Disclaimer: I...do....not...loadingloadingloading....own...connection lost. Dialing-up. Ringringringbeeeeeep...loadingloadingloading...Tin...........Man.
Author's Note: All hail animegus farmus who hast battled the fiery demons of internet hell to bring to thee this story. This, by the way, is completely the fault of my own demon reviewer nightdrive23. Yes, I realize you only asked for the shopping trip that takes place during 'Gone Fishin'' but I warned you how these things go. I handed the idea to my muse, the preliminary results were good, and I shelved the project for until I finished 'Otherside Encounter' (Ha!). Then Azkadellia came along and found my rough sketch and immediately demanded her side of the story be told. So here we are. I will warn you all now, this isn't going to be all jokes and jollifications. Anyone reading between the lines of 'Otherside Encounter' will know that Az's life wasn't all sunshine and butterflies when Officer Gulch arrived on the scene. Chapters are not going to match up one for one, length will vary, and as I refuse to spend the whole time repeating myself previously untold events are likely to appear. And yes, nightdrive23, we are eventually going to go shopping, you may stop reminding me now. For the present, however, you must content yourself with a very short chapter. ttfn
Azkadellia didn't pay any attention to him at first. He was mere background to her, as extraneous as the munchkin released from the foreign vehicle along with her sister, in wake of the arrival of the two people in the O.Z. who made her feel safe: DG, who had set her free, and the Tin Man, who protected anything the youngest princess cared about, even the erstwhile Sorceress herself. Releasing a week's worth of built-up tension in a relieved sigh as Wyatt Cain raced about bellowing orders, Az really didn't have any attention to spare for the oddly dressed man. There was this small problem regarding a contingent of Longcoats to deal with, after all, not that it mattered, her sister was here and nothing could hurt them while they were together.
The Longcoats seemed to think they mattered, however, as one of their bullets ricocheted off the automobile and grazed Cain's arm, thereby interrupting the preparations. Caught up in her initial reaction to the sudden attack, reaching for her sister who had abruptly disappeared from her side, Azkadellia completely forgot about the strange man – right up until the moment he tackled her.
"Unable to breathe," the eldest princess protested from her new position on the ground. She was considering being miffed – the man was heavy and his gun was digging most painfully into her hip – when he shifted to remedy this situation and her brain caught up to current events. Azkadellia was transfixed by the unexpected recognition, not of the man, but of his actions and what lay beneath them. Like the motivation that had removed her sister from her side seconds ago, she'd seen it hundreds of times before in DG's Tin Man – the instinct to protect.
Nobody instinctively protected the former Sorceress of the O.Z.
"Sorry," said the beautiful exception.
For the briefest of instants Azkadellia could only stare at him, the inconsequential man who had so unexpectedly crashed into the spotlight of her attention. He had the kindest brown eyes she'd ever seen.
"I need to get to DG," she managed at last then watched in awed amazement as he immediately looked to fulfill her wish. Not only that, but he kept them under cover the entire time, even going so far as turn his unprotected back on the enemy rather than risk exposing her to danger. Az wondered briefly if this was how it felt to be DG with her ever diligent Tin Man on hand then she was reaching out for her sister, invincible once more as their grips locked and the light flowed through them.
"Shrink them?" Azkadellia asked DG, ignoring the hail of bullets now bouncing off their magical shield.
"Shrink 'em," DG agreed.
The eldest princess immediately set to work, waving her hand in a deceptively simple gesture, resulting in the abrupt shrinkage and magical transportation of one of the Longcoats. Normally Azkadellia was hesitant to use the well known spells and tricks of the former Sorceress; today, however, she was in a hurry. Az wanted this battle over with, the Longcoats were decidedly in the way and she had an anomaly to explore.