For an ever brief moment, he looked at her, standing there in the walls of the castle. “I just took off the shoes.” Dorothy said. “Thank God” said the Scarecrow as he grabbed her around the waist. She couldn’t say for sure when it had started, but their relationship had gotten wildly out of hand in her own mind somewhere between their friendship, her longing for the Tin Man and her desperate need to be good enough for the Cowardly Lion. She often quietly acknowledged to herself that although she wasn’t in love with his looks, he had enjoyed hers enough to look past her shortcomings.
“No one else is here. Liam and The Tin Man are gone. It’ll just be you and me tonight.” Caton couldn’t help smile. The straw in his hat sticking out, his shirt untucked, he looked as unkempt as the night he met Dorothy, but without Liam and The Tin Man to moderate, he felt unbridled with passion for her. “I love the way you think,” she said, as he gingerly kissed her neck, the soft scrape of his weather worn, untrimmed face on her cheek. He startled for a moment at her statement. He’d wanted to be smarter, to be faster, to be as smooth as the Tin Man for as long as he could remember, but always felt like it was an exaggerated, unlikely wish. The Tin Man was so good at remaining composed, so able to know exactly what to say next, and Caton struggled with the moment.
“I know you’re not alone, but I can’t help it. It’s uncomfortable how I feel about you. Uncomfortable and amazing and hot and painful and perfect. I want to remember the conversations we have; I want to know that we’re alike in this.”
Dorothy couldn’t say for sure what to expect, but she had known one thing for certain. With the Tin Man, she felt compelled to follow him and convinced that she knew his heart. With the Cowardly Lion, she felt ashamed of her past but so willing to do whatever was necessary to be good enough, brave enough, for him. With The Wizard, Dorothy felt as though she had been deceived in more ways than one; as though his stories and his actions were disconnected, and as though all of the good about her was often frustrating to him.
But here, with Caton, the Scarecrow in desperate need for acceptance of his brain, Dorothy was able to see how far she’d come. With Caton, Dorothy could accept where she’d been, and to him and his wonderful brain, she was the person she’d always meant to be. Caton was simply here, in the moment, and wholly accepting of her in a way that few people had been before. In his quiet, sarcastic friendship, she had fallen for him, and although she knew he was not the lifetime accomplice she craved, he was every bit as important as that character in her story. Caton frustrated her, refusing to give her the answer even when she asked, but the frustration was a slow itch in her skin. Unyielding, craving for the scratch, his very words, with his deep voice and the resonate questioning of a scholar made her very skin crawl, both with desire and frustration.
Now, in this moment, she would try to be brave enough to satisfy that itch as much as possible. Despite her concerns that acting on her deep rooted impulse would end the friendship she needed, Dorothy grabbed his face. “You are smart”, she whispered, looking deeply into the deep blue eyes surrounded by husk colored lashes. “You are exactly what I can’t get out of my head. I dream about you all the time. I hear your voice; your staggering one liners, and I know that I have to satisfy this. And I know this won’t work for long, but I cannot let this go. I just…want it. I need it. Is that okay?” Her voice faltered at the end as her courage got the better of her and her concerns for the Tin Man, the lion and wizard stormed out.
“It has to be.” He said. “You’re you, and I’m me, and this has to be enough.”