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Tin Man fic: Perceptible - Chapter 1/10

Title: Perceptible - 1 of 10
Author: Surreal
Rating: Overall NC-17, just to be safe.
Characters/Pairing: Raw/Jeb, Glitch/Cain, plus lots of other characters
Word count this chapter: ~1400
Disclaimer: The characters and settings belong to L. Frank Baum and the creative minds behind Tin Man. I do not claim to own anything.
Summary: Jeb Cain has found someone who sees him for who he is, for what he needs, for the first time in his life. He can’t quite believe that it’s that easy.
A/N: Entire story uses magic4mula 40-word prompt table, 4 prompts per chapter. This chapter: "salt…waiting…broom…fruit." The story encompasses everything that happens between the two stories “Unfamiliar” and “Spring Fever.”

Unfamiliar



~~

Waking up surrounded by warmth, softness all around him and clean-smelling, was a relatively new experience for Jeb Cain, at least as far back as he could honestly remember.

The feeling of safety, without pain, fear or someone waiting for him to lead, to simply open his tired eyes to the world and find it calm, quiet and welcoming, was an entirely new experience for him.

Blinking slowing in the dim silence of an unfamiliar room, Jeb took a deep breath through his nose and turned his head, mouth tickled by the edge of the blanket someone had carefully draped over him. He reached up to tug it down a bit but kept the decadently thick, supple fabric bunched in his hand.

It was still a shock to wake up and see his father looking back.

Wyatt was sitting on another couch across from a low table, legs tucked up under him and coat thrown casually over the thick, padded arm, its familiar gray fabric half-buried among the pillows. More unexpected was the second man curled up half on his father’s lap, zipper hidden where it was tucked in the crook of Wyatt’s elbow.

Jeb watched for a long moment as Wyatt held his friend, their hands intertwined while Wyatt’s thumb traced a slow, soothing circle in the palm of Glitch’s hand. He dragged his eyes away from that little intimacy that made him feel like he was intruding on something he had no business seeing. The man may be his father, but he was just as much a stranger to him as the rest of the men who had so recently entered his life.

“Okay?” Wyatt mouthed soundlessly with a hitch of his chin.

With a simple, uncoordinated nod, Jeb gave his answer. The initial rush of waking had started to fade and he was suddenly too warm under the blanket. He started to kick it off but a large, familiar hand came to rest on his forehead, keeping him from sitting up. Eyes darted up to take in the looming shadow that ebbed and flowed before crouching next to him to congeal into the big Viewer.

“Slow,” the soft, deep voice cautioned him and Jeb instinctually knew this man was not to be argued with.

Letting the Viewer guide him into a half-seated position against the arm of the chaise lounge, Jeb let the blanket bunch up on his lap. He leaned back with a long exhale, closing his eyes for a moment until he felt the heavy dip in the seat next to his hip. Rolling his head against a too-fat throw pillow, Jeb met the concerned frown with a half-smile. “It’s Raw, isn’t it?”

Startled, Raw nodded quickly. “Yes,” he confirmed quietly.

Jeb made a non-committal noise and glanced over to see that not only was Wyatt watching but now Glitch’s eyes were on him as well. Licking his lips and tasting salt, Jeb nodded politely at Glitch. “You okay, Mr..Ambrose?” He realized then he wasn’t quite sure how to address the wayward Advisor.

Glitch shifted his head but didn’t sit up, seemingly content to be cradled within Wyatt’s curled form. “It’s still Glitch,” he said kindly. “And I’m just fine, thank you for asking. It’s you we’re worried about.”

Frowning, Jeb took a moment to consider his own body. He had a vague sense memory of smoke, blood, trees and shadows. Remembered the feel of someone holding him from the inside, comforting his mind and soothing his physical pain, yet keeping a polite distance from the closed-off parts. Jeb knew with a look, even as he reached up to touch the smooth, flawless skin of his upper arm under the torn and stained shirt, that Raw had been responsible. “That was you?” he asked, knowing Raw would understand.

Raw looked at him calmly without answering, simply reaching forward to touch the back of Jeb’s hand.

For the second time that day, Jeb knew just how appropriate the Viewer’s name was. Pure, raw and uncontained emotion flowed between them, far deeper than the easy connection that healing provided. Jeb could already tell he had no defenses with this man; none had ever seen through him like this and Jeb was helpless to hold back his long-contained need for this kind of release.

When he opened his eyes, Jeb saw Wyatt had leaned forward expectantly, a worried frown between his eyes. Even Glitch had shifted to sit up, though he was still keeping a hand on Wyatt’s leg. “What just happened?” Wyatt asked in a rush.

Raw made a soft rumbling sound as he let his hand slip free of Jeb’s. “Nothing important,” Raw replied smoothly, not breaking Jeb’s gaze. “Hungry?”

A bit shaken, Jeb took a deep breath. “I...guess so,” he said slowly. Suddenly, in an uncontrolled cascade, the day’s events came to him in a tidal wave. Ignoring the dizziness as he sat up quickly and threw off the blanket, nearly kicking Raw in his haste, he rambled, “Wait – what about my people? How long – damn it, I’ve got – “

“Hey, take it easy,” Wyatt stumbled over and knelt next to the couch while Raw’s hands on Jeb’s shoulders kept him from standing. “Everything’s under control, we’ve already checked. Peter’s keeping an eye on all of your people, making sure they’re getting all the help they need. Though, they’re not really your people anymore, now that the war’s over.”

Jeb gaped at Wyatt for a long moment, glancing up at Glitch who gave him a quick, sympathetic nod. Slumping back into Raw’s solid grip, Jeb swallowed thickly. “I suppose you’re right,” he replied finally. “What...what’s going to happen now?”

Wyatt patted Jeb’s knee. “We’re going to take up a broom and clean up the mess, one bit at a time. No point looking past today or tomorrow, is there?”

Glitch came up behind Wyatt and stood there, tall and proud, one hand resting on Wyatt’s shoulder. “There’s plenty of rooms here in the Tower,” he offered. “No sense in letting them go to waste. Though I’m partial to finding a room on level three...”

“Don’t blame you,” Wyatt reached up and touched Glitch’s hand. “Though there’s already a good number of guards in place, I wouldn’t mind keeping a close eye on that room, either.”

“Then it’s settled,” Glitch said with a grin. “At least until everything settles down a bit and we can reclaim the Palace. I wonder if my old room is still...”

“Glitch,” Raw’s voice was soft when it picked up where Glitch’s had faded. “Worry about that later. Now is time to rest.”

Wyatt’s sharp eye caught Jeb again. “Yeah, you lost a lot of blood, kiddo,” he said roughly. “Why don’t you let Raw find you a more private room to rest in. Glitch and I will go check out the kitchen, bring you something to eat.”

Jeb was overwhelmed by all the attention of these three men he hardly knew virtually fussing over him. At this point, nothing sounded better than a few moments away from it all, even with Raw keeping him company. There was something very heartening about the big, quiet Viewer, something Jeb didn’t want to lose quite yet. Not until he figured out what it meant, that all too brief touch they had shared. “Can you make sure my...the people outside, whoever is still here...that they’re getting food too?”

“Already taken care of,” Wyatt assured Jeb even as he and Raw help Jeb to his feet on unsteady legs. “We’ve got a few of the younger kids working as runners between the medics and kitchens. Peter’s a good man, he’s got it all worked out.”

“Yeah, okay,” Jeb nodded absently, for once simply grateful not to be in charge. To let himself lean on someone else and let himself be guided by strength he knew he could trust.

Out of the corner of his eye, Jeb saw Glitch take Wyatt’s wrist in a familiar grip, tugging gently. “Come on. I’m pretty sure I spotted a good selection of fresh fruit in the pantry just waiting for us to raid it.”

With that, the two pairs of men went their separate ways for the time being. Jeb watched his father being led away by the oddly competent headcase and couldn’t help but wonder how they had come to this point in their lives.

~~

End Chapter 1

Continue to Chapter 2

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
andrealyn
Sep. 1st, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I'm loving this already and I like the oddly warm and domestic (and yet somehow still awkward) scene of them all waking up and poor Jeb watching his father! ♥ Cannot wait for more!
surranndie
Sep. 2nd, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
\o/ I'm so glad! That's just the feeling I was going for - that sense of togetherness that Jeb can see yet he's still feeling out-of-sorts being thrown into this group of men he really doesn't know all that well. :D Jeb's going to have a lot of stuff to work through with regards to his father, I'm sure!

*is staring at the blank spot where the next chapter should be* Hopefully more will come soon! *grin*
lionille
Sep. 2nd, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
It’s still Glitch,” he said kindly. “And I’m just fine, thank you for asking. It’s you we’re worried about.”

OMG. That gave me chills. I love the sense you created here that the three friends have just been gathered around Jeb for hours, watching over him while resting themselves. Glitch and Wyatt all comfortable on the sofa. And Jeb's perceptions of Raw! And the thing about Raw's name. You're totally making me a Jeb/Raw shipper here. Quick! Somebody make an icon!

And this was pure ♥ :
More unexpected was the second man curled up half on his father’s lap, zipper hidden where it was tucked in the crook of Wyatt’s elbow.
surranndie
Sep. 2nd, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)
Yay for making you a shipper!! *squeeee* I'm probably the only one crazy enough to make this pairing happen, so I'm thrilled that you like it so much! I totally need an icon! Though I'm still quite in love with this Raw icon I grabbed from koslorollo. *pets the pretty*

Oooh yes...that was one of the little images I quite liked, having Glitch all tucked up in Wyatt like that, hiding his zipper. Something symbolic there, I'm sure...:)

Thank you so much!!
candacestls
Sep. 6th, 2008 03:18 pm (UTC)
I am so silly!

I promised to start this a few days ago, I would have too but another bout of stomach trouble kept me busy, but I have to admit I was kind of hesitant. I love your stories, you know that, but you know what a stick in the mud I am about my about my ship's, so I was, I don't know, reluctant to start on a long piece that was primarily about another ship.

'bangs head on table' I am so silly! I have to tell you, no lie, I started tearing up by the end of this first part, it so gently enfolded me into this verse and made me so curious about how this story will unfold.

Ok, so I've gushed a little :D but I just wanted you to know.

You rock, Hon!
surranndie
Sep. 6th, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC)
Eeeee!! *squishy hugs* I'm so happy you're willing to give my little bit of craziness a go! :D

THANK YOU! \o/

Don't worry, there's plenty of Glitch/Cain in there, too! *grin*
erinm_4600
Nov. 14th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
Just to be on the safe side:
(ignore me if you've alreaDy been informed)

CONGRATS!! You've been nominated for Round 03 over at tmfictionawards



GOOD LUCK!! \O/
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )