Elphaba ran a peach-painted hand over Fiyero's face, a small smile playing at her lips and wonder showing openly in her eyes. She marveled at his handsome visage, different from his natural look but still so achingly familiar, relishing in the easy smile that she knew he wore now because he felt more comfortable in his "skin," although certainly still stuffed with straw.
"You're beautiful," she murmured, blushing under her make-up as his smile widened into a remarkably human grin. He lent down to brush his lips against hers but she pulled away, correcting herself. "You always were."
He laughed, quirking an eyebrow. "You do have to admit, though," he winked at her, "this is pretty amazing."
She didn't argue, he noticed.
A soft cough sounded from the hallway, as Billy stood in the doorway, looking slightly anxious.
"You guys might want to see this," the security guard informed them, looking back in the direction of his office and glad that the theatre was all but abandoned at this time of day, and on a Monday. "It's all over the News- ."
"We'll be there in a clock tick, Billy, thanks," Fiyero told him, eyes still locked with the love of his life. He barely registered Bill's deep, throaty chuckle as the older man discreetly excuse himself, the straw man moving in and dipping his head to deliver a soft kiss. Elphaba tilted her head slightly to avoid his nose, lips parting and body moving closer as well.
Baby Galinda did not like the closing in of her parents on either side and wailed, protesting loudly and making the couple spring apart after only another chaste peck on the lips. The pair laughed lightly, each agreeably moving to tickle or otherwise entertain the now fussy baby.
The small family relished in their reunion, having spent so many nights apart in this strange land. The lovers moved in again, turning their bodies so as not to disturb the baby as the kiss began more passionate.
Elphaba reached a hand into his shirt on impulse, grabbing a fistful of straw and pulling away, laughing lightly.
"You're still so soft," she told him, bursting into laughing all the more as she noticed his now very pink lips, realizing that her make-up must have worn off on him. "It's a good shade on you," she teased.
He looked at her mouth with a crooked grin as she spoke, taking in the sight of green skin under smeared foundation. "It's good to see that you're still the same on the inside, too," he drawled, slipping an arm around to waist to pull her in close yet again.
Naturally, the moment had to end as their blonde third-wheel stepped into the doorway.
Elphaba shot Fiyero an apologetic smile as she turned to face her friend, who was determinedly not looking at them, instead focusing on detaching a hissing ball of fur from her forearm. Fiyero rolled his new glass eyes and hefted Galinda up into a higher and firmer hug.
"Oh, good," Elphaba beamed, gently grasping the shivering cat and stroking her standing fur down, soothingly. "You got Streaky." She held the housecat up to eye level and examined it thoroughly. "Are you alright?"
"You had better be talking to me," the blonde huffed, grimacing at the cat hair covering her new blouse. She ignored Elphaba's enigmatic smile and complete lack of reassurance as the green witch fawned over the little orange monster. "And, I suppose that I'm fine, if you care."
Elphaba ignored her friend's dramatics and began scratching Streaky behind the ears, smiling as the rumble of the cat's purr vibrated against her arms. A thought occurred, and she immediately sobered. "Any sign of Boq?"
"Actually, I just saw him a little while ago," the petite woman began. "He'd managed to find the theatre on his own and was waiting in the alley when I left through the stage door. I told him that I had to go back for the furball," she jerked a thumb at the cat, which hissed back before nuzzling deeper into Elphaba's arms, "and that I'd help him get inside when it was safe. I told him to wait in a dumpster, though, just in case anyone came driving through the alley and spotted him."
"So, he's right outside of the door?" Elphaba asked.
"Oh, well, how should I know?" Glinda shrugged, leaning against the wall and crossing her arms. "That was hours ago."
Fiyero suppressed a chuckle at his lover's glare. "Wait, you mean you saw him before you left?"
Glinda made no move that she'd heard him, suddenly finding her nails fascinating. Well, moreso at this moment than usual.
"He's been in a slimy, putrid, refuse bin for over two hours?" Elphaba asked, incredulously.
Glinda glanced at the clock on the wall. "Just about."
Elphaba stared at her for a long moment before waving an arm in a wide arc. "And you were going to tell him it's safe to come inside... when?"
Glinda stared at her blankly.
"Well, to be honest, I hadn't really planned on it," Glinda waved a nonchalant hand at her roommate. "I mean, that tin monstrosity has ruined just about everything since we cut him down from his pedestal."
"Glinda!" Elphaba repeated, aghast.
"Honestly, Elphie, we're better off without him." Glinda turned away from her, but Elphaba could still hear her muttered, "Frankly, I think we ought to consider ditching the Scarecrow, too, but fat chance of that."
"Fat chance indeed," Elphaba agreed, shaking her head slightly at Fiyero's questioning look. "Don't worry about it."
Fiyero smiled. "I never worry." He moved closer to Elphaba and gave her a quick kiss on the lips.
Elphaba laughed lightly.
Glinda blushed, barely.
"Well, why don't you two go on and see what Billy wanted to show us?" he began, passing baby Galinda into her namesake's arms, smiling as Glinda immediately brightened. "And I'll go see if I can't help Boq squeeze through that door."
Elphaba followed Fiyero out of the door, Galinda coming up behind her with a giggling Galinda in her arms. Fiyero made a left, heading for the theatre's back door, and the two women kept along the hallway, heading for Billy's office, the space already filled with their very cramped non-Ozian acquaintances, all eyes glued to the small television in the corner.
"Police have been investigating the home of Samantha Larsen, now positively identified as the woman in the amateur video taken of the 'Oz Park Incident.' Authorities have found evidence that suggests Ms. Larsen's involvement, otherwise, including an unusually large number of Wizard-of-Oz-related paraphernalia, including copies of the books, films, music, and collectibles. Receipts for many of these items were also found in the woman's garbage, and her computer's web browser history has cached several websites regarding the series of books, but also Wicked: the Musical, and even articles documenting author L. Frank Baum and the history of Oz Park itself."
"Okay, great, now I look like an obsessed fan," Elphaba heard Sam mutter from the other side of the room, where she had been sitting and conversing with Janet, no doubt excited at the prospect of associating with someone from her own world with whom she could share her secret.
Glinda furrowed her brow. "Are you going to get in trouble for all of this?"
"That depends on what they think my part was," Sam waved a dismissive hand, although her resigned expression betrayed her nerves. "Which, apparently, is somewhere between victim and conspirator."
Janet laughed. "I wonder how they're going to think of all of this."
"Right?" Sam agreed with a laugh.
Glinda and Elphaba turned away from the other two women and resumed watching the News broadcast.
"A statement from the woman's Landlord, saying that Ms. Larsen was the sole tenant of the unit, contradicts the Police's findings, which indicate that several women inhabited the space, and possibly had frequent visits by a male, if said male has not actually been staying with her as well. Could these extra 'mystery tenants' be the other two young women seen exiting the building with her this morning? Landlady Bertha Wilkins has also stated that she could not recognize the two unidentified women as tenants of hers. And now, with us today we have several experts here to comment on the credibility of both the footage of the 'Oz Park Incident' and this morning's astonishing footage of what appears to have been two of these women actually flying above the heads of representatives of almost every major News outlet in the City, as well as their cameras."
"Hey, we're famous, guys," came another one of Samantha's exasperatedly sarcastic comments from the other end of the small room, but the green woman ignored it as Fiyero came back into the room and snaked an arm around her waist. She unconsciously moved in closer to him, leaning her head on his shoulder and relishing in his warmth without ever even looking up at him.
She also didn't notice Glinda's small frown from over the top of her daughter's head.
The entrance of Boq into the already heavily cramped room caused the blonde to groan loudly.
"Mr. Billy, you're going to need a bigger office than this, if we're going to be cramming this dope inside!" she exclaimed to the old security guard, although not unkindly.
He frowned, pensive. "Well, I don't know about me getting a bigger office any time soon."
"Sorry, Boq," Glinda said, her enthusiasm completely over-shadowing any attempt at appearing sympathetic, "You heard the man. Out!"
The Tin Man's face fell, and he looked unsure as to where to go, until Sam, seated as she was closest to the door, placed a hand on his arms and pulling him inside.
"Have a heart," she said softly towards Glinda. "Where else is he going to go?"
"Back in the dumpster?" the blonde supplied with a careless shrug.
"Is this desk sturdy?" Sam asked Billy as she helped Boq to settle into a seat atop it, at least until Glinda's statement registered. "He was in a dumpster?" She asked, failing to suppress a laugh and her slightly gleeful tone.
As Glinda was about to retort, when the television suddenly changed colours, bringing their attention back to it just in time to see a clip of Elphaba and Glinda launching into the air, Glinda holding a screaming Samantha, and Elphaba having her top ripped off, revealing flawless green skin and a lithe frame underneath.
Elphaba fought a blush, her cheeks turning a dark, muddled purple, visible as she had taken a cloth from Janet to remove her make-up only moments before (as the lack of make-up around her mouth both gave her a very odd look and gave others entirely too accurate an idea of what she had been doing in the other room with Fiyero). Fiyero brought his other arm around her and pulled her back tightly against his chest.
"That's a great look for you, Elphaba," he whispered into her ear, causing her to slap his arm, and more blood to rush to her face. "They're been playing that clip all day; they can't get enough of you either."
Elphaba focused on the screen, biting back an anguished cry at the notion of everyone in the City having seen her floating above their television cameras, topless no less.
"I'm kind of bummed that I didn't get to see him as the actual Scarcrow," she heard Sam remark. "Good job, by the way."
"Elphaba looks natural in your make-up, so you're not bad yourself," she could hear the smile in Janet's response. "Oh, don't worry, I took plenty of pictures of the progress."
Elphaba decided not to listen to that, either. Instead she stared at the screen, her mind mulling over the conversation of a round-table panel of so-called experts.
"Impossible. Robotics haven't come that far..."
"No, you an clearly see the smudges from the borders of application; the normal skin tone is make-up, the green skin underneath appears to be the natural skin tone, however wholly unnatural it is..."
"Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by author L. Frank Baum, who lived none too far from the site of this amazing event in the late 1890s..."
"A spokesperson for the Musical has vehemently denied any involvement, stating that this is not a publicity stunt but rather an entirely unrelated matter..."
She stole a look over at Glinda, not surprised to see her friend matching her stare, even as she absentmindedly tickled baby Galinda, still squirming and giggling on her namesake's lap.
"So much for not being known as the Flying Green Woman," the blonde told her with an apologetic smile.
"This just in, Police have released images of the interiour of the apartment, where several large gouges in the floor, as well as what look to be recently replaced windows and countertop, further indicate that there may have been dubious goings-on therein."
"'Dubious goings-on?'" Samantha echoed, incredulous.
"A large bag of tools near the door, also holding what appear to be random bits of scrap metal, seem to indicate that Ms. Larsen might have actually had something to do with the desecration of the Tin Man statue, some time ago. The two women, some believe, may have been her accomplices in the act of vandalism."
Glinda pursed her lips. "Well that's kind of true."
"Extenuating circumstances," Elphaba murmured with a fleeting look at Boq, sitting morosely on the desk behind her.
"Samantha Larsen, we have found, originally hails from the Northwest Suburbs, and has been living alone in the city for three years, attending nearby DePaul University. More information is unavailable at this time, as Ms. Larsen's parents were unavailable for comment."
"Oh, my God, my parents!" Samantha exclaimed. "What must my mother be thinking? Shit!" She leapt to her feet and moved to the door. "Excuse me, I'll be right back!"
After their benefactor-turned-fugitive fled the room, Janet crossed the room to turn down the volume on the television. She gingerly stepped over Streaky, who had at some point dislodged himself from Elphaba's grasp, choosing instead to curl up on top of a vent located just under the table, near the wall.
"Okay, so I live with my boyfriend," she began, ignoring the shocked look of her uncle as that bit of new sunk in, "so I highly doubt that I could help you guys out with lodging. And," she began walking a small circle, hands gesturing widely, "I doubt that Samantha's got enough money to hole up in a hotel with all of you." Her gaze lingered on Boq, who's chin was resting resignedly on his hand, but she shook it off. "I don't know what to suggest for you guys."
Glinda gingerly took a step forward as Janet went to lean against a wall, arms crossed and deep in thought.
"Well," the blonde began, "I think that I might have something that could help." She rifled in the borrowed messenger bag at her side. "Being the only one here inconspicuous enough and familiar enough with the apartment to venture out and get the cat and a change of clothes," she glanced at Elphaba with a small grin, "and how often have I not been the centre of attention?"
Glinda gave a false huff and continued, having finally found what she had been rifling for. "Frankly, I cannot believe that no one mentioned to pick this up."
Elphaba's eyes widened as they fixed on the cover of "the Wonderful Wizard of Oz" from Sam's apartment. "Oh, Oz, I was just so focused on getting Streaky out of there..."
"Honestly, Elphie, you do get carried away..."
Elphaba ignored her and ran her hands over the cover, delicately, as Fiyero watched on, over her shoulder.
"What is it?" he asked, watching as she opened it, flipping over the image of himself, Boq, the Lion and that Dorothy child.
She almost smiled fondly. "A copy of the Grimmerie."
"The Grimmerie?" he exclaimed, pulling away from her practically for the first time since their reunion. "Wait, what do you mean a copy- ?"
"Oh, we're not going to explain this whole thing over again, are we?" Glinda asked, her cheeks turning a bit pink.
"Later," Elphaba whispered to him, giving him a quick peck on the lips and smiling wider at her own action. "Right now we need a plan."
"Since when do you operate on a plan?" he teased.
Glinda rolled her eyes, but Janet nudged her, telling her, "he's been pretty much cooped up in here the whole time, so... "
Elphaba went on ahead and began flipping through the pages, brow furrowed, looking for something but perhaps not anything as-yet specific. "The layout is completely different."
"Yours was probably a different printing," Janet supplied.
Elphaba didn't respond, instead, slamming the cover shut. "I need to really sit down and spend some time studying "
"Not right now, you don't," Glinda plucked the book from Elphaba's hands, ignoring a muted moan of protest from her friend. "Right now," she spoke the words with extra force, "what we need to do is plan, and I'm sure that this can help us." She slapped the book against one palm, causing Elphaba to flinch. "What we need to do is figure out how this can help us."
Elphaba's eyes narrowed. "And how do you propose we figure it out without intense study?"
"Well, who is the one person we know with any familiarity with the Grimmerie?"
Glinda swallowed the taste of bile as she spoke. "Yes.
"We've got to go and ask Madame Morrible for help."
A/N: Wow. No real scene changes during this whole monster. Huhn. Well, another chapter, kind of filler-y, but including the long-awaited reunion of our favourite lovebirds, and the story has gone further along on its sudden turn.
Meanwhile, today is my birthday, and I have this as my gift to you all. Want to return the sentiment?