Part V: As Long as You're Mine
Glinda awoke slowly the next morning, her body lax and sated after yet another night of torpid lovemaking, to find herself alone in their small, lumpy bed. She pouted and buried her face into the pillow as she rubbed her hand over the sheets where Elphaba should have been, and she sighed as she forced her eyes open so she could determine if she had been just left alone in bed, or if Elphie had gone completely.
"I wouldn't dare leave without letting you know where I was going," Elphie said softly as she watched Glinda's arm flop rather inelegantly atop the bed. She had finally given up on attempting to sleep about thirty minutes earlier and instead made use of the quiet to attend to herself, rubbing the scented oil she used to bathe with over her skin. She had finished her legs and torso – it was a rather time consuming process as she had to wait for each part of her body to dry before she covered herself back up or else the oil would stain her clothes – and she was now sitting on the edge of the foot of the bed with a towel wrapped around her body as she began to smooth the warm liquid over her arms.
Glinda blinked sleepily and frowned with confusion. "What are you doing?"
Elphaba shrugged and looked down at her arm as she swept her hand up over her bicep to massage the oil into her shoulder. "I figured it'd be best if I at least bathed before we went to see the Wizard later this morning."
Glinda nodded slowly. She'd been introduced to her roommate's unusual routine during their journey to Oz, so she didn't need to ask what the scented oil was for. So, she instead asked, "May I help?"
Brown eyes widened with surprise as Elphaba looked up at Glinda, who was now sitting up in bed with her feet tucked under her and the sheet that had covered them as they slept was draped rather immodestly across her lap. She had been initially surprised by the blonde's blatant lack of modesty but she would be lying if she ever said that she didn't enjoy it. "You would like to help?"
"Of course," Glinda replied, smiling as she scooted toward the foot of the bed and reached for the small tube of oil that Elphaba had set onto the quilt. "In case you haven't noticed, I do rather enjoy touching you."
"I've noticed," Elphaba murmured, licking her lips as she watched the way Glinda's hands rubbed together, smoothing the oil between the blonde's palms. "In case you haven't noticed, I rather enjoy having you touch me."
Glinda smirked as she watched Elphaba's gaze become locked on her hands and she chuckled softly at the way the taller woman's head craned around to watch her as she sidled in behind her. "Oh, I've noticed, darling," she drawled. She pushed herself up onto her knees to be able to better reach the taller woman's shoulders. "And, as we are seeing the Wizard in…" her voice trailed off as she looked at the modest clock that sat atop the dresser.
"Four hours," Elphaba supplied.
"Right, four hours, we have some time to just enjoy ourselves as we try and remain relaxed before our meeting."
"Relaxed," Elphaba aped, her body sinking back into Glinda's touch as the blonde's hands worked up and down her arms in tandem. She would have loved to have responded more intelligently, as she did so enjoy the verbal repartee she and Glinda would often engage in, but she was distracted by the subtle press of the blonde's naked breasts against her.
"Yes, relaxed," Glinda purred, as she slipped her right arm over Elphaba's shoulder to untuck the flap of the green girl's towel that was shoved down between her breasts. She smirked as she let the towel drop and wasted no time leaning forward to press herself up against Elphie's back.
Elphaba shivered at the feeling of Glinda's nipples pressing into her skin and she swallowed thickly as the blonde husked in her ear, "Turn around, Elphie." She moaned softly as she did as requested, and her eyes fluttered shut as Glinda's hands immediately latched onto her breasts and began kneading them gently.
White teeth bit into a pink lip as pale hands worked atop verdant mounds, and Glinda smiled as she leaned in to brush a soft kiss across Elphaba's lips. "Lie down, sweetheart," she murmured.
"The sheets…" Elphaba protested weakly.
"We are leaving this afternoon, are we not?" Glinda asked, as she shifted her grip so that she was able to drag her thumbs over Elphaba's nipples.
"We… are," Elphaba groaned.
"Then don't worry about the sheets," Glinda purred as she pinched the forest green nubs under her hands and gave them a gentle tug. She would wire the innkeeper whatever price he wished for the sheets should he make a fuss, she just wanted to touch Elphie one last time before they left for the palace. She wanted to reassure herself that what they had was real. She needed to reassure herself that what they had was lasting. "I want you."
Elphaba groaned and dove forward, crashing her lips against Glinda's as she tangled her finger's in the blonde's hair. The kiss they shared was wet and sloppy and needy and perfect and she never wanted it to end. The hands upon her breasts began pulling and pushing against her more forcefully and she eventually allowed herself to be steered back onto the bed so that she was looking up at Glinda. "Have I ever told you that you look like an angel when you hover above me like that?"
The blonde chuckled throatily as she straddled Elphaba's waist. "Surely no angel would do this," she said, as she gave the petite mounds under her hands a good squeeze.
"Mmm, says you," Elphaba groaned, closing her eyes and arching her chest into the blonde's touch. She bit her lip and moaned softly as Glinda's fingers closed around her nipples and gave the buds a rough tweak. "I think you'd qualify."
The sight of Elphie so open beneath her still never failed to steal Glinda's breath from her chest and the blonde sucked her lower lip between her teeth as she gentled her touch upon Elphie's breasts. She stroked her fingertips lightly around the small mounds and sighed as she bent forward to capture Elphie's lips in a slow, sweet kiss. "I love you."
Elphie smiled into the kiss and reached up to grab hold of the blonde's hips. "I love you, Glinda. So much that I cannot find the words."
A low purr rumbled in Glinda's throat as she pulled back to stare into Elphie's open, honest gaze. Her heart skipped a beat at the love she saw shining up at her and she swallowed thickly as she lifted a hand to lightly trace the angular line of the green girl's jaw with the backs of her fingers. She smiled as she saw the corner of Elphie's lips quirk with amusement, or embarrassment, or both, and she sighed as she leaned in again to kiss her softly, lingering in the gentle connection as she settled herself atop her lover.
There was no reason to rush. They had four hours, after all, before they were to see the Wizard.
From the moment they managed to find their way through the maze of corridors and antechambers to the throne room the next afternoon, Glinda just knew that things weren't going to end well. It didn't help, of course, that Elphie was once again tongue-tied and staring with abject terror at the stage where an oddly-shaped, cobbled-together skeleton bounced and shook in the most obscene dance she had ever witnessed. She had to fight to keep from rolling her eyes at her companion's silence because, really, what had happened to her normally confident and well-spoken lover? What was it about this repulsive emerald palace that stole the words right from her throat? She took a deep breath as she lifted herself up onto her tiptoes, so that her mouth was at least closer to Elphaba's ear, and elbowed the taller woman sharply in the ribs as she hissed in her ear, "Elphie!"
But Elphie didn't blink or flinch or do anything to suggest that she heard her. It was incredibly frustrating for Glinda as she hadn't a clue what it was that Elphaba wanted to say to the wizard. She had come along on this impetuous journey because Elphie had seemed so close to breaking the night of Ama Clutch's funeral that the idea of saying 'no' hadn't even crossed her mind. Elphaba needed her support, so she gave it. But now… now she needed Elphie to step up and grasp the reins of responsibility because she honestly hadn't a clue what she should say to best present Elphaba's case to the Wizard.
Elphie's silence was incredibly frustrating for Glinda, as she knew their allotted time was quickly ticking away the longer they remained standing around doing nothing, and she decided with a rather annoyed huff to try and get the ball rolling for them with the hope that Elphaba would soon be able to jump in and direct the conversation where she wanted it to go. Of course, once she had decided to take charge for the time being, the issue became, where should she look? And whom should she address? Surely she wasn't expected to speak to the ridiculous skeleton that was now turned away from them and jovially slapping its own backside?
She shook her head. No. She had too much pride to reduce herself to that.
So she took a deep breath and instead directed her attention to the darker than average area that was just to the left of the stage. "I'm Glinda Upland from Froticca, if you please, your Highness."
The Wizard's voice boomed around them. "And if I don't please?"
Glinda didn't even bother to try and not roll her eyes at that, and even had she wanted to contain the scoff of annoyance that fell from her lips she wouldn't have been able to. "Seriously? How like a child," she muttered under her breath.
The only positive thing about the completely juvenile exchange was that it seemed to snap Elphaba from her trance and the green girl stood straighter as she addressed the throne. The stage. The dais.
"I'm Elphaba Thropp, and we come from Shiz with important information," she said in a loud, remarkably steady voice.
Of course, that was news to Glinda – she hadn't realized they had important information to share, she just thought that Elphie wanted to entreat upon the Wizard to reconsider the Banns. She turned to gape at her lover in surprise but Elphie ignored her and continued speaking as if she hadn't interrupted.
However, where Glinda had hoped that Elphaba taking charge of the conversation would direct it toward serious and intelligent topics, the complete opposite happened. The Wizard completely disregarded Elphie's opening statement out of hand, claiming to know all about Doctor Dillamond's research and debunking it as being nothing but Animal propaganda. And, as if that virtual backhand to the legacy of Doctor Dillamond and his brilliant, ground-breaking research weren't enough of an insult to Elphaba's pride and loyalty, from that point the conversation somehow managed to take a turn toward the absurd that even Crope and Tibbett would have been amazed by.
Whereas Glinda was annoyed and, admittedly, a little confused by the Wizard's response, Elphaba was completely stunned by his refusal to discuss facts and scientific results. Etiquette dictated that she not speak over the Wizard so she remained quiet, but when he began talking about his desire to hear the latest gossip, she was struck mute with fury. Gossip! As if they were Glinda's ridiculous cronies back at Shiz. All fluff and no substance. It was insulting. Insulting that, after the ordeal they had to endure just to be allotted four measly minutes of his time, that he wanted to gossip and lecture them like they were a couple of brainless idiots.
The entire experience was demeaning and offensive, and Elphaba felt her ire rise with every ridiculous word that fell from the Wizard's mouth. Wherever it was. The fact that he couldn't even find the grace to address them directly as he lectured was another point of contention to Elphie and she seethed as she stared at the ridiculous stage production being put on in front of them, glaring daggers at the stupid toy skeleton tap that was now dancing in a manufactured rainstorm to the beat of artificial thunder.
She ground her teeth together as her anger pulsed violently through her, and her hands shook with the effort it took her to not reach out and completely dismantle the Wizard's pet skeleton that was now pulling its teeth from its head and tossing them onto the empty throne. Each tooth landed in a rainbow colored explosion and seemed to shout at her the truth that was no longer undeniable.
The wizard didn't care about what was right. He only cared about maintaining his power and control over Oz.
"Beware whom you serve," the Wizard's voice boomed, and then the entire farce of a presentation ended.
Bile rose in Elphaba's throat and she swallowed it down thickly as tears stung at her eyes. She blinked them back instinctively and glared at the stage that was now silent. Silence descended upon them and the only sound to be heard in the entire room was that of the water from the Wizard's earlier display of a rainstorm dripping wetly down the drain in the middle of the dais. She found it utterly appalling that he actually believed that this mockery of a demonstration counted as governing anything, and she couldn't believe how naïve she had been to think that being in charge meant taking care of every citizen under your power to ensure that they thrived.
It was the feeling of Glinda's small hand wrapping itself around her elbow that finally drew her eyes away from the empty, dripping dais, and she nodded as she felt the blonde tug at her arm. A soft sigh fell from her lips as she turned her back on the Wizard's throne and she recognized the gesture as being symbolic of the fact that her heart and mind had already done the same thing.
She allowed Glinda to guide her out of the throne room and through the myriad of corridors and antechambers until they were once again standing in the Commander-General's office. She didn't meet the secretary's eye as she passed by his desk to silently pull their bags from the wardrobe in which they'd stored them. She handed Glinda the smallest of the bags and took the other two herself as she nodded tightly at the blonde and tipped her head at the door.
It was time to go.
Glinda kept a wary eye on Elphaba as they stepped through the front gates of the palace. They hadn't spoken a word since they were so rudely dismissed by the Wizard, but she could practically feel Elphie's anger radiating off of her in waves. She wanted to do something, to say something to take away her lover's pain, but for the life of her she hadn't a clue what she should do. She didn't know what words she could utter that Elphaba would accept.
Of course, Elphaba never gave her the chance to say anything. As soon as they were clear of the Gale Force guards who were manning the front gate of the ostentatiously pretentious emerald palace Elphaba muttered, "Well, at least we should still be able to make the three o'clock carriage."
Glinda frowned. She had expected Elphaba to rant and rave about the Wizard's refusal to listen to her case. She expected, not tears, exactly, because she knew how Elphie rarely cried because of the pain involved with the act, but she expected some sort of response. Some sign that her impassioned, intelligent, fiery lover still had some fight left in her. Yes, she had been prepared for a multitude of things, but certainly not this apparent apathy that Elphaba had seemed to adopt. "And you are okay with that?" she asked gently.
Elphaba bit her lip and nodded, but couldn't force herself to meet Glinda's gaze. She knew that she would never be able to look the blonde in the eye and lie. The Wizard's outright refusal to listen to reason left her no viable options except the extreme, and she knew what her next step would have to be. She also knew that she could never ask Glinda to take that step with her. No matter how much she loved the blonde – and she loved her with every molecule of her being, to the point that even contemplating leaving her was making her heart ache as if it were being ripped in two – she couldn't ask Glinda go with her to seek out the resistance. No, Glinda didn't deserve a life on the run as a rebel against the Wizard.
Though Glinda wasn't above playing dumb to gain an advantage, she was far from a fool and she knew that Elphaba was keeping something from her. She knew it from the way Elphie refused to meet her gaze, and she knew it by the way her sixth sense was tingling – telling her in no uncertain terms that something bad was going to happen, and that it was going to happen soon. She pulled the taller woman to a stop in the middle of the crowded street so she could look at her. "Are you okay?"
Elphaba smiled sadly and nodded. "I am as well as can be expected," she answered honestly. She wasn't fine at all, but she was doing as well as anyone could possibly presume to be when faced with the prospect that they would soon be forever separated from the woman they believed to be their soulmate.
Glinda frowned and tilted her head to the side questioningly as she gazed into Elphie's guarded eyes. She reached up with her left hand, the one that wasn't weighed down with her luggage, to gently cup the taller woman's face in her palm. Her heart stumbled in her chest at the look of resignation and pain that flashed across the green girl's face as she turned into her touch, and she couldn't help but whisper, "Talk to me, Elphie."
Elphaba closed her eyes to block the view of Glinda's pleading eyes and sighed. "Later, my sweet. We need to hurry if we're to make the carriage in time."
It was obvious that there was something more to Elphie's mood, something dark and twisted and mysterious that was lurking inside her mind, but Glinda naïvely hoped that whatever it was, Elphie would talk to her about it later. So, rather than pushing the issue then and there, in the middle of a crowded street as strangers bustled about around them, Glinda simply nodded and lifted herself up onto her toes so that she could brush a soft kiss across the verdant lips she so adored. "I love you."
Elphaba swallowed thickly and whispered, "I love you, Glinda." She sniffed softly as she leaned in to kiss the blonde again and she tried her best to smile as she pulled away, though it ended up looking more like a grimace. "Come now. We mustn't dawdle if we're to make it to the station in time to board," she said, holding out an elbow for Glinda to tuck her hand into.
They somehow managed to not only make it to the platform in time to board, but there was also enough time for Elphaba to go off in search of food to hold them over for the afternoon ride; and Glinda took her spot on the forward-facing bench and fought off everyone who dared attempt to steal the seat next to her. That seat was for Elphaba and, though she was disappointed that they hadn't been able to accomplish much in regards to the Animals, she was far from disappointed in how their journey ultimately played out.
How could she be, when she had managed to find the woman with whom she had every intention of spending the rest of her life with?
Her eyes widened and she sat up straighter in her seat as she spotted Elphaba pushing her way through the crowd, her sharp elbows flying at anyone who dared step in her way as her drab black cape whipped wildly in the wind behind her. She smiled as Elphie leapt onto the side-step of the carriage and instinctively inched to the side to make more room for her.
Her smile fell, however, when a small loaf of bread, an orange, and a lump of cheese was thrust into her hands. "Elphie?"
"This will have to hold you until dinner," Elphaba said, glancing somewhat apologetically at the meager rations.
Glinda gaped. "Me? Me?" she spluttered. "What about you?" she demanded, ignoring the way the driver was impatiently snapping the reins at the front of the carriage, and her heart felt like it shattered into a million pieces at the sad smile Elphaba gave her.
"I expect I'll be eating something worse," Elphaba murmured, glancing up at the driver who was now waving and hollering at her to either get in or get off. "This is goodbye, my sweet. I'm not going to go back with you to Crage Hall."
Glinda shook her head in disbelief as she reached for her lover's hands and she felt her breath catch in her throat at the way Elphie pulled away from her. "Elphie! NO!"
Elphaba closed her eyes and took a deep breath, steeling her will to say the words she needed to say. "You'll be all right." She opened her eyes and felt her heart clench at the tears that were beginning to build in Glinda's eyes. She had wanted to leave Glinda with that, with a positive thought that she would be okay in the long run, but she couldn't resist leaning through the window to press one last lingering kiss to the blonde's lips. "Hold out, my sweet. Hold out if you can," she murmured, kissing her one last time before she jumped back to the ground and took off into the crowd, desperate to find some kind of privacy before her tears spilled over and she cried even harder because of the pain that resulted from shedding them.
Glinda stared out the window at Elphie's retreating form, giant tears coursing down her face as she watched her love disappear into the throng of meandering Ozians that filled the small square. Her heart, already shattered, somehow managed to break even further as she lost sight of her love's black cape and she sobbed as she felt the carriage jerked into motion.
Elphaba was gone, and she was sitting in a carriage that was headed back to Shiz and a life she no longer wanted.
"NO!" The word was torn from her throat without thought and she covered her mouth with her hand to hide her shock. And then the flimsy dam that was holding back her emotions broke and she jumped to her feet as she started shouting and banging on the door of the carriage, "NO! STOP THE CARRIAGE! STOP! NOW! PLEASE! NO!"
Her frantic screaming must have been enough to gain the driver's attention because he yanked on the reins to jerk the horses pulling the coach to a loud, whinnying halt and bellowed, "WHAT IN THE NAME OF OZMA IS THE PROBLEM IN THERE?"
But Glinda didn't hear him. She was instead fighting with the lock on the inside of the carriage door, a task that was made more difficult by the tears that blurred her vision, and she sobbed with relief when she finally managed to throw it open. She leapt to the ground, her heeled boots landing with a loud thwack on the cobblestone street, and she took off running in the direction she'd seen Elphaba go, her only conscious thought being that she had to find her.
She screamed Elphie's name over and over at the top of her lungs as she ran pell-mell through the crowed, and paid absolutely no mind to the stares her antics received. A part of her was aware enough to realize that she must have looked quite mad running through the streets and shouting at the top of her lungs, but she could honestly care less what all these faceless strangers thought of her.
She needed to find Elphaba.
She had to find Elphaba.
Her tears were blinding her and she was thankful for the fact that her bizarre behavior had everybody jumping out of her way. She ran and ran, screaming for her lover with every step, and she let out a loud oompf when she smacked into a hard body that hadn't had the foresight to get out of her way. She pushed at the obviously oblivious person and slapped at their shoulders roughly as they wrapped their arms around her waist to keep her upright as she shook with the force of her sobs. "Please get out of my way, I have to find her! Please! Let me go! I need her! I have to stop her!"
And then the unidentified person in front of her spoke, and she felt her knees give way. "No you don't, my sweet. I'm right here. I've got you. I'm right here."
Glinda rubbed her tears from her eyes and looked up into her lover's face, which was shining with tears much the same as she knew hers had to be. She shook her head and reached up to cradle Elphie's angular jaw in her hands, holding the taller woman still as she made sure that she was really there and that she wasn't hallucinating. Her heart soared in her chest and she felt a fresh set of tears spring forth as she realized that Elphie was really there in front of her, this time from relief rather than sorrow, and she did the first thing that came to mind.
She pulled back and punched Elphaba soundly in the chest. "HOW DARE YOU LEAVE ME LIKE THAT!" She punched her again as her tears coursed hotly down her cheeks. "HOW DARE YOU!" Another punch, this time to the taller woman's shoulder, as her body shook with anger and frustration. "YOU LEFT ME!"
Elphaba fought to control Glinda's wildly swinging fists and finally ended up wrapping the smaller woman in a crushing embrace, pinning the blonde's arms between their bodies. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry," she murmured softly, over and over again against the blonde's ear as she rocked them both from side to side.
Glinda's wracking sobs eased as she sank into the familiarity of Elphie's embrace and she stopped struggling against her hold as what fight had been in her evaporated. "You left me. I can't believe you left me."
"I didn't want to," Elphaba murmured, her voice ringing with regret. "I didn't want to, my sweet. It was for the best. You don't deserve my fate, beautiful girl. You deserve so much more than the life that I am destined to lead."
Glinda swallowed thickly and leaned in to wipe her face off on Elphaba's cape, thinking that, after the hell she went through watching her walk away, the least the woman could do was let her do was dirty her clothes a bit. She took a deep breath as she looked up into her lover's eyes and shook her head defiantly at her. "You don't get to choose my fate, Elphie," she husked, her voice rough from screaming and crying.
Elphaba nodded and ducked her head, properly chastised. "I know, my sweet. But…"
"No buts," Glinda interrupted, reaching out to place a silencing finger upon Elphaba's lips. "Do you remember what you told me back in Shiz before we even left on this harebrained journey?"
It took Elphaba a minute to recall what she'd said, and she licked her lips and nodded as she finally remembered. "I told you that we were going to see the Wizard come what may and hell to pay."
Glinda nodded and smiled. "Yes. And do you remember what you told me when we were cuddled together in that tiny bed on the last night of our journey here?"
Elphaba nodded. "That we would face the future together."
"Exactly," Glinda murmured, leaning in and brushing the softest of kisses across Elphaba's lips. "Together. As in, you and I." She smiled as she kissed Elphie again, beyond relieved that she actually could do it. "Look at me," she cajoled gently.
Sorrowful brown eyes lifted to meet determined blue and Elphaba sighed. "I'm sorry," she whispered.
"Me too," Glinda breathed, tears brimming in her eyes as she stood on tiptoe to kiss Elphaba again. "But, remember this – so long as you're mine-" she smiled and arched a brow challengingly at the taller woman in a way that let her know that that would be for a very, very long time "-come what may and hell to pay, we will face the future together."
Elphaba smiled and dropped her forehead to rest against Glinda's. "I love you."
"I love you too, you silly, impulsive thing," Glinda murmured. "And don't you forget it."
"I won't," Elphaba breathed. She pulled Glinda into her and tucked the smaller woman's head under her chin. "I won't."