Galinda sat in class with a strange look on her face. It was a look of defeat. She was gripping her recently graded exam with one hand and fiddling with her hair with the other, a nervous habit. 48. She got a 48 on her history exam.
Dr. Dillamond harrumphed all of a sudden to get her attention.
"Miss Glinda, I still haven't received an answer."
She didn't even bother correcting him on her name, she felt like she wasn't in the place to say anything. But she had to answer.
"Yes," she said timidly. "I'll get tutoring. This won't happen again." What would her parents say? Sure she needn't worry about getting a job after university, what with being born into high status. Her parents didn't expect her to get all A's or to make the honor roll, but they surely didn't expect this. For the first time in her life she felt... guilt.
"Very well, I have high hopes for you Miss Glinda. You'll find a way to get yourself back on track, I just know it." His eyes twinkled with something, something friendly. Galinda found herself smiling up at him, despite the situation. For an old goat he was fairly supportive and inspirational. Maybe that's why her roomie liked him so much...
The thought of her roommate made Galinda's smile fade. Her roommate, Elphaba. She was so weird, always reading, always prattling on about the mistreatment of Animals and history and evil—it had been evil recently, yes. That was the latest thing, so it seemed. But Elphaba was smart. She studied, but it wasn't necessarily her studying that gained her high marks. It was her ability to actually think. She questioned, everything, in and out of class, and it sometimes drove Galinda nuts. Just take it or leave it! Some of us actually have things to do, teachers to teach, students to listen and learn. But they did learn. They learned from the green girl that day she challenged Madame Morrible and her views on Animal rights, and every time Dr. Dillamond and her would bounce ideas off one another in class, stuck in their own conversations. She didn't know why she didn't like admitting it, but Elphaba's involvement had been helpful; Galinda would feel weird if her roomie wasn't butting-in every lesson. She liked how she could always tell when Elphaba's gears were going in that strange, pointed head of hers...
"Harrumph. So, do you have a particular tutor in mind?" Dr. Dillamond shook her from her daze.
"Oh, no. I don't. Should I?"
"Most certainly," he smiled playfully, then turned his back on her to address the board. They had been studying the Wizard's reign. "The next big test is in three weeks, and it's a killer." He used his stick to point to today's notes. "This, will be on it. As well as other things."
"What other things?" Her eyes had gone a little glassy after looking at the board; she had taken the notes with ease, but it was understanding them that she struggled with.
"Whatever shows up within these next few weeks." He collapsed his stick and made his way to his desk in that funny little way of his, and placed the stick inside one of his drawers. He clucked his tongue, amused, and then looked back up at Galinda. "This is why the quicker you get a tutor, the better."
Galinda bit her lip, looked down at her score again, and bit her lip harder.
"What are my options?"
"Well, there's me!" Dr. Dillamond lifted his arms up and posed, like he were a trophy. Galinda thought about it; she liked Dr. Dillamond, she did, but she couldn't imagine willing herself to his tutoring sessions throughout the week. She wanted someone she could relate to, although maybe that wasn't the smartest idea, given her score.
"I don't mean to be rude, but are there—" Dr. Dillamond put his arms down and raised a hoof as if to stop her.
"I know I know, seeing one's Professor more than necessary can become quite exhausting. I don't blame you." She sighed, relieved.
"So, what are my other options?"
"Well," he sat down at his desk to get more comfortable and placed a hoof on his chin, thinking. "You could ask one of your classmates if they'd be willing. They'd receive credit, of course, from me. Let me think... Who's doing well... Ah!" His sudden jolt startled Galinda. "Miss Elphaba is doing exceptionally well in my class. Why not ask her?" Galinda's eyes went a little fuzzy.
"My roommate?" My roommate?!
"Oh, even better! How easy this has been made for you!" Dr. Dillamond stopped himself before he could finish his thought, and Galinda knew what he was going to say: "How easy this has been made for you! Just like everything else in your life!" It made her mad and flustered, along with the idea of Elphaba as her tutor. It'd be another reason for her to have to listen to her in their dorm whenever Galinda tried to turn in for the night; she was able to go on and on, sleep didn't seem to be an issue for her. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, Galinda would wake up and find her reading in her bed, hunched over like a little old lady. Just go to sleep!
It'd be another reason to feel stupid around Elphaba, and for her to view her as an even bigger idiot than before.
"I don't think that'd be uh... a bright idea. My room, our room," she corrected herself. "It's distracting. I'd feel more comfortable in a more... academic setting." She patted herself on the back for that one. She was good at that sort of thing.
"Understandable, understandable," Dr. Dillamond grumbled, though he understood her point. "Just seems like a missed opportunity. Oh well, nothing terrible. Let's see..." He thought some more, Galinda's left leg was bouncing up and down, a little impatiently. She wanted to leave all of a sudden.
"Yes!" he said suddenly. "What about Master Boq?" She made a face. That boy who kept trying to pursue her, like a clingy, lovesick puppy?
"No, that won't be necessary. Thank you Dr. Dillamond, but I really should be going now."
"O-Oh, but what about—?"
"I'll figure it out, I'll do some digging and talk to my classmates," she was getting up now and packing her things. She folded her exam neatly and tucked it away in her purse, even though what she really wanted to do was to crumple it up and toss it into the trash. "Surely one of them will want to help me! Bye now!" She flew out the door and tossed a wave over her shoulder.
Dr. Dillamond simply chuckled and did a little wave back, then proceeded to tidy up his empty classroom.
Although she didn't figure things out. Galinda had made her rounds, asking her classmates if they'd like to tutor her, and included the bit about how they'd receive credit from Dr. Dillamond, but to no avail. She asked the smartest ones first, and when they politely declined, she asked the rest of them, desperate to find someone. They all said no. They smiled, made their voices go an octave higher, and wore pitying expressions, promising her that someone would come along. She knew the truth, however: she wasn't smart enough in their eyes. She wasn't made for tutoring, she was made for shopping and socials. She was a lost cause.
And while she did love to shop and to socialize, she also needed this. It was taking every bit of her to do it; that little voice inside of her kept telling her to forget about it and to just wing it. But she knew that wouldn't work. She knew Dr. Dillamond was right.
She opened the door to her dorm and closed it gently behind her, her shoulders slouching as she did so. She kicked her heels off lazily and lumbered in, her lip puckered into a small pout. She saw her roommate out of the corner of her eye, reading as usual, but didn't bother to change her dreadful posture and expression. She couldn't tell from her fuzzy peripheral vision, but Elphaba was smiling.
Galinda made it to the foot of her bed and let herself fall onto it; she got a pillow to the face and lay there quietly on her stomach, her arms limp at her sides, her feet dangling off the edge and pointed towards the floor.
Elphaba couldn't help herself, having watched the whole ordeal like it was a damn silent movie, she let out a hearty chuckle. She was still chuckling between breaths as she flipped the page of her book. Galinda heard this and lifted her head, turning it ever so slightly to peer at her roommate. She watched as Elphaba's shoulders moved up and down in the slightest manner as she laughed and how her teeth peeked through her lips in a small crescent. While she felt upset for being laughed at, a part of her, deep down, found the whole thing adorable. She hadn't seen Elphaba laugh like that. She hadn't seen her laugh at all.
"Excuse me, Miss Elphaba. What ever is so funny?" Elphaba stopped her chuckling, though barely. "Is my depressive episode really that amusing to you?"
"While I wouldn't call it an episode, you just kinda fell on your bed."
"Yes, depressingly." Elphaba was smiling to herself again, though she tried her best to hide it with her book. Galinda could see this.
"Are you going to ask me why?"
"Hm?" Elphaba looked up, playing the dumb card.
"Don't play dumb with me, we all know you're a genius," but this one seemed real to Elphaba. She could hear the change in Galinda's tone, as if she were choking back tears.
"What's the matter?" she asked, genuinely.
Galinda's lip quivered. She didn't think it'd be that easy for the funny green girl to ask such a thing; they had their sarcastic back-and-forths here and then, like now. It was their way of talking to one another, a communication, a secret handshake so to speak but with words. Now Elphaba had thrown the whole damn script away and was being nice. Oh, Oz.
She felt the tears coming but willed them to stop, her cheeks swelling and the rings around her eyes reddening. She hated this, it was humiliating. Especially in front of Elphaba, who probably thought she looked pathetic. But she didn't.
Elphaba placed her book down, not bothering with the bookmark, and made her way over to Galinda's bed. Galinda's eyes fixated on her, and she watched as Elphaba stood there a little awkwardly, not sure of what to do. She looked like a child, fidgeting with her fingers and averting her gaze. My goodness, she's embarrassed. Embarrassed for me? Why is she embarrassed, I'm the one who's supposed to be embarrassed. Then it occurred to Galinda that maybe Elphaba wasn't used to this sort of thing: comforting others. In a way it made sense; nobody comforted her, how would she have learned?
Galinda sat up and scooched over, enough for Elphaba to sit down, which she did. She looked uncomfortable, like she didn't belong there. But she had decided on this, Galinda realized. She wanted to know what was wrong, genuinely. She wasn't like the rest of her classmates who forced themselves to wear pitying expressions as they inched away; Elphaba had come to her.
It warmed her heart.
"What's the matter?" Elphaba repeated, a little softer now. Galinda thought about it, and decided that her test would speak for itself. She dug around the bed for her purse and pulled out the exam, handing it to Elphaba. Elphaba took it and unfolded it, inspecting it closely.
Well come on don't memorize it! Galinda thought, her chest hardening.
"You failed?" She handed it back, after taking one good final glance. "So what?" Galinda's eyes nearly fell out of their sockets.
"So what? Coming from the girl who reads in the middle of night!" Galinda wailed, batting Elphaba on the arm with her test.
Elphaba blushed, her face having gone a little slack. Her eyes, however, were peering at Galinda steadily.
"How did you know that?"
"While I'm not deaf y'know. The rustling of your pages, isn't exactly silent." Elphaba blushed a little deeper, feeling guilty.
"I didn't know it woke you up."
"Well, it does. And what do you mean, about my exam? Why the carefree attitude?"
"I just figured, since you don't really care about that stuff." Elphaba pulled her legs up onto Galinda's bed and crisscrossed them casually. Galinda, was speechless.
"I don't care about my grades?" Elphaba blinked at her.
"You sound surprised."
"What gave you the idea?" She was crumbling. Elphaba was too honest, she was her classmates but worse. So much for that.
"Well," Elphaba titled her head back and began to count on her fingers. "You don't study, you don't do your homework—"
"I do my homework!" This broke Elphaba's concentration for a moment, but she simply shook her head and continued.
"You copy homework. You're late to class, you talk in class, you sleep in class, you skip class, you—"
"Alright," she mumbled. "I get where you're coming from..." Elphaba smirked coyly.
"So why the long face then, Miss Galinda?" They addressed each other formally, though not as a polite gesture. It was more of a taunt. But Galinda was suddenly tired of it.
"Because, Elphaba. I actually do care about my grades, shockingly. And Dr. Dillamond says I need a tutor."
"A tutor?" This sparked Elphaba's attention, as well as hearing her name without the clever "Miss" in front of it.
"Dr. Dillamond offered his assistance, but we both knew that wouldn't work. Just a repeat of class, which I already don't get." She sniffled. "And then he mentioned you, and Boq, but I can't stand hi—"
"He mentioned me?"
"Well, yeah. You're the smartest in the class Elphaba, of course he mentioned you." She watched as Elphaba simply nodded, her gears working. Galinda knew she knew, that she had said no to that idea. She couldn't tell if Elphaba was hurt or not; she was just, thinking. Then she looked at Galinda and spoke.
"Boq was out of the question, I guess. Did he mention anyone else?" Galinda looked at her, looked for any signs of hurt behind those dark brown eyes. Maybe she wasn't hurt, Galinda thought to herself. Maybe she was relieved.
But Galinda knew, she was stung. Elphaba loved to tutor her on useless things, how was this any different?
"I left. It was getting stuffy in that classroom, even with nobody in it. I promised him though that I'd figure it out, ask our classmates if they'd be fit for the job."
"They all said no." She looked down at her dress and played with the hem. This was embarrassing.
"I'm sorry," Elphaba said after a while. "I mean it."
Galinda looked up at the taller girl, who still seemed to tower over her even though they were both sitting, and she smiled.
Elphaba smiled, and Galinda could see it this time. It was faint but warm, the tips of her lips dug into her cheeks softly. She looked sweet, Galinda thought.
Elphaba averted her gaze all of a sudden, then willed herself to open her mouth to say something.
"I can be your tutor, if you'd like." It caught Galinda by surprise; she was seriously starting to consider Boq, that was going to be her Plan B. But here was Elphaba, offering to teach her despite feeling, well... unwanted. It was a little inspiring, Galinda admitted to herself. It was like she was picking herself right back up after a fall. Although that's been her entire life, she realized. She waited until Elphaba looked at her again, wondering why she wasn't saying anything.
"I'd like that."
Author's Note: Thank you for reading my fanfiction that I feverishly typed at 4am! This idea has been swarming around my head forever, and I decided to put it to use! Please review and/or tell me if you want me to continue the story! I'll probably continue it on my own, because honestly, I enjoy this story, but reviews are still appreciated!