Originally written for Tinman100
Prompt: Innocence (Table 1)
Word Count: 387
Disclaimer: A happy birth-anniversary to L. Frank Baum, the man who brought Oz to our world. Another special thanks goes to Long-Mitchell and Van Sickle who gave us the Outer Zone. This is a non-profit fan work.
A/N - I use the name "Ozma Galinda" for the Queen.
Ambrose loved his Queen in ways beyond words or reason. He was fond of Azkedellia, though they weren't terribly close. The younger princess, however...
She had been innocence personified, black curls and eyes as bright and blue as a Munchkin's festival lantern. She had always been fascinated by his inventions, even at her young age. He remembered sitting on the floor with her, getting her dress and his trousers dirty as they repaired a broken clock. He remembered giving her rides on his shoulders – something Azkedellia never agreed to. He even remembered the day she was born, taking the newborn out of Galinda's arms and holding her nervously.
Ambrose placed a hand on the green marble surface of the tiny coffin, then collapsed to his knees, his body unable to hold in the tears any longer. How could a child so alive be dead so fast or so young? Princess Dorothy wasn't just Galinda's little angel of light. She was his as well.
He lost track of how long he was on his knees in the chapel, his chest aching as he wept bitterly. In the next room, he could hear the priest and his platitudes about the Endless Fields, and the joys that awaited the innocent dead. It didn't matter. None of it did. Galinda was the Queen – she had to keep a brave face, even more so now that the scoundrel she married vanished into the night.
Ambrose could cry for both of them.
A Cloth Hills drawl and a hand on his shoulder brought him back to the present. Indignantly, he glared at the intruder, a tall blonde in a Tin Man dress uniform - one of the Mystic Man's security detail, most likely. Pulling the shreds of his pride around him like his tan overcoat, Ambrose forced himself to his feet and pulled out a handkerchief, wiping his face.
"You really loved the Princess, didn't you?" the stranger asked quietly.
"Most anyone who knew her did, Constable" Ambrose answered.
The man walked up to the coffin and took off his hat in respect. "Can't imagine what the Queen's going through. I've got a son the same age."
"Then hold your child as long as you can," Ambrose said sadly. "So that if death separates you, at least you won't have anything to regret."