Elphaba had most emphatically not wanted to come to the Philosopher’s Club. She was sure of that, though she was sure of little else. How she had gotten there, and with whom she had arrived, had disappeared like a wisp of vapor.
There had to have been some sense of foreboding, because she’d grabbed hold of Glinda’s hand and refused to give it up, even as the horrible dwarf went about separating them all into pairs and singles and multiples with the strangers that had been picked out of the crowd along with them. So while the others (and she desperately wished she could remember who they were) had been divvied up, she had not.
She had also not consented to being stripped bare and tied to a table with her hands above her head (at least not that she could remember), but she was there nonetheless. Then again, no one had bound her ankles, so she had no one to blame but herself for wrapping her legs around Glinda’s waist.
She’d heard that voice don a number of different disguises, chief among them a sort of fey carelessness. She’d heard disgust too, and anger and simpering and pandering and even, on rare occasion, a hint of steel. Until that moment, she hadn’t heard passion or desire or raw need, but the thread of it in Glinda’s voice made something in her belly quiver.
There was a vague sense that things were not as they ought to be as Glinda lavished her breasts with kisses and licks and sharp little nips, but she had no desire to protest. It did, after all, feel quite nice and she had, after all, become aware of a burgeoning desire for something more from her roommate than just good friendship. She’d gotten the notion somehow that Glinda had desired that too, and though she might never have done anything to bring the two desiring halves together to form one glorious whole, Glinda’s tongue sliding against her own insinuated that the matter had been disposed of properly.
“My pretty, pretty Elphie.”
She also wasn’t sure when Glinda had shucked her pretty gown, but she imagined they looked quite a sight, with pale blonde curls tangling with purplish-black.
“You’ll be mine now, pretty Elphie.”
Elphie had never really felt pretty before, but when Glinda said the words, she believed them. She forgot about the stares of horror that one evoked just for being a tad bit more springish than everyone else, forgot about the shapeless black dresses that hid nothing because there was nothing to hide, and about features too pointed to be truly pretty. She forgot about other things, too, but couldn’t quite remember what they were. She did not forget to be a bit aggravated at the note of ownership in Glinda’s voice, but filed her protest away to be aired later.
She was distinctly embarrassed by the way her hips rocked up against Glinda’s. Even if no one else could see her (or at least, she was reasonably certain no one could, though there was a strangish haze hanging around the periphery), Glinda could see her and feel her and hear her acting like a shameless wanton. Elphaba had never been a shameless wanton before, not that she could remember, and wasn’t entirely sure where she learned the proper motions for it. She’d never so much as been kissed before, much less in the way Glinda was kissing her, and for a certainty no one had touched her with passion in mind.
It rather seemed as if Glinda had nothing else in mind.
“Do you remember how we got here?” Elphie questioned, the words seeming to reverberate in her head, bouncing off the sides and echoing until they were a jumbled mess. She wasn’t even entirely sure she’d said them aloud at all, or if they’d merely taken shape in her mind and continued to reside there.
Aloud then, she’d decided, as Glinda looked up from the vicinity of her belly to shoot her a scowl. “Not particularly. Honestly Elphie, can’t you focus? There are more important things happening, in case you hadn’t noticed.”
Elphie had most certainly noticed. Focusing, on the other hand, was almost too difficult of a task. Though she could feel the heat of Glinda’s lips against her, she found it made her rather nauseous to look down at the blonde head buried between her thighs (though she did have time to note that there was something rather pleasing about the contrast of her green skin and Glinda’s golden hair). In fact, together they looked like a rather risqué Lurlinemas ornament, and Elphie couldn’t help the completely uncharacteristic giggle that bubbled past her lips.
“Elphie,” Glinda snapped, glaring up at her. “Pay attention!”
Feeling almost drunk, Elphie tried to salute, before remembering that her hands were rather securely bound above her head. Instead, she smirked so deeply that it bordered on a leer. “Yes ma’am, Miss Glind… oh!”
Blushing at the decidedly girlish gasp Glinda had drawn from her, Elphie bit her bottom lip in an effort to stifle any others seeking escape. Rather unbelievably, Glinda had decided to employ her tongue in an activity Elphie had gathered a rudimentary (and, honestly, rather disinterested) knowledge of from the accidental eavesdropping of whispered snippets of conversations between girls in their last year at Shiz at times when the participants in said conversations thought they were being circumspect. Of course, they had been discussing, for the most part, failed attempts by current and ex-boyfriends to perform the very activity she was avidly experiencing.
As far as she could tell, nothing about what Glinda was doing invited similar criticisms.
“Miss Glinda,” Elphie gasped, trying not to sound quite as breathless as she actually was, “where did you learn how to do that?”
Glaring again, Glinda sighed, “Elphie, do shut up. Please. Unless you’re begging, or perhaps asking for more. All of this questioning nonsense is distracting.”
Elphie frowned for a moment, turning the words over in her mind and moving past the startling realization that they’d been spoken in the first place (by Glinda, no less) to examine the meat of them. And therein lay the important part, she decided, nodding decisively, “Fine then. More. Please."
Which seemed to please Glinda heartily, as she returned to the task at hand with renewed vigor, earning a barely muffled shout as a reward. “Blessed saints, Glinda,” Elphie managed to pant out as her hips rose upwards without her consent and her slim torso danced and writhed as if controlled by an invisible marionette. But, since the exclamation was favorable in nature and not yet another infernal question, Glinda promptly ignored it.
Letting her head loll back, barely registering the sharp crack the back of her skull made as it contacted wood, Elphie nearly flew into a state of panic. Her heart was beating abnormally fast; so fast, indeed, that she was convinced she was on the verge of a major coronary event. She could even hear the blood rushing past her eardrums, the noise competing with the almost audible hum that seemed to originate from the taunt tension pulling her body as tight as a bow. Her hands had wrapped so tightly around the lengths of rope securing her to an unseen anchor that she was in danger of chafing her palms on the rough hewn of the hemp and, oddly enough, if felt as if the bottoms of her feet were on fire. All indications pointed to imminent death.
“I cannot take any more of this, Miss Glinda,” she cried out sternly, head thrashing. “Surely you are on the verge of killing me. Desist. Desist!”
Rolling her eyes as she looked up at the expression on her roommate’s face, an odd mixture of a forbidding scowl with a grimace of teeth-baring pleasure, Glinda chuckled. “I will do no such thing, Miss Elphie.”
And then she slid her fingers deep inside of the other girl, curling them up instinctively as she began to massage in a slow, circular rhythm.
Elphie’s resulting shout nearly rendered her deaf.
The release of all that tension was as traumatic as she’d suspected it might be, Elphie decided long moments later. So much so that it had stolen all of the energy from her body, all of the thought from her mind, and all of the air from her lungs.
“Do you think you could untie me, Miss Glinda,” she said stiffly, uncomfortably aware of the pale body pressed tightly alongside her own. “My shoulders are beginning to ache.”
Glinda did, and Elphie promptly accidentally elbowed her on the top of the head, earning a mock glare. “Well,” Glinda prompted, “now that you’ve got your hands free, don’t you think you should be using them?”
“Just what are you suggesting?” Elphie asked, not sure whether to be affronted or aroused by Glinda’s tone.
Slithering closer, sliding the side of her knee across Elphie’s flat belly, Glinda whispered naughtily, “Come now, Miss Elphie. Certainly you can figure it out.”
Upon awakening, Elphie realized she was rather chilled, despite the odd warmth that seemed to be glued to her back. Groggy eyes blinked, narrowing and squinting as she tried to make sense of her unfamiliar surroundings. Inexplicably, her bed had turned as hard as a plank of wood, and where normally her first sight every morning was a counter full of Glinda’s lipsticks and hand creams, she instead saw her pointy black hat listing lopsidedly from the top corner post of a nearby chair.
“Am I still dreaming then?” she wondered aloud, unable to make sense of the scattered puzzle pieces she’d been given.
There was a sniffle as the object glued to her back seemed to undulate, and Elphie stiffened in surprise. “Do be quiet, Elphie. It’s a Saturday, and I, for one, want to sleep in.”
“In where?” Elphie shot back, starting to panic slightly. “Glinda, have we been kidnapped? Where are my clothes?” She paused, realization dawning. “Where are your clothes?”
“Wherever I left them, I suppose,” Glinda snapped sleepily. “Even in my dreams you’re most vexing, Miss Elphie.”
“But we are not in any sort of dream,” Elphie cried in dismay. “A nightmare, perhaps, but a waking one.”
“Oh, do stuff it.”
The words came from somewhere in the distance, their speaker decidedly male, and with a gasp, Elphie and Glinda both jerked upright.
Looking around dazedly, her hands providing scant cover for what seemed, suddenly, like miles of bare skin, Glinda whispered, “I do believe you were correct, Miss Elphie.”
Voice a near snarl, Elphie said, “Oh really? What a stunningly brilliant observation.” And then she paused, brows drawing inward in a rather frightening scowl, “I told you I didn’t want to come here, and now look… we’re well and truly fucked, and by each other if I remember correctly.”
“Aye, and it was a glorious sight,” the voice broke in again, this time clearly distinguishable as belonging to Avaric, and the man in question followed after it shortly, smoothing down his wrinkled shirtfront as he swaggered up from the floor to sit in the chair housing Elphie’s errant hat. “Though I must say that it was most shocking to discover who, of the pair of you, is really in charge. No more fooling us with your churlish attitude, Miss Elphie, not after I’ve seen you beg. And you, Miss Glinda, appear to be a force to be reckoned with, despite all your frippery. In fact, though I was equally impressed with both of your performances, I believe I’ll have to award Miss Glinda extra points for style, and hand the victory to her.”
Snatching her dress from the floor and clutching it to her chest, all the while glaring at Avaric with all of the indignation she could muster, Elphie snarled, “This was your idea. At the very least, you could have had the decency to not watch the proceedings with one hand around your prick, and even if you could not resist, then one would think that you’d be gentleman enough to keep the knowledge to yourself instead of blabbing on about it in thanks for the show.”
Furious more so at the notion that a moment that should have been decidedly private was most certainly not than at Avaric’s words, Elphie stepped jerkily into her dress, nearly tearing the hem as she stepped on it, barely noticing Glinda scurrying off to the side to do the same away from Avaric’s decidedly lecherous gaze. Despite her present lack of modesty, Elphie was a private person about even the most mundane of matters, and the events of the night before entered an entirely new stratosphere of invasion of privacy. She was embarrassed that Glinda had witnessed what had happened, much less a third party. And, if she were to have to pick a third party… well, actually she was rather less bothered that it was Avaric. At least he was upfront about his voyeurism and enjoyment of it. She tried to imagine a stuttering Fiyero or blushing Boq, protesting that they had closed their eyes out of modesty when really they’d resisted blinking in an effort to catch every moment. If she was going to have to deal with spectators, she was at least moderately less disturbed to have one that had partaken unashamedly of the show and had no motive beyond physical gratification for watching.
“It figures that you’d be the first to recover her composure, while the Mistress of the Night jets off to the privacy of the antechamber in shame,” Avaric drawled, chuckling lightly.
Elphie barely registered the comment, her mind still swirling. Now that the haze had slid away, baring the recesses of her mind, she remembered that the three of them had not entered the Club alone the night before.
“And the others?”
“Too busy watching Crope be buggered by a Tiger to pay any attention to the sideshow. That, or being buggered themselves. Last I saw Pfannee, she was off with some newlywed Gillikinese couple. Seems it was the night for deflowerings. Or re-deflowerings, or what have you. The honest answer to that question depends upon the prior level of alcohol consumed by the supposed maiden in question,” Avaric drawled lazily. “And I’ll keep your secret, Miss Elphaba, so please direct your glare elsewhere. Just, whatever you do, don’t mistake my intentions. I’m not an honorable man by any means, as you should well know and if you didn’t before have no excuse for not doing so now. I’ll keep your secret because it brings me pleasure to know that I’m the only one who knows it, not because some sort of nascent morality insists that it is the ‘right’ thing to do. I don’t subscribe to such foolish notions.”
“Yes, yes,” Elphie muttered sharply. “I’m sure we’re both suitably impressed with your disaffected immorality and depravity. You’ve proven yourself to be reprehensible and dissolute, and, I’m sure, a tribute to your kind everywhere.” She paused, then grinned evilly. “Just remember your promise, Avaric, or I’ll be very happy to let Miss Glinda explode your privates for her sorcery practice.”
“Apt retribution,” Avaric acknowledged with a nod and a smirk, “considering her performance wrought the same results last night.”
Eyes narrowing dangerously, Elphie nearly growled, “And if you don’t develop enough of a brain in the next few seconds to figure out when you need to shut it, I’ll just rip them off right now.”
“I do so admire spunk in a woman,” Avaric said with a dashing grin. “Or, rather…”
“Shut it,” Elphie grit out, advancing threateningly.
Dancing backwards and knocking over the chair in his haste, hands held out in a faux protest of innocence, Avaric laughed. “Time for me to go, I see. Truly, you should be more concerned with explanations, Miss Elphaba, than with me. Dark purple shows up very well on green, much to my surprise, and if you’ll remember, Miss Glinda was quite the biter. She’s marked you as hers, that’s for sure. Rather territorial for a feckless Gillikinese girl, don’t you think?”
“I think you’re seconds away from becoming less of a man,” she retorted sharply, flexing her fingers. “But Avaric the Eunuch does have a nice ring to it. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad. Certainly you’d get more accomplished, with your brain power no longer divided between the two heads.”
His broad smile didn’t provide quite as much satisfaction as she would have derived from a sufficiently cowed look, but since he seemed on the verge of ending his taunting, Elphie decided that she would just have to make do.
“Ah, and here’s Miss Glinda now,” Avaric said as Glinda peeked her head out from around the corner, now fully bedecked in all the frills and flounces she’d been wearing the night before. “Let me offer the two of you a few minutes of privacy.”
He swept away with a hedonistic grace that Glinda was forced to briefly admire. “Did you scare him into submission, then?” she asked hopefully, trying to fight the blush crawling up her fair cheeks.
Elphie snorted, smiling faintly. “He’ll keep quiet, or so he says. Though, what value a promise from Avaric holds, I can’t say. He may keep it, may not, or may forget he made the promise in the first place. However, I promised to let you practice your sorcery on his private manly parts should he renege, so one can only hope that he’s heard the rumors of your prowess in creating grand explosions.”
“As flattered as I am in your faith in my abilities, I think it’s a topic we should explore in more depth later,” Glinda sniffed airily. “I’ve found a back way out of here. With any luck, we can be gone before the others find us, and perhaps they’ll forget we even accompanied them at all.”
The back exit led to what could charitably be called an alley, complete with murky puddles of water, the stink of refuse and darkened lumps that might have been anything from discarded piles of clothing to villains.
”Why can back ways never be pristine and well lit?” Elphie asked rhetorically, trying to ignore the skulking, leering figure of… well, she wasn’t quite sure what.
She wasn’t particularly expecting an answer to her query, so when Glinda opened her mouth to speak, she was rather surprised. “Tell me now, Miss Elphie,” the other girl began, and Elphaba felt a headache begin to form between her eyebrows, “are we to continue on as if everything is the same, or are we going to acknowledge what happened last night and deal with it appropriately.”
“I rather thought we had acknowledged it,” Elphie drawled, “when we woke up naked and plastered to one another, but if you want me to say it, I’ll be happy to oblige. We had sex, Glinda. In public, no less, with Avaric and, quite possibly, a dwarf watching. And while Avaric said that everyone else was too busy with their own debauchery to notice ours, I could scarcely make my mind function last night so I’m not quite sure how he can be so certain.”
“And?” the other girl prompted. “Is that all you have to say, Elphie?”
“I thought that was quite a lot.”
Glinda huffed, then sighed, then crossed her arms over her chest angrily. “I thank you for the recitation, Miss Elphie, but was hoping for something more than a recounting of what I had already participated in and overheard.”
Sighing herself, Elphie said tiredly, “Are we going to have some kind of conversation about feelings now? In an alleyway?”
“Exactly right, we are,” Glinda confirmed with a decisive nod. “I need you to tell me what last night meant to you, Miss Elphie.”
Drawing her shawl tighter around herself to ward off the early morning chill, Elphie gave her companion a rather nasty glare. “And just why have I been nominated to go first, Miss Glinda? I think I’d prefer to hear what you have to say about the matter.”
“Well of course you would,” Glinda snapped. “Getting me to talk first would absolve you of the responsibility of actually formulating feelings on your own. You would prefer to merely sit back and think up witty, sarcastic little quips cleverly designed to mock and belittle anything I might be saying and employ them at appropriately devastating moments. Why must you be so heartless, Miss Elphie?”
“Me, heartless?” Elphie said, aghast. “I come fully equipped with a heart, and a brain, and a great deal of good sense to go along with this green skin, and if you think that I’m going to voluntarily open myself up for ridicule just because I let you coerce me into going to a pleasure club and then, involuntarily I might add, got stoned out of my mind on whatever they put into that haze and ravished by my supposedly demure roommate… well, I’m not.”
“I quite like you in your green skin,” Glinda shot back hotly, too angry to be surprised at the truth of her admission. “And I wasn’t in the right frame of mind at the time, either, but I take full responsibility for my actions and at least have the decency to assure you that I quite enjoyed what happened.”
“Oh, I already knew that,” Elphie smirked with a short, hard laugh.
Ignoring it, Glinda charged onward. “Am I disappointed that our first time together, that our first time at all, was the result of a combination of illicit substances and a deranged dwarf? A bit. Was it more public than I would have preferred? Certainly. Will I actually employ my penchant for making things explode if Avaric decides to open his mouth? I’ll definitely give it serious consideration.”
Elphie’s confused and befuddled glare was almost enough to make Glinda laugh despite her snit. “Our first time?” the other girl nearly shrieked, voice disturbingly high pitched and thin frame almost trembling.
“Well, you certainly can’t expect me to believe that you’d done that before,” Glinda pointed out huffily. “Honestly Elphie, neophyte doesn’t begin to cover it.”
“That’s… Glinda, I…” Elphie sputtered, arms waving wildly like a windmill on the verge of overexertion. Then she stopped, crossed her arms over her chest, and abruptly stomped away, boots clomping heavily against the cobblestone streets as her body nearly bounced in agitation.
Giving her companion a bit of a head start, Glinda steeled herself with a deeply indrawn breath, then cried out, “Surely you can’t think I mean your performance, Elphie, which was certainly up to par as far as those things go. Or, at least I think it was, as I have no other experience with which to compare it. I do know that I quite enjoyed myself and certainly wouldn’t mind indulging again. Sort of a comparative test, you see, to distill what part of the experience was fabulous simply because it was fabulous, and what part owes a great deal to that blasted foggy haze thing.”
“I’m not speaking to you, Miss Glinda,” Elphie snapped, turning about on her heel to deliver another glare before spinning around once more, resuming her agitated stomp.
Increasing the pace of her delicate steps in an effort to close the distance between them, Glinda said crossly, “Oh, don’t be difficult, Elphie. I was merely trying to say that I know you were as new to the whole thing as I was. One would think you actually have an ego about that sort of thing, the way you’re acting. Will you slow down! I am in no mood to participate in a footrace this morning.”
Elphie’s boot hovered for a split second before firmly planting itself against the cobblestone again, though a scant bit of the distance between the two closed in the interim.
Sighing irritably, Glinda continued, “Did you really mean that no speaking thing? Honestly, Elphie, I had no idea you were so fragile.”
“Glinda,” Elphie bit out in frustration, “you just labeled me inept.”
Nearly squeaking in outrage at her roommate’s deliberate misunderstanding of her point, Glinda said peevishly, “I did no such thing. Now you listen to me, Elphaba, Thropp Third Descending of Nest Hardings…”
“Oh, and now with the full names, as if we’re discussing something important,” Elphie sneered, though she did stop and turn around, brown eyes narrowed in anger.
Marching up to the other girl and planting a stiff finger against her bony sternum, Glinda hissed, “Don’t you dare belittle what happened last night, Elphie. I’ll admit that the circumstances were less than ideal and that my earlier statement could perhaps have been misconstrued as an insult when indeed it was not, but I refuse to let you walk away from me without having this conversation.”
“We’ve been having this conversation for the past ten minutes, and I imagine most of Shiz has heard it,” Elphie shot back, stepping forward so that she was towering over Glinda, the most forbidding look she could muster plastered across her face. “And if you think you’re going to badger me into some sort of admission of feelings, then you can plan on sniping at me to no avail until you turn blue. Then we’ll be quite the sight, won’t we?”
“I think,” Glinda began smugly, “that the refusal to admit to feelings is a tacit and clear admission of having them. You are obviously in love with me, Miss Elphie.”
Elphie snorted, lips flattening into a line as she rolled her eyes. “And you’re either delusional or still high.”
“This will go much better for you if you simply admit it,” Glinda warned, reaching out to trail her palm down Elphie’s arm before entwining their fingers together. “Because I think I might have fallen in love with you, Elphie, and I’m fairly certain these kinds of things work much better when both parties are in agreement over the issue. And anyway, I already know you love me back.”
“You know no such thing,” Elphie spat, though the venom was missing. In fact, her voice sounded rather watery and weak, and she cursed herself internally for allowing even the smallest hint of vulnerability to show. It was just that… well, love. As in, from Glinda and directed at her. The notion engendered a slow warmth that began to spread across her chest and down to where her palm was pressed against the other girl’s, making her almost uncomfortably hot inside her restricting dress.
Beginning to walk again, this time at a much more sedate pace and with Elphie’s fingers still wrapped around hers, Glinda murmured, “Aren’t we supposed to be leaving on a trip to see the wizard together?”
“We should have left last night.” The reproach in her voice wasn’t nearly up to par. If she’d thought she felt vulnerable before, then strolling through early morning Shiz holding hands with Glinda tripled the sensation. Despite what might be valid reason, it wasn’t that she was worried about the townsfolk’s reaction to seeing two girls strolling by hand-in-hand. Girls at Shiz tended to do those kinds of things, clinging to one another as they laughed gaily and gossiped madly. Not that Elphaba had ever participated in anything of the sort before that moment, naturally, or had any inclination to do such a thing. This, though, was different. There was meaning and purpose and intent behind the action, with Glinda letting her know that she was well and truly caught whether she wanted to be or not. Caught in a web of candy floss and sugar, one partly of her own making, and one far too tempting in its sweetness. It made her want to do uncharacteristically sweet things and admit to feelings she emphatically denied having. It was infuriating that the gentle gesture could tear through walls at a rate Glinda’s words could never have hoped to accomplish, and Elphie fought against it until she couldn’t any longer.
She gave in, letting the words that had been sitting on the tip of her tongue tumble forward, flinching even as she heard herself speak.
“Let’s go back to our room, Glinda,” she said somewhat shyly, breaking through the silence that had fallen between them. “If we’ve waited this long, we can stand to put off our trip another few hours. We should have some time alone before we leave to have a proper morning after.”
Glinda stopped, using their joined hands to pull Elphie to a stop as well. “I knew it, Elphie,” she crowed, the smiling lighting her face so broad and bright that it was nearly blinding. “And look at you… a closet romantic.”
Shoulders hunching as she sulked, Elphie ignored Glinda’s joy as she settled into something that felt oddly like a rather happy funk, not entirely certain that she hadn’t just made the most wonderful mistake of her young life.