Here's my first one-shot in a long time. Music Man's been on my mind, despite the fact that it's been over for over a month. Oh, well. Anyway, I've been in a Wicked and a Les Mis mood, so here's the product:

Enjoy and please review!

Disclaimer: I don't own anything, including Fiyero and Marius. Poop.

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

It had been a year since the madness began and ended. A year since the disastrous engagement ball. A year since Fiyero left Glinda for her best friend, the Wicked Witch of the West, formerly known as Elphaba Thropp. A year since Nessarose was crushed by that little girl's house. A year since Fiyero, the love of Glinda's life, was murdered at the hands of the Gale Force. A year since Elphie's death, caused by a good deed gone wrong. A year since Glinda was declared ruler of Oz.

There's a grief that can't be spoken
There's a pain goes on and on
Empty chairs at empty tables
Now my friends are dead and gone

Glinda had returned to Shiz University for the opening of a new wing in the Library dedicated to Glinda's work in sorcery and to allow a section for sorcery books. The ceremony had been quick, but Glinda wasn't going to leave just yet.

She felt drawn to return to the corner of the library that she and her friends had sat at nearly every day to study and spend time together. Glinda smiled down at the table. She ran her hand under the edge, feeling the grooves where they had carved their names in order to leave their mark forever. Elphaba had been against the destruction of University property, but eventually signed her name as well.

Glinda sat down in her chair and remembered Elphaba telling stories of Animals losing their voices, attempting to encourage the group to stand up for the Animals. How foolish the college students had been. They were too busy with their social lives to understand what Elphaba was saying until it was much too late. Glinda knew that the problem was mostly her own.

Here they talked of revolution
Here it was they lit the flame
Here they sang about tomorrow
And tomorrow never came

They had come here the night before Elphaba and Glinda's ill-fated trip to the Emerald City. Glinda remembered staring out the window, daydreaming about her date with Fiyero the previous night and how he had recently begun thinking. The concept of thinking had seemed so foreign to her, but if she had been thinking at the time, she would have paid more attention to her best friend and the important matters at hand, and less on teenage frivolities.

Elphaba had made such moving speeches about Animal rights. If only Glinda had paid more attention! Elphie had been right about the Animals; she had been right about everything. She had such grand and impossible ideas at the time. How had Glinda gone dancing through life without caring?

From the table in the corner
They could see a world reborn
And they rose with voices singing
I can hear them now!
The very words that they had sung
Became their last communion
On the lonely barricade at dawn

Glinda felt their presence and could almost see and hear them. Elphaba was standing at the head of the table, passionately speaking about a world where Animals and humans were equal. Fiyero was staring off into the distance, occasionally glancing at Elphaba and then darting his eyes away as soon as she glanced briefly at him. (How had Glinda been so surprised when he left her for Elphaba? They were obviously attracted to each other at Shiz. She was just too blind in love to see where his real affections lay. And the only one to blame for that was Glinda herself.) Nessarose was doodling 'Mrs. Boq D'Etain' in her notebook. Boq was staring at Galinda, trying to ignore Nessarose's gazes.

And now they were all gone.

Boq was missing, and possibly a victim of one of the Witch's attacks (according to official sources). Nessarose's mangled body was buried at Colwen Grounds in Munchkinland, next to her father and mother, and other Munchkin governors. Fiyero's body was missing, but he had been beaten, strung up on a pole, and left for dead. Glinda had seen it with her own eyes. Elphaba had melted; there was no body. All she had left behind was a legacy of a friendship and a good cause, and a bad reputation.

The ghosts surrounded Glinda, dragging her back into better days.

Oh my friends, my friends, forgive me
That I live and you are gone
There's a grief that can't be spoken
There's a pain goes on and on
Phantom faces at the window
Phantom shadows on the floor
Empty chairs at empty tables
Now my friends will meet no more

Glinda was suddenly alone once more. She felt guiltier than ever. Why was she the only one to survive? Why couldn't she have died, too? This was all her fault. How could she have allowed this to happen? Never in her life had Glinda wanted to be dead more than she did now.

Glinda looked down at the table. Unable to bear the grief any more, she walked away. A small group of students snatched the table as soon as she was ten feet away. It was ironic how quickly life moved on. The table was needed for practical purposes, and despite the fact that their names were carved in it, Glinda and her friends did not own the table.

As soon as she was outside, she sunk down onto the steps in front of the Library, burying her face in her hands. This was all her fault! How could she live with herself? Glinda was sure that Elphaba was so disappointed in her.

Oh my friends, my friends, forgive me
What your sacrifice was for
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will meet no more

Even though the ghosts were left behind in the Library for the moment, Glinda knew that she would not be alone for long. She would never be alone, despite her hardest efforts. It was impossible for her to be alone. The ghosts of her best friends would haunt her forever.