I don't own them.
Thanks so much for the awesome reviews. Thankfully, this chapter didn't take as long to post.
WARNINGS FOR VIOLENCE
The tunnel was wider than they all expected, but not very tall, so everybody had to duck slightly as they made their way through. Cain led the way, gun drawn and a hard, icy resolve etched in his tense face with Raw right behind him, trembling in fear as he carried a torch.
They came to a fork in the tunnel and stopped.
"Which way, Raw?" Cain demanded through clenched teeth. Raw closed his eyes and shuddered.
Cain immediately set off again, trying desperately to keep the sickening thoughts from overwhelming him. Was it the Longcoats who took her or the bastards in the village who were set on hanging the entire group? He supposed it didn't really matter. Whoever had taken his DG would pay the ultimate price when he found them. And if they touched a hair on her head, if they hurt her or frightened her in any way, he would make sure they suffered before their deaths.
Another agonized groan from Raw made his stomach clench.
"Hurry," the Viewer gasped, urging them forward. "Please, go faster."
Cain broke into a run.
The first thing DG noticed when she regained consciousness was the rough hands on her body. Any other time, it would have been Cain's hands on her, but she knew in a heartbeat that it wasn't her beloved touching her. She didn't feel that usual elation and desire that she always associated with Cain's hands. Instead, she felt cold and dirty and sick.
And then she remembered what had happened.
Snapping her eyes open, she found herself face to face with an ugly, sneering Myron. She could feel someone else behind her, their hands gripping her by the shoulders and holding her upright.
"Well hello there, Princess," Myron grinned evilly, revealing his nasty darkened teeth. She didn't respond to his greeting and he just chuckled, reaching down to grasp the bottom of her shirt. DG tried to jerk away from him, but the hands holding her from behind held her in place. Instead, she spit in Myron's face and glared at him defiantly.
"Fuck you, you disgusting pig," she snarled.
Myron glared at her, wiping his face with the back of his hand. Before she could blink, his hand shot out and connected with her face. DG stumbled back into a hard chest and the hands behind her fell away, only to move down to grip the bottom of her shirt once again.
"Don't fucking touch me!" She screamed, swinging her arms at Myron. He ducked as she kicked her foot back, connecting with a kneecap. A harsh curse sounded in her ear and she found herself pinned against the chest behind her. Glancing back, she saw Harold glaring down at her.
"You're making this harder on yourself, bitch," Harold hissed, watching as Myron came back at them.
Using Harold's grip on her as leverage, DG hauled backwards, lifting her feet in the air and kicking forward, catching Myron as hard as she could in the gut. The man fell backwards, clutching his stomach in pain. Harold's arms wrapped even tighter around her body, twisting her around and bringing her to her knees in front of him. DG screamed as a hand tangled in her hair, snapping her head back painfully. A fist connected with her cheek and the room spun.
In a daze, she felt two sets of hands tearing at her clothing. She curled in on herself, making it harder for her captors to undress her. She tried to visualize a protective bubble surrounding her, but she continued to feel the hands and her ripping clothes. She tried to visualize both men bursting into flames, but nothing happened.
The Restoration spell left me vulnerable, she thought, struggling through the pain and the fear. I can't even protect myself.
Bile rose in her throat when she felt the hands touching the bare skin of her back and hips and she swallowed it down before releasing a piercing scream. She kicked her legs out, connecting with shins and arms but not enough to stop their assault. She slapped at them, but to no avail.
Harold straddled her chest then, holding her upper body down while Myron tried to work her pants down her legs. She screamed again, but Harold's hand clamped down over her mouth, cutting the sound short.
Help me, Cain. Help me, Cain. Please, help me, Cain!
Before she could continue with her mental pleading, a loud crash sounded in the room, followed by the loud, furious curse of her beloved.
Raw's constant pleas were driving Cain mad with fear.
"Too weak from fixing mines. DG cannot protect self. Can't fight back. Hurry!"
Cain ran, veering to the left as the tunnel made a sharp turn. He tried to drown out Raw's pleas and the loud footfalls of the guards behind them when a muffled scream sounded from above.
Cain stopped short and looked up. A few yards ahead, he could just make out the outline of a trapdoor in the ceiling.
Without a second thought, Cain reached up and pushed the trapdoor open, hoisting himself up before it hit the floor with a reverberating crash.
He literally saw red at the sight of his future wife, shirt ripped and pants missing, being pinned to the cold wooden floor by Harold. Myron was kneeling at her feet, leering at her while working at his belt buckle.
"Bastards!" Cain shouted, aiming his gun at Myron. Before anybody could blink, he pulled the trigger and the son of a bitch fell backwards to the floor, blood pouring out of the wound in his head. Another pull of the trigger and Harold collapsed above DG.
DG shrieked, shoving fruitlessly at her attacker's heavy body, trying to slide out from beneath him. Cain was across the room in an instant, grabbing Harold and tossing him aside. He fell to his knees, whipping off his shirt and wrapping it around DG before pulling her into his arms.
Both of them were shaking as DG clung to him, sobbing into his chest. His arms were like an iron vice around her, but she didn't care. She knew that as long as she was in Cain's arms, she was safe. Nobody could hurt her then.
The front door to the cabin burst open and shouting villagers poured in. With the guards climbing up through the trapdoor, the tiny room was quickly filled to capacity.
Rena appeared then, carrying a blanket she had found in the bedroom. She wrapped it around her friend, trying to preserve a little modesty in front of all the curious eyes. Cain held DG protectively, using his body to shield her from the villagers.
William pushed to the front of the group, surveying the sight before him. "What the hell happened?"
Cain nodded toward the bodies of Harold and Myron. "Those bastards used the tunnel to break into the Princess' room and kidnap her. They were trying to assault her as we came in."
William paled at the words. His eyes traveled over the sobbing, frightened girl before fluttering shut. He swallowed hard before opening his eyes again.
"Is she alright?"
"She will be," Cain vowed, running one hand gently through her hair while the other pressed against her back, keeping her tight against him.
A high pitched wail sounded as Harold's wife tore through the crowd, dropping to the floor beside her husband's body. "He's dead!" she wailed, her hands fluttering over his still form. "What happened to my husband?"
"He kidnapped the Princess and tried to assault her," a man shouted.
The woman choked on a sob, her face turning a deadly white. She stared down at her dead husband before turning her gaze to the trembling princess. With a sickened cry, she pushed herself up off the ground and ran through the crowd and out the door.
"I'm sorry," DG whimpered, her face still buried in Cain's chest. "I'm so sorry. I didn't know about the trapdoor. I didn't know. I tried to fight them off."
Cain growled at her pleading. She had absolutely nothing to apologize for. "None of this was your fault, sweetheart. You did nothing wrong."
"But they're dead," she whispered, squeezing her eyes shut. "They're dead because of me."
"They're dead for attacking a member of the Royal family," William spoke up. He gestured towards the two bodies and a group of men stepped forward, hauling them off the floor and out the door. "Even if your man hadn't killed them, they would have been executed on the spot. We don't put up with sexual assault against women and they knew that."
Cain glanced around the room, taking in the sorrowful faces of the guards and villagers surrounding them. His eyes landed on William once again. "I need to get her back to the cabin."
William nodded and stepped aside. "If there's anything we can do, just let us know. I apologize for the actions of those men."
Cain just grunted as he got to his feet, lifting DG in his arms. Rena stepped forward to cover her with another blanket before he carried her out the door. She followed with Jeb and Raw at her sides and the guards behind them. They were all silent as they trudged through the cold village toward their cabin.
Once inside, Cain started for the bedroom before DG spoke up.
"Can you take me to the bathroom please?" She asked softly, not bothering to lift her head from his chest. "I need to take a bath."
"Whatever you want, sweetheart," he promised, changing his course and carrying her to the small bathroom instead. He gently sat her down on the toilet seat before closing and locking the door behind him. Turning to face her, he felt his heart breaking.
DG sat silently, clutching the blankets around her body. She stared at her feet, tears spilling down her bruised cheeks. Cain sucked in a breath at the sight of the bruises, imagining how hard she must have been struck to make them that big and that dark so quickly. He fervently wished that he could bring those bastards back to life so he could kill them again, this time much more slowly. His stomach turned at the idea that he had almost been too late to stop the assault. One more minute later…
Shaking the vile thoughts from his head, he walked toward the bathtub, stopping the drain and turning on the faucets full blast. He found sweet smelling bath salts in the cupboard and added them to the water before turning back to DG.
"Do you want me to leave you alone for a while?" He asked. Glinda knew, he didn't want to leave her alone ever again, but it had to be up to her.
DG raised her head and met his eyes. He cringed at the fear in those heavenly blue orbs. "Don't leave me, Cain! Please stay!"
He stepped forward immediately and pulled her into a hug. "I'm not going anywhere. Not until you ask me to, I promise."
She sniffled and nodded before stepping back. With a deep breath, she let the blankets fall to the floor, leaving her in Cain's shirt, the remains of her torn shirt, and her panties. Hands trembling, she removed what was left of her ruined clothing and stepped into the tub, lowering herself into the hot water.
Cain kneeled beside the tub, reaching out for a bar of soap and a soft cloth. DG sat silently in the water as Cain ran the soapy cloth over her skin and washed her hair. He was at a loss at what to say to her. How could he possibly apologize enough for not protecting her? How could he make her forget how close she had come to being raped?
Instead of talking, he just kept washing her. The water was starting to get cool when DG looked up and met his eyes.
"Thank you for saving me, Cain. I knew you would get there in time."
He swallowed hard, fighting back tears. How could she be thanking him when it was his fault she had been taken in the first place? He should have noticed that damn trapdoor before. He should have never left her alone that long. Wiping his eyes discreetly, he simply nodded.
She reached up and grasped his hand, squeezing tightly. "Don't blame yourself, Wyatt. None of us knew what they were planning. None of us noticed that trapdoor. I was in a house filled with and surrounded by guards. You had no way of knowing what would happen."
"I know that," he whispered, not meeting her stare. "But I can't help but think that I should have known. I should have prevented it."
DG leaned towards him, moving her hand up to cup his face. "You're not God. You're human and you can't know everything. Stop blaming yourself."
His watery eyes met hers and he sighed. "I love you, Deeg."
She managed a tiny smile. "Love you, too."
Setting the cloth and the bar of soap aside, Cain stood up. "You ready to get out?"
DG nodded, reaching up to grasp his hands. He pulled her out of the tub and helped her out, wrapping her in a towel before working on her wet hair with another.
"I'll have to grab a pair of clothes for you," Cain murmured, gently squeezing the water out of her hair. "Will you be okay for a minute?"
DG nodded silently, focusing on the task of drying off. He kissed the top of her head before slipping out of the room. He was met on the other side by Rena, who was holding out a pair of yoga pants and a sweatshirt.
"I thought she'd need these," she said softly. Cain nodded his thanks and took them from her. "Jeb and I figured she wouldn't want to stay in that room anymore, so we switched. You two can stay in ours, if that's okay. We've already checked for more trapdoors, and there aren't any."
"Much obliged." He didn't want to admit that the idea of sleeping in that room again gave him chills. He could never get comfortable in a place where his Princess had been abducted. "What about you two, though? I don't imagine you'd feel very safe in there."
Rena grinned. "Jeb just finished nailing the door down. Nothing is getting in or out through that way again."
Cain turned back toward the bathroom. "Thank you. I can't thank you enough for everything you've done for DG."
The medic smiled sadly. "She's my best friend. I'll do what I can for her."
He slipped back into the bathroom and helped DG dress in the clean clothes before leading her to their new bedroom. DG didn't say anything about the switch until they were tucked beneath the blankets.
"Why are we in here?"
Cain rolled onto his side and carefully pulled her against his chest. "Jeb and Rena thought you might be more comfortable in here. They're staying in the other room."
DG burrowed into his chest, breathing in his scent. "That was nice of them. Will they be safe?"
Cain nodded. "Jeb nailed down the trapdoor. There aren't anymore in the house."
They were silent for a few minutes. Cain just stroked her hair and back soothingly while she cuddled up against him.
"Cain?" She finally whispered a while later.
She paused. "Would they have really executed Harold and Myron if you hadn't killed them first?"
His arms tightened around her. "Yes."
"Not that I don't blame them, but why? Was it just because I'm the Princess?"
Cain pulled back slightly and stared at her in surprise. "Not at all, although that makes it a more serious offense. Why are you so surprised?"
DG shrugged. "They don't do that on the Other Side."
His eyes narrowed dangerously. "What do they do?"
"It varies. I think its five years in prison or something like that. Some places it could be more. If it was against a child, its longer, but they don't execute people for it."
Cain growled low in his chest when he heard that. In his opinion, sexual assault was the worst, most evil thing a person could do and he was all for an immediate execution. It made him sick that there were places where people who committed such acts only had to pay for a few annuals before going back out in the general population where they could do it again to someone else. "I'm glad we're in the O.Z. and not the Other Side, then. People like that don't deserve second chances."
DG remembered the feel of rough hands on her body, tearing at her clothes and pinning her down and she couldn't help but agree wholeheartedly. Shivering at the memories, she curled back into Cain again and let his presence wash her fears away.
Cain was awaken by a low, panicked moan. Snapping his eyes open, he laid silently, listening for whatever threat had made it past the guards.
He heard the sound again and looked down at the woman lying in his arms. The moan came from her. Leaning back slightly, he stared down into her pained face. She jerked in his arms and whimpered.
DG was having a nightmare.
"Don't fucking touch me," she gasped, twisting in Cain's arms. She cried out and jerked again.
Cain leaned up on one elbow, reaching out to grasp her shoulder and shake lightly. "Sweetheart, wake up. It's just a dream. Wake up, Deeg."
Her body tensed and her face contorted in pain and horror. Her mouth opened and a frightened scream erupted. Cain shook her harder, his heart breaking at the suffering she was going through in her sleep.
"DG, wake up. I'm here now. You're safe and nothing can hurt you now. Wake up!"
DG's eyes flew open mid scream and she immediately swallowed the sound. Her chest heaved from her pounding heart and her fists gripped the bed sheets beside her.
"It's okay, sweetheart," Cain soothed, cupping her cheek. "It was just a nightmare. I'm here and you're safe."
She stared up at him, her eyes watery as she sucked in giant puffs of air. Nodding at his words, she cleared her throat. "Just a nightmare. I'm safe."
"Just a nightmare," he repeated, stroking his hand down her jaw.
With a trembling hand, DG swiftly brushed her tears away before burrowing against Cain's chest again. She kept moving closer to him and Cain imagined that she was actually trying to climb into his body for safety.
It broke his heart all over again. It wasn't right that his Princess should be so frightened. He hated that he couldn't take back the horrors of her abduction and attack. He wanted so badly to make it better for her. Once again, his hands were tied, and all he could do was be there for her and hope that it was enough.
A soft knock sounded on the door and DG tensed in his arms. Holding her tightly, Cain lifted his head. "Who is it?"
"Raw." The Viewer's gentle voice came through the door. "Can help if okay with DG."
Cain looked down at DG's teary face and she nodded slightly. He pressed a kiss to her forehead before slipping out of the bed and heading for the door.
Raw's face was etched in grief and concern as he stepped into the room. The Viewer looked from the Tin Man to the teary eyed Princess in the bed before speaking.
"Can help with nightmares."
DG sniffled and sat up in the bed, pulling the blankets up to her chin. "I'm sorry, Raw. I can't be making anything easy for you tonight."
Raw shook his head and made his way towards her. "Not DG's fault. Raw try to make better."
Cain watched as the Viewer went to DG's side of the bed. They stared at each other for a long moment before he reached out, placing a large, furry paw on either side of her head. Raw's eyes closed and he began to hum softly. After a minute, DG's tense body relaxed and she sighed in obvious relief. When the Viewer removed his paws, DG curled back up on the mattress and looked up at him.
"Thank you, Raw," she murmured.
Raw smiled down at her affectionately. "DG very welcome."
He headed for the door, where Cain stopped him. "Thank you, Furball," he said, clearing his throat.
Raw smiled and patted Cain on the shoulder. "Cain good for DG. Makes all the difference."
Cain glanced over at DG, who had already fallen back to sleep. "I sure hope so."
Thanks to everybody for the awesome reviews. Hopefully, Myron and Harold's fates work for all of you. I myself think that they got exactly what they deserved. Leave a review and let me know what you think.