Disclaimer: Don't own it, I admit it, you can't sue. If you do I'll just plead insanity, my stories will back me up (so will my friends for that matter).

Author's Note: I feel a good deal of sympathy for Cain in this one, I often end up in a similar role. He only has to deal with the one person, however. I should be so lucky.


It was all the result of Lord Fonteroy's dastardly plot. Yes, it was a dastardly plot. DG had found herself enjoying using the word dastardly ever since she had been disappointed to learn that the O.Z.'s royal court was as subject to the same sort of machinations the Otherside royalty had once had to face. And the main target of the current plots was, of course, DG. As she was now crown princess and next in line for the throne much effort and scheming was being put into influencing the choice of her consort. Not that anyone was having any success thus far.

O.Z. childhood memories all but erased, raised on a Kansas farm, DG was protected from a great many of the courts attempts to sway her due to blissful ignorance. Elaborate courting rituals confused her, culturally laden innuendos passed her by unnoticed, and she was utterly blind to the subtler arts. To those who would seize power through matrimony, DG was an impenetrable fortress. She didn't have clue what they were up to, did not have the social responses they expected, and was generally too busy trying to catch up on her education to pay much attention to the royal court. Presented with the most skilled and adept of political suitors she'd smile politely, laugh freely, and then forget all about them. It was time for more desperate measures.

Which brings us back to Lord Fonteroy's dastardly plot. Lord Fonteroy was not the sharpest blade, or tack, or even wooden spoon. He planned to get her drunk. As mentioned two seconds ago, the young lord was not the smartest fellow, but he was also not particularly evil. His hope in this plan was that the drunken princess would, in the state of inebriation, fall willingly into bed with him. In the morning, of course, everyone would be appropriately shocked and he would act honourable and beg her to be his bride. He trusted social conventions to arrange matters from there.

There were, naturally, certain obstacles to this masterly plan, Wyatt Cain for instance. Many people in the O.Z. had tried to give the princess alcohol. Most of them had been well intentioned, properly trained waiters and bartenders. DG herself had tried her best to get her hands on a drink, the Tin Man, however, wasn't having any of it. He'd been at the receiving end of an unintentional spell when that particular argument took place. Probably the words 'you're not old enough' had set her off. Didn't matter, though, Cain had put his foot down and wasn't going to be moved. The ill intentioned had, for the most part, learned not to mess with he-who-lurks-about-the-princess and the waiters were terrified to cross him so that was the end of the matter. Unless, of course, you were a maker of dastardly plots.

However, while the Tin Man was a major force to be reckoned with, the main bar to the plan was actually DG herself. Naturally there was no way the young lord could have consulted him on the matter, but Ahamo was probably the only person who could have warned him of the futility of plying a Kansas farm girl with alcohol. Teenagers in farming communities, or indeed anywhere, are not really given to obeying the drinking age. As their entertainment options were severely limited, DG and her friends had spent most of their weekends attending tailgate and bush parties where alcohol had been procured by complacent older siblings or even parents. While DG had long since outgrown the stupidity of drowning brain cells for the mere sake of getting blind drunk, the odd frat party mixer she had attended had assured her she hadn't lost her rather astounding alcohol tolerance. She actually had a theory, since coming to the O.Z., that her magic gave her a hand in that regard. There was no scientific explanation, after all, for how a girl of her meagre body mass had once drank an entire hockey team under the table.

Alas, Lord Fonteroy did not have this knowledge thus he put Operation Seduce Princess into action shortly after the no alcohol edict. The Cain issue was being handled by decoys. Simple minded as he was in planning, the young lord was sharp enough to realize that the Tin Man could be delayed by nobles as he was not allowed to shoot them. At least, not when they weren't posing a real security threat – no one was foolish enough to think he'd stop to think about rank if the crown princess was in actual danger. Those facts in mind, Fonteroy had recruited several friends who, in addition to being even dumber than him, were known to be especially stubborn and troublesome when drunk. They were bound to keep the plan obstacle free for quite some time. Phase One being taken care of, Fonteroy moved onto Phase Two.

DG might have, under other circumstances, been less susceptible to their machinations; as it was, though, she was still rather peeved at Cain and was feeling rebellious. Besides it would be rude to refuse a drink when offered so politely. That was her excuse for the first two drinks; the next two were toasted in the name of liberty and independence.

Several drinks later all seemed to being going exactly as Lord Fonteroy planned when one of his cronies made the mistake of dissing Cain. As the young lord was so foolish as to second the opinion he drew DG's fire when she took instant umbrage and challenged him a duel. A drinking game involving quarters, whatever those were, was her weapon of choice. The farm girl had no trouble finding an appropriate substitute for the Otherside currency piece.

An hour later, rather drunk but still fairly steady, DG was continuing her staunch defence of her knight in shining armour (though she would later claim she never said any such thing), while Lord Fonteroy, trapped by the well known drunken obstinacy, was still maligning the Tin Man's character. Well, that is if you can count calling Cain 'Sir Lurkiness' as such. The princess did, thus she had moved on from quarters and had begun to work her way systematically through every drinking game she knew. A few hours after that she'd moved on to inventing them.

"Ohskay," she slurred, "whoshoeffa can' walk acrossss the rish...the rid...the pointy part of the roof hasta take a shot."

The young lords surveyed the ridgepole of the roof. It was not only narrow and part of an extremely steep roof, it also happened to be two stories up.

"I wu' do it iffa yoo 'ould make it shtop movin'," one of the cronies replied.

Another of the lords, having been sobered slightly, though not near sufficiently, by the cool night air promptly took a shot. Good stuff that. Genuine Papay spirits which DG had, earlier that night, described as some strange mix of tequila and vodka. Whatever those were, shame she hadn't thought to procure any before the party. Everyone knew you didn't drink and travel storm.

"Well?" DG interjected indignantly.

"La'ies firsht," Lord Fonteroy insisted with real, if overly drunken gallantry.

"And they shay chiffalry's dead," DG smiled in response.

"Really?" he replied, astonished, "I sho' senna card. Deepisht re...re...regrets! Yeah, those!"

Momentarily confused, DG shook it off as irrelevant. Planting her feet and posing momentarily, well as much as a swaying drunk can pose anyhow, she then spun about and strode/stumbled out onto the roof.

"DG!" came a horrified bellow from below.

All heads turned toward the sound.

"Cain," DG crowed, waving her arms ecstatically in greeting.

"Stop that!" the Tin Man practically shrieked in response before vanishing from sight.

"Where 'e go?" she asked, puzzled.

"Shtay on targe','" one of her fellow carousers said, pulling out a quote she'd taught them earlier in the night.


DG had actually managed to make it halfway across the roof before the Tin Man once more burst upon the scene.

"DG, what are you doing? Get your butt back here right now!" he exclaimed.

Seeming not to hear him, DG continued on her unsteady way.

Practically dancing about in agitation the Tin Man tried again, "Come on, Princess, turn around slowly and walk back this way," he pleaded.

"She can' do that," Lord Fonteroy protested, "she'll hafta take a shot." He vaguely recalled not liking this loud fellow.

If the action wouldn't have required him to look away from DG Cain would have punched him, as it was he ignored him and tried to reason with DG once more.

"Come on, Kid, you turn around and get back here right now!"

That got DG's attention. "I'm not a kid!" she screamed at him. Then she tried to turn and face him.

For heart stopping moment DG tilted sideways, arms flailing, then the Tin Man was sprinting recklessly across the narrow ridgepole. Lord Fonteroy found his dislike being replaced by surprised admiration. When Cain reached DG, caught and hefted her over his shoulder, pivoting neatly if dangerously on one foot before sprinting back again, Fonteroy's admiration moved into full drunken hero worship.

"I shay, shir!" he exclaimed as the Tin Man reached level ground once more. His cronies applauded.

Cain spared them a deadly glare before shoving them mentally aside to deal with later. Putting DG down he shook her shoulders roughly and shouted, "What the hell did you think you were doing?"

"Winnin'," she replied, aggrieved, "now I hafta tak'a shot." She reached for the bottle a young lord helpfully held out to her.

The Tin Man's hand shot out, knocking the bottle to the ground where it shattered.

"Hey now," the lord expostulated.

"I'ma no' to youn' ta drink!" DG exclaimed indignantly.

Cain regained his grip on her shoulders, eyes closed momentarily in vexation, the situation now far beyond words.

"Alright, Princess," he finally gritted out, "it's time for you to go to bed."

DG looked mutinous for a minute, then her expression brightened, "Are you comin' wi' me?"

Momentarily stunned, Cain replied slowly, "Nooo."

"Allow me ta eshcort th' lady," Lord Fonteroy interjected helpfully, attempting a courtly bow. In all honestly he had forgotten the goal of his dastardly plot. Or even that he had a dastardly plot. The princess made an excellent drinking buddy.

Even in his extreme state of intoxication the young lord quailed under the fierce glare the Tin Man levelled at him.

"That won't be necessary," Cain said stiffly, "Come on, Kid, let's get you to bed."

Bristling with anger once more, DG attempted to pull herself up to full height, "No!" she argued, almost falling over.

"Oh for pity's sake, DG!" the Tin Man exploded, reaching the end of his patience at last. He took a swift stride forward, hefted the princess over his shoulder once more and stormed off into the palace.

"Wheeee!" she cried, anger forgotten instantly.

Sometime the next day Lord Fonteroy woke with a pounding headache and a desperate need to use the toilet. Unfortunately, he also seemed completely unable to move. Foggy thoughts pointed out that it was altogether too bright and too stuffy in here. He ought to open a window; the smell of stale booze was making him nauseous. A vague thought attempted to point out that something wasn't quite right. Then someone knocked on the glass situated an inch from his nose. Odd that.

Squinting his eyes, Fonteroy found himself meeting the angry blue eyes of the Tin Man. He found himself debating whether he disliked the fellow or admired him. His memories were somewhat confused.

Cain held the lord's eyes for a moment, pointed two fingers at his own then one back at the lord before walking off.

It was about this moment that the young lord realized that he was locked in a tin suit. Further bemused study showed that his friends were in the same situation, and had been set up in a circle facing one another. He was not entirely sure they deserved this, surely his father would protest.

His father had, in fact, protested, unfortunately he chose to do so while the Tin Man was cleaning his gun and after Cain had learned the details of the elaborate plot. Though he claimed otherwise, the Tin Man's continued silence throughout the entire speech and follow up threats unnerved the older lord. Then Cain had reassembled his gun and loaded it.

Even the queen and her consort had blanched when the Tin Man looked up. For several obvious reasons he was less than amused. The court didn't know it yet but he was going to make it very clear what he thought of their little games. Cain didn't care about nobility when they endangered his princess and those young idiots were staying right where they were.

The Tin Man had a very intimate knowledge of the suits. He knew that their occupants would not require food or water or even sleep; he knew that while the mind experienced every moment the body existed in a sort of semi-stasis. This was the reason he had not suffocated in nearly a decade's worth of hair growth, the bodily functions were slowed considerably. Cain figured it would take at least a week for their hangovers to pass. He'd made sure the glass windows were spotless. That was their punishment for the plot.

In punishment for the drunken carousing that almost resulted in DG falling off a roof he sent Glitch down to lecture them on the evils of drink. Reacquainted with his brain, Glitch managed quite the verbose and lengthy sermon. Given that there had been irreparable damage to his grey matter he still glitched constantly. As a result he no sooner completed his lecture than he forgot he'd given it and started all over again. He had such a loud voice, too.

Cain could give lessons in dastardly.