Title: Binary Means Two
Rating: PG to R depending on your imagination,
Parings: Cain/Glitch/Ambrose, you know it's awesome when there's two slashes in there. Also, Jeb/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.
Obligatory Author Drivel: Dooooone. Stick a fork in me. I will always back up my files on CD and I will not quit my job the week that my video card dies and be forced to use a laptop that may or may not turn on. Here's the last part, didn't quite make it to the smutty smut, but after reading the whole thing through I don't think it really needed it. I am on to bigger and better things. Un'betaed, (couldn't find one!) poke me if you find any glaring errors. :)
Part Six: Plurality
Ambrose stopped outside his door and fumbled for his keys while Cain kept looking up and down the hall. Gods, he was nervous. It was really more excited than nervous but... Gods they were a close feeling. Why did they feel so alike? Excited made him just as nauseous as nervous and... ugh, why in the Gale were his keys all jumbled up like that? He hissed as Glitch shrugged in the back of his mind and they both stared down at the ball of metal that had been a key chain full of rather neatly lined up keys and was now a horrible mess of copper and...
"Which one is it?"
Ambrose sighed as Cain came up to him, "The second smallest, they used to be in order..."
It took the tin man a laughably short time to locate the correct key and unlock the door. Ambrose rolled his eyes and was thankful that Cain didn't say a word even though he caught the small smile on the man's lips when he took his keys back and fiddled with them in his hand. There had to be better mean of security that didn't involve so many damnable keys. He'd invent one just so that never happened to him again. Or well, he could always make Cain open all the doors from now on. For some reason that seemed a much better solution and Glitch nodded in agreement. He was still a bit tipsy both from the champagne and the kiss, so he blamed that for the rather silly smile that crossed his features as Cain looked around with his hands in his pockets.
He was just so terribly attractive at times. Ambrose wondered briefly if this was what Cain's wife, Cain's Adora, would see whenever she looked at him. This sort of, man at peace. Just Wyatt Cain, not the tin man or the guardian or that vengeful...
Right. Ambrose composed himself as he stared at his workshop door that held all his other other locks and then at the bundle of keys in his hand. It was both he and Glitch that smiled at Cain and held the keys up.
They were confusing the hell out of him and Cain knew that they were loving it. Ambrose had gotten a lot braver after the kiss. If that smirk he had when he handed the keys back over were any indication. It wasn't to say that Cain didn't think it was absolutely fabulous. He was just starting to think that maybe he was in over his head. He could handle Glitch and he was pretty sure that he could handle Ambrose with the same efficiency but he hadn't considered what would happen if he had to handle them simultaneously.
Of course that thought was a lot more appealing than not getting to spend time with them at all. He opened lock after lock on the workshop door, more listening to the amusement in Ambrose's voice than the actual instructions on how to get the massive door open.
"...really think it's a bit of overkill. My workshop in the tower didn't have any and the one in the old palace at Finaqua only had one which... well made it a bit easy to get into..."
Cain turned the last lock as Ambrose frowned to himself and Cain jangled the keys in front of his face to get the advisor to snap out of it.
"That's in the past, now let's see this mad lair."
"Wyatt Cain!" It was definitely a Glitch moment when the advisor snatched his keys back, "It is not a lair. Nor am I mad. Well, alright I'm a bit mad but that's to be expected..."
Cain grinned as he let Ambrose swish past him and flick about half a dozen switches to turn all the lights on.
"I mean, lairs don't have such wide windows, nor are they on the third floor of anything. A lair must be dark, dank, and preferably in a basement."
"You've done your homework."
"Well, it isn't as if I've written a dissertation on it..." Ambrose blinked and turned back quickly enough that the tails on his coat swung out, "you said that just so I'd stop frowning, didn't you?"
Cain felt a small smile creep up the side of his mouth, "you're very smart. I can see why they made you advisor."
Ambrose gave him a strange look, one that Cain didn't think would be possible on anyone else not having had their brain split in two. His mouth smiled, slightly, a bit of a twist, but his eyes remained wary and a bit perplexed. Then all of a sudden both expressions met in the middle and he blushed, quickly turning away, going to a workbench and shuffling through the objects there.
Cain took a deep breath and followed, it was going to be a strange dance but he was more than willing to let the other lead.
He took a long look around the 'lab'. It was a large room, nearly the size of the rest of the whole eastern wing, but it looked like most of it was being used for storage at the time. Bits of defunct machinery dominated the room, strange shapes covered in sheets and wrapped in burlap and hay. Boxes were here and there, looking as if they'd been rooted through but not quite unpacked and the long workbenches that ran under the eastern facing windows were cluttered with bits and bobs of all shapes and sizes.
Cain whistled as he stuck his hands in his pockets.
"I have to say I'm impressed."
Ambrose scoffed a bit as he turned, leaning against the workbench, "it's just an awful lot of junk now. Most of it should be destroyed... I just... haven't brought myself to do it yet."
"You'll get around to it, when you need to."
Glitch now, eyebrows raised,
"Cain, where in the long trek across the O.Z. did you pick up optimism? Was it on sale? I should pick up a whole crate of it."
Cain chuckled as he took a step towards the other man, "I think they were handing it out after the eclipse."
"I must have missed the line."
That was Ambrose, the shifty haunted look flickering back up into his eyes and Cain stopped moving forward. It was odd how quickly the man could switch back and forth between his own selves. Cain couldn't really predict who was going to come through, but he could at least tell them apart. DG said it had taken her weeks to tell them apart. A small feeling of triumph coiled in Cain's chest that he could do it right from the start.
He didn't like that look on Ambrose's face. He'd seen better this evening but he didn't know if he should push his luck just yet...
He smiled as his hand closed around an object in his pocket.
"Oh, I almost forgot. I brought you a present."
Cain watched Ambrose's eyes widen so much he thought they would fall out of his head as he fumbled to say something but was immediately overrun by Glitch,
"You didn't have to... Really!? What is it!?"
He pulled from his pocket, a crystal, just about big enough to fit in his fist, it was roundish, faceted, and it flickered with it's own light as it rolled in Cain's palm.
Glitch grinned an 'ooh' escaping his lips and then he blinked and Cain watched Ambrose slide to the forefront.
"Th-that is an Oogaboo sunlight crystal. It's perfect!"
Cain blinked as the crystal was very quickly accepted and held up to the light as Ambrose tutted over it like it was a baby.
"It's even the right size and shape... I thought I was going to have to drop a thousand platinums just to get ahold of one!"
The tin man smiled a bit as Ambrose hurried over to a largish round machine that sat with half its insides spilling out onto the work surface. He hadn't thought the gift would go over that well.
"I'm told they're rare."
"Oh, very much so, where in the kingdoms did you find it?"
"It kind of found me."
Ambrose looked up for an instant, before turning back to his machine, "Really?"
"We were surveying the caverns up north and found some not quite solid ground. I'm told it was a rather spectacular fall. Apparently I was there one moment and the next I wasn't."
The advisor looked up again, his hands stilling for a moment, "were you hurt?"
"Cracked a rib, but it was mostly my pride that suffered. After I got my bearings I noticed the cavern I'd landed in led off to a couple of tunnels, one of which was glowing."
"You found a cavern of these? Cain do you know how much money that's worth?"
Cain shrugged, "that's what Tip was going on about. I was more concerned with getting myself back onto higher ground. But, well, she went down and brought a sackful up and I thought of you, so I kept one."
"Well, it's perfect, especially for what I have in mind," he smiled as he set about screwing the machine closed.
"Get the lights, would you?"
Ambrose hefted himself onto his workbench so that he sat next to his machine and his feet dangled. He nodded as Cain flicked the lights off and grinned as the crystal began to glow.
"Now, it will take a few moments, they work better after they've had a chance to adjust and... there!"
The soft glow grew until the machine lit up from the inside and all of a sudden thousands of pinpoints of light burst out if it, moving softly across the darkened walls of his lab.
Best idea ever!
Ambrose grinned as Glitch bounced. He had made an absolutely harmless invention.
"See! It's an accurate representation of the sky over Finaqua during the summer. I can make other fittings to change with the seasons and areas. It's very educational, one wouldn't even have to leave the classroom to see the stars and if the windows are closed you can use it in the day..."
Ambrose trailed off as he looked at Cain, who stood across the room with his head tilted up, watching the patterns and movements of light.
Suddenly a 'very important question' that Ambrose had never even considered surfaced in his mind, "Cain, do you like it?"
A heartbeat too long passed and Ambrose felt himself bite his lip, perhaps Cain thought it was silly. Essentially it was just a toy. It didn't have much use...
"It's gorgeous, sweetheart."
Ambrose swallowed as that silly wonderful pet name fell into the air and he felt tears prick at his eyes. That's right. Sweetheart. That was Glitch, that was him, them. He knew that Cain had been less than serious when he'd first used it in the... brain room, but now... The endearment rang a bit too honest for him to be joking.
Cain had called him 'sweetheart'.
Cain, who stood in the glittering light of Ambrose's invention in all his finery, with beautiful smoky blue eyes, who'd smiled and offered optimism when Ambrose was the one being difficult.
Slowly, Ambrose took a deep breath and let it out, "Would you come here, please?"
The tin man looked up curiously, but obeyed, crossing the room and coming to stop right in front of Ambrose. His hands were back in his pockets and he looked nonchalant, like he stood in starry lit rooms with advisor's all the time.
"Why... why 'sweetheart'? Why not any other name?"
A flicker crossed blue eyes, pale in the darkness of the room, and Cain looked down a frown tugging on his lips, "It's what I used to call Adora."
A million things tumbled around Ambrose's head all at once, knocking Glitch over with them and they both ended up blinking. He could understand endearments now, silly pet names were part of the game they had started but... back then? In the middle of the eclipse and grieving and everything?
"Why would you call me what you called your wife?"
Cain shrugged, halfway, only a little bit, like a child who'd been caught doing something... not bad... more unexpected.
"I'm not sure. I was worried when you didn't wake up, I think I panicked a little and when you opened your eyes, well, it just slipped out."
Ambrose felt a wiry smile slip out from both him and Glitch, "It just slipped out? Goodness tin man, you're a psychiatrists dream."
"Somehow that's not quite as offensive as it should be, coming from you."
"We are a bit of a matched set, aren't we?"
Somewhere in the middle between 'you' and 'matched' Glitch had begun keening, pushing the emotions that Ambrose was feeling along and with only sort of half an idea of what he was doing, Ambrose reached forward and buried the tips of his fingers into the furred collar of Cain's jacket. With another nudge from Glitch he had tugged the tin man forward, pulling him right against the edge of the workbench, between his legs for Lurline's sake and claimed a kiss he thought he would drown in.
Now Ambrose knew firsthand what it was like to have all his synapses firing in random directions as he and Glitch simply melted. He felt Cain's hands slide up and wrap around his waist, pulling him towards the end of the workbench.
Ambrose knew there was a rather embarrassing keening noise building in his throat that he was definitely going to blame Glitch for later as his fingers slipped through fur and up, until they brushed short, cropped hair and he felt his stomach flip.
This was... glorious, decadent, wonderful and why in the four kingdoms had he been so scared?
They broke finally, panting, fingers still tangled, and Ambrose felt more than smug at the utterly wrecked look that was left on Cain's face. He'd done that, he'd done that to Wyatt Cain. That had to be some kind of scientific triumph.
"Right," Cain breathed, "So, are you going to be doing that often?"
"Possibly, at least until I get the hang of it."
"The hang of it? Sweetheart, I'd say you already figured it out."
"There's no harm in practice," Ambrose murmured and the third kiss was a clash of tongue and teeth and Ambrose couldn't tell who was making what noise anymore.
This was crazy.
In all intents and purposes, this wasn't what Cain had in mind for this evening. No, in the way things played out in his head they would be going much slower. For Ambrose's sake. Which was at least what he told himself. Then Ambrose had asked him over to the workbench and the words 'come' and 'hither' had flitted over the surface of the tin mans mind before something had crumbled between them. Now he'd fisted the advisor's vest and shirt up so that his fingers splayed over bare skin and Ambrose had somewhere along the way wrapped his legs around Cain's waist in an effort to pull them even closer which seemed to be a physical impossibility at the rate they were going.
The boy scout that took up most of the tin man's mind was making excuses about how they should stop and think this through. There were bound to have been some questions they hadn't asked or ramifications they hadn't considered. But that part of his mind was shushed away when Ambrose... Glitch? It didn't matter, whimpered and brought his arms around Cain's shoulders, all the while doing something absolutely fantastic with his tongue.
For the second time they broke apart, Ambrose resting his head on Cain's shoulder as Cain kept ahold of the slender man so that his knees didn't give out.
Cain grinned as Ambrose muttered against the side of his neck.
"Y'know, I had it in my head that we would go slow..."
Ambrose chuckled, "normally I would agree but Glitch tells me that... that's a load of crap."
"Glitch is brilliant."
"Thank you, bed now?"
Cain laughed as Glitch surfaced and nuzzled his neck as Cain lifted him rather easily off the workbench and turned towards the bedroom with the advisor still wrapped around him.
"Is that what you both want?"
Glitch lifted his head and smiled, that sweet silly smile that Cain hadn't realized he missed so badly until he had it back, "my, you're sweet. I'm pretty sure if we wait Ambrose is going to lose his nerve and he's told me that if I let him he'll never forgive me."
"Right, bed then."
"Is it what you want?"
"Glitch, I wouldn't have you halfway to the bedroom if it wasn't what I wanted."
Cain managed to make it to the doorway when Glitch piped up again, "Cain? Do you, I mean, I know you know what you're doing but do you know what you're... doing?"
"Are you asking me if I've had sex before?"
"No! Well, you must have, cause Jeb. But um..."
"You mean have I done this with another man?"
"...yes. Cause it's different. The uh, technical aspects."
"It can't be that different, besides, Tip has books."
There was a moment before Glitch broke out laughing as he let Cain carry him the rest of the way to the bed.
He'd been right, Cain was an overwhelming man. But maybe that wasn't such a bad thing.
Ambrose heard himself moan as Cain found a particularly sensitive part on his neck. The man nibbled... The man nibbled! Gods! His back arched as he held onto Cain's shoulders, his back pressed against the tin man's chest. Somehow most of their clothes had found their way to the floor, along with the wire frame wings that were being smashed by Cain's jacket. Ambrose had found himself down to his breeches when Cain had pounced, turning the advisor into a whimpering, pleading, ball of nerves.
It was just, ceaseless, as if Cain expected him to change his mind at any moment and the man was working hard to make sure that didn't happen. Which was incredibly not-likely-at-all the moment the tin man's hand slid into breeches, that may be missing a button now, and found Ambrose's rather neglected member. A keening moan was stifled with a kiss that tasted of wine and sweet cream. Fingers twitched as strokes became more rhythmic and kisses more with a purpose. There was a moment of clarity before they fell completely into the bedsheets and started fumbling for oil, when Glitch remained a muddled pile of sensation, but Ambrose couldn't remember the last time someone else had done all the work.
Wyatt Cain was content.
He couldn't remember the last time he'd been content. Satisfied, yes. Victorious, yes. Maybe even a little happy, but never content. There had always been that little bit of something that had been missing. That little bit of something that was currently curled against Cain's side, murmuring something. Cain smoothed his fingers through tousled curls and rubbed very gently across the scar hidden in them. Ambrose quieted, but snuggled closer, slender fingers curling around a hip. They were both tangled to the nines in the bedsheets, and Ambrose had mixed smears of red and brown smoothing down his cheeks. Cain didn't even want to know what his face looked like. He should get up. Take a shower. Find out when he was supposed to start reporting for duty.
Instead he opted to watch the sunsrise and trail fingertips across smooth flesh that sighed against him.
He looked down as brown eyes fluttered open and looked up.
"Last I checked that wasn't my name."
"Is now. We decided you should get it."
"Mm hmm, majority vote."
Cain blinked wondering how many 'majority votes' he was going to lose over the course of his lifetime.
"That's not very fair..."
"Oh, it is, you know. A democracy is one of the more fairer systems," Ambrose managed through a yawn.
"Well, I can't get breakfast with you on top of me."
Ambrose sighed while Glitch frowned, "That's a problem. We're going to have to go through another round of voting."
"Well, when you're done with that, let me know."
There was a vague mumble as the advisor curled back up, his face tucked against Cain's chest.
It was maybe another twenty minutes before Glitch needed waffles entirely too badly and Ambrose had agreed that they should maybe move. In a little bit. Soon. Finally they ended up grinning as Cain wrestled them off, leaving kisses in his wake and letting them have all the blankets as well as the wonderful view of him walking to the washroom. Nude. He stretched as he made a right mess of the blankets and burrowed under them.
Glitch grinned as he whispered, "There's a naked tin man in our washroom."
Ambrose chuckled stirring awake fully, "I know. You think we should keep him?"
"Oh definitely, there's an awful lot we can do with our own tin man."
"With or to?"
"You're a terrible deviant, Ambrose. I hope you know that."
"Well now, we have a delinquent, a deviant, and a boy scout."
"Good thing we have that boy scout, or else we'd be in all sorts of trouble."
"Now we can get him into trouble."
That's how Cain found them chuckling in the blankets before they yanked him back into bed with his trousers half up and deciding at that moment that, first, breakfast was going to be very quickly forgotten and that words like 'us' and 'ours' were entirely more favorable than their singular counterparts.