The large and heavy Gale Force boots are a force themselves to be reckoned with. The stiff black leather gleams when polished (admittedly, very rarely). They are strong shoes. They are respectable and honorable shoes. They are fearless shoes.

They are everything he is not.

He watches his fiancée speak to the crowd, a crowd of happy, careless people celebrating their engagement. A celebration, indeed. He listens, indignantly, to those rumors—shed her skin? Extra eye? It shouldn't matter. It doesn't matter. He has no business defending, protecting, or even searching for her. There shouldn't be a roaring beast in his chest as Morrible dismisses the very reason for his being, the only reason he can make it through the day in one piece, with a mere sweep of her hand.
There shouldn't be a million thoughts of what if and I wish swirling in his head, not when he can't even speak up for himself.

He hurries off the platform. A coward cannot do many things, but he is very good at running.

--

The glinting silver sequins of her slippers bring tears to her eyes when no one is looking. They remind her of the lights that night at the Ozdust, her one perfect night. Or so she likes to remind herself. She hadn't been as oblivious as it may have seemed; no, she had seen how his gaze had followed the blonde princess through the crowd. She knew that he would rather be following her than dishing out pity to the poor little cripple girl. But she also remembers the sincerity in his smile when he had spun her around in her chair, making her feel normal and alive for a few minutes.

She had made her decision when she had changed that law—no, when she had crumpled at his door during graduation and begged him to come back to Munchkinland with her. Her tears and pleads of dependency had caused him to stash his dreams of the city. That meant that he cared, didn't it? Shouldn't it?
She gazes at her feet. If he didn't care, he should have made it known. Had she seemed so breakable? Well, she wasn't. But she might be, now.

Sometimes, Boq would come into her room in his silver suit, and it is only her desperation that lingers, following his every move. It is only her desperation that makes sense, now.

--

The toe of her left boot is tearing. The cloth is shredded, and she can even see a bit of green poking through. She believes it may have been from the scuffle on the rough brick road. She is glad she has this one clear thought, for the rest of her head is in a haze. The ability to think properly had stayed behind in that bloody cornfield, while she had risen up up up in the sky and just let the winds carry her.

After all, what use is anything when everything else is gone?

She manages a single, conclusive notion before she drifts off to sleep.
She is not a tragic tale of failed love, friendship, or family. She is simply a boot that has been through many, many scuffles and cannot be sewn back together.

--

The cute little shoes that match her outfit perfectly clink when she walks.

She stares at them when she stands in her bubble before floating out to greet the waiting crowd with false tales and weak smiles.
She remembers the day she bought them, in a vain search for a new wardrobe for Elphie. Of course, when she tried to persuade her to wear them, the stubborn girl had chucked them at the wall. The dent is probably still there, and she knows she'll be canceling appointments tomorrow in favor of a dorm inspection at Shiz.

The tears gather, and she tilts her chin up to hold them back. There will be other times for tears.
She glances at the stupid book she is holding. There will be other times for mourning, other times to remember how things used to be.

Before she gives herself over to the people, she carefully arranges her skirts over her shoes. That, she will keep.