A/N: I think the summary is self-explanatory. I've wanted to do this one for a while! Hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: No own-o.
No One Lays a Lily
Soft grass fell away beneath bare feet. Sticks cracked as they were trod upon, loosening from the mud and rolling away soundlessly. A single figure made its way demurely up the hill.
Glinda winced as the sharp knob of a fallen branch pinched her foot. She supposed she ought to have known better; abandoning the path in favor of a less obvious route was sure to have its downsides. Still, the journey would have been impossible in heels, and Glinda hadn't yet mastered a summoning spell to bring her more practical attire. Thus, the gaudy shoes were hanging by their straps from the witch's fingers. It was difficult enough traipsing uphill in her voluminous dress with all the forest debris underfoot.
But Glinda was confident no one was watching her, and that was all she cared about at the moment. She did not want to be seen. Her necessary trip could have been achieved by bubble, but that would have been all too visible; besides, she welcomed the toil and the thinking time physical exercise allotted.
In truth, the last place she wanted to go was the very location she was approaching. She did not want the memories of the month before to overcome her, but she accepted it was something that must happen in order for her to gain any peace of mind. The knowledge that the gravesite of her best friend was atop the hill she was climbing was daunting, but it was also the only thing that spurred her on.
Kiamo Ko had been Elphaba in her prime. Of course, she may have also been at her wildest, until Glinda herself showed up, at least, but the "Wicked Witch" fit in with the grim surroundings even better than she had with the Emerald City. She had not been happy…but she could have been. Had she been given the chance, had her sister's shoes been passed on to her as they rightfully should have been, things might have turned out differently.
At least, Glinda forced herself to believe that. If she started thinking there was nothing she could have done to prevent Elphaba's downfall, she would be forgiving herself. And that was not what the blonde wanted to do. Whether she could have saved her green friend or not, Glinda was determined to punish herself.
Sighing with fatigue, Glinda impatiently whisked lank curls out of her face and peered upward. The sky was fast darkening. Initially, she had planned to walk back down the hill when she was through with her duties at the castle, but now she saw that, like it or not, she would have to use her bubble. Not even in her most self-loathing state would Glinda dream of walking in the forest alone at night, even on the path.
Chills crawled up the woman's arms just thinking about what might lurk in the ominously hushed woods, and she moved forward with a new determination.
Before long, the castle loomed up against the sky. It was dark and forbidding, but the appearance was not what frightened Glinda. What scared her most was the possibility of Elphaba's ghost haunting the site of her last stand. Trembling slightly now, she crept forward, anxious not to be seen. The sudden shriek of a crow to her left prompted her to jump and cower, then straighten indignantly, angry at herself for her fear.
The castle doors stood slightly ajar. Indeed, the hammerings of the mob guilty for Elphaba's incarceration had splintered the wood just enough to prevent the possibility of them closing completely. Glinda, as thin as she was, slid right through the crack, her skirt pressing obediently against her body and billowing out again afterward.
She stood blindly in the dark hall, her fingers clenched around her wand. The blackness pressed in around her, eliminating from her consciousness even the acknowledgement of a thin strip of fading light from the doorway behind her. She found herself unable to move, petrified.
A rustling in the stillness shocked her into action.
"Who's there?" she called, her voice echoing as she dropped her shoes to the stones with a light clatter and held her wand out in defense. "Who is it?"
She imagined she heard a faint cackle, but shook it out of her head and concentrated on the site of the noise.
"Please," she whispered, her boldness falling from her with surprising swiftness.
There was a sudden light to her right as a torch on the wall was lit. At first, she could not see who was responsible for the glow, but another torch lit on the opposite wall. Then shadows began to detach from the walls, flying throughout the hall before disappearing in the eaves.
"Are you ghosts?" Glinda asked. "Please, I mean no harm…"
A single shadow climbed its way down to the floor and alighted in a patch of torchlight. Glinda breathed as she recognized a Flying Monkey.
"Chistery?" she inquired in a small voice.
The Monkey did not reply, staring at her intently, but Glinda was certain she had guessed correctly. She gazed upward, but could not make out the other creatures. Yet she felt their eyes on her.
The Good Witch took a breath and looked away, her gaze drawn to the spot she had last seen her best friend. She approached it slowly, kneeling down. She sensed the other Monkeys creeping closer from the ceiling, but she knew they were simply curious about her actions and would not interrupt her.
"Elphaba…" The word escaped her mouth soundlessly, her lips sounding out the name. In anguish, she doubled over and let out a dry sob. All the tears she had to give had been shed already, in her bedroom in the Palace at night, or in snatched moments between busy meetings in her new role as Supreme Ruler of Oz. The tearless pain was worse.
For a minute or two, she allowed it to wash over her. Then she spoke, in hoarse tones that dissolved in the wide space.
"Elphie…I'm so sorry. I-I never really got to say goodbye. Or forgive you. Or tell you how much you meant to me. You…you were my best friend…and it's so hard living without you. I never meant to hurt you, or kill Nessarose…I never wanted to-to…" Her throat closed up, and tears she didn't know she possessed rolled down her cheeks. "I-I love you."
She waited, for a reply, for a sign. But nothing happened.
The blonde leapt to her feet, suddenly angry. "How could you?" she screamed, sending the Monkeys back into the rafters. "How could you leave me again? Whenever I needed you, you were always gone! How could you steal him from me? You knew I loved him. What kind of friend are you? Answer me!"
A ringing silence was the only answer, and Glinda collapsed on the floor in defeat and sudden weakness.
"I'm sorry," she murmured. "I didn't mean it. I miss you, Elphie."
It was only after a moment of shuddering breaths that she managed to drag herself to her feet and wipe the tears from her eyes. The Monkeys had cautiously returned to their lower perches. They watched as Glinda lifted her wand and gave it a wave over Elphaba's gravesite. A single lily appeared on the dirty floor; simple, yet effective. The flower was bright and beautiful against its drab backdrop, and because it was magic it would never wither or die.
Galinda remembered something one of the Ozians had said during Elphaba's death celebration.
No one lays a lily on their grave…
It was perfect, really. Elphaba had always been one for irony, something that used to annoy Glinda…but she now recalled the trait fondly.
Her task completed, Glinda stepped back.
"Goodbye, Elphaba," she murmured, before turning and making her way purposefully to the door.
As she drifted back to the Emerald City inside the safety of her bubble, Glinda felt as if a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She would never stop missing her friend, but Elphaba had been laid to rest and Glinda knew it was time to let her go.
"Because I knew you, I have been changed for good…"
A/N: Reviews are appreciated.