Yay for my third foray into the wonderful world of Wicked! And this story will have chapters and be really long. I know this has been done before but theoretically it's different enough that it will be interesting anyway.
note that is a continuation of Wicked following immediately where the
musical left off. Also, I may be screwing up some of the canon just a
little because the story deals a lot with the Vinkus and the way it's
ruled. Since the musical changed so much about Fiyero I decided that
the Vinkus and his status as royalty there would be different. Don't
sue me just yet :) It seems to me that he's far more wealthy and
widely known in the musical and I'm trying to reflect that in the
way I've set up the economy, hierarchy and general way
the Vinkus. Basically the Arjiki's are the head of a trade
empire. The other two tribe's from the book are there as well,
but you'll see what's up with them.
Disclaimer: I don't own it, don't sue me, I'll put them all back, relatively unscathed, when I'm done playing. I do however, lay whatever claim I can to the original characters I do put in.
Through the clock and into the woods to Fiyero's house we go...
Enough For Now
Stepping through the clock was like stepping into a vacuum. Or a vortex. Having never actually been inside either of the two Elphaba wasn't sure which was the most accurate description. The point was it sucked. She felt like she'd been ripped off her feet by a particularly strong wind as soon as the clock face swung shut behind them. Only instead of pushing her and Fiyero, this wind pulled.
She tried to yell and found she couldn't, no sound came out. Actually she realized she couldn't hear anything period. But she could see Fiyero just behind her, flailing his arms to try to catch up. His mouth was moving but she couldn't find the words. It was the oddest thing, except for Fiyero and what little else they'd brought for their excursion she couldn't see a thing. It was pitch black all around and yet somehow light at the same time.
Finally, after what seemed like eons, they "popped" out the other end of whatever it was. Elphaba landed not-so-gently on her tail end. Fiyero landed gracefully on his feet next to her and offered her a hand up.
"What, have you done this before?" She asked, not entirely happy at the ease with which he'd managed to come out of the ordeal.
"Yes actually, there are a lot of portals through out Oz. Most people don't know about them but the Arjiki's have used them for ages," Fiyero explained. "We call it "hopping."
"And you didn't think it worthy to explain this "hopping" before we "hopped," she snapped back. "Where did we fall from?"
"There." He pointed to a rather large tree that had a circular chunk missing. It looked like the end of a tube slide at a schoolyard playground. "Sorry. You'll get used to it. It's actually rather pleasant once you do."
"Thank you, but I think I prefer to come and go by broom. Where are we anyway?" She asked, looking around now that there was something other than Fiyero to look at.
They were in a forest, trees surrounded them, though she wasn't positive what kind. There was a very nice pond not fifteen feet away from where they stood and the land seemed to arch on either side, as if they were nestled between two mountains.
"The Enchanted Forest. At least that's what we always call it, I believe the actual name is in ancient Arjikian and sounds something like a sneeze but I'd have to ask someone who remembers about that."
"We're in the Vinkus?"
"Yes somewhere in the vicinity of the middle."
"I thought we had to leave Oz," Elphaba answered, feeling what little patience she had left leave as if by portal, or whatever Fiyero had called them.
"Well technically we're out of Oz. See the Vinkus is exactly twice as big as the Oz maps show because we've explored quite a bit of the border lands and found not desert, but quite habitable and beautiful land beyond Oz Proper and laid claim. It's another of those things most people don't know about. They tend to think we're silly tribal traders who don't know anything but how to load a train with finery and spend the money we make doing that."
"So we're out of Oz but in the Vinkus." Her mind was reeling with all this new information. Vacuum portals, doubled countries, forest where she'd been taught she'd find desert. What would be revealed next? The existence of an ocean? It'd certainly been theorized.
"Yes, we're somewhere very close to the border of Oz but no longer in it."
"And as long as we stay west of the "border" we're okay?" She tried to clarify.
"Actually I think we're pretty much free to roam. I have it on very reliable authority that since the Wizard was so kind as to attempt to have the Crown Prince of the Arjiki's assassinated, the king is going to finally follow through with his threats and secede from Oz entirely."
"Can he do that? What about the other tribes don't they have any say?"
There was Elphaba, constantly concerned with the rights of others.
"Not really, see the Scrow and the Yunamata aren't technically citizens of Oz anyhow, as they're so nomadic they never got around to joining up. Their numbers are small enough that they travel through out the Vinkun wilderness and answer to no one. All they need is their freedom and permission to hunt all year and they're happy. The ones who aren't have long since melded into the Arjiki domain."
"You make it sound as if they're the uncivilized nomads most people see the 'winkies' as."
"Well they are. Which is funny since they normally live closer to the Kells and therefore are more within the Ozian boundary. Apart from the trading posts all of the Arjikian cities are either out here on the border, or west of it," Fiyero explained patiently. "Come on we gotta get going if we want to make it to the palace by dark. You don't want to be out here then with nothing to protect yourself."
He began walking southward, picking his way on an invisible trail through the trees. Elphaba could only stand looking at him. Trying to figure out how he'd managed to plan their escape so thoroughly when he'd only remembered he did in fact have a brain twenty-four hours before. And just how exactly he was going to pull off arriving back in civilization as a handsome prince turned into a Scarecrow with the Wicked Witch of the West in tow.
Finally she gathered back her wits and jogged after him.
"Fiyero wait! Hold on just a clock tik."
"What? I'm serious about that in the forest after dark thing. Not only are there very wild animals and the temperature plummets as soon as the sun sets."
"I know," she insisted. "but just how are you planning to do this? Waltz into the city or palace or wherever we're headed and say 'Hi everybody, I'm really Prince Fiyero but I was turned into a Scarecrow by the Wicked Witch of the West who isn't so wicked. In fact I've got her here with me so let's have a party and continue dancing through life'?" She asked dubiously. "Have you really thought about this? How did you plan this all anyway and where exactly are we going?"
"We are going to THE palace, Iisen Lier is where my family lives almost all the time. It's in the city called Loryntium, which is also the capital. And you're going to have to trust me."
"But ..." Elphaba simply wasn't used to trusting anyone. Fiyero was a first. Even more so than Glinda. She couldn't think of any reason not to trust him, but that was no reason to throw caution to the winds. "What about the Wicked Witch of the West part?"
"Elphaba to be honest, not a whole lot of people out here believe that. Most who do don't really care. The Winkies haven't been on wonderful terms with Oz since the Wizard dropped in. He hasn't exactly been beneficial, benevolent or befriending. He is the one who perpetuated the stupid nomad image after all." He took her hand and kissed it, hoping to reassure her. "My parents know we're coming. They know I am a Scarecrow, they know you are doing everything within you're considerable power to change that. They know I trust you, and that I love you and so they will too."
Well there it was, he'd said the words. I love you. It was that she hadn't figured that out. No one spent three years searching for a person and then give up their life to spent just a moment with them, without having some degree of love for that person. She knew he loved her and it wasn't that she didn't love him in return, she did. They just hadn't said the words. No one had ever said those words to her. Not her father or mother, or Nanny or Nessa. Not even Glinda had ever said those words, it had been different with her of course. They had been best friends, not family members or anything. But to hear the words. . .in real life. . .
"Hey are you okay?" Fiyero asked as he slipped a comforting arm around her shoulders.
He knew this was hard for her. To leave to land and people she loved, who she only had ever wanted good things for. To run away to a place she'd never really been before, to people she'd never met and a land she'd hadn't even known existed until thirty seconds ago. He also knew she missed Glinda already. And that she'd never admit but she missed Nessa too.
"Yeah I'll be alright, I just-
He hugged her warmly.
She hugged him back, kissing him softly before they separated and began walking again.
"Fiyero?" She spoke up after a short time. After she'd convinced herself to take a chance.
"I love you."
He looked at her, a smile teasing his lips and utter understanding playing in his eyes. And just for that moment they both knew it would be okay. They'd make it through whatever problems they faced and come out together.
They walked on, briskly, to make it to the city by nightfall. Through the trees Elphaba could see the beginnings of dusk. The sky was turning orange and pink, and the light steadily dimmed. Birds began to call and she saw a deer at a stream they passed.
The trees didn't seem to be thinning at all, and the darker it got the more that worried her. Fiyero didn't seem concerned though, so she didn't say anything about it.
"How come we didn't just take a portal straight to the palace if they're all over the place?" Her curiosity finally got the best of her and she asked.
"Well I guess 'all over' is a bit of a liberal term for it. They exist and we use them, in fact cities are built around them, but I don't know where many are out side this area, and hardly know of any outside the Vinkus. There's one in the Emerald City that takes you to Kiamo Ko, and from there another portal goes to Loryntium. But I figured we had better avoid sticking around Kiamo Ko."
"Then why didn't we just use the one that's already there to go to Loryntium?"
"I don't think you fully appreciate the exactly how lucky our escape was." He elaborated. "There were mobsters everywhere, looking for any sign that you might have survived. To access that particular portal would have been impossible with out getting caught as it's located in the fireplace of the grand hall, where they'd set up camp."
"Anyway, the only other one in the city I knew of was through the clock. My father knows of more but I didn't have time to wait for a reply to the letter I sent home."
They walked on in silence again. By then the sun had surely fallen, it was nearly dark and Elphaba was beginning to understand that Fiyero had not been joking in the least when he'd said it got cold really fast.
"Look, we're almost there." He said after another ten minutes.
She sighted down his outstretched arm to see what he was pointing at. Sure enough, just above the trees the turrets of Iisen Lier. The windows were lit, and the moonlight was just bright enough to make out the roof.
"Come on." He moved on, more quickly now that he could see their goal. Within the next ten minutes they'd reached the outskirts of the city. It wasn't so much a city. Not in the industrial sense that Elphaba had expected. It wasn't at all like the Emerald City at least, it looked more like Center Munch, just bigger.
When they first entered, cottage-like buildings lined the cobblestone streets. They were nearly all white with brown trim and many had thatched roofs. Most stood two stories tall and weren't set far from the one next door.
"The larger houses are at the other end of town." Fiyero explained. "This is where the less wealthy live."
Elphaba thought it was very nice, in Center Munch the less Wealthy lived in shacks and boxes in the river bottom. These buildings resembled middle class Munchkin homes.
The homes turned to business buildings as they neared the center of town. Stores and Boutiques were set below apartments and inns. The city offices seemed to be directly in the center as well as the second biggest building in town: the trading depot.
"You like it?" Fiyero asked. He loved his homeland very much. He wasn't sure that anyone knew that, there had certainly been questions when he'd made the announcement that he wouldn't be returning to the Vinkus as soon as he graduated but would instead be taking the position of Captain of the Guard. But he was finally home, now that Elphaba was here with him it felt complete. He just hoped that she'd learn to love it too.
"It's beautiful. A little different than I expected but beautiful none-the-less."
"Good. Now the palace is about five minutes away from here, when we get there we can clean up a bit and meet my parents for dinner."
"But it's after mid-night."
"Well it'll be more of a light snack for them but you haven't eaten since before Dorothy arrived at Kiamo Ko."
She had to admit that was true. At least to herself.
True to his word within five minutes Fiyero was guiding her through the main entrance of Iisen Lier. The enormous foyer inside the gargantuan quoxwood doors was all but empty, only four guards stood at attention there. Though Elphaba was sure there were more hidden away, waiting for any sign of trouble. Apparently a Scarecrow and a green woman who was a supposed wicked witch weren't signs of trouble.
They passed with ease, Fiyero even received several respectful head dips. He led Elphaba through halls and corridors until she thought she was sufficiently lost and then finally into a sitting room of sorts. Before an extravagant fireplace, in two over stuffed chairs sat two people who Elphaba could only assume were her companion's parents.
His mother was a study of classic beauty, with pale skin, chestnut hair which was pinned up elegantly behind a tiara. And her cerulean eyes were perfect matches for Fiyero's own. His father was more gruff but handsome still the same. His brown hair was frosted in grey, his eyes were cloudy green and his skin almost dark, like his son's, in the firelight. He was tall and brawny, even sitting in his chair. Neither could have been over fifty, maybe years younger than that.
"Mother, Father," Fiyero greeted the two. Feeling for the first time just a little nervous to be returning home as he did. Talk about the prodigal son.
To his relief, his parents' stoic demeanor's vanished at the words and his mother rushed to hug him. His father hung back, taking things in with less drama, though he was equally glad to see his son alive, if very different.
"I was so worried, you father showed me he letter and I thought..." His mother trailed off, unable to speak the words aloud. Instead she buried her face in her sons soft chest, content that he was home and would be whole again.
"Shh, it's okay. Everything'll be just fine. You'll see," he reassured her, feeling her tears seep through his shirt. He rubbed his hand up and down her back, glad she hadn't been to spooked at his appearance. It was reassuring in itself, to be accepted by his mother. And the little worry over his condition he hadn't even known he'd had seemed to melt away.
"Fiyero says you think there's a way to make him human again." His father said from behind his mother, addressing Elphaba. Ever the logician his father was.
"Yes, I hope."
"Good. Our library is at your disposal, Fiyero can help you with anything you don't recognize, though Tierney is the linguificationist in the family."
"Thank you sir."
"Aren't you going to introduce us Fiyero?" His mother asked, having finally gained some control over her emotions.
"Yes of course. Elphaba," he reached for her hand a tugged her forward. "My parents, Tiernan and Gwynigael, though I believe Gwyn is the prefered title. Mom, Dad, this is Elphaba."
"It's a pleasure," Gwyn said politely, eying the girl shrewdly if not rudely. She wasn't sure of this strange girl, but wasn't about to be cruel to the one her son loved so dearly.
"Enchanted," Tiernan bent to kiss her hand. He was a charmer too, quicker to trust the girl than his wife.
"Likewise." To her credit, Elphaba curtsied. Though Fiyero would later assure her that such things weren't required.
After another examination of both young people by the majesties, Fiyero's mother remembered there was a protocol to receiving guests and family members and ushered Elphaba off to clean up and eat, and Fiyero too as well to the extent that he needed. He did manage to stuff himself into a nicer outfit, with Elphaba's solemn help. And she was given a clean change of clothes as well as pajamas to wear when she'd finished her meal.
"How in Oz did all this happen?" Gwyn couldn't help being curious. It wasn't often one's son would stay away from home for a full year to bring back a green girl that nearly the whole country feared and loathed, her curiosity got the best of her regal manners.
"Well. . ." Elphaba began, eager to explain herself in hopes of making a good impression. Though one wasn't needed.
"I think that's a story that can wait until tomorrow when we've both rested," Fiyero interjected gently. The emotions of it all were too raw and he was worried for Elphaba who'd been running on nothing more than adrenalin he knew.
"You're right of course," Tiernan agreed.. "You explained most of it in your letter anyway."
By this time Elphaba had finished the soup and bread that had been placed before her and her energy was all but gone.
"If it's all the same I think we'd both like to go to bed and sleep until Lurlinemas."
Gwyn looked like she wanted to protest but her husband was already taking over, which under the circumstances was probably for the better.
"Yes, of course. I imagine we'll both be staying in your room?"
Fiyero looked nervously to Elphaba. It wasn't as if they could do anything, not in his state and both were exhausted anyway. But they hadn't discussed it at all. Questions filled her eyes and in all honesty Elphaba just wanted him to take the lead.
"For tonight anyway, it's too late to get another room ready." He decided.
Both of his parents nodded, they'd been expecting that since his letter had arrived anyway.
He hugged each of them once more, and Elphaba thanked them for their hospitality and then followed Fiyero through the halls and passages once more. Up the grand staircase, and then up two more winding ones, through an open hall that overlooked the courtyard and up into the north wing.
"I don't know if this is what you wanted but I figured it was too late to worry about it anyway," Fiyero said as they entered what must have been his bedroom.
"It's fine," Elphaba replied, trying to push away her worries and allay them all at once.
She'd always thought the first time she shared a bed it would be with her husband. Fiyero wasn't all that far off in some respects. They loved each other at least. But it was almost silly, they'd barely spent three days together, since reuniting after Shiz, even if the love had been blooming for three years they'd barely established a relationship. She knew next to nothing about him except that he was handsome (even as a Scarecrow) and sweet and selfless and cared far more about everything than he'd let on when they'd first met.
"If you're not comfortable with this I can sleep on the couch by the fire. It's okay."
"No, you don't have to do that," Elphaba found herself saying. "I just- It's so strange, I feel as if I don't know you at all and as if I've known you and loved you forever all at once and it's disconcerting. I didn't think this far, to be honest I didn't think I'd live long enough to need to."
"I know," he agreed softly. "I don't want to rush anything, I didn't really think this far either I guess. I just wanted to get us someplace safe, to get home with you alive. But there's so much to think about now, more than just living to see the sunrise."
Elphaba nodded, finding that he had the words she couldn't come up with.
"Like where are we going from here?"
Now that they'd started all her thoughts, her worries, her hesitations weren't going to stop and she found herself spilling them like the water from the bucket which had "melted" her.
"I mean obviously we have to get you back to normal, but once we do . . . Fiyero I'm not exactly queen material, Ozian or not."
"No you're not queen material." Well that was blunt.
"You're far more than that, you shouldn't be marrying the prince to rule the Vinkus you ought to be ruling the world. But I'm afraid I want nothing more than to ask you to settle for me," he went on.
"Elphaba, I don't know exactly where to go from here either. I feel the same way about knowing you and loving you, yet not knowing you at the same time. I know you're strong, that you truly care about everything from the smallest animal to the silliest prince," he said with a self-deprecating grin. "I know I love you more than I ever thought I could love anyone, more than I thought it was possible to love anyone. That's not enough though is it?"
"No, not quite."
He took her hands and a deep breath.
"But I want to spend the rest of my life learning everything else, from you're favorite color to what you're favorite Lurlinemas gift will be when you're fifty. I want to know it all, every story from your childhood, of your life up to this point, and if you'd let me, I'd like to help you write some of those stories from now on."
"Are you asking me to–
"Stay here with me? Build a life with me? Marry me? Yes."
She couldn't help feeling a little overwhelmed, she wanted nothing more. But was horrendibly afraid of reaching for it. No one had ever wanted her to stay, to build, to love.
"I know it's going to be hard, and a little scary, to start anew in an unfamiliar place, and close your eyes and take a leap. But I'm here to help, to stand by your side through everything if you'll have me," He was nearly pleading now and was terrified that she'd say no.
But how could she?
It's time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap.
"I'd like nothing more." The words finally came.
There would be kinks and holes and bumps and scrapes but they'd make it. They'd make it or die trying.
With an elated whoop and a smile bigger than all of Oz Fiyero lifted her clean off the floor and swung her around in ecstatic circles. which left both of them laughing until they couldn't breathe. Tears were streaming from her eyes when he finally set her down but the smile never left her face.
Both understood they were happy tears but Fiyero kissed them away anyhow before moving down to place his lips gently on her own.
When they parted both were breathless, excited and exhausted all at once.
"Well I guess we've made enough progress for the night anyway. You can have the bathroom first," he offered. "It's just through that door."
She grabbed her pajama's and walked passed the fireplace, the couch and the four-poster bed into a small, curtained-off room that was a closet as well as a lavatory. She pulled her legs tiredly into the pajama bottoms, and then slid into the silky, long sleeved top. They were modest, and loose and terribly comfortable. Fiyero's mother at least had good taste in sleep-wear, though Elphaba wasn't sure what else to say for the woman. She didn't know her at all.
When she walked back into the main room she found Fiyero had built the fire up, a brave thing to do with a body made of straw. And he'd turned down the sheets on the bed and dimmed all the other lights in the room already.
"I don't suppose, I'll change into anything else tonight, these are comfortable enough to sleep in anyway," he said gesturing to the outfit he had on.
She nodded, it would do well enough for a while she supposed. Scarecrows probably didn't have to change clothes very often, at least ones who lived in palaces didn't. He wouldn't be that way for long anyway, she told herself. Tomorrow she'd get started to find a way to change him back into a man. Spells couldn't be reversed of course, but she saw no reason why placing another spell to turn him into a human again wouldn't work, it was just a matter of finding such a spell.
At once they climbed into the tall bed, fumbling to find a comfortable position and divvy out the blankets. Finally Elphaba lay nestled in the crook of Fiyero's arm, using his chest for a pillow and he placed both arms around her, careful not to scratch her with his straw, which poked through just a little between his glove and his sleeve. Elphaba couldn't remember being so comfortable in all her life.
"You do think you can change me back right?" Fiyero asked, after they'd lain, staring up at the canopy for a long while. His voice betrayed the first hint of nervousness he'd shown since they'd stood before the Dragon Time Clock.
"Yes," she answered after a minute. Hesitating just long enough to decide whether she really believed it or not.
"Okay," he said back, reassured at least that she believed she could. And if she believed then he did too. And that was enough for them.
Minutes later the two were sound asleep, comfortably off in dreamland where they wouldn't be plagued by any nightmares that night. Neither woke when the door opened just a smidgen and two pairs of eyes looked in. Two understanding pairs of eyes which just wanted to ensure that their son was home and safe and happy one more time that night before they themselves would close for sleep.
First chapter is done, wahoo! What'd ya think? I need lots of feedback for this one, I know where I want it to go but there are a lot of holes to patch and rough spots to smooth out so any help is beyond muchly appreciated.