“That’s all for today. You can go now,” Margo dismisses them, her tone a command and not a simple dismissal. Her advisors bow before turning to exit the throne room. “Fen, please stay,” Margo says, stopping the other woman. “I’d like to talk to you.”
Margo waits until the door closes behind the others before stepping down from the raised platform of her throne. She wants to have this conversation on the same level with Fen, not towering above her, a metaphor for her power. She’s giving the girl a choice, as two women who fought to be where they are, and she wants that to be clear.
“Yes, my King?” Fen replies, meeting Margo’s chin but still with her head half-bowed in deference.
Margo rolls her eyes, fights the urge to scoff or mock. “It’s just us,” she says instead, a smile tugging at her lips. “No need for the formalities.”
“Yes, my Margo,” Fen replies, tongue-in-cheek, a playful grin on her lips. Margo smirks at the playful response from the blonde, feels a single butterfly flutter in her stomach at the possessive.
“I wanted to talk to you about something,” Margo says, straight to the point. Fen merely waits, never anticipated what comes next. “Eliot told me about your conversation on the Muntjac, about your future now that we weren’t royalty.”
“But you are now -” Fen tries to interrupt, but Margo raises a hand to silence her.
“I am. He’s not.” Margo takes a breath, steeling her composure for her next offer. “You were promised to a High King of Fillory. I promised to protect you, whatever may happen to El.” Fen’s eyes grow wide, an idea of where Margo is going with this. “I may be Fillory’s first elected monarch, but I know not all the Fillorians agree with that. I don’t want them to take it out on you. Given I won based on beastiality and the votes of talking animals, I have a whole menagerie of interesting creatures who I’m sure would defend a wife of their High King.
So, if you’ll have me, I’d like to marry you and grant you that protection.” Margo is sure she sounds confident, even if she doesn’t entirely feel it. She’d talked it over with Eliot, of course she had, but neither of them knew what kind of reaction to expect from Fen. The other woman had grown so much since her arranged marriage to Eliot, and they’d been so caught up in fixing magic and Fillory and every other mess that they hadn’t gotten a proper chance to know her. Still, Margo had heard talk of Fillorian rebellion after the talking animals won the vote, and Margo wouldn’t let any other tragedy befall Fen at her hands. She’s caused enough of that already.
“But I… I mean, growing up, the king, well, the king was always a man,” Fen stutters through a response, caught off guard. “I wouldn’t know how-how to...fulfill my duties as a wife,” she finishes, tiptoeing around the subject.
Margo lets out a small laugh at that, a kind smile on her lips that reaches to her eyes. “You wouldn’t have to. You never have to do anything you don’t want to do,” Margo says it simply, somehow both a fact and a decree. “And that includes marrying me. It’s just an offer.”
Fen smiles, her mind running through the possibilities. “What about children? Fillory needs an heir.”
Margo blanches at that, picturing herself pregnant and fat, hormones wild, and how the court would try to use it against her. She’d faced enough patriarchal bullshit from Fillory already, she was not going to give them more ammunition to use against her. “That’s not usually how democracy works, sweetie. And, anyway,” her grin returns, “we can always use Eliot to knock one of us up if we need to. With Ember and Umber dead, the whole thing about only being able to be with one person’s gone too. So if you want to marry me and sleep with other men, more power to ya.” Margo says it dismissively, but Fen grows uncomfortable at the thought.
Fen stands there for a moment, deliberating, and Margo simply waits patiently, giving the other woman a chance to respond. After a long few minutes, Fen speaks up, “Okay.”
“Okay. I want to marry you.” Fen grins when she says it, her eyes crinkling with the force of her smile, and Margo wraps one arm around her in a hug. She’s smiling too, an odd sensation blooming in her chest, but she pushes it aside to get into planning the most glorious wedding Fillory has ever seen.
The wedding is a spectacle that takes weeks to plan. Eliot throws himself into preparations, the self-appointed king of parties. He’s determined to give his best friend the wedding she’s always dreamed of, after missing out on her first, the red wedding she’d been forced into. He’d never forgive himself not being there on her wedding day, but this was his chance to make it up to her. Margo wondered if he wasn’t also trying to make amends with Fen, an apology for not being the kind of husband she deserved.
Fen’s father walks her down the aisle, a bit shocked at his daughter marrying a woman, but supportive of her marrying another High King. Eliot does Margo’s hair, laces up her dress (planned around her crown, of course), and kisses her softly before making his way out to the crowd, taking his seat beside Quentin in the front row. The crowd is filled with the Fillorian royal cabinet - Abigail and Rafe, Tick, and Gillen, with Idri and Ess from Loria, and of course their merry band of questers - Eliot, Quentin, Julia, Alice, Kady, both Pennys, Josh, and Todd. There’s a group of Fillorians from Fen’s old village, a dwindled group after she’d weeded out any FU Fighters, a large group of Animals, and Fray with a group of fairies and former-fairy children.
Humbledrum presides over the ceremony, a sign of goodwill between the monarchy and the Animals. Margo does not cry, but she takes a moment to sag against Eliot’s chest, release a breath she’s been holding all day, when everything goes off without a hitch. Fen glows when the crown is placed on her head again - Margo’s old High Queen crown repurposed - and Margo thinks she truly was born for this.
There’s cake and festivities and Margo lets herself relax and enjoy her wedding. It’s nothing like she dreamed of as a kid, but she never dreamed of being High King. She never imagined having a wife either. Fillory is stranger than she ever imagined growing up, but she has Eliot beside her, and the wedding is the happiest she’s been since they stumbled into this strange land.
Married life does not change much for them. Fen gains more respect in the cabinet, and more confidence - feels more bolstered to speak her mind on policies regarding Fillorian welfare. They have adjoining rooms, easily able to fool visitors from neighboring kingdoms into believing they spent the night together. They share breakfasts some mornings, dinners most nights with whoever is in Fillory at the moment. It’s simple, and domestic, and the tension between them eases as time goes by.
They’ve been married almost a year when the new Fairy Queen comes to Whitespire, and Margo worries the beautiful relationship they’re building will crumble. Fen skips the cabinet meeting, skips dinner, and Margo is torn between giving her space and apologizing to her all over again. When she comes back to her room that night and can hear Fen sobbing in the room next door, the choice is made for her.
“Fen, sweetie, can I come in?” Margo knocks on the door, waiting for a response. She can hear Fen bite back her sobs, and she half expects the other woman to pretend to be asleep and ignore her. When the door swings open to reveal Fen, puffy eyes and tear-stained cheeks, Margo loses her royal composure. Her shoulders sag and her hands fidget at her sides, longing to reach out.
Fen retreats from the door and goes back to sit against her headboard, clutching a pillow. Margo comes over and cautiously perches on the edge of the bed. “I know it must be hard, having the fairies here,” Margo begins, and she regrets the words as soon as they’re out of her mouth. “I just wanted to say how so-”
“Don’t,” Fen cuts her off, quietly, and it’s not the vicious tone Margo is expecting. It’s not angry, just a sad, broken little sound, and Margo feels herself start to tear up. Fen swipes a hand across her face, wiping away tears even as more keep falling. “Just.. I know. I know you’re sorry, and I’m not mad at you anymore. You did it to protect Fillory, and it’s why you make such a great High King.”
Margo tenses at that, because it’s not quite right. She had done it for Fillory, yes, but mainly she’d done it for Eliot. To save him. She could dress it up in whatever fancy reasoning she liked to try to justify it, but at the end of the day, it had been for Eliot. Not because the kingdom needed him, but because she did. And as much as she liked to believe otherwise, she knew, deep down, she’d do it all over again if she had to. All the hurt she had caused, all the fairies had taken from them, but Eliot was alive, and she’d sacrifice so much more than an eye to always save him.
“Growing up, I always dreamed about being a mom,” Fen spoke up again, breath still coming in hiccupy sobs. “And now, I just…” Fen trailed off, unable to continue past the lump in her throat.
“You still can,” Margo insisted, scooting closer on the bed. “You can take a husband, or we can find a donor, figure something out -”
“I can’t,” Fen sobbed. “I can’t go through that again. I can’t…” Fen wants to explain, that she can’t carry a child for nine months just to risk losing it again. That she can’t handle the thought of being pregnant, of carrying that constant reminder of what the fairies stole from her. She wants to explain, but she doesn’t need to; Margo understands.
Margo reaches out for Fen, hoping she’ll accept the comfort. Fen leans into the embrace, resting her head on Margo’s shoulder, and Margo feels that familiar warmth flooding her chest. Her hand comes up to stroke through Fen’s hair, trying to find a solution. A plan comes to mind, and it’s not ideal, but Margo makes her peace with it, for the sake of her wife in her arms.
They sit in silence a few more minutes, Margo working up the courage to offer her plan, and giving Fen a chance to cry herself out, still held safely in Margo’s arms. When Margo can feel Fen’s breathing start to recover, no longer ragged or shaky, she speaks up. “What if...,” her voice comes out all wrong, and she starts over, trying to sound more confident. “What if I carried our child?”
It feels odd, the phrase ‘our child’, but it’s what it would be. Fen goes still against Margo, and Margo takes deep breaths, calmly waiting for a response. “It’s not the same,” Fen says, but there’s a hint of hope back in her voice.
“I know,” Margo agrees, “but you can still be a mom. The kid would be no less yours. And if you don’t want Eliot, we can find someone else…”
“No,” Fen pulls back, enough to be able to look at Margo as they talk. “I want the kid to know their father, and Eliot may not think so, but he’ll make a good dad.”
He’s already been one, Margo thinks, but it’s too heartbreaking to say out loud - to think about Eliot and Quentin having a son she never got to meet. Instead she smiles at Fen, and she knows she’s made the right decision when Fen’s lips twitch up a little at the corners. “He will. Is that a yes?”
“Yes. Let’s have a baby,” Fen lets out a breath of a silent laugh, a real grin taking over her features at the prospect. She settles back against Margo, and Margo’s hand comes up to tangle in her hair again on instinct. They fall asleep like that, Margo planning the conversation she needs to have with Eliot, trying to take things one step at a time.
Eliot agrees easily, and before they know it, there’s a bunny shouting “Pregnant!” all over again. Nine months later - during which she works tirelessly to prove herself the best High King Fillory has ever had, leaving no room for anyone to doubt she’s fit for the throne - and she gives birth to a baby boy. Margo has never cared much for babies, loud and smelly and messy, but feels her whole world shift when she holds their son for the first time, Fen and Eliot standing on either side of her. He has her complexion, but Eliot’s light brown eyes, and he’s the most beautiful baby she’s ever seen.
They start sharing a bed after that, baby Benjamin nestled safely between them. Eliot moves into Fen’s room, sometimes looking after him for a night so they can sleep. The three of them look after him together, taking him to cabinet meetings where he can sit in Fen’s lap, playing with her hair, or crawl around on a blanket while they discuss policy, Eliot looking after him when he gets too noisy for a particular meeting.
They throw a party for his first birthday, all of their friends gathering in the castle, and their ragtag family has come together nicely. Ben has a head of curly hair just like his father, and they put him in a fancy tunic for the special day. Their friends pass him around, spoiling him with gifts from Fillory and Earth, and he makes a mess of the cake but Margo is too happy to mind.
When they put Ben to sleep that night, Margo lays beside him and she can’t take her eyes off their beautiful son. She looks up to find Fen staring at her instead, and the butterflies in her stomach have multiplied over the time they’ve been married. She feels them flutter at the way Fen looks in the low light of the candles in their room, her hair loose, hardly any space between them. Margo doesn’t know what to make of the way Fen is looking at her.
“Can I kiss you?” Fen whispers, so quiet Margo wouldn’t be able to hear her if they weren’t laying so close. Margo blinks once, twice, frozen as her mind processes words she never expected to hear. It’s Fen’s turn to wait patiently for Margo to manage to respond.
Instead of words, Margo simply nods, a smile playing on her lips. She’s softer here, in their private bedroom with their son between them, and she can let down her guard. She’s timid and hopeful and so many things she’s not used to being. Fen leans forward and Margo’s hand comes up to her cheek, guiding her into the kiss, relishing how smooth Fen’s skin is beneath her palm.
Their lips meet and it’s gentle and hesitant. Fen pushes closer to Margo and Margo’s hand moves to tangle in the hair at the base of the other woman’s neck, holding her there. They pull back moments later, breathless and stunned. Margo had dreamed about kissing her wife, but she never expected she’d actually get to. It was more tender than she’d imagined, more meaningful. That only left her with more questions.
“I’ve been wanting to do that all day,” Fen said, laying her head back against the pillow and grinning. Margo tangles their fingers together, holding hands atop Ben’s back.
“I’ve been wanting that for a long time,” she admits, nerves creeping into her voice, and Fen squeezes her hand in reassurance. “So what does that mean?” Margo realizes the question sounds stupid, but she’s tired, and that kiss was a lot to process.
“Well, you’re my wife. And I love you. And now I think I’m falling in love with you,” Fen looked at their hands, smiling again at the sight of them. “The rest we can figure out as we go along, same as it’s always been.”
“I like that,” Margo agreed, always better off not stressing over putting things into boxes. Fen was her wife, and they were Ben’s mom’s, and their family would never be traditional. But now, with two moms kissing each other goodbye and cuddling up together on nights when Eliot took Ben, it just might be one step closer.