1964-09-09 - Countermeasures
Summary: Lucifer and Harper have a little talk about her origins.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
harper lucian 

Terror is the finest antidote to a well-run and orderly club. Everyone finds their own excuse to make their way home unless enticed by drinks, music, and the unequivocal New York attitude to shrug at trouble. That means Lux is still humming. The place doesn't shut down because of one measly grigorim, though there might be a phone call placed to a given brother… in a sense.

Lucifer knows the old ways, even if his power is much diminished. All he hsa to do is think hard enough to attract Michael. That's that.

For the nonce, though, the upper mezzanine rooms are quiet as Maze prowls the world below, knives at the ready. Ana mans the bar. Lux is like it always is, brooding in its own glittering shadows and intimate sheen, as if the electrical grid didn't have a personal, specific surge to answer the Morningstar's call.

When the invaders left, Harper braced herself with a drink, then retreated to the ladies room for a moment to try to process what just happened. And clean herself up a bit, of course. She cleaned up her cuts, inspected her ribs to determine if there was any serious damage, and then proceeded to sit on the couch inside for the next two hours or so.

It's a lot to process, after all. Nephilim, he said. She's heard that phrase before, she knows what it means. But her? And it's a bit much to find out about your parents.

Then there's the part where the club owner is supposedly the devil himself. Mustn't forget that part.

Eventually, though, Harper comes to the conclusions that there are no answers to be had in the ladies room. Answers are outside. So she stands up, adjusts her clothing, and limps back out to the club, seeking out the owner with stubborn resolve.

Processing information comes at a premium for some people. For others, it happens too fast or not at all. Lucian has a cigarette in his mouth, lit to allow the serene coils of smoke to dissipate into a pallid grey haze overhead. The edison bulbs throw their amber glow throughout the sleek, polished interior, occasionally catching on the belt loops or the boot toes of the serving staff. They're all armed, in their fashion.

He exhales, allowing another upward plume to spread out from the volcanic bellows of his lungs. Not that nicotine - if there's any in that cigarette - does a thing for him. He can enjoy the taste without the problem of tarry lungs and choking to death eventually. So there's that.

Music purrs through the sound system, deliberately selected with a care to keep things simmering but not quite calmed. Jazz will do that, especially performed by some of the brightest up and comers. To the temple of sin, let that sinful music beckon the avaricious and the faithful.

He's not hard to spot sitting in a curved horseshoe booth, leg crossed over the other. Mazikeen will all but give a flat-eyed, unreadable look to Harper that isn't quite a summons. Lilim are too jealous of their free nature for that.

When that wayward girl appears, the solicitious approach may be best. "You have questions."

"That is an understatement." Whether it's pride or exhaustion, Harper doesn't stand on ceremony, nodding once to Maze before sliding into one side of the booth. "I had questions a month ago, when a boy told me that I wasn't a mutant, or at least that what I was doing was using magic and not some sort of mutation. I had questions a week ago, when a wizard told me that I was part something very old, but it wasn't his to tell me what."

She sets her hands on the table, keeping a steady eye on Lucian. Half a lifetime of being warned against the devil, another half a lifetime of training in fighting and intelligence, and both of them say that looking away from this man is a good way to lose track of the truth. "Was he right?"

Lucian could mince words, but he doesn't. A gesture for the booth gives the younger woman ample place to sit without being totally overshadowed, nor immediately adjacent to him. "Wizards and mutants. You've not yet dismissed metahumans, aliens, or several brands of plausible lineage descent? Fae? You'd be shocked how many of those branches presumably come from the same tree, and far closer together than anyone ever thought." He dashes the cigarette into an ashtray. Fragrance within stimulates the senses but refuses to give a good indication for its origins. Something definitely extracted from tobacco.

"He. There are approximately two and a half billion possible hes right now, and how many of them are of your acquaintance, I'm not terribly sure." He doesn't give statistics on how many /he/ knows. Probably for the better. "While dancing about obfuscated curiosity using a variety of vague terms and short quips is fully within my purview, I confess it's rather tiring and tonight finds me a touch short on patience. Directly, if you expect anything."

"Actually, fae was where I went first, but someone else was thinking more Greco-Roman gods, but I wasn't really ready to entertain the idea of gods?" Harper might still be a little shell-shocked, to be giving away information that isn't actually necessary to the conversation. "Which was apparently my mistake, because I didn't actually need to go that far afield. I just needed to wait until an actual angel figured out that I was some sort of…blasphemous…monster."

She drops her head into one hand for a moment, scrubbing at her face and taking a deep breath. "The nephilim thing. Truth?" she asks as she looks back up.

"Mm." He blows out another thin streamer of smoke that languidly unrolls from a hidden spool. The ambient venting up here carries some of it away but not before inducing that slightly hypnotic sensation accompanying a lassitude in some. "Who on earth defaults to an Olympian god? Delusions of grandeur." So sayeth the wise, a measure of amusement wrapped serpentine around the darkly, delicious axis of wrongness he embodies.

It's Harper's final statements that send her low and halt her statements that shift his poise. At once he leans forward, no longer the louche in a tuxedo immaculately tailored but a wolf baring teeth, a storm striking shore from a clear horizon. "Blasphemous by whose accounting? You'll allow a total and complete stranger define your worth as zero and wipe you from the board?"

Harper squints a bit at Lucian, finally folding her hands beneath her chin. "I am not prepared to debate philosophy or religion with the devil, I'm just gonna put that on the table here. It's a been a hell of a day, if you'll pardon the…I guess it's not really a pun, it's just not as clever as it wants to be as phrases go at the moment."

She lets her hands fall back to the table top, leaning back against the booth herself. "Whatever I thought I knew about angels and nephilim, right now what I know is that some sort of angel convinced two different factions of the local gangs to help it hunt me down, which is definitely its own sort of miracle anyhow. And it said it would be waiting outside. Which is problematic for me, because our last show-down didn't go in my favor."

"Dear girl, the excess of puns says enough in its own right. Though I will walk out of here if you start complaining about the temperature." One face card is exchanged for another, the transition quick and faultless. Lucian waves his hand, the cancer stick poised between two long, thin fingers. Back to the amused one again. "Standard theology says the Creator made angels. Then he made man. Man and angels do not mix except in those terribly rare circumstances confined mostly to obscure Hebrew folklore, and it never turns out well. Morality play to keep to your own kind."

His opinion on the matter is considerably saltier given he's very much above such speculation. It's easier to have an opinion with firsthand experience. Harper's distress and weariness are gauged cautiously. "Angels, as a rule, see things very much in black in white. You are categorized by this particular one as a violation of the Grand Design. As such, you must be removed. He'll describe it as a virus or a cancer on the face of creation. Easy to make zealots of followers already seasoned to submit to a dominant authority, so his followers will be eager to prove themselves." Those impossibly blue eyes are showing their otherworldly origins, locked onto the woman. "You're not of the calibre written in the books. Semyaza was impressive but his offspring different. Clearly you're no deformed giant with an appetite for human flesh."

"See, this is exactly why I went to the wizard to find out what I was," Harper grimaces. "Okay. Maybe not exactly. But the general sentiment was hey, I know what the dangers of being a mutant are, I can prepare for those, but if I don't know what I am, then how am I supposed to prepare for the dangers of it? Can't. Although I'm not sure I could have prepared for angelic assault, so I'm not sure I can be upset with him."

She pauses, forcing herself to take another deep breath. "I'm pretty sure I don't have an appetite for human flesh," she agrees. "Yet. So far."

Lucifer casts aside the cigarette, the slightest encouragement to the flame devouring it in a puff of smoke. The thin tendrils of light teasing around his fingertips vanish in a heartbeat. "Wizards covet knowledge. You expose yourself to as much risk by making inquiries in that direction," he cautions her almost lazily. "You can call yourself whatever you like. 'Nephilim' is a convenient label and not precisely the truth. But adequate. How can you prepare?"

He examines the tabletop for a moment, drawing out a circle in the air. "In Solomon's time, he went to the great trouble of determining secret names and binding circles. Almost any angel can be contained if briefly. Called. Summoned. Though the latter is exceedingly foolish. You get what you deserve to try. Nowadays without pitchforks, torches, and the Inquisition at your back, the best choice is avoidance. Not entirely possible. Many angels lack any idea of the media, so threats to reveal them don't work."

"Conveniently, I had exactly no knowledge to share with the wizard, so he only got what he could observe. Which, admittedly, is more than he would have had otherwise, but sometimes you've got to give to get." Harper glances toward the cigarette when he sends it up in flame, but that particular display doesn't seem to unsettle her. There are plenty of relatively mundane people who can set things on fire, after all.

"Contained sounds useful. Disappearing sounds better." She tilts her head, considering him for a moment. "He was surprised to find you here, which means you've got a way to hide yourself from them."

"Sometimes. And other times, they're counting on curiosity bringing back the cat." He shrugs, dark jacket pulled against his shoulders. With Lucian, the mood is always a mild variation until truly pissed off. And clearly he doesn't much trust wizards. Call it habit. Babel was an experience.

Harper is again subject to a mild look. "I retired. Te novelty wears off after the first few encounters, assuredly. And for those who think gunning for me is ever wise, I am still whom I am. The Creator is one of those sorts who takes personal offense when another creation comes along to knock me. Heard the story of Cain? You've got a similar issue of your own, I'd wager."

"Cain had it coming!" Harper protests. "What'd I do? Got born." Granted, there have been a few assassinations since then, but that's just business, right? "Whatever happened to free will?" she grumbles. "A chance to decide who and what I was going to be. I'd take it up with the boss, but I get the impression that guy wasn't planning on letting any higher ups know."

Which is what causes her to pause, and think again. "He has something to hide about this. About me. What would he want to hide?"

"Free will? You are an anomaly. Humanity has free will and angels aren't supposed to. You reproduce, angels don't. The reality is not a pretty picture, dear." Lucifer lets her make those connections for herself, as he's certainly not required to build them. A few scatterings to lead the girl through the woods. To grandmother's oven we go…

His fingers drum on the table. "You expected to commune with God and find an answer?"

Harper shrugs, pushing a hand through her hair. "Might as well try, right? He's supposed to hear everything, know everything, see everything. Which…means there's not much point in telling him, I guess. Although if that's the case, then why would an angel be trying to hide something from god?"

She winces, pressing her fingers to her temple. "This is making my head hurt, it has been too long a day to answer major philosophical questions. And apparently angels reproduce to some extent, or this wouldn't be an issue," she snorts softly. "Male ones, at least. While we're on philosophical questions, is that a thing, actually? Because I kind of always got the impression that angels were meant to be gender-neutral, but on the other hand, the stuff about nephilim does talk about them only lying with the daughters of men, not about angel ladies having babies."

He should have pity, but pity is a rarity in his long life. "God won't answer you." Assurance pours through every word nailed down by the former lord of Hell. His smile stays fixed, his eyes too dark and immensely deep to read as warm. "Angels themselves cannot reproduce. The general exceptions had already fallen, stripped of their divinity. So no, there's not a glut of amorous cherubs falling to the wiles of corrupted women," he replies. "You are an exception to an exception to an exception, and he's going to have a lovely time deciphering that."

He almost seems to relish the wing-burning response. Almost. The smile is too sharp to be anything else. "You want to know where you come from, what you are, what that means. Yes?"

"Yes." Harper pauses for a moment, reaching out to run a thumbnail along the edge of the table as she watches him. "I also want to know how to keep being when that thing is waiting for me, because your club is a very nice place, but I'm not going to live here for the rest of my life waiting for some dick to figure out how to get to me. And if I have to pick one, then I'll pick the one that keeps me alive to worry about the other another day."

It pains her to admit it, clearly, but there's a certain ruthless practicality about the young woman. She doesn't have time to think about the fact that she's sitting across from Lucifer Morningstar. There are more immediate problems.

"I wouldn't tolerate the long-term occupation. A man likes his space." Especially one who defined the far reaches of space in the multiverse. That's important. "No rudeness against you, Harper, it's true for anyone. I wouldn't even tolerate my brother roosting for more than a few centuries. That never ends well for anyone." He's most certainly pragmatic on that front, and peppering whet needs to be said. "Keep yourself in populated, visible places. Apartment buildings, Times Square. Harder to target you and gangs stand out. In the most immediate sense, you could wiggle your way through the sewers, by why on earth would you?"

He sighs. "Exit on the wing. That's the one advantage. They won't keep up."

"Yeah, I can't do that. Old snappy-wings isn't exactly the only person hunting me, and the other ones definitely know how to watch public places. Their option isn't really better than dead." Harper takes a deep breath, closing her eyes for a moment to try to focus. No time to give up. It's just not an option.

"All right," she finally says, gripping the edge of the table. "This has been fun. But I'm not going down hiding, so…I guess that's it."

Old Snappy Wings. That does cause him to chuckle under his breath. "Of course you can't. I can fly you out of here. It begs what you'll do, how you put others at risk while actively hunted. They won't be deterred easily." Lucian tips his head slightly. "Well, having the binding name of any grigorim is going to upset them considerably. You could get a rather large sword, guns being generally useless, and find angelic anathema. Demons aren't going to help there. It's an ugly rabbit hole." Bittersweet truth, there. "Or you hide out at Papa Midnight's for a few days. I doubt anyone is really going to upset his palace."

"I have a suspicion that my limited ability to use a sword is probably not going to be sufficient to deter an angel unless it's a damned epic sword," Harper snorts softly. "And I don't think this is going to resolve itself in a couple of days." She grimaces, brows furrowing in a deep frown as she tries to work it through her mind. "He's not god. I can deal with the gangs. He's the problem. But he can't be everywhere at once."

"Oh, I have a little skill in making his life a living hell. It comes with the territory. He'll wish I were still in the Pit, but here's a simple declaration. He upset the balance in Lux. I will keep him distracted." Or rather, /Michael/ will but Other Snappy Wings doesn't know it yet. Lucian gestures. "Do you have all you need or are you in need of food? Let's be on our way otherwise. It's almost my nap time."

Harper nods slowly, still watching Lucian with an intensity that suggests she still has questions. She just doesn't have the time for them right now. "Thank you," she finally says, sliding out of the booth. "I'm going to figure this out." Whether that's a threat or some sort of promise, it sounds as if it's important to her that it be clear that she can handle it. Or die trying.

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