AN: Okay guys, I just thought of this idea I really liked. But it REALLY changes things. If you change Elphaba's entire past, is she still Elphaba? Because that's essentially what I'm doing. I do think she'd still be Elphaba. She was trying to bite fingers off before she could talk or understand anything.

What I like about this idea is that it will really change the dynamics between Elphaba and Fiyero. Elphaba is usually the one in charge, I've noticed, but because of the way the two will meet in this story, that's not the case (at least not at the start). Because of this history, though, there is no Nessarose, at least not in the usual sense (not sure if she'll appear later or not). There may not be a Shiz. I've seen other stories take place before Shiz or without Shiz, but I think you all know I've never written like this. So we'll see how this works. I won't explain the idea any further – it should become clear.

Also, I've decided to try and stay dominant in one third-person viewpoint (for now the only two are Fiyero and Elphaba) in each chapter/section. The first chapter is split between the two. The rest may or may not be. You'll see a break in the chapter if I'm changing.

Oh, and insert the usual apology for starting a new story while I still have others that aren't done

Chapter One: New Beginnings

She supposed she knew it was coming. When Mother Yackle sat Elphaba down in her chambers, it shouldn't have surprised her at all. If she wasn't to become a maunt, she very well couldn't stay at the mauntery forever, could she?

"Miss Elphaba, you are about sixteen now." The old woman's yellow teeth glistened as she spoke.

"I guess," Elphaba shrugged. The note left with her on the mauntery doorstep hadn't given her a birthdate, only a name. But she'd been there almost sixteen years, so it stood to reason that was her age.

"And you clearly have no intention of joining the faith." This was more of a statement than a question.

"I don't." Elphaba was nothing but respectful towards the maunts' prayers and gods (after all, they took her in), but she did not take those beliefs as her own. The concept seemed silly to her. And devoting her entire life to something that wasn't even real felt wrong.

"Then it's time you leave the mauntery, my dear."

Elphaba took a deep breath. "I understand."

"But do not worry. We have found a place for you to stay and earn your keep. It does require quite a bit of travel. But with the turmoil in the City, a servant girl in the Vinkus would fare much better than a homeless girl wandering the streets."

"A servant?"

"Yes, to the royal family of the Arjiki tribe in the Vinkus. They need someone to help in the kitchen, and they want educated servants to work with their children."

Elphaba bit her lip.

"You've had plenty of education here. We've given you that. And you've read every book that you could get your hands on. You could at least work with the younger children on basic arithmetic and reading, and earn your keep in the kitchen when you're not busy. The schoolmarm they had previously passed away of old age, poor thing."

Elphaba was not fond of children. They looked at her as if they were afraid of her – some of them were. But she had nowhere else to go. Wandering the City had never been a good idea to begin with, but in these times, it was an even worse one. "I see." If it had been one of the other maunts telling her this, she may have talked back and fought. But she'd learned never to argue with Mother Yackle. Perhaps that's why they sent the old woman to break the news to her.

"The caravan leaves tomorrow. Most of the others are refugees going further than you – leaving Oz, even. They won't make the best company, but you've always kept to yourself anyway. I'll leave you to give you time to pack your things and say any goodbyes you may wish to." With that, the old woman hobbled out of the room.

Elphaba stood up and went to the window. Pollution fogged at the broken glass and litter cluttered the streets outside the rundown building she had spent her life. She certainly wouldn't miss the view.

She took a box out from underneath her bed – everything she owned. Three dresses. One blouse. One skirt. Undergarments. Several old books. And a bottle that she had been holding when they'd found her in the doorway. It was green and read "Elixir." Elphaba tossed all of that into a burlap sack. She was done packing. And she had no goodbyes to say.

That night she lay awake. She didn't particularly like it at the mauntery, but she was smart enough to know that she was lucky. She'd seen the homeless that came in off the streets. She'd seen some of the families living in rundown shacks. True, it didn't sound like she'd be encountering any of that, but how was she to know if where she was going was better or worse than here? Elphaba sighed and rolled over, trying to ignore the sound of Mother Yackle's snoring from three beds over.

They had sent the old woman's remains back to her family (the only family she had left, a niece) in Munchkinland. Fiyero had never much liked the woman, but she had taught him well, and so he mourned her passing. He didn't have anything left to learn. Of course, he had to study for his entrance exam to Shiz in a year, but other than that, he was free from daily lessons, schoolmarm or no.

He sat in his room several days later when his father knocked. "Son?"

"What is it?" Fiyero sat up straighter.

"Nothing, really. I'm just checking on my oldest son."

Fiyero was by far the oldest. After he'd been born his mother had a series of miscarriages. At sixteen, he was six years older than his eldest sibling. "Really?" He knew there was more to it than that.

"Now that you've finished all your schooling, you should learn other things that aren't in books. I'd like it if you'd shadow me around the castle for two or three hours each day. And you need to learn to fight. As much as I hope that war doesn't break out among the tribes again, there is no guarantee."

Fiyero nodded.

"And to hunt."

Fiyero sighed. He wasn't fond of hunting. Fighting made sense – the person on the other side knew what they were doing. But animals… still, it was important for him to learn. "Yes."

"And Fiyero, I'm a little concerned about something." His father sat down beside him.

Fiyero raised his eyebrows. "What?"

"You don't seem to be very interested in a lot of girls."

"Why should I be? I have to marry Sarima. There's no point in looking at other girls."

Fiyero's father chuckled. "You have four years before you marry her. Most men have a little fun before they are wed."

"Oh. But isn't that unfair?"

"Not really. There are dozens of girls who would love to have even kissed you, whether or not you're promised to be married. You are the crown prince. I've seen some of the servant girls staring after you now that you've started to grow into yourself."

Some of the servant girls were pretty, but there was nothing going on in their heads. Fiyero realized his father wasn't telling him to pay any attention to the content of their thoughts, but he couldn't see a girl as attractive without a real personality. All the servant girls ever did was serve him whatever he wished and agree with everything he said, saying what they thought would please him. Of course the physical aspect interested him – he was a sixteen-year-old male, for Oz's sake. But to him, the complications that would arise from all of that weren't worth it to be with some silly servant. "I guess I haven't been paying much attention. I was focused on my studies."

"I realize that. But you'll have a little more time to lounge around the castle and appreciate the… surroundings."

"I'll take a look around," Fiyero said mechanically.

"I had a little fun myself before I wed your mother."

"That's nice, Father," Fiyero said with finality. He did not want that conversation going any further.

"Well, dinner is about ready. Your mother will kill both of us if we're not down there soon. I'll see you in a few moments."

Fiyero watched his dad walk out the door. He wasn't exactly sure what he should do about his father's suggestion. He hoped his future wife had more brains than the servant girls…