Disclaimer: Unfortunately I don't own any part of Wicked. This story is meant purely for entertainment purposes.

Elphaba.

Elphaba… Elphaba… Elphaba…

That's all Glinda heard as the captain of the guard continued to talk. Of course that wasn't what he was really saying. No Ozian in their right mind would utter the words Elphaba Thropp. Most of them didn't even know that was her name. They always called her The Wicked or The Witch or, more often, The Wicked Witch of the West. She wasn't quite sure where the west part came from. Probably because Elphie was at Kiamo Ko when she… When Dorothy…

Glinda swallowed hard, trying to keep a tenuous grip on her quickly spiraling thoughts. A throne room full of people was hardly the place for a break down. Especially today. She was supposed to be as happy go lucky as everyone else that her best friend was… That it had been a year since Elphaba…

She clinched her jaw, telling herself to stop. Yes she would have rather been alone in her rooms crying her eyes out, but she couldn't change the fact that she wasn't. She had already endured the seemingly endless celebrations throughout Oz, surely she could hold out just a bit longer until the Gale Force's newest braggart was through telling everyone what a great leader he was going to make.

He's a pawn, Glinda. Just like you.

Her breath quickened when she heard the voice in her head. Elphaba's voice.

Another player for those bastards to manipulate.

"Thank you, Captain Nevin." The words erupted from her lips as she shot to her feet, her stomach twisting itself in knots. "I'm sure your tenure as leader of the Gale Force will be," she fought to keep her voice from quivering, "a triumph. But for now let the celebrating continue."

She was losing it. That's all she could think as she turned as regally as possible and started out of the room. Sprinting would have been preferable but there were too many people around. Besides, the looks she was getting from the group of men clustered to her left told her she was going to be in enough trouble for interrupting their precious new captain without making a spectacle of herself by running away.

Somehow she made it into the corridor without having to stop and talk to anyone. Then again maybe a little mindless chatter would have silenced her swirling thoughts until she made it to her rooms. Instead Elphaba filled her mind again as she hurried away from the throne room.

What could her friend have been thinking, asking her to take the Grimmerie and keep the spirit of her beliefs alive in Oz? Yes she threw Madame Morrible in jail and sent the Wizard packing, but all that was accomplished before she realized neither one of them was the true leader of Oz. Morrible was a mouthpiece for the Wizard and the Wizard was a front man for the same group of men who were undoubtedly grumbling about her at that very moment. The same group who had promised her the world if she continued in her capacity as Glinda the Good after that fateful day a year ago.

They were known as the Merchants Council. A group of shop owners, innkeepers, cobblers, tailors, even a taxidermist thrown in for good measure. Men who were in the position to come into contact with people not only in the city, but throughout Oz. They were the ones who spotted the Wizard's charisma and charm and used it to their advantage, shaping him into the much loved ruler of Oz. But they never let him or anyone else in the know at the palace forget who the true wielders of power were.

If only she had seen through them back then. Not that she was stupid or anything. She knew Madame Morrible and the Wizard only kept her around after Elphaba escaped from the palace in the hopes that her friendship with the witch would somehow play out to their advantage. What they didn't count on were the people of Oz becoming so smitten with her. That's where the honorific Glinda the Good came from. It was nothing more than an attempt by the Wizard to cash in on her popularity with the public, which was just fine by her. She loved the attention and foolishly thought it would somehow help her clear Elphaba's name.

Instead she got sucked in. So much so that when the council approached her right after the Wizard sailed away in his balloon she jumped at the chance to still be a part of the government. True she was wracked with pain and guilt over the death of her best friend and in desperate need of some way to make Elphaba proud of her, but she should have seen through their ploy. She should have known they would never honor their promise to let her have a say in any decisions they made. She should have realized she was nothing more than the new and improved version of the Wizard. But she didn't.

Yes she sat in on meetings with the council, but they never listened to what she had to say. They gave her the equivalent of a pat on the head and then did whatever the hell they wanted. Like appointing a still wet behind the ears boy as the new captain of the Gale Force knowing they could manipulate him more easily than they could the old captain, who wasn't afraid to speak his mind and tell them exactly what he thought of their actions.

But politics was a dangerous, double edged sword. Tension between animal activists and those who still believed in the Wizard's way of thinking sizzled on a daily basis. Not to mention the countless other factions forming everyday over differing ideals or imagined injustices. She appreciated the fact that the old goats had to deal with the pressure of running Oz. They had a much better handle on the situation than she ever could have hoped for.

A shuffling noise behind her drew her from her thoughts. She sighed when she looked over her shoulder to find two men in Gale Force uniforms following her. They were from the select group the former captain had assigned to act as her personal guards. The urge to tell them to go away was overwhelming but she knew it wouldn't work. They were following orders. And until they were called off by the new captain they would continue to perform their task like good little lap dogs. She settled for giving them her best indignant glare instead. One looked unimpressed, the corner of the other's mouth turned up in a grin.

Glinda was so taken aback by the rare show of emotion from a guard that she almost missed the entrance to her rooms. As it was she gave the still grinning young man another look as she opened her door, barely giving herself a chance to step over the threshold before slamming it in their faces.

Tears blurred her vision as she threw the lock, her emotions finally getting the better of her. She stumbled through her parlor and somehow made it to her bedroom before collapsing on the bed. Sobs wracked her body as she buried her face in a pillow. Elphie's pillow. It was one of the few things she took from the room they shared at Shiz. If she tried really hard she could still smell the unique fragrance of her friend. At least that's what she told herself as she cried herself to sleep each night, clutching the pillow tight.

"Oh Elphie, why?" Her voice was little more than a whisper. "Why didn't I go with you when you asked me to? Why did you give up? Why did you have to die?"

She broke down sobbing again, her mind filled with images of the times they had spent together. Quiet evenings in their dorm room, her chattering endlessly about the latest gossip as Elphie buried her nose in a book. Lunches spent trying to convince Elphaba not to pay attention to the other students staring at them. Sitting next to the green girl and Fiyero in class, frowning at other students as they whispered about Elphaba loud enough for the whole room to hear.

Fiyero. What a fool she had been where he was concerned. Literally throwing herself at him because he was cute and a prince and all the other girls were swooning over him. Landing a catch like that was supposed to be what every young woman wanted. Too bad what she really wanted was Elphaba. As unconventional as it was for a perky blond with her looks and charms to fall for another girl, let alone one like Elphie, it was a truth she could no longer deny.

"Pink really does go good with green."

She sobbed even harder.

"Miss Glinda?!"

She almost jumped out of her skin when the yell was quickly followed by someone pounding on her door. Let them knock until their hand fell off. She was in mourning and didn't feel like talking!

"Miss Glinda, please!"

An irritated growl escaped her lips when she recognized Boq's voice. Leave it to him to interrupt the first alone time she'd had all day. She climbed off the bed, wiping tears from her cheeks as she stormed toward the door. He had appointed himself her personal guardian after his transformation into the tin woodsman and wouldn't leave her alone until she told him to.

"Miss…"

"I'm here, Boq." She kept her voice at a normal tone, resisting the urge to tell him to go to hell.

"I'm sorry to bother you."

She rolled her eyes, knowing how untrue that statement was.

"But I… I mean we noticed you seemed upset when you left the throne room and wanted to check on you."

She frowned. "We?"

"He dragged me with him."

Glinda would have grinned if she was in a better mood. Lion always had that effect on her. There was just something so irresistible about the formerly cowardly king of the forest. She suspected that's why Boq always brought him along when he came to annoy her.

"I appreciate your concern, but I'm fine."

"Really?" Boq's voice was filled with concern.

"Yes, Boq. Really."

"All right. If you're sure everything is OK."

"It is!" Glinda closed her eyes. "I don't mean to be short with you Boq, but it has been a very long day and I'm tired."

"Of course you are." Lion replied. "Come on you big hunk of tin. Let's leave the lady alone."

"But…"

"You heard her, she's tired." Lion interrupted him. "You can bug her again tomorrow."

"Bug her?" Boq sounded indignant. "I don't bug her."

"Riiiight."

"You don't believe me? Ask her. She'll tell you I've never… Hey! Let go of my arm!"

Glinda almost smiled again as Boq's voice faded. Thank goodness Lion was around to keep him in line. Otherwise she might have been trying to get rid of him all night.

She went back into her bedroom, stopping at the vanity to have a look at her reflection. But her eyes were drawn to something other than her own features as she leaned forward to look in the mirror. They were captivated by the small green bottle safely nestled among her collection of make-up and perfumes. She picked it up, finding the coolness of it against her skin oddly comforting.

It was Elphie's bottle. The one she used to keep under her pillow when she slept at night. The one Glinda found at Kiamo Ko after she…

She pushed the rest of the thought away, blinking back more tears. It saddened her to think something so simple was the only keepsake her friend had from her mother. Everything else was either with Frex or had been with Nessa. Then there was the knowledge of where the bottle really came from… That the one man Elphaba despised most in all of Oz was actually her father.

Glinda jumped again when another knock sounded on her door. She started to put the bottle back where she got it but slipped it into one of the interior pockets of her massive gown instead. Obviously she wasn't going to get enough peace and quiet to properly grieve for Elphaba. At least this way she would have a piece of her friend close by as she dealt with Boq.

"I already told you I'm…" Her voice trailed off as she threw open the door. "Captain Nevin."

"Miss Glinda." The young man bowed ever so slightly. "Please forgive me, but there is

something I feel we should discuss." He added, "I'm afraid it can't wait," as she opened her mouth to reply.

"Of course." She motioned for him to come in.

"Thank you." He smiled as he walked past her.

She started to shut the door only to feel someone push against it.

"Not so fast, dearie."

Her blood ran cold when she heard the voice. "Madame Morrible?"

"The one and only." The former press secretary shoved her way into the room.

"But…" Glinda shook her head. "You can't be here. You're in Southstairs!"

"Obviously not." The heavy set woman looked at her haughtily. "And it's no longer 'Madame' Morrible. It's just Morrible thanks to my fellow inmates."

Glinda turned to Nevin. "Why would you bring her here?"

"She's my mother." He shrugged.

"Your…" Her mouth hung open in disbelief. "That's impossible!"

"Oh, he's my son." Morrible assured her. "I didn't always look like this you know. I was quite a hot commodity when I was younger."

A revolted, "Ew!" escaped Glinda before she could stop it.

"Why I let myself go I'll never know. Not that it matters to my little Nevin." She tousled the boy's hair. "He's always loved his Momsie, haven't you dearie?"

Glinda cringed at hearing one of the terms of affection she used for her own mother.

"Yes." Nevin bristled at the attention.

"This can't be happening." Glinda shook her head. "I'm dreaming. That's it. The stress of the day got to me and I'm having an awful nightmare."

"This is no dream." Morrible grabbed her by the arm, forcing her to look at her. "And your nightmare hasn't even begun yet. You're through Glinda." She practically spat her name.

"Through?" She echoed the older woman's words.

"Yes. Now that Nevin is finally in an official position of power we can take over as rulers of Oz."

"You're insane!"

"Far from it." Morrible hissed. "You had your chance Glinda the Good." Her tone was mocking. "But you still couldn't cut it, could you? You just had to believe in the ideals of that ridiculous Thropp girl."

Glinda pulled herself out of the woman's grasp. "Elphaba wasn't ridiculous! She saw through you and the Wizard!!"

"And look at what it got her. It is a shame about the Wizard though." She got a wistful look on her face. "But we can't be tearifying over spilled milk now can we?"

"Are you done yet?" Nevin sighed.

Morrible frowned at him. "What have I told you about interrupting me?!"

"Sorry." He rolled his eyes.

"You don't have to listen to her, Nevin." Glinda tried to reason with him. "I'll…"

"You'll stay away from him, that's what you'll do!" Morrible put herself between her son and the blond. "Don't think I didn't watch you at Shiz, flaunting yourself in front of all the boys. You'll not get your claws in this one!"

"You like me?" Nevin peeked around his mother, his interest peeked.

"Of course not." Glinda regretted the words the instant they left her mouth. "I mean…"

"Silence!" Morrible screeched. "You, my dear child, are going to disappear. The people of Oz will naturally be devastated at the loss of their beloved Glinda, but my Nevin will be there to pick up the pieces. And, as Ozian law decrees, he will become the next great ruler of Oz in your absence. With me at his side as his advisor."

"Ha!" Glinda laughed in her face. "The people of Oz can't stand you! And the merchant's council will never…"

"Merchant's council?" Morrible chuckled. "You mean the old fools who think they run Oz? Nevin already took care of them." She smiled as Glinda paled. "So you see, there is nothing standing in the way of me finally having the chance to rule. Nothing but you." She looked at her son. "Go ahead dearie."

"Finally." Nevin went to the still open door. "You two, escort Miss Glinda to the Southstairs tunnel. A couple of prison guards will meet you there to take her off your hands. And keep a low profile. We can't have anyone who wasn't at the ceremony sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong."

"Yes sir. Right away sir." The guard who hadn't smiled earlier bowed and started toward Glinda. The other followed suit but didn't respond to Nevin.

"You can't do this!" Glinda struggled as they seized her arms. "The people of Oz will never follow someone as young Nevin!"

"Sure they will." Nevin answered before his mother could. "We're the same age, Glinda. And they've absolutely adored you for two years now, haven't they? I may not have your beauty, but I can always put them under my spell." He stared intently at Glinda. "I could do the same to you if I really wanted to."

A chill ran down Glinda's spine when she heard his words in her mind rather than with her ears. "Great Oz, you're a…"

"Yes I am." Nevin smiled. "How do think I got the job of captain of the guard? A little push from me and the council…"

"Let's just say persuasion is my boy's speciality and leave it at that, shall we?" Morrible glared at them both. "Not that it will matter as far as you're concerned. You're going to rot in Southstairs forever, just like you told me I would."

"No!" Glinda tried to struggle as Nevin motioned for the guards to go but couldn't rip herself out of their grasp. They maneuvered her out of the room.

"Was the message delivered?"

"Yes mother."

She decided against putting up a struggle in the hopes of hearing what they were saying.

"You're sure?"

"Positive. My contact is reliable. She'll get it."

"Very good."

Glinda's skin crawled as Morrible laughed. What message were they talking about? And who was the she that would get it?