Part 3 :: The Calm Before the Storm

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Leaving Fae and the Monkeys in the bag is probably not the kindest thing I could do, but I need a few minutes to regroup. Glinda sighs happily, the familiar, girlish noise soothing my nerves and relaxing me. Her curls are warm and soft and she smells good, clean and sweet and earthy when I lean in and kiss her temple. "Rest now."

"Mmm hmm," she hums and smiles as she slips off to sleep. The long night in this luxurious bed with Glinda's soft, warm body tucked against mine might be the best sleep I've ever had. The deep, luxurious bath is welcome too, making me groan with pleasure from something as simple as warm water and lots of soap.

Scrubbing up thoroughly, I don't hurry, but I don't dawdle either. Stealing a towel, I creep to the bedroom, determined not to wake Glinda, and gather the clothing that Fae left for me last night. The material is heavy and well-made, with simple, elegant lines and in rich, dark colors; midnight blue, royal purple and a deep burgundy like fine wine. They fit me like they were made for me, if I hadn't lost pounds off of my already slender frame.

Smoothing my hands over the fine material, I have to smile to myself wryly. Look at me, admiring clothes! Next thing I know, I'll be letting Glinda weave more flowers into my hair.

As though conjured by my memories, Glinda's voice purrs suddenly, "why, Miss Elphaba, look at you. You're beautiful."

Startled, I drop my hands and whirl to find that my old roomie isn't as asleep as I thought. "How long have you been awake?"

Something wicked and very, very grown-up dances in those blue eyes. "Long enough."

Self-consciously, I fight the urge to be embarrassed that this woman might have seen my nakedness, but forcibly shrug it off. Sitting and then half-reclining along her small body beneath the covers, I stroke her forehead. "You should get dressed. We need to talk with the others."

Soberly, she nods, but grabs me before I can stand to turn me to mush with a long kiss. Then she's leaping past me in a flurry of activity that leaves me startled yet again. "Give me ten minutes. And go feed your friends, you silly green thing!"

Laughing, I soak up the old fondness between us and do as ordered. As described, there is a crumpled bag on the coach and I pick it up warily. When I tug it open slightly, I'm shocked to see the faint gleam of firelight in what appears to be a long, smooth tunnel. "Fae?" I call out tentatively, feeling foolish.

"Mimi?" Her voice calls as though from far down the tunnel and the rock steadiness of the impossible space in the soft fabric is making me dizzy. Dropping the bag, I sit on the couch and watch as her pale green hands flick back the edges of the cloth and she climbs out of the round of fabric.

"That is some trick," I wonder and she grins impishly, once more reminiscing the woman in the other room.

"Mama's talented." She shrugs and leans down to coax the Monkeys from the hole. "Come out guys. I fed all three of us while we were in there. Are you hungry?"

Before I can say yes or no, Chistery appears, carefully cradling a bowl that smells heavenly. "Hello friend, good to see you well," I greet him warmly and smiling, he hands me the bowl as Janen bursts from the bag to expertly drop a spoon into it with astonishing accuracy, making me laugh. Then I grin fondly at the three of them. "And to think that I was miserable, hungry and feeling pretty alone just yesterday." They're pleased and I dig into the delicious porridge. It's full of rehydrated fruits and crunchy nuts and sweet things that please me. "This is wonderful," I marvel and Fae gives me that odd look again, like she knows more than she's letting on.

"I know."

The quiet has turned awkward again and I concentrate on my breakfast while Fae pulls a brush from her pocket and begins grooming a pleased Janen. When Glinda frames herself in the hallway's arch, they have changed so that the Monkey is brushing the inky curls. Before I can speak, I watch my dear Glinda take a deep breath and steel herself to step over to the strangers in her home.

"They've come back in time to help us take down the Wizard," I supply quietly and she fires me a reproachful look for interrupting polite introductions, but my eyes are on the cringing Fae. "But there's far more to the story than that, isn’t there?"

Nodding, Fae looks up from where she's seated at the little breakfast table and looks longingly at Glinda. "You might want to sit down for this."

Wonderingly, Glinda does just that, wandering to me where I can tug her down to press close to my side.

"I'm from not quite twenty years in the future actually," Fae begins. "I won't tell you when exactly. It's bad enough I'm doing this at all, telling you way too much about your futures, but I didn't have a choice, did I? Great Oz, where do I even start?"

Surprisingly, it's Janen that pipes up over his companion's fumbling. "Do you not know yourselves? A mirror she is, the best of both. Look, look!"

Glinda's small hand creeps into mine and I squeeze reassuringly. I'm reasonably certain that I know what the two of them are dancing around, despite the absurdity. The mixing of the most physically distinctive things about the two of us, the looks, the powerful sorcery, the dry, sharp wit…

"Our daughter," I lay it out flatly and Glinda gasps in shock, staring between me and the girl who shares the distinct color of my skin. After a long moment, Fae nods miserably, unable to look at us, hanging her head.

"Found the stories," Janen chitters excitedly. "Such a great game! Took my childhood to find the clues and puzzle pieces. Dee to come back and save you!" Now is his turn to cringe as Fae glowers at him. "Sorry, sorry, Dee."

"Dee?" Glinda asks softly.

"Fae is my nickname from you, Mimi. Something about forest sprites. My name is Delia, after Doctor Dillamond." It's exactly the sort of name I would choose, for exactly that sort of reason. "I'm so sorry to shock you like this, Mama, but there's just no easy way to say it."

"Mama?" Poor Glinda sounds faint and I trade hands so that I can wrap an arm around her shoulders. "Me?"

In a burst of energy, Fae… Delia, is across the room, kneeling at her… mother's feet. She grabs the other hand, cradling it to her chest and looking up beseechingly into the blue eyes she inherited. "Yes. I had to take this chance to help you two fix everything that is going wrong. Mimi always told me stories about this time and would hint that she knew things were destined to get worse and worse the way that crowds become mobs and people get hurt." Swallowing hard, Delia's voice gets hoarse. "Or killed. When I was ten, I started to realize that you both were dropping hints, subtly of course, because you knew I was destined to do this. For seven years, this has been my goal. I've studied like a hermit and experimented and created spells that frighten even me, just to do this one task. I stole things from both of you, because I had to and…"

The tearful voice trails off as Glinda gives my hand a squeeze before letting go to reach out and place gentle fingers on Delia's rambling mouth. "Daughter? Really?" A shy nod is the only response. "Look at how lovely and determined you are. Wow." The pink flush is fascinating against the celery of her skin and I find myself grinning. "I can see us in you. It's astonishing actually. You traveled through time? How?"

"It's complicated," Delia shrugs helplessly. "Ridiculously complicated. I had to anchor to a power source in a particular time and use it like a lifeline."

From my pocket I bring out the glowing emerald cluster and Glinda gasps in appreciation for its beauty.

"Yes, that anchor," Delia says and pulls out the stunning necklace that holds the future self of the gem. "This is what got me here. I apologize for taking it, Mama. I think it has something to do with how I came into being as well. Frankly, I've never asked for details and I don't want them either!"

In that moment, the utter normalcy of a teenager's disgust about her parent's love life makes me snort in helpless laughter. After a confused and slightly outraged moment, Glinda's eyes round in comprehension and she flushes crimson. Then she is giggling and in moments we are both roaring in hysterics.

By the time we've wound down, my whole body aches pleasantly and I'm sprawled limply against the couch with Glinda curled up over most of my torso. Her breath is warm on my chin, her body soft against my more angular frame. "This is nice," I murmur softly and she hums wordlessly in agreement.

"Elphie? I don't want to marry Fiyero anymore."

I can't help but crack up once again; hugging this dear woman I adore. "Me either. There's this mouthy blonde that seems to have caught my eye."

"Sounds complicated." Her mockingly serious tone makes giggles tickle in my throat. I've never laughed so much in my life and it feels like I've taken a cleansing broom to every corner of my heart and soul. "But then again, complicated suits you. And with you so brave and exotic, this mouthy blonde doesn't stand a chance of resisting."

Just like that, we're serious again and I grip her tight in a hug that feels like forever. A glance reveals that Delia and the Monkeys have retreated to the little table again to give us some small privacy. With these new twists happening with Glinda, somehow this unknown daughter doesn't shock me nearly as much as I would have thought.

"She's gorgeous and amazing, isn't she," Glinda muses barely loud enough for me to hear. "The best of both of us. That must have been some spell to bring her back in time." Sitting up, this lovely, pale woman curls one small hand into my inky hair and kisses me as though our world will end any second now. Helpless, I am enthralled by her, unable to do more than respond to her ardor until she releases me. "Let's go find out what our futures entail, shall we?"

Hours later, I have to regret agreeing to all of this so easily.

"It just seems so… theatrical," I whine helplessly, head in my hands.

"And taking off on a newly enchanted broomstick while taunting the royal guard and taking up the life of an ostracized villain isn't?" Delia sasses me archly, making Glinda giggle, though she gamely tries to hide it.

"She's definitely your daughter," I tease dryly and they both laugh prettily. The resemblances of the two of us in this girl are so eerily accurate that I would suspect trickery if not for the twin emerald clusters on the table. One with small bits of useless rock stuck to it where it grew deep in the earth, and one cleaned and gorgeous; set in that astonishing bubble. No one has the power to fake these stones.

Then there's Janen, a third generation of the poor Monkeys I was tricked into deforming with their great, leathery wings. He is so different, so… normal. It eases my heart to know that one day; the Flying Monkeys will become their own people.

"Miss Mimi?" He asks me suddenly and I'm jarred from my thoughts.

"Why Mimi?" I ask bluntly and Delia grins in echo of the same kind of expression on my own face.

"Well, I can't very well call you both Mama, can I? I've always called you that, ever since I was a baby. I remember. The younger generations of Flying Monkeys just picked it up from me."

"Yep," Janen agrees happily and I'm startled once again as he treads carefully across the table to sit right in front of me and hold my gaze with calm, dark eyes. "You always regret tricked into casting spell that make us to fly." While strangely disjointed, I understand his meaning and nod silently. Then he smiles sweetly and reaches out to stroke my cheeks with tiny hands. Startled and pleased at the easy affection, I can't help but grin back a bit. "Don't. Not your fault. The Wizard is bad and makes people do bad things. But not these!" The leathery wings unfurl with a snap. "I can fly!"

A leap becomes a shallow glide that carries him all the way to the couch and Glinda claps in delight. A tentative touch on my arm brings my eyes to Chistery where he sits at my side. "Yes, yes," he murmurs but the adoring look in his eyes speaks far more clearly than his labored speech.

"Thank you, friend," I murmur, leaning over to press my forehead to his and sigh heavily. It's been a crazy day and his steady presence is grounding.

Abruptly, Delia stands up and announces briskly, "Well, it's been a long day and I think that I'm suffering from a bit of cabin fever. I'm really not used to being cooped up. I think I shall take my brothers here and retreat to the bag to romp! You two have a great night and we'll see you in the morning about changing history."

Once more, the three of them vanish into the miraculous bag that Delia tosses open onto the floor. There is an echoing clatter of noise that snuffs out with the slam of a door and Glinda and I are left in quiet.

"Fascinating day," she muses to herself and stands to collect the bag, cinching it closed and setting it on a shelf where it will be safe. "Are you hungry, Elphie?" The new intimacies between us makes me silent, only able to nod. It's really overwhelming, all of this. But Glinda's quick kiss grounds me again. "I'm overwhelmed too, but we still need to eat. We'll keep it simple."

Crispy apples, a tangy yellow cheese and a light wine are a perfect solution for our stomachs and some of my lightheaded nerves settle. "Food is hard to come by on the lam," I explain and wisely don't take offense at the near-pity in Glinda's clear eyes. "I didn't even realize how starving I've been."

It's only early evening, but I'm exhausted. So much has happened over the last day and half, not to mention the last six months, and my body's depleted reserves are low again. I've noticed that Glinda's lost some of her girlish softness, making the curves and hollows of her small body sleeker and making her look her age. But, she too has been treated harshly by what happened all those months ago, I can see it reflected in her physical condition.

"Come to bed," she purrs softly, offering me a hand that I helplessly take and allow myself to be drawn away.

Tonight, things are different, deliberate sensual intent in Glinda's kisses, her hands wandering over my torso, loosening the fitted tunic. "When I watched you change this morning," she breathes across my kiss-swollen mouth, making me shiver. "I was stunned at how gorgeous you are." I want to sputter and deny the compliment, but I can't with those hands drifting over my sparse curves and the gleam in her eyes.

Only Glinda has ever touched me freely, even though the familiarity took time to develop. In time she became unaware and uncaring that I look so different. My parents and Nanny were always horrified by me and Nessarose and I are not close. At all. We are merely tolerated extensions of one another, neither of us fitting in with others.

So it took time and practice for my schoolmate and myself to get to a place of physical comfort, but it soothes jagged places inside me and draws me to her.

With breath heavy, mouth avid, hands urgent, body hot and curvaceous; is there any wonder that I can't resist her?

The first brush of those small hands over my naked belly makes me gasp, the sound loud and startled even to my own ears. Eyes wide, I jerk back and stare down at her, but the blue gaze is steady, focused and bright as hot summer skies. "I love you Elphie," Glinda murmurs and my nerves dance at the open-handed caresses over my skin while my brain reels in shock at the soft words. "I've loved you for so long that I can't really place when it started. All the way back when we met and I thought you so awful."

The memories of our unadulterated loathing makes me huff in amusement, understanding now some of the emotions that were behind it. Cupping her sweet face, I kiss her again, murmuring tenderly against the soft lips, "We certainly made quite the impressions on one another."

"Still do," Glinda giggles coyly and I start as she grabs the back of the tunic to yank it down, entrapping my arms and leaving me naked from the waist up. Before I can fully register the possibility of embarrassment, that soft mouth is teasing over the jut of my collarbones and Glinda is making tender kittenish noises that make my insides flutter like cloth in wind.

The vulnerable sound I make startles me in its intensity. The sensations firing through me are indescribable and blindingly intense, only growing as Glinda's curious mouth descends lower, pressing kisses over the upper swells of my breasts. My knees are shaking and my wrists are completely caught in the heavy, snug material of my sleeves. Frustration deepens my voice, making me sound like a growling Lion. "Help me get loose."

Giggling, Glinda forcibly turns me around and tugs expertly at the material until it drops away. That lets me sit heavily on the edge of the bed, not trusting my legs, and gives Glinda a chance to startle me yet again. Hitching up the knee-length skirt, she straddles my lap, pressing our bodies impossibly close. A strong grip around her waist and gentle fingers on her lips pause the heat between us for a moment.

"I…" The words choke in my throat for an endless moment.

I have never loved anyone before. I was never given a chance. Yet, somehow I know this feeling for what it is. The heat in my body, the suffocating emotion making my throat and eyes ache, the spunky teenager brave enough to travel through time itself to ensure not only her future, but ours as well.

I have proof that the Wizard will be removed from power. Oz will learn to at least tolerate me. The Animals will be saved from prosecution. Even the Flying Monkeys come out okay in the end.

Really, it's everything I ever wanted.

Closing my eyes, feeling Glinda's sweet breath hot and fast on my face, a blissful smile starts from some previously unknown place deep inside to bloom over my face.

"I love you too."

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