Ozma the Pink
"I hate you, Elphie!" Glinda snarled through gritted perfectly white teeth. She had already said it countless times in the past few hours but tossed it out again just for good measure.
Elphaba nodded. "I know, I know." She leaned forward in her chair and delicately dabbed at the perspiration beaded on Glinda's brow. She was the absolute picture of calm in contrast with Glinda in her current state. The bedroom was empty except for the two of them, and the atmosphere was quite peaceful, the afternoon sun floated in gently through the curtained French doors and the silence was like cozy blanket.
Glinda huffed out a sharp exhale, her cheeks flushed. "This is the one and only time I'm doing this, just to let you know." She leaned up a bit and settled back into the pillows propped up behind her on the bed. "And another thing, this baby better be green."
Elphaba leaned back in her chair, a flicker of disbelief crossing her features. "What?"
"You heard me; green. So everyone can know who got me into this mess in the first place. Their wagging fingers will only have one place to point and I'm looking right at her."
"I don't know if a green tinge will be enough for them to see me as the culprit, my dear Glinda. After all, I'm still missing a requisite part a father usually needs to become one in the first place."
"Maybe they'll think you're hiding an extra… part under those dark skirts."
She cackled at Glinda's suggestion. "Another seedy element to add to my reputation." She loved having these little verbal spars with the good witch and she happily played along.
"How long is this nonsense supposed to go on for? I mean, really, this is ridiculous." She ran a hand through her damp blonde curls in irritation. She has sent away the midwife away along with her assisting nurses, finding the extra bustle they created around her just too much to bear.
"It goes on as long as it needs to I guess. It shouldn't be much longer. I received word from your mother. She's making her way here post haste." She retrieved a letter from her pocket and handed it to her.
Glinda perused it quickly and then thrust it back into her hands. "I think she's beginning to like you better than me," she said, crossing her arms over her chest and looking mildly pouty.
"Nonsense, my moody pretty one. She just hated Chuffrey so much she would accept any replacement, even a green girl." She folded the letter and put it back into her pocket.
"Now you are the one speaking nonsense. She loves you. You have a way with us Upland girls, Elphaba Thropp," she smiled, arching an eyebrow in her direction. She saw something like a blush pass over her beloved's face which made her smile. Her thoughts returned for a moment to the letter and a realization occurred to her. "Great Oz! Does that mean I've been in labor long enough for you to send word to my mother?"
"It was sent by air, mind you."
"No matter," she said, waving her hand. "This baby needs to get moving." Her demand was met immediately with a sharp contraction that took her breath away.
Elphie jumped up from the chair. "They're getting close. I'm getting the mid-wife back in here, no objections from you."
"I'm not objecting!" she squeaked.
Elphaba ran out of the room and practically collided with the small stout woman standing in the hallway.
The midwife looked a shade annoyed by the near collision. She crossed her arms and met Elphaba with hard stare. "Let me guess. Now you decide you require my service," she said in her thick Vinku accent.
"Yes," Elphaba stated imperiously, straightening to her full height so as to look as imposing as possible.
"Very well, come help me get what I need."
"Where are your assistants?"
She put her hands on her hips and peered down at the small round woman. "Sent home?"
"They were tired; they've been up all night."
"So have I."
"As you should be."
"What does that even mean?"
"Less talk from you. Come, help." She turn her about by her shoulders and pushed her down the hallway. "Stop dawdling."
"I'm not dawdling, you old goat," she grumbled as she was prodded down the hallway.
They returned to the bedroom with all of the midwife's accoutrements. The green woman's eyes went immediately to the bed and saw it was empty. In a panic she scanned the room and saw the blonde leaning against the wall, her face flushed.
"Glinda, what are you doing? Shouldn't you be in bed?" She looked over at the midwife for confirmation but the rotund woman just shrugged her shoulders, her shorthand for 'what do I care?'.
"I can't lie in that damn bed for another moment, it's killing me." She leaned back heavily against the wall and bent her knees a bit.
"So you're going to give birth leaning against a wall?"
"Maybe! When you're giving birth you can pick the place, but right now it's me with the contractions and this is where I want to be, so keep your opinions to yourself, Miss Elphaba! You, midwife! Over here now. The baby's coming." She clenched her teeth and slid down the wall a few inches.
"Glinda the Good, what a mouth you have on you. You may be feisty enough to push that baby out yet." She gathered her towels and her leather case and approached Glinda quickly.
"I'll show you feisty!" she growled.
"Good, good." The old woman chuckled as she knelt down before Glinda and pushed her nightgown up over her knees and peered up underneath. "Oh my yes, any moment now. Against the wall, this is good?" she asked, spreading the towels beneath her. When there was no answer she stopped her preparations and looked up at the blonde. "Good Glinda, here is good?"
"Yes, damn you!" She looked up and saw Elphaba still standing across the room, absolutely frozen in place, holding a pan of water. The look on her face was one of abject terror.
"Elphie! Get over here!"
"Yes, bring water," the midwife said over her shoulder. "We'll have you catch baby, eh?"
And about one minute later, she did.
"I can't believe you gave birth squatting against a wall," Elphie said. She reclined in the bed with Glinda, her arm wrapped around her shoulder as they both looked down at the small bundle Glinda held in her arms.
"This bed was driving me crazy. I couldn't be on my back for another second. I'm sorry I got so mean towards the end."
"There's nothing to forgive. I imagine I would be a little mean after hours of labor too." She brushed back Glinda's golden curls and gave her a kiss on the temple. "I'm sorry she's not green."
Glinda snorted and giggled. "Oh well. I was looking forward to seeing some shocked society matrons." She looked down at the tiny face of her newly arrived daughter, whose eyes were closed and now appeared to be in a gentle slumber. "Look, her face is less red, she must be getting over being pushed out of her cozy former home." When the new addition had arrived she had wailed and flailed, red faced, for some time. 'Her first temper tantrum', Elphie had noted.
"She's…positively pink," Elphie noted.
"Oh Elphie, I don't know…I mean, she's so tiny. Are either of us maternal enough to handle this? I'm afraid. I mean, what if I do something wrong? We're responsible for this person now, and I'm still not clear on how to change a diaper correctly. What are we gonna do!" She suddenly wailed, tears coming to her eyes.
Elphaba pulled her close. "I don't think we can send her back."
"I don't want to send her back! I just…Elphie, do we even know what we're doing?"
"Glinda, we're not the first to approach this situation and I don't think we'll be the last. One day at a time, my sweet. You're not alone, together we can do anything. We can also get nannies to help. She'll be fine, every whim attended to, and showered with endless affection."
Tears flowed down Glinda's cheeks.
"It's been an emotional day, and a hard one. Just let it all out," Elphie encouraged.
"I'm sorry, I'm not even sure what's come over me."
"It's okay," she said. She rubbed Glinda's back soothingly and they sat that way for a few quiet moments, both gazing upon their new arrival.
"So," Elphie said, clearing her throat. "What shall we name our little princess? Do you still want to go with what we talked about?"
"With one change. I want her to be a Thropp. After all, a Thropp was her progenitor in a way."
"Melena Thropp it is then. Mel for short perhaps?" She was interrupted by the opening of the bedroom door and saw the midwife reappear.
"Very pretty, everyone very beautiful together," she said, taking a moment to look at them. "You should feed baby now, Glinda."
She looked down at the baby in her arms. "I don't know, we've only just met." She looked up and saw the midwife's brow furrow. "A joke, I'm kidding. Hold her Elphie while I get adjusted."
She took the small bundle in her green hands, marveling at how she seemed to fit right into the palms of her hands. Glinda was unbuttoning her night dress and Elphaba had to admire the fullness of her cleavage. She bit the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling. What was she thinking? Poor Glinda just had a rough labor and was getting ready to breast feed their child for the first time and she was ogling breasts. She kissed the baby's forehead gently. "Wake up, princess. Time to eat."
"Ok, how do I do this?" Glinda asked.
"Hold baby to breast. Not tik-tok science," the midwife replied in her staccato accent.
"Thanks for your never ending words of wisdom."
"Getting them out is my specialty. Feeding, not so much."
Glinda sighed and took the baby from Elphaba. "Sounds simple enough."
Or so she thought. It took almost an hour of changing positions and coaxing to get the baby to feed. At one point Elphaba was banished from the room because she was 'not helping her concentration' with her rather useless suggestions. She knew she had no idea what she was talking about but couldn't help but share her opinion anyway, one of her more regrettable traits. Now the green woman leaned against the marble railing of the balcony and looked out across the city. She remembered the first time she came to the Emerald City and how scary and exciting it had been. How shocked her young naïve self had been at the city slums and poverty underneath the surface of the big sparkling metropolis.
After her meeting with the Wizard had imploded she had felt more driven than ever to do something about the current state of affairs, no matter how drastic. She also knew nothing of patience and sent Glinda back to Shiz alone, deciding her destiny was to stay in the city and fight the Wizard with the full force of her will.
"Hold out my sweet."
She closed her eyes at the memory of sending Glinda away, and back to Shiz alone. She should have walked away from that carriage and not looked back. She should have, but she didn't. Instead she stood there, practically in the middle of the street as is suddenly struck dumb, her eye's never leaving Glinda's as the carriage moved out of sight, not even blinking as the tears swelled and spilled onto her cheeks. The pain she felt when she could no longer see Glinda was like a stab in the heart.
Damn you, Elphaba, her inner voice seethed. You've went and fallen in love with that little blonde ninny.
She tried to shut out the realization and cursed quietly under her breath.
Then its best we separate here, she thought. I don't need such foolishness distracting me from what has to be done. She turned to walk away and collided right into a barrel chested member of the Gale Force.
There was a whole formation of them marching down the street. The one she had run into seemed like a brick wall. Were people even made this big? she wondered. She looked up at his round face and he gave her a curt apology, even though she was at fault. He continued along with his squad mates, quickly falling into step.
He could snap her like a twig with those tree trunk arms. And who was she? Just some girl, a bony green girl trying to take on an empire. But what about a bony green girl who was an adept?
She thought back to Morrible's proposition, and unlike Glinda it had not blurred in her memory in any way. She had been offered a chance to be a power behind the scenes. If she did as she was asked, the kind of damage she could do from within would be immeasurable…especially with Glinda at her side.
Glinda. She looked back down the street the carriage had disappeared down but there was nothing. She knew how to fight off the tears, how to barricade her heart, but to open it? Now that was another matter.
The smell of the rain brought her out of her reverie. Dark clouds loomed above and she went back inside quietly.
Glinda was lying on her side, the baby nestled up close to her breast.
"Yes, remarkably," she replied, not raising her head from the pillow. She appeared exhausted and her eyes were closed.
Elphaba approached quietly and sat down on the bed.
"Is there anything I can help with?"
"I think it's all under control. So far, so good."
Elphaba leaned over and kissed Glinda on the cheek. "I was proud of you today, you were very strong."
She responded by taking Elphie's hand in her own and lacing their fingers together. "When she's done can you put her in the crib, then come lay down with me?"
"Of course." She waited quietly for the baby to finish, taking it as a sign she was done when she pulled away and yawned as widely as her small mouth would allow. She gathered her up carefully and carried her over to the crib, which had been waiting several months for this very moment.
Being something of a designated caretaker in her childhood home due to her mother's drunkenness and absence, Elphaba was not completely unfamiliar with caring for infants. She put the baby down gently in the crib and arranged everything properly around her.
"Well, my little pink one, I'm very glad you're finally here." She reached down and lightly touched her tiny clenched fist, which opened gently ensnare her index finger.
This surprised Elphie and made her heart lurch in her chest. This tiny girl did not care that her skin was green, was not interested in the why's and how's of it. Through half lidded eyes the baby seemed to be judging her reaction to her touch, sort of a 'whattya think of that?' look. Something sparked aflame in Elphaba's mind when she saw those eyes.
Why hadn't she thought of it before?
She decided to push the crib closer to the bed. There were small wheels on the bottom that allowed her to maneuver it easily. Once she got it positioned where she wanted she kicked her boots off and crawled into bed.
Glinda looked at the crib and back at Elphaba.
"She's newborn Glinda. I have to keep an eye on her, make sure everything's alright."
"Of course, you're not getting sentimental or soft hearted."
She smiled and leaned back against the pillows. "Speaking of sentimental, while I was banished from the room I was thinking about when we came to the Emerald City for the first time."
"And you sent me back alone? I was furious with you, but when you showed up at Shiz a few days later and begged for forgiveness, throwing yourself at my feet…"
"Glinda! You brazen little liar! There was no groveling, although you did slap me if I remember correctly."
"I was terribly upset. I cried all the way back to Shiz." She laid her head on Elphie's shoulder.
"I was sorry for sending you back alone. Watching that carriage pull away was unbearable. I fell insanely in love with you at that moment. I was pierced through the heart. I still have the scar."
"You'll have to show me that."
Elphaba flashed her bewitching smile. "You know Glin, something just occurred to me. What if our little Melena here is the next Ozma?"
Glinda propped herself up a bit so she could look her in the eye. "Are you serious?"
"Absolutely. The Ozma is expected in some circles to be re-incarnated. Perhaps she has. It would secure your hold on the throne."
She quirked her brow. "So this is politics. You don't really believe it?" There was a flash of something in Elphie's eyes that made her think just maybe she did.
"No," she answered finally. "All of those stories are just that; stories. But, if the rumor gets cast about, and people latch on to it…well, we can't help that now can we?"
"Devious," she chuckled.
"Besides, why not? This baby as made by magic, literally. Sounds like the kind of situation the Ozma would like to be born into, don't you think?"
"Sure, I think you may be onto something."
Elphaba smiled. "Then all hail Ozma the Pink!"