Title: Flying Free (formerly known as Wicked Swim Team or WST for short)
Rating: T for infrequent-but-occasionally-nasty language, tame sexuality, and disturbing themes (homophobia, violence, drowning, and other sundry unpleasantness, none condoned)
Pairing: Fiyero/Elphaba, eventually. Follows canon pairings.
Notes: Yes, I swore I'd never do it again but, sue me, I'm doing it again. If you're familiar with Flip Turn and its various derivatives, you'll know exactly what this is, but if you aren't, here are your details! This is a massive AU set in a modern real-world Earth pretty similar to ours, though not entirely identical, since I'm keeping the names and keeping the green skin and assuming WoO isn't, you know, a well-known children's story. Most of the characters have been slightly de-aged to older-teenagerdom, and most are competitive swimmers. This means: no Oz, no magic, lots of fast swimming, and some very unexpected reinterpretations of canon. Decidedly musicalverse (clearly, given the water thing), but some book elements may sneak in, mostly to supplement with background characters as needed. Combining fandom and swimming is the ultimate love-fest for me, and thus this fic was born. I have a large portion of the story finished, and I hope to update weekly. Enjoy!

Flying Free

Prologue: Colorblind

Galinda Upland was lying on a towel in the grass outside the pool, innocently perfectifying her late-summer-not-quite-autumn tan, when she lost her mind.

And it was a real shame to lose a mind like Galinda's: nobody was better at remembering every detail of the latest gossip; at walking in four-inch heels while having a spirited conversation about last week's party; at planning parties, for that matter; at putting together outfits. She was especially good at putting together outfits. Galinda always knew which colors coordinated well without being too matchy, and everyone was always jealous. Her favorite combination lately was deep rust and lovely shades of mint green. They accented her blond hair and complemented one another beauteously.

It was, she thought, a cruel twist of irony that the very development that made her sure she had, in fact, lost her mind had precisely to do with color coordination.

Because there was a green girl walking resignedly up the sidewalk toward Galinda's spot on the grass, and people were not supposed to be green.

Clearly Galinda had gone colorblind. At best. Her wardrobe would never recover.

She pushed up her sunglasses and squinted gently – squinting gave you wrinkles, so she tried not to do it, but desperate times called for desperate measures – hoping the sun was playing tricks on her. But it wasn't: the girl was green, and not just a seasick sort of tint or even the mint shade of that delishable blouse Galinda had worn to school that day. She was the color of Galinda's car: a bright, apple-green. Except this girl wasn't adorable, compact and trendy like Galinda's gorgeous new beetle.

She was… tall. Solid-looking. Mildly frightening eyebrows that Galinda could have seen from a mile away. She had an awkward way of carrying herself that meant she didn't get invited to the good parties or sit at the popular table at lunch. But all of that was hard to notice in the face of all that green. Galinda would have thought it was body paint, applied in some ridiculacious notion of team spirit, but Shiz's colors were navy and white – an utterly boringified combination, but Galinda made it work. And this girl didn't seem the type to be interested in team spirit or taken seriously when she took part in it. Besides, it was too… dull, for body paint. It didn't have an unnatural shine like when some of the guys on the team painted themselves for meets. There weren't any lines or indentations at her elbows or knees, though parts were darker – her forearms, shoulders, the places where you'd get a tan first. Galinda couldn't see so much as a tiny patch of it that looked smudged or painted-on or even a little less green. It looked like… skin. She'd never seen anything like it in her life.

Galinda elbowed Shenshen, who grunted a protest and reluctantly pulled the headphones out of her ears.

"Do you see that?" she demanded, desperate for confirmation that she wasn't hallucinating.

Shenshen scanned the sky, brow wrinkling. "See what?"

"No, over there!" Galinda pushed Shenshen's huge sunglasses onto her forehead and elbowed her again, this time in the direction of the green girl. "Don't you see that?"

Shenshen didn't answer right away. Her mouth dropped open as the sunglasses fell back down, hanging over one ear for a long moment before she realized and fixed them. "Oh. My. God," she finally breathed.

"Ha! I'm not going colorblind!"

"Who forgot to tell me Morrible turned the team into a circus?" Shenshen laughed and leaned back on her hands. "Do you think she's gonna die soon?"


"Well, it's a reasonable question. Look at her! … It is a her, right?"

"Oh my god, she's coming over here, see what you did?"

"I didn't do anything! You're the one who told me to stare at her!"

"I wonder if it's contagious. Oh god, Shenshen, I can't be green. It would ruin everything."

But the green girl walked right past them without even looking at them even though she must have noticed them staring and, unless she was deaf in addition to green, must have heard them talking about her. She didn't seem to mind. She just kept walking next to the girl she was with, who Galinda hadn't even noticed. The other girl mercifully wasn't green, though she only had one arm, Galinda realized as the green girl held the door to the pool open for her. She'd turned at an angle where Galinda could see it just then. Well, obviously she wouldn't be swimming.

The one with the missing arm was pretty: dark brown hair and big brown eyes and delicate features and a yellow skirt that paired decently with her navy top. Galinda wasn't sure why she was willing to be seen next to the green one, but at least that probably meant that whatever made her green didn't rub off. Nobody would risk getting that close to her if it did. Probably.

And would the green girl swim? Did it come off in the water?

This season was going to be more interesting than she'd thought.