Disclaimer: I disclaim all claims to sanity, Tin Man, or A Knight's Tale, from which I stole a line.
Author's Note: So I went out to do some shopping the other day, and as I meandered my way back my thoughts turned to the Gulch Verse, as they are wont to do, and fell on musing about relatives and how their inclusion into fanfic is usually a Bad Idea. And yet, the characters would have relatives etc and so forth, very short thought loop and muse spat out, well, this. It is not Gulch Verse because I am too damn chicken, especially since I think I like this character…
DG stared at Cain as he paced the room. She'd seen her Tin Man do all sorts of dangerous things since her return to the O.Z.; she'd seen him face down a swarm of ravenous Papay with nothing but a six-shooter revolver, seen him take on a group of armed Longcoats with nothing but his fists, seen him set out for a near suicidal assault on the Sorceress' Tower without a hint of fear – at least not for himself – hell, she'd seen him take on her and Glitch's combined magical and mechanical oops without breaking a sweat – and she'd never seen him this nervous. The Crown Princess hadn't even known he could get nervous. Or fidget. His hat brim and collar were taking a beating, and if he kept rubbing the back of his neck like that he was liable to give himself a friction burn. It was just so…
…but then, she supposed, it didn't really matter how old one got, unless he did something truly unforgiveable, one never really stopped caring a great deal for the opinion of one's father.
And could the youngest prince take another moment to contemplate how bizarre the notion of Cain's father was? Sure, it only stood to reason that the Tin Man had one – everyone did, whether they were in evidence or not. They invariably had a mother, too. But to DG, Cain had always kind of…been there, dropping out of that tin suit as if specifically designed, made and packaged by the powers that be as a gift to women everywhere and to (lucky, lucky) DG in particular. The thought of him having a father was just so…weird.
Cain certainly hadn't mentioned him, but then, the Tin Man never was one to talk of his dead, and until two days ago he hadn't any idea that his father had survived the Sorceress' reign. From what little hints DG had picked up since, she understood the elder Cain's was not a temperament to have taken well to her elder sister's coup. He'd have gotten in trouble, lots and lots of trouble. The fatal kind of trouble his son would have gotten into had the Longcoats decided to shoot him rather than preserve him for the next generation. It just hadn't occurred to Wyatt Cain to go looking for his father, any more than it had occurred to old Jebediah Cain Sr. to go looking for his son – at least not until the now famous son's exploits (and grandson's for that matter) had reached the furthest corners of the O.Z. where the old man had been still looking to get into lots and lots of trouble yet – because they'd been absolutely sure that the other must be dead. They weren't the type to stand this sort of thing after all.
It seemed to the youngest princess that assuming one's family was dead was something of a genetic trait in the Cains.
As if responding to some imperceptible signal, the Tin Man suddenly left off pacing in order to station himself between her and the door. There was nothing new in this, given his past Cain was probably always going to air on the side of over-protective; she'd just never seen him so ill at ease in the process.
Sure enough, the door burst open a moment later, revealing the Royal Herald being roughly pushed aside with a sharp 'they know who I am' by a man that looked so much like the Tin Man that DG had the sudden notion she knew exactly what Wyatt Cain would look like in twenty or so years. And could she just mention that the future looked good? Really good. In fact, for a man pushing seventy, it looked absurdly good. Jebediah Cain, and presumably Wyatt and Jeb after him, was apparently one of those men whose looks time improved. The Crown Princess thought whimsically that she just might have to start keeping a heavy stick on hand so as to be able to beat the women back from the males of her new family.
Old Jebediah, meanwhile, was stalking forward, sweeping the surroundings with a gaze that was all too familiar to the princess. Wintry eyes took in the room, the Tin Man, the princess, returned to the Tin Man, then snapped back to the princess as the old man stopped in surprise. Cain – her Cain – she realized, was also staring at her, somewhat apprehensively…
…and DG suddenly thought she understood at least in part what was making the unflappable Wyatt Cain so twitchy.
When last old Jebediah Cain saw his son, he'd had a wife and a young son of his own, in a way he still did, only now he had a young wife that wasn't much older than his son. And there had been absolutely no way, with the old man travelling hard on the heels of his rather unexpected message, for the Tin Man to give him the least warning or explanation.
"Father," Wyatt said in a steady, almost belligerent tone of voice, "I'd like you to meet DG…my wife."
The elder Cain's eyebrows shot up and gun-metal blue eyes examined the Crown Princess in the suspicious, measuring kind of way his son seemed to have inherited.
You have been weighed, you have been measure…DG thought a bit giddily.
That grave, intelligent gaze settled back on the Tin Man, who stared back with squared shoulders and obstinately set jaw. In a day that was getting far too surreal, DG realized that the brave and indomitable Wyatt Cain was actually bracing himself for…
"Does she have a sister?" his father asked hopefully.