Hi, everyone. Thanks for taking the time to read my story. This is just an idea I've had bouncing around in my head for a long while, and I just gave in and decided to write this.

Summary: Ryzea Washlington was a normal TimeKeeper. Until Raymond Leon stepped into her life. Now together, they must complete an impossibly dangerous mission that threatens Life. And Time. Can they overcome their differences to save their crumbling world?

Disclaimer: I don't own anything :)


Chapter 1

Ryzea Washlington crouched low near the battered fence, threading her hands over one of the metal links that cut through her skin. Her breath came in low, short gasps and the fire in her tendons screamed under her weight. She'd been running for a while now and ditched the kitty heels a while back in some backwater alleyway. Zea yanked down the leather guard around her arm, glancing at the neon green numbers that ticked away on her skin.

0000:00:0:00:08:15

8 minutes and 15 seconds. Damn, she wasn't going to make it. Zea sucked in a sharp breath, droplets of blood squeezing out from the knife wound on her side. It wasn't everyday she got hurt this bad, but this was the Ghetto after all. The streetlamps flickered in time to her rapid heartbeat, confusing her thoughts. She knew the Ghetto like the back of her hand; she had come from here after all. And now she was back as a rookie TimeKeeper. She imagined what her colleagues would say if they saw her now, bleeding on the sidewalk with only a few minutes left to her life. She gritted her teeth and raced down the concrete alley, her bare soles slapping against the hard ground. Her brown hair had come undone from the elegant ponytail and whipped her cheekbones as she ran. Like many other TimeKeepers, she'd gotten into the habit of going out into the field with scarcely any time at all, saving the backup Time for when she really needed it. Like now.

Her car! Where was her car, dammit?

Zea stumbled to a stop in the empty lot, staring in shock at the place where her police cruiser had been parked. She'd left it right here, just an hour ago when she'd started her undercover assignment. The little black dress suffocated her chest as she stood there, at a loss for what to do. She peeked at her arm.

0000:00:0:00:07:03

She would die here. She knew it. Nobody else knew of her assignment and she'd been ambushed outside the club by those idiotic minutemen. She'd left her gun with those men when Fortis had drained twenty minutes off her clock. Getting away hadn't been easy, especially since she'd earned a knife in the side after punching the man who'd twisted her arm behind her back painfully. Her cruiser was gone and it was somewhere near midnight; and in the Ghetto, being out late at night was a very, very, very bad thing.

She sat down on the curb, her heart pounding loudly in her ears, preparing for the end. She took off the leather wrist guards that covered her arm from palm to elbow, throwing them carelessly to the ground. What a horrible way to die, out here where nobody would ever know. Her colleagues would laugh. She imagined what Raymond Leon would say if he knew how reckless she'd been. Although she would never admit it, she admired the detached way he handled things and the effectiveness he brought into every case. It was no wonder he was head of their department. Zea dared another look at her clock.

0000:00:0:00:03:23

Three minutes to her life. What could she do but wait in the silence of the night for death to come? She desperately wished for a miracle. Anything, anybody, to prevent the end. She couldn't just die out here! Although few people knew, Zea had never told anybody how old she really was. Her 29th birthday had come and gone without notice just a few months before, but she didn't feel any older. She'd lied about her age to join the TimeKeepers, letting them all think she was 36. Nobody thought to check and nobody knew she'd come from the Ghetto. Her parents had died when she was young and she'd learned to live day to day by the age of 15. She'd ever only had one friend and he was gone now, his time run out. Zea swallowed against the bitter sadness that threatened to burn her heart every time she thought of her childhood friend. Keirnan.

0000:00:0:00:00:51

Zea stared into the darkness, her eyes glued to the green numbers on her arm. They taunted her, ticking down as slow as possible, prolonging the stop to her life. Blood pooled next to her thigh and she felt herself getting dizzy from bloodloss. She ignored the pain, blinking back the angry tears that threatened to spill over her cheeks.

Suddenly, the sound of screeching tires ripped through her silent vigil. Lights flooded the empty lot and Zea could barely make out the outline of a police cruiser as she blinked away the black spots in her vision. Maybe the Minutemen had come to finish her off.

"Wash!"

Zea blinked, half standing as hope filled her chest. She thought she recognized his voice. She lifted her arm.

0000:00:0:00:00:04

Shit.

"Wash! What the hell are you doing out here?"

A car door slammed. Zea stumbled toward the man that strode towards her. She stretched out her arm in desperation.

"Raymond!" She choked on his name, letting the tears blur her vision, "My time!"

He was close and she couldn't move as the pain clawed into her side.

0000:00:0:00:00:03

He was right in front of her now, his face a mask of cold concern. His usually ice blue eyes glittered darkly in the night and she thought if she died now, that would be the last thing she would see. She didn't really mind.

0000:00:0:00:00:02

"Damn." Raymond muttered, catching her fingers in his own a moment later.

0000:00:0:00:00:03

0000:00:0:00:00:04

0000:00:0:00:00:10

0000:00:0:00:04:25

The numbers moved too fast for her to comprehend. An immense relief flooded her heart and she fell to her knees, still clutching his arm.

"You got careless." Raymond's voice wasn't as indifferent as before, "Is that blood?"

"I got knifed." Zea gasped, trying to grasp the fact that she was still alive, "The Minutemen ambushed me and my car's gone."

She'd missed death by a second.

Raymond helped her up, the numbers on her arm still skyrocketed upwards as he gave her minutes of his time. The clock on his own muscular arm was dwindling fast. She yanked her arm away.

"That's enough." Zea though she sounded a little breathless, "How-how did you find me?"

Raymond pursed his lips as his eyes flickered toward her wound with disdain, "Carter briefed me when your car went off the grid."

Zea nodded, suddenly grateful that the idiots who had stolen her car were stupid enough to drive it across section borders. Nobody could leave the Ghetto unnoticed.

"You alright?" Raymond picked up her leather wrist guards, "I'll take you back, come on."

She took them silently, sliding them over her arms. One last glance at the skin that held her fate.

0000:00:2:04:30:00

He'd given more than two days' time, something she knew was a big risk for him. The stupid fool; he'd have to go through tomorrow's case with only 4 hours to spare.

"How much time did you give me?" Zea slid into the passenger seat of his cruiser.

"Enough." Raymond looked straight ahead as he handed her a black shirt, "I don't need you bleeding all over my car."

Zea swallowed her pride and took the shirt, "...Thanks."

It was the first time she'd said that word in over six years.


So, what did you think?

Please R&R! :)