A/N: So this is a new multichapter fic I'm starting. Probably not the most brilliant idea considering what a load school is, but I've just found out I've been MAJORLY overdoing my Euro notes, and this information should cut that down to about an hour or less, and that'll give me so much more time it's not even funny. Also, contrapasso is Italian- it kind of means "counterpunishment," and it's used in conjunction with the punishments for sinners in Dante's Inferno- the punishment exactly fits the sin.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
He watched her, whenever he could. Out of the corner of his eyes, when he was with Glinda and the rest of their shallow group. Tall and stately, more than her skin separated her from them. She was intelligent and she cared, and she was deep and he longed to sink into those depths. But where he was, was comfortable, and he couldn't bring himself to change his life. He wanted to know what went on behind those expressive eyes, that furrowed brow, the dark veil of hair. He wanted to know Elphaba inside and out, and it was like a gnawing ache in his heart. He realized with a start that this was what it was to be in love.
But he could never tell her, she would never know. He wondered what she would say, if he told her. The funny thing was, he couldn't begin to imagine her reaction.
And then came that day. The day with the Lion cub. The day Madame Morrible gave her the letter. Then, after that, the day she left and never came back. The day everything changed, for her, for him, for Glinda.
For all of Oz.
Three Years Later: Gale Force Headquarters, Emerald City
Fiyero had had no idea that he had caught her until he saw her, stripped naked from the waist up and trying desperately not to scream as Besily whipped her, hard.
"What the hell are you doing?" he demanded, storming into the interrogation room, working hard to repress the painful emotions welling up in his chest at the sight of her. Let loose, they could have…embarrassing…difficult…consequences. Hard consequences. And besides that, he'd probably fly at Besily and start beating him. So he ignored them, and merely said, "I did not authorize this!"
"No, sir, but the Wizard did," said Besily, with a bit of smugness on his face. It was echoed in the faces of Natan and Periat, leaning against the wall and leering in a way that made it extremely tempting for Fiyero to just slam their empty heads together and hear the satisfying hollow sound. But he resisted.
Besily hit Elphaba again. She hissed sharply in pain.
"Damnit, you, cry!" Besily demanded of her.
"Is- there- a," she panted, trying to get the words out- "question- there?"
Fiyero smirked slightly.
"I have to agree with her, Besily," he said. "Is there? This is an interrogation, is it not? And of course, extremely legitimate. Right?" Besily sulked.
"I wanna see if it's true," he half-whined. Naten and Periat nodded. Fiyero was about to ask what he wanted to see, but Elphaba answered the question before he could ask it.
"Then why don't you just dump a bucket of water over me, you empty-headed twits?" she asked bitingly, recovering herself somewhat.
"'Cause then you'd be dead, and the Wizard wouldn't like that," Besily replied, and raised the whip to bring down on her again. She winced in anticipation.
"Wait," said Fiyero desperately, mind racing, half-formed decisions, ideas, plans, racing around his head. He saw hope flicker in Elphaba's eyes and regretted his next words before they even left his mouth. But she would see, they were necessary. "Is this the best interrogation we can muster up? Really, Besily, with all the facilities at your disposal, a whipping is the best you can do for the terror of Oz? Petty criminals have gotten worse!" Besily looked wounded then, the stupid little man, and he opened his mouth to make excuses- lack of imagination would be the most truthful, thought Fiyero, but once again Elphaba responded before he could.
"You're- you're with them now, are you, Fiyero?" asked Elphaba.
Damnit! She shouldn't have done that! Now I'll have to prove himself to the others, so this plan'll work! Now I'll have to hurt her! Shit!
"Silence, witch!" he yelled at her. Her face twisted and for a moment he could see the heartless terrorist the rest of Oz spoke of so hatefully. But then he looked into her hazel eyes and saw the pain and thwarted hope mingled achingly there, and she was Elphaba Thropp, the lovely, solitary, mocked green girl from college again.
Besily hit her again with the whip, several times over her open wounds in quick succession, and she screamed an unholy, inhuman scream, born of more than excruciating physical pain. Her soul was screaming, too, and he couldn't stand it anymore.
Terrorist or no, she was Elphaba. She was his friend. She was…the woman he had loved unquestioningly and devoted his life to finding for more than three years.
"Stop," he said authoritatively. How could they not know his heart was breaking? How could she not read his love for her, tangible as he felt it? "I'll take her somewhere else for questioning. You aren't at all trained for this, Besily, that's obvious enough. I could've gotten all the information I wanted, but now we'll be lucky if she says anything." How could they not hear how false his words are whenever he spoke to them? But he was convincing; the three of them at least looked sheepish.
"Yes, sir," they murmured in unison.
"Now, go and find someone to take your statements about the capture, and when you're finished, have the statements brought to me. Go. Now."
"Yes, sir," they mumbled collectively, and exited, shuffling and shamefaced.
Elphaba's eyes were cold and fierce.
"So," she said icily, amazingly collected for someone half-naked and in immense pain, bleeding all over the floor, "you know how to 'handle' me, do you?" She gave a mirthless laugh. "I'm glad one of us does."
"I'm not going to hurt you, Elphie," said Fiyero. He used the old nickname accidentally, but he saw her eyes widen and a different emotion creep in. Could it be…hope?
"Then what are you going to do?" she asked warily.
"I'm going to get you out of here and dress those wounds. They look nasty," he answered, not moving so as not to make her feel threatened. He still carefully, heartbreakingly, held his wave of emotions in check.
"About as nasty as the audience they drew," she responded, indicating with her head where Naten and Periat had been standing. "At least I have the consolation that I managed to bite the blond one when they captured me, and now he probably thinks he's got a disease."
Fiyero snorted. "They're all three of them assholes," he told her, helping her up and grimacing along with her. "Uh- here," he added awkwardly, grabbing a blanket from a shelf and loosely draping it over her shoulders. She winced but accepted it, clutching it in front of her. He pulled out a pair of handcuffs. "I'm sorry, but they're already suspicious enough," he apologized as he gently put them on her thin green wrists, where they hung loosely enough to make them useless.
"It's not your fault. And…thank you." She looked at him, some of the haziness of pain gone from her eyes. "Why are you doing this?" she asked suspiciously. He had forgotten that she didn't know why he was there, that he had only endured this in order to help her.
"Do you know why I became a Gale Forcer?" he asked.
"Sadistic power trips. And what-"
"No. To find you." She looked at him, startled and confused.
"To help you," he clarified, and the look of gratefulness and pure relief in her eyes nearly brought him to his knees.
Back in Fiyero's quarters, he quickly removed her handcuffs.
"Here, lay down."
She did so, gratefully, and once she had he pulled the blanket from her shoulders. He heard her sharp intake of breath and it was like a stab to his heart.
"I'm sorry," he told her.
"S'okay," she murmured, the pain returning to her voice. "Not your fault."
He got a good look at her back for the first time and drew back in shocked horror.
There was no green visible, that was how bad it was. Her entire back was laid open, thick and red, clotted with congealed blood but still bleeding profusely.
"Oh, Elphaba," he murmured, low enough so she didn't hear it. Then, louder, not betraying any of his shock at her state- "I'll get something to put on those."
He rummaged fruitlessly through the medicine cabinet in the bathroom for a good fifteen minutes before he finally found some unguent that he could use on Elphaba's wounds. When he came back into the room, he saw her trying to sit up, pain evident on her face- but oh, was it wrong for him to want her to stay that way, for him to want to sit down next to her and touch her? But he couldn't, oh the curse of it, he could see but not touch, because he couldn't hurt her. He had her here, and he didn't; what a contrapasso. And it was- he had had her there at Shiz and he was too weak, too cowardly, to admit his love- but now, with her helpless and injured before him, trying so hard just to regain some autonomy, he turned away in embarrassment, though, oh, how he wanted not to. But he would not, could not, hurt her any more than she had already been hurt.
"Lay down," he instructed, "I've got something for your back." Wordlessly, she obeyed, and he could look at her again.
As he sat rubbing the salve into her wounds, trying not to exalt in the touch he knew was painful for her, she finally spoke, with some difficulty.
"You're- you're really not one of them, then?"