A/N: takes place right after Popular, but in this version, there was no school the day afterwards, so there are several days between this scene and the following one in the musical (Dr. Dillamond's class, Elphaba's Galindafication and the Lion-cub scene). I mean come on. There was no way Galinda could act on her makeover overnight :)
Disclaimer: the characters of Wicked belong to Gregory Maguire; the rest (lyrics etc.) belongs to Stephan Schwartz.
"Why, Miss Elphaba, look at you!" Galinda exclaimed with sheer satisfaction, holding out a mirror for Elphaba. "You're beautiful!"
Elphaba hesitated, then slowly took up the mirror and stared at her reflection. She wasn't sure whether Galinda thought she really was beautiful, or she was just making fun of her. She had to admit that at the moment, she didn't really care. The girl that looked back at her from within the mirror was somewhat beautiful, in a strange sort of a way. She had beautiful hair, black and thick that curled only at its edges, she had beautiful hazel-colored eyes, shining with youth and excitement. She had a pink flower in her hair, which looked a bit peculiar, yet very much in tune with her emerald skin…
Damn, her emerald skin.
Elphaba dropped the mirror on the pink bedspread next to her. As always, reality crawled back in and shattered all other illusions. No-one could possibly be beautiful with that skin complexion.
"I… I have to go…" she stammered and left the room at once. Running along the deserted hall, she could hear Galinda calling after her, "You're welcome!"
She didn't know where she was heading; she just wanted to be as far away from the dorms as possible.
She had to stop running, though, when something bumped into her full-force and she fell on the grass with a loud "Ouch!", more of a surprise than of pain. A male voice repeated that "Ouch" at the exact same moment. She looked up.
"Are you okay?" asked a not-so-familiar-but-definitely-handsome young man. She nodded. "Did you get hurt?" he added.
"No, I'm fine. Thanks," she said quickly and got up while dusting off her frock. She was perfectly fine, it was her ego that got hurt, she told herself bitterly.
"Wait!" he called after her. She turned around to face him. "You're Galinda's room-mate, aren't you?" he had seen her earlier, at the Oz-Dust Ballroom. He scolded himself for his question, to which obviously only one answer suited. Of course it was her, there weren't that many green girls in Shiz!
"It depends on who wants to know," she called in his direction but didn't come closer. Then, at once, she realized what she was doing, and her cheeks burned with shame. What in Oz? Who did she think she was? How in Oz did she think of flirting- Sweet Oz, flirting- with someone like him?
To her amazement, the boy made few steps in her direction. "Well, you're right, where are my manners?" He was standing in front of her now, only several inches taller than her. "We haven't been properly introduced," he said. She did know his face, she realized. It was that new student, that arrogant, superficial, brainless prince that taught everyone in Shiz to dance through life. "I'm Fiyero Tiggular," he said with a smile and a small bow. Well, brainless or not, he had a nice smile, she had to admit. "And you are…?" he asked.
"I'm… Elphaba," she managed to say.
He looked at her in amusement. "Just Elphaba?"
"Elphaba Thropp." She hated telling people her surname. It always reminded them of her father, obviously.
"The daughter of Munchkinland's governor?" Fiyero asked innocently. He didn't know how much she hated being "the daughter of".
"I prefer to be called just Elphaba, though," she added quietly. She was surprised at herself. She had never cared much for how would people call her, usually because they'd never called her anyway, so why should she care? Why was it so important now?
Fiyero smiled. "Independent girl, huh? Alright, 'just Elphaba', it's a pleasure to meet you," he took her small hand in his big one and shook it gently. Her hand was as cold as ice. His hand was warm, his grip strong and confidant. "Every friend of Galinda is a friend of mine," he added.
Ugh. Galinda. That definitely burst the illusion into small pieces. She almost managed to forget about her blonde roommate. He must have been towering over Galinda, she was so tiny, she thought grimly, then scolded herself for even thinking she had the slightest chance. Of course Galinda had him. She was so perfect, perfect in every way, just his type. He was just being nice to her because he had to.
Well, she didn't need his false friendship or his pity. "Can I have my hand back now?" she asked. It came out more aggressive than she intended, yet he didn't back away.
"Sure," he said and looked deeply into her eyes. He never let go of her hand. He looked hypnotized. "Did anyone ever tell you how amazingly beautiful you are?" he whispered.
She stared at him incredulously, trying to determine whether or not he meant it. He sounded serious. She shook her head. Galinda's pink flower fell on the grass. She didn't even notice.
"I'm not beautiful," she whispered.
He smirked. "You must be blind, then," he said softly.
She shivered, suddenly aware of their closeness, and the fact that she was still wearing her ugly dark blue frock that she wore to the ball earlier.
"Are you cold?" he asked. He didn't wait for her reply and removed his jacket, then wrapped it around her shoulders. His slight touch on her exposed skin was electrifying. Their eyes locked. By what she had seen there, she knew that he felt that too.
She flinched back. "I have to go back," she murmured. "I'm sorry… Thanks for the, um…" she stopped mid-sentence and started to run off.
"Hey!" he called after her.
She stopped, in spite of herself. She knew she should have just kept going, but her feet didn't seem to obey. She found herself standing in front of him again. He held something pink in his hand… She realized that it was the flower she'd dropped minutes earlier.
"I believe it's yours," he said softly.
She nodded, hardly even looking at him. "It's Galinda's. Thanks."
But instead of simply giving her the flower, he gently fixed it back into her hair. He hesitated, touching it slightly, then let go. "You are beautiful, 'just Elphaba'," he whispered before he leaned down and touched her lips with his. It didn't last more than 10 seconds, but it was as electrifying as his hands on her shoulders.
She said nothing when their lips parted. She turned around and walked slowly back to the girls' dorms. She didn't dare to look back. She didn't have to, either. She knew that he'd stay there, watching her.
Galinda was fast asleep when she came back into their room. She looked childish and vulnerable, almost angelic, clutching her stuffed teddy-bear under the pink covers. Elphaba dropped Fiyero's jacket on the closest chair, then changed into her night clothes. While doing so, the pink flower fell on her dark bedspread. She took it and gently put it on Galinda's dresser.
For the first time in her life she was actually glad that there was no school the following day. It was finally the weekend, which meant that she wouldn't have to face Fiyero until next week, thank Oz. Maybe she'd even let Galinda continue her makeover project. She crawled under the covers and took the small green bottle from under her pillow. She looked at it for a second, then put it back.
Fiyero's words kept whirling in her head like a lullaby. Did anyone ever tell you how amazingly beautiful you are? Even if he didn't mean it, who cared? Just for that night, she did feel beautiful. Knowing that the darkness of the room was her only witness, she smiled to herself, then closed her eyes.
Soon she was fast asleep too, dreaming the strangest dream. She was with Fiyero in the depths of a forest with nothing around them but thick darkness. They held each other.
"I wish I could be beautiful for you," she said softly.
"Elphaba…" he protested.
"Don't tell me that I am, you don't need to lie to me."
"It's not lying! It's... uh... it's looking at things another way," he said softly.
"We will see each other again, won't we?" she asked, concerned.
He smiled, caressing her cheek. "Elphaba, we are going to be together always," he concluded and kissed her.
In her sleep she smiled again and touched her lips. She didn't wake up until morning.
Deep in her heart she knew that someday, somehow, this dream would come true.