I see me; the alive me, standing in the kitchen of my home, the flat I share with Robb. I’m the same me as I left Earth, wearing the same rings I wear now, the same hair, the same eyes, the same everything. I walk into the lounge where a toddler lies on the couch, sleeping soundly. I look upon myself though, and only one other thing is different than the ‘she’ that I know: I’m heavily pregnant.
It doesn’t make sense: how can I have a child, sleeping on the couch and how can I be pregnant? I look the same age as I am now, in Hell, even as I was when Lucifer killed me to bring me down here to Hell. How can I be the same age and pregnant? That cannot be my child.
I watch the me from this other world as the front door of the flat opens and Robb walks in, immediately approaching the ‘me’ and hugging her, kissing her cheek before placing his hands on the bulge of her stomach and cooing over it. I watch as he then sets his eyes on the child asleep on the couch, silently cooing over it from afar. I watch Robb’s face, prouder than I think I’ve seen him since he set eyes on me walking into the room on our wedding day, and I know it: this child is ours, and so is the one growing proudly in my stomach.
How then is that even possible?
I then see something completely different. My Dad is lying on the ground of somewhere dark and indescribable. I watch his expression harden and turn frightened, and I watch the lines settle into his head. I watch deep red blood seep from multiple wounds in his body. Stab wounds, scratch wounds, bruises, deep wounds where I couldn’t even begin to imagine how they got there… I watch the haunted look in his eyes settle and seep into my own mind.
I find myself staring at the other side of the lake, my mouth opened in shock, my heart hammering a war march in my chest and my breathing laboured in the shock.
“Now do you understand what I wished for you to see, Naomi?” Lucifer asks from behind me. I ignore him for a moment, needing to stand up. My shaking body manages to realise I need to address him, so I manage to pull myself to a decent position to push myself up from the ground. I push myself and find my body refuses to cooperate, so I just manoeuvre myself to sit cross legged where I wound up, but I look up at Lucifer, who is watching me with a questioning look. I finally notice the worry lines around his eyes, the haunted look in the vessel’s eyes, the confused pout on his mouth, the way his hands are wringing together in front of him. He’s confused just the same as I am, though I can tell by the way he’s been speaking that he knows exactly what I saw and what it means, he just refuses to tell me the truth.
“I understand what it is you needed to show me,” I tell him, still seeing my Dad lying there in absolute agony and confusion. “But what the fuck does it mean, Lucifer? You better explain that absolute shitting fucking shitting crap to me now or so God help me, I will fucking start screaming for God.”
I watch the pain in him hearing my mention of his Father and he keeps silent for a moment while it sinks in what my reaction is. I notice the pure shock in his eyes. He didn’t expect me to react like this.
“That, Naomi was what would have happened if you found your precious loophole,” he says. “If you had worked out there was no deal at all in the first place, then this is what would have happened.”
“Excuse me?” I ask, getting myself up from the ground. I stand directly opposite him, glaring across.
“What you saw, it’s what would have happened if you had not come down to Hell with me,” Lucifer clarifies.
“So, what has that got to do with my Dad? Why is he in that? And tell me, why was that a bad thing? How is me being happy a freaking bad thing?” I demand.
Lucifer hesitates for a minute, looking away to the lake, and then looking behind me at the trees before he finally looks to me again. “If… if…” he stops.
“You wanna tell me right now, Lucifer, or so help me…”
“If you had lived up there on Earth and that would have happened, you would have had to make a sacrifice; a life for a life. Because of the deal I would have had to take someone else, and that someone else, would have been your Father,” Lucifer says. I blink at him. My Dad was a sacrifice? How in the bloody Hell does that even work? How could my Dad be the sacrifice for me? How did I not even know about this until now, when it’s way too late to turn around?
“What?” I demand. There is no way that could’ve come true; absolutely not. I mean, even if I had known about it while I was alive and back up on Earth, I wouldn’t have let my Dad take my payment for me. No way.
“You made a deal with me, Naomi, and I know you made it to try and find a way out of it. If you had but given it a little more thought, then you could have asked me to swap the souls over. I could have taken your father’s soul instead of yours. I could have spared your life and taken your Father instead. Had that happened, then what you have just witnessed in that vision could have come true for you; you could have had the life you and your…he were harping on about. You could have had everything you wished for.”
“Why are you telling me this?” I question quietly, looking at the ground.
“Because then I wish to tell you this; you are important to me, Naomi, more than you could ever imagine right now. I need you here; I needed your soul more than anything else that I could ever have made a deal for. You may not understand it now, but let me tell you that it will become clear soon.” Lucifer tells me, staring at me with unblinking eyes, trying to get across the urgency of his words.
“Then if I’m needed here, why show me that? Why show me what I could have had if I’d known? Why throw that in my face? You know I don’t wanna be here anymore than I wanna be around you, so why the fuck would you show me that and then tell me you need me here? Why Lucifer?” I demand.
“Because your father was not what I needed. If you had sacrificed him instead of yourself, then that is what would’ve happened. You’re needed, Naomi, you are important. That is why that image of what happened to your father has not happened to you,” Lucifer says, and it makes absolutely no sense in my mind. Why the Hell would he show me that, taunt me as to what I can’t have and could’ve had if he’s telling me that I’m needed down here and my Dad would’ve been tortured down here? “I know and you know also that if you’d have known your Father would have been the sacrifice you would not have made the deal. He would have told you to do it, because you all thought it was his mistake in the first place, but we both know you would not have let that happen.”
“Then again, why are you telling me and showing me this shit?” I demand.
“Because I need you to understand it, Naomi, before anything else is said or understood, I needed you to see it,” Lucifer tells me matter of factly.
“Why am I here? What importance am I supposedly to you?” I ask.
“I cannot tell you that yet,” he says. I note he’s suddenly changed since I last saw him. He’s still got the underlying cockiness there, but it’s been shadowed by this sudden…nothingness. It’s like his vessel is suddenly empty, and the Devil himself is empty and without the confident cocky arsehole he usually is. It’s suddenly turned serious.
“Why not?” I demand. “I think I have the right to know why exactly you’re torturing me like this. It might not be physical, but Hell, Lucifer; this is mental torture to me.” I feel a stray tear fall from my eye.
“Torturing you?” Lucifer chuckles to himself, and I see the cockiness coming back out in him as if he’d cottoned onto my thoughts and decided to pick up on it. “You think this is torture? Oh, Naomi. Naomi, this is so distant from torture. You are still naïve, aren’t you?” He moves forward to look at me with a small smirk on his face. He reaches out a hand and caresses the right side of my face with his hand, giving me that same look he used to give me when he would use his control over me, whispering his words and he would end up kissing me or something of that nature. It wasn’t going to work this time.
“You can’t work your control over me, Lucifer,” I say quietly.
“I know,” he whispers back. “But I can still hope, I can still treat you like my wife.”
“I’m not your wife,” I say back, glowering my anger over at him. “Tell me the truth, tell me why I’m here and what you need me for.”
“I cannot. Not yet. It’s not time, Naomi,” he says, ignoring my words before I asked. “When I can tell you, you can trust the fact that I will, for it is important. You will never not know.”
I look at him; seeing the pure truth in his eyes, radiating down into my eyes. I think of Robb, of how he would hate for me to be here, of letting Lucifer’s hands on me. I wonder what he’s doing now. I wonder if he would ever want to know why this is happening. I wonder what exactly he’d think of the fact I could have changed everything, in just a question and the thought of sacrificing my Dad.
“I want to go back,” I say. Lucifer suddenly springs out of his stare and nods, letting me go and beginning to lead me back to the park without another word.