Disclaimer: I own neither the miniseries nor the fairytale. Can anyone actually say they own the fairytale? I'm curious, I mean the dude or chick that wrote/spoke it first has to be long, long, longlonglong dead.
Author's Note: My muse pretty well panicked over me not writing last night. I think it is worried I'm going to start ignoring it again. It tried to insist I write two if not three stories today. My brain put its (or my) foot down, however. I need sleep. Desperately. Fortunately for you guys I'm stupid and still insisted on writing at least one. I hope you enjoy. And I just realized the correlation between my story choice and my mental state. Alright brain, I'm going, I'm going. Nightie night.
Cain hated it when Glitch's experiments went haywire. At least, he assumed the current mess was the headcase's fault. DG, the other usual suspect, was not in magic lessons, after all; he knew this because he was currently struggling to keep her unconscious form from falling into the lake. So it had to be the zipperhead.
From what the Tin Man could gather, which wasn't much given his current precarious position, everyone in the vicinity had been rendered suddenly and completely unconscious - everyone with the exception of himself that is. In some ways he was glad, his predicament at the moment was a bit...ridiculous. DG in particular would have found a great deal of amusement in the situation. Cain didn't really want anybody to see him right now. On the other hand, a little help would be nice.
Totally ignorant of the impending doom that was – most likely – a dubiously restored former headcase in possession of a laboratory, DG and Cain had intended to spend a leisurely afternoon on the lake. The Tin Man had just been helping the princess into the boat when the zipperhead's disaster struck and everyone but Cain dropped where they stood. The Tin Man's attempt to catch DG naturally led to interesting consequences regarding his balance. A few complicated seconds later, Cain had managed to stabilize himself and her, leaving him in the rather uncomfortable position of the last few interminable minutes.
One foot on the dock, the other situated – rather farther away than he would like – on the edge of the boat in what DG would have called classic cartoon calamity stance, the Tin Man had managed to stop the princess' descent into Finaqua only by dint of his left hand's firm grip on her wrist. His right hand's death grip on the overhanging branch of a conveniently placed tree was all that had allowed him to keep himself upright. Anxiously observing the princess hanging precariously over the lake, Cain continued to contemplate just how to get her safely back to shore. He was going to kill the headcase.
There was, of course, the option of just letting gravity take its course. Given the likelihood of Cain's bashing his head on either the dock or the boat and being rendered unable to fish DG out of the lake, however, the Tin Man was reluctant to risk it. Adjusting his grip on the branch, he carefully shifted his weight in an attempt to allow himself to muscle the boat closer to the dock. It took a few tries but at last he managed to pull the boat close enough that he could swing himself onto the dock, hauling the princess along with him. Collapsing to the ground for a well deserved breather, Cain cradled DG carefully to him and enjoyed his minor victory. Problem one solved.
Problem two was a whole different barrel of monkey bats. Somewhere in the palace, presumably, were a potentially unconscious Glitch and a machine that only he knew how to work. Cain had no idea why he was apparently immune but he really hoped proximity wasn't a factor. Someone needed to get this sorted out and it looked like he was the only one presently able to. Gee, what a shock.
Hauling himself to his feet, the Tin Man contemplated the princess once more. In theory, given that everyone, including the animals he noticed with surprise, was unconscious it was likely she would perfectly safe right where she was. Unfortunately it went against every fibre of his being to walk off and leave DG behind, alone and defenceless. Knowing her she'd find some way to get into trouble, even unconscious; roll into the lake, get swept up in a sudden typhoon, with her anything was possible. He'd have to bring her with him. Sighing, he reached down and hefted her over his shoulder. At least she was light.
Half an hour later Cain amended that thought. True, DG was on the petite side of the human mass scale, but a hundred plus pounds of person, when hauled half a mile back to the palace then up and down stairs and through twisting hallways couldn't help but be heavy. To make matters worse, Glitch wasn't even in the laboratory when they got there. His machine was, full of blinking lights and whirring gears, but no headcase inventor. Given his current mood Cain was tempted to just smash it to pieces. He didn't, though, he knew better. By the odd rules of O.Z., breaking a machine may make it stop working but it didn't necessarily make its effects go away. Why else would everyone hold their breath so anxiously on the day of the eclipse?
Sighing once more, the Tin Man readjusted the princess' weight and set out again in search for the elusive zipperhead, DG still slung over his shoulder like a bag of flour.
Several hours and far too many staircases later Cain finally found Glitch slumped over in a window seat along with Raw in the highest room of the only tower in Finaqua palace. A pair of binoculars had fallen in between them. To his increasing annoyance, the Tin Man noticed that this particular window afforded a good view of the dock. Since they did not appear to have died laughing he could only assume that they had been unconscious for his little episode. What they thought they were doing spying on DG and him, however, Cain didn't know, or approve of. With an angry grunt he grabbed hold of Glitch's ankle and proceeded to drag him back towards the laboratory.
Halfway down the first flight of stairs, feeling his rather strenuous day, the Tin Man was relieved when a particularly nasty jounce of Glitch's head against a step seem to jolt the right connection and, eyes fluttering, the zipperhead returned to consciousness.
"I say there, Tin Man," he protested haughtily, "could you have a care for the grey matter, it is practically a national treasure."
Cain closed his eyes in a pained grimace. Of all the versions of the rebrained Glitch he could get stuck with – the amiable Glitch, the intermediate Glambrose, or the insufferable know-it-all Ambrose – he'd gotten stuck with door number three.
"Erm, why are you dragging me and why is Princess DG draped over your shoulder?" said annoyance interjected.
"I'm carrying her because I wasn't about to leave the kid unconscious on the dock, and I'm dragging you because it was the only way to get you back to the lab," Cain bit back.
"Yes, the lab, where you infernal machine is. You know the one that has rendered everybody at Finaqua unconscious."
"Oh dear, that wasn't supposed to go off until next week," Ambrose said anxiously.
For a speechless moment the Tin Man stared at him. "You meant for this to happen?" he asked.
"Yes, but not so soon," the advisor explained.
"Why?" asked the incredulous Cain.
"The ball," Ambrose replied as if this explained everything.
Wyatt Cain did not consider himself to be a stupid man but he couldn't quite see the merit of holding a ball only to knock all the guests out. Select guest, sure, but not all of them.
"And you were going to do this why?" he asked at last.
"Sleeping Beauty," was the incomprehensible reply.
The Tin Man observed the advisor narrowly wondering if shooting him would cause him to start making sense.
As if reading Cain's thoughts Ambrose rushed into speech once more, "Because the Princess DG is having such difficulty finding a consort."
Cain's entire frame stiffened so abruptly he almost dropped DG. Correcting himself swiftly, he then levelled a furious glare at Ambrose.
Fortunately for the fluency of his narrative, the advisor didn't notice. "Anyhow DG was telling me about this Sleeping Beauty who was cursed to sleep until her prince came and woke her up. So I got thinking, if one could duplicate the effects of the spell, we could make it quick and easy for DG to find her true love and consort."
In the recesses of Cain's mind an alarm bell was ringing, "So you planned to invite as many eligible bachelors as you could to this ball and set off this machine rendering everyone unconscious -"
"Except her prince," Ambrose interjected.
"Except her prince," the Tin Man gritted out, "who would then wake her how exactly?"
"With a kiss."
Cain's eyes narrowed. "With a kiss," he repeated flatly, "Never mind that she is unconscious and unable to consent at the time, which would be considered assault pretty much everywhere in the O.Z."
"Ah, but it is her true love, so I don't think she minded in the end," the advisor argued.
"May I ask," the Tin Man continued silkily, "what the contingency was should the 'true love' be absent, unable or unwilling to wake the princess?"
"Oh, in that case the machine will wake everyone up when the time limit is up," Ambrose stated brightly.
Cain relaxed fractionally, finally some sanity, "And how long will that be?"
"A hundred years."
The Tin Man blinked. Then he blinked again, "A hundred years?" he asked faintly, "Never mind the fact that everyone will be dead by then?"
"Well I thought it was strange, too, but that's what the story stipulates."
Sometimes, such as now, Cain thought that Glitch had been smarter with half a brain.
"There are delicate calculations involved when trying to duplicate these things. You can't just go changing whatever you feel like -"
"Hang on a second," Cain interrupted, "if this machine is set up to find her true love why are you able to wake up?"
"I should imagine it is because I invented the machine. Likely it has placed me in the role of the wicked fairy who cursed the princess. Naturally the villain was awake for the whole thing so that they could be vanquished by the gallant prince on his way to rescue his lady love."
"And you were unconscious before..."
"I was in Glitch persona then. Glitch did not invent the machine I did, thus he was rendered unconscious."
"And smashing the machine?"
"Would be a very bad idea."
Thinking hard Cain set DG gently down in a nearby alcove. "So let me see if I've got this straight," he said, turning back to Ambrose, "your machine went off early putting everyone to sleep ahead of schedule."
"Correct," Ambrose confirmed.
"And unless her true love wakes DG up everyone will continue to sleep for a hundred years."
"Or death, whichever comes first," the know-it-all corrected.
"And to wake DG up, a man has to defeat the evil fairy and kiss the princess."
"And her true love would be the man that is still awake when the machine goes off."
"Um," the advisor frowned.
"And the villain would be you."
"Well, yes, I guess –"
"Excellent," the Tin Man finished, introducing the advisor to his punishing right hook.
Ambrose stumbled backwards.
"Do I know you?" asked Glitch before his eyes rolled back in his head and he dropped to the ground, unconscious once more.
Turning his attention to the princess, the Tin Man hesitated. He couldn't believe he was doing this. A fellow should ask a girl before kissing her, dammit, and she should bloody well be awake at least for their first kiss. Inching forward he looked her over. She looked like she was having an especially boring nap and if he didn't do anything she'd never wake up from it.
"Sorry about this, Princess," he said. Darting forward he pecked her lightly on the lips then flung himself away as if expecting to be caught in wrong doings and punished for them.
Worried now, the Tin Man approached the sleeping princess once more. This was not how he pictured his first kiss with the princess. Not that he'd imagined kissing DG. Often. Leaning forward he sighed then pressed his lips firmly to hers. For a moment nothing...
...then DGs arms flew up, wrapping tightly about his neck, her hands finding their way into his hair. Her hands were soon followed by the rest of her as she latched onto Cain and refused to let go.
The Tin Man, meanwhile, had discovered that one hand had somehow buried itself in her hair while the other, along with the attached arm, was wrapped tightly about her waist. And while Cain had never imagined kissing DG – absolutely not – he found the experience far beyond his wildest dreams.
"Now that's more like it," said DG breathlessly, pulling back slightly.
Eyes narrowing, Cain asked, "You were awake?"
"For a bit, but I was having an honest to goodness full-fledged fairytale princess moment, you didn't think I'd be happy with just a little peck did you?"
"You were unconscious; I shouldn't have been kissing you at all."
"I was being kissed by my true love, who am I to complain?" she commented.
"Just how long were you awake, Princess?" the Tin Man asked suspiciously.
"Just since the first peck, honest," she assured him, "It's just I was saying something similar to Ambrose when I was explaining the whole Sleeping Beauty thing. Can't say I expected him to go this far with it but all's well that ends well and all that. Now if you don't mind, I'd like to get back to being woken up."
Some fifteen minutes later Glitch groaned and sat up holding his head. What was he doing on the stairs? Glancing about for explanation he received quite the shock.
"Oh come on Tin Man, have a heart!" he exclaimed indignantly, "Don't go mocking a man's single state by making out with a princess right in front of him."
He was silenced by a carelessly thrown left hook, or DG's foot, one or the other. Interrupting is rude.