Musicalverse. Happens a couple of hours after "Popular." It's a fairly unformed oneshot so I know that I probably have a lot of 'splainin to do that I haven't with regards character development and how the two witches got to the point they are at here. Am trying to work up to writing a big Gelphie fic that this may be part of but for now I seem to be stuck writing scenes with no coherent narrative between them. No strong language, explicit sex or violence in here, but there's some definite Sapphic undertones, slight allusion to self injury (though I tried to skirt round any actual angst here) and Galinda is a bisexual tart. Barely classifies as "risqué" so am keeping it at a K+ rating unless someone complains. Any thoughts, opinions, comments and criticism will be greatly appreciated, enjoy and thank you for reading!

If the creaking of the ancient door hinges hadn't woken her, the rustling of parchment and muted curses as her roommate tried to stumble back to bed in the dark certainly would have.

"Elphaba?"

"Go back to sleep, Galinda." The blonde girl was still too drowsy at that point to fully discern the warning tone in her roommate's voice. She reached over to her bedside table, fumbling in the dark for her wand. "What are you doing? Galinda, I said go back to sleep, we have to be up in a few hours!" Once again, ignored.

"Lights!" Several candles in their sconces around the room flickered into life, filling the space with a warm glow. Apparently the newest addition to the sorcery tutorial had taught herself a trick or two in the few hours she'd had a wand.

"Turn them off!" A different tone now, still warning, but also somewhat distressed. "What, are you as dumb as you are shallow? Turn them off!" Elphaba had already set to extinguishing the flames she could reach. Eyes finally adjusting to the light, Galinda scowled at the other girl.

"Elphie, where have you been? I spent over an hour searching for you!"

"I was in the library, as it happens, which would explain why you couldn't find me. It's the big room with the books." As she reached to place a couple of leather-bound tomes on her shelves, one of them slipped from her grasp, loosing a few sheets of parchment. "Dammit!" She fell to her knees, scrabbling wildly to retrieve all of them, but Galinda was swifter. She grabbed at the paper settling next to her bed, noticing Elphaba's distinctive spidery copperplate scrawled across it.

" 'Dermatological magick from medicinal spellbooks?' What in Oz do you need these for? We don't study healing until next semester's tutorial, do we?" She looked up and was taken aback by the vehemence of the shame and fury on Elphaba's face, one of her hands reaching out towards the paper, issuing a silent command for its return. Instead of handing it straight over, Galinda's attention turned to where the cuff of Elphaba's blazer had ridden up slightly, exposing her forearm and on it a patch of skin that looked either grazed or burnt, it was difficult to distinguish in the dim candlelight. The wound looked fresh, blood smeared where clothes had moved against it. Elphaba snatched the parchment back and re-covered her arm in one swift move, turning her back to Galinda to blink away unexpected tears that had sprung to her eyes. "Elphie? What happened?" Galinda was out of bed by now and placed a hand on the taller girl's shoulder. As it was shrugged away, what had happened clicked in Galinda's mind. "You did this, didn't you? To yourself? You tried to magick yourself? You know it's forbidden, it's so dangerous, and look what happened! Oh, Elphie!" cried Galinda "Why?"

"You have no idea what you're talking about." Elphaba's voice was a seething growl. "Drop it, Galinda."

"I will not! Why would you do this? What could you possibly hope to achieve?"

"What do you think, hmm?" Elphaba struggled to keep her voice calm. "In that pretty little bubblehead of yours, is it so difficult to see what I might have been trying to do?" Now she really was crying and kept her back to the blonde girl, that she might, through some exemplary feat of ignorance, not notice. "Can you honestly say that if you were me, there isn't one glaringly obvious thing you might like to change?"

For the first time in a long while, Galinda was speechless. She fought to keep back tears of her own as she steeled herself to reply. A few seconds passed before she managed it. "But you're so…"

"So what? 'Unique?', 'special?', 'different?' Spare me the thinly concealed idioms for once again drawing attention to the fact that I'm a freak, go back to bed, Galinda, forget it."

"…I was going to say beautiful."

Elphaba cackled "You've fed me that line once tonight and I didn't believe you then." She wiped her face furiously and turned to face Galinda, pulling the wilting pink flower her roommate had placed there earlier from her black tresses as she did. "YOU'RE beautiful. Don't patronise the less fortunate with your lies, it's cruelty, which is most unladylike." She threw the crushed blossom at Galinda's feet. "So you dance with me once because you feel sorry for me and all of a sudden you appreciate my whole experience? You understand me? You have absolutely no idea what it's like!" No sooner had she spoken than Elphaba was acutely aware of a feeling of guilt rising in her chest, the same feeling she'd had earlier that night when telling Galinda about the green bottle that had belonged to her mother, about how it related to Nessa, and she almost instantly regretted being so malicious. She wasn't entirely sure where the feelings of compassion for her roommate had originated from, but she was now turning her anger towards herself for speaking to Galinda so harshly. She sighed. "Look, I don't want to wake up the rest of the students by arguing with you, can you please, please just let me sleep now?" She began to change into her nightclothes, shocked at how uneasy she felt arguing with Galinda, it had never bothered her before tonight, before Ozdust, before they actually acknowledged the potential for a friendship between them.

Galinda sat quietly on her bed for a few seconds, too confused and wounded to think of what to say. She observed Elphaba changing into her charcoal nightshirt. In the course of sharing a room she had seen on countless occasions that skin, those long, lean limbs and every curve of the statuesque form, balancing on the cusp of womanhood. Even in the few short weeks they had been at university together Galinda had noticed a progression in the way Elphaba moved, coltish awkwardness replaced progressively by the understated confidence of a maturing scholar, yet that striking body was now marred through its own devices and it seemed such a damn shame, such a waste of a unique and invaluable beauty. She noticed Elphaba's arm wasn't the only injured area, there was a similar patch on each of her ankles and behind her left knee. She had tried the spell a few times. "Elphie" she finally ventured "does it hurt?" A silence of a few seconds elapsed as Elphaba continued to change, a pause broken by a defeated sigh.

"It's somewhat sore. Honestly I think it's only my pride that took any real damage." She gave a swift, thin smile, hoping that combined with her candour could go some way to ease hurt feelings as she climbed under the sheets.

"I have some liniment that might help." Galinda picked up a small glass jar and perched on the edge of Elphaba's bed. "I'm not entirely sure what's in it but it's pretty good at numbing burns and grazes. Arm." Elphaba rolled back her sleeve and proffered the broken skin to her friend. Her lack of resistance surprised them both, but Galinda refrained from comment as she gently applied the concoction. "It prevents infection too. This doesn't look too deep, you got lucky, messing around with sophisticated sorcery without training. I don't care how talented Morrible says you are. You shouldn't put yourself at risk like that. Ankle." She continued to apply the cream in quiet contemplation for a few seconds. Had she looked up, she would have seen Elphaba gazing rather intently at her as she worked on soothing the wounds. "Okay, you're done." She smiled, her pale cheeks still flushed and slightly damp with tears.

"Thank you, Galinda. You didn't have to..."

Galinda chuckled slightly. "That's what makes me so nice, right? But Elphie, can I request one thing of you? As a friend?" Elphaba nodded. "Please don't try this again. It's dangerous and more to the point, completely unnecessary. Whether you believe it or not, you really are beautiful."

Elphaba laughed, this time good-naturedly. "Well, you seem to be the only person who thinks that. It's a shame you're going to be married to Fiyero, or I could have kept you." Instead of laughing in response, Galinda replied, very matter-of-factly;

"Even if he and I were to get married, it would be at least half because it's a politically sound move. You may think I'm completely stupid but even I understand the potential benefits of an Uplands union with the Vinkus."

Elphaba was quite taken aback. "So you don't love him?"

"Oh, of course I do, who wouldn't? He really is perfect, but a part of me always held the notion that actually, the greatest love will always flourish for one who is imperfect, and whose imperfections only make you care for them all the more. There are a lot of people in Oz, Elphaba, I'm not so naïve as to assume my first love will be the one that endures forever. I love him, and plan to marry him as soon as I am finished with education, but I am fully aware it will be a union of convenience, and I cannot help if either of us were to fall in love with another along the way. Can you seriously believe that there is only one other for each person in a lifetime?"

Elphaba considered this for a few seconds "Well, my mother certainly didn't believe that. But I suppose it would be tragic for all of the poor, unrequited souls like Boq if they could only ever devote themselves fully to one other, although personally I don't believe I shall ever love. Whilst there are almost certainly physical mechanisms in place over which I have no control, which will doubtless give me the urge to mate and reproduce and form bonds with others, I'm rather sure that I'm not meant for all of that romanticised nonsense that people associate with it."

"Oh."

"Is that all you have to say about it? Just 'oh?'"

"That seems rather cynical…"

"…that's rich, Miss 'marriage of political convenience!'"

Galinda smiled wistfully. "Touche, Miss Elphaba."

"Yes, I win. Now can I sleep?" She wrapped her comforter more tightly around herself as she closed her eyes. Galinda kissed Elphaba's forehead softly before returning to her own bed, shivering slightly in the chill dormitory air as she extinguished the remaining candles. She was startled a few seconds later as Elphaba jumped onto her bed "So you get to steal a goodnight kiss but I don't? That hardly seems fair, does it?" She leaned in, and gave Galinda a soft peck on the cheek. "NOW we're even!" She leaned in close to the blonde girl's ear "thank you, for making me believe that someone might actually care."

"Elphaba, I don't just care about you, I love you."

"Aw, I love you too Glindy, hope your dreams are full of Winkie princes." Replied Elphaba, teasingly.

"No, Elphie." Galinda found her friend's hand in the dark and held it tightly, amazed by how easily her words came when they couldn't see each other properly. "I mean I think I have fallen in love with you."

There is a unique kind of silence that occurs only fleetingly, when everything around is dormant and still, a quiet that nears the spiritual, where you could almost hear the heartbeat of someone else a few inches away from you. When awaiting a response, a few seconds of that silence can truly feel like an eternity as you pray for a reaction, any reaction, some indication of what the next step may be. If that never comes you could find yourself trapped in that moment of silence for the rest of time.

It is only when the response arrives that time resumes its original pace. And when that response is in the form of the green girl you love meeting your lips with hers, at first tentatively, then learning with astounding quickness just how her body can best respond to the needs of yours, time can speed up, until all too soon you lapse back into your silence, this time shared, at the sun begins to rise.