DISCLAIMER: Wicked and all characters are the property of Gregory Maguire, Stephen Schwartz, and Winnie Holzman. Oh, and L. Frank Baum.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: There are various references to other femslash pairings during the telling of this tale. Special thanks to the wonderfully talented and ultra-patient Maxi for the beta.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Some Enchanted Evening
The sun was shining, the grass was green, and so was the leg that dangled lazily over the edge of an old wooden pier which jutted out into crystal clear waters. A bored sigh escaped slightly parted lips, their tint appearing bright red against a stark background of smooth green skin. It had been an incredibly slow week, and Elphaba needed a distraction, something to amuse her, something that would shake things up. She stared down into the lake and conjured up image after image of potential candidates to 'play with.' She didn't need a crystal ball. Besides, she kept misplacing the damn thing and she was perfectly safe using the water as her guide as long as she didn't dive headlong into the lake.
"Elphie, what are you up to?" An indignant voice pierced the still air mere seconds before a bright light flashed across the pier and vanished just as quickly, depositing a meticulously dressed blonde on the wide planks next to the musing green woman. Glinda glared at her friend. "You promised never to dabble in other people's lives again."
"No, I didn't," Elphaba replied, tilting her head and watching as more subtext played out across the water's surface. Jennifer Jareau had definitely snuck a peek down Emily Prentiss's shirt. The dark crimson really did look good on the older agent.
Glinda straightened her shiny tiara and clenched a pointy wand in her fist. "Yes, you did."
"No, I didn't, and, besides, they're not actual people this time." Elphaba remained firm in her conviction as she used her magic to delve deeper into the many femslash possibilities, both past and present. With just a wave of a hand, an image of Sofia Curtis swaggered by just below the water's surface - her patented aviator sunglasses perched on her nose, a toothpick angled out of the side of her mouth, and a pump-action shotgun held loosely in her right hand. Damn, if she didn't look hot and, judging by the look on Sara Sidle's face, things were about to get much hotter.
Immediately recognizing that she'd accidentally stumbled upon a fandom fic instead of a re-run of the series, Elphaba almost slipped into the water when she leaned forward to watch the natural progression of the scene, and only Glinda's quick reflexes kept the green woman from tumbling into the lake and burning her sensitive skin. Instead, the blonde do-gooder tumbled on top of Elphaba.
"Ooommph!" Glinda protested. "That hurt!"
Elphaba struggled to breathe. "You? What about me?" She squirmed beneath Glinda's delicious weight and suddenly realized that it wasn't such a pain to be pinned down by the other woman. In fact...
"Hey! Watch where you're putting your hands!" Glinda complained, although her body didn't seem to share the same opinion as she thrust her chest forward to allow better access should her friend decide further exploration was needed.
Elphaba bit down on a snarky comeback and did just as Glinda had suggested, her eyes focusing on green skin that surrounded two pert breasts and zeroing in on a couple of twin peaks that struggled mightily to spring free of the thin silky material that kept them literally under wraps. Like dutiful soldiers following orders of their commanding general, a pair of green thumbs extended outward and swept across the tips of the inviting protrusions, but Elphaba's probing inspection was cut short by two sharp raps across her knuckles, courtesy of the aforementioned wand.
"Ow," she cried out and pulled her hands back as if she'd been burned. If she'd taken a second to inventory her senses, she'd have realized that her palms had indeed begun to heat up considerably. "What did you do that for?"
Glinda quickly leapt to her feet and smoothed her hands down her dress, taking care to keep her wand pointed away from her, lest she rip her clothing. "What did I do that for?" Her voice rose dramatically as she repeated Elphaba's question with a slight change to first person, but her inflection stayed on 'did' and, rather than sounding annoyed or disgruntled at her friend's accidental groping, it came across as disappointed and regretful that the fondling had stopped.
A smug expression, appearing even smugger on green, planted itself on Elphaba's features, and she leaned back on her elbows, stretched out her legs, and crossed her striped-socked ankles. "Want to try saving me again?" she asked suggestively and raised a dark eyebrow to enhance the effect. Two weeks without human contact had apparently stripped bare a few of Elphaba's well-constructed walls. She'd never been so forward with anyone before, not even Fiyero.
"What?" Glinda asked in stupor-like confusion. She stared down at Elphaba, taking in the green woman's teasing words, laid back position and cheeky countenance, and, finally, connected the innuendo-lined dots. "Of course not!" She squawked, her claim weakened considerably by the overly dramatic petulance in her tone. Shakespeare would've been proud to witness his 'the lady doth protest too much, methinks' verse performed with such brilliance.
"You sure?" Elphaba teased and added a wagging motion to her eyebrows as another one of her walls crumbled into nothingness. If there had been any doubt in Glinda's mind as to Elphaba's intent, it shattered into a thousand pieces when the other woman swept a pink tongue slowly across the edge of a green-lined lip.
Glinda opened her mouth, shut it, and then opened it again, repeating the cycle so many times that had she been a fish, Elphaba would've feared for her friend's life and tossed her back into the nearby water.
"What? You haven't thought about it before?" Elphaba asked jokingly and watched as Glinda continued to stare at her, seemingly mesmerized by the motion of her tongue as she innocently moistened too dry lips. It momentarily crossed Elphaba's mind to wonder if perhaps this make-believe game they'd been playing from the very beginning had finally turned real. She tentatively stepped up to the plate and took a few practice swings before settling into an uneasy stance.
"Have you, Glinda?" she asked softly and gently and without the slightest trace of humor or sarcasm as she eased into a sitting position and slowly pushed to her feet, making sure to keep a little distance between the two of them. She waited nervously for Glinda's reaction. Would she be served up a pitch to hit or brushed back with a fastball aimed at head?
Glinda looked around nervously as if checking bases for runners. She'd unwittingly slipped into Elphaba's imaginary game without even being aware that it was being played. "Where's Fiyero, Elphie?" she asked distractedly, deflecting the one question that could forever change their relationship in favor of one that would hopefully bring them back to reality. It appeared she'd chosen not to pitch to her friend, after all.
Elphaba sighed sadly. Leave it to Glinda to go with an intentional walk instead of taking a chance on the long ball. "Fiyero and I have parted ways," she said simply, figuring she'd have to answer to the Glinda Inquisition anyway. She didn't have long to wait.
"What? Why? When? How?" Glinda sputtered in surprise. In true form, however, she still managed to cover the full range of typical questions. Well except for... "Where is he now?" she finished the sequence with a more direct query.
"We've split, called it quits, thrown in the towel. It wasn't working for either of us. Just over two weeks ago. He's run off with a tinsmith, but not Boq, thankfully. I suspect they're living somewhere near the outskirts of Oz," Elphaba rattled off her replies in order of the respective questions. She readied to listen to more detailed and personal inquiries from Glinda but, instead, received a gentle touch of a hand on her arm. It felt warm and comforting against her sleeveless, green skin.
"Oh Elphie," Glinda said dolefully as she stepped closer and slipped her arm around her friend's shoulder. "You've been all alone for two weeks? Why didn't you call for me?" Glinda felt horrible. Elphaba had had to deal with Fiyero's desertion without another living soul to talk to or confide in, especially since the Animals were no longer an option. She should have checked up on the other woman, but she'd been so busy with preparations for Oz's annual fair that she'd lost track of time. The only other person who'd known of Elphaba's existence had let her down.
It had been blind luck, really, that Glinda had discovered the ruse behind Elphaba's death weeks after the incident. She'd always held out hope that her friend had somehow managed to cheat death and, on a dark and stormy night, a spell cast by Glinda for the sole purpose of locating Elphaba's soul had brought her to the shores of this very lake. She'd been confused at first and had thought that she'd mixed up the words and had been sent to the water's edge by mistake. That was when she'd glanced around the moonlit area and spotted Elphaba, solid and alive, standing on the end of the pier and staring out at the still water. Her heart had leapt for joy.
"I'm fine, Glinda. Things changed for Fiyero and me when we left Oz and we just grew apart. It felt as if something was missing from our lives," Elphaba said briefly, summarizing her time with Fiyero in a minimum of words; it really was the whole situation in a nutshell.
"Missing?" Glinda asked curiously, a sliver of hopefulness slipping into her voice.
"Yeah, you know when you want something so badly, something that you can't have, but then you finally get it and realize it wasn't what you thought you wanted? That what you really wanted was so far out of reach, you just settled for wishing for something that was convenient and acceptable instead?"
Glinda nodded in perfect understanding. She'd always made the most of whatever or whoever was convenient at the time and acceptance had always been high on her list of priorities; however, she'd also kept her true desire, the wish she'd craved above all others, buried deep inside and had focused entirely on her second greatest wish, one that just happened to be obtainable, respectable, and trendy, too: to become the best sorceress ever to wield a magic wand. She'd had no idea that her chosen aspiration would collide violently with the secret one she'd kept hidden away for so many years.
"I'm sorry I got between you and Fiyero. It was just..." Elphaba trailed off, not able to adequately explain the irrational jealousy she'd felt every time she'd seen Glinda and Fiyero together. How did one tell their best friend that it had been seeing Glinda with Fiyero, not seeing Fiyero with her friend that had made her green with envy? Not that anyone would have been able to tell.
"No," Glinda said, hugging Elphaba closer. "It's me who should apologize. I was so upset when I realized you wanted Fiyero instead of me..." Glinda apparently didn't have the same problem as Elphaba when it came to informing her best friend as to where her jealousy had stemmed from, even if it had been the result of an accidental slip of her tongue, although, admittedly, not the same kind of tongue action that usually woke her from a sound sleep, leaving her confused and dazed.
Cringing and scrunching her eyes tightly shut, Glinda made a face at her verbal miscue. "Um, I mean, that Fiyero wanted you instead of me," she finished quickly and hoped that Elphaba hadn't noticed her brutally honest mistake, but the green woman hadn't spent a lifetime being overly-observant of human behavior to all of a sudden miss something of such monumental importance and, especially, from the one person who'd become her favorite subject the minute she'd laid eyes on her ditzy, blonde roommate.
Pulling free of their embrace, Elphaba studied her friend closely as a very nervous Glinda quickly pasted on a 'happy, happy' face and tried to avoid the other woman's scrutiny. Glinda felt like a glass slide under one of those transmission electron microscopes she'd been forced to use in her science classes. She hoped her teacher had been wrong about its powers to see objects that couldn't normally be seen by the naked or unaided eye.
"So," Glinda blurted tremulously. "How about those munchkins, huh? Can you believe they took first place in the song and dance contest at the fair?" She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear and struggled to keep from shuffling her feet back and forth as the munchkin dancers had done so well during their award-winning performance.
"You wanted me to want you?" Elphaba asked in a near whisper. Now that Glinda had spoken aloud words they'd both been avoiding, Elphaba wasn't about to allow their usual song and dance routine to shimmy around a subject they'd, before now, considered as taboo.
Glinda eased a foot forward and then pulled it back. The dancing was about to commence and Elphaba quickly stepped closer to put a stop to any singing attempts by her friend. Her chosen method proved to be very effective and much more satisfying than merely clamping a green hand across Glinda's mouth.
A muffled word of surprise turned into a pleasurable moan as Glinda released her wand and slid her arms around Elphaba's neck, simply abandoning all thought including the status of her fallen wand - in order to fully appreciate the wonderful, amazing feeling of having the other woman's sweet lips pressed against her own. There was no misstep and no accidental slip of the tongue. No, when Elphaba eased her tongue into Glinda's mouth, there was no hesitation whatsoever on either woman's part.
"Oh, Elphie," Glinda said breathlessly when the two finally came up for air. She eased her head onto Elphaba's shoulder and looked out across the water as she fought to get her bearings. She felt spectacular, stupendous, strangely bewitched even. It was as if she were literally floating on air. Her eyes widened perceptibly at the thought and she focused on the shoreline before looking down at the wooden planks of the pier that were much further away than they had been earlier. "Um, Elphie?"
"Hmm?" Elphaba asked distractedly, her mind stuck in a dream-like state. Her lips still tingled from their kiss and her body sizzled as if she'd been tossed onto a bed of hot coals. She wondered if this was what it would have felt like had Dorothy Gale's bucket of water actually done its deed. At least she'd be able to recover from Glinda's kiss... maybe.
"Elphie?" Glinda asked again. "Do you think you could put us down?" It wasn't that she was afraid of heights; although, she wasn't all that enamored with them either. She just wanted both feet planted solidly on the ground so that she could better understand what had just transpired between the two of them.
Elphaba finally broke free of her self-induced enchantment and glanced at the pier below. "Oh," she said, her cheeks darkening a deeper shade of green in embarrassment. She slowly eased them down to the solid surface and took an awkward step back and out of their embrace, her earlier confidence vanishing the moment her feet lit on solid ground, cast out as if it had been a spell. "Sorry."
Glinda just nodded and took a step back as well, grimacing when she heard a loud snapping sound. That was the second wand she'd broken in the past month, but she couldn't worry about that now. Elphaba looked scared, a little sick, too; although, it was difficult to tell with her skin tone already being quite green.
"So," Glinda started slowly, her mind a whirlwind of thoughts. She tried to grab hold of one of the saner ones. "We... um, kissed." And missed badly.
Elphaba ducked her head and focused on her red and white striped socks. "Yeah, we did, didn't we?" She couldn't look at Glinda; she couldn't bear to see disgust in her friend's eyes. "I don't know what came over me," she said apologetically, shaking her head at her reflexive action. It had to have been reflexive, she kept telling herself. Why else would she have laid one on her best friend? Her straight best friend? It hadn't occurred to her that she was supposedly just as straight.
"Elphie, it's okay," Glinda said softly, trying to reassure her friend that the kiss hadn't exactly been one-sided and, although she wasn't entirely certain how she felt about the kiss, it had happened and they'd just have to go on from here. Wherever 'here' was.
Elphaba peered up through long dark lashes. "You didn't mind?" Her voice held a slight bit of hope and temporarily offset the fear she felt at losing her friend forever. "I mean, you're not mad?" she quickly amended her question. No sense in asking for trouble.
Glinda reached out and took Elphaba's hand. The touch was as electric as if Elphaba had dragged her stocking feet across a carpet and then touched her friend. Both women stared down at their joined hands; the fit was perfect. "I'm not mad, Elphie, and I'm pretty sure I didn't mind. I'm just a little overwhelmed." She was actually a lot overwhelmed but figured Elphaba didn't need to know that. Glinda was having a hard enough time dealing with the knowledge that the secret desire she'd kept buried for so long: to find her soulmate no matter the person's color, economic status, political belief, or sex had finally fought its way to the surface in the form of Elphaba Thropp. The kiss had proven it.
"So," Elphaba shrugged slightly. "What do we do now?" She held Glinda's hand tightly and tried not to show her unease and trepidation at how her friend would respond. Would Glinda suggest that they not see each other for a while? Take time out to get their friendship back on track? Or would she decide it was for the best if they stayed away from each other for the rest of their lives?
"I need time, Elphie," Glinda said warmly. She could feel the fear rolling off her friend like water off a duck's back but was careful not to offer false hope. She really did need time. "Just a week; I'll return one week from today and then we can talk." She gently squeezed Elphaba's hand. "I promise, Elphie."
Before Elphaba could offer a reply, Glinda was gone.
Elphaba stared down at her empty hand. Glinda would be back. She'd promised.
"Oh please," Elphaba muttered in disbelief as she watched a crime scene play out on the water's surface. It wasn't the crime scene itself that had her mumbling in dissatisfaction; it was... "Grow a spine!" she yelled at the once butch detective who'd just stepped into the back of a waiting ambulance. Gone were the short hair, muscular physique, and tough exterior that had made the character so interesting and desirable and replaced with a longer hairstyle, complete with curls intended solely to soften her face, rounded hips and actual curves, and a namby-pamby, cry at the drop of a hat persona.
A hard flick of a green wrist and the water in and around the scene became cloudy and began to churn violently as if hundreds of fish were battling for food that had been dropped on the water's surface. The ambulance swerved left and then right, finally toppling over and sinking into the water's depths.
Elphaba twirled her hand slowly and the water instantly calmed. She squinted to make out a slight movement just under the surface and smiled at what she saw: a dark leather jacket, short brown hair, and a swagger that had been missing for far too long. Olivia touched Alex Cabot on the hand and nodded with her head toward the waiting ambulance before confidently crossing the street and climbing inside. Alex watched longingly as the emergency vehicle pulled away from the curb and Elphaba sighed contently.
It had been two days, four hours, and twelve minutes since Glinda had disappeared in a puff of smoke, not that Elphaba had been counting or anything. If she had been, fifty-two seconds would've been added to her latest thoughts of her friend. Since she'd last seen Glinda, she'd taken long walks, organized her closet, tried to teach an owl to talk, and slept fitfully, which more than likely had attributed to her choice of how to spend the day. Olivia and Alex hadn't been the first pairing that she'd 'toyed with.'
She'd initially planned to meddle in only those fandoms that had experienced inconceivable and irreparable to anyone but a gifted witch damage. With just a crook of her finger, the sound of loud gunfire had turned to an explosion of fireworks as a smiling Pepa and Silvia had raced past their guests, jumped into their car, and sped away to a place where they'd have only sea lions, sunsets, and each other. From there, she'd been like a green woman possessed.
Jenny Shepard hadn't been killed in a barrage of gunfire and Caitlin Todd hadn't fallen victim to a sniper's bullet. No, the two women had instead been sent off, together, on a super-top-secret mission to foil any future attempts by ABC writers to ruin femslash goodness, leaving Ziva David and Abbey Sciuto behind to spread their own brand of femslash on CBS. Elphaba had had a hard time keeping up with the alphabetic networks but had ignored the letters when a particularly horrid injustice had hit closer to home. They'd killed off a witch, a lesbian witch!
Elphaba had worked quickly to save the witch called Tara before her girlfriend Willow, another gifted witch, could turn evil. She'd watched the two spin off into the sunset and she'd then plopped back onto the pier and turned her focus to the sky. What would she have done if Madame Morrible had killed Glinda, too? Would she really have become the Wicked Witch of West? Would she have been so angry that she'd have destroyed anything and everything that got in her determined path of avenging her friend's death? And would she have realized that it had actually been revenge she'd been seeking in the first place?
Her mind had continued to fire question after question until she hadn't been able to stand it any longer and had closed her eyes tightly and covered her ears with her hands. The voices had slowly receded and she'd rolled over onto her stomach to look down into the lake. That was when the surface of the water had brightened and an image of the former McButchy had appeared and, taking care not to get too close to the edge of the pier, she'd woven her magic. Now, looking down into sparkling clear water, she readied to pick up where she'd left off.
"Hmm, who's next?" Elphaba asked an interested trout that had floated into the green woman's viewing 'screen' and had stopped to take in its surroundings. "I don't think Dory had a potential female love interest," she said to the fish, her brow crinkling in thought. "Wonder why not?"
The trout seemed to be contemplating the question when a female, bluish-colored regal tang dashed past him, followed at a much more feminine pace by a bright yellow tang. The trout watched the two fish frolic and play, seemingly unaffected by the salt-free lake water. Its dark pupils grew huge and the surrounding irises blinked as fast as a camera set at a 1/1000 second shutter speed as realization practically hit him upside the head. He looked up at the pleased expression on Elphaba's face and took off at warp speed before the green woman could turn her magic on him as well.
Elphaba hadn't noticed the fish's sudden departure; she was too caught up in her glee at seeing the happy tangs dart gaily back and forth. It reminded her of the verbal matches she and Glinda had always engaged in, and a wave of nostalgia swept her up and took her away, entangling several other pairings that had experienced the same kind of oil and water relationship in a makeshift femslash net she'd unintentionally cast across the lake. Elphaba, of course, represented the oil aspect in her relationship with Glinda, just as Colleen McMurphy was most assuredly the water portion of her pairing.
Colleen's image spread across the water's surface, a fierce, stubborn look directed toward her arch nemesis and very sexy counterpart, KC Koloski. The two women suddenly closed the short distance between them, their hurtful words swallowed up by a fiery kiss as they sank to the depths of the lake. A more 'crude' version of oil motorcycle oil to be exact bubbled up into the center of the water's surface in the form of Jo Polniaczek as she squared off against the Perrier of all waters, Blair Warner. Just as their counterparts who'd preceded them seconds before, they met in a tangle of lips and limbs as the Bronx Neanderthal finally snared her Princess. The pièce de résistance, however, blazed across the still water much like a meteor shower across a clear night sky: Borg vs. Klingon.
The classic match-up created such a stir on the water it drew Elphaba from her daydreams of Glinda. She watched a small whirlpool begin to form between the two warrior women and raised a hand to calm the slight disturbance but put a halt to her interference and studied the combatants instead.
Intense anger radiated off the smaller, dark-skinned woman, and Elphaba wondered if the lake's fish and other inhabitants were in danger of succumbing to heatstroke. She tilted her head much like the tall, statuesque woman who faced the other warrior, only Elphaba didn't have a metal plate or an elegant blonde eyebrow to lift. The Borg didn't seem fazed in the least by the death glare aimed at her. She stood calmly and confidently, cool as a cucumber, in fact. Elphaba wished she possessed the same skill.
"B'Elanna Torres, I do not wish to fight," the Borg stated simply.
"Well, I do!" the Klingon spat as an even deeper scowl set on her features.
Elphaba lifted a finger to put a more positive spin on the situation but dropped it when she recognized something in the Klingon, something personal, something akin to the hurt and anger she herself had difficulty overcoming.
"I do not," the Borg said softly and dared to take a step closer to the other woman, and then another until the two were breathing the same 'water.' Slowly and methodically, she dipped her head and pressed her lips against the Klingon's in a sweet, gentle kiss. B'Elanna freely surrendered and wrapped her arms around the Borg, deepening the kiss.
Elphaba sighed contently as she watched the edges of the scene begin to stretch outward and dissipate, pulling the images of the two women with it. The scene had played out just as Elphaba had intended, only she hadn't had to interfere. The Borg and Klingon had taken matters into their own hands.
Would she and Glinda be able to do the same? And would the results be just as satisfying?
A soft glow shimmered briefly along the edge of the lake and Glinda stepped free of the light and onto the grassy bank as her mode of transportation dissolved into nothingness behind her. Allowing her eyes to adjust to the darkness, she looked across the water and then scanned along the lakeshore. She'd waited as long as she possibly could to make good on her promise to Elphaba, arriving only thirty seconds before midnight, exactly one week to the day she was to return.
"Elphie," she whispered into the quiet solitude and crooked an ear to listen for her friend's reply, but she could only detect the sounds of crickets mixed with an occasional croak from a frog. A lump caught in her throat at the thought of Elphaba having grown tired of waiting for her and finally giving up on her ever showing.
Water splashed in the distance, so faintly Glinda thought it might have been a frisky fish that had jumped above the surface to land several feet away. She focused her attention on the lake and frowned when she spied a light that appeared to be coming from underneath the water. It hadn't been there before and she squinted to try to discern the source of the glow just as the moon pushed its way through the clouds and illuminated the area in soft light. A slight movement on the nearby pier caused Glinda's heart to race and her pulse to pound. Someone was on the pier.
The pier had actually been the first place her eyes had lit upon when she'd first arrived, but she hadn't seen Elphaba; although, she'd expected to find her friend standing, not lying prone on the surface of the wooden structure. Glinda kept her eyes on the outline of the other woman as she quietly stole her way along the lake's edge.
"Now, isn't that much better than losing your head?" Elphaba asked an image of a Greek warrior princess as the dark-headed woman reached down and lifted a strawberry blonde onto the back of a cream-colored war horse. "Fate doesn't have to be a bitch," she whispered sadly and watched as the two soul-mates rode off into the sunset, the smaller woman resting her cheek against the warrior's back as she hugged the other woman tightly. Elphaba had thought she'd found her one and only as well but, apparently, Glinda hadn't felt the same way. Why else would she have broken her promise and stayed away?
Staring down into the water, Elphaba waited for the next pairing to float along another couple that needed assistance to find their way or change their current path and she wondered if, perhaps, there was someone else in the vast universe who could wield a wand or flick a finger to correct the injustice that had been inflicted upon her. Mesmerized by the blank slate in front of her, Elphaba reached a finger toward the water. Maybe she could alter her own destiny
"Elphie, stop!" Glinda shouted and raced toward the end of the pier. She'd seen her friend stretch toward the lake and had feared Elphaba had become so despondent at being stood up that the other woman had chosen to end it all.
Elphaba jerked her head toward the shore and swept a hand in front of her, readying to defend against the sudden danger. She hissed in pain as her fingers had skimmed the water's surface in her haste to cast the intruder into another dimension. She was just able to stop the thrusting motion that would do just that when she recognized the blonde who rushed toward her.
"Damn it, Glinda, you know better than to sneak up on me like that," Elphaba groused unhappily, despite the fact that, inwardly, she felt positively giddy that the other woman had finally made an appearance. It was a feeling she had no previous experiences in which to compare, so she went with what she knew. "About time you got here."
Glinda slowed her steps and continued the rest of the distance at a much more normal pace. "That's the thanks I get for saving your life?" She stopped feet from Elphaba and glared at the green woman.
"I prefer the way you saved me last week," Elphaba replied, her memories of Glinda's body pressed against her own still as fresh as the day it had happened and she had to force herself to concentrate on the here and now. "And how exactly does scaring me half to death constitute saving me?"
"Scaring you? You scared me!" Glinda countered as she gestured dramatically toward the water. "I saw you, Elphie. You were going to purposely go over the edge."
"Have you been sniffing fairy dust?" Elphaba accused snarkily. "I was going to do no such thing."
"Then how do you explain the fact that you were leaning so close to the water? Hmm?" Glinda folded her arms over her chest and raised a blonde eyebrow more in defiance than in question. She couldn't wait to hear how Elphaba planned to explain her way out of such an obvious occurrence.
"I was trying to..." Elphaba spouted back angrily and was just able to stop herself from admitting to making an attempt to change the paths that had taken them to this moment. "I was trying to..." Glinda had stopped her before she could dabble with their lives, so why should she cop to something she didn't actually do? "I was trying to work some knots out of my neck." She stretched her arm forward and then upward. "See?"
"You're standing now," Glinda pointed out the logistic problem with Elphaba's logic. "You can't do the same exercises when you're flat on your stomach." Plus, she knew that Elphaba would never risk being accidentally burned by the water, even if the other woman had been too lazy to stand.
"Yes, I can," Elphaba claimed with absolute certainty. Besides, Glinda would never insist that she...
"You're kidding?" Elphaba stared into a pair of determined eyes and she sighed in frustration. Glinda was the most stubborn person she'd ever met. "Okay, fine," she grumbled as she crouched down in the middle of the pier to 'assume' the position.
"Not there," Glinda directed and pointed near the edge of the pier where she'd spotted the failed attempt by Elphaba to take her own life. "Over there."
Elphaba's jaw went slack. "You can't be serious, Glinda. The water will..."
"Irritate your skin and possibly burn you?" Glinda finished knowingly. "Just as it would have had I not stopped you?"
Elphaba held up her injured fingertips and attempted to regain control of the circular conversation, figuring guilt and possibly sympathy might sway things in her direction. "I did burn myself! Your bloodcurdling scream startled me and my fingers slipped into the water."
Glinda's steely obstinance faltered slightly and she gently took Elphaba's hand into her own. The skin was irritated and raw-looking but, with a little doctoring, appeared as if it would be as good as new in no time. She dropped the green hand like a hot potato and quickly regrouped. "Better your fingers than your entire body." She didn't want to think of the damage that would be inflicted upon Elphaba's sensitive skin or, worse, that the other woman would have sunk below the water's surface and simply allowed herself to die a slow and painful death. She just wanted Elphaba to think about it.
Elphaba was stunned. She couldn't believe her ace-in-the-hole sympathy card hadn't worked on Glinda the Good.
"Well?" Glinda said impatiently. "I'm waiting." She had no desire to watch Elphaba attempt such a foolish stunt and possibly injure herself worse than she already had, but she'd always heard that intervention was oftentimes tougher on the 'intervener' than the 'intervenee.' She frowned at her thoughts. Were those even words?
"Okay, I admit it. You did save me in a way," Elphaba conceded but with a slight concession. "Just not in the way you think."
"You mean other than the living and breathing sense? 'Cause that's the way it seemed to me, whether you want to admit it or not," Glinda replied, struggling to maintain her tough edge. This intervention stuff was really hard.
"Glinda, I wasn't trying to kill myself; I was just going to make a few minor changes to our story. You stopped me before I could," Elphaba finally confessed. She'd rather be scolded for almost breaking a promise than have Glinda believe that she had such little value for life, even if her own was rather sucky at the moment.
"But we're not like those fictional characters you played with last week, Elphie; we're real," Glinda said, feeling somewhat better that her friend hadn't been trying to off herself; however, she wasn't feeling so good that she'd let the other woman off the hook. "And you promised me that you wouldn't interfere with other people's lives again and here you are admitting to trying to change ours."
Elphaba bit down on her lip to keep from blabbing that she hadn't stopped dabbling in the various characters' lives, either. She'd have gone insane if she hadn't had something to occupy her thoughts while she'd waited to see if Glinda would show. And those characters had needed "Wait a second," Elphaba said as a wonderful realization swept over her. "You came back."
"What?" Glinda was momentarily taken aback but managed to get back on the same wavelength as her friend, a bit more flustered than before but still able to follow the subject change. "Of course, I came back. I promised, didn't I?" She'd stick to the facts for now and hope that Elphaba didn't ask anything too difficult or direct. After a week of staying busy and finding reason after reason to avoid contemplating the drastic change in their relationship, Glinda was no closer to figuring out how she could possibly have a life with Elphaba and still keep her loyal servants happy.
"So, what are we going to do about " Elphaba's hand flitted back and forth between the two of them, careful not to accidentally cast a magic spell, " this?" She'd done nothing but think about where she'd like their relationship to go. Even when she'd had a 'finger' in the middle of other relationships, Glinda had always been first and foremost in her mind, as evidenced by all the happy outcomes she'd created.
Glinda nervously straightened her already perfectly placed tiara and blurted out the first thing that came to mind. "Well, we could just pretend that the um, the er, you know, never happened?" She hadn't intended for her practical and very safe suggestion to sound like a question, but she couldn't keep the hope out of her voice that Elphaba would propose something other than just ignoring the wonderful, uplifting feeling they'd experienced when she and Elphaba had kissed and not simply because they'd actually levitated off the ground, either; although, that in itself had been a very telling sign as to how magical the kiss had been.
Elphaba was crushed. She'd only heard the words themselves and not the palpable emotion that surrounded them. "Is that what you want? To pretend we never kissed? To pretend it wasn't special?" She reached out to touch Glinda but pulled her hand back at the last second. "Maybe it was just special to me then. How stupid of me to think you felt the same." She shook her head sadly and wrapped her arms around her middle protectively as she turned toward the water. It was true: only fairytales and magically altered stories ended happily ever after.
"When I was growing up, I wanted more than anything to find someone who'd make me happy and would love me for just me," Glinda said softly as she stepped beside Elphaba, her focus on the calm water. "But I seemed to always attract people who loved the idea of being with the most beautiful and popular girl in the land of Oz." Glinda sighed dramatically, while Elphaba was simply too upset to offer her usual snort at hearing yet another one of her friend's conceited statements. Glinda sighed again when she didn't hear Elphaba's expected response, and she continued her story.
"Then I arrived at Shiz where, as usual, everyone fell in love with me immediately," Glinda paused briefly in memory, a slight smile forming at the thought of her first few encounters with Elphaba. "Except for this one hardheaded and completely obstinate student." Her last statement earned a sidelong glance from Elphaba, but the green woman quickly set her sights back onto the far shore of the lake.
"That had never happened to me before: finding someone who didn't take an instant liking to me," Glinda confessed. "That's when I knew you were different from the others."
"You mean the green didn't give me away?" Elphaba said sarcastically, her inner defenses reacting reflexively before she could stop them.
"You're green?!?" Glinda exclaimed in mock surprise and reached out to take Elphaba's hand into her own, pretending to notice the green tint for the first time. She was secretly pleased that her friend didn't try to jerk away.
"Ha-ha," Elphaba muttered half-annoyed, half-amused, the warmth of Glinda's hand comforting and soothing. She offered a slight smile to the other woman to assure Glinda that she understood and appreciated what her friend was trying to do in taking such care to let her down gently. As usual, however, she underestimated what Glinda had fully intended by her words and actions.
Easing her other hand onto Elphaba's hip, Glinda drew her friend closer and stepped into the green woman's body. If that particular move didn't clue Elphaba in, the feel of soft lips against her own certainly did. The proverbial light bulb grew brighter and brighter with enough light to flood the entire area. It even shone in her eyes when Glinda finally gentled the kiss and took a step back.
"It was special to me, too, Elphie," Glinda said about their first kiss. "You're special to me."
"You mean " Elphaba started but was too afraid to voice her question just in case this last kiss had meant something else. She dared not think that it could possibly be Glinda's way of saying goodbye.
"Yes, Elphie, I do love you, but " Glinda abruptly stopped and, judging from the look on Elphaba's face, she spoke one word too many. She quickly scrambled to add more in the hopes that she'd be able to explain her quandary. "That's why I was so late today," she said further as the expression of joy that had lit Elphaba's face completely fell when Glinda again floundered in her explanation. "It's all the people who depend on me, Elphie. I don't know what to do about them. If I come and live with you, they'll have no one to turn to." Her final words were so rushed she almost hyperventilated in her haste to push them past her lips.
"That's what you're worried about? Not being able to continue your good deeds?" A huge smile spread across green features as Elphaba managed to piece together Glinda's rather disjointed explanation. "I don't expect you to quit serving the people of Oz, Glinda."
"So you understand why we can't be together?" Glinda asked sadly.
"No," Elphaba said simply, shaking her head back and forth. The smile she wore belied her supposed unhappiness at the situation.
"But you said " Glinda started but was interrupted by green fingers against her lips. She remained silent but tilted her head in question.
"How do you know when someone needs help?" Elphaba asked matter-of-factly and applied a bit more pressure against soft, pink lips when Glinda started to protest. "Just answer the question, please?"
Glinda nodded and answered once the pressure was removed. "I hear them."
"And where are you when you hear them?"
Glinda thought for a minute and then shrugged. "Different places."
"Have you ever been far away from Oz when you've heard someone call for you?"
"No, I've always been fairly close by and " Glinda's eyes grew huge. "Except for that one time!"
Elphaba smiled knowingly. "And which time would that be?"
"When I was here, having dinner with you and Fiyero," Glinda exclaimed in excitement. "I was here!" She couldn't believe that she'd forgotten, but it had happened right when she'd been about to leave and she'd hurried off in a puff of smoke. She'd somehow gotten confused and had remembered it differently.
"So, other than the fact that you'll be helping out the same people who'd try to kill me on sight, can you think of any other reason why we can't be together?" Elphaba asked teasingly, although there was a touch of bitterness in her tone. Not at Glinda, however, no, her anger had always been aimed at Madame Morrible and her real father, the former Wizard of Oz. Glinda would've never harmed Nessarose.
"Oh, Elphie, I didn't even think of that," Glinda confessed guiltily. She'd been so concerned with logistics and her promise to serve as the Good Witch of the South that she hadn't given a thought to anything else.
"It could actually turn out to be a good thing us living together," Elphaba pointed out. "You could tell your followers that you have it on very good authority that I'm no longer a threat to them."
Glinda grinned. "I could say that, couldn't I?" She sidled closer to the other woman and slipped her arms around a slim waist.
"Yes, well, you're very good," Elphaba said with a wink. "And I imagine you're an authority on lots of things."
"Oh yeah? Name one," Glinda said softly and angled her head to the side.
Elphaba stared at moist pink lips just inches away. "Why don't you show me instead?"
A smile, another tilt of a head, and, finally, two sets of lips pressed together in gentle exploration. Crystal heels and black boots lifted from the pier as the kiss deepened, while along the edge, the water's surface brightened and an image of two other women appeared, lovingly holding hands and exchanging smoldering looks. They'd been denied a chance to outwardly express their love, even though the individuals who surrounded them had been allowed to share sweet kisses with their mates.
A slim, white finger lifted and pointed toward the water, tapping up and down twice before it twirled in a circle. On the water, Olivia gently cupped Natalia's face and leaned forward, their lips touching for the first time. The other cast members applauded loudly and a thunderous cheer rose up across femslash land.
Glinda smiled and held on tightly to Elphaba as the couple began to slowly twirl around. Elphaba had been right: Sometimes, dabbling was a necessity.
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