At just past seven, PGC time, the door to Michael's office bangs open, bounces off the wall, and slams shut in the Devil's face. A corner of the newspaper in Michael's hands rolls down and he raises an eyebrow as he stares at the door. Two...three...four...five seconds pass before the door opens again - gently this time - and Lucifer casually steps inside.
"You need to work on your entrances," Michael says, shaking out the newspaper.
"I didn't realize you'd installed looser hinges," Lucifer says, nonchalant as though what just happened didn't, in fact, happen. "So..."
"Did you need something or are you just going around the upstairs offices, banging open doors for kicks?"
Lucifer straightens his tie, unbuttons his blazer, and sits down in the visitor chair with all the flair of an Italian don. "That was a dirty, damn trick you played," he says.
Michael folds up the newspaper, sets it on the desk before leveling a professorial stare at Lucifer. "Come again?" he asks.
"The dog," Lucifer says. Michael says nothing. "The giant beast you sent to Claire's house to keep tabs on her?" Michael continues to stare at him and the Devil visibly squirms in his seat. "The damn thing hates me almost as much as she does, which isn't terribly fair considering she's known me her whole life and the dog's only just met me..."
"Which 'she'?" Michael asks.
He frowns at the archangel. "Claire, Mike. Who else would I be talking about?"
"You're about as charming as a dead reptile, Lucy." Michael chuckles as steam escapes the Devil's ears. "Now, back to your original statement - I have absolutely no clue what you're talking about. Claire's got a dog?"
"Not just a dog, Mike. She's got a grim!"(1)
The hamster wheel in Michael's head spins and he imagines he knows where that very big, very protective dog may have come from. He stands, motions Lucifer out the door.
"She named it after my worst fear," the Devil whines as he follows him out of the office.
This causes Mike to laugh loudly. "She named her Hope?" Lucifer nods, pouting. Mike laughs even louder. "That sounds like something I'd do...I've taught her well!"
He wanders the eastern wing until he finds the door he's looking for: SUMMERLAND & OTHERWORLD - It is what you make of it. He knocks twice, then stands back, memories of his last visit to this particular department of the Pearly Gates Corporation.(2)
The Triple Goddess herself opens the door - in Mother form at the moment - and beams a smile brighter than the sun and the moon at him. "Michael! It's been ages!"
"Got time for a cuppa?" she asks, standing aside and welcoming him into the offices. He nods, steps inside. He's immediately reminded of the greenhouse attached to Harry and Kate Rogers' house. Terrariums, herbs, wooden slats, and the smell of freshly turned earth. "What brings you to our little nook of the afterlife?" she asks, busying herself with making tea.
"The Devil just informed me that Claire's got herself a grim," he says and Diana looks over her shoulder at him. "A female grim she's gone and named Hope." The grin on the Goddess' face is mischievous and warm. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you, Di?"
She brings a cup of steaming chamomile to him and, as she typically does, sits on his knee. Pagan goddesses aren't often known for their boundaries. He's honestly surprised she's even wearing clothes, considering how close it is to the summer solstice.(3)
She kisses his forehead. "There are strange times ahead, feathers," she says. "Claire will need all the help she can get."
"A grim, though?"
She shrugs. "She was an older lady, in need of a good home and a little bit of evil to ward off. I figured of all the prophets at home, Claire was most likely to take her in - no questions asked."
"Well, she did just that...and the Devil's terrified of her."
"Of course he is," she says, continuing to grin. "There isn't anything the Devil fears more than a great, big ball of Hope running amok."
(1) Technically, Claire received a Gurt, a Scottish protection dog that wanders the moors and keeps children and travelers safe...but the Devil's a drama queen on his best day, so it makes sense he'd go around hollering "grim" at the top of his magenta lungs.
(2) When the doorman has horns, it's often best to stand as far away from the door as possible. He had to lie about where the black eye had come from for a week, simply because he didn't want to listen to Meta's terrible jokes about him playing hokey pokey with the Goat God.
(3) The first time he met Diana was during Beltane...shortly before she was due to inhabit a maiden...and get chased naked through a corn field. She was decidedly in character at the time. He didn't know where to look without possibly offending her...and Ellie, who'd come along for the mead.