The author's note: Something a little different. The summary: In Elphaba's absence Glinda and Nessa find something dark in each other. Glessa in the shadow of Gelphie. Angst, clearly. Bookverse oneshot. The disclaimer: Consider yourself disclaimed.
"I know what you two were together. I know what you were."
Glinda froze. It was completely dark. The only features in her world at that moment were Nessa's voice and her own bed pushing up against her, reminding her she still existed. If it weren't for that she could pretend none of it was real – that the world was as dark and as empty as she felt inside. But now Nessa was talking and now she was going to make Glinda feel. Glinda really, really didn't want to feel.
When Glinda had returned from the Emerald City without Elphaba their universe had started to shift. The black hole of Elphaba's absence threatened to destroy them both, in different ways. The negative force of Elphaba, the vortex she left, the lack of her, had turned in to a dangerous gravitational force that brought Glinda and Nessa in to a collision.
There was something so familiar about the tone of voice, the put-downs, the come-backs, the sarcasm, the arguments, the strange charisma. Glinda could almost trick herself – almost believe it was Elphie. She wanted to. She longed to be insulted and argued with. She longed for other things, too.
That terrible chemistry. The power Elphaba had over Glinda. That turned Glinda in to one of those incoherent, blushing, falsetto-voiced little boys, always scampering to keep up. The boys had chased after Glinda. Glinda had chased after Elphaba.
Now she had a demented urge to follow Nessarose. They would argue constantly even though they were in agreement. They argued about everything but ultimately it was that Elphaba had abandoned them. Maybe it was a power struggle. Who had been hurt more. Who had lost more.
In the midst of full fury Nessa had been wild. Glinda's hands on Nessa's shoulders were to restrain, to prevent her from falling. Or from deliberately taking Glinda with her. But the force of Nessa was focussed elsewhere. They strained, struggled against the dangerous impulse only for a moment. Unsuccessful they crashed in to each other, unsteady and unbalanced.
"But I don't know who I am without her. She defined me. She was me. I only existed in the context of her." And Glinda hated it. She hated it. She hated Elphaba for doing it to her. She hated herself for allowing it to be done. She hated Nessa for trying to do it again.
Nessa's reasoning was less than comforting. "I just want something of hers."
"You had everything of hers. You took everything of hers."
Was that it? Was Glinda the latest in a long line of conquests Nessa had made over her sister? Her parent's affections, the shoes...
Glinda decided that she didn't care. Elphaba had given her up. Elphaba had conquered Glinda, had taken her, possessed her completely. One thing Nessa would never have. Should never have had. There had been precious few things Elphaba could call her own.
Elphaba had Glinda. And Glinda's love. Unlike all the other things though Elphaba had been the one to give that up. Glinda had always been there trying to prove to Elphie that she was worth just as much as her sister. More, in fact, so much more. But Elphie hadn't wanted to know.
Glinda remembered the days before Nessie's arrival. Elphaba had been heavy with a sort of nervous concern. To save Glinda from the horror of the dormitories she had invited her sister back in to her life. She had been tetchy and dripping with resentment, a pre-emptive attack on how she knew Glinda would be won over: would prefer Nessa to her, would take Nessa as her favourite.
But Glinda didn't. She wouldn't. She hadn't known, then, quite why. But Elphie had always been on guard, waiting for Glinda to turn to the sweeter, gentler, less contentious, more acceptably coloured albeit pious and tedious companionship of her sister.
When their friendship turned to something else, well. Indeed. Something else... Glinda had called it love. Elphaba would laugh at her and call it passion or infatuation or lust. But Glinda didn't care what Elphie thought. She knew what it was to her. It was love. It had been love. It was love, still.
Regardless of what it was, when it changed Glinda fought fiercer still for Elphie's sense of self, for her self worth. She fought against Nessarose's dominance in conversations, steering it back round to Elphie. She fought against those shoes, reassuring Elphie she didn't need them. She fought against the inattention of the Thropps by devoting herself to Elphie. She fought against Elphie's subservience by helping in her turn and removing Elphie from the role of keeper for a while, taking her away, taking her out of herself.
In private, together alone, she fought to show Elphaba how much she loved her, how beautiful she was, how revered she was. It was never accepted. On the rare occasions Elphaba had let her guard down long enough for Glinda to literally gain the upper hand there was none of the delight, none of the ecstasy Glinda exhibited when under Elphaba's ministrations. Glinda had taken that as her own failing, her own shortcoming. But perhaps it was simply Elphaba's own decision. Perhaps even, she now dared to consider, Elphaba's own failing, her own shortcoming.
None of it had been enough. Elphaba had still given her up. Abandoned back to the very thing she had been rescued from. By the one who had fought so hard against it all in the first place. Liberated and returned. It didn't make any sense, Glinda could make no sense of it. Elphaba had wanted Glinda to be better and Glinda had wanted to be better, for Elphie. She had been better. And look where it had got her.
So now... now Glinda would possess Nessa in a way Elphie had never let her. She would make Nessa scream in a way Elphie never had. She would make Nessa love her, so that she would never leave her.
"But you don't love me," Nessa had protested. Nessa never seemed to be able to decide from one day to the next where she stood on this, Glinda noticed. She was unsure, she wavered. She had her own demons, Glinda knew. Still, there was no attempt to share, to alleviate, to console. They were both too trapped. They couldn't take the weight of the other as well.
"I could pretend," Glinda cried. "Wouldn't that be enough?"
Nessa needed Glinda. Elphie had never needed her. She had needed Elphie desperately. Unrequited need. It was just as bad as unrequited love. Glinda wanted to be needed. She needed to be needed. It didn't matter how.
There was no solace to be found though.
Nessa was prone to histrionics. "I'll jump in the canal!"
"No need to jump: I'll be happy to push!" Glinda was prone to aggression.
It felt wrong. But at least it felt. Glinda hadn't wanted to feel. But as the months went on that became all she wanted. Just to know she was still alive. That Elphaba hadn't irreconcilably broken her. Except she had. Glinda knew that. This wasn't proof against that. It was only proof for it.
One day Glinda said what had to be said. "This is the wrong kind of love."
"But it's love, of a sort, isn't it? Isn't that enough?"
"I don't think so. Not any more."