Characters/Pairing: Lucifer/Chloe, Trixie
Summary: It's really hard to be a rebellious teenager when one of your parental figures literally invented rebellion.
Notes: I don't know, it just happened. Spoilers through 5A.
Chloe had been married to the Devil for three years before she heard him having an argument in earnest with her daughter. Usually they got along famously, Lucifer affecting disdain and Tris plying him with relentless affection in the pattern they had established from the start. Any family disputes usually came from Lucifer’s abiding tendency to spoil her, and were quickly resolved once Chloe interfered.
But both of them had just come in when only Lucifer was due back, and the slamming door and loud tones told a story even if the only words that Chloe could make out were Tris’s uninformative cries of “I don’t care!” and “He is not!”
Sighing, Chloe left her office to mediate. She was more resigned than concerned - Tris was sixteen now, after all, fiery as ever, the girl who had decided one day that she had outgrown her childhood nickname and had everyone calling her by a new one within twenty-four hours. Lucifer was Lucifer.
The two of them had stopped on either side of the stairs, so Chloe had to literally walk into the middle of the fight. “What’s going on?” she demanded.
Tris answered first. “Lucifer is ruining my life!”
“Nonsense.” Lucifer gave Chloe an imploring look. “I’ve done nothing but remove an inconvenience from her path. I’ve no idea where this display of ingratitude came from.”
Chloe raised an eyebrow, waiting for the details that would let her know which one of them was being more unreasonable.
“I’m supposed to be grateful?” Tris retorted. “That you chased away the only guy who liked me enough to ask me out?”
There it was. Tris had just recently started dating - at least in the way that entailed more than holding hands - and Chloe knew that Lucifer would never admit to how worried it made him. She crossed her arms and rubbed her forehead. “Lucifer, do you want to explain why Tris’s date didn’t pass muster? You don’t even know the kid.”
“Well, I brought the urchin to the cinema according to plan, walked her to the entrance, and it seemed her ticket had been left in the car--”
Tris broke in. “Because you took it out of my bag and put it there!”
“--And while she was retrieving it I passed the time with a bit of conversation with her would-be paramour.” He batted his eyes at Chloe, all innocence.
She nodded. “You mean you intimidated him with a barrage of questions about himself.”
“Just the one.”
No need to ask what that one was. Tris might not have understood what was happening, but even if she had, she would still be angry at him, and Chloe wasn’t entirely sure she could blame her. This was more complicated than she had thought.
“Tris, could you give me and Lucifer a moment?” she asked.
“Fine. Whatever.” The girl’s phone chimed, and she grabbed it off the counter and glanced at it before saying, “I’m going out anyway.”
Chloe took her shoulder to stop her from darting straight out the door. “Wait, with who?”
“Maze. I told her what Lucifer did and she’s here right now to pick me up, so bye.”
Lucifer took his own phone from his pocket and read something off it that made his eyes widen slightly. Chloe released her daughter and looked at the text that Lucifer had just received from Maze: I’m getting her some ice cream and I’ll deal with you later.
The moment that Tris was gone, Lucifer strode briskly toward the kitchen, speaking and gesticulating without looking back. “Now, I admit my assignment to deliver the young lady to the theater wasn’t entirely successful, but once you hear my side of things I think we’ll be in complete agreement that I acted in her best interests.” He reached up to the highest cupboard and took out a bottle and two glasses. “You’d better steel yourself for the utterly vile core that this riffraff revealed to me when I--”
Chloe cleared her throat before cutting in. “You put the mojo on him,” she stated, leaning on the other side of the counter, “and he said he wanted to have sex with Tris.”
Lucifer froze, looking up from the drinks to meet her eyes, then gradually setting the whiskey down. “How did you…?”
“How did I know what a teenage boy would be thinking when he was on a date with a cute girl? How did you not know?” She reached for one of the glasses. Lucifer seldom asked before he poured her one, but he didn’t put any expectations on it, either - if she didn’t touch hers, he would just drink both of them. Right now seemed like a good time to lay claim to one. “What did you say that scared him off so fast, anyway?”
“Didn’t have to say a word, actually. A glimpse at Hell was all the deterrent he needed.”
Chloe sputtered on the sip she had just taken. “You Devil-faced him? In public?”
Lucifer had that perplexed, affronted expression that he got whenever she called him out for being egregiously inappropriate. “Nobody else saw it, Detective, I’m not an amateur you know. The more pressing question is how we’re supposed to deal with the rest of the young miscreants that the child is likely to encounter, since apparently every one of them has the same thing on his mind. Did you really know about this all along? And you’ve just been letting them off the hook?”
As much as he had changed over the years, there were always aspects of humanity he just couldn’t understand, and there probably always would be. She had to put things in his terms. “They didn’t do anything wrong. Since when do you punish people for having desires?”
“This isn’t punishment, it’s...insurance.”
“You mean protection?” Chloe softened her tone. “Lucifer, Tris growing up isn’t easy for me either. But there’s always a point where parents have to step back and let their children make their own choices. She knows what to do if a boy tries to take advantage of her. You and I and Dan and Maze have all been hammering that lesson home for a long time.”
Lucifer flicked his fingers dismissively. “That’s hardly a concern. Even I would pity the chump who incited the wrath of Maze’s prize student.”
Chloe smiled. “Then what?”
He finally picked up his own drink, taking a long pull from it with a pained expression, and let the pause go on for a few more moments before saying, “What if she makes the wrong choice?” He lifted his eyes to Chloe’s. “What if there isn’t a right choice? The way you tell it, every one of the males in her peer group is after her body for some meaningless fun, after which he’ll discard her and move on to the next temptation.”
“Mm.” It wasn’t easy to talk about this, Chloe reflected, but it was good that they were getting it out. “Sound familiar?”
She was expecting deflection, but right away Lucifer snapped to attention and exclaimed, “Aha! Yes, perfect example! You were the first woman to ever turn me down. You wouldn’t budge until I was ready to treat you with the respect you deserved. Changed my entire outlook, made me the upstanding Devil I am today! The best-played long game in Eternity!”
As accustomed to the peculiarity of their romance as she had become, she still couldn’t help laughing a little - and blushing. “So what’s your point?”
“Would you have been able to resist someone as gorgeous and charming as me when you were sixteen?”
“Are you suggesting that someone as gorgeous and charming as you actually exists?”
He snorted. “Absolutely not. Especially at a high school, thanks be to Dad. Putting an element like me in that environment would be bloody chaos.” His smirk faded as he went on, “Those angst-ridden little savages have a hard enough time resisting each other.”
Chloe let her mind drift back to her own teenage years - first kiss, first boyfriend, first heartbreak. Lucifer didn’t know how right he was. “If I could go back to the age Tris is now,” she mused aloud, “I would tell myself to wait for a guy who wanted more than sex.” She shrugged. “And I wouldn’t listen to me, because what do adults know, anyway.”
Lucifer threw back the remainder of his drink and emphatically placed the glass on the counter, leaving his fingertips splayed on its rim like a scepter. “And reasoning with your own offspring would, assuredly, be no more effective. How fortunate for her that I didn’t bother with that approach.”
“You know, I thought if you could sympathize with anything, it would be rebellion against parental figures.”
“Oh, I can.” He looked grim. “Never fear, Detective, I won’t be perpetuating that particular cycle. I’ll gladly take all the blame and vitriol the urchin can dish out.”
She sighed. “Or you could just stop scaring her boyfriends.”
“And I will. As soon as she finds one who doesn’t need scaring. Tell her to work on that, would you?” Lucifer’s glass was empty, and he sized up the bottle before apparently reconsidering and taking Chloe’s glass from her instead of refilling his own.
“Hey!” she complained as he downed it. “Are you trying to distract me by annoying me with something unrelated?”
“No.” He came around to her side of the counter and swung an arm around her waist. “I’m trying to distract you with sex. We don’t know exactly when Maze will be bringing the urchin home, and you were taking far too long with that.” As he spoke he nudged her toward the stairs. “Chop chop.”
Chloe considered refusing, but the argument wasn’t going anywhere. Everything else was still up for debate, but he was right about how to make good use of their time alone together.
If it had just been that one time, Tris would have let it go. If Lucifer had ruined her date with Brody and thereafter left her alone, it would have been okay.
Brody had turned out to be a loser anyway. A few days after their botched plan, Tris found out that he had been telling everyone that they went to the movie and then he decided he didn’t want to go out with her anymore and that’s why there was no second date.
She cornered him at his locker at the first opportunity and reminded him of the public humiliation he would face if she informed the whole school about the truth of the matter: that he had run like a squirrel after meeting her stepfather. His face went pale and he stammered an apology, and she didn’t have to speak to him again.
But then there was Tyler. Sweet, funny Tyler with his encyclopaedic knowledge of every band that Tris liked. She knew better this time than to let him anywhere near Lucifer, and concocted a foolproof plan to meet him at the beach after school. They had about fifteen minutes of a wonderful time before the sun was suddenly blocked out by a massive umbrella being erected behind them.
“There you are,” said a cheerful, all-too-familiar British voice. “Should have had one of these from the start, but judging from the paper-white tone of your companion’s skin, no real damage has been done.”
Tyler jumped and Tris whirled around, both of them spraying sand all over their blanket. Lucifer was standing over them wearing swim trunks and an offensively bright yellow tank top with a Hollywood sign image on it. Tris tore off her sunglasses. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, protecting your complexion, of course!” He turned to Tyler, who had his own sunglasses in his hand, wiping sand off of them. “One would think someone as devoid of pigment as you would be more conscious of the effects of the sun, for your own sake if not the lady’s.”
“Lucifer,” Tris snapped before Tyler could attempt a response. “This isn’t funny. Leave us alone.”
He grinned. “Very well. Just one question before I go.”
“No! Tyler, don’t answer him!”
It was too late. They had eye contact. “Tell me, Pasty Boy, what is it that you desire?”
Tris had never seen anyone look as uncomfortable as Tyler did now. He swallowed. “I just...wanna get Tris into bed. I don’t even like the beach.”
“Right.” Lucifer sighed. “No surprises there, but I’d advise rethinking your strategy. When you associate with women of substance you may find there are consequences to thinking with your tiny prick.” He stepped out of the shade of the umbrella. “I’ll just be on my way then, I have my own date to get back to.”
After a second of stunned silence, Tyler lurched to his feet without looking back at Tris. “What the hell, man?” he shouted at Lucifer. “Why are you--”
Tris could only see him from the legs down, and Lucifer was completely out of view, but something had just silently transpired between them. Before she could stand up, Tyler was sinking back down, into the shade and onto the blanket. She reached out to touch his shoulder, and he flinched. He was trembling, she realized suddenly.
Caught between pity, disappointment, and frustration, Tris murmured, “Sorry about that. You want to, um, go somewhere else?”
Tyler finally raised his eyes, but they were hard and distant. “What’s the point?” he asked. “Nothing’s going to happen now anyway.”
So Lucifer had ruined another date with another boy who apparently wasn’t worth it anyway. That didn’t make it okay. The prom was coming up, and she had been so sure that someone would ask her. Maybe not a prince charming or a soulmate, just a cute guy who would make it a night to remember. Now she was wondering whether it was better to go alone or to skip it.
Tris wasn’t giving up so easy, though. She flirted with Evan and he flirted back, until Lucifer dropped in during lunch period one day and somehow convinced a cafeteria worker to allow him to take her place long enough to ask Evan what he wanted. She invited Aiden over to show him her pet boa constrictor, and Lucifer came home unusually early and greeted her guest with questions about his desires. No matter who she had her eye on, no matter how discreet she was about it, Lucifer always seemed to be one step ahead.
Whenever she tried to talk to him about it, he fired off insults about all of the boys he had interrogated, saying their obsession with sex was proof that they were unworthy of her. She didn’t have a good comeback for that - the confessions of lust were starting to wear on her too - so she stopped talking to Lucifer altogether.
It was hard to keep him out of her life, though, and not just because he was married to her mother. One day she joined a study group, and the first thing she heard when she walked into the room was, “Well, if it isn’t the Princess of Hell!”
Tris facepalmed as she took the chair next to Juan, the boy who had spoken. “Please don’t call me that,” she muttered.
He sounded confused but genuinely remorseful. “Oh, sorry. Everyone’s been saying it for so long, I didn’t know you didn’t like it.”
She smiled to show she wasn’t upset with him. “I was the one who started it, y’know. See, my step-dad’s name is Lucifer, and he always used to tell people he was really the Devil.” She paused. “Actually, he still does. Anyway, I figured if he’s the King of Hell…”
Juan laughed. “Yeah, totally. So why stop using it? It’s cool.”
“Because I’m trying to be a rebellious teenager, not a daddy’s girl. Do you know how hard it is to rebel when your parental figures have a diabolic theme going on? I need to find my own thing.” She frowned pensively. “Maybe angels. I bet that would piss him off real good.”
They kept joking until they were shushed for the studying to begin. Tris wrote her number in Juan’s notebook and went home feeling better than she had in a while.
Her good mood lasted until she walked in the door and Lucifer called from the kitchen, “Is that you, urchin? I have a marvelous new game for the Xbox, we absolutely must try the two-player mode.”
Tris rushed into her room and locked the door behind her. She wanted to cry. Lucifer would spend hours playing video games with her, though he never played them alone, or with anyone else.
Mom came home an hour later, and soon was tapping gently on Tris’s door. Tris let her in, but with a caveat: “I don’t want to play Xbox, if that’s what you’re here to ask.”
“Actually, I was wondering if you wanted a driving lesson.” Mom smiled and held up her car keys. “Just you and me?”
Mom drove them to the outskirts of Los Angeles and then let Tris take over. In an empty parking lot she made slow circles and figure 8s until Mom directed her to pull into a spot facing the ocean and turn off the car.
Sensing the melancholy in the silence, Tris asked, “Are we about to have a heart to heart?”
“If you can handle it, I could use one.” Mom sounded wry, but weary. “I hate seeing you and Lucifer fighting.”
“Putting up with him can be a lot, but he’s only trying to look out for you.”
“I know.” Tris drummed her fingers on the steering wheel. “Can’t you make him stop, though? I thought you had him wrapped around your finger.”
Mom let out a soft laugh. “Funny, I always thought the same about you.” She unbuckled her seatbelt to turn toward Tris. “Listen, monkey, there are some things you don’t know about Lucifer’s past, and without that, it’s hard to understand where he’s coming from. You’re getting to the point in your life where he and I can’t always give you what you need, and...I think that really scares him. Maybe even more than it scares me.”
The raw honesty in her mother’s voice gave Tris a pang of guilt. Lucifer might have been acting oblivious to her cold shoulder, but she knew she was hurting him, and she knew he meant well. Mom wasn’t the only source of Tris’s attachment to him. He was the glamorous grown-up whose magical ways had her convinced for years that he really was the Devil. He was the reason that Idina Menzel had given a private performance for her thirteenth birthday party. He was the one who had dropped all wit and pretense at the news of her father’s death, and held her silently while she sobbed into his designer waistcoat all night long.
She bit her lip, then plunged into an honest confession of her own. “It’s just, I kept thinking I found the right guy. Brody, then Tyler, then Aiden...but thanks to Lucifer, they all ended so fast I don’t even know what I missed out on. And now there’s Juan…”
Mom perked up. “Juan? I didn’t hear about Juan.”
“Because it’s been like five minutes! But I think he’ll ask me to the prom if he gets a chance, but he’s probably not going to get a chance because Lucifer.” Tris clenched the wheel, her pent-up frustrations surfacing in her voice. “I know this is all just stupid high school drama, there’s more important stuff than the prom, but I--”
“Honey, no!” Mom reached out and squeezed her hand. “No, it’s not stupid at all. This is a special time in your life. You deserve to experience all of it.”
Tris squeezed back, finding a smile. “Then can you not mention Juan around Lucifer?”
“Your secret is safe with me.” Mom hesitated, then asked, “Are you not going to ask about what we’re keeping from you about Lucifer’s past?”
“No way. Gross.”
Mom laughed. “Okay, apparently it can’t be any worse than whatever you’re imagining right now.”
Tris wasn’t actually imagining anything, though it was true she didn’t want to know, especially now that she was feeling better. “Good talk,” she ventured.
“Good talk,” Mom agreed warmly. “Hey, don’t sweat about the prom. Juan or no Juan, you’re going to have a great time.”
“I guess.” Tris wanted to believe her, but she didn’t know what to expect yet, or even what she should hope for. She gave her mother a long look, seeing her in another light. “Who brought you to your prom?”
Mom paused for a second, and then let out a rueful giggle. “Lucifer.”
Tris knew very well that Mom and Lucifer hadn’t known each other in high school, but she also could tell this wasn’t some kind of evasion and that it had nothing to do with Lucifer’s mysterious dark past. She sat back in her seat, smiling, and waited for the story.
Lucifer approved of nearly every kind of mischief that his love’s offspring got herself into, and was ready and willing to get into it with her more often than not. He knew that it wouldn’t last forever; one day her desires wouldn’t be so innocent and her mistakes wouldn’t be so harmless, but he had thought he was prepared for that.
He was wrong. Nothing had disturbed him quite like finding out that she had been calling herself the Princess of Hell.
He didn’t think the Detective knew about it, and he didn’t want to bring it up, feeling that he wouldn’t be able to explain why it was a problem. Back when he proposed, he had admitted that marrying him would make her his lawful queen and that he couldn’t do anything about it, and she had barely batted an eye. She was never going to set foot in his infernal kingdom, she said, so why should it matter if she had a title there?
And it didn’t, at least not in any way that affected her life on Earth. But he knew and she knew that it was the truth, and she had taken it on with fully informed consent. Tris, on the other hand, had no idea that her playful boasts had any bearing in reality. Truth be told, Lucifer hadn’t been sure himself, since there wasn’t any precedent. He just didn’t think that the daughter of a queen, within celestial tradition, could be anything but a princess.
So there was only one question: If the urchin knew the truth about him, and hence herself, would she be appropriately horrified? Or would she flaunt it even more?
He couldn’t probe for insight while she wasn’t speaking to him, so he kept on with his original plan. She might think she hated him for it, but at least none of her fellow troublemakers would be corrupting her on his watch.
Unfortunately, the Detective still wasn’t cooperating with the plan. One morning, he came downstairs and greeted the women, and as usual of late, only one of them greeted him back. Tris was staring at her phone over breakfast, showing no sign that she’d seen or heard him, and the Detective didn’t even take her to task for her poor manners.
She did, however, hand Lucifer a cup of coffee, so he kissed her temple and began whistling to fill up the silence in the room. As he tested the whiskey content in the mug, she discreetly shot him a look of compassion, a quiet reminder that her commitment to neutrality didn’t mean apathy.
“Oh!” Tris exclaimed suddenly. She scrambled out of her chair and over to her mother, gesturing at her phone. “I found it! Definitely this one!”
Lucifer furrowed his brow, but the Detective scrolled down the screen for a few seconds and said, “Okay, good...yeah that’s a decent price...great! I’ll book it!”
Tris returned to the table, beaming, and Lucifer cleared his throat. “What’s this now?”
“Her prom is this weekend, remember?” said the Detective. “She and her friends are chipping in for an SUV limo.”
If Tris had come to him with her request, he could have provided any vehicle she wanted and saved her and her friends their pocket money, and he was sure she knew that. Instead of saying so, he reached for the whiskey to correct the ratio in his coffee and smiled brightly. “Ah yes, the prom. I’m quite looking forward to it myself.”
Instantly, Tris froze and looked at him for the first time that morning, but it was the Detective who spoke. “Lucifer? Did you sign up as a chaperone without telling me?”
“What, me, spend an entire evening supervising teenagers and making smalltalk with their millennial parents? Bloody hell, no.” He could see both of them begin to relax before he clarified, “I’m the DJ.”
There was a clatter of Tris’s spoon falling into her bowl. “No!” she yelled. “You can’t! Oh my God, Lucifer, you can’t come!”
“So now you’re speaking to me,” he replied evenly. “You won’t need to during the event, if that’s your concern.”
“Mom, tell him he can’t do this!” She really did sound outraged. “He’s going to ruin everything!”
The Detective shook her head as if she too were at the end of her rope. “Lucifer, this is supposed to be a night for Tris and her friends. Making it all about you isn’t going to help.”
“Detective, you wound me. My only intentions are to ensure that the music is of a decent standard.”
Tris shoved her chair back from the table and stood up. “Yeah, because obviously I can’t enjoy myself without you making every decision for me.” She glared. “I should have known you’d have some kind of public humiliation ritual planned.”
Lucifer blocked her path before she could storm out of the kitchen, looked her in the eye, and laid his hand on her shoulder. “Child, I won’t interfere with your celebration,” he said gently. “You have my word.”
She wrenched away from him. “I don’t want your word, I want to live my own life. And I’m not a child.”
He said nothing more until she had left to catch her bus. “She’s not pleased with me,” he observed.
The Detective was at the table on her laptop, booking the SUV limo. She didn’t look up to respond, “Your powers of perception never fail to amaze me.”
“Why are you taking her side?” Lucifer pouted. “I’m the one whose feelings are being mercilessly crushed.”
She took her hands off the keyboard and looked up at him. “You should have talked to me before you set this up. I know you have a high success rate at using dramatic gestures to apologize, but I’ve also witnessed some of your spectacular failures.” She sighed. “And I know my daughter. If you put a spotlight on her, you really will be making it worse.”
“I assure you, there will be no spotlight,” he said as he took a seat at the table. “Nobody will even know that she knows me.”
“She will. So she’ll also know who spiked the punch, or hired the Blue Man Group, or whatever it is you come up with to improve the party.”
“I won’t--” He stopped. “Hold on, do you mean to say the punch won’t already be spiked?”
The Detective rolled her eyes. “I guess you haven’t put much thought into what it’s like to spend a few hours surrounded by teenagers. This isn’t your element, Lucifer. They’re not sinners, they’re just kids.”
He wasn’t offended by the implication; after all, he did have an eternity of experience with sinners and none with kids, aside from Tris and Charlie. But something was still bothering him about the comparison, and he had to think about it before responding.
She noticed his hesitation, as she always did, and a look of concern crossed her lovely face. “You’re not thinking they’re both, are you? I clearly remember you confirming my belief that there are no children in Hell…”
“Quite true, no funny business there.” He rubbed his chin. “As I said when you asked, it takes some maturity to learn how to be your worst self.”
“Mmhm. And I said that wasn’t totally reassuring but I’d take what I can get. So what’s eating you?”
He gave her a smile, hoping that it was at least somewhat reassuring. “Just that you were right. The urchin is growing up. We need to allow her to make her own choices.” The smile fell as his voice became graver. “I think it may be time to tell her the truth about who I am.”
“Oh.” The Detective’s eyes grew large and unfocused. “We did always say we would explain everything when she was old enough.”
He nodded. “It can’t be put off forever. At least we have some experience now in breaking the news gently.”
“Right, we’ll...ease her into it. Maybe Amenadiel will help. Angel uncle first, Devil stepfather later.” She swallowed, giving him another of those expressions of boundless empathy. “It’s going to be harder on you than her, though, isn’t it?”
“Detective.” He reached for her hand, unable to help himself. “Whatever the two of you need from me, I can handle. Even if it means staying away from her for a time.”
“I know how much it hurts you when the people you care about react that way. You don’t have to pretend it doesn’t.”
She was right, of course, but this time was different. He didn’t want Tris to accept his true face instantly; she would be better off in the long run if she began with fear.
Instead of troubling the Detective with that thought, he brought her fingers to his lips for a kiss and some smolder. “If I’m exiled from your child’s territory, you can always come visit me in the penthouse. I’m sure I can put your pity to good use.”
She laughed and took her hand back, only to lean forward and kiss him on the lips in exchange. “It’s a deal. We’ll come up with a strategy for getting Tris up to speed.”
“After the prom, of course. I have enough on my plate right now.”
The Detective groaned and dropped her forehead into her hand. “How did I already forget I was mad at you for that?”
Lucifer smirked. “I expect you secretly didn’t want to be mad, seeing as DJs turn you on.”
“Can you maybe follow Tris’s lead and grow up?”
Again, there was an unexpected truth behind her words. Lucifer had lived for millennia without achieving any emotional growth, without even understanding there was anything he lacked, and then a mere dozen years on Earth had reshaped him like clay in the hands of his Father. He attributed most of it to the Detective, but he had a sense now that he was growing again and that Tris was behind it.
"I can," he said out loud, draining his coffee for emphasis. "Bring it on."
From the moment that everyone met at her house, Tris felt dizzy with exhilaration. Juan brought her a corsage, and it was beautiful, and he looked beautiful, and she felt beautiful. Finding the right dress had been a long and difficult process, but in the end she had chosen one in shimmering scarlet with a corset and a full skirt, and from the look in Juan’s eyes she was sure it was perfect.
Her friends were just as giddy as she was. They laughed and hugged and took pictures until it was time to get into the SUV limo, and Juan held her hand for the whole ride.
There was one shadow over the evening, which came rushing back to her when they pulled up at the school: Lucifer was going to be there. Mom hadn’t talked him out of it, so all she had to offer was a promise that he would be on his best behavior - whatever that meant. Tris was dreading the moment that she found out what he had in store and whether it was something that she could ever live down, but until then she was determined to enjoy herself.
When they entered the gymnasium, which had been transformed into a sparkling, sophisticated wonderland, she didn’t see Lucifer. Swept up in the moment, she forgot all about him until the MC got onstage to introduce “DJ Old Scratch.”
Tris flinched, but there was no pyrotechnic display, no song dedicated to Miss Espinoza, not even a boisterous monologue about how glad he was to be here tonight. She wasn’t even sure she would have recognized him if she hadn’t known already: He was in a suit, but it was a plain black one with a black tie, and he was wearing dark glasses and a bowler hat. He looked mysterious, and kind of cool, like a secret agent in a movie.
After he had greeted the crowd with a tip of his hat, the first song he played was a remix of one that the whole school had been humming for months. Tris didn’t know how he could have known about that, but everyone was into it, and the vibe held strong as the melody faded skillfully into the next track.
For hours, Lucifer played popular music, timeless music, and music that nobody knew they loved until they heard it. He used fast beats to build up excitement, and then brought it back down with romantic ballads. He got everyone to dance, and everyone to laugh. A keyboard had been placed on the stage, and every few songs, he moved over to it and enhanced or replaced the recordings. He sang, too, but only when there was a good match for his vocal range.
Through it all, Tris kept listening for some veiled message in the performances or lyrics, but nothing seemed to be directed at her, and Lucifer never tried to make eye contact. Gradually, she accepted that there was no disaster coming. All of her friends had remarked on how awesome the music was, and Juan never left her side and showed no sign of being bored or restless.
Faced with the realization that she wanted more from her date than just this night, she made a decision. When Lucifer took a break and left the stage, she led Juan over to where he was standing at the buffet table, sans his hat and sunglasses, laughing with the English teacher over a plate of crab cakes.
He set the plate down when he saw Tris, a surprised smile on his face. “Why, hello.”
“Oh hey,” said Juan, adorably clueless. “You’re the DJ. Tris, did you want to get a picture with him?”
“Not exactly.” She felt a blush coming on. “Lucifer, this is Juan. Juan, this is my stepfather, Lucifer.”
Lucifer gave Tris a look of warmth and gratitude, then extended his hand to Juan. “I’m honored to make your acquaintance.”
“Oh,” stammered Juan, his eyes huge as he accepted the handshake. “Oh, um, hi, nice to, nice to meet you too.”
“The two of you are classmates, I presume?”
Juan nodded. “But we didn’t really know each other until lately, when we started a study group for our science classes, well I mean, I started it, Tris joined, sorry, am I rambling? I’m rambling. Um…”
Lucifer smiled disarmingly, then inquired, “And what is it that you want from the lovely Beatrice?”
Even though she had known this was coming, Tris held her breath. If Juan’s answer was as shallow as the other boys’ had been, it wouldn’t ruin the whole night for her, but she wanted him to be better than them. She wanted some justification for the thrills of hope that she had been feeling, the idea that this was the beginning of something wonderful.
“I want...I just want to protect her.”
Tris was just as taken aback as Lucifer looked. Protect her? From what?
She didn’t know what to say, and Juan was likewise floundering, red to the ears and avoiding her gaze. But Lucifer was never speechless for long. “That’s quite noble of you,” he stated. There wasn’t even a trace of sarcasm in his voice. “I wonder if you would grant me the privilege of one dance with the lady?”
Juan looked at Tris as if he needed a translator, and she grinned and dipped her head. Lucifer had taught her what he called “proper ballroom dancing,” and as far as she had seen, she was the only one here of her age who could do it. It would be fun to show off in front of Juan, maybe even inspire him to learn the moves so he could be her partner next time.
As she took the arm that Lucifer offered and they made their way to the center of the dance floor, a sentimental ballad with a female vocalist began. It was an old one, that Tris only recognized because her mother liked it, but she liked it too.
She took up her dancing posture and let Lucifer lead her through the elegant, traditional steps that suited the slow pace of the music. A few other pairs joined them, mostly adult chaperones taking advantage of the change in the mood, but they seemed to instinctively stay to the edges so Tris and Lucifer could take the floor.
In the arms of the angel, fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear…
“You do look a vision tonight,” he said. “It seems only natural that anyone and everyone should want to protect you.”
Tris sighed. The thing about dancing was that you couldn’t avoid your partner’s eyes, and Lucifer’s seemed so sad right now. She tried to keep the tone of her answer light. “Being protected all the time isn’t really as fun as it sounds.”
“No,” he admitted. “Not the kind of fun that you and I used to have, at least. The Lord of the Underworld and the President of Mars, the world had never seen such a team.” He sent her into a twirl and continued speaking once she was facing him again. “Your father once told me that having a daughter could change a man in ways he never expected. Of course I paid him no attention, since at the time it seemed irrelevant to my own future.”
The subtle declaration of his paternal feelings wrenched at Tris’s heart almost as much as the mention of Dad did. “Hey,” she warned. “Don’t make me cry while I’m wearing mascara.”
Lucifer smiled ruefully. “My apologies. I know I’m not him and I shouldn’t try to be. I only wish he were here now to dispense more unsolicited advice.”
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie.
You're in the arms of the angel, may you find some comfort here.
“Me too,” murmured Tris. “But I’m glad you are.”
He leaned back slightly, beaming with pride, as if to appraise her from another angle. “Yes, I have done an exceptional job with tonight’s soundtrack, haven’t I? Speak now and I’ll even let you request a song.”
Tris laughed. “Can I have some cash instead?”
It was a standard opening for their banter, and he knew his line. “What’s in it for me?”
“I’ll tell Maze I’m not mad at you anymore.”
He didn’t miss a step as he rolled his eyes to the ceiling, pretending to consider. “Make it Maze and your mother and we have a deal.”
Tris accepted the deal with a laugh, though she wondered if this meant that Mom had been harder on Lucifer than they had let on. When Maze had a bone to pick with Lucifer there could be no mistaking it, but he always took it in stride. With Mom he was much more sensitive.
The song was ending, and as the final turns of the dance brought her back to the center of the dance floor, Tris became aware of scattered applause from all directions. Lucifer was bowing smugly at the audience, so she made a self-conscious curtsy and hurried back to Juan. “That was amazing,” he proclaimed, taking both her hands. “How did you get so good?”
Lucifer was suddenly looming behind her, and he was the one who answered. “You must allow her to keep some of her mysteries. All will be revealed when the time is right.”
All of the dancing and laughter from the past few hours was catching up with Tris, putting everything that happened into a dreamlike context. She shook her head to cover a yawn, then said to Juan, “In the meantime I can tell you all about what it’s like to have LA’s weirdest in your family.”
“Indeed,” grinned Lucifer. “Well! Duty calls. Your ride home’s been arranged, so I expect we won’t have another chance to speak until tomorrow. Goodnight. To both of you.”
Even as he turned to go back to the stage, Tris sensed that something had been left unsaid. “Be right back,” she told Juan.
Lucifer stopped and faced her, showing no surprise, as soon as she touched his arm. She didn’t speak, just searched his eyes, and he gazed back with fond gravity. “Tris,” he said softly. “There are hardships ahead for you. I won’t be able to help, or even to relate. But your mother can. Trust her. Be the woman she knew you would be.”
Tris wondered if she would ever understand him. Maybe it was better that she didn’t. Whatever hardships he imagined could wait. Tonight she was young and pretty and loved, and she didn’t want to be anything else.
The first stage of the plan was simple enough, but Chloe kept feeling that something was going to go wrong. Lucifer was spending the night at Lux, and Tris had agreed to stay home with her mother and babysit Charlie. Amenadiel would drop him off, staying just long enough to show Tris his wings, and once Charlie was in bed, Chloe and Tris would have all night to talk it over.
By the time the doorbell rang, Chloe’s nerves were in overdrive, and she jumped as if it were a fire alarm. Tris gave her a strange look, saying, “What is up with you today?” as she stood up to answer the door.
The sight of Charlie’s huge grin as he zoomed into Tris’s arms made Chloe feel a little better. Tris loved her little cousin with all her heart, and the bright-eyed half-angel boy might be just the calming presence that she needed while she adjusted.
Amenadiel, looming over all of them, quietly closed the door behind him and gave Chloe a significant glance. She nodded and cleared her throat. “Tris? Amenadiel has something to show you.”
A few minutes later it was over. Amenadiel was gone, Charlie was asking for snacks, and Tris knew the divine truth about at least one of her loved ones. She wasn’t catatonic, but she wasn’t unaffected. For the next hour she focused on Charlie, playing the games he wanted and going through his bedtime ritual with subdued energy, while Chloe hovered nearby, anxiously watching her mood.
Finally, with the child asleep in Maze’s old bedroom, they met downstairs in the living room. “So,” Chloe began. “I bet you have questions.”
Tris nodded, her gaze far-off. “Yeah, I do.” She flicked her dark eyes over to meet Chloe’s. “What happens when we die?”
Chloe was taken aback, although she hadn’t been predicting any particular question. She would have to try her best with this one, a repeat from a time when Trixie was small and her parents hadn’t known the answer. “Well, Heaven and Hell are real. Amenadiel will talk to you about Heaven if you ask him. He’s not allowed to tell us everything, but--”
“But it’s not about Amenadiel, is it?” Tris cut in sharply. “He’s not your husband. He’s not my stepfather. It’s about Lucifer. Just get to the point, Mom. If Amenadiel really is an angel then Lucifer really is the Devil, isn’t he?”
“We...we didn’t want to scare you…”
Tris was starting to sound distraught now, although she still wasn’t panicking. “What about you? Are you some kind of magical being too? Is it genetic?”
“No!” Chloe paused and corrected. “Well, apparently there was a miracle involved when I was born, but I’m still a normal, mortal human, and so are you. There’s nothing that you need to worry about, really.”
“Uh, except for going to Hell?” Tris stood up and walked a few aimless paces. “We’re normal humans and someday we’ll die and then God asks if we were good and I’ll be like, ‘I don’t know, I was raised by the Devil, is that okay?’ and you, you married him…”
Chloe got to her feet too, raising a finger in reprimand. “You know better than that, young lady. Lucifer loves you like his own. What you learned today doesn’t change who your family is.”
Tris shook her head, hugging her midriff. “I used to tell my friends I was the Princess of Hell, I thought it was the best joke ever. But I don't want it to be real. I don’t want to go there.”
“You won’t. Why would you think that? You would never get sent to Hell.”
“Why not?” Tris demanded. “You’re not the one who decides.”
Chloe felt like she was lost in a labyrinth. “Because you’re a good person, and good people don’t go to Hell…”
As soon as the words were out, Tris’s lips closed tight, and she and Chloe stared at each other across the room in mutual consternation. These were the same conclusions that Chloe had been agonizing over for years, but she hadn’t been prepared yet to talk them over with her daughter. In her experience, nobody ever believed that Lucifer was the Devil until they saw his hidden visage. It made sense that Tris would use her years of firsthand observation to piece together a full picture, but that picture brought with it the kind of fears that maternal instincts couldn’t quell.
All Chloe could think to say to break the silence was, “Lucifer’s a special case. There’s so much that’s just beyond human comprehension…”
Tris raked a hand through her hair, averting her eyes. “Where is he now?” she asked softly.
“Lux. We thought you might need some time away from him.”
Nodding absently, Tris wandered into the kitchen and picked up her phone from the counter. When she tapped briefly at the screen, Chloe assumed she was texting Lucifer, but she couldn’t guess at what the message was and didn’t want to ask.
Tris returned to the living room and set the phone facedown on the coffee table. “You know,” she said as Chloe followed and sank back down into her seat, “when I was little I saw things, heard things that couldn’t be real. I just believed it all anyway, but then I got older and I figured I must have been imagining it.”
Chloe sighed. “That’s not that different from how it felt for me, actually. When I saw the proof I didn’t know how to react. Remember when we went to Rome and I signed you up for that sightseeing summer camp? I was researching theology at the Vatican.” She saw the intrigue in Tris’s expression and reluctantly continued. “I let myself be convinced that Lucifer was the enemy. When we got home I betrayed him. Nearly tried to kill him. It took time to change my mind. I’m not going to try to change yours in one conversation.”
Tris processed all that in silence, and then said, “Did Dad know?”
“He found out, yes. He tried to kill him too, but...they worked it out eventually.”
A chime sounded from Tris’s phone. She picked it up and glanced at it, and a shadow of an appreciative smile crossed her face. Without a word she leaned forward and handed the phone to Chloe.
The text that Tris had sent to Lucifer read, Are you a good person?
His response was below: I am trying to be.
“Well,” said Tris. “I guess I couldn’t expect more than that.”
The next day, after Amenadiel had come by to pick up Charlie, Chloe drove Tris to Lux so they could finish the reveal. They had gone to bed late, after running out of words for each other, and Chloe had stayed up later still, talking to Lucifer on the phone because she couldn’t help it. She knew it was unfair to expect him to be the one comforting her, but she also knew that he would, and ultimately, he had.
Tris seemed like she hadn’t gotten much sleep either. She stared out the window for most of the ride, but she wasn’t simmering with anger, and that was enough for Chloe.
It was too early for the club to be open, but they heard the piano before they could head for the elevator to the penthouse. Chloe stopped at the top step to listen, watching her fallen angel from above and behind him. He was dressed in what passed as casual for him, a royal purple button-down shirt with no jacket, and there was neither a glass of whiskey or an ashtray on the piano, which all somehow contributed to the lonely, regretful atmosphere of the dim club. She recognized the song and knew that it was the one he had chosen for his dance with Tris at her prom, and that he was playing it now because he was aware without looking that they had entered.
Part of her was hoping that Tris would leave her side and go sit next to Lucifer on the bench, but the last few notes of the song landed before anyone made a move. Even then, Lucifer hesitated, bowing his head over the keys before finally standing and turning toward his audience.
“Hi,” said Tris, her voice clear but small.
Chloe said nothing, but when Lucifer looked her way, she showed him her support with her eyes, and he showed his gratitude with his.
Tris descended the steps, getting closer but still leaving a few paces between herself and Lucifer when she stopped. “So can I see your scary face now?”
Lucifer’s little nod and fearful smile before he obliged broke Chloe’s heart, but once he had changed she barely noticed. It was Tris’s face she needed to see now, her reaction to the ugly side of the truth, her potential for seeing past it into the heart of the damaged immortal who wanted so badly to be a good father to a young human girl.
Ten long seconds passed, and nobody spoke, and nobody looked away. Then Tris took a deep breath, nodded, and said, “Okay. Thanks.” Lucifer’s features returned to humanity like a light being switched back on.
Chloe wasn’t sure how to proceed from here. “You okay?” she asked, glancing between Tris and Lucifer, letting the question apply to whichever one wanted to answer it.
Both seemed to take it as rhetorical. Lucifer fidgeted with his cuffs, then offered, “If you’re devising a plot to send me back to Hell, you know, I won’t take offense. It’s practically a tradition at this point.”
“I heard,” said Tris wryly. “I’ll pass. But...I still have questions. Could we, y’know, talk it out over a beer or something?”
“Tris,” Chloe cut in, exasperated. “It’s 10am and you’re sixteen.”
“It’s just a figure of speech, Mom, come on.”
“Right!” Lucifer sounded cheerful, back in his element. “Mimosas all around.” He whirled around, raising his hand like a conductor to lead the way to Tris’s favorite table.
Tris followed willingly. “Did you order brunch?”
He snorted. “Obviously.”
There were eggs, Belgian waffles, bacon and sausage, heaps of fresh fruit. Chloe overruled Lucifer’s attempts to pour Tris a mimosa, but she did accept one for herself, trying to relax after seeing that she was taking longer to recover from this experience than either of the people who were directly involved in it.
During the meal, Tris and Lucifer mostly chattered about nonsense, and Chloe mostly listened. When Tris brought them back to the matter at hand, it was with no discernable change of tone: “So God punted you into Hell as a punishment, right?”
Lucifer took a slow, measured sip of coffee. “More or less.”
“Did you deserve it?”
“Ah,” he replied, raising his eyebrows. “That’s the question, isn’t it?”
Chloe frowned. Was it? She had asked him all kinds of questions, all the hard ones, she had thought, but she couldn’t recall ever confronting him this directly about whether he believed he had earned his sentence -- maybe because she had already decided that he didn’t, or maybe because his bitterness over it seemed to have answered the question already.
But Tris was giving him a challenging stare, not about to let it go. “You said you were trying to be a good person,” she added.
“I am. For the first time in my very, very long life, I am.”
Tris furrowed her brow. “Does that mean ‘yes’?”
Chloe turned to Lucifer, now just as curious about his answer as Tris was, but he just smiled and popped a grape into his mouth. “You’re a bright girl,” he said. “Figure it out yourself.”
He sounded exactly the way he did whenever she was pestering him for help with homework that she didn’t need help with, and Chloe had to laugh.
Tris glared at both of them, one after the other. “Okay, but like, either you deserved it or God wasn’t being fair, and it would really help if I knew which one it was. I mean I’m not going to try to kill you, but my boyfriend might, so I want to--”
“Wait, what?” Chloe spluttered. Lucifer had a mouthful of strawberries that he stopped chewing in his surprise, leaving him puffy-cheeked and round-eyed.
“Juan figured it out a while ago. He wouldn’t tell me outright, but he’s been asking me all these questions about Lucifer and talking about how we should run away together. Stuff like that.”
Lucifer finally managed to swallow. “How does a simple human teenager simply figure it out?.”
Tris rolled her eyes. “Oh I don’t know, maybe because of the rumors that every guy I’ve dated swears he saw my stepfather turn into the Devil right in front of him?”
“Oh, Jesus,” Chloe groaned. “Who could have predicted that coming back to bite you, huh, Lucifer?”
“You’re not mad at Juan, are you?” asked Tris, sudden concern coloring her voice. “I mean, he can’t actually kill you, right?”
“Mad?” echoed Lucifer, grinning broadly. “I’m bloody thrilled!” He reached across the table and lay his hand down on hers. “Tris, darling. This was never a test, but you passed anyway. You faced the Devil with courage. You judged him with wisdom. And now you’ve shown that you chose a suitor who wishes to shield you from the greatest threat he can perceive -- he passed, too. He’s welcome to attempt to kill me any day.”
Tris was blushing hotly, speechless, and Chloe felt the last of her apprehension lifting. Maybe there was trouble brewing. Maybe she was going to have to break up an amateur exorcism, or prevent Lucifer from conducting some wild scheme to make Juan believe he had killed the Devil. But the love and the pride coursing through her now left no room for worry.
The King of Hell was never going to pass his throne down to his heir. What she would get from him instead was better in every way.
Read it on Ao3.