Title: Lessons Learned
Rating: T (to be safe)
Summary: A horseback ride doesn't quite go as planned. DG/Cain
Disclaimer: I beg you not to sue me because, because, because, because, BECAAAAUSE…because-I-don't-own-any-thing.
The expression on DG's face when she strolled into the palace stable was nothing short of gleeful. She was dressed in a fitted blue waist coat, beige riding breeches, and black leather knee-high riding boots, all tailored from scratch from drawings she had provided one of the palace seamstresses. She had tried to go for a more western look originally with chaps and a coat similar to Cain's, but the Queen had found the designs far too unseemly for a princess to be seen in. Heck, getting her mother to agree to pants at all had been a huge fight in its own right. DG was just glad she had won.
Today was the day, the day to escape the magic lessons from Tutor, etiquette lessons from Mistress Hoffennagel of the Eastern Guild, ballroom lessons from Glitch…or Ambrose (whatever he was going by at the time), annoying dress fittings, and just all of the incessant naggings about pomp and prestige. Today DG was going for a ride.
She had been hoping to get Glitch to build her something akin to her motorcycle, but as soon as the Queen and Ahamo had caught wind of their plans, the whole project had been shut down much to DG's disappointment. But she was not to be deterred. She was going to escape today, even if it was just for a couple of hours, and no one was going to stop her.
"Where ya off to, Princess?"
Except maybe Cain.
DG cringed and then turned to face the man. She clasped her hands together in front of her and rocked back on her heels a bit. "I wish you'd quit calling me that."
"Princess. You sound so…Han Solo. Next thing you know, I'll be dressed up in a metal bikini serving as a slave girl to some huge slug." Although, the idea of him being like Han Solo wasn't such a bad one considering how he and Princess Leia had ended up in the end.
Cain blinked. "The only huge slugs live in the Glossen Mires of the distant Shade Realm and they much prefer to eat folk rather than keeping them as slaves…"
It was DG's turn to blink as beat passed between the two. "Yeaaaah, ok." And then finally she just waved him off, moving towards the horses. "I was DG before. I'm still DG now."
"You're ignoring my question," Cain pointed out, following slowly behind her.
"There was a question?" DG skillfully kept her eyes off of the man as she pretended not to remember, peeking in all of the stalls to determine which horse she wanted to ride.
Cain clenched and then unclenched his jaw. "Yes, the one about where you thought you were goin'."
She glanced quickly at him. "Out."
"Out where?" he prodded.
With a huff, she turned to face him, her hands on her hips. "Well, gee, Cain, I'm in the stable. I wonder what that could mean. Hmmm…" She really couldn't have been much more sarcastic even if she had wanted to be.
Cain was beginning to look a little less on the tolerant side and more on the "you're-acting-like-a-child-so-I-might-as-well-just-toss-you-over-my-shoulder-and-haul-you-back-inside" one instead. "So, you're thinking about goin' riding…"
"Ding! Ding! Ding! Mr. Wyatt Cain wins the fifty-thousand dollar prize!" DG turned back to the horses. Most of them were black, looking very much akin to Friesians from the Other Side. There were a few others. A big chestnut, a dark bay, a silver dapple, and then at the very end, the most gorgeous golden palomino she had ever seen. She gasped in delight and stroked the large horses face.
"You have lessons, Princess," Cain decidedly pointed out, leaning against one of the stable pillars and crossing his arms.
DG shot him a withering look. "What did I say about the princess thing?" she groused, "And I have lessons all of the time. One day off isn't going to kill anyone."
Cain breathed in a slow breath. "You have lessons every day, DG," he was putting emphasis on her name to make a point, "because eventually you're going to be queen of all of the O.Z. and you're going to need to know all these things you're learning."
"Well, what if I don't want to be queen?" DG retorted, "Az should be queen. She's older."
"Your sister doesn't want to be queen, not after all she's been through, and it's her right to give up the position if she so pleases."
DG knew all of this, had been over it may times with her family, but still… It was all just too much for her. One day she was just a small town girl working in a diner and now suddenly she's a queen-to-be of an entire world, so to speak. It was overwhelming.
She huffed again. "Maybe she should give it to someone else."
"What?!" she exclaimed, stomping her foot in frustration. "I don't want to be queen! And stop calling me 'Princess'!!"
Cain settled the younger woman with one of his signature looks. "You're actin' like a child."
DG frowned deeply. "Yeah, well, you're acting like…like……you." She just about slapped herself in the forehead for the lameness of that comeback.
"I'm going riding," she grumped and turned back to the palomino she was still stroking.
"And your lessons?"
"And my lessons will have to wait until tomorrow," DG replied as she looked around for the right tack for the horse she had chosen.
"Mistress Hoffennagel won't like that," Cain pointed out. "I mean, you know how she gets when you're even the slightest bit late…"
"Yeah, yeah. I know."
"And what did your mother say about upsettin' Mistress Hoffennagel?"
DG rolled her eyes. "Don't hassle the Hoff. I know, but she's just gonna have to deal with it for one day because I'm not going," she stated. "I'm going for a nice relaxing ride and no one, not even you, Mister Tougher-Than-Nails Tin Man, is going to stop me. Understand?"
Cain bit back a smirk at that. Obviously the Queen hadn't used those exact words about the treatment of Mistress Hoffennagel, but DG was DG, strange sayings and all, and that didn't seem like it was going to be changing anytime soon. For that, he was secretly glad. He liked her just as she was…even when she was acting like a child of five annuals.
"I could inform the queen of your intentions," he half-threatened.
"I'd be gone before anyone she sent could stop me."
"I could stop you."
"Didn't I just say you weren't going to?"
"Weren't and couldn't are two different things, Princess." One of her eyes narrowed at his once-again address of her title and this time he did smirk.
DG stopped what she was doing and crossed the three paces between them where she then firmly planted a finger in the Tin Man's chest. "Youaren't going to tell my mother and you aren't going to stop me." She prodded him with each use of the word "aren't". "And you will stop calling me princess."
He raised an eyebrow, amusement dancing in his ice blue eyes. "Is that so?"
"Would that by any chance be a command?" he questioned, watching as annoyance flashed through her large doe-like eyes. "Like a princess giving a command? 'Cause if it's just DG, I might have half the mind to ignore everything you're saying right about now."
With a heaving sigh and another firm poke in the chest, DG nodded. "Yes, fine, Mister Cain, I'm commanding you."
He nodded in return and she suddenly looked relieved, as if she had just been let off the hook. She turned back to the horse and lead him out of the stall to the cross ties where she hooked him up and then tried to figure out which bit of tack went where.
The single word stopped DG short. She slowly turned back to face him, her features clearly show the sudden apprehension she was feeling. "But?"
"I'm going with you." Cain watched as DG opened her mouth, obviously to protest, before cutting her off, "As your Royally-appointed bodyguard, it's my duty to keep you within my sights and protected at all times. And since you're commanding me as a princess not to rat you out, I gotta conclude that that makes this a royal matter and therefore, I gotta do my job."
He tried to keep his composure, but the baffled look on her face made the tiniest of wicked grins light up his features. "So, either I go with you or I make mighty sure that you get to your lessons today."
DG still looked bewildered. "Cain, that's…that's blackmail!"
He didn't deny it. "And it's the deal, too."
A slow sigh escaped DG's lips. He had won. She knew that and she wasn't happy about it. Although, the more she thought about it, the more the idea of going on a nice leisurely ride with none other than the much, but secretly, adored Wyatt Cain appealed to her. "Fine," she finally acquiesced. "But hurry up. The last thing I want is for the Hoffennageler to come buzzing in here going on about how unsightly and un-princess-like my pants are and whatever else."
Cain's expression remained neutral as he pulled the silver dapple, an Andalusian most likely (by Other Sidely standards anyway), and tacked the horse up faster than DG thought was humanly possible, and then he did the same to the palomino.
DG looked around for a moment for a mounting block before two hands suddenly gripped her sides and practically threw her up on the horse. She squealed slightly and then glared down at Cain. He wasn't even paying attention. He was adjusting her stirrups so they were the right length. Once complete, he walked over to the dapple and swung himself up. "Let's go, kid. We haven't got all day."
Watching as he took the lead, DG took a moment to further glare at the man, albeit at his back this time, and the started after him. She swore he could be so infuriating sometimes, and he knew when he was doing it which made it even worse.
But God, she had fallen so hard for him and she knew that, too. What madethat worse was that it was more than obvious that Cain absolutely clueless to her affections, clueless as to how hard her heart beat every time he gazed at her with his piercing eyes, clueless to how much it hurt her to realize that she'd never be anything more to him than a princess, his charge, and, in his words, a kid.
(A/N: Ok, so this is my first attempt at a Tin Man story. I've been reading everything up here on and it just inspired me to attempt my own. I'm a little iffy on whether I have people in character or not –it drives me nuts when they're not– so any feedback on that aspect would be greatly appreciated. I know I have DG acting like a brat in the first chapter, but she gets better in the rest of the story! And fear not, mayhem awaits for those who dare continue to read! Feed my muse and CLICKY CLICKY!)