"In medias res is Latin for 'into the middle of things'. It usually describes a narrative that begins, not at the beginning of a story, but somewhere in the middle - usually at some crucial point in the action. The term comes from the ancient Roman poet Horace, who advised the aspiring epic poet to go straight to the heart of the story instead of beginning at the beginning." - http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Terms/index.html Jack Lynch, Glossary of Literary and Rhetorical Terms
casus - fall, downfall, overthrow; accident, violent death, emergency, calamity, plight; fate

"In Medias Res"
By Amanda Swiftgold

Part One - Casus

Non mortem timemus, sed cogitationem mortis.
"We do not fear death, but the thought of death."
--Seneca

He glanced out the window, seeing himself reflected back in the glass, black hair messy and unkempt, pajamas wrinkled, his thick robe simply tossed over his shoulders and not worn in the usual way. It was hard to see outside mist had fogged up the windows in his bedroom. It hadn't looked like rain last night, but sometimes storms came up so quickly. He raised a large hand, swiping the condensation away from the area in front of his face.

The first thing he saw was that the sky was red, roiling clouds black on the bloody expanse. Roger took a step forward in shock, his forehead thudding against the clear surface of the glass and leaving a smudge on its pristine surface. "What the hell?" he breathed, pulling back and fumbling toward the glass door that led out onto the balcony.

His hand brushed nothing where the curved metal handle should have been, but he was only allowed a moment of shock before, almost without conscious thought, his feet took him further down to where the knob glittered benignly in the dim light. The door was not where it should have been the room was still dark, and full of shadows but oh it wasn't his and that wasn't his balcony and what the hell was Dorothy doing out there -

As he flung open the door, bare feet suddenly freezing cold on the stone, Roger looked out over the unfamiliar-yet-familiar cityscape, his heart leaping into his throat as the sudden sound of crashing, rumbling it hadn't been thunder; he knew that sound, as well as heartbeats. "Megadeii," he gasped, staring at the sky.

What is going on? I don't understand, but - I have to do something! But what could he do? There were hundreds of them flying ones he could smell smoke, hear faint screams, and the sounds of buildings and even the domes crashing down like small earthquakes around him. Even if he couldn't stand against all of them, he couldn't just watch them destroy Paradigm, and he would be more likely to survive against those huge robots when surrounded by tons of metal.

Roger raised his wrist, the robe falling from his shoulders to pool on the ground, and called with more confidence than he felt, "Big O! It's show-" He cut himself off, blinking at the bare skin where his watch-tool usually was. Cutting off a curse, he spun to run back inside and grab it, and pulled up short. This wasn't his house!

"It has begun," a soft female voice said from behind him, and he suddenly remembered Dorothy was out here too. Turning slowly to face her, he felt his eyes widen. She was wearing a white nightgown, its long skirt fluttering around her slender legs, her feet as bare as his. She stood on the stone railing of the balcony, seemingly unconcerned with the destruction of the city going on behind her.

At first he was only stunned by the color of the diaphanous garment, until the thought struck him that she never needed to sleep, so she never wore a nightdress. And was she - crying? Could androids even cry? "Dorothy," he said sternly, trying to keep the edge of desperation out of his voice. "What is going on here?"

She regarded him almost blankly, rocking backward on her heels a little. His hand shot out and he bit his tongue against a cry of warning to be careful. "You know already," she told him. "We knew it would happen"

The redhead swayed back again, the wind whipping her hair around her pale face, the gown around her like a banner, and he saw that the headband she always wore, that was a part of her, was gone as well. Wasn't that impossible? "What would hap- Dorothy!" he cried out suddenly as she started to fall backwards, not thinking of the hundreds of megadeii surrounding them in the city or the fire that lit the sky so red or the smoke that was filling the air. He ran for her, feet thudding across the stone, skidding up toward the railing in time to grab her ghostly-white hand just before it flew out of reach. He yanked her upright hard enough that she hit against his chest, eliciting a sudden grunt from the tall man. God - she was so light.

"Let me go," she whispered, standing there still as a statue as he steadied her, tried to pull her down from the rail.

Roger looked up at her, eyes questioning, and reached up a hand to her face, trailing his thumb across the dampness on her cheek. "I don't understand," he returned in an equally soft voice, but she spoke again as if she hadn't heard him, as if he'd said something completely different. Her eyes - her eyes were - her eyes - her eyes-!

"Then come with me," she told him, halfheartedly trying to pull herself away from his steadying arms. "You promised" She shifted her small hands under his elbows, trying to tug him up onto the rail. He was half-surprised that she didn't just lift him there; she was strong enough or

What did I promise? I don't remember promising anything. Not feeling very good about the situation, he nevertheless did what she asked, jumping lightly up onto the rail, if only to get a better look around, he told himself, even while mentally yelling, asking why he was standing up here on the edge when she'd already tried to fall.

"Do you know what's happening?" Roger asked her, keeping his hand firmly on her shoulder. There had to be something wrong with her programming, her circuits. He had to get her back to Norman - but first he had to do something about the megadeii in the city - and why weren't they destroying this mansion? Why was fire raining down everywhere but here?

She looked away from him, the red light of fire and sky reflecting in her dark eyes. "You are right. But I can't be a part of this, not even for my father."

Was she even hearing him? It was as if he was speaking to a brick wall why wasn't she answering him? He felt helpless, confused, even scared, and these were things Paradigm's top negotiator was not supposed to be feeling! "Dorothy!" he shouted, pulling her around to face him, the burning, crumbling city in full view over her shoulder.

"Get away from her!" a voice shouted, deep and commanding.

"No! Father, no!" she screamed suddenly, that kind of volume from her startling him. Unable to turn around on the width of the ledge with the young woman in front of him, Roger quickly looked back over his shoulder, seeing a man he didn't recognize come bursting out of the house, eyes aflame with rage, something glittering in his hand-

There was a loud bang and mere moments later that fire started spreading through his chest, warm and liquid and red, oh so red, spreading outward from the gaping hole of the bullet's exit wound that had torn apart the fabric of his pajamas, darkening the already dark cloth.

He gasped in breath, eyes wide, arms and legs trembling, and looked blankly into Dorothy's face, at her huge eyes, her mouth moving in silent expressions of pain. He tried to say her name again as he stared downward, at the redness wicking outward, so bright against the snowy whiteness of her nightgown. She was bleeding Dorothy was bleeding the bullet had passed through him and into her "You're bleeding!"

"Dorothy!" came the anguished scream from the man behind them, the gun falling from his hands to clatter on the stone, footfalls ringing as he ran for them.

The small figure looked up at Roger, her hands holding tight to his arms, pulling him forward. He nearly collapsed against her, feeling her slight weight give way - why was she so light? He felt his arms go around her, blood welling between them so thick, so red, each heartbeat pumping life away. "Aaron," she gasped in his ear, rocking backward again, with a fierce tug taking him with her, her father's horrified bellow ringing out behind him. "I love you too"

Who...? What? His lips in her hair, tears of pain leaking from his eyes, he let her take him backwards with her, the wind rushing past them, faster and faster and faster, clinging tightly together as they plummeted to the buckled and torn road below, debris and cars strewn about like toys coming closer, faster and faster and faster

She hit the ground with a cry, her body breaking his fall only slightly, wreathing him in an explosion of blood and pain and confusion and the sudden agonizing knowledge, the clear proof that Dorothy had been human, before he relaxed across her sprawled, tiny broken form and the darkness came.

*****

And then the darkness vanished. He felt the roughness of carpet under his cheek, sitting up with a startled cry. His sternum ached from laying on his stomach on the floor for so long, and he rubbed at it gently, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand and frowning as it came away wet. What an intense dream... I was really certain it was happening.

"My word, Master Roger," Norman's familiar voice cut in, "are you all right? What are you doing on the floor?"

The man climbed to his feet slowly, stretching his arms which still were tense from the emotion he'd felt while asleep. "I'm fine, Norman," he assured, trying a half-hearted laugh. "Just dreamed I was falling"

"I see," the one-eyed butler responded, absently picking up the mess of sheets and blankets that had fallen as well. "Did you hit the ground?" he asked with a trace of amusement.

Roger quirked an eyebrow up. "Yes as a matter of fact," he responded slowly, fishing up his robe from the back of a nearby chair. "Why do you ask?"

Chuckling, Norman replied, "Oh, it is an old superstition if you dream that you're falling and hit the ground, then it's bad luck - hard times ahead, that sort of thing."

He laughed, running a hand through the mess of his hair. "Oh, well, who believes that? Besides" he asked suddenly, "you remember that, or?"

The butler shrugged, nodding. "I suppose I do. Well, Master Roger, your breakfast is ready for you, and you have an appointment with a client at ten-thirty."

"Okay, great," he said, even though he wasn't feeling very hungry. There's no use in just sitting around mooning over a disturbing dream, he told himself. As he started following Norman down the hall toward the dining room, he mumbled, "Which client was that again?"

"The maid accused of stealing from her former employers," the other man replied, his memory for such things impeccable even at an advanced age. "Why, good morning, Dorothy," he said, nodding at the small figure who stood there, armed with a feather duster and sweeping off a small statue.

"Good morning, Norman," she replied in her monotone voice, looking up.

Roger found himself frozen when he met her eyes, his mind superimposing the image of her, the tears, and the white gown - her eyes He reached out to touch her cheek, brush his fingers along that pale, flushed skin - was it true, then?

Dorothy looked back at him, impassive although she was wondering why, exactly, he was staring at her like that, why he was about to touch her. There was something wrong, that was apparent, but she had no idea what it might be. It was fairly disturbing, actually "Is there something on my face?" she asked him.

"Ah, no," he said quickly, almost springing backward. He clenched his hand quickly at his side, trying to pretend he hadn't just done that. "Are you coming too? Hurry up, we don't have all day" The black-haired man turned away, lengthening his strides toward the dining room. Why was he acting like this? He needed to distract himself, stop thinking about that stupid, stupid dream

The android watched Roger as he left, the duster raised in her hand all but forgotten. She blinked, and then was startled at herself for the gesture. It was - impossible "Aaron?" Dorothy murmured, staring at the emptiness where he had been.


So, what do you think? Yeah, there's supposed to be a lot of questions raised, and most of them will be answered at the end of this fic. ^^; This story does not take place at any particular point in the series, it's not really canon or supposed to fit in anywhere it just happens sometime before "R-D" and after "Missing Cat". And yes, it's a Roger-Dorothy thing. ^_^