A/N: Yes. See? Not abandoned. Totally not.

The green girl sitting in the tree was the first to spot the letter carrier as he trotted his horse along the dusty road to Rush Margins. Granted, she had very little competition as it was just past high noon and the town lay deserted, all others either trying to coax crops through the draught or seeking shade and relief from the summer scorch. Nevertheless, she was undaunted as she jumped down and then ran out to meet the rider. Any mothers to witness her display would have clucked their tongues and warned their broods to not follow the example; it was ridiculous to sit in trees while there was work to be done and even more ridiculous to run after letter carriers at the age of seventeen. Honestly, such behavior was more fitting for children a fourth of her age! However, no mothers were present to bear witness, and the girl had no mother to reprimand her at home, so she made her way out of the town unhindered.

It wasn't long before she got close enough for him to notice her, and he pulled his horse to a stop as she reached him, panting slightly.

"Please," she said. "Do you have any letters for an Elphaba Thropp?" If the man noticed her unusual skin color, he made no comment. He had travelled across rather more of Oz than the average Munchkinlander and had seen evidence everywhere of its extraordinary diversity.

"Elphaba Thropp?" he asked, twisting around to rummage in his sack.

"Yes," she said, "postmarked to Rush Margins, most likely."

"Ah, here we are. Miss Elphaba Thropp, Rush Margins." He pulled out a thick envelope addressed in black ink and closed by a heavy red wax seal. "From Shiz University."

Her body tensed at the last detail. At last, she thought. She mumbled a thank you and gave him a few coins in exchange for the letter, gripping it tightly as she left, not towards the town again, but slightly to the right, where a decent sized home could be seen in the distance.

When she reached the front door and stumbled across the threshold, she made for the rickety stairs leading to the second story, but was halted halfway up by a soft voice.

"Elphaba?"

Elphaba turned, to see her wheelchair bound sister at the bottom of the stairs, looking up at her.

"Elphaba, are you going to be up in your room?" she asked.

"Yes."

The younger girl's eyes grew wet and the corners of her mouth trembled. Elphaba sighed.

"Nessa, would you like to come upstairs for a while?"

"Ooh, yes," she beamed.

Elphaba turned and went to her sister, slipping the letter into a large pocket in her skirt. The action wasn't missed by Nessa's sharp eyes.

"What's that?" she asked as Elphaba lifted the fourteen-year-old's slight frame and started back upstairs.

"A letter."

"To you?"

"Yes."

"Who from?"

"Shiz."

"Ooh, what's it say?"

"I don't know yet."

There was a pause, filled with the sound of Elphaba's breathing. Then they reached the top and Elphaba entered a small room with a window overlooking the front yard of the house and the road leading into town. Nessa was gently dumped on the low bed and Elphaba took out the letter and sat at a small desk, preparing to break the seal.

"Elphaba?"

"Yes?" murmured Elphaba, distracted.

"I hope you're rejected." The green girl's head snapped up in surprise. "I don't want you to go away to school. I don't want you to leave us. I don't want you to leave me. I need you here, they don't."

"Oh Nessa…" said the big sister. "I'll always be there for you when you need me." And she left the letter on the desk, getting up to go rub circles on her sister's back in the light of the unexpected declaration. That was how Nanny found them, hours later, when she called them to dinner.

Afterwards, when her family was asleep, Elphaba opened her letter of acceptance and found her twinge of guilt and sorrow on Nessa's behalf greatly outstripped by a roaring tide of excitement at the happenings her life was about to take.