Washing of the Water
Title: Washing of the Water
Author: Allronix
Team: Tin Men
Prompt: Silence (Table 1)
Word Count: 490
Disclaimer: Oz was created by Baum. Long-Mitchell and Van Sickle cooked up this variant. Title is from a Peter Gabriel song.
Author's note:Dedicated to lattelady6

"Sorry," she said as she used a glass shard to cut away the rest of the shirt. It was stiff with dirt, sweat, and blood - a total loss. The pants and undergarments were in even worse shape. They'd have to be cut away, too. Maybe Glitch would be better off doing this.

She looked over her shoulder and saw her companion scratching his head and muttering to himself. Then again, maybe not. DG ruefully resigned herself to the idea that she'd be sponge-bathing a total stranger.

"Glitch, can you find a blanket? Or maybe some clothes for this guy?"

Glitch scowled. "Should you really be alone with...well, with..."

"Just find a blanket, Glitch."

"Gotcha," he said, leaving the room, but not before casting a worried look over his shoulder.

To respect the poor man's dignity, DG worked in silence. It wasn't the first time she had seen a man naked. She'd been pretty "active" back in Kansas, accepting fleeting comfort in the wilder crowd. Of course, she put an end to it a few months ago, realizing that whatever she was looking for, she wouldn't find it in the back of a pick-up truck or bottle of booze.

Now this...two suns in the sky, dwarfs painted in garish colors, a traveling companion with a zip-top head...It played like some bad dream she couldn't wake up from. The man propped up in a chair inside a washtub had no reaction as she peeled away the filthy rags. If it weren't for his steady breathing, DG would have doubted he was alive at all.

Casting what was left if the clothing aside, she took the scrap she'd torn from the remains of a shirt and dipped it in the lukewarm water, wringing it out. Gently, she touched the cloth to the man's forehead, wiping away the layers of grime.

It settled into a mute pattern - her hand dipping into the water, bringing up the cloth, washing away the dirt. If she were in any frame of mind to notice it, she would have thought he was attractive. All she was thinking about, though, was getting him clean and wondering what kind of sick jerk would cram a man in a metal coffin and force him to watch a home movie from hell.

Forget it, DG. None of this is real anyway. You're likely to wake up any second, listening to Carter's bitching about the dinner rush...

Suddenly, the man's hand flew up and snatched her wrist. DG found herself looking into blue-gray eyes the color of storm clouds. In a moment of unnatural clarity, she was aware of his gaze, the painful grip on her wrist, and the muddy water streaming from the cloth onto her hand and his arm.

And that moment was the first time DG realized that this wasn't a nightmare or bad trip. All of this – all of it - was real.