Disclaimer: I own nothing and it makes me sad.
The First Suspicion
"It's not going to happen." DG muttered furiously as Cain accompanied her towards the suite that the queen had requested they come to. The Tin Man eyed her.
"She's got that seamstress in there, ready to ambush me with dresses. It's not happening, Cain!" The sparks flew in DG's eyes and Cain found himself smirking. The poor seamstress wouldn't know what had hit her…
Sure enough, he opened the door and DG pointed accusingly.
"See! Fabric, a stool and a sewing machine! Protect me, Cain!"
"Darling, you're overreacting." The Queen said tiredly. Cain suspected that this wasn't the first time they'd had this conversation. DG folded her arms firmly.
"Mother, I'm taking the etiquette lessons. I'm taking the magic lessons. I'm learning to dance, I'm learning the geography of the O.Z., I'm even accepting the fact that I'm not getting a motorcycle in the near future. But I REFUSE to wear dresses day in and day out!" She announced dramatically.
The Queen merely looked at her and then turned her lavender gaze to Cain.
"Mr Cain, would you lock the door please?"
"Don't you-"click, "dare… Cain, you're such a traitor."
She glowered at him as the terrified looking seamstress stepped forward, tentatively holding up a bolt of gorgeous, sapphire coloured satin. DG stepped back, holding her hands up in front of her.
"C'mon… I saved the Zone in jeans and a t-shirt, didn't hear anybody complaining then!" She wheedled but the Queen gave her an unimpressed look.
"We were marginally more preoccupied with the potential of eternal darkness to worry about your dubious fashion choices, DG. Get on the stool."
Fifteen minutes later, Cain was still smirking as he listened to the mutters that emanated from behind the carefully constructed screen. He didn't know much about the other side, but he was impressed at the variation and intensity of their cursing.
"So, this is just for the big events, right? I can still wear pants on a day-to-day basis?" DG asked hopefully.
The Queen appeared from behind the screen, folding a piece of fabric. She met Cain's gaze and lifted her eyes to the ceiling as though praying for strength.
"For now, I will concede. However, I will be supervising your wardrobe on the occasions where we are expecting company. Ozma knows I can't take another shock like that dinner with the Vinkus Ambassador…"
Cain's first suspicion was that the Queen was never going to get DG into a dress.
The Second Suspicion
"Cain, have you seen Az?" DG asked, a frown etched into her brow. Cain shook his head as he clicked his revolver back together after cleaning it and dropping it into its holster.
"Not since breakfast, Princess."
"Quit that." DG said, the frown deepening, "Bad enough I've got everyone else calling me princess, I don't need you doing it too. C'mon, I want to find Az."
She rolled off of the sofa she'd been lounging on whilst reading reports from the cultivation minister that morning. Despite her claims that they could put an insomniac to sleep, he'd looked over more than once to see that she was ready intently, chewing her lip in a rather endearing manner.
Cain got to his feet and they walked side by side, discussing where Azkadellia could be hiding. The older princess had been more and more reclusive since the Witch had been destroyed and DG had been trying to get her to 'open up'.
"She could be in the library." DG mused and Cain nodded.
"Or in Glitch's laboratory. It's usually one or the other."
"Yeah, they've become really good friends." DG said and sighed, "Well, you try to lab and I'll try to the library. Meet you back here in five?"
"Sure thing, princess."
She swiped at his shoulder with a scowl before strolling down the corridor. Cain allowed himself a small grin before making his way down several flights of stairs to the laboratory that resided in the basement. Glitch's enthusiasm for experimentation had tripled since the successful reinstatement of his brain, and the queen had (understandably and necessarily) ordered him to keep all said experimentations within the confines of his laboratory. Especially after that nightmare dinner with the Vinkus Ambassador…
Cain pressed his ear to the door, listening for whirring, humming, banging, crashing, whooshing or any other potentially hazardous noises. Hearing silence within, he opened the door a crack. And then swiftly closed it again, face flushing.
He couldn't have said quite how long he stood there but eventually his senses returned and he dashed up the stairs, almost knocking DG over. His hand caught her wrist and he tugged her upright. She blinked at him in surprise.
"What's wrong? Did you find Az?"
"Uh…" He deliberated for a moment. "No. She wasn't down there. Nor was Glitch."
"Oh, OK. They must be out somewhere." She eyed him suspiciously, "You OK there, Tin Man? You look like you've had the fright of your life?"
Cain was quite sure how to answer that question. His second suspicion was that Glitch and Azkadellia were decidedly more then 'really good friends'.
The Third Suspicion
Jeb had been a little off lately. Cain couldn't quite put his finger on it; it was just little things that other people might not have noticed.
For instance, there were the late night conversations on the telephone when Cain was visiting him in his small apartment in Central City. Jeb's expression was a strange combination of terrified and excited on these occasions and he always hurried him out of the flat before answering the call.
And then there were the strange foodstuffs that he kept showing up at the palace with when visiting. Adora had done most of the cooking, but Cain was fairly certain that Jeb had never been a fan of cabbage or liver.
But there were also the whispered meetings that he walked in on between Jeb and DG, both jumping up with far too much cheerfulness at the sight of him and babbled excuses for their muted conversations.
"Oh hey, Cain, we were just going to come find you!"
"Great weather, huh, Dad?"
"Yeah, we were just saying how much the sun's been shining!" DG grinned dazzlingly before patting Jeb on the arm and skipping away.
Yes. She had skipped.
Cain was instantly apprehensive. But when one of the servants poked her head around the door to his office to say that Jeb had arrived and was with Princess DG, Cain had felt an incredible sense of foreboding.
He strolled down the hall to DG's office and stood by the door, straining to hear the snippets of conversation
"…got to tell him! For crying out loud, Jeb, Amy is already four months gone, he's got to know!"
"I know! It's just… aw, we haven't even had a really deep conversation yet, I don't want the first one to be announcing that he's going to be a…a…"
"He won't be mad, Jeb. Not any madder than he was after that dinner with the Vinkus Ambassador."
"But he's going to… I mean…."
Jeb's stammers faded as Cain opened the door. DG leapt to her feet, grinning widely.
"Perfect timing, Cain! Jeb wanted a chat and I have to go to a meeting with my mother." She winked at Jeb and went to the door. To Cain's surprise, she paused and gave him a quick hug before continuing on her way.
Cain's third suspicion was that Jeb was keeping secrets.
The Fourth Suspicion
Raw had always been the observant sort. Cain considered himself to be quite observant, but as he observed Raw observing, he observed that Raw was observing him observing. Or something like that.
There had been three incidents of observation. The first had been on a lazy summer afternoon where no one could really be bothered to do anything remotely like hard work. Glitch, Azkadellia, Raw, DG and Cain had gathered on the edge of the lake in the palace grounds and were discussing nothing in particular, whiling away the hours. DG had removed her shoes and dipped her feet into the lake, leaning back on her hands as she gazed into the distance, not appearing to see anything in particular. Cain had watched as she lifted one foot out of the water, both watching the droplets fall back into the lake, her toes wriggling slightly as they warmed in the sunshine.
Raw had most likely observed that.
The second incident was during one of DG's magic lessons, where Tutor had been trying to get her to create a ball of fire, something that required absolute concentration. DG claimed that Raw aided her concentration like no one else, so he'd been sat in the room with them. Cain had jokingly asked if she needed his help at all, or could he disappear for a cup of coffee and DG had looked at him, those huge blue eyes filled with some strange emotion.
"You're the biggest distraction possible." She muttered and then grinned, "Bring me back some joe, would you? If I don't master this, we're going to have a replay of that dinner with the Vinkus Ambassador."
Cain had blinked, rather thrown by the event. Raw had almost certainly observed that.
The third incident was after dinner in the library. Glitch and Azkadellia were discussing a paper that had been published one of the novels they were both reading in hushed tones. Raw had been gazing into the fire with his usual silent contentment. Cain had been reading the newspaper that he'd missed that morning, DG on the sofa next to him with a book in her hand. But as the evening had gone on, the novel had sunk lower and lower, resting gently in her lap as her head lolled onto Cain's shoulder. Cain had glanced down at her and the scent of her hair had hit him full on. Heart pounding uncomfortably, he'd felt his face flush as he returned his gaze hastily to the newspaper. Raw had most definitely observed that.
Cain fourth suspicion was that Raw had suspicions.
The Fifth Suspicion
DG was moping. Cain knew the signs a mile off. Her hands were thrust into the pockets of her pants, head down as she pouted at the ground pacing back and forward by the lake. He loped down the lawn to her and she glanced up, kicking the grass with the toe of her shoe.
"How's it going, kiddo?" He asked and she pulled a face.
"Been better." She muttered, running a hand through her hair. It fell back into the exact same position and she sighed. "My mother is driving me crazy, Cain."
"I gathered. It's not just the dress thing, is it?"
She shook her head and stopped pacing, eyes downcast on his shoes.
"No. It's everything. Ever since that dinner with the Vinkus Ambassador, I just can't help feeling like I'm… missing something."
He cocked his head curiously but she sighed, lifting her eyes to the sky instead.
"I can't explain it. It's like I'm just going through the motions, waiting for something to come along and… spark everything along." She said, mussing her hair again. He gave her a crooked smile.
"What are you waiting for exactly?"
"I wish I knew. I'd go out there and find it and drag it home." She snorted, "Anything to make me feel like I'm working towards something rather than just working for the sake of it."
"It ain't just going to fall into your lap, kid." Cain said. She eyed him.
"What, you're saying I should go out and get it? This coming from the man who's been trying to keep me from sneaking of the palace for the past annual?"
A grin cracked her face and Cain couldn't help reflecting it, his heart beating ever so slightly faster. She let out another sigh, but it was less miserable this time.
"Yeah, I know what you're saying. I need to find my own thing, right?"
"Right." Cain lifted his hat and tossed it from one hand to the other, considering her, "Nothing worth having comes easy, DG. Might as well work for it, even if you don't know what it is."
"You're a wise man, Mr Cain." She sighed and then leaned forward, plucking the hat from his hands and dropping it onto her own head. Putting her hands on her hips, she met his gaze, eyes shining.
"Suits me, doesn't it?"
He made a pretend swipe at it but she ducked, laughing. He rolled his eyes, pretending to mock her childishness.
"Any more existential crises to deal with?" he asked dryly and to his surprise she smiled, stepping forward and wrapping her arms around his waist.
"What would I do with my Tin Man?"
Cain's fifth suspicion was that he loved DG.
A/N: Well hello there! It's been a while, mostly due to a crazy uni schedule and a new part time job! But I've now finished for the summer and my writing has been calling to me! So leave a review, and I'll get typing, once the ideas start flowing.
I would also like to take this opportunity to declare that I have a new hobby! Making Tin Man music videos – the link is at the end of my profile, I've got 5 on YouTube and 2 on Vimeo (those two are my favourites, but YT does not approve of my song choices, lol!)
Anyway, be seeing you around, hopefully!