A/N: Wow. My first fanfic in a long time. And my first Wicked one, too. This was simply an idea I've had going through my head since seeing the show, thinking about the great Fiyerba moment beneath the bridge after Dillamond's removal. A wonderfully romantic scene, as acted out brilliantly by several Elphie/Yero actors out there. This is musical-verse, and not particularly specific to the actors. So whatever duo you see in the roles, go for it. I personally was inspired by Norbert and Idina (their last night, specifically), but it works for whatever pair you'd like. On that note, the dialogue is pretty much exclusive from the musical book. I don't own it, unfortunately. I'm not cool enough. Also, with some props to Norb, I'd like to mention that the big kicker into this oneshot was his line in the Grimmerie, where he speaks about Fiyero finally falling "hopelessly in love with this green girl." It was just the right amount of inspiration, and I've finally gotten off my butt and written it.
"What? What?" Fiyero immediately froze, the cage halfway to the ground. Inside the lion cub was making a grand fuss of things.
"Don't shake him." She was before him instantly, hazel eyes trained on the cage even as she spoke to him. She grabbed for it.
She set the lion's carrier on the ground, peering around the foliage of Shiz University's grounds. "We can't just let him loose anywhere, you know? We've got to find somewhere safe--"
"I realize that," he snapped. Irritation was working its way up through his gut. "You- you think I'm really stupid, don't you?" He stared accusingly at the offensive green-colored girl.
She looked at him with surprise, and quickly amended. "No, not really stupid," she said gently, as if that would make him feel better.
His lips pulled back in a sneer, staring at the strange girl standing nearby. Dear Oz, she was infuriating. And the fact that she thought him so dull-witted really bothered him (Goodness only knew why). Annoyance filled his thoughts as he said the first thing that came to mind, hoping he could turn the tables back on her. "Why is it every time I see you, you're causing some kind of commotion?" He might be stupid, but at least he wasn't the troublesome green oddity that she clearly was.
Her reply came without a pause. "I don't cause commotions," she said. "I am one."
He raised his eyebrows and straightened the cuff of his well-tailored jacket. "That's for sure," he muttered, more to himself than anyone.
The comment didn't escape her attention, though. Elphaba whirled around, face flushing with a strange mixture of dull-red beneath her green skin. "Do you think I should just keep my mouth shut?" she asked dangerously, hazel eyes flaming.
Apparently he'd pushed a button. He stared at her incredulously, immediately backtracking, yet not ready to back out of the fight. "I just--"
Her words shot onward. "Do you think I want to be this way, to care this much?"
"I meant that you--" He was staring at her skin, colored with temper. Well, colored even more so than usual.
"Don't you think I realize how much easier my life would be if I didn't? Or if--"
His words cut over hers, irritatingly smooth. "Do you ever let anyone else talk?" His voice was edged. The gazes met, and for a moment silence reigned.
Triumph welled up at her next words, but it was surprisingly less thrilling than usual. She deflated visibly, saying simply, "Oh. Sorry." Awkwardly, she fidgeted with her hands. Over her shoulder, a tumble of rich, brown-black hues fell. The curls hung wildly, a weirdly entrancing sight. He dragged his sights away, back to the lion cub's cage.
"Can I just say one more thing?" she asked, quickly ensuring that any reverie that may have passed earlier was terminated. He sighed, bored, but turned back to her nonetheless. Her expression was thoughtful- perhaps even slightly puzzled- as she watched him. Studied him. And, for just the smallest moment, he found himself speechless. No one had ever looked at him like that before. Not so searchingly, as if trying to comprehend him. It took him off-guard. Ripping his gaze away, he waved her on.
"You could've walked away back there," she said quietly, turning her head slightly, so as to look at him from the corners of her eyes.
His eyes narrowed, and he impatiently shifted position. "So?"
"So," she soldiered on in a clear and honest tone, "no matter how self-absorbed and shallow you pretend to be, I think---"
He frowned, fixing her with an obviously affronted glare. "Excuse me?" he asked sharply. "There's no pretense here. I happen to be genuinely self-absorbed and deeply shallow." Fiyero straightened, giving her a look that he hoped would stop any more of her ridiculous analyses.
She didn't falter, though, and remained unfazed. "No, you're not. Or you wouldn't be so unhappy." The way she said it made it seem as if she just knew. As if she could see right through him without even trying. As if cracking the polished surface he'd so carefully constructed was natural, even instinctive. He couldn't believe it, either- she, the strangest and most troublesome girl he'd ever met, had seen a side that Fiyero himself rarely acknowledged.
He slowly became aware of the fact that he was staring, probably looking as stupid as he'd been called earlier. With a dry laugh, he looked away, mentally kicking himself. That foreign side of him had never been particularly important, anyway.
Yet why did he- for the first time in a long, long while- feel like he was completely bare? Completely vulnerable, open for all the world to see? He looked at her again, almost dazedly.
And why did he, Goodness help him, feel completely free?
He ignored the sudden pounding in his chest, and managed to give her a look of absolute boredom. "Fine. Look." His voice was cold, and already he began to turn and walk away. "If you don't want my help---"
"No!" she cried abruptly. "I do!" She sprang forward.
He wouldn't have even spared her a glance then, had it not been for the fact that she'd managed to grab his hand. The contact stopped him right in his tracks, and his eyes dropped as he stared the slim green fingers entwined with his own. Her hand, smooth and soft, fit incredibly well against his own, as if it were meant to be there. He saw that she, too, was taking in the sight of their slight contact. Fiyero was thinking extra-slowly, thoughts sluggishly drifting through his mind. Barely he noted the rich colors in her hair, and the elegant curves of her face. His heart continued to pound, her earlier words still ringing in his mind.
He wasn't aware of pulling his own hand back slightly, drawing hers even closer to him. But he did feel her reaction to that motion, as she quickly yanked her hand back. And he was painfully aware of the disappointment that surged through him at her action.
Quickly she turned around, hurrying back to the lion cub. The Animal had been momentarily forgotten, and was now making minimal mewling sounds. Elphaba knelt beside the cage, Fiyero's eyes hooked on each of her movements. Slowly, he followed suit, taking steps until he was at her side, looking down upon both the girl and the Animal she cared for.
Elphaba glanced at him, awkward under his intensity. She slipped a finger through the bars to caress the creature's fur, then spoke softly. "His heart's pounding." Hair slipped from behind her ear, a curtain against her gem-colored features. "I didn't mean to frighten him."
He dropped into a crouch. "What did you mean to do?" He paused, then asked, "Why was I the only one you didn't do it to?" He spoke without thinking; it seemed that Elphaba had a talent for making him senseless, for knocking down his defenses and leaving him thusly.
Elphaba turned to look at him, lips parted as they faced one another. He found that he couldn't concentrate when she looked at him like that. He was falling into those brown depths, reality slipping further and further away.
"You're bleeding," she said suddenly. Her eyes were now averted to his cheekbone. She then said something else; he didn't hear. He didn't care, either, so long as he could continue looking at her. He didn't want this to end,andwas consciously lettingthe real world flyfar from them.He didn't want her to turn away and, after this fragile moment, pretend like it never happened and go about their lives. Returning to the person he'd been minutes before now seemed a dreadful fate, and one that he wanted to avoid. He wanted to keep this moment, where she was looking at him with more genuine emotion than he could imagine reflected in another's eyes.
"Or maybe it scratched me." A good thing to say, he thought, pleased that he remembered the current situation. It was a difficult task, too. With every passing second, he lost further track.
Her lips lifted slightly in a small smile, eyes flickering back to his before focusing once more on the cut. Then, timidly, she leaned toward him, hand extending to gentlytouch the cut. Her fingertips brushed his skin, and immediately he felt a fire course through his being. It wasn't the usual feeling, either, that occurred after contact with a pretty girl. No. This was...different. Something was happening, deep within him, and he felt an exhilaration beyond words.
Something had changed within him forever.
Something seemed to break the moment right then. Fiyero didn't know what it was, but it immediately sent his mind back into action. He stood up abruptly, pulling out of her reach. He was reeling, senses dazzled. It took a moment to gather his wits as he continued to stare down into her eyes.
He blinked, running a hand through his hair. "I, uh, better get to safety." He jammed his hands back into his jacket pockets, feeling uncharacteristically bumbling. He immediately tried to correct his mistake. "I mean, er, the cub. I'll get the cub to safety." Best to get away while he still could, he thought madly. It wasn't too late yet, was it?
"Of course." She stood quickly, fidgeting. Her hair was still a mass of curls, and as she tried to slip past him and out of his way, he could catch the scent of the strands. His entire being was in chaos, and all he could do was pick up the lion's cage and watch Elphaba as she stepped away, back turned to him.
He needed to leave. He knew it.
Before another of her nimble movements could draw his eye, or another of her words turn his world upside down, Fiyero lifted the cage, and took his leave. Quick and silent strides led him away from the bridge, and it was when he was already back upon the hill that he thought he heard her voice; was it calling his name?
He refused to look back. He couldn't.
He disappeared into the grounds, lion cub in tow.
It was later that Galinda found him wandering up the path to Shiz, and she had grabbed his arm with a bright smile, already talking about her day.
"Walk with me, dearest," she said happily, turning him around to lead him the opposite way. The way, he noted vaguely, towards the bridge.
Was Elphaba still there?
"Shame about Dr. Dillamond," Galinda was saying, tongue clicking. "I simply didn't see it coming. Well, I suppose there was a bit of an implication these weeks past, but I could hardly guess that any of that would lead to his dismissal..."
He couldn't concentrate. Each time he looked at Galinda, with her soft blonde curls and blue eyes, he saw the precise opposite. His mind wandered as she chatted, and he could do nothing more than dutifully nod or add a half-hearted "Hmm" or "Oh" every few moments.
Finally they stood on the bridge. Galinda pulled him close for a kiss, whispering something to him all the while. He didn't hear her, and was distracted as she stood on tiptoe to lock lips with his. His eyes closed, but the image of Elphaba danced in his mind. He felt Galinda's lips, tasted her mouth, yet couldn't pull his mind from the bizarre girl and the incident that had left him so restless.
A drop of cold rain fell onto the back of his neck.
Galinda pulled away, face tilted toward the sky. "Oh, Goodness," she murmured, hand slipping down his arm. She gripped his fingers. "Hurry, dear, let's go to the dorms."
Her hand, he thought unconsciously, didn't seem to fit as perfectly with his as Elphaba's had. He followed after her.
It was just as he reached the end of the wooden structure that he was struck with a feeling. He stalled, falling behind Galinda to lean over the railing. He couldn't see very far under the bridge, but there was only shadows beneath. No girl with green-tinted skin. Galinda pulled impatiently at his hand.
With a sigh, he continued to follow.
Perhaps it was for the better, anyway. Perhaps what he'd felt earlier had been a simple slip, something that would fade by the end of the night, as the surrealism of Dillamond and the day's earlier events died down.
He clung to that thought, even as he fell in stride with Galinda.
He repeated it to himself as he walked her back to her room, and as he tried without much subtlety to peek behind her and into the interior of the room.
He refused to let it go, even as disappointment welled in him when Galinda acknowledged that "Elphie" hadn't returned for the night yet.
Fiyero was convinced that, as he lay down that night, he'd forget about it. He had no clue why he'd lost his wits so easily, but it was done. Forgetting was best.
But it was as he dreamed that night of emerald skin that he returned to his first impression- the one that had struck him so suddenly under the bridge. As his fingers ran through that richly-colored hair, and as emerald lips touched his, he realized something frightening, yet incredible all the same. And this realization didn't leave him; he awoke the next morning, with thoughts of only one person, knowing somehow that this feeling would never fade.
Elphaba had changed him. There was no denying that.
And now, Fiyero knew without a doubt, he would never be the same.