Disclaimer: This story comments on characters, settings, and themes originating from the show Wicked. This story is an original work of fiction that stands on its own. This story can only exist if both of the preceding statements are true. This story can only be read by those who reject the artificial constructs of originality and ownership in creative works. If you do not meet that description, you do not have permission to read this story. If you cannot read this story, it does not exist in your universe.
A/N: Darling readers! Another long-awaited chapter is finally here. Don't have much excuses for the length of time between updates, except the usual. And that this chapter was, for some reason, hell to write. The thing just refused to cooperate.
On another matter, WOW! You guys are made of super-reviewer-awesomeness. Last chapter got thirty-one reviews, thirty-one. I feel so warm and fuzzy and squishy inside. Thanks, I love you so, my wonderful readers!
One last thing, a Gazillion thanks to Spontaneous Combusken who kindly beta'ed this chapter. And super quickly, too. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
That's all, enjoy:
" Upside Down "
Galinda wondered whether her perception of time was horribly off, or if Elphaba had actually been silent for almost five minutes now.
Even if her perception was actually not very accurate at all, the situation was not… exactly as Galinda had imagined this moment. In fact, it didn't even have the slightest resemblance to the way Galinda had imagined this moment.
This was disastrous.
Elphaba was still in the middle of the room, still as a rock, with an astonished look on her face. She seemed to have stopped breathing, even.
Galinda began to worry. Actually, she had been worrying for a while now. Pretty much since her brain and her mouth had decided to stop communicating and her stupid, stupid mouth had blurted out things best left unsaid.
It wasn't as though she had expected Elphaba to declare her undying love for her the minute she confessed, but still. Some reaction would have been nice.
Galinda fixed her eyes on the floor, if only to avoid Elphaba's expression, which, Galinda thought, was beginning to look mildly disgusted.
And Galinda really, truly didn't want to hear it.
I'm sorry I if I made you think we could be more than friends. I'm sorry, but I don't feel the same way. I'm sorry I made you fall in love with me only to break your heart.
What had she been thinking? Believing someone like Elphaba, who was smart, who didn't care about looks, who talked about philosophy and Animals Rights and changing the world, would want someone like dim, pretty little thing, Galinda?
"Galinda," Elphaba's voice was nearer now. Galinda hastily wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.
"It's all right, Elphie." Galinda said, "I'm sorry. I'll just – I…"
Don't look at her.
"I'll go, now." Galinda said, and without looking at Elphaba, went for the door. Before she could reach it, though, Elphaba grabbed her arm.
"Galinda," she whispered, "could you please look at me?"
No. Thought Galinda, No I can't.
Galinda lifted her eyes from the floor and looked at the window behind Elphaba's face.
"Galinda, I'm sorry. I-" Now, it seemed, was Elphaba's turn to look at the floor, "I didn't know. If I had…I, I wouldn't have-" she sighed soundly, distressed.
"I'm sorry." Elphaba finally concluded.
Galinda waited a long time to see if Elphaba added anything else.
Please stay; let's talk about it. I like you too, Galinda! Let's have a date tomorrow! What kind of flowers you like?
But Elphaba said nothing.
"It's okay." Galinda wiped her eyes again.
What was it with these stupid tears?
"I think - I think I need to be alone, Elphie."
Is it still all right to call her Elphie?
Elphaba looked as if she was about to say something, but never did. Galinda turned around and walked out of the room. This time, Elphaba let her go.
Elphaba had no idea what had happened.
She hadn't had any idea the moment it was happening and now, almost twenty hours later, she still had no idea. Surely, she had to be in the middle of some strange hallucination caused by toxic vapors, or opium, or something.
Galinda hadn't come back to their room the previous night, nor had she come back that morning. And now, not only was Elphaba confused – flabbergasted? Suspecting that Galinda was under some dangerous form of mind control? - But also, worried.
Still, the more she though about it – twenty-two hours, forty-five minutes and counting – the more sense it made.
Well, not exactly sense, per se. But a kind of sense in which sum of the parts was positively laughable, but the parts of the sum were starting, just now, to have some semblance of sense.
Oh, for Oz's sake, whatever ounce of sanity I had managed to maintain until now is definitely gone. I've lost my mind.
Luckily for Elphaba, it was Sunday. She had nowhere to be, no classes to study for, and the library was almost deserted. Sundays, it seemed, were not the preferred day for studying in Shiz. Here, she would be able to think. Here, she could make sense of this mess. Here -
Pfannee paid no attention to Elphaba's glare, which the green girl was sure, had she slept for even an hour, would have been more effective.
"Miss Pfannee, hello. Can you please disappear?"
Pfannee made an annoying clicking sound with her tongue.
"Miss Elphaba, how rude!" she said, and took a seat in front of Elphaba in the library table.
"I need your help," she announced, as if that explained everything, and made her presence bearable.
Elphaba thought a considerable number of colorful insults, but refrained from saying any of them. After all, Pfannee, annoying as she was, could be a good enough distraction.
Elphaba moved some of her books away to make room on the table for Pfannee's things.
"I see," she said, closing her notebook.
"There's no need to be so smug about it, Elphaba."
Elphaba's lifted her left eyebrow as far as it could go. "Pfannee, you couldn't care less if I'm smug, or rude, or green, for that matter. Just tell me what you need, will you?"
"Someone is having a cranky day. What happened, Bean? Not enough photosynthesis?"
Elphaba put her hand against her heart. "Pfannee!" she exclaimed, "Congratulations! That's a five syllable word!"
Elphaba pretended, for a moment, to be so shocked she couldn't speak. Then, she added with a smirk, "Now, let me see you spell it and you get a cookie."
Pfannee's only answer was to roll her eyes. "Never thought about leaving college and going for a career as a comedian, Green?"
"But, if I'm gone, how are you going to pass anything?"
It surprised Elphaba that Pfannee seemed truly offended by that remark.
"Now see here, Miss Elphaba… I'm not an idiot. I had excellent grades in Orientation!"
"Pfannee, that's not a subject. It didn't have grades."
Pfannee made a dismissive gesture, waving her hand. "Nonsense."
Elphaba gave up. "Fine. You're the most capable student I've ever met, thank you for making my life worth living. What do you need help with?"
"Let me see it, then."
"Can we…uhm, go somewhere else?"
Elphaba frowned, "Why?"
What place could there possibly be better that the library?
Pfannee looked around the deserted library and spoke quietly, "I simply," she cleared her throat softly, "well, I don't want anyone to see us."
"Oh, this is priceless!" Elphaba laughed. "You come to me for help, and then you want me to hide like I'm some sort of disgusting shameful thing?"
Pfannee didn't even have the good grace to look embarrassed. "Well, yes."
This was outrageous! This was insulting! This was-
Something to think about other than Galinda.
"This is dumb." Pfannee concluded, angrily throwing her pencil on the table.
You are dumb, Elphaba wanted to reply. What she ended up saying, however, was "It's not dumb, Pfannee. It is absurdly simple, actually. I can't fathom how it is that you are failing this."
Pfannee threw back her head and groaned loudly and in what Galinda would have defined a 'very un-lady like manner'.
Don't think about Galinda.
"You're not very good at this, you know?" Pfannee asked, narrowing her eyes. "You're supposed to make me feel better, motivate me!"
Elphaba closed her book, sighed, and took off her glasses. "Pfannee, dearest." she began, "I haven't the slightest interest in your psychological welfare or motivation to study. If you were to drop out of Shiz, I might even throw a party."
Pfannee snorted, "And who would come to your party, Bean? Galinda and Dr. Dillamond?"
Don't mention Galinda.
"I was thinking more along the lines of a quiet party with myself and my joy, but now that you mention it, yes. Maybe I could invite Dr. Dillamond, you certainly are bad enough in his class."
Pfannee gave Elphaba a very ugly glare. "Enough, Green. Will you or will you not explain this to me?"
Now it was Elphaba's turn to snort. "Don't you mean 'explain this to me for the hundredth time'?"
When Pfannee was about to respond – with something Elphaba could only assume would be another long list of clever ways of saying green bean, or something along that line- a knock at the door distracted her.
Elphaba froze for a moment; Galinda could be behind that door! What was she going to say? Oh, sweet Oz, what was she going to do? What if Galinda-
"How rude, Green! Aren't you going to answer the door?" Elphaba heard Pfannee say, and that was when she realized that Pfannee was already opening the door herself.
"Wait, Pfannee! Don't open the door!"
Pfannee simply looked at her, smirked maliciously and opened the door to reveal -
Elphaba's sigh of relief was so loud, both Fiyero and Pfannee turned their heads to look at hear curiously.
"Why, Fiyero! Don't you look…colorful today?"
Elphaba paid attention to Fiyero's outfit. It was indeed…colorful. Truly, ridiculous might have been a better way to describe it. He was wearing the tightest pants Elphaba had ever seen, and, as if that wasn't enough, they were bright pink.
Fiyero beamed and puffed his chest, obviously pleased by the attention. "Hello, Pfannee. You look wonderful yourself."
Pfannee giggled, batted her eyelashes flirtatiously, and let her eyes focus on a place on Fiyero's body Elphaba was sure nobody, ever, should look at in public.
"Yes, those pants certainly…become you."
At least Fiyero had the decency to look uncomfortable. He even tried to cover himself with the bouquet of roses he was carrying.
What was Fiyero doing with a bouquet of roses in Elphaba's room, anyway?
Oh, Oz. Please, please no.
Fiyero turned his attention to Elphaba. "Elphaba, I was wondering if I could have a word with you?"
Elphaba closed her eyes tightly, willing this horrible nightmare to end.
"Bean, are you still with us?"
Wake up, wake up. This is a dream, a horrible dream. Please, please let this be a dream.
Finally, Elphaba gave up.
"Yes, Fiyero. I'm here, I'm listening." Elphaba said, her forehead still against the table.
She heard Fiyero cough and Pfannee giggle.
"Could we go, er, somewhere more private?"
"No!" Elphaba said, bolting from her chair. "I'm sorry but we are in the middle of a very…" she closed her fist and waved it around frantically, "Intense! A very intense study session. If we loose our rhythm we might not find it back, you know?"
Pfannee, who had been standing with her mouth open in shock since hearing the word 'private', gave Elphaba an incredulous look. Fiyero simply looked extremely disappointed.
"Oh." He said.
Fiyero extended the bouquet of roses to Elphaba, " I, uhm, brought this for you."
Elphaba, having no idea what to say, simple mumbled a quiet "Thank you."
Fiyero then turned to leave, but seemed to reconsider about half way out of the door.
"I was thinking, maybe…you'd like to," Fiyero fixed his eyes on the floor, blushing in a way Elphaba found ridiculous for a boy like him, "go out with me sometime?"
"Fiyero, I'm sorry but-"
Elphaba was getting pretty sick of apologizing all time. Were these people mentally ill? Couldn't they see she was green, for Ozma's sake?
Fiyero didn't let her finish. "Look, Elphaba… Just, think about it, please?" he pleaded.
"I don't think I need to think-"
"Great! I'll see you tomorrow in class!"
Elphaba stood there, holding her bouquet for along time, wondering how was it that the world had turned upside down and she hadn't noticed.
"I can't believe you just did that, Artichoke! Are you insane?"
Oh, right. Pfannee was still there.
"I really, really, hope I am insane and this is some sort of peculiar delusion."
Pfannee threw her hands up in the air. "He asked you out! Fiyero Tiggular, looking more edible than I have ever seen him, asked you out and you said no! You!"
"I don't want to go out with Fiyero, Pfannee."
Pfannee grimaced as if she had tasted something gone bad.
"That's insane. That's… that's just plain wrong, Green."
"Look, Pfannee, Fiyero is nice and everything, I just…"
Can't stop thinking about Galinda. Elphaba shook her head and sighed.
Pfannee smiled like she had won something, and banged her fist on the table.
"So you do like him!"
Elphaba shook her head again. Why was she talking about this with Pfannee, of all the stupid people she could choose to talk to?
She was sure she liked Fiyero. He was actually really nice and even, in his own way, smart and charming. But he wasn't...she wouldn't go out with him.
Granted, Elphaba didn't know much about romance, or was interested in it, for that matter. But wasn't the first love supposed to be… life altering? Wasn't she supposed to feel as if she couldn't think when the other person was near? Didn't Galinda's book say that love made you dizzy, and crazy, and that you would do just about anything to see that person ha-
As the ground beneath Elphaba began to shake, Pfannee laughed loudly. And Elphaba wanted to murder her.
Couldn't she see Elphaba was in the middle of a revelation?
"You so like him!"
Elphaba answered without thinking, "It's complicated," she said.
"I thought you were smarter than that." Pfannee replied, "If you want it, and they want it, what's the problem?"
Pfannee closed her book and looked at her reflection in Elphaba's window "You're not going to find many princes who like your shade of green, Bean." she added, fixing her hair.
Elphaba would have strangled her, if it weren't for the fact that while she was sure not many people would actually miss Pfannee, it was still a crime to murder a classmate. And besides, Elphaba could see that maybe, Pfannee almost kind of had a point.
She was wrong about one thing, though.
It wasn't Fiyero who Elphaba wanted.
Milla was tired. Tired, and honestly? Very annoyed.
So, fine, Elphaba might have or might have not broken Galinda's heart – It was really difficult to understand the girl with all the crying and mumbling- but enough was enough. She wanted to sleep!
Galinda had come to Milla's room the day before, mumbling in mid-sniffle something about Elphaba hating her, cried herself to sleep, woken up, and cried some more.
"Galinda, would you stop crying for a second and listen to me?" Milla asked.
Really, how can anyone be crying for twenty-four hours?
Either Galinda didn't hear her, or she was having so much fun in her crying fit that she decided to ignore poor Milla.
I am a martyr.
"Galinda, would you please stop crying? My head hurts."
Galinda didn't stop crying, unfortunately. What she did, however, was talk.
"She hates me, Milla!" she exclaimed between sobs, and hiccupped, "She… thinks I'm disgusting!"
Milla was incredibly and sincerely appalled.
"Elphaba said you were disgusting? Is she insane? How can she ever…that's just mean!"
Galinda let out a high-pitched wail, followed by yet another loud sob. "I know! It's, i-it's… horrible!"
Milla sighed, "It is. I would have thought, of all the people at Shiz, Elphaba would be more understanding, you know?"
Galinda nodded slowly, looking picture-perfect miserable as hell.
"I can't believe she would say that!"
Galinda looked up from the pillow, "You talked to her?"
"No, Galinda. What she said to you."
"But…" Galinda's brow wrinkled in confusion, "she didn't say anything to me."
Now Milla was really lost.
"You said she thought you were disgusting?"
Galinda sniffled. "She didn't say it, but she does. She hates me!"
Please, Lurline. Give me the strength of character not to murder this pathetic excuse for a human being.
Milla inhaled loudly and sat beside Galinda on her bed.
"Galinda," she began, very slowly, "What exactly did Elphaba said to you when you told her? Exactly?"
Galinda looked confused. "What do you mean? She didn't…" she sniffled, "She didn't say much. She just stood there, and…"
"And, well, she said 'sorry'."
Galinda frowned. "And that was it, I left."
Really, Milla was not particularly prone to violence, but now, she could hit Galinda over the head with something really heavy. Heavy like an Elephant.
"Let me see if I understand this correctly." Milla said. "You told Elphaba, green, formerly hated by all of Shiz Elphaba, that you felt something for her-"
"I might have called her green imbecile."
Milla shook her head. "You know? It doesn't matter. You told her, told this girl who's so obtuse she tried to set you up with Fiyero, that you wanted her, and then without hearing what she had to say, you ran away?"
Milla slapped her forehead. "I need a vacation from you all. I could be on a date, Galinda. Go back to your room, talk to her."
Galinda sniffled again.
Milla simply couldn't take this anymore. "Stop that!"
Before Milla could go find that Elephant, Pfannee, without knocking, or even announcing herself, entered the room.
"You won't believe what I just saw!" Pfannee exclaimed as she entered the room, between laughs.
Milla was kind of scared. If Pfannee was this happy, it was bound to be bad.
"I just was at Elphaba's," Pfannee began, and then noticed Galinda. Who was, and Milla couldn't believe the girl wasn't dehydrated yet, still crying.
Milla saved Galinda from saying something idiotic and smitten like 'you saw Elphie? Did she happen to mention my name? Did she say that I'm crazy, deeply, wonkily in love with her?' by talking first.
"What were you doing at Elphaba's room?" she asked, honestly curious.
"Needed help with math. Why is Galinda crying?"
Such tact, that Pfannee. Truly, a friend indeed.
Pfannee didn't need to hear Milla's answer. "Oh, that's right. Fiyero and Elphaba, right?"
Galinda's eyebrows practically skyrocketed.
"Fiyero and Elphaba?" she asked. Or demanded to know. Actually, she kind of screeched.
Pfannee rolled her eyes, seeming already bored by the conversation.
"Yes, Galinda. Fiyero and Elphaba. If you would just listen…"
"I'm listening." Galinda added quickly.
Pfannee grinned. "As I was saying, I was at Elphaba's room. And there, out of nothing, comes Prince Fiyero…"
Pfannee stopped, apparently wanting to generate some tension in her story.
Galinda was starting to look slightly murderous "And?"
"And he asks her out! Can you believe it?" Pfannee laughed loudly.
When no one else seemed to find the humor in her tale, she frowned.
"Aw, girls. It's funny, the prince and the frog?"
Galinda hugged the pillow tighter. "What did she say?"
For a second, Milla thought Pfannee looked sympathetic.
"She said no."
Galinda seemed to recover the ability to breathe. That is, until Pfannee opened her mouth again.
"She wants him, though."
Galinda's face crumpled so quickly Milla wanted to go find that Elephant and knock Pfannee unconscious.
"She- she does?" Galinda asked, and buried her face in the pillow. From there she mumbled "Oh Lurline, she does." between pitiful sniffles.
Pfannee looked at Galinda disinterestedly. "Please, Galinda. Fiyero isn't that great, anyway."
"I know!" Galinda screamed, throwing the pillow across the room. "He's arrogant, and self-centered, and what does she see in-"
"Galinda!" Milla shouted, "Don't you think is time for you to-" Shut up? "Go home?"
Galinda, thankfully, blessedly, realized she was about to say something very dumb.
"Yes," she nodded. "I suppose I should, I-" she sniffled. "I'll go."
Galinda got up slowly, and dragged herself out the room.
"That girl is crazy." Pfannee said.
Milla shrugged. "Mhm,"
Why was it that she was Pfannee's friend, again?
Elphaba felt dizzy. No, she felt sick.
She felt as if something –everything- was shifting around her and she was trying, fruitlessly, to hold onto anything that would stay still.
But it was too late. Because Galinda had confessed, and then Pfannee had talked, and Elphaba had realized.
Elphaba had realized things she'd rather not have realized. Now, the world was shifting, and turning upside down, and making her dizzy, and sick, and scared as hell.
And Galinda wasn't even here.
Not that Elphaba wanted to see her. She didn't. Because if Galinda was scary before, now she was terrifying.
What was Elphaba supposed to do? Should she run and hide until the world stopped spinning? Should she – what was she supposed to do?
Elphaba didn't get a chance to find the answer, because the next thing she knew, the world stopped spinning long enough for her to see that Galinda was in the room.
"Hello, Elphie." Galinda whispered, and Elphaba noticed she seemed to have been crying. Actually, she looked about to cry right now.
Elphaba really, really wanted to say something. Somehow, though, words wouldn't come.
When Galinda spoke next, Elphaba could see her crying, even when Galinda was staring fixedly at her pink shoes.
"I'll understand if you want to change rooms," Galinda said. "I'll talk to Madame Morrible."
Elphaba saw Galinda wipe her tears angrily.
"I'm happy for you, though. I really am."
Somewhere along Galinda's words, Elphaba recovered her voice.
"Happy for me?" she asked.
Was Galinda talking in some sort of code Elphaba was supposed to understand?
Galinda looked at Elphaba's eyes briefly, only long enough to blush and look back at her shoes.
"You and Fiyero."
And now Elphaba was sure her life must be some sort of horrible twisted joke.
But it didn't matter. Because Galinda was there, looking so small and forlorn it was tugging at places in Elphaba's heart she wasn't even sure she had. Because Galinda thought Elphaba wanted Fiyero, and she truly didn't. Because the world had stopped spinning and twisting and turning long enough for Elphaba to see Galinda.
And Elphaba saw her, and realized something else. She was going to do something unthinkable.
Elphaba let herself be guided by instinct.
"Galinda, there's nothing between Fiyero and I." She said, and breathed deeply air that tasted like something washed clean.
Galinda sniffled. "No, but he wants you and you want him, and I should just step-"
And Elphaba kissed her.