Rare Birds and Revelations
Disclaimer: All rights to characters from Wicked belong with Gregory Maguire.
Glinda/Elphaba proto-romantic and etc., relationship depicted. If this offends, move along little dogies, it's your misfortune and none of my own.
A/N: First fanfic ever; be gentle. Slightly edited for ease of reading from version the first. Both Criticism and Encouragement most appreciated. If I had it to do over, this would be a stand alone; as it is think I shall consider it preface of sorts. Chapter 2 is more the starting point of any concerted story...
Prologue: (or: How It All Began)
Galinda had been drifting down the hallway towards her shared room. Back from a dinner and a walk with Pfannee and Shenshen and the boys, it had been a long evening. They had been nattering on about a musical offering coming to the University at the weekend. It was some bohemian piece, working class artistes railing against the Bourgeoisie or something like that, who can't afford to live the Emerald City. Tibbett and Crope were practically a'twitter over their plans to attend, and she could still hear the girls' pleas to come along in her ears.
It had gotten late and while she really rather assumed her roomie would still be awake studying…it was, she supposed possible her Oddness was asleep…(though still probably with a book open), but sleeping nonetheless. That being, if not probable, at least possible, she was determined to be…vaguely…polite, and to avoid barging in. Blameless is what she was actually going for. So Galinda paused quietly outside her door when she saw that it was cracked a few inches. Odd. A draught she supposed. She approached the door quietly about to enter, but in the interest of not startling her roommate (she said to herself) she first peeked carefully inside.
Elphaba was there – reading in bed of course. She lay, half propped up with her rumpled, doubled up pillow, knees pulled up reading intensely. She looked as contented as it seemed possible for her to look. Her left middle finger traced her arched eyebrows absently as she read. She was in her dilapidated night frock, a fire warming the room at least though, so at least it was going to be somewhat cozy tonight. Looking forward to that warmth, Galinda again reached to push the door open and enter.
At the last moment however she instead checked her hand at the lever, as she couldn't quite resist to the urge to observe her roommate - herself unobserved. A singular opportunity to view the rare Green-bellied, Black-Crested…Owl?…in her adopted habitat. Nesting so to speak. She giggled mentally at her own cleverness.
Though what really did describe her color? If she'd had the decency to have had any kind of red hue…well then she supposed Crimson carried the weight, the timbre, the seriousness, subtext, the metaphor (one of those words spouted constantly in her classes), that Elphaba engendered. But no red tinted her polished skin, alas, more the pity. If one was going to be anything other than human-hued, one might as well be as dramatic and as stunning as possible, yes? Running through semi-precious stones she knew by heart in her head for inspiration…she pondered some more. Carnelian, Amethyst, Garnet...or.., Lapis Lazuli (though something about the way that last one rolled off her mental tongue seemed to make it somehow suggestive and exciting at the same time).
Not the type to over-analyze her inner workings, she shook that rather odd thought off.
Burnished Copper sounded good in her head – if only she'd had the decency to actually have Burnished Copper skin. Now that would have been exotic, if a bit Tik-Tok-ish for her own tastes perhaps. And Tarnished Copper was really more realistic, and that certainly didn't sound too exotic after all. She made a face in her consternation, and decided not to acknowledge, much less worry even briefly as to why she was worrying about her own tastes anyway? Just another odd thought she brushed away.
She sighed. Truth be told, Elphaba was indeed a sort of… bright and fierce amalgamation of something she couldn't put her finger on. Malachite? Jade?
She gave up. Elphaba was just, in fact, among other unfortunate things; decidedly prickly, insular, lacking interest in the social ins and outs around her…and: Green. Green and all cutting angles.
Galinda shook her head, ringlets swinging slightly, again reaching out to push their door inward, when Elphaba snapped her book shut. Glinda paused yet again to observe Elphaba, entranced now as she watched the young woman slowly unfold herself.
What she could see of her skin was catching the light from her dim lamp glow, and the fire as well. Over her lithe musculature, her skin was taut and smoothly…Jade. No. Emerald, that was it! Emerald! She was glad to have finally fixed it in her mind, at last. Again, barely registering another wayward thought as to whether that emerald skin was smooth and cool to the touch like the precious stone or warm and pliable instead. Okay, steady on girl, less wine next time…
She was rake thin. But - as she slid from repose to action now as she watched her stretch unobserved and unselfconscious, she appeared rather like a sculptor's proto-type; smooth muscle, sharp angles pulled over the artists iron intention of action in motion. Sinewy and direct, and…beautiful. Oh dear Lurline, what in all of Oz are you babbling on about, she thought to herself. Intention of action in motion?? What does that even mean?? Really, Galinda, have you lost your mind?
And then, suddenly she watched as she flared, graceful, powerfully on parade...,with a shudder and a moaned "aahh!" And then, just as swiftly released, and reposed, back to angles, planes, and jack-knifed once again, a little flushed now though. Galinda was then abruptly aware of her own mouth, pursed in an 'O' and her eyebrows up and arched in…anticipation..? And yet she didn't even know what she was anticipating…?
Oh…for the Unnamed God's sake! (trying another deity for good measure) What in Oz had gotten into her head, she wondered to herself again. Too much wine clearly. Really, just too many thoughts and too many words to say something rather simple: The emerald/jade, GREEN girl had…a grudgingly eerie, methodical, albeit sometimes hurky-jerky kind of…Grace. Well. Huh. Who knew? If Elphaba had the misfortune to be caught out in the in-between realm of Animal, Mineral and Vegetable…she had that at least. A hidden grace. If she looked like asparagus, dressed in an unshapely tent sometimes, it was only because she did nothing to help herself, at the same time seeming to do everything she could do to hide in her AnimaVegetabalistic state. On purpose.
But still, despite the mental shake she was giving herself, much to her dismay she was still picturing her roommate in her mind, supine, skin alight, it was smooth grained polished stone on display end to end, rigid and stretched, powerful. What she could do with that hair and skin if she tried…
Galinda exhaled, not even realizing til then she'd even been holding her breath. For the life of her, Galinda didn't know where these thoughts came from. As well, she couldn't imagine why she felt that walking in right then would have been, on top of startling of course, well: rude and intrusive. But she felt it. Speaking of feeling, she was feeling light-headed and flushed, and she knew that her usually creamy skin was also probably flushed, and inexplicably other parts of her felt a bit…flushed also.
She was deep into a journal issue of Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, with a pamphlet from the quarterly Faith and Philosophy for cross-referencing next her, comfortable in her solitary pursuit.
Suddenly her stomach, curled in on itself, apparently protesting at having to keep itself company for lack of better fare, decided to start lodging complaints. Elphaba glanced at the corner of the page, committing the number to memory before closing the text.
She wondered what Galinda was up to. Dinner and drinks she thought she'd heard. Probably charming some poor sod as well. True, she'd been invited, but Galinda should've known better by now, and probably did. Brainless she may appear sometimes, yet Elphaba still knew it wasn't the full story. And she knew what it felt like to have that smile turned on her. She didn't like to admit that she liked it turned her way. But she did.
Bah. She proceeded to banish any outside thoughts, including any of her bouncy blonde comrade. Mostly successful, she then indulged herself a bit. Lowering her knees she started a long, slow, luxurious (since no one was here after all) head-to-toe-stretch. Pulling her reedy arms into her chest first, fists balled, she sinuously and slowly extended them over her head. Slowly, she pointed her toes and legs downward towards the thin dorm baseboard, arching her back, her buttocks lifting from the bed, her thighs taut, calves and arches rigid. Shuddering, she let a little contented 'aaah' escape at the pinnacle of her stretch – body still rigid, head back, eyes squeezed tight. She was about to pull in on herself and her textbook again when she thought she heard something at the door. All the blood just stirred up went straight to her face, darkening it in a flush.
Elphaba found a good stretch to be…so relaxing, and for some reason, very private. And maybe a little intoxicating. Must be that increased blood flow…
That was close she thought. Almost Stretchus Interruptus.
She was startled, unnerved, if not in an entirely unpleasant way then, when she heard the door swing inward, and Galinda appeared. She too looked a little flushed. Must be a bit chilly outside.