Disclaimer: Tin Man isn't mine.
Pouring more of the gold liquid into the small glass she had made she tossed it down without hesitation. Bad freaking day. Coughing slightly, she set the glass down and shook her head. Her wet hair stuck to her neck annoyingly and she grabbed it before shoving it over her shoulder. Pouring another shot she was interrupted by the door flying open and hitting the wall with a bang. She didn't need to look up to know who it was.
"You're supposed to be camping with Jeb, Tin Man." Lifting the glass she threw her head back and swallowed.
"What the hell happened?" She knew the man well enough to know he was only shouting because he was dangerously close to panic. It was the only time he ever raised his voice.
"You know, same as always, assassination attempts and intrigue." Glaring at the table the whiskey was sitting on she realized there was a slight problem. Focusing as best she could in her slightly dazed state she shot a spell out and another shot glass appeared. She picked it up and eyed it critically. It had a strangely lopsided checkerboard pattern on it. "Well, that's not right."
With a shrug she filled both glasses and pointed to the weird one. Cain needed to relax as much as she did. "DG!" He slammed the door shut behind him. "Explain to me why it took so long for the messenger to find us!"
"Traitors." Sucking down her fifth shot… Sixth shot…Fuck. Whatever. Before she answered. "Probably because I told Glitch to leave you alone and he hesitated. You and Jeb haven't spent a lot of time together."
"You were almost killed and you didn't want to bother me?" His voice rocking around the room was really ruining the ambiance.
She chose to ignore him. All acknowledging his fear would do was egg him on. "You know what I really miss from the Otherside? Other than classic rock and people actually understanding what I'm talking about? Vodka." She picked up the bottle she had stolen from his room on her way here. "What the hell is this? It's got a kick like a newborn bunny. Pathetic."
"Ozma's sparklin' slippers." He marched over and snatched the bottle from her. She glared in annoyance before picking up his shot glass triumphantly. If he wasn't going to drink it, she was. "Kid, how much have you had?"
"Clearly not enough seeing as I'm still standing." She held her hand out. "Give it."
"I think you've had more than you need."
She jabbed him in the chest. "Do not tell me what I need!" She tried to take the bottle from him but he held it away. "God damn it, Cain! Give it back and go away!"
Only slightly tipsy. She was starting to suspect she had been drinking seltzer water. Horribly tasting seltzer water. It wasn't fair at all. "Sadly no, but if you leave I might be able to get there before the liquor runs out."
He sighed and looked at the plain glass bottle. "Did you get this from my room?"
"Yeah, I'll get you more when I hit sober, assuming I ever get drunk."
"I don't care that you took it. Princess, this stuff takes a while to kick in. It isn't like regular whiskey. You're supposed to sip it, not shoot it."
She analyzed that information quickly. "How long?"
"About fifteen minutes from whenever you started."
Considering that, she nodded. "Good." She'd had enough to knock her on her ass then. Turning away she walked into her room and shut the door quietly behind her. She didn't feel the need to make a total fool of herself; she just wanted to stop thinking for the rest of the day. If that meant she would spend it dizzy, drunk, and sick that was fine. She could stay in her room and do that all by herself. Crawling into her bed she pulled a pillow over her head and curled up.
She heard the door open and sighed into the blanket. Suddenly a hand was on her shoulder and she held the pillow harder over her head. "DG?"
"Please go away. I just want to lie here until I have to throw up, okay?"
"What happened? All I heard was that a group of men attacked you and your sister in the study."
Had asking to be left alone been a challenging request? Sucking in a long breath she told him, her voice muffled by the pillow. "Az panicked when they jumped her. I killed them."
There was a long pause. "How many?"
He rubbed her back as he waited. A strangled noise escaped her and she curled up tighter before she answered. "Six." Their faces were burned into her brain. So was the mess they had made after… She felt sick. The bed shifted and his arm wrapped around her waist as he lay down behind her. Wanting some sort of comfort she pressed into his chest.
He tightened his grip and rubbed his thumb over her arm. "Will you come out of there before you suffocate on me?"
"No." She pressed her eyelids tightly together in an effort to stop the tears that were threatening to fall. "I think you've seen me cry enough."
"Kid, I've seen you cry one time in two years." He continued to run his warm hands over her skin. "Come on out for me. It's okay. You don't need to hide."
"You shouldn't have to deal with this." The tears started to flow down her cheeks as she tried to shrug him off. She changed her mind. She wanted to be alone with herself. He could take his warm arms and reassuring hugs elsewhere.
Taking hold of the pillow he pried it out of her grasp and tossed it aside. Turning her over he tucked her head on his shoulder and ran his hand over her wet cheeks, brushing the tears away as soon as they fell. Pressing her head into his neck she tried to relax and stop him from seeing her all at the same time. She felt the alcohol starting to take affect at last and wanted to let it take over. "Did you get enough whiskey?"
That hadn't been the question she was expecting. "Huh?"
"I don't think I stopped drinkin' for two days after the first man I killed. Do you need more?"
God bless this man. "Not unless you want me to succumb to alcohol poisoning."
He continued to stroke her face gently and she figured she should warn him before she slipped any farther into her less than sober state. "Blanket apology for anything I say or do. Might be better for you to flee now."
She felt him looking down at her head. "Why?"
"I get super honest under the influence." She sighed. "I also tend to lose clothing."
"Okay, I tear it off. Why can't you ever let me try to sound sane or modest?" She glanced up to find his blue eyes peering at her. "For once I would love to not feel like an idiot or a crazy person in front of you." She rolled over so she wasn't snug against his chest and wiped the last of her tears away. The whiskey had definitely set in.
"You're hardly an idiot."
Laughing, she reached for the pillow he had sent across the comforter. "But I am crazy?"
"I don't think I'm the best one to judge your sanity." Huffing in amusement she missed the pillow and glared as she tried again. Wrapping her fingers around it triumphantly she pulled it to her chest.
"That's true. You're a little insane."
"Thanks, Darlin'." Amused sarcasm laced his words.
"Oh, anytime, but don't worry about it. We wouldn't be friends if you were stable."
She could tell the tin man was fighting back laughter at her behavior. He may have come in here yelling but she was sure seeing she was safe had mellowed him out considerably. Seeing her drunk was probably the funniest thing he'd seen since Glitch had decided to streak through the halls. But she was now officially hammered and didn't care in the slightest. "Why's that?"
"Because I would have jumped you by now."
"Yeah. Can't do that." She grumbled at the pillow. It wasn't squishing appropriately. She began to wrestle it into submission. "You'd run away. Better this way. At least you stay."
His voice was thick with confusion as he tried to work out her statement. "How would jumpin' on me make me run away? You pounce me on a regular basis."
"I do not pounce. I hug enthusiastically."
"I'm not seeing the difference."
There was a huge difference. Huge. "If I pounced you, you would fall. Hugging does not test gravities hold upon you."
"Where does jumpin' fit in?"
Her forehead crinkled as she went into the recent past and replayed their conversation. They had been over this for sure. "There is no jumping. You are a jump free zone. Didn't I say that? I'm pretty sure I said that."
He sighed. "DG, I'm confused."
"Happens to the best of us. What has your brain in a bind?"
"What is jumpin'?"
Her eyebrows knit together and she turned her head to look at him. "Geez, Cain. You have a son. I thought you knew where babies came from."
"What?" He clearly had no idea what making babies had to do with this conversation. Her eyes homed in on the tip of his ear.
"Are you blushing? Why are you blushing? I've never seen you do that before."
He began to mutter to himself. Something about Glinda and then an obscenity. "Kid, you weren't lyin'." He rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Where did that come from?"
She was hurt by that question. "I don't lie to you. When have I lied?"
He groaned and caught her jaw with his fingers and pulled her head up so they were eye to eye. "Not that. Where did this jumpin' idea come from?"
"I don't understand the question." Hadn't she already explained this? Twice? Wait… Was that right? She frowned as she tried to work that out. He interrupted her train of thought rather rudely.
"What does sex have to do with me runnin'?"
"Oh." She nodded as she tried to hold onto both the question and the explanation. "Not the sex. I'm sure that would be really good, and to be honest I really think you need to get laid." His entire body stiffened. Weird. "The after part would totally screw us up though. Maybe the before part. I can't decide." She patted his shoulder. "It's okay. Well, most of the time." Yawning, she tried to turn over again.
"Screw us up?" Cain was really too fixated on this. "Screw us up how? And what does most of the time mean?"
"It wouldn't be just sex with you. Do you know how utterly disturbing that is? I swear, when I dreamed of a night in shinning armor I wasn't expecting anything like you. I couldn't find a dumb pretty boy could I? Nope, had to fall for an emotionally complex tin man. It's not fair. All I wanted was a straight Ken. Barbie didn't deserve him if he was straight." She considered that for a moment. "Well, GI Joe probably would be a safer bet. I would kill Ken. Most likely on accident."
She ignored this question. It would be too hard to explain and she could hardly remember the second part of the original question at this point. "If we started anything I'd end up breaking you worse than you already are. Can't do that. I'm too messed up for you. You need someone sweet and stable. That isn't me." Grumbling, she finally managed to flip over. "It has to stop hurting eventually."
Behind her Cain was silent and she began to drift hazily. Then his arm was wrapping around her waist again. He pulled her flat against him and ran his hand over hers gently. "You aren't messed up."
"Yeah, I am." She pulled the pillow to her again. It made her feel better. "Can't help it though." Her mind latched onto a new topic. "How did you get here so fast?"
There was a pause. "Fast? It took us three hours."
"Did it? Are you sure? It felt like less time than that."
"Did you have fun with Jeb?"
"Yes." That was a lie. He wasn't real good about that when he was talking to her, although she had seen him outwit seasoned politicians on several occasions.
"You don't sound real honest about that. Try again."
He sighed over her head. "You aren't going to remember any of this tomorrow are you?"
Considering the amount of alcohol she'd had? "Probably not. Why?"
His hand stroked her arm and she sighed contentedly. "I think Jeb's angry with me."
"Jeb? He isn't angry with you. Jeb loves you."
He sounded anything but convinced. "Really? Aren't you angry with your parents?"
"The queen and consort."
"And your nurture units?"
"And my son is angry with me."
That was a silly conclusion. There were completely different dynamics at work. "No. It's different."
He sighed. "How is it different?"
"You never lied to Jeb. You went looking for Jeb. You loved Jeb the whole time. He knows that. He gets confused sometimes is all. Then he gets all grouchy. You do the same thing."
He ignored the part about him being cranky. "Confused about what?"
"He's nineteen. He wants to be in charge. He's used to it. But he loves you. He wants you to be proud. He wants to listen to you and learn from you because you're his father. He can't do both at once. He can't listen to you and lead you. He's confused over where he should be. He doesn't understand what you want. You've got him all frustrated and tied up in knots."
"I want him to be happy."
"Did you tell him that?"
The tin man shifted uncomfortably behind her. "No, I thought he knew."
"How could he know?"
"I don't know. I thought he did."
She patted the hand that was over her. "You're silly sometimes. All you have to do is tell him."
"You say that like it's easy for me."
"How can you fight longcoats, papay, thieves, and witches, but be afraid of telling your son that you want him to be happy? How is that hard? Man up."
"You never told me you wanted to court."
"Could we call it dating? Honestly, you say courting and all I can see are ball gowns and me being married off without consent. And once again, different."
"How?" He sighed tiredly.
"Jeb isn't going to run away."
"I wouldn't run away from you."
She murmured into her pillow. "You run away from me all the time. Every time I ask you how you feel you run away. It's just most of the time your feet don't move."
"How can I run and stand still at the same time?"
"You go inside your head and I don't see you for hours and hours. I wish you wouldn't do that. I miss you when you go away."
He was quiet and she began to drift. "I don't mean to do that."
"I know." Letting go of her pillow she caught his hand and twined their fingers together. "It's just better when you're here with me."
"You don't need to know what I'm feelin' all the time."
"It's not good, Darlin'. I have a lot of hurt. I get angry."
She pulled his hand to her face. "S'ok to be hurting. I'd rather you talk to me about it. Sometimes I think you're mad at me."
"I've never been mad at you." His voice had softened considerably.
"Good. It makes me feel bad when I think that."
He shifted her closer and put his chin over the crown of her head. "Don't feel bad. I don't like you feelin' bad because of me."
"You don't make me feel bad." She muttered tiredly. "I love you. How is that bad?"
There was a slight pause. "You love me?"
"I loved you the minute I saw you put that little horse in your vest."
"I don't believe you."
"You yelled at me about ten seconds after that."
She laughed softly. "You made me angry." Her humor faded as she drifted back to the week of insanity. "You made me angry a lot that week. Mostly at myself."
"What are you talkin' about?"
"You don't belong to me. I shouldn't have been feeling that way. I shouldn't be feeling the way I am now."
He shifted. "How are you feelin'?"
"I-" She stopped talking as her stomach rolled. Throwing his arm off her she scrambled off the bed and into the bathroom. She slammed the door shut and managed to stagger to the toilet before she got sick. Coughing unhappily she flopped to the ground as she fumbled with the handle. Leaning into the wall she caught sight of a pile of stained and bloody clothes in the corner and quivered all over. Cain knocked on the door a moment later.
"Kid?" She didn't answer him. She threw up again at the sight. She wasn't sure she could blame the whiskey this time. All she could smell was blood. The door opened a moment later and when her stomach was empty she pressed into the wall and closed her eyes as she pointed to the clothes weakly. She heard the tin man moving around and then he vanished. When he came back he crouched down next to her. "They're gone now."
"You're welcome. Feel any better?"
"Are you going to throw up again?"
"Not anytime soon."
"Do you want to stay here or lay down?"
She considered that. "Does it smell like blood in here or am I crazy?"
"It doesn't smell like anything but soap and your shampoo. That doesn't mean your crazy."
"Are you sure?"
"I am." Reaching out he rubbed her shoulder. "Would it be better if you were near an open window?"
"Alright." Helping her up he took her into her sitting room and sat her on a loveseat next to her balcony. He opened the glass doors to the cool spring night and the smell of water and the forest rushed into the room. With a grateful sigh she curled up into a ball and put her head on the armrest. He tossed his duster over her a moment later before sitting down next to her. She watched him as he put his feet on the small footstool in front of them and look out over the lake as his hand rested on her ankle.
"Don't worry about it, Kid." He squeezed her sock covered foot. "You go ahead and, what do you say? Space out?"
She managed a small grin. "You're a dork."
"So you tell me."
"S'not a bad thing."
"You tell me that too." He smiled over at her. "We can talk about this tomorrow if you want to."
"Talk about what?"
He shook his head as a smile played on his lips. "Never mind. We can just sit here and listen to the lake."
"Okay." She yawned and closed her eyes. It was nice listening to the wind whispering through her room.