Miles pushed his glasses up on his nose and locked his hands behind his head as he paced the length of his little office. Karen, Ethan, and Laura. All three souls were… beyond important to him. He loved them. He loved the souls, the people they belonged to. They gave him access to the part of himself that still remembered what it was like to be human. They made him feel human.
He couldn’t lose that. He couldn’t lose them. He needed them.
There was no way around that for Miles. The souls were important to him. They were his three treasured souls. He didn’t care what Hector said. He didn’t care that keeping them alive could end the world.
Okay. Fine. Maybe he cared a little. But they were important to him! He needed them! He couldn’t continue to live for the rest of eternity knowing that he gave up on his three favorite souls. They were all too young to go now. They all had a hell of a lot more life left to live. There was no doubt about that. He couldn’t let Hector take that from him, from them, no matter what.
Miles stopped pacing, stooping down to grab his hat. He placed it on his head and walked out of his office, pulling the door closed behind him. He went downstairs and through the small living room of his tiny apartment. Outside in the warm, red and black halls, he shoved his hands into his pockets and made his way toward the stairs.
He headed down another hall and stopped at a door. Drawing in a deep breath, he knocked on it. Several seconds later, it opened.
A dark-haired man several inches taller than him stood there, head cocked to one side. He wore dark jeans and a black tank-top, a blazer thrown over his shoulders. He smiled, red eyes on Miles’s face. “Hiya, Miles.”
“Lucifer,” Miles greeted.
“Wanna come in?” Miles only nodded. Lucifer took a step back, holding out an arm. “Sorry for the warmth. Hell hath no mercy on a man with mortal body temperatures.”
Miles snorted, following Lucifer back to his desk. “I’m more or less used to it,” the short Reaper assured.
Lucifer nodded, dropping into the chair behind his desk. He gestured to one of the chairs in front of it. After a tentative moment of considering if Lucifer was really who he wanted to make friends with, Miles sat down. “Something I can do for you today?” the Devil asked.
“I think I just… need to get my mind off a few things. Anna suggested I mingle.” Miles held out his arms for a moment.
Lucifer chuckled as a man materialized behind his chair, hands on the Devil’s shoulders. Briefly, Lucifer reached up and patted his hand. “Dear old Anna. She doesn’t understand how any of us can survive without constantly conversing with friends.” He shook his head, leaning back as he folded his hands over his chest. “What’s on your mind?”
“You don’t wanna hear my problems.”
“Oh, come on, Miles. We’re both in the soul business, aren’t we? You can talk to me,” Lucifer said.
Miles cleared his throat, shifting nervously in his seat. “I have these… three souls that I like. They make me feel, you know, human.”
“Mm.” Lucifer nodded. “Those are hard to come by. I have a few that help me feel like Daddy didn’t throw me from heaven for funsies.” He raised an eyebrow. “What about them has you so bothered?”
“Fate plans to kill one of them in the next three days.”
Lucifer let out a loud whistle. “Ouch.”
Miles nodded. “I know. A–and he’s the one that assigned those souls to me in the first place. They’re flight risks, and he wanted to make sure I kept them on Earth until it was their real time to go. I was supposed to protect them. I am supposed to protect them. He assigned that job to me.”
“Ah. So Hector’s still a fucking wanker, huh?” Lucifer asked. Again, Miles only nodded. “You’re going to end the world, aren’t you?”
“Well, I, uh, I’m going to try not to. I’m going to do everything I can to keep them safe. I’m just hoping it’s not as, you know… detrimental to the world as everyone says it is.”
“And if it is?”
“Then so be it. I’ll do anything to save them from Fate, end of the world or not.”
“Pretty bold for a little Reaper.” The Devil nodded. “I like you, Miles. I’ll help.” The man behind him flashed his pure black, soulless eyes at the Reaper.
Miles swallowed. “I–I wasn’t asking for help.”
“Miles, kid, when an Archangel offers to help you maybe destroy the world, you should accept the offer,” Lucifer said.
“Well…” Miles cleared his throat. “Yeah. Umm, thank you. I–I think I need all the help I can get.”
“Of course. Protecting three souls from Fate is just… too much for one Reaper to handle,” Lucifer said. “Making and keeping friends is good for you, Miles. Angels, Demons, the Fallen. Doesn’t matter. We’re stronger in numbers.”
“I know. Friends make me nervous. Relationships make me nervous.”
“Understandable.” Lucifer snapped his fingers, and a glass of whiskey appeared in his hand. He wrapped his fingers around it. “Want any?”
Miles shook his head. “The, uh, last time I drank alcohol, my friends murdered me, so…”
“Ouch,” Lucifer whispered. “Sorry, little Reaper.”
“It’s okay. You didn’t kill me,” Miles said simply.
“Well, there is that,” Lucifer agreed. “So, what’s your plan? How do you plan to keep these three souls safe from Hector?”
“I was mostly going to jump back and forth between them and do everything I could to keep them out of harm’s way. Each of them suffers danger from something totally different, and my youngest soul is the only one that can actually see me. The other two are a bit harder to protect. They can’t see me, so I have to physically pull them out of certain situations without making my interference too obvious to them or those around them. It hasn’t been easy,” Miles said.
Lucifer nodded. “The Reaper before Anna? Did you ever meet him?” Miles shook his head. “Hector assigned souls to him, too. Souls to protect, I mean. It was too hard for him, and he stole an Angel Blade to kill himself with.” Lucifer took a sip of his whiskey. “You’re stronger than he was, Miles. You’ve fought through the challenges and protected those souls. It’s just three more days. You can do it, and I’ll do what I can to help.”
“Even… if it ends the world?” Miles asked.
Lucifer smiled. “Even if.”
“I, uh, really appreciate that, Lucifer. Just… thank you.”
Lucifer nodded. “Are you always this nervous?”
“I mean… kinda? But, umm, but I usually don’t make deals with the Devil.”
Lucifer laughed. The statement even seemed to pull a small smile from the Demon behind him. If nothing else, it made him look a little less killy than before. “Miles, this isn’t some evil deal we’re making. I’m offering to help because I hate Hector and my father. So if we end the world, I honestly don’t give much of a damn.”
“And you said I was bold.”
“You are. For a Reaper,” Lucifer said. “Look, I have a few Fallen under my belt that can help you watch over your souls. They can’t explicitly protect them, though. Father takes away a lot of their strength when he casts them out, and the things that may be easy for you and I can entirely drain them of their strength. So, you have a phone?” Miles nodded. “Good. I’ll give them your phone number and they’ll watch after the souls, call you when something’s wrong.”
“Can they call when something seems any bit off or dangerous? I don’t want to risk anything. I need them to be safe, like, one hundred percent.” Miles said.
Lucifer nodded. “Of course. Leave your number, okay? I’ll set something up with the Fallen and get back to you. They’re my family, so I expect you to treat them with the respect they deserve.”
“I will. I respect just about everyone that isn’t Hector.”
Lucifer snorted. “You and me both, brother.” He pushed himself to his feet and tossed his phone to Miles. The Reaper fumbled for a moment before holding it to his chest. “Put your number in there. I’ve got something lower level to deal with.”
Lucifer turned to the Demon. “Behave yourself.”
The black-eyed being smiled. “I’ll do my best, my King.”
“Mm.” Lucifer squeezed his hand before turning back to Miles. “You can leave if you get bored. I don’t know how long this’ll take. Either way, just leave my phone on the desk and I’ll get back to you. Sound good?”
“Yes. Umm, thank you,” Miles said.
Lucifer nodded. “No problem, Miles.”
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