Clenching Toto, she fell, scarf fluttering out and tears ripping from her eyes. Whenever she managed to crack an eye open, it was to see a blur of rainbow colors. She screwed her eyes shut, burying her face in Toto's fur. Finally, the air seemed to change. Her eyes stayed firmly shut.
Then she hit the ground.
"Are we dead?" she managed to squeak out. Hands pulled her up.
"No, you're not!" a familiar voice said.
Dorothy's eyes opened to see a bright landscape. A lion and a tin man stood in front of her with wide grins. She glanced between them, eyes widening. It couldn't be. "Tin Man...Lion?" They both nodded. Setting Toto down on the ground, the girl stared at them. Then she launched herself at them, laughing excitedly even as tears of joy ran down her cheeks.
"Dorothy Gale." Tin said when she pulled away. "Why, the last time I saw you, you were barely to my shoulder. And now look at you! A lovely young woman." He frowned as he noticed her scarf. "So that's where Scarecrow's scarf went!"
She laughed sheepishly, tugged at the fading blue fabric wrapped around her neck. It had become an essential part of her outfit. "Yeah, I stole it. I wanted something to remember this place by. The silver slippers fell off." She looked around for her beloved third companion. "Where is Scarecrow? What's going on? That rainbow really scared me."
"Oh! That must've been frightening- scooped up in a rainbow, trapped in bright colors...horrifying!" The Tin Man burst into tears, the other three sharing looks. Dorothy let out a yelp as he hugged her, sobbing loudly into her shoulder.
"He's been all over the place ever since he got his heart." Lion explained. "He once spent three hours telling 'Crow about how he must be a horrible person since he stepped on an ant."
"Where is Scarecrow?"
Tin pulled away from her. He and Lion shared looks. The latter stepped forward first. "It all started a month or two ago. Scarecrow was dedicating a stained glass window to you." He paused when he noticed a faint pink develop over her cheeks, traveling down her neck to disappear into her collar. A smirk formed. "Really pretty thing. You should've seen it. He really misses you-"
"Lion." Tin interrupted.
"Anyway, the ceremony got attacked by flying monkeys."
"Yeah!" Tin took over. "Random attacks over the next few weeks, as well as the ground randomly shaking. The Nomes- little underground goblins, in case you were wondering- were attacking." He continued to explain the events up to Scarecrow pushing the Kansas button. "A group of Nomes and flying monkeys got inside and we climbed out the window. Then we got captured."
The group furiously struggled as they w ere flown down to the main courtyard of the palace. Glinda prepared to wave her wand but it was snatched by a monkey. Said monkey flew to a massive crack in the ground and dropped the wand. A hand caught it- a massive Nome. He smirked at them all. "Hello Emerald City!"
"Nome King!" the blonde witch yelled. "Leave immediately!"
"I'm afraid not, dear Glinda!" He waved the wand and a pink bubble formed around her, trapped. He waved it again, and the Scarecrow was tied up with sturdy rope. He kept a stoic face as he was flown to be face to face with the Nome King. The enemy laughed meacingly. "So, this is the clever Scarecrow!"
"What do you want?"
"It's not what I want. It's what I get."
"Glinda used the last of her power to help us escape and we hurried to meet up with you." Tin explained. "They're both still prisoners in Emerald City. The only reason we think that Scarecrow hasn't been gotten rid of is for a trap for you."
"Me? Why would he want me? I told you, the silver slippers fell off my feet when I was going home. Otherwise I would've visited much sooner."
"Yeah, I think Scarecrow would've liked that- Ow!"
Tin pulled his elbow away from Lion's ribs. "Well, you've also made a name for yourself here Dorothy. With you killing the Wicked Witches, you've become the Champion of Oz." At her blank look, he smiled. "Scarecrow actually gave you that title the first anniversary of you coming." She stiffened, a childhood memory of sobbing into her friend's chest coming through.
"So, what's the plan?"
A/N: In the book, the ruby slippers were silver. They fell off when Dorothy returned to Kansas, making the rest of Dorothy's returns to Oz different. They included a shipwreck, falling into a chasm with the Wizard, and simply walking.