Title: The Long Road Home
Summary: She knew instantly as her eyes locked on the spot above him that this was it, him or her, there was no both. So with that final thought she let go.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Tin Man mini-series or Wyatt Cain…
Cain swung the axe down with a grunt and more force than necessary. Cornflower eyes haunted his every waking moment and every sleeping moment too. A constant loop, except when he was awake it was happy times, times from the moment he had first met the kid. Night time, night time brought the last few moments he had with her, the way her eyes shone with fire before darkness swallowed her whole and left him feeling hollow and cold once more.
“Cain, stop!” Jeb ordered, watching his father begin to raise the axe once more, he had tried for the past ten minutes to get his father’s attention and the only way he could was to address an order like Ahamo had suggested and by the unnamed gods it worked. His father stiffened and the axe fell with a thump before his father’s flat blue eyes stared back at him. “You need to stop, we have enough wood for tonight, anymore and you’d create a new field.”
Cain blinked and then looked over the wood pile with a frown; he had already made two piles of wood that were each waist height. “I didn’t realise.”
“I know dad, come eat. We have a few more days walk till we get home and then you can destroy to your hearts content.” Jeb explained, gesturing for his father to take a seat. When he had explained he wished to go home, Jeb was surprised. He knew that nothing good would be there waiting for him, an Iron Maiden and a broken home with the last memory of agony.
But when his father explained that he head DG telling him to go home, he couldn’t argue anymore and decided to go with him. He had to return back to Finaqua eventually but for now his father came first. It also helped that Raw came with them, he helped ease the nightmares some.
“Cain must eat.” Raw growled out softly while passing over a bowl of soup. “Not eaten today.”
“I don’t feel hungry.” Cain replied, staring blankly down at his food, it all tasted bland now.
“DG would not be happy. DG asked Tin Man to live. This not live.” Raw tried, whimpering as the dull eyes of the tin man snapped to him and flashed before returning to the blank look.
Raw and Jeb shared a look but shrugged, at least now he was eating.
I love you Wyatt Cain, more than you’ll ever know… Live… This is my choice okay… this isn’t your fault… CAIN! CAIN!
Cain shook his head free of the dark memories and tried to focus on the good. Of seeing her run towards the long coats with a stick to help his family, all the brave things she had done since then. But the memory he had savoured the most was seeing her elated face at seeing him once again after she had been kidnapped by the Witch.
He didn’t appreciate the moment of the hug when she first gave it, not till he had mourned his wife. But now, now he could see that DG only hugged those she cared deeply for and those were reserved for him, Zipper head, Raw and his son.
“Can I sit with you?” DG asked nervously causing his eyes to snap up and away from the fire. He didn’t say anything but nod and she took a seat at his feet, using his leg and knee as a resting place.
He didn’t speak much after finding Adora’s grave. His heart heavy and broken, yet he knew the kid could see that and still she offered silent comfort to him. “Thanks kid.”
“For what?” She asked, her eyes sparkling and a smile twitching at her lips. He could feel his own mimicking her, giving her his answer at her question. He was no way in any form healed but she had helped and that’s what mattered.
Cain blinked away the memory and got to his feet, he’d do a scout and then rest. Jeb was right, so was Fur ball. They had a few days to get back to the family property and he could demolish what was left of the standing structure letting out the pain and agony he felt deep inside and to do that he needed to eat, to live.
His hands clenched as he began to do a circuit, trying to ignore the looks from his son and friend before entering deeper into the woods. He slammed his hand into the closest tree he could as a flare of anger welled up inside and he near bit off his tongue trying to hold in his scream.
“How could you do this to me Darlin’?” He rasped out clutching his chest as the image of her burning eyes flashed in his memory. She knew that it would kill him, it nearly did but she asked him to live and he couldn’t… all his hope and all his dreams were shattered the second she let go and fell into the cold depths of the rapids, he didn’t even get to tell her he loved her too.
With a deep breath he pushed down his anger once more and continued on with his perimeter check before making his way back to camp. Raw was gone from the fire but Jeb was poking the dying embers with a frown on his face, this caused his heart to clench as he saw the youth that his son had acquired since the witches fall gone. He seemed to age ten years.
“I’m sorry son.”
The words caused Jeb to look up in surprise. “It’s okay dad, I understand I really do. She saved you, she was your lifeline but I miss her too, Raw and everyone else.”
Cain sighed heavily and sat next to his boy. “I know. But, I didn’t even get to tell her. She told me she loved me and let go, I watched another woman I loved…” he trailed off, but Jeb didn’t need him to finish the sentence he understood.
“I know. I loved her too.” Jeb admitted. “Not like that but, she was different. She made everyone around her happy and she understood many of my problems that I couldn’t speak to you about. She made me understand you.” He confessed.
“The Kid had that way about her.” Cain chuckled, it was flat but at least it was something.
“You know she punched me?” Jeb blurted out; nearly laughing as he saw his father whipped his head around faster that he had ever seen before with wide surprised eyes. “Oh yeah, this was after the witch fell when I was avoiding you. I was in my tent and then all of a sudden I found myself on the ground with a sting in my cheek, that girl had a mean right hook.”
“What did she say?” Cain asked and Jab was happy to see that his eyes no longer looked blank.
“Oh she yelled at me something fierce, it could put mom to shame. Lectured me about being a jerk and that I should take the stick out of where the sun don’t shine and speak to you.” Jeb chuckled, rubbing his cheek in fond memory.
Wyatt let out a small laugh and a fond smile. “Yeah, she had a way with words. Just don’t piss he…” he cut off immediately, the smile twisting into a grimace as he realised what he was going to say. There was no chance for Jeb to anger the Kid again because she was gone. “I think I’ll get some sleep.”
Jeb sighed tiredly; a little discouraged that conversation went so badly, something he didn’t intend. Tomorrow, he’d try again tomorrow.
Author note: Dun dun dun…