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Time

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Forever it went, the grand clock of eternity. Marking the passage of time, gears ever turning, seconds growing into minutes and minutes growing into hours and so on. A grand machine of ever-shifting clockwork set amidst pristine halls, with floors of polished marble.

At the end of the long hall stands a pair of mirrors set against the only blank wall. One made to observe the worlds and beings marked under Time’s influence, and the second to see himself and the other deities. A simple mirror from the mortal world, gifted from Life, and kept because no one refused her. Charmed to call any deity he desired to speak to, or to show visions of other deities when he wished to see what they were up too.

(He used the second feature more than the first. Contacting others for social niceties was a waste of time in his opinion.)

And through the halls filled with the constant Tick, Tock of his clocks, marched the personification of Time. Like the other concepts he too had a variety of names and titles, shorter as his list was, but the one most used, was Chronos.

Time was a pale man of significant height, always dressed in a navy blue suit, pale hair bordering on white slicked back, never a hair out of place or a wrinkle to mar his appearance. A skeletal man who never smiled, never frowned, who practically never showed emotion; feelings, were a waste of time, a distraction, in his opinion.

(Even though, occasionally, some emotions slipped between the cracks in his façade. Marks made by the other concepts, made with a purpose Time had yet to discover.)

Dark silver eyes stared straight ahead, always looking forward, every movement set to the metronome of his clockwork heart, forever to tick in his chest, to spin the gears and cogs under his skin until the day time itself came to an end.

But that day is not today, so Time continues his routine; cleaning and checking the inner-workings of the grand clock, marking the ever-slipping time spent by mortals and other creatures, as well as checking up on the other concepts.

Well, the ones he could anyway. Death had always been untouchable to Time.

And as always, everyone is in order, everyone is where they should be, contributing to the universe’s balance… except one.

Time let’s out a slightly longer breath, lips twitching, almost setting themselves out of their rigid straight line.

War. It always had to be War, didn’t it? Raging about, always thrumming with useless emotion, cackling and screaming and breaking the order he and so many others worked so hard to maintain. Worse yet, it seems she’s taken to distracting Death, again. Why did she always have to–

Time stopped, his clock, ticking and stuttering with the brush of emotion. He took a deep breath, as Life had suggested so long ago, and smoothed back his hair. He shook his head, closing his eyes as he waited one, two, three, four — seconds for his clock to resume it’s perfect tick, tocking.

He turned his back on the mirror, smoothed down his coat, and managed all of three steps before his clock twitched again, War’s insane mirthful laughter echoing through the mirror.

Gears grinded, drawing a wince from Time as he spun around, snapping his fingers and appearing before the wall of time measured for the mortals; a wall of hourglasses, filled with the thunderous roar of draining sand. As expected, several shelves were ringed in red, several hourglasses lay across the floor, the time he’d allotted to the mortals, stolen from them by War’s current… activities.

Time’s reclaimed calm, shattered.

No, thought Time. Pivoting on his heel as he reached inside his coat and brought out a gleaming silver pocket watch. Not today. War would stop today. Stop ruining all the work he and everyone else put in, all the time wasted creating what she would only destroy for no reason at all mind you. 

(Just this once, Time swore. Just this once I can step out, just this once my gears are allowed to spin out of sink. War was wasting time, and that, Chronos would not allow.

Could allow no longer.)

Click. Went his watch, transporting his directing into the middle of War’s rampage. Were he a different man, he could have appreciated the almost comical look of shock and horror that stretched across her crimson splattered face as she attempted to stop her motorcycle from colliding with him.

Almost.

With a snap of his fingers a sword, shaped like the ornate hand of a clock appeared in Time’s gloved fingers. With one hand, he swung at War, not missing the mix of joy and true fear pulling at her expression. His lips trembled.

He struck true, slicing a fine line across the front of the bike, slicing a fine line through her, sending her sprawling across the cracked pavement. Crimson gushed from the wound as she fought to rise, to face Time, a deity that she would fall to, regardless of her prowess in battle.

Or, that’s what should have happened. Instead, as he swung down, his blade met another’s, shattering as it met the sharp end of a gleaming black scythe. Time sucked in a breath as he was thrown back, heels scraping against stone, leaving a line in the gravel and dust. Time raised his head and met the haunting frigid blue gaze of the Grim Reaper, standing protectively between Time and War.

Oh, right. He was here.

Let it never be said that Death would not stand for lives to end before their time, good or evil, important or not.

(Continued in ‘Time Stands Still Before Death’)

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