AN: This story is Elphaba'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 Couple of Things Get Lost", detailing Glinda's side of this story.

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"There's a kind of a... sort of a cost."

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The cold seems to seep into her bones, creeping silently into her very being. Elphaba curls herself into a tighter ball, and is gradually aware of a hand on her shoulder, shaking her softly.

"Elphaba." Fiyero's voice pops Elphaba's eyes open and she rolls over to face him, with a sleepy smile. Her eyes travel over the unfamiliar, scarecrow face, the soft, hay-stuffed body. The voice is the same.

"We should get going. It's dark out now... I know they're not looking for us, but if someone happened to see us - we're kind of recognizeable. I'll feel better when we're somewhere safe." Fiyero continues. Elphaba finds it hard to find emotion in the cloth face. She can detect the barest hint of tension in his soft shoulders, but only because she knows him so well.

She rises to her feet, brushing grass from her cape. Goosebumps raise on her skin as a cool breeze picks up, and then, suddenly, memory hits her.

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It was dark and cramped in her little hiding place under the floor. She waited, listening for sounds of life above, waited for Fiyero to come and rescue her. She waited. And then she heard it, faintly through the floorboards. Deep, gut-wrenching sobs, full of heartbreak. Glinda was above her, mourning the loss of a friend.

Mourning her.

Elphaba sank down in her hiding place, brought her knees to her chin. Closed her eyes. Waited, while the sobs above her went on and on.

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Elphaba is left shaken by the memory, and she wraps her arms around herself. Softly, Fiyero comes up behind her.

"Elphaba - are you all right?"

Elphaba turns to face him, her hair streaming behind her as she whirls around. The wind picks up the dark tendrils and whips them about. Her dark eyes bore into Fiyero's flat ones, beseechingly. Her expression implores him to understand.

"We just left her there, Fiyero. She loved us... and we left her, all alone." Elphaba says, her voice rough.

Fiyero steps towards her and gently takes her hands. "There's nothing that we could have done." He says softly, his flat, unemotional scarecrow eyes fixed on her. "She can never know that we're alive. It's too difficult a secret to keep."

Elphaba pulls back, looking at Fiyero. "We could have taken her with us. We could have all run away." Her voice begins to take on an almost manic note. Fiyero reaches for her, takes her by the shoulders. Looking directly into her eyes, he speaks firmly.

"You know that Glinda would never be happy on the run. The city is where she belongs. Elphaba - it's better this way."

As Elphaba listens to him, her spine straightens. A colder tone enters her voice and even her gaze seems stony as she watches him, unblinkingly.

"You didn't hear her cry." She says, quietly.

Fiyero steps forward, and folds her into an embrace.

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AN: So, I'm writing again. Any of my old readers still reading? (New ones are welcome, too!) I had the good fortune to be in a play over Christmas, but it's over now and I have time to do other things again. Phew. Happy New Year, guys. And this isn't the end of the fic - don't make me bring out the cliffies.

Thanks for reading.
Love,
B