— Elphaba looked up as she heard her sister, “Enjoying your visit in the west, Nessa?”
"I haven’t been here for long enough to enjoy anything yet." Her brows knotted together as she glanced around, adding, "I’m not certain what you are fighting for now - if anything - but this hardly seems the way to accomplish it."
The idea of Elphaba not being around, of not having her sister’s devoted care and attention, had been so impossibly difficult to grow accustomed to, and now it seemed like a way of life. Perhaps she shouldn’t be so surprised by her appearance now - when Nessarose had been used to constant assistance everyone had suddenly left her and now, after becoming used to the loneliness, her elder sister had returned. A part of her felt she should be resentful, but her sister’s presence was too comforting, and besides, Nessa told herself, she ought to try and seem capable.
"Elphaba." A small smile, her surprise not adequately masked by her attempts to appear unfazed. "You’ve earned yourself quite the reputation. How did you get in?"
Elphaba’s face almost fell, then — almost being imperative, and vital in the way her sharp features could not contort in such a pathetic way, or so she hoped for her own sake. It came as no surprise that the younger Thropp would slide in the topic of her untimely disappearance from Munchkinland, and it hurt less than she had anticipated, but then again, hadn’t she steeled herself against it all along? “You know I couldn’t remain here,” she retorted, icy tone as sharp as the eyes that peered from beneath the brim of her hat. “You underestimate the fallout of this engagement… or you understand, yet you wish to soften it. You know I cannot be seen with you, my dear.”
Something had changed — much had been twisted, and she could not run from her guilt for a moment longer. She was home, after all, and home was where she could never be forgiven. Home was where she longed for forgiveness the most, in this cruel game of hearts and souls, where she could never win.
Drawing a deep sigh, Elphaba drew nearer, chewing at the inside of her lip in such a manner that it tightened her jaw, making a point to keep her head up. She could never hope to hide from Nessa — not that she had wanted to, either way. “I wouldn’t label such responsibilities as trivial — not even for anything quite as stuffy and pretentious as the work of the officials working beneath you. But if anything has changed — and I know it has, I am not blind — then I can only wonder. Please, Nessarose. Indulge me, won’t you?”
Nessarose was aware of this and the reminder caused her to glance briefly at the door, wondering what exactly would occur should a servant glance in unawares. It would be dishonest, almost delusional, to tell herself she was in the Munchkin’s good graces, yet Nessa presumed she had not fallen quite low enough in their estimate that her reputation could not be worsened by association with the other Wicked Witch. She gave her sister a little nod, to show her understanding, but said, “Yet you chose to come anyway. Was I missed?”
It was a foolish, sentimental question, yet Nessarose could not hold it back. She had missed Elphaba, after all - it seemed only fair that her absence had been felt in return. Still, embarrassment forced her to use the most light-hearted tone she could muster, offering a smile and an exaggerated tilt of the head.
"If you have heard even a snatch of political talk here, then I’m sure you have already heard the worst of it. Why ask me to anger you?" She hesitated, uncertain whether it really would be best to elaborate, before continuing. "You must have known that my priotities are first and foremost the wishes of the Unnamed God, not your pet causes - and I’m sure you are aware that I am not loved for it. Oh-" and her expression brightened, momentarily, "but perhaps you would be fonder to hear of Munchkinland’s burgeoning independence? Your disdain for the Wizard is legendary, by now.”
Elphaba kept her hands on her sister’s arm even though she was already in the chair yet again. She pulled her hands away at the reasoning behind Nessa’s wanting to talk to her. She didn’t understand why she had to do anything for Frex. He didn’t really do anything for her except make her feel terrible and like a burden most of the time. The only time she ever felt needed was when Nessie needed her. If anything, she’d much rather do something for Nessarose then for Frexspar…
"Nessie…darling don’t you think this should be something you just do. Papa hates me and I’m sure he’ll just kick me out of the church so he could spend time with you.." Elphaba trailed off. She knew it wasn’t the best thing to say but it was the truth and she wasn’t going to sugarcoat it.
"Oh, Elphaba.” Her tone changed, to something that managed to be both pleading and reproving. “I was only thinking that it might be a nice gesture…and you know he doesn’t hate you.”
Sometimes even Nessarose could not understand why she so persistantly tried to tell Elphaba this. She was never believed, and certainly her claims seemed to be disproved by the quarrelling she frequently overheard, yet she could never let such remarks slip by unchecked. It seemed disloyal to do otherwise, an insult to the father who had been so loving towards her.
"He doesn’t," she repeated, a little more firmly. "And you needn’t do much at all, except accompany him to church with me and perhaps keep your religious views to yourself for once. Would that really be so difficult?"
((I’ve been so inactive and I’m so sorry! I think I’ve just been a bit listless in general for the past few weeks, but I am feeling a lot better now. Hopefully I’ll start things up again in earnest now, but I am traveling to America on Sunday to see my family
and Idina Menzel oh my so if my activity continues to be a bit spacey it’s because I have two baby siblings over there to keep entertained. I’m sorry!
Well…thank you, certainly, for the effort.
And oh, I do wish.
Unfortunately for them both, Boq didn’t notice Nessarose until he was nearly on top of her. He stumbled to a breathless halt, fearing a repeat of the cabbage-patch incident a few months ago. One Thropp sister was bad enough, but he was reluctant to let the whole clan see him topple over in various different circumstances.
"Oh! Miss Nessarose," the Munchkin looked around, expecting to see the plumb red face of Nanny peering at him from some nearby bench or tree, ready to scold him for nearly touching the precious child. "I am sorry!"
He hurried over to help, feeling his face redden with strange edge of this unfamiliar meeting. He didn’t think either of them had yet spoken outside of their circle of friends. There had always been Nanny on hand, or the ever attentive Elphaba. And the usually ever-present duo of Crope and Tibbet kept most, if not all, formalities to a jovial minimum.
It felt strange touching Nessa; almost sinful, illegal, and for a moment Boq hesitated, before placing a nervous supporting hand across her shoulders. Nessarose had always seemed, even to the lovestruck Boq, like some unattainably strange work of art. Possibly it was due to the fragility and quiet awe in which her sister and Nanny treated her, as if the girl was an overgrown china doll, liable to break at any sudden moment. She was a graceful mixture of some exquisitely carved Unionist statue, armless, with a hint of marble shine across her cheeks, and the odd haunting beauty portrayed by the witches of the pleasure faith. (although Boq doubted she would be too pleased to hear him mention such a thing. Devout girl that she was.)
Why, It was a wonder she was related to Miss Elphie at all.
She felt faintly embarrassed as she was helped to her feet, from both the inelegant way in which she had stumbled and the hands helping her up, which felt markedly different from those of Elphaba or Nanny. Her cheeks burned, although which humiliation had caused her blush was unclear to her, and Nessa drew back as soon as she was able to, cautiously shifting a foot to steady herself further.
"Thank you, Master Boq. Nanny’s taking some time to herself, for once, and so I have been left some time of my own." She glanced at Boq, noting his hurried apology, and it struck her that he may share her discomfort. She had not spent much time considering the boy’s character before (and had he known that, perhaps he would have taken it as a compliment, given her unfortunate habit of focusing only on her fellow student’s more sinful habits) but he had always seemed respectful enough, even when Elphaba’s tales of his past infatuations were taken into consideration. His assistance was certainly preferable to the likes of Avaric, anyhow, and she focused on this as she offered him a little smile.
"And it’s quite alright." For a moment she considered extending this little acceptance, but to do so would involve dwelling further on her own disability and nothing seemed less appealing than making her helplessness even more of a focal point. Instead she gave Boq a curt little nod, hoping to signal her forgiveness, before turning her head. "May I ask what it is you are running for?"
She had turned her head in the direction Boq had been headed towards, trying to discern what his reply could be before there was a chance to hear it. Being so firmly pirched on the outskirts of their little social group - which was her own doing as much as Nanny’s and something she refused to regret - Nessarose found she knew considerably less about the lives and schedules of her acquaintances. Did Boq have a class at this time? From the little she had observed of the Munchkin, he had seemed the dedicated, sensible type. It was surprising to see him rush about, as the less organised pupils were frequently wont to do.
((asgfdsdfg thank you so much!
# ((criticism/suggestions are always welcome!
Elphaba’s mind at the moment was in her thoughts and not on her sister, like they were suppose to be. Her thoughts roamed around variest things like books, their father, other worlds. She didn’t quite know exactly why Nessie had said she wanted to speak with her alone.
The green girl snapped out of her thoughts when she heard Nessarose almost topple over and she quickly helped her sister back into her wheelchair. “I’m sorry, Nessie, what were you saying?”
"Could you help me?" Elphaba was helping already, as Elphaba always did, and Nessarose allowed the sense of security that came with being safely upright to permeate, building her confidence just enough to add, "It’s about father. I think I - we - ought to do something for him. I’ve a book of sermons as a present and I’ve written a note to express my thanks…”
She trailed off, faltering just before her intended request that Elphaba sign the note. It was better to wait, to gauge her sister’s reaction, before running the risk of pushing too far. Instead, she kept on with her fuzzy plan for the day, realising as she spoke how small and silly it sounded. “He’ll naturally want to spend time in the church, but I’m sure he’d appreciate it if we brought him breakfast and I know I’d be willing to accompany him in prayer…”
"Perhaps you have inherited such mannerisms from her. Have you not attempted to change such a mindset? Isn’t it…well, tiring, if nothing else?"