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Title: Wallpaper of Broadway
Characters/Pairings: Glitch/Cain, everyone else in the series.
Rating: R for implied adult situations
Summary: What if Cain, DG, and Raw had first encountered Glitch working as a bartender in the Mystic Man's club? This story is an AU that parallels the series using this scenario.
Notes: This could not have been completed without the awesome beta work by kseda. Whenever I shouted “LINE!” – she came through and I love her endlessly for it!


Chapter 7 – The ‘Rotu


Cain was the first to climb down the ladder into the Realm of the Unwanted, what the locals nicknamed the ‘Rotu. He had been here only once before in his life, during his career as an officer before his promotion to security, and the place hadn’t changed a bit. It was a cacophony of smells and lights and noise, most of which were unpleasant.

Wiping the wood splinters from his hands onto his pants, Cain reached up to help Glitch to the ground. He vowed to keep a close eye on Glitch; bringing him down here had dredged up bad memories, things best left forgotten, but there was no way Cain was splitting the group up.

When all of them were down, Cain picked up Tutor and tucked the little dog under his arm. He settled for walking with Glitch at his side, always slightly behind him so as not to lose sight of him in the crowds.

Glitch was unusually quiet as they kept an eye out for a place to begin searching for Ahamo. Cain nudged him with his shoulder, earning a small smile. “You tell me if you see anything that sparks your memory, anything that might help us down here, okay?”

“Will do,” Glitch gave him a half-hearted salute. He finally raised his head, taking it all in. When he spotted a brightly lit and somewhat familiar window, he grinned and walked over to study the coin box. “Anyone got any money?”

Cain rolled his eyes and pulled out his revolver. Glitch stood up straight, opening his jacket as if expecting Cain to search him. It would have been amusing if the implications of such a reaction weren’t so heartrending. Choosing to ignore it, he knocked the handle against the box.

Glitch breathed an “Oh...” then stepped up in front of the window, looking at the woman inside; the box had declared her name to be Airofday. He frowned, studying her, a half-formed impression of her in his mind that quickly disappeared again. “Well, can’t say they didn’t welcome us with open arms!” he joked, getting a laugh out of Raw and an affectionate smirk from Cain.

Airofday moved, all six of her arms changing position. She looked directly at Glitch, her eyes narrowing. “Questions are answers unspoken.”

“Oh...okay,” Glitch tugged at a chain thoughtfully, missing the fleeting hint of recognition on Airofday’s face. “Isn’t it a little cramped in there?”

“Question: Reference to close quarters,” she answered seamlessly, inspecting her own surroundings as she shifted. “Answer: yes.”

Raw laughed and Glitch smiled tightly.

“All right, Glitch, that’s enough. We need to go find Ahamo,” DG interrupted the exchange impatiently.

“Question: You wish to find Ahamo. Answer: The Seeker.”

That got their attention. Glitch leaned closer to the glass. “Where can we find this Seeker?”

Airofday’s arms moved again, pointing in six different directions. Glitch barked out a laugh, glancing back to see Raw do the same. “And you thought I had trouble with directions!”

“Can you help us find him?” Cain asked.

Three hands pointed at the coin box. Cain held up his gun, Tutor still stuck under his other arm. Airofday took that as payment. The two women behind her moved out of the way, Airofday disappearing from the window and emerging from the door next to it. “You wish to find the Seeker. I can take you to him. But it will cost you.”

“How much?” Cain asked sharply, tired of the pointless games.

“Twenty platinums,” she answered firmly, holding his gaze.

“Done,” Glitch answered before Cain could argue.

“Glitch – “

“Going to earn it the way you used to?” Airofday sneered knowingly at Glitch and Cain stepped between them.

“That’s enough,” Cain snarled, hearing his growl echoed from behind as Raw took offense to her words as well.

Airofday simply tossed her hair over her shoulder, dismissing them. “One hour.” She pointed to a bar down the street, its lights and music spilling out onto the sidewalk. “Chains. After all, Glitch, you are due for a visit home.” With that, she smirked and went back inside her building.

Glitch laid his hand on Cain’s arm, getting his attention. “Come on,” he said firmly, taking the dog from Cain’s grip and handing him to Raw. “Raw, you and DG stay here and stay out of trouble. We’ll be back in ten minutes.”

Cain opened his mouth to ask but was unceremoniously dragged away. “Glitch, where – “

“Don’t worry,” Glitch glanced over his shoulder to make sure the others hadn’t moved. “I am capable of getting us the money without taking my clothes off.”

“That isn’t what I was thinking!” Cain threw his arms up in exasperation. “You really believe I think so little of you at this point?”

Glitch slowed his pace, his head dropping down in defeat. “No,” he answered quietly. “And I’m grateful for that. You have no idea how much.”

Cain reached up and squeezed Glitch’s shoulder, giving silent support. “So, where are we going?”

“There’s a pawn shop next to the convenience store on the corner,” Glitch pointed. As they walked, he reached up and touched the collection of chains hanging from his zipper, running his fingers down each one until he stopped on one in particular, one holding only glass and gold-colored beads but none of the flat disks.. “Here, help me get this one unhooked.”

They paused on the sidewalk, Cain standing on his toes to reach the top of Glitch’s head. He carefully unlatched the chain Glitch was holding and it was then that Cain finally realized all of them were necklaces. “Mind if I ask how you got started on your collection?”

Glitch snorted, holding his hand out to accept the chain that Cain handed him. “That bar we’re meeting the answer lady – you saw the name?”

“Yeah - Chains,” Cain nodded. “That’s where you worked?”

“Yes, it is,” Glitch’s face twisted in disgust. “Look, don’t tell DG any of this, all right? It’s not something a Princess should hear.”

“No problem.”

As they reached the door to the pawnshop, Glitch pushed it open and strode up to the counter. The woman behind the desk looked at them with no real interest. “What’d you want?”

Glitch set the necklace down on the filthy countertop. “Fifty plats for it.”

The woman gave a sharp, mocking laugh and carelessly lifted the item. “Not hardly worth a tenner,” she eyed it dubiously. “You know how many of these I see every week?”

Glitch pointed to the beads. “Real gold, the purple ones are amethyst, the green are emerald. The real thing. I don’t wear cheap glass. Fifty.”

“Ten for the baubles, the chain ain’t worth the metal it’s made from,” she countered.

“Forty. The chain’s solid silver, any dealer can see that.”

“Fifteen, with the chain then.”

“Thirty or I walk. I know as well as you do the dancers down the street will pay a fiver for each of those beads.”

Sneering, she slammed her fist into the ancient cash register. “Twenty. Final offer.”

Glitch glared but gave a sharp nod. “Deal. One large – I’m not looking to tuck ones into anyone’s hip string.”

“That’s what they all say,” she shook her head and handed him a twenty-plat bill.

Payment in hand, Glitch turned and headed for the door, a silent and stunned Cain in tow. Outside, Glitch tucked the money into Cain’s inside jacket pocket and patted it. “My memory is obviously a little out of whack, but what I can tell you the reason the club is named the way it is. All the dancers wear chains – around their waists, from their ears down to their navels. Anywhere they could hook them on; it was required.”

Cain listened intently, getting them walking back toward where they’d left the others.

“One of the veterans, when I first got there, made my first chain for me. Showed me how to clip the hook onto my zipper, said it would draw attention to it. Around here, that’s actually a good thing – the kinds of guys who pay good money for a night with one of us don’t want to be remembered. So a headcase like me could make good money for the owner.”

“So you started collecting necklaces and beads, making your own chains,” Cain brought the story back to safer ground. “What about the flat medallions? I noticed you chose one that didn’t have any of those.”

Glitch reached up to find one of them, sliding his fingers on either side of it. “Those I had on me, if you can believe it. I found them sewn into one of my jacket pockets one day. No idea where they came from, but they looked good under the lights. So I drilled a hole on the edge of each and added them on.”

“Huh,” Cain looked at the remaining chains, a good half-dozen of them, and counted at least twenty of those disks. “Wonder what they’re for.”

~~

The man known as the Seeker was tall, younger than Cain was expecting and approached them silently. His eyes roved over each of them and Cain caught a flicker of surprise when he caught sight of Glitch.

Cain turned and noticed how Glitch stiffened, eyes wide but jaw tight. He slid further behind Cain’s back, leaning in to whisper after the Seeker had turned his attention to DG.

“Remember I said I’d tell you if I saw the man who bought my freedom?”

Cain tensed at the implied recognition. His fingers twitched toward his weapon but in a few seconds, chaos erupted as they were attacked from all sides. The lights flickered dizzyingly as Cain and Glitch fought to keep track of DG, Raw roaring in rage nearby as the three of them lost sight of both the Seeker and the Princess when someone cut the overhead netting down.

When Cain emerged from under the tangled net, he noticed that he and everyone else was surrounded by Longcoats, each holding a gun on them.

Sighing, Cain nodded to Glitch and Raw to raise their hands. They had lost DG and now their freedom as well.

~~

“Ow,” Glitch complained as the Sorceress’s soldier hammered the pin holding Glitch’s shackles deep into the log. “Yeah, that’s right, abuse the guy with the zipper head.”

Cain just glared at their captors, particularly the smug Longcoat who was putting Cain’s hat on his own head. But his silent pissing contest was cut short by the arrival of Tutor, still discreet in his dog form.

Glitch leaned over his bound hands urgently. “Come on, Toto! Show these guys what you’re made of!”

Tutor turned tail and ran. Glitch’s forehead met the log and Cain kicked him from behind. “I think he just did.” He growled and tugged at his cuffs.

“Wyatt Cain,” Zero’s soft, malicious voice brought Cain back around to the more pressing problem at hand. “You’re a hard man to kill.”

“Untie me and I’ll give you another try,” Cain grinned wickedly.

Zero chuckled and drew Cain’s revolver from his own pocket, holding it up between them, then aiming it at Cain’s head. Glitch ducked out of the way; Cain took a second to be grateful that Glitch showed some survival instinct.

When Zero was pulled away by one of his men, Cain took the opportunity to consider their situation in earnest. DG was missing, Tutor had run away and the three of them left were nailed very securely to a single massive log. Though glancing over his shoulder, Cain saw that they weren’t alone. There were a couple of other prisoners chained with them. He didn’t have enough time to figure out any possible escape from their shackles, because as soon as Zero gave the order a moment later, they were being led out of the ‘Rotu.

~~

End Chapter 7

On to Chapter 8

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Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
kirasha
Jan. 13th, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
Yep, still loving this story. :-D The opening bits with Airofday are spot on. The whole thing is, really. It feels very canon through and through.

Cain's protectiveness is so charming! Especially this bit:

“Don’t worry,” Glitch glanced over his shoulder to make sure the others hadn’t moved. “I am capable of getting us the money without taking my clothes off.”

“That isn’t what I was thinking!” Cain threw his arms up in exasperation. “You really believe I think so little of you at this point?”

Glitch slowed his pace, his head dropping down in defeat. “No,” he answered quietly. “And I’m grateful for that. You have no idea how much.”


Poor Glitch!

I do have to admit, though, I was hoping Zero would take Wyatt up on his offer:

“Untie me and I’ll give you another try,” Cain grinned wickedly.

*flashes wicked grin of her own*



surranndie
Jan. 13th, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC)
Awwww yay! *dances happily* I'm glad! It's turning out much longer and more involved than I was expecting so I'm really happy to hear that it's working! It just seems to make sense that for Cain to work his way up to loving Glitch, he'd take that overprotective approach. It's a Cain thing. :D

Bwahah!! Sadly, no...Zero totally would if he didn't have the Witch to answer to.

Thank you kindly!!!
witchywanda666
Jan. 16th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
I love a man who knows how to haggle... with necklaces. <3
surranndie
Jan. 16th, 2009 11:53 pm (UTC)
*snerk* Well, he IS a deep well. :D
lionille
Jan. 18th, 2009 02:38 am (UTC)
Oh, my! Bartering Glitch was so masterful, and the history of the discs.... INTRIGUED!!!!

I loved the whole discussion before the pawn shop of course, Glitch's defensive assumptions, Cain's reassurances, Cain helping with the zipper bling... heheh. Glitch not wanting DG to know certain things.

Glitch ducked out of the way; Cain took a second to be grateful that Glitch showed some survival instinct.

^^ Nice mention of the ducking, poor dear is clearly gunshy!
surranndie
Jan. 18th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
Mmmm....yes, I love the idea of Glitch being the tough, street-wise bartering type. He did his time and he's going to make use of what he learned while he was in not-so-good places!

Hehhe! Yes, Glitch and his ducking away from the gun! He knows which end of the gun not to be on! :D
amedia
Jan. 23rd, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
“You really believe I think so little of you at this point?”

Glitch slowed his pace, his head dropping down in defeat. “No,” he answered quietly. “And I’m grateful for that. You have no idea how much.”


Oh, this is lovely and understated and full of truthiness.

The bargaining scene in the pawnshop is fun, and it's also a nifty flashback to the prologue and if we didn't already know it, it would serve as foreshadowing that we're about to see Ahamo again.

I like the explanation of why a zipperhead hooker is valuable!

And the way Airofday addresses Glitch. Oh, yes.
surranndie
Jan. 23rd, 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
Oh, BOYS. They've got so many issues to work out. :D

I like the idea of a harder, more street-wise Glitch calling on his experience. The flashback was kinda intentional but I hadn't thought of it as foreshadowning! That's neat! *grin*

OH, yes - it seemed to make sense that people would pay more for sex they could nearly guarantee to be anonymous.

Thanks for all your lovely comments! (I'm having fun chasing you down as you read!)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )