?”

            “Oh, getting out the big boy thesaurus now are we?”

            By the coffee pot Karen looked sideways at Foggy and muttered, “How long do you think that’s going to go?”

            “Well, it’s basically Matt arguing with an older, more morally ambiguous version of himself so who really knows,” he replied quietly.

THEN

            “Where are you going?”

            “Mass.”

            “Like hell you are.”

            “Quite the opposite, actually. Bye Lucifer, see you this afternoon.”

            “Matthew.”

NOW

            “Are you almost done doing,” Lucifer made a vague hand gesture towards the piles of papers on Matt’s desk, “Whatever it is you do?”

            “No.”

            “Liar.”

            “No.”

            “What?” Lucifer smiled winningly. It was lost on his blind progeny but Karen, the secretary, might have blushed a bit, “You know you can’t lie to the Prince of Lies.”

            “I’m not lying, you just wish I was so you’re twisting the truth to suit your purposes.” Matt didn’t look annoyed so much as vastly amused. Damn it all, the brat had matured.

            “But I’m bored and it’s five o’clock. Time to stop all,” another vague hand gesture, “this, and go get nice and drunk and fun.”

            “Don’t you mean ‘have fun’?”

            “No, you’re really only fun when you’re drunk.”

            “Lying again,” Matt said, quiet and smug.

            “I regret everything I ever did raising you. You’re not corrupted at all. I’ve failed you as a pseudo-parental figure.”

            Matt just smirked and went back to running his fingers down the braille page in front of him.

THEN

            “Hold still, it isn’t that hard.”

            “What are you doing, Lucifer?” the she-demon said, voice acerbic and tone harsh.

            “What does it bloody look like I’m doing?”

            “Wait, I can’t see, somebody turn on the lights!” the boy yelped, laughing when Lucifer slung an arm around his neck and aggressively ruffled his hair.

            “You’re not as bloody funny as you think you are, Matthew. Now hold still, both of you.”

            The camera click as the devil snapped a photo was soft enough that the boy was fairly sure he was the only one who heard it.

NOW

            Lucifer jumped to his feet, startled, as his phone buzzed, a look of unholy glee spreading across his face as he read the caller ID.

            “Why hello, Detective, miss me?”

            “Lucifer, it’s almost 6, where are you?”

            “Aw, worried about my health?”

            “You decided to follow me here, I have to keep track of you and make sure you don’t end up dead in a dumpster.”

            “Well that seems hardly logical,” Lucifer said faux-seriously.

            Chloe huffed an annoyed sigh, “So you’re not dead?”

            “Not even a little bit.”

            “Not up to your neck in some sort of murder mayhem insanity?”

            “Well, I am surrounded by lawyers, if that’s what you’re asking.”

            Chloe made a noise that clearly indicated how thrilled she was to hear that. “What, why? Lucifer, what did you do?”

            “Nothing worse than usual.”

            “Lucifer, stop being cagey or so help me I will - ”

            Finally he decided, for the sake of his continued well-being, it would be best to leave off teasing the good detective, “If you must know, I’m visiting a relative of mine. A baby brother of sorts.”

            Dead silence on the other end of the line.

            “Chloe? Hello? Are you there? Because if you’re the one who ends up dead in a dumpster about all that nonsense about keeping me safe I’m not sure if I’ll laugh or hit something.”

            “No, I’m here. You have a little brother?”

            “Yes.”

            “Who you visit voluntarily?”

            “Yes. Of course. And he visits me. Mostly voluntarily. He has some antiquated notions about Doing the Right Thing and Family Duty and all that but beyond that, he’s mostly a good kid.”

            “I’m…not sure how to process this.”

            “Process what?”

            “You. Having family. That you like and spend time with. You…acting like a person. A normal one with long-distance relatives you enjoy seeing regularly.”

            “Mm, yes,” Lucifer considered, “That would be rather shocking in that context. Would you like to meet my brother and his associates?”

            “Ah, yeah, yeah, that would be cool.”

            Lucifer hung up the phone with a flourish and turned to the office, “Now, boys and girl, where can I get a drink around here?”

THEN

            “He’s going to have horrible taste in booze and it will be all your fault.”

            “Well I’m hardly going to waste the top-shelf stuff teaching a teenager how to drink properly, Maz.”

            “I’m just saying, when he’s 19 and smashed on Pabst Blue Ribbon, we’ll all know who to blame.”

            “Oh yes, the old-fashioned, ‘the devil made me do it’. How trite.”

NOW

            Lucifer’s face upon taking stock of Josie’s was utterly priceless.

            “What is this…establishment?”

            Foggy grinned, “It’s the best place in the world and don’t you forget it.”

            “Unless you drink the eel,” Karen pulled a face.

            Foggy shook his head, still grinning, “Always drink the eel.”

            Lucifer was beginning to seriously question the kind of people Matthew was associating with when left to his own devices.

            Almost one round in, and Chloe finally arrived to save Lucifer from the indignity of drinking whatever ‘the eel’ was.

            “Chloe!” he shot up from the table, arms spread wide, upon seeing her in the doorway, “Come in, come in; join me in this questionably sanitary establishment!”

            She pressed her lips together, eyebrows creasing as if she found his behavior very suspicious (when did she not, really?) and edged into the bar. “Lucifer, hi, this is…not where I expected you to be.”

            “No, no, of course not, wouldn’t be caught dead in here normally, but there were extenuating circumstances.” He sounded positively gleeful on those last two words and that only made Chloe more suspicious.

            “So what did you do all day? I kept waiting for you to crash into a seminar doing your usual thing, but…nothing. All day. You had me a little worried.”  

            “Well I did exactly what I said I did, of course. I visited family. Speaking of which,” he turned to Matt, who’d had his head tipped to the side, absorbing the conversation with a slight smile on his face, “Detective, I’d like you to meet my baby brother, Matthew.” 

            Chloe blinked. “There’s actually more of you?”

            Matt laughed; Foggy and Karen, over at the bar harassing the bartender (who bore their attentions with tolerant gruffness) and getting more drinks, turned and regarded their friend with something like surprise on their faces. Well that wouldn’t do. Couldn’t have Matthew being so impossibly dour all the time that his coworkers were genuinely surprised to see him laugh.

            How utterly absurd.

            Lucifer resolved to make the brat laugh at least once more before he returned to California.

            “Chloe,” Lucifer huffed, “I drag my baby brother away from his boring life to talk to you because you’re special to me and you’re rude to him?  Come on, he’s blind, you shouldn’t be mean to the disabled.”  

            Matt hit him with his cane; “Don’t bring my eyesight into this.”

            “I’m trying to get you some positive female attention for once, Matthew, don’t be horrible.”

            Matt hit him with the cane again for good measure. Foggy, returning to the table with another round of nameless, liver-annihilating alcohol, snorted, “Worry not, my friend, Matt gets plenty of ‘female attention’.”

            “Yes, but all the women he likes want to kill him and that can’t be healthy,” Lucifer pointed out.

            “Like you can talk,” Chloe muttered (traitor).

            Lucifer sighed dramatically, “I give up, everyone’s against me. Pass me more of that alcoholic toxin, I need to drown my sorrows and lay waste to at least one internal organ.”

            Matt grinned charmingly, nodding thanks as Karen placed a glass against his fingers, “Don’t worry, Detective, I’m the nicer half of the family.”

            “No you’re not,” Lucifer said crossly, almost choking on his beverage, “I’m charming. You’re just sort of handsome and brooding and vaguely thuggish.”

            Foggy and Karen exchanged a look. “Handsome, brooding - ” Karen ticked off on her fingers.

            “- Vaguely thuggish,” Foggy finished for her, “Yep, he’s got you to a T, Matty.”

            Matt looked pained.

            Chloe snickered and pulled up a chair, “You two have the same offended face.”

            “What?” Matt and Lucifer said in indignant harmony.

            Her laughter, if anything, intensified, “Your faces do the same ‘I’m deeply offended but can’t articulate why’ thing.”

            “Hey, does yours tilt his head to the side and smirk when he thinks he’s winning?” Foggy asked.

            Chloe looked to be in imminent danger of respiratory distress if she kept up this cackling, “Oh god, yes.”

THEN

            The devil didn’t go to graveyards much. There didn’t seem to be much of a point. If one was on earth, one played with the living, if one wanted to play with the dead, one would have stayed in hell.

            But the devil hated loose ends and he didn’t have a free pass to traipse through heaven just to talk to one man.

            Even if that man had been his son.

            Even if he never knew him.

            Not until it was too late to matter.

            The devil drew a breath he didn’t need and began to speak; “You spent your whole life afraid of the thing inside you, poor bastard.  That’s on me, I guess. But don’t worry, I taught Matt better, I think. He should know; it’s not a thing inside you.  It’s you.  It’s all you.  And pushing that thing away, hiding from it, it just brings pain and stupid, pointless violence and that’s so human.  That’s not me, that’s not…my fault.  But you thinking something was wrong with you.  That was.”

            He touched the stone, cool and empty under his fingertips, “Hello, Jackie,” he said softly, “Sorry I’m late.”

NOW

            “Wait, wait, wait, what?” Chloe’s head tipped to the side, a little further than it might have gone had she been entirely sober.

            “Oh, my priest, he has this latte machine thing, and – ”

            “Your brother thinks he’s the devil and you’re a what, a Catholic?”

            “Oh, Matthew’s actually a good little Catholic, aren’t you, Matty?” Lucifer grinned, ruffling Matt’s hair with a floppy hand.  

“Yes,” Matt arched an eyebrow, smile curling up to match, “and careful, or I’ll take you to meet my priest.” 

“Ooh, sounds delightful,” Lucifer made sure to smile the dangerous smile that had had teenage Matt perpetually annoyed with him for ‘making a scene’ and ‘abusing his power’, “Did you know, Chloe, Matthew tried to exorcise me in a fit of youthful pique when he was fourteen?  It might have worked too, if he hadn’t bungled the Latin.  All it really did was give us both migraines which sort of served him right, the little monster.”  

Chloe shook her head, “Wait, you really think he’s the devil?”

Matt shrugged and gave her an ambiguous smirk; “Murdock men have the devil in them, that’s what my grandmother always said.”

THEN

The devil never asked the boy what his real father was like. But sometimes, very rarely, in the quiet moments that slip in between the cracks of real life, the boy would say something, leave a small pebble of information out for the devil to pick up, pick apart and put back together into a shape that made sense.

But it all came back to one thing; “My dad was a good man. I’m pretty sure he was a great one at the end. But great men don’t come home, except in body bags and stories. And I miss him.”

NOW

            Walking back to the hotel, Lucifer waited for the questions to begin to trickle in. Chloe always had her questions. It was so very powerfully human of her. They always wanted to know, didn’t they? Even if it didn’t turn out to their benefit.

            “Why no accent?”

            “What?”

            “Your brother, Matt. He sounds American.”

            “He was born in America.”

            “And you weren’t.”

            “No, I’ve explained this to you but you never believe me.”

            “So,” she made a jerky little hand gesture, like she was trying to get from point A to point B and point B kept zig-zagging away from her, “He’s American, and you’re not, and you’re brothers?”

            “Not really brothers, no. We are related but genetically I was closer related to his father.”

            “So you’re his uncle?” she made a sound, half laugh, half sigh, “You know, you could have just said that. I get that it makes you feel old, having a grown nephew, but it’s obvious you’re pretty close in age.”

            “Oh, you’d be surprised.”

            Chloe snorted, shaking her head at his presumed vanity.

            Silence hung between them, heavy and soft. “I raised him. For a while.”

            “What?” Chloe blinked, streetlights sparking and sparkling off her eyes like tiny stars.

            “His father was killed when he was 11. And I didn’t hear about it until he was 13 and had been stuck in this orphanage-nunnery horror straight out of a Dickens novel for two years. I adopted him and took him back to California. He lived with me for five years, until he started university and came back to New York. He still visits for major holidays and the like.”

            Chloe stared at him; he could practically see the wheels spinning in her brain. “Then why do children freak you out so much?” she finally blurted and he nearly laughed at the absurdity of it all.

            “Matthew was a perfect student and a paragon of virtue, and I still wanted to throw him off a very tall building some days. Children are terrible. They’re tiny people who don’t have little internal voices telling them ‘no, that’s idiotic, why are you doing that?’ yet.”

            Chloe made a disbelieving sound, “You talk so much crap,” she bumped him with her shoulder, warm and companionable. “That kid really loves you. And taking him in like that? That was a good thing to do. The right thing to do.”

            Lucifer bristled, “I’m the prince of darkness, I never do the ‘right’ thing or the ‘good’ thing. I exist to punish the wicked and to not do that.

            “Whatever,” she shook her head at him, smiling, before getting serious again, “You don’t appear on official records until five years ago. But Matt’s in his mid to late twenties.”

            “Ah, I used aliases until then,” Lucifer explained, “Didn’t start using my real name, you know, officially, until Matt was nice and settled with a bachelor’s degree and acceptance to law school. Wouldn’t want undue angelic attention.”

            Chloe rolled her eyes, “Angelic attention. Of course.”

            “Of course,” Lucifer said very seriously.

THEN

            “Hey, Lucifer, you dropped your wallet,” The detective grabbed the item in question off the pavement and held it out to him, only to find he’d run off. Again.

            Sighing in exasperation, she retracted her arm, glancing down at the thing in her hand. It had fallen open when it tumbled out of the devil’s pocket and exposed was a line of gleaming platinum credit cards, a driver’s license…and a photo. An old one. The detective squinted at it, surprised and curious. A woman, dark-haired, with a dangerous smile (the detective recognized her, the bartender at Lux), a man, dark-haired, with wicked eyes (the detective’s wayward, unasked-for partner), a boy, dark-haired, with a clever, sharp face (the detective didn’t know who he could be).

            “Ah, thank you for holding onto that, Detective,” and just like that, the wallet disappeared from her hands, vanishing back into a suit more expensive than her car.

NOW

            “Matt’s the kid in the photo, isn’t he? The one in your wallet,” Chloe asked the next day.

            Lucifer just cast her an inscrutable look and walked away.

            “Why didn’t you introduce me to Lucifer before this?” Foggy asked at the same time, across the city, in a cramped, mildewed office, “I mean, I’ve dragged you home to see my family tons of times and all I get out of you for years is the occasional story about your ‘relatives’ in California who own a club.”

            Matt tipped his head to the side, considering. Foggy didn’t sound upset, superficially or internally, just sort of…curious and a little disappointed, maybe, that Matt hadn’t shared this yet.

            “Lucifer can be a bit…much. People tend to get weird around him so I just got out of the habit of introducing people to him.”

            “Yeah, well, he’s probably still going to get invited to the Nelson Christmas party when I tell Mom about this. Your family’s our family. Don’t worry, Karen’s coming. And he can bring Chloe if he wants. I’m sure Mom can find enough ugly sweaters for all of us.”

            Matt’s blank look of horror was priceless.

THEN

            “We need to head back to our hotel soon,” the detective told the lawyer in an undertone.

            He shook his head, “Let them sleep for a bit longer. Matt’s had a rough few days and I think seeing his brother was good for him. He gets kind of extremely solitary sometimes. It’s not healthy. It’s good for him to see some family that’s not me and Karen.”

            The detective nodded, “Lucifer likes to keep up the nonstop fun image, but everyone has to rest sometime.”

            In front of them, the devil and his heir leaned against each other, slumped in their chairs and sound asleep.

FIN