A/N: HI! This story is going to be rewritten, and then actually continued if things go as planned.
To everyone that was reading this before, I apologize. I hope you all still continue to read.
I'd like to hear pretty much anything that you have to say. About the fic or, you know, otherwise, about how the weather is (it's lousy here) or... well, I'm being facetious. But I do like comments to know what you think. :)
He squatted uneasily at the edge of the firelight, gazing down at the small, soft face of his daughter. He ran his eyes over her small fingernails, the tiny hands that were gently clenched around the blanket that had once been on Candle's bed.
It was inevitable, really, that the girl reminded him so much of Elphaba. It seemed that he and Elphaba had somehow had their roles switched, seemed that now he could understand her, now that it was too late, could understand the birth of a child she hadn't planned and couldn't want, alone in the world and yet expected to raise it, a child that hadn't listened, had frolicked like she never had, had sought others because what she gave him hadn't been enough, had been stupid and one day clambered into the bucket of a well…
He'd haunted her life, and now her memory would haunt his.
He shook his head gently, refocusing his eyes on the little bundle before him. It seemed not to move, not to breathe. His fingers curled about the lip of the basket, rocking it slightly, and the child opened her eyes to look up at him, stretching her toes out to meet the wicker under his fingertips. Her eyes were bright, a swirling gray that reminded him of flying.
"Let's name you, yeah?" he asked. "How does that sound?" The child looked at him as if she knew that nothing had ever sounded so fake to him before, unblinking and still except for swaying slightly with his hand. Her skin reflected the firelight, glistening. There were orange lights in her eyes.
"I'm sorry," he murmured. The room began to suffocate him, and he moved to the window, pulling the cloth down from it and peering out. "I can't kid even myself," he said to the sky. He couldn't imagine how any woman ever did it, any nanny, any father. He couldn't see himself sitting forever on the deserted old farm, housed in by regret, silence, raising another Elphaba, another child that would be hated and would hate the world.
The mauntery was the only place that he could think of to go, the only place that might give him the help that he needed. The child began to cry softly somewhere behind him, and he unconsciously attributed the sound to the familiar noises of Birds, flapping and calling. The sunlight pressed firmly at his eyes. They won't help you, the sky said, the flowing grasses whispered, the apples in the breeze nodded in accord. Look at her. She's green. Everyone will know.
He turned back to the room, back to the child mewing in her basket in the middle of the dirty floor, tiny fists jerking at the air.
He was silent for a moment.
"Come on! Let's take a trip!" He gathered the basket into his arms and paused to survey the room. Sheets were lying across the floor, one from his bed, one near the trash, one that he'd taken down from the window. One on the draining board in the sink and another halfway in a pot on the floor, as though Candle had briefly considered making a stew of the bedding. How had they even gotten so many sheets?
Liir nudged at the floor with his toe and turned to the door, grabbing Elphaba's broom on the way out.
And, with a small amount of certainty to his step, Liir left Apple Press Farm forever. The place seemed to sense his departure, attempting a last moment of redemption, hoping for the dignity it must once have possessed. The sun hung midway in the sky, the grass tickled the bottoms of his calves. The winds danced. The trees waved meekly in farewell.