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.
CHALLENGE: Submitted for the first International Day of Femslash.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

In the Glow
By layla


It is a rare moment for me to be awake while she sleeps. It seems Elphaba hardly ever sleeps. She is always up late into the night studying by flickering candlelight and she rises early in the morning to read as she eats her breakfast. She's always reading, hiding that face behind a book. On this night I am up late agonizing over an essay that should have been done days ago. Elphaba had drifted off while I was still tossing crumpled, failed attempts onto the floor. Some hours later I had completed it well enough as not to be embarrassed handing it in and had retired to my mass of soft pillows and comforters. I had not found sleep there however. As I tucked myself into bed I glanced across the room and what I saw kept me from extinguishing the small pink lantern on my bedside table.

The soft glow cast long shadows and delicate colors that seemed to both accentuate and soften Elphaba's striking features. I found myself relishing the view. The golden light through pink glass made Elphaba's skin take on a luminescent quality that seemed an outward expression of the power that always seemed to crackle around her. She looks perfect in her sleep. Not that I don't think she looks perfect awake, I'm just not allowed to look for this long when those piercing dark eyes look at me with obvious questions. Her eyes always ask me questions, questions I'm too cowardly to answer.

The candle flickers again and the shadows play across her face and I marvel at the intricate dance of dark and light on her green skin. I wish I could look in her eyes when she was awake. I wish I was brave like her, but I'm not. I like my world to be safe, I like to know that when I say jump those around me ask how high. I want so badly to break free of the tangles of society, my parents, my friends but I don't have the slightest idea how. I want to slide out from under my covers and brush away the inky lock of hair that has fallen across her face. I want to press my lips to hers and taste the light upon them. I want to tell her how much I love her. But instead I lie here staring at her as she sleeps while I feel my own heart breaking.

I feel an aching pressure in my chest, tightening with each breath. Her beauty in this light calls to the deepest parts of me. I know most of my friends would laugh to hear me speak of depth or of pain. I also know that she wouldn't. Those eyes of hers see me; they see me better than I see myself. Her vision is almost more than I can bear. I know she can see how I feel and yet I deny both of us. I have no doubt she would meet me with equal measure if I ever gave her the option, I also know she would never reach out to me first. Life has taught her to be wary and I can't blame her. Though she denies it I know her heart is a rare and delicate thing that would so easily be broken.

The candle burns lower and the quality of the light changes again. The glow diminishes a bit but not her beauty. She is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I tell myself I am too clumsy, too boorish to be trusted with any of the precious gifts she would give but I know that's a lie. I know I would cherish her with my very last breath. I know I will cherish her with my very last breath whether or not I ever get up the courage to tell her so. I feel that insistent tug, the physical pull like gravity and magic that pulses between us and I draw my knees up toward my chest. It's as though I feel the need to protect myself though I almost laugh when I realize the only thing I have to protect myself from is me.

The candle is almost out now. There is just enough light for me to make out the planes of her cheeks and the arch of her brow. My eye is drawn to the shape of her lips. I can make out the soft curve as she almost smiles in her sleep and I wonder what she dreams. I know more nights than not she is the only thing of import in mine. I begin to feel as though I'm torturing myself, which leads to a far more disturbing thought. What does this do to her? What does my constant struggle do to her? I tell myself I know how fragile her heart is and yet I toy with it like a cat. She let's so few people in and for some reason she has picked me and I can't seem to do the same. At least not the way she deserves. Perhaps in the way we both deserve.

The candle begins to sputter a bit giving me flashes of her face now, not a single steady image. It has never occurred to me that I may actually deserve to feel what I feel when I look into those dark eyes. The world sees me as good, but only because I am beautiful not because of what lies in my heart. If our hearts were worn on our exteriors Elphaba would be the beauty while I would be something else. But maybe I could be too, if I listen to my heart. It seems the lower the candle burns the more my courage rises. Perhaps I can only be brave in the dark. I feel my legs uncurl as I no longer feel the need to protect myself. My feet actually peak out from under the blankets as though I may give in to the incessant tug that continues to draw me to her.

The candle is out now and the room is thrust into darkness except for the moonlight that shines through the window. She is still beautiful and I can no longer deny myself. Before I'm aware of my own movements I'm kneeling by her bed and my hand is reaching out to brush back that silky strand that had fallen over her eyes. As I do so I am frozen by the flutter of lids and then sparkling darkness that threatens to swallow me whole. I see the question there that asks what I'm doing. I give the only answer I have in the soft brush of my lips against her perfection. Finally, I am brave.

The End

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