rysler

FIC: The Other Castle (Wicked)

Sep. 14th, 2006 | 05:35 pm
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Title: The Other Castle
Author: rysler
Date: September 13, 2006
Source: Wicked musicalverse, with Baum lore
Pairing: Elphaba/Glinda
Notes: Hurt/comfort. Alternate events after "Defying Gravity."

Glinda took a last look out the open window. The sky seemed perfectly normal. Nothing was different. Nothing was out of place. She began to wonder if Elphaba had ever existed at all.

For shonn, by request.



Never to let this lose me grace
But rather bring you back to me:
Amongst all mortal women the one
I most wish to see. - Sappho

* * *

Elphaba flew away.

Glinda stood in the attic, looking out through the open window. Elphaba shrank into a black speck, and then vanished into the night. Damn Glinda for picking the black cloak, for shrouding the green skin that might have glowed like a beacon. She'd only wanted Elphaba to be warm, wherever she was going.

Wherever she had gone.

Guards held her tightly. She could smell their breath. The Wizard was nowhere in sight. The attic was quiet. One guard peered out the window, but the rest peered at her. She sighed, and asked, "What just happened?"

"That's for the Wizard to decide," one guard said. The guards released her.

Glinda smoothed her hands on her dress. "Then we should probably go see him."

The guard nodded, and led her to the staircase. Glinda took a last look out the open window. The sky seemed perfectly normal. Nothing was different. Nothing was out of place. She began to wonder if Elphaba had ever existed at all.

Holding onto Elphaba's lurching broom, feeling Elphaba's hand covering hers, had all been a fantasy, as far as she was concerned, even though her hands ached from the vibrations. The Wizard would set her straight. If he could forgive her for this little episode. She'd beg for a second chance. She'd almost had everything she'd ever wanted.

Descending from the attic, flanked by the guards, Glinda couldn't help but wonder if she'd made a terrible mistake.

* * *

Two Years Later

"Why do you spend so much time looking out the window?"

Glinda looked over her shoulder. Fiyero stood in the doorway with his arms crossed. He frowned at her. He frowned all the time. Glinda sighed and looked back out the window. She said, "Why not?"

"Most people in Oz shutter their windows, you know. They're afraid to even catch a glimpse of--"

Glinda whirled around, exclaiming, "Of what? Of a speck? A monkey?"

"Glinda."

"Honestly, Fiyero. The way people talk, you'd think we were living in the presence of some great evil."

Fiyero moved closer and put his hands on Glinad's shoulders. He asked, "You don't think so?"

"I think the Wizard made it all up," said Glinda. She brushed away his arms. "It's crazy. Elphaba out there, flying around. A schoolgirl becoming the Wicked Witch of the West? The governor's sister? It doesn't seem possible."

"You saw it with your own eyes," said Fiyero.

"It doesn't seem possible."

Fiyero glanced over Glinda's shoulder at the window. He let his shoulders fall.

Glinda said, "I've asked the Wizard for my own castle. When this is all over. The wedding… everything. I hope you'll come with me."

"Where?"

"South. Where it's warm."

Fiyero gazed out the window.

"Where it's not so green."

"Fine," he said. "But I'm leaving in the morning for a three day patrol. Elphaba's been spotted near the Winkie border."

"Out west? Go figure."

Fiyero rolled his eyes.

"Let me come with you," Glinda said, following him to the door.

He hesitated. "Why? You have all you ever wanted right here."

"I know." She met his eyes and said, "I'm bored."

"Look, if you're just going to be a pain--"

"Please," she said.

"Why do you spend so much time with me?" Fiyero asked.

"You're always right there, Fiyero. Lurking. Why do you spend so much time with me?" Glinda put her hand on his forearm.

He looked away, through the window, and said, "You're the only person who really knew her. In all of Oz. Everyone else tried so hard to pretend she didn't exist that…"

"She doesn't exist," said Glinda softly.

"Except in you," said Fiyero.

"So you hang out with me to be with her," said Glinda.

Fiyero shifted. He set his jaw.

"Funny," said Glinda.

"What?"

"I want to forget her. Completely forget her. Every time I look at you, I remember what I had before that stupid dance. Stupid Dr. Dillamond. I want it all back." Her heart ached as she said the words. She hoped by saying them she would make it true, but it didn't work. She just felt empty, even with Fiyero standing in front of her.

"I don't want it back," Fiyero said.

"So you're not getting what you want, either?"

"Yeah," Fiyero said. He pulled away from Glinda and sighed.

Glinda closed her eyes to prevent tears from falling.

"Come with me," Fiyero said.

"To Winkie country?" Glinda paused, squinting to study his face. The corners of his eyes crinkled as he looked away from her. She asked, "You know where you're going, don't you?"

Fiyero shrugged. "I might."

* * *

Glinda walked down the steps. Fiyero waited, pacing up and down the street. The morning sun made the two standing horses glow white with flowing manes and tails. Each was heralded by royal guard. Glinda saw no carriage. She sighed.

Fiyero said, "I'm sorry. We want to travel quickly."

"Of course." Glinda unfolded her umbrella. The fashion of the city, and even some of the more traveled territories, was a black umbrella to be carried day and night. Glinda's was white, of course, but two of the guards carried black ones on their saddles.

Ever since monsters had appeared in the night sky, people had taken to hurtling things upwards. Bullets, arrows, torches. Things that went up fell down again, and citizens had been injured--More by stray bullets than by monkeys. Within a year, the umbrella, meant for protection against falling debris, became a shield against the sky itself. Glinda predicted people would be getting shorter. The oppression of the Munchkins had already increased.

"Glinda," Fiyero called, as she stepped toward her horse. She paused. He came to her and handed her a piece of paper. He spoke quietly, so only she could hear him. "I've been thinking. All night. And I think you'd better go by bubble. It's faster, and--" He glanced at his men.

Glinda unfolded the piece of paper and found directions to a castle in Winkie country. "How did you know?"

"I may have, well, told her. It's where I wanted to take the lion cub. It's mine. I mean, my family's castle."

Glinda's eyes widened.

"Spies report the people of the forest saw something fall from the sky with a great piercing scream. And this. She might have gone here."

"Spies?"

"It's all just rumor," he said.

"This whole time? You knew?"

"No." Fiyero rubbed the back of his head. He said, "I've been back before. I've never seen her. I swear. Never."

"This isn't real," Glinda said. Her hand shook. The paper fluttered.

Fiyero continued, "There may have been notes left at the castle. From time to time."

Glinda let out a strangled, anguished sound. She balled the paper in her fist, and then quickly spread it out again, blinking away tears that blurred her study of the coordinates.

Fiyero raised his rifle over his shoulder. He said, "I'm sorry."

She didn't believe any of it.

* * *

The castle's walls seemed to close in on her. The noonday sun shone outside, but going through the great doors was like going underground. No torches burned. A chill touched her skin. She shivered. She hated the cold. The walls were dark with dampness and what she hoped was mold, rather than slime or some manifestation of evil. She had never seen such a dark and horrible place as this except in the Wizard's attic.

She longed for Elphaba's cloak. In that longing, the memory of the cloak came back, coarse and dusty under her fingers. She couldn't picture Elphaba, couldn't even remember what she looked like, but she could see the cloak. Maybe Elphaba would still have it.

"Elphie?" She called softly, afraid her voice would carry. She felt foolish for searching such a vast, empty castle. Fiyero had chased the servants away after he had graduated from Shiz and taken over his family fortunes. They lived in the village now, she wagered, as afraid of the Wicked Witch as anyone else.

She came to the foot of a grand staircase. Behind it, against the far wall, was a door she assumed led to the lower levels of the castle. She looked at the first step. She looked at the door.

In her loudest, shrillest voice, she called, "Elphie!" The word echoed in the cavernous room. "Elphie--Elphie--Elphie." From far off she heard cackling. The laughter sounded delighted and sardonic at once, and it rang in Glinda's ears.

"Elphaba!" She called.

The cackling grew louder, and Glinda ran up the stairs, holding up her skirts so that she wouldn't trip. What a shame it would be, to trip and break her neck only a few moments from her reunion. At the top of the stairs she followed the sound left down a corridor, and into another stairwell that led up curving walls. Glinda wondered what it was with Elphaba and attics. Just because a girl can fly, she thought, doesn't mean she should make it hard for the rest.

Glinda pushed open the trap door above her head and the cackling stopped. "Elphie?"

Sunlight illuminated the room, casting a yellow glow onto the furnishings. She could see dust in the light, and climbing carefully into the room, she saw golden green, huddled on a fur rug in the corner. "Elphie?"

Elphaba's head emerged from the pallet. Her hat was on crooked. She grinned.

Glinda crept closer. Elphaba's legs were stretched out in front of her. Her dress had been cut away from one leg, that was stained with dried blood. The rest of her dress had dark stains, and one particularly large one at the abdomen made Glinda wince. She said, finally, "You don't bleed green."

"No," said Elphaba. "It seems to be purely a skin condition." She offered Glinda a wry smile.

Glinda knelt. "Are you hurt?"

Elphaba raised an eyebrow.

"I mean, of course you are." Glinda asked. It felt surreal, to be talking to Elphaba so normally, after everything. After two years of thinking she must be dead, here she was, half-dead. Glinda placed her hand on Elphaba's leg, above the wound. No electric charge shot through her fingers. Elphaba's skin was warm, but she had felt it before, and it felt just the same. She ran her thumb across Elphaba's thigh.

Elphaba coughed. The raspy sound, the fluttering that seemed to rise from her chest, was very un-Elphaba-like, as far as Glinda remembered. She frowned, and asked, "What happened?"

"A bird," said Elphaba.

Glinda looked up, into Elphaba's face, and smiled. "A bird?"

"It must have been diving for food. It hit me here--" Elphaba touched her abdomen, and winced. "And it, uh, knocked me off the broom."

"It knocked you off your broom?"

"I lost my grip," said Elphaba.

Glinda covered her mouth to suppress a giggle.

"It's a long way down," said Elphaba.

"Is your leg broken?"

"Yes. But I'm fine," said Elphaba, sighing. "I'm fine. I just need supplies. I need a splint. I need help. But there's no one--"

"There is," said Glinda. She moved closer and pushed Elphaba's hair away from her face. "There's me. There's Fiyero. There's always been someone."

Elphaba closed her eyes. She leaned into Glinda's touch, so that Glinda supported the weight of her cheek. "Are you really here? You know, I always thought that our friendship wasn't really real," Elphaba said.

"Me too," said Glinda.

Elphaba opened one eye.

Glinda smiled. She said, "But I hoped it was."

Elphaba smiled back. Then she cringed as her body seized with pain. Glinda wrapped her arms around Elphaba's shoulders, and said, "I'm sorry. I'm not any better at magic than I used to be. I'm not sure if I can heal you."

"It's okay," said Elphaba. Her breath brushed Glinda's cheek. Glinda shuddered under the sudden warmth. Her heart beat faster. She pressed her temple against Elphaba's forehead.

Elphaba clutched Glinda's upper arm, and said, "You can splint my leg. You can stitch. You can make a fire."

"I told my mother I didn't want to do all of those things, because I was going to be a great sorceress," said Glinda.

Elphaba cackled quietly in Glinda's ear.

Glinda stood. She said, "I'll gather what we need. There's not much time. Fiyero will be here within a day. You'll have to be moved before then."

Elphaba nodded.

Glinda went down the staircase. Before her head disappeared into the floor, she paused to gaze at Elphaba.

"What is it?" Elphaba asked.

"Don't disappear again."

Elphaba nodded and looked away. Glinda saw a tear at the corner of her eye. She swallowed, and willed herself, to descend.

* * *

Glinda could travel freely into the village. She was welcomed with cheers and relief, and given healing potions and bandages. The people were happy, they told her, that her presence would ward off the Wicked Witch. Surely she would not be anywhere near Glinda. Glinda tried very hard not to hate them for what they said. She kissed babies and sick grandparents and had so much stuff to take to Fiyero's castle that she had to wheel it into the forest herself, for she dared not tell anyone her residence.

Out of sight of the villagers the monkeys came and flew the goods to the tower. Glinda walked through the settling dusk, thinking of how easily it would be to shatter the village's illusions of safety. To tell them the truth. To terrify them.

She ascended the stairs and found Elphaba in the tower already mixing potions. Bread and dried meat and fresh cheese were spread on a blanket near her good leg. The wine was already half-drunk.

"What now?" Glinda asked.

"I'll talk you through it," said Elphaba.

Together, through sweat and grimaces and cries of pain that must have echoed in the village, they got Elphaba's leg set. Her wounds were closed and doused with numbing agent.

"Now what?" Glinda asked.

Elphaba's stomach growled.

Glinda laughed. Elphaba reached for the bread, but winced when she had to lean forward.

"Let me," said Glinda.

Elphaba merely grunted.

Glinda knelt next to Elphaba, leaning into her good side, and picked up the chunk of bread. "This is the best the village had," she said.

"It looks better than I've ever eaten," said Elphaba.

"Ever?"

Elphaba squinted.

Glinda tore a piece of bread and placed it between Elphaba's lips. Elphaba tilted her head back to let it fall into her mouth. Her throat moved and stretched. Glinda's hand trembled when she raised the second piece of bread. Elphaba grabbed her wrist. "Glinda. I can feed myself."

Glinda blinked away sudden tears and handed her the bread. Elphaba hadn't let her wrist go. Her green thumb traced Glinda's veins. She said, "You pour the wine."

"Oh, you're done drinking out of the bottle now?" Glinda asked.

Elphaba smirked.

Glinda arranged the wine and brought the food closer and settled in to eat with Elphaba. Despite Elphaba's protests, she kept feeding Elphaba from her fork, laughing every time Elphaba wrinkled her nose or swatted at her. "You know," she mused.

"I hardly ever know," said Elphaba.

"I think this is the first time I've ever served someone. Instead of the other way around. So this is what it feels like."

Elphaba chuckled. She asked, "How does it feel?"

Glinda tucked herself against Elphaba's side and handed her a berry. "Wonderful," she said.

"Sometimes," Elphaba agreed.

Soon Elphaba, sated and drugged, sank into the furs. Glinda curled up at her side, unwilling to leave her alone. If Elphaba minded, she didn't say so. Glinda assumed it was all right to hold her close.

Night had fallen, and moonlight shone through the open tower windows. Glinda thought about the old days. The days she'd told Fiyero she'd forgotten. "You were so popular," said Glinda, sighing into Elphaba's chest. "You were so. Um."

"Green?"

Glinda laughed. Her voice was muffled by Elphaba's cloak as she said, "You stood out. And you were so smart, and exotic, and all the teachers loved you and you always said the things in class we could never say. I thought if I said you were unpopular, then you would be. But it didn't work. And Fiyero was so dreamy. He loved you."

Elphaba's arms tightened around Glinda.

"Loves you," Glinda said. "I wanted both of you to notice me, so I could be like that, too. That confident. That special, at Shiz. Renowned."

"Looks like you got your wish."

Glinda tilted her head back to find Elphaba's eyes. She said, "Did I?"

"You're the only friend I have," said Elphaba.

"I'm good enough?"

Elphaba let out a snort and said, "At least you can't say I like you for your bubble."

"Or the dress," Glinda mused.

"I like the dress."

Glinda laughed again, and Elphaba cackled, and whether it was the alcohol or the moonlight or the years of waiting, Glinda looped her arm around Elphaba's head and tugged her closer. Elphaba hesitated only a moment before kissing her, without asking questions.

Glinda opened her mouth and let Elphaba's tongue enter, firm and pointed. Glinda's tongue stroked its rough surface. She tasted wine, she sought Elphaba's heat, she whimpered when Elphaba drew back.

"Elphie," she begged.

Elphaba tucked hair over her ear, and let her thumb trace Glinda's cheek.

Glinda said, "From the first day I saw you, I wanted to know you. The whole school was staring at you."

"That wasn't a good thing," Elphaba said.

Glinda's fingers pressed Elphaba's lips. She said, "I was staring, too."

Elphaba chuckled. She kissed the corner of Glinda's mouth. Glinda smiled against her lips. Elphaba pulled back to brush her nose against Glinda's. "What now?" Elphaba asked.

"Quadling Country has nice weather this time of year."

"Okay," said Elphaba.

"Okay?"

"Okay."

Glinda kissed Elphaba until her mouth hurt and Elphaba's lips stayed parted due more to sleep than passion. She sealed her mouth to Elphaba's and squeezed her eyes shut, willing every touch and smell and taste to memory. If they were ever parted again, Glinda would remember this kiss forever. Her lips would burn at the thought of Elphaba, and it would become the only real thing she understood.

END

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Comments {5}

marmic's user pictures

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From: marmic
Date: Sep. 14th, 2006 - 10:41 pm
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loved it!!!

really, really sweet. will it be continued? doesn't need to be I'm just greedy.

thanks for writing this

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rysler's user pictures

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From: rysler
Date: Sep. 15th, 2006 - 01:13 am
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You're welcome. I don't know that it will be continued. I've written a couple of other Wicked stories. But I'll think about it. Thank you!

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From: merfilly
Date: Sep. 15th, 2006 - 01:02 am
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rysler's user pictures

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From: rysler
Date: Sep. 15th, 2006 - 01:15 am
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Aw, thank you. Eep! I'm burning you a DVD as I type.

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shonn's user pictures

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From: shonn
Date: Sep. 15th, 2006 - 04:27 pm
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You know I love this fic. I've already told you I love this fic. However, I'm going to tell you again. Why? Because I love this fic.

You inject a perfect balance of humor, romance, fear, happiness, and sadness into your writing. One element is just as important as all the others for a magical blend of enjoyment.

Thank you!

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rysler's user pictures

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From: rysler
Date: Sep. 16th, 2006 - 05:09 pm
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You're welcome! Good job, inspiring me.

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