Fiyero tapped his pencil in boredom, the rhythmic noise providing some relief from the sheer oppression of words and unimaginative figures being shoved down his throat. He surrendered the act of pretending to listen, now fully turning his attention to staring out the window at the students passing by. He continued tapping, soothed by its false activity. Why did school have to be so relentlessly uninteresting? His drumming unintentionally got louder in pace with his increasing boredom until suddenly his pencil was pulled from his hands.
"Hey!" he turned around in surprise, looking to see what vortex must have sucked his pencil into it only to face a very annoyed Elphie holding it. Oops.
"Do you mind? Some of us are trying to learn." He grinned, exasperating her. This was much better. Elphie was many things, but boring was never one of them.
He pouted, and she rolled her eyes. The window was now abandoned in favor of her. How could she find this stuff interesting? Yet clearly she did, and her three pages of notes compared to his half-hearted doodle could attest to.
He cocked his head to the side, trying to read what she'd written, but it was just as boring as when the professor had said it. His eyes wandered up to her face, which was much more interesting. She was such a mystery to him, a girl that didn't swoon over him, a studious girl that spent almost as much time with the headmistress as he did, a green-skinned girl that was somehow enormously attractive despite that seeming flaw. Was it her long hair, kept hidden from the world in its braid? Her sharp cheekbones? Her smooth lips? Her graceful neck? What was it about her?
She caught him staring, turning to hold his eyes for a moment. "What?"
Another grin, "Nothing." It was the eyes, passionate and fierce and sexy. Definitely the eyes.
At her glare, he turned to look away enough to dodge back under the radar. She hissed at him quietly, somehow simultaneously taking notes on a class she could only be half-listening to. "What is your problem?"
"I'm bored," he sighed. "Really, really bored."
"Well, you could try, I don't know, paying attention." She rolled her eyes. "Honestly, how can you expect to learn anything staring out the window?"
She'd noticed him? That drew a smile from him, which echoed in a frown on her face. As she huffed to turn away, he said flatteringly, "I pay attention to you. You can teach me later." She glared at him.
"Why don't you at least try listening?"
"I did. Really!" He added the latter at her incredulous look. With a sigh, he fell back to his failsafe plan, "See, the trouble with schools is, they always try to teach the wrong lessons."
"Nice try," she interrupted, "but I think the real trouble is you don't apply yourself." He faked a shocked look, and she whacked his arm. "Really, you're not that stupid."
"Thanks!" he interjected sarcastically, but she continued, undeterred.
"You're just lazy. You never work at anything. And don't give me that 'dancing through life' philosophy junk. You could be a great student if you applied yourself. Just look at how spectacular you are at being annoying, or getting in trouble, or organizing those Oz-forsaken dances. You have the potential, if you would really do something with that brain of yours."
"Well, you have the body to do something with, if you'd stop studying all the time." He winked at her, but she just sighed and turned away. "Okay, look, I'm sorry. I just don't find schoolwork interesting, just like you don't find dancing or anything else that involves people in any way interesting."
"That's not true. You know, not everyone is blessed with the obnoxious flock of adoring fans like you. When I'm surrounded by a crowd, they throw produce instead of panties. It's hardly an incentive to be social."
"Elphie, that's all in your head."
She glanced down at her skin, disbelief etched in her sarcastic word, "Right."
"Okay, look, let's make a deal. You can teach me something about whatever you want, and I'll teach you something about whatever I want. So you can make me learn whatever boring, intellectual thing you decide I should know, and I get to teach you whatever exciting, social skill I decide you should know. I'll promise to apply myself if you will, okay?"
She looked at him suspiciously. "You promise you'll try?" He nodded. "But in exchange I have to study whatever you say."
Only Elphaba could consider parties and dancing as studying. She hesitated, so he added, "Within reason."
Unfortunately, she was not one to let him off the hook that easily. "For example…"
He tried not to smile deviously, thinking of several things he'd love to teach her that unfortunately were still almost certainly out of bounds. "Well, I'm sure you guessed I'll probably want to teach you dancing first."
She spent a moment in quiet consideration. "Alright. I suppose I can sacrifice some of my free time for the sake of your education." He smirked. Leave it to Elphie to make it sound like she was doing him such a huge favor. "When do we start?"
"You can go first," he offered chivalrously. "When is good for you?"
"You're the one with the packed social calendar."
"You're at the top of the list. Pick whenever you want." He'd rather spend time being tortured by grammar rules with her than spend time doing anything without her. They set up a time, and she went back to paying attention to class. In a show of good faith, he tried to pay attention, too, only to find himself staring at the corner where there might potentially be a spider web.
His pencil percussion picked up where it left off until Elphie threatened, "If you tap that one more time…"
He set it down in truce, smiling mischievously as she turned back to class. She sighed in relief, returning her full attention to the professor. So then he was forced to tap it just to annoy her into talking to him again. Without even a sideways glance, she reached over and grabbed the pencil, snapping it in two. Gloating, she dropped the pieces back on his desk.
He waited a second before resuming his tapping happily. Now he just had two halves to drum with instead. This was going to be a great experiment.
AN: I remembered the pencil bit from wicked.witch.of.the.west.end's fantastic oneshot Tapping, and thought I'd borrow that little tic for Fiyero to adapt in the frame for this story. If you haven't read this oneshot, I highly recommend it. It's a quick read, and I still enjoy rereading it.