Note: This take is completely unrelated to the first take. Implied het, but if you blink you miss it.
1) Rotten, ruined, irreparably damaged. Unfit for consumption, as from decay. Not in an edible or usable condition. The casserole is too old and is spoiled.
2) Pampered, given anything one wants and treated with excessive indulgence, and thus having one's character or disposition harmed. The child is a spoiled brat.
There are metal bindings.
That's not the first thing he notices when he wakes up, but certainly the one that gets all his attention as soon as he does notice. There are metal bindings on his legs, his arms and chest, hell, even one on his forehead, holding him down onto the—what surface is he laying on, a bed, a table, a floor? He has no idea. The room is dark, and normally this would be a comforting thought, but now he reaches out for his shadow form to escape and cannot obtain it.
He tries to turn his head toward the voice, but cannot move it far due to the metal strapping him down, and there is no light anyway; he can't make out the speaker. He doesn't need to, however; he knows that voice.
"Idiot counterfeit hero, what is the meaning of this? Release me now or you'll suffer even more of my unending wrath than what you've already invoked!"
The threat is even less powerful than normal, considering she has him helpless—but he still has his magic, he thinks, and he is only giving her one last chance to recognize the error of what she's done before he frees himself and obliterates her. This, having him tied down like this, is humiliating, though he won't admit as much; he's enraged.
"Shut up, spatula face," she replies, but her voice lacks the usual lift it has when exchanging insults with him. "You're going to be stuck here for a long time."
Stan frowns, his small amount of patience having been exhausted already, and begins an incantation, not willing to play along with this any longer.
And stops, staring into the darkness. He tries again, and cannot breathe.
"I was wondering when you would figure it out," Rosalyn's voice cuts through the cold shock that's filled him. "You think I'm so stupid I'd leave you with your magic?" A pause. "You probably do. Well, I'm proving you wrong, you idiot Evil King. I'm proving you wrong in every way."
He hears the tap of her boots against a hard floor and then the click of a door. He shouts after her but if she can hear him she does not return.
It is a long time before he falls asleep again.
The next time he wakes he is once again enraged to rediscover the situation. He rages and pulls against his metal bonds but cannot break them. His magic is still sealed away, but he doesn't give up. Rosalyn cannot keep him contained forever; he is the one and only Evil King. She cannot be there to silence his magic all the time, or perhaps, forgetful idiot that she is, she'll turn a light on while in the room with him. Even completely drained of his magic, the shadow form is never difficult to slip into. He never thought he would want to resume that form as much as he does now.
Impatience fills him as he waits for the situation to change, for the tables to turn in his favour. He dislikes waiting—truly loathes it—but he's more than capable of it. The seconds pass slowly in the dark room. He does not hear Rosalyn in there with him—does not hear her breathe nor speak and can only conclude that she's not there. Alone, he eventually falls asleep once again.
When he wakes again he has to use the bathroom. Oddly, he is not hungry. His magic still fails him, and the metal bindings still do not give when he tests them.
"Give it up," Rosalyn's voice advises. He stops his pulling when he hears her voice, not wanting her to see him struggle.
"Damnable corpulent pink twit, you will release me this instant!" Stan roars into the darkness.
"No," she replies. He can hear her moving around the room but still can see nothing; he wonders how she's managing to do whatever she's busying herself with in the blinding darkness. "Don't make me gag you," she warns, much closer to him than a moment ago.
"The longer this continues, the less of a chance you have to survive when I free myself!" Stan shouts. His instincts scream at him to get away now that she's so close, but he still resists the temptation to pull against his bonds or strain himself reaching for his magic. He may be trapped and bound and her prisoner but he will not give her the satisfaction of squirming while she watches.
"Shut up," she orders. Her voice is still flat, and Stan finds that he misses the joy that her insults used to carry. He squashes that thought.
Something pricks his arm and he cannot help making a surprised noise. "What the devil are you doing! Naturally the only way you can wound me is if you've got me tied down, you coward!"
"Shut up," she repeats. "It's an IV line so you don't starve down here and I never have to free your hands to feed you. For any other needs, you don't have to get up, you can just go; I've got something arranged down there too."
Stan is struck into silence by the indignity of the suggestion. That he's just going to lie here indefinitely as a tube drips nutrition into him, that he can't get up to relieve himself but should just go where he lies—that will not be accepted. That will never be accepted.
He forgets his decision not to struggle while she may be watching and pulls against the metal yet again, reaching and straining for his magic with a desperation he hadn't felt before, rage flooding his mind, and he focuses on the anger instead of the idea that he might not actually get out of here, that Rosalyn is making preparations to keep him here for a longer period of time. "You—this is insanity, even for you! What the Hell do you think you're accomplishing? If you're just too much of a coward to face me in battle then kill me now, damn it!"
He continues to shout and she does not respond; under his yells he can hear the taps of her footsteps and the click of a door as she leaves.
He sleeps and wakes several times after that. He does not know any longer how many days he has been here, though he doubts it's been more than a week. His magic continues to fail him, and he wonders when the woman will come to her senses.
The next time she is in the room, Stan does not yell. As she checks on the IV drip, he quietly demands, "What are you trying to do?" She does not reply. "What's the purpose of this? It must have taken some effort to set everything up to keep me bound like this."
He opens his mouth to speak again and before he realizes what's happened she's stuffed a gag in. She ties it quickly and Stan's outrage is muffled.
He dreams of the bottle.
"How are you doing today, Stanley?" she asks, checking on his IV. He does not try to reply around the gag. He is quickly growing to detest the voice she uses to speak to him; it is flat and empty and should not be hers. Though he knows this is still Rosalyn, he is starting to separate her into two different people in his mind; there is the Rosalyn of before, the hero he loved to heckle, and there is the Rosalyn of now, his jailer with the voice of a corpse. He could bicker with the Rosalyn of before, and in fact they would argue for hours before actually getting into physical fights, and they would both enjoy it. The Rosalyn of now does not want to banter with him, and he wonders how much he would even want to reply to her if he could.
He spoke of killing the Rosalyn of before but if he were honest, he did not ever truly want to live in a world without her. He aimed fatal blows at her but knew she could dodge; she was the Hero. They would die together by each other's hands.
The Rosalyn of now he wants to destroy. He wants to rip her eyes out; he wants to break the fingers that pushed the IV into his arm, he wants to tear into the throat that produces that dead voice that was a mockery of the Rosalyn of before. He wants to drag his claws slowly through the flesh of her face, shredding skin to bloody strips; he wants to make that flat voice of hers rise in screams.
"See you later," the Rosalyn of now says in monotone, and he hears the tap of her footfalls and the click of a door and she is gone.
He remembers the lively voice of the Rosalyn of before. He wonders if he will hear it again.
He is dreaming of the bottle every time he sleeps. Of how he raged when first sealed into it—he doesn't know how long he was filled with anger, because there was no way to tell time while stuck in the jar. Of when he finally came to accept that he couldn't escape it on his own power and that he would be stuck in there for a while. Of somebody finding the jar and of a spec of hope and of that person throwing the bottle into an attic to be forgotten for years. Of being released only to be stuffed back in. Of gaining and losing hope too many times to dare again. Rosalyn finding it… and throwing it off the side of the mountain.
He doesn't bother to open his eyes anymore when he wakes. Sometimes he forgets to try his magic, sometimes he does not want to because he knows the attempt will fail. Sometimes Rosalyn does not say a word when she visits, and he likes it better not having to hear her voice, so he does not let on that he is awake.
Sometimes he wishes she would remove the gag so he could beg her to let him go. Every time that thought passes, he is grateful the gag let him maintain that last dignity.
He does not feel hungry or thirsty, the IV takes care of that, and he has long since forgotten to feel disgusted with how he does not leave the bed to relieve himself into whatever contraption she's set up. Not having to take care of his body, it is almost as though he doesn't have one. There's nothing to do but think, or dream.
Sometimes he wonders how long it's been, both since he was trapped down here and since he stopped thinking he could escape.
He sleeps, and dreams of life before the bottle, living every day carefree and without any conception of consequence, enjoying himself. Of life after the bottle. Of time spent with Ari, and gods it was fun, will he ever see the boy or any of the others again? Of fighting false evil kings, and of regaining his power, which Rosalyn keeps carefully sealed all the time now, he might as well have not even bothered. Of destroying cities. Of setting fire to Rashelo, and wasn't that fun because it was a city on top of water, burning! He had laughed, and laughed, and then Rosalyn had yelled and days later she challenged him—and then blackness and he'd woken up here.
When he is awake he sometimes cannot remember if he ever left the bottle or if it was always like this. Then he hears Rosalyn come in and sometimes cannot remember that there was a Rosalyn of before. Sometimes he is aware that things are different now, and he tries to remember when the change occurred, but there's no way to tell time in his dark prison and he gives up. It is enough that he doesn't know how long he will be stuck down here; he doesn't want to think about how long he already has been trapped.
"Do you still want to know why?" she asks one day—how many days has it been, he wonders, has it been months, years, only two weeks, is the Rosalyn he remembers gone to be replaced with an old and wrinkled woman? He doesn't think he wants to know. "Do you still want to know what I'm hoping to accomplish?"
He makes no move of affirmation, and his eyes are still closed.
"When Gohma was alive, he destroyed half the world," she says, telling him things he already knows in that dead voice. "He killed innocents, he killed people who had nothing to do with trying to fight back. And killing him didn't put a stop to it because then you were born. And incompetent as you are, you kill people too. And then you laugh about it! And if I kill you, you'll just get reincarnated again."
Realization is dawning in Stan's mind. He wonders how long his natural lifespan could be—no Evil King has ever died of old age before, though some of them live nearly a millennia.
"I can't let you," she whispers. Her voice is breaking, it sounds as though she's crying, and Stan hates this even more than he hates the dead empty tone she normally speaks with. "I'm a Hero. I can't just let you kill people if I know I could stop it. And if I kill you it'll just happen again. There might not be Classification anymore but you're still evil through and through!"
His eyes fly open then, as he feels warmth, pressure on his chest, and he makes a muffled noise against the gag in surprise before he realizes what it is. She's crying on top of him, her arms on his chest and her face buried in them, and it's been so long that he remembered he had a body, that he remembered the warmth of contact, and he remembers the Rosalyn of before and feeling the warmth of her entire body against his. Somehow, against that memory, the Rosalyn crying on him now seems cold as the metal binding him.
When he was stuck in the bottle he dreamt. There wasn't much of anything to do but sleep or think, and after the first hundred years, thinking was maddening. So he slept as much as he could, but he could not be in slumber the entire time, and so he thought as well. And he resolved that once he was freed he wouldn't think so much ever again because after three hundred years he'd done more thinking than he ever wanted to do again. So when he was freed he was impulsive, not bothering to think actions through, often making stupid and childish mistakes because of it but gods he couldn't stand to stay still for more than a moment and think his moves over before he made them, so he leapt before he looked all the time.
And maybe that was what had landed him in this mess. He didn't bother to think that the fact that he wanted the Hero could not coexist with the fact that he killed civilians—or at least not for very long.
When he was stuck in the bottle he dreamt and thought. Now he tries his hardest not to do either, and is getting better and better at it.
Her voice is still dead, but now altered by age, the weak and warbling tones of an old woman. He's grateful for the blinding darkness; he can have his blurry memories of the Rosalyn of before, who was vibrant and loud and emotional and full of life.
"This is a secret I need you to promise you will never reveal, except to your successor," she is saying. Stan can hear somebody else's breaths in the room; her protégé, he correctly assumes. The person who will keep him imprisoned here for the next fifty years until they pick their own successor.
He pretends to be asleep.
He is not sure if he is awake when he feels her take the gag off. In fact it must be a dream, because she has not done that ever since she shoved it in his mouth so long ago.
"Kill me," he rasps, forgetting to call her washbowl woman or something else instead, because as far as he's concerned she's not the Hero he fought years ago. So instead he only begs in a voice that can barely be heard, dignity be damned, he doesn't want to live another five hundred years in this dark room, not living at all; it's worse than the bottle. And besides, since this has to be a dream, it doesn't matter if he begs.
"I'm sorry," she whispers. "You must hate me."
He swallows, getting the rest of his disused voice back. Is this going to be the last time he ever has the chance to speak? How long has it been, he wonders, but does not care about that question so much as how much longer will it be. He stares up into the darkness and wants to beg more, would do anything if she would let him go, would give up his pride and his claim to be evil if only he could leave—and she probably knows it.
If these are to be his last words….
"I would say I regret that you will die of old age and not by my hand," he says, "but you are no longer worth the time it would take to snap your neck."
She does not reply, and the gag is replaced.
He hears the tap of her shoes on the stone floor, and the click of the door shutting behind her.