Elphaba couldn't believe it had been two whole days since Eadlyn's men tried to rescue him. The first day was rough. Even after her talk with Bree and more reassurances from everyone that she had done the right thing she still felt at odds with her actions. Like everyone was staring at her, waiting to see what she would do next.
But then the Gale Force guards starting waking up that evening and everyone's attention shifted to them. Everyone but Glinda, who lavished her with extra affection, and Bree, who went out of her way to try and make her talk. Knowing the two most important people in her life didn't think of her any differently and wanted her to feel better boosted her confidence in the idea that life really would go on despite what she had done.
By the next morning she was feeling more comfortable in her own skin and decided it was time to stop lingering on the likes of Eadlyn and threw herself into having a better day. It worked. When her father, Fiyero and Cade packed up the Gale Force to go home that night she was feeling more like herself than she had in a long time.
And now here she was, laying in her lover's childhood bed as said blonde gently caressed her side. She couldn't stop herself from sighing at the sensation.
"Am I hurting you?"
"Not at all."
"Are you sure?"
"Absolutely positively sure?"
Her brow furrowed as she opened her eyes to find an anxious Glinda staring down at her.
"First you closed your eyes and then you sighed." The blonde explained. "I don't want to hurt you, Elphie."
"You're not." She assured her.
"It actually feels good."
"Are you just saying that to make me feel better?"
"Are you sur…"
"Linny." Elphaba interrupted her before she could finish asking if she was sure again.
"I'm sorry. It's just, I know you have a very high pain tolerance and I've never really done anything like this before and the idea of hurting you makes me want to..."
"Breathe." Elphaba filled in the blank for her.
Glinda bit her lip sheepishly. "I was rambling, wasn't I?"
"Just a little. But you were incredibly cute while you were doing it."
"More like neurotic."
"You're not neurotic." Elphaba propped herself up on one elbow, taking Glinda's hand in her own. "Gorgeous, yes. Neurotic, no."
The corner of Glinda's mouth turned up. "You say the sweetest things sometimes. Like telling me I wasn't hurting you just a second ago."
Elphaba sighed. "Glinda."
"Just kidding." She giggled as she placed a kiss on the end of Elphie's nose. "But you have to promise you'll tell me if I do hurt you."
"You don't have to keep doing this if you don't want to."
"I'm not doing this because I think I have to." Glinda guided her back down on the bed. "I'm doing it because I love you."
"Oh," Elphaba grinned. "Well in that case have at it."
A smile spread across Glinda's face as she went back to rubbing her family's secret balm on the bruises marring her lover's side and shoulder. They didn't look as bad as they had when they got home from their adventure in the cave but she knew they were still tender. She almost asked Dena to take another look at them but her sister took care of Breena when she was hurt so why shouldn't she do the same thing for Elphie? She asked for the balm instead, surprising Elphie when she told her to strip down and get on the bed so she could tend to her.
There was a little bit of an ulterior motive to not asking her sister to examine her girlfriend though. Dena was a doctor and would never think of the green woman as anything other than a patient, but the thought of anyone seeing Elphie in nothing but her underwear bothered her. Not that she would stop her sister from taking care of her lover if there was some sort of an emergency, but taking care of healing bruises hardly classified as one. As a matter of fact it was more of an intimate situation. Something nice she wanted to do for the woman she loved.
And when it came to intimacy she wasn't about to share her Elphie with anyone.
The sound of Elphie's voice drew her out of her thoughts. "Huh?"
"I asked where you went." Elphaba repeated herself. "What had you so lost in thought?"
"Oh, uh..." Glinda scrambled to come up with something that would sound convincing. She couldn't tell her lover she was semi-jealous at the thought of her sister seeing her right now. Elphie would think she was being ridiculous.
She nearly jumped out of her skin when someone knocked on the door.
"Are you two decent in there?" Breena asked.
"Of course we are." Glinda cut Elphie off, wishing she could take the words back the instant they left her mouth. Her girlfriend had made it a point to keep the extent of her injuries from her sister for fear she would try to heal her.
"Glinda." Elphaba hissed, grabbing the sheet to try to cover herself as the door opened.
"Hey guys." Breena grinned as she came into the room, stopping in her tracks to stare up at the ceiling when she saw her sister on the bed with Glinda leaning over her. "I thought you said you were decent."
"We are." Glinda discretely handed Elphie the jar of balm as she stood up.
"Since when does being half naked classify as decent?"
"I'm not half naked." Elphaba argued as she slid the balm under the pillow beside her. "Did you need something?"
"Not really. I just had to get away from Addy for a minute so I thought I would come see what you two were doing."
"Are you arguing?" Glinda was instantly concerned.
"It was really more of a debate about whether or not I still need those stupid crutches." Breena answered. "I told her I didn't considering my leg is better but she thinks I should keep using them until it's completely healed."
"I hate to tell you this but what you call debates are arguments." Elphaba spoke as she grabbed Glinda's robe from the end of the bed and stood up to put it on. "And Addena's right. You should stay off that leg until it's healed."
Breena sighed. "I should have known you'd side with her."
"Yes, you should have considering she's right."
"Yeah well…" Breena's voice trailed off as she looked at her sister again. "What is that?!"
Glinda flinched at the tone of her voice, knowing they were in for it.
"What is what?" Elphaba played it cool as she started to tie the robe.
"On your side." Breena hurried over to her, batting her hands away to pull the robe open again.
"Bree!" Elphaba growled at her.
"Where did you get that bruise?" Breena gave her a quick once over. "And the one on your shoulder?"
"They're not as bad as they look." Glinda tried to help out.
Breena ignored her comment. "You got those in that damned cave didn't you? You've been hurt worse than you were letting on this whole time." She looked back and forth between the two of them. "Why didn't one of you say something?"
Glinda locked eyes with Elphaba, silently asking her what they should do.
"Is this because Addy said I couldn't do magic?"
"Yes." Elphaba finally found her voice again.
"So you've been walking around in pain… and don't try to tell me those don't hurt because I'm not buying it… for what, four days now?"
"I'm fine, Bree."
"You're black and blue Elly!"
Elphaba sighed. "You knew what I meant."
"You'll be fine when I'm done with you." Breena started to reach for her side.
"No." Elphaba grabbed her sister's wrist when she didn't listen to her. "I said no!"
"You're not doing this." Elphaba interrupted her.
"So she decided to come over here and drive you insane for a little while huh?" Addena grinned as she walked into the room. "Don't worry I'll…" Her grin disappeared when she caught sight of the Thropp sisters. "What's going on?"
"She's being stubborn." Breena answered.
"I'm being stubborn?" Was Elphaba's incredulous reply.
"Were you trying to heal her?" Addena looked at her girlfriend in disbelief.
"Of course I was." Breena retorted. "Have you seen her bruises?"
Glinda held up her hands. "Let's all just calm down."
"I can't believe you." Addena continued as if her sister hadn't spoken, marching across the room to pull Breena away from Elphaba. "I told you no magic!"
Breena pulled out of her grasp. "I'm more than strong enough to heal a couple of bruises."
"That's not the point."
"Then what is the point?"
"I don't need healed, Bree." Elphaba finally succeeded in tying the robe shut.
"No she doesn't." Addena cut her lover off. "If I thought for one second that Elphaba was in any kind of danger I would more than willingly let you do your thing. But she's not."
Breena clinched her jaw. "She's hurt. I can…"
"You almost died!" Addena yelled over her, shocking her into silence. "I don't think you realize just how lucky you are to be here at all! So excuse me if I want to be absolutely sure you're better before I turn you loose on the world again!" Tears suddenly filled her eyes.
"I'm sorry Addy." Breena pulled her into a hug.
Addena wrapped her arms around the witch. "I can't lose you, Bree. Not so soon after finding you." She cried against her chest.
"Shhh." Breena held her close. "I'm not going anywhere."
"Let's sit her down." Glinda led them the short distance to the couch.
"Can you loosen your grip just a little Addy?" Breena swallowed hard when she didn't get a response. "Never mind. You hold on as tight as you want." She somehow managed to sweep the doctor off her feet, settling her in her lap as she sat down.
Glinda sadly watched as her sister buried her head in the crook of Breena's neck. "Mom warned me this was coming." She lovingly rubbed Addena's back.
"She's been through a lot." Elphaba looked down at the pink robe. "And I look ridiculous. I'm just going to go change." She gestured toward the bathroom with her thumb before scampering in that direction.
"Don't cry, Addy." Breena tightened her grip on her girlfriend. "Please don't cry."
"It won't last long." Glinda assured her. "She's never been one to cry."
"Because it makes me feel like a wuss." Addena's response was muffled against Breena's skin.
"You're not a wuss." Breena tried her hardest but couldn't keep the laughter out of her voice.
"Want to try to say that again without laughing?" Addena sniffled as she pulled back to look at her.
"You're breath tickled." Breena brought one of her hands up to wipe tears from her lover's face. "I didn't mean to make you cry."
"You didn't." She leaned into the contact. "It was the whole situation with Eadlyn and almost losing you and Linny getting kidnapped and Elphaba being hurt."
"Life in general huh?"
The corner of Addena's mouth turned up. "You could say that."
"Sorry." Elphaba spoke as she reentered the room, fully clothed this time. "But pink fluffy robes and I don't get along too well." She went to sit on the arm of the couch behind Glinda, shocked to see Addena had started to calm down already.
"She's not as emotional as me." Glinda explained as she leaned back against her.
"I think she is." Breena contradicted her. "She just buries it under that tough exterior most of the time." She stared adoringly into Addena's blue eyes. "But it's bound to come out eventually."
"Which is fine by me as long as you're around to catch me when I fall." Addena cuddled closer again.
"That's so sweet." Glinda blinked back tears of her own, prompting Elphaba to put her arms around her as she placed a gentle kiss on top of her head.
"Am I interrupting something?" Ginny asked from her spot in the open doorway.
"Momsie." Glinda greeted her.
"No, you're not." Addena answered her question. "I was just having another of those breakdowns you so aptly predicted."
"I can see you're in good hands." Ginny grinned at Breena. "Both of you." She shifted her gaze to Elphaba who instantly turned a darker shade of green. "One of these days you won't blush every time I talk to you, right?"
"Right." Breena responded for her sister. "Just give her some time."
"So what brings you up here?" Glinda jumped back in, saving Elphie from further scrutiny. "I thought you were going to curl up in the library and unwind with a good book."
"I was, but I had a better idea."
"I know that tone." Addena shifted so she could see her. "What are you up to?"
"Nothing much." Ginny shrugged. "Just arranging a surprise for you girls. But I'll understand if you don't feel up to it right now."
"A surprise?" Glinda's face lit up as she tilted her head back to look at Elphie. "Her surprises are the best."
"They are pretty phenomenal." Addena started to get up. "We should check it out."
"Are you sure?" Breena held her in place. "I mean, just a second ago you were crying your eyes out."
"Linny told you that never lasts very long."
"She's right." Ginny agreed. "She's always been more of the strong silent type who keeps everything to herself."
Addena nodded. "That's why we're two peas in a pod."
"Hey." Breena frowned.
"It's all part of why I love you." Addena grinned as she gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"Well when you put it that way." Breena pulled her into a much steamier lip lock.
"Cut that out." Glinda playfully scolded them. "There will be plenty of time for that later."
"Sorry." Breena was all smiles as they parted. "I couldn't resist."
Addena blushed as she glanced at her mother, trying to gauge her reaction to what she'd just seen.
"You're almost as red as Elly is green." Breena teased.
"Shut up." Addena pinched her arm.
"Dena." Ginny chastised her.
"It's all right." Breena was still smiling as she let her girlfriend get up. "It lets me know she's feeling better."
"Then let's go see the surprise." Glinda stood before offering her lover her hand.
Elphaba murmured a, "Thanks," as she got up.
"It's just my mom, Elphie." Glinda linked their arms. "She doesn't bite."
Breena added, "And she didn't see you in that pink robe either."
"I bet you looked beautiful." Ginny tried to soothe the green girl's nerves. "Pink is very flattering with green."
Glinda squeezed Elphie's arm. "See. She thinks so too."
"Come on lazy bones." Addena pulled Bree into a standing position. "We'll go grab your crutches and..." She stopped when she felt her girlfriend tensing up. "All right, how about if we compromise? I won't mention the crutches again if you agree not to do magic until I give you the all clear. Unless it's an emergency." She clarified as Bree opened her mouth to protest.
"Deal." Breena put her arm around the doctor's shoulders, pulling her close. "I think we're ready now."
Ginny smiled. "Then follow me."
"What do you think it is?" Glinda asked her sister.
Addena raised her eyebrows. "It's hard to tell with Mom."
"She keeps you on your toes doesn't she?" Breena chuckled.
"You have no idea." Addena agreed.
Ginny looked over her shoulder at them. "I can hear you."
Elphaba grinned as the older woman winked at her.
They made their way downstairs and toward the french doors leading to the patio.
"Our surprise is outside?" Addena asked.
"You'll see." Ginny stopped with her hand on the door knob. "Are you ready?"
Glinda squirmed. "Yes."
"Are you sure?"
"Mom!" The younger blonde gestured impatiently with her free hand.
"She only does that because you get so excited." Addena told her.
"It's cute." Ginny smiled before Glinda could start to pout. "Now go see your surprise." She opened the door.
All four girls stepped outside to find a candle lit pathway leading to the gazebo that had been constructed in the backyard, which was now illuminated with several strings of small white lights.
"This is gorgeous." Glinda gushed as she dragged Elphie toward the gazebo with her. "Look, there's a table and dinner and is that music?" She turned toward her mother as she, Addena and Breena joined them. "It's perfect Momsie!"
"Mrs Upland this is..."
"Ginny, Elphaba. Mrs. Upland was my mother-in-law."
"Sorry... Ginny." Elphaba gave her a gentle smile. "This is breathtaking."
"Thank you." Ginny returned her smile.
"What made you think of doing something like this?" Addena stuck close to Breena's side as she drank in their surroundings.
"Well, your father had this gazebo built because it's all the rage this year. Not because it's romantic or would make a wonderful addition to the garden but because it would impress the people he invited to the wedding." She ran her hand over the rail. "He had already hired a team of men to tear it down once the ceremony was over. But I think it's pretty. So I've decided to keep it."
"Good for you, Ginny." Breena encouraged her.
Ginny's smile stayed in place. "I also wanted to do something nice for you girls. You've been through so much lately that it seemed appropriate to give you a chance to slow down and enjoy being together. And what better place to do that than here?" She gestured at the table. "So eat. Dance. Spend some much needed time alone together."
"Thanks Mom." Glinda let go of Elphaba to hug her mother.
"It's just what the doctor ordered." Addena teased as she joined the embrace.
Ginny held them close for a moment before pulling back to look at them. "My little girls." She gripped their hands.
"You could stay you know." Breena nodded toward the table. "There's more than enough food. And after we eat we could pop open a bottle of bubbly and really get the party started."
Ginny chuckled as she wiped at a tear meandering down her cheek. "I appreciate the offer but I arranged this for the four of you. I think I'll head to the library and unwind with that good book now."
"Are you sure?" Elphaba tried to persuade her. "We really wouldn't mind."
"I'm positive." Ginny walked over to the two witches. "Be good to my girls. They deserve the kind of happiness you two will bring them."
Elphaba caught Glinda's eye. "They make us pretty happy too."
"I know. That's what makes your relationships so beautiful." Ginny pulled them into a quick hug. "Stay as long as you want. And don't worry about cleaning up. Bernice said she would take care of it in the morning."
"You thought of everything." Glinda commented.
"That's what mother's do. Now if you'll excuse me."
She stopped when Breena called out to her. "Yes?"
"Thanks." Breena flashed her a brilliant smile. "For everything."
"I'm the one who should be thanking you, my dear."
With that Ginny walked away, taking a moment to stop and watch the girls once she reached the house. Elphaba and Glinda were sitting on one of the benches along the side of the gazebo, Glinda stroking a green cheek for a moment before leaning in to give Elphaba a gentle but lingering kiss. And Breena and Addena were holding each other so close it was hard to tell where one of them started and the other one ended, swaying in time to the music as they stared into each others eyes. Love and devotion. That was the only way to describe what you could almost physically feel radiating from the gazebo.
She was smiling as she went inside and shut the door.
AN: This seemed like a good place to end this one. My muse wants to turn this into a series if any of you are interested. Just let me know and I'll see what I can do about making her get to work on the next story. Thanks to all of you for reading this. And THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to the ones who take the time to review. I know I've said it before, but your kind words are food for the creative spirit.
Until next time...