So, this is the last chapter. It's been a great ride and a full year. It's actually making me kind of sad that I'm through with this because I've worked on it for so long. But, all good things must come to an end eventually. I'll still be around, working on Twisted Fates, and there'll be a new story popping up in the next couple of months. It's going to be more intense and will thus earn a higher rating. But, be on the lookout for it if you're interested. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this last chapter, and don't forget to review! I love all of you guys. And, I have one last shout-out to my wonderful betas, Tiggy and HCO. These two are the best and have helped me so much with this. I love you guys! So, enjoy!
Glinda staggered down the hallway, leaning heavily on Boq for support. Gabriel had disappeared, probably to make sure that none of the celebrations would get out of control. Glinda had barely managed to escape the revelry, but with Boq smoothly making excuses for her and her promises to attend the feast that evening, she had procured a few hours to recover enough to at least pretend that she was happy.
"Well, here we are," Boq said quietly as he opened the door for her.
Glinda sighed, "You don't have to go back out there."
"People will ask too many questions if we both disappear," he replied with a tired smile. "I'll be fine. Someone will come and get you for the feast."
"Thank you," she whispered, tears forming in her eyes.
Boq rubbed her arm soothingly and walked off as she hurried into her room, her sobs choking her as she clung to the nearest piece of furniture. She steadied herself for a moment, and as she looked up to make her way to her bed, her eyes caught on Elphaba standing in the corner.
"What…but, how…Elphie…" Glinda struggled to speak as Elphaba moved towards her.
"I can explain everything, Glinda," Elphaba said in a low voice, giving Glinda a concerned look.
Glinda started to giggle uncontrollably, tears still streaming down her face, as she walked to Elphaba; suddenly, she slapped Elphaba as hard as she could before her knees buckled and she fell to the ground, gasping for breath.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Glinda asked brokenly as Elphaba knelt down beside her.
"I'm sorry," Elphaba whispered, placing a gentle hand on Glinda's back. "This wasn't exactly planned in advance."
Glinda looked up, blinking in confusion, "What do you mean?"
Elphaba smiled sadly, "Gabriel was the only one who knew anything. By the time I decided not to go through with it, we barely had enough time to come up with an alternative, much less to tell you."
"That's not an excuse," Glinda snapped, her eyes narrowing as her anger grew. "You should have come to me first. I would have helped you."
"You don't understand," Elphaba replied quietly, a pained expression on her face. "What I had to do…I couldn't ask you to help me."
"What did you do, Elphie?" Glinda pressed as Elphaba took a shuddering breath.
"I needed someone to take my place," Elphaba murmured, her gaze growing distant. "And, since there aren't exactly volunteers lining up to die in my place, I didn't have a lot of options. I…I, well, you have to understand I had no choice, so…I killed Morrible."
"What? But, how?" Glinda asked in shock, recoiling from Elphaba.
Elphaba got up and walked across the room, wrapping her arms around her chest, "I used an illusion to make her look like me, so that any of her actions would look like something I would do in the same situation. I also took away her ability to speak. It was a complicated spell, and I was worried that it wouldn't work. Luckily, it did. Gabriel swapped us out a few minutes before the execution, and while everyone was distracted with what was going on outside the palace, I snuck up here to see you again. The thing is…I couldn't keep her from feeling the pain."
"How could you?" Glinda yelled. "She was my prisoner. You had no right!"
"I didn't have another choice," Elphaba repeated as she bowed her head in shame.
"You should have come to me. I could have helped you or done something, but you had no right to go over my head and make a decision about one of my prisoners," Glinda spat out as she paced angrily. "Yet again, I've been put into a ridiculous situation because you don't see fit to include me in your plans. You could at least have the decency to tell me what is going to happen instead of waiting until after the fact and disappearing so that I have to clean up whatever mess you've made. I'm tired of it, Elphaba! Just, I don't want to deal with it anymore. I'm tired of all your schemes, everything."
Elphaba gave her a bitter smile, "Then I guess now would not be a good time to tell you this, but I feel like you do have a right to know about everything that has happened."
"What do you mean?" Glinda asked, her voice dangerously quiet.
"I was the one who threw that rock through your window," Elphaba replied, biting her lip before continuing. "I had been hearing news where I was hiding about the unrest that was growing in Oz, and I was worried that the situation would escalate before you could do anything to stop it. And, I knew that you would have to feel threatened in your position before you would let me interfere in anything. So, I threw the rock in the hopes that it would be enough to push you over the edge."
Glinda paused for a moment before exploding, "What? How could you? Not only did you manipulate me during this whole ordeal, but the reason behind it was contrived? Do you really have to be involved in every little thing that you have to control me? You couldn't even come to me, even though I'm your best friend! How am I supposed to trust you anymore? When will this end?"
"Glinda, just stop," Elphaba interrupted her, her eyes flashing. "I do not need to be involved in everything that happens in Oz, especially as the Wicked Witch of the West. I was trying to help you, Glinda, because things like this can be so unpredictable. The way you were going, there was no way that you would be able to prevent mass riots or even a revolution. The Gale Force is not a capable force to control an entire country. So, I did the best I could. I knew you wouldn't agree to it if I actually asked you to do it. I did what I needed to do for you. And, it is over. I'm done with Oz and with all its troubles. I'm leaving, and, yes, you'll have to figure out how to explain Morrible's death. I'm sorry. There, you have your damned apology!"
"If you knew me at all, then you would know that I can handle a lot more than you think I can!" Glinda shouted back. "I don't want your apologies! I wanted your trust, to work with you. But, no. And, why couldn't you just stick to the plan you made me follow? Did you finally get selfish enough to care more about yourself than anyone else?"
"That's not why," Elphaba said quietly.
"Then what was the so important reason that you could not allow yourself to be executed?" Glinda snarled.
"Are you really going to be upset with me that I'm still alive?" Elphaba asked incredulously.
"Answer the question," Glinda demanded, placing her hands on her hips.
Elphaba sighed and mumbled, "I'm pregnant."
"What?" Glinda gasped after a moment before words just started spilling out of her mouth. "Who's the father? Elphie, how could you?"
"Just, wait," Elphaba said quickly, cutting Glinda off. "Fiyero is the father. He doesn't know yet because I just figured it out this morning. I…I found a spell to change him back a couple of months ago. That was the reason I kind of disappeared for a while. I guess I didn't think about the possibility of getting pregnant so soon."
"You found a way to change Fiyero back?" Glinda asked, her anger rising again. "Was this something else you were never going to tell me about? How many secrets have you kept from me? Elphie…"
"I have it right here," Elphaba replied, ending Glinda's constant stream of questions as she pulled out a folded-up piece of paper. "I was going to give it you earlier, but I decided to wait."
Glinda took the paper excitedly, unfolding it and surveying the foreign words as Elphaba spoke, "There is something you need to know. I don't fully understand the entire spell, even though I've spent some time studying it. I mean, it works, but I don't really know how much power is required to make it successful."
"What are you talking about?" Glinda questioned, her shoulders slumping in disappointment. "Are you saying that you don't think I have enough power to make it work?"
Elphaba sighed as she tried to come up with an answer, "That wasn't exactly what I meant. I was desperate for something to work, and I think that may have affected the spell in some way. I'm not sure. I just didn't want you to be disappointed if it doesn't work like you think it should."
"Do you think I can do it?" Glinda whispered as she looked back down at the spell.
"Of course," Elphaba replied with a slight smile. "I was just…forget it."
Glinda tucked the paper away and said, "Now, do you have any suggestions about how I can explain Morrible's sudden disappearance?"
"Are you not mad about that now?" Elphaba asked, exasperated.
"I guess it was kind of stupid to get mad at you when you didn't really have a choice, and it wasn't like Morrible didn't deserve to die," Glinda admitted with a sheepish grin. "So, what should I do?"
"Create an illusion of Morrible's body," Elphaba replied. "Then, bury an empty coffin. It shouldn't be too difficult, especially since Gabriel is already in on the secret."
Glinda paused for a moment before voicing the thought that had been floating around in her mind the past few minutes, "Where are you going to go?"
Elphaba bit her lip, "I don't know, and even if I did, you know I couldn't tell you."
"Do you really have to keep it a secret from me? You can trust me," Glinda said in a pleading voice.
"It's not a matter of trust, Glinda," Elphaba told her quietly. "You know that. I just can't put you in that kind of danger."
"All right. If it has to be that way," Glinda whispered as she bowed her head. "You should probably go. I don't know if anyone will try to come and check on me."
Tears formed in Elphaba's eyes as she nodded her head in agreement. Hesitating, Glinda started to speak, but she just hugged Elphaba fiercely, burying her face into her friend's shoulder as she cried quietly.
"You're going to be all right, Glinda," Elphaba whispered, her lips trembling as she tried to smile. "I promise."
Pulling herself reluctantly from Elphaba's arms, Glinda walked over to her closet and pulled out the large box she had hidden inside it. She wordlessly opened the box, handing Elphaba her cloak and hat before retrieving the witch's broom from under her bed.
Elphaba took the items quickly, donning the hat and cloak as she said, "I'll leave the Grimmerie at Kiamo Ko for you. I don't know what Chistery will want to do. Glinda, promise me that you'll take care of yourself."
"Only if you will," Glinda replied, squeezing Elphaba's hand. "Maybe one day…"
"Maybe," Elphaba agreed in a soft voice.
Glinda smiled even as tears ran down her cheeks, and Elphaba offered her a small smile before turning to the window and mounting her broom. Squaring her shoulders, Elphaba took off into the sky, careful to go as high as she could before turning her broom to the west. Glinda watched as she disappeared into the distance and eventually closed the window, a slight grin on her face as she dried her tears.
Fiyero curled up into a corner, his face in his hands as he counted through the days that had passed by. There were only two left before he could leave, and he could only hope that nothing would have happened to her before he could get to her. He didn't even want to think about life without her…. He looked up as the door started to open. But, it had only been five days. He couldn't have miscalculated something so simple, and…
"Elphaba," he breathed as she looked at him from the doorway.
Her mouth twisted into a slight smile as she stumbled towards him, "Fiyero, I'm so sorry!"
As she ran into his arms, Fiyero rushed to her and wrapped his arms around her, kissing any part of her his lips could land on. She clung to him, tears streaming down her cheeks as she kissed him fiercely.
"I'm so sorry," she whispered. "I'm so sorry."
She kept repeating herself as he attempted to comfort her by pressing kisses to her forehead and smoothing her hair.
Finally, he cupped her face in his hands gently and asked, "Why?"
"I…I left," she said softly, her gaze falling to the floor. "And, Fiyero, I did…something horrible. Wicked."
He flinched at her last word and shook his head, "It doesn't matter. You're here now."
"But, it does matter," she protested, pulling out of his embrace.
"Fae, I don't care if you killed someone," he replied, growing confused as she started to cry. He panicked slightly, but quickly wrapped his arms around her, "What happened?"
"Someone had to take my place," she murmured as she choked back a sob. "I killed Morrible in order to escape."
"Oh, Fae," he whispered, pressing a kiss to her forehead. "It's all right. I promise. It doesn't matter now."
She pulled herself out of his arms reluctantly as she said, "I actually have something else to tell you."
"What is it?" he pressed gently as she took a steadying breath, her eyes fixating on the floor.
"I'm pregnant," she told him in such a quiet voice that he almost didn't hear her.
Staring at her incredulously, he swallowed hard as she turned away from him, her tears flowing freely down her cheeks. He quickly moved behind her so that he could embrace her shuddering body.
"I'm so sorry," she whispered.
He tightened his arms around her waist, 'No. Please, don't apologize. This is wonderful, Fae."
"I…I almost went through with everything even after I knew,' she replied, her voice emotionless. "I couldn't bring myself to do it,though. I don't even want this child, but I couldn't be responsible for killing it. I'm so selfish."
Rocking her gently, he said fiercely, "No. You're not selfish. You nearly gave your life for the sake of Oz. And, I can't say that I actually care if your actions were selfish or not. I wanted nothing more than to have you come back to me at any cost."
"I don't even know if I could have convinced myself to actually do it,' she murmured as he kissed her palm. "All I could think about was you. So, I became a murderer. How is that not selfish?"
He shifted his body so that he could face her and replied, "You did what you could, Fae. It might not have been ideal, and some might not even think of it as right, but it was the best solution possible. Morrible should have been executed a long time ago for all of her crimes anyway."
"But…" she started to protest, but he cut her off.
"No, I want you to understand," he insisted.
She met his gaze reluctantly, "All right."
He could see that she still didn't believe him, but he just sighed rather than pushing the issue. There would be more time later for him to convince her that he was right.
"That will do for now," he muttered, pulling her into a kiss.
She kissed him back with an eager desperation, her wandering hands pulling a groan from deep within his throat. Grinning, he trailed kisses down her neck, and she pressed herself more insistently against his body as she moaned quietly. He ached for her, his mind dizzy with his relief, happiness, and desire, and his fingers undid the fastenings of her dress as quickly as he could. When he pushed the clothing off her body, he pulled back for a few moments and placed his hands gently on her stomach.
She smiled, "You're not going to feel anything, Yero. It's too early."
He just shook his head and pressed a kiss to her smooth skin before allowing his hands to slide upwards to cup her breasts. As his mouth joined his fingers, her head fell back, her hands travelling to the waistband of his pants and unbuttoning them before ripping his shirt off his body. She helped him struggle out of the confines of his pants, and he pressed his body to hers, both of them moaning at the sensation of the contact of their bare skin. Pulling her up against his chest, he pushed into her body and gently started to move inside her as she gripped his shoulders tightly. She urged him to go faster, her back arching into him; he kissed her passionately as he felt her muscles tightening around him, and within moments, he let go, their bodies catching together and falling through that heady moment. He braced himself above her for a moment, studying every single one of her beautiful features as she blushed slightly. Sensing that he was making her slightly uncomfortable, he eased himself down to her side and pulled her into his arms as she rested her head on his shoulder. They laid in the quiet for a while as he played lazily with her long hair, and she traced light patterns on his stomach.
"We probably need to leave soon," Fiyero murmured as she shifted against his side.
Sighing, she sat up and surveyed their clothes that had been scattered across the floor only a few minutes earlier.
"Are you sure?" she asked with a smirk as she ran her fingers down his chest.
He caught her hand and kissed it as he sat up, "Unfortunately, yes. Glinda's going to come here as soon as she can, and it would probably be for the best if we aren't here when she does."
She stood and began to gather her clothes up, throwing him his shirt and pants. Catching them, he pulled the garments on quickly as she slipped her dress over her head. He wandered over to her and kissing her neck, he buttoned her dress up, giving her one last kiss on her cheek as she looked back at him.
"Do you know where we're going?" she asked as she moved to the door.
"South?" he offered with a shrug of his shoulders.
"A direction is a start," she called over her shoulder, wandering up the stairs to her study.
He answered with something, but she couldn't understand what he said. Shaking her head, she decided to ask him about it after she had gathered her things together. She found her favorite knapsack and filled it with a few spellbooks and the portions of the Grimmerie she had managed to copy. Fiyero would think about getting the food, so she didn't worry about finding any other supplies. She grabbed a couple of dresses and folding them up, stuffed them into her bag. Chistery appeared in the window as she finished packing, and she grinned at him.
"Hey," she said softly as he left the window to perch on the table.
"Elphaba leaving?" he asked, his eyes falling on the bag.
"Do you want to come?" she replied as she hoisted the pack onto her shoulders.
Chistery nodded his head eagerly and she smiled.
"Well, come on," she said, holding out her hand for him.
"Fae, are you about ready?" Fiyero yelled up the stairs.
"I'm coming," she called back to him as she and Chistery wandered down to the kitchens. She smiled at the sight of Fiyero raiding the cupboards. "I thought I would find you here."
"Did you really expect to go on a long journey without proper supplies?" he asked, raising his eyebrows. "He's coming with us?"
"Yes," she replied simply, kissing Fiyero on the cheek and pulling a few loaves of bread out of the nearest open cupboard. "Do we have enough?"
"I think so," he said, closing his own pack. "Are you ready to go?"
She sighed, "As ready as I'll ever be. So, lead the way."
He took her hand and said, "We're going to make it this time. I promise."
"I know," she told him simply, intertwining her fingers with his.
With a slight smile, Fiyero gave her hand a gentle tug and led her after him.
"Oh, I have my broom," she suggested slyly as they left the castle.
"No," he replied quickly with a firm shake of his head.
"But, Yero, it will be so much faster," she pleaded with him.
Sighing in defeat, he groaned, "Fine. You're responsible for anything that happens to me, though."
She laughed as he climbed onto the slender broom handle behind her and as she took off into the sky, he wrapped his arms tightly around her waist, Chistery following closely behind them. With a cackle, she leaned over the broom and took it higher and faster towards the horizon until the western sky had swallowed them into its embrace.