A/N: Okay, this is the last chapter! But there's definitely going to be a sequel, and I've already started writing that, so it'll start soon. Thanks to everyone who reviewed, especially to Molly, and to Jeff even if he reviewed only once and then bombarded me with comments via IM- don't you know that's what reviews are for?- and to Kari even if she didn't read this one. But she will, oh yes she will…
Disclaimer: Not mine.
I was going. I was going to the palace and I was going to do something, but I had no idea what. I had a knife and whatever the hell these powers were, but I also had a father and a conscience and my father also had some vestige of a conscience, too, for he had had me and my family exactly where he wanted us, and he had let us go.
Or maybe that was just self-preservation. Even so, the nagging feeling of being tested had pulled a pervading depression over me, and I felt at odds with myself. Being who I am, this was nothing new to me, but the feeling had nearly disappeared during the past almost two years.
Fiyero was not going with me. In fact, Fiyero didn't know I was going here. He thought I was just at another meeting. I couldn't risk telling him, not after what had nearly happened last time. I couldn't have him follow me, irrationally. The Wizard already knew where I lived, and yet- I wasn't so sure it was him I was worried about. I wondered about his name. He was a caricature, like me, to the public. No, Elphaba- Fae- damn you, shut up!
I couldn't think about it, I couldn't. For the past few days I'd had a nearly constant and almost irrepressible urge to cry, but I'd instead contented myself with being even more sarcastic and more of a bitch than usual, unfortunately for all those sharing my abode. Glinda had given me a knowing look.
"It's hormones," she'd said.
"IT IS NOT HORMONES!" I had yelled back at her. She hadn't gotten sad or angry, she'd just smirked and retreated, undaunted, into the kitchen.
I have got to stop rubbing off on that woman, or she'll be the death of me.
I arrived at the palace at twilight, possibly my favorite time of day. I walked around to the side of it, where I knew the Wizard's office was. I mounted my broom and rode it up to the window, even disallowing myself the usual joy of flying.
The window had been repaired; with a vague and incomplete sense of satisfaction, I kicked it in again. At first I thought no one was there, but atop a half-finished letter and beside a quill leaking ink all over the desk the Wizard- my father's- head lay, asleep. I leaned the broom against the sill and walked around the room, familiar from my memorization of it before our first escape from Southstairs. I examined the books on the shelf. They were cloudily familiar, yet I knew that I had never actually seen any of them before. I took one down and skimmed through it; an almost palpable penumbra of strange names and people and places ascended into the air along with the real, accompanying dust. I jerked myself out of my reverie and turned back to the man sleeping on the desk, and my heart filled with a sudden hatred for him. Sleeping, how could he sleep? Now, or at night, with all that he had done? I pulled the knife out from its place around my ankle and approached my father's sleeping form. I held it carefully against his jugular.
"Goodnight…Daddy," I whispered, intending it to be sarcastic, but it came out soft and plaintive, near tears. I pulled the knife back, ready to cut, but then he stirred and sat up.
"Elphaba?" his eyes flickered to the knife in my hand. "Wha-what are you doing?"
"I don't know," I murmured. I looked up and met his blue eyes, light and clear, offering no evidence of our shared blood. "What's your name?" I asked.
He looked at me uncertainly.
"Oscar," he said at last. I nodded.
"All right," I said. I handed him the knife, realizing with absolute certainty that I was simply not capable of killing this man who had given me life and tried- but never too hard, I realized- to take it away. "A life for a life," I told him. "Remember that your mythological Wicked Witch couldn't kill you when you make your next pronouncement." I grabbed my broom before I could think about what I was doing and leapt out the window, with the newfound confidence of one who knows she will not fall.
I was going somewhere. I was going home.