Book (Though it's been a while since I read it, so I may have muddied up some details a bit.)
Fiyero finds Elphaba in a rare mood.
started me thinking on this. :)
When Fiyero arrived at the corn exchange, he found Elphaba in a peculiar sort of mood. Her bare feet skated across the sun-warmed boards of the floor as she worked. He hovered for a moment in the doorway, watching her, boots in one hand.
Her movements were expansive, gracious, unlike the swift, grasping way with which she normally lived. As if she were always… not necessarily late, but as if she were planning ahead to be so.
“Hello, my gorgeous love,” Fiyero said, delicately; he didn’t want to ruin whatever it was that had made Elphaba so happy. It was moments like these that he wished he knew her better, so that he could ask.
Her eyes glowed as she looked up. Malky, more fur than cat and more air than fur, slinked off from between her fingertips. “Hello.” She smiled. “Are you hungry?”
“A bit,” he answered, glad to see a heap of vegetables on a crate in the corner. “What are we hungry for this evening?”
She gestured toward the window. He noted that some of the music seemed to have gone from her. He walked slowly to the bowl sitting atop the crate beneath the window. Elphaba, his beautiful green, all sharp movements and angles and reaching, but to no one’s music but her own. At least she was happy.
The bowl was about halfway filled with some sort of pale, tangled pasta covered with water. He tilted the bowl in his hands, holding in it the light of the setting sun. The pasta hid bits of orange like tiny fish.
Malky flitted across the floor, chasing dust in the air. Elphaba came absently to Fiyero’s side, a faint smell of vegetables about her. “You’d think you had never seen food before.” Her tone was gentle.
He looked up at her, all length, the folds of her dress hanging above slim ankles and small, arched feet. He wanted to tell her he was just thinking. About her. About how lucky they were, everyone was. But he knew she would disapprove of such a thing. Not everyone was lucky. Maybe even they weren’t lucky. But he felt as if they were.
“Will the water make it softer?” he asked, pulling his hands to his side.
She shrugged. “It’s a try. I’m not all that good with those things.” She lifted the bowl and the light in it fell away. “I thought maybe water might be better than I’ve been giving it credit for.” She tossed some vegetables in with it.
She fell asleep before he did that night. The air was warm with the smells of summer, and Fiyero was reminded of the night before he had left the Vinkus for the Emerald City, lying in the morning beside a wife that didn’t want him to go.
“Must you, Fiyero?” She knew that he must. The pink color of sleep was soft in her cheeks, making her look more alive. It was in those moments that he loved her.
He sighed, flickering the scene away. Elphaba’s eyelids fluttered in her sleep. His gaze followed along the line of her jaw, the empty place of her neck, the soft skin beneath the ear. He wanted to reach out and touch her, but didn’t.
It was something that she wouldn’t understand. The idea of loving Sarima. Sarima was all gravity and no air, all flower and no soft smells of unknown, of hidden breath, of pine needles in the forest.
She was everything that Elphaba wasn’t. She was nothing that Elphaba was. Pouches of skin hanging about her waist, around the breasts. Her hair always had the unkempt look of sleep. But it was she who had birthed his children, shared his home. She who knew the customs and ways of his homeland. No mystery.
Elphaba was all mystery.
Well, mostly mystery. In the months since he had been with her, Fiyero had figured out a few things on his own. For one, to not be late. She would never mention it, or question him, but there was the look of sorrow in her eyes, a desperate sort of way about her when she made love, all movements, flurries of fingers, no soft kisses.
And, for another, to be careful about bringing her gifts. You bring Elphaba a flower from the girl with a basket on the corner. You bring her a silken scarf. You show up with a scrap of poetry that you found in a hymnal, or the feather of a bird’s wing. But you do not bring her things that she needs.
The mystery of Elphaba is what he loves the most. She is always a step above him, always a thought ahead, a touch beyond. Sometimes he wishes he were different. Not such a simple man. Someone more suited to loving Elphaba as she deserves.
But he tries in his own ways. His love for her is… well, it is not his love for Sarima. With Sarima, it is comfort. With Elphaba, it is heartache. Every smooth plane of skin across her ribs, or tightly in her cheeks, is a reason to be in love, to realize the beauty in a world in which everything, cobblestones and creaking boards and smeared windows, is beautiful.
But he knows that she would not understand, for the third thing that you do not do with Elphaba is mention Sarima’s name. She sighs but says nothing. Clams up. No music. Brilliant as she is, she is past that sort of logic when it comes to him. So he tells her he will never love Sarima and never did. Elphaba is his world.
She wakes and shifts her arm across his thigh. Her eyes are thick with sleep and the moon. “Fiyero,” she murmurs, settling against his chest.
“I love you,” he says. He does. She is his world. But there is more to the world than beauty and pain. There is mediocrity; mediocre dances at the edge of his sight, reminding Fiyero that he is a simple man. But Elphaba and mediocre will never touch.
She is his world, but she is not the whole world. And that is one more reason to love her.