[So this is a prompt from WickedFrenchHorn, who was very sweet and thought I could do it. The idea is that Fiyero finds Elphaba crying, and it is a Fiyeraba one-shot. I made it bookverse, since Elphaba and Fiyero don't really interact much at Shiz, and I feel like that needs to be rectified. Here we go!]
The Three Queens Library was a dreary place, full of swirling dust that caused coughing fits, and mouldy books, filled with outdated ideals and contrary beliefs. But it also housed knowledge, and discovery, which was utterly necessary. Thus Fiyero made his way to the grand building, cursing his idiocy in choosing a course in Life Sciences.
"You'd think being speared to a wall by magic horns would have dissuaded me from the class," he muttered to himself, "but, never. I had to take the hardest course ever devised by Oz-kind." The Arjiki Prince continued to murmur bad-naturedly, looking stormy.
He was here for a book, and hopefully answers to a particularly fiendish paper on cell division. Politics would be much preferred, considering he would have to reign over an entire tribe, should his father expire earlier that expected (Lurline forbid). Of course, that course would be far more useful to a budding sovereign, but far from it; he had mistakenly spurned the subject in favour of biology.
Despite the circumstances, Fiyero still enjoyed the architecture of the building. Grand and beautiful, the spires and turrets served no other purpose than to add glamour to the construction and outer aesthetic of the establishment. The arches and embellishments, the grotesque gargoyles and grinning goblins perching above the doorways and windows. Seemingly pagan, the evil creatures were meant to scare the so-called 'badness' away. It was most definitely a thing of beauty, and was preserved as carefully as a building could be.
Entering through ancient double doors, Fiyero was lost already. Aisles after aisles, lines and bookcases and shelves were a maze of literature, paper and bookworms. The floorboards creaked, the chelves groaned and the light fittings swung in a hot, uncomfortable breeze, like a drunk man's breath.
Thus began the search. This book would help him, and hopefully would hold all of the answers and notes for future lessons, should Fiyero be so lucky.
Passing the other students in their respective cubicles, pecking away at scrolls and parchment, scratching the vellum with ink-scars, the Prince noticed the regular visitors. There was Boq, poring over irrigation theory, his eyes almost crossed in concentration. Tibbet was over there, scratching his head in confusion over a literature essay. He heard the boy's mutterings as he passed;
"If this character is forsaken, would that make all of her kind forsaken? Since she is merely a representative, a solitary and individual number, of an even smaller minority...?"
Fiyero decided not to get involved.
Journeying deeper, he noticed the light fading slightly. He must be in the older section, if an older section of an already ancient building was even possible. But older and darker it got, as the bookcases elongated and nooks curved and tucked away from the clearer paths. Fiyero was getting the distinct feeling of claustrophobia, and the desire to go back, and forget the paper strengthened.
But he needed a good grade in this course, and so help him, he would achieve it.
Further he delved into the gloom, the light almost gone now. Tenebrous patches of damp and decay had begun to appear in the walls, and books were thrown across the floor haphazardly, their spines broken and pages lost underfoot.
But there was a light up ahead, a yellow softness that glowed to his left. Making a beeline for it, Fiyero almost tripped on the complete collections of a Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, and as soon as the shelves began to thin into a clearing, he found the Biology section.
"Hallelujah," Fiyero muttered, as he eyes began to read the aged titles.
A quiet sort of sniffing began to permeate the silent and dead air, and Fiyero looked about him in confusion. Were there mice here? Probably, he surmised, and continued his search.
The sniffing began again, and wood creaked to his right. No mouse, or even a rat, was that heavy. Distracted and mildly worried, Fiyero began to inch towards the sound, keeping his back to the shelves. Reaching the end of an aisle, he peeked slowly around the sharp corner, and saw a bundle of dark cloths in a pile, with a darker head crowning it. No mouse was this, but a person!
Leaning to regard the figure through the split spine of a book, Fiyero felt a little dirty for spying on someone, but curiosity won over ignoring the person.
Just as he was battling with leaving the individual alone, the figure raised its head and Fiyero caught a glimpse of its face.
Lurline above, Elphaba Thropp was alone in the Three Queens Library, sniffing her sadness surrounded by dusty tomes. Her tear tracks were angry and raw, red against the verdancy of her skin, and she was curled into herself, knees brought up tightly against her chest. Her boots were dusty, and large, dwarfing her skinny legs. Swathed in fabric, Elphaba could easily be mistaken for a big pile of old book-leather.
But why was she in the boys-only library, alone, and crying? Elphaba Thropp didn't cry. She didn't seem to hurt. She was strong as the first taste of whiskey, as any Glikkun iron.
What monumental happening had reduced Elphaba Thropp to tears?
Could he approach her, or did she want to be left alone? Would she share, or tell him in no uncertain terms to leave? Fiyero decided to chance it. Everyone needed comforting sometimes, even Elphaba.
"M-miss Elphaba? Are you quite alright?" Fiyero said, stepping out from behind a shelf. Elphaba's head shot up faster than he could even finish the sentence, and the abject look of horror on her face would have been laughable if not for the obvious angry burns running down her cheeks.
"Miss Elphaba!" Fiyero gasped, and stepped forward. Elphaba recoiled, and made a shooing motion with her twiglike fingers.
"Begone, Fiyero, I'm fine." Her voice shook only slightly, and her tone was firm. Fiyero wasn't convinced.
"At least let me see your burns; do they hurt terribly?"
"Just peachy. Honestly, Fiyero, go away." Fiyero frowned, and stepped even closer. Elphaba drew back once again, her arms tightening around her knees.
"I'm fine." Elphaba reiterated, teeth clenched tightly together. Fiyero erred between doing as she asked, or ignoring her words and forcing her to tell him what was wrong. He was a Prince, for Lurline's sakes! He could help a friend easily!
"Elphaba," dropping the honorific was a good start, "please, tell me what ails you."
Elphaba's face smoothed, betraying absolutely no emotion. Not even a flicker of feeling. If not for the tear tracks, Fiyero wouldn't have believed she had been crying not moments ago.
"I... It's not of any importance. Go away." she said sharply. Fiyero obstinately sat down next to her on the windowsill, budging her further into the wall.
"If it's important enough to make you cry, then it is of paramount importance to me." Fiyero met Elphaba's eyes. She looked unsure, and a little flattered, for a brief moment, then she clearly strengthened her resolve.
"If.. if you really m-must know, Doctor Dillamond-"
"The Goat professor?"
"Yes," Elphaba hissed, "The Goat professor." Fiyero got the distinct feeling he'd insulted her.
"I'm sorry, Elphaba, you were saying?" Elphaba drew a deep breath.
"Yes, so... Doctor Dillamond was killed a month ago, and I just saw an Antelope get kicked out of her home, and the situation of the Animals is going from bad to worse, and there's nothing I can do!" Frustrated, her eyes sqeezed shut, as more tears gathered and soaked her eyelashes. Fiyero was surprised to see Elphaba betray so much emotion in one burst.
Without thinking, he wound an arm around her waist in an awkward hug, and she stiffened, tensing every muscle. Cowed, Fiyero drew back, apologetic. Elphaba relaxed a tiny degree.
"I'm sorry, Elphaba. I didn't realise you felt so strongly for the Animals." Fiyero said quietly.
"It's not I that needs comforting, Fiyero, it's the Animals who need their rights back." Elphaba said, even quieter. She looked down at her hands, and clutched them tightly together.
Fiyero paused, just looking at her connected hands. Was Elphaba so passionate about the Animals' circumstances because she too was an outsider? But Elphaba didn't seem to need any help. She just existed and breathed and fought, and that was more than enough for her. At least, the Animals were a unified front. They could help each other. There was only one Elphaba.
So Fiyero just sat with the green girl, and waited for her tears to cease, his paper forgotten entirely.
When they finally did stop, and Elphaba had stopped wincing every time a droplet cut into the skin of her cheeks, Fiyero stood up. He held out his hand. Elphaba just stared at the limb, then into his face.
"We need to clean your burns, Elphaba, otherwise they'll get infected."
"I know that, Fiyero, and I'll do that alone, thank you very much." Standing upright, Elphaba was as tall as Fiyero. Stalking past him, her long plait whipped around her neck. Fiyero watched her go.
Pausing at the end of the aisle, Elphaba turned around slowly, nervously.
"Fiyero?" the Prince looked up, "Thank you. For listening." Elphaba bit her lip. Fiyero smiled.
"Anytime, Elphaba." She nodded curtly to him, before leaving the Library discreetly, feeling a few stones lighter.
[I'm afraid there wasn't much Fiyeraba there, but I do think that's how they would interact, as far as the book characters go. Thank you for reading, and review your thoughts please!]