A/N: I just recently read Wicked for summer reading, and as superbly breathtaking as Gregory Maguire's account of Elphaba's tale is, I still feel unfulfilled as to how little Maguire's tale coincides with the original interactions of the witch and the farm girl. This is basically a re-write of Maguire's ending, maintaining the past he provided and building to the conclusion I wanted. Having also seen the musical, bits of that may work their way in. I hope you enjoy. R&R.

Those Shoes

If the matter of Heaven ceased to exist, the sudden vacuum of space would draw all surrounding particles into its gap to fill the chasm. When Ozians looked to the heavens on that fateful day, what they saw seemed to be that precise Armageddon rolling over the earth.

The sky they saw was an iron grey, and it was alive.

But as the survivors soon realized, the disaster's ferocity did not bring life. It brought murder, and it enacted the crime with a house. At the spindling beginning of the famous yellow highway, a dull, rustic farmhouse slammed over the Eminent Thropp's schoolhouse.

Nessarose had been cleaning up after lessons, tottering on her crystal shoes and shoving desks back into place. Satisfied with her haphazard efforts, she had left the building, only to hear the howl of the approaching storm.

If she had arms, she surely would have used them to brace herself against the vicious winds, but instead she stood disturbingly transfixed. Her gray eyes reflected the swirling shadow coursing rapidly from the horizon.

Quick to observe, she noticed a cancerous mass on the side of the triangular gale. It shot free of the tempest's grasp and came hurtling towards her, growing madly in size by perspective.

It was only then that Nessarose Thropp realized that the mass was a disjointed home dashing through the airy road towards her. She prayed one last time, closing her eyes and hearing the words of the Earth justify her life in return.

Then she heard nothing. She felt the house thrust her face hard enough against the school that her skull crushed in upon itself. She was dead before she felt her body roll and smack against the structure's underbelly. Only those little silver shoes made it out alive, beaten as her legs were. Limp as putty, her calves lay mangled over the shredded lawn, her feet pointed awkwardly into the air.

The rest of Nessarose would be bound to the dirt below the house forever on.

ω

It did not take Elphaba long to realize that the raging winds had traveled from Munchkinland. She knew they were dying, but she could process what a power they would have held as they approached from the sea.

Nessarose was in danger, and all Elphaba could do was sit in Kiamo Ko and hope for better. Yet she knew this option, the only intelligent one, was asinine at best. She would never look back on herself as one who had betrayed her sister, even if the zealot sibling had betrayed the entire eastern society.

There was so much still to do in the castle. So much even in the little room she resided in. The Grimmerie lay unintelligible, Chistery sat dumb and mumbling. The broomstick was as stubborn as ever, and her incapable Liir stood staring in dumbfounded silence at the elderly force passing over the distant hills. She briskly told him to lift his fat figure from the window and find nanny and tell her that Elphaba had to leave. She had to leave now and find her sister.

It was the only thing to do.

And as Liir stared hopefully up at her, as his eyes asked to join her, she hoisted the broom up and planted it firmly between her legs and kicked off. Through the open window and towards the sky she flew, and Liir watched. Even as she vanished into a point insignificant against the sky, he stared uncomprehending.

ω

Finally, as if the entire planet had gone on without her for a year, Elphaba descended on the mouth of the Yellow Brick Road. Swarming the highway was a crowd unlike any she had seen, massing around what seemed to be a girl. Elphaba fixed her eyes on the figure, letting the snapping winds bite her pupils. Her senses diverted their strength to her gaze and she soon saw the girl in detail.

She was young, freckled. She had red hair thrown back in pigtails over a checkered blue dress. In her hands was a scruffy gray dog, and on her feet were

On her feet

How dare she?

The spell escaped Elphaba's mouth before she so much as completed her thoughts. A torrent of flame danced beautifully from the gazebo behind the crowd. It erupted in a steaming spectacle, pouring a host of black smoke nearly immediately into the sky. She dove into the fumes, letting the rancid fog fill her lungs and flood out.

She coughed but cared little for her health.

She cared why this strange child bore her sister's precious shoes. The shoes that allowed Nessa to live what barely resembled a normal life. What possible right did this demonic child believe she possessed?

As the cursed fire quelled, Elphaba got as sudden a look at the horrified crowd as it did of her. To her shock and horror, Glinda stood with one pale hand resting on the child's trembling shoulder.

Glinda who had claimed success and fortune that had never belonged to her. Who found a life she didn't earn. This blonde-haired sorceress seemed to be protecting this… this…

"You there!" shrieked Elphaba, her voice cracking. "What did you do with my sister?"

The dog in the girl's arms leapt from her shaking grasp and fell to the yellow pavement. It retreated and then scurried forward, yipping furiously.

"Answer me!" she cried again. "Where is she?"

Glinda answered in her stead.

"Your sister is dead, Elfie."

"How?" cried the witch, her hands shaking suddenly.

"I believe that that may in fact be my fault," said the girl suddenly in a disgusting whimper. "You see, my house, it was swept off in a cyclone, all the way from Kansas. It… it fell on her your… your ladyness."

"Don't be smart with me, you disrespectful wretch!" cried Elphaba.

The dog barked again.

"Silence!" commanded Elphaba, not prepared to deal with a mere animal. Of all the Animals she had saved, she had never once felt any distaste. She had never been impatient, never disliked one's character.

But then, none had disliked her quite like this small pup.

At her sharp tone, the animal shrunk away.

"Elphaba, you are out of line," said Glinda regally, slowly directing the little girl along the road. She turned a head of curls to the little brat and gave her clear instructions to the emerald city.

To the wizard.

"Stop!" yelled Elphaba, racing down the stone to stop her departure. "Those shoes can never reach the wizard!" she shrieked.

The girl was running to fast to hear her. She only stopped once to hear the good witch, Glinda, call in retort: "You have no power here. Leave now."

Then, she fled faster, feeling the clatter of her glittering heels against the road.

"Glinda," said Elphaba, coming inches from her old friend's well-made face. "I may not have rule over Munchkinland, but I still understand what is in its best interest. If the wizard gets hold of those shoes, he can show Nessarose's death to the entire world. He can show Oz that a leader as incompetent as she will fail as long as he is in charge. Don't you understand? Isn't it clear that with a statement overpowering the entire eastern regency, he increases his power over an entire fourth of Oz? He already has the emerald city and your entire population bowing to his whims! You show such little care for the country you claim to protect!"

"How dare you, Elfie!" said Glinda, restraining from bringing her thin palm across the narrow bone of the green woman's cheek. "I do what I can for the prosperity of those under my reach. I am here to help, not to… to… to set up some sort of schizophrenic insurgency! And you have to understand how afraid Dorothy is!"

"Dorothy?"

"That poor girl! She's not from Oz, Elfie! She just wants to get home. Those shoes are the only way she'll stay on her feet from here to the Wizard, and he is her only hope of getting out."

"I could help her, you uncaring liar! Is that all you do these days? You simply construct farcical lectures for Ozians so that they will bow to your grace! You're so self-obsessed! There are other people, other races on this earth! Demonstrate a glint of consideration!"

"At least I do something, Elphaba! You simply demonstrate your nonsensical paranoia and fly around on that ratty old broom!"

"Well, I'm afraid we can't all manage to travel by bubble!"

As if in unison with Elphaba's outburst, Glinda struck one palm into the air and let a sphere of soft rose encase her figure. In a few seconds it vanished, taking the good witch with it.

"Glinda!" screamed Elphaba. "Nessa… Oh," she cried to the yellow brick road, scaring the few straggler Munchkins into their homes. "I will get you, my pretty. Elphaba Thropp will not let this world bow to the wizard. Not now. Not ever. So you had better learn to run, because I will fly!"

And to that cry, she once more found her perch atop the broomstick and flew off over the highway, letting it run like a river of gold beneath her flight.