"I will not stand for it any longer!" Elphaba growled. "Bettina continues her advances despite my warnings against it. I'll have to dismiss her tomorrow. She is an efficient assistant, though. Damn. And, to top it all off, she thinks I'm not interested because she's a Cat. Me! Headmaster of the Animal Studies Department." She hadn't had to worry about this sort of thing in years. After the elimination of her resistance cell, Elphaba had peaceably transitioned back into civilian life and spent the past year at Drofox Hall. The position allowed her a degree of inauspiciousness that the quiet woman favored. Another draw of the position was a substantial grant to continue Dr. Dillamond's research, as well as two research assistants. She shook her head at the thought of Bettina.
Crope giggled, risking a sharp look from his friend. "Don't be heartless, Elphie," he soothed. "The girl doesn't know any better. You must remember what it was to be young and hopelessly in love with someone you couldn't have. Why, remember dear Glin- "
"Don't you dare compare the two," she warned quietly. Nine whirlwind years had passed since her fateful parting with Glinda. It was an unspoken agreement between them that Glinda's name was not to be mentioned.
"Barring the inappropriate nature of the relationship, it would do you good to have a bit of a fling, don't you think?"
"Well, really, Elphaba, if you would just pull your nose out of your books long enough to breathe properly, you would see the looks people give you."
"I'm green, Crope. There will always be people looking at me," she protested, but Crope caught an unfamiliar glimmer in her eyes. Was this Elphaba's flattered look? He could not be entirely sure as Elphaba rarely indicated more than a casual emotion with him.
Elphaba was, in fact, flattered by Crope's comment. She was not wholly unaware of the glances that she received from some of her students, and was unexpectedly convinced that more than a few of them were afflicted with a morbid fascination similar to Bettina's. Fascination? Better than that, she smirked.
At twenty-eight, Elphaba could be considered a reasonably beautiful woman. She was tall – maybe a bit too much so – thin in a muscular, well-developed fashion, and had enough womanly curves to justify her sex. She had taken to wearing her midnight hair up since leaving school, which, Crope insisted, feminized her almost to the point of Glinda-ness. Elphaba refused to believe him on this particular matter, but knew that many would agree. The hawk-like features of her adolescence had softened as she snuck into middle age, filling in gradually so that the transformation from stick figure to lithe went all but unnoticed by those who didn't know her as a youth. Nature had completed its job and made her more of herself in the years since Shiz. She welcomed the surprise she received from former classmates. They recognized her, of course, by her verdant skin, but otherwise swore that they'd have no idea she was the same Elphaba. Why, just last week she bumped into a disbelieving Avaric who pleaded – unsuccessfully – with Elphaba to go to bed with him at his hotel down the street. Too bad about the skin, they would whisper even still.
Crope eyed her, but decided it best that he leave off the conversation. "Well, dearie," he said, "I must go. I have an appointment with an ex-advisor to the Scarecrow. He is committed to explaining the intricacies of Gillikinese…Elphaba? What is it?"
She stared avidly out the window into the courtyard of the school. "A ghost from the past," she said in an expressionless tone. Standing suddenly, she handed Crope the report on Gillikin's Animal Reintegration. "Until next week, then."
The knock on the door was expected. Elphaba had decided that flight from her office was not the answer and that she might as well tackle the inevitable reuniting, though it terrified her to consider it. Indeed she was shocked that Glinda had taken so long to locate her since returning from her diplomatic efforts in Munchkinland last month.
Elphaba recognized that this day was unavoidable the moment she had revealed herself to society once again, especially given her clamorous denouncement of her rightful title as the Thropp Third Descending. Nessa's rage at her disappearance would be nothing next to what Glinda would soon inflict upon her, Elphaba knew. She also knew that she deserved whatever Glinda had to say.
She straightened her jacket and opened the door.
"Elphaba." A question. An accusation. Glinda looked much the same, with the exception, perhaps, of a tightness around the eyes, a vast sorrowful expression that Elphaba suspected few noticed. Elphaba was frozen with dread. How quickly it all came rushing back to her! Flashes of pale skin in the moonlight. Gold hair spread over an endless green plain. Absolution for the wickedness of her existence. She swooned and gripped the doorjamb to keep upright.
"You left me," Glinda whispered. She seized Elphaba madly, holding the woman both at arm's length and within arm's reach, afraid to let go but hoping to do so all the same. Trembling fiercely, she moved Elphaba back into the office and allowed the door to close behind them. Her eyes threatened oblivion for the both of them. Still whispering, Glinda finally asked, "Why?"
Elphaba held Glinda's gaze.
"My reasons," she answered weakly, "are not entirely known even to me. But I loved you too much to allow you to be caught up in what I was about to do." For years she had envisioned their reunion, had expected Glinda's anger and hurt, but somehow she had never planned what she would say in her own defense. Elphaba suddenly felt overwhelmed by the distance – both emotional and physical – that she could not mend. She looked away, ashamed.
"I mourned you," Glinda said. Then, more forcefully: "I loved you!" Glinda's fingers found purchase in Elphaba's forearms. Were it not for the dark jacket Elphaba wore, Glinda was sure her nails would pierce her. She determined the basis of her anger was an abiding love for the woman before her. Elphaba, after all, had made Glinda who she was, disappearance and all. To see Elphaba's face again exploded emotions within that she had subdued for nearly nine years.
"I love you still," Glinda cried. Elphaba watched helplessly as tears spilled from Glinda's stormy blue eyes. Glinda pressed her face into Elphaba's chest painfully, blissfully. Elphaba dipped her head into the golden curls and tried to control the dry heaving that threatened to overtake her. She felt unsteady, as if she were standing in the Quadling marshlands again, where any movement over the spongy earth could send a traveler to her doom. Held immobile as she was, she could do little to comfort Glinda, but still she made her body concave to return the embrace as best as possible.
"You should not love me, my sweet," Elphaba offered tremulously a few moments later.
"You vile, mean thing! You presumed to know what was best for me all those years ago, and still you haven't learned your lesson," Glinda choked. She released her hold and stepped back, glaring dangerously. "You made no effort to see me. You allowed me to think that you were gone for good, swept up in the Wizard's tragic history."
"I was swept up in history. I was drowning in it," she exclaimed. And then, quietly, "I missed you every day."
"I deserve better than that."
"I know," Elphaba sobbed. It was all too much for her. She relinquished herself to the grip of misery then, allowing tears that would scorch her face to fall freely, crumpling into Glinda. "I'm sorry. I know."
When she returned to herself, Glinda had gone. She had left a note:
My dear Elphaba,
I am loath to leave you this way, but I must think this through.
I do hope that you will not perceive my absence as any lack of affection for you.
Elphaba sniffled and removed herself to the adjoining personal quarters. It would not do to be found in her office this way.
They resumed their love affair in earnest within days. Glinda returned to her late one evening, insisting to the college porter that she had urgent business with Professor Thropp. The business, Elphaba found, was urgent indeed, for she had barely welcomed Glinda in before she found herself pinned by the smaller woman.
"I do not know that this is the proper course of action for us to undertake, Glinda," Elphaba warned. She placed her palms lightly on the swell of Glinda's bosom, holding her at bay while igniting her own passions. "You are married. I am only barely reputable since my return." In truth she could not bear the thought of hurting Glinda once again, and as she knew little about what her future held she felt unable to commit to an affair. The years of longing, of thick abhorrence of feeling, had loomed heavily over Elphaba, and Glinda had but to look at her to bring everything sharply back to her heart.
"There isn't another possible course of action," Glinda insisted, covering Elphaba's green grey lips with her own carefully. The resistance slackened somewhat and she looked up into Elphaba's dark, warring eyes. Flashes of marigold played through them, alerting Glinda to her approaching victory, but she was still concerned with the reticence that she felt in the hands on her chest. She reached between them and took then green hands in her own.
"You love me," she prodded. Elphaba's face remained serious. She has grown more beautiful with age, Glinda thought wonderingly. And, gratefully, the world has not been completely unkind to her.
"I've hurt you."
"And you've loved me. I forgive you. Tell me that you still do love me," Glinda answered.
Glinda recognized something else in Elphaba's eyes then, something darker and infinitely more interesting. "Then love me," she said breathlessly and kissed her again, understanding that she had won.
Glinda moved slowly onto the bed, glancing back to confirm that Elphaba followed. There was a feral look about the dark woman. She sidled behind Glinda, pressed firmly against her back, and wrapped one long arm around Glinda's ribcage just below her breasts. Her other hand gently unpinned the blonde tresses as she traced Glinda's jaw with careful lips.
"I've missed you so, Glinda," Elphaba whispered against Glinda's lips. She kissed her unhurriedly, letting the freed blonde hair surround her face. Another kiss, this one somewhat more fervent, betrayed the slender woman's desire. Her grip tightened around Glinda with surprising strength and she moved her other hand to rest perilously near to the heart of Glinda's need.
"Elphie," Glinda reveled, reaching back to twist her hands in the dark falling all around her. "Elphaba."
Elphaba took her time disrobing them, taking advantage of every new revealed piece of Glinda's body with tentative fingertips. Her lips rarely left Glinda's, until such time as Glinda could hold herself up no longer and toppled forward onto her stomach. She looked over her shoulder at Elphaba, pleading with her eyes.
Elphaba looked down on Glinda's narrow back, tracing the base of her spine lazily. She wanted this to last a lifetime – a paradise already lost to them, now to be regained. Careful not to touch her anywhere else, Elphaba bent and placed a single kiss on the back of Glinda's neck. Glinda shuddered and reached out to grip Elphaba's thigh, but remained where she was. Elphaba kissed her neck again, and then began a trail with the tip of her tongue down Glinda's spine. The motion was sensual, provocative in a way that Glinda could not comprehend. When Elphaba reached her buttocks she placed light kisses all over, occasionally using her teeth and tongue. Positive that she would perish in her arousal, Glinda moaned and turned to face her lover.
Emerald hands and reverent tongue flitted over her like rain, awakening her body from its wintering state. They burst forth into a second Springtime, driven by Elphaba's loving caresses and Glinda's conviction that this was a spectacular promise of new beginnings.
Elphaba's languid movements were intoxicating in their unfamiliarity: slow, sensuous, and so unlike her usual quick-wittedness. She sat heavily astride Glinda's hips, unabashed and unreserved with her nudity now. So unlike before, Glinda reflected. Her ease of movement was so unlike Elphaba, in fact, that Glinda feared the woman was simply confused and may regret her actions in the morning. But how was she to stop now? Was this not what she had wanted? Was this not exactly the hope that she'd reaffirmed to herself before setting out for the evening? Glinda trusted that Elphaba would stop any uncomfortable progression on her own. Any remaining insecurities were swiftly disposed of with another searing kiss from her partner and the insistent press of Elphaba's heat against her stomach.
"Glinda, please…" Elphaba moaned, pressing her torso down flush against Glinda's. Glinda did not need additional encouragement. She snaked a hand between their bodies and found Elphaba excited beyond belief. At first touch Elphaba gasped and – Sweet Oz, Glinda couldn't stand it – her eyes fluttered closed for the briefest of moments before returning their fiery, hooded gaze to Glinda's own eyes. Strong arms propped her body up to allow greater freedom of movement. Elphaba seemed to struggle, however, to keep herself from tumbling onto Glinda's form beneath her.
Glinda was dimly aware that Elphaba may not have been touched in this way in a very, very long time. She tried to put it from her mind, but could not help but feel that she was conducting an instance of paramount importance. I am bringing Elphaba home. I am bringing her back to me, she thought, channeling the flood of emotions into her exploring hands. She pressed her fingers gently against Elphaba's opening, an acknowledging of passions to come. Desperate as she was to conquer Elphaba's body once more, Glinda recognized the need for an unhurried reacquaintance.
Their lovemaking on the way to the Emerald City all those years ago had been fevered, clumsy, and exciting only in its illicitness. Yet, it had been gentle in ways that Glinda did not recognize at the time. Theirs was a love borne of necessity and a hope for something greater than themselves alone. They had never explicitly spoken of their love for one another, instead allowing the avowal of their bodies to dictate how Glinda and Elphaba's love progressed.
She hoped for Elphaba's sake that there had been interim lovers since and, grudgingly, she set aside the selfish pang of jealousy that accompanied the thought. After all, Glinda's marriage had been consummated, leaving little room for that sort of pettiness. She could only look back on the long, delirious nights spent with Elphaba and remember the affections that they had shared – affections that had branded her as Elphaba's as surely as her social station prevented their union. Glinda remembered little of their fateful meeting with the Wizard, but she remembered the seeming safety of Elphaba's arms during their journey; she remembered their first joining, their first passionate kisses; most of all, she remembered how Elphaba shed her prickly exterior and revealed that bewildering tenderness that so evaded Glinda in the daylight.
Tenderness was prominent this evening, as well. Glinda gazed up at her lover, dazzled by the sheaths of inky hair falling around her face, and used her free hand to tug Elphaba down to kiss her again. To her partner Elphaba presented a figure of supreme lust, an idol to worship and be damned by.
And then Glinda was inside of her. Elphaba caught her breath and trembled, allowing the initial shock of the incursion to wash over her before pressing against the proffered hand. She leaned back against Glinda's thighs for support, opening herself further. The shift drove Glinda's motionless fingers against a particularly sensitive spot and she gasped again. Glinda was quick to repeat the motion and was pleased with the subsequent low moan. She placed her free hand against Elphaba's taut stomach and enjoyed the flexing and contractions of the muscles under emerald skin. With Elphaba straddling her in this way Glinda was free to observe the subtleties of the woman's movements. Every rock, every shift, every slight change in expression was open to her. This single encounter revealed more to her about Elphaba than two years of rooming together ever had.
Elphaba set a painstakingly slow pace with a gentle roll of her hips. She let her fingers play up and down Glinda's breasts which, to Glinda's delight, she dug her nails into every time Glinda shifted her fingers in a particular manner. Never one for sweet nonsenses, Elphaba refrained from crying declarations of love in every sigh; her love was evident without words, they both knew.
"Yes… Glinda, yes…" Elphaba groaned as Glinda gently slid another digit into her. Glinda felt her arousal heighten and watched her eyes darken. "Kiss me." She obliged and forced herself to move slower than the frantic pace that her heart was attempting to set. Never had Elphaba been compelled to make love with her in this way before. Glinda could not imagine a more erotic sight than the lithe woman straddling her and was reluctant to acknowledge that Elphaba's arms were becoming more unstable as she grew more ardent. Glinda tugged her down to lie next to her and swiftly covered the supine form with her own, all the while coaxing Elphaba more quickly with her fingers.
She moved as if there wouldn't be another moment, with a determination that she would make every last moment last. Elphaba was certain that this moment would be her last. She had allowed herself to become so unaccustomed to human touch that she now felt her body would burst into flames. Her skin was, in fact, scalding slightly against Glinda's slick body – an entirely worthy and worthwhile pain, in her opinion. The supple body pressing into her, the fingers driving her towards madness, Glinda's soft cries in her ear… it was finally a worshipful kiss that brought her release.
They did not discuss the future, but there was a premonition, basis indeterminable, of consequences that the day would bring. They pressed tightly against one another and held out.
1. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and the characters therein are the property of Gregory Maguire.
2. This story should be read with the following assumptions: the covert resistance efforts against the Wizard were successful. A new government is burgeoning and Elphaba has cut most of her political ties. Dorothy has not flown into town (yet?). Fiyero is inconsequential. Chuffrey is not.