The Beginning of Forever
AN. Originally I was planning this to be an epilogue at the end of Come What May. But, I didn't want it to be like the Harry Potter epilogue- by which I mean, that as much as I love the HP epilogue and knowing what happens to all the characters... it doesn't seem to fit. The last book is so action packed and dark, and then all of a sudden we've skipped 19 years and everything is all happy and sunshine?
Don't worry, I'm not skipping that long. But I spent a lot of time on the end of CWM and making sure it wasn't all sunshine, it was more like a rainbow. You know, still grey and cloudy but there's a rainbow so you know the sun is on it's way. (That probably makes no sense to anyone but Kelly and I)... so that was my goal for the end of CWM. Rainbows. And then this- lots and lots of sunshine! Enjoy :D
It was six o'clock in the morning, but Elphaba was up, sitting on the back patio and drinking a cup of coffee as the sun rose over Lake Chorge. She was still in her nightgown and robe, her hair still tangled from sleep. As the morning light caught the diamond on her left hand, it sparkled and threw drops of light around, emphasising the quiet glow on her face.
Elphaba looked up as a sleepy looking Galinda and Nessa came out to join her.
"Fabala, you're up already?"
Elphaba shrugged. "I couldn't sleep."
Galinda giggled. "I thought it was supposed to be tonight you didn't sleep?"
Elphaba rolled her eyes in exasperation, even as she blushed slightly. Nessa was more concerned.
Her sister shook her head. "No. Not at all. Just... happy."
Galinda sat down next to her with a smile. "Hey, Elphie?"
"It's your wedding day."
The tiny smile on Elphaba's face widened into a brilliant, contented smile. "It is."
Nessa shook her head in wonder. "I can't believe in a few hours you're going to be a princess."
Elphaba laughed. "Forget the princess part. I'm still wrapping my head around the idea that in a few hours I'm going to be someone's wife."
"You're going to be Fiyero's wife," Galinda corrected with a smile.
"Yeah," Elphaba agreed softly.
"And just think where you were three years ago today," Nessa reminded her.
It was October eighth. Three years to the day since Elphaba had written that first letter to Fiyero, the day that started everything. They had both agreed it was the perfect day to have their wedding, and absolutely worth the craziness that it had been to plan a wedding in only four months.
Fiyero had proposed literally the minute they had graduated; as in that he had turned to Elphaba once Madame Morrible addressed the audience with "I give you this year's graduating class of Shiz University" and met her with a searing kiss and a breathless "Will you marry me?" as their classmates were victoriously tossing their graduation caps into the air and the teachers and parents applauded.
Elphaba had simply laughed and said "That's your execution of the best proposal ever?", a reference to the list he had given her so long ago, with their future listed in numbered points on the page.
He had simply looked at her, waiting for an answer, and she had been struck dumb as she realised his complete sincerity and only been able to nod in response. And then that night over dinner, as they were out with all of their families together, he had gotten down on one knee during dessert and presented her with the beautiful diamond ring that presently adorned her hand (that had been his grandmother's), a speech that had made every person at the table cry, and then asked her again. And she, of course, said yes.
Planning the wedding had actually been relatively easy, even given the small amount of time. Fiyero had gone to his parents, and told them that they didn't want a big wedding, royalty or not.
"We feel so lucky that we even get to be getting married, that we'll get our life together. We just want our wedding day to be about that, and nothing else," he had explained to his parents.
And Ibrahim and Kasmira had easily understood that and agreed. It had been Galinda who suggested the lake as a wedding venue, and offered the Upland's Neverdale summer home for the occasion. And everything had fallen into place from there.
"Does the bride want breakfast?"
The girls were interrupted as Mrs Upland called out to them.
"The bride definitely does," Elphaba called back, her smile evident even in her voice.
Galinda suddenly came over with tears.
"You're a bride," she said in awe.
Elphaba rolled her eyes.
The entire house seemed to be buzzing with electricity and simply pure happiness. Everyone knew exactly what this day meant to both Elphaba and Fiyero, and everyone was so grateful that this day was becoming reality.
And Elphaba was surprised herself by just how happy she was. She felt good physically, emotionally and mentally; and today she would marry the person she loved more than anyone in the world. What was there to be unhappy about?
When Kasmira entered the dining room for breakfast, she hugged Elphaba tightly.
"How are you? Not nervous?"
Elphaba shook her head resolutely. "Not in the least."
Kasmira smiled. "Good. Let's eat. You'll need your strength today."
"I always thought people always said that for weddings where there were like two hundred people there. We have not even twenty people coming," Elphaba reminded her.
"Humour me," Kasmira chuckled, guiding her to a seat.
In addition to Galinda, Nessa and Boq, as well as all of their respective parents, the only guests that were attending were Lau, Dr Crowe, and Michi. Kai was attending as Nessa's date, and Boq was bringing his girlfriend of the past two months, a Munchkin girl named Lela. Galinda was dating, but no one she deemed important enough to bring to such an occasion.
"Ok, so once we finish eating we'll do hair and makeup," Galinda told Elphaba as they ate.
Elphaba swallowed the mouthful of toast she was chewing. "You know the ceremony starts at eleven, right? It's only seven o'clock."
Galinda ignored her.
As Galinda began to brush Elphaba's hair carefully, Elphaba watched in silence. Maybe it was stupid, but even a year and a half after being in remission, Elphaba couldn't help but be paranoid about her hair.
It had grown back pretty much the same as it had been before she lost it, maybe even a bit thicker. It now reached just above her shoulders and it had been one of the things that made Elphaba feel as though she truly had recovered.
Galinda carefully styled it, arranging into soft curls. Elphaba had decided against wearing a veil- honestly, it was a miracle she'd agreed to wear white, in her opinion. Instead, she was wearing a delicate jewelled headpiece in her hair. Galinda kept her makeup simple, the way Elphaba preferred it. Then she did Nessa's hair and her own, styling them both similarly in a simple French twist.
As maid of honour and bridesmaid respectively, Galinda and Nessa were both wearing matching blue knee length dresses, with a simple neckline. They both looked simple and elegant, thanks to Galinda. Elphaba had left the dress choices up to her best friend, and both girls had essentially picked out Elphaba's own dress.
"Alright, Elphie. You can get dressed now," Galinda told her when she'd ensured that Elphaba's hair and makeup were perfect.
Elphaba had to admit, she loved her dress. When they'd gone shopping, Nessa had found it and the girls had combined to insist that she try it on. And then once Elphaba had tried it on, she'd realised just how beautiful and perfect it was.
It was strapless, with an intricate design of white and gold lace on the bodice combined with chiffon criss-crossed over her breasts. The skirt was made of satin and reached the floor, with an outer layer of chiffon that had a train in the back and was shorter in the front. It was nothing too fancy or too formal, and Elphaba felt beautiful when she was wearing it.
And Elphaba, much to Galinda's horror, had refused to wear shoes.
"I'm getting married on a lake," she had stressed. "Wearing heels is just going to make it harder to walk. And then they'll get wrecked, and you'll complain. Forget it. I'll go barefoot."
Galinda had relented, but was still wearing shoes on her own feet.
But when Elphaba emerged from the bedroom, completely ready- bare feet and all, Galinda, Nessa, Kasmira and Mrs Upland were all overcome with tears.
Kasmira stepped forward and hugged her tightly. "Ibrahim and I are so happy that you're finally our daughter-in-law," she said softly.
Elphaba swallowed, fighting back the sudden tears that appeared in her eyes.
"Ok, no one is allowed to cry or you'll ruin your makeup," Galinda ordered them all. "Let's just wait patiently. OK?"
While the girls got ready at the house, the men had spent the previous night at a boarding house in town. Which seemed ridiculous when the Upland's house was so big, but Galinda had been insistent on every tradition- especially the one about the groom not seeing the bride before the wedding.
But as the time drew closer to eleven, Elphaba knew that Fiyero must be close by. The only thing they were waiting on was Frex to arrive to escort his daughter down the aisle.
Elphaba's relationship with her father, although not perfect or ideal, was greatly improved from what it used to be. They would never be as close as Frex and Nessa, and Elphaba was sure that she would always feel closer to Ibrahim than Frex, but they were closer. They could communicate more, and Frex was softer towards his eldest daughter.
There was a knock on the door exactly five minutes before eleven, and Nessa turned to Elphaba excitedly.
"That must be Father!"
She wheeled off to get the door as Elphaba got to her feet and Galinda handed her the bouquet of white lilies Elphaba had chosen.
"Do you need more hairspray?" Galinda fussed.
"Galinda, I already have a whole can in there," Elphaba laughed.
"But if I just fix this-"
Elphaba slapped her hand away from where it was stretching towards her hair, just as Frex entered the room.
Her father stilled in the doorway, just staring at Elphaba, seemingly in shock for a moment.
"Are we ready?" Galinda asked.
Frex cleared his throat. "May I have a moment first?" he asked Elphaba.
Elphaba was surprised, but nodded. "Sure."
"We'll wait in the hall," Nessa told them.
The others filed out of the room, leaving father and daughter alone.
"You look beautiful, Elphaba," Frex told her.
Elphaba smiled faintly, still not used to compliments off her father.
"Thank you," she said shyly.
From a jacket pocket, Frex withdrew a small box. "This is for you."
Puzzled, Elphaba opened it to find a beautiful and simple diamond necklace.
"It was your mother's," he said quietly. "She got it from her parents and wore it on our wedding day. She'd want you to have it."
Elphaba was stunned.
Frex took it from her and helped her fasten it around her neck. It nestled in the hollow of her throat and Elphaba didn't trust herself to speak right now.
"Thank you," she managed to say, one hand gently touching the necklace.
Frex hesitated briefly and then slowly stepped forward and embraced his daughter- the first time Elphaba could ever remember her father hugging her. Tears burned her eyes as she awkwardly returned the hug.
There was a gentle tap on the door, and Nessa wheeled through. She stopped short at the sight before her.
"Elphaba? Are you ready?" she asked gently, not wanting to interrupt.
Frex pulled back and beckoned to Nessa. Elphaba sat back down on the couch so that she was at a lower level to reach her sister. Frex sat down beside her and as Nessa reached them, he took both their hands. Nessa took Elphaba's other hand, so that they were all connected.
"I know that your mother would have wanted to be here today. And I'm sure she would be very proud... of both of you."
Nessa beamed at Elphaba.
"Thank you Father," Elphaba said quietly.
"If Galinda was here, she'd make a comment about being proud for you marrying a prince right now," she said to her sister, and Elphaba laughed.
"She would," she agreed. "Can we go now?"
Nessa nodded smiling. "Let's go."
They left the room and joined Galinda, who explained her mother and Kasmira had gone down to the lake to join the other guests.
"It's eleven exactly. It's tradition for the bride to be late though-"
"Galinda, I'm not following that tradition," Elphaba interrupted. "I just want to get married, okay?"
Galinda beamed. "Ok."
Frex took Elphaba's arm and Nessa and Galinda led the way to the shore. Just before they came into view of the spot where the ceremony was taking place, they stopped so that Nessa and Galinda could hug Elphaba one last time.
As Nessa wheeled herself towards the shore, Kai coming forward to assist her chair across the sand, Elphaba could hear the string quartet they'd hired begin to play. Galinda followed after a moment, leaving Elphaba and Frex waiting for their cue.
It was only a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity to Elphaba. Finally, she nodded to her father and they began to walk forward. First the guests came into her line of vision, and then the wedding party. She knew her sister was there, and Galinda; and Boq and Lau who were standing up with Fiyero, but all Elphaba saw was her soon to be husband.
Fiyero's gaze locked with hers, and he broke into a wide and beaming grin. Elphaba couldn't help but smile back at him, not seeing anything but his face. And Fiyero was completely transfixed. It felt like a dream, and he was sure he was about to wake up at any moment. It felt like they had been waiting for this day forever, and it was finally here; although Elphaba had been teasing him since they got engaged that he was just looking forward to ticking a specific item of their list. Fiyero didn't deny that, but more than anything he was looking forward to Elphaba being his wife.
They drew closer and closer, and at last, Frex took Elphaba's hand and placed it in Fiyero's grasp.
"Hi," he greeted her when she was facing him, and Elphaba laughed.
"Hi," she replied.
The minister began to speak, but Elphaba heard none of it.
"Now, I invite Elphaba's sister, Miss Nessarose to do a reading that has been selected by Elphaba and Fiyero."
Nessa smiled graciously, pulling a piece of paper out from the side of her chair. Clearing her throat, she began to read aloud. The only thing Elphaba and Fiyero had decided should be read on this day.
"It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the winged seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling— my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea—
In her tomb by the sounding sea."
When Elphaba had asked her sister to read, Nessa had been touched, although she thought the poem itself was a tad morbid for a wedding. Elphaba had simply explained that it meant something to her and Fiyero, and Nessa hadn't objected further.
"Elphaba and Fiyero, would you face each other please and hold hands?" The minister asked the couple.
Elphaba handed her bouquet to Galinda and turned to face Fiyero.
"Repeat after me, please Fiyero. I call upon these people here present."
"I call upon these people here present," Fiyero repeated. "To witness that I Fiyero, take you Elphaba, as my lawfully wedded wife. To stand with you through good times and bad times, through sickness and health. To share with you a relationship of love and of tenderness and laughter. I will stand by you through all our tomorrows, respecting you as a person, your individuality, your needs, your changes, and promise to love you for every moment throughout our lives. Today is the beginning of the rest of my life. I choose to spend today, and all of my tomorrows, with you."
Elphaba held Fiyero's gaze steadily as she likewise repeated her vows. "I call upon these people here present, to witness that I Elphaba, take you Fiyero, as my lawfully wedded husband. To stand with you through good times and bad times, through sickness and health. To share with you a relationship of love and of tenderness and laughter. I will stand by you through all our tomorrows, respecting you as a person, your individuality, your needs, your changes, and promise to love you for every moment throughout our lives. Today is the beginning of the rest of my life. I choose to spend today, and all of my tomorrows, with you."
The minister looked to Galinda and Boq.
"May I have the rings?"
Galinda and Boq handed them over, and the minister held them out to Elphaba and Fiyero.
"With this ring-"
"With this ring, as a symbol of my undying love and eternal faithfulness, I thee wed," Fiyero repeated, sliding the ring onto her finger.
Elphaba smiled. "With this ring, as a symbol of my undying love and eternal faithfulness, I thee wed," she said softly.
The minister raised his voice to address all the guests.
"Elphaba and Fiyero have declared their love before you all today and-"
He faltered as Fiyero held up a hand to cut him off.
"Can I say something?"
Elphaba froze, looking at him in confusion and a slight hint of panic. She wasn't the only one who was confused, she could hear surprised and confused murmurs behind her from the guests.
"What are you doing?!" she demanded in a whisper.
"I just want to say something really quick," he reassured her, which was actually not reassuring at all.
"This can't wait two minutes?"
Elphaba exchanged a puzzled glance over her shoulder with Galinda, and the blonde shrugged helplessly, which meant if Fiyero had planned something, she had no idea.
Fiyero pulled out a letter from his pocket, and cleared his throat.
"Elphaba, I am so thankful that we can be standing here today. Because there was a time when I was afraid that this would only be a dream. Something that only might have been. I love you so much, and the idea of living without you still terrifies me. Having you as my wife, knowing that we get to spend the rest of our lives together... nothing makes me happier. And I promise you, that I will spend the rest of forever loving you, protecting you and doing everything I can to make you happy. I promised you forever, Fae, and I want every moment of that forever to be as perfect as possible. I love you."
Elphaba was stunned, and she wasn't even aware she was crying until Fiyero gently reached out to wipe a tear off her cheek. And although she had nothing planned to say in response, the words spilled out of her like she'd been planning them for days.
"Thank you for loving me," she whispered shakily. "Thank you for loving me through everything. You just vowed to love me and stand by me through sickness and bad times, but we've already been through all that. You've seen me at my worst and I already know that no matter what, I can always count on you to be there. I love you, Yero."
Fiyero beamed and looked to the minister impatiently. "Can you do the whole 'kiss the bride' thing now?"
The minister looked as though he wanted to say something- maybe to protest that he had been getting to that before being interrupted. But instead, he rolled his eyes and complied.
"By the power vested in me, I now declare you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
Fiyero happily slipped his arms around her waist and pulled Elphaba close, kissing her deeply. The guests applauded, but the sound was distant in Elphaba's ears.
"Hi, wife," Fiyero murmured with a grin as he pulled away and Elphaba laughed.
"Hi, husband. You couldn't have saved that letter for the reception?"
"No, it seemed more appropriate in that moment. Although in hindsight, delaying that kiss was not my brightest move," Fiyero admitted.
Elphaba chuckled. "Well, we did it."
"We did," Fiyero agreed happily. "You are officially stuck with me forever."
"I'm okay with that," she said softly, and Fiyero kissed her again.
This was it. The beginning of their forever.
AN. And there is also a separate mini sequel coming, entitled Days Go By. Chapter 1 will be up in 2 days as per usual!