Inspired by a truly gut-wrenching cut scene from the San Fransisco tryouts of the musical, back when Fiyero was a complete moron and Elphaba was just a bit on the weak side…reviews only take a second, and always make my day!
The station was cramped, crowded, clustered with people. Smoke rasped in my lungs, thick in the air all about us.
Fiyero's face was very far-away – a marble carving of perfection, every feature flawless and glowing in the light of the sun. His empty eyes followed the approaching train, blue as cornflowers, unreadable as a blank page.
Behind him, Galinda's golden head bobbed away to bid her bunch of squealing ninnies she considered friends goodbye. Sigh. Oh, Glin. The sunlight cast the strangest, glinting tints through her curls when she tossed them. A faint hint of strawberry.
"Please, Elphie," she'd hissed in my ear whilst Fiyero was busy with the luggage. "Find out about…you know."
Then she'd turned him, beaming again.
"Just going to say a quick bye to Pfanee and company, all right, dearest?"
He wasn't listening, and I was too busy watching him to do so either. Galinda's lips were at my ear again.
"You two – talk. To each other."
Then she was gone.
Behind him, guards whistled and passengers jostled as the train doors swung open. He blinked, looking a little dazed…running a hand through his hair.
'Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand'…what was the phrase?
The station master jangled his new bell proudly, chivvying the fresh volley of passengers along. Time was running out fast. Too fast. Do it now, Elphaba, do it now…
I cleared my throat.
He didn't look at me. My heart pounded louder than the steam engine itself as I jutted my chin a little higher, tapping my foot.
"So," I said, pointedly. He flicked an eye at me, his gaze instantly distracting. I took a deep breath.
"So…I was wondering. I mean –!" I scrambled to cover the mistake, "- I mean, Galinda was wondering…!"
He quirked an eyebrow warily. "Wondering what?"
"Well..." I hesitated, biting my lip. He was looking at me, now. Really looking. Oz, eyes that blue should be illegal. "Well, you see…when a person believes they may fallen in love…with another person…they wonder."
He coughed, seeming to wake up finally, covering his mouth to hide a smile. "Um, ok. Wonder what?"
I drew in another breath, the air shuddering down my throat. "Oh, you know. Whether…whether that person feels the same way. Whether he returns their…love…"
My words trailed off, whispered into nothing. I realized I'd taken a step towards him – and quickly took one back. He hadn't noticed.
He was watching me with such a strange expression twisting his faultless features; scorn, almost disdain, a hint of superiority I didn't like, his eyes rolling skywards…
"Come on, you don't really believe all that, do you?"
My voice was faint, hardly a breath. Oh Oz, just listen to yourself…
…he sighed, eyes pitying as they raked over me.
"What about it?" I snapped, though I could feel my face falling, closing, collapsing; all that Oz-damned hope and intent sliding off it like water. My eyes prickled. I blinked hard. Don't you dare, Elphaba, don't you dare…
He didn't meet my gaze, now. His face tilted, staring skywards again, watching the black smoke billowing up towards the sun from the train funnel. There was something horribly like a smirk playing at the edges of his lips.
"There isn't any such thing. Sure, I'm brainless, but even I know that."
I opened my mouth…but no sound came out. Cold clay had wedged in my throat, the lump of it choking me. I couldn't sputter even a word.
"- any such thing as…?"
"Love, of course."
He said it so simply. Shrug of the shoulders. Grimace of the lips. And I had never seen him look so sure about anything in all the time I'd known him.
"It's myth. Fantasy. I mean, sure, there's stuff you could call love. Uh…lust? You know – obsession and stuff. Friendship. But…sex…it's a tool of procreation. Just helps if you do it with someone you kind of like being with, or who's good at it."
His eyes darted awkwardly to Galinda's slender form for a second, lingering on the cut of her skirt. My teeth slammed together with a muffled clack.
"Or pretty," he added, as an afterthought.
"Makes it more fun, nice and all that. But love…nope. I don't believe there's any such thing."
Hot moisture pooled up my vision, distorting his face. I couldn't speak. I couldn't feel.
Fiyero's eyes flickered to mine, blurred by the tears. They held there, watching me curiously for a moment.
"Do you?" he said suddenly, throwing the words at me. "Elphaba?"
My name. The way he spoke my name.
I gaped like a fish. Ice seemed to have frozen me to the spot, frozen every part of my body, my heart …my pathetic, trembling, shattering heart. Mortification. Bitter, drenching mortification. I mouthed nothing, words bubbling to my lips –
"- no!" I managed to choke. "No, of – of – of course not, no…I don't…"
"I don't!" I choked again, and my feet were moving, careering backwards of their own accord, the tears muddling everything, threatening to spill over and ruin me, drown me at any moment. "I don't, no, of course I don't…!"
"Wait, Elphaba –"
"I have to go – I have to buy my ticket for the journey –"
"- but -!"
"- goodbye, Tiggular!"
I was gone before he could answer.
Nothing would persuade me to join Galinda and her sway in their private train compartment during that last journey back to Shiz. No amount of begging, pleading, pouting.
I'd learned my lesson, that day. No need to fill the cuts with lemon juice, grate salt into the scrapes. I would do just fine by myself, thank you very much. Yes, I would. I would take this journey alone…
I locked the door, shut the blinds, curled myself into a ball in the darkest corner of my compartment, and did just that.