Disclaimer: Wicked and all its accompanying everythings are the creation and property of Gregory Maguire.
Failed Oz, failed the Resistance, failed herself, failed everybody and everything.
Damn Madame Teastane and damn her Female Seminary!
She should go back to headquarters, Elphaba knew. But they'd all know by now, that it was because of Fae that the campaign had fizzled into nothingness. She couldn't face that, not now. Tomorrow, perhaps.
Where to go? Not directly home—the Gale Force was still out and about. They might be waiting for her there. So where else…Fiyero's club! It would cause too great a scene if the Gale Force came stomping into a hotel and ransacked the place for a single woman. So the Saperket Club it was, then.
The building was classic Emerald City: perhaps twenty stories, full of moldings and statues and cornices, and very green; overdressed citizens were coming in and out, laughing obliviously. Inside, it was an over-warm hubbub of Lurlinemas decorations and perfume and pipe smoke. A few little dogs yapping around their owners' high heels.
Elphaba approached the front desk. "Excuse me," she said.
The receptionist, an impatient-looking woman with a sprig of Lurlinemas berries stuck in her frizzy hair, glanced up.
"Can you tell me in which room a Master Fiyero Tiggular is staying? I'm a friend," she explained.
"Hold it." The clerk consulted a list. "Room 1525. Thirteenth floor. Merry Lurlinemas."
Elphaba didn't bother to thank her. She wouldn't remember or care, and right now Elphaba had too much on her mind. There seemed to be a masquerade party going on in one of the ballrooms, so her dirty clothes and green skin attracted little attention as she plodded up thirteen flights of stairs to 1525.
The door was locked, but no matter. She picked it in a matter of moments, and swung the door gently open. "Yero?" she called softly. But she could sense that there was nobody there.
Well, she'd known Fiyero wouldn't just stay here in a cold bath, company or no. But the light was on, and the room seemed only recently deserted. So perhaps he'd stepped out for a moment.
Suddenly, she was too tired to care. She struggled out of her cold, filthy clothes, crawled into the bed, and was asleep in a matter of moments.
Fiyero stalked her, in his mind. Love makes hunters of us all, and distance is no object.
He'd wanted to follow her. So much, he'd wanted to see Elphaba have her moment of glory, however small. And he wanted to be there when the Wizard died. And he wanted to be with Elphaba, period.
But he came to his senses, and didn't follow her. Instead, he followed her instructions and stayed in his room, pacing the length of it for a hundred agitated hours—or was it forty-five minutes? In his mind, he trailed her through the city. Her boots clomped through the snow, she stared straight ahead, seeming to spear the night with that beautiful hatchet of a face. She reached her goal. Did whatever she had to do (his imagination provided him richly, too much so). Follow her again, to the Palace, maybe? Where the Wizard—
It was too much. It wasn't enough to think, he had to see. To hell with Elphie's reaction; he had to be there. He put his coat on and left the room, not even bothering to turn out the lights.
He'd never been in the Emerald City for Lurlinemas before, and it was beautiful. If anything had happened, nobody around here seemed to know. There were all blissfully tramping through their brainless little lives—no, that was unfair. He was worried, that was all.
As he walked nearer the Palace, he could see no sign of anything wrong. Was he too early? Too late? In the wrong place?
Yes, you're in the wrong place, whispered his mind. If anything is about to happen, you're going to interfere. Now get the hell back to your gilded cage.
"Sir! What are you doing here?"
"I'm just walking," he replied honestly. "I didn't think there was anything wrong with that."
The guard stared at him suspiciously, and shone his light even more strongly into Fiyero's eyes.
"I'm just walking," Fiyero repeated.
"Fine," the guard replied grumpily. "But don't you let me catch you 'just walking' this way again."
No 'merry Lurlinemas' for him, that was sure.
But the appearance of the Gale Forcer backed up the warning of Fiyero's mind, and he obeyed its call and returned to his club. He would wait, now, and tomorrow go to Elphie's flat and wish her simply good day (no mention of Lurlinemas) and give her his present (because he hadn't been able to resist).
Odd, he thought as he reached his room. The door was slightly ajar. Even in his hurry, he thought he'd closed, even locked it. Apparently not.
Or maybe he had.
His heart caught—there was somebody in his bed. His heart melted—it was Elphaba.
She was curled up under the heavy quilts, sleeping heavily, leaving only the top part of her face visible.
Smiling, Fiyero shut and locked the door. Quietly, so as not to wake her, he slipped out of his clothes and climbed into bed next to her. In the corn exchange Elphaba had always seemed like the clandestine lover that she was. But here, in a normal bed in a normal room, she felt, well, normal. Like a wife.
For one glorious, tantalizing moment he allowed himself to pretend that Elphaba was his wife.
But as he put his arm around her she woke, and stared at him in drowsy surprise.
"You surprised me too," he whispered into her ear. "What happened?"
She sighed, and confessed the whole story.
"It wasn't your fault," he said when she was done. "What could you have done? Killed those girls?"
"Some would have."
"But not you. Because you know what's right."
She laughed hollowly. "Me? Right? You're off, dear, I lost all sense of 'right' long ago, when I started doing this."
"Don't try to fool yourself. You know as well as I that you do have a conscience, and however you try to protest, you do have a soul. It shows in you."
She was silent.
"I'll tell you what," he decided. "You probably haven't eaten all day. I'll order up a complete Lurlinemas dinner and we'll have our own non-Lurline-related celebration."
"I don't eat Animal."
"I checked specifically, and they don't kill Animals here. Besides, there's plenty of food that has no meat."
"Fine. If you must."
"Party, sir?" said the girl who brought the food.
"Of sorts," he replied, tipping her. "Merry Lurlinemas."
Elphaba eyed the platter hungrily. "Even if that were Turkey I might still be tempted." She walked over to the table and took a finger full of the gravy. "Mm."
"Elphaba!" Fiyero laughed.
"Oh, Yero, it's only us."
"Be that as it may…oh, you're right." He did the same. "This is good."
They continued taking bits of food, occasionally looking up at each other and laughing like a pair of kids.
"I think this is enough," Fiyero said when the turkey was looking decidedly pockmarked. "Why don't we just sit down and eat normally?"
"Because I don't feel like putting on my cold and dampish clothes again, and no way am I putting my naked ass on a chair where goodness knows how many other naked asses have contaminated the absorbent wood."
"You can borrow something of mine."
"And is that choice more sanitary," she muttered good-naturedly as she found a shirt long enough to serve.
"You should wear short dresses more often," he observed.
"Oh, silence. Where are the plates?"
He handed one to her, and she filled it.
"I decided what we can be celebrating," she said through a full mouth. "Food."
"Speaking of non-Lurlinemas," he said when neither could eat any more, "I have a present for you."
"It isn't jewelry, is it?" She was kidding him.
"I know you better than that, Fae." He dragged a heavy box from the closet and gave it to her.
Elphaba's face glowed as she extracted the books. "Thank you…"
"I want to get you jewelry," he confessed. "I wish I could give you a diamond ring…"
She turned abruptly back to the box, and he saw her shoulders tremble and barely hear d her choked, muffled response: "Me too."
Don't wish, don't start…wishing only wounds the heart…
"Look," she said thickly after a long, painful minute. "Neither of us heard or said anything." She stood up and smiled at him. "Thank you so much." For the books, for the food, for everything.
"Thank you. This is the best Lurlinemas of my life."
"I never had Lurlinemas, even as a child," she said. "But if I had, this would still be the best. Come to bed?"
He kissed her. "Of course."
And he turned off the light and they made their own.
"You don't have to give me diamonds in a ring," she murmured later. She ran a hand over his tattooed face. "You're the best present you could give me."
There really ought to be a 'fluff' category…