Title: Underneath It All
Warnings: Do I need to warn people about fluff?
Disclaimer: I do not own Tin Man or The Wizard of Oz. Just a fangirl throwing in my thoughts from the peanut gallery.
Author's Note: Please forgive any kinks you may find here. Microsoft Word is being mean to me right now so I wrote this on WordPad. There was no beta so any other mistakes are my own. This plot bunny bit me on the ankle one day at work and wouldn't let go until I agreed to write it. I don't think the ending's that great but I couldn't come up with anything else so I hope you enjoy it.
"Sometimes a pretty face is a curse," Glitch sighed.
Cain raised his eyebrows at his friend. "Why, are you mourning your pretty face?" He teased.
Glitch frowned. "No, I meant DG." He nodded towards her. "A pretty face is both a blessing and a curse."
Cain turned to watch her. She was smiling and talking to the owner of a stall at the open-air market. Merchants kept shoving their wares in her direction and Cain saw the occasional man look her up and down. She ignored them and focused on her shopping. He could only imagine how much more attention she would be recieving if they knew that she was a princess and was glad for the anominity they had. "What makes you say that?"
"How many people only give her attention for her looks?" Glitch pointed out. "How many people only consider her fame and social status instead of her thoughts and personality?"
"Well you got a point there, Zipperhead." Cain frowned as he glanced at the sky then back to DG. "Hey Kiddo," he called out. "Time to wrap things up. We need to start heading back." She smiled and nodded in his direction then turned back to the merchant.
Glitch scratched his head trying to remember something. After a few minutes he gave up and turned to Cain. "Why is it that we need to leave so early?"
"Because DG has an appointment with a suitor." Cain tried not to sigh or grumble.
"Oh," Glitch nodded his head. After a pause he asked, "Do you mean that dark-haired guy she's been seeing?"
"Prince Alereck," Cain growled. "Yeah, that's the one."
"Hey guys!" DG appeared beside them. Glitch couldn't help but notice how Cain's eyes seemed to soften at the sight of the princess.
"Hey there, Doll. You all ready to go?"
"Yeah, I suppose so." DG shrugged. It was just nice to get out of the palace for a little while and even better to hang out with the friends who helped her sneak out. "We should do this again."
"Sure thing, Doll!" Glitch replied happily.
"I don't know, Kid." Cain shook his head slightly. "I don't think your parents would be too happy about you sneaking out unprotected. Or about us helping you."
"But if you come with me then it's not sneaking out. And how can I be unprotected with you watching my every move?" She turned to him with a pleading look. "Please?"
How could he deny her when she gave him that look? This time Cain did sigh. "Alright Kid, we'll see."
One hour later DG and Prince Alereck were walking around the palace gardens in quiet conversation. Cain stood just out of earshot but close enough to assist should there be any trouble. He knew that there were plenty of hidden guards in the area yet he insisted on being there himself.
He was watching the young couple, DG in her pale green dress and Alereck in his black dress uniform, when Glitch's words from earlier popped into his head. Even though Alereck was DG's most persistant suitor Cain knew that he was there for the same reasons as every other prissy nobleman before him. She was a beautiful princess and the savior of the OZ. None of them cared enough to see the free spirit and compassionate nature that lay under her calm mask. None of them cared about her worries and fears or her OtherSide quirkes that made her unique.
Glitch walked up to stand beside Cain. "Hey Cain, how's it going?"
"Fine." Cain grunted his eyes never leaving the couple.
Glitch continued to watch his friend watching DG for a few minutes. "Cain, just tell her how you feel."
Cain turned slightly to give Glitch a questioning look.
"Listen, I may only have half a brain but I'm not blind. I've been watching the two of you for a while now and I've seen the way you look at her and go out of your way to make her smile. You like her."
"It wouldn't be right." Cain turned his attention back to the young couple in front of him,
"Why not? You like her, she likes you. Her parents approve, your friends approve, even Jeb approves." Cain jerked in surprise at that. Glitch just smiled and nodded, "Oh yes, everyone except for DG herself has noticed. She's the only one you've fooled." His expression turned serious again. "Just tell her, Cain. That way she can finally stop dealing with these..." he waved his hand towards the prince, "suitors." The last word was filled with disgust.
Cain didn't know how to respond to that. He thought he had been hiding it well. Did DG really like him like that? Before he could say anything Glitch suddenly perked up.
"Ya know something? I want an apple." And he bounded off happily in search of the fruit.
DG was bored. Bored, frustrated, and sick and tired of Alereck's continued company. She almost wished that he would try to make a move on her just so Cain could haul him off. When he didn't she decided to try to scare him off with some stories from the OtherSide. That usually did the trick.
She was in the middle of telling him about the time she broke her leg falling off a friend's roof when she noticed that one of the maids had come out to flirt with Cain. He just ignored her. Dg had noticed that happened a lot. Girls throwing themselves at him because he was a handsome Tin Man and one of the saviors of the OZ. They didn't care that under his stoic mask was a heart of gold and that he was a good, honerable, man who would do anything for the people he cared for. They didn't know about his fears or how to bring a smile to his face.
"Princess?" A concerned voice brought her back to the present. Alereck was staring at her with concern.
"Sorry," she smiled apologetically. "I guess my mind kind of wandered from me. Now where was I?"
Cain just ignored the maid's advances and after a few minutes she left with a huff. He watched as DG got that glazed expression which usually meant that she was lost in her thoughts. He figured that she was probably bored as Alereck regained her attention with a look of confusion on his face. DG began talking again while Cain watched as the young prince's expression changed from confusion and concern to embarrasment and discomfort.
Yep, it was time to get her out of there before she accidently caused another royal scandel (though he had to admit that the last one still caused him to chuckle). He stepped forward and cleared his throat. "Princess, I think it's nearly time for that meeting."
She wanted to breath a sigh of relief when Cain spoke. A meeting? What meeting? As he offered his arm he gave her pointed look. "Oh yes, that meeting." Cain was once again helping her escape. "My apologies Prince Alereck. I had a pleasant time today." She dropped into a curtsey.
"The pleasure was all mine." Alereck straightened from his bow. "Have a good day, Princess Dorothy."
DG smiled as she took Cain's arm and let him lead her away. The fact that the prince did not ask to see her again did not go unnoticed.
"Looks like we saw the last of him." Cain commented with a smirk.
"Looks that way," DG smiled at him. "Thanks for helping me out of that."
"No problem, Kid."
They continued to walk in silence until they reached the library. "Look Kid," Cain stopped and DG turned to him in surprise. "You don't have to see all these suitors you know. You can turn them away if you want." He suddenly felt nervous. Why was he feeling nervous? It was just DG after all.
"True," replied DG thoughtfully. "I'm not entirely sure why I see them either. After all, I'm not the quiet, proper, little princess that they're expecting and I know that. I guess I'm supposed to choose someone eventually, but if I ever do then it will be my choice and mine alone."
"So your parents want you to choose from amongst the nobility?:
"No, they just want me to choose someone who makes me happy. They don't care if he's royal or not." Why was he asking? Surely he knew that already? DG looked back up at him and was surprised by the intensity of his gaze. Could he be...? Did he really...?
Cain took a deep breath and looked down. Sometime during the conversation he had taken both of her hands in his. He begain to rub her left knuckles with his thumb. "You deserve that. You should have someone who loves you for who you are on the inside and not just the princess of the OZ. The real DG." His gaze shifted back up to her face.
DG blinked in surprise. Could this really be happening? Was he saying what she thought he was saying? What she'd been hoping for?
Cain searched her face for the answers to his unspoken question before continuing. Is it possible that she felt the same way? Could he be wrong? Too late to turn back now. "What I'm trying to say is that I'm in love with you. Not Princess Dorothy of the House of Gale but DG. The bravest woman I've ever known. Who is smart, caring, a talented artist, and too darn stubborn to back down from any challenge that comes her way. That's the DG I love." And just when he thought that her eyes couldn't get any bigger they did just that.
"You love me?" She couldn't believe her ears. Had he really just said that? She watched him smirk down at her with sudden confidence.
"I love you."
Unable to contain herself she threw her arms around his neck. As his hands moved to her waist she grinned and answered, "I love you, too."
Wyatt Cain never thought in a million annuals that he would feel such happines again. He lowered his head and brought his lips to hers in a slow, tender, kiss. He felt more that he heard her gasp as he reached up with one hand to tilt her head and deepen the kiss. He took his time trying to memorize the feel of her body, the scent of her hair, and the taste of her lips. Finally, he pulled back to take in some much needed air.
As he leaned back DG gazed up at him dazedly. She never thought that a kiss could actually make her weak in the knees but Cain and proven her wrong. She kept her arms around his neck as he rested his forehead against hers. "So, what happens now?" She asked softly.
"Now? Now I go to your parents and ask their permission to court you."
"Court me?" she laughed softly. "Is that what it's called here?"
"I like the sound of that."
As they walked away, arms linked, Glitch stepped out of the library to watch them go. He happily replayed the overheard conversation in his head and nodded proudly to himself. That had gone better than he thought it would. Glad to have helped his friends he turned back to the library and to his books.