Born in the morning,
Woe without warning,
Woeful and wild;
Born in the evening,
Woe ends in grieving.
Night baby borning
Same as the morning.
She remembered Nanny's proverb from years ago. She thought of it even now as she watched Nanny study the baby's profile, bending over the basket moving from side to side. We only have babies when young enough not to know how grim life turns out. Once we really get the full measure of it - we're slow learners, we women, we dry up in disgust and sensibly halt production, Nanny had said. We're slow learners and men can't learn at all. Melena still thought that woe was the natural end of life and that women still went on having babies.
She wouldn't go near the thing. She would stay in her chair until Nanny picked it up - her Elphaba. Melena made a small sound of despair and turned to glance out the window. Elphaba who should have been her son. Who should have been normal!
The infant was wrapped in linens, held in Nanny's arms. Only three weeks old and was already tracking Nanny's every movement with her eyes. She reached out and let her finger drift across the baby's cheek. The infant flinched, arching her back bone with a small whine to follow and then settled back, brown eyes watching Nanny's every movement. It wouldn't be long until she closed her own eyes again, halting all movement save for breathing. Nanny moved from the baby's basket to sit by Melena and Frex.
"Have you even touched the child yet, you two?" murmured Nanny, waving a hand off to where Elphaba lay sleeping. Or perhaps the little demon was listening to them, Nanny mused. The baby was different, they all knew that, and not because of the teeth or the skin that was as green as sin. Already it had been brought up to perform an exorcism on the infant, and when they decided that no amount of spiritual relief would help the child the question of sorcery rose, and Frex at once defended his own beliefs.
"Contracts with the demons! Sorcery is the refuge of the amoral; when it isn't out-and-out charlatanism, it is dangerously evil!" He cried, jumping to his feet, ignoring the pitiful cry of Melena. "Isn't a green girl insult enough, Nanny?"
Melena was distraught. "She's a creep," she whispered, glancing up wide eyed at Nanny. She drew in a shuddering breath and placed her hand over her mouth as though she had just said something that she shouldn't have. "She is. She is! Nanny, she is green! The Unnamed God has shown no mercy here, what would sorcery do for the little devil? It would only be evil mixing with evil!"
Nanny would have none of it. She rose to her feet once more, taking quick steps to the sleeping Elphaba and picked her up, rocking her in the crook of her arm. Pursing her lips she looked down at the little green demon thinking. She would make Frex and Melena raise the poor devil, and she would help. She may have been an old woman but she knew a thing or two about raising children. After all, she had raised Melena, hadn't she?
Oh, but how awful the poor little devil smelt!
"Come then. Nanny has much settling to do," Nanny said to the waking Elphaba. "Then we must bathe you, you filthy little thing."
Four years later
"Wash up, Elphaba," Nanny stated, leering down at the four year old seated on the rug.
Elphaba just stared up, blankly. "I don't wash," she said turning her head away and stood up. "I'm cleaner than Nessarose." She held up her hands, as if to prove to Nanny just that and then turned away once again only this time to climb into her fathers wicker chair, crossing her arms over her chest. She glanced out of the window watching as the rain pelted against the window glass.
"I don't have to play with the others today, Nanny, do I?" She asked suddenly, not yet turning her attention back to Nanny who was busy trying to feed a fussy Nessarose. Elphaba wrinkled her nose, continuing to watch the rain fall outside, making puddles and ripples in the puddles. "They don't play. They're stupid and most of them are boys."
Chortling, Nanny said, "What of Bick?"
"Boq," Elphaba said quickly and quietly, wrinkling her nose. "And he calls me Elphie."
"I call you my Little Green Lizard," Nanny offered, setting Nessarose on the carpet to play with the wooden figures there.
The little green girl gave a groan of protest. "Oh, Nanny," she said turning around. "You're horrible. Mother wouldn't like it."
Nanny waved her hand at the girl, keeping her grin to herself as she settled down in another chair. She had been watching the two small girls since Frex had gone off somewhere near the Cloth Hills, preaching more of his silly little nonsense, for once letting the girls stay at home. Though it would only be to enjoy the rain from within doors. Even now her little Elphie was sitting in that old chair of Frex's, scowling out the window at something she could only see. "Gawnette's is horrible," the girl commented.
"What do you know of horrible, Little Lizard?" Nanny asked casually, keeping an eye on Nessarose. "Just like your Mama. She didn't know a horror from a lie."
Elphaba frowned but said nothing more to her Nanny. She looked carefully at her hands, studying the shade of green before glancing outside. She watched as the rain hit the green grass and picturing the grass as her skin and imagining what it must feel like to dance in the rain without pain. To that she scowled and rubbed her arms. She looked down to Nessarose, her Nessarose, noting how the toddler was now sound asleep, and Nanny was sewing something once again. Elphaba pushed herself back against the chair and returned to looking at the window, frowning still.
"Horrors," she whispered quietly, putting her hand to the glass.
- - - -
A/N: This is my first Wicked fic, be kind!…Please? It is a bit of a cross with the book and the musical, mostly just cutting what I don't like from the book, and adding a bit of the musical. O So you could say that this is my version, or at least what I would have wanted to see. I am very strange, you'll find.