The Care and Handling of Princesses (or other high born women)

Cain was walking down one of the many hallways in the palace. When something out of the corner of his eye caused him to stop in his tracks. All the doors on this floor of the palace were made of a dark wood with gold handles, but this door that Cain had just passed was different. It was metal, panted a dull off-white, and there was a small window set above the steel knob. Cain glanced through the window and was surprised to see several odd looking men milling around, What on earth?

Cain opened the door and stepped into the room in the hope that he might find out just what what going on.

"Well, glad to see the last one didn't scare you off."

Cain turned to see Mal walking over to him, and there on the wall just past Mal was a sign that said, "We rouges have to stick together!"

"Mal." Cain said as the other man took his hand and gave it a hearty shake.

Mal smiled at the confused look on Cain's face. "I told ya there were other meetings."

"If you could all just sit down... now!" A sharp voice range out from the circle of chairs. "Come on," Mal said with a smile. "I'll show ya the ropes."

The two men sat down and Cain had a chance to look over the other men in the group. There was a broad chested man who was dressed in some type of uniform with a silver tree emblazoned on it.

Sitting to his right was a tall man who was wearing a dirty hooded cloak, he pushed the hood back as he sat and Cain could see dark hair and a beard that was in need of a trim. In sharp contrast, the man sitting next to him had a vary well groomed beard. But Cain snorted at seeing the man's full sleeved, white tunic. Must not be a fighter.

"I said sit down." A man with sandy hair and a dark vest was looking at young man in black robes. Looks just like that other guys. "What gives you the right to tell me what to do." The younger man said with venom in his voice. The older man hit his palm against his forehead a few times, "Why me? Why?"

"That's Solo." Mal said to Cain in a low voice. "The kid is his father-in-law."

"What!" Cain looked at Mal to see if he was joking. "Yeah, source material is a bitch." The smile on Mal's face showed more glee then could be gained in a joke. "And to make it even worse, Obi-Wan is here." "Obi-Wan?" Mal jerked a thumb at the man in the white robes. "There'll be a show today!" Cain looked back to Obi-Wan who was avoiding the scene happening by talking to the man sitting next to him. The man wore some kind of form-fitting suite that left only his eye exposed, and what eyes they were. And I though my eyes were blue.

"Fine! Let's just get this over with." The kid lifted a hand and one of the empty seats went flying across the room. He stepped through the gap and flopped into a chair.

Solo walked into the circle after the younger man and looked around at the group. "Name's Solo, let's do this. Who wants to go first?" he asked as he sat down.

The man in the body suite raised his hand.

"Go ahead, um..." Solo looked at a paper in his hand.

The man removed the face cover and said, "Paul."

"Paul." Solo repeated.

"Actually I was wondering if I could be excused."

Solo looked back at the paper, "Say's here you're married to a Princess."

"Yes, a political marriage. Now, Iruian is a wonderful woman, friendly to my lover and a kind aunt to my children. Her greatest enjoyment is her writing." A groan went up from the group. "History." Paul added. "Current events, and she has declared herself my biographer."

"But no real relationship?" Solo asked. "That's correct, sir."

"Fine." Solo said

Paul stood and gave a small bow to the group, "Bless the Maker and all His Water." Then he walked over to the door and left.

"Okay, who wants to go next?" Solo asked. "Strider, it's been awhile since you've been here, anything to share?"

The man with the scruffy beard and the dirty cloak sat up, "Not too much to say. Arwen's at her mother's home for now. I've been keeping to the north country, no use torturing myself, right?"

There were nods and sounds of agreement from the other men of the circle.

"But I did get a message from Gandalf a few days ago. There's some group of Hobbits, of all things, that he wants me to act as a guide for." Strider shrugged his shoulders, "It'll give me something to do while I wait."

"Okay, vary good." Solo said. "Way to keep positive, picking up a hobby, er... Hobbit to help keep your mind off her."

Strider leaned back into his chair, "My mind is never off her. She is hunts my dreams."

"Well, it's a step." Solo said, "Right guys? A step."

Some of the other men chimed in, "Yeah, sure, a step."

"Good, good." Solo said, "lets keep the ball rolling. Um, Mal?"

Next to Cain Mal stood up, cleared his throat, and squared his shoulders.

"Ah, well... I..."

"Don't be shy Mal." said the man in white, Obi-Wan that was his name. "We have all gone through this is some form."

Obi-Wan suddenly brought a hand up to his neck. "What the..?" He brought his hand away to reveal a wad of wet paper. Obi-Wan looked over to the young man in black. "Oh that really mature, Anakin."

"Bite me."

"Like I was saying," Mal continued, "Well it started when 'Nara said she had this friend who was in need of some muscle. Couldn't pay all that much, but... well, I didn't really care 'cus I thought maybe doing this might smooth things twixt us. Zoe thought it was the right thing to do, and Wash is with Zoe, and Jayne stopped carin' 'bout money when he found out it was a group 'a whores that was doing the askin' and that they all would be might thankful for him being there, and..."

"Mal," Solo cut it, "You and Inara?" he prompted.

"Yeah, well..." Mal started to scratched the back of his head, "Ikindaendupsleepin'withherfreindandshesaidshewasfinewithitbutthenKayleesaidshesawInaracryingandnowInaraisgoingtoleavetheship." Mal said in one breath, then flopped down into his chair with a sigh.

Cain stared at the man next to him, "What?"

The man with the silver tree uniform tried to hold a laugh back, but couldn't. "You are Nazg├╗l bait, my friend."

"It's been a powerful long time since I..." Mal stopped suddenly. "And it's not like she has some objection to sex."

"But her friend?"

"What do you know about women, Farmir?" Mal shot back. "Eowyn was a pretending to be a guy when you two met."

"Okay, lets just take a breather here." Solo stood up. "Farmir, remember we're here to help each other, not laugh at each other."

"You're right." Farmir said with a sigh.

Solo turned and looked at Mal, "And Mal,"

"I know, I know, rule four. Words can hurt."

"Yeah there's that." Solo nodded, "But what I was going to say was how the hell could you be so stupid!"

Cain started to cough, praying that it would kill the laughter building up in his throat.

"Like you don't have urges?" Mal snapped back.

"Hell yeah I have urges." Solo said. "There was this one time, Leia and I were trying to fix the Falcon and we're in this tight access way. She's brushing against me and I was so ready, I coulda' just pushed her up against the wall and wrapped her legs..." Solo stopped talking with a gasp and brought his hands up to his throat.

"That's my daughter you're talking about!" Anakin said. Cain looked over to see Anakin holding his hand out like he was trying to crush something. Suddenly Solo dropped to his knee and started to gasp in deep breath of air. "Duly noted." He croaked out as he crawled back to his seat.

"That a real mature use of your power." Obi-Wan said in a disapproving voice.

"Who asked you, old man." Anakin shot back. "You shouldn't even be here."

"I have just as much of a right to be here as you do, Ani."

Cain watched as Anakin's face took on a red/purple coloring. "She was MY WIFE!" He yelled as he jumped to his feet.

"You were nine." Obi-Wan replied.

And now Cain was really confused, the kid who looked to be about 20 was Solo's father-in-law and had married some girl when he was nine? How old was the girl?

"So!"

"Very witty." Obi-Wan said condescendingly. "She was a Queen who had just won a major battle and untied her world in peace. You really think she wanted to spend the evening talking to some little boy about a pod racing?" A smirk spread across Obi-Wan's face. "She wasn't in the mood to talk that night. She didn't even give me a chance to talk either."

Anakin's face had turned totally red now. "Keep talking old man." he said as he pulled a black tube from his robes.

"Just pushed me against the wall and started to..."

"SHUT UP!!!" A bright red glow sprang from the tube in Anakin's hand.

"Shit!" "Oh, crap!" "Not again!"

Suddenly Obi-Wan had black tube with a blue glow in his hand as well.

Cain felt Mal grab his shoulder, "Get down!" Mal said.

Cain hit the floor and helped Mal pulled a few chairs in front of them. Looking through the gaps Cain could see across the room Strider and Faramir had done the same thing.

Obi-Wan and Anakin started to circle each other and Cain had to retract his first impressions of these men, they were most definitely fighter. Well trained, long practiced, fighters.

"So help me," Solo yelled out, "if two you don't stop right now I will call a slash writer in to end this!"

The men locked swords for just a few more seconds, then pushed away from each other.

"Thank you." Solo said as he stepped forward. "You both know the rules about respecting all the fandoms." Neither man said a word. "Well then, "Solo continued, "If you can't put up with being paired to the same women then I will ask for an alternating schedule to be made up. Now get out of here and let the rest of us bond and share our struggles in peace!"

The two men nodded to Solo then walked out of what was left of the circle. They reached the door at the same time and there was a brief staring down before they managed to leave.

Mal stood up and straightened the chairs that had formed the barricade. Strider and Faramir were doing the same. "What the hell was that?" Cain asked. Mal grinned, "I told ya there'd be a show today."

"By the Force, why'd it have to be my family?" Solo fell into a chair, "Just somebody go."

Mal nudged Cain with his elbow, "Why don't you go."

Cain coughed, then stood up. He shuffled his feet and said, "The name's Cain. I'm a Tin Man in the O.Z." He looked at the other men. "I guess I should be tellin' you about DG."

With some stumbling and stuttering Cain briefly told the other men about how he had ended up lock in the iron suit for eight years, until a spitfire girl waving a stick came and set him free, both his body and his heart.

"And now?" Mal asked.

"Well..." Cain said slowly, "Faramir has had a chance to talk yet."

"That's not what I wanted to know." Mal swatted at Cain.

"Cain does have a point." Solo said, "Our time's almost up so why don't we let Faramir have a turn."

Faramir stood from his chair and straighten his silver embroidered tunic.

"Well, last week was the memorial for all who fell in the Battle of Pelennor Fields. Eowyn lost her uncle who had been as a father to her, but at lest he died with honor. My father also died that day, but not in defense of the city or in battle against the evil that was trying to over run everyone, he died by his own prideful madness." He shrugged and offered a sad half smile to the group. "So it has been hard for both of us. The other day we were sitting in the healing garden and she sang a morning song for her uncle and cousin, and for my father as well." Faramir closed his eyes and Cain could see strong emotions playing over the warriors face. Strider stood up from his chair next to Faramir. "I'll see him back."

Solo nodded, "I'll see you both next time."

Strider put a hand on Faramir's shoulder and lead the nearly broken man to the door.

"Well, we can call it a day." Solo said as he stood up. "Nice to meet you Cain." The two men shook hands.

"You've got time to go grab a rice wine?" Mal asked.

Solo sighed, "I'd love to, but I've gotta go talk to a new guy."

"Any one we'd know?" Mal asked gesturing to Cain and him self.

"Don't think so. Robert Phillip, a lawyer from New York City. The note says something about an almost princess from another dimension." Solo shuffled a few papers. "But speaking about guys you know... Ah!" Solo pulled the one paper he was looking for from the large folder. "Cain, can you make sure that Glitch shows up to the next meeting?"

Cain was shocked, "Glitch?" He asked. Surely zipper head couldn't be...with DG?

"Yeah, I may be saying this wrong but..." Solo looked at the paper for a few seconds and Cain was ready to throttle him. "um, Azkadellia."