Disclaimer: See first chapter.
"I-I have to go."
The night air whipped her ebony curls into a tangled mess, as though trying to undo all of Galinda's hard work of their own volition. Elphaba gasped for breath and ripped the flower from her hair, flinging it onto the frost-coated grass.
Robbed of her sight, Elphaba's hearing became immensely accurate. She heard the whisper of trees swaying in the cool breeze. She heard the sound of an owl calling from the nearby forest. She heard the soft tinkling of fresh water, the sound of the lake's wildlife playing by the light of a harvest moon.
The world was so peaceful at night. She liked the darkness. She felt a little more normal when her skin glowed translucent, alabaster and average.
She stiffened, the hairs on the back of her neck leaping to attention as she heard the sound of steady and sure footsteps on the pathway. They became gradually louder until she could hear the even breathing and caress of soft fabrics, moving against one another.
Such faint and delicate sounds were replaced by whistling. The owner of said feet was whistling a catchy and irritating tune.
Elphaba stepped back into the shadows and waited for him to pass.
Elphaba sighed irritably. "No. She leant it to me. Give it back." She held out her palm and waited for Fiyero's laughter, aware that she looked utterly ridiculous in make-up. She looked as if she was trying to be pretty and there was nothing worse than an ugly monstrosity trying to look attractive and failing miserably.
Fiyero raised his eyebrows. "She leant it to you?"
"Yes. Now give it back."
"I didn't think it was your sort of thing."
Elphaba blushed a furious crimson. "It's not. I just…I go along with things for an easy life."
Fiyero grinned. "Yes. So do I."
Reluctant to admit they were anything alike, Elphaba pursed her lips and flashed her eyebrows. Her long fingers stretched further toward him, indicating he ought to hand over the pink flower.
Fiyero narrowed his eyes and leant in closer, peering at her eyes and frowning in confusion. "Miss Thropp, are you wearing mascara?"
"So what if I am!"
He raised his hands in a gesture of surrender. "It was an innocent inquiry."
"I let Galinda play dress-up with me."
Unable to help himself, Fiyero laughed. "Now that I would pay good money to see in action."
He laughed alone.
"Could I have it back please? If you're going to laugh at me, I'd rather that you didn't do it to my face."
He fell immediately silent. "Why would I laugh at you?"
Elphaba frowned, casting her dark eyes to the cold stone floor. "Is it not obvious? I look utterly ridiculous."
"I beg to differ," said Fiyero, pinning the flower into place behind Elphaba's ear. "I think you look breathtaking."
"I always do in the darkness," Elphaba admitted. "You can't see so much of me and my nose looks less like the prow of a ship."
"You have a lovely nose."
Elphaba wrinkled it in response. "Are you sure you are well? You haven't been drinking, have you?"
"I most certainly have," answered Fiyero, "and I'm much happier for it. I make a very pleasant drunk. I'm a total bastard when I'm sober."
Elphaba pursed her lips. "Yes, I know."
"If we were being polite, the thing to say might have been 'Of course you're not, Fiyero. You're charming, intelligent, heartbreakingly attractive and witty'."
Elphaba shook her head. "That's not being polite. That's lying."
Fiyero laughed. "I'll say this for you, you don't mince your words, do you?"
Elphaba shrugged. "What would be the point? Besides, no-one minces their words for my benefit. Why should I do it for theirs?"
"Because with beauty and brains, Elphaba, you can look like a bit of a bitch if you're not unbelievably nice to people."
"You get away with it."
"Ah," said Fiyero, smiling sadly, "but I'm lacking in the brain cell department. I'm afraid I was out to lunch when the Unnamed God was handing out brains." He began to whistle the same irritating tune.
Elphaba smiled back, unable to resist.
"I could while away the hours, conferring with the flowers, consulting with the rain."
Elphaba raised an eyebrow.
"Doo doo doo doo doo doo. And my…er…my head I'd be scratching, while…" He trailed off. "What rhymes with 'scratching'?"
Elphaba, deciding to humour him on the basis that she had humiliated herself enough in one night not to care for the consequences, sang along. "While my thoughts were busy hatching."
Fiyero nodded his appreciation. "That's a good one. While my thoughts were busy hatching, if I only had a brain."
Elphaba laughed. "For someone lacking a brain, I have to say, that was very clever."
"Thank you. If ever I'm forced to abdicate, it's good to know I have a back-up career as a traveling minstrel to fall back on."
Elphaba laughed. "But what would you do when you couldn't think of your next line?"
"Why I'd simply kidnap you. We could go on tour."
"Really, Master Tiggular, you are quite ridiculous."
Fiyero shrugged. "I'm not the one hiding in the dark throwing flowers out of my hair at three o'clock in the morning. Incidentally, what are you doing out here?"
"Hiding from Galinda."
"Do you want me to walk you back?"
Elphaba shook her head.
"Tough. Let's go."
He took hold of her arm and led her through the darkness that, truth be told, her eyes had adjusted to, but it felt like nothing on earth to be touched by another human being who did not shrink away at the sight of her obscene skin tone.
Too soon for her liking, Elphaba found herself standing outside her dorm room door.
"Well," said Fiyero, grinning broadly, "here we are."
Elphaba nodded. "Thank you."
"My pleasure." He leant down and kissed her cheek. "Goodnight."
He turned and headed down the corridor. Elphaba stood completely still, her hand clasping her reddening cheek, tracing the small spot that his lips had graced only seconds before.
Elphaba jumped. "Er…yes?"
"Did I happen to mention where I was going?"
Elphaba shook her head.
"Maybe you oughtn't drink so much," Elphaba suggested.
"Yes," agreed Fiyero. "Or maybe you oughtn't distract me so."
He winked at her and Elphaba blushed, her heart hammering as she turned her key in the door.
She liked the dark. It was easier for everyone else to pretend she was normal.