A/N: This is the first of what will probably be five one-shots dealing with the root -hap-. It was bothering me one day that there must be a relationship between happy and mishap, and then it grew from there. They'll follow Elphaba's life.

I don't own Wicked, and there is a line in here that is a direct quote from Wicked, but I don't want to give it away so I'm not going to say what it is, just that I don't own it.

Happenstance

It was twilight at Nest Hardings. The long dark shadows streaking across the dusty ground looked to Nanny like fingers, outstretched and groping, streaming from the harsh, fiery sun. It was Nature in her best Art, withholding nothing in her triumphant finale.

Nanny sat quietly, listening to the sunset with the calm half-smile of a simpleton. At her feet was a small woven basket. Earlier, Nanny had been rocking it with her foot, but she'd been distracted by the sunset.

Abruptly, the sun sank out of sight; its intention of exiting the scene had been well concealed behind the glory of the spectacle.

"Aww, what a shame," murmured Nanny, disappointed. There was a moment of sympathetic silence for her, and then a small cry came from the basket. "Oh, hush you," said Nanny, but she bent down to the basket and picked up the child within.

In the blues and grays of the evening, they made a perfect picture as mother and babe, a dark silhouette of love.

A picture of lies, thought Nanny. She was no mother, and all the love she showed was forced. She convinced and twisted and cajoled herself to love the child. Some lies were sanctioned by heaven, she believed.

But it was easier to make herself love little Elphaba here in the darkness, when the green of the child's skin blended into the muddle of the night. During the day the green was bold, bright, accusing and shaming. Was it fair for such a young life to make people older and wiser feel that way, or for the child to have to deal with the consequences, thought Nanny. Perhaps not, but life wasn't fair.

Maybe she was paying for the sins of her parents, maybe she was the payment; maybe she was getting a head start on paying for her own future sins. Maybe she was a sign of terrible things to come. Or maybe it was completely random.

Some sensible voice inside Nanny told her that nothing was random, that everything happened as a result of something, whether it was the whim of Lurline, the plan of the Unnamed God, or a simple seed planted. However, that implied that something was to blame, and Nanny didn't think that Elphaba's color was enough trouble to blame anybody for, so she made up her mind that Elphaba's verdigris was entirely happenstance.