What You Were Missing (Post-Popular, Gelphie friendship)

Elphaba contemplates the nature of solitude verses her newfound friendship.

I smiled, gazing around at the empty room. A whole evening in – alone. No roommate, just me, Elphaba Thropp, alone and free to do whatever she pleased for the next four hours at least. Galinda wasn't likely to be home much before midnight.

Of course, there were downsides to everything, and it would be strange not to have my new and only friend bouncing around the room like an over-excited puppy the whole evening long…but that was all right. I would put Galinda out of my mind and make the most of my time alone.

I reached for my wardrobe door – only one quarter of which was actually ever used by me; the rest was adorned with Galinda's paraphernalia, pinks and blues and lilacs and yellows, in silk and satin and velvet and other frilly, flimsy materials I had no name for. I pulled out my nightgown.

The wind whistled outside the latched window. Thunder growled in the far distance. The air was cold and clammy on my tongue, the room much too chilly. I crossed the room in too strides to stoke the fire, loading two more logs to keep it burning. Then I headed for the bathroom, brushed my teeth, washed my face, grabbed my current read – Unionist Theology of the Modern Age – and settled myself in front of the fire, curled in my bed blankets, an apple from my stash behind the window curtains in one hand, my sharpest pen in the other; ready to take notes on the book.

Oz, it was cold. I shivered, shifting closer to the fire in a faint attempt to keep warm. And…it was quiet. Too quiet. Empty, hollow; my breath echoing faintly in the silence of the room as I drew it in. Thoughts of Galinda drifting unwanted into my mind. If she were here, it would be all right. The cold would be the farthest thing from my mind; Glinda would make sure of that, chattering endlessly whilst I nodded and interjected with reasonable comments at appropriate moments, and maybe even let her plait my hair for the night like she so often nagged me to.

There had been that one time, almost a month ago now. Glin was early getting back from one of Avaric's garish get-togethers, and had found me sat upon my bed, back up against my headboard, right at the very end of A Quadling's Guide to Numerology – the truly fantastic read – and rather less than pleased to find my peaceful evening was to be cut so short. But Galinda had ignored my protests and excuses about wanting to get an early night and insisted I keep on reading, saying she would read along with me – which was nonsense, of course, but I decided to humour her.

To my shock, she had stayed true to her word, curling up beside me and dutifully working her way through the last few chapters of my book, even commenting almost intelligently on several matters at odd intervals. It had been odd...odd, and yet - strangely satisfying, to share the pages with her. It added something to the book, added something to the knowledge I could glean from it - knowledge I could share with Glinda, discuss with Glinda, and understand all the better for it.

And...and to not have her here now was…unpleasant. Lonely, even. Lonely. Before Glinda, I hadn't known what I was missing out on, having no friends. Now, the absence was sharp and real and all too unpleasant. I did not like it.