"You didn't have to sit with me, you know," Elphaba said when her and Galinda had settled back into their room after class.
"What do you mean?" Galinda put her books down and looked at Elphaba inquisitively.
"You know what I mean."
"Elphaba, I wouldn't have sat next to you if I didn't want to," Galinda told her friend seriously.
Elphaba nodded and sat on her bed with a book.
"I just don't want your sympathy."
Galinda took her shoes off and padded over to Elphaba's bed, sitting lightly on the edge. When Elphaba didn't look up at her, Galinda placed a gentle hand on her knee. She bit her lip when Elphaba still didn't acknowledge her presence. She closed a hand over Elphaba's. The dark eyes flicked up suddenly to meet hers.
"Are you mad at me, Elphie?" she asked softly.
"Elphie?" Elphaba said sternly, one eyebrow raised in an unappreciative manner.
"Elphaba," Galinda corrected herself, dropping the green hand and turning her gaze toward the floor.
Elphaba sighed, "No, Galinda, I'm not mad at you."
Galinda looked back up at her, and that perfect smile returned once again to her face. She turned to the window.
"It's supposed to rain tonight," she said wistfully, looking outside as if the heavens would open up at her very words. Elphaba cringed. Galinda looked at her skeptically.
"Oh, Elphie, why do you hate water so? Elphaba." She flushed lightly, mumbling an apology for her use of the unwanted nickname. Elphaba waved it off.
"I'm allergic to it, I guess. It burns me."
Galinda nodded in comprehension, though she didn't understand at all. She announced that she was going to take a walk around campus before the expected thunderstorms. Elphaba muttered a response, then looked up and politely declined Galinda's invitation to join her.
"Maybe next time."
Galinda nodded and left.
Galinda returned in the early evening, shooed back into the dormitories by a light drizzle she assumed would later grow into a torrential downpour. Elphaba hadn't moved from her position on the bed, but she looked up when Galinda walked in; it was as close to a greeting as Galinda would get.
"Hi Elphaba," Galinda said brightly as she sat on the edge of her roommate's bed and smiled up at the green face when it disengaged from the book and came up for air.
Elphaba smiled a half-smile in return, but did not say a word. Galinda fidgeted nervously in the awkward silence, and then reached into her bag to produce a sandwich.
"I brought you dinner," she said, "well, all that I could sneak out. I'm sorry it's nothing hot."
Elphaba gave her a genuine smile that time, Galinda returned it gratefully, relieved.
"You bring me dinner too often. You shouldn't."
"I want to," Galinda said softly. She looked away, "you don't eat otherwise. You're too thin," Galinda smiled weakly at Elphaba, then stood and walked to her dresser, sifting through the drawers.
Elphaba got up and followed her. She stood behind Galinda and wrapped her arms around the girl's waist, leaning forward to press a kiss to her cheek, brushing the golden curls out of her way. Galinda looked over her shoulder at her roommate and smiled.
"Thank you," and Galinda could tell that she meant it.
"You're welcome, Elphaba."
"You can call me Elphie."
The smile that appeared on Galinda's face was broader than she'd even seen it.
A loud clap of thunder startled Elphaba out of bed hours later that night. She backed up against the headboard of the bed and curled up, bring the blankets up to her nose. She glanced over to Galinda's bed and nearly cried out when she found it empty. She sat up immediately, her pulse rising so rapidly she heard it pounding in her ears. The bathroom door was dark, she wasn't in there. A flash of lightning followed by another bang of thunder made her whimper and close her eyes, the missing Galinda only briefly departed from her mind. She heard a noise at the window.
She opened her eyes to see a blonde head whip around and relaxed only slightly at Galinda's presence. The girl hurried over to her with a worried expression, but Elphaba shrunk back further into her pillows.
"You're wet," she squeaked. Galinda's eyes widened, then softened at the quaking fear in her voice.
"No, the windows are closed. I wouldn't open them in a storm like this," she paused, "oh Elphie."
She sat down next to Elphaba, who had curled herself into an even tighter ball at the head of the bed. She picked up the covers and crawled in next to Elphaba, putting a gentle hand on her knee.
Though Elphaba was not one to be comforted, another flare of lightning persuaded her to slowly lean into Galinda, who held her close without a word. Elphaba dropped her head to Galinda's shoulder, jumping slightly at another round of thunder, but quieting when Galinda rubbed her back.
"Shh," Galinda cooed to her. She found the voice soothing, "you're safe, Elphie, I've got you."
Elphaba closed her eyes and wound her arms around Galinda, holding onto her like a lifeline. Galinda stroked her hair.
"The storm can't get to you here, Elphie. It's okay. We're okay," the blonde assured and reassured her, murmuring soothing words every so often to make sure Elphaba didn't start to doubt them.
"How do you just," Elphaba paused, refastening her grip around Galinda, as if making sure she was still there. Galinda kissed the top of her head. "How do you just sit there, at the window, and look at it?" Elphaba asked her quietly. Her voice was still shaking as the rain pounded down relentlessly and the wind rattled the windowpanes.
"It's beautiful," Galinda whispered into her hair.
Elphaba tilted her head up to look at Galinda, who nodded to reinforce her statement.
"I can show you."
Elphaba looked at her, then nodded slowly. Galinda took her hand and pulled her out of bed, and Elphaba stood next to her with a death-grip on her hand. Another shattering clap of thunder sounded, and Elphaba started, and leapt for the bed, but Galinda caught her and brought her back.
"Elphie, you have to trust me, can you do that?"
Galinda took Elphaba's other hand as well, running her thumbs over the smooth green skin in hope to shake some of the fear from those dark eyes.
Elphaba nodded hesitantly and Galinda let go of her hands and wrapped an arm around her waist.
Elphaba walked with her to the window, clutching her hand. When the next flash of lightning came, she saw the bright bolt zigzagging down from the sky. She shivered, but didn't move. Galinda smiled up at her. A clap of thunder rang out like a gunshot and Elphaba crumpled and shook violently, shuddering by the window overlooking the great storm. Galinda softened and wrapped her arms around Elphaba's waist and rested her head against Elphaba's upper back. Elphaba relaxed slightly, but pulled her roommate around to face her. Galinda leaned her head on Elphaba's chest and rubbed her back soothingly as the storm raged on.
Elphaba stood there, at the windowsill, looking out over the thunderstorm, and for the first time her life, she felt safe. She thought it was ridiculous from the minute it entered her mind; that she could possibly feel secure mere inches from her greatest fear and weakness, yet at that moment she shared with her only friend, her surprisingly decent fluffball of a roommate, she felt perfect.