A/N: Yeah, I'm still working on this. Two down, four to go. Bear in mind that this is not supposed to have a traditional plot, this is a bit more abstract. I have not gained ownership of Wicked since posting the first chapter.


"You can be saved," boomed the voice of Frexspar the Godly. "Your past sins can all be erased and you can begin anew!" He grew animated as he rode the climax of his sermon. The Quadlings squatting around him seemed to absorb his energy, staring at the wildly gesticulating man with their eyes wide.

"The mercy of the Unnamed God is infinite. The worst sinner can redeem himself. My daughter," – he pulled a girl of about eight in front of him – "born green as an actual physical manifestation of her sins, can be, and is, saved." The Quadlings began murmuring amongst themselves. The greenness! The sheer, unabashed greenness, staring them down!

"Yes! See her, take it in, absorb it in full! It cannot hide – sin cannot be hidden – but she is saved! Look!"

He thrust his eldest daughter forward, into the crowd. She stumbled, a fault of the unploughed field. For a moment her arms flailed, waving for balance to rescue her, and the setting sun at her back transformed her into a dark, faceless, thrashing wild creature. Then the moment was over, and she straightened, and she faced the crowd and the sun no longer cast her in shadow, but it was too late. The crowd had drawn back fearfully. A soft 'Mama!' was heard from behind the legs of a massive dame. It seemed to echo in the stillness, 'Mama, mama, mama, mama.'

The green girl flinched, and tensed visibly. The echoes quickly dissipated. A second of silence, then a forced chuckle from the minister.

"Ahe, Elphaba now, -"

He stopped short as Elphaba twitched mightily, convulsed, and broke out of it by surging into fluid motion, away from the father.

"Dammit!" he swore, too frustrated and angry to care about his flock's ears, even as he reasoned his outburst as righteous anger at the obstacle to his preaching. "Dammit, Elphaba…"

Elphaba didn't hear him. She was beyond hearing anything, all she could do was feel. She felt hot sticky air only sluggishly moving out of her way. She felt her boots pounding into the ground, but sinking slightly into the mud with every step. She felt blood course through her, squeezing past and spurting to keep up with her. She felt all these, but they didn't register. The only feeling that registered she felt to be too complex for an eight-year-old's words.

It had started with the cry for Mama. A level of shame was part, shame of scaring a child. Then perhaps injustice. Elphaba no longer had a mother to cry out to. And there was the fact that it hadn't been an atypical reaction. She didn't know why her skin was the way it was. After hearing Frex explain it as her sins over and over, she had stopped believing in that story. Shame, injustice… guilt? But that was unreasonable. She didn't try, didn't want, to be the way she was.

She shook her head, trying to clear it. What surfaced was her father's voice, not the words, but just the tone. The false cheeriness, trying to smooth the moment over, the ill-concealed strain, it made her want to twitch and convulse.

So she ran, directionless, to give her body motion. She didn't watch where she was going, didn't try to remember how to get back home. Like an uncontrolled, haphazard, exothermic reaction, she turned off her mind and let her body release huge sums of energy. Physical energy, in sweat rolling down her skin, heat energy steaming from her burning face, mental energy as she closed her eyes and willed her mind to shut, and perhaps even magical energy as swamplands underfoot hardened enough for her feet to pound in frustration.