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Tin Man fic: Common Enemy (update)

Title: Common Enemy
Author: Surreal
Characters/Pairings: eventual Glitch/Cain and everyone you can think of.
Genre: Alternate Universe. Open.
Rating: overall NC-17 to be safe (violence, m/m slash)
Word count: Ongoing
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: Under other circumstances, things could have been vastly different. But some things will always remain the same.

Author’s Notes: This universe begins a few months after Azkadellia took over. It is a complete Alternate Universe that I intend to keep open to play with and add to randomly. I despise the term work-in-progress and I don’t want to call it that. I don’t see a true “end” to this story; rather, I would like to call it an “open universe.” Sorry if this is a confusing explanation! Every addition will be marked "update" when posted, as well as tagged with the series title.



Making his way to the comfortably small kitchen, Cain noted with the back of his mind how his dinner guest remained hovering just inside the cabin’s door. Cain situated a pot of water to boil on the cast-iron stove then turned his head for a moment. “Please, have a seat,” he waved a hand toward the set of four chairs neatly tucked into the well-loved dining table. He set upon cutting up the vegetables he had collected earlier in the day from his garden.

Glitch hesitated for several minutes before quietly working his way across the cozy space and choosing a chair. He sat cautiously, watching with interest how his host efficiently prepared the makings of a simple vegetable soup. The sliced bits were tossed into the steaming water in the steel pot and a few different crushed herbs were added shortly after.

“So,” Cain’s voice broke the silence, making Glitch jump in his seat. “Do you have any memory at all of where you come from? What you were doing before you got the zipper treatment?”

Flinching at the blunt questioning, Glitch stared down at the table. His elbows at the edge of the smooth wood, hands twisting together, he swallowed thickly. “I’ve had a few...ideas, I guess you’d say,” he answered softly. He briefly tugged at the collar of his jacket before returning his hands to their fidgeting. “I’m not used to being alone, so I must have come from somewhere with a lot of people. Not a prison,” he hastily added with a sharp shake of his head.

“I didn’t figure you for the criminal type,” Cain replied as he used the same knife as before to cut pieces of bread from a loaf he had gotten from a neighbor in exchange for some work. “Your clothes aren’t like the kind we wear around here. More like what I’ve seen working in the city.”

“City,” Glitch repeated thoughtfully. “No, that doesn’t sound right.” He sighed, his eyes drifting around the kitchen. “You work in the city? Oh – that’s right, you said you’re a policeman.”

Cain cleared his throat. “Well, I should say I was. A Tin Man, that is. Haven’t been back to Central in months, not since Azkadellia replaced us with her own militia.” With a tight shrug, he pulled down two wooden bowls from the cabinet above the countertop.

“Anything I can help with?” Glitch asked, uncertain himself of what he was offering.

A sideways glance and their eyes met for a tense moment. “You can fill the pitcher with water,” Cain finally responded, pointing to a dented metal container in the center of the table.

Glitch stood quickly, eager to break the uncomfortable air surrounding them. “That I can do,” he said cheerfully. “The sink?”

“Yeah, I got the well connected to the house years ago,” Cain nodded. He divided the hot, thick soup into two bowls, retrieved spoons from the single utility drawer next to the stove and took the lot to the table.

Setting the filled pitcher in the center of the table, Glitch turned around to eye the closed cabinets. “Cups?”

“I’ll get them, if you’ll take the bread over,” Cain finished setting the soup down at their seats and went to get two drinking cups.

Finally setting down together at the table, the two men focused on their meal. They ate in silence, unsure of each other.

“This is very good,” Glitch spoke first, tearing off a piece of dry bread and using it to soak up the flavored broth. “I can honestly say I can’t remember the last time I had a real meal.”

Cain smiled in spite of the sadness flavoring his companion’s tone. “With the way things are going lately, we’ve all got to do what we can to help each other out.”

“I truly appreciate that,” Glitch glanced up at him shyly. “Most people won’t look twice at me these days.”

“Lot of people are scared.”

“But not you,” Glitch eyed him curiously, tilting his head to the side.

Cain took a long drink of water before answering honestly. “I’m plenty scared, but not of you.”

Glitch gave him a hint of a smile, though his eyes betrayed his gratitude. He blinked rapidly, standing. “I should leave you in peace,” he declared suddenly, picking up his bowl and taking it to the sink.

Knowing he had no right to argue, despite the questions left unanswered about the stranger, Cain stood slowly.

As Glitch turned back around, he gave a sharp, pained cry, hands flying up to clutch at the sides of his head. He dropped hard to his knees, doubling over with his clenched fists pressed against his temples.

Cain nearly fell over his own feet trying to reach the other man, dropping to his knees next to him. “What’s wrong?” he asked helplessly, his hand coming to rest in the middle of the hunched back.

Answered by a low keening sound and a choked sob, Cain waited out the episode, unable to do anything but offer a warm hand.

Several agonizing minutes passed before Glitch started to relax, his breath coming in short, harsh bursts. Reluctantly, Cain stood to fetch Glitch’s water cup. He refilled it and came back to sit on the floor next to the other man. He wrapped his empty hand around one of Glitch’s hands, raising it up to press the cup into the trembling fingers. “Here, drink some of this. Slowly,” Cain helped him put the water to his lips, getting Glitch to take a few half-hearted sips before setting the cup down on the floor. “Can you tell me what just happened?”

Glitch pushed his hands into the floor hard, eyes squeezed shut and face pinched in residual pain. “Headache, happens sometimes,” he whispered, giving a bitter chuckle. “Doesn’t make sense, there’s nothing left in there to hurt.”

“There’s enough,” Cain reminded him. His hand had found its way around Glitch’s upper arm, but neither man seemed to mind. “Listen, I’m friends with the doctor around here, he lives just past the hill you came down to get here. Maybe he could give you some advice – “

“Advice...” Glitch cut him off. One hand shot out, wrapping long fingers tightly around Cain’s wrist. His expression was haunted, eyes unfocused. “Advice....advice...”

Cain shook him gently. “Hey, knock it off.”

Glitch winced, shaking his head to clear it. “Sorry, another of those glitches,” he said off-handedly. “There’s something so familiar about that – advice, advising...”

“Maybe it was your job? You were some kind of advisor?” Cain guessed, taking another look at Glitch’s clothes and clean, dignified countenance under the thin layers of dust.

With a sharp gasp and frantic hand waving, Glitch’s eyes suddenly lit up and he looked right at Cain. “The Queen! I’m – I mean, I was her advisor! I remember...well, I can’t say I have any memory of being an advisor, but Azkadellia...”

“What about her?” Cain prompted when Glitch began to glaze over again.

“The clearest memories I have are from just before she ordered her medicos to take my brain,” Glitch’s tone was dark and troubled. “She kept referring to me as her mother’s ‘right hand man,’ whatever that means. They called me Advisor.”

Cain was glad he was already sitting, as this news sent his nerves racing. He took a deep, calming breath and released it before slowly posing the question, “Are you absolutely certain?”

Glitch met his gaze, brown eyes clear of doubt. “I’m sure of it.”

“Do you know why she took out your brain, rather than executing you?” Cain forced himself to ask the question.

A bone-deep shudder wracked Glitch’s body. “I knew something, something important. But I have no idea what it was.”

“Glitch, listen to me very carefully. Somewhere in that mess inside your head are the answers we need,” Cain spoke carefully. “The way the O.Z. is headed, we’re all in a load of trouble. Those of us who’ve already lost something...jobs, crops, family, we can’t just stand by and do nothing.”

“I don’t think I can help, Cain,” Glitch interrupted desperately, his eyes filled with frustration. “I can’t even remember my own name, how am I supposed to help anyone?”

“We can deal with that, we can work on your memory. It’s in there somewhere, you proved that when you figured out what you used to do,” Cain’s grip tightened around Glitch’s arm. “Between you and I and the folks I’ve been talking to lately, we might stand a fighting chance to get things back to the way they should be.”

“What exactly are you saying?” Glitch inquired with an edge of apprehension.

“We’re going to start a resistance movement,” Cain’s voice dropped down to nearly a whisper, as if afraid to be overheard. “Please say you’ll stay. Help us plan, increase our numbers, and if it comes down to it, go into battle with us.”

Glitch stared at him, his expression a warring mixture of confusion and hope. “You really think there’s a chance we could stop Azkadellia?”

“All we can do is try,” Cain said as he stood, holding out a hand.

It wasn’t the most encouraging answer, but Glitch knew this was the best offer he would get from anyone. “Then you’ve found yourself a roommate,” he grinned as he took Cain’s hand for the second time that day and pulled himself to his feet.



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 7th, 2008 12:37 am (UTC)
'happy dance, happy dance' (think Snoopy prancing feet, flailing arms and all) Love the way you're continuing this....so what happens next? Yeah, greedy, that's me :D
May. 7th, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)
Hehee! I'd love to tell you...but that's the thrill of an "open" universe. Nothing more is written, very little is planned. It'll be a matter of inspiration on any given day! *grin*
May. 7th, 2008 01:19 am (UTC)
Hmm, interesting... Looking forward to more.
May. 7th, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading, I'm looking forward to writing more!
May. 7th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
This will indeed be interesting. I can't wait to see what else you have in store for us.
May. 7th, 2008 04:15 am (UTC)
I hope I can deliver an enjoyable adventure! :)
May. 7th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)
Oh, Glitch, you are breaking my heart! Offering to help with dinner and not being able to find cups and soaking up broth with your bread. No wonder Cain wants to make you soup! I want to make you soup, too!

Cain smiled in spite of the sadness flavoring his companion’s tone.
Excellent use of the word flavor during a food scene!

“I’m plenty scared, but not of you.”
This is so cute. Not of Glitch. Heee!

Glitch's attack was so sad, just makes a person relieved he had Cain there to steady him and bring him water.

Marvelous installment! Very homey, with mention of a "well-loved table". (which reminded me of Mrs. Weasley. Oh, wouldn't that woman have loved to feed Glitch!)
May. 7th, 2008 04:21 am (UTC)
*hugs* You know how very much I love to beat up Glitch...he's such a puppy for punishment. He was quite excited about the idea of soup in the series (added scene), it seemed appropriate. I'll add more hints as this continues, but the basic idea is that the cabin is a family home, where Cain grew up. He and any family he was raised by/with (to be determined later) made the furniture, carved the bowls, and so on.

The challenge I think in writing something like this is keeping in mind that they are meeting for the first time and know nothing about each other. I need to remember to take it slow and let them build up their trust and develop a strong foundation. Thank you for your continued encouragement...this installment was your idea! :)
May. 7th, 2008 04:30 am (UTC)
He was quite excited about the idea of soup in the series
MUAHAHA! You're right, he was! :D OMG, that's adorable.
He and any family he was raised by/with (to be determined later) made the furniture, carved the bowls, and so on.
EEE! That's brilliant, and it makes perfect sense, as it ties in with the little horse carvings!

May. 9th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC)

“All we can do is try,” Cain said as he stood, holding out a hand.

Damned if that ain't a little bit of alright!
May. 9th, 2008 02:21 am (UTC)
*grin* Yeah, Cain always steals those stoic hero lines for himself. Little does he know what he's just got himself into! :D
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )