Chapter One: Almost

When Nessa had finally had enough of badgering Elphaba about religion and she announced to the table (and Nanny) that she was "the slightest bit tired" and wished to return to the dorms, the group of friends could hardly conceal their relief. Sometimes Nessa could be quite the nag, and she could destroy good fun, as could Nanny, being the "adult". So when they were gone, the friends toasted around the café table and laughed happily. "Thank Oz," muttered Elphaba.

"Honestly, no offense to Nessa," Crope said carefully, "but I would really like to go a day or two without hearing about how many times the unionist bible hints that it's sinful for genders to switch roles."

"We get it," Tibbett added.

Boq chuckled. "We don't think it's sinful."

"No, we think it's funny." Milla piped in.

Shen-Shen and Pfanee raised their eyebrows at one another, but nodded in agreement. Avaric made an obscene gesture and there was a short uproar of laughter.

"But really," opined Glinda, "it's nice to be able to say and do a few more things. Nanny is a great woman and Ama, but the purpose of Amas is so that you can ditch them and have some fun every once in a while!"

Elphaba looked at Glinda in surprise. Glinda wasn't one to admit to enjoying breaking rules. She always simply went along with it, never saying anything about it one way or another. They must all be a bit, well… drunk.

"Why don't the boys have chaperones?" The newest boy, Fiyero, questioned.

"Because society is sexist," Elphaba answered shortly. "And everyone thinks girls need to be cared for more than the boys because people assume that women can't fend for themselves."

Avaric said, "Most of them can't. Elphaba's an exception. The green skin gives off poison when triggered, doesn't it?"

Elphaba glared at him crossly.

"That wasn't very nice," Fiyero commented apprehensively.

"Thank you, observant one," Elphaba snapped.

Fiyero didn't understand what he'd done wrong for a moment. He'd only meant to defend her. Well, the fact that Avaric's remark hadn't necessarily been polite was a bit obvious. "I just meant that he shouldn't say that. It's rude and hurtful."

"Why do you care?" Elphaba challenged.

He liked this back and forth quick competitive dialogue he took part in with this wild, raging green girl. In fact, he loved it. "Because first of all, we don't need a fight. Second of all, if we let him get away with making comments about one of us, what'll stop him from insulting all of us, soon enough?"

"Always in it for your own good, in a way. Human nature." Elphaba said softly.

Fiyero cocked his head at her. He didn't really know what she was saying. However, it seemed that no one else did, either.

Avaric jumped back in to the conversation. "Hey, let's grab and extra bottle of wine and go over to the South Shiz Park!"

"Why not just stay here?" Boq whined lazily.

"Because," Avaric hissed, "I've got a game that we can play, but we can't exactly play it here."

"Oh! What game?" Glinda asked.

"Truth or dare."

"And why can't we play that here?" Shen-Shen demanded.

"My version of truth or dare includes some questions that may not be appropriate. The dare parts aren't too dirty, since I know you juveniles wouldn't do anything incredibly sexual."

"Wait a second," Pfanee said quickly, "what are the limits on the dares?"

"One may not dare a player to touch another player below the neckline. Kissing, in whatever form, is allowed. No backing out."

"Sounds fine with me," Milla shrugged.

"We don't mind it. It could be dirtier!" Crope and Tibbett chimed in unison.

Elphaba laughed. "This might be an interesting game to play, or more so to watch."

Glinda nodded. "I love asking truths!"

"Well, come on then," Avaric said impatiently, "let's head on over then, to South Shiz Park!" He stood, headed to the bar, purchased a last bottle of wine and gestured for the group to follow him. Each had his or her own reason for going along. The main two reasons were boredom and/or curiosity.

South Shiz Park was lit only by the moon as the ten young adults sat down on the grass. Everyone got settled in comfortably when Avaric decided to change things up.

"Wait!" He stood. "Everyone has to sit, boy-girl-boy-girl!"

There was a collective groan and a huge shuffle of movement. In the end, the order of the circle was thus: Avaric, Milla, Crope, Glinda, Boq, Elphaba, Fiyero, Shen-Shen, Tibbett and Pfanee.

"Okay. I'll go first." Avaric said. "Now, let's start off easy so no one freaks out. Boq, truth or dare?"

"Um… dare." He said, trying to be brave.

"Well, courageous, are we? Hmmm. I dare you to take three steps away from the circle and drop your trousers for five full seconds."

"I… well… I guess." Boq stood up and took the three largest steps he'd ever taken away. It didn't make a difference, since most of the group was covering their eyes by this point. He did as he was told and only Avaric chuckled. Feeling incredibly embarrassed, he pulled his trousers back up and sat back down.

"I don't know why you did that Avaric. No one wanted to see Boq's ass, except for maybe Crope and Tibbett." Elphaba rolled her eyes.

"Shut up, Elphie!" Boq nudged her. "It's my turn." Resentfully, he turned to Elphaba. "Miss Elphaba, truth or dare."

"Dare. But I will not moon anyone. End of story."

"I dare you to… kiss…" Boq looked to the other side of Elphaba, "kiss Fiyero! With tongue. That's allowed, right?" He looked to Avaric for approval.

"Of course. I never said it wasn't." Avaric was grinning devilishly.

Elphaba sighed. This wasn't a problem for her. She wasn't as prude as they all seemed to think she was. Well, not that bad, anyway. Sure, she thought that if she ever did have sex, she'd wait until marriage (well, if anyone married her), but nothing else was completely against her rules, it was more for lack of opportunity. Looking to Fiyero, she said, "Only if it's okay with him."

Fiyero nodded. He hadn't been in the group long and he didn't want to back out on anything. Besides, Elphaba interested him, so he might as well. "It's fine."

They looked at one another hesitantly and then Elphaba tilted her face towards his and closed her eyes. He did the same. Their lips met anxiously and as soon as she felt him putting pressure on them she opened her mouth to him, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling herself closer as he dipped his tongue into her mouth. His hands slid to her waist, one moving upward towards her breasts. Elphaba snapped out of it then, hearing Boq shift uncomfortably beside her and Glinda gasp. Then she remembered where they were. She pulled away quickly. "There."

Everyone was staring at them. No one had seen either of them show that much passion, at least not towards another human being.

"What? I did what you dared me to. Now, it's my turn." She looked around the circle. Elphaba had the strongest urge to dare Fiyero to kiss her again, but that wouldn't look right. But when he'd kissed her… she'd never felt something like that, not ever. Shaking her head to control her thoughts, she focused on Glinda. "Glinda, truth or dare?"

"Truth."

"You're no fun." Elphaba said. "Anyway, um, hmm… if you had to date one of the boys in this group, who would it be?"

"Ew! I don't like any of them! I'd have to say Boq, I think."

Boq brightened. Everyone laughed.

Fiyero stared unyieldingly at Elphaba for the rest of the evening, only responding halfheartedly when questions were asked of him. He hadn't meant to touch her inappropriately when they'd kissed. It had just been so sudden; his body had reacted way before his mind and then… he shuddered, looking around suddenly.

"Fiyero, buddy, you coming? We're all heading back now." Boq shook him carefully.

"Yeah, sorry. Where'd the girls go?"

Avaric laughed. "Suddenly you're a ladies man, huh? Dude, how many chicks did you make-out with back at your castle?"

"None… I'm not supposed to. I'm arranged to be married to this girl, Sarima; I met her once when I was eight." Fiyero said, somewhat regretfully.

"Is she hot?"

"She was eight, for Oz's sake!"

"Why do they arrange marriages?" Boq wondered.

"Makes it easier, I guess. I… I'm not so sure I like the idea, anymore."

"Anymore?"

"I always thought I was okay with it, but now I feel like I'm being told what my future has to be and I don't want that."

"You were fine with it before?" Avaric piped in.

"I never really thought that I'd want to do anything else."

"So you want something else – someone else?"

"If I don't right now, what if I do later? I'm just starting to realize that I might, and what happens then?"

"Just tell your parents. I'm sure they'll understand."

Fiyero laughed bitterly. He knew he couldn't stand up against his parents for more than a minute. "They don't take to reason very well," he explained.

"It's not so bad. At least you've got a guaranteed fuck at some point." Avaric pointed out bluntly.

"One that I'm not sure I want."

"Who doesn't want…?"

Boq smacked Avaric. "People who aren't you, Avaric."

"Whatever, Fiyero. You don't need to worry about it until you've found someone you'd rather have, anyway. So don't bother complaining." Avaric shrugged and headed back towards the dorms. "But what the hell was that about with Elphaba, man?"

Fiyero shrugged. "It was a dare."

"You made more than good on it." Boq observed.

"So did she."

"Yeah, that was weird. I mean, she like, wrapped her arms around your neck and got closer to you. I would've probably run away at that point." Avaric commented.

"That's you," Fiyero said. "It was intense, I guess, so I just kind of acted intense, too."

"Is that all?" Boq asked, seeing something more.

Fiyero looked at Avaric. "Yeah, that's all."

The girls had reached Crage and were in the stairwell when Glinda randomly squealed and whirled on Elphaba. "You and Fiyero! What were you thinking?"

"I was thinking I did as I was told to do." Elphaba said simply.

"You almost let him grope you!"

"Please take note of the word almost, Glinda. I did not."

"But still. You, like, got all close to him while you were kissing. Boq never said you had to kiss that long."

"You're right. But I figured if I made it any shorter, someone would tell me it wasn't long enough. I only did that because that way, no one could tell me I didn't do what Boq said properly." Elphaba said defensively.

"You're blushing."

"Of course I'm blushing! That's not something I do everyday."

"I didn't think it was something you did at all."

"It wasn't, until today."

"What?"

Elphaba groaned. "Glinda, thanks to Boq, my first kiss was only a dare."

"That was your first kiss?"