God sat at the edge of the Universe, watching as the last little bits of existence swirled away into nothing and he was left alone with the Void.
He thought about all that had been, and all that never would be.
Then he smiled.
It had been a good Universe. He'd enjoyed watching it grow. So many of the potentials he'd set up at the Beginning had really delivered on their promise at the End. Well, the whole human thing turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, but still.
His brow creased in anger. Okay. Maybe a bit more than a bit of a disappointment. He really had such hopes for them. But then... what they went and did...
He shook his head. No, he'd beaten himself up over the human problem long enough. The Universe has died, let's not labor over its blemishes. Besides, the humans had only cost him a few hundred millennia.
God turned, rolling his eyes. "Fine, Lucifer. And a planet."
A self-satisfied flutter shook Lucifer's wings and the redeemed angel smiled. "A planet?"
God smiled sheepishly. "Well, two. Okay, fine. If we're counting the sun, then three." He stopped and thought a moment. "Oooh, now that I think on it, it was actually the whole solar system."
"I warned you."
God seethed. He really missed having the Universe to toss around when he got angry. That always drove his point home. But now, just seething in the Void... he felt kind of foolish, really. Not so much wrathful, but peevish.
Fine. He'd be peevish, then. "You know, Lucifer," he said. "Smug is part of what got you sent to Hell in the first place."
Lucifer smirked. "And vindication is what got me out." He threw a friendly grin toward his old boss, changing the subject. "So, what's next?"
God thought a bit. "Well," he said carefully, "I'm going to create another Universe."
"Right. Obviously." God paused. "Though, also, obviously, I won't be making the same mistakes with the new one."
Lucifer nodded. "No smart monkeys with freewill?"
God smiled. "Exactly. It's smart trees with freewill from the beginning this time." He looked over at Lucifer. "And, of course, I won't make the same mistake with you, either."
"So, you'll listen to me in this one?"
God shook his head, chuckling. "No. I mean you won't be in this one." He waved his hand. "Good bye, Lucifer."
Before he could even yelp out a complaint, the former Lord of Hell simply ceased to exist.
God smiled warmly at his son. "Ah. Jesus. Good. You're here."
Jesus smiled back, spreading his hands to indicate the Void. "Where else would I be?"
"Right." God put an arm around Jesus' shoulder. "Son, I'm not as young as I used to be, and I'd like to make you a proposition."
"Aw," Jesus grumbled. "I'm going to end up doing work, aren't I."
God and his son walked on, beginning to fill the Void with their Presence. God kept talking as their aspects grew infinite. "It'll be nothing. Look, here it is: you help me create this new Universe, and I promise you'll get the pick of how we run it."
The Fire of Creation blazed across the Void, as galaxies spun to life. "Okay," Jesus said. "But we really have to make sure they don't start killing each other over us this time. In fact, we really shouldn't have any killing at all." Gasses swirled, forming suns and planets. "Even the trees had their violent centuries."
"Okay, okay. No killing."
"Especially over us."
A black hole opened up near the center of one of the new galaxies. "Yes, fine. Okay. Especially over us." Life emerged in the microscopic soup of the vast ocean of the fourth planet from a binary star.
"I swear, kid," God said. "You get stuck on an idea, and you really don't let go of it, do you?"