Disclaimer: I would giggle if you sued me as I own nothing.
Author's Note: My response to all those arranged marriage fanfics. While some of them are quite enjoyable I just don't see it happening with a mother who married a random stranger who landed at her feet one day.
DG couldn't believe her ears. This couldn't be happening. It was absolutely the last thing she would have expected from a woman who had married a man who'd happened to drop out of the sky in a balloon one day.
"Arranged marriage?" she said faintly in disbelief.
The queen looked truly miserable. In her defence the arrangement was old, very old. Apparently the fact that DG and this Prince Glindorf had liked each other when DG was all of four years old had been enough for the adults involved to make rather drastic plans regarding their future. Granted the queen had been thinking in terms of the pre-sorceress O.Z. and under the assumption that DG would grow up with a more princess-like mindset. She hadn't been planning on an Otherside raised, independent daughter with attachments so at odds with what might have been. Like any good mother she wanted her daughter's happiness, however...
"Isn't there any way to cancel it?" DG asked.
The queen winced slightly.
"I am afraid that is not possible," said an old, puffed up looking council lord, who frankly looked like he wasn't the least bit sorry, "These contracts are legal and binding. The political ramifications of even attempting to do so would be severe, potentially even crippling given the current state of the O.Z. Since the documents were signed sixteen years ago you and the prince have been betrothed, a state which is binding as matrimony."
DG paled, her gaze swept the room until being caught by a pair of eyes that stared back filled with concern and frustrated anger. How could this happen? She was a farm raised girl who'd always believed she'd get to choose her own damn husband. Her father was a Nebraskan carnie for pity's sake, if her mother could marry a nobody - an Othersider nobody no less – where did they get off deciding her future for her? Her mother was the queen so why couldn't she put a stop to this nonsense, she obviously wanted to. As good as married...
"Wait!" DG exclaimed, a sudden thought occurring to her, "Just what do you mean by 'binding as matrimony'?"
"Exactly what I said, your Highness," the lord replied, obviously puzzled by her inquiry.
"As long as you both shall live, until death do you part, and all that?" she pursued.
"Yes," he replied slowly, vaguely suspicious now.
DG turned to her father, "Same basic idea as on the Otherside? No extra caveats in the O.Z.?"
"No difference between the two," Ahamo confirmed, "No divorce in the O.Z., though."
"Absolutely the same?" she persisted, before astonishing the room by breaking into a grin when Ahamo nodded yes, "In that case, gentleman, I'm afraid that the terms of the contract have already been met," it was her turn to look not the least bit sorry as she surveyed the confused expressions of the council, "I died you see, when I was five. Death did us part, betrothal over, marriage unable to proceed. Finished, kaput, done. Sorry."
It was obvious from the thunderstruck expressions of the lords that no one had considered this angle. The queen and her consort were diplomatically trying to hide their relief while the Prince Glindorf's ambassadors were spluttering with rage.
"Wait, wait, wait," exclaimed the pompous lord once more, "It is a mere technicality, not an insurmountable problem, we can always renegotiate, reaffirm the contract..."
"I'm afraid that's not possible," DG interrupted, still smiling.
"Now see here," cried one of the ambassadors', starting forward angrily, "a betrothal is legally binding, you can't just..." He cut off abruptly as DG's shadow suddenly gained form and substance.
Glancing briefly up at the Tin Man who now stood behind her, one hand resting on her shoulder, the other on his gun, DG's smile softened, "As I was saying before I was interrupted," she could almost feel the quelling glare being levelled over her head, "I am unable to enter into a new marriage contract at this time. You see, I have already, since my death, accepted a proposal of marriage. Since you have been extremely clear regarding how legally binding betrothals are I am sure you can understand that the proposed union between myself and this Glindorf is no longer possible. Sorry."
Stunned silence followed this pronouncement; even the queen and consort looked shocked.
"Who?" exclaimed the pompous one.
The ambassador took a hasty step forward only to be brought up short as Cain's gun cleared its holster.
"Wyatt, try not to shoot my mother's councillors," DG stated sweetly.
"As long as they behave themselves," he replied.
"You dare point a weapon at your betters," snapped the pompous lord.
"Actually," DG interjected even more sweetly, "I'm pretty sure he outranks you now. Legally binding contracts and all that."
The room was silent once more as everyone absorbed the implications, then...
"I was going to tell you, but you sidetracked the conversation with all this talk of old, meaningless arrangements. Now if that is all?"
From the expressions on the faces of the lords that was most certainly not all but by now the glare and gun being welded by a potential superior were having an effect. The princess and her Tin Man were allowed to make their escape.
"This is an outrage!" shouted the ambassador the moment the door closed, "A commoner chosen over our prince! Your Majesty I demand..."
"I'm afraid there is nothing I can do," interrupted the queen as she gazed upon her own outrage, once upon a time, "as you said yourself, betrothals are as binding as marriage. My youngest daughter is no longer available. Sorry." But she wasn't, not in the least.