Now, this idea has been floating around in my head for quite a while, but the first couple of chapters practically finished writing themselves one day over spring break. I felt I should post it before I lost it, so here it is. And that brings my total of fics I'm writing at the moment to what now? Hm. I seem to have a thing for Harry Potter crossovers.
The first rock thrown again
Welcome to Hell, little Saint
Mother Gaia in slaughter
Welcome to paradise, Soldier
My first cry neverending
All life is to fear for life
You fool, you wanderer
You challenged the gods and lost
-"Planet Hell," Nightwish
It hurt, sweet Oz, it hurt. She had been soaked head to toe by that silly little girl, and, oh, what a painful way to die. Her nerves were screaming and she thought she was screaming as well, but it was difficult, so difficult to be sure. Her eyes were squeezed tightly shut. Who knew what would happen, how the water would affect her eyes? But that was silly, wasn't it? This was killing her, what did it matter whether she was blinded before she died?
Her body was on fire, a blazing inferno. Her skin was blistering, blackening, cracking because of the flame. It must be, but she didn't dare open her eyes to check.
But no, it just felt like fire, it wasn't really fire because water couldn't catch fire, and she was losing her mind, she was, she was, it would leave her if she didn't die soon.
She screamed again, or perhaps she was still screaming. Were there words there? Had she been saying something? The white-hot pain had stolen away awareness of anything but what her body was going through.
Ah, but sweet insensibility finally crept upon her.
When her wits returned, she was aware of a different quality to her pain. Although ever present, the pain was slightly tempered by something cold, something frozen. Snow, she identified, but did not dare open her eyes, as snowflakes landed on her face, providing a moment of chill relief, before melting into pinpricks of searing torture.
She tried to call for help, but her throat was so raw – from screaming? – that she could produce only a faint rasping sound. But something had heard her, or perhaps seen her. She heard footsteps crunching on the frozen ground as she slipped away into unconsciousness.
Elphaba regained consciousness by slow degrees, at last opening her eyes to see that she was alone in an almost blindingly white room. The first thought that occurred to her was that she was dead, but her aching body proved otherwise. You couldn't hurt if you were dead, could you?
She turned her head to the side and noticed a row of beds. The cleanliness and medicine bottles she could just make out at the other end of the room suggested some sort of healing facility. Elphaba didn't recognize several objects, and she couldn't remember seeing or hearing about a place like this.
Her heart raced with fear and she pushed herself into a sitting position, fighting a wave of dizziness. Where in Oz was she? Calm down, Elphaba told herself. Panicking wouldn't help, and they must be at least somewhat friendly if they had healed her. She raised a hand to rub at her tired eyes, and froze midway. Her skin wasn't green.
Elphaba spent quite some time staring at her pale, normal-looking skin. Had the water burned away the green coloring? Was it really that simple? Was it possible?
She threw back the covers of the bed and attempted to stand. The black-haired witch had to grip the bed tightly to keep from collapsing, but her shaky legs finally deigned to hold her up. She drew the hem of the borrowed gown up a bit and examined her legs.
Not a trace of green.
If she were a few years younger she would have been ecstatic, but Elphaba had seen and done so much that she felt mainly a sense of relief that it had just become so much easier to hide from the Wizard and the people of Oz. They must believe that Dorothy girl had destroyed her now.
Truly, when she had placed the bucket in the room, she hadn't expected to live.
Elphaba's eyes fell on the pitcher of water that had been placed on the bedside table. For the first time since waking up she felt how dry and raw her throat was. Could she…?
Elphaba stumbled over to the table and took a cautious sip. She winced as the liquid left a trail of pain behind. It was just her skin then. Ah, well.
She opened the drawer on the front of the table out of idle curiosity, and discovered a tattered, forgotten book of old stories on magic. Not factual, perhaps, but it was bound to give her an idea of the culture of…wherever she was.
Elphaba clambered back into bed, giving her legs a welcome relief, and made sure she was within easy reach of the drawer.
She had only made it through a handful of legends, and had gleaned very little aside from the strange names, when she heard footsteps approaching the room. She was cautious and always alert after the few years she'd spent avoiding the Wizard and most of the rest of the people of Oz. Quickly, as the handle turned, Elphaba slipped the book back into the drawer and closed it, before examining the man and woman who were just entering the room.
The woman was young, about her age, but built more along the lines of Glinda. At the thought of her best friend, Elphaba was forced to bury a pang of regret as her eyes quickly focused on the older man.
Silver threads ran through his auburn hair and beard, and his brilliant blue eyes twinkled behind half-moon glasses as he studied her with some concern. His nose was crooked, as if it had been broken at least once before, and she blinked in surprise at his flashy purple robes. Elphaba could feel the power surrounding the man like a cloak, and she suppressed a shiver at the thought of being forced to battle him. He exuded authority and charisma, and she felt distinctly uneasy about lying in the bed in such a vulnerable state.
Elphaba struggled to sit up, even as the other woman protested, and could feel the panic she had pushed away while concentrating on reading return. "Who are you?" she demanded, silently cursing her shaky voice. "Where am I? How did I get here?"
"It's all right," the man said soothingly. "My name is Albus Dumbledore, and this young woman is our nurse, Poppy Pomfrey. You are presently in the Infirmary of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, of which I am the Headmaster. As to how you got here, I do not know. I felt something push at the wards surrounding the castle, and when I went to investigate, I found you lying injured in the snow."
Elphaba stared at her lap, trying to make sense of what she was being told. She ran a hand through her hair, pausing momentarily at the sight of her unfamiliar skin-color.
"I don't remember much of anything," she whispered.
It was not a complete lie, but she certainly wasn't going to tell them the truth. She had never heard of Hogwarts, and she was quite knowledgeable about geography. A purely magical school would certainly be well-known. Elphaba had no desire to need to go into hiding once more, this time in an unfamiliar country. She vaguely remembered screaming something as she writhed in pain, and wondered if it had been a spell, and where it had sent her. It was conceivable that she had been sent to another world. Perhaps the one the Dorothy girl had come from?
"How awful," the nurse – Poppy – said sympathetically, and patted her hand. Elphaba, unused to contact, forced herself not to flinch.
"Is there anyone we can contact? Anyone that you can remember?" Albus asked.
"No," she replied after a convincing pause. "I'm alone." Her panic was returning. "If…if I could spend the night….I mean, I will be unable to pay, but perhaps there is work I can do in exchange…."
"That won't be necessary," the Headmaster replied kindly. "You are welcome to stay for as long as you wish. Although that does give me an idea." He hesitated. "You are a witch, are you not? We did not find a wand among your possessions."
An image of Galinda in her ridiculous gown, wand and all, flashed before her mind's eye.
"Yes, I can do magic. But I don't remember anything about wands," Elphaba said cautiously.
"In that case, we happen to be short one Transfigurations professor. Our current one left several weeks ago, and we have yet to find a replacement. Would you care to teach? Room and board will, of course, be provided."
Elphaba was taken aback. "Well, I – I suppose, but I don't remember anything about Transfiguration, or anything else…." She trailed off uncertainly, and noticed Poppy staring at her superior in surprise.
"I'm sure that won't be a problem. Once you've recovered we shall take you to purchase a wand and all of the necessary supplies, and then I shall tutor you. Classes won't resume for about a week, as students are away on winter holiday. The lesson plans for the year have already been prepared, and I'm sure you can be taught the spells you will need to teach for the first few weeks. If you are still unable to regain your memory, well, there is always the summer holidays. If you are willing to work hard?" He watched her over his spectacles as she considered.
Really, what choice did she have? These people seemed nice, if a little eccentric. And she would need both a place to stay, and a livelihood. She wasn't a stranger to magic, although this seemed quite different from the spellbook she had used.
"I'll do it," she said firmly.
"Wonderful," Albus said cheerfully. "Then it's settled." He paused. "Forgive me, but I do not believe I caught your name."
Elphaba thought about the names she had run into in the tattered little book, and considered the ones she had liked. After a moment's hesitation, she spoke.
"Minerva. Minerva McGonagall."