Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
The thumping in his heart was faster than any drum roll he could remember before a death-defying magic trick he'd performed. Sweat grew on his palms as he stared down at them — Theodora was gone, Evanora had run. What was this impending sense of doom suddenly about?
It wasn't until the monkey snapped some sense into him as he removed the phony mustache and rubbed the eyeliner off with his thumbs that Oz identified the source of his fear.
"Oz, I wouldn't dare tell you what to do after that fantastic display, but might you want to check on Glinda? She was after all, kidnapped, electrocuted, held hostage, and nearly killed in the past few hours. If nothing else, I'm sure she's experiencing a bit of post-traumatic—hey! You can't go out without a disguise on! Oz!"
Oz didn't listen as he charged from the city-saving machine, keeping his head down and plowed through the sea of people, all too transfixed on celebrating and hugging and sharing so fully in the joy of the human (or nonhuman, he wasn't sure) experience that he was slightly nauseated by the fact; when suddenly — a window broke and a disfigured lump fell, but not before it was picked up by two baboons — was it...Evanora? Barely having time to register the thought, Oz's eyes widened of their own accord when he heard a blood-curdling scream of pain coming from the very place the wickedest witch had just burst forth from.
He bit the inside of his lip before making his way as fast as he could to the source.
The pain had started at the first electrocution when she was picked up in the forest. While her entire body had quaked from the electricity of Evanora's wickedness, a small knot, twisted together of exceptionally sensitive nerves, had formed along her spinal column. The jostling of her body in flight, then the harsh tumble downwards when the witch's creatures dropped her only aggravated this particular place further. She wanted to press a hand against it, apply pressure, anything to relieve the burning, stinging sensation she felt.
As she was quickly chained up like a common criminal, Glinda found breathing difficult, her eyes were heavy and heart beating sporadically. Trying not to show weakness, she refused to let Evanora see the pain that was in her eyes as the madwoman ranted towards Glinda's beloved people. She winced, barely visible as the pain seemed to shoot up further.
When Evanora cast her evil magic for a second time, Glinda still refused to cry out. She could not be seen as defeated. She believed in the Wizard, even if he wasn't truly magical. He would save her. He had to.
His balloon fell. She actually gave up, for a brief moment, she gave up. But then...there he was. Oscar. The Wizard. The Great and Powerful Oz.
As the attention was drawn off her, Glinda had a moment to breathe, stifle a cry of anguish, and focus her energy on anything but the daunting throbbing and stinging sensation at her lower back. Something was terribly wrong, she knew, and even if she had her wand, she was no expert in the delicate magic of healing. She'd have to suffer until this was all over.
When the fireworks started and China Girl appeared, Glinda was relieved; she could be free of the shackles and the awful position she was in. Evanora was no longer in the surrounding area, though, and Glinda knew that there was no way the witch is leaving without taking something she thought was hers. Not giving her pain another thought, she transported China Girl to a safe study room within the palace, giving her precious, porcelain hero a quick hug before hurrying to the throne room.
She slowly eased herself into her father's chair, finally letting out a true gasp of agony. Letting her wand glow and focusing her energy off the pain and onto the area where it was, Glinda let a brief magical pulse out of her wand and felt a numbing relief wash over her.
As if on cue, Evanora charged into the King's room, not surprised to find the one good witch left sitting in the chair she felt was rightfully hers. Glinda kept calm, partially because she felt she had to in baiting Evanora, partially due to the numbness that was slowly creeping over her entire body, not just the sore spot on her back — healing magic was far past her scope of expertise.
When she flipped over the chair, Glinda thought for sure she was done. For a moment she let herself lay against the carpet, willing her body to simply shut down. For a moment, she didn't want her body to be able to stand. For a moment, she was ready to give up.
But in that same moment, Oscar's face pushed to the forefront of her mind. For a moment, she'd thought he was done for, too. But he wasn't.
And neither was she.
Her father would be proud of her, she thought as she stood, facing the woman who had dared to take his life from him all too soon. In a moment of pure adrenaline, she was ready to fight the wicked one who tried to ruin all the great king had stood for.
And no, she didn't need her bubbles. Not for this.
But then after the struggle of powerful magic, she was thrown backwards again, her sensitive back meeting in the same painful location along the edge of a stair. Spots appeared in front of her eyes and her world was black as her body rolled down the stairs.
When she came too, Glinda was barely able to lift her head. There was a new level of agony rolling through her. She could barely breathe or keep her eyes open as Evanora shrieked at her. As she opened her fist, she raised a brow at the broken necklace in her hand, her mind so slow to react given the traumatic injuries she'd received.
She could hardly stand, but she did, baffled and confused, mind reeling, back aching — something wasn't right, something wasn't right, something wasn't right — she moved closer to Evanora as the horrifying creature she'd become crawled across the floor. She leaned back in surprise as the woman attempted to attack again, and the pain that shot through her caused the magic to erupt out of her wand, sending the wicked witch back through the glass.
As Evanora was flown away by her baboons and the natural stress reactions began to rescind, she dropped her wand and fell forward, the pain completely washing over every sense, every nerve, every fiber of her body. Trying to process this, she resolved to handle the situation in the only way she knew how.
Letting out a blood-curdling scream, she let herself yell and yell as she tried to curl up in the pain, but only wound up causing even more of it along the curve of her lower spine.
It was only a minute before Finley swooped through the window, immediately at her side. "Glinda! What happened?"
"My back!" She screeched, crying fat tears that rolled down her red cheeks. She tried to explain how it felt, but her breath only came out in pants as she tried to grapple with the pain.
"I-I'll go find a healer! I'll be back as soon as I can! Oz is on his way, he'll be here in just minutes!"
Glinda let out another loud cry, her fingers twitching as she gripped at the floor, squeezing as hard as she could, trying to channel her pain into anything but her back.
As Finley promised, Oz rushed through the doors moments later, eyes wide as he caught sight of her misery. "Glinda," He whispered, falling to his knees next to her. "What is it?"
"My back," She managed to cry, "Something," She panted, "Something's not...it hurts—and—Ah!" She shook as she screeched.
"Okay, what...what do you want me to do? Do you want me to see what it looks like, or not touch it?"
"Look," She sobbed, "Something's not right, something's not right!"
Oz nodded, biting his lip. He was barely a barely passable carnival magician, let alone anything close to a doctor. Still, if he could tell her at least what it looked like, maybe she'd be more assured that she'd be alright and could calm down some. Gently, cautiously, he moved behind her shaking form, undoing the buttons that held her top together. His eyebrows knitted together at a strange, angry red pattern that he was starting to see the more skin he revealed. Finally, the whole top was opened and he unhooked the piece that held her skirt closed and carefully, carefully pulled it down, keeping in mind his purpose. "Damn, Glinda..." He whispered. rubbing a hand over his mouth and beard as he took in the sight before him. "It...it looks like...lightening? And...It's sort of purple down lower, Glinda, I-I don't know."
She let out another loud yell as a spasm ran through her back. Oz blinked quickly, completely lost as to what he could do. "Does...does it hurt anywhere else besides your back?"
"N-No!" She shrieked, her face turning into the ground as she wailed. At this, Oz stared for just a moment longer at the angry skin that was appearing to darken further down her spinal column. He shook his head for a moment before moving back to her other side where he took one of her hands from the floor.
"Squeeze my hand, Glinda, come on..."
She continued to shake and her breathing became more and more rapid. Oz let himself think back to the time his brother had fallen from the ladder and broken his ankle. He'd ran for his mother who cooed and regulated his oxygen until his father came with the the town doctor.
"Glinda, you have to slow your breathing, come on," he muttered, squeezing her hand. "Breathe with me, breathe with me." Her breath came in short pants and her eyes started to close for longer periods of time. "Hey, hey, hey." Oz rubbed her shoulder. "Don't you pass out on me, now...don't, come on...keep your eyes open, Glinda. Keep 'em open...the doctor is going to be here soon...Don't — don't you, — Glinda!" He shouted her name, squeezing her upper arm as carefully as he could to keep her awake.
Glinda took another shallow breath, her free hand trembling towards his. "Okay, okay...squeeze it if you want...talk to me, tell me how you feel—"
"I-I-I..." She tried to communicate but only ended up crying harder. This was such an extreme difference to the calm, collected Glinda who'd guided him over the past few days. As Oz held her hands and talked to her in attempt to keep her mind off the radiating pain, it seemed like hours before Finley flew in at top speed, next to Oz with his eyes wide.
"There's a healer on the way, Glinda. Hang in there. I found two of them in the square, I don't know how good or qualified they are but—"
"Thank you, Finley," Oz nodded, pressing a hand against Glinda's hair, stroking around her face, having removed her crown a few moments before. Her breathing was more even now, smoother. "Glinda...it's okay...they're on their way."
"Oz," Finley cleared his throat. "I don't mean to stand to tell you what to do, but, you're dead now...so I think...maybe you should—"
Glinda looked up through heavy eyes, the fire that had been in them for the few days he'd known her was gone. "Oscar..."
He shook his head at Finley, "No, no, I'm not leaving her. Not now."
"But Oz, you're dead!"
"I know, I know. I'll...just let someone else in on the secret. I don't care. I'm not leaving her, not like this."
A shaky, forced smile appeared on Glinda's lips for only the briefest of minutes as she squeezed Oz's hand again. He squeezed back. I'm not leaving.
Only a few minutes later, two men came barreling into the room, one carrying a bag of medical supplies. They were at her side immediately, not even concerned with Oz's presence as they both examined her, questioning what happened, Glinda unable to retell the tale in her exasperation. The one doctor prepared a needle with a bit of solution that he muttered would dull the pain and likely cause her to fall asleep within minutes as they examined her.
"It would appear that there is a fractured vertebrae here, judging from the bruising and location that is the cause of the pain...but I think...this...red, scar-looking...I think this is from Evanora's lightning strike. I don't know what we can do about that."
The two men conversed as Glinda's eyelids fell closed, but not before she cast a longing look into Oz's face, begging him with her expression to do anything he could to aid in whatever recovery methods the healers were going to use. He nodded, pressing his hand against her hair again as she gave into the medication and her face burrowed further into the stone floor. Finley sat on Oz's shoulder, nudging him. "I think we need to figure a way to communicate with the people in the city to let them know you are still around, in spirit, and that Glinda will be bringing them news in a few days. I can have Knuck see to it, if you think that would be best?"
"Mm," He nodded. "Spread the word, Finley. I'm going to stay with her."
After much discussion, the healers decided to perform the best they could with a light, magical bone-healing session. They did inform Oz, whom they swore their silence in his identity to, that she'd require much more intense healing from someone more capable than they. When he questioned who had such power, the two had only smirked and said they were sure Glinda would be able to answer that when she awoke. They left and returned, fitting her with a brace to support her back and keep her comfortable until she could receive more intense treatments, and provided healing ointment for her strangely-shaped scars, promising that though the lines would likely never permanently go away, they should at least fade with the salve. They also left several solutions of pain medication and promised they'd be within ten minutes' call if her condition would worsen.
The morning passed by in a blur as Oz spent it conferring with Knuck in delivering messages to different groups of people and instructing his Master Tinker where he'd like his machine to be set up in the throne room.
It was well into the afternoon when Glinda began to slip out of the anesthetic, waking in a fitful state of tears and confusion. Oz was at her side, clutching one of her palms and keeping the other hand on her upper shoulders to prevent her back from arching up in pain as she lay on her stomach. "Easy, easy..." He let her cognition come back to full processing speeds before attempting to explain what happened. When her muffled tears stopped and she blinked up at him with a sense of herself, he nodded down at her before kneeling to meet her gaze. "The healers found a fracture in your lower back. That's what is causing most of the pain. They did a light, magical healing session to begin to mend the bone. They also fitted you with a brace to keep the spine as straight as possible while it heals. They said that the scaring that's spread down your back is from Evanora's magical strikes against you. They shouldn't be causing too much pain, but they're likely never going to disappear. They gave you this..." He held up the jar, "To help them fade and stay at the surface level."
Glinda blinked as she slowly digested the information. "Are...Are they going to...do more magical sessions?"
Oz shrugged. "They can, but they said they wouldn't be very effective...but mentioned that you might know somebody who could help do a full healing?"
She closed her eyes and sighed. "She won't help me," The good witch sighed. "She hasn't been interested in me in a long, long time."
"Who?" The wizard asked, a hand running through her blonde curls.
"The witch of the North. She's very, very old. Centuries old, actually." Glinda groaned as a wave of pain overcame her. "She...she tried to mentor me, when I was younger. But...she didn't have the patience in working with a child. She was also against some of my father's more liberal policies, such as equality for all creatures — not just human subtypes. She's very traditional. I doubt she'd help me."
With a heavy sigh that was followed by another moan in pain, Glinda reached forward, wrapping an arm around Oz's bicep, rubbing mindlessly. "I need to go see the people, though. They need to hear from me that they are free."
"While I agree with that," He said in his gentlest tone, "I think you need to take care of yourself first. I have been running interference with Knuck and some of the Tinkers all afternoon. The people are rejoicing and celebrating. I have most of the Winkie guards already in custody, with the Quadlings rounding up the last of them. The people will make it through this first night. You must rest, Glinda. Tomorrow, I will do whatever I can to help you into the city."
"But the people think you're dead," She whispered, clutching harder on him. "You can't be seen."
"I know," He smiled brightly, "I know I'm dead, but that doesn't mean I can't support you in anyway I can. The Master Tinker is currently assembling a praxinoscope in the throne room. Oz may be dead, but Oscar will be here for you in anyway possible."
Glinda couldn't help the lone tear that trickled down her cheek as she whispered her thanks while Oz offered to cover her scars with the ointment. She allowed a tiny nod and he slowly pulled a white sheet down over her shoulders, where she realized she was wearing nothing in front of the wizard. She gave a little squeak an buried herself as close to the mattress as possible, forcing him to chuckle. "Don't worry, I'm not peaking."
Her face was on fire with embarrassment as she wondered how much of her he'd seen while she was out of it. But as his hands used caution to rub the salve into her skin against the strangely shaped scars, she decided that most of her really didn't care what he did, so long as he kept doing that against her sore shoulders, tender from the electric shock. "Oscar," She sighed his name lightly.
Oz couldn't help the smirk that had covered his face while he finished rubbing the solution in, but continued his ministrations on her shoulders. "I'm going to give you some more of that medication that they gave you earlier. You need to rest, and it'll help you stay out of pain and asleep." Without waiting for her permission, he dabbed a bit of alcohol onto a cloth and rubbed her shoulder with it before injecting the anesthetic into her. "Close your eyes, Glinda...when you wake up, it'll be morning." She didn't need to be told twice as the medicine had an immediate effect. "Sweet dreams," Oz whispered, pulling the sheet back up and over her shoulders.
The healers came back when she woke next, forcing her through a battery of assessments to determine the course of treatment as Glinda demanded no contact was to be made with the witch of the North unless she could see her in person. The two good witches were long overdue for a discussion, anyhow.
When morning came again, Glinda felt she was comfortable enough to take care of political business, fitted firmly with a back brace and relatively in a state of euphoria from the pain-killing narcotics, though she'd had the healers tapper down the dosage so she could function as the people of Oz's official representative.
She slowly made her way down the hallways of the Emerald City palace, thankful to be home in them once again. She sent a rowdy bunch of munchkin girls throughout the city, instructing them to round up as many people by daybreak as they could for a message from the Wizard.
The witch lowered herself carefully to the steps of the palace, content with the children and others who began to collect themselves around her, basking in her presence, none-the-wiser that she was in extra-ordinate amounts of pain, but pushing through it all for their sake.
"I have here a missive from the great Wizard of Oz," She'd stated when there was finally a full crowd around the palace steps as the sun rose over the East. She read Oz's message, the smile on her face uncontainable. The people cheered and she kept herself settled, letting people come to her for handshakes, gently refusing hugs from the children who offered them, stating she was a 'little sore' from her battle with the witches.
Finding a good Quadling to assist her up without straining herself and lead her up the stairs. She thanked him for his help and found her way back to the Throne room, where she entered with a wide smirk and twinkling eyes at Oz's great machine.
Glinda couldn't contain herself when her wizard essentially claimed her as China Girl's mother, and she carefully bent down to allow the porcelain child to climb into her lap. When Oz pulled her behind the curtain and she informed him that he'd surprised not only her, but himself as well, as he was truly a good man. He kissed her passionately, her first true kiss from someone she could consider a lover, and she couldn't help the pop of her foodt — overly romantic, though she never thought she would be — as his lips captured her completely in desire with him.
He led her through the halls as they plotted just how he was going to function as a dead wizard. They thought of excuses, surnames — something that would allow him to be with her as she traveled from land to land, dealing with problems caused by Evanora's reign of terror. For the most part, he knew, he'd have to remain in the Emerald City, available should the people of Oz need to speak with "him."
"What say you a few more days of resting before we head to the witch of the North's castle?" He suggested as she eased herself into a chair in one of the studies in the high chambers. She rested her eyes and sighed, not ready to think of the awkwardness that would ensue when she had to ask the woman who'd hit her over the head with magical scrolls time and again for her imperfection to heal her wounded body.
"Locasta isn't the most compassionate, Oscar. While she's somewhat a great-aunt of mine, her ties with my family have always been strained, given that she married into royalty as a second wife...and...She was always threatened by other witches. She wanted to train me herself so she could minimize my abilities, keep me in line. Originally, when she first became ruler of the Gillikin Country, she banned the practice of magic by anyone other than herself. My father overturned that, however, and things have been tense ever sense."
Oz pondered this as he paced in front of a small window. "And I can't imagine what she'll have to say for herself when she discovers that you're not a real wizard — ah!" Glinda pressed a hand to her back as it spasmed and Oz was at her side in a moment. "It's alright," She said in a mutter, blinking her eyes rapidly to avoid the tears of pain that threatened to spill.
"The healers said this won't stop for a long time if you don't get treated by—"
"I know!" Glinda's patience was lost for a moment as she leaned her head back and breathed deeply. "I know, I'm sorry, I...I don't want to grovel at her feet and beg her to take care of me is all. It's a pride thing, and I know that's stupid and selfish, but that's how I feel and I can't change that."
Oz knelt in front of her and took her hands, squeezing them as he had when the whole fiasco began. "That's completely understandable. But watching you like this makes me want to do anything I can to help you. And unfortunately, all that there is to be done is with Locasta."
Glinda sniffed, rubbing her thumbs over his knuckles. "When I last saw her, it was...probably three years ago, now, it was shortly after my father's death. I begged of her to help me defeat Evanora, take the city back...but...she refused. She said that she was in no condition to fight and no position to play politics. She asked me to leave her castle and not come back unless I had a reasonable plan."
"I'd say this is pretty reasonable," He jested, leaning forward and placing a small kiss on her cheek. "Come on, show me where she is on a map of Oz."
They spent the afternoon working on a hierarchy of Quadlings, Tinkers, Munchkins, and people of the Emerald City that they felt were capable of leadership roles under whatever restructuring they could come up with. Plans were drawn, notes were taken, and eventually, Glinda agreed to leaving in three days time for a journey to the Northern Gillikin country.
Traveling was proving more exhausting on Glinda than Oz had anticipated. Though they were moving by carriage, the bumpy road was causing her just as much grief as walking probably would have.
They stopped frequently, and as the second nightfall began to greet them, the two decided Glinda was ready for a proper rest, even though the Castle was only a few more hours' journey.
Oz held his hand out as Glinda carefully stepped down from the carriage. They moved a bit up the road, releasing the horses and leading them to a stream near the road. As they drank, Glinda kept her hand wrapped around Oz's upper arm, resting her head against his shoulder. He stole a glance down, noting how her eyes were glazed over, not just because she was tired, but because of the great pain she was attempting to mask. "Scale of one to ten?" He questioned softly, pulling her off his arm so he could wrap it gently around her and draw her face to his chest.
She was becoming used to the question and held up both hands to indicate a six. He swallowed hard when she burrowed her face into his white shirt, obviously trying not to cry.
Letting the horses drink for a few moments longer, he returned them towards the carriage, tying them to a nearby fence post and allowing them plenty of lead to walk around or remain still if they wished.
Oz opened the back door of their carriage, revealing a low mattress with blankets and pillows; along with several bags packed of casual clothes for Glinda to wear while recovering from magical surgery.
She caught sight of the makeshift bed and wanted to dive forward into it, but allowed herself to be fussed over as Oz carefully lowered her to the plush surface, then made work of removing her shoes. "Do you want me to put the lotion on your back?" He asked as he rubbed a smooth leg, waiting for a response.
Glinda nodded and slowly rolled herself over with a sigh, more than willing to be pampered. Oz's fingers made quick work of the buttons holding her dress together, getting far too good at undressing her, considering their relationship was hardly official and they'd barely known one another for two weeks. Yet, he kept it innocent, never letting his fingers wander inappropriately or eyes dart to places she wasn't ready for him to see.
He unlaced her back brace before shimming the rest of the fabric of her dress off, then dropped a bit of salve into his palm before rubbing her back and earning a satisfied groan. The flesh where she'd been electrocuted was still warm to the touch, and he could hardly fathom the sensation that crept all the way up her shoulders, on top of the fracture. She wasn't a whiner, though, she was truly a fighter. He supposed she likely always had been.
When he was finished, he laced the brace back up and tugged the zipper to close, but found a hand stopping him. Glinda tilted her head back with a pouty smile, indicating she wanted something. "Do you want me to keep rubbing?" She nodded and snuggled her cheek back into the pillow and he couldn't help the grin that overcame him as he lay down next to her, propping his head up with his elbow and wrist while his other hand drew gentle circles across her shoulders.
She couldn't control the little moans that escaped as her eyes flickered closed and Oz dropped a kiss to her forehead. "My father used to get me to sleep like this," She whispered, another sigh drifting between her lips. "He'd read to me then rub my back while singing. I was dreaming in minutes."
"Oh, you don't want me to sing to you," Oz chuckled. "It's a scary sound."
Glinda opened her eyes and let her face pout again. "Surely not," She insisted, bringing a hand up from her side to stroke his cheek.
"I'm not singing," He responded, shaking his head.
"Please, Oscar?" She begged, tipping her head up to press a kiss to his lips. "Just one little song? A refrain? A stanza—"
He laughed again and stopped rubbing her back for a moment to scratch at his head. "Well, what would you want me to sing to you?" His hand returned to slow circles as she shrugged.
"Something that is popular in Kansas," She answered, fingers moving to fiddle with the buttons of his shirt.
"Oh, goodness," He groaned, rolling his eyes for a minute. "Fine, alright...I'm a carnival magician back home, you know? Well, people think that we're the same as a fair, which, we're sort of are, anyway...when they come into see us perform, they think it's funny to sing a song about meeting at the fair— anyway..." He took a breath before starting off the first verse, earning a dazzling smile of approval from Glinda. "When Louis came home to the flat, he hung up his coat and his hat. he gazed all around, but no wifey he found, so he said, where can Flossie be at?"
She was gleaming as he continued and into the chorus, "We will dance the Hoochie-Koochie, I will be your Tootsie-Wootsie. If you will meet me in St. Louis, Louis, meet me at the Fair."
Glinda brought her hands together from being tucked under her chest to clap, cheering with giggles. "That was lovely, Oscar. Don't you ever tell me you can't sing again."
He rolled his eyes once more before pulling a blanket over them and moving a little closer to Glinda, his own eyes drawing heavy as he let himself give into the comfort of the pillows. "Goodnight, Glinda," he murmured, leaving a supportive hand against her back, just above the brace, as they both drifted off into sleep.
Glinda closed her eyes and took a deep breath, about to ring the bell of Locasta's castle when the gate opened of its own accord. She glanced at Oz and he shrugged, "Magic?"
She rolled her eyes and took his hand, cautiously leading them up a staircase and through several walkways.
"Took you two damn near long enough to get here, I've been ready for a whole day!" A snarly voice came from the top of a stair, and suddenly, the owner of the voice was in front of both Oz and Glinda. A woman no taller than Oz's bellybutton stood hunched over, a cane keeping her supported.
Glinda curtseyed and Oz remembered her instruction to bow at the sight of this peculiar, ancient witch who gave a cackle before slapping his shoulder. "The Great and Powerful Oz, graciously bestowing his presence onto me, a mere witch, ahaha!" She snorted, swatting his ankle with her cane, earning a baffled expression from Oz, forcing her to laugh again. "Oh, please, you great phony, as if I haven't been watching you from the moment you blew into town. Quite the display, quite the display. I'm surprised you were able to trick Evanora so easy. But, I suppose that greedy witch was only thinking of herself; what else is new. Come, come, follow me, Glinda, we'll discuss the matter of your injury once we find something for this great oaf to keep himself busy with while I operate my magic on you. Hope you brought something to knock yourself out cold, it's going to hurt like a bitch! Hehe!"
She turned and Oz gave Glinda a wide-eyed look, to which she responded with one that could only scream I warmed you. He shook his head, completely marveled at a whole new set of ridiculous to sort out in his all-too-mortal mind.
They were taken through a series of hallways and chambers by the grey-haired witch until they arrived in some sort of parlor, where Locasta had already set up a hospital-esque bed. "Sit, sit, both of you, now. There's tea on the table, help yourselves," They were steered to a sofa, where they promptly sat, Oz pouring Glinda a cup before one for himself. "Now, Glinda, dear, the war is over, you're shacking up with the wizard, and Oz is yours to repair and restructure. But quite frankly, your displays of magic over the course of this war have been mediocre at best. You were lucky with Evanora, had you not broken her medallion, she'd have killed you and taken the land form this intellectual being."
Oz nearly choked, this woman was more senile then his grandmother. "So, Glinda, I'll fix up your back. But, you are going to stay here for a month — now, now," She tutted as Glinda made way to object, "I've got it all taken care of in the Emerald City, worry not, you hasty thing. Goodness." The elderly woman leaned over her cane, her beady blue eyes sinking into Glinda's dark ones. "You need to improve your magic, hone your skills. Then, then, you will be prepared to truly help the people of this great land. I really need about three years to teach you proper, but I don't have that much time left and I know you won't give me any more than this."
As the fifth spasm in an hour ran up her spine, Glinda couldn't help but accept the woman's offer, making a magical agreement by letting a stream of light from her wand work through a light from Locasta's wand. "Now, as for you, wonderful Wizard," She laughed again, completely unable to take herself seriously. "You'll stay here. I've got to work on raising you as a leader, too." She clapped her hands and poured herself a cup of tea. "We'll begin the healing process after lunch. It takes about three hours the first time, then I need the both of us to rest for about a day before I can finish up. Don't worry, you'll be good as new when I'm through."
Oz glanced around the room as the witch continued to babble about the magical procedure. He laid eyes on a crystal ball, assuming that it had been her method for observing them.
Throughout this, Glinda had not spoken a single word since their arrival, and Oz could tell she was bursting with frustration. When Locasta left the room to prepare ingredients she'd need for the healing spell, Glinda let out a loud breath and tears simultaneously. "I hate her," She whispered under her breath. "I don't hate much, Oscar, but I hate her. I hate that I need her, and I hate thinking about what her magic might do to me."
He pulled her into a loose hug, wiping her tears before Locasta could return. "Don't let her see this, okay? Stay strong. It's not going to be for long. And I'll be here, the whole time. I'll watch over you while she repairs your back."
She took a breath and nodded. She was stronger than this. She'd survived the pain for this long, her father's death, a broken kingdom — she could make it through a month of the witch's deal.
Glinda lay on her stomach, her face pressed against a pillow and just a sheet covering her derrière on down. Oz sat next to her, a comforting hand over hers as they waited for the sedative to kick in, his eyes dancing across her marred back. He hoped that Locasta would be able to remove the scarring, too.
As Glinda fell asleep, the other witch gave a little chuckle and pulled up a chair next to Oz. "You said that should last six hours?" He nodded. "Good, because the magic won't take more than two. I need to have a talk with you, Wizard."
He gulped, not prepared to be reamed out by this terrifying 'good' witch before him. However, her voice took on a new tone and her facial features relaxed, and suddenly, she wasn't as scary. "I've been watching you since you were about sixteen years old. I, unfortunately, have been blessed and cursed with visions. I knew you would be the savior that Oz would receive. That's why I would never help Glinda; I knew there was a better way of freeing the people of Oz without a magical war that we would have inevitably have lost. I was serious earlier. Her magic has great potential. But she has done very little to unlock it.
"When she was younger, Glinda's father, the great King of Oz, brought her to me in attempt to learn." The witch rolled her bright blue eyes. "She was a mess. A true, magical mess. Completely out of control. She was only ten, and had recently lost her mother, so I knew it would be hard to teach her. She had little patience for me, and I her. She was slow to pick up, and lazy with practicing. Not a lick of discipline in her. Her father had treated her as a princess, not a witch, and she suffered because of it. I sent her away after six months of intensive magic lessons. When she came to me later, as a teenager, I tried again, but she was so hormonally-challenged that everything was a constant explosion. She was almost as difficult as Theodora to train."
Oz raised a brow. "You trained Theodora?"
"No." Locasta shook her head. "I tried, but she was hopeless, not only in attitude, but intellect. She was not capable, whereas Glinda was simply undisciplined and experiencing a series of life-complications. She has fantastic potential. Theodora's new mess, however, created by her sister, is truly going to wreak havoc on our land someday." She took a great breath of air. "But that is sometime away, I believe, as my visions have been telling me. This is why I want Glinda to train, now. She is finally mature enough to learn properly, to master the magic she has been blessed with. I wanted to teach her when she came to me three years ago, but she was such an emotional disaster that I feared for my life that training her would kill one of us then. But with you here, as support, and her success in the Emerald City to prompt her, I know she can do it."
Oz gave a little smile while the older woman ranted a bit more, "As for you, though, Oscar. May I call you Oscar?" He shrugged, indifferent. "You have been something of a cheat and a scoundrel since you got your first grope of a woman. You've let countless down, left many brokenhearted, and more bitter. How can I guarantee that you won't leave my Glinda the same way?"
Her Glinda? He grinned again. His royal partner was so-off about this woman's intentions. "I-I don't know, to be honest...There's just a feeling...I thought that I had felt it once before—"
"With Annie Ghale," Locasta nodded. "The rare beauty of Kansas."
Indeed. "But...this is...this is different, I can't explain it. Not yet. I need more time with her to truly understand it all. But...something tells me, this...this is what love is? I don't know. I hope so, though." He rubbed a hand along Glinda's bare back. "I really hope so."
They talked on about his future as the Great and Powerful Wizard, how he would delegate and care for those now in his charge.
She soon took her position over Glinda, prepared to mend bones and relieve pain. When Oz asked if she could remove the scars, the Witch of the North responded, "I can. But I won't. Glinda needs a reminder of where she was and how she got here. They will serve that purpose beautifully."
He observed as light was direct from her wand and over Glinda's spinal column. He was silent as she chanted and muttered, sweat pouring from her grey hairline as she exhausted her magic for the better portion of two hours. Oz was in awe as she finished, ready to replenish both magical and physical energy. She excused herself after instructing Oz to wait for Glinda to awaken and help her to move carefully to a regular bed in the chambers she'd given them permission to use prior.
Sitting for another hour and a half, Oz read through an old book on projecting magical spells into healing others, realizing just how complicated the magic the ancient witch used truly was. When Glinda finally stirred, he was at her side immediately, pushing messy blonde locks behind her ears. "Welcome back."
She blinked, surprised to find her pain was mostly gone. "Land of the living," She nodded, stretching an arm with great joy to find it didn't pull down her spine. "Feels great."
Oz broke into a smirk. "It'll be one more session before it's perfect, but Locasta said it was healing as she had hoped it would. She suggested we make for a more comfortable bed for the night, though."
Glinda didn't argue with that as she took a robe that he offered and turned to give her a moment to tie it decent, then she allowed him to pull her to her feet. She wrapped a trademark hand around his bicep as they made their way down the hallway to their guest chambers. She gave him her signature suspicious yet adoring look when she noticed his demeanor was perkier than it had been. "What's got you all excited?"
"Nothing." He looked down at her as her eyebrows raised in disbelief. "I'm just looking forward to spending the next month watching you grow as a witch."
Glinda rolled her eyes, not believing him for a moment. Though, it was true. Oz was indeed ready to spend the next month by her side, giving support in anyway he could. They stepped into the bedroom that he decided they'd be sharing. Though Locasta gave them two, he'd spent the last few nights snuggled next to the rightful ruler of Oz and he didn't think he'd like to change that now.
She excused herself to the washroom and Oz took the moment to turn the covers down on the wide bed they would share, fluffing the pillows and changing into a pair of sleep pants he had brought and removing his outer-shirt. Glinda emerged, still a breathtaking sight despite having been through surgery just hours earlier. She smiled and raised a sheepish shoulder in his direction before sliding into the bed. He extinguished a light on the night table, scooting closer to her. She turned her entire body towards him, feeling free to do so now that she was not locked in the same position as the previous few nights.
Aside from being curled up at the end of her father's bed when she had nightmares, or the past few days of care-taking, Glinda had never shared a bed with a man. While she wasn't sure of the protocol, she felt completely comfortable in Oz's presence. "Hi, Glinda," He said with that dazzling smile.
She gave a cheeky one back, putting a hand on his side and moving a leg up in between his where it seemed to fit naturally. "On your first night without the back-brace?" He teased, kissing her forehead. "I don't want to strain you." She flushed and her eyes darted to his chest instead of his face, that hadn't been her intention— "I'm only teasing." She looked back up, smiling again and tilting her chin upwards to meet his lips in a sweet kiss, giving a tiny nip against his bottom one to show she could be a little frisky if she wanted. He smirked again, giving a little growl and wrapping both arms around her waist, pulling her close in a tight hug. She moved her hands up to his neck, embracing him back with just as much enthusiasm.
1) I don't know how this became a seven-thousand word first chapter in a multi-chapter saga. It was just a respond to an anonymous prompt on tumblr. It completely got away from me. The other Oscinda story I published, Unbreakable, was originally going to be multi-chapter, but I am closing that one as complete and going to focus on this one instead, for now. Unbreakable might get picked back up in the future.
2) Locasta is LFB's name for the Good Witch of the North in his stage-adapted version. Since she has had so many variations over the years and the newest movie didn't touch on her, I figured she'd be a safe character to adapt for the sake of this story. She will be further developed, fear not. I will be incorporating as much of LFB's original characters and story lines as possible into this. It's a lot of research, because I never finished the entire series, nor have I touched the actual LFB books since 2002. I intend on rereading/reading them starting in May, but I wanted to start this well before that.
3) Updates will be as often as possible! I don't like to publish chapters that are less than 5,000 words. I don't think it's fair to the reader or to the character/plot development. of the story to have anything less. Therefore, they take me a bit of time, especially with editing. As this chapter is published, I have four weeks left of class and then some significant time off before summer class and work, so I hope to do as much as I can in the limited time I have! Your support, however, is always appreciated. Any feedback, constructive or otherwise, is valued. Thank you for reading, I hope you have enjoyed this first chapter!