Like Magic
by Amy

"She has been unlucky in love," said the Tin Woodman, "like the rest of us." The Tin Woodman paused and placed his hand on the center of his chest, as if in grief.
"She's a woman who prefers the company of other women," said the Scarecrow.
-"Wicked", Gregory Maguire

1. Green

Elphaba has never thought much of girls, but in fairness, she's never thought much of boys either. It's the human race that's the problem, humanity that seems compelled to tear down anyone even a bit different from themselves. She's never met an Animal so preoccupied with the color of her skin as the girls in her class are.

Elphaba sees them, pretty with bouncy blonde curls, pointing at her and snickering behind pale hands.

Miss Galinda is supposed to be just like them.

But Elphaba suspects that, behind the front, her roommate is more than even she herself ever imagined.


2. Front

Being assigned Miss Elphaba as a roommate is, Galinda suspects, punishment for some horrible deed she has yet to do. Simply having to live with the awkward green girl is penalty enough for her to do a world of bad deeds.

Miss Elphaba is an embarrassment, all angles and depth and that stupid biting wit of hers which no one wants to hear, especially not the boys who visit periodically. It's no wonder Galinda has to find girls in her proper social circle. Her roommate doesn't know common courtesy.

Besides, she wouldn't want to spend time with Miss Elphaba anyway.


3. Wait

She knows that, despite what they say, Miss Galinda enjoys her company. Elphaba can barely admit to herself that it's mutual. The girl is vapid, overly polished, and sometimes downright stupid.

But Elphaba loves her anyway.

It's the times when they don't talk that she feels a connection. The times when insecurity shows in Miss Galinda's face, the way a single tear drips down her cheek -- a luxury Elphaba wishes she herself could afford.

It's then that Elphie wishes they were friend enough that she could hold her, comfort her.

Instead, she sits in silence. She watches. And she waits.


4. Hidden

Galinda watches her, sometimes, when she thinks no one's watching. Elphaba has a tension to her entire being whenever she knows someone can see her, a way to be still, an angular statue made of green marble. But when she's alone, the tension lessens, and she softens, becomes human.

Galinda knows that's not what her roommate wants. It's safer to be hard, to hide under a thick green shell.

But in the darkness of their room, illuminated only by a small light, Galinda can barely see Elphaba's skin color. She ceases to be the green girl.

Elphaba becomes something beautiful.


5. Devotion

The appearance of Nessarose changes everything.

Nessa and Nanny have always been close to Elphaba, but the more time she spends at Shiz, the farther away they seem.

At Shiz she is herself, at home in a bubble of society. With Nanny and Nessa comes news of a life beyond Shiz, a life Elphaba doesn't want.

She likes it here, the quiet, the companionship. And Nessa and Nanny, unlike Ama Clutch, feel like an intrusion in the room. They never met Dr. Dillamond. They don't understand the sanctity of the bond she and Galinda have worked so hard to form.


6. Transform

Especially now, with her sister living with them, Elphaba has learned to curl into herself until she barely exists, a tiny green ball pouring over a book.

Her focus is like a laser, never moving far from the page, but at the slightest sign of Nessarose struggling, the book is closed and Elphaba's on her feet, searching for her sister.

It's odd for Galinda to see the transformation. Elphaba is different when Nessa is around. Everything seems easy to her. Normal.

It's somewhat gratifying, then, to see the shock on Elphie's face when Galinda kisses her for the first time.


7. Candlelight

Galinda is not the first person to kiss Elphaba. In the dark, in candlelight, when no one can really see, it's hard for anyone to imagine a beautiful girl as green. Some of the boys fell hard for Elphie, angles and all, kissing her deeply under a full moon until their saliva stung her skin.

Galinda is the first to kiss her knowing who she is, what she is. She is the first to touch her despite the green. She is the first to kiss not just a pretty girl, but Elphaba.

Galinda's is the first kiss, then, that matters.


8. Identity

Her name has been an extension of her for so long that when she hears someone shouting "Glinda", she forgets to answer. It doesn't feel like her, somehow.

Yet Galinda is the girl she was, not the woman she has become. Galinda died along with Dr. Dillamond, along with Ama Clutch.

It leads to a kind of isolation. Glinda smiles just as she always did, but now there's an ache to it. She smiles as though she has forgotten her entire life, and perhaps, in reality, she has.

It's only when she's with Elphie that she remembers who she is.


9. Rapture

Kisses sting her skin.

Glinda's mouth wanders, tracing invisible patterns over green fields, but only with closed lips, without any liquid-to-skin contact.

Elphaba rarely says anything; she arches up to meet Glinda, but does not return the murmured affections. Glinda is everything Elphie isn't, everything she'll never be, beautiful and dainty and perfect. Yet somehow, the contrast doesn't repel them as it does the world. The cover of night, when Nessarose and Nanny are asleep, is the time for tongues and eyes and...

Elphaba doesn't believe in heaven, or the soul, or the Unnamed God.

Except when she's with Glinda.


10. Memory

The days when Elphaba was repellant flash past Glinda's eyes some days, as though by repeating them in endless purgatory, she can somehow erase them. In the visions, she's bright green, a beacon in the drab grays and browns of Shiz. Glinda can see, sometimes, the looks Elphaba offered, the olive branches she never knew she could accept.

There are some things Elphaba does that seem strange, even now. Her fascination with religion, her aversion to water, the way her body tenses whenever someone looks at her.

Elphie isn't freakish anymore. She's beautiful. And nothing can ever take that way.


11. Yearning

She doesn't like to admit that she ran away, because running away is a weakness. She needs to be strong, if she wants to help the Cause; it's hard to defeat an empire with defenseless soldiers.

But it's hard to compare the strength needed for the Cause with the strength she needs to stay away from Glinda.

If, when they first met, someone told Elphaba she would miss Glinda more than Nessa, more than Nanny, even more than Boq, she would have laughed.

But to save the Animals, she has to run away.

And she misses Glinda most of all.


12. Presence

Glinda knows that nothing real ever lasts, and nothing that lasts is ever real. Anything that exists forever is the result of magic, and no matter how much Glinda might love magic, she knows that nothing out of spell book can ever change what really is.

Elphaba is nothing if not ephemeral. She looks like a creature out of a fairy tale, something that should never have existed in this world.

Yet she's here. In a world of surfaces and false promises, Elphaba is always there with her, even when she's presumed long dead.

That's how Glinda knows she's real.


13. Rebirth

She is like a phoenix, rising from her own ashes.

No matter how many times she dies, she will be resurrected. She is wicked, or she is good, but whichever she is, she will never truly die. She will live forever in legend. She will be the Bad Witch, the one all of Oz wishes to forget.

Glinda is fascinating to her, an example of nature's success instead of its myriad failures. Glinda is creation where she is destruction; perfection where she is flawed; beauty where she is repulsive.

Glinda is everything Elphaba will never be.

But she is hers.


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