Disclaimer: I do not own Tin Man or the quote I used for a summary.

Author's Note: I should imagine that most, if not all of you, have played a game like this. Our particular version came about because our childhood home had an excess of carpet that mom would, from time to time, get professionally cleaned. Given the placement of said carpeting, we would then have the choice to be stuck with little more than the basement (or outside), or be trapped up in our rooms for the hours it took for the carpet to dry. Well, relatively trapped, one could always jump off the veranda roof – and then be stuck downstairs. That is, of course, unless one could make it through most of the rooms on the ground floor and up the stairs without stepping on the carpet…and voila, a game was born (among others, I sometimes wonder how the banister survived our childhood, it was never particularly sturdy).


...


Wyatt Cain was very confused. All he'd been trying to do was take a quiet, stroll-like security sweep through the palace. He found them calming, giving him some time to think and inspect the Guard all in one go. And it had been, too, right up until he'd turned a corner just in time to be blindsided by a princess with rather impressive tackling skills.

The astonished Tin Man landed flat on his back while the unexpectedly solid weight of a certain curly haired, blue eyed princess knocked the breath out of him. And then she began wiggling in a manner that was extremely disconcerting. Perhaps even alarming. Thus the confusion. He attempted to gather his wits to comment, only to have DG breath into his ear, "I can't touch the floor."

Cain blinked. "Uh, w-what?" he stuttered, wondering if he'd hit his head in the fall. He could have sworn she'd said-

"I can't touch the floor," the princess repeated, "It's the Crack in the O.Z., if I touch it I'll fall and die and I'm on my last resurrection."

And now the Tin Man was both baffled and seriously concerned for the princess' mental wellbeing. Out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of one of the pageboys leaping from a nearby banister. The boy caught hold of one of the royal banners and slid down to land precariously on one of the hall tables. He managed, with quite a notable show of agility, to keep his balance, steading himself before settling back on his haunches to survey his surroundings. Cain made a mental note to report him to the head of the Guard – for recruitment.

A little doll spun above the Tin Man's head as he realised, "This is a game, isn't it."

The princess lying on him gave him a dazzling smile that was somewhat blinding from a mere distance of three inches away. "Can't Touch the Floor," DG confirmed, "got to traverse the Crack in the O.Z. and make it to the Throne Room without falling in. You get three resurrections to the beginning if you touch the floor, after that you are out of the game."

Cain, to his surprise, actually knew this game. Only he'd called it 'Getting to Higher Ground Without Getting Soaked' when the cabin had flooded. A tiny, unacknowledged thought wondered why sh-they hadn't asked him to join. Then again, he considered, glancing to where the pageboy had apparently gotten himself trapped, any attempt by the Tin Man would likely be severely detrimental to the furniture. Besides, it was not like he…could think at all given that the princess had started wriggling again.

"Darn it," DG huffed, "I don't see how I can get off of you without touching the floor."

uh?

"Cain, do you think you could get up with me on top of you?"

!?

"Cain?"

Swallowing heavily, the Tin Man forced his oddly uncooperative thoughts in order and set about fixing his-the princess' current dilemma. Sitting up with DG in his lap turned out to be easy enough; getting his feet under him without setting her down, however, was a whole other matter. Finally, with a grunt of effort, he managed to heft himself to his feet, the princess held firmly away from the 'dangerous' floor.

"Woohoo!" DG crowed, looping an arm around his neck, "Zip Line, to the next piece of furniture with a means of egress," she commanded gleefully. Smiling she added, "Can't have you taking me all the way that would be cheating."

Face red with exertion, the Tin Man moved to comply.

From behind them came a yelp of surprise as the pageboy decided to emulate the princess' tactics on the next unsuspecting passerby. It was the odd strangled gurgling sound following the resounding thud that truly caught Cain's attention, however. Casting a glance over his shoulder, the Tin Man realized he might have to reconsider the ashen faced youth's recommendation to the Guard…

…given that he'd just flattened the Queen.