A/N: A small bit of nonsense I whipped up several nights ago to poke at my favorite characters from the novel while playfully ribbing a certain musical. (Or perhaps just theatre in general.) I was aiming for subtlety, but I think I failed. Not with regards to the Elphaba/Glinda goodness though, because that should be fairly obvious.

Hope you enjoy. My apologies if you clicked here in search of a plot.

When the warm breeze of autumn swept neatly through the last remaining pearlfruit leaves of highfall, an anxiousness for relief and diversion had quickly arisen amongst the beleaguered students at Shiz University. The semester thus far had been a brutal one, largely in thanks to the new faculty stepping in after the death of Dr. Dillamond, and the ensuing disorder of classroom arrangements and intense academic requirements had started to take their toll. Everyone, even Elphaba, was eager for a short reprieve in the week or so they'd been given after midterm, so when the opportunity for travel and recreation presented itself, her charmed circle of companions readily jumped at the idea without a lot of shilly-shallying.

The highly celebrated Arjikian Opera Troupe was performing The Curse of Meridian, a popular selection from the annals of Vinkus folklore in the nearby province of Wiccasand Turning. Fiyero had gamely suggested to his friends that it might be worth a visit to Greyvin to catch the show and indulge in a short romp before the chill of the season (and the weight of the semester's workload) set in.

There was the small matter of finances which concerned several in their party, but Avaric was delighted to accommodate Boq's expenses, jovially wrapping an arm around him and telling him to "Thank my father, the bastard!" Glinda offered to pay for Elphaba's ticket with her own private funds, but Elphaba assured her that Nessa's eagerness to be involved meant that Frex would move heaven and earth to make sure they both had the resources to travel. Oz only knew where Crope and Tibbett acquired their tidy source of income, but no one bothered to find out and the only hints that either would offer up in explanation were cheeky grins and the occasional suggestive wink. It was soon settled, then, that they'd be spending their short holiday in Greyvin, and after securing permission from their respective heads of house, they set off at the railway station for Wiccasand Turning, parcels and Amas in tow.

Avaric and Elphaba provided the bulk of the journey's entertainment with the derisive comments they cheerfully traded while Crope and Tibbett tried their hands at puppetry with a pair of Boq's socks. Their routine had everyone rolling with laughter (though Nessa did make an attempt to look scandalized) and Nanny just shook her head at the foolishness of all young folk as she carried on with her knitting. It was half past two in the afternoon when they finally arrived at the Wiccasand station, and at least another two hours by carriage before they rode into Greyvin.

It was a small, quaint little town nestled right at the border of Wiccasand and Settica— one of the more rural areas of Gillikin. The buildings were lovely, if not overly impressive, and the main thoroughfare housed enough shops to delight both Pfannee and Shenshen, who had expressed moderate concern at not finding any. Nearly all of the inns and dining establishments were happily situated within walking distance of the center of town, thus saving them the expense of ordering more carriages. After locating and checking into the Pinegreeves Inn, the group had an hour or so to change and refresh before gathering at a small café on the southeast boulevard for an early supper. The performance was set for eight o'clock, providing them with time enough to order three courses as well as a peach tart for Nessarose.

When they finally started their leisurely walk towards the theatre, the party was in high spirits. Nanny and Elphaba flanked both sides of Nessa, and Pfannee and Shenshen had each commandeered an arm on Avaric. Crope and Tibbett walked arm in arm at the middle, and Boq, Glinda, and Fiyero lingered at the back with the other Amas. Boq looked markedly sullenly when Crope offered Glinda an arm, which she readily accepted. He hoped he would be able to procure a seat next to her at the theatre, at least, even as he reminded himself that he was over his infatuation with her.

The Greyvin Theatre was a grand old building set smack dab in the Center District, clearly the most intriguing structure there. It was small but elegant— a testament to the art of simplicity with its stark walls and towering columns. There were rich carvings set in high-relief over the building's façade, and a small set of lights were fixed in the uppermost windows near the entrance. It was one of the most enchanting examples of bluestone architecture that Glinda had seen, and she stopped to stare in brilliant appreciation.

"Marvelous!" she breathed as her gaze traveled to the uppermost pediment.

"My darlingest Glinda," said Crope gallantly, "this magnificent structure would never dare to be anything but marvelous if the most charming of the Arduennas saw fit to grace its beautiful halls."

"Or its beautiful sopranos," said Tibbett, grinning mischievously.

"It seems rather ordinary," Pfannee spoke up, clutching at Avaric's arm. "The Amethyst Hall at Tenniken is far grander."

"If by grander you mean more ostentatious and vulgar, then certainly," said Shenshen, grasping at Avaric's other arm possessively. She was anxious to appropriate the soon-to-be Margreave's attentions for the evening, and took every opportunity to make Pfannee look silly and uninformed.

"Buildings are comparative to books or nuts," Elphaba drawled. "The shell might be interesting enough, but I'm only ever eager to get inside."

"Did you say nuts, Miss Elphaba?" Tibbett asked in mock-surprise. "Gracious me! If you were curious for a peek, I wish you would have said something sooner. But I'm sure Master Boq would happily oblige!"

"Or Master Fiyero," Crope grinned, "if you asked him nicely."

"I'll thank you to keep me out of your peevish voyeuristic fantasies," said Boq, turning a light scarlet. "I'm warning the pair of you, I want you on your best behavior tonight."

"Well look at Master Boq," said Avaric, smirking. "Seems like he's finally grown a pair himself!"

"To rot with all of your nuts," said Elphaba, both amused and annoyed. "My shawl is thin and the weather is sharp; I have no wish to sit and dawdle here all night."

"Then lead the way, Elphie dearest," said Avaric charmingly, "lest someone mistakes us for vandalizing the sidewalks with poisonous shrubs."

Elphaba responded with an indelicate gesture of her hand, and the party entered the building. It was a slow procession, though, as they didn't wish to spoil the evening's enchantment too quickly.

The theater's adornments were elegant and splendid, which delighted Tibbett and Crope to no end. The lobby was filled with a rich variety of theatre-goers, and all were quick to get lost in the crowds. They laughed and made pleasantries with a number of different characters, including a few students who had come up from Tanhadrons College. Nanny, however, was anxious to get Nessa settled in her seat and motioned to Elphaba that their time for idling was up. She was only too happy to comply.

"We're late enough as it is," Elphaba remarked, pulling Glinda away from the attentions of what looked to be a small gathering of robust Gillikinese gentlemen. "Unless you'd like me to hoist you over my shoulder and carry you up the stairs."

Glinda blushed at this, though it was unclear whether it was from excitement or mortification. She clutched at Elphaba's sleeve, in any case, and quickly followed her as they made their way to the first tier.

Avaric, through his connections at Tenmeadows, had managed to procure a box for the party as a very welcomed offering, seeing as none of the group had ever had the privilege of sitting in one before. The withered old box-keeper directed them past the door to the lodge's interior, a dark but comfortable setting equipped with plush chairs. Pfannee and Shenshen looked approvingly at the assembly of fashionable patrons that were in attendance, and Avaric looked inordinately pleased with himself for acquiring such handsome seats.

It was a beautiful scene. The golden fixtures were stunningly cast against a crimson sea of velvet drapes, and the high, painted ceiling seemed to open to the very heavens themselves. Glinda and Elphaba stood at the box's railing, a bit swept up in the spectacle around them.

"Look Elphie!" exclaimed Glinda as she clutched excitedly at a green hand. "They even have a Barrisian chandelier."

"Well," said Elphaba stoically, "let's hope that no one sees fit to drop it on us."

"Here dove, you sit here," said Nanny as she shoved Elphaba into the chair next to Nessa, which was set accommodatingly at the front. "My constitution is feeling a bit irregular after that goose cream pie, and I'll need you to keep an eye on Nessie if I have to dash out."

Nanny sat at Nessa's left, folding a small playbill onto her charge's lap while Elphaba indicated with a sharp tug and an arched eyebrow that Glinda would be occupying the seat next to her. Boq suffered his second disappointment for the night, then, and decided to content himself by sitting in the seat directly behind her. Fiyero took the chair beside him followed closely by Tibbett and Crope. This placed Avaric and the other ladies at the far back, which suited them perfectly well as they weren't wholly interested in being visible anyway. The Amas, for their part, left Nanny in charge of the lot while they indulged themselves at the wine and cake bar just across the street. It looked to be a packed performance for the night, heightening their anticipation keenly.

"Look Nessie," said Elphaba, pointing to a hideously large woman trying desperately to squeeze her considerable behind into a chair. "Remind you of anyone?"

Nessa laughed. "Miss Thrumptin! I'd nearly forgotten her! Oh the vile things she used to say to us. I think I cried for a full day when she found me in her cherry orchard and smartly swatted me for it. You were the devil to her."

"Indeed," Elphaba grinned with a twinkle in her eye. "Poor soul. She's still probably picking weevils out of her sock drawer. I must have gathered every worm and spider that inhabited the far sands of the Kells to stuff in that woman's parlor."

"I didn't know you'd spent time in the Kells, Elphaba," said Fiyero warmly.

"Oh yes. I doubt there's a patch of dirt in the whole of Quadling country that Nessa and I haven't pissed or made mud-castles on." This earned a sharp look from Nessarose and a small chortle from Boq.

"Well this should be quite the treat for you, Miss Elphaba," Pfannee sweetly countered. "A taste of society and culture that doesn't involve mud or urine."

"Oh, but I never travel far without the foul-smelling comforts of home," Elphie replied. "Why do you think I insisted on bringing you along?"

Shenshen barely suppressed a laugh, much to Pfannee's consternation. But the orchestra was starting, and soon, everyone quieted down.

"Hold my hand if I'm frightened?" Tibbett spoke to Fiyero.

The group simultaneously 'shhhhhed' him amidst the prelude, and suddenly, the curtains were pulled back to reveal the oceanic fairyland of Meridian.

The opening theme was a beautiful tribal chant that heralded the arrival of the heroic Varjii warriors on their hunt along the shores of the high country. They sung boldly in the ancient language of the Vinkus, brandishing their spears high above their heads and thrusting them into the air as if they were slaying giant creatures from above. Opulent silks of red and gold fluttered down from the rafters, painting the audience's imagination with all sorts of wild and tempting fancies. It was primal and violent and a thrilling spectacle to behold.

Things grew decidedly more interesting, however, when the fierce parade of Varjii warriors were greeted by a small chorus of topless dancers that fluttered across the stage in hypnotic, disjointed patterns. Avaric could scarcely suppress the wide, leering grin that stretched over his features while the ladies on either side of him shrieked and giggled at the scandal of it all. Boq felt a blush creep up the back of his neck, and for once was thankful that Glinda was sitting in front of him.

"How vile!" cried Nessa in disgust. "Nudity on the stage! There is no need at all for such flagrant indecency!"

"The costumes, Nessa, or lack thereof, pay homage to the various Daemons and Wyrm-creatures often depicted in the illustrations of Vinkus fairytales," Elphaba offered, "though I'm sure the Meridian She-Devils were far more rotund and hideous than these painted stage nymphs. I should say, however, that the sight of a pair of breasts is hardly something to get yourself worked up over." And as if to gainsay her point, her gaze fell on Glinda's heaving décolletage with keen and subtle interest.

"Well I think it's cheap and barbaric," Nessa went on. "If one is only capable of provoking an audience by catering to their basest desires, then the performing arts are little more dignified than a brothel. I agree with Father— theatre is all for the vile propagation of iniquity and sin."

"It's a blessing you never had your mother's view of things, then," said Nanny while patting Nessa's leg. "You'd certainly have seen more dirty dumplings than the ones these cows are milking."

"I say!" Crope howled when what appeared to be the Meridian Fire Dragon stalked onto the stage, a finely muscled baritone wearing large horns and leather strappings. "Master Fiyero is set to get the whole lot of us hot and bothered tonight! He's determined to make love to us all!"

"Would you hush?" Glinda fumed over her shoulder to everyone and no one in particular. "You're being incredibly loud."

"We can't take them anywhere," Boq muttered, casting a stern glance in Crope and Tibbett's direction. "I thought I told the pair of you that you had to be on your best behavior tonight."

"But we are!" said Tibbett, failing to look innocent.

The roaring vibrato of the Dragon's song echoed across the auditorium, flaring with the tribal drums to produce a powerful, menacing sound. This was the Firestorm: the death of the warriors who had foolishly crossed the waters into the forbidden high country. It was a frightening display as the horns blared and the flames sparked across the stage with the chorus of dying men; a brash and brutal opening for the crowd.

The thunderous refrain was soon tempered, however, when the lilting strains of an Arjikian viola drifted up through the smoke like a curious enchantment. The scene shifted to a meadow at the base of a river, where Syraphel, the hero, walked hand-in-hand with the beautiful Llana. The pair began a glorious duet, mingling the sounds of adoration and loss together in a way that transcended the barriers of language. The full resonance of their harmonies drew the audience into a tranquil, soothing calm, and Glinda found her fingertips lightly brushing against Elphaba's.

"What do they sing of?" she whispered, her head inclined towards Fiyero.

"I shall walk in darkened paths with the brightest light of your memory-- the stars will guide your thoughts to me when the day has faded. It's a lament to their eventual parting," he said leaning close to her ear, which mildly irritated Boq. "Syraphel, by blood, is fated to join the Varjii tribes at the age of manhood, so he's forced to leave his sister in the care of their father."

Glinda blinked. "I thought they were lovers."

He chuckled. "In the poems, yes. They were separated as children but later met and fell in love in the winding country after the floods. How did you know that?"

"Oh, Elphie told me a little about it on the train. Something about forsaken lovers and a Dragon whose fire dries up the oceans. I guess they've left the whole incestuous business out of it," she laughed.

"They also seem to have left out the bit where he half-rapes her in the fountain spring," Elphaba cut in, "or the cannibalization of their father. Perhaps they couldn't rhyme it well enough in a recitative."

Fiyero smiled brightly. "You've read The Poems of Tarkus before…"

"Cannibalization and incest!" Nessa gasped before Elphaba could respond. "What on earth was going through your mind when you suggested this?"

"It does seem a bit raunchy for college students," said Nanny while casting a disapproving look at Fiyero. "I had no idea you Winkie types were such perverts."

"Please," Fiyero blushed, "I can assure you the play never makes reference to any of the questionable material in the poems, Nessarose. The opera in of itself is almost a completely different entity."

"More's the pity, I'd say," Crope scoffed. "No cannibals? No incest? What sort of opera is this?"

"Pshah," said Tibbett, leaning back in his chair. "It's there all right. It's just subtextual, is all. Pray, if I had ever made eyes at my sister like that, dear father would have whipped me senseless and sent me packing."

"I've seen your sister," replied Crope. "And no one, least of all your father, would have believed your infatuation for an instant."

"Fah. You tartlets see subtext everywhere," Avaric spoke up, placing his boot on the armrest of Crope's chair. "I won't believe a lick of the business until I see the twinsies down there eating a corpse or eating each other— in no particular order, mind."

"For Oz's sake, you ass!" cried Boq. "There are ladies present!"

"My hero!" said Crope, fluttering his eyelashes at Boq.

"The present performance notwithstanding," said Elphaba, quickly tiring of the conversation altogether, "I think it stupid that it would be necessary to bludgeon someone over the head with graphic acts of carnality before one is capable of acknowledging a mutual inclination between two people. Perhaps you should be reading first-year picture books with loud colors and simple illustrations, Avaric, instead of wasting your time at the theatre."

"Are you referring to alphabet books, Miss Elphie?" asked Tibbett. "Because I can find you some raunchy subtext in those as well."

"I think I should like to have seen a kiss," said Glinda a bit wistfully, staring down at the pair as they bid each other farewell. "I don't think that would have been too untoward."

"A kiss would have been nice," added Boq, who was suddenly attacked by Avaric with a hard, dribbling kiss on the mouth. The group could scarcely suppress their laughter in spite of all of the hissed shushes and angry looks from their neighbors in the adjoining box to their left. It took Nanny an age to quiet them all down, even as she simultaneously tried to keep Nessa propped up; a difficult task when Nessie was doubled-over on her chair.

It was a raucous beginning, and it seemed to set the tone for the rest of the night.

It was a good half-hour past midnight before the revelers made their way back to the inn, having indulged in two or three bottles of wine at the nearest pub before Nanny and the other Amas insisted that it was well past everyone's curfew. The boys had protested, of course, though it was clear that the owner was anxious to be rid of the lot of them. They laughed and sang Winkie songs down the streets of Greyvin, eliciting a chorus of slurs and angry remarks from sleeping residents along the way. When they finally reached the main entrance of the Pinegreeves Inn, everyone from the inhabitants of the upper east end to the carriage crossing had clearly had enough for one evening.

The ladies (who weren't nearly as sauced as their companions) bade the gentlemen a pleasant good-night which was cordially returned with low bows and promises of further mischief on the morrow. The residents of Three Queens and Briscoe Hall were dispersed on the lower levels of the building to prevent any "funny business" during the night (as the Amas put it) while the girls were situated on the fifth and sixth floors respectively.

The room that Glinda and Elphaba occupied was a charming little affair, decorated in light sallow wood with soft lavender accents. A full-sized bed occupied the interior with two comfortable chairs set near the window, and a colorful painting of what looked to be the Madeleines adorned the wall nearest their dresser where the bulk of their traveling parcels were stacked.

"One of the finer coloratura sopranos I've heard," Glinda gaily remarked, delicately applying a cream over the smooth curves of her face. She was draped in a beautiful robe of Gillikinese silk that skirted attractively down her leg, stopping short of the small point of her toe. Sitting at the vanity in their washroom, she regaled Elphaba with her delights of the performance while continuing to make her evening toilette.

Elphaba, for her part, sat up in the adjoining bedroom, studiously and characteristically engaged with a book she'd procured prior to the evening's entertainments. Buried waist-deep under the covers, she tried unsuccessfully to divide her attentions between book and roommate while Glinda carried on with her musings of the theatre, the performers, and the idiocies of Crope and Tibbett. After months of trying to find some kind of balance between her studies and the incessant attentions of a very vocal companion, Elphie could only manage a perfunctory sort of conversation while making-do with a cursory reading of her texts.

"Admittedly, that isn't exactly saying much, given my limited experience with popular theatre these days," said Glinda. "I remember seeing one of Kimlin's operettas years ago when his work was supposedly all the rage. I was staying with my uncle at the time, I think. It was a fair company, to be sure, but the leads were positively atrocious."

"Mmm," said Elphaba, turning a page in her book. "I've read a few of Kimlin's plays before."

"It all boils down to taste of course," Glinda continued, now lathering her neck. "My cousin ranted and raved about the whole thing for hours on end that night. He found it all appallingly delightsome. I'm certain, mind you, that his approval had more to do with Lady Belevrie's beauty and less to do with her singing abilities."

"Well, beauty does forgive a number of obvious failings."

Glinda smirked as she spritzed herself with a bottle of perfume— coincidentally Elphaba's favorite. "I'd take that as an insult, but I know full well that you'd never forgive me for any of my failings regardless of how beautiful I am."

"Probably not," Elphaba replied, "but the beauty doesn't hurt."

The soft sounds of Glinda's comb brushing through fine hair soon crept through the stillness of the room, accompanied by her faint humming of a tune from the opera's third act. "Did you enjoy the performance tonight, Elphie? I haven't even asked you yet."

Remarkably, this drew Elphaba's attentions away from her book. Glinda obviously expected a more thoughtful answer out of her, so she took the liberty of giving her query serious contemplation for a full five seconds.

"To be perfectly honest with you, I found it disappointing," Elphaba said. "I suppose it was entertaining enough in its own right, but as an adaptation of a popular narrative, it was painfully lacking in anything of real significance. The violent, sexual, and dangerously political themes found in Vinkus mythology were heavily candy-coated into an amusing but ultimately uninteresting spectacle of sumptuous costumes and theatrical melodrama. It was all style and very little substance; a watered-down version of a morally ambiguous fairytale."

"Opera doesn't always concern itself with storytelling, dear," said Glinda, comb still in hand. "Music and song is what truly captivates the audience. Even the most shallow, the most ill-conceived of stories can have purpose and meaning if the emotions of the piece are conveyed in a song well enough. A performance can have all the potency of a galestorm with the right musical accompaniment, no matter how woefully the words or actions might understate its importance."

"True," said Elphaba gamely, "though it suggests that actors and musicians are the craftiest sorts of liars there are. A lilting melody might convince you there's beauty to be found in slaughtering a small Tsebra, or a plinkety little tune could make the most sensible acts of human decency seem ridiculous. The gifted singer becomes thus capable of undervaluing the real problems of our society while simultaneously flattering its weaknesses and failures. I've heard choruses sing the lofty praises of murder, adultery, and terrorism to a crowd of theatre-goers and watched as they grew stupid with cheers and applause."

"Well I thought it was charming," said Glinda, checking her reflection a final time, "neither devoid of morals nor ambiguity."

"And I, as usual, remain moody and dissatisfied."

"I'm glad you at least acknowledge it," she said, putting out the small light in the washroom before striding through the open door. After neatly untying her robe and draping it over the nearby chair, she moved to her side of the bed while casually readjusting the strap of her nightgown, which had slipped off of her shoulder. "What are you reading, anyway?"

"A small booklet on Greyvin," Elphaba replied, moving over slightly to allow Glinda access under the covers. "They had them for sale at the shop in the foyer, so I decided to pick one up. I know absolutely nothing about the region or its history, so I thought I'd educate myself."

"Ha. A flimsy excuse to spend more money and feed your wicked little habit of reading in bed." She slid over to her roommate and leaned against a green shoulder to better view the contents of the book. "Does it say anything of interest?"

"Not really. It's written with a tourist's sensibility, so there's a lot to do with famous houses and insipid little shops that sell candlewood furniture. The town apparently has a reputation for fine carpentry, so I would assume that's the bread and butter of their economy."

"Yes. Father's summerhouse is filled with Greyvinian furniture, though I can't say I share the appeal. That's a lovely park, by the bye," Glinda said, pointing to a small picture. "Perhaps we could go there tomorrow?"

"If you like," said Elphaba, turning the page. "There are some interesting cathedrals on the west end that you might care to look at. This place was founded by a faction of northern Gillikinese Unionists whose strict and orthodox sensibilities might actually have given Nessa pause for thought. They prided themselves on their unique craftsmanship and wood-works, as well as the purity of their Gillikenese heritage. It was all supposedly a testament to their favored devotion to the Unnamed God."

Glinda stared intently at the page for a moment. "That's preposterous."

"What?" Elphaba asked, looking down at her companion with mild amusement. "The thought of a Unionist more pious than Nessarose or someone actually proud of their Gillikin ancestry?"

"The purity and cleverness they so highly regard!" Glinda scoffed. "Look here," she said, pointing to the interior of a Greyvinian cathedral. "The design is Gallantine Reformed. You can tell by the ribbed vaults and flying buttresses, as well as the pointed arch. But here, look, there are Animals depicted in carved relief near the ambulatory. Here, Elphie," she pointed again. "Unionist Gillikin architecture from the Gallantine period strictly forbade the depiction of the Unnamed God or his creatures in any form of art or sculpture. It was only prevalent in the cathedrals of the more "liberal" congregations in the southeast of Oz; areas in Munchinkland or skirting the Quadling borderline. It's syncretism at best, though I wouldn't doubt it if their line was tickled with a little foreign blood somewhere. The granulation you see here would have to have been done by a goldsmith or master-craftsman, which the Quadlings are obviously famous for. They— what?"

She had momentarily looked up at Elphaba, who was now staring at her with an irrepressible grin.

"Why Miss Glinda, was that deductive reasoning? It seems we've caught you thinking again."

"Oh honestly," Glinda huffed, turning away and haughtily folding herself in the bedcovers. "Read your silly book then. I have no interest in subjecting myself to more of your boorish humor or your criticisms of my theatrical tastes."

But Elphaba was not to be put off so easily. The sight, nearness, and fragrance of Glinda had been sufficiently stirring enough for the green girl; the revelation of the clever, reasoning, and skeptical Glinda now left her thoroughly aroused.

Still grinning rather fiendishly, she closed the book and removed her glasses before setting them both on the nightstand. Then, after quickly extinguishing the lamplight, she slid nearer her beautiful companion and gently pulled her close.

"My, but you're fetching when you're upset," said Elphaba, running her fingers along the hem of a silky nightgown. "And I'm sure you are well aware of it. It's why I provoke you so often, and better still, why you let me."

Glinda sniffed indignantly, though she nestled closer to her roommate. "One of these days I'll turn you into a Donkey. It will be the perfect irony, given all of your smart-assed remarks."

Elphaba cackled, enjoying the image as well as the fresh scent of Glinda's hair. "A pretty thought," she whispered, her breath tickling the skin below Glinda's ear. "But I doubt you'd be able to tolerate all of the flies. Sarcastic florae are much less of a fuss to room with. Besides," she continued while moving a hand over Glinda's abdomen, "I rather like having hands."

A small sigh of pleasure escaped Glinda's lips as she slowly slid her fingers through Elphaba's. "Sorcery—" she said distractedly. "Oh bother. We're starting the advanced sections next week, you know."

"I didn't know," said Elphaba, who was much too preoccupied to care, truthfully.

"It's a pity we only have a week to spend on holiday," Glinda mused, quite enjoying Elphaba's ministrations against her neck. "Some days I wish I'd adopted a less demanding profession. Maybe we should abandon Shiz altogether and try our luck in some other venue."

"Become Unionist missionaries?" Elphaba quipped.

"Or vaudeville perhaps…"

A muffled snort was heard behind her. "A career in theatre. What a perfectly marvelous and horrible thought. Do tell," she muttered, tasting the skin at the nape of Glinda's neck, "what would be our act?"

"Mmmmm, perhaps I could sing. Or you could, in fact." She leaned back like a contented cat, providing a greater expanse of neck for Elphaba to lavish her kisses upon.

"Why not just drape me all in black and dangle me from the ceiling?" Elphie mused. "You could fly me around the stage like some ridiculous green spectacle— that would bring the crowds, I'm certain."

"Don't be silly, Elphie," her roommate playfully scolded. "It would be marvelous. I'd dress you in beautiful gowns and we could sing a lovely duet together; I could even perform the odd bit of sorcery now and then. It would be simply wonderful, and I know the audience would just adore you."

"Oh yes. What with you singing and me cackling about while lighting the sets on fire, I'm sure we could frighten every child in Oz from here to Rush Margins."

"Fie," Glinda sulked as she slid teasingly out of Elphaba's embrace. "I'm a lovely singer."

"Perhaps," was Elphie's smart reply before she swiftly pulled Glinda over to bestow a long, lingering kiss on perfect lips before further protest could be made. It seemed to produce the desired effect as Glinda slowly melted into the mattress, all previous indignation having vanished the moment a green hand expertly traversed the skin of her left thigh. She encircled Elphaba with her arms, sliding her hands along the sharp contours of her roommate's back before her fingers found purchase in the long, glorious tresses of hair tied loosely at Elphaba's neck.

Elphaba slowly drew back to allow her a short, staggered breath; her lips resting tantalizingly above Glinda's chin. "I confess though, my dear, that I am far more eager to explore your other talents tonight."

Glinda gave Elphie an alluring and irresistible smile. "Don't be so sure, Miss Elphaba," she replied, placing a suggestive kiss to Elphaba's lower lip. "After all, I do have quite the impressive vocal range."

What followed could hardly be construed as theatrical, though that should in no way suggest that it wasn't a very splendid performance. The choreography was a trifle inelegant, and the fevered exclamations from either lady seemed fairly unimaginative and/or clichéd. Nevertheless, it was a triumph of the senses, and the leads threw themselves into their respective roles with rapt and unguarded enthusiasm.

Of course, as is the case with most theatre these days, it was much, much better after the first act.