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Dial Tone Devil

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“So, after I got your message—” Chloe sat on her desk, throwing her hair over her shoulder as she turned to face you. You leaned back in her chair with a grin and folded your hands in your lap. “After I got your text,” she repeated, “I went to your former boss’s house. Turns out? That whole thing about Charlotte coming to you was a cover.”

 

“No,” you gasped.

 

“Yes!” She beamed. “He was getting ready to leave the country. And he wasn’t the smartest of scumbags either – he kept detailed records of the embezzlement.” She flipped through the papers she grasped between her fingers. “It was insane, honestly.”

 

You leaned forward in your seat. “Is there something about me that screams ‘rob me but make it flashy’?” you asked.

 

She leaned over as well, snapping the papers closed. “I was actually gonna ask if you had that, like, embroidered somewhere?” You started to laugh. “I’m serious, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much crime around one person where that person was innocent,” she added with a giggle.

 

You grinned. “Are you supposed to be telling me all of this?”

 

She hummed. “Probably not,” she answered, “But I am updating you on your case, so…”

 

You hummed in return, tilting your head. “That sounds like Lucifer talking,” you pointed out.

 

She scoffed, exclaiming how that wasn’t a funny comment, when the topic of conversation spoke over her. “What’s the saying? Speak of me and I will appear?” Lucifer called. You both turned to him. He stopped just behind Chloe’s desk. “My ears were burning, were you talking about me?”

 

“No,” you and Chloe answered together.

 

Lucifer straightened the sleeves of his coat with a pout. “Oh.” He glanced around the office. “One of these days I’ll say that, and it’ll be true,” he muttered.

 

You stood from Chloe’s chair. “What are you doing here?” you asked as you moved aside.

 

Chloe fell into her seat and tossed your file onto a pile. “Yeah, we don’t have a case,” she added.

 

Lucifer motioned between you two. “Have you both been practicing that?” he asked. He smiled slowly, slyly. “Been spending a lot of time together, have you? Hm?”

 

You rolled your eyes. “Be worried when I start copying Maze,” you said.

 

“Worried? No, I’ll be downright delighted when that day comes.” You heard Chloe groan. Lucifer patted his coat and fished through an inside pocket. “No, I came to give this to the captain!” he exclaimed. He yanked a folded plastic badge that had been shoved into a pocket that was too small. “Hah!” He flipped it open. “Now, Detective,” he said with a shake of the badge, “You will have a professional partner.”

 

Chloe stood and yanked the badge from his grasp. “No.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“What did you do?” you asked.

 

Lucifer tilted his head with an amused shrug. “It turns out that becoming a private investigator isn’t nearly as hard as everyone says!”

 

You stared at him in awe, torn between being a little proud and a little aghast at his declaration. The officer you had run into multiple times – the one with the large donut bun on her head and the million-watt smile – walked past.

 

“Did you say you became a private investigator?” she asked.

 

Lucifer turned only slightly, just a swing of his body in her direction. “I did, actually.”

 

“That’s awesome!” she chirped.

 

Your jaw dropped even more. “No? No, it’s not.”

 

“It’s really not,” Chloe agreed, “This means you can go anywhere.”

 

“I already have a hard-enough job keeping track of you as your personal assistant,” you pointed out. “You being a private investigator is going to make it worse.”

 

The woman shrugged, hugging the files in her arms tighter. “I mean, it’s not awful, right?”

 

Heels stomped down the stairs behind her, drawing the attention of almost everyone in the office, and announcing Mazikeen’s arrival. She dragged with her a man about three times her size, who she deposited into the care of the first officer she saw.

 

She stretched her legs as she approached. “What are we talkin’ about over here?” she groaned.

 

Lucifer snatched the badge from Chloe’s grasp. You stared at him with a soft sigh. “Really?”

 

“Yes, really,” he muttered, “It’s my property!”

 

“You can ask.”

 

“Detective, would you have given me my badge back?” Lucifer asked.

 

Chloe started to nod, which prompted you to wave a hand at her. She quickly shook her head, though. “No, not a chance.”

 

“Maze, did you know that he was getting his private investigator license?” you asked.

 

She nodded slowly, her eyes on the officer next to her. “Do I know you?” she suddenly asked. You threw your hands up, turning back to Lucifer as the officer ducked her head. You vaguely heard her decline Maze’s question.

 

“Do you even know how to be a private investigator?” you asked him. The officer excused herself from the group. Maze followed her with a curious glare.

 

“Yes?” he tried. He buttoned his coat once the badge was back in his pocket. “I studied extensively.” You crossed your arms. “As in I watched all of ‘Veronica Mars’.” Chloe groaned. “Plucky girl, that Kristen Bell, though I don’t know how I feel about that last season,” Lucifer added.

 

“Is that why my Hulu keeps suggesting I watch Veronica Mars?” you asked.

 

“Maybe.”

 

“You know you don’t have to watch that stuff alone, right?” You suggested with a smile.

 

Lucifer straightened his coat. “I don’t,” he scoffed. He hesitated, eyes flicking from you, to Chloe, then back. “I watch it with Amenadiel when you’re not around.”

 

You smiled fondly, crossing your arms around your front. When you started to speak, Maze burst out into laughter across the office. You leaned around Lucifer, who turned towards the cackling woman. She still stood with the officer, who was flushed and pulled the files up to her face. You and Lucifer exchanged a look before crossing the room.

 

Maze patted the woman’s arm and shoved the files down away from her face. “Have—” She snickered and heaved a heavy breath. “Have you met Milena?” she wheezed, “The—”

 

“Beat cop,” Milena cut in. Maze mouthed sound as she fell into another bought of soundless laughter, leaning onto her knees.

 

Lucifer narrowed his eyes. “Milena?” he murmured. He tilted his head, eyes drifting up Milena’s form until they settled on her face. You shuffled your arms around until they gripped your sides again. Your eyes darted from Lucifer to the newly dubbed Milena. “Do I know you?” he asked.

 

“Nope,” she protested flatly, “Just have one of those faces.”

 

“No, no, hold on,” he complained, “I swear I’ve seen you before.”

 

Someone cleared their throat behind you. Then, the patted your back. You looked up. Ella dropped her hand back to the box she carried, filled with teetering glass lab equipment.

 

“Hey, hi, hey,” she wheezed. She readjusted her grip. “Can you help me? Maybe get the door.”

 

“Oh.” You didn’t miss how absent your voice sounded. You hurried across the office to the lab door, Ella hot on your heels, and pushed the door open with your backside. She wheezed her thanks as she set the box on the table. You leaned further back against the door.

 

Ella called your name.

 

“Hm?”

 

She called it again. You didn’t answer. She grabbed your arms and pulled you away from the door. “Can I ask you something?” she said once you turned to face her. You nodded. She pulled you further into the lab. “When uh…” She leaned over, balancing on one foot, and quickly snapped back up. “When did that happen?”

 

Your brow furrowed slightly. “When did what?” you asked slowly.

 

“You,” she drawled, squeezing your elbows. She bobbed her head from side to side. “Feelin’ that for Lucifer.”

 

“Feeling…?” You wheezed as her words sunk in. Your face flushed. “Nooo,” you breathed. She nodded slowly. “Nooo!” you protested. Her whole body was nodding now. “No, I don’t—”

 

“You do.”

 

“I don’t.”

 

“You do.”

 

You groaned. “I…” You took a deep breath and held it, frozen. As you exhaled, you thought you deflated. “No?” you weakly tried to convince yourself. Ella shook you by your arms. “Okay!” you squealed. “Okay.” You patted her arms. “I…do…”

 

She stamped her feet. “I knew it!” She jumped back and clapped her hands together. “When are you gonna tell him?”

 

“Never!”               

 

“NO!” she whined. You widened your eyes. “You have to!”

 

“No, I don’t, I don’t have to, and I don’t plan to, and it won’t happen because…” You threw your hands into the air, frowning. “Because that’s not how this works, Ella.”

 

“But you’re already friends! That’s the first big thing, right?”

 

“And that’s fine.” You gripped the box on the table. Your palms were sweating. “I’m fine with just friends, Ella. I really am.”

 

Ella waved her hand over your shoulder. “And you’re fine with Lucifer makin’ the weird…staring eyes at Milena, the office match maker?” she asked.

 

You drummed your fingers against the box. “He can do whatever he wants,” you muttered.

 

Ella was silent for a long moment. “You don’t sound convinced.” You pressed your lips together, staring at the lab equipment, and started to pull them out of the box.