A/N: Here's my second attempt at a Wicked fanfiction. This one is actually set in Son of a Witch, and if you haven't read that, it's just after Elphaba's been 'killed' by Dorothy, and Liir, her son, goes with them to the Emerald City, but after they've been granted their wishes and Dorothy leaves, he decides to search for Fiyero's daughter and his half-sister Nor in Oz's notorious prison Southstairs, with, curiously enough, Elphaba's younger brother Shell as a guide. But he isn't prepared for what he'll find.
Disclaimer: I don't own the musical or the book version of Wicked, nor (haha) do I own Son of a Witch. I do, however, own a Wicked CD and a whole lot of curiously durable green eyeshadow currently covering my face. And I own my Freak License.
Liir waited patiently outside as Shell went into yet another cell. He listened, absently wondering what sort of thing Shell was going to do in there. But this time, the conversation went differently from any of the others.
"What the-" It was Shell. "You're alive?"
"Oh, of course I'm alive, you great oaf. Honestly, did you truly believe that utter tripe about water?"
Liir's ears perked up. The voice sounded awfully familiar…but it couldn't be. He wouldn't give himself false hope. Elphaba was dead. He had seen her with his own eyes- wait, actually, he hadn't. Only a hysterical Dorothy and a senile Nanny had actually seen the site of Elphaba's death. Despite himself, Liir felt hope flutter to life in his heart.
"But- you never did wash with water, and in Quadling Country you always wore those boots and those leggings, you said the damp made your feet hurt-"
"Do cats like water, Shell?"
"Does water melt cats, Shell?"
"No, of course not- oh."
Liir, almost certain now that it was she, could picture the look on her face, eyebrows quirked, looking skeptically down her formidable nose with an expression of disdain, a Can-you-really-be-that-thick look.
He had been the one on the end of that look, squirming, so many times. He had hated that look.
He thought, if he saw her give him that look again, he might kiss her. Oh, not like that. Like- he could remember, once, a time before the royal family of Kiamo Ko had disappeared, when she had tried to kiss the top of his head, awkwardly, maternally, and he had twisted away and dashed off. He wished he hadn't.
"Shell, listen, there's a few people I need to know about. Oh, now, spare me that look, the Wizard's gone and you know very well I and anyone I ask about aren't exactly here for robbing some Shiz bank or knocking off some innocent in a botched burglary."
"Oh, very well, ask, I can't guarantee an answer."
"Fiyero, Prince of the Arjikis, is he here? What happened to him?"
"Is he the one they dragged from that disreputable love nest above a mill, or something like?"
"It wasn't a love nest, it was-" she caught herself. Liir, recalling what the Carp in the fishwell had said about his parentage, listened intently.
"Yes," she added, sighing, then, urgently, "Is he here, Shell, or is he dead; tell me, you must tell me!" Shell laughed at her, then said,
"First, you must tell me, was it you he was having an affair with, Fabala?"
Fabala? thought Liir. He knew the name was a derivative of Elphaba, but he'd never heard her called that before. She was Elphaba, Auntie, the Witch, Elphie- and as close to a mother as he was likely to get, but he'd never considered that she had another family as well, more than he and Nanny. He knew she had visited her sister, had gone to her funeral, but he hadn't thought anymore about it than that.
"Don't, Shell, you know only Father ever called me that, and thinking of him brings Nessarose to mind, which-"
"Fine, then, Elphaba, was it you?"
Liir's heart soared, hearing the name.
"Yes," she whispered, quietly, quickly, in a voice he'd never heard. A voice of love and pain and longing, soft and sincere instead of hard and sarcastic.
"And that boy, is he yours then?"
"Liir? I don't know, Shell."
"How don't you know? Either you had him, or you didn't, Elphaba, it's not some philosophical question you can dance around!"
"No, honestly, I don't know. I was in a coma for a year, Shell. I could have carried him, could have borne him- but you'd think that would have woken me up!" She said the last bit with her customary biting tone, and Shell laughed. But when she continued, it was in a serious voice:
"But Liir hasn't got the mahogany skin of the Arjikis, and he certainly isn't green!"
"Well, Elphie, Mother and Father weren't green either, and they managed to produce you."
"But Fiyero, Shell, tell me, is he here?"
"Yes, Elphaba, he is."
"Alive? Fiyero!" she cried wonderingly, a note of joy in her voice that Liir had never heard. And then- "Oh, damn, tears, they burn like fire."
Shell chuckled and said, "But your face isn't melting."
"I've told you, you imbecile, I don't melt, I merely fell. I accidentally kicked open a trapdoor in the tower, and fell, fell into the courtyard. I believe I've permanently bruised my spine. But I guess some Gale Forcers followed Dorothy after all, for they were lurking about in the courtyard and captured me when I fell."
Well, that explains it, thought Liir.
"Shell, listen, wait, there's another prisoner, a girl, Fiyero's daughter, Nor-"
"Shut up, no!"
"Oh, curious thing, that girl, your maybe-son is searching for her too."
"Liir? Where is he?" she asked, and the concern in her voice told Liir that she did care about him, however aloof she pretended to be.
"Right outside," said Shell, and he pushed open the cell door.
There she was, in all her green glory. Prison had not dimmed her. She was pacing, but Liir had known her to do that whenever she was faced with a problem, to pace, and pull her hair loose and run her hands through it as if she were searching her head for a solution. But when he stepped cautiously in, she stopped, and smiled warmly. The oddity of it made him almost shiver.
"Liir!" she cried jubilantly, hugging him, which made him stiffen awkwardly. Shell watched, amused.
"Liir," Elphaba said, "you'll get your wish yet. The Wizard's gone, but who needs him. We'll grant our own wishes," she said strangely.
"What wish?" he asked, as he had at Kiamo Ko, when she'd said nearly the same odd thing.
"For a father," she reminded him. She thought a moment. "Well, sort of. Maybe." She amended. "If-" she cut herself off.
"Shell," she said. "Where is Fiyero?"