AUGUST 25, Y109
Ozma hadn't wanted to die in...
Well, in months. Which didn't sound very long at all, but for Oz? It might as well have been a lifetime. He had never felt so happy and fulfilled as he did with Robin, and though depression wasn't something to be shrugged off like a cloak, his dark patches had grown less and less severe over the summer. Ozma was trying to do better, not just for himself, but mostly for Robin, who deserved nothing less than his greatest efforts.
The wagon... debacle had started innocently enough, but gradually it had felt more and more like a pair of drunken gods were having a grand time with human lives as their only source of amusement. The events that had unfolded on the trail were absurd at the best of times, and by the end of it, Ozma had been in a black humor more often than not, which even Robin hadn't been able to drag him out of. The feeling of being a god's plaything had rested in his gut like a lead weight, and it had drawn out the worst of Oz. He had become taciturn and moody in turns. Though he hadn't lashed out at Robin, he had no doubt that he would have, if he'd stayed in that situation for much longer.
So... in a weird way, death had been the best possible outcome for them, especially knowing that Valhalla had muddied the waters of life and death in Pandora. There had only been a split second of pain - more of a shock, really - and then his eyes had fluttered open in the hallowed halls of heroes he'd never heard of.
He had found the animals first, though that was only by coincidence. Henry and the two cats were slavering over bones that were thick with fat and raw meat, while the two horses were enjoying a much-needed meal of their own. Ozma had spent a bit of time with them, ensuring all five were healthy and happy, and somehow he found tankards of mead being pressed into his hands at every turn. By the time he left the hall holding the animals and navigated his way towards the sound of merriment in the Great Hall, Ozma was less sober than he probably should have been.
Pushing through the final door that led to the cavernous hall, there was a split second in which Ozma was lost to his memories, caught up in the familiar scent of the revelry. Smoke from open fires, the stink of those fresh from battle, the overpowering aroma of food, with an acrid undertone of thick wines and sweet mead. He might as well have walked into one of his own memories from five centuries before, and the similarities knocked him off kilter for a moment.
Then he saw a familiar head of white hair, and the mounting confusion abated immediately. A broad, warm smile washed over Ozma's expression and he sauntered further into the hall, cutting a path for Robin's back until he was close enough to reach out, smoothing a hand across his shoulders fondly and sinking onto the bench beside him, ignoring everyone else in the hall. He pulled his feet up to tuck them under the great table, but at the last second Ozma reconsidered and draped them over Robin's lap instead, too comfortably tipsy to care for appearances.
"I've been looking for you. I found the animals already. They're having a good time - I don't know if Peanut Butter will want to leave." Ozma said playfully, reaching up with one hand to play with Robin's hair nonchalantly. "Are you all right, dearheart? I forget that you... aren't like me." Robin didn't die with such startling regularity that it had become a comfortable and familiar companion in his existence. As he spoke, Oz's eyes cleared of the alcohol just a bit, hardening with concern. "I'm sorry. For getting us in that mess at all." Truthfully, he couldn't really remember whose idea it had been to throw their lot in with the wagon trail, but it felt right to apologize.