A/N: I am very proud of myself. You guys only had a four-day wait instead of the usual month or so xD. However, all good things come at a cost: this is officially the last chapter of WMHB xD. It's the first story I've completed, even if it's shorter than I had planned. HOWEVER: I am thinking of making a new story soon :). Either I'll pick For Good up again (but change it. A lot.) or start on this new idea I have. Please look at the bottom for notes!
Thank you, thank you, thank you x a million to all my reviewers. You've kept me sane these past seven (holy freaking crap) months.
Whatever Way Our Stories End
Elphaba awoke to a gruff, slightly familiar voice. "Get up, Elphaba."
She rubbed her eyes clear of sleep, stretched, and looked at the figure in front of her cell. "You," she hissed, immediately incensed.
"Me," the Wizard agreed. He pulled a stool from the shadows and placed it near the iron bars. "Why did you run, Elphaba?"
She snorted in response, backing up as far against the stone wall as she could. "You honestly think I would've joined you after you basically admitted condoning the death of my sister?"
The Wizard sighed, chuffing his chin with his hand. "Elphaba," he said, suddenly sounding years older, "you will soon learn that nothing comes freely. You are young; you see the world through optimistic eyes. The world is a cruel, bitter place; to get ahead, you have to be willing to make some sacrifices."
"I wasn't aware that I agreed to sacrifice my sister," she snapped. "And don't call me Elphaba."
A small smile passed over his face, as though her obstinacy amused him. "Alright then, Miss Thropp. What would you prefer me to call you?"
She pursed her lips. "You can call me anything you like as long as you let me out of this cell."
"Not going to happen," he replied instantly- he had obviously expected that response. "I'm sorry."
"Don't," she hissed. "You aren't sorry. To feel regret means you would have a heart; you've given me plenty of proof to believe otherwise."
He glanced up at her. "So you're an expert on matters of the heart, then, Miss Thropp?" His tone was even, challenging.
She drew back as though he had reached through the bars and slapped her. "Don't," she said, a furious undertone to her whisper. "Don't you dare act as though you know me, as though you know how I've felt."
"Oh, but I do know you," he replied, lowering his voice as well. "I know you have a father who saw every fault but never any of your talents. You had a sister who used you for her own benefit. You had a friend who only looked twice at you because of her guilt-"
"Shut up," Elphaba said feverishly, standing up. "You have no idea who I am. You have no right."
He merely chuckled in response. "I do know you, Elphaba, whether or not you choose to see it. I also know what you could be. You could be stuck in this prison for the rest of your life-"
"For what crime? Trying to leave your magnificent palace?" she spat.
He sighed, continuing despite the interruption. "Or you could join me."
He ignored her. "You could be my Vizier- you would be respected, honoured- loved, even. You could help me stay as wonderful as everyone believes I am-"
"-and in return I might be willing to compromise with you a bit. Elphaba, people change."
"People never change," she said with a snort. "Only viewpoints."
The Wizard buried his face in his hands. "You're stubborn to the point of foolishness."
"I prefer the term 'not willing to compromise her beliefs', thank you very much."
He looked up, meeting her stubborn gaze once more. "You're sure you wish to condemn yourself to prison?" he asked, his tone a bit regretful.
"You're the one condemning me," she muttered. "And it's not like I have a choice."
He stood up, a nasty grin forming on his face as he departed. "There's always a choice."
Eldreda Morrible was sitting at her desk, hooked nose poring over paperwork she had yet to finish when a knock sounded at the door. She gave a start before calling, "Come in."
A flushed mail courier entered, chest heaving as he handed her a letter. "From the Emerald City," he managed to say between gasps. "Urgent, apparently."
"Thank you," she murmured to the young man, already tearing open the emerald envelope. The letter had only three words on it:
'Send the other.'
She allowed herself a moment to recollect her calm, massaging the bridge of her nose absent-mindedly. What in Oz was she going to do if the girl refused?
Shaking the thought forcibly from her mind, she stood up and left her office in a search to find Glinda Upland.
It was not long before she found her- the girl had apparently been in her dorm for most of the past few days, according to a few random students she had asked. Once she reached the dorm that Miss Upland now had to herself, she paused before knocking on the door. What would she do if the girl were still upset over the betrayal of her roommate?
The blonde answered the door almost immediately. She did not look too run down to Morrible's well-trained eye- she had had many years of evaluating students' behaviours. Glinda had makeup on (though, admittedly, far less than she usually had), she looked well rested, and she gave no sign of displeasure upon seeing who was on the other side of her door.
"Madame Morrible," she exclaimed, surprised, but with no disgruntled undertone. "How can I help you?"
Morrible forced a toothy grin onto her face. "You cannot help me, but you may be able to help the Wizard."
The girl's eyebrows raised just a slight notch, but other than that, her face betrayed no emotions. "The Wizard?" she repeated, her voice even. "What could I possibly help him with?"
"As I'm sure you know," Morrible explained, "the Witch was supposed to become his Vizier. As she betrayed us all, he is down a candidate and asked me if you'd be willing to take her spot."
Glinda stepped back unconsciously, a smile still plastered on her face. "Is there any way I could think this over a bit before I let you know my decision?"
Morrible resisted the temptation to yell. What was it about these girls? If anyone had used 'the Wizard', 'you', and 'job offer' in the same sentence, most people would jump at the opportunity. "Of course, dear, but don't take too long. Let me know by tonight, if possible."
"Yes, Madame," Glinda murmured, bowing her head slightly before closing the door.
"What should I do?" Glinda moaned sometime later, pacing back and forth in front of a tall oak tree, whose shade Fiyero was currently enjoying. "I only asked for more time because I didn't know if saying no would get me in trouble as well! I mean, think about it; Elphaba went to the Emerald City at the same time that Morrible disappeared. Morrible comes back, Elphaba's an enemy. It can't be coincidence."
"Maybe you should go," Fiyero suggested.
She stopped pacing to whip her head around, astounded. "What?"
"Well," he said, crunching into an apple between words. "Like you said, it can't be a coincidence. Elphaba obviously did or said something she shouldn't have. I can't think of anything else she could have done that would've pissed the Wizard off so much. Maybe if you go, you could figure out some way to help her."
She was silent for a few long moments. "I'm scared," she finally admitted.
He sighed. "I know." They fell into silence once more.
"Will you see me off?"
"…newest political ally, Glinda the Good!"
Glinda winced as the citizens of the Emerald City began cheering for her, presented into society as 'Glinda the Good' by Madame Morrible. She did not deserve that title. She had done nothing good to earn it.
She tuned out Morrible as the crone began making a speech about the importance of goodness and loyalty. When it was over, she clapped politely, relieved when Morrible gestured for her to follow her back inside.
"Madame?" she began hesitantly. Everything she said was read deeper than it should, making it difficult talking there. "Is there any way I could see the Witch?"
Morrible turned around slowly. "Are our loyalties still with traitorous old friends?" she asked, her voice barely above that of a whisper.
"No, of course not," Glinda clarified in a hurry, making up an idea on the spot. "I just- she was my friend, as I'm sure you know. When she betrayed the Wizard, she betrayed me, too. I want to see her, if possible, and ask why she did it." She raised her chin slightly, as if daring Morrible to contradict her trustworthiness.
Morrible's eyes scanned hers, looking for any hints of untruth. "Very well," she said finally. "I'll arrange for someone to escort you to her cell tomorrow morning."
Glinda smiled, bending her feet in a small curtsy. "Thank you," she said before hurrying off to do some research.
She had plans for tomorrow.
Elphaba picked at a piece of straw poking out of the hay. Oz, she was bored. She had been in this cell for four days with only the occasional company of guards to save her from going completely insane.
She was contemplating yet another escape plan when she heard several pairs of footsteps draw near. She sighed. She was not ready for another drilling from the Wizard.
It was not the Wizard, though. She decided she must have been dreaming, for the figure the guards were escorting was none other than Glinda, dressed in some ridiculously poofy taffeta dress and brandishing a wand.
"Glinda?" she asked incredulously, her hoarse voice cracking from dehydration.
Glinda drew her chin up. "Silence, Witch," she spat, though her cruel tone did not quite reach her eyes.
Elphaba drew back, astounded. As if on instinct, she replied, "Glinda, what in Oz?"
"I said silence," Glinda said once more. "Now, I have some questions for you."
"How am I supposed to answer them if I'm supposed to remain silent?" Elphaba muttered. Did Glinda really believe all the lies the Wizard was spewing out? She thought she would die if her only friend had turned on her so easily.
Now she was positive she was hallucinating, for Glinda's lips twitched ever so slightly- she should not be amused at Elphaba's insubordination. Elphaba's brow furrowed as she realised Glinda's lips were still moving, though no audible words were emitting.
As soon as Glinda stopped mouthing words, the guards collapsed, unconscious, as though someone had drugged them. She fell to her knees, desperately grabbing at the iron bars that separated her from Elphaba. "Oh, Elphie, I'm sorry," she said then, sounding close to tears. "I had to act as though I hated you so they wouldn't be suspicious."
"What did you do?" Elphaba asked frantically, looking from the emotional blonde to the unconscious guards.
"Oh. I found a minor sleeping spell. It'll only last a few minutes, I'm afraid," Glinda murmured.
Elphaba's head was reeling. She had spent far too much time in this cell, apparently. Confusion then struck her from a different angle. "Glinda," she asked, "what in Oz are you doing here?"
Glinda gave her a half-hearted smile. "You're looking at the Wizard's Vizier." When Elphaba didn't respond, she continued, "I did it to help you."
"You're going to be in so much trouble," Elphaba moaned, hiding her face in her hands.
Glinda snorted. "Did you honestly think I would take the time to find a sleeping spell if I didn't have a plan?"
Hoping against all odds, Elphaba raised her head slowly. "What is this plan, then?"
"Alright. I'll have to find the key to your cell somewhere or break you out somehow-"
"No," Elphaba interjected. "They'll know it was you. I won't let you do that to yourself."
"- and then you'll cast the sleeping spell on me, so it'll look like you did it to all of us, allowing yourself time to escape," Glinda finished.
Elphaba did not respond right away. On one hand, she couldn't let her friend risk her freedom for a chance to break her out- she should say no. On the other hand, though… getting out of this cell was all she had thought about for the past four days. Glinda was offering her a chance; she should take it.
"I'm doing it whether or not you want me to," Glinda said in a failing attempt to sound light-hearted.
That settled it. "Alright," Elphaba said, admitting defeat. "How can I help?"
Glinda stood up immediately, a bright smile colouring her face. "Alright," she said, rubbing her hands together as she looked about the stone prison. "Do you have any idea where they keep the key?"
"It's over there," Elphaba said, gesturing to a hook on the far side. "Though it won't be as easy as sticking the key in and running. They have a passcode you need to use to unlock the cells."
Glinda suddenly looked frightened. "You wouldn't happen to know the current passcode, would you?"
Elphaba shook her head. "I've been watching them- they change the code every two days, so there should be a new one today and I don't know it. The past two were 'chivalry' and 'loyalty', though."
"So it's possible all the passcodes are traits?" Glinda murmured, more to herself than to Elphaba.
"I guess," Elphaba replied. "We should go ahead and try a few, though; we have nothing to lose."
Glinda walked over to the key hook, grabbing it with both hands. She then turned back to Elphaba's cell, attempting to unlock the door. The key stuck in the lock, refusing to turn. She sighed. "Determination?" she half-asked, trying the key again. It was still stuck.
"Try 'humility'," Elphaba murmured distractedly, muttering to herself as she tried to think of traits.
Glinda obeyed. "No," she replied. "Respect?" The key still refused to budge.
Five minutes and several traits later, they were still stuck. "Glinda," Elphaba said suddenly, "how long does that sleeping spell last?"
A look of horror passed over Glinda's face. "600 clock-ticks, I think."
Elphaba sighed. "We don't have much time. Look, put the key back- I can manage in here. I don't want you getting caught because of me."
"No," Glinda said fiercely, rattling off another list of traits. "There has got to be something that makes this stubborn key work!"
It clicked, turning in the lock, swinging the door open. "Stubborn?" Elphaba repeated, suddenly grinning. "How ironic."
Glinda hurried back to the key hook, replacing the key before enveloping her friend in a fierce hug. "Elphie, you've got to get out of here," she said, sounding tearful again.
"I know," Elphaba murmured, gently pulling away from her friend's overenthusiastic embrace. "Thank you," she said sincerely. "I don't know if I ever would have gotten out of here if it weren't for you."
"Oh hush," Glinda said, waving off her thanks. "Just go- the guards will wake up soon."
Elphaba hesitated, hugging Glinda once more.
Glinda burst into tears, desperately clutching onto Elphaba. "Elphie, you'll be alright?"
Elphaba laughed. "I'll be fine, Glinda," she chided, wiping her friend's tears away. "Now stop crying. If you have tear tracks or running mascara, it'll seem odd."
Glinda nodded. "I'll miss you, Elphie."
"I'll miss you too, Glinda," Elphaba said, giving her a wry smile. "Now, what's the spell?"
"'Quiesco paulisper'," Glinda recited, showing Elphaba which syllables to stress.
"We'll see each other again," Elphaba said finally, getting prepared to cast the spell. "Don't worry."
"I won't," Glinda replied obediently.
Before she could think twice on her decision, Elphaba murmured, "Quiesco paulisper."
Glinda collapsed to the floor with the guards. Not sparing a second glance for fear she would regret her decision, Elphaba fled the dungeon.
There was no news of the Witch for a long time. Glinda the Good, though looked upon with heavy suspicion at first, slowly became a revered icon in the Ozian society, the epitome of goodness against the Wicked Witch of the West- for that is where it was rumoured the Witch had gone, to the West. However, no one could manage to find any trace of the ever-elusive Witch.
It was rumoured she had died. Others insisted she transformed herself into an Animal, as the slivers of information about the Witch nearly always pertained to Animal rights.
One thing was for certain, though: the Witch had disappeared- at least for the time being.
And somewhere, roaming near the borders of the Quadling Country and the Vinkus, a young, optimistic, and slightly foolish girl named Elphaba travelled alone, wistful for the past and constantly wondering what might have been.
"And there the wicked old Witch stayed for a good long time."
"Did she ever come out?"
Yeah so I don't like the ending. WHATEVER.
Thank you so much to the following people:
OMG it's WickedJelly (props for having the most reviews:P), X-Kate-X, Dyani, Sparkling Patronus, Solarity, MuchTooHighACost, populardarling, MoonlitInuko, TheThroppSistersandCompany, justcallmeelphie, LostOzian, Fae2135, Wiztine, Bombalurinasara, grey-eyed-goddess, AlloftheAbove, superawesomewriterperson, Niagra Falling (even though I regret we fell out of correspondence, thank you for betaing the one chapter xD), ElphabaThropp95, Kai-chan Akiyama, Evilina Tiggular, xxDefyGravityxx, Geordie Jedi, danderson, firestorm13, madisonavenue, not a geek freak, and Aravilui (without whom, there would be no story).
You all rock Nessa's striped stockings.
I do have plenty of ideas for a sequel, though I'm not sure I want to write it at the moment. Perhaps in the future, though, so keep an eye out!
With much love and appreciation,