Fandom: Wicked - bookverse
Summary: Sometime, the solitude down here, and the silence, lets you dream.
Notes: This… I can't even explain this. I have no idea where it came from. It's kind of… strange… and pretty experimental… and maybe a little bit too random to be even understandable. But… give it a try?
Notes 2: Ninth in my table of wicked prompts.
It's dark. It's late.
The servants have all been dismissed for the night. Chuffrey is in bed. You should be, too.
Except that you're still here instead, curled into yourself in an armchair by the fire, because it's easier to stay down here and think about your loneliness than it is to go upstairs, get into bed with your husband, and face it. Sometimes, the solitude down here, and the silence, lets you dream.
Not for the first time, your thoughts turn to Elphaba. It's been years since you've seen her, and you can manage now, for stretches of time – days, even weeks sometimes – to not have a single thought about her. Still, on nights like these when the loneliness takes over, she is never far from your mind.
If Elphaba were here now, you think, what would she do? You close your eyes, try to picture her. Ah, yes, there she is, standing there at the doorframe, a tender, caring look on her face, and she comes closer, and closer still until she can fold you into her arms and you can turn your face into her shoulder and sob out all your regret –
No. Wait. Elphaba would never have let you do that. She would never have held you like she does in your imagination. She was too cautious, too afraid of getting rebuffed.
Ok. Try again. Put her back in the doorway, leaning on the frame. Imagine the way she looks, standing there with her hair in a braid, wearing that black frock she used to love so much –
Wait. The frock is hideous. Put her in something else; put her in the colours she always hated. Have her smile at you and laugh, and it doesn't matter that she would never look like that because this is your daydream, and you can make her do whatever you –
No. Try as you might, and you do, you can't picture it. Alright. Once more. She stands at the edge of the room, her black dress flowing and her hair in its braid. She doesn't say anything, but she does take a step closer.
"Where have you been?" you ask. Your lips are not trembling, your voice does not quake; this is your fantasy, this is not real life.
"I've been hiding in the Emerald City," Elphaba says, her voice deeper than it is in your memory. "I've missed you."
Stop. It's a nice thought, but Elphaba would never say that. Try again.
"Where have you been?" you ask again.
Silence. Yes. That's more like Elphaba, refusing to answer questions because she thinks you can't handle the answers.
"I needed you," you say. But – oh. Hold it. Back up. That's needlessly desperate. You can do better than that.
"I waited for you," you say instead. There. That's better. Less self-pitying, more room for accusation.
Elphaba steps towards you again. "I know," she says, without apology. "I had things I had to take care of."
"And me? You couldn't take care of me?"
She takes another step closer, and you look at her from your armchair. You're not entirely sure what you want to do. Throw yourself into her arms. No. Wait it out; make her come to you. No. Not even in your imagination can you make Elphaba do that. You compromise; you stand, but keep your distance.
Elphaba chuckles. "Glinda. You don't need me to look after you."
"No? Look at the mess I've landed in." Too strong. Elphaba would mock you. Go for something less harsh. "I needed you to stop me from becoming what I am." Better.
Elphaba's smile fades. "You're unhappy," she says, without questioning. She comes all the way over, finally, and takes your hand. "I'm sorry," she says. "I would've stopped you."
You shift restlessly in the armchair. This isn't how it's supposed to go! Elphaba's not supposed to comfort you after you needed her. She was supposed to stop it from turning out this way. She was supposed to be there all along.
So… make it happen.
In the blink of an eye, things around you are different. You are no longer in your armchair by the fire; you sit, now, on top of your bed back in the dorm room you shared with Elphaba at Shiz. Elphaba herself is sitting up in bed, a book held on her knees, idly twisting a pencil between her fingers.
"Yes, Glinda?" No. Galinda. You should have been friends from the beginning, anyway. So try again. "Yes, Galinda?"
"What are you reading?"
She glances at you, annoyed. No, hold on. She doesn't have to be annoyed at the interruption if you don't want her to be. She glances over.
"Theories of Revolution," she answers. "Are you interested?"
"No, I just -," Your imagination is failing you. This isn't what you wanted. "I thought we could talk."
"Talk?" Elphaba raises an eyebrow. "Why?"
Stop! This isn't working. You can't make this daydream go where you wanted it to, and you're getting frustrated.
So back up. Take Elphaba away completely; put yourself at your mirror, combing out your hair. The door opens, and there she is, coming back from breakfast with a new textbook underneath her arm.
"Still getting ready, Miss Galinda? Surely it's almost lunchtime by now." Her voice, in your mind, is mocking but friendly; you add a smile to her face to make certain she is only teasing.
"A girl cannot afford to mar her reputation," you reply haughtily, and then you grin at her. "And I had to look over my sorcery notes."
"Didn't get the time to study last night?" She is half disapproving, half grinning. "What a surprise."
Ok. Stop. Enough with the idle conversation. You're here for a reason, after all, and if you want comfort from her you'd better get down to it. Keep trying.
It's raining. Yes – never mind that it was sunny moments earlier. Thunder rumbles outside your window. You clench your fists involuntarily; you've always hated storms. Elphaba looks at you from across the room, a little concerned frown creasing her brow.
"Don't fret," she says. "It's only a storm. It'll pass soon."
Lightning flashes. You cringe. Elphaba rises from her bed, and crosses to the window.
"Here – I'll just close the –,"
Oh. Wait. Too late, you remember her hatred of water.
No storm, then.
Fine. Put Elphaba at her desk, instead. Make it early afternoon; you don't want your love of details to remind you that one of you will have to leave sooner or later.
"Oh," Elphaba says, as she shuts a book and finds an envelope. "I forgot. You've got a letter."
She hands it to you. It's got your mother's handwriting on it and you slit it open. Elphaba's not watching – no – Elphaba's pretending not to watch as you read it, but she turns to you just as your eyes are beginning to well up.
"What's wrong?" she asks. Wait. Too direct for Elphaba. "Bad news?" she asks instead.
"They had a funeral for Ama Clutch," you say, without looking at her, and you feel her shift in her chair.
"Oh… Galinda…" Damn. You're messing up your timeline now. Glinda, or Galinda? You suppose it doesn't really matter. None of this is real, anyway. Elphaba rises, comes to sit next to you. "I'm sorry."
You sniff a little. Luckily this isn't reality; you don't end up sounding pathetic. "I miss her," you say, and reach for Elphaba's hand, because physical contact is allowed when you're upset.
"I know," Elphaba says, and she reaches out to stroke your hair. Wait. That's too fast for Elphaba. She would have waited longer for that. "I know," she says, and laces your fingers together, bringing her other hand to rest on top of the two already joined. You look down at the green and white contrast, and you smile through your tears.
"I'm lonely," you whisper, looking back up at Elphaba. And never mind that you sound pathetic now, this is how you want it to go. "It seems like everybody leaves me."
All attempts at reality are gone. Elphaba looks back into your eyes, her hand tightening on yours.
"I'll never leave you," she says, and for a moment, you believe her. "I promise," she says. "I'll never leave you."
And things change again. You sit now in a carriage, staring at Elphaba, who has just announced her intentions to stay in the Emerald City.
"But what will you do?"
"I haven't decided," she says – and you're almost positive that's exactly what she did say, all those years ago -, "I didn't want to lie to you."
"Elphaba…" In your imagination you can almost make Elphaba look sorry. "You can't. You must come back with me."
Elphaba shakes her head. "No, Glinda. I've got to fight the Wizard."
"Elphie," you say, and then stronger, "Elphie! Get in the carriage. What will you do, on your own, a schoolgirl?" Elphaba says nothing. "Come back," you say, half pleading, half ordering. "We'll do it together."
"Together?" There's a definite flicker in her eyes.
"Together," you say again. "Come back with me, and we can fight from inside. We can fight from safety, and we can win." You pause for a moment, and stare at her. In reality, Elphaba would already be gone, and you wouldn't have thought of all these things to say. In your imagination, she is swaying.
"Elphie," you say again. "You promised you wouldn't leave."
Elphaba looks at you for a long moment. Then she climbs into the carriage. Your tears start, mostly from relief. Elphaba puts her arms around you – reality be damned – and holds you gently.
"It's alright," she says into your ear. "I'm with you. It's alright."
You open your eyes, satisfied. You're back in the dark manor, sitting in front of an almost dead fire, and completely by yourself. Still, you know you won't be lonely tonight.