Lucifer was energetically sweeping the floor with a broom, gathering all the trash left by last night’s crowd. The lounge by the bar was pretty empty, with only a few hungover guys still lingering. After trying to weasel out of his punishment in the morning, he eventually accepted the ball gag and was now cleaning up like a good boy. Three hours into his punishment, and despite the drooling, he was going strong, getting everything in order without slacking off.
Tooth watched him from behind the book he was trying to read, but every time he finished a page, he would realize he didn’t even remember what happened to the characters, too absorbed by the boy in front of him. Yesterday’s events kept replaying in Tooth’s head, taunting him with images of Milk cynically using Lucifer’s resolve to flee, of Lucifer showing his vulnerable side and breaking down crying in Tooth’s arms. When they lay in bed together, it was as if all the walls Lucifer had built around himself suddenly crumbled, leaving him with no protection whatsoever. Tooth knew he’d be filling that void, even though it made his jaw clench.
Twelve years ago, he’d promised himself he wouldn’t engage in anyone’s problems ever again. He wouldn’t take care of any lost souls, but now he could already see that he was back at point A. No one was willing to take care of that poor kid, clearly damaged more than he’d let on, not even Priest, the kid’s father. And now that Lucifer was here, Tooth knew he couldn’t just watch him breaking apart. Even thinking of it made him physically ill.
And speaking of people breaking apart, he saw Milk passing through a back corridor, slow as if he were a zombie, pale and trembling. That would teach him not to mess with Lucifer. Tooth would still have an eye on him though, make sure he didn’t drink and followed the rules.
As Lucifer was cleaning the bar counter, Blitz sat nearby and made comments too quiet for Tooth to hear. By the way Lucifer groaned and rolled his eyes, it couldn’t have been anything nice.
Tooth closed the book with a loud clap. “Is there a problem?”
“Nah, just wondering what this was for,” the prospect laughed and poked the little padlock on the side of Lucifer’s gag.
Tooth slowly stood up, putting his hands into the pockets of his pants. “He’s not a monkey at the petting zoo.”
Blitz had more sense of self-preservation than Milk did yesterday and put his hands up in an apologetic gesture. “Okay, okay.”
The way Lucifer looked up at Tooth with those big blue eyes, gag in his mouth, made blood stir below Tooth’s belt. This really was the last thing he needed.
“Could you get me some coffee?” he asked as neutrally as possible. He needed to get his eyes off Lucifer for at least a moment. This boy was such a honeytrap. Tooth wanted to put his hands all over him and make him sticky, but he doubted Priest would let him stay vice president after that.
Lucifer smiled with his eyes and walked off. It was nice to see him not that angry about the gag anymore.
“Hey, Tooth! You’ve seen Milk?” Bell yelled from the corridor, and when Tooth looked around he noticed Priest as well.
Tooth leaned against the wall and waved at them. “Yeah, but he’s totally hungover. Why?”
“Wondering if he’s up for a chat.”
Priest sat down at one of the pristine clean tables. He actually swiped his hand over the tabletop and raised his eyebrows. “It was nice to get the powder back, but we need to find out about Suzy.”
Tooth shrugged. “I agree. She could be held by one of our rivals, and that may cost us.” He looked at the tabletop, oddly proud of Lucifer. Those tables hadn’t been this spotless... pretty much ever. “What does Milk have to do with it?”
Bell raised his eyebrows. “He usually goes with us. You know this. Not to mention he visits the Vanilla Lounge every now and then.”
Priest cringed at the mention of the strip joint, and Tooth frowned. “How do you know that?”
Bell yawned and stretched. “He spilled the beans to me yesterday. He was going there apparently ‘cause it was far away, so no one would know. Without the cut, incognito.”
Tooth bit the inner side of his cheek. “Whatever. Not my business. Take him, I don’t think I can make it today, and it’s just to see what’s going on there anyway.”
Priest opened his mouth to talk, but then just stared over Tooth’s shoulder. Bell blinked as if pepper had fallen into his eyes. When Tooth turned around, he saw Lucifer approaching them with a coffee and whole fistful of other stuff.
He put the mug in front of Tooth, along with the little packets of sugar, sweetener, and creamer. Next to it, he put a napkin that stated: ‘I wasn’t sure what you like it with’.
Tooth stared at him, resisting the powerful urge to just pet the boy. “Thank you, that’s very considerate,” he said in the end, giving Lucifer a wide smile.
Priest cleared his throat, staring at the gag. “Do I want to know?”
Tooth shook his head and looked at his friend. “Lucifer’s doing a pretty good job with the cleaning, isn’t he?”
Bell rubbed his forehead as Lucifer turned red and walked off quickly. “What the fuck are you doing, man?” he groaned.
“I trust Tooth, so let him do what he thinks he needs to do,” Priest said.
“It’s punishment,” answered Tooth. He looked at his watch.
“Christ, what did he do?” Bell leaned over the table, watching his brother give the leather sofa in the back a thorough scrub. Tooth was kinda impressed that Lucifer touched the sticky old thing out of his own free will. It was the kind of furniture Tooth wouldn’t advise women to sit on in case they got pregnant.
Priest sighed and got up. “Why are you so persistent? Let it go.”
Tooth smiled. “You can ask Lucifer when he can speak again.”
“I’ll talk to you later,” Priest told Tooth and walked off with a yawn.
Bell frowned. “Is it something messed up? You can’t just do these things to him, I don’t care what Priest says about it.”
Tooth blinked, staring at the young man he’d known for years. What had gotten into him all of a sudden? “I’m not doing anything that could possibly hurt him, trust me on that.”
“Well, he doesn’t look all that happy to me.” Bell’s frown deepened as they both watched Lucifer scrub the sofa in the far off corner. To be fair, Bell was probably looking at Lucifer as a whole, whereas Tooth couldn’t help but watch the ass in those skinny jeans.
“That’s why it’s called punishment. He will behave next time.” Tooth knocked his fist against Bell’s arm. “He’s a big boy, so he needs a crash course.”
“I know I wanted to kick him out just two days ago,” Bell lowered his voice. “But I just can’t fucking stand the thought that my little brother is somewhere out there sucking cocks for money. I mean, what the fuck?”
Tooth stared at Bell, who must have done a lot of thinking in the last two days. It was quite impressive. “He’s a sweet kid. And I think he needs an older brother.”
“I was thinking maybe he was in it for the money, and he’ll get normal when he’s around the club.”
Tooth stayed silent for a moment. He did believe that people could consciously choose prostitution, for kicks, or just considering it a valid source of income, and there was nothing wrong with that. But a teen couldn’t make a conscious decision about those things, especially one as vulnerable as Lucifer. “You know he’s gay, right?”
Bell groaned and leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms. “I suppose. But I don’t want him to hang out with some creeps. I keep comparing it to some sleazebag groping Asty or some shit.”
Tooth nodded, watching the tight jeans molding to Lucifer’s little ass as he moved around. He cleared his throat. “So, will you go to the Vanilla Lounge with Milk? I need to take Lucifer places.”
“Yeah, sure. I’ll try to think of something I can do with him. I suppose it’s not his fault Priest knocked up his mom.” Bell made a long sigh and got up.
“See you later?” Tooth opened the tiny creamer and put it in his coffee.
Bell gave him a quick wave and chatted to his sister for a moment when they met at the door. Despite the early morning hours, her makeup was dark and heavy. Along with the piercings, her look always created a funny contrast with the fluffy white Persian cat she carried around. Tooth couldn’t get his head around it.
She walked up to Lucifer who straightened up when she said his name, but the moment he did, Astaroth took a step back. Even her cat hissed and stirred in her arms. She spoke to Lucifer, but Tooth didn’t exactly hear from where he sat. He got to his feet, surprised it was almost time for Lucifer to be relieved of the gag. That went quick.
“Hi, Asty,” he said, walking over with the key to the padlock already in hand.
She squinted at him. “Why is he wearing that?”
Tooth sighed. “Club business.”
“But he’s not one of the Nails.” She raised her painted-on eyebrows almost up to her bangs.
Lucifer waved his hand at her in reassurance.
Tooth exhaled in relief. “See? All fine.” He took the small padlock and unlocked it gently before helping Lucifer out of the contraption. The poor boy had to be stiff as hell.
Lucifer took a deep breath and rubbed his jaw and cheeks, opening and closing his mouth. “Fucking hell…”
“I brought you the hair straightener.” Astaroth pulled a box out of her massive studded leather bag and passed it to Lucifer. His face instantly lit up so bright Tooth almost thanked Astaroth out of reflex.
“That’s very kind of you,” Tooth said, patting her on the shoulder.
“I didn’t do it for you.”
Lucifer snorted. “Thanks. My hair is so shitty I can’t take it.”
It looked nice to Tooth. Soft and shiny. He could pet it all day.
“You have to come to the salon some day. I’m only an apprentice, but I could do something for you for free. If Mom doesn’t bitch at me.” Asty laughed and grabbed the ends of Lucifer’s hair. “We have this great nourishing mask that I could use here.”
Was this the kind of ‘treatment’ Lucifer intended to find for Tooth? Ugh, it did sound long, bothersome, and girly.
“I’ll see what I can afford. I’m supposed to get paid for some work around the club, but we’ll see how that goes.” Lucifer stepped closer to stroke the fluffy cat.
Asty smiled. “Oh, you could goatsit for me. I can’t always be here as much as I want to.”
“Just talk to Priest. It could be arranged,” Tooth told Asty. He remembered how sweet and innocent Lucifer looked with Beast. Like a completely normal teenager.
“Sure, I’ll do that.” Astaroth grinned and poked Lucifer’s ribs. “So, Tooth’s taking care of you? That’s new,” she said, her eyes glancing to Tooth’s face with unabashed curiosity. Cheeky girl.
“I’m making sure he adjusts well,” said Tooth as matter-of-factly as possible.
“He’s more like my personal warden.” Lucifer laughed and stuck his tongue out at Tooth.
“Pretty much,” mumbled Tooth, scratching his head.
Astaroth shrugged. “Anyway, I have to go to work. Hope to see you soon, yeah?”
Lucifer hesitated for a moment, but finally nodded and waved with the box. “Thanks for remembering about me. Bring the cat more often.” He gave Behemoth one last scratch behind the ear.
As soon as Astaroth was out the door, Tooth looked at Lucifer again. “You need to change. We’re going shopping.” He loved the way the boy’s pupils widened.
“I need it so much! I have, literally, nothing.”
Tooth couldn’t help but smile at that level of enthusiasm. “Good, I’ll be waiting outside.”
Lucifer walked off without another word, but Tooth caught a glimpse of him speeding up when he turned the corner, accompanied by the sound of boots quickly hitting the floor.
He shook his head and went to his bike, waving to Blitz on the way. The guy was chatting to that dark-haired girl from yesterday. Maybe she’d stay for a while.
The day was peaceful, even if chilly, and Tooth was looking forward to getting to know Lucifer better, but there was one more stop they needed to make before they went shopping.