Seriously? YouTube owns my soul. This is such a cute little song that I had absolutely no choice but to use it. The only reason I know that it exists is because my relatives have all called me "Sweet Pea" after this song since… forever. The irony? I hate peas. And I can't dance.

The funny thing about this song is that you could replace "Sweet Pea" with "DG" and it would still work and the rhyme scheme wouldn't be disturbed by it. Cool, eh?

This reads as if the whole Evil Witch thing never happened. DG is still the Princess, Azkadellia is still nice, Glitch is Ambrose—but a nice Ambrose!—and the Mystic Man is still alive and Cain's on his security detail.

Disclaimer: I don't own Tin Man, and Tommy Roe owns the song "Sweet Pea."


Oh, Sweet Pea,

Come on and dance with me.

Come on, come on, come on and dance with me.

Oh, Sweet Pea,

Won't you be my girl?

Won't you, won't you, won't you be my girl?

It took a Royal Command these days to drag Ambrose from his workroom. And that's what he'd gotten—the Queen had insisted he attend the party being thrown for the young Princess DG, celebrating her coming of age and returning from seven years away in schools. He was unsure what to expect, really, because the last time he'd seen her she was twelve years old and difficult to understand. And harder still get along with. But that's how teenagers were—she'd grow out of it eventually, he had no doubt.

So he went to the stupid party, even though he'd sworn off of dancing parties years ago. The girls never wanted to dance with him—they treated him like he blended into the wallpaper. Well, the nice ones ignored him or outright told him "No" when he asked them to dance. The mean ones laughed in his face.

It did wonders for his already shaky confidence.

Still, it was hard to feel insignificant in these new clothes—crisply pressed black trousers, white shirt, smart new blue tailcoat with the gold braid and polished gold buttons, shiny new black boots. Even his hair was behaving, laying properly the way he wanted it to, instead of sticking out to the sides in all directions like an electrocuted poodle. Maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't feel like a loser tonight.

Yeah, right. Even he didn't believe that.

The Queen and the Prince Consort, Ahamo, appeared at the top of the grand staircase; heralds announced their appearance with trumpet fanfare. Not that they needed it, of course, because their very presence was powerful enough to render the entire room silent. Ahamo was the ruggedly handsome type, who cleaned up very well and wore his blue-and-white ceremonial costume proudly. Girls all over the realm swooned for him, but he had eyes only for his Queen.

And she… was absolutely, hands down, the most beautiful woman. Ever. Anywhere. Looking at her, it was impossible to believe that the woman was nearly sixty; she didn't look a day over thirty. Her hair was still jet black, worn in elaborate braids and decorated with little gems and ribbons. The long pale blue dress twinkled with silver embroidery and floated elegantly behind her.

"Friends," she began, her voice ringing clear and strong across the crowded ballroom. "Honoured guests; nobles of all flavours. We thank you for your presence here on this special evening, to welcome our daughter—" she turned her head toward Ahamo and squeezed his hand gently, "—home, to celebrate her coming of age, and welcoming her into the Court."

There was applause; one wonderful thing about having such a human Queen was that she didn't waste whole evenings on speeches. She knew that most people never liked listening to a long speech, mostly because she never liked doing it, either. She only ever spoke to crowds for a few moments at a time, and only when she felt she had something worthwhile to say.

The OZ would probably never know another ruler as wonderful as this one.

Ahamo and the Queen each stepped to the side, creating a gap between them, and into that space a young woman stepped. She had long black hair, partially braided and pinned in the back; the rest sat long and wavy down her back to her waist. She wore a white dress, as was tradition at these sorts of parties. Hers, like the Queen's, had little silvery embroideries decorating it. A little circlet of lacy silver and champagne diamonds sat across her forehead.

She kissed the Queen on the cheek, then Ahamo, and they made their way down into the party. As they got closer, he noticed that her eyes were a stunning, clear blue.

It took Ambrose a full minute and a half—enough time for the three of them to walk slowly to the bottom of the staircase—to figure out that this was the Princess DG.

Gods, she was breathtakingly beautiful. When did that happen? It shouldn't have surprised him that she had grown up so gorgeous. After all, look at her parents. Her older sister, too, was long hailed as one of the loveliest women in the Outer Zone. But the little Princess… she had just then, in that instant, shoved her own mother into second place for beauty. At least in his eyes.

I went to a dance just the other night,

I saw a girl there, she was out of sight.

I asked a friend of mine who she could be,

He said all her friends just call her "Sweet Pea."

"Hey—close your mouth," he heard someone next to him whisper harshly.

He didn't even realisze it was open.

The man next to him was Wyatt Cain, a Tin Man who worked security for the Mystic Man, who was in turn an old friend of the Queen. Cain and Ambrose had been friends for some years now, though in the Court they were referred to as "The Odd Couple." They were completely different personalities. Cain a dedicated family man but a tough enforcer of the law and had twice been shot in the line of duty; Ambrose was quiet, bookish, terribly awkward, and didn't have a violent bone in his body.

"That's certainly a far cry from the annoying little girl tearing through your study, isn't it?" He commented.

"Cain! That is the Princess of the Outer Zone you're talking about!" He hissed, unwilling to speak any unkind words about any member of the Royal Family. Even if they would have been true words.

He was right, though. As a child, DG spent far too much time around him. She had annoyed him incessantly through most of her early childhood, never leaving him alone and insisting on having explanations of what he was working on. As she grew a little older, she became a little less obnoxious and would sit quietly and read books in his study while he worked. She would draw pictures and leave them for him in his study, and despite himself they always made his day. The Princess was a superb artist even at a young age. He still had every drawing she'd made for him; he could never bring himself to throw them away.

Cain rolled his eyes and snorted, taking a drink from a flask. "You know, if I didn't know any better I'd think you were sucking up to Royalty."

"How do you mean?"

"I have never, ever heard you say anything even remotely negative about any of them. Ever."

Ambrose stiffened. "I'm devoted to my Queen."

Another eye-roll, another drink from the flask.

"Why did you bring booze? Honestly, there's perfectly good sherry at the refreshments table."

"I need something stronger than that to survive these big 'dos. And anyway, I hate sherry. It's like cat pee."

The scientist put his head in his hands. "How a man as crass as you managed to reach the highest rungs of society will forever remain a mystery to me."

He clapped him roughly on the shoulder. "Because I'm a dead shot and took a bullet in the butt."

Ambrose couldn't help it; he laughed, shoulders quaking as he tried to keep himself quiet.

Oh, Sweet Pea,

Come on and dance with me.

Come on, come on, come on and dance with me.

Oh, Sweet Pea,

Won't you be my girl?

Won't you, won't you, won't you be my girl?

The band had started playing a lively tune to get the party going. The young Princess had already been snapped up by a dance partner and was being led through the crowd. Somehow, this made Ambrose quite upset—though he couldn't imagine why. Had he actually thought that the Princess would bother to dance with an old man like him? Especially one who was so short with her when she was younger. Mostly it was because he had no idea how to deal with children. He didn't really like young children much, anyway, even when he was one.

One man after another asked her for a dance; and she, too polite to refuse, let every man at the ball trod on her feet and call it dancing.

Instinctively, he made his way into a corner where he could watch other people having a good time without getting in their way. He was just here to take up oxygen; let the others enjoy themselves in a way he would never get the chance to.

Cain had abandoned him in favour of his wife. Watching the Tin Man dance was enough to make him start laughing again. He was impossibly ungainly, in sharp contrast to Adora, who moved gracefully and lively despite her clumsy oaf of a husband. She didn't seem to notice, or if she did she didn't care a whit about it. Theirs truly was a faerie-tale match. Ambrose imagined they would be not unlike the whales, who mated for life and when one died the other would starve itself to death. It was impossible for him to imagine one of them without the other.

Jeb Cain had the Princess in his arms now. He wasn't a great deal better than his father, but at the very least he was trying not to step on the poor girl's feet. Absently, vaguely, he thought that it was a good match—the son of a prominent officer of the law and the youngest Princess. And then, suddenly, inexplicably, he found himself feeling deeply depressed at this prospect. Wouldn't he be the better match? After all, he was Head Advisor to the Queen…

Whoa. No, none of that. The only way that the Princess would pay any mind to him was if she was forced to. The only way she would marry him was if she was forced to, and Outer Zone Royalty didn't arrange marriages for their daughters. The idea being that more children, and therefore more heirs, came from a love match than came from a marriage arranged between strangers.

The Court Gossips were already at work, clucking away like chickens. Their target: Princess DG. It made his blood boil. The girl had just spent eight years away from home at school, and what welcomes her back? The harsh, angry world of Court intrigue. He found himself wishing sorely that he could protect and shelter her from that part of the world.

I walked on over and I asked her to dance,

Thinkin' maybe later on

We'd be makin' romance.

But every guy there was thinkin' like me.

I had to stand in line

To get a dance with Sweet Pea.

Now who was dancing with her? It was General Lonnet this time, with his hands all over her in a most improper fashion. The sleazy greasebucket that he was. He always put up a front of propriety and maintained his loyalty when in the presence of the Queen, and in consequence she remained largely unaware of what a filthy old man he really was.

The poor girl looked terribly uncomfortable, and kept moving his hands away from her backside. He was saying something to her—probably using that old excuse that he had arthritis and it hurt his poor old bones to hold his arms up high. Scumbag.

Ambrose took a deep breath and steeled himself. He couldn't let this continue, could he? No, a rescue was in order.

He strode easily across the ballroom towards the dancing pair. He tapped General Lonnet on the shoulder.

"Excuse me, General—may I cut in?" He asked, concentrating very hard on making sure his voice neither cracked nor squeaked. He hardly heard the older man begrudgingly oblige through the rush of blood in his ears.

And he was dancing now with the Princess, who gave him a look so full of gratitude that she looked like she might kiss him.

"Thank you," she breathed, smiling nervously. "I didn't know how to tell him to shove off."

"You could always have slapped him, Princess," he suggested. "I've heard that works on greasy perverts."

She giggled, and the sound made his heart sing. Gods, she was beautiful. He had to mentally slap himself to keep from thinking such silliness about the Princess. He was far too old, and far too smart, to think of this "love at first sight" mush. She would never have danced with him if he'd outright asked her—the only reason she was bothering now was because it was either him or Lonnet again.

Then again, he though to himself, he wasn't a whole lot better than Lonnet, was he? He was far too old to be feeling such a way about her. He was thirty-seven—way too old for her.

"You're a wonderful dancer," the Princess commented. "Why haven't I seen you out on the floor yet?"

He cleared his throat nervously. "I'm, um… I'm afraid I'm not terribly good at these social functions, Your Highness," he choked. Very smooth.

"Oh, please," she said gently. "Just call me DG. Everybody does. I hardly respond to all of that 'Princess' crap—I mean stuff." Her eyes went wide as she corrected herself. "You won't tell my mother I said that, will you?"

"Said what?" He asked innocently.

She smiled again, biting her bottom lip the slightest bit. Oh, that smile. His heart beat so ferociously in his chest he was afraid it would disrupt the rhythm of the band. Or worse, she would be able to hear it.

They took the next three dances together, talking happily and completely at ease. He was impressed and immensely pleased with how well she could keep up a mature conversation. If he didn't already know how old she was, he would never have guessed she had only twenty annuals.

"So… how come you said you don't do well at social functions?" She asked as they twirled around the floor.

He winced, wondering why she would have brought that up.

"I'm sorry!" She said very quickly. "I didn't mean to upset you… I just… you don't have to answer that if you'd rather not."

He gave a weak smile; she looked supremely guilty for a moment, and then contemplative, as if she was trying to figure out a difficult equation.

"I remember you!" She said suddenly. He nearly jumped backwards in surprise at her sudden outburst. "You're Mother's advisor! Ambrose!"

And here came that depression again. Had she actually forgotten him? Then again… she'd been away for eight years, and whenever she did come back for a visit he never got to see her. So perhaps her memories of him would have been hazy.

"Yes, I am. Had you forgotten me? You spent enough time in my lab as a child, I'd think you'd remember me for the rest of your life."

"No, it's not that!" She was quick to reassure. "It's just… you look different. Whenever I saw you when I was little, you were always engrossed in something and hadn't slept in days. You always wore that same uniform all the time and sometimes your hair looked like you'd spent the night in a wind tunnel."

He had to bite his lips to keep from laughing. "That's just the way my hair behaves."

She gave a little grin. "I don't think I've ever seen you all cleaned up and dressed before. It… it looks nice." A pink blush spread across her cheeks as she said it, and the breath hitched in Ambrose's throat.

"It was the Queen—your mother's—idea. She wanted me to be here."

Suddenly he felt nervous again. He was doing so well before, why were his nerves abruptly going against him? Oh, no—what if he forgot the dance steps?

The music stopped and reflexively he bowed; she curtsied. Then she took him gently by the arm and led him off the dance floor. She seemed to sense his sudden onset of nerves.

"D'you want to go outside and get some fresh air?" She asked.

He felt the relief wash over him swiftly. "Yes, please. It suddenly feels a little stuffy in here."

Oh, Sweet Pea,

Come on and dance with me.

Come on, come on, come on and dance with me.

Oh, Sweet Pea,

Won't you be my girl?

Won't you, won't you, won't you be my girl?

The night air was sweet and cool in the early summer, and they were alone out here on the balcony. A gentle breeze gently stirred her dark hair as they walked to the edge and leaned on the rail, looking out on the lights of Central City below. Above them, the stars winked softly as the twin moons followed their course across the sky.

He leaned low on the white stone rail, supporting himself on his elbows and looking down onto the City; she stood next to him, uncomfortably close, leaning back on her hands against the stone looking down at him.

She breathed deeply, loosing a happy sigh into the cool breeze.

"It was getting pretty stuffy in there, wasn't it?" She murmured.


"Much nicer out here—more air, less people."

Ambrose looked at her oddly.

"What?" She asked.

"An unusual sentiment from a Princess," he commented.

DG shrugged. "Probably. But… I don't really like these big parties, either."

This was surprising—he thought she'd be the centre of attention, popular amongst her peers and beating young men off with a stick, and he said as much. She threw her head back and laughed heartily.

"Oh, no, not me. Honestly, I'd rather be out riding," she admitted.


Nod. "Or drawing. I don't like being the focus of so much attention."

"Really?" He was surprised to hear her say that. Perhaps they had more in common than he realized. Though he'd never in a million years have pegged the DG as the avoidant type.

"Yep. It's weird—I have what every girl in the Outer Zone wants, and what do I want? To be every other girl in the OZ." She looked back at him again. "I guess that sounds silly, doesn't it?"

"Not at all. I can see how it would be overwhelming." He paused. "But I find it hard to believe you're not swamped with young men. You're…" he stopped himself before he said anything more.

"I don't really get along with boys my age—they're so immature. Silly. They're hard to talk to and hard to get along with. And I always worry that they're trying to cop a feel."

"You got along well enough with young Jeb."

She looked confused.

"Jeb Cain?" He offered. "The young man with the dirty blond hair. He was talking with you, wasn't he?"

"Ohh, him!" She said, nodding. "We weren't having a conversation. He was counting."

"Counting." He repeated.

"His steps," she clarified. "He was trying to keep time and not step on my feet." She grinned. "And even then, he was my second-most-interesting dance partner of the night."


"You're first," she said, smiling radiantly at him.

He swallowed hard. If she gave him one more of those smiles he might not be able to control his actions.

She turned back away and leaned far back, stretching. "So, yeah. I don't really feel like I belong with people my age. I guess… that's why I always liked you so much." Another sigh. "I had a terrible crush on you when I was little."

He straightened and looked at her, confused. This was news to him. "You did?"

"Oh, yeah. I told Az that we were going to get married one day." She looked down and bit her lip nervously. "And now, being here… it makes me feel like it never really wore off. That… I still feel the same way."

She kept her head down, afraid to look up now that she had made her confession. How silly and juvenile would she look to him, admitting that she still had a girlish crush on him? All she could do was wait for him to say something.

I finally got to whisper sweet things in her ear

Convinced her that we oughtta get away from here.

We took a little walk,

I held her close to me,

And underneath the stars I said to Sweet Pea…

Time passed—neither knew how much. Her heart began to thud slow and hard against her ribs; she clenched her hands together to hide their shaking. When she finally got up the courage to look at him, he was standing there with his eyes wide open, looking shell-shocked.

She sighed. "I'm sorry. I guess I shouldn't have said anything. I'm just a silly little kid, after all. You probably still remember what a pain in the butt I was when I was little." She smiled crookedly, bitterly, and began to go back inside to join the party.

"Wait!" He lunged forward and grabbed her arm, pulling her back. He hadn't realized how hard he'd pulled her until she stumbled and almost fell right into his arms.

"Whoa!" She exclaimed as she regained her balance.

"I'm sorry—I didn't mean to be so… coarse." He took a few seconds to compose himself before he continued. "I was just… I wanted to… I, uh—that is, I mean to say that I…" he trailed off and stood there dumbly when he felt her arms loop around his neck. Her smile made his knees threaten to give out.

"Are you trying not to say something?" She asked, looking surprisingly encouraged by his inability to form a complete sentence.

Words were totally beyond him now. His mouth moved but nothing came out except for an embarrassingly high-pitched squeak.

She giggled again, and once again his breath hitched in his throat at the sound. And then she was on her toes, face-to-face with him, and pecked him gently on the lips.

"Princess…" he breathed. He didn't dare speak any louder, afraid that this was all a very bizarre—but hardly unenjoyable—dream.

"I, um… I know I'm just the little kid that made your life difficult for years but… you think we could start over again? As grownups?" Those beautiful blue eyes looked pleadingly at him.

"That would be… yes. I'd like that very much." He knew he was grinning ridiculously but he found himself not caring.

She kissed him again, but this time she lingered. He leaned into her, his hands tentatively, shakily, coming to rest on her hips. When she parted from him, he shook his head and followed her to capture her lips in another kiss.

When they finally stopped, she settled flat on her feet again, resting her cheek against his chest.

"Do we have to go back in there?" She asked softly, her voice reverberating in his chest from the contact between them.

"Do you want to?" He asked back.

She tilted her head up so she could look it up at him. "Not really. I'd rather stay out here with you."

He laughed. "I think they'd probably notice if you went missing."

"It's my party, I can leave if I want to," she countered. Then she sighed. "You're probably right, they'll notice my absence." She let him go and took a small step away from him.

He offered her his arm with a bow. "Shall I escort you back inside? And serve as your protector from bad dancers and greasy perverts?"

She laughed again. He'd give anything in the world to be the only man to hear the sound of her laughter. Then she manipulated his arm a bit until she could hold onto his hand, which she took with a smile. "Yes, please, Ambrose," she said softly.

He stared at their joined hands for a moment, a little surprised at this blatant show of fondness. Surely there would be talking, but strangely this thought didn't bother him at all. Let them talk—he wouldn't hear any of them.

They took the rest of the dances that evening together. General Lonnet was nowhere to be found. Wyatt Cain caught sight of them from across the room and looked utterly, utterly shocked to see them together; then he'd nodded and smiled, his expression almost saying, "You sly old dog," as if there had never been any doubt in his mind that Ambrose and the Princess would end up dancing the night away together.

Oh, Sweet Pea,

I love you, can't you see?

I love you, love you, love you can't you see?

Oh, Sweet Pea,

Won't you be my girl?

Won't you, won't you, won't you be my girl?

They excused themselves early from the party, under the pretext of being tired and wishing to get an early night, and then spent the rest of the evening quietly talking and stealing kisses in the darkness of the elaborate palace gardens. It was like they were old friends who had never been apart.

And, Ambrose thought to himself, it was the first time in his life he was able to talk to a woman without tripping over his words and making a fool of himself. It was easy with her. They just talked. He'd have willingly stayed out there until dawn, and indeed so would she. But as the clock tower struck two o'clock in the morning, she began to drop off to sleep with her head resting on his shoulder.

He'd have stayed like that until dawn, too, but that would probably have looked weird to the gardener. He roused her gently from her dozing and escorted her back to her rooms, where she gave him a goodnight kiss that almost sucked the lips off of his face.

As he walked back to his own rooms, he whistled cheerfully to himself. Night watchmen looked at him, puzzled, as he passed; they'd never seen the Queen's Head Advisor looking so happy before.

He almost felt like a teenager again when he bounded into his own room and threw himself, sighing happily, into bed with his hands behind his head. He stared at the ceiling over his bed, replaying the night through his mind again and again, savouring every moment of it. The image of the Princess—of DG—in her finery, glowing and glittering and oh, so beautiful was burned into his brain forever, making sure that it would never be forgotten. He fell asleep eventually, grinning stupidly and immensely happy, still tasting her kisses on his lips.

In the morning, she took breakfast with Ambrose. She was dressed simply, wearing a plain dress of un-dyed cotton with her hair in a long braid down her back. They sat an appropriate distance apart, talking politely and completely ignoring everybody else in the room.

But had anybody bothered to look under the table, they'd have seen the girl and man hooked together at the ankle—a silent, private gesture of affection known only to the two of them.

Oh, Sweet Pea,

I love you, can't you see?

I love you, love you, love you can't you see?


Oh, gosh, that was cute, wasn't it? Maybe I should do more stories with the "Azkadellia was never the witch" storyline, eh? Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed this ficlet. Feed me reviews, I like reviews.