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FIC: Nightmares, PG
by frek (frek)
at December 23rd, 2011 (03:55 pm)

Mood: cheerful

I've had this sitting in a doc forever, waiting to be posted, but I just hadn't gotten the chance to do it. Since I've nothing else to do right now, though, I figured I'd post it.

Title: Nightmares
Fandom: Tin Man
Pairing: DG/Ambrose
Rating: PG
Length: 1800 words
Summary: DG and Ambrose travel shortly after his surgery. Ambrose, plagued with nightmares, suffers one on the trip.
Notes: This is another in the pseudo-universe I've been writing in for Tin Man. It should fit alongside the others I've written as an ongoing story.

It had only been a few short weeks since Ambrose had rejoined his body and DG had spent the time getting to know the other half of her friend. Glitch reunited with Ambrose was a bit different from Glitch on his own, he was more prone to quiet brooding and introspection instead of announcing his every little thought out loud. DG had to work harder to retrieve his thoughts, to understand what he was feeling. She didn't mind, though. DG had grown fond of him, in all his manifestations. She knew just as she had told him before, he was still the same man. And she knew that even changed as he was, she still loved him just as much. Though, she could never voice those words aloud without suffering some mortification. All the same, DG had an inkling that Ambrose may have felt the same, especially considering how he rarely could be found far from her side.

And together they were, as they travelled back to the castle in ice, the place where she had known Ambrose in her childhood. The rest of the royal family had already gone on to the palace two weeks earlier, leaving DG and Ambrose behind while he healed further. Once he was well enough to travel, they were seated in the back of a royal car and began the journey back to the palace.

They spent the time lost in conversation, about anything and everything. Sharing old memories together as they slowly came to the surface. Telling tales of the OZ of old, before Azkedellia had taken control. Sharing stories about life on the other side with all its technology and marvels. Ambrose was especially interested in those stories, eager for the knowledge of things and places beyond those he knew so well, but also because he wanted so much to understand DG better any way he could.

She had grown up in a world far different from the one he inhabited and it had clearly made its mark on her. When he had known her last, DG was a young child, and even with his vivid imagination, he could never have imagined what she would become. He had believed she would have grown up to be beautiful – she did. And that she'd be fair and just, like her mother – she was. But the way she dressed, and the way she did things, her caring attitude and willingness to get her hands dirty really set her apart from many of the denizens of the OZ. It made Ambrose's heart beat twice as loudly whenever he thought of her. No, she wasn’t anything quite like he had imagined, she was so much more.

Ambrose was pulled from his reverie by a gentle touch on his arm. He glanced up from the fabric covered seat of the vehicle to meet DG's impossible blue eyes. Her gaze was questioning, curious. "What were you thinking about?" She asked softly when their eyes met.

Ambrose felt heat rise to his cheeks. He couldn't dare reveal that his mind had been entirely preoccupied with thoughts of her and only her. "N-nnn-nothing," he finally said with some difficulty. As much as he was Ambrose again, a very large part of him was still Glitch. That part always made itself known to him in times of stress and nervousness.

DG laughed, leaning closer to Ambrose. "That didn't seem like nothing. You looked like you were concentrating. I could practically see gears turning in your skull."

"But I don't have gears in my noggin," Ambrose said, confusion clear in his voice. "I'm not part tik-tok."

DG couldn't help but laugh. She wrapped her arms around Ambrose. "It's a turn of phrase," she said, nuzzling close to him. "It just means that you appeared to be deep in thought."

Ambrose's confusion cleared and he managed to return DG's smile, an arm sliding around her slim frame as he held her close.

"Was it important?" DG asked from his shoulder.

"Hm?" He asked, uncertain as to what she was referring.

"What you were thinking about. Was it important?"

Ambrose nodded, watching the trees of the forest pass them by. "The most important thing I know."


It was some hours later, twilight had crept up on them, the sky beyond the trees fading from a deep rosy red to a pale dusky blue. And a certain crispness in the air assured DG they were nearing their destination. Ambrose had drifted asleep somewhere past Central City. He may be well enough to travel, but he was still slowly recovering from the surgery that put him back together. At some point, in his sleep, he had curled up on the seat, resting his head on her lap. DG found herself stroking her fingers lightly over his close-shorn hair, remembering how surprised she had been when she had first saw him on the recovery table with his hair all but gone and in the place of the familiar zipper, stitches and an angry red scar. Her fingers moved over the scar now, the stitches gone, only a pink seam remaining where his hair refused to grow. DG wasn't sure why, but she missed his zipper. As her fingers ran over the smooth, new skin, she remembered the way the zipper would feel beneath her touch, rough and cool, both a part of him and apart from him.

In his sleep, Ambrose squirmed and talked. He often had nightmares. Reunited with all of his memories, the scared part of him would take over and he'd relive those memories in his sleep. They'd come out in the form of clenched fists, frightened cries, and sometimes the occasional plea for mercy. DG tried her best to help him through the nightmares, holding him when he cried out, running her fingers gently over his hair, his arm, whispering soothing things to him as he shook and whimpered. DG could only imagine what he had gone through, but if these nightmares were any indication, it was something she wouldn't wish on her worst enemy.


He was in the surgical room, on the table, surrounded by alchemists. The look in their eyes was both familiar and frightening. Ambrose knew it well, it was the look he often had when he was building his inventions, when he was creating new things or taking old things apart to learn how they worked. Something told him their intentions weren't quite so noble.

The lead alchemist had stepped up beside him and started counting back from 100. Ambrose watched as he spoke, wanting both to fall asleep instantly and to stay awake to fight despite the straps holding him down. He knew he was supposed to be drifting off, but his mind was still active, his body jerking against the straps. When the alchemist reached 50, he could see a concerned look flit through his eyes. Something was wrong. Ambrose knew it was that he wasn't asleep. He should've been out by now. The sedative wasn't working. And with that knowledge, he felt a panic grip his chest, his pulse racing as he cried and moved to do all he could to get them to stop. He struggled with every ounce of energy and conviction that possessed him as he heard the alchemist's countdown reach the teens. His voice was hoarse from screaming as one of the alchemists began shouting his name, attempting to silence him. He moved and arched his back one last time as he heard the final number. Ambrose shot up, moving freely in a dark small space, a woman's voice calling his name, her hands on his arms, keeping him still.

Ambrose blinked, realizing he was no longer in the bright, sterile, white room. He was in the car, beside DG who was doing her best to calm the hysterical man down. His breathing was coming out in ragged gasps as he tried to gather his wits. DG's hands had moved from his arms and were now cupping his jaw, her thumbs brushing over his cheeks, her voice was low, but insistent as she shhed and told him it'd be okay.

Ambrose nodded, feeling himself beginning to calm down. He could feel his heartbeat slowing, no longer pounding out of his chest. But even as he knew he was safe in the vehicle, in DG's arms, the fear from his dream still raced along his veins, settling deep within his mind. He knew that wasn't how the events played out, but still something about the dream made him question what he knew. He was back together, but he felt more scattered than ever.

DG's hands moved carefully over Ambrose, brushing back over his hair, down his arms, over his back. She whispered as she did so, trying her best to bring Ambrose back from the ledge he had perched himself on. She had watched him through many nightmares, but none quite as bad as this had been. She was practically screaming his name and shaking his body to pull him out of it. For several long moments, she had wondered if he was ever going to wake or just cry and shake in his sleep forever. When he finally woke, DG could feel relief flood her body, even as Ambrose took several minutes to calm himself back down again, at least he was finally out of the nightmare.

After several minutes with the only sound in the vehicle being the steady noise of the aged engine and Ambrose's gasping while DG whispered to him. Ambrose finally moved. He curled his body against DG's, resting his head on her shoulder as she held him. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Ambrose shook his head. "I'm sorry. I'd rather not. Not right now." He had some things to sort out for himself.

DG nodded, feeling hurt well up in her chest, unbidden. It was unfair to feel that way, but she hated that Ambrose could be so different from Glitch sometimes. More guarded and occasionally more distant. It jarred when he did things so Glitch-like, like how he curled up against her when he was sleeping or scared.

"It's okay, Ambrose," she said, swallowing down the hurt. "You can tell me another time, when you're ready."

They rode like that in silence for the remainder of the trip. When the vehicle finally stopped in front of the palace, Ambrose straightened up, looking at DG gratefully. DG took his hand and squeezed lightly, smiling in return before leaning forward and kissing him softly on the lips. "Don't worry, nothing will hurt you now," she said, pulling back.

Ambrose pressed his lips together, like he was holding back from saying something, before letting it escape. "What makes you so sure?"

DG's breath caught. The vulnerability on his face just then was pure Glitch. "Because," she responded regaining her voice, "I won't let it."


Posted by: K.W. (kwashu)
Posted at: December 26th, 2011 01:27 am (UTC)
Tin Man - DG/Glitch

I could hug you for posting this! So much! XD

What can I say? This universe in which your stories happen keeps getting richer. I went back and quickly re-read your previous one-shots to better appreciate this one. Just how much have you written? It really does feel like a bigger, ongoing story. You should post it to FF.net.

Anyway, I love how this all happens in what I'm guessing is a vintage car? The way they feel so comfortable with each other, just talking and reminiscing (and yes, he *would* find our technology very interesting!). You make it believable how their friendship could be something more now that they can't get themselves to admit. I like her comment about the gears; it made me smile. "The most important thing I know" So why won't he say anything!? That damn rebraining. ;p

Poor Ambrose; for a moment there I thought his nightmare was going to be like in that movie "Awake" and he was gonna feel when they cut into him! I'm glad he sort of woke up. He was lucky he'd fallen asleep next to her, but what will he do when he has to sleep on his own? XD

Love the closing line; she's so awesome. I'm almost afraid to ask if there's more to this, but the end is sort of cliff-hangery, like maybe something bad is going to happen. In any case, I really enjoyed this.

Well, I tried to make this review a little longer than my previous ones seeing how I've got a bit of free time ATM. I was honestly very glad to see a new post here before year's end! I was gonna do it myself, just to keep this going a little longer (I'm still gonna post something this week, promise). Thank you for finally sharing this with the Internets, and happy holidays, if you celebrate any! :D

Posted by: frek (frek)
Posted at: December 26th, 2011 05:17 am (UTC)
tin man - hug

Thank you so much for the lovely feedback. :)

I know I have a couple more in my notebook that need typed out and a couple more in progress in there. I really have no idea where I'm going with this universe, but I'm enjoying it so far.

Yeah, a vintage car would be right. I like how this world feels mostly pre-industrial, but at the same time it's filled with robots/androids and other old industrial things like cars, though nothing modern.

Ambrose has been through so much, but his brain just won't let it go. :( That was the best thing for him when he was only half-brained, it let him forget the bad bits.

I'll be honest, I don't intend to do more with the nightmares, but that doesn't mean more won't be written. Unfortunately with writing, you're not always in charge of the story.

Thanks again for the wonderful review. I really appreciate it, especially since this fandom isn't widely read anymore (and even less written in).

Posted by: K.W. (kwashu)
Posted at: December 31st, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
Tin Man - DG/Glitch

You're very welcome! A while back when you mentioned that you were filling a notebook with fic I was kind of sad that you were probably never gonna post it, but now you're posting it and it's great!

Ah, you don't need to go anywhere. It's the journey, not the destination. I'm enjoying it too.

About the pre-industrial industrial thing... yeah, it's a little weird. Sometimes I have to wonder if they at least have phones. I definitely agree with you about Ambrose remembering too much bad stuff. Not many writers take that into account.

You're welcome again. And yes, it's a pity almost no one reads/writes this ship anymore. But hey, at least we're still here, right? :)

Posted by: frek (frek)
Posted at: January 1st, 2012 04:29 am (UTC)
tin man - hug

I always had plans on posting it, but RL got in the way. I plan on posting the rest soon, possibly more in the next hour or two.

Yeah, I seem to think that maybe they work on their own technology, but they pick up bits and pieces from our world whenever they travel back and forth. I'm not sure about the phones, but maybe they have a primitive version, like what you saw in the early days, with actual operators etc.

I really think that Ambrose retains some of his Glitch-self when he gets rebrained. And that paired with the return of all his memories is sure to create some nightmares and such.

Posted by: K.W. (kwashu)
Posted at: March 4th, 2012 09:17 am (UTC)

LOL, how's this for a late reply? I've had time enough to watch it again and I realized that they totally have phones. I like your theory on their technology. After my re-watching and a lot of pausing I think this universe is a strange mix of Victorian era (some clothes, oddly enough) the 1930's/40's (the cars, the phones, again: some clothes) and like you mentioned, the futuristic stuff like androids and holographic projectors. Curiously I noticed that they even have TV-like screens for communication purposes like in the old silent films like Metropolis and Modern Times. I clearly have spent too much time thinking about this.

ITA about the return of his memories resulting in nightmares. It's one of the reasons I generally oppose the rebraining (though it makes me feel guilty).

P.S. Sorry for the ridiculously late reply. Feel free to disregard this post. -_-;

Posted by: Pavlov's Cat (othellia)
Posted at: January 10th, 2012 06:03 am (UTC)

I just finished watching Tin Man for the first time, and your stories have given me the slightly bittersweet closure I was looking for. Thank you!

Posted by: frek (frek)
Posted at: January 13th, 2012 05:43 am (UTC)
bumble yayz!

You're so very welcome! I'm happy you've enjoyed my stories. <3

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