A/N: Liberation Day was inspired by Independance Day in the United States because I am American, but I think most countries have something similar, so insert whatever parallel you need to. Fiyero and Galinda are still together, but Elphie and Galinda are friends.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters or timings in this, they all belong to Gregory Maguire. I do take credit for the name 'Liberation Day.'

"Bye, Elphie!" waved Galinda cheerfully, already pulled halfway out the door by Fiyero.

"Goodbye, Galinda," replied Elphaba, raising her head from a brown leather tome. If she had been the sort of girl that giggled, she would have now at Galinda's child-like eagerness and excitement to see the fireworks show. As it was however, she was not the sort of girl that giggled, and so she smiled slightly to herself and took the moment to pause over the mysteries of the unexplainable pleasures of the simple things in life.

As she paused, she stretched luxuriously, finally feeling the effects of staying jack-knifed in the same spot for an entire afternoon. With a sigh and a small grimace she accepted that she wouldn't be able to concentrate on her book again. It slid off the bed and onto the floor and she made no move to recover it.

She slumped back against the cheap wood frame headboard. Seemingly all at once, the whitewash walls of the small room burned orange, the setting sun having just met that perfect moment when it burst directly through the west-facing dorm window head-on.

Elphaba loved this moment, and savored every second of the silent spectacle of passion. Today she felt a pull to be closer.

The window was easily unlocked and just as easily slid open. She checked quickly to see if anyone was about in the courtyard below, but of course there wasn't; everybody was at the fireworks for Liberation Day. In a quick minute, Elphaba was perched on the sill like a great Gargoyle, then it was just a step down to the narrow porch above the first floor, the second story. To the left, the porch roof curved around to the short side, where there was a window at the end of the hall, right above a door on the ground floor. Elphaba peered around the corner cautiously before scurrying up the narrow vault-roof that shielded the window. From there it was easy to haul herself onto the main roof.

She was almost too late. The last brilliant rays streamed around her, playing with her hair, making her skin tingle. She sat astride the peak of a vault over attic window, not on the main vault, and was confident that she and her dark frock blended in with the dark green tiles as she leaned back and spread her arms wide to hug the sky.

Too soon it was over. It always surprised Elphaba how quickly sunset fell here, compared to Munchkinland. She supposed that the Vinkus helped to completely cut off the sun once it got low enough. Darkness ambushed without hesitation.

For all of fifteen seconds, she enjoyed the night.

Then there was a sharp, high whistling, closely followed by an explosion. Elphaba scrambled onto her stomach and pulled herself up to see over the vault.

Sparking white drops of fire gently flashed as they descended, gradually blackening. Fait cheers and applause wafted up to the roof, but quickly another was set off, and another. Red, gold, yellow, blue and silver all shone, but more than half were green, just the shade of the Emerald City. They burst into bubbles and canopies and jet-streams.

"Oh my," she murmured, mesmerized. Liberation Day was relatively new, having first been instigated six years ago at the tenth anniversary of the arrival of the Wonderful Wizard and thus the tenth anniversary of the overthrow of Ozma and the Regents. Having been in Quadling Country the first four years and the back country of Munchkinland the following two, Elphaba had never experienced the celebrations. Now she drank it in, trying to remember each and every firework, memorizing the sound as they burst and the smell of the gunpowder on the summer breeze.

After the last smoke drifted away and the applause faded, she stayed where she was, half lost in the spell and half wishing that it could continue forever. She loved the tension listening to it wheeze as it rose higher and higher. She loved the suspense of that millisecond of silence, the world holding its breath before the release. The release. She loved the release most. The 'bang' was filled with joy for her. In it, she felt the same tensions and passions that she felt in herself, but exploding outward, being set free.

"The true Liberation…" she thought wryly.

Inevitably, students began to trickle back. Elphaba lay low, not ready to face people, still trying to hold onto the moments before. It was her roommate's voice that eventually pierced her thoughts, though her roommate had been one of the last to return.

"Elphie!" she cried out the window.

Elphaba rolled her eyes, half-heartedly wishing that she'd remembered to shut the window.

"Elphie, are you out there?" Galinda called again, just as Elphaba slipped back around the corner and into sight. "Oh good, do come in quickly." She pulled back inside, out of sight.

Elphaba made her way back reluctantly, indulging herself in a childish fancy that she was a firework.