Disclaimer: I own none of the characters, places, etc.
Bean There, Done That
Being a princess did not suit DG. She was a student, a motorcycle rider, an artist. She liked to spend an afternoon doodling and go to the only bar in town on Friday night for a few drinks with the locals, usually ending in a bar fight and trying to talk herself out of trouble with Officer Gulch.
So she wasn't exactly thrilled at the prospect of a lifetime of royalty. Yes, it had its perks – she had a whole new wardrobe, a gorgeous set of rooms and round-the-clock food benefits in the castle in Central City. But was it worth it when she couldn't go anywhere without a certain ex-Tin Man shadowing her?
So at nine-thirty on a Friday night, devoid of Jack Daniels or tequila, she found herself in her sitting room opening a gift basket sent by a local business. Cain had swiftly confiscated a bottle of vodka, to her dismay and handed it to a servant, who had delivered the basket.
"Get rid of this, Sarah. Don't care how."
The dark-haired woman looked at the bottle in surprise, and then grinned at the furious expression on DG's face.
"Yes, sir!" Before DG could speak, she'd darted from the room, clutching the bottle.
"That was mine, Cain!"
"It's not suitable. You shouldn't be drinking poison like that." He said firmly, peering into the basket. DG snatched it away, scowling.
"I'm keeping everything else! I don't care if there's… dynamite in here! It's my dynamite!"
"You think I didn't have security check it?" Cain smirked, sitting in a comfy chair opposite her. She pulled a face at him and pulled out a stuffed bear.
"Got any problems with Teddy, here? Want to rip him open in case he's smuggling aspirin?"
He gave her a dry look and settled back in his chair, watching as she pulled out jars of preserve, chocolate, toys, gadgets and even items of clothing. She shook her head with a grin.
"OK, I'm saving the world more often. Although what I'm going to do with fourteen jars of strawberry jam, I don't know. On the other hand, one can never have enough chocolate." She piled a fourth box onto the others.
"No more alcohol though." Cain noted and she sighed.
"I'm starting to think that you have a problem, kid." He commented and DG laughed.
"Don't be mean. Hey, what's this?"
She pulled out the last packet in the basket and opened it. Instantly her face lit up.
"Jelly Beans!" She cried in delight. Cain eyed her as she grabbed a bowl and emptied the bag into it. A shower of multi-coloured sweets showered down, one bouncing across the table. Cain picked it up, examining the green bean closely. DG held out her hand but he popped it into his mouth.
"Hey, that was mine!" She pouted but he shrugged idly.
"You can spare one, princess."
"Don't call me princess. I told you that you couldn't have anything!" DG grinned, pulling the bowl close to her.
Cain watched as she began to pile the beans into order by colour; red, green, yellow, purple, orange, pink… for almost fifteen minutes she sat, organising with an intensity that he had rarely seen in her. After a while he broke the silence.
"That's a pretty systematic method of eating candy, kid." She looked up in surprise, as though she had forgotten he was there.
"Oh, yeah. I guess. I've always done it like this." She placed an orange bean on the correct pile and reached for another. Cain leaned across to take another bean but she slapped his fingers lightly. "You'll mess up my system."
"Will not." He snatched a red bean and chewed it. "I used to give these to Jeb when he was a kid."
DG lowered the bean, looking at him. Cain reached for another bean (pink) and nodded.
"Yeah. He didn't organise them though. Just ate the whole lot in one go and then usually got sick."
"Oh, I bet that was fun." She grinned, dropping a yellow bean onto its appropriate pile. Cain arched an eyebrow.
"Adora didn't think so. She usually yelled at me for letting him have them all at once and made me clean it up."
"Serves you right." DG chuckled. She picked up the last bean and placed it on the red pile, pausing to admire the six piles. Cain reached across and she grabbed his hand.
"No way, Tin Man. You want these beans, you're going to pay for them."
"A bean tax?" He looked amused and she grinned, crossing her legs underneath her as she sat facing him.
"If you like. How about this…" She cocked her head, "For each pile of beans, you have to tell me one true thing about yourself. It's a game I used to play at college, only we used shots instead of beans."
Cain looked at her uncertainly, his eyes narrowed. DG smiled disarmingly.
"Come on, Cain. It's only a bit of fun."
DG divided the pile of scarlet beans, pushing half of them over to him.
"OK. One fact and you can eat your beans." She said, arranging hers in a neat pile, about six beans altogether. Cain picked up a bean and examined it closely.
"I was the top of my graduating class during my training to become a Tin Man." He said after a moment. DG rolled her eyes.
"Well, I could have guessed that. Come on, you can do better."
"One fact." Cain said firmly, chewing on the jelly beans. DG pulled a face, popping one of her beans into her mouth.
"What sort of training did you have to do?"
"Physical; lots of running and weight-lifting, as well as weapons training. As well as learning interrogation techniques, strategies, legalities… a lot of people don't make it through training."
"The best of the best of the best, sir!" DG saluted with a grin, but Cain gave her a flat look. She laughed.
"How old were you?" She asked.
"Eighteen when I began training. Twenty by the time I finished, and went straight into the force. Three annuals later the Witch took over. I was with the Mystic Man at the time, stayed with him for another five annuals. Then I joined the resistance."
"What did you do for the resistance?" DG asked, picking another red bean.
"Moving people across the borders, mostly. Adora, Jeb and I were living in the house by the lake. The resistance would send people our way and we'd get them across the border without the Longcoats finding out."
DG couldn't help but feel impressed as he spoke. He had done so much in his life, but she noticed that his face had shadowed over.
"I did that for two annuals. And then Zero caught up with us."
He didn't say anymore. He didn't need to.
Cain divided the second pile of candy. DG took hers and Cain looked at her.
"This should go both ways. You should tell a fact as well."
"OK." DG shrugged. "You do the next pile."
She thought carefully for a minute, tapping her fingernails on the table between them. After a moment she brushed her hair out of her face.
"I was going run away." She said eventually. Cain's jaw twitched and she grinned, "Not from here. Back in Kansas; I was sick of it there, I was working that crappy job, I wasn't even that interested in college. It was just something to do. So I was saving up all my money and I was going to take off on my motorbike and see the world."
DG ate one of her beans and smiled.
"I guess I'd never get away with that here!" She joked and Cain smirked.
"Not a chance, kid."
"I never wanted children." Cain said as he lined up his green jelly beans. DG frowned.
"No. When Adora told me she was expecting, I was furious. We'd only been married six months, I was still working for the Mystic Man."
"What did Adora say?" DG asked curiously, nibbling on one of the sweets. Cain half-smiled, eyes focusing on something she couldn't see.
"Told me to get my act together. Said she was having the kid, whether I liked it or not."
"She sounds strong." DG said quietly and his smiled widened slightly.
"The strongest person I ever met."
They were silent, each considering the small pile of sweets before them. Eventually Cain breathed heavily.
"I came around, obviously. Once Jeb was born… well, you can't help but love your first kid. After that, Adora and I talked about having more, but we… the time was never right."
The atmosphere weighed heavily on them both.
"I punched my last boyfriend and broke his nose." DG said cheerfully, sorting through her beans to find the most appetising looking. She looked up when Cain didn't reply. He was watching her, his expression one of stunned disbelief.
"You hit him?"
She chose a bean and chewed it cheerfully. Cain swallowed his and shifted in his chair.
"Do I want to know why?"
"He cheated on me. He was in my class at college and we'd been dating for about three months. He was one of these guys who says they love you and they can't believe how lucky they are to have you. Turns out he was screwing three other girls in the class as well. Anyway, when I found out, I got kinda pissed off and broke his nose."
He merely looked at her and she smiled briefly.
"I don't take shit from guys, Cain. They mess me around, I mess them up."
"Your father's right. You are a spitfire." Cain said, looking mildly amused, "I'll know better than to get on the wrong side of you."
"Damn right." She grinned, stealing one of his beans, her own already finished.
"My first thought when I saw you was that you were a dream." Cain said quietly. DG watched him, curled up in her chair, big blue eyes fixed on his.
"I'd been watching… watching Zero tear my family apart for eight years." He swallowed hard, "I knew every detail, every movement off by heart. And then you burst into it, waving that stick around. I thought I was dreaming, or that I'd finally gone insane. And then you let me out of that suit and I felt like I was alive for the first time in years, only all I could think about was revenge. I didn't want to be alive."
They sat quietly and DG tried to think of something to say, but what could she possibly say that would help him? He met her eye and smiled sadly.
"Glad I got over that. There's nothing that can destroy a man like revenge." He said calmly and DG smiled.
"You're a good man, Cain. It'd take more than one man like Zero to break you down."
"I don't think I'm going to be a good princess." DG admitted, tucking her knees under chin. Cain tilted his head, frowning,
"What makes you say that, kid?"
"You've seen Az. She's dignified and elegant and she knows all the etiquette and stuff that I'm supposed to be learning. What's more – she likes it. I'm just not convinced that it's something I'm going to be good at. I was a barely adequate waitress. I know that there's something I'm supposed to do with my life." She put her chin in her hand, looking morosely at the last pink bean. "I just don't know what it is yet. Or if I'll ever get a chance to find out, if I'm supposed to be a princess all the time."
Cain began to laugh. She looked at him in surprise and then glared.
"Gee, thanks for the sympathy!"
"You think that a princess is all you're ever going to be? DG…" He leaned forward in his chair, "That's like saying that all you're ever going to be is female. Or dark-haired, or blue-eyed. The princess thing is fact. Whatever you choose to do with your life is going to be your choice, the princess factor has nothing to do with that."
"So, you're saying that if I want to become a farmer, I could do that?" Cain rolled his eyes slightly.
"OK, maybe not that. But… well, you enjoy art. There's a gallery in the city, it's not reopened since the Witch's reign, but you could become a patron and get it open and displaying work again."
He picked up one of his beans and chewed it thoughtfully. DG considered him and then smiled.
"That sounds OK. I think I could do that, it certainly sounds easier than being nothing but a princess."
There was one stray bean on the table between them. DG reached across and picked it up. Cain narrowed his eyes.
"I think that's mine, princess."
"Don't think so. On the other hand, if you give Sarah a ring and get her to bring that bottle of vodka back up, maybe with some orange juice…" She waved the bean temptingly, but Cain raised an eyebrow.
"Not worth a bean, DG."
"Your loss." She grinned, eating the last one.
A/N: This story is the result of a challenge from my friend, Sarah, who asked me to write a story that had: DG and Cain, in a castle, with a packet of jelly beans. This story is therefore dedicated to her and her insane challenges.
Please excuse the terrible pun in the title. It was a guilty pleasure.