Elphaba was bored out of her mind. How many of these stupid parties would Galinda drag her to? She used studying as an anti-social diversion, and with the long vacation, she really couldn't make a good argument out of it. Without classes, all there was to do were these silly dances. Every one was the same. She would stand there watching Galinda be admired, and while she was green, it wasn't out of envy. It was sickness, as in, sick of this.

She felt an urge to do anything else, even something dangerous, just for the sake of doing something different. She felt like being wicked for a change. She was itching in her skin.

Fiyero, charming distraction as he was, usually just wanted to dance, and she felt like she would explode if they did this ridiculous back and forth dance between them much longer. He whispered in her ear, "My friend is having a party over at his place. I haven't seen him in ages, so I'm going to go. Please come with me?"

She sighed, "Why? Wouldn't you rather take Galinda?"

"I asked you, didn't I? Besides, Galinda wouldn't be interested." This piqued Elphaba's curiosity. "It's not a dance kind of party. It's more…interesting." Intrigued, she agreed to go, and as they left, she felt a sudden thrill of excitement. What kind of party was this that Fiyero would rather take her to?

During the short walk there, Elphaba tried to subtly prod Fiyero for clues. He would have made an excellent poker player because he gave nothing away. Walking in, she saw she had never been to anything like this. It was not the kind of place she would consider safe, but she trusted Fiyero. He would take care of her.

Fiyero greeted his friend heartily and introduced her. The appraising look she received was nothing new, but the sense that she was being accepted was. In fact, his friend actually hit on her, and not in an I'm-just-trying-to-be-nice-to-my-friend's-date kind of way. She prepared to tell him off, but one glance at the very protective look in Fiyero's face stopped her in her tracks. He pulled her to him, wrapping his arm around her waist. Normally she would have pulled away, but she welcomed the reassurance here.

While she was determined to try something new and make new friends as per Galinda's instructions, she was still not certain this was the place to do so. Fiyero's friend handed them both drinks, but he immediately took hers away. "You don't need that."

Who was he to tell her what she needed? Friend or not, she had a mind of her own. "Excuse me? Since when do you get to make that decision for me?"

He smirked at her glare, "Well, I don't think you could really handle it. It's pretty strong."

Elphaba told him off right there. She was not some weak little flouncy thing that giggled and couldn't lift her own weight.

"Alright," he said smugly, still convinced she wouldn't finish even one. "If you're sure." She downed the shot in one gulp. Oz, that burned. Fiyero's face was priceless though, with his mouth open and his eyes gigantic. He leaned to whisper in her ear, "That was the sexiest thing I have ever seen."

She tried not to show that his comment affected her, but she did grab another shot, whether to prove she could or to make him say that again she couldn't say. She knew it wasn't smart to drink too many, but she still felt fine. Maybe she had a higher tolerance than she thought.

Fiyero asked her to dance, and for a second, they were back at the Ozdust Ballroom. She didn't feel like dancing, but allowed him to lead her to the floor. The dancing here was more…intense, and she was glad for the liquid encouragement as she felt Fiyero pull her flush against him. His fingers played over her back, and she felt herself leaning into him. Two songs were all she could last. It was too tempting to be that close, her head on his shoulder smelling his cologne and his lips teasing the skin right by her hairline.

Luckily his friend found Fiyero again. She wished she would have been paying attention when he said his name, so she whispered in Fiyero's ear to ask him. "Mercus," he replied softly, lingering a little too long for her comfort. Why did he have to tease her so? They followed Mercus upstairs to meet some of his other friends, and she felt a little unsteady as she climbed. Between the rail and Fiyero, she managed to make it up, but she wasn't so sure she could complete the return journey.

The guys upstairs were enjoying a surprising intellectual discussion, which Elphaba readily jumped into. They all seemed to listen to her, and remarkably, no one had stared at her since she arrived. She could get used to this. Fiyero joined the poker game in the next room, checking over his shoulder every so often to see that Elphaba was alright. The conversation got more heated, and Elphaba went off on a long rant about the Animal banns. The group seemed to be agreeing with her rather than shocked or annoyed like they were at Shiz. One guy with a ponytail even asked his friend who the pretty girl that was so passionate was. She'd never been called pretty by anyone but Fiyero, and he didn't count. This was a fantastic night.

When the conversation turned to games, Elphaba decided to go see how the poker game was progressing. Fiyero seemed to be doing well, but not well enough to anger the others. Her judgments a little clouded, she plopped down on his lap when there was no empty chair. His eyebrows shot up, but he wrapped his arms around her. "Having fun."

"This is the best place I've ever been to in my whole life."

He smiled at her, "I'm glad you like it."

Mercus had reappeared with more shots, and she had another couple. "You may want to slow down there tiger," he cautioned. Normally she would have been mad, but instead she actually giggled. Appalled, she clapped her hand over her mouth. Had that Galinda-esque sound really come from her?

Fiyero laughed at her so hard she almost fell off his lap, so she pushed off him, storming down the stairs. Well, ok, staggering down the stairs.