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The Fragile Heart

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As they walked further and further away from the Emerald City, China Doll became more and more confused. Atop of Glenda's shoulder, she held tightly to Glenda's hand and stared at her surroundings, the only thing familiar being the yellow brick road beneath their feet.

"Wh-where are we going?"

Glenda smiled at her timid question. "It's a surprise. From the Wizard and I."

"Oh…"

"What's the matter?" Finley asked. "Don't you like surprises?"

The Wizard shot Finley a look of annoyance but the winged monkey dressed in the bell attendant uniform only shrugged. "What? What'd I say?" And then the Wizard smiled at China Doll. "You… do like surprises, right?"

"Well…"

Carefully the Wizard picked her up and sat her on the ground, kneeling to be closer to her. "I know you've experienced some scary surprises on our journey; all of us have. But you can trust me. You do… trust me, right?"
China Doll smiled. OF course she trusted the Wizard. She trusted him more than anyone in the world. And so she nodded. This made the Wizard smile and he took her tiny hand. "Come, then."

They walked a bit further until they came to a crossing. "This should look a bit more familiar." the Wizard said.

They'd taken no more than two steps when China Doll's small eyes opened wide and she gasped at the sight. It was the most wonderful thing imaginable. Her city, her beloved China Town, which was smashed and shattered beyond belief, was now alive again.

She couldn't believe her eyes and even Finley was surprised. The shattered teacups, teapots, dishes and plats that were home to hundreds of China Dolls had been put back together. And even more amazing, the people of China Town were walking around on legs that weren't broken.

Her tiny heart warmed, remembering the kindness that the Wizard showed her, when he carefully mended her broken legs. She thought she would never walk again and the first time she saw the Wizard she was scared. But then he used his magic to heal her. It was a dream come true. Everything was perfect except…

"Is something wrong?" The Wizard asked.

"No, I…"

"I thought this would make you happy."

"I-it does, but…"

"You miss your family." The Wizard finished quietly.

She looked up at him with wide eyes. "Uh huh."

"Well, I thought you might say that. Good thing there's another part of the surprise. An even better part. But you have to close your eyes. Can you do that for me?"

"Uh huh." She said again, peering up at the Wizard. Her tiny hands went over her eyes, and she waited rather impatiently. "Can I open them now?"

The Wizard laughed a sound she had grown to love. "Not yet. Just a few more seconds."

China Doll could hear tiny hushed voices and suddenly she couldn't stand it anymore. "I want to see!"

"All right." Glenda said. "You may open your eyes."

Slowly China Doll moved her hand away and opened her eyes. And what she saw made her happier than she ever thought possible.

"Is this… real?"

Glenda laughed. "Of course it's real!"

"But how…"

"Magic." The Wizard said. "I am, after all the Great and Powerful Wizard of OZ, am I not?"

It was then that China Doll began to cry. "Mom! Dad! It's really you!"

The older China dolls laughed and took their daughter into their arms. It had been so long, much too long since they'd been a family and now they were reunited. After they had cried all the tears they had to cry, the China family drew back from one another. China Doll stared at her parents. They looked so much older, due to the cracks on their faces and the tiny holes that remained from where the Wizard had put them back together. They walked slower than normal and were much more fragile, but they were alive and she was happy. It was truly a miracle only a Wizard could perform.

She turned to the Wizard, suddenly aware of how big he was compared to her and her parents. His heart must have been enormous. And that gave her the courage to do what she'd wanted to do for so long. But her shyness returned when he noticed her looking at him.

"Is something wrong?" He asked for the second time.

"I-I…"

"Yes?"

She swallowed hard and smiled. "I love you."

The Wizard smiled bigger than she'd ever seen him smile before. "That's sweet." He said. "You're a good friend and I love you too."

But instead of feeling happy to hear those words, China Doll lowered her head. "Oh, but I meant that I love you in a… different way."

The Wizard's eyebrows rose in confusion and he glanced at Glenda, who was covering her laugh. And then he understood. He turned to the China Doll and gave another glance at Glenda. "You love me… in a different way?"

"Uh huh…"

"But you're just a little girl. How could you possibly love me in any other way than friendship?"

"Because you're smart, and funny and so handsome." China Doll sighed, causing his face to redden. How was it possible for someone of her size to have that effect on a person as Great and Powerful as the Wizard of OZ? It just didn't make sense.

She thought that Glenda would be mad, because that's who the Wizard loved in a different way. He never told anyone but China Doll could see it, and she knew that Finley could too. But Glenda smiled and picked up China Doll.

And then China Doll felt herself floating as Glenda wrapped her arms around the Wizard, leaning against him. "You're right about him being Great and Powerful and handsome." She said. "Because I happen to agree."

The Wizard however wasn't happy. He was concerned that he'd hurt China Girl. And so he looked into her tiny eyes and tried to explain. "I'm extremely flattered that you love me, but I'm engaged to someone."

Every head turned toward him, but no one was more shocked then Glenda. "And just who is this person?"

When he said nothing, she gasped in horror. "No… please don't tell me you still want to marry Theodora. She's awful, she-."

But Glenda could say no more, save for the touch of his lips on hers. And then he got down on one knee. "I am engaged, or I will be. If you'll have me."

Glenda gasped as the Wizard waved his hand and amid a streak of stars and sparkling dust, produced a shiny new diamond ring. "Glenda, will you marry me?"

She wasted no time in allowing him to slip on the ring onto her finger and she kissed him deeply, but nor before giving him her answer. "Yes! Yes, I will marry you! I love you!"

"I love you too, Glenda!"

Cheers of happiness were everywhere as Glenda and the Wizard kissed. But their happiness was short lived when they noticed that China Doll was crying.

"We've hurt her." Glenda gasped. "Oh Wizard, I don't know about this. I want to marry you, so badly, but not if it means breaking the heart of someone so fragile."

"I'll talk to her." He said.

"No, I'd better do it." Glenda suggested. She gave him one last kiss and went to the China Doll was crying into a large handkerchief.

"China Doll? Can I talk to you for a minute?"

China Doll bit back a sob and turned to Glenda. "Okay."

"What's wrong? I know you love the Wizard, but don't you want him to be happy?"

"Yes, more than anything."

"Then why-."

"Because I …"

"What is it? You can tell me anything. Aren't you happy for us?"

"Well, yes but I'll never see you again!" The China Doll sobbed.
"Of course you will! Whatever gave you that idea?" Glenda asked.

"Because you have to go back to the Emerald City and I'll be all alone!"

"But you have your family! Don't you love them and want to be with them?"

"Yes… But you're my family too! You and the Wizard and Finley."

Glenda wiped tears from her eyes as the Wizard returned. "Is everything okay?"

"She's afraid she'll never see us again because we'll be in the Emerald City."

"She's more than welcome to come and visit us." The Wizard said. In fact, everyone in China Town is welcome to visit my palace as often as you like!"

"But my legs! They're so small!" China Doll cried, among the cheers of the China Town residents.

The Wizard looked at her thoughtfully. "Hmm… That is a problem. What if I send my carriage and I'll order the woodworkers to make a special seat in it just for the people of China Town. That way you can climb into the carriage whenever you'd like and come visit."

"But how..."

"Just make a wish and say Emerald City please and within minutes, my personal chauffeur will be here waiting."

"Really?"

"Really." The Wizard said with a smile.

With more strength than she knew she had, China Doll jumped into the Wizard's open arms. "I love you." She said again "I love all of you!"

With his friend Findley, the tiny China Doll family, the sweet little China Doll and his fiancé at his side, he was happier than he ever dreamed. It was the best gift he could have received. And this time the Wizard didn't question what she meant by saying "I love you." It didn't matter, because love isn't love until someone gives it away.

THE END