This story was written for the Newsies Pape Selling Competition
Word Count: 3,464
Crossover - Wicked/Newsies
"Now take off your blindfold," said Katherine.
Jack whipped the bandana off from his eyes and blinked into the setting sun. "What?"
"You see? It's clean…and green…and…"
"I ain't seeing no city made outta clay, if that's what you're aimin' for."
"Jack, it's basically Santa Fe."
"Nuh-uh. It's right outside New York." He turned around. "See? I can still see it."
Davey grabbed him by the shoulders and made him face away from the city. "No, you can't. All you can see is beautiful Santa Fe."
"This doesn't even look like Santa Fe."
"How would you know? You've never even seen it!"
"I just know."
"Hey, someone is acting a little ungrateful to his friends who just walked him halfway through the city blindfolded for his birthday present." Katherine pouted at him.
"Well, it's kind of a lousy present." Jack snorted, then relented at the look she gave him. "Ah, I'm just kidding." He pulled Katherine into his arms and kissed her forehead.
"Is this where I leave so you two can have a romantic moment together?" Davey asked, rolling his eyes.
"Pretty much," Jack said, as he gazed into Katherine's eyes. Then he slowly tilted his head and they pressed their lips together softly. Davey made a disgruntled noise and began to retreat.
"Remember, we've got more things planned for tonight!" he called, chancing a look back. Jack and Katherine were only getting more passionate. "Crutchie and the boys will be waiting!" Davey yelled. Katherine was on her toes; Jack's hands were clutching her dress. "I want to be back to the Lodging House before dark!" Davey tried desperately, to no avail, then gave up. He'd let them have their moment. It was Jack's birthday, after all. Usually they didn't celebrate much for birthdays; perhaps the boys would all pool their money to buy the lucky newsie a special treat, or they would attempt to decorate the Lodging House with strips of old newspaper. For Jack, of course, they went a little further with their preparations, as he had done so much for them over the years.
Jack was glad just to be holding Katherine in his arms. They didn't often get to have such intimate moments, as there were usually teasing newsies around. He didn't even notice that the wind had started to pick up. All that mattered was Katherine…until Davey grabbed his shoulder.
"Jack. Jack. Something's happening!"
"WHAT ARE YOU—" Jack spun around, preparing to take a fist to Davey's face, but the latter's fearful expression was enough to startle Jack into reality. Dust all around them was whirling into the air, and the peaceful sunset that had been painted in the sky moments before was now darkened by a mass of spinning clouds. Jack pulled Katherine against his body and Davey grabbed onto both of them. Whatever had changed in the last few seconds was enough to put them all into desperation.
"What is going on?" Jack bellowed over the rushing wind.
Davey yelled something.
"TORNADO!" Davey shouted.
It was a word he'd only read. Jack didn't know how the sky had suddenly turned on them, but he couldn't ask questions now. All he could think about was keeping Katherine—and Davey—alive. Oh, and himself, too.
And then, as suddenly as it had started, it was over. The silence rang in their ears. And they weren't dead.
Jack was the first to open his eyes, and he quickly shook the others. They seemed to be in a city, but it was nothing like New York. Without speaking, the three stood up and peeked out into the street together. There were young people rushing by in small groups, dressed in strange, eccentric clothing, and talking excitedly to each other. Jack stepped a little further into the street to see where everyone was going, and someone bumped into him, nearly knocking him to the ground. It was a very short young man wearing a striped suit, a green shirt, and a red hat. "Hey, watch it!" Jack said without thinking.
The short young man nodded apologetically, glanced curiously at Jack's shabby clothes, and hurried on. Jack looked back at Katherine and Davey, who both shrugged at him.
"Well, we might as well go see what all the fuss is," Jack said. The other two nodded, and they joined the crowd.
"And maybe figure out where we are?" Davey suggested.
"And how to get back home," Katherine added.
"Yeah," said Jack, "Crutchie and the boys is waiting."
Following the crowd, they reached a large, splendid building and went inside where there was loud, strange music playing. "Where are we?" Katherine yelled over the noise.
A girl passing by stopped and looked at them in surprise. "Why, don't you know? It's the Ozdust Ballroom! The most swankified place in town! At least…" She fluffed her dress. "That's what Fiyero says. Sweet Oz, if only Galinda wasn't so good, maybe I'd have a chance with him!"
"Who's Fiyero?" Katherine asked.
"Who's Fiyero?!" the girl repeated incredulously. "Only the handsomest, most beauti-fical, most amazing-licious boy in town!"
And she flounced off.
Davey mumbled something about people having different dialects and trending words in other places.
"Excuse me, excuse me! Has anyone seen Galinda?"
A girl crashed into Davey, but rather than apologize, she stepped back and stared around at them, waiting for an answer.
Jack did a double take, and his jaw dropped. Was it the light? A trick of the eyes? No, he looked at Katherine and Davey, and their faces mirrored his shock. The girl's skin was green!
"What?" she asked harshly, then rolled her eyes. "You must be new here. No, I'm not seasick, yes, I've always been green, no, I didn't chew grass as a child—"
"I'm sorry," Katherine interrupted, "I didn't mean to stare. That was rude of us. Who were you looking for?"
The girl's eyes narrowed. Apparently she wasn't used to people getting over her appearance so quickly. "Galinda. You know, wonderful little Galinda…the good? Probably attached to Fiyero's hip?"
"Sorry, we don't know who that is," Jack said, forcing himself to look into her eyes rather than at her skin.
"You don't know who Galinda is? She practically rules the school. Do you even go to Shiz? Because no other students are allowed." She glanced around. "Not that I would turn you in. But others might. I'm just saying."
"Yes," Katherine said loudly, "we are students at the school."
Jack raised an eyebrow at her. Why was Katherine lying?
Katherine ignored him. "We're just…new. That's all."
"Oh. Well, have fun at this stupid ball. I'm Elphaba, by the way. Not that you probably care." Then she was gone.
"What were you thinking?" Davey rounded on Katherine as soon as Elphaba was out of earshot.
"Don't you see?" Katherine hissed. "We'll be thrown out of here if the wrong people know the truth. It's safer to pretend we're supposed to be here until we can find someone we can trust to help us." Her eyes shone. "Besides, isn't this a great adventure? Isn't it just a big party?"
"No, Katherine," Davey moaned, "this is a big nightmare. We've gotta get back!"
"C'mon Davey," Jack said. "It's my birthday, after all."
"Are you insane?" Davey exclaimed angrily. "They're all waiting for us back at the Lodging House. I dunno how we got here—"
"A tornado picked us up and blew us here," Katherine said calmly.
"But it's not normal! This isn't normal! We need to get back!"
"How's about this?" Jack said, rather impatiently. "I'll go to this ball thing with my sweetheart, and you can find a way to get us back if you're so worried about it. Okay? C'mon, Kath, let's go." They started off into the crowd.
"Wait—no—we have to stay together!" Davey shouted after them, drawing the attention of everyone in the general vicinity. With an exasperated sigh, Davey ran after them, pushing through the other students and finally stumbling into the Jack and Katherine once again, whose hands were clasped tightly.
Jack turned around with a smirk. "Changed your mind?"
"We have…to stay…together…" Davey panted.
"Let's dance!" Katherine said.
Jack whirled her onto the dance floor, and Davey trotted along behind them. They quickly picked up the bizarre dance moves everyone else was doing, though Davey just shadowed them with his arms crossed and his jaw clenched.
"Davey, stop being such a…" Jack whirled Katherine away from him, then back into his arms. "…such a birthday-ruiner."
"It's not my fault we got blown here by a tornado! I'm just trying to think of a way to get us back!" Davey glanced around for the umpteenth time, trying to pick out someone trustworthy. They all seemed too caught up in the night. Davey recognized the short boy that had bumped into Jack earlier. He was leaping and spinning around a girl in a wheelchair, who looked delighted. For a while, Davey observed them.
"Let's go over what we know," Davey said, finally bringing his focus back to their situation, and not really caring if Jack and Katherine were listening or not. The music had slowed down; Katherine was leaning her head on Jack's shoulder. Davey kept his voice low. "We know that Galinda is 'good'. If she's really good, she might help us."
"But apparently, she's also attached to Fiyero's hip," Jack muttered. Davey didn't even realize he was paying attention.
"What about Fiyero himself? Everyone seems to know him. He sounds kind of like you, Jack," Katherine added.
"Though, of course, he's probably not nearly as amazing as you are."
"So we could find Fiyero," Davey said, eagerly attaching to the bits of a plan they were coming up with, "and he could tell us how to get back."
"How are we going to talk to him privately if he's so well known? Won't he be surrounded by a bunch of people?" Jack asked.
"Are you always surrounded by a bunch of people?"
"Well—yeah, yeah I am!" Jack said defensively. "What are you trying to say?"
They danced on. Davey's feet were getting sore, but Jack and Katherine seemed to have no intention of stopping any time soon. They whipped and twirled around the dance floor, with Davey trailing awkwardly behind. Davey kept one eye on Jack and Katherine and the other scanning the students around them. His gaze was eventually drawn to a couple that was always in the center of the dance floor. Everyone thoughtlessly gave them extra space. The girl had springy blonde hair and the brightest pink dress Davey had ever seen. It was also a very short dress—he could see her entire leg. She was like an extremely scantily-clad Bowery Beauty. The young man was in an expensive-looking suit. The more Davey stared at them, the more he become conscious that they must be Galinda and Fiyero.
"Hey. Hey." He nudged Jack and Katherine, unaware that they were in the middle of a lovely, drawn-out kiss. They pulled apart and Jack stared at him disgustedly. Katherine glared at the ground.
"Can't you leave us in peace for once?" Jack snarled.
"No. See that couple in the middle of the floor?"
"Yeah? What about them? If you're gonna comment on her legs, let me tell you that I've seen—"
Jack raised an eyebrow.
"Are you sure?" Katherine squinted at them.
"Yes, I'm sure!" Davey was getting excited. "He's right there!"
"But how are we gonna talk to him?" Jack asked as Fiyero pulled Galinda close to him for a kiss.
"We need a distraction," Davey said. As soon as he'd said it, his eyes were drawn to the top of the stairs that led into the ballroom. The music seemed to suddenly slow to a halt, and people stopped dancing when they saw her.
Elphaba was standing there…alone…in a plain black dress and a pointed hat. Davey didn't know why people were laughing at her—her outfit didn't seem too out of place among all the others.
Jack stared at Elphaba, feeling sorry for her. It couldn't be easy always being ridiculed and laughed at. She'd given them the explanation of her green-ness as if she'd said it a thousand times. As, he reminded himself, she probably had.
Elphaba tore her hat off as everyone's laughter reached her ears, yet stared around in defiance. She stormed to the center of the room and fiercely put her pointed hat back on. Some music started playing again, but nobody was dancing. Nobody, that is, except Elphaba.
"What is that poor girl doing?" Katherine whispered. "She's just making an even bigger spectacle of herself!"
"She's got to be used to being laughed at," Jack replied. "I guess it just doesn't bother her anymore."
"It does," Katherine said softly, shaking her head. "I can tell. But her way of coping is to pretend like she doesn't care."
"Hey, Jack? Kath?" Davey leaned towards them, pointing. Galinda had left Fiyero and approached Elphaba, looking determined.
"She must just feel bad for her," Katherine said.
"Well, I can see why she's known as being so good," Jack said.
"That's great and all, but listen…" Davey had a resolute gleam in his eye as he motioned at Fiyero. "I think we just found our distraction.
It wasn't hard to push through the now-stationary crowd toward Fiyero, who looked lost and confused. Jack was slowly starting to realize how much time had gone by and had decided to take the lead. He stepped right up to Fiyero and tapped him on the shoulder.
Fiyero turned around, startled. "Do I know you?"
"No, but we know you," Davey offered.
"Oh, well, everybody does," Fiyero drawled.
Jack narrowed his eyes. Katherine could see his opinion of Fiyero go from neutral to intense dislike in a matter of seconds.
"Well, listen here, if you can wrap your big head around our problem. We need your help."
"Sorry, students, I got a couple other things on my mind right now," Fiyero said, gazing at Galinda and Elphaba, who were now doing the same strange dance. "My lady's just joined the green girl and I'm trying to figure out what's going on…"
Jack grabbed Fiyero by the shoulders and drew himself up to his full height. "We ain't students. We ain't even from here. A tornado blew us here!" he snarled, getting into Fiyero's face.
"What in Oz's name are you talking about?" Fiyero squinted at Jack.
"We need to get back home!" Katherine said desperately.
The other students had begun to do the strange dance Elphaba had started.
"I've got to get over to my girl," Fiyero said. Jack gripped his arm before he could take more than a step.
"You ain't going anywhere until you give us some info. You know everyone, don't you? You've got to know someone that can help us!"
"You stand correct-ified," Fiyero said coolly. "I don't know everyone, everyone knows me."
"You must be a pretty lousy fellow, then!" Jack yelled.
"I wouldn't expect you to understand."
Fiyero glanced down at Jack's clothes, which were clean for a newsie but positively filthy in this place. Jack crossed his arms over a streak of mud across his shirt. Fiyero sneered. "I mean, just look at you." He wrenched his arm out of Jack's grasp and headed for Galinda.
There was a moment of silence, but for the music. Jack looked like he was about to explode with rage, but before he could open his mouth, Katherine grasped his arm. "Come on. We're going outside."
The cool outside air was a welcome break from the heat of inside. Jack slumped against the building; he took off his hat and pounded it with his fist. "I hate that guy," he muttered.
"He's extremely shallow," Katherine agreed, "but at least we know one thing now."
"What's that?" asked Davey, who couldn't think of a single thing that had gone right about the confrontation.
"We have to talk to Elphaba again," Katherine said. "I think she's the only one who can help us."
Jack and Davey stared at her. After a moment, Jack went back to punching his cap, and Davey sighed. "I guess you're right. She's the only one that seemed at least a little trustworthy."
They settled glumly near the door, watching each small group that exited the ballroom, and looking for a pointed hat. It didn't seem Elphaba was leaving anytime soon, so they began arguing about why Galinda had joined Elphaba in the strange dance.
"She's obviously trying to play up her 'good' reputation," Jack said.
"No, I bet she's Elphaba's friend and didn't want her to embarrass herself," Katherine argued. "She just felt bad for her friend and didn't want everyone to think bad of Elphaba so she—"
"She was just showing off for Fiyero!" decided Jack, punching his hat again. "That lousy—"
"That's all ridiculous. I don't think they were friends before tonight," Davey said.
"See?" Jack retorted. "Told you, that stupid Fiyero—"
"I don't think it had anything to do with Fiyero either," Davey added.
Jack frowned and pushed his cap back on his head firmly.
"So?" Katherine urged. "What are you saying?"
"I'm saying that I think they were enemies."
"Isn't it obvious?"
"They were enemies," Davey continued patiently, "And that's why she gave Elphaba the weird hat."
"She what? How do you know that?"
"Oh, several things. Galinda's expression when Elphaba came in and everyone was laughing. A couple of Galinda's friends glanced over at her too. And those same friends tried to stop her from dancing with Elphaba, remember? Also, Fiyero didn't even know Elphaba's name. He called her the 'green girl', which is pretty rude, so it suggests that he doesn't exactly like her. Or maybe he's just sort of indifferent about Elphaba, because she obviously has the sweets for him—which makes it a little awkward with Galinda, but…"
Katherine suddenly pushed past Davey toward the door. Davey whirled around, a little annoyed she'd pushed him aside in the middle of his explanation, but then he saw the reason. Elphaba, Galinda, and Fiyero had just come out of the Ozdust Ballroom. The two girls were holding hands, but they let go as Galinda and Fiyero went a few paces ahead and engaged in a nice, long kiss. Elphaba stood back, pretending not to see them. Katherine grabbed her arm and pulled her toward Jack and Davey, who immediately started talking in hushed tones.
"We need your help—"
"We need to get back to New York—"
"You're the only one who can—"
"What are you talking about?" Elphaba whispered.
"There's just something about you," Davey said, "that makes us think you can help us get back to where we came from, because we don't belong here. You're the only one that seems trustworthy."
"Well, I'm sorry, I'm afraid I can't help you," Elphaba said darkly. "I don't know where you're getting your information, but…"
"It's nothing we've heard about you, it's just—"
"Don't say you haven't heard rumors!" Elphaba snapped. "Everything you hear about me is 'the green girl' this and 'the green girl' that. Well, I'll have you know that I'm much more than that. I'm much more than my father's daughter and I'm much more than a girl with green skin."
"That's not what we meant!" Katherine exclaimed, her eyes glistening.
"The only person we've heard call you 'the green girl' is Fiyero!" Jack said, "And we already know he's a jerk!"
Elphaba's eyes flashed. "Don't say that about him!" she yelled.
"Elphaba, I'm sorry, I never meant…" Katherine seemed about to cry.
"I don't blame you," Elphaba said to her, with a firm hand on her shoulder. "It's just these two."
"Elphaba?" Galinda's high pitched voice sounded concerned. "Who's that?"
"Hey…" Fiyero approached the scene, with Galinda hovering behind him. "It's the crazy people. Don't listen to them, girls, they were trying to tell me a tornado blew them here…"
"We didn't ask to meet you and your damn ego!" Jack shouted at him.
"Then go back, dude!" Fiyero returned smugly.
Everything seemed to start spinning. Jack, Davey, and Katherine immediately grabbed each other. They saw a flash of green…heard Elphaba's voice…and then it was over.
The sounds of Oz seemed to echo in their ears. Jack could see Fiyero's smug face every time he blinked. They lay on the ground, breathing heavily, and looking up at the surprisingly clear evening sky.
Katherine was the first to laugh—breathlessly, relieved.
"Well, that was the wickedest birthday present I've ever been given," Jack grinned.