Magic takes it’s tolls in fits and starts, and like all good drugs, while it makes you feel like flying in the first instance, it will chase you down the rabbit hole for trying to hold onto that feeling for too long. Elphaba blinks into the darkness of the dorm room, long after Galinda’s glow in the dark pixies have stopped skittering across the ceiling, and hopes, in the name of the Wizard, that she will come up for air soon.
It starts as a gentle rocking of the bed, so small that she’s almost not sure it’s real, but quickly swelling to an Earthquake like rumbling that surely must be endangering the entire school. Elphaba screams, launching out of bed and heading for the hallway, sure that she’s going to warn everyone and save the day.
And then that celebration, all to do with her, will surely follow. Not throughout Oz, but this would be a start.
“Elphie?” The bedside light clicks on and Garlina emerges, blinking sleep from her eyes and looking so thoroughly un put together that it would be funny, if they weren’t in such mortal peril.
“Come on!” Elphaba holds out a hand and as soon as Garlinda takes it, starts to pull her from the bed.
Garlinda stumbles out from under the duvet, her pyjamas rumbled and creased in on themselves. She makes it two steps from the bed before she takes a stand. “Elphie! What’s going on?”
“The earthquake!” Elphaba stares at her, bewildered.
Garlinda stares back, equally confused. “What earthquake?”
“There’s…the room was…” Elphaba pauses, her hand on the door, still thinking about the moment she ushers everyone out of the building and into the quad, where nothing tall can fall on them. But there is no earthquake. The room is still.
Save for the vines twitching their way across the floor with malice, thinking about how delicious her wrists are going to taste just as soon as they can get a good grip on them and tie them to the floor.
“You have a bad dream?” Garlinda asks, dropping back into bed like a stone. “It better be a really awful one, because I don’t appreciate having my beauty sleep interrupted for no good reason.
Garlinda looks anything but beautiful fresh out of bed. Hair a mess, makeup off, unwashed, unkempt. Elphaba likes her best first thing in the morning, when she’s grumpy like a normal person and still working out which face she’s putting on for the world that day. She says they’re friends, but she can still sometimes be mean out of nowhere, criticising people’s choices of clothes, the balls they did and did not attend, what they eat. As if being good means that you have to constantly remind everyone else of how much worse they are than you in order for it to count.
The vines prickle at her feet and Elphaba jumps back, this time careful to keep her voice down in case she wakes anyone up. She doesn’t think her reputation could take it, not yet. She can’t be the girl who has night terrors loud enough to wake up all of Shiz.
Garlinda glares at her over the top of the duvet. “Are you going to go back to bed?”
Is she? In the dark she won’t be able to see the vines, she won’t be able to know when to run. She can feel them. They are real. They are magic. They are something she has made up all for herself.
She might cry. Which must be evident because Garlinda looks deeply troubled by whatever her face is doing and refrains from turning out the light just yet. “Elphie?”
“I can’t do this.” Elphaba sobs. “I can’t. I’m trying so hard, and the magic is in me…but…”
Garlinda wouldn’t get it, she doesn’t have the kind of magic that causes this type of problem. Garlinda gets good, sweet magic that she has to strive for and that never puts her on the back foot. Elphaba gets bad magic that comes as naturally as breathing and punishes her relentlessly for daring to be its vessel.
With a sigh and a role of the eyes, Garlinda throws back the covers. “Come on, share with me. I’ll keep the monsters away.”
In all likelihood, if Garlinda were faced with a monster, she would scream and run. But the vines aren’t bothering her on her bed. Elphaba slaps off the one crawling up her thigh and runs gratefully into Garlinda’s arms, having decided that she’s not going to complain when the bed is too hot and their elbows dig into each other at odd angles.
“There you go.” Garlinda hums, resting an arm oh so gently across Elphaba’s midriff. “Safe here.”
Safe. The vines crackle and twitch their way up the walls, but they don’t come anywhere near the bed. Elphaba lets herself relax. “Can we keep the light on?”
“Sure.” Garlinda mutters, already half asleep.
Elphaba closes her eyes, forgets about magic for a minute, and joins her shortly.