Disclaimer: I do not now, nor have I ever, owned anything remotely connected to Wicked, The Wizard of Oz, or any characters or situations contained therein. They are the property of other, much more talented and financially solvent individuals. I am merely borrowing them from Gregory Maguire, Stephen Schwartz, L. Frank Baum, and the good people of MGM.
Author's Note: Well, here it is, my first foray into the world of fanfiction. This is purely an Elphaba/Fiyero bit of fluff that has been floating around my head since I saw the musical and read the book over the summer. It's not extremely heavy on plot, as I was more interested in how the characters interact with each other, but I think it's a fairly decent piece of writing, and I hope none of my gentle readers will feel as if they have had a piece of their lives stolen after reading this. Any and all feedback would be sorely appreciated, especially as this is my first attempt at fiction of any kind, although my essay writing skills are to die for. Ah, well, I suppose I've talked on long enough. Happy reading!
Looking At Things Another Way
Elphaba was being stared at. After years spent as the recipient of the center of people's morbid curiosity, she knew automatically when someone's eyes were on her. Thus, she now knew that Fiyero was staring at her, and had been for the better part of the last hour. She knew a girl of her complexion wasn't exactly easy to pass over, but really, shouldn't he be getting used to it? This was, after all, far from their first meeting.
Finally, she couldn't stand his intense scrutiny any longer.
"They say I have the most striking profile south of the Great Gillikin Forest. Is it true?" she said, turning to him.
"What!" he asked, completely nonplussed by the sudden breach in Elphaba's normally taciturn behavior.
"From the amount of time your eyes have spent this morning roving my face, it seems like the most logical conclusion. If, however, that is not the case, would you kindly direct your attention to your textbook, or Dr. Nikidik's lecture, or the tips of your oh-so-swankified boots, or anyplace other than my verdigrinous physiognomy?"
"Stop staring at me!"
"Oh! Sorry, I didn't realize."
"Ah, I see. Green girls are such a common occurrence in your life that staring at them is habitual."
Fiyero's head was spinning. Elphaba had just taken him on a vocabularical odyssey the likes of which he had never experienced before. He had no clue what half of the things she had said meant. He found himself beginning to think, an action he thoroughly abhorred, just to keep up with her dizzying verbal pace. She had him bewildered, bemused, and not a little bit baffled, and he could think of nothing he would like more than for her to do it again.
"No! I…I mean…oh, fine, sorry, I'll stop."
Five minutes later, Fiyero was back to staring, and Elphaba's already simmering temper was beginning to boil.
"What are you staring at this time?" Perhaps not the wisest of questions, but at this point she had become so angry she could no longer control the words exiting her mouth.
Obviously not the right answer.
"Yes, it…curls right in front of your…ear. It's straight everywhere else." Fiyero was so flustered that he actually told her the truth, a situation the suave and scandalacious Winkie prince rarely found himself in with a member of the opposite sex. Quickly, he decided to bring the conversation back onto a plane he was more comfortable with.
"What I mean is, do you want to go somewhere after class? Have some coffee, sandwiches…an overabundance of alcohol?"
"I really don't have time after class."
"Alright, then during class."
"Oh, come on, Elphaba. It'll be fun, and you have to eat. I'd hate to see that striking profile melt away from malnutrition."
"I really shouldn't. I don't have time, and why would you want to go to lunch with me, anyway? I'll just be a social hindrance. Besides, what would Galinda say if she found out her chief consort was sneaking into town with her roommate?"
"What do you care about society? I want to go to lunch with you, and I'm in the habit of getting what I want. As far as Galinda goes, I'm just asking you to lunch, not back to my dorm for tutoring in the finer points of male/female relations."
"I still don't have time."
"Yes you do. Morrible's sick, so she won't be teaching sorcery today."
"Oh, fine, just as long as you shut up and stop staring until class is over."
"It's a deal."
Elphaba drew a sigh of relief and returned to her notes, just in time to hear Dr. Nikidik announce the end of class.
Immediately, Fiyero was on his feet. He hadn't bothered to bring any books to class, and he waited impatiently as Elphaba, very slowly in his opinion, gathered up her books, pencils, pens, and other academic paraphernalia. In an effort to speed up the process, he grabbed her hand to pull her out of her chair, but stopped mid-heave. He had felt again that same bizarre sensation he felt yesterday when she grabbed his hand during their lion cub rescue.
Elphaba looked up, shocked. Her eyes fell on their entwined hands before traveling up to the surprised expression on Fiyero's face, an expression she was sure her own face mirrored. What was going on? What was this feeling every time they touched? She had never felt anything like it and she couldn't explain it. She had already admitted to herself that she was attracted to him, even intrigued by him, by the hints of a wise soul and a keen mind that he kept well hidden behind his shallow playboy façade. But this feeling? This was something more. From what she had read, this sounded suspiciously like love. It felt as if her soul were trying to jump out of body and join his where their skin touched, a completely foreign concept to a girl who had long ago given up any belief in either love or souls, at least as far as they pertained to her.
"I…I guess we should be going," Fiyero stammered in an attempt to break the tension.
"Yes, let me just finish packing up my things," she rejoined softly.
"Take your time."
The room was nearly empty as Elphaba and Fiyero made their way out onto the university grounds. Aside from a brief inquiry as to where they were going on Elphaba's part and an equally brief and purposefully vague answer on Fiyero's part, they remained silent as they made their way away from campus and into the town beyond. Each walked as far away from the other as common politeness would allow, hoping to avoid any uncomfortable episodes like the one they had just experienced, both too wrapped up in their own uncomfortable suspicions that they were, indeed, falling in love, and with the least likely person imaginable. Finally, Fiyero stopped in front of a small café that Elphaba had never seen before, situated a few blocks south of the Ozdust Ballroom.
The uncomfortable silence continued as they were ushered to a partially concealed table in the small, dimly lit café. Fiyero found himself studying Elphaba once again as she sat gazing at her menu, eyes resolutely downcast. He noted her sharply pointed features, the shape of her large eyes beneath thick black lashes, and her smooth though oddly colored skin, now a rich, shadowy green in the flickering candlelight, like the leaves on a late-summer tree. Looking at her objectively, he knew she wasn't and couldn't be beautiful, but yet, inexplicably, she was.
The silence was broken as the proprietor of the establishment, a jovial munchkinlander nearly as wide as he was tall, sauntered up to their table.
"Ah, Master Fiyero! I see you have brought yet another lovely g…" He stopped short as Elphaba turned to him and he caught sight of her face for the first time.
"Yes. She is lovely, isn't she?" Fiyero answered, seemingly oblivious to the man's shock.
"Y-yes, umm, indeed. Very un…well, I'll just be going, then." The man turned and scurried away as fast as his stout legs could carry him.
"So, it would seem you come here often," Elphaba said, amused by the man's gaffe, and trying to forget Fiyero's response.
"Occasionally, you know, as part of my princely duties to promote contentment among the working classes."
"And I'm sure your duties also entail entertaining the more attractive members of Shiz University's female population."
"It's an onerous task, but someone has to do it."
"And I suppose Galinda knows all about these 'princely duties.'"
"Of course," he said, adding, "You won't tell her, though, will you?"
"Your secret's safe with me."
An officious-looking waiter, coming to take Fiyero's order while doing his best to ignore Elphaba completely, brought this turn in the conversation to an end. Elphaba ignored his behavior, too tired to fight and too conditioned to care. Fiyero, on the other hand, felt uncharacteristically angered by the slight. He found himself speaking in furious tones to the waiter about the quality of service he expected when he brought a guest to his place of business before ordering the most expensive thing he could find on the menu for Elphaba, who still seemed reluctant to speak. He then sent the waiter scampering back to the kitchen, to fill their order as quickly as was possible for someone who was, as he put it, "so narrow-minded that he must be completely empty-headed."
"I'm impressed," Elphaba said after the terrified waiter had exited. "That insult was practically poetic. Of course, that will make it somewhat embarrassing when I call him back to cancel that order."
"Why would you do that? Do you object to your dish?"
"No, but I only have a couple of coins on me. I was just planning on ordering coffee."
"Don't worry about it. It's on me."
"I can't let you…"
"Really, don't worry about it. Help me spend some of the Tigular gold that keeps piling up over in the Vinkus. That's one of the few things you learn to do as a prince, spending money, as well as insulting waiters. Besides, you have to eat. I already told you I'm not going to let you melt away."
"Alright, I guess I could, but only because you've made your cause so pitiable."
"It's a deal."
After a brief pause, Fiyero continued the conversation with, "Can I ask you something?"
"Only if I can ask you something after."
"Fair enough. Why weren't you more upset? I mean, from what I've seen, you don't seem the type to stand idly by when there's injustice going on within a ten mile radius."
"I don't know. I suppose I'm used to it. I mean, I get angry when other creatures are treated unfairly or cruelly, in fact that's the first thing I plan to tell the Wizard about when I see him, but in my case, it's an everyday occurrence. If I got angry every time someone stared at me or made a point of looking at anything except me, I wouldn't have time for anything else," Elphaba answered, feeling uncomfortably open and vulnerable, and unsure why she had allowed herself to be so.
"Ah, so you just save your anger for me."
"Well, you're different."
"I'm going to take that as a compliment."
"I mean, it's different when the staring becomes habitual."
"So, not a compliment."
"I was just trying to be candid."
"You really know how to make a guy feel loved."
"Sorry. Anyway, it's my turn now."
"Do I get to insult you?"
"Only if it's relevant to the question."
"Alright, fire away."
"Why the brainless playboy façade?"
"Are you allowed to ask the same question twice in as many days?"
"Just answer the question."
"I told you yesterday. It's not a façade. I'm genuinely self-absorbed and deeply shallow."
"Oh, yeah, like I believe that, Mr. Let's-Defend-the-Hated-Green-Girl-and-Why-Not-Rescue-Some-Tortured-Animals-While-We're-At-It."
"I thought I told my mother to tell me the next time my name was changed."
"Come on, I answered you truthfully."
"I was being truthful."
"You know, answering your question wasn't exactly painless!"
"I already answered you!"
"So you're shallow and self-absorbed?"
"Fine then. You know what; I'm actually starting to believe you! How stupid of me to bother trying to be honest with someone! Oh, but I forgot! You're so self-absorbed I probably didn't even make an impression. You've probably already forgotten what I said. If I'm really that uninteresting, I guess I should be going. Goodbye, Your Highness."
She got up to go, but was stopped by Fiyero's hand on her wrist.
"Why should I?"
"Because I don't want you to go!"
"What, am I some new kind of accessory? Do I match your outfit? Provide a sympathetic background for your vibrant personality?"
"No, no. I'm sorry. I didn't realize you'd be so upset."
"Not upset that one of the only people who's ever attempted to treat me as if I might be worth slightly more than a rabid dog thinks my honesty isn't worth a reciprocal answer? No, of course not. Why should I be upset by that?"
"It's not that. I think you're worth…I mean, sit down. Let me try to explain. At least listen to me until you've eaten. You promised to take pity on me."
"I suppose I could…." She sat back down, warily.
"Like I said, I'm sorry. I guess the answer to your question is: I don't know. I've never really considered anything that wasn't superficial, at least, not until recently."
"Why should I, when I've proved again and again that it's much easier to skim by? It's not as if I've had good examples to follow. My mother's thoughts seem to be even more trivial than mine have ever attempted to be, and my father's never really been interested enough to notice. He just keeps sending me back to school after school, hoping some education will rub off on me. Or, if that fails, the magical powers of ascendancy will work their wonders on me when he departs to meet Lurline, or the Unnamed God, or whoever else might be there to meet him after he takes his journey down the Yellow Brick Road in the Sky."
"Don't be. I've had free reign to enjoy myself at every possible opportunity. I've done things most guys my age dream of doing. I've even gotten to experience some form of education at every single one of the finest institutions in the land, if you're worried about my intellectual well-being. What's there to complain about?"
"Have you been happy?"
"Oh, look! Here's our food."
And, indeed, their recently chastised waiter had returned, looking rather meek and bearing the most delicious smelling dish Elphaba had ever encountered. It filled the air with a foreign spiciness that reminded her of dreams she had had as a child: dreams of flying over an unknown land, a land of endless oceans and strangely dressed people lounging in the shade of thick, spreading greenery beneath a broiling summer sun.
"Fiyero, this is too much!" she said, noticing the mammoth portion on her plate. "I've never even seen this much food, much less been asked to eat it."
"Don't worry about it. I'll help you."
"You plate isn't exactly empty."
"I can handle it. I promise."
And help her he did, finishing not only his own food, but all of what Elphaba had left behind, more than half of what she had been served. At the conclusion of the meal, both seemed reluctant to leave, ordering coffee in an attempt to prolong their time together. They sat, sipping coffee and chatting without argument or rancor as waiters passed by, taking requests and refilling beverages, glancing as discreetly as possible at the odd couple in the back, who seemed to be having the time of their lives. The café slowly emptied until Fiyero and Elphaba were the only customers left. It wasn't until the place began to fill again with the dinner crowd that Elphaba happened to notice the time.
"Oh, sweet Oz!"
"Do you have any idea what time it is?"
"We've missed all our afternoon classes. Galinda's going to be getting back soon and wondering where I am, and Nessa's going to kill me if she finds out I skipped class for you!"
"Just tell them you were sick."
"I can't do that! Come on! We have to go, now, and maybe they won't ask any questions."
Elphaba quickly gathered up her bag and the two of them scurried to the exit, where they were impeded by the maitre d', who stood in the doorway, telling a male and female Sheep that their presence was not desired in such a fine establishment.
Elphaba, already agitated at the thought of being late, could feel the anger swirling inside her, gaining momentum as the man continued to berate the Sheep for even thinking they would be wanted in a place such as this, until she felt it burst out of her skin, a ball of magic over which she had no control.
Suddenly, the waiter stopped talking and turned to stare blankly around him, as did the rest of the people surrounding them. Confused voices began to break out throughout the room.
"Who are you?"
"I don't know."
"Oh, and who am I?"
"I haven't the foggiest."
"Oh, well then."
Fiyero, realizing what Elphaba had done, turned to whisper urgently in her ear.
"Let's get out of here before their memories come back."
Elphaba nodded, and slowly followed Fiyero through the door, passing a highly amused pair of Sheep, who were trying to explain to the waiter what a table was. They walked with studied nonchalance until they were about a block away from the restaurant, when they began to run as if an army of Munchkin farmers, complete with pitchforks, was on their heels.
Fiyero, feeling he had run more than enough for one day, grabbed Elphaba's wrist and pulled her into a narrow alleyway, where he figured they could hide until they thought it prudent to return to Shiz.
The alley was almost claustrophobically narrow. Still, Elphaba thought, Fiyero was standing unnecessarily close to her, even considering their tight confines. The same, foreign yet exhilarating feeling was back as he held onto her wrist, his face and body edging ever closer to hers. Elphaba's mind was reeling, telling her to move, to run, to get herself out of this situation as quickly as possible, a situation in which she could not understand what was going on and what in all of Oz was motivating Fiyero to act this way. At the same time, her body was screaming at her that this was what she had been waiting for, what she wanted. She was paralyzed, unable to move as the conflict raged within her and the moment she had been anticipating, whether with pleasure or dread she could not say, drew nearer.
Fiyero was mesmerized by Elphaba. He had never felt this way before, and while he couldn't understand it, he also couldn't resist it. She made him feel alive, as if some of her scorching vitality was invading his body, awakening emotions he had never known in his short and disengaged life. He stared at her in awe, wanting to be closer to her, wanting to be able to feel the way that she did, reaching out to cup her cheek in an effort to bring her closer to him. Before he could stop himself, he let the words that were at the top of his mind rush out.
"You're so beautiful," he breathed.
These words effectually snapped Elphaba out of the spell she had been under. She knew then, without a doubt, that he must be lying to her. She couldn't understand why he was, and she didn't want to believe that he was trying to hurt her, but it was the only logical conclusion. With this painful thought, she wrenched herself from his grasp, turned around, and raced from the alley, holding a hand to her cheek where she could still feel the burning warmth of his fingers. She ran through the town, and onto the Shiz grounds, never stopping until she reached the safety of her room, where she threw herself upon the bed, her body shaking and her mind circling frantically, trying to make some sense out of what had just happened.
She awoke sometime later, to the sound of Galinda clattering into the room in a pair of ridiculously noisy heels. She heard the click of Galinda's heels as they neared her bed, and she knew that Galinda was watching her, trying to discern if she was truly asleep. With a tremendous effort, Elphaba dragged open her heavy eyes, to find herself looking straight into Galinda's enormous and worried green ones.
"We were worried when you didn't show up for Natural Sciences, or at dinner. Are you alright?" Galinda asked in slightly fretful tones.
"I'm not feeling very well. I have a headache," Elphaba responded, surprised to learn that she was telling the truth.
"Oh, well, I'm sorry to hear that. You do look pale. I brought you some food."
"Thanks, but I'm not hungry right now."
"But you must be. I didn't see you at lunch either."
"I'm really not. Headaches like this take my appetite away," Elphaba said, feeling slightly guilty over the borderline lie she was telling.
"Do you want me to put a cooling spell on it until you're ready to eat?"
"Thanks, but I can do it myself."
"You probably shouldn't be practicing magic if you're sick."
"I'm well enough to do a simple cooling spell."
"Just let me do it."
Galinda screwed up her face, flourished her wand in the direction of the food, and began to mutter an incantation. Nothing happened. She tried again, adding an extra flourish and an extra chant, this time producing an effect. Unfortunately, instead of the desired result, Elphaba's food swelled to twice its normal proportions and turned a violent shade of orange.
"I wonder what I did to it."
"I don't know, but I'd wait awhile to see if it can move on its own before trying to dispose of it," Elphaba replied, attempting valiantly to withhold her giggles, which she thought would probably become hysterical if she allowed them free reign.
"You mean you're not going to eat it?"
"I think it would clash with my skin."
"You're right, it would," Galinda said, gathering up her courage and daintily sweeping the carrot-hued food into the waste bin. Elphaba could no longer suppress her mirth, and let out a staccato burst of laughter, wincing as her head pounded back in retaliation for the sudden movement.
"Is your head still hurting?"
"Not very much."
"That didn't look like not very much. Why don't you go back to sleep?"
"I can't sleep anymore. I think I'll go sit outside for awhile, maybe some fresh air will help."
"Do you want me to come with you?"
"No thanks. I'm not really feeling social at the moment."
"I don't think you should really be wandering off alone, if you're feeling so bad. It could be…"
But a knock at the door brought an end to her train of thought. She scurried to the door, checking her hair and face in the mirror as she went, in case one of her admirers was on the other side. She swung the door open to reveal Fiyero, leaning casually against the doorframe.
"Why, Fiyero Tigular! Whatever are you doing here?" she asked in her most flirtatious voice, which, much to Galinda's chagrin, he did not seem to notice.
"I was just walking by Crage Hall and thought I'd stop by to see how Elphaba was."
"Oh! You heard she's been sick? Well, it was very thoughtful of you to stop by," she said, misinterpreting his words as an excuse to see her.
"Yes, wasn't it. So, how is she? Is she here?"
"She seems to be feeling better. She was just about to take a walk, as a matter of fact."
"What a coincidence! Perhaps I should accompany her, as I was in the middle of a walk anyway. How about it, Elphaba?" he said, sticking his head around the doorframe so that he could see her, huddled in the corner of her bed. In Elphaba's opinion, his acting was appalling, and she knew that his intention in coming had been to drag her out of her room all along, but Galinda seemed to buy it.
"No, thank you. I think I'm going to stay here and read."
"Oh, Elphie, do! Reading will only make your head worse, and I'm sure Fiyero will promise not to talk if that's what you want."
"Yes, Elphie, fresh air can work wonders on a headache," Fiyero wheedled, amused to discover that she had a nickname.
Elphaba could see she wasn't going to get anywhere arguing with both of them, and so she conceded.
"Alright, just let me get my coat."
She crawled out of bed, pulling on her coat and stuffing something Fiyero couldn't see into one of its pockets. Galinda watched, sad that she hadn't been invited to come along, as Elphaba followed him stiffly out the door and down to the moonlit grounds below, where they stopped beneath a large tree. Elphaba reached into her pocket and extracted a wad of money, which she held out to him.
"I hope this is sufficient."
"I told you I'd pay."
"Which you did, and now I'm paying you back."
"You know what I meant, Elphaba."
"Just take the money."
"Why are you making this such an issue?"
"Why are you making this such an issue?"
"Why is this so important to you?"
"Then why are you so angry? If this is about what happened this afternoon…"
"Why should it be? Nothing happened this afternoon. You lied to me. Again. I'm getting used to it."
"Lied to you? You think I…oh."
"Uh-huh. So I'll be going now."
"Fiyero, I honestly do have a headache, and this isn't helping. I'm going back to bed."
"Will you stay if I promise I can help your headache?"
"Come on, Elphie. Just let me explain. What have you got to lose?"
"Valuable time I could be spending catching up on all the things I missed in class this afternoon. And don't call me Elphie."
"Sorry, Elphaba, Fabala, Elphie, whatever. Sit down and relax, and maybe I can explain. Even if I can't, I can at least cure your headache."
And so she sat down, her back to the enormous quoxwood trunk. Fiyero sat down next to her, and moved to bring his hands up to her head.
"Don't touch me," she said. Her tone held more vehemence than she had intended, and he withdrew his hands, stung.
"It's going to make curing your headache a lot harder, but, oh well. Close your eyes." She obeyed.
"When I said…what I said this afternoon, I didn't mean that…I wasn't…it wasn't…premeditated. I mean, I didn't plan on saying anything. The words just sort of came out of my mouth. I didn't even know I was thinking them, but I really did mean it."
He was interrupted by Elphaba's scoff.
"No, I really did. I know I thought it earlier this afternoon. I even acknowledged to myself that I had no idea why I thought so. I mean, if we're going to be completely honest, you're not exactly what anyone would call a traditional beauty. But, I don't know. Somehow you are. I guess it's a kind of an inside-out beauty. Wow, I can't believe I just said that. That's probably the sappiest thing I've ever said, but it's also the most sincere. I really mean it, Elphaba. I wouldn't lie to you, and you know it. I know you probably don't think that what I'm saying is true, but at least believe that I believe it is."
Elphaba listened to his words with conflicting emotions. She wanted to believe he was sincere, that he hadn't acted maliciously and hadn't intended to hurt her. However, she knew that she couldn't possibly be considered beautiful by anyone. This fact had been impressed upon her from all quarters since she was a small child. Yet he spoke so sincerely, she finally had no choice but to believe that he thought she was beautiful.
"I guess I have to believe you, although I reserve the right to think your opinions are completely insane."
"Sounds reasonable to me," he chuckled. "Anyway, about what happened, or, I guess, what almost happened this afternoon…"
"I don't want to talk about it now."
"You and Galinda are together. You're both perfect and perfect for each other, a fact I'm sure you've acknowledged."
"It would break Galinda's heart if she knew you had even considered straying from her considerable charms, and she's the only friend I have. Please, let's just drop it."
"But what if I don't want to stay with Galinda?"
"Are you sure about that?"
"No," he admitted.
"Well, then, this, whatever it is between us, has to stop."
"What if we can't stop it," he said, leaning in toward her again.
"We'll have to."
At his disappointed look, she continued.
"Listen, I'm going to the Emerald City in a few days. Let's think about this until I get back, and see if we can find a solution. Until then, let's just continue as we were before today."
"I guess that's our best option."
"I think it's our only viable one."
"Alright, then. I guess I'll see you when you get back."
She rose slowly from her position on the ground and began to make her way back to Crage Hall. Fiyero was seized by an odd sense of foreboding, as if this might be one of the last times he saw her, although he knew that made no sense. She was merely going to meet the Wizard and would return directly after. What could go wrong?
She stopped for an instant, black hair swirling as she turned to look at him.
And with that she was gone, disappearing without warning into crystalline light of the Ozian moon.