This day was just any normal day at the time balance department. Croissant was just working on her time machine as usual, trying to fix up anything that might not work properly and get a few more details done on the outside. Being an ingeneer that worked with time itself surely was a great responsability but she never gave up on it for a good reason : she was proud to protect others with her creations, and ready to fight anyone who would disturb the world's balance.
Suddenly, she shivered, feeling something behind her back. She turned around to see her partner floating on her time scizors, looking at her work. Timekeeper. They were ... A really peculiar individual. Always watching and trying to be entertained, with no idea of what personal space and privacy could be. Still ... Croissant loved them very much. They were a very nice friend and after the incident they never tried anything mischievous again. So perhaps a chaotic being, but still under her control at the moment.
"What are you doiiing ?"
"I'm trying to fix the buttons a little bit. The time rifts became a little more difficult to close lately, and I think it might be because of the lack of hydrogen in the substance I used for it, and the buttons might need some oiling after being pushed on so much."
"Mmmh ... I see I see."
"And you ? What are you doing ?"
"I was checking on you and your machine because someone is messing up with the timeline. I saw it a few minutes ago, it's quite obvious that someone who doesn't know how to rewind time properly is playing with it around the city."
"Wha- seriously ?! Why didn't you said so sooner ?!"
"I wanted you to finish your machine. But stay calm, it merely happened a few minutes ago."
"Still ... We have to be quick ! If someone inexperienced is playing with time it might get really troublesome. We're going, right now !"
"Alright then, dear. Hop on my scissors, I will directly bring us next to the little time traveler."
The duo climbed on the golden weapon and help hands before entering the time rift. Croissant never really felt comfortable in that place, so she hugged her friend's body with all of her might until the two got out of it to enter a place she never saw before.
"Where ... Are we ?"
"In top of a building, dear."
"WAAAH !! Isn't that incredibly dangerous ?!"
"It is not as long as you are with me."
"Hhh ... I guess ... Doesn't make it less terrifying though ..."
The two cookies started to walk around trying to find the creature who caused the problem, until croissant yelped as she saw something ... Quite scary
"Does that rat.... Have a hole in their chest ?! A-and is that his heart outside of his body?!"
The rat shivered and turned around, followed by a small floating heart.
"Uwaaaaah ?! Mad Rat, who are they ??"
"How would I know that ?!"
He approached the duo carefully.
"How can you see Heart ? He's supposed to be in my mind only. And who are you anyway ?"
Timekeeper approached the rodent and put their finger under his chin, lifting it just a little.
"I am the one who manipulates time at their will, and I will certainly not allow someone to play around with the timeline without my permission and a little bit of control. Understood ?"
"Keeper ... You might be going a little too far ..."
The rat backed down and hissed.
"I don't care. I went back in time to save lifes. Isn't that a redeeming quality or something ? I don't care about what you think and I will certainly not let the ones. Saved die again. Now leave me alone, I don't have more time to waste. I'll die in a few hours and I want to at least be in a place I like to end it."
Croissant gasped hearing that the poor man was just ... Knowing he would die. That was incredibly scary and sad to hear. But Timekeeper certainly did not flinch.
"How can a creature who manipulates time itself die just like that ?"
"I don't know. I'm not really the one who manipulates time here, it's the rat god. She got inside of my brain just like a parasite and gave me this time power but now she won't left and has been awful. I would like to say that if ya got a problem with my time powers you should tell her directly but ... Yeah... I don't think you could just get inside my brain."
"We could, actually."
Croissant just stared in disbelief at what her friend just said.
"Wait ... We could ?! What does that even mean ?!"
"Time and space are very much linked together ! If your mind as you say is a place you can wander in, I don't see why we couldn't access it too ! Tell me little one, what is this God's goal, mmmh ?"
"For a reason or another she wants me to die eaten by a cat. It's an obsession that I don't get but ... I guess there's not much explainations to give."
"I see I see. I know exactly where we have to go. Little rat, do you mind if we all take a little trip to your brain to see what is going on ?"
"I don't have much of a choice don't I ..."
"I guess we could do so. I ain't got much to loose ..."
The god took their scizors and opened them in a weird angle, creating a giant portal towards a place covered in cheese. They bowed and presented the portal with a grin.
"Croissant, if you will ... Ladies first."
The cookie hopped into the portal, followed by the clearly impatient rat. Only keeper and the small beating heart were left on the building.
"I will admit, I am genuinely surprised that your friend is not fearing you since he doesn't seem fond of cats."
"How did you know-"
"Oh I know looots of things. Everything about you, to say the truth."
"... He doesn't know yet, alright ? I ... I'll find a way to tell him maybe but ... Please don't mention it again."
The duo hopped into the portal, the scizors closed and got back into keeper's hands. This world was indeed smelling like emmental and gruyere. A very weird thing but ... They had saw worst in the past.
Right in front of the small group was a lady. She was grinning and staring at the cookies nervously.
"Pardon me but what is that ?!"
The stitched rat snickered
"Don't know, don't care. All that I got is that they're not fond of you and now you gotta deal with it."
"You little ..."
The rat turned around and advanced towards the youngest cookie, gripping her shoulders and putting a hand on her face
"Well, I guess I can forgive your behavior towards me since you brought me such a nice view ... Tell me lady, I haven't seen something as cute as you are in ages ... What could bring you towards my little nest ?"
Croissant gluped and blushed heavily, trying to understand what was going on.
"We're umh ... H-hello ..."
"C'mon, tell me tell me ! Don't be shyyy ~"
Timekeeper cleared their throat.
"Actually, I am here to make a deal with you."
"You ? Making a deal with me ? Interesting ... I'm pretty sure that I will not accept it, but I will still listen."
"Rat god, you and I both know it. I've looked into your past and future. Life is boring, predictable and sometimes having a little fun with time itself is the only thing who can bring you joy. Killing something, rewinding time, saving it this time to see the differences, rewind and start again and again until you're satisfied and finally go back to the normal timeline. Don't you agree ? Still, I do think you should try to use it in a manner that could be more ... Controlled"
Croissant gluped and backed down, grabbing Heart's hand and grasping it like it was the end of the world. Thankfully the small being understood how stressed she must've been, and held her hand with Mad Rat's trying to calm down both of them. The rat goddess grinned, visibly more and more curious about the conversation
"I will most certainly not deny it. I do enjoy having something to do to entertain me. Life as I live it is quite annoying. But if you do it yourself, why would you blame me for it ? I would most definitely enjoy to do other things, but I am stuck here, in this miserable life inside of a mind that my instinct will always try to kill for me to thrive. The only way I can leave my mark in this world is to spread my seeds, to finally get a descendance to spread my genes ! Or perhaps ... Would you have another idea ?"
Croissant immediately felt her heart ache as she heard the lady talk.
"Rat god, having children shouldn't be the only way for you to exist in this world ! You could do so much more than that and you deserve a lot better !"
The rat chuckled and approached the engineer, floating around her with curiousity.
"My my, I would love to say so. You know, spending some time with a nice lady, perhaps having tea, someone to talk to, or even more ... That would be something I would most certainly enjoy. But you see, I am trapped. To say a rat's mind is a mouse trap is a little ironic but it is true. If something could be done to change it I would be interested and perhaps would stop playing around but ... You, all of you. You can just do the same as I do and that's all. Playing with time will not let me out of this little mad rat's head."
Croissant bit her lip. She knew she was probably right about such thing. And even if this lady was probably not that mentally sane, it still hurt to see that she could've been such a better person if she could do so. Timekeeper tapped their scizors approached mad Rat.
"You see, that's where you're wrong. All of you. Time and space are linked and will always be. If you accepted such thing, I would be able to get you to the outside world."
Heart gasped and Mad Rat grabbed the steampunk lady's arm.
"You got the power to get her off my mind ?! Then do it already, I won't deal with her shit any longer."
Heart immediately pouted.
"Mad Rat ! Language !"
Timekeeper let out a whole heart laugh and pointed at the other goddess.
"She gets to decide. Because here, in this place, I control everything. And outside of this mind, she would be too powerful to control if she doesn't get under our rules, of croissant and I. So, winged lady, you either follow us or you, the rat and the small red thing all get down together."
The whole crew shivered and croissant immediately got in front of everyone to protect them.
"You can't just do that !! They're .. they're living beings ! And she deserves a chance, just as much as you did, keeper !!"
"Then tell me, rat god. Will you accept to work for us two and never get against us ? Or perhaps you would prefer to stay in this body and maybe one day die only to get a few offsprings that you'll never see ? Tick tock lady, I will not be eternally patient for your choice."
Rat god backed off a little from the group and seemed ... Disturbed. Mad Rat was very obviously ready to throw hands but simply stared, not knowing what might happen. After a small amount of time the winged lady took her hat to her chest and timidly asked
"Do you ... Really think there might be some good in me ?"
Croissant didn't hesitate a second to answer
"Yes !!! Yes of course there is ! But if you stayed trapped here for your whole life you wouldn't know that ! Listen, if you get out with us, everybody wins. Mad Rat and Heart are safe, you get a brand new life and we get umh... A brand new friend ! See ? No reason for you to say no !"
She looked down and put her hat back before tearing up a little. She felt her eyes filled with water and couldn't help but let it out.
"Mad Rat, Heart ... I hope you two can forgive me for what I've done. I was merely trying to survive."
Mad Rat growled and sighed, but took heart against him and looked at her directly in the eyes.
"You lied to me, manipulated me and tried to kill me several times. I won't forgive you. But what I can do is at least thank you for giving me heart. I am happier than ever with him, and even if he's not truly my heart ... I'm happy to consider him as such. I wish you a happy life. You don't deserve a sad one. That's all I gotta say to you."
Timekeeper took their scizors back and opened two new breachs.
"Let's go. The rat and the beating thingy, you go first. Then, the rest of us will go back to the TBD and ... Croissant, do whatever you want with her. I'm not good with training new recruits."
"Alright ... I guess."
The rat smiled and thanked the god before hopping with his heart through the portal, and the rest of the group got through theirs. The second they put a foot back into croissant's lab, she took a deep breath and appreciated the air filled With the odor of oils and smoke. She couldn't stay just a second more into that smell of cheese ... It was asphyxiating.
"Alright, I'll go now. "
"No no no timekeeper wait-"
The cookie did not wait. They hopped on their scizors and exited the room as fzd as they could.
"Oh great... Of course, leave me all alone with no help ..."
"Umh ... What do we do now ?"
The rat that was clearly so confident before turned into a poor lost creature, barely looking around in fears of doing anything wrong.
"Right now ? I think we should go to sleep ... It's already late, we'll get to do more things tomorrow. We don't have a room for newbies but my bed is big enough for us two. You can sleep with me for the night."
The two ladies walked towards the nearby bedroom immediately going under the sheets and switching the lights off
"Goodnight rat god !"
The winged lady shivered and blushed.
"You know ... I'm not ... Exactly a rat god."
Croissant laughed loudly before stopping herself seeing that her new friend wasn't really understanding the situation.
"Hahaha ... Sorry you said that so seriously, like I haven't guessed you weren't yet. Of course I know that."
"Hey ! Stop teasing me !"
"Well, I'm only giving you back what you gave me earlier. Don't complain."
The rat blushed heavily and pulled her hat to her face before hiding under the sheets.
Seriously, this was the last ending she would've expected from her adventure. But ... She liked it. She was happy to try this new life.