Disclaimer: Not mine and if I was making money out of fan fiction I would be able to afford Christmas presents.

A/N: For LazyAlchemist. Happy Birthday.

Nineteen. Sweet Oz that made her older than Galinda. It made her older than Fiyero. It made her older than Boq. At this rate, she would have to stand next to Madam Morrible in photographs.

Nineteen. She was practically dead.

She had been assured by her roommate that "age is something that doesn't matter unless one is a cheese" but it failed to reassure her. Besides, she was sure she'd heard that before. Knowing Galinda, it had probably been stitched onto one of her many pillows.

Nineteen! And after that came twenty. And after that came twenty-five. Before she knew it, she'd be thirty!

She knew that Galinda would be planning a party somewhere and would give her several expensive presents centring around the themes; pink, glitter and feathers. Hence why she chose to sit in the library all day and avoid her.

It was a constant source of amusement to Elphaba that whilst, her group of friends who had little to nothing in common (with the exception of Galinda and Fiyero who had their striking beauty) knew she was a bookworm, they never thought to look for her in the library. It soothed her. She still had somewhere to hide.

Night had fallen early as it is prone to in the winter. Elphaba let the darkness wash over her and stared out of the window, watching as the streetlamps flickered into life.

In a matter of weeks she would in the Emerald City and this would all be forgotten. She would have no time to dwell on her own mortality, she'd be too busy being degreenified and impressing the wizard. It would be perfect; absolutely perfect and she'd need a little something to remind her of Galinda. Something pink, glittery and covered in feathers. Alright, maybe she'd go back to their dorm and quietly celebrate with Galinda.

But Galinda never did things quietly or by halves. Before Elphaba knew it, she would be dragged kicking and screaming, into a full scale party and surrounded by people she didn't know but knew hated her. No, best to stay where she was.

Her sister would probably leave a small gift with Galinda from she and Boq. Perhaps Fiyero would even sign on Galinda's card. Yes, something small from everyone.

She didn't particularly want to think about Fiyero; not after the incident.

Perhaps he wouldn't sign Galinda's card for fear of giving her false hope. Elphaba had been observant enough to know that he had been avoiding her lately. He hated her. He must do, dragging him off like that and practically forcing him to help her return a Lion cub. She would hate him if he had done the same.

No she wouldn't. She knew she wouldn't because she was reluctant to admit that she no longer merely liked to look…okay, stare at him. She loved him.

Elphaba sighed. It didn't matter anyway. Soon she could have her pick of anyone she liked. She would be famous and special and loved by all. She would be normal. Who cares what one man thinks when the world is at their feet? She felt better already.

At least, she told herself she did.

On the other hand, he had been avoiding Galinda too.

When the hell had Fiyero Tiggular snuck back into her thoughts? She groaned and hid her blushing face in her hands, allowing her hair to cascade past it and hide her.

"Elphie?"

Elphaba jumped and gasped.

"Don't call me that!" she snapped. Who was he to give her nicknames? He hadn't even spoken to her in days. If he'd seen her heading towards him down a corridor, he hurriedly changed direction to avoid her. What the hell was Fiyero Tiggular even doing in a library? She was surprised he even knew what one was. That was it. He probably thought it was a cleaning closet. "What are you doing here anyway?" Aha! Let him try and worm his way out of this one.

"Looking for you."

Damn! Why was he so charming?

"Well, you found me, so now you can go back to Galinda and drink whatever the two of you have smuggled in and I can go back to reading my book."

Fiyero smirked. "You haven't got a book. There's not even a light on. You're not reading."

"Then what would I be doing in a library?"

Fiyero grinned at her. "You're hiding."

"No I'm not!"

He raised an eyebrow. "You're getting awfully defensive."

"No I'm not!" He smiled smugly and Elphaba's blood boiled. "Oh just go away!"

The room fell into silence and Elphaba slowly peeked out of the gaps in her fingers. He wasn't standing in front of her anymore. He wasn't laughing at her. He wasn't even trying to persuade her to leave with him. She hadn't expected him to actually do what she told him. She sniffed and wiped away the solitary tear that threatened to fall.

"So what are we hiding from then?"

She started, her heart pounding, and attempted to glare the young man sitting beside her, a cheery grin gracing his handsome face and making his eyes twinkle; but she found that she couldn't. She could only grin inanely back.

"I don't know," she admitted. "I just don't want to go back and have everyone make a big deal out of it. So I'm one year closer to death, so what? Although that's probably why they all want a party."

Fiyero smiled. He couldn't help himself. She was witty even when she felt at her lowest. "It's me, Boq and Galinda," he told her. "And maybe we're trying to have a really small party in your dorm because we're trying to tell you that we're glad you were born."

Elphaba scoffed.

"We are!" he persisted. "I certainly am anyway."

She looked up at him, biting her lip to stop her saying something she would regret.

"You are?"

"Of course I am," he told her. "Who else would do my Life Sciences homework?"

He winked but Elphaba wasn't entirely convinced that he was joking. She raised an eyebrow.

"I was joking."

"Hmm."

"So why won't you come?"

Elphaba shrugged. "I just don't want to get older. I'd rather just pretend this whole aging process isn't happening. I'll look even worse."

"You look lovely. Besides, I'm nineteen next week. Are you trying to tell me I'm old?"

She laughed. "Maybe."

He nudged her elbow and laughed with her. "Okay, so we'll call this a second eighteenth party. You didn't have an eighteenth party, did you?"

She shook her head. "I don't like fuss."

"You're just not used to it," explained Fiyero. "It's very easy to love fuss. I used to think I didn't like it either and look at me now."

Elphaba raised her eyebrow. "Yes, look at you now. You know, I was just thinking you'd convinced me and then you go and say that."

"Come on," he said, getting to his feet with an easy grace that made Elphaba obscenely jealous. "I'll hold your hand if you're that frightened," he mocked, pulling her into a standing position.

"I think I'll be okay."

Fiyero smirked. "Ah but I haven't told you about the presents yet."

"Lead the way," she said, holding out her hand and desperately trying not to blush as he took it.