Author's Notes: Not much to say. It's pretty cool that I have another chapter up within such a relatively short time. Whoo and Hoo. Anyway, it's a bit short, but serves its purpose, and hopefully I'll be updating fairly regularly from now on. Enjoy.
There was music, the use of triumphant trumpets being of particular note. Banners and ribbons of every color hung from windows and doors, off of balconies and carriages. The men wore flowers in their lapels and the women had them in their hair. The entire city had erupted with the sole purpose of bidding the Wonderful Wizard and the hero Dorothy a very fond farewell.
The balloon was ready and waiting and well guarded. Dorothy and the Wizard would soon emerge, as would the Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow to make a their public goodbyes to the delight of the crowd. It was Glinda who needed to ensure that all ran smoothly. With such a large gathering, things could always go wrong. All these people needed to be fed, housed and generally kept happy. It was absolutely necessary that the spectacles be spectacular with an upbeat tone so that no one began to worry about the implications of their Wizard abandoning them. There was much to take into consideration, and though Glinda was certain she needed to maintain a sharp and alert mind in order that the event go off without a hitch, she found herself preoccupied by a single dominating thought.
Elphaba snuggled. It was a strange thing actually, because now that Glinda thought about it she couldn't imagine whom else she would ever have had the opportunity to snuggle with. Somehow, it was hard to picture a little Elphaba climbing into bed with her father or mother or sister. And not being kicked out. Yet the fact remained that last night Glinda had been very aggressively snuggled by the green girl in question.
Glinda also took this opportunity to note that Elphaba made soft humming noises in her sleep and her breath smelled vaguely of moist wood and moss, and the faint scent of pine emanated from the general direction of her hands.
I really should have given the Shared Bed Issue deeper thought.
It wasn't that she had found it uncomfortable, exactly. It was actually a rather nice feeling, like being wrapped up in a warm cocoon. It reminded her of all sorts of comforting things; fur muffs, hot chocolate, that rosy feeling in your cheeks when you're just the right distance from the fire. The problem was that, although she couldn't quite place her finger on why, Glinda had a nagging feeling that she wasn't supposed to be quite this comfortable with the situation. That was absurd, of course. There was no reason why she shouldn't feel at home in the arms of her best friend. However, the fact that she couldn't stop thinking about it, along with the vague feeling of regret that by tomorrow night Elphaba would be tucked away in her own bed was most likely, decidedly, not normal.
It is just that I have been alone for so long, she thought. It's nice to be held, that's all. Back at Shiz, Fiyero had always been good company for such things, but the last few months had found him absent, in more ways than one. In fact, he had been distant since Elphaba had left. It really was extraordinary how obvious some things became looking back on them. Oh well. He's gone now, and there's no use regretting. If she started thinking about what she should have known or should have done, she'd probably never stop.
She glanced up, the window of her own room visible from her position just inside the side door of the palace. It would only be a few more minutes now. Her hand lifted to feel the key hanging around her neck through her bodice. It was silly really, no one ever entered her rooms without express permission, but should Elphaba be discovered now the results would be disastrous and it made Glinda feel safer knowing her friend was safely locked away, where only she herself could reach her.
Ah, here came Dorothy, and the Wizard. Glinda smiled at the girl, not bothering with her soon-to-be traveling companion.
"And how are we, dear?" She said, her voice kind and not hitting any of her normally false notes. "Have everything for the trip?"
"What?" Dorothy answered, her eyes wide as she peered out through the narrowly opened door. "Oh, yes, thank you. There are so many people!"
"You're very popular around these parts," Glinda replied encouragingly.
"Well, I don't like it. I can't wait to get back to where I'm just plain, simple Dorothy."
Glinda blinked. "Whatever you wish, dear. Come now, we're going to exit through the main gate."
With that, she turned to walk down the long hallway.
"I think I will really miss this place." Glinda glanced at the man at her side, catching the smile he threw at her. "I helped design it myself, you know."
"They certainly all love you. Of course, I can't be certain how long that would last should your stay be extended." The underlying coolness of Glinda's voice was dripping with threat to the trained ear. The Wizard chuckled.
"Oh, don't worry. I think it's time I went back to being plain and simple myself."
"Past time. Well, here we are!" She directed this last to Dorothy who had trailed behind. "Are you ready?"
Dorothy's wandering eyes snapped on glittery-garbed witch, her whole body seeming to shrink from the sounds of the crowd outside. Moving close and taking the young girl's hand Glinda held those eyes.
"It will all be alright," she murmured. "Soon you'll home. Your friends will be there the whole time. And so will I."
With a deep breath, Dorothy nodded.
Glinda then turned and knocked on the door three times, indicating to the guards they were ready. A moment later the doors opened and the crowd erupted to greet the Witch, the Wizard, and the girl. They made their way to the balloon's platform where the Wizard began his farewell speech.
Glinda's thoughts began to drift again, her gaze moving toward the palace even knowing her own window was on the other side. She wondered what Elphaba was doing during this commotion. Reading, most likely. Glinda had gotten up early that morning, extracting herself carefully from Elphaba's embrace, before quietly dressing and seeing to the last minute preparations. She'd returned a few hours later with a pile of books and a measuring tape in hand to find the green witch up and about. Glinda smiled slightly at the memory of her friend's quiet reverence and contained excitement over the dusty volumes. Glinda had been sure to choose books that would not be missed from the library any time soon, but that didn't seem to diminish Elphaba's appreciation.
Her mood had changed however when Glinda insisted on getting her measurements. The commotion of today was the perfect time to put in an order for a dress without much notice. Fortunately, the task was accomplished without too much trouble as Elphaba always liked to get necessary yet unpleasant things over with as quickly as possible. Glinda had then gone to a little dress shop close to the palace and put in her order. It was simple project and should be done be tomorrow, though if perfectly honest with herself Glinda secretly hoped it would take a little longer. She was enjoying this time alone with Elphaba and she knew that after she was revealed to the public, they would never really be alone again. Part of her wanted to steal just a few more hours of keeping Elphaba to herself.
Suddenly, Glinda was shaken from her reverie as she was bumped by a figure rushing past. Quickly, she took stock. She tried to sort through the strange cacophony of cheering, shouting, crying and yapping. Looking up, she saw the Wizard waving from his sky-bound transportation. Looking down again, she encountered the angry and dismayed faces of Dorothy's strange companions. And there, standing on the platform with her little dog in her arms and tears streaming down her face, was the girl herself.
She had missed the balloon.