Chapter 32 – Epilogue
A/N Well, this is it, folks. The final chapter. 32. That's quite long, isn't it? Thank you so, so, so much to those who have read and reviewed and kept with me for this ride. As it turns out, happy is what happens when people like your story and take the time to tell you :)
I hope you will do so for this chapter, even if there won't be another one.
It took Glinda and Keegan some time to get the affairs in order. The Wizard had kept word and had left the room, the palace and, it seemed, the country. Either way, wherever he'd gone, Glinda felt confident he would never return. Even if he did, there would be nothing left for him.
Morrible hadn't waited long to show up but whatever she had expected to find, she hadn't found it. Instead, she had found the majority of the Gale Force waiting for her. She was now, or so Glinda had been informed, locked in an appropriately small cell, where she was guarded round the clock, hands, feet and tongue bound. It would have to do till Glinda thought of a more suitable solution. She would make sure the woman would never be free, but murder was not something she was comfortable with, even it was someone as despicable as the former Head Shiztress.
Now, she sat, once again, in the library at the Vinkun castle, where she filled in Elphaba and Fiyero on the happenings in the palace. Elphaba, who had fled the palace, Fiyero in tow, still wasn't ready to accept or talk about the truth regarding her parentage.
That was her right, though, and it would take time. In the end, she'd be able to cope. Glinda was sure of that. For now, the green witch chose to focus her attention on the one person she may have hated even more than she did the Wizard.
"What about Morrible?"
Glinda took up the cup of coffee before her.
"Well, by the time she walked into the room, the Gale Force was already waiting for her. The Wizard had officially handed over the reigns to me, then. I made him do that in front of them, so Morrible wouldn't have a chance to convince anyone otherwise. The moment she walked in, I had her arrested so she should be nice and comfortable in Southstairs."
"You better make sure it's magic-proof."
"Oh, I'm working on that. I was actually hoping you could help me with that. Until then, Keegan has got men guarding her round the clock and she can't move. Or talk. I personally made sure of that last one. I had my own debt to settle with the old hag."
Fiyero intervened then, a slight smile Glinda couldn't quite decipher on his handsome features.
"Keegan is Captain now?"
"Well, no." She sputtered a little, a slight blush on her cheeks, "but I wasn't sure who I could trust, and well...he let you go, so I figured..."
"That actually makes sense."
The blonde pulled a face at her best friend.
"I do have a brain, Elphie. You don't have to sound so surprised."
She set her cup down, and Drakin, who, at Elphaba's request, had also been summoned to the library, immediately filled it. She smiled a thank-you and looked back at Elphaba.
"Anyway. He already knew about it. I'd gone to see him before I came to talk to you. I needed to make sure there wouldn't be any guards near the door when we arrived. Or, no guards we couldn't trust to let us through."
"I wondered about that."
"He could have done you both a world of hurt, Elphie. All of this could never have happened if he had told everyone the truth. You're both alive because of him."
Fiyero felt the guilt that he felt every time he thought about the young soldier. Never would he have expected that the boy he'd shot would end up aiding them in their escape. He owed not just his life, but Elphaba's life to him now. He'd find a way to thank him. Maybe he'd buy him an island. Or maybe he would like a piece of the Vinkus. He could have it all.
"So now what?"
Glinda stood up, her dress rustling and took a few steps towards the window.
"That's what I came here to discuss."
She turned back to look at Elphaba.
"Oz needs a new ruler now. I think it should be you."
Elphaba, who had her own untouched coffee in her hand, spilled it over the brim of her cup. She muttered a curse before throwing Glinda a disbelieving look.
"That tiara must have damaged your brain."
"Funny, Elphie. I'm serious."
"I don't want to believe that, seeing as how it's the stupidest thing I've heard in a long time. And I live with Fiyero. He has theories about avocados that would baffle many great thinkers."
Fiyero let out an undignified 'hey!' but otherwise ignored her jab. He was distracted by the fuzzy feeling in his stomach that her words caused.
I live with Fiyero.....it made them sound so...together. And she'd said it in such a casual manner, as if it was just a fact to her too now.
Glinda, on the other hand, was neither falling for the diversion nor experiencing warm fuzzy feelings of any kind.
"Elphaba Thropp. I am being serious. I would like you to be as well."
Elphaba shook her head and got up from her seat on the sofa. She made her way over to where her former room mate stood and spoke calmly.
"Glinda. I know you are and that you mean well. I know you want to do what's best for everyone. But this isn't it."
"No. Glinda. Listen to me; for all the events of the past hours, and for all the..." she hesitated there, but continued after a moment's pause, "truths to come out, I am still, to the citizens of Oz, who I have been to them these past years. Even the Wizard disappearing and Morrible being arrested won't change that. Not at the drop of a hat."
Fiyero stepped in then. He saw the truth in Elphaba's words, but he also felt the need to make her see the truth in Glinda's belief.
"Maybe it could. If the Gale Force was there for the Wizard's departure. He handed over the reigns to Glinda. She has the power to install you..."
"Fiyero. Even if she does...they won't want me there. I wish I could, I really do. There are so many things I wish I could do with that power, but I can't. It's not for me. Not anymore."
He tried again. He didn't want her walking away from what she'd wanted her whole life.
"You can still do that! If anyone can..."
Unfortunately, her lack of patience, a familiar enemy to them all, made her unable to listen to either of them.
"Well, that has long since proved untrue, hasn't it? I can't make anyone see what I mean. I just don't have what it takes. Who would follow me, if they had a choice?"
He had the answer to that, at least. He took a step forward, so that his body nearly touched hers, and raised his hand to brush the hair out of her face. His hand was rough and calloused now. Not like it had been, once.
"I would follow you, Elphie."
He used her nickname to get her back, to remind her of who she was. Who she still was, deep inside. He'd never really liked the name Glinda had given her. It didn't suit her. Yet now, somehow, it did. It was a connection between them, a part of their history, even if he'd only ever used the name in jest back then. He suspected she knew that, and that was why she never commented on the use of it anymore.
She looked back into his eyes and smiled, but shook her head.
"Thank you, Fiyero. For that. But...it's not for me anymore."
She tore her eyes away from his and turned back to Glinda.
"It's for you, now."
Glinda's eyes widened almost comically and she took a few steps away from Elphaba.
"Elphie. No. What are you talking about?"
"I'm talking about the fact that you're right in one respect; Oz needs a new leader."
"Elphie. I can't. You know I can't."
"Elphie. No. don't be ridiculous. That's your job. Your dream."
Elphaba glanced at Fiyero from the corner of her eye and he smiled at her. She would give up everything for him. Even as the fight she'd fought was ending, with Glinda ready to rule Oz, she knew that, after this, she'd have given it up, for him. For him she would.
She saw Fiyero smile at the meaning behind her words and she couldn't help but smile back.
"It's not my only dream anymore."
She looked into Glinda's eyes, conveying her earnestness in this.
"I want to be there, Glin, I do. But I can't go from Wicked Witch to replacing the Wizard. It won't work. But you can."
One more look at the man beside her cemented the words as truth before she spoke them.
"Besides...I won't have time to rule Oz...now that you can clear my name, I have to be Queen of the Vinkus."
Fiyero's eyebrows shot up into his hairline. He hadn't been expecting that.
He stepped forward again and looked at her beseechingly.
"You don't have to do that. I don't have to be King. Now that your name can be cleared, we can do whatever we want. You can do whatever you want. You don't have to become Queen."
She turned away from Glinda to face him.
"I know. But what do you want?"
He stared at her. Such a simple question, but from her...it was an acknowledgment of a future together, proof of how much she loved him, a testimony of how much she'd changed...she'd stay in the Vinkus and be Queen if he chose that path. It healed every scratch on his heart she'd ever made.
"I think you need to be here. In the palace, the Emerald City, wherever. You can finally make all these changes you wanted. You two together. And me...well...I am the heir to the throne. I suppose that would make you Queen of the Vinkus and Glinda's Grand Vizier."
Glinda smiled. So did Elphaba.
"That's utterly ridiculous."
"But not impossible."
She grimaced but it turned into a grin.
"No. I suppose not."
"Besides, my father is nowhere near ready to retire. It'll be a while before that comes into play. Until that time, you two can focus on making Oz a better place."
Both women looked at him, then at each other. He watched as Glinda reached for Elphaba's hand, squeezed it and gave her an imploring look.
Elphaba squeezed back as she rolled her eyes and smiled.
"I suppose we could at least try."
They all turned to look at Drakin who had cleared his throat politely.
"Champagne to be served in the gardens, Master Fiyero?"
"I think so, Drakin. Please fetch my parents as well. I have a feeling they'd appreciate being filled in."
"Indeed, I think they would."
He didn't say anything else but the broad smile on his face told Fiyero that at least one citizen of Oz approved of the changes.
He looked back at where the two most important women of his life still stood, hand in hand.
So completely different from each other, but both beautiful, strong and capable of miracles.
If any one could change Oz for the better, it was them.
Hours later, after too much champagne and talk of frivolous things and grand plans, they had all retired to bed.
His parents had been more than pleased with the idea that their son would no longer be a fugitive (or considered dead for that matter) and that their future daughter-in-law would no longer be a Wicked Witch. Elphaba had scoffed at that notion and been quick to point out that she still was both a witch and wicked as well, but they'd all shushed her words and Glinda had simply topped up her champagne and started a speech.
To Elphaba's utter shock, Raina had hugged her when Glinda had finished her tale. Liir had merely looked at her, imploringly, and shaken her hand. They understood each other.
Glinda had accepted the invitation to stay in one of the guest rooms of the palace. Tomorrow, she would return to the Emerald City and relay to the Ozians the departure of the Wizard and Madame Morrible. She would ask them to accept her, Glinda the Good, as their new leader.
No one, not even Glinda, really doubted that they would. They had decided not to include Elphaba in Glinda's announcement just yet. First, they'd work quietly, Glinda in the public eye, while Elphaba remained backstage for the first while. After that, very slowly, they would start to release more and more of the truth behind the story of the Wicked Witch of the West.
Then, the work would truly begin. Animal bans were to be lifted. Scholar ships to be re-installed. Laws installed during the Wizards reign to be dropped and laws dropped by the Wizard to be re-installed. There were so many things to do. And they would start tomorrow.
For now, however, they had a few hours to themselves. As they got ready for bed, Fiyero watched as Elphaba dropped her dress unceremoniously to the floor, too tired to care. Fiyero looked on in awe. With Glinda, he'd been used to her disappearing into the bathroom for a good half hour before she'd finally come to bed. He was looking forward to a life with Elphaba, who dropped dresses on the floor and didn't care for make-up. She was too beautiful for that anyway. He couldn't fight the huge smile that appeared on his face as he watched her.
"So where will we live? Because I have to be honest; I'm not looking forward to a daily commute between the Vinkus and the Emerald City on that broom of yours."
She smirked as she walked over, dressed only in her slip.
"Well, I can always ask Glinda to make you a bubble."
He pulled a face as he reached for her.
"Oh, I know."
She sighed and sank into his embrace.
"I don't want to live in the Palace either though. Can't we just live in that cabin we stayed in that first night?"
He pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her, her hair tickling his chin.
"Oh, I don't know. It was really small and I mean, that's fine right now but do you really want the kids sleeping in the same room?"
She turned in his arms to face him.
"Yes. Kids. We're gonna have lots of kids. Just so you know."
"And how would you know that?"
"I plan to practice a lot at making them, for one."
He laughed out loud then.
"What? Do you know how awesome our kids would be? With your brains and looks and my...well...my...erm...charm.." He grinned at her and his eyes sparkled.
She rolled her eyes, as she was required to do, but she felt the warmth spread through her body, as it always did when he said things like that.
"I want a boy like me and a girl like you."
"Exactly like me?"
He wasted no time in answering. He pulled her even closer, wrapped his arms tighter around her waist and kissed her forehead.
"Exactly like you."
She had no biting retort for that because the depth of his love still stunned her.
"Maybe a little less smart."
His only answer was a pillow in his face.
That's it, guys! All of it. Pfew.
Thanks for reading. Thanks even more for reviewing!
Fiyero and Elphaba stole my heart. I hope I did them justice.
Till next time?