WARNINGS: This chapter delves a bit deeper into the D/s between Elphaba and Glinda. And there's quite a bit of angst toward the end. If you're uncomfortable with D/s at all, you might want to skip this chapter.

That evening, Boq looked as though he had something secretive to tell the girls, and he had just opened his mouth when he caught sight of Glinda's wrist. She had reached across the table to retrieve the cream dish, and her sleeve had ridden up, revealing a mark that Boq found most distressing. "Miss Glinda!" he said, eyes wide. "What happened to your wrist?" He only just stopped himself from grabbing her hand for closer inspection.

Glinda flushed and quickly pulled her hand back, forgetting the cream and hastily tugging on her sleeve. She could feel Elphaba stiffen beside her. How was she supposed to answer? She didn't fancy herself a liar, but she didn't want to tell him the truth, lest he lose his composure and an argument break out... or lest Elphaba be displeased with her for telling. Why couldn't moments like these be paused in time, so as to slip away from the table with Elphie and discuss how to answer the question? Apparently she took too long to answer, because Boq's eyes went even wider.

"Did you do this to her?" he asked Elphaba. "Did you hurt her?"

For once, Elphaba didn't know what to say, her own eyes mirroring Boq's, and she wished Glinda to come to her rescue.

"Oh for goodness' sake, Boq, she only tied my hands, that's all," she said in a hushed tone, willing him to be quiet. "She didn't hurt me. It's nice of you to be so protective, but really, if she were hurting me, do you think I'd stay near her? I can look after myself just fine, thank you."

Both Boq and Elphaba now stared at Glinda, their expressions awed, but for different reasons. Elphaba because she was proud, and Boq because he was... shocked.

"Why in Oz's name did she tie your hands?" he asked.

"If you think very hard, you might be able to figure that one out," Elphaba spoke up, not wanting the conversation to go any further than that. "Now when we arrived, you appeared in covert spirits. What news do you bring?"

Boq put two and two together, and hated that the answer was four. He ignored Elphaba's question entirely in favor of whispering discretely to Glinda, "why would you let her do that?"

Glinda sighed in exasperation, turning to give Boq a look. "If you must know, Master Boq, and apparently you must... it excites me. I revel in every touch, and I quiver at every look, every gesture, every intention Miss Elphaba has toward me. Never have I wanted to be in anyone's thrall as I do Elphie's. I would let her do anything she wished, and shouldn't think to need to justify myself for doing so."

Elphaba thought she might die.

Boq briefly imagined how different Avaric's reaction would be to his own, then mustered up the courage to back off. As strange as he found their dynamic to be, it did seem to please them both, and who was he to try to interfere? "Understood, Miss Glinda," he said formally with a nod.

Glinda beamed subtly, until she caught sight of the expression on Elphaba's face. "Elphie?" she asked, quickly overwhelmed with alarm.

Elphaba tried to look reassuring, though she could barely swallow past the sudden lump in her throat. "Hush now, I need to speak to Boq privately."

Glinda's eyes welled with tears and her lower lip trembled. Was she being dismissed? Had she angered Elphaba to the point of not wanting her in sight?

Elphaba realized how harsh her words were, and softened, her heart thumping against her ribcage violently nonetheless. She brought Glinda's face to hers and kissed her, then kissed her forehead, then hugged her tight. "I'm not angry with you, my sweet," she promised. "May I please have a few moments alone with Master Boq?"

Glinda sniffed back tears and buried her face in Elphie's neck, nodding her agreement. When they separated, she asked quietly, "where shall I go?"

"Sit on that bench over there, and don't speak to any strangers," Elphaba told her, smiling as she watched her go. When they were alone, she took a slow, deep breath and turned to Boq. "I've realized something."

Boq waited, and when Elphaba showed no signs of continuing, he asked, "I assume it's something specific?"

Elphaba glared, lost her nerve for a second, then forged ahead. "I didn't want you to know I'd tied her hands."

Again, Boq waited. This time, he didn't have to prompt.

"This led me to the realization that... I may not behave toward Glinda in the manner that friends typically do."

Boq tried to hide his surprise. "You were under the impression that you do?" he couldn't help asking.

"Well," Elphaba said, struggling to find words for the first time in her intellectual life. "I never stopped to think that what we were doing was... outside the realm of typical friendship."

"And now that you know, it's bothering you?" Boq guessed.

"I don't know," Elphaba admitted. "Should it?"

Boq took a moment to think before he answered. Here he had the opportunity to plant a seed in Elphaba's mind that she was doing something wrong by Glinda. Hadn't he wanted it to stop since the moment he noticed her relative dominance over the blonde? He glanced over at Glinda, so nervous over on the bench, and back to Elphaba. "I can't say. But think of this, Elphaba. Neither of you have changed, have you? Only your level of awareness has changed. If it didn't bother you on its merit, then will you let it bother you simply on label?"

Elphaba thought on it, and reached across the table to squeeze Boq's hand. "You're right, of course." She paused, deciding whether to say what was on her mind next, and went ahead. "I know that was hard for you... I see how much you dislike her obedience... I only wish to make her happy. And as much as it addles me, she makes me happy too. Your blessing is important to me, though I know I don't act like it. I consider you a dear friend, and... I'm rambling unforgivably. Please, shut me up."

Boq was uncomfortable with the level of intimacy they were sharing, and was grateful for the levity of Elphaba's last statement. "With pleasure," he laughed. "Shut up, Elphaba."

Elphaba grinned and pulled her hand back, catching Glinda's eye and motioning her back to the table. As the blonde made to sit beside her, she opted to tug the little thing into her lap instead, arms resting snugly around a trim waist. "I missed you," she whispered, nuzzling her nose against the back of Glinda's ear.

Glinda giggled, turning her head to the side, murmuring softly, "it was only five clock-ticks, and I was right over there..." Of course, she had missed Elphaba too, but there was no need to say it.

"Say thank-you to Boq," Elphaba breathed in her ear, resting a hand on Glinda's knee under the table.

Glinda didn't know why, but she turned to face Boq. "Thank you, Master Boq," she said formally.

"For what?" Boq asked, knowing there hadn't been time in those few seconds for Elphaba to relay any details of their conversation.

"I'm not entirely certain," Glinda admitted with a laugh, settling back against Elphaba's chest.

Elphaba nibbled Glinda's earlobe and dipped her fingers beneath the hem of the girl's dress, feeling Glinda stiffen instantly. She thought of withdrawing, but drew tiny circles across the inside of a soft knee instead. "Just keep talking to Master Boq... if you alert him to what I'm doing, I'll spank you right here in the cafe," she purred.

Glinda closed her eyes tightly, unsure how to accomplish such a feat with distracting fingers on her skin and the promise of a spanking if she failed. She shuddered as Elphie's fingers crawled up her thigh, and forced her eyes open, forced her thoughts to an appropriately deceptive topic of conversation. "How is Miss Darla?" she managed to say without stammering. She was sure Boq would know what was happening - how could he not?

Boq sipped his wine and indulged Glinda in conversation. "She's doing well, thank you."

"And her cousin?" Glinda did her best to focus on Boq, and not on the scrape of Elphaba's fingernails along the inside of her thigh, perilously close to her knickers.

"We haven't any news of her progress yet," Boq said, finding the question strange, since he and Elphaba had only returned that morning.

Elphaba crept higher beneath Glinda's dress, trailing one fingertip lightly over the crotch of her knickers, finding her sweet little lover already warm and wet.

"Oh!" Glinda exclaimed, her hands moving to the edge of the table in a sudden vice-like grip.

Boq snapped his head around to look at her and Elphaba pinched her clitoris.

Glinda's mind raced, her wide eyes fixated on Boq's. "It's just I realized how silly the question was," she said in a rush, gripping the table harder. "You've only been back since this morning!" She knew her voice was a bit high-pitched, and she groaned when Elphaba's fingers found their way inside her.

"Miss Glinda, are you quite all right?" Boq asked, torn between concern and irritation.

"Quite," Glinda said with a forced smile. "I only wish you not to think me dull." She clamped her thighs around Elphaba's hand and turned her head, hissing softly into her roommate's ear. "I can't."

"You can," Elphaba whispered back.

"I can't," Glinda insisted. "Elphaba, please, I can't, and I don't want to be spanked in front of all these people... please... I understand if you need to punish me, but please, take me home first?"

Elphaba's first instinct was to deny the request, and perhaps yesterday she would have, but her awareness had grown of just how much trust Glinda put in her each and every moment, and she wanted ever so much to remain deserving of that trust. If she denied the request, it would only hurt Glinda, and she never, ever wanted to do that. She carefully removed her hand from Glinda's knickers and slid it from beneath her dress, dropping a kiss to her lover's shoulder and patting her thigh. "Come on, love. We'd better get going."

Glinda exhaled sharply with relief, rising from the table and nodding to Boq. "Good night," she said primly, despite the blush dusting her cheeks. Surely he knew... "And please give my regards to Miss Darla."

Boq knew something was going on, but frankly he didn't care to dwell on finding out what. "Good night, I'll be sure to do that," he said with a nod, and watched them go.

Elphaba slid her hand into Glinda's, slowing her stride so the smaller girl didn't have to hurry to keep up.

They walked in silence, but when they reached Crage Hall and were safely inside their room, Glinda could stand it no longer. She spun to face Elphaba and looked up at her with tears in her eyes. "I'm sorry I displeased you," she managed in a shaky whisper. "I tried so very hard but I can't control myself when you touch me, Elphie..."

"Shhhh," Elphaba soothed her, pulling her into a warm embrace. "You did no such thing. I'm still going to punish you, but you did not displease me in any way, do you understand that?" She couldn't bear the thought of Glinda thinking it even for a moment.

Glinda melted into her roommate, wrapping her arms around Elphie's back and squeezing tight. "Why will you punish me, if not for displeasing you?" Perhaps Elphaba was just saying that to make her feel better. She was certain she had disappointed Elphie... she hadn't even been able to do one little thing that was asked of her.

"You didn't do as I asked of you," Elphaba explained. "And you will be punished for that. But I'm not angry, or displeased, or even disappointed. Do you know what would have displeased me?" she asked.

Glinda pulled her head from Elphie's chest and shook it slightly.

"Had you allowed me to do something that hurt you or made you uncomfortable, that would have displeased me, Glinda. As much as you wish to please me, I wish to please you. I'm grateful you were able to tell me what you did, or I would have spanked you in the cafe, not knowing you really didn't want it. Am I making any sense?"

"I think so," Glinda whispered, starting to understand. She knew there were some things that she most certainly didn't want done to her, ever, but she also knew that she'd allow Elphaba to do them even so. She had thought that would be what Elphie wanted. She was relieved in many ways to find out that it was not. And then there were things that she didn't want done to her, but in a different way. Things that would humiliate her or hurt, but would be wonderfully awful simply because it was Elphaba doing them.

Elphaba kissed her lover, then rested their foreheads together. "If it is something you don't really want, then I would gain no pleasure from doing it," she expanded upon and yet simplified her previous attempt at explanation. "I know you don't mind being punished, if it pleases me, but I did not know you wished to avoid it in public. Now I know, and won't think of asking that of you again."

Glinda nodded, the knots in her stomach slowly untying themselves. "Will it please you to punish me now?" she asked, casting her eyes to the floor.

"It will," Elphaba said, running her fingers through Glinda's hair.

"Yes, Miss Elphaba," Glinda murmured. "How should you like to have me?"

"I should like you to remove your knickers and lean over my bed."

Glinda flushed, the butterflies returning to her stomach, but merely fluttering instead of making knots. Her hands shook as she reached beneath her dress and pushed her knickers to the floor. She stepped out of them and picked them up, heels clicking on the floor as she walked to the closet to drop them in the laundry, then to Elphaba's bed. She leaned slightly forward, bracing her hands on the middle of the mattress, and waited.

Elphaba slid up behind Glinda, pressing their bodies together, and whispered into her ear. "I love you..."

Glinda shivered, fighting the urge to press back against Elphie, and bowed her head. "I love you too."

"I'm going to fetch your Ama's strap." She waited for a protest. There was none, only a soft exhale from her lover. "Listen, my sweet... if it's all right with you, I'd like to be able to continue even if you're saying no, or stop... I'd like you to think of another word instead. A word you may use to stop the punishment if you need to."

Glinda nodded slowly, wrapping her mind around the idea. It made sense, really. It would be nice to be able to protest without making Elphaba desist. "What sort of word?" she finally asked.

Elphaba smirked. "How about Boq?"

Glinda couldn't help the laughter that escaped her at that. "Yes, it pleases me," she agreed.

"Good," Elphaba smiled. "Now compose yourself and embrace solemnity while I retrieve the strap."

Glinda nodded, taking the time alone to steady her breathing and ready herself for what she already knew was going to be a painful punishment.

Elphaba returned, astonished to find that she was rather nervous. What if she weren't able to aim correctly with the strap? It wasn't as if she'd ever used such a thing before. If she practiced on a pillow, Glinda would doubt her ability, and she didn't want that. Perhaps she should scrap it and use her hand, or... no, she was being silly. Ridiculous, really. She could do this perfectly well - she would simply start with light strokes until she gained confidence. She did swing it through the air a few times, though, just to get a feel for its weight and arc, before she stepped up behind Glinda and raised her dress.

Glinda squeaked, having known that would happen but not having been utterly prepared for its happening, and squirmed over the bed, once more hoping that her roommate liked what she saw. She felt Elphaba gathering courage behind her, and smiled toward the blanket, waiting for the first blow to come.

Elphaba schooled herself, her features and her posture, and trailed one fingertip down Glinda's back before straightening up and allowing the strap to connect with her lover's bare bottom. Lightly, almost gently, watching like a hawk where the tip landed. And again, and again, until she was satisfied with the placement of her strokes, and brought the smooth leather down with a sharp flick of her wrist.

Glinda heard it almost before she felt it, and she cried out, fisting handfuls of Elphaba's blanket and turning her head to bite her shoulder in an effort to keep quiet. Even as a stripe of fire stung her backside, a flurry of excitement flitted around her belly, and she purred into her arm as the sting began to fade.

The sound excited Elphaba... the crack of leather on skin echoing through their room, and Glinda's sharp cry. She landed another stroke, overlapping the first, and sucked in a breath at Glinda's answering squirm and whimper. Two more earned her a pleading, breathless 'stop!' from her lover, and her hand faltered briefly before delivering the next. They had agreed on a word, after all, and 'stop' was not it.

Glinda squeezed her eyes shut tight, tears threatening but kept at bay, and tensed her muscles against the throbbing ache in her backside. She deserved this, she knew, and she wanted to take it well for Elphie, despite how much it hurt. It wasn't something she couldn't bear. Not yet, at the least. She reconsidered after six more stripes of fire erputed across her already burning skin. "No!" she yelled, those tears leaking from the corners of her eyes to trail down her cheeks. She deliberately did not use the word 'Boq', but she needed to voice her protest. "No, stop!"

Elphaba would have stopped, even without Glinda's use of their stop word, but for some reason she wanted to push. She wanted Glinda to use the word, so that... her lover would know it was okay to use it. Maybe she was afraid Elphaba would reject her if she did, and Elphaba would not be able to stand that. So she pushed.

Glinda's tears fell harder when Elphie didn't stop. "Stop, Elphie!" she begged, kicking her shoes against the floor, even kicking Elphaba once out of sheer desperation, but the spanking didn't even pause. She didn't want to be the one to make it stop. What would Elphie think of her? Elphaba wouldn't want her if she couldn't behave properly and take what was given to her... would she?

"You do not kick me," Elphaba said calmly, striping Glinda's thighs with the strap. "If you have something to say, say it, but you do not kick me." She allowed her strokes to strengthen in response.

Glinda gasped, dropping to her elbows on the bed, and could stand it no longer. "Boq!" she shouted, her body wracked with sobs, knowing Elphaba would hate her for saying it. "Boq, Boq, Boq," she cried, burying her face in the blankets.

Immeasurably relieved, Elphaba tossed the strap aside and covered Glinda's shaking body with her own, whispering into her ear. "Good girl, love..." She had no way of knowing what Glinda was thinking, but regardless, she was going to make sure Glinda knew what she thought.

Glinda just cried, registering the comforting presence, but not cerebrally aware of what was going on around her. She was too distressed and afraid of being abandoned to think clearly.

Elphaba stayed as she was, kissing the back of Glinda's head and murmuring sweetly into her ear, waiting patiently for the sweet little thing to calm down, and regain awareness.

It took a long time.

When Glinda's tears had stopped and her shaking had stilled, Elphaba laid on the bed, pulling the blonde with her and guiding Glinda's head to her chest. Delicate fingers stroked through the messy waves of hair, dampened with salty tears. "Are you all right, my sweet?" she finally dared break the silence.

Glinda traced patterns on Elphie's chest with the tip of one finger, the world finally back in focus. "You're still here..."

Elphaba didn't like the way that fact seemed unexpected to Glinda. "Where else would I be?" she asked, stroking Glinda's tear-stained cheek.

Glinda shrugged and buried her face lightly in Elphaba's neck, too embarrassed to look at her.

"As terrible as I am at reading social cues, I need you to tell me what you're thinking. Please?" Elphaba said, her heart breaking a little.

"I thought you'd leave."

"Why in Oz would I do that?"

"I stopped the punishment before you were finished."

"I've got news for you," Elphaba said softly, tilting Glinda's chin up to look her in the eye. "I was finished before you stopped the punishment." When confusion dawned and didn't seem to lift, she went on. "I continued the punishment after I felt your lesson learned, because I wanted you to use the stop word. I wanted to make you use it, so that you would know you could."

The confusion finally lifted, and Glinda's eyes went wide. She pushed until she was free of Elphaba's hold, feeling betrayed and angry and... and... and maybe a little bit grateful. "That is quite unfair," she decided. "You punished me more than I deserved, just to... just to break me, Elphaba?"

"It was not more than you deserved," Elphaba said levelly. "If you did not use the stop word, then you deserved to continue to be punished. If it was too much for you, you needed to speak up. I never intended to break you in any way. I only intended to get this part of things out of the way. I wanted to make sure you would really tell me if it got too much. I needed to know that, sooner rather than later. I needed to know that you wouldn't let me do something to you simply because I wished it, regardless of how it made you feel. I had to know that, Glinda. I love you too dearly to take advantage of your love for me."

Glinda's anger faded the more Elphaba said, and she melted back against her roommate. "You're not disappointed in me?"

"No, you silly thing, and the fact that you'd even think it makes me want to spank you right on your bruised bottom."

Glinda flushed. "I think it hurts too much."

"I'll give it some gentler attention, then," Elphaba crooned. "Roll onto your stomach."

Glinda wasn't sure what that meant, exactly, but she trusted Elphaba, and obediently lay on her stomach. Her dress had fallen down to cover her, and she felt Elphie push it back up around her waist, baring her bottom once again.

Elphaba lay on her side, propped up on one elbow with her head resting on her right hand, and let her left rest on Glinda's bruising cheeks. She felt her lover tense, and soothed her with gentle stroking, alternating between using her palm and her fingertips. She did that until she felt Glinda relax, and then replaced her hand with her lips, covering the reddened areas with gentle kisses.

"I'm glad you're not disappointed in me, Elphie..."

"I could never be," Elphaba said with a smile, crawling up to lay beside her, pulling Glinda into her arms.