Inside Out

Author's note: hey all, this is my first time posting. I've hardly written anything in years but reading most of your stories and loving Wicked as much as I do I knew that it was time to dust off the old fan writing skills! So here's my first of, I hope, more offerings! You don't have to review but if you have helpful words of encouragement for this ancient writer please don't hesitate to leave them (ancient? I'm 21! Sheesh!)

This is an insert fic based on the book Wicked, after Elphaba has been living in the Vinkkus for some time


Disclaimer: I don't own the characters in this piece, only the plot.

It wasn't as though she'd never thought of it. How could it not have crossed her mind in over 30 years of her life? The only difference was, she had never had the means to do it. Now, as she looked at the ancient tome in front of her with its swimming words and hidden mysteries, her thoughts turned to the foolish hopes she had once held in her youth.

She did not keep mirrors in the tower for obvious reasons. Her appearance did not interest her. It seemed inconsequential because it was so hopeless. But during certain times of day the window that faced towards the east was able to show her reflection. She walked slowly towards it now and was greeted with the face she'd neglected for months, perhaps even over a year. To her surprise she hadn't aged as much as anyone else in her situation might have. Small wrinkles lined her forehead but for the most part she retained an outward appearance of agelessness. She had never thought herself a beauty, a long face, made longer by the thick dark hair that surrounded it. A prominent chin and sharp angled cheek bones, and a mouth set in a grim line. When was the last time she had smiled? Or laughed for that matter? In her sleep perhaps? On a whim she tried to arrange her face into a bright happy smile but it looked forced and almost condescending, which it was in a way, and she shook it away.

And then of course there was the obvious Elephant in the room. Her skin. She highly doubted that any being ever born had been more categorized and defined by the color of their skin than she. She tried to imagine what her birth had been like. Had they all been ready to receive her? Proud father, glowing mother, oh what a horror it must have been to see their first born, their hope and lineage emerge from her mother's womb as though she had been rotting away for nine months. She thought back to her own experience with such things. She remembered the darkened mauntery, candles and incense burning, the constant whisper of steady prayer shattered by her own screams. She had tried not to cry out, she had even told herself in advance she would not give anyone the satisfaction of seeing her in such a state of weakness, but the reality was that the pain was too great not to give in. So she screamed with every push and she wept, not from the physical pain but the anguish in her heart that this child would be a constant reminder of the love she had lost. She had feared it and loathed it since before it was born. But being so scientifically minded a part of her remained eager to see what would come of the pairing; between the woman with skin like emeralds, and the man with skin the color of rich chocolate. But the child was born pink, and healthy and normal. Almost as though no part of its parents lived within him.

A small pattering of rain began to fall and splash against the window. Even though she was safely out of its reach she still eyed the rain with contempt and wariness. She would never know if her allergy to water was due to her skin color or some other birth defect, but though the cause was unknown the results were quite clear. Water meant pain, something she had known even as a small infant. In a rash act she opened the window and boldly reached out a hand. She retracted it with a hiss as a drop made contact and burned her. Luckily the rain was still little more than a light mist and the burn would not need to be tended to. She stared down as the skin began to puff and rise.

Why had she done that? To prove to herself that she was still an anomaly? To hope that maybe THIS time would be different? Maybe just to be able to feel something, anything. She carefully closed the window and her own image swam before her again, bringing her back to her original thought. Was there some way? It seemed so trivial now, why change, what good would it do? The damage had already been done. All of Oz thought she was evil, wicked, and whatever other propaganda had spread about her. What good would changing be? It would bring nothing back. What would she do, start over? Fiyero would still be dead, it wouldn't make her any better of a mother, she had no desire to start a career or marry comfortably. All she wanted was to be left alone, and her green skin took care of that better than any spell ever could.

She glanced over her shoulder where the Grimmerie seemed to be breathing, or at least pulsing. She shuddered, though she had seen it many times before in the wee hours of the morning as she sat trying to make sense of it all. The book was almost alive, it seemed to glow with promise. She walked over to it now and gazed down at where she had left off, a strange sketch that kept changing, somewhere between what looked like a dragon and some other amorphous shape. Turning the page she scanned half-heartedly trying to force herself to make sense of it, much as she had reading the religious doctrines of her father's when she was young. She read to try and understand, not to gain power or to find something that would give her life meaning.

She had to laugh at herself if only for to break the silence. She, who had never had the faintest urge to deal in sorcery and magic, was in the tall tower of an ancient castle, bent over a book of spells while her Animal minions dozed silently around her. If she were a better witch she would be able to conjure some sort of answer key to hold up next to this text and make it make sense.

Like the passage she was looking at now. It wasn't swimming like most of the other text, in fact the print looked like something that would be in an ordinary book, but it was in an alphabet she could not decipher. But she continued to look at it. Something was different. The way the words were shaped, why was this passage standing so still? What did it mean?

She took the book in both hands and turned it upside down and the text on the page seemed to swing with it. She turned it on its side and still the words were in the same shape as if the book were right side up. Her breath quickened, she was on to something, what was the book giving her to read? A clap of thunder echoed throughout the mountain range startling her. She looked out the window where a flash of lightning was fading and as the light drained out of the sky the window became reflective once more. As she saw her face in the glass she leapt up from the table with a sudden idea. Picking up the book she laid it on the windowsill, tilting it up slightly so that it was reflected as well. A smile spread across her face. The words were readable! They still looked to be in different language but the alphabet was one she knew, she could sound out the words and they would hold still as she read them!

She opened her mouth but then closed it abruptly. She had no clue what it was she was about to recite, what the consequences would be. Still the curiosity in her was so overwhelming. Slowly, and with great care, she began to recite the words that had until then eluded her. As she spoke she wondered how an observer might view this scene, but those thoughts were quickly banished as she strove to concentrate on the words.

The page was separated into two sections, each containing one paragraph of the cryptic language. She reached the end of the first section and waited with baited breath. She waited and for awhile the only sound in the room was the sound of the pattering rain. Nothing came and she let go of the breath she had been holding in. It puzzled her. Why would the book make such a passage clear and then do nothing? She felt slightly disappointed that nothing had come of it and gave thought to giving up on the second section. But she was not one who could leave things unfinished.

So with slightly less enthusiasm she began reciting the second verse. It was a bit shorter than the first one had been and required less concentration on her part. She finished it and looked around the room for the walls to cave in, her table to levitate, SOMETHING. But all remained still. It had been foolish to get her hopes up it was all just some sort of trick of the book. If she believed in such things she would've called the book evil and possessed. With a sigh she closed the book and looked out the window once more and froze. The book fell from her hand as she stood in shock at the sight that met her eyes. Her reflection had changed. Her green skin was gone. She was too petrified to move and too in awe to tear her eyes away from her own face in the window. The woman in the window looked just as frightened as she felt and raised a pale white hand to a pale white cheek. Trembling she finally look down at her own hands and was met with more confusion when she saw that they were still green.

It was all too overwhelming, she turned away from the window and covered her eyes, rubbing them as though to wipe them clean and make them see properly. She struggled to remain calm. After taking a deep breath she opened her eyes and looked down at her hands once more. They were still the hands she had known all her life, long, articulate, and green. She raised the hem of her skirt and look to see if her legs were as she remembered them. They too were the same color green she had always remembered. Finally she turned to look into the window. She was more prepared to see what met her eyes but her mind still raced as she moved in closer. Her reflection showed no signs of green, only what looked to be a normal, even toned woman.

She sat down on the floor, her back to the wall. She talked calmly out loud to herself. Saying that it was a trick of the book, that whatever the passage was that she had read had caused her reflection to change and nothing more. She repeated this to herself over and over again until her heart beat returned to normal.

After a few moments she rose to her feet and turned back towards the window. Now that she was calmer she was able to look at herself with a more critical eye. She stared a long time at woman in front of her. Finally she closed the curtains and drew a veil between her and the image.

She had gotten her wish, in a way, a chance to see a different her. She didn't quite know whether she enjoyed it, but a large part of her was relieved to know that the change only existed within glass. She wasn't sure what that meant.

She picked up the book where it had landed at her feet and placed it on a high shelf. She had no desire to look at it anymore tonight. She told herself she was lucky, she might have done serious damage, and curse her for being so inquisitive. Hadn't her curiosity and stubbornness caused her enough pain?

She retired to a large leather arm chair, far away from the window and sank into it. A thought crossed her mind briefly. What someone else would have thought of the new woman? She was vaguely tempted to cross back and yank open the curtains but she knew she must restrain herself. There was no point in pining away at something that wasn't real. There was real work to be done; she had to remain strong for everyone in the castle who had now come, through need of guidance, under her care. She closed her eyes once more, trying to escape for just a short while. A small nap. She was so tired, just a few hours and she could put the whole unpleasantness behind her. But even as she drifted off in the high backed chair she knew that was not possible. She was not a being who forgot anything, and the image she saw was likely to haunt her like so many bad memories. A teasing glimpse of what could never be. What would never be. A final thought before sleep overcame her, what else had her dabbling done? What else had been affected by the spell and when would it show itself?

Without an answer she drifted gently at last into sleep.

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