Who would ever have thought that the infamous Wicked Witch of the West would be on the verge of collapsing from sheer exhaustion? There's a reason for that, though, I suppose—after all, to suffer from exhaustion, she'd have to be human. The Witch isn't supposed to be human—she's a thing, or perhaps one of those Animals she's so keen on saving, or even a force of nature that hasn't been identified as such yet. Yet here stands the Witch, barely able to stand and blinking back tears. She tries not to let me see them, tries to uphold that image of herself as something other than a real, living, breathing person, but she can't hide it from me—I who knew her, really knew her, when she was real… back when people knew that she was able to feel.

When I really think about it, few of us were real even when we were young, and not many of us grew up to be real, either. The Witch's sister wasn't a person, just a porcelain doll in a chair, something to direct pity at. Fiyero, the Wizard, Morrible… all figureheads in one way or another… the prettyboy, the benevolent ruler, the face of Oz. I wonder if any of them noticed when they reached that turning point, the one where they left their real selves behind to become things.

They were people once, though, before life taught them otherwise. As for me, however… I was never a real person. That was my decision, though, not the harsh outside influences that changed everyone else. I didn't want to be real from the very beginning. I made myself into a statue, a mannequin, a golden and marble figurehead, always with perfect skin and hair and nails and clothes. I've always been the embodiment of something… beauty, youthful intelligence, and now Goodness. I've avoided thinking about it since she left and the view of me changed to Goodness. I didn't want to think about it—because if you really dwell on it for any length of time, how can you be Good without being a person?

Now I want to be real. The Witch has that effect on me. I reach out to her and twist my fingers though hers, and we're both real again. But then, I suppose she always was real. It was just that no one noticed.