"Savouring the Same Old Dream"
Summary:: DG has been having dreams about the one thing she doesn't have.
Inspiration:: This was inspired by song #2 on my list: "Hell Yeah," by Ani DiFranco.
Disclaimer:: I don't own "Tin Man," or its cast, but I have an inkling that it might be what Mumma got me for the holidays!
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He was above her now, kissing her in a way that would have made Nancy Reagan very disappointed, and he angled her so that he could hover above her without crushing her, but still hold himself in a way that pressed every bit of his body against hers. She grabbed at him, her nails running over the soft cotton of his shirt, moaning against his hair as he worked his way over a sensitive place on her neck. She was getting a little tired of all this run-around, and she slipped her hand under his shirt, sliding it upward until the smooth skin of his chest was exposed to her, and she looked up to see his eyes burning a hole right through her. She whispered his name, but all he did was smile sadly and slowly fade away, leaving her alone in the dark, her heart racing, her body still active and unsettled.
DG jack-knifed into a sitting position, drenched in sweat, fresh tears tracing their way down her face. She ran her hands over her face, wiping away some of the moisture, and looked around with wide, confused eyes; not another one. This was the third night in a row she'd had that dream--the first one wasn't so bad, with just a little cuddling and a small kiss, but then the second one came, with heavy making-out that, when she woke, made her feel like her lips had really been bruised under the pressure of his. Now this one, coming so close to undressing him; she had never had a sex-dream before, but if they were anything like the foreplay dreams, she was sure she wouldn't enjoy it. It was frustrating, only being able to feel so alive when she was sleeping, and then waking the dark emptiness of an unfamiliar room, with no arms to crawl into when the loneliness kicked in.
And then, the worst thing that could probably happen, happened. Her door creaked open and there, standing before her, fully dressed, was Wyatt Cain. She groaned unintentionally and buried her head in her hands, feeling a remnant of her desire streak through her body like lightning as everything short of her arms reached out for him, wanting him, needing him to be with her. He stared at her, taking note of her damp hair and the trails of tears that lingered on her face. "Hey," he said with a concern that once again told her that he only saw her as a child, one who needed to be protected. "Are you okay, princess?"
She sighed against her palms, "I'm fine, Mister Cain," she prayed her words would satisfy him, and he would leave her doorway.
But he didn't. He knew her better, and he was unconvinced, "You were whimpering and crying; was it a nightmare?"
"Of sorts," she mumbled bitterly, and it was the truth; having Cain in her dreams, but not in reality, was nightmare enough. He gave her a sympathetic frown and started moving toward her, but she saw this through her parted fingers and put one hand out to signify him to stop. "Don't. Please, Cain, I just--I don't want to be talked to or comforted or anything like that; I just want to go back to sleep." For a moment, he looked slightly disappointed--in her, or himself, she wondered--but he nodded obediently to her and began back out the door, pulling it shut as he left. Once he was gone, the young woman let out an irritated growl and fell back against her pillows, eyes wide open and locked on the ceiling, knowing she wouldn't be getting more sleep any time soon.
She'd been lying awake for at least four hours before a light knock sounded outside her door, and it creaked open without waiting for a reply. DG held her breath, praying for it to be anyone else; she'd even take the Wicked Witch over him, at this point. Her luck came through, and it was her sister that stood silhouetted in her doorway. "Hey, Deej," Azkadellia said quietly, gently, "You awake?" DG nodded and her sister came to sit on the edge of her bed, "Mister Cain told me you were having a nightmare last night. Are you okay?"
DG sat up and pinched the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger, "I don't really want to talk about it, Az. Just take my word for it when I say I'm okay."
Her sister studied her a moment longer before nodding and smiling with a kindness that, two months ago, she wouldn't have believed possible, "All right, little sister. Well, then," she stood and held out a hand, "Up, up; I'll make us some breakfast."
"Oh, no-no-no," DG said quickly, remembering what happened last time Azkadellia insisted she could make a meal; she'd set half the kitchen ablaze with an overcooked egg and a bottle of cooking sherry. She stood and gestured to her door, "I think maybe I'll cook this morning. Why don't you go wake up Raw and Glitch and see if they'd like to join us?"
Azkadellia let out a phony sigh and started for the door, "All right. Mister Cain, too?"
DG stopped in her tracks, shocked, but tried to play it off, "Um, sure. If you want." Her sister gave her a crooked glance and then shrugged, walking out the door and down to the first floor, which held all of the guest rooms. DG let out a deep sigh and made her way to the downstairs kitchen, pulling everything she'd need for a big breakfast out of the cold-room--the cold-room was all the was left of the castle's ice days, and it served as a sort of walk-in refrigerator. The castle, long ago, had been filled with servants for, but since the Royal Family had reclaimed the throne, they thought it best to let people become reaquainted with them before asking for their servitude. Personally, DG liked it better this way; she was always one to do things for herself.
She cracked half a dozen eggs into a bowl and began whisking them together, adding an array of cheeses and spices and some diced tomato. She poured the mixture into a heated pan and let it cook as she went about putting together the rest of breakfast. She was near completion when someone came in behind her, "Good morning, princess." The sudden, low voice made her jump a little and she flung a bit of pancake batter into the air before it came back to smear on her forehead. She turned her head to see Cain there, and then took in a deep breath and turned back to the stove, where she began pouring the batter in perfect little circles. She'd just put the bowl down when she sensed his body right behind hers, and she squeezed her eyes shut and prayed that he'd just go away, get away from her before she lost control of herself. Defiant of her silent wishes, he reached out and took one of her arms, using it to turn her to face him. His eyes were warm and concerned, "You okay?"
"Peachy," was all her strangled voice could manage.
Once again, he saw through her lie, but decided to let it go. He reached up and ran his thumb over her forehead, wiping the splattered mix away, and told her, "Okay, but if you need to talk about something--"
"Don't worry about it," she said quickly, more harsh than she meant to be, "You don't have to baby me because I have a weird dream. Those kinds of things, I can talk to Az about, or even Raw, or Glitch. Just because you're my bodyguard, that doesn't mean you're obligated to pretend that you care about my problems." She turned away then, kicking herself for being so cold to him, but she really just didn't want to talk to him anymore. She didn't want to have to face him. Talking hurt too much, when she knew she couldn't take it any farther than that. She could hear his mouth open, hear him inhale and prepare to say something more, but the door opened then and the rest of the group came stumbling in, all still half-asleep but starving for a good breakfast. Cain sighed and backed away, taking a place between Raw and Glitch at the table. Az set the table as DG finished the pancakes and sat next to Azkadellia, on the opposite side of the table from the three men. She kept her eyes low, even as Cain sought them out, and avoiding commenting on anything he said, conversing only with Raw, Glitch, and Azkadellia. She began to notice something odd, and wasn't sure if it was real or just a projection of what she ws going through. It seemed as though her sister and her mother's ambassador kept exchanging adoring glances across the table.
"Mm, DG," Glitch said, smiling over a bite of egg, pulling the girl from her observations, "How are you such a fantastic cook?"
She grinned at him, "Well, I was a waitress for about three years, but I was really bad at it, so they had me in back a lot, working the stoves. Reese, my boss, taught me how to cook and after a while it became sort of cathartic for me, so I just kept doing it."
"Why were you a bad waitress?" Az asked.
"Besides the fact that I was always late, uncoordinated, and always mixing up people's orders? I don't know. Serving people, taking their orders; it didn't really sit well with me, I guess."
"Surprise, surprise," Cain mumbled around a moutful of food, eyes on his plate now, having given up on seeking resolution in the princess. He looked up to see her shocked blue eyes staring back at him, and he immediately felt a wave of guilt sweep over him, "Sorry."
She looked away and then forced a smile to her other friends, "You know what? I forgot that I have my first singing lesson today. Baroness Matilde is expecting me pretty soon, so I'd better go get dressed; could you guys clean up?" They all signified that it was no problem and she made a quick escape, practically running up the steps to her room. She quickly showered and changed into a pair of jeans and a flowing red shirt, thankful that her mother allowed her to wear such clothes, and even more thankful that she actually had a singing lesson with the baroness today. She slipped on a pair of flip-flops and padded down the hall to the large music room, where her instructor was waiting. The baroness was a beautiful woman of forty, with wavy red-brown hair that curved delicately around her shoulders, and beautiful green eyes that seemed to hold so much knowledge. She smiled brightly as the princess approached her and they stood across from each other, seperated by a music stand.
"Good morning, DG," her rich accent carried, greeting the girl as she'd asked--informally.
"Good morning, Matilde," she said back, instantly feeling a little better in the woman's presence. "I'm ready for my first lesson."
The baroness smiled and nodded to the man sitting in front of a piano in the corner of the room. He nodded back and began playing the note scale. Matilde said, "Now, I want you to sing it as you hear it. La-la-la," she sang out a small example, and then waved her hand for DG to continue.
The girl nodded and opened her mouth, "La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la." After a few more vocal warm-ups, Matilde started to teach her one of the O.Z.'s lullabies, and by the end of the lesson, DG had it down. The piano player--whose name, she had learned, was Dace--played the song fully one last time, at the end of the lesson, and DG sang along, her voice flowing beautifully over each word:
one morning, at a place by the sea
That is where my true love came to visit me
Up on a hill, or over the moon
Sing to me, my true love--I pray to hear your croon
Before the night is ending, heed my final plea
Always, my true love, will you belong to me?
Though we may be far away--our hands may never touch
I'll sing to you, my true love--I owe you that much"
She frowned against the last note and bowed her head; she didn't want to be singing about love right now. She fixed her frown into a smile when Matilde came to stand in front of her, and accepted her compliments graciously before turning and leaving. No sooner had she shut the door behind her than she was being pulled into the empty room next to it. She let out a small squeal, but silenced herself when she realized it was Cain that had ahold of her and was staring down at her with those steely blue eyes. She squirmed a little bit, jerking her arm out of his grasp, and looked away. She wanted to say something, but her heart had a strangle hold on her vocal cords, and the words wouldn't come. He sighed and looked away as well, but still spoke to her as if he were looking right at her, "I don't feel obligated to care about your every problem, DG; I just do. I care if you're kidnapped or if someone hurts you, but I always care if you've got a cold...or you had a bad dream. I just wanted you to know that I do care, and you can talk to me about things." He looked at her quickly, then looked away again, "And, also, I'm sorry about what I said at the table this morning; it was uncalled for. I was just frustrated, I suppose."
She gulped and managed, "Frustrated?"
He nodded, "You wouldn't even look at me, DG, and I didn't know what I'd done wrong. It was..." he trailed off.
"Frustrating." He nodded, and she could feel her throat constrict even more. She knew she had to get out of there, away from him, and all she could do was whisper a squeaky, "I've got to go," and slip away from him, running down the hall to the library. She locked the door behind her and settled in to one of the plush chair by the stacks, grabbing a random novel and immersing herself in it, looking for any escape from the way she was feeling. Hours later, she had finished the first book and was on to a second, afraid to leave the room, no matter how much she'd rather be somewhere else.
With her head buried in her book, she didn't even notice her sister's sudden appearance. When she finally looked up and spotted her, she let out a loud gasp and put her hand over her heart, "Az, how did you get--oh, nevermind," she said when her sister waved her fingers, sparks of light dancing off of them.
Azkadellia smiled and handed her sister a plate, which held two sandwiches, and a glass of milk, "Here; figured you might be hungry, what with all that heavy reading."
DG set down the book and took the food, "Thanks, I'm going for the olympic medal." She pumped a fist in the air and then brought the hand down to pick up a sandwich, taking a bite and savouring it. She could feel her sister's eyes on her the entire time she ate, and she finally sighed and turned to look at her, "Az...I have a problem."
"Finally! Okay, talk to me."
"I can't," DG insisted, "I can't even word it; I don't know how I feel about it. Az, what do you know about love?"
Az, who had been taking a sip from DG's glass of milk, coughed a sputtered a bit before answering, "What? My baby sister is in love?"
"I don't know; that's why I'm asking you about it."
"Oh, well," the eldest princess tapped her index finger against her lips in thought before speaking, "Love is timeless. You're never too young or too old to fall in love for the first time. Sometimes its easy, and you fall for each other immediately and everything else is clear, but sometimes its harder." She sighed, "Sometimes, there are obsticles that try to break you. Sometimes, there are a million reasons why you shouldn't be together. Sometimes, you can't be sure that the feelings are there, so you just have to stop looking for answers and just shut down, and let it happen on its own. But, for sure, every time," she looked up at the wall of the library, at the painting of the queen and her ambassador that once hung in the main hall, "Its worth it."
DG followed her eyes and grinned faintly, "So, how did that happen? When did that happen?"
Az giggled a little bit, "Um, last night, actually. I was in the conservatory, thinking, and he showed up," she laughed, "He was looking for the kitchen, but got lost. I started to feel so guilty, because its my fault he's so off, and I asked him if he hated me for doing what I did to him. And he just gave me this look like I was the crazy one and told me..." She smiled to herself and continued, "'I could never hate you, Azkadellia; I love you too much.' And then he kissed me, and it was...amazing."
DG's jaw dropped open, "He told you he loved you? Just completely out-of-the-blue like that?" Azkadellia nodded and her sister's eyes were so wide she feared they'd fall out of her head, "That's great, Az; that's really great. I am so happy for you."
She nodded, "Thank you, but enough about me; whose your guy?"
"Hm? Oh, don't have one," she lied, "And if I didn't, nothing could top a story like that." Their conversation dwindled from there, and soon Az left to seek out Glitch, and DG was left alone again, moving from one book to another until the skies had darkened and Cain came looking for her. He knocked on the library door and called through, "DG, come on, now; you've been in there all day. Your parents would like you to join us all for dinner."
She stood and went to open the door, her eyes tired and defeated, having found no solution for herself, "I'm tired, Cain; I think I'll just go to bed. Send them my apologies, please." She scooted past him, careful not to let any part of her body connect with his, and escaped to her room. She put on her pajamas and settled into her bed and, though she was fearing what dreams may come, she soon fell into a deep sleep.
"Wyatt," she moaned against his throat, not bothering to say anything more. Any protest she had faded as soon as his lips began making a trail from her ear, down her jaw, to her throat, and eventually over her collarbones. Her back arched up a little, encouraging him, and she bit her lip to keep from crying out. She could feel him smile against her and he brought himself back up to her level, his lips heavy and demanding against hers, asking her for her whole self. She laced her fingers through his hair and pulled him closer, her tongue playing over his, pulling a groan from the back of his throat. She could feel his hands leave her hips and begin tracing under her shirt, pushing the thin fabric up and over her head, leaving her only in a thin lace bra she could have sworn she took off before bed. Bed. She'd gone to sleep just a while ago, so surely this was another dream. Even as his lips started a journey over the newly exposed flesh, she was trying to figure out how to wake herself from this fantasy. Finally, as a light kiss fell close to her navel, she abandoned all thoughts and surrendered, tired of having to fight in her wake and sleep against these feelings for him. He smiled, as if sensing this surrender, and began taking his own shirt off, then settled back against her, kissing everywhere he could before curving his finger over the elastic band of her pajama pants. "Mm, Wyatt," she mumbled against him as he kissed her again, "Wait."
His eyes were sparkling, excited and beautiful, and for a moment, she forgot this was just a dream. "What?" he asked, "Too fast?"
"No," she insisted, her voice coming out more as a mew than a statement, "But before we...I mean, I have to know."
She said it simply, as if it were obvious, "Do you love me?"
His eyes were suddenly sad again, and he frowned at her, "Sorry, princess; I can't answer that."
"Why not?" She protested.
He sighed, "Because its the wrong question." Then he began to fade again, and she reached for him, crying for him to stay, to put her from her misery, but soon he was gone, and she was alone again.
This time, when DG threw herself forward in her bed, she threw herself right into two strong arms that surrounded her and rubbed her back gently, whispering words of comfort into her ear. Tears were flowing down the young woman's face, and she just kept repeating, "No, what's the right question? Tell me what the question is. What am I supposed to ask?" At the same time, she heard different words repeating in her own ear, in a voice that was not hers, "Please. Please just tell me what's wrong. I can't help if you won't let me. What's wrong? What's wrong?" DG pulled back and saw that she was being held by Cain, and his eyes were as wide and helpless as she was sure her own were.
"Wyatt," she croaked.
"Please," he said, in a pleading voice that she'd never have expected from him, "Would you just tell me what's wrong?"
She half-sighed, half-sobbed, "I don't know what the 'right question' is. I don't know how to find it."
He brought one hand up to wipe a few stray tears from her face, and told her gently, "Well, maybe you should start with what you want the answer to be." This surprised her, because it made perfect sense. What did she want the answer to be? Yes? No, because the question wasn't right when the answer was yes. I love you? Her eyes came up to meet Cain's, both impossibly blue in the darkness.
She opened her mouth a first time, but no words came out, so she closed it. She cleared her throat and parted her lips once more before a whispered string of words drifted to the man's ears, "Cain, how do you feel about me?"
This startled him, "What?"
She blushed heavily, but decided that pressing on would be less painful than pretending it was nothing, "I said, how do you feel about me?"
His eyes were practically glowing, searching hers, and he finally leaned forward and pressed his lips against hers gently; so gently that she knew this had to be reality, and not her dream world. His kiss was light, and he never broke the barrier of her lips before pulling back to look her in the eyes once again, "I love you."
Her breath caught in her throat; the right question, and the right answer. She reached out for him, hands sliding over his shoulders and squeezing the muscles of his back, "I love you, too," she told him, not realizing she felt that way before the words left her mouth, and then it was claimed by his again, still kissing her with a gentle needing that comforted her and shook her at the same time, and she realized that she never wanted to be without this. At the same time, she realized that she'd never have to be. All she had to do was let it happen.
-- -- --
Okay, I'm sorry; I know I kind of puttered out at the end, but that's because I didn't write the whole thing in one sitting, like I usually do, so I lost my train of thought. That's why the ending kind of sucks, and I am so sorry, you don't even know. I tried for hours to come up with a perfect ending, but I just couldn't seem to. I fail at life. -cries-