A/N: A zillion thank yous to my new beta, Thessaly, who improved this chapter quite a bit. Also, she has an amazing story that you must read if you haven't.
"Another round, another round!" Avaric cried jubilantly, thrusting his nearly empty mug into the air, froth sloshing around at the bottom of the glass as he swayed. The barmaid looked warily over at the students' table, and then began readying another set of drinks –overlookingtheir unbounded alcohol consumption so far, if only to earn a few extra coins from a Margreave's son. The holiday season was coming to a close, and the students had decided to celebrate once and for all.
"Father would not approve of this, Elphaba," The words came stiffly from the end of the table, where Nessa sat looking extremely agitated and uncomfortable. Three rounds of drinks had already been consumed, and she'd protested adamantly to each one, giving in to mumbling, irate devotions when they all ignored her.
"Well then." Elphaba replied lightly, briskly, seeming altogether unsure of what she was saying. Fiyero placed a steadying hand on her back as Elphaba tilted. She'd had much less to drink then the others, but that moderation was paired with a very low alcohol tolerance.
"Elphaba!" Nessa whined, gripping the arms of her wheelchair. "Father-"
"Let father and all his world go to hell, if he believes in it so much," Elphaba cut through her sister's words roughly, scowling, and Nessarose gasped. "I'm through accepting limits." Elphaba continued bitterly, a mumble to herself that Fiyero wasn't sure Nessarose could hear at all.
"My whole body aches from the shame of you, Elphaba. I think it should kill father to hear you speak like that." With a frown, Nessarose wheeled herself away and out of the pub, muttering curses or prayers or worries. She looked as though she thought herself miles above them all.
The drinks arrived at the table, frothy and dark and full of mystery (well, Avaric hadn't said exactly what the colorful drinks were) and the intrigue of a wondrous evening they would have no memory ofFiyero turned away his glass, sighing. He could already feel a headache form beneath his temples
"What?" She snapped, turning to him. "What? What do you want?" Her eyes unfocused, she gripped the collar of his jacket and pulled herself closer to him, her face crashing into his chest. As soon as he'd looped an arm around her she twisted away, fidgety and flighty as a bird. Her fingers lunged for her mug, and he caught them, held them, and she wrestled against him.
"Let me go." She hissed. "I told you I'm done, everyone's always telling me what's right and how do I know? The world is changing under my feet, I can feel it – or maybe that's just the alcohol; what do I care."
"Elphaba, what's happened?" Fiyero was concerned. He'd never seen Elphaba drunk, but the poison was quite the catalyst to her personality, lighting her intensity like a looking glass placed in front of the sun.
"Nothing, nothing's happened."Elphaba murmured and stopped fighting his grip. "I just need to sleep this off; take me away my dear Prince."
Fiyero slid out from the booth, pulling Elphaba – languid and limp as rag doll from a child's play set – along with him. When they had managed to stand up, she sagged against him and he had to grip her to keep her on her feet. As the party continued in the booth behind them, he swung her skeletal body into his arms. Galinda looked over momentarily, and opened her mouth in concern, butthe tidal wave of alcohol and social life crashed over her and she was whisked back into the party life.
Fiyero made his way outside into the fast-approaching night. Elphaba seemed to have fallen asleep, or fainted, Fiyero was becoming increasingly anxious. He'd heard horror stories about alcohol, but had never considered Elphaba to being susceptible to any kind of injury – she was too strong.
He leaned back against the stony wall of the pub and finally Elphaba began shaking herself awake, thrashing in his arms.
"Fiyero, do let me down," She muttered, and he obliged. "You'll have to forgive me; I don't react well to alcohol." She laughed, and leaned against the wall, burying her face in her hands. "You must think I'm crazy."
"No, just drunk out of your mind." Fiyero replied fondly, taking her hands in his.
"But you see, I am not out of my mind, I am in it." She laughed again, and kissed him. "I am trapped in it!"
"And what is it like?" He inquired, smiling at her. She was frenzied this evening, dancing from one personality to the next. She was alarming, electrifying, and she fascinated him.
"It is a mess, I admit." Elphaba articulated, sighing.
"Well, they say that the brilliant are often somewhat mad."
"I am completely mad, my Prince. Everything is an illusion or a fantasy, and inside my head it's only more of that – webs spun of suspicions and cunning, of lies and deceit, of future, of love and you."
"Love and me?" He echoed, curious, thinking he could perhaps pry an admission – or something, anything - out of her while she was talking so freely with him.
"Love and you." She confirmed, a smile, a smirk, a red painted fantasy playing on her lips. "I keep imagining they might be the same thing.
"And how do you figure that?" He asked softly, wrapping his arms around her, pulling her to him.
"I think I believe in it now, Fiyero; I think I know what this is." Elphaba said brightly, too brightly to be true, she wasn't exactly herself – but she was telling the truth, Fiyero told himself, she had to be. "I think we can really, truly date, or whatever the word."
She laughed, and slid her fingers through his, leading him into a kind of dance, twirling in the nighttime. Her black skirts flared, her hair spun around and she laughed, truly laughed, with vivid eyes and pearly teeth showing unashamed. Then she stopped, and looked at him, and lowered her dark eyelashes.
"I think that I could be in love with someone like you." She whispered, and he barely caught the words as they drifted in the wind – he wasn't sure he'd heard her right.
"Elphaba," He began, put she put a long, thin finger to his lips.
"No," She said softly. "Not tonight. Not now. Not for awhile, my dear. I want you to mean it. I want it to be your decision; no response to something I've said."
He nodded, and kissed her finger. She laughed again and his heart lifted – even if she was drunk (though she seemed to be sobering up) she was happy, happy loving him. They made their way back to her dorm, and found a deeply emerald letter waiting for Elphaba there. She sat staring down at it in wonder for sometime, and then fell asleep, exhausted, with her head on his shoulder.
A/N: So, as my lovely beta Thessaly pointed out, this really seems to have nothing to do with the previous chapter. And she'd be right, as I meant this to connect to some of the other chapters in the book, like the non-dating one…and I meant it to lead into where I want to go with the plot. I just felt this is what I needed to write, and I apologize for the crazy rambling. Also, another point she brought up … erm, well, my characters are mostly book, with a few exceptions (such as Fiyero or Nessa) and my plotline is mostly musical. I tend to mix the two, and I'm sorry if that's a little confusing to you. (In other words, it's like … book flavored musicalverse, I suppose.)
Lillian Townsend – I'm very glad you like it. And all the squeaking is very cute. I love the French. :) Thank you for the reviews. Oh, and I'm afraid the Wizard is a-coming, but I'll have to skip it (As this is all from Fiyero's point of view, and he's not going)
LunarAshe – Thanks so much. Yes, once I included more characters I can see it starting to drift off track of Fiyero's P.O.V., but I'm trying.
Annibelle White – Thank you, I'm very happy you liked it. I love all your reviews. :)
CFK – I may or may not have that happen; I was thinking of including it here.
Kennedy Leigh Morgan – I've been trying with the Galinda/Elphaba friendship, but as it's in Fiyero's P.O.V. it's a bit harder … thank you for all your reviews, by the way, I love them. :)