She watched him wearily from the door frame. He was asleep, dead to the world; she knew that but not just from his heavy, even breathing. He would never tolerate being stared at if he were awake- that was one way he was like her. It was almost comical to see him lying there. She had slowly walked down the hallway, opening up every door to check and see if they held the boy. The one he was in had belonged to Nor, the little princess. She was the only one of the children Liir had ever bonded with. It was fitting for him to stay in her room.
But still, it was amusing to see a teenage boy sleeping in a room that had last belonged to a ten year old girl.
What had gotten into him, saying if he could have anything he would want a father. Really, where had that come from? It wasn't like he'd ever known a father, he didn't miss his father. He didn't even know what it was that he wanted... perhaps that was why. The orphan boy wanting a father the way a teenage girl might want a lover. It was because he didn't understand it, it was because everyone else seemed to have one and he didn't. She didn't blame him for it... if he could have known...
If she could have provided him with his father she would have done it in a heartbeat.
Except... she couldn't know. No, because if he was his father, that would mean shewas his mother. And that was a fact she wasn't ready to accept. Weren't you supposed to just know if you had a child? If the boy who had spent his whole life in your care was your son or not? She was.. fond of him. Fonder than she had been of any of Sarima's children, or her own siblings. But none of those children had been overwhelmingly lovable. Perhaps that was it- he was just the most likable child she had ever encountered. Just because she liked him and was vaguely concerned about his well-being didn't mean she was his mother. She had been fond of Glinda of the Arduenna's but that didn't mean that she was the frilly blonde's parent!
Wouldn't she know something, feel something if she were Liir's mother? Who even said she was capable of being a mother? Physically even? She was green for Oz's sake. She'd been born with sharp teeth and a water allergy. It wouldn't be so hard to belive that she was infertile... except she bled like any other woman and that was supposedly the indicator.
But you are supposed to love your child. Sure, Melena and Frex had never really loved her... but they had had a passing fondness for her. Fed her, kept her out of the rain.
So maybe she didn't know and was as much Liir's mother as Melena was hers. And the father he longed for was Fiyero, the same man she longed for. So maybe a part of her did know that, maybe that part was her heart or that damned soul that everyone kept claiming she really did have. Maybe it was just her brain, unable to grasp that she had a son.
She'd been still, but some sound, perhaps just the old castle settling woke him up. "Elphaba?" said Liir, sitting up in the bed.
She considered walking off, pretending she hadn't heard him but her musings had put her in some sort of sentimental mood. "Yes?"
"What are you doing?" His eyes widened as he swung his feet over the edge of the bed and approached her. "The castle isn't on fire, is it?"
"Would I have been standing there, staring at you if it were?"
"I... don't know," he admitted.
She leaned against the wall, rolled her eyes. She almost told him just to go back to sleep, but instead she blurted, "Did you really mean what you said earlier?"
He narrowed his eyes, sleep slowing his mind. "What did I say?"
She felt sick- she wasn't about to mention it again, wasn't about to start a conversation with her teenage maybe-son about their feelings. "Forget it, it's not important, I-" she hesitated as something in him distracted her. The familiar blue color of his eyes, the paleness of his skin, the straight black hair that was on the verge of getting long. "When did you get taller than me?"
The randomness of the question paired with the fact that he had no idea that he had grown taller than her startled him. "I... don't know."
She laughed, something closer to her real laugh than she had come in years. "Go back to sleep," she said, giving him a nudge back inside the room and turning away.