Gelphie Fic: Come What May and Hell to Pay
Author: MJ Duncan
Fandom: Wicked, Bookverse
Summary: Come what may and hell to pay, they would face it all together.
Disclaimer: All television shows, movies, books, and other copyrighted material referred to in this work, and the characters, settings, and events thereof, are the properties of their respective owners. As this work is an interpretation of the original material and not for-profit, it constitutes fair use. References to real persons, places, or events are made in a fictional context, and are not intended to be libelous, defamatory, or in any way factual.
Author's Note: Lots of love and thanks to Rae, Minion, and Jade for reading this thing as I stumbled along through it and letting me know what you all thought. Your ego stroking was much appreciated! ;P
COME WHAT MAY AND HELL TO PAY
Part I: Silent Confessions
Glinda and Elphaba stumbled off the coach after their first full day of travel from Shiz to Oz and stood in front of a bland, entirely forgettable inn. The walls of the hostelry looked like they were less than solid, the gaps between the boards a stark black against the peeling yellow paint of the facade, and the faded sign above the door creaked softly as it swayed in the breeze. There was nothing about the building that, from appearance alone, was inviting, but it was shelter and they were tired from traveling. At this point, anything was more enticing than spending even one more minute in the carriage.
The front door opened to a crowded dining room, full of long tables that were stacked together end-to-end in long rows for maximum seating. While practical, the setup provided essentially zero privacy for diners and, after spending the last eight hours in a small space with a handful strangers, both women wished for nothing more than a respite, no matter how temporary, from the never-ending commotion of traveling. In an attempt to garner even a sliver of privacy, Glinda and Elphaba huddled together at the far end of the table nearest the stairs, where their only neighbor was an old crone who must have arrived on a different coach. They bolted down their dinner in silence, and as soon as the last bites of their meager meal were consumed they pushed away from the table and began eagerly collecting their things that they'd set at their feet.
The stairs thanked to the second floor were narrow and squeaked when tread upon, and the hall at the top of the steps was equally narrow and dimly lit by wall sconces that were mounted every ten feet or so along the length of the corridor.
Elphaba looked at the heavy iron key shed collected from the man running the inn and nodded thoughtfully to herself as she began scanning the doors on either side of the. For their room number.
Three... Four... Five...
The odd numbered rooms were on the left with left the evens on the right, and it didn't take too much effort for her to determine that their room - room number eight - was the last door on the right. Elphaba used her hip to hold her old carpetbag up against the wall as she forced the key she'd been given into the lock. The bolt tumbled over loudly and the knob squeaked loudly when it was twisted, but the door swung open easily enough with only the lightest of shoves. Elphaba tipped her head and waved a hand at Glinda to enter first, and swooped her bag up under her arm as she followed the blonde into their room.
They stopped just far enough inside the room for Elphaba to close the door behind them and stood shoulder to shoulder, matching expressions of dismay on their faces as they took in their lodgings for the night.
Glinda, with her love of opulence, elegance, and general frivolity was struck aghast at the spartan furnishings. The quilt on the bed was threadbare at best, and it looked like it would prove to be useless in its task of keeping whomever was beneath it warm. The floor was bare, the boards worn and uneven, and a few looked like they might collapse if one were to tread directly upon them. The lone window cut into the wall opposite the door was completely naked, with nothing they could use to close it off for privacy. Not that there was any way for somebody to realistically be able see inside the third-floor window, but she still found the lack of proper curtains to be one injustice too many. Surely even third-class travelers deserved better lodging than this!
"This is terrible," Glinda muttered, huffing indignantly as she dropped her bags onto the floor beside a rickety looking chest of drawers that she didn't dare open for fear of what might she might find hiding inside it. "I mean, really."
Elphaba was certain that Glinda was not seeing the same problem with the room that she was, but she indulged her anyways. "I see one glaring issue myself, but what is it about our current situation that vexes you so, Miss Glinda?"
Glinda snorted rather inelegantly and shot her companion an exasperated look. "You needn't mock me, Miss Elphaba. And... look around you. I swear, this cell that is masquerading as a room makes our dormitory at Shiz look downright regal."
Elphaba smiled. A real, honest smile. It was a relief, after the stress of Doctor Dillamond's murder and the subsequent mysterious illness that had befallen Ama Clutch, to see a glimpse of the materialistic girl who she had, against her better judgment, fallen for. "Of course."
Glinda rolled her eyes and crossed her arms over her chest defiantly as she turned to glare at her companion. "And you mock me still. Tell me, then... what is it that you find so distressing about our current situation?"
"Well," Elphaba drawled, as she waved at the furniture, "the fact that there is only one bed and two of us should be cause enough for concern, but I'll agree that the decorative touches are also lacking." Really, she could give a shit about the decorations, she was most concerned about having to contain her attraction to her oblivious roommate while they shared a bed.
Glinda licked her lips and reassessed the room in front of them. The fact that there was only one bed - and a very small looking one, at that - should have been a cause for concern, but she honestly didn't mind the idea of sleeping beside Elphaba. If anything else, the warmth of a familiar body might be enough to ward off the faint chill that permeated the space. "I hardly think that's something we need worry about. We should both fit easily enough, though it might be a little cramped. Now, let us change out of these traveling clothes and into something appropriate for bed, and then we can retire for the night."
Elphaba let out a quiet huff and nodded as she set her bag down onto the bed and began digging through it for the nightgown she'd brought for the trip. She unfurled the charcoal sheath and, with her back to her beautiful companion, hurriedly stripped herself of her clothes and pulled on the nightwear. Once her modesty was restored, she carefully folded the skirt and blouse she'd worn that day and set them onto top of her bag, which she'd set on the floor beside the door. "Do you have a preferred side of the bed?" she asked Glinda, silently willing the other woman to just answer her question without attempting to engage in a full-blown conversation.
"The side furthest from the door, actually," Glinda answered softly, as she pulled a baby blue nightdress over her head. It was one of her favorites, because it was impossibly soft and the color of the fabric perfectly matched her eyes. She didn't wear it very often because it was the least modest of her nightclothes and she didn't want to be labeled by the gossiping masses at Shiz as one of those types of girls; however, after a full day of traveling, she didn't care so much about what was an appropriate amount of skin to show. She just wanted to be comfortable, and she knew that Elphaba would never judge her.
The sight of so much pale, perfect skin on display made Elphaba's heart skip a beat as she watched the blonde turn to face her. Glinda was always a beauty, but the daringly low plunging neckline of her nightgown pushed her past beautiful and straight into ravishing.
And, oh, how she wanted to ravish her.
Elphaba swallowed thickly and tipped her head in assent. "Very well," she said, pleased to note that her voice was only slightly huskier than usual. "In you get, then, Miss Glinda," she murmured, waving at the bed. She averted her eyes as the blonde climbed between the sheets and only looked at her companion when she heard her delicately clear her throat.
"Surely I'm not so hideous that you can't look at me," Glinda teased, propping herself up on her elbow as she looked at her companion.
Elphaba licked her lips and stalled for a moment as her heart dared her mind to answer honestly. On any other night she would have replied with a quip dripping with sarcasm that was designed to keep the other woman at a distance, but, for some reason, tonight she didn't have the energy to lie. "You are the most beautiful creature I have ever laid eyes on," she whispered, dark eyes bravely holding blue captive. She drew a shaky breath and smiled shyly. "That does not, however, give you permission to steal the covers."
Inordinately pleased by the compliment, Glinda just smiled and tipped her head. "I make no promises, but I shall try my best to share." She lifted the quilt that was draped over her hips. "Come on, you silly thing. It's late and we've got to be on the coach again at dawn."
Thankful that her compliment was well-received and that Glinda didn't push her on the matter, Elphaba slipped beneath the rough cotton sheets and laid stiffly on her back beside the blonde. She was barely on the bed, in fact, half of her left buttock was hanging off the side of the mattress, but she dared not move closer. "Have you enough room?"
With a great roll of her eyes, Glinda reached out and pulled the green girl closer. "I don't bite, Elphie," she teased, sighing contentedly as she snuggled closer to her companion.
Elphaba smiled tightly and nodded as she allowed Glinda to get comfortable however she pleased. Which meant, when all was said and done, that the blonde's head was resting on her shoulder and her right arm was wrapped awkwardly around the smaller woman's back so that her hand was resting upon her companion's hip.
"Sweet dreams, Elphie," Glinda murmured as she burrowed closer, fisting her hand in the fabric of Elphaba's nightgown.
A lifetime spent on the fringe of everything and everybody left Elphaba with little reference for the situation she now found herself in. Even her mother had never held her like this, so she was completely flummoxed as to what she should do. She did, however, know that she should do something, so she flexed her arm that was holding Glinda close in what she hoped would be interpreted as an affectionate gesture and whispered in a soft, warm voice, "Sweetest of dreams for you, Glinda."
The blonde hummed softly and snuggled closer, and Elphaba released a soft sight of relief that she had behaved appropriately. She reached out with her left hand to turn off the small light on the even smaller bedside table, and felt a wave of relief wash over her as darkness surrounded them.
This, darkness, she was used to.
Minutes bled into hours and dark eyes roamed listlessly over the moonlit room as Elphaba kept watch, her body tensing as if preparing for battle in response to every unfamiliar sound that rattled through the inn. She had dragged Glinda along with her on this impetuous adventure, the least she could do was make sure that the blonde remained safe. Glinda would occasionally fuss or flail in her sleep, either from fitful dreams or simply her body's awareness that she wasn't sleeping in the safest of locations, jolting Elphaba from her thoughts as she hurried to calm the blonde with a hushed 'I have you, you're safe' and a reassuring squeeze of her arm that was still looped around the smaller woman's waist.
At some point between disturbances, in an unconscious attempt to quell her rising urge to move, Elphaba found herself drawing indistinguishable patterns on Glinda's back. She was mildly surprised to learn that the contact calmed the sleeping girl better than her whispered reassurances did, and she spent the rest of the night scribbling random patterns atop smooth fabric and muscle. She found as much comfort in the soothing touch as Glinda seemed to, and with every swipe of her fingers she found herself feeling lighter than she ever had before. Swooping swirls became small pictures - a heart, a flower, a cloud - and eventually she found herself writing out the one thought she held most dear as she scrawled 'I love you' in imaginary ink down the blonde's spine.
It wasn't the most romantic of confessions to be sure, but it was the only kind Elphaba had the courage to make and she found a small measure of relief in having shared her feelings with Glinda, even if they weren't spoken and the woman they were meant for was fast asleep.