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 series takes place in the unseen moments between songs in the musical Wicked. This one in particular takes place immediately following Popular.
CHALLENGE: Submitted for the first International Day of Femslash.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Notes in the Margins
Galinda had begun to wonder what had happened to her taciturn roommate. She had seemed happy, though with Elphaba it was often so difficult to tell, when Galinda had offered to enhance her social standing. The blond had been enlivened at the prospect of making Elphaba popular. It would be the feat of a lifetime and Galinda was fully confident she was up to the task. It had all gone so well, she had even drawn a rare smile forth from the green girl, all up until she had made the surprising observation that Miss Elphaba was indeed beautiful.
That comment had sent her friend running from the room over an hour ago. It was rather unlike Galinda to notice the comings and goings of anyone other than herself but this situation seemed somehow different. It wasn't like Elphaba to run from a situation and it certainly wasn't like her not to be in her room at this early hour of the morning. Galinda was not unaccustomed to coming home in the wee hours after a night on the town but to her knowledge Elphaba had never had a night on the town prior to this and had always been tucked away in their room when Galinda would try and sneak in as silently as possible.
The blond was, could it be, worried about her roommate. That feeling in and of itself should have startled the girl for she never worried about anything. Not to mention she certainly never worried about people, they were usually too busy worrying about her. That was how Galinda's world had, up to now, functioned. She was the one to be worried and fussed over, complimented and comforted not the other way around.
This had been true right up until the moment Elphaba had walked into the Oz Dust wearing that hat; right after Galinda had been informed that because of Elphaba she would be allowed into Madam Morrible's sorcery seminar. It had been the perfect set up for a great laugh at the green girl's expense until Galinda had shocked even herself by, of all things, dancing with her. Galinda knew there would be social consequences for her action, knew Misses Phanee and Shenshen would be appalled at her behavior and Fiyero would doubt her sanity but she didn't care. For the first time Galinda had felt like doing the right thing for someone else not for herself and she had done it.
Now it would seem she was feeling that sensation for the second time. Wherever Elphaba had gone she probably shouldn't be out there alone in the half light of dawn. None of the University buildings would be open at this hour and there was still a chill in the early spring air. Galinda was determined to find Elphaba and figure out what was going on in that green head.
Safely hidden in the shadow of the doorway of the library Elphaba sat with her back to the locked door, her knees pulled up tight to her chest twisting an astonishingly pink flower absently in her long fingers. Removing it from her hair had allowed her dark locks to curtain her face causing her to blend further into the shadows. Normally she did not allow the words of others to affect her, or at least she never let on that they did. Her rebellious, tart tongue protected her from the idea that she had a sensitive side. Years of practice had hardened her to the more ignorant comments and actions that were so often directed toward her. Nothing, however, had prepared her for kindness.
She hadn't even seen it coming, not from Galinda. Up until a few short hours ago their relationship had been contentious at best, right up until Galinda had shone her benevolent social light onto Elphaba's sister and encouraged Boq to ask her out. And then, shockingly, Galinda had put her own social standing on the line to come to Elphaba's rescue at the Oz Dust, not, of course, that Elphaba had wanted or needed to be rescued from further social ostracism. She was quite accustomed to her role as outcast it was, after all, all she had ever known.
What she was decidedly not accustomed to was having someone like Galinda look at her and tell her she was beautiful. No one had ever said anything that came close, not even her mother. She had always just been green. But for a brief moment sitting on her roommate's astoundingly pink bed with that flower in her hair smiling and looking into that mirror she had heard the words and dared to believe them. That was what sent her fleeing the room. Not the prospect of popularity, not the attention, but the idea that she had been foolish enough even for a moment to believe in her own beauty.
No matter how well pink went with green one flower did not cancel out the obvious problem with the notion that she could possibly be beautiful, especially in the eyes of someone so perfectly, well, blond. Galinda was the definition of beautiful and everyone around her knew it, you couldn't help but see it; Elphaba herself had been nearly blinded by it, though she would never admit that out loud. So it made no sense, it was completely illogical that Galinda would think Elphaba was beautiful, which left the green girl at a loss to figure out why her roommate had said those words.
Galinda couldn't quite believe herself out traipsing around campus at dawn searching in vain for her lost roommate. It was lucky for her no one else of her social standing would be out and about right now because she had no way of explaining the concern she was feeling, the true worry that had seated itself in her chest when Elphaba had not come back to their room. She couldn't explain it because she was fairly certain she'd never felt anything like it before. It seemed Elphaba made her feel things that were somehow realer than anything she'd felt before.
The green girl made her feel things, made her think things that she had never needed before. It was most vexing, this desire to contemplate her own identity, to think outside of herself; she wasn't at all sure she liked it. The problem was now that she had started it seemed impossible to stop. She had been told since she was a small child what a good girl she was and as she had grown she had always been perceived as good but now she had no idea what that meant. Elphaba had so many attributes that seemed better to Galinda than what she had always been told was good. The green girl possessed power, intellect, passion, drive, integrity in ways that Galinda could never hope to. She found herself, for the first time, looking upon another woman with awe and more than a little envy.
That had always been her role to play: the one to be envied and coveted. Now here she was running around in the cold searching for Elphaba, thinking about things that made her decidedly uncomfortable and feeling things she didn't want to be feeling and still knowing somewhere deep in her heart that if she didn't keep looking until she found her new friend she would regret it for the rest of her life. Something had happened between the two of them on this night. Whether it was the dancing or the conversation Galinda couldn't be sure but a connection had been formed and it was, for Galinda at least, the first real connection she'd felt to another person. She wasn't necessarily ready to talk about it but she knew she couldn't break it; it was too valuable to be abandoned before she had figured out what it meant.
Elphaba could feel the cold from the stone steps seeping into her bones as she sat but she couldn't bring herself to move from her hiding place. It was safe in the dark with no one looking at her trying to tell her she was beautiful. One would think that a person who had never heard that word applied to themselves would relish the first time hearing it, one would also be wrong. The more she thought about it the more troubling it became, that little word delivered so innocently from those perfect pink lips. Elphaba felt as though it was a trap that she had somehow sprung and was now fighting to escape.
Believing she was beautiful was inconceivable, impossible, it simply couldn't be true and yet for some reason Elphaba had felt the words in her heart. There was something about the way they had been spoken, too surprised and soft to be a lie. Besides by now Elphaba could tell when Galinda was lying or using her considerable charm to manipulate, she had even known she probably shouldn't wear that hat. She knew that it had to be some sort of set up. At first her worst fears had seemed to be true, the laughter at her entrance, the pointing. She had done her best to show that she would not be wounded by their scorn and then suddenly her whole world had shifted with Galinda's softly murmured "may I cut in."
For the first time ever Elphaba was not alone in front of the crowd, it wasn't her against the world. Someone, an entirely improbable someone, was at her side softening the hard looks and pointed words. The green girl knew in one rushing moment what it felt like to have a friend. The rest of the night was a blur of dancing, of actually enjoying herself, of getting to smile as her sister was spun around the dance floor by a sweet Munchkin boy, of racing home giggling with her roommate and then it was all brought to an abrupt halt by more soft words from Galinda. Elphaba pulled her knees in closer to her chest, resting her chin on them hoping that maybe if she curled up tight enough she would just disappear and all the confusion and rushing emotion within her would go away.
From her vantage point she could see the path leading up to the library without being seen herself, the dark shadows offered ample cover. She was becoming increasingly grateful for that as she saw bouncing blond curls and pink ruffles coming into view. It looked as though Galinda was searching for something and becoming more and more frustrated with her lack of success if the tightness around her mouth was any indication. For the life of her Elphaba couldn't image what Galinda would be out looking for at this hour. The mystery, however, was solved as Galinda came close enough for Elphaba to hear her.
"Damn it Miss Elphie, where have you gone off to," Galinda was running out of places to look.
Elphaba didn't quite believe her ears. Galinda was out looking for her? That idea seemed almost laughable, so much so that a chuckle escaped before Elphaba could remember she was supposed to be hiding.
Galinda jumped at the sound, as she hadn't noticed her friend lurking in the shadows at the top of the stairs. Her relief followed fast on the heels of her surprise as she recognized Elphaba, "Oh Elphie, I'm so glad I found you. I've been looking everywhere; though had I been thinking more clearly the library would have been first on my list of places to check."
Stunned silence was all Elphaba could supply as Galinda made her way up the steps and seated herself next to the green girl. "So what sent you running off like that Elphie? Being popular is certainly nothing to be frightened of, with my help it will be the easiest thing in the world. Though sitting alone on the cold library steps at dawn isn't exactly the type of behavior I think we should be cultivating."
"I'm not frightened of being popular." The words were spoken in a soft but determined tone that brooked little argument.
"Well something set you off like a shot and I am most certain that it wasn't the company, as I know I am excellent company. It also couldn't have been my offer to aid your social standing. Oh Elphie," Galinda turned placing an earnest hand over Elphaba's where it rested on her knee; "I didn't hurt your feelings with my assessment of your personality did I. I was merely trying for honest, constructive criticism."
Elphaba almost laughed, "No it wasn't your commentary on my significant shortcomings. I have heard those from far harsher critics than you. I don't fear those words either."
"Well if you aren't afraid of my efforts to increase your popularity, and you aren't afraid of a little healthy critique what are you so afraid of?" Galinda's eyes searched Elphaba's face for some clue to the mystery. It was most frustrating to care so much about someone who was such an enigma. Galinda feared that in dealing with someone so complex she was a bit out of her depth. She could see so many emotions flashing in those dark eyes, many more than Galinda had thought Elphaba capable of just a short time ago. She realized as she continued to gaze at her friend that the green girl was hiding such a sensitive soul in all her harshness.
As Galinda continued to search Elphaba's eyes she was again stuck with how beautiful the green girl was. It only took a moment to see it if you paid attention. She, briefly, had to wonder how many other beautiful things she had missed by rushing past them. Galinda again focused on the beauty in front of her and noticed something else she had missed. Elphaba looked afraid, afraid and scared despite all her protestations to the contrary. The blond girl wanted to ease the burden her friend seemed to carry but didn't have a clue as to how and feared she wasn't at all up to the task.
Elphaba held her tongue as Galinda's bright eyes bore down on her. There was no way she could explain to someone like Galinda what this felt like. Elphaba was certain Galinda had been told she was beautiful from the very moment of her birth. How does one explain the power of a word to someone who is the very definition of it; Elphaba had no idea. Elphaba was decidedly frustrated at the emotions swirling within her. She hated being unsure. She needed to put these feelings safely away and set her world right again.
"I don't think even I have the verbal capacity to make someone like you understand," the words were tart and sharp as they left Elphaba's lips; she didn't like the cruel quality of her voice as she aimed her phrases at Galinda but it was the only sure defense she had and they struck their target.
Galinda pulled her hand back from where it had been resting over Elphaba's as if she had been burned, the harsh words from her friend's lips stung more than Galinda would have believed. She was shocked to feel the sting of tears in the corners of her eyes. "Contrary to popular opinion I am not an idiot Miss Elphaba." With that the blond quickly turned her back on the other girl as much to hide the wetness in her eyes as anything else.
Elphaba felt suddenly quite terrible. Dealing with feelings, her own or someone else's, had never been her forte; she felt very much out of her depth. In the green girl's experience emotions were exceedingly messy and complicated and best left from the equation. Her own were easy enough to avoid by simply convincing the world the only ones she was capable of were anger and righteous indignation. Once the world believed that to be true it was a relatively short distance to convincing herself as well. But now she was feeling things that had nothing to do with anger and she had no idea what to do with the delicate, fragile things these emotions seemed to be.
"Galinda, I I'm sorry," Elphaba couldn't quite believe the words had come out of her mouth. The only people she had ever apologized to in her life were her father and her sister and that was more from obligation than any real feeling of sorrow or guilt. This was uncharted territory for Elphaba. She actually meant the words she spoke. She didn't want to hurt Galinda's feelings; she didn't want Galinda to hurt at all.
As she said the words she reached out to touch Galinda on the shoulder to try and coax the other girl to turn and look her at her again in the hopes that she could communicate with her dark eyes all the things she wasn't yet able to say. She reached toward the blond girl her hand touching a shoulder that was shaking slightly with tears and tension. She applied the gentlest pressure to encourage Galinda to turn and face her. She feared it would not happen but she knew the moment Galinda gave in to the tug and followed the light but insistent motion.
Galinda faced her friend, tears fresh and sparkling on her cheeks. She had always known how to use her tears to her own ends but these felt different. These tears felt more honest. She wasn't letting them fall to garner sympathy or persuasion they fell because she had felt a moment of real pain. She had never been in the position of wanting approval and fearing she may not get it. Approval had always been so easy for Galinda. Everyone approved of her, everyone thought she was wonderful and glittering and fabulous. Everyone that is except this stubborn confusing green girl and Galinda realized that made all the difference.
"I'm not as stupid or foolish as you think Elphie. You may have a low opinion of me but I was just trying to help." Galinda found it surprisingly painful to admit out loud that someone, this specific someone, had a low opinion of her but she knew the pain of saying it herself would be far less than hearing the words from Elphaba. Galinda had never before had to protect herself from disapproval and derision, had never had to arm herself with words. As she looked into her friend's eyes it suddenly occurred to Galinda that this must be, to some extent, what her friend felt every day.
Elphaba saw the pain in Galinda's crystal blue eyes. She could almost see the small part of Galinda that nearly broke with the admission that someone, anyone would think poorly of her and it caused a small part of Elphaba's heart to ache. She didn't want Galinda to ever have to feel those things. She never wanted to see her friend need to protect herself from the sharp words and everyday disapprovals the world so often threw in her own path. Though she often claimed irritation and exasperation with the naiveté Galinda so often exhibited she did not want to play any part in its loss.
Before she even knew what possessed her Elphaba reached forward with a graceful swipe of her thumb to wipe away the fresh tears from Galinda's cheeks. She was not naturally inclined toward physical contact having never been taught to expect or appreciate it so she was slightly shocked at her own actions. The fact that she had reached out to touch Galinda, not once, but twice within the space of only a few moments was more than a little disconcerting. Yet she also felt a sense of rightness in the touch that had never existed for her, there was no shyness, no flinching, just comfort offered and received.
Galinda was amazed at the gentleness of Elphaba's touch as she wiped away her tears. It was such an intimate gesture and yet Galinda felt no embarrassment or discomfiture. Instead she felt a certain sense of peace steal over her. The sting of Elphie's words was soothed by that touch and the flow of tears was staunched by those tentative fingers. The blond girl was certain she'd never experienced a sensation like it. She could barely keep herself from verbally protesting as the fingers pulled away from her face. Instead of giving voice to these emotions she reached up and took Elphaba's hand in her own.
"I do not have a low opinion of you Galinda and I don't think you are stupid. I think you pretend to be many things that you are not." This time Elphaba's voice was soft and sincere where it had been cutting and pointed before. As she spoke she tried not to focus on the warmth that seemed to spread from their joined hands. It was distracting and did nothing to help calm her swirling emotions. Or, Elphaba suddenly realized, it was helping to calm her which was, quite possibly, even more confusing.
"I don't think I'm the only one pretending, Miss Elphie," Galinda wasn't sure what possessed her to make the observation but she knew it was true. Elphaba pretended to be strong and unfazed by all the small cruelties that were done to her every day but one look in her dark eyes and you could see it wasn't true. "You pretend every day don't you? You even pretend you aren't beautiful."
Elphaba felt herself give into a barely perceptible flinch as Galinda spoke that word again, the word that had led to this mess in the first place. "I assure you Miss Galinda that is not pretense."
"Oh, but it is Elphie, it is." Galinda had noticed the flash of emotion in Elphaba's eyes as she spoke and was having a sort of epiphany about her friend and perhaps at the same time about herself. "I think sometimes we pretend things for so long that we don't even remember that we are pretending. It may be that we can spend our whole lives pretending something until we pretend it so much that we believe it right into reality. You have been pretending to be what everyone thinks you are for so long you only see what they see not what I see."
"And what do you see Miss Galinda, the steaming artichoke or the girl who is so bright she's phosphorescent?" The words could have been defensive and angry as Elphaba used Galinda's own words but somehow the smallness of her voice and the firmness with which she still held the other girl's hand took any potential sting from the question.
Galinda squared her shoulders, summoning up all of her newly budding courage and looked deeply into Elphaba's fathomless eyes, "I was pretending too Elphie. I was pretending to only see what everyone else saw, what you wanted to show the world, but I'm not pretending anymore."
Elphaba was entirely speechless. She wasn't biting her tongue or holding back her commentary; she had no words with which to respond. Her throat was suddenly tight, her vocal cords constricted with unshed tears and unspoken emotion. If her hand had not been clasped in Galinda's she was certain she would have started trembling. This was an entirely new sensation welling up in her heart. She was filled with unfamiliar emotion until it was forced to spill over in the form of a single crystalline tear that tracked down her cheek. She wanted only to hide as she wrenched her eyes away from Galinda's, hanging her head, hiding behind her hair.
"Oh Elphie, please don't cry," Galinda reached out her free hand to try and draw her friend's chin up. "Don't cry because I think you are beautiful, it shouldn't hurt so much to hear the truth."
Elphaba gave in to the gentle pressure Galinda was applying; it seemed she didn't have the ability to resist. All of her stubborn willfulness had left her, swept up with the tide of new inexplicable emotions that now filled her. She was not a young woman given to tears; in fact she was fairly certain she hadn't cried since she was very small. It hadn't been her place to cry, for if she did there was never comfort to be found. Her father had no time for such nonsense from her. Too much of what was wrong with the Governor's life could be set on those thin green shoulders for him to care about her pain.
"Ah, but you see dear Galinda, it does. The truth almost always hurts but sometimes the hurt is growing pains." Elphaba had no other words to describe the feeling in her heart at Galinda's words. This girl, who was the picture of everything Elphaba was not, was sitting out in the cold holding her hand and trying so desperately to get her to believe she was beautiful. Elphaba had no defense against these words because she had never anticipated needing one; this, quite simply, was never supposed to happen. Elphaba wanted desperately to protect herself and she had always been quite capable of doing so. She had taught herself the art of offensive warfare: if she attacked first there was little chance of being hurt and the green girl was armed and ready. Unfortunately her well practiced strategy had failed her miserably this time. She and Galinda had both tried to keep the other at a distance but somehow they had ended up here holding hands. This was not going at all as she had expected.
Neither was it for Galinda. Yesterday her life had been in perfect pink order. She had met the most handsome boy who shared her seemingly impenetrably shallow world view. He was perfect, she was perfect, they would be perfect together. She had been accepted into the sorcery seminar, everything she had wanted was right where it ought to be. She had no idea how that had all changed in just a few short hours. She knew she still had all of those things at her fingertips. The thing she didn't understand was why none of them seemed as important to her as sitting here in the cold on the steps of the library with Elphaba.
"You do believe me Elphie, don't you? You believe that you are beautiful?" The questions were spoken with an earnestness neither girl had thought Galinda capable of demonstrating. She couldn't explain why it suddenly mattered so much to her that Elphaba believe her, it just seemed so very important. She wanted her friend to have a measure of happiness it was now obvious had been denied her for too long. On a deeper level that Galinda refused to examine too heavily, she wanted to be the one who brought that happiness.
Elphaba looked away from her friend as she asked the question. She knew her answer was not going to be to Galinda's liking but she wasn't going to lie. "Galinda, it's not so simple as that." As she searched for the words to explain herself to Galinda, Elphaba felt the need to move out from under those newly penetrating blue eyes, out of the circle of light that seemed to emanate from her friend, and away from all of the emotions she had no words for that were swirling and diving within her. She made a move to pull away, to extract her hand from the grip that held it tightly, to stand.
She made it to her feet but any further progress was stopped by Galinda's fierce grip and her words. "Don't run away from me again Elphie, please," as she spoke Galinda stood as well and reached out her free hand to capture long, delicate green fingers. They now stood together both hands held between them facing each other in the ever brightening light of the morning. As Galinda cast her gaze upward she felt her breath still in her chest at what she saw. The early morning sun cast a golden hue upon Elphaba's green skin that made her seem to glow. Her dark eyes sparkled with unshed tears and unexpressed emotion giving them a depth that seemed to swallow Galinda whole.
"I wish you could see what I see in this moment, Elphie. If you could the answer would be precisely that simple." Galinda's voice was barely audible as though it was unclear if she was speaking to herself or Elphaba. It seemed to Galinda that looking at Elphaba through these eyes was like seeing sunlight after too long spent in the dark. The vision dazzled the eyes and the light warmed the flesh.
"That's just it Galinda. I can't see what you see, I can't." The last words were spoken like a plea. Elphaba felt as though she was begging Galinda to understand though she couldn't be entirely sure as she had never begged for anything in her life. The emotions the memories that this conversation had brought up within her were things she had sworn she would never face. Vulnerability had never been a good idea for the green girl. It had only ever resulted in hurt and pain. She had learned that lesson as a very small child and yet here she was seemingly about to repeat very old mistakes.
She could feel the searching of those azure eyes almost like a physical touch and she longed to run but she knew she could not. Every fiber of her being was crying out for her to get away, to protect herself, and yet here she stood. It wasn't just the hold on her hands that stilled her. It was the simple fact that Galinda had asked her not to and somewhere along the way that had become very important to Elphaba. Galinda had become very important to Elphaba. She didn't know when it had happened but there was no sense in denying it.
"Someday you will Elphie, I promise," as she spoke Galinda released one of Elphaba's hands and reached up to tuck a lock of inky black hair behind an ear. For reasons quite beyond her control Galinda allowed her hand to linger brushing over the sculpted line of Elphaba's cheek and the elegant jut of her chin. The sensation of touching Elphaba's skin was beyond any words Galinda possessed. As they stood like this Galinda could feel her pulse quicken in a most pleasant and entirely unexpected way. She knew these sensations for what they were but could not allow herself to contemplate this new feeling. It was too enormous for her to deal with in this moment. Elphaba was her friend and, for now, that had to be enough.
Elphaba could barely comprehend the words Galinda had spoken as distracted as she was by the gentle glide of fingers over her face. Those delicate, innocent fingers left a trail of sparks across her skin. It was as though magic was rushing across the surface of her skin just as it did before spells burst forth from her. Elphaba had no other context for this feeling and she certainly had no words for it. She looked down into Galinda's eyes and saw them darken almost indigo. Elphaba had never seen anything more breathtaking than Galinda's eyes. It occurred to some irritatingly logical part of her brain that the only thing that could possibly be inspiring the beauty of that expression was the green girl herself. It was more than Elphaba could wrap her brain around. It was more than she had ever thought she could feel. After all that had happened in the last few hours it was too much.
"That is a rather large promise from such a tiny girl," and just like that the spell was broken. Elphaba wasn't entirely certain she was happy to have burst the bubble around them but it was done and there was no going back now. Just as the world had narrowed down to Galinda's hands and eyes moments before it now broadened letting in the sunlight and the rustle of leaves on a nearby tree. And with the world the air seemed to fill Elphaba's lungs again, she didn't realize how breathless and lightheaded she had become.
"Elphie, you are a terrible tease," Galinda was not entirely sure how she meant that statement but she let it have its more obvious meaning and tucked any double entendre away in a dark scarcely visited corner of her mind. "But, I mean it. If it's the last thing I do. And do you want to know what my first step is going to be?"
Elphaba felt a smile creep onto her lips as Galinda spoke. There was something suddenly so endearing about the note of stubborn dedication in that voice. "Do I have a choice?" There was a certain amount of relief mixed in with the questioning tone. Elphaba needed to be able to breath and, in time, to sort out all of the thoughts that were now tossed in a messy pile in the middle of her mind. Her hope was, if they got off these steps and back to the real world all of this would start to make sense.
"As a matter of fact, no you do not. Since you took it upon yourself to worry me enough to drag me out in the cold at dawn you have no choice. You are at my mercy today." She knew that they could not spend the rest of eternity on these steps alone, as tempting as that sounded. That being the case Galinda had a new mission. There was no way she was going to give up the only friend she had that mattered in the slightest, not when she had only just found her. Therefore, Galinda would make good on her promise to give Elphie the gift of her own beauty and make her popular to boot. Galinda had hatched a plan that would give her two of her greatest joys at once.
"Why am I suddenly terrified?" Elphaba knew that whatever it was she was about to be roped into it would quite probably be some of her least favorite activities. She also knew that from this point on she had lost the power to say no. No matter how much she wanted to have a quiet moment to sort out her jumbled emotions she wasn't ready to be alone with her thoughts, not yet. She also wasn't ready to give up Galinda's company to the demands of the girl's social schedule. If she could get an entire day with the one friend she had in all of Oz she wasn't going to say no.
"You and I, my Elphie," she let the possessive slip from her lips with little fanfare, "are going shopping. I have a promise to keep and we have much work to do."
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