Prince of Nothing
Summary: Mourning Cain's brooding is interrupted. Will Glitch survive his ire? Cain and Glitch friendship ficlet.
Sometimes he could still feel those bitter metal arms around him. Funny. When he was in the tin suit, whenever he drifted off into one of those instances that could barely pass as sleep, sometimes he would find himself dreaming of freedom. Now that he was reality, and all he dreamed now was a small, dirt-smudged window and the bone-chilling cold. It had been an embrace of the death of his spirit, being trapped within, yet it had offered him something he could never recapture. Her face. What wretched soul would wish that torment visited upon itself, even for one last glance?
Such morbid thoughts were these. DG would chide him if she knew. Good thing she was safe in the warmth of her palace; the princess of all guarded by the prince of nothing. He had been asked to stay for that purpose, and while he had not given his answer he knew no other fate awaited him.
Winter blanketed the world around him, the forest below this balcony he had wandered upon resplendent with little sparkles of white, the air chill and living. He was used to the cold. It kept him strong, kept him aware of the shadows.
Cain ran his warm fingers along the icy rail, trailing them through tufts of snow that had gathered. It was so quiet out here. Within there were a myriad of sounds to fill the mind and soul, to distract anyone from anything they wished to forget. Here there was only the breath of winter and dark. It was peaceful. Gods, he had never thought he would remember what soundlessness was like. Adora's cries, his son's groan as he hit the earth. His own feral yell of rage and futility. He was intimate with these. Quiet had he been a long lost lover. And so he stole away whenever he thought the others weren't paying attention. He got lost in the nothing, in the peace.
Fate had other plans for him this night. His sharp instincts alerted him to another shadow on the plane of winter tonight, directly behind him. Footsteps chased the Tin Man across a newly snowed floor and then a hand fell on his shoulder. "Are you gonna jump?" Cain didn't even bother to roll his eyes at Glitch, who let out a dramatic breath and nodded thoughtfully. "Okay, I know the whole gathering in merriment thing isn't exactly your style. You have this dark, brooding, sort-of-mysterious, serious and macho, depressing im..."
"Glitch..." Cain warned, then turned his ice-colored eyes on the former advisor briefly.
Glitch lifted his arms in protest. "All I'm saying is the kiddies are getting a little antsy now that papa-bear's gone missing."
Cain grunted. "The kiddies?"
Flicking the snow off the railing in rows, Glitch affirmed matter-of-factly, "Yeah. DG, Raw..."
"Hey, once upon a time I was a very...you know...important sort of...guy." He gave a flustered wave of his hand, managing a split second of an offended glare that slipped away as quick as it came. "Well, anyway, DG wondered where you went, so I came looking."
Of course she did. DG paid attention even when she looked for all the world as if she weren't. He should have known. Cain breathed softly, offering a glance at the restless soul beside him. Glitch had gone back to clearing the rail of its frost. "You can tell her I didn't jump."
Glitch made an impatient face. "Be serious, would you?"
Cain turned his head, giving full attention to Glitch. Seriously. Most seriously, even, if he said so himself.
Pursing his lips—privately Cain enjoyed aggravating the former advisor now and then—Glitch gave an ineffectual shove at the Tin Man's shoulder. "Well, are you coming back in or not?" He shuddered visibly, his breath fogging the air. "It's cold out here! The breeze is murder! Besides, one good gust and whoosh, that hat's coming right off your head!"
Now, what happened then was purely an accident. Cain knew it. Glitch prayed Cain knew it. Anyone chancing to observe would have concluded when the advisor motioned towards the hat he was merely doing so for show, not to truly knock it off the much stronger, muscular and possibly dangerous Tin Man's head. As it was, however, his fingers may have come in contact with the brim (it had been collecting snowflakes that now played at Cain's lashes and nose), and unfortunately the hat was now sort of careening towards the depths below.
For a very long moment Cain stared at Glitch, who sputtered, wrapped his arms around himself in the cold, and now was nonchalantly chewing a fingernail. After a few tense seconds of this Cain nodded. "Yeah. I'm coming in." His semi-glare remained fixed.
Glitch breathed a sigh of relief and motioned (very politely) for the Tin Man to go ahead of him. Cain swept by obligingly. For the first few hallways they walked in silence. The warmth seemed to bite at the Tin Man's skin.
Too soon the quiet disappeared under a very direct, very insightful observation that served as an invitation to confess things Cain wasn't in the mood to discuss. "You don't laugh anymore. Did you laugh before? You know, when…"
The Tin Man frowned at the random direct hit. "What?" he muttered evasively. "I laugh."
"Not really." Glitch picked at his fingertips. "DG and I've been watching. We sort of have this bet..." Cain narrowed his brow and Glitch skirted right along, "You don't need to know about that. Anyway, she says you don't laugh. And she's right. She's worried about you."
"She shouldn't." Kids. He let out a breath as his mind formed a picture of those blue eyes. No, not a kid. Not anymore, after all that had happened.
She still laughed, and he marveled she could do so.
"I worry about you too, you know," Glitch confessed.
Cain wasn't one to bear his heart. He wasn't going to. Not now, if ever. There was nothing else he could say. Nothing else to say. "There's no need. I am who I am. You both know that."
They stopped at an intersection in the corridor near the dining hall where the small gathering of friends waited for them—the nightly routine as if to part for a night would change the precious bonds they had developed. "Yeah, well, we just want you to be the best you you can be. The war is over, no more evil. It's a new beginning, that sort of thing. And really…"
Cain let him talk, wondering how long the speech would continue. It was a very pretty, idealistic one-sided conversation. At the beginning of this insane journey he had just shrugged off such 'idle words' as childish. Now he knew better. He knew from where these words Ambrose spoke came and the Tin Man appreciated every word; even so far as to smile softly when Glitch went quiet.
Mistaking the appreciation for amusement, Glitch lifted his arms in defeat. "Okay, well. I'm going in now." He stopped short of smacking into Cain, who hadn't budged an inch. The Tin Man cleared his throat as Glitch tried to go around. "Or we could stay out here."
Cain cocked his head to the side, measuring the other man in his way, waiting for the effect to sink in. "You're not going anywhere until you go get my hat."
"Oooh. Right. Hat." Glitch nodded vaguely. "Someone should do that..."
"Me. Yes. I should go and rescue the hat from certain peril of the absolutely nothing that's going on out there. Of course." He waited as if expecting to be left off the hook.
When Cain said nothing, the other man turned away from the dining hall with a sigh, stalking away as he muttered, "You know, it's freezing out there, Cain. I get sick really easy." Still the Tin Man remained silent. Flustered, the advisor went on. "That hat could be anywhere from the top of a tree to the bottom of some mud puddle covered in, well, mud. And who'd wear a hat like that? Besides, it doesn't make you look half as good as you think it does."
The Tin Man remained resolute. "You don't have to like it. Just go."
"You're an evil man, Cain, and you have no sense of humor," Glitch accused, continuing on his way.
"Glitch." Ambrose whipped around indignantly as Cain stared. "Two things. First, if you ever call me papa-bear again I'll show you what true suffering means. And second, that hat alone makes me look better than you."
For a moment the men shared a serious gaze, then Glitch's good nature won out and a smirk crossed his features. "If you believe that, that's just sad, so you must have a sense of humor somewhere in there. Just not a good one. You know, maybe it's the hat that makes you so grumpy. See how you are when it's gone?"
Cain laughed lightly. "Good one, Zipperhead. Now go get my hat."
"Yeah, yeah. I'm going.
Author: AngelRuse: angelruse AT gmail DOT
Disclaimer: Scifi owns Tin Man! Baum owns the Wizard of Oz! All I own is a sick desire to cuddle Cain until he squeals. :-D
A/N: Just trying on the boys for size. I'm NOT Cain obsessed! –twitch-