Author's note: Hi everyone. :) So I've come out with another story- this time not Harry Potter. It is a Wicked and RENT crossover; incidentally my first Wicked story, my first RENT story and my first crossover as well. I am really really proud of this one because I'd been working on it for a long, long time already, and it actually has a written (typed) plot-line and it actually makes sense. Something I'm actually quite proud of. :)
I've tried really hard on this one, and I've tried to make it as long as I could (2200 words, you think that's okay for a first chapter?) because I'd recently re-discovered my annoyance with extremely short chapters with too much update time in between. I'm sorry if it might not make sense at all, or for any grammatical/spelling errors I may have made (this wasn't fully beta'd). I've never really attempted to do (as Leanne says it) 'philosophical-thinking' kind of writing before, much less actually posted it where people could read it. Please review and tell me what you think? Reviews make me happy and happy me makes faster chapters...
Okay, I'll stop being a review whore and get on with the chapters. I really hope you'll enjoy it. ~Lyra
Since from a very young age, Elphaba Thropp had what you would call: 'imaginary friends.' They were her best friends when she had none, and they were her comfort when the going got tough. As she grew, they grew, and they followed her through her life. The one remarkable thing about these 'imaginary friends' Elphaba had was that their personalities were much more elaborate than that of any ordinary child's imaginary friend. But then, Elphaba Thropp wasn't you ordinary child. It might not seem like much, but the personalities invented were remarkably intricate and true-too-life for only a six-year-old's imagination.
Most young children have 'imaginary friends' at some point or another during their lives. They serve as a comfort to them during early childhood hardships that he or she may or may not have faced. Usually, these imaginary friends will stick around with the child for a few weeks -usually three or so- before being left and forgotten at the back of the child's mind when it has found something more worthy to think about. Sometimes a new toy, or a pet, or an actual real-life friend to spend time with them in the place of the imaginary one.
Obviously, said imaginary friends do not really appreciate being tossed to one side and forgotten, but for the love of their child, the will suck it up and wish them only the best in the remainder of their lives. Then they will hide away to wither and slowly die.
This story is –mainly- the sad tale of what usually happens to imaginary friends.
But this story is not the tale of what usually happens; this story is about something entirely different: what doesn't usually happen. This is the tale of a green skinned girl and her own imaginary friends, and what happens when reality and fantasy mix where they never should ever meet.
What doesn't usually happen is for a child to not forget their imaginary friends, and still think about them sometimes, here and there. But even rarer, that child would never actually stop talking to their imaginary friend; they would keep their friendship, even well into adulthood.
The large majority of children who still speak to their imaginary friends in adulthood (which isn't actually a lot of children) have the tendency to never actually 'grow up'. They continue to keep the mentality of their childish selves, their personalities, and their interests. But I'm not saying this is bad- some children with this 'special' frame-of-mind still grow to be very successful. There was this one boy who never actually grew out of his love for Astro-Boy, but he is now a well-established cartoon artist for the show. He passed Art College with flying colors, and he is perfectly healthy and sane, with a wife and two daughters. Eventually, though, he began to let the obsession go, and he is better than ever- apart from the small nagging feeling in the back of his mind that there is something -always something- that he is missing in his already luxurious and brilliant lifestyle.
But some with this 'special' mind aren't so fortunate. They cannot seem to grow up- and it is especially bad in the most cases where the child cannot let go. It usually happens to children who develop their imaginary friends young, and their belief never really fades without leaving deep scars. Those innocent souls never get to experience the ups and downs of adulthood, even though their bodies are right for it, their minds are not. They will always think like the toddler inside them, forever trapped to play with their imaginary friends in their heads forever more. The only way out of this nightmare is to 'let go', and it has in the history of imaginary friends never actually happened. Letting go is hard, in particular for these children.
Few 'specially lucky and fortunate' children even can still let go. Many people will tell them "Let go; they don't exist; forget about them" through the course of their adult lives. They don't see that this won't help; it will destroy them, eating from inside out until they are only a shell of what they used to be. Their minds will break, and there is really no cure for madness, after all.
Elphaba Thropp was one of those 'special exception' children. She spoke regularly with her imaginary friends, and still –however contrary to popular belief- was perfectly sane. Well- as sane as one can be with the entire constant gawking and staring and pointing that one can endure having green skin.
In her younger years, she would often be seen stalking alone along the sides of the playground, muttering to herself and running her lean, green finger tips against the red-brick walls while her munchkin schoolmates played in the middle of the playground. Elphaba was viewed as an embarrassment, and a thing not to be proud of. Her father, Frexspar Thropp, was the governor of Munchkinland, and as you can imagine, felt Elphaba a curse on his name and family. Nessarose, Elphaba's youngest sister, regarded Elphaba as nothing other than a helper- or even as a Nanny, which Elphaba had no other choice than to accept. For a healthy and normal older-younger sister relationship, Elphaba and Nessa's were slightly strained; Frex seeing Elphaba as nothing other than a servant ordered her to 'take care of her sister', translating into: 'do whatever Nessa says, no matter what it is'. And Nessa really was quite demanding, having her disability and curious almost-obsession-like fondness for religion. Yet at the rare times that Nessarose showed Elphaba a bit of compassion, she became a bit more of a sister- a bit more of a friend.
Still, there were still gaps and much room for improvement in Elphaba's childhood. She had very few real friends -obviously because of her skin color; some people just couldn't accept it for what it was- Elphaba remained loyal to her imaginary friends through the entirety of her childhood, whether it be new school -primary and secondary were particularly harsh on her- or it was just normal day-to-day endeavors. In short- Elphaba Thropp never had that proper childhood that she desperately wanted- and needed.
Our tale begins on a rainy day on a rickety carriage heading through the Emerald City, making it's way to Shiz University, in the northern parts of the city. Inside, there were two girls, one sitting in a wheelchair and reading a book of Holy Scriptures, and the other with shocking green skin staring absently out of the dirty window.
"It's a new school. A fresh start, Fabala. How do you plan on 'making good' this time?"
"This is not the time for half-wit insults and teasing, Joanne! Spare me that skeptical tone. I've always tried my best to…. 'Make good.' I've told you once and I'll tell it a hundred times from now: I'm only here to look after Nessa, and Father will surely kill me should I not do it properly! And happily, too. I should be thankful for even this chance. At least I'm allowed to take the classes as well! It could have been otherwise. He could even have left me back on Colwen Grounds, for Oz's sake. I'm lucky to even be on the carriage right now!"
"Elphie, you need to get a grip. He can't treat you like this anymore. He should never have started it in the first place."
"God damn it, it's not right to treat your own flesh-and-blood daughter like this! Green skin be damned."
"Maureen, I know what you're thinking-"
"No you don't know what I think! Forgive me for caring about you, but you have to snap out of it! When will you realize that you are an actual person, not a slave?"
I know I'm not a-"
"Fabala, are you talking to yourself again?" Nessarose said, looking sharply at her elder sister. "You know how Father disapproves."
"Yes, Nessa," Elphaba sighed.
"Well, good. You know how Father says that it might be the devil trying to take a hold of your soul. Your green-as-a-sin skin is already an open doorway for the devil, and you're already beginning to speak to him! Fabala, I don't think you know the consequences or you'd be more- Elphaba, look at me!"
"What?" Elphaba's head jerked back to look Nessarose squarely in the face. Nessarose rolled her eyes and peered at Elphaba in a pitying way. She knew that Elphaba had her pride, and hated being pitied, in any way. Sure enough the green girl squirmed uncomfortably under her gaze, and Nessarose allowed herself that small scrap of satisfaction.
"Elphaba, you must know the consequences. Your soul is-"
"My soul is not a stake, Nessie, for I do not have one. How can one with such a…. verdigris have such a… a pure thing?" Elphaba raised her arms up and gestured to her skin. "Green as a sin."
"Fabala, everyone has a soul- oh, spare me that face. You know you have one, however you try and deny it." Nessa placed both her palms together, fingers pointed heavenwards. She looked like a unionist saint in prayer. "The Unnamed God is generous and loving, and he loves everyone," She looked sideways at Elphaba. "Everyone. Including you, Fabala."
"Well, yes. Be that as it may, I still am skeptical if I have a soul or not. He might love," Elphaba spat the word out, as if it tasted foul on her tongue, "me, but I do not care for such trivialities."
"Oh, Elphaba…" said Nessarose, softening for a moment. Her face dropped the stern look and was replaced with a look of sympathy and –Elphaba saw and was depressed utterly by it- pity. She looked away from Nessarose and back to the window where the rain was pounding so hard as if intent to shatter the glass into a million shards.
"We're nearly there, Elphaba," Elphaba was glad to hear the pity gone from Nessa's voice and the strict mask appear once again. "Just…" Hesitation? Since when did the perfect and holier- than-thou Nessarose hesitate? It was either she said it or she didn't, and Nessarose Thropp never hesitated to speak her mind.
One of the few qualities she and Elphaba shared in common.
"Just…. Try not to embarrass Father and me this time, Elphaba. Promise me that this time will be different. Oh please, Elphaba. Try to keep yourself under control this time…"
Oh, damn that tone. Nessa knew it nearly always melted Elphaba's heart, no matter how cruel the young Thropp was to her sister.
They rode the rest of the journey to Shiz in silence. Nessarose became absorbed in her book of holy texts and didn't speak to Elphaba, and Elphaba on her part tried to speak once again to Joanne and Maureen, despite Nessarose's futile but genuine pleads for her to stop. It didn't matter anyway, because Joanne and Maureen's voices did not appear in her head like before.
When the had reached Shiz, it had stopped raining. Elphaba got out of the carriage first, and pulled out the ramp for Nessa's wheelchair to roll down and out. She kicked the locks securely in place, and clambered back up to roll Nessarose down.
"Careful, Nessa. It's still slippery." It was a family obligation to treat Nessa like she could walk and mention as little as possible of her disability. Frex had decreed it, and what Frex had decreed in his household, Elphaba treated like law.
The square in which they had stopped was noisy and frustratingly crowded. Elphaba pushed Nessa to the sides of the, what Elphaba presumed to be, the courtyard. She had to lean down close to Nessa's ear before she could be heard over the loud hustle and bustle of the Shizian crowd. "I'm going to get out bags. Stay here." Nessarose nodded noiselessly without looking up from her leather-bound, gold inscribed bible.
Elphaba straightened up, slowly before walking off though the crowd. With her verdigris that was quite apparent from even the other side of the already vast courtyard, she saw no need to elbow anyone away (as she had done before, and was more than willing to do it again) because the students of Shiz jumped and scattered away from her like she carried the plague.
Well, Elphaba thought wryly later on when she reflected on that afternoon, to them it must look like I carry the plague.
Reaching the carriage was easy work and removing the luggage was even easier; Elphaba was used to carrying large and heavy things for her Father and Nessarose; the luggage now was light compared to the luggage when Nessa and Frex visited the Quadlings last summer. Elphaba had to make several trips back and forth between the carriage and Nessa because of all the trunks, but in only three trips, she managed everything, which Elphaba considered quite an achievement, not only on her part.
She stacked the trunks up next to Nessa and nodded to the driver; the butler, Faarao, from Colwen Grounds; one of the only house-staff that was at least decent to her. Faarao had been serving the Thropps since he had began to walk and talk, and his father before him, and his grandfather before his father. It had been a silent agreement between them (Faarao and Elphaba) that she would get the luggage, and Faarao would bring them in with Nessarose.
Nodding her thanks to Faarao, she picked up her own luggage (a single, dull-leather suitcase) and hurried into the entrance hall.