*I've done some editing and reworking (4/28/10), as always. Nothing significantly changed, though. I'm just a perfectionist.

So...this is a story that began as a Fiyeraba oneshot. Many things to Tiggy, who bugged me until I decided to continue this. She shares credit for this winning Best Overall in this year's Awards.

Also, shameless plug...my website is now up with my Elphaba pics, including the Act II dress. The link is in my profile, or go to IAMELPHABAdotCOM (typed so fanfiction won't delete it)

O' beautiful, for spacious skies,
But now those skies are threatening.
They're beating plowshares into swords,
For this tired old man that we elected king.
Armchair warriors often fail,
And we've been poisoned by these fairy tales.
The lawyers clean up all details,
Since daddy had to lie

But I know a place where we can go,
And wash away this sin.
We'll sit and watch the clouds roll by,
And the tall grass waves in the wind.
Just lay your head back on the ground,
And let your hair spill all around me.
Offer up your best defense,
But this is the end,
This is the end of the innocence.

End of the Innocence, Don Henley

Chapter 1

It was a few weeks after Dr. Dillamond was found murdered that he stumbled upon her, sitting by the canal in a near-trance. Fiyero almost missed her, sitting against a gnarly tree in a plain, brown dress. She faded into the landscape, her skin melding with the bright grass around her. He stopped and stared for a moment, because she looked so despondent and far away. He almost walked away, knowing she enjoyed her solitude, but she saw him out of the corner of her eye. Elphaba simply stared at him, and he felt he had to say something.

Fiyero walked closer and asked, "Can I sit with you?"

Elphaba looked at him with a typically unreadable expression and said, "I won't stop you."

Fiyero dropped his satchel and sat beside her. They both stared at the canal for some time without speaking.

"He was a good teacher," Fiyero made an attempt at small talk, trying to show compassion for a man whom he hadn't really known. He guessed that it was Dr. Dillamond's death that had her so despondent.

Elphaba snorted, which was altogether unbecoming and yet entirely typical.

"He was more than a good man, he was a genius. And he knew something none of the rest of us did. He died for it, you know."

Fiyero was at a loss for an answer, "I don't much dabble in politics or conspiracy…"

"I didn't think you would. You've got your life all lined up for you, with your wife back home and your destiny plain as milk."

Fiyero was offended, although he couldn't pinpoint why. He'd never had a problem with his future before. It was easier, just knowing what was coming.

"And your future is so ambiguous?" he finally asked.

Elphaba finally turned to look at him, "Do you think there's some sort of instruction manual for what the green girl is supposed to do with her life? It's been far from typical so far. I can't imagine that the rest of my life will be much different," she said it matter-of-factly, but there was a hint of sadness there.

It was the first time Fiyero had really considered what life held for her. He took it for granted, being wealthy and mostly attractive, with a certain future. Until now, Galinda's odd roommate had been nothing more than a curiosity to him, who occasionally provided witty banter in Life Sciences. In the moment, he realized she was indeed a woman, almost.

"You're staring."

He realized he was, and she was looking at him with one eyebrow quirked upward in an expression only she could make.

"How do you do that?" he asked, trying to imitate her.

"What?" she still looked perplexed.

"Make that expression…"

Try as he might, Fiyero could not get either eyebrow to obey him. He was sure he looked a fool, scrunching his face up and trying.

Elphaba's face twitched, and he could tell she was trying very hard not to laugh at him.

"Go ahead," he conceded, "laugh."

She broke into a slight smile then, and it was nice, the way it made her eyes shine. They were brown, he realized just then, with flecks of green like her skin. Smiling softened her features, which were all bones and angles, with thin lips that could curve into the perfect smirk. It was the type of face that took time to appreciate the beauty there. Fiyero felt like he'd learned a secret, by seeing her this way.

"You're still staring," she broke the spell.

"So, do you know anything of this secret Dr. Dillamond kept from the rest of us?" Fiyero tried to restart the conversation.

"Ask me no questions, and I'll spell you no lies…" Elphaba looked away again, troubled.

"Is that a riddle?" Fiyero questioned.

"If you like, although even I don't know the answer…" she was very quiet for some time.

The sky above them slowly darkened, until the stars began to poke their way through the darkness. The ground became quite cold, and a breeze whipped around them.

"You'll catch cold," Fiyero finally spoke, "if you stay out here like this."

"You don't catch cold from simply being cold. Sickness has been shown to be caused by germs, which—"

"I know what causes sickness," Fiyero was slightly exasperated, "I was simply showing concern. Is that so foreign to you?"

"Perhaps," Elphaba snapped back.

Fiyero hauled her to her feet against her will and retrieved his discarded satchel of books, "Come, I'll walk you home."

"I can manage," Elphaba tried to protest.

"You won't shake me that easily. You can either walk with me, or I'll follow you back," Fiyero's tone was suddenly commanding.

Elphaba stopped, perhaps finally seeing something of the Arjiki prince he was destined to be. She turned and started towards Crage Hall, letting him fall in step beside her.

"So what would you do, if you knew in fact that Dr. Dillamond harbored a great, revolutionary secret? Would you have joined him?" Fiyero asked, genuinely curious.

Elphaba chewed her lip, "Him being an Animal, I would say yes. His kind has been done a great deal of wrongs."

"So you're not afraid of espionage or mutiny?" Fiyero was a little surprised.

"I'm not afraid of being used for the greater good," Elphaba defended.

Fiyero considered this as they walked. He'd always known she was odd, and he'd considered her a bookworm, but tonight she was revealing new depths, both in looks and character. He'd never known a girl quite like this.

"So what will you do now, with Dr. Dillamond gone? How will you conduct your revolution?" Fiyero asked.

Elphaba considered, "Revolution can start small. Even wars begin with tiny arguments. And it's Morrible I wonder about. I wonder about her motives, behind the education of us all. I'd like to keep her off balance."

"How so?"

"Refuse to be or react the way she expects. Even the smallest things can cause a ripple in society. I want to be a peg in the cog, a glitch in the scheme…" her voice rose with excitement from talking about it.

Fiyero enjoyed this side of her, and asked, "Is any of our charmed circle a part of your plan?"

"It would destroy the plan to tell you," Elphaba eluded, and then gave in, "Take us, hypothetically—"

"That's a big word," Fiyero teased.

She rolled her eyes and kept on, "You and are I entirely different, an Arjiki prince and the green girl from Rush Margins. Add to that Boq, and Galinda, a fluffy future debutante, and then Crope and Tibbett, working class boys who stand for more than they understand. Who would have put us together? We've crossed some boundaries, built bridges society doesn't understand. Just you and I, standing here now, are making a ripple."

Fiyero had been listening so intently, he was surprised to discover that he'd followed her to just outside her door in the dormitory. The hall was quiet, as most everyone must have gone to dinner. Even the hawk-eyed Amas were missing. Elphaba fished a key out of her pocket and opened the door. He followed her, because she was still talking.

He took in the room while she went on about how an insignificant thing, like the brush of a butterfly's wing, could make a significant difference in time. She stoked a fire in the small fireplace, and brought it back to life with a little kindling. Fiyero noted the difference between her bed, neatly made with plain bedding, and Galinda's fluffy surplus of pillows. They had been afforded the luxury of a large window, and it reflected the room as she lit the lamps.

"So you see, Fiyero? You're making a difference right now, by skipping the monotonous prattle of shallow dinner conversation to walk me home," she stepped close to him, to emphasize her point, "We're an unlikely pair. The cosmos would want you to run home to your child-bride, rather than be with me…"

It was an innocent statement, he knew that. For all her depth and intelligence, she knew nothing of flirting. There was no pretense with Elphaba. Still, Fiyero suddenly felt very warm, and he very much wanted to be with her. What exactly that meant was a little vague to him, but he acted on impulse anyway.

He kissed her, long and slowly, on her mouth. Elphaba stiffened, as he expected. Still, there was a spark of something he hadn't expected between himself and this strange girl.

She finally pulled away, though not as harshly as he anticipated, and asked, "What are you doing?"

"Creating a ripple, upsetting the cosmos, doing something I shouldn't, because suddenly the rules don't seem to make a lot of sense…"

Elphaba stared at him, her eyes dark and unreadable.

"What would Morrible think," he kissed her gently, "of the Arjiki prince and her prodigy, skipping dinner to contemplate mutiny?"

There was suddenly a fire in her eyes, and she responded hungrily to his next kiss. Fiyero pulled her to him, exploring her mouth. It was all new to him, having been sheltered and promised to his bride since childhood. He'd never allowed himself to consider being with a woman simply because of the spark she lit within him. If this was revolution, he wanted it. He wanted her.

He slipped out of his jacket and let it fall, so he could run his hands up her arms and tangle them in her hair. As his kisses intensified, her hair pulled loose from its pins and fell around her. Fiyero had never taken the time to notice it before, this mane of silk that framed her, as though she'd captured midnight.

He pressed her backward until they reached her bed. He pulled away just long enough to ask, wordlessly, what she wanted. As in everything she did, Elphaba was not passive. She pulled him down and pressed him back against her pillows, letting her hair fall around them as she worked her kisses down his neck.

"So you've had lovers before?" Fiyero asked between kisses, intoxicated by her skill.

Elphaba paused for a second, "No, I suppose this is as innocent as I'll ever hope to be in this life."

In spite of her admission, there was something altogether wicked in her sly smile. Fiyero seized her and began to work with the buttons on her dress. She helped him, pulling it over her head and casting it away. He slipped his shirt over his head and let it fall.

Elphaba stopped, fascinated by the markings across his chest that signified his tribal origins. She ran her fingers over his body and trailed kisses across his chest that quickened his breath. When he thought he could no longer withstand it, he moved her hands. He freed her from her slips and undergarments, letting his mouth wander over her body as more of her emerald skin was revealed. It wasn't as strange as he imagined. She was long-limbed, angular, and very green, but she was a woman, in spite of her color.

They moved together, with the unavoidable awkwardness of inexperience. Fiyero took the time to touch her, to run his hand over the curve of her hip, to let his hand dip between her thighs. She whimpered a little at his touch, and the softness of her body in his hands caused his body to flush and ache.

Elphaba's eyes widened a little, when he removed his trousers. He'd never seen her look uncertain, so he offered, "Tell me if I hurt you…"

As if in response to her momentary weakness, she pulled him onto her, flesh against flesh, so he could press himself into her. She kissed him long and hard, open-mouthed and deep, and he didn't move for a moment, overwhelmed at the new sensation. He'd never felt so connected, so affected, aroused, and intimidated.

Elphaba moved first, moving against him as she wound her fingers in his coarse hair. Fiyero matched her rhythm, allowing himself to drown in the warmth of her body and scent of her hair.

She was a natural lover, to be entirely inexperienced. To Fiyero, it seemed as though he'd unleashed something within her she hadn't known was there. She sensed his reactions, his responses, and let him nearly reach climax before pulling away to kiss and caress and explore again. She was not shy, and she straddled him and relished the control. Fiyero reached up to touch her, to let his hands rest on her slender waist, to pull her down and kiss her hungrily.

Finally, he pulled her against him and then pressed her back against the pillows so she was beneath him again. His body ached and begged for release, and he began to lose sense as he made love to her. He hesitated only briefly, knowing her body was not used to this. He whispered, "I'm afraid that—"

"I don't care," she cut him off, and reached around his back to pull him deeper into her.

Elphaba reached up and grasped one of the spindles on the headboard as their lovemaking grew more urgent. Fiyero felt beads of perspiration break out, and he closed his eyes. Suddenly, she cried out, and he felt her body climax. It was unexpected, and beyond what he'd imagined or heard in dirty gossip. Most all of that gossip had focused on what he, as a man, should feel. No one had ever mentioned this warm, pulsing sensation that drove him over the edge. His body gave in in response, and for several moments he could not speak, could not move. He could only breathe and let the powerful feeling sweep over him.

When he opened his eyes, Elphaba lay beneath him, her breathing deep and ragged. She was flushed, which gave her an exotic, violet hue. Her hair was splayed out in disarray, and her eyes were intense.

"Well…" was all she could say.

Fiyero kissed her again, because words seemed cheap. He pulled away and lay beside her, unsure of how to proceed.

Elphaba sat up and reached into the cupboard by her bed. She produced a bottle of wine she'd hidden away. After pouring a little in two glasses, she handed him one unceremoniously.

"To the revolution," she threw out before taking a sip.

"To you, Miss Elphaba Thropp," Fiyero looked at her meaningfully, finding it difficult to be so casual.

She tipped her glass back and finished her drink with grace. Then she sat up, surveying the mess for her clothes.

"There might still be dinner, if we hurry…" she stood up to retrieve her undergarments, and Fiyero saw the tinge of blood on her sheets. She saw him looking, and waved her hand, "It's to be expected. I'll be sore, for sure, but I'm no delicate flower. I suppose it's good I had no intention of being a virgin bride."

Fiyero finished the wine and reached for his trousers.

"You don't have to be so casual…" he argued.

"Would you like me to pretend there's some great love affair in our future?" Elphaba returned.

Fiyero was considering the possibility when the door opened.

Galinda had been returning from dinner, slightly miffed at the way the conversation had gone. She was tired of the constant haranguing her roommate received from Pfannee and Shenshen, and she was beginning to wonder if Miss Elphaba had changed her, after all. Trying to determine at what point her opinion of Elphaba had changed, she pushed open the door. Stopping abruptly, she took in the scene before her.

She was terrified at first, seeing the mess of clothes and discarded sheets. There was a trace of blood on the bedding, and Elphaba sat in just her undergarments and black shift, her hair wild and loose. Fiyero stood a foot away, wearing only his trousers. After a moment of no sound but the ticking clock, Galinda realized what she was seeing.

She opened her mouth to speak, but couldn't seem to form any words. She had done her share of silly flirting and going to tea with the boys. She even knew some of those boys went into the city and tried their luck at getting into the brothels. However, in her upper-crust circle, there was a line she hadn't considered crossing. Certain things were expected of a future high-society Gillikin bride.

Being so virginal, Galinda was shocked, mortified and, deep down, incredibly curious. Elphaba had clearly ventured into new territory, and part of Galinda wanted to hear of it. While she stood, open-mouthed and speechless, Elphaba pulled on her clothes and carelessly knotted her hair. She tossed Fiyero his shirt as she pulled on her boots.

"We're going to see if there's still dinner," Elphaba tossed out as she brushed passed Galinda. Fiyero followed without meeting her eyes.

"Don't wait up," Elphaba threw back as she disappeared.

But Galinda knew she would. Something had changed, if only slightly. She was off balance, as though there'd been a shift in the world as she knew it. Like the brush of a butterfly's wings, in the most delicate, imperceptible way, a new course had been charted.

Galinda would certainly be waiting up.