Though this wasn't the inspiration for this story, I suppose I can say that this one-shot is loosely based on the episode "An Affair To Remember" from Gilmore Girls (Season 4) with Rory's "study tree".
Disclaimer: I don't own Wicked, Gilmore Girls, or anything else cool. I'm also not the first one to have Elphaba enjoy reading in a tree :)
Enjoy the Fiyerba-ness! R&R, and don't be afraid to point out any grammatical errors.
Elphaba breathed in the fresh scent of the afternoon air as she turned a page in her book. Spending her free afternoons at Shiz high up in a tree with a new novel in her hands was, in her opinion, the ideal day.
The perfect tree was located near the courtyard, just short enough to be able to climb almost to the top and just tall enough to be well hidden beneath the leaves. Part of the appeal of being in a tree, was that no one would ever bother her. Who would risk getting scrapes on their hands from the bark or get leaves in their hair to disturb her?
The branch that she sat upon was high up and well covered by a lush canopy of green leaves. Though she'd never show it, sometimes she felt like a small child again by being able to take such amusement of hiding high up among the branches and leaves all the while watching her subjects beneath her go on about their daily routine. But the best part of the tree was having a place that was all hers.
A tree? That was her big secret? Fiyero couldn't help but be mildly disappointed. After noticing that Elphaba suddenly disappeared after the afternoon classes almost every day, he had developed several elaborate daydreams of her running off to live some sort of a double life.
Ever since the day with the Lion cub he couldn't help but want to get to know her better, and he found it extremely frustrating that she was always running off before he could even say 'hello' to her. That is why Fiyero made the decision to follow her after class one day...that wasn't weird, right? It was just rude of her to vanish without a trace almost every afternoon without explanation. If nothing else, his actions showed he cared, right? They were friends, right? So what's the worst that could happen if she caught him spying on her?
He dismissed the thought before he could scare himself.
So that was her mystery, she liked to read in trees. It's not like anyone would care about that or even care to notice. He sighed and was about to leave before he glanced back up at her once more from his hiding spot. He did a double take and forgot how to breathe for a moment.
Her tight braid had loosened and dark strands fell out of the usually perfect plait. Unmatched in concentration, her eyes darted across the pages at lightning speed. The way she simply seemed to blend in with nature was astounding. It seemed that with the sunlight peeking through the leaves above her head, highlighting her features just so, she belonged there. The most perplexing and foreign thing that he witnessed, however, was the smile on her face. It was small, so faint that it was nearly invisible to the naked eye, but it was there. So no, she was not living a double life to his knowledge, but Miss Thropp was more mysterious to him than ever before.
He simply had to know more.
The final afternoon class period finally ended and Elphaba got up from her seat and headed towards the courtyard with her bag slung across her shoulder.
People seem particularly simply-minded today, she thought, reminded of the paper air plane that someone attempted to lodge in her hair earlier that day.
Feeling tense, she rubbed the back of her neck as she approached the tree. She stopped short when it was in sight. Someone was sitting at the tree…someone was sitting at her tree!
Sitting on the ground beneath the shade sat Fiyero Tiggular, apparently engrossed in some form of literature or another.
"Fiyero!" she announced her presence, storming up to the tree. The Winkie Prince looked up at her casually, as if he wasn't expecting her.
"Oh, hey Elphaba," he said nonchalantly before looking back down. Elphaba raised her eyebrows, her irritation growing.
"What are you doing here?" she demanded.
Fiyero looked up again, pretending to be exasperated.
"Oh give me that!" Elphaba exclaimed, roughly snatching his reading material from his hands to examine it.
"Fiyero, this is a magazine that advertises carriages," she pointed out, showing him the cover page which displayed a carriage that looked similar to the one he nearly ran her over with.
Fiyero stood up off the ground and crossed his arms. "And?"
"That can hardly be considered literature!" Elphaba protested.
"I never said it was! There are, however, lots of words printed on the pages and lots of colorful pictures," he smirked, taking the magazine back and flipping through the pages.
Elphaba groaned. "Well why can't you look at your pictures elsewhere?" she said through clenched teeth.
Fiyero leaned back against the trunk and crossed his arms again.
"I don't know, it's a rather comfy tree, isn't it? Besides, why can't you read your scary looking book somewhere else?" he challenged. She looked adorable when she was annoyed.
"Look…Fiyero…" she started slowly. "Can you please just let me have my tree back?" she asked, growing impatient. Fiyero raised his eyebrows.
"Your tree?" he said. "I'm so sorry; I didn't get the news that you bought the campus! Come on, there are loads of trees around here!"
"Yes, so why don't you go find one for yourself!" Elphaba practically yelled, taking a step forward.
"Sharing is caring, Elphie."
"I found it first!"
"I'm not kicking you out! Can't we just have joint custody of it? Please…Elphaba…don't make it choose who it loves more," Fiyero said, trying to keep a straight face and taking a slow step forwards.
"It's my tree!" Elphaba said, advancing further.
"Well I don't see your name on it!" Fiyero said childishly, crossing his arms.
By now the two students were about a foot away from each other, both standing their ground. They stared at each other in silence for a moment and Elphaba's face softened for a split second, forgetting that they were fighting. It didn't last long before she scowled and started to take a few steps back.
"We'll see about that!" she hissed before storming away in a flurry of green and black.
Great, she's mad at me! And now I have to read this stupid magazine...Fiyero thought.
The next day Fiyero sat in the same spot, reading another mindless magazine than before. He yawned and closed his eyes for a minute or two, resting against the trunk, wondering when Elphaba would turn up.
His thought was interrupted when he opened his eyes and was greeted with a terrifying sight. Elphaba was charging in his direction and in her right hand was a small pocket knife.
His eyes widened and he scrambled to his feet, nearly tripping, and dashed a few feet away from the tree.
"Alright! Alright!" he said breathlessly, about to surrender.
Elphaba slowed and rolled her eyes, walking straight up to the tree. She put the tip of the knife to the rough bark and began carving something into it as Fiyero stood aside, chest still heaving from the shock. When she finished her work she stepped back and pointed to it.
"E-L-P-H-A-B-A. Elphaba," she stated, folding the knife and putting it back in her bag.
"Oz, Elphaba! Where did you get a knife?" Fiyero gasped, still recovering.
"See? See that? My name is on the tree now which makes it mine," she said, pointing to her name.
Fiyero walked up to examine her craftsmanship before scoffing.
"That's hardly official, I do believe you're biased," he pointed out.
"What? But you said-"
"Now I'm going to sit under this tree and read this magazine and you can go up on the branches like you usually do, but I'm not budging."
"Have you been following me?"
"Not important. Like I said, I'm not taking the tree," Fiyero insisted.
Elphaba pursed her lips and glared at him for the longest time, weighing her options.
"Fine! We'll try it out for a day and see how it goes," she said reluctantly. "But I still don't see why you need the tree!"
It's not the tree, it's the girl who spends time in it, Fiyero thought.
Elphaba rolled her eyes and began to climb the branches. Fiyero took a moment to admire how gracefully she ascended it, somehow not being able to picture Galinda or any other girl he knew attempting the same feat. Then again, Elphaba wasn't like other girls.
She settled herself on top of the branch and opened up her novel as Fiyero leaned against the bottom of the trunk.
It only took a few minutes for Elphaba to be pulled into her state of concentration, but it was soon disrupted by the sound of a package opening.
"What are you doing?"
"Opening a pack of crackers, want some?"
"No, what I want is silence."
Elphaba was granted her silence and for the next few minutes she remained content, that is, until Fiyero spoke again.
"Nice weather, huh?"
"Lovely, now hush."
"But I'm bored!"
"Then by all means, go find something more entertaining to do!"
"Nah, I'm fine. So where did you get that knife anyway? I don't know if you should be carrying it around."
Elphaba had barely completed a page in her book when Fiyero started to whistle and obnoxious tune.
Unable to stand it anymore, Elphaba grabbed an acorn and threw it beneath her, aiming it towards Fiyero's head.
By then Elphaba had slammed her book shut and was already climbing down the branches.
Once she reached level ground she began to storm in the direction of her dorm.
"Hey, wait!" Fiyero called after her, standing up and beginning to follow. Elphaba whipped around and glared at him.
"No. You win, it's yours, congratulations! Forgive me for wanting a place all to myself for a change! Oz forbid I actually have peace and quiet!" she spat, before running off.
Fiyero stood there by the tree that had her name marked on it, feeling like a complete idiot. Well, more so than usual. What was he thinking? He shouldn't have bothered her, he just wanted to spend time with her, but instead he drove her away. It's not like he actually wanted the tree, but she did. He knew he had to do something, a peace offering of some sort.
The next day when on her usual route to class through the courtyard, something caught Elphaba's eye. Right beside the tree that she and Fiyero had warred over relentlessly was a stick poking out of the ground with a pathetic white sheet fluttering in the breeze. She looked up and saw Fiyero leaning against the tree with a guilty smile on his face. A tiny smile tugged on her lips as she approached him.
"You win," Fiyero said when she was within hearing distance. "Serves me right too, I should know better than get in a war with you."
Elphaba grinned, causing Fiyero's stomach to do a flip, and she couldn't escape the warm feeling in the pit of her stomach at Fiyero's surrender.
She put out her hand and shook his firmly.
"You put up a good fight," she joked. "Thank you," she added quietly. Fiyero released her hand reluctantly and put his hands in his pockets, shrugging.
"It was nothing."
Elphaba bit her lip. "And, look, it's not like I'm going to forbid you to ever come back here," she admitted.
Fiyero smirked. "So, joint custody?"
Elphaba rolled her eyes.
"Idiot," she mumbled as she began searching through her bag again. Fiyero flinched when she pulled out the pocket knife again.
She quickly carved something right under where she had carved her own name the day before and put it away.
"Now come on, we're going to be late for class," she said. She and Fiyero began walking down the cobblestone path towards their next class.
"What is it now?"
"You wouldn't happen to be living a double life, would you?"
Too many things would change for the two in the years to come, but one thing remained the same, the simple carving that was left on that solid tree when they were both young: