Within the castle of Kiamo Ko, direst reigned. Breaking the silence of the morning, a shrill crying of a young girl rag out.

"Oh shut up why don't you! Just get those shoes off and you can go home!" A dark cloaked woman slammed a heavy wooden door abruptly on the cry, which, although muffled, grew louder still. Huffing angrily, a long-fingered hand rose to massage her temple, which was beginning to throb. Her hand set her pointed hat askew, showing off a fine head of ebony hair tied back rather hastily from her high-cheeked face. Both her cloths and her hair seemed to greatly contrast greatly with her skin tone, as, even in the dark light of the castle, could be distinguishable as the rich color like the underside of a leaf.

"I hate my life." She muttered into her hand, then, turning abruptly on her heels, screamed at the close door " And you're definitely not helping, farm girl!"

Smash! Another door was opened, rather abruptly, and Elphaba whipped around quickly, raising her hands as if ready to fend off an attack. However, she was swept up in I tidal wave of pink and white frills rather than sword and spear points, as a rather excited women enveloped her with a high-pitched cry of warning which sent her headache into hysterics. Bangles and silvery jewelry shone in what little light there was with stunning brilliance.

"El-phie!" The luminous women cried, curls bobbing madly and delicately place tiara nearly stittering to the floor, had it not been held in place by numerous hair ties that very morning. " Elphie, you have no idea what you're doing! They're coming for you. Just...ohh...why don't you just let the girl and her dog Dodo go!"

Elphaba scooted out of Glinda's grasp before she was smothered in lace. " What are you on about? Of course I know what I'm doing! I always have, that's why I'm doing it."

"But...but Elphie! They're going to find you and kill you. This has gone too far. Let it go." She said, making fluttery down motions with her now free hands.

"I want my sister's shoes." She said simply, directed both at Glinda and at the door, this time. Something sniffled behind it." Now quiet, I don't want anyone to know you're here!"

"Oh, for Lurline's sake! If you want shoe's that bad, I'll give you some! I'll even glue mirrors on them if it'll make you happy. They could be green too. Emerald. Red would clash terribly-"

"Glinda!" The forceful whisper stopped the other women in her tracks. "I want those to remember my sister by, not to wear them."

Glinda, ironically, was silent. Then.

"Oh, Elphie!" Once again, she flung herself at the green-skinned women, although Elphaba stepped out of her way this time around.

"Can you hold yourself together for one moment!?I need to ask you something. For me."

Glinda, skittering to a stop on her heels, stopped. "What? You want out, don't you? Oh, Elphie good choice, I could just-" She raised her staff, but Elphaba quickly and sharply stared her down.

"It's not that, isn't it?"

Elphaba shook her head, and with a beckoning motion, something stepped from the shadows. It was a monkey, or rather, a red-jacketed monkey with large battish wings folded neatly like a blanket draped across it's back. It was Chistery, a monkey Elphaba had mistakenly given wings on her first meeting with the wizard. Glinda though it looked rather smitten with her friend now, actually.

In the monkey's hand, was a book, long since it's prime, and covered with dirty brown leather. Handing it to Elphaba, he stepped back. The witch, as if forgetting she was not alone in the room, idly flipped through a few of the pages.

"Isn't that the Grimmerie?" Glinda asked, looking down at the strange printing of the curling, yellowed pages.

"Yes." Was the simple answer. Then, meeting her friend's eyes, she handed the book over to Glinda. "I want you to take this, it's yours now. Use it like I would have."

"Elphie!" Glinda was shocked, whipping her hand back as if it were some dangerous alligator she was being handed and not a book. "Don't talk like that, like you're already-"

"Dead." Elphaba asked, thin eyebrow raising and a small, sad smile crossing her lips. "You said so yourself, they're coming for me. So I am just as good as." She stepped right up to her friend, who seemed frozen to the floor. Dark eyes peering into the pretty azure blue. She pressed the book into her hands. " Take it."

"I...I won't be able to read it."

"You'll learn." Elphaba insisted, closing Glinda's own hand over the book's spine. "You're not as...well...blonde, as some people think. You'll learn." Then, Elphaba's voice seemed to take on an utterly different tone, one that scared Glinda. It was pleading." Please, Glinda. Take it and go. No one can see you here, our you'll be hunted next."

"Elphie?" Glinda asked, shaking her head." Why...you could fly out of here?"

"You don't get it, do you?" Elphaba asked, frustration and -was it worry- coating her words. "Glinda, I'm limited now. A wanted woman. They won't leave me alone. They've taken Fiyero-"

Glinda winced.

"- And they'd take you if they knew. You, however, are loved by everyone. People still trust you. You could do so much more than me. If I'm out of the picture for good, then you can continue with my work right out there in a public eye. You'd make more of an impact than I ever could now."

Suddenly, it was like both girls were back at Shiz. Sitting in history class on opposite sides of the room, debating heatedly about the proper answer to the day's question. But something was happening, something that had never happened back in class. Glinda realized it finally. Elphaba was giving up. She was losing the debate.

"Elphaba-"

A choked sort of laugher escaped her partially closed lips, mirthless, but not that odd cackle she'd seemed to develop. It was old Elphie's laugh, warm in its familiarity. "Sometimes, Glinda, I think I rubbed to off too much on you. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad one."

"Good." Glinda assured. "Of course it's good, why would you even ask that?"

"I wanted to know. Because for me, it's rhetorical. You've affected me, for good."

Silence stood between them.

"Why, Elphie?"

"You know why."

Glinda stamped her foot, angrily. "I'm not leaving. I'll tell them what really happened. You can be free-"

"I'll never be free, Glinda. Never. But you are. So do me a favor. Do something for both of us. Something worthwhile."

And then Elphaba did something unexpected. As Glinda had launched herself at her when she first entered Kiamo Ko, Elphaba took three quick steps and pull Glinda into her embrace.

"You do something, Glinda. For both of us."

"She's in there!"

"She's got the girl locked up somewhere in here!"

"We'll get her out!

"Down with the witch!"

Yelling rose up the stairs, and Glinda broke off from the hug early, clipping her way across the floor to the open door, slamming it quickly and blockading it with the wooden bar lock.

"They're here already!" She cried out. "Come on Elphie, you can't be serious!"

"When exactly have I not been?" She asked, serious again. She seemed to have gained height, even though she'd always looked tall to Glinda. Straighter. Resigned. Glinda did her best to look the same.

"I'm. Not. Leaving."

Elphaba looked as if she were about to say something, as pounding on the other side of the one door now rose to intertwine with Dorothy's crying. She gripped something in her hand. Drapery which seemed to be a divider for half the room. "Fine. But you're not saying anything. Stay behind this. Chistery, come help me."

The monkey hopped to her side, pulling the drape across, hurried as the pounding grew louder.

Soon, only Elphaba's profile in silhouette could bee seen on the other side. Chistery hobbled over to Glinda and took up the hem of her skirt in his paws, and the good witch didn't notice. She was hugging the books as tightly as if it were a child.

"Goodbye, Glinda." Her voice, although her body had shown otherwise, was now devoided of hurry. It was resigned. Tired. Truly sincere in what it said.

"Goodbye, Elphie." Glinda whispered, as her eyes grew watery.

The fabric crinkled as Elphaba's hand touched the frail curtain. Glinda, her hand trembling, reached out to touch the opposite side, but before her fingers could even brush the veil, the door on Elphaba's side splintered, and shouts grew loud as chaos erupted on the other side.

---

Elphaba Thropp was prepared for the best performance she had given her entire life.

"What is this?!" She erupted, her voice definitely going up an octave into a ghoulish cackle. Hell, if she looked the part, why not? It wasn't like it mattered what she sounded like to these people...or, she supposed she should have called them things. She pictured Glinda jumping at the strange sound, and hoped against all odds that she couldn't be seen through the drapery.

"Where's Dorothy?!" A harsh voice yells as her. Elphaba can barely recognize it as Boq's, as it now has a well, sort of metallic quality to it. She tried to meet his eyes, to apologize still for what had happened, but she looks away just as fast. There is only blame looking back at her from an unfamiliar face, leaving her to think that perhaps the tin man's intended actions towards her are more for his revenge on her than to simply get Dorothy back.

Instead, she glances at the lion. He's grown since the last time she's seen him. No longer could he fit into the cage he had been brought into Shiz in as a cub. They looked the same as they had when he was a cub, as they showed, although he is growling, he was about ready to wet himself.

The third companion she looks up at. He's basically tall, and shaggily clothed. But the shirt remained her of that of an Ozian guard. A floppy had is perched on the dark muslin sack painted with rough human features, and straw pokes out at every open spot.

But one of the painted eyes seems to crinkle at her. An unmistakable wink.

" Where's Dorothy?" This voice is not as anger as the tin man's. In fact, it sound's fair bored, or amused at the whole situation. Even though it has a more rustle quality to it, Elphaba oddly recognizes it, and her heart immediately rises.

It was Fiyero's.

"You...You want the girl?!" She croaks, losing herself only for a moment. Glinda must have though she was losing nerve, as the curtain rustled slightly. Immediately, Elphaba's eyes roved to the curtain, giving a slight shake of her head, mouthing the word 'no' so that only someone standing behind the green veil could see. She covered the move up quickly, as she took a glance at the door, where the crying had abruptly stopped, and a wavering, young female voice was joined by a chorus of sharps yips.

"Oh scarecrow! Tin man! She has us in here, we're here!" Dorothy wailed.

The lion rushes at the door, and, head first, bashes the wood. Elphaba has to admit, although he may be cowardly, he does seem to have a thick skull.

The girl, Dorothy steps lightly over the rubble, the lion stumbling out after her, shaking his head. Her pigtails are tousled, and her face as stained as her blue and white checked dress, but she seems determined. Her little dog, Toto (who, perhaps, should have actually been called Dodo) ran out with a leap and a bound, and ran, snapping for Elphaba's ankles.

"Oh, get off it you!" Elphaba cried, shooing the dog off with a wave of her foot. Obviously though, the dog was scared, as it yelped and jumped backwards, tail between his legs back to his owner.

"Don't you dare hurt Toto!" Dorothy cried, her face turning dark. Even Elphaba was a little take aback, but, as it had been before, she quickly recovered.

She advanced, but someone gripped her from behind. A lumpy glove grasped tightly at her shoulder. The scarecrow, or rather, Fiyero, had her tightly held.

"I've got her!" He yelled. However he brought his mouth closer to the ear, pretending she was struggling in his grasp when she'd actually gone as limp as a rag doll.

"There are lots of secrets in Kiamo Ko." He whispered, as his other hand undid her cloak latch. "Secret passages...rooms...trap doors." He nudged something at her feet, and she shifted one back to feel what it was. A hole had opened in the cobbled floor. She smiled.

"We can melt her, look!" Tin man Bog crowed, as he produced a wooden bucket that had been with Dorothy in the locked room. "You've heard the rumors."

"Only rumors, but still..." Fiyero muttered into her ear.

"Just enough." Elphaba answered.

"Just let me get back, I hate getting soggy!" The Scarecrow answered in a louder voice, just as much as fake voice as Elphaba's own moments ago. His hand left her shoulder, as the bucket was passed to Dorothy.

"But...But I couldn't!" Dorothy wailed again, but the tin man, gave her a little push on the small of her back.

The girl went forward, the bucket was airborne...

And splattered Elphaba from head to toe.

Damn that water was cold! But that was the only problem. Surely she had to do something, and quick. Before they tried something else. The hole sat at the back of her heels, and she teetered on the edge.

Throwing back her head, she let out an anguished scream, and stepped slowly backwards into the hole, her billowing cape hiding her step. She took another, standing lower at the top of sets leading to who knows where.

"I'm melting!" Hell, that's what they'd said was supposed to have happened if water touched her, give them what they wanted. Two more steps and she was even lower, the bottom of her cloak on the open floor now pooled around her waist.

"I'M MELTING!" She screeched. A sobbed met her ears. She was sure the others thought it was Dorothy, as the little girl had her hands covering her face, shaking. But they didn't know about the women behind the curtain.

One more step. Another. The cloak was around her chest.

"I'M MELT-ING!"

She peered around, trying to look accusing as she took two more steps down. The tin man had a satisfied look on her face, the lion looked as if he were about to be sick, and the scarecrow was shivering with what looked like fear, his head bowed down. Elphaba, looking up, however, say that it was bottled up laughter that made him tremble.

Tilting her head, she let her hat slip down the rest of the way onto the floor, then, before taking the last step which would take her completely into the whole, she looked the edge of the curtain, and nearly choked on her last 'melting'. A small edge existed between the curtain and the floor. And thought it, she could make out glittering heels, a pink-colored gown, and pale-skinned hands pressed hard against the floor, grasping out for nothing, as a small sob carried across the floor.

Glinda. Glinda I'm so sorry.

"I'M ME-LT-" Elphaba cut off abruptly. Muttering quickly under her breath, something she remember from the grimmerie, steam billowed up around her and out the door, through her disguarded cloak, before she slid the heavy stone slab back over the opening, cutting out light.

"Is she really dead, do you think?" The lion asked.

"Of course she is!" The tin man grunted. "Who could've survived that?"

"That was horrible..." Dorothy mumbled. "Completely horrible!"

"I guess pure water really could melt her." The scarecrow's idle comment made Elphaba snicker into her hand.

"Ruff." Confirmed Toto, and five sets of footsteps (or, rather, three footsteps and two paw steps) echoed from above.

And, soaking wet and left in the dark, Elphaba waited.

---

"They did it!" Glinda sobbed. "They really did it!"

She was standing over the remains of her best friend, a few remaining whips of smoke, and her soaking wet cloak. The murderer's, of course, had stolen away with Elphaba's pointed hat, something Glinda'd given her, and even her broom. They had to actually prove she was dead. Though, even after she'd seen it take place, even Glinda could probably comprehend.

Chistery was still clutching at her skirts, although his one hand was caressing it, as if he were trying to comfort it. Glinda picked up the wet coal and turned it over in her hands, hugging it to her as if it were a blanket, regardless of it soaking into her corset.

Clink.

A bottle fell at Glinda's feet, fallen from one of the cloak's pockets. Bowing down to pick it up, Glinda recognized it as the bottle Elphaba had shown her back in their dorm room, her most priceless heirloom of her mothers.

In the dim like, like her dress, the green glass glinted. The shine seemed familiar to Glinda, and, turning it over in her hand, over and over again, she realized where.

Yes, she'd seen it in their dorm room, but she'd seen it again before now. Eight months ago, at the Wizard's palace. He'd been kind enough to offer her something to drink after Fiyero had left her for her best friend. Something out of an exact replica of this tiny bottle.

"The Wizard!" She whispered, shaking her head angrily, and gripping the bottle hard. "The Wizard!"

Rather than dashing it on the floor, as she had wanted to, Glinda stored the bottle amongst her top, flinging Elphaba's wet cloak over her shoulder, and her pristine face set into one of grim determination.

"Ms. Glinda?" Someone questioned, and, looking down, Glinda noticed Chistery was no longer fiddling with her skirt, but looking up at her. "Ms. Glinda?"

"Let's go, Chistery." She said. "We're off to see the Wizard. Then we'll go home. There's work to do."

The sharp clicking of Glinda's heels and the pattering of Chistery's feet echoed through the castle. Beneath the floor, the human stored beneath shivered in the cold.

Goodbye Glinda. I'm so, so sorry.

---

The now-thought abandonded castle of Kiamo Ko was silent, save for a soft rustling noise across the floor. It was as if someone was whisking a broom across the slick stone surface, though the only broom ever used her was now off with a farmgirl and had never been even remotely used for housework.

No, the cause of the noise was a man of straw, as he shuffled his feet along the floor. Purposely, deliberately, until the tip of his stuffed toe hit a lip in the floor.

Bending down to remove the stone, he peered into the darkness.

"It worked! It worked!"

Reaching a gloved hand into a gaping hole in the stone floor, he grasped a pro-offered hand from someone in the floor. Helping Elphaba up and out of her cramped position on the trap door's stairwell.

Her hair was still dripping, and her black dress was soaked to the skin. Although she was not really worse for ware, she was shivering.

"Fi-Fiyero!" She chattered, once out of the whole, and flinging her arms around his stuffed shoulders, ignoring the slightly poking feelings as the straw bits scratched her bare skin. Glad for someone warmer than she was to hang on to.

"Elphaba." He replied, his own arms encircling her, the once Wicked Witch of the West for once in her life seeking help from someone else. Then, he muttered. " Sorry."

"For what?"

" For comming to you well, well, like this." He said, as Elphaba leaned back in his arms. She looked up into his face.

" It was the best you could do, I know, but still, I could have tidied up a bit."

"You're perfect."

"Where've I heard that before?"

"It's true." Elphaba whispered, although there was now nobody else around to hear, and she leaned in again, once more, shivering. But she was still the next one to speak up.

"We won't be able to stay in Oz, will we?" She stated.

"Not unless you'd like to be the brunt of another witch hunt." Fiyero confirmed.

Elphaba frowned.

"It's for the best." He said, pulling her to her feet with a soft rustling of his own body.

"And..."

"And what?"

"We won't be able to tell Glinda what...what really happened?"

"Oh Elphaba." Fiyero said, comfortingly." She's my friend too, but we can't. She'd be in danger if we did. Someone could get her to tell."

"She was here, you know...when."

"So she saw your little 'performance'?"

"Yes."

"I see." Fiyero laid and arm across her barren shoulders. "Well, maybe we could come back one day." He said, though his voice seemed doubtful.

"Yes. Maybe we can come home some day." She added, but similar doubt thick in her voice.

"You know how it works? What we planned?"

"Yes."

"Then let's go."

---

The time dragon was a beautiful and frightening piece of craftsmanship, isn't it?" Fiyero asked Elphaba, staring up at the mechanical dragon posed with its wings in full spread, as its claws clutched at the clock face.

"That it is." Elphaba nodded; rather distracted in her own thoughts, as she tried to remember how exactly it worked.

"We'll have no idea where we go, you know, and no control on what time." She pointed out, as she pulled somewhat nervously at a few strands of damp hair.

"So long as it's far from Oz, we'll be fine."

"Okay." She sighed. "We better hold hands doing this, or we'll risk being separated..."

"And we can't have that, can we." Fiyero finished." I won't go through that again." He clasped his lover's hand tightly, squeezing her comfortingly.

Elphaba made as if to place her free hand on the dragon's fore claw, as she remembered, but stopped.

"You know, I'm glad I got to know her, at least."

"Who?"

"Glinda."

" Oh." Fiyero added, and rubbed the back of her hand, as if trying to support her will through the rhythmic touch with his scratch finger. "I promise you that, if we can, I'll finda way that we can come back."

"Thanks." Elphaba sighed, and then deftly grabbed a piece of metal scale before the nerve left her.

"Take us; Fiyero Tiggular and Elphaba Thropp, someplace safely out of OZ!"

The metal warmed under her touch, shooting along her arm as if a circuit created. Slightly panic, she quickly added, under her breath.

"Please, please for once in my life let something good come of this!"

And then, in a blink, both people were gone. The only witness being the two large black eyes of a snow monkey hidden in the shadows.

---

"Holy Lurline!"

Fiyero scrunched his eyes against the brilliant sunlight that streamed through the trees, burning her eyes which had, last time they'd been open, been used to only the dim light of his disused family castle. Slowly, they adjusted, and he stopped opening them and closing them in rapid succession.

Still, he couldn't believe what he saw.

Everything was red and yellow and brown and black and grey and green. The mottle of colors of fall in America strange to the Oz-born man. He sat up, and was shocked when he heard of rustling of joints to accompany it. Looking down at his hands, he peeled back a glove to reveal his own dark skin once more rather than stuffing.

He patted himself all over, and besides a few pieces left caught in his outfit, there were hardly any pieces of straw to be found.

"Hmmmm."

Someone groaned behind him, and he at once remembered that he wasn't alone.

"Elphaba! Elphaba it...Elphaba?" He asked, for he turned around to find an alien person lying behind him.

"This person was a young women, her light skin colored, but with a natural tanned colours rather than a bizarre almost-primary. Her cheeks were less shadowed, and the only traces of green on her body were painted emerald nails. Her hair was in a messy tousle as if she'd slept on it all night.

And she was wearing Elphaba's dress.

"Elphaba?" He asked, again, nudging the women again, who grunted in her sleep. However, her eyes opened up and blinked once. Twice. Three times. They were dark, like Elphaba's.

"Elphaba!" He said, letting it sink in. If he'd changed, then why not she?

"Who the hell'er you?"

Fiyero was taken aback, as the love of his life looked up at him with a vacant stare, which at the same time managed to be a little accusing.

" Uh...Fiyero Tiggular. You know, you're lo-"

But the woman was shaking her head, as if trying to clear away a nagging fly. Her voice was apologetic, which made her words sting even more.

"Listen, sorry bud, Fie-whatsit or whatever. That isn't African, isn't it? Probably. Anyways, whatever you think, you may be a bit disappointed. You shouldn't listen to whatever I said last night."

"Excuse me, El-?"

"Yo, bud, listen, okay. I gotta find out how to get home, okay? I don't know how plastered I was last night, but judging by this hangover I'd say quite a bit."

"Uhh...What are you hanging over?"

Elphaba shook her head sadly. "You're probably out of it to, eh? Listen, to yourself a favor and get some Tylenol. That'll fix it right up. The you head home, alright? Cops don't take too nicely to people sleeping in the middle of central, especially stoned someones."

"I'm not stoned!"

She laughed, quickly turning into a clutch of her head. "Sure you aren't, and I'm Glinda the Good from the wonderful land of OZ."

"NO! You're-"

"Hey, buddy, clam down. It's called sarcasm. Geesh. I must have been real far gone if I slept with you last night."

"El-"

"Listen, get home, bud, before you get yourself in trouble. Better yet, head to the mission on eleventh. They'll get you cleaned up nice and quick. Maybe get a few nicer cloths. And if you don't mind, I gotta find where my house is."

And with that, Elphaba stumbled to her feet, wobbled a bit, but steadied herself by throwing out her arms, before heading off across the green lawns, her gait unsteady and weaving in and out and around.

Fiyero stared after her. "Elphaba?" He asked again, then quickly turned away to hide his face. Maybe they'd gotten separated after all. Maybe now he was, once more, all alone.

---

"Dear god in heaven, I swear I'll never drink again." The young women muttered. " I'm so pissed I can't even remember where I live, damnit!"

Which was quite true, as she'd been wandering around central park for the past hour or so. Collapsing onto a park bench, she rubbed her head, which was absolutely pounding as if someone had been screaming into it.

"Uhh...You need help?"

She opened a bleary eye. "Wha'?"

"I said, you need help. You don't look to good?"

A person swam in her vision, before steadying into a young man, hardly over his teenage years stared back at her. He adjusted square glasses higher up on the bridge of his nose, and pressed the stop button on what had to be the most ancient camera model there was still out there working.

"Hell," The person, whoever her was whistled. "You're certainly pissed."

"Don't I know it?"

"Where about's do you live? I can make sure you get there?"

"Damned if I know."

"I see." The man said, running a hand through short blonde hair. "Well, you have to pay for your own food, but you can come sleep it off at my apartment. So long as you like guitar music every time you're awake."

"Really don't care." She muttered. "I just want someplace to sleep.

He shifted the camera in his hands, extending it to her. "Name's Mark. Mark Cohen."

The women grasped for it, missing it completely, with her hand falling limply in her lap. She had to think of what her answer was, and then it came to her: it was something like her mothers:

"Maureen." He slurred. "Then, pulling a name out of her ass until she could thing of the right one, she added." Johnson. Maureen Johnson."