The second time Elphaba awoke, she was alone, and the room seemed less blinding, but her head was no less pounding.

She tried to move, but quickly discovered how terrible of an idea that was. Unable to do anything else, she looked around slowly and carefully and observed her prison.

She was dressed in an ugly gown, lying, restrained, on a bed that was firm but not completely uncomfortable. An IV filled with blood dripped and drained into her arm. There was a bandage wrapped around one wrist.

Ah, yes. She was definitely in a hospital, and that fact caused her a very strong squirm of discomfort in her abdomen. This wasn't part of the plan. She had wanted to go quietly and quickly and skip all this. She wasn't intended to survive. She thought she had ensured it.

She felt like banging her head into the back of the bed. Yes, it would hurt. But it would also bring the doctors and their drugs back in. She liked those.

She didn't have to wait long. The door creaked as it was pushed open and within seconds Elphaba was looking up at a doctor, who returned her stare intently.

"I am here to remove your restraints, Miss Thropp."

Elphaba winced at the name. "And why," she asked weakly, "would you do that?"

"You have a visitor," he said plainly as he undid the cuffs pinning her upper arms to the bed. "and you don't need them. For the time being." He finished quickly and looked at her once more in a glance that could be interpreted as kind. "But, for your sake, don't make me have to put them back on."

He was gone before she could react.

She took a shaky breath, trying to ignore the pounding in her head as she shut her eyes briefly, listening. Whispers. Footsteps, loud and quiet. The soft and squeaky sound of the door opening and closing.

Who was it? Nessa? Oz forbid, her father?



The voice was quiet and quivering, different than the other voices she's heard in these past hours. And that name. Her name. There was only one who would dare call her that and live to get away with it.

And then all the memories came back in a flood.

3 am. Voices. Knives. Blood. Blonde. Screams.

"Galinda..." she opened her eyes, struggling to push herself up, but everything blurred and she couldn't see and oh, her head –

"Shh. It's..." A shaking hand on her arm. A cracking voice. "It's alright. Lay back down."

Slowly, Elphaba obeyed, blinking, desperately trying to bring things into focus, and peered up at her friend. Galinda had never looked so utterly exhausted and empty in the time Elphaba had known her. Her heart bulged in her throat when she realized that she had done this. She had done this to her.

Elphaba's breaths came raggedly, and she just stared as Galinda carefully pulled up a chair and took a seat. She wanted to say something. Say she was sorry. But she still wasn't sure if what she felt was guilt over attempting suicide, hurting her friend, or not succeeding in finishing the task.

Galinda chewed her lip and just stared back for the longest time before whispering, "Why?"

More silence. It was the kind of long quiet that would normally ensue when Galinda asked Elphaba a question about something deep or serious, usually in their schoolwork. To others, the absence of response would indicate ignorance or rudeness. To Galinda, she knew it meant Elphaba was thinking hard. Never did she imagine it would be about suicide.

"I'm ..." Elphaba paused, her voice quiet and weary. "I'm not supposed to be here. I'm a burden. Hated. Despised by everyone. No one wants me here."

"I want you here." Galinda dug her nails into her palms.

"No, you don't." Elphaba looked at her with the same dead stare she had given hours before and it sent chills down Galinda's spine. "You might think you do, but you don't. You really, really, don't. I'm a m –" her voice got higher and she had to bite down hard on her lip before her voice got strangled away. "A monster." She coughed. "A demon, a villain, a witch, whatever word you would prefer. I – no one – it would be better for the world if I was gone. I would be doing the most good if I was dead."

Galinda's eyes filled with tears. "Elphie ..."

"No." Her voice was hoarse. "No. Don't deny it. It's the truth. I shouldn't be alive." The lump in Elphaba's throat lessened slightly as her tone grew in intensity. "It's because of me my sister is crippled. It's because of me my mother is dead. My father hates me, the world hates me, and I'm worthless. Absolutely worthless."

"Elphaba –"

"I hate myself, Galinda." Her eyes burned. "You don't understand what that's like because you're gorgeous. You have everything you could ever want. You are loved by everyone. I am none of those things. I will never be any of those things. You don't understand!" Her breath caught. "I want to be dead! I want to be gone! I need to be –"

"Elphaba Thropp!"

Elphaba froze. Galinda's eyes were aflame with tears and rage and pain that Elphaba had never seen. It transformed her beautiful face into something raw and gruesome. Her chest stuttered as she tried to breathe somewhat normally, yet that did nothing to weaken how dangerously low her voice was.

"You say I don't know what it feels like. And you're right. I don't." Her jaw tightened. "But what I do know is how it felt to walk into that kitchen and see you with that wretched knife, with blood everywhere." Her voice squeaked as the tears started to invade her vocal chords but she didn't stop. "To see – see you fall, with those dead eyes, and – and your wrist, Elphaba, it was so –" A sob escaped her lips and she shook her head hard, her voice dropping to a squeaky whisper. "I thought you were dead. I thought you had killed yourself. I thought – that I had –" She was quaking now, barely able to hold herself up, much less maintain eye contact. "that I had lost you." She took a flimsy breath. "Oh, Elphie."

Elphaba's hands twitched uncontrollably. She didn't mean for this to happen. She didn't think it would happen. She thought – she thought – "Galinda, I ..."

"This is my fault." Galinda's voice had taken on an eerie tone and the look in her eyes made Elphaba's heart scream. "I did this to you." A tear gently slipped from beneath her lashes. "I wasn't a good friend, I didn't do what I should have, I must not have tried hard enough ..." Her eyes widened in terror as she came to the realization of what she had done. "I'm so sorry!"

Elphaba shook her head desperately, causing it to throb, but she didn't care. "No!" she choked indignantly. "No, Galinda, you don't understand. This isn't your fault. You are the only friend I've ever had, and one of the best people I've known!"

"Then why?" she had stood, wiping her tears, and stepped closer. "If that is the truth, why did you believe you'd be better off dead?" Slight bitterness tinged her voice now. "Who or what convinced you to think that by removing yourself from this world, you would be somehow making good?"

Elphaba looked away for a long time before murmuring inaudibly, her voice suddenly strangled almost beyond recognition. "That's all I was told."


She coughed, painstakingly pushed herself to a sitting position, took a deep breath, and burst into tears.

Galinda's eyes pooled with pain and carefully she stepped forward, clambered up onto the hospital bed, and wrapped her arms around the weeping green girl.

Elphaba didn't fight, didn't argue. She was too tired to do more than bring trembling hands to claw at her face in an attempt to hide just how vulnerable she was. Everything, her inner screams, her pain, her panic, her voices, all poured out of her mind through her eyes as she buried her face in her best friend's shoulder.

Galinda was shaking again as she gripped her friend tightly, like she was afraid that if she let go, she'd lose her. "Elphie," she said quietly. "Elphie."

Elphaba whimpered and shook her head. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I shouldn't … shouldn't be this weak, I shouldn't be crying, I –" heat filled her face and she tried to pull away, her stomach twisting in embarrassment, how dare she let anyone see her cry, how dare –

"No." Galinda only held her tighter. "You have every right to cry and … and it's nothing to be ashamed of." She pulled away slightly and gently lifted Elphaba's chin, chuckling sadly as she brushed the tears away with her knuckles. "You've been strong for too long. Maybe if you'd been weaker sooner we wouldn't … this wouldn't ..."

"I'm sorry." Elphaba took a shaky breath, shutting her eyes to get things back under control as she carefully lifted herself up, moving herself out of Galinda's embrace, but not pushing her away.

"I know you are." Galinda hiccuped slightly and she lifted a hand to wipe her own tears again. "And you should be. Just look at me." A small smile and teasing air touched her tone. "You made me cry and smear my makeup. Mascara isn't exactly cheap, you know."

All Elphaba could manage was a weak grin, which made Galinda's demeanor drop as fast as it came and she hugged her tightly again. They stayed that way for a long time – Elphaba's head on Galinda's shoulder and the blonde's arms wrapped around the green girl's tired body. At last, Galinda looked down at her and pulled away slightly with a sigh. "I should probably go. You look like you need rest." Gently, she brushed Elphaba's hair out of her face before sliding off of the hospital bed. "I'll visit you every day. I promise."

Elphaba nodded and murmured a thank you, now utterly exhausted.

"Oh, and Elphie?"

She pried her eyes open.

A gentle yet ferocious protectiveness smothered Galinda's features as she stepped forward and took Elphaba's hand. "I will never let you go again."