Title:Binary Means Two
Rating: Um, we're gonna say PG for this chapter leading up to NC-17 hopefully.
Parings: Cain/Glitch/Ambrose, you know it's awesome when there's two slashes in there. Possibly Jeb/OC later on. Cause for some reason I can't not make an OC.
Summary: A annual and half after the defeat of The Witch, Glitch and Ambrose are two halves of the same person with very different priorities.
Part One: Seasons of Contention
He talks to himself even more now than he did when he was only Glitch.
Of course, now there's actually someone to talk to.
"We're working tooo hard! I'm tired! You're tired!"
"Just let me get the last few pages done..."
"You said that forever ago... You know I could just walk us right out of here..."
"Glitch, I said..."
"Five minutes. You said that when DG came in. With dinner. When the sun was still out."
Ambrose sighed and looked out the window as he ran his fingers through his dark curls, the tips barely ghosting over the hidden scar.
Huh. Imagine that. It was dark. When had that...?
"Like hours ago you freak!"
A slow smirk as deft hands stacked the papers that littered the desk, "Oh, so I'm the freak now..."
"Yes! I at least take naps, and rests."
"You'd sleep all day if I let you."
"What's wrong with that?"
"With the amount of work now that the O.Z. needs..."
"Just one day! Not all days. Some days."
DG paused moments before she lifted her hand to knock. They were arguing. Again. Quietly she leaned forward and pressed her ear against the door.
"You started it!"
"I did not!"
Ah, so they had already gotten to the name calling bit.
She smiled, it was only a matter of time before name calling turned into 'well I'm not talking to you either' and then it was only a good day or so before the muttering picked up again. They'd be friends again for maybe another few days or so before the whole thing started over. DG rolled her eyes as the bickering fell into silence. It was what she had wanted to discuss with them. This couldn't be healthy. For either of them, if that made sense. It had been confusing to begin with and now it still was it was just... familiar confusing.
Glitch had wanted his brain back, between the alchemists and her magic they'd done it. Except that for the first week or so, there wasn't any sort of change at all. He was still Glitch, silly, stumbling Glitch, and while that had been disappointing for some it was, well, it was okay because they loved Glitch and even if the operation didn't work like it should have... But it hadn't been that easy.
DG opened the door a crack, Glitch hadn't come out of the lab so Ambrose must have won the argument. She stuck her head in experimentally, it was Ambrose, standing over the desk, pushing papers around and making notes in neat script in a leather bound notebook.
She hadn't met Ambrose until a week and a half after Glitch's brain had been returned to him. No one had. Not until one afternoon when he'd broken through like sunbeams through a cloudy sky.
She had been sketching as her mother read out loud. They were both in Glitch's room, after it had become apparent that it was nearly impossible to keep the man in bed unless someone was there with him every moment of the day. DG had figured he'd be at least a little mellow after what was considered major brain surgery in her book, and sure he was, for the first two days, before he'd gotten completely bored. It was after the third time that Cain had carried him back to bed that they'd organized a watch, with shifts and everything. DG though it was silly the way it had come out so regimented, but Cain had used his serious look and she'd agreed to 'from lunch to dinner'.
But like she had said, Ozma, that was her mother's name, she had learned it at the same time that Glitch had re-learned it, was reading. Some fable about green glass and maybe there was a horse. DG had only been half listening. When they had both noticed at the same time that Glitch had gone quiet. That wasn't any surprise since he was supposed to be listening to the story, but since it was Glitch; listening that meant that he listened for about a minute before he interrupted or asked a question or got them all on a tangent that interrupted the story for a half hour before they got it back on track.
This time was different. He had gone really and truly quiet, and when DG looked up he was sitting there in bed, looking a little confused, maybe a little worried down at his hands, which were still in his lap. Another worrisome sign. His hand were rarely still. Fingers dancing, gesturing, picking at his sleeve or tugging on a brown curl or poking tentatively at the edge of the white bandage that ran down where his zipper used to be.
All three of them were silent, her mother lowering the book slowly as Glitch looked down at his hands and after a moment carefully uncurled his fingers as his eyes widened and he blinked.
"Glitch?" DG tried to keep the concern out of her voice but the question wavered a bit at the end.
He didn't even move, like he hadn't even heard her and she heard her pencil hit the floor as she leaned forward.
"Glitch, are you okay?"
She looked up as her mother reached out and took her wrist. DG bit her lip and then her eyes widened as her mother leaned forward gently,
He'd blinked and then looked up, his eyes lighting up barely with recognition and he'd opened his mouth for what seemed like a second before he closed it again and the confusion returned. It was like he had wanted to speak but had simply... forgotten...
DG watched her mother put the book on the end table and then very slowly, deliberately curled her fingers around his.
He'd stiffened, his entire body tense for a moment before he took a deep breath and DG saw him deliberately relax, his eyes back on his hands, on Ozma's fingers as very, very carefully he'd reached over with his other hand and curled it around hers. Then just the briefest ghost of a smile came over his face, like a child, just when its figured out how to tie a bow or how high it can jump.
Then there had been a slow shake of his head and all of a sudden Glitch was blinking again and asking if he'd fallen asleep. Blushing a bit when he found the queen holding his hand, and altogether curious and concerned about what had happened to make both women look so pale.
A meeting had been quickly called.
It hadn't gone well.
DG slid the rest of the way into the room, a library attached to a workshop. At least the workshop door was closed. If he'd been in the middle of something there she'd never have gotten more than three words out of him. Ambrose's mind wandered almost as much at Glitch's did just in a different direction.
He looked up after finishing the sentence he was writing, and nodded politely.
"Good evening, princess."
DG shot him a look and he dipped his head, "Pardon. DG."
"That's better." She flopped into the chair he never seemed to use and peered over notes and drawings, "Though it is a little bit later than 'evening'. It's technically a 'good morning', but I couldn't sleep."
"Oh, is it?" He frowned a little as he tipped his pen just a bit as if he was going to put it down and then thought better of it as he kept writing, "I really should have a clock put in down here. I supposed I could make one but that would just take more..."
Ambrose smiled lightly, "Ah yes, needing time to make time. It sounds ridiculous. Though..." A pause before a shake of his head, "No, no, that wouldn't work."
DG toyed with a bit of wire she'd found tucked between papers.
"Are you two getting along? I mean, I heard you guys arguing again."
Ambrose wrote a word, "Ah, it's just the usual one. I'm working too hard, he's bored. Though I'll apologize he didn't greet you, I may have implied that it was physically impossible for him to remain silent for more than fifteen minutes and he's currently hard at work proving me wrong."
There was a flash of expression on his face for a moment, a flash that wasn't Ambrose but Glitch looking smug for a moment before it was Ambrose again looking thoughtful at his notes.
DG smiled as she twisted the bit of wire in half before absently braiding it together.
"You guys have been fighting a lot lately."
Ambrose nodded his head from side to side, agreeing and not agreeing. Cain had called him dodgy in that tone of voice that only seemed to surface when Ambrose was in the room. The man had a knack for never saying exactly what he meant, or what he wanted. He danced with words with as much grace and rhythm as he did to music. Of course now that he had Glitch taking up residence with him, some things got blurted out whether he liked it or not.
"Is there a why or do you just not get along?"
A long suffering sigh over the scratch of the pen, "Must I answer you, Princess DG?"
"You could tell everyone over breakfast..."
Brown eyes sparkled and a Glitch smile passed over his features before Ambrose looked up,
"Don't tell me. They've sent you as an emissary."
DG grinned, twirling the wire which had become a heart in her idling fingers.
"We are kind of wondering. Since it's usually Glitch that tells us, but we haven't seen him out in awhile."
Time quickly calculated in his head. Two weeks. He'd been working on recalibrating the Sun Seeder for two weeks.
Ambrose grimaced, "Ah, it's been two weeks, hasn't it?"
DG nodded as Glitch rolled his eyes and left Ambrose blinking.
"Sorry, I just got so absorbed in my project that I sort of..."
"Tuned him out?"
A sheepish grin was followed by a strong wide eyed nod and DG smiled.
"You should know by now, that's not nice."
Ambrose pursed his lips before giving her as genuine a smile as he had.
"I stand by that fact that it was worth it though. The Sun Seeder should finally be fully operational in a week or so, in its [ioriginal[/i capacity."
"That's great! Mom 'ill be excited. Is that what you've been doing in here?"
Ambrose nodded as he finally set his pen down, "I've finished the initial calculations and drawn up orders for the alterations which will have to be overseen, of course, but for now, I guess I can say I'm done."
DG laughed as Glitch suddenly burst through and then reached up to cover his own mouth,
"Oops, that wasn't fifteen minutes, was it?"
Ambrose's guarded expression returned, "Not quite, but it was a good effort."
He bowed slightly at DG, "Now if you don't mind, I believe I shall turn all questions to my other half then."
DG nodded, "He tells me more than you do."
"Well, he does benefit from a lack of reputation to uphold."
"Hey! I've got lots of reputation, thank you!"
Ambrose merely smiled a strained smiled and nodded as Glitch slipped more permanently to the forefront.
"I have all sorts... of..." Glitch muttered and looked a bit darkly at the papers on the desk. He'd shove them back all into disarray if he'd remember why he was so...
"Hi DG! What's up?"
"Couldn't sleep. Wanna go get some pancakes?"
Pancakes were nice. Pancakes didn't overwork themselves or call him names. Pancakes didn't tell him that he was making too much fuss over one silly thing. It wasn't silly. Was it? Sometimes he forgot what it was. But now that he had Ambrose he could just ask him so it was kind of nice. It was like he remembered, but he didn't, Ambrose remembered for him. Which was like him remembering except it wasn't.
He was currently engaged in licking berry syrup off his fingers while telling a long rambling story about some incredibly dumb thing Ambrose had done when he was seven, since it was so nice having memories now even if they felt like someone else's, and he knew he knew the story until he thought about it and then blinked,
"Hmm, I think I forgot the last part."
DG was laughing so hard, her cheeks were pink,
"I think Ambrose would want you to forget the last part."
He grinned. It was always all right when DG was around. He missed her sometimes when Ambrose was working really hard and Glitch was lying around in the background making colors and shapes and comments. They just didn't mesh, at least not more than just around the edges, apparently that was a side effect, because it had been a really, really long time since he'd been properly put together and something about different experiences. He was sure there was going to be a book written about it or something. How Ambrose had become something not quite human and Glitch had become something... well something broken, and when you smashed them together what you got was still a little broken just in different ways.
Sometimes Ambrose forgot he was human again which was lucky because at least Glitch was good at remembering sleeping and food and hugs. While Glitch could forget names and periodic tables, Ambrose could forget that he could leave the room he was in. When they were apart they were both broken, even though sometimes Ambrose refused to admit it, but together they made up a sort of whole-ish person. But that didn't mean they got along.
They were very different people and over the last annual and a half... Was it really an annual an a half since he'd gotten his brain back? Yes, Ambrose said, a bit sleepily. Well, over the last annual and a half something seemed to happen everyday to remind them of it.
First of all Ambrose had no sense of fun what so ever.
He claims that he does but Glitch knows better. Confidence. Confidence was the key and Glitch had thought confidence came from being smart. He couldn't have been more wrong. Ambrose is confident when he's talking about machines or numbers or strange theories long forgotten. But he's quiet at parties or dinners. Not a word comes out when people are joking and the only dances he'll do are the boring proper ones. Even though he likes dancing! He likes it! But he won't do the fun ones because...
"Oh! Sorry, were you saying something?"
DG chuckled, "No, I was just watching you stare off into space and get that grumbly look you get when you're thinking about something you don't want to."
"Well, that's not very polite. You're supposed to keep me from getting that look."
"Sorry, is it Ambrose?"
Glitch huffed, "Of course."
"I was trying to get him to talk about it..."
Glitch laughed and twiddled his fork in his fingers, "Good luck with that. I think you'll get a medal if you get him to say anything out loud."
"Ooh!" DG grinned, "I like medals. Is it shiny?"
"Very shiny," Glitch raised his eyebrows as he grinned, "The shiniest ever."
Laughter eclipsed thoughts and grumbles on the outside. But the sighing feeling was still there. Ambrose wasn't Glitch. Ambrose didn't like sweets. He didn't care how pretty the sunsrise was. He didn't ask for help. He didn't smile when he felt he should. He didn't snicker when DG told a joke.
"Oh hey, we got a report from Cain."
Glitch felt himself smile, sort of silly as his stomach flip flopped, "Really? Is he doing okay?"
"Yep," DG nodded as she ate a figberry, "him, Jeb, and the mapmaker are about halfway through Winkie Country, whatever that means. They say almost all of the western coast is done. Then they're going to head north to double check the map that Dad had."
Glitch took a deep breath keeping his smile in place, "That's good. Important work and all. We all have to do our important work to do..."
He trailed off, his eyes suddenly wide as he felt the overwhelming urge to bolt from the room, part of it was him but most of it was Ambrose who had perked up at a topic he didn't want to hear at all about.
"You miss him that bad, huh?"
Glitch was too unguarded to pretend he didn't know exactly what she was talking about. But he smiled silly anyway.
"Of course. We all miss Cain."
DG sighed and Glitch wanted to talk and rant and blather... But he felt Ambrose in the back of his mind and he didn't want Ambrose to be mad at him. So he changed the subject and they laughed until the cook shooed them out, even though he could see the sorrowful change in DG's blue eyes when she looked at him, but he didn't want Ambrose to wake all the way up and tell him what it was.
Glitch and Ambrose weren't the same person. They didn't quite agree on some things but they only really had one big point of contention.
Ambrose didn't love Wyatt Cain.