Fandom: Wicked: Bookverse
Disclaimer: I do not own them. I do own a poster from the play, though, because I think it’s unnaturally sexy.
Archiving: This will be at www.realmoftheshadow.com/harper.htm with the rest of my drivel. Thanks Kim.
A/N: This tends to follow along with the book, fleshing out parts that don’t exist but should. I’m sure I didn’t do them justice. I suppose it would help (a lot) if you’d read the book, as I reference a number of things that happened in it. If you’ve got any comments, direct them to Feedback, no matter the flavor.
If Glinda were pressed, she would grudgingly admit that she had been a bit fascinated with Elphaba since their first day at Shiz. Of course, then she was known as Galinda, and her fascination bordered more on hatred and distaste than it did on like or interest, but that was neither here nor there. Feelings change, as did she, and her feelings regarding the subject of Elphie had definitely undergone a paradigm shift.
When she’d put the other girl in her bright, flower festooned hat, it had been with the sole intention of brightening up her evening by bringing misfortune to her unfortunate roommate. The results had been, of course, quite unexpected, and if she’d known that a little splash of color would transform the Munchkinlander into something pretty, she might never have bothered for once she got the thought in her mind, it was devilishly hard to rid herself of it.
Elphie was pretty.
True, it was a bit of a string bean sort of pretty, as she was as slender and straight as a stick, without the luxury of softly rounded hips to act as handrests. She was also green, but Glinda found that, over time, she came to quite appreciate the luminous, pale emerald cast of Elphaba’s skin. Nanny had told her once, while drunk on sweet wine, that Elphaba’s mother had been possessed of the softest, most pearlescent skin ever to grace a human being. Glinda wasn’t sure that it wasn’t nostalgia and drunkenness talking, but she couldn’t dispute that there were times when she couldn’t discern the brush of Elphie’s skin from that of her softest, finest silk.
Later in life, when she’d been given the luxury of maturity and time, she would say that she enjoyed the intellectual, oft-times philosophical, conversations Elphie insisted upon holding. At the time they were a great bore, and she would never had dared mention that she’d spoken on topics so stuffy and somnambulant, but there was a secret thrill to be had in discussing great issues with Elphie. It was the intensity of her gaze, perhaps, or the banked fire of her convictions. In conversation, Elphie became even more beautiful.
The night after Dr. Dillamond was murdered and poor Ama Clutch was taken to the infirmary suddenly suffering from a very real once imaginary illness, Glinda had looked up from her sleepless bed to see Elphie staring at her. It was disconcerting, as Elphie’s skin tended to ensure that she blended into the darkness, and so Glinda was left looking only at the whites of her eyes, punctuated in the middle by the darkness of her irises. The effect was undeniably spooky and she nearly screamed, scrabbling up in bed and clutching her pillow to her chest in a particularly poor choice of protective armor.
“What’s the matter with you?” she had snapped, blonde curls nearly trembling in indignation.
The floating circles that made out the corporeal part of Elphie had disappeared, reappearing only after a long silence. “They’ve murdered him,” was all she said, normally caustic voice soft with sorrow, and Glinda had felt something inside twist up slightly in an uncomfortable ball. She’d not known Elphie to care about anyone, except perhaps Boq and the now dead Goat, and it was disconcerting to hear something like despair in her tone.
Glinda might not have been the best choice to offer comfort, but she was acutely aware that she was the only one. Dainty feet had slid into frilly pink slippers, and by the time she’d closed the scant space between the two beds, Elphie had managed to pull her long frame in on itself so that she was hunched up tight, pressed back against the wall like a cowering animal.
Because she thought it the appropriate thing to do, and because she’d secretly been wondering at the texture of that gorgeous inky black hair for quite some time, Glinda had reached forward. The move had been met with a flinch and the turn of a head, and it turned out that she was able to do little more than brush back the long fall of it so that it was tucked behind Elphie’s ear. It was her first real contact with the other girl, aside from casual touches unavoidable when one lives in close proximity with another. When she’d first seen Elphie, she would have sworn that she would have cut off her own fingers before daring to come near green skin, and would have meant the empty declaration with all of the indignation that she might have been able to muster at 17.
That night, she found herself wishing for more.
“Oh, Elphie,” she sighed, and her thumb traced down the sharp, angular plane of a cheekbone, barely brushing over the corner of lips made gray in darkness. “He was your friend, wasn’t he?”
She had the distinct impression that Elphie was crying, though her eyes remained dry. “He was my teacher. My mentor. He was brilliant. He sought justice where there was none, through logic and rational thought and scientific proof, and now he’s been killed for it. Don’t you see, Galinda? You can’t fight truth, and if you fear it so greatly, you do not hesitate to silence it.”
Glinda (for she had only decided in her head earlier that day that she was going to give Dillamond the honor of her name change) did not see it, but knew that Elphie did. She also knew that she trusted Elphie, empathically and completely, and so what Elphie saw she saw as well, even if she didn’t understand it.
And again she did not know what to do, other than nod sympathetically, and so she scooted up as close to Elphie as she dared and wrapped her arms around her. Elphie was stiff in her embrace, as pliant as a plank of timber, though she radiated the unexpected heat of humanity. Glinda did not admit to herself (and certainly not to Elphie) that she was surprised by that, or by the way Elphie’s skin felt against her own.
Much later they eased down into the bedding, and she was as surprised by Elphie’s willingness to have here there as she was at her desire to stay. Against her own more voluptuous frame, Elphie felt about as substantial as a water reed, though Glinda did feel the hint of slightly sloping breasts against her own. It was reassuring to her, the knowledge that Elphie was, after all, a girl just like she was, despite her greenness and her angularity and her wickedly sharp mind.
Glinda was surprised when Elphie had arranged things so that they could stay together with Ama Clutch in the infirmary. Of course, it meant the invasion of Nanny and the mysterious Nessarose, but when she finally drug herself up from moping over her inadvertently filled prophecy, she was glad that Elphie had done so. Nanny and Nessarose weren’t scheduled to arrive for a fortnight, if not slightly longer, what with the business of uprooting their lives to go about, and she even if she’d been willing to accept living in the dorm as some sort of ill-conceived penance, she was secretly relieved not to have to see the move through.
Because Elphie wouldn’t entertain the notion of sleeping in her bed, eyeing the window distastefully when Glinda mentioned it hesitantly her second night in the other girl’s bed, Glinda had permanently relocated. She found she was able to think more clearly when Elphie’s thin form was pressed into her back. Her mind didn’t spin with thoughts of Dillamond’s slashed throat and Ama Clutch’s ramblings, and instead calmed itself into a peaceful blank. She was frankly surprised that Elphie allowed the familiarity, but figured that the other girl might be so afflicted as well.
It was the fifth night of shared slumber when Glinda discovered something most shocking. It was unseasonably cold, the air in the room chill, and Elphie was sleeping deeply at her back in what was their now normal routine. Only this night, Elphie’s arm tightened around her waist, pulling her back more tightly, and she’d found herself with her buttocks pressed firmly against the other girl’s hips, with Elphie’s breath puffing lightly against the back of her neck. The other girl had stirred slightly, body arching sinuously behind her, and Glinda felt her breath catch. There was a little spark of flame deep within her, one that had hinted at existence on the day when she’d allowed Boq’s kisses. This one was much stronger, even in its infancy, than that one had been, and Glinda had to wonder at it.
She wasn’t a complete ingénue, but she wasn’t nearly as worldly as she would have liked to convince others she was. Nevertheless, she had a sneaking suspicion she knew just what that spark portended, and for the rest of that sleepless night, she fought it with every ounce of strength in her being. She might draw comfort from Elphie, but she didn’t need to fan the spark of that flame with her and was determined to most emphatically ignore any notions to the contrary.
Of course, it was painfully hard to do so, particularly the following night when Elphie’s hair slid free of the braid she’d fastened before bedtime to brush against Glinda’s cheek. She knew from the soft sighs that Elphie wasn’t truly asleep, because sleep brought with it a cadence of deep, measured breaths that almost lulled her to sleep with their regularity.
And so, even as she told herself to stop, Glinda had twisted in Elphie’s arms so that she was facing the green girl, eyes pleading and searching in the dark light.
“Elphie, there’s something peculiar inside of me,” she’d whispered guiltily, because she couldn’t allow her friend to continue to wrap an arm around her waist and drift off to sleep with the terrible, growing spark gathering strength in her belly.
Elphie’s eyes had immediately gone dark with worry, and she’d wiggled in an attempt to extricate herself so that she could check Glinda for signs of sickness when a small, pale hand on her cheek stopped her.
“A fever, Glinda? What type of illness do you suffer?”
Glinda would have been touched by the note of concern in her roommate’s voice had her stomach not been tied up in knots. Instead, she whispered the truth of the matter. “I cannot say, Elphie, but it pushes me to do things I ought not.”
Her kiss was shy, so quick as to have almost been missed, and when she managed to open her eyes long seconds later, Elphie was looking at her in confusion.
“I know,” the other girl cried breathlessly. “It’s scandalous. Horrible. Embarrassing.”
Elphie was silent for a measured moment. “All of those things, surely,” she said in monotone, and Glinda wanted to bury her face in her hands and hide. “But not unwanted.”
Glinda found that people who happened to be green didn’t kiss any differently from people of any other color. Elphie may have kissed differently, with her intensity and desire tempered first by shyness before giving way to unfettered exploration, but that was simply because she was Elphie, not because she was green.
It took Glinda four days and a few discreet enquiries to discover just what to do about Elphie’s kisses. Before then, she’d stolen as many as she could, falling into the intoxication of the well kissed every night before burying her face in Elphie’s shoulder and breathing in the vaguely pleasant scent unique to the other girl as she drifted to sleep. Armed with her new knowledge, though, she was ready to do much more than that.
“Glinda!” Elphie gasped, taken by surprise by the slim fingers that had stolen underneath the hem of her nightgown to skim up the outside of her thigh.
Glinda had halted but not stopped, fingers scratching a lazy pattern. “I want more, Elphie,” she pouted. “Do you think to deny me?”
Glinda had taken great joy in the fact that she’d shocked her normally sharply verbal roommate into a semi-verbal state, until she’d realized that the condition might not allow for a proper conversation regarding the issue.
But then Elphaba seemed to recover, to pull her wits back around her and sharpen her gaze. “I have no wish to deny you, Glinda, just caution about where this path will lead.”
And wasn’t that so like her Elphie, Glinda decided, making up her mind to find the other girl’s reticence charming instead of infuriating. Always thinking logically, always jumping ahead to consequences and not taking the time to luxuriate in the getting there.
In a rare spate of naughtiness, Glinda had flashed a coy and cunning smile and slid her nails up just a fraction of an inch more, her voice seducing even herself as she murmured, “I think I know exactly where this path leads.”
She could tell that Elphie was shocked by her boldness, but she let her slip the ragged old nightgown from her bony shoulders nonetheless. Glinda found her endearing, with her long, coltish legs, spindly arms, barely there breasts and gleaming skin. Of course, she didn’t tell Elphie that, because she knew full well that the other girl would rather be damned than be endearing.
“Atheist you may be, but I’ll have you praising the Unknown God tonight,” Glinda had murmured, and she’d meant to say the words only to herself, but from Elphie’s moan knew she must have uttered them aloud.
She’d not thought to lose her innocence in the arms of Elphaba, the horrid green girl who was the laughingstock of the majority of the school, but as she slid her fingers into the wetness between Elphie’s thighs, she couldn’t imagine it happening in any other way. Elphie’s long fingers bit into her sides, and she winced and mewed in response, but Glinda was far too caught up the tight arch of Elphie’s back and the wild thrash of jet black hair to do anything about it. Instead she kissed an emerald nipple, scraped it with her teeth and soothed it with her tongue, and then kissed Elphie with a sloppiness born of desperate passion as the other girl jerked and shivered in her arms, the natural grace lacking in her everyday existence somehow reversing in on itself so that it became a sinuous dance of seduction under Glinda’s touch.
Elphie’s long fingers stripped her of her pink, frilly nightgown and played over her skin with a skill Glinda imagined to be sorcery written in flesh. In lovemaking, Elphie was as stern and dedicated as she was in everything else, and something about the hooded look of control and want on her face as she hovered over Glinda made the blonde girl’s body clench tight with anticipation.
“You’ll not be able to take this back,” Elphie had intoned darkly, her words a stark warning even as her fingers pressed into Glinda.
And Glinda bucked, blushing prettily as she said, “And I’ve no one I want to give it to more than you. Will you refuse my gift? You already have my heart, Elphie. Take the rest of me to go along with it.”
She thought that Elphie blushed too at her pretty speech, but it was much too dark to be sure and besides, she was distracted by the feel of those unendingly long fingers sliding into her.
After, they lay twined together in the way only lovers can, and Glinda smiled at Elphie’s slight frown. “There will be none of this,” she’d commanded airily, reveling in her newfound freedom to lean over and kiss the scowling lips. “You’ve gotten yourself well and truly stuck with me, Miss Elphie, and you’d best accustom yourself to the fact before you do permanent damage to your pretty face. I’ll be expecting to see quite a few more smiles now, do you understand? Being with me is not something to fret and trouble over. Instead, I do believe you should indulge yourself in a celebration.”
“You forget, apparently, with whom you bed,” Elphie had drawled in her sharp, sarcastic way, and the multiple meanings of the words hit Glinda all at once, much too fast for her to make sense of them. “This is a pairing which will bring joy to the hearts of none.”
“It brings joy to the heart of me,” Glinda pouted, but snuggled closer, burying her head beneath Elphie’s chin.
“Well,” Elphie amended pragmatically, “to none outside of this room then.”
“And you are in this room, are you not?” Glinda challenged, but her voice was heavy with impending sleep. “Is this joy I hear in your voice, or regret, already.”
“Not regret,” Elphie admitted, though she admitted nothing else.
“I must be most clever,” Glinda said flippantly, crouched on her knees and elbows above Elphaba, bellies and breasts brushing, “for I can make even the most stoic moan and writhe in passion.”
She thought Elphie might have blushed, and added saying outrageous things that provoked such a reaction to her list of favorites. “My mother was a passionate woman,” Elphie replied, when she finally found words to speak. “As I take after her in nothing else, it stands to reason that this, then, is what she’s left to me. I am a wanton hussy under your touch, Miss Glinda, and I believe this makes you unbearably proud. Obviously, I must temper my response to you or risk the unstoppable expansion of your already weighty ego.”
“Oh, don’t you dare, Elphie,” Glinda scolded, a scowl flitting briefly across her face. “If I’m to have to put up with you being you the rest of the time, then I should at least be able to hold fast the knowledge that you are the you that’s mine when we’re here. I’d be terribly disappointed in you were you to turn into a limp, frigid stick.”
“It was, in retrospect, an obvious mistake to believe you were the naïve, innocent girl from Gillikin that you appeared to be. Obviously you’re quite wicked beneath all that flounce and blonde hair, and when those perfect pink lips part, out flows not the sweet murmurings of a country girl but the naughty taunts of a seasoned seductress,” Elphie said with a sniff, and Glinda’s face screwed up in a pout, not quite able to tell if her lover were teasing or reprimanding.
“You, of anyone, have the proof that I was that sweet, innocent country girl until the other night, when you coaxed forth any other persona I might now possess,” she protested, eyes flashing in the candlelight.
“And what a monster I’ve unleashed,” Elphie said, though there was a tenderness in the words that took away the sting, that made them sound almost like a loving endearment.
And Glinda sighed, and stole a quick kiss that soon turned long. “Why is it that I’ve fallen in love with the most stubborn, contrary and irritating girl in all of Shiz?”
“I don’t know,” Elphie said solemnly. “You’ve clearly gone mad. And please, if we’re listing my attributes, let’s not forget green. We must never forget green.”
The reference to her skin made Glinda positively glow with pride inside, because Elphie never made mention of it and certainly not in jest. To do so implied trust of the highest order, but calling attention to the privilege so carelessly granted would most certainly result in its retraction. So, glaring slightly, lowering herself so that she was stretched out fully on Elphie’s slight form, Glinda instead reprimanded, “Now is not the time for teasing, Elphie. Store your supposed wit for the moment, and unleash it upon the unsuspecting at a more appropriate time, such as when I’m not doing this…”
Elphie’s reply was a sharp gasp that slid effortlessly into a moan, and the smile that descended on Glinda’s face was nothing short of devilish.
When Nanny and Nessarose appeared, Glinda found she was not well versed in the art of stealth. Elphie was forceful, insistent even, in her pleas for Glinda to return to her own bed. It would not do, she’d mutter, for one of the two to come in and find them twined around one another like naked strands of rope.
Glinda, naturally, ignored her.
“Oh Elphie,” she’d sigh, and snuggle even closer to that bony chest. “You think I’m going to give you up for something so small as the fear of discovery? Let Nanny and Nessarose watch from the doorway as I bury my head between your thighs for all I care. Let them write poetry about the sound of your screams as I touch you. Let them…”
“I quite get the point,” Elphie drawled, lips pursed and brows arched. “I also notice your reticence to leave, and have taken into consideration the effort that might need be expended to haul you back to your own bed. And while I’ve no wish to listen to Nanny’s horrified screams and Nessa’s unionist lectures on the nature of evil and sin, I have even less wish to upend you from a place you so desperately wish to be.”
“So practical of you, Elphie,” Glinda praised, her voice a sugary sweet confection that somehow implied barely hidden irritation. “Could you not just skip the verbal thicket and admit that you want me here too, or will your reputation suffer from my singular knowledge that my desire and love is returned?”
“I think you’ve never suffered from the lack of anything, save a good dose of common sense,” was Elphie’s reply, to which Glinda snorted in a most unladylike manner.
“We’ll see then,” she said haughtily, insinuating a hand between the tight press of their bodies, “how well your cold resolve stands in the face of my touch.”
Elphie tried to fight the rush of arousal, damning the wetness that immediately flooded her. “Glinda, no. No.”
“Elphie, yes. Yes,” Glinda taunted, fingers already making quick work of the swollen bit of flesh that made Elphie wiggle and writhe like a thing possessed.
Elphaba’s admission of love didn’t come until it was veritably torn from her throat, uttered in a tight, pinched voice that sounded almost like it carried with it hatred, as she cradled Glinda against her chest to keep her from fainting into the muck of the market place. She was still fuzzy about the head, having buried Ama Clutch and suffered through her meeting with the Head, but she heard the words (and uttered in public, no less) and immediately felt like fainting again.
She’d been rather gruff, though later she wished she’d said it back. But she’d felt a bit cheated, somehow, that Elphie had said the words in the rankness of the open square and not in the privacy of their shared room, and so she wasn’t going to say it back and allow their first full set of exchanged vows of love to be forever associated with the overpowering smell of horse sweat and feces.
There had been little time for declarations of love past that. A week, a mere seven days that, when she looked back on them, had slipped through time with the quickness of an otter at play. She almost wished that she could have persuaded Elphie to accompany the others to the Philosophy Club following Ama Clutch’s memorial afternoon tea. Perhaps they would have gotten caught up in the hedonism of it all (because Glinda had heard tales and, oh my, were they tales). But Elphie had fashioned a mission for the two of them, and depressed and willing to follow her headstrong and fierce lover wherever she may lead, Glinda had found herself on the way to the Emerald City.
They slept in dingy inns along the way, the beds narrow and lumpy, with just enough room for the two of them and not an inch to spare. Rather, Glinda slept, during nights after lovemaking that had turned desperate and feverish. She found herself driven nearly mad by the need to draw climax after climax from Elphie, drowning her doubt and skittish fear in the sweep of her tongue and the artful twist of her wrist. And, for some reason, Elphie let her, crying out and shivering until her body was racked with pleasure, the full brunt of it dancing perilously close to pain. Later, Glinda would collapse in exhaustion, still feeling vaguely hollow. As she’d wake through the night, her sleep fitful, she’d felt the steel tension of Elphie perched next to her, fingers digging just a tad too deeply into her upper arm, so that she’d have to eschew the dress with the cute little capped sleeves the following morning lest their fellow travelers see the bruises.
Elphie would sleep only during the day, her hair a soft tickle against Glinda’s cheek as the carriage jostled and bumped. Glinda would glare at anyone officious enough to make any sort of sound that might wake Elphie, and the glares and strange looks she received in reply would have sent the old her running for safety. She knew what some of them thought, when they turned avaricious eyes toward the pair, taking particular note of the way Elphie’s body curved into hers in sleep. Her eyes would flash in response, almost daring them to ask her so that she could prove their suspicions correct. Yes, they were lovers, she wanted to shout, but she kept her own counsel, wondering if perhaps she were imagining things.
She felt, in some moments, an intense desire to take Elphie away from the stares. Some of them, she knew, came only because her traveling companion was green. As if Elphie could help her color, she’d think indignantly, and purposely not remember her own initial terror at seeing the verdant girl.
After they’d finally arrived in Emerald City, gotten an appointment to see the Wizard the following day and secured a room for the night, Glinda had been glad. Elphie’s hare-brained plan was almost at an end, and they could see the vaunted Wizard and finally have some peace. And then they could return to Shiz, and to trying to keep quiet so Nanny and Nessarose would remain blissfully oblivious to the antics going on in the room on the other side of the door from theirs, and Glinda could have Elphie all to herself. They could be away from the prying stares of strangers, without the sense of desperation hanging over them, and she could rather gently begin to indoctrinate Elphie into her view of what their future together would hold. Of a certainty, her elaborate plans did not include intrigue and danger, above that of the risqué assignation, as her short acquaintance with it had engendered a fierce distaste.
Elphie herself was almost feral that night, teeth and fingers a little too rough as she touched Glinda. But Glinda didn’t complain, because secretly she liked it and was glad that Elphie wasn’t overly convinced of her delicacy, like so many were. And after, as they lay there together, Elphie had looked at her seriously.
“I’ll tell you this again, though I’ve already said it once. I love you.”
The words sounded so final that Glinda felt a wave of despair sweep through her, bringing tears to her eyes. One slipped past her nose, landing with a plop on Elphie’s forearm, and she watched as the other girl winced, as she wiped furiously at the spot with the worn, thin blanket.
“None of that,” she said, voice strained, “unless you’re trying to kill me.”
Glinda had frowned and kissed it better. “I love you too, Elphie, and whatever it is you’re planning, I wish you’d change your mind.”
Whether she’d had the contingency plan in place at that moment or not, Elphie certainly put it into motion the following day. Glinda, for all her feelings and words of love, sat stone still on the carriage seat, too afraid to stay but even more afraid of moving. Her heart pleaded and cried, begged her to chase after Elphie and follow her on whatever the next ridiculous crusade she’d picked might be, but her mind hadn’t been quite sure that was the course of action she wanted to take. Because, while Glinda did love Elphie desperately, there was only so much excitement and intrigue she could take before it all became a bit overwhelming. After all, she was a spoiled girl from Gilliken, not a dashing heroine abandoning all to right the world’s wrongs at her lover’s side.
Not that the half-life she returned to was really worth living, but by the time she was safely ensconced back in Shiz, fielding questions about their disappearance and Elphie’s whereabouts, it was too late. She’d missed her window of opportunity, and was now faced with a solid brick wall, with no way to break through to the other life she could have had making itself available.
When she met Fiyero unexpectedly in the Emerald City five years after saying a final good-bye to the hallowed halls of Shiz, Glinda was certain that, somewhere around him, lurked the indisputable smell of Elphie. It was faint, a barely there whiff carried on an almost non-existent breeze, but she knew it better than she knew her own.
His answer to her seemingly innocent question of just how, exactly, Elphie managed to keep clean in the face of her water allergy, gave him away. She knew of Elphie’s ministrations, of course, had even rubbed the oils into that glowing green skin with her own hands back in their shared room at Shiz. Fiyero’s too quick answer, and the hint of blush barely visible on ochre skin, told the truth. She would not doubt that old women in the mountains of Vinkus used the same technique to clean weathered, dry skin, but it was not that old tradition from which he drew his knowledge. His was of the more intimate variety.
She tried not to hate him for knowing where Elphie was. For touching Elphie. For having her, when Glinda could not. Glinda tried not to hate as a general rule, but having been abandoned and, apparently, forgotten by the one true love of her life left quite a sting. She’d filled the void with Sir Chuffrey’s money and power, while Elphie had apparently filled it with Fiyero. Nothing about that arrangement struck her as even.
Nevertheless, she tried to entice Fiyero to dinner with the promise of a rejoining of the circle of old and of friends not seen in years. She was confident that, once lured to her home, she could separate him from the pack and lure him into a private interview, poking and prodding in the guileless way she’d developed until she extracted as much information as he possessed. She’d learned to be sly in the intervening years since she’d been left alone in that carriage, how to mask her desire for knowledge of Elphie behind a fey, bored sort of inquiry despite the fact that factual morsels about her were worth more than any amount of emeralds or rubies. And should Fiyero be able to tell her exactly where to find Elphie… why, she’d abandon her fortune to him in an instant. And then she’d probably kick him rather squarely in the shin for daring to love her lover.
Fiyero never came, of course, and she learned nothing more of Elphie than she already knew. Which meant she knew nothing at all, other than the rumors floating about claiming Fiyero was dead, that he’d been beaten to death in what was clearly a low rent love nest. No one said anything about an accompanying green stain, however, so whether Fiyero had really been meeting with Elphie (which her mind told her was true) or whether she’d made the whole thing up out of desperate longing (which she wished was true), there was still no Elphie.
The whole deal had driven her into such a deep depression that she later heard her disconsolate reaction sent the theory that Sir Chuffrey had offed Fiyero as a reaction to discovering an affair between he and Glinda to the top of the list of speculations. The irony would have made her laugh, and the resulting triangle between all the parts of that puzzle that were actually true might have made her head spin, had it not been so utterly tragic all around.
When the Eminent Thropp finally shoved off to his eternal reward and Nessarose had been named his replacement in lieu of her absent sister, Glinda had taken to visiting the Colwen Grounds in the hope that she might find Elphie there, perhaps hiding in the gardens or moaning about in the dungeons. She did find a little of her, in the company of Nessarose and Frex, Elphie’s father, and at times the urge to slap the two of them into silliness for what they had undoubtedly put a juvenile Elphaba through made her palms itch.
Elphie never did come, until Nessarose had been buried beneath a house and Munchkinland had entered into a state of revolt. Glinda had thought her heart might burst upon first seeing her old lover, but in her nervousness and her inadvertently distressing actions, she found that she’d alienated Elphie. Where she wanted to draw the other woman in her arms, well aware that nigh on 20 years had passed and that neither was the same woman that had huddled together in those trundle beds on the way to see the Wizard so many years ago, she instead found herself chatting nervously and saying all of the wrong things about well-meaning deeds that had gone all wrong.
But how was she to know? Elphie had never displayed the slightest interest in fashion, so the notion that she’d throw such a huge fit over Nessa’s old shoes (and indeed, they were well past their prime) had never entered her head when she’d given them to the newcomer, Dorothy, who might have brought with her to Oz a house but had neglected proper footwear.
She’d felt the finality of their last parting when they’d swept past one another in the garden. Too embarrassed by her seemingly unreturned need and accidental faux pas, she’d at first passed Elphie without speaking, thinking that in silence she could no longer upset. But there had been something about the determined set to Elphie’s jaw that had pulled at her gut, and she’d wanted desperately to take the other woman from the destruction of her ancestral home to somewhere she would be safe, and most importantly, attended personally by Glinda herself. So, she’d called out, and she’d used the power of her mind to impress on Elphie the importance of leaving everything behind to try and recreate, in some small way, their too brief time together at Shiz, but it appeared that, like all the things Glinda wanted most desperately from life, this wish was not to be fulfilled.
The night of Elphie’s death, Glinda felt much like dying herself. She didn’t know it had happened, at least not in any rational sort of way, until a week later. The emptiness inside might have alerted her much earlier, but she’d been living with that for so long that the deepening of it hadn’t alarmed her as much as it should have.
As she’d already been grieving for a love lost for two decades, she slid into the formalization of it with remarkable ease. Sir Chuffrey took alarm at her sudden lack of appetite and, because of her intense desire for it, did not question the expense she incurred searching down and acquiring Elphie’s pointy black hat. It seemed to make her happy enough, though the emotion rang hollow within her, to sit and stare at it for hours, and he’d always been an indulgent husband so denying her never entered his mind. He had heard from mutual acquaintances that his wife had been good friends with the Wicked Witch of the West during their time together at Shiz, and presumed her grief and lassitude to be some sort of sisterly reaction to the death of an old friend, no matter that the old friend had, by all accounts, gone both mad and homicidal in her last days.
Glinda would stare at that hat, and hold pretend conversations with it in her head, until she thought that maybe she’d contracted the disease she’d made up for Ama Clutch all those years before. Elphie didn’t occupy the hat, of course, or leave some lingering bit of her spirit in the weave of the cloth that magick could pick out.
But, as Glinda had only her dreams and her pretend conversations with a rather abominable specimen of fashion to sustain her, she tended to ignore the trivialities. As it was, she could only hope that Elphie’s rather staunch stand against a belief in an Other World after death didn’t mean she wouldn’t be granted entry as Glinda was sure that, given an eternity, she could fashion the life with Elphie that she should have had in the current one.
So long as Elphie wasn’t too stubbornly revolutionary (off on some crusade in the supposed paradise of the Other World, no doubt) to let her, of course.