Trixie slipped the yearbook shut with a reverent sigh, falling back on her bed with a secret smile stealing over her face. Unable to wait, she opened the book again, eyes unerringly finding the scrawled signature underneath the beloved face.
"Trix, H.A.K.A.S -Gabriel Ross"
"Have a kick ass summer," Trixie whispered it underneath her breath like a prayer, scanning the picture she'd already memorized. "So cool, Gabe."
The sweet sound of her favorite band, Jack of Hearts, blared from her bluetooth speaker, and Trixie took a breath, gathered her courage, and opened up Snapchat. She snapped a pic of herself grinning at the camera, making sure her Jack of Hearts poster showed up clearly in the background. After agonizing over it for a long minute, Trixie channeled her inner Lucifer, squaring up her confidence, and sent it to Gabriel.
A long minute, then two, then five and then- a single reply.
"Cool poster. My favorite band."
Unable to keep the startled giggle from bursting out from her lips, Trixie forced herself to wait an endless three minutes before replying. "Mine too. I've got backstage passes for when they come in a couple of weeks."
She didn't. Not yet. But she would. There were many perks for having the Devil as her mother's boyfriend- not the least was the blank check favor she'd been able to wrest out of him in exchange for keeping her mother distracted as Lucifer planned Valentine's Day.
He'd grumbled about it, the "holiday celebrating the cretinous cherubs of the Silver City," but at the end of the day, Trixie had watched with a sense of fond exasperation as Lucifer pleaded with her for aid. In the end, Trixie had managed to keep her mom occupied by dragging her to an endless string of clothing stores, helping her pick out something other than the hopelessly severe blouse and blazer she had been planning on wearing to her and Lucifer's date night.
That night, when Trixie had shut the door behind them, she'd rolled her eyes and grinned as she remembered the slack cant to Lucifer's jaw and the soft look in his eyes as he took in the emerald sheath dress Trixie had convinced her mom to purchase. All in all, Lucifer owed her big time and she was definitely going to ask the Devil to pay up.
Her phone chimed. "No way."
"That's so cool."
"I've got an extra- if you want to go," Trixie tapped out the message anxiously, unable to wait the required 180 seconds that her friend Olivia had told her was critical when reeling in a prospective date.
"Yes! You're the best, Trix."
Trixie bit her lip and swooned back on the bed, letting the dulcet sounds of Jack of Hearts wash over her like an ocean tide.
"For Dad's sake, spawn, you want to cash in your bloody blank check to the Devil to meet this musically challenged ensemble?"
Trixie grinned at Lucifer, enthusiastically biting into her buttered toast. A fine spray of crumbs fell from her mouth as she defended her favorite band. Lucifer gave her a baleful look, managing to take a bite of the crispy toast without spilling a crumb.
"Oh very well, Beatrice. If this is what you truly desire."
Meeting her gaze with solemn brown eyes, Lucifer inclined his head. "Consider it done."
Trixie was up before her could bolt, throwing her arms around Lucifer's waist. He shrank back, but reached his hand out to rest carefully on her back, patting fondly. Well used to Lucifer's physical caginess with everyone but her mom, Trixie just squeezed more tightly.
"Consider what done?"
Lucifer and Trixie froze at the sound of Chloe Decker's voice, both flicking uncannily similar looks of innocence at her. While Lucifer was impeccably dressed for the day, as always, Chloe matched Trixie, both in their pajamas. Trixie glanced up at Lucifer to see his face light up as he looked at her mom, gazing at her like she'd hung the stars in the sky.
"Your offspring drives a hard bargain," Lucifer said as he strode across the kitchen to her, stopping only when his shiny Louboutins were a hair's breadth from her mom's bare toes. "Good morning, darling," he said in a low voice.
Trixie busied herself with her toast, not needing to look up to know that the short silence meant that Lucifer was brushing a tender kiss across her mom's forehead.
"You're not off the hook, mister," her mom said. But the words lacked bite, and sounded a little short of breath.
"It's all quite above board, Detective," Lucifer said in a much louder voice, his gravelly tones put away for now. "I am merely facilitating a backstage meeting between Trixie and these card-philiac, tone deaf musicians she adores so much."
Her mom stopped what she was doing, dropping slices of bread into the toaster. "Jack of Hearts? Trixie, I don't know about this. You're a little young."
"Mo-om," Trixie groaned, embarrassed despite herself. "I'm nearly 13. I'm not that young. I can certainly go backstage at a concert."
Her mom frowned at her. "I'm not buying it, monkey. They're too old for you to go backstage unaccompanied."
"But I won't be- unaccompanied, that is," Trixie bit out quickly, her confidence slipping a bit. "Gabe will be there."
Lucifer perked up at that, and he focused an intense stare on her.
"And who is this Gabriel?" he asked in a deceptively calm voice. "I don't recall a Gabe being a part of our bargain, child."
Trixie pulled herself up to her full height, fixing Lucifer with a gimlet stare of her own. "My friend, Lucifer."
"Thirteen-year-old boys are not friends," he said staunchly, drawing his brows together in a stern frown that looked incongruous on his handsome face. "Thirteen-year-old boys are," he paused, agitatedly searching for the correct word to define them, "defined by their baser instincts. Savage. Wolves."
Her mom thankfully cut in, putting a gentle hand on Lucifer's chest. "Lucifer, not all thirteen-year-old boys are equatable to canines, thank you very much."
Lucifer glared with dark protectiveness at his detective's offspring. "Fine. But if that miscreant lays a hand on you, Beatrice, he will be answering to a far greater power than his mind will be able to comprehend."
Trixie rolled her eyes, turning back to her mom with a pleading look. "Mom, please. I promise I'll be careful. I'll check in every twenty minutes. Whatever you want. Just let me go with Gabe."
Trixie knew the minute she'd won, her eyes twinkling before her mom had even nodded her assent.
"Thanks Mom! Lucifer!" With quick hugs for both and before they could change their minds, Trixie shoved the last of her toast into her mouth and scampered back to her room to get ready for school.
On her way into her bedroom, she risked a look back to see Lucifer looking at her with consternation, while her mom tipped her head to rest on his shoulder.
Two nights before the concert, Trixie wasn't surprised when the door to her room slammed open so hard it rattled the trophies on her dresser, though it did make her jump.
She raised her head despondently, clutching her tear stained pillow against her cheek as she watched Lucifer storm through to the middle of her room, his eyes flashing a warning shade of crimson. He swung around, sharp gaze raking over everything in her room with the unnatural stealth of a predator.
After an endless couple seconds, Lucifer determined that she was in no apparent immediate danger and crossed the room in two large steps to crouch by her side.
"Child, what is this?" he asked sharply, taking in the soaked pillow and Trixie's heaving shoulders. "What's happened?"
Trixie looked at him through her tears, sadness and loneliness welling in every corner of her heart.
If Trixie hadn't felt like she'd never smile again, she might have appreciated the frantic look in Lucifer's eyes, so unlike anything she'd ever seen from her mother's cool, charismatic boyfriend.
"Come now, dearest, what is this?" Lucifer repeated again, extending a hand that shook- actually shook- to gently push away the largest of the tears that tracked down her freckled cheeks. "Tell Lucifer all about it, hmm? I shall punish whomever is responsible, rest assured, urchin."
Looking up at Lucifer's panicked face, Trixie could see her mom in the background, coming inside her room to sit on the bed beside her. Lucifer stayed where he was, crouching in front of her.
"Trixie, what happened, baby?" her mom wrapped an arm around her side and Trixie burrowed in, exhaling out a shaky breath at the familiar comfort. From the safety of her mom's side, Trixie could just see the hard set of Lucifer's jaw, and the way his fist clenched atop his Armani clad knee.
"You don't need to punish anyone, Lucifer," Trixie finally said, dully. "I just found out something bad."
"What did you find out, Trixie?" her mom cajoled, brushing her fingers through Trixie's fine, dark hair.
Thinking about it sent a well of fresh tears spilling from her eyes and the churning sensation in her gut intensified. Trixie finally handed her phone to Lucifer, burying her head in her mom's shoulder.
"Look at the last text from Olivia," she finally whispered.
Lucifer held the sparkle-encrusted iPhone like it was a live grenade and navigated to Trixie's latest text messages. The last one from Olivia had a video followed by a short text- "JR sent this to me. So sorry trix."
Lucifer glanced up at Chloe, who nodded, running a soothing hand down her daughter's back. He tapped the video to play it and angled the screen so that Chloe could see as well.
The shaky camerawork revealed a group of eighth grade boys, gathered around a locker in the hallway of Trixie's middle school. The one in the middle was the tallest, blonde and blue eyed, with a shark tooth necklace around his neck and a dimple in his cheek.
Lucifer tensed, already itching to wipe the smug look from the kid's face.
A voice from outside of the frame filled the quiet of Trixie's bedroom. "I'm so jealous you're going to meet Jack of Hearts, dude."
The boy in the middle- who Lucifer had no doubt was this Gabriel Ross- grinned off camera, spinning a basketball on his finger. "JR, get this trick on video, okay?" he said, giving the basketball a lazy swipe to keep it spinning.
"Yeah, I can't wait to meet them," Gabe continued, still spinning the ball for the camera. "I've gotta go with Trixie Espinoza though."
The guy holding the camera shrugged, and the footage dipped for a second before focusing back on Gabe and his basketball trick. "She's cute enough. For a seventh grader."
Gabe rolled his eyes, the ball stuttering from his finger. "Look what you made me do, asshole! She's awkward and obviously has a huge crush on me. Keeps Snapchatting me selfies. Not my type. My type is hot."
Gabe picked up the basketball and tried again. "Hey start over and record this again, will ya? I need it for my Insta."
The videographer- this JR- kept the same video recording, despite these instructions.
"How did Trixie Espinoza get backstage passes anyway?" the off camera voice asked. Gabe shrugged, obviously uninterested in this line of questioning.
"Her mom's boyfriend is some hotshot rich guy. It's almost enough to make me want to pretend to be into her. I just can't pass up this chance to meet my favorite band when she basically begged me to go."
The video stopped a moment later, the only sound in the room Trixie's resumed sobs.
Lucifer stared at the phone in his hand so hard, Chloe was mildly concerned it might burst into flame and she gently extracted it from his hand.
He turned eyes that shone with a hellish gleam in her direction, a low growl scraping the bottom edge of each of his words. "I will rip the limbs off his body and make him beg for death."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Chloe grabbed his arm before he could storm off to dismember a middle schooler. "There will be no physical torment, Lucifer."
She tightened one arm around Trixie and pulled Lucifer closer to them with the other. Lucifer let her pull him, obvious displeasure radiating from every pore. After a silent argument held only with their eyes, Chloe won and Lucifer sat down on Trixie's other side, sighing.
"Monkey, I'm so sorry," Chloe finally said to her daughter, who was wiping her nose on her collar. "That boy said such mean things- he doesn't deserve to be your friend, baby."
Another choked sound came from Trixie's throat and Lucifer flexed his hands with impotent rage.
"Trixie, look at me," Chloe tugged Trixie away from her side to look at her. "I'm so sorry you had to hear such mean things, monkey. But you know that you're beautiful, inside and out, right baby? You make Daddy, Lucifer and I smile all of the time. You're so funny and kind. You're such a good friend."
"I'm so embarrassed," Trixie finally said dully, sitting up and hanging her head.
Lucifer stood up suddenly and pulled himself imperiously to his full height, towering over them both. Without warning, he bent down and grasped Trixie under her armpits, carrying her this way out into the living room, her legs swinging.
Chloe followed and even Trixie let out a startled laugh that made Chloe's heart ache as Lucifer marched over to the couch and deposited Trixie to stand on the edge of the couch's arm. Trixie gasped at the precarious perch and clutched at Lucifer's shoulders, the height of the couch putting her just eye to eye with him. Lucifer made no move to let her go, letting her steady herself on his shoulders while he looked right into her eyes with solemn intensity.
"Beatrice, you are an extraordinary human," Lucifer finally said, never breaking his gaze with hers. "I am the Devil. I have seen literal eons worth of humans pass by me, none so worthy as you, child."
Trixie was still, unblinking at Lucifer's uncharacteristic seriousness.
"I want you to repeat after me," Lucifer continued, stone faced and serious. "You will do so."
Chloe almost stepped in at the imperious command, but Trixie was gazing at Lucifer, her eyes wide and toes curled to clutch onto the thin arm of the chair. To Chloe's amazement, her daughter nodded.
"I, Beatrice Espinoza," Lucifer began, his voice low and growl-filled and serious, "am a bloody brilliant human."
Chloe weighed jumping in to correct the use of the swear word bloody, even if it wasn't exactly common in America, when Trixie's voice rang out, quiet but strong.
"I, Beatrice Espinoza, am a bloody brilliant human."
Lucifer nodded once, keeping his gaze locked with Trixie's. Her small hands clutched his shoulders to keep her balance. "Again," Lucifer commanded.
Trixie responded, a little louder this time.
"I, Beatrice Espinoza, am a bloody brilliant human."
"Again," Lucifer said sharply.
Trixie said it again, a spark lighting in her eyes.
"Louder," Lucifer commanded, stretching to his full height and making Trixie stand up straighter as well as she continued to rest her hands on his shoulders for balance.
"I, Beatrice Espinoza, am a bloody brilliant human," Trixie shouted into Lucifer's face, letting out a scandalized giggle as she screamed herself hoarse inside the house.
"Yes you bloody well are," Lucifer responded primly, grasping her under her armpits again to set her gently on the floor. "And don't you forget it, urchin. You shine brighter than my stars. And I should know."
Trixie gave him a crooked smile, just a few shades darker than her normal one.
"Oh don't thank me for that, child, it's just the truth. Now, I believe there's some chocolate cake in the kitchen that I think we could convince your mother to allow you to have before dinner."
"Just this once," Chloe said, her heart aching oddly in her chest.
Lucifer finally met Chloe's eyes, which were misty as she looked at him with a small smile on her lips. As Trixie meandered to the kitchen, Chloe reached her arm behind his neck and pulled him down for a hard, passionate kiss.
"I love you," she said fiercely.
"Lucifer, I can't believe you did this. Oh my god, oh my god," Trixie was shouting, squeezing his hand and bouncing on her toes.
He sniffed and looked away. "I can assure you my Father had nothing to do with this."
Trixie just squeezed his hand harder and took in Lux like it was chock full of her deepest desires. Perhaps it was, Lucifer amended, smiling wryly as he surveyed his normal den of iniquity. Instead of sultry dancers and stiff drinks, Lux was being fueled by ear-splittingly horrible music courtesy of Jack of Hearts and literal hoards of screaming, swooning middle schoolers. Trixie bolted off with a giggle as she caught the eye of her friend, bounding over to the front of the stage.
"This is giving me excellent inspiration for a room for Hell," Lucifer murmured in Chloe's ear as she came up beside him. Both of them watched Trixie wriggle with excitement on the dance floor, surrounded by her friends.
Reaching out to Jack of Heart's management and arranging the private show at Lux to precede the Los Angeles concert by a day had required a bit of Herculean effort on his- and Maze's- part, but it was worth it as the detective's offspring flitted from group to group, her earlier heartbreak usurped in a wave of extravagance and glee.
He'd closed the club for regular business, filling it instead with a guest list that included every single human from Trixie's school- save one. He'd given his bouncers the boy's picture, and he was waiting with barely leashed predatory excitement for when the boy would try to sneak in.
Because he knew the boy would try and sneak in. And while Chloe had managed to extract a promise that he wouldn't rip the boy from limb to limb, he hadn't agreed to anything concerning the boy's mental well-being.
His blood lust was tempered by quite another emotion when Chloe stood on her tiptoes to press her mouth against his ear, whispering some very thrilling suggestions for their post concert activities that had even his eyebrows raising into his hairline.
"Detective," he gazed down at her with deep affection, smiling despite himself. "That's quite naughty."
She just grinned at him, her tongue peeking out to touch the corner of her lips as she raked her gaze up and down his form in blatant perusal. Unable to resist, he turned her away from the hoards of screaming pre-teens and pressed his lips right at the pulsepoint at her jaw.
With a low growl that reverberated through her, he caught her earlobe with aching gentleness between his teeth. Chloe squirmed, turned on and ticklish as he gave her ear a lick and whispered just all of the things he was going to do to her tonight.
A tap on Lucifer's shoulder jolted him unpleasantly from the moment, and his gaze promised fury and retribution as it lit on Maze, who appeared unconcerned.
"The human cretin is here, just as you said," she said bluntly, ignoring Chloe's awkward attempt to push her hair behind her ear and appear casual.
Lucifer stilled- and then smiled, a cold grin that sent a wave of uneasiness through Chloe.
"I've business to attend to, darling," he said to Chloe, kissing her on the crown of her forehead. "I'll remember my promise," he added, noting the faint pucker of Chloe's brow. It smoothed, and she kissed his stubbled cheek before he glided after Maze, already focused on his new task.
Chloe watched as the lead singer of Jack of Hearts reached out a hand to pull Trixie on stage and she sighed, filled with exasperation and desperate love for the man who had made all of this possible- extravance and all.
"So this is the elusive Gabriel Ross," Lucifer's voice came out of the shadows behind Gabe, where he stood arguing with a bouncer. The boy startled at the sound of the silky voice in the darkness. "My name is Lucifer Morningstar and this is my club you're trying to swindle your way into."
"You can't ban me from this place, man," Gabe recovered his sensibilities and jumped on the offensive. "My dad's a lawyer and if you don't let me in, he'll sue you for discrimination faster than you blink."
"Private party, I'm afraid," Lucifer drawled. "These are all of my invited guests." He gestured to the teeming crowd inside. "It's no crime to hold a private party. And without an invitation, you will have to run on back to Daddy." Lucifer gestured at the car that idled at the curb, undoubtedly this human stain's parents.
Gabe puffed out his chest. "I have an invitation. I know Trixie Espinoza."
It was the wrong thing to say. Lucifer's blood boiled in his veins as he remembered the sad sound of Trixie's sobs coming from the bedroom, moments before he'd burst in determined to slay whatever troubled her within.
"Trixie Espinoza has no interest in you, you bloody tosser," Lucifer said crisply. "And you certainly don't have an invitation. But keep it up and I'll be sure to send you an invitation you won't be able to refuse."
Gabe rolled his eyes. "Watching too much Godfather, you British asshole?"
Lucifer grinned, letting his eyes burn hot and red for a long minute as Gabe stared in stunned horror. "I'm afraid there are no Godfather movies in Hell, delightful as they may be, Gabriel."
Gabe stuttered, his face frozen in shock. Lucifer groaned. "Oh bloody hell, you lazy sod, I didn't even do the whole face. Just the eyes, you weak-willed maggot. Get out of here. And if you ever make trouble for Beatrice again, you'll long for death."
Gabe turned tail and bolted for the car, as Lucifer allowed himself a satisfied smirk.
Sometimes, it was good to be the Devil.
Lucifer melted back into the club, knowing the paths through the crowd as intimately as he knew the streets of Los Angeles, or more pleasantly, the curves of the detective's body. He found her near the wall, and stole behind her to wrap his arms around her waist.
She leaned back against him, letting the heat of him melt into her spine.
"He won't be bothering your offspring again, darling."
Chloe angled her head to look at him, reaching a hand up to touch his tense jaw. "Our guardian Devil."
He huffed out a breath, embarrassed. "Damn straight," he finally muttered, so low she almost didn't hear it over the roar of the crowd. She turned in his arms and laughed, pulling him down for another kiss.
Lucifer's heart clenched at the contact when he finally pulled back, long moments later, and he rested his chin on the top of Chloe's hair as he surveyed his kingdom. The tone-deaf musicians played on, enthusiastic even though their crowd averaged at the age of 12 and a half. And through it all, there was Trixie, a crown of flowers that Chloe had woven into her hair wilting in the heat, and a brilliant smile etched on her face.
Guardian Devil. The title was ridiculous.
But he'd take it to see Trixie smile like that again.