1DG felt herself awaken, but could not get her eyelids to open. It was as if someone had super glued them shut. Her head throbbed and it took most of her energy to just breathe. Leaving her eyes closed seemed like the best answer. Even though all she could see was the blackness, she could still hear voices around here, familiar voices.
"Do you think she's ok?" She heard Azkadellia ask.
"DG strong. DG fighter." Raw answered.
"I still don't think that was the best way to get back. There had to be another way." Cain whispered.
"Well I had another suggestion, but no one listened." Glitch replied.
"I don't think clicking our heels together would have gotten us very far." Azkadellia harshly whispered.
"Well we're back now. Let's stop arguing and start hoping that DG is ok." Cain reassured everyone. "Now, let's leave and give her rest. I don't think she'll be awakening anytime soon." DG heard his heavy feet on the floor as he walked over to the bed. She felt his lips gently kiss her forehead, then she heard him back away and walk towards the door. She urged her eyes to open, ready to see everyone. However, they did not open and she fell back into her deep sleep.
Sunlight streamed through the window when DG finally opened her eyes. The room was filled with an afternoon glow and DG yawned quietly. Her head still throbbed, but she felt much better. She pushed herself out of the position she was in and sat up. She leaned up against the head board, surrounded by dozens of fluffy pillows. Well, she was sure back at the palace. That was for sure. She looked around the room and was reminded of what she had been missing since she was gone in Kansas.
The door creaked softly and DG looked up to see her father enter the room. She smiled up at the man as he gave her a reassuring glance.
"Well, look who's up!" He declared. His feet thudded as he walked over. "I thought we'd never see those blue eyes so soon. How do you feel?" He asked. DG rubbed her sore arm and shrugged.
"I've felt better, but I'm healing." She watched as her father came over to the bed, a package in his hands. "How is everyone else?"
"Well Azkadellia won't stop talking about your adventure with everyone. Some rumors are going around that it would have been best to just leave her there, but that is between you and I." DG laughed softly.
"Let's see," Her father continued. "Glitch is. . . well you know Glitch. It's good to see him happy though. We are all waiting for him to return back to normal, but I think it may never happen." DG nodded, fully understanding what her father meant. If people were expecting Ambrose to return, then they would be completely let down. However, DG was perfectly content with her very own Glitch.
"Raw is with Glitch somewhere around this place. Who knew those two would become friends so quickly? From what I hear, he was quite an asset to you on your adventure."
"And Cain?" She asked softly. Ahamo looked carefully down at his daughter.
"He left shortly before breakfast this morning. He was around long enough to know that you were safe and out of harms way. I don't know if he'll be back or not." Ahamo's normally rough physique softened for his daughter, a show of support. DG sat perfectly still. Cain really left? But why?
"Well then. . ." she began. Ahamo looked over at her and handed over the small package he held. "What's this?" she asked.
"Mr. Cain wanted me to give it you." DG took the package in her small hands, firmly grasping the soft paper. Ahamo watched carefully as his daughter slowly opened the package smiled, fighting tears, as the paper fell away. She looked down at the small cement hand print. The tiny traces of her past looked up at her, filling her heart with happiness.
"I don't. . .how did he. . .?" She struggled to find the words to fill her sentences. She looked up at her father. "I don't understand." Ahamo shrugged.
"You'll have to ask him about it. All he said, was that you needed something to remember your past." He eyed his daughter carefully. DG's face looked pained as she ran her finger over the imprint. She looked up slowly, meeting her father's eyes.
"How did you feel when you had to give up your life? I mean your life back in the other world." DG asked. Ahamo's face stiffened as he thought back to years before.
"It was very hard for me to leave behind my life. I had a mother and a father. I even had a brother. I had a job I loved, I had just built a home of my own and I was certain of what I wanted to do with my life. But sometimes, things just don't work the way you want them to." He looked at his daughter.
"I never once regret staying here. I made something for myself, fell in love and now I have two beautiful daughters. But, not a day goes by that I don't miss my old life back in the other world. So when I say that it will take time to move on, I really mean it. I don't envy you for a second. I know what you are going through." He smoothed his daughter's bangs out of her eyes. "I'm here for you whenever you need to talk."
"Does it get any easier? Did you ever feel like you belong?" She looked out thought the window and into the magical world that surrounded the palace. Ahamo thought for a second.
"Yes and no. Home really is what you make of it. I still sometimes feel like an outsider and it hasn't gotten any easier throughout the years. But that doesn't mean you can make something of your life here. You were gone for so many years, and you've only been back for less than a year. Give it time. You'll grasp onto things.
"You have amazing friends and those friends are you who've become. They have helped to shape the very DG that sits before me. You're smart and intelligent and you know how to make the right decisions. You have the courage to take on anything in your path." He pointed to her heart. "You have the heart to love anything and everything. You see no wrong. I am so happy you're my daughter." He gently kissed the top of her head. "You belong here. You may not know it yet, but you do." Ahamo firmly nodded his head. DG reluctantly did the same.
"Your mother and I want you out of the palace." Ahamo said firmly. DG looked up at her father with wide eyes.
"I'm sorry?" She questioned. Ahamo chuckled.
"Not like that. We want you to go out and see the O.Z. See what your home is. You haven't been out of the palace since you arrived here a year ago. Think of it as a long vacation. You and Azkadillia will bond and really prove to your kingdom that you belong." He looked at his daughter as she contemplated it.
"Azkadillia will be taking the throne within the year. Your mother is far too weak to rule much longer. This will be the last time you and your sister will have any time together before things really get hectic." DG nodded.
"I think it's a great idea," she finally said. Ahamo nodded his head, relieved.
"I'll talk to your mother and we'll get the arrangements drawn up." He patted his daughter's hands. "You'll see. It will all work out in the end." He winked at his daughter, and then moved to get up out of the bed. He reached over and hugged his daughter tighter, never wanting to let go.
"I love you dad." She whispered in his ear. Ahamo smiled; happy his daughter was back in the palace, safe and sound.
"I love you too." He whispered back. He kissed her forehead, and then pulled away. He got up off the bed and left the room, leaving DG with her thoughts.
DG sat in the garden, surrounded by a mass of daisies. A pack of seeds had been discovered in the back of the greenhouse shortly after the group arrived back from Kansas. The queen had allowed them to be planted in a corner of the garden, specifically for her daughter. The white and yellow flowers had just begun to bloom, a sign of the passing of time. It had been a few months since they arrived back, long enough for Azkadellia to move on and somewhat forget about what happened over on the other side. However, for DG, it was not long enough to forget about everything she went though. The touch of his hands on her skin, the sound of his whispers at night, his smell. These things she would never forget.
She had received an occasional letter every now and again. Letters that said what he was up to, but never really telling her why he left. Now she was slowly moving on, getting over the loss, knowing there was a purpose to his leaving. She sat the small, concrete tile on the floor of the bed of flowers, surrounding it with the yellow peddles. She traced the outline of the hand print with a finger and closed her eyes, trying to remember anything. With her eyes closed, she could not see a shadow block out the sun above her. A voice made her jump out of her memories and her hand flew up to her startled heart.
"There you are. I've been looking all over for you." The voice said. DG slowly lifted her head, moving a hand up to her eyes to block the glare from the sun. The tall figure was just an outline; she couldn't make out a face. However, she recognized the hat a top his head and smiled, despite her anger towards him.
"I was about to say the same about you." She said. He looked down at her, her face squinting in the bright sunlight. He offered her a hand. She graciously accepted it and allowed him to help her to her feet. He took a step to the side, allowing the sun to move past him and showing her his face. She looked up at his familiar face and wanted to hit him so badly. She hated him for leaving her, but all she could do was reach over and hug him, pulling him into her arms.
"I want to be mad at you so badly," she said tightly, digging her head into his shoulder, trying to take anything she could from him: smell, touch, and warmth. He reached down and used his pointer finger and thumb to tilt her chin up. Her eyes looked up at him, slowly moving from sadness to anger. She pulled back and looked up at him. "Why did you leave?" she asked simply. It was a simple question, but he knew there was no simple answer.
"It's complicated." He pulled away. DG looked at him, quizzically crossing her brow. "Very complicated," he repeated. She walked over to a near by bench and sat down, her face still filled with questions.
"I heard you're going out to see the O.Z" Cain desperately tried to change the topic. DG looked up at him and nodded.
"Complicated how?" She swallowed. Did he not want to see her anymore? "I'm a big girl Wyatt. I can handle rejection." She sat up straight, her shoulders pulled back. Cain's mouth didn't movie but DG could see the corners of his eyes crinkle up in amusement. "What?"
"How long are you going to be gone?" He asked standing across from her. DG rolled her eyes in frustration.
"A couple months. Why aren't you answering my question?" She was starting to get upset.
"A couple months? I was never one for good timing." He laughed to him self and thrust his hands in his pockets. DG eyed the man carefully and listened to him mutter to himself. "I couldn't do it then and I'm nervous about it now. You would think I would learn."
"Cain, really . . . a simple 'It's not you, it's me' would be ok." DG whispered. Cain looked down into her face, their eyes meeting. DG suddenly sat back, his expression caught her off guard. "What? Just tell me." She reached over to find his hand.
"Marry me." He blurted out. DG's hand froze in the air. Her eyes widened and she tried to figure out if she just imagined those two words. Cain cursed himself for being so blunt. He knelt down in front of her, taking his hands out of his jacket pockets. DG noticed his left hand was missing his wedding band and she felt her heart flutter. What was going on? Was this some joke between Cain and Glitch? It wasn't funny if it was.
"I don't know a right way to do this." Cain sighed, taking DG's hands in his. "I tried it once and
.. . well you know what happened. . ."He trailed off into nothing. "I left months ago thinking that was what was right. And you know I didn't know what to do without you. You've been a part of my life for so long now, that I don't know what to do without you in it."
"Complicated?" DG asked simply. Cain sighed
"I couldn't stay if you said no. I couldn't spend the rest of my days around you, not ever being with you. Do you know how hard that would have been? I went out to Central City to see if they had any openings within the Tin unit. Apparently I'm too experienced." He laughed roughly. "Me! Too experienced." He shook his head then looked over at DG, her eyes still glued to him. "I'd understand if you said no."
"It's just so sudden." She whispered. She turned the words in her mind again and again. She knew this was an easy question to answer, but something blocked her. She looked down at Cain on his knees, looking up into her eyes. She knew for him to do something like this was a huge step, one that wasn't thought up in the heat of a moment. Cain really had put thought into this. He patiently waited for her to respond; hoping she'd pick what she knew was best.
"Whatever you choose, I will respect." He squeezed her hands for reassurance. She looked down at the hands, all entwined together. Is this really what she wanted? She sighed, closing her eyes.
"Yes." She whispered softly. She opened her eyes slowly and looked into Cain's. "Of course I will." She smiled and nodded her head. A relieved expression filled Cain's face. He pulled her up an into his arms and spun her around. "Of course I will." DG repeated softly. She needed the words to be said again, this time to reassure herself. Cain put her back down and grabbed her hand.
"I love you." DG said simply. Cain looked at her, his head cocked to the side in a Glitch-like manner. "In case I run out of chances to say it, or I'm so mad at you and I can't say it. I just wanted you to know." She smiled up at him. Cain nodded.
"I love you too." He pulled her close to him and instantly found her lips. As hers met his, DG melted in his arms, now certain of her choice. If she had her way, she'd stay right where she was, like this, for the rest of her life. With another adventure finally complete, that is exactly what she hoped for. She felt like she belonged and she belonged with Wyatt Cain, and that is all this princess ever needed.
This is the final chapter for this story!! Thank you so much for reading and supporting this story. Please be sure to leave feedback. I have started a sequel and posted the prologue. It is called "A Journey's End". If you liked this story, please support that one as well! THANK YOU!