Note from me: I despise angst. Don't get me wrong, I love reading it, but I hate, and I mean hate writing it. So tell me how I do! I don't think it's too angst-ish, but I'm not risking it. This will be a three-part series.

DIACLAIMER: I OWN NONE OF THE CHARACTERS OR LYRICS IN THIS STORY! =) Well, I do own one, who you will soon meet! Hint hint, this will be an important character later!

Elphaba stood beneath the shadow of a pillar, her dark brown eyes scanning the area. She had heard Glinda was making a Public Service Announcement and had arrived to hear it. She listened to the angry and fearful crowd.

"Ev'ry day, more wicked!" She glanced at her feet.

"Ev'ry day, the terror grows! All of Oz is ever on alert! That's the way with Wicked - Spreading fear where e'er she goes. Seeking out new victims she can hurt!"

Who the hell is telling them these things?

"Like some terrible green blizzard! Throughout the land she flies!" a woman began.

Oh, yes, we mustn't forget that I'm green.

"Defaming our poor Wizard with her calumnies and lies!"

"Funny to hear you speaking of lies," Elphaba murmured quietly. She took off her hat, not wanting her shadow to look too obvious.

"She lies! Save us from the Wicked! Shield us so we won't be hexed! Give us warning: Where will she strike next? Where will she strike next? Where will she strike next?"

"Do tell me," Elphaba muttered, her eyes narrowed. She glanced up as Glinda ascended to the microphone. Instantly Elphaba was drawn back to her younger days at Shiz, when she and Glinda had been the best of friends, and Fiyero . . .

She stopped herself.

Don't dream too far . . . don't lose sight of who you are . . .

I'm not that girl, remember that Elphaba.

To her surprise she saw Fiyero standing behind Glinda, his face blank from emotion.

Captain of the Gale Force, how nice. Looking for me Yero? Over here!

"Fellow Ozians - as terrifying as terror is, let us put aside our panic for this one day...and celebrate!" Glinda began, " Oh, what a celebration we'll have today!"

"Thank Goodness!" the crowd cheered. Elphaba found herself smiling quietly.

"Let's have a celebration the Glinda way!" Glinda called. Elphaba's small smile became more pronounced.

"Thank Goodness!" they all cheered, and Elphaba drew farther into the shadow.

"Finally a day that's totally Wicked Witch free! And thank goodness for you, Glinda, and your handsome sway Fiyero, you have been leading the hunt for the Wicked Witch." Madame Morrible called out. Elphaba's eyes narrowed. She gripped her broom tightly, her dark eyes alight with anger and slight bitterness.

"Well I don't think of her as a Wicked Witch," Fiyero began, but Morrible cut him off.

Elphaba's eyes locked on him, and she zoned out for several long mnoments.

"You're engaged!"

Elphaba snapped out of her trance and took a step back. Fiyero glanced at Glinda.

"An engagement party?"

"Surprise?" she offered meekly.

"Yes . . ." Fiyero said, going along with it. Elphaba pursed her lips and stared at the ground.

"Yes...we couldn't be happier, Right, dear?" Glinda asked, turning to Fiyero, as Elphaba winced at her calling him "Dear", " Couldn't be happier, right here Look what we've got, a fairy tale plot. Our very own happy ending! Where we couldn't be happier...true, dear? Couldn't be happier. And we're happy to share Our ending vicariously, with all of you. He couldn't look handsomer! I couldn't feel humbler. We couldn't be happier . . . because happy is what happens when all your dreams come true!"

"And Glinda dear, we're happy for you! As Press Secretary, I have striven to ensure that all of Oz knows the story of your braverism... the day you were first summoned to an audience with Oz! And although he would not tell you why initially. When you bowed before his throne, he decreed you'd hence be known As Glinda the Good - officially!"

"That's not how you described it to me," Fiyero murmured, and Elphaba chuckled darkly from her nearby perch. Glinda laughed nervously.

"Then with a jealous squeal the Wicked Witch burst from concealment where she had been lurking...surrpetitially!"

"That's right, Morrible, go on," Elphaba hissed breathing hard in her frustration.

"I hear she has an extra eye, that always remains awake!"

Elphaba cackled quietly.

"I hear that she can shed her skin, as easily as a snake!"

"Harsh," Elphaba whispered.

"I hear some rebel Animals, are giving her food and shelter!"

"At least one of those things are true," Elphaba murmured, thinking of the kind Animals that had helped her over the years.

"I hear her soul is so unclean, pure water can melt her!"

Now that's a keeper.

"What?" Fiyero gasped. Elphaba waited for him to correct Oz, for she and him had met in the rain before.

"Melt her! Please, somebody go and melt her!"

"Do me a favor," Elphaba hissed. She defiantly put her hat back on.

"Do you hear that - water will melt her? People are so empty headed, they'll believe anything!"

He descended the stairs quickly, his feets pattering the floor angrily. Elphaba's heart burst with hope. Did he still remember the real her? The one that had shared a moment with him that fateful day . . . ?

No, he was engaged to Glinda the Good. He couldn't be happier. He wasn't hers, never was hers, and never would be hers.

She jumped on her broom and flew off to the middle of a forest, where a secluded cave offered her shelter. A girl with strawberry blonde hair and bright blue eyes walked out of it to greet her.

"Miss Elphaba, where were you? I thought you had been captured." Elphaba shook her head at her teenage helper. Panthea Cross was fifteen, and had been raised by Animals after her parents had been killed. When Elphaba had sought shelter in her village, Panthea had bonded with her, and soon the Western witch had taken her as her apprentice, teaching her sorcery and magic.

Another thing Elphaba liked about Panthea was that she was a fantastic hider.

Elphaba didn't want to be found, so that was a plus.

"Where did you go?" Panthea asked, sitting down.

"To see the Public Service Announcement," Elphaba replied. Panthea stood up in outrage.

"With the public?"

"Well, considering the name . . ."

"Oh, shut up!"

"Calm down, no one saw me!"

"But still!"

"Sorry, Panthea, I didn't mean to scare you. But seeing families, well, it gave me an idea."

"Oh no . . ." Panthea murmured, "Elphaba, don't tell me you-"

"It's worth a shot, Panthea! Nessa is my sister, she'll convince Father to welcome me, if I ask her correctly."

"I'm not convinced. Why do you want to reveal yourself anyways? Madame Morrible would have a hayday with it!"

"She doesn't have to know."

"Elphaba . . . ."

"Look, while I'm going there, I have a-"

"Task?"

"Favor." Panthea raised her eyebrows. Elphaba knew she had no right asking her apprentice to do this, but she couldn't resist.

"Go to the Emerald City. Find a way to gain access to the Gale Force. And . . ."

"And . . . ?"

"Get to know everything you can about the Captain. Fiyero Tiggular."

"Master Elphaba, this . . . favor confuses me."

"I don't have time to explain," Elphaba said quickly, "I must get to Munchkinland."

And with that Elphaba jumped on her broom and flew off, leaving her very confused apprentice behind.