Title: "Choices" Part 1/?

Rating: PG(-13?) for now, will move up later...

Subject: MUSICAL, but has hints at the book (but nothing that would spoil it)

Summery: Galinda is a changed woman after the 'death' of Elphaba, and on her road to redemption, she hits a slight bump - the Wicked Witch of The West herself...

Warning: UnBeta'd!

Author: VixenRaign - AngelicSinner


Galinda crept almost silently up the stairs, still worried she'd been followed or she was being watched. She knew she wasn't, but the fear of the slim possibility alone scared her beyond reason. Glancing to make sure the hood of her cloak hid her light hair and covered her dress, she made her way towards the famous tower of the still abandoned castle. She was shocked the hierarchy of Oz hadn't turned this place into some kind of attraction; Come see the room where the Wicked Witch of the West was burned into a soggy puddle of death! ... It made her sick some times. She was just glad that people were still so afraid of her, even dead; it was probably the only reason this place remained still and solemn.

If what the stories she'd heard were true, she was glad that she'd not been there to witness the event for herself; sometimes just imagining it made her stomach churn and a cold sweat gather on her upper lip. But at the same time, she wished she'd been there with her, in more than just the physical sense. She wished she could have been there for her dear-friends last moments on earth. As she reached the top of the stairs, and opened the large, heavy wooden door, she took in a shuddering breath.

It was hard to miss. there was nothing else in the room, not a table, not a chair. But there was a smell. Like bread that had molded in dirty water, pollen, and eggs... rotten eggs. It hung in the air, but collided with her senses when the door swung open. The windows in the tower, unlike the rest of the castle, were latched shut. From the looks of it, they had even been boarded close; as if in hopes of keeping her ghost hostage, should she become one. For some reason the first thought that passed Galinda's head as she slowly took baby-steps into the room was that it didn't smell like Elphaba.

Elphaba had smelled like dust, and wool, but more than that she smelled like cold wind. Especially the last time she'd seen her; as though all those broom rides in the night had enhanced it; solidified it. She had never smelled like any of those things, so why did it smell like that in there, even almost three months later? Was that the smell she gave off when she came in contact with water? Galinda doubted it, but decided not to question; just ignore it.

Reaching into her cloak, she pushed her hood back off her face with her fist. In it, she clutched three white lilies. She had paid for a dozen, but she couldn't hide them all in her coat without ruining them. The people who'd rejoiced in her dear-friend's death had said many, many things that'd up-set her, but a few stood out above all. Many of which she'd repeated so as to make sure they didn't doubt her... If they trusted her then, they were less likely to object when she started slowly trying to change a few things in Ozian society.

Nothing had ever inspired her to do good, real good, more than the death of her best friend. She'd supported intensive investigations into the abuse and mistreatment of Animals, and donated significant time to a cause calling for reform within the government. She had even sent anonymous letters to an underground news organization that put one and one together on the fact that the 'Wicked Witch' had been trying to expose the Wizard for the fraud he'd turned out to truly be. Yes, Elphaba has asked her not to clear her name, but the fact that she wasn't doing more than she already was kept her up at nights.

Truth be told, she'd spent many nights awake these past few months. the space between them seemed to get smaller and smaller as the weeks went on. One thing that bothered her most about all this was the fact that -- despite that no one would mourn Elphaba -- there was no place to do so. No grave. No body, placed in the ground for it's eternal rest. It had taken her a while to find a time where she could afford to slink away into the night to make this trip, but she had been determined.

She knew people would miss her, she'd be worried if they didn't, but that didn't matter. She needed to come -- she needed to see it for her self. Maybe it'll help me move on? Help me let go? Unnamed God she hoped so. The ache was often too hard to cope with, even now, all this time later. As she approached the pile of singed and sickly smelling fabric, the tears in her eyes burned like the water that'd killed the person that'd meant more to her than anyone else she'd ever known.

Taking in a deep breath through her mouth, partly to avoid the smell, partly because she felt that she needed all the oxygen she could get just then, she held the flowers over the familiar black dress. it was the same one the emerald girl had worn the last time she'd seen her. One of the lilies petals were slightly bent from being tucked against her body as she hurriedly made her way through the streets, and all of them were a little flattened.

Sighing, Galinda gently placed the flowers on the ground. Pinching her eyes shut tight, she willed the tears not to fall. She didn't want her make-up to run. She knew it sounded vain, but it wasn't for the same reasons. If she was here -- her ghost, her spirit -- she didn't want to look the bawling, sniveling mess she knew she'd become if she let those tears drop. Placing gentle but shaking fingers over the stems of her three lilies, She patted them gently. But as she did she realized something... the dress was solid. and still wet.

Suddenly, her eyes no longer were focused on forming tears, instead the drops of water cleared so she could see more clearly. picking up the lilies again, and prodding the dress where she'd placed them, she saw that the floor seemed to move a little as she jarred the stiff garment. Looking at her hand, she saw that whatever kept the dress wet had gotten on the tips of her fingers, and was bright yellow in color.

"Yellow." she whispered urgently to herself, "Not green." she suddenly thought. Tossing the flowers to the side, she tried to move the dress to see the actual scorch mark on the floor for herself. it wouldn't budge. In fact, she found the screws where it was nailed down. raising a tentative hand, she knocked gently on the floor. It was wood underneath, not stone as the rest of the floor had been. But to her ever growing shock she had to add the fact that there was something moving in whatever lay below what the dress was hiding.

"Fiyero, we really need to --" Came the familiar voice, though it was cut short as it looked up. It seemed that there was a trap door under what was left of the dress. And in the frame of the opening was the very person she'd come here to mourn. But Elphaba didn't meet her eyes. Instead, the first thing she'd seen were her shoes, that matched her simple, but still very pink dress, which Galinda watched those green eyes roam over as her vision slowly made it's way up.

They flitted up quickly to see the bright blonde curls, but seemed fixated on the cloak she was wearing. It was thick, and made of wool. Somewhere between a deep navy blue and black, as though it couldn't make up its mind. It could not have been less Glinda-like, and that was why she'd picked it. Her green eyes remained fixed on it as she climbed what must have been a small step-ladder until she was once again taller than the blonde.

"What are you wearing?" she asked, sounding shocked and critical. The small portion of her brain that still hadn't entirely evolved from the snobbish girl she'd been when they'd first met wished to retort that it wasn't her idea, and that she was one to talk as this was exactly her style of clothes.

But seeing as that was a very minute portion of her, and had no control of her limbs whatsoever, she opted to instead nearly charge her friend down in such a fierce hug they both nearly toppled over. "You've been dead for three months, and that's the first thing you have to say to me?!" She wailed angrily from her perch at Elphaba's neck.

The force with which the taller girl was being hugged almost hurt, in fact it did a little, but she understood. All she couldn't figure out was what in all that's Ozian the girl was doing here, and in the dead of night no less. Then she caught sight of the Lilies in her peripheral vision and understood. She was deeply touched by the gesture.

"You bitch!" Galinda cried, pulling away and looking so frustrated there wasn't a word for it, "You bitch! All this time -- and you never told me!" she yelled, pounding a fist into the green girl's chest, the only thing she could think to to - to get her back - to punish her for all this pain inside her. "You've been alive, all this time, and you never said anything, never let me know! Don't you trust me? You Evil, Dirty, Mean, Wicked --!" she said, beating her with every syllable, until she seemed to run out of words, her tears over-taking her again, until she was just all out sobbing and knocking her at a steady and fast rhythm. By then the pain seemed to catch up with Elphaba's guilt, and she knew she had to stop her friend.

Now it was her turn to pull Galinda into a tight hug, partly in hopes of getting her to stop, but mostly because - yes, she too had missed her dear friend. She'd missed people in general, but Galinda was the person she'd wanted to see most of all, wished it had been the bright and happy girl that often stopped in to keep her company and bring her news... she wished she'd told her, but she knew it was easier not to... But that didn't make it right.

The girl kept beating her fist against her, against her sides, her back, but because of the odd angle and the force of her sobbing the blows became lighter, slower, until eventually the blonde just clung to her tightly, crying. Elphaba held her too, lovingly, cradling her head in her hand and a solid arm around her waist. And as the girls tears rolled down her neck, she tried not to flinch, knew that this was the pain she most deserved for the hurt she'd put her greatest friend through.

Galinda didn't feel her flinch, but she did feel her stiffen. Opening her eyes to see what might have caused it, she caught sight of the small marks her tears were leaving. Pulling back frantically with a gasp, she tried to wipe them away, but didn't want to incase that'd only make it worse. Elphaba tugged on one of her long sleeves and used it to wipe the offending liquid away. When she looked she saw that Galinda was biting her bottom lip, looking at her neck so guiltily it made the green girl's heart break a little.

"It's fine," she assured her, placing a hand on the blonde's shoulder, "... just stings." she said, Glinda looked down at the now open trap door, then back at her friend, eyes wide and full of pain an confusion. Elphaba shrugged tiredly, "It was necessary." Galinda nodded, like she understands, but she knows she doesn't; there's plenty she doesn't understand.

Stepping out of the hold her friend held her in, Galinda walked to one of the boarded windows. what little light was in the room spilled from the hall and a candle that must have been in the small room under the trap-door. Placing her hands delicately on the sill, trying to look her usual calm and composed self, she tried to get her thoughts in order.

The difference of having someone and losing them has a great impact on one's feelings. When they were younger, and in school, Galinda had learned to really care for Elphaba. She'd become one of the few people that was interested in her; not for her clothes, or her money, or whether or not her attention was fixed on you just then... In fact, at first, this odd little green girl wanted none of that, and thought that simply being in her presence seemed like it made her sick.

Maybe that was what first made Galinda hate her so much, besides her green skin and curt, frank, sarcastic behavior. Everyone else wanted to be near her, was fascinated by her... The fact that there was someone who could resist her, that didn't like something about her, made her uneasy to say the least. But most of all, it annoyed her. she was perfect; she deserved to be perfect; Unnamed God knows she worked hard enough to get that way! But Elphaba seemed to hate it.

So, what she wanted to know, was what did Elphaba like? Setting out on her great mission of getting to know Elphaba, she discovered thoughts and ideas and ambition and beliefs that she'd never even considered before. She was fascinated. She was in love. Sadly, she hadn't realized that until all hell had broken loose and her 'fiance' had run off with the very girl himself.

So, when the girl had been pronounced dead, her feelings grew ten-fold. While all of Oz celebrated, all she could think of were all the kind things Elphaba had done for her, all the things she'd taught her, the opportunities she'd offered - to be a better person, a better friend, a better ruler... She never took any of them. Not until she was gone. In those first few days, while spewing heartless lies and propaganda, when the thought would hit her that she would never see Elphaba again, the importance of staying upright came into question of whether or not her legs had the strength to hold her.

Now, having her back... she felt like her heart was beating so fast it might burst, though it already seemed exhausted. The wild roller-coaster it'd gone through recently had taken it's toll. The terrible lows, and small victories, and now this great revelation seemed to be wearing it out, but she couldn't think of a better way to die than by loving someone to death. Especially, when that person was Elphaba; the person she felt deserved it more than anyone she'd even known.

"Elphie?" She asked, into the silence of the room. She felt the familiar long, slim fingers of a surprisingly strong hand on her shoulder. As she glanced at the green digits, the feeling of the taller girl's warmth so close behind her seemed to warm her from the soul out. Taking a deep breath through her nose in an attempt to calm herself, instead she was assaulted by the smell she'd thought was the stench of her melted remains.

"Ugh! What is that stink?!" she griped loudly, spinning around to look from the spot to the taller girl. "And why were you hiding down there?!" Elphaba tried not to laugh. She really did.

"It's to scare people away." she chuckled lightly, "Fiyero set up an alarm so that when someone enters, I know to hide. This just seemed like the most logical place. The only people who even know it's there are he and I." Galinda's cute little nose curled slightly and the green girl had to hold in a laugh again.

"Yes, but... What is that smell coming from?" she asked slightly halting through her words.

"We just wanted it to smell like what most people would consider 'Dead Witch'... I usually just use the water from the bottom of the waste-bin."

"Oh Eww!" Galinda almost shrieked, wiping her hand on Elphaba's dress, "That's disgusting! -- You're just... icky!" Elphaba couldn't help but laugh a little. She'd missed the silly, girly antics of her long-time friend. She took the offending hand in her own to look at. It seemed fine, same as it'd ever been. Small, soft, and well cared for; nails clean and painted, palms soft and smooth from meticulous moisturizing throughout the years. She'd always liked these hands.

"I don't have any water you can wash it with, but there might be a little alcohol left in the cupboard." She offered, but when her eyes met the blonde's she was not surprised they had left their joined hands. They were looking intently at her face.

It didn't surprise her because she'd found Galinda doing this many times. Often while the girl was a few short minutes from falling to sleep, eyes heavy and tired, examining her from across the room in the dim light of a candle on the night-stand. She had always tried to ignore it, she found it unnerving. She was used to people staring at her green skin, it was an everyday occurrence, but when Galinda did it, the girl who knew her better than anyone, it showed that there was at least one barrier she couldn't get over. She would always be green. She was just glad that she could like her anyways, even if she never became 100 used it to, it would seem.

But what Elphaba was not use to, was Galinda raising a gentle hand to her cheek. Running those smooth little fingers over the angled lines of her face, eyebrows knitted in deep thought, obvious evidence of a preoccupied mind. The sensations this elicited from the taller woman didn't surprise her; she'd always found the blonde beautiful, skilled in the ability to attract... seduce. But she was not accustomed to having such talents aimed at her.

She berated herself for allowing her eyes to slip close as the delicate palm of this immaculate woman slid over her chin, along her jaw, cradling the back of her head as though to lean in and kiss her. Oh, how she wanted that... She'd wanted it for so long now. It was not uncommon for women to grab her attention this way, about common as it was with men -- so hardly ever.

Her standers were high, this she knew, as other people's standers usually had to be pretty low to resort to dating her. So the very idea that this woman might want her seemed so wrong, her first instinct was to pull away. Snatching the wondering hand back into her own, and taking a step back she tried to calm herself.

"Don't..." she warned in a voice that was not nearly as steady as she'd tried to make it. "My skin --"

"Is perfect." Galinda cut off, to Elphaba's shock. Turing sharply to look at her, she saw that the blonde looked honest, albeit a littler nervous. "You'd think I'd be sick of green by now." she said, a short chuckled escaping her throat, "Living in the Emerald CIty starts to hurt the eyes after a while." Elphaba couldn't control the small smile that broke over her face as she felt fingers curl around her own in a gentle hold.

"Why?" she asked, sounding confused, "I mean... How could you think...?" she trailed off, for once not knowing what questions to ask, or even knowing what answer she wanted to hear. Shaking her head, unable to resist the feelings of self-disgust. "I hate it." she mumbled.

"I love it." Galinda said, gently pulling on the hand in her own, asking Elphaba to step back into a shared personal-space. "If you didn't have green skin, you never would have developed that sharp wit and quick-thinking mind I admire in you so much." she said -- to Elphaba's shock -- affectionately. "Also, if your skin hadn't have been the way it is then you might have been a real rival back at Shiz. Everyone would see how beautiful you are, and then... You and I would have been friend from the start because chances are we'd be a lot more alike... And then we'd never be where we are now." that made Elphaba laugh.

"What do you mean?" now it was Galinda's turn to giggle.

"You think i only started admiring you once we were friends?" she asked, leaning forward to talk more quietly though no one was listening, "No. Back when you and I were at each-other's throats, that was when I felt I had to know you best... Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." she stated firmly, though the smile she wore was one of flirtation. But this made the taller woman lean back.

"And what about your lovers?" she asked, not quiet thinking about the implications of the words until she saw the dark shade of pink cover the blonde's cheeks. She knew that was what they were obviously heading towards and she hadn't thought to curb herself. she was hoping Galinda would just brush it off as her usual, overly-honest manor and move on. Swallowing and clearing her throat the blonde continued - looking at their hands now rather than into those green eyes.

"Know your lovers best, lest they become your enemies." For some reason Elphaba had a feeling she was enjoying being able to throw the ever-pristine Glinda The Good off her usual track. The blush, the waver in her voice, the way she felt the fingers in her hand fidget in the confines of their grasp. She noticed the girl's face slowly fall.

"Elphie?" she asked, cautious, able to look her in the eye again. "What about you... and Fiyero?" Elphaba's face fell a little too. She shrugged as though it was nothing, but it had obviously mattered a great deal.

"He's fine. Human again, even. It took a number of tries to get him that way, one of which was particularly traumatizing for the both of us. I'd lit him on fire by accident a few tries before so he asked that water be present every try after that. Well, the second time I accidently lit him on fire, in his haste to get to the water... he knocked the barrel over on me. He was left to stop - drop - and roll on the spilled water while I stop - dropped - and shrieked." Galinda pulled the green skinned girl into a comforting hug and let her finish.

"After that, and with the two of us being in hiding -- so isolated together... Things got a little too intense. By the time I could turn him back into a man he and i had agreed that things weren't going to work out."

"Awww, Elphie I'm sorry." She said, letting go and pulling back a little, but staying in her arms.

"He said i'd move on to bigger and better things..." she said sounding almost mournful, but slowly a smile melted right though it. A wide, genuine smile, accompanied by a short burst of laughter. "Of course, I could settle for Smaller and better things." she added, once again mocking the girl's height. "That is... if you'll have me?... Are you sure you want this?" Without hesitation Galinda nodded. "This isn't something you can just - "

"I want this." she stated firmly, taking a green cheek in her hand again, "I've wanted it since before I knew what it really was - when it was easy. The circumstances don't change anything about that. Just changes how." She leaned in close, her breath warm on Elphaba's lips, liking the way they were becoming a darker shade of green and fading into almost brown as the blood rushed to them in anticipation.

The first kiss was soft, subtle, almost friendly in it's near-chaste manner. Galinda was nervous, she knew it showed, but she just hoped that it didn't show a lack of meaning in her earlier words; she did want this; want Elphaba; she just wasn't sure how to go about it. It was all new to her.

But as simple and short as the first kiss was, it felt wonderful. the feeling of such soft lips against her own, so malleable and warm, giving and willing. It was the sort of feeling she'd always dreamed of and yet had no idea was exactly what she'd always wanted... and here it had been right in front of her this whole time. In those short seconds, she knew more than ever this was the right choice, even if it wasn't the easiest one.

To Be Continued...