Songs I listened to while writing this chapter: Nobody Needs To Know from The Last Five Years, Portrait of a Girl, from Bare, Kerry Ellis's I'm Not That Girl, I'll Be There from The Pirate Queen, Johanna from Sweeney Todd, Shoshana Bean's Home, and No More from See What I Wanna See, Get Out And Stay Out from the musical Nine To Five. I wonder if they managed to shape anything.
Anyway, this IS the last chapter. I hope you all enjoy this last installment, as well as the story in general. I've been very pleased with the positive feedback for this story. Thank you all so much.
There was a banging outside, a ruckus punctuated by what sounded like gunshots. Although Avaric meant to ignore, through the wall of his hotel room he could hear another guest demand of a butler, "What the hell was that?"
Curious enough, he poked his head out the door; Lurlinemas Eve had been dull, and he would appreciate a bit of gossip. The servant looked uncomfortable. "Sir, we don't really know. There's no official word yet, but personally, and don't quote me on this, I think it might be terrorism. There's more political unrest in this city than the Wizard would like you to know about."
As soon as the word 'terrorism' had passed from his mouth, Avaric was searching for his shoes and coat. He knew Elphaba had no desire to speak with him, but that didn't relieve his desire to check on her. Was she behind what was tearing the City apart, or was she caught in the crossfire? Or did she have nothing to do with it, and was simply sitting in her home with her royal lover, wondering what all the fuss was?
God, he hoped for the last option. Well, perhaps he prayed that Fiyero weren't a part of the equation: at times like this, he knew he couldn't afford to be picky.
The Winter snow, Lurlinemas snow turned to mush beneath his feet, mixing with the City's dirt. He took the long way, avoiding where he had heard the gunshots and fighting. Luckily, he was sure that whatever had happened was finished- the streets were eerily quiet. But perhaps this wasn't so much of a good thing? He hurried to the strip of abandoned warehouses where he knew she made her home.
He knew what building it was, and ran up the stairs two at a time, feeling more and more anxious with each step. His instinct had been correct. Something was wrong. The wretched sobbing only confirmed it.
He located her in the corner of the room. She was alive, and didn't seem to be physically hurt. But that painful crying was her. She was kneeling over a body- a corpse, he realized with growing horror.
Fiyero was dead.
Without any sort of greeting -what would have even been appropriate?- he went to her. The wooden floor was covered in blood. The back of his skull had been crushed and she'd turned him so she could see his face. Her hand rested on his cheek, trying to will life back into him. "Yero, please," Avaric could hear her whisper before she submitted to sobbing again.
"What happened?" he asked, reaching for her, his arms wrapping around her shoulders.
She flew from his arms and whatever comfort he could have provided her with. In a voice mangled by grief she said, "He loved me, he was finally able to truly tell me so," she paused to try and catch her breath. "So of course he had to die, of course they had to kill him. I'm not allowed to be happy, I don't know why I thought I could have been." She broke down again, collapsing against Fiyero's chest. Avaric had the sudden realization that even dead, she took more comfort in Fiyero than she ever had taken from him.
It didn't matter though, and he moved forward again, wraping his arms back around her. This time she did not push him away, resting against his shoulder. In time her sobbing ended and she calmed. He pulled her up to her feet, slowly. "Do you have any idea who did this?"
She squeezed her eyes shut, nodding. "The Gale Force. They've been looking for us all night. They came here to look for me- maybe not me in particular, but terrorists. I-" She faltered a little and took a minute to recompose herself. "I told him to stay away from here because I knew it would be dangerous for him."
"Is it still dangerous here?"
"I hoped so. I was waiting for them to come back for me." Her voice was small. He had the passing thought that this was the second time she had mentioned a suicidal tendency to him. Before he had a chance to comment, her eyes snapped open. "But I changed my mind... We have to go." She was halfway to the door before she doubled back, collapsing next to her lover's body again. "Damn it, Fiyero, why did I let you do this to me?"
"Do what to you?" Avaric asked, feeling like a voyer watching an intensely intimate moment. It didn't matter- when had anything about his relationship with Elphaba Thropp not been completely twisted?
She squeezed one of the unresponsive hands. "Made me fall in love with him, for one. And I might be pregnant," she added as she realized what her subconscious had been telling her for a little bit of time. The information sunk in a little bit. "Oh, God. I might be pregnant."
He didn't even comment on her reference to God. "You don't know?"
"I've never had a child before, I don't know." Her hand rested on her stomach as another crying fit started. It was like a slap in the face to him, but he couldn't say why. She reached out to Fiyero and cradled his mangled skull as if she could mend it with love. She failed, of course, and it crushed her again.
"Elphaba, there is nothing you can do for him now. Mourning over his body won't bring him back." He pulled her away from the body again, but it was as if the whole world had suddenly gotten much too big for her.
She leaned against him, broken and exhausted as if the entire world rested on her incapable shoulders. "I just don't what to do now, I can't... I-" She buried her face in his shoulder, allowing him to pick her up. He carried her out the door and down the stairs. She was mostly unconscious before his foot hit the last step. He just walked, now knowing where he was headed until he got there. The Chapel of Saint Glinda in the Emerald City. He just hoped the Chapel held some of Glinda, the Girl's warmth.
He touched her tangled hair, matted with Fiyero's blood. "Yero..."
"No, Elphie, not him. It's just me," he said as gently as he could as she drifted away from the hopeful dream. "It's just Avaric."
Her eyes were cold, dead, and expressionless. She looked in his direction but didn't really see him. "Sometimes I think I might have loved you," she admitted.
She settled her on the stoop of the church so he could knock on the door. "Lies become the truth all the time," he said, kissing her, as close to an admission as he could come.
He didn't wait for the young maunt to come for her, walking away. He glanced backward to see that a hermit had indeed opened the door to let her in.
For him, the days would turn into weeks and months, until he barely lived anymore, thinking of her very little. He did not have the luxury of emotion and his hateful love or loving hate faded into memory.