Sins of the Father
DISCLAIMER: Wicked was created by Stephen Schwartz, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. As I am neither of those people, clearly I own nothing.
AN. So, basically one day, I was walking to school (which I guess is technically work, but I always call it 'school' still), listening to my iPod and "A Place Called Home", which is from the 2004 A Christmas Carol movie starring Kelsey Grammer and Jennifer Love Hewitt came on. (Not my favourite of the Christmas Carol movies, but I love that song. It's also the name of my Harry Potter fanfiction I wrote a few years ago).
And somehow through the song, I had the idea for a Wicked version of the Dickens classic. Hardly original, I know. Except when I thought about it, it was Frex I saw as Scrooge. So here it is. It's only 5 chapters, but I hope you enjoy it. I can't say when the next long fic will be up, so this will have to hold you.
FYI, my favourite version of A Christmas Carol is the Muppets version. Because… it's the Muppets. Although I also love the 2001 animated version, or rather, I love the song "What If" that Kate Winslet sings in it (I kinda adore Kate Winslet).
Thanks to Maddy for helping me sort out a few thoughts when I had the idea! I hope you enjoy actually reading it. And thanks to the Wizard of Wicked for the cover.
Chapter One: An Unexpected Visitor
All of Munchkinland was decorated for Lurlinemas. Lights, candles, tinsel. A sudden epidemic of anything glittery, sparkly or remotely festive spread throughout the province, decorating houses, fences, farms and even a few animals unfortunate enough to be caught unaware by their masters. Cut down pine trees shone stood proudly in windows of houses, each adorned with their own individual decorations.
All, that is, except for the big white house atop the hill that was the Governor's house. Although no one in Munchkinland was surprised about that. The Governor's wife, Melena, had loved Lurlinemas and the house had always been cheerfully decorated inside and out for the season from the time she and Frexspar married, to the year she died. After that, the house had gone dark.
Inside however, the Thropp's eldest daughter, Elphaba had ensured that there was a decorated tree and some form of festivation for her younger sister, Nessarose. Even if her father couldn't stand the idea of a big celebration at Lurlinemas without his wife, Elphaba remembered enough to want those happy memories for her sister.
A small tree, simply decorated, stockings hanging by the fire and a few simple Lurlinemas traditions. That was all, but it was enough to make sure Nessarose loved the holidays as much as her mother had, and Frex dreaded it that little bit less. Anything to bring his tragically beautiful youngest daughter joy.
This year, however, was different. Inside and out of the great white house, there were no decorations. Nothing to signify this time of year was any different.
It was Lurlinemas Eve, and Governor Frexspar Thropp sat in his study, resolutely staring at the document he was supposed to be reading; determinedly ignoring how empty the house felt. And just as determinedly ignoring the fact that it was his own fault. Frex, as usual whenever possible, blamed Elphaba.
His daughters were in their second year of Shiz now. Nessarose was doing beautifully- she was getting good grades, had made some good friends, and all her teachers praised her. Elphaba was apparently doing well too. The year before, for their first year at Shiz, the girls had come home for Lurlinemas break.
Nessarose had chattered endlessly about Shiz and her friends, telling her father every unimportant detail of the past semester she had been able to think of. Elphaba had been strangely quiet, but Frex hadn't questioned, hadn't inquired. Why should he? It was better that way.
It was over the summer when everything had gone wrong.
The girls had come home for the summer and Nessa had let slip that Elphaba was dating the scandalacious Vinkun prince, Fiyero Tiggular.
Frex didn't know the prince, but he knew his reputation. He had heard the rumours and speculation; the innuendo, the outuendo. And it was more than enough to know that this was not the kind of boy that was appropriate to associate with Nessarose. Frex could see what his daughters couldn't- that Fiyero Tiggular was only "dating" Elphaba to create a stir, a scandal. A scandal that he didn't want Nessa involved in. Besides, Fiyero didn't truly care for Elphaba. He couldn't. There was no way.
Frex had tried to be rational with his eldest daughter, reminding her that her actions reflected upon their family and therefore, Nessa's future as Governor. He had warned her that Fiyero was just leading her on, and that it would be better if she ended it as soon as possible.
Elphaba, in typical Elphaba fashion, had refused point blank. She insisted that Fiyero loved her, and she loved him. She told Frex in no uncertain terms, that there was absolutely no way she was going to end her relationship with the prince, no matter what Frex said or did.
That had been the beginning of a huge war in the Thropp household. They had argued all summer, resulting in the biggest fight the day before the girls left to go back to Shiz. Frex had threatened to withdraw Elphaba from school; Elphaba had in return threatened to run away. It had been so big that Elphaba had- accidentally, she said- blown out every light fixture in the house. Finally, Frex had told his daughter that if she insisted on bringing further shame on to the family, not to bother coming home.
Elphaba had simply looked at him coldly, and nodded. "Fine."
They hadn't spoken since.
Not that they spoke a lot, usually, but there was nothing. And that was why Frex was spending Lurlinemas alone.
Elphaba had refused to come home for the holidays, and as Nessa was unable to travel unassisted, the girls were spending Lurlinemas at Shiz. Nessa was caught in the middle between her father and her sister, and she hated it, Frex knew. But there was nothing he could do about that, unless Elphaba came around. As far as Frex was concerned, he had washed his hands of his green daughter. It was up to her now.
Frex knew how this would play out. Either Fiyero would break her heart, or involve her in a scandal, and Elphaba would come crawling back to him for help.
Frex jerked his head up from his work, his heart pounding.
Had he just heard a voice?
It was impossible, he was alone in the house. The housekeeper had left three hours ago, to spend Lurlinemas Eve with her children. There was no one here. Shaking his head, he returned to his document.
There it was again. Louder this time. What frightened Frex most however, was that it sounded familiar. It almost sounded like… Melena.
No. Melena was dead. She had been for nineteen years. He was obviously just tired.
It was definishly a voice, definishly female and very, very scarily similar to his late wife. And then Frex looked over and froze.
"Melena," he choked out hoarsely.
There she was, his beloved Melena. She looked as beautiful as he remembered, the flowing auburn hair; the brown eyes with little flecks of gold; the slim figure; the long thin nose with a dusting of freckles. She was wearing a simple cream gown, and she looked not quite solid, but not transparent either.
Frex's first instinct was that he was hallucinating or dreaming. Maybe this was nothing but a very vivid dream. Or maybe he'd had a stroke and was dying.
"This is real," Melena said gently.
Frex just gaped at her. "But… how?! How is this possible? You're… you're dead."
"I am," Melena agreed, nodding. She sounded very casual about the fact.
"I don't understand. This can't be real. There's no such thing as ghosts!" Frex insisted.
"I'm less of a ghost, and more of a spirit," Melena offered.
Frex didn't think that made what was happening any more believable. "What's the difference?" he asked instead.
"A ghost is someone who's died but hasn't passed on because of unfinished business," Melena said simply. "A spirit comes for a specific purpose."
Frex paused. "What purpose is that?" he asked, not sure if he wanted to know the answer.
Melena didn't answer. Instead, she approached Frex and sat casually on his desk. Something she had done a million times before, and Frex had forgotten all about.
"How are the girls?"
Frex's face lit up. "Oh, Melena… darling, you'd be so proud of our Nessie! She's so beautiful, and smart, and kind. She's grown into an elegant, mature young woman. She reminds me of you in so many ways," he beamed.
Melena smiled softly. She reached out and traced the frame of a photograph of Nessa that sat on the corner of his desk. She couldn't actually touch the frame, but she traced it with a gentle finger.
"She is very beautiful."
Frex smiled proudly.
Frex's smile faded. "Elphaba?" he repeated.
Melena looked at him. "Yes, Elphaba. Our other daughter. Remember her?"
"Of course," Frex replied shortly, but said nothing else.
She raised an eyebrow. "Well?"
"She's fine?!" Melena repeated incredulously. "That's all you have to say? I've been dead for nineteen years, and Elphaba is fine?"
Frex shrugged. "She's fine. She's still green. She's at Shiz, she takes care of Nessa… she's proven herself very… capable."
He had almost said "useful" but he didn't think Melena would approve of it.
"Hmm." That was all Melena said, her lips thin.
"What?" Frex demanded defensively.
Melena glared at him. "Frex, I know you and Elphaba aren't talking. I know everything."
Frex got up from behind his desk and began to pace, avoiding her gaze. "She's too headstrong," he complained. "I tried being rational with her, but she insists on defying me at every turn!"
"And what exactly has she done that's so horrendible?" Melena asked him.
Frex paced more furiously, then whirled to face his wife. "Did you know she's dating Fiyero Tiggular?" he demanded.
"Yep, I know," Melena said calmly.
She acted as though there was nothing wrong with that idea.
"And you see no problem with that?!" Frex cried incredulously.
Melena waved a hand in his face. "Um, hello. Who do you think sent him to her?"
That stopped Frex dead in his tracks. "You- you what?!" he gaped.
"I sent him to her," Melena repeated evenly. "Of course, it's not that simple but the logistics of it all are hard to explain."
"But- why?" Frex spluttered in horror. "Have you seen the boy? Have you heard the rumours? He is not appropriate to be associated with Nessarose! He is-"
"Good for her," Melena cut him off.
Frex genuinely wondered if being dead had affected Melena's common sense. "Please, inform me how exactly he is good for Nessarose?"
Melena glared at him. "For Elphaba."
Frex didn't understand.
"Fiyero makes Elphaba feel good about herself. Something she severely lacks and really needs," Melena said firmly. Then her tone softened. "Frex, he loves her. And she loves him."
Frex scoffed. "I'm sure that boy has told a million girls that he loves them. Really, Melena-"
"I'm dead!" Melena exclaimed pointedly. "I know a few things you don't, Frexspar. And I can tell you, 'that boy' loves our daughter. Elphaba."
She gave him a hard stare. "This is exactly why I'm here."
"For Elphaba?" Frex asked in disbelief. "Then why are you here talking to me, instead of Elphaba?"
"Because to help Elphaba, I need to help you."
"Frex, you've been a terrible father," Melena said, her voice growing cold.
He gaped at her. "Excuse me?! I've given Nessarose-"
"I am not talking about Nessarose!" she interrupted loudly. "For the love of Oz, Frex. I am talking about Elphaba. The best thing you have ever done for her was send her to Shiz, and even then you only did that for Nessa! From the moment she was born, you have treated her with nothing but contempt."
Frex rolled his eyes.
"In the first minutes of her life, you called her obscene and ordered her to be taken away," Melena reminded him coldly.
"She's green," Frex reminded her, as though she had forgotten.
"You blame her for my death," Melena said icily, her tone barely a whisper.
"-Was three years old. It was our- sorry, your decision for me to eat the milk flowers. You had no right to blame her. And there has been no reason for you to treat her the way you have every day since."
Melena's voice was shaking quietly, and Frex had never seen her so mad, dead or alive.
"You need to pull your head out of your ass, Frex. You need to realise that you- we have a beautiful, smart, kind, loving daughter who, yes, happens to be green. And if you don't start treating Elphaba better, you're going to lose her. And you have no idea just how bad that will be for you."
"How could it possibly affect me?" Frex asked her.
Melena didn't answer. "Tonight, you will be visited by three spirits. Each spirit has something to show you, something that you have to learn. And if you don't change… I can't help you."
"Three spirits?" Frex repeated sceptically.
"The first will come at exactly the stroke of twelve. This is your last chance to change, Frex. And quite frankly, it's more than you deserve."
Looking at Melena, he realised he could see through her now. She was beginning to fade.
"Tell the girls I love them," she said softly. "And I am so proud of both of them. Goodbye, Frex."
Before his eyes, she faded away, until Frex was alone in his office once more.
AN. If you don't know either of the songs I mentioned in the above AN, I'll put them on my blog for you guys to see.