The first dance DG learned in the O.Z. wasn't really a dance at all. Not one for any dance floor. It was one designed to put your partner permanently down. Glitch was teaching her this form of dance, at her insistence. One which could get them both into trouble. The violent, dangerous yet oddly beautiful ballet of destruction she'd only heard he knew in retelling of their individual stories. DG never wanted to be helpless again, relying on fallen tree branches, flailing and kicking out randomly. Those defensive dance lessons were taught in an unused storage area of the palace.

Glitch said she had perfect rhythm, but a short reach. Adjustments had to be made. The dressing dummies were beginning to look more than a bit battered as they had been drafted as targets. While hardly proficient yet, DG was more confident she could handle herself better in a scuffle. You couldn't always find a stick as a weapon after all.

The first REAL dance DG learned in the O.Z. was a waltz. She had an overly stuffy, starched and pompus dancing instructor for that. He had a huge, carefully waxed handlebar mustache but had not a strand of hair on his head. Lord Kildride was an excelent and exacting dancing instructor, very proper and without an ounce of humor. DG referred to him as Lord Killjoy.

She was thankful that Glitch usually ended their 'dancing' lessons with a practice twirl about the temporary gym room. Her best friend was hardly stuffy, or formal, although he occasionally remembered how to be.

Shifting from learning a spinning kick to practicing a waltz right after was actually easy. After all, she'd already exerted herself and the waltz was a good way of winding down.

Glitch had yet to be restored. It was going to take a great deal of research and a collection of the best experts in the O.Z. to even contemplate rejoining both halves of his brain. But he seemed happy enough knowing all was being done.

DG was selfishly glad for the delay. She didn't know if she would loose one of her best friends when he became Ambrose once more. Would he be as outspoken? Fun? Occasionally goofy? Then she felt a great wellspring of guilt. Because he'd remember, his synapses wouldn't misfire, he'd be what he wanted, not what she was used to.

"Doll, if my toes are any indication, your mind isn't on dancing," Glitch pulled back from their proper dancing frame, releasing her hand. "Even I'm not as empty headed as you seem to be right now. If you want to call it quits that's alright with me. I think the mice want their attic back for the day."

DG smiled and shook her head at her friend. "Do you have any idea how scary this celebration ball… thing is? Facing a witch, stopping the destruction of the O.Z with my friends, saving my sister…" she snapped her fingers, "like that. Facing a room full of stuffed up strangers judging my every move, and having to dance while doing it? I want to hide in the closet."

"The closet in the third guest room in the east wing is really big. You could hide in there for days. Until you got hungry. Or needed to use the bathroom." He seemed to be considering. "But you'd last longer if you actually hid in a bathroom. The door locks, you'd have water and facilities. If you brought some fruit you'd be set."

DG laughed. He was showing her how silly she was being. She hoped. He could be entirely serious.

"Yeah, but everyone's expecting me to be there. And it's supposed to be in honor of everyone… So I'll have to swallow my fear and jump off that cliff." DG stood slouched, clearly unhappy.

"The only expectations you have to live up to is your own. " He insisted. "But it would be nice for you to be there."

"Ah. The old guilt trip after the words of self sufficiency. I'll be there, and I'll work on my waltz. Just don't expect me to learn any other dances. We only have two weeks and I might kill Killjoy yet." DG hooked her arm in Glitches and tugged him to the door.

"You're a quick study. You'll be just fine. And now you can also kick the fecal matter out of anyone who gets frisky." Glitch looked rather pleased by that.


The Celebration had somehow gotten to be somewhere between tedious and fascinating. There was the pungent smell of the buffet and too many perfumed and pomaded courtiers. That only got worse as the night wore on as dancing worked up perspiration. It was not an aroma DG was likely to forget.

At least she could smell it. She absolutely refused to wear a corset. She decided to start an underwear revolution in the O.Z. and told the seamstresses to replicate her over worn bra. One small step for feminine comfort one giant leap for womankind.

The hall itself sparkled. The marble floor shone, and she wondered if that was why ball gowns were floor length. So none of the men could get a quick thrill by looking down. Maybe someone should tell the cleaning staff that the polished bit wasn't really a good idea. Between magic and candles the whole place was brightly lit, and everyone was talking.

Some of the laughter was forced. People were uncertain about a lot of things. One of which sat beside DG on a dais two steps lower than the one their parents sat enthroned upon. Well, their mother was the one enthroned, really. Dad was kinda seated on a smaller semi-throne. DG didn't stay seated long. She moved quickly to her friends. One was conspicuous in his absence.

"Where's Cain?" DG half hissed at poor Glitch and RAW.

"He get here an hour ago. Trouble on road." Raw spoke up.

Why HE had to personally lead a contingent to go out and help the little turkeys on bungee cords fend off some remaining longcoat parties she didn't know. Yeah, she did. Duty. Damn.

DG was just about danced out. She had to have danced with at least two dozen men and boys as well as with her father. But she had not danced with the one person she had really been hoping she would dance with.

Her sister's dance partners were more limited in number. Azkadellia had danced with each of DG's friends, her father, and Jeb Cain. The latter was actually rather nice in a making a point way. Then DG and Az scandalized most of the people present by taking each other's hands and dancing together. Az led, as she was much better at it. The two of them had the most fun with that. It was one of the rare times, lately, that Azkadellia had laughed freely.

Yet, all night DG had done well enough, but she was all too aware of each step, counting in her head. She sometimes missed parts of conversations so intent was she on not falling on her behind.

"You're too stiff." Glitch tried to whisper out of the side of his mouth, but he was a little too loud for an actual whisper.

"I'm tired, my feet hurt and people keep staring at me. Of course I'm stiff." DG counted out the steps as Glitch moved them smoothly. She was also annoyed that Cain had not shown up at the celebration after all. It wasn't fair. SHE had to attend.

There was a tap on Glitch's shoulder. "Mind if I cut in?"

DG grinned so wide she half feared her face might split in two. Cain had finally arrived. And he looked good. Not that he didn't always. She had come to adore the scent of leather, which was kinda on the scary side. But he wore a black shirt and silver-grey vest. His nicely tailored pants were grey was well. Still had that western look, but it was polished. He most likely hated it.

"Not at all, do you Glitch?" DG turned to her friend.

Glitch backed off. "No need to tell me to get lost twice. Have fun, kids."

"You look… nice," Cain placed a hand at DG's waist as Glitch crossed the hall. The warmth of his palm burned through the dark blue silk as he spun her out into the dance.

"Don't clean up too bad yourself." She smirked.

She noticed that there was definitely a scandalous lack of space between them. Every once in a while she could feel herself brush against him, making her stomach flutter and nerves jangle. Killjoy would be shocked, if her dance with Az hadn't caused him to faint already.

"You save any Longcoats from the midgets?" DG kept her eyes locked with his. She'd never seen eyes quite like. So pale, yet sometimes the only place she could read him.

He snorted . "Just about. By the time we got there the Munchkins had them surrounded and were throwing really big logs on ropes at them."

"Why am I not surprised they'd go ewok on the Longcoats asses?" DG smirked.

Cain looked puzzled. "Sometimes you make absoluetely no sense."

"I make perfect sense. You just don't understand me." DG felt her heart actually skip a beat when the hand at her waist pulled her a little closer. Yep, definitely touching. Made her a bit dizzy, and oddly breathless, actually. She couldn't even blame a corset. Did he even realize he was doing it?

"I may never understand you." He admitted. There was an odd light in his eyes. Teasing, playful, like there was a shared joke here. Oh my! He did know. He so totally knew.

DG had to swallow a sudden lump in her throat. Was this real?

"Well here's to trying to find out, then." She smiled brightly.

She hadn't realized until then, that she hadn't once thought of her steps, or counted in her head from the moment Wyatt Cain laid his hand on her waist and took her hand. She had let herself go. Maybe all she needed with the right partner.

Maybe she could learn to dance.