DISCLAIMER: Characters and places belong to Gregory Maguire, musical references to Steven Schwartz and Winnie Holtzman.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This was kindly beta'd by katrin and mystic_meg_gal.
CHALLENGE: Written as part of the 1001 Nights Challenge - fear.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Survival of the Fittest
On the evening of their third day at Shiz, Galinda Upland (of the Upper Uplands) sat at her desk using the mirror she'd hung there to fuss with her hair. She was meeting Shenshen soon and had to look perfect. But something just wasn't right. In the mirror, she could see her roommate, sprawled on the far bed, reading from one of their dingy old textbooks. Honestly! How could anyone stand to read them, they were so old and yellowed, and even carrying them clashed with every outfit she had.
Pinning up another curl, she glanced again at the funny looking green girl, wondering if she was going to make any sound at all besides that annoying page-turning. After the way she carried on at orientation, Galinda had been terrified that she would have to listen to "Miss Elphaba Thropp, Third Descending" rant on day and night. And she couldn't even claim superiority to keep her quiet! She very begrudgingly admitted that the girl, an heir to the Eminent Thropp, was from a social class higher than her own. But other than class that day, where Elphaba had proven herself to be quite the nerd, the girl had only spoken twice in her presence, both times to her sister.
She held up a pair of silver earrings against her cheek and, deciding against them, looked again at her roommate. She hadn't moved; she still lay on her stomach with that dark hair falling over her eyes. Galinda wondered briefly at the texture of it; was it brittle like twigs, perhaps? Or rough, like tree bark, to match her green skin? Giggling at the thought, the blonde jumped when she heard from behind her,
"Would you kindly stop staring at me like I'm some insect under a microscope, or do they not teach manners to you Gillikenese darlings?" The annoyed voice was accompanied by a forcefully turned page.
That was another thing. The girl hadn't spoken directly to her at all until now, but the few times their paths had crossed (surprisingly few given that they shared a room), Elphaba had glared at her with complete and total disdain. Every time. Now, granted, Galinda didn't like Elphaba at all, but no one had ever, ever disliked her in return! It just didn't happen! Everyone loved Galinda Upland.
"I wasn't staring at you," Galinda retorted, even as she looked at her again.
"You are doing it now. Politeness really must not be a Gillikinese tradition, or are you just the exception?" Elphaba replied, sounding bored.
Galinda hmphed and went about adding more eye shadow. Touching up her lipstick a few minutes later, she got up from her chair and grabbed her matching handbag of the day. At the door, she paused and turned back. "Are you coming to the dinner tonight?" The student center at Shiz was having an informal 'first night of classes' dinner, to which Galinda was going to be fashionably late.
"And why would I want to go to a thing like that?"
"How can you not want to go?" Galinda couldn't fathom the thought, not even for someone green. "Events like this are why people go to university, to meet people and make connections!"
"Like anyone wants to 'connect' with me. And I came to university to learn and to study so that I won't need connections to get what I want later on. Unlike you and those other little play things out there with too few brains and too much money. So why don't you run along and leave me be." Elphaba flung out a hand and pointed at her, without looking up from her book. Galinda squeaked when the door swung open and caught her on the shoulder. Glaring at Elphaba with more than a touch of fear in her eyes, she fled, and heard the door slam shut behind her, cutting off a rather disturbing laugh.
How would she ever survive until the end of term?
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