A/N: This is one of only three one-shots I have ever written, and I hope I didn't get myself in over my head.
For D.R. I love you, my friend.
Fiyero loved to watch Elphaba when she slept. Particularly since she was awake almost as much as he was. Now that he was a man of straw, Fiyero required no sleep. He knew Elphaba remained awake so often out of guilt. She still felt so badly about what the spell had done to him. At first when they had escaped to this place of hiding, Elphaba had been very withdrawn. She rarely spoke, nor desired any physical contact with him. Fiyero had been patient and understanding. After a time, Elphaba began to open up, allowing him to comfort her when she had nightmares, which was far too often for Fiyero's liking.
Tonight though, her rest was peaceful. It was during these times that he would lie beside her and smile as he held her hand or carefully caressed her face. She still didn't respond well to being told she was beautiful, though he told her every day. Elphaba did, however, now seem to look forward to his gentle kisses and other gestures of loving attention. She had gone all of her life until their school days without any love from anyone, except maybe her sister and the mother she could barely remember.
Since they had come here and had only each other for company, they had done a lot of talking. Fiyero had been strangely shy at first. But Elphaba had been eager to know anything he would tell her about his family and his experiences growing up. She seemed fascinated not only by how he was pampered as a member of the Winkie royal family, but also by how much he was loved. He was an only child who, despite his lack of attention to his studies and fits of rudeness, had been adored by his parents. They lavished him as much with affection as with material possesions. Fiyero saw the sadness in Elphaba's eyes the day he had told her all this, as she realized how very much they must miss him. That they must have been told by now that they should never expect to see their son alive. Elphaba had no one to care about her now except him, and he never thought of leaving her. Not even when she insisted how unfair it was that he be kept from the rest of his life, from his duties to his province.
Fiyero paused in his musings as Elphaba stirred in her sleep, and a moment later opened her eyes. As was usual within the last few weeks, the first thing she did when she saw him was smile.
"Do you really have to look at me all the time?" she teased, the smile never leaving her face. "How exciting can it be to watch someone sleep?"
"Someday when you figure out how to make me human again, you'll find out. But I'm not as handsome as you are beautiful, so who knows if I'm much to stare at."
The twinkle in Fiyero's eye was so obvious that no trace of guilt or embarrassment came to Elphaba's face. Instead, she calmly propped herself up on one elbow, turning to face him, her smile widening.
"Flatterer. You really think I'm that pretty and talented? Maybe the prince is as brainless as I thought."
Fiyero gasped dramatically and collapsed to the pillow, both hands pressed to the center of his chest. "The lady wounds me!" he cried, betraying his intended reaction by beginning to laugh. Elphaba's smile faded a bit, though it took Fiyero a moment to notice. When he met her eyes again, Elphaba sighed.
"It feels so wrong to be happy, to ever laugh like this. You've had to give up everything for me. We'll probably have to stay here for the rest of our lives. Well... the rest of my life." In this way, Elphaba broached the one subject they had only spoken of once in all their months in exile. The fact that she was flesh and blood, and that in his current state, Fiyero could live on forever.
"Elphaba, I made a choice. I'm not sorry I made it. I'm glad to be here with you. I'd never have wanted you to endure this exile all alone."
"Thank you," she said simply, before she couldn't help averting her eyes. She turned away from him to look out the bedroom window, whose shade they only dared raise after dark.
"It's raining," Elphaba mused. "Funny. I hadn't even noticed." She sat up to see better out of the window. "Doesn't look too bad though. I could use a walk, while it's still dark."
Fiyero nodded without comment. It wasn't uncommon for Elphaba to take walks late at night, as it was the safest time. Fiyero often went with her, but when it rained he always chose to remain inside. He sat silently while Elphaba changed quickly from her nightclothes to something more suited to the outside. He made only one request as she strode to the door.
"Stay where I can see you, please? I know how that sounds, but..."
Elphaba turned back to face him, smiling gently. "I understand. Of course I will. I won't be long, you can wait right there in the bedroom for me if you like." Elphaba took only a moment to put on her black cloak and draw the hood up before stepping out the door.
Fiyero watched intently through the bedroom window. He always regretted not joining Elphaba for every walk she took, but she understood his reluctance to get wet. And she needed the fresh air. He was most sorry that she couldn't go out during the daytime, especially when the sun was out. She never complained, though, and actually seemed to enjoy rainy nights like this.
Therefore, Fiyero didn't expect Elphaba to return to the house right away when it began to rain harder. Her strides through the grass remained calm and unhurried, as if she were using the quiet time to think about things. Fiyero knew well enough what weighed on Elphaba's mind each day, and he frowned. Even as he did, Elphaba turned to face the window he was watching her through. She raised one hand to wave at him. This had become a habit of theirs, and Fiyero returned the gesture quickly, getting up from the bed to stand directly in front of the window.
That was when a single lightning bolt flashed brilliantly in the sky. It took a moment for Fiyero's eyes to adjust, the after-image making him half blind. When he could see properly again, he took notice of only one thing. Elphaba had collapsed to the grass, and he couldn't tell if she was moving. Forgetting the rain, or the possibility of more lighting that could light him on fire, Fiyero rushed outside, calling Elphaba's name in a frantic way he never had before.
When he reached Elphaba's side, Fiyero's heart sank. She was face-down in the rain-drenched grass, completely still. Faint tendrils of smoke drifted from Elphaba's cape. Fiyero hesitated a long moment before turning Elphaba's body over. He knew it was too late, though he did lay his head tenderly upon her chest. No heartbeat, as he had feared. He did not scream, for there was no one to hear him. Instead, he remained at Elphaba's side, reluctantly lifting his head. His quiet but anguished sobs were lost in the sound of the rain, which soon slacked off. There was no trace of any other lightning streaking across the sky.
In her prison cell, Madame Morrible's expression was one of deep satisfaction. It hadn't been easy, plotting her revenge from behind prison walls. But after all, she was already blessed with some talent for magic. What it took to get her way was a little outsde help, from those still loyal to her from her days as press secretary. That and time to practice her magical skill whenever she could. She had, with great effort, learned to employ a simple hand mirror as a means to look on the lives of those she wished to harm. All that was needed beyond this was patience and time. Madame Morrible had nothing but time.
In the beginning, the former press secretary had wanted to vent her wrath first at Glinda, whom the elder woman rightfully blamed for her imprisonment. But Glinda was so powerful now... She had too many protectors. There had been rumors about for some time that Elphaba was still alive. After some investigating by former aides of hers, Madame Morrible had become certain that the rumors were true. All she wanted was to strike out at someone. Someone who deserved it. And it was wise to get rid of Elphaba first. It eliminated the possibility that she would rush to Glinda's side when Morrible decided to get rid of her, as well.
It was almost disappointing, how easy it had been to bring about Elphaba's demise. Living in such solitude, with only that lovesick fool of a boy for company. At first Morrible could hardly believe it was Fiyero she watched through her mirror, but hearing him addressed by name removed all doubt. What a pair they had made. The green young woman and the man of straw. Some small, easily quieted part of Morrible's conscience had rejected the idea of murdering Elphaba. Not because of any fondness for her... that had died long ago. Instead, Morrible's only hesitation was caused by the thought of destroying anyone with such talent for magic as Elphaba had... Used to have. If only things had turned out differently. What a team they could have made.