Ten minutes. It was but ten minutes until midnight, ten minutes until the thirty first of December ended and the first of January began.
A soft sigh left his lips as he raised the mug to them, burning liquid scalding his already numb mouth. The sensation was just there, just barely. If it had been any cooler he wouldn't have been able to feel it at all, had the coffee not been as dark it would have tasted as water on his tongue.
The new year was beginning, and his time had finally ran out. Whomever had picked his execution date sure had a dark sense of humor...
His cell door opened, through the dull haze of his failing vision he saw the outline of a guard.
"Get up. You have company."
Godot frowned. Who would be visiting him on New Years of all days when they could be out with friends, at a party, anywhere but a cold, dank cell. He wasn't going to argue, anything to keep his mind off what was going to happen in the morning.
When he sat in the chair, the last person he expected to be on the other side of the glass was Maya. A twinge of guilt hit him, but it was ignored as he sat down and flashed her a grin. He took a swig of his still hot coffee before he addressed her.
"Well. I didn't expect to find a kitten here this time of night. Not that I'm complaining, but wouldn't you rather be with the others?"
Immediately he was faced with an indignant glare, "What? I can't visit my sisters mentor just because?"
"You can, but I doubt you've made your little batch of friends happy with your absence." he leaned forward, resting his head on his fist, "They'll surely resent me for depriving them of your presence."
"They'll get over it." Maya said, not missing a beat. There was a pause, the smile strained, "Unless... you want me to go?"
"Now why would I want a lovely kitten like you to go?"
"So this isn't a problem, then!"
He shook his head, holding back a chuckle as he sipped his drink. She'd grown some, and despite the slight immaturity she managed to remind him of Mia.
"No, I suppose not. So then, what have you been up to? I haven't seen you in a while."
"Yeah.. sorry about that." she frowned, eyes lowering to the her hands where they lay folded in her lap, "I've been busy with training. I've almost perfected my summoning technique! Ah.. how have you been..?"
"As good as I can be." he answered as evenly as he could, smiling wider when he felt the urge to grimace. He was to die in less than twenty four hours time.. and she didn't seem to know. If she didn't, he wasn't about to ruin her night with the information. "Ignoring the fact I'm trapped in a cell with no way out, it's a decent place. At least I can still brew coffee in here."
"That's wonderful! Have you made any new blends?"
"Of course. What else have I to do?"
There was a beeping sound. She brought out a watch from where he didn't exactly see but it it was there in her hands. "Five minutes until the first!" she said, her voice the definition of enthusiasm.
Five minutes until the first.. his stomach curled with dread, as if the noose was hanging in front of him already. "The beginning of another year. What's your resolution?"
"I'm going to come back into town! I'll get Nick to give me a job at the Wright Anything Agency and force them to come up with a better name! How about you?"
"Oh, I'm too old for resolutions, I think," he said, grateful for once that his visor hid the fact he was no longer meeting her eyes.
"Nonsense! Come on, you must have something you want to do this year."
I want to live..
"Alright, alright, kitten. Let me think..." he sat up straight, his fingers brushing along the stubble on his chin. His back ached, his spine protesting the weight. The damage done to his nerve system had worn him down even further over the years.. he supposed he didn't have much time left either way. He slumped over again, offering another wolfish smirk to keep her from catching on to his pain. "I want to make the deepest, darkest coffee imaginable, even more so than what I've already made. Something that'll make your head spin just smelling it."
She gagged, and this time he let himself indulge in snickering at her disgust, "You asked, kitten."
She looked at her watch again, the smile returning, "Three minutes left. You know what happens at midnight, don't you?"
"Indulge me." he offered, taking another drink of his coffee. It had cooled somewhat, he couldn't tell the difference in temperature anymore.
He almost choked mid swallow. Coughing roughly behind his palm, he managed to sputter out, "M-my, kitten, you're rather forward today."
Her own startled gasp was enough for him to claim at least some of his dignity back, "Not like that! If you kiss someone at exactly midnight, you're sure to succeed in your resolution!"
He lowered his arm to the table, most of his weight shifting to the elbow. "In case you've forgotten, there's a wall of glass between us."
"Stop judging things based on narrow-minded cultural assumptions.."
"It doesn't matter if there's glass between us! It's the intent that counts."
"..." he just stared at her for a long moment. Was this really what she'd come down here for? Had the glass even been cleaned recently?
But she was beaming at him, and who was he to refuse a pretty lady's request?
"Alright. How much longer, kitten?"
The following span of seconds passed by slowly as he watched her eye the ticking clock in her hands.
"10.. 9.. 8.. get ready."
He stood and leaned into the window, Maya copying his movements. He had to bow his head to keep level with her face, his shoulders protesting the strain it caused.
There was a light clink as his visor bumped into the glass, the surface smooth against his lips, a tingle telling him it was at least cold enough to register through his numbed skin. His mouth pressed into the area next to hers, would be touching hers if not for the barrier.
It lasted only moments before they both pulled away, each taking their seats once more. Before anything else could be said, a guard interrupted, "It's after midnight, you'll have to go soon."
"Ah," Maya said, looking sullen, "I forgot, they said I could only stay until New Years was over."
"I see." he murmured, taking yet another drag of his coffee, "It was a pleasure seeing you, brief as it was, kitten,"
"Yeah.. I-I'll visit you later, though!" she said, her tone brightening, her eyes determined, "At least once a week! And, and maybe I could try that new coffee of yours?"
He grinned and nodded, "Of course."
"Alright." she stood, "I'll see you later, then. Have a good night!"
He watched her walk away, and he knew. He knew he was being selfish yet again, that not alerting her to the governments plans would cause her pain later, that he wasn't giving her the chance to say goodbye. "Wait." she paused halfway to the door, and he saw the confusion in her eyes as she came back to the mic.
"Thank you for coming.. Maya."
She lit up, smiling as brightly as ever, and placed her hand against the glass. "Anytime.. Diego."
This time, when she skipped away, he didn't stop her. His heart feeling somewhat lighter, he stood and let the guard lead him back to his cell.
At least.. he got to see a friend.. and even though he'd be walking to the gallows in less time than he would have liked, he felt a lightness in his chest. For just a moment, it really did feel like a new beginning after all.