Author's Note: So I lied...it's actually going to be a four part trilogy. :)
Just after they accidentally created the Earth and God decided Motherhood suited her just fine and Lucifer's plans for taking over Heaven, Inc. went horribly awry, the Devil hatched a plan. He decided to fall to Earth and cause a little chaos, wreak a little havoc. See, angels on terra firma can do things that angels upstairs can't; they can engage in acts that are considered illegal and forbidden in Heaven.* His plan hinged on the assumption that God would notice his absence, realize She missed him and couldn't do Her job without him, beg him to come home to Heaven, and be willing to give him anything he asked for just to see him return.
Because he was just that important.**
So Lucifer fell to Earth, caused some chaos, and engaged in a few illegal and immoral acts while he waited to hear from God. He waited...and he waited...and he waited. After a month, he ran out of bad things to do and out of boredom, gave in and crawled back to Heaven. It looked different, larger, and there were more inhabitants than he remembered. Unwashed and scraggly, with a full month's worth of beard covering his face, he stopped the first angel who crossed his path and asked what had happened.
"There was a merger," the angel said. "All the religions in the universe have been moving into the complex." The angel pointed to a large, gilded sign hanging over the lobby's grand staircase. "Welcome to the Pearly Gates Corporation," the angel said. Then, sniffing the air, it frowned. "You should probably take a shower."
Lucifer rushed up to Her office and demanded to know why he hadn't been informed of such drastic changes, why he hadn't been consulted. He went so far as to say Her Father never would have done something so irresponsible. She brushed him off.
"You were on vacation," She said. "I didn't want to bother you."
"I fell to Earth, Ellie! I caused chaos and strife and other nasty things!" He crossed his arms over his chest and looked down his filthy nose at Her. "I ate meat on Fridays and I liked it."
She looked up at him and smiled. "That sounds lovely, Lucy. Your offices are in the basement and your minions have moved everything down there for you." She opened a drawer of Her massive desk, took a box out, and tossed it to him. They were business cards. "Hell, Hades & Purgatory, Ltd. Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?"
* * *
"You called?" the Devil drawls and Claire fights the urge to scream. Not in fright, mind you, for she's dealt with her fair share of evil things over the years, but in frustration.
"Goddamnit Mike!" she says, whirling on her Guardian Angel. "First you tell me not to touch the book, then you tell me not to read from the book. And then, to top off this particularly strange day, you do both those things and the friggin Devil shows up!"
"Stop cussing," Michael says. "And calm down. I know what I'm doing."
"Um, not to interrupt or anything," Lucifer says from the doorway, "but could someone please tell me what I'm doing down here?" He frowns. "And why am I prickly all over?"
Michael sighs, puts down the book. "You're here because I called you and you're prickly all over because we're in a convent."
Lucifer looks around him, takes in the vault, and then pokes his head outside the door. When he comes back into the room, he's itching his arms. "I can't believe you called me to a convent." He pauses, frowns. "This is payback for that thing in Belize, isn't it?"
Michael smirks. "No, but that would be pretty great. And stop panicking - the convent itself used to be a manor home. It's the cloisters you have to worry about and they're one hundred feet to the left of the front door." He points to the Legemeton. "I believe this is yours."
Itching once again, the Devil takes a few steps closer to the book. He leans over, flips back the cover, and grins. "You found my address book," he says. "I've been looking for this for ages."
* * *
They're locked inside the vault. Shortly after Michael grabbed Claire to keep her from punching the Devil in the face, Sister Josephine arrived and announced that the Franciscans were on their way. Instead of asking for advice on what to do, the 85 year old nun took the situation into her tiny hands and shut the vault door, turned the handle three times, and effectively locked the Devil, Archangel and prophet inside.
"Worst day ever," Claire says quietly. She turns her head to the side and frowns at her Guardian Angel. "Please tell me you have a plan. Please tell me you didn't get me locked in a vault where I'm going to suffocate to death while the two of you reminisce about the good old immortal days."
"Balthazaar!" Lucifer shouts and he comes to stand in front of Michael and Claire, the book open. He points to a particularly nasty looking creature, all horns and red skin. "I haven't talked to him in ages. Do you remember that afternoon in China with Balty and the Dragon Kings?"
Michael chuckles, but sobers when Claire glares at him.
"Not the time, Lucy," Michael says.
"I rest my case," Claire grumbles.
"Alright, look. Here's the plan. I take the book upstairs, Lucy busts you out of here, and you ask Sister Magdalene if you can borrow the forgery of the Legemeton she's been working on ever since Sister Josephine let her examine it."
Claire's eyes go wide. "What forgery?"
Michael grins. "Trust me, Maggie has an exact copy of that book somewhere in her room." He reaches out, grabs the Legemeton from Lucifer's hands.
"I hate to break it to you, pumpkin, but there is absolutely no scenario in the universe which involves me letting you keep this book. It needs to go somewhere safe where it won't be found by inquisitive minds." He opens his robe and tucks the book inside.
Lucifer's skin tone begins to change. He looks flushed, his cheeks so pink that they're nearly...magenta?
"You've no right to take my address book from me!"
Definitely magenta. And as Claire watches, the Devil seems to grow in size, the seams on his expensive Armani suit tearing.
"It's always the same, isn't it?! She gets Her own way because She's God and I have to give up everything!" He stomps a cloven hoof. "It isn't fair!"
He has horns now, pointy ones that are peaking out of his dark hair. He looks like a magenta version of the Incredible Hulk and while Claire should, by all rights, be freaked out and scared, she instead finds the situation hilarious. And so, in the middle of the Devil's temper tantrum, she begins to laugh.
"Good lord, Lucy, you're purple," Michael says and Claire laughs harder.
"Oh, fuck off." Lucifer deflates like a balloon and his once perfect Armani suit hangs off him in tatters. He's pale once again and the horns and cloven hooves are gone and the expression on his face is petulant.
"Do you know how long it took me to put that thing together?" he asks, pointing to where he believes the book is hidden inside Michael's robes.
"I'll get you a new one," Michael says. "Now, are you going to help or are you going to sulk like a wounded puppy?"
"Technically, I could just leave," he says.
"You could," Michael says. "And technically, I could punch you in the nose."
Lucifer squares his shoulders, straightens his shredded tie. "No need to get violent, angel." He turns his head, looks at the vault door, and blinks twice. The handle turns three times and the door swings open. Claire sometimes hates how immortal beings make everything look so damn easy. "Ms. Rogers, I believe you have a date with a forged address book."
Claire turns to look at Michael, but the angel is gone. The only evidence he was ever there is a large white feather on the reading table. She picks it up, pockets it. When she turns back to thank the Devil, he too is gone.***
"Claire!" Sister Josephine says from the other side of the door. "What iz going on?" The nun peers inside the vault. "And where iz Michael?"
She sighs. "I'll explain it later, Mother Superior. Right now, though, I need to speak with Sister Magdalene about a book."
* Lucifer wasn't exactly sure what these acts were, but he was determined to engage in as many of them as he possibly could before She figured out he was gone. He'd heard something about meat on Fridays...and it sounded naughty.
** For the record, the Devil really is an arrogant little bastard.
*** Knowing there were nuns on the otherside of that vault door, Lucifer did what was asked of him and immediately got the Hell out of there. He may be a lot of things, but the Devil isn't stupid.