Author's Note: An AU where I changed the ending of the episode “Monster” because apparently I like to hurt people and then make them feel all better and cared for. Enjoy!
Summary: Alternate ending of the episode S2-6, Monster. Lucifer is shot while stepping in the path of the sniper. Mum and Chloe are not happy about his attempted suicide.
Disclaimer : I don’t own any of these characters, and I’m not making any money from this story.
Warnings : Consensual spanking of an adult




Monster

Chapter 1

He’d made the connection. The doctors were going to be his next victims. He’d called the station and confirmed that the Detective and Dan were on their way there after having come to the same conclusion. He didn’t know what he was going to do once he got there; how he could be of any help to the Detective. He just knew that he had to. This gut-wrenching guilt was tearing him apart from the inside. He couldn’t function properly. His mind kept getting distracted, racing over punishments for his despicable act – things he had done to murderers back when he had ruled Hell. He was grouching at everyone and everything – goading them to a reaction – a punch, a beating, anything that would lift this burden off his soul. But he knew that it also needed to be a punishment his father would deem appropriate for murdering Uriel. And somewhere in his head he just knew that the only solution was death. Why should he get to live while his brother was swiped from existence?

If he died, he would be back in Hell where Dad wanted him all along. He’d serve his sentence for eternity and Dad would be appeased. There was no other way.

Functioning on autopilot he entered the open-spaced lobby and immediately spotted the female doctor getting herself a cup of coffee. He stepped forward positioning himself to shield her with his body. He sensed that the sniper was already in position and if someone deserved to die, it was him – and not the doctor. He looked around with a grim expression – the detectives where nowhere to be seen.

“I know you’re out there, Mr. Sniper!” he called out loudly looking around the building. Lucifer knew that he would never see the shooter – he had already shown that he was a prodigy with the rifle. He’d be hiding somewhere further away – out of sight, but not so far that he wasn’t certain he could make the shot. Lucifer wasn’t disappointed as the first shot rang out throughout the clinic hitting the small coffee joint directly behind himself and the doctor. People panicked, rushing around, looking for cover. The female doctor opted for staying right behind Lucifer. Good for her. It also meant that the rifle would stay pointed at him. As if this unknown doctor could read his mind – could sense that he would not duck for cover.

“Come on!” he yelled. “You can do better than that! – Shoot me!” He spread his arms. “Go on then! What are you waiting for? Just shoot me right now! Please!”

“Lucifer, what are you doing?” he heard the Detective calling out looking at him from the gallery above. He saw her worried expression as she searched the premises with her eyes for their shooter. He had to ignore her – couldn’t look at that pain-stricken face. He had made a decision and the Detective was probably the only one who could change his mind. He needed to aggravate the shooter – make him lose control. Otherwise he’d never get rid of this horrible feeling.

“Uh oh, police are here. You’re gonna have to hurry up, Mr. Shooter, Sir.” A second shot hit the glass to Lucifer’s right. He was still not angry enough. The sniper was trying to scare him off instead of aiming at him. “Seriously? I am standing right here!” Out of the corner of his eye he could see the Detective rushing away. She must have a fairly certain idea of the shooter’s location based on the two missed attempts. A third shot rang through the hall. He needed to hurry up! If the Detective got to him beforehand ... the guilt would never go away.

“You’re just embarrassing yourself now. I mean could you be any worse of a shot?” Three shots were fired in rapid succession. Yes, getting close. Lucifer turned around slightly to the woman cowering behind his back. “It’s like he’s not even trying.” He was just about to turn back around as the next shot hit him in the back. Going straight through his shoulder blade and emerging again at the front. Just like that time the Detective had shot his leg, there was no pain – at first. He looked down at his chest – at the point where he assumed the wound would be. There was no blood – maybe he had imagined it. Maybe he wasn’t hit. But then again his suit and waistcoat were of a dark colour. He lifted his left arm to touch his shoulder – the right arm felt awkwardly heavy. He pushed his suit jacket back slightly and his hand touched something sticky – and oh hell, it hurt! He stared wide-eyed at his bloody hand and sank to his knees. He was hit – he was bleeding – would it be enough? Would it be fatal? It hurt – a lot – but other than that he was feeling relatively fine. Still staring at his hand in astonishment, he didn’t hear the hurried footsteps approaching or the frantic shouting all around him.

Suddenly a hand gripped his good shoulder, but he couldn’t tear his eyes from the blood on his hand. He heard voices – they were shouting – calling him maybe – but his ears felt like they were stuffed with cotton. Every sound appeared as if it came from somewhere far, far away. Another hand grabbed his chin and his head was steadily turned to look at Detective Douche. His lips were moving but Lucifer couldn’t make out what was being said. He wanted to look back at his hand – at his blood – but the hold on his chin wasn’t relenting. Dan’s expression was anxious and his voice urgent – if only he could hear what he said! Lucifer sank back onto his backside, sitting down on the cold tiled floor – Dan never leaving his side, but letting go off his chin. Detective Douche looked serious – worried – as his hands roamed over Lucifer’s chest.

Lucifer looked back at his hand – he’d smeared the blood on the floor; the dark red in stark contrast to the pale tiles. It looked grotesque, and it was a lot of blood – maybe it would suffice to end him. He was ready; ready to face his creator, his father, to await his judgement. A sudden searing pain in his left cheek made his head snap to the side. And somehow that seemed to rattle him out of his shocked state. Suddenly his senses returned; his ears hearing the noises around him and his eyes seeing the people frantically running around. Unfortunately the pain in his shoulder was acutely reminding him that he had just been shot.

“Lucifer!” Dan called him loudly. “Are you with me?” He nodded absent-mindedly. He was now. His shoulder and back ached – burned even. And it wasn’t healing, he could feel it. The Detective must still be close.

“It hurts,” he said mostly to himself, just as astonished about the simple fact that it hurt as he had been when the Detective had shot him. Maybe pain in death would propitiate his father?

“Of course it hurts! You’ve been shot!” Dan replied loudly while he viciously and without any regard to the expensive material tore his suit jacket, waistcoat and shirt from his body, leaving him bare-chested and cold. There was a lot of blood on his chest and he noticed Dan cursing – a lot.

“Yes, yes, I know. No need for profanities,” Lucifer mumbled. He was starting to feel a little light-headed.

“Paramedics are on their way,” Dan explained and Lucifer wasn’t sure for whom. He was hardly listening – or cared. “Let’s hope they get here before Chloe. You could use a bit of extra protection – she’s gonna skin you alive.”

“The Detective’s angry?” he repeated sluggishly. His head felt weird – slow – as if he had finally reached that state of inebriation that he’d so craved. Dan looked up from his task of giving first aid.

“Oh yes. She is seething. She was practically screaming into the radio. – Are you hurt anywhere else?” He shook his head slightly and Dan moved him – dragged him across the floor actually and in another time he would have bristled at that, but right now he couldn’t care less. He was made to lean back against something hard and cold while Dan pressed his shirt and waistcoat on the bleeding wounds – one hand on his chest, the other on his back. He could see his once white shirt held tightly to his chest now blotched with a lot of red. ‘Shooting someone made a bloody mess,’ he thought and chuckled at his own wit.

Dan looked at him as if he’d lost his mind. He didn’t care.

“Here, help me quench the bleeding,” Dan said and grabbed his left hand pressing it firmly onto his own chest. “Press tightly.” He knew that Dan was trying to push him out of his shocked state by making him help. He just didn’t see how it would help anyone. He felt weak and even if he tried he could never stop the steady blood flow – or wanted to – which meant that Detective Douche was holding his hand quite tightly and pressing it down onto his chest. A rather queer moment for them both and Lucifer would surely protest if he had any will to live left.

A more pressing matter on his mind was, that sitting up was exhausting, he’d much rather lie down and attempted to do just that. Unfortunately Detective Douche’s strong grip prevented it.

“Oh no,” he said. “You stay upright. If you lie down, the bleeding will be worse. I’m pretty sure he missed your lung but he must have hit an artery. – Just a bit longer now, I can hear the paramedics.”

“But I wanna lie down,” he mumbled drowsily, again trying to curl onto his side. “’m tired... and cold.” Curse Detective Douche and his freakishly strong arms, keeping him upright.

“Stay with me, Lucifer!” His cheek was slapped again, albeit more gently this time. ‘How many hands did the Douche have?’ But his eyelids felt so very heavy and he had to fight to keep them open. He looked up at Dan’s worry-lined face.

“Tell ... the Det’ctive ... ‘m sorry,” he mumbled while he fought a losing battle against the blackness that was creeping into his line of sight, blurring out contours and shapes.

“You tell her that yourself when she gets here,” were the last words he heard Dan say before everything went black and he was surrounded by a blissful numbness. ‘I hope this will suffice, Dad.’

Chapter 2

Chloe had found and overwhelmed their shooter – he had been very subdued – and cuffed him, while reading him his rights. She’d radioed in and then all hell broke loose. She heard Dan’s frantic shouting over her headphone, that somebody was hit. The shooter had missed the first few shots on purpose and she hadn’t been overly concerned that he would change his mind. As she was ascending the stairs with him, Dan’s agitated shouting got worse. Lucifer was hit! Why hadn’t he stepped out of the way? And suddenly she felt dread pooling in the pit of her stomach. She heard Dan’s voice calling for an ambulance, telling them to hurry up, that Lucifer was bleeding a lot. She yelled into her radio, cursing Lucifer and his self-righteousness, his messiah complex. It didn’t help to quell her worry and anger.

She rushed down the stairs with their suspect, looking for a uniformed officer to hand him to, but there was no police car in sight! Damn it all! She needed to see him! See for herself how bad it was. He’d been in a horrible mood during this case. Very unlike him. Had turned up drunk and dishevelled at the crime scene. She should have picked up on the signs sooner! Should have stepped up! Made him talk to someone!

She looked around frantically keeping a firm hold on the sniper. She couldn’t help Lucifer right now. She needed to wait for backup. Dan was with him. Dan was just as trained as she was in giving first aid. And there were a lot of doctors in that building. Someone would help. He’d be fine. He had to be. She needed to tell him how terribly stupid he’d acted.

Finally she could hear sirens in the distance and a few moments later an ambulance and a squat car came rushing around the corner. The paramedics jumped out and one of them vanished into the building while the other got the gurney out of the back.

She handed their suspect over to the uniforms, telling them to search him and put him in the car, that the rifle was still where she had left it and that they should wait for backup. Then she rushed inside.

She saw Lucifer lying on the floor in a pool of his own blood – oh God, there was so much! Too much! She hurried to his side, where Dan was standing, watching the paramedics do their thing to try and save him. Dan grabbed her arm to stop her movement – she knew she shouldn’t get in the way of the professionals, but he looked so ... broken.

“Oh God, Dan,” she exhaled, unable to tear her gaze away from the blood. “It’s bad.”

“He’ll be fine,” Dan tried to reassure her. “He was conscious until the paramedics arrived. They’re fixing him up now and then taking him to the hospital. He’ll need to have surgery, but they’re optimistic that he’ll pull through.” She looked at Dan doubtfully. It sure didn’t look good through her eyes. At least the two men working to keep Lucifer alive had stopped the bleeding and were loading him onto the gurney. He looked so very pale. A tube in his nose to help him breath and an IV in his arm to provide him with fluids. Chloe felt horrible. Her insides were trapped in an iron fist. She watched his chest closely, looking for the slight movement of his breathing. It barely rose and fell – but it was enough for her. For now her partner was still alive and he would do well to stay that way.

“We’re taking him to the Good Samaritan. – They have the best trauma unit,” one of the paramedics told them. Chloe stepped up to the gurney and without conscious thought put Lucifer’s hand in her own. It felt cold and clammy. She leant down until her mouth was right next to his ear and put the other hand in his hair.

“You listen, and you listen well, Lucifer Morningstar,” she whispered. “You will not die! I will personally drag your sorry ass back to earth if you do, ‘cause I have some things to say to you. Do you hear me? – I’ll be at the hospital when you wake up.” Then they swiftly took him away and Chloe was fighting not to break down. She took a deep breath trying to calm down. She would be no help to Lucifer if she panicked. She needed to keep a level head. She turned to Dan, who was watching her with an odd expression in his eyes. For a moment they just looked at each other.

“He’ll pull through, Chloe,” Dan said. “He’s too stubborn to die.”

“I hope you’re right,” she sighed. Lucifer had behaved strangely these last few days. Something must have happened that had pushed him way off track. And it worried her. He hadn’t had a strong sense of self-preservation before but his recent behaviour was unusual even for him. He was hurt, she could feel it. He had tried to push her buttons, or to push her away, she couldn’t be sure. She shouldn’t have benched him. If she’d kept him close, she would have been able to keep an eye on him. Maybe this wouldn’t have happened then.

“Go to the hospital,” Dan said, interrupting her thoughts. “I know you want to be there when he gets out of surgery.”

“Dan, I...”

“I can handle things here, Chloe,” he continued. “Just go.” And in moments like these she was reminded that Dan was a pretty decent guy and he’d make another woman very happy one day. She hugged him tightly.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. – Now go. – I’ll pick up Trixie from school. Call me if you have any news on his condition. I’m sure Trixie will want to visit once he’s up to it.” She smiled at him, promising to call as soon as she knew anything and then she left.

She had to seriously remind herself of the speed limits in the city and that she needed her license as she drove across town. The hospital wasn’t far but she took the time to call Maze. She would have called Amenadiel as well, but she didn’t have his number, so she assigned Maze with that task. She promised to do so and would come to the hospital as soon as she could.

Hospitals were actually pretty gruesome places, Chloe thought as she sat in the waiting room. Lucifer had been in surgery for an hour now and still no news on his condition. Some time ago she had got herself a cup of coffee from the vending machine just to keep herself occupied – it would be unwise to add caffeine to her already very wired state of mind – and anyway it tasted like crap. She fiddled with the cup – the liquid had grown cold long ago.

She looked around the sterile room. Although it was a room solely for relatives waiting on their loved ones to return from the operation room, its furniture was kept to a bare minimum; uncomfortable chairs and benches, the odd table here and there, a vending machine and an exceptionally ugly painting. Chloe had had time to study the painting during the last hour and still she couldn’t make sense of it – not that she tried very hard.

Sighing she got up again and paced the room. This prolonged wait was excruciating. She’d texted Dan some time ago, telling him that Lucifer was still in surgery. Amenadiel had called her on her cell after getting the news from Maze and told her that he’d get Lucifer a few of his personal belongings and then meet her at the hospital. He hadn’t arrived yet. She’d tried reading one of the magazines the hospital had provided, but she couldn’t concentrate. Pacing seemed to calm her. At one point a nurse had handed her a few forms that needed to be filled and she’d been made acutely aware that she actually didn’t know anything about Lucifer except his name and date of birth. She’d jotted that down and returned them, while the nurse was eyeing her sceptically. Maybe she doubted that she knew the man at all.

Finally the door opened and a doctor entered smiling at her. That was a good sign, right? She approached him quickly.

“Hello, I’m Dr. Stewart,” he introduced himself. “You’re Mr. Morningstar’s partner, I was told.”

“Yes, I am,” she replied. “How is he?”

“He’s moderately well. The surgery was a success. Thankfully the bullet missed any internal organs. It nicked an artery and did some damage to his shoulder blade. We were able to fix that and he’s currently being taken to his room. I want to keep him for a few days to make sure everything heals properly, but he’ll be back to full health in no time.”

Chloe heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Doctor. Can I see him?”

“Sure. A nurse will take you there. I’ll be in later to check on him.” She shook his hand vigorously thanking every God she could think of for this outcome and then followed the nurse to Lucifer’s room.

The sight of him shouldn’t have shocked her as much as it did. She’d seen people in hospitals, had seen them after surgery. She had seen colleagues that had lost a lot of blood in a shooting, but still, the sight of Lucifer lying in a sterile hospital bed, made her swallow an enormous lump that had risen in her throat.

He was still unconscious lying on a small hospital bed and hooked up to a lot of machines. Of course they’d put in an IV and nasal prongs that helped to provide him with oxygen. There was also a pain catheter that vanished beneath the bandage that wrapped around his torso to cover both the entry and exit wound of the bullet. His right arm was in a sling that kept it firmly pressed to his bare chest; a thin, awfully white blanket was drawn up to his waist. He looked so ... vulnerable with his pale complexion that seemed greyish in contrast to the colour of the blanket, and dishevelled hair, but still Chloe felt a pang of relief that he was alive and breathing.

She crossed the room to stand by his side and cautiously put a hand on his head. She needed to assure herself that he was really going to be okay. That he was alive; that the blood he’d lost – that she’d seen on the white marble floor just a few hours ago – was not enough to kill him. She carefully pulled the blanket up a bit – he must be cold without any cover on his upper body. She grabbed his hand again, squeezing it softly. He was warm; much warmer than he had felt back at the shooting site. That was good. It meant that he was healing. She stayed there for a few moments just watching him sleep, unable to tear her gaze away from his chest where she could just make out his breathing. Thank God he was alive.

After a few minutes the analytical part of her mind took over again. She needed to call Amenadiel and Dan to tell them Lucifer was fine. That he’d made it through surgery. Amenadiel picked up at the first ring, sounding relieved and assuring her that he was just outside the hospital.

Dan sounded equally relieved at the news.

“I told you, he’s too stubborn to die,” he said. “Trixie, monkey, Lucifer is fine. – No, we can’t visit him straight away. He’s sleeping and he needs to rest. Maybe we can visit him later. We’ll see what Mommy says.”

“Tell Trixie I love her,” she said. “And I’ll call again, when he wakes up. – I’m sure you can visit later tonight. She won’t go to sleep anyway unless she’s seen him. Let’s save you the trouble.” She smiled at no-one in particular.

“You’re probably right,” Dan sighed. “We’ll be in later. Bye, Chloe.”

“Bye.”

She turned back around and noticed that Lucifer was stirring in his sleep. The anaesthesia must be wearing off. Quickly pulling a chair to his bedside, she touched his arm again.

“Hey, you,” she said softly running a hand through his messy hair, as he tried to open his eyes. Blinking a few times, it took him a few moments until his eyes seemed to focus on her face. He touched his left hand to his face trying to dislodge the nasal prongs. “No, you need to leave that,” she admonished taking his hand in her own. “You’ve just come out of surgery.”

“Det’ctive,” he mumbled hoarsely looking at her with wide eyes.

“You gave us quite a scare,” she said. He raised his head slightly to look at his chest and tried to move the arm that was safely trapped in the sling.

“Uh, that hurts,” he winced laying his head back and closing his eyes against the pain.

She couldn’t suppress a snort, “Of course it hurts. You’ve been shot.”

“But I’m alive,” he mumbled and Chloe wasn’t sure if that statement was meant for her ears.

“Yes, you are. – No thanks to you. – What were you thinking stepping in front of that sniper?” She wanted to be stern, to scold him even. To see him alive and breathing brought back the full force of her anger at his stupid actions. But he looked at her with such hurt-filled eyes – a pain lodged deep into his soul – that – for now – she just wanted to wrap him in a hug and assure him that everything would be okay. His dark eyes conveyed sorrow and ... guilt. He was grieving, she was sure now. Now that she took the time to really look at him. Something must have happened that threw him so far off track that he ... what? That he lost his will to live? “What happened, Lucifer?”

He averted his eyes and she squeezed his hand again, but he didn’t look back up.

“I’m tired,” he mumbled and closed his eyes.

“Get some rest,” she whispered. “I’ll be here when you wake up.” There was no point in pushing him now. She continued to card her fingers through his hair, a gesture meant to soothe him. Apparently it did, because it took no time at all for him to fall back asleep. He looked even more vulnerable when he was sleeping. His facial muscles lost their strain making him look younger. She sighed softly and stood up. She needed to talk to Amenadiel. Maybe he knew what bothered his little brother.

As if on cue, the door opened and said brother entered, a worried expression on his face. Amenadiel looked at her closely, then his eyes shifted to Lucifer. He drew in a pained gasp at the sight of his brother.

“How is he?” he asked in a strained voice.

“As well as can be expected,” she replied. “He woke up for a few minutes.”

“That’s good, right?”

“Sure. – The doctor said the surgery went well. They fixed everything and he will make a full recovery,” she outlined. “But, Amenadiel, that’s not what I’m worried about.” She looked at him meaningfully. “Something’s happened. He’s grieving. – What happened, Amenadiel?”

The older man nodded gravely while he studied Lucifer carefully, his eyes taking everything in, the tubes, the bandages, the machines, before his eyes found hers again.

“Maybe we should step outside,” he sighed.

“What’s happened?” she repeated once they’d firmly shut the door behind themselves. Amenadiel was watching Lucifer through the little window in the door, a pained expression on his face.

“Lucifer’s grieving,” he finally said. “Our brother died. – And Lucifer blames himself for his death.” Chloe gasped loudly.

“Your brother died?” she repeated. “I didn’t know you had a brother. – Lucifer didn’t mention him.”

“We have many siblings,” Amenadiel answered. “And you know how tight-lipped Lucifer can get about anything concerning his personal life.”

“Yes, I do. – So how did your brother die?” How had she missed this? She had known something was up. She should have dug deeper. Cursing herself for her selfishness, she ran a hand through her hair. Amenadiel pondered her question for a few moments.

“It was an accident,” he finally told her. “Lucifer thinks he could have prevented it.”

“I’m sorry, Amenadiel.” Losing a sibling must be horrible. Chloe didn’t have any brothers or sisters, so she couldn’t really relate to their pain, but she’d lost relatives, so she knew what grief felt like. It could tear a person apart from inside out. Just as it was now tearing Lucifer apart. Pushing him to a point where he had no regard left for his own life.

“Do you think he might have done this on purpose?” Amenadiel’s voice yanked her out of her musings.

“I’m not sure,” she sighed. “I really don’t want to think he did. – But it’s possible.” Amenadiel nodded again and turned away from the door.

“I ... I need to make a few calls,” he mumbled rubbing his eyes forcefully. “I’ll be back later. – Thank you, Detective Decker.” He turned around abruptly and hurried down the corridor.

“Amenadiel,” she called after him and he turned around. “You should call your parents.” The older man just nodded slowly before vanishing. Chloe sighed again. She wished that Lucifer’s family wasn’t as disrupted as he always made them out to be. Losing a brother – a son – was surely not helping them find together. For all she knew it was probably tearing them further apart. Lucifer had been pushing everyone away these last few days. His destructive behaviour and self-loathing making it hard for anyone to get close to him. It had worked with her. She had sent him home. In a time when he needed a friend more than anything else in the world. Well, she was here now. And she would not leave him alone again. With a newfound resolve, she opened the door to his room and proceeded to watch over him while he slept.

Chapter 3

As he was slowly descending from the marvellous numbness that was drug-induced sleep, he felt as if he was flying. He hadn’t been able to fly in a long time now – and it felt positively thrilling. He could almost feel the wind whipping at his face as he ascended higher and higher. That feeling was what he missed most since he’d severed his wings in a grant gesture of Fuck-you-Dad – the freedom, the exhilaration, the ability to leave everything behind. His wings were the one item that had reminded him of the fact that he’d once been an angel. High above in the Silver City with his parents and siblings.

But he also remembered his father’s interest in his little humanity project – his mother growing cold and distant. The feeling of helplessness. His act of rebellion – a desperate call for his parents to notice; to notice that they had a family – a responsibility. And they did – but only to cast him out. To rid themselves off the burden he’d become. He remembered the pain – the sorrow he felt as he fell. Could feel his siblings’ reproachful glances as he awaited his verdict. The anger he felt at their passivity – their blind trust in their father, in His plan. Why did everyone assume that it was a good one? But still that feeling paled in comparison to the grief he felt after killing Uriel. Sure, his brother had been a pain in the ass as they were growing up – always trying to butt into their games. Tattling whenever they shunned him. But still he had been his brother. He had only wanted to be included in his siblings’ fun.

Stupid, stubborn Uriel. Why had be tried to kill the Detective? He’d left him no other choice! And still he felt guilty. And now his plan of ending his own existence on earth hadn’t worked. He was still here. He’d seen the Detective’s worried expression when he had woken up after the surgery. Had evaded her questions. She was onto him. She was clever and knew that something was wrong with him – that something was bothering him and that the incident at the clinic hadn’t exactly been an accident.

Right now he sensed another person in his room. It wasn’t the Detective. Although she’d hardly left his side since he’d been in this room. No, this presence was someone else’s. He opened his eyes carefully to look around and spotted the Detective’s daughter sitting in a chair next to his bed.

“Lucifer!” she exclaimed as soon as she had seen him open his eyes. Wonderful. A child was just what he needed right now. “You’re awake! Mommy said I wasn’t allowed to wake you! But now you woke up all by yourself!”

He tried smiling at her. Children were scary. He couldn’t read them and they did the most peculiar things for no apparent reason at all. Take Beatrice for example, he’d never shown the child even the slightest bit of affection and still she seemed to like him. Why? What was it with children and their unpredictable nature?

“How are you?” the little girl asked severely.

“I’m better now, child,” he replied hoarsely and tried to sit up. Moving hurt – a lot – so he immediately leant back down closing his eyes against the sharp pain in his shoulder and chest. The downside of the Detective’s proximity was his inability to heal himself properly. His wounds were healing much slower when she was around.

“You don’t look all better,” Beatrice assessed with a slight frown. “Do you want to sit up? – You only need to press these buttons,” she explained eagerly pointing at a remote that was lying on his bedside table. “Can I push them?”

“Sure,” he relented still trying to breathe through the pain and the little girl eagerly went to the task of putting his bed in an upright position.

“See, it’s easy,” she smiled. “Maybe I should push the bedside table to the other side of your bed! Your arm is in a sling and you can’t reach it with your good hand.” Before Lucifer had a chance to contradict her, she had already started pushing the small table and there was no sense in trying to stop her. After having completed her self-assigned task, she grinned happily before – to his horror – she started to climb onto his bed to wedge herself between the railing and his body.

“What are you doing?” he asked cautiously.

“I’m gonna make you feel all better,” she said matter-of-factly as she looked at him expectantly. “Do you need anything? – Mommy and Daddy said I should help you until they come back.”

“And when exactly will your parents return?” He felt skittish alone with the child.

“I don’t know,” she sang happily as she patted his arm. He tried very hard not to recoil. The child was just trying to help. It wasn’t her fault that he was in a bad mood over his brother’s death. “I heard Mommy and Daddy talking about you.”

“Oh, did you now?” Maybe the child could be of use. “And what did they say?” The little girl seemed to ponder this for a while, scrunching her face.

“They are worried about you,” she finally said. “Mommy’s face was all sad. – I don’t like it when her face looks like that.” She looked at him with a reproachful look in her eyes. As if it was his fault that the Detective worried about him. He certainly didn’t ask her to. “And then Daddy told her how you were shot in the shoulder – just like Mommy has been before. – She had to wear a sling just like that one.” She pointed at his arm. “Does it hurt?”

“Yes,” he admitted.

“Mommy always tells me not to worry when she gets hurt. She doesn’t want me to now that she’s in pain. – But I know. I can see it in her face,” she related. “Just as I can see it in yours.” For a child, Beatrice was a very keen specimen. Lucifer did not have much experience in dealing with children – there tended to be very few in Hell and those that did could usually not be described as children anymore – but Beatrice seemed to be ahead of her peer-group. She looked at him questionably, waiting for an answer.

“You are very observant,” he agreed. “What else did your parents say?”

“Mommy got angry,” she admitted throwing a cautious glance at the door. She must have been eavesdropping earlier. This certainly hadn’t been a conversation meant for the ears of a child.

“She did?”

“Oh yes,” she nodded vigorously. “Reeeaally angry. – It means you’re in trouble,” she explained as if their roles were reversed and he was the child.

“Well, maybe I deserve to be in trouble,” he sighed softly.

“Did you do something bad?” she queried eagerly scooting even closer. Maybe the painkillers were making him loopy, because he didn’t seem to mind the proximity that much and he sort of ... maybe ... enjoyed talking to her.

“Something very bad,” he admitted looking at the ceiling. He knew he shouldn’t be talking to Beatrice about this. She was just a child. But somehow talking felt good and she was less likely to judge him for his actions.

“What did you do?” she questioned. “Mommy said you let the bad man shoot you on purpose.” Now he was definitely sure that Beatrice had been eavesdropping. The Detective and the Douche would surely not have said that if they’d known that innocent ears were listening. He felt a bit of admiration for her boldness – maybe this child wasn’t too bad.

“Will this stay our secret?” he asked conspiratorially. She nodded eagerly, her face lighting up at the prospect of being included in an adult’s secret.

“I did something much worse than that,” he told her. “And I deserve to be punished. I thought getting hurt might help.”

“That’s stupid.” He looked at her in surprise. “Getting hurt is not a punishment.”

“And what do you suppose is?” This conversation was amusing him a bit. Children did tend to have a different perspective on things – not that it would help in his case. But at least it was keeping his mind from other matters. The little girl seemed deep in thought suddenly.

“A punishment is not something you choose,” she finally said. “Another person needs to give it to you. – And you don’t get to choose that. Mommy always says it’s not affective if I get a say in my punishment.”

“I do think that I am a fair judge of the intensity of someone’s punishment,” Lucifer scoffed – it had been his job for a long time to punish humans – but Beatrice just shook her head vigorously. And he had to fight the urge to justify his opinion to a child. Even if she was taking his mind of more pressing matters, she was still just a child. How much insight could she truly have?

“What about your parents?” she asked suddenly as if she’d just had an epiphany. “Do they know what you did?”

“They do,” he said, not seeing where her train of thought was going to.

“And they didn’t punish you? Although you did something bad?” she asked incredulously. “Why?” Now that was a question with a difficult answer. Lucifer considered the child-appropriate answers to her query. How do you tell a child that your father was actually God and you hadn’t seen him in eons – or talked to him and that He usually didn’t provide many answers for his offspring?

“Well, you see,” he started. “I haven’t seen my father in quite a long time. – We don’t talk to each other.”

“Doesn’t he like you?” Oh, wow, she didn’t beat around the bush. ‘Let’s go straight for the heart, why don’t you.’

“I don’t know,” he admitted truthfully.

“Well then he’s an idiot,” she stated coldly. “I like you.” Lucifer had to smile softly at her nerve of calling his father stupid. But then again, she didn’t know that He was the creator of life. “And your Mom?”

“My Mum,” he repeated deliberating. “I think she’s in too much pain. Maybe she hasn’t realised that I am hurting as well.”

“But your Mom – your Mum should know. You say it all funny,” she giggled at his pronouncing. “That’s not how I say it.” Then she again looked deeply in thought, chewing on her bottom lip and looking at him with a frown. “You could borrow my Mommy and Daddy. They know how to punish people. They could ground you.”

“That is a very generous offer, Beatrice,” he said and suppressed the shudder at the memory that the last time the Detective had found him in desperate need of correction grounding hadn’t been her chosen method. “But I don’t think that house arrest would suffice for my behaviour.” Her eyes widened at that. She leant forward until she could whisper in his ear without fear of anybody overhearing.

“You mean, you deserve a spanking?” He almost choked on his own saliva and started coughing violently. That strain accentuated the pain in his freshly sewed wounds and shattered shoulder blade. He’d deny it later, but he just couldn’t suppress the teardrops that the sudden lack of oxygen and the overwhelming pain forced out of his eyes. He rolled onto his good side almost toppling Beatrice off the bed. He heard the child loudly crying out for her mother while jumping off the bed and rushing to the door. A few seconds later, the Detective was at his bedside. The coughing fit ended as quickly as it had begun but he stayed on his side, held up by his still functioning left arm. Unlike the coughing the pain didn’t lessen. He kept his eyes closed and breathed deeply. Someone was wiping his face with a wet cloth, dispersing the tears and – bloody hell he would never live this down – the saliva.

When the black spots that danced through his line of vision had disappeared, he looked at the Detective hovering at his side. Detective Douche had also entered the room.

“What happened?” the Detective asked throwing her daughter a questioning look.

“He just started coughing!” she exclaimed loudly grabbing her father’s hand. “And then I called you!” Chloe looked dubiously between the two of them.

“The child is telling the truth,” Lucifer said. It wasn’t Beatrice’s fault that he had been startled by her question. “I’m better now.”

“Okay,” the Detective relented; not looking at all convinced that the two of them weren’t hiding anything. “Why don’t you say goodbye to Lucifer now, monkey. Daddy’ll take you home. – You may come back tomorrow after school. Lucifer needs to rest now.” Feeling slightly patronised but also glad that the Detective was saving him from further interrogation by her offspring, Lucifer dutifully bid his farewell to Detective Douche and the child. The Detective on the other hand seemed to be planning a prolonged stay at his bedside. Under normal circumstances he would have embraced the chance of light banter with her, but right now he was weary of her intention. She’d most likely want to talk about his ‘complete lack of self-preservation’ and he was not looking forward to that discussion – not that it would be anything close to a discussion; she would rant and scold and he would be expected to look contrite and apologetic. Mentally preparing himself for her chastising, he plastered the most penitent expression he could muster on his face and awaited his fate.

What he wasn’t prepared for was her worried expression. Unable to look at that face for very long, he averted his gaze to look at his hands.

“How are you holding up?” she finally asked, seating herself in the chair her child had previously occupied.

“The pain’s bearable,” he replied trying (very unsuccessfully) to still his fiddling fingers.

“That’s not what I meant,” she retorted. He looked up at her face to read her expression, to find a clue that indicated her train of thought. The best tactic would be to remain silent, he decided. “Amenadiel told me, that you lost a brother.” Of course Amenadiel would go tattling as soon as there was even the slightest bit of pressure.

“Of course he did.”

“Why didn’t you come to me?” she asked and he really didn’t have an explanation. “I would have tried to help. – It’s not your fault, you know.” He snorted at that.

“What did dear old Amenadiel tell you?” he asked sarcastically.

“He said that it was an accident and that you think that you could have prevented it,” she explained. He sighed loudly. The Detective probably didn’t need to know the exact details. And it wasn’t technically a lie. It just wasn’t the whole truth. He could live with that. It was probably for the best. “Lucifer, it wasn’t your fault.”

“If you say so.” There wasn’t anything she could do to change his mind anyway. She didn’t have all the facts and he’d never tell her. How could she comprehend that everything he did had been to save her? She’d probably tell him to stop – that she could take care of herself – but he couldn’t.

“You know, that if you ever need somebody to talk to, I’m here for you, right?” she told him. “I won’t pester you now. – You’re obviously not ready to talk yet.” He felt relieved at hearing that. Somehow she always seemed to know his moods. She was indeed special.

“Thank you.”

“However, what I do want to talk about is your blatant disregard for your own life when you stepped in front of that doctor,” her voice had taken on a decidedly icy tone and internally Lucifer cringed at that. He’d heard that tone of voice before and it hadn’t boded well for him at all. “You are not invincible, Lucifer – even if you keep saying that you are. – I won’t stand for it. I told you before.”

“I seem to recall that you did more than talk,” he grumbled.

“And still it obviously hasn’t made much of an impression,” she retorted. “As soon as you’re wounds are healed, we’ll be revisiting that issue.” That sounded positively petrifying. He looked at her in shock. He really didn’t want her to ... do that to him again, but somehow he couldn’t seem to contradict her. He had been looking for punishment – even if it was for a completely different matter – so maybe this would help. It wouldn’t hurt to try – no scratch that, it probably would.

“Fine, if you think I deserve it,” he agreed and she looked a bit surprised at his quick consent but recovered swiftly.

“You should get some more rest,” she said softly. “I’ll be back in the morning.”

“I’d like that.” He would indeed. And then she leant down and kissed his cheek softly carding a hand through his hair.

“I’ll provide breakfast,” she said with a wink as she straightened up. “I know how much hospital food sucks. – Oh, and Amenadiel said he’d be in later. He couldn’t stay earlier.” And with these words she vanished out the door leaving him to his thoughts and the guilt and grief that slowly crept back into the pit of his stomach. The Decker women had done a good job of distracting him, but with nothing left to do but stare at a blank wall and wallow in self pity, the suppressed feeling returned in full force, crippling him from the inside.

Chapter 4

He probably should be thankful that he wasn’t left to his musings for long. Shortly after the Detective had left, Amenadiel entered, followed closely by their mother. Lucifer had to swallow down a pitiful groan. He just couldn’t bear to look at his mother’s pain-stricken face. Losing a child was supposed to be the worst thing a parent could be made to endure. Granted she hadn’t seen her son in quite some time now, but apparently the love of a mother didn’t fade. She tried to put on a brave face for Amenadiel and Lucifer, but her eyes conveyed a different message. And Lucifer’s guilt intensified whenever he looked at his mother’s face, knowing that he was the cause for her sorrow.

What he wasn’t prepared for was the apparent anger on Mum’s face. Obviously Amenadiel hadn’t kept his big mouth shut. He’d always been a suck-up. Mum rushed to his bedside as he desperately tried to yank the blanket up over his chest. Normally he embraced walking around naked, but the presence of one’s mother tended to put a damper on that motion. Of course Mum was having none of that. She grabbed the blanket and swiftly pulled it back down (thankfully not that far).

“Oh dear,” she exclaimed. “Amenadiel wasn’t exaggerating. You really are hurt.” She sank down onto the chair while his brother leant against the wall, not at all desperate to step into their mother’s path – and Lucifer really couldn’t blame him.

“Hello, Mum,” he greeted trying to keep his tone light.

“How did this happen, son?” she queried and he threw a quick glance at Amenadiel trying to gauge what he’d already told her. There was no need to make it worse. Although he feared that his brother hadn’t left anything out. He was a do-gooder.

“I’m sure Amenadiel has already filled you in, Mother,” he stated drily. “I was shot.” She threw him an exasperated look.

“Yes, he told me,” she retorted sharply. “What I want to know is, why are you hurt?”

“Well, because the bullet went through my shoulder, Mother.”

“Lucifer, do not get smart with me,” she warned raising an eyebrow. “Why was this human able to hurt you?” He squirmed slightly under his mother’s stern gaze. She didn’t look as if she would relent anytime soon or could be distracted in any way. He averted his eyes; he couldn’t look at her worried expression. He really wanted to engage in some good-natured banter with his family; he enjoyed goading them and purposely replying in riddles although he knew exactly what they wanted to know. It was like a game – a game he enjoyed playing. But right now, he couldn’t. He didn’t have the energy to pretend that he was all right. “Lucifer, son?”

“Apparently there seems to be a glitch in my invincibility whenever Detective Decker is around,” he answered truthfully. “I don’t know why.” He chanced a quick glance at Mum’s face and immediately regretted it. She looked absolutely furious and he tried to pull the blanket back up – as if that would save him. Mum remained silent for a long moment – he was starting to fear she’d suffered some kind of aneurism.

“Then tell me, son,” she started calmly. A calm Mum was never a good sign. Yelling Mum was a walk in the park; you needn’t worry about Yelling Mum at all. Calm Mum on the other hand was a force to be reckoned with. “Why do you continue to seek the company of said detective?”

“Because I like a good riddle?” Damn, he really didn’t want to have that sound like a question.

“Excuse me?” Or maybe he shouldn’t have said that at all. Squirming slightly, he looked at Amenadiel again. His brother was wisely keeping his mouth shut. Oh how he wished to switch places with him!

“I do like a good riddle, Mother,” he finally said. “I want to understand why the Detective’s proximity is affecting me as it is, I really do.” His mother looked at him steadily as if she was trying to gauge whether he was telling the truth or not. She was much too calm to expect a good outcome of this evening. At least the pain in his chest was gradually receding now that the Detective had left.

“All right. I’ll leave it at that – for now,” Mum finally said and he looked at her questionably not quite believing that she’d relent so quickly. “How are you feeling? Are you in pain?” He shook his head slightly.

“I’m fine.”

“You’re not.”

“All right. – I’m not in pain,” he replied. “They have awesome medication. – I need to get my hands on some of that.” Amenadiel rolled his eyes at that. He finally dared to venture closer to Lucifer, coming to stand uncertainly next to his mother.

“You look like crap, little brother,” he finally told him. “I’m glad you’re alive.”

“Well, thank you very much, dear brother,” he scoffed. “Let me assure you that your face is no pleasure to look at either.” Amenadiel grinned at him while Mum rolled her eyes at their antics.

“Is there anything you need?” Amenadiel asked.

“A pair of underpants would be most appreciated,” he answered. “And I want to get out of here.”

“I brought clothes,” his brother said procuring a small hold-all and handing him several items of clothing that his mother snatched out of his good arm immediately.

“Mum!” he exclaimed. “What are you doing?”

“I assume that you will need assistance in dressing yourself,” she explained matter-of-factly, shaking out a pair of boxer briefs and holding them up.

“You’re not helping me!” he cried outraged. He’d probably die of humiliation if his mother dressed him. “I can do it!” His face was already heating up tremendously.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Lucifer,” she said exasperatedly. “You have nothing that I haven’t seen before, you know.” Bloody Hell, the mere thought of having his mother dress him like a toddler should be a huge step in the way of atonement for killing Uriel. He looked at Amenadiel desperately, who was rather unsuccessful in keeping a grin off his face.

“It’s not funny!”

“I know.”

“Then stop laughing!” It wasn’t helping to subdue Amenadiel in any way. If anything it made it worse.

“Lucifer, stop behaving like a child. I am your mother. I’m sure you’ll survive,” Mum said still waving his briefs around as if they were not underpants.

“Would you stop waving those?! Somebody could walk by and see!”

“Aren’t these normal male attire?” Mum asked surprised.

“Mum! Just give them to me and turn around! I can manage!” And to his great relief his mother handed them over and made a grant show of turning her back.

“Don’t whine if you fall down,” she said throwing a last look over her shoulder.

“I don’t whine.” He threw Amenadiel a hateful look until his brother turned around as well. Bloody family! Which bright head had assumed they were useful for anything else but embarrassing moments? He viciously pushed back his covers, determined to prove to his mum that he was quite capable of putting on a pair of briefs. And he did manage – it just took a lot longer than he would have liked. Shedding the ugly hospital panties hadn’t been difficult at all. But now the stupid IV kept getting in the way. His right arm was entirely useless strapped to his chest by the sling. And the left arm was hindered by the IV in the back of his hand. It made grabbing anything quite difficult. And to make matters worse he was still feeling quite light-headed as he tried to stand next to the bed.

“Are you quite all right, son?”

“Don’t look!” he called back. “Everything’s fine.” Finally, everything was ... tucked in and he was decent again.

“Okay, I’m finished,” he told his family sitting back on the bed and grabbing the pyjama bottoms Amenadiel hat also provided. “See, I managed just fine,” he added with a reproachful glance at his mother who didn’t acknowledge it in the slightest. She merely watched as he struggled with the pyjama bottoms.

“Well, son, I’d like to hear why you stepped in front of that gun if you knew that the Detective’s proximity was making you vulnerable,” she asked while pulling the blanket up and tucking it firmly around his body. A little too firmly maybe.

“Actually it was a rifle. – Big one.” Mum’s eyes shot daggers at him and he couldn’t suppress to squirm slightly. He didn’t like his mother’s wrath pointed at him. Why did she never seem to get cross with Amenadiel? Her sternness and scolding gaze seemed to be solely reserved for him. For lack of an answer that would appease his mother, he opted to remain silent. Let her come to her own conclusions.

“Lucifer, son,” she said gently, grabbing his chin and forcing him to look at her. “You were trying to get yourself killed, weren’t you?” He wanted to look away – to avoid that sorrowful expression on her face – but her grip didn’t relent. He closed his eyes only to feel her shaking his head softly from side to side. He didn’t want to admit that she was right. “You were wrong to attempt that.”

“There is no other way, Mother,” he whispered. “Dad demands punishment for a deed as grievous as mine. – And since he’s already cast me out there’s nothing else that would atone for what I’ve done.”

“You’re wrong, son,” Mum objected strongly. “You did it to save me. – Uriel would not have relented. You know how stubborn he was.”

“Dad will not see it that way.”

“Your father is not here.” He sighed exasperated. How could she not see what was clearly there?

“I must be punished,” he mumbled.

“Oh, you will be, son,” Mum replied finally releasing his chin. “Have no doubt about that.” What? “But dying will not accomplish anything. And you should know that, Lucifer. – I will not lose another child.” Hardening her gaze, she again accomplished to make him uncomfortable by just looking at him. Her eyes sending the clear message that she would not tolerate any suicide missions.

“So what’s your grant plan?” he asked unable to keep the sarcasm out of his voice.

“First you will recuperate,” she answered her voice brokering no room for argument. “And once your wounds have healed, you will be soundly spanked.” Shocked into silence he could only look at her with a startled expression. What was it with the women in his life and their desire to smack him? Hadn’t the Detective threatened the exact same thing? Maybe not as bluntly as his mum but still her intention was the same. “Don’t look so shocked, son. You asked for punishment and that is what you will get. But don’t misunderstand me. You will mainly be punished for your attempt at suicide – killing Uriel was ... an accident ... but maybe you will find atonement for that as well.” His mouth opened but no words came out, probably making him look like a fish.

“Mum, I don’t think that will suffice,” he finally managed to say.

“It will.” Her voice carried a finality that hindered him in further contradicting her. “I will make sure of that. Rest assured, son.” She regarded him calmly probably looking for some sort of rebellion but found none. Nodding more to herself than anything else, she took his hand in hers. “Now, is there anything else you need?”

“I don’t want to stay here,” he said desperately. Although he’d never stayed in a hospital, the depressing interior and unseen desperation emanating from its inhabitants evoked a burning desire to leave this place behind as soon as possible. Mum just looked at him sadly and touched his face.

“I’m sure you don’t, darling,” she said sympathetically. “But I do think that you should stay. At least for the night.” Opening his mouth he wasn’t above pleading at this point. “I promise I’ll pick you up first thing tomorrow morning.”

“I agree with Mom, Lucifer.” He’d already forgotten that Amenadiel was there as well. “We shouldn’t take any risks with your injury. Who knows how long the healing process will take.”

“I heal faster than humans,” he explained desperately.

“Still, you should stay the night, son,” Mum said and Lucifer sensed that there was no point in arguing. She’d made up her mind. “I’ll stay for a bit.” The prospect of having his mother stay at his bedside at his age should probably have him feel at least slightly embarrassed, but he somehow felt safer knowing she would stay. He hadn’t had anybody to turn to whenever he’d felt in need of comfort for eons now, so he’d take what he could as long as it was offered – even if there was the possibility of disappointment further down the line. For tonight he’d just relish in her presence – not even caring that Amenadiel saw his desperate need for attention and comfort. “Sleep now, it is late and you need rest.” And he did.

*

True to her word the Detective had provided breakfast the next morning, even keeping him company as she made him eat. After she’d left for work, Mum had returned and to his great embarrassment she couldn’t be made to leave the room as the doctor examined his injury and the wound was redressed in fresh bandages. She’d asked about a billion questions – querying about the possibility of infection, the amount of times the bandages needed to be changed and the healing process (she’d obviously spend some time googling his current predicament), while he battled a blush that kept threatening to creep upon his face. The young doctor provided her with elaborate answers while giving him a sympathetic look. He was clearly baffled by the speed of his recovery – which obviously wasn’t normal and usually qualified for further observation – but after a little persuasion – that Mum tried to interfere with constantly – he allowed him to leave the hospital as soon as his wound was redressed. The doctor assured Mum that Lucifer was indeed fit to go home; that the wound had mended significantly and that he was up to light work but should keep his arm in the sling as a precaution, although he could move it already without being in as much pain as he had been the previous day.

Mum watched closely as the nurse applied the bandages – again annoying everyone involved with several questions. And after what felt like an eternity, he was finally discharged.

Fortunately Amenadiel had also provided a pair of trousers and a shirt that Mum insisted on helping him with. He’d much rather had the sexy nurse’s assistance but Mum scared her away with just a look. As she buttoned up his shirt before his arm was carefully put back in its sling, he wondered if his face would ever return to its normal colour after blushing so furiously. It was hard to remain suave and cool when one’s Mum tucked your shirt in and buttoned your trousers – even for the Devil. But he really didn’t have another choice since buttoning his shirt with just one functioning arm proved to be a tedious task.

At the penthouse Mum insisted on carrying his bag upstairs, droning on and on about settling him in before leaving for work. As if he was utterly helpless. She snatched the bottle of scotch from his hand, admonishing him on the incompatibility of painkillers and alcohol and promising further repercussions if she caught him going against doctor’s orders. He rolled his eyes when her back was turned.

“Mum, I’m quite capable of taking care of myself,” he told her exasperatedly.

“You can’t even button your own trousers, son,” she replied busying herself with putting away bandages, prescribed pills and dirty clothes.

“I would have managed, if you had let me!” He lowered himself onto the sofa, relishing in the feeling of being home at last, although it was slightly diminished by his mother’s earlier promise of punishment. Despite the fact that he knew he deserved it – had asked for it even – the prospect made him uncomfortable. He wanted – needed – to be punished and at the same time didn’t.

“Sure. – Now, do you need anything else?”

“You said that you’d punish me,” he mumbled finally, suddenly unable to look Mum in the eye.

“I did,” she replied after a long moment. “But I don’t think you’re up for it yet.” At the prospect of having a few days reprieve, he felt relieved at first, before shuddering at the thought of having to actually wait for the punishment he knew was coming. Having it looming over his head as a constant threat. Weighing the pros and cons quickly he said, “I don’t want to wait, Mum. – Please,” he added as an afterthought. His mother sighed softly as he looked at her with pleading eyes. He really didn’t want to wait. Waiting sucked. He knew it did – remembered how horrible it had been to wait for a promised punishment.

“All right,” Mum finally consented. “But do not think that I will go easy on you because you’re still hurting.” Lucifer looked down at his fiddling hands. “I will need your wooden spoon.” His head shot up quickly. He shuddered at the memory of the last time she’d felt the need to instill some discipline into her son; it had hurt! Tremendously! He already hated himself for having kept the stupid thing instead of using it as kindle. “Fetch it, please.”

“Mum...” He really had no idea what he was protesting against. He had wanted to be punished – asked for it even. Why was it suddenly so difficult to follow through with it? Mum’s face had taken on a definite determined expression and a single raised eyebrow was enough to spur him to action. Slowly rising off the couch, he headed for his kitchen to fetch the dreaded implement as instructed.

Upon returning he noticed that Mum had taken a seat on the couch and moved the coffee table out of the way. Dread pooled in the pit of his stomach. He handed her the requested item and remained standing a few feet out of reach, shuffling uncertainly.

“Where do you want me?” he asked carefully although he knew the answer. But as they say, hope dies last.

“Over my knee,” she answered and said hope was crushed inexorably. He had to bite his lip to prevent whining loudly about her unfairness. Surely she could have him bend over the couch or a table – wasn’t it humiliating enough that she was about to smack him like an errant child to begin with?

“Mum...”

“No, son,” she interrupted him again. “You do not have a say in this. – Come here.” She pointed to a spot directly in front of herself and he shuffled closer. He did ask for punishment in order to receive redemption. But his feet didn’t seem to work properly and his approach was slow until Mum lost her patience and snatched his wrist to draw him closer. She made him stand almost between her knees while keeping his wrist in a firm grip. “I am going to take your trousers down, Lucifer.” Involuntarily he tried to take a step back – out of her reach again, but her firm grip prevented it and before he knew what was happening she had already unfastened his trousers and had them pool around his ankles. Blushing furiously he couldn’t keep the scowl off of his face. Mum wasted no more time as she pulled him forward and made him carefully lower his body across her waiting lap. His upper body was comfortably supported by the couch, his injured arm tucked under his body, while his legs hung off her knee; his own knees almost touching the floor. Mum moved him around a bit until he was tucked snugly against her body – her arm wrapped tightly around his waist – with no room left to manoeuvre.

“Are you comfortable, Lucifer?” she asked. “Does your shoulder hurt?”

“No, I’m fine, Mum,” he replied wrapping his good arm around a throw cushion and burying his face in it, while mentally preparing for the onslaught. His head snapped back up to throw Mum an outraged look as she lowered his briefs. “Mum!” he exclaimed loudly in an affronted voice. She didn’t dignify him with a reply instead picking up her chosen instrument of torture and resting it against his butt. He clenched unintentionally.

“Tell me, son,” she stated. “What are you getting spanked for?” Now she wanted him to list his transgressions while his arse was on display for the whole world to see? But he supposed he could humour her. She had made clear already that this was her show and not his.

“For killing Uriel,” he replied softly. A smack so searing that it almost had him shooting off his mother’s lap landed on his right cheek, closely followed by a second. “OW!”

“Rethink that answer, please, Lucifer,” Mum said as she smacked him a third time. How on earth was he supposed to think while she smacked him like that? A forth smack landed on the crease where thigh met buttock.

“OW! OW!” He couldn’t form a coherent thought, as his nerve endings transmitted PAIN in capital letters. Getting shot hadn’t hurt this much! How did she manage to procure such a sting? Thankfully she stopped again after the fifth smack, resting the wooden spoon on his butt again.

“What are you getting spanked for?” she repeated, tapping it lightly against his posterior when she didn’t receive an immediate answer, as he was trying to catch his breath.

“For stepping in front of the sniper and trying to kill myself,” he mumbled. “Because I was looking for redemption for killing Uriel.”

“That’s right, son,” his mother agreed and resumed smacking, albeit a bit lighter. It still hurt – a lot. “You will never make another attempt at ending your own life. I will make sure of that.”

She peppered his backside from left to right, soundly smacking the wooden spoon down onto his defenceless posterior. He tried to breathe through the pain of her onslaught, but it was getting more difficult by the second. Mum didn’t seem to leave a single spot unattended and by the third circuit he couldn’t keep from squirming slightly to avoid her firm administrations. It wasn’t doing him much good since his mother had really left him no room to manoeuvre and pretty soon his breathing turned ragged; his eyes squeezing shut to keep the treacherous tears at bay hoping against hope that Mum would relent soon. She wouldn’t of course; he knew that – he wouldn’t want her to. She would make him seriously regret his decision of stepping in front of that sniper – and purge him off his guilt in the process. Kill two birds with one smacking so to speak. An especially vicious smack caught the back of his leg and he kicked his foot back.

“Ow, Mum, it hurts,” he complained.

“It’s supposed to, son,” she replied without pausing in her relentless slapping. He pressed the back of his hand to his mouth to muffle the sounds of distress that were growing louder with each smack. On and on she smacked until he was begging her to stop – dignity be damned – and uttering promises of upstanding citizenry and the value of his own life. She wasn’t fooled and by the time she moved her attention to the part of his hindquarters where butt met thigh, silent tears were streaming down his cheeks. Embarrassingly at one point he tried to shield his butt from further assault by covering it with his feet, which only resulted in Mum trapping his legs between her own before continuing. And only once he had been reduced to helpless blubbering, his body hanging loosely over her lap and she felt that the lesson would indeed stick, did she stop.

He remained over her knee, crying into the crease of his arm and a pillow; sobbing pitifully over his well-punished rear but also over the death of his little brother and his hand in it. And he just couldn’t seem to stop the tears, his breath hitching as he tried to suppress the sobs. Mum was gently stroking his back and hair while he cried and cried; disgusted at himself for this display. But Mum didn’t seem to care; she let him stay exactly where he was carding a hand through his hair as he hid his face.

After what felt like an eternity, he finally managed to quiet his sobs and still his tears. Feeling terribly embarrassed but also ... purged somehow... he pushed himself off his mother’s knees and knelt on the floor, noting thankfully that at some point Mum had at least pulled his boxers back up. He was pulled forward to lean against her leg while his head was pressed to his mother’s chest. She held his head firmly, stroking fingers through his hair and his breathing hitched again. A soft kiss was pressed to his temple and he closed his eyes, relishing in the touch. Mum held him until he pushed back. His tears had dried, but he felt tired. His nose was stuffed, his throat raw and he was sure he must look like a mess.

Self-consciously he carefully stood up while Mum steadied him with a hand on his arm. He awkwardly pulled his trousers back up with only one functioning arm. Mum turned away to give him some privacy in his struggling, knowing that he would not appreciate her help right now. Forgoing to tuck his shirt in, he somehow managed to button the trousers. He wiped his face with the sleeve of his shirt, noticing with disgust that it was drenched with tears and cleared his throat. His mother turned back around and mustered him closely. He couldn’t look her in the eye yet, so he opted for staring at his shuffling feet.

“Are you okay?” she asked gently. “Do you feel sufficiently punished for your misdeeds?”

“Yes,” he said hoarsely, clearing his throat again he added, “I feel fine. – I really do, Mum.”

“I’m glad.” He chanced a quick glance at her face to gauge her mood but saw only concern. “You should wash your face, honey.”

Shortly after Mum left with orders to rest and promises to return the following day. He felt better... relieved somehow and his gut wasn’t churning as viciously as it had before. He booked that as a definite improvement and tried to get settled on his couch as comfortably as possible with a throbbing butt and a bullet wound in his shoulder to take a much needed nap. Getting one’s arse smacked was exhausting.

Chapter 5

Chloe found Lucifer in his penthouse after having been told at the hospital that he had been discharged earlier that day. She assumed that his early discharge was somehow connected to his powers in persuasion and that he really shouldn’t be home yet. She was dead-set on lecturing him soundly about this matter and his lack of regard to his health – again.

“Lucifer?” she called out loudly as she entered the penthouse.

“Detective?” he asked astonished as he emerged from the bathroom bare-chested and missing the sling for his arm. Her anger dissipated a bit as she saw that he was obviously struggling to remove the bandages that covered his wounds. At least he seemed to be following doctors’ orders. “What are you doing here?”

“The hospital told me you’ve been discharged,” she explained. “I assume you had a hand in that.” He threw her his trademark smirk but didn’t contradict her. “What are you doing?”

“I’m trying to change the bandages,” he replied steadying his injured arm with the other. Chloe knew from experience that it must still be hurting tremendously. “But I can’t reach it properly.” Coming to a quick decision she ordered him to sit down as she retrieved the instructions and needed utensils the hospital had provided. As she returned to the living room, Lucifer was hovering uncertainly next to his couch.

“Sit down,” she repeated arranging the medical equipment on the small coffee table and moving a heavy wooden spoon out of the way. Why on earth that was lying there she couldn’t fathom.

“I’d prefer to stand, thank you,” he replied.

“Don’t be ridiculous. I can’t reach your wounds properly if you’re standing,” she said sighing in exasperation. Surely he must see that their difference in height would not permit that. He shuffled his feet awkwardly and Chloe got the uneasy feeling that he was keeping something from her.

“I’m quite certain, you’ll manage,” he smiled brightly. She narrowed her eyes suspiciously, one finger pointing at the couch, she ordered again, “Sit.”

He sighed and made to follow her directive. She watched him carefully as she took her own seat on the coffee table; his behaviour was odd – even for him. He lowered himself onto the soft cushion with an uneasiness that couldn’t stem solely from his injury. She could even glimpse the shadow of a grimace that he was quick to mask. Filing his strange behaviour away for later queries, she went about her task of changing his bandages. He had already started to remove the one on his chest and she busied herself with finishing this task while he supported his right arm with his left and squirmed around.

“Would you stop moving around?” she asked exasperated throwing him an irritated look. He at least had the decency to blush for making her task more difficult.

“Sorry,” he mumbled and made an effort to sit still.

“How did you even get home?” she inquired. Somehow she couldn’t picture Lucifer hailing a cab. And it was out of the question that he had driven himself – he probably couldn’t even dress himself properly at the moment.

“My Mum gave me a lift,” he answered after a long pause. She looked up at his face in surprise. When he didn’t elaborate, she returned her attention back to the task at hand. Carefully removing the last traces of the bandage, she said, “I thought, you and your parents were out of touch.”

“I’m not in touch with my father,” he corrected. “Mum ... well, let’s say, we rekindled our relationship.” A lot seemed to have happened in Lucifer’s life recently that she had missed. But he was so tight-lipped about anything concerning his personal life that she really couldn’t be blamed in that department. Not counting the quirky comments he made about his family – but those seemed to solely concern his father.

“That’s nice,” she said smiling briefly up at him. As she tended to his wound, she noted in astonishment the advanced healing process. This injury didn’t look as if it was inflicted only the day before. The scarred edges, where the skin had been stitched together, were already mending. And the wound lacked the irritated red hue that usually stemmed from the operation. She furrowed her brows clearly puzzled. “This wound looks older than one day,” she stated while covering it with a fresh bandage.

“What can I say?” Lucifer smirked. “I heal fast.”

“It clearly looks like you do,” she mumbled. “Okay, turn around.” He angled his body slightly to grant her better access to his back while stifling a barely audible hiss.

“Are you in pain?” she asked. “Does your shoulder hurt badly? Shall I get you some painkillers?” If he was hurting every time he moved, then he surely should be at the hospital, shouldn’t he?

“I’m fine, Detective,” he reassured her. “Just a tad sore.” She eyed him carefully looking for telltale signs of a lie (although he prided himself on never lying), but since she could only see the back of his head, it didn’t prove very affective. She directed her gaze to the second bandage, trying hard not to get distracted by the gruesome scars on his back – and even harder not to touch them accidentally. She remembered vividly the last time she attempted to run her fingers over the marred skin; the broken expression on his face, begging her not to touch him – hurt him. She shuddered at the thought of what had happened to traumatise him so deeply to cause such a reaction. Banning thoughts of his horrible childhood from her mind – for now –she focused her attention to the entry wound on his shoulder. It looked just as the one on his chest; healing process already progressed beyond what would have been normal. She shook her head in wonder.

“This one looks good too,” she reported. “No signs of infection. It’s healing nicely.”

“Lovely.” She finished redressing the wound and started tidying the soiled bandages, noticing that Lucifer all but jumped out of his seat as soon as she was done. His behaviour really baffled her. The day before he had been sad and depressed, mourning the death of his brother and trying to end his own life to atone for something he probably had had no hand in. Today he seemed ... better ... more upbeat. The crestfallen expression in his eyes was gone. But still there was something strange about him. His injury didn’t seem to bother him much; maybe he did have some kind of alien healing power – it would only be another weird thing about him that she couldn’t explain. But it also meant that he was fit enough to listen to her lecture about proper procedure during a murder investigation, caution when dealing with armed suspects and his horrible sense of self-preservation and the obvious necessity to enhance it. Straightening her shoulders she returned to the living room where Lucifer was struggling with a shirt and his sling. Postponing the lecture for a few minutes she went to assist him.

When the shirt was buttoned and his arm securely tucked into the sling again, she put on her ‘cross mom’ expression. Lucifer seemed to sense the change in her mood and the seriousness of the situation since he took a few steps back, trying to put his Steinway between himself and Chloe. She let him stew under her glare for a few moments.

“To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit, anyway, Detective?” he asked sweetly in an obvious attempt to distract her.

“I came to scold you for convincing the doctors to let you go home so soon,” she replied and noted with satisfaction that he couldn’t quite hide his nervousness at that statement. He knew that she planned to punish him for his actions. She’d told him in no uncertain terms the day before. The only unknown was the time she intended to follow through on her threat.

“What makes you think that they needed convincing?” he asked cocking his head to the side. He was trying very hard to maintain his suave appearance but Chloe could see the small cracks. She raised her eyebrows conveying without words what she thought of this statement and he had the decency to look slightly ashamed.

“Anyway, you seem better,” she stated. “So, sit down. I have some things to say to you.”

“I’d rather stand.”

“Fine. – What on earth were you thinking when you stepped in front of that doctor?” He opened his mouth to reply but she didn’t let him get a word in between; there were a few more things she’d like to list. “I sent you home for a reason! You were in no state to be of any help in this investigation. Your behaviour was atrocious. – You showed up drunk – at a crime scene! You made out with one of the bridesmaids – at the crime scene! You punched Dan! And God only knows what you did to that poor man in interrogation! What were you trying to achieve?”

“In my defence, God probably doesn’t care.” She stared at him incredulously.

“This is what you have to say in your defence?” she couldn’t help but raise her voice slightly. “No, ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘I won’t do it again’?!”

“I ...” He looked at her helplessly. “I’m sorry?”

“You’re unbelievable,” she said exasperated. “Maybe we should skip right to the punishment.”

“No!” That seemed to evoke a sensible reaction at last. “I AM sorry, Detective! I really am!” He sighed loudly. “I was in a bad spot ... mentally. I apologise for my behaviour. It was uncalled for. I shouldn’t have done what I did. – I’ll even apologise to Detective Douche, if you so wish.”

“I’m sure he’ll appreciate it,” she replied a little appeased by his words. “And I’m inclined to forget about your behaviour, since we do have more pressing matters to discuss. What bothers me even more than that, Lucifer, is your attempt at suicide.” She let him stew under her gaze for several long moments. He had averted his eyes, opting to stare at his shuffling feet instead of facing her worried expression. “We’ve talked about your blatant disregard of your own safety in grand detail, didn’t we?”

“Yes, we did,” he agreed quietly.

“Apparently I haven’t made much of an impression,” she stated crossing her arms and watching him for a reaction. She wasn’t disappointed.

“Let me assure you that you did make an impression!” he exclaimed.

“Your actions say otherwise. – I know there were extenuating circumstances. – But, Lucifer, your life is worth just as much as anyone else’s. Promise me to talk to someone – talk to me – if you’re ever in that much pain again.” She waited until he’d raised his eyes to look at her again. “Promise me.”

“I promise,” he whispered finally and she heaved a sigh of relief.

“All right,” she said steeling herself for the part still to come. “I’ll need a belt.” He wasn’t wearing one, but there must be an inexhaustible supply somewhere in his closet. She noticed the frantic look creeping upon his face at her announcement.

“Detective,” he started in clear distress. “I don’t disagree with you, but could we maybe not do ... this now?”

“Does your shoulder hurt?” she asked concern immediately overtaking. Naturally she wouldn’t follow through with her threat right now if he was still in pain. But his shoulder didn’t seem to be bothering him anymore. He could even move his injured arm relatively well, but appearances could be deceptive.

“No, no, my shoulder is fine,” he replied quickly. She narrowed her eyes.

“Are you hurting anywhere else? – Do you need me to get you anything?”

“I, well ... I,” he groaned in frustration, running a hand through his hair and she was getting worried. What seemed to be bothering him this much if not his injury?

“Lucifer, what is it?” she asked sympathetically taking a few steps in his direction. “I’m sure I can help you with whatever’s on your mind. – Just tell me.”

“Can’t we just postpone the punishment?” he asked desperately. Something must be seriously wrong for him to be so distraught.

“You’re gonna have to give me a reason,” she decided and watched his growing frustration at her words. She could see him battling with himself.

“You remember that I told you my Mum gave me a lift home?” She nodded – of course she remembered, he’d told her less than 15 minutes ago – and waited for him to go on. “Well, you see, she – oh hell, how do I say this?” He messed his hair up some more and blew out a heavy breath of air. “She ... wasn’t very ... pleased? – With my behaviour.”

She watched him intently trying to make sense of his words. Of course his mother wouldn’t be happy that her son had been shot. What mother would be? She felt a surge of exasperation at his inability to produce rational sentences. She was about to tell him as much, when she noticed that his eyes kept darting surreptitiously to his right. Following his gaze, she saw the wooden spoon she’d noticed earlier lying so very out of place on the coffee table and then it dawned on her. She looked at him wide-eyed.

“Oh,” she said in realisation. “OH!”

“Yes. – She made the same connection as you did,” he explained. “Of course it didn’t help that Amenadiel ran to her tattling about my misdeeds.” His eyes furrowed at his brother’s involvement in the matter. Her mind was still reeling. First he’d only ever talked about his disruptive family life and now there was a mother – he’d not mentioned before – who was concerned enough about his behaviour to correct it as the need arose. It didn’t make any sense – at all. But he wouldn’t lie to her, would he? He never lied. And thinking back, his behaviour did fit someone with a sore backside. His apparent displeasure about having to sit down, the implement on the coffee table, if she was perfectly honest with herself, his eyes even looked a bit bloodshot – as if he had been crying. No, he must be telling the truth, she decided.

“So, your mom...,” she said gesturing in the general direction of the spoon. Who would have thought?

“Yes, my mum...,” he repeated, unable to finish the sentence and she had to suppress a grin at his apparent discomfort in admitting he’d already been punished. He must have noticed her amusement because a furious blush threatened to creep up his neck.

“And now you’re blushing,” she stated wickedly.

“I most certainly am not!” he retorted in indignation.

“All the way up to the tips of your ears. – It’s adorable,” she laughed softly while he bristled at her. She savoured the moment for a few more seconds before growing serious again. “Did your mom do a thorough job?”

“Excuse me?”

“Did she?” she repeated raising her eyebrow again. He looked kind of cute all flustered and uncomfortable.

“Detective, I really don’t understand what that has to do with the matter,” he replied.

“I still need to decide if the lesson stuck now or if you need another reminder,” she explained.

“Oh, all right...,” he mumbled. “You may rest assured then, Detective, she made a lasting impression. – In fact, the lesson was impressed so deeply that I will most certainly burn her chosen instrument of torture.” He threw a hateful look at the wooden spoon, willing it to burst into flames at this very moment.

“Okay,” she said laughing softly. “Then you’re off the hook.” The relief was apparent on his face and she chuckled. “Do you need help with anything else before I have to go pick up Trixie? – You’re still a bit incapacitated with your arm in that sling.”

“Thank you, Detective, but I’ll be fine. Amenadiel will be over shortly to check on me. – Mum’s orders I presume. But he can do any of the unpleasant tasks to make me comfortable. He was the one to tattle.”

“Okay,” she said. “Don’t be too hard on him. He did what was best for anyone involved.” She winked at him. “Enjoy your evening. – Call if you do need help.”

“I will,” he assured her. When the doors of the elevator closed, she allowed herself a hearty laugh. Who would have thought that Lucifer Morningstar was still cowed by his mother’s wrath?

The End.

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