DG stood in front of a three way mirror brought in especially for the occasion. 'A dress this lovely needs to be viewed from all angles' DG's seamstress said. She was right. Handmade using rare lace and yards of whit-ivory silk, DG was everything a princess should look like. Her dark hair was swept up in a loose style, the extra pieces curled around the back of her head. A tiny tiara her mother gave her sat in a bed of blackness, cradled by the curls. Her dress, the only one she'd worn since the day she'd met the mystic man, took months to make.
It was her wedding day. The day she always dreamed of. She was marrying a wonderful man. A smart, handsome, strong man who she loved dearly. The palace was all abuzz with gossip surrounding the grand occasion. It was thought for some time that Azkedillia would be the first to marry off, choosing some poor, fop of a man. However, 5 years after the demise of the evil witch, Azkedillia still couldn't find a suitor willing enough to even approach the woman. This didn't bother the crowned princess very much. She was content learning the ways of her new kingdom, hardly ever leaving the confines of the walls. She met with advisors and ambassadors, happily engrossing herself in the works of the O.Z.
DG on the other hand spent more time outside of the kingdom, far away from duty and responsibility. She was quite popular with the people in the kingdom and spent large efforts making sure the damage her sister did was reversed and prevented from further complications. It was in these outings she met her future husband.
A young king, the only child of a royal family in a kingdom far away, Grayson was a kind man. She met him while visiting his kingdom for a peace mission. His father had just passed away, leaving the young 27 year old man as the king of the kingdom. He welcomed the princess and her guests with open arms, sharing everything he had with her. The two immediately grew close. Both shared stories of their childhoods, he of growing up away from the kingdom with his uncle, and she of growing up in Kansas. He loved the spirit he saw in her and wouldn't ever want her to change. If anything he wanted to capture the way she was at the moment he entered the kingdom walls, riding bareback, hair flying in the wind, dirt smudged on her face.
After DG left with her party, Grayson continued to correspond with DG, in hopes a friendship would emerge. A friendship did emerged and then something else began to bloom. DG, not one for silly girl stuff, suddenly missed her rides with the young king. The only person to do things like that with there was Cain and she had noticed he'd suddenly became absent. DG, missing her new friend, returned to his kingdom a year later and fell madly in love. He made her laugh, made her smile and made her cry. She couldn't be away from him. With her parents and his mother's blessing, he proposed to DG the following spring. He handed her a single daisy, her favorite and in the middle was a beautiful emerald stone.
As she thought about this match she heard a soft knock on the door.
"Come in." she said. A young woman opened the door and entered, shadowed by a tall man behind her. DG looked over, the concern instantly erased from her face. "That is all Winnie." She turned to her seamstress. "I think I'm all set." The older woman got up off of her knees and picked up her basket. She passed the man in the door way on her way out. The young woman who entered with the man exited as well.
"Well hello stranger." She smiled over at him. He stood there looking at her. She had grown into such a beautiful woman. The final indications of childhood and teenage had melted away from her body and a beautiful woman stood before him. She had her mother's grace and beauty and her father's strength and determination. He'd watched her as grew accustomed to the ways of living in the palace.
He'd watch her take her first steps in the throne room the same way a father watches a child take her first steps. With her sister and her parents away for royal duties, he'd been the one to dry her tears when she fell, listen to her laugh as she ran wild in the palace, and watched in envy as men came to court her. She tried as best she could throughout the years to avoid having anything to do with men. She wanted to get a feel for this new life and she didn't have the time or patience to worry about it. Even her parents told her not to worry. Neither she nor her sister would have to worry about arranged marriages. They wanted their daughters to be happy, both in life and in love.
He watched silently, growing further apart from her each day. As she grew, so did the distance from the two of them. She became less in need of him. He still listened for her calls, but with added security within the kingdom, there hardly was a need to keep an eye on her. When he stopped reaching for his gun when he thought she was in trouble was the day he finally gave up trying so hard. He sat back and instructed the younger recruits on how to run the palace safely and he avoided working with her as often as he could. Eventually he faded into the background, like a shadow. He felt like he was back on the Tin Man squad working undercover on a secret mission.
He watched her now, looking at herself in the mirror, his eyes trying not to stare. He knew it was pointless to even bother to say anything. She was so happy and that's all he wanted for her. She'd been through so much the past years and for her to be happy with someone around her same age, with the same likenesses and one who loved her for herself, was a blessing. Who was he to stop that from occurring.
"Hello," she said turning around to face him. "Earth to Cain." She laughed and waved a hand in his direction. He blinked and looked over at her. "What's wrong with you? Are you alright?" She asked, suddenly concerned. For years it had been him to ask her that, now the roles were reversed. He nodded.
"I'm fine." He muttered. She looked over at him. She had managed to get him to take off the jacket and hat and wear a pleasant suit for the occasion. She had to admit, out of all the suits she made him wear throughout the years, this was by far the best one.
"Ok, good. One of has to be fine. I'm freaking out Cain." She walked over to him, pulling up the hem of her dress so she wouldn't trip. Cain reached over and took her elbow, leading her to the settee at the end of the room so she wouldn't fall. He watched her manage to sit down, whiteness fluffing up around her. "Sit please," she said, patting the seat. Cain shook his head. "I think you may need to for this." She eyed him.
"Fine." he said bending down and taking a seat in a chair a size too small for him. He squeezed his large frame in the petite chair and managed not to cringe. DG's eyes were filled with worry. "Do you still want to go through with the wedding?" he asked, suddenly filling with hope. He wasn't sure what the hope was for, it wasn't like he could stand in Grayson's place.
"Oh no." She shook her head, her dark curls shaking. She took a deep breath, keeping her eyes on him. "It's a huge favor that I need to ask you for." Her forehead crinkled with concern. "You see, my father left a few days ago on an emergency diplomatic thing and he's not back yet. Mother sent him a message and told him that we would hold off the wedding, but he wouldn't have it. He said that we have to have it today. He'd be back for the reception. So the thing is," She paused. "I need you to walk me down the aisle." She closed her eyes and listened as Cain jumped up from his seat, an arm breaking off.
"No." He said calmly. DG opened her eyes and looked at him. "I can't. You can give me all the sad, puppy dog eyes that you used to give me. I am not budging. DG I can't walk you down the aisle. Can't someone else?" DG shook her head with that determination her father so willingly gave her.
"No. No one can Cain. Raw has other duties and Glitch would get lost down the aisle. Anyway, he's walking Az down. Cain I can't think of anyone I'd want more than you. I would think you'd want to." She innocently said. Cain turned to look at her, his face fierce with anger.
"You think I would want to give you away?? You think I'd want to hand you over to another man and then step back and let it happen. Christ DG, I'm already having trouble standing in the back of the room, restraining from running up, grabbing you and taking you away with me."
"Why didn't you ever say anything?" DG asked, now suddenly shocked and hurt. Cain brushed a hand through his hair.
"When would you have listened?" Cain sighed and looked at the horrified DG, wishing he'd brought it up years ago. "Now I can't stop you. I can only clench my fists and be happy for the two of you. Grayson is a wonderful man and I have no reason to not be happy for the two of you." DG sat there, shocked.
"I didn't know," she said softly. Realization seeping in. Something twinged in her heart,
Cain sighed, closing his eyes.
"If it's that important I can. I can't see you walking by yourself and no one could even come close to your father. I'll do it." He said. DG nodded and went to stand up. Cain reached over and helped her up, her dress must have weighed more than she did. She looked up at him, her long lashes and big eyes making him pull himself apart inside. As they stood there the door entered, a maid poking her head in. She looked at DG's face. She looked like she had been slapped. The shock and frustration on her face gave her away. The maid looked carefully at Cain and knew he wouldn't do such a thing to DG, but was curious what had happened prior to her entrance.
"We're ready for you DG," she said. DG had long since abolished the need to call her anything but DG. Her parents were floored, but honored the request. The servants felt such a warmth from her and hated the fact she would be leaving soon. DG nodded and grabbed her dress, walking towards the door. The maid grabbed the train and watched as Cain stood silently beside the young princess, walking begrudgingly down the long hallway towards the grand hall.
DG stood there, facing the double doors and took a deep breath. She felt Cain step up and touch her elbow, a gesture she'd surely miss years from now. She looked at the rows of women in front of her. She knew that it would take more than a few minutes to have all of them walk down the aisle. She grabbed Cain's arm and pulled him through an open door. Slamming it shut she ran to a window, trying to pry it open. Cain stood there, watching her claw at the window.
"We can get away. We can go. Help me," She cried. Cain, closed his eyes and watched as his DG scrambled in agony and his heart broke all over again. She clawed and moaned as she tried to open the window that would not budge. He walked over and pulled her away.
"DG, come on this isn't you." He whispered. DG spun around and clutched onto him. Her tiny hands balling his suit up in her fists. He wasn't sure he'd be able to stand this, seeing her in this much pain.
"You said you loved me and I love you. I always have." She sobbed. Cain shushed her and tried to push her away. She looked up at him, her eyes filling with even more tears and she knew then and there he wouldn't budge, just like the window. She collapsed onto the floor, keeping her tears under control. Cain stood there a second and knelt down, pulling her into his arms, her dark hair filling his nose with the smell of flowers. He knew he'd never forget that scent, no matter what happened. "You love me." She cried. "You love me." She pounded his chest. He'd never seen her this way. This was not like DG at all. She was strong, a fighter. Now, collapsed on the floor, she was a shell of DG. This sad thing was not her, and he didn't want her this way. If he were to take her away from the palace at this instant, he'd be back that night. DG would always feel guiltily for leaving Grayson and would never be herself. At least Grayson made her happy and she would never feel bad.
"Oh, I'm a terrible person," he muttered to himself. Of all the things she'd been through over the years, this had to be the worse thing she would ever go through and it was all his fault. As much as he wanted to be with her, this was not the way he wanted it. He could feel a tear or two build up in his eyes. He hadn't cried since he knelt before Adora's grave and now, kneeling before his true love, he tried to hold back tears. He shook it off and pulled DG off of him. He coughed and stood. Like it or not, he had a job to do. "You have to go get married," he ordered her. DG looked up at him just as another tear slid down her cheek.
He offered a hand and he watched as she handed him her left hand. The green sparkle reminded him of what wasn't his and never could be. He helped her stand. He cradled her face in his, using his thumbs to wipe away stray tears. "You're strong, a lot stronger than I am. You can do this. You know you want to. You're going to do this." He nodded. DG's head nodded in his hands and she hiccuped as she tried to catch her breath. They both heard a knock at the door. The door slowly opened and Azkedillia and Glitch entered, shutting the door behind them. Azkedillia gave a knowing glance to her sister and almost felt like crying herself.
"I'm coming." DG said, slowly backing away from Cain. His hands slid across her face and then left for good. "I was just-" she stopped, unsure of what to say. Azkedillia nodded and walked over. She pulled her sister into a hug and looked over DG's shoulder to Cain. He looked like he would fall apart at any moment, but he kept it together for DG. She pulled away and handed DG her flowers. "I'm ready." DG sighed. Azadillia helped her sister clean up her face. She turned to Cain and he nodded.
"I'll be right out," he whispered. Azkadillia nodded again and took DG by the arm and walked her out the door. Glitch walked over to Cain.
"Are you ok?" Glitch asked. Cain was silent for a moment.
"I will be. I just need some time. Eventually it'll pass." He patted Glitch on the shoulder as he passed him. Glitch nodded and turned to leave the room, shutting the door behind him. He watched as Cain walked effortlessly up to DG, his face stern and effective, just as a Tin Man should look. Age had begun to show on his face, but he still looked like the same Cain they met years ago. The one DG ran in to save, without any care as to what would happen to her. Now he stood, hand wrapped around DG's arm, about to give away DG. Glitch knew he'd never be able to do it, so to see Cain so strong, it was quite something. Glitch walked over and took Azkedillia's arm and walked her down the aisle, best man leading maid of honor. As it should always be.
"Are you ready?" Cain asked DG. DG wordlessly nodded, knowing that what she was doing was right. As the wedding procession played, the entire crowd stood and stood in awe as the princess walked down the aisle, ready for a marriage that would unite two kingdoms in blood and friendship.
When they reached the front, there was a call as to who gives this woman away. Cain never thought he'd have to think the word, let a lone utter them. He swallowed, head held high.
"In honor of the King and Queen, I give her away."
DG watched out of the corner of her eye as Cain took a step back, slowly letting go of her arm. She tried not to reach over and grasp it, begging him not to leave her. She looked up at Grayson smiling down at her. His kind, blue eyes looked down at her. Though not as blue as Cain's, they still sparkled and shined in the light. She took a step forward, taking his arm he offered her. She smiled up at him and stepped up on the step, ready for a fresh new start.
Cain silently walked to the back of the room, ignored by all wedding guests. He knew a seat was saved for him at the front, but he also knew where he belonged. He stood, straight as a board, in the back of the room with the other security in place. He would remember this day for the rest of his life. He'd remember the way she looked in her dress, the way she smelled next to him, the way she smiled up at her future husband with a happiness he could never compete with. He would remember the vows exchanged, thought out and handwritten. Words of love and devotion, memories and old age. He would remember everything and he would regret, not the fact he'd fallen in love with her, but the fact that he was too late. It should have been exchanged years ago, but with duty and honor, truth and confessions fell under the table, long forgotten. He would always remember the crowd cheering and applauding. Finally he would remember, until the day his tired body would become one with the earth, the way she looked at him as she walked past him as she left the room. The look that was full of thanks and love. She reached over and kissed him gently on the cheek and then brushed past, leaving the scent of her forever embedded in his memory.
Later on that week, Cain stood on a balcony staring out into the kingdom. For one who hated royal life, he was beginning to think he'd miss it. A sound behind him shook him from his thoughts and he turned around to see DG standing in the doorway. She looked relaxed and confortable in a red sweater and jeans, her tiny feet covered in a pair of tweed clogs. Never one to bend to the rules of conformity, DG still insisted on wearing earth clothes.
"I knew I'd find you here." She smiled walking out onto the balcony, her feet shuffled on the cold stone surface. "I wanted to see if you cared to join me on one last horse ride before we leave." He glanced over at her, her face full of life.
"I heard Glitch and Raw are joining you there in the new kingdom." Cain said. DG nodded.
"Mother said she'll miss him dearly, but I'm the only one who fully understands Glitch. She thought it best for him to become my advisor now. Pass the tradition down. Raw was more than willing to become the royal viewer. Grayson said he'd only read about them in books and he and Raw really clicked." She paused, her face filling with a smile. "So it'll be like old times again. The four of us, branching out on a new adventure, heading out into the unknown." When Cain didn't respond DG took a step forward. "Right?"
"I'm leaving this afternoon. I've handed in my resignation and I'm leaving." He turned to DG, a strenght in his voice that DG had never quite heard before. She shook her head.
"I don't understand. What about me? I thought you were going to come and keep an eye out, trying to keep me out of trouble."
"When has that ever stopped you before? Besides, I can't stand 10 steps behind you and the king. The agony of watching the day to day life of someone you love and their husband would be just a little too much to handle. This is good this way. I am tired and I want to see new things.
"Jeb is a Tin Man in Central City and I think it's time for me to get back into that life. I always loved working as a Tin Man and it's only taken me 5 years to really realize it." DG didn't know what to say.
"Will you visit?" she asked. Cain didn't move. "Please." she begged. "I don't think I can go without seeing you again." She placed a hand on his arm. She could feel his muscles tense and she quickly dropped her hand. She nodded and backed away.
"Goodbye Mr. Cain." She said, stretched her arm out. Heaven forbid she do anything anti-formal and throw hin over the edge again. Cain reached over and shook her soft hand. She struggled to smile, tired of tears, and began to walk away.
As she walked past him he grabbed her arm. He leaned forward and kissed her on the cheek. He pulled slightly away and whispered in her ear,
"I will love you until the day I die." DG felt her eyes close. Cain raised his head and motioned to the door with it. DG stood up straight and continued out the door, only looking back long enough to see Cain turn back to the view. She knew she'd never fully get over him. But she knew this was the best for both of them. She never knew it would be this hard to say goodbye.
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