Author's Notes: Oops, another one of my stories that was meant to be just a drabble. I guess the characters have a mind of their own... Review please!
Disclaimer: Wicked and it's characters are not mine. Unfortunately.
He had never met anyone like her. True, everyone who took one glance at her - unconventional - skin could say the same, but there was more to it than that. She was just... different. There was simply no other way to describe her in such succinct terms.
She was angry, bitter, harsh and wryly, wonderfully sarcastic. She was almost frightening in her fiery passion, leaving those who were unfortunate enough to bear her wrath feeling like they had just encountered a tornado. She was defensive, and her wit was so sharp that others didn't even feel the sting of it until much, much later when they looked up what her multi-syllabic words actually meant. She was a whirlwind of dangerous, swirling energy, continuing on from one task to the next, never stopping.
"Maybe the driver saw green and thought it meant go."
He hadn't meant it as anything more than an amusing, perhaps slightly derogatory, comment at the time, but now he realized that it applied to her perfectly, in all aspects. She was practically the definition of "go". She never stopped, not even for a second, in her quest to make the world a better place. He had never met someone with so much ambition that wasn't self-directed; he himself was such a passive character that he wasn't sure anything in the entire world could really rouse much interest in him. But her... she was so intent on bettering the universe that she didn't seem to have a spare thought left for herself.
"Well, I'll say this much for her. She doesn't give a twig what anyone else thinks."
He'd thought it was true. And it was - but only to an extent.
"Of course she does. She just pretends not to."
Because that was true, too. He hadn't noticed it at first, distracted by both her off-putting skin and her equally disturbing comments, but, now that he knew to look for it, it was pretty obvious.
It was apparent in almost everything she did, no matter how hard she tried to hide it. Her determined, tough glances were normally preceded by expressions of wistful longing that she immediately wiped off of her face; on the rare occasion that another student spoke to her she was initially quite shy, before something in their demeanor put her on the defensive and she bristled angrily at them. Underneath her hard, independent exterior lay a young girl that just wanted to be accepted but wasn't sure how.
It had been this - this vulnerability - that had captured his attention indefinitely, catching him hook, line and sinker. His eyes had curiously followed her around before, of course (she was green - she was kind of hard to miss!), but it was only once he had looked past the off-putting skin color and equally disturbing comments that his fascination with her really began.
And, Oz, what a fascination it was - bordering on obsessive, really. Which was quite pathetic, given that she hardly gave him the time of day.
A bit like now, actually.
"So, Elphaba," started Fiyero for the umpteenth time.
"Mmm?" she replied, her eyes never leaving the pages of her book.
Fiyero hated that book. He wanted to shred it apart and burn every single word on every single page. He settled for glaring ominously at it.
"What's your..." he started, faltered, then concluded lamely, "favorite color?"
"Green," she said dryly, with a wry, self-mocking smirk on her face.
It had been like this for at least a gazillion hours (or, more accurately, about one). He tried to make small talk, she read her book. He tried to catch her attention, she avoided look at him. He tried to engage her in - anything, she ignored him.
He was starting to suspect that his brilliant idea was not quite going according to plan.
They had been stuck in this empty classroom for about an hour (well, "stuck" was such an ambiguous word...), ever since class had ended and the other students had filed out noisily, followed by the teacher. Fiyero had accidentally walked a little too close to her desk, knocked all of her academic paraphernalia to the floor, and had spent the next five minutes helping her sort it all out, which had made them late for leaving class. Elpahaba had realized, with no small amount of horror, that they were both locked in here, alone; Fiyero had realized, gleefully, that everything was perfectly falling into place.
Except for Elphaba's reaction. He hadn't expected her to immediately swoon into his arms and attempt to (easily) seduce him, but he hadn't exactly expected this, either. She had fidgeted nervously, shifted awkwardly, and then promptly sat back in her seat, ignoring him in favor of her book.
In fact, the first five minutes they had spent together, in which they had discussed ways to get out of their current predicament, had been the height of their conversation. ("I guess we wait for someone to unlock the door?" had been Fiyero's helpful suggestion). Sure, she had stuttered, talked too quickly and too quietly, had fluttered her hands about nervously, and had seemed almost frightened of him, but at least then she had been talking. Now she was just reading.
It was ridiculous to be jealous of a book, right? He willed evil thoughts towards it anyway.
It wasn't that he was desperate to talk to her. It was just that... well, okay, he was desperate to talk to her. She had such a nice voice - smooth, like deep honey and velvet - and he hadn't heard it in far too long. She used to speak often, loudly, without a care as to who was listening, but ever since that day she had been as quiet as mouse around him, and it drove Fiyero insane. He missed her voice.
He didn't understand why she had been so silent recently, especially around him. She acted differently, too, since the day with the Lion cub; more self-conscious and hyper-aware, as if afraid to make a wrong move. She seemed almost scared of him, scurrying away like a terrified rabbit (Rabbit, perhaps, since she did speak occasionally) whenever she saw him approaching. He couldn't quite figure out why; sure, he was tall, and had gorgeous broad shoulders that he quite modestly knew all the girls loved, but he didn't think he was particularly intimidating. She hadn't seemed scared of him before, judging by her yelling at him about the Lion cub. So what had changed?
Why in Oz wouldn't she talk to him?
"What's your favorite... number?" Fiyero tried next.
"How about your favorite... animal?"
Her eyes flashed up to his and, though they only rested there for a second, Fiyero felt a thrill. This time, she actually paused before answering, considering his question quite seriously.
"I don't have one," she said quietly. "I don't believe in favorites when it comes to living creatures."
Fiyero, seated on a desk a few feet in front of her, sat up straighter in interest. This had been the first reply in a long while that consisted of more than one word. Now that he had hit upon a topic that got her talking, he was going to draw it out as long as he possibly could.
She hesitated, before slowly placing the book face-down on the desk. Fiyero smirked smugly at the book, triumphantly taunting it.
"It's not fair," she replied to his question, folding her fingers over each other on the table-top. "What happens to the ones that don't get chosen?"
Fiyero felt as if he was missing a very important puzzle piece. Were they still talking about the same thing here?
"I never thought about it that way," he surprised himself by admitting. "I guess they don't enjoy it nearly half as much."
"Not exactly," she murmured, as if to herself.
He studied her as surreptitiously as he could (in other words, very obviously), and then it suddenly clicked into place and he felt sick. Oh, Oz. Of course he had to bring up one of the only topics that could really upset her.
"Your sister..." he started, leaning his weight forwards towards her.
She seemed to flinch. She looked down at the desk, as if gathering courage, and then raised her eyes defiantly to his. He couldn't decide whether he was more proud, shocked, or dismayed at her strength of character.
"Deserves everything she gets," she continued on from his sentence, firmly. "I don't begrudge her anything."
There was a sick ache in Fiyero's chest, an uncomfortable foreign pressure that he had never felt before. It physically hurt him to know how unfairly Elphaba was treated, even by those who, as family, should have shown her unconditional love. But Nessarose was demanding and self-obsessed, so eager to be accepted that she occasionally shunned her own sister in embarrassment. He felt... sorry for the green girl.
"Don't pity me," she muttered lowly, her eyes flashing dangerously at him. "Don't you dare pity me."
"I don't," he placated.
He slid fluidly off of the desk and walked towards her, watching as she stiffened her spine at his approach. He dragged a chair closer and sat facing her, so close that his knees were nearly brushing against the side of her left thigh. She had twisted her torso to face him, her eyes wide.
"What are you doing?" she asked warily.
"Sitting next to you. Is that such a crime?" he said exasperatedly.
She said nothing, just watched him. He slowly reached out a hand towards the desk, and they both watched as it settled over hers, his palm coming to rest lightly against the back of her hand.
"Elphaba..." he said slowly, seriously, watching her face so intently that he was almost surprised she didn't catch on fire.
She swallowed, looking anywhere but at him, and furtively slid her hand out from under his, clenching it at her side. His own hand lowered onto the hard tabletop, and he frowned.
She was always like this, so uncomfortable with his touch that he half-wondered if it burnt her. Practically obsessed with her, he had recently been unable to control his desire to touch her. It was nothing major - an 'accidental' grazing of hands as they passed each other in the hallways, or a casual brush of their shoulders - but she always jerked away as if tortured. Did he really repulse her that much? He didn't believe it; surely he was just imagining that she hated him.
He tried to surreptitiously reach for her other hand, but she slid that one off the table, too, and Fiyero's face crumpled in rejection.
"What's yours?" she blurted, in an incredibly poor attempt to change the subject.
He scrambled to keep his mind in the present and not focus on the fact that she couldn't stand being near him.
"My - what?"
"Favorite animal," she clarified, locking her fingers together on her lap. He wondered if that was a subtle hint for him to keep his hands to himself.
"I..." He broke off, and struggled to organize his thoughts. He decided he had to ignore her physical rejection - surely she had her own reasons for it. "I - don't have one. How could I, after listening to what you've just said?"
His voice was so tender, his regard so warm, that she appeared uncertain as to what to make of it. In return, she flushed, the red blood blooming under the green skin of her cheekbones and causing them to turn a muddy brown; Elphaba did not blush prettily. She looked away uncomfortably, cleared her throat awkwardly, and Fiyero sighed again. No matter what he did, she was always on edge around him; he futilely wracked his empty brain for a way to make her more at ease.
She stood up abruptly, her chair screeching sharply against the floor and making Fiyero wince. Her facial features were arranged into an expression of frustration and torture as she took five steps away from him, then swiveled on her heel and walked five paces back. Fiyero stood up uneasily.
She took another few steps away, turned to face him, and exhaled sharply through her nose. Her eyebrows were so low they almost completely shadowed her eyes, and her lip was twisting between her teeth so harshly that Fiyero feared she would actually injure herself.
"Fiyero..." she started lowly, then exhaled in frustration and walked a few strides to the right. "I -"
She broke off again, watching him nervously. Fiyero stretched out a hand and, despite being far out of reach, Elphaba cringed backwards. She paced around the room, Fiyero's eyes following her worriedly.
"Elphaba, what is it?" She didn't reply, just shot him another glance, and he laughed a bit desperately. "Sit down, please - you're making me nervous."
She glanced to the chair next to him, biting her lip nervously, then seemed to change her mind and sat down on the desk instead, further away from him.
"I have to tell you something," she started sotto voce, looking like she needed to convince herself to actually say it.
"What is it?"
Fiyero walked gingerly towards her, scared to frighten her off. She was like a cornered, terrified animal, and he didn't want to intimidate her.
She didn't seem to notice him getting closer, so preoccupied with her frustration in not being able to get out the words. She looked to the ceiling, took a deep breath, then let out the words in a rush.
Fiyero blinked at her uncomprehendingly, so stunned that he paused in his inching closer to her.
"Galinda?" he repeated blankly.
Elphaba looked as if she wanted to kill herself; as if she felt she deserved to die for betraying her best friend. Her eyes, initially screwed shut in pain, now blinked slowly open to look at him, and she cringed.
"I can't believe I said that," she whispered, horrified.
"Galinda?" Fiyero repeated again, goggling at her.
"She's seeing someone else," continued Elphaba, though she looked more horrified with each word. "I'm... really sorry I had to tell you this, but I thought you deserved to know and -"
"Galinda?" he asked dumbly.
"Yes!" She seemed almost annoyed now, which broke Fiyero out of his state of total confusion. "Galinda!"
"But... I'm not dating Galinda."
Now it was her turn to blink at him.
He took a few more steps forwards, so that he was directly facing of her, the front of his thighs just brushing her bent knees. His lips twitched with amusement and relief as he thought he finally understood all of her strange behavior.
"I'm not dating Galinda," he repeated gently.
She blinked up at him, so stunned that she didn't even notice his proximity.
"Since when?" Even her voice was confused.
"A while, now." He inched even closer, pressing gently against her knees, and they automatically moved slightly to the side so that he could stand between them.
"But... why didn't she tell me?"
She actually looked genuinely hurt, an emotion Fiyero knew she rarely showed, and he felt a pang in his chest; his lips tightened into a thin line at the feeling.
"Are you sure she never said anything?" he asked.
Elphaba frowned up at him, looking lost in thought and still unaware of how close he was.
"She... she came back to the dorm once, crying about how you 'broke up' with her, but I thought she was just being over-dramatic..."
She trailed off, raising her eyes to his, and something flickered in them. Forget all that nonsense about 'reading it in their eyes' - Fiyero couldn't tell what the hell she was thinking.
"She wasn't," he said quietly, seriously.
She finally seemed to realize just where he was standing, so close that they were practically breathing each other's air, and that frightened look entered her eyes again. She swallowed nervously, and looked to the side.
"What -" her strangled voice broke, and she tried again, "What are you doing?"
"Shh," he whispered, then murmured her name.
He took the last, small step forward, standing directly between her thighs, and placed his hands on the edge of the table so that his presence encompassed her. Her eyes fell closed and she drew in a deep, shaky breath. He leant forwards and slowly rested his cheek against hers, reveling in the skin-on-skin contact, and let out a sigh, closing his own eyes. They stayed that way for a long while, hardly daring to move, before he hesitantly nuzzled her cheek and pressed his nose to the hair by her ear, breathing in deeply. When he let out his breath it ghosted over the shell of her ear, and she shivered almost imperceptibly. He reluctantly pulled back to find she was breathing unsteadily, her fingers clenching on top of her thighs.
Fiyero knew he was moving too fast, but still he couldn't help the question that came softly and slowly from his lips.
"Elphaba," he murmured, "can I kiss you?"
Her breath seemed to catch in her throat, and her eyes widened - frightened, again, like a hunted animal. She looked at him as if he had asked to torture and then eat her.
"No," she managed to choke out in a whisper.
Fiyero closed his eyes for a long second, trying to clear his mind enough to think. She had said no, she was scared, it was wrong of him to do this, but he needed it, he had waited for so long...
"It's okay," he soothed. "I won't hurt you. I promise..."
He didn't just mean physically; even he wasn't dumb enough to realize that she was more frightened of the emotional implications of kissing him rather than the physical.
He let his hand rest gently on her shoulder, his thumb moving up and down in small, reassuring strokes; she tensed but did not pull away, and at last her trembling stopped.
"No," she whispered again.
Fiyero closed his eyes and expelled his breath shakily. It was sick, it was wrong of him to do this, he was a total, utter, heartless bastard - but still he leant forward until mere centimeters separated his lips from hers. He couldn't help it. Her presence was so heady and intoxicating that just being this close to her made him feel lightheaded. She was breathing shallowly now, her breath ghosting over his face, and her trembling had started again.
"Please," he breathed, his lips just barely brushing hers.
She stopped breathing completely, and he was about to somehow will himself to pull back when he suddenly and startlingly felt her lips pressing clumsily against his, the pressure and feel of them so delicious that he half-wondered if he was dreaming. She fumbled awkwardly against him, obviously never having been kissed before, until his hands smoothed warmly over her shoulders and she stilled. They kissed slowly, lightly, sipping at each other's lips, and Fiyero let his hands softly stroke up her neck until they cupped her face. Elphaba sighed into his mouth, pressing herself gently against him; he let out a low groan and clutched a handful of her hair between his fingers, mentally comparing its heavy silk to Galinda's soft fluffiness.
Their languid kisses grew deeper, with Elphaba gaining enough confidence to slide her hands over his shoulders and cling to the back of his neck, until Fiyero nipped lightly at her bottom lip and she let out a gasp at the feeling. Fiyero took the opportunity to let the tip of his tongue brush against hers, and felt more than heard the whimper she let out. He did it again, and again, and again, until all of their kisses merged into one and he hardly knew where he ended and she began.
Then she suddenly wrenched back, breathing deeply, and shoved him away with her hands on his chest. Confused and disorientated, Fiyero struggled to figure out what he had done wrong, but succeeded only in staring at her blankly, panting and wanting to wrap his arms around her again.
"Why... why are you doing this?" she asked breathlessly, her lips swollen and darkened.
She had looked scared when she first pulled back, but now she looked hurt more than anything else, and very, very vulnerable. It almost broke Fiyero to see her like that. He slowly reached up and curled his fingers around her wrists, bringing her hands away from his chest so that he could take a step closer towards where she sat on the desk. She watched him silently as he cupped her face in his hands again, her skin cool and soft against his, and Fiyero looked at her intently, trying to convey as much as possible in a single look.
"Because I want to," he answered softly but seriously.
He watched as her eyes lowered, a veil of black lashes obscuring them, and she twisted her head until his hands dropped from her face to fall to the table beside her.
He didn't answer for a long moment. He just let his eyes trail all over her, from the top of her shiny, silky hair, like black ink, to her bowed head and lowered, vulnerable eyes; her nervous, pinched lips, a shade darker than the rest of her; her shapeless jacket and skirt; her fidgeting hands with their long, elegant fingers; all the way down to her scuffed boots. He let himself think about her voice, rich and velvety; the way she carried around more books than she could hold; her passion for Animal rights and her devotion to her thoughtless, unworthy sister; her complete trust and utter faith in the only friend she had; her self-sufficient nature and how she used it to hide her multitude of insecurities; the way she looked at him sometimes, with this intense longing, when she thought he didn't notice... and he finally answered haltingly, "Do you have any idea how incredible you are?"
She looked up at him then, a quick flash of dark eyes that burned Fiyero right down to his core, before she said, so quietly that Fiyero had to strain his ears to hear it, "Fiyero... I'm green..."
Thoughtlessly, he pulled back, frowning, and then saw in Ehlphaba's hurt, self-hating gaze how his action had been taken in the wrong way. He stepped back closer to her, so close that the air between them seemed to thrum with energy, and picked up her limp hand, sliding his fingers through hers in apology. They both watched as his flesh-colored hand engulfed her smaller green one, marveling at the perfect fit and the way that the colors just seemed to... go together. Perfectly. Her skin was green, yes, but it was much more than that - it had a brighter luminescence than most skin did, a sort of gem-like quality that made it beautiful. He didn't understand how anyone couldn't find the millions of shimmering shades of green anything but entirely bewitching.
"And?" he whispered.
"You don't care that I'm green," she stated flatly, her voice almost loud enough to break the spell that had settled over them.
She tried to pull her hand back, but Fiyero wouldn't let her.
"No," he said firmly, grasping her jaw with his free hand so that she couldn't look away. "I don't."
She frowned at him, judging him with her eyes, and Fiyero would have felt hurt by her disbelief in him if he didn't already know it stemmed from insecurity and a lifetime of being bullied and cast aside. He played up his being hurt, however, and said, "Do you really think I'm that shallow?"
Her frown softened then and, though her eyes remained judging and questioning, she answered negatively. Hoping he wouldn't be slapped, Fiyero stroked her cheek with his thumb, still holding her hand, until she relaxed and softened her stance. She looked down at their hands, playing absent-mindedly with his fingers, and Fiyero felt a warmth blossom in his chest, spreading through his veins and filling his soul - until it was frozen by her following words.
"I just wish..." Her voice was like glass now, higher in pitch but delicate, and prone to shattering at any moment. "I wish I could be beautiful. For you."
She wasn't looking at him, and for once Fiyero was glad; his heart felt like it was being squeezed in a vice, and he was sure the painful feeling showed on his face.
"Elphaba..." he started.
"No, don't tell me I am," she interrupted firmly, but with a delicate voice. She cast one guilty glance at him before looking back down at their clasped hands. "You don't have to lie to me."
"It's not lying!" He let out a sigh in exasperation, trying to make her see just how wonderful he thought she was. "It's - looking at things another way."
She wasn't traditionally beautiful, perhaps, but it was her uniqueness that set her apart, from her small, pointed chin to her fierce eyes with their dark, heavy lashes.
She didn't believe him, though. He could see it in her expression, in her questioning, indecisive eyes, and the way she seemed to be arguing with herself. She thought he was lying, and that he was simply trying to charm her into kissing him again. (Was he a terrible person for thinking it wasn't such a bad idea?)
They were so close that she kept switching her gaze from his left eye to his right and back, trying to judge how honest his words were and whether he meant them. She seemed to eventually reach a decision, and she let out a slow, miniscule smile that made Fiyero let out his breath in relief. Maybe she had come to the truthful conclusion that though the world didn't realize her beauty, Fiyero did.
She abruptly became awkward again, letting go of his hand and biting her lip as if she wanted to ask for something but wasn't sure how.
"I - um," she started haltingly, stuttering.
"Elphaba, what is it?" Fiyero frowned in concern.
"Nothing. Just - this."
Then she leant forwards and upwards and pressed her lips squarely against his. Fiyero only too gladly received them. The kiss was deeper this time, harder. Elphaba sucked on his bottom lip and he scraped his teeth against hers, causing her to shiver. She clung to his shoulders, her hands roaming over his back, pressing him to her, and he let his hands settle on her hips, lightly squeezing them. He was just starting to find it difficult to breathe when she once again wrenched herself backwards.
"Galinda," she panted, staring at him with wide eyes.
He raised his eyebrows bemusedly. "No, I'm Fiyero..."
She rolled her eyes, but the effect was somewhat ruined by her swollen lips and flushed cheeks.
"No, I meant - you couldn't have ended your relationship with here too long ago, and I think there's some sort of girl code that you can't kiss your best friend's former boyfriend -"
"Elphaba," he interrupted with a tender smile. "Galinda doesn't mind. Trust me."
She blinked up at him, frowning. "How do you know?"
"Trust me," he murmured against her lips, and only managed to get out one more sentence before they were back to kissing. "She doesn't."
He was quite sure Galinda didn't really mind. After all, it had been her idea to lock them in here in the first place...