A/N: After an extremely long hiatus from the FF world, I return and I bring this story as a gift to all of you. For those of you wondering about Wicked Fashion Show!, check my profile for the sad and slightly disappointing news. But in the meantime, enjoy this story!
PS: I know this chapter is heavy in original character backstory and such, but if you stick with it, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much this story ISN'T about Anya. I hope that you give it a shot!
Disclaimer: I don't own Wicked. I do, however, own Anya and all that her character entails.
"But…but I didn't do anything!" Anya yelled as she was thrown unceremoniously into the cell.
The guard ignored her and closed the door, locking it with a decisive click. Anya retreated to the wall furthest from the door and crumpled to the floor. Her tears flowed with abandon as she repeated, almost as a mantra, "I didn't do anything."
The moonlight crashed in through the only window in the cell and illuminated a strip of dirty floor that extended from where Anya sat to the door. Anya hiccupped as she attempted to calm her sobs. Crying would do her no good here. The stone floor was cold and rough, and she moved in an attempt to make herself more comfortable.
Once her tears had, for the most part, subsided, she rose and crossed the short distance to the door. There was a tiny barred window near the top of the door where she could just barely see the rest of the jail. Her arms reached up, as if with a mind of their own. She grabbed the bars and shook the door angrily.
"Excuse me! Hello? There's been some kind of mistake! I haven't done anything wrong!"
A cackle that came from inside the cell startled Anya so badly that she fell to the ground by the door. "Who—who's there?" she asked, her voice shaking.
"It doesn't matter much whether you deserve to be here or not," the voice said steadily. It was a woman's voice, rich and full of life. She spoke low and with much so much bitterness Anya could practically taste it in the air.
"Where are you?" Anya asked. She squinted her eyes and peered into the darkness in the direction she assumed the voice was coming from.
"Why are you here?" the voice asked, ignoring her question.
Anya bristled. She had done nothing to deserve being thrown in Southstairs. Anya, a girl from the lower third quarter, had a job as a maid for a wealthy family in the first quarter. She had worked for this family for more than a year and enjoyed her work. There was a man, about forty, his wife, who was quite a bit younger than him, and their two kids.
Every day, Anya would rise from her cot and kiss her lover, who, inevitably, was always awake before she was. He had a job as a tailor for the Animals, a risky job in the days under the Wizard. He conducted his business in the back allies, which he constantly joked about.
"It's as if I have some extremely dangerous job where transactions must occur in secret places. I feel like a spy," he would say with a smile, tracing her responding smile with his thumb.
Despite their struggles with the government and with money, they lived somewhat comfortably and even happily. They were young and in love—they could have survived anything together and been happy as long as they remained together.
"Thick and thin," he would whisper to her in the middle of the night when she clung to him with a childlike need.
But all crumbled apart one day, as things seem to do. Anya rose and kissed her lover, as normal. She left for work in an especially good mood, having discussed with him their future together. They had decided to finally risk having a marriage ceremony and starting a family together. She smiled as she thought of it.
When she arrived at the house of her employers, she knew that something was wrong. The air felt rotten, as if there was something dead nearby. She noticed the Gale Force officers standing on either side of the stairs leading to the house.
Anya climbed the steps anxiously, not knowing what to expect. The children were crying on the porch, tear streaks covering their tiny faces. The door was slightly ajar, and she pushed it open tentatively. She saw blood immediately, and her vision swam. She clutched the jam of the door for support.
"That's her!" A woman's shrill voice called, and before Anya knew it, she was handcuffed and dragged out of the house, her heels scraping the pavement.
She fought and argued, asking repeatedly why she was being arrested. The guards ignored her, their stony expressions not even showing an ounce of sympathy. She was thrown into the back of a carriage and was brought to, of all places, the palace. Confused did not begin to explain her emotions as she was escorted through the sparkling walls of the Wizard's palace.
And then she was in front of the man. He was smaller than she had expected, and her stomach twisted with hatred. This was the very man that had prevented her lover from conducting a proper business, the man who had denied the Animals the rights that they deserved, and the man who had made her life into what it was. She fought the desire to spit in his face as he described in his venomous voice why she was being thrown in jail.
Apparently, the wife who she worked for went crazy with jealousy during the night when she had found letters addressed to her husband from a lover. The neighbors heard shouts and then screams and alerted the Gale Force. The Wizard didn't let on to the specifics, but he mentioned how important the family was to himself personally. Anya had been blamed for the disruption. Anya didn't know what the disruption entailed, but he banished her to Southstairs without so much as a second breath.
And now here she sat. She rubbed her hands together in an attempt to create some heat. She peered into the darkness, searching for the voice that she only hoped would be friendly. Her face was streaked with dirt and tears, and her clothes were torn and in disarray.
"Well?" the voice asked, and Anya realized that she had been lost in her thoughts and hadn't answered the woman's question. Her eyes flicked to the right as they caught movement and then rustling in the shadows. "Don't just sit there shivering. Put this on." The woman tossed a shawl in her direction. Anya put in on greedily and noticed that it was already warm. The woman had apparently given up her own shawl just so Anya could get warm.
Waves of gratitude flowed from Anya to the mysterious figure, and the corner of her mouth rose almost imperceptibly. She wouldn't, couldn't smile. "Thank you," she whispered.
"You must be quite the revolutionary if the Wizard thought it fit to send you here," the voice said, practically spitting with malice.
"Not even," Anya said. She told a limited version of her story, not quite trusting the woman yet.
The woman inhaled sharply as Anya told the most horrifying parts of her story. Anya could feel the woman's eyes on her, watching her as she relayed the most terrible event of her life. Finally, Anya finished, silent tears running down her cheeks. The horror was too fresh for her to be even a little callous about what had happened. She wasn't so jaded yet.
"He really will use any excuse to ruin someone, won't he? But what I don't understand is why he would choose you. Why frame you? Why send you here? It doesn't quite add up," the woman said suspiciously. She sighed though, letting it go for now, and Anya could practically feel her weariness. "I suppose that is a question that not even I can begin to understand. The Wizard works in his own ridiculous way, and sane people have no way of understanding that."
Anya took a breath and wrapped the shawl tighter around her small frame. "What is your name?"
The corner where the voice was coming from was quiet for quite some time. Finally, the woman answered. "Is it important? Let's just say you'd know me if you could see me," the woman said almost bitterly.
"So you must be important, then," Anya said. The people thrown in Southstairs were generally there for committing a crime against the Wizard. If this woman was so sure that Anya would know who she was, then she must have been a pretty important part of some sort of movement against the Wiard.
"I suppose you could say that. I was important, at least. Or so I thought." The voice became silent again, and Anya envisioned the woman deep in thought.
"Why are you here?" Anya asked after a considerable silence. The moon was high in the sky now, and there was more light illuminating the room. She could faintly make out the tips of what appeared to be heavy men's boots.
The figure sighed and shuffled. Anya thought she caught a glimpse of skin as the woman rearranged her skirt over her legs. Something wasn't quite right with the skin, though. The woman rose slowly, as if she hadn't moved in a very long time. She took one step into the moonlight, then another, until she was sitting directly across from Anya. Anya had to suppress her scream when she realized she was sharing a cell with the infamous Wicked Witch of the West.