The kid was still mad at her. It had been months and she hadn't given up holding onto that grudge. Maze supposed she had to be a little impressed. Would be, too, if it weren't so weirdly… disconcerting. Yeah. Disconcerting.
Now Trixie was trailing after Chloe as she went about getting ready to leave. If Maze were a lesser demon- person- demon, she wouldn't care that Trixie didn't want to be left with her for the next week. She wouldn't care that she had been the last resort, too, with Dan at a conference all week and Chloe's mother filming some throwback to the 80s movie.
The longer she was up here, the longer she palled around with these mortals, the more feelings she had. Feelings beyond being pissed at Lucifer for refusing to take her home. Soft, gooshy feelings that had no place in a demon's heart. She had thought she was okay with it, that she was getting used to it. And then…
Well, thinking about it did no good. She had wronged Trixie and the little human wasn't going to let her forget it. And she didn't know what to do about that. She supposed she could ask Linda—probably, she should ask Linda—but that felt like admitting defeat. She had been here for almost eight years, surely she could figure out how to make a little kid like her again.
"Are you listening to me?"
"Yeah, sure," Maze said, absolutely not listening. "Don't worry, Decker, me and the kid can handle it."
Decker looked conflicted and then kept on re-explaining everything they weren't to do. There were an awful lot of rules and phone numbers and schedules and Maze didn't get it. How hard could it possibly be to watch a kid Trixie's age for a week? She was pretty self-sufficient. It was going to be no big deal.
Okay, maybe that was wishful thinking given how now Trixie was standing by her bedroom door, glaring furiously at Maze, her arms crossed over her chest. Maze mirrored her pose, glaring right back. If she thought she could intimidate a demon, she had another think coming. Maze had been glared at by way more dangerous things in her time on the surface, never mind her eons in Hell.
"Maze," Decker snapped and then sighed when Maze made a face at her.
She had been sort of listening! Schedule on the fridge, a ridiculous list of emergency numbers next to it, don't do anything fun, she got it. Trixie was going to be fine, it was going to be fine. Maybe she could…
Maybe she could use this time to—ugh, feelings—figure out how to make up to her. Sure, she had said some things that maybe she regretted now. Maybe regretted a lot now. But there had to be some easy way to get Trixie to just stop glaring like that.
"I'm going to miss my flight," Decker muttered and rushed over to kiss the side of Trixie's head. "Okay, you know the rules, be good, call me if you need anything." Then she pointed at Maze. "Same goes for you."
"We'll be fine, Decker. Go, have fun with Lucifer." She grinned wickedly, just to make Decker squirm, and it worked. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
"Right, okay," Decker grabbed her suitcase and paused at the door. "Love you, Trix. Be good!"
"I love you too, Mommy," Trixie said, turning and waving goodbye as Decker left.
Maze didn't feel relieved that she wasn't being glared at anymore. That would be ridiculous. She just didn't like being the focus of that much disappointment. Especially coming from such a small body. Where did she keep all those feelings?
Then Trixie turned back to her and resumed her glowering, all tiny and fierce and full of anger. Maze could relate to the last two, at least. And she wasn't going to be the one to break first, oh no. She could stand there all day.
Maybe not all day.
Man, that kid was stubborn. Maybe she should call Linda to deal with this. Maybe this had been a huge mistake if Trixie was really that dead set against letting bygones by bygones. Was it too late to call Decker back and make up some excuse and jet? There was a reason she had moved out after Lucifer's fuck up with his face, after all.
"You're mean," Trixie finally said after an interminable time.
"I'm a demon, kid," Maze said back to her, stating the obvious in case Trixie had forgotten.
It felt like an excuse, which was ridiculous because it was true. She was a demon, and demons weren't nice. Demons didn't do nice. At least not for long periods of time. Not without some ulterior motive.
"That doesn't make it okay," Trixie said and Maze couldn't identify the emotion in her voice but she didn't like it. It made her feel squirrely inside. "You hurt my feelings."
"Yeah," she said, and pointed out the obvious again. "That was kind of the point."
Trixie heaved out a sigh and rolled her eyes. "You're supposed to say you're sorry."
Oh. Well. That… would be a first. But… Maze kind of was. In a way. Maybe that was what the squirrely feeling was: regret. Weird.
"Fine, I'm sorry," she said, crossing her arms tighter. "And I don't really think you're a brat, I guess."
Trixie stared at her for what felt like forever. Then nodded, dropped her arms, and said, "Okay."
"Okay?" Maze asked, some tension she hadn't noticed she was carrying releasing. "That's it?"
"When people say they're sorry and mean it, you're supposed to forgive them, duh," Trixie said and Maze really did not appreciate that "duh" on the end. "Now that Mommy's gone can you show me that knife trick where you flip it again? I can't get it right."
Maze blinked, slowly dropping her own arms. If it was that easy to get the kid to stop being mad, what had she wasted all those months for? There should be some kind of manual that came with these things. How was she supposed to know a "sorry" would do it? It wasn't like she had grown up here and had someone to teach her these things.
It left her feeling kind of wrong-footed and awkward, but she shrugged the feeling off.
"Yeah, sure," she said, reaching to the middle of her back to pull a knife out of her pants. "Show me what you're doing."
Chloe wasn't sure which she was more nervous about: leaving Trixie with Maze or having to spend a significant amount of time in close quarters with Lucifer for the first time since… since it all went down. She was glad he was taking a different flight than her—a chartered one she had politely declined; lord knew the devil wasn't going to fly commercial—which would give her time to prepare herself.
Like that was all she needed. Time. Like she hadn't already had so much of it and yet not enough. She had needed to wrap her head around everything, true, but at some point it had just… gotten easier to not text him than to try to open that line of communication again. They had managed a couple awkward cases together, but she thought that it probably wouldn't last much longer, not if they couldn't click anymore.
He was going to get bored and frustrated and leave soon, she knew it in her bones.
It was both all she wanted and the last thing she wanted. She wanted him to get it over with; to go back to- to being focused on the angelic machinations of his family. To wander off and find something novel to occupy his time with again. Surely this whole consultant business was just a lark for him, knowing what she knew now. And she didn't think her heart could take it if he- If he insisted on staying and got her hopes up.
She would just have to make sure they stayed down.
And as for Maze and Trixie… Chloe would have been a lot more comfortable leaving her with almost anyone else, but everyone seemed to be busy. Dan was at a conference and couldn't—wouldn't—cut it short to come back and take care of his child. Linda was going to be out of town mid-week. Ella… Nothing against Ella, just Trixie didn't know her that well and when it came down to it, Chloe would rather leave Trixie with someone she knew than not. Even if she was still mad at Maze.
They would sort things out. Trixie never could stay mad long if she couldn't ignore the existence of the other person completely.
The flight wasn't that long—LA to Seattle—and for once she found herself wishing it was longer. She was going to have to get a cab from the airport to the hotel she was staying at and then meet up with Lucifer and go talk to the Seattle PD about the case.
It was a weird one. There had been a spate of jumpers that was moving up the coast. If the pattern followed, it was going to hit Seattle next, and as one of the original detectives on the case, she was going there to provide "assistance and insight" to the officers working the cases. It was something about an interdepartment cooperation initiative that she hadn't really payed attention to. She knew what it meant in practical terms: being forced to barge in on someone else's turf.
She hated it when it was done to her and she hated doing it.
But she didn't get to make those choices, not when she was on everyone's shit list again, this time for Pierce. Lucifer had paved the way for her to get along better with her fellow cops when he started working with her, but that didn't help her now. There was still an investigation into the Sinnerman's network going, one she couldn't be a part of, that nearly the entire precinct was on. Except for her. And Lucifer.
She got to the hotel she was supposed to stay at without incident, paying the cab driver and watching as he drove off before turning to drag her suitcase inside. Lucifer, of course, was staying elsewhere, in some fancy place near the center of town. He had offered to get her a room there, too, but she had declined. Something anxious and awkward curled in her stomach whenever she thought too hard about how easily he could do that: offer to take her along on his chartered flight, offer to pay for a week's stay at a fancy hotel.
"Reservation for Decker," she told the front desk person, pulling out her license.
The woman frowned at her computer, before looking up at Chloe. "Could it be under a different name?"
She felt a sinking feeling in her stomach and shook her head. "It's not in there?"
"No, I'm sorry," the woman said, her keyboard clacking as she typed something and then shook her head again.
Okay, that was okay, she could just rent a room and have the department reimburse her. "Okay, well, I'd like to rent a room then."
The woman looked regretful as she slowly said, "I'm sorry. We're all booked up. There's a conference in the area, and-"
"Fuck," Chloe muttered, then sighed and shook her head. "No, it's alright. There's got to be something with a vacancy somewhere. Thank you."
She dragged her suitcase back outside and started to search on her phone for something, anything. Anything that didn't involve having to call Lucifer and take him up on his offer of a room. Anything.
But there was nothing, not within a reasonable distance. The hotels were all booked up, the motels were all booked up, even the airbnbs were either booked or looked too shady to stay in. She sat down on her suitcase with a huff of frustrated breath and glared at her phone. There was no getting around it.
"Detective!" Lucifer said, picking up on the first ring. "I trust you made it safely?"
"Yeah," she said. "The plane isn't the problem. They screwed up my reservation and everything around here is booked up."
"Ah," he said, suddenly sounding cautious. It was a tone he'd taken with her more often as the months passed and she had moments where she just couldn't deal with the whole "devil" thing. Where she had to take a step back, a step away, and let her brain readjust again. "I'm afraid the same is true here."
"They messed up your reservation?" she asked, that sinking feeling back.
"No, no, I have a room, but it's the last in the inn, so to speak."
Great, she was going to have to find something further out and just… take an uber in every day. The department was going to love that.
"My suite has a pullout couch," he said slowly, giving her time to refuse the offer before he got the whole thing out. She appreciated it. "And there's certainly enough room for two people."
"I-" she started, then stopped. She shouldn't; she really shouldn't, not when they were still so rocky. But she really did not want to be commuting from some godawful distance outside of Seattle. "Yeah, okay," she said with a resigned sigh. "Thanks."
"My pleasure," he said, and only then did she start thinking about all the different ways this could go wrong.
They were here for a week, minimum, and the last thing she wanted was to deal with Lucifer being, well, him for a week. Not when- Well. She would have to make due. It was a week, not forever. And maybe… maybe it would help them work out some of their issues. Maybe it would help things go back to the way they were. Maybe one of them could fix things. And maybe that meant Lucifer wouldn't get tired of her and of working with the police and leave. She could only hope.
It was funny that the thing she was afraid of the most wasn't that he was the Devil, but that she would lose him.
In agreeing to babysit Trixie for a week, Maze hadn't considered that things would go wrong so quickly.
"Okay, okay," she said, scowling at the first aid kit in front of her. "It's just a little scratch."
"It h-hurts," Trixie whimpered, the tone grinding on Maze's nerves and she wasn't sure why.
"Yeah but you'll have a neat scar," she said as she pulled out a bottle of antiseptic and some bandaids with cartoon characters on them. "Look, it's not even going to need real bandages."
She reached for Trixie's arm, but the kid curled around it, keeping it close to her body like she was mortally wounded instead of having just scratched herself with a knife. It wasn't even a demon blade for crying out loud. The dramatics weren't necessary.
"Look," she said, holding out the antiseptic and a clean towel. "You're getting blood all over your shirt. Let me see."
Trixie's bottom lip wobbled and the last thing Maze wanted was for her to start crying. She wasn't sure how to deal with that, and she hated not being sure of things. And she hated giving up so she couldn't call Linda and make her deal with it, either.
"Is it gonna hurt?" Trixie asked, using her head to motion to the antiseptic.
"Probably?" Maze said, shrugging. "I don't know. I'm a demon; I don't get sick. It's only you humans that have to deal with nasty germs and antiseptic."
Trixie's bottom lip trembled again.
"Okay how about this," Maze said, desperate. "If you let me deal with your arm, I'll let you have chocolate cake for dinner."
"You'd let me anyway," Trixie said, but she slowly held out her arm and turned her head away.
"Yeah, true," Maze said. "That shit is delicious. Hold still."
She wiped away the trickles of blood and poured the antiseptic over the cut. The kid shrieked like she was dying, but to her credit, didn't move her arm.
"Almost done," Maze said, grabbing the bandaids.
It really was just a little cut, barely deep enough to bleed. But—and Decker had drilled this into her head when they first started playing with knives—little kids didn't have the same pain tolerance as adults and if she let Trixie get hurt she'd have her head.
"Hey we should definitely not tell your mom about this." Maze put one bandaid over the deepest part of the cut, then another one crisscross, just to be safe.
"I know that," Trixie said, scowling, her voice watery. If she started crying… "She'd make us stop."
"Yeah, exactly," Maze said.
For someone who just a few hours ago didn't want anything to do with her, it was good to hear that Trixie would be upset if they had to stop with their lessons. Really, it was a miracle they'd managed to go so long without Trixie cutting herself. Decker should be proud of her kid.
"I want cake for lunch, too," Trixie demanded, her bottom lip wobbling again, only now Maze was pretty sure it was on purpose. "My arm hurts."
"You're gonna get sick of it if you have it for every meal," she cautioned, but Trixie was having none of it.
"I would never." She inspected the bandaids on her arm and nodded to herself. "Okay. We should go to the park. Tommy's gonna be there today and he said I was lying about learning knife fights."
"Well we'll have to show him," Maze said, indignant on Trixie's behalf, and stood up to put the first aid kit away and gather up Trixie's practice knives. "Can't have anyone calling you a liar."
"Yeah!" Trixie said, punching the air. "Can we stop for ice cream on the way back?"
"What, do you think I'm made of money, kid?" Decker would kill Maze if she let Trixie have ice cream and cake for lunch and then cake again for dinner, she was pretty sure. "You can have ice cream tomorrow. Or maybe after dinner, whatever."
"Okay," Trixie said with a pout, drawing out the word and making it sound like Maze had just told her she couldn't have any cake at all ever again. It was ridiculous.
"Come on, go get your shoes. We've gotta show Tommy what's up."
Trixie ran to the front door and started pulling on her shoes, Maze following more slowly. A part of her wondered if this was really a good idea, taking a bunch of knives to the park to show up a ten-year-old. The rest of her was too indignant over the little shit calling Trixie a liar to listen to that part. Besides, that part sounded an awful lot like Decker, and she was boring.
At the park, Maze handed Trixie the knives and, when she took off at a run, shouted after her a reminder to run with the blades pointed down. The last thing she needed was the kid falling and gouging an eye out or something.
Tommy looked like the kind of sniveling little shit that would be jealous of everyone cooler than him. Maze definitely bought that he had said something mean to Trixie. She wondered if maybe she should do something about that, threaten him or something. But Trixie looked like she had a handle on it as she brought him back to where Maze was standing.
"This is Maze," Trixie was saying. "She's the one teaching me, look."
She showed him her little knives, and then turned and threw one at a big palm tree on the edge of the park. It didn't sink in very far, but it did hit the tree blade-first and stuck for a moment before falling to the ground.
Tommy was looking at her with wide eyes as she turned back to him, a smug grin on her face. Atta girl.
"See? I told you I could do it."
"I bet you can't do it again. You were just lucky," he said, crossing his little arms over his chest and glaring at her.
"Yeah? Watch me," Trixie said stubbornly and turned back to face the tree. She threw another knife, which stuck in the tree this time, and then another one that hit just a bit above the first and stuck.
He was quiet for a moment, staring at the tree, then turned to Trixie with a furious look on his face. "You can't play with knives in the park! I'm telling my mom on you."
Maze hadn't thought of that. It would be just like humans to have dumb rules about where you could and couldn't go flinging knives around. They'd probably better get out of there before his mother came over and tried to give Maze shit. She was pretty sure threatening a kid's parents was on the list of things she wasn't to do while Decker was gone.
That was okay. She could wait until Decker was back, and then do it.
"Time to go," she told Trixie, grabbing her shoulder before she could take off after the other kid and prodded her in the direction of her knives. "Let's get ice cream. You did good."
"Ice cream! Yes!" Trixie yelled and quickly collected her knives to hand back to Maze.
Just in time, too. It looked like a "concerned parent" was stalking over to them and Maze didn't know what would happen if the bitch tried to threaten her or Trixie. Surely Decker had meant don't threaten parents unless they threatened her first, but it was probably best not to test it.
Still, she sent a smirk back over her shoulder as she hurried Trixie away, meeting the woman's furious gaze and winking. Never let it be said she didn't get the last word—or gesture—in.
"Oh wow," Chloe said as she stepped into Lucifer's hotel room.
No, suite. It was a suite with multiple rooms. It was ridiculously opulent and fancier than any single person needed. She could see a bed through the doorway, which was big enough to easily fit four people. The couch was already pulled out, too, off to the side. Someone had made it up—she couldn't picture Lucifer doing it, so he must have called a maid—and ready. She went to put her bag over by it, but Lucifer stopped her.
"You can have the bedroom, darling," he said, eyeing the pullout with some distaste. "I insist."
"You're too long to fit on that," she said, moving to put her suitcase by it again. "It's okay, I've definitely slept on worse."
"No, really," he said, picking up her suitcase as soon as she set it down and turning to go to the bedroom. "It's only right."
"Lucifer," she said, grabbing the handle and ignoring the thrill that went through her at the feeling of his hand against hers. "Don't be ridiculous."
But he had that stubborn set to his jaw that said he wasn't going to give this up; that he was determined to do something for her that he decided was nice regardless of what she thought of it. And she had to admit it… it was nice. It was nice to know that he wanted her to be comfortable, that he would put himself out to make sure that she was.
He didn't let go of the handle, but he didn't try to pull it from her either. "I'm not being ridiculous."
"You are," she said and pulled at her suitcase, but he was like a rock, refusing to be moved. She huffed in frustration and stopped. "Fine, if you're going to be like that then it's a big enough bed. I'm sure we can share."
She had offered it as a trump card that would make him back down. She couldn't deny that a part of her was thrilled at the idea, though, and wanted him to accept. She shouldn't let her heart get more tangled up with him, but he wasn't making it easy, because he stared at her for a moment, searching her gaze, and then hefted the suitcase until she had to let go.
"Alright," he said. "If that's what you desire."
She rolled her eyes, but he didn't catch it, having turned the rest of the way to go to the bedroom. What she desired was to sleep on the- well, that was a lie. She didn't want to sleep on the pullout. As comfortable as it looked—and it did look comfortable—the bed looked like it would be a dream to sleep on. Like she would be ruined for all other beds.
"Glad we got that sorted out," she muttered, ignoring the look of consternation he flashed back at her. Then she said, louder, "I'm going to go find something to eat. You're welcome to come with me if you want, but I'm thinking fast food more than fine dining."
He popped his head out of the bedroom and studied her for a moment, making her want to squirm under his gaze.
"Perhaps somewhere in the middle?" he asked, coming out of the room to where she was standing, still in the foyer.
It had a foyer. If this was the kind of place he stayed when he went traveling, no wonder he had turned down the department's offer of a hotel room. It was ridiculous and over the top unnecessary and exquisitely him.
"Yeah, sure," she said. Really, she didn't want to wait for food—something ready-made would suit her just fine—but, well. Why not? It wasn't a vacation, but it was the closest thing she was likely to get. May as well enjoy it.
They ended up at an out-of-the-way Italian restaurant, one that didn't have candles on the table but had the lights slightly dimmed like it was trying for the same ambiance. Something in the middle indeed.
It felt almost like a date, with Lucifer pulling her chair out for her and ordering wine that she wouldn't have been able to afford in her lifetime. She didn't feel out of place in her comfy travel outfit, but if he had decided to go one step higher on the "fancy" ladder, she would have. She liked to think that he had specifically chosen somewhere that would be comfortable for her, but couldn't be sure.
Maybe he was just craving Italian food.
Regardless, the food was delicious and they quietly discussed the case. Someone was making people jump to their deaths—usually young men in their late 20s, usually somewhat wealthy, usually from the tops of very tall buildings. It looked like some kind of serial killer, but no one would have made the connection if a young officer who had just transferred down from northern California hadn't made the connection to the cold case.
As the detective with the best close rate, Chloe had been put on the case. And where Chloe went, so went Lucifer. They'd spent the past couple weeks investigating and re-interviewing witnesses. As they traced the occurrences up the coast, it became clear that the next target was either Seattle again or the surrounding areas, and if the person causing all this kept to the timeline, it would be within the next week.
It didn't give them much time to find the killer, even though all it took was one call from the new lieutenant and they were headed there to partner with the SPD. Regardless, they had the most information, so they were going to try.
"Dessert, Detective?" Lucifer asked when their plates were empty.
She really shouldn't; even though they were talking work, with the soft look in his eyes and the wine and the timbre of his voice, it felt like a date. She didn't want to be led on, but the food had been delicious and she was tired from the flight and dessert sounded really good.
So, against her better judgment—judgment that was growing quieter and quieter—she said yes. The cannoli she got was delicious, the perfect amount of crunch and meltingly soft filling, of sweet and tart.
"You have a little-" Lucifer started, reaching across the table to touch the side of her cheek with his thumb.
She froze at the touch, a frisson of fire going through her as he dragged his thumb down and a feeling of loss replacing it as he sat back, a bit of cheese filling on his thumb. His gaze darkened as it met hers, and he slowly put his thumb in his mouth and sucked off the filling.
She swallowed, hard, and then looked away. She could feel her cheeks coloring and knew Lucifer could see it too.
"We should get back to the hotel," she said, her voice rough, and, after a moment, the side of his mouth quirked in a rueful smile and he nodded.
"Early morning tomorrow, then?" he asked.
"For both of us," she said sternly as the waitress brought over the check. She made a lackluster grab for it, but didn't complain when Lucifer swiped it out from under her hand and paid for both of them. "Thanks."
"My pleasure," he said with a soft smile that had her insides melting.
She reminded herself he was the Devil, he wasn't going to stay, she shouldn't let her heart get carried away, but none of it helped stop the flutter in her gut at the look he was sending her. This was going to be a long week.
The worst part of having a "job"—even one that fit the definition as loosely as bounty hunting did—was the acquaintances Maze made. They weren't friends, not like Linda and Decker, but they were people who maybe thought they were friends. Which meant they asked for favors.
"I can't," she said shortly into the phone as she poured vodka into her cereal bowl and milk into Trixie's. "I told Luke. No jobs for the next week."
"Come on," Sandy said on the other end of the line. "My kid's sick and it's just a bail jumper. You could do it in your sleep."
Maze chewed noisily on a spoonful of cereal and thought about it. It was the weekend, so she couldn't pack the kid off to school and get it done before she had to be picked up. She was pretty sure that bounty hunting was on the list of forbidden activities, but this couldn't really be considered a bounty hunt. She'd get paid for it, sure, but Sandy was right: it was something she could do in her sleep. Surely Decker couldn't complain if she left Trixie in the car.
And if she didn't find out about it.
"I want the whole bounty," she said finally.
"Aw, Maze, come on, I don't get a finder's fee?"
"I'm doing you a favor, remember?" Maze said, scowling into the distance. Some people really didn't get the concept of favors. "Listen. I gotta go. Send me the info and I'll see what I can do."
"You're a life saver," Sandy said before she hung up.
Yeah, right. Or she was going soft. Maze tucked her phone away and put Trixie's bowl of cereal on the table, calling for her at the same time. When she appeared, she was still in her pajamas but looked wide awake. Good.
"Hey kid, want to go on a bounty hunt today?"
Her eyes lit up for a moment before dimming into worry as she frowned and said, "I don't think Mommy would like that."
"Well we don't have to tell her, right?" Maze said, taking another spoonful of cereal. "Besides, it's just a bail jumper. It's not like it's gonna be dangerous."
Trixie dug into her cereal for a moment before saying through a full mouth, "What if she asks what we're doing?"
Maze shrugged. Jeez, she didn't think it was that complicated. "We say we're doing something else."
"I dunno," Trixie said, pushing her finger through a drop of spilled milk. "Mommy says lying is bad. And Lucifer doesn't lie! So maybe it is bad."
That was terrible logic, but Maze resisted the urge to tell her so. Lucifer not doing something didn't make it good. Especially not his weird resistance to lying when life would be so much easier if he just did. Lies by omission weren't as useful as straight out lying to someone's face sometimes.
"Sure but he doesn't tell the whole truth either," she said, jumping on that. "He still lies, kid, they're just lies of omission."
"What's that mean?" Trixie asked, slurping milk from her cereal bowl.
"Leaving stuff out. Like how we don't tell Lucifer that I let you use my demon blades sometimes."
She could only imagine what Lucifer would have to say about her letting a human play with demon-forged weapons, even if it was a human he liked. She didn't think he liked anyone enough to let them have the power to hurt him, except maybe Decker. But Decker didn't count; she was an exception given her heavenly origins.
When she focused back on Trixie, the kid was grinning and her cereal bowl was empty. "Okay! I wanna do it."
"Awesome," Maze said, drinking the rest of the vodka from the bowl and putting it in the sink. "Let's see what we got."
She went to her room and grabbed her tablet, pulling up her email. Sandy had already sent all the information she had on the guy they were looking for, although it was pretty sparse; much sparser than Sandy had suggested. Oh well, it just meant Maze'd be showing the kid how to stalk someone before bringing them in. It was a valuable life skill. Probably.
"C'mere," she said, plopping down on the couch and scrolling through the information again. The guy was a hit-and-run, who got out on bail and then skipped his hearing. He shouldn't be dangerous, going by his picture and the little information Sandy included. He was a high school math teacher for crying out loud. Could you get any more dweeby?
Trixie jumped up on the couch next to her and hung over her shoulder, reading the screen. Maze slowed down scrolling, giving her time to catch up.
"What's a hit and run?" Trixie asked, pointing at the screen like Maze wouldn't be able to find the phrase on her own.
"It's when you hit someone with your car and don't stop and wait for the cops."
"Oh." Trixie said, chewing on her bottom lip. "So he killed someone?"
Maze flicked to the next page of the document, reading through it quickly. "No, but the guy he hit is in the hospital."
Trixie was silent, and when Maze glanced at her, she was looking worried. "So we gotta catch him?"
"Yeah, he didn't show up for his hearing," Maze explained. "That's bad, so they send someone to find him and bring him to jail. I don't usually do this, but someone I work with needed a favor, so here we are. It'll be easy."
There was no information about where the guy liked to hang out, just the number for the school he worked at, his address, and the name and cell number for his wife. Looked like she was the one who put up the money for bail, so she probably wasn't too pleased with him. Good, that would make it easier to crack her.
"Now we call his wife and see if she knows where he is," Maze said. It felt weird, explaining what she was doing, but good at the same time. Something about teaching Trixie how to do bail bonds made her feel something bubbly in her chest. It was a weird feeling. "And then we go get him."
Chloe had called Trixie the night before to tell her goodnight but she had to resist the urge to call her on Saturday morning to make sure Maze had plans for the day and wasn't going to let her sit in front of the TV all day long. She could trust Maze to look after Trixie. She could.
"Penny for your thoughts," Lucifer said as they pulled into a parking spot next to the yellow tape surrounding the crime scene, but Chloe just waved him off.
She didn't need to hear from him that Maze was perfectly capable of taking care of a child for a week. Or, even worse, if he thought that she wasn't capable. He'd have told her that before they left if that were the case, right? He wouldn't let her just leave Trixie alone if he didn't think Maze could handle it. As much as he protested, she knew he liked Trixie.
"Did you talk to your spawn this morning?" he asked, sending a charming smile to the officer guarding the crime scene before ducking under the tape as she showed her badge.
"No, I'll call her after we get back to the hotel, see what she and Maze did all day," she said, looking around until she saw the detective in charge of the case.
She headed over, Lucifer trailing along behind her. "They're fine, you know," he said. "Maze won't hurt her."
"That's not what I'm worried about," she said, casting a surprised look back at him. Did he really think she would leave her kid with someone she thought might hurt her? There was no way. And no words. "I'm just- It's hard, leaving your kid with someone who's never babysat them for a long period of time before, that's all."
"Ah," Lucifer said, and she saw he was frowning a little when she glanced back at him. But he didn't say anything more.
"Detective Decker?" the detective in charge—a Roger Banry—asked as she came to stand beside him. "And… Lucifer Morningstar?"
She was pretty sure he couldn't have sounded more dubious if he tried.
"That's me," Lucifer said with a grin and a wink. "At your service, Detective Banry."
"Right," Banry said with a blink and reluctant smile before turning back to Chloe. "You're up to date on the case so far, right?"
"Yes," Chloe said, eyeing the smashed roof of the car across the street from them and the white sheet over the body on the ground next to it. It looked like the person had fallen from the top of the building and bounced off the roof of the car, if the blood puddle underneath the body was anything to go by. "I take it this is the latest victim?"
"Yeah," he said, and then added, "What is he doing?" with a nod toward Lucifer, who had wandered to talk to one of the rubberneckers, a women in a tight shirt and understated makeup.
Chloe could feel the jealousy rising and couldn't do anything to stop it. She knew it was ridiculous, that she was the one who had cooled things off in the face of the devil revelation. That she didn't have any kind of claim to him. But her logical brain didn't stop her heart from knocking painfully against her ribs.
"I usually just let him do his thing," she admitted and shrugged. "He gets results."
"Okay…" Banry said, drawing out the word dubiously before turning back to the body. "Vic's name is-"
A second body came crashing down onto the car, drawing screams from everyone beyond the tape. The two officers at the front of the building immediately turned and ran inside, in hopes of catching the perp on the roof.
"Looks like it's raining men, Detective!" Lucifer called as he strolled across the crime scene toward the body.
"More like let the bodies hit the floor," one of the uniforms muttered, and Lucifer's eyes lit up. He turned to say something to the officer, but Chloe got there first.
"No," she said sharply, making Lucifer's mouth snap shut. "Inappropriate."
"When have I ever been appropriate?" Lucifer asked, but his smile didn't reach his eyes.
In fact, she wasn't so sure any of his smiles had been real since they woke up that morning, a vast expanse of bed between them and Chloe sighing in relief. She had thought maybe it was going to be awkward, waking up in the same bed as him. It was certainly awkward falling asleep with him there—she had lain awake and stared at the ceiling for what felt like hours, not wanting to move and disturb him—but the morning was different. He had kept to his side of the bed. She hadn't woken tangled up with him. All in all, she would consider it a success.
Except for how her heart gave a painful twinge at the idea that the reason he had managed to stay away in the night—managed to be polite and respect her boundaries, God, could she sound any more ridiculous—was that he didn't want her anymore. A part of her would have thought he would have jumped on the excuse to maybe cop an "accidental" feel. A part of her knew that was out of the question and he would never.
And a part of her wanted him to. It would be so easy to put aside her doubts, to let being with him overwhelm them, if only he would make a move. But she knew he wouldn't. She knew that he would wait and wait and wait and it was up to her to break their holding pattern. She just wasn't sure if she could, not knowing that he was the devil and this could never be anything more than a flash in the pan romance to him.
"At least make an effort," she said, a beat too late.
Lucifer's smile tightened and he turned away. She just didn't know what to do with him, how to turn things back to the way they were. How to make sure he was in love with her and stayed that way. After the way things ended with Dan, she didn't want to give her heart to yet another person who would stomp on it.
As if she hadn't already given Lucifer her heart, more than once, and had him do that.
This time as different. This time it was her who had done the stomping, had turned away from him and left. Had said without words that he wasn't what she wanted anymore. Was it any wonder that his smiles were false and his words were hollow?
"Can we talk?" she asked him quickly before he could step away. "Not now, later?"
When he turned back to her, there was a panic deep in his eyes that she couldn't quite reconcile with the Lucifer she knew. It was only there for a second before it disappeared and he was back to looking like his cocky self.
"Of course," he said. "Perhaps over dinner?"
"I think it would be better if we did it at the hotel," she admitted, not wanting to get confused between what she wanted and what was real. At least not without talking to him first. "Is that alright?"
"Yes, of course," he said and gave her another tight-lipped smile, this time striding away and toward the body as soon as he turned.
She followed after him, a bit slower, letting him get a lead on her and begin to chat up the officers standing there. The second body had been declared dead while they talked, the EMTs checking it as if there was any chance it had been alive. The officers who had gone to search for the suspect called in that they hadn't been able to find them.
Well they certainly had their work cut out for them, so Chloe pushed all thoughts of what she wanted to say to Lucifer out of her head and got to work.
It was turning out to be less of an easy bounty than Maze had thought it would be. The wife hadn't known anything, nor had the school. She had been reduced to tracking him through the social media profiles his wife knew about. It wasn't the most fun way of catching a bounty, and Trixie was making sure she knew it.
"This is boring," Trixie said for the fourth time in an hour. She picked absently at the fresh bandaid on her arm and frowned at Maze. "I want to do something fun."
Maze glanced at her, noting the frown and the loosening bandaid, and sighed. "Sure, kid, go do something fun. I'll come get you when I figure out where this creep is."
Trixie stared at her for another minute, then slid off her chair and went into her room, sulking all the way. It wasn't Maze's fault the guy spent his time ranting about politics and hitting on female celebrities instead of talking about where he was or having the location feature turned on for his tweets. She needed to do some real hunting to find this guy.
She glanced toward Trixie's room, and then back at her tablet. It might be time for a stakeout. Guy like this, probably he would head back home at some point. She could catch him then. But she couldn't picture a stakeout with Trixie in tow going well.
"Hey Trixie," she called, turning off the tablet screen. "Want to go for a drive?"
"Is it gonna be a boring drive?" Trixie asked, poking her head out of her room, still sounding sulky.
Well tough titties, she would have to suck it up. They needed to get this done before she went back to school on Monday. Decker wouldn't be happy if Trixie was playing hooky probably. And especially not happy if Maze was enabling it.
"Probably," Maze said, shrugging. "Bring something to do. I'll pack some snacks. We're going on a stakeout."
Trixie's eyes got wide at the idea and she disappeared for a moment. When she came back out, she had her backpack and a book in her hands.
"That was fast," Maze said, eyeing the backpack. It didn't look like her school one.
"It's my go bag!" Trixie said, opening it and showing the contents to Maze. There was coloring books, barbie dolls, a stuffed animal, and a bunch of other toys. None of the clothes and weapons that should have been in a go bag. Trixie must have noticed her confused look, because she added, "Sometimes Mommy has to work and I have to get dropped off at the babysitter."
"Ah," Maze said, not asking why the babysitter didn't just come to them, but wondering it all the same.
She packed the snacks in a bag and patted her pants and shirt absently to make sure she had all her knives on her. She didn't think she was going to need to use them—which was a shame—but it was better safe than sorry, especially if she had the kid in tow.
"Got your knives?" she asked. Better safe than sorry for Trixie, too.
Instead of answering, Trixie ran back to her room, presumably to get them. While she was gone, Maze grabbed the bottle of vodka out of the cabinet and added it to the growing pile of things she needed to take with them. She'd need to make two trips to the car.
Once Trixie came back, brandishing her knives, Maze handed her a bag of snacks and said, "This goes to the car," and took one of the other bags.
Once the car was packed, they set off. Night was approaching, which meant Trixie's bedtime was approaching. It was the weekend, though, did bedtimes really matter on the weekends? Probably not.
They cruised through the traffic, Trixie screeching with excitement as they slipped into the very small space between two cars during a lane change. They made good time, pulling to a stop a few houses down from the guy's house. It gave Maze a good view of both the front and back doors. There was no way the guy was going to be able to sneak in without her noticing.
"Now what?" Trixie asked, and Maze shrugged.
"Now we wait."
"For our target to show up," she said, stretching a little then slouching down in her seat.
This was the boring part. Sometimes it took days of surveillance if she didn't catch a lucky break. She couldn't afford days of surveillance with Trixie in the back seat, though. There was no way the kid could be entertained for that long. If this didn't work out, she was going back to social media and trying the wife again, maybe getting the names of some of his friends.
"What if he doesn't?" Trixie asked, leaning up to the front and grabbing a twizzler.
"Then we rethink our approach," Maze told her. "And stop eating my candy I brought you your own."
She didn't grab the twizzler out of the kid's mouth, but it was a near thing.
"You have the good candy!" Trixie said, sitting back out of reach. "And I need it so I can get good bones."
"That's calcium," Maze pointed out, but let it drop.
Trixie was quiet for a few minutes, munching on her stolen twizzler and paging through a coloring book. From what Maze could see in the rearview mirror, it looked like most of the pages were already colored in, with increasing skill. The kid was getting pretty good at shading. She made a mental note to get her some good colored pencils, to buy her way further into her good graces.
And then Decker called.
"Hi Maze," she said when Maze answered the phone. "How are things going?"
"She's still alive, if that's what you're worried about," Maze said, scowling a little. She didn't like being checked up on. When she committed to doing a job, she did it well. And if that job was keeping Trixie alive while Decker was gone, well, then she'd sure as hell be alive when Decker got back.
Decker laughed a little and said, "I know, I'm just calling to say goodnight. Can you put her on the phone?"
Right, because it was near Trixie's bedtime, and she had called every night for that so far. It wasn't unreasonable. So Maze handed the phone to Trixie, giving her a pointed look to remind her not to tell Decker about anything they were doing.
"Hi Mommy!" Trixie said. Maze could only hear half of the conversation, but it seemed like it was going well. "We went for a drive. No, she wouldn't let me. She's gonna read me more Harry Potter. I guess. Okay, I love you too, Mommy, night!"
Once Trixie had handed the phone back to Maze, Decker said, "Sounds like the two of you are having a good time."
"Yeah, sure," Maze said, checking the time again.
"Don't let her trick you into reading more than one chapter, okay?"
"Sure," she said again. They'd stay for maybe another hour, and then give up for the night. Maybe they could go check out the house under the guise of Trixie selling cookies or something, except no, it was too late at night for that. Damn.
"Okay, well, I have to go. Goodnight," Decker said and hung up.
"I'm tired," Trixie announced. There wasn't much Maze could do about that; it was too early to leave. This whole "bounty hunt with a child" thing was harder than she had expected.
"Here," she said, handing a sweatshirt on the front seat back to Trixie. "You can use that for a pillow."
"Can you read to me?" Trixie asked, dropping her colored pencils on the floor and laying down in the back seat.
"I have to watch the house, kid," Maze said. "I can't read to you and do that."
Trixie made a face, but didn't argue about it. The boredom must have really gotten to her, because she was asleep within minutes.
The night was a bust overall. Maze would need to call the wife again tomorrow, or call on the wife tomorrow. She had said the guy wasn't hiding out with her—and the cops certainly hadn't found him there—but that didn't mean she was telling the truth, and it would explain why they hadn't seen him all night.
So Maze headed home, driving maybe a little more carefully than usual since Trixie was laying down without a seatbelt on. When they got back to the house, she had to carry the kid inside and put her to bed without any fuss. Then she got back on her tablet and started scrolling back further on the guy's social media timelines.
They were going to catch him tomorrow or she was going to have to do something drastic.
Chloe hung up from talking to Trixie and turned to Lucifer, a small smile on her face. Talking to Trixie while she was traveling always made her smile. Lucifer just looked apprehensive, his gaze flitting away from hers as he took a sip of his drink.
She wanted to talk, wanted to hash out the weirdness that had been between them lately. Weirdness that was almost certainly her fault. But she didn't know where to start, or how to start, so she walked over to the minibar and took out a small bottle of wine. There was a glass to pour it in big enough for almost all of the bottle. Good. She had a feeling she was going to need it.
She went and sat on the couch, staring into the middle distance, lost in her own thoughts. She needed to know why Lucifer was here, first and foremost. If he was just here because being a police consultant was interesting, then she couldn't let her heart get tangled with his. But if he was here, on this earthly plane, for more than that…
She almost didn't want to think about what that would mean.
She saw Lucifer saunter over out of the corner of her eye and turned her attention to him. He smiled one of those false smiles at her before sinking down gracefully into the chair by the couch she was on. Now that she had him here, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to say. She pulled her legs up underneath her, curling up on the couch like she wanted to protect the soft meaty part of her belly—the soft, meaty part of her heart.
Lucifer cleared his throat, fiddled with his cufflinks, and said, his voice tight, “You wanted to talk, Detective?”
“I-” she started, but her throat was too dry and she had to clear it. “I don’t want to lose you,” she blurted, getting straight to the embarrassing root of the problem: that she was afraid she didn’t mean as much to him as he did to her.
"You- What?" he said, sounding genuinely mystified, which she supposed should have made her feel better, but it only made her feel worse. Now she would have to explain it.
"You're-" She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to get her thoughts to form sentences. "You're an angel of the Lord-"
"I am not-" he said, enunciating carefully "-an angel, Detective. I have not been an angel in a very, very long time. I thought we'd already established this."
"Okay, so not an angel angel but you're still-"
"Not an angel in any way." He was scowling, not at her but off to the side, so she couldn't tell if it was her he was mad at or memories. It was probably her.
"Fine, yes, you're the Devil, but that's still this… whole big thing." She ran a shaking hand through her hair, pulling it out of the ponytail it was in, feeling his eyes on her with every motion. "You've been alive for an eternity. How long is seven years to you? How long is a human life?"
"Not that long," he admitted, careful and slow, the weight of sorrow in his voice infinitely deep. "But-"
"But-" she interrupted him "-it doesn't matter, don't you see? We don't matter, you're- You're an ancient, incomprehensible force of- of nature and-"
She broke off at the terrible look in his eyes and swallowed, hard. He hadn't looked so betrayed, so stricken and so angry since she had known him.
"And there's no way you could care as much about- about us as we do about you," she finished quietly, her gaze turned away from him. She couldn't stand to look.
"I see," he said quietly, something soft and broken in his voice that had her clenching her fists in an effort to stop herself from reaching out, from offering comfort. "I think I'll take a walk, Detective. Goodnight."
He was gone before she could say anything else, before she could explain better what she meant, how she was feeling. She let out a string of curses and stood, deciding to go shower off the long day.
By the time she was ready for bed, he hadn't returned. In the morning, she woke from a restless sleep to an empty bed, his side of the sheets undisturbed. That conversation had gone a lot less well than she had thought it would. If this was how she finally lost him, she wasn't sure who she would be more angry at: herself for pushing or him for leaving.
She dragged herself through her morning routine. When she got to the precinct, it felt like everyone could see that she hadn't slept well and was speculating as to why. It was ridiculous, of course. No one here cared about her private life, they just wanted her gone because she was outside her jurisdiction. But she couldn't shake the feeling, and it was making her feel snappish.
When Lucifer showed up a few minutes later—she could see his profile walking in—she swallowed the tiny relieved sigh that tried to escape. It wouldn't be out of character for him to have fled back to LA, and a piece of her had been worried about that all through her shower, all through getting dressed, all through waiting at the precinct for him.
It was something she shouldn't have to worry about. She should be able to trust her partner to be there for her. Even when- Even when they had had a fight that wasn't really a fight and she had hurt his feelings tremendously and wasn't even sure why. On second thought, and given how disheveled he looked, maybe she was being unreasonable.
"You okay?" she asked quietly as the lead detective briefed the team on what had gone on while they were off shift.
"Never better, Detective," Lucifer replied, his voice distant.
"I'm sorry if-" she started, but he interrupted her because she could get the full apology out.
"It's quite alright. Now shouldn't we be paying attention to what this gentleman is saying?"
Just because he was right didn't mean she had to like it, but she focused back on the lead detective anyway. The killer was getting bolder, and the crime scene squad had found a spot of blood on the roof at the crime scene from the day before that didn't match the blood of either victim.
Then the briefing was over and everyone had been assigned their tasks. Theirs was to go canvas the neighborhood, looking for witnesses to the last murders. It was a shit job and everyone knew it. Punishment for being outside their territory, she was sure.
Lucifer hadn't softened any, if anything seemed colder and more distant as they walked out of the station together. She wasn't sure how she was going to stand spending the day with him like this, but it did prove what she had been saying. He couldn't care as much about them as they did about him. It just wasn't possible.
"I'm going to call Trixie and check in on what she and Maze are doing," she said, stepping to the side and out of the way of people going into the building. "Do you want to say hi?"
"Why would I if I don't care about them?" he asked snippily, which hadn't been the point she was trying to make last night at all.
She opened her mouth, ready to argue about it, but stopped herself at the last second. This was neither the time nor the place.
"Fine, if you're going to be like that about it," she said, "you can head to the car. I'll catch up."
She turned away, dismissing him. Then she took a deep breath to steady herself and pulled out her phone. Talking to her monkey would calm her down; it always did.
Maze and Trixie were honing knives together when Decker called again. It was like she didn't trust a demon to watch her kid still. The thought had something unpleasant curling in Maze's stomach, which she ruthlessly pushed aside and handed the phone over to Trixie.
They were sitting next to each other at the table, so Maze could hear both sides of the conversation. It was mostly boring things, especially since Decker had already talked to her last night. What could possibly have happened in the two hours Trixie had been awake since then?
Heh, maybe she and Lucifer had a fight. That always did put Decker in a bad mood, and she had to admit that Trixie was good for lifting bad moods. Maze ran her finger along the edge of the blade she was honing, testing the edge. It was sharp enough, if not as sharp as she'd like. That was the problem with mortal weapons; they lost their edge far too quickly. She hadn't had to hone her demon blades for centuries, never mind sharpen them.
"We're sharpening knives!" Trixie said excitedly, and Maze was instantly on the alert. She made a cutting motion with her hand but Trixie either didn't notice or didn't care, because she kept going. "Maze won't let me do the big ones, but-"
"It's perfectly safe, Decker," Maze said over her, talking loudly so Decker could hear. "We're only honing them; she's not gonna get hurt."
She glanced guiltily at the bandaids still on Trixie's arm. The cut was healing nicely, but still. She should have made sure it hadn't happened in the first place. Humans were delicate. And Decker could be pretty scary for a human when she was mad. Maze wasn't scared of her, of course, but it would still be very awkward if she had to fight her.
"Give the phone to Maze, monkey," Decker was saying, and Trixie handed over the phone.
"She's fine," Maze said, exasperated. "I wouldn't let her get hurt."
"I know," Decker said, sounding amused.
A warm feeling curled in Maze, something rare and precious. She had thought for… a long time she was going to lose Decker through Lucifer's carelessness. It seemed, though, that now that the Sinnerman business was cleaned up and they all had been cleared and no one ever found out about Maze's deeper involvement in the events, Decker was leery of Lucifer but not treating Maze any different. It didn't make sense to her, but that was humans for you. So weird.
"I just wanted to remind you that Trixie needs to bring cookies for her after school program on Tuesday. You can just go to the store and get a box; we never bake them."
"Oh," Maze said, eyes on Trixie who had her tongue stuck out while she ran one of her smaller knives down the steel.
"Yeah, oh," Decker said with a laugh. "I trust you with her, you know that, right?"
Maze scowled against that warm feeling filling her again. "Yeah, of course, why wouldn't you?"
"Exactly. You two be good, okay?" And then she was gone before Maze could tell her that she was never good.
She watched Trixie for a moment as she finished up the last knife and put it on the table. One of the guy's friends had posted on facebook that he was going to be meeting "a friend" at a bar downtown. It sounded like the right guy, so they were going to head down that afternoon and lay in wait for him.
They really needed to catch this guy today, though, if Trixie was going to go back to school on Monday. So this would be their best chance. Maze would usually sit at the bar and wait for whoever she was hunting to show up—sometimes they were even dumb enough to hit on her and wasn't that a kick—then tackle them and cuff them.
That wasn't going to work if she had the kid with her. Not with the whole "drinking age" bullshit. She supposed they could sit in the restaurant in the back and wait, but that came with its own risks, like the guy making her as a bounty hunter the instant he saw her face.
There was, apparently, "just that look" about her, whatever that meant.
Having a kid with her might keep him from bolting, but she had a better idea, if she could get Trixie to agree to it.
"Hey kid," she said, standing and beginning to collect up the knives. "Wanna be bait this afternoon?"
"Yes!" Trixie cheered, grinning and pumping her fist in the air.
Maze should've realized it wasn't going to be any trouble. Trixie had even more of a nose for mischief the older she got; Maze approved. "Okay. Here's what we're gonna do."
Canvassing a neighborhood was a lot easier with Lucifer, Chloe had to admit. They opened a door, Lucifer charmed the person there, they left when it turned out the person didn't know anything. It was easy. It was getting the job down. It shouldn't bother Chloe.
It was kind of distasteful.
Maybe it was the look on Lucifer's face every time he glanced at her when he thought she wasn't looking. Maybe it was the way he grimaced slightly after talking to some of the people. Maybe it was some of the desires he was drawing out.
Regardless, it made her stomach curdle as she watched and threw in her own questions. The day looked like it was going to be a bust and she couldn't help but be frustrated by that. They needed to find this person before they moved on. It could be to Alaska, it could be to a neighboring state, it could even be to Canada and she didn't want to think what would happen if this guy crossed country lines.
It was bad enough that the lead detective had accidentally revealed that the reason why they were rushing was to get the case solved before the FBI showed up. It was why Chloe and Lucifer had been called up from LA; at least that finally made sense.
"Oh yeah," the woman they were talking to said when Lucifer asked if there had been anyone new in the neighborhood lately. "There's the guy staying with Sal."
"Sal?" Chloe asked, but the woman only had eyes for him.
It made something turn in her stomach, the way people responded to him. The way they looked at him like he was nothing more than meat. She bit her lip at that thought, glancing to Lucifer only to see him watching her. She glanced quickly away as he repeated the question.
"Tell us about this Sal, why don't you?" he asked, and the woman was all too happy to oblige.
He lived at the end of the road, and there had been someone staying with him for the past few days. The woman knew that because there was a strange car in the drive occasionally. It was there right then, too, maybe they wanted to go and talk to him.
"Thanks," Chloe said, already turning away, almost missing the piece of paper the woman slipped into Lucifer's hand before he turned away.
"What's that?" she asked, her voice low, as she made a note of the address in her notebook in case they needed more from the woman.
Lucifer checked the slip of paper then crumpled it in his hand and shoved it in his pocket. "Just her number, darling, nothing you need to be concerned about."
"Lucifer…" she started, drifting off when she realized she wasn't sure what she wanted to say to him. He just watched her as they sat in the car until she finally had to continue with, "We should go talk to this guy."
"Agreed," Lucifer said, and that was all.
They drove to the end of the street, parking a house down from the one the woman had pointed out. There was a car with out of state plates in the driveway, and when Chloe peered in the window at the driver's seat, she noticed a spot of blood on the center console.
Lucifer was already at the front door, knocking. No one answered. So, once she'd joined him, she knocked too and announced their presence. Again, there was no answer. The blood in the car gave her probably cause, so when no one responded to her third knock, she shrugged and asked Lucifer to break the door down.
The smell that met them when he did was the foul smell of rot. They shared a look, then started to clear the house. It was small, four rooms on the first floor, and the back room was the jackpot.
"Freeze!" Chloe shouted to the man frantically shoving clothing into a backpack. He looked up to see her gun on him and froze for the briefest moment before he threw himself out the window.
Lucifer was after him before she could say anything. She backtracked through the house and out the front, her pounding footsteps echoing in her ears as she rounded the side. Lucifer had the man pressed against the back fence, patting him down quickly. He turned his head to glance at her, a proud grin on his face that quickly faded.
She hated this. They needed to talk, again, and it needed to go better than last time.
After handcuffing the man—and he was very vocal about his displeasure with that—she radioed in for backup. Someone needed to find the body she was sure was in the house and they weren't equipped to bring a suspect back to the station so they needed a car for that.
At the station, the lieutenant was reluctant to let them in on the interrogation.
"It's just not policy," he said, shrugging. "Consultants aren't-"
"Oh, but I'm sure you can make an exception, just this one time," Lucifer said, smiling in an almost predatory manner at him. "Tell me, what can I do to make it worth your while?"
The lieutenant stared at him for a long moment before faltering and saying, "I just… really want a day off. That's all! I've been on duty for three weeks straight and I-"
"Say no more," Lucifer said, pulling out his phone and stepping to the side. "I'll just have a word with your captain. Go ahead without me, Detective."
She almost didn't. Watching him work his magic, now that she knew it basically was magic, was fascinating. It was like watching people's walls melt away right in front of her, and while she was glad it didn't work on her, she was just as glad it worked on other people. For their case closure rate if nothing else.
In the interrogation room, the man they'd arrested wasn't saying anything. He glared balefully around the room, not meeting anyone's eye and ignoring all questions to him. She knew Lucifer would be able to crack him in an instant, but couldn't resist trying anyway.
"You're going away for a long time no matter what you tell us," she said, sitting down and dropping a pile of paper—mostly blank—onto the table. "We found you dead to rights in Sal Larson's home with his corpse rotting upstairs."
Nothing but a glare.
"We have footage of you lurking at three different crime scenes-" a lie, but a good bet, especially given the way he jerked "-and you're hoping, what, this will all just go away?"
Then Lucifer sailed in to the room, immediately going to circle the man and pause behind him to flash a tight smile to Chloe.
"Hello, Benny," he said, nearly into his ear, and the guy jerked away, turning his glare on Lucifer. And that was all it took. "Tell me, what is your deepest desire."
Benny, it seemed, was looking for the key to everlasting life. He claimed he was a bit of an alchemist—in the modern sense of the word, he explained when Chloe challenged him on that—and had come across a recipe that guaranteed safety from harm.
So he was testing it, moving up the coast to keep ahead of he police. He didn't mean—or need—the deaths to look like suicides, it was just a surer way of testing the formula than pushing his guinea pigs—his words, not hers—out in traffic.
"What a piece of work," the lieutenant said when they exited the interrogation room. "You might need to come back for the trial, and there's a bit of paperwork that needs to be done, but then you're free to go home with our thanks."
Translation: get the paperwork done and get out.
Lucifer glanced to the door and she sighed, tipping her head to it and catching his eye. "Go ahead. I can get this done."
He fled, just as she had expected him to do, and something in her heart seemed to curdle and go sour.
"You know what you need to do?" Maze asked for the third time. It never hurt to go over the plan again, and she was feeling something that almost might be nerves. Maybe bringing the a kid into this hadn't been such a great idea after all.
"Yes," Trixie said, with a level of exasperation that Maze thought was probably called for. "I go in, I find that guy, tell him I'm lost and need help finding my mommy. Then I get him outside. It's not hard, Maze."
"Okay, okay," Maze said, raising her hands. "Fine. Just making sure."
Trixie rolled her eyes and turned away, shifting from foot to foot, her little fists clenched. She looked like she was ready to go into a fight. Which was probably something Maze should tell her not to start.
"Don't start any fights you can't finish," she said, just in case. "Just bring him out to me."
"I know," Trixie said, turning to glare at her. "Can I go now?"
"Yeah, looks like he's-" she peered through the binoculars again "-at the table by the front window. Go get 'im."
Trixie ran down the hill and Maze lifted the binoculars back to her eyes. She wanted to be watching in case something went wrong. It wasn't that she didn't trust the kid, it was just that Decker wasn't going to be happy about the scratch on her arm, never mind if she got something worse.
She watched as Trixie went inside and was out of sight for a couple seconds before appearing by the window. She tugged on the guy's sleeve, interrupting him, and said something Maze couldn't quite catch. She was turned a bit too far away to even try reading her lips. It looked like they argued for a second, the guy saying something about not going and Trixie saying something back. Then she burst into tears—good going kid—and the guy was quick to jump out of his chair and hustle her off.
It was a great performance. Trixie was definitely getting ice cream on the way home.
They appeared out the front door and Trixie looked both ways as if she were lost before turning in Maze's direction, taking the guy's hand and pulling him after her.
"I think she was this way," Trixie said and sniffled, her voice wobbly.
The guy grumbled something and Trixie let go of his hand, turning to glare at him. "You're mean," she said, and Maze took that as her cue to step out of the shadows.
The guy took one look at her, one look at Trixie's smirking face, said, "Oh hell no," and grabbed Trixie's shoulders to hold her in front of him.
Maze stalked forward but he tightened his grip, making Trixie yelp, so she stopped. Definitely Decker wasn't going to be pleased.
"Let go of the kid," Maze said, "and I won't beat you that much."
"Nuh uh," he said, taking a step back with Trixie stumbling backwards with him. "I'm not going to jail."
Maze laughed, fingers gripping one of her knives, ready to take it out and throw. She wouldn't hit Trixie, but-
The guy screamed and Trixie darted over to stand behind Maze, blowing a raspberry at him and calling, "Take that you bully."
There was a knife—a little one, child-sized really so it wasn't like it had gone that deep—sticking out of the guy's leg. He jerked it out with a groan and brandished it at them, only for Maze to throw a knife at him to knock it out of his hand. He turned to run, but she was already on him, taking him down to the ground and grinding his face in the dirt.
"That's for trying to take a kid hostage," she growled in his ear and got up, dragging him after her while Trixie cheered.
She cuffed him and sat him down on the pavement, calling the cops to come pick him up while he went back and forth between spouting obscenities at them both and groaning over his leg. Humans were so soft.
While Trixie went after the two knives, Maze glared around at the small crowd of gawkers growing. They scattered when she growled at them as Trixie came back with the knives and handed them over.
"Good job," Maze said, smacking the guy across the back of the head when he started to talk again. "Next time, remember not to leave the knife in the guy's leg, okay? You don't want to give him a weapon he didn't have before."
Trixie was beaming when she said, "Okay!" and "Can we get ice cream on the way home?"
"Definitely," Maze said. And then Decker called.
She and Trixie shared a panicked look before Maze answered the phone, kicking the guy in the side when he tried to say something again.
"What was that?" Decker asked, sounding exhausted.
"Nothing, just the TV," Maze said, hoping that the cops were coming with their sirens off. In fact, she could see them in the distance, so she said, "Here's your kid," and handed the phone to Trixie.
"Hi, Mommy!" Trixie said, moving away when Maze shooed her. She was quiet for a moment, listening, and then said, "We're outside."
Maze wanted to cover her face with her hands. The kid needed to learn to lie better.
"Uh," Trixie was saying, "it's a loud TV?"
The cops pulled up before she could say anything, and Trixie moved farther away. Then she was focused for the next few minutes on handing over the guy and getting rid of the cops before they realized she had let a little kid help her catch him.
"Maze," Trixie said, and handed the phone to her. "Mommy wants to talk to you."
"Hey, Decker," Maze said, with an exasperated eye roll for Trixie. "What's up?"
"Don't let Trixie watch too many violent movies, okay?" Decker said, sounding distracted. "They give her nightmares. I gotta go, but we'll probably be home sometime tomorrow, alright?"
"Yeah, sure," Maze said, an unnecessary amount of relief flooding her as she hung up. Their ruse was a success, and all they had to do was go home now and make sure Trixie wasn't going to talk about this to anyone.
"Hey kid, ready to go get ice cream?" she asked, and Trixie dashed for the car.
Lucifer didn't disappear after they reached the hotel, but things were silted and awkward in the worst way. Chloe ended up putting on the TV after a very strange conversation with Trixie—what on earth were she and Maze getting up to?—and vegging in front of it for a while. Nothing good was on and Lucifer—drinking something from the minibar and reading a book in a language she didn't recognize—didn't have any commentary.
When she was ready to go to sleep, she offered to sleep on the pullout again. Lucifer's eyes shuttered and he turned away from her.
"If you're uncomfortable-" he started, but she was having none of that.
"I'm not uncomfortable," she snapped. "I'm just offering since- Oh, never mind."
She went and got ready for bed, and resolutely had her eyes closed when Lucifer followed some time later. Sleep was a long time coming, but eventually, she drifted off.
When she woke, it was to warm comfort and something she hadn't felt in ages: contentment. She drifted for a while, half asleep, half awake, enjoying the feeling. When her mattress moved, she grumbled a little and there was a soft, sad chuckle above her.
That seemed to be enough to wake her the rest of the way, because she stopped drifting and slowly became aware that she was laying cuddled up close to Lucifer, his arm around her and her head on his shoulder. And for a moment, she forgot everything that had happened since they got to Seattle and smiled up at him softly.
"Good morning, Detective," he said, just as soft, but there was an infinite sadness deep in his eyes that brought her back to the present.
"I'm sorry," she said, pushing herself up and away until she was sitting against the headboard.
"It's quite alright, he said, pushing himself up too and not looking at her. "You can't be blamed for your tendency to sprawl across the bed."
"I do not-" she started, then stopped, shaking her head a little. "That's not what I meant."
Last night she had a lot of time to think about why he was angry, what she had done. Their conversation replayed in her head over and over again, and she thought she got it. She had been casually cruel, no matter that she hadn't meant it.
"Well whatever you're sorry for, it's quite alright," he said lightly and she shook her head.
"No it's not. I didn't mean to imply that you didn't care about us," she said and he jerked a little next to her. "I just- I don't understand how you-" She stopped and took a breath. "When I was little, I had a pet mouse. And mice only live for two years or so. When he died, I was sad but I- I didn't care. It wasn't a big deal, you know?"
She chanced a glance at him, only to see that he was frowning. "Are you comparing yourself to vermin?"
"No," she said. "I'm saying that, compared to you, our lives are so short that I don't understand how we can matter. You'd be sad for a bit maybe but then you-" her throat got tight and she had to clear it "-you could replace us like I did my mouse."
"If this is an apology you are doing a spectacularly bad job of it," he said, his own voice tight but with anger. "None of you are sodding pets." He spat the word and grimaced. "You're-" He swallowed, and when he spoke again, his voice was full of grief. "I dread the day you—any of you—die. You'll be going somewhere I can't follow. And that-" He looked away.
"You were the first true friends I have ever had and no one, nothing, will be able to replace you." He seemed to notice that his hands were fisted in the sheets and carefully unclenched them and smoothed out the fabric, not looking at her.
"Oh," she said.
She tried to imagine Lucifer—her Lucifer, who loved people as a whole and basked in their attention—going so long without ever knowing what a friend felt like. Without knowing the love of-
"Oh," she said again.
Lucifer let out a forced laugh, still looking away. "Yes, 'oh'."
It was a depth of feeling she couldn't fully fathom, and she had- "I'm sorry."
"It's alright," he said quietly, then added, turning a confident smirk toward her that rang hollow, "I'm sure it's quite a shock that someone as delightful as me has never-"
She laughed and said, "Please don't ruin it."
Then she disentangled herself from the blankets—much less smooth than she wanted to be—and swung a leg over his lap so she was straddling him. "Is this okay?" she asked, cupping his cheeks in her hands.
"More than," Lucifer breathed, the shock on his face morphing into something close to desperation. "Are you sure, Chloe, I-"
She didn't let him finish, instead tilting his head just right and pressing her lips to his.
His quick intake of breath, a light gasp through barely parted lips like he hadn't believed she would really do it, had her smiling into the kiss. His lips were soft and pliant against hers, and when she bit lightly on his bottom one, he opened his mouth to her tongue.
She hummed a happy little sigh as his tongue tangled with hers, stroking it and stoking the fire slowly growing within her. His answering moan had her running one hand through his hair to grip it firmly at the nape of his neck, and he shuddered against her.
She broke away, needing to breathe, and said, knowing she was probably ruining the mood, "You have to know, when I die I'm going to do everything possible to get back to you. I'll fight God if I have to."
He laughed breathlessly, responding with a long, deep kiss instead of words, his hands coming up to her waist, running under her sleep shirt and over the skin beneath. His fingers were warm on her skin as he stroked up her ribs and, for the moment at least, there was no place else she'd rather be.
Decker and Lucifer were going to be home soon. Maze was changing the bandaid on Trixie's arm—she didn't really need one anymore, but whatever made the kid happy—and coaching her on what to say if Decker asked what they did while she was away.
"We went to the park and we had ice cream and cake," Trixie repeated. "When's Mommy coming?"
"She should be here soon," Maze said and shooed Trixie over to put her plate in the dishwasher. At least they hadn't left the place trashed.
Then she could see through the window that a car was pulling up, and Lucifer was getting out and opening the passenger door for Decker.
They paused there to kiss, and Maze smugly opened the door to shout, "Go Decker! Get some!"
Lucifer flipped her off, and probably they could see Decker's blush from space. Lucifer took her suitcase and followed her into the house. For once, he wasn't the one Trixie ran to.
"What did you do this weekend?" Decker asked, between hugging Trixie and smothering her with kisses.
"We did a bounty hunt!" Trixie said excitedly, and then looked guiltily to Maze. "Oops."
Decker's gaze slowly slid over to Maze, and she had to stamp down the urge to run. "You did what?"