A/N: The really ironic thing here that I actually had planned out this fic, as opposed to others I've been working on. And yet, here we are…I know I've likely said it before, but I do apologize to everyone who started reading this, only to have me kinda flake out. I've been trying to work on not doing that as much. Especially huge apologies to bleedingchaos who really inspired this. Sorry I kinda suck in the updating department^^""
"You're a deep well Glitch."
"Oh go on cowboy," Glitch grinned, planting on last kick into a Longcoat's stomach for good measure. The man let out a wheezy grunt and curled further in upon himself. "Actually, Wyatt, I've got an idea."
"Yeah?" Cain paused and looked back.
"We can hardly stroll into the castle just like this. What say we, uh accessorize?" Glitch gestured to the numerous men laying in the fetal position at their feet, most of them put there by Glitch, a couple by Cain. "Surely they won't miss their coats?"
"Sweetheart I shudder to think of you with both halves of your brain, clever as you are with just the one."
They divested two of the men of their coats, and Glitch snatched up a wide brimmed black hat to cram over his distinctive curls. They were as incognito as could be.
"I don't think leather's my thing," Cain complained in a whisper as they slunk through the steamy underbelly of the castle. "It's tight, it creaks, how in the hell did they ever move in this, with it swirling round their legs all the damn time, and-'' he paused when he felt a hand squeeze his shoulder.
"Ease up Wyatt. They just didn't treat it right, would hardly have the time to with all the oppression and murder they get up to." Glitch knew he was really rambling and complaining more because of nerves than actual distaste for the coat, though the fact it was plucked off a Longcoat likely didn't help matters. But he was smart enough not to imply such. Instead, he kept his hand along Wyatt's back as they navigated the twists and turns and tried to make their way to rescue DG and Raw.
Fate, Lady Luck or whomever had apparently picked them as her current favorites, and enjoyed seeing them run into each other quite literally and as often as possible. That was the only reasoning Cain could see behind why when he and Glitch were dashing along one corridor, DG and Raw, lead for some reason by a small dog, were hiding in another. It did not explain why DG was armed with a giant wrench or why she swung it at them and coincidentally hit Glitch in the head, rattling his already traumatized grey matter; for that one needed only look at their oh so delightful surroundings. Without waiting for an answer, or for Glitch to regain his coherence, Wyatt scooped the smaller man up and with an 'after you' gesture, followed his newly found companions.
They made it out by the skin of their teeth and kept running, not stopping until they were deep in the woods. Once there, Wyatt shucked off his jacket, still balancing Glitch in one arm, before setting him down, untangling him from his jacket and checking to see how addled his half a brain had gotten.
"Glitch? You in there still?" he peeled back one of Glitch's eyelids and was pleased to see the pupil dilate. He squinched his eyes shut and shook his head, letting out a small moan.
"What in the name of all the O.Z. hit me?" he rubbed at his head.
"That was my fault, sorry," DG answered, looking more than a little sheepish. "We were making our own escape, and we thought you were Longcoats, I mean, with the coats and all…" she trailed off for a moment, and then turned sad eyes to Cain. "And, um, the Mystic Man is dead. Azka-D got him right…right in front of me. Just s-sucked him dry, all his life just gone, poof…" she wrapped her arms tight around her chest, shivering. "But he told me to head south. Does that…does that mean anything to you?"
"Well, south leads to Finaqua. That's the only thing I can think of. There's a palace there, maybe there's even more answers?" Cain shrugged.
"It's a damn better idea than sitting round here with that castle still in sight," Glitch grumbled, trying to stand and wobbling on his feet. "Wyatt, help a zipper head out would you please?" With a roll of his eyes, Wyatt slid his arm around Glitch's middle, helping him keep his balance. A few paces away, the small dog that had been leading them danced around in a circle, yipping excitedly.
"Yeah, chill," DG told him. "We'll get moving in just a second. I did practically bash his half a brain in, let him get his bearings." The dog growled, hardly a threatening sound from one so small. "Oh please, I'm the princess here."
"DG, doll, are you seriously talking to that dog like he can understand you?" Glitch had seen strange things in his lifetime, but princess conversing with dogs, well that he just could not make sense of. Until of course said dog suddenly shivered and shot up until he was a short, rather rotund man in a waistcoat with rather impressive mutton chops. "Y'know, I think I need to sit down now," Glitch abruptly plopped himself onto the ground, half dragging Wyatt with him.
The man formerly known as dog gazed down at him, arching an eyebrow. "Don't you recognize me Ambrose?"
"It's Glitch now, and I do good to recognize myself on good days. Woulda thought I'd remember something like that," Glitch gestured helplessly at him, "but I got nothing."
"What about you, little princess?"
DG frowned, a faraway look coming to her eyes. "Toto?"
The man frowned, "Tutor, but yes, Toto is what you called me, particularly when I was four legged."
"Tutor. Tutor in…magic? It was magic right?"
"Very good. At least your memories are coming back." Toto glanced back at Glitch, who flushed indignantly.
"I'm missing half my brain! Let's take out half yours and see how well you get on then!"
"Easy sweetheart," Wyatt, ruffled Glitch's hair, mindful of the zipper. Glitch huffed and got once more to his feet. He strode down the path, stopped, turned on his heel and looked back them.
"Well, are we going or not?"
"We are, it's just…south is that way," Wyatt jerked his thumb in the opposite direction of where Glitch was going.
"I knew that!"
Together the motley crew made its way southward, making good time all things considered. They stopped every nightfall, and with all of them working together, each night they were able to set up a rather nice camp. On the third morning since their escape from the castle however, they came to an unforeseen halt.
"Oh my god are we really, seriously, back at the fields of those, what were they? Pahpay?" DG demanded as they stood right at the edge of the field.
"Unfortunately," Cain sighed. They subconsciously moved closer together, Raw going so far as to grasp DG's hand like a lifeline. Glitch sidled even closer to Wyatt until they were almost tripping over each other and he was forced to step back ever so slightly. It seemed though, that the minute they stepped from forest path to emerald green grass that piles of branches, moss, lichen and other fragments of flora shook themselves to life and gave chase, and they were fast for things that looked ready to fall apart at a stiff wind. Soon enough, they had the five people cowering against a long dead tree, all snapping fangs and scenting snouts steadily closing in.
"DG," Toto murmured, "call your magic."
"And do what, blast them away?" DG whispered harshly. "I don't even know if I could do that!"
"No, something much simpler. The tree, bring it to life."
"Oh right, that's much easier. I'll get right on it!"
He gave her a look, one she suspected had been used on her often in her hazy past.
"Fine." She shut her eyes and tried to pretend there wasn't an ever tightening ring of vicious living mulch trying to eat them. She pressed her palms against the wood, searching for something, she didn't know what exactly. It was only as warmth surged through her palms for a brief flash that she realized she was trying to find a pulse, some sign of life in the old wood. She gasped, and squeezed her eyes tighter; trying to find that beat once more and call it back. Slowly, she willed it to come faster until the bark thrummed with energy. The soft sounds of awe around her told her something was happening, but she couldn't open her eyes yet, not until the beat leveled out.
"I'll be damned…"
"Shut it zipper head."
DG eased open her eyes and looked up. The branches had lengthened and grown wider. Leaves had sprouted and among them hung the most delicious looking apples she'd ever seen. She jerked as something brushed against her hand, and glanced down to see a pahpay edging closer before planting its front legs on the trunk to stretch up and snag an apple. It crunched happily, and while the others did the same, the five were able to sneak past without incident.
"That…that was amazing. That tree, you brought it back doll," Glitch gazed wide eyed at DG, who was looking at her hands with the same expression.
"That's not all I can do, is it?" she asked Toto, who chuckled.
"Not by half."
"Will you teach me?"
"It would be my great honor."
A/N: ok, so wicked short I know, but I wanted to give you guys something. And my laptop's acting a little fidgety so I wanted to get it in before something bad happened. Gonna have my boyfriend take a look and he'll tell me (benefits of him being an IT tech), so I'm not panicking yet. Hoping it's just a hard drive needing replacing. Anyway, enough of my ramblings, have some more apologies and I bid you all goodnight.