Author's Note: A sooner update. Aren't you proud? I do love your reviews. So detailed. It really helps me improve. I do appreciate each and everyone. Continue, please! Praise is always welcomed, comments are strongly encouraged, and constructive criticism is highly recommended.
A Little... Well, Complicated
"You're doing very well, Genessey. Actually, extremely well," said Elphaba, drawing her index finger up in the air. The curtains in her classroom arose and revealed the afternoon sunlight. "I don't know where you get your powers from. Oz knows you didn't get it from your mother."
She knew she was being a bit foul as she addressed Genessey's mother in such a way, but everyone knew how blunt she was. And it was the truth. Nessa didn't have an ounce of power in her.
"Perhaps I got it from you," replied Genessey, putting her wand away. Elphaba stopped herself from responding. That wasn't the least true. She remembered roaming through the Wizard's quarters many, many years ago. She blew up a safe in his wall, which contained bottles of green liquid. Green poison. It was then she realized what caused her to lead such a shadowed life, always discriminated. Cursing her father, her biological father, she destroyed the bottles with a flick of the wrist. The glass shattered and fire consumed its liquor. At that moment she suddenly felt a deep sympathy for Nessa's father. What a tragedy it might have been if he found out his own wife was an adulteress.
Pain struck her heart, as if it was shrinking. Sweet Lurline, I am the other woman, Elphaba thought wretchedly.
"Is everything alright?" asked Genessey.
Elphaba turned to her, clutching her heart. She saw the worried brow on her dear niece's face and forced herself to loosen her tension.
"I am fine," she answered. "I think that'll do for today. Yes... that'll do."
She curtsied. "Thank you."
"Wait," said Elphaba. "Don't leave so swiftly. I want to have a word or two. You are still my flesh and blood, after all."
Genessey looked at her sincerely and smiled. "So sorry. Of course." She moved a bit closer to her. Elphaba observed her carefully.
"So how is this Devin of yours? Does he treat you well?" she asked.
Her niece laughed. "Aunt Elphaba, you act as if he's a complete stranger. You know he's been with me all my life."
"That's what's so suspicious," said her aunt raising her brow. They laughed. It was true, however, that Elphaba didn't know half as much as she'd like about Devin. She was never great with children, especially little boys. She would rather much tend to animals and Animal young.
"I would like to get to know you all better," she said, "now that I have you to myself. I don't have to worry about your mother's interjections or his mother's prattles... not that I loathe them so, they're family."
"Do you like papa?" she asked abruptly.
Elphaba smiled. "Boq? Your father is a good person. It is always my pleasure to have him present at any given time."
"And Devin's father? Do you fancy him?"
Elphaba paused. She tentatively stared at the young girl's face, knowing very well that it was an innocent question. Still, she couldn't help but feel that reflexive shudder in her spine.
"Fancy him? Like a cat fancies water," she said wryly, but unsure if her words matched her tone. "He, too, is a good person. But he has many faults." But what captures me are the ways he overcomes them, she thought to herself.
A knock came at the door. Elphaba bid the person to enter and the door creaked open. A dirty blonde haired young man slipped in, suited in a navy uniform. His high cheekbones complimented his dark green eyes. He was clearly very handsome; he was tall and lean, and there was a confident air about him.
"Good evening Devin," said Elphaba, for the sun was beginning to set, and the sky had now just turned to a mixture of orange and violet.
"Good evening," he said. "Am I interrupting anything?"
"No, we were just finishing up," she said glancing at the clock. "Grand, I've kept you longer than I intended. You'll be late for your last class. Go on, you've got but one more to go."
Genessey murmured a small grateful thank you, and took the arm of which Devin offered to her. An involuntary smile crept up on Elphaba's face. The scene was almost fairytale-esque, almost picture perfect. He treated her like a delicate flower, just like how every girl should be treated. This somewhat frightened Elphaba. She could expect this from the son of Glinda the Grace, but never from the son of Fiyero. He seemed almost too sweet.
"You're thinking foolishly," Elphaba muttered, scowling at herself. "Look at you. Anyone who talks to themselves cannot be expected to think reasonably."
She locked up her classroom, thankful that the last period was her free one. She walked down the marble hall until she reached the end. For some time she had been meaning to meet with a friend after a long summer's absence. Fortunately, his time was also free this period. She had scheduled it that way for a reason.
She knocked on the door and announced herself profoundly. She was almost excited and, at the same time, apprehensive. The door unlocked and Elphaba let herself in.
"Dr. Dillamond. It's so nice to see you," she said as the great Goat she called her mentor stood up. His health was deteriorating, but he still kept lively.
"Miss Elphaba, how good it is to see you," he said hoarsely. They embraced; the fur on his skin was warm, but a bit damp.
"Are you well?" she asked, taking a seat on a chair. He took his comfortable chair behind his desk.
"I wish I was," he replied. "But do not worry. Autumn is always the season that ruins me."
"How was your summer?" she asked curiously.
"Intriguing. I spent most of my time fighting the good fight, as they say. Petitions for ending Animal discrimination, boycotting and striking- it gives one such a thrill. Pity, I didn't see you in any one of my escapades."
Elphaba frowned. True, she had been absent in many of the Animal rights acts for the past year. "My apologies. It's been-"
"No need to apologize. You do your share at the executive office. I speak on behalf of all the Animals in Oz when I say, if it weren't for you, we would be a dwindling specie. You have done so much for our good."
If Elphaba could turn crimson, she would. "Thank you. I try. But I must give reason for my delays. There have been so many other problems we've been ignoring that Glinda took notice of. We needed to tend to those. I didn't realize-"
"Glinda. Miss Glinda." He smiled, reminiscing. "How is she?"
"She's fine. Couldn't be happier."
"I do wish she was here to join us," he said leaning back. "She was an interesting sort. Different. Yes, more different than us." He seemed to have taken notice of her surprised expression.
"If anything, she complies with everything society calls for. Beautiful, popular, graceful," said Elphaba. "How is she different?"
"For the very reasons you've stated," he said. "Tell me, can you name any other who reaches to her standards?"
She thought for a moment and couldn't think of a soul. She shook her head, "There will never be another Glinda."
He grinned. "And that is why she is different." Elphaba smiled then laughed at his genius. He was still the remarkable creature from almost two decades past.
"Was there something you wanted to talk about, Miss Elphaba?" he asked soothingly, "I have this feeling that you wanted to say more than just a brief hello."
"Do I, really?"
"You always do."
Elphaba sighed. Dillamond didn't know about her affair with Fiyero, and she had been meaning to tell him from the start. He was the only person she could think of that she could confide to, but for some reason an instant fear always surmounted her heart, and her voice turned trembling. He took a liking to Glinda, a fatherly type, ever since he found out she changed her name for him. Elphaba didn't want to break him. But she felt if she didn't tell someone soon, she would burst.
"I have... unfinished business," she said, choosing her words carefully.
"Yes?" he said.
"I... I am in love with someone," she said steadily. She tried not to stutter, but already felt her hands quaking.
"You're in love with Fiyero," he said casually. She stared at him for a moment, wondering why he kept this for so long.
"How long have you known?" she asked, not knowing whether to laugh or be serious.
"For a while. I've been waiting for you to tell me. Luckily, I've been patient. Elphaba, I see the way you look at him, the way you've never looked at anybody else. You're such a lonely creature. Even the most different need to be loved. Everyone who has a heart should feel love."
"What do I do?"
"Whatever you think is right."
"But I ask of your opinion."
"You always do." He stood up and moved toward her. It was almost terrorizing because he was so tall that he towered over her. "Confess it. Only then will you be at ease. Only then will you be able to move on, and Glinda and Fiyero will be able to move on."
"But I-" she stopped herself. He had misread her. He still didn't know that she was an adulteress. Of course, she thought despondently, how anybody could feel so calm, unless they were aware of the crime, is logical in this situation.
"I feel a bit under the weather," he said suddenly.
"Shall I fetch you a glass of water?" she asked.
"No, no, I just need rest. An old Goat like me should hit the hay early." He smiled at his own pun. "Good night Miss Elphaba. I am glad you dropped by."
Elphaba nodded and walked to the door. She wrapped her black shawl around her, feeling a sudden chill. Before she turned the knob, Dr. Dillamond spoke just once more. "Beside the door, on that table- there's a note for you. It was delivered to me by mistake. I guess the deliveryman assumed I was still Headmaster."
Elphaba turned her head and saw a small blue envelope. She quickly lifted it from its place and left his office. Class was still in session. The silence was almost eerie, and only the clicks of her boots were heard. She decided to settle in her bedroom chamber for the rest of the evening. Perhaps she would go down to the dinner hall for a short meal, but she felt that she needed to close her eyes for a bit.
She entered her bedroom, which was dark and gloomy. She lit some candles to brighten the room a bit, reminding her of Glinda's sensibleness. Glinda always liked candles. Elphaba muttered a soft charm and the fireplace lit with a nice blaze of fire. She ripped open the envelope.
I need to see you. There is something I have to say.
You're the only person I could talk to.
Meet me beside the gardens tomorrow night.
The note was short and scribbled inelegantly on a piece of paper, which looked like it had been ripped off from a text book. Elphaba rolled her eyes. He never had any respect for books. I can't meet you Fiyero, she thought desperately, the more I see you, the more I fall in love with you. She moaned and walked over to the fire, where it let out the warmth she needed to relieve her chill. She loved the color of it, the obscure images it painted, and the crackling sounds it gave. Slowly, but painfully, she took another glance of the note. And slipped it into the fire.
Don't pursue me, Fiyero, she said quietly, I will make sure that I am not to be found. Letting the candles burn, she left her bedroom hastily. She didn't feel at all hungry. But she felt that she needed to make an appointment.
Luckily, her beautiful niece was seen walking up to her chamber. Elphaba smiled.
"How time flies," she said giving her a hug. "What can I do you for?"
"If it isn't much, Aunt Elphaba, I was wondering if you would accompany me for midnight tea?"
Elphaba's heart lifted. Thank goodness, we had the same idea, she thought. "Midnight? Isn't that awfully late for a young lady like you?"
"It's customary in Munchkinland."
"Forgive me. I am unfamiliar with your customs. But may I make one request?"
"Of course, Aunt Elphaba." Her blue eyes glinted with the essence of a lake.
"Instead of tea, let's have warm milk. And some sweet pastries."
"Of course," she answered obediently. "May I invite Devin? You may invite who you please."
Elphaba smiled. It must have been one of her notions to have them get to know each other better since she mentioned it in her sorcery lesson. "That would be wonderful. I'll tell him the good news, if you don't mind?"
"Of course. I need to study. Tomorrow at midnight?"
"Perfect. I'll walk you to the stairs." Genessey didn't say much as Elphaba went on and on about whatever flew into her mind. She changed topics; she was quite fickle when it came to conversation. When they reached the stairs, Elphaba bid her good night, and started to walk up the steps. Her dress dragged behind her and she almost tripped once or twice. Finally, she became irritated, and lifted her dress as Glinda would do. How she missed her little friend dearly.
She approached Devin's door and knocked twice. The door opened.
"Headmistress," said a red-haired girl. "Is something wrong?"
"Assuming that you've assumed something is wrong, something must be wrong," said Elphaba. "But whatever it is, I don't care. Where is Devin?"
The girl opened the door wider and let her in. Devin was seen, legs crossed, on his bed, reading a text book. He looked up, and stood when he saw her enter.
"No need for properness," said Elphaba holding a hand up. "I just wanted to invite you to Genessey's midnight tea tomorrow. She thinks we should get to know each other better. Only we're not having tea. We're having warm milk. Warm milk and pastries. I hope that suits you."
"It suits me fine," he said.
"But Devin, you said you were going to teach me all you knew about History for Thursday's exam," said the red-headed girl.
"Well that can be easily solved. Why don't you come along?" asked Elphaba. She noted that Devin's eyes widened, but didn't want to retract her invitation. He would have to learn to deal with people different from him.
"I would love to, but how will that help with Thursday's exam?" she asked quite crossly.
"Fine. You don't have to go. But just to keep you onboard, you would be dining with the best in History this school's ever known." She winked. "Me."
"Sold," she said and plopped on her bed. Elphaba sighed and shook her head. She exchanged looks with Devin and made a face, which caused him to laugh. She said her goodbyes and continued on to the dining hall.
She didn't eat much. All she could think about was that note and that expected meeting with Fiyero. She didn't want to meet with him. She just couldn't. But he was expecting her, the love of his life, near the gardens. What would happen if she failed to meet him? She knew he wasn't the type to give up so easily. Especially when he had already caught her in his arms. But she had other plans. And it wouldn't be entirely her fault; she had an excuse, even though it was one to purposely avoid him.
Before she slept, she gazed into her fire. She wondered how long her distractions would keep the truth hidden. And she wondered if her longing to reveal herself would conflict with her longing to stay hidden. Soon there would be an end. She just didn't know when and how.