This is my first fic dealing with these characters (who of course do not belong to me) so be kind and review! Thanks!



Dorothy sat alone, pressed against the cold stone wall near the window, shivering. Slow tears rolled down her cheeks and she hugged her knees tighter to her chest. The sky outside hung low with gray, ominous clouds. A chill wind wandered around the tower, occasionally darting in to trouble her summer dress. Dorothy nervously glanced at the hourglass. It was half empty, and draining steadily. She bit her lip. A monkey twittered outside, up on the ramparts somewhere.

Footsteps sounded on the stairs outside. Strong, sure footsteps that she recognized. Biting her lip harder, she tried to tuck her feet farther under her skirts, hiding the glimmer of the sparkling ruby.

A massive key clattered in the iron lock, the door heaved open, and the Wicked Witch strode inside.

All the candles flickered at her entrance, and wind gushed in through the window. The Witch's cloak caught it and swept it up, causing it to billow behind her for a moment like a thundercloud. Dorothy cowered. As always, the Witch stood like a pillar, her figure like a blade, her dress dark as night, her pointed, sweeping-rimmed hat adding to her height and powerful presence. The Witch stopped just after passing the threshold, her black eyes falling upon the small girl in the corner.

Dorothy swallowed. Though she had seen this dreadful lady several times, she could never keep from staring at her angular, emerald face and long fingers. The moment she had seen her, she had thought: Ugh! She's the color of a frog! And she knew that someone with such repulsive skin must be evil.

The Witch's obsidian eyes narrowed, never leaving Dorothy's face.

"Are you really that afraid?" Her voice was low--still pinched and hard, but without the sarcastic edge that she was used to. Dorothy's brow twitched. She nodded once. The Witch arched a thick black eyebrow.

"And you're really not going to give me my sister's shoes, are you?"

Dorothy shuddered, but she bravely shook her head.

Suddenly, the Witch sighed. She stepped in and kicked the door shut with her heel, and it slammed. Dorothy jumped. The Witch reached the carven table, reached up and lifted her hat off her head. She held it in front of her for a moment, frowned, then set it down next to the trickling hourglass. She raised her hands again. She began pulling out the pins that kept her hair bound back in its severe bun, and abruptly, waist-length, shining, waving ebony tresses tumbled down around her shoulders. Then, purposefully, she waved her hand in front of her face three times.

"Eleka facadio," she whispered. For a moment, Dorothy wondered what she was doing--and then her mouth dropped open as she watched what was happening to the Wicked Witch.

The Witch's long, hooked nose shortened, until it was straight, cultured and elegant. Her eyelashes lengthened, her lips darkened and became fuller, her eyes brightened, and her face softened just enough to look youthful and still strong. Dorothy was stunned. The Witch was still green, but there could be no denying that now, she was beautiful.

The Witch's eyes met Dorothy again. Her mouth smiled crookedly.

"I'm lucky," she said quietly, her voice vibrant and rich. "That's the only spell I've found that goes both ways."

Dorothy gaped. The Witch glanced down, looking a bit wry, leaned her hip against the table and crossed her arms. She glanced up at Dorothy again, then suddenly chuckled. She looked away.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she muttered, covering her lips with her fingers. "You really don't have to be afraid. See that?" She pointed at the hourglass. "Did I ever tell you exactly what would happen when that hourglass drained?"

Dorothy stared at it, then swallowed hard.

"No," she managed.

"What will happen," the Witch sighed. "Is that your friends will arrive. And then I will leave Oz."

Dorothy jerked her head around. The Witch had turned and was now leaning back against the table, her eyes distant, her arms folded. Dorothy stayed very still. The Witch looked at her.

"You're still frightened of me," she said flatly. She turned away, lifting her chin. "Well, you should be. I'm the most powerful being in Oz--forget Glinda the Good Witch or even the Wizard." The Witch turned her black gaze back to Dorothy. "I could send you home like that." She snapped her fingers. Sparks flashed between her fingertips. Then she raised her eyebrows. "But," she sighed deeply, and her voice quieted. "I also bring devastation to the lives of anyone I try to help." She leaned away from the table and stepped silently toward Dorothy, until the Witch's shadow fell across her.

"That's why I'm not doing you any favors, Dorothy Gail."

And instead of whirling away and storming out of the room, or pronouncing some curse upon Dorothy's head, the Witch stepped to the side and sat down on the floor across from Dorothy, lifting her knees up to press against her own chest and wrapping her arms around them, mirroring Dorothy's posture.

Dorothy was stunned, unable to move or breathe. The Witch let out another deep breath, and her brow furrowed, as if she was searching for words.

"Why am I here?" Dorothy suddenly burst out, her voice shaking. "Why have you done all this?"

The Witch smiled again, faintly this time.

"Because I'm the only one who can get you home. Glinda cannot do it, and neither can the Wizard, really. But, given my history," she shrugged. "I could never be straightforward about it. I had to go about it in a roundabout way--and if that meant that you and all the rest of Oz think I'm wicked, well, whatever works."

Dorothy was bewildered, and it apparently showed on her face, because the Witch's expression grew earnest, and she leaned forward slightly. "I can't explain it all to you--there's not enough time." She shot a glance at the hourglass. "All I can do is give you instructions. If you do exactly what I say, you'll be back home before you can click your heels."

Dorothy's eyes flashed, but she could detect no malice or sarcasm in the Witch's tone.

"All right," she gasped. "I'm listening."

The Witch grew still, settled, and her eyes grew grave.

"You have to kill me."

Dorothy sat up.


"When your friends get here," the Witch glanced at the hourglass again. "Leave this room with them. I will, of course, find you before you pass the great doors, and send my soldiers after you. Run from them. You cannot escape anywhere else because this castle is circular. They will corner you. I will come forward, threaten you and taunt you, then catch my broom on fire and...light the scarecrow on fire." A deep shudder ran through the Witch's whole frame--a shudder that baffled Dorothy. The Witch briefly closed her eyes.

"Then," she went on forcefully. "You will throw a bucket of water on me...and I will


"You will?" Dorothy whispered. The Witch did not look at her, but nodded.

"Then you will return to the Emerald City amidst fanfare and ballyhoo." She waved her elegant hand. "And you will get home." Her gaze flashed up to meet Dorothy's again. She took a breath, then another. "Just promise me something, Dorothy. When I light your scarecrow on fire, please put it out." Her hand fluttered toward Dorothy and grasped her wrist in a warm, desperate hold. Dorothy was too shocked to shy away, but the Witch remembered herself almost instantly and drew her hand back. Her eyes shone. "Please. Water will be nearby. Put his fire out...and set me free. Promise me."

Dorothy hesitated. The Witch leaned even closer.

"You must do this. If you don't...there is no possible way for me to let you out of this castle. Promise me."

"I promise," Dorothy whispered, trembling. The Witch watched her for just another moment, then rose to her feet.

"Let me see those shoes."

Panic shot through Dorothy's chest, but as she looked up at the Witch, all she saw there was weariness and resignation. Slowly, Dorothy slid her feet out from under her skirt. The bright shoes glittered in the dim light. The Witch raised an arm and pointed swiftly at the shoes, straightening her shoulders and back.

"Eleka transportioso."

Dorothy's feet suddenly felt as if they were on fire. She jerked back, and almost cried out--

The sensation stopped. She gasped, the tension in her shoulders releasing. The Witch dropped her hand.

"Just in case," she said quietly. Dorothy frowned, not knowing what she meant--but somehow realizing that the spell was not evil.

"Why are you doing this for me?" Dorothy murmured. The Witch smirked, but it was good-natured.

"Because you remind me of someone I once knew: silly and misguided, but still good."

Neither could say any more, for different footsteps resounded against the stones outside. Someone pounded on the door. The Witch instantly raised her hand over her face, as if to perform the spell that would make her ugly again.


The cry penetrated the door. The Witch's eyes blazed with surprise and she halfway turned, her hand lowering.

"Elphie, I know you're in there--your raggedy broom is right outside the door."

The Witch glanced back at Dorothy, then at the hourglass, then back at Dorothy.

"I will see you soon?" the Witch asked quietly. Dorothy's mind reeled, but she tightened her jaw and nodded a single time. Taking up her hat, the Witch settled it back on her head, opened the door and stepped out. For just an instant, Dorothy caught sight of the hem of a sparkling rose-colored dress before the heavy door slammed shut.

Taking a deep breath, trying to brace herself and gather her thoughts, Dorothy tucked her feet back under her skirt and fixed her eyes once again on the hourglass. But this time, she was no longer crying.