AN: This story is Glinda's side of the prequel to my first Wicked fic, 'No One Mourns the Wicked - But What About the Good?' Look for its sister fic, "There's a Kind of a.. Sort of a Cost", detailing Elphaba's side of this story.
"There's a couple of things get lost."
Smile. Don't think, don't remember. Just smile.
Glinda is making a valiant effort to do just that as her bubble hangs serenely above the jubilant crowd. The excitement rises in heavy waves from the throng. Glinda feels each ripple physically, battering against her carefully manufactured grin. The bubble wavers slightly in the air, as if sensing the mood of its mistress. Glinda wishes that she could just let go, let the bubble float where it will. Away from Oz, away from this, away from the mess that she is left to clean up.
Stop it. That's thinking.
But try as she might, Glinda cannot keep her thoughts at bay. Nothing can erase her memory of the Witch's final moments of life. All she has to do is close her eyes and she's back huddling in the drafty corner of the castle, listening helplessly to the final scream, that went on and on. It feels like ages ago, but it has only been a few hours.
And now, the citizens of Oz are celebrating. It's like a hundred days of Lurlinemas and birthdays all rolled into one. The Wicked Witch is dead at last, now their children can sleep safely in their beds. Even though Elphie had never done anything the slightest bit deserving of such a name and such a reputation, Glinda thinks. To her, all is forgiven.. Shiz, Fiyero, everything. If only there was someone around to forgive her...
For the next hour, Glinda carefully builds a wall inside herself, as she mingles with the party guests, her plastic smile gleaming brilliantly. She laughs at the jokes, speaks to wives, shakes hands with children. Plays the politics game. The Wizard is gone, Morrible imprisoned. In the course of one day, Glinda's life has gone from one of social climbing and make-believe importance to one of real position and responsibility. Glinda the Good, ready to help steer Oz from its shaky present into a glorious future. Stupid idea, really. Whatever had made her say it?
As time passes, the party begins to gather steam and the guests begin to get more and more inebriated. When the group gathered around Glinda begin to tell raucous tales about the Wicked Witch with the Captain of the Guard, she decides that she has had enough. She is no longer needed to lift anyone's spirits - for once, they are too high even for her. So Glinda summons her bubble, and makes a quick, quiet exit from the party. The guests are too drunk to notice that she's gone. The guards have their hands full with rowdy citizens, they won't be able to follow her. She can be alone.
For about half an hour, Glinda lets the bubble drift of its own accord, reigning it in only when it jumps too high or dips too low. Finally, it sets down on a quiet street, one she recognizes as being a few blocks from her quarters. Slowly, she begins to walk. The breeze ruffles her hair and makes her wish she brought a wrap along. As she turns the corner, she notices a child playing on a lawn, in the glow of streetlights. It is odd for a child to be out at this hour of the night, but this wasn't a usual night.
As she nears the child, the child turns toward her. Glinda can't help the small smile that spreads across her face. She is a pretty little girl. The child grins up at her. "The Wicked Witch is dead, miss!" She chirps, her dolly falling to the ground, momentarily forgotten. Glinda nods, not trusting her voice to carry a response at the moment. The child continues, chattering on in the way of the very young.
"My mama said I could stay up all night, to celebrate!" The child pauses for a minute, waiting for a response. When there is none, she stands up and moves closer to Glinda. "Your hair is pretty. Like my mama's. What's your name?"
"Glinda." Glinda replies, softly. The child may have heard of her, but who would expect Glinda the Good to be roaming the streets alone, at this time of night?
"I'm Elphie." The child says. Glinda blinks, and freezes on the spot for a moment.
"What did you say?" She asks the child, her voice carrying a slight waver. The child peeks at her with serious brown eyes for a moment.
"I said, I'm Chelsea." The replies, in a patient tone. "Are you all right, miss?"
Glinda takes a step back from the girl, still trying to sort out what she heard. The front door opens and a woman steps out. She beckons to her child, and turns guarded eyes on Glinda, unable to recognize her in the darkness.
"G'bye!" The child calls, and dashes inside. Glinda gazes at the closed door of the house for a moment, and then turns and summons her bubble. She has had enough of walking for tonight.
AN: I do not own Wicked, or Glinda. Yet. :-P
Ok, so I finally got the first chapter of this one done. All it took was a horrible day at work to get me in the mood! :P I hope to have the first chapter of Elphie's fic up soon, too - I'm going to try and write them concurrently, I'm planning links between them and all sorts of good stuff. I hope you liked it! I have nancystagerat to thank for helping me out and encouraging me with this chapter. :-)
Thanks for reading,