A/N: Here's a random oneshot I thought up. Kind of a drabble; short.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Seven-year-old Elphaba curled up tightly beneath her worn blankets and tried hard not to cry. That would just add to the pain. She slowly lifted the blankets to allow light in and examined her thin legs. Round, red sores covered them from where the puddle had splashed her. Welts from where the other children had smeared her with it covered her arms. She looked at the blood and pus oozing from them and bit her lip hard against the pain throbbing through her. Tears welled out of her eyes anyway and she cried out in pain.

But no one came.

Her father was out reaping converts, her mother was off in some other world, induced by pinlobble leaves and wine. Nessie at four was no help anyway, and Nanny had her outside. Elphaba, as usual, was all alone.

She had been playing on the swing tied from one of the few trees around down the road when they came. She loved the swing; it made her feel like she was flying, weightless, and free of her family, her problems, her very skin.

They were a group of Ovvels teenagers. They weren't like most of the Quadlings; they weren't naturally calm or peaceful. They had too much bad whisky and teenage rebellion flowing through them most of the time. The other children avoided them, but Elphaba, as her father would have put it, "hadn't the common sense to know when she ought to be afraid."

"Hey, dragon girl," one of them said in Qua'ati. "We heard you don't like water none. That true?"

Elphaba ignored them and continued to swing.

"Dragon!" yelled another. "He asked you a question."

"And I choose not to dignify it with a response," Elphaba said in flawless Qua'ati. She'd read the phrase in a book and was actually pleased to have a chance to use it.

"Well, well, you think you're better n' us?" the first one asked.

"Better at what?" Elphaba responded.

"That's it. If she don't wanna answer, we'll just find out ourselves," said another one of them. He grabbed the swing, forcing Elphaba to go flying. She landed on her feet, but in a puddle. The muddy water splashed around her legs. She bit her lip to avoid crying out, but the boys noticed the pained expression on the little girl's face.

Laughing and jeering, they pulled down the top of her shirt and smeared water all over her. She cried, then, involuntarily, and her cheeks burned. They laughed again and pushed her down in the puddle and ran off in hysterics. Screaming in pain, acid tears running down her face, she ran to her home, devoid of conscious or concerned presences, and collapsed sobbing in pain on her bed.

Calmer now, she walked over to the small dresser and took her little bottle of oil. Wincing with the pain, she rubbed the oil over her thin shoulders and arms. Then she pulled her ragged skirt above her knees and smoothed the oil into the round sores on her legs. When she had finished, the small girl pulled her knees up to her chest and, pressing a cloth to her eyes so that the tears wouldn't burn her skin, she cried long and hard.