The Wizard let Dorothy in to see him that day. He sat there in his cubicle as the man with the long whiskers led her to him for the first time. He remembered telling Dorothy that her friends had to wait outside while she visited the Wizard first. He assured her that he would let the others in to see him with due time. He remembers the first thing she said; a request to go back home to her Auntie Em and Uncle Henry.

The Wizard frowned deeply, and tried to ask her some questions. He began to ask her about her friends, as she held close to her torn blue-and-white dress. She wouldn't answer anything until she would be brought back home to Kansas. The Wizard told her that that would be all, and sent her back to her room.

The next day he had a woman sent to Dorothy's warm, golden room and asked to see her oldest friend. She had returned from Dorothy's room with the Scarecrow. He was a very old scarecrow, worn and made of nothing but straw. He had a little dark green hat made of cloth, and a miniature outfit, all green, filled with straw. The Wizard held him carefully in his hand.

The Scarecrow was Dorothy's oldest toy. It was given to her by her father and was the first toy she ever had. Emily Gale had told him all about how closely she clung to her scarecrow doll, how she insisted that he, like her, was missing something important. For the Scarecrow, he desperately wished for a brain, so that he may not be called a fool. Yet, the scarecrow always had the best ideas, and was the oldest and wisest of Dorothy's friends.

The Wizard tried to decipher why she would cling to a scarecrow who wanted a brain so badly, but he wouldn't be certain of anything until he had met with the other friends. He returned the scarecrow to Dorothy, and she clung to it with a tightness he had never seen before. She seemed on the verge of tears, glad that the Scarecrow hadn't been taken from her. He closed the door to her room and sighed. He had many notes to sift through, and time was of the essence.

The next day the Wizard sent for a different man to summon Dorothy's next friend. The Tin Man timidly stepped forward, with frozen feet and a small axe in his hand. He was partly rusted when the Wizard had first seen him, but he must have taken pains to clean himself before he came to visit someone as prestigious as the Wizard. The Wizard studied the little makeshift toy with misty spectacles.

The Tin Man was Dorothy's second toy. She had found a can filled with old, useless tin and iron; bent spoons that could never be used, an iron can of chili beans, an old pinball that had fallen out of a game machine, and a little conical hat that was of dubious origin. The Wizard scraped off a little of the extra rust on his shoulders. The Tin Man was a little toy that Dorothy had put together with screws after hearing the story of Little Red Riding Hood. In the version she had heard, there was a woodman that came and saved Little Red from the Big Bad Wolf by chopping its head off, and was inspired to recreate such a heroic man.

The Tin Man desperately wished for a heart, being completely empty on the inside. He feared that he would become a monster with his axe, and wished more than ever to love somebody and care. The Wizard recalled his notes on how Dorothy interacted with the Tin Man. She had always made the Tin Man out to be the sweetest of her toys, always helping others.

He returned the Tin Man to Dorothy, and once again she clung to the toy with all her might. She was careful not to distort his metal frame, and carefully placed him against one of her bed pillows so that he might be comfortable. The Wizard spent that night sifting through the adventures Dorothy had with her toys after the Twister came and sent her away from Kansas.

On the day just before the Wizard saw Dorothy for the first time, she had been given a bouquet of pink poppies. Poppies were her mother's favorite flower, and he remembered Dorothy took each and every one of those poppies and carefully placed them petals-up on the carpet of her bedroom. Then she walked her three friends through and fell asleep on the side of the flowerbed.

The third and final friend was summoned during a temporary power outage. The man who called for the Cowardly Lion had to do so by flashlight. He trembled with fear, as any coward would, but bravely stepped forward without another thought, and sat proudly in front of the Wizard, waiting for his audience.

The Wizard had little to scan of this lion toy. He was the most recent toy Dorothy had gotten, given to her by Auntie Em herself in an attempt to get her away from her other toys. He was the biggest of all her toys, and by far the fluffiest and most huggable. It was a very cute lion, cuter than any he had seen at any local zoo, and more reminiscent of a stylized kitten than any lion. Oh, but the lion oh so desperately wished for courage, that he might not be so afraid of everything and worried about all the things that could go wrong.

The Wizard recalled another one of Dorothy's adventures in her own room. There was a short gap between her desk and her bed, less than a foot wide, but the bigger issue was the vacuuming lady who had to clean her carpet. She had attributed the vacuum's noises as the roars of Kalidahs—creatures with heads like tigers and bodies like bears—and the poor Cowardly Lion grew afraid. But the Scarecrow knew that the Tin Man could cut down the tree at the side of the bed and create a bridge to her desk, and Dorothy toppled the ruler over so that she could pantomime her friends walking across it.

He returned the Cowardly Lion to Dorothy later that day, trying his hardest to decipher all he could of the Lion. He seemed the least important, and yet Dorothy clung to him the same way she had the other two toys. Perhaps it merely hadn't had as much time as the others to grow a lasting impression, or to become as deeply imprinted as the other two toys.

That night, the Wizard took note of what Dorothy mumbled to the three toys at night. He remembered hearing her mumble to the Tin Man that he should not cry, reassuring the Cowardly Lion that everything would be okay, and then turning to the Scarecrow. He heard her ask him for advice, on what she should do to get back home to Kansas.

Kansas was over a thousand miles away. Aunt Em and Uncle Henry had taken Dorothy in as her foster parents at a young age, and tried their hardest to raise her properly. But she only wanted to be in a place that was better, where there isn't any trouble, and things weren't as brown and gray as they were in the house Mister and Misses Gale owned and raised her in.

The next day, the Witch walked up to him, disappointed with his work ethic. She had demanded to know what the diagnostic was as soon as possible. The Wizard told her that he would have a solid theory up soon, and that he was currently studying the effects the dolls had on her psyche. The Witch stormed out of his cubicle and entered Dorothy's room shortly after. The Wizard could only watch as she walked in unannounced and unexpected, hunting her cabinets for medication. When she found only two bottles, both almost completely un-opened, she threw the black bottles at Dorothy and demanded she take her pills.

She left the room and Dorothy sobbed into the fluffy mane of the Cowardly Lion. He jotted down notes as Dorothy once again whispered to herself. The deepest voice she could muster, the voice of the Cowardly Lion, told her that it would be okay. He turned off the screen and reread all of his notes from top to bottom, rewriting them and making them more coherent. He stopped writing when he got to the most recent quote.

"There isn't anything in the world we wouldn't do for you, Dorothy dear."

The day afterwards the Wizard came to his seat with the three toys already upon his desk. They had a note underneath them, signed by the witch, about how she shouldn't keep objects so harmful to her psyche. Immediately he called up for the Witch to be fired. He grabbed the three sentimental toys, and ran as fast as he could to return them. As he ran, he could only imagine how the toys would react, but quickly threw that out of his mind.

He entered Dorothy's Room and found her crying over the dead poppies on one of her cabinets. Behind the poppies was a single photo of her, holding her scarecrow doll, and pulled over her father's head. She did not notice him at first, but the Wizard decided to work slowly. He quietly placed the Tin Man and the Scarecrow behind him, knelt down, and pawed Dorothy with the Cowardly Lion.

"Oh, if only I had the Tin Man with me, I would be happy."

"Oh, if only I had the Scarecrow with me, I would be happy."

If only her father and mother were with her, she would truly be happy.

Within three days the Wizard had discovered Dorothy's condition. She had imprinted so deeply upon these three toys in a way to convince herself that she was happy. Without her home in Kansas, with her father and mother she barely remembered, she never thought she would be happy. She tried to enforce similar needs onto her friends, the Scarecrow desperately wanting a brain, the Tin Man a heart, and the Lion, courage.

However, these three friends of hers already had their deepest desires. The Scarecrow was the wisest, the Tin Man the sweetest, and the Lion the bravest. Yet they would not be sated until they had the physical objects they desired. Dorothy's subconscious wanted to prove to Dorothy that she already had what she wanted. Her family was her friends, and the Land of Oz was her home.

But her friends were nothing more than dolls, and she could not have a family or a home with only her and her dolls.

The Wizard saw Dorothy once more the day after. He had her come with all three of her friends this time, and their three voices spoke out in outcry. The Scarecrow, in his southern accent, accused the Wizard of being a humbug for not being a beautiful lady. The Tin Man felt broken for not getting his deepest desire despite all the work they had gone through to get it. The Cowardly Lion only roared in anger.

The Wizard admitted that he was not truly a Wizard. He tried to nudge Dorothy out of the Land of Oz. He told her he was a man from Omaha, who had landed in Oz and made a life for himself as a wizard after a crash landing. He could take her home through more palpable means, and he would go with her. But Dorothy still wanted her friends to get what they wanted, so the Wizard took each of them for a moment and worked on them.

He asked for permission first, and the Scarecrow told him that he felt nothing, being made of straw. He then took a small bag of bran, took his head off, and re-stuffed it with bran instead of straw. He sewed the head back on, and told the Scarecrow that now he had fully-fledged, bran new brains. The Scarecrow was delighted, feeling smarter than any man.

Next was the Tin Man. He asked for permission, and then cut a small hole in the Tin Man's chest. He placed a tiny, red candy heart into it, with the words "I love you" written in white. Then he took some liquid glue and placed him back together. The Tin Man immediately felt more loving and kind than even a saint.

Third was the Cowardly Lion. He took the Lion's plush form and searched through his drawer for a pin he had bought for the occasion. He found the pin—a small medal-shaped pin with a star on it—and stuck it onto the Lion's chest. Now he was a true hero, more courageous than any man has ever seen.

He returned the toys to Dorothy and told her that he would take her back home to Kansas. But, it had to take some time. He walked up to Dorothy, clutching her friends to her chest as tight as she could, and he knelt down to her eye level. They stared at each other for a moment, then…

"Father and Mother aren't coming back. Are they?"

"No, Dorothy. They aren't."

"Why not?"

"Because Dorothy…"

"Because they're dead."

"Aren't they."

"Yes."

Dorothy clutched to her friends, her eyes misting up. She turned them so that they faced her, and looked at each one of them closely. The Lion had gotten his courage, an object given to him to bring his true bravery to his own attention. The Tin Man had gotten his heart, a sweet candy placed within him to show how kind and loving he truly was. The Scarecrow had finally gotten his brains, bran-new and fresher than anything he could ever hold in his hand, making his head heavy with thought.

The Wizard explained everything to Dorothy. Her friends had what they wanted most all along, inside of them, but not visible. They could not see their desires, so believed they did not have them. But they showed them through their actions, and held their desires close to them.

He told Dorothy that she should follow their example. That she should keep her family and her home alive through her actions. She needed parents, yes, but her old ones were not truly dead. They lived on in her memories, her heart, and in her actions. Her family lived on in her friends; the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Lion.

There wasn't a thing in the world that her friends wouldn't do for Dorothy. Even if that meant she had to take her home, and send it away, to live on in them. Dorothy did not understand. But the Wizard assured her that he would not rest until she did, and she knew what was true from what was imagination.

She took one last, longing look at her three friends.

And cried.