A/N: to my defense I'll just say, it's been ages since I've written anything Wicked-related, so don't be too harsh on me. This is an idea that's been out there for a while but I've never gotten around to actually sit and write it. It's not planned to be a oneshot, but we'll see how it goes. Reviews will be uber nice, too :)
Not That Girl…?
Not That Girl…?
She stood there, rooted to place, staring. She wasn't quite sure what had just happened. One moment she was furious, enraged, and the next… it was as if all hell had gone loose. But she didn't do anything, did she? She was just thinking, she didn't mean to do anything. What was that thing? Couldn't she even think something without causing any trouble?
She stared at the chaos that had been the silent classroom not too long ago, but it was as if she was the only one who was able to do so. The rest of them seemed deep in some sort of a trance, their eyes unseeing, their legs unmoving, their lips mumbling incoherently. It was almost as if something, someone, was controlling them.
The question, hasty and somewhat panicked, came from beside her. She knew his voice before she tore her eyes from the spectacle in front of her and forces herself to look at him. His eyes were wild, as if he, too, couldn't understand what was going on. "I don't know, I got mad…" Mad, indeed. This was madness. There had to be a way to fix this, to bring things back to normal, to –
"Alright, just… don't move!" he commanded. Then, as an afterthought, he raised his hands defensively. "And don't get mad at me."
But she didn't have a chance to question his last statement. She stared at him as he advanced towards the professor's desk and snatched the cage that was still there, a dark curtain still draped over it. No one noticed him, or tried to stop him. They were in a world of their own, still trapped within some sort of a magic.
Magic, don't be ridicu –
"Well, are you coming?" he asked, looking at her urgently. She shook her head, sending every other thought away. Now that they were given a chance to work, they must hurry. She nodded once, and he dashed out of the classroom with her following suit.
It was easy to guess where he was headed; she knew the place well. She was sure no one else had frequented the little grove at the edge of the campus' ground except for her. Well, she was obviously wrong, because he clearly knew his way around. They were still running, with him on the lead, farther and farther into the trees. The sun disappeared among the treetops as twilight slowly fell, and it was getting darker the farthest they went.
Her pulse was pounding against her temples. She was getting more and more breathless. She wished he would just stop! He was faster than her, especially since she had on the stupid skirt Galinda had convinced her to borrow that morning. It kept tangling with the high vegetation. She caught sight of his back and her fury rose like wildfire. How in Oz he was the one ending up helping her? Yes, she was addressing him before… this… happened, but she didn't actually intend…
Well, she didn't actually intend any of this to happen. Not after she had promised Nessa, swore to her, that it would never happen again. Her heart twitched. She hated the fact she was disappointing her younger sister. She seemed to be doing that constantly, and what's more, it was always out of her control. Nonetheless, it hurt.
She was so deep in thought she didn't even notice when he slowed down; it wasn't until she had nearly bumped into his back when she did. She swallowed the curse on the edge of her tongue and straightened up before he'd notice. And once again, she found herself bothered. Why did it have to be him, the one she most loathed, that arrogant, brainless, spoilt – ugh. She shouldn't do this. She wouldn't go so low. There must be a way to get rid of him somehow.
"Careful! Don't shake him!"
"We can't just let him loose anywhere, you know, we have to find someplace safe – "
"I realize that!" he spun to face her, and she was relieved to see that her arrogance had finally hit a nerve. She was a short way from reaching her goal. Soon she would be left alone. And then, before she knew it, he was gaining closer. He placed the cage on the ground and raised his eyes to hers again. "You think I'm really stupid, don't you?"
Taken aback by the offence his voice carried, she slowly replied, "No, not really stupid."
A shadow of a smile crossed his face. She knew she wasn't supposed to notice that, so she didn't comment, nor did she break his intent gaze. There was something extremely superior by the way he was pinning her with his gaze, challenging her almost. Well, she wouldn't be the first to look away. She wouldn't let him enjoy his victory. "Why is it that every time I see you, you cause some sort of a commotion?" he asked, removing his jacket with one hand and loosening his tie with the other.
She wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry at his observation. Was he mocking her, or was he serious? "I don't cause commotions, I am one!"
"Well, that's for sure."
So he was mocking her. Fury rose within her, making her blood boil. She glared at him, hoping he could read in her eyes just how much she loathed him. "So you think I should just keep my mouth shut, is that what you're saying?"
"No, I'm – "
She wasn't listening to him. She didn't want his lame attempts of protest. Now she was offended. "Do you think I want to be this way? Do you think I want to care that much? Don't you know how easy my life would be if I didn't?"
"Do you ever let anyone else talk?"
The question, sharp and blunt, caught her off-guard again, causing her voice trail off. For a moment she was actually speechless. "Oh. Sorry," she murmured, her heart racing. Who was this boy, this one person at Shiz, who wasn't the least intimidated by her? He didn't seem terrified, on the contrary; he seemed quite pleased with himself. Her eyes narrowed when something else occurred to her. He wasn't who everyone thought he was. He wasn't who she thought he was. She saw it now. "Can I say just one more thing?"
He raised his hands, half in amusement, half in despair. She took it as a 'yes'.
"You could walk away back there," she pointed out quietly, and now sort of hesitantly, as the thought formed itself in her mind.
He gave her a long look, his eyes blank and not understanding. "So?"
She sighed inwardly. Was he really that dense? Or was he just insistent to hold on to false pretenses? "So, no matter how shallow and self absorbed you pretend to be – "
"Excuse me, there's no pretense here!" he cut her off. "I happen to be genuinely self absorbed and deeply shallow."
A small laughter escaped her lips before she could hold it back. "No, you're not," she said softly, slowly raising her eyes to his. "Or you wouldn't be so unhappy."
Before she knew it, something in his eyes darkened, and she immediately regretted her last statement. She was just making an observation; she didn't mean to hurt him! But it seemed to be too late; he was hardly looking at her now. "Fine, look, if you don't want my help – "
"No, I do!" she protested, grabbing his hand before she could think better of it. There was this twitch in his heart the moment he turned away from her. She didn't stop to question her doing. She just didn't want him to leave. So she followed her instinct. She tried to stop him the only way she knew how.
He froze in place. She could feel him tense beneath her touch. This was how she realized what she had just done. Never in her life did she feel the need to be depended on someone; not until now. And now of all people it was him she couldn't bear to let go? How could she humiliate herself so, and seem so desperate to him, a complete stranger?
He turned ever so slowly, and directed his gaze with hers once more. She almost gasped by what she had found in his eyes. His expression was unreadable to her, and yet it felt as if he could see what was on her mind. Blood rushed to her face; she could feel it darken with blush. She hoped he wouldn't notice, now that evening was slowly falling. His gaze was intense, dark blue, as he was silently questioning her act. Then she realized her hand was still on his, and she slowly let it go, pretending not to notice the sparkle of electricity that went between them as her fingers grazed his skin.
She wanted to say something, but what could she say? Should she apologize? And if so, where should she even begin? She stole a glance of him again. He looked lost; but not in that loathsome, silly way he had always seem to her. There was something new to his confusion now; out of instinct, she knew his gaze was reflecting her own.
From somewhere behind him, the cub was wailing. She remembered the reason they were out there in the first place and shot herself forward, hurrying past him, to kneel near the covered cage. She scolded herself as her face cooled down, her blush fading. Could she be any more selfish, when the little creature so desperately needed their help? She removed the cloth and peered in. "Poor thing. His heart is trembling. I didn't mean to frighten him."
She didn't even realize she said it aloud until she heard his voice behind her, softer now, but also closer. "What did you mean to do?" he inquired, nearly whispered, and she was horrified to discover he was kneeling beside her. He was looking at her so intently, straight at her, into her. "And why was I the only one you didn't do it to?"
The question hung there between them, unanswered. She didn't know what to say, mostly because the very same question was whirling in her mind since she had realized what she had done earlier in class. What was she supposed to say? How could she explain this… thing she was suddenly feeling, when she couldn't even define it to herself?
When did it happen? When did she stop seeing in him the silly prince he claimed to be? How come she didn't notice, until it was too late? And how she was supposed to hide it from him when he was looking at her as intently as he was doing at that very moment? She looked away, desperate to escape his nearness, and a gasp escaped her. "You're bleeding," she murmured, staring at a small wound on his cheek.
He didn't look away from her. He looked transfixed, as if he, too, was under a trans. She nodded, not daring to look away as well. "It must have scratched you." She raised her hand, letting her finger graze his cheek ever so gently.
"Yeah…" His breath felt warm against her wrist as he replied. It was as if her own body was on fire. "Or maybe it scratched me, or something." He was leaning impossibly closer to her with each passing moment. Her hand still rested against his cheek, so their noses were touching briefly. There was a sharp intake of breath – it took her a moment to realize it was her own – when his lips fluttered against hers.
The cub wailed again, louder, as if in protest on his abandonment. The sound forced them apart. They looked at one another, breathless and startled. There was something new in his gaze now, something softer yet undecipherable still. It was hardly a real kiss, but she could feel her cheeks flush again at the memory of it. Slowly, she removed her hand from his cheek, well-aware of his eyes on her.
She knew she was acting selfishly, that she should probably get up and check on the cub, but she couldn't bring herself to. And to be honest, it was safe for now, in the depth of the grove. It was fine to stall for a while. If no one had found them yet, no one would. That is, if they even bothered to search.
A gasp escaped her as he touched her chin, gently raising her head with his finger. She thought he'd say something, a nasty remark about how he didn't mean any of it, how it was someone's cruel joke, and how stupid she was to fall for it, but he didn't.
Before she knew it, his lips were against hers again.