A/N: Hello everyone! I hope you haven't given up on me just yet haha. I know I said I would have this out earlier in the year so I apologize for the long wait. I'm just about finished writing the whole thing (there are a handful of chapters left to go). Thank you for being so patient and sending me all the great messages over the past months!
Rating Warning: The M rating will hold for scenes with sexual content, adult themes, some violence, strong language and Glinda rants. I hope you all continue sticking with me though. :)
Also the girls will share POV duties this go around. Each chapter will be from one of their perspectives, so no worries about mid chapter POV shifts. Glinda, of course, starts the story off. She gets odd numbered chapters while Elphaba gets the even. I hope I do her character justice!
And of course lots of thanks to my continually awesome beta Alcandre!
Anyway, enough blabbing from me now! I hope you all enjoy what's below and the future chapters to come. Expect updates every few days or so. :)
The Eternity Effect
Chapter 1 – Ever After
Afterlife is… an adjustment of sorts. I remember the first week was the hardest. Elphaba had no trouble transitioning of course. She barely spent any time in Oz after her death. She was used to breathing, sleeping, eating… having a heartbeat.
The first time I laid my palm against my chest and felt that muscle pumping beneath my skin I about had a panic attack. I'd forgotten what it felt like. What living felt like. I was so afraid of breaking something I considered so fragile. All I could think about was how quickly Fiyero had passed when his heart was pierced. Of how slow Elphaba's beat as she spelled me to sleep. How could I have one again if they were so easily damaged?
Then one night in my bed I confessed my fears to Elphaba. She held me close and whispered, "You don't have to worry about it, my sweet. Your heart is safe with me."
And I didn't feel so afraid anymore.
I actually started to enjoy my newfound working body. Things I never used to think twice about when I was alive I fascinated over here. The simple act of fogging a window with my breath became my favorite thing for a while. I'd leave Elphaba hidden messages on nearly every window in the house.
Popsicle found one once while cleaning. It was a rather… private message.
I sort of discontinued leaving Elphaba messages after that. I also discontinued meeting my father's eye for a good week as well. It didn't help that he'd break into a wry grin every time I tried to look at him. Elphaba simply pretended as though the matter never occurred. I think her tactic of avoiding my father at all costs also had a lot to do with it.
Things returned to normal eventually. Thank Oz. The "incident" was never mentioned again.
While windows didn't bother me mirrors still did. I'd gone so long avoiding them it became second nature. It was only until Momsie mentioned how fresh my face was starting to look that I actually built up the courage to sit myself at my vanity. But I couldn't bring my eyes to look into the mirror. I was so afraid of what I'd find.
I'd gone so long without seeing my own face that maybe it was best to just leave it be. If Momsie said I looked fresh then I'd believe her. Besides, the only person who ever really looks at me is Elphie. And she always tells me I look beautiful.
I may not believe her in the mornings but it never fails to make me smile anyway.
But Momsie's comment still struck me. How does someone look fresh anyway? It only took one look down at my vanity table to figure out what she meant. Unopened bottle after unopened bottle of powder foundation, lipstick, blush, mascara... I looked fresh faced because I hadn't touched a makeup product since the night I died.
That thought made me smile. I could only imagine the look of horror my old self would have given me at the mere thought of going a day without makeup. But here I was, fresh faced and actually a bit content with myself. I'd broken the one habit I thought I could never break.
And all it took was dying to do it.
So I draped a couple silk scarves over the mirror and forgot it was ever there.
I took the scarves down a couple days later though. Elphaba had asked me to dinner. She wanted to take me on a date. A real, official date. Our first. And of course I wanted to look my best! I had already picked out the perfect dress. Next, the perfect shoes. And lastly all I had to do was apply the perfect makeup.
It seemed even I couldn't escape my old habits when I found myself excited beyond belief.
When I sat down at my vanity and pulled the scarves away I nearly didn't recognize the girl staring back at me in the mirror. All I could think about were my mother's words. And she was right. The girl in the mirror did look fresh faced. Her eyes were as I always remembered them only bluer somehow. The lips the same, the nose still small. Eyebrows a bit unruly though. Those definitely needed to be fixed.
I started laughing as tears clouded my vision. I don't know what I was expecting to see. But seeing myself for the first time in nearly a year quickly overwhelmed me. Elphaba rushed into the room a few moments later, asking why I was crying. I hadn't even realized I was being so loud. But I assured her I wasn't upset. I simply pointed up to my mirror and she understood instantly.
She hugged me then and I couldn't help but watch in the mirror as her arms circled around me and I rested my head against her shoulder. I'd never seen myself look so happy before.
Mirrors weren't so bad anymore after that.
And our first date was spectacular.
Even if Fiyero was not so subtly spying on us from a few tables over with his own "fling" of the week.
Honestly the boy really needs to learn how to take a hint.
I mention this to him every chance I get. He always sighs and says he's trying to get over her. But then I catch him looking at her a little too long, scooting closer to her whenever we get together for Upland bonfire nights, and smiling at her as if she's the only person in this afterlife that matters… and then I know he's not trying to get over her at all.
I tell Elphaba what I see. I tell her how he looks at her, how he listens to her, how he adores her. And she tells me that it doesn't matter. Because she has me and I'm all that matters.
But she never tells him so.
So I keep her close to me. I keep her hand in mine. I keep her so he will know without words what she doesn't tell him. Elphaba Thropp is in love with Glinda Upland, and there's simply nothing you can so about it, Fiyero. So pine all you want on your log and continue to beg of her to sing a song. It doesn't matter. It won't ever matter because she has chosen me.
Yet despite all that we do manage to get along pretty well sometimes… surprisingly so. It's become a bit of a running joke that I threaten Fiyero whenever I think he's being a bit too flirty. Mainly because I've broken far too many of Momsie's vases and statues throwing things at his head only to have him duck at the last second. Elphaba finds our bickering amusing. Even when it escalates into full-fledged disputes. She always comes in laughing and swoops me into her arms, kissing me until there's no fight left in me. Because who could ever care about arguing with silly boys when the girl they love is kissing them in plain sight.
Fiyero gets uncomfortable afterwards and I am always ever so pleased.
It's only then that I think we need more friends. At least to even out the awkward troop of three we have become.
Dr. Dillamond doesn't particularly count though. Every so often Elphaba takes to having lunch with him in town. I stay at home to let her enjoy her afternoon with her mentor. Sometimes Fiyero joins me for horseback riding. He's actually really good at the sport and I will never tell him so. It must be a requirement of Princes' to ride horses well.
I imagine they wake up everyday aspiring to be charming and good with mares.
When I ask Fiyero if that is what he aspires he chuckles and tells me he doesn't aspire for those qualities at all, he was blessed with them naturally.
So I, naturally, try to throw an apple at his head and he, blessedly, ducks.
After one lunch Elphaba came running back into the house waving a folder excitedly in her hands. I was in the den at the time, napping, when she burst through the doors. Apparently Dillamond was going to resume teaching at a university down South. He was hoping Elphaba would consider being his lab assistant. He'd even researched their sorcery academy and put an application into the folder for myself as well.
We'd talked about enrolling again. Countless times. I wanted to finish my degree and Elphaba wanted to finish hers in Biology. But now the opportunity to actually do so was sitting neatly inside a folder, grasped in Elphaba's anxious hands.
The decision was made then and there. We were definitely going! My parents were supportive when we told them that night at dinner. Momsie was actually hoping we'd both continue our studies. Popsicle said he would be sad; the house would be empty once more. I promised him we'd visit for every break and it wasn't as if he still didn't have half a year with us left. Classes for incomers didn't start till the Fall.
Besides we have all Eternity!
That night I was far too excited to fall asleep. Elphaba and I were going to attend University. We would be roommates once more.
We would have our own place once more.
We wouldn't have to worry about being... quiet in the late hours of the night.
We'd quickly moved past our testing phase and were well into applied physics. Or at least that is what Elphaba liked to joke. I knew each and every part of her, intimately. And I love each and every one of those gorgeous green parts. Sometimes I love her intensely, so much so I'm afraid we do wake my parents. And other times softer, slower… much more love making than sex. I mean I do enjoy the sex too. Very, very much so. But there's just something different to me between the two phrases.
Sex is when Elphaba pulls me into the bathroom and surprises me with an impromptu shower of sorts. Not much washing gets done, at all. Or when I push her onto her bed and take her so heatedly even I am a little surprised with myself afterwards. Sex is all want and desire. All satisfaction and craving.
And love… well it's all that too and more. It's the library and our first time. It's when I sneak into her room at night and slowly kiss her awake. The way she looks at me once she is. The smile she gives me as she helps me undress. The way she whispers my name, so low and impassioned as we move together beneath her sheets. There's no rush. It's just us and the night, bare skin and beating hearts. It's perfect.
Except for the small problem I seem to have of falling asleep almost immediately after. Elphaba finds it endearing. It's not endearing at all. It's kind of pathetic really. All I want to do is stay awake in her arms and watch her drift to sleep as I always have. But my body cannot fight fatigue, it cannot fight the comfort it feels being so wrapped in her. She usually makes a quip about my narcoleptic habit before I fully succumb to her warmth. And as I drift off she tells me she loves me. It makes it all worth it, every time.
In the early hours of the morning, before the rest of the household awakes, we slip back into our separate beds. And it's when I'm alone under my sheets, trying to will myself back to sleep so I don't miss the way her body rests next to mine, that I think about how far we've come. And how infinity spreads out before us.
I don't fight sleep as that thought melts into me.
It's after one such morning in late May that Popsicle mentions over breakfast that he believes that walls in the house appear to be thinning. Momsie agrees but says nothing more, sipping her morning tea as if she isn't insinuating that she can hear her daughter's nightly activities.
Because judging by the look on my father's face that is exactly what they are insinuating.
I blush bright red and Elphaba sputters, choking on her coffee.
Oh my Oz, we are not about to have this conversation!
I spare a glance at Elphaba who is suddenly very interested in what her fruit plate is doing. Popsicle is still staring at me, amused, waiting for the reply he knows I am not about to make! Momsie is ever aloof, reading the morning paper.
"Maybe it's just the wind dear. Howling like it does sometimes," She says casually, turning a page.
I purse my lips and kick Elphaba's leg under the table. I am determined not to be the only one in this relationship suffering this conversation. But she's resolute opposite me, poking at her apples, cheeks flushed dark green.
"What do you think, Glindadoodle? You're being awfully quiet over there," Popsicle chuckles and I make the mistake of looking up at him. He winks and I duck my head down again, furiously embarrassed.
"I'd like to find my mother," Elphaba says suddenly.
And just like that all thoughts of thinning walls vanish. I'm staring, open mouthed at Elphaba. She's never once mentioned to me anything about wanting to find her mother. Popsicle looks equally shocked at the turn this conversation has taken. Momsie is the only one who's looking at Elphaba with kind eyes.
Not that mine aren't kind at the moment. They are just still in a bit of a stunned position.
"I think that's an excellent idea Elphaba, dear." My mother tells her. "Glinda's told me how you talk of her. I'm sure she'd love to see you."
Elphaba gives my mother a small smile as she turns her eyes toward mine. I'm still in a bit of a surprised mode as I say, "Why didn't you tell me you wanted to find her?"
Elphaba looks to everyone around the table, their gazes expectant, before looking back at me. "I didn't want you to think it meant I was leaving. I'd never leave you… I just realized being here with you all, a part of this family, that there's a part of my family somewhere out here too. And I'd really like it if I could have the permission to find her."
"Permission?" My father repeats confused. "Elphaba, you don't need our permission to find your mother. She's your mother! Of course we'd be thrilled you'd want to include her in your afterlife."
He gives her a big smile as he stands from his seat and walks over to hers. Elphaba barely has time to register what is happening before my father pulls her up from the chair and envelopes her into a giant hug. I giggle as she awkwardly attempts to hug my father back, as she always does.
"You're just as much a part of this family as Glinda. I always want you to remember that," Popsicle says as he gives her one last squeeze before pulling away.
"Thank you, sir," Elphaba smiles.
Elphie always calls Popsicle sir despite the fact that he's been trying for months to get her to call him by his first name. At some point he gave up, and now he's just trying to get a Mr. Upland out of her. I giggle as I see him sigh and tell her our last name isn't going to bite her tongue off if she lets it out.
Elphaba blushes and apologizes.
Momsie rolls her eyes as she laughs at my father. He can't wipe the smile off his face as he resumes eating his breakfast. Elphaba is still standing by her chair, looking at me. She nods her head discreetly towards the den.
"Um, Popsicle, Momsie? Can we be excused?" I ask as I take the napkin from my lap and fold it onto the table.
Momsie nods while Popsicle smirks over in my direction. "Try and keep the howling to a minimum, eh?"
"Oh my Oz! Popsie!" I squeal, shooting up from my chair. My cheeks feel as though they are on fire and Momsie is so not helping by chuckling at me. "Not you, too!"
"Oh Glinda dear, we're just having a bit of fun with you." She says smiling up at me.
"Does it look like fun to me?" I demand.
"Well it sure sounds like fun to us." Popsicle quips.
Elphaba snorts as she turns to hide her grin.
I feel as though every part of me is about to burst into flames. I will go up in one giant cloud of embarrassment. And my parents could care less! Mocking me so!
I whirl on Elphaba who is not helping as she chuckles along with the rest of my family.
"Elphaba." I say through clenched teeth. "You wanted a word with me?" I don't let her reply as I reach across the table for her arm and drag her from the room. I can hear my father shouting that he loves me, my mother berating him for taking the joke too far. I still will not be speaking to either of them for a very long time.
Once we're safe behind the doors of the den I let go of Elphaba and let myself fall face first into the sofa. Upon hitting the cushions I pull a pillow to my face and let out my frustrations in one long scream. Once I finish I feel much better and roll onto my back.
Elphaba is already sitting on the ground next to the sofa, waiting patiently and I notice with a hint of amusement, for me to finish. Why everyone is so amused with me today I don't know. It's not even noon and I feel as though I've reached my embarrassment quota for at least the next century. All I need now is for Fiyero to walk in and see me naked for it to fully be the most embarrassing day of all my lives.
Then Elphaba leans forward and captures my lips between her own and I really don't recall what I was so furious about before. Her hand comes to cup the side of my face, her thumb passing in slow strokes against my cheek. I smile against her lips and wrap my arms behind her neck, pulling her closer to me. I moan a little as she deepens our kiss.
Elphaba chuckles as she pulls away, licking her lips. "Shh, my sweet. Howling to a minimum remember?"
I groan again and let my forehead rest against her shoulder. "If I ever hear that word again it will be too soon."
"You do have to admit, we were rather loud last night."
"Yes, well… that is entirely your fault."
"My fault?" Elphaba laughs. "You're the insatiable one."
"It wasn't my tongue doing those things to me now, was it?" I counter with a smirk.
"No, but it was your mouth thinning the walls."
And then we're kissing again and neither of us could really care how supposedly thin the walls are.
We part for air a short while later. Elphaba is somehow now on the sofa, her back along the cushions while I hover over her. Sometimes when I am caught up with her I just don't even realize what my body is doing. But this is one of my favorite places to ever be. I kiss her lightly before letting myself rest along her body, my head finding its usual spot right over her heart.
"You never told me what you thought," Elphaba whispers as her hands rub soft lines up my spine.
"Hmmm, about what?" I hum.
"About finding my mother." She replies quietly.
I let my eyes close as I hug her to me. "I think you should find her, Elphie. And like Momsie said, I'm sure she'd love to see you."
"You really think so?"
I pick my chin up so I can look at her. Her eyes are so full of hope I can't help but smile as nuzzle my nose against her chin. "Yes, I really think so."
We start the search that very afternoon. Thankfully Afterlife is run quite efficiently. Finding a family member is as simple as filling out a form and waiting for the results to be mailed to you. Popsicle thinks it's quite mechanical. Momsie thinks it's efficient. There are probably hundreds of people dying in Oz a day. And everyday these people want to find their loved ones. It only makes sense someone decided to make the process more streamlined.
The line wasn't too long at the office in town. It looks just like the Post building next door. The sign out front simply reads 'Find'. When it's our turn finally Elphaba takes my hand as we walk up to the open counter. The clerk hands us the form, and Elphaba begins to fill it out.
"We're a bit back-logged with requests so it may take a few weeks or so." The clerk tells us.
Elphaba nods, the smile on her face is still just as wide as it was the moment we stepped into the doors. "That's fine. I'm not in rush. All eternity, remember?" She says to the clerk who appreciates her patience.
"Let me just go get your file Miss…" He trails off as he leans over to read her paperwork. "Thropp and then we can send this on its way." He smiles, leaving us to continue filling out the form.
"I'm one piece of paperwork away from seeing my mother." Elphaba breathes as she signs her name to line at the bottom. "I will never consider paperwork tedious again."
I giggle as she puts the pen down. The clerk returns shortly with a folder in his hands. He opens it to slip Elphaba's paperwork inside but pauses as he reads over a few lines then looks back up to Elphaba, eyes suddenly dismayed. "I'm sorry to be the first to tell you this but it looks as though your father recently passed in Oz."
Elphaba's shoulder tense at this news. I reach over and take her hand in mine once again.
"Would you like his address?" The clerk asks.
I squeeze Elphaba's hand as she stares at the man in front of us. I can see the clerk becoming uncomfortable under her gaze, taking a hesitant half a step back.
"Elphie," I whisper, rubbing my thumb along the back of her hand. She turns to me, eyes steely. I give her hand another gentle squeeze and her gaze softens.
She turns back to clerk. "No. No thank you." She says clearly and the clerk nods closing the folder.
The walk back to the house is spent in relative silence. Elphaba eyes haven't left the floor in front of us. I want to ask her what she's thinking but I know not to press her. Not yet. I don't know what it will mean for us now that her father is dead. Will he try to find her? Will he try and make her afterlife as miserable as he made her living one?
If he tries I will hurt him. I will hurt him so badly he will be begging to go back to Oz.
I am not going to let him hurt Elphie. Not ever again. She doesn't want him to be a part of her afterlife and I will certainly make sure of that.
It seems more bad news is thrust upon us once we walk into the door. Popsicle hands us a letter from the University. They regret to inform us that due to our late acceptance and large number of incoming students that there are no available dorms or apartments on grounds. We'll have to find housing elsewhere.
Really? This is now officially the worst day ever.
It's one month till we leave for University. One month and we still have yet to find a place to live. Dr. Dillamond is trying hard as he can to work some magic himself and find us a home. But it seems there really is nowhere for us to stay.
And here I thought your afterlife was supposed to be a place filled with only positive things.
"Cheer up girls," Popsicle says as he passes me the potato plate. "Something will turn up."
"Can we not talk about apartments? For just one night?" I ask as I plop some food onto my plate and pass the potatoes to Elphaba.
"Well how about your mother, Elphaba? Any word?" Popsicle asks.
Elphaba sighs, shaking her head.
"Ok, new dinner rule. No discussing of things that are upsetting us." I declare. "It just makes us more upset."
"Sorry girls," Momsie apologizes as she gives us both sympathetic looks. "How about some good news then?"
"Yes, please!" I exclaim.
"Well I don't know how great it is but it's great news for my gallery!" Momsie smiles. "You see Tibon Rand, that painter I used to adore back in Frottica, do you remember him? He painted that pond sitting over the mantle in the old living room."
I don't recall this painting. Judging by his blank expression Popsicle seems to not be recalling it either.
"Oz, you two! I spent a fortune to get that!" Momsie says with a heavy sigh, "Anyway apparently he died recently! Isn't that wonderful?"
"You think it's wonderful that he's dead?" I ask just to clarify.
"Well no, it's not wonderful but it is wonderful that he's here now and willing to paint some pieces for my new show opening at the end of the month!"
"But I thought your show was full?" Popsicle chimes in.
Oh no. I see where this is going already.
"There's always room for a favorite, love. And this show is going to be fantastic!" She turns to me, eyes excited. "Just imagine, Glinda. Every great painter there ever was, here! Now! And I got most to be in my opening!" Momsie squeals.
Momsie rarely ever squeals. This must be big.
"And yet she won't put my stuff in." Popsicle says, appealing to me as he always does. Elphaba watches silently, chewing on her bread.
Momsie rolls her eyes then looks over at me as well. "Now that he's retired from medicine-"
"Not much disease to fight in a world free of them!" Popsicle interjects.
Momsie continues. "He spends most of his days trying to convince me to put his pieces up in my Gallery. You can probably just guess how that crusade of his is going."
"I have all eternity, love." Popsicle practically sings as he grins at my mother. "Eventually a masterpiece will be extracted from these nimble fingers."
Momsie pats Popsicle's hand. "You keep telling yourself that dear."
The rest of dinner passes in similar conversation. Momsie asks how Fiyero is doing. Swell, I tell her. I think he's up to "fling" 54 by now. It's getting ridiculous really. And then Popsicle breaks a dinner rule and offers to hire a detective to find Elphaba's mother. I glare at him while Elphaba declines.
"I feel so indebted to you all ready I can't possibly ask for more, but thank you, sir." She says before wincing and correcting herself. "I mean, Mr. Upland."
"Finally!" Popscile beams as he sits back into his chair. He nudges Momsie. "Did you hear that love? She's practically called me Popsie."
We help my parents later in the kitchen cleaning our dishes. Elphaba is still fascinated by water, always opting to wash the plates. I stand by her, ever faithfully drying them as she hands them to me. It's become our routine and I enjoy the simplicity of it. Even if she splashes me a couple times now and then. I shove her shoulder playfully after an exceptionally large splash.
She steals a kiss from me before I can fully pull away.
I smile the rest of the time it takes us to put the dishes away.
As we wander back into the living room my father intercepts us on the way. I notice he's carrying today's mail in his hands.
"Oh there you are girls," He says, grinning as he shuffles the pile and pulls out a deep green colored envelope. "This letter arrived for you today."
"From who?" I ask, brows furrowing in confusion once my father hands me the letter. He shrugs before wishing us both a good night and wandering off. The envelope is simple in nature. No official stamps, not even a return address. Other than Elphaba and Fiyero I really can't imagine anyone writing to me. Let alone writing to us.
Although, I do have a lot of dead relatives. Oz, did they ever come out of the woodworks when they heard I was here! Momsie had to finally throw a party to quell all their curiosity. A night I'd rather forget really.
Still, people like Grandmomsie wouldn't be sending letters addressed to both Elphaba and I. Let's just say when she found out about my relationship with Elphaba at the party… it was probably the last I would ever see of her. She was so unaccepting, cold and… and hurtful.
I cried for days afterwards.
Elphaba gently touches my shoulder, bringing me back to the present. Her eyes questioning where my mind had just wandered. The worry in her gaze increases once our eyes lock.
"Are you all right, my sweet?" She asks me softly.
Oz, I love her so much. How could anyone ever hate her?
I let myself lean into her shoulder, her arm easily wrapping around my waist. "I'm ok Elphie, no worries," I tell her. And I am, so long as I'm with her.
Elphaba places a light kiss to my forehead and I snuggle further into her embrace. She brings the letter up then, holding it in front of both of us.
"Shall we see about this matter then?" She asks, twisting the small green envelope between her fingers. Our names are blazed on the front in flowing gold lettering. The seal covering the back also looks almost too pretty to break. But I nod and Elphaba easily slips one long green finger beneath the seal, breaking it from the envelope.
And with that one simple act our lives, once again, were thrown into chaos.