Oh my goodness, it's been such a long while since I updated this little shindig. (School + life = dead)
Originally, the plot was different from this, but since it's been such a long time, I couldn't really remember where I was going with this, so I just decided to go down a different avenue.
I sincerely apologize for the long wait, but I hope this was worth it.
The sun was shining very brightly.
It was a sweltering hot day in New Greenwich, and almost everyone had opted to venture outdoors – if anything, to catch the occasional breeze for just a bit of relief from the heat. As a result, the ladies were wearing even more scandalous than usual outfits consisting of the shortest of dresses and lowest of necklines.
Constantine had dolled herself up in a white high neck cocktail dress – very classy by New Greenwich standards. She held a dainty yellow parasol on her shoulder, protecting her pale skin from the atrocities of the sun.
Ryzea couldn't help but admire how well the older Time Keeper blended in with the crowd. She really did look like one of them. Her fellow agent had forced her into a skimpy red dress that hugged all the wrong places, in her opinion. It accentuated her breasts and hips too much. She thought she looked like one of those shallow rich wives that commonly frequented blue blood social parties. But she'd relented when even Gus and Alex said she looked gorgeous. She'd opted for the simple black-rimmed hat that sufficiently covered her face from the sun. This way she wouldn't look like a red tomato by the end of the day.
Her leather gloves were making her arms sweat, but she wouldn't take them off. They were a safety mechanism. Without them, she was vulnerable. She was reminded of her time.
They had been given a 'lazy day' by Mr. Hamilton, who apparently wanted to award them for all their 'concentrated efforts thus far'. She thought he was just trying to compensate for his lack of support on the Will Salas front. They could probably give themselves 'lazy days' since they were technically undercover and supposed to be normal, everyday citizens. Raymond had accepted it, though, without comment and they all suddenly found themselves with spare time to just…explore. It was the first time since the commencement of the operation that Ryzea didn't have something specific to do. She'd already toured all the public gardens and a few of the art museums. They sort of bored her and she got the feeling that Raymond thought the same. But they both reluctantly allowed Constance to drag them around the city like some god damn tourists.
She was so bored, she almost preferred her daily routine of chasing down Fortis' Minutemen in Dayton to this sparkling, sweating city.
Raymond tugged on her arm gently, where it was hooked around his elbow, as the proper fashion for married couples. She turned to look at him, tilting her head back to see him from under the rim of her hat.
He was smiling at her again, that loving smile that looked so natural and yet unnatural on his face.
"Are you hungry yet, love? We could stop by that little café we saw back there."
She shook her head, trying to get that smile right again. "No thank you. Besides, I was thinking maybe we could try one of those new restaurants on the east side, the ones Mr. Shipley recommended the other night?"
He played along as they squeezed through the crowded line that extended out the door of a passing restaurant. "Mr. Shipley does have exquisite taste."
She clung to him a little tighter as they turned to stroll down another main street. From her peripheral vision, her eyes flickered to each of two streets signs. Ubinsidus Street and Green Street. She filed the pieces of information away in her memory, along with the names and signs of each store along the intersection. Even here, in the plush, comfort of wealth and luxury, her skills hadn't dulled a bit. She breathed a sigh of relief.
"I vote we go." Constantine chipped in, her shoulder brushing against Ryzea's. "I heard they're serving what's now considered the city's best sushi."
"Sushi?" Zea brightened at the idea of one of her favorite delicacies. "What do you think, Reid?"
Raymond's eyes were scanning the perimeters, taking note of everything and anything in their surroundings. She could tell by the faraway and calculating look in his eyes. He had that a lot. It made those blue irises sharp and cold – a signature of the famous detached persona. She nudged him a little to bring him back into the dialogue.
"Sweetheart?" She let the endearment roll off her tongue, licking her lips furtively.
She still hadn't gotten used to those either.
"Hmm? Yes, that sounds fine." He wasn't paying attention to her. His attention had been captured by something on the other side of the street ahead of them.
"What is it?" Constantine caught on quickly, lowering her voice.
"C'mon. He's getting away."
Raymond jerked her forward suddenly, walking at a brisk pace across the street and up onto the sidewalk. She hurried to keep up with his long strides, throwing a glance over her shoulder for cars. Constantine followed behind gracefully. He dropped his hand to take hers, tough and lean fingers interlacing with hers as he pulled her along faster.
Ryzea wondered what he could've possibly seen that had him this concentrated, this focused. It had to have something to do with the case. With this in mind, she half-trotted next to him as they continued down the street and made a sharp turn left, onto a quieter street. There were significantly less people on this street – Elderly Anvidas – and she was able to discern what had made Raymond changed direction so swiftly.
Constance called it in with her ear piece, pressing a carefully manicured finger to the piece of equipment in her ear. Each individual TimeKeeper heard the same thing, heart spiking in anticipation.
"We've spotted Will Salas. Elderly Anvidasand Ubinsidus Street." The blonde Timekeeper said clearly.
The other TimeKeepers, the ones currently out and about on their own responded with the acknowledgement code.
"Eyes and ears on the lookout. Stay sharp, people." Ryzea added, keying up her own communications piece.
She watched as the said man came out of a nearby bookstore, holding a leather briefcase loosely in his right hand. He was dressed in workplace clothes, luxurious as expected of Philippe Weis' accountant. She studied him closely, noticing the edge of a black phone protruding from his dress pants' pocket. She wondered what he was doing here.
"I think it's time we properly introduced ourselves, don't you?" Raymond straightened the color of his blazer, squaring his shoulders.
She knew that look. It was his interrogation look. The all-business look. She shared her own look with Constantine and knew the other TimeKeeper sensed that this was going to be a whole different kind of 'lazy day'.
Adjusting her hat to sit more snugly on her head, she followed Raymond as he made a beeline towards the handsome accountant. Constantine followed at a distance, melting into the contour of the sidewalk crowd, her yellow parasol the only thing indicating that she was still in the area.
She took the lead as they approached Will Salas from the other side, just as he was hailing a cab.
He turned as she spoke his name. A look of surprise flickered across his face before his expression smoothed out.
"Oh, Mrs. Sterling, hello." He smiled genuinely, eyes flickering to her Timekeeper partner. "And you must be Mr. Sterling. Pleasure."
Raymond extended his hand to accept Will's handshake. Later on, she would remember this moment very clearly; so clearly as to have the vivid nightmares haunt her night after night. Raymond's fingers never came in contact with those of Will Salas.
The world went silent as Will Salas dropped to the ground in a crumpled heap.
Then the world came rushing back as bullets hit the glass windows behind them. Her first instinct was to draw her gun and look for the shooter, but Raymond was already yanking her down the sidewalk. Pedestrians screamed as glass shattered. The line of bullets followed them as they ran. Constantine was nowhere to be seen.
Voices were screaming in her ear through the earpiece, but she couldn't concentrate.
A stinging pain across her right cheek.
Her shoes were gone, having been flung to the side as she ran barefoot.
"Wash!" Raymond's voice was rough and loud as he dragged her into a nearby alley.
He pressed her into the wall, one hand on the wall next to her left ear, the other hand clutching his gun angled to the open sidewalk. When had he pulled his gun? Had he been shooting back? She couldn't remember. She concentrated on the smooth skin of his collarbone as she struggled to make sense of things.
Her hat was gone.
Ryzea fought for breath as the adrenaline pumped through her heart, pounding in her head. Raymond was breathing just as hard, gusts of warm air brushing strands of her hair across her forehead. The rain of bullets had stopped, but the gunshots still rang in her ears.
"Wash! Hey!" His hand gripped her left cheek, almost shaking her. "Ryzea!"
She bit her lip as pain seared through her right forearm.
"What?" She mumbled, blinking rapidly to clear her head. "What?!"
"Are you hurt?
His grip softened until he was cradling her cheek. He turned her head to the side and frowned. She could feel the open cut on her cheek as he scrutinized it.
"Just a graze. You're lucky."
"Is he dead?" She asked stupidly.
The sudden voice made them both stiffen. His lightning reflexes had his gun trained on the newcomer. Ryzea turned her head to look at who it was.
Constantine held her hands up, one of them holding her own gun loosely, staring down the barrel of his gun calmly.
"It's just me."
She could feel the muscles loosen in his frame as he lowered the gun. He stepped away from where he had her crushed against the wall.
"Leon? Wash? Come in."
She couldn't tell whether it was Gus or Alex over the coms. It actually could be Brian. Raymond pressed a finger lightly to his own earpiece.
"This is Leon with Wash and Willows. We're okay."
"Ubinsidus Street, 600 block."
That was definitely Gus. Zea brushed her hair out of her face and smoothed down her dress, which had ridden up while they were running.
"Ray and Zea were shot at by an unsub, who initially gunned down Mr. Salas. I think it was a standard M4A1." Constantine cut in.
Raymond shook his head. "Sounded more like a standard FAL."
"Do you think this is connected to our serial killer?"
He pursed his lips. "We'll see. Everyone get back to the apartment ASAP. And stay alert."
Ryzea looked at Constantine, who had a stricken look on her face as she gazed back at the younger TimeKeeper.
"What?" She thought perhaps Constantine had seen something relevant.
Raymond's head jerked in their direction. "What?!"
She was afraid to look down as she became aware of the warm liquid that dripped down her right arm. Now that Constantine had pointed it out, she could feel the searing pain in her forearm.
"Shit." Zea felt weak as she pressed her other hand to where it hurt the most, keeping pressure on instinct.
"Damn it." Raymond dragged a hand through his hair. "Let me see."
He holstered his weapon and pried her fingers gently from the wound as Constantine turned on her flashlight so they could see better in dimness of the alley.
"It doesn't look like it hit any muscle." He turned her arm by the elbow, examining the wound closely.
The movement caused her to moan softly in pain. She'd never been shot before, not even working the streets of Dayton. This was a first. She didn't even want to look at it. She was never great with blood.
"Here, hold her arm."
Constantine's soft fingers replaced Raymond's. She heard the slick sound of a knife unsheathed. Fear materialized as a metallic taste in her mouth. They couldn't go to a hospital for fear of having their covers blown. But she wasn't really ready for an infield removal. Couldn't they do this back in the apartment? She heard the rustle of fabric and then ripping.
A moment later, she felt the fine texture of cloth against her arm. She almost sagged in relief – he was just wrapping it up. Zea chanced a peek as Raymond tied the strip of cloth around the wound tightly.
"Fuck." She hissed as he knotted it and double-knotted it.
"This'll do for now until we get back."
"You'll be okay." Constantine reassured her, an arm around her waist to support her.
Zea hated the feeling of wet blood on all over her fingers and arm.
Suddenly Raymond was pulling his blazer around her shoulders. "We need to keep you warm. You've lost quite a lot of blood."
Maybe that's why her vision kept going blurry. Her thoughts were hazy and she kept hearing the ringing sound in her ears. Her arm throbbed with a fiery pain every time she drew a breath.
Constantine and Raymond were discussing something, but she couldn't hear over the ringing gunshots. Her breath sounded louder and more labored than usual. What were they saying?
"I don't do well around blood." She attempted to explain to herself why the world was blurring.
"Can you walk?" Raymond's voice was suddenly clear, his arm secured around her waist.
She nodded and he led her out of the alleyway. Constantine had disappeared again. She leaned heavily on him. The adrenaline had seeped away, leaving weak muscles in its wake.
He hailed a cab quickly, half lifting her into the back of the cab.
"Someone's got to clean up the mess." Raymond wrapped an arm around her shoulder so she was almost cradled into his side. "L'hotel de Déesse, please."
"You're going to be alright."
Zea closed her eyes, trying to shut out the pain that invaded her mind – and the embarrassment that came with the wound.
She was already half-asleep, but she could almost swear that he was stroking her hair as he said it. She wanted to ask why he was sorry, but she couldn't muster the energy to do so. Instead, she allowed sleep to be her escape from the pain.
So tell me what you guys think!
[Did you know? Originally, I was going to have Will Salas be Mr. Hamilton's "employer" of sorts, like he was his business partner and together, the two of them were investigating the serial killings, which would explain Will's appearance at all the crime scenes and such. And then he wanted to keep his identity a secret because he wasn't supposed to be in New Greenwich, but Mr. Hamilton smuggled him in (the reason would have had something to do with Sylvia Weis) and supplied him with all the papers, which was why Mr. Hamilton stopped the TimeKeepers from further investigating Mr. Salas. But I kind of forgot what I was doing with that storyline, so I just had him die. It's weak, I know, but I didn't know what else to do.]
Please, please review and again, I'm so sorry for the long and impossibly hard wait!
Thanks for sticking with me, lovelies. :)