|Emerald Limelight by Lumiére & Callita. R 13/?
||[Dec. 30th, 2007|10:23 am]
Last EL post of 2007! (And to think, this time last year I didn't know Kendra Kassebaum from Megan Hilty.) Happy New Year everyone!|
Title: Emerald Limelight 13/?
Authors: Lumiére and Callita
Pairing(s): Idina/Kristin, Elphaba/Glinda (& more)
Summary: Glinda is less than happy about her roommate's invitation to the party, while Eden's still struggling to fill Idina's shoes.
Disclaimer: This is an entirely non-profit work of fiction. We do not claim ownership of the world or any of the characters we write about. They are either real people, or are fictional characters belonging to Gregory Maguire and the copyright holders of the Wicked musical.
Wordcount: 4, 610
Chapter 1  Chapter 5, Part 1
Chapter 2, Part 1 Chapter 5, Part 1
Chapter 2, Part 2 Chapter 6, Part 1
Chapter 3, Part 1 Chapter 6, Part 2
Chapter 3, Part 2
Chapter 4, Part 1
Chapter 4, Part 2
Chapter 7, part 1
The lecture-free weekend day had left more than enough time for distracting musings on the dream, and for tensions between Idina and Glinda to bubble. They had retired to their room during breakfast, ate their respective meals and just as frostily resumed their study of sorcery. Distraction seemed an imminent dampener in Idina's case and it angered her all the more. Maybe irrationally, she wanted to knock some sense into Glinda – keeping a grudge and revealing absolutely nothing about it was pointless. If she were angry at Idina for something, wouldn't it be better to say what was on her mind so it could be tackled, than simmer for hours? The situation made her fantasize about the party all the more; and look over the sorcery books, herself, once Glinda had given up helping her. She wasn't casting, just looking. She wanted away from the spoilt princess.
But then again, the idea of disliking Glinda – the Glinda – was jarring. Elphaba and Glinda should get on well by this stage (judging by the various forms of Wicked). What would happen if Idina grew bitter and deigned to accept the tension as long term, and ceased trying to form any bond with her? It would change things; and Idina was pretty sure she'd be stuck here for a while.
Maybe the world would implode, Idina thought, if she changed things too badly. Something disastrous would happen at least. And besides, she wasn't a stroppy 17 year-old; she could take the moral high ground. And as such, by dinnertime, Idina had managed to engage Glinda in their first social conversation of the day... about make-up. Luckily she was aware enough to feign lack of knowledge on the matter, while broadcasting only mild curiosity. Idina Menzel – actress extraordinaire.
By the second day of the weekend, the two were on their way to breakfast. This time at a slower pace, and taking the time to chat (though skirting away from the topic of the upcoming ball). At once point, Glinda quirked her back and frowned. “You know, I think slept oddly,” she said.
“On your head?” Idina smirked, then chuckled at Glinda's feigned look of hurt.
“A lady, such as I, never sleeps on her head, Elphie.”
“Uh huh. Because that kind of skill of balance would be mortifying, right?”
“Well no. My shift may just tumble down and gather around my face.” Glinda blushed, and Idina stared at her, astonished. “I would suffocate,” Glinda hurriedly tried to explain.
The teenage hormones were swarming once again, as surreal images of a revealed Glinda sleeping vertical and on her head flitted around her mind. It was weird, sure, but it was... well she – Glinda – was... practically naked! A sudden southward warmth had Idina counting the would-be years between them, berating herself for how wrong it was to harbour such images. Wrong on so many levels.
In a moment of rare and suspicious insight, Glinda instructed: “Stop thinking about it, Elphie.” Then as an afterthought, “It's best left alone,” which, according to Idina, was true.
Idina cleared her throat. “Uh huh,” she choked out, then wondered if her (Elphaba's) skin had turned a greenish sort of red. Or a reddish sort of green.
“We should work more on that levitation spell,” Glinda said, but her words fell on deaf ears as Idina mulled over the reactions of her makeshift body. She wondered if it was really her getting these hot flashes around Glinda... or if it was Elphaba. Was Elphaba really that... sexual? There had been no portrayal in that way. There were the trysts with Fiyero, but in the musical... Fiyero was an amalgamation of possible suitors, to counteract the love story of the two wi – Idina twitched, and furtively glanced Glinda's way. “Yeah,” she said. But in the book, when Elphaba engaged in intimacy, it didn't seem passionate. She didn't seem to embrace it at all.
“I can almost see the cogs in your mind working.”
Glinda nodded. “Cogs.”
“Huh.” Idina nodded, then a thought suddenly occurred to her: Elphaba was a repressed sexual dynamo. Very much the daughter of Melena... but repressed. The thought made Idina flush even more... and a sudden hand catching her wrist nearly had her heart thumping out of her chest. “Oh! Nessa!” Glinda had suddenly cried, releasing Idina's burning wrist in favour laying it daintily over her heart. They had nearly collided into Elphaba's sister and Nanny while rounding the corner. “What are you – where are you going?” Glinda stammered, still clutching at her chest. Idina worked to control her breathing.
“Hello dearies,” Nanny greeted, while Nessarose only glared at them.
“Hello,” Glinda said, eyeing Nessarose suspiciously. “Hey there,” Idina said, and found the floor increasingly interesting.
“Well what's wrong, Nessa?” Glinda prompted. “You've not said a word.”
“She's hungry,” Nanny said. She turned to Nessarose, addressing her, “Aren't you, my pretty?” but the girl only continued alternating her glare from Glinda to Idina... before settling on Idina.
“Elphaba,” she said, with dangerously narrowed eyes.
Glinda pulled an expression of extreme distaste, finding this impromptu encounter even weirder and tenser than usual. “I'm famished. Really. Might we continue our journey? Is that alright Nessa? Elphie come al—”
“No,” Nessarose interrupted. “I'd like to talk with my sister. You go along, Miss Glinda. Don't let us keep you.”
Deciding whether or not to take offence, Glinda didn't move an inch. Idina continued staring at the floor, hoping she wasn't about to be abandoned, until even Nanny noticed the oddness. She cleared her throat. “I guess,” Idina eventually said, “I'll meet you inside, Glinda.”
“Run along,” Nessarose said curtly and with something Glinda decided was a smirk.
“Fine then,” she said, and strode past them toward the hall.
Nanny tutted and shook her head. “Come come. Wouldn't want you being even more a monster of hunger.”
“Nanny, is it so wrong I wish to speak with Elphaba? Elphaba, come on. Walk with me. You've hardly spent any time with me since I got back. I think you're avoiding me.”
“I... I'm not,” Idina stammered, but jerked into motion anyway. She could hear Glinda's heels clacking against the varnished floor further and further away.
“I suppose you two will be alright?” Nanny raised her untidy eyebrows as she looked between the two 'sisters'.
“Yes Nanny. You can leave us,” Nessarose answered, then prompted Idina to follow again. Idina felt like crying. She wanted to run after Glinda and hide behind her. Even Nanny had left, patting her on the back and instructing her to actually eat something more than a cracker.
“So I've been meaning to talk to you for some time now,” Nessarose started, once they were at a secluded table in the refectory, far from Glinda and her friends. Idina stared glumly into her coffee. “I do think you're possessed. Quite evil.”
Idina buried her head in her hands, feeling a headache coming on. “Nessa,” she moaned. “Do you have to—”
“Do you have to? Be so evil, that is. What did you do with my sister?”
“Nessa,” Idina said again, in a tone that verged on a whine. “You've lost it.”
“I don't know. Your sanity?”
“What's wrong with your voice?” Nessarose demanded.
“You talk in strange ways. The tongue of demons.”
Idina jerked upright, as if spasming into a straightened sitting position. Palms flattened against the tabletop, she stared into Nessarose's eyes with intensity. “Listen to me. Listen – you... are... talking madness, okay? Madness.” She motioned to herself, shaking her head as her eyes remained wide and frantic, “Look at me! Do I look different? Do I? So I speak a little strange – I've had some strange dreams lately. That's it. But, Nessa, I don't need you telling me I'm evil! Nobody needs that! It makes you unlikable.” Nessarose's lips thinned in indignation, but she remained silent. “You think it's a good idea,” Idina continued, “going round and preaching to everyone? Telling them how to live their lives and telling them how doomed they are? Get a life.”
“And steal one like you have, I suppose?”
“I haven't stolen anything,” Idina hissed, leaning forward.
“Green Bean. My my, how you look steamed,” an effeminate voice said, and both girls looked up.
“Oh, you two,” Nessarose said, disapprovingly.
“Us two,” Crope said, cheerily. “Greetings, Miss Nessarose.”
“Hi,” Idina said, looking confused. “Are you... allowed in here?”
“We like to bend the rules,” Tibbett said, smirking. “We came to congratulate you—”
“We did, yes,” Crope agreed, as good as bouncing.
“—on your overdue insertion into the world of frivolity and larks.”
“The party, Miss Elphie. The party,” Crope clarified, and ignored Nessarose's scoff.
“Party?” the girl demanded. “And you say you're—”
“The party. Great,” Idina hurriedly said, cutting Nessarose off. “Yes, looking forward to it. Ecstatic. It's marvellous. Truly. In every way.”
“Ohhh,” Tibbett held a hand to his heart. “She's even enthusiastic – Crope, dear Crope, our baby's growing up.”
Crope grinned. “She is indeed.”
“So, for the love of life, let us go shopping!” Tibbett clapped his hands, and Crope bit his lip as they both eagerly awaited their green friend's answer. “We're overdue for a catch-up anyhow. We thought we'd have to don some ruffles and petticoats to speak with you for any length of time here, but oooh, instead, you can come out with us. We must a find a dress for you. Mm, and some shoes. Some finery.”
“Elphaba. Really,” Nessarose said, a look of disgust on her face. “What would father say?”
Idina rolled her eyes. “I'm sure he'd clap me on the back and say 'It's about bloody time'.” She rose from the seat, “See you later, Nessa,” then followed the ecstatic boys out of the hall.
* * *
It was all going fine, Eden decided, as she took Laura’s hand for the final curtain call, tears prickling in her eyes, until No Good Deed. Her voice hadn’t broken during the last verse of The Wizard And I, and for the first time, she hadn’t felt the sickening wave of vertigo as the cherry picker raised her up for Defying Gravity. The second act was, in terms of vocals, less demanding, and she had been looking forward to getting a smile out of Joe for the first time since, well, ever. The Cornfield/Catfight scene went fine, and as the opening bars of No Good Deed hit her, Eden was certain that everything was going to go smoothly.
Then the edge of her cloak caught on the bookstand as she paced passionately across the stage. Eden heard the fabric ripping, worried for one split second that she might have torn the priceless act 2 dress again, and froze onstage. She found out later that the damage was minimal, just a split seam, and nothing the audience would ever have noticed. But in her panic she managed to completely miss the whole of the first ‘no good deed’ section, picking the song up again only at the crescendo of the second ‘goes unpunished’, which she was meant to hold for several bars. Of course, since she was still jarred and nervous, she failed to sustain the note, or sing in pitch for the next couple of bars. She rushed through the ending with none of her usual power or passion, then fled off of the stage, trying not to cry.
Okay, she told herself as a stagehand helped her change wigs while she waited in the wings for her next entrance, people make mistakes. It happens, everyone does it – Dee doesn’t hit half the top notes sometimes, and the audiences still love her. Besides, it was only a dress rehearsal. All she had to do was go back on and finish the show as if nothing had happened.
But then Laura was in front of her, telling her she was the only friend she’d had that really mattered, and Eden couldn’t help but sense the aura of resentment from her friend. They were both standbys, both considerably younger than most of the cast, and had developed the kind of friendship you only get from waiting backstage together, night after night, just in case someone’s sick so you can be a star. Laura was a fantastic Glinda, everyone agreed, but she was still a pale candle compared to the neon lights of Kristin Chenoweth. And Eden felt the same way about herself and Idina. Only now Idina was off, for who knew how long, and Eden had been given her chance to shine. A chance Laura would have jumped at, wanted so desperately, would have embraced in an instant if it had been Kristin who was injured. And here was Eden, messing it up, unable to go one show without seeming like an inexperienced amateur. Shit, it was her turn to sing!
She came in late, beginning halfway through ‘so let me say before we part’, trying to apologise to Laura with her eyes and not quite hitting the notes of the descant. When they embraced at the end, Laura whispered in her ear not to worry and Eden had to try not to cling to her.
Melting, costume change, reunion with Fiyero, curtain call. Laura squeezed her hand tightly, but it didn’t make Eden feel any better. Joe stood up almost immediately, silencing the orchestra before Eden had even finished her bow properly.
“Espinosa!” he barked at her, and she let Laura’s hand drop, bracing herself for an onslaught of criticism. But Joe just shook his head at her. “Get your act together. I don’t have time for this. Good job everyone else. Kristin’ll be here for the evening performance, and with any luck she’ll have gotten Dee back in for rehearsals.” Everyone smiled – it was obvious how much they all wanted Idina back so Eden could be banished off stage. She shook her head wordlessly. Joe dismissed them.
“Eden,” Laura tried, as she literally ran through the wings, tripping on her heavy dress. “Eden, listen! It’s okay, really.”
“She’s right,” Norbert said, catching her by the arm. “You rocked As Long As You’re Mine. Dee makes mistakes too some nights, you know.” He grinned at her. “And you’re just as much fun to kiss as her.”
“Ooh, are we kissing Espinosa? Can I join in?” Michelle had caught up, her sombre black dress hitched up above her knees in a very un-Nessarose-like manner, showing more of her stripy stockings than was really decent. Eden glared at her, then offered a weak smile to the others and disappeared to her dressing room as fast as she could.
She flung off the wig with considerably less care than the dressers would be happy with, before tearing her hair out of its hairnet, wincing as the pins caught her scalp. A luridly green face stared out at her from the mirror, blurred a little by her tears. Of course, the make-up wouldn’t smudge, however much she cried. Elphabas were meant to get all emotional and teary anyway, moved by the passion of the show, not by their inability to sing the music. Eden knew she was a good singer, and could belt out any one of her songs perfectly in pitch and with as much power and feeling even Idina herself. She’d obviously done well enough in her audition, and had had no problems during the rehearsals. It wasn’t the music that was causing her trouble; it was the situation. She hated that she was only on stage because of Idina’s terrible accident, that no one really wanted her there, that she was somehow stealing this chance, and therefore had no right to really be any good at it. She just couldn’t focus. One show, one good show, that was all it would take for her to get her confidence back. But the fear of disappointing everyone was still too great. She couldn’t face messing up again.
“Get a grip, Eden,” she groaned, dabbing at her eyes with a flannel.
“That’s exactly what I was about to say,” came a voice from the doorway. Eden winced.
“Not now Michelle. Can’t you tell I’m not in the mood?”
“I was just going to tell you it’s okay. It seriously wasn’t that bad. You were great.” She giggled. “Especially when Laura straddled your hips to put lipstick on you in Popular. Now that was hysterical. I’m almost jealous.”
“Then you do it!” Eden shot back. “You can sing, you know the lines, and you wouldn’t freak out onstage all the time. I’d be happy to take over as Nessa. If you’re so ‘jealous’ of being straddled by Laura, or whatever, then you go tell Joe you want to be the new Elphaba standby.”
“What?” Michelle’s expression had gone from grinning to utterly confused. “No, Eden, that’s not what I meant. I was just saying that you make a great Elphaba, and don’t let Joe or anyone tell you different. C'mon chiquita, give me a smile. You’re my little Spanish flower, the best standby ever, you know—”
“Exactly!” Eden screamed. Michelle took a worried step back. “Standby! I’m no star, no Idina Menzel, and even you know that! You’re all wasting your time on me.” Eden turned away, looking back at her reflection. “Find something better to do Michelle. Someone else to tease. I need to degreenify.”
She didn’t realise Michelle would actually leave until the door slammed behind her. Eden sighed and tried to change out of her costume, but her loose hair got caught in the zip and she realised she was stuck.
“Uh, help?” she called out, feeling absolutely pathetic. “Someone, please?”
A nameless dresser in a black t-shirt appeared and let Eden out of the dress, but it didn’t really help; she still felt trapped.
* * *
“Elphaba! Are you even listening to a word I say? It’s an ‘ah’ sound, not ‘arr’. Stop doing that odd rolling thing with your tongue, you sound like a strangled cat. And it’s not ‘de’, it’s ‘te’. Come on, practise! Say ‘better’ for me.”
“Gimme a break,” Idina muttered under her breath. “Fine, fine, better. How’s that? Now what’s next, ‘round and round the rugged rock’? ‘The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain’?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Glinda said primly. “Besides, I’ve never heard of this ‘Spain’ place. Is it somewhere in Quadling Country?”
“Might as well be, as far as my chances of getting there go,” Idina sighed. “Can we stop? Please? There’s a party tonight! Shouldn’t we be getting ready?”
“Well you shouldn’t even be going. Oh, don’t look at me that way Elphie, I don’t mean it harshly. But you must admit, there’s something a little odd about it all, isn’t there? Why on earth would you get an invitation to the biggest, most extravagant party in Shiz? Goodness knows why you even want to go – you’ll hate it! It will be full of, well, the cream of society: the sons and daughters of Ozian nobility, plus those who made their fortunes in the emerald or ruby market. How do you intend to fit in with people like that?”
“Well, I am the Thropp Third Descending of Munchkinland, remember,” Idina said hotly. Glinda shook her head.
“It’s not enough. I’m sorry, but being a member of Society takes a lot more than just good breeding. Money, for one thing, and it’s not just about how much of that your family has Elphie, not if you insist on dressing and acting the way you do. Then there’s manners, and general poise. Why, you’ve never taken the slightest interest in any of these things! Now Nessarose, she might be able to pull something like this off, if only because of the sympathy she’d get. But you haven’t got a chance! Besides, you’ve got nothing to wear.”
“No?” Idina grinned. “I went shopping.”
“Shopping!” Glinda squeaked, shocked. “With who?”
“Crope and Tibbett took me. You know, there aren’t a lot of colours that go with green, but it doesn’t clash with everything. In the end we went for red. Nothing too fancy, I don’t want to look like a wedding cake. But I think it’s a nice dress. Striking.”
“Red!” Glinda looked horrified. “You can’t wear red to a socialite party! You’ll look like you’re drenched in blood! Or one of those degenerates from the backstreets of the Emerald City!”
“Not that shade of red,” Idina assured her. “Please, I have some dress sense. It’s a dark red. A sort of crimson colour, or maybe maroon. Not brown enough to be burgundy.”
“How in Oz do you suddenly know so much about colour?” Glinda asked suspiciously. “Last time I tried to talk about dresses with you, you admitted that you hardly even look at the colour, and that you just choose something dark and serviceable. What’s going on? What could possibly have made you change your mind?”
“It’s a party.” Idina shrugged. “I guess I want to look pretty for once. Is that so wrong?” Glinda still looked uncomfortable, so Idina tried to make her feel more in her element. “Anyway, what are you going to wear?”
“I’m not even sure I want to go.” Glinda sighed. “My dress is pink. I got the material and designs sent down all the way from my family’s personal tailor in Pertha Hills, and had a seamstress here make it for me. It’s got a deeper neckline than my other gowns, so much more mature, and the corset’s tighter than I’ve worn before. But that is the latest fashion in the Emerald City.”
“Ooh, corsets.” Idina shuddered, remembering a college costume party she’d been too years ago. It had been cabaret themed, and a group of her friends had persuaded her to dress in nothing more than a corset and tailcoat, complete with suspenders, boots and hat. The photos had been amazing, but the pain had been intense. No costume Idina had worn since had compared to the sheer agony of reducing her waist size by five inches, not even Maureen’s stiletto-heeled boots or her 30lbs Elphaba dress. The corsets she’d worn for The Wild Party, made to look tight but still enable the cast to actually sing, had not even come close. “Yeah, corsets look fantastic, but I quite like breathing.”
Glinda gave her an odd look, and Idina realised that Elphaba would probably have no idea what wearing a corset actually felt like. Luckily, Nanny chose that moment to bustle in with an armful of laundry.
“I’ve pressed a pair of Nessie’s silk stockings for you, Fabala pet – she won’t be needing them tonight, and besides, that girl has pairs enough to last her until the sweet Ozma returns.” Nanny set down the clothes and ran her hands through Idina’s – well, technically Elphaba’s – hair. “Such pretty hair, oh Fabala, it’s such a shame you don’t take advantage of it. Look at this Glinda! Split ends up to her ears and more uneven than a rhinoceros’s marriage bed! No offence to your librarian, of course – I find him quite a gentleman. Anyway, when did you last have it cut, Fabala? Did you do it yourself with a kitchen knife? Just like your mother, reckless as ever. Typical, I say. Won’t you let Nanny trim it for you?”
“Actually, could you?” Idina asked, examining a strand of Elphaba’s coffee-black hair. “Just give it some shape for tonight, so I don’t look so... unkempt?”
“Certainly!” Nanny beamed. “Just let me get my scissors.”
“What has gotten into you?!” Glinda demanded. “You never let anyone cut your hair, you hate people even touching it! I swear Elphie, there’s something strange going on and I don’t like it in the least!”
“Shush, Glinda dear,” Nanny scolded mildly. “We have to keep it down, Nessie’s resting. She had a slight fall on her way to a lecture, poor little pet.” She glanced at Elphaba again. “You know, that precious little girl comes out with the oddest things sometimes. She keeps telling me she thinks you’re not her sister. Now fancy that!” Idina froze and tried not to choke. “Of course, I told her she was just being ridiculous. The silly girl. I blame all this Unnamed God business – I don’t think it’s quite healthy, do you? My my, I suppose that’d be sacrilege now, wouldn’t it? Don’t pay any attention to old Nanny, talking wise nonsense and all. I’ll just get my scissors.”
Idina exhaled deeply. The thought of Nessa knowing she wasn’t really Elphaba still terrified her, but at least Nanny wasn’t taking any notice. Glinda was looking at her quizzically.
“Are you alright, Elphie? You seemed to get quite tense just then. Is it Nessa? I’m sure her fall wasn’t serious.”
“No, it’s not, I mean, yes, but she’s, I’m sure she’s fine,” Idina stuttered. “So, uh, don’t you think cutting my hair would be a good idea? I thought you wanted me to take more interest in my appearance. So I’ll be less of an embarrassment to you at the party tonight.”
Glinda muttered something inaudible about Elphaba being an embarrassment to her wherever, but her mind was on other things. What could have made Elphaba take such a sudden interest in fashion? Maybe there was some truth to what Nessarose – crippled, fanatical Nessarose – was saying. Maybe the changes in her roommate ran deeper than she’d ever imagined.
* * *
The Internet was proving arduous, with extreme badly written websites quaffing on matters the authors could only hope to one day understand. For Elphaba, the Internet was a source of depression. It was all fine and well looking for superficial things – celebrity gossip... which was proving useful in feigning memories concerning her supposed 'castmates' – but for intellectual matters it was disturbingly inert.
Two weeks had passed, and still she was here, with Idina likely making a mess of her life back in Oz. Two weeks was more than enough time for a new kind of panic to set in. The Broadway star was unlikely to master an sort of sorcery, so it was up to Elphaba to do it herself... in a land seemingly free of magic. So research was needed. Of the kind that was based on knowledge, rather than curious rumours and gossip. She had gone to the nearest library. She walked in, purposefully, and ignoring the stares as people passed her by. Some whispering the star's name. She had asked for the sorcery section, and received a blank look from the woman behind the desk.
“Sorcery,” Elphaba repeated. “Magic?”
“Magic?” the woman said, infuriatingly clueless. “Magic tricks?”
“Not tricks. Magic... of the spellbook sort. Transportation to be exact.”
“No...” The woman's face had twisted and creased into a frown. “I don't think – ”
“Occult section then.”
And that had been that. Elphaba had been shown to it, and had managed to find several promising books. She had poured over them. Hungry and determined. She sat hunched at a table, desperate to find something of use. She had been hopeful that this land wasn't truly foresaken. That the mystic threads were simply hidden and needed finding.
Hours passed. The library grew dark as it relied on yellowed bulbs for light. People came and went. Elphaba's back ached. She grew hungry, and her eyes watered... but worse still, there was nothing. Nothing of use. Nothing of fact; no pointers on a magic that would exist here. Of tricks, yes, but nothing real.
Eyes burning, Elphaba dropped her head into her hands, and whispered. “I'm stuck here.”