DISCLAIMER: Wicked does not belong to me it belongs in book form to Gregory Maguire and L. Frank Baum and in musical form to Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holtzman and a variety of others. This is for entertainment and fun not for profit.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is part 2 of the series it also takes place after popular and gives a version of how Elphaba may have gotten the outfit she wears to class after Galinda promises to make her popular.
CHALLENGE: Submitted for the first International Day of Femslash.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Notes in the Margins
Had you asked Elphaba yesterday what she would be doing with her Saturday afternoon this would most certainly not have been her answer. But, somehow, here she stood a mildly bemused expression on her face as Galinda held up perhaps the eight millionth outfit before dismissing it and adding it to an ever increasing discard pile.
"Miss Elphie, none of these will do," if someone could verbally stomp their foot in frustration Galinda had done just that. She had set out to find the perfect outfit for Elphie the one that would help her see what Galinda saw whenever she gazed at the green girl. And yet, here she was, with all of her shopping prowess, failing to find what she wanted.
"I told you this wouldn't be easy. I clash with everything." Elphaba allowed a tone of self-deprecation to creep into her voice. She knew Galinda was on a mission but she knew from experience all of the dress-up in Oz wouldn't make her any less green. So, unless Galinda had some as yet untapped ability to degreenify her there was little hope of success in this day's shopping.
The tone, as much as the words, stopped Galinda in her tracks her hand frozen over the rack of clothing she had been perusing. As quickly as she had stopped she whirled around to look Elphaba directly in the eye. "I will not have you talk about yourself in that tone Miss Elphaba." Her small hands curled into fists and sat firmly on the swell of her hips and blue flame flashed in her eyes as she spoke. It was one thing for Elphaba to have to endure the jabs that came from others but Galinda would no longer sit idly by and watch her friend beat up on herself.
Try as she might Elphaba couldn't control the laughter that this image of Galinda inspired. She looked so determined and stubborn and, well, cute. She knew the reaction would probably get her in trouble but there was no reining it in. The soft chuckle rose and bubbled over much of its own volition.
"Elphie, don't laugh at me. I'm serious," with this statement Galinda straightened to her full, if still less than imposing, height.
This action only caused Elphaba's laughter to increase in volume and boisterousness. At this point it was quite beyond her control. It wasn't just a response to Galinda's adorably serious expression it was a release of much of the pent up emotion of the day. It felt good to laugh and so much of what she had felt that day had been too raw or confusing to feel good. Elphaba let the laughter take its course until she could contain the remainder with a smile and speak.
"I'm not laughing at you." She didn't think she could explain to Galinda how endearing she was right now.
"Well you certainly aren't laughing with me since I am most decidedly not laughing." A bit of her seriousness had worn off though as Elphaba's wide smile was quite infectious. She realized she did not see that smile nearly often enough and really didn't want to do anything to make it disappear. She took a couple of steps closer to Elphaba and reached out to take her hand. "You have a beautiful smile, Elphie."
Elphaba was stunned by this turn of events and felt heat rising in her cheeks at the compliment. She and Galinda had been holding hands a lot today so the touch itself wasn't as shocking as it had been but the words still made Elphaba squirm. She knew Galinda was determined to make her see her own beauty but it seemed to the green girl her friend had chosen an impossible task. All she could think to say were any number of denials or jokes at her own expense and she knew Galinda would not take kindly to any of those so she just stood silent and blushing.
"I was right the first time, pink goes good with green," Galinda gently teased as she saw the blush rising in her friend's cheeks. These words only succeeded in causing Elphaba's color to deepen further. "Though I think it would be a bit much as an entire outfit." Galinda was not to be distracted from the task at hand for too long. Besides, it seemed that, for the moment, Elphaba was not denying her compliments, which was a remarkable improvement.
"So, no pink frocks then." Elphaba surprised herself at the comment. She seemed to have found her voice and shaken off some of her embarrassment, at least enough to joke with her friend.
"Of course not," Galinda grinned, "besides, I can't have you stealing my signature color." Galinda, still holding tight to Elphaba's hand, walked them over to yet another rack of clothing and began the selection process anew.
"No, we certainly couldn't have that," Elphaba agreed with a not-so-subtle hint of sarcasm.
"Oh Elphie, I've found just the thing," the words were coupled with a squeal of delight as Galinda let go of Elphaba's hand and reached for the perfect outfit. The skirt was in the muted tones that Elphaba usually preferred but the top was brilliant white with the slightest black trim at the neck and the sleeves. It was styled in a more modest fashion than Galinda would have selected for herself but it was perfect for her Elphie. The high neck and long sleeves would cover enough to keep Elphaba from feeling self-conscious but the tailored lines would still hug and accentuate the slender curves her friend kept so well hidden. That and the contrast of the crisp white and soft green would be breathtaking. Galinda didn't say another word as she grabbed up the clothing and dragged Elphie to the nearest dressing room shoving the girl and the clothes inside.
"So, I assume then that I am to try this on," Elphaba's bemused tone came from the other side of the door.
"Yes," Galinda replied impatiently, "now, don't be a brat my dear Elphie. Trust me, this will be perfect."
Elphaba stood staring at the clothes in her hands marveling at this whole situation. She had never in her life spent this much time in a clothing shop. She was fairly certain the only reason her father had even provided her with clothing was because it wouldn't be acceptable for the daughter of the governor to be running around naked. Nessa had always been showered with gifts of dresses and hats and, obviously, shoes but Elphaba had been required to make due with a few humble choices. The colors were drab in an attempt to fade into the background and to cover as much of her skin as was possible. She had never chosen an outfit to make her stand out. Her skin caused her to do that enough without drawing more attention to herself. It most certainly would never have occurred to her to choose anything in white, but she had agreed to this shopping trip for better or for worse and she had to see it through. With that thought she began to change into the clothes Galinda had selected for her.
Galinda found herself tapping her foot in a most impatient fashion as she waited for Elphaba to emerge from the dressing room. She couldn't wait to see the results of her hours of searching. She knew she found Elphaba to be beautiful even in her simplest of frocks but it wasn't her opinion she was trying to change. She was attempting one of the most difficult tasks she'd ever undertaken. She wanted to change Elphaba's opinion of herself and she knew that would take more than a new outfit, but it was a start. As she continued to wait Galinda heard the jingle of the bell at the door and turned to see who was entering the shop.
Misses Phanee and Shenshen entered the door with their arms already loaded with packages collected from an obviously fruitful morning of shopping. Their voices rose and fell in that lilting, vacuous way that only spoiled socialites could pull off well and for the first time Galinda found the sound mildly irritating as their unintelligible words drifted through the boutique. Galinda had known there would be a risk of running into her associates. . . she couldn't quite bring herself to think the word friends . . . as there was little doubt about how they would spend their Saturday. What with all the new spring fashions coming out it was surprising they had managed to avoid them this long. It was only a matter of moments before they saw Galinda waiting by the dressing rooms.
"Miss Galinda," Phanee waved as they made their way over, "we were so worried after you left the party last night with that wicked green bean. It was too, too good of you to show such pity on her but really even you should not be expected to accompany her home. Especially after you had the eye of a prince, I mean really Galinda."
Galinda knew they would have been talking about the events of last night and if she hadn't been at the heart of them she probably would have joined in the gossip. A part of her was disgusted by her own shallowness but there were games to be played and there was no way for her to escape them. She only hoped Elphaba would understand and forgive her for these social necessities.
Elphaba heard the voices outside the dressing room and felt her muscles grow tense at the sound. She felt her frustration grow as one of the girls, Phanee if memory served, continued to prattle on. She was fully aware of the social pressures Galinda was under. In fact, as an outcast, she had a unique view of the situation in which Galinda now found herself. For Elphaba there was no harm in being friends with Galinda. She had no social standing to lose. Galinda, however, had everything to lose. There was a part of Elphaba that worried for her new friend, worried that all the things that she had would be taken away if their friendship became fodder for the rumor mill that was society at Shiz. Elphaba had never known what it felt like to have a friend and she was loath to let go of this new bit of joy, but she also knew that she would rather only have the memory of friendship than see Galinda hurt because of their association.
Even though the blond seemed determined to change the green girl's social status Elphaba was fully aware of the impossibility of that situation. No matter how well she dressed or did her hair Ozians were a small minded bunch. She would still find herself on the receiving end of their petty insults and ignorant fear, her natural verdigris guaranteed that. She could handle that truth, she always had. She only hoped as she stood listening that Galinda could too.
"I assure you Miss Phanee, the prince's eye is still caught. I mean really, did you think I would risk a boy like Fiyero?" Galinda could feel a quite unexpected pain in her chest as she said the words. Her heart knew she would indeed risk her relationship with Fiyero for Elphaba but the rest of her wouldn't give in. Everything she had ever been taught, everything in her experience told her that her dreams should rest with the dashing prince, not a stubborn, troublesome girl from Munchkinland. It was far more complicated than anything she had ever felt before and she squashed the pain down deep in her heart. She knew what she had always wanted and she wasn't going to change that now, not when she had it all, and Elphaba as a friend to boot. "Besides after being forced to share living quarters I've actually grown to have a sort of fondness for Miss Elphaba."
It wasn't exactly the ringing endorsement she had secretly been hoping to overhear but at least she hadn't called her an artichoke. Elphaba could see the tightrope Galinda was attempting to walk in front of her popular cronies and she applied all of her practical logical mind to the words. In doing so the realist in her tried to block the pain in her heart. Her relationship with Galinda had grown far more complicated in the last two days. When they had detested each other it had all been easy and expected, but now, now it was a mess. Elphaba knew they were now friends, but all of these other feelings were quite a bit more than she could begin to understand. She just hoped these inanely babbling girls would leave soon so she could come out of this dressing room, it was growing increasingly claustrophobic.
Phanee and Shenshen exchanged shocked glances at Galinda's words. Just the night before Galinda had given Elphaba that ridiculous pointed hat to wear and now here she was claiming a certain fondness. The two girls were shocked and disturbed by this turn of events but shrugged it off as Galinda's inherent goodness. Of course she would see something good in that horrid green girl, it was only natural. Besides, if they wanted to keep their social standing it certainly wasn't their place to argue with the whims of the most popular girl in Shiz. Instead they said their quick goodbyes and made their way out of the situation hoping next time they saw Galinda she would be in her right mind.
Elphaba listened for the soft tinkle of bells to indicate the girls had left the shop and squared her shoulders preparing to step out of the dressing room. As she did she looked at herself in the mirror for the first time. What she saw there was something she had never seen before. It made her feel strangely self-conscious in a way she had never before experienced. She found herself tugging at the hem of the shirt in a nervous fashion, fascinated to see the striking but not displeasing contrast of her green skin with the bright white fabric. Elphaba didn't know what she thought about her reflection, the image staring back at her was too foreign and the feeling of femininity that seemed to have enveloped her was too strange. The best Elphaba could manage was to shake off these emotions and exit the dressing room hoping that this would satisfy Galinda and they could end this whole silly escapade.
Galinda turned as she heard the door to the dressing room open behind her. As she saw Elphie exit, the troublesome thoughts her classmates had inspired seemed to evaporate like mist in the sun. Elphaba was breathtaking. Her curves were shown just enough to temp the imagination without being overt and the color, the white against her skin, was gorgeous. Galinda had never seen anything so perfect. She walked over to Elphaba and reached out, wanting to bring a lock of inky black hair over her shoulder to accentuate the quality of dark on light. As she did so the back of her hand brushed whisper light down Elphaba's chest. She knew the touch was too intimate to be appropriate but she found that she didn't care.
"You are amazing," as she spoke Galinda's sparkling blue eyes met Elphaba's rich, dark orbs. "I have never seen anything as beautiful as you right now, just like this." She wanted to be able to say more but the words just seemed to stop in her throat. There were so many things she wanted to express that she seemed unable to it made her slightly dizzy with the enormity of it all. She felt a tingling where her hand felt the warmth of Elphaba's skin through her shirt and couldn't help but wonder how that touch was so much more powerful than anything she'd felt with far more intimate contact. It was all more than Galinda could process.
Elphaba was frozen as much by Galinda's words as her touch. She had expected to come out of the dressing room to compliments. If nothing else Galinda would never admit she had failed to pick out the perfect outfit. This situation, however, was completely outside Elphaba's experience. She had expected some sort of artifice, something that resembled the shallow girl Elphaba had always seen Galinda turn into around her friends. But, the minute Galinda had seen her it seemed that girl was nowhere to be found and Elphaba didn't have the slightest idea what to do with the girl who was standing before her looking at her with those eyes that burned to brightly to look into and yet tugged at Elphaba in such a way she couldn't look anywhere else.
Galinda, for her part, didn't have the faintest idea where these feelings had come from either but they were more powerful than she was. She could feel heat flushing her skin and the racing of her heart made her feel slightly light headed. For someone so well versed in human interactions she felt as though she had lost her grip on her people skills. She knew that she should just compliment her friend and move on, but this moment seemed heavy with so much more than two friends shopping. She found herself thinking that just the night before she had danced in the arms of the most handsome man she had ever met and yet not once during that night had she felt like this. Here she stood in the middle of a dress shop in the market district of Shiz staring into the most amazing, fathomless eyes she had ever seen feeling all the things she should have felt then.
Elphaba watched emotions flicker through Galinda's expressive blue eyes marveling at the changes as they flowed past. She wished she could say something, anything to relieve the tension that was growing in the air. There was a sense of something indefinable looming in the electrical charge that arced between them and Elphaba found the pressure of it terrifying. Had she ever been on the verge of kissing someone before she would have been able to identify this feeling, but, as it was, she had no name for it and it caused a kind of panic to swell in her chest. They seemed to be drawing closer together as the seconds dragged past at an excruciatingly slow pace. Parts of Elphaba were screaming that she should run, bolt out the door as fast as she could but her feet seemed glued to the spot.
Galinda knew this moment, when a kiss is suddenly inevitable. She just couldn't believe it was going to happen here. It most certainly had never been her intention to kiss Elphie. Contrary to popular opinion Galinda wasn't stupid, she knew she felt many things for her roommate but she had always meant those feelings to remain safely hidden in the secret place in her heart she had hidden so many things since she was a child. Every feeling she had ever had that she knew she wasn't supposed to feel, everything she had ever done that had caused her mother to be mortified, they were all kept safely locked up. Her attraction to Elphie was supposed to stay there too, not out here in public and certainly not for Elphie to see.
Their lips were only a breath apart when Galinda felt the fear seize her mind just enough for her to divert her course and place a soft kiss just to the corner of Elphaba's lips. It could almost be considered a kiss on the cheek really, if one did not pay attention to the amount of time she stood on tiptoe so her perfect pink lips could linger on the spot that dimpled so perfectly when Elphaba graced her with a rare smile. Even this seemingly innocent touch made Galinda feel many not so innocent things. She only hoped she had covered up her true intentions. This was not the place and these things were far too combustible to be dealt with right now. There was a selfish voice in Galinda that told her there was never going to be a right time to deal with this and it was best left alone.
Elphaba didn't quite know what hit her. It was an innocent enough kiss, though somewhere in her heart she knew it wasn't supposed to be, and yet it was causing her stomach to do flips and her skin to flush with prickly heat. She was both relieved and profoundly disappointed that Galinda had shifted her intent at the last moment. As much as she refused to lie to herself and say she hadn't wanted the kiss she also knew it would have immeasurably complicated everything and her life was complicated enough. It was much easier to just be friends with Galinda and put the rest of those feelings in that box of what might have been and leave them there. Logic told her it was best this way, but her heart and her body were crying out in youthful disappointment and frustration.
"Why Elphie, this outfit makes you quite irresistible." Galinda's voice was not as steady and assured as she would have liked it to have been. She could hear the strain of emotion in her voice. "We must get it for you so you can wear it to class on Monday."
"I don't know," Elphaba's insecurity was showing and it made her feel almost as vulnerable as the near kiss had. "This is not exactly my usual statement." Elphaba wasn't sure exactly how she was still talking. She had been sure that her voice had been stolen by Galinda's closeness and affection. "I mean, really, it doesn't seem to make sense to draw more attention to myself. People seem to notice me far too often anyway."
"Elphie, don't say that, please." Galinda could see all the progress she'd made with Elphaba slipping away. "This isn't about getting people to notice you. That is just a side effect. You should wear this because you look beautiful in it. You should wear your hair down because it complements your beauty. You need to enhance your natural attributes. We just need to change why it is you get noticed." The blond was fully aware she wasn't expressing herself. There were so many things to say and yet she was totally unable to say them. She cursed herself for not being brave enough and cursed the world for not seeing through her eyes.
"Galinda, my dear, I know you want the world to see me the way you do. But we both know that's not going to happen. I can't even see myself that way." Elphaba shrugged and brushed her hands over the new clothes. She really had no idea how to see herself in them. And she certainly had no idea how to see the world the way Galinda did. Even at this young age experience had jaded her. She knew more about the harsh realities that existed in this world than she wanted to, and far more than she wanted Galinda to have to deal with.
"I know," the words almost seemed to push Galinda to the edge of tears, "but please, Elphie, let me try to show you. Let me try to help, wear this Monday. For me." Galinda knew she sounded like she was pleading. It was odd. Galinda had never really had to plead for anything in her life. She had manipulated, cajoled, and coerced her way into many things she desired but truly pleading to be heard, to be given a chance, it was nothing she had ever experienced. She also knew there would never be another person in the world that would inspire it in her.
"For you, Galinda, anything," as the words left her mouth Elphaba knew they were true, more so than anything she'd ever said. She also knew she had to do something to lighten their import or this moment would soon implode again. "I mean seriously me shopping," at the words Elphaba felt a small smile find its way to her lips. She just wanted to make Galinda smile again and for them to return to something that, for them at least, resembled normal.
Galinda couldn't help but return Elphaba's smile. It was not something she ever wanted to take for granted, the simple fact that Elphie chose to smile at her. That and the words the green girl had spoken were curled in Galinda's heart where she would keep them always. She knew much had gone unspoken between them but they were both still here and they were still friends. It was possible that in spite of all the confusing, jumbled feelings that still sat between them they were better friends than they had been that morning and that meant everything to Galinda.
"Don't worry, Elphie," Galinda giggled a little as she spoke, "no one would believe it if I told them." She reached forward to take Elphaba's hand, needing to touch the other girl in some solid way. "Why don't you go get changed and we can check out. This trip has proven exhausting, even for me." Galinda's smile widened as she swung their joined hands back and forth between them not really wanting to let go.
Elphaba watched as their hands gently moved back and forth. The motion was mesmerizing, as though she could just watch the pale skin contrasting with her darker green forever. She knew she had to let go in order to go back in the dressing room and change back into her old clothes. She wanted the security those garments offered but she was afraid that if she put them back on whatever it was that existed between them would disappear. It was still so unnamed and amorphous she feared its existence and its absence equally. Her grip on Galinda's hand tightened and she lifted her gaze to meet corresponding blue as if she were subconsciously trying to communicate all of this to the other girl.
"It's okay Elphie," Galinda's words surprise them both. "I'll still be here when you come out. I promise." She could see the clouds of fear and insecurity in those dark eyes. The fact that Elphaba trusted her at all felt like the richest gift she'd ever been given and she didn't want to damage that trust. With the whirlwind they had been through in the last couple of days the simple, honest fact of their friendship was the most important thing Galinda had ever had. As she felt the grip on her hand loosen and Elphaba returned to the dressing room, the fact that she hadn't slept for two days felt powerfully apparent.
Elphaba changed in the efficient manner she did everything both to avoid seeing herself in the mirror and because, as reassuring as Galinda's words were, she needed the solidity of the other girl's physical presence. Adjusting her dress on her slim shoulders Elphaba felt the weight of everything that had happened upon them. She needed to get some sleep, it had been a long couple of days and she had much to think about. Elphaba almost laughed to herself that for the first time she could remember, the idea of thinking had lost a touch of its appeal. With that she exited the dressing room and joined Galinda.
"Well, here I am, back to dreary who I was am," Elphaba's words were accompanied by a soft shrug.
"You were never dreary, my Elphie," Galinda stated this simply leaving no room for argument. There was no need to stomp her foot this time, the truth carries its own weight. She reached out and took Elphie's hand in hers once again. They talked to the clerk, conducting one last bit of practical business before the walk back to their room in Crage Hall and some well deserved sleep.
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