"You cannot do this to me."

"I already have."

Elphaba Thropp glared at her father, beyond furious at him. "You can't marry me off! How did you even find a family willing to take me?"

"They're a tribal clan, from the Vinkus. Their son is almost of age, and his intended was killed in some sort of... I don't know. They're desperate."

"Of course they are," Elphaba fumed. "You are not a father, you're not a man, no, you're just a devil, aching to get rid of his own child!! Well, good riddance to you!"

And with that, the green girl disappeared upstairs to pack, intending to run away before morning.

Elsewhere, Prince Fiyero Tiggular tumbled unceremoniously from a bed he didn't recognize, his head spinning, and scrambled around on the floor for his underwear. "Shit," he muttered. When he finally found what he was looking for, he pulled on his underwear and then went about searching for his pants. With those safely fastened, he stole a glance in the direction of his new friend, a pretty, idiotic girl with what looked to be light brown hair. He wouldn't know her in a crowd to save his life.

After he'd found all his clothes and his pack, stubbed his toe on his way out the door, and fled the house of Anonymous Brown-Haired girl, he took a deep breath in the cold night air. He'd never been so drunk before, but, he supposed, he'd never gone from such a high high to such an unbelievably low low. His intended bride, some random fool from some random land, had gone and died, which had been a relief, despite Fiyero's knowledge that feeling that way about someone's death was wicked. But, not even a month later, after he'd just gotten used to the idea of never getting married and simply having frisky, noncommittal sex with legions of women, his parents had notified him that they'd found him a new wife.

One who hadn't already been claimed.

She was probably a dog. A droopy, mangy, pathetic dogwoman. He was much too good-looking to marry some hideous reject, who had failed to be claimed by anyone in her entire life.

So, getting blindass drunk seemed like a pretty good idea. Not that he would recognize it as an idea. He wasn't much with the thinking. No, it had simply been second nature.

What a vacation. He'd fled the Vinkus, headed for the Emerald City, and somehow ended up in the Glikkus. He was pretty bad at planning, but with all the hunting he had under his belt, he'd thought his navigational skills were better. He'd taken refuge in the house of a girl. He assumed she was pretty, he had his choice of women, after all.

The next day, in the early morning light, Fiyero was exhausted. Hungover, and exhausted, he was a little dizzy, which was probably why he didn't notice that he was staggering right toward someone sleeping at the side of the road, and definitely why he tripped over that person.

The Previously-Asleep Lump shot up instantly, confused and furious. It was a girl. Fiyero knew that he was sick, the girl looked green. "What in the name of Oz? You practically fell on me!"

"You were lying in the dark on a road," Fiyero shot back, determined to take no blame in this mishap. "Seriously, what are you doing out here in the middle of nowhere?"

The green girl pulled herself up to her full height, squaring her shoulders and setting her jaw. "I'm running away. What are you doing?"

Fiyero looked at this green girl curiously. She couldn't have been much younger than him. What had gone so wrong already in her life that she had to run away from something? "Also running away," he shrugged. "What are you running from?"

"A horrendous arranged marriage with some stupid Prince from the stupid Vinkus," Elphaba grumbled, folding her arms over her chest in as close to a sulk as Elphaba could get.

Fiyero was dumbfounded. He had run away from his arranged bride, only to bump into her on the road? He had to assume he was the "stupid Prince from the stupid VInkus". The others were either married or too young to do so. "A Winkie, eh?"

"That's a derogatory term," Elphaba corrected him.

Fiyero smiled at her, until it occurred to him that, unless they escaped, he was smiling at his future wife, one who clearly did not want to marry him. In all his worries about who she'd be, he'd never stopped to think that his intended might have a problem with marrying him. Who would? "Sorry," he said. "Apologize to your husband for me."

"He's not my husband yet," Elphaba fumed. "And he won't be."

"What's his name?"

"I don't even know, and I don't intend to."

"You've never heard of him?" Fiyero was wounded - he was Oz famous. Did this girl live under a rock?


"Alright, then" Fiyero sighed. "What's yours?"

She studied him. Elphaba Thropp was not one to trust readily, or to believe that someone would be curious about anything beyond her skin. Finally, she exhaled and muttered, "Elphaba. Elphaba Thropp."

That sounded familiar. Was it because she was his intended bride, or...? "Is that a famous name?"

"Not particularly, unless you count Saint Aelphaba," she replied, examining her simple frock for dirt or rips. "Anyway, good luck on your journey," she said, gathering up her small bag of personal belongings and turning to leave.

"Wait," Fiyero said, not sure why he was saying it. "It's not really safe, you being out here, travelling alone..."

"Well, I survived my meeting with you, didn't I?"

"I'm a decent guy," Fiyero argued. "Mostly. But not everyone out there is decent. Most aren't," he added, thinking of some of the men he knew. "Let's... We could travel together, for awhile. I'd feel better about it, and it would be nice to have some company."

"I'm not very good company," Elphaba informed him, wondering why he wanted to spend time with her. Fiyero was wondering the same thing. He'd been running from her. Now he was going to be her bestest friend and travel with her? Why did he care?

"I don't care if you're good company or not," he said. "Bad company is better than no company."

"You have no idea how wrong I'm going to prove you," she murmured.