Disclaimer: I don't own Tin Man or its characters... I think some others that may appear later on belong to L Frank Baum…
Author's Note: There is a plot that I had in mind when starting this. We'll see if I can get to it. As is, this is a sort of silly chapter, just to show where DG is at before the craziness of plot (hopefully) takes over. Actually, it may take a couple chapters before I get to what actually inspired me to write this. Hopefully there is something new/different to it, otherwise it's quite unnecessary when there are so many other well-written post-eclipse, DG/Cain stories out there.
Things had finally seemed to return to normal.
Of course, it didn't really feel that way for DG, princess-in-training. But considering she was born in the Outer Zone and raised on the Other Side, she'd probably never possess any sense of normality. In Kansas, she had felt out of place. Here, she truly felt as if she belonged, but everything was unfamiliar and just different enough from all she had ever known to be strange.
Like wearing dresses every day...
DG frowned at her reflection in the mirror as she held the day's dress up in front of her. For some obnoxious reason, the entire court was expected to coordinate stylistically. Servants always laid out what she was supposed to wear, so that she awoke to some new annoying conformity every morning.
The cause was tradition no doubt. She had learned that there was an awful lot of tradition in the OZ and reviving it was a way for the people to attach themselves to a more ideal past, and in so doing further the recovery from the witch's rule.
But still...that was no reason for DG to sashay around in frilly dresses. Okay, that was unfair. They were generally quite elegant and stylish, but they just weren't her. And she hadn't yet managed to convince the royal dressmaker of this fact.
She stuck out her tongue at the dress and her reflection. Its lines weren't bad, but apparently, the color of the day was a cross between coral and salmon. Didn't they know the two species were incompatible? It at least should be obvious that they spawned a hideous offspring.
Letting it drop to the floor, she took pleasure in the idea that it would get all rumpled. Her mother would officially admonish her, but that secret smile would twinkle in her eye, the one that showed pride in her daughter's spark.
Thankfully, she had gone back to the other side to pack up a few things, bringing some of her old clothes with her to the OZ. The head of household, responsible for all the pomp of the court was always trying to get the servants to surreptitiously steal away her old things, they were so jarring to his sensibilities of what 'royalty' should look like.
DG danced around the room in her camisole and panties just to spite the purveyors of propriety. It was beyond impossible for her to sleep in the excessively ornate nightgowns that got all twisted up around her, threatening to strangle her in her sleep. Thankfully, it was inappropriate to see the princess in an 'undressed' state (if only they knew how 'undressed'...), so she was able to get away with sleeping in her underwear.
Feeling especially bold and rebellious, she threw back the drapes covering the enormous windows in her room. Raising her hands above her head and wiggling her hips, she did her best version of a belly dance.
Hey, Outer Zone! Here's DG! And she's in her skinnies, oh no!
The princess is so shockingly misbehaved...
She's such an embarrassment...
Her heart leapt into her throat and her breathing turned panicked as she threw her back against the drapes to hide. So much for thinking the coast was clear. She had never seen anyone on that side of the palace at this hour, so she assumed taunting the world wouldn't actually be as brazen an act as she had pretended.
Timidly peeking around the great, emerald brocade curtains, she attempted to ascertain whether those she had spotted had seen her. Because oh, she had recognized them. There was no mistaking that hat, that stance. And there weren't many that could be confused with the caveman-worthy dress code of the Viewer. There was a third along with her two close friends. His presence was not as distinctive as that of Raw or Cain, but she knew it was her tin man's son nonetheless.
Standing in the same spot, in the middle of the eastern courtyard, they continued to talk amongst themselves. None were looking in the direction of her room, several stories above their heads, so she let herself hope that they hadn't seen her. Sighing she sunk to the floor and crawled on her hands knees to where the hideous-colored dress lay in a haphazard pile on the floor.
Afraid to stand-up, even though she was deep in the recesses of her room and more than likely hidden from those outside the palace, DG instead fought to get herself into the dress while lying on the floor. After several minutes of intense struggling, she stood up and straightened herself out in the mirror. And she did so all without having any more nasty thoughts or disparaging comments against the garment, a punishment for her careless, near-incident.
She took a deep breath before she stepped out into the anterior room of her suite, where her ladies-in-waiting were just, well, waiting to jump on her like ravenous papay. No, that was unfair. They were just doing their job...which was to make sure she was presentable to the outside world, that she inspired at least a smidgen of confidence in the royal family. Couldn't have their princesses looking like vagabonds, she supposed. Well, Az could never look less than immaculate, but as for herself...
Really, what would be wrong with royalty that looked like they were willing to get their hands dirty?
At least they kept the makeup to a minimum. There was nothing worse than feeling lost under a mask of pastes, powders, gels, and waxy amalgamations. Then again, with that sort of mask, she could hide from the more intense members of court, the ones that didn't quite know what to make of her and supplemented that fact by discussing every topic in the OZ, current and hackneyed, in every single conversation.
Ugh, what is this day gonna hold?
Supposedly, all that was scheduled were more lessons. Only one would be with Az, for her sister had caught up much faster, especially with court etiquette and the intricacies of Outer Zone politics. The older princess didn't need to learn the entire history of the OZ. She had lived a dark portion of it... poor Az.
Preoccupied by her own struggles to find her place, DG sometimes forgot about the suffering of her sister. Guilt often snuck up on her, even knowing that Azkadellia didn't blame her for leaving her to the witch in the first place. Everyone was aware that the witch had possessed the princess, that the evil was no more. However, that didn't place the people who had faced such oppression under the Sorceress Azkadellia at ease around the Princess Az.
"DG," the older princess burst in as wildly as she was capable, which was not wild at all. Such manners, my sister retains! "We're going to be late for our lesson with Tutor."
Az' own magical abilities had been suppressed by the witch's, leaving her in basically the same position as her sister, having to reacquaint themselves with their latent gifts. Tutor had taken up the task practically where he had left off all those years ago.
"I'm ready," DG announced, shooing the doting (to the point of suffocating) servants away from her hair. She preferred it dressed down and without all the unnecessary adornments. Truthfully, she would prefer to do it entirely herself. When she saw her sister, she couldn't help but feel a twinge of jealousy.
Az made any color work, any style. She was gorgeous, even more so without all the primping, elaborate style, and overdone makeup the sorceress had adorned. Also, they looked much more like sisters when Az dressed down...well, as down as someone as elegant as her could appear.
"What?" Az asked, looking self-conscious.
"Sorry," DG apologized for her staring. "You're just so pretty, Az. I think the dressmaker has it out for me. I always look so terrible in these dresses."
"You look fine, DG," Az soothed. "Stop being so self-deprecating."
With a smile on her exquisitely shaped lips, she held out a hand, which DG gladly accepted. It was all she could do not to skip along beside her sister. Psychologists would no doubt have some elaborate explanation for it, but they had seemed to revert to being children again when they were with one another. Perhaps, it was because they had no idea where to begin, so instead picked up their relationship where it had been before their separation.
And admittedly, DG enjoyed the light-hearted fun they conjured with each other. It made the gravity of everything going on around them a little more bearable. Besides, outside of their sisterly play, she rarely saw Az smile except for with their parents. Even with DG's closest friends, people she was certain didn't hold the least grudge or resentment against Azkadellia for the witch's behavior, interactions with Az were strained.
As they walked the large, echoing halls of the palace, DG studied her sister. Something was most definitely bothering her. She could see sadness, worry in her eyes and in the detached sort of way she navigated the corridors, like she were on autopilot. It hurt DG to see her sister suffer, and not only because all her suffering could easily be linked back to DG's irresponsibility. But if Az wanted to talk about it, she would.
Maybe she just needed something else to think about, something that would make her smile, or better yet, laugh.
"You'll never guess what I did this morning," DG began, the tone in her voice suggesting it was something embarrassing. Az looked at her sister, raising an eyebrow, knowing the trouble she oft got herself into for the dumbest of reasons.
"Well, you know how much I hate these damn dresses..."
A/N: Oh, DG is still managing to get herself in trouble…