Next chapter is up. Sorry it took a little longer than I expected—I come home for the summer and the computer at home has no Microsoft Word (ridiculous, isn't it?), so I have to type everything up on my laptop and go to the college to post them online…oh well. This one's much longer. It's really just a bit of plotless Fiyeraba fun. Thanks to all of you who have reviewed! Hope this chapter goes well.

Chapter 3—Burnt Toast

Elphaba sat at the kitchen table eating brunch and engaged in a bit of light reading— An Analysis of Ambiguity in Ozian Religion. Sipping her coffee, she peered over the brim to notice a not-so-fresh Fiyero meandering into the kitchen. She noticed first the wandering pattern of blue diamonds on his bare chest, and then a pair of wrinkled pajama pants dragging the floor underneath his bare feet. His attempted to smooth down his unkempt hair as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He barely even noticed Elphaba's presence but announced his own with an obnoxious yawn. Elphaba's lips curled into a crooked grin.

"Why, good morning Sir Fiyero, Mighty Arjiki Prince of Kiamo Ko. So nice of you to grace the world with your presence today."

Fiyero finally became aware of her presence. "The rest of the world—as in, everyone but you—at least waits until the sun is up. Why are you up so early, anyways?" He began to pour himself a cup of coffee.

"Would it kill you if I told you that it's almost noon?" she picked up her book again, gnawing on a slice of burnt toast.

"Your toast is black." He changed the subject.

"Observant, are we? Yes, and so is my coffee." Elphaba took a loud sip.

"How can you stand it?"

"You know I like it strong. Sharpens the senses."

"I meant the toast. Nobody eats burnt toast."

"Well, then that confirms all my suspicions of me being a nobody," she scowled and took another hearty bite. "I had the esteemed privilege of getting the last choice of plates at mealtimes at Colwen Grounds. I'm used to eating things burnt. Moldy, soured, spoiled, stale, curdled—you name it. I've gotten so used to it that it doesn't bother me anymore. I kind of prefer it, actually."

"That's horrible." He grimaced.

Elphaba grinned. "Not really. I always had the last laugh. It wasn't much fun for Frex when he had a seven-year old green girl throwing up everywhere." Elphaba plucked a loose crumb from her chin and casually popped it into her mouth.

"Sounds lovely."

Elphaba chuckled as she gathered the dirty dishes. She fumbled awkwardly with the plates upon reaching the counter, almost dropping them. Instead the small butter knife slid from her plate, nicking her wrist on its way to the floor. She cursed and put down the dishes.

"Elphaba!" Fiyero raced to her side. "Are you alright?" He gently pushed away her own fussing hands to examine the cut for himself. A single drop of blood leaked away. It was halfway fascinating, considering its brilliant red hue against her bright green skin.

She looked at him as though he were mad. "Fiyero, It's barely a scratch. I think I'll make it just fine." She jerked her wrist from his hands, noting that it hurt more from his firm grip than from the cut.

"You stay here while I get some oil," he ignored her.

"Fiyero, calm down! What's gotten into you?"

"I just want to make sure your ok!"

"I don't think a scratch will be the end of me, dearest! Honestly! Am I not capable of taking care of it myself?" She folded her arms in disbelief. Fiyero came behind her, putting his hands on her shoulders with a sigh.

"I guess I'm slightly overprotective," He began to gently massage her shoulders, his hands moving in small circles, deft fingertips digging in, finding all the right places.

"Slightly? Sounds like an understatement to me. More like a bodyguard." Her voice softened as his crawling hands teased her back into a sudden arch. She leaned into his touch.

"Hey, I can do bodyguard."

"Well you certainly were acting like one last night. What, I can't even sleep without you staring me over? Ready to catch me in case I start to fall off the bed? I mean, really. I've had more awkward stares aimed at me in my life than I care to count. Can I not even sleep without someone staring? What was your deal?" Her voice rose again. "And don't lie to me."

"I told you. You looked gorgeous."

"I said no lies."

"Elphaba—" She cut him off before he could protest.

"And besides, there had to be some other reason. You, my dearest, are most definitely not a light sleeper."

"And you, my dearest, are far too tense in the shoulders."

"You would be too if you were stared at every day of your life."

"Well then let's see what we can do to fix it, shall we?" His hands followed through with the promise, inching little by little from her shoulders down her spine. They came to rest in the small of her back, fingertips gently kneading. Slowly, they found their way to her sides, creeping all the while, eliciting a slight whimper from her lips. He felt her shiver beneath his touch, and smiled satisfactorily at the small victory.

"Damn you, Fiyero." She swallowed. She was a piece of clay, malleable in his hands. Their little quarrels always ended this way, and she knew she would never win. She was the terror of Oz, the source of the blackest of nightmares, and the tendril of dread creeping to the forefront of everyone's hearts. Who would have guessed that the Wicked Witch of the West could be defeated with a back massage? Elphaba shuddered and waved the embarrassing thoughts away.

"But really," she added softly, still not satisfied with his answers, "why were you up last night?"

He sighed, hoping to avoid this recurring topic. "Just a bad dream is all. No worries."

"Is it normal practice for you to sit on the edge of the bed and brood when you have a bad dream?"

"Well, no. I just…I…um.." He tried to work magic with his hands again, and as much as she hated to, Elphaba pulled away. Her mind was far too curious.

"What is it?" She turned to face him.

"Do you ever worry? About us, I mean. Like, what are we going to do, now that we're alone in Kiamo Ko?"

She grinned, a smirk dancing in her hazel eyes. "I can think of a few things..."

"No, seriously."

Elphaba scowled, offended. "My dear Fiyero, I have mastered the art of worrying. It's the only thing that's been consistent in my wretched life. I exist through fear." She continued, reading his thoughts, "I'm well aware that the Wizard isstill out there. Yes, he's less than thrilled with the fact that we escaped without so much as a scratch. Do you honestly think I can sleep soundly at night knowing that the Gale Force is on the search?"

Fiyero exploded, "Then WHY didn't you tell me?"

She rolled her eyes. "What could you have done? There's nothing either of us can do. If we leave we'll be spotted. You yourself said that Kiamo Ko was the perfect hiding place. Sure there's a chance that they might check here but there's nowhere else we can go that would be that much safer…and how would we get there anyway?"

"Well, I don't know. I mean you do have the Grimmerie and that broom."

"Oh, sure, no problem! That's not conspicuous at all, jumping on a broomstick and flying around where the whole world can see us."

Fiyero huffed, irritated. "Okay, fine. I just wish you would share your thoughts with me, Elphaba."

"If I may recall, you weren't exactly generous in sharing yours either," she snipped.

He sighed. "It's just…I—I worry about you."

"Well, you don't have to, you know. No one ever does. Don't worry about me, I'm fine." She started to walk away, annoyed. He grabbed her wrist, pulling her back to face him.

"You're not fine if you're losing sleep every night, Fae."

Elphaba cleared her throat, "Fiyero." Daggers shot from her eyes into his. He shot back. After a few seconds, she fell into a smug fit of snickering.

"Fae! What in OZ?"

"Look at us! What an absurd sight we must be right now." She couldn't have been more right. To a fly creeping along the wall, it must have been quite comical to witness the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, fists tight and teeth clenched, in a childish staring contest with an overprotective, half-dressed Arjiki Prince still rubbing sleep snot from his eyes. The rest of the country shivered in their boots at the fact that the Witch was at large, undoubtedly spending their days locking doors, putting up wanted posters, and making a common habit of looking over their shoulder every five seconds…while the deadly attackers bickered over a light mid-morning brunch of burnt toast and back massages.

Fiyero snickered at the thought as well, tired of arguing. He seized the moment to throw his arms around her slender waist and capture her in his unrelenting grasp, narrowing his eyes and shooting her a vicious grin. Elphaba instantly saw the implications of that smirk and attempted to wriggle free from his solid arms, but her efforts were useless. She hung loosely at his mercy, certain at what was coming, but despising the awkwardness inbetween. She jerked her face to the side and sulked. Fiyero, delighted at another victory, milked this one for all it was worth.

"Aha! The Witch is quick to think! But her reaction time seems to be lacking a little. Tsk, tsk. I would expect more of a challenge in capturing the notorious Witch of the West…"

She continued to writhe in his grip. The third person narrative was not helping. "Fiyero, you fool—"

"Hmm…I do believe that the count is Fiyero—three, The Witch—zero. Is that right? Oh! And here's Chistery to help us out!" Indeed, Chistery bounced wildly into the kitchen, stopping to tilt his head at the amusing situation playing out before him. He studied the pair carefully, then as if everything clicked in his mind, he jumped up and down, clapping madly. Great, she thought. I'm being humiliated by a monkey. My own damn monkey!

Before Elphaba could yell, Chistery attempted to speak, fussing with awkward syllables and playing around with the sound of them.

"Www—wi—we—witc—"

Elphaba gasped at this sudden progress, momentarily forgetting her awkward position. "Chistery! Keep going!"

"Www—we…WENCH!" He clapped in excitement, jumping up and down and pointing at Elphaba before scampering away.

She fumed with embarrassment. "CHISTERY! I swear when I get my hands on you I will—"

She was stopped short by a finger pressed upon her lips. "Ah, ah, ah, my Witch. It looks like our friend, Chistery, has also won this round." She could have killed them both. He continued, "And you, my dear, are not in a position to be making threats." He smirked, satisfactorily. Elphaba gulped nervously, struggling again. It was then that he made his sudden move, running his hands up and down her soft sides, tickling wildly, sending her senses flying. She writhed, helpless to the mercy of his crawling hands, but giggling all the while.

"FIYERO!" Any composure she had hoped to salvage was lost; she was laughing and protesting to the point of tears.

"Yes, my beautiful, green, stubborn Fae?" He stopped the teasing for a moment.

Elphaba paused for a moment to catch her breath. "You are positively the most obnoxious dolt—" He ended her rant by stealing a long, deep kiss that trailed its way underneath her chin. He felt her arms quickly break free, holding to him tightly as he continued trailing his mouth down her neck, eliciting a helpless moan and slight shiver from his captive. He broke the kiss and she smacked him playfully before closing her eyes and resting her head against his chest.

"Well, I may be an obnoxious, half-dressed, lazy, prone-to-staring, overprotective, Winkie dolt…" Fiyero continued softly, sweeping Elphaba off her feet and carrying her away from her black coffee, burnt toast, and Religion books.

"…But I do know how to tame a Wicked Witch."