Disclaimer: My insanity has reached the point where I am no longer sure what I own and what I don't, I don't own Tin Man do I? Nuts. As I'd never heard of this fairytale prior to a day or so ago I can definitely say I don't own that, either.
Author's Note: I would like to state for the record, possibly for some multiple time, that I don't take requests. No really, I don't. It might sometimes appear as though I'm responding to a request, but really I'm not. I'm just listening to that amusing thought that just happened to correspond with some hopeful reviewer's suggestion. But I don't take requests, really I don't, and I mean it. Oh, stop laughing at me Quality Control. You're just as screwed as I am. Sigh. Here you go GoldenRoya; damn thing was just so easy I interrupted Beauty and the Beast version 2 just to get it out of my head. But I don't take requests, so nobody get any ideas! *mutters* Not that anyone listens...
Author's Note 2: For those of you who, like me, had never even heard of this one, it's your basic fairytale plot: two lovers, Jorinda and Joringel (because someone had absolutely no imagination when it came to names) are walking through the forest. They get too close to the evil witch's castle, which is enchanted to freeze youths (i.e. Joringel) in place and turn maidens (such as Jorinda) into birds. The witch shows up as an owl, captures Jorinda but releases Joringel. He wanders off and has a dream about a magic flower. Finding it, the youth returns to the castle and uses the flower to rid his path of magical obstacles. Confronting the witch in her room full of thousands of bird cages, she tries to escape with Jorinda's cage, but he hits her with the flower and voila, she's powerless. Then Joringel uses the flower to undo the enchantments on Jorinda and all the other maidens and they all live happily ever after. The end. My turn...
Wyatt Cain was thinking decidedly youthful thoughts. He didn't mean to, truly he was making every effort to stop, unfortunately the message seemed to be getting lost somewhere in his synapses, not unlike a certain headcase friend of his. It didn't matter what DG said, the Otherside garments known as 'shorts' were not decent, and the 'tank top' was...was...dammit there was just far more princess to be seen than should be seen in public. He really should cover her in his duster, now if only he could get his limbs to understand that particular command. The Tin Man refused to be imprisoned by his hormones like some adolescent boy with his first crush...but then DG would do something that would cause her 'pony tail' to brush across the nape of her neck, or she'd stretch, causing the shirt to ride up and expose a couple inches of midriff and Cain would abruptly lose any ability to think at all.
Where were they again? Oh yeah, DG was prancing about scantily clad because she thought it was too darn hot out for petticoats, etc., and her dutiful protector was attempting not to have a mental breakdown. She was also in search of an inviting river, lake, pond, or any other form of watering hole for a refreshing swim, and naturally Cain had to come with her to make sure she was safe. The part of his brain trying to re-impose sanity was attempting to point out that this whole swimming idea wasn't going to help – something to do with the shirt being white. You put the duster on the girl...
The Crown Princess of the O.Z., meanwhile, was completely oblivious to the Tin Man's mental struggles. Cain being Cain, he was yet managing to keep his thoughts from being visible on his face, and if he was holding himself a bit more stiffly than usual that could be explained by the fact that the Tin Man always freaked out whenever an emotion caught him by surprise. It wasn't exactly anything new. She did wish, though, that he knew the Great Gillikin Forest better then maybe they could find a swimming hole sometime before dark. Come to think of it, it was kind of strange he hadn't insisted on them turning back yet.
"Is that a castle over there?" DG asked suddenly, catching sight of a turret through a gap in the trees.
"What?" Cain inquired distractedly, "There shouldn't be a cas..." the Tin Man cut off mid word as he found himself, from one step to the next, completely unable to move, speak, or shoot something.
"Cain?" he heard his princess demand anxiously, "What's wrong? What...squawk, squawk, squawk."
Next thing the Tin Man knew there was a nightingale with big blue eyes and the complete inability to carry a note fluttering in front of his face. Oh, someone was going to die for this one. Then the sudden hooting of an owl drew Cain's complete and undivided attention, well as undivided as it could be when he couldn't move a muscle to actually look at the threat. A bit bizarre, that; paranoid as he was, even Cain hadn't ever imagined there'd be a day he'd see an owl as a threat, but as DG was currently in the form of a small bird, an owl was deadly. Such was the Tin Man's concern that he actually felt a moment's relief when the owl landed in front of him and transformed into an old crone. Then he decided he'd rather be furious.
The witch cackled as she captured the nightingale DG in one hand and conjured a cage with the other. Her glee was short lived, however, as the princess decided to let her know exactly what she thought of this treatment and pecked her, hard. An impressive struggle ensued, given the combatants, with much flailing and screeching, but in the end the crone was victorious, stuffing the little bird princess into the cage and turning towards the castle.
The Tin Man, meanwhile, was no longer feeling the least bit youthful as he was forced to stand still and watch history repeat itself. He could not let this happen again. The rage and despair of his old failure nearly choked him as Cain willed himself to move, and instantly the spell holding him fell away. The evil enchantress screeched in alarm as the Tin Man fell on her with his fury; unfortunately the witch was both skilful and powerful, there was a flash of red light and Cain was flung roughly across the clearing and into a tree. The world went dark...
...and he dreamed. In the dream he found a blood red flower with a pearl at its center. Carrying the flower he walked to the castle and overcame every obstacle by dint of touching them with the petals until at last he released DG herself from the wicked witch's spell. Extremely disgruntled, the Tin Man woke with a splitting headache and hauled himself to his feet. Did he look like a botanist? The witch had DG, Cain didn't have time to traipse about the O.Z. picking flowers, he didn't need a magical flower, he had an evil enchantment breaker. He called it gun.
Turning towards the castle, feeling every bit his age and then some, the Tin Man set off to rescue his princess. He treated the obstacles he encountered the way he was always wont to do: the castle gates may have been magical, but even magic gates will fall if someone shoots off the hinges. While it probably wasn't his most covert entry ever, it was effective. Besides, Cain wasn't exactly in the mood to be quiet. Moving through the castle, following the sound of discordant bird song, the Tin Man discovered, if nothing else, his noisy passage had at least convinced any minions that the witch might have to stay the hell out of his way. Blasting his way through a locked door, Cain paused to reload before pushing on to find himself in a room full of thousands of birds in wicker cages and one soon to be dead evil enchantress.
"Let her go," the Tin Man growled, levelling his revolver at the witch.
"I will if you can tell me which one she is," cackled the crone maliciously.
"That one over there that can't sing worth a damn," Cain replied instantly, pointing unerringly at his princess – who screeched indignantly. "No sense denying the truth, Princess. Now," he continued menacingly to the witch, "Let. Her. Go."
The old crone laughed, "Never, you'll never see your lovely again. Never."
"Wrong answer," the Tin Man said coolly, and fired.
With a look of utter surprise, the evil enchantress was knocked back as the bullet slammed into her and she fell to the ground dead. Cain paid her no heed, he was already moving forward, ripping open the wicker cage that held his nightingale princess. Lifting her gently out of the cage, he wondered if he should have gone the flower route after all – seeing as she was still a bird and all. Then there was a cacophonous sound of splintering wood as every enchantment failed at once and the thousands of cages burst as the birds within sprouted into maidens once more. Cain, meanwhile, suddenly found himself with an armful of – still scantily clad – princess. His thought processes immediately jammed.
"Hello," DG said, smiling up at him and wrapping her arms around his neck.
"Hel-lo," thousands of voices echoed. Tin Man and Crown Princess looked up to find thousands of maidens looking right back at them. Or rather, at the Tin Man. With interest. Lots and lots of interest. Cain took that moment to come to the realization that every man that ever dreamed of finding himself in the midst of a harem hadn't really thought things through then he hefted DG over his shoulder and ran for it. Squealing madly, the maidens took off in pursuit.
"Put me down," the princess commanded, "I can stall them."
"No way in hell, Kid, they'll eat you alive," the Tin Man panted back, scrambling over a banister and hotfooting it down the stairs.
"It's you they want to eat alive," DG pointed out.
Cain let out the smallest of squeaks, er, grunts and sped up.
And so the noble Tin Man fled, er, led the exodus of maidens out of the castle and they all lived happily ever after. Just as soon as Cain managed to lose his plethora of new admirers that is.