The story is based on the first verse, the chorus, and the third verse of the song, Stay, by Sugarland. Sugarland owns those lyrics, of course, while the characters and setting are owned by the Sci-Fi channel and L. Frank Baum.

Let me know what you think. I am considering continuing the story if there is an interest for me to do so.

Thank you for reading!

Stay

It had only been four months since the night of the double eclipse but DG felt as if she had aged ten years in that time. Having to learn all the ins and outs of being a princess, ruling a world she barely remembered being a part of as a child, felt like such a burden; too big a burden for her to face. She had never been the girl who dreamed of waking up one day to find out she was actually royalty, and ironically that is exactly what happened. The thought that if she had envisioned herself as a princess when she was young could have prevented this from happening crossed her mind on more than one occasion. Then to top it off there was the magic aspect. But life is what it is and DG knew that she had to accept what fate handed her, at least to an extent.

I've been sitting here staring at the clock on the wall
And I've been laying here praying, praying she won't call

As she watched the clock anxiously for it to chime, signaling the end of her current suffering, she could swear time had started to stand still. However, it was probably due to the gown she was being fitted for constricting the blood flow to her brain. No matter how many dresses DG wore, all of which she hated, she would never get used to a corset. According to her it was a means of torture that a man invented to keep women from being able to think for themselves, due to lack of oxygen. It was working. Her eyes clouded over and her breath became strained.

Her mind traveled back to the last month in the O.Z. Her parents, the biological ones, had thought that moving the family to Finaqua, with the lake's healing properties, would help things return to their rightful way. Whatever that means! Even though DG knew they were her parents and had a tremendous feeling of gratitude for all they had given up to save their daughters, it was an awkward situation. Should she call Lavender, "Mom" and Ahamo, "Dad?" Could she still call the machines by those names? Who would be offended by her choice? So many questions and so many possible paths to take that her head was reeling even more than from her current constraints.

DG was lonelier in Finaqua than she had been growing up as an only child in Kansas. Not only was every corner of the land filled with memories that had a way of returning at the most inopportune times, but they were memories of what she had done. What she had cost the O.Z. and her family and friends.

The men who had helped her on the quest for the emerald had scattered. Glitch was still recovering from being put back together and honestly, no one knew if he would ever fully recover. He had been gone for weeks and DG knew it would be weeks, at least, before he would return. Raw had left with Kalm to find a place they could call home and DG envied them for that. Officially she had two homes, the O.Z. and Kansas. Unofficially she had no home, out of place everywhere.

It's just another call from home
And you'll get it and be gone
And I'll be crying

Cain was the only person still around, at least in the physical sense, though emotionally he couldn't have been further away. It hurt to have him so guarded, especially given her feelings for him. It had been obvious to DG from early on that a friendship with Cain was not what she yearned for; she wanted much, much more.

The first time it really dawned on her was when she had been giving "courage" to her three companions. Nerves had overtaken DG, and instead of concluding her discussion with Cain in a hug, she stuck out her arm for a hand shake. Fear that he would realize her feelings made it impossible for her to initiate an embrace. However, they embraced anyway. He actually made the first move, which had not happened during their time together. The warmth of his arms and the caress of his heartbeat on her cheek made her feel safe and secure. It gave her the strength she needed to defeat the witch, saving her sister and her friends from permanent darkness.

It was only after things had settled down that she entertained the idea that he might return those feelings, eventually. Cain had been charged with her protection and seeing him constantly did nothing to quell her desires.

"Princess," someone said. It was so soft, so far away. "Are you alright?" louder and clearer were the words. DG opened her eyes, she hadn't been aware that they were closed.

There he was staring down at her, holding her in his arms. She stared up at him in confusion and as she glanced at her surroundings she was acutely aware that she was lying on the floor with a throbbing sensation in her head.

Raising her hand to her head she slowly sat up. "What happened?" DG asked, shaking her head slightly to try to rid herself of the confusion she was experiencing.

'I'm so sorry, Princess," a woman on her left apologized. "The corset must have been too tight." The woman looked terrified, fidgeting with her hands and dancing from foot to foot.

As DG stood, with the help of Cain, she raised her arm as a signal to the woman to stop apologizing. "Don't worry about it. I'm sure it won't be the last time one of these things takes me out," she said, sniggering softly. "If you don't mind, I'd like to finish this some other time," stated DG, not really waiting for an answer as she exited the room quicker than she probably should have given her condition, Cain in tow.

When she had left the fitting room she leaned against the wall, placing her head tenderly against the cool marble surface. Her eyes closed tight, she breathed slow and deep. DG was trying to ease the pain in both her head and her heart. He had been so close, so very close. All she could see now were those blue eyes full of concern, for her, and his lips which were enticing her to lean up and taste them. She could feel her heart hammering against her chest and feel sweat begin to seep from every pore with the thought.

And I'll be begging you, baby
Beg you not to leave

"Princess?" Cain prodded, "You aren't going to pass out on me again?"

His breath was so close to her ear. She dared not open her eyes for fear of what her body might due at the sight of him that close again. "If I remember correctly," she started, and scrunched up her forehead before she continued, "I passed out on the floor, not on you. That is if the headache I have is any indication." Eyes still closed, she gave a small smile.

"True," replied Cain. "I didn't realize how dangerous corsets can be to the safety of a princess." A friendly sarcasm dripped from every word.

DG finally lifted her lids to see Cain standing before her, apparently prepared to catch her if she passed out again. "Well, next time you can wear the corset so you can scout out any danger." She turned around. "Would you loosen this thing before I end up with another bump on my head?"

He gave a small cough like he was clearing his throat and she couldn't help but smile to herself. She had been getting more forward with each passing day hoping he would see reason, come to his senses as it were. "I don't think it's appropriate, Princess," he countered.

Sighing loudly she knew she had to say a few things while her back was to this man. "First of all, would it be better if while you are walking me back to my room I faint again? I think the queen would frown upon letting her daughter go without oxygen on more than one occasion if it can be prevented." She paused for the briefest of moments before continuing. "And second, I would appreciate it if you didn't call me 'Princess.' I hate that title and have never felt less like one than I have since I've been here."

Although she couldn't see his face she could just picture Cain's stoic expression as he processed her remarks. "Very well," he responded shortly. DG felt his fingers working on the laces of her corset and soon the knot was untied and the string was loose enough that she could finally breath proper.

"Thank you," DG said as she took his arm in hers and walked him down the hall.

But I'll be left here waiting
With my Heart on my sleeve

She could see the tightness in his jaw and thought if he wasn't careful the pressure would crack some of his pearly whites. "Are you ok?" she asked him this time. Concern was evident on her face as she looked at his profile.

She watched his features soften at the question. He glanced at DG out of the corner of his eye and gave a smirk. "Of course," he replied simply and returned his eyes to the route ahead.

"You know," she broke the silence. "I miss being able to spend time with you."

Cocking his head to the side, Cain raised one eyebrow showing his curiosity at her declaration. "If we spent any more time together we would be one person." He said it in his usual sarcastic tone.

She smiled in spite of the serious way she had meant the statement. "I don't mean as protector and protectee," she frowned. "I miss being able to just talk and not have you be so formal." Sighing audibly she turned her head away from Cain and focused her attention on the passing art hanging on the wall.

"It's my job, kiddo," he responded. An awkward silence hung over them as they finally reached their destination.

DG tightened her grip on his arm when they stopped at the door of her bed chamber. He graciously opened the door with his free arm and led her into the room. However, DG did not release her hold.

The room was unusually large. A sitting area with a sofa, chair and fireplace was off to the right and the bed, dresser and walk-in closet was on the left near the adjoining bathroom. If it had a kitchen she could live permanently in this suite without ever having to leave.

Oh, for the next time we'll be here
Seems like a million years
And I think I'm dying

"Uh, kiddo?" Cain questioned, shaking his arm a tad as an indication for her to let go.

Blushing to the roots of her hair, DG freed his arm from her grasp and walked over to look out the window. The view was still as breathtaking as the first day she saw it in its full grandeur. It had snowed last night, the first snow of the season. The ground was covered in a fine powder that glistened from the setting sun. Parts of the lake were frozen over and it sparkled like glass.

When she heard the sound of Cain's retreat she decided to pose one more question. "Will you stay with me awhile?" It was quiet and reserved. She hoped he wouldn't let his position on the queen's staff deter him from putting off his departure.

She heard him stop walking. There was just no way to explain her need for him to be close. He had a way of making everything feel right just by his presence, no matter how out of place she felt normally.

When she turned around she was surprised to see Cain looking at her. He had a look in his eye she had never seen before and couldn't quite place. "For just an hour can you forget that it's your job to look after me and just spend some time here," she practically begged. "Just because you want to?"

They stood there in the stillness, starring at one another; neither wanting to be the first to speak. It was almost as if they didn't need to. She could read it in his eyes. He was going to leave.

"I don't think that's such a good idea," he replied.

What do I have to do to make you see
She can't love you like me?

She didn't try to argue. DG knew it would get her nowhere and only make her feel even more rejected. Her heart hammered behind her ribs and her breath became short, the signs that tears would soon follow. The last thing she wanted to do was show such weakness in front of him.

Cain stood still. It confused DG that he wasn't fleeing in fear. Then she realized the reason. She had asked him to stay and even though he didn't feel comfortable doing so, according to his job he had to do what she told him. He couldn't leave until she gave him permission.

As much as she wanted his company, she wanted it to be by his choice, not because he considered it his responsibility. Damn it to hell! She wasn't going to force him to spend time with her.

"Go," she commanded and walked determinedly to the fireplace. Throwing on log after log she squatted down to set up the pile so that it would burn evenly. She needed the warmth. Every part of her body was seeping with cold.

A cough behind her got her attention. He hadn't left yet. She kept working. "I can do that for you, Prin… DG," he offered.

Pausing, her hands outstretch, she bit her lip nervously. Had he not already told her that he didn't think it was right to stick around? Was this because he wanted to stay? Or was it because he thought it was his duty to do this menial labor for her? She wasn't incompetent! She had been a fairly decent mechanic, waitress and farmer before she had returned to the O.Z. A little fire was more than manageable.

"Just go, Cain," she said stiffly. "I can manage on my own, thank you."

"DG… I…," Cain stuttered out.

Why don't you stay
I'm down on my knees
I'm so tired of being lonely
Don't I give you what you need

DG sighed and glanced over her shoulder at the Tin Man. He looked uncomfortable standing there, hands hanging useless by his side. After a long look she turned back to the hearth. "Don't worry about it," she replied. "If the fire blazes out of control I'll be sure to call for you." It was harsher than she had intended, but it was done. She had made her point. If he wasn't going to stay as her friend he damn well wasn't going to stay as her bodyguard.

His footsteps echoed in the large room as he exited. The shutting of the door startled her so much that she lost her balance and instead of squatting she was now kneeling by the stone fireplace. He had slammed the door.

Cain was mad.

Well, he had no right to be angry. He had made it plenty clear that he should leave. How dare he take insult when she encouraged him to do just that!

Staring sightlessly at the logs before her, making a fire totally forgotten, moisture prickled at the corners of her eyes. As she stood up and moved quietly to the bed the tears began leaking steadily down her flushed cheeks and off her chin. Hastily she wiped at her face trying to dry the flowing river. She might as well have tried to empty out the lake with a teaspoon. There was just no stopping the tears.

Shivering, she climbed into bed and under the covers. Her heart ached. As she began to drift off into an uneasy sleep the unsettling thoughts that plagued her rose to the surface.

As horrible as the days before the eclipse were, she found herself longing for them. Praying to return to the way things had been when she was with her companions. Not just with Cain, but with Glitch and Raw, also. In all her years in Kansas she had never made such fast and lifelong friends as she had during those few days. Now it seemed to be slipping through her fingers.

As soon as everyone found out she was a princess they started to treat her differently. It wasn't so obvious when they were out searching for the emerald but it was plain that their relationships were changing after the O.Z. was saved.

When she calls you to go
There is one thing you should know
We don't have to live this way
Baby, why don't you stay

The bowing, the removal of hats, and the formalities like calling her 'Princess' or 'Highness,' was extremely aggravating. She was the same girl she had been before she found out she was royalty. DG would gladly give up her status to be treated like an everyday person again. It just wasn't fair.

Then there was the "I can't be alone with her unless the door is open," mentality. Like everyone would think that they took advantage of the vulnerable DG and got to boink a princess. It all made her want to pull her hair out in frustration. There could never be any private conversations with those men.

Cain was the worst offender.

Even if she finally mustered up enough courage to tell Cain how she felt she would have to do it in a place where they could easily be interrupted or overheard; all due to his stupid "gentlemanly" mindset. Wouldn't want the Princess to end up with a bad reputation! Don't want any rumors to start flying about DG's current love interest! It was enough to make her scream.

It made her feel like she wasn't even a person anymore. Like she couldn't think for herself or have a personal life of her own. And when Cain fed into all those attitudes it tore her heart out.

I can't take it any longer
But my will is getting stronger
And I think I know just what I have to do

When she finally awoke from her fitful sleep she lay awake in the darkness, clutching the blanket to her chin. The coldness in her limbs would not go away. Parts of her felt numb, but in a way she didn't care. The more numbness that took over the less her heart would hurt. And her decision was made.

She got out of bed and changed out of the dress she had been getting fitted for earlier in the evening and into simple flannel pajamas. DG put on her socks and shoes and made a stealthy exit of her bed chamber. Traveling quietly down the long hallways and stairwells of the castle, she looked behind her often to make sure she wasn't being followed. The last thing she wanted was for someone to stop her, and the most likely person to do that was the very person she was fleeing from.

As she moved through the empty palace to the yard, thoughts of Cain pursued her.

Cain cared for her, she knew that. And there were times when his eyes made her believe that one day they would be able to admit their feelings and move on from there. But those looks came infrequently and were short-lived.

There was no doubt she was fighting the memory of a ghost. Adora. She had passed on from this world and yet she still had everything that DG wanted; the love of Cain.

It wasn't as if DG expected Cain to forget Adora and worship over her, but she had hoped there was enough room inside his heart for both women. The love for a woman he lost and the love for a woman still here.

No one who has gone on before would want their loved ones to live lonely, empty and loveless lives. No one would want their loved ones to drown themselves in their memories and forget that they still had a life to live. Most would want them to move on, find someone with whom they could share the rest of their days while still remembering their lost love with fondness.

I can't waste another minute
After all that I've put in it
I've given you my best
Why does she get the best of you

Adora would always be a large part of Cain, who he had become, and DG would never want to take that away from him. But she knew that she could also be an important person in his life, if he'd only give her the chance.

As DG opened the doors to the world outside the palace she was assaulted by a strong wind. She could only assume it was cold because she had lost all feeling of warmth in her body long ago.

The snowy ground crunched softly beneath the soles of her sneakers, the pair she had worn the night she rode the twister. They gave her a sense of reality, of a person capable of more than curtsies, waltzes and waves.

It was as if her body had taken over and her mind was in hiding. She walked on, through the piercing cold, in her flannel pajamas. Her sneakers and socks were soaked through from the snow but she took no notice. The wind wiped at her face, throwing her hair in all directions and turning her skin raw and red from the assault. It didn't faze her; nothing did.

She didn't keep track of time or distance. She didn't even bother to look back to see if the palace was still in sight. DG focused her eyes straight ahead and kept putting one foot in front of the other.

It's too much pain to have to bear
To love a man you have to share

It wasn't until her legs gave out, landing hard upon her knees, that she stopped at last with no strength to go on. Sitting on the ground, snow seeping through every inch of clothing it touched, she pulled her knees to her chest.

DG thought of all the could haves, should haves and done differentlies possible. But every one she that flitted through her mind ended the same way, with her numb. She would always end up alone in her feelings. Always end up second to Adora.

Raising her arms high into the air she focused her thoughts and her remaining energy on opening a vortex to the other side. Wind began moving around her almost instantly. When DG felt herself lifted off the ground she closed her eyes and prayed she'd end up back in Kansas.

So next time you find you wanna leave her bed for mine…
Why don't you stay!