A/N: Dedicated to mecelphie, the author that inspires me to draw and has been so patient with me as I recover from an injury to my dominant arm.
Are people born Wicked? Or do they have Wickedness thrust upon them?
Long have the great scholars pondered the birth of such corruptness, spending years upon years, lifetimes upon lifetimes in search for the answer…
No. That's a lie.
The truth? Well, this obsession with Wickedness sprang up not too long ago.
How long has it been now? It feels like I was so young when it happened. Goodness…could it really have only been eight years? Yes, yes it must be true, though it seems as though this pain has lived within me for centuries.
I was eighteen when I first met her and now, as the mighty Time Dragon Clock ticks its way to my twenty-fifth year, I sit down to reflect and hope that if no one finds it in their heart to read this memoir, at least I can rest my soul on the knowledge that it has been written.
Let me begin by saying that no, Wickedness is not an inherent trait. It is not found in the eyes of a newborn child, it is not forged by conception; it is a side effect of dreams crushed beneath the unforgiving fist of Fate that preys on those who are different.
When my daughter asked me "Momsie, what made her Wicked? Was it because she was born different?" I answered truthfully, for I believe I am the only one who could see it, who lived through it with her, and understood how one misfortune could change someone's life so completely. This is what I told her:
"No, my darling, she was stronger than that. She accepted her differences and found her place in the world. It was the accident that took that place away from her that turned her into something else entirely. She became what they all wanted her to be:
Chapter 1: Making Good
Contrary to what the stories tell, I loved Elphaba from the moment our eyes first met. Well, at least my heart did. She was everything I wasn't, everything I wanted to be. It didn't matter to me what color she was. The fact that she was beautiful on the outside only served to compliment the fact that she was breathtaking from within. How could I not love her? True, my blind, society oriented mind took her attributes to be avenues for deep resentment and secret jealousy, but I soon learned what those feelings truly were when the rainy season had hit Shiz.
It was nearing the end of the first semester and my roommate and I had barely spoken a word to one another. If we didn't have to speak, we didn't, but at times I would catch her glancing at me while I was toying with a homework assignment. It was as if she was waiting for me to prove that I could think, that I was capable of succeeding at this school, but not to her…no, the look in her eyes to me was a plea for me to prove to myself that I belonged. Of course, I didn't see it that way at the time, but later, when things had changed, I recognized that look in her face again and it warmed my heart beyond words.
I had fallen asleep one night while attempting to finish my mathematics homework. When I awoke, my face pressed against the textbook, there was a sheet of paper next to my assignment covered in writing that I recognized instantly for its crisp precision. Elphaba. It was the solution for the last problem…the one I had fallen asleep working on.
I meant to thank her for it, I did, but when I approached her in the cafeteria, things got out of hand and the Galinda in me took over. Pfannee, the old witch, had spotted us and thought to announce it to the entire room that I, Galinda, had "finally been seduced by the green bean's Wicked spell."
Our eyes had met, startled sapphire and calm amber, but Elphaba's relaxed disposition did little to ease my troubled mind. I fled. I realized too late that it had been raining and so I struggled to find an overhang, cursing Shiz's low elevation that made it favor liquid water during winter while Gillikin enjoyed the ice and snow.
She followed me, bone dry by some miracle, but I was hardly in the mood to see her face again…
"Galinda! Wait!" I could hear the splashing of the water as it lapped against her boots.
"Go back inside, Miss Elphaba, I have nothing to say to you."
I heard her hesitate, her feet shifting as she considered obeying my command, but her sense of pride overtook her judgment and she moved forward. "Why? Because you believe what Pfannee said about me or because you can't stand the fact that you were about to speak to me in public for the first time all semester?"
I turned to face her, anger burning in my face. "Were you born to torment me!?"
She looked stricken, a pain in those light eyes that I will never forget. "Galinda…"
"Just leave me be!"
And that's when it happened. I shoved her, thrusting her from the safety of the overhang. At first, I wasn't sure if the feral scream had come from her lips, but as she fell to her knees, legs drowning in the puddle beneath her, I could see the pain emanating from her body. I lunged forward, placing myself at her left side and dragging her away from the unforgiving weather. We struggled to walk as one, her steps were uneven and staggered and her weight made it difficult for me to move, but a sensation within me compelled me to keep trying.
She collapsed in the lobby of Crage Hall, dragging me down beneath her broken form.
"Elphaba, come on!" I pleased with her as I pushed myself out from under her. "It's not that much further."
"I-I can't!" Her teeth were clenched so tightly I was afraid they would shatter. And then she let loose a heartbreaking cry of pain.
I didn't understand what was happening, why something as simple was rain would make her act as if I had pushed her into a furnace, but it didn't matter. I grabbed her by her armpits and dragged her slowly up the stairs to the second floor. Her legs wouldn't move and I was too weak to carry her anymore…thankfully her clothes were thixk enough to spare her the majority of the rug burn she would have suffered before I finally got us into the safety of our dorm.
She lied there, motionless, helpless, pleading with her eyes for me to come to her rescue again. And that's when she said it…
I helped her undress, but when my eyes caught sight of the bloody mess that had become of her legs, I couldn't fight the tears that streamed down my face. What had I done? The skin was charred, cracked, with crevices running painful designs along her skin. A blood so dark red it was nearly purple oozed from the breaks, running down onto our carpeting.
I cleaned the wounds with oil, per her instructions, and bandaged them with gauze she had brought from home just in case this very thing should happen. She had other burns on her face, arms, and torso, but none as bad as the part of her that had been drenched by that puddle. I brought her over to my bed despite her protest, arguing that mine was softer and would nurse her injured body much better than the stiff log she placed herself upon each night.
I sat beside her, her hands in mine, and I listened as she told me what had happened and that no one, not even her own parents, had tended to her in the way that I had.
She wasn't able to walk for two weeks. In that time, we grew closer than most friends would. She depended on me and as she struggled with the notion of relying on someone, I struggled with understanding the ache in my heart.
It was on the day I was to leave for home over Winter Intercession, a week after her legs had begun to walk again, that she grabbed me and brought her lips to mine. She developed a habit for kissing me as a means to say good-bye.
Chapter 2: The Elements of Elphaba
She flourished at Shiz.
It took her nineteen years to finally be in a place where she belonged, but she had finally found it in the solidarity of the university's prestigious chemistry department. I don't think I ever managed to understand her love for science, but then again, she hardly understood my love for sorcery. In a sense, we were both studying the same thing. Hers simply relied on the human perception of patterns in nature while mine relied on Nature's spirit.
She excelled in all of her classes, found herself invited onto a research team with the head of her department, and was soon 'crowned' as Top Student by the end of our first year, much to Madame Morrible's displeasure, I'm sure. I had never been so proud of her than on the day she accepted that honor. She was finally being recognized for her talents.
That was the night she and I first made love.
We came back to our dorm after the reception, warmed by the linger champagne on our breath. Were we drunk? No, but the excuse that we had had something to drink made us a little bit braver than normal, I believe. It drove me to grab her by her scholar's cape and crush my lips against hers and the moan that vibrated from her mouth into mine moved our hands to places we had never touched. It gave me the confidence to whisper "I love you" and melt in her hands when she said "I love you" back.
She was so gentle, so attentive, so loving…the feel of her skin against mine made me fully believe that we were meant to be together. Touching her felt like a gift, like I was being given the chance to fully worship the one I admired so much.
It became a routine for us. She would come home at night from her lab and grace me with the sweetest kiss hello. Some nights we would fall into bed together, loving the hardships of the day away, and some nights we would simply drum ourselves to sleep with the steady rhythm of our united heartbeat. I was soon able to tell from that nightly kiss how the rest of the evening would progress.
We became braver once six months had passed. We made love on the floor of our room, against the door, inside our bathroom when I had been attempting to brush my teeth, even against the window with my breasts pressed against the closed drapes as she caressed me from behind. I was the one to first initiate any acts of affection in public. I had caught her at the library, studying in an isolated nook. I took her against the dusty bookshelf, watching the fire ignite in her eyes as I mixed two of her dearest loves.
It was our one year anniversary when she changed my life for good. She had set up a romantic dinner for us in the room. Fine dining, champagne, music, and low lighting gave the perfect atmosphere of a restaurant without the pesky eyes of the public.
We fell into bed together and, finally exhausted, she collapsed on top of me. I closed my eyes, attempting to catch my breath, but I could feel her moving about. The nightstand drawer opened and closed and I could feel her lips on the side of my face.
"Oz, I love you." I nodded my head in agreement. "Galinda, open those pretty eyes of yours."
I did as she asked and the smile she was wearing was too contagious not to catch. She suddenly moved us so that she was beneath me, my head resting against her bare chest.
"How long have we been together, my sweet?"
I laughed, poking her between two ribs. "Don't be silly, Elphie. It's our one year anniversary, I think that says it all."
"That's a long time." Her tone sounded so distant. "Maybe not in retrospect, but it feels like it's been a lifetime."
Suddenly her gaze was locked with mine, a mixture of fear and love that I didn't know what to do with. "I want to spend as many lifetimes as I can with you."
It hardly made any sense to me. We only had one lifetime to spend, but the sweetness of her voice was all that mattered to me. "Me too" I found myself replying.
"Then marry me."
And there it was, the beautiful ring that she had pulled from the night stand. A gorgeous emerald surrounded by small diamonds on a white gold band. Tears fell from my eyes as I found myself nodding and felt her slide the ring onto my finger.
And we sealed our marriage with a kiss.
Chapter 3: The Accident
By the start of our third and final year at Shiz, Elphaba had become the head of her research team. She controlled the lab in every way: who was in it, at what time, for how long, and what was allowed to be done. Of course, being in charge made her hours longer and some nights she would return after I was already asleep. After a week of not seeing my darling scientist in the evening, I decided that if she could not come home to me, I would come home to her.
I found her washing the day's used glassware, her lab coat, safety glasses, and latex gloves still adorning her tired body. She glanced up as I entered her lab, her eyes wide with confusion and worry as if she automatically assumed something was wrong.
"My sweet, what are you doing here?" She shut the water in the sink off and placed the beaker on the countertop. It still sent shivers down my spine to see her place her hand in water even if the glove was meant to protect her.
"Am I not allowed to be here?" I ran a hand up her front, resting it against her breast plate.
"Actually, you're not."
"Aren't you in charge?"
I kissed her to silence her. "Well then," I breathed against her lips. "I don't see a problem."
Something within her caught fire and we soon found ourselves a tangled mess on the floor. Her glasses clattered against the tile, her gloves following shortly after, but I stopped her as she attempted to remove her coat, begging her to keep it on. Something about her being in that lab coat…there were no words to describe it.
I found myself sitting on a countertop, my dress having been left on the floor, her hands moving up toward my breasts as her lips trailed down, down, down until they found their purchase between my thighs.
She had me pressed against the glass of a fume hood, her front molded to my back as she reached behind herself to the drying rack of glassware. I saw it in the reflection of the glass…she had an empty test tube in her hand and, after reassuring me it had been properly sterilized, I found myself unable to even think of chemistry the same way again.
The accident happened in that very same lab, a mere month before the end of our last fall semester.
A new student had joined her research team and he brought with him an ego and bitter resentment toward my green-skinned love for no reason other than his belief that people who were different, like her, had no right to be above him. Was he at fault for what happened? I can't say that I have any physical proof, but from the crooked smile he wore as I held her crying face against my chest, I had no doubt in my heart that he had stolen her dreams right from under her.
I had just walked out of my wanding seminar when I saw it, the ghastly cloud of smoke filling the sky from the other end of campus. A cold shiver shook my heart and, without fully understanding what was going on, I found myself running toward the Baum Center of Science and Technology. My books and papers lay scattered on the steps of the Madame Burke Sorcery Hall, my heels lost somewhere in the campus quad when I realized I could not run as fast as I desired in them.
The scene that played before my eyes will be one I never forget, one that is etched onto the inside of my eyelids so that I see it every time I blink. There was glass everywhere; flames bursting forth from the window of a lab on the second floor…from the lab that I knew was hers. I couldn't see her, she was nowhere in the crowd of students and faculty. All I could hear were the cries of those frightened by what they saw and the shouts of the chief fireman barking orders to his troops.
I made a mad dash for the door, hoping beyond reason that I could save her, but I was held back. Strong hands gripped my arms tightly, pulling me back from where I longed to run.
"Are you stupid? You'll get yourself killed!" I recognized his voice. He was Elphaba's research professor, the head of her department, a man willing to let her die.
"Let me go!" I struggled futilely against his hold. "I have to…I have…Elphaba!"
As my scream echoed out, a burst of flames erupted from the lab, and my heart drowned in the tears that spilled down my cheeks. I watched in horror as the fireball burst forth only to be doused by a heavy stream of water. Flashes of that fateful day in the rain came over me, the sight of all that blood, all the charred flash…I knew in that instant that if the fire hadn't killed her, the water surely had.
I snapped back to life at the sound of her professor's voice and followed his gaze to the building's entrance. There, being carried out by two firemen was the love of my life, my sweet and caring wife. I broke free from the man's grasp and stumbled forward, meeting the rescuers in front of the steps where they placed her on the ground. Her face had black smudges, but no burns, only cuts and bruises and small pieces of glass lodged into her right cheek. I scanned the rest of her body until my eyes rested on her left arm. The sleeve of her coat had been burned off almost to her shoulder, revealing a charred green arm studded by glass shards and painted in blood. What startled me the most was the realization that I could see the back of her elbow. Her arm was twisted.
A sob escaped my throat as my eyes met with hers. I brought a hand forward, resting it against her injured face, as she struggled to comprehend the fact that she was indeed alive.
"I-I can't feel…" Her eyes shut in pain, teeth clenched as she attempted to fight back.
I moved forward, lifting her torso slowly upward so that her face rested against my chest. I felt the tears leak from her eyes as she shook in my grasp. My heart ached for her as I begged internally for her not to speak, to not voice what we both knew was true.
"My arm…I can't feel…"
That's all she managed to say before they took her from me, before she was rushed to the infirmary with the other wounded students while the words I had spoken to calm her echoed around us.
"I love you."
They say there was a defect in one of the instruments, a live wire that had sparked and lit her sample ablaze. That burning sample in whatever instrument it had been had caused the contraption to explode. A heavy piece of the broken machine burst through the glass sash of her fume hood, lodging shards into her body. She had shielded herself from the flames with her left arm, which explained why her sleeve had been missing. Fires then began to burst through the lab from the intense heat of the first explosion.
Rather than running from the building as many of her lab assistants had done, Elphaba ran down the stairs and took off toward a room on the first floor. She barged her way into what they told me was the NMR room…I didn't fully understand what that meant, but it was a place where a large, expensive piece of machinery rested. Afraid that the explosion had knocked the NMR off balance, she had rushed in to be sure her lab hand was safe. She always did have amazing foresight. As she was telling the young girl to leave the building, the fireball that I had bared witness to burst from her lab up above and shook the large magnet machine loose. She had no time to save herself. She pushed the girl out of the way and found herself trapped with her left arm crushed beneath the weight of the 100 ton NMR.
That was where the men had found her.
I didn't understand it. To me, Elphaba would have known if one of her instruments had been damaged. Wires that were fine the night before do not strip themselves. Then again, it hardly mattered what had caused it…it didn't change the damage that had been done.
There was nothing they could do. Her bones had been crushed beyond any hope of repair. They told her she would never use her left arm again, but didn't seem to understand her distress. They didn't understand her difference. She wasn't like them.
She was left-handed.
Chapter 4: The Aftermath
She was never the same after that day.
I changed my name shortly after the incident. I dropped the first 'a' in reverence of what Elphaba had called me when they brought her out of the building and back into my life. I'm not sure why I did it, but Glinda seemed to fit me better and Elphaba didn't seem to mind.
I nursed her back to health as best as I could, but there was nothing that could be done to mend her shattered heart. Everything she had worked for was gone; there was nothing left for her at Shiz. She couldn't write, couldn't work in the lab…she wasn't able to finished the semester. Madame Morrible deemed her "a danger to herself and her fellow students" and forbade her from entering any labs…even her own. Sometimes I wonder if Madame had done that simply because the opportunity to replace the Top Student with a "white child" had presented itself.
She was so subdued after she was released from the infirmary. She hardly spoke two words to me from that day forward unless I begged her to, she never touched me unless she had to, and, at times, she would snap, pushing me away both figuratively and physically. Her bitterness over what had happened to her drew a line between us that I fought with all of my might to erase. I even offered to find an apartment in central Shiz with her to stay over Winter Intercession and maybe teach her to write like me so she could at least continue studying something if not chemistry, but she would hear none of it; she had other plans for us.
She asked me to come away with her one day before the semester's end. To where? The Emerald City, of course, to see the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I had agreed without really thinking it through and, once I had completed my finals and Elphaba had resigned from the semester, we packed our things and made the trek to the city.
The conditions of our journey weren't as bleak as some might think. I come from a wealthy family after all and Elphaba was the Heir Apparent of an Ozian State. We traveled comfortably, but I stood guard, protecting her from the weather, from crowds of people who would run into her arm, and from the callous looks her skin would earn her. My need to shield her from hardship did not go unnoticed by my dearest Elphaba and I believe it was the honesty of my feelings that cracked her shield enough to let her love me again.
On the last night of our travel, I finally came up with enough courage to ask her why we were taking the sudden vacation…
"Is there a reason why we're going to the city, Elphie?" I stroked my fingers over the fabric of her night dress, my head resting on her chest, and my eyes fixed on my wedding ring.
"I want him to fix me."
This strange response prompted me to support myself on my right elbow and gaze down at her. "Fix you?"
Her eyes were so wounded that it hurt for me to keep her gaze. "My arm, my sweet. They say he can do anything, that he can grant your greatest desires. I want to be whole again."
I ran a hand along the side of her face and, though she flinched for a moment, it was the first time since her accident that she had allowed me to touch any part of her that had been severely damaged in the fire.
"Don't." Her gaze grew helplessly cold. "Don't tell me not to get my hopes up, Glinda. This is all I have left. I don't care how irrational it is."
A sigh escaped my lips. "I just don't want you to get hurt."
I couldn't stand how negative she was being and so I dared to move forward. I leaned down and slowly inched my lips toward hers. When I noticed she did not seem to be turning away, I let our mouths touch. She moaned against my lips and I let my hands wander, loving the feel of her beneath my fingertips again. As I dragged them down to her breasts, she pulled away from the kiss.
"Why, Elphaba?" She wouldn't meet my gaze. "Tell me why? Is it me? Have I done something?"
Her eyes darted to mine with fear etched in them so deep. "No! No, it's not you, my pretty. Glinda, I can't…my arm…I-I won't be able to…"
"Hush." I brought a hand up to cover her mouth, suddenly understanding why she had refused to touch me all this time. I took her right hand in my left. "Then I'll show you how."
And I did.
That night, before we saw the Wizard, I showed her what it was like to please a woman with her right hand. She was clumsy at first, but by the end of the night, I could see a bit of my old Elphaba's confidence shining through her eyes.
Chapter 5: I Mourn
And so the story continues…
The Wizard could do nothing for her and in the midst of her plea for help. He offered her the assurance that plenty of new jobs would await her once they were taken from the Animals for good, which did nothing but create a demon within her. Finding solace in the similar persecution of herself and the tormenting of Animals, my Elphaba took up the cause.
Her fatal mistake was condemning the Wizard and vowing to destroy him.
He had sent out a story to be told in every newspaper that ran through Oz, labeling the green girl as an abomination, a cursed demon whose skin was just an outward manifestation of her twisted nature…the Wicked Witch of the West.
She had put me on a carriage back to Shiz and told me good-bye, begging me to stay safe. I screamed for her not to leave me, but she halted my cries with a kiss, sealing her promise to find me again. I wouldn't let her, though. I threw myself from the carriage shortly after it had taken off and ran back to the city. I had been given two days, two days to look for my beloved before the next carriage back to Shiz would finally arrive and I would be forced to fulfill my promise to her.
Two days came and went, followed by a few months, and I soon found myself graduating from Shiz University, holding a diploma that Elphaba deserved more than anybody.
I moved to the Emerald City immediately after graduation, hoping I would run into her again. But the reason I eventually had to halt my daily search was the same reason why I needed to find her so desperately. I needed her to know. She needed to know the one thing that no one had seemed to notice while I was finishing my last semester at Shiz, but was becoming so painfully obvious now. It was the reason no man would ever marry me, but then again, I was already married.
I was pregnant.
I wasn't sure how it was possible since Elphaba was the only person I had ever let touch me in such a way. Maybe I had been raped in my sleep during my travel back to school. Maybe I was possessed by some unforeseen evil for loving another woman. Maybe Elphaba was a greater witch than any of us realized. It didn't matter how it happened because I believed in my heart that she was the father.
I gave birth shortly before Dorothy stepped into our lives, only a month before the love of my life was declared dead. It pains me to think that she will never see your face, Elphaba…yes, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.
Our little Aradia.
Did you know her name means Goddess of Witches? The midwife told me so after I had already named her.
She's nearly five-years-old now. She's so much like you, my precious Elphie, and one day, when she's old enough to understand, I will let her read parts of this so that she can know the true story of her father.
Glinda let the quill pen in her hand rest against the desk. She looked down at the last page of her book, weaving together sentences before a familiar voice interrupted her.
"Momsie! Where are you, Momsie?"
Smiling to herself, the good witch put down the pen, finding in her heart that she had found the ending to her tale. She stood from her seat, making her way out of her study and into her daughter's field of view.
"I'm here, my little Aradia."
The small child let a wide grin take over her features. Her raven hair flew behind her as she ran for Glinda, jumping up into her arms and kissing her cheek before locking her blue eyes with the matching set of her mother's.
"Where'd you go?"
"Nowhere, sweetie, I'm right here." Glinda placed a gentle kiss on her daughter's forehead, holding her close.
"Were you talking to Daddy again?"
She embraced her daughter tighter, resting her cheek against the top of the child's head. "Yes, darling, I was."
"Does she ever say hi back?"
Glinda smiled sadly.
Chapter 6: Epilogue
When Glinda returned to her study that night, Aradia tucked safely into bed, she took a moment to gaze at the soft moonlight. It was a night like this that she remembered feeling Elphaba's life being torn from the world. She knew deep within her heart that she would never be able to forget the cold sensation that had frozen her to the very core of her being that night.
With a deep sigh, she turned to her desk and stopped abruptly, noticing something quite odd. The book that she had been working on was gone, vanished completely, and what remained in its place was a small, white card with her name written in a precise script. With a wary mind, she opened it slowly, reading the message carefully as tears streamed down her cheeks.
No, let me.
That was all it said, but it was an answer to something she had written in her book, never knowing it was a question.
I will let her read parts of this so that she can know the true story of her father.
The card fell from her shaking hands as she moved back to the window, staring out toward the western sky.
"If this means you're still alive, somehow, somewhere, then please, come back to me. I've held out for you, like I promised, but please…"
I felt a warm chill rush down my spine as a strong arm wrapped around my waste, hot breath against my neck. "I want to spend as many lifetimes as I can with you. I've already gone through one." She placed a soft kiss against my skin. "I want another."
I spun in her embrace, grabbing her face with my hands and pressing my lips to hers for the first time in five lonely years. And with that kiss, we renewed our promise to each other, the promise that we made six years ago…
That not even death would part us.