Guten tag! (Man, it's hard keeping these greetings fresh. I know one of these days I'm gonna do a repeat, and I will feel the shame.)

Well, I am back among the living. This class was quite successfully trying to assassinate me, and neither my brain nor my body were having any of it. I've been sick with different ailments more times this month than I have all year. Confound these writing-requirement classes. They drive me to drink. So yeah, that's why this chapter took for-frackin'-ever to get uploaded, and I'm really sorry about that.

Well, enough complaining. Before we do anything else, how bout some reviewer response, eh?

classicmovielover: I'm glad you like Lily! *develops posh British accent and talks from the side of her mouth* Mmm, perhaps, Dorothy, quite, rather? Silliness aside, of course they'll meet! I'm cruel, but not that cruel. What kind of story would this be if they didn't see each other, right? Your wait is over, my friend!

MissGuardianAngel: She is, isn't she? I enjoy her. Aww, makin' me blush-thanks! Continue I shall!

Babygirl555: Very necessary girly time-Doe needs a girl-space-friend, y'know? I'm glad you like both of my girls so much. :) I suppose it's good to know that I have "it" regardless, as "it" seems to be the thing to have. Well, at least one of us knows that. I shall keep up the so-called good work as best as I am able! *salutes*

DisneyFreak101: Thanks! I wrote her saying that without thinking, and then figured I should acknowledge where it came from. XD Um, this isn't fast, but it's an update! That's something, right? Heh heh.

crazyone256: That she does. UGH, that comment is not helping my stress! *tears out own hair* But I don't think it's bad. Hopefully it's not. If it is, you have every right to carry out your threats. Though I wouldn't mind the fez-those things be snazzy. Glad you liked it, and I hope you like this one, too!

SideshowJazz1: I think a lot of people have. XD I really didn't mean to drag out his entrance this much, it's just how the story happened. Yay, Lily love! Doe's shneaky like that, dontcha know. Yeah, this isn't really soon, is it? Sorry bout that, but I hope you like it anyway!

BlackDarkRose10: And there was much rejoicing! Yeah, Lily is a sweetie, isn't she? And my thoughts exactly! Nothing wrong with having mostly guy friends, but you need influence from both sides, y'know? I apologize, as this was nowhere near "super fast", but I hope that won't stop you form enjoying this chapter anyway!

gameGIRL14: New reviewer! Huzzah! I'm glad you like it, and apologize for the slow update-I am pretty bad about updating, but not usually THAT bad. Or will he? Okay, yes he will, but shut up. Anyway, I hope this chapter meets your expectations!

JaredMilne1982: Hey, been a while since you've dropped a review! I'm glad you liked that chapter. And yeah, she can take 'em off. I know a lot of people adhere to the theory that the shoes can't be taken off once you put them on, but I always saw them more as having a kind of sentience-they wouldn't go with the Witch, and so refused to come off. But now that there're no witches in sight, they're fine with being taken off. Hope that cleared that up, and I hope you like this chapter, too!

DisneyFreak101: Why, hello again! You're not alone-I definitely missed it too. I'd be writing an essay on Virginia Woolf and be thinking, "You know where I'd rather be right now? The Emerald City." Well, now it's updated, so we can both go back! Sorry for the wait!

Guys, I can't tell you how happy I was that you all liked Lily. I don't know why I thought you wouldn't, but I thought it. All the Lily love made me a very happy girl, so thank you.

This is one o' them "Expectation Chapters", where I get all nervous cause everyone's expecting things from this chapter and I worry about delivering on a good chapter and BAH stress. It's gotten to the point where I have to stop tweaking and fiddling with it and just submit it, trusting that you'll like it anyway.

I was actually thinking of splitting it into two chapters, with the sentence that ends with "again" being the last sentence of this chapter-I feel like it's not very organized otherwise. But a. both chapters would kinda be on the short-ish side if I did that and b. you guys have been waiting long enough for this chapter, I might as well give you a bonus by leaving it in.

Well, let's not stall any longer.

Enjoy?


Doe's P.O.V.

I finally made it to the huge door that could only lead to a throne room. Tin Man, Lion, and Kirk were already there waiting. Kirk was wearing nice pants and shoes, but a football jersey on top.

'Oh, well,' I thought. 'He tried.'

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm really late, I'm sorry!" I blurted as I sprinted towards them.

"Nah, don't worry about it," Lion brushed it off.

"We kind of expected you'd be overwhelmed by the dresses," Tin Man chuckled.

Kirk was staring at me. "Goddamn, DoDo, I am never gonna get used to you looking like this."

"Like what? Good?"

"Yeah."

I shoved him. "You're a jerk."

"Whatever," He shrugged. He looked at the floor and suddenly started laughing. "Uh, DoDo?" He choked out. "Did you, uh...forget something?"

Confused, I looked down-

And was met with completely bare feet.

"Oh, no!" I slapped my forehead as Kirk doubled over with laughter. "I can't go in without shoes!"

"Don't worry," Lion shook his head.

"Yeah, Scarecrow won't care," Tin Man agreed. "He'll just be thrilled to see you."

The thought of actually seeing Scarecrow again put my stomach in knots.

"Yeah, at least now you won't trip in heels or anything."

I gave Kirk my patented Look of Death, but he was desensitized to it.

"You two wait here," Tin Man explained. "We'll announce you and open the doors when it's time, alright?"

I nodded, becoming more nervous by the second.

"Don't worry, Dorothy," Lion clapped two big paws on my shoulders. "It's gonna be great."

I gave him a half-hearted smile.

With that, the two walked into the throne room.


Scarecrow's P.O.V.

I sighed and rested my head on my fist. That meeting was so boring. All it was was going over things we've been over a million times-added security measures to prevent "The Witch Incident", castle renovations, and endless papers to sign.

Don't get me wrong-being King was wonderful. I loved meeting new people and helping make their lives better. But the meetings and legalities were torture.

I thought back on how far I'd come from being stuck on a pole in an abandoned wheatfield, getting picked on (literally) by crows, with my stuffing falling out all the time.

Now I was sitting in a castle, ruling the Emerald City, being waited on by servants.

I'd also had a makeover, at the insistence of Tin Man and Lion. Instead of my overalls, I now wore a royal blue (of course) long sleeved shirt and black pants. My straw 'hair' now more resembled gold thread and hung very short-just long enough so it wasn't attached to my head. Tin Man had deemed me "dashing", but the smirk when he said it made me wonder.

Although, the women at the meetings said this the first time I showed up, as well, and one of the many topics brought up at the horrible meetings was when I was going to choose a Queen.

I tried to avoid this topic, since I was never, ever going to marry.

My thoughts, as usual when Tin Man and Lion weren't around to distract me, wandered back to her.

Dorothy.

It had been hard to cope with the fact that she wasn't coming back. For the first few weeks, I convinced myself that the littlest sound indicated her return; that every footstep was hers; that every rustle in the bushes was her, and that she would emerge with that sideways grin and say, "You really thought I'd leave you guys?"

But after a while, it got pathetic, and I had a city to run, after all. Every so often, though, my thoughts would go back to that familiar place.

What was she doing right now? Singing, probably. She had a beautiful voice. She was definitely with Kirk and Brutus. Did she ever think of this place? Of Tin Man and Lion? Of me? Did she ever miss us? Did she ever wish she could come back?

But I'd only allow those thoughts for a moment. The sad truth was...Dorothy was never coming back. She was home, where she belonged. To tear her away from that would be monstrous and selfish.

I would just have to deal.

Tin Man and Lion came through the door then, thankfully. The thoughts were even worse today then usual.

"Hey, guys," I waved. "Where've you been all day?"

"Oh, we've been...out and about," Lion giggled.

"Walking around, meeting old friends, you know..." Tin Man chuckled.

I raised an eyebrow. "Alright, guys, what's going on?"

"Nothing!" Lion said quickly.

"No, not nothing," Tin Man looked at Lion, then back at me. "Some guests arrived at the palace today."

"Yeah, I heard." The maids had been all a-twitter about the mysterious royal guests.

"You did? Aw, there goes that plan!" Lion moaned.

"What plan?" I asked.

"Do you know who the guests are?" Tin Man countered.

"No, I don't."

"Oh, phew!" Lion calmed himself.

"So you guys know? And you didn't tell me?" I looked at them.

"We wanted t' surprise ya!" Lion smiled.

"Geez, I don't even know what's going on in my own palace," I muttered.

Tin Man heard me. "Aw, we're sorry, Kingy-Poo!" He said in a voice one would use when talking to an infant. "Can you ever forgive us big ol' meanies?"

"I can if you never, E-VER. Call me Kingy-Poo again," I deadpanned.

"Deal," Tin Man laughed.

"So who are the guests? None of Lion's elephant friends again, I hope."

"Hey, they were real friendly!" Lion defended them.

"Charging at people full speed?" I questioned.

"It's how they say hello!" Lion frowned.

"Not to mention the mess..." I shuddered.

"No, no elephants," Tin Man interjected before the argument escalated.

"Who, then?"

Tin Man and Lion looked at each other like two kids who had just stolen all the ice cream in the world.

"Brace yourself," Tin Man advised, as he and Lion opened the huge doors.

"Brace myself? Why, are they that ba-?"

The rest of my sentence was lost as I locked eyes with the one person I never thought I'd ever see again.


Earlier that same evening…

Doe's P.O.V.

I wrung my hands.

"What if he doesn't want to see me?" I asked Kirk.

"You guys are best friends, of course he'll wanna see you," Kirk said in a monotone. I had been asking these kinds of questions since the door had closed.

"What if he's completely different now?"

"And you're not?" He countered.

"Not really."

He rolled his eyes.

"And what if he thinks I'm a weirdo because I'm not wearing shoes?"

"Listen, if he knew you at all, he already knows you're a weirdo. This shouldn't be a big shock."

I kicked him

"You're lucky I'm not wearing shoes, cause other wise that would've killed. Heel woulda gone right through your leg."

"I'm so sure," He rolled his eyes.

Suddenly, the door opened,

'CrapcrapcrapcrapcrapI'mnotreadycrapcrapcrap' Said my brain.

I spotted Scarecrow.

Whoa. Talk about your makeovers.

He was wearing a royal blue, long-sleeved shirt instead of his old overalls. He also had black pants on. His 'hair' was neatly combed and straight. One thing that wasn't different were his brown eyes-they were still looking at me like he could see my soul and actually liked what he saw.

I stood there, speechless, for what seemed like forever.

"Are you two gonna talk sometime today?" Kirk finally blurted out.

Scarecrow suddenly turned to Tin Man and Lion. "If this is some kind of sick joke, it is NOT funny, you guys."

"No joke," Tin Man smirked.

I finally found my voice. "He's right, Scarecrow-I mean, uh, Your Majesty! I mean, um..."

Lion laughed. "You sound like Scarecrow when he was talkin' to the Wizard!"

I chuckled nervously, rubbing the back of my neck. "Yeah, I guess I do, don't I?"

I looked back up at Scarecrow. "The point is..." I stepped forward a few steps. "It's really me."

He still looked shocked. 'Oh, I knew he didn't want me here! It's unexpected, it's totally intruding-'

I was interrupted by Scarecrow grabbing me by the waist and spinning me around in the air.

I let out a scream, which turned into a laugh of pure joy. I heard the same laugh come from him.

"I can't believe you're here!" He laughed as he put me down.

I smirked. "Believe it. We're here to stay."

Scarecrow smiled broadly. "Welcome back, Dorothy." He put out his hand for a handshake.

I looked at his hand for a moment, then smiled and threw my arms around him in a hug, which he returned full force.

"Eh hem." Kirk cleared his throat loudly.

"Oh!" I jumped, snapping out of it. "Right, right." I stepped a little away from Scarecrow. "Kirk, this is my friend Scarecrow. Scarecrow, this is my brother, Kirk."

Kirk shook his hand. "So you're the Scarecrow I've heard so much about."

"Kirk..." I whispered through my teeth, embarrassed for some reason.

Scarecrow turned to me. "You told him about me?"

"Wh-well, yeah, of course I did!" I was confused. "Why wouldn't I tell him about you guys?"

"I just-figured you'd...forget," He said, sadly.

I put my hands on my hips and pointed appropriately. "A talking scarecrow, a man made of tin, a talking lion that doesn't attack anything, and a city made entirely of real emeralds. Yeah, not gonna be forgetting that anytime soon. Besides-"

I put my arms around the guys' shoulders. "What kind of person forgets their best friends?"

We all smiled. I looked at Kirk, who looked somewhat uncomfortable.

"Oh, you get in here, too," I pulled him into the odd hug-kick-line we'd formed, and we all had a smiley, feel-good-movie moment.

Lion yawned suddenly. "Welp, I gotta go get some shuteye."

Tin Man nodded, turning to Kirk and me. "It is late. You two should head off to bed as well."

"Yes, Mom," I rolled my eyes. Both Kirk and Scarecrow laughed.

I gasped suddenly in realization. "Lily! Where's the maids' area...place...whatever?"

" 'Maids' area place whatever'?" Kirk snorted.

I hit his arm. "Shaddap."

"Well, the maids' quarters are just down the hall on the right, but..." Tin Man raised an eyebrow. "Why are you asking?"

"Who's Lily?" Scarecrow asked.

"She's a new friend," I smiled. "We're having a sleepover tonight, so I gotta go get her." I paused. "Is...that okay?"

"Scarecrow, didn't we just instate a law against friends having sleepovers?" Tin Man asked in fake concern.

"Funny," Scarecrow rolled his eyes, then smiled at me. "It's fine, Dorothy. Have fun."

I beamed. "I will!"

"Don't be too loud, though," Kirk grumbled.

"No promises."

Kirk glared at me, and I gave him a winning smile in return.

"Well, I'll see all of you tomorrow!" I waved.

They all said their "good night"s to me and to each other, and I sprinted out of the throne room.


Scarecrow's P.O.V.

As soon as Dorothy left, Tin Man turned to me with that all-knowing smirk. "So...best surprise ever?"

I glared at him. "Most unexpected, secretive, you-really-should-have-told me-beforehand surprise ever."

"But...?" Tin Man prodded.

I looked back at the door, unable to contain the widest smile I've had in a long time.

"But yeah. Best surprise ever."


No! I'm not tweaking it anymore! Just gonna send it!

Also, if you didn't read the "earlier that same evening" part in the Spongebob-French-narrator voice, I am very disappointed in you.

See you guys in the next chapter, then!