Chapter Five

She gasped when she noticed him turn, and ducked at once, hiding behind a thick bush. Did he see her? Her vision was blurred with the rain, so she wasn't sure. She watched him until they disappeared from her sight, and then released the breath she was holding since she had first noticed them on the bridge.

She saw everything. Even if she couldn't hear them up there, seeing them was enough. Seeing him kissing her had made it all clear. He had made his choice. She wasn't upset; really, she wasn't. It was fair to say she had expected as much. She just wished… she sort of hoped he would have the courtesy to tell her about it himself. Finding out about it made it all the more horrible.

Brokenhearted. Now that was something she had never experienced before. Like there could be a different ending to this short-lasting fairytale. Huh, what a laugh. The end was written before the fairytale had even started. She should have known all along she wasn't the one.

Something wet slipped down her cheek. At first she found it odd, for she was protected from the rain, in her hiding place beneath the bridge. And then she realized it wasn't rain at all. A sob escaped her as the truth had dawned on her. Before she knew it, she was crying uncontrollably, covering her face in her hands to muffle the sound of it. Not that anyone was around to notice. It was more the force of habit. She rarely cried. There was no point. It was wiser to bottle up everything. No one wanted to hear her anyway. It was easier to give them what they wanted.

And now… what was different about now than anything else she had ever lost in her life? Why did it matter more? Why did she care so much? Especially since she knew she wouldn't win, she couldn't win, not with Galinda as her opponent. Galinda, with her golden hair and sapphire-like eyes. How could she not win him?

She guessed that the thing that hurt her most was the possibility, that tiny spark of hope, that things would be different this time, that this one single time, she would get her way. She snorted as more tears came. So much for a silly teenager's dream.

She waited for the rain to turn into a light drizzle before she headed back to the dormitories. She felt numb; she hardly noticed the rain. She just wanted to get back to her room and forget the last few weeks had ever happened.

"Miss Elphaba! There you are!"

She turned at the sound of the familiar voice. Madame Morrible was hurrying towards her, carrying an umbrella to protect her sophisticated hairdo. Her hand flew instinctively to her face, to wipe the remaining tears. "Madame Morrible."

"I have thrillifying news!" The headmistress announced, hardly noticing her tears. "I finally heard back from the Wizard, and my dear," she paused, smiling, "He wishes to meet you!"

Her heart began to race as the words quickly sank in. "He asked for me? Personally?"

Madame Morrible nodded. "I know how devastated you were the other day about poor old Dr. Dillamond. But you see, one door closes, and another opens!" As she was speaking, she took a bright green envelope out of an inner pocket of her cloak and presented it to her with flourish.

Her hand shook when she took the envelope from the older woman. She stared at it, then at her headmistress, wide-eyed. All previous sadness was quickly melting away. "I don't know what to say," she said, astounded, as a strange sound escaped her. Was she really… giggling? Suddenly, she couldn't contain her joy. "Oh, Madame, how can I ever thank you?"

"Be careful, dear," Madame Morrible said, laughing at her reaction. She raised her umbrella higher so it would cover them both. "You mustn't get wet!" She thought for a moment, and shook her head. "Wait, I know," she said, taking out her wand. With an elegant wave, the rain was gone, replaced by the last beams of sunlight. "Did I mention weather was my specialty?"

She laughed. She felt so wonderful. There was so much more she wanted to say, where, when, what, and how it was possible that the great and wonderful Wizard asked for her of all people, but Madame Morrible was getting ready to leave. "Oz speed, my dear. Make me proud!"

"I will. I'll try."

And as she watched Madame Morrible walk away, a smile slowly settled across her lips, mocking the tears that previously stained her face. Perhaps it wasn't a teenager's dream she was meant to pursue. She pressed the envelope to her chest, close to her still pounding heart, thinking that if she could feel it, she'd know it really happened. All her life, she was different. Perhaps her dreams, her destiny, were meant to be different as well.

"Elphaba, wait!"

Her heart froze. She was still excited over Madame Morrible's good news that she hadn't noticed him hurrying in her direction. It was too late to hide or pretend she hadn't seen him. She just stood there, watching him expressionless as he caught up with her.

"Where are you hurrying off to?" he asked, smiling, but she saw beyond his smile. He was nervous.

"Back to my room."

"Well, can I walk you?" he asked, already falling into step beside her.

"Surely you have better things to do."

"Like what?" he asked, clearly missing the edge in her voice. Before she knew it, his hand encircled her arm, not forcefully, but enough to make her stop. "Will you stop for a moment? What is this all about?"

"Quit it, Fiyero, you know exactly what this is bout." Too stunned by her own outburst, she looked away. "It hurts enough without you forcing it out of me. Just let me go."

He looked at her dumbfounded for a moment. "You mean Galinda?" And then realization seemed to hit him, and he sighed. "You mean Galinda."

She forced herself to direct her gaze with his, to keep her expression blank. She wouldn't cry, not again, and surely not in front of him. She said nothing, just stood there, still clutching the envelope to her, and watched him as he ran a hand through his hair in discomfort.

"I'm not sure what to say," he said after a moment.

"Let me go, and you wouldn't have to bother," she said dryly, trying to walk passed him.

"No, wait, that's not what I mean!" he protested, standing in her way. "Whatever you saw or heard on the bridge earlier, you must know that I didn't, I mean I would never…" His voice trailed off. He sighed in what sounded like frustration, and looked up at her seriously. "I've never meant to hurt either of you."

"You don't need to apologize, I understand."

"You understand what?"

"You've made your choice."

"Funny, I don't recall saying that."

"You didn't. I've seen enough to figure as much."

"You think that this kiss…?" he asked, shaking his head as if realizing what had really upset her. "You got it wrong. Completely wrong." He grabbed her hand before she managed to flinch back. "Things just didn't quite work out the way I planned. Doesn't it happen to you sometimes?"

She smiled sadly. "Constantly."

"What I'm trying to say is that just because of what you saw doesn't mean I chose her."

She looked at him hesitantly. "I'm not sure I understand what you mean."

"I mean, silly, that no matter how inconceivable the idea is to you, it's not Galinda I want." He offered her a faint smile, squeezing her hand. "I just need some time to break this to her."

She knew she should have felt overjoyed. For once, she could get her way. But was that the way she wanted? She wasn't sure anymore. "Well, time is exactly what you're going to get."

"What do you mean?"

"I will be going away for a while," she said, holding back a smile, as she showed him the envelope. "I was summoned to an audience with the Wizard."

"Elphaba, that's brilliant news!"

"Thank you. I'm looking forward to it."

"How long will you be gone?"

"I'm not sure. But it will give us both some time to think things over." She took advantage on his momentary loss of concentration and untangled her hand from his grip. "I'd better go."

He didn't protest this time, nor did he try to follow her. She knew he remained standing there, watching her go, but she didn't look back. It was safer to do so. She pressed the envelope closer to her, drawing comfort from it. She had a feeling that what she had just heard had not quite sunk in yet; it would take a while until it did.

She did know well enough as for not raising her hopes up. A lot could change in the time she would be gone. For all she knew, she'd be back from the Emerald City just in time for Fiyero and Galinda's engagement party. It was good that they'd get some time apart. She had her own priorities to consider, especially if the Wizard would listen to what she had to say.

The Wizard… a smile curled on her lips, refusing to fade away. She was going to meet the Wizard. Every other worry seemed so small and childish comparing to that. Nothing else mattered but the envelope in her hand, the wonders the Emerald City withheld for her, and the Wizard who was looking forward to meeting her, no less. And somehow, she just knew.

She was finally going to be making good.

A/N: after getting some reviews on this chapter I thought I'd edit this note in to clarify things. That's the last chapter, you guys! We all know what happens when Elphaba actually meets the Wizard, and later on when she, Glinda and Fiyero reunite, so there's really not much I can add on to it; this is where this little story and the musical's plot come together. So I'm sorry if that wasn't clear enough, I should have said something earlier. Thanks so much for your lovely comments, they mean a lot :)