Characters/Pairing: Zero, Ahamo, Azkadellia, DG, Jeb, Lavender, Wyatt
Summary: The aftermath of captured, helpful if you read it but not neccessary.
Warning: A little language, non canon character death.
Disclaimer: I don't own Tin Man
Word Count: 1632
Instead of a cold dark cell that Zero was planning, maybe even hoping for, the small group, mostly Longcoats but a few of the more vicious Resistance, were led to the palace infirmary. At least the room was bright, functional and sterile. Zero didn’t know how he’d handle being put into a comfortable room.
By having sex with Wyatt? Zero felt like he was coming down from a bad night. A very bad night. Complete with pounding hangover. He felt awful. It didn’t help that Wyatt was shooting him looks. ‘I want’ looks. Zero wanted to die.
They pulled off the blanket he’d been nestling in and put him into a hospital gown. The bed they put him was cool but smelt of disinfectant, which was thankfully not erotic in any way.
The nurse, who he couldn’t look at, left him. pulling the curtains shut behind her. Zero gasped and clenched the sheets a few times before he could hold it no longer. He started to cry.
Jeb banged his head against a wall for the fiftieth time. “Jeb, you’re going to give yourself a concussion!” DG pulled him away from the wall.
“A concussion! You’re worried about a concussion? I’m going to be executed!”
DG rolled her eyes. “You’re not going to be executed, ok? You’re Jeb Cain for Chrissakes!”
“Who knocked up the Crown Princess!”
“Mother’s not going to abdicate, Jeb,” DG frowned, hating that rumour. “She knows I’m new to this whole princessing gig, let alone… besides with you guys’ long lives it can be like, forty years or something. Az’s work might be recognised.”
Jeb shrugged. “Long lives, long memories. You’re going off the point! Me getting you pregnant is the point. The very salient point that’ll get me executed! That’s what they used to do, you know. I’m going to get melted in acid.”
“First of all, ew! Yuck! And nasty! Secondly, how is it exactly that a brave, heroic and noble resistance leader who played a direct part in the disposal of The Sorceress and the return of the throne, isn’t suitable for a princess to marry?”
Jeb shrugged, slightly thrown off and embarrassed. “It had more to do with the first than the second… I was kind of hoping we’d get a democracy, kinda like in Ancient Greece. Only more rights and less slaves.”
“I’d be with you there, Jeb, but the people seem to want the monarchy back. Nostalgia, I guess.”
“Ok, even granting that they wouldn’t mind me marrying you, you’re already pregnant! Out of wedlock!”
“So did Dad. For mother. I did the math. Az was born five months after the wedding. Pregnancy’s still nine months here, right?”
Jeb frowned, trying to think of those who were pregnant in his group and how long they were that way. “Uh… about that. Maybe ten.”
“The point is: I don’t think we need to put your affairs in order.”
Jeb reached for her stomach. “Honestly, DG, I like you a lot…”
“But you don’t love me,” DG finished. “I know, Jeb. I feel the same way. But we’ve got a baby. And so long as we’re honest? We can do this. Friends with benefits, ok?”
“You were really good,” she purred, moving towards her.
“It’s not appropriate, Mr Cain,” Lavender told him. “I shouldn’t have to tell you why.”
“I know. ‘Not appropriate’ is something of an understatement, ma’am. I’m sorry.”
“You’re confused. I understand. But my concern is Zero and the others. Especially Zero. He has been exposed to magic for far longer than the others. When he was captive and when he was under the thrall of The Sorceress.”
“You mean, she brainwashed him?”
“She didn’t touch his mind, not directly, after all, he’d be no use to her without his mind. But the things she made him do…”
“Neither of us wanted it to happen, Mr Cain, hence The Sorceress’ delight.”
Cain looked down, the import of what his queen was saying, or more accurately not saying, hitting home. “We lost another one this morning.” That left eight.
“Your and our children’s exposure was minimal, fortunately.”
“DG’s pregnant. I was hoping that they’d have a chance to fall for each other first.”
Lavender smiled at him. “Being royalty allows for a certain distance between couples. They will have plenty of support with the child. They’ll come closer over time.”
“You sound sure of that. They could easily start despising each other.”
“They’ll be too busy. And they’ll have us to guide them.”
“They’ll survive,” Wyatt nodded.
“I’ve sent Ahamo to check on him,” Lavender said, reading his mind. “I don’t believe they’ve ever met.”
Ahamo sat in the hard wooden chair beside Zero. The man had his eyes shut but was shaking like a leaf. This is my mortal enemy? This is the man feared by all? Dark circles were under his eyes, the shape of his body under the sheets showed him to be thin, too thin, and Ahamo spotted the moisture around his eyes.
Ahamo’s study was interrupted when an alarm went off. He watched as several nurses and doctors rushed to one of the beds. Shouts of ‘We’re losing him!’ and demands for various instruments and medicines meant that Ahamo knew exactly what was going on.
To their credit, the doctors worked furiously, but in the end, it was a lost cause. “Another one bites the dust,” a hoarse voice remarked. Ahamo looked at Zero’s bloodshot eyes. “That makes five - seven.” Ahamo had nothing to say to that. “I was expecting a guard.”
“I’d imagine it wouldn’t take much more than a stiff breeze to take you down,” Ahamo pointed out. Zero nodded wearily. “The Queen has granted you and the others a pardon.”
Zero laughed cynically until he was out of breath, which didn’t take long. “Makes her seem like she’s being merciful and then I kick the bucket, so it’s win-win.”
‘You’re going to survive this,’ Ahamo knew he should say, like one of those soap operas. “You’re not dead yet,” was all he managed.
“It’d better if I was,” Zero replied. “Make us both happy.”
“That’s not true.”
Zero laughed again. “Yes, it is! Mr Ah Ham Oh. Always on the sidelines, aren’t you? Hmm? Dead weight! Couldn’t save daughty’s life, had to hide away so Little One could come save your ass. Me, I could act. And I didn’t. You can’t hate your daughter so you hate me. Blame me for what she became.”
“That was The Witch!” Ahamo snarled.
“Right. It was all The Witch,” Zero softened suddenly. “Fifteen years, Ahamo. Fifteen years.”
“And what’s your excuse?”
Zero looked away. “I got none. I’m a bastard. I do bastard things. And then I move on.”
Zero looked at him. “What?”
“My wife had to tell the medics of your previous… troubles.”
Zero hissed and turned over. “Go away,” he near whispered.
“He needs rest, sir,” one of the healers spoke up, arriving by Zero’s bedside.
Ahamo nodded. Zero curled up into himself as the nurse tried to minister to him.
“You’re stable,” she said, lightly. Zero turned around to look at Azkadellia, who was keeping a safe distance away from him. It irked Zero to think it was more to protect him than her. “More stable than the others. You’re getting better.”
Zero’s bed was drenched in sweat, he felt weaker than he felt before and his head was throbbing. Zero didn’t feel stable. “Yay for me,” he whispered. “How many left?”
“Tell me!” he ordered hoarsely.
Azkadellia jumped. “F… five.”
“Five,” he repeated, nodding. “I’d have preferred to be executed. It wouldn’t be this painful.”
“Why are you here? Nostalgic about all times? Do you want to say you’re sorry?” Zero mocked her.
“M… maybe?” Zero echoed, as high pitched as he could manage. “Go away, Princess, I’m not here to soothe your damned conscience. I’m too busy dying.”
“Zero, I… I don’t want you to die. Don’t die.”
“What’s wrong, Az? One more death too much for you? Really? Let me rest in peace.”
“I can’t do that. I… ca…”
“DON’T,” Zero ordered, before descending into a coughing fit. “I’m dying. Don’t.”
Azkadellia was quiet for a moment before walking out as fast as she could. Zero sighed. As if Wyatt pining after him wasn’t enough.
Zero looked over at the only other survivor. Apparently, he was starting to stabilise himself. The guy was a resistance guy so the people would be pleased.
Zero was tasting a very weak muglug when he cursed. “I’m going to start charging admission.” At one stage, even an errant news reporter got in.
“How are you feeling?” Lavender asked.
“Death warmed up. But better than normal death, I guess.”
“Cain wished to see you. To apologise, I believe?”
“I KILLED his wife! And he wants to apologise? I’m not going to.”
“They were your orders.”
Zero snorted. “Orders… yeah. I enjoyed every minute, Highness. Every minute.”
“What did he do to you?”
“Who cares! Who cares about motives, huh? Motives mean shit, Highness! What matters is now!” He closed his eyes, exhausted by the outburst.
“And what about now?” Lavender asked. “What are you going to do?”
“I don’t… I don’t know. I was plannin’ on dying, actually.”
“You’re going to have to think up new ones. You could be of help.”
“I’m not a good guy.”
“Azkadellia is hoping to redeem herself. Unfortunately, there are few I can trust to protect her.”
“I think she’s got a crush on me.”
“It would comfort her to have you watching out for her.”
Zero snorted. “Freak.” He tasted his muglug. “Fine.”