In the Nursery

The blasted infant just wouldn't stop crying. Soon it would wake the others and then she'd have a dozen bawling children to attend to instead of just one. She had half a mind to hex it. She looked around for help, but the other maunt had muttered a hasty 'good luck' and fled from her replacement's silent weirdness. Even the most pious had their prejudices, she thought, suddenly reminded of Frex.

She had no choice. Slowly, awkwardly, she picked the baby up and held it to her, feeling its warm breath on her shoulder. Even through the swaddling cloth, she thought she could feel her ribs jutting into plump flesh. She braced herself for louder screams, but it (he? she?) calmed with miraculous immediacy.

A glob of spittle blotted the shoulder of her thin robe and she flinched. Cautiously, she manoeuvred the baby until it rested in her arms, mercifully asleep. She was rather out of touch with this mothering business; she hadn't touched a child since Shell was young. She rocked it a few times experimentally, but it only snorted comfortably and wriggled further into the crook of her elbow.

As she gazed down upon the odd contrast of white on green, she felt something akin to tenderness stir within her and smirked. Her hands, accustomed to handling daggers and bombs, vials of poison and threatening letters, now cradled this infant as if it were her own. She wondered wryly what Glinda would have thought.

A/N: I'm thinking of turning this into a series of drabbles about Elphaba's relationship with Liir. Please let me know if I should continue! Oh, and the baby is Liir, if you hadn't guessed.