The funny thing about having a brain behind glass was that he didn’t really miss it. Not… not so much that he’d notice he was missing it. Everyone else seemed very particularly focused on the fact that it was inside a glass jar, and not inside his head, and there was an awful lot of fuss about trying to re-brain a zipper head.
Glitch felt like Ambrose lacked… soul.
Soul was a more serious matter than brains if anybody were to ask Glitch. Not that they seemed so inclined; everyone was talking over him and under him, making suggestions, waving their hands and using a great number of rather large magical words. Everyone but him and Ambrose, and Ambrose didn't even seem as if he'd be that interested in the conversation.
Ambrose had probably spent the entire time in contemplation, working on plans and numbers, if Glitch had to decide what he'd done. He shifted, leaned on his elbows, propped his chin up on his hands, and stared hard at his wayward brain. It was impossible to remember what life had been like before de-braining, but he didn’t really… get the feeling, he didn’t really get the feeling that he’d had a lot of soul, then, either.
"So." The rumble of the Tin Man's voice made Glitch's eyes jerk upwards, curious. "Everybody seems to have half a dozen ways to get your brain back in your head. Is that what's on your mind?"
"I don't even think it'll work. And if it does, he, it? I? I don't even think it'll work." Cain was at least more straight forward than Azkadellia, who wanted to fix everything five times over and needed a scientist to do it. Needed an Ambrose, but not a Glitch.
It was strange, feeling as if there were two of them -- Ambrose in a jar, and Glitch in a chair, and nobody seemed that concerned about asking him whether he wanted his Ambrose back in his head again.
"Are you interested?"
“I don’t know. If I say no, he stays in the jar forever, or someone puts him in the river like a dead platinum fish, and I couldn’t do that to anyone, but if I say yes then I do that to myself, don’t I?” And never mind that generally headcases were never reunited, so he really couldn’t remember if it had ever worked before. But it must’ve, or there wouldn’t be so much shouting.
'So." Cain seemed to like that word. So, sew, sow, soul. It came down to his soul, didn't it? Who he was. Who he wanted to be.
Whether Ambrose could have any.
Cain was watching him. "I think the decision's gotta be with you. Not the rest of these guys."
“It’s not really a choice? Not that I like choices. There’s too many of them, and this isn’t bacon or chocolate type choices.” He looked at the jar again, because maybe Ambrose was thinking. “What if he doesn’t want back in my skull? What if it’s great like that? I'd be lonely, but…"
Glitch was a different man than Ambrose. Ambrose hadn't ever been lonely so long as there was math in his head, and science, and all of the smart things he thought about. Glitch knew more about lonely than Ambrose had ever had. Making him a zipperhead had given him soul, and he didn't want to give that back by taking back his brain.
"But you don't think he would be. The guy you used to be."
“I think we could ask the queen. Just to be sure.” Once he was sure, he could make his decision and decise. Excise, Decide, both.
"Hey." Cain spoke as if it was his right, and maybe it was. Maybe that was a right they all had, now, because they'd done what was necessary. What was proper. Hadn't they? "Glitch has a question."
"Not really a question, so much as a, yes, well, it could be a question. Yes. Did Ambrose like being alone?" It would've been easier if he could've just... remembered, but there was the barrier, between glass and air and a zipper.
Funny lavender eyes, all looking at him, pairs and pairs. It made the air shiver and it made him shudder, and maybe he didn't want to ask the question after all. "Uh...."
Stepping forward, the queen leaned close to him. "Of course, Amb... Glitch."
"Maybe it's better to leave things the way they are." Raw had made him see, feel things that had hurt, half-sensations and half-memories that had slipped away again, because he liked them gone that way better. They weren't good, and they'd be real again, everything from before would be real again, even his smarts.
What if his smarts negated his soul?
"But...." She looked at him, and there was something there. Something like loss, and it made him feel guilty, made him twitch and squirm inside where his brain wasn't and his heart was.
"But if he doesn't want it back," the Tin Man drawled, a mask for the seriousness of his statement, "then you're killing Glitch as much as stripping out his brain dispatched Ambrose."
"So, so...." He fidgeted a little, because it hurt and he knew it would hurt *her*, and he'd never wanted to hurt her, he'd burned his drafts, and they'd taken his brain anyway. "So, I don't know what to do. I always wanted my brain back, I did, I did."
"And now you don't." D.G. was looking at him, all earnest, limpid violet gaze. "I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Not if you know what you want now."
"I don't know. I know I don't know, and the brain in the jar knows I don't know. What if..." He stood up, shaking out one arm, one hand over his chest. "What if I lose me?" Him, everything he was, everything that made up Glitch and had never made up Ambrose. Never, never, he'd seen it, he believed it.
All for the sake of a brain.
The queen reached out and touched his hand. "You have and always will be my friend, and you have given me guidance when it seemed I could see no way forward. If this is what you want, then that is your decision to make."
There was still the matter of the platinum fish.
He looked down at the Queen's hand atop his own, and that was one of those thoughts that peered in at the edge of his mind and made him hurt. He didn't want to know why. "If I don't, what happens to him?"
D.G. was looking back and forth between them. She was smart compared to him, although maybe not so smart compared to Ambrose. "Well. There's an interface already, right? It's not that big of a jump to a computer. You know, giving Ambrose a way to talk. To be real without...."
"Without destroying Glitch." The Tin Man seemed to feel that was a satisfactory conclusion of some kind.
It wasn't the same as a body, but nothing was perfect. "Absolutely. And we'll finally be able to tell if he suffered degre, degra-dition? No, no, it's uhm. Ah." He shrugged, waving the fingers of one hand in the air. "You know."
"Yeah, Glitch." Cain was almost smiling, and wasn't that an odd look on his face? It wasn't at all something he did much of, was it? "We know."