Title: Thump
Author: erinm_4600
Characters, Pairing: Cain, DG, Glitch and Raw (mentions of the Queen, Ahamo, Jeb and Adora)
Rating: G
Summary: Cain ponders the idea of friends and family
Warning: post-series *written for the Winter Challenge at dg_cain And I'm not sure how this got all angsty... was supposed to be light and airy! o.O
Disclaimer: The original characters belongs to L. Frank Baum and their respective actors. The current characters belong to Sci-Fi, the movie folks and their respective actors.
Originally posted: Dec 13, 2007

THUMP.

Wyatt Cain squinted as the sun peeked out from behind a cloud. The sky was a dull gray, the air calm. The winds had howled through the night, but, thankfully, had died down just after sunup.

A week before, DG – daughter of the Queen of the O.Z. – had mentioned to her father, Ahamo, that it was nearing the holiday season. Which holiday, however, Cain didn't know.

Now, the ex-Tin Man found himself back at the Northern Island, having been ordered to accompany DG and her family to the palace. Well, DG ordered; Ahamo asked.

THUMP.

Cain rolled his eyes, spotting DG and Glitch talking in hushed tones while Raw nodded. Returning his gaze to the land beyond the palace, he couldn't help but feel a twinge, thinking back to the last time he'd been here.

'I almost died here, once,' he thought with a frown. So much had changed in the O.Z., even before DG's arrival. And he'd changed much after (whether he wanted to admit it or not).

THUMP.

Jaw clenched, Cain shot a look in the direction of his companions, all of whom gave him, then each other, a confused stare.

Companions. Cain didn't like the way it sounded. So formal and unemotional. Of course, that was him. Wasn't it?

Friends. Would it really kill him to admit that he cared for them? He cared for his fellow Tin Men, back in the day. But even they weren't friends. And they sure as hell weren't family.

Family. He'd lost his family because of his duty, his honor. And, after all those years, he was so close. His wife and son were alive. Fitting that he'd come back from death to learn their fate, moments before dying again.

But he didn't die. Somehow – and, to be honest, even he didn't know how it'd happened – he'd survived. Somehow, the bullet didn't kill him. Neither did the icy water. Somehow, he'd swam to the surface and crawled out onto the frozen ground. Then he was awake in DeMilo's van. And emotion had forced his actions.

THUMP.

He and Glitch found DG and Raw; then they found the tree, the house, the suit. The grave. He'd lost his family again and wanted to give up. But his damn honor told him to keep moving; help DG.

And then DG was gone. And they were being saved by strangers. Strangers led by his son. Cain couldn't contain the emotions rushing through him, seeing his flesh and blood. There, alive.

But Jeb had changed. No longer the child who ran through the grass, swam in the pond and idolized his father, the Great Tin Man, Wyatt Cain. This was a boy who'd grown up on his own. Survived, only to lose his mother – Cain still couldn't bring himself to ask Jeb what had transpired that day – and follow in his father's footsteps.

They were strangers. And that, Cain found the most difficult to deal with. Had he really expected to have everything fall back into place? For his son to give up any anger toward him for leaving? They had suffered because of his loyalty.

Then Tutor showed up with news of DG. It wasn't until they were returning to the camp with her in tow that Cain realized, once again, he'd abandoned his son for the job. For his family.

Cain's heart and his brain were finally working as one. DG, Glitch and Raw were the closest things to friends he'd had in years. Over that week, they'd bonded over so much that they'd moved past friendship and into a family.

Guilt over this realization hit Cain like a brick. He loved his son, and his wife, with everything he had. He would die for them. Yet, within an hour of meeting, DG had convinced him to rescue a creature trapped by the Papay. And then, they were four. He didn't even question jumping off a cliff after Raw.

Between floating robots and hidden identities and a shape-shifting dog and a witch in a cave, Cain held back a laugh as he realized that, honestly, he wouldn't have it any other way.

Except, of course, Adora. He would have time to apologize to Jeb. But never Adora. One day, he hoped, she'd forgive him for finding another family.

THUMP.

Sighing deeply, Cain turned to the group and moved toward them slowly, head down. As he neared, Cain could hear Glitch move, probably behind DG. As soon as he could see the bottom of their legs under his hat brim, Cain put on his 'fierce face,' as DG called it, and looked up.

DG's eyes were open wide, but her face held no emotion. Cain looked off to the distance again and nodded slightly.

"Has anyone ever told you," he said, leaning down and letting his fingers graze the soft ground. He made a fist and straightened, the slightest smile creeping up his face. "You shouldn't start what you can't finish?" He raised an eyebrow and watched DG's face.

Cocking her head slightly, eyes moving to her right as Glitch moved toward Raw, DG raised her own eyebrow, then her arms. "Bring it on, Tin Man," she said, giving him a matching wave of her hands. He took one last glance of the horizon, mostly because he couldn't stop the smile overtaking his face, and looked back at her.

Deciding to change tactics, Cain instead took a step closer and looked down on this girl. His best friend. He simply smiled as her eyes squinted, trying to figure out his next move. A moment later, DG felt a distinct cold on the top of her head. She'd focused so intently on reading Cain's face, that she hadn't noticed him raise the fisted hand over her head.

Screeching, she stepped back and kneeled. "You are goin' down!" Cain bolted around her and made for Glitch and Raw, who dove apart as a sixth snowball collided with Cain's back.

THUMP.