|Emerald Limelight by Lumiére & Callita. PG-13 14/?
||[Jan. 5th, 2008|08:16 pm]
Title: Emerald Limelight 14/?|
Authors: Lumiére and Callita
Pairing(s): Idina/Kristin, Elphaba/Glinda (& more)
Summary: Idina and Glinda prepare for the party ahead, and Elphaba receives a very persuasive phonecall.
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: 5, 203
Chapter 2, Part 1 Chapter 5, Part 1
Chapter 2, Part 2 Chapter 5, Part 2
Chapter 3, Part 1 Chapter 6, Part 1
Chapter 3, Part 2 Chapter 6, Part 2
Chapter 4, Part 1 Chapter 7, Part 1
Chapter 4, Part 2
Chapter 7, Part 2
“Well?” Idina asked, twirling in front of Glinda’s full-length mirror. “What do you think?
Glinda looked at her, her expression a mixture of awe and distress. “Oh Elphaba,” she whispered.
The dress was simply cut: narrow-wasted and long, with a shallow v-neck and loose sleeves that fell halfway down to Idina’s elbows. Anything fancier would have looked ridiculous on Elphaba’s thin, lanky frame, but the style managed to transform her odd proportions into something delicate and graceful, making her appear slim rather than bony, and elegant rather than hawkish. The colour – a deep crimson that, as Idina had promised, suggested nothing of blood or whores – was a sharp contrast to the green of her skin, but instead of clashing with it, managed to soften the green to an almost pearly shade.
Even Idina herself was stunned at the transformation. True, she could do nothing to alter Elphaba’s actual physique, but her experience of evening dresses, during events ranging from Bar Mitzvahs to benefits, had given her the kind of confident gait Elphaba could never have achieved. She found there was no awkwardness in dressing this way, no shyness, and that in itself made the dress hang far better on her than even Crope and Tibbett had imagined. Nanny had given her long hair some shape, and even without any trace of cosmetics or jewellery, the effect was startling. In a borrowed pair of Nessarose’s silk stockings and her new slippers, Idina knew how Cinderella must have felt. If Cinderella had been green, anyway.
Glinda was blushing. She stood up from her dressing table and smoothed down the skirts of her own dress – pink and lacy, but decidedly less ruffled than Kristin’s Ozdust costume.
“You look lovely,” she managed finally, as though finding it hard to speak. “I had no idea that you could—well, it’s a nice dress. And Nanny did a good job on your hair. But really Elphie, I don’t think it’s a good idea that we leave together.”
“What?” Idina looked at her blankly. “You still don’t think I’m dressed up enough to go to this thing? You’re embarrassed to be seen with me? Okay, so I’m still green. Not a lot I can do about that. But I got invited, and I’ve made an effort to fit in, so what’s the problem?”
“No no, it’s not what you’re wearing. Really Elphie, you do look quite beautiful.” Glinda had turned back to the mirror and was watching Idina’s reflection in the glass, as if she couldn’t quite bear to meet her eyes. “But we really shouldn’t be seen going in together. It’s not proper. There’ll be boys there, and you’re really supposed to go in with one of them.”
“Alright,” said Idina slowly. “So let’s go together, and if we meet any boys on the way, one of them can take you in, how does that sound? Don’t worry, I won’t hold you back.” Idina suddenly remembered her high-school parties, where entering on your own was social suicide. Everyone who didn’t have a date turned up with at least three friends, otherwise you just looked pathetic. “And if no one asks for you, then you can go in with me. That has to be better than going in all alone.”
“No Elphie! Going in with you would be so much worse!” Glinda ran her hands through her exquisitely curled hair, catching one lock on her earring and making it tangle. She didn’t seem to notice. “You don’t understand, do you? The rumours? The scandal?”
“What rumours?” Idina asked, confused. She couldn’t recall doing anything hugely scandalous since she’d been in Oz, apart from being green, and that couldn't exactly be helped.
“About us!” Glinda wailed in anguish. “It’s all over Shiz, how everyone thinks we’re, well…”
“That we’re what?”
“Sapphists!” Glinda cried, then covered her mouth as though she’d said something disgusting.
“Huh? Wait, you mean – oh shit.” Idina’s face fell as realisation dawned. “They think we’re together? That you’re—”
“Shush! Don’t even talk about such things. I blame Pfannee and Avaric – she’s got a wicked tongue for gossip, and he probably thinks it’s all just a joke.”
“But…” Idina blinked, still not quite understanding. “Why would they think that?”
“Well we have been spending much more time together recently.”
“I’ve not been well.” Idina justified. “Memory loss. You’ve just been helping me recover.”
“I know that! But they don’t. And as far as they’re concerned, I shouldn’t really be socialising with you at all. And then Pfannee walked passed when I was helping you with the levitation spell – do you remember? And goodness knows what she must have thought. Milla warned me it was going to get worse, but I never imagined! My reputation is diminishing for every second I spend with you. It’s scandalous!”
“But it’s just a load of bullshit!” Idina countered, ignoring the way Glinda winced at her language. “We’re just friends, that’s it. Maybe not even that, maybe just roommates. We’ve got nothing to hide! There’s nothing going on between us! There never was…” She trailed off, scenes from the musical and book flashing through her mind. The passion in What Is This Feeling that could almost be about love rather than hate. The force of the friendship once Galinda dropped the pretentious ‘ga’ in her name. The closeness in Popular. Elphaba telling Glinda ‘I love you too much!’ before the night in the Philosophy Club. The embrace as Glinda saw Elphaba again in the Wizard’s hall. The kiss as Elphaba abandoned Glinda on the way back to Shiz. The spark between her and Kristin as they sang For Good, a beautiful, heart-wrenching love song. “Was there?” she asked, hesitantly.
“What?” Glinda stammered, taking a step back. “Anything, you mean—Oh sweet Oz!” She seized a fur-lined cloak from the wardrobe and pushed past Idina on her way to the door. “I really don’t have time for this Elphaba. You know how I feel about you going to this party, but if you really will insist, there’s nothing I can do to stop you. I hope you have a good evening.”
Idina sat down on the bed, and counted the number of times Glinda had run out on her in such a way. At least three, she decided, as her head began to throb. Did she always feel so drained after arguments, or was it the raging teenage hormones again, or nervous adrenalin about the night to come? Maybe Glinda was right and showing up would be a bad idea. She surveyed the room for advice, and a green-skinned girl in a red dress caught her eye and gazed hopefully back at her. Idina didn’t want to let her down, but at the same time she didn’t want to cause any more damage to Glinda’s reputation, or to Elphaba’s, assuming they ever switched back. Going to the party would be better than spending the night alone in the room, but in truth, Idina’s enthusiasm had waned significantly. She’d only really wanted to go in the first place because it would make her feel more like herself, as if a new dress was all that separated her from Elphaba. She remembered Nessarose asleep next door, her jewelled shoes carefully laid at the foot of her bed. Yet again, Idina fought the urge to force the shoes onto her feet and click her heels three times.
But this, much as she hated to admit it, was the real world (if a strange variation of reality), and in the real world she couldn't rely on magic slippers. Idina shook her head and wondered how Elphaba was coping back on Broadway.
* * *
“I'm stuck here.”
The damage had been done. With those whispered words came an immediate change in Elphaba that worsened with each passing minute. How the air grew clammy and hot around her! She had trembled there, head still in hands, and concentrating so very hard on sucking air into her constricting lungs. She couldn't remember how she normally breathed – slow? Like this? – but grew light-headed as she attempted to pace herself... then the other way, which only lead to hyperventilation. She knew the meaning of panic. She knew what the sudden cold sweat meant, but how to overcome it was beyond her.
She shuddered all the more, overwhelmed with a sickness for her home. She wanted to see Nanny again. To hear the madness that came out of that old biddy's mouth. She would give anything to even be reprimanded by her, for missing dinner in favour of a book. She would give anything to see Nessa, evangelical obsessions and all. And Glinda—Oz, the thought of never seeing her again... the very thought!
But no more could be done. Not by her, at least. Good luck to Idina, having to experience the sting of real green skin. Good luck to her, reaping the consequences of Elphaba's mistake. Perhaps she would adapt and pretend, at least, like Elphaba had been doing. Maybe at this moment, Glinda would be helping her. Talking to her. Maybe kissing her.
Elphaba rose, casting one last look at the discarded pile of books before turning and walking out. Her lips had thinned into a grim line and her green eyes were dead. Each breath hurt. Every heartbeat seemed loud and violent, nearly breaking her in two. Only a car horn drew her out of her haze enough to look up. She had ambled into the road on her dazed trek back to the apartment, not heeding traffic. “Sorry,” she whispered, and continued across the last of the road. The man was shouting after her, having been shocked at the near accident, but his words fell on deaf ears.
Breathing heavily, Elphaba somehow managed a safe return. The pain in her oesophagus now matched with the renewed pain along her torso, centring on the healing rib. This feeling of hopeless abandonment, worse than ever before, was indeed a gloomy time. Even as lights burst into life as Elphaba haltingly progressed through the living space toward the kitchen, the cold sweat pooled and dripped and dampened her clothing. She fumbled for a glass of water while retrieving her pills, and realised the last had already been consumed. It was time for the lesser painkillers that had been in the medication bundle Kristin had left. Vicodin. If it took at least some of the pain away, perhaps then Elphaba would be able to breathe. Perhaps her shaking would cease. Perhaps the whole fiasco would seem that much more palatable; but on taking the two pills, she nearly choked on the last of the water when the phone rang. Managing only a pathetic sigh (from not wanting to aggravate the rib any further) Elphaba gingerly crossed the kitchen to retrieve it. “Hello,” she said, barely above a whisper.
“Dee! Oh god, Dee!”
Elphaba leant to the side, “Who—Eden?” and found the wall to support her. She hunched, just slightly and at an angle, easing the pressure on that wounded side. She heard the woman's tears and shallow uneven breathing. Heard the distress. “Eden?”
“I'm s-sorry!” the woman as good as wailed. Elphaba hunched a little more, and braced a hand on her side. “For what?” she strained out, clenching her eyes shut as a wave of nausea hit.
As if those two words had been magic, the dam broke, and Eden charged ahead with her wet words of despair. Much to Elphaba's dismay. “...caught, and it tore! I... I heard it tear. I had this flash of everyone seeing me through it. A patch of Eden in Elphaba. God, I thought I tore the dress. Dee! I was terrified! I missed my mark! I missed it! Then... oh God! Joe... hates me. He's... I... I can't... do this... anymore...”
Elphaba had heard little of what Eden said, and had understood even less. She tried to focus for the poor woman, obviously in need of a—
“You have to... come back, Dee. Please.”
“I'm... sorry,” Elphaba quietly said.
“I can't do this anymore! They all want you! I can... just be... your standby. The odd one show, here and there... just... I'm not ready to be a full time Elphaba.” Eden sniffed. “Not yet.” Then coughed, and Elphaba closed her eyes again, trying to stay upright. The room was moving... “I'll... think about it,” she said, and forced open her eyes, only to have them roll upward. “I...”
“Thank you,” Eden whispered. “I'm sorry.”
“S'fine – Have to go now. I'll... spea' to Kristin...” and now she was slurring. She hung up, unsure if she'd heard Eden's goodbye, or imagined it. She needed to sit down. Anywhere.
A chair at the table, and she closed her eyes. “I can... sing...”
Spring had come, tipping the gnarly branches of surrounding trees in budding green. The short days began to lengthen again and the sun grew all the warmer as it peeked through increasingly wispy clouds in the sky. Spring brought a myriad of colours that had always held little Elphaba's attention – but it was the green she loved most, as she ambled about. She saw a reaching twig, low enough for her touch, and she did so with her mouth. Taking the little green thing and chewing on it with her sharp teeth. A bitter leafy taste, but she continued anyway until the bud of shredded leaves came off, making her choke. But before long arms were around her, pulling her away and reprimanding her. She twisted, dribbling bits of green, darker than her own skin, on Nanny's shoulder. The woman shook her head, still reprimanding.
“At this age, feisty darling, you are not the baby – do you hear? Your sister is. You must learn not to put everything you see in your mouth, especially with those sharp little demon teeth you have.” Nanny felt a tugging, and craned her neck to the side for a better angle. She saw a corner of her shawl disappearing past green lips, with a wet patch seeping out. “Stop that,” she said, tugging it out, and hearing the rip of the fabric. “You don't see us with things in our mouths, do you, little pet? No.” Elphaba licked her lips, looking up at Nanny. “Speak, child. How you seem so vacant.”
“As always.” Elphaba was put down once they were close to the house. She jerked along, and began pulling off her ragged ill-fitting clothes, until once inside, she was naked as a bean. “Mama,” she called, but heard noises again. She knew, somehow, to not follow them, and she heard Nanny grumbling behind her, picking up her discarded clothing. “...leaving Nessarose. Look at that. The two-faced hedonists – the child could be gone, just as you were, Fabala-pet.”
Elphaba plunked down beside her sister in the basket and stared at the girl's sleeping face.
“Put your clothes on,” Nanny said. “Here. Anyone would think you're your mother's child.” She dropped part of the bundle until she was just holding the tunic, and rolled it to the neck. “Here.”
“So you would like to be naked – and hush, for fear of hearing the girl's whines the rest of the day!”
Elphaba twisted away from the looming tunic, and turned to her sister again, who had stirred. She reached and stroked the girl's head with surprising gentleness, and Nanny smiled. “I suppose I should be making food now, but who for. Have they eaten enough, or are they starving from their debaucherous activities, hmm? Nanny has a hard life, little Fabala–” Just then, they heard someone calling by the front door. She grumbled that it could be a mob in their little out-the-way hidey-hole, come to take them all away, but opened it nonetheless. Elphaba continued to watch her sister, who had curled herself around the blankets, and wondered if she would have put a corner in her mouth to suck on, if she had arms. To help, Elphaba moved the corner slightly closer so all her sister need do was tilt her head forward. Elphaba turned and put her clothes on, then ambled to the door, seeking out Nanny.
“Well he's not here,” Elphaba heard her say. “He might have gone looking for berries.”
Elphaba came to a wobbly stop just beside Nanny, and held onto the side of her dress. She peered up at the grizzly-faced man who seemed angry. “Child,” he said, “Where is your father?” Nanny looked down with wide eyes, at Elphaba.
“Gone,” she said. “Berries.”
The man stared at her and Elphaba stared back. Nanny cleared her throat, and the man nodded. “I'll be back later.”
“Well goodbye, then!” Nanny called. “Don't fall into a prickled bush on the way!” Then she picked Elphaba up, and closed the door.
“She to have gift of telling different truth,” Turtleheart said, having come through the bedroom door. Naked.
“In other words lying,” Nanny said with a scowl. “And put some clothes on or get back in with them! Thanks to you, this place is a harem and reeks like one!”
Elphaba pulled a corner of Nanny's dress into her mouth, and chewed on it. Nessarose began to cry.
“...and I can lie,” Elphaba murmured, massaging her temple. She thought of Eden, so upset; she thought of Kristin who made no secret of wanting 'Idina' to return; she thought of Joe's threats; she thought of everyone that had tried to encourage her come back. But most of all, she thought of Idina. Whatever happens, Idina needed to continue her livelihood – if by some bizarre turn of events, everything went back to how it should be, and they switched? Well, Idina would need something to come back to. And if they didn't? Elphaba needed the means to get by. The funds in Idina's wallet were starting to diminish. She had to live.
For that reason, and despite the nausea, Elphaba managed to retrieve the phone once again. Speed dial, she had learned, was another great invention as she pressed the solitary button and listened as the phoned beeped in her ear. She leaned forward and lay her head against her forearm as she waited. Another ring and her eyes closed. A few more rings, and she feared she would soon be asleep.
“Kristin,” Elphaba drawled.
“Are you high?”
“Very low, actually.”
There was a pause, and Elphaba used that time to inhale a particularly large lungful of air, then realised there was a chance she might actually be sick. “You sound high,” Kristin whispered, as if talking of some great conspiracy. Some anti-Wizard thing or other.
Another pause, and Elphaba listened to Kristin's breathing. “Your pain pills.”
“Vicodin,” Elphaba offered.
“Ah. Poor sweetie,” Kristin cooed, then cleared her throat. Sounding considerably more serious, she asked: “What's up—wrong. What's wrong?”
Elphaba began to massage her temples again with one hand and groaned into the phone. Kristin began to cough and Elphaba decided it best to wait until Kristin had finished before speaking. “Just spoke to Eden. She's quite upset.”
“So I've decided it's about time I do something. I should... return to my life.”
“Life,” Elphaba repeated. “The stage.”
“That's great sweetie. But you're high. You're not yourself.”
At this, Elphaba suddenly sat up in the chair, gritting her teeth against the wave of nausea. “I assure you, despite this body, I am in full control of my mind. I wish to return. I'm—” Elphaba grimaced, nearly heaving “—hoping, that's... still possible.”
* * *
Despite making the decision to be independent of Glinda, Idina took far longer to leave. After all, this wasn't quite what she was used to. Mixing with a bunch of young socialites that generally detested her, and made no secret of it, was a far cry from the adoration of her life on Broadway. Or maybe, thanks to Idina's skill, a few had come to see Elphaba in a new light and things were about to get better for her. Surely Elphaba would be happy with that once she returned.
Idina checked herself as much as she could with only the darkened window as a mirror. She ruffled her newly styled hair, and adjusted the dress, before straightening. It occurred to her, then, that she didn't know where the old cathedral was, and in the drama surrounding Glinda's departure, Idina hadn't thought to ask. It was pretty stupid. After all this, and it was something so simple stopping her from attending. No, she would ask around. Starting with Nanny.
She knocked on the adjoining door quietly, then opened it, peeking her head round. Nessarose was softly snoring, but Idina turned, seeking out Nanny in the dark. “Nanny,” she whispered. There was a creak of bedsprings and Idina felt bad. “Nanny?” In fact, why would the woman be sleeping so early in the evening? “Nanny!”
There was a crash, and a sudden flurry of grumbles. Nessa stirred, to Idina's left, but mercifully remained asleep. “Who's that? A demon come to kill me in my sleep? You'd be better off rubbing my bunions. Maybe then, I'll allow you to have your way—”
“Shhh!” Idina harshly whispered, “Nanny! It's me! Elphie!”
“Fabala?” More shuffling, and judging by the looming shadow, Nanny was making her way to the door. “Why do you stand there like that? Like a demon. But at least your teeth are not so sharp anymore. Oh! The damage you caused!”
“Hmm. What is it? Why are you here?”
“I need to know where the 'old cathedral' is.”
“My, don't you look pretty. Who would have thought?”
“I am simply saying, Fabala. If you would let me do your hair more often, and you wore colourful clothing, rather than looking like one of those odd people that stalk the graveyards in search of love—”
Idina was getting antsy. “The cathedral, Nanny.”
“You've just woken me up, and my bunions are screaming in harmony with the corns! Allow an old woman some time to adjust, you mean thing.”
“I'm sorry for waking you.”
“So you should be, but don't you worry you're little green head about it. You look pretty tonight.”
“Now, the cathedral. Which one—?”
“The old one!”
“There's only one nearby anyhow.” Nanny clucked her tongue as she thought. Then she turned to the side, and held her arms out, bent at the elbow. “Well now. You go out the door—Crage Hall door, my sweet—and... I believe you walk straight. Until you reach that damned willow that always tries to lop off my head when I pass under it. It wants to kill me, you see. But like the demon, it too has to work for it. It should rub my bunions, or spend time with me. Get to know me, and then decide—”
“Nanny,” Idina groaned.
“You're in such a rush. Alright. You walk straight, turn left at the willow...” she turned her arms to the left, as if keeping track, “Go straight again. Turn left at the flower beds,” she abandoned the arm idea after twisting painfully, “then left at the plaque.”
“Uh huh. Right. Are you sure that's it?”
Nanny frowned, “Of course that's it. What else would that be?”
A circle, Idina thought, but she smiled. “Thanks. Sorry I woke you. See you later.” She stepped back further into her room.
“Don't do anything I wouldn't do!” Nanny called.
“Wouldn't dream of it.”
After that surreal conversation, Idina left. She decided the cathedral had to have been nearby since there didn't seem any easy transport system. Or maybe she would see trails of carriages all leaving the campus by the time she made it outside. Luckily, she’d brought some of Elphaba's money.
Idina hurried along, feeling more and more like a green Cinderella. The corridors were abnormally quiet now that Crage Hall was free of the loud wealthy students. She as good as flew out the main door, and down the path... then nearly jumped for joy when she saw someone else walking quickly in the distance. Coming from the right. It seemed like a guy, in a dark tailored jacket – and when he was closer, Idina could see it was purple. Velvet. She also recognized him, and grimaced before pretending not to have noticed him. She picked up the speed, hoping it wasn't obvious she had no idea where she was going. But to her chagrin, he called after her: “Miss Elphaba?” She ignored him, and walked even faster. “Miss Elphaba, please! I...” his loafers clicked on the concrete as he jogged the remaining distance. She turned and sighed, finally regarding him. “Master Tarren,” she said, obviously far from happy. “How good to see you, after you humiliated me in life sciences.”
He blushed all over again and spoke to the floor. “I'm so sorry. Miss Elphaba, really, I... it was never my intention to be so terrible to you.” A gust of wind ruffled his dark hair and had Idina shivering. It was dark, and windy, and she had come without any kind of outdoor clothing. “I wasn't entirely certain what to say to my friends,” Tarren continued.
“I'm that much of an embarrassment, am I?” Idina said curtly, a look of distaste on Elphaba's pointy face.
“Well, no. Actually, you're... you're not,” Tarren stammered. “And, well... you... I suppose, you look quite lovely.”
This time, Idina smiled. She had some sympathy for the boy after all. “Good of you to notice, despite staring at the floor this whole time. Is it so interesting?” But she could still tease him.
“N-No! It's not... interesting...”
“Then look at me.”
“Alright,” he said. Then stared at the floor a little more, and blushed twice over. He was so tall, and actually quite good-looking; Idina wondered how he could be so insecure. She stared at him as he finally worked up the courage to look her in the eye. “There. See?” she said. Funnily enough, the teenage hormones didn't kick in at all. It only seemed to be around Glinda... which made her smirk. Unfortunately, it made Tarren quickly return his attention to the ground again. “Where are you off to?” Idina asked, hopeful.
“Oh? So am I!”
His head jerked up. The very picture of astonishment. “But, uh – Really?”
“I was specifically invited,” Idina said smugly. “Who'd have thought.”
“Well it's a surprise,” Tarren said. “Not that they're better than you by any means. But I suppose it's about perception.”
“Which happens to be changing.”
He nodded and the wind ruffled his hair again. They stood quietly, and Idina fought not to shiver. She was waiting for the question, and was irritated that it was taking so long. But he was blushing again. She would have to take the initiative. “I don't know where it is,” she said.
“Well it's... you just walk up—”
Idina shook her head. “I'm terrible at following directions.”
Tarren cleared his throat. He seemed to stand taller and his blush lessened. “I could walk you a part of the way. Until you know where you're going.”
Idina didn't point out that if she didn't know how to get there from the start, she wouldn't know how to get there from the middle of the journey either, but she nodded, and smiled. And said, “Thank you, Master Tarren,” and felt even more like a mix of Cinderella, or a character out of a twisted Pride and Prejudice. Mr Darcy! she thought, and it made her smile.
Tarren held the crook of his arm out for her, and she looped hers through as they began walking at a steady pace. “You don't go to many of these things, do you?” he asked.
“No. It's my first.”
“But you seem quite confident.”
“I can act,” Idina said, with a secret smile.
“Handy, I suppose.”
“It is. What about you?”
“Oh,” Tarren murmured, eyes on the ground again, as he bent over. He looked like a bashful teenage boy about to thrust his hands into his jeans pockets – if he were wearing jeans, and wasn't being so chivalrous in looping arms with her. “I go to the odd one. My family do quite well, and it's expected of me. But I would rather stay in my room and study.” He smiled a shy smile at Idina before looking away again. “I hear you're quite the same.”
Idina shrugged. “You have no idea.”
They didn't walk for long. In fact, it was only a few minutes, and passed a thicket of trees that they began to hear the muffled melodic strains of music and cheer. A sudden feeling of anxiousness washed over Idina as she drank in the sight of the towering cathedral with its stained windows aglow and shadows looming. She saw more people appearing from various directions around them, and just as dressed for the occasion. They were still some distance away, and Tarren cleared his throat. “Well, Miss Elphaba,” he said, and slowed. “I... believe you now know your way.” He wouldn't look at her, Idina noted, and wondered if this blush was for a new reason. “Thanks,” she said, glancing at the doorway as a group of girls she recognized from Crage Hall walked in. She hadn't noticed anyone passing them though. “But we'll both be going in alone, you know.”
Tarren nodded, looking glum, and still not meeting her gaze.
“Yes, Miss Elphaba.”
“It's okay to be different.” She took his hand. A dark green with white, and she held it. “If you want to, then...”
“Ah.” He too stared at their hands, and heaved a breath. Another gust of wind finally had Idina shivering and he felt it. “You're cold.”
“I couldn't let you suffer from fever, Miss Elphaba.” He smiled again, and took a deep breath. “We'll go in together. Shall we? A good idea, I believe.”
Idina grinned and squeezed his hand affectionately, secretly proud of the boy. “Great!” she exclaimed, and they continued their journey to Elphaba's first society ball.