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Lucifer: Chapter 9

A Confrontation

NOT BOTHERING TO explain to Officer Jones what they meant, Damien and his uncle left the station immediately and both got back in Damien's car, slamming the doors. Then they both just sat there, staring out the windshield at the traffic zooming obliviously by.

"I don't see what else it could be," Father Damien said after a while.

"Then how come he would lie to us?" Damien asked. Nothing out of this was making the least sense. "Why would he come to us of all people and start telling us about this cult?"

"I don't know," his uncle admitted, just as confused. "Maybe he's trying to get us off his tail. Or make himself seem useful. Or recruit us."

His nephew peered at him. "'Recruit'?"

The priest nodded. "Cults send out people to do that. 'Recruiters.' They're the ones who get others to join." He shook his head. "But I doubt that one. I doubt Scorpio would actively do that, and he doesn't act like a recruiter. I really think he's trying to get us to trust him for some reason. Though what that reason may be I don't know."

Damien sat back and stared at the roof. He fiddled with the sun visor. "But it just doesn't make any sense."

Of course not, the voice in his head agreed. Cultists don't just come up to you and pour out all their secrets! Do they?

"Life doesn't necessarily have to make sense, Damien. You of all people should know that."

Damien cast a glance at his uncle, ready to ask him what he meant by that, but decided better of it--it probably didn't mean anything at all--and turned to look back out the window. "Well," he said, "there's one problem. How do we let him know we were basically snooping around after him?"

That's what I was wondering! Father Damien thought a moment, then shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe he'll already know about it by the time you see him again." He sat back with a sigh. "You know, it's not like we were being very discreet."

"I know what you mean. Well, I suppose there's nobody better to break it to him than yours truly."

Father Damien smiled at him wryly. "Good luck."

"Why are you spying on me?" Derrick demanded, glaring at Damien.

Damien sighed, leaning against a tree in Washington Park across from Dairy Queen; he'd gone there himself and, oddly enough (or perhaps not oddly, if Derrick truly did have some knowledge on him), Derrick had shown up not long after. Damien hadn't even had to tell him anything; Derrick had simply come up to him and asked the question. As if he'd known all along.

Somehow Damien had known this wouldn't be too pretty. That didn't necessarily mean he was prepared for it. He took a breath. "We weren't really spying, Der--"

"I'd say you were!" Derrick didn't even let him finish. "I heard about you going to the hospital and the police station, looking through my files--"

He heard? "That's just it, Derrick. You don't have any files to look through."

Derrick shut up and only stared at him, his eyes almost hateful.

"Now I want to know just what the heck's going on here," Damien said, crossing his arms. It was time to get some real information out of him. Something he could use. "I know you feel invaded--"

"You can say that again."

"--But we just wanted to know about you."

"Well, ask me!" he snapped, throwing up his arms. "That's what I told you to do, isn't it?"

"We would ask you. But you're kind of secretive, aren't you?"

Again Derrick fell silent, as if unwilling to answer.

Damien looked at him. "Well, isn't that so, Mr. Recluse?"

"Listen, I don't take very well to mocking," Derrick bristled, stressing the last word as if that weren't really strong enough to be the word he meant.

Damien sighed again and held up his hands, palms out. "Okay, I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't be snooping around you, I'd get mad if someone did the same thing to me. But from what we've found out there's some things that just don't match up. Understand?"

Derrick was subdued once more. "Such as?"

"Such as your mother." Damien noticed he flinched almost imperceptibly as he said this. Bingo. "She was found murdered in 1969. Now, if you're around my age, which I'm assuming you are, that was around when you were born. Isn't that right?"

A snort. "And how do you know Amelia Grant was my mother?"

Gotcha. That was almost too easy! Damien smiled and shrugged. "I don't know. Probably the same way you know I'm talking about Amelia Grant."

This time he could hear Derrick sigh, obviously catching his slip. "All right then, Amelia Grant was my mother," he admitted, grudgingly. "There, are you satisfied?"

"No, not yet. You still have to explain to me why she was found murdered, and just where you happened to be at the time."

"And how am I supposed to remember that!"

"I don't know. But you sure as heck weren't with your mother."

Derrick lunged forward and struck Damien in the chest with the flats of his hands, knocking him to the ground. Damien's head cracked against a rock; he wheezed and glanced up, surprised, the wind knocked out of him.

Derrick jabbed a finger down at his face. "You're walking on very thin ice right now," he warned him, his voice deadly low and threatening. "And I suggest you head back to shore before it cracks with you on top." So saying, he turned away and stalked off out of the park.

After a moment or two Damien sat up, shaking his head painfully; he noticed several bystanders giving him funny looks, and smiled weakly to show them he was all right. Then he got up, dusted himself off with a shaky sigh, and headed back for his car.

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