~AUTHOR'S NOTE~ (if you don't read this you will be *very* lost!): This fic is based mostly on the book Wicked but I'm changing the ending because I DON'T LIKE IT! Just to warn you, this is the kind of fic that starts out vague and gets more detailed. So if you're confused, don't despair, you'll pick more and more things up as the chapters go on. If you don't like the idea of me changing the ending…well, too bad. I don't really think this is going to be a problem but…yeah. This one's for me. So I welcome your comments, but please don't flame repeatedly just because you don't like the whole idea of the story.

Those of you who have read my RENTfics call me Angst Queen, so just in case you've never read one of my stories before this is your fair warning. I like to be mean…no not mean…WICKED to my characters.

I don't own any of the characters or places in Wicked. They are the property of L. Frank Baum and Gregory Maguire.

Just one final note after all my long ramblings, a huge thanks to Risa (Arch of Wand), Mo (MaureentheDramaQueen), Liv (Bohemiancane04), and Mari (em0xstatic) for their encouragement and help getting me started.


Chaos. Chaos and destruction. That seemed the inevitable future of the Emerald City.

In the one week since the Wizard's departure, an uprising had taken place. The city of gold and emeralds was being overrun by machinery, by metal, by pollution and death.

The Clock of the Time Dragon sat in what had once been the Wizard's chamber. Grommetik had become second in command and was put in charge of the daily operations which took all "living" beings from the city and into work camps in the rotting wasteland that had once been Quadling Country. The scent of drying blood and the fear of innocent people filled the streets, along with the sharp metallic odor of the city's new mechanical ruling class.

This was the atmosphere that Boq stumbled into after four long days of traveling. He'd come home from a meeting of the local farmers to discuss the status of the current drought only to find Milla and the children gone without a trace. The animals had all been freed after what appeared to be an attack on the barn door with a battering ram, and there were spots of blood in the front yard. After hearing similar stories from the neighbors, along with the rumor that people were being secretly spirited away to the Emerald City as some sort of renegade retaliation for the secession of Munchkinland, Boq had thrown a few belongings in an old burlap sack and started on the long road toward the city. He'd hardly rested along the way and had made it there exhausted, but in record time.

Boq tripped over what he at first assumed to be a piece of garbage, then gasped as he realized it was a cloak. Soaked in blood. He shuddered violently and pulled his own coat closer around his shoulders. Times were changing so quickly. Every time he went to bed, he found he was more and more afraid to drift off for fear of what might happen while he was asleep. He sat down on a dirty bench by the side of the road, trying not to think what he might be sitting on, and scrounged around in his sack for something to eat. His probing fingers were met with a slimy substance. Boq recoiled, wiping his fingers roughly on the ground. He opened the mouth of the sack and peered in, realizing an instant too late that he shouldn't inhale. He nostrils were filled with the pungent scent of rotting cheese and he gagged, swallowing bile and throwing the sack to one side.

A giggle from somewhere over his left shoulder made Boq jump and blush furiously. He turned and looked, then blushed even harder, covering his face with his hands.

Glinda stood just a little off behind him and to the left, dressed in a pale blue gown that made her look nearly four times her size, surveying him with a barely concealed smirk.

Boq felt his heart speed up just a little, despite the fact that he had banished any remaining threads of romantic interest in her all those years ago at Shiz.

The sack had landed on one of the back posts of the bench, caught by one corner, and was now flapping slightly in the gentle wind almost like a kind of perverse flag.

"Well, Master Boq," Glinda said thoughtfully, "what an interesting way to make yourself noticed."

Boq laughed uneasily.

"How nice to see you again, Miss Glinda."

He stood and beckoned her over, and she sat delicately on the bench beside him. They sat side by side for a few moments in awkward silence, eyeing one another without actually looking. Finally, Boq cleared his throat.

"So. . .what brings you to the Emerald City? These are dangerous times, you know."

Her face fell at that and she looked away for a moment before answering.

"I guess I came to find out if. . .it's true. About Elphie."

Boq nodded gravely; he had the sudden urge to put his arm around her as much for her own comfort as for his own. The news had come as a surprise, erupting one morning as suddenly as the tornadoes had come. The Witch was dead. The Wizard was gone. All in the same night. All of Oz was in an uproar. Celebrations the likes of which had never been seen before. Then just as quickly, the fallout and the aftermath. A mass slaughter in the capital. People disappearing all over the country, being stolen away in the dead of night and put into the awful work camps. The news of the Witch had faded quickly, paling in comparison to the tiktok revolution.

Boq gave Glinda another sideways glance, then gave in and lightly laid his arm across her thin shoulders. She flinched slightly, but didn't push him away.

"Do you think she really was wicked?" Glinda asked finally.

Boq started to answer, but was cut off by the sounds of a scuffle and someone screaming a little way up the street. He was on his feet and running toward the noise before his mind had even fully realized what was happening.

A few yards up the road, an old woman wrapped in a thick brown cloak was attempting to fight off what looked like a small crowd of homeless children. Boq felt a pang at the thought of his own family, gone now, perhaps for good. He shouted at them a little and waved his arms around and the children gave up, running into the shadows. Glinda caught up to Boq almost simultaneously and stepped in front of him, helping the old woman brush herself off.

She looked like some kind of gypsy, dressed in old gray rags. Boq thought he vaguely recognized her and the feeling sent chills up his spine, but he shook it off, dismissing it as lack of sleep and shock over recent events.

"Are you okay, Miss?" Glinda asked, ever the polite one.

The woman nodded, then pointed at Boq.

"Mother Yackle came all this way to give you a message."

Boq jumped in surprise. Yackle. The name haunted him as images of that night at the Philosophy Club came flooding back. He shivered.

"A message?" Glinda asked, giving Boq a strange look.

"You have a friend who needs your help."

"Where?" Glinda asked suspiciously. "And why should we trust you?"

The old woman cackled.

"In the Vinkus. You should trust Yackle because if you don't, your friend will die."

Boq narrowed his eyes at her.

"Who sent you?"

"Yackle answers to no one. But you could say she comes with Kumbricia's blessing."

Boq and Glinda turned to look at one another, and in that moment the old woman vanished. When they turned back, all they saw were late afternoon sunbeams reflecting off the spires of the Emerald palace. Neither said anything for a while, but they both knew in their hearts that there would be no refusing the cry for help.

Questions? Comments? The more reviews I get the faster I write…