-1The Tinman and The Runaway Princess
Rating-R for violence, language and sexual situations
Disclaimer-I do not even pretend to own the great and wonderous land of OZ and all its inhabitants, either new or old. So please don't sue.
Summary-After the double eclipse, things still aren't so golden in OZ. Fighting and skirmishes still happen between Azkadelia's followers and the newly enstated royal guard. DG feels out of place in the palace, with people that are basically strangers and the unfamiliar responsibility of royalty weighing on her. The only time she feels at home is with her friends and one by one they are leaving.
When Cain is sent to the outer realm to help clean up a tiny band of Longcoats, the farewell between he and DG is far from sweet. When he finds out she's tagged along, wanting adventure he vows to take her back. And that's when the adventure really begins. Monsters, talking trees and men with very real guns, not to mention a pesky attraction that keeps rearing its ugly head makes the trip back home more perilous than facing an army of Azkadelia's Longcoats
Why wasn't she happier?
DG stared out her window at the bright morning, twirling a piece of hair around her finger as she thought. It had been a month since the eclipse and not a lot had changed. There was still fighting throughout the land as the Longcoats reluctantly gave up their command. Casualties were still high, crime was still rampant and the people that knew that the royal family was back in command were demanding Az's head on a stick.
Not exactly a movie ending. Why she'd thought it would be proved she was still pretty naïve. Beat the witch, save the world, life is beautiful.
What a crock.
Everything seemed wrong. And not just the dissent still sweeping the land. Everything inside of her was wrong. She was home with her family. But it was harder to acclimate than she'd thought. She was slowly getting her memories back, but she had been young when they'd taken her to the other side. Ten years old with her memories suppressed. Most of her life had been lived there, and while she'd felt out of place, she'd had good friends, a good life. Could she really just forget that and run happily into her new/old parents arms?
Everybody seemed to think she was supposed to.
A soft knock on her door pulled her attention away from the sunrise.
"Come in," she called not moving. She was still dressed for bed, but the simple chemise and pant set covered all the essentials, so she felt no need to dive for cover. She was sure that was unprincess-like. Just like everything else she did.
"DG? May I come in?"
"Of course, mother." DG turned away from the window to watch her mother sweep into the room. She'd never known anyone that could move quite as gracefully as the Queen. And she'd never really seen anybody sweep when walking. But that's just what she did. And it was incredibly beautiful. Another strike against DG, that she could never move like that.
Az could. But never DG.
She was just a simple tomboy who was more at home on a motorcycle or fixing windmills than sleeping on silk and wearing satin.
"What's wrong, dear?" Concern crossed her mothers face and DG realized she must look as bad as she felt.
"Nothing. I just couldn't sleep. What's up?" the queen settled into a chair next to the window. She sat so straight, so perfectly that DG wondered if there was some school that taught that kind of grace.
"What's up, as you ask, there's a visitor downstairs."
"Really? This early?" The second sun was only beginning to crest the horizon. She couldn't imagine who…unless…She looked up at her mother, her eyes wide with surprise. "Cain?"
The queen barely nodded before DG was off the windowseat and scrambling to get dressed. For the first time in days a spark of light brightened her eyes and her mother was pleased to see it. The fact that a Tinman was the cause didn't really bother her much. What did was how her daughter would feel after he'd left.
"Thanks mother," Without a backwards glance, DG was out of the room. Cain. She hadn't seen him in a couple of weeks. Ahdn't seen any of them, really. Even Glitch, who was in the castle with her. Maybe it had been lonliness that was making her feel so off.
A bright smile bloomed on her face the second she saw him. Tall, rugged and just as handsome as ever he stood in the grand foyer, his hat in his hand. He looked up when she called his name and accepted her easily into his arms.
"Hey, Kiddo. How's the royal life treating you?"
"Ick." DG groaned with a scowl as they pulled apart. "I don't even want to talk about it." She reached out and took his hand then pulled him over to a bench. "So, how's the clean up going? Are the bad guys laying down and giving up quietly."
"Not hardly." His lips quirked but a smile never fully bloomed. She found this strange. He never easily smiled, of course. But she could usually coax at least one. A small one. In fact, he was acting strange altogether. He sat next to her, twisting his hat in has hands and looking around the room, not her.
"Nothing." His gaze flitted over her then, and she knew something was wrong.
"Tell me," It was more of a command than a request and she flinched. She didn't usually talk like that, not with her friends. But fear had started to wriggle its way into her and she wanted to know what was going on.
"Well, those bad guys are spread pretty far and wide, you know?" He finally looked at her then, his face a careful mask of neutrality. "And the Queen thinks my services would be better used elsewhere."
"Where, elsewhere?" Something inside of DG seemed to be splitting in two, and it was horribly painful and made it more than difficult to breath. She concentrated on listening to him, on not letting those pieces fall apart.
Cain cleared his throat and turned fully to look at her. His clear blue eyes leveled on hers, making her worry even more.
"The outer realms."
The floor must have fallen out from under her, DG was sure. That was the only thing that could explain the way her stomach was rolling and her balance, even sitting, was thrown.
"The outer realms." She whispered, looking away from him to some point on the floor. The outer realms took at least a month to reach just the edge of the territory. If he had to go further in, to the more minoot areas, he could be gone… "How long?"
"Six months," The lie came first, they both knew it would. "A year." Closer to the truth, but still not quite there. "Maybe longer." There was bitterness on his tongue as his throat closed. He had to turn away from the tear washed look in her eyes.
"So, this isn't goodbye for now," she asked, her voice cracking despite her best intentions. "This is goodbye forever."
"DG," he reached for her now, just to grasp her hand and let her know he was always there for her. She moved too quickly.
"Why? Why do you have to go?" She was practically shouting. She knew it, but she couldn't stop it. They were all leaving her, off to do their own thing while she sat her in this posh prison and rotted. The thought of not seeing him…she didn't like to contemplate that.
"What else am I supposed to do? I'm a fighter DG. Always have been. I can't sit here and do nothing while parts of the OZ are still at war." He willed her ot understand. He'd known she wouldn't like it, but the Queen had been very clear in her intentions. It was for more than peace he was leaving. The Queen, and her husband, felt that DG's attatchment to him was hindering her adjustment to her old life. New life. Whatever this life was, it didn't need him in it.
Even Glitch and Raw had been…reassigned. He was sure her parents were doing this for her own good. He didn't think he'd want a broken old man, a half-brained advisor and a skittish empath hanging around his daughter either. If he ever had one. Which didn't look likely.
"You could say no. You could stay. Everything is wrong, here. With me. The only time I feel even halfway right is around you. Or…or Glitch and Raw." She stammered. He could tell, by the way she was looking at him that maybe the queen was right. With a sigh, Cain stood, forcing her to look up at him. Her jaw was set as she glared at him, her emotions a perfect storm on her face.
"You'll be alright, Princese. And we'll see each other again."
"When? When I"ve been forced into a marriage I don't want to secure an heir to a thrown I want even less? When I'm safe enough for you to come near? How can you leave me?"
The last came out as a whimper when DG finally lost the last of her control. The hot look of accusation pierced him through and it was all he could do not to reach for her.
"I'm not leaving you, sweetheart." It slipped out, before he could even think. He'd never called her anything but DG, kiddo or Princess. Hoping she didn't think to much of it, he hazarded a step closer. "I have to go."
DG stared at him for what seemed like hours, tears finally sliding down her face as anger flushed her cheeks and hurt darkened her eyes.
"Fine then. Go." She said ina tight voice. She pulled herself up, looking more regal in that second than Cain could ever remember her mother looking and turned on her heel. Without another look back, she walked up the stairs and out of his life.
"Goodbye, DG." He said to her retreating back. He then placed his hat back on his head and walked out of the castle, his boot heels echoing through the castle and up to her ears. Each step stabbed her heart and she barely made it back to her room before she collapsed, too tired to cry, but too hurt not too.