Heart's True Desire
DISCLAIMER: Not mine. L. Frank Baum and Gregory Macguire are the lucky sods who own the characters.
SETTINGS: Musical-verse. Pre-For Good
Glinda arrived by bubble, her eyes sweeping through the darkened room of the tower in Kiamo Ko. She could hear the young traveler Dorothy sobbing in a nearby room, and her eyes narrowed as she took in the sight of her (former?) best friend. Swathed in black robes, and wearing the hat that had begun as a joke, she truly did resemble a wicked witch. Glinda tried not to cry at the thought of what was about to happen.
"They're coming for you," she warned.
The Wicked Witch of the West, formerly known as Elphaba Thropp, turned to look at the bubbly blonde, her voice dark and empty, as though something was broken inside. "Go away."
"Let the little girl go...and that poor little dog. Dodo," Glinda tried to reason.
Elphaba rolled her eyes and turned away from the passage of the Grimmerie she'd been trying to understand. She'd discovered early on in her acquaintance with Glinda that trying to read whilst the blonde was talking was completely futile.
"I know you don't want to hear this, but someone has to say it," Glinda began. "You are out of control! I mean, come on! They're just shoes, let it go!"
Elphaba scoffed, rolling her eyes in disgust at her friend. The woman truly didn't understand in the slightest.
"Elphaba, you can't go on like this."
"I can do anything I want," Elphaba reminded her old friend. "I am the Wicked Witch of the West!"
It was Glinda's turn to roll her eyes. "What happened to you Elphie? What happened to the girl I used to know? The one who would never even dream of harming anyone, let alone a child! And her dog? I thought you were an animal rights activist?"
"Animal, not animal," Elphaba replied angrily. "And believe me when I say I have no intention of hurting the little brat. I just want the damn shoes, and then it'll be over and done with."
Glinda paused at strangely worded phrase. "What will be over?"
Elphaba looked up absently. "What?"
"You said it would be over. What will be over?"
"This! Everything! Sweet Oz Glinda, you think I want to be like this? You think I want to live like this? Hated, despised? For doing the right damn thing, I get cast out. The Wizard needs to be brought done, and I believe that, I do. I'm just sick of being the one to pay that price. To be the one that gets hunted when I have done nothing to deserve it," Elphaba said.
Glinda took a step towards her friend, recognising the passion that had always lingered beneath the surface. She took a green hand in her own and lifted it to her cheek. Elphaba sighed softly and closed her eyes.
"How did things get so out of hand, Elphie?" Glinda asked quietly.
"I don't know. I…I tried so hard, Glinda, I truly did. And despite the reputation I made, I did manage to help some Animals. Not as many as I'd have liked, but…I did help them. I did some good in this godforsaken world, despite what everyone thinks."
"I know you did. It's never too late, you know," the blonde said optimistically. "I could put in a good world for you. The Ozians' listen to me."
Elphaba shook her head. "It's time to end this. One way or the other."
Glinda swallowed nervously, her head shaking in confusion. "What do you mean?"
Before Elphaba could give a reply, they were interrupted by the chattering of a monkey, wings adorning his back, a sealed envelope in his hands.
"What's this? Why are you bothering me with this?" Elphaba asked, taking the envelope and tearing the top. She unfolded the paper and read the brief letter, a cryptic message that would mean little to one who didn't know her, or the person who'd sent it. She sighed softly. Option Two it was.
"What is it? What's wrong? It's Fiyero, isn't it? Is he..." Glinda trailed off softly. Despite the heartache her former fiancé had caused her, she still cared deeply for the man.
"We've seen his face for the last time," Elphaba replied truthfully. Her spell had worked. Just not how she'd expected. It seemed that most of the spells in the Grimmerie had minds of their own. The intent to do good was there, but Elphaba had the feeling that the book could only cause trouble in the long run.
"Oh no!" Glinda cried in dismay.
"You're right...It's time I surrender," Elphaba said softly. She spotted a bucket filled with rain water from the leaking roof, full from the last bout of rain which had ended that morning.
"Elphie… Elphie, what is it?" Glinda asked.
"You can't be found here!" Elphaba realised. "You must go."
"Elphie, I don't understand. Why are you doing this? Why turn yourself in, now?"
"Because I can't go on like this, Glinda. I just can't. There's only one option left to me now."
Elphaba smiled softly at her friend. "You didn't truly believe I wanted those shoes to match my ensemble, did you?"
Glinda shook her head, a nervous giggle coming from her lips.
"I cast a spell on the shoes. For Nessa," Elphaba explained. "They let her walk."
Glinda's eyes winded in surprise. "She could walk?"
"Didn't you wonder what she was doing in Centre Munch in the middle of the day without her wheelchair?" Elphaba asked. "She'd have been in Colwen Grounds, safe and sound if not for these damn shoes. They're too powerful to fall into the wrong hands. And if the Wizard ever got them…"
Glinda realised what a horrifying notion that was. The Wizard was a menace with only the power of poplar opinion behind him. With real talent, like Elphaba had, he'd be unstoppable.
"The spell made the shoes give whoever wore them their heart's truest desire," Elphaba explained. "For Nessa, that was to walk, on her own two feet. So the shoes made it happen."
Glinda's eyes widened in shock. She had no idea that her friend was so powerful.
"So, they'd give you anything you wanted? Whatever you wanted?" Glinda asked.
Elphaba shook her head. "No, that would be far too dangerous. They give the wearer the one thing they truly want. And only one thing. The shoes would only make Nessa walk. They wouldn't have gone on to make her taller, or make her prettier, or smarter, or stronger. One thing. And they only affect the person wearing them. So, even if Nessa thought her heart's truest desire was Boq, it wouldn't have made him fall in love with her. They can't do that."
Glinda marveled at the power of the shoes, wondering what they would give her. She thought perhaps they would allow her to truly cast spells, and not just the small glamours she'd been able to produce over the years.
It hit her like a speeding train.
"That's why you want the shoes," she whispered softly. "To de-greenify yourself."
Elphaba nodded. "Stupid, I know. I'd probably still be recognized, despite the verdigris. But…it is quite…"
"Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe," Glinda suggested.
"Green," Elphaba finished flatly.
Some things never really changed at all. Elphaba smiled.
Outside the window came the chanting of the witch hunters. For people trying to kill her, Elphaba mused, they weren't exactly being subtle.
"No," Glinda whispered, chancing a look out the window.
"You must leave."
"No! Elphie, I'll tell them everything," Glinda said, wanting desperately to make up for the lies and the deceit that she had allowed to happen.
"No!" Elphaba yelled. "They'll only turn against you."
"I don't care!" Glinda cried.
"I do! Promise me," she begged. "Promise me, you won't try to clear my name...promise."
Glinda tried to blink back tears, but found that they fell despite her best efforts.
"Alright… I promise. But I don't understand."
Elphaba looked down at herself, and held out a single green hand to her friend. "I'm limited. Just look at me," she said. "I'm limited, and just look at you, you can do all I couldn't do. Glinda…"
The witch turned away and took hold of the Grimmerie that sat placidly on the table top.
"Here. Go on. Take this."
Glinda took the book with shaking hands. "Elphie...you know I can't read that…"
"Well then, you'll have to learn," Elphaba replied with a smile. "Because now it's up to you. For both of us."
Glinda's chin quivered and she gripped the book tightly. Tears dripped down her cheek, and Elphaba's hand came up to wipe at the moisture, cupping her friend's cheek affectionately.
"Glinda…we both know the Wizard will never be able to get that little farm girl home."
"I…I know," Glinda replied. "I sent her to see the Wizard, but I knew he couldn't help her."
"Were you planning to make him look the fool?" Elphaba asked with appreciation. She hadn't thought her old friend would be capable of such duplicity.
"N-no," Glinda replied sheepishly. "I just didn't want to look completely idiotic in front of all Munchkinland."
Elphaba laughed, and pulled her smaller friend into a heartfelt hug. "Don't ever change Glinda," Elphaba whispered. "You're perfect."
The blonde broke down into a sobbing mess, her arms clinging to Elphaba's waist and her face buried in the witch's flowing black hair. They stayed locked together until the echoing clang of the downstairs door breaking open sent them once again to action.
"Glinda, those shoes give the wearer their hearts truest desire," Elphaba reminded her friend. "So…"
"So, Dorothy can use them to get home," Glinda realised. She glared at the green woman in anger. "Elphie, she's been able to get home this whole time?! She's walked over half of Oz, and she could have gone home whenever she pleased?"
Elphaba shrugged and gave a half-grin.
Glinda groaned dramatically. "How am I meant to explain that without looking like the biggest ditz in all of Oz?"
"I'm sure you'll come up with something. Besides, that little brat will be so grateful to be going home, she probably wouldn't even notice if you told her that she had to learn it for herself. Even though she didn't."
Glinda's eyes lit up. That could work.
"She'll probably think this was all a dream anyway," Glinda said excitedly. "And dreams never make sense. I dreamt I made it snow, once."
"Stranger things have happened," Elphaba replied.
Footsteps started clambering up the staircase, and Elphaba's eyes widened.
"You have to hide. No one can know you were here. Hide yourself!"
Glinda threw herself into a darkened corner, unable to see the coming confrontation. She could hear it though, and when Elphaba began screaming in pain and fear, she broke down sobbing. That was it then. It was over.
The Wicked Witch of the West was dead.
Glinda broke down sobbing. She'd have barely days to get back to the Emerald City before the Witch Hunters beat her back.
A small figure tugged at Glinda's hand, and she glanced up to see a winged monkey holding Elphaba's pointed hat and the green bottle that the woman had kept under her pillow. She clutched the bottle tightly, holding it to her aching heart.
Glinda's head suddenly jerked upwards. She stared at the bottle with wide eyes, remembering the last time she'd wept like this, and an identical bottle had been offered to her. She shook her head in disbelief. It couldn't be possible. Could it?
Of all the ironies...
She stood, dusting off her dress. She tucked the Grimmerie under her arm, folded the hat to fit in a dainty pocket, and conjured a bubble.
She was off to see the Wizard, the 'Wonderful' Wizard of Oz. The father of the Wicked Witch of the West.
And then, she had a farm girl to send home. And if she found out that Elphie was playing a giant prank on her, well...she'd move heaven and hell to get back at her. Per-Oz-cide in shampoo was always a favourite.
With a sad smile, Glinda floated away from Kiamo Ko, refusing to look back at a place which wasn't truly Elphie's home. Had she looked back, she'd have seen the strangely familiar looking Scarecrow doubled back inside for reasons that were entirely his own.
Option Two indeed.