A/N – Firstly, sorry again for taking an age to update; when I started this story I was really enthusiastic about it, but as its gone on I seem to have lost my way a bit. Anyway to cut a long story short I know how I want it to end and I'm determined to finish it (there's only a few more chapters to go) so I'll keep plodding along, and will try my best to update more regularly. Secondly, thanks as always to everyone reading and reviewing. Please let me know what you think because it helps spur me on, and it's my birthday next week so there's some bribery for you :-P
Disclaimer – Not mine.
Over the next few weeks the Wizard made many changes to his regime; namely dropping the Animal bans that Elphaba had fought against for so long. She and Glinda followed his actions through the newspapers and Chuffrey's many contacts, always making sure they knew exactly what he was up to. But not once did they think to question his actions, for they knew there was no need; the man who had left Glinda's house was a different man to the one who had stepped into it, uninvited, the evening of Chuffrey's party, and whatever the reason behind his decisions – and Elphie certainly didn't want to dwell on that - for the first time in his rule, he actually seemed to be doing some good.
The changes the Wizard had made were not the only changes either; Glinda and Elphie's relationship also seemed to have progressed for the better. In the daytime they played the role of best friends; at night time they were lovers. Although Chuffrey and Rogers both knew the situation, it was never mentioned, and to the public he and Glinda still acted like the happy couple they had always claimed to be. Still, sometimes Glinda questioned her relationship with Elphie. Despite their talk about the past she couldn't help but wonder what Elphaba wanted to happen in the future.
"We should talk," she said one morning, as she and Elphie lay in bed.
"Okay. That's a lot to talk about," Elphie gave a smile. "Where do you want to start?"
Glinda's gaze met with Elphaba's and she swallowed hard, suppressing the fear that had worked its way inside of her. "With us," she replied. "I want to know...what you want."
Elphie looked at her for a moment, and then she smiled again. It was a gentle, content kind of smile that reminded Glinda how much she had changed since she first came to stay. Over the past couple of months Elphie seemed to have softened, and although she had lost none of her passion, or determination she had become less sceptical. She was more like the Elphaba Glinda had known back at Shiz; the Elphie who believed she could change the world for the better if she only worked hard enough, and that thought alone made Glinda feel more at ease.
"I want you to be happy," she said finally. "What do you want?"
Glinda's answer came without any hesitation. When Elphie didn't reply straight away her nerves returned, and she felt her body tense uncomfortably. There was a moment of silence that seemed, to Glinda, to last a lifetime, before Elphie asked, "Are you sure? I mean are you really sure?"
Glinda sat up in bed, hoping her confident stance might somehow transfer itself to her state of mind. "Of course I'm sure," she replied, trying to hide her surprise at Elphaba's words. "I've never been so sure of anything in my life."
Elphie nodded, her gaze still fixed on Glinda, unfaltering. "You want me even though I left you?" she asked. "Even though I've been a mess for the last few months? Even though I'm having Fiyero's child?"
Glinda reached out, took Elphie's hand in her own, and squeezed it tightly, "Yes," she said firmly. "Yes, I do. Elphie, those things don't change how I feel about you; nothing ever will." She moved closer to Elphaba, their eyes still locked, and their hands still entwined. "I love you," she said softly, finally able to say what she'd been desperate to for months. "I've always loved you."
"Then I'm yours," Elphaba replied, and she pulled Glinda closer to her and kissed her gently.
It was huddled together in bed that Chuffrey found Elphie and Glinda later that morning. He charged in waving a newspaper in his right hand, and stopped dead in the doorway. Elphaba had pulled Glinda on top of her and was kissing her passionately. Chuffrey didn't think he'd ever seen his wife so exposed before.
"Sorry...I, um..." he averted his gaze to the floor, turned around, and held the newspaper out behind him. "I thought you might want to read this."
As Glinda grabbed the bed covers and quickly pulled them over her, Elphie got out of bed and took the newspaper from Chuffrey. The moment it left his hand he went to leave.
"Thank you," he heard Elphie say to him, but he was already closing the door.
She smirked and turned back to Glinda who had turned a deep shade of red.
"Are you okay?" she asked, doing her best to suppress her laughter. All Glinda could do was nod.
Elphie placed one of her hands over Glinda's and squeezed it reassuringly before turning her attention to the paper. When she did, she felt her jaw drop.
"Glinda, look at this," she thrust the paper in the blonde's direction and watched as she read the headline.
'The Wizard Resigns' it read in large, black letters.
With that one sentence, all thoughts of Chuffrey – and any embarrassment that went with them - were forgotten.
"Sweet Oz." Glinda's gaze met with Elphie's and she smiled. "He's really going," she said, and Elphie grinned.
"He really is."
It was cold outside and the wind blew hard against Elphaba's coat as she walked, seeping through the buttons and circling her body. She wrapped her arms tightly around her waist and sped up. Normally she would've turned back, wanting to get away from both the cold and the rain that threatened from the dark clouds above, but that day she needed to clear her head; needed some time to herself, just for a while.
She was by the river, when she saw him leaning against the metal rail that surrounded the water. Part of her wanted to turn and walk in the opposite direction – and her sensible side insisted she listened – but the other part wanted to speak to him, wanted to see what he would do. She took notice of the latter, despite herself, knowing she would always regret it if she didn't.
Elphaba had always been good at sneaking around – she'd had to be when she worked for the resistance – and she could've easily been upon him before he even realised she was close. But she didn't want that; she wanted him to see her.
"Elphaba." He sounded more than a little surprised by her presence. "I don't know what to say. I didn't think I'd ever see you again."
"I hoped you wouldn't." She said, refusing to let her eyes meet with his.
After a moment of silence she added, "I suppose I ought to thank you for finally doing what you should've done years ago."
"Resigning?" he asked with a half smile.
"Well I was referring to lifting the Animal bans, but now you mention it..." Elphie trailed off and leant against the rail herself. She looked the Wizard up and down for a minute. "What made you do it?" she asked then. "After all this time what made you decide?"
"To leave or to change?"
"You really don't know?"
"I imagine it's to do with the other night," she said and gave a sigh. "But I'd like to think it's because you realised your mistakes."
"I did realise my mistakes," he replied. "But I must confess that it was only because of the other night that I did."
Elphaba nodded. "Then I'm glad you were enough of a bastard to sneak into the house."
The Wizard laughed at that, and she raised an eyebrow, unimpressed by his reaction.
"You're very much like your mother you know." His words caused Elphie to flinch. "Sorry, I shouldn't..."
"In what way?" she cut him off, unable to curb her curiosity, despite her discomfort at his reference to Melena.
"You're not afraid to say what you think." He smiled at Elphie, and for the first time she allowed her gaze to meet with his, intrigued by his words. "And you're very passionate about the things you believe in. Granted she never had your drive, but she was passionate, even when it landed her in trouble."
The wizard looked away then, staring out at the dark water in front of him. "I did love her," he said. "Even though I knew it could never work I still loved her. I just wish she'd have told me about you. I understand why she couldn't of course, but in order to protect her secret she took away my chance at being a father."
As he spoke, his words seemed to take on a new meaning and he looked back at Elphaba, overcome with a new kind of guilt. "Which is exactly what I did to..."
Fiyero. She knew what he was going to say but she couldn't let him. Even now she couldn't bear to hear his name on The Wizards lips.
"Elphaba, I know nothing I can say will ever make up for what I did, but you have to believe that I'm sorry." He looked down at the floor, suddenly ashamed to face her. "I'll never forgive myself."
I'll never forgive you either, she wanted to say, but she stopped herself, knowing he didn't need to hear it to know.
"What do you plan on doing now?" She asked instead.
"I don't know. I'll probably go back home. My real home, I mean." He lowered his voice sadly. "I can't stay here."
Elphie nodded. Although she felt sorry for him, she couldn't bring herself to comfort him, and his words pleased her; at least if he went home he couldn't hurt her anymore.
"I'm glad I got to see you again," he said then, his voice soft, and genuine. "And I sincerely hope that you will be happy one day. You and the baby."
Elphie didn't answer, instead she bid The Wizard farewell and walked away, hardly able to believe the surreal conversation that had just taken place. As she walked away from one father, however, another father – the one she had known throughout her adolescence – was making his way to her. And he had a proposition for her that might just change her life once again.