The third time, both were angry and sad and disappointed, but neither was surprised, not when all was said and done.

"Come with me," said Elphaba. "Think of what we can do, together."

"Elphaba…" But Glinda doesn't know what she's going to say next, so Elphaba pushes on.

"You and I, think of it. Together we'll be unstoppable. We'll tell all of Oz what's really going on, we'll expose the Wizard for the xenophobic fraud he is. We'll avenge Dr. Dillamond and all the other Animals hurt by the Wizard's laws."

They're holding hands; they've been holding hands since they fled the throne room together, Elphaba pulling Glinda after her as they raced down corridors and up staircases, driven higher and higher by the Gale Force. And now they're at the top, in a small tower attic with large windows open to the night sky, and they can go no higher.

Below them, they hear heavy boots stomping on creaking wooden floors, and heavy furniture sliding and screeching across the floors, probably leaving marks, more's the shame, thinks Glinda the architecture aficionado, marking up these historic floorboards, even if they are just attics. The Force is taking their time, methodically searching each level before moving up, moving closer. It's a tower, there's no other way down.

Except for Elphaba's way.

They're holding hands, but between them floats a broom. Floats, as in enchanted, as in when did Elphaba start studying sorcery, but also as in defying the laws of gravity and providing another way down, another way out. A way to go even higher still.

Glinda looks past Elphaba to the window behind her. The sky is dark, but no darker than the room they're in now. Above, faraway stars courageously send forth their life's energy as far as they can, to be seen and admired by remote strangers, stargazers forever in search of worlds better than their own. Below, the Emerald City twinkles and shines, an ocean of light.

She looks back to Elphaba and sees the fire and the passion, and the hope as well, which is new, this hope against hope. She knows this is Elphaba's way out, and she's not going to try to change her mind, she respects her too much for that. She knows asking Glinda to run away with her is Elphaba's way of protecting her, because somewhere along the way she has crossed to the other side of Elphaba's protective shell.

But she also knows that this is not her way out. This is where they separate, despite all they've shared together. She sees the moment on Elphaba's face when she comes to the same realization, and their hearts break together.

What to say?

"I hope you're happy."

Boots pound up the stairs on the other side of the door.

"I hope you're happy in the end."

Their friendship and trust is the strongest it's ever been as they say goodbye without saying goodbye.

"I hope you're happy – my friend."

They're embracing when the Gale Force bursts through the door, and Elphaba breaks away quickly, mounting the broom.

"It's me you want," she cries as she hovers just outside the window. "It's me!"

The soldiers lunge for her, and several arrows follow, but then she's gone, black dress and black hat melting into the black night. Guards seize Glinda by the arms and begin to frog march her back down to Earth, but Glinda barely notices. Instead, she closes the door to her heart and begins preparing the story that she'll tell over and over for the rest of her life, the story of the terrible influence that was Elphaba Thropp.

AN: Thanks for reading to the end, leave a review and tell me what you thought!