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By Harper


Elphaba's back was a coiled ripple of sinew, bone and muscle, and Glinda forever remembered it as serpentine. Not ugly, necessarily, but not entirely human. She was unaccountably unnerved by it at first, and could touch the skin but not look at it. When she touched it, it was no different from any other skin. Softer, even, made so by the oils that Elphie used to keep herself clean – oils that would drift from that skin like wood smoke when the heat from Elphaba's body warmed them.

To look at the skin was to see it in all of its verdant glory, and it had taken Glinda far longer than she would ever admit to see Elphaba first and the skin second. When they had first become friends, it had been a conscious effort to ignore the green, and Glinda put an enormous amount of attention into deliberately not noticing. She prided herself on the ability, and on her tremendously accepting nature, but a far, back corner of her brain was always aware that the not noticing required first the noticing and then the dismissal of the fact.

And then Elphie was gone, and not noticing was no longer a problem. In fact, she'd rather stopped noticing things for quite some time, and when she came back to her senses, she'd found herself married and the object of the adoration of the people of Oz. It was most unexpected and, frankly, a bit disconcerting.

But, one day she'd caught a whiff of the sharp jut of a cutting chin, and she hadn't been able to hide any longer.

Reanimated, she unconsciously looks for those features now. Not the green skin, because she knows she will never find it again. Occasionally she wonders if Sir Chuffrey would experiment with body paint, but he isn't the most adventurous soul when it comes to bedroom matters, and anyway, Glinda rather thinks he'd look like a troll. She's also happy with their relatively chaste marriage, and thinks that her husband's lack of physical attentions is perhaps one of the few good things that goes along with being Glinda the Good. But, there is something about people with a sharpness of features that makes her stomach flip over and her pulse race, and when she sees long black hair she has to physically restrain herself from reaching out searching fingers to comb through it. It's far too difficult to have affairs as Glinda the Good, which she thinks is actually a good thing as she imagines that trying to fill the emptiness within her with a string of lovers that remind her of Elphaba but will never be her might eventually drive her mad.

Sometimes, when consciousness becomes too much and loneliness presses in on her like the house that befelled Nessa, she allows herself to frolic in dreams of madness. She considers it infinitely preferable to actually having to live her life, and wonders if one day she'll be able to conjure herself a bubble that will take her to wherever Elphie now resides.

But Elphie would scoff at such thinking, at the ridiculousness of Glinda believing she even had a soul capable of ascending to some type of afterlife. And Glinda hates her a little for that, even after all of these years, because she needs the hope to carry her through all of the meaningless time in between.

Until she can find out for sure, Glinda will keep that hope, if only just a little piece of it hidden deeply away. She'll try very hard not to wonder if it was really worth it all in the end and she'll hold fast to her fantasies and daydreams.

She can't think of another way.

The End

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