A/N: in case you didn't get it yet (from my profile or elsewhere), this is me, formerly PinkElf, now known as WickedxWitch. It's been a while since I've written a long Wicked fic, so this is quite a challenge for me. Also, add on to this challenge my decision to do it all through the point of view of a 20-something-year-old prince, which I'm not, so I hope I'll be able to pull it off.
In case the summary wasn't clear enough (which is highly plausible with 200 or so notes), this is the untold story in between the acts, from Fiyero's POV. When G(a)linda and Elphaba are off to the Emerald City, the rest of the students- including Fiyero- go home for spring break. This is where our story starts. Then at some point it'll go back to the plot of the musical and move a bit forward. Now that you know all that, you can begin. The first chapter is kind of short, because it's a sort of a prologue-thingie. Happy reading everyone, and please review!
Disclaimer: L. Frank Baum, Gregory Maguire and Stephan Schwartz are those who need to be appreciated for being such geniuses. I'm just using their geniusness for my purposes!
Changed, for Good
He was breathless from running. There was this pain in his side, gradually increasing, making it even harder for him to run so fast. It would have been easier if he knew where he was running to, which he didn't. He led the way for a while, but then as he got tired, he began to follow her lead. He was still carrying the cage, as carefully as he could, but it soon turned out to be not such a simple (or pleasant) task. It was struggling in there, under the blanket that somehow remained draped over the cage, as if protecting its inhabitant.
That's it. He couldn't run anymore. He stopped abruptly and looked around. They were in the heart of the grove at the farthest end of the campus. He just stood there for a moment, bringing lost oxygen back to his lungs.
Then her voice cut through, annoyingly superior. "Careful, don't shake him!"
"I'm not!" he protested, slightly offended. She kept on doing that and it was starting to seriously get on his nerves. Couldn't she tell by now that he was on her side? Why would he risk so much if he wasn't?
"We can't just let him loose anywhere, you know, we have to find someplace safe."
Here it was again; that tone. Well, he had enough of it. "I realize that!" he practically yelled at her. Her face remained expressionless, which annoyed him even more. "You must think I'm really stupid!"
"No, not really stupid," she retorted quite calmly; mockery and disdain were written all over her face.
He wouldn't let her get to him. He wouldn't take offence from a girl; from a green girl, which was even worse. So he asked, as nastily as he possibly could, "Why is it that every time I see you you're causing some sort of commotion?"
"I don't cause commotions, I am one!"
"That's for sure."
She glared at him. Oh, if looks could kill. "Oh! So you think I should just keep my mouth shut, is that what you think?"
No! "No, I'm-"
"Do you think I want to be this way?"
"That's not what I was-"
"Do you think I want to care this much?"
"No, I just-"
"Don't you know how easy my life would be I didn't?"
"Do you ever let anyone else talk?" Finally, he managed to stop her. And he didn't care if she'd think his comment was rude.
For the slightest moment, she looked speechless. "Oh, sorry," was all she could say. And then, before he could say anything else, "Can I say one more thing?"
His heart melted, in spite of himself. He nodded, waiting to hear what was so urgent for her to cut him off.
"You could have just walked away back there."
He wasn't following. "So?"
"So… No matter how shallow and self-absorbed you pretend to be-"
"Excuse me, there's no pretence here!" he cut her off again, quickly, as if there was the slightest chance that someone would hear what she had just said. "I happen to be genuinely self-absorbed and deeply-shallow."
She shook her head at that statement, and looked at him seriously. The mockery was gone. There was something else in her eyes now, something he couldn't quite identify. "No, you're not," she said softly, honestly, "or you wouldn't be so unhappy."
He blinked, shaking the memory off. It burnt like fire. It happened weeks ago, but he couldn't let it go. Now he sat up against the soft cushions of the seat in his compartment and sighed wearily. Yes, he insisted on going by train, and not the private carriage in which he arrived months ago. For once, he didn't feel like making a grand entrance. Or exit, to be more precise. He just didn't feel like being the center of attention, which actually got the opposite affect, as it was quite unusual for a young man his status to make his way home by a common train. He did relent, however, to have a private compartment, as it was more comfortable, being… well, private; it allowed him to sleep uninterrupted, as well as to engage himself with that new kind of activity he happened to engage himself with lately. What was it called again? Oh yes. Thinking.
He glanced absent-mindedly at the changing view at the window; the enormous towers of Shiz University shrank slowly in the distance, until it completely disappeared of his sight. For the first time in his 20 years of existence, he was not looking forward to the upcoming spring break, mostly because it meant a month of enclosure at the Tiggular estate at the Vinkus. He'd rather devote some time to his blossoming social life and spend the spring nights with his newly-found friends rather than spend all that time amidst the boredom and vanity of his parents' friends. Being an only child didn't do much help, quite the contrary. There were times he just felt so lonely there. Might as well have the train crush at some point of the road than get back home.
He reached for the newspaper he laid on the small table earlier, and observed the front page thoroughly. Like an hour ago, he came out with nothing. The same political conspiracies, an article in favor of the Abolishing Movement against Animals (that made him shiver with fury), a hideously-boring gossip section at the back page, the weather report (sunny in the Vinkus- Oz forbid there'd ever be some rain around there), and that was that. Nothing strange or suspicious that meant to catch his eye.
He wasn't even sure what it was that he was looking for. It was just that feeling that he got, like a voice at the back of his head that warned him against an upcoming danger, without informing him of the danger itself. And tried as he might, he could not shake that voice off, or the feeling that accompanied it. He knew when it started, and over what, but he thought it was ridiculously silly. The girls were fine.
The postcard was on the table as well, rumpled from the many times he had read through it, again to find some sort of a clue, any clue, as if the written letters would suddenly change order and form a warning note or something. He got it several days after their departure. It had a beautiful portrait of the Emerald City at one side, and on the other side, Galinda's fancy handwriting: We arrived safely, having a swankified time, Love, Glinda and Elphie. Oh, right. It was Glinda now.
Nothing seemed wrong with the content of the postcard. Quite normal. And Nessarose got a similar postcard the very same day, carrying a similar message, only in a more serious style, a neater handwriting, and signed simply Elphaba. And still, he was constantly checking in for news about them, stopping Nessarose at the hall in-between classes to see if she had heard anything from her sister. He was daily reading the papers, simply because of that hunch that wouldn't let go. And he continued to do so even though he knew it was silly.
Ugh. The girls would have laughed at him if they knew. They were probably having the time of their lives at the moment, shopping or whatnot. He didn't know when their audience with the Wizard was scheduled to, but he was certain they'd find ways to pass the time. It was the easiest thing to do at the Emerald City. His family used to spend the summers there when he was younger, although it's been a while since he had last been there.
He looked down at the postcard in his hands. One of his fingers was running along one of the words, as if caressing it absent-mindedly. When he realized which word it was, he instantly let go of the postcard, and it dropped noiselessly to the carpeted floor.
What did you mean to do? And why was I the only one you didn't do it to?
Why was he the only one she didn't do it to?
It felt as if he would be pondering over that question forever.
Not that he had a reason to do so. He had Galinda (oops, Glinda), who fit him perfectly for being so much like him. But that was just the problem. She fit him too perfectly. But the point was that he had a girl who loved him, and whom he loved back. There was no reason in Oz why he should think about her way-too-smart, arrogant, green roommate.
But he was thinking about her. More than he was supposed to. And maybe if he wouldn't have been brainless enough to admit it to her the day she left, it wouldn't have bothered him to this day.
I think about that day a lot.
Really? So do I.
Actually, it was her admittance, more than his own, that scared him senseless. He didn't even want to think about its implications. He wouldn't think about it. She probably didn't even mean it; she was way too excited about her upcoming departure to notice what she was saying. But then again, she was never careless about anything she had said; why would she start at this? No, he just had to forget that conversation had ever taken place; he must stop this never-ending pondering, or he'd never be able to enjoy his vacation. Yes, that would be what he'd do. Just stop thinking about it.
He had definitely done way too much thinking over the past weeks, anyway. For once in the short history of his academic education, he was actually studying for his mid-terms. He had actually lasted until the mid-terms, which was even more incredible. He wouldn't admit it to anyone, but he really liked it there at Shiz, more than any other college he attended to before. He didn't want to be expelled again. So he did his best with the mid-terms, and eventually managed to pass all of them. Sure, he wasn't the most brilliant student, but for once, he found himself awake in class, in class, not outside at the lawns.
He knew that if anything, it would please his parents. They had never said so, but he knew they were beginning to be desperate because of him. He was their only heir, the future of the Tiggular ancestry. And he was not the man they hoped he would grow up to be. He could see it in their eyes at times, whenever he had been expelled from another school, or when an affair he had with some unknown girl was revealed. He truly loved his parents, and he hated letting them down the way he did, but he couldn't help it. That was who he was.
Or who he used to be.
I think about that day a lot.
He shook his head. He wouldn't think about that day, from now on. He wouldn't think of anything that had to do with her. That would be the best thing to do; the safer thing to do. And maybe, when they'd be back at Shiz for the next semester, he'd be able to question her about it, about what she meant. But until then… there was really no point delving into it.
Until then… he'd better just sleep.