Nick was deep in research, surrounded by mounds of books, when he felt his phone vibrate with a message. He wanted to ignore it and finish this assignment so he could spend time with Sabrina. He was failing at balancing his two lives now, and he found himself feeling empathy for how Sabrina worked so hard to hold onto her friends in both worlds. He finally decided that a quick check of his phone would only result in Cassius’s glare, but it would be worth it. He was reading the emoji-laden message with wide eyes when Sabrina sat down next to him.
“Nick, you look like you've just seen a ghost. I didn't think you were working on necromancy yet,” Sabrina said, smirking as she leaned a head on her hand, elbow on the desk.
“Sorry, just some urgent news. I need to head to LA,” he said, beginning to pack his bag with notebooks while the library books started stacking themselves. A minute later, they floated away to shelve themselves.
“Nicholas! I told you self-shelving is forbidden! We don't need another incident,” Cassius said, glaring at the couple. Sabrina could tell something was off because Nick barely registered the reproach, merely sending a wave toward the librarian as he closed his bag.
“Sorry, Cassius. He had an emergency come up,” she said, creating an excuse for why Nick left them both without a word. Sabrina had to run through the halls to catch up with Nick’s quick strides toward the boy’s dormitory.
“Nick! Wait up!” she said, finally close enough to not scream. “What is going on? I know exams are stressful, but you are going to be fine.”
“It’s not exams. I…my uncle just had a son. Dad hadn't mentioned it, and I've been so busy here that I've missed any chance to find out in the last few months. I have to go meet it. And see my dad,” Nick explained.
“Okay. I-Which uncle? Do you need anything?” Sabrina questioned, softly running her hand down his arm.
“The dick one. I don't know how long I'll be gone. I can't believe…” Nick trailed off, staring at the wall. Sabrina remembered the first time she'd been to Nick’s house, back when Lucifer came. She wondered how much this had to do with that fight.
“Nick, if you need anything, I’m here for you,” she said, hugging him. “And don't be too scary. It's just a baby.”
“I’ll call you,” he said, pressing a kiss to her forehead.
“Tell your dad I said hello,” she said as Nick walked away. She wanted to follow him, but whatever he was dealing with, he needed to do it on his own.
Nick appeared inside his own bedroom at Lux. Persephone was perched on her pedestal, cooing in happiness that he was there. Nick gave her a few strokes before moving out into the main area of the penthouse. Lucifer was waiting for him by the bar.
“Your bloody bird doesn't like it when you leave,” Lucifer said.
“Just Persephone?” Nick asked. Lucifer rolled his eyes.
“Let’s go before Maze corrupts the child for good,” he said, sliding on a jacket. Nick silently followed him to the car. It took a few minutes of listening to Lucifer sing before he broke.
“Dad, how long did you know Linda was pregnant?” he asked.
“A few months. Normal human gestation period, apparently.”
“Why didn't you tell me?”
“Honestly, Nick, it has hardly been at the front of my mind. With the Detective, Eve, and being there when Maze gets too…Maze, well, I wasn't thinking about it. You have been gone for months.”
Nick ran his hands through his hair. It had been more than a few months, but the Academy was changing so quickly, and he felt responsible. He couldn't deny that he enjoyed having some influence over new courses and curriculum. Maybe he had been myopic, especially since he promised to split his time.
“Okay. I'm sorry. I thought he was the perfect angel. How did he break the rules?” Nick asked. He had promised himself far too many times that he wouldn't bring it up anymore.
“Sometimes we are granted miracles,” Lucifer said, glancing up from the road. Nick stayed silent, watching the buildings pass. “It is almost your exam time, isn't it?”
Nick chatted, explaining what had happened since they talked a few days ago. Despite his better judgement, he mentioned Sabrina saying hello, which prompted a tangent about how brilliant the half-witch is. Nick hardly needed his father to tell him how spectacular his girlfriend is, especially considering the qualities his father focused on were her defiance and determination. Nick was content to let Lucifer ramble with small noises of agreement while he thought on his own. It seemed entirely too quickly that they arrived at the hospital.
Maze was the first one to notice them when they entered the ward. She was smirking and jumped up to hug Nick. As pissed as he was, Nick could never resist Maze when she was beaming with pride.
“It’s another boy, but he will be the most badass one on the playground,” she said.
“Don't you have Trixie for that already?” he responded with a smile.
“Do you want to come see him?” Amenadiel asked, coming up to Lucifer and Nick.
“I suppose we’ll see the little cretin,” Lucifer responded. Nick shook his head and gestured for Lucifer to go ahead.
“I’m going to go see Linda first, give her the present,” he said.
“The nurses just left, so she is free. It's good to see you, Nicholas,” Amenadiel said. Nick headed to the room with Maze, leaving Lucifer to follow his brother. Linda looked exhausted but happy when they came in. Maze took her post on the right side, between the door and Linda's bed. Nick went to the other side, greeting the blonde with a smile and handing her the pastel green bag.
“Nick, it is so good to see you! It has been a long time,” Linda said, leaning up to give him a side hug.
“You look great. Congratulations,” he responded. As difficult as his relationship with Amenadiel was, it never impacted his with Linda. Part of it may have been how thankful he was about the improvements Lucifer made in emotional competence, while the rest was likely that she was a nice person. He was almost shy when introducing the gifts. First, she pulled out a blue velvet box that was instantly recognizable. Nestled inside, she found a ring with Charlie's birthstone set in between slightly smaller diamonds. On the inside was the child's name in Enochian, which Nick explained.
“Dad can be sentimental sometimes,” Nick said, surprised when Linda began tearing up. Maze immediately looked for a threat, but couldn't find anyone else in the room.
“Nick, this is perfect. I never expected to be here, but I love him so much already,” Linda said. She set the ring box aside and reached farther in the bag to pull out a book with a white leather cover. It had Charlie's full name on the front. Linda opened it to find blank pages with spaces for both pictures and writing.
“I know it isn't as flashy as Dad’s jewelry, but…both Dad and I missed a lot of my milestones when I was young. I have no memories of my biological mother. I know he wishes he could go back and be there, and I’d love a few more pictures. I thought about what I’ve missed growing up, and I didn't want your son to feel the same. Obviously you and Amenadiel will both be there, but it will still be nice for him to look back and -”
“Nick, this is better than jewelry. You are giving him something so personal, making sure he knows his background,” Linda said, eyes watering again as she complained about hormones. “I am lucky my son is going to have such a bright and compassionate cousin to look up to. I couldn't ask for a better family.”
Maze was looking on with pride as Nick gave in to Linda's gesture for another hug. The three of them were like that when Lucifer came in.
“I forgot how tiny your spawn are,” Lucifer said, shaking his head. “You could lose it in the cushions!”
Nick rolled his eyes at Linda's laughter. He moved so his father could take his spot, talking to Linda about the ring. Of course it had more symbolism and meaning than even Nick knew, and Lucifer enjoyed showing off by explaining. He had hoped Amenadiel would come back and Maze would go to the nursery with him, but it seemed that Nick couldn't be that lucky. He quietly left the room as Maze was showing Linda the best way to strike so her ring cut her opponent's face. He found Amenadiel holding a tiny bundle of blankets, humming a song that sounded vaguely familiar.
“He already has a strong grip,” Nick said, having leaned over and had his finger captured by the child as soon as it was close enough.
“He’s perfect,” Amenadiel said.
“I think all parents think that, but I’m inclined to agree,” Nick said, avoiding his eyes. He was furiously refusing to think about what was happening at the same stage in his own life. Was his mother dead yet? Lucifer said he had a feeling when he heard rumors that it was true. Had that happened yet? Amenadiel had cautiously handed Charlie over, and Nick was able to focus on holding him correctly instead of wallowing.
“He’s going to be raised like the miracle he is,” Amenadiel said. “Every protection possible.”
Nick looked up, hearing something odd in his uncle’s voice. Everything he said seemed to have a meaning behind it what did he mean?
“Yes, every parent wants to protect their child,” he responded noncommittally.
“Luckily this little one has divine help.”
It clicked much more quickly than God visiting as “El” months ago. Amenadiel was always so confident in his superiority as an angel. It was blatant, looking back.
“You want to take him up there, don't you? To the Silver City?” Nick said, eyes flashing red with anger.
“It's not safe here,” Amenadiel said calmly, not denying it. “He can be completely protected, raised like the angel he is up there.”
“So you'll just fly him up there and visit when you want?” His bitterness was obvious, even to Amenadiel. “You would think that is a good idea. Only a father when it's convenient, huh? Following in His footsteps.”
“Of course not! I'll be there to raise him.”
“And Linda?” Nick was only calm because he had a baby in his arms. He wasn't sure if he could take Amenadiel without the precious cargo, but he knew it would hinder his chances. There was no way in Hell that Nick would hand the child back to Amenadiel, and he was already planning an escape. If he knocked over the bassinet, it would buy a few seconds. He didn't want to endanger any other infants, so most of the spells he first thought of were out. He could float some equipment to try to knock out Amenadiel, but he was an angel.
“Linda will join us eventually. We have so much time, there will be plenty to enjoy together,” Amenadiel said.
“You are trying to take him from his mother? The one who just told me how much she loves him, would give anything for him? You would do that just because you feel more comfortable in the Silver City?” Nick asked, stepping back slightly. If he could get to the door first, he could lock it. It would delay him long enough to each Linda's room, and Maze and his dad would stop this. “And you don't know she will join you, especially not if you take her child.”
“Of course Linda is going to Heaven!” Amenadiel protested.
“We both know it isn't that simple. Don't any of your siblings get tired of you bossing them around? Do you think Azrael will just listen to you?”
Nick realized he was about a foot from the door now. Luckily, Charlie's bed had been fairly close, and Amenadiel was easy to distract when he was angry. Nick quickly flung the door open with a silent spell and began silently chanting to cast a silencing charm over Amenadiel and lock the door, maintaining the hold until he entered Linda's room. He strode in confidently, knowing Amenadiel was still contained. Perhaps he had inherited more than light bringing powers. He released the lock silently while the three occupants of the room stared at him.
“Charlie was crying. He hushed a bit when I walked over, but I think he is hungry,” Nick said, handing him off to Linda before Amenadiel could join them. The child would be safe in her arms, next to Maze. It was only a few seconds later that Amenadiel flung the door open, startling everyone.
“Amenadiel!” Linda chastised.
“I…uh...forgot my strength in my haste,” he said. Lucifer stared at him, sensing something was amiss. Maze was flipping a knife around her fingers, suddenly on edge.
“Oh well. Did you see what Nick got Charlie?” Linda explained the book, still beaming with pride and gratitude at Nick. He could tell something was subtly shifting. Amenadiel looked conflicted. He was looking between Nick, Linda, and the book lying on the bed.
“That's…very kind of you, Nicholas,” he said. “I’m sure we will fill it with plenty of memories. After all, Charlie has such a protective family here.”
Nick felt Amenadiel’s decision in his words. Something in that moment changed his mind. Nick would keep an eye, and definitely tip off Lucifer, but he had a feeling Amenadiel wouldn't be an issue. His uncle took a few steps, moving closer so he could lay a heavy hand on his shoulder.
“Nicholas, I know we have had many discussions over the past. I meant my apologies every time, but I think I understand better now. I never want my son to grow up without his mother or me. I'm sorry I never recognized the cruelty sooner,” he said. Nick nodded, appreciating both the confirmation and the apology. He clapped Amenadiel’s shoulder in response.
“Linda, Brother, I believe it is time for us to take our leave. We will see you soon. Congratulations on creating your own spawn. Let me know when he’s old enough to drink,” Lucifer said, rising to leave.
“Thank you, Brother. And please think about our discussion,” Amenadiel said with a knowing look. “I wouldn't want anyone but you.”
Lucifer and Nick were in the car before they both shouted, “What was that about?”
Nearly identical glares faced off, daring the other to back down.
“You burst in, and Amenadiel was so angry he looked ready to incinerate you. I felt the magic you were using. Then he just apologized. Did you use mind control?” Lucifer asked, starting the car.
“No! First, I don't even know how. Other than conjuring. Second, do you think I could control an angel?” Nick asked. His father was known for delusions of grandeur but that was a bit much.
“Well, you haven't been here in so long, I don't know what skills you've developed,” Lucifer said petulantly. “What did you do to piss him off?”
“He was going to take Charlie!”
“What? Linda isn't ready to go home. Humans need more time. Was he worried about testing? We could go back and help. I'm sure Linda would understand. She only wants the best-”
“No, not home. Well, not a home on Earth. He wanted to take him to the Silver City,” Nick said. Lucifer recoiled immediately. “He said Linda could join eventually. I didn't trust him not to leave right then, but I knew you and Maze would stop it. A few fumbling jinxes, a silent charm, and a locking spell took care of him long enough to get to you. And I knew he wouldn't hurt Linda.”
“He was going to take Charlie without telling her? Take her child from her? Why?” Lucifer's voice was a calm volume, but the razor sharp edge spoke to his anger.
“Something about it being safer and where he belongs. With his kind,” Nick said. “Which is rich, because I think I'm the only one of his kind.”
“He’s learned nothing. Not from Mom, not from Charlotte, and not from you. The arrogant, selfish pri-”
“But he stopped, Dad. You know I'm never on his side, but something about when he came in and saw Linda with Charlie, he realized what he would do. That's why he apologized. Even if he didn't learn from the other things, I think becoming a father has taught him about his own actions,” Nick explained.
“I can't believe I didn't see it when he was talking to me. I just thought he was…being a father,” Lucifer said.
“Well, it's fixed. What did he mean when he told you to think?”
Lucifer gripped the steering wheel just on the edge of too tight for the material. He had ignored the request for months. How could he tell Nick?
“There is a human custom, I think you have it in the Church of Night as well. The parents appoint alternative parents who have a role in raising the child. He asked me awhile ago, but I never gave him an answer.”
“Why not? He’s your nephew. Who else could raise him if something happened? You've already raised one half-angel.”
“Nick, I don't…I hardly raised you. That was Astra. I came around and you were already raised. How responsible can I be?”
Nick rolled his eyes.
“You raised me. If you think I’d be jealous, I would hope you realize that I’m almost an adult and hardly need constant supervision. Yes, I enjoy spending time with you, but Charlie needs you. Who else is going to teach him every language so he can always get what he wants? Or how to dress. Please tell me you aren't leaving the child to Maze and Amenadiel’s input there,” Nick said.
“You really wouldn't mind?”
“As long as you promise to give the kid some balance. Can't have it growing up thinking Amenadiel is right.”
“I thought you were okay with him now,” Lucifer said.
“Doesn't mean he is free of being a know it all dick.”
Nick was sitting next to Trixie, watching Lucifer prepare the oils and books. Of course, he was the one in charge of merging traditions from the Silver City with various religious traditions to create the very-much-not-a-godparent ceremony. Maze was his counterpart, and she stood in a surprisingly appropriate dress, leaning against the piano.
“Sorry, everyone! Charlie didn't like his outfit, so we had to change,” Amenadiel said.
Trixie whispered in Nick’s ear, “That means he took a big old baby poop all over.”
Nick suppressed a laugh. Honestly, the child was so observant that it was a miracle it took years for Chloe to realize who Lucifer was. Trixie always knew. Maybe she should trust her daughter more often.
Lucifer made an impatient comment about wasting time. Linda stepped up to the definitely-not-an-altar with Charlie wrapped in the blanket from Maze. He gurgled happily at the sight of his uncle, who gave him a fond smile.
Nick leaned over to whisper to Chloe, “Did you ever imagine you would see the Devil and a demon becoming the godparents to a half-angel?”
Chloe smiled at him and shook her head. She responded, “Not any more than I thought I would be dating that Devil.”
Amenadiel performed the ceremony, carefully reading the parts that Lucifer scripted. Nick almost couldn't believe how much Maze’s face softened when Linda handed Charlie over to her. Luckily, Ella was taking pictures to document it for everyone. It also ensured Nick would have all the blackmail he needed for awhile.