Wrinkled & Torn

Chapter One:: Uncertain Memories

"...memories that were imprinted on my eyelids are now on the other side of the light..."

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DG took her place between her mother and her sister and stared up as the two suns began moving from behind the swollen moon. She felt her friends moving to stand behind the royal family, and she smiled, "Now, that's the O.Z. that I remember." Her smile widened when she felt her sister's hand covering hers, holding it as they had only moments before, and as they had many times as children, for comfort and safety and so much love. She squeezed back and chuckled a little when they began a sort of gripping contest, seeing who could squeeze harder without causing any irreparable damage. As soon as the suns had fully reappeared, Azkadellia tugged on her sister's hand and looked at their parents; DG followed suit and looked at them, "Mother, Father," they both looked at her and she grinned at them, "How about we sit down somewhere? Its been a long couple of days."

"I'm famished," Glitch chirped from behind them, making them all jump. "Perhaps the kitchen?"

The queen turned and smiled at him, "That sounds like a wonderful idea, Ambrose."

"Um, Majesty," he blushed slightly, as if afraid to correct her, "Its Glitch now; just Glitch."

She nodded, "Right, Glitch, then. I think we could all use something to eat. Azkadellia, could you show us to the kitchen, please?"

Az nodded, keeping her eyes low, afraid to look too long at either of her parents, "Yes, this way," she mumbled, turning to lead them through the door and down the many flights of stairs, having reluctantly released her sister's hand. She felt unstable, watching her feet move on her accord, and not that of the beast that had lived within her for the plus-side of fifteen annuals. It was strange, the way they wobbled and lacked the confidence and determination that the witch had given them. And it was stranger, still, that the princess found this to be one of the most comforting feelings she'd felt in a long time. She led them to the first floor of the tall castle, to a large, monochromatic kitchen that was obviously seldom used. It made DG wonder if the witch had even required food to function, which could be an explanation as to why her sister was so thin and boney. Azkadellia bit her lip and went to a large box that somewhat resembled an overturned refrigerator and lifted the door atop it, resting it against the wall and peering in.

"Um," she told them apologetically--the real Azkadellia was very meek, compared to the witch, "All we have are five hen eggs and half a loaf of bread. Not really anything to make a meal of."

DG let out a bark of laughter, "Au contraire, my sister--those are the perfect ingredients for French toast."

"French?" Cain asked behind her, "What does that mean?"

"Its a country on the Other Side," Ahamo explained, and DG was grateful that she wouldn't have to suffer being horribly misunderstood as long as he was around.

Cain then asked, "Why is their toast better than ours?"

"No, Mister Cain," DG turned to look at him, "Its called that becau--oh, my god!" She'd just noticed the bullet wound on his shoulder, still bleeding over the hand that covered it. She cursed him for not saying anything when he could have bled to death without anyone knowing. She rushed forward and gingerly ran her fingers around the outside of the wound, "You need a doctor!" He opened his mouth to protest when Raw cleared his throat and DG rolled her eyes at herself, "Oh, of course! Raw, could you?" He nodded and stepped forward.

"No, really, its okay," Cain protested, but Raw had already placed his hands over the bullet wound, a clean in-and-out shot, and the tin man let out a low hiss of pain. Within seconds, the healer pulled away and the gaping, bloody hole that had been there an instant before was now just a purpled, swollen bit of scarred flesh. Cain rolled his eyes, "Thanks. Now can we just eat?"

DG frowned and stuck her tongue out at him, a gesture he didn't quite understand, but she turned away from him before he could ask. She took the eggs and bread and set them on the counter, insisting that everyone sit and she started, enlisting only the help of her sister. Azkadellia, per DG's request, dug out a cast-iron skillet and set it over the wide stove, turning it on a low heat, and then sought out to find a canister of sugar. As DG began slathering slices of bread with raw scrabbled eggs and then placing them on the skillet, Az went about crushing the now-found sugar into smaller molecules until they made a fine, white powder, and she looked at the powder in confusion, wondering how it was any different from normal sugar. Soon, DG had made eight slices of French toast and was sprinkling the powdered sugar over them, then she handed them out on broken plates, with splintered and warped knives and forks, and they all began eating, cautiously at first.

"Mm," Glitch's eyes sparkled, "This is actually good."

"Thanks," DG told him, "My mo--um, Emily taught me how to make it when I was younger." She turned down her eyes, frowning at her plate, wondering if her parents could be rewired to be who they were before, or if she'd even still be allowed to call them her parents.

As if sensing her concerns, the queen smiled at her, "Its all right, my darling; she was your mother for much longer than I was. I'm sure we can get them back to the way they were." The girl smiled thankfully.

Ahamo nodded and added pointedly, "Plus, it never hurts to have two sets of parents keeping an eye on you." At this, DG groaned and shoved a forkful of food into her mouth, not wanting to think about how much she'd miss out on with two mothers and two fathers telling her what and what not to do all of the time. The queen and her consort saw this expression and began laughing, and the younger princess was in awe at how things seemed so carefree now, when barely even an hour before, they'd been so dire.

They made light conversation at first (including DG's embarassed confession that she had no idea as to what her mother's name was, and she was informed that is was Mère de Lumiére--Lumiére, for short), and then Azkadellia cleared her throat quietly, but loud enough to demand attention. She looked up tentatively, as if testing the boundaries of her mother's forgiveness before speaking, "Um, Mother?"

"Yes, Azkadellia?" Her mother replied smoothly, gently, as any mother would to her daughter.

The elder princess smiled feebly, "Are things going to go back to how they were? Before..the witch?"

Lumiére shook her head, a sad look falling over her face, "No, my darling, I'm afraid not. It won't be as easy as just defeating the witch. There are certain steps that need to be taken--magickal steps--in order to restore order in the O.Z."

Guilt filled Azkadellia's eyes, and DG reached under the table to take her hand in her own, squeezing reassuringly, before turning to her mother, "Then, we should get started right away; what magick do we need, Mother?"

The queen took a deep breath and attempted to smile, but failed miserably, "That's the thing, my dear DG; I don't remember."

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I'm tired of writing disclaimers! If I owned it, I wouldn't be writing fanfictions for my lonely heart! GAW!

This chapter was inspired by the song "Uncertain Memories," by Gackt.

Coming Up::
Lumiére explains to them the reason for her memory loss, and what they must do to retrieve her recollections.