When he stepped inside the coffee shop, his companion was already there, standing by the bulletin board and pretending to peruse the postings. Of course he’d be early.
Lucifer forced himself to not grind his teeth. Sure, he could regrow them with a moment’s thought, but one of his under-devils had told him that it made quite the awkward squeaking sound when he did so. “Doesn’t exactly inspire fear of the ‘Prince of Darkness’,” the fallen angel had commented, snickering a little.
Of course, Lucifer promptly tossed the angel through a portal to the opposite end of the universe, inside quite the large star, but he still didn’t feel great about the whole thing.
And now he was here, having to meet with the one person he despised most in the world! The man never came down here! He might be the Voice, but he always seemed to busy, too arrogant, to deal with anything personally.
In fact, Lucern (as he still occasionally thought of himself, when he forgot that it was no longer his name) wasn’t sure about this whole thing. Wasn’t Metatron not supposed to even set foot on Earth until the whole Apocalypse deal was about to start?
Lucifer thought about summoning up his calendar to check if he’d gotten the date wrong. Before he snapped his fingers, however, he remembered that he’d upgraded to that little electronic doodad, and he still couldn’t get it to do anything except shoot small birds at pigs. Not that squashing these pigs wasn’t fun, but it didn’t exactly predict the Apocalypse.
Now that he had arrived, the other man, standing by the billboard, turned and grinned at him. It was, of course, a perfect smile. Metatron might not visit this plane much, but he still could summon up the perfect teeth, the flawless skin, the amazing jawline, that would make most mortals weep. “Good of you to come, Lucifer,” the man said in melodious tones. “But really – a coffee shop?”
Lucifer grunted something back at him under his breath. To be honest, although this place had become something of a hotspot among the lesser devils, Lucifer had never set foot here before. Still, neither had Metatron, so that ensured he wasn’t walking into some sort of trap.
The pair of celestial beings proceeded up to the front counter, where the barista looked steadily back at them. “Well, couple of male models, we’ve got here,” she commented. “Lemme guess – seven creams, seven sugars, basically white sludge?”
The waitress clearly knew an angel’s palate. Lucifer managed to keep a lid on his surprise, and felt a little bloom of petty-minded happiness when he saw Metatron stumble. It was just for a fraction of a second, but it was enough for the fallen angel to spot.
Coffees in hand (the waitress accepted a heavy gold coin from Metatron as payment without question, further showing that she had encountered angels and their lack of understanding about inflation before), the two beings settled into a booth near the window, where they gazed outside as they sipped at the tepid liquid. It was a cold day in February, and most of the passers-by were bundled up tightly against the winter’s chill.
“So.” Lucifer hated to talk first, but he didn’t want to spend forever just sitting here with his enemy. “Why’d you call me up?”
Metatron took his time in drinking one more sip before turning his attention to the fallen angel. Don’t grind your teeth, Lucifer reminded himself. “It seems that there’s been a slight… problem… with the Prophecies,” the man finally stated.
Lucifer had to hold back from crowing aloud with delight. Hah! Hadn’t he always said that those old books were a load of crap? And not just because they ended up sticking him in another elemental plane where it was unbearably hot, either. But he wasn’t going to throw this in Metatwrong’s face. He would be professional.
“So what did you do, mis-schedule the Apocalypse?” he asked. Okay, mostly professional.
He was expecting Metatron to come back with an angry denial. But to his amazement, the angel looked down into his coffee, as if there was an answer somewhere in the sludge.
“You did,” Lucifer marveled. “When was it supposed to be?”
For once, the fallen angel didn’t have a response. He slumped back in his chair, staring out the window. “Well, then,” he said after a minute, not sure what else to offer.
For a few minutes, the two angels, one holy and one fallen, sat there and drank their coffee. Finally, just as had happened before, Lucifer couldn’t take it any longer, and had to break the silence. “So what are you going to do?” he asked.
“Well, we could actually reschedule it for a few hundred years further down the road, actually,” Metatron shrugged. “The other prophecies line up close enough for that to work. But it does kind of seem like we ought to go ahead with it now, considering all the planning that’s gone into it.”
The angel raised his eyes to Lucifer, and the arch-devil realized something. This all-powerful being wanted his opinion! Casting his mind about, he glanced out the window. “Here, watch this,” he said suddenly.
Outside, there was a very well-dressed man marching down the street, yelling into a cell phone. Coming the other way, a young woman was also on the phone, not ignoring the small dog at the end of the leash she held. The dog was running back and forth, yapping in quite the annoying manner.
“I don’t see-” Metatron began, but Lucifer paused him with a finger.
Finally, the dog apparently decided to release his bladder – right in front of the angrily yelling man. The man looked down as his expensive shoe landed in something wet – and, with his attention not on his path, immediately collided with the young woman. Both of them tumbled down into the dirty snow, with the dog now yapping and jumping on top of both of them, snarling and nipping at anything it could grab.
Although he covered his mouth, Metatron couldn’t hold back a little snort of laughter. “These creatures are ridiculous,” he managed to get out between little barks of laughter.
Lucifer nodded. He didn’t think he needed to say anything more.
After another minute of chuckling, the arch-angel tossed back the rest of his coffee. “I’ll be seeing you, Lucern,” he said, shaking his shoulders a little. “God, I gotta get out of this body. All my wings are cramped in here.”
For a long few minutes after the angel had left, the devil remained there, sipping slowly at his coffee (which in his hand, never cooled off). “Eh, a few more years won’t hurt them,” he finally said aloud to no one in particular.
And then he finished his own cup and stood up, heading out to the door and beyond.