Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Tin Man fic: A. Rob Ems' Mechanical Toys

A. Rob Ems’ Mechanical Toys
Rating: R (for implied sex)
Characters: Cain/Ambrose, appearances by the Queen, DG, Raw
Words: around 1,600
Summary: There’s a new toymaker in town.
A/N: For lionille, who asked for a continuation of the drabble "Prodigy."


Tiny, delicate clicks and whirs brought to life the detailed model of a deep, forest brown farm tractor and the little boy’s eyes lit up, his smile contagious as the shop owner grinned back at him, delighted at his own work.

Setting the toy on the well-cared for wooden floorboards, Ambrose watched as it wound its way around corners and circled table legs on its own. A special detail he had figured out after days of work, getting the tractor to react to its surroundings.

“It’s perfect, Mr. Ems,” Abram’s deep voice drew him away from watching the toy spiral around.

Ambrose stood, absently tucking a long, stray curl under his knit cap and pushing the sleeves of his dress shirt up his arms. “It was my pleasure to built it,” he replied honestly, modestly accepting a few platinum coins that he quickly slipped into his pocket. “If it gives you any trouble just bring it right back and I’ll take care of it, anytime.”

“Much obliged.” With a nod, Abram gathered his son and their newest toy, the bell on the door announcing their exit even as a new visitor passed them in the entryway, shrouded in a cloak and deep hood.

He barely spared her a glance, recognizing her graceful, flowing walk in a heartbeat. Instead, he snatched the handle of the broom he’d left leaning in the corner next to his cash register, idly sweeping invisible dirt across the smooth floor. “I don’t suppose you’ve come to buy a train set for the baby.”

“My daughter and Jeb spoil that child more than enough, as you well know,” came the brisk reply, though the tone carried familiar warmth. “You know why I came, Ambrose.”

“And you’d do well not to keep pestering me in my place of business,” Ambrose lashed out, his fingers white in their grip on the broomstick. He took a breath, released it slowly. “My apologies, Majesty. But this argument grows weary. You know why I can’t go back.”

The Queen stepped closer, though her face remained hidden under the dark hood. “It would not be going back, not the way it was before. We’ve all started anew, out of necessity and for sanity’s sake. We must all leave the past and begin again. Please, stop this nonsense and hiding amongst your mechanical rocking horses. Your place is with our family.”

“My place is here,” Ambrose waved an arm helplessly, encompassing the stuffed shelves of neatly arranged toys. “No good has ever come from the things I invented working for the kingdom. But at least here, I can bring a moment of happiness to a child without fear that they will turn that pinball game or that walking horse into something to destroy us all!”

“You are truly determined to live here within the city walls, surrounded by junk shops and automats?”

Ambrose sighed deeply but finally raised his head, meeting her gaze. “Yes.”

With a echoing sigh, she left him alone amongst his silent toys.


By the weekend he had seen a few more familiar faces cross the threshold of his shop, but their visits were not wrought with such tension and animosity.

DG asked once, in an off-handed way, if he would consider returning to the family home. The child balanced on her hip tried to grab at anything that came with his reach.

“Your hair’s gotten so long,” she observed, letting his polite rejection of the offer slide as if it had never been made. Reaching up to brush her fingers just under the edge of his cap, she smiled almost sadly. “Still covering up the zipper?”

Ambrose shrugged. “I figured it was for the best, as it would probably keep away the customers.”

“Tell me again why you didn’t have them just take it out when you got your brain back?”

He laughed, shaking a finger at her knowingly. “I can’t very well tell you again, as I never told you in the first place. That’s for me to know and you to never...never find out,” he stumbled over his words, smile slipping away.

“I’ll get you to talk to me about it someday,” DG forced a smile that didn’t reach her eyes. “For now, I’d like to buy another of your wind-up mobiles. Seems the last one met its fate with Jeb’s fat head.”

Ambrose snickered but graciously led her to the selection of baby toys, knowing full well he would never charge her a coin.

Raw’s visit was a mostly silent affair, with curious glances and much fussing with the musical plush animals that the Viewer found disturbing. He left with a flying wooden bird for Kalm, one that would soar for hours with a single twist of its key. Not once did he ask Ambrose to give up his newest passion.


Cain’s visit caught Ambrose by the most surprise, if only because he was utterly convinced that somewhere in there, he had a massive glitch.

There was no other explanation for it. One moment he was gaping at the man leaning casually in his store’s doorframe.

The next, he was bent over the solid metal workbench in his backroom, pants around his ankles and gripping the opposite edge of the table with shaking hands. Cain’s hot breath on the back of his neck, fast and familiar, went a long way to explain why Ambrose was sticky and sore in places and ways he hadn’t been in far too long.

Cain’s hands loosened their hold on Ambrose’s hips and both men shuddered as they separated. Ambrose reached for a clean rag lying nearby and he quickly wiped himself up before pulling his trousers back on with as much dignity as he could salvage.

“That...uh, that wasn’t what I had in mind when I came here,” Cain cleared his throat and stared at the floor, fixing his own clothes with trembling fingers.

“What...what did you have in mind?” Ambrose leaned his hip against the edge of the table, oddly pleased with the bruised feeling of the bone. “Come to buy a toy soldier? Or are you just another in the long line to drop by and beg me to come back to my old job?”

Cain tilted his head sharply with an audible crack. “You want the truth?”

“I think you owe me that much.”

“If I answer you honestly, I expect an honest answer from you in return,” Cain looked at him, eyes narrowed but holding their heat.

Ambrose tightened his lips but gave a quick nod, knowing he could deny this man nothing.

“I came to ask you if you’d mind some company. If you had room in that little apartment of yours upstairs,” Cain crossed his arms over his chest but Ambrose could almost feel the nervous anxiety pouring from the man.

“It took you this long to work up the nerve to ask?” Ambrose blinked at him, shaking his head in awe. “I just assumed you were done with me after I stopped calling myself Glitch.”

Cain gave a half-hearted growl. “It took a while to get everything sorted out, in here,” he answered, waving a hand vaguely at his own head. “I figured if I was having that much trouble figuring myself out, you needed a bit of time and space to wrestle all of your selves into place.”

Ambrose smiled, conceding the point. “Well, I suppose there’s not much point in asking if you’re still interested in me,” he grinned wryly, tugging at his vest. “And I happen to know that my humble upstairs dwelling just might have a few square meters to spare.”

“Good to know,” Cain visibly sagged with relief. “Now, about that other truth.”

Flinching, Ambrose glanced through the workshop door again to make sure his ‘closed’ sign was still in place. Reluctantly, he reached up and slipped off his cap. With a tumble of curls that reached his shoulders, Ambrose ran his fingers along the metal zipper. “Sometimes...sometimes I forget. Forget why I’m here, doing this when there was a time that I wanted nothing more than to serve my kingdom, to invent things no one else could. It was my life, Wyatt.”

“And now?”

Ambrose shrugged, looking lost and vulnerable. “I just have to look in the mirror, or reach up and feel the coldness of it to remind me of what my work cost me. Cost all of us.” He waited, fully expecting to have to defend his choice.

But Cain just nodded, his own face betraying the understanding he felt. “I just have to look at Jeb, at that kid of theirs, to remember what my work cost him. His mother. Me. A family to raise him.”

“That’s why you want to move in with me?”

“No. I want to move in with you because I can finally let myself believe that I’ve earned it. Repaid my debt and earned the chance to love without fear of it being taken from me.”

Ambrose swallowed thickly, not knowing what to say. He slipped his arms around Cain’s waist, feeling another set of arms curve around him in return. “We’re a mess, aren’t we?”

Cain laughed, even though he started to shake. “No truer words. Come on. Show me around the place.”



A/N: A. Rob Ems is an anagram for Ambrose. Only his friends call him Ambrose, the rest of the city knows him by this name.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 2nd, 2008 11:55 pm (UTC)
I must admit, there are few things better than the image of workshop sex (BENT OVER NICE!) and Ambrose inventing toys for children. Both those things in one fic make me so, so happy.

Lovely piece!
Aug. 3rd, 2008 02:26 am (UTC)
*GRIN!* I know, there aren't nearly enough stories out there that involved someone bending someone else over something. Thank you very much!! :D
Aug. 3rd, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
This was made of awesome! So many beautiful details, I could just see the place and the people who came in it. I loved how he recognizes the queen by her walk. Raw and his purchase of a flying bird. DG's description of what happened to the last mobile! The anagram! And this:
“I figured if I was having that much trouble figuring myself out, you needed a bit of time and space to wrestle all of your selves into place.”

Aug. 3rd, 2008 02:31 am (UTC)
Awww, I got a big red heart! *loves!*

I'm so glad you liked it, as it was entirely your fault! You have a tendency to make me want to write well, rather than just write. I was worried about the unresolved feeling of the story, how both men were willing to let the other accept their own neuroses without talking them out of it. Kinda leaned toward the dark rather than the happy, but that's what came out!

Thank you for the push - you always motivate me to come up with something unique. :)
Aug. 3rd, 2008 02:42 am (UTC)
Ah, it was lovely! I liked how they were both just willing to let each other be. The heart... lessee...
$font size="5" color="#FF0000"%$b%♡$/b%$/font%
only with opening brackets instad of dollar signs and closing brackets instad of percent signs.
Odd thing is, when I put that at the beginning of the comment, it turned the whole thing red and bold, but when I put it at the end it was OK. *shrugs*
Aug. 3rd, 2008 02:43 am (UTC)
dang html!
Where you see the light heart up there: that's
Aug. 3rd, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
Re: dang html!
*adds code to a sticky note and tries it out*

ETA: Hmm. Well, I'll figure it out eventually! :D

Edited at 2008-08-03 02:52 am (UTC)
Aug. 9th, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
This honestly made my heart hurt just a little, there was so much underlying pain... but I'm glad it turned out happy, or well as happy as it could be.
Aug. 9th, 2008 06:10 pm (UTC)
This one just screamed to be dark and painful, full of hidden anger, tension and uncertainty. I spend so much time writing happy fluff that sometimes, there just needs to be something to balance it out. There are just too many psychological loose-ends to be addressed at the end of the series!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )