One-shot bookverse for the hell of it. Mucho thanks to Nimby and Sale for helping me out with this. Love you two!
Disclaimer: Yeah, I wish.
It was a widely known fact that the Gale Force had recently commissioned a death squad. Most citizens found their existence, rumored or not, to be a welcome change. Many thought it was about time the Wizard held up to his promises. And if this was the only way to squash the Resistance movement, then so be it.
The section was created during a private meeting. In attendance were the Wizard, Captain of the Guard, and Glinda the Good. No paper work was filed, no documents signed. The squad operated of their own instruction. Plans specifically designed by the squad leader, the Corporal. The decision was unanimous and the letters were hand delivered the next day. The men chosen were the best the Gale Force had to offer. The fastest, the smartest, the deadliest. They comprised the only off record section of the Gale Force. Citizens referred to them as martyrs, Rebels thought them murderers. They called themselves ghosts.
When they reported for duty, their names were stricken from records. All evidence of their existence erased. After training they no longer cared. They had grown accustomed to the shouts of their Corporal, his abuse and taunting. So it was a great surprise to them when a new Corporal was assigned. No one asked what had become of the other. No one dared.
The new Corporal never spoke. Schedules quickly changed from day to night. The squad adapted to the nocturnal pattern immediately. Every evening they woke at dusk to find plans scrawled in neat cursive on the board in their barrack. After midnight the Corporal would come to the doorway, gun always slung over his shoulder. The squadron would line up, and after a nod from their leader, they would venture out. Their specialty was infiltrating Resistance strongholds inside the city. Get in, get out, and kill anything you find. They were good.
They were also exhausted.
For the past three months they had been sent out on raids. More and more of them every night. The Officers merely thought their Corporal mad with bloodlust. He brought down the most bodies by far. Some men were becoming slightly jealous of the fact. Yet they never spoke of it for fear of what the Corporal would say. If he ever spoke.
A whistle sounded twice. The Corporal's way of calling them back into formation. Dawn was approaching and so they headed back to the palace.
He must have been a Munchkinlander, they decided. Yet no one dared ask.
"A mute, perhaps?" Another would say.
"A murdering mute Munchkin!"
They had a good laugh until he appeared again. A collective silence filled the barracks. The Corporal merely stood in the doorway; gun slung over his shoulder, and peered at them from shadow-obscured eyes. The Officers gathered quickly, and after the nod, filed out into the night. They followed him across the city, nearly losing him in the deserted market district.
A gunshot rang out. The men shared knowing grins. Another Animal gone at the hands of their Corporal. It seemed every time they came across one he was first to shoot. They didn't remember the last time they had used their weapons. Triggers were starting to rust.
Rifles lay forgotten, bouncing off their hips as they finally caught up with their leader. He was covering the body of Panther with a discarded shawl.
The squad awaited his instruction, some a bit perplexed at their kneeling leader. They averted their gaze respectively towards the sky as he stood and faced them. One dared look him in the eye. The young Officer swore there was a hint of blue, or perhaps green? It was hard to tell, the moonlight was waning, and his cap pulled down low. The Corporal noticed and tugged the cap lower still before taking off down the alleyway.
His squad, ever loyal, followed immediately.
Streets were darker in the warehouse district, lamps having burnt out long before. Tonight they were to use the darkness as a cover, as always, to infiltrate a supposed Resistance storage location. Destroy the supplies, destroy the cause. The Wizard had, unfortunately, prohibited arson. Fire tended to spread quickly in the Emerald City. Abandoned buildings were ripe with dry rotted wood. Perfect kindling for mass destruction.
It only took one kick for the back door to fly off its hinges. Eleven rifles rose as they crossed the threshold into the abandoned building. The squad took cautious steps inside, careful to watch their surroundings. Crates were piled haphazardly on the floor. Some covered in a thick layer of dust. Leftovers from the crop boom of long ago.
The Corporal held up a fist. Motion stopped. Two fingers right, 4 left, 2 towards the exit. The squad split up.
The two remaining Officers stepped forward.
"Corporal," The taller of the two said, awaiting instruction. His gaze lingered on the badge pinned on the Corporals chest. Cpl. Bastion Dillamond. A name to the unknown face.
Bastion merely grunted in response, tugged his cap further down his brow and strode off into the darkness. A glint of metal rounded a stack of crates. Their leader never stopped. Never waited. The two Officers exchanged glances before shrugging and quickly following their Corporal.
They caught up with Bastion moments later. Standing, gun poised at the foot of large winding staircase. Sections were missing, large gaps splintered in the rotting wood.
"Sir?" The taller of the Officers spoke again. He nodded his head towards the ruined steps. A silence fell over the group as their leader inspected the railing.
One gentle tap of his gun and the railing crumbled to the floor.
The two Officers took a tentative step back. Bastion motioned for them to keep watch. Without hesitation he mounted the steps and quickly maneuvered his way up. The wood cracked with each impact of his boots. Steps collapsed after him until all that remained was half of the support beam. Once at the landing he glanced down towards the two men. They look quite pleased to be on solid ground. Bastion rolled his eyes and inspected his new surroundings. Forsaken offices.
Bastion raised the rifle, tucking it against his shoulder as he made his way down the furthest corridor. The only thought in his head being that his beard was becoming itchy. But he was hopeful. Tonight, he thought. Tonight.
A muffled sound traveled over Bastions ears. He raised his head in the direction it'd come from. A lone door ahead lay slightly ajar. He scratched his chin with the butt of his rifle as he snuck down the hall. The sound was heard again as he reached for the door.
A rustling, a curse, a breath and Bastion burst into the room. He leveled his gun at the figure crouching over an open crate. The figure quickly scrambled for cover.
"Halt!" He shouted, sounding far shriller than he had hoped. It had worked though. The figure stood frozen in the room, halfway towards the shattered window. Bastion cleared his throat, lowering his voice and said, "Move and I won't hesitate to shoot."
The Resistance member's shoulders fell and rose rapidly. Whoever it was, they were rather panicked. Their breathing coming in short spurts, hands raised over their head.
Hands, which illuminated by moonlight, burned green.
"Elphie?" Bastion whispered, gun still raised in now trembling hands.
The figure flinched, back turned towards the Corporal. "H-how do you know that name?"
Bastion frowned, "Elphie, it's me," he said. The rifle was lowered and dropped to the ground.
Elphaba hesitantly glanced over her shoulder. Her eyes narrowed trying to place the Gale Forcer before her. Bastion had called her that name again. The voice eerily familiar yet disturbing coming from the short man taking a step towards her. Blood was pounding in her ears, disorienting the green woman. She turned her eyes to the window. He was unarmed. She could make it.
Elphaba launched herself at the window not anticipating the Corporal to do the same. They collided into the frame, shattering the rest of the glass and sending them both toppling to the ground. Shards pierced skin as they each scrambled to their feet. Elphaba noting that the Corporal's hat had become dislodged in the fray.
"Are you ok Elphie?" That name again!
Elphaba cringed at the sound of it as she righted herself. Her head throbbed and visions of gold swam before her eyes. She distinctly felt the pressure of a hand upon her shoulder. A quick shrug and it was gone. The Corporal though, remained.
Elphaba opened her mouth; spiteful words already forming in her head, but choked as she realized the visions of gold weren't altogether imaginary. Moonlight did wonders for blonde curls.
The Gale Forcer named Bastion broke into a grin. "Finally!" Glinda exclaimed as she pulled Elphaba into her arms.
Elphaba remained still as Glinda tightened her hold, and if at all possible, pulled her closer.
"No," Elphaba shook her head, prying Glinda's arms off and stepping away from the woman. "No, you can't really be here. This isn't… you aren't…"
"I am," Glinda said reaching for Elphaba's hands. Elphaba continued to back away. "I found you!"
Elphaba shook her head. "You can't," she said and found herself unable to complete the sentence. Any sentence. Glinda was standing before her, clad in limited issue Gale Force uniform. The uniform of the men who'd been slaughtering her fellow Resistance fighters. She suddenly felt lightheaded.
Glinda caught her before she could fall, helping her to sit on an upturned crate. Elphaba continued to shake her head as Glinda knelt between her legs. The touch was back, this time on her knees. Glinda was rubbing circles there, waiting patiently. Elphaba calmed at the reassuring contact, her head downcast.
"Elphie look at me," Glinda said stilling her hands. "Please, look at me."
Elphaba took a breath before meeting the gaze of the only person she ever dared called a friend. Glinda's smile hadn't changed. She didn't know why she had expected it to. She'd changed; it only made sense Glinda would too. Yet there she sat, beautiful as ever even with a beard sprouting from her chin. Elphaba quirked her head to the side.
"You're a little hairy," was the only intelligent thing she could think to say.
"Oh!" Glinda yelped hands flying to the offending piece of hair. A sharp tug later and the beard lay on the floor. Glinda rubbed the skin it had been attached too, wincing. "That part always hurts a bit," she said.
Glinda looked up at her friend. Elphaba's eyes were almost black in the small room. She shivered. "Well you know," she waved her hand. "It helps keep my cover and the-"
"Why?" Elphaba persisted.
Glinda realized she wasn't talking about hair. "I had to find you," she whispered, reaching up and brushing a section of Elphaba's hair behind her ear. "You just left me and I didn't… I couldn't…w-why did you leave me?"
Elphaba sighed. "Where I was going-"
"I couldn't follow, I know. Please spare me the cryptic bullshit." Glinda hissed. Her eyes had narrowed dangerously, tears threatening to fall from the corners.
"It wasn't a life for you Glind-"
"And this is!" She exclaimed pulling at the lapels on her jacket.
"You chose this."
"You never gave me a choice! Do you honestly think I wanted this? Look at me, Elphaba," Glinda said grabbing Elphaba's face roughly and bringing it closer to hers. "Look at me."
Elphaba looked. Glinda was freely crying now, tears mixing with the fresh blood of an open cut. The remnants of the broken window marring her skin. Her cheeks usually tinged with blush were pale, and sickly so in the light of the moon. It seemed Glinda hadn't slept in days, months even. And her eyes, Elphaba had never seen them so tired, so dark.
Glinda closed her eyes as she let go of Elphaba and sat back on her heels. "I held out," she said quietly, head bowed. "For you, I held out."
Elphaba scoffed. "By murdering innocent people, Animals, childre-"
Elphaba was cut off as Glinda slapped her, hard. There was no chance for retaliation. As soon as the hand left her cheek it grabbed the neck of her dress, pulling the green woman down. Noses brushed. "Never," she growled, eyes matching in intensity to Elphaba's. "Never."
"Then explain why I've been picking up your mess, why their blood is staining our floors!" Elphaba said wrenching her dress from Glinda's grasp.
"Because I wasn't fast enough!" Glinda cried.
Glinda flinched. It wasn't so much a question as it was spite. Yet she had to explain.
"I," She said looking up at Elphaba. Elphaba crossed her arms over her chest, eyes never leaving Glinda's. "I rigged my rifle to fire tranquilizers instead of bullets." She explained quietly. "If I don't fire first my men will. Sometimes… sometimes I'm not fast enough…I… I'm sorry Elphie." Glinda said softly. "It was the only way I could think of to help."
Elphaba suddenly felt heat surfacing the cheek where Glinda's hand had made its mark. She touched the skin, feeling quite deserving of the pain it produced. Without second thought she slipped down from the box, joining Glinda on the floor. In an instant she had wrapped her arms around the mess Glinda had quickly become. Tears soaked through the nape of her dress, searing skin beneath. She held tighter. "Shh, my sweet."
Glinda clung to Elphaba, fingers gripping the front of her dress like a vice. Elphaba kissed the top of Glinda's head, hoping to soothe the distressed girl. Glinda only buried her head further against Elphaba's neck.
"I'm sorry," Elphaba whispered. Glinda moved even closer still.
"Don't leave me," she whimpered.
"You know I can't stay."
Glinda lifted her head from Elphaba's shoulder, a steady stream of tears still flowing down her cheeks. "Then I'll go with you," she said, hopeful. "Take me with you."
Elphaba slowly shook her head. "I can't."
"You never gave me a choice before! I held out and now I'm coming with you." Glinda said, a note of finality in her tone. She stood on her feet and helped Elphaba to hers as well. Before Elphaba could reach out to stop her, Glinda had walked off to retrieve her rifle.
"It's too late Glinda," she said, watching as her friend slung the gun across her back, securing the strap tightly over her chest.
Glinda fastened the buckle and looked up at Elphaba. "Too late for what?"
Elphaba motioned to the space separating them. The distance between them. Glinda let her arms fall limp at her sides. "Look at you. Glinda, you can't give this up. Not for me."
"But Elphie," Glinda countered taking a step forward.
Elphaba held up a hand before Glinda could say another word. "You're helping Oz. You're helping in a way I never could. A way I never can."
"For you!" Glinda said, walking towards Elphaba again. "All of this just to find you! For Oz sake, I wear a beard for you. I walk around in these hidiouscious trousers for you. I haven't slept in months for you. I command an army of bloodthirsty men for you." She paused as she stopped before Elphaba, glaring at the taller woman. "Everything, for you."
Elphaba allowed herself a smirk. "Sounds like you've already done everything."
Glinda smiled, and Elphaba noted, a bit too sweetly. "I could interject that I have not, indeed, done everything as you are still standing but I digress."
Elphaba blanched and then sputtered.
"I don't quite remember the last time I rendered you this speechless." Glinda giggled. "Then again I also recall the time you-"
Elphaba cleared her throat, coughing. "You can't come with me Glinda."
Glinda threw her hands in the air. "Sweet Oz, Elphie! Get it through your thick and stubborn head," she said, once again grabbing Elphaba's dress by the base of her throat and yanking the green woman down to her level. "I. Love. You!"
Glinda's eyes flicked between Elphaba's. Undecided at which to stay upon. Elphaba blinked in response, unsure if Glinda was about to smack her again or kiss her. Neither option boding well for her future.
Glinda crinkled her nose, a half veiled attempt to stop herself from crying again. She had waited over five years to say those three words to Elphaba. And all the green girl could do in return was blink! Of course when she imagined saying it, the location had never quite been as glum as the one they were in now. Nor did she have visions of emerald waistcoats and chafing trousers. The entire scene was quickly turning into a disaster and she was sure by now her men would have heard the shouting. Elphaba was right, she was always right. It was too late.
Elphaba's expression softened as she felt Glinda loosen her grip. She could have sworn she heard Glinda mutter something about being right. A light pressure across her collarbone reminded her Glinda hadn't quite let go yet. Elphaba sighed as she placed her own hands atop the blonde's.
"I've missed you too," she said quietly, squeezing Glinda's hands.
Glinda wiped her cheeks on her shoulder as she looked back up at Elphaba. "You can't stay," she said, resigned.
Elphaba shook her head.
"You have to go…"
Glinda looked down and began to fiddle with a worn button on the dress. Afraid to move, to let go. Elphaba sensed the apprehension. She released Glinda's hands, placing her's instead on either side of Glinda's face. Wet cheeks burned green palms as Elphaba tilted Glinda's head up and placed a lingering kiss on her forehead. Glinda sighed, eyes closing at the contact.
They stayed that way for a moment. Glinda content to be in Elphaba's arms, Elphaba content to have her there. Neither registered the sounds of wood scraping against metal downstairs. The attempts of a squad to rescue their Corporal.
Glinda opened her eyes finally, sniffling as she fingered a pattern on the green woman's dress. A section of black hair fell across her hand. Elphaba had lowered her head. Glinda smiled as she brushed the hair from a green forehead and over a black shoulder. Her hand found it's way to back to Elphaba's temple. Green eyelids fluttered closed at the touch of fingers following the curve of her brow. They moved across a cheekbone, down the point of her nose, only stopping to inspect a scar above her mouth.
Glinda flattened her free palm over Elphaba's chest, smiling at the pace the green woman's heart was beating. The rhythm increased as her hand continued its path across her face. A thumb dragged along a green bottom lip and Glinda could swear the heart skipped a beat. She didn't realize her own breathing had become labored until Elphaba's eyes opened and she stopped breathing altogether.
"Glinda," Elphaba exhaled, barely a whisper.
Glinda bit her lip. Elphaba's throat emitted a groan in response. A quick tug on a black dress and lips finally pressed together. Glinda wasted no time in sliding her arms around the green woman's neck, pulling her closer. Elphaba wound her own arms over and behind Glinda's hips. Knuckles scraped along the barrel of the rifle. A reminder of all Glinda had done for her. All for her.
Glinda gasped. Elphaba had, if at all possible, brought their bodies flush against each other. The kiss deepened. Thoughts were lost, replaced with sensation. A hand trailing up a spine, fingers tangling in hair. A moan, a growl. Nails scraping the back of a green neck, pulling down, wanting more. Elphaba consented. For Glinda, she would always.
Shouts from down the hall finally broke the two apart. Glinda's eyebrows shot up in horror. Elphaba remained stoic, the only indication of her fear clutching at the fabric on Glinda's back.
"Elphie," Glinda said, stroking a green cheek softly. Elphaba tore her gaze from the door over Glinda's shoulder to the woman in front of her. The woman, she realized, she couldn't leave behind again. She'd made her decision. Glinda nodded towards the window.
Elphaba released her hold, instead taking Glinda's hand and leading her towards the only escape. She picked up the green cap, shaking the glass that had fallen upon it.
"There's a warehouse," she said, gathering the blonde curls and twirling them into a bun. "Two units West from this one."
"Elphie I don't understand. Why are you telling me this?" Glinda asked. She helped Elphaba to secure the hat atop her head, all evidence of her trademark curls concealed.
"It used to be a refugee site, for Animals we were helping out of the city. I keep some supplies there now," she said, smiling.
Glinda grinned as she caught on. "I think we're supposed to be raiding that warehouse tomorrow."
"I better make sure there isn't any incriminating evidence lying about then."
"Tomorrow," Glinda said.
Elphaba kissed her. "Tomorrow," she repeated against her lips.
A door was slammed nearby, jarring them from each other. Glinda desperately grabbed a hold of Elphaba's front, bringing the green girl to her eye level once more.
"Be safe," she whispered. Elphaba could only grin at the commanding tone her voice took on. She kissed the girl again.
"You too," she replied.
Glinda helped Elphaba out onto the window ledge and onto the fire escape below. Her men were nearly at the door.
"And Glinda," Elphaba started to say, only to realize the blonde had left the window. A moment later and she was back, beard fixed to her chin. Elphaba could only laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.
"What? Is it on crooked?" Glinda asked frantically, adjusting the bits of hair. Elphaba reached up and stilled her hands.
"No, but for tomorrow, lose the beard," she said, eyes glinting mischievously. She smirked as she nodded down to Glinda's hidden legs. "I kind of like the trousers."
Glinda pulled her bottom lip between her teeth again, grinning. "Yeah?"
Elphaba opened her mouth to speak but stopped short as the door to the room was kicked opened. She ducked down on the fire escape. Glinda straightened her posture, clasping her hands behind her back. She widened her eyes down at Elphaba, mouthing for the green woman to go. Elphaba took the cue and began silently scaling down the fire escape.
"Corporal?" An Officer called, timid.
Glinda turned her head to the side, profile silhouetted in the empty window frame. She nodded once. From the corner of her eye she watched as a wobbly Panther joined Elphaba at the corner of the street. They both turned towards the open window before taking off and disappearing from view altogether.
The Officers shrunk back as they watched a grin form on their leaders face. It was the only expression they had ever seen him convey, it was frightening in the moonlight.
"Tomorrow," Glinda said, voice low. Tomorrow.