Here's the next one!

Not much to say this time because I said it all just a second ago in the last chapter :P ENJOY FRIENDS and THANKS Ash for being my beta :D xox

XX

Chapter 26

The carriage bumped as it rolled over the broken and decayed road that used to be one of the grandest roads in this world, the Yellow Brick Road. Elphaba bumped her head against the glass pane and swore under her breath as she rubbed her forehead with her palm. She wasn't in the best of moods, which was easily discernible by the ever present frown on her face.

Some strange man dressed in odd colours that apparently represented "Munchkinland" with a crest on his chest which she assumed to be her families, appeared early at the school that morning and declared that "Her royal Highness, Elphaba Thropp present herself and enter the carriage to begin the journey." She wanted to present her fist to his head but instead spent the quick five minutes hugging her tearful mother, her sombre father, and embracing a sobbing Galinda. She remembered spending almost all morning telling Galinda her plan in the desperation that the blonde not come looking for her as she knew she would.

"But Elphie I can't spend weeks without you."

"Oh Lyndie, it hurts me as well my love. But I will be with you. You must promise to not come looking, Galinda. Darling please."

Galinda had defiantly looked away from Elphaba, tears so constantly running down her face now that Elphaba feared she would have permanent tear tracks etched into her cheeks. They had started this morning when her mother and father had told her, with no enjoyment whatsoever, that Galinda was to be returning home with them and not with Elphaba.

"Lyndie darling, look at me." Elphaba cupped Galinda's chin and softly directed her gaze into her own. "You know I love you my darling, and you know I want to be with you but I must do this and I can't be worried that you're going to be running into danger just to be with me. Three weeks Lyndie. Three. Then we shall be together forever, my love. Trust me?"

Though the tears still ran solidly down her face, Galinda smiled and nodded.

"I promise Elphie. Though I'm not happy about it."

"Nor am I, my sweet. I love you so much."

They had kissed and embraced in their room, not knowing that, by now, their love was publicly known by almost everyone, even their parents.

Elphaba scowled at the gorgeous landscape passing her. Without her bubbly blonde by her side, the grass didn't shine with morning dew; the sun didn't warm her and the blue sky just made her feel blue.

"Three weeks Lyndie", she whispered to the landscape. "How am I going to go three weeks without you?"

XX

"Galinda, darling, I…"

"I don't want to hear it." Galinda pouted at the rolling countryside they were passing. Just knowing Elphaba was moving in the opposite direction made her frown lines deepen. Her father smiled sadly at his wife before nodding at his daughter.

"I know you're mad, my child. I would be too. Elphaba won't be gone forever. I promise."

"You don't even care! You sent her away without us in the first place! How can you even pretend to really be concerned?" Ukre and Elise understood the hostility more than Galinda knew and it was for that reason that they didn't chastise Galinda at her harsh tone. Elise leant across the cabin area of their carriage and grabbed her daughter's hand.

"Sweetheart, if we didn't love her we would have kept her here. She needs to tie up this mess at the Thropp estate so she can come home and live in peace. Do you understand?"

"How do you know?"

"How do we know what darling?"

"How do you know she'll come home? What if they don't let her go? What if she gets hurt? What if she doesn't…" A sob broke free, the thought too painful to voice, but what if? What if she didn't want to come back to her after living a life like a princess?

"Galinda, she'll be back."

"How can you be sure?"

"Trust your mother darling. She always knows."

Galinda sat and stewed in silence for the rest of the ride however, unbeknownst to her parents and Elphaba, had a trick up her sleeve which didn't break her promise to her parents or her love. It was merely a simple card with the name Taylor written all over it.

XX

"Curse this damn carriage, curse this damn driver, curse my damn, stupid, cursing, curse of a curse, no good, give up their daughter family who want me to come and fulfil my grandfather's position just because he's dead! That's so not right! They give me up and then realise that they've made a mistake giving away the only girl who can do the damn job! Ahhhhh…FUCK YOU CARRIAGE DRIVING MAN!"

"Wow…I didn't know you could actually swear Thropp. I must say I'm impressed!" Elphaba's frown turned instantly into one of hesitant joy. "I guess I did always interrupt before you could finish each swear right?"

"Either I'm more upset about leaving the A.P.Y than I first thought or you're actually following me you Son of a Bi…"

Pop

"Hey...I heard you were missing me!"

"Taylor! What the hell? I mean…I'm thrilled, trust me. But what are you doing here?" Elphaba flung her arms around the suddenly visible man.

"I am your new guard of honour, Ms. Thropp. A princess needs an escort! And I'm yours."

"I'm not a princess Taylor. I'm an Eminence."

"Tomato, Tomatoh, potato, potato."

"Who the hell says that?!"

"Munchkins! Do your research. You are going to rule them for a while. Well…three weeks."

"Two."

"That's what I said. Two. Nice carriage."

"It's shit."

"Language, Thropp. You're in the presence of a grand guard of Honour."

"I'm not in school so you can't stop me. Hey…speaking of school, aren't you needed at the A.P.Y?"

"Elphaba…did you forget I can be in fifty different places at once?"

"Right…how did the most annoying person in the world get the skill to split himself fifty freaking times? It's just unjust!"

"Well…just for that you can sit alone in silence." Taylor huffed dramatically before disappearing.

"Taylor?"

"Yeah?" The disembodied voice carried through the small compartment.

"I can hear you breathing."

"Does it scare you?"

"It does creep me out a little."

"Mwahahahahahahahahaha!"

Swinging out blindly, Elphaba was pleased to hear an indignant "Hey" and Taylor appeared again rubbing his cheek.

"I didn't hit you did I?"

"No. But it would have hurt if you did." He pouted and continued to rub his face.

"Baby."

"Yep!"

"Taylor? They don't know you're coming. Won't that be a problem?"

"I contacted them when they first contacted you. Galinda asked me to come along as a service anyway but…I'd beaten her to the punch."

"Galinda asked you to come with me?"

"Yep. Blondie has a big heart."

Elphaba smiled as her heart warmed. Knowing that Taylor was technically there through Galinda, she felt suddenly closer to her blonde lover once more. "She certainly does."

"Okay. So…I spy with my little eye something that begins with D."

"Dick?"

"Now that was just beginners luck!"

Elphaba found herself laughing for the first time since that morning. "Okay. I spy with my little eye something that begins with…G."

"Grass?"

"Yep."

"That's so easy!"

"Taylor…that's all there is to bloody see!"

"Okay…point. How about we sing?"

"HELP ME CARRIAGE DRIVER HE'S GOING TO SING!"

"Ha-freaking-ha."

XX

"Momsie?" Galinda's voice was slightly hoarse from crying most of the day. Her mother had come upstairs with her when they'd arrived back at the Upland manor and, as it was dark and late, Galinda had pleaded tiredness before shuffling off to bed. She didn't have the appetite to eat dinner. Her mother felt the tug on her heart that she felt all day seeing her daughters so unhappy. 'Galinda's your daughter Elise', she reminded herself sadly. 'Elphaba…well Elphaba is much more than that now. She's your daughter-in-law.' That made her smile despite the day.

"Yes my darling?"

"Will you tuck me in?"

Elise's heart clenched painfully in her chest at the soft words uttered by her daughter, knowing that for Galinda to ask for such comfort meant she was truly hurting. Elise hated that she was hurting.

"Of course my love."

Moving around to her daughter's side, she pulled the blankets tighter around the already dosing Galinda. Leaning down, Elise kissed Galinda's forehead and smoothed back the rampant blonde curls that she'd always loved.

"Elphie…" Galinda murmured, tongue already too heavy to fully speak.

"Shh…I know sweetheart. She'll be home soon."

"Mmm." A smile graced Galinda's face. "I love her…so…much…" And like that, she was asleep. Unsure if Galinda had meant to confess to her how much she loved Elphaba, Elise merely smiled, warmth spreading through her body at the pure love her daughters had.

"And she loves you." Elise whispered softly before kissing her daughter's cheek and turning off the light.

Walking to the door, Elise looked in on the slumbering bundle that was her daughter. "And we love you." she whispered before closing the door and walking down the hall to her husband.

Finding her husband in the library, Elise watched silently from the doorway as he browsed the books with an intensity she hadn't seen for years.

"You miss her." It wasn't a question and Ukre found he didn't need to answer it.

"She loved this room the most."

"She's coming back, Ukre." He sighed deeply; a sombre look that he was unable to shake all day stained his features.

"I know but…it doesn't stop the hurt."

"I feel the hurt too darling. I know."

"How is she?"

"Sleeping soundly. She was exhausted." Elise frowned as she elegantly folded herself into one of the large armchairs spread amongst the books. "She's been crying most of the day."

"As we knew she would darling. You don't regret not letting her go with Elphaba do you?"

"No. As much as it pains me to separate them, this was something Elphaba needed to do. You?"

"No. I agree with you."

"Ukre, you should have heard her."

"Who?"

"Galinda. Tonight. She was half asleep and when I kissed her, she smiled and mumbled Elphaba's name and then told me how much she loved her. I don't think she was aware who she was telling but all the same…when I finally heard my baby tell me her love it made me feel…"

"Warm?"

"How'd you know?" Elise smiled warmly at her husband. He shrugged.

"I've been feeling warm too. Every time I see them together actually."

"She'll be back won't she Ukre?" He nodded fervently.

"Of course my darling. They love each other. Could you doubt they would ever stay away?" Elise smiled.

"Sounds like someone I know well."

"Oh? Who?" His eyes flashed knowingly.

"Mmm…he's so handsome. So sweet." Ukre frowned playfully.

"I don't like how much you fawn over this man Elise. I demand you stay away from him!"

"Oh but then…how would I ever show him how much I love him?" Her tone had dropped seductively and Ukre smiled deeply.

"I think he knows."

"You take the fun out of everything" she said, laughing.

"Is that so, Mrs. Upland? Well I'll have to fix that won't I?" Laughing loudly now, Elise squealed childishly as Ukre picked her up in his arms and made a show of walking towards the door. "Come Mrs. Upland. Let's have fun!"

"Oaf", she whispered teasingly before kissing him softly and allowing him to carry her off to bed.

XX

"Paper, scissors, rock" Elphaba's hand shot out in a finger gesture that implied she was over the game whilst Taylor showed a scissors gesture. "Scissors beats rudeness! I totally won!"

"Taylor…how long do you think we still have?"

"Oh it's that bad with me, huh?"

"Taylor…we've been playing this game for two hours. I can only stand 'I WON I WON' for so long."

"Well maybe if you didn't suck so much…"

"You cheat!"

"Do not!"

"Taylor…everyone knows paper beats rock."

"I don't see how…it's paper. Paper does nothing!"

"Ms. Elphaba?" A head popped down to look at her and Taylor.

The shock of another man in the carriage had worn off after Taylor had unceremoniously banged on the roof and demanded to see a menu when he got hungry later in the evening. The poor carriage driver almost had a collision and it took Elphaba's word that he was with her for them to get back on the road.

Elphaba scowled at the head as if it were a poisonous snake and bit out a sharp 'What?!'

She still hadn't forgiven anyone from the royal side, servant or not, for taking her away from her real life with Galinda.

"We're almost at the Thropp Manor. Please be ready to disembark."

"Finally!" Taylor groaned. "We were dying down here. The service is atrocious. I demand a first class carriage next time."

"Sir." The man ground out between gritted teeth. "I assure you that this was a first class carriage."

"Appalling. The royalty sit in these conditions."

Elphaba was trying her best not to laugh as the man began to go red in the face. Putting on a very pompous tone, Taylor began listing demands for his next trip.

"…and please ensure that my steak is medium rare served with horseradish cream, NOT horseradish…HORSERADISH CREAM! There is a difference. And I want iced water WITHOUT the ice, Jeeves. It is imperative I have no ice! It wrinkles my skin!" Grinding his teeth the man disappeared from view and Elphaba bent over cackling. "How'd I sound Elphaba? Like a royal pain?"

"Perfect Taylor! You nailed it."

"I always thought I was blue blooded."

Suddenly the carriage came to a halt and Elphaba felt her nerves and anxiety bubble. She wasn't ready for this.

"Green girl…" Taylor whispered, slipping his hand into her clenched one. "We've got this. I'm here. Just breathe."

Nodding her understanding, Elphaba took three slow, deep breaths before placing a solid mask of indifference on. The carriage door opened and the blinding light caused both Elphaba and Taylor to blink rapidly before stepping out. As their light blindness faded, a large shape lumbered towards them. Instinctively Elphaba reached for Galinda's hand and, finding Taylors, squeezed. He squeezed back and held on tightly, not liking the intimidating figure any more than Elphaba.

"Elphaba?" The voice was loud, commanding and Elphaba had an instinctive feeling with this man to cower. Frowning against her natural instinct she straightened even more and glared at the figure. "My name is Frex."