Absolute mushy fluffiness to follow.
Get your box of tissues ready in advance!
Months had passed since the defeat of the witch and DG still walked on air as if it had been just the day before. They were all out in the gardens enjoying a beautiful afternoon under the warmth of the suns, Wyatt and DG holding hands and flirting beneath the shade of a massive tree as newly weds should be able to do.
Glitch and Raw were joking around with Jeb and Azkadellia a few yards away, occasionally asking Wyatt to verify some claim Jeb made about how strong/brave/quick he was during one of the his Tin Man adventures that Jeb was retelling for the hundredth time.
"That son of yours sure does love telling stories..." DG said softly and he smiled down at her.
"How about we go upstairs and I'll tell you a few of my own..." He whispered and she batted her eyelashes as she gave him a coy smile.
He had just leaned down to kiss her lips when an uninvited guest cut in on the moment.
"Cain! Wyatt Cain!" A voice called from across the courtyard and Wyatt rolled his eyes, turning reluctantly from the lips he was just getting ready to devour to see DeMilo being manhandled by two members of the royal guard. He squinted and smiled seeing that it was James and Paul.
"Hey, Too-Tall, ease up on the threads! This shirt cost more than your house!" DeMilo complained and Cain shook his head as he approached.
"Antoine DeMilo…" Wyatt said with a hint of distaste in his tone and motioned for the men to let him go.
The skin peddler shot them both an indignant look and smoothed his clothes. "What kind of greeting is that for an old friend?" He asked with a smile.
"Friend? Uh-huh. I'd say your memory differs from mine." Cain eyed him from under the brim of his hat, his expression devoid of emotion despite his amusement.
In truth he didn't really hate DeMilo all that much. Sure, he roughed him up from time to time, but it was mainly because DeMilo always put up that front of not wanting to cooperate with him.
"That hurts my feelings, Wyatt." He said, a hand on his chest feigning offense. "But never the less, I'm gonna choose to ignore your lack of hospitality and general unhappiness to see me. I'm sure you'll change your mind in a few minutes." He smiled with knowledge he had yet to share with the Tin Man, pleased with himself when Cain's brow arched in interest. His eyes went to DG and the others and sighed. He motioned for Cain to move a few steps closer to him, waiting for him to grudgingly comply and lowering his voice. He failed miserably to keep his words from the now fully curious group.
"A'ight, so you know that thing I do that you was nice enough not to tell nobody about?" He said quietly and Cain had to fight a smile.
DeMilo, for all his reputation as a sleazebag, had a secret that he'd begged Cain to keep since the first time they met. It was something he'd never disclosed to anyone; after all, a Tin Man's word is bond.
Once a month, using half the money he'd earned from his club, DeMilo would search the underground slave markets. Since he was able to gain entry where a Tin Man could not, he would buy up any children he could find under the false pretenses of prostitution, and then turn them over to orphanages so they would at least have a chance at a normal life.
He didn't pretend to be a law abiding citizen of the OZ, but there had always been a soft spot in his heart for kids, likely stemming from his own rough beginnings.
This was DeMilo's one redeeming quality and the reason why Cain only harassed him, never bringing him up on the millions of lesser crimes that he committed. Cain nodded his head slowly, ignoring the confused looks the others were shooting their way.
"So I was there about two weeks ago and had already spent just about all my dough on them…." He hoped he wouldn't have to elaborate on that statement because he always disliked putting words to his acts of kindness. "I was gonna leave, didn't think they had any more…in stock…"
DeMilo's face took on a look of, what was it? Awe? He forgot to be vague as he continued. "But then I sees this little girl, sweetest thing you've ever laid eyes on. I didn't have enough on me but there was just something about her…" He swallowed hard, his face showing his nervousness. "She had these eyes, ya know? They just jumped out at ya, even with the rest of her face all covered in dirt. So I put on a good show, haggled and put up my replacement wagon as collateral, you dig?" He turned his mouth to the side, making sure that Cain knew he hadn't forgotten the wagon that was commandeered, but a split second later his face was relaxed again.
Cain watched him curiously; DeMilo was acting out of sorts to say the very least.
"I just didn't wanna risk them sellin her to god knows who to do god knows what wit, cuz like I said, there was something about her that told me she was important. I got her and the rest of them out of there and once we was at the orph--" He stopped, his eyes shooting to the others as he changed his words. "The drop off point, she hugged me and thanked me…wasn't scared of me or nothin. So I starts askin her some questions, ya know? Like about where she was from, how they'd gotten her, stuff like that…" He exhaled sharply. "She said the Long Coats came and took her from her family, that they used magic on her to make her sleep so she wouldn't fight, but it made it so's she couldn't move or talk. She heard them tell her family that she was dead…"
Commotion behind him caused Cain's head to turn, and he was now thoroughly confused seeing Jeb collapsing to his knees, a distraught look on his face as he watched DeMilo.
For some reason Cain's brain was slowing down, having a hard time taking in what was being said. His heart was pounding in his ears.
DeMilo continued softly, having to stop for a moment as he watched Azkadellia trying to comfort Jeb, asking him what was wrong. His tear-filled eyes were choking DeMilo up; the way he stared at him in disbelief. "She says they put her big brother in a suit and killed her mother." He steeled himself to say the words. "And that her Daddy died before she was born." He added slowly, waiting for Cain's eyes to meet his.
Realization was sweeping over Cain and he felt dizzy as it crashed down, what the hell was going on?
Her big brother…Jeb? Her mother…Adora?
And her 'Daddy'?
He couldn't breathe; he vaguely noticed DG's hand on his shoulder offering him support.
"She's just about seven and a half annuals, Wyatt…and she says her name is Moira…Moira Cain." DeMilo said in barely more than a whisper.
It was all Cain could do to keep standing, leaning forward and putting his hands on his knees to prevent himself from collapsing, feeling like he'd just been given a cheap shot to the stomach.
Adora had loved that name…had chosen it before they even married for the daughter she dreamed they'd have together.
He was too shocked to be angry with Jeb for not telling him, somehow understanding his son's motivations without question.
He'd finally gotten his father back, knew what Wyatt was going through over the loss of Adora, how could he tell him that he'd also lost a child? Jeb had tried so many times to find the words, but how do you give someone the happiness of knowing they had a beautiful daughter, only to take it away in the same breath by telling them of her death?
He had intended to tell him right before the first time his father had hugged him and told him how proud of him he was. A knife had pierced his heart. Proud? He'd let his mother and sister be killed, his father should have hated him. He didn't want to look him in the eyes at that moment and had walked away.
DeMilo cleared his throat, trying to act like this wasn't effecting him but failing miserably as he spoke past the lump in his throat. "Uuhh…so she escaped from the Long Coats after the magic wore off. She's one tough little cookie, believe you me, and I'm sure there was one of those bastards out there walking with a limp from her bustin his shin, but she didn't know where to go so she stayed hidden in the forest. She was on her own for a while – she said it was hot out when she was taken from her family – so that had to be what, like six months ago? But she said her brother…" He inclined his head to Jeb. "…had taught her what she could eat, where to sleep, and how to stay out of sight so she was okay…until eventually when the weather got colder and the woods became bare the traders found her and snatched her up."
Now it was DG's turn to become dizzy with the weight of realization crashing down on her. This was the little girl from her dreams, this was the little girl that Jeb had recognized from her sketches. He'd seen what he thought was her death with his own two eyes, had promised himself to keep the secret to his grave to spare his father any more heartbreak. He had carried his grief for her inside him as a burden he never wanted to share. But somehow DG's magic had felt that child wandering lost and alone, whether it was brought on by her link to Wyatt or not, her gift had allowed her to answer the child's call.
DeMilo bit his bottom lip, his eyes passing between the stricken faces of Jeb and Cain. "You want I should call her over?" He whispered, and watched Cain's head come up with an expression on his face of more emotions than he could count.
She was there?
DeMilo turned, motioning over his shoulder to his normal entourage and Cain froze, watching as DeMilo's twins smiled at him while standing closely together, then slowly stepped away from one another revealing the little girl they had been concealing.
A sob escaped Cain's lips, but he recovered enough to cut it short, staring at her in open disbelief. DG's hand went to her mouth as tears streamed down her cheeks. Az was crying as she held onto a hysterical Jeb.
It was obvious that DeMilo, despite himself, had been doting over the child. She wore a sapphire blue gown with full skirts fit for a princess, her platinum blonde hair was curled and flowing to the middle of her back, gleaming in the sun with tiny glittering barrettes sweeping most of it back from her face. And then there were her eyes, Cain's eyes, light blue crystals peering out at them shyly.
She tugged at her hair nervously, unsure of this group of strangers that were all suddenly staring back at her.
She eyed Cain curiously, taking in the intense way he was watching her, the tears streaming down his face. Her head tilted to the side and without thinking she had started toward him, until she was distracted by the one person she did know.
"Jeb! Jeb! Jeb!" She squealed, racing toward him and leaping into his arms.
It wasn't a calm moment, no solemn appreciation for the fact that she was alive. Jeb was crying harder than he could ever recall, hyperventilating as he held her in his arms and rocked her while kissing her cheeks. "Baby girl…oh my God…I can't believe it's you…" He sobbed, holding her away from himself long enough to look at her face, then pulling her back to his chest again. She giggled, holding onto him for dear life, oblivious to everyone around them.
"Hey, you're mussing up my dress! Mr. D bought me this special for us coming to the palace. He said I was gonna meet the Princess and her consort, we're gonna surprise them." She said through her laughter. "I missed you, too, jerk-face."
When he finally ran out of tears, the pain that had been buried in his heart streaming down his face, he turned his eyes to his father. He sniffled and wiped his cheeks, smiling down at his sister and standing up, taking her hand and walking toward Cain.
"Moira…there's someone you need to meet." He said, inclining his head toward their father.
She released Jeb's hand and took a few brave steps forward, recalling that she'd been intent on this stranger from the moment she saw him. Wyatt dropped to his knees as she approached him, not knowing what to say or do, so in shock that he could do nothing more than stare at this angelic child he'd just been given.
Moira walked to him without fear, her tiny hand reaching out to his temple and then to her own as she studied his eyes, lost in some thought that she didn't share as she found a reflection of herself in his features. She smiled and reached up to the brim of his hat, then took in his duster and vest. "You're…you're my Daddy." She said without a doubt and his heart nearly burst with joy. All he could do was nod; no words would come to him. "Jeb told me all about you…you're bigger…even than what Jeb said…" She whispered in awe and he laughed softly.
She hugged him without another word and he couldn't stop himself from sobbing as he held her tight, his hand covering her entire back as she curled up into his lap. He let himself fall back so that he was sitting on the ground, drawing his knees up as he wrapped his arms protectively around the child, never wanting to let her go.
"It's okay, Daddy. Don't cry." Her little voice said into his ear. "Are you sad to see me?" She asked with worry in her voice and he pulled away from her, smiling as tears still fell down his face.
He somehow managed to speak, his face red and eyes filled with tears but he needed to reassure her that it was okay; his voice was straining and barely coming to him. "No, baby…" He smiled as he fought back a sob. "I'm just so happy to see you that it hurts."
She smiled and placed her tiny hand on his cheek, whispering. "I'm happy you're not dead anymore."
Wyatt wondered if she knew the truth behind her words.
"Me, too, little one…me, too." He whispered and pulled her hand to his mouth, kissing it to stifle a sob.
She grinned up at him, and then tilted her head in that same childish way that DG always did when a thought occurred to her.
"Oh! You're the Princess' consort!" She exclaimed, her eyes searching the group frantically, first settling on Azkadellia, but when she took in the way her brother was hanging on the woman she moved on.
When her gaze met DG's she smiled brightly. "You're the Princess! Hey...you're the one from my dreams!" She exclaimed as her jaw dropped open in surprise and Wyatt shot DG a confused look.
"Yup...that was me..." DG said softly past the lump in her throat.
"And you married my Daddy?" She asked with wide eyes and watched as DG knelt down beside Wyatt.
"I sure did." DG said, smiling despite the tears that were covering her face.
"So…" Moira trailed off, her expression becoming worried as she suddenly wasn't sure of the situation. "So can I come visit you here sometimes?" She asked self-consciously, her eyes darting back and forth from the faces of her father and DG, then to DeMilo and Jeb for reassurance. She pulled at her dress nervously and swallowed hard, suddenly completely unsure of her role here. Her father had moved on, would he even want her here with them?
"No, angel, you can't come visit us here." Wyatt said sweetly, pushing a strand of hair behind the child's ear. "But you cancome live with us here. Isn't that right, Princess?" He said, looking over to DG and smiling warmly.
DG nodded her head dramatically for Moira's benefit. "Thaaaat's right; we'll have a room picked out for her and be planning how she wants it decorated before sunset." She said with a grin.
Moira's face lit up and she pounced forward, her bottom half still in Wyatt's lap as she hugged DG and he laughed, feeling that DG may have met her match in the pouncing department.
"And you're gonna take care of me?" Moira asked, now laying across both of their laps and in awe of the Princess staring down at her with those big blue eyes.
"Uh-huh. I'm your stepmother, so it's my job to spoil you rotten." DG tickled the little girl and she giggled. "And you're grandmother is the Queen…she's going to be thrilled to meet you. It's been a long time since she's had a little girl around here to care for." DG said; laughing as Moira's jaw dropped.
"Really, Daddy? The Queen?" She asked and he smiled back at her, running a hand through her hay colored hair and still trying to cope with the idea that he had a daughter…that this was his daughter…the phrase was strange in his mind, but absolutely a wonderful surprise.
It was beyond amazing to stare into a reflection of his own eyes.
"Really, little one. And you see that pretty lady over there?" He turned her in his lap so she could see where he was pointing. "That's your Aunt Azkadellia, she's a Princess, too and she married your big brother."
That would get complicated at some point, but given the age differences he figured Aunt would be easier for her to digest than sister-in-law, and besides, the title would suit her role better.
"You got married, jerk-face?" Moira said in complete shock and he laughed as he led Azkadellia over to his sister.
"Yes, toad-breath, I got married. And guess what? We're going to have a baby soon." He said with a grin and pinched her cheek as she stared at Azkadellia.
"Wow, you're both so pretty! You two are really lucky, huh?" She said to her father and brother and they both laughed.
"That we are." Wyatt said, kissing DG's hair as she leaned her head on his shoulder.
"Hello, Moira." Azkadellia said softly as she settled down gently on the ground before her, keeping a hand on her swollen belly and the child grinned at her. "You can call me Aunt Az, if you like; everyone else calls me Az since it's easier."
"Aunt Az…'Auntie Az'…I like it." Moira beamed and hugged her new relative, putting a hand on her belly and marvelling that soon she would have a little cousin to play with.
"And this is Glitch; he's the Queen's adviser and a dear friend of ours." Wyatt said, and tried to ignore the happiness his words had given the zipper-head.
"Well, hello there." Glitch said, grinning and kneeling down with the others. "I am delighted to make your acquaintance, Ms. Moira Cain." He took her hand and kissed it dramatically as if she were royalty and she giggled uncontrollably in Wyatt's lap.
"I like him, Daddy. He's funny." She said and Wyatt shook his head.
"Yes, sweetheart, he is a funny guy." He said, smiling at Glitch.
"And this is Raw; he's the Royal Viewer and a treasured friend." DG said, and watched as he approached shyly.
"Ooh, you're fluffy!" Moira said and was out of her father's lap like a shot, jumping on Raw just as he began to sit, nearly sending him toppling over as the others laughed.
Raw smiled down at her as she ran her little fingertips over his face, studying the differences in his features from any other person she'd seen in her life.
"You are a brave girl…take after father…" He said with a smile. "Did good job getting away… fought well…"
She was staring at him in disbelief, understanding that he was seeing her thoughts. She grinned. "And when I dropped that hammer on his head so he wouldn't tell that I'd gotten out? And spooked the horses so they'd have to chase them?" She asked through a fit of giggles and Raw laughed and nodded his approval.
Wyatt's jaw hung open as he realized just how much like her old man Moira really was, he'd used that move with the horses on several occasions to get out of tough spots.
"Very smart little girl…learned from Jeb's stories…" Raw said and Jeb laughed nervously as Wyatt raised a brow and looked over at him with a smile tugging at the corner of his lips.
He shrugged innocently and shook his head to his father that he had no idea where they'd come up with that. Of course he hadn't been filling his little sister's head with wild bedtime stories of their absent father fighting bad guys during his many death-defying adventures.
"You have much courage…like DG…like Az…like your father and brother…will fit in nicely here…you will see…" He gave her a reassuring smile, sensing her fear that they wouldn't like her for some reason and that she would lose her home again.
"And the Queen is nice? She won't send me away?" She asked Raw quietly, though the others had no difficulty hearing her words.
"No…she will love you like her own…" Raw said and touched his heart. "I can feel it."
Moira smiled up at him, hugging him tightly in appreciation.
That night they stood together at the edge of their bed in the dimly lit room, DG with her head against Wyatt's shoulder as they watched Moira sleeping soundly.
Just as she had promised the room across the hall, the one that had been Wyatt's before he'd moved in with DG, had been selected for Moira's bed chamber and the Queen was beyond thrilled to have the task of decorating it as well as the nursery for Azkadellia and Jeb's child.
Moira had won over the Queen with that first shy smile and DG wondered if the little girl would ever be able to do any wrong in her mother's eyes.
Wyatt was still battling those tears of joy that kept forming as he looked at his daughter and DG smiled up at him as he kissed her forehead.
This was as good a time as any, she supposed...
She let out a sigh. "We're going to have to make renovations..." She began nonchalantly.
"The Queen is already taking care of that by the sounds of it, I doubt anyone besides her and Moira will have a say in that room." He said with a smile and DG grinned that he hadn't caught it yet.
"Oh that's fine for Moira, she's old enough to walk across the hall if she needs us in the middle of the night, but when the baby gets here we'll need to be able to hear..."
She didn't get any further than that before he'd spun her in his arms to look at her face.
"I suppose we could always put up a partition wall and use some of that space over there as a nursery, we don't need all this room any way and..."
Wyatt was grinning wider with each word and he kissed her passionately, wrapping his arms around her and lifting her up, laughing as he spun her around in a circle.
"So we're...you're really..." He stammered and she nodded excitedly.
"Do you think Moira is going to mind being a big sister?" DG whispered and as they turned they found her grinning ear to ear and standing up on the bed.
"Nope! I can do that!" Moira squealed and Wyatt barely had enough time to catch her as she leapt at him.
"Well you did say 'lots of little princesses', Wyatt." DG said with a smile and he held them both close, shaking his head that it didn't get any better than this.
And they lived happily ever after...