Then Perhaps I'll Deserve Ya
By: 1000th Ghost
*This story is dedicated to Moto Photo for calling me Dorothy. Yay, an obsession I've had for sixteen years finally has some romance.*
"Then perhaps I'll deserve ya
And be even worthy erv ya,
If I only had a brain."
-Scarecrow (The Wizard of Oz (If I Only Had a Brain (Deleted Scene)))
She must have fallen asleep again because suddenly she opened her eyes, and she was alone. After the momentary panic had subsided (the last time she had woken up alone in her room, she had been up in a tornado, after all), she began to wonder.
Could she be back?
She should have been petrified at the very notion of returning; hadn't she just spent days and days trying to escape back home?
But she missed them…she had only been home a few hours, and she already missed them terribly…and all she would have to do was click her heels if she wanted to go home.
She had learned her lesson, and she did know that there was no place like home, but to even be able to see them for a few minutes would be wonderful. Maybe it would help to sooth the feeling that she had left something monumentally important behind in Oz.
She missed him most of all…
The voice came from just outside her room, his voice, there could be no mistaking it. So, she was back in Oz after all, and he had come to see her-
"Are you awake?" Hunk asked, peering around the edge of the doorframe.
"Oh!" Hunk, only Hunk, not her Scarecrow. She stared at him blankly, marveling at how similar his voice was to her dear friend over the rainbow.
"I can come in, right?" he questioned, one foot already over the threshold.
"Of course," she chirped, smiling happily. Even if he was not made of straw, he was somehow still the Scarecrow. Whether or not her entire adventure had been a dream was still a bit hazy to her…but she knew that in Oz, she had missed Hunk as much as she missed the Scarecrow now.
He practically sprinted to her bedside then took off his hat and fiddled with its brim awkwardly, as though he was not sure what to do now that he was actually in her room.
"I, uh, I had to wait an awful long time 'fore your aunt left you alone," he began. He immediately looked away as if suddenly unsure whether he had said the right thing.
"Why couldn't you come see me when she was here?"
Her eyes sparkled with innocent puzzlement, and he smiled.
"Well, I wanted to talk to you – just you and me – and I don't think your Auntie Em would think it fittin' for me to be here with you…unsupervised and all."
"Hunk, that's silly," she said, giggling. "She wouldn't mind, and-" She paused. Would she mind? "-well, even if she does mind, I don't mind. Sit down." She patted the side of the bed, and he sat gingerly on the very edge, as though afraid to get too close to her.
"My, he's acting strange," Dorothy thought to herself. "He's usually so direct with me…maybe he's just worried about distressing me, since I bumped my head."
"Dorothy," he said bluntly, and she was relieved that his tone was abrupt again, "I've decided something. I'm going to go to the agricultural university. I'm leaving first thing tomorrow morning."
Her face immediately fell, and she looked so aghast that he forgot about proper conduct and took her hand.
"Now, lookit, you don't have to be so-"
"You're going away?!" she exclaimed. "But I-I…but why? Aren't you happy here?"
"Oh, I am, Dorothy," he insisted. "I'm so happy that I've turned very, very selfish, and I want to be even happier."
She mentally debated whether or not to snatch her hand from his to show him how upset she was but decided against it.
"A-and being at the university…away from everything and-and from me…that will make you happy?"
"No, sir," Hunk replied, shaking his head. "I'm bound to go plumb crazy with grief thinkin' about you being away from me."
"Because if I can get a diploma – and I can, Dorothy, I know I can – well, then…well, I-I guess I'll deserve ya."
She looked at him confusedly, so he continued.
"I'll be even worthy erv ya then, Dorothy. I'll be able to provide for you, and your Uncle Henry will be satisfied that I'll be able to take care of you, and-"
Her eyebrows scrunched together, and she attempted to make sense of his speech. "Are you…what are you saying…?"
"Well, shucks, I guess I'm sayin' that I love you. And that I…I want you to be my missus."
He glanced at their still clasped together hands and then back to her face, anxious to see her reaction.
"You mean that you want to-to marry me?"
He couldn't tell if she was pleased or not, so he began to ramble an explanation, hoping to make her understand.
"Listen, Dorothy, I've known you your whole life, and – well, I know I'm older than you but not too old – and I've always loved you, you know, and you've said you loved me too – well, all of us, although I know you didn't mean that kind of love – but I always thought there was something special there just between you and me, and we've always been such good friends, and we get along so well, and you used to be just a little tyke, but now you've grown up so beautifully, and I was going to tell you – a thousand times, I wanted to tell you – but I just couldn't, knowing that I was just a farmhand and that you deserved someone much better than me – and then today…" He paused for a second and clutched her hand tighter. "Dorothy, I thought you were a goner. And I knew I just had to tell because – well, because life's short, and you never know how much time you have left."
She stared at him, awestruck. "What a deep thought. I've never thought of that before. It does make sense though, doesn't it? 'You never know how much time you have left.'" She smiled a little, and he dared to hope. "I learned something deep too. That your heart's desire can always be found right in your own backyard. And…well, here you are, aren't you?"
He raised his hands in front of her desperately and begged, "Won't you marry me?" and he looked so like her Scarecrow that her heart quivered.
"Why, of course, I will."
"Hooray!" he exclaimed rapturously, quickly bringing her hand to his lips. "Oh, Dorothy, you've just made me the happiest man in the world!"
She laughed, remembering something from earlier that day. "Isn't it funny? This afternoon you were telling me that I didn't have any brains, and now we're going to be married."
He chuckled along with her then raised a finger and proclaimed, "But not for another two years, not until I get my diploma."
"Oh." In all the sudden excitement, she had almost forgotten that he was going away. "Are you sure? I think you already have plenty of brains; you don't need a diploma to prove it."
"Oh, but I'm gonna get one anyway," he said firmly, and she knew there was no point in arguing with him.
He was as stubborn as he had been in Oz – she had known that he had a brain then too.
"I would not be just a nothin', my head all full of stuffin', my heart all full of pain," his words came drifting back to her, and they made so much more sense now.
Perhaps she had known he loved her all along, and Oz was her way of showing herself.
The Tin Man had wanted a heart, but the Scarecrow only wanted a brain. He had had a heart all along, he just needed a brain so that his heart was worthy of having her.
"It's going to be so hard to say goodbye," she told him, tears already in her eyes. "I just said goodbye to you today – in Oz – and I don't know how to do it again."
He chuckled. "Sure, I was a scarecrow, right?"
"Well, then why don't you tell me goodbye like you told me goodbye there?"
"Okay." It seemed like a simple enough idea, and blindly following her past motions would make it seem as though she was only pretending to say goodbye. "First I said goodbye to the Tin Man – that's Hickory – and then to the Lion, Zeke. And then I went to you, and-" She sat up and gently put her arms around his neck. "I said, 'I think I'll miss you most of all.'"
Her face was in the crook of his neck, and she tried not to notice when he put his arms around her, and her heart jumped. He caressed her back in long, lazy strokes, and she continued. "And then I…well, I…"
Just as she remembered doing, she placed a small kiss on the very corner of his lips.
"And then what did I do?" he asked after a moment of hushed silence, and she drew back slightly to look at him.
"Well…nothing. You just smiled."
"And that's it?"
She nodded, and he grinned.
"Well, I'm supposin' that if I had just told you I loved ya, I might've done things a bit different."
She hardly had time to decipher what he meant before his mouth was on hers, and all rational thought was swept from her mind.
All she could think was that the kiss was almost too gentle and that his hands were twitching where they were resting on her waist, as if he was struggling to keep them there for her sake.
She pushed against his lips slightly, just for experimentation, and his long arms pulled her towards him so suddenly that she gasped. She gasped again as his tongue slid into her now open mouth, and somehow she was sitting in his lap, and her hands were tangled in his hair.
He broke the kiss and trailed his lips down to her neck. One, two, three, the buttons on her blouse were undone, and he continued to her bare shoulder. Her head fell back, and his hand ghosted across the tops of her partially exposed breasts.
And then he kissed her softly on her cheek and drew back and smiled.
"But, of course, it wouldn't've been entirely proper of me to do that in Oz, seein' as I had just met you."
Dorothy blushed, and he patted her cheek and walked to the door.
"You'll write to me?" he asked, turning around to look at her.
"Oh, yes, I promise, I'll write," she said breathlessly. "I'll write every day."
"And I'll be home again before you know it." He grinned. "Now, you just stay out of trouble until then, and soon I'll be home, and then I'll-" He winked, and she blushed deeper still, and then he was gone.
Dorothy lay her head back down.
Two years… Well, he'd be home for Christmas, at least. And for summers and perhaps for other visits too.
Her eyes closed, and she began to chant, this time for him.
"There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home…"