I wrote another Candy Man Curse AU drabble, kind of a direct sequel to this ficlet. Thanks to @red-rose-gown for giving me this obsession. And @shadeswift99 too because that’s where this pain started and I’m going to call that out.
[TW: Body horror, candy gore, Zed is slowly going mad]
Zed should have noticed something was wrong when his hands started feeling unusually wet. It’s not like he took the gloves off, no, he had no reason to, but somehow some kind of liquid must have gotten into them. Yeah, yeah that was it. He wasn’t feeling weird or anything… he was fine.
He’d spent endless days observing Tango’s strange, caramel covered state. He’d been able to identify the cause, which was actually a mix of confections he found on Tango’s person. The most concerning of these was purple rock candy, as it didn’t seem natural. Where did it even come from? The question lingered in Zed’s mind as he put the candy aside, trying to resist its allure.
He’d been trying so hard to make a cure for whatever had befallen his friend, trying so hard to come up with something… He had stopped checking his communicator early into the experimenting. He couldn’t handle the panicked messages of the other Hermits about the situation. He ignored all the discussion about whatever was going on, because if he could find a cure, if he could save Tango… then they could save everybody else.
But he couldn’t be distracted.
He wouldn’t be distracted.
* * *
Something was definitely wrong with Zedaph. He didn’t know what it was, there was no way it could be the infection. He hadn’t eaten any of the candies he’d taken from Tango. He’d put them in a secure seal so he could study them and figure out what they were without consuming them. Maybe that wasn’t enough, though. Maybe… maybe it was enough just to be around the things. Maybe that’s why the air seemed… glittery. Everything seemed brighter than it normally was, mundane experiences had a bit of whimsy to them. It almost felt good…
No. No he couldn’t give into it. He mentally scolded himself, pulling his hair into a ponytail and ignoring how it had gotten much fluffier at the bottom. Usually he made a habit of chewing on his hair, but he’d noticed it getting fluffier and easily dissolving in his mouth… he may have accidentally swallowed some of it while he was working.
But he was fine.
He was fine. Truly…
* * *
Every day Tango seemed to get worse, and Zed couldn;t help but fear he wasn’t being fast enough. He hardly recognized the Netherborn when he looked at him now, what with the amount of caramel coating his skin combined with the purple thorn-like protrusions… it hurt to see. He also hadn’t responded to Zed at all. It’s like he wasn’t even aware, just a husk of his former self, being eaten by the inside out… it’d be almost ironic enough to be funny... if it wasn’t so painful.
If Zed wasn’t so worried about Tango, he’d probably think the caramel hair looked a tad delicious… what? No that’s disgusting, yes caramel tastes good but that’s Tango’s hair. And quite possibly his skin.
Zed shook the thought off, returning to his work, lightly pulling at his hair and plopping a small bit of the fluff into his mouth absentmindlessly.
Zedaph was not okay.
* * *
It was much worse now. Zed hadn’t taken proper care of himself since this started, so he hadn’t had time to fully look at himself, but staring at his reflection in the glass of one of his test tubes while taking a small break… it terrified him. His once long hair had fluffed up even more, it looked like cotton candy, almost. It tasted like it too. His skin already seemed a tad more sticky than before, like he was sweating constantly, but it wasn’t falling.
All of that aside, it was his eyes that scared him the most. He usually had purple eyes surrounded by a sea of white just too bright to be natural. Now? It was pink surrounded by a light purple. Vibrant pink, too. Oh void this was bad… he needed to find a cure. He needed to find a cure and fast, he couldn’t be close to doing so and then turn… the Hermits needed that cure… Tango needed that cure…
Soon, he would need that cure too.
* * *
Zed had accepted that he was slowly turning into a candy abomination whether he wanted to or not. He’d accepted that he couldn’t stop it. He was fine with that. He could handle being infected himself. What he could not and would not accept, is Tango being stuck in a perpetual candy coma.
He was gonna get out of this, even if Zed had to turn into a goopy pile of candy for it to happen. Tango had come to the lab clearly in pain and Zed was not about to let him suffer anymore. If he had to suffer to save his best friend? So be it. Tango needed him more now than ever…
* * *
It was done… Zed had no idea if it would work, but he’d made a cure. He’d had to turn himself a little more to see if it would work, actively consuming the catalysts of this virus. It had made things so much worse for him, he didn’t care though. He’d manage to revert his hand back to a normal state with a small bit of the cure, meaning Tango would be okay… and that made all of it worth it.
Zed had already taken extensive notes on the cure in case Tango decided to recreate it. He needed someone to cure the other Hermits, and Tango was one of the few people who understood Zed’s weird notes. He just needed to leave Tango a note telling him where to find the cure’s ingredients. So he got to work on that… it was messy, almost illegible given how hard it was to write without properly separated fingers, but it would work.
He placed the note on the bedside table, next to where Tango had been resting, and he popped open the vile with the cure in it. One shot, he had one shot. Carefully, he moved the vile towards what was left of Tango’s lips, and began pouring it into his mouth, noticing Tango’s neck move from swallowing.
Good, he smiled, Tango would be okay if this went well…
Now that he was sure Tango was safe… well, he had to make sure he couldn’t hurt him.
So, he scooped up what remaining sweets were left, and he made his way down to the basement he created for his testing. The Chamber as he lovingly dubbed it upon its creation. He had planned to use it for something less dangerous… but he had no other option for himself now.
He stood in the dropshoot for the Chamber, pressing a button and falling inside. It didn’t even hurt upon impact, which was probably a sign to how far gone Zed’s body was. He didn’t even feel it when small purple spikes began growing out of his spine, he just stared at the wall with glazed over eyes, much like Tango’s were, and he let the sweet infectious poison take over whatever was left of his remaining sanity, smiling as it did.
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